Sent: Tuesday, September
TITLE Respect Des Fonds
AUTHOR Rachel Vagts
E-MAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
ARCHIVE: Gossamer, Ephemeral, MTA, Spookys: Yes; Others, please
SPOILER WARNING: None
CLASSIFICATION: X - X-File
SUMMARY: "One or two deaths would be a horrible coincidence,
but this is
the fifth one in as many months and they're coming quicker and
no coincidence. Whether or not these poisoned items have been
wait all along, there is someone making sure we know about it
from "Respect Des Fonds"
For missing parts, please see my web-site at
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on the characters and situations
Chris Carter, the Fox Network and Ten Thirteen Productions. As
characters named are the property of those entities and are used
permission, although no copyright infringements are intended.
included in this work are fictional. Any resemblance to persons,
dead, is coincidental.
Respect Des Fonds: Respect for the principle of provenance that
archives of an agency or person are not mixed or combined with
other agencies or people.
National Archives and Records Administration
The man reached into the gray clamshell box. As he picked up the
he averted his head and coughed into the sleeve of his lab coat.
the ledger on the work table and brushed some of the dust from
He coughed again.
"Hey Chuck! Shoulda gotten that flu shot," the man's
from across the room. The man just nodded as he opened up the
When he began to make a choking sound, his co-worker got up and
to assist him.
"Chuck, Chuck!" he called as he moved to lay the man
on the floor. He
in obvious distress. "Somebody, call 911!"
The other technicians in the room looking startled and then curious,
to the man on the floor. One of them had the presence of mind
nearby telephone and make the emergency call. The crowd gathered
the dying man as the skin around his nose turned red and mottled.
strained for breath, his lips growing blue, and then with a final
he was gone.
Later that night
Scully climbed off the Metrobus and into the busy pedestrian traffic
Wisconsin Avenue. It had been a long week and she was exhausted.
picked up the pace hoping to get in and out of the grocery store
The Safeway was filled with the usual after-work crowd. This grocery
was also a notorious pick-up spot, frequently referred to as the
Safeway." In front of her was a perfect example. Blocking
the romaine lettuce was a male lawyer type putting the moves on
lawyerly woman. Scully feinted right and then left, attempting
her hands on a piece of produce. After several miscues and an
the young man, she safely placed the lettuce in her cart. She
to the pasta aisle.
Finding herself stuck behind a Georgetown co-ed standing in the
the pasta aisle, silently debating the differences between mostaccioli
ziti, she sighed as her phone rang. She pulled it from her interior
pocket and flipped it open.
"Scully," she said, repeating the sigh of exasperation.
"Hey partner," came the voice of the last person she
wanted to hear
If he had two tickets booked for Sioux Falls, South Dakota he
going to have to eat hers. She had followed him the last three
and it had to end somewhere.
"Mulder, it's Friday night. I'm trying to pick up some dinner
and take a bath. It's the weekend. I don't care what you've
it's going to have to wait until Monday."
"Actually, Scully, I was thinking about something else,"
"What's that?" she asked, pushing her cart aside for
a couple trying to
make their way down the aisle. Newlyweds, she thought as they
arm in arm.
"You know how we were discussing the breakdown of the middle-aged
body, his unwillingness to admit he isn't 22 anymore?"
"Yes," she said slowly, suddenly concerned where the
going. "Where are you, Mulder?"
"The usual," he responded.
Scully's mind rewound to the end of their work day. She had been
up their latest expense report when Mulder grabbed his gym bag
out the door.
"You went to the gym. Where are you now?" she asked
again, a sense of
foreboding creeping over her.
"Georgetown?" he responded, obviously not telling the
"Georgetown, my ass. You're at the hospital, aren't you?
What did you
Mulder?" she asked, her voice on the border between concern
If she had stopped to think about it, she would have felt bad
tone of voice, but it had been a very long week and if he was
enough to call he must not be injured too severely.
"You got me. I'm in the emergency room, but it looks like
I'm going to
here overnight. I was just wondering if . . ."
"What do you need, Mulder?" she interrupted.
"Boxers, some clean clothes? I have my gym clothes on and
played three games."
"So, I bet you stink pretty bad," she answered, chuckling
smoothing into a small smile.
"Well, let's put it this way . . . they gave me my own cubicle,"
"Okay, give me a little bit. I'll need to head home and get
my car, but
I'll get there as soon as I can. 395 shouldn't be a total parking
"Thanks, Scully," he answered, sounding grateful.
"Not a problem," she answered. She waited a moment and
don't keep me waiting any longer, Mulder, what did you do?"
"Ever see an Achilles tendon erupt?" he asked.
"Save the MRI for me, please," she responded. "I'm
sure it will look
in my guest bedroom." Where you'll be spending the next month,
silently. Scully ended the call, her mind now filled with Mulder
latest emergency. She glanced around the aisle quickly and then
away, her cart forgotten and abandoned in the middle of the pasta
Georgetown Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Two hours later
Scully walked into the busy ER. After checking with the desk,
her partner lying on a gurney in a cubicle, his foot covered with
"They haven't gotten you in yet?" she asked as she walked
over to the
setting down the bag she had brought from Mulder's apartment.
looked horrible, his face covered with a thin sheen of sweat and
lines betraying the pain he had been in.
"No, seems there was a pile-up on 295, a shooting in Mount
heck of a party at the Kappa Delta Sig house at Georgetown. They're
to get me into surgery by midnight," Mulder responded, sitting
up in the
bed. Scully pulled up the pillow so he could sit more comfortably.
"Unfortunately I skipped lunch in hopes of a happy hour bonanza
gym so now I'm starving for the foreseeable future."
"That's actually really good, Mulder. If you had food in
could aspirate and die," Scully answered.
"Have I ever told you that too much information can be a
asked. "Besides, the doc said they'll do this with a spinal
general. Easier on the digestive tract. I'll be off the ice chips
onto the Jell-O in no time."
Scully smiled and shook her head. "I'm a little frightened
you are with these types of procedures." She pointed toward
"Are you in much pain?"
