The next morning Mulder awoke to a room filled with dazzling sunshine. He shielded his eyes as they adjusted, trying to look around and feeling more refreshed and energised than he remembered in months. The room was bright and sunlight streamed through the slats of the blind that covered the window, which Scully must have pulled down after he fell asleep. As her name crossed his fuzzy half-sleeping mind, Mulder realised that she wasn't in the room. Panic gripped him for a moment as he remembered her insistence that she wouldn't leave in the night. As he looked around he noticed the door to the room's en-suite bathroom was slightly ajar, he listened and heard the sound of running water and the electric hum of a shower pump. He relaxed and let out a slow breath, only then spotting Scully's note beside him that read "in the shower, back in ten". As he lay back and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on his skin, he heard a female voice singing. At first he thought someone had turned on a radio in another room but as he listened an incredulous smile spread across his face, Scully was singing in the shower. Mulder had heard her sing occasionally before although only ever muffled through the cardboard-thin walls of cheap motels. Her voice had never been awful but he knew her insistence that she couldn't carry a tune was no attempt at false modesty. Now her newfound perfect memory and vocal chords allowed her to sing beautifully and Mulder closed his eyes to enjoy the sound more fully. He couldn't make out the words but that didn't matter to him. Scully reached what sounded like the end of the song and stopped as the sound of running water also ended abruptly and the electric hum ceased, leaving the room almost silent except for the sound of the waves rolling up on the beach outside and crashing against nearby rocks.
"Morning sleepyhead," her voice sang from the doorway as she appeared wrapped in a towel. Her hair was drying rapidly, as if it was rejecting the remaining water which also beaded strangely on her exposed skin, running down it in a manner more akin to glass than human skin.
"Morning," Mulder croaked, his throat feeling dry, "did you stay here all night?"
"All night," she assured him, crossing the room to pass him a glass of water which he drank down eagerly. She picked up a hefty looking paperback from nearby, "I'm almost three books into this series now, I only started the first one an hour or so after you fell asleep."
"What were you doing for the first hour?" he asked.
"Watching you sleep," she answered with a grin. "I forgot how peaceful it is. I miss it."
"You can't sleep at all? I thought Edwin said he did every few months," Mulder asked curiously, setting the glass back down beside her book.
"Edwin is much older so he can just about manage once every few months. I'm still a newborn, I have far too much energy to even contemplate sleeping. It doesn't bother me normally, actually I like it. All those extra hours for reading and research."
"Is that what you've been doing then? When you've had some down time from trying to halt an alien invasion of course."
"Mostly," she agreed with a laugh, "I've been reading some of the classics I never found time for before. Austen, Bronte, the complete works of Shakespeare. Oh and I've also fully caught up on every series of Star Trek," Mulder laughed. "For tips on handling alien cultures of course," she explained with a grin.
"Of course," Mulder nodded knowledgeably. He looked around the room. "So why do you have beds here if they're only used a couple of nights a year?"
"Well first of all they're used for more than that, well, mine not so much but the other bedsprings see their fair share of action." She gave Mulder a wink and looked up through the ceiling toward Harrison and Gideon's room. "And second of all it helps maintain the facade. We're isolated out here but the locals are still aware of us so we try to act human, occasionally replacing furniture and homewares, that kind of thing. We also do a weekly grocery shop."
"Isn't that kind of wasteful?' Mulder asked.
"We donate all the food to homeless shelters, different ones each time and with different members delivering it," she explained, "it was Edwin's idea." Mulder just nodded.
"You've got it all figured out here huh?" he asked vaguely.
"Vampires haven't stayed hidden for hundreds of years without a little forward planning," Scully smiled as she wandered over to an excessively large wardrobe and began rifling through the clothes inside.
"Jeez Scully how much clothing does one person need?" Mulder asked incredulously.
"Well I didn't exactly bring any with me when I moved here," she teased, "besides I was gifted with pretty much the perfect figure, do you have any idea how amazing it is for a woman to not have to worry about her figure ever again? I may have gone a little crazy with a credit card the first time I went shopping."
"I am so happy I don't have to pay that off," Mulder retorted, and tried his best not to stare as Scully shimmied into her clothes. He noticed that several prominent scars she had accrued over the years had vanished along with something else. "What happened to your tattoo?" he asked.
