AUTHOR: Tabula Rasa
EMAIL: email@example.com Notice I'm no longer
begging for feedback. Okay, I lied. Please, please.
ARCHIVING: Free to a good home. A small note would
KEYWORDS: MSR, some H, I hope
RATING: PG-13 for language of all sorts. A girl has
to have some fun.
SPOILERS: Blink and you'll miss 'em for FTF. And you
should have some knowledge of the mytharc, at least to Season 5.
DISCLAIMER: I obviously made a mistake lending them to 1013,
and I apologize to everyone for that. I want them back now.
SUMMARY: Purposely investigating a throw-away case, Mulder
and Scully find more then they bargained for.
TIMELINE: (Don't you think this should become a new category?)
Season 7. Before 'Requiem.'
NOTE: Notice how mature I'm being with all these casefiles.
I'll snap out of it soon. As Mulder says, a skuamorph is something
made to look like something else.
Home address: http://members.tripod.com/tabulaxrasa/
Thank God it was Friday. Christine checked the
coffee; it was almost ready. She pulled the bag of chocolate-chocolate
chip cookies down from a high shelf ("out of sight, out of mind") and set
them on the coffee table in the living room. It was her after work
routine: coffee, cookies, and Oprah. She fiddled with the remote,
making sure the tape was rewound and ready to go. She listened to
the coffee percolating.
It was nice and quite at home, unlike the office.
She fingered the rubber buttons on the remote, listening. It was
"Brandi?" she called. Now that she thought about
it, the dog hadn't made a noise since she got home. Usually Brandi
whined and scratched at the back door as soon as she heard Christine.
The young woman walked to the back door, opening it
and leaning outside. Brandi didn't appear to be in the yard.
"Brandi!" she called again, and whistled. The back yard was fenced,
but the large dog could jump the fence, and had before. Christine
felt guilty once again, and decided she'd call tomorrow about getting a
larger fence. At least there wasn't much trouble for Brandi to get
into; the area was fairly rural, with the grass of Christine's yard turning
rapidly into forest beyond the fence.
Christine tried whistling and shouting again, but her
dog still didn't appear. Well, it wasn't too unusual. Christine
went back inside, leaving the door open a couple of feet. Brandi
could just let herself in when she got back.
Christine went back into the kitchen, and found the
coffee ready. She took her favorite mug from the dishwasher, and
poured french roast in. She added cream, and just a little bit of
The growling bark from behind her made her jump, hot
coffee sloshing around and nearly spilling on her hand. She hadn't
heard Brandi come in. Christine turned around and screamed, dropping
her mug, scattering coffee and chips of porcelain on the floor.
Brandi stared up at her with big, wet, hopeful eyes,
her tail wagging eagerly back-and-forth. In her mouth, she held a
"It was silly, really" Christine explained later.
"It's not like I was in danger or anything. I was just...it just...startled
me, I guess. I wasn't expecting to see...that."
Deputy Jenna Baugh, who had been taking her statement,
nodded sympathetically. The two women had gone to high school together,
and while they hadn't been friends exactly, they were always on good terms.
Deputy Bob Black, behind her, looked impatient.
"It was just the skull?" he interrupted.
The two women looked at him, annoyed. "Of course"
Christine said. "At least, that I've noticed."
Black turned away and grit his teeth in a manner suggesting
of course she wouldn't have noticed something important like that, women
never did. He left the kitchen and walked through the living room
to join the rest of the force on the back porch.
His partner, Deputy Roger Walker, and Sheriff John
Walker were in the back yard, trying to coax Brandi into showing them where
the skull came from.
Deputy Walker held the skull out to Brandi, wiggling
it back and forth in front of her nose. "Here, girl" he called in
a high, babying voice. "Come on girl, show us where you found this,
huh? Be a good doggy."
A good doggy? Black closed his eyes for a moment
in pain. God, this was awful. Bob Black had aspirations, aspirations
that included getting as far away from Bumfuck, Michigan as he could.
As soon as possible, before he ended up like this guy.
"Roger, if you just wave it at the animal, we aren't
gonna get anywhere." Sheriff Walker snatched the skull out of his deputy's
hand and held in front of the dog until Brandi took it in her mouth.
"See?" John Walker looked at his deputies. "That's how you do it."
Brandi lay down on the porch and began gnawing on the skull.
"Damnit!" Sheriff Walker shouted, and began tug-of-war
with the dog.
Black wandered off the porch and across the yard, hoping
the fence. "I'll let you know when I find something" he shouted over
"Damnit" Scully hissed, shoving stacks of files around
Mulder's desk, causing some of them to slide off the edge and spill their
contents all over the dirty floor.
"Scully?" Mulder walked in, bearing coffee. When
he saw her taking the office apart, he frowned and approached with caution.
"Scully, is-- what are you doing?"
"We need a case" she ground out, spinning around to
pull a stack of files off the top of a nearby file cabinet.
"We do?" Mulder still held the coffee cups, afraid
they'd get swept to the floor if he set them down.
"Um," he watched her work for a moment, fascinated.
"Why? If you don't mind me asking."
"Because my brother has unexpected shore leave and
is in town and my mother wants me to have dinner with them and I'm really
not in the mood this week." This was said, possibly, in one breath.
