(Hospital corridor. An ORDERLY/INTERN guy runs up to DR. KATRINA CABRERA, hands her a file and they walk quickly down the hall.)
ORDERLY: Dr. Cabrera.
DR CABRERA: Where is he?
ORDERLY: He's down in trauma. They said you'd know what's wrong with him.
DR CABRERA: Who transferred him from ICU?
ORDERLY: I did-- he was scheduled for, uh... (checks the chart) therapeutic plasmapheresis. They were prepping him. He went into shock.
DR CABRERA: What are his vitals?
ORDERLY: Not good. Pulse is 40. Blood pressure 80/50. His GCS is six.
DR CABRERA: Okay. Get on the phone to the FBI. There's an Agent Scully that should be notified.
DR CABRERA: This man is an FBI agent.
ORDERLY: What's wrong with him?
DR CABRERA: What's wrong with him is he's going to die.
(The ORDERLY stares after her as she enters a room. The patient is SKINNER. His veins appear to be throbbing and hardened all over his body giving his skin a nasty blue mottled appearance.)
DR CABRERA: Can you hear me? Mr. Skinner?
(She leans down close to his mouth. SKINNER whispers inaudibly.)
DR CABRERA: I'm not understanding. Can you speak up?
(SKINNER whispers to her again. She understands him and stares at him in shock.)
ORDERLY: What'd he say?
DR CABRERA: A name.
(SKINNER's heart monitor flatlines.)
ORDERLY: He's coding on us. (picks up defibrillator paddles - a NURSE greases them) Clear.
(DR CABRERA doesn't move from SKINNER's side.)
ORDERLY: Dr. Cabrera, clear. Dr. Cabrera!
DR CABRERA: Let him go.
(SKINNER stares sightlessly.)
(Camera pans back from close up of SKINNER's unfocused eye. By the end of his voiceover, a NURSE pulls a sheet over SKINNER's face. He is dead.)
SKINNER: (voiceover) Every minute of every day we choose. Who we are. Who we forgive. Who we defend and protect. To choose a side or to walk the line. To play the middle. To straddle the fence between what is and what should be. This was the course I chose. Trying to find the delicate balance of interests that can never exist. Choosing by not choosing. Defending a center which cannot hold. So death chose for me.
(Dimly lit gym with boxing rings like in the "Rocky" movies. All men. A man, the TRAINER is helping SKINNER put on boxing gear.)
TRAINER: Good aim! Good aim! Go easy on him, Slugger. I need him to lock up for me tonight, okay?
(SKINNER climbs into the ring and begins boxing with DRE, a very strong looking young guy.)
TRAINER: (coaching them) Don't telegraph that left, Dre. Stevie Wonder would see that one coming. You're fighting the FBI now, Dre. Fight smart. Go!
(SKINNER begins losing focus. All is blurry and echoing. He sees the blurry image of a scruffy looking, long-haired BEARDED MAN watching him. In slow motion, DRE hits SKINNER hard in the head, knocking him to the floor.)
SKINNER: Oh! Uh!
(The TRAINER gets in the ring and pulls the protective helmet off SKINNER.)
TRAINER: Hey, Slugger. You okay? Slugger, can you hear me?
(SKINNER is barely conscious.)
TRAINER: Talk to me. You all right? Slugger.
(SKINNER blacks out and fades into )
(St. Katherine's Hospital. Later that evening. SKINNER wakes up in a hospital bed. A very PERKY NURSE is leaning over him.)
PERKY NURSE: Mr. Skinner. Mr. Skinner. Hi. You going to stick with us now?
PERKY NURSE: Do you remember what happened?
SKINNER: I was boxing. I must've gotten tagged.
PERKY NURSE: Yes, you did. At least you didn't get your ear bit off. That's something, right? Dr. Plant will be with you in a minute.
(She leaves. SKINNER sits up. He is in a t-shirt and gray boxers. His cell phone rings.)
SKINNER: (on phone) Yeah. Skinner. Hello.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) Walter... Skinner.
SKINNER: (on phone) Who is this?
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) Have... you heard... the news? It's... in... you.
SKINNER: (on phone) What is this?
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) You... have... 24 hours... to go.
