STRUGHOLD RESEARCH FACILITY
MARCH 8, 2007
Beads of sweat roll down the side of Knowle
Rohrer’s face as he swings the axe down onto the piece of wood, breaking
it in half. A warm breeze comes over him, temporarily cooling him
from the blazing hot sun above.
He picks up his axe and slams it into the ground,
letting out a sigh as he looks up to observe his surroundings. He
feels there are eyes watching him. Turning to look back at the building,
he sees Scully, Skinner and Dr. Montgomery in deep conversation.
He can feel the sweat threatening to drip into
his eyes so he wipes the beads away with the sleeve of his t-shirt.
Through his peripheral vision he sees three sets of eyes look in his
direction for a brief moment until he looks up at them and they quickly
“We should tell him.” John Montgomery comments. He knows why Scully
doesn’t want to tell Knowle, but deep down he feels it wouldn’t be
right to hold this sort of information from him.
“A distracted Marine, is a dead Marines.”
Skinner helps Scully defend her position. “We can’t risk a man – a
Marine like Knowle to crumble because of guilt. I saw him remove that
chip from her neck. I know what he’ll think. He’ll blame himself,
he’ll feel he let John down.”
“He’s right.” Scully speaks up. “I told
him to remove the chip, and I made sure I didn’t tell him what the
consequences were.” She looks outside at Knowle as he picks up the
chopped wood. “I don’t know him well other than the fact that he’s
a Military expert, but perhaps that’s because he shuts himself off
emotionally. To me that says he bottles up his emotions. Guilt would
destroy him. I would know, I’m not that dissimilar from him.”
“Your cancer has no cure, Dana.” Montgomery
points out. “How do you think he’ll react when your health declines?
Won’t that ruin him just the same?”
Scully looks down at her hands. She can’t think
of that right now.
“I don’t know.” She says softly. “But
for now I don’t want to tell him. I think it’ll be for the best.”
She looks at them sternly and walks away, confident that they will
obey her wishes.
Skinner looks to Montgomery. “There’s nothing
we can do to help her?”
“No.” Montgomery wishes he had a different
answer. “The technology that saved her nearly ten years ago would
only endanger her now. She won’t risk that.”
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANGE
Brad Follmer stops walking, his legs about to
give out on him. The treacherous terrain of the Colorado Rocky Mountains
is giving him more of a workout than he had wanted.
“I need a break.” He calls out to Robert
Comer, who is ahead of him. Brad lowers himself to the ground, slips
his bag from his back and lets out a heavy sigh.
Robert comes over to him, kneeling down in front
of him. He hands Brad a bottle of water, which Brad accepts without
“This heat is exhausting.” Robert comments.
Brad nods in agreement and hands the bottle
back to Robert. Ever since Monica left them it’s been harder to make
meaningful conversation. It shouldn’t be like that, but without Monica,
Brad has nothing in common with Robert. When Monica was around, they
had someone to look after and protect. Now, they find themselves with
pointless chit-chat about the weather.
“She couldn’t have been more than a days
hike ahead of us.” Robert tries to remain positive despite how baffled
he was to find out she had left them without an explanation.
Brad on the other hand is not as confused. She
left her journal for him, opened to a page that explained her reasons
for leaving. Perhaps it is wrong of him to keep this information from
Robert, but Brad doesn’t think he should know. Why should he clue
him in right away? After all, Robert always seemed to have the advantage
over him when Monica was concerned.
This jealous side, is Brad’s shallow side. Every
time Robert would find a way to get closer to her, communicate with
her, even make her smile, he found himself wishing it were just he
Yet deep down Brad knows the root of his problem
with Robert: he’s mad at himself for not being the one to make her
smile. He’s mad he couldn’t be the one to communicate with her better
and now she is gone. Gone when there is so much he had to tell her.
So here he is. Stuck with Robert Comer, former
Marine and former lover of Monica Reyes.
“What makes you so sure she would be heading
towards the north?” Robert asks, completely unaware of Brad’s thoughts
“Before she lost her voice, she told me
the aliens were weaker in colder climates.” Brad responds.
“Yeah, but here we are in Colorado, early
March.” Robert comments. “How much colder can it really be anywhere
Brad shakes his head, looking around to see
the dying Earth. Heat is wiping out life on this planet and rain hasn’t
fallen in far too long.
“I wish I knew why.” Robert starts again.
“You know what I mean? Why did she sneak away in the middle of the
night? Why not wake us up?”
Brad knows, but for him to say out loud would
be to admit that he didn’t handle her in the way he should have.
“I mean, sure...” Robert continues after
thinking quietly to himself. “She’s been known to run away in the
past like when she left New York-”
“-She left New Orleans too.” Brad snaps,
but didn’t mean for it to come out so defensive. Robert looks at him,
seeing his defense. Apparently the topic of Monica running off hits
too close to home.
“I’m sorry, I-”
“No, I’m sorry.” Brad calmly interrupts
him. “It’s been a long day and this bloody heat is killing me.”
“Think we should leave our traveling to
the night?” Robert suggests.
“Probably would be safer.” Brad agrees,
wondering why they never thought of that before. They’re likely to
die of heatstroke out in this weather.
“What the hell is this?!”
Alex Krycek’s eyes pop open and he sits up quickly.
