Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Title: Perfect for the Job
Author: Susan Frankovich
E-mail: susanf@ticnet.com
Classification: SA
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Redux II
Archive: Gossamer, Xemplary, MTA, Spooky's...others
please ask first.
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine: it's
that simple. Dialogue used in the latter part of
the story is taken directly from Redux II.

Author's notes at the end.

Summary: "You have a special gift, 34, and I want
you to use that gift tonight."
*************************************************************

Perfect for the Job (1/2)
by Susan Frankovich
~~~~~~~


An unknown facility
7:20 pm


"Number 34, please report to the fifth floor immediately.
There's someone here who would like to speak with you."

"Okay, just give me a few minutes," I replied, pressing
the intercom button on my bedroom wall.

"No...He wants to speak to you NOW," the voice insisted.

"Alright, I'm on my way."

I wonder what he wants this time, I thought as I quickly
put my shoes on. Last month when he came here, he had
asked to speak to number 21 and my roommate.

I never saw either one of them again.

Nervously running a brush through my long curly hair, I
checked my appearance in the mirror, and headed up to
the fifth floor.

~~~~~~

After observing her for the past two weeks, I had decided
that number 34 was the best choice for this particular
assignment. Yes, she looks exactly like all the others,
but there's one thing she's able to do that none of them
can.

She knows how to show emotion.

~~~~~~

He was smoking a cigarette when I first saw him, although
I don't know why I was surprised. The few times I have
seen him, He's either had one in his hand or in his mouth.
I don't understand the appeal of putting a foul smelling
stick inside your mouth over and over again, but he sure
seems to enjoy it. Perhaps it makes him feel powerful,
perhaps it comforts him, I don't know...All I do know is
that I hate the smell of it and so do the others. Whenever
we talk about him, we refer to him as Disgusting Cigarette
Man or DC-Man for short, but we're always careful not to
ever call him that when he's here at the facility.

In his presence, we always call him "Mr. Spender."

"Ahh...34, it's so good of you to meet with me," he said,
a long cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth.

Yeah, like I had a choice.

"Mr. Spender...I was told you wanted to see me." He blew
out two puffs of smoke right into my face, and it was all
I could do not to reach out and grab that worthless white
stick right out of his mouth.

"I have an important assignment that needs to be carried
out, and after careful consideration, I've chosen you to
do it." He walked over to the desk, sat down behind it,
and motioned for me to sit down too.

"What kind of assignment?" I asked, anxiously rubbing
my hand up and down the arm of the chair.

"One to which you are very well-suited," he replied
matter-of-factly.

There were still over twelve of us here, and my mind
immediately began to race through all the possibilities
as to why he needed me and not one of the others.

"You have a special gift, 34, and I want you to use that
gift tonight."

Although most of the time I found him to be quite repulsive,
I had to admit I was rather curious, not to mention proud
of the fact that he had finally requested me for an
assignment out in the field. "What exactly is it that
you want me to do, Mr. Spender?"

"I want you to have a meeting with Fox Mulder."

~~~~~~

If I had any doubts before, I don't have them anymore.
The moment she walked into the room, I saw a myriad
of emotions cross her face...contempt, apprehension,
curiosity, eagerness...

She was perfect for the job.

~~~~~~

Taking yet another puff of his cigarette, he handed me
a folder. "Assignment FM34" was printed at the top and
a photo of Fox Mulder was attached to the side with a
paper clip. "You want me to meet with Agent Mulder?"
I asked, my curiosity growing stronger by the minute.

"In approximately two hours, I will take you by car to
a restaurant, where you will sit down with Agent Mulder
and convince him that you are his sister and I am your
father." He tilted his head and stared at me, studying
my face to see how I would react to his request.

I knew quite a bit about Fox already. After all, I had
been studying him for the past few months, but getting
the chance to actually meet him in person, to sit across
a table from him...the thought both excited and scared
me.

How could I ever convince him that I was his sister
knowing full well that I wasn't? And as for DC-Man,
the idea that he could be my father turned my stomach.
Still, this was just the kind of challenge I'd been
hoping for.

Taking a deep breath, I focused my eyes on his and stated,
"Okay, I'll do it."

"A lot is riding on this, 34." He stood up from behind
the desk and walked over to me, then put his hand on my
arm. "Don't disappoint me."

Having his hand on me made my skin crawl, but I refused
to let him know that. Concentrating on my breathing
instead of the coldness I felt in his touch, I quietly
replied, "I'll try not to."

