Chapter 8

As the darkness slowly receded from her vision, Scully became aware of several things at once. She was lying in her bed, fully dressed, staring unseeingly at her ceiling, and someone was shouting in her ear. Or rather, into the telephone, which was currently pressed against the side of her head.

** How did that get there? **

“Agent Scully! Are you all right? Hello?”

Drawing in a deep, ragged breath, she blinked rapidly several times trying to clear the last vestiges of sleep from her brain. Her body felt, heavy, sluggish, the left side of her face tingled painfully as if still asleep, and was that gasoline she smelled?

She struggled to sit up, instinctively grabbing the phone as it threatened to slip from her ear. While gradually the lethargy and tenderness subsided, the strange odor did not. She sniffed lightly at her hands, her blouse, the bedding around her, and unable to detect a source, wondered vaguely if she’d suffered some kind of a stroke.

“Can you hear me? Agent Scully! I’m sending someone over there.”

Finally recognizing the significance of the molded plastic pressed to her right ear, Scully shook herself out of her stupor and responded before she found herself surrounded by concerned FBI agents.

“No, Agent Brentwell, that’s not necessary. I’m fine. I, um, must’ve dozed off. It took me a second to wake up.”

His retort was a short bark of laughter, part amusement at her statement, part relief at hearing her answer him at last.

“A second? Scully, we’ve been on the phone for over two minutes now. That must’ve been some dream you were having.”

Scully found that she couldn’t recall any dreams, good or otherwise, and for some reason, that fact bothered her profoundly. She considered the uneasiness that engulfed her, only dimly aware that Agent Brentwell was once again speaking. It wasn’t until he said the word “Mulder” that she remembered why she was lying in her bed in the first place. Mulder. The bracelet. Had it worked? Searching her memory, she was further distressed to find that it was blank. She remembered going to sleep, nearly two and a half hours ago according to her alarm clock, and then nothing. Nothing, save for the lingering smell of gasoline.

“I can’t remember,” she whispered.

It was then that she began to realize her mistake. She had gone to sleep with the belief that upon waking she would retain the knowledge gained in her dreams, when in fact, on the previous two occasions, she had remembered nothing. It was only later that bits and pieces had come back to her, vague remnants of a larger whole. Both times, she had managed to pass along the pertinent information to a third party whilst still under the spell of the bracelet, once to Mulder, and once to her laptop. But this time, there was no Mulder to call, no self-written computer messages to read, and she didn’t have time to wait around and see what tidbits came trickling back. She needed to find her partner before it was too late, that much she did know. And she had the beginnings of an idea on how to do just that.

“Can’t remember what? Agent Scully?” Finally realizing she’d tuned out again, Brentwell halted his monologue mid-stream.

“Nothing, it’s nothing. I’m sorry, Agent Brentwell. You were saying? Have you found Mulder?” She realized that all this worrying might be for nothing, and maybe it would be a good idea to actually listen to what the other agent had to say.

“No, nothing yet on Mulder. I called to tell you that it looks as if you were right to want to take a closer look at Brown. Seems he doesn’t exist.”

“I don’t understand. What do you mean he doesn’t exist?”

“We ran a basic check on him, and everything seemed ok on the surface, no trouble with the law, spotless driving record, excellent credit report, he seemed like an all-around great guy, but there was one minor discrepancy. His address. The address listed for him in the Metro database turned out to be a Pizza Hut in Falls Church, Virginia. Thinking that it may just be a typographical error on the part of the clerk entering the data, we tried to check the address he gave on his actual job application, only to find that his entire personnel file is mysteriously missing.”

“What about the Department of Motor Vehicles?”

“Well, the Virginia DMV had a different address for your Mr. Brown. Different, but no less phony. This one was actually a residence, but the family who lives there, and has for the past eight years, claims no relation to or knowledge of anyone named Stuart Brown. He has no car, no phone service, no records with the gas and electric company, and prior to being hired by the DCMTA, no bank accounts. He has one checking account which has only enough money in it to keep the account open, and he used the same bogus address to open that account as the one on his driver’s license. We dug a little bit further and found the name “Stuart George Brown” and corresponding social security number only two more times. One was on a birth certificate for a little boy born on July 6, 1965 to a Michael and Christina Brown.” He paused for dramatic effect, and Scully willingly obliged him.

