Title: Impulse
Author: Alien Girl
Written: November 1998
Classification: Adventure & Case...but *definitely* humor!
Rating: G
Spoilers: A few things from X-F: FTF
Archive Info: Anywhere, everywhere and anyhow!
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully and Co. all belong to CC, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network, so they aren't mine, although if they were I'd have a lot of money, and I don't, so there you have it. HOWEVER... Obsidian is my little original special guy, even if he is a former Syndicate Member, so you can't use him unless you ask me first.

Summary: Mulder and Scully switch bodies.....

Author's Note: No, I did *not* get the idea from "Dreamland / Dreamland II", it was my idea, I swear!! Besides, this one is definitely meant to be more humorous. Obsidian comes to be an important guy in later stories. BE WARNED... at one point in the story to almost the end, the pronouns and the names they go with may become a bit confusing! Don't read this slowly! And don't try reading it out loud, or you may end up laughing too hard! (I hope...)

On with the show!


10: 34 P.M.
Monday, November 3rd, 1998
Pentagon, Washington D.C.

The hallways were empty. Of course, no one ever came around here at night anyway except for the oh-so-high-and-mighty navy officers with their all-night meetings, and the meetings always took place on the upper floors. Not down here in the sub-basements.

Juan Rodriguez was whistling "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and sweeping his mop in time with his slightly off-key notes. The young, Hispanic janitor stuck the mop in the bucket of soapy water and continued his sweeping and whistling.

Juan had always considered himself one of the luckiest guys in the world. About a year ago he had been nothing but more than a homeless Mexican immigrant in search of a future. He had been overjoyed when the Pentagon accepted him as a janitor. Most of his immigrant friends were flipping hamburgers or dicing onions at some fast-food restaurant in Arizona. And here he was, getting to work right alongside some top government officials. Sure, he was no soldier or general, but he still felt he had an important duty as janitor. The pay was good, and was given a lot of special privileges just for working at the Pentagon.

The lights were off, and the hallways were dark. He danced a little jig to his whistling, taking his time with the mop. He was in no hurry, and no one really cared how long he took to clean, anyway.

CRASH!

Juan stopped his whistling. He had heard something, like a wall collapsing from somewhere nearby. He glanced around the hallway; it was empty.

There were three doors in the hallway. One was his closet with all his mops and brooms. The other led to the staircase which led to the upper floors.

The third door was one he had never used before. There was no label on the door, only a small sign that read: "KNOW YOUR EXITS: PENTAGON FIRE ESCAPE ROUTE". It showed a diagram of the Pentagon and a red arrow pointing the way out. Juan had never paid attention to it, he assumed it to be another conference room for the officers. But now he was curious. Something had fallen down in that room, but what?

The janitor pulled out a large ring loaded down with about two dozen keys. Half of them he had never used before; maybe one of them could open it. He began trying keys in the small lock. He tried 19 different keys, each one failed. He was about to give up when he tried one more, a small bronze one. The key fit, and the doorknob turned.

Juan felt a strange, inexplicable fear as he entered the room. He felt as if there was some strange, deadly presence lurking behind the door. He took a deep breath and walked inside.

He gasped in shock at what lay within the room. Instead of being a vending room or a conference room as he had expected, an enormous warehouse lay before him. The warehouse was dark, and filled with row after row after row of boxes all shapes and sizes.

Experience had taught Juan not to poke his nose in other people's business. He did not bother to look in the boxes. But what had caused the noise?

Then he saw it. One of the larger boxes had fallen from the top shelf of the warehouse. How had it fallen? He grabbed his flashlight and flicked it at the box lying in his path on the floor. A squeaking noise came from the box.

A small brown rat squeaked in fear of the light and darted away into the shadows. Juan breathed a sigh of relief. That was all. A rat had knocked the box over. No big deal. Just a silly little rat.