~~~~~~

Although I could tell she was intrigued by the assignment
I had just given her, I also sensed she had some doubts
about whether or not she could successfully complete it.

Perhaps a little extra incentive was in order.

~~~~~~

Finally letting go of my arm, he put his cigarette out
in the ashtray on the desk, and promptly lit another
one.

"34, I realize that this assignment is unlike any you've
ever been given, but let me assure you...if you succeed,
or should I say *when* you succeed, you will be duly
compensated."

"What do you mean, Mr. Spender?"

"Let's just say you won't have to worry about any more
trips to the basement." He tilted his chin up and blew
out a long thick trail of smoke, causing me to cough.

"Does this habit of mine offend you?" he asked, knowing
full well that it did.

"If I say yes, what are you going to do to me?" I
sarcastically answered.

"Ahhh...a clone with some spunk. I like that," he stated
with a smirk on his face.

"Are you saying that if I successfully convince Fox
Mulder that I'm his sister and you're my father, I won't
have to go through any more tests?" I asked, trying to
clarify what I thought he was implying with his earlier
statement.

"That's what I'm proposing, yes..."

Even though I hadn't been subjected to as many tests as
some of the others, the idea that I wouldn't have to be
poked and prodded with any more needles, tubes, or lasers
was extremely appealing. Still, I didn't trust him.
After all, he's lied to me before. "How do I know you
won't go back on your word after the job is done?"

"I guess you just have to trust me, don't you?" he
arrogantly replied.

Smug bastard. He had complete control over me and there
wasn't a thing I could do about it.

Lowering my head in defeat, I softly replied, "I guess
I do."

~~~~~~

I knew she'd see things my way.

They all do eventually.

Three hours from now, she will have carried out this
assignment, and Mulder will be ready to come over to
my side.

And as for number 34, maybe I'll keep my word to her.

And then again, maybe I won't...

~~~~~~

Knowing that I had a lot of work ahead of me, I asked,
"What time will you be picking me up to go the restaurant?"

"I'll be back here in one hour. That should be a
sufficient amount of time for you to prepare. Put on
a nice outfit for me...and your brother." He leaned
in towards my face, and pressed a kiss to my cheek that
was much too long for my liking. The feel of his lips
against my skin disgusted me, his breath smelled of
tobacco and beer, and all I wanted to do was get away
from him.

And he knew it.

"Surely you realize that in order to convince Mulder
that I'm your father, we have to be affectionate towards
one another. I'm trying to help you, *Samantha*," he
said, pulling me into an unwanted embrace. "Mulder must
believe that we love each other and that we have for a
very long time."

My body immediately stiffened, but I forced myself to
put both of my arms around him. Just when I thought
I couldn't stand there holding his decrepit old body
any longer, he abruptly pulled away from me and started
walking toward the door.

He let out a big sigh and said, "See, there's nothing
to it. Now go back to your room and prepare yourself,
and 34..."

"Yes?"

"A lot is riding on this," he reminded me again as he
stood in the doorway.

"I know, Mr. Spender."

"I'll pick you up at about 9:15 by the back entrance.
Don't keep me waiting." He lit his third cigarette,
studied me for a moment, then headed out the door.

"I won't," I answered, glad to finally see him leave.

I waited for a couple minutes to make sure he was really
gone, then quickly took off my jacket, trying to rid
myself of the foul odor he had left on my clothes when
he hugged me.

As much as I had wanted this assignment when he first
told me about it, I wasn't so sure anymore.