"Oh" he said. "You can't just say no?"
Scully heaved a huge, heavy sigh. "Guilt, Mulder,
guilt. Something you, of all people, should understand. She
knows I don't have a life." She shot him a look, anticipating his sulk.
"Well, as far as she knows. *I'm* perfectly happy."
"But if you were out of town on work..." he said.
"Exactly" Scully turned back to her stacks of files.
"But I want a throw away case. Something that won't result in another
stop on our tour of the nation's hospitals."
"I have one!" Mulder said. He left the coffee
cups on the desk to fend for themselves. To Scully's annoyance, he
plucked a folder out of the middle of a stack whose continued vertical
existence was in serious jeopardy. "Here," he waved it around, but
didn't let her take it. "The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They
found a body they think belongs to Bigfoot."
"We weren't going to investigate it, but you did ask"
he said, smug.
Scully snatched up one of the coffee cups and began
nursing it. She continued to regard him suspiciously.
"Come on," he coaxed. "It'll get us out of the
Scully's eyes widened and she put down the cup.
"Is it in the woods? Will there be hiking involved? I'm not
going into the woods with you again, Mulder. Nowhere near them."
Mulder looked hurt. "Why?"
She gaped at him. "Mulder! Where the hell
have you been?"
"Bigfoot or Bill" Mulder reminded her. Scully
scowled, and picked up the coffee.
There had been some slight, essentially harmless fudging
with Skinner, but now they were on their final descent into Detroit-Metro,
where they would catch a commuter flight to Marquette. Mulder nudged Scully
awake, amused as she lifted her head from his shoulder and blinked in momentary
"Late night?" he leered.
She gave him a cool look. "Nothing too exciting.
Except the blankets kept migrating to the other side of the bed."
Mulder looked insulted. "I don't steal blankets.
You, on the other hand, my dear Agent Scully, can be rather--"
He was saved from himself when the plane took a sharp
nose dive. Scully's face went white, and she grabbed her armrests--except
they had pushed up the armrest between them, and Scully's nails dug into
Mulder's thigh instead. He grit his teeth and waited for the plane
to level out, then waited a bit longer for Scully's grip to relax.
He wrapped his hand around hers to prevent further
blood-drawing, and squeezed it.
On the ground and off the plane, they ran through three
long terminals, most of them under construction, to make their connection.
Once on the small plane, Mulder realized right away he would have to distract
Scully. She disliked small, old planes even more then 737s.
"Do you want to hear about the case now?" Mulder asked
as she strapped herself in.
She looked at him and raised her eyebrow. "So
you're finally going to tell me about the case? Is this some sort
of distraction technique?"
He gave her an innocent look, which fooled her not
"Go ahead" she sat back, and waved her hand to indicate
she was all his.
He opened the folder to refresh his memory, and wrinkled
his nose as he perused the file. "Actually, there's not much to tell.
The county sheriff's office found some skeletonized remains in the woods
on the edge of town. They were so large and unusual, they thought,
"They were evidence of Bigfoot?"
"Yep." He flashed her a grin. "The sheriff's
sitting on the remains up there. Somehow, I guess he heard about
Scully snorted. The words "Jerry Springer" remained
"And he sent me the file, asked me to look into it.
Now contrary to popular opinion," he gave his partner a pointed look, "I
do not go off chasing Bigfoot. Yeti, maybe, but not Big Foot.
"Or the Florida Skunk Ape" Scully conceded.
Mulder looked delighted. "Scully! You really
*do* care!" He received the expected response, and picked up where he had
left off. "So, I don't just go running off whenever someone offers
the slightest evidence." Scully gave him a Look. "Of Bigfoot" he
amended, somewhat sheepish.
"Anymore" Scully finished.
Scully was clearly relieved when they touched down
and were able to escape their flying tin can. The stairs were narrow
and slippery from recent rain. They rented a car ("This is *Michigan*"
Mulder complained. "You'd think we could get something other then
a Taurus.") and drove to their hotel.
Mulder went to check them in while Scully used the
restroom. The hotel was actually rather nice, she noticed.
It looked like a hunting lodge, but almost tasteful. And it was old.
There were pictures on the wall that dated back over a hundred years.
As Scully walked towards the desk, she heard Mulder
talking to the desk clerk. And she did not at all like what she heard.
"Have you seen the ghosts?"
The desk clerk nodded eagerly and leaned forward.
Scowling, Scully interrupted.
"Mulder. What is this about?"
His guilty look confirmed her suspicions.
"Our hotel is haunted!" The desk clerk proclaimed.
"Mulder" she said in a low voice, reminding herself
to breathe, "we are not here to investigate a ghost, are we?"
"No!" he said quickly. "That's just sort of a
bonus." He gave her that damn I'm-too-adorable-to-be-mad-at look.
"Just for fun."
The stupid desk clerk was beaming and nodding, still
very enthusiastic. "Now," he said, "would you and your wife like
a room where occupants have reported seeing ghosts?"
"No" Scully said, at the same time Mulder said:
They turned to eye each other. "Well," said Scully
after a moment, "since we're actually partners--we need two rooms.
One can be...allegedly haunted--" she made a face, "--and the other can
be normal." Mulder pouted, and she stepped on his foot to remind him actual
sleeping arrangements could be arranged later.