"At the gym, yes. Here, not so bad. I have to admit, I took
gratefully when it was offered." That and Scully appearing.
surprised to discover how much her presence alone was making him
It must have been bad, Scully mused. Mulder was notorious for
pain tolerance. In med school they had described these kinds of
injuries as extremely painful. Her mind ran over what she knew
treatment and recovery. Surgery to repair the tear would be first,
followed by a short hospital stay and then a period of immobility.
"Deep in thought?" he asked, interrupting her mental
run through the
Physician's Desk Reference.
"I was just trying to remember what I learned about the recovery
injury. Has the doctor given you any timeline?" she asked,
chair next to his bed closer before she sat down.
"Not really. He said they'll keep me here a few days, then
at home for a while. It could take like 6 to 8 weeks to be back
"How are you going to manage? You'll probably need some help
"I figure that there has to be some kind of well-endowed
help me with my bed bath," he responded, his mouth in a characteristic
smirk. Swedish nurse, Irish FBI agent...anything would do, really.
"More likely a retired Army nurse with kinked up hair ready
to help with
the enema," Scully said, moving to adjust his pillows. She
had to admit
looked rather pathetic lying there, propped up, wearing only a
gown. The nurse at the desk had warned her to not open the bag
Mulder's gym clothes. Even with the clothes removed, he smelled
"So, did you win?" she asked, sitting back down.
"Two games. It was me and Henricks from VCU against some
guy from State
and that Olson kid from HUD. Those desk jockeys can never keep
kind of pathetic."
The conversation was interrupted as the curtain was pulled back
man in blue scrubs. Scully stood up and offered her hand to the
"I'm Dana Scully, Agent Mulder's partner," she said
as the young man
"Mike Kennerly, orthopod," he responded, shaking her
hand firmly. He
pulled up a stool and sat next to the bed. "We've cleared
will get you upstairs in a little bit. I wanted to detail the
before we go in. The tear is pretty typical. We call you guys
warriors.' You're in good shape, but unfortunately your age is
with you. Fortunately the recovery for middle-aged males is pretty
Kennerly paused as he observed Mulder's pained expression. It
that he didn't consider himself anywhere near middle-aged, and
reminder of his mortality was not very welcome.
"Anyway, we go in, stitch the two tendon pieces together
and put you in
cast. It's a lower leg cast for about six weeks. There will be
amount of follow-up therapy to deal with the ankle involvement,
but in a
couple of months, you'll be back to normal."
Mulder sighed and lay back against the gurney. Two months was
but there was little to be done now. What a stupid thing to do.
felt the twinge in game two, ignored it thinking it would go away,
in game three, taking the fade-away jumper for the win, he heard
It was a sickening sound, loud enough for everyone on the court
"You'll be fine," Scully said, patting his arm. "Anything
I can do
"Fish?" he simply said.
"Consider it done," she answered as the surgical team
came in to prepare
him. Of course she would watch after the fish...and him. It was
did. She wasn't even sure it was a conscious decision any longer.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
West Branch, Iowa
John Steiner had been volunteering at the Hoover Presidential
his retirement from the IRS in 1994. Tuesdays and Thursdays were
to work in the reading room, helping patrons with the more routine
requests. The large collection of Depression-related material
attract a wide variety of researchers.
He had been starting to put away the photographs he had been labeling,
one of the patrons, a young woman, caught his eye. She motioned
had a question for him.
"Having some trouble?" he asked, stopping at her table.
"Yes, this letter is still in its envelope. May I take it
He took the envelope from her and looked at it. It was unlabelled,
there didn't seem to be a good reason for it to remain sealed.
document back over to his table. He slid his small spatula underneath
seal and carefully opened the letter. He could feel his throat
He struggled for a breath as the world turned black.
Scully walked into Skinner's office, surprised to see Mulder sitting
usual spot, his bad leg propped up on a chair. After a few post-op
her guest bedroom she had dropped him off at his apartment. He
her regularly trying to keep track of her investigations, but
he had not
mentioned anything about coming into the office.
Skinner was nowhere to be seen and Mulder was seemingly engrossed
file. She walked over to stand next to him. She stood there for
finally clearing her throat. "Is this an early April Fool's
"Hey, Scully. I didn't notice you there," Mulder said,
remark. He laid aside the file and pulled his glasses off, setting
wire rims down on the desk. "How was your weekend? Any exciting
"If you call three loads of laundry, lunch with my mother
and a trip to
Pentagon City exciting, then I guess it would qualify," she
pulling a chair over. "What has you so excited on this Monday?
still on medical leave?"
Mulder nodded. "I am, but Skinner called me about a case
Something I can work on at home.
Ah, that explained the uncharacteristic excitement in his eyes,
thought. She knew he was bored at home. She had considered a book
Libs and some brain teasers to keep him occupied, but it appeared
assistant director had his own ideas about diversionary activities.
"Two weeks ago a processing archivist at the National Archives
on a portion of the 1920 census. Within 10 minutes of working
material he collapsed. He was pronounced dead by the Beltsville
Department upon their arrival at the Archives."
"So, what does that have to do with us?" Scully asked,
pulling the file
over so she could look at it.
"When the police were re-interviewing his co-workers yesterday,
mentioned she thought she had heard of similar deaths. When she
the investigators the back issues of announcements from the Society
American Archivists, they discovered that this is the fourth death
kind in the past few months. A high level staff member at the
Archives who has some connection to Skinner requested priority
the case. Skinner asked for me."
"The fourth death? Have they all been at the Archives?"
picking up several pages of the report to look at more closely.
you mean Skinner requested you? You're still on restricted duty."
"Well, to answer your first question, no. One was at a Texas
storage facility in Austin, another was an elderly volunteer at
Presidential library in Iowa and the third one was a technician
University of Maryland. On the second point, I think Skinner hopes
engage my mind while my body is laid up."
"Oh, your master mind? What is my part in all of this?"
"Watson to my Holmes?"
"Were they all working on the census?" Scully asked,
"No, each person had been working on different projects.
seem to be any unifying theme. Some were government records, others
manuscript collections. The repositories are private, public,
There doesn't seem to be anything that would connect them, but
are too similar to be coincidental."
