Saturday, Mulder's apartment, 8:30 PM. Mulder was losing it - literally. The recent disappearance of Scully was driving him nuts. His apartment, dismal under the best circumstances, was a wreck. Dirty dishes in the sink, sunflower seed husks littering the floor, newspapers, magazines, half eaten pizza all over. Mulder himself did not look much better. The disappearance of his partner - and friend - was too much. It was obvious that he had not shaved, bathed, changed his clothes, or slept in days. He was too busy searching for any trace of Scully - to no avail. "If only I had gone 90 instead of 70 up that mountain" he told himself. "Should I go back up there tonight - in case she is returned?" he asked himself over and over. But he knew he was in no condition to drive. Skinner had called him into his office for a talk just yesterday, a warning that he had better get some sleep and be ready to work Monday - OR ELSE. Mulder knew that Skinner was not kidding this time. Believe it or not, he was beginning to think that Skinner may be on his side, and he knew that Skinner and cancer man frequently argued over the X-Files, with Skinner frequently coming out on the short end of the deal. Skinner could shield Mulder from the awesome forces cancer man represented, but only to a point. Mulder's recent behavior was not projecting a professional image that helped Skinner's position, however.

So - Mulder was attempting to do everything he knew to bore himself to sleep. Half asleep already - mainly from exhaustion, he was going to try again, in spite of his insomnia. He was lying on his couch, watching a western on TV. His taste definitely did not include westerns, and he hoped the boredom would put him to sleep. Something about this particular show was beginning to interest him, though - the heroine was self assured, independent, intelligent, and a doctor. Not unlike his partner Scully. And in her, he could see many of the things he admired about Scully --------- as the room seemed to fill with light, Mulder's last conscious thought was "good, sleep at last!"

Mulder's dreams were different from the normal person. He retained a slight conscious presence, a control over their direction. Dreams to him were not a way of dealing with the stress of the day, they were a way for him to explore the paranormal realm. In spite of insomnia, he enjoyed the ability to enter realms his conscious mind could not.

This was going to be a good opportunity, he mused. "Oh no - WHY did I have to be watching a western?!" he thought disgustedly as he found himself in a stagecoach. Dry, dusty, bumpy -- why did his dreams have to be so detailed including unpleasant as well as pleasant sensations. Perhaps because his job as an FBI agent made him prone to notice details. "I better quit analyzing and get into the spirit of this" he said to himself.

"Colorado Springs!" Mulder heard the driver's voice resounding through the cabin as he looked out at a typical town - late 1880's he guessed. Mulder watched as his fellow passengers exited first, then he exited as well, not knowing where to go or what to do next.

His uncertainty was short lived, though. He was acutely aware of several things almost simultaneously. He was dressed in his 1990's suit, a fact that was drawing more than a few stares from the townspeople, he still had his gun, he instinctively reached for his ID, it was there, he patted his pocket uncomfortably, pondering whether there even WAS a Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1880. "No sunflower seeds" he thought as he felt his pocket, as he became aware of being hungry. Strange, he didn't remember ever being hungry in a dream before ----

"Excuse me - can anybody tell me where I can get some food?" He asked of a black man at what appeared to be a blacksmith's shop. "Best food in town is at Grace's - on the edge of town - that way" he replied with a cryptic smile.

As Mulder sat down to eat at the open air restaurant, he marvelled at how fresh the air was. Not one trace of air pollution, he thought. He watched the other customers come and go, observing out of curiosity to see how vivid his own imagination and attention to detail was. As he reached the end of his meal, a thought came over him - "how am I going to pay for this? - No problem", he told himself - his dream sequence would substitute the appropriate money.

Unfortunately, that is NOT how things went! Grace took one look at his money and asked in a loud voice "what is THIS?!" Grace called for some friends that happened to be at nearby tables: "Hank, Jake, Loren - this man is trying to cheat me!" Mulder backed up from two men, only to find a third man behind him. Mulder thought he could probably take Jake in a one on one fight, but Hank looked like more than a match for him. Hank looked like he could do some serious harm, escpecially with the stale whisky Mulder could smell on his breath. Hank had a nasty temper and sounded like Jack Nicholson as he said "listen, friend, we don't take kindly around here to people cheating Grace." Mulder was sure he was going to end up losing some teeth, when a beautiful, classy looking lady with long brown hair said "Jake, Hank, Loren its OK, I'll pay his bill".