"They sort of burn up during the transformation process," she explained as she buttoned up a blouse, "scars, tattoos, burns - anything along those lines just vanishes. It's quite strange when you first wake up, you don't actually know the back of your own hand anymore." Mulder looked at the back of his hands involuntarily, noticing a small burn and a scar that had been there since his teenage years. When he looked back up Scully stood in front of him smiling.
"So you want to get dressed and hear all about what we're doing to stop the apocalypse?"
"Absolutely, but on one condition," he told her. She looked at him curiously, "let's do it over breakfast."
Twenty minutes later Mulder, Scully and a small group of others were assembled in the living room, Mulder just finishing off some toast.
"So let me check I have this all correct," Mulder began, wiping the crumbs from his chin. "The documents you found at Mount Weather show that final colonization is determined to begin on December 22nd 2012, that's when the leaders of the colonists will next come to Earth. You need to get them here before then so you brought together the leaders of the world's shadow governments and killed them to effectively cut off the head of the organization. To send it into chaos, knowing that would force the colonists' hand and bring them back to oversee the re-establishment of the program."
"That's right," Gideon agreed, "and we believe it's worked. The most up-to-date information we have shows a hastily scheduled, top secret gathering of military leaders at El Rico Air Force base in eight weeks time. We think that's when the leaders will be meeting to implement whatever new strategy they're planning."
"So what happens then?" Mulder asked.
"An all out assault," Mordecai replied bluntly. Mulder had learned earlier that he was an ex-military man who had been turned in Vietnam. "It's the one thing they absolutely won't anticipate and after deep discussion, pretty much our only option. We'll bring in computer experts to take down their ship and cut off their escape just in case, but from what our research tells us we should be able to take them down provided we can assemble a large enough group. I'm estimating I can gather 80 to 100 vampires to come with us."
"But won't that just result in an even bigger wave coming in a few weeks or months?" Mulder queried.
"The documents we stole explained that their entire civilization travels together like an interstellar caravan," Scully told him, "there wouldn't be any more of them to come."
"But we've seen more than just the one ship," he pressed.
"Yes, but this is the only one that actually houses the colonists. The ship in Antarctica was effectively a mobile factory to house the infected human hosts, and the smaller ones are just task ships. Sure we'll miss a few hundred pilots and the few colonists assigned to monitoring those factories but this is the mother ship, take it out and there's little they can do."
"How is a ship that big going to fit in a hangar?" Mulder asked, worried that all his questions would begin to annoy Scully soon, but she continued to answer without looking even mildly perturbed.
"It won't. We saw photographs of the landing in 1973 when the same ship visited to strike the original deal with the Syndicate, when they first took Cassandra. The ship itself landed outside right by the large doors at the end of the building."
"Was... was my father in that photograph?" Mulder asked quietly. Scully looked up at him.
"Yes." Mulder closed his eyes for a few moments. "I can show you," Scully began but he shook his head vehemently.
"No. That was the night he agreed to sacrifice Samantha, I don't think I want to see it." Scully nodded and tried to smile, giving up after a second. "So this is the only way," Mulder continued, "an actual, old-fashioned battle?"
"We believe this gives us the best chance at destroying them," Mordecai answered, "you've seen our speed and we'll show you how strong we are soon, plus we're immune to both the black oil and the alien retrovirus in the green blood. We have no reason to believe the juvenile colonists will be able to withstand us and the fully grown greys seem practically defenseless. Besides you know what they say, the best defence is a good offense, this is perhaps the most offensive path we can take."
Mulder nodded slowly. The idea of a traditional battle didn't sit well with him, especially one with Scully at the middle of it, but he knew that she wouldn't have rushed into any decisions and the stolen documents they had gathered backed up all their theories - this did seem to be the best solution and it was certainly the least predictable.
"OK guys, I have one final question," he told the assembled group to multiple grins, "where on Earth are you going to find computer experts that can disable an alien spaceship?" Scully looked at him as the others turned to her.
"Actually," she began slowly, "we were hoping you could help us with that." Mulder stared at her as it slowly dawned on him what, and who, she was talking about.
"You're planning on relinquishing the fate of the human race... to the three stooges?"
The title of this chapter comes from a song by David Ford, as well as having the obvious link to US politics. Hopefully you now have some idea of how the story will progress over the coming weeks, thanks for sticking with me!