"What is the cause of death? Have autopsies been done?"
"Each victim was autopsied. They all presented with similar
death. The skin near their nose and mouth was red and irritated
lungs damaged beyond repair. They have been described as looking
"How long from the initial onset until death?" Scully
on a pad of paper.
"Approximately fifteen seconds," Mulder responded. Scully
and looked up at him, a stunned expression on her face.
"Fifteen seconds? Are you sure about that?" she asked.
pushed the autopsy reports toward her. She picked up the top report,
technician at Maryland. He had been working in the special collections
reading room. Upon opening a box to examine it before serving
it to a
patron, he had been observed coughing slightly, and then collapsing.
was dead when the campus security officer reached him.
Scully looked up as Skinner entered the office. He acknowledged
with a nod and took a seat behind his desk.
"Sir, do you really think this is a good idea?" Scully
head towards Mulder.
"You don't need to talk like I'm not in the room," Mulder
reflecting the pout his face was beginning to betray. Good lord.
appreciated all of her help, the errands she had run when he really
couldn't get around, but she had to know how stir-crazy he was
"Mulder, I know you. I know how dedicated, obsessed even,
working on a case. Do you know what the rate of re-injury is for
your age? You would have to start all over with your therapy.
end up with a limp."
"Can we please stop discussing how old and decrepit my body
is and focus
this case?" Mulder asked. "I am going to work on it
from my apartment
possibly from our office. Any field work that has to be done will
"Those are the only conditions under which I released the
file to him,
Agent Scully," Skinner answered. "He violates any of
one of those and
off the case. I also said it would be up to you. Are you comfortable
working under these conditions?"
Scully paused for a moment. She really wasn't sure. She knew that
needed something to do, but why couldn't he take up a hobby? If
few weeks at home she could definitely enjoy some books she had
planning on reading for the past three years. But that was her,
Mulder. "Fine. It'll work."
"Good. I'm sure my friend will appreciate your efforts. The
community is very close-knit and they are justifiably concerned
something toxic is in their midst."
"So each of these repositories has archivists trained at
no less than
fifteen different universities, with previous work experience
different repositories. This is like a needle in a haystack,"
pulling her glasses off and rubbing her eyes.
"We're talking about a group of how many?" Mulder asked,
set his coffee cup back down on the table.
"With the number at the National Archives it's over 200 and
the professionals. That doesn't take into account technicians,
workers, anyone else."
"We must be missing something here," Mulder said reaching
under his cast. Scully swatted his hand away.
"Don't do that."
"I have to, it itches," Mulder complained.
"You're only going to make it worse," Scully replied.
Mulder pulled his
hand away, making a face at her.
Mulder opened the file again. "This makes no sense. The tech
University of Maryland died as soon as he opened the box. The
Hoover library handled the envelope and only when Steiner opened
envelope did he die."
"What was in the envelope?"
"A standard report from the department of Treasury. Something
Hoover's office would have gotten every week. The lab has been
find no trace of toxin on the sheet. It did, however, disintegrate
Steiner had touched it."
"But no one else was affected?" Scully asked.
"No. The woman, Lauren Gibbons, was less than a foot away.
logical reason why she would not have also been affected, yet
examined for trace evidence and there was none. It's like this
jumped up, killed Steiner and then just disappeared."
Scully leaned back and rolled her neck. She had spent the last
examining the four victims. Although it was an interesting case,
had begun to ache and she was more than aware of the pounding
of her head. Her eyes began to slip closed when she snapped back
attention at the sound of her cell phone ringing.
"Hey, how soon can you get down here?" Mulder asked.
"I'm just finishing up Weissman." The victim from Texas
had been their
first and his body was definitely in the worst shape.
"Well, I may have something, so get here as soon as you can.
"Get some of that fantastic Szechuan chicken at Hunan's.
I'll have the
crab Rangoon and the hot and sour soup."
Scully snapped her phone close without further comment. She was
with this case, but sometimes it felt like it was just a way for
save on tips to the delivery boy.
Continued in Part Two
Disclaimers in Part One
For missing parts, please see http://www.geocities.com/rvagts
Mulder's door swung open to allow Scully to enter. Hopping back
desk using one crutch, he stopped as Scully began to admonish
"They give you two crutches for a good reason," Scully
said as she
into the living room. She set the bags of steaming Chinese down
table. Mulder continued his path back to the desk chair where
down with a sigh.
"Nah, it's just a racket to make more money. I really only
Mulder replied, swiveling so he could see her sitting on the couch.
reached forward for the smaller of the two bags and pulled out
container of hot and sour soup.
"Believe me, Mulder, between the cost containment of the
federal HMO and
your proclivity for exercising the acute rather than preventive
plan, no one is coming out ahead one crutch or two. Just follow
physical therapist's treatment plan."
Mulder nodded his agreement as he slurped the soup from his spoon.
"What did you find?" Scully asked. "It sounded
urgent on the phone."
"An interesting e-mail showed up in my box this morning.
It came from a
Hotmail account registered to a Marie Livingston."
"Who's Marie Livingston?"
"As far as I can tell, it's a made up name, but I called
Danny and he
able to track down the IP address the message originated from.
from a terminal in the library at the University of Wisconsin."
"So what was in the message?" Scully asked, crossing
over to look at
Mulder's computer screen. He scrolled down so the entire message
Archives deaths are related. 1983 was a very important
year for the fellows at the Library of Congress. Of
course now they're dead and dying. Better talk to them
"I did some preliminary searching and the results are rather
Mulder said. "The message tells us to take a closer look
at the 1983
Junior Fellows at the Library of Congress, but when I looked for
class, there wasn't one. Every other year there is a group of
undergraduate and graduate students."
"So the message is a hoax?" Scully asked.