“And the other?”

“The other instance was on a death certificate issued on May 27, 1966 when Stuart George Brown, son of Michael and Christina Brown, died at the age of nine months and three weeks due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

Scully closed her eyes briefly, her mind racing. “So even the name isn’t his. What about fingerprints?”

“We pulled some prints from the security booth that don’t appear to match up with any of the other guards, but we didn’t get a match when we ran them through the database. I suspect that this guy has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that there are no computer records of him at all.”

“When does he work again? Maybe he doesn’t know we’re on to him yet.”

“Would it surprise you at all to hear that he has the next three days off?”

“He does? What about during the other four disappearances? Was he off then too?”

“Believe me, Agent Scully, something that blatantly obvious would have been noticed during our initial investigation. Records indicate that he worked at least two, if not all three days during each disappearance.”

“Has he always worked at the Eastern Market station?”

“Yes, since completing his training about ten months ago.”

“The cameras. Have you checked the tapes in the security cameras?”

“Yes, we have, but as we already knew, they’re incomplete. Video surveillance was lost last night briefly between 8:45 and 9:00pm. We have Mulder walking in the station, looking around, but as he approaches the security station, all the cameras go dead. By the time they come back up, there’s no sign of Mulder or Brown.”

“What about the other nights?” Some vague idea was niggling the back of Scully’s mind, and not knowing whether it was caused by the bracelet, by intuition, or simply a scientific wild-assed guess, she decided to go with it.

“What do you mean?”

“Have you checked the cameras at the Eastern Market station on the nights that the previous victims were taken?”

“No, we haven’t. The other people weren’t taken from that station, Scully.” He spoke carefully, gently, as if he were trying to explain to a child exactly why she couldn’t have ice cream before dinner.

She sighed. “I know that Chris, but maybe they were taken to that station.”

He started to protest, but she interrupted.

“No, just hear me out. It makes sense. He would want to keep up appearances by being at work, but at the same time, he’d want to have them nearby. Someplace where he could check on them from time to time, hurt them if he felt like it, remind them who was boss. Someplace cold and dark, underground, where the noise from the trains might mask their screams…” Her voice trailed off, and she shuddered from something that might have been the ghost of a memory.

“Well, I suppose it can’t hurt to check it out,” said Brentwell. “Although, if he’s down there in that subway system, it could take weeks to find him. Those tunnels go on for miles and miles.”

“Mulder doesn’t have weeks. He has two days,” came her soft reply. “Call me if you find anything.”

“What will you be doing?”

“I’ve got to pay a visit to America’s Most Paranoid,” she joked. ** Right after I shower and change clothes. This gasoline smell is nauseating. **

She hung up the phone and headed for her bathroom.

Office of The Lone Gunmen
Undisclosed location

As Scully waited somewhat impatiently for the Gunmen to determine that she was in fact Dana Scully, and not some government engineered, conspiracy driven clone, she slipped a hand into her jacket pocket to lightly touch the bracelet that lay there.

** Mulder, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what else to do.**

Just as she was raising her other hand to ring the doorbell a third time, she heard the sounds of multiple deadbolts and chains being disengaged on the other side of the heavy, steel door.

“Finally,” she muttered under her breath.

The door opened to reveal Melvin Frohike, oldest of the strange trio, bent over at the waist in a formal bow. He straightened and gestured her in with a grand sweep of his arm.

“Agent Scully, to what do we owe the pleasure?”

Before closing the door, he craned his neck to look outside, searching the alleyway behind her. “And where’s your worse half?”

“That’s why I’m here. I need your help.” The smell of gasoline rose up once again, sudden and strong, and she looked at Frohike in surprise. “Do you smell that?”