~~~~~~

Despite her uneasiness around me, I still believe that
34 can accomplish this task, and after she does Mulder
will surely see that my intentions are honorable and
that he could greatly benefit by coming to work for me.

Just as his father did.

I don't know why I didn't use her before...

~~~~~~

I had been studying all the information that was in
Mulder's file for the past half hour, and I was
feeling much more confident about what I was about
to do. Most of the information was stuff I already
knew - his childhood likes and dislikes, his college
years at Oxford, his years as an FBI profiler, Samantha's
"abduction" in 1973 and his relentless search for her,
the years he's spent working on the X-Files...but there
was one piece of new information that I found to be
extremely interesting.

His FBI partner, Scully has cancer.

Since I've been working at the facility, I've done a
lot of research work, but I don't really know much about
the black cancer. I wonder if the type of cancer she
has is the same thing.

Whatever cancer she has, I'm sure that Agent Mulder is
feeling rather emotional and preoccupied with thoughts
of his partner these days.

That should make my job that much easier.

I'll just say and do all the right things to play on
his current emotional state, and it shouldn't be too
difficult to convince him of who I am and who my father
is. Then once the assignment is done, I can come back
here to the facility, and I won't have to worry about
going through any more tests.

And who knows? If I do the job well enough, maybe 'ol
DC-Man can get me out of the research lab and give me
a job out in the field.

As I pondered all the opportunities this assignment
might bring me in the future, I went to my closet and
picked out a casual, yet nice outfit to wear to the
restaurant. I didn't think Fox would really care what
I was wearing, but I wanted to look good for him anyway.

After all, he is my brother.

~~~~~~

I drove past the diner a little before 9:00, and just
as I had suspected, Mulder was already there. He was
sitting hunched over at the counter staring at his cup
of coffee.

I had told him to meet me at 9:30, but it didn't surprise
me that he was here this early.

Nothing he does surprises me anymore.

~~~~~~

9:20 pm

He had told me not to keep him waiting so I made sure
I was standing outside the back door well ahead of time.
I wasn't sure if I was supposed to bring anything with
me or not, but I had Mulder's file in one hand and a
purse in the other...just in case.

As I stood outside in the cool night air, I closed my
eyes and thought about everything I was going to say
to Fox and how I was going to say it. I also tried to
think about various questions he might ask me and about
possible answers I would give him.

By the time his car pulled up a few minutes later, I
felt completely prepared, and there was no doubt in my
mind that I *was* Samantha, Fox Mulder's long lost sister.

"You look lovely, 34," Mr. Spender said as he leaned
over the seat and opened the car door for me.

"Thanks," I mumbled. The smell of stale cigarette smoke
hit me with the force of a jackhammer the moment I got
inside the car, causing my eyes to water and my nose to
itch. Quickly rolling down my window, I took in several
breaths of fresh air as the car began to move.

"Would you like me to put this out?" he asked, inhaling,
then blowing a puff of smoke out of the side of his mouth.

"What do you think?" I sarcastically replied. I knew
it was a risky response, but I also knew that it was
way too late in the game for him to cancel the assignment.

"Still got that spunk, I see. Good..." he remarked,
taking his hand off the steering wheel and placing it
on my arm.

It was all I could do not to slap his yellow-stained
fingers away.

"Are you prepared for any and all questions Mulder might
ask you tonight?" he inquired, still holding onto my arm.

"I've gone over several possible scenarios, and I'm
confident that I've sufficiently prepared myself, yes."
I wish he'd take his hand off me. It was really making
me feel uncomfortable.

"What if he asks you about the night you were abducted?"

"I tell him that I thought something had happened to him,
but that I couldn't remember much."

"What if he brings up the subject of your mother?"

"I pretend that I didn't know that she was still alive,
and I make an excuse to leave."

"What should you do if he tries to get you to go with
him somewhere?"

"Tell him that I have a new family and a new life and
that I can't deal with all the painful memories of the
past."

"Good, good...I knew you were the right one for this
job," he commented, finally removing his hand from my
arm. "You do know why I've chosen you, don't you?"

"Because of my 'gift', as you called it, the ability
that I have to show human emotions. You think that
somehow I'll be able to connect with Fox Mulder on a
deeper level, right?"

I wasn't sure if that's why he had chosen me or not,
but I'd had a chance to think more about it, and it
was the best reason I could come up with.

He looked over at me with a smug expression on his face
and said, "Not only do you have a talent for expressing
emotions, but I see you're good at forming conclusions
as well." We pulled up to the next stoplight, and he
took out another cigarette, yet surprisingly he didn't
light it.

"There can be no slip-ups on this assignment, 34. It's
important that you understand that. Do you?"

"Yes," I softly answered, leaning my elbow on the inside
door handle. "How much longer until we get there?"

He turned off the main road, then pointed to his left.
"The diner's right over there. I drove by it earlier,
and I know that Mulder is already inside waiting for
you."

I had been looking forward to this assignment, but now
that it was actually about to begin, I suddenly felt a
barrage of negative emotions rushing through my system.

Nervousness, uncertainty, panic, fear...

What if after all my careful preparation, Fox doesn't
believe one word I say?


~to be concluded in part two~



Perfect for the Job
by Susan Frankovich (2/2)

9:32 pm

When we pulled into the parking lot, I could tell by
the way 34 was gripping the door handle that she was
starting to panic.

She had seemed so confident just moments ago, yet now
her skin looked pale, and I could actually see a thin
layer of sweat on her forehead.

Could I have been wrong about her?

