An Alex Krycek backstory for the Sanctuary universe
The Rebel strike in Kazakhstan; Krycek comes up with a plan to bring the Consortium to its knees, and heads for New York.
Anyway, that's where I was when the word came in--with Petrovich. The message said a recon flight had picked up a gathering of vehicles engulfed in flames thirty miles into the mountains beyond Ust-Kamenogorsk in eastern Kazakhstan... just before it was nearly sideswiped by a craft it couldn't identify. Granted, it could have been coincidence. But there were too many red flags for me: a) it was a gathering thirty miles out into the middle of nowhere, which made no sense; b) the location followed the pattern of abductions we'd seen, which had been moving gradually eastward; and c) the city these people had come from had a predominantly Russian population rather than native Kazakhs, and that fit the abduction pattern exactly. In the incidents we'd investigated, they'd taken Russians and spit the occasional Kazakh back out.
Marita: (picks up the phone and pauses a second) Who is it? Alex?
Krycek: Yeah. Something's come up.
Marita: What? Something bad?
Krycek: There's been some kind of incident at a place in eastern Kazakhstan, cars burning. Actually, a bunch of cars in a basically unpopulated area, which is suspicious in itself; I mean, what the hell would anybody have been doing out there? (pause) Along with the report of an unidentified craft.
Marita: Do you think it has anything to do with the recent abductions? Do they know what it is?
Krycek: Not yet. (long pause) Anyway, I'm 'they'. I pulled some strings a while back, got myself appointed to the joke job of the year--checking out these abduction reports for the military. I'm the Russian Mulder; how's that for irony? (pause) I figured we'd need to keep on top of anything that might be happening here. I'm waiting for a team to pick me up. We'll be there in a few hours.
Marita: Do you think word will get out?
Krycek: Hell, I hope not. (pause) Look, I've got to go. They're here to pick me up.
Marita: Keep me informed.
Krycek: Will do.
Marita: And Alex... be careful.
Krycek: Sure. I'll call you.
Within an hour Petrovich had rounded up my group and had us on a military jet heading for Ust-Kamenogorsk. I'd had maybe twenty seconds to call Marita before I took off, so she'd have a heads-up about what was going on. Then it was two hours on a plane, the knot in my gut growing tighter and tighter. I wanted to rationalize it away, but there was a bad feeling I couldn't shake that what we'd seen was just the match spark that would set off something a whole lot bigger... and a whole lot worse. Who knew what it would turn out to be, and how it might affect our vaccine program. By now I knew Marita well enough to know how she'd be feeling, waiting for word, tensing up more and more until we could determine it wasn't as bad as we thought.
An hour after we landed, we reached ground zero. The sky had been starting to lighten as we descended into Ust-Kamenogorsk, and by the time we reached the site the sun had risen above the surrounding peaks. The scene we found was bizarre: charred bodies, cars smoking and in some cases still with a few flames coming off them. The presence of so many vehicles and people could mean one of two things: either it was a local group of UFO watchers who'd come because of some recent activity we hadn't heard about, or these people were already Colonist-tagged, drawn here by the chips in their necks. But it made no sense to call your pawns together and then destroy them. Which led to two more possibilities, neither of them good: that the Colonists were up to something we'd never dreamed off, or that what we were seeing was the work of some new group, enemies of the Colonists fighting them for turf or influence.
I didn't have long to speculate, though, because in walking the perimeter of the area, we came across the boy. Or he stumbled into me, unlucky little sucker. He was spooked from the get-go, but when we started asking him questions, he turned into a babbling mess, begging to know where his family was. He hadn't said much more than something about a group of people his parents knew and men without faces when Marita came swooping in with her entourage from the U.N.
Just what we needed. As if there weren't enough confusion already, now I had to play games and pretend I didn't know her. They didn't stay long, and I could tell she was unnerved by seeing me there with so many men under my command--obviously she wasn't ready for that--but I was too busy trying to absorb what information we'd gotten from the kid and what the implications might be to give it too much thought. What I realized soon enough was that we had two alien factions in this now and the outlook for humanity's future on this planet had just gotten a whole lot bleaker.