They left their luggage in the haunted room, and drove
to the police station. It was small, with an empty reception desk.
They leaned over and looked around. They could hear a radio playing,
but no one was in sight.
"They should have a bell" Mulder muttered, leaning
over to try and look beneath the counter.
"Can I help you folks?"
Mulder jumped and almost fell over, but Scully grabbed
the back of his jacket and pulled him mostly upright. The man who
had spoken was a few inches taller then Mulder and gangly, with sandy hair
and pale skin. There was a smattering of freckles under his square-shaped
glasses. He was younger than both of them.
"Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, FBI" Mulder
flashed his badge. He never got tired of that.
"Oh!" the officer grinned and shook their hands.
"Deputy Roger Walker. It's great that you two made it up here for
"No problem" Scully said, remembering the message she'd
left on her mother's answering machine.
"I'll take you back to see the Sheriff. Come
He led them around the desk and through the back, into
the room playing the radio. "Sheriff? These people are the
A large, red-faced man turned off the radio, stood
up, and shook their hands. "Sheriff John Walker."
"Fox Mulder and Dana Scully" she said.
"Are you..." Mulder trailed off, indicating the Sheriff
and Deputy Walkers. They waited patiently for him to finish.
Mulder felt stupid. "Uh, are you two related?"
They stared at him in surprise for a moment before
bursting out laughing. "Well, I guess I can see how you'd think that.
But, no. There's always been two families of Walkers in this town.
I'm from one, and Roger here is from the other. We're not related
at all!" The two men continued laughing. Mulder smiled weakly,
and felt Scully gently touch his arm. It didn't help, since he knew
she was laughing at him, too.
"Do you have the remains here?" Scully asked, to divert
attention from her partner.
"Oh sure," the Sheriff said. "Downstairs, in
the storm cellar."
"I'll show you down" Deputy Walker said, taking a step
forward in eagerness.
The Sheriff laughed. "Roger here's the one who
suggested you, Agent Mulder. He's the one pushing this Bigfoot theory."
"Really" Mulder smiled and looked at Roger Walker in
a new light.
Scully rolled her eyes. This was just wonderful.
Mulder had a new friend.
Roger led them down narrow, unlit wooden stairs.
"You ever seen anything like this before?" he called back to the two agents.
"We haven't seen anything yet" Scully remarked.
"We've seen a lot of stuff" Mulder said. "But not Bigfoot,
"I'd love to hear about it" Roger said eagerly as he
flipped on the light at the base of the stairs. "Have you really
Mulder and Scully exchanged a glance. "We've
seen a lot" Scully said. "Where are the remains?"
"Over here." He pulled over a rolling table with a
sheet over it.
Scully pulled gloves out of her pocket and snapped
them on. She pulled back the sheet, revealing an articulated skeleton.
The bones were yellowed and still partially covered with dirt and bits
of plants. Scully noticed the ribs had been arranged in order from
smallest to largest, instead of small to large to small, giving the torso
an odd shape. She'd have to fix the order before she started on a
"What do you think?" Roger asked eagerly.
Scully pursed her lips. "There is definitely
some serious bone deformation. I'll have to take a more in-depth
look to determine what sort."
"Oh, here." Roger pulled a cardboard box off a shelf
and handed it to Scully. "We didn't know where these went."
"Well," Mulder shot a reassuring glance at Scully,
"Deputy Walker, why don't you take me to the person who found the remains.
I'd like to look around the area. I'll call you" he added to Scully.
"Sure" Roger said, eagerness unabated. "And call
me Roger, please, Agent Mulder." As they walked up the stairs, Roger called
back to Scully: "Oh, a dog chewed on the skull!"
Scully sighed, and stripped off her gloves before tying
her hair back.
(2/3) Headers in Part 1
The forest was thick, and the humidity torture as Mulder
wandered around the area the skeleton had been found in. This was
not a good idea, he thought, already sweating. And they'd only been
out of the car for five minutes.
Roger wiped his forehead on his sleeve. "The
bones were just laying there" he said, gesturing at the ground. "I
knew right away something was wrong with 'em."
"Who found them?" Mulder asked. A mosquito was
buzzing around his ear, and Mulder raised a hand to swat it away.
"Well, Deputy BB found the body, but Christine Hampton's
dog found it first, if you know what I mean."
Mulder nodded. Dogs were notoriously adept at
finding bodies, and even scattered the bones in a predictable pattern.
Now the mosquitos were buzzing all around his face.
They looked uncomfortably like a cross between mosquitos and craneflies.
The earth had been well-trampled during the recovery
of the body. Mulder decided there was nothing to learn at the scene
when one of the super-mosquitos landed on his hand and bit him. It
After smearing bug guts all over his hand, Mulder asked
to talk to Christine Hampton.
Christine was pretty, even with her oversized nose,
a condition Mulder had nothing but sympathy for. She greeted Roger
familiarly, but looked at Mulder a little wide-eyed.
"The FBI" she said. "Is this body really important
then? Would you like some coffee?"
Since they were back in strong air conditioning, Mulder
accepted the coffee.
