Author: Mrs. Fish
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warnings: Crossover, language, m/m, violence, religious and supernatural themes.
Spoilers: Brief ones for the Season 8 episodes The Gift and Existence.
Archive: No; link okay. Do not forward to any other lists or archive without permission.
Category: Nick Lea Birthday Challenge from the AlexK-H-C-orD list.
Summary: Alex is given a second chance at life.
Disclaimer: The X-Files, the series, concepts and characters, are the property, copyright and trademark of Ten Thirteen Productions, Fox, Chris Carter and others. Mummy: the Resurrection, the game, concepts and characters, are the property, copyright and trademark of White Wolf Game Studio and others. No ownership or claim on said property, copyright or trademark is made or implied by the use in this work. This work constitutes a personal comment on the aforesaid properties pursuant to doctrines of fair use and fair comment. This work is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.
Notes 1: In my universe, Krycek has two arms.
Notes 2: Although I started this story ages ago, it was revised and finished in time to be posted specifically for the Nick Lea birthday challenge.
Notes 3: I would like to formally thank Ursula -- for several reasons. Once, she's a great beta, and always willing to help out. Two, she goes out of her way to supply people with 'rewards', at her own expense, for story challenges. Not that she needs to. <g> Three, well… she's just a wonderful asset to fandom. So, Urs, thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Story Notes: Forget everything you ever knew about mummies. The mummies in this story are neither shambling hunks wrapped in bandages, nor decrepit zombie-like creatures who need to suck out your life force to become whole.
Mummies are a combination of old and new souls. A great storm tore through the underworld, either destroying completely, or shredding the ancient souls who resided there. Only the strongest were able to survive. However, they were fragmented.
These souls, who were loyal to Osiris, were given a gift by the god. They would find a human at the brink of death and offer them the chance to live again. (The human would be chosen because they possess some strength or insight that never reached its full potential in life.) If the human accepts, the old soul merges with the new and a new being is created. After the Spell of Life is performed, the being becomes a mummy, a creature of incredible power able to draw on memories of both lifetimes as well as time in the underworld learning from other spirits.
After their rebirth, the mummies are cared for by loyal cultists and others of their kind. They're taught spells and given information necessary for their continued survival. But should they fall in battle against the forces of darkness, they're able to rise again -- if they're judged worthy -- because they're immortal.
With that said, I hope you enjoy the following.
Amenti: The former stronghold of the Egyptian dead, destroyed by the Dja-akh ("Ghost storm.") Also called the Dark Kingdom of Sand. The collective name of the mummies created by spirits from that place.
Falls Church, Virginia
I'm gettin to be a regular at this liquor store since my suspension. 'Course I only have myself to blame for that. It started when I learned my lover, Alex Krycek, had been murdered in cold blood by my boss, Walter Skinner. Skinner told me in great detail how he'd done it. How he'd rid the world of traitorous scum. I sat there, stomach churning with anger, and wanted nothing more than to blow Skinner away the same way he'd killed Alex. Instead I nodded understanding, went home, got drunk and cried my eyes out.
Things just went downhill from there. The emptiness I felt carried over into my work. I walked around in a daze most of the time -- oblivious to my surroundings -- compounded by my nightly bouts with alcohol. My superiors had no choice but to reprimand me, then place me on medical suspension. Which is why I'm at the liquor store at three o'clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday.
I'm headin toward the counter when two punks wearin trench coats come in. Everything about them screams trouble, especially when one pulls a sawed-off shotgun out from under his coat.
I'm moving before I even realize it.
I scream "Federal agent!" and reach for my weapon when it hits me with cold clarity -- I'm not officially a federal agent at the moment -- and I'm unarmed.
The shotgun blast catches me square in the chest, throwing me back into a display. I'm dimly aware of bottles crashing around me through a haze of pain. I want to laugh at the irony of the situation, but I can't get my mouth to move. The last time I was shot like this I was eaten and regurgitated by a shamanic soul-eater and brought back to life. Don't think that's gonna happen this time though.
