RATING - G
CATEGORY - S(tory)
SPOILERS - Pilot
KEYWORDS - Alternate Universe
Imagine a Scully consumed by the quest, a Mulder brought in to temper the fire. How would it begin?
None of these characters belong to me, and like so many worthy people before me, I'm only borrowing them for a short while. All characters referred to herein belong to CC, or 1013, or Fox, whoever owns the rights to them.
A while back, I asked on atxc if anyone had written a story like this. The few replies I got weren't exactly what I had in mind, so I cranked out my idea of the ultimate switch.
This story is not connected with anything else I've written. For now, it's completely stand alone, and I have no further ideas or plans to add to it. Feedback, as always, is welcome. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This, as with all my other stories, can be found on my website at http://unmai.cjb.net/arvy.
"Seen through the lens of the water's surface, the reflected image approximates the original almost exactly. But the slight ripples in the surface reveal the inconsistencies inherent in the reflection. Thus emerges a distorted view, one in which not everything is as it seems."
The building rose in front of him, sheer, almost looming over him. His gaze traveled down from its summit, coming to rest on the entrance to the parking lot. His eyes narrowed in thought as he pulled in and got out. He walked up the stairs, heading past the main lobby and the gaggle of tourists and other agents until he came to the front desk.
"Agent Fox Mulder."
The receptionist checked off his name from her visitor list and waved him through. He headed upstairs, making his way through the bullpen, catching the eye of a familiar face every now and then. Turning the corner, he walked up to the door at the far end and knocked.
He pushed open the door and walked in towards the desk.
"Agent Mulder," the man at the desk looked up to greet his visitor. "Thank you for coming on such short notice. Please." He indicated the seat opposite him.
He took in the other people in the room, the man seated beside Section Chief Blevins, and the smoking man standing beside the door. He could almost feel the smoker move towards him as he took his seat.
"We see you've been with us just over three years," Blevins said, looking through the file in front of him.
"Yes sir," he answered, his expression betraying his curiosity at being called to this meeting.
"You trained as a psychologist, but you chose not to practice. How did you come to work for the FBI?"
"Well, sir, I was recruited out of Oxford. Umm...," he winced, "my parents still think it was an act of rebellion, but I saw the FBI as a place where I could distinguish myself."
"Are you familiar with an agent named Dana Scully?"
He turned his head to the man seated beside Blevins, wondering at the apparent non-sequitur. How had her name come up?
"Yes sir," he answered.
The two men seated in front of him shared a look before turning back to him. "How so?"
"By reputation. Umm... She's a medical doctor, graduated from Johns Hopkins. She wrote a monograph on science and the occult that helped catch Monty Props in 1990. Generally thought of as the best forensic investigator in the Violent Crimes Section." He paused. "She had a nickname at the Academy... " He glanced at the smoker, wondering how to phrase this. "Umm... the Ice Queen." His face hardened at the pained glance the smoker shot him. He turned back to face Blevins.
"What I'll also tell you is that Agent Scully has developed a consuming devotion to an unassigned project outside the Bureau mainstream. Are you familiar with the so called X-files?"
He blinked. Now where had that come from? And what exactly was going on here? "I believe they have to do with unexplained phenomena." He tried to put on a nonchalant expression, but his mind was turning cartwheels. His interest in the paranormal and the supernatural was common knowledge, earning him the moniker of 'Spooky' from his fellow agents. Obviously his interests had something to do with this new assignment he'd been told about.
"More or less," Blevins shrugged. "The reason you're here, Agent Mulder, is we want you to assist Scully on these X-files. You will write field reports on your activities, along with your observations on the validity of the work."
He turned an incredulous glance at the smoking man, then at Blevins and his colleague. Suddenly it seemed so clear. "Am... am I to understand that you want me to debunk the X-files project, sir?"
"Agent Mulder. We trust you'll make the proper psychological analysis. You'll want to contact Agent Scully shortly. We look forward to seeing your reports."
He pursed his lips. Proper psychological analysis, his ass. He knew when he was being used, and this time was no different. With a sigh, he nodded slowly.
The elevator rang and the doors opened to reveal the dank basement. He frowned, stepping out into the dim hallway. Walking past the piles of boxes cluttering the area, he found the door he was looking for. He knocked, receiving an unexpected reply.
"Sorry. No one down here but the FBI's most unwanted."
He raised an eyebrow, then pushed open the door and walked in. And stopped short. At the back of the room, a petite redhead sat hunched over a spread of slides, sorting through them. He blinked, watching as she raised a hand to tuck an errant strand behind her ear as she picked up a slide to scrutinize.
He walked in, his eyes traveling to the poster displayed prominently on the side wall. The UFO hovering over the fields, a classic photo, coupled with the caption, "I want proof." He let his gaze wander over the myriad photos and souvenirs adorning the small office as he walked forward. Each item an oddity, each seemingly incongruous to everything he'd heard about her. She was a scientist. What was she doing with all these pictures of paranormal phenomena, UFOs and other items too numerous to mention?
