(A nice clear night. In the forest, Joseph Patnik toils with his shovel, digging a hole. Light shines dimly through the trees. He grunts with every dig, then looks at the body in front of him.)
JOSEPH PATNIK: All right, you bastard.
(He starts to drag the man towards the hole. The man has a massive gash on his head.)
Evil... rotten... son of a...
(The man slides into the shallow grave Patnik has made. Patnik picks up the shovel and starts to cover him with dirt.)
There you go! Your killing days are over!
(Back at his house, Patnik struggles to wash the blood off his hands and arms. He hears a noise and looks behind him to see the same dead man walking towards him. Patnik gasps.)
(The man smirks.)
(Patnik picks up the shovel and smashes the man in the head with it. The man is shoved into Patnik's trunk as a dog barks. Hearing a car pull up, Patnik turns to see a police car pull up and stop. Two officers get out, their faces not shown.)
OFFICER #1: Put your hands in the air. Keep them where I can see them.
(Patnik does so. The officers approach him.)
We got a call. You want to tell us what you're doing out here?
(The first officer steps into sight. He is the same dead man. Patnik looks at the second officer, who is the same man as well, smirking.)
(Patnik angrily rushes the first officer, tackling him. They grunt and the second officer runs towards them. Patnik stands and goes to punch the second officer but is hit in the gut with a taser. He screams from the charge and falls, holding his chest and grunting. Looking up at the first officer, who is holding a gun on him, the officer's face "shorts out" like an electronic holographic device. Eventually, the officer's real face is shown to be a heavier mustached man as Patnik looks on in horror. The second officer, also looking differently in Patnik's eyes now, kneels over Patnik.)
OFFICER #2: Turn over.
(Patnik does so and is handcuffed.)
(He stands Patnik up. The first officer opens the trunk.)
OFFICER #1: Oh lord... Jimmy, check this out.
(The officer, with Patnik in tow, looks in the trunk. The man is no longer there, his true identity that of a beautiful blonde woman, dead.)
JOSEPH PATNIK: Sarah?
(Patnik recognizes her as his wife.)
(Mulder sits in his car, watching two men talk. One of the men walks off. A man in a suit gets in the car.)
MULDER: Our blind date's not off to a good start. I've been waiting here nearly two hours.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: I was asked to make sure you weren't followed.
MULDER: It's just you, me, and the drug dealers.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: This area's always been known for it's criminal element.
MULDER: Especially when Congress is in session.
(The man hands Mulder a newspaper with an article in the front with the headline "Braddock Heights Man Kills Wife, Four Others." Underneath is a picture of Joseph Patnik in a prison photo.)
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: Something you'll want to follow.
MULDER: Follow where?
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: That's all I have for you.
MULDER: What do you mean, that's all you have for me? I get an anonymous e-mail to come meet you here in the middle of the night, I don't know who you are or what you want.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: I don't have any obligation or desire to give you any answers. I'm not one of your sources.
MULDER: Then you're just a messenger boy?
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: It's late, Agent Mulder. Go home. Get some sleep.
MULDER: Who told you to contact me? How do I know I'm not being played?
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: I guess you don't.
(He gets out. Mulder crumples up the newspaper and throws it at him.)
MULDER: Well, then you can go ahead and recycle that, then.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: I've been asked to tell you... you walk away from this, more people will die.
(He closes the door and walks away. Mulder stares down at the paper.)
(Joseph Patnik sits in a basically empty room, staring blankly at the television hung from the ceiling. Mulder watches him through the room's window. Scully walks over to him.)
SCULLY: Sorry, I would've gotten here sooner but the Beltway was a parking lot. What's going on?
MULDER: Multiple homicide, a bizarre one. That's Joseph Patnik. He murdered five people, all of whom he insists was the same man.
SCULLY: What do you mean?
MULDER: Well, he claims to have been killing the same man over and over again, that he wouldn't die.
SCULLY: Does he have a history of mental illness?
MULDER: Not that I know, but I only just got this case yesterday.
SCULLY: So, what's the X-File?
MULDER: In Patnik's neighborhood two weeks ago, a baby-sitter attacked the two children she was minding. She told the police she thought they were wolves.
SCULLY: And police found no other motive for either of these attacks?
MULDER: Not so far, no.
(Doctor Stroman walks up to him.)
STROMAN: Agent Mulder? Hi, I'm Doctor Stroman.
(Mulder turns around and shakes his hand.)
MULDER: Doctor Stroman, this is my partner, Special Agent Scully.
(Scully shakes hands with him.)
SCULLY: You're the physician in charge?
STROMAN: Yeah, they called me in from D.C. to try and develop a clear diagnosis for the court.
MULDER: Have you?
STROMAN: I wish I could say "yes."
SCULLY: Has he been sedated?
STROMAN: I've got him on heavy thorazine, but it only seemed to knock him back a notch or two.
MULDER: He seems pretty manageable to me.
(Stroman looks at Patnik briefly.)
STROMAN: It may be some form of organic delusional syndrome, possibly due to chronic metamphetamine abuse. I don't know, but, uh, he is prone to outbursts.