"I don't think so. Despite the austerity of non-defense spending
the Reagan years, the Library remained largely untouched, even
significant renovation during the mid-80s, but that didn't start
"So, who would know?" Scully asked, as she reached for
the box of fried
"I'm pretty sure Gen used to work over there. We could ask
responded. Scully nodded. Gen Wilson, one of the FBI archivists,
helpful to them on a number of occasions. Mulder reached for his
dialing the main switch number. He was quickly connected to the
"FBI Archives, Gen speaking," the older woman's voice
came over the
"Gen, it's Fox Mulder. I see you're still burning the midnight
exchanged pleasantries and then Mulder explained his problem.
working in the manuscripts section at the library in the 1980s.
couldn't remember which year for sure, but one of the years there
a change in the junior fellows program. Instead of working at
a group of fellows had worked at the Pentagon. It had been some
records management project that had been funded by the Department
Defense. Mulder thanked her and got off the phone.
"We need to look for a Wisconsin connection. This may be
been looking for," Mulder told Scully.
They got a list of the participants in the 1983 DOD project. It
rather innocuous. There were fifteen participants from thirteen
graduate programs. At the time of their fellowship, each had been
at an archival institution, including the Hoover Library, NARA,
repository in Texas and Maryland. Of the fifteen, nine were still
profession, four had taken jobs in other fields and two were dead.
no longer regretted not getting Mulder a book of brainteasers.
here were worthy of any analytical section of the GRE. She felt
needed a piece of graph paper just to keep them all straight.
Two of the participants had gone to Wisconsin. Jim Everson now
an insurance agent in New Hope, MN and Leann Morrison was dead.
died of lung cancer the year before after working her entire career
State Historical Society of Wisconsin. None of the other participants
any connection to Wisconsin.
Mulder called Everson, but he professed to not remember anything
about the 1983 project. They had spent the summer working in a
room removing staples from World War II munitions shipping lists.
been some of the most boring work he had ever done, and after
had not sought a position as an archivist. He had not been back
Wisconsin since the football team's run to the Rose Bowl in 1994.
"I can't believe you talked me into this," Scully said
as the cab pulled
in front of the Midwest Express curbside check-in. The driver
and started unloading their luggage as she helped Mulder from
slipped a backpack over his shoulders and tucked the crutches
"What could possibly happen? Besides, you know that you'll
further with my charm and good looks," Mulder responded.
"Skinner is going to kill me when he finds out. And he will
Just sit in this wheelchair and don't give me any more crap,"
threatened, taking the chair from the skycap. Mulder grudgingly
himself into it, complaining the entire time that he was not an
Scully took the baggage claim tickets from the ticketing agent
pushing him toward the gate.
"We're going to go to Madison and figure out who sent me
We're talking about archivists. It's not like we'll be running
the Flukeman," Mulder responded as Scully backed the wheelchair
corner out of the way. She plopped down into the chair next to
gave him a long stare.
"When is it ever as easy as we think it's going to be?"
she asked. "So
we have every indication that this is part of a government conspiracy.
These people, our people, do not play nice. Somebody could get
we should be doing is getting you home and finding me someone
While Scully had continued to examine the physical evidence for
indication of what had killed their victims, Mulder had worked
trying to find a link to their Madison connection. He had joined
Archives-L listserv to get a sense of the community. There had
significant discussion of the deaths, but no concrete leads...until
before. There had been a message from an archivist at the Wisconsin
Historical Society admonishing the lack of response from the Society
American Archivists...and the FBI. The e-mail was signed by Gwen
There was something about the message. The cadence was very similar
one received by Mulder earlier that week. Before Scully arrived
daily meeting, he had booked them seats on the first flight to
State Historical Society of Wisconsin
The elevator slowly creaked toward the fourth floor as Mulder
against the wall, trying to take some weight off his sore foot.
over at the young woman with a cart full of boxes.
She smiled back.
"Do you work here?" he asked. She was cute. Young.
She laughed lightly. "No, I just push this cart of boxes
He nodded. "Can you tell me where to find Gwen Murphy?"
"Sure, just go straight down the hall. The receptionist can
you. Her desk is back in the processing room."
The elevator finally arrived and Mulder waited for a moment as
woman pushed her cart off the elevator. He followed her slowly
long hall. She stopped to unlock a door, turning back to smile
again and then disappeared with her cart into the bowels of the
Mulder approached the receptionist, asking for Gwen.
"I'm Gwen Murphy," a slight, brown-haired woman standing
"I'm Fox Mulder." He moved to pull his identification
from his pocket,
before he could get it fully out, she stopped him.
"Please, let's talk somewhere more private, Mr. Mulder,"
leading him down the hall to an empty office. Inside the office
pointed to a chair for Mulder to sit down.
"How did you find me?" she asked.
"I'm more concerned with how you found me, what you know
Mulder replied. "Were you in the class, the 1983 fellows?"
Gwen shook her head. "No, I graduated in 1991."
"Then what do you know?"
"I'm not sure. There...people talked. There are a lot of
a lot of history, they know people, they know things," she
"Do you have any concrete evidence? Why is this happening?"
"I don't know . I don't know anything. I shouldn't have contacted
I'm sorry. This was a mistake," Murphy answered.
Before Mulder could respond, she stood up and walked out of the
Scully walked into the bagel shop. The room was filled with students
working at tables, the floor littered with their bags and related
paraphernalia. She caught Mulder's eye as he signaled her over
table. She carefully navigated the obstacle course, nearly tripping
one woman's bag which was attached to a small luggage cart. Mulder
created his own obstacle course of sorts, his crutches propped
the wall, his bum leg sticking out into what passed for an aisle
the small round tables.
"Dangerous place, this Madison," she said, taking a
seat across from her
"Actually, according to _Money_ magazine, it's supposed to
be the best
place to live in America," Mulder responded, pushing a cup
her. "I got you a double shot and an asiago cheese bagel.
cheese, too. I remembered you were real particular about that."
Scully nodded and accepted the food and drink. She bit into the
Mulder pulled out a set of papers.
"Hey, did you know that it was rumored that Leo Burt, the
in the bombing of the Army Math Research Center never to be caught,
actually the Unabomber?"
Scully cocked her eyebrow at him, her mouth still occupied with
"Of course, it wasn't him, but his accomplice Karleton Armstrong
only served his time and returned to society, but he was outside
Library selling Smoothies when I hobbled by. You should try the
strawberry. Very good."
