XTC
by Henry Wyckoff

Crossover: XF, DW (4th Doctor), HL, ST:Voy, and the world of David Eddings


Chapter 6

Dreams and Then Dreams


Taking the Murgo in to the police was no problem at all. Though Scully didn't like the idea of pumping him full of drugs, that's exactly what Powys did. He bought some cheap whiskey from the liquor store down the street, and after force-feeding it to the Murgo in enough quantities to kill a horse, slipped him something that made him seem like a total lunatic after a few moments. He was mumbling and screaming incoherently, jerking around, and looking around nervously with unfocused eyes. A junkie lunatic, if she didn't know any better. However, she did know better. It made her feel sick, even though she knew that there was a lot more left to learn, and there might be some possibility that Powys was doing the smart thing, even if it wasn't the right thing.

Scully frowned, remembering how Powys had influenced her life. All the tricks and duplicity, and in the end, she still didn't know what side the man was on.

She could still remember the scene at the police station.

The cop at the desk looked at the two FBI agents and at
Powys (playing an Interpol agent, even though he had
officially left a few months back). Then he looked at
the prisoner. His expression was not pleasant.
"What's going on here?"

Jan took the lead, showing his badge. "Agent
Hendricksen, of the FBI. This is Agent Scully."

Powys interrupted, showing his own badge, which he
obviously hadn't turned in when he'd resigned.
"Alan Powys, of Interpol."

That got the cop's attention. "What seems to be the
problem?"

Powys managed to look stone-faced, "This gentleman
here," he pointed with disdain to the Murgo, who was by
now gibbering, "is a murder suspect, but he is also in
an... abnormal state. We were wondering if we might
bring him in for safe-keeping until he comes down from
his high."

That was a deviation from plan. Supposedly, this was
supposed to be a "we're concerned about this poor John
Doe" situation. Scully, and perhaps Jan, wanted to
strangle him then and there for his changing of
the plans, but they quickly rethought their stories. As
it turned out, Powys' luck pulled through again,
because they were able to back up their 'story', in a
way.

The cop looked both surprised and suspicious. That's
when Scully moved in to save the day. "You probably
haven't been notified of our presence yet because we
just got into town, and came across the suspect before
we had a chance to check in with the FBI office here,
and the Tucson Police Department." Her dry grin was
genuine, "Sometimes you just can't plan ahead for
things like this."

The cop looked slightly reassured, but not enough.
"Please wait here. I'm going to get my supervisor."


The presence of two FBI agents was rare enough in such a situation, but two FBI agents and a single Interpol agent? With a prisoner that they managed to nab just as they got into town? That was stretching coincidence. A lot. But everything worked fine. The Murgo, a John Doe, would remain in 'protective custody' for as long as it took to sober up, and then they would expect the three agents to return and take things from there. Paperwork was being sent from the FBI headquarters to the Tucson Police Department, and when it did, it would be a lot harder to play it by ear. She'd have to make damn sure that Powys didn't pull any more stunts. But she had to admit that the Murgo was now in protective custody. It bothered her that this recent event had detoured her and Jan from pursuing the case of XTC. They'd have to sort this situation out first, and then get back on track.

In the meantime, she needed to rest. It was still day here, but in D.C., it would be past dark, and even though it was still early, she was wiped. They had returned to the place where she and Jan encountered the Murgo -- and those with him -- and were trying to collect their thoughts and figure out what to do next.

Without even meaning to, she closed her eyes. The waves of exhaustion struck at her like waves hitting a sharp cliff, tearing down rock after rock. Within moments, she was asleep, softly snoring, even though she was standing up. At the moment, there was nobody to say 'Scully, snap to!'

"Mmmm..." Scully opened up her eyes. The sensation of
needles poking through her eyes assaulted her, but she
stomached it. A few moments later, and she realized
that she was lying on a cold, wet, and filthy concrete
floor that smelled of urine and vomit... and slaughter,
both old and recent. She was uninjured in a permanent
sense, but was handcuffed securely. It was when she
tried to move around that she felt the bruises. Someone
must have beat her with something stronger than a fist,
and all over her body. Every muscle in her body hurt.
Even so, she tried to slip her hands through the cuffs.
It wouldn't work, she knew, but it was worth a try.

"You know, Scully, you ought to mellow out. It's not
like there's anything you can do about it." The voice
was humorous, if that quality can be attributed to a
voice as emotionless as a dry, dusty, old history
professor.

Scully slowly closed her eyes. The handcuffs were still
on her wrists. She wasn't dreaming. //O.K.,// she
thought to herself. //Be the pessimist if you want to,
but that's not going to keep me from trying!//

"That's exactly the problem!" laughed the voice in her
mind, which she began to suspect was not her own mind
speaking. "You're not being a pessimist. It takes a
pessimist to get out of this pit, because when you've
reached a solution after countless rejections, you're
bound to have a plan that will work. Why else do you
think Mulder has such a high success rate as he does?
Answer: he has you to be his ADVOCATUS DIABOLI." The
accent shifted from English to a very distinct Italian
for those two words.

//Who are you?// Scully thought she'd put this voice to
the test.

The voice would have nodded if it had a face. "I know
you, and I know what'll make you dig your heels in.
Just suffice it to say that I am strictly a neutral
observer as far as you're concerned. You can get
out of this alive or not, and I won't shed a tear or
jump for joy. You got that straight, Scully?"