MULDER: Who called you down on this case?
STROMAN: A Doctor Kahn from the, uh, Department of Social Health Services.
MULDER: Could we speak to him?
STROMAN: I don't think he's in today, but I can certainly check for you.
(Patnik screams loudly.)
(Stroman runs towards the room. Patnik screams again and throws over his chair, then throws over a chair in the corner and sits down as Stroman runs in with two orderlies, who grab him.)
ORDERLY #1: Take it easy...
ORDERLY #2: Calm down, Mister Patnik.
(Mulder and Scully walk in.)
JOSEPH PATNIK: No! No! No, no, no! He's here!
(The agents look up at the screen.)
TELEVISION NEWSCASTER: ...Miriskovic personally ordered the rape and murder of thousands of innocent civilians in wartorn regions of the former Yugoslavia. Reporting...
(On the screen is a dictator names Miriskovic. He is also the man that Patnik thought he was killing.)
(Mulder and Scully pull up to Patnik's house. A cable van drives by as they make their way to the house.)
SCULLY: You said you got this case last night, where did it come from?
MULDER: Came from an outside source.
(Mulder does not answer, looking down at the floor as he walks.)
This outside source, Mulder, what's his interest in this case? What does he want us to uncover?
MULDER: I don't know.
SCULLY: And you're not suspicious that we're being used?
MULDER: We've got dead bodies and confessed murderers. If we're being used, it's to find out the connection. That's what I'm interested in.
(Mulder lifts the yellow tape and the two walk to the door. They enter the house. A woman screams and they whip out their guns, prepared to walk into the main room. Mulder peeks in and frowns at Scully. The two then put their guns away and walk in nonchalantly. On the couch are two kids watching television on the wide-screen.)
Isn't this a school day?
(The two children stand up, startled, and look at him.)
BOY #1: We didn't cut.
BOY #2: We got a pass.
MULDER: You got a pass to come in here and eat these people's food and watch their TV?
("Die Hard" is on TV. Bruce Willis jumps off the roof and screams as the onlookers watch from the ground. The roof bursts in explosions.)
BOY #1: No.
BOY #2: Are we in trouble now?
(Mulder nods slightly.)
SCULLY: How'd you get in here?
BOY#1: Through the window. They leave it open for the cat.
MULDER: Well, maybe you should head back to school.
(The two boys start to the window.)
No, no, no, use the front door.
(The two boys walk past Mulder and Scully. Mulder pats the second boy on the head as they do. Mulder watches the mayhem on television until the picture suddenly shorts out. He looks out the window to see a cable technician working on the pole, then climbing down.)
(He walks over to her.)
Look at this, there must be hundreds of videos here.
(Mulder looks at the racks of videotapes.)
MULDER: Anything good?
SCULLY: All I see are recordings of cable news shows. They're all dated and in chronological order. You know, that's what Patnik was watching at the hospital when he went all wiggy.
What if there's some connection?
MULDER: Between what he saw and what he recorded and what he did?
SCULLY: You're the one who's interested.
(She pulls out a videotape.)
(Mulder is watching a videotape in fast-forward of a trial. On the table is a can of soda and a large pile of sunflower seed shells. He puts two more shells down and turns off the television. He then gets up and drops the videotape down onto a very large pile of others. Scully opens the door to her hotel room and Mulder walks in.)
MULDER: I just watched thirty-six hours of Bernard Shaw and Bobbie Batista. I'm about ready to kill somebody too.
(He lays down. Scully starts over to her television.)
SCULLY: I'm going to show you something.
(She puts her hand on a pile of tapes. On the floor, there are more stacks, as well as another stack on top of the television. Another tape is playing as well.)
These tapes are dated April nineteenth, April twenty-first and April twenty-third. Each corresponds to a night that Patnik committed a murder.
MULDER: What's on the tapes?
SCULLY: Among other things, a one-hour special report on the atrocities in Bosnia, a report that prominently features Lladoslav Miriskovic.
MULDER: The same guy that started Patnik screaming in the psych ward?
SCULLY: And my guess is that once I review the tapes for the night that Patnik killed his wife, that I'll find that report there as well.
MULDER: So you think that because Patnik saw this war criminal on television, he was somehow inspired to go out and murder these people?
SCULLY: Well, recent studies have linked violence on television to violent behavior.
MULDER: Yeah, but those studies are based on the assumption that Americans are just empty vessels ready to be filled with any idea or image that's fed to them like a bunch of Pavlov dogs and go out and act on it.
SCULLY: But they believe that the causal connections are there, Mulder.
MULDER: They, studies have also shown causal connections between cow flatulence and the depletion of the ozone layer. What you're talking about is pseudo-science used to make political book.
SCULLY: All I'm saying is that I think it's clear that, that the programs that Patnik watched somehow triggered his violent behavior.
SCULLY: The doctor suggested amphetamine abuse. Maybe that coupled with, with the disturbing images he was watching, pushed him over the edge.
MULDER: All I know is television does not make a previously sane man go out and kill five people, thinking they're all the same guy. Not even "Must-See TV" could do that to you.
SCULLY: Okay, then how do you explain it?