Scully set down the half-eaten bagel, reaching across the table
Mulder's hand in hers. "Mulder, you need to do something
recitation of trivia. Use your talents for good, not evil. Try
Jeopardy or something."
Mulder laughed and turned his attention back to the open file.
thought you could use some local context. I don't know what kind
you had, but I'm starting to think we're on to something here.
Gwen Murphy about the junior fellows program. She graduated from
program here in 1991, but when I talked to her, she was very
about the whole situation. I got the sense that she had more to
"So, she's a dead end?"
"I'm not sure. What did you find out from Jeanne Ness?"
Scully flipped open her notebook. "Jeanne was Leann Morrison's
in the state records division of the archives. More importantly,
supervised Morrison's work before and after Morrison's summer
in DC. I
asked her about Leann's health. She said that it was never really
after Leann returned from Washington. They had tested the building
ventilation issues and while there were some traces of mold, it
that would harm any healthy adult. When they finally discovered
lung cancer, she was already on partial disability from her asthma.
her health so frail, no one was surprised that she died very quickly."
"That has to be the key," Mulder responded. "I'm
going to call Gwen.
knows more about this than she's telling us."
Paisan's Italian Restaurant
Mulder hobbled into the darkened restaurant, Scully holding the
him. Waiting near the coat rack, Gwen Murphy saw Mulder and Scully
She indicated that they should follow her through the restaurant
in the back where they would have some privacy.
Mulder slid awkwardly into the booth, Scully propping his crutches
against the wall. The server appeared promptly and after ordering
were again left to talk privately.
"I really shouldn't be here at all," Gwen said, leaning
across the table
whispering. "I wish you had just left me alone."
"Obviously you were concerned enough to find out that we
the case and to send me the clue. Miss Murphy, we need your help
What do you know about the toxin?" Mulder asked.
"I--I just know what Leann told me," Gwen answered,
turning her head to
if anyone was listening. They were alone in the last row of booths.
"Why don't you just tell us what you know," Scully said,
the agitated woman.
"We--Leann was my--we had been together for about five years
sick. She--she thought it might have something to do with her
Pentagon. She was only 40 when they diagnosed the cancer. They
operate, but it had already spread to her back and then her brain.
went really quickly, never responding to treatment."
"What made her think that her work at the Pentagon might
have caused the
cancer?" Mulder asked.
Gwen sat silent for a moment. She had kept this in for so long,
herself for not helping Leann when she could. But Leann had always
her that worse things would happen if they talked. Well, now Leann
dead and it didn't feel like there was anything else they could
her. Taking a deep breath, she continued.
"She was part of the group that was split off, eight of them.
Harkin, he's dead--emphysema or something. He was 37. I think
four others that are sick. She said that something had been sent
them, a spray treatment that was supposed to be a test for a program
working with de-acidification. They were supposed to spray something
the collection they were working on."
"At the Pentagon?" Scully asked.
"No, when they got back home. They were supposed to spray
collection they were working on at the time and not tell anyone.
test whether or not you could draw acid out of paper. Leann said
make any sense, but it was the federal government, so she figured
what they were talking about. She never told me about this, not
end, when she knew she was going to die."
"The others, what are they sick with?" Scully asked,
taking advantage of
Gwen's sudden candor.
"Lung diseases. Leann had cancer, but the main reason she
went so fast
her asthma. She was pretty weak before they ever started the
I didn't even want her to do it, but she...she wanted to beat
whatever it took."
"And you think there's a connection?" Mulder asked.
"All I know is that Leann thought so and that's good enough
"Do you know what she was working on, what collection the
toxin might be
in?" Mulder asked.
"No, she never had a chance to tell me, but maybe Jeanne
pretty anal about tracking all that stuff, keeps a work journal
Mulder reached for his cell phone. Gwen grabbed his hand. "There
something we could have done sooner, Mr. Mulder, was there? Could
Mulder flipped the phone closed. "I don't know. But, we will
is responsible for this, I promise you that."
State Historical Society of Wisconsin
"You need to know what Leann was working on fifteen years
said as she looked up from her desk. Mulder nodded. She indicated
chair next to her desk. "You might as well sit down. I should
information, but it may take a while to find it."
Mulder gratefully sat down. The walk back from lunch had started
ache around his ankle and now his entire calf seemed to be on
"So, do they make all of you work when you should be in the
"You should have seen me on a case when I was in a full upper
She smiled and turned back to her computer. "1983. Well,
we were just
starting to really use these computers then. I think I had my
here. Of course it would have been on a 5 1/4" disk, but
those in the 90s."
Mulder's head began to droop as she droned on.
"I'm not boring you, Agent Mulder, am I?"
His head snapped back up. "Not at all, Ms. Ness. It's the
She nodded and again began searching. "Ah, here we go. Student
activities. Well, let me...yes...that's what I thought. Leann
on a collection of materials from the International Union of Life
Actuaries. She processed that right after she got back from DC.
I remember that. I had offered her either that collection or the
work on part of the International Harvester collection. I was
surprised when she turned me down on the IH collection."
"Would that collection be heavily used?"
"Absolutely, it's one of the jewels of our collection,"
"Tractor guys come from all over."
"Mostly looking to restore old implements. We can hear from
up to five
hundred of them a year. They use the old owner's guides."
"And the actuaries?"
"I doubt the collection has been off the shelf since we finished
Mulder pulled his phone out. "This is Special Agent Fox Mulder.
level four hazmat team to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin,
Archives Division. Immediately."
Outside the State Historical Society of Wisconsin
"I'll call you as soon as I know anything," Scully said
as she closed
door to Mulder's cab.
He leaned back as the car pulled away from the curb. Scully was
the lab at University Hospital to test Leann Morrison's collection
if they could find evidence of the toxin. Mulder was going home
physical therapy. Although this case was pretty bread and butter,
intrigued him and it seemed so unfair that his portion of the
was being interrupted by his physical infirmities.
They still didn't know if Leann Morrison had sprayed anything
actuary collection, but her comments to Jeanne Ness indicated
had she gone ahead with the project, but that she was also aware
potential ramifications. He needed to talk to someone else who
there that summer. Perhaps they knew something as well.