He looks around his dark, empty jail cell. He’s alone, so who the
hell could Coleman be yelling at with so much rage? His eyes drift
to the black cloak that covers the window. He can barely hear a commotion
Krycek narrows his eyes, trying to see through
the crack. It’s night time, that much he knows, and he can barely
see what is going on outside. Coleman’s goon, Gravedigger, holds tightly
to the arms of a brunette woman. Krycek moves closer to the window
to get a better look.
“What kind of witch are you?” Coleman
yells at the woman.
Monica Reyes doesn’t answer him. She can’t.
She’s unable to talk because of the artifact her Grandmama gave to
her before she died. In Coleman’s hand is that very artifact. He looks
down at it, and throws it to the ground. The artifact is once again
glowing mysteriously, as if lighting the way for Monica in the dark
“You answer me when I talk to you, witch!”
Coleman reaches out and grabs Monica by her chin. He has a threatening
vibe about him. Even if she could, Monica wouldn’t know how to talk
to someone like him.
Krycek watches, his stomach turning in fear
of what Coleman will do to this woman if he doesn’t cause a distraction.
He turns, looks around the empty room and realizes that the only way
to cause a commotion is with his own body. He looks back at the window,
with enough stretch he could break it and perhaps give the woman some
time to run.
He reaches out and pulls the black cloth from
the window. He sees Coleman hit the woman with a closed fist. The
sick bastard, Krycek thinks as he wraps his hand with the cloth and
finally manages to break the window with his fist.
He quickly draws his hand back, gritting his
teeth in pain. That gimmick works better in the movies.
“Fuck.” He grunts, as he carefully pulls
the black cloth from around his hand. Blood stains his already cut
up hands. He starts to carefully pluck small bits of glass from his
He looks up briefly from his hand and peers
out the window to see Coleman ordering Gravedigger to take the woman
away. No doubt Krycek’s distraction has been noticed. He watches as
the woman is taken away, she’s not even shaken by Coleman’s punch.
She’s strong, which Krycek can only guess challenged Coleman. He watches
her until she is out of sight, a feeling of familiarity hits him.
Does he know her?
Coleman bursts through the door. He’s pissed
and Krycek turns to see anger in his eyes.
“You breakin’ windows, killer?” Coleman’s
voice is filled with rage as he approaches Krycek’s cell. “You really
think that’ll get you outta here?”
“Just needed some fresh air.” Krycek lies
with a slight hint of smart-ass in his tone.
“Need I remind you what I do to killers
like you?” Coleman threatens him. “You act up again and you’ll be
in that room with the rest of ‘em!”
Krycek lets out a sigh of relief. If Coleman
knew he was causing that distraction to help the woman there is no
telling what he would do to her. He leans up against the wall. Coleman’s
threat of death needs no reminder. He lives with the stench of decaying
bodies day in and day out.
He once again peers out the broken window. His
eyes fall on the artifact that lies on the ground. What makes it emit
light? Why was she carrying it? What is it?
He sees Coleman exit the building and go over
to the artifact. He picks it up and tosses it carelessly in a bag.
If only he knew how important that little rock is.
Krycek lays on the ground, not in sleep but
in deep thought. He can’t seem to get the woman out of his mind. He’s
familiar with her. Feels some kind of connection with her, even an
obligation to help her.
As if his mind were just jolted awake, a memory
resurfaces. He’s in a hospital room. The woman is there. Neither one
of them is sick. He’s comforting her. Did she lose someone close to
her? His mind races, holding to the memory. He holds a knife, he wants
to use it on her.
He feels sick. Did he try to kill her? Daring
himself to remember, his mind digs deeper.
A quick flash and he’s fighting with her, physically.
But she gets him, slashes him across the face with his own knife.
He shakes his head. Is this real? Did this happen?
He feels sick at the thought of betraying her, but perhaps this explains
his feeling of obligation to help her.
Krycek fiddles around in his pockets and retrieves
a ring of keys that he lifted from the guards. How they didn’t notice,
he’ll never know. Perhaps they wanted him to have it, maybe out of
sympathy, maybe out of some alternative motive.
He sneaks up to the jail lock and tries a few
keys, finally unlocking the cell. He listens carefully for a moment,
then makes his way out of the jailhouse.
The fresh night air is breathtaking, but he’s not about to let that
stop him from keeping his focus. He stops at the corner of the building,
looks both ways and sees that no one is around. Carefully he creeps
his way through the rows of buildings, getting his first look at his
Rows of buildings with bars on the windows.
A jail cell. What the hell is this place?
Krycek makes his way into one of the buildings,
the one he saw Gravedigger taking the brunette woman into. The halls
are dark, empty and quiet. He quietly walks, peering into every room
until he finds her.
“Now Coleman, he just doesn’t understand
what I understand.”
Krycek stops in his tracks, listens to find
out where the man’s voice is coming from.
“You see,” The man continues. “He just
doesn’t understand that this is the end of the world. An’ we gotta
do what we gotta do to keep on goin’. You know what I’m sayin’, missy?”
Krycek peers into the room and sees a man leering
around Monica. She is strapped down in a bed. It dawns on him, this
must be a mental hospital. The cell, the sparse rooms, beds with straps...
“Now I don’t mean you no harm. It’s in
our nature to propagate.” The man starts to unbuckle his belt.
Krycek’s eyes go wide. He’s not about to let
this man rape her. He enters the room and without a second thought
he grabs a vase with dying flowers off a dresser and knocks the man
over the head.
