An Alex Krycek backstory for the Sanctuary universe
Krycek returns to the U.S. after his amputation,
It was an afternoon flight--coming across the Atlantic--and I remember looking down at the expanse of water, thinking how fast we were going but it was almost like sitting still because there were no markers, no signs to measure your progress against. Mostly, though, I thought about the guy the co-pilot saw when he'd come back into the cabin every once in a while to see if there was anything I needed. I'd used a lot of covers over the years--diplomatic errand boy, lab gofer, FBI agent, businessman--but this role I'd been playing out for the past month was the one I still had trouble wrapping my mind around: Mr. Respectable, minding his own business, good wool suit and overcoat, fine leather gloves, a man people treated with respect and smiled at because they had no reason to be afraid. A guy nobody spit on or yanked into a dark alley, beat the shit out of and left there bleeding into the gutter. Before Brussels, when had anybody ever asked how I was and looked like they gave a damn about the answer?
It could be addictive, that kind of thing.
It could dull you, too, and I couldn't afford that. Maybe in some parallel world it would've been okay to indulge, but the future was coming and it made all the difference. It was the center of my life, the invisible hub that moved whatever I did.
I'd planned to spend the flight strategizing, figuring out how to find this source of Mulder's, laying out my options for eliminating him if he was a threat. But my efforts kept getting overlaid with images of the old woman who sold flowers on the corner outside the hospital, or a little kid in knee pants chasing a bird across a cobblestone square, or Yelena glancing toward her apartment with a look I couldn't read. Eagerness or worry? I could never figure it out. And why the hell did I keep trying? One thing was for sure: it was going to take a lot more than lecturing myself to get back into the swing of things. And I needed to be back in. I wasn't living in a cease-fire zone anymore.
Staying with Ché made me realize just how much privacy I'd had in Brussels in spite of the doctors and aides and therapists and prosthetists. There was no garden to walk in if I woke up in the middle of the night now, nowhere to escape to when I felt like crawling the walls; I was in the old man's backyard and I couldn't afford to be caught wandering around. Not that Ché didn't make things as convenient as he could. It's the way he is--a lot of forethought and all his bases covered. We were a little awkward at first, the arm the unspoken center of our conversation, but gradually things smoothed out. He'd located the New York building's owner, a Manhattan investment company, and hacked their files to get a list of tenants and the information they'd supplied on their applications, including jobs and credit references. From what we could see, six of them might have potential value to Mulder. But before I headed for New York, I had some other checking to do.
It had been two months since Mulder and I left for Tunguska and who knew what he'd been up to since then. In spite of my mind's desire to do a detour around any subject that included Mulder, sticking my head in the sand would be both stupid and dangerous. I could only hope Mulder hadn't run into the old man and accused him of masterminding our little trip. Some way for the old man to find out I was still alive. I could picture him turning livid and sputtering. Though if Mulder had spilled the beans, I probably would have felt the old man's sour breath on the back of my neck before this. Anyway, I needed to find out what Mulder'd been up to. He could be like a pup tracking through wet paint.
I hauled my listening equipment out of storage and spent a little time in the coffee shop across the street from Mulder's, assessing my options for placement, but my planning was jolted by the sight of a guy I recognized from my Academy days coming down the front steps of Mulder's building. I called his license plate number in to Ché. It was registered to the DOD--agency carpool. For the life of me I couldn't remember the guy's name, but then I flashed on a thought that made my stomach tighten. Knowing Mulder rarely showed up at home in the middle of the day, I tossed on the hat I had with me and slipped into the lobby. The mail for the apartment next to Mulder's went to a Mildred Somebody--likely some old lady--but the mail for the apartment above was addressed to a William Thompson. The missing puzzle piece dropped in: the guy's name had been Tom Williamson. Unless I was way off, it was more than just a coincidence; the DOD was watching Mulder. But why? Was it just more of the old man's surveillance or was somebody else after Mulder, too, and if so, what did they want with him? The old man had plenty of pawns inside the DOD but there could always be some other group interested in Mulder that I didn't know about.
A little poking around upstairs yielded the fact that there was a convenient utility closet in the hallway right around the corner from Mulder's place. Took me two trips but I was able to set up my equipment on a dark shelf above the mop bucket and cleaning supplies. A couple of days of audio ought to give me an idea of what he was up to.