After Marita and her people left, I went back to questioning the kid. He'd said enough already that I didn't want my men hearing whatever else he might know, so I told them it would be better if I questioned him alone, that likely he'd settle down without an audience around. That turned out to be the most coherent interview I had with him. He described the men without faces, the firestarting wand he'd seen one torch a guy with. As I figured, the people were all from Ust-Kamenogorsk. There'd been no plans for a gathering; his father had just packed them up early in the evening, seemingly on a whim, and driven off into the mountains. But of the families he recognized there, each had at least one adult family member who'd been abducted before. Both Dmitri's parents were abductees.
There seemed no escaping the conclusion that these new aliens were intent on chipping away at--maybe outright destroying--the Colonists' holdings, which meant the old men's playbook was useless now. And that made them vulnerable. Granted, they had more experience than anyone else on the planet at negotiating with an alien race, and that experience was going to be critical in the days ahead. But without a knowledge of what was going on now, of who their enemy was... well, they were ripe for a little reorganization. From the top down.
Marita: (answers her ringing phone) Yes?
Krycek: What the hell were you doing there?
Marita: You could see what I was doing there. They found out somehow, one of their sources. They sent me because I've got the most logical cover. I could hardly refuse.
Krycek: (snorts out a breath) Yeah, well, I want to know what kind of surveillance they've got in the area to have found out about this so quickly.
Marita: Well, it's immaterial at the moment. (pause) Where are you?
Krycek: Making travel plans.
Marita: What about the boy, Alex? What have you found out?
Krycek: That we're in a hell of a lot more trouble than we've ever been before.
Marita: What does that mean?
Krycek: I'm not sure yet. And I'm not sure we'll really know unless this happens again and somebody who knows something about these aliens happens to see it.
Marita: But what exactly did he say?
Krycek: I'll tell you when I see you. Right now I've got to get this kid to the old men.
Marita: (taken aback) What?
Krycek: Look, I don't know how much time we've got, but this is our chance, Marita. Maybe our only chance. If we swap this kid and the information he's got--"
Marita: What information?
Krycek: That they're not the same aliens. They're a different group. And it looks like what they're after is to fry the Colonists' pawns. It's a turf war, Marita.
Marita: My god.
Krycek: Which is why we've got to move now. Swapping this kid to the old men for whatever vaccine research they've done--they'll essentially be out of business. They'll have to start taking orders instead of giving them. We can bring them down, Marita.
Marita: Our first priority has to be to protect the distribution program. The Elders will never act from anything but their own self-interest. Their contacts, their methods-- And if something were to go wrong in the process of making a deal with them, you know they wouldn't use the boy's information to help ensure human survival.
Krycek: Ouch! Sh--
Marita: What happened?
Krycek: Just trying to get my damn boot off. Rammed the edge of an eyelet up under my fingernail. (pause) So what are you saying? We both know the old fuckers don't have anybody's best interests at heart but their own.
Marita: This seems like a situation that's going to require collaboration, Alex. Serious collaboration. If we're considering working with anyone, it should be someone we can trust not to betray our goals. Someone who could help us reach them.
Krycek: And who would that be?
Marita: Anyone but them. (She swallows, pauses.) I think Mulder could be helpful. I know he's naive, but--
Krycek: Mulder? Mulder sees about two inches from the end of his damn nose, Marita. And if you can't dangle his sister on a stick in front of him, you're not going to get him to believe you, much less commit to whatever's going to need to be done. Anyway, what influence does he have?
Marita: There's Assistant Director Skinner. Mulder's close to him. Surely there must be other people around them, men with authority who will pay attention if they understand that the situation is critical.
Krycek: Listen to yourself, Mare. You're grasping at straws. Betting on Mulder and Skinner would be like taking a flying leap into the unknown.
Marita: Where 'the known' has a track record of doing exactly the opposite of what we need.
