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A Vacation of Sorts

Chapter Eight

The early morning sun revealed the two new lovers happily entwined, having a very important discussion.

"Mulder, as strange as this is going to sound, I simply can’t call you Fox." Scully’s head was resting on his chest. "It just sounds wrong."

Mulder’s deep chuckle reverberated against her cheek. "I know what you mean. It would be too weird to start calling you Dana. You’ll always be Scully to me."

"Glad we got that sorted out."

"So what did the autopsy reveal?" He tenderly combed his fingers through her hair. "Was he ‘The Glowbug’?"

She hesitated. "All the evidence says yes he is. His DNA matches the semen taken from the victims, his face is the same as the identikit pictures, even skin found under the last woman’s nails matches the man we autopsied."

"But…" Mulder prompted.

"It doesn’t make sense," Scully sighed in frustration. "For one, from the amount of skin where the woman scratched him, she drew blood, but there were no cuts or scabs whatsoever on his body. There’s no way a wound like that would heal in a couple of days. His blood work is another anomaly. The man had no leukocytes or immunoglobulin."

"And they are…"

"White blood cells and antibodies. He effectively had no immune system."

"You mean like AIDS?"

"No." She shook her head. "AIDS is caused by the HIV virus that destroys some white blood cells like CD4 and T cells. This man had no white blood cells or antibodies whatsoever."

Mulder’s eyes widened. "So he really did die from a common cold?"

"Yes," Scully continued. "There are rare cases of people being born with immune deficiencies. In severe cases the victims have to live their lives in a total vacuum, isolated from the rest of the world with the air they breathe extensively filtered. Clarisse ran his prints and they were on the database for elimination purposes from a home break in a few years back. The police spoke to his wife who had filed a missing person’s report four weeks ago. He’d left for a business trip from Sydney and never came back. Apparently they were childhood sweethearts. He’d never had any serious health problems."

"Was he a twin?" Mulder asked, trying to eliminate all plausible solutions before moving onto the implausible ones.

"Not according to his wife, mother and birth records."

"So how do you lose your immune system?"

"I don’t know." The annoyance was clear in her voice. She hated when science let her down. "There was also a protein marker in his blood. And before you ask, it is not in any medical text or database that we could find. I have no idea what its purpose is or how it got into his system."

"Anything else odd about him?" Mulder soothingly massaged her shoulders to ease the tension from her body.

"Mmmm…that feels wonderful," she murmured. "It’s more like a footnote. There was a star shaped scar at the base of his neck. His wife said he had no such scar before disappearing."

"Any other peculiarities?" Mulder’s breath was warm against her back.

Scully was having a hard time concentrating as his lips replaced his hands. "Well, I…ah…reviewed the autopsy results of the murdered women…."

"Hmmm…and?" He nuzzled the hollow of her neck making her gasp.

"…It’s possible that they were drugged…in all cases the vomeronasal organ was inflamed…"

"Scully, I love all those technical medical terms you use."

She could feel him smile against her skin.

"What does the vomeronasal organ do?"

She rolled over with a wicked grin, so she was straddling him. "It’s responsible for detecting pheromones, and sends the sexual response signal to the brain on a subconscious level."

"I’m guessing our vomeronasal organs are at work right now, huh?" Mulder ran his hands over her thighs and beyond to cup her backside.

Scully rotated her hips and felt him swell beneath her. "Oh, I’m betting they’re in overdrive."

Her mouth descended on his hungry lips and all thoughts of the mysterious case temporarily evaporated with the dawn sky.




When Jack quietly slipped out of bed just before sunrise, it was to find Daniel already seated cross-legged on the lounge floor surrounded by the dossiers of both the missing and murdered women. He glanced at the almost empty coffee pot. "Damn, Daniel, did you even get any sleep?"

"I managed a couple of hours." He rose massaging his back.

"Whatcha’ doing?" Jack claimed the last of the coffee and set up a new pot.

"Looking for the reason these women were killed." He pointed to one side of paperwork and then the other. "And why these were abducted."

"Any luck?"

"No." He rubbed slightly blood shot eyes. "They have nothing in common."

"Want some help?"

Daniel nodded and the two friends started sifting through the mounds of information.

Around eight o’clock Annika shuffled from the bedroom, making a beeline for the coffee machine with barely open eyes.

"Morning, My Angel," Daniel greeted absently from the floor.


"Not a member of the dawn patrol?" Jack grinned.

"Not today." She took a deep swallow of the blessed brew. Groggily she made her way to the couch, careful not to disrupt the organized chaos of paper. Still half asleep she blearily gazed at the photos. "Why have you got them arranged like that?"

"Hmmm?…Like what?"

"True Blues and fakes."

Daniel’s head swung up perplexed but it was Jack who eloquently asked, "Huh?"