The warehouse top shelf was up to high for him to replace the box. He would just put the box's contents back and post it by the door. Someone else would put it away later. Hopefully nothing had been broken. He knelt down and shined his flashlight on the object.

It was a large, black box, made out of some shiny metal. It looked like some sort of radio, except there were no dials or switches or anything. The box was perfectly smooth and plain. It looked like a huge chunk of black marble. He wondered what it was and what it did. Oh well, it wasn't his business anyway. He clasped his hands around the box to lift it up.

The last thing he heard before darkness was his own scream.


9:18 A.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

Washington D.C. Hospital

"We found him just sitting there," the doctor explained. "Security guards tried to talk to him, but he didn't answer. They brought him here."

Scully observed the man sitting on the table at the doctor's office. It was a short, young Hispanic man, probably in his late twenties. The man's expression was completely blank, his eyes staring off into space. Mulder sat in a chair at the back of the doctor's office, watching the man with intense, alert eyes.

The doctor handed Scully a notepad, and she flipped through it. "Name's Juan Rodriguez. Immigrant from Mexico, 28 years old. Worked as a janitor on the basement floors of the Pentagon for about a year. No record of any problems, no health difficulties."

She stared down at the man hard. "What is your name?"

No response.

"How old are you?"

No response.

"Can you tell me what happened to you?"

No response.

Scully backed away from the stiff man with puzzlement. "He's been this way ever since we found him. He doesn't react or respond to anything we say or do. This morning he asked for some breakfast, so we gave it to him. He just ate, then took a nap, then woke up again.

"Have you examined him?"

"Yes, no physical injuries whatsoever, no scars, no broken bones. He doesn't have any allergies or mental problems or whatever."

"What about internal organ scans? Did you check to see if he has any unknown diseases?"

"My assistant is getting the results of those tests right now."

"Who found him?"

"Two security guards. They do rounds on the Pentagon every hour on the hour."

"Where did they find him?" asked Mulder.

"They said they found him sitting on the floor of some Warehouse in the Pentagon sub-basement. He was just sitting there as you see now, staring at nothing and responding at nothing. They said they found some large black box next to him."

Mulder became interested. "Can we see the box?"

"Uh...no. No, you see the security guards gave the box to the Department of State. They didn't give it to me."

Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. "I think it is important that we inspect that object. It may be a link to this man's strange behavior."

"I'm sorry, but I don't know where it is right now," the doctor said quickly.

"Can you at least let us go down to the warehouse they found him in? It may give us a clue on what the box is."

"I'm sorry, but that's not possible. People there have sealed the room off due to"

"Dr. Sanders! Dr. Sanders!" A young male doctor rushed into the office and handed the doctor a stack of X-rays. "I think you should look at these."

The doctor took the X-rays and studied them. Her eyes slowly widened.

"What is it?" asked Scully.

The doctor extended the papers. "Look."

Scully took them and stared. "This man's brain. There's readings...some cells are missing," she gasped with surprise. "Nerve cells are missing. The nerves that stimulate memory, personality, emotion, comprehending, thinking... all gone. Not a single one left."

"What do you mean?" asked Mulder, standing up.

"To put it literally, Mulder, the man's lost his mind. He can't think or learn anything, he has no feelings, no thoughts. Someone has erased every single nerve that enables this person to think."

"Then how come he's still alive?"

"Mentally, he is dead. Physically, he's still alive. The basic instincts are still there. He still can eat, drink and sleep, because the body tells the brain to do these things to keep functioning. But beyond that, nothing. He's like a human robot."

"What could have caused this?"

"There...there are machines that can erase certain cells in the brain, but are very expensive and take hours of time and manpower to operate. There would also be physical proof of an operation, scars, burns. There's none here."

"Could that box have caused it?"

"I don't know. I doubt it. I want to look at it anyway."

The doctor shook her head 'no'. Scully sighed. "Could you keep the man here for a while?" asked Mulder. "I think we should be going now. We'll get back to you later."

