An X-Files / Ocean Girl crossover story by Bruce Carter - with help from Lia Dawn.
OK - about the title. I could have called it "X-Girl", but everybody would think I was writing an X-rated story. I would not do that to the wonderful series Ocean Girl, or Marzena Godeki - who seems to be a nice person.
Mulder was waiting anxiously. This was one of the few times he ever had reason to be annoyed at Scully. Skinner was all business today and had called both of them promptly for a meeting at 8:00 AM. Scully was nowhere to be found - uncharacteristically late. Usually it was Mulder who was late to work. But not since he narrowly avoided disciplinary action for attacking Skinner in the hallway. The investigation had cleared him of responsibility when they determined that he was, indeed, being drugged through his water supply. But Mulder knew that Skinner was just barely tolerating his presence, any understanding they once had was gone. And so he had been playing "professional". To work on time, leave on time. His office was newly cleaned and almost looked organized. Not one sunflower seed shell in sight. Well, maybe one or two. Now this - Scully was making the two of them look bad. Skinner's calls every 5 minutes to see if Scully had arrived did not help. Mulder could almost taste cigarette smoke over the line as well ----
Scully suddenly burst in - looking like she hadn't had too much sleep the night before. Mulder - never able to stay mad at her when she was there in person - just said "hot date last night?" Scully's cheeks turned just about as red as her hair, but only for a moment. She just said "I forgot to turn on the alarm". "Skinner is waiting for us - impatiently" "Damn - why this morning?" she asked. "Something about a new assignment".
"Agent Scully, thank you for finally gracing us with your presence." "Sorry, sir, it won't happen again." "Agents Mulder and Scully, you have been re-assigned to detached duty for the Australian government. They have need of agents with your special - talents." From the back of the room - a shadowy figure was smoking a cigarette. "During this assignment, you will represent the United States government and this agency with the highest professional standards. Do I make my meaning clear?" Mulder nodded his head submissively. "My secretary has your travel arrangements. That will be ALL - agent Mulder, will you remain a minute?" Mulder could sense it coming - Skinner was not hard to figure out. Here was the lecture about not running off on tangents about UFOS and mutants and playing it straight. To his surprise - especially with cancer man in the background - all Skinner did is say one word: "Contact!" Then "You may leave".
Scully had already left to go home and pack a few essentials. Mulder had a bag already packed in his office - years of experience following UFO leads had told him to be prepared at moment's notice. He was mildly annoyed that Scully hadn't learned to be similarly prepared, but he knew she was a woman - who needed to pack right before leaving. She was well worth the bother of the wait.
Mulder's heart was starting to race - his mind filled with questions. Skinner would normally never give the slightest indication of going along with his UFO notions. Especially with cancer man present. Did this mean that Skinner had totally forgiven the incident in the hall? Did it mean that cancer man was on HIS side after all? It didn't seen likely - after cancer man had given an order which very well could have incinerated him. The chilling word: "contact" had only been given to him once before - by his friend on capital hill. Did that mean that Skinner, or cancer man, or both had discovered (and maybe eliminated) his friend in high places, maybe Mr. X as well? All of these questions paled in significance compared to the idea that he might actually be going to an assignment where he would make contact.
He arrived at his office, retrieved his bag, and headed to the airport to wait for Scully. There was NOT a lot of time ----
Mulder and Scully arrived by helicopter at the Oceanic Research Centre Australia, or ORCA for short. They had been given a short preliminary briefing when they reached Australia - something about two scientists and some VERY unusual trasmissions. They had been told the commander of ORCA would complete their briefing. They were very tired, having endured a long plane ride, followed by small, bumpy plane rides and VERY bumpy jeep ride to the heliport. The fatigue was making them more than usually irritable.
Vanessa was the first to see the strange visitors from America, as their helicopter landed on the pad. She had never been very popular with the other kids at ORCA, she knew she wasn't terribly pretty. Her attitude had made her really unpopular until she decided she would fit in. She had recently started a real relationship with Mick, Commander's Byrne's son, who was supposed to meet her on deck to go jet-skiing. Mick was a similar outcast, and the best guy who had ever paid attention to her. But now - her day was ruined because the commander had cancelled his day off - she needed Mick to meet some VIP's from America and show them around ORCA. He did not like the idea, either, but he did not dare cross his mother.
"They look like fun" Vanessa said sarcastically to herself. The man was tall and attractive, but VERY straight, with ugly short hair. Not her type. The woman was a redhead, which was in her favor, but beautiful, which just made Vanessa jealous.
Mulder and Scully, to their surprise and annoyance, were met by a sullen faced teenage boy, about 17 or 18. "I am special agent Mulder, this is special agent Scully - on loan from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. We were expecting Commander - Byrne?" "Yeah, well she couldn't make it. We are having drills today. I'm her son, Mick. I'm supposed to show you to your quarters."
