Residence of Reggie Earle
1003 63rd St.
With a powerful knock on the front door at 6pm sharp, Anthony DiMerra's presence was announced. Reggie let the men in, and Scully and Skinner stood nearly side by side like line backers, preparing for the round of explanations on just what they were about to do.
"Here we are Skinner. So, what are we doing?" Anthony asked as he chewed on what might have been a toothpick, his body relaxed yet alert as his hands rested in his pants pockets.
"I know how to get into the cell block, and my friend Reggie here will help us get in and out of the place as inconspicuously as possible. We'll need all the fire power we can get, so everyone needs to be packing. I don't know how much opposition we're going to come across, but with seven of us, we should be ok."
"You're taking the bitch?" one of Anthony's men, Stan barked out, laughter in his tone.
Beside him, Skinner felt Scully bristle, and he almost threw an arm out to hold her back.
"She can take care of herself, so I'd suggest you don't piss her off, unless you want to go back to Jersey in a box," Skinner retorted. "Anyhow, its an hour drive from here to San Quentin, so it'll be dark by the time we get outfitted and leave. Let's get moving."
With that, Reggie walked around the room, handing Skinner, Scully, Anthony and his boys Pacific Gas & Electric uniforms. The utility company provided service to the Bay Area, and no one would question a repair truck with workers on site.
"Time to suit up," stated Reggie as he zipped up his blue jumpsuit and attached the work belt. Then, as everyone else continued to do the same, he walked over to the basement door, unlocked it and flipped the light switch.
Walking down, he stood at the foot of the stairs as Scully, Skinner and the rest of the group followed. Scully's jaw dropped and Anthony let out a bark of laughter as they walked into the basement.
"Fuck! A man after my own heart!"
Before them was spread out a virtual banquet of weaponry. Glassed over tables, wall mounted racks flanked the room. It was a literal arsenal.
"You're not dealing this stuff, are you Reg?" asked Skinner with a look of concern as he moved to look over the Uzis in the case closest to him.
"Nah. Its my own personal collection. Besides, in this neighborhood, I wouldn't let anyone know about this, or I'd have unexpected visitors that I'd have to dispose of," he replied with a look that stated that he wouldn't be adverse to doing whatever it took to keep his 'collection' safe.
While Anthony's men quickly pointed at things and Reggie unlocked ammo boxes and the cases for them to haul things out, Scully simply glanced at everything: the semi-automatic guns, the machine pistols, the demolitions equipment. Near the front of the basement, there was a small grouping of silent weapons. Close quarters armament. One in particular caught her attention.
A British commando dagger. Without conscious thought, she reached down and popped the strap from where it trapped the pommel and carefully slid the weapon from its black sheath.
It was heavier than she'd expected, the handle weighing oddly in her hand. The blade felt light in comparison, even though it was longer than her hand was. The dark steel glinted in the harsh light of the florescent tubes overhead.
Finally she reached for the sheath to put the weapon away. Before she could slide the tip of the knife into the casing, one of Anthony's goons came up beside her. Part of her wanted to automatically flinch from the man's presence, but she held her ground, turning her eyes towards him in questioning.
"Nice pig-sticker," Dominic commented, giving her a cold look, then plucked the blade and sheath from her hands, shoving the weapon into place and then quickly finding a spot on his belt for the weapon.
Scully felt herself inwardly pale. The words hadn't been lost on her. If it wasn't for Skinner's connection with Anthony, his ability to help free Anthony's father, these men would be happy to finish her and her boss off.
She wandered back to where the ammo was stacked up, searched around and picked up another two clips for her service weapon. With allies like these, she thought, the men who had Mulder didn't stand a chance.
San Quentin Penitentiary
San Rafael, CA
It was late, and as Reggie flashed the guard at the front gate his doctored work order, they just flagged the PG&E utility van through. Driving through the gates, they followed an access road around the far side of the prison, hugging the water's edge. Finally they stopped around the backside of the penitentiary.
Clamoring out of the back doors, the group followed Skinner down a sloping path, leading them to a large iron grate. Reggie produced a set of bolt cutters from his belt and cut the lock. Skinner then reached forward and pulled the gate open, allowing them to walk slowly single file into the dark, narrow tunnel until they were stopped by a large metal door with a keypad lock.