"Your dog found the remains first, is that correct
"Christine, please. Yeah," she blushed a little
at the memory. "Brandi came in with a skull in her mouth. It
scared me, just a little, at first. I broke my favorite coffee cup"
she shook her head.
Mulder nodded in sympathy.
"Brandi's right out there." She nodded at the glass
door. A large golden retriever was running in the yard. "She's
supposed to stay in the yard, but she can jump the fence and go into the
forest. Especially when it's hot."
"Christine, you don't remember anything happening in
the woods that could have left that body there, do you? This would
have been a few months ago, probably. Any odd noises you remember?"
Christine thought hard for a few minutes, then pursed
her lips and looked him in the eye. "No, I'm sorry. If there
was anything, I probably forgot about it by now."
Mulder nodded and smiled again. "That's all right.
It's what I expected. Thank you for your time, and the coffee." He
stood up to leave, and Roger quickly scrambled to his feet.
"See you later Christine."
"Bye, Roger. Good bye, Agent Mulder. It
was nice to meet you!"
"Sheriff?" Deputy Bob Black poked his head around the
"Are those FBI agents here yet?"
"Been and gone. Well, the one's out with Roger,
and one's down in the basement with the body."
With Roger? Shit, this was a disaster.
The Feds were going to laugh their asses off at Roger and his Bigfoot theories.
"What's the name of the one in the basement?"
Walker thought for a minute. "Baseball something..."
"Announcer. Scully! Yeah, Agent Scully."
Black shook his head at the sheriff's system of remembering
think I'll go down and talk to him."
The sheriff looked at him a moment, then chuckled.
"You do that, BB."
Black grit his teeth at the hated nickname, then headed
"Yes?" she said, irritable.
"You're a--" he gasped.
"Woman" she snapped. "Yes, I am." It had been
a while since she had to deal with this, she realized.
The deputy stood at the bottom of the stairs.
"That wasn't what I was going to say" he said.
"Yes you were." She had correctly positioned the ribs,
and was just about finished with her examination.
"Jesus Christ, BB, who are you bothering now?" A women,
with long blonde hair tied up behind her, came down the stairs and pushed
past Deputy Black.
Scully stripped off a glove and shook hands with the
female deputy. "Jenna Baugh. And everyone's favorite misogynist
over there is Bob Black."
Scully smiled. "Dana Scully, FBI."
Black cleared his throat. "Did you find anything
interesting, Agent? Like Cause of Death?"
"Not officially." Scully said. "I couldn't find
any evidence of trauma. Since the body is completely skeletonized,
cause of death may be difficult to determine. I took a small sample
for analysis, but I'd like to forward the remains to experts at the Smithsonian.
I will say, however, that the remains are definitely human."
Jenna smiled, Black scowled. They heard someone
calling "Hello!" upstairs.
"Maybe Mulder's back" Scully muttered, and the three
of them went upstairs.
Mulder and Roger were back, and everyone assembled
in Sheriff Walker's office. Only the sheriff, Mulder, and Scully
were granted chairs.
"I didn't find anything" Mulder announced.
Scully repeated what she'd already told Black and Jenna.
"Not officially" Mulder repeated. "Then you do
have a theory?"
Scully nodded. "Hypervitaminosis A."
It was silent for a moment.
"What?" Sheriff Walker asked.
"Vitamin A poisoning" Scully clarified. "An over-ingestion
of vitamin A leads to the uncontrolled growth of repair bone--bone that's
weak, and is intended for temporary use, such as when your bones heal after
a fracture. But in hypervitaminosis A, repair bone grows unchecked,
"Like cancer?" Jenna asked.
"Something like that" Scully agreed, "but much faster.
Eventually, so much bone grows that there is no more room under the skin,
and soft tissue is crushed."
"The victim's bones squash them to death?" Mulder clarified.
Everyone else in the room looked slightly green.
"That sounds like it hurts" Roger said.
"It is an extremely painful way to die" Scully agreed.
"It must be rare, though" Mulder said, looking at her.
Scully nodded. "It sometimes occurs in infants,
but almost never in adults."
"What about an id?" the Sheriff asked after a moment.
"I'm not an expert, and I didn't have access to the
charts that would allow me to determine age, and I only have a rough estimate
for stature. That's why I would like to send the remains to the Smithsonian."
"What about the sex?" the sheriff continued.
"That I could determine. Male."
The Sheriff frowned. "Are you sure it wasn't
Scully raised her eyebrow. "*Very* sure."
"'Cause we don't have any missing men."
Scully swallowed a sigh. "I assure you, it is
very clear that this was a man. I can show you the pelvis if you'd
like, the angle of the pubic arch is very..."
He paled. "No, no ma'am. I'll take your
word for it. I'm sure you're right."
Mulder couldn't resist a smirk.
The heat outside was still drugging, the air almost
tangible. Mulder and Scully decided to just go back to their hotel
and eat at the dining room there.
"Hostile natives?" Mulder asked when they were ensconced
in the car.
Scully shrugged. "Not really. Deputy Black's
annoying, but not in any way I'm not familiar with."
"Familiar how?" Mulder growled.
Scully smiled. "Sexist, Mulder. There's
no need to engage in aggressive displays of male behavior."
He scowled, but it changed to a smile when he saw her
smiling. He was completely helpless against her smile.