Mulder and Scully could sense the open hostility in his voice, they looked at each other in disbelief that they were being met by this teenager. He immediately saw the look, and it added to his own bad attitude. "Look, I haven't got all day, you made me miss an important date!" Mulder - unphased - said "if commander Byrne is busy, could you take us to see Dr. Bates and Dr. Seth on the way to our quarters?" Mick was more than willing to ditch them there - it was close to Vanessa's quarters! "Sure! He said. But he knew something was up if they wanted to see Jason and Bret's mother.
"Dr. Bates, Dr. Seth? These people are from the US - the FBI - they asked to meet you." Mick did the introduction clumsily. "Fox Mulder, this is my partner Dana Scully" Mulder said to complete the introduction. Dr. Diane Bates was a pleasant looking woman, quite attractive for her age, which he judged to be mid to late 30's. Dr. Winston Seth was obviously from India - with his very distinct pronuciation. Mick had already slipped out of the room ---- The initial pleasantries soon turned to tension that Mulder and Scully could easily sense.
"Just why are you here?" Diane asked - as politely as she could. "We were requested by commander Byrne" Scully answered. "She is concerned that some jamming signals are hindering your work of charting the sea floor, and wanted some experts to determine the origin of the jamming and hopefully eliminate it." Oh great - just what we need - FBI agents nosing around thought Diane. How typical of commander Byrne - thinking only about the sea floor mapping and not her whale dictionary. Worse yet - any serious investigation would reveal her connection to Neri ----. Still, if she acted like they didn't want the help, it would look even more suspicous. Dr. Seth tried to salvage the situation. "Actually, we are recording a dictionary of whale vocalizations. We tagged one whale we call Charlie with an audio transducer, and were making a lot of progress. Then one day, quite mysteriously, we began to receive noise along with the signal." Diane took up his lead "Commander Byrne can get a little - excitable - when her ocean survey is delayed. I am sorry you were dragged all the way from America to investigate - static." Mulder was sensing a cover-up already, and NOT buying it. "Could I see some of your data?" A reluctant Dr. Seth loaded the CD ROM with the data. Mulder said "this is no static - it is a regular pattern that repeats. Has this pattern continued?" Dr. Seth was absolutely panicing, but had to hide it. This was their worst nightmare - a trail of evidence leading straight to Neri and her island. But he decided to play along. "Yes, it has continued. I suspect some design flaw in our sensor causing it to oscillate." Mulder said half to him, half to Scully "I have seen this same pattern before. It is a transmission - a homing beacon of some kind." Scully knew that Mulder was probably drawing from his personal file of UFO encounter knowlege. An announcement came over a video link - Commander Byrne was ready to see them - NOW! Diane was so relived she offered to guide them to the commander's quarters.
Mick found Vanessa, and they quickly found Froggy, Jason, Bret, and the other kids on ORCA who knew about Neri. "These people are bad news" Jason said. "But what can we do about it?" Vanessa asked. Mick said "Let's get Froggy - he can get HELEN to do anything." Froggy was a computer whiz. He knew more about HELEN - the ORCA central computer - than the engineers that designed it. He had free reign of the system, within limits, because the commander knew he had repaired "her" when all the experts had given up. The commander had given him a very high access code, but not quite high enough to allow him to eavesdrop on the private conversation in her office with the strangers. No problem - he had the connection through anyway in seconds. All the kids gathered around the monitor as the picture and sound came on.
"------ Mulder, on loan from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington D.C. This is my partner, Dana Scully". "Thank you for coming - we have a situation here ---- how can I put this ---- that requires special - investigation. I requested that my government find the foremost experts in -- the field -- and bring them here." Mulder knew he was facing another non-believer. He had heard the stammering before - and knew that she was ashamed to admit she needed help from a UFO investigator. Mulder knew just how to rescue her: "My department at the FBI involves the investigation of the unusual. You can speak freely without fear of being ridiculed. Everything said in this room goes no furthur than this room." The kids all snickered. "Thank you, Mr. Mulder - I appreciate your frankness. Now I will be frank. Some weeks ago, one of our researchers began receiving unusual signals. They were jamming our instruments that map the ocean floor. This ocean floor survey is vital to our government, and is behind schedule. I don't care what the source of jamming is. Experts in our government think it might be - extraterrestrial. Whatever it is, I want the two of you to shut it down!"
The kids gathered in the computer room were gasping - these Americans, were their worst nightmare: FBI agents, and worse than that, official UFO investigators! They knew beyond a doubt that if Mulder and Scully stayed long enough, they would discover Neri's secret, and she would be hauled off to some laboratory to be poked, prodded, reasearched, and probably dissected some day. They vowed to stop Mulder and Scully any way they could! The continued to listen in ---- as the commander turned to more routine matters, such as where their quarters were, when and how to get meals, showers, etc. The kids listened to every word, finding ways to make their stay VERY unpleasant.
