An Alex Krycek backstory for the Sanctuary universe
Krycek's involvement with the Russians, and
Ever think about the future? Nah, I don't mean the kids in college and retirement plans. Future with a capital 'F'.
Okay, so you don't have to; you're going to be surprised. Me, I don't have that luxury.
There aren't a lot of times when I don't think about it. But like with successful drinking, balance is the key. You aim for just enough to produce the effect you want while avoiding the side effects you don't. Looking at the future, you want to keep it just enough in mind to tighten, not loosen you. Enough to remind you why you're fighting, to make yourself want to keep going Not enough to step into one of the thousand different scenarios for how it might actually play out, because if you think about it, none of them are likely to be too pretty.
If you let the scenarios spin out too far, you start to wonder why you don't just put a gun to your head now. Or you back away by telling yourself tthat the way you live, you aren't likely to survive long enough to see this planned Armageddon anyway. Small comfort either way. In the meantime that day's getting closer and closer, and the only choices are to give up or keep going--fight or die. Simple.
But only staying alive in a clinical sense isn't much of a prize in the long run. Just struggling to keep your head above water... I've spent my whole life doing that and it doesn't come close to justifying the time I've put in on this rock.
It was August when Andrei came up with his formula and four months later the prisoner tests were looking good--well, as good as they could, given the fact that we didn't have unlimited time to spend on the details. I could wait to make sure that every last one of the vaccine's little side-effect problems had been taken care of completely, but if the Oil came early, we'd all be dead. Or I could act now, take a chance and made sure I had some immunity... and that a few strategic people were protected, too. Mulder might hate me now, but down the line when things got tough, I was betting he might look at the situation differently. You tend to do that when you're back's against a wall. And once he realized who the real enemy was, Mulder would be a good fighter. He'd put every ounce of his stubbornness into resisting the alien hordes.
Come January, Andrei was willing to submit himself to his own vaccine. The most recent test subjects were showing really minimal side effects. If Andrei'd been a self-important son of a bitch I might've chalked his willingness up to ego and held back longer myself, but he'd never seemed like that kind of guy, and anyway, I didn't have the luxury of time to play the skeptic. Andrei, Lev and I were all vaccinated on the same day. My arm burned--burned bad--for days, but I knew it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative. Mostly I kept my mind off the pain by working out the final details in my plan to bring Mulder here. There was no way he was going to believe anything I told him, about the Oil or anything else; I figured my credibility with him was somewhere below zero. No, I'd have to throw him what looked like an inadvertent lead and he'd have to 'discover' this place for himself.
I needed a seamless plan, a setup Mulder would walk into without a second thought, and a conversation I'd had with Tolya in Moscow about the Oklahoma City bombing kept sticking in my mind. If Mulder thought he had a chance of stopping something like that, he'd jump in with both feet. Crazy little militia groups were a dime a dozen, and they were always strapped for cash. If I could work my way into one, impress them with a donation, then leak a trail to Mulder, he'd come running. I'd gain some credibility by having handed over the zealots, but that wouldn't be nearly enough for Mulder. He'd want to pump me for whatever I could tell him about the syndicate, and that's when I'd toss him a scrap about my shipments of Tunguska rock. Not a lot of details, but enough to get him slobbering like a bloodhound. He'd take over from there, 'discover' the connection to Tunguska, take off to investigate, get captured--naturally--and Lev would have a convenient new test subject right on his doorstep. And I'd come out with one vaccinated/Oil-protected ally-to-be. It was a convoluted route to my goal, but there were two things I had to make sure of: that Mulder'd think he'd discovered the place on his own, and that Lev wouldn't realize what I was up to. He knew me only as a middle man representing someone who wanted to help combat a local threat to Mother Russia, and I wanted to keep it that way.
Tolya had warned me that militias were suspicious and not easy to break into so I started Che early, scouting the Net, getting a feel for the players and then gradually working his way into message groups as me... or some incarnation of me. Generally these guys only opened up to people they knew, but there'd always be some who were less cautious than the rest, guided more by their egos than their ideals. Or ones whose ideology was full of holes, just an excuse to go around building up a cache of guns or blowing things up. Eventually, Ché found me a taker. By the time I returned to the States about a week after I'd been vaccinated against the Oil, Ché'd been keeping up a steady correspondence with the guy for nearly five months.
He hadn't been happy with the assignment, either. The way he'd glance at the computer screen I was reading, I could tell he'd been pissed at having to play somebody this guy would take to. Not that he ever came out and said so; he'd just give me that expression of his, shrug, and go back to the sink full of dishes that had piled up because I'd come for one of my periodic stays and he couldn't resist plying me with the kind of food his mother used to make, in spite of everything.
