THE HAPPY BURGER
Assistant Director Alvin Kersh waited pensively for former
Agent Fox Mulder to enter the fast food restaurant. He
checked to see if anyone had followed him. Even though
this was his coffee break, any agent in the fight against the
Colonization plan knew enough to guard their privacy strictly
Clad in a black leather jacket over pale blue tee shirt and
jeans, Fox Mulder walked straight over to Kersh's table. "I see
Washington's finest eatery hasn't changed at all. You look
"It's been hectic. Everything is on schedule at the office. You
know. Long before the deadline, if you know what I'm saying."
"Yes, I do, Sir. I'm only in town for coffee, so would you please
be brief? What's this I hear about our friend?"
Kersh sipped his coffee and signalled the waitress to bring
Mulder a cup. "He found a massive deposit that no one in the
geology field thought possible. The only thing is, our government
has a treaty with the Navajo not to venture into that particular
region. You have some sway with them, and we need you to
convince them that we mean no disrespect. We need you to
persuade them that this will save them as well from the threat
"Do you think for one minute I want to go anywhere further away
from my wife and children than I am now? You've got me wrong."
Mulder could feel his own anger mounting and hadn't had that
feeling in over a year. It was overwhelming. He waved off the
waitress who was about to bring his coffee and stood abruptly.
"I'm not an FBI errand boy", he whispered, teeth clenched. "This
meeting is over."
"We can't protect you forever," Kersh warned him. "Or them."
"There's nobody on us," Mulder confidently stated.
"You think you've been this safe on your own? We've had men out in
West Tisbury since last June."
"The wedding," Mulder said. "We were tailed since the wedding? It's
not us you need to watch out for!"
"The three, or four, of you can't afford not to have us there. Think
about what I said, and talk it over with Scully. My coffee break is over.
Monthly fiscal report meeting in fifteen minutes."
Kersh left Mulder standing in the aisle of the burger joint wondering how
he could broach the subject of surveillance to Scully, let alone a trip to
restricted Navajo territory again. He had almost lost his life the last time.
"Damn!" he muttered, slamming the door of the restaurant when he
Mulder had no idea how he was going to tell Scully of Kersh's
She had had a precarious first pregnancy. After all the
in-vitro treatments, the negative tests, the thoughts of
giving up ever having a child, William was conceived, yet
Scully's pregnancy was a tumultuous one. Somewhere inside
Mulder felt he was partly to blame, for his abduction
occurred just before she was told of that pregnancy. Now,
with William safe with them and another child soon to
arrive, Scully would be stressed again and without Mulder
for who knows how long. A day, even weeks away from her!
Mulder slammed the car door as soon as he got home. "Yeah,
sure. I say I'm going away to deal with the "same old same
old" just as if it was my daily routine," he thought.
"Then I get all the reasons why this would kill me, us,
the future... it's a trap... and everything changes."
Scully was bathing William as Mulder dropped his jacket
on the armchair and sat down.
"That you, Mulder?"
"Yeah. Everything go okay here?"
"I'm bathing William. I'll be there in a couple of minutes. Roast for
supper, just for you."
"We need to talk," Mulder answered back. "After supper?"
Scully rinsed William's hair and her thoughts seemed to drift off-task
for a brief moment. She couldn't afford to worry right now! There was
a child in the tub and he was hungry. "We've had a good bath! Yes we
have. Okay, let's get all dried off and dressed for Daddy!"
"Da-da-dee!" William squealed.
Mulder went in to kitchen and broke out the sunflower seeds. "This is my
life," he told himself. "This might be in danger, too... " Now, his mind was
weighing the pros and cons of doing that 'favor' for his former employers.
He had to admit that the Navajo did look upon him favorably the times he
had dealt with them, and they had saved his life. Their evidence was
invaluable. Scully carried William into the kitchen and kissed Mulder.
"We missed Daddy, didn't we, William?"
Mulder kissed William and then kissed Scully again. He patted her belly
and said, "That goes for you, too."
"How'd it go with Kersh?" Scully let William down to play.
"We're just never free of them, are we? We give; they take. We leave; they
follow. I told him I had no more to give, that WE had no more to give. Then
he played his ace."
"What is it? We are all right, aren't we?"
"I'll tell you after supper," he said . "Promise. Right now, I just want to change
and maybe make a call."
"If you're keeping something from me, I think I have the right to know, Mulder.
After all, there are no secrets between us."
"Oh, it's no secret. No surprise, either. I did hear something displeasing... let
me go up and get into some fresh clothes." He kissed Scully again and made
a silly face for William. "Lookin' great, sport! Keep that train moving!"