SKINNER: (on phone) What is this? What do you want?
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) You... are... already dead.
(Clock on the wall says that it is 9:33. SKINNER hangs up. DR. PLANT, a friendly older man, enters the room and rinses his hands quickly.)
DR. PLANT: Mr. Skinner. Didn't expect to see you up and around. You must be feeling better. Can you take a seat on that table for me, please?
( SKINNER gets on the table groaning a little at the pain in his chest.)
DR. PLANT: I'm Dr. Plant. I was here with you before. You probably don't remember.
(DR PLANT checks SKINNER's eyes with a penlight.)
DR. PLANT: Well, the good news is... your dilation's back to normal. Plus you still have both your ears.
(SKINNER chuckles politely.)
SKINNER: I heard that one.
DR. PLANT: I'm going to release you. But I suggest that you rethink the boxing. You're not 20 anymore.
SKINNER: There's nothing wrong with me?
DR. PLANT: Well, you got your bell rung. Other than that, I think you're fine. Might want to ice that bruise.
SKINNER: What bruise?
DR. PLANT: Right here.
(DR. PLANT pulls up SKINNER's shirt to reveal a big nasty bruise on his chest.)
SKINNER: How the hell did I get that?
DR. PLANT: Must've taken a hard one to the ribs. But there's nothing broken. No internal bleeding. Like I said... You'll live.
SKINNER: (quietly) At least.
(MULDER is sitting alone at his desk in the bullpen. No lights are on. He is flinging sharpened pencils into the ceiling. He sees SKINNER walk slowly past out in the hall. MULDER gets up and finds SKINNER lying on the couch in his dark office.)
SKINNER: What is it, Agent Mulder?
MULDER: I just, uh... I thought I'd poke my head in and say hey.
SKINNER: (weakly): Hey.
MULDER: (smiling) What, are you sleeping one off?
SKINNER: No, I was having trouble seeing. It's nothing. I just didn't think I should drive.
MULDER: You going to be all right, sir?
(Skinner does not answer.)
(Short time later. SCULLY gets off the elevator and joins MULDER and SKINNER in the darkened office. MULDER is sitting on the desk.)
MULDER: He's going to tell you he's all right.
SKINNER: That's because there's nothing wrong with me.
SCULLY: Not that I could tell if there was. Why are all the lights out?
MULDER: He's having trouble with his eyes. He's also got a nasty bruise on his ribcage.
(SCULLY kneels down to look at SKINNER's ribcage. MULDER flicks on a bright desk lamp and shines it operating room light style on the bruised area.)
SCULLY: What did you do?
SKINNER: It's nothing.
(The bruise looks worse.)
SCULLY: Says who?
SKINNER: The doctor who released me from the hospital.
(Skinner grunts in pain as SCULLY touches the bruise.)
MULDER: That was the second opinion. The first was unsolicited. A phone call at the hospital. A scrambled voice telling him he had 24 hours to live.
SKINNER: That was somebody yanking my chain. Look, I got a clean bill of health. (tries to sit up)
SCULLY: Hey, hey, hey. (gently pushes him back down) In the last 48 hours, did you eat or drink anything that tasted metallic or otherwise odd?
SKINNER: Oh, come on. Are you thinking that I'm poisoned?
SCULLY: Did the doctor take your blood?
SKINNER: Yes. And it checked out.
SCULLY: Well, if you were poisoned, it could have been overlooked.
SKINNER: If it did, why call and tell me at the hospital?
MULDER: To scare you. See what you'd do. Who you'd turn to.
SKINNER: (sarcastically) Oh. This is about you.
MULDER: Or about the X-Files.
SKINNER: You are so paranoid, Mulder. You're not even on the X-Files anymore.
SCULLY: I know. But you are. You still supervise them.
(MULDER goes into interrogation mode, arms crossed, very direct.)
MULDER: What happened today? Anything out of the ordinary?
SKINNER: I'm not going to play this game.
SCULLY: Look, it could've been anything. It could have been the slightest touch, or a handshake.
MULDER: This morning, you woke up...
SKINNER: I woke up.
SKINNER: (defensive) Yes. Alone.
MULDER: And how'd you get to the office?
