Title: And a bottle of Rum
Summary: Mulder and Scully go after some pirates
of the Caribbean. Written for the 'Out of the
Country' challenge on Mulder's Refuge
Disclaimer: All characters are fictional and the
property of 20th Century FOX and 10-13
Productions. No copyright infringement intended.
And a Bottle of Rum
Sounds crashed near him. Something he remembered from far ago, but couldn't place. He
licked his lips and his tongue came away with grit. He tried to spit it out, but his mouth was too dry.
Salty. Salt on his lips, his tongue. He gagged, but was too dry to really cause any damage.
With great effort he rolled over onto his back. It was bright and hot. With his eyes closed he knew
the sun was at its zenith. Exerting as much effort as he could afford, he dragged his arm up to cover his
eyes. Tentatively, he opened them.
The surf pitched lazily just a few feet from his toes.
He was lying on sand. Hot sand, from the
feel of his back. He clutched his eyes shut again and moved his arm in an effort to roll onto his knees
and rise. It took him three attempts before he was upright. Not completely on his feet, just sitting up
with his haunches on his bent feet. Nausea ripped through him and he gagged again. The dry heaves
were painful and only served to ratchet up the blinding headache that was crushing his skull.
Frantically he searched the lone stretch of beach where he'd awakened. He slowly made his way to
his feet, wincing when he shifted his weight on his left leg. He caught himself in time before it buckled
beneath him. Note to self: don't try to walk on that leg, he mused absently. His stomach rolled in reply.
"Scully!" he yelled as loud as his tortured grey matter would allow. He waited, listening. Only the
sound of the surf and a few tropical gulfs responded. "Scuuuuu-ly" he tried again, more
desperate than the first time. He had to find her. She was with him -- when?
The waves laughed at him and kept dancing with the shore.
24 hours earlier
"Get your bikini, Scully. I have a surprise." Mulder was giving her an 'all teeth' grin as he
sauntered into the office.
"Tell me we're on a case in Hawaii, Mulder. Or I shoot you where you stand," she replied,
accentuating the last comment with a hearty sneeze.
"Bless you," he said hastily. "And it's not Hawaii, but arguably just as good. What would you say if I
told you that we're headed to the US Virgin Islands?"
"I'd say you were either insane or dangerously close to being indicted on charges of bribery, Mulder.
How in the world did you get us on a case in the Caribbean in the middle of January?"
"Neither insane nor indicted. It's a task force. They needed a behavioral psychologist and a pathologist.
When the request came through, Skinner thought of us. I told you giving him those tickets to the NCAA
playoffs for Christmas was a good idea," he added smugly.
"I don't know, Mulder. I think those tickets could be considered a bribe," she teased. "So, what's this
task force on? I haven't heard anything about an FBI task force down there."
"It's not just us, Scully. It's DEA, Homeland Security, AKA the Coast Guard and the local
authorities. There have been several kidnappings and murders. They thought it was pirates at first,
but now they suspect a serial at work."
"Pirates? As in . . . 'Pirates of the Caribbean'?" she smirked.
"Don't try to hide your sarcasm behind that Orlando Bloom/Johnny Depp fetish, Scully. There are real
pirates on the high seas. Now instead of going after Spanish gold they hijack yachts and use them in
drug smuggling, or just kill the passengers and fence the merchandise. There's even an annual
report on pirate activities. I have the website book marked on my computer."
"Mulder, your bookmarks take up nine-tenths of your hard drive. But be that as it may, you're
profiling a pirate? This pirate wouldn't be the ghost of Blackbeard, would he?"
"If only! No, I'm afraid this doesn't really qualify as a true X file, Scully. No vanishing tall ships or
crews of skeletons looking for the last coin to release them from eternal torment. It appears that
this is a case of plain old murder, with a twist. Not content to find his victims on land, our serial looks
for them on the open water." Mulder handed over the file and Scully opened it quickly, recoiling at the
8 X 10 glossy crime scene photos.
"Very," Mulder agreed. "But apparently, valuables were only take the first couple of hits. The other
seven murders in the last three years have been just that, murders. The ships are found drifting
aimlessly, passengers butchered on the decks." He pulled the file out of her hands and flapped it close.
"So, I'll be packing my red Speedo and I fully expect you to tuck a string bikini in your carry on.
Wouldn't do to have it go astray with the rest of your luggage."
Coast Guard Station
San Juan, PR
"Agent Scully, I can't in all good conscious allow that."
Dana Scully pushed her hair back from her forehead, some of the strands sticking painfully to
the white gauze bandage at her hairline.