Mulder moved instinctively towards the table where the lady had been sitting with a lovely blonde teenage girl, a young boy, and a strangely civilized (and white) looking Indian man. Mulder wondered about this odd association. "Thank you kindly, ma'am", he said in his best "feedstore" accent as he sat down with them. He hoped his accent had come off in character, and had not sounded sarcastic. He really had used it in an attempt to fit in - as much as he could in his 1990's tailored suit. "I really appreciate what you did" he said, then added "but WHY". "Because - you looked like you could use the help" she said matter of factly, then added "I am Dr. Micheala Quinn, this is Mr. Sully and my children Colleen and Brian" "Fox Mulder, I'm - with the government" he said, grasping for explanations of how he got there. "What was all that about - the money, I mean" she asked. Mulder hated to lie, but sometimes a little white lie might stop embarrassing questions ----- "I was robbed outside of Denver" he said " and all I had left was confederate money". "Grace would have given you credit", she said "and you shouldn't try to fool her, she is well liked". "My mistake!" Mulder said as he began to relax.

Mr. Sully, who had been silent until then, spoke in very surprising perfect English "did they send you to investigate the cattle disappearances?" Mulder thought to himself - what better way to get into the spirit of this dream - besides, being an FBI agent, what could be easier than apprehending some two bit cattle rustlers! "Yes" he said, "I am with the newly created Federal Bureau of Investigation" and he instinctively pulled out his badge with his photo ID on it. He hoped they would not notice the date, so he withdrew it quickly. "That is certainly enough proof as to your identity" she said. "By the way, call me doctor Mike, everybody else does". "Only if you will call me Mulder", he said, smiling with his distinctive smile, "I hate Fox. Now - tell me about those rustlers." "My oldest son Matthew recently inherited a large herd of cattle." Dr Mike started "We all helped bring them back to Colorado Springs through many obstacles, only to find them disappearing, one each night, under mysterious circumstances. Then re-appearing, sometimes days later, dead and mutilated." "How are they mutilated?" Mulder asked. "It is as though somebody was practicing veterinary research on them, primarily in their reproductive areas" she said. "And there is more - there are always strange markings on the ground, rings and strange patterns cut in crops in the field -------"

As Mulder listened to Dr. Mike, he had several thoughts, ranging from "oh great, X-Files in my dreams" to "I can get into this dream, its interesting". But one thought came to him - he was dreaming something new, an unsettling sensation that he would never have expected in a dream - fatigue! It WAS fairly late in the day, Mulder pondered where he would stay the night. He was puzzled why he would dream about being tired, when he was already asleep. Nevertheless, he wanted to at least see these crops circles, so he decided not to try to stir himself awake. Mulder asked Dr. Mike "Is there a boarding house somewhere in town?" She replied "That won't be necessary - these rustlers affect my son's future. Please feel free to come and stay at our house, we have an extra room. Besides, the rustling is occurring much nearer to my house than to town."

Mulder settled down to rest in a not so comfortable 1880's style bed. He did not see Dr. Mike and Sully leave. Somewhere in the darkness outside, Dr. Mike, Sully, Jake, Hank, and Loren were in a deep conference. "All I know is - Grace saw the date '1994' on his money" Hank said. "I don't know what is going on around here, but I think we ought to lock him up for the good of the town right NOW!" Jake agreed immediately, as did Loren. Another man - Horace - arrived. "I telegraphed Washington D.C., and there is no such thing as a 'Federal Bureau of Investigation'. They asked us to keep Mr. Mulder here until they can send some Federal Marshals to talk to him". Sully said "All right, - ENOUGH! We know there is something very strange about Mr. Mulder, but so far he hasn't done anything to hurt anybody" Loren interrupted "Yeah, but we all know how you and Dr.Mike want to help Matthew solve those cattle rustlings." Dr. Mike said "Look, this man is a stranger, and has done nothing but try to be polite and helpful. Whoever he is, he seems to be totally harmless, and I'm convinced that he was simply dis-oriented by the robbery. Perhaps he was struck on the head or something, and cannot remember how he got his strange clothes or money." Sully added "Dr. Mike invited him to be her guest - and that means she trusts him with her own children". "Yah - OK, you just keep watch on him with your woman" Hank said as they all grumbled and parted company. Unobserved by all of them was a bright flash of light in the direction of town ------