Monica looks up at him, relieved to be saved
from the violation that awaited her.
“Alex?” Shock is in her voice.
“You know me?” He is relieved. For the
first time since he’s been remembering someone knows him.
“You have to get us out of here.” She
is frantic, scared. “There is evil watching this place.”
“Evil?” Krycek asks as he undoes her restraints
from her arms and legs.
“I see it.” She explains. “So much death.
So much blood.” She sits up now that she is free from her restraints.
She brings her hand up to her head, wincing in pain. Everything the
artifact was saving her from is coming back. Flooding her head with
images, sounds and feelings of the world as it is now. “Alex...” She
grabs him by the shoulders. “It wasn’t you. You didn’t kill Marita.
The aliens did.”
Krycek listens to her. She has so much intensity
to her. He can’t help but wonder what happened to her.
“I’m a psychic.” She explains, having
read his mind. “My Grandmama gave me an artifact and its been protecting
me from the aliens. Coleman took it. We have to find it. We
have to get out of here and go to Long Island.”
“Yes.” She stands up. “Now. We must go
She grabs him by the arm and starts out, but
doesn’t get far when she runs right into Coleman and his goon, Gravedigger.
There’s a second of hesitation as everyone realizes what’s going on.
Then, Coleman smirks.
“You’re not goin’ anywhere, witch.” He
sneers at her and then shifts his eyes to Krycek. “You got a thing
for her, killer? You want to rape her?”
Krycek steps in front of Monica. “You don’t
need us, Coleman. Just let us go.”
Coleman laughs and looks back at Gravedigger.
“Killer here thinks we don’t need him.” He laughs again, then looks
back at Krycek. “Then I guess I’ll just have to put you to work then,
now won’t I, killer? And as for this witch.” He looks to Monica. “Well,
we can’t have you wandering about.”
Coleman nods back at Gravedigger, signaling
to him to get Monica back in her restraints. He steps forward, and
is about to take hold of Monica when she socks him a mean right hook
across the face, knocking him to the ground.
Monica grabs hold of Alex and starts to pull
him towards the door and Coleman.
“I don’t think so.” Coleman stops them,
blocking them from leaving the room. “A feisty witch like you ought
to be locked up.”
Gravedigger rises from the ground behind them.
He’s pissed. He takes a violent hold on Monica’s arm.
“And you, killer.” Coleman gives Krycek
a mean look. “You’re coming with me.”
STRUGHOLD RESEARCH FACILITY
Moonlight falls through the glass doorway of
the building. Knowle sits alone, keeping guard for the night while
everyone else sleeps. This is his usual nightly routine. Sleep isn’t
something he considers necessary at the moment. To him, sleeping would
mean risking the lives of those with him. He holds his weapon in his
hands, however, on this night he is not on high alert as usual. He
is lost, deep in his own thoughts.
This hallway, this building brings up haunting
memories of the past. In his mind’s eyes he can see himself walking
up to the very building he now sits on guard duty in. The building,
however, is in better condition. Walls pristine white, floors shine
reflecting the footsteps that set on them. Knowle is dressed in a
suit, his Department of Defense credentials visibly pinned to his
jacket. He carries a package, the contents of which he doesn’t know.
He doesn’t ask. He only carries out the orders of what he is told
His mind ventures forward, still inside the
facility walls, but now walking down an empty hallway that is restricted
to him. A door around the corner flies open. A woman’s bare feet splat
on the cold, white tile floor. She rounds the corner and his heart
skips a few beats. Monica Reyes runs into him, like him she is shocked
to see him here.
He doesn’t know what to do. His rational thought
is slowed by a loud emergency siren blaring throughout the hallways.
Monica looks up at him. Her eyes wide, frantic for him to find a solution
to get her out of this place. He looks down at her. Her eyes are red
from tears. He can see she is in so much pain.
“Monica?” He is shocked.
She grabs him by the arm, holding onto him for
“Knowle, get me out of here.”
Security guards are coming. He can hear their
running footsteps. They sound armed. If they catch them, they’re dead,
especially if they run. He can feel Monica pulling on his arm, trying
to take him with her as she tries to escape, knowing that he will
protect her. And he wants to, but he reacts differently than he feels.
He stops her.
“Monica, don’t do this. Not like this.”
He’s serious, he knows what these people can do to them. “This is
not safe. I don’t doubt that they’ll kill you.”
He hates that he has to say that to her, but
he knows he’s right. She looks up at him, her eyes filled with sadness,
anger, and pain.
Scully comes up to them. For a moment, there
is fear in Knowle’s eyes, he has to turn Monica in. If he doesn’t,
he may never be allowed back here. Never be allowed back to try to
save her in a safer way. He grabs hold of Monica and holds her tight
so she can’t break away.
A warm tear falls from his eyes, snapping him
out of his memory. He wipes the tear away. It breaks his heart that
he had to do that to Monica. Being at this facility haunts him with
guilt. Guilt he carries for leaving her that day. He can still see
her being dragged away by the guards. She looked back at him, wanting
him to help her. He wanted to help her. He wanted to save her from
She never blamed him for what he had to do.
She understood. She told him that it wasn’t his fault. What he did,
he did to save her. But now, he’s back here. Some nights it’s as if
he can still feel her presence here. Maybe it’s not her. Maybe it’s
the child she lost – the daughter she and Brad were to have that never
had a chance at life.