Scully leaned against the cement wall and looked at the gathered group of invaders while she hoped that Skinner had the access code for the door. The last thing they needed, she thought sourly, was to have to find another way in. Watching Anthony's nervousness covered by a show of bravado made her concerned as to what would happen if Skinner couldn't deliver on his promise.
Of course, that would mean that her chances to find Mulder would take a turn for the worse too. And she didn't believe that her boss would risk the wrath of both the mob and her.
Suddenly, a loud popping sound rang through the cement tunnel, and the door opened, swinging inward. At the door, Scully saw Skinner pull his weapon and flip off the safety. Around her, she heard everyone else do the same, some of the gangsters pulling back the slides on their automatic weapons. Once everyone was set, Skinner entered, everyone following, split up in two's - Scully and Reggie, Anthony and Stan, Dominic and Vincent Jr.
As they walked into the new area, they began to realize that this was the hidden tunnel network that Skinner had mentioned. It was supposed to lead down underneath San Quentin, to let people that would rather move unseen visit the special set of semi-secret isolation cells. As they carefully moved through the corridors, they took care to avoid several guards in uniforms that were patrolling the passageways. Scully gave Skinner a look of shock when she saw the first of the uniformed men, and he came to her side. Whispering, he explained that the guards in the network and this special ward only look like regular correctional guards - in fact, they were hand-picked special ops - Men in Black.
Silently they moved through the corridors, Skinner leading them at each intersection until they finally reached a larger, more open area where a dozen or so guards were seated and milling around. The center of the operation, obviously. With silent signals that Scully was sure they'd perfected in 'Nam, Skinner and Reggie communicated their plan. From what she could guess, it was going to be *lots* of fun.
Skinner turned around the corner and began firing into the crowd of guards, hitting chairs and tables, sending coffee and paperwork flying as Reggie's guns followed, shooting at the guards that were starting to flee towards the walls, support posts and any other cover they could find.
With the chaos in front of them, Anthony and his men stormed into the room, their guns spraying bullets in all directions. Scully stood at the entryway, stunned for a long moment as she watched the carnage.
One of Anthony's men, Stan had rushed up on one of the guards and shot him point blank in the chest. Not once, but three times and then ran off, looking for other men to kill. Skinner and Reggie had stopped behind a large pillar and took turns coming out from behind the cover to shoot the guards that were using the table as a makeshift barricade. Anthony had snuck up behind a couple of guards where they were holed up, trying to get a radio working to send out an alarm when he shot them both, rapid-fire and ripped the cord from the radio.
A shiver went up Scully's spine as her mind grasped what she was seeing. It was a indiscriminate war out there.
And she had to go out there and do this as well.
Scanning the room, she found Skinner and Reggie under heavy fire, and she traced the guards who were shooting at them. Running in, she fired her Sig, hitting one in the shoulder, another in the chest as she dodged Anthony's men and incoming bullets that seemed to whiz past her.
She nearly skidded across the room to where Skinner and Reggie were still battling it out with a few of the guards. She leaned around the large post and fired off a few shots in the same direction as her boss and his friend were aiming.
Within what seemed minutes though, the number of gunshots ringing out through the room was slowing, then finally came to a halt as Scully realized that they'd killed or wounded to the point of surrender or unconsciousness all the guards that had opposed them.
Once they'd cleared the area, Reggie and Vincent Jr., who had been shot in the shoulder and the side secured the door, making sure they didn't have any unexpected company before they'd gotten Carmine out.
The rest of the force hurried along the side wall of the room where a series of isolation cells were located. Who they held was uncertain, as each door had a number and no name. Skinner moved hurriedly in front, looking at each tag briefly before stopping at the second to the last cell. Flipping open the window port, Skinner looked inside, and with a nod, he confirmed that they had located their objective.
"Open it!" shouted Anthony.
Quickly Stan and Dominic shot the lock off the door in a blinding flash of gunfire. Dominic slammed his foot into the dented metal of the door, and it fell inward with a crash.
He sat on his cot, nonchalantly reading the latest issue of Playboy, He waived in the air in front of him to clear the dust kicked up by the fallen door, readjusted his reading glasses, and went back to his magazine. Age had grayed the hair at his temples, and some of the muscle had gone to fat, but the old man still had the countenance of a swaggering bull that Anthony recognized from pictures of his father.