What the hell?
I hear a voice whisperin to me. At first I think it's the clerk, but he doesn't have an accent. And this person definitely comes from somewhere in the Middle East.
Do I want a chance to live again? What the hell kinda question is that?
Of course I do!
Oh, fuck! I'm hit with a pain more intense than anything I've ever felt before -- even counting the shotgun blast that hit me a few moments ago. Then my head is filled with vague images of ancient Egypt and I'm engulfed in pleasant warmth. A kind of consciousness returns to me, because I'm aware of gettin up and headin for the door.
The clerk runs up to me and grabs my arm. "Agent Doggett, I don't think it's a good idea for you to…."
My look effectively silences him, and I continue out the door to my car. I quickly start it, put it in gear, and head for home.
I didn't dream it -- this post-mortem mirage, this strange waking nightmare of dying and going to a hell of sand.
Until moments ago, I was a corpse. Not one of those law-abiding, quietly dead corpses, but one that's able to move around. From Washington DC to somewhere in Arabia, to be specific.
I thought -- hoped, in fact -- that this was some strange shut-down process that my brain went through as it slowly died from a bullet through the frontal lobe. I couldn't come up with any other explanation for why I was naked in a sarcophagus surrounded by a bunch of extras from a big-budget remake of Cleopatra.
As I lay there, these people -- these actors, wearing silly cheap robes -- walked around the table, chanting and touching me in a most unusual manner. In an odd sort of way, it felt as though they were connecting me to something, or something to me. I liked it... and wanted more.
Perhaps, I thought, this is just how my mind is interpreting doctors; doctors who were around me back in DC; doctors who were trying to turn me into a supersoldier. Then again, my mind was never really all that creative -- except when it came to surviving -- in which case I was a regular fucking Picasso.
So then, as if to signal an end to all that touching business, my body seized up in a big clench: scrunched-up face, clenched feet and fists, tight belly -- the works. Rigor mortis? Finally, I thought, I get to die and this weird B-movie imagery will fade to black.
Not with the way my luck was running lately.
When I relaxed from the clench, I felt more alive than I'd been in years, or possibly ever. They covered me in a sheet of coarse perfumed linen, and the chanting went quiet -- which was fine by me, since it was starting to get on my nerves.
So here I am, wrapped in linen that was fragrant with cedar wood and amber, when my mind came back to me at last, though still filled with images that could only be from an Egypt that hasn't existed for three millennia. Then I felt... something. I was more than me now. I was still Alex Krycek -- ex-Consortium lackey, assassin, and alien rebel sympathizer, among other things -- but now there was a bit of me that was Nefarka, Guardian of the Dead as well. I was an us now. Or we were me. Something like that. As long as it wasn't the damned oil, I really didn't mind.
Beneath the sheet, I hallucinated like a Berkeley hippie. I saw a woman making sandals, only she was doing it three thousand years ago. I saw palm trees around the Sphinx, not to mention a nose on its face. Feelings surged through me, lots of them. I laughed and cried alternately. The very odd collection of actors and lunatics around me must have thought I was at least as mad as they, chuckling, weeping and reviewing the folly of my life from an entirely new perspective. The perspective of the living. I hadn't seen the world through those lenses in untold years.
Just when I came to the realization that I was happier alive than dead, they unwrapped me from my fragrant little linen nest and the man who'd been leading the whole touching and chanting business looked right at me and smiled.
"Greetings, Alex Ab-Nefarka. You died and were chosen for the resurrection. Welcome to immortality."
Chapter 1 - Coming Home
Alex Krycek-Nefarka emerged from Cairo International Airport, squinting against the brilliant afternoon sunlight. His sunglasses struggled to cut the glare from the fierce Egyptian sun as he scanned the crowd around him.