SKINNER: The same way that I always do-- I drove.
SCULLY: And then what?
SKINNER: Then nothing-- I had meetings, I went to the gym, to the hospital, and now I'm here.
MULDER: Just slow down. One step at a time. How'd you get from the parking garage to your office?
SKINNER: The elevator.
MULDER: And then what?
SKINNER: (sighs) I walked up the hallway.
(In slow motion flashback, SKINNER gets off the elevator and walks into his office, nodding to his assistant.)
SKINNER: I passed the same dozen people that I pass every morning. I went to my office. I said good morning to my secretary. She said good morning to me. I returned calls, I did paperwork I was here for the rest of the day.
MULDER: Now think. There's got to be something.
SKINNER: In the hallway, there was a man. He stopped me. He wanted to know the time.
(FLASHBACK: SKINNER gets off the elevator again, but an older man, DR KENNETH ORGEL, briefly stops him by touching his wrist with a black gloved hand.)
MULDER: Did he touch you?
SKINNER: He grabbed me. On my right wrist.
(SKINNER looks at his wrist.)
SCULLY: It wouldn't necessarily leave a mark. Some poisons are absorbed through the skin.
MULDER: What time was it?
(Later, MULDER, SCULLY, and SKINNNER watch as a TECHNICIAN runs back the surveillance video for the front entrance of the FBI building. He stops on the older man, DR KENNETH ORGEL.)
MULDER: There you are.
SKINNER: That's him. Right there.
SCULLY: Wait a second. Back up. It can't be. That's Kenneth Orgel. An advisor to a Senate subcommittee on ethics and new technology.
SKINNER: He's a scientist?
SCULLY: A physicist. Very well known, as far as physicists go.
MULDER: (reading the log) He signed in here as a visitor to the office of Assistant Director Walter Skinner.
SCULLY: Why would he be coming to see you?
SKINNER: I'd like to ask him that myself.
SCULLY: Sir, if this man poisoned you, you should be off your feet and under a doctor's care.
SKINNER: If this man poisoned me I'm going to put a gun to his head, find out why and ask him how he's going to make me well.
SCULLY: What hospital was he at?
MULDER: St. Katherine's.
(MULDER follows SKINNER.)
(Shot of cars crossing bridge into Maryland. MULDER and SKINNER knock at the front door of a house. SKINNER winces as the porch light is flicked on. DR ORGEL opens the door a few inches.)
DR. ORGEL: (warily) Yes?
SKINNER: Dr. Orgel? Kenneth Orgel?
DR. ORGEL: Yes.
SKINNER: Do you know who I am?
DR. ORGEL: No.
SKINNER: My name's Walter Skinner. I'm an Assistant Director at the FBI.
MULDER: Dr. Orgel, you visited the FBI this morning. You came to see Mr. Skinner.
DR. ORGEL: No... uh, you must be mistaken. Sorry, you'll have to come back another time.
(DR. ORGEL closes the door. MULDER smiles at SKINNER.)
MULDER: Go around back.
(SKINNER goes around back. MULDER knocks loudly. DR ORGEL opens the door again.)
DR. ORGEL: Please, you're bothering me.
(As DR. ORGEL tries to close the door, MULDER pushes it in and then ducks as a gunshot from inside the house sends a bullet through the door and hits the porch light. SKINNER bursts through the back door. Inside the house are several Arabic men who grab DR. ORGEL and hold him as a hostage.)
SKINNER: (pointing his gun) Federal agent!
(SKINNER is hit on the head from behind and falls to the floor. MULDER runs toward him.)
(MULDER chases after the men who fire at him as they run. Cool movie theme music. Action!MULDER tackles one of the men, TUNISIAN MAN, as the rest drag DR. ORGEL into a car, license # JP 259 and speed away.)
MULDER: Drop the gun. Drop it!
(The man does and MULDER pulls him up. Back inside the house SKINNER is in pain. He gingerly touches his neck where his veins have begun to swell. His vision is blurry as he sees MULDER and his prisoner enter the house again.)
(SKINNER, MULDER, the TUNISIAN MAN are standing on the front porch.)