Knowle digs into a pocket in his jacket and
pulls out the note Monica left him in her apartment. He’s read her
note a thousand and one times.
I’m at Grandmama’s. Go north, they’re
weaker there. Do what you have to do. I’ll find you. Take cover in
the basement. I love you. Monica
His eyes focus on “I’ll find you”. Her words
bring him hope because he has never doubted her, and he certainly
won’t now. Her ability is strong and he knows that. He was the one
who would help her deal with her psychic visions, the voices. He knows
she’ll find him, but he wishes he knew when.
He doesn’t know where she is. He doesn’t know
what the rest of the country is like, or even if she got out of Chihuahua,
Mexico safely. Some nights he’s unable to sleep because his mind races
to know if she’s all right. Nights like tonight. He constantly worries
for her and those around him. What worries him the most is that the
colder weather makes the aliens weak, and Monica was down in Mexico.
The temperature here has been unbearable, reminiscent of the time
he was in the Gulf War. At least these aliens aren’t using chemical
warfare. It was enough that his commanding officer in the Gulf War
had him sit in the hot, dry desert wearing long sleeves and a gas
mask. He can remember feeling as if he were suffocating back then.
If it’s like that here in New York, what’s it like in Mexico, or any
of the southern states?
So many things are unknown to him. He only has
to assume that most everyone he knows is dead. He’s still haunted
by the memory of the barracks at Camp Lejeune exploding. Everyone
he knew was in that explosion. John Doggett, Shannon McMahon. Why
was he only able to escape? Why couldn’t there have been enough time
to save the others? So many fine men and women were killed that night.
And so many more by the time the sun rose.
He looks at the note again. Monica left it for
him. She knew the aliens would attack early. His eyes focus on “I
love you.” Those three words have gotten him in trouble in his relationships
in the past. He could never say them to Shannon because he never truly
meant it in the sense that she would want him to mean it.
His mind falls back to the last time he saw
Monica. He had just been called out to active duty and was to report
to Camp Lejeune immediately. For years he held back his feelings for
her, never wanting her to know how he felt, respecting her relationship
with Brad Follmer. But that night he had to tell her, even with his
doubts that she was ready to hear his words. He had to tell her, it
could’ve been the last time he saw her... He was unsure of the world
back then, not knowing what would happen to him. Would he live or
would he die? But he told her he loves her. It shouldn’t have been
such a surprise when her feelings were returned, but it was. Surprised
only because he wasn’t sure she was ready to hear him.
He can still hear her words in his head. “Always
follow your heart, it’s never wrong. Trust your instincts and never
give up hope.”
Hope is hard to keep in these times, but he
tries. He holds onto the hope that one day they will find each other.
He’s tired of caging his emotions, always being on alert, always being
paranoid. The constant threat of the alien attacks weigh on his heart.
“You spend a lot of time alone, sir.”
John Montgomery breaks his thoughts. Knowle
looks up from his seat to see Montgomery standing in the shadows.
He didn’t even hear him coming.
“Just thinkin’ while keeping a watch out.”
Montgomery takes a seat next to him.
“Thinking about what, if you don’t mind
“Whatever runs through my head.”
Montgomery looks at the note in Knowle’s hand.
“You’re thinking about her.” His tone
is blunt, as if he’s seen Knowle looking at this note several times.
Knowle looks over at him. “I see you looking at that note often. What
does it say?”
“Its just a note Monica left for me in
her apartment. Telling me to go north, the aliens are weaker there.
She says she’ll find me.”
“You don’t want to doubt her, but you
Knowle shakes his head, disagreeing with him.
“I don’t doubt her. I doubt what has happened to our planet.” He carefully
folds the note up and places it back in his jacket pocket.
Montgomery nods his head in agreement. The world
they knew is gone forever. “A wise woman once told me that Monica
has a very special gift.”
Knowle looks over at him. Is he talking about
Grandmama? Montgomery looks over at him, reading into his look. He
smiles. “Carmen Reyes was once a consultant for me. Before my work
with The Syndicate, before The Project was even thought up.” Montgomery
explains. “She sought me out.”
“That shouldn’t shock me.”
“She’s a fascinating lady.” Montgomery
smiles, remembering fondly the time he spent with her. “One might
say she prophesized that I would become a scientist who would find
the vaccine against the alien virus. She told me that her granddaughter
– Monica – was important and that I would need her.”
Knowle looks at him. “You’re saying that she
knew Monica would be at this facility when she was?”
“Its hard to say if she knew exactly what
would happen, but I wouldn’t say it would be beyond her capabilities.”
Montgomery says. “She always said that everything happened for a reason.”
He looks over at Knowle. “What do you think of that?
Knowle shrugs. “You’re trying to tell me that
we all survived for a reason? That we all found one another for a
“If you hadn’t found me, you’d probably
be dead by now.” Montgomery theorizes. “And what would’ve happened
to Dana? Would Walter have found her? I like to believe that destiny
is not set in stone. Things can change because of our actions. Everything
we do has an unavoidable consequence – outcome - from that action.”
Knowle listens as Montgomery goes on. “Carmen – I think – knew what
was going to happen. Maybe she saw them through vivid images in a
dream, or a vision. Or maybe some deity came to her. I don’t know.
But she knew and would tell us what we needed to hear for the outcome
to be successful.”
“So she told you you’d become a scientist?”
“No, she told me that I would make great
sacrifices in life. Sacrifices that would break me down of human emotion.