Myra was not sleep walking any more. Ever since her marriage and change of "profession" changed her from a night person to a day person - she had trouble sleeping at night. A few weeks ago, she had several bad - and embarrasing - episodes of sleep walking. It turned out that part of it was that she was pregnant - but every once in a while, when she woke up at night - she went for a moonlight walk in town. Horace didn't mind - if that kept her from sleepwalking, and she always returned in half an hour or so. Tonight, Myra was almost ready to go home, when she saw the street light up from behind her, and she turned around quickly as the light faded away, to be confronted by a pretty red haired lady. "Land SAKES" you scared me!" Myra exclaimed. She noticed that the lady was dressed in a very short - and inappropriate dress, and that she looked like she was very weak and in some pain. "Ma'am", she said, "can I help you? You look like something has happened to you. You better come inside before somebody sees you with half your dress cut off! You can stay in the front room of the telegraph office, there is a cot there. Tomorrow morning we can go to Dr. Mike --- she will fix you up really good -----"

Mulder "awoke" in his dream surprisingly refreshed - well at least he did that right in his dreams! After an uneventful breakfast, he set out with Dr. Mike and Sully to meet Matthew in a field. Only this morning, there had been no fresh abduction. Cattle head count was 137, exactly the same as the night before. No new cattle remains had been found. So Mulder asked to see the sight of the last mutilation. "Here is where the last cow was found, strewn all over the countryside" Matthew said. Mulder, however, was not paying attention - they were standing in the middle of a huge circular ring in the field. The stalks were all pushed down to a smooth mat in a rotating pattern - no more than an inch high. The edges were crisp and clean - the cleanest crop ring he ever saw! It lead to a narrow corridor and as Mulder surveyed the scene, he realized it was a "key" pattern, one of the rarest and most intricate crop rings ever seen. "Well, why not" he asked himself, then returned to the others. "Have any of you ever been to England?" he asked - none of them had, but Dr. Mike asked why. "These crops rings happen all the time in England" Mulder said. "They always form at night, nobody has ever been there to see them form, but they find them in the morning. Some of them form patterns - that you could only make out if you were seeing them from above in an airp--- on the top of a mountain or something." "You sound remarkably well travelled, Mr. Mulder" Dr. Mike said. "Mulder - thanks! I have travelled around investigating this same type of thing. Not cattle disappearances, just strange occurrences like these crop circles. Did these circles ever show up before the cattle started disappearing?" "No, never" Matthew said. "Do you think they are related?" Dr. Mike said. "Possibly - OUCH!!!!" Mulder exclaimed as a sharp stalk of corn slashed him on the leg. "Can I see your leg?" Dr. Mike said. Mulder reluctantly agreed "This will need stitches ------"

Mulder grimaced as Dr. Mike put the last of the stitches in the deep gash on his leg at the clinic. At least the medical treatment was in tune with the era of the dream, he smiled slyly to himself. Horace knocked at the clinic door - Colleen let him in as Dr. Mike finished the last stitch. "Mr. Mulder? There's a lady in town who has been asking about you!" Mulder rolled down the torn cloth of his pants, thanked Dr. Mike, and walked outside with Horace - only to find himself face to face with - SCULLY! She was dressed in 1880's garb - which Myra had let her borrow, Mulder was tempted to make one of his famous "Mulderisms" about her clothes, when Scully interrupted "Mulder - we need to talk - NOW !" "Let's go inside the clinic" Mulder said. Something was different about Scully - she looked pale and VERY weak.