Mulder took Scully's arm and pulled her with him out the door.


9:26 A.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

Washington D.C.

"Alright, Mulder, what's this all about?" asked Scully tiredly. She checked Mulder's chair for sunflower seeds before collapsing into it. Mulder flipped through files in one of his cabinets before pulling out an X-file.

"Here it is."

"Here what is?"

Mulder ignored her and flipped through the X-file. "Tommy Barchuck, a private soldier working in the army in the early fifties. At one of the very last battles of WWII, he was called into his commander's base to help carry out equipment for an evacuation. His friend found him an hour later in the base, sitting next to a large black box. He took him to a doctor, but Barchuck didn't respond to anything. He lived out the rest of his life in silence. Doctors determined that it was shell shock or otherwise."

Scully stared at Mulder. "Are you saying that this man is suffering from the same strange mental loss as that Barchuck man?"

"A strange, black box was described at the scene both times, and both men had the same symptoms: expressionless, no reactions."

"Do you think we should make this an X-file?"

"It's worth looking into."

"There is nothing to look into, Mulder. We already know how the man's strange behavior was caused, and we don't have access to the information on how or why such a feat was performed."

Mulder pulled up another chair and sighed. He glanced around at all the papers and folders on his office desk that demanded his attention. "You're right. We'll just let this lay low for a while. It doesn't seem like a terribly deadly thing, anyway, now that I think about it. I've got enough things to do."

Scully smiled. "Oh? Like what?"

"I have to interview some guy from Roswell who claims he was abducted in his backyard."

"You sound doubtful. Can I ask why?"

"I've heard this sort of story a million times over. They're all the same. A colossal waste of time," he groaned and leaned back in his chair. "You know, Scully, there are several times like this one where I wish I was you."

Scully chuckled. "Ditto. I'm supposed to do an autopsy on some victims in a bombing somewhere in Idaho. There's no reason for me to have to do it, the Idaho surgeons are just lazy."

"Well, at least we won't both be bored."

Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door.

"Who is it?" Mulder called.

No answer.

"Hello?"

Still no answer.

Mulder got up and opened the door. There was no one in the hall. Then he glanced down at his feet.

It was a package.

"What is it?"

Mulder picked up the package and lifted it onto his desk. It was heavy. "I don't know. Someone left this here."

"What's the return address?"

"Hmm...it's got the FBI stamp. Must be something from headquarters they want us to look at."

Mulder picked up his pocketknife and cut the package open. Fearing the object might be fragile, he cut away at the box until it fell apart, revealing the thing inside.

It was a large, black box.

The two agents stared in awe at the shiny, metal object laying on the table. It was a perfectly-formed box, made of a shiny, obsidian-like metal and free of any scratches or marks.

"This is it," Mulder finally cried. "That strange black box that Dr. Sanders described to us. The box that was found by the security guards by Juan, and by Barchuck."

Scully had to swallow before speaking. "But what is it doing on our doorstep?"

"Well, maybe the Department of State had a change of heart."

"More like a change of mind...."

Mulder examined it. "Can you tell what it's made of?"

"Marble, Granite, dyed Plutonium for all I know. I have some proper equipment back at my office. If you'll help me carry it down there we could find out what it is."

"Be careful, it was really heavy," Mulder warned. He and Scully stood on either side of the object. "Okay, on three. One...two...three..."

The two placed their hands on the box.

The last thing Scully remembered before blacking out was electricity traveling up her arm and Mulder screaming in pain.

The floor was cold. Scully lifted her cheek off the coldness and coughed with pain and tiredness. She had no idea how long it had been since she felt the shock. She blinked her eyes wearily and gazed up at the desk.

The box was gone.

And something was wrong.

She felt like she had just gained 20 pounds. She was surprised with the strength she mustered to pick herself off the floor. For some strange reason, she felt taller and more muscular. Her vision was still a little blurry, but she could still tell that she was about six inches higher off the ground.

