TITLE: In My Right Mind (1/1)
AUTHOR: Wayward
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Gossamer, Xemplary; all others please ask
SPOILER WARNING: through Season 6, including "Biogenesis"
SUMMARY: Post-episode story for "Biogenesis."
AUTHOR NOTES: The author thanks Janet, Stephanie S., and SusanF for their beta services and will promptly dispatch virtual loaves of buttermilk whole wheat bread with sunflower seeds.


"David, I didn't want to pull rank on you, but I'm the Director and we'll do it my way. Besides, you know Standards and Practices would have a cow. Now, for the last time...the hospital gown opening goes in the *back*. And no, Carter wasn't worried about Mulder hanging himself by his jockey shorts, so you can put your underwear back on, too. And Gillian, you can stop giggling now."

//I know where you are, Scully.//

//And I know where I am, and that I appear to be a raving lunatic.//

//If I choose to, I can see myself: disheveled, wild-eyed, to all appearances insane. But it's painful to sample the discomfort and the dissonance, and, frankly, it's not worth the price of admission to see Crazy-As-A-Loon Fox Mulder from a ringside seat. So I pull back inside and nurture the core of my personality a bit more.//

//Damage control, that's what it is, a little TLC for the psyche after the beating I took staying in my right mind long enough to perform for the camera. Smile, Fox, the little red light is on. I knew Scully was out there, and I made sure to try to get a subtle message across to her. She didn't need me on this one, though, because the next step is obvious. While the other players in the game scramble for the pieces on the board, Scully is going to the source.//

//Diana is still out there--the harpy. She claims that I called her and she appears to believe it. My mind and I had begun to part company in that stairwell at American University and I was barely able to persuade my body to keep breathing, let alone "reach out and touch someone." I certainly wasn't in any condition to place a call to Directory Assistance to get her number. Her rent-a-goons hauled me back to my apartment, and I was beginning to get over the worst of the effects of being in such close proximity to the artifact when Diana woke me up and tried to interrogate me about it. Of course, no Show-and-Tell is complete without visual aids and Diana had a fresh photocopy of the artifact rubbing to shove in front of my eyeballs. That set another 'event' into motion and my behavior, which she later termed 'violent', was enough to make her lose continence and fail her underarm wetness challenge. Poor Diana, the second blouse change in an hour. I don't know why she bothered...I could still smell the Morleys on her.//

//Skinner's gone now, probably back to his office. The poor guy has got his balls in a noose right now, and, metaphorically speaking, he's walking pretty damned funny at the moment. He's in league with someone, but I know it's not Elvira, Mistress of the Chimney. That means there's another player in the game, someone holding the other end of that noose. Hmm, who hates the Consortium, would love to yank Skinner's chain, and might get off on playing with geeky electronic toys like voice synth units? Wouldn't take a degree in Rocket Science to guess Alex Krycek, would it? The One-Armed Bandit doesn't get points for originality, though, since the Lone Gunmen were the first to have the idea of synthesizing my voice.//

//To think that he faked my voice and turned me over to Diana Fowley. Gee, thanks...*buddy*. Maybe I can do the same for you sometime.//

//Judging from Diana's interest every time I mention "the voices," her masters and she are convinced that the artifact is a telepathy enabler. Their telepathic guinea pig list has been rather short since Gibson Praise made good his escape, so here's Spooky Mulder making a splash as the new golden boy of the guinea pig class. It's just as well that Gibson isn't available to the Consortium. They'd probably try to enhance his ability by exposing him to the artifact.//

//They have no idea what the artifact is.//

//One thing is for sure: if the Consortium doesn't play nice with the artifact, there could be some very untoward a sudden and unanticipated downsizing of these United States. Merkmallen's portion of the artifact has the potential to change the profile of the Eastern Seaboard. Anyone for beachfront property in Harrisburg, PA? The artifacts can store and discharge energy...*massive* amounts of energy, sports fans. Even the smallest fragment could wipe New England right off the map, in less time than it would take to say "oops, I didn't mean to do that."//

//The artifact not only stores energy; it also stores information. I told Scully the biblical passage on the artifact meant that our genesis was alien, but I've had some time to think--lots and lots of time--and now my theory is that the aliens have been cataloging our planet and its indigenous cultures. Art, religion, literature, science--they've probably recorded the biological specs of every life form on the planet, just for completeness' sake.//