Inside the clinic, Dr. Mike gave them a private room where they could talk. "Oh GOD Mulder - it was AWFUL!" she cried - and rushed into his arms. Mulder was totally unprepared for this - his relationship with Scully had been, for the most part, at an arm's length. He wondered, how was he going to react to this beautiful vibrant woman in his arms. He was astonished to find that there was a total lack of desire for her physically. Was it that he knew this was just a dream that she was not real? No - the realization came to him that he loved her TOO MUCH for something as trivial as that - he DID love her - as a friend, confidant - even a kindred spirit. Not the type of feeling that would lead to a sexual relationship - one that was willing to be totally, completely open and HONEST with the other person, as the closest possible friend. Knowing this, he allowed himself to hold her tighter.

---------- ----------- Scully looked up at him. She was not really suspicious of his embrace, she mainly needed re-assurance that his feelings for her were what she thought. She had never known a man like Mulder, yes he had his faults - God knows she had seen those. She knew that she was not in love with him, but something about his unconditional acceptance of her made her uneasy. That type of acceptance usually meant romantic love, but NOT with Fox Mulder. He seemed more - dependent on her - almost like a little puppy dog! Fox Mulder was a mystery, but she had begun to figure him out. She was the first real friend he had since the disappearance of his sister. And Scully knew, even if Fox Mulder didn't realize it himself - she was filling the place in his heart left vacant by Samantha. And she realized something else. She realized that the something she saw in his eyes - it was the same vulnerability she used to see in her father's eyes. Her father only revealed his softness towards his beloved Starbuck - he never let anybody else see his tender side. God - she missed her father. And Mulder - he was always there, like a ROCK - steadying her through these bizarre situations they find themselves in -- like a second father. She knew - now that her father was gone - that she needed that role model of a more mature man, someone who was. And as she realized the true nature of her feelings, she returned his tighter hug. They stood there for several minutes, silent, assured in their own feelings.

"What did they do to you?" he asked abruptly after a time. Sobbing suddenly, she said "They artificially inseminated me, and they kept me until I gave birth to a full term baby! Mulder - they kept my baby girl!" By now - Mulder himself was sobbing - with rage towards the beings that would do that to his best friend. "Mulder, you were so right! I never really believed in any of it - the mutants, aliens, I halfway thought you were crazy, halfway thought you were mis-guided. I never allowed my self to fully believe." "Shh - Scully, if they overhear any of this, we are probably going to be locked in an asylum. And knowing the state of mental care in this century - that means straight jackets and electroshock therapy. Not pleasant, even if this IS only a dream -----" "MULDER" - she interrupted "I have something to tell you, something that you are NOT going to like!" Mulder looked puzzled as she started to unfold the awful reality of their situation-----

"Mulder, you think this is a dream, and that you are going to wake up in your apartment. You always used to tell me to open my mind to extreme possibilities. Now I'm asking you to do the same! For the nine months the aliens had me, I became aware that they communicate telepathically. My mind was far to primitive to communicate with them on a conscious level - they treated my attempts at sending them thoughts with - amusement. Amusement at an inferior laboratory animal. The only time they truly communicated with ME was in my DREAMS. Mulder - they communicate with us through dreams!" Mulder tensed with fright - he knew what was coming next - this was NO DREAM! He was REALLY THERE - they had abducted him!

Scully went on " I became aware that the aliens had some type of equipment problem. I don't know what it was - their technology was too complex. But the circuit diagrams and software flowcharts were shooting through my brain, along with their sense of panic. Mulder - they lost their timeframe reference! They intended to return me to the exact time and place they took me from. But they couldn't do it. They were searching for a reference. Mulder - I think they looked to YOU for that reference!" "Oh F___!" Mulder said - "I was watching a western when I went to sleep - they must have picked that as the timeframe to return you!" "Mulder, I don't know anything except I am here, stuck in this time, exactly as I am, probably with no possibility of escape. I also know - that although they lost the ability to return me to the proper place and time, they CAN return you" Mulder shuddered. The thought of leaving Scully did NOT enter his mind. He had Scully back - but both of them had lost their proper place in the world! Mulder pondered a grim future - in the 1880's. He thought maybe Scully could work with Dr. Mike here, and maybe he could return to 1880's Washington D.C. and enter government service - no - that would never do.