The Gunman leaned toward her, breathing in deeply. “Ah, the sweet smell of apricots. Very nice, Agent Scully.” He waggled his eyebrows at her comically.

“God Doohickey, shut up, you’re making me sick!” Ringo Langley, the aging hippie of the group had entered the room, followed closely by John Byers.

“Shut up yourself, Ringo, she asked me to smell her. What was I supposed to say, that she reeks? No wonder you can’t get a date!”

Byers ignored his arguing comrades and greeted Scully with a nod of his head, formal as always.

“Agent Scully. What can we do for you?”

Ignoring his question for the moment, she stepped between the other two Gunmen before they could come to blows. “Wait a minute!” she shouted. Once she had their attention, she looked slowly from one to the other. “You don’t smell gasoline?”

The trio chuckled for a moment until it became apparent that she was serious. Byers stepped forward and gave her a look of concern.

“Do you, Agent Scully?”

Scully saw the looks passing between the three men and decided that, given the strange request she was about to make of them, perhaps it would be best to keep her olfactory hallucinations to herself for the time being.

“Never mind, it’s nothing. I probably got some on my hands at the gas station. Anyway, I’m here because I need your help.” She took a deep breath before continuing. “I need you to hypnotize me.”

Three pairs of eyebrows raised simultaneously, as they each look at the other, at a loss for words. Byers recovered first.

“Does this have something to do with Mulder?”

“Yes, he’s missing, kidnapped, and this is the only way I can think of to find him. Look, I know it sounds crazy, and I really don’t have time to explain it now, even if I could somehow make sense of it. I need you to find someone who can come here today, now, and hypnotize me, no questions asked. Can you do that?”

She looked between the three of them hopefully, not knowing what she would do if they turned her down.

All was quiet for a moment, until Byers spoke. “I know someone.”

She sank down into a chair in relief and smiled gratefully at him. “Thank you.”

Office of The Lone Gunmen
Undisclosed location

The two-hour wait for the hypnotist seemed to Scully more like two days. She called twice to check on the progress of the FBI team, only to be told both times that there were no new developments in the case. She composed a list of questions that she wanted to be asked under hypnosis and made sure that there was a tape recorder with a blank tape and fresh batteries available to document her responses. She washed her hands several times, still unable to rid herself of the scent of gasoline. She even forced herself to eat some of the Chinese takeout Langley ordered for an early lunch. Yet, despite her best efforts to stay occupied during the wait, Scully still found plenty of time to second-guess herself. Was she making a huge mistake? Were there possibly other, more legitimate avenues she could be out exploring right now? Was she in fact endangering her partner further by wasting what little time she had on this insane endeavor? A month, hell, even a week ago, her answer would’ve been a resounding “yes!”, but now she was no longer quite so certain that the possibility of some “other” power being at work here was all that ridiculous. Of course, she could never tell that to Mulder once this was all over with. She’d never live it down.

A knock at the door and a sudden flurry of activity from the only three men on the planet more paranoid than her partner marked the arrival of Byers’ friend, Dr. Tom Strickland. Heaven forbid they would just open the door when someone knocked on it. But no, Frohike went to the door while Langley ran to the monitor that was fed by a video surveillance camera hidden in the alleyway. Scully knew that if a visual image wasn’t enough to satisfy them, they were prepared to request that the visitor place his thumb on a pad built into the door that would supply them with an instant, electronic thumbprint which they could compare to their database. As it turned out today though, that wasn’t necessary. Langley gave Frohike the all-clear, and the process of turning locks and opening chains began.


Scully leaned back in the Gunmen’s overstuffed, navy blue recliner and considered the level of craziness her life had sunk to in the past week. She had, of her own volition, put on a bracelet and gone to sleep with the intention of finding some sort of psychic lead as to her missing partner’s whereabouts, and now she was about to be hypnotized by a friend of John Byers in an attempt to retrieve that information from her subconscious. She had to admit to herself, though, Dr. Strickland didn’t look at all like she’d imagined a friend of the Gunmen to look. In fact, he seemed incredibly…normal.