Mulder pulled the list of names from the case file. Two were dead.
left six names to investigate.
Concluded in Part Three
Disclaimers in Part One
For missing parts, please see http://www.geocities.com/rvagts
University Hospital Labs
"Mulder, pick up, it's me." Scully thrummed her hands
on the counter as
she waited for Mulder to answer the phone. "Okay, you're
me as soon as you have a chance. I think we've isolated the substance."
Scully ended the call and set the phone down on the counter. Where
After the hazmat team had removed 10 small boxes of material from
historical society, they had examined each document in the collection.
There was one blank piece of paper. Scully had tested it for all
biotoxins. Although there had been no exact match, there had been
match to a toxin used by the Iraqi army during the Persian Gulf
was the toxin that was now being blamed for Gulf War Syndrome.
Scully turned to see Dave Peterson, the chief investigator in
"I think I've figured out the reason the rates of infection
disparate," the researcher said, holding out a page of results.
Scully reached for the results and scanned them quickly. "Oxidation.
can't believe I didn't think of that. So, the composition of the
would slowly change over time. Could the type of materials it
sprayed on also affect the rate?"
"That would be my conclusion, but we would have to look at
that had been exposed."
Scully nodded. "We should be able to isolate the exposed
the next couple of days. I called for two more field agents to
remaining repositories. Do you mind finishing this one up? I think
better get back to D.C."
Mulder reached for the small cane as he climbed from the rented
his appointment the day before he had been given a large walking
which he immediately hated. Despite the therapist's admonition
using the crutches, he had found a cane at the local medical supply
It would be much easier to maneuver this way.
He hobbled up the sidewalk to Paul Holden's house. Holden had
the Texas record center in the 1980s. More recently he had been
archivist at Baxter College, a local private liberal arts college.
lifted his hand and knocked on the door.
"Yes?" A dark-haired woman answered the door.
"I'm looking for Paul Holden," Mulder responded, holding
up his badge.
woman pushed the door open and allowed him to step into the hallway.
"I'm sorry, my husband is finishing his treatment, but if
you can wait a
couple minutes, I'm sure he would be glad to speak with you, Agent..."
"Yes, Agent Mulder."
She led him into the kitchen and invited him to sit down. Mulder
hear a small motor running in the other room and a man coughing.
"My husband has emphysema," Mrs. Holden explained.
Mulder looked at her more carefully. She couldn't be older than
under the impression that her husband was any older. Who had done
He looked up to see a gaunt man walk into the kitchen.
"Agent Mulder, my wife says you would like to talk?"
"Well, then, let's talk."
Holden led the way out onto a screened-in porch. He sat down on
lounge and indicated that Mulder should have a seat as well.
"Have they found something?"
"Why do you ask, Mr. Holden?"
"You're an FBI agent. I'm assuming you're here to talk about
more serious than the taxes I didn't pay on the stuff I sold on
"No, that's not it, Mr. Holden," Mulder replied.
"Paul. I know that Leann and Peter died. I know that I'm
sick and I
that Kathy Olson, George Murphy and Susan Strom have all had their
health problems. I don't think that can be a coincidence."
"Are you aware that a technician at the Texas State Records
three months ago?"
"He was doing a basic inventory for a new location system
in place. He was checking a box of receipts for the Texas Penal
when he was overcome and died instantly. It was some kind of toxin
affected his respiratory system."
Holden began to cough, finally stopping when he took a drink of
"The penal records?"
"Yes. Was that the collection you worked on after you returned
"Please don't ask me that, Agent Mulder."
"I have a wife, a family. It's...it's going to hard enough
I'm gone. Don't make this any worse."
"Why do you say that, Mr. Holden? What would make it worse?"
leaning toward Holden.
"We were warned. The man, in charge, he seemed, I don't know...he
Holden had begun to sweat, his breathing becoming more labored.
Holden's wife appeared at the door. "Mr. Mulder, I think
you had better
"I just..." Mulder stopped. He handed Holden his card.
ultimately it's better for you to talk to me."
Holden took the card. "I just can't. I can't risk it. I'm
Mulder nodded and turned to leave. "I...I hope you feel better."
Metropolitan Topeka Airport
Mulder's phone rang as he sat near the gate waiting for his plane
Washington. He pulled the phone from his jacket, flipping it open
"Agent Mulder, this is Paul Holden."
Mulder grabbed his bag and started hunting for a pad of paper
and a pen.
"Thanks for calling me, Paul. I was just about to get on
"I talked to my wife and well, we decided it was better that
I tell you
what I know. The others, they aren't as sick as me. Maybe you
them from this."
"So, something did happen that summer?" Mulder asked.
"Yes. They...they gave us something to put in it, into our
"What did they say the spray was?"
"It was a new type of de-acidification spray, it was supposed
acidity out of other papers. Acid will destroy the paper of a
well as the other things around it if you don't treat it. They
longitudinal test in a variety of locations. It didn't really
sense to me, but they were the Pentagon, I figured they had to
they were talking about. You said something happened at the depository,
"Yes and by all indications, the project you participated
in is related.
Who ran the project, who gave you the spray to use on your collection?"
Mulder asked, furiously taking notes.
"There was one man, someone in charge. Matthew Bailey. I
about him, but he was definitely the one calling the shots."
"Thank you, Paul. Thank you very much," Mulder said,
ending the call.
looked at his watch. Twenty minutes until his flight. He immediately
dialed another number.
"Danny, I need you to run a name for me. He probably is or
employee, maybe CIA. Or DOD. Matthew Bailey. Yeah. Thanks, Danny.
owe you. Yeah, again."
Mulder ended the call and leaned back into the uncomfortable plastic
He should get back to DC by midnight for more therapy tomorrow
and hopefully some resolution on this case.
The answer had to be in there somewhere. What was this spray?
things been treated in such varied areas? It seemed that if the
wanted to test something they would just use their labs. Why would
unleash it on unsuspecting people? Once again, he was amazed that
would so blindly trust the government. Both Gwen Murphy and Paul
had commented on it.