They ate lethargically because of the heat and went
back to Mulder's room.
Scully made some rather enticing groans as she kicked
off her shoes, but Mulder's attention was fixed on their luggage.
"Scully, didn't we leave our stuff near the bed?" Their
bags were now piled against the opposite wall.
"Are you sure they were by the bed?"
"Mulder, no. There is not a ghost."
"*No*. Mulder, even if there was a ghost, why
would it waste its time moving our luggage around? That's not very
attention-attracting. Only you would have noticed it. Maybe
housekeeping moved them. I'm taking a shower."
Mulder frowned and stared at their suitcases.
"We've sent the body off like you requested, Agent
Scully." Sheriff Walker said when they returned to his office the next
morning. "I guess you two are done then? I feel bad about dragging
you all the way up here just for that."
"Actually, Sheriff," Mulder said. Scully resisted
rolling her eyes. "What was that you mentioned about a missing woman
yesterday? Why did you think the body might be hers?"
Walker leaned back in his chair. "Well--frankly,
cause she's the only person we've had go missing from this community in
a long time. This is a small town, and once in a while we get a hunting
accident, but that's about it. When Rosalee Gunderson went missing,
it was quite a shock. She wasn't the type to run away. Two
kids she adored. Her husband wasn't around much-- he was a traveling
salesman. Plus, the time frame's right for the state of decomposition
in this part of the world."
They looked at him in surprise. He smiled and
gave one nod of acknowledgement.
"Could you give us the Gunderson's address?" Mulder
asked. "I'd like to talk to them."
"Mulder, what are you doing?" Scully asked as they
got back in the car.
"I think you know, Scully."
"You're playing a hunch. But Mulder, that was
a man's body."
"I know. But I still have a hunch. Besides,
isn't Big Brother still in town?"
Scully sighed and looked out the window. "Yes.
And I guess it isn't any more humid here than DC."
David Gunderson was no longer a traveling salesman.
His wife was gone and probably wasn't coming back, and he had two children
to raise alone. "So the FBI's finally here" he said in bitter tones.
"Did you request FBI involvement?" Scully asked, surprised.
"Yes, when the Sheriff didn't turn anything up.
No one came. They said there wasn't any evidence of wrongdoing" he
"But you don't believe your wife left of her own free
will?" Mulder asked.
David shot him a glare backed more by pain then anger.
"She would never leave. At least not the kids, my god..."
Mulder and Scully politely looked away for a few moments.
Scully noticed a boy and girl peering at them through the doorway.
"Hi" she smiled. "Who are you?"
The kids shuffled into the room. "I'm Peter.
This is Angel" he gestured at his younger sister.
"How old are you?"
"11" said Peter.
"7 and a half" Angel whispered.
They sat on the couch on either side of their father.
"This is Agent Mulder and Agent Scully with the FBI" David told them.
"Was there anything unusual about your wife's behavior
prior to her disappearance?" Mulder asked.
"No" David Gunderson said. "She was involved
in a government study for about six months before, though. She wasn't
allowed to talk about what was going on."
Mulder and Scully exchanged a glance. "Do you
blame the government for your wife's disappearance?" Mulder asked.
"She was sick" Peter said suddenly.
"What?" Scully asked.
"Sick how?" Mulder asked gently.
David was looking at his son in surprise. Peter
glanced around the room for a moment, gathering courage. "She was
tired all the time. She slept a lot. She got really weak.
She couldn't open cans and stuff."
"I didn't know that" David looked at the agents, bewildered.
"What can you tell us about these tests?" Mulder asked.
"Not much" David sighed. "She wasn't supposed
to talk about it, and she didn't. I know that it was called Project
S-- something. Skewamorph, Skimorph, something like that."
"Mommy didn't like it" Angel whispered.
"What was that?" Scully leaned forward.
"She wanted to stop but couldn't" Peter said.
"Are you sure?" Scully asked gently.
"I'm sure." He offered Scully a brave smile she
couldn't resist returning.
"I didn't know any of this" David shook his head, pale.
Mulder and Scully exchanged another look.
"Do you know where she would go?" Mulder asked.
"I can give you directions."
Scully got the directions while Mulder called the Gunmen.
"Where you have made off to with Agent Scully this
time?" Frohike asked.
"Michigan. As if you didn't know."
Frohike snorted. "That's romantic."
"We have better things to do then monitor your credit
card, man." Langely added.
"Shut up. Both of you," Mulder sighed.
"We're in the Upper Peninsula on a Big Foot thing..."
"Bigfoot?" Byers said. "Scully went for that?"
"It's a long story" Mulder said. "But we have
something we want you to check out for us."
"Bigfoot related?" Frohike asked.
"No" Mulder said. "Government testing related.
Project Skuamorph. Call us when you get something."
They drove along a winding occasionally graded road
through the bright green forest, over many small hills. They were
disoriented when they finally reached cleared land that looked like it
had once been a farm. A modern three story building stood in the
middle of a field, displaced.
It was obviously deserted, all the windows locked,
weeds in the parking lot. The agents drove up anyway, and walked
up to the dark and locked doors. They cupped their hands against
the glass, but nothing inside revealed itself.
Mulder looked up at the sky. "How long until
it gets dark?"
