FINALLY UPDATING THIS! I'VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A BETA SINCE THE LAST UPDATE BUT NOT FOUND ONE YET SO I'M POSTING THIS WITHOUT IT HAVING BEEN BETA READ. IF ANYONE'S INTERESTED THEN PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
Mulder was late arriving at his office. When he finally pushed open the door with his upper arm whilst trying to balance his coffee, breakfast bagel and a thick stack of documents at the same time he was surprised to see Skinner sat behind his desk waiting for him. Skinner was playing with a small trinket Scully had kept in her desk drawer, two coins seemingly welded together through their centres into a cross. He was examining it carefully, twirling it around between his fingers with the skill of a magician. Mulder watched him for a moment then cleared his throat.
"Sir?" Skinner jumped fractionally, dropping the coin to the floor. He bent down to pick it up.
"Do you remember where Agent Scully found this?" Skinner asked absentmindedly as he sat back up, staring at the coins. Mulder shook his head slowly.
"No, it just sort of appeared here one day. I guess I never asked her," he replied sadly, mentally adding that question to the list of others he had failed to ask his partner. Skinner took one last look at the melded metal before returning it to Mulder's desk where it had lived since Mulder found the courage to clean out Scully's area of their office.
"CGB Spender is dead," Skinner announced matter-of-factly. Mulder almost choked on the burning hot coffee he had just swallowed.
"You're kidding? The same as the others?"
"No, this was a massacre. He was found dead in the middle of a group of 42 individuals at a private club downtown, however the cause of death was the same as Krycek and Scanlon and each victim had one of the notes on them." Skinner looked at Mulder intently, "whoever is behind this, they've taken out the entire group, Spender's newly re-formed shadow government. It looks like Scanlon and Krycek were bait to gather the group together." Mulder sat down, the shock knocking the strength from his legs.
"Should I assume no blood or other evidence?" he asked.
"No blood or fibers no, but we have something better," Skinner told him, "a CCTV camera in the corridor outside the meeting room recorded the entry and exit of a number of individuals. It's not clear enough to run facial identification software but we have something at least." Skinner stood up and crossed the room to the television as Mulder spun his chair around. He loaded up the footage and Mulder learnt forward in concentration. The tape began running on screen with a timestamp in the mid afternoon. "The meeting room the bodies were found in hadn't been booked at all for yesterday, a caretaker reported nothing unusual when he unlocked it at three in the afternoon to take care of some maintenance issues. The agents who looked over this tape recorded the victims entering between eight thirty and nine in the evening with the group we believe responsible for their deaths arriving a little after that, however I wanted to go through the entire afternoon with you in case you spot something they missed." Mulder nodded and watched the tape carefully as the caretaker unlocked the door and vanished inside, reappearing some minutes later.
With over five hours of footage to review, Mulder soon grew restless. The tape recorded the movements of dozens of individuals, mostly men in expensive suits, as they headed between rooms whilst making calls or checking emails on their phones. None of them looked even remotely suspicious to Mulder and naturally the Bureau was tracking down anyone who was registered as entering the building that day for questioning regardless, so his mind began to wander. Skinner was speeding through the tape when the corridor was empty to try and get to the evening footage but Mulder's mind was soon elsewhere, only returning to the tape whenever Skinner returned it to normal speed at the appearance of another person. By the point at which the timestamp hit eight thirty PM, Mulder was decidedly bored. This was not his favourite kind of detective work and so far nothing even vaguely interesting had materialised on the footage.
"Here we go," Skinner said, causing Mulder to look up suddenly from the pattern of crushed sunflower seed husks he had been staring at on the floor. "The first victim just arrived." Mulder watched a middle aged, slightly plump man make his way into the room. Then, a steady flow of men and women began entering the room, all in suits, many carrying briefcases or thick manila folders under their arms. Most arrived alone, a select number in small groups of two or three. Around fifteen minutes later, Mulder spotted Spender appearing in the hallway. He was alone and smoking a cigarette as he approached the door and looked up and down the hallway, taking in the camera and seeming slightly more relaxed on noting its presence before entering the room. Mulder felt something odd in the pit of his stomach as he realised that he was watching Spender's final moments, the last images of the man who had changed the world but whose name would die in shadows. Another fifteen minutes passed with more people arriving at the room until Mulder saw one last man arrive, looking tired and weary as he hurried to the door, as if he had rushed from somewhere to arrive on time.