Not many things in my life make me feel lucky. Having this guy in my corner, though... sometimes I just shake my head. It's amazing to know there's someone you can count on in the clutch.
My militia target said his name was Petersen, a detail he'd finally offered a couple of weeks earlier as a show of trust, and Ché'd fed him a good story to bring him to that point. He'd presented me as a casual fellow traveler until an incident about eight months earlier where I'd gotten caught in the crossfire of a police bust in a convenience store. A robbery'd been called in and by the time the cops arrived, the guy'd disappeared and they caught me with my hand in my jacket and shot me by mistake. Ché threw in some details about spinal damage that he probably pulled off the Net and said I'd been laid up since then, in physical therapy and slowly recovering, and that the police would admit no wrongdoing. That was the straw that'd sent me over the edge, that made me want to become a militant: They were screwing over everyday citizens and getting off scott-free. It was a flagrant violation of the Constitution.
I spent the next week poring through Che's e-mail correspondence, memorizing details about my target and about the person I was supposed to be. I started writing to Petersen myself, but I had Ché check over my mails to make sure they were consistent with the persona he'd created. I told Petersen the doctor'd finally given me a clean bill of health and I was looking forward to finally meeting him and getting down to business. Inside, I was thinking that he'd damn well better bite because otherwise I was up Shit Creek, and the clock was ticking. But he took the bait. He had a plan he'd never been able to get off the ground financially, and I told him that by a fluke I'd bought accident insurance just a couple of weeks before the shooting and there was a little money left over that I could pitch in.
Ché was concerned about me going undercover with these guys but I said hey, can it be any worse than being left in a missile silo to rot? That was just before Peterson mailed me the location where we were supposed to meet. He was in North Dakota. For the first few seconds I could feel myself on the brink of a major flashback, but I fought it down. It was a luxury I couldn't afford to indulge.
Before I left town I wanted to check up on Mulder; after all, he was the reason I was going to all this trouble. I'd casually asked the Brit the last time I'd seen him whether Mulder'd been nipping at their heels and he said no. Evidently he hadn't tripped over any new pieces to the puzzle. Charne-Sayre had her little rest home trials running smoothly and from all indications, she seemed to be making some progress. Not that it would last for long. I had plans for her.
I tapped Mulder's phone, then staked out his apartment and did a little long-distance listening; pretty amazing the technology you can buy if you've got the money. But I didn't learn a whole lot. A couple of times Scully dropped by with information about a case they were working on. Mulder'd call her late enough to wake her up with some flash of inspiration about how certain pieces of evidence fit together. Everyday stuff. Made me wonder what'd actually kept him going through all the paperwork and the protocol and the mutant and psycho cases, because for all his efforts he'd never found the things he he wanted most. He hadn't found his sister and every time he managed to catch up with the syndicate or what it was doing, the old man made sure the evidence disappeared. But maybe that was it: what kept him going was the fact that he hadn't found what he wanted yet, and how different did that make him from me? My track record wasn't any too good, either, but here I was, still going and not nearly ready to lie down and give it all up.
I wasn't about to retrace my last D.C.-to-Minneapolis-to-Fargo route, so this time I took the train. It gave me time to think--maybe a little too much time. I could blow my cover and if I did, these guys would sooner kill me than let me go and risk having me tell anyone about them. Was it worth it, putting myself on the line just to get Mulder immunized on the chance he'd help me later? I mean, look at the last time we'd crossed paths, French agents bearing down on us and all he could think to do was rant on about his dad, and what scum I was. It wasn't personal, Mulder; it was a strategic necessity. There are bigger things at stake here, and the way the guy treated you was pathetic, anyway. "You're a smart boy, Fox." What does that tell you?
As if I was any better off. At least Mulder's father hadn't tried to blow him up with a car bomb or lock him in a missile silo in the middle of winter. At least Bill Mulder'd had the idea for a vaccine. Sometime I'd have to tell Mulder that. He'd like knowing that about his old man.
During the layover in Chicago I had my hair cut short, something that should appeal to the kind of men I'd be meeting, and after we pulled out again, starting north, I shaved off the beard I'd had since Moscow. I'd wanted to make it hard for anyone to finger me in D.C., but by the time Mulder captured this crew I wanted to make damn sure I was recognizable. I wasn't about to take a bullet for nothing, though I'd probably be in for the equivalent of another phone in the face, or worse. It just depended on how fast I could get Mulder sidetracked, offer him the carrot that would make him drop his stick.