MULDER: I can't. Not yet.
(He stands and heads for the door.)
SCULLY: Where are you going?
MULDER: I'm going to get some sleep. Looks like you could use some too.
SCULLY: No, I'm going to... watch the rest of these tapes. Just out of curiosity.
MULDER: You have fun.
(He leaves. Scully sits down in her chair and presses play. Much later, Scully continues to watch the tape in fast-forward mode. The phone rings three times but not in Scully's room. Someone picks up the phone. She hears Mulder talking through the wall from a good distance away.)
Yes. I understand. All right. I've just been watching the tapes. I'll come outside. Right. Okay. No, she doesn't. No. Goodbye.
(Scully presses stop on her tape and takes a drink of something slowly. She crunches the ice, staring blankly at the television. Going to the ice machine, she takes a fresh scoop and puts some change into the soda machine. Curiosly, she looks around the side and sees Mulder sitting in his car, laughing slightly. A match flares and the Cigarette-Smoking Man, sitting next to him, lights a cigarette. Scully watches on in horror as Mulder hands him a videotape. A large van drives by and Scully ducks behind the soda machine. Looking back out, she sees Mulder and his accomplice drive off.)
(Helene Riddock is doing the dishes, listening to music most commonly used by Richard Simmons. She looks over to her television and sees a game show. She smiles.)
GAME SHOW HOST: Before we go any further, I'd like to...
(She looks down at the dishwater and the picture of it "shorts out." She frowns, unsure of what just happened. The water turns to green lines at points, then forms a sort of face as she looks on in horror. She turns around to see her whole kitchen is being invaded by green and red lines in the spectrum. She looks outside to see her bearded husband on a hammock with a beautiful young woman on top of him. As she watches, she leans down and kisses him. Helene runs over to her closet, pulls out her rifle and goes towards the back door. The game show continues to play.)
This beautiful washer-dryer! Tell them about it, Colonel.
GAME SHOW ANNOUNCER: This beautiful washer-dryer...
(A shot rings out from the backyard.)
(Scully sits, thinking. Mulder knocks on the door.)
MULDER: I just got a call. There's been another murder.
SCULLY: Yeah, I'll be right there.
(She doesn't move, thinking about what she saw. Slowly, she makes her way to the car and gets in, then pulls open the ashtray. It is empty. Mulder gets in.)
MULDER: It happened just less than an hour ago. It seems to match our pattern, a housewife gone berserk.
SCULLY: The car's been moved. Did you take it out last night?
(Mulder buckles his seatbelt.)
MULDER: No. Uh, I went out, and I got a paper this morning. Why?
SCULLY: Nothing. Nothing, let's go see the crime scene.
(Officials have swarmed the backyard and the man in the hammock, who no longer has a beard and whose facial features are different, is now a bloody mess on the hammock. Scully walks over and looks at the body.)
MULDER: Okay, thanks, Detective.
DETECTIVE: You're welcome.
(Mulder, carrying an umbrella, walks over to Scully.)
I just talked to the detective in charge. The shooter is Helene Riddock, age forty-two. They took her to lock-up.
SCULLY: What happened?
(They start walking.)
MULDER: She looked out the window and claims she saw her husband in the hammock... with a blonde.
(They stop as he points over to a dog barking at them with blondish fur.)
SCULLY: That blonde?
MULDER: Yeah, apparently, he was only taking a nap with his dog...
(They start walking again.)
But Mrs. Riddock swears she looked out the window and saw her husband in the hammock with a blonde woman.
(They stop walking on the other side of the hammock.)
SCULLY: So, this woman killed her husband because she thought he was cheating on her?
MULDER: This is not even her husband. Her husband's a long-haul trucker. He's been out of town for the last ten days. Mister John Gillness, it's her next-door neighbor. She didn't even have the right backyard. Helene Riddock lives over here.
(He points to the house and starts walking as Scully stares at the body. Scully watches Mulder suspiciously as Mulder looks back at her.)
SCULLY: Yeah, let's check it out.
(Inside the house, the television still plays. This show is part of the "The Home Value Network." A porcelain knick-knack is being showcased. The statue is also sitting on the table next to the couch.)
TELEVISION ANNOUNCER: One of my favorites, he is so cute. "The Little Traveler," normally a hundred-and-twenty-nine and that's what you're going to pay at the department stores, but here at Home Value Network...
(Mulder picks up the porcelain statuette and starts to walk to the back.)
MULDER: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." what do you think, Scully?
SCULLY: I think television plays a large part in both of these murderers' lives.
(She walks over and picks up a few pictures.)
MULDER: As it does in almost every American home, but television does not equal violence. I don't care what anybody says...
(He picks up an ugly statuette.)
Unless you consider bad taste an act of violence.
(Scully pulls open a drawer and finds many more videotapes.)
SCULLY: More tapes.
(Mulder walks over to her. Scully puts a videotape into the VCR.)
MULDER: Hang on a second.
(He walks to the window and looks outside. The cable van pulls up and the technician gets out.)
I'll be right back.
(As Scully flips through the tape, Mulder runs out the door. He runs towards the cable van.)