He had graduated from Georgetown University in the top five percent of his class, and for the last ten years had run a thriving psychology practice on Pennsylvania Avenue, right down the street from the White House. His clientele included congressmen, senators, and even a few of Scully’s own superiors at the Hoover Building, although doctor/client privilege kept him from naming any names. He came across as being intelligent and insightful, reading over Scully’s prepared list of questions and even suggesting a few of his own that she’d overlooked.

All in all, Scully was pleasantly surprised by the psychologist. She had been prepared to go through with the hypnosis even if the Amazing Kreskin had walked through the door, but luckily for her, that hadn’t been the case. Scully felt herself begin to relax as Dr. Strickland prepared to start.

“Ok Dana, now I want you to close your eyes, and we’re going to begin with some breathing exercises to help you relax.”

As she followed the psychologist’s instructions, Scully felt herself beginning to relax, despite her earlier fears that her extreme worry about her partner might keep her from doing so.

Her body felt light, almost as if it were floating above the chair, and she knew it would soon be time for the doctor to begin.

** Ok bracelet, do your stuff, ** she thought to herself absently, before another thought
whispered into her mind, ** You never put the bracelet back on. **

The doctor’s face registered surprise when his seemingly tranquil subject suddenly sat up and began digging frantically in her jacket pockets. “Dana?”

“Where is it? It’s got to be here!” She hurriedly checked the other pocket, and there it was, nestled deep in the crevice. She held it up triumphantly before securing it to her left wrist. Leaning back in the chair once again, she looked apologetically at Dr. Strickland.

“I’m sorry, doctor. Can we begin again, please?” She didn’t offer any explanations, and to his credit, he kept any questions he had concerning her strange behavior to himself. His only reaction was a quick glance over the top of her head to where the three Gunmen sat behind her, close enough to hear the proceedings, yet out of her line of sight so as not to distract. She didn’t have to turn around to know that the three men were exchanging quizzical looks as they each wondered silently if perhaps working with Mulder all these years had finally pushed her over the edge of sanity.

The psychologist however, managed to school his features into what she knew had to be a well-practiced mask of professionalism. Scully supposed in his line of work, he was accustomed to a certain level of craziness and had learned long ago when to keep his thoughts to himself.

“Alright Dana, let’s try this again, shall we?”

As she reclined back into the chair and closed her eyes, the psychologist nodded at Byers to restart the tape recorder. He then spent several moments leading Scully through a series of breathing exercises designed to help her relax enough to reach a hypnotic state. By the time he had finished, she appeared for all intents and purposes to be sleeping. Head back, eyes closed, her breathing was deep and even and the tension he had previously noted in her face in association with worry over her missing partner had eased into a more calm and peaceful expression. They were ready to begin.

“Now Dana, I want you to imagine a place where you feel comfortable, someplace where you have felt safe and happy and protected in the past. Do you have a place like that in mind?”

After a moment’s pause she responded in a low, calm voice.


“Very good. I’m going to ask you some questions Dana, about your partner and his whereabouts, and I want you to focus only on the sound of my voice. If at any time you feel upset, or afraid, I will tell you to remember your safe place and you will no longer feel frightened. Are you ready to begin, Dana?”


“Ok. I want you to think back to this morning. You were in your apartment, in your bed, asleep. Did you have a dream?”


“Can you remember what that dream was about?”

“Mulder. I was talking to Mulder.”

“You dreamed that you were talking to your partner?”

“Yes… well…no. I was talking to Mulder through my dream, not dreaming that I was talking to him.”

The doctor frowned in confusion. “Isn’t that the same thing?”

“No. I was asleep, but I wasn’t dreaming. I was there with Mulder.”

“You’re saying you could see your partner? Where he’s being kept? That you actually spoke with him?” Had Scully not been under hypnosis, she might have laughed at the incredulous tone the psychologist wasn’t quite able to keep from his voice.


“What did you talk about?”

“I asked him where he was. It looked like some sort of subway tunnel, but it wasn’t being used to run trains. It wasn’t as large as the working tunnels. He said he thought that they never left the Eastern Market station, but he didn’t know for certain. He was hurt.”