As Mulder walked in the hallway, he noticed the teenage children of the scientists were looking at him and Scully strangely. A hushed whisper here - a quick glance away there. Perhaps it was their strangeness - new to ORCA - maybe it was a generation gap, maybe they just didn't like Americans. His eyes suddenly made contact with a very beautiful teenage girl - whose expression and eyes were markedly different. Mulder wasn't really into liking teenage girls, but this one was almost immediately likeable, by the contrast with the hostility of the others. But there was something much more - her eyes penetrated him right to the core, like she was able to see right into his mind and his heart. He sensed intelligence, and something else, almost other worldly.
Mulder had received a password that gave him access to HELEN, but it was Scully who was good with computers, not him. But he was beginning to doubt her skill now! "I am sorry, agent Scully - your do not have a room reservation. I was only informed two American agents were to stay here. I was not informed they would require separate accomodations." Mulder wondered - do I detect this computer giving us the run-around? "What's the matter, Scully - don't trust me?!" he attempted to sooth her obviously growing frustation with one of his witticisms. Scully was not in the mood "Knock it off, Mulder!" Mulder looked at the bed - a cubby hole in the wall, and contemplated a bad night's sleep on the floor. A few minutes later - as he was trying to adjust the room temperature, which was getting hotter and hotter - he heard Scully scream "Mulder - HELP!"
She had gone into the bathroom - which reminded him of a small phone booth. He thought that the flush was a little loud, but nothing prepared him for the sight inside - Scully had quickly grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself - the toilet seemed to not only be backed up - but in turbo - eject sewage mode! Well, this was a sight he would not forget - the normally well-groomed, well-dressed, absolutely professional Scully covered in _______! He couldn't resist saying it: "Oh SHIT!" Scully rolled her eyes and could barely hold back the laughter. Mulder could always do to that to her, make her laugh at the WORST situations. Her "shower" had at least temporarily relieved the stifling heat in the room. Mulder rushed to the panel, and managed to access HELEN. "I am sorry, agent Mulder. I will correct the problem in your bathroom. But I cannot access the room temperature program at this time. It is unavailable."
Scully had gathered her composure, and re-entered the small bathroom, knowing that with the room getting hotter and hotter, if she didn't do something about it - she was going to smell worse and worse.
"Froggy - I think they have had enough for now - you better stop before they call Commander Byrne" Jason said to Froggy - who had been hard at work making their toliet eject, and raising the temperature. "Room temperature program accessed, restoring normal temperature" HELEN announced to a grateful Mulder and Scully. But Froggy couldn't resist making them stay together in the same room
The kids were well into their plans for the morning. Vanessa said to Jason "You won't have to worry about them going snooping diving around the island. Not unless they want to go skinny dipping!" "What did you do?" Bret asked. "While they were sleeping - I slipped into their room and stole their bathing suits!" Jason said - well, Froggy overheard that they have a direction finder, and it already points to Neri's island! I think we ought to borrow as many waverunners as we can, and get to the island before they do. Remember the land developers? We got rid of them, and we can get rid of these two before they find anything." Mick said - "OK, I will use my authorization to get a couple of wave runners. But I got to be careful - mom is getting suspicious."
"Did you see how that red haired girl - Vanessa? - glared at me when the commander insisted she loan me her bathing suit? Mulder - those kids know something about this island - and are trying to keep us away from here." Mulder was pre-occupied. Vanessa's bikini fit Scully perfectly - much better than the tacky one piece she usually wore on such assignments. The trouble was - it was also extremely, well, revealing. He couldn't help sneaking a peak whenever she looked away for a moment. "Darn she looks good!" He thought as his eyes followed the lovely curves. He suddenly felt very guilty as he realized the trust that she had in him, and the friendship that they had developed - one that was not based on attraction, but on respect. "Discipline - Mulder" he thought as he saw her slip off the side of the boat into the water. "Darn - why does she have to be my best friend at a time like this?!" He said under his breath as she went under the water and he put his own tank on.
Scully couldn't giggle under water - that's a good way to drown in scuba gear - as she thought about poor Mulder on the boat getting ready to get into the water. She was amused at his poor attempts to cover up the fact that he was staring at her. She was a little flattered - and a little annoyed - but realized that a guy is gonna stare at girl in a sexy bathing suit. Besides, she had to admit that she had stared a little, too, but for a different reason. Mulder had looked so comical in his bathing suit it was all she could to keep herself from laughing. It wasn't that he didn't look good in the bathing suit the commander had practically forced Jason to loan him - is was just the surfer bathing suit - ridiculously small for a man Mulder's height. If it had been larger and baggy he would have looked the part of the surfer, except his hair was WRONG for the part! Mulder joined her as they swam towards the island. They could not talk, but both could hear the whine of the portable receiver as they swam closer and closer to the source.
