An Alex Krycek backstory for the Sanctuary universe
Collaboration with Marita Covarrubias through Zero Sum
Between the vaccine, taking care of some trouble I'd had with the arm and investigating more mysterious abductions like the ones at Baikonur, I almost didn't have time to think about how badly my little Siberian vacation with Mulder had veered off into the ditch. Which was just as well; I had no desire to think about that. Or about him, for that matter. The idea of us working together had grown out of a young kid's fantasy, and I should have known better than to keep holding onto it the way I had. Lesson learned.
Besides, I needed 100 percent of my focus now. Mulder'd already stolen my arm; I wasn't going to let him take anything more away from me. Especially when a misstep now could mean losing the most critical thing of all, our chance for long-term survival.
It seemed I was spending half my life in the air, flying from New York to Moscow to Pavlodar in Kazakhstan where a second set of abductions like the ones I'd seen at Baikonur had taken place; then Moscow to New York, New York to Cali... Well, you get the picture. For a while there I felt like I should just buy a plane and move in. The jet lag after each trip didn't help, either--wasted days when nothing of real consequence was getting accomplished while a steady drumbeat of tension continued in the back of my head. Then I'd have to remind myself not to lighten up, that giving myself an ulcer wasn't going to help anything. That unlike being the prey in some chase I might have ended up in before, keeping going now could pay off big in the end. We were running to something rather than away: salvation, or at the very least the best damn chance I'd seen of fighting the alien threat. And if in the process things fell together just right, there'd be a little payback in the mix for the old men in the board room. Not only had they dumped me like yesterday's garbage, but if they'd had any balls, they'd have done years ago what Marita and I were having to bust our butts to do now, make the decision to fight back rather than caving in to an alien race that wanted to wipe us out.
I wasn't spending too long in any one place during that time, and that included New York. Which made it awkward for me and Marita to get into sync those first few months. A couple of hours spent going over basics, maybe another forty-five minutes the day after, then the next get-together six or seven weeks later, trying to pick up where we'd left off when things had changed in the interim, I was fighting jet-lag and she was bone-weary from working what amounted to three different jobs... not the easiest set-up for having to deal with someone you barely know.
We went to Cali together that first time--to deliver our vaccine sample, have it tested and get the production started. We hardly knew each other at that point, though finding out that our sample was viable helped loosen up both of us a little. But I was used to being my own boss, making my own decisions, and this plan for the vaccine was her game. We were using her board, her playing pieces and playing by her rules. It wasn't the kind of situation I ever would have picked, given a choice--this partnership, collaboration, whatever you want to call it.
And really, she didn't know me, either. Initially she figured me for a peasant, just another of the old man's hired guns, and I had her pegged for some debutante ice queen, a rich girl looking down her perfect nose at the rest of us, who didn't get how messy the real world was. Maybe it just bugged me how put together she always was. There was never a hair out of place or an arrangement she hadn't made in advance.
But first impressions can be deceiving. The more I learned about her plan, the more impressed I was with what she'd managed to accomplish. Granted, her father had come up with the idea and the initial structure, but Marita had held all his far-flung contacts together for years so they'd be ready to spring into action if and when a viable vaccine came along. Beyond that, Marita was a woman taking a walk down a man's alley. I probably couldn't imagine the things she'd had to put up with to be taken seriously.
Her attitude toward me began to change as time went on, as she found out I was bankrolling the Russian research and keeping tabs on other things we'd need to know about, like the weird abductions I'd been seeing where the victims were never returned. But she still didn't know about the arm, and I planned to keep it that way for as long as I could. Because for as much as my logic told me that my knowledge and strategic capabilities hadn't been cut off by a glowing hot knife in that godforsaken forest, in the back of my head the thought still dogged me that no matter what I brought to this project, part of me was a walking lie, and at any time that lie could be exposed.
It took three months from the time we delivered the initial vaccine sample to the lab until the first batch was ready to pick up, and in the interim I was--as usual--on the road. There were investigations of the abductions in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan and a meeting with the Brit where he let on that someone had been anonymously feeding him data on similar abductions in other parts of the world. In late July Marita called me to New York right after the old men had let loose a bunch of test bees in a North Carolina schoolyard, which was as stupid as anything I'd seen them do.
As it turned out, it was the old man who had taken it upon himself to proceed with the test without bothering to keep the group informed of details or scheduling, and if it hadn't been for some intensive damage control that Marita took part in, the schoolyard incident would have exposed the group, and possibly Marita, which could easily have crippled our ability to distribute our vaccine. I was mad as hell, and Marita was left worried and shaky, afraid of what else he might try that could impact our plans for the vaccine.
But Marita was dogged as always. She kept working and discovered Alberta as the source of the package of test bees. Which tickled an itch I'd been trying hard to ignore. I'd been to the compound once, a few years earlier, on my way to Singapore with the DAT tape after the old man's little car bomb surprise. While I was there I'd seen Jeremiah Smith heal a bleeding, badly injured drone in the ginseng fields. Hell, he'd worked his magic, whatever it was, on me when I'd walked into a swarm of bees there. One minute I was being stung, blacking out and starting to suffocate; the next I was fine, as if I were waking up from a dream. I didn't know what he'd done--maybe I didn't want to look too closely at the implications--so I'd resolved to just put the incident behind me. But recently I'd been having a lot of trouble with ghost pains. Thinking back to my experience in Alberta, it was hard to avoid the idea that Smith was the one person who could do something about them. If he were inclined to, that is; the guy could be frustrating and inscrutable and he had this irritating habit of talking in riddles. Who knew what he really thought or wanted, or if he'd just laugh in my face if I asked for his help? So I'd tried not to think about it.
But with the connection Marita'd come up with to the schoolyard bees, and the fact that I'd been thinking about how Smith's mental powers could be the perfect way to keep tabs on the old man without him ever finding out--Smith could listen through a wall and know what he was up to with no traceable trail--I decided I had to at least try talking to him. It was going to sound crazy, proposing what I had in mind, but the situation seemed critical. What if we took no action and the old man did something to blow it for everybody?
So I set off for Alberta. It was August
the fields were dry and golden. I tried to tell myself this trip had nothing to
do with my arm.
© bardsmaid 2005 |