Title: Monongahela Part One
Summary: Mulder and Scully are in the woods again.
Can they make it through this assignment without
Spoilers: Slight for Field Trip
Category: MT, MSR
Disclaimer: Just for fun. Not for profit.
Archives: Yes, but please ask first
Feedback: Yes at Waddles52@wmconnect.com
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Lisa and Mindy for the
fabulous betas. You made me work harder to make it
better. Love ya!
Notes: This is a WIP, but have no fear it is almost
finished. The last part is almost ready to send to
my wonderful betas. If you don't like to read WIP's
because some are never finished, rest assured that I
will post a new part every few days until it is
A.D. Walter Skinner rose from his seat to greet the
two agents as they entered his office. He motioned
for them to have a seat as he walked around his desk
and casually perched himself on it's edge.
"Agents, I'm sure you're aware that the ranks of the
FBI and other agencies are stretched to their limit
due to the ever-present threat of domestic
Both agents acknowledged that fact with a nod.
The A.D. continued. "In times like these we all have
to pitch in and use our expertise in areas that might
normally be handled by someone else."
Again, the two agents acknowledged his statement with
a nod and also a sidelong glance at each other.
Years of working together had enabled them to
communicate without words. Their looks could convey
volumes, but this time their silent communication
indicated one thought. "We're about to be screwed."
If Skinner noticed their exchange he chose to ignore
"There have been a series of robberies in larger
state parks and national parks throughout the south
and southeast. At first the suspect was content to
take articles from cars and unattended camping spots.
From that he graduated to personal confrontation and
threats of violence. His last two victims were
hospitalized after he beat them and left them in an
isolated area of the park. One of them is in a coma
and at this time it is not known if he will live."
The A.D. reached behind him for a file and a thick
envelope. "While I know this isn't an X-File, I'm
sure you'll pitch in and give it your best effort."
He handed the file to Special Agent Dana Scully and
the envelope to Special Agent Fox Mulder.
"The park service has requested our help and has
suggested that an undercover operation might be the
best way to go about this. Field offices throughout
the region are cooperating as well. Since our man
seems to be heading north, I've volunteered you to
cover Virginia and West Virginia. Your cover story
and IDs are in the envelope and the notes from
previous investigations are in the file in Agent
Scully's hands. Any questions?"
Mulder and Scully looked at each other and Mulder
answered, "Not at this time sir."
"Good. Arrangements have been made for any camping
gear you might need and an SUV has been approved for
your use. Please tie up any loose ends in your
office and be ready to hit the road early in the
"Yes, sir," both agents answered.
As they left his office, Skinner marveled at how well
it had gone. Then it hit him. There had been no
complaints and no whining from Mulder. He was either
incredibly lucky or those two were up to something.
Well, time would tell. He decided not to waste a
moment worrying about it. He would be the first to
know when the shit hit the fan.
"I can't believe this, Scully," Mulder enthused as he
began looking through their cover information.
Scully eyed him warily as she put her file aside.
"Okay, Mulder. What won't I believe?"
"Skinner is sending us in as a newlywed couple," he
"I don't suppose that includes the honeymoon suite at
a five star hotel?
"Uh, no, but I'm sure I could talk the guy in
property into a deluxe tent with an air mattress.
Scully, we can be together, no questions asked.
Isn't that worth something?"
Although almost everyone they knew was aware of the
fact that they were in love, the two agents hadn't
broadcast the fact that their love was no longer
unrequited. They had carefully hidden the fact that
they had taken their relationship to a more intimate
"Mulder, you know that I want to be with you whenever
possible. It's just that anytime an assignment takes
us to the woods one or both of us is injured,
hospitalized or quarantined. My skin still hasn't
completely recovered from the fungus that ate North
Carolina," Scully explained.
"You have a point. Our track record in the wild,
outdoors is abysmal, but maybe this assignment will
break the trend."
"Well, let's hope so. I think we're all caught up
"Aside from going over what's in that file, yes, we
are for a change."