Krycek: But the old men have the background. They've got years of contact experience; they've got people in place. Look, I've waited for years to see them get some kind of payback--
Marita: And I've been under their thumb for years myself, Alex. But dead and avenged is a poor substitute for surviving. For making survival a possibility.
Krycek: Look, I gotta go. Someone's coming. I'll--
Marita: This is serious, Alex. Think about it.
Krycek: Okay, I'll--. Okay. (He hangs up.)
Okay, so she wasn't crazy about my idea, but she'd come around; we'd gotten close enough by now that I knew how she thought. She was worried about the old men with good reason, but realistically Mulder and Skinner, even if they did want to help, would manage to spill the word somewhere inside the hallowed halls of the Hoover building, and the fact was that the place was crawling with Consortium collaborators. As soon as they said anything, it would be all over for Marita and me. Anyway, Mulder and Skinner were only two men; no matter how invested they might be, they didn't have the power to stop or change things or influence policy, and they had no resources to back them up. What were they going to do, try and halt the alien ships by flashing their badges?
Talking with Marita only strengthened my feeling that what I had planned was the only way to go. And she was right about one thing: the old men would do whatever they could to get around us. Which was why it was imperative to safeguard my bargaining chip. And the most effective way I knew to do that lay nearly 700 miles to the northeast of where I was. I had to find a way to get there.
The problem was that I needed two planes: one to get me to the camp, the other to ferry the rest of my team back to Moscow. But calling in a second plane would not only raise alarm bells, it would mean negotiating for permissions and having to answer questions I had no intention of raising. So I did what made the most sense at the time: I left the troops at the airport in Ust-Kamenogorsk with a story about having to deliver our witness to experts immediately for debriefing and took off. It would be a little more than an hour's trip, and then the plane could turn around, go back for my team and take them home. I'd have some explaining to do when they caught up with me, but with any luck that was something that would only come to light in the paperwork weeks later.
Time had started to blur. By the time we got into Krasnoyarsk it was noon, and we were looking at the better part of an hour's drive to the camp. I hadn't slept except for maybe half an hour on the plane out from Moscow, and on this last flight I'd divided my time between questioning the kid again and planning out my strategy for getting into the camp so I could accomplish what I needed to get done. Which was going to be tricky after my little adventure with Mulder the year before.
Then there was the business of having to patch things up with Marita. But she was smart; if she'd taken any time to think about it, she'd already have seen her mistake. Mulder and Skinner could never have the kind of strategic value of the old men's experience and the network they'd put together. And if there was any situation that called for big guns, this was it.
I was going to have to go into the camp as my financial liaison persona; the guards knew me and hopefully I'd be able to take care of things and be out the back door again before Lev found out I was around. But it wasn't going to be easy: there'd be no second chances, and no time for false moves. I'd have to get Andrei to cooperate, though I knew he wasn't going to like what I had in mind. Since we'd discovered him, I'd grilled the kid half a dozen times, but after each session he ended up more wild-eyed and emotional than before. It was starting to sink in how his life had changed. He was alone now, his family gone, his friends gone, his world turned inside out.
And he didn't even know about what I had planned for him.
He'd described the firestarting men with no eyes and no mouths. When I gave him a piece of paper so he could draw what he'd seen, the thing that jarred me the most was that his alien looked a lot like the bounty hunter. I would have shown him a picture of the guy to make sure, but I can't draw for shit, and I had no way to connect with Marita at that point. When I did, though, I'd make damn sure she got me a picture of him if there was any way to do it. The implications of these guys looking like the bounty hunter, say having his powers and his ability to shape-shift and avoid detection... Well, let's just say it made the blood run like ice through my veins.