"Are you Carmine DiMerra?" asked Anthony.
The old man set down his magazine and took off his glasses. He blinked up at the group of people standing in his cell door, guns in hand.
"You fuckers gonna pull those pistols or are you gonna stare me to death?" he spat with an equal measure of defiance and boredom.
"We ain't here to kill you," smiled Anthony, "we're here to take you home."
Carmine sniffed disdainfully, ever the old bull. He picked up his magazine and glasses, returning to his reading. "Sorry kid. Carmine DiMerra don't fly coach."
"But I'm your son!" Anthony stammered.
Carmine looked over Anthony with a disgust, sneering. "What bitch popped you out?"
Shock turned to anger, and Anthony replied, "My mother and your wife, Angelica DiMerra."
"Ah, *that* bitch," said Carmine, never looking up from the skin-rag. "You don't want me kid. Go spring the milkman down the hall."
Scully saw the mobsters shuffling at the door to the cell. She sized up the situation quickly.
"The family reunion will have to wait until later. It's time to go," Scully announced loudly over the alarm that suddenly pierced the room. Shoving herself into the small room, she grabbed the Italian man by the arm and dragged him out of the cell.
Hurriedly they made their way across the cell block, carefully avoiding the bodies strewn all over. Once they were out of the cell block, Skinner started running through the corridors heading back out the way they'd come in, hoping that the men behind him would shoot anyone who got in their way. Luck was with them though as they made their way out the main door, through the tunnel and to the PG&E truck before anyone else arrived.
Shoving Carmine and Anthony roughly into the back, Scully climbed in, followed by Anthony's goons. In the front, Reggie and Skinner got in and they sped towards the gate, barely slowing down for Reggie to sign them out and head for the freeway.
Soon they were on the road, and Skinner directed Reggie to head across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco, instead of going back directly to Oakland. As Reggie drove, Scully did what she could for Vinnie Jr. with the limited supplies she had. The jarring of the truck as they hit potholes in the road didn't help either, but she got him patched up. Those that were in the back of the truck were able to strip off their jumpsuits and had them piled with the work belts on the floor of the truck.
After what seemed like an eternity, the van stopped and Skinner pounded on the metal wall to the back part of the truck to let them know that it was ok to get out. Scrambling out, Scully looked out to see that they were in a small, grimy street in front of an all-night Vietnamese restaurant. Skinner and Reggie were at the door, sans their jumpsuits as well, talking animatedly with an Asian man in his fifties in a tacky neon-yellow suit.
Behind her, Carmine and Anthony were climbing out of the truck, being helped by Anthony's men. They all seemed nonplussed by the turn of events, and headed right into the restaurant without a second thought. Scully followed them, hesitating at the door until Skinner came up beside her.
"It's alright Scully. The place is safe. The owner's an old friend," he explained as the small Asian man directed them to a couple of tables near the back of the place.
"Seems like you have a lot of *friends* in San Francisco," Scully quipped almost sarcastically at Skinner as they sat. Carmine and Anthony sat down across from her, while Reggie and her boss were on either side of her. Anthony's men sat at another table, their eyes focused on the doors and their menus, their conversation joking and normal. As if they hadn't blown away a dozen men tonight.
"A lot of the guys came through the bases in California, The Presidio and Fort Bragg to name a few, after their tours were over, or after they'd been medically evacuated to the States," he said as one of the waiters brought them some water. "Some of them ended up coming back after they got their discharge and found that the States didn't particularly want them back."
Scully frowned and then focused her attention to the man whose hands Skinner was putting Mulder's life into. Sitting together at the table, Anthony was talking quietly with Carmine, trying to convince the man that his mother, Carmine's wife had given birth to him after Carmine had disappeared. And that in the years following his birth, he'd heard stories about the old man, but never imagined that he'd ever meet his father.
"I ain't your daddy," Carmine harshly told Anthony, loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear if there had been anyone there besides them to care. "That slut of a mother of yours was two-timing me with my best friend, Joe Salvatore. That fucking bastard that set me up to take the fall, and because of some fucked up sense of loyalty to *him* and the family, I got shut up in that hell hole the last 25 years!"
"They call him the First Elder now," Skinner said, interrupting their discussion.
