10 CommandmentsCory Raines stalked into the restaurant at precisely 1:28 for lunch with a blonde he would never date for himself. For that matter, he doubted that Alex dated her for herself. Later, they'd 'discuss' that. His date (their alibi) was pale, precise, and she didn't have a steel spine, it was a steel carapace. But it was a public meeting at the right time-- She looked up, smile never wavering, and tried to gouge parallel lines into his face. Alex clearly hadn't told him everything. Cory caught her hands, gave her Alex's best threatening stare -- and sat down anyway.
9 InningsThe FBI knows Alex Krycek. Various criminals know Cory Raines. Different criminals know Alex Krycek. Meeting each other did make sense of some odd reactions they'd both encountered. To Krycek the relevant part is that, if the FBI's facial recognition software is brought into this, it'll identify Cory as Alex. Cory knows Matthew won't give his name up (if he thinks the job has to have been Cory's doing), but he's surprised to see Alex has an idea which Matthew at the FBI he means. Matthew won't be certain what (who) happened, which makes shaking down the Yankees owners fun.
Behind the 8 BallSometimes it's terrifying that Alex is the more sensible one of the two of them. Cory says Alex is more cautious because he's mortal. They both know it's because the war's too important to lose, and who'll play as dirty as Alex if he dies? (Cory, actually, but they both know he wouldn't do it as well.) "No." Alex walks out of the pool hall already sending "Abort!" to Cory's beeper. He wonders later: Did Cory think his Russian was rusty? Did he worry Alex was already getting too obsessive? It doesn't matter. Pissing off ex-KGB helps neither of them.
7 Against ThebesCory slid in with the dawn. Alex sat in front of the ottoman/computer stand, head below a shooter's level. "Have you slept at all?" Cory asked. He didn't quite stagger as he came in. "More than you." Alex didn't look up. "The packets are in place?" "Everything's set. All seven men think -- correctly -- that their lovers are playing some insane round robin." Cory stole Alex's ever-present coffee, leaning on him unashamedly. He'd done the physical side this time, while Alex had shown up where expected. Alex emailed the prepared videos. "Good. Now we let them tear themselves apart."
Check Your 6Alex had 'acquired' medicinals and a priceless jumpdrive in Marrakech, dropped vials off along the way with tribesmen carrying well-kept semi-automatic weapons, and slipped into Rabat two hours before dawn, when there'd be few awake to notice. Alex had been doing the thinking and planning on this one, which meant Cory got logistics (putting safe food and drink physically into Alex's hand) and tactics ("Yes, really, four hours of sleep; I have the watch,"), and security. When the alley shadows rose up to drag them down, Cory left the pile of corpses behind them in the still quiet pre-dawn air.
5 Finger Discount"You're objecting to a theft?" Cory scratched through 5:00, wrote in 3:30, shifted the entry point, and checked their equipment. "Of course not, but I'll go talk to an acquaintance about equipment to hack through that door keypad." Alex took off his prosthetic, already reaching for the salve Cory was holding out. "Fine. I'll sleep while you're gone. You sleep after you get back." "Good. No keypad hacker until you get sleep." Alex glared at that. "Why 3:30?" "Garbage trucks are rolling by 4; trucks mean possible witnesses. No killing innocents if we can help it." "Agreed." Alex yawned. "If."
4th EstateThe story can never emerge. Alex knows this; the aliens are too other to comprehend it. If the public believed aliens were real… the police would be buried under useless reports of suspicious activity and the hospitals would be full of terrified people convinced they were turning into aliens. (Cory's sure mental hospitals regularly take in people who've lost time to Oil and didn't cover it up fast enough.) 'Must not be revealed' isn't the same as 'isn't known,' however. Some reporters have pieced together… enough. Edges, corners, whole sections of the puzzle. They're some of his best informants.
3 MonkeysCory was late. The tracker said Cory was still in the FBI parking garage, when he should have left already. Alex was running before he could convince himself that twenty minutes was nothing to worry about. Cory'd been meeting Skinner who was punctuality incarnate -- near Mulder, who was chaos made flesh. It took Alex eight minutes to make it to the garage, two of those added by the necessity of blowing a building's worth of security cameras with a localized EMP-bomb that set off every car alarm on a level. He found Cory's head-shot corpse in the incinerator bin.
2 Heads Grow Back?Cory called it VA-Day; Alex just called it the deadline. Communications, finance, politics, media, engineering, agriculture, medicine, espionage -- all had been useful to invaders, therefore all of them had to be scoured. People simply… vanished. Out of offices, homes, cars, trains, planes (that caused panics), wherever they were. Mostly Oil fell apart, taking hosts with it, but in some cases the deaths were planned, prepaid assassinations. Alex and Cory didn't bother with alibis. They watched data feeds from the Pentagon and CNN, drank alcohol or coffee, and ticked names off lists until the hydra had no heads left unseared.
There Can Be Only 1Alex woke reluctantly, tired as he always was, now that he could be. Something was dangerously wrong nearby. Adrenaline had flooded his veins, warming his muscles and bringing him up and fully awake. Steel ringing on steel, blades chiming, singing, screeching-- Alex exited the house, pistol in hand and not a stitch on the rest of him. Cory fell back, his knives in hand, grinning madly. Matthew McCormick said mildly over his broadsword, "I'd not kill either of you permanently, Alex. Not before I find out what this rampage was about." Cory was still smiling. Alex went back to bed.
~ ~ ~finis ~ ~ ~ Comments, Commentary, Miscellanea:I've seen comments in challenges about '1,000 word minimum, 10 linked drabbles acceptable.' And from there my mind wandered over Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and well, the two seemed like a good mix. For the record? I am never, ever doing this again. Drabbles are sheer torture for me. Keeping to 100 words per section (no, title not included, thanks!) drove me nuts. 10 Commandments: "Could I come near your beauty with my nails/I'd set my ten commandments in your face." Henry IV, pt. II, I, iii 7 Against Thebes: The seven brothers killed each other over control of their city. 4th Estate: Another name for the press. 3 Monkeys: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The EMP pulse cleared the evidence. Alex won't forget it, though. (And something had to explain why no one found bones in the incinerator, or proof that Mulder shot 'Krycek' in the FBI parking garage. For Whomever's sake, what idiot XF writer thought the FBI didn't keep CCTV in their own parking garage?!?) 2 Heads: What made the mythical hydra so dangerous was that cutting off a head didn't stop it; two heads would grow back from the stump, giving you more teeth and fire to face. Unless you seared the stump after you cut the head off... Only 1: The rules of the Game claim there can be only one. As far as Alex and Cory are concerned, it's more that there can be only one race on this planet -- and humans were here before Oil, or Greys, or any of the rest of them.
Grey Cats In The Dark by Rhi
For Peppymint, who suggested Krycek and Cory trading alibis, and for Crossovers100, prompt #98, Writer's choice: sometimes. Beta courtesy of Dragon, tarsh, and (mostly!) Springwoof -- thank you! All mistakes, of course, mine.