//In this case, knowledge really is power.//

//The Consortium will wait until I appear to be more manageable and less violent. Then they'll spirit me away for analysis. They want to use the artifact to create a cadre of telepaths as additional leverage in their War of the Week against the aliens, the rebels, or the one or two Western governments they haven't yet subverted. There is, of course, one glaring flaw in their plan.//

//This isn't telepathy.//

//All cultures have their own myths and legends about the power of special symbols: runes, magic squares, incantations, true names. Biblical references about the power associated with the name of God and the "Word made Manifest" are numerous, veritable cornerstones of the various Judeo-Christian faiths. We've known, in one way or another throughout our history, that power can be stored and wielded with a single word or a few scattered symbols. What happened to me was not due to the physical composition of the artifact but rather the information encoded on it.//

//I began to hear the voices in my head, at first scratchy and indistinct, then louder and insistent. What I didn't realize at the time was that with the voices came a heightened sense of smell, taste, and touch. I was in agony because I couldn't tune it out. I almost went insane from the constant onslaught of information.//

//The voices I hear are of my own making. They are the voices of the myriad of profiles my mind is constructing. It's gradually becoming second nature to me, this transient peopling of the corners of my mind with mental constructs of everyone around me. The artifact opened my mind in such a way that, thanks to my profiling skills, I can now project what someone is thinking based solely on his body language, facial expression, and casual commentary, even to the extent of creating a 'voice' to speak those thoughts. I know I'm not infallible. So far, though, I've been pretty damned close to the mark and I'm getting better all the time. It's interpretation, observation, deduction, and intuition taken to extremes. But it's not telepathy. In a way, it's my personal baggage and profiling experience that makes it seem like telepathy to the casual observer.//

//I know that Scully is on her way to the Ivory Coast, because the Scully in my head told me so. Hers was the first voice, and the clearest. She's keeping me sane now, telling me of her progress and planning what we should do next. She's also overwhelmed with guilt because of the necessity of leaving me where I am for the moment.//

//It's okay, Scully. Just go to the Ivory Coast. The rest will take care of itself.//

//You'll see. It's only a matter of time.//


Scully had brushed aside nearly all the sand when the ocean froth surged up and spread another fine layer of grit over the artifact. She sighed, and wiped the surface clean again. The indentations were smooth and cold beneath her fingertips, inviting her to trace their intricacies. Contact with the artifact seemed to draw all the warmth from her and she shivered in the unrelenting heat of the African sun. Her ears were ringing slightly, giving the music of the surf a hollow echo.

She'd last eaten on the connecting flight from Dakar to Abidjan, and then it was only a stale croissant. Fatigue and hunger would explain her disorientation--the feeling that time was standing still--and her bone-weary desire to drop in her tracks and give up.

She heard it clearly: a man's soft chuckle.

//Keep going, FBI Woman.//

Mulder's voice. The voice of her partner, a man imprisoned in a room with rubber walls. A room in a psychiatric ward thousands of miles from here.

It was Mulder's voice.

In her head.

She stood, slowly, and she could hear the sand grains tumble against each other in the surf. She could clearly hear the cries of the sea birds visible as mere specks over the ocean. She could feel the salt in the breeze and the taste of distant rain on her tongue.

She could hear voices.

It was too much. It was surreal. The artifacts were all part of an alien craft. She was standing on top of an alien crash site. The whole world was becoming alien to her. Colors were too bright, sounds were too loud, she was hearing Mulder and voices and sand and clouds and she was losing her mind and falling--

//It's all right, Love, I've got you. You won't fall.//


//I'm here, Scully.//

"How? You're thousands of miles away and God I left you there alone I'm losing my mind Mulder--"

//No, you're not. Scully, listen to me. It's not exposure to the artifact per se. We've been affected by the symbols on the artifact. You _had_ to come to the Ivory Coast, Scully. It was the only thing to do, and the only thing that can help now. And unless I miss my guess, I'm not alone in my padded cell. I have you to keep me company.//

"You're here with me--"

//--and you're there with me.//

"That almost makes sense, Mulder."

//It will eventually, Scully.//

She heard him chuckle, and the wind blew a soft kiss across her cheek.

//You'll see. It's only a matter of time.//


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© 1999 Wayward Fluffy Publications and Cathy Faye Rudolph
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