Scully was the first to see the cave opening - or WAS it a cave? Mulder, though, spotted a six sided object half buried in the sand. It quickly went into his collection bag. He knew from the shape and color it was no piece of sea junk. Just what it was, he didn't know. Scully was terrified to go cave diving first, she motioned Mulder into the cave ahead of her.
But it was no cave --- As soon as they got inside - everything was metal supstructure and technology. Some of the equipment appeared to be working - all of it was unfamiliar. There was an air chamber - Mulder gave no thought to the air before rushing to take off his regulator. The ever cautious Scully was worried about the air - but since it hadn't killed Mulder ---
Mulder took one look at his beautiful companion, and decided to rub it in with one of his famous Mulderism's: "I've been wanting to get you in a place like this for a long time!" "Very funny Mulder --- do you think its extraterrestrial? Beyond a doubt, Scully - look at these markings. Have you ever seen them before?" "No - are they some kind of writing?" "More than that, Scully, they are very similar to ancient Phoenecian writing" "I had no idea you were a linguist, Mulder." "I'm not, Scully. I study ancient civilizations that accomplish things that they had no way of doing without - help. Extraterrestrial help."
"I can't beleive how fast they found the cove and the space ship" Jason said. "We have to work even harder to get them out of here. These people are professional UFO hunters and if they stick around, they are bound to put it together and figure out that Neri is an alien." "I don't know, Jason, it looks like we have lost" Vanessa said. "Its not like you to give up. Now its all out war, and we have to teach them a lesson they won't soon forget. Neri - do you have them?" "Yes - these are big, but don't hurt. Very scary!" "Zoe, is everything ready at their boat?" "Yes, they aren't going anywhere!"
Mulder and Scully had hastily set up camp on the island. Scully had brought along a large t-shirt which she put on: to avoid plants, insects - and stares. Mulder had an old shirt that he, too put on. Mulder was impatient to explore the island - to see if the alien visitors had left any traces. Scully was more and more resigned to a night of camping out - and put her tent up. Much neater than Mulder's tent, of course.
Mulder was absolutely brimming with excitement - he found proof of an alien landing. But how old was the crash site? One year or a 100 - or half a million? Were there any survivors? Scully was STILL sceptical. Fox Mulder was possibly right - there might have been an alien landings. But she was more concerned that the Australian government might have the equivalent of the Blue Beret UFO crash cleanup squad. They were a long way from home, and their disapperance would go almost unnoticed, and would sure fit a lot of their enemies agendas. As usual, Mulder wasn't even thinking about the implications of his discovery. He was reveling in it - dangerously. Scully decided he absolutely needed somebody to look out for him, and resigned herself to the job. But then, she had saved his rear from higher-ups so many times already ---
Scully noticed that the going was getting rougher and Mulder was a bit ahead of her - "Mulder, could you wait up?" "Scully! Come here and look at this!" As she entered a marshy area, she saw the same type of superstructure sticking out of the mud, but obviously whatever this craft was - it had been here for a very long time and almost corroded away. Mulder was already pacing out the dimensions. Scully noticed a cave opening first "Mulder - over there - another cave" Both of them made their way there in a few seconds, and Mulder flipped on the flashlight. The cave was half submerged in mud - Scully worried about leeches. After a while, the floor slanted up, dried out and became very dusty. Mulder - with his long legs, kept outpacing Scully and occasionally had to wait for her to catch up.
Neither of them noticed Neri in the shadows, carrying a bag. Neri was genuinely nice - and had more than a few second thoughts about the nasty tricks she had cooked up with the other kids. But she knew it had to be done, or her secret would be revealed. She crept behind Scully, carefully placing the creepy contents of the bag on her back. When she finished, Neri slipped quietly away, totally unobserved.
Mulder turned to wait on Scully - as she emerged from the shadows, something was VERY wrong, something moved on her shoulder!!! "Scully! - DON'T MOVE!" She had been vaguely aware that her T-shirt was a bit too clingy, but nothing prepared her for the creepy surprise on her shoulder - a 6 inch spider! The scream was instinctive, but Scully was immediately aggravated with herself. It was harmless, she knew that! But the shock. As Mulder rushed over to help her, to their astonsishment there were a dozen more on her back! "InDANA Scully and the cave of doom?" Mulder quipped. As their large, creepy, but harmless "guests" scurried off into dark, Mulder and Scully were enveloped in a mass of flapping wings - hundreds of bats had been disturbed by Scully's scream and the light. Bats everywhere - crashing into their faces, catching in Scully's hair, bats, bats and more BATS! "Get them off of me, Mulder!" yelled a genuinely distressed Scully! As suddenly as they came, they left. A more composed Scully said "Mulder, there is nothing in here." Mulder reluctantly agreed - his light searched around the room - the were in the bat chamber, the end of the cave.