Dehumanize me in a way. She was right.” Montgomery answers. “When
the Syndicate created The Project to find – create – a vaccine against
an alien virus, I made many sacrifices. My marriage was destroyed.
My daughter was killed because of my decision. People who trusted
me in the past no longer did. Those I trusted I couldn’t anymore.
I made sacrifices for the good of others.” Montgomery looks into his
eyes for a moment. “Surely she must’ve told you something.”
Knowle smiles, remembering back in his life.
“When I was a kid she told me the word ‘mir’ would be in my life.”
“Means ‘me’ in German.”
“‘Peace’ in Russian.” Knowle adds. “She
knew that I would go searching for what “mir” meant. When I was younger
I studied languages. Later, this would help me land a very well paying
job at the D.O.D. – special ops. Saved some lives... prevented some
“She’s rather fond of riddles.” Montgomery
“She said Knowle Justin Rohrer, ‘mir’
will always be in your life. I guess “mir” could mean many things.
Peace. Me. Maybe they are initials. Monica Isabella... She also told
me that one day I will do great things, become a great role model
or something like that.” He laughs. “She even said that one day there
may be a bronze statue of myself.” He shakes his head and laughs.
“She likes to exaggerate her stories so they sound greater than they
Montgomery observes him for a moment. “You don’t
think that one day you’ll become a great man? Maybe even a leader?”
Knowle laughs at the idea of being a leader.
“You’re the one who knew about these aliens, I’m just the guy who
got a promotion to Master Sergeant so the President could get rid
of me and put me closer to the enemy.”
Montgomery smiles. “I’m afraid I’m a little
too dehumanized to be a leader. My work molded me that way.”
Knowle nods, understanding in his own way. “Well
I’m afraid war times tend to dehumanize me too. Guess I should be
careful not to lose sight of myself. She once warned me that I should
always remember who I am and what it is to be human. To love and live
life no matter what happens.”
They sit in silence for a few moments, contemplating
“You should get some sleep.” Montgomery
“Nah, I’m all right.”
“There’s no shame in admitting fatigue,
sir.” Montgomery looks at Knowle, seeing that he is exhausted. “I’ll
stay on guard tonight.”
Knowle pauses to contemplate this for a moment,
realizing he’s not on high alert, he didn’t hear Montgomery come up
to him. He nods his head in agreement. “Wake me up if anything happens.”
He slowly rises to his feet, finally feeling
just how exhausted he is as he walks down the hall towards his room.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANGE
Adjusting to night time traveling didn’t exactly
work for Brad and Robert and morning came quietly and peacefully as
they both sleep with their backs up against a tree. They obviously
tried to stay awake, but dozed off during the night.
Brad’s eyes open and he lets out a sigh. He
didn’t mean to sleep at all during the night. He looks over his shoulder
and sees that Robert is asleep too. He groans knowing that because
they slept through the night they’ll have to travel during the day
in the scorching sunlight.
He moves to wake up Robert by shaking him awake,
and he wakes with a start.
“It’s morning. We slept during the night.”
Brad says bluntly, his tone is obviously disgruntled.
“Shit.” Robert replies.
“Sun’s barely up. Think we can make some
good ground before high noon?” Brad asks.
“I hope so.” Robert says, rising to his
feet. “If only your car hadn’t broken down.”
Brad nods in agreement. They’d be enjoying air
conditioning and shelter from the sun’s hot rays.
“Let’s get a move on it.” Brad says.
Beads of salty sweat drips from Krycek’s forehead, running down his
face and stinging his emerald green eyes. He digs into the dry Earth,
not understanding why he and these other men have to dig this deep
of a trench. Unlike the others, Krycek lifts his head to look around.
The overseer, a largely obese man with ratty
red hair has his back to them and stands in the shade of a dying tree.
He drinks from a large bottle of water.
None of the other men look up from their work.
They all bury themselves in this dreadful labor. Why does no one make
eye contact? Perhaps it has to do with fear of Coleman. Buy why, when
there are so many people in obvious slave labor would they not revolt?
“Psst.” Krycek whispers out, getting the
attention of a man working next to him. The man hesitantly looks up
at Krycek, then over to the overseer.
“We’re not supposed to talk.” The man
quietly answers, then returns to his work quickly.
“There’s more of us than them.” Krycek
The man looks up at him, shaking his head, warning
Krycek not to even think what he’s already thinking.
“Come on.” Krycek continues. “We could
take out that fat bastard. Look at ‘im. He’s a lazy oaf.”
“You get caught and Coleman will make
you a dead man.” The man answers, not even looking up at Krycek this
“We will be anyway.” Krycek replies. “Out
in this heat. No food, no water, not rest. We’re already dying.”
The man stops his work. Krycek’s words speak
“C’mon. Look at how many we are. We can
take them out.” Krycek encourages.
“You’re talkin’ mad.” Came a man from
behind Krycek, his voice thick with an Australian accent. Krycek turns
to look at him. “Coleman’s always two steps ahead.”
“So we’ll be three steps.” Krycek insists.
“It ain’t right how he’s treatin’ all of us. I’ve seen what he does.
Has a room full of dead and he doesn’t even burry them. Besides, everyone’s
behaved thus far, he’s bound to let his guard down one of these days.”
“I hear he used to reside at this institution.”
Another man speaks up, gaining the attention of everyone in earshot.