Ibrahim's shout barely cut through the din of jostling travelers and bustling traffic. Alex spotted his loyal attendant by a blue Mercedes sedan and waded through the crowd, by turns dodging, ignoring and politely refusing the hordes of guides, hawkers and drivers offering their services. He handed his pair of duffels to the wiry limo driver, who tossed them in the trunk with little concern for the contents. The small man grinned, exposing crooked brown teeth, and chattered rapidly in Arabic while he slammed the trunk closed.
One last look around before slipping into the back revealed nothing beyond the airport's typical chaos. The more persistent entrepreneurs took the opportunity to make a last loud pitch. With a smile and a shake of the head, Alex ducked in and closed the door. Ibrahim claimed the front passenger seat and kept a watchful eye as they headed toward Cairo.
Despite a fourteen-hour flight from Chicago by way of Munich, Alex wasn't the least bit tired. In fact, he was brimming with energy. Being within the Lands of Faith again erased any hint of exhaustion he'd had. It was all he could do to force himself to relax against the Mercedes' back seat. He wanted to be out there, drinking in the sites and sounds of Cairo, basking in the glory in which the city was steeped, reveling in the return to the land of his rebirth.
His heritage might have been Russian, but his soul belonged to Egypt. And not in any mere poetic sense. It was only thanks to the power that flowed through the region, the mystic strength of the Lands of Faith, that he was alive today. Alex literally owed his immortal soul to this ancient land.
Never in his fevered imagination did Alex think his life might take the run it had. He'd long accepted the way things were supposed to go. Born of Russian immigrants -- both deeply involved with the Consortium's hybridization project -- he was trained in a variety of skills to make him a more useful tool. And he took pride in his achievements, at least secretly, wanting acceptance from his masters. As he grew older, however, and gained access to previously hidden information, his world view shattered. Alex began working with the alien rebels -- actively fighting colonization -- a fight which ultimately led to his death at the hands of Assistant Director Walter Skinner of the FBI.
But Alex got a second chance. Mighty Osiris, the Lord of Life, Sent him a messenger, Nefarka, to show Alex the path of redemption, the way of Ma'at -- cosmic order, truth, justice and balance. Alex was dead, but he could choose to live again, live forever, his soul joining with Nefarka's as one of the Undying... as a mummy.
It was an easy choice to make, but only now was he beginning to understand the full scope of it. Only now did he start to understand what immortality truly meant.
The Mercedes swung around, shaking Alex from his recollections as it exited Shari Salah Salim and turned south onto Shari as-Sayyida Nafisa. The area was clearly different from the cramped neighborhoods that spread out across the city to the northwest. Instead of nondescript slabs of concrete and mud brick jammed together with no room to breathe, they drove past a series of mausoleums and low stone buildings. Like any other neighborhood in Cairo, people strolled along toward various matters of business and pleasure, sat outside simple mud brick homes watching the world go by, and hawked wares by the side of the road. Except that, unlike any other neighborhood in Cairo, the people here lived and loved, ate and slept, among the dead.
They were entering the Cities of the Dead.
Entering the Cities of the Dead struck a chord in the ancient portion of Alex's soul. The living paid homage to the spirits of the dead here, nurturing their memories even as they cared for the mausoleums in which their bodies were laid to rest. The piece of Alex that was the ancient Egyptian physician Nefarka wept at the devotion the cemeteries' living residents showed.
Although his wiser self came from that time, Alex's modern sensibilities found the Cities of the Dead an odd setup. Two great cemeteries fringed Cairo's edge to the east and south -- named, in prosaic fashion, the northern and southern cemeteries. Western media had coined the sensational phrase "Cities of the Dead." The southern cemetery was much older than the northern one, but both had a similar function. Not only did they have their traditional purpose -- storing the remains of the deceased -- but the living had long made their homes here. Entire neighborhoods of families dwelled there for centuries, beside and even in the many tombs. Squatters abound, but the majority of residents were there legally, acting as custodians for ancestral crypts.