"I appreciate your concern, Commander, but I have to repeat my request. I need a cutter to take me to
the island where I was found and look for my partner. I know he's there," she said through gritted
teeth. She was still hoping she'd wake up and find that it had all been a nightmare -- the small yacht to
take them from the Puerto Rico to St. Thomas had been Mulder's idea. He'd never thought that they
would meet head on with a tropical storm and end up going far off course, crashing on a coral reef in a
less comical version of 'Gilligan's Island'. She'd been with the vessel, unconscious, when it was
found by the Coast Guard contingent sent out to answer their distress call. Mulder had apparently
been swept overboard. Now Scully was trying to convince the Marine Safety Office Commander in
San Juan that her partner was very much alive and in need of rescue.
"Agent Scully," Commander Potter said gently. "I know you want to find your partner. But from all
indications, Agent Mulder was lost at sea. Now, you were out cold when my men found you. Do
you have any real proof that Agent Mulder survived going overboard?"
Scully bit her lip and closed her eyes against the pressure that was building in her forehead. "I have
no 'evidence'," she ground out. "I just . . . I would just know if . . ." How could she explain to this man
that she would know instinctively if Mulder had been ripped from her side? She felt him, in her
heart. She knew he was alive, damn it!
"He's out there," she spat out, gripping her composure with steel claws. "Now if you won't
take me there, tell me where I can find a sea worthy vessel and I'll go myself!"
"I think that would be very unwise, Agent Scully," Potter said, squaring his shoulders and regarding her
with a grim expression. "I've been in contact with your superior -- Assistant Director Skinner. He's
asked me to inform you that you are to stay on the island of Puerto Rico until his arrival later tonight --
or face disciplinary action."
Scully bristled. She was being grounded and by none other than Skinner. OK, it was time to change
tactics. "You can't just give up on Mulder," she said flatly.
"Agent Scully, we've done a search of the waters around the island for the missing life raft. We
searched the island where you were found -- "
"But according to this map, there are other islands in the immediate vicinity," Scully said, pointing to
the paper map that covered most of one wall of the Commander's office.
"In order for him to reach those islands, any of them, he would have known where he was going,
Agent Scully. In that storm, it's just as likely that he drifted off into open water . . . or never reached the
life raft in the first place."
"He's not dead," she said firmly.
The Commander shook his head sadly. "We'll continue the search until we lose the light. The life
raft will show up, it had a transponder. But if it's empty -- " He left the rest of the sentence unsaid.
If the raft was found but not Mulder, she had to accept the worst.
He was hoarse from calling her name. Falling to the sand, he sobbed, but no tears came from his
eyes. He had no moisture left to spare in his body. He was so thirsty. Here he was, so close to so much
water, but none of it could quench his thirst. Slowly he rose to his feet and staggered into the vegetation,
away from the surf, searching for fresh water.
The pain in his leg was growing steadily worse. He'd finally acknowledged it enough to look down.
What he found only made him wince and bite his lower lip. The light weight wool suit pants that he'd
worn to the task force briefing were torn in several places, and a dark red stain outlined a couple of the
long tears. On closer examination, he found the cause of the discoloration. There was a jagged gash
running about 8 inches down the length of his calf, gapping open about a half inch. It was oozing
blood at a steady rate, leaving tiny puddles of red in the sand as he walked. It was only when he began
to feel light headed that he realized he was bleeding out and had to staunch the flow. Angry at his
body's betrayal, he ripped the fabric of the pants leg, dislodging the bottom portion. He was then able to
rip the cloth into strips and with a groan, he was able to fashion a makeshift bandage. Working
quickly, he bound his wound.
He realized he needed to do a check of his resources. He was barefoot. He couldn't remember
if he'd lost his shoes or had pulled them off when he realized the life raft was leaking air and wouldn't
hold him any longer. He remembered diving into the water and swimming in the direction of a
landmass, but little else came to mind. His hand went to his belt, where he found the weight of his
holstered Glock comforting. He had heard that the gun could fire underwater. He prayed that it
worked as well after being submerged in salt water and left to dry. His Berretta was in its ankle holster
strapped to his uninjured leg. He knew the recent swim could have compromised its firing
mechanism, but again sent up a prayer that it would work if needed. Secure in the knowledge that he
was armed and prepared, somewhat, for any eventuality, he continued walking into the jungle.
It was much cooler in the shade of the trees. Palm trees and other varieties that he didn't recognized
created a dark green bower over his head. Brightly colored tropical flowers dotted the underbrush. He
remembered Scully looking at some similar flowers in a store window next to their hotel. He'd almost
surrendered to the urge to stop in and buy them for her, but they were late for their meeting. Weren't
they always late for something -- a meeting, a case, writing a report? The thought of Scully lost
somewhere was a deep, physical pain, like a knife lancing through his chest. He had to find her.