By the time we were nearing the camp, the kid was starting to fall apart. I just wanted him to shut up; he had to shut up so I could slip him into the camp unnoticed. I was about ready to backhand him, but then I realized that playing his buddy would likely get me better results. So I told him we were going to get him some help, and help for families like his so this wouldn't happen again. He was going to tell them what he'd experienced, and then we'd get him back to his hometown and his relatives. Part of me was sick at what I was doing--hell, I'd been a kid myself once, fed my share of bullshit by adults who cared nothing about me--but what Marita'd said kept echoing in my head: the old men weren't going to give up power meekly. I needed to ensure that they couldn't steal the kid and his information from me, circumvent us. Which is why we'd come here. I told myself the kid would survive; it'd been hell there for a while with the Oil inside me, but in the end I'd made it. The diver's wife had made it. And there was no other way I could see to guarantee that things would go the way I needed them to.
Once we'd gotten past the gatekeeper, I managed to find someone to call Andrei for me, but before he showed up cold reality hit: he wasn't going to do this without a fight. Everything had made sense on the way here--in the theoretical--but actually standing in one of the camp's interrogation rooms, marking time, I knew things were going to go badly between us. By this time the kid had realized I'd lied to him, and when he started freaking and screaming, which was going to get us found out in a hurry, I took a swing at him and hit him in the nose. Okay, broke it, which gave him two black eyes to boot. Just the impression I wanted to make on Andrei. But what could I do?
So Andrei's help didn't exactly come voluntarily. He knew as well as I did how critical it was to fight the Oil, but that didn't mean he bought my busting the kid's nose... or what I wanted done to him. He wasn't like that; he was a good man at heart, one of the best I'd known. But I pushed ahead; what I needed, I needed. Finally Andrei sent the kid off to get filled up, trying to justify it to himself, trying to remind himself there was a greater need here, the need to fight the Oil, and sometimes people get sacrificed. But when it got to the sewing...
Look, if I had two hands, I'd have done it myself and saved Andrei the hassle, but I don't. And at that point he said no. No way. I opened my mouth, but how could I rationalize this to the guy who'd saved my life? So Andrei stitched the kid up with a Glock 32 pointed at his head. He wiped some kind of topical anesthetic on the boy so it wouldn't hurt as much, but even so we ended up having to stick a rag in his mouth while Andrei did his eyes and ears, and I was forced to sit there listening to him, watching the needle go in and out while I saw the bond I'd had with this man who'd done so much for me slip right down the drain.
But it was war, what was going on, and in war there's no victory without loss. I kept the thought looping through my head until the work was done.
By the time the kid was prepped, I was on a pretty short fuse. I had to get him out of the camp ASAP, before anyone found us. Andrei called a guard to bring some fresh clothes and a ski mask for the kid; it was still winter, thank god, so he wasn't going to seem out of place all bundled up. I took the boy into another room to dress him since he wasn't in any condition to do it himself. He moaned and whimpered and fought me, probably wondering what the hell I was up to, which only made me jumpier than before. And when I finally finished and went back to say a last word in my defense to Andrei, I found him swinging from the overhead pipes in the room we'd been in. Fucker was nearly gone, but one eye followed me, letting me know this one was for me, his final protest.
Something cold shot through me; I broke into a sweat and turned away fast, slammed the door behind me, retrieved the kid and focused on getting us the hell out of there. The gate guards let us through on my word that Lev had authorized us to leave, though I knew he'd find out soon enough and be on our trail. I had a driver waiting outside, and I told him to step on it. As we raced down the hillside, I remembered the bouncing truck from the last time I'd been there, Mulder at the wheel pushing on that brake pedal and getting no response at all, me tensing and ready to roll, and the pain that shot through my shoulder when I landed on the gravel. I held that thought; it was better by far than the picture that had already burned itself into a back corner of my brain, of Andrei slowly swinging from a length of electrical cord.
When we got to Krasnoyarsk, while we were waiting for our next ride, I managed to make a quick call to Marita. Looking back, I may not have been completely on top of how the conversation was going; by then I was wound nearly to the breaking point, dead on my feet and expecting to see Lev's men come barreling around the corner at any moment.
[Marita answers her ringing phone]
Marita: Yes? Where are you?
