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"We live in a great age."

He kicked the door open. That felt good.

"We live in an age of instant gratification. Text messages, social media. So much we can learn, so quickly."

Tad O'Malley's face was a study in shock and awe.

Alex Krycek laughed at his own joke.

"The downside, Mr. O'Malley, the downside, for people like you, is how people like me can make sure all the texts and social media at your fingertips," and at this, he reached for O'Malley's phone, made useless only moments ago, like everything electronic in this building, "won't ever reach their intended audience. And it'll be like you never existed anyway."

O'Malley, in this moment, gaped like a fish and words failed him. Probably just as well. Krycek never had done well with talkers.

It wasn't wholly necessary to put a bullet in O'Malley's brain. There were numerous accidents that could be arranged. But there was an elegance to doing things the old-fashioned way.

There was assurance.


The downside to doing things the old-fashioned way, though, was the chance that someone would stop you, and you, like a fool, would never see it coming.

"Alex, you idiot, put the gun down."

And her voice would make him do whatever she wanted, like it always had.

That was assurance, too.

"Marita Covarrubias."

"In the flesh."


O'Malley was dealt with. Marita had a small goon squad in tow, and whatever O'Malley had thought or supposed before, well.

They were far from the studio offices when Krycek finally spoke to her again. He was unsure if he was with her of his own volition, or if he was her prisoner.

But whatever his own situation, he was pissed as hell.

"He's useful."

"He's a liability."

"Regardless, you won't be making that call today."

"I'll remember you said that when it all goes to hell. Again."

"I have orders."

"Fuck your orders."

"You do, too."

Marita handed him a cell phone, and backlit in soft blue was, God help him, a text message.

"Do nothing without further word from me."

From him.

"After all this time? I thought..."

"We all did. You too, if you'll recall."

His death, their deaths. Was nothing certain in this life?

"O'Malley has his orders. He'll follow them. It isn't over."

Another text message vibrated her phone. Reading it, Krycek froze, and swore under his breath.

"No, it isn't over." He held the phone out to her. She didn't take it, but read the message out loud.

"The X-Files are reopened."

She stared coldly, and Krycek knew that this came as no surprise to her. He wasn't surprised, either. Just angry.

"It could have been prevented."

He looked out the window as they pulled up to the non-descript brick home. He knew who was in there, and the conversation they were about to have. What next, how to reign it in, how to keep Mulder dangling on a thread.

It could have been prevented.




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