"Mulder..."

Scully clutched at her throat with surprise. Her voice was changed. Instead of being its usual low, even feminine voice, it was a deep bass, her words slightly slurred. As she grasped at her neck, she noticed something else. There was a lot of coarse hair on her neck and chin.

He stomach knotted up in a sudden, growing fear. Her hands wandered to the top of her head. Her long, thick, flowing red hair was gone. In its place was short, uncombed dark brown hair. She stared over at her partner and gasped with astonishment.

She was looking at herself.

Where Mulder should have been standing was her own reflection. The reflection stared back at her with equal surprise.

"Scully!..."

The other Scully clutched at her throat in horrid shock. "Scully...my voice! What happened?"

"Who...what are you? Where's Mulder?"

"Wh-what? What are you talking about, Scully? I am Mulder!"

Scully's jaw dropped. "No you're not! You're...you're *me*!"

The two stood and stared at each other. "This is impossible..." Scully said. "I know I'm Mulder, but I'm looking *at* Mulder. You're *me*."

Mulder, or Scully, stood up. She led Scully over to a mirror on one of the walls. They both stared at their reflections.

"We're not hallucinating. I'm *you* and you're *me*," she said.

"You mean..." Scully gasped after a moment, "we've *switched bodies*?!!"

"No, no, that's impossible," Mulder protested. "It is physically and technically impossible for two beings to replace each other's minds in..."

"Don't give me that, Scully," Scully shouted. "Look at you. Look at *me*! It's so obvious. We both say that we're staring at ourselves. We've somehow switched minds."

Mulder didn't answer for a moment. She wobbled unsteadily on her knees. "I fell...awkward, strange...."

"Yeah, well, that's probably because you're inside my body. I tend to be awkward and strange."

"Would you shut up for a moment?" I'm trying to think," Mulder groaned. She sat back in the chair and looked at her hands. They were definitely her partner's.

"The box!" Scully cried. "That's it! When we both touched it at the same time, I felt a shock. It must have somehow switched our minds." He looked around on the desk.

"It's not there, Mulder," Mulder sighed. "Someone must have took it while we were unconscious."

"Oh, no..." Scully put his head in his arms. He reached for a nearby sunflower seed, popped it into his mouth, then spat it out in disgust.

"What the...they taste terrible!"

Mulder gave him a tired look. "Just in case you've forgotten, I happen to hate sunflower seeds."

"But I *like* them!"

"You also have my taste buds."

There was silence. "That box...drained the minds of Barchuck and Haonhim. Then it drained ours...and replaced it with each other's."

"Mulder...."

"How are *you* going to explain it, Scully? This isn't Science, or if it is, it's Science gone haywire. That box somehow managed to electrically switch our minds around."

"How are we going to switch back to our old selves, if at all?"

"We've got to find that box. If it somehow switched ourselves once, it can probably do it again.. Only problem is, we don't even know where to start looking."

Mulder let out a loud groan. "This is *not possible*, Mulder. I'm supposed to do an autopsy on bomber victims. They're expecting Agent Dana Scully, not Fox Mulder!"

"Well, what about *me*? I have to interview some guy from Roswell. And, no offense, Scully, but your body is just *impossible* to be in. I'm too short, my voice is squeaky and my hair feels weird hanging down."

"How do you think I feel? You have no balance, your body's too bulky! I feel like I'm in some freak Halloween costume."

"I think we need to find that box *fast*!"

Mulder picked up and consumed a sunflower seed. "You know, these aren't half bad."

"Oh, shut up."


9:45 A.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

Washington D.C.

"OOOFF!!"

"Mulder, get up."

"It's not my fault! How the heck do you walk in high heels?! I feel like a ballerina reject!"

Scully picked himself off the floor for the third time. Mulder was getting more than just a little annoyed with his constant tripping over her shoes."

"Try to walk with more grace. You slouch too much. Now come on, we're almost there."