"Mulder - it gets worse!" Scully warned him. "When you were in Puerto Rico - the aliens - took - something - from you. Mulder - the baby ------." "Oh God - NO!" Mulder thought to himself. But her words confirmed it as his mind reached for the horror of it - the baby was also HIS! A flood of contradicting emotions hit like a tidal wave - had the aliens managed to reach some unknown passions in his subconscious - and would that make him guilty of - raping - his friend? All of the sudden he felt SICK - he turned loose of Scully hid his face from her - "Oh God - Scully ----- I'm ---sorry!" "Mulder - its not your fault!" "Yes - it IS - if I hadn't involved you in the Xfiles, you never would have been abducted. If I hadn' t been thinking about you ----" "The aliens would just have picked somebody else's sperm!" She finished. Yes, of course, he thought, relieved. "Mulder, I've had nine months to think about this. But never once did I blame you for what the aliens did. You shouldn't blame yourself for being --- the father." "Scully" he said, now with tears visible - "First Samantha, now, ---- our daughter!" The words sounded so bizarre that it sounded like they were coming from another person. "MULDER! Will you listen to me! What I've got to tell you now - you don't want to hear. I've debated for nine months whether I should tell you - IF I ever saw you again." " Tell me - what? What could possibly be worse than what you have told me already ---------- OH GOD - they ve got SAM!" "Yes!" "But that's good, it means she's alive, and there is hope -----" "Mulder - they are doing ----- EXPERIMENTS on her!" Mulder immediately came unglued! The thought of his beloved little sister - his best friend as well - her little body - being penetrated - VIOLATED - by those aliens ----- the revulsion was so extreme he became violently ill - he was grateful for the wash bowl that this century had in the room - he was over it in a fraction of a second throwing up every ounce of food he ha d eaten in the past three days. Those f---ing aliens! All his grandiose thoughts of first contact - of peacefully learning from an advanced, perhaps godlike race vanished into a single fixation: If he had a laser cannon he would blow their f---ing spaceship into f---ing ashes! But Samantha is on it ----- NO - better to end her life than to allow her to be the object of their perverted experiments. NOBODY should be subjected to that - not Scully, but ESPECIALLY not his 8 year old sister! But WAS she 8 years old still?

Choking through his vomit - Mulder frantically asked "How OLD is she?" "She is still 8, as far as I can tell, you don't age on their ship. I think that's there solution to the speed of light." A chilling thought came over Mulder. It was so horrible at first he refused to accept it. Samantha - for all long years, perpetually 8 years old. But WAIT - the aliens - they had come to Puerto Rico BEFORE Scully's abduction - oh GOD - NO - they only had his sperm!!!! They had used it on Samantha. He fell to the floor - sobbing uncontrollably. He was acutely aware of being slapped on the side of the face - HARD. "MULDER - snap out of it! We are in real trouble here, and I'm counting on YOU to help get us out! Don't go to pieces on me NOW." He managed to choke out - "Well, there goes my polished exterior - forever!" Scully continued "The aliens - they are neither benevolent nor malevolent. They don't know the difference between good and evil. To them, there are no moral implications of what they have done. Our concepts of morality are totally alien to them - they come from our religion, but their religion is science. To them, it would be immoral to ignore the chance for discovery. The fact that it distresses those that they abduct isn't lost on them. They provide our needs on the spaceship to keep us alive. But they don't know the difference between necessities and wants. When we had a strong emotions - the aliens tried to provide for the need. When we needed food, they provided it. When they are finished with their experiments, they return us in a way we never know we were taken. But - because they are not finished with Samantha - when she cried out for you - they tried to take you in Puerto Rico. When you resisted, they only had time to take a sperm sample. When I cried out for you after my abduction - they wanted to return me. But they couldn't." "But why haven't they returned Samantha?" " I think, Mulder, that they are keeping Samantha until she can re-produce. Only she is perpetual ly 8 years old and can't. That is why they haven't returned her. Their species reproduces by fusion - they split into two. All of them can do it - from birth. The aliens are fascinated by our reproduction, and can't understand why we cannot reproduce from birth. The BEST HOPE we have of getting Samantha back is if they learn about puberty." "I've got to have some time, Scully - to sort this out. Do me a favor - have Dr. Mike check you out, to make sure everything is OK." He left the room, and did not see a stunned Colleen who had been listening at the door.