TUNISIAN MAN: (something Arabic and angry)
MULDER: Yeah, so's your mom.
TUNISIAN MAN: (something Arabic and angry)
MULDER: Hey, give it a rest, huh?!
(SKINNER looks in the TUNISIAN MAN's jacket and finds some diplomatic papers.)
TUNISIAN MAN: (something Arabic and VERY angry)
SKINNER: Let him go, Agent Mulder.
SKINNER: He's got diplomatic papers. (to TUNISIAN MAN) It's our mistake. You can go. (to MULDER) Just let him go.
(MULDER is not happy, but releases him. TUNISIAN MAN leaves angrily.)
SKINNER: Get in the house. The police are going to be here any moment. I don't have time to stand around and answer any questions. His name is Alexander Lazreg-- L-a-z-r-e-g. He's the cultural attache with the Tunisian mission here in D.C. See what else you can find out about him.
MULDER: (looking at the veins on SKINNER's neck) You need to get to a hospital.
SKINNER: No. I'm trying to stay out of one.
(SKINNER leaves as MULDER enters the house.)
(SCULLY is at St. Katherine's Hospital with DR. PLANT. They walk down a corridor and into a lab.)
DR. PLANT: The boxer-- FBI.
SCULLY: Yes, you released him from your care earlier this evening.
DR. PLANT: Is he not all right?
SCULLY: Well, that's why I'm here. He may have been poisoned.
DR. PLANT: You're kidding. By who?
SCULLY: I don't know. In fact, I'm not even sure what I'm looking for.
DR. PLANT: Well, you're lucky. He's on a government HMO. No one's even bothered to handle his samples yet.
(SCULLY crosses over to a refrigerated cabinet containing several vials of blood.)
SCULLY: Is this them in here?
DR. PLANT: (nervous) I'm not supposed to let you have those-- not without a written release from the patient.
(SCULLY takes some vials of blood out and reads the label on them.)
SCULLY: We may not have time. He may not have time either.
DR. PLANT: He had absolutely no symptoms of poisoning.
(SCULLY looks closely at the blood in the vials. Something is not right. It looks like something has settled to the bottom.)
SCULLY: Are you sure these haven't been processed?
DR. PLANT: I'm not sure, but I doubt they've even been touched.
(DR ORGEL's house. MULDER is going through stacks of papers on the desk, then tossing them to the floor. A COP walks in and looks at the mess that MULDER is making.)
COP: I'm not so sure you should be doing that.
MULDER: This is a crime scene. What would you rather I be doing?
COP: I'm concerned for Dr. Orgel's personal property and the preservation of evidence.
MULDER: I'd be a lot more concerned with the preservation of Dr. Orgel. (In the trash, MULDER finds a picture of DR. ORGEL and SENATOR MATHESON - MULDER's patron from first season - smiling as they hold a official looking folder between them.) Hello, Senator...
(Hospital lab. SCULLY and DR. PLANT are running tests on the blood with a computer.)
DR. PLANT: It's carbon. Pure carbon. How in the world would that get into his bloodstream?
SCULLY: How is it working as a poison?
DR. PLANT: By all rights, it shouldn't be.
SCULLY: Look at them-- just rattling around in the solution.
DR. PLANT: It's just bizarre. (sees something on the screen) Did you see that?
SCULLY: Did you just touch something?
DR. PLANT: No, I didn't.
SCULLY: It just multiplied. Look! It just did it again.
DR. PLANT: Zooming in.
(DR PLANT types some keyboard commands. They see what looks like a bunch of tiny little eight pointed bug-like cells multiplying every few seconds among the regular cells.)
DR. PLANT: What the hell are they?
(SENATOR MATHESON's mansion. A BUTLER lets MULDER in and leaves him in the foyer.)
BUTLER: Wait here, please.
(After a moment, SENATOR MATHESON comes down the stairs belting his bathrobe.)
SENATOR MATHESON: I don't have to tell you how late it is, do I, Agent Mulder? But I suspect that wasn't even a consideration of yours.
MULDER: Actually, time is my only consideration, Senator. (shows him picture) This was taken only three days ago. It's of you and Dr. Kenneth Orgel holding a Senate Resolution-S.R. 819, I think it's called. What is that?