He stumbled over some vines and grabbed at a tree trunk. It turned out to be more fortuitous than
anything so else that had happened so far. Just beyond the tree was a tiny stream, tumbling over
stones of pumice. He dipped his hand in the water, smelling its sweetness. He licked at his fingers and
deemed it acceptable, then leaned over and drank his fill. Bending over caused his head to spin, so he
lowered himself down to lie flat on the moss covered ground and drifted into a light sleep. He
could still hear the birds chattering above his head; feel the breeze ruffling his hair. It was quiet and
calming and his dizziness and headache soon abated.
Without other concerns to occupy his mind, his stomach made its own protests. He was hungry and
there didn't seem to be much in the way of food nearby. He certainly didn't trust his limited survival
training to indicate which of the various plants might be edible. He was positive he wouldn't
stumble on any cranberry bogs as he frequently did as a child back home. The best he could hope for
was to follow the stream out to the beach and maybe find a pool or lagoon with some fish he
could catch. Sushi wasn't his first choice, but it beat starving to death.
The little stream grew bigger and twisted around the volcanic rock. Mulder continued to follow it,
reaching down on occasion to quench his thirst. His head was just a mild pounding now, but his leg still
felt on fire. He was limping seriously and knew that it was putting a strain on his other leg. As luck
would have it, a branch about five feet long crossed the path he was walking and he was able to use it as
a staff. It helped tremendously and he picked up his pace.
The sun was starting to penetrate the canopy and he listened hard. The surf was pounding, just ahead.
His stomach growled in anticipation. If not fish, maybe crab or something like it. He could start a
fire; he knew how to do that with limited resources. The polished metal of his gun could reflect the sun
off the sand and start kindling. His mind was tumbling over itself as he tried to figure out how to
obtain food. He wasn't looking down and fell right over the wooden crate in his path.
Pushing to a sitting position, he looked around in wonder. A cache of supplies. Crates, boxes, all
manner of items. Some were open, most were nailed shut. He rummaged through the closest open
crate and found not only canned food, but a can opener and a couple of disposable lighters. He'd
found his dinner and possibly his salvation. Scrambling to his feet, he searched the other boxes.
His heart almost exploded from his chest when he discovered the battery operated radio and receiver.
A way to reach the outside world -- a way to be rescued!
He looked over the radio while ripping open one of the cans. The labels were totally unreadable, he
couldn't even guess at the language, but the picture was clear enough and beans were always a good
choice on an empty stomach. After downing that can and a second just like it, he set about learning
the various knobs on the radio. Again, the labels weren't decipherable, but he'd been around enough
radios in his time to get the idea from the location of the knobs and the displays. Static greeted him
when he flipped up the toggle and he almost cried with relief. It was not long before he was hitting
frequencies that weren't just white noise.
Coast Guard Station
San Juan, PR
Scully was pacing outside the Commander's office. Skinner had benched her, she had no where to go.
"I'll be damned if I'm going to sit this one out in a hotel," she muttered to no one in particular as she
made another turn and continued to wear a strip in the highly polished tile floor. At least if she
positioned herself at the station there was no way the Commander could forget his promise to keep
searching for her partner. She looked up at the clock on the wall and sighed. It was approaching
6pm and they would be losing the light before long. She bit her lip and tried not to think about Mulder
out at sea with nothing more than a life raft.
Why had she agreed to this assignment in the first place? Oh, yeah, she remembered. Mulder had all
but seduced her with promises of tropical paradise. Some paradise! Yes, it was a sun-bathing 80
degrees outside when back home they'd left close to zero temperatures. But that was little comfort when
half your soul was lost in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean.
She thought back to other times in their partnership. A simple 'walk in the woods' had resulted in 4
weeks in level 3 bio-isolation. A simple 'team-building seminar' resulted in a night sleeping on wet
Florida ground and a staph infection that put Mulder out of commission for a week. Even the one time
she'd taken a vacation away from Mulder and the office, she almost had her eyes gouged out by a
Chuckie-wannabe doll. When would she ever learn?
She had her head down and almost collided with a uniformed young man who excused himself and
strode purposely into the Commander's office. Scully paid him little heed until the door opened
and the Commander himself was motioning for her to come in.
"We just got a distress signal from the islands here," he said using a pointer to indicate the islands south
of Puerto Rico. "Most of them are uninhabited, they're little more than volcanic speed bumps in the
water, if you catch my meaning. Somehow your partner found a radio on the one he landed on."
