The Armageddon Game
Rating PG for language

Summary: What caused Bertram Byers to defect?


Set : Sometime in late 7th Season of XF, or one year before the LGM pilot



"Ask not what your country can do for you…" Bertram Byers stopped his musing in mid-
sentence - he drilled that quote into his head a young man.

What a crock of shit. Compromises, small unethical deals, a lie here and there - it served
to wear away at his ethical fiber like moth-eaten sweaters. He didn't give a damn
anymore. All he did was cook up the scenarios, let who go them do as they may.

"Is this spot taken?"

Bertram didn't have to look up to see who it was - Carl's cigarette-warped voice was
unmistakable, and proof that the Devil was a gentleman.

"Sit, Carl. You'd do it anyway if I said 'no.'"

Carl sat down, placing his newspaper by his side. It wasn't the Washington Post, either.
Bertram was a little too familiar with the telltale header, the cheap newsprint, and the
types of headlines this paper printed…

GULF WAR SYNDROME CAUSED BY PENTAGON?
AREA 51 - MYTH OR FACT?
ONE YEAR LATER - FEW ANSWERS IN EL RICO MASSACRE

"It's become one of my favorite things to read," Carl said, smiling. "Your son is a good
writer."

"Get that crap away from me." Bertram scooted over on the bench.

Carl didn't seem to notice. "Do you and Overlord have your latest batch ready for us?"

Bertram reached in his pocket. "I don't know why the hell you want these. I've cooked up
every damn possibility short of little green men landing and you still want me to crank
them out."

"That's the next scenario I want - just that one. You come up with every possibility you
can think of. I'll give you the data to work from. Trust me, you'll be well rewarded for it."

Bertram sniffed. "Shit. The Armageddon Game - you are serious. You said it would be
the last -"

"Face it, Bert. We're old men. We will hopefully be resting in our graves before the
inevitable happens." His wrinkled face turned up in a smile as he watched the skies. "I
haven't got long. In fact, I'll probably have to send someone else to collect it after I'm
gone."

"And what is my payment? I don't need your damn money. I'm well off, thank you. It
won't be worth it if Armageddon Game plays out anyway."

Carl's face curled up in a smile as he gestured to the paper. "I spare your son - his friends,
too. It would be simple enough to get the vaccine to them and have none be wiser."

"Just do me a favor, Carl. My son may be out of his mind, but you are going to leave him
out of this, right?"

Carl took another drag on the cigarette. "Bert, you've said it yourself - they publish bird
cage liner. Your son and his friends will be left to their own devices afterward."

"Some of it, though…and they've been seen with those FBI agents you're always talking
about."

Carl's face darkened. "Yes, I know. That's why I've called this meeting, Burt. Although
your son and his friends are inoffensive at this time, they may not be forever. Their
continued association with those two FBI agents is unhealthy for them - possibly fatal."

"The other option is leaving him to the slaughter or having me do your dirty work."

"Not necessarily," Carl crushed out the butt. "But earning a place in the new order is
difficult. We need your scenarios. Martial law, national emergencies. Things to get
tighter control over the populace. You and Overlord are the finest computer men in our
organization. The time is coming soon, but there are always preparations to make."

"This is madness. I didn't make those scenarios so you and your damned so-called aliens
could play God." Bert got up from the park bench and stormed towards the gate. Carl
called after him.

"I would suggest against calling your son, Bertram," Carl said, another evil smile tugging
at the sides of his mouth. "Bad things can happen."

Bert shoved his hands in his pockets. "Yes, they can. And you had something to do with
it, Carl - killing my boy's namesake."

Carl took out another Morley and lit it. "Among others. Do as I say, reap the rewards.
Maybe even save your insane son from himself. Think it over. I want those scenarios."

Bertram sighed.. "Send me the data, and give me a year. You know I'll be good to my
word. You'll have your scenarios." He stood up. "Another thing, Carl - I do this for you,
I get to walk. I don't want your vaccine. I just want to vanish."

"You don't want to survive the holocaust?"

Bertram tiredly shook his head. "Let me go with everyone else, Carl. I make nightmares,
I don't like seeing them come true."

"It's a deal."

Somehow, Bertram didn't believe Carl. While he was cooking the Armageddon Game, he
would have to cook a scenario of his own, one that put him outside the calculations he
was making. He only had to wonder if Carl was going to make good on his word to spare
his son - or do what he did best and kill.

At the same time, he knew the truth - John, his friends, and those two FBI agents Carl
complained about were skating the fine edge of blowing the whole scheme open. He may
not want to admit it, but the "bird cage liner" had just as many dead-on hits as far-off
misses.

If there was one thing Bertram Byers didn't trust, it was even odds. He walked away, a
scenario Carl would never sanction brewing in his head.

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