Scully opened her mouth to object, but sighed, resigned.
Scully didn't have the energy to make a rational appeal.
And when she thought about it, she didn't even want to. The government
had been experimenting on that woman. It had made her sick.
And they'd gotten away with it, again.
They entered their icy hotel room with relief.
"It is too damn hot" Scully said. "Everywhere."
Mulder nodded and sprawled all over the bed.
Scully struggled out of her jacket and threw the hated
thing into a corner of the room. She sighed. "I need a massage."
Mulder sat up. "My kind of massage or your kind
Scully bit back a smile and tried to look stern.
"*My* kind of massage, Mulder." But she wouldn't be at all surprised if
he got his way. He usually did.
The Gunmen called them back just as they were leaving.
"How are we supposed to call you when your phone's
turned off?" Frohike complained.
"Was it?" Mulder feigned innocence. "I had no
Frohike grumbled something about a "lying bastard"
but continued. "We didn't have much luck. This project is way
black ops. We couldn't find anything about it officially."
"Really?" Mulder said.
"Not with the time you've given us" Langley snorted.
"But we went asking around for you on the internet in some places we know."
"And what did they have to say?"
"Speculation says," Byers took over, "that it's an
attempt by the military to alter appearance--even gender."
"Alter gender?" Mulder exclaimed. Scully looked
impatient for an explanation. "Who says that?"
"We can't reveal our sources" Langley said.
Mulder sighed. "Okay. That may actually
make sense. What happened to the project?"
"It looks like they closed it down earlier this year"
"Government spending cuts" Frohike said.
"Thanks guys" Mulder muttered, and hung up. He
related to Scully most of the conversation as they walked to the car.
"So you think that body *was* Rosalee Gunderson, altered
in a military experiment into a male?"
Scully shook her head and opened her mouth to speak.
"I know it's impossible," Mulder said. "But think
about it, Scully. Skuamorph-- something made to look like something
else. Let's just wait and see what we find."
"So, assuming this is true-- assuming it's even possible--"
Mulder nodded impatiently, "what happened to Rosalee Gunderson? Did
she die as a result of the experiments, and they dumped her body?"
"How would you get an overdose of Vitamin A, Scully?"
"I admit that was bothering me. I looked it up--
you can get an overdose from eating a carnivore's liver, and that will
kill you. Inuit never eat a polar bear's liver because of hypervitaminosis."
Mulder made a face. "Yet another reason to avoid
liver and onions."
"But it doesn't seem likely Rosalee Gunderson ate a
polar bear liver. Of course, there's no evidence, since her stomach
contents have completely decayed."
Mulder made another face. "What if they injected
her with it? Just gave her a shot of pure vitamin A?"
"A lot of it?"
That was good enough for Mulder.
(3/3) Headers in Part 1
They parked around the bend from the facility, and
walked the rest of the way. Mosquitos were out in full force, and
they spent the entire time constantly swatting at the air around their
"Maybe they've moved from bees to mosquitos" Mulder
muttered. "They're full of Vitamin A. I guess we'll find out.
Ow! They hurt."
Scully was amused by his running commentary, but kept
her mouth shut. She didn't need any more protein today.
They checked all around the dark building, and found
a back door that looked like an emergency fire exit, also locked.
They made their way back to the front. Mulder used his favorite toy
to picked the lock.
Inside, the building smelled of dust and mold.
Disuse. The floor was tiled, making it difficult to move without
noise, but the building was obviously abandoned. There were black
marks on the floor where a desk had once been.
After a search of the ground floor, they unholstered
their weapons and split up; Scully taking the second floor, Mulder taking
They shuffled through dark corridors lined by empty
rooms. Scully had the feeling someone was watching her. She
kept telling herself it was all in her head; this building was deserted.
The dust lay thick and undisturbed on the floor and windows, diffusing
the moonlight into watery trickles, when the windows weren't boarded over.
But the longer she thought about it, the more the feeling built up on the
back of her neck. She heard the building creak behind her, but the
hallway was empty when she spun around, pointing her flashlight and gun,
She was very relieved when the fifteen minutes were
up and she met Mulder in the stairwell.
"I might have something" Mulder said. He brought
her to a large room that looked like it had been a lab. Black-topped
counters clung to the walls. At the far end was a room with a thick
door. It was a small chamber, with stainless steel walls, floor,
"Odd" Scully said.
It looked like there had been some sort of control
panel outside the chamber. That section of counter was ripped away,
leaving a massive tangle of cords.
"Very odd" Mulder said.
"What do you think they were doing in here?" Scully
asked, looking around the large room.
"Taking transvestites a step beyond" Mulder muttered.
"Come on" Scully said. "There was a cabinet I
wanted to break into on the first floor."
"Scully" he murmured as he followed her. "I'm
shocked. Your morals have really gone downhill."
"You must be rubbing off on me."
"I love it when you talk dirty."
The cabinet Scully wanted in to was large and gray
metal. The lock was cheap, and they had it open in no time.
"Scully, I'm impressed." There were blue prints inside.
Unrolling them, they found wiring plans for the third floor. "I'm
no architect" Mulder said, "but this looks like a hell of a lot of electricity
going in that room."
Scully nodded, still studying the plans.