After 24 hours, though, nothing had registered on my machine, so Ché went digging and found airline reservations to Albany, New York, for Mulder and Scully the day before, just as I'd arrived in D.C. But the next day he came up with something more, something that could be critical in the long term. In poking around in a federal database, Ché'd found some new additions to the medical information in Scully's file. She had cancer, recently diagnosed and apparently inoperable, and the prognosis wasn't good.
Of course, I knew about Scully's implant. It'd be like her to have it taken out if she found it, and I knew what that meant. I'd never made it high enough up in the group to have anybody sit down and spell it out to me, but I'd heard the talk in meetings. I knew what happened when the chips were removed. What was it going to do to Mulder when she was gone?
The first time I met Scully, she'd offered me a gloved hand she'd just pulled out of some dead guy's gut. Looking back, I don't think she was trying to freak me out; she was just wrapped up in what she was doing. You've got to wonder what it takes to pick a job like that. But she's that way--immersed. Ms. Justice Crusader, fight for the right and all that. Even if she does refuse to believe a lot of things that are plain as day before her. She can be a real bulldog.
It was obvious that day who the partners were, and they weren't me and Mulder. The two of them had this intensity thing going when they focused on each other, but it wasn't what you'd think at first; it was all business. Their little joint crusade, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe that's what was keeping them joined at the hip because by any standard of logic, nothing else made much sense. Scully was the brakes on Mulder's runaway car and you'd figure he'd resent that, that he'd bark at her--after all, he couldn't just haul off and smack her around the way he did me--and she'd get to where she'd be fed up and leave. But maybe part of him realized he needed that, that without her he wouldn't last long before he'd overstep the official line and the Bureau'd boot him out. As for what she got from working with him, I didn't have a clue. But she had all the instincts of a mother wolf when Mulder was in danger. She hadn't wasted any time in showing up once he'd set foot inside that travel agency where Duane Barry was, even though they hadn't been official partners for months. She was a skeptic and she didn't buy his theories, but for some reason she believed in him and for a guy like Mulder, that could count for a lot, especially when everyone else around him was always laughing at how full of shit he was.
Except, of course, that he wasn't. He was on to the unbelievable truth and he was stuck with the consequences. Sometimes I forget how much that counts for--that he didn't grow up with it like me, hadn't seen what I'd seen, but still he believed. In spite of what it had cost him.
Having her gone--or watching her die--could break the guy. If you asked him, he'd swear his focus was on Samantha, but Scully had to be more real to him by now than the kid sister he was never going to see again. If Scully died and Mulder went postal in his own way and ended up getting booted out the back door of the Hoover Building, what would he have left? Would he go home, turn on the gas and stick his head in the oven?
I didn't need a lecture on what it was to bottom out. But he'd be no use to me dead. And Scully... even though I was lower than pond scum on her scale, her concern about 'justice' always made her keep Mulder from beating me up too bad. Or killing me. She'd actually saved my life that night outside Mulder's apartment and I still had no idea why. Granted, if she was quick enough she'd have known that Mulder using my gun could implicate him in his father's death. But she could've shot me just as easily as she'd shot him--first round into Mulder's shoulder and the next into my chest. Only she hadn't.
I sent the Brit an anonymous message saying I had exclusive information he'd be interested in. The idea was to get him to come to me alone, without an entourage. I wasn't hot to face him after what I'd done to Charne-Sayer, but there were things I needed to know, to draw out of him, and I needed to see his reaction. We met in Central Park in the middle of the day, kids just out of school for the summer skating by and old people sitting around on benches. I could see that look in his eyes when he first caught sight of me, as if he'd bitten into something fiery, but he stifled it well enough. Truth is, he didn't have much choice. I had the key to the vaccine and if he wanted it, he was going to have to play along. And he was my best bet. I wasn't giving what I had to one of those stuffed suits who believed the colonists' line about exemption from what was coming.
If the Brit knew where I'd been--where the vaccine was coming from--he did a good job of hiding it. He didn't look at my hand, and when he finally noticed, he seemed genuinely surprised. Which I hoped meant the group hadn't been following me. He broached the subject of my having a vaccine, and I said there was potential, that the vaccine was close but not quite ready, that it was going to be tricky to get ahold of but I was positioned pretty well. I wasn't worried about him spilling word to the group. He'd lost his trust in them a long time ago.
I asked casually if Mulder'd been sticking his nose into things, and he said two weeks earlier somebody'd broken into a research facility, a fertility clinic the DOD was running in Pennsylvania. Mulder's fingerprints were found around an interior window but he hadn't done any follow-up that they could tell--no inquries to Senate committees, no formal questions to the DOD or anyone inside the Bureau that they knew of. Given the timing, I can guess what was occupying his mind. The Brit didn't say anything about Scully so finally I asked him if they knew about her condition. He said the old man had mentioned it in passing but that it hadn't garnered much comment from the group.