“They say he was some kind of cult leader.”
“Probably how he got those other psychos
to follow him.” Says another.
The chatter gets louder, eventually reaching
the waxy ears of the heavyset overseer. He waddles over the fastest
he can on his overweight legs.
“What’s all this talkin’ about?!” He yells.
“Colonel Coleman said to dig this trench without any talkin’ to no
“An’ what’re yeh goin’ to do ‘bout it?”
The Australian speaks up. “Try an’ run off to Coleman an’ tattle like
a bloody school girl?” You’re stumps can’t out run a sloth.” He spits
at the overseers feet.
“The Colonel will hear about this.” The
overseer becomes red with fury.
“See if I bloody care, you fat wanker.”
Watching the Australian, Krycek knows he can
get closer to a revolution with someone like him. Now it’s only a
matter of planning and time.
Monica stares up at the white ceiling. Her mind tries to come to terms
with what it can hear of the world now. Nine months ago she was used
to hearing thoughts in human language and now she is suddenly bombarded
with murmurs of an alien dialect, sounds of suffering and the feeling
of evil that – out of everything she hears and senses – disturbs her
She didn’t sleep at all last night. Not only
because she doesn’t feel safe in the care of Coleman and his group,
but because her mind wasn’t used to the hidden sounds of the world.
Over time she has forgotten how to block it. The sounds cloud her
mind so she can’t think clearly. If she’s going to survive in this
world without that artifact she must learn to control her ability
and block out this world. Today she is determined to get through this
She drifts her focus from the ceiling and her
mind is instantly hit with a vision of blood covering so many people.
Screams of terror fill her head. A man, crazed with insanity and out
of his own control attacks someone, but she cannot see his face. He
rips the flesh from this person’s body and then there is nothing.
Monica shakes her head, trying to clear this
horrible image. A tear falls from her eye, but she cannot wipe it
away. She is once again restrained in the bed she was rescued from
She shuts her eyes, seeking for silence, focusing
her mind to the straps that hold her down. She takes a deep breath
and holds it in, slowly letting it out and remembering the first time
she was able to block out the world for more than a second.
She was with Knowle after she had been returned
from after being held at the Facility in New York. Scully had to medicate
her, her condition worsening. The medication didn’t help at all. Knowle
dropped by, told her to focus on his thoughts as he promised to clear
his mind and think of nothing. He asked her to focus on him and she
did. She found peace for a moment. That was the first moment of happiness
she had in a long time. He is always so understanding, never thinking
any less of her, never sees her as a burden because of anything she
had ever been through. He has always been that way with her.
Gradually, the sounds of the world leave her
head. She moves her wrists around, hoping to free herself from the
restraints. Her concentration is quickly broken by the voice of Brad
Follmer. She opens her eyes which are now full of fear. She strains
to listen. His voice is muffled from the outside, but she can hear
that he is talking with Coleman.
He can’t be here. It isn’t safe.
Piercing screams flood her mind. More pain,
more suffering and more death. She squeezes her eyes shut, trying
to focus on anything else, but she can’t stop the mess that floods
her mind. It’s too much.
“We all have jobs here.” Coleman says
outside to Brad and Robert.
Monica opens her eyes again. Perhaps she should
focus on them, search them out through the mess of the world.
“What kind of jobs?” Robert asks, his
voice a little suspicious. He’s not ready to blindly trust a man who
is a little too helpful.
“Maintaining the grounds.” Coleman explains,
as if he’s the nicest, most understanding man in the world. “We like
to keep a real feel of community here. Our goal is to spread word
about this place, get more survivors here and start living life again.”
“That’s a good goal to have.” Brad responds.
Their voices drift away as they walk farther
from her building.
Monica opens her mouth to scream out to him
to warn him, but she can’t. Talking doesn’t come easily to her.
“No.” Eventually escapes her mouth in
a whisper. “No!” Her voice gets stronger. “Brad no!”
It’s too late, he’s out of earshot and can’t
“Dammit.” She struggles with her restraints,
trying to get out. He can’t be here. It’s not safe.
“If only he knew.” The man’s haunting
voice comes out of nowhere and Monica snaps a look over to the door.
The man she sees is the last man on this Earth she ever thought she’d
see again. “You look surprised.” Says the Cigarette-Smoking Man as
he enters her room.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Monica
looks at him, her shock not leaving her face.
“And here I thought that being surprised
was a luxury you would welcome.” He stands over her bed.
“What do you want?” Her fear of him consumes
her and she can’t focus on him to read into him.
He smiles at her. “I’m not going to hurt you
Monica. I’m going to get you out of here.”
“Why? What are you going to do?”
“I don’t believe someone with your ability
should be locked in the hands of people like Coleman.”
He looks down at the restraints that hold her
and starts to loosen the straps.
“I’m here to help you, Monica.” The Smoking
Man assures her.
“How did you find me?”
“I’m a curious man. Coleman found me so
I thought I’d get to know this place a little better.” He frees one
of her hands and then looks her in the eye. “He truly is a psychopath,
“And you’re not?”
The Smoking Man moves to her legs and starts
to loosen the straps around her ankles.
“You see me as a monster?” He questions.
“Perhaps you have been sheltered from the true monsters of this world.”
He looks her in the eye once again. “Have you seen any of these aliens?”
Monica shakes her head “no”.