Annika, paying more attention to her caffeine fix, gestured to the missing women. "Natural redheads." Then waved at the dead victims. "Out of a bottle."

The two men blinked at each other incredulously. Daniel knew what the colonel was thinking, because he was thinking it too. It couldn’t be that simple…could it? In unison they turned back to Annika.

"How can you tell?" Jack demanded. "Is this a psychic thing?"

She gave a snort of laughter. "No, it’s not a psychic thing. It’s obvious."

Both men studied the photos again. Daniel shook his head uncomprehendingly. He couldn’t see it. Jack looked just as blank.

"Obvious my foot," the colonel growled.

"Maybe it’s a woman thing," Annika suggested still focusing on her coffee. What a ridiculous topic of conversation for so early in the morning.

The men exchanged another glance. Jack bounded to his feet and rushed into the bedroom he shared with Sam. They heard the covers being thrown off and Sam’s protest at being torn from the cozy bed. A moment later Jack emerged dragging the drowsy major behind him.

"What’s going on?" Sam yawned collapsing on the couch next to Annika.

She shrugged. "I have no idea. I’m not really in the land of the living till my second cup. They seem very excited about hair dyes."

"Hair dyes?" Trying to rid her mind of the last vestiges of slumber, Sam gulped down what was left of the colonel’s coffee.

"Sam, can you tell which of these women are natural redheads?" Daniel held out the bundle of quickly gathered photos.

The blonde stared at him then turned to the only other sane person in the room.

Annika shrugged again. "Don’t ask me. They haven’t made one bit of sense since I got up."

"You woke me up for this?" she accused the colonel.

"Sam, honey, it could be important."

She smiled at the endearment. "Okay. But get me some more of that coffee."

Jack eagerly obliged while Daniel hovered over Sam’s shoulder as she studied the pictures and divided them up into two groups. When she’d finished the men converged on the piles.

"What did we just determine?" Sam had snuggled into the soft cushions and was seriously considering going back to the Land of Nod.

Annika who was thinking along the same lines opened one eye. "They lost me. Maybe late night sex has addled their brains."

Sam peeked over her mug, her cheeks a pale pink. "That’s as good a theory as any."

The two friends shared a wide smile.

Out loud Annika directed her voice to the huddled men. "That’s it. No more sex for you guys after midnight. It screws up your brains."

That got their full attention. Jack and Daniel spun around to the face them. The looks on their faces were priceless. Both were confused at the bizarre comment, while at the same time horrified by the thought.

"What? Why?" Jack spluttered.

"What are you talking about?" Daniel was baffled.

Sam and Annika erupted into peals of laughter.

"What are you talking about?" Sam gasped when she could finally speak.

"Yes, share your great epiphany with us."

"Well, it was actually your epiphany." Daniel spread the photos out.

"It was?" Annika playfully nudged Sam with her elbow. "I had an epiphany, how about that? Pity I don’t remember it."

"You identified the difference between the dead and the missing women." His eyes were sparkling with excitement. "The dead, the fake redheads, are the women Bes rejected. The missing, the natural redheads, are the ones he’s kept."

"How is that significant?" Sam asked now fully alert.

"Well, modern advancements in hair dye is something that Bes wouldn’t be familiar with," Daniel theorized.

"Didn’t have L’Oreal in Ancient Egypt, huh?" Annika quipped causing grins from the others.

"No, not quite. They did use henna but on a naturally dark haired race the ‘red’ wouldn’t have been more than a dark auburn. Hathor was a rarity…"

"Thank God for that."

"Jack, I didn’t mean as a Goa’uld, although she was," Daniel continued, "I meant her appearance. Fair skinned with bright red hair. She was probably the only natural redhead in all of Egypt. If Bes was fixated on Hathor’s unique appearance then imagine when he woke up after thousands of years to find the world populated with millions of redheads."

"He found himself a smorgasbord," Sam concluded.

Both men nodded.

"But if Bes is so particular about who he wants for his harem," Annika frowned in thought. "Once he realized that the women of our time do dye their hair, why hasn’t he been more careful in his…er… selection?"

"Maybe he can’t tell," Sam speculated. "He takes the women at night from dimly lit clubs and restaurants, plus being a novice so to speak, he probably doesn’t know what signs to look out for."

"What are the signs by the way?" Jack asked curiously. "We couldn’t tell the difference."

Annika answered, "Normally different colored roots is the first giveaway, but doesn’t apply here…I’d bet everyone of them had only dyed their hair within a few days of their deaths. With these women you can see their eyebrows don’t match and also the color is too even."

Jack shrugged at Daniel. "We would have picked up on it eventually."

"Yeah…sure," Daniel groused sarcastically. "After three hours of nothing, I really felt we were on the right track."

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