~~~~~~

"Get yourself under control," he demanded under his
breath as he grabbed my left wrist. "You can do this,
34. You *will* do this."

His bony fingers squeezed my wrist even harder, bringing
moisture to my eyes. Don't cry...don't cry...I thought
to myself as I took a few deep breaths and tried to
gather my composure.

"I'll be fine if you just let...me...go," I whispered
under my breath, twisting my arm and trying to wriggle
out of his grasp.

"You'd better be," he threatened, suddenly letting my
wrist go.

My legs were shaking and my wrist was throbbing and all
I wanted to do was to forget the whole thing and go back
to the facility where I felt safe.

But it was too late for that.

Now standing in front of the car just a few feet away
from me was the man I had come here to meet, the man
I had studied for years, the man I was going to lie to.

My brother.

With the headlights shining on him, he looked even taller
than I had imagined him to be.

And tired. He looked really tired.

My eyes wouldn't blink, my heart was pounding, and my
brain felt like it was on overload.

"It's time," he quietly said, knocking me out of my
trance-like state.

With trembling fingers, I opened the car door and got
out, never once taking my eyes off of him.

"Samantha?"

My emotions went into overdrive when Fox said my name
and my knees felt like they were going to give out on
me at any moment.

*Just calm down...calm down. He's only a man...only
a man...*

He didn't take his eyes off of me either as I slowly
walked towards him, and then before I knew it, I was
standing right in front of him.

After briefly looking down at the ground and collecting
my thoughts, I looked right into his eyes and said, "I
was afraid I'd never see you again. He always told me
something had happened to you that night."

With those few words, I could already see that I had
confused him.

"Who? Who told you that?" asked Fox.

I guess I'd better get right to the point.

"My father," I replied, looking back at DC-Man, who
was lighting another cigarette as if right on cue.

Smug bastard.

~~~~~~

Ahhh, emotional manipulation...it's a beautiful thing
to see.

Mulder's looking at me right now with an expression I
don't think I've ever seen on his face before, and 34
just seems to be getting warmed up.

I knew she wouldn't let me down.

Now all she needs to do is take him inside and finish
the job.