After emerging from the cave, they were drenched all afternoon by a thunderstorm of biblical proportions - enough to keep them from exploring the island any more that day. They crowded together in Scully's tent - Mulder's leaked. "Mulder - don't you know you NEVER touch the canvas in the rain?!" Scully asked. Scully did not like the idea of having to share her tent with Mulder, but wouldn't let him get soaked in his. As they opened the rations they had brought along - just in case - hundreds of huge cockroaches emerged and within seconds were all through the tent ---------
------ "What are you staring at?" Mulder asked a disgusted looking Scully, as she emptied out yet another full can of water under a leak in Mulder's tent. Scully answered "Its not the leak, Mulder - doesn't it strike you as a bit strange that there would be roaches in a sealed container?" And what about those tanrantulas - how did they get that deep into a cave that is flooded at its entrance? Mulder - somebody is playing pranks on us to get us off this island!" "I didn't want to tell you this earlier, because I was afraid you would think I am paranoid" Mulder said. "But several times since we landed on the island, I could swear we were being watched. I was almost sure I heard footsteps running away after we discovered the spiders. I was about to investigate, when things went batty." They discussed the day's events some more, then went to sleep, on opposite sides of a tent made for one person.
Both were sleeping fitfully - the rain had ended about midnight leaving the roar of insects and frogs all around them. Scully was not used to sleeping on the ground. Her dreams went back to a night in a cabin in the woods - a terrified night with Mulder, trying to keep the light on - or they would be devoured by the body fluid sucking "mites from hell". In her dream, she could feel them biting and biting - sucking and sucking --- the life draining out of her - biting and BITING!!!! "MULDER!!!!" she screamed as she woke up - it was NO DREAM, it was hundreds of biting ants all over her - in her face, her hair, her clothes, getting into her nose, her ears - Mulder awoke to a similar torment - they went through an orgy of slapping brushing, cussing (at least Mulder) - to absolutely no avail. They were being bitten and bitten - there was just one single minded purpose in both of their minds - all consuming, primal survival!!!! There was only one thing to do - and the quicker they did it the quicker the relief. Both of them crashed through the jungle - no matter that it was only 50 yards to the beach on the trail - it was 30 straight through the jungle!!! Low tide - DAMMIT!!!! Both of them were ripping off their ant infested clothes and plunged gratefully into the ocean - stark naked. Oh what a relief to feel dozens of little tormentors being washed away. It took minutes for each one - individually - to come to the realization that it was over - that last ant was gone. Scully was lucky - she was not allergic to formic acid. The bites barely left more than a memory on her as she scrubbed the last of them out of her hair. Mulder was not so lucky. He rubbed every sore bump on his body - hundreds of them. The cool water was relief to both of them.
As their composure returned, both realized - they had a PROBLEM. They had randomly chosen spots in the ocean about 30 yards apart, and were aware of each other's - state of undress. They both had another problem - hundreds of biting ants left in their abandoned clothes on the beach. Neither was particularly anxious to abandon the cover of water and expose themselves to the other - or to go through the painful process of picking up ant infested clothes, rinsing them out, and then wearing soaking wet, sandy, salty clothes. They were too far apart to hear each other in the ocean - but even in the moonlight Mulder could see Scully was looking at him - not knowing what to do next. Mulder knew exactly what to do, he turned away, and stayed turned away for a lot more than what he judged was enough time.
When he turned around again - he saw two things in the light of the full moon: Scully sitting on the beach with her back to him, and his own clothes - neatly folded - sitting right at the wave line. He hurriedly left the water, put them on, and went over to Scully. Even when he was yards away, he could hear her sobbing. He didn't have to ask about what. He hesitated, then knelt down to comfort her. Immediately - waves of emotion poured over her - as they had been on the beach, it was impossible not to see - she felt at once violated, embarrased, attracted, repulsed, stimulated. He had seen her - oh GOD she was so embarrased - how could she ever work with him again - after THAT? She started to say "keep away" but stopped herself - needing emotional support BADLY and risking it no matter what. Her sobs got louder as he hugged her, and gently rocked her in his arms. "Scully - if anything ever DID happen between us ---- I wouldn't want it like - that. I would want it to be both of our decisions - an act of love." Now her tears were tears of genuine affection, but friendship - not passion. In her exhausted mind, he became a substitute for her father - comforting his little girl - his beloved Starbuck. Sleep came easily within minutes in his arms.