I did my shaving in the train car's downstairs bathroom, then gathered up all the clippings and flushed them. It pays to be careful, especially when it's traceable DNA you're throwing around. On the way back to my seat, I passed a blond kid standing by the car door, looking out the window. Stopped me cold for a second, because at first glance he looked like Carrie Phillips' kid. When he turned around it wasn't Tyler, but the association had been made in my mind, and back in my seat again, I started to think about Dr. Phillips. Hopefully she'd taken my advice and gotten out. After all, who should know better than I did how dangerous the group's work really was, me who was sitting here thinking about getting rid of another woman doctor/researcher?
Charne-Sayer could have been someone like Carrie Phillips. She was a pleasant enough woman, but she also didn't seem to have any qualms about experimenting on a bunch of unsuspecting old people. And it wasn't like there were underlings to cushion her from the reality of it; she was doing the front-line work herself. Which had nothing to do with anything. She was a liability to the plan, pure and simple. The group wanted a viable vaccine and while Charne-Sayre's work was inching forward, it hadn't produced a vaccine. I had what they wanted. But I wasn't about to just hand over the vial and bow out. I wanted in for my efforts and the only way to guarantee I'd really be welcome would be for me to be the group's only possible salvation. Charne-Sayre had to go, but I wasn't about to take her out myself and risk destroying my tie to the Brit.
It was the middle of February and the landscape we were rolling past was gray and bleak. The train had pulled out of Chicago early in the afternoon and by a little after five there was nothing to look at but my own reflection in the darkness of the window. The blond boy came through my car again with a smaller, brown-haired kid in tow and it made me wonder what Mulder and I would've been like if we'd grown up together. Would he have looked for me if I'd been the one to disappear? Would he have wanted to pound the shit out of me the way he did now, or would it just have been for show? Maybe underneath he actually would've cared. Different lives--a whole different world--all of it hanging on the action of a woman with a pathetic track record when it came to men.
What would she think if she knew what had become of me, a guy with no attachments in the world sitting in a train car planning the death of another woman? Charne-Sayre didn't have any kids that I knew of. Not that it made any difference. What if Carrie Phillips had known what kind of guy she was treating when the Brit called her in? Would she have turned and run? She sure as hell wouldn't have let me anywhere near her son.
I dozed off for a while, had a dream where I saw Lena again, alive, and then ended up strangling her. When I jolted awake from the shock, it was too late for dinner but it didn't matter much; I had no appetite. Eventually a low, nagging pain settled in my stomach, but it wasn't the first one I'd ever had. It would pass.
The only person in the Fargo station at 4 a.m. was a woman, and as it turned out Petersen had sent her, which was my first alert that things could've been better planned. I'd never send someone else to make an important initial contact, especially not someone I just kept for sex and errands. She didn't know anything about me, though, just that Ed had asked her to pick me up. When we got to Petersen's place he got up and sent her away and the two of us talked. But I was dead tired--train seats don't make for good sleeping--so after a half hour or so of making sure we each thought the other was on the level, he showed me to a back bedroom and I sacked out. Woke up after a few hours, though, about six-thirty--probably just the effect of being someplace I wasn't sure of. Petersen was already up, making coffee and getting ready to go to work at a local truck dealer's. He said Cindy was on her way over to baby-sit me, no offense, and that he'd told her I was a cousin from Ohio here to visit until we made a made a trip to New York together the following month. So I guessed that was our schedule. I didn't say anything, just let him talk, and when Cindy came and Ed left, I went back to bed. I was still bushed and anyway, the last thing I needed was to be watched or followed around. Or talked at.
When I woke up again it was nearly noon, not that you could've told by looking outside. Storm clouds were hanging low overhead and it was snowing. Cindy was in the living room watching soap operas beside a basket of half-folded laundry. I took a shower, which netted me the information that she must stay here at least part-time, given the stuff I found in the bathroom drawers. The house itself was an old wood-frame place Cindy said Ed had inherited from his mother. She would've talked my ear off if I'd let her, but I said I had stuff to do and retreated to my room to set up an internet connection on the laptop I'd brought. The computer wasn't cheap--they never were--and it was a given that I'd have to get rid of it a few weeks down the road, but the money wasn't important. I had it and I needed this plan to play out.
About half an hour later Cindy knocked on my door to tell me there was lunch if I wanted it. Luckily she didn't pin me down to sitting at the table with her. When I went out, she'd taken her food and gone back to the living room, which left me in the kitchen by myself with the canned soup and biscuits she'd heated. I was hungry after missing dinner the night before and it was better fare than I'd had a lot of times, but for some reason I could only contrast what was in front of me with the sight of Ché wearing that crazy apron of his, flour on his nose and halfway up his arms while he made noodles from scratch at his kitchen table.