"That's the last victim inside," Skinner told him somberly, "now we wait." Mulder waited, staring at the screen which revealed nothing just the same shot of the deserted hallway. After ten minutes his eyes had glazed over yet again when he saw something on the screen which made him sit bolt upright in his chair. A small redheaded woman had just walked down the corridor, her back to the camera. She made her way to the door and stood outside it, apparently listening to the conversation inside the room. Mulder raised himself from his seat and crouched down in front of the television. He leant over to the screen, brushing his fingers over the woman's figure on the screen.
"Agent Mulder?" Skinner asked.
"Scully?" Mulder whispered at the screen.
"What on Earth are you talking about?" Skinner demanded.
"That woman, she looks like Scully," Mulder said without lifting his eyes from her.
"That's our killer," Skinner said sharply, Mulder spun his head around to look at him, fear and hurt in his eyes and then turned back to the screen. His eyes traced the woman's figure. She was wearing tight fitting jeans and a black shirt which clung to her shape.
"She has the exact same body shape," he told Skinner, watching the woman who was still standing statuesque beside the door. "The way her hips do this," he reached his index fingers out and traced along her outline. Skinner cleared his throat, sounding a little embarrassed and more than a bit agitated.
"Agent Mulder, your partner is dead, she has been dead for six months now," Skinner said, trying to keep his voice as gentle as possible. "This video was shot last night, it cannot possibly be Dana. Don't do this to yourself." Mulder continued to stare until the woman slipped through the doorway. He leant back from the screen and took a deep breath.
The video had put thoughts into his mind, thoughts he had been trying to erase for six months. Impossible, disturbing thoughts. His mind raced back through everything Scully had told him in those final days. An image of Dr Carlisle strolled into the front of his mind and Mulder suddenly found himself noticing things that his mind had previously glossed over; the man's uncannily pale skin, how cool he felt when they shook hands, his Hollywood good looks and perfect teeth. One by one the pieces slotted together in his mind and Mulder gasped so suddenly and so loudly that Skinner jumped in his seat. He looked back to the screen in time to see the group of men and women arrive in the hallway; like the redhead they all moved slowly and gracefully, arriving at the door to the meeting room and waiting there motionless. Then without hesitation and seemingly on some unseen trigger, the group sprang towards the doors. Moving unnaturally quickly, the contrast of their speed to the stillness of a moment earlier surprised Mulder and he stared open-mouthed at the screen. Before he had the chance to take in that they were about to move, they were gone and the doors had been slammed shut with enough force that the camera, suspended some 30ft away, rocked slightly. Mulder waited, holding his breath without realising it. After only a few minutes the doors opened again and the group exited together, the first redheaded woman now amongst the others, leaning slightly upon another woman, her body language suggesting to Mulder that she was a little upset - greatly at odds with the rest of the group who seemed excited and full of exited away from the camera, none turning to show their faces.
Mulder stared at her retreating figure, more certain now but his mind also full of doubts. He was sure of what he had seen but his emotions made him question himself and his convictions. Scully never even believed in vampires, how was it possible that she could be one? Had Dr Carlisle lied to her, what had they talked about? His mind went back to the note that had been found in her bed, her final cryptic message: "I know what's about to happen. Trust me." Had she made this choice, decided to do this? Had she been forced, threatened? His mind was racing. As the group rounded the corner at the end of the corridor, Skinner switched off the footage and cleared his throat. Mulder quickly pulled his mind back to the moment, he would need time to think about this.
"That's it?" Mulder asked trying to think of something to say about the otherwise pointless footage, "they weren't caught on any other cameras?"
"No, all the other cameras in the vicinity were disabled. It seems this one was an oversight, it was only installed two nights ago." Mulder cursed silently, he'd hoped to get a better look at her face on another camera.
"Ok, well there's not much to go on," he said slowly, trying to gather his thoughts, "I guess I'll head down there." Mulder stood up and began gathering his things together as Skinner scrutinised him, unsure of Mulder's sudden change of direction. As Mulder exited the room, Skinner turned back to the television in order to retrieve the footage. As he listened to it whirr and waited for the disc to eject, his thoughts returned to the redheaded woman on the footage. He could never tell Mulder, but when she had appeared on screen, their thoughts had been identical. He tried to put it out of his mind, Agent Scully was dead and now the men responsible for that had been brought to an awful and vicious justice - by a woman who looked just like her. He shook his head forcefully and muttered a rebuttal under his breath, if he continued thinking like that then he'd soon be "pulling a Mulder" as it was known in the Bureau and announcing that Agent Scully had become a vampire. Just as the thought crossed his mind, he froze, just what if Mulder was right again?