Mulder was too excited to go to sleep. His sleeping partner cradled in his arms - he was wrapped up in the goodness of her embrace, her warmth, kept him from being cold in the ocean breeze that came off the Pacific. He was almost unaware of the bites all over him, and the salty sticky clothes drying on him. He was more than a little attracted to his partner - tonight. He knew that in the morning - this would be the same stubborn, skeptical Scully. For tonight, though, she was as he would like her - vulnerable - needing - utterly feminine. He realized why it was he wasn't in love with this beautiful woman who was so conveniently his partner. The same qualities that he admired in her professionally would get in the way of a relationship. What he wanted in a woman and in a partner were different. That was not Scully's fault. He had seen her tonight - in the moonlight. Even though he had been in torment, that was a sight that had given him more than a little pleasure. But ---- he knew what a woman looked like. His feelings for Scully went beyond a surface attraction like that. He decided he could be attracted to her physically, but never make the mistake of trying to make that into a relationship with her. His feelings changed as the hours passed. He became proud of the fact he had helped her through her humiliation by what he said. He felt like - a big brother again. How many times had he held his little sister Samantha after she had skinned her knee ---. As he, too drifted off to sleep (finally) he almost thought he was holding Samantha.
Neri and Jason were having an argument - that was lasting all night. They had picked a strategic place to watch all the fun with the ants. Neri had known that all it would take to attract the biting ants was a little fruit smeared in their sleeping bags. The sweet juices from the fruit were the ant's natural food. But it had gotten out of hand. She already felt bad about the spiders, then then the roaches. They had gone hungry. She, too had known hunger, when she had to wait days for the yellow fruit to be ready. It was bad to make someone hungry. She did not know the ants would hurt them so badly, and had watched in horror the one named Mulder have swelling all over his body. Not good - she wanted to scare, not hurt. And what had happened on the beach was WRONG. To make them undress in front of each other. Neri was also jealous - Jason had watched the one named Scully - watched as she undressed, watched as she left the water ---- "I looked away from the one named Mulder" she said to Jason "why you stare at the one named Scully?" "I'm a guy" Jason said "I know its wrong, but guys like to see girls" "You NEVER see NERI like that!!!" she yell whispered - mindful that Mulder might hear. She felt like leaving him, but knew she was more mature than that, and her own survival might depend on knowing what the two on the beach did next.
Jason and Neri had spent the night on the island - they were both classified by HELEN as station personnel, and entitled to shore leave. Diane - Jason's mother - was mindful of the developing relationship between Jason and Neri. Neri was older than Jason, and more mature. She hoped that Neri wouldn't end up hurting him - Neri was his first crush. Diane was more than a little reluctant for them to spend the night together, but counted on Neri's maturity and Jason's inexperience to keep things innocent. That inexperience was almost costing him his girlfriend tonight. "Neri - I am SORRY!" he said. "I like YOU, not her." Neri looked deep into his mind, and his eyes, and knew his words were as sincere as they seemed. Still, she liked him, and wanted to be more than a little competition. She kissed him warmly and lingered for a long time. His thoughts of the beautiful Scully faded ----.
Mick and Vanessa - watching from a different location - had a similar discussion, but Vanessa had stared as much at Mulder as Mick had at Scully. So neither of them had much to say about it to the other. Their budding romance took a turn for the worse - because they both were willing to look --- but they would get over it in time. Besides - they had to keep up appearances for Jason and Neri. Mick and Jason had agreed not to interrupt the other until morning - just in case!
Mulder and Scully awoke to a blistering sun - already giving them a tinge of sunburn and crystalizing the salt in their drying clothes. They were a bit embarrased to wake up in each others arms! "Mulder - let's go to that fresh water pond and wash the salt out of our clothes!" "As long as at least ONE of us keeps our clothes on!" Mulder said - in an attempt to bring humor to their embarrasing situation the night before. "MUL - der!!!" she said mildly amused / annoyed.
They were soaking wet again, but at least not salty and sandy. That was a big improvement. Mulder felt strangely weak, the doctor in Scully soon realized that his allergic reaction was getting worse. She sat him under a palm tree on the beach - getting an occasional cool breeze from a nearby thunderstorm (that she hoped would eventually cool him off). She knew allergic reactions can get worse very quickly, and refused his pleas to go searching the island for evidence of alien survivers. She finally succeeded in persuading him to leave the island and get medical treatment - the evidence would wait.
They came to their boat, and pushed it off into the waves. After getting it turned around, they climbed in and tried to start the engine. It sputtered and tried to start, but then died. After 4 or 5 more attempts, it was clear the engine was dead. They discovered that the fuel line had been cut - the fuel long since drained away!
"Mulder, we can try to row to ORCA - they have regular research and patrol vessels - one of them is sure to spot us sooner or later!" "Scully - it is 15 or 20 miles across the ocean. You can't even SEE this island from ORCA, and we can't even see them! This is the PACIFIC OCEAN - if we miss it there are thousands of square miles of ocean out there between us and the next land!" We got NO water, NO food, we don't even have a sail. At least here, we have fresh water - some sort of food is bound to grow here, and we can take shelter in that cave. Some sort of search party will be sent for us - they KNOW what direction we went. Scully reluctantly agreed - Mulder was right. He just couldn't see his own pale skin and worsening condition. She hoped his enthusiasm for staying didn't have anything to do with his desire to find a "close encounter".
