Reach

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Fanfiction
Title: Reach
Author(s): Khyber
Date(s): May 1998
Length:
Genre: MSR, rating: R
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: here

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Reach is an X-Files story by Khyber.

It has a sequel called Sokol.

From the Story Header

CLASSIFICATION: TRA (Non-X adventure, Mulder/Scully)

RATING: R for mature content, non-explicit sex, language, and brief extreme violence.

SYNOPSIS: Mulder and Scully are called off an X-file to an emergency assignment where they have some time alone together. Their reflections and thoughts about the events of the past year lead them both to make certain decisions.

KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully UST, Mulder/Scully romance

Time/Spoilers: This story essentially starts an alternate universe after "The Red and the Black." There's loads of spoilers for everything, and conversely if you haven't seen US5 plenty of this won't make sense....

Acknowledgements: The biggest thanks to recently promoted SPECIAL Agent Sabine, my unfailing beta editor, a heckuva writer, and incidentally one of the most terrifically interesting people I have even had the good fortune to meet. Sabine is responsible for any part of this story which makes tense, I mean sense. The very talented Alanna Baker provided invaluable editing assistance and crucial feedback on timelines and storylines, as well as reassurance from a damn fine writer that I was on something resembling the right track. This story is dedicated to all you 'shippy writers out there who managed to prove to me that I wasn't completely insane to have these ideas I've been having!

Availability: Please inform me if you want to archive this story so I can provide the best version for you. It is also available on the Web at http://www.geocities.com/athens/academy/8747/khybarchive.html

Feedback: Greatly appreciated! This is my first piece of this length and in character terms is providing the foundation for more work to come, so let me know what you think!

Reactions and Reviews

Doing a character study and making it true is not a trivial task. In fact, the success stories are few and far between. "Reach" is a beautiful example of a big success. This story is equal parts delightful, introspective, smart, and sad. I always know I've hit a winner when I wistfully wish that things like this would happen on the screen. Plus, any story that has Scully drinking margaritas begs to be recognized on these pages. [1]
This story is simply breathtaking--the language, the pacing, the relationship--everything works together to craft a fic that is lyrical and unforgettable. I was actually surprised to see that no one had already rec'd this; I've had a copy on my hard drive for years, and I've read it more times than I can accurately recall. Although Khyber claims he would revise this now, if given the chance, I truly believe that this story belongs on the list of all time classic XF fics. [2]
Like "Sparks Fly Upward," Khyber's story-turned-alternative-universe "Reach" also takes off from "The Red and the Black." Needless to say, it takes off in a very different direction. If you haven't read any of his work, Khyber is known for being a Mulder/Scully shipper, for humor, for angst and for really hot sex. [3]
I thought this would make a good compare and contrast to "Sparks Fly Upward." I don't remember if there is any actual sex in "Reach." But the story is very shippy and angsty. So there should be something for everyone except the slashers, who seem to have disappeared, even for SFU. We noromos are as always left having to fend for ourselves. [4]
Oh, do I love Reach. It's just fantastic.... it's been quite a while since I've read it, but for some reason, it's always stuck with me; more so than any of Khyber's other work. Bear in mind also that I'm sure to have read far less XF fic than you. ;) I just remember being struck by the situation they were in (not X-files related as far as we can tell), yet how jarring it still managed to be. Plenty of X-files casefile fic don't even manage that. [5]
I love this story. Maybe it's the afterglow talking, but right now I think it's the best fic I ever read.

I think this might be the best Scully voice I've ever read. Khyber gives her internal monologues that echo Carter's style, but they're better. They make sense.

Don't get me wrong, Khyber's Mulder is damn good too. But Khyber's a guy, so he's supposed to be able to do a good Mulder. (I think it's a little easier for writers to compose a good Mulder because the original isn't as riddled with ignorance. That Carter knew and cared nothing about medicine or women was less of an issue.)

Sometimes M and S get lost in the MSR, but this is real M-S-R. [6]
I feel obligated to drop in here and say that not only is this story still in my top three desert-island fics, but it's also the story that made me want to try writing XF fanfic. (Although I've been heard to say the same of 'All the Children Are Insane.)

There's a rawness to this story I really like. In the old days XF fic writers started out writing in pure, untempered glee, and this story and Khyber were no exception. XF fic and its readership is a different climate now. For me, 'Reach' embodies that pure 1998 joy. It's easy to look back and criticize it now - it's rough around the edges, it could have used another overhaul and a bit more padding; and if Khyber'd properly finished it up with a proportionate amount of his trademark mind-bending sex, it'd be even more unforgettable.

The best part of Khyber's fic, for me, is how his Mulder and Scully interact. They are friends, first, true friends in the vein CC originally envisioned and we all put asunder. A great majority of fanfic displays Scully as a contemptuously smug chauvinist. It pleases me that a male came into the genre and quietly demonstrated true gender equality. [7]
Is there a rule somewhere that all fic writers must use the word "bemused" at least once in each story? Because it's always there. Always. And 95% of the time, they mean "amused" and it drives me crazy. But not Khyber! Oh, Khyber, you used "bemused" correctly and I love you for it forever.

I like this line: "She speaks of colours of a spectrum that few will ever see." It's not especially elegant, but it does capture the feeling that most of us have about M&S. Their love (whether romantic or platonic) is sort of transcendent. It's the reason we know so much about how they're feeling with just a brush of hands or a meaningful glance.

I don't know why, but the emergency they're called out to handle is really fascinating to me. leucocrystal mentioned it, too...what is it about that case that's so intriguing? Does anyone have any insight?

And, because everyone already knows what a perv I am, it is unsurprisingly that I'm mildly disappointed by the way the sex scene was more alluded to than described in thorough, smutty detail. I think it was the right choice for this story, but I'll mention it anyway. :)

I give it three stars out of a possible five. [8]
Uhhhh, maybe I'm the only one, but I really didn't like the style of this one. I found it terribly confusing - the unexplained time shifts, fragmented sentences, incomplete punctuation. Probably that's what other people like about it (I loved A Million Little Pieces, with similar disregard for the rules), but for whatever reason it didn't work for me here. [9]
Angsty, thought-provoking conspiracy-flavored casefile. I read somewhere that Khyber was a male. I'm not sure if it's true, but if so - his ability to describe Scully's thoughts and feelings so well on paper is impressive. [10]
The X-Files mythology was a mess but wow, it sure did inspire some great fanfic. “Reach” won awards for everything for best Scully characterization to best Non-NC17 MSR. I admit I was lukewarm about this fic the first couple of times through, but I liked much better after reading it as a palate cleanser for “The Red and the Black.” It’s a first-time fic, which is not everyone’s favorite trope, but I like them. It’s romantic without being graphic, which is refreshing. It has a plot, and it’s a pretty good one, too. Most importantly, Khyber takes the mess that Carter made of Mulder and Scully in TRATB and puts them back to rights. The link is to the internet archive but this is also at Gossamer and Fugues Fiction Archive (though not the porny sequels). [11]

References

  1. News for the OBSSEsed: September 1998, Archived version
  2. recced at Crack Van, June 2007
  3. wendelah1 at XF Book Club, June 2008
  4. wendelah1 at XF Book Club, June 2008
  5. leucocrystal at XF Book Club, June 2008
  6. counterphobe at XF Book Club, June 2008
  7. penumbra23 at XF Book Club, June 2008
  8. dictatorcari at XF Book Club, June 2008
  9. memento1 at XF Book Club, June 2008
  10. rec by shakingpaper3 at X-Files Book Club, October 2015
  11. 201 Days of The X-Files, Archived version