"Can you get a fix on his position?" she asked breathlessly.
"We're doing that right now. We have a cutter about 30 miles to the east. If we got a bird up, we
could be there in -- " He consulted his watch, "under an hour."
"What's Mulder's condition? Is he all right?" she continued, chewing a tear in her bottom lip.
"The transmission was poor, but he said he was fine. He did ask about you. The operator was able
to tell him you'd been rescued but then the contact was lost. That happens with these smaller radios."
Scully caught something that had flown past her before. "Wait. You said he's on one of these small
"Yes," Potter said absently as he barked orders into the phone to get a helicopter ready on the pad.
"Then why was there a radio on the island?" Scully asked, looking up at the Commander.
He was trying to reestablish contact with the Coast Guard when he heard the boat engine. Who ever
was the owner of his little hideaway had finally returned. Mulder's immediate thought was to
conceal himself. Grabbing the two empty cans, he hobbled back to the underbrush, finding a position
where he could see but not be seen.
Half a dozen armed men soon appeared in the little jungle alcove. They were speaking fast and in a
language Mulder faintly registered as Spanish. More than one had blood on their clothing and the
agent was certain it wasn't their own.
"Pirates," he moaned under his breath.
They quickly made themselves at home, opening the food crate and pulling out cans to pass to each
man. From another crate came bottles of liquor -- it appeared to be tequila -- and those were handed out
among the men. They sat on crates or leaned against them, laughing, drinking and eating directly
out of the cans.
Mulder leaned against a tree, trying to calm his breathing. The pain in his leg was a distant
memory. He had more important things to consider. Six men, all armed, and from all indications,
evading the law. Add an unsuspecting rescue boat and you could easily end up with a deadly
He needed to get to that radio, but it was impossible since the men were all sitting around it. He prayed
that the Coast Guard wouldn't try to make contact that way. All he needed was for these men to hear
something over the radio that would give away his presence on the island.
He needed to even the odds. There had to be some way to get to the beach and warn the cutter coming
to rescue him. What if they brought Scully? What was he talking about, of course she would be with
them. He was sure she was ripping people to shreds right and left trying to find him. He knew he would
have if the positions had been reversed. The thought that she might be walking into a firefight
strengthened his resolve even more. He couldn't sit against a tree and let bad things happen. He had to
The laughing continued and he finally slithered down to the ground so that he had a better view of
the festivities. Each man was hoisting his bottle, apparently in some sort of salute. Mulder noted that
most of the bottles were now only half to a third full. "Just keep drinkin', assholes," he encouraged
in a whisper. Finally, one man tipped the bottle to his lips and drained the last of it. "Good job,
buddy! Now, if your little friends would just hurry up," he muttered in frustration.
Right then, a horrible thing happened. Mulder's walking stick, which he'd carried with him into
hiding, was also leaning against the tree. A beautifully colored parrot decided to land directly
on the stick and eyed Mulder just a foot or so below. Mulder tried to keep as still as possible, not
wanting to frighten the bird in to raising an alarm, but wanting the bird to leave all the same. The bird
just stared at him, making him nervous. "Shoo, birdy," he whispered hoarsely. "Go find a coconut
to play with," he encouraged. The bird leaned forward, eyeing him closely. Before Mulder could
duck, the bird lunched forward and bit him right on the forehead, right above his left eye.
It was pure instinctual rage that caused Mulder to let out an offended shout. The bird flew off in a
noisy ruffle of feathers and indignant squawking, giving further directional location to the pirates
sitting just yards away. The first man to recover grabbed his weapon, an automatic rifle, and sprayed
the area where Mulder was hiding with bullets.
Mulder had rolled quickly enough and was fairly well protected by the trunk of the palm tree, but he
knew it wouldn't last long. The other men were drawing their weapons and bullets were ricocheting
off tree trunks and larger rocks with wild abandon. It was only a matter of time before one of them met
its mark. Mulder's formerly uninjured leg was the unlucky winner of the contest.
He howled again, this time it made little difference because the gun battle drowned out all other sounds.
Drawing in a breath, he rolled over on to his stomach with his gun in his outstretched hands,
aimed as carefully as possible and let off three rounds in quick succession. Two of the pirates
dropped their weapons, wounded. The other four renewed their assault, occasionally stopping long
enough to reload.
Mulder checked his own clip. He had 7 more rounds. Just as he was calculating the best way to
pick off the others, he felt the barrel of a gun pressed against the back of his head. One of the
pirates had snuck around to his flank and had the drop on him.