“Then you are truly fortunate.” He frees
her legs, goes around to the other side of the bed and starts to loosen
the last strap that holds her other arm down. “This world is destroyed.
You’ve seen the kind of people in control now. People like Coleman.
Do you know what I found out about him?”
“He used to reside here at this mental
institution.” The Smoking Man continues to work on freeing her. “He
was sent here because of his crimes. He was a cult leader, killed
many and the court deemed him unsuitable for prison. According to
them, prison wouldn’t help him like a mental institution could.” He
looks her in the eye once again. “Pathetic world we used to live in.
A world where killers live from our taxes, get three meals a day,
a roof over their head, a bed to sleep in, Internet access and even
the latest wide screen television set.”
“What do you want with me?”
“I’m taking you away from here.” He answers
her. “Freeing you from Coleman. He will kill you. He sees you as a
witch.” He offers his hand to her to help her sit up. She looks at
it, and then sits up on her own.
“You want my protection.”
“And you want your freedom. I can give
you that.” He looks her directly in the eyes. “Come with me and I
can take you to Knowle Rohrer.”
Cancer Man knows what buttons to push on her.
Even if she tried to deny that she wasn’t trying to get back to Knowle,
her eyes have already betrayed her.
“See me not as your enemy, Monica...”
Cancer Man continues. “But as a man who shares the same desire as
you to survive.”
“This is where everyone sleeps.” Coleman opens a door to a long room
with several bunks. Robert looks in and is reminded of the barracks
he stayed in when he served with the U.S. Marine Corps. “It’s a little
crowded, but you’ll get used to it.”
“Reminds me of Marine barracks.” Robert
“Military man?” Coleman asks.
“I served with the USMC until 1992.” Robert
tells, neglecting to inform him of his dishonorable discharge.
“We could use a man like you.” Coleman
states, his eyes shifting towards Brad. “What about you?”
“FBI agent. Worked out of headquarters
in D.C.” Brad tells. “What about you?”
Robert looks to Coleman as well. They know next
to nothing about him, yet here he is digging into them all he pleases.
“I’m a military man myself.” Coleman takes
pride in his work. “Never fought in a war for this country though.
I guess that would make this war my first.” He smiles, in a way that
creeps Brad and Robert. “We’re working on creating our own army here.
Good thing I found you two.”
Something about Coleman feels off to Brad and
Robert. Their years with the FBI and being in the field plays well
for them here. Their intuition tells them not to trust this man. They
can only hope that they are not too late now that they are in his
“How ‘bout we head back to my office.”
Coleman says. “I want to talk to you, Robert, about the military I
want to build. Brad, I’ll have you start with some of the work that
needs to be done, just so you have an idea of what’s going on here.”
Robert and Brad nod in agreement and follow
Coleman out of the room, where they are greeted by Gravedigger.
“Could you take Brad out to work and introduce
him to what we’re doing here.” Coleman says to Gravedigger who nods
his head and leads Brad away.
Approaching the desolate land, Brad feels uneasy, unsure. He sees
a large group of men digging in a deep trench. He looks behind him,
just to see if anything is coming. His paranoia is heightened. His
mistrust of these people about to be proven true.
“So what do you guys do here?” Brad asks
“We just do what we’re told.” Gravedigger
answers. “We have men out here digging trenches to protect our community
from enemies on the outside.”
They reach the trench where the men are digging.
Brad can see they are exhausted and dehydrated. His eyes stop scanning
the trench when he sees Alex Krycek.
“This is where you’ll work.” Gravedigger
tells Brad. “There are a few rules though. You don’t talk to anyone
while you work. You do as you’re told. You obey the overseer. And
you only stop to rest when you are given permission. Do you understand?”
“These men...” Brad looks to Gravedigger.
“They haven’t been taken care of. Look at them.” He looks out into
the trench. “There’s one with cuts that are still bleeding. They’re
tired and dehydrated.”
“Colonel Coleman does what he has to do.”
“I don’t agree with this.” Brad’s objection
gets the attention of a few men near to him.
“Don’t matter if you agree or not.” Gravedigger
puts on a mean scowl. “You do as you’re told. Now get in there.” He
picks up a shovel and hits Brad into the trench, tossing the shovel
down after him. “You best not object either. You don’t want to know
what the consequence is for that.”
Gravedigger gives him one last look and walks
off. The overseer comes over, standing above Brad with a smirk on
“Get to work.” His tone is threatening
as if to say he’ll kill him if he doesn’t do what he’s told.
Brad glares at him, then picks up the shovel
and makes his way into the trench, finding Krycek – the one man he
“Alex.” Brad whispers.
Krycek looks over at him, shocked that this
man knows his name.
“Me?” He questions.
“How long have you been here?” Brad whispers
“You know me too?”
“What?” Brad looks at him confused, this
better not be some stupid game of his.
“I have amnesia.” Krycek explains bluntly.
“My name’s Brad Follmer. I used to work
with you at the FBI in Washington, D.C.” Brad summarizes for him.
“You’re name is Alex Krycek.”
“It’s not safe to talk out here.” Krycek
nods in the direction of the overseer. “You don’t want to piss these
fuckers off. They have a room filled with dead bodies. They’re sick
in the head and don’t listen to anyone.”
Krycek goes back to his work.
“You asked if I knew you too.” Brad says.
“Is there someone else here who knows you?”
Krycek doesn’t look up from his work. “Yeah.
A brunette woman.”
“Never caught her name.” Krycek says.