No amount of hot water and suds could wash the granddaddy of all headaches
out of Mulder's head. Tense shoulder muscles only aggravated the pain. There
was definitely the possibility this was a trap. After all, Jeffrey had told Scully either
Mulder or Willaim had to die in the aliens' eyes. William was 100 percent human
all right, but his immunity to the virus that Scully habeen exposed to -- a virus
that harbored aliens ready to grow and enslave human hosts -- was an asset to
humans and catastrophic to the plans THEY had for this planet. If Mulder were to
die, who was to say that William and Scully would not be next?
The former agent dialed the Washington office, using a direct line where Skinner
could be reached. There was no answer. Right, Skinner would be home at this
time, so he dialed his residence.
"Walter, it's Fox Mulder. First of all, I'm really pissed off you have had us watched.
Secondly, I smell a rat. Maybe a little gray or big shape shifting rat, because Gibson
Praise would have called ME, not any of you. He knows where we are and he
wouldn't hesitate to get a hold of me if he found something of use. How do I know
I'm not being set up for about the fiftieth time?"
Well, Skinner was glad the non-stop monologue was over. "It's not a trap, Mulder.
He went to Doggett with this because he felt he'd be endangering you. He knows
Scully is pregnant. I have no idea how he knows, but he does."
"Where is he, then?" Mulder's tone was angry, demanding. "Is he safe?"
"Yes, Mulder. He's safe. I cannot tell you where he is. That would endanger both of
you at the same time. We can't risk that now. I do not want to say anymore over
"No more calls here, then. After that code-speaking Kersh told me what the group
has in mind, I don't want to hear any more. And get the flies off of our butts. Assign
them to homeland security or fertilizer detail." Mulder hung up and his headache
was already starting to go away. "Those sons of bitches!" He pulled his pants and
shirt on and headed downstairs for supper. Everything was ready when he got to
After the evening meal, William was soon off to bed and Fox read his favorite story.
"So, when the wolf was killed by the woodsman, Little Red Riding Hood and
Grandma were safe and sound. Yeah, that's a very good ending, little guy!" William's
eyes were already fluttering, fluttering, open, closed, then down for the count went
the toddler. Closing the book, Mulder bent down and kissed his son good night. "Ah,
you are so special. Sweet dreams, son. We'll build a castle tomorrow."
Scully was waiting in the livingroom, reading up on the latest in comfort measures
for laboring mothers. "Made it right to the end of the book this time? I guess he
missed his Daddy."
"You're right. And is that a picture of a guy running a paint roller along a very pregnant
A smile graced Scully's face. "Well, it's a massage device. It helps the mother relax
during the first stage of labor. So tell me, what happened in Washington that put you
off of roast?"
"Actually, I think it was the headache after Washington that put my appetite off-kilter,
Scully." He massaged his temples for a bit, then continued. "I was told Gibson Praise
found this mother lode of magnetite on a Navajo reservation and that they needed
me to negotiate with them to get in to mine it."
"And... somehow I think you don't believe them. Anyway, Gibson would have contacted
you himself, right?"
"Exactly! Now, to add insult to insult, we've been 'watched over' ever so lovingly since
the wedding by the Bureau! On top of that, since things didn't add up, I called Skinner
after my shower. He said Gibson Praise told Doggett instead of me because he didn't
want to endanger us. He knew you were going to have another baby."
"That doesn't make sense either, because he can sense when the aliens are around.
Is Gibson safe?" Scully's voice betrayed her increasing worry.
"Calm dowm. Apparently he is safe. The question is: Why me? Is it because the Navajo
trust me? Or is it a trap set up by the infiltrators?"
Scully shook her head. "If they want you, William, or me dead, they just might be setting
you up. But you're right, we have to stay calm. I can call Monica and see what she has
"Maybe I'd better call Doggett instead. If he did hear from Gibson Praise, he'd tell me.
He knows better than to go to anyone else first."
"That's right. Now, about that headache... just put your head in my lap, yes, like so, and
let me work those shoulders loose."
"You're right. I never let things get to me like this before. Why now?"
"Well, because you're now a loving husband, father, and father-to-be. And you know
that what worries you worries me. It always has. I need you relaxed and here for the
special event. Now, just close your eyes and tell your wife once again about that
heavenly glow on her face... "
"The one that lights up miles of darkness and years of loneliness... " Mulder added.
"It was worth waiting for and fighting for, and it still is."
"Uh, uh, uh. Relax. No talk about fighting. Just light and happy things." His body was
gradually relaxing, but his mind was still running on all cylinders. Just what the hell
was up? They knew he wouldn't let this alone. His curiosity was both a gift and a
curse. Perhaps his friends were counting on it; perhaps the aliens were baiting him.