“Can you describe Agent Mulder’s injuries?”

“He has multiple contusions to the left side of his face. His left eye is swollen shut. I believe he has a concussion. Possibly some fractured ribs. That’s the worst of it so far.”

“What do you mean ‘so far’?”

“He’s covered in gasoline. That monster intends to burn him. Alive.”

This came out as a tremulous whisper. A gasp from one of the observers brought the doctor’s gaze to Frohike.

“She’s been complaining about smelling gasoline ever since she got here,” he said quietly.

Strickland returned his attention to his patient. “Ok Dana, can you try and describe to me the place where your partner is being held? Maybe we can figure out where it is.”

“I know where he is.”

“You said that your partner didn’t know where he was being kept.”

“I found out where they are from Brown instead.” Her calm demeanor was marred by a sneer as she fairly spat the man’s name.

“Who is Brown?”

“The bastard who took Mulder. Stuart Brown. Except that’s not really his name. That’s just the name he’s using now.”

“You spoke with your partner’s captor?”

“No. Of course not. Brown couldn’t see or hear me.”

Strickland’s eyebrows were raised questioningly, although the expression was lost on the woman before him.

“If he wasn’t aware of your presence, then how did he tell you his location?”

“He didn’t have to tell me. I touched him.”

“You touched him? I don’t understand.”

“I touched him, and I knew what he knows.” She shuddered a bit from the memory.

“About five feet from the security kiosk on the platform level of the Eastern Market metro station, there is a door which leads to a supply room. At the end of that room there is another door hidden behind a shelving unit which leads to an unfinished tunnel. It is approximately 1,500 feet long and runs parallel to the active tunnels. It was originally meant to be used as a service and repair tunnel, but before its completion the DCMTA decided to do that elsewhere, and construction was halted. Now it’s not used for anything. Most people don’t even know it’s there. The only other way in or out is by a door at the far end of the tunnel which leads to the eastbound tunnel of the blue line. Brown learned about it through some old blueprints he dug up on the internet two years ago and was fascinated by the thought of a secret tunnel under the ground. That’s when he set out to do whatever it took to ensure that he had access to that tunnel. He set himself up with a false identity, with a squeaky-clean history, and was soon hired by Metro. With the exemplary background he created for himself, being assigned to the station of his choice was no problem. He gets off on knowing that they’re so close to him, even when he’s working. He likes knowing he can sneak in there whenever he pleases, that he can make them…scream…and no one can hear them. The noise from the trains masks their cries for help.”

Her voice broke, and she cleared her throat before continuing. “He won’t wait until Sunday to kill Mulder. He’s supposed to wait three days, but he won’t this time. He’s said what he wanted to say, and there’s no more need for him to stick with the pattern. He’s going to kill him today. Then he’s going to slip away and become someone else. I have to go find him.”

Her words took on a tone of urgency as she told of the fate that Brown had planned for her partner. The doctor tried to relieve some of her distress.

“Dana, you’re getting upset. I want you to calm down and listen to me. Do you remember the safe place we talked about earlier? I want you to think about that place now, and let it help to relax you. You’re safe here.”

Instead of the desired effect, the doctor’s admonition served only to agitate Scully further.

“No! Time’s running out. I have to get to Mulder. I’ll relax when Mulder’s safe. Wake me up. I’ve got to go.”

The psychologist scanned the list in his hand. Despite his subjects’ entreaty to be released from hypnosis, he knew that her upset would be even greater should they leave any questions unanswered. It seemed to him that they had more or less covered all of the questions Scully had wanted to be asked, save one. And though he didn’t honestly believe there was any way she could possibly know the answer, he asked it anyway.

“Alright Dana, we’re almost finished here,” he soothed. “Just one more question and then you can go find your partner. Is there anything you can think of to tell me that will be helpful to you later? Anything that you feel you need to remember in order to successfully find and aid your partner? A…warning, perhaps?”

She was quiet for a moment as she considered the question.