(The technician gets in the van and drives off as Mulder gives chase.)
(Mulder stops and looks back at the pole. Inside, Scully watches the tape with a blank expression. She looks out the window and sees Mulder start to climb the pole. She then walks out as Mulder opens the cable box on the pole and sees four transmitters. One is gold, the rest are silver. He takes the gold one and looks at it as Scully runs over with two police officers.)
SCULLY: Mulder, what are you doing?
MULDER: I'm coming down.
(He starts to climb down.)
SCULLY: What is it?
MULDER: I found a cable trapper scrambler running from the pole into the house.
SCULLY: Maybe it's a job for Special Agent Pendrell and the Sci-Crime lab.
(Mulder jumps down onto a car. Scully reaches for the device.)
You want it analyzed?
MULDER: Yeah, I'll do it.
(He starts off. Scully is dismayed and puts her hand down.)
It makes more sense for you to go down and interview Helene Riddock. Get her version of the story. Maybe she knows what this thing is.
(Scully stares at her, very suspicious of Mulder's actions.)
Is there a problem with that?
SCULLY: No, that's, that's fine, I'm...
MULDER: Stay in touch.
(He gets in the car and drives off as Scully's fear grows.)
(Mulder and his informants are gathered around a table where the device lay on a green board with a device hooked through it.)
BYERS: It looks a lot like a standard video trap for blocking premium cable channels.
MULDER: What does this one block?
LANGLY: Amazingly, it doesn't seem to block anything.
MULDER: Then what does it do?
FROHIKE: Glad you asked.
(He clears his throat as he and Langly walk over to two carts with televisions and VCRs. Byers slides over on his chair and takes a channel changer from Frohike.)
MULDER: I bet all you guys were officers in the audio-visual club in high school, huh?
(The two televisions are turned on and identical test patterns comes up.)
BYERS: This is the straight feed off our bars and tone generator...
(He points to the first one.)
And here are the bars and tone as attenuated through the device.
(He points to the second television.)
MULDER: Looks the same.
FROHIKE: Well, that's what you'd think.
LANGLY: We couldn't discern any difference between the feeds, not until we compared them on the oscilloscope.
(He and Frohike turn on two small monitors on top of the televisions. Two lines come up.)
MULDER: Still looks the same.
FROHIKE: Hold onto your hat, dude.
(He throws two switches and the lines become square blocks. The two monitors then scroll down to two more lines. The first is straight, the other is thick and shaky.)
We have touchdown.
MULDER: So they're different.
So... they're different.
BYERS: You know the way television works?
MULDER: Yeah, you click it on, you have a picture.
LANGLY: It's a rapid series of still pictures fired against the tube.
BYERS: There's something non-standard here...
(He points to the second television, which also now has the distorted lines at the bottom.)
...in the vertical blanking interval, information that's being added into the spaces between the still pictures.
MULDER: What kind of information?
BYERS: We don't know.
LANGLY: This is as far as we could get with this equipment.
MULDER: Well, can you take it apart?
LANGLY: Not without destroying it completely. That's by design.
(They all look at the strange device.)
BYERS: An amazingly sophisticated design, but all we can say for sure is...
MULDER: This device is emitting a signal.
(Mulder is driving down the road. He picks up his phone and starts to dial when the phone rings. He clicks another button and puts it to his ear.)
(Cut to Scully, who is sitting in her hotel room with the lights out, watching a videotape from the crime scene.)
SCULLY: Where are you?
MULDER: I was just about to call you.
(Cut back to Mulder.)
Look, I'm on my way back. You may have been right, Scully, at least partly. I think there is a foreign signal being introduced into these people's homes through the television set.
(Cut to Scully, who sits in silence.)
Scully, are you there?
SCULLY: I'm here.
MULDER: I think they may be running some kind of test.
(Cut back to Mulder, who receives no answer.)
Scully, did you hear what I just said?
(Cut to Scully.)
SCULLY: So, you had it analyzed?
SCULLY: I just talked to Agent Pendrell, he said that you never showed up.
MULDER: I didn't take it over to Pendrell.
SCULLY: Then where were you?
MULDER: Look, I'd, I'd rather talk about it when we get on the land line, okay? We've dealt with these kind of people before. We know what they're capable of.
(Scully hears a click.)
SCULLY: What was that?
MULDER: What was what?
(Another few clicks sound off.)
SCULLY: There, that noise.
MULDER: Scully, is there something wrong?
(Another few clicks.)
Mulder, who's listening to...
(She pulls the phone away from her ear and looks at it.)
MULDER: Scully, look, I'm going to be right there, okay? Don't go anywhere. Don't...
