Title: The Ganymede Strain
Warnings: mild violence. Maybe a little sexual content.
Disclaimer: Characters created by Chris Carter; cared for by Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban; loved by fans. In short, I don't own them. Anderea Jupitor is all mine.
Series: The Jupitor Series
Spoilers: Anything X-Files and Lone Gunmen is up for grabs.
Summary: All the old players are dead, but someone has restarted the game. With a new set of rules.
Completed: June 15, 2008
Notes: Ganymede: The third, and largest, of the Galilean Satellites orbiting Jupitor. Named after the Greek youth that Zeus swept off to Mount Olympus as a cup-bearer.
Chapter titles are from UFOlogy and paranormal books I saw at the library where I work. Missing Time is by Budd Hopkins.
Part One: Missing Time
Morris Fletcher stalked down the hall to his office. Not his original office of course, but one in the subbasement, across from a forgotten storage room, full of forgotten bits and pieces. He didn't expect it to be easy to come back after his less than glamorous step down, but he did expect his years of loyal service to count for something.
Maybe that's why They allowed him to come back at all.
The alternative was something he didn't like to think about. No. Instead he was doing the lackey work down in the lower levels. Like some fresh-faced intern, or old, crumbling relic. Doing the things no one really cared about or took notice of. Much like him, now.
Again, that was something he didn't like to think about.
He slipped his key card through the electronic lock and stepped into his cramped, dark office: far less than half the size of his old office. Usually, it housed only an unsteady filing cabinet and desk. But now a pair of high-heeled, black leather boots propped up on his desk greeted him. His eyes followed the long line of dark denim clad legs up to the face of the woman seated behind the desk.
She didn't smile, just raised an eyebrow and waited.
There was something familiar about her, and yet a suggestion that something had changed. Hadn't everything though? He wasn't really one for remembering faces anyhow, but the soft blonde hair was something he'd typically remember. And her face; it could have been called sweet, once upon a time. Maybe even naïve.
She pulled her legs off the desk's top and leaned forward, exposing the tiniest bit of flesh from under the black tee shirt, "Don't tell me you've forgotten Fletcher."
A sly smile played at his mouth, "Well, it's not my birthday…" he turned to drop the stack of files he was holding onto the cabinet beside him.
"I'll save you the trouble, I'm not your wife's attorney either."
Sharply, he turned back to her; the humour lost on his face. He looked tired, and old, "It's hard to recognise you without the three stooges tagging along." He watched her, gauging her for a reaction. But she gave none. Her face remained stoic, but now he could see that time and stress were starting to show around her eyes. It had been years. Six years. Give or take. He was never any good with dates either. One of the many things his wife would complain about.
"Breaking into government buildings; isn't that a little dangerous for you?" Fletcher leaned back against the filing cabinet, crossing his arms over his chest.
A smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth, as if he missed a private joke, "You're so low on the totem pole no one would notice if this place caught fire. Besides," she leaned back in the chair; "Didn't you get the memo? Anderea Jupitor is dead. She was found under a turnpike last summer. Small service, but very nice. Suppose no one would call it tragic."
He narrowed his eyes, there had to be something to why the woman in front of him was claiming to be dead. His feet shifted, weighing what possible business she could have there of all places, with him of all people, "Is that it, have you come here to kill me too?"
"You still have such an inflated sense of self," Anderea chastised him, "No, I'm here to help you."
"What help could you possibly give me?"
"You never did know, did you?" Anderea eyed him up and down, "the night they sent you for my computer, you didn't know what you let slip through your fingers. What you almost killed," she laughed. Maybe they didn't know. Could it have been possible? That all of this might not have happened if she never contacted Richard Langly or the Lone Gunmen that lonely summer night. That nothing would have spiralled out of control?
That was something she didn't want to think about.
Fletcher continued to stare at her, two players waiting for the other to make the first move.
Anderea broke first: "A long time ago, some men started a science project of sorts that didn't quite go as they had planned. You know how these things go, people get cold feet, they grow a conscience, test subjects disappear. And there are limits to the human body, after all. But there were others who were sure they could do better the next time, they just needed one little thing, one piece – and I was that piece. The key to restarting it all. Having been such a big piece the first time around, and being silly enough to survive. Ah, but all the old players are dead now, but it seems that someone new has started up a new game, all on their own."
"And what does this little fairytale have to do with me?" Fletcher was growing impatient, and bored. Fidgety and nervous in the cramped quarters with a woman spinning government lies.
"Nothing," she replied casually, "in so much as your daughter."
"Chris?" He straightened up in alarm, "What about Chris?"
"They have a fondness for government daughters – easier to keep tabs on them I suppose," Anderea shrugged, "Your daughter received an HPV vaccine here this year, didn't she? Funny, while public schools got a little salt water, your daughter, and those of your colleagues –."
"What'd they inject my daughter with?" he slammed his hands down on the desk, shaking the few knickknacks that littered its surface.
She cocked her head to the side, "Ever hear of Project Jupitor?"
"Now who's narcissistic?" he looked up at her with hooded eyes.
She let out a little sigh, playing catch up always wasted time, "I'm named after It, not It after me. It was my father's ironic little joke when he tried to hide me. Seems dear old Dad didn't think it would be wise for me to go on being Anderea Hardin, not with all those white coats running around. And who would look for a girl named after something that didn't officially exist in the first place?"
"Hidden in plain sight," he motioned to her sitting in front of him.
"Plausible deniability," she teased, a smirk tugging on the corner of her lip. "But the point is, this project involved medical experimentation. Tinkering with DNA and other fun things. Aliens," she added carefully, "And I believe you're daughter has been pulled into the restarted project."
Fletcher took a moment, watched her and considered. "Why should I trust you?"
"What have you got to loose?" she replied quickly and calmly.
The truth of her statement hit him deep. What did he have to loose, for that matter? A washed up man in black, a lackey. No friends, no allies. No family to go home to – not that his small apartment was much of a home – not since the papers were being processed, the ink drying. "Why come all the way here? What's stopping me from picking up that phone and trading you in for a promotion?"
She met his eyes, unwavering, "I've got nothing left to loose either."
Again, he watched her. Waited to see if she would give anything else away. She didn't. "Prove this to me," he challenged with a sharp nod of his chin.
Anderea smiled, "I was hoping you'd say that." She rose out of the chair, and circled around the desk to meet him on the other side, "Time for you to come see how the other half live, after they're dead, of course."
(end of part one)