His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone.
"Hey, you didn't answer at home."
Quick, man, excuse. As far as Scully knew, he was sacked out on
"Yeah, something with the line. So, what did you find out?"
Scully explained the suspected origin of the toxin as well as
effect. "Skinner assigned Menendez and Simpson to follow-up
potentially exposed collections."
"Good. I think I have a solid lead. I spoke with one of the
participants and he gave me the name of the man they worked with
Mulder tried to cover the phone as the ticket agent began to call
boarding for his flight.
"What was that, Mulder?" Scully asked.
"TV, sorry, I'll turn it down."
"Well, good luck with your lead. I'm out of here in a couple
Should I stop by tonight?"
"Uh...no. I'm...I'm really beat and I think I'm just going
to hit the
now. But, I'll be in the office around noon. See you then?"
watching everyone around get up to board the plane. Damn. He had
to pre-board. It was so hard with the cane, his bag, his coat...
"Sure, noon," Scully answered.
Mulder ended the call before Scully got any more clues that he
where he was supposed to be.
University of Wisconsin labs
3 hours later
"Well, I think I'm going to go back to the hotel. You'll
call me if
out anything else?" Scully asked. She had been hunched over
for most of the day and even the hot tub at the Howard Johnson's
going to help her tonight."
Dave Peterson, the director of the lab nodded. "Yeah, go
Scully. These grad students live for a project like this one.
Scully pulled off her gloves and set the protective eye gear down
counter. As she went to put on her coat Peterson called her back
"Agent Scully, I think you need to see this," he said,
gesturing to his
Scully leaned over to read the e-mail message on his screen. He
their preliminary results to a number of colleagues hoping that
had seen something similar before.
"Who is this person?" Scully asked.
"She was a classmate of mine at Harvard. She went on to get
her PhD in
biochemistry through some Defense Department program. I think
working for the feds since then. Does this make any sense to you?"
"I need to call my partner," Scully answered, pulling
her phone out.
"Hey, it's me. I'm glad I caught you. My flight got canceled,
still in Madison. Looks like I'll either get out of here in a
if the fog clears or I might try driving to Milwaukee to get a
"You get the results from the toxin?" Mulder asked.
"I tried to call you back last night but there was no answer.
off the phone, a colleague of Dave Peterson, the scientist I had
working with, called. This woman had worked on the project before
ended and had recognized the chemical formula he sent to her.
guy working no the project, Matthew Bailey. She didn't know what
happened to him, but said he was trouble. When I described what's
happening she said it totally fit his profile. He's controlling
"Thanks Scully. I'll get Danny on Bailey," Mulder said,
Scully's information. It all fit with what Holden had told him
"I'll come over as soon as I get in," Scully said. Mulder
The phone rang again a moment later.
"What did you forget?" Mulder asked as he answered the
"Sorry, sir. I was expecting Scully," Mulder replied,
taking a seat on
"Sorry to bother you at home, Agent Mulder. I just received
from the police in San Marino, California. There's been another
this time at the Huntington Library."
"He's escalating," Mulder responded.
"What do you mean, Agent Mulder?"
"One or two deaths would be a horrible coincidence, but this
one in as many months and they're coming quicker and quick. It's
coincidence. Whether or not these poisoned items have been lying
all along, there is someone making sure we know about it now."
"Do you have a suspect, Agent Mulder?"
"Uh yes...maybe. Let me make some calls," Mulder replied.
"Keep me in the loop, Mulder. We had a deal, right?"
feeling like Mulder was not being completely forthcoming.
Mulder agreed and hung up the phone. He pulled his notes out and
"Danny, what do you have for me?"
Mulder turned onto the Columbia Pike. Danny had managed to track
Matthew Bailey in Falls Church. It appeared that his career with
had ended abruptly in the mid 1980s. There wasn't a lot of information
about his activities with the CIA, but there were indications
worked with counter-terrorism, most likely in the Middle East.
hadn't been able to get the specifics, but it looked like his
from the Agency was related to a short hospitalization in a Northern
Virginia mental health center in early 1983. Bailey had been running
soup kitchen out of a warehouse in Fairfax County but there had
sign of him for about a month.
Mulder parked his car outside the warehouse and got out. There
signs of activity like Danny had reported. He had tried to call
give her an update, but there was no answer on her cell phone.
must have cleared and she was in route to Washington. He left
message telling her he would meet her at the office instead. Finishing
call, he walked up the steps to the door, first knocking and then
"Mr. Bailey. Matthew Bailey. Federal agent." Mulder
paused for a
and then walked forward slowly.
There was movement in the dimly lit office area to the right of
warehouse. Well, that was a surprise, Mulder thought. He advanced
carefully toward the office.
"Matthew Bailey?" Mulder questioned, moving toward the
man as he slipped
his gun from his hip holster. "I need to speak to you, about
"Project?" Bailey asked, stepping closer to Mulder.
Out of the shadows,
Mulder could see that the man had to be near 70. He was
and his hair was completely gray. In Bailey's hand Mulder could
small spray can. What was it? The toxin? DWD-40?
"At the Pentagon. The archivists. Your summer project."
called Skinner back after he talked to Danny. Having the cavalry
would not be the worst thing that had ever happened. Of course
he had not called Skinner. He might be able to convince Scully
go, but Skinner was a different story all together. If he had
boss, he would be sitting on his leather couch listening to the
scanner as this whole thing went down.
"They should have not tried to stop me. I proved it to them.
Now everyone will know." Bailey held the can up higher.
"Know what?" Mulder asked. He saw Bailey hold the can
out as the older
pulled a mask over his face. It took Mulder a second to realize
happening. Shit, this was it. Mulder tried to turn and leave,
cane caught on the edge of a pallet tripping him. Falling to the
started to choke and then everything went black.
Mulder slowly opened his eyes, the room slowly coming into focus.
hear the beeping of monitors and felt the tube in his throat,
slightly as he tried to breathe on his own.
"Hey there, Mr. Mulder. Just relax. Let me get the doctor
that tube out of there."