Mulder and Scully walked down the deserted hallway until they came to a small door with a "PRIVACY PLEASE" sign on the doorknob. Scully pressed on a doorbell.

They glanced up at a small camera above the door, knowing they were being watched. "Who is it?" a voice came from within.

"It's us. Come on, open up," Mulder called.

Frohike unlocked one chain, three key locks and two dead bolts before opening the door. Mulder and Scully entered.

"We need your help," Scully said.

Frohike brightened at Scully's appearance. "Help? Of course, my dear, I'd be happy to help you." he led Scully to a nearby chair and sat him down. "Now, what sort of assistance can I offer the lovely Scully?"

Scully glanced with a frightened expression at Mulder, who was smiling and snickering to herself.

"We need you to look up some military projects happening in WWII."

Byers was already at the computer. "Got it. What do you want to know?"

"Look under top-secret weaponry. I mean *top*-secret."

"Do you know what you're looking for?"

"Anything that resembles a large, black box."

"That may take a while," Byers said.

Scully was getting more and more annoyed with Frohike's behavior. "Your hair looks lovely today, Scully."

"And what am I, chopped liver?" Mulder demanded.

"No hard feelings, Mulder," Frohike smiled. "So, what's been happening?"

"Uhhh.............are you *sure* you want to know?"

"Is this what you're looking for?" Byers pointed at the screen. It displayed a blueprint of a plain box and some information regarding it.

"That's it!" Scully cried. "What does it say?"

Byers scanned the info. "Oh, my...experimental biological weapon...origin unknown...composed elements and materials unknown...invented by...classified? Copies, duplicates...none. Supposedly found in the wreckage of a German warplane, attempts to reconstruct weapon in the form of bullets...all other information restricted to all but two people."

Byers leaned back in his chair. "I can get you the restricted info, but it will take some time. Why do you want this?"

"Yeah," Langly added, "what's the case?"

"Mulder, this is getting more suspicious than ever!" Mulder said. "Do you think someone *meant* to get us into this mess?"

Frohike stared at Mulder. "You just called Scully your own name."

"No I didn't."

"But you're Mulder."

"No I'm not, I'm Scully!"

"But *she's* Scully."

"No, *she's* Scully, *I'm* Mulder."

"But I thought you just said you were Mulder."

"I'm not Mulder, *he's* Mulder, *I'm* Scully!"

"*You're* Scully?"

"I'm Scully."

"So *you're* Mulder?"

"I'm Mulder."

"I need to sit down...."

Langly held up his hands. "Whoa, whoa, stop for a minute. Can you explain to me what's going on?"

"We don't know exactly what happened," Scully explained. "But we were both in my office when this package showed up at my door. Inside was a black box; the one I described to you. When we both touched it at the same time, we blacked out. And when we woke up, we were in each other's bodies. That box somehow switched our minds."

The Lone Gunmen stared in shock silence for several minutes.

Then Langly burst into laughter.

"I don't see anything funny about it!" Mulder said.

Langly wiped his eyes. "Good one, Mulder. You had us going there for a moment."

"I'm serious!" Scully shouted. "As much as Scully or I doesn't like to admit it, we've switched minds."

"No, really, I'm serious, cut the joking. You're making my sides hurt."

Mulder lowered her head next to Langly's, hands on the back of his chair. "Listen, you mop-haired freak," her voice was cold and dangerous. "We *are* serious, and as bizarre as it is, you've *got* to believe us!"

"Okay," Langly was struggling to kill a smile. "Prove it."

"Alright, said Scully, standing. "I'll tell you how you guys first met, and how you met me. We all know Scully doesn't know about this."

"Doesn't know about what?" Mulder asked.

Langly's smile half-disappeared. "Byers, how you used to work for the government. And how you met Frohike and Langly at an electronics convention. Byers' run-in with Modeski, and how we got involved in a big cover-up..."