~~~~~~

10:04 pm

The longer I sat talking to Fox, the more I liked him.
He was so honest and sensitive and when he looked at
me, I could tell that he truly had feelings for me.

I've always been able to control what emotions I want
to feel and when I want to feel them, but now my emotions
were all over the place, and I found myself feeling things
for Fox that I never felt before.

Things I'm not supposed to feel.

He had just asked me what I remembered about that night
in 1973, and as much as I didn't want to lie to him now,
it was time for me to tell him the story that I had been
rehearsing for the past hour.

"I never really knew what happened. I could never put
the memories all back together, but as much as I tried
to remember, I tried more to forget."

"Why?"

"I was eight years old, and frightened to death. And
they told me that I was an orphan," I added, making
sure to emphasize the word 'orphan.'

"But you called that man your father," remarked Fox,
trying to understand what I was saying.

Briefly glancing back at Spender, I continued, "Some
time later, I don't know how long, my foster parents
took me to a hotel room and said that I was gonna see
my father."

"But you knew who your father was."

"I thought I knew, but he told me that it had all been
a secret, and that he and Mom hadn't told anyone to
protect the family."

"And you believed that," Fox said, still trying to
clarify things in his mind.

"He was so kind to me, and he was the only one I could
remember from before what happened."

I knew that this assignment would be a challenge, but
I never realized just how hard it would be to actually
look into his eyes and tell him all these things I knew
weren't true.

"You don't remember anything about that night?"

"I remember...you..."

Those three words immediately got his attention, and
for one brief moment, he actually smiled. It was only
a half smile, but at least it was something.

Tightly squeezing my eyes shut, I continued in a shaky
voice, "I remember something...men and...and then
nothing."

There I said it. Tears stung at my eyes, not because
I was trying to convince him anymore, but because I
was really beginning to cry.

I never should've agreed to do this.

"I can help you. You were abducted, Samantha, I can
help you to remember," he quietly suggested.

"I don't want to, Fox. I don't."

"Then why come here at all?"

"My father told me that he'd found you...you wanted to
see me very badly, that you'd been looking for me for
a long time. Is that true?"

I knew before I even said those words that they would
hit him hard. I knew that he'd been looking for his
sister for over twenty years, and I began to feel sick
to my stomach as I watched him desperately try to keep
his composure.

Wanting to help ease the pain for him somehow, I placed
my hand over the top of his and softly said, "I'm so
sorry, Fox. And I wish that I'd known how to find you."

~~~~~~

This is going even better than I'd hoped for.

Mulder appears to be on the verge of an emotional
breakdown, and 34 is doing everything exactly the
way she's supposed to.

Perhaps I'll let her live after all.

~~~~~~

From what I had read about Fox, I knew that he was a
highly emotional and sensitive person, but seeing so
many emotions in his eyes all at the same time was
like nothing I had ever experienced before.

He bowed his head for a moment and shifted in his chair.
"What you've been told...I want you to listen to me,
okay? What you've been told by that man may not be
true."

I knew that DC-Man had lied to me and the others before,
but I wanted to believe that he had been honest with me
with the facts about this assignment.

Still I wondered if Fox was right. Would he have lied
to me about something as important as this?

"Why do you say that?" I asked, really wanting to hear
what his answer would be.

"Because the man that brought you here has known where
I've been for a very long time," Fox firmly stated.

"I don't understand. Why wouldn't he tell me?"

I really didn't understand. At the facility we were
told all sorts of things about Agent Mulder, but we
were never told where he lived. I had always just
assumed that he was difficult to track down because
he kept moving from place to place. I never realized
that he had been living near the facility all this
time.

I thought I had come into this assignment fully
prepared, but now I felt as if everything that I
had been studying and planning for was all one great
big lie.

"I don't know, but I think he's kept a lot of things
from you.