SENATOR MATHESON: A funding bill. What is this all about?
MULDER: A friend of mine is going to die because of S.R. 819. I don't know how, I don't even know why but I'm betting you do.
SENATOR MATHESON: What are you talking about?
MULDER: I don't even really know yet; all i have are a few pieces: a Tunisian diplomat, this Dr. Kenneth Orgel, this health bill, S.R. 819-- all leading up to a plot to kill an Assistant Director of the FBI. Does that make sense?
SENATOR MATHESON: The bill you've referred to will provide money and supplies to the World Health Organization, medical technology to third world countries. I have aided you in the past with information, Fox, and advice, which right now is to leave here at once and never again suggest to anyone my involvement in any such dark intrigue. Am I understood?
MULDER: This man may die; he may only have a few hours to live.
SENATOR MATHESON: My intention is to save lives, Fox but I can't save his. (opens the door for MULDER) Good night, Fox. Drive safely.
(MULDER slowly and reluctantly leaves.)
(Parking garage. TUNISIAN MAN from DR. ORGEL's house gets ticket and pulls into the garage in same car from the kidnapping. A moment later, SKINNER pulls up and follows him in. SKINNER is checking the veins in his neck when TUNISIAN MAN fires into SKINNER's windshield. SKINNER falls out of view. TUNISIAN MAN goes up to SKINNER's window then ducks and runs as SKINNER suddenly sits up and fires at him. SKINNER, in great pain gets out of the car and searches among the parked cars. He can barely focus. TUNISIAN MAN is about to shoot SKINNER when a car driven by the BEARDED MAN suddenly whips around the corner and hits the TUNISIAN MAN killing him. SKINNER rolls out of the way and collapses against a car denting the fender and setting the car alarm off.)
(St. Katherine's Hospital lab. SCULLY is still looking at the blood.)
SCULLY: Dr. Plant?
DR. PLANT: What? What is it?
SCULLY: I think I've found it. I think I found what the carbon's doing. It's, uh...it's not just reproducing itself. It has behavior. It's creating something, a-a matrix stimulated by blood flow in response to movement. It's multiplying and solidifying in an orderly fashion. It's building valves or-or dams in the vascular system.
DR. PLANT: (shocked and amazed) It's building a heart attack.
(A NURSE enters the room.)
NURSE: Dr. Plant? You're doing blood work on a Walter Skinner?
DR. PLANT: Yes.
NURSE: I just heard on the radio there's a Walter Skinner who's been picked up by paramedics at a parking garage downtown.
SCULLY: Where are they taking him?
NURSE: D.C. General.
(Emergency operating room. DC General Hospital. DR. CABRERA and a team of NURSES are getting ready to operate on SKINNER who is veinier than before and unconscious. They have removed his shirt and have his arms stretched out.)
DOCTOR: Did you see this? We've got some sort of extreme vascular event here. How is he even still alive?
DR. CABRERA: We'll take the left arm first. Mark it just above the bicep. Let's get to it.
DOCTOR: I'll get this side.
(SCULLY and DR PLANT enter the ER.)
DOCTOR: Hey, you... Out.
SCULLY: I know this man.
DOCTOR: I don't care. This is a sterile operating room.
DR. CABRERA: Get these people out.
SCULLY: Look, I'm sorry. His name is Walter Skinner. We've been investigating his illness. What are you doing?
DR. CABRERA: If he's gonna live, he's gonna have to lose his arms.
SCULLY: No, that's not going to save him. It's his blood.
DR. CABRERA: Who the hell is this woman?
DR. PLANT: She's a doctor.
SCULLY: You're not going to solve anything until you get a scope into him. Nothing else is going to work. Look, if you want to save this man listen to what I'm saying.
(Later, SCULLY walks beside a barely conscious SKINNER as they wheel him down a corridor on a gurney.)
SCULLY: It's okay, sir. Lie back down. We're just moving you to another room.
SKINNER: (very weakly) Who did this to me?
SCULLY: That's what Mulder's trying to figure out right now. But we're going to take good care of you. I promise. We're going to do everything we can.
(SKINNER has flashbacks over the last few hours, getting hit, DR. ORGEL, etc.)