Byers stared and stuttered at them. "H-how do you know about that?"

"I *am* Mulder!"

"Well, you could have just staged it all and told her that earlier."

"But you *have* to believe us!"

"Alright, then," Byers looked at Scully. "If you're really Mulder, then which one of us did you borrow clothes from to get out of the hospital when Scully was taken after the bee sting?"

Mulder glanced at Scully with slight amusement and surprise. "I took your clothes, Byers," Scully finally said.

Langly glanced at Byers. "She's right."

The Lone Gunmen stood and stared with shock surprise for several minutes. "H-how did this happen?" Frohike finally gasped, staring hard at Scully.

Mulder and Scully explained once again the case with the young Hispanic janitor, the black box's sudden appearance and disappearance, and how they had found themselves in each other's bodies.

"Now," Scully said, "what about that info? We need to know about that box, what it is, where it comes from and what it does."

"C-coming right up," Byers stuttered. "This device was something found in the wreckage of a German warplane during WWII. Apparently the people who found it didn't tell the U.S. government what it was or what it did."

"So what does it do?"

"It...it uses electronic impulses to download the nerve cells stimulating personality, memory, thinking, emotion, etc, by contact with the body. Drains them of their minds.

The soldiers who found it brought it back to their commanding officer - along with three men who had already touched the box and lost their minds. No names in specific are listed. The general called in his best doctors and scientists, but they couldn't determine its material or origin. However, the general was very intrigued at how the thing managed to drain the minds of his three soldiers. He ordered his scientists and engineers to make replicas of the material: in the form of machine-gun bullets."

"A bullet that can drain the mind of an enemy!"

"Right. Evidently, he never succeeded. Word had gotten back to the U.S. that some of their military had confiscated a strange object. The general was ordered to call his men back home. The box was brought back to D.C. and hasn't been seen since...'till now."

Mulder tried to run her fingers through her hair, then remembered that she no longer had long, red hair. "That explains the behavior of the janitor," she said, "but not Mulder and me. How come our minds haven't been drained?"

"Apparently," Byers sighed, "it has different effects when two subjects touch it at the same time. It downloads their minds, but *also reloads* them back into the other subjects'. One person: mind is gone. Two people: minds are switched. Three people, four people: who knows? Minds are switched, split, rewired?"

"But," said Mulder, growing all the more tense, "how do we undo the damage and switch back?"

Byers stared at the screen. Well, there's good news and bad news."

"The good news?"

"One of the mind-drained soldier's friends was upset about the encounter. He dragged him into the general's camp and forced him to put his hands on the box. Instantly, the soldier regained all of his lost nerve cells."

"So, all we have to do is touch the box again and we'll switch back?"

"Yes, but there's bad news, too. It says the general was also interested in this event, so three days later, he called back in the remaining two mind-drained soldiers and put their hands on the box. Nothing happened.

The box keeps the mind's nerve cell information stored away, but only for a limited time. After three days the information was erased. A few gossiping soldiers nicknamed it the 'Boom Box' and sent word of it back to the U.S."

"Which means," Mulder concluded, "we have 72 hours to find the Boom Box..."

"...or we'll be stuck in each other's bodies *forever*!"

Mulder and Scully stared at each other, completely terrified. A heavy silence hung in the air.

"Well, you know what they say..." Langly finally said, "the best way to know a person is to walk around in their skin for a while."

Mulder scowled at Langly. "By the time I'm through with you, you'll be lucky if you even *have* a skin to walk around in!"

"Look," said Byers, "we don't have time to argue. I'll start sending out E-mails on the matter. If someone replies, we'll have some sort of lead."

Mulder suddenly jumped. "I've got an autopsy to perform!"

"And I've got an abductee to interview!" cried Scully.

"Oh, no...we can't do any of our work like this! They're expecting us!"

"But I don't know anything about doing autopsies!" Scully protested.