Scully nodded, thinking that the voice had a lot in
common with Skinner. //A subconscious
personification.//

"No," the voice continued. "Something a lot more basic
than that. I think it would be most accurate to say
that I'm the awareness of a vector. Not the hand that
moves it, but rather the awareness of what it must do.
I'm aware of where the vector originates and where it's
going. Can you make the distinction?"

Again, Scully nodded.

"Good. Now that's out of the way, listen carefully.
The only reason why I'm talking to you of all people is
that the 'plan' I am following has changed. I wouldn't
go so far to say that someone cheated, but rather that
someone put an obstacle in my path. I'm a
path-independent vector, so I can move around these
obstacles, because energy is conserved. It's the
beginning and end points that make all the difference,
and I must reach the designated end point. That means
that I need your help." Scully thought it odd that this
voice would speak in terms of thermodynamics, when it
was also talking like a mystic. "That's because I'm
speaking through your mind, using your own language and
concepts. You might be a practicing doctor, but you
were also trained as a physicist, and your mind still
thinks in those terms. Does it matter what I talk like
so long as you get the point?"

Scully shook her head. //No.//

"Good. Here's what I need you to do..."


Scully opened up her eyes, her body jerking like someone shocked her. She saw that she had been sleeping. It was all a dream. //Mulder, you're rubbing off on me in the wrong way...// In no way did she think that her dream was nothing more than that, but it was still very disturbing.

* * * *


Chakotay, if his eyes were open, would have noticed something about Scully then, but he didn't. His eyes were closed.

Chakotay found himself in the Dreamworld, but not the
tranquil garden where he usually emerged. No green
pastures or lakesides. It was a hot, barren, lifeless
desert where the heat waves rising from the ground
distorted his vision all around him. Though this was
the Dreamworld, he felt uncomfortably hot and parched,
though he had been here for only a few seconds.

"Hello? Is anyone here?" His voice echoed across the
scape. Funny thing, that echo. There were no
mountains in sight.

Chakotay looked up on impulse, and heard the screech of
a vulture. It circled overhead, not flapping a wing.
Lazily, it rode the thermals. Circling, it landed not
far from Chakotay. How much time passed, he didn't
know, except that the bird had circled many times after
descending some hundred feet or so.

He wasn't surprised when the vulture spoke in a human
voice, "Nobody appreciates me."

"Why?" asked Chakotay. "Why do you say that?"

"Because men fear me and curse me. If they merely
thought about it, they would curse even more if they
saw the countless corpses pile up over the countless
years, untouched by Vulture, Bacteria, and Insect.
We, who are essential to the cycle of life as are the
tireless Bacteria who fix Nitrogen from the air, are
treated as below scum. Even the Bacteria who are
responsible for denitrification are not cursed. We
are."

Chakotay had no idea what Vulture was complaining
about, but he'd give this guide an ear. Maybe he was
saying something important. "I'm listening."

Vulture was mumbling. "No, you're not. You're
confused. You're just a polite young man who knows to
respect his elders..." His voice grew stronger. "Funny
thing. Respect. Something youngsters just don't have
nowadays. They don't even respect a good slug in the
gut. In the old days -- now those were good days -- a
man could get hit by a disaster or win the lottery and
he'd understand and appreciate what had happened. He'd
LEARN!" Vulture kicked some dirt. "Now'days, you'll
get a class full of high school students rioting if
you'll ask them to give you two pages, typewritten,
double-spaced and single-sided, discussing some
thoughts on some music they heard. Rioting, and it's
not due until seven days!" Vulture snorted indignantly.
"Lazy, no-good kids! If they had to grow up during the
Depression, they'd KNOW what hard times were like..."


Chakotay opened his eyes, having felt like he were pushed out of the Dreamworld. Whatever lesson he had been taught, it was over, and he had much to think about. //I wonder... what could Vulture have been getting at.// The first thing he'd have to do is figure out what Nitrogen had to do with all this...

* * * *


The pimp smiled at the college kid. He had the classic look of someone hating life. Nowadays, with Grunge being so popular, it was hard to tell whether the kid was an art or science major. His long, dirty blonde hair had been tied into matted braids, and a scruffy beard hung from his chin, everything else shaved. He wore a dirty tie-died shirt and half-torn shorts. His rubber sandals were cheap too -- kind of like beach thongs. It didn't really matter to the pimp. He just wanted to sell his product, and this kid was hooked.

"So, what do I do, man?"

The pimp poured the vial into the coffee. "Pour it in whatever you're drinking, mon. Coffee. Tea. Beer. Whatever."

"Got any weed too?"

The pimp was prepared for that. "How much, mon?"

"What's your price?"

The negotiations began, and the kid left happy. He had some XTC and some weed to go with it. It was going to be a hell of a party. The party started a bit early when the bell rang. "Wonder who it is..." He opened the door. "Kiasha!"

A blank-eyed woman walked in. "I hear you have a party going," she said tonelessly. Her black hair hung in uncombed strands, and her body hadn't been washed in years, maybe. The kid was too out of it himself to notice the stench, or care about it.

"Sure. Got some new stuff too."

The radio started playing, and the people started coming after that. The place was big enough to fit ten with comfort, which was why about five people ended up finding a place with more room. They left with 'XTC' in their minds. Not enough to sample, but they knew where the stuff came from. They'd use it themselves, but not before spreading the word.

They had no idea that by the time they reached their next party, five people were puking their guts out. They wouldn't learn until it was too late. Maybe it wouldn't matter, if they learned that those five died with a big smile on their face. Why else call it XTC?

* * * *


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