(She slams the phone down. Cut to Mulder, who starts to dial another number. The hotel phone rings and Scully stares at it. She grabs the wall cord and rips it out of the wall. She then unscrews the receiver and looks for something suspicious. After hearing a few clicks, she gasps and looks around the room. Her eyes move to the lamp, which she looks under, ripping the bottom cushioning off. She then reaches under the table and feels around. Finding nothing, she looks over to the wall and rips off sheet after sheet of paper on the ironing board, desperately searching for the wiretap. She then unscrews the wall socket and looks inside of that. As her agitation and fear grows, she throws over another table, breaking various things and knocking over the phone, and looks under it. Then, she rips off the heat control and looks in that. Going into the bathroom, she stands on a chair and undoes the giant light bulb. Fining nothing, she searches behind the television and yanks out the cord. As she stands, she knocks over piles and piles of recovered videotapes. Looking around, the room seems shaky. The curtains repeatedly "short out." Outside, she hears a car pull up and the headlights shine through the window. She gasps and ducks, then goes to the door and listens in, hearing two men talking outside.)
MULDER: Here, she's in here. Ready?
(The proprietor unlocks the door.)
PROPREITOR: Ready. On the count...
(Scully chain-locks the door.)
(Mulder bangs on the door and Scully stumbles back, startled. Breathing heavily, she walks over, picks up her gun and aims it at the door. As the proprietor opens the door, he is stopped by the chain-lock. Scully fires six shots at him. She then runs the other way as Mulder kicks open the door.)
Get back, call the police.
(The proprietor runs off to do so. Mulder looks around the disheveled motel room.)
(He kicks open another door to find that the back door is wide open and Scully is nowhere to be found.)
(Pictures of all of Margaret Scully's children sit on a table. The phone rings, and Margaret wakes up, turns on the lamp and answers it.)
MARGARET SCULLY: Hello?
(Cut to Mulder, who stands in the motel room, which is being scoured by F.B.I. agents.)
MULDER: Mrs. Scully, hi, it's Fox Mulder.
(Cut back to Margaret.)
MARGARET SCULLY: What is it, what's the matter?
(Cut to Mulder.)
MULDER: I was hoping that you'd heard from Dana.
(Cut to Margaret.)
MARGARET SCULLY: No. Has something happened?
MULDER: I'm... I'm not exactly sure.
(Cut to Mulder.)
There's... there's some confusion here. She's missing.
(Cut back to Margaret as she sits up in bed.)
MARGARET SCULLY: What do you mean, "missing?"
(Cut back to Mulder.)
MULDER: Well, she ran off last night. Um... we, we, we're looking for her as best we can...
(Cut back to Margaret.)
...but we are a little concerned.
MARGARET SCULLY: Oh my God...
(Cut to Mulder. He hears a car pull up and turns around. He starts in that direction.)
MULDER: Look, Mrs. Scully, I hate to do this to you, but I got to hang up on you right now.
(Cut back to Margaret.)
MARGARET SCULLY: Fox, would you please tell me what's wrong?
(Cut to Mulder, who is walking towards Skinner.)
MULDER: Hang by the phone. I will call you as soon as I know something.
(He hangs up.)
Sir, can I have a word with you?
(The two men talking to Skinner walk off.)
This manhunt is being conducted as if we're searching for an escaped convict.
SKINNER: Mulder, I share your concern for Agent Scully, but the fact remains she fired four rounds at you and an unarmed civilian last night.
MULDER: I appreciate that, but these officers should be instructed not to confront her once they find her.
SKINNER: What would you have them do?
MULDER: Just to keep an eye on her till I can get there. I think I can get her to listen to me.
SKINNER: She didn't listen to you last night.
MULDER: That's because she's not responsible for her own actions. She's suffering from some kind of paranoid psychosis.
SKINNER: Brought on by what?
MULDER: I can't explain the exact mechanism, but it has something to do with certain videotapes we watched that we recovered from a crime scene.
MULDER: Videotapes that contain an electronic signal that somehow induces violent behavior.
SKINNER: Do you have any proof of this?
MULDER: I'm working on that.
SKINNER: Whatever prompted her behavior, the fact remains that Scully is armed and obviously dangerous so I suggest you Marshall whatever resources you have to make sure that you find her first.
(Mulder nods slightly and Skinner walks away.)
(Mulder slowly tapes an "X" to his window and starts dribbling his basketball. The phone rings and Mulder sits down and picks it up.)
(Cut to the Lone Gunman's office, where Frohike is on the phone and Byers is in the back. Langly is standing next to Frohike.)
FROHIKE: Mulder, we pulled something off that videotape you found in Scully's room.
(Byers walks towards his compatriots. Cut to Mulder.)
MULDER: What is it?
(Cut to Frohike. Byers starts to flip through a file.)
FROHIKE: Something interesting... but we don't want to talk about it...
(Cut to Mulder.)
...over the phone. "Big Brother" may be listening.
(Frohike hangs up, then Mulder does. He taps the phone on the table, staring at the "X" on his window. He then picks up his coat and walks out.)
(Frohike, Byers, Langly and Mulder congregate around a videotape player. Frohike speeds through the videotape while it is playing on fast-forward, showing a psychic network commercial.)
FROHIKE: Here's the tape Scully was reviewing last night. We scanned samples of the tape onto disk.
LANGLY: Digitized it.
BYERS: Using some interpolating freeware we pulled off the net, we were able to blank out visible frames.
MULDER: What am I looking at?
(The picture of the woman on the screen fades into green and red lines.)
LANGLY: Well, this is the actual signal your cable trap device was emitting.