"It's easy. You just cut the guy open, stare at his innards and say what he died of," Mulder said. "Besides, how do you interview an abductee?"

"This is hilarious..." Langly snickered.

"We'll have to go in each other's places. We can't show up at work in the wrong bodies."

"This is too crazy to be real..."

"You guys better get moving," Byers warned. "We'll dig deep; ask a lot of questions. We'll try and find someone who knows who took the box."

"Yeah, well, thanks, guys, I appreciate it," Scully said. He and Mulder nodded and left.

Frohike glanced at Langly. "Do you think Mulder took it personally when I commented on his hair?"

Out in the hall, Scully glanced at Mulder. "Scully?"

"Yeah?"

"You know what I said earlier about me wanting to be you?"

"Yeah?"

"I take it back."

"Ditto again."


9:50 A.M.
November 4th, 1998

Washington D.C.

"I told you!" he shouted. "I told you not to do it, but you did it anyway. Now we have even worse problems than before."

The Cigarette-smoking Man listened calmly to the Dark-haired Man's raving. He had been listening to it for the past 20 minutes.

"Where are they now?" Strughold asked impatiently.

"They've separated. One is heading back to Headquarters. I think the other is going to the morgue." a man watching a video screen said.

"Why?" the Dark-haired Man exclaimed. "Why did you do it?"

"It was a golden opportunity. They need to be eliminated quietly," Cancer Man replied.

"But you didn't eliminate them. We should have studied the effects of it before we tested it on anything. Because of your jumping to conclusions, you've ruined everything."

"So," said Cancer Man, "what are you suggesting we do now?"

"We need to let them have it again - but only long enough to reverse the effects."

"No," Strughold interrupted, "no, we don't give it back. If they find it again, they'll know better."

"So we'll just leave them as they are now? We're no better off than before, probably worse!"

Strughold's thinning patience ran out. "You are forgetting that you have been excluded from the Project!"

"Then why did you call me back?"

"We needed your special insight on the matter," Cancer Man said. "You were the one who brought it back to us in the first place."

"And I told you!" he shouted. "I told you not to try and use it! It was still being analyzed. The complete effects have not been determined yet."

"The janitor was a mistake. Passing up an opportunity is also a mistake."

"Using it was a mistake! We can't use this as a weapon. You can't fire a gun if you can't find the trigger. What if it belongs to Them? What if they find out we've been using it? What then?"

"Nobody's going to find out about anything?"

"So what do we do about them now?"

"Sit back and watch what happens."

The Dark-haired Man glared at Cancer Man and Strughold. "You're fools. Watching them realize they're trapped is getting us nowhere. It all a mistake," he grabbed the door and yanked it open. "And it's a mistake I intend to fix."

The door slammed behind. Strughold glanced worriedly at Cigarette-smoking Man.

"Don't worry. He's not getting the box."


10:32 A.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

Washington D.C. Morgue

"How on earth do you use these?" Scully said to himself.

"Huh?" the assistant questioned.

"Oh, um...nothing. Let's get started."

Scully had watched his partner open up people for years, and he was used to seeing disgusting corpses. But he didn't have a clue as to how to actually do an autopsy. He could only hope that the assistant knew what he was doing.

He grabbed the nearest scalpel and began to cut away at the skin. "Umm...shouldn't we start with the Y-section knife?" the assistant asked.

"Oh, of course," Scully said. Which one was the Y-section knife again? That big one? Scully always made this look so easy. He grabbed a bigger one and began cutting again. The assistant gave him a queer look and shrugged.

'Oooh, Scully, if we ever get out of this, I'll never do another autopsy again!' He though to himself.

Scully carefully but away the skin until it revealed a grotesque collection of inner organs and expanding blood vessels. He cringed at the sight and wiped sweat from his brow.

"Are you alright?" the assistant asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine," he gasped. He took a pair of super-huge tweezers and began feeling around the organs. He couldn't keep this act up much longer. Now what had Scully said before?