Mulder made his way out of town, into the woods, and happened on a convenient stream. In a reflex action, he began to clean himself up. To get the taste of - yuk - out of his mouth. The stream water was sweet and clean, best water he had ever tasted. He looked around, it was a peaceful spot. He was more numb than anything at this point. His male chauvinist ego pondered whether he should marry Scully because of the baby - but as he pondered a loveless marriage that would probably spoil a friendship, he was interrupted by Colleen, who had followed him from the clinic.

Colleen had recently been hurt by an older man - a cattle rustler on the cattle drive. It had taken her quite a while to get over the pain. It wasn't the first time she had fallen in love with an older man, she preferred them. Their strength, their maturity. At least - older men weren't obsessed by her well developed figure, like the immature boys at school. She had even fallen in love with Sully, once. But that was when she was just a child! From the first time she saw Mulder, she knew that she was attracted to him. She knew he was much older, and QUITE odd, but he stirred feelings in her. She had to be alone with him, and this was her chance ----. "I ---- thought you could use a friend" she said, stumbling over the words. Mulder's first reaction was to ask her to leave, he desperately wanted to be alone, or DID he? He decided if he was going to be stuck here, he might as well be nice. "You --- you're from -- the FUTURE?!" she haltingly asked. Mulder thought to himself - "Oh f---, she heard everything!" But at this point, he was too shocked by what he had just heard to protest, and strangely unafraid of being discovered, thought to himself, why not! He shook his head slowly yes. "What's it like - there?" Mulder thought to himself, "haven't you always wanted to do this?" So he told her "Science has allowed us to do many things - transmit voices and images through the air without wires, move fast over long distances in machines, fly through the air in machines - even travel to the moon and back!" "I have always loved books about such things!" Colleen said. "But what about - you know - women" Do women have a better chance to be doctors?" Mulder was surprised at that question, but then he knew that Dr. Mike had probably had a tough time of it here, and Colleen had witnessed it. Her own desire to become a doctor was already tempered with a realization of sexual bias. "It's better, my friend Scully is a doctor, and is respected." Mulder said. Then Colleen - her feelings rea dy to explode - asked the questions she REALLY wanted to ask! "Are you --- married?" "oh no!" Mulder thought to himself, here it comes! He knew all the signs of a teenage crush, he had seen it many times before. She was very vulnerable, he knew, and he had to be very careful not to destroy her self esteem. He knew from long experience the best way to handle this was to let mutual incompatibility come out by talking to her. "No" he said. "Did you ever - want to get married - to Scully?" He started to open up to Colleen about Scully, their special relationship as partners, but NEVER as lovers ---- The time passed rapidly. Jake, who had been hiding behind a tree, became bored now that the subject had changed, and headed for town to report all he had heard Mulder say. As Mulder talked, Colleen saw the complex person inside of Mulder, and her childish crush began to disappear as she knew she could never provide him with the companionship or love he needed. She knew better than to discuss certain things she had overheard - like Samantha. She genuinely liked this man - and for a passing moment thought maybe if Dr. Mike spent more time with him, she would marry Mulder instead of Sully. But --- no - she knew that was not fair to Sully. Mulder was impressed by this beautiful teenager. He even had a passing thought or two - maybe in five years or so - he might come courting! After all, he WAS stuck here. His passing thoughts were interrupted by Sully, who said "I've been searching everywhere for you! A friend of mine - an Indian named Cloud Dancing --- needs to talk to you."