About 2:30 Cindy said she was going out for milk and laundry soap and did I want anything? I told her no. Actually, she was already giving me what I needed most, which was time alone. I spent the next hour, until Ed got home, going through everything in that house--closets, drawers, under beds, getting a clearer picture of Ed and how he operated. The only weapon in the house was an old .22 rifle that was too small to be part of any militia's arsenal. They had a camp somewhere out on the prairies, he'd said; it must be where they kept their cache.
The next four weeks were some of the longest of my life. Weekdays I was stuck at Ed's, sometimes with Cindy, who drove me crazy whether she was trying to or not. Afternoons Ed would come home and send Cindy off--at least, once he'd had enough of her--and then we'd talk strategy and politics, and he'd invite one or another of his friends over. The third afternoon the weather cleared and he drove me out of town to a place where you could see their camp in the distance, or at least the line of trees that marked the general area. Weekends we'd go out to the camp in the river bed and practice shooting and self-defense. I had to act like I only had a moderate amount of experience, and they took it easy on me because of my 'accident'. Later, thinking about it, I wondered if Ché hadn't designed his story to protect me as well as to feed Ed something he'd swallow. It was obvious that when the time came I'd be driving a vehicle or providing some kind of backup--nothing that would put me directly in the line of fire.
The fifth day Ed told me his name was actually Mayhew, not Petersen. He'd meant it as a show of faith, but if he was smart he would have realized he'd left me in his house for days and I already knew everything down to his credit card balances and shoe size. But he trusted me now; I'd spouted enough of what he wanted to hear about the government creeping into our lives, keeping track of people and brainwashing us. Hell, I even fed him a line about American troops being exposed to a strange 'black cancer' in the Gulf War, that the Iraqis had used it and the U.S. government had known about it all along. He swallowed everything I said. That's what happens when your desire to believe is stronger than your need to know the truth.
Mayhew's big plan was to incite the federal government into the takeover he was sure was coming by blowing up a block of New York City--some busy neighborhood, the biggest bang he could find for his buck. There was no strategic target; the damage would be completely collateral, designed for shock value and to goad the government into what he figured it had planned anyway: the suspension of civil liberties. To up the stakes, one of his men with a public works background would do a little tinkering with some gas mains in another part of town.
I kept nodding while he talked, but inside I echoed Ché's frustration at having to deal with this scumbag. I was going to enjoy watching this guy and his so-called freedom fighters go down. And Mulder was going to enjoy taking this guy. Maybe he'd like it enough to cut me a little slack this time.
When they started buying supplies, Ed would put the receipts inside an old Bible of his mother's in a bottom dresser drawer and I'd go in there after he left for work, regular as clockwork, take any new receipts to the local drug store, copy them and send the copies to Che to forward to Mulder. I hoped Mulder was around, that he hadn't decided to take a vacation or anything so I'd end up having to take these guys out myself, because the last thing I needed was another murder charge against me. But what was the likelihood that Mulder would leave the office for a vacation? He was addicted to the job. Still, the thought made me antsy and I wanted to make sure my bases were covered, so I had Ché watch Mulder's apartment. Nothing to worry about, as it turned out. He was there, probably waiting for my next envelope of receipts.
The trip to New York took three days and the closer we got, the more Mayhew's batch of goons started to wear on me with their bullshit about how true Americans would immediately see the uprightness of their cause and flock to them. I said an old stomach problem of mine was acting up, so they left me alone for the most part. I just sat there thinking about my timing, how all the pieces would have to fall like dominoes. I had a shipment of Tunguska rock due into the country the same night we'd stash the bomb materials in the storage yard. With any luck I'd be able to put Mulder and Scully right on the trail of my messenger and avoid having Mulder focus on me as his personal voodoo doll.
As it turned out, the timely arrival of the rock courier was my only piece of luck that night. As soon as the shooting started and I'd taken out the driver, things went downhill fast, starting with the rifle butt in the gut Mulder gave me as soon as I was out of the truck. It didn't matter that I'd handed these scumsuckers over, saving a whole lot of innocent lives. Somehow everything Mulder hated me for must have come together in his mind that night, because not only did he rough me up and give me a little lecture about his moral superiority, he took me to Skinner's place and let the A.D. go at me, too, after which I was chained to the balcony and left outside overnight like a disobedient dog. It was March--not even close to warm--and the cuff was cutting into my wrist, and my gut hurt like hell from the double pounding. Mulder hardly deserved what I was doing for him, the way he treated me. But I was stuck now; I'd just have to see it through. He was bound to calm down, wasn't he? The first day I'd met him he'd treated me like shit, too, but after that it had gotten better. Why would it get worse now?