"The only time that fat fuck was ever first was getting to the buffet table," Carmine replies, laughing hoarsely.
"Well, things have changed," retorted Skinner. At that, Carmine glared at Skinner with a deadly stare. "We need your help. We need some information on Joe, and you're the only one who knows *everything* about him."
"Oh, I know *everything*, alright," Carmine spat, then grabbed his water glass and took a large swig. "Can I get something fucking stronger than this?"
The waiter came back with a glass of red wine and a carafe, placing them on the table before the old man. Grudgingly, Carmine took the glass and gulped down a large swallow of the wine, then refilled his glass again.
"It's been 25 years since I've had a decent glass of wine. I guess I'll have to wait a while longer," he said humorously, then turned back to Scully and Anthony. "So, you need me to tell you about Joe, this 'First Elder' now, huh? Well, it's a long story. I was chief, a made man and a young success in my Family. I'd brought Joe in, opened up all the connections that made the fat bastard a success. I guess that was *my* fucking mistake. He started screwing *my* wife, making his own deals within *my* organization. I gave him a chance to confess, to make retribution for the crimes against me and the Family. Instead the fucker turned on me, going to the Feds and bringing in one of their agents to fuck me over. And in case you didn't know it, that man's sitting right here."
Carmine pointed a finger across the table at Skinner, causing the A.D. to tense as he reached out to scoop up some of the newly arrived food that the owner had sent over.
"This guy lived as one of my men for over a year, and I trusted him 'cause Joe vouched for him. I took him under my protection, helped him through some rough spots and I told him stuff I wouldn't even tell my own priest. So, the next thing I know, Walt here is gone, Joe is gone and the Feds are busting my ass. They give me some shit about handing over some of the Captains of the other Families, so they can get inside the other operations, but I didn't tell them shit! So they throw my ass in that hell hole under San Quentin pen," Carmine continues, and takes another swig of the wine. "After a while, I figured they'd just forgotten I was down there, but I never gave up the prospect that one day I'd be able to have my revenge on everyone who sold me down the river, especially Joe."
Scully looked up from the food on her plate that she was stubbornly trying to convince her stomach that she needed to eat. Unfortunately the dining conversation was making it difficult. She glanced over at Skinner and saw the discomfort in his face at Carmine's tale. There was something more that had gone on, a long buried secret that seemed to be weighing on him, especially now that the story was being aired out, so to speak.
"Anyhow, for some reason I still doesn't have a clue to, Walt came and saw me one last time before they shoved me in that cell. He offered to give someone in the Family a message. Since I didn't know who to trust anymore, and even though I didn't trust Walt, I made him a tape, and told him that he should give it to the one man he was sure would carry out my vendetta. Walt promised he'd give it to that person, though I don't know whom he sent it to. . . "
"He sent it to me, when I was sixteen," said Anthony, making sure his father knew that Skinner believed his son was the one person who would carry out Carmine's orders.
Carmine nodded, finally understanding Walt's reasons for offering to take the tape. He'd suspected that Walt might not give it to one of the Captains, because they knew Walt to be something other than a wiseguy. And he knew full well that Skinner probably assumed, and correctly so, that he was one of those that were listed on the vendetta tape.
Skinner had sat there and listened to Carmine, but realized that the former mob boss didn't know the real reasons why he'd been locked up in San Quentin's secret guest rooms.
"I had my reasons for waiting until Anthony was old enough to help you," Skinner said, and then began to tell his version of the story. "The First Elder, Joe Salvatore, had been turned by the Bureau and offered to set you up. I got assigned to the case because they needed someone with a fresh face, but old experience. You probably think that Joe had something to do with my coming into the Family, but in truth, a man that I now know as the Cancerman had seen to it that I was assigned to the case. He wanted me to get close to you, Carmine, and to report the dirt I got on you and Joe."
Scully almost gasped as she realized how far back her and Mulder's nemesis' had his reach into their situation. Here he'd been involved in the early formation of the Consortium, and gathering information on all sides to use as he saw fit.
"But the First Elder realized that Carmine was his weakness, and decided to rush the investigation, getting it closed prematurely, which lead to them pressuring Carmine into fingering his bosses. The First Elder planned to use what Carmine knew to squeeze the other Mob bosses into doing what he wanted, allowing him to control them and thus consolidating his power, while at the same time, getting rid of Carmine."