“I have to go in, alone, unarmed. If he sees a weapon, he won’t hesitate to ignite the gasoline. He’s not afraid to die, and if he senses he has no other choice, he’ll do everything in his power to take Mulder with him. I have to get him to come after me. And when he does…I don’t know…I can’t see it.”

She stopped, clearly frustrated, then began again. “All I know is that the way I want to go, the way logic tells me to go, is going to be wrong. If I go that way, I will be killed. I don’t know why, or how, only that it’s true.”

An unnatural light coaxed the psychologist’s eyes away from Scully’s face and down to her left wrist to where the moonstones in her bracelet had once again taken on their mysterious glow. He nearly jumped out of his chair in surprise.

“What the hell?” The three men seated behind Scully came forward to see what had captured the doctor’s attention. Frohike was the first to recover his voice.

“Wicked! Is it hot?” He reached out a tentative finger towards the bracelet, stopping only when it was jerked away from his touch at the last second.

For the first time since the session had begun, Scully opened her eyes and regarded him steadily. “I need to go find my partner now.” That said, her eyes once again slid closed as she sat quietly waiting for the commands that would release her from hypnosis.


“You can’t do this.”

As she reached out to eject the tape from the recorder, Scully felt a hand atop her own. Looking up at the owner of that hand, she was surprised to see concern in place of the comical leer usually reserved exclusively for her.

“I have to, Frohike. You heard…what I said. Mulder’s life depends on it.” She gently shook him off and collected the cassette tape.

“Yes, but at the expense of your own?” He begged the other three men for support with a single, beseeching look.

“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” was her reply. “Besides. Mulder would do it for me.”

“Agent Scully, shouldn’t you at least tell someone what you’re doing? Shouldn’t you have some kind of back-up?” Byers injected.

“If I tell Skinner or the SAC about this, I won’t be allowed to go in alone. It’s against Bureau protocol,” she explained patiently. “Besides, they’ll want to know where I got my information, and what will I tell them? I saw it in a dream? They’ll think I’m crazier than Mulder,” she smiled.

The psychologist saw his opening and took it. “Dana, I know that sometimes dreams can seem extremely realistic, and while they may sometimes contain certain fragments of what we call reality, they are still exactly that. Dreams. Nothing more than a series of ideas or images created and strung together by our subconscious during sleep. How can you even be sure this hidden tunnel exists?”

“I just know.”

At his disbelieving look, she chuckled. “Believe me Dr. Strickland, if you had asked me that question a week ago, I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly.” She nodded her head toward the Gunmen.

“These guys can tell you, I’ve never been one to believe in something without hard scientific evidence to back it up. That’s my partner’s department. Some… things have happened over the last several days that I can’t even begin to explain, and yet, I can’t discount them either. Just the knowledge that they happened at all, to me, is evidence in and of itself. I know I’m not making much sense here, and I don’t really have time to explain it all to you now, but I have reason to believe that the dream I had was more than just the worried imaginings of my own subconscious. Reason enough at least, to set aside my own doubts for the moment. For Mulder’s sake.”

“Lucky bastard,” Frohike mumbled under his breath as Scully turned and headed for the door.

She stopped with her hand on the knob, and smiled. “You be sure and tell him that the next time you see him, Frohike.”

She sobered for a moment, regarding the group. “I appreciate your help, as well as your concern. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you guys. Now, will one of you show me how to open this door?”

Waiting patiently to one side while Langley went to work on the multitude of locks securing the exit, Scully studied Frohike thoughtfully. He held her gaze nervously for a moment before bursting out, “What?”

She narrowed her eyes at him contemplatively. “You wouldn’t be thinking about ratting me out, would you Frohike?”

His eyes widened in surprise before he quickly lowered his gaze to the floor. “No, of course not,” he lied. **How did she know that? ** he thought.

She snorted in amusement as Langley finished his task and held the door open so she could pass through. “Good. See that you don’t. I’d hate to have to kick your ass.”

Once she was out of earshot, Frohike shook his head, muttering to himself, “God, she’s hot.”

End Chapter Eight

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