Mulder looked to the side to identify the dark-haired nurse standing
to his bed. She made note of one of the monitors and then left,
to get the doctor.
"Hey there, partner."
Mulder's eyes drifted the other way to see Scully, her face covered
concern. Quickly the look dissolved and was replaced with a
"Would it have killed you to call someone with some actual
could have let another set of agents go question Bailey...even
would have gone." Taking advantage of Mulder's inability
to speak, she
continued, dropping down on the chair next to the bed. "Do
you have a
Mulder started to shake his head no, then stopped as his head
pound and the tube dragged uncomfortably in his throat.
"You have a slight concussion, Mr. Mulder."
Mulder snapped his eyes open again at the sound of a new voice.
woman in a lab coat stood next to Scully.
"I'm Doctor Kemp. You're lucky they found you so quickly.
lungs for exposure to a biotoxin. We were giving those lungs a
rest, but I think we can get that tube out of there now. Take
as deep a
breath as possible and then exhale. Good."
Mulder tried to blow as hard as he could as the doctor extracted
"Bailey?" he gasped as the tube came out.
"Mulder, he almost killed you!"
Mulder gratefully took the ice chips offered by the nurse.
"No, but the FBI and the Virginia State Patrol are looking
for him. He
it. The whole thing was his project. The toxin was from a biological
warfare experiment run by the DOD and closed down in 1982. For
reason Bailey decided to resurrect it and gave the toxin to the
"We won't know until we find him. I do know that he was removed
project because of mental health problems. The records are sealed,
of the other participants in the study said Bailey had begun to
"How did you find this out?"
"Danny. He got access to a few more records after he talked
to you. He
tried your cell, but you didn't answer. He tried me next. I called
Skinner. Fortunately, Danny knew where you were going."
"Stupid." Very stupid. And stubborn. Crippled. Impatient.
went on and on.
"Yes, you were. You're just lucky they found you when they
Mulder...you could have died! Thankfully your exposure was slight
had an antidote. Instead of carrying an oxygen tank around for
your days like Paul Holden, you'll just have to endure a couple
Mulder just groaned at the thought of more doctors, more therapy.
"Sorry. Just impulsive..." Mulder gasped out. It wasn't
impulsive. He hadn't known for sure Bailey was going to be there.
did find him, Mulder had even tried to leave. Mulder stopped his
mid-way through. This argument was not going to win him any points.
"I know," she responded, moving over to the side of
his bed. "Besides,
screwed this one up and I'm not dealing with OPR on my own...not
Two weeks later
Scully entered Assistant Director Skinner's office to once again
Mulder in the chair with his foot propped up. He had actually
the doctor and had been taking it easy at home the last couple
she was surprised to see him here.
"Isn't that foot supposed to be better?" she asked,
smiling as she sat
next to him.
"Soon. Something about missing physical therapy," Mulder
don't know, it seemed like some kind of conspiracy to me."
personal stupidity and stubborn behavior, but he wasn't going
door at this juncture.
"Agent Scully. Agent Mulder," Skinner said, coming in
and sitting down
behind his desk. "Good to have you back again, Agent Mulder.
you've read Agent Scully's report."
Mulder nodded. Several times. Once again she had pulled his ass
sling on this one.
Scully spoke up, saying, "I do think it's important to highlight
although Agents Menendez and Simpson have identified all the remaining
infected collections, Matthew Bailey remains at large. We've
national alert. Since we have not established where his most recent
of the toxin was, we don't know is if he still has more available."
"What's the next step, agents?" Skinner asked.
"Based on the psychiatric records, Bailey is diagnosed as
schizophrenic. He's prone to delusion. He seems to have some kind
notion that this project was his to complete. Right before he
he said that it was his project, that the Pentagon had no right
from completing the testing. He wants the whole world to know
could create," Mulder began.
"Agent Scully noted that the toxin is very similar to one
used by the
Iraqis in the Gulf. The antidote they treated me with is from
research. " Mulder paused to cough lightly into his hand
"I think that if we were given access to the records we might
project did continue, that we shared that science with Iraq when
government was assisting them in the 1970s and 1980s. It's possible
Bailey knew this, that this caused him to try to bring his actions
light. In further contact with the repositories where the victims
found that all of the collections had been requested. When I tried
contact Lauren Gibbons, the researcher in Iowa I discovered her
been falsified. She doesn't exist."
"When we went back to the warehouse and talked to the people
served they reported that he was very suspicious of the government,
about conspiracies against him. There was a young woman that also
with him. We think she may have posed as Lauren Gibbons,"
Mulder leaned forward in his chair, "I think that Bailey
deaths as a result of his paranoia and I think he's capable of
many, many more. I think that we will find him attempting to spread
toxin as far and as wide as possible. We need to find a place
would reach a large audience, something related to archives, paper
preservation. It could be a conference, he could become a consultant.
will probably try to go after a lesser educated audience."
Family Memories scrapbook workshop
West Phoenix Community College
"And it has been proven to be more effective than Wei-To
materials. But don't trust me, take a bottle and try it at home.
been tested by all the leading laboratories. This spray is completely
harmless and safe to use."
A woman in the back raised her hand. "Why should we use this?"
"The acid in your precious family documents will destroy
the paper and
paper around it. By taking the acid out of the paper, you can
scrapbook you've worked on so hard for as long as you want, generations
even," answered the kind-faced older gentleman. "I've
been doing these
workshops all over the United States, in church basements and
halls. We've never had anybody complain. But again, don't trust
it for yourself."
The man smiled as the participants all came up to take a bottle.
Author's Notes: This is the amalgamation of the second and third
X-Files fanfic I ever started...two years ago. After languishing
hard drive for many, many months they finally turned into "Respect
Many thanks to all the folks who helped out with beta and general
hand-holding. In no particular order, thanks go to Marti, Beth,
Jamie, Sandy, Marie, Gerry and Jo-Ann. I guess not only does it
village to raise a child, but also for Rachel to write a fic.
Finally, thanks to Josh who once commented that to lose something
all you would have to do is put the archives box on the wrong
I'd love to hear what you thoughts...firstname.lastname@example.org.