Mulder walked into the encampment - pretty much as he expected an Indian village to be, right down to the tepees. But - NO - these people were people of dignity, and an inner peace. Something he hadn' t expected. He and Sully entered Cloud Dancing's tent. Mulder was all ready to say "HOW!" when Cloud Dancing broke the ice, speaking in only slightly accented English. "So you are the man from the future!" "OH F___!!!" Mulder thought to himself - "how many people has Colleen talked to?!" He asked Cloud Dancing "Where did you hear this? from Colleen?" He replied thoughtfully "The great spirits told me in a dream." Interested now, Mulder asked "Who ARE these great spirits?" The wise old medicine man told him "For many generations, my ancestors have known the great spirits. We appointed medicine men to talk to them. In the beginning, my people worshipped them as gods, gods to be feared. But after many years, they discovered that the spirits were not gods. They were not men, either, but they were not gods. We learned that they speak to us in visions. They are very old, and very wise. If we listen to them, they can teach us." "What do they teach you?" an entranced Mulder asked. "Many things. It is said that they taught us to hunt buffalo, to plant corn, what herbs and medicines to use to heal ourselves, when to move our village to follow the rains. They spoke to me of YOU last night." Mulder was totally focused by now, and sat silently as Cloud Dancing continued. "They teach us that all of nature is interconnected, that all of us have a place in it. Your place is back in your own time, not here. They will return you soon, but they wanted you to know before it happened." "Wait a minute" - Mulder said - ready now to bare his soul "what about Scully? They just take me back and leave her here?" "The spirits lack the power to return her, but they taught me a way that may work. They told me to prepare forbidden herbs for her. We are to conduct a ceremony that has not been conducted by my people in 500 years. This is forbidden knowledge to all but the most holy medicine men, because it is POWERFUL magic. We are to perform this ceremony on Scully, to return her to you in her proper place, so that all of nature can be restored to its proper place. It is bad to use the forbidden magic. But it is much worse to leave Scully our of her place in nature." "Wait!" , Mulder said, "I have questions!" " The great spirits expected this, and will allow me answer all that you ask!" "Are they men from other worlds?" "they are creatures of the sky, who fly freely among the stars." "Are they responsible for abducting other people, and what about Matthew's cattle?" "yes - they seek to learn about us. Many of my people have been taken. It is considered a great honor. Those taken return to become holy men and women. Their babies become chiefs. They take animals, too. I have spoken to them already of Matthew's cattle, they were not aware that this affects his livelihood, and have promised to take no more of his herd." Mulder realized this was his chance to communicate with the aliens about Samantha. "My sister was taken, and they have not returned her. They don't understand - she is too young to do what they want!" "I did not know this. I will speak to them in my next vision." Mulder pondered the possibilities - Samantha returning - as an 8 year old - now instead of being her best friend, he would have to act as a father. F--- them! He had lost his best friend forever, and it was their fault! But - now he had Scully, so would it matter? Or did he have Scully? Some ancient herb brew and Indian magic? It didn' t seem like much hope at all. Mulder - at one time brimming with questions that would take all night, could only remember one now (perhaps by design). "Why do they make circles in the fields?" "Why do we paint pictures?" Cloud Dancing countered. "We paint as ART. Flying through the sky from star to star is freedom to fly by making designs in the fields. It has no other meaning."

Cloud Dancing, Mulder, Scully, Dr. Mike, and Colleen went to the clinic the next day. Scully had politely sat through the Indian ceremony the night before, wearing feathers and a not so stylish but VERY well fitting Indian costume. She looked ridiculous, she lamented. Dr. Mike had confirmed that she had delivered a baby within the past week - by the most careful cesarian section she had ever seen. Scully's description of beams of light that cut her sounded too fantastic to be true, but no knife could have made such a fine incision. After Dr. Mike had talked to Cloud Dancing, he had agreed that the ceremony should end and Scully should rest. The herbs and medicines could be given to her any time after the ceremony ---- Dr. Mike had insisted on taking some and testing them for toxicity - aided by a VERY SKEPTICAL Dr. Scully! Mulder enjoyed watching them work together. Dr. Mike and Scully knew exactly what was going to happen if she took these herbs. "Mulder - we have completed our analysis. These are neural toxins, and if not given in precise doses - they can cause DEATH. At the very least, they will depress the body's autonomic responses to the point of paralysis - deeper than the deepest coma." Mulder said "what Cloud Dancing has described to me is a state os suspended animation. From what he says, you will not age - COMPLETE metabolic stasis. Long ago, the Indians used to do this as a part of their burial rituals, then as they perfected the mixture, they would put each other under suspended animation for weeks, sometimes months at a time. While they were under - they would have dreams and visions. That is why they did it. But nobody has been put under for anything approaching 110 years - it is not going to WORK Scully! I will stay here with you - make some kind of life for myself, you can be a doctor ----" "NO! Mulder - our place is back in the future. You heard Cloud Dancing - the aliens are going to take you back. I WON'T live here by myself - I would be lost here without you. Do n't you understand - I need your friendship to survive. That s why the aliens brought you here. They knew I would DIE without you!" Dr. Mike said "I can't sanction this. It is suicide!" Cloud Dancing said "Dr. Mike, many times I have brought you Indian medicine, and you have found it to be good. Have you ever found it not to be good? This knowledge has been forbidden to my people for many years. Yet it was returned to me, for this situation. I cannot deny the power of the great spirits who have guided my people. If she does not return to her time, all of nature, including my people, will suffer." "Very - well" Dr. Mike said, not sounding very convinced.