The Mercedes jerked to a stop a few minutes later. The sandy street wasn't designed with cars in mind, which made getting out a bit of a challenge. Pedestrians and cyclists called out heartfelt but quickly forgotten complaints as they squeezed past. Alex took a look around as Ibrahim paid the driver. As was customary, he had settled on a rate before they left the airport; after adding a few extra gineh as tip, Ibrahim sent the taxi on its way.
Alex stood near a squat, whitewashed tomb and scanned the crowd. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary. No enemies for the moment. Still, it was only a matter of time before they learned he was back in town. The undead infested Cairo like rats in a landfill. Worse, the creatures had any number of mortals in their employ, watching for Alex and others of his kind. The Cities of the Dead were relatively safe, but there was never a guarantee. Despite the precautions he and Ibrahim had taken even before leaving Chicago, it was possible they were already on his trail.
He nodded to Ibrahim and hefted his duffels. They headed generally south, weaving through the flow of foot traffic, and struggling against the oppressive heat that pressed down upon them. It may be mid-March, but the Cairene days already ranged into the eighties or hotter. And humid, too. The desert encroached all around, but the Nile shed a great deal of moisture through much of the city.
Approaching the tunnel entrance -- a small mud brick dwelling built on a plot next to a large Muslim crypt, complete with courtyard -- Alex sensed something out of place. He allowed himself to relax, trying to slip his senses in tune with his surroundings. Mummies possessed a kind of insight, an ability to discern strong emotions within others -- in this case, nervous excitement. The feel of a voyeur, of someone observing something which stirred them greatly. Frustrating; he'd hoped to reach the safe house unnoticed. Now instead of relaxing before his meeting, he'd have to deal with a spy. Their tail was skilled enough that Alex couldn't pick him out without revealing that he'd been spotted. He decided to draw the shadow along until they could set up a way to reverse the tables of stalker and stalkee. The guy was bound to be small fish; Alex was more interested in who he was working for.
Alex followed Ibrahim into the nondescript hovel. It was completely unremarkable, two small rooms split by a thin plaster wall and a woven hanging. A scattering of pillows was the only furniture, and a collection of pans and metal storage containers comprised the kitchen. The other room took up two thirds of the building and would be the combination living room/bedroom. Although a common enough setup for the city, it was only a front.
The curtain parted in response to the noise of their entry, revealing sharp black eyes in a dark, lined face. A wide grin bloomed on the old man's face and his eyes lit with delight.
"Amenti Alex! Ibrahim! I did not expect you so soon." The elder Eset-a, a follower of the cult of Osiris, spoke in English out of deference to Ibrahim. Faruq was equally conversant in ancient Egyptian, his native Arabic and English. Although Egyptian was as vivid in Alex's mind as English and Russian, he had only a passing familiarity with Arabic, but nothing sufficient for extended conversation. In turn, Ibrahim, like most of the cultists, knew only scattered phrases in the tongue of the Amenti. Conversations between mummies and their followers were often in a patchwork of languages.
Faruq tried to give a hug and help with the bags at the same time. Alex waited with a bemused smile until the two Egyptians sorted themselves out, then laughed as the old guy began genuflecting while tugging at one of the duffel bag's handles.
"Hello, Faruq," he said, chuckling at the old man's antics. Faruq had the utmost respect for him, Alex knew, but the man was a born ham. Alex would have played along, but he had to take care of their tail first. "I'm sorry to be an ungracious guest, but we have some business to attend to."
"I am your servant, Amenti." Faruq's smile remained, but his eyes snapped to Alex's own with the intensity of a hunting hawk. "Tell me what you need, and I will supply it."
"Actually, you should probably stay put. Ibrahim, I want you to run an errand."
The Eset-a cultist looked confused for a moment, then nodded. "A distraction, Amenti?"
"Of sorts. Only for five minutes or so. Run to a nearby market and pick up some fruit or something. Just make sure to look suspicious when you leave, but don't overdo it."