"What would they be doing with that?" he asked.
"Mulder, there's a lot we don't know about how the
body works. But osteoblasts and osteoclasts seem to be controlled
by electrical impulses in the body."
"So they were running all this electricity up there
and using it to change a person's electrical fields? Change the way
the cells were rebuilding bones?"
"I don't know Mulder..."
"Shh" Mulder said suddenly. They stood silent,
listening. After a moment, Scully heard it, and she felt Antarctic
cold rushing through her veins. Somewhere in the air above them,
a helicopter was beating.
"We should get out of here" Mulder whispered.
They took the schematics with them, but closed the cabinet.
"We need to go out the back" Scully tugged on his arm.
"No" he hissed. "There's nothing but fields there.
We should head for the woods."
But now the helicopter was loud and clear. As
they approached the front, they saw it shining its blinding searchlight
around the front door.
"Shit" Mulder said, and they scrambled for the back.
They slipped out the fire door, relieved the warning
system had been disconnected. The night was warm but Scully still
felt very cold. The air was so close the sounds of the copter were
Mulder grabbed her hand and pulled them against the
building, the blueprints held close to his body in his other hand.
Clinging to the shadow of the building, they crept along the wall towards
The helicopter was now moving over the building, and
they pressed against the wall, holding their breath. They continued
inching forward when the spotlight was on the other side of the building.
They finally reached the front, and had the building
between them and the copter.
Mulder waited until it looked like the helicopter was
involved in searching the field. He jerked Scully hard, and they
started to run. They plunged across the short stretch of parking
lot and field, diving into the woods, tripping over fallen branches and
They didn't head for the car-- they would be too easy
to spot. Mulder pulled them behind a large bush. They crouched
down, and after a moment, Mulder wrapped his arms around Scully and pulled
her against him. She was shaking.
They collapsed on the ground, breathing hard.
"Amateurs" Mulder whispered, his breath hot on her
ear. "Those aren't our usual companions."
Scully nodded agreement. They settled down to
wait. Scully noticed how bright and how many the stars were.
It was an hour before they were both satisfied the
helicopter was gone, and almost another hour before they felt it was safe
They spent an interminable time finding their way through
the forest. "At least there's no chance we're going to freeze to
death" Mulder remarked. "We might get eaten alive, but we're not
going to freeze" he said, swatting at yet another damn mosquito.
They found their car. It looked like it had been
searched, but it still ran. Mulder handed Scully the blueprints and
she tried not to crumple them in her nervous hands.
Scully kept checking the skies and the road behind
them. She kept telling herself it was just nerves, They had all left,
no one was behind them, but she didn't feel safe until they were back at
Scully awoke at 2:35, her throat and mouth dry.
She uncurled herself from Mulder, then rose to check on the blueprints,
still rolled up in Mulder's suitcase, before going to the bathroom to get
Strange. No water was coming out of the faucet.
Scully went back into the room and looked for her robe. As she pulled
it on, she noticed the jacket she had thrown into a corner earlier now
hung on the chair back, and frowned. She didn't remember doing that.
Mulder must have. Maybe she was wearing off on him, too.
Scully took both room keys and stepped into the hallway,
intending to try the sink in her room. The hallway was freezing.
The air conditioning must be broken, too. She shivered and pulled
the robe tightly around her, but it was a thin travelling robe, and didn't
help much. She was about to unlock her room when she happened to
look down the hall to her left.
A little girl, about nine, stood at the end of the
hallway, looking at Scully with a solemn expression. She was wearing
a frilly white nightgown. Scully frowned, and straightened up.
It was very late for her to be up and wandering around the hotel by herself.
Maybe she was sleep walking. Wouldn't her parents worry about her?
Scully started down the hallway, but the girl turned the corner and disappeared.
Scully hurried after her, but by the time she reached the juncture, the
girl was out of sight.
She shivered again. The girl hadn't looked asleep--maybe
she was playing and didn't expect anyone to be up. She didn't want
to get in trouble so she'd gone back.
Not fully satisfied, Scully returned to her room.
She must have adjusted to the temperature in the hall by now, since it
didn't seem that cold. She went into her room and got her drink of
water. She went back to Mulder's room, and, on a hunch, tried the
faucet in the bathroom again. Somehow, she wasn't surprised when
She went to talk to the enthusiastic desk clerk the
next morning. "How many other people are staying here?" she asked.
"No one" he said. "It's off season for us.
You're the only guests this week."
Scully knew he could see her surprise. "Does
a little girl live here?" she asked.
The clerk grinned. "In a manner of speaking.
Did you see her last night? What did she look like?"
Scully described her, with a sinking feeling.
The clerk's head was bobbing up and down. "That's
her, all right." He suddenly brought out a Polaroid camera and took her
"What the hell?" Scully said, blinded by the flash.
Mulder showed up with coffee, frowning. "What's
going on? Scully?"
"I had to take your partner's picture" he grinned.
"For the Wall of Fame."
They watched as he tacked Scully's still-developing
picture to a bulletin board behind the counter.
"What for?" Mulder asked, bewildered.
"She saw the ghost!" he cried gleefully.
"Scully!" Mulder looked genuinely hurt. "Why
didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't know--she wasn't a ghost!" Scully insisted.