BYERS: Of course, we slowed it down significantly. It's designed to cycle at fifteen flashes per second to induce what is known as the "photic driving response."
MULDER: Bring it home, boys.
LANGLY: This device is stimulating electrical activity in the brain.
BYERS: Studies into subliminal influence have shown a correlation between heightened suggestibility and the manipulation of this response.
MULDER: Mind control?
LANGLY: Fifty-seven channels of it.
BYERS: Tachistoscophic images, like they used to sell popcorn at the movies. Both Russian and American scientists have been working with it for decades.
FROHIKE: Not to mention Madison Avenue.
MULDER: The naked lady in the ice cube.
FROHIKE: Ah, one of my personal favorites.
MULDER: Why wasn't I affected?
(The Lone Gunmen turn to face him. Langly sighs.)
FROHIKE: That's the one thing we haven't figured out yet.
MULDER: This, uh... subliminal signal, could color be a factor in it?
(Everyone looks at Byers.)
MULDER: I'm red-green color blind.
BYERS: His inability to perceive the color red could render him immune to the psychotropic effects.
(Mulder's phone rings.)
LANGLY: But why design a color-dependent signal?
FROHIKE: Why not? Red-green color blind...
(Mulder answers his call.)
(Mulder listens in as his confidants continue to talk amongst themselves.)
...affects only a small percentage of the male population.
BYERS: Which still leaves the vast majority of the American public vulnerable to it's effects.
MULDER: I'll be right there.
(He hangs up and starts to the door.)
FROHIKE: What happened?
MULDER: Maryland State Police. They think they've found Scully.
(He opens the door.)
FROHIKE: Is she okay?
MULDER: No, um... they think maybe I should come down and I.D. the body.
(He walks out. The Gunmen look at each other with concern for Scully.)
(Mulder pulls up in the parking lot and stops the car. He rubs his forehead, then slowly unbuckles his seatbelt and gets out. He starts towards the coroner's office when the Plain-Clothed Man pulls up.)
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: Get in.
MULDER: I can't talk to you right now.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: They're watching you. Now, get in before you get us both killed.
MULDER: That's an interesting choice of words. My partner may be dead.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: It's not my concern.
MULDER: The hell it isn't! We're here because of you!
(The Plain-Clothed Man looks around.)
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: Keep your voice down.
MULDER: Who are you, who do you work for?
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: You're wasting time. While you're chasing your partner, they're destroying the evidence.
PLAIN-CLOTHED MAN: Just follow the evidence. If you don't, by tomorrow, the responsible parties will be out of your reach.
(Mulder kicks the door and walks towards the coroner's office as his erstwhile informant drives off. Mulder makes his way towards the coroner, who stands next to a set of blinds.)
CORONER: State highway patrolman found the body off a rural highway at 2:00 P.M. Nude, shot in the forehead.
(Mulder closes his eyes. The coroner grabs the blind drawstring.)
Are you ready?
MULDER: Let me do that.
(The coroner steps back and Mulder pulls open the blinds and looks inside at the redhead on the table. He stares at the body.)
It's not her.
(He starts off.)
Somebody has to call her mother.
CORONER: We already tried.
(Mulder turns around.)
We weren't able to reach her.
MULDER: She's not answering her phone?
(The coroner shrugs slightly. Mulder walks off.)
(Mulder taps the knocker three times, waits, then does it again louder. Having no response, he looks at the window, peers in, then bangs the knocker four times. Margaret answers the door, but only enough so that her face is shown.)
MULDER: Mrs. Scully, is she here?
MARGARET SCULLY: Uh, no.
MULDER: You haven't been answering your phone.
MARGARET SCULLY: Well, when I hear from her, I'll call you, okay?
(She tries to close the door, but Mulder holds it open.)
MULDER: I need to see her.
MARGARET SCULLY: Fox, please, go away...
(He pushes his way past her.)
(She closes the door and he walks down the foyer and looks in the main room. Seeing no one, he turns to Margaret.)
Where is she?
(Scully steps out from behind the wall in the main room, aiming her gun at Mulder. Mulder turns around.)
MARGARET SCULLY: Dana, put down the gun!
MULDER: I'm here to help you, Scully.
(Margaret walks over and stands next to Mulder.)
SCULLY: I told you, Mom. He's here to kill me.
MULDER: I'm on your side, you know that.
MARGARET SCULLY: Put it down, Dana.
MULDER: Scully, listen to me very carefully. You don't know it, but you're sick with the same thing that drove those other people to murder... and whatever you think may be happening...
(He takes a step forward.)
SCULLY: Just step back.
(She cocks the hammer. Margaret steps up next to Mulder.)
MARGARET SCULLY: Dana, you're not yourself. He's telling you the truth.
SCULLY: It's not the truth, Mom. He's lied to me from the beginning.
(Mulder shakes his head slightly.)
He's never trusted me.
MULDER: Scully, you are the only one I trust.
(Scully is about to cry.)
SCULLY: You're in on it. You're one of them. You're one of the people who abducted me. You put that thing in my neck. You killed my sister!
MARGARET SCULLY: That's not true, Dana.
SCULLY: It is.