He walked up to the woman, smiling as she turned to look at him. He almost stopped at the piercing gaze she turned on him, then raised his hand in greeting.
"Agent Scully. I'm Fox Mulder. I've been assigned to work with you," he said, taking her hand in his.
"Oh, isn't it nice to suddenly be so highly regarded." She turned back to her slides, leaving him slightly flustered at the unusual greeting. "So who did you tick off to get stuck with this detail, Mulder?"
He quickly recovered. Taking a deep breath, he answered, "Actually, I'm looking forward to working with you." He bent his head to stare at the back of hers. "I've heard a lot about you."
"Oh really," the reply shot back. She picked off the slides one by one, inserting them into the projector ring. "I was under the impression," she continued, turning back to look at him, "that you were sent to spy on me."
His eyebrows rose, his expression almost disbelieving. "If you have any doubts about my qualifications or credentials..."
"You're a certified psychologist... You teach at the Academy..." She rose, delving into a stack of papers lying on the desk. Pulling out a thin report, she went on, "Freud's ego, a new interpretation. Fox Mulder, Graduate thesis." She looked up, almost grinning. "Now that's a credential. Rewriting Freud."
His anger was slowly rising. He pursed his lip, then asked, "Did you bother to read it?" He was somewhat surprised at the answer.
"I did," she replied, stacking the slides into the cartridge. "I liked it." She placed the cartridge into the projector, as she talked. "It's just that in most of my work, the laws of common social interaction rarely seem to apply." She walked past him to turn off the lights. Walking back towards the projector she said, "Maybe I can get your analyst's opinion on this though."
She turned on the projector, moving to the first image. He saw a dead woman on the screen, lying on the ground and covered by a dirty cloth. He stared at the screen as she continued.
"Oregon female. Age 21. No explainable cause of death. Autopsy shows nothing. Zip." She pressed the button to forward to the next image. This time a close up of the back of the victim.
"There are however these two distinct marks on her lower back. Dr. Mulder, can you ID these marks?"
He walked forward, fascinated by the picture. He'd never seen an injury or mark like that before. But if he had to guess...
"Needle punctures maybe," he replied, turning to face her. "An animal bite. Electrocution of some kind." He heard the click and whirr as a new image came up on the screen behind him.
"How's your knowledge on social symbols. This was found on the ground beside the victim."
He turned back to the screen, his eyes widening at the image. He'd seen something like this before. But the outer edges were so different. None of the inner markings went in the usual directions for it to be the run of the mill pagan or supernatural symbols. And the way the symbols interlaced and intertwined... it was almost... unearthly. He thought he was familiar with most forms of sacrificial markings, but this one...
"It's sacrificial," he managed to stammer out. But beyond that... "I don't know. Is it some kind of old belief system?" Where had she found this? he silently wondered. The analysis of the reasoning behind the drawing alone would keep a sociologist happy for years. The reply, if possible, was even more of a shock.
"Beats me," she shook her head. "I've never seen it before either." She clicked the control again. "But here it is again, in Sturgiss, South Dakota, and again in Shamrock, Texas."
He stared at her, incredulous. "Do you have a theory?"
"I have plenty of theories," she shot back, moving forward towards him. She looked up at him. "Maybe what you can explain to me is why it is Bureau policy to label these cases as unexplained phenomena and ignore them." She leaned in closer, her expression turning almost mischievous. Her voice dropped almost to a whisper. "Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?"
That brought a smile to his face. A scientist asking about little green men. "Logically, I would have to say yes. Given the vastness of the universe, and the probability of the existence of planets similar to Earth..."
She lowered her head, nodding resignedly. "Traditional thinking." She pointed towards the screen again. "You know this Oregon female, she's the fourth person in her graduating class to die under mysterious circumstances. Now when traditional investigation offer us no answer, might we not finally turn to science as a plausibility?"
He stared at her for a moment. "The girl obviously died of something. If it was natural causes, it is plausible that there was something missed in the post-mortem. If she was murdered, it's plausible there was a sloppy investigation. What I find fantastic is any notion that all answers lie strictly within the realm of science. Sometimes an unexplained phenomenon is just that. Unexplained. Sometimes, you just can't find answers to everything."
She smirked. Leaning in towards him, she smiled. "That's why they put the 'I' in FBI." She turned away from him walking back towards her computer. "See you tomorrow morning, Mulder. Bright and early. We leave for the very plausible state of Oregon at eight am."
He stared at her, then broke into a smile. This was going to be fun, he decided as he walked out the door.
And that's about where my creative vehicle petered out. If anyone has any ideas about continuing this, or have written something similar, let me know. I'd love to read it. The challenge, of course, is to keep the each agent true to their canon personalities, yet have them somehow fulfill the role of the other.
And that, as they say, is that. Later, folks...