Their dilemma was solved almost immediately - a boat rounded the point! They started frantically waving, but Mulder had to sit down. They were spotted easily, and the boat sent a launch to the beach for them.
An older, very serious, very determined looking man with white, short hair got off the boat, followed by a young woman with short dark hair. "I am Dr. Hellegren, from UBRI. May I ask what you are doing on this island?" His slightly German accent seemed to make his question all the more intimidating. Normally Mulder would not have been intimidated, but in his weakened condition --- "We are not meaning to trespass here, we are stranded." Scully said to him. "We would like nothing better than to leave - my partner needs medical attention." "Of course" Dr. Hellegren said - "After you have given me the information I need. I repeat - what are you doing on this island?" Scully could see immediately that they were going to HAVE to give the man information or Mulder would not get help. His condition was worsening by the minute. She decided to give in. "I am special agent Dana Scully, this is special agent Fox Mulder, of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. We are on special assignment here for the Australian government." "I see - what is the nature of your assignment?" "Scully - don't tell him anything!" Scully could see the beginning signs of delerium - she no longer cared about secrecy - just about Mulder. "This island is the source of some signals that are jamming equipment at the ORCA institute, we are investigating." "We, too, have been drawn here by the signals you described. Perhaps we can be of help to each other. Come with me back to UBRI, we will talk more."
Scully looked around for Mulder, he was nowhere to be seen. "Mulder - come ON!" she yelled ---- dead silence. A chill swept over her, she knew that a delerious person could do something to get themselves killed and never know it. She persuaded a reluctant Dr. Hellegren to organize a search party.
Mulder's disapperance had started innocently enough. One does not announce to strangers that you need to go behind the nearest batch of trees to relieve yourself - he would be back before they knew it. After doing his thing, her turned around to stare right into the eyes of the same teenage girl he had seen on ORCA. He was very annoyed at having been watched. "Don't you know it is rude to watch?" he said sharply "Yes, I do. You are sick, I know of medicine." Her sincerity caught him off guard. He easily forgot his anger through his allergic fever. "I should tell the others ----" "No - you come with me - NOW!". He stumbled along - now he was the slow one - his long legs were no help at all. She moved with grace through the grabbing thorny vines that were cutting his legs. In ten minutes that seemed like 10 hours to him, he found himself back at the fresh water lake - in a secluded grove. He was losing consciousness ------
Scully had ample opportunity to talk to Dr. Hellegren as the search progressed. She was slightly suspicious of him, and would not reveal the existance of the spacecraft. She had learned that much from Mulder: trust no one. He was not easily fooled, but was unaware that they had actually located the source of the transmission. As far as he knew - they had only searched on land. Scully carefully guided them away from their ant and roach infested camp - so he would not see skin diving gear. When the afternoon thunderstorm forced them to abandon the search for Mulder - he invited Scully to come to his reasearch vessel, where she was finally able to dry out, wash off, and enjoy his hospitality. But she was worried about Mulder back on the island ----
Mulder awoke to seeing the beautiful Neri looking down at him. "Feel better?" she asked? Mulder was aware that he did - the bites hardly hurt at all. He wasn't quite sure exactly what she had done, but it had worked. "Ant bites bad, medicine cures" she said. Mulder studied her face - her features and eyes suggested high intelligence, yet she talked in this broken English like she had never attended a school or been around that many people. He noticed the torn fabric, white - hemp like, with patches of a fine, brownish, metallic material. He realized that at one time, it must have been a beautiful outfit, but years of wear had reduced it to tatters in places. She was DEFINITELY a mystery! Mulder - genuinely grateful for her help - said "yes" then added "who are you?" "Neri." Mulder could see the look of innocence along with her intelligence and understanding. He knew she would not be offended if he asked for answers. There was a growing realization that there was more to her than met the eye. "I saw you on ORCA - dressed like the other kids. Now you are here, on this island. Can you explain that?" Neri read his mind carefully. Man troubled - HURT. Maybe Neri help, she thought to herself. Still - Jason had told her he was trouble. That was NOT necessarily true, she knew now. Jason truly believed it, but Mulder was looking for something - "SISTER!" she caught herself blurting out. Mulder snapped to attention immediately - his slight suspicion was now confirmed: he was face to face with an extra terrestrial!!! She had read his mind - the wreckage, her tattered clothes - it all fit!
Neri - sensing the understanding withing him, and feeling the question burning within him - answered it. "I know nothing of your sister. My people do not take your people. That WRONG!" Neri said it kindly, softly, with a sincerity that Mulder could not deny. Neri, liking his dedication to his sister - added "Neri has sister, too. Mera. Neri miss her, too. She went home, I stay here to complete my father's mission: to save your oceans." Mulder, entranced, hardly knew what to say at the enormity of his discovery. But he knew one thing: the aliens that abducted his sister, the same ones that years later had tired to abduct him - they looked the part. Neri was from an entirely different world, a kind, benevolent world, that was very similar to earth. Neri was outwardly human, but inwardly advanced. Mulder was very comfortable with her, not afraid of her or her people at all.