(Margaret steps in front of Mulder.)
MARGARET SCULLY: I want you to listen to me...
SCULLY: Mom, just get out of the way!
MARGARET SCULLY: You trust me, don't you?
(Scully is fighting back tears, her gun trained on her mother now.)
You know that I would never hurt you. That I would never let anybody hurt you. That's why you came here, isn't it? You're safe here. Put the gun down, Dana.
(Scully stares at them, very distraught. They look very concerned. Margaret steps towards her daughter.)
Put it down. Put the gun down, Dana. Put it down.
(Scully points her gun away as she and her mother press their foreheads against one another. Scully falls into her mother's arms, sobbing. Margaret and Dana kneel down to the floor as Dana cries.)
(Mulder walks down the hallway as people walk past him. He gets to the door to a hospital room, knocks and opens it. Margaret, standing next to the hospital bed where Scully is laying, looks at him and smiles. He puts his hands up as if having a gun pointed at him and smiles. Margaret walks past him, smiling.)
TELEVISION NEWSCASTER: ...runway 12-H. The runway generally reserved for...
(Mulder turns off the television and sits down in a chair next to Scully.)
MULDER: How you feeling?
(Mulder crosses his legs.)
I was so sure, Mulder. I saw things and I heard things, and... it was just like world was turned upside-down. Everybody was out to get me.
MULDER: Now you know how I feel most of the time.
SCULLY: I thought you were going to kill me.
MULDER: I'm not surprised.
(She looks at him, confused. He leans in.)
I did some checking. Joseph Patnik thought he was murdering a Bosnian war criminal, a man the media described as a modern-day Hitler. It turns out both Patnik's parents were Holocaust survivors.
SCULLY: I'm not following.
MULDER: Helen Riddock was scared her husband was going to be unfaithful to her. You see a pattern developing here? What if this, this video signal somehow turned these people's anxieties into some kind of dementia? Yeah, a, a virtual reality of their own worst nightmares?
SCULLY: Like me thinking that you'd betray me. I was so far gone, Mulder, I thought that you had gone to the other side.
MULDER: What do you mean?
SCULLY: That Cancer Man, the man who smokes all those cigarettes, I was sure that I saw the two of you sitting in your car in the motel parking lot. You were reporting to him, you handed him a videotape. I'm... it was crazy.
MULDER: Ah, maybe not.
SCULLY: What do you mean?
MULDER: Well, somebody's behind this, we just don't know who.
SCULLY: You think it could be him?
MULDER: I don't know.
(They look at each other for a second.)
Why don't you try to get some rest?
(He stands and walks out. Looking around outside the room, he sees Doctor Lorenz at the nurse's desk and starts over.)
LORENZ: Agent Mulder. I was just about to check in on your partner.
MULDER: What, uh, course of treatment have you outlined for Agent Scully?
LORENZ: At this point, nothing more than bed rest. We still haven't been able to determine what brought this on. As far as I can tell, there's nothing medically wrong with her.
MULDER: That didn't seem to be the case last night.
LORENZ: No, it wasn't. It's got me puzzled. Her M.R.I. was negative, but the spinal tap revealed high levels of serotonin in her brain.
MULDER: You think that would account for her strange behavior?
LORENZ: High serotonin levels have been associated with mania. But the good news is, as of this afternoon, her levels are pretty much back to normal.
(She smiles and walks past him. Mulder thinks for a second, then turns around.)
MULDER: Doctor Lorenz, uh...
(She stops and turns around.)
Would you have made a diagnosis of amphetamine abuse for someone in Agent Scully's condition?
LORENZ: Not given her serotonin levels, no. That wouldn't make any sense.
MULDER: Thank you.
(Mulder turns and starts walking as he pulls out his cellular, then dials.)
Braddock Heights. Yeah, I need the number for Frederick County Psychiatric Hospital, please.
(He stops walking. Cut to the psychiatric hospital, where the phone rings at a clerk's desk. She picks up the phone.)
NURSE: Ward three.
(Cut back to Mulder.)
MULDER: Yeah, this is Fox Mulder with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I need to talk to Doctor Stroman, please.
(Cut back to the nurse.)
NURSE: I'm sorry, Doctor Stroman's no longer here. I believe he's returned to Washington.
(Cut to Mulder.)
MULDER: You know where I can reach him?
(Cut to the nurse.)
NURSE: Um, I'm not sure... he left us a local number.
(Cut back to Mulder.)
It's around here somewhere...
(Mulder pulls out a pack of matches from the 2400 motel and looks at it. On top, he sees a phone number.)
MULDER: Is it 555-0135?
(Cut to the nurse.)
NURSE: That's it.
(Cut back to Mulder.)
MULDER: Thank you.
(The proprietor unlocks the door to the motel room.)
MULDER: You want me to go first this time?
PROPRIETOR: You're damn straight.
(Mulder takes out his gun, waits for a second, then kicks open the door. He walks in, pointing his gun. The room is a mess. The proprietor walks in behind him as he puts his gun away and starts looking through the covers.)
I haven't had a chance to clean the room yet. He just checked out. What with all the excitement, I don't blame him.