Carmine was surprised to say the least, as he nearly spit his wine back into his glass. The fat fuck had backstabbed him, and wanted him dead as well!
"When Carmine wouldn't give up his Family and the others, the First Elder ordered his death, but the Bureau was directed to lock him up in that cell under San Quentin. It seemed that someone higher up, maybe Cancerman, maybe someone else thought that Carmine could be used as a trump card in case they ever had to go up against the First Elder," Skinner explained at length, watching the faces of Scully, Anthony and Carmine as he relayed the story to them. "You were living, breathing proof of the First Elder's past, that he had tried to blackmail the Mob. If you ever saw the light of day again, what you know about him would be more than enough to make the Families break their affiliation with him, and he'd have a contract out on him in an hour."
Finishing the last of the wine, Carmine seemed to have processed the new facts that Skinner had given him in cold silence. Finally, the old man shrugged and asked the men at the other table for a cigar. Dominic stood up and handed the man one, which he shoved in his mouth as the made man pulled out a lighter and lit the cigar. He puffed on it a few times as Dominic sat back down. All this really didn't mean much. He just had to add this Cancerman to the list of men he needed to kill in addition to Skinner and the Elder. But first the First Elder.
"So, here I am. What now," Carmine asked, pushing himself away from the table. At his side, Anthony had lit a cigarette and had gotten up to stand beside his father.
"I think Anthony has rooms somewhere in the area, so you probably should leave here and get squared away before they come looking for the truck. We should meet tomorrow at noon. The same place Anthony," Skinner said, getting up himself as he turned to look at Scully's stricken face. "Tomorrow I'll tell you how you can help us find the First Elder, and Mulder in the process."
With that, Carmine shoved his chair back, and Anthony and his men walked out with him, leaving Scully, Skinner and Reggie in the deserted restaurant.
"Come on, let's grab a cab and get some rest," Skinner started, and when he saw Scully start to protest, he hurried to add, "It's just a few more hours Scully. Trust me, we're going to get Mulder back."
She started to open her mouth, then bit back her retort. He was right. For now, she had to be patient and trust that Skinner knew what he was doing. The only problem was that the one person she did trust was the same person whom she was looking for.
300 California St.
San Francisco, CA
The First Elder strode into the Consortium's offices in San Francisco early in the morning. He'd had to charter a jet from New York when he'd received word of the jailbreak, the news that Carmine was still alive and had been the prisoner that had been rescued from the underground jail cells. He was angry, and had ordered his men to get him something to eat. He always ate when he was annoyed, and this fuck-up was making him ravenous.
He had already taken over many of Cancerman and the Well Manicured Man's projects, but he hadn't come across a single reference to Carmine's continued existence on the planet. He'd been sure that his orders had been obeyed, and that the dangerous prick had been dealt with. Obviously, that wasn't the case, as someone else had tucked him away, most likely to use against him.
When he'd been told of the jailbreak, he'd issued orders to make sure that anyone who knew of the identity of the man in the cell be killed, knowing that if the Consortium found out about any of this, they could use it against him. Kick him out of his seat of power.
Moving to sit in the rich padded leather chair, the First Elder ran his hands on the finely polished mahogany desk. The San Francisco office might be smaller, but it was furnished as befit a man of his station. Looking to the phone, he started to consider what needed to be done, and who was still a threat.
Picking up the receiver, he dialed a long distance number from memory. After what seemed like forever, he heard the Mandarin speaking man on the other end answer.
"There's an opportunity that I would like to discuss with you," the First Elder stated to the Chinese diplomat, one of the knowledgeable in the Consortium. "There will soon be a space on the council that will need to be filled. It is a vacuum that could be filled by someone who could discreetly take care of a small inconvenient problem of mine. I have several people that I need disposed of, by someone that cannot be traced back to me. There are five people, all in San Francisco, California, in the United States. I will give the person whom you send the information they'll need."
At the other end of the line, the Chinese diplomat, blinded by the promise of power, agreed to send their best assassin, Kwan Hui, on the next flight to San Francisco to dispose of the problem.
Hanging up the phone, the First Elder smiled for the first time since hearing about the jail break. Then through the door came one of his men with a tray of food. His smile got broader. Nothing was better than food. Not even killing.