Although I was upset about what Spender was making me
do to Fox tonight, I still felt an odd sense of loyalty
to him. Yes, he had put me through the occasional test
at the facility, but he had also made sure my needs
were well taken care of, and he had given me access
to numerous scientific opportunities I never could've
found somewhere else.

"I don't believe you. He's been a good father to me.
He's given me a life and he cared for me when there
was no one else," I stated, saying the words with
conviction as if I really was his daughter.

"Then I want you to come with me...Come with me to see
Mom."

Damn it. I was hoping he wouldn't bring her up. I really
didn't want to have to discuss her unless it was absolutely
necessary. According to what I'd read about her in Fox's
file, she had done nothing to stop the real Samantha from
being abducted all those years ago.

Now I know I'm not human, but even I know how heartless
that is.

I just knew that if I got into a discussion with him
about her, I'd end up letting my true feelings about
her be known, and I couldn't risk that.

"Mom is alive?" I asked, pretending to be surprised even
though I knew she'd been living in a big house somewhere
in Greenwich for the past several years.

"Yes. And I know she'd like to see you very, very much."

*Please Fox, please don't push me on this.*

He reached over and gently touched my hair, and it was
all I could do not to spill the truth about everything
right then and there. "I can't," I blurted out.

"Why not?"

"It's too much. I didn't want to come here at all, Fox.
I was afraid to see you."

*Please don't make me do this anymore.*

"I have another life now. I have children of my own,"
I said in a shaky voice as I stood up from the table.
I tried to move towards the door, but Fox grabbed my
hand and wouldn't let go.

*Please don't touch me, Fox.*

"No, please, don't go," he pleaded.

*Please Fox, don't look at me that way.*

"I can't stay here right now."

"Alright, just tell me how I can find you," he begged,
desperation beginning to creep into his voice.

*Please Fox, don't talk to me like that.*

"I need some time," I said, my own voice wavering. His
hand held mine even tighter, but unlike the grip Mr.
Spender had on my wrist earlier, Fox's hand felt warm
and soft, and I knew he would never hurt me.

"Just ... just tell me where to find you."

*Please...I can't take this anymore. I have to get out
of here. I have to get out of here NOW.*

"Please don't, Fox!" I shouted, startling both him and
myself, and I felt his grip immediately ease up on my
hand.

"We will do this on your time, just..." he pleaded one
last time, but more calmly than before.

Looking into his eyes just then made my heart physically
ache, and if I didn't get out of there in the next few
seconds, I was most certainly going to end up telling
him the truth about who I really was.

"Please...please let me go. I can't stay here right
now," I said in a weak voice.

Finally realizing that he couldn't and shouldn't stop
me from leaving, Fox slowly let my hand go.

"I promise you, I'll think about it," I reassured him,
then I hurried out the door as fast as I could.

~~~~~~

It doesn't get much better than this.

It appears that Assignment FM34 is now complete, and
Mulder...Well, Mulder looks a bit stunned.

I'll let him think about things for awhile, and then
tomorrow, I'll arrange for the two of us to have a
little chat.

And as for 34, I'd say her trips to the basement are
over with.

For now...
~~~~~~

I could hardly open the car door my hands were shaking
so hard, but somehow I managed to lift the latch, sit
down inside, and pull the door closed. Turning to Mr.
Spender, I quietly said, "Take me home."

He reached over and touched my hair, but I knew he
wasn't really doing it to comfort me; he was just
doing it to upset Fox more.

"I knew you wouldn't let me down, 34," he proudly
remarked as he started the car and began to back
out of the parking lot.

Knowing that I would never see Fox Mulder again,
I looked out the window at him one last time, then
closed my eyes and whispered a silent goodbye.


~end~

*I have to confess I was a bit nervous about writing
this story. It is completely different from the usual
MSR stuff I write, and it's the longest thing I've
written since "30 Seconds". If my words touched you
in any way, please let me know at susanf@ticnet.com

~All my poems and stories can be found at:
http://members.tripod.com/sfrankovich/index.html