Mulder and the clerk exchanged sympathetic looks.
"She does this all the time" Mulder said. "When did you see her?"
he asked Scully.
Mulder looked confused again. "Where?"
"In the hallway. I woke up thirsty so I went
to get a drink. But the faucet wasn't working."
The clerk nodded sagely. "You were in the haunted
room, right? That happens in that room."
"You didn't wake me up?" Mulder whined.
"I didn't know it was haunting-related" Scully snapped.
"So I went to go into--er, the other room--"
The clerk's smiled turned smug, which pissed Scully
"I saw her at the end of the hall. I thought
it was odd she would be wandering around that late by herself."
"What time was it?" The clerk duly noted it in a book.
"And then what happened?"
"When I got down to the end of the hall, she was gone."
"Did you notice anything else? Cold, maybe?"
Scully sighed and nodded. "It was freezing in
the hallway at first. But then I got used to it, I guess."
"Or the cold sensation went away" Mulder said.
Scully scowled at him.
"I got a drink of water, then went back in the other
room. On a whim"-- she refused to say hunch-- "I checked the faucet,
and it was working again."
The clerk noted this all down in a book, which Mulder
looked extremely interested in.
"I can't believe you got to see the ghost" Mulder sighed.
"I was under a lot of stress last night!" Annoyed,
Scully marched out to the car.
Scully was still annoyed when they arrived at the Sheriff's
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully," Deputy Black was waiting
for them. "Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Yes" Scully said, brusque and professional as usual.
"I want a DNA test ordered on that bone sample."
He went off to call it in, and Mulder and Scully went
in to see the Sheriff.
"I heard you went to see the Gundersons yesterday"
"What are you thinking now, if you don't mind me asking?"
Mulder and Scully exchanged a glance. "There
may be top secret information involved" Scully said. "Beyond our
The Sheriff raised his eyebrows. "Here?"
The agents nodded. "I've ordered a DNA test"
"But we have reason to believe that body may be Rosalee
Gunderson" Mulder said.
"What?" Walker said. He looked at Scully.
"I though you said that body was male."
Scully took a deep breath. "It may be both."
Sheriff Walker's face went dark. "Now, see here,
I've known Rosalee Gunderson for years, and I know--"
The agents winced. Mulder held up his hands in
a placating gesture. "That's not what we meant, really."
The three deputies suddenly appeared in the doorway,
all trying to get in at once.
"Agent Scully" Jenna called.
"It's gone!" Roger shouted.
"What the hell!" shouted Walker. "Now calm down.
You're worse then kids on halloween. What'n hell are you talking
Black sighed. "The bone sample the agents took
yesterday is gone, sir. I just called the lab and they can't find
it. They say it never got there."
"Where the hell did you send it, BB?" Walker asked.
Black flushed. "I sent it to the lab!" His voice
was raising. "I double checked the goddamn address, sir. It
went to the lab. They've fucked it up on their end. Pardon my language,
Scully and Jenna caught each other's glance before
their eyes rolled.
"I'll call them" Walker muttered. "Tell them
to look harder."
Mulder and Scully looked at each other, confirming
what they both believed. That sample was not going to be found.
Scully excused herself to call the Smithsonian.
Then she called Quantico. Then she called the airlines. "They've
lost the rest of the body" she announced when she came back in. "No
one has it, and the air lines have no record of ever accepting such a package
Mulder and Scully exchanged disappointed, but not surprised,
Sheriff Walker put down the phone. "Would one
of you Fibbies please explain what the hell is going on here?"
Mulder offered his sardonic smile. "Believe it
or not, the government doesn't like us very much."
They explained about the military facility and the
testing that had gone on there. "When they lost their funding and
closed down, they had to get rid of the evidence" Mulder said. "They
injected Rosalee Gunderson with Vitamin A, to disguise any unusual characteristics
in her bones. They probably did it at the facility, then dumped her
body in the woods."
The Sheriff and his deputies were shocked silent. "Those
poor kids" Roger whispered, shaking his head.
Black gave him an annoyed look. "This doesn't
make any sense" he said. "Why would the military do this?"
"To create a better spy?" Scully suggested. "Witness
Protection Program?" Her voice was sharp and bitter.
Mulder shrugged. "Because they can?"
They left the Sheriff's office, after Jenna and Roger
had promised to contact David Gunderson.
Mulder and Scully went back to their hotel to pack.
They had a flight out that afternoon, then a redeye from Detroit.
Bill was due back on his ship that day.
"I still can't believe I didn't see a ghost" Mulder
"Look on the bright side" Scully said dryly.
"We broke into a military instillation and got chased off by black helicopters.
We lost all the evidence. That's usually a successful case, right?"
He gave her one of her Looks. "Well, we didn't
get caught" he admitted. "So Skinner can't complain about having
to bail us out of jail again. And we didn't loose *all* the evidence,
Scully. We still have the blueprints."
"My God," she remarked as they lugged their cases to
the car. "I think I hear Hell freezing over."
Mulder grinned. "Come on, Scully. At least
we didn't end up in the hospital."
More Author's Notes: Okay, I could have easily thrown in
smut, but didn't feel like it. Really, I can't, 'cause my mom has
my website bookmarked. Thanks for reading.