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Monongahela PRT1
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Title:  Monongahela Part One
                           Author:  Waddles52
                           Summary:  Mulder and Scully are in the woods again.  
                           Can they make it through this assignment without 
                           disastrous consequences?
                           Spoilers:  Slight for Field Trip
                           Rating:  PG-13
                           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 
                           complete.  
                           
                           
                           
                           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 
                           terrorism."
                           
                           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 
                           it.
                           
                           "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 
                           morning."
                           
                           "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 
                           beamed.
                           
                           "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 
                           level.
                           
                           "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 
                           here, right?"
                           
                           "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 
                           door. 
                           
                           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 
                           it?"
                           
                           "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."
                           
                           "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 
                           forgotten.
                           
                           "Scully, let's get our tent set up first.  Then we 
                           can take it easy for a while before dinner," Mulder 
                           suggested.
                           
                           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 
                           slept well.
                           
                           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 
                           herself.
                           
                           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 
                           stay.
                           
                           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 
                           main trail.
                           
                           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 
                           their tent.
                           
                           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 
                           early.
                           
                           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 
                           good target."
                           
                           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 
                           a preview?"
                           
                           "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 
                           activities.
                           
                           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 
                           our supplies."
                           
                           "Bear?"
                           
                           "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 
                           his right.
                           
                           Scully looked but didn't see anything.
                           
                           "It's gone now.  Let's just keep our eyes open from 
                           here on," Mulder suggested.
                           
                           "Good idea."
                           
                           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 
                           back?"
                           
                           "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 
                           in pain.
                           
                           "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