(Mulder walks around the bed and looks through the drawers of a dresser when he sees the phone and stands up.)
MULDER: You charge for local calls?
PROPRIETOR: Of course.
MULDER: You'd have a record of all calls made...
PROPRIETOR: I'll get it for you.
(He walks out. Mulder looks into the kitchen and sees an ashtray. Walking in, he looks down at the ashtray and sees a lone cigarette butt. Picking it up, he sees it is Morley's. He throws it down into the ashtray in disgust as the proprietor walks in with a sheet.)
Here you go.
(Mulder walks back over to the front door and takes it.)
(He reads it over.)
(The proprietor walks out. Mulder takes his phone out and makes a call.)
Hey, Danny, it's Mulder. I need you to check a number for me.
(Mulder pulls up to a house, parks the car and gets out. He starts towards the house, but stops and puts his hand on a blue car parked out front, then goes over to the door. He hears a car behind him and sees the cable van pulling up. Mulder quickly goes into the bushes directly in front of the house and watches as the cable technician walks into the house. Mulder, kneeling, makes his way over to the other side of the window and looks in to see Stroman and the technician talking.)
CABLE TECHNICIAN: That's what he told me, Stroman.
STROMAN: Then where is he? He said he'd be here by now.
CABLE TECHNICIAN: He'll be here.
(Stroman looks at his watch.)
STROMAN: It's almost seven o'clock.
(He walks over to the window and peers out as Mulder leans back against the wall adjacent to it so as not to be seen. Stroman looks around, then walks back over to the technician.)
There's no sign of him.
(Mulder scurries around to the back of the house, skulking quietly. As he approaches the back door, two shots ring out. He quickly takes out his gun and breaks open the door with his shoulder, gun pointed out. He makes his way to the main room and sees that Stroman and the technician are both dead. Stroman was shot in the forehead. He bends down and next to the body and checks the pulse, then the technician's. X steps out.)
X: You're too late, Agent Mulder.
(Mulder aims his gun, but, seeing who it is, points it away, disgusted.)
MULDER: Now that you've destroyed all the evidence.
X: You were told this would happen. You made your choice.
MULDER: I just didn't know I was working for you.
X: I had no alternative. I was being watched too closely. I couldn't risk compromising myself.
MULDER: Why kill them if you wanted me to expose them?
(X steps closer.)
X: Those were always my orders, Agent Mulder. I was just hoping you'd get to them first.
MULDER: And uncover what? What were they trying to do, manipulate people's behavior? Alter their decision making-process? What to buy, who to vote for?
X: You think they'll stop at commerce and politics?
(X bends down and puts the murder weapon into the technician's hand.)
MULDER: Where will they stop?
(X stands and looks at him.)
X: That's where you failed, Agent Mulder.
MULDER: Don't lay this off on me, you sneaky son of a bitch. You pulled me into this situation because you didn't have the courage to reveal the truth yourself.
X: Feel better now?
MULDER: You're a coward! You work in the shadows, you feed me scraps of information, hoping that I can piece it together. You make me risk my life, you risk my partner's life and you never risk your own!
(X smirks, knowing that Mulder does not know about the boxcar. Mulder stares at X in disdain. X turns and walks to the door, opening it. Mulder aims and cocks the hammer.)
You're not walking away from this.
(X's body stiffens at the sound of the gun loading.)
X: You're risking your life right now.
(He turns around.)
You failed. This is your success? Killing me? The truth is... you need me, Agent Mulder.
(He walks out, closing the door behind him. Mulder waits, then lowers his gun and uncocks it, righteously angry.)
(Mulder sits across from Skinner in Skinner's office. Skinner is reading over a document.)
SKINNER: This is your final report, Agent Mulder?
MULDER: Yes, sir.
SKINNER: I see more questions than I do answers. You don't know who manufactured the device you found or what its purpose was.
MULDER: No, sir.
(Scully knocks on the door and walks in.)
SKINNER: Agent Scully, welcome back.
(She walks over to the desk.)
SCULLY: I'm sorry I'm late, I just got back from the document section.
SKINNER: What did you find out about the two men Mulder found executed?
SCULLY: The cable company employee had no criminal record. In fact, there was nothing remarkable about him whatsoever. We found a medical license under the name "Doctor Stroman" in Falls Church, Virginia. He died in 1978.
SKINNER: What about their killer?
(Scully shrugs and is about to speak when Mulder cuts her off.)
MULDER: He remains an unknown subject.
(Skinner looks at him, slightly suspicious of Mulder's answer.)
(X walks down a dark alley over to a car. He looks around then gets in the passenger side as the car turns on. In the driver's seat is the Cigarette-Smoking Man, smoking. They do not look at each other for a few seconds.)
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: Have you completed your work?
X: All the personnel and hardware have been removed, but Mulder still has one of the devices.
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: Oh, it proves nothing. What about, uh... Mulder's source?
X: He's been eliminated.
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: And his source? Who's he working with?
X: That person remains unknown.
(They stare at each other, the employer suspicious of his henchman. Then they turn away as the Cigarette-Smoking Man takes another drag off of his cigarette.)