SKINNER: I don't know. I can't remember.
(FBI building. SCULLY with very wrong hair . Oh never mind. It's not SCULLY. SKINNER's ASSISTANT gets off the elevator and enters her office. She sees a man in SKINNER's office going through the desk frantically.
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: Sir? Is that you? (sees that it is MULDER) Agent Mulder!
MULDER: Hey, do you have the key to this drawer?
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: What are you doing?
MULDER: AD Skinner's in the hospital. Somebody poisoned him.
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: Poisoned him? Why?
MULDER: For doing his job.
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: I-I don't understand.
MULDER: I'm looking for anything that relates to a Senate Resolution: S.R. 819. If you want to save his life, you'll help me open this drawer.
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: I don't have the key.
MULDER: You have a letter opener? In your desk? Something?
(MULDER goes back out to her desk and finds a letter opener. Then he looks down at the mail on the desk and picks up a large envelope with an official looking Senate stamp on it.)
SKINNER'S ASSISTANT: Is he going to be all right?
(D.C. General Hospital. MULDER enters and finds SCULLY [in very flattering burgundy scrubs] in SKINNER's room. They speak together quietly and privately.)
MULDER: What's his condition?
SCULLY: He's stable, but it's not good, Mulder. He's got extreme vascular trauma and distension. His... his blood has become a weapon against his body.
MULDER: Well, can you fight it?
SCULLY: We don't know what it is. I mean, the best that we can do is keep lasering his arteries open. But it's only going to be a matter of time before we lose. I mean, it's-it's building walls in his vessels faster than we can tear them down, and... and we just don't have the technology to combat it.
MULDER: Maybe we do.
(He shows her the folder he took from SKINNER's office. It has SENATOR MATHESON's name on it.)
SCULLY: What is this?
MULDER: I found this with Skinner's morning mail. He was doing a security check on a Senate bill for violation of trade laws involving sensitive technology.
SCULLY: Yeah, but this is just a routine procedure, Mulder. The FBI does dozens of these a year.
MULDER: No. This bill was going to vote in the Senate. All it was waiting on was Skinner's review and an analysis by Dr. Kenneth Orgel.
SCULLY: You're saying that Dr. Orgel poisoned Skinner in order to cover up his analysis?
MULDER: No. Orgel didn't poison anybody. Orgel came to the FBI to tell Skinner what he knew-- that there was a gross violation of export laws involving new technology.
SCULLY: New technology.
(A cell phone begins ringing.)
MULDER: You know what that means?
SCULLY: Well, I think I might.
(The ringing continues. MULDER checks his pocket.)
MULDER: That's not me.
(A NURSE comes out of SKINNER's room with a ringing cell phone.)
NURSE: You want to get this? It was in his pants pocket.
MULDER: Thank you. (into phone) Hello.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) Might as well give up.
SCULLY: Who is it?
MULDER: It's a computer synth voice.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) You can't . stop it.
MULDER: Somebody that must know he's here.
ELECTRONIC VOICE: (on phone) Walter Skinner... your time...
(MULDER hands the phone to SCULLY and runs off. The BEARDED MAN is standing nearby with an amazing Palm Pilot-like electronic writing pad thing on which he is writing the words that MULDER and SCULLY are hearing on the phone. He sees MULDER and begins running.)
(MULDER chases the BEARDED MAN downstairs and into the parking deck.)
MULDER: Federal agent! Stop right there!
(MULDER enters the parking deck and pulls out his gun. He aims quickly at a sound, but it is just a blonde nurse. He waves her on and keeps looking between the cars. Suddenly, the BEARDED MAN starts his car and drives off. ICanCatchMovingCars!MULDER chases it, then runs to the stairs and follows the car to the exit where he finds the BEARDED MAN's car wrecked at the gate. Cool Movie theme music. The BEARDED MAN is gone. The gate attendant, a young Hispanic woman, is speaking rapidly in Spanish She is most upset at the broken gate.)
(SENATOR MATHESON is driving his car. His car phone rings.)
SENATOR MATHESON: (on phone) Yes.
BEARDED MAN: (on phone) The bill is in danger, Senator. A new threat has emerged.