"Good. I need to buy a new pair of jeans and some
shorts for our assignment. Why don't you bring over
some take-out around seven? After that we can go
over the case and then get to bed early," Scully
suggested, gathering her things.
"Okay by me. What would you like to eat?"
"I don't care. Anything but pizza or Mexican."
"I can manage that. I'll get our gear together and
get it stowed away in the SUV. We can get an early
start without having to come here in the morning."
"All right. See you at seven?"
"Seven it is," he agreed, as he locked the office
Mulder pulled out of the parking lot at Scully's
apartment building at 7AM sharp the next morning.
The plan was to beat the heavy rush hour traffic and
stop for breakfast at a rest stop down I-95.
They had decided to drive into West Virginia first.
Their UNSUB was last seen in the Great Smokey
Mountains in Tennessee. If he stayed true to form he
would surface again in Kentucky, North Carolina or
West Virginia. Both agents hoped it was far from
them. They deserved a nice, uncomplicated dead-end
case for a change.
The early summer weather was beautiful and though she
wasn't crazy about camping out, Scully was looking
forward to spending time with Mulder. He was right.
It was wonderful to be able to show their affection
without worrying who would see them.
After a stop at the first Cracker Barrel they saw,
they were on their way. Scully reviewed the case
notes while Mulder sang along to a classic rock
station on the radio. By late afternoon, after a
stop for a late lunch and supplies, they were headed
into the Monongahela National Forest.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" Scully exclaimed as they
continued on the route they had settled on at lunch.
"I got some information off the internet last night,
right before you came with the food. Want to hear
"Sure," Mulder answered letting his right hand rest
on her left thigh.
"I got this information from YAHOO!TRAVEL. The
Allegheny Front of the Appalachian Mountains shapes
the character of the forest. The moist western side
of the front supports northern hardwoods while the
drier eastern side contains oak, cedar and even
"Cactus?" Mulder questioned. "That's interesting."
Scully continued, "The mountains themselves are
shaped by moving water. The Monongahela is home to
the headwaters of five major river systems and
hundreds of miles of smaller streams.
Monongahela adventures include whitewater rafting,
hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping
(primitive and developed) bird watching, rock-
climbing, cross country skiing and caving."
"So, what do you want to do first?"
"First, I want to hear that we are not going to the
primitive camping area and secondly, I'd like to find
a nice bathroom," Scully replied.
"Here's a rest area," Mulder announced, pulling into
the gravel parking lot. "Indoor plumbing and
everything. We'll talk about the camping area when
you get back."
Since it was so late when they arrived, they pulled
into the first camping area available. To Scully's
delight it was a developed camp sight with electrical
hookups, restrooms and even showers. An over priced
general store was there for any items they might have
"Scully, let's get our tent set up first. Then we
can take it easy for a while before dinner," Mulder
The tent went up rather easily and by the time they
unloaded what they would need from the SUV they were
ready for a rest. Over a dinner of cold cut
sandwiches, chips and soft drinks they talked about
what they needed to do to make themselves targets for
the UNSUB. Scully reluctantly agreed to move further
into the park the next day. She understood that they
needed to isolate themselves from the crowded camp
sites, but she was loathe to give up the creature
comforts, specifically indoor plumbing.
After introducing themselves under their cover names
of Marty and Deanna Conner, the agents became
friendly with some of the surrounding campers.
Mulder became involved in a volleyball game with the
men while Scully made small talk with the women as
they supervised the children.
As soon as the game was over, Scully sent a very
sweaty Mulder to the showers while she relished the
same on the women's side. She luxuriated in the
almost-hot water and washed and conditioned her hair.
She hoped that she wouldn't have to wait more than a
couple of days for her next shower.