Now Mulder was faced with a dilemma - was his personal mission to uncover evidence of government cover-up of UFO visitation, or was it a personal mission to find his sister. He decided it was to find the truth, but at what cost? Neri had just saved his life, been completely honest with him, and was here with a mission - to save the ocean ecology. Neri sensed the moral conflict within him. She saw that there was a real danger that he would reveal her secret, but that he could be persuaded against it. "Close your eyes, rest, see ALL!" she said. Mulder felt drowsy by now, some lasting effect of the ant venom ----. As he drifted off to sleep, he saw wonderful images of the ocean - swimming through multi-colored reefs, shoals of beautiful fish, on and on, unfettered by tanks or breathing gear, each sweeping ocean vista more breathtaking than the last.
He became a whale named Charlie in his dream - more peaceful - more content than he had ever been. He had a wonderful, oral tradition
of singing - tales of the oceans, tales of countless generations of his ancestors, songs of ecstasy at the sound of his brothers, sisters,
all of his relations, singing their greetings from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Paradise - simply paradise under the waves,
that was all Mulder could dream. Ample food, warm waters ----. Then came songs of lament - tales from the past - the great slaughter -
from above. Strange floating objects, strange, small, unfeeling creaures - we mean no harm - why do you chase, why do you kill? Songs of
whole families - wiped out. The joy of life - gone - our numbers - our culture, almost gone. Poison, strange objects thrown into our
world. Our food - tastes strange - poison, better to die fast on beach than eat poison and die slow. Then hope. Strange creatures from
surface want to swim with us. Seek us out. Touch us. Very little killing, only some places. We know where to go now. What to look for.
Not all strange creatures bad. Be careful. Then Mulder saw Neri - swimming with him free in an endless ocean. A friend, from above. I
can talk to her. She understands. Will tell all the others - please don't hurt. Don't poison. Don't kill.
Mulder awoke from his dream to find Neri, Jason, Vanessa, and Mick all watching him. Neri spoke first "Now you understand - why you must say nothing!" Mulder understood, but had to ask "are all of you in on this?" "Yes" Jason said. Please don't reveal Neri's secret. They would destroy her, and if her people ever came back looking for her, they might be angry. Maybe they wouldn't destroy us, they aren't like that. But maybe they would just quit helping - let us destroy ourselves." Mulder marvelled at the wisdom this boy had, and reluctantly agreed. So many disappointments - near misses - the one good thing is - this time he was making the decision to walk away. He told them of the strange signals that attracted the attention of the authorities. "The space ship!" Jason said to Neri "I plugged that thing in - that's how your people knew you were here!" "You must stop it from bringing others!" Neri said. "I know what to do!" said Jason. "I will just unplug it!" He took of through the brush in the direction of the ship. Mulder remembered the artifact they had recovered from the crash site "Neri - I found something outside your ship - we brought it up, it is in our boat! "Message from father!" Neri said. "No its not!" said Vanessa to Mulder. "we took it out and hid it where it will NEVER be found" "Yeah, but those UBRI goons are swarming all over the place" said Mick.
Suddenly Scully's voice echoed through the brush "MULDER!" The kids scattered, into the nearby brush, leaving Mulder. She emerged into the lagoon area with Dr. Hellegren and his assistant. "Scully!" She ran ahead to meet Mulder. "Mulder - where WERE you?" "Little boys room." Before Dr. Hellgren got there, Mulder quickly told Scully "We have to get them off this island!" Scully knew Mulder well enough to know he had a good reason.
"But I do not understand - why is the FBI abandoning its research here?" Dr. Hellgren asked a freshly showered Mulder and Scully on board his boat. "The signal shut down, and has not re-appeared" Mulder said. "Can you verify that?" Dr. Hellgren asked his assistant. She confirmed that the signal had shut down that afternoon, and had not re-appeared. "There is still something about that island!" He said. "We will drop you off at ORCA tomorrow if you wish. But we will continue our own investigation!"
"Thank you for you help!" Diane said to Mulder. "I thank you to" said Neri, who was in her ORCA uniform. "You understand, you must live here on ORCA for a while." Scully told Neri "the man from UBRI will not give up easily!" "Leave them to US!" Jason said. "If you think YOU had it rough, WAIT until you see what we have in store for THEM!" Mulder and Scully looked at each other and smiled - a little flushed, and couldn't really imagine anything worse, but knew Jason meant business. "Mulder - do not abandon search for your sister" Neri said. "One day, you will find, just as Neri found Mera. But Neri also find home here, and MOTHER" she said looking at Diane. Mulder understood, and appreciated the thought. He and Scully had a long trip ahead of them - home.