SENATOR MATHESON: (on phone) You shouldn't have called me.
BEARDED MAN: (on phone) Blood will be on your hands.
SENATOR MATHESON: (on phone) I don't buy your hollow threats.
(The BEARDED MAN is at a pay phone. His voice seems somewhat familiar.)
BEARDED MAN: (on phone) Well, Dr. Orgel does. You can ask him.
SENATOR MATHESON: (on phone) What have you done with him?
BEARDED MAN: (on phone) I can tell you where to find him.
(FBI GARAGE TECHNICIAN comes over to MULDER.)
GARAGE TECHNICIAN: The car is leased, part of a fleet service that services the diplomatic counsel corps.
MULDER: What other forensic evidence were you able to lift?
GARAGE TECHNICIAN: Not much on the outside. It's not surprising considering the condition of the vehicle. Inside we found a couple hairs-- human-- from an expensive wig.
(Holds up an evidence bag with some blonde hairs.)
MULDER: (looking at the hairs) Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. What else?
GARAGE TECHNICIAN: Well, we scraped the tire treads, found something odd. It's full of polychlorinated biphenyls-- PCBs. Over 500 parts per million. Now that's the kind of levels you used to see in the 1970s. Right before the EPA got fangs. (hands MULDER a vial of tire scrapings)
MULDER: From where?
GARAGE TECHNICIAN: Well, the PCBs are saturated evenly in the clay, uh... Demo site, maybe, or, uh, an old power plant.
(SENATOR MATHESON, license plate S4578, enters a deserted warehouse at a power plant. A flock of pigeons startle him. He walks through the building and opens another door and finds a man, DR. ORGEL, lying strapped to a table.)
DR. ORGEL: Who's in here? Is someone there? Oh... Senator, please, let me go.
(DR. ORGEL has same symptoms as SKINNER, veins standing out all over his body. He is gasping in pain.)
DR. ORGEL: I need... water.
SENATOR MATHESON: (unstrapping DR. ORGEL) Who did this to you?
DR. ORGEL: Hurry... please. It's... killing me.
SENATOR MATHESON: They believe you have exposed them to the FBI-- to Walter Skinner.
DR. ORGEL: No. I told the FBI nothing. I told them nothing. Please, I promise not to expose anyone.
(The BEARDED man is sitting in the shadows with his computer pad. There is a half-shaded cone shaped display on the screen. The BEARDED MAN operates the pad so that the cone becomes completely shaded. As he does, DR. ORGEL begins yelling and groaning as the veins on his body swell and harden even more. SENATOR MATHESON backs away in horror. DR. ORGEL screams in pain.)
(D.C. General Hospital. SCULLY enters SKINNER's room. He is looking bad.)
SCULLY: Sir, there's something I'd like to try. It's a treatment called therapeutic plasmapheresis. It requires filtering all of the blood in your body. It's a radical procedure and there is a danger that your body might go into shock.
SKINNER: I'm in your hands. I think I owe you an apology, Scully. You and Mulder.
SKINNER: I've been lying here thinking. Your quest... it should have been mine.
SCULLY: What do you mean?
SKINNER: If I die now, I die in vain. I have nothing to show for myself. My life...
SCULLY: Sir, you know that's not true.
SKINNER: It is. I can see now that... I always played it safe. I wouldn't take sides. Wouldn't let you and Mulder... pull me in.
SCULLY: You've been our ally more times than I can say.
SKINNER: Not the kind of ally that I could have been.
(SCULLY gently clasps his wrist. SKINNER suddenly flashes back to seeing the BEARDED MAN in the hall of the FBI building, the gym, and at the hospital.)
SKINNER: I remember now.
SKINNER: I can't see his face, he has a beard.
SKINNER: He was at the gym. At the hospital. He killed that man. He was at the FBI when Orgel approached me.
SCULLY: He was following you?
SKINNER: The tape... he's on the surveillance tape.
(MULDER pulls up behind SENATOR MATHESON's car, a Honda, at the warehouse. He gets out of the car and goes inside also encountering the attack pigeons. MULDER finds SENATOR MATHESON standing next to the table where DR. ORGEL was strapped, but it is now empty.)