By midnight the campground had settled down. Despite
the warm day the wind had picked up and the night was
chilly. Mulder and Scully snuggled together and
The next morning Scully awoke to the aroma of sausage
and bacon cooking nearby. She was glad someone was
going to have a big breakfast. She had planned on
having breakfast bars and coffee for Mulder and
Of course, Mulder was already up and about. She got
dressed and prepared to hunt him down. She didn't
have to look far. He was the next campsite over,
chowing down on bacon, sausage, eggs and pancakes.
"Mornin' honey," he called. "Come on over. We saved
some for you."
Scully didn't need to be asked twice. Something
about the cool, crisp mountain morning had stimulated
her appetite. She made a mental note to visit the
general store before they left. A larger breakfast
would definitely be needed for the length of their
By mid-morning they had packed everything back into
the SUV. Scully reluctantly bade farewell to the
friendly people and the indoor plumbing. The plan
was to stop and mingle with other people when
possible as they made their way deeper into the
forest. Mulder always introduced them as newlyweds
and told those they encountered that they were
looking for an out-of-the-way campsite.
Quite a few of the men were interested in the shiny,
new, top-of-the-line SUV. Mulder had a grand time
showing off all of the bells and whistles. That had
been part of their plan to draw attention to
themselves and it seemed to be working well.
As they ventured farther off the beaten path, Scully
found that she had to force herself to stay alert.
Having lived in cities all of her life she had very
few opportunities to observe nature's finery at such
a leisurely pace. As they came around one sharp
curve they startled a deer by the side of the road.
Mulder slowed as the buck bounded back into the
forest. Soon the paved road ended and was replaced
by a gravel road, barely wide enough for one car.
"Heads up, Scully," Mulder cautioned. "If he's going
to come after us it will probably be farther down a
road like this. The last couple had to stop when the
road was blocked by a fallen tree. This is barely
more than a trail. It wouldn't be difficult to set
something up here."
"My thoughts exactly," Scully agreed.
Their next campsite was a far cry from the first. A
lone water spigot, some chopped wood, and two privys
were the only luxuries. Despite the lack of frills,
there were several tents already set up. Scully was
surprised at the number of people who were willing to
forgo basic comforts. She hopped down from the
truck, squared her shoulders and began to help Mulder
unload their gear.
After setting up their site, Mulder suggested a quick
snack before setting out to explore the area close to
the campground. They found that several trails and a
small stream ran close by. Mulder indicated that he
would like to walk one of the trails for a mile or
two before they had to start fixing their evening
meal. Scully was in agreement and they started off
hand in hand.
The agents met several people returning to the camp-
site. They had been part of a group returning from
exploring one of the many small caves in the area.
Smaller trails, some of them marked, branched off the
Although Mulder was keen on going to one of the caves
the next day, Scully convinced him that they were not
equipped for such an adventure. He agreed
reluctantly and they turned around and headed back to
When they returned, Mulder set up the camp stove
while Scully readied the meat. They agreed on
burgers for dinner, with hot dogs the next evening.
They figured they would need to head back out for
more supplies after that unless they wanted to do
without meat. Their ice had held up well but
wouldn't last much longer. Mulder's appetite was
voracious and he wanted meat and anything else he
could get his hands on. Scully was secretly pleased
when he had to agree to leave after the next day.
They also needed to check in with Skinner. Their
cell phones were useless there so they had to find a
landline to call in. They both hoped that another
team had apprehended the UNSUB.
After dinner the campers gathered around a fire pit
in the center of the campground. It was much more
subdued that the previous campsite. They talked
quietly until one of the campers brought out a
guitar. They sang some well-known folk songs, then
roasted marshmallows and made smores. They turned in
by 10 o'clock as everyone had plans to hit the trails
Mulder and Scully went back to their tent and got
ready for bed.
"Scully, I'm not so sure we're looking in the right
place for this guy," Mulder said.
"What makes you think that?" Scully queried as she
spread a blanket over the air mattress.
"I'm not sure. Maybe we need to be more isolated."
"The previous attacks were off the beaten path but
not so far away that they had trouble finding help,
sort of like our situation here," Scully pointed out.
"Can I help it if I want you all to myself for a
while? No one around but the two of us?"