Ibrahim gave a sharp nod and slipped back outside. He took a quick look around and back into the dwelling before heading off.
"Faruq, let's get over to the safe house. I'll want to inform any of the others who are there."
"I am sorry, but there are no other Amenti at the mausoleum."
A handful of the Undying and their mortal assistants could normally be found in the safe house, sharing information, planning, recuperating, and/or just hanging out. Alex had been so wrapped up in his mission to Chicago that he'd forgotten about the trouble in Cairo. Plus, it was hard not to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was threatening to explode into full-blown war. Mummies and their helpers were all out pursuing one mission or another -- or, in some cases, awaiting the return to life after being killed.
"Right. We'll just have to take care of this one ourselves then."
Faruq went to a battered toilet that sat exposed in the far corner. Like the rest of the hovel's rustic design, this was common for the area. Much of the Cities of the Dead had access to electricity and plumbing, but many residents had to cobble together their own hookups. Old buildings like this, slapped together before indoor plumbing, had jury-rigged sinks and toilets. The toilet was an old design with the water tank set into the wall above the bowl. The pipes went under the floor and led outside, where they were buried under perhaps a foot of earth in a channel residents dug over to the main junction.
Faruq pulled the chain hanging from the tank and, keeping the chain tugged down, grabbed the toilet bowl rim and pulled it toward him. The toiled flushed, covering the squeal as a square of the cracked concrete to which the toilet was attached tilted up. The water in the bottom of the bowl poured out in a coughing gurgle as the toilet was disconnected from its plumbing. Faruq let go of the pull chain and tilted the toilet the rest of the way over. Grabbing for support the pipe that ran down from the water tank, he dropped through the hole to the tunnel below. Alex handed down the luggage, which the old Eset-a cultist set out of the way of the water that had leaked down. After slipping off his sunglasses and jumping down himself, Alex grabbed the pipe that led out from the bottom of the bowl and levered the whole thing back into place. It took a little jiggling to reconnect the pipe to the regular plumbing, and when he did Alex heard a faint click as the panel locked back into position. Then came a gurgling as the water from the tank was unblocked and ran to fill the toilet bowl. While Alex took care of the toilet, Faruq felt for a switch on the wall. A dim red bulb lit up a few yards down, giving them just enough light to make their way down the tunnel.
Alex always felt a little foolish entering the safe house this way, like he was playing in a James Bond scenario. It wasn't a game, he knew; hidden passages like this one were of vital importance to keep their hideout as secret as possible.
The passage ended after fifty yards at a heavy steel door inscribed with a series of hieroglyphs. Beyond was a series of steps that led to a matching door. The protective glyphs were the work of the Kher-minu, mummies like Alex who specialized in the magic of amulets and wards. Bonded to the steel plate in this fashion, the symbols enabled the door to withstand anything up to an anti-tank round.
Inside was a series of chambers carved in traditional Egyptian style. The hieroglyphs on the walls related tales of the gods and the Amenti, mixed with further protective wards like those on the doors. The central chamber was created centuries ago as the burial chamber of Beyd al-Qalarayn, a Mamluk general. This was unusual, as mausoleums typically interred the deceased above ground. Seemed al-Qalarayn was a bit paranoid, and secretly directed that his body be laid to rest where his enemies wouldn't find it. An African scholar, who knew of the now-obscure al-Qalarayn's odd internment quirk, used it as the basis for his own retreat after rebirth. The leader of the Eset-a in the area, he expanded the single underground chamber into a number of rooms that spread out below the City of the Dead. Though run by the Eset-a, the safe house was available to all mummies and their mortal helpers. Since the only entrance to the tomb was through one of the half-dozen secret tunnels, privacy was assured.
Alex had stayed here after his rebirth into his third life. It felt as much like home as did his apartment in St. Petersburg or Nefarka's rooms long ago in the palace of Amenhotep III. He would have to wait to enjoy his return; for now, he had to try and turn the tables on his shadow.