Krycek: I've got kind of a complex itinerary to keep myself under the radar. I should be in New York in about 18 hours if my luck holds.
Krycek: It's the only way, Marita. Look, you go to Mulder, how long do you think it would take before one of the collaborators in the Bureau got wind of it? There goes your vaccine project. They could end up finding us, taking both of us out. (pause) Look, I need you to do something for me.
Marita: (after a pause) What?
Krycek: Let them know you saw me there. Let them know I've got someone they need to have. Get them salivating a little.
Marita: You're just going to turn the boy over to them?
Krycek: Once they've given me what I want, they won't have any leverage left. We'll be calling the shots.
Marita: (says nothing)
Krycek: Mare? You there?
Marita: (after a beat) Yes. (clears throat) How will I know where to find you?
Krycek: I'll get a message to you.
(Dmitri moans in the background)
Marita: What was that?
Krycek: Nothing. I'll call you.
Marita: (hesitates) Yes.
[Krycek hangs up]
The next trick--maybe as hard to pull off as getting in and out of the camp--was going to be getting the two of us from Krasnoyarsk to New York before the kid went too many hours without food and fluids. I'd called Petrovich because he had more connections--and the influence to go with them--than anyone else I knew. I wasn't taking any route that would let the old men, or Lev, or anyone else trace or intercept me; the trip had to be smooth, quick and under the radar. Petrovich sent a plane that took us through Moscow to Iceland, then to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we were picked up by a helicopter and dropped onto a Russian freighter heading into the port of New York. They'd be expecting me to fly in, so this gave me the element of surprise as well as a little lead time to get away while they searched for me if things went bad.
But I have to admit that as we approached the port, the nervous beat inside me was sharing space with a growing high like nothing I'd ever felt before. I thought back to when I was a kid; I hadn't been so much different from this small-village boy. Then all the old man's training and prepping that seemed to be for nothing after he decided to dump me. If only the old fucker were alive to see this. It would make the perfect comeback: having the old man here to watch me take over and dump all the research he and his buddies had been doing for the last fifty years, them and their ex-Nazi scientists and the sadistic M.D.s left over from Japan's infamous 731. Great company the old men kept.
The kid was half out of it for most of the trip, which meant that at least I didn't have to look at him every ten minutes and be nose to nose with what I'd had done to him. Believe me, it was nothing I would have chosen if the circumstances had been different. Hopefully my negotiations with the group would go quickly; otherwise Marita would have to find us someone to hook the kid to an IV. It'd been a day and a half by now and though I'd made it that long myself many a time, there was no telling what it would do to a boy, especially one who'd been through what he had.
I was worn out from all the travel, the stress and the bare minimum of sleep I'd been getting, but the thought of Marita gave me a second wind. The longer we'd worked together, the more in sync we'd become, especially after the week we'd spent together in Mallorca. She was going to be my first contact when I got in. I could tell she still hadn't bought solidly into my plan when we last talked, but it was pretty much par for the course for us to disagree and jostle around some in the process of coming to a decision. With a little time to breathe, a little downtime together, she'd see that this was the right way to go. After all, they'd screwed her over, too. She'd wrung herself out fighting their agenda behind the scenes; she deserved some satisfaction.
As soon as we reached port, I left a message for her. Then I called the board room and spelled out my terms. I didn't tell them exactly where I was; it would give Marita some lead time, a chance to get to the ship so we could talk before the old men located me. But as it turned out, the Brit had had his suspicions about her and trailed her when she left their meeting.
I can't say for sure what happened, and it's not like I haven't spent way too much time thinking about it since that day. She opened that door and her voice was a challenge, but like I said before, it fit right into the pattern we'd gone through a half dozen other times when we'd first seen each other and things were tense. I was coiled up, bursting with what was about to go down, and seeing her standing there, gorgeous as ever, I just wanted to devour her. That she wanted me, too, at that moment was like reaching the summit of the mountain I'd been climbing.
No, I didn't see it coming. Not by a long
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