“Coleman has her locked up in one of the patient rooms. Strapped down.
Scares me to think what they want to do to her. She mentioned getting
out of here. Going to Long Island, New York.” Krycek goes on. “She
seemed frantic, scared, sensing evil was on the horizon. Honestly,
her words scared me.”
Brad can’t believe his ears. Why is she able
to talk here? Was there something in the cave preventing her? Did
she lose the artifact?
He observes Krycek for a moment, seeing his
fear, seeing the real him: a man who cares for people and not just
himself. He never knew Krycek had this trait in him. His amnesia allows
the raw Alex Krycek to show, the Krycek that no one really knows except
for him. In this state he doesn’t have any ego to protect. No outside
influences to alter his decisions. For what must be the first time,
Brad sympathizes with him.
“We’ll all get out of here, Alex.” Brad
whispers, looking down at the ground to start digging.
Krycek looks over at him, sensing that he can
have another man on his side to get out of this place. He smiles,
sensing that the end to this hell is near.
Brad lies in his bunk, Krycek’s next to him.
He stares up at the ceiling, trying to think of someway to get out
of this place. He doesn’t know what they do here, not the way Krycek
knows, but his gut tells him it’s only going to get worse.
The door to the long room opens and Robert Comer
is tossed in. His face badly beaten. Brad sits up with concern. He
watches as Robert rises to his feet. No other men in the room make
eye contact with him. No one other than Brad and Krycek.
Robert scans the room, spotting Brad he makes
his way over.
“What the hell did they do to you?” Brad
asks with worry.
“They see me as some kind of threat because
of my military background.” Robert sits on the empty bed next to Brad’s.
“These people aren’t what they say they are.”
“I know.” Brad says. “They have all of
us out in the heat digging trenches. No one knows why.”
“They have a room filled with dead bodies,
Brad.” Robert looks at him. “I’ve seen a lot of fucked up shit in
my life, but nothing ever this grotesque.” He continues to look into
Brad’s eyes, his intensity growing. “They’re going to kill us all.
Worst of all...” He digs into his jacket pocket and retrieves Monica’s
artifact. “I found this.” He shows it to Brad, being sure to keep
it concealed. “They have Monica.”
Brad takes hold of the artifact, looks deeply
at it, now understanding why she was able to talk. He looks up at
Robert. “Without this... she’s vulnerable to alien attacks. This thing
protected her. This was the reason she left the cave.”
“Then she’s in just as much shit as we
are, if not more.”
“What could they possibly want with her?”
Brad has to ask this question, it’s been on his mind and he knows
no one here has the answer.
“I tried to break her out.” Krycek speaks
up, drawing the attention in his direction. “I stopped a man from
raping her. I haven’t been around too long but I don’t think there
are many other women here. I think they want to use her to repopulate
their colony... with or without her consent.”
Robert looks to Brad, fear in both their eyes.
“What the hell is this place?” Brad asks
and his only response is silence. No one here knows what is going
on. No one knows who these people are, just that everyone in this
room has been lured into the colony and forced to work, be threatened,
and live in horrible conditions without any chance of escaping.
The air is colder than usual this night. Monica
leans up against a tree trunk, wearing a jacket that belongs to the
Cancer Man. She watches him as he builds a campfire. Part of her is
curious about him, but mainly because something inside of her tells
her she can trust him. Does he really have “good” on the inside? What
makes her trust him so much that she would blindly follow him?
She watches him, trying to understand him. Trying
to see behind the monster that he is – the monster he was made to
be. For a moment she saw a hint of kindness when he was freeing her.
He wants her to trust him.
The Smoking Man gets the fire to burn, slowly
growing. He leans back, proud of his work.
Monica watches him. He takes pride in making
a fire. Pride in the little things. Pride, but not smug. He looks
up at her and smiles.
What is his motive for taking her? Is it selfish?
Is it truly to help her? She sensed evil watching that place, but
the evil was not this man, it was something else. Something that since
she has left to travel with this man, she no longer feels.
“You should sleep.” He suggests to her.
“We’ll have a long walk tomorrow.”
“Where are we going?”
“East.” He answers her. “Isn’t that what
“Partly.” She vaguely responds. “I’m still
not sure why I came with you. Part of me thinks you have a motive
rooted with a selfish need. You want my protection, but offer me nothing
“Knowle Rohrer.” He responds. “You want
to find him don’t you?”
“That’s only part of what I want.”
“What more could you ask for?” He pries.
“I don’t know... You gave me my freedom.
You got me away from those people, but still...” She looks into his
eyes. “You won’t let me bring the people close to me. Brad, Robert,
even Alex Krycek. Why?”
“They are too close to that mad man.”
He responds. “It would be too dangerous.”
“You were a Marine, were you not?”
“I was.” He answers. “Back in the 1960s.”
“Do you believe in leaving men behind?”
Monica questions. “To me that says you don’t have honorable intentions.
Perhaps you are only taking me with a selfish motive.”
“You came with me.” He points out to her
what she already knows. “I never forced you to come with me. Why did
“Because I believe there is goodness to
be found in you.” Monica answers. “You told me not to see you as the
monster everyone knows you as. You told me to see you not as my enemy,
but as a man with the same desire to survive that I have. Maybe I’m
just keeping an open mind.”
She continues to look at him, in his eyes, believing
in something she’s not even sure exists. As the fire cracks between