SENATOR MATHESON: You must be surprised to see me here. I'm sure I'm not the man you're looking for.
MULDER: Where is he? Where's Orgel?
SENATOR MATHESON: Orgel is dead.
MULDER: I don't believe you. You lied to me this morning; you're lying to me now.
SENATOR MATHESON: Drop this, Fox.
MULDER: Where is Orgel?! I need to know what he knows. A friend of mine is dying.
SENATOR MATHESON: I tell you, they killed him. What Orgel knows died with him.
MULDER: Tell me what you know, Senator. This is about S.R. 819 isn't it? What the hell did they put in Skinner?
SENATOR MATHESON: I'm sure you already have some idea, Fox.
MULDER: It's the same technology that S.R. 819 will export.
SENATOR MATHESON: Technology that the world believes is purely theoretical.
MULDER: Nanotechnology. Microscopic, atom-sized machines? Machines can be stopped.
SENATOR MATHESON: Your friend is already dead.
MULDER: I don't believe that.
SENATOR MATHESON: If you pursue this, Fox, they will kill you.
MULDER: Not before I expose you and your role in this.
(MULDER angrily begins walking away back to the door.)
SENATOR MATHESON: (desperate) My role? I am a victim here. Don't you understand that? I'm fighting for my life.
MULDER: I will stop this!
SENATOR MATHESON: (more desperate) It's too late, Fox. It's too late!
(Hospital. 9:32 PM. Same scene as end of teaser. SKINNER is looking even worse. His heart monitor is beeping steadily, then flatlines.)
ORDERLY: All right, he's coding on us. (gets ready to defibrillate) Clear. Dr. Cabrera, clear. Dr. Cabrera?
DR. CABRERA: Let him go.
ORDERLY: (looking up at the clock) Call time of death, 9:33.
(NURSE pulls the sheet over SKINNER's face. A few yards away, the BEARDED MAN is holding his computer pad which is displaying a fully shaded cone. He slides the shading completely away. Under the sheet, SKINNER suddenly gasps for breath. The ORDERLY and NURSES immediately run to him. SKINNER looks over and sees the BEARDED MAN. A cart passes between them and the BEARDED MAN vanishes.)
(MULDER and SCULLY are sitting in front of SKINNER's desk.)
SCULLY: Sir, I've spoken with your doctors and your prognosis is excellent. Whatever you are infected with appears to be dormant and your recovery is being hailed as miracle.
MULDER: The man who poisoned you was at the FBI that day. Scully was able to pull these off the security video tapes. (hands two pictures of the BEARDED MAN to SKINNER) Hopefully, it might jog your memory. Maybe you can identify this man.
SKINNER: (glancing briefly at the photos) No, I'm sorry.
MULDER: S.R. 819 was withdrawn by committee late last night. Without explanation.
SKINNER: Good. So this man failed then?
MULDER: If that was his true motive. If he wanted to poison you to prevent you from investigating S.R. 819, why call you to tell you that? This man worked for the government that was to receive this technology. He drove one of their cars and he killed one of his own to save you.
SKINNER: So you still think this is about you? About the X-Files?
MULDER: Yes. Yes, I do. And I have an idea who may be behind all this. But I'd need your authority to continue the investigation.
SKINNER: I have neither the authority nor the will to allow your continued inquiry into this matter. You'll perform your duties as directed by AD Kersh and only AD Kersh.
(MULDER and SCULLY stare at SKINNER in surprise.)
SKINNER: This matter's closed, Agents. Am I clear?
(MULDER and SCULLY look at each other.)
(FBI parking garage. SKINNER walks to his car. He uses a remote to unlock the car then gets in and sits for a moment. He speaks to a figure in the back seat.)
SKINNER: I've been expecting you to show up.
(The figure closes the lid on the computer pad.. It is the BEARDED MAN who is no longer bearded.)
NO LONGER BEARDED MAN: You know I can push the button any time.
SKINNER: What do you want from me? What's this about, Krycek.
(The NO LONGER BEARDED MAN who we now see is KRYCEK leans forward.)
KRYCEK: All in good time.
(KRYCEK gets out of the backseat leaving SKINNER alone.)