Faruq had listened to Alex's brief explanation as they hustled down the tunnel. Once inside the main chamber, he headed for another room. "I will get something to help you blend in, Amenti."
Alex nodded, busy withdrawing a slim leather case from one of his duffels. Inside the case was a selection of gold and brass jewelry that shone warmly in the light. A few of the pieces were rendered in a traditional Egyptian style, but most looked filtered through the lens of an Art Deco sensibility. All included various hieroglyphs tooled into the surface, often with silver highlights, as part of the design. He'd fashioned these amulets himself, infused them with his own sekhem, his life force. The mystic energy could have been bound into a charm made of virtually any durable material, but Alex preferred the warm luster of gold and brass. Likewise, the style need not reflect ancient Egypt, but he felt his art should honor the past. Alex had removed most before going through customs, not wanting to draw attention to himself. The only amulet he wore between the airport and here was the Ankh-Meket, the scarab of life, that hung around his neck.
Alex plucked out three rings, one designed as an abstraction of a scorpion, another with a series of hieroglyphs along its circumference and a third fashioned in the shape of the uraeus, the hooded cobra. Next he grabbed two bracelets embossed with a series of hieroglyphs, each featuring the symbol of a god -- Sekhmet and Selket, respectively. Finally he took three matching necklaces with a glyph of Mentu inscribed on the back of a black scarab. Alex dug in his bag for a velvet clamshell case and removed a pair of carved figurines.
Donning the various amulets, Alex felt wrapped in a cocoon of power that augmented the protective aura of his spirit. Immortality filled him with unbridled energy as it was. Adding his protective charms, Alex felt ready to conquer the world before dinner.
Alex was slipping the three flash scarabs around his neck when Faruq returned with a light robe and cloth skullcap, what locals called a djellaba and tarboosh. "These should be adequate."
"Perfect, thanks." Using the djellaba and cap, he shouldn't stand out in a crowd. With a nod of thanks, he donned the djellaba and tarboosh and headed for a second door that led to a different tunnel.
Alex sped down the tunnel, this one little more than a glorified conduit for electrical cables. He popped up amid of cluster of stunted date palm trees a few yards from the hovel they'd entered. In seconds he was circling the area. He tasted the faintest flavor of anticipation; from the shadow, it seemed. But where? Alex took his time, moving as fluidly as thought. Even so, he found nobody peeking around corners or skulking behind obstructions. That left one of the two dozen people within sight -- a couple street vendors selling wares, residents attending to domestic tasks, customers hanging out at an open-air coffeehouse up the road. None looked out of place. Taking a moment to think about it, the best possibility soon became clear. Whoever picked up their trail must have been watching the hovel even before Alex and Ibrahim arrived. Only at the coffeehouse -- or qahwa -- could someone sit for a long period of time without attracting attention.
He circled around and approached the qahwa from further up the lane. It was a no frills affair, a mud brick structure almost indistinguishable from the hovel that hid the tunnel. One wall was nothing more than a pair of wooden doors, currently folded back to reveal a serving counter. A trio of wobbly tables stood in a ragged line in a clear spot by the street. Two men sat at one, playing backgammon. Slipping in a bit more, Alex determined that the one facing him was the shop's owner and operator. Typical to relax in a game with a customer during a slow spell. But the old guy he played was sitting just so, allowing him to keep an eye on the hovel and almost any approach to it. Clever old bastard, looking like your average Cairene with no place he needed to be and all the time in the world to get there.
The old man waved his hands over the backgammon board. Seemed like the guy was just waiting to confirm Ibrahim, who was currently returning to the hovel, before heading out. Alex ducked to one side in case the old man came his way. Then he heard the faint sound of a canon. A second later, words in Arabic crackled through the air, amplified to the point of irritation by the loudspeakers scattered throughout the cemetery. Even with the canon shot to prepare him, Alex was still startled by the Muslim call to prayer. He took advantage of the distraction to slip back to the safe house.
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