Let's be sure we understand how this has to work!" a very practical Mulder said. "Dr Mike -Michaela - I am assuming that this clinic will form the basis of the Colorado Springs hospital of the future. And you will be the founder. You will have a patient - Dana Scully - in a coma - in a private room. For the rest of your life, moving her from building to building as the hospital and town grow. Colleen - you will probably follow in your mother s footsteps. You must be sure that patient Dana Scully, in a coma, is moved from building to building as the hospital is moved. I know even you won't survive until 1994, but you MUST pass the story on, in confidence, to your children, as they must pass it to their children. In the year 1994, patient Dana Scully must be transferred to the hospital I designated. Her records MUST be altered to adjust her age, no one nurse should be allowed to treat her for an extended period. All of her records must be destroyed prior to her leaving Colorado Springs for the other hospital. How and why she got there MUST be a total mystery!" Cloud Dancing warned them "The spirits told me this medicine is powerful, but this is almost too much for its magic. She will be close to death. She will remember nothing of this. When you are returned to your home, you , too will remember nothing of your visit here." "Let's do it!" - Scully said.

Mulder bent over Scully as she was drifting off to sleep Mulder, I want you to know one thing - in case I don't make it." "What?" "I'm sorry - that I don't love you - like a woman loves a man --" "Scully - I don't expect you to. I never did." Scully replied "I love you - as much as my father -- who I lost." "And I love you - as much as Samantha - who I have lost." Mulder said as she lost consciousness.

The clinic front door burst inward - Hank, Jake, Loren, Horace and another man burst in the room. "Where is Mr. Mulder?" Hank rudely asked Dr. Mike. "We have a warrant for his arrest - from the federal government!" Horace said. "On what charge?" Dr. Mike asked. "Counterfeiting!" Horace said. "The United states treasury heard about those funny coins he had with Abraham Lincoln on them, and they want to ask him some questions!" "Yeah and the reward is pretty good, too!" Jake said. "He is upstairs" Dr, Mike said, annoyed. "Here he comes now!" "It's OK - I'll go with you peacefully" Mulder said, trying to protect Scully. At the jail, they were quick to relieve him of his gun, wallet, ID badge, the curious box with numbered buttons on it, and especially his money, which produced quite a stir. As they gathered around to examine it, they failed to notice a white glow from the cell behind them. "Pretty good job of counterfeiting, Mr. Mulder" Hank said as they turned around - to confront an empty cell. Alarmed, they burst form the building - to an empty street. The fifth man lit a cigarette, and asked to see all of the coins. He took them and sealed them in a strange envelope that they could see through. "Hey - let me see that!" Loren said. "Sorry, government evidence!" the man smoking the cigarette said. He deposited it in a yellow paper envelope with the words TOP SECRET - EYES ONLY written on it. "What about the lady in Dr. Mike's clinic?" Hank asked. After reflecting over several puffs on his cigarette "Leave her there" the mysterious stranger said. He mounted his horse - and left town never to be seen in those parts again ---

Mulder awoke with a single fixation - HE KNEW WHERE SCULLY WAS! -------------


----- with apologies to the following (for blatant rip-offs of ideas) Earth 2, other X-Files fanfic, an old animated Star Trek episode, Somewhere in Time, and Space 1999.