She's more important than they think, I said. In terms of her value to Mulder she was, anyway. Without her, he might be the proverbial man with nothing left to lose, more dangerous than they could imagine. Could her condition be reversed by replacing the chip? He didn't know, but he seemed to be thinking about the implications. Maybe, he said finally, he could suggest something that would lead the group in that direction. If the opportunity presented itself. If he wouldn't be singled out for bringing it up.
There was nothing I was going to be able to do directly. I had no access to the chips and I wouldn't have known what to do with one if I had it in my hand, short of buying off a syndicate doctor and having him put it in her. But the security around those guys since Mulder'd stumbled across the train car operations the year before was unbelievable. The risk of exposing myself would be too great. Hopefully the group would find it in their own best interest to take care of Scully's situation.
My little chat with the Brit was a success as meetings go. We closed still on working terms, each of us holding cards and needing the other's cooperation. When we stood to go, the Brit hesitated a moment and then said he'd been contacted the day before by a man who claimed to have knowledge of the colonists. When he'd gotten my note, he'd thought I was him. He had no idea who the guy was, if he was on the level or someone's plant, but when he found out--if it panned out into anything--he'd let me know.
Then we shook hands and went our separate ways. Or at least, he did. I turned a corner, then doubled back and trailed him for a while to make sure he wasn't meeting anyone and sending them after me. When I knew I was safe, I grabbed a taxi, went back to my hotel and lay down, thinking about the next day's little project--to root out Mulder's source. Without realizing it, I drifted off. Dreamed I was back in St. Petersburg. When a knock came on the door to my room, it was Yelena. She was carrying a ragged baby on her hip and said she needed help downstairs; there was something wrong. I threw on a coat and followed her down, but when I got there, she'd disappeared. There wasn't even a footprint in the snow to tell she'd been there. The street was silent, not a sound anywhere, then suddenly there was a roar like the cracking of ice in the river only louder--deafening, like the whole city was coming apart.
I woke up in a pool of sweat, gasping. After a minute I went to the window and looked past the buildings and the bustle down on the street to the setting sun. I wanted to be able to walk, the way Andrei and I had walked at the camp. I'd fallen asleep with the arm on and the stump was sweaty and starting to ache. The Farabloc Che'd given me was back in D.C. I made myself take a shower, then I dressed again and went looking for the workout room, thinking I'd use a treadmill for a while, but when I got there, it was locked up. They were cleaning inside.
Back in my room I thought of a little brown-haired girl I'd seen in the elevator half-hiding behind her dad. She''d looked up at me with big eyes, serious as anything. Broad face, rosy cheeks. Not anything like the kids you see in orphanages. I wondered if the Brit was in this for saving anyone beyond the grandchildren whose pictures hung above the mantel in the Colorado house. What was the chance of doing anything on a broad scale even if you wanted to--say, enough to save a few million people? Or a couple of hundred thousand? How would you choose? What would it take to cook up that much vaccine? How would you distribute it?
The Brit had actually shaken my hand. Could be it was just a snow job, or maybe he was admitting I was a player now, somebody to negotiate with instead of step on. Not that I was going to delude myself into thinking he'd have offered the hand if he didn't need what I had.
There were too many chances of things going bad, too many variables. If Scully died, Mulder might end up a basket case. Or he might do something stupid and end up in jail somewhere. That'd be a switch: me free and working behind the scenes and my misguided idealist brother wearing an orange jumpsuit and chasing his slimy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with watered-down Kool-Aid. Who knew what this DOD surveillance on Mulder's apartment was all about, or what it'd lead to. Were they trying to catch him at something or did they have another plan in mind? And the Brit--he might be dealing now, but what was the likelihood he'd share what he found out from this new potential source... or anything else he didn't absolutely have to offer me? He wasn't in this to play my fairy godmother.
It was starting to kick back in--the instinct to protect myself first and foremost. I must've been dreaming to even entertain the thought that I might be able to survive some other way.
I got my gun out of the bottom of my travel bag, and the solvent, and my cleaning rod and brushes and rag and laid them out on the table. It was going to be a bitch cleaning the thing with one good hand and one excuse for one, but I had to be prepared. Mulder's contact was my next project and he needed to know from the start that he wasn't going to get the upper hand.
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