The pirate, pumped up on adrenaline and booze, laughed manically as he thumped Mulder with the
gun barrel. "C'mon, amigo," he said with a heavy accent. Mulder winced and slowly, painfully, got to
his feet. His new companion took little notice of the agent's injuries. He shoved him roughly into the
circle of the remaining outlaws. He took a small measure of enjoyment out of seeing the two he'd
wounded still writhing on the ground.
There was some discussion that he couldn't keep up with but it was soon apparent that they were trying
to decide the best way to dispatch him. It was also very clear that it would be slow and painful. His
hands were pulled behind his back and lashed together, then his feet were kicked out from under
him and he landed in an undignified heap while his legs were similarly tied. He was then pulled up to a
standing position and was forced to hop over to a tree where more ropes were wrapped around his
torso and the trunk. One of the men ripped open his shirt and using the torn fabric soaked in the agent's
own blood, made a make shift target on his chest. That got a roar of laughter from the others.
"What, no blindfold?" Mulder protested, but his voice sounded too weak to his own ears. He closed
his eyes and forced himself to picture Scully in his mind. Just thinking about her brought a faint smile
to his lips.
At the first gunshot, he jerked, waiting for the pain. When no pain came, even after other gunshots, he
forced his eyes open. The pirates were being mowed down in succession. Blinking in confusion
he struggled to see where the other gunfire was coming from.
From the direction of the beach several uniformed men appeared. The last straggler of the pirates
threw down his weapon and lifted his hands in surrender. Suddenly, the uniformed men were
pushed aside by none other than Agent Dana Scully.
"Get this man cut down! Where is that stretcher? Bring it over here. I want the medical kit off the
boat and I want it now. Damn it all, Mulder, couldn't you figure out to just hide?"
He was so happy to see her he didn't even acknowledge her frustration at his capture. "Scully,
you brought the Navy!" he exclaimed joyously.
"Not quite. These men are all Coast Guard. But yes, I did bring an assault team."
"Why? When I radioed, I was the only one here," Mulder commented. He ignored the other
paramedic who was busy bandaging his wounds and starting an IV in his left hand.
"Mulder, you found a radio and a cache of food on an uninhabited island. You do the math," she
snorted and went back to taking his blood pressure. "I knew you had to have found the pirates' hideout."
She turned to the paramedic and started barking orders. "Radio the hospital, tell them I want 2 units
of whole blood waiting -- he's AB negative."
"Yes, ma'am," the young man responded and went about making the call.
"So you do believe in pirates now, huh, Scully?" he teased.
"Yo ho ho," she told him just as he closed his eyes and passed out.
48 hours later
San Juan City Hospital
Scully smiled as she handed him the morning edition of the Miami Herald.
"You're kidding," he groaned, closing his eyes.
"What can I say, Mulder. You made headlines." Scully couldn't keep the grin off her face. She took
the paper back and examined it at arms length. "I think I'll ask the Herald if I can get an 8 X 10 glossy
of this for the bulletin board in the office."
"Do that, Scully and we might have another mysterious fire in the basement," Mulder warned.
He grabbed the paper back and looked again. There he was in glorious living color, mostly reds and
browns, being carried off the rescue helicopter on a stretcher. The caption read 'FBI cracks Pirate
Assassins'. The article gave the details of how Mulder held off the six Cuban pirates who had been
hired to kill wealthy businessmen and their families.
"If I'd made it to that task force meeting, I might have made that connection," Mulder said with a
"Well, it all became clear when that last little pirate starting singing like a bird," Scully assured him.
"You were still in surgery at the time." She refused to look him in the eye and he knew she was still
feeling the effects of his latest misdeeds.
Mulder looked down at his one leg, wrapped in bandages and propped up on pillows. The other leg,
although hidden under the blankets, was bandaged and he could feel the pull of the stitches. "Not even
a peg leg to show for it, again," he teased.
"Not even a hook for a hand, for that matter," she shot back. "You won't even be in a cast this time,
Mulder. Once the stitches come out, you're good to go. You must be slipping."
He chose to ignore her snide remark. "So, when do I get to use my plane ticket home?"
"I just spoke with your doctor. He thinks you should be able to make the 2-hour flight by the day
after tomorrow. So, while you take a nice nap this afternoon, I'm hitting the beach."
He looked at her, wide eyed. "You're going to leave me here all by myself?" he whined.
"If you're good, I'll bring you a postcard," she told him and leaned over to give him a quick kiss on the
forehead. "Sleep tight, Mulder." Before he could say anything, she was out the door.
He stared at the empty doorway for a full five minutes. Finally he punched the controls to lower
the head of the bed until he was almost lying flat.
"Next time, it's definitely going to be Hawaii."