"I won't fault you for that, Mulder, but I think
we're doing the right thing. We're around people
now, but we can get out on our own tomorrow. We're
the only couple not part of a group so we'll make a
Scully lay down and Mulder turned off the lantern and
lay beside her. "Okay, Scully. If we don't come up
with anything tomorrow I'm going to tell Skinner that
we're changing locations."
"Agreed," Scully acknowledged.
Mulder turned toward her. "Enjoying your honeymoon
accommodations?" he teased.
Scully gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. "I can
honestly say that the air mattress isn't too bad.
The bathroom facilities could be better."
Mulder pulled her close. "When we change locations
I'll spring for a night in a lodge or motel. How
does that sound?"
"Heavenly." She showed her appreciation with a kiss
that was anything but chaste.
"What do I get if I get us that five star honeymoon
suite?" Mulder asked when he could breathe again.
Scully slipped her hand under his shirt. "How about
"Bring it on," he beckoned.
The campground was a beehive of activity in the early
morning hours. Unlike the families in the previous
campground, these campers were mostly young adults.
They were eager to get going to their various
Scully was packing their backpacks when Mulder came
into the tent.
"Are you about ready to go?" he asked.
"Just about. Did you dispose of our trash?"
"All taken care of," Mulder answered as he knelt to
help her. "I was talking to Dean, you know the guy
with the guitar?"
"Uh huh," Scully answered, zipping up her backpack.
"He advised us to be very careful about packing up
"Not unless they sleep with blankets and wear size 34
jeans. I think these scavengers are human. Dean
said some food was missing too."
"I'm glad we decided to bring that trunk. I'll just
put everything inside that will fit and lock it up.
I'll wear the key with my necklace."
Mulder nodded his approval as Scully handed him his
backpack. "I'll meet you by the trail," he said and
kissed her on the cheek.
"I'll be there in a few minutes."
By mid-morning Mulder and Scully had traveled several
miles into the forest. Evidently everyone had gone
in different directions because they hadn't seen or
heard another human being on the trail.
The terrain was becoming rougher as they went along.
A small stream meandered along the trail and they
were forced to cross it several times. They seemed
to be heading uphill and the ground dropped off to
their right. Scully reminded her self to pay
attention to where she was going. One misstep and
she would have quite a distance to fall.
Mulder came to an abrupt halt. "I thought I saw
someone," he whispered and pointed into the woods on
Scully looked but didn't see anything.
"It's gone now. Let's just keep our eyes open from
here on," Mulder suggested.
By noon the trail had narrowed. The stream was to
their right, along with the woods. To their left was
a sheer drop off. Mulder stopped at the edge of the
cliff. "That's a long way down."
Scully moved to his side and he put his right arm
around her. "I don't like this," she said quietly.
"Since when are you afraid of heights?"
"I'm not. It just makes me uneasy knowing that one
false move could send us over the edge."
"Yeah, let's be careful." He looked around. "The
trail widens up ahead. Let's stop there for lunch
and then head back, very carefully," he emphasized.
"You won't get an argument from me."
After a leisurely lunch, Mulder began to pack up
their trash to carry out with them. "Ready to start
"Yeah, give me a minute to answer nature's call and
I'll be ready. The sooner we get back to more level
ground the better I'll feel."
"Okay, I need to find a nice tree too. Be careful,
okay? Don't go far."
"I'll just be over there behind those bushes, and I
will be very careful."
When Mulder retuned to the clearing a few minutes
later, Scully still hadn't returned. He turned to
look in the direction he had last seen her. He
caught a glimpse of her shirt in the distance. As he
started to walk toward her he heard a sound in front
of him. At the same time his left shoulder exploded
"What the hell?" he gasped. He sank to his knees and
put his right arm out to stop his fall. He saw two
things before his vision began to blur and he lost
consciousness. A man with a silenced handgun was
hiding in a tangle of bushes and he was aiming at
Scully who was rapidly approaching.
END PART ONE