But it did. My courier had obviously shadowed his pursuers, because he showed up in Skinner's apartment the next morning. He didn't know me; I'd purposely hired him through an intermediary. All he knew was that I was somebody who could identify him, but if he got away and described me to the group, I'd be exposed. Only one of us was going to leave that apartment alive. Looking back, I couldn't tell you how I managed to hang onto the outside of that balcony railing until he got there, or how I had the strength after spending the night outside to pull him over the edge. I guess I had to; it was that simple. I don't even recall the details, just the strain of yanking on him and the adrenaline rush that came with my own fear. Next thing I knew I was halfway over the railing, the metal bar pressing into my sore gut, and I fell onto the safety of the balcony. All I could think was that it was a hell of a lot better than losing my grip on the other side and having my arm pulled off.
When Mulder showed up, he was as full of himself as ever. He managed to get me past building security and then it was straight into his car and onto I-95. When I asked where we were going he punched me and told me I was going nowhere. He'd chained me to the armrest, so I just hunkered down in the corner and fell asleep. I was beat and shaking and it was warm in the car. That, at least, felt good after my night outside.
When I woke up, we were in Jersey and it was after sunset. We were stuck in evening rush hour traffic and Mulder'd pulled off for gas. I managed to talk him into getting me a sandwich and coffee--I hadn't eaten since the day before--but with the clearer head I started to worry about the consequences of my dead courier. With a body in hand, the old man would be working to identify who he'd been and who he was working for. And where he'd come from--that was the critical thing. Even though the couriers always followed indirect routes, any flight coming in from southern Russia and containing what that pouch contained was going to ring a big bell for the old man. He was going to know where that rock had come from and the first thing to cross his mind would be me and the time I'd spent in Krasnoyarsk. Luckily, my alter-identity with Lev was well-established, legitimized over time, but if the old man did manage to verify that it was me behind the rock shipments, my alliance with the Brit would be exposed. If they killed the Brit, my road back into the group would be gone along with him.
Mulder made several stops once we got into New York, but none of them must have yielded the information he was looking for because after each stop he'd come back to the car in a lousy mood. I quit asking what he was up to; what was the point when my questions only gave him an excuse to hit me? His last stop, after midnight, obviously got him what he wanted, though, because he punched me out of sheer relief, I think, and after that we went straight to the airport. I knew I'd have to remember that building and locate his contact there when I got back. It could be worth a lot to know who Mulder's source was.
Things were looking up in spite of the way my body felt and all the hours I'd spent chained to Mulder's steering wheel. He'd sniffed out the leads just like I'd figured he would, and the next stop was Russia. Except, as it turned out, he had no intention of taking me along with him, a fact I didn't realize until he got out of the car, locked it and started to walk away. He was a fool to try to go there on his own, but beyond that I might die inside his fucking car before anybody found me. His sneer was what sent me over the edge, though--Mr. Morally Superior with the Truth on his side. Yeah, right. Social advantage and his education and the fact that he'd lost a sister made him better than me. Sure, Mulder, whatever you want to believe. I'd just spent the last four weeks with a bunch of boneheads who thought that Truth was going to be their savior, too.
I was beyond thinking. I'd taken too much of Mulder in the last twenty-four hours and I just went off--a visceral thing--and let him know exactly what I thought of him. In Russian. Which wasn't deliberate, but it turned out to be what saved me. Suddenly Golden Boy realized the scum of the earth might be of some use to him after all. Can't tell you how relieved I was to have him open that door again and unlock me.
The flight gave Mulder a chance to settle down, and once we were back on the ground we had the trip to keep us busy. I proved handy enough in locating discreet transportation and I could see Mulder getting more and more psyched up the closer we got. He had no idea what he was looking for, though, or that the prison camp we were headed for was a part of the gulag, run like a gulag camp. But he'd find that out soon enough. My part was just to act like all this was new, the way I'd played it when we were first partners, and I think he bought that much.
By now Mulder was in a good mood. He was excited about what he might find. Inside, I could only tense, knowing what lay ahead and hoping if I was caught I could convince a guard to let me see Lev. First chance I got, I'd need to get word to Vasily Peskow, an ex-KGB man who owed me a favor, to take care of Charne-Sayre and her little project. He had a reputation for being discreet and hopefully the distraction would keep the old man from focusing on my possible involvement in importing the rock. With that taken care of, I should be just fine. I'd have protected Mulder from the Oil and made myself the only possible source of a viable vaccine. Before I knew it, I'd be right where I'd always hoped to be.
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