"Well...okay. Subject died from concussive organ failure due to the force of an explosion and flying debris."

The assistant looked confused. "Is that all? Shouldn't we continue on with an extensive dematerialization of the lower Respiratory System?"

"I uhhh...don't think it's necessary..."

The assistant looked at Scully quizzically. "Are you alright, Dr. Scully? You don't seem to be yourself today."

"That's cause I'm not - I mean, I'm fine, just really tired, that's all."

"I think," the assistant said slowly, "we should come back to this later."

"Good idea," Scully said, relieved. He tore off the latex gloves as fast as he could and headed for the door.

"I am so glad you agreed to see me," he said. "They said you were the man to see."

Mulder stared thoughtfully at the young man, probably somewhere in his early twenties. The man, claiming to be Billy Bob Dunstan, sifted his hands through his scraggly brown hair.

'Okay, Scully, don't blow it. You've got to think like Mulder. Keep an open mind', she thought.

"Alright. Can you explain to me what happened?"

"Well," Dunstan began steadily, "I was in bed one night when I heard this noise outside, and my dog started barking. So, I went outside, and it felt really hot. There was this big flash of light, and I think I blacked out. When I woke up again, I was back in my back yard."

"When was this?"

"The date? I think about a week ago."

About a week ago the navy had been doing some missile launching practice somewhere in the ionosphere. This man was a complete idiot.

"Can you describe the light? Do you remember what happened?"

"No, I can't describe it. It was like nothing I've ever seen before. I have no idea what happened."

Mulder felt like there were two tiny voices arguing inside her head. 'This man's the most ignorant idiot in abductee history! He needs his story shoved right back in his face.'

'You're supposed to be Mulder! Now think like Mulder!'

'He's a ridiculous lunatic!'

'He needs someone who will understand him!'

"Don't you believe me?" Dunstan pleaded.

"Frankly, Mr. Dunstan, I find your story hard to categorize as paranormal when there are hundreds of more rational explanations for your encounter."

"What?!"

The Mulder voice instantly began kicking herself. 'You dimwit! You just blew it!'

"This is what I get for being stuck in Mulder's body..." she muttered under her breath.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing...nothing. I just think..."

"Oh, so you won't believe me, either?" Dunstan shouted angrily and stood. "They told me you would believe me! Well that's just fine! Go on, laugh, like everyone else. Nobody cares!" With that, he left and slammed the door behind him.

"I can't believe I blew it," she moaned.

'Yes, you can', the Mulder voice said.

"It's bad enough I've got his body. Now I've got his thoughts, too!"


11:21 A.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

FBI Headquarters

"Agents Mulder, Scully," Skinner began, "I've called you here because I am slightly concerned about your recent behavior."

Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. He didn't know, did he?

"First of all, Agent Scully, I've noticed a sudden decrease in interest and knowledge in your career."

"Well, sir, since I am still recovering from my serious health issue from a couple weeks ago and the events that took place during that time, I'm still a little tired and shaky," said Scully, pleased with how he had answered it in such a manner as Scully would have done.

"And what about you, Agent Mulder?" Skinner snarled. "The man you interviewed comes bursting into my office calling the FBI a pack of liars and stiffnecks. He says that you completely blew him off and told him his story was ridiculous. This is *not* what I expected from you, Agent Mulder!"

"Oh, so now the FBI *wants* me to believe in abductions and UFOs?" Scully said. Mulder gave him a punch in the ribs with her elbow.

"I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to Agent Mulder!"

"Sorry, sir..." Scully mumbled.

Skinner lost his temper. "Look, just because you two have been together for five years doesn't mean you can just ignore bureaucratic procedure and do your own thing, which includes postponing required projects, insulting civilians and speaking out of turn!" Skinner began storming around the room, emphasizing his words with sweeping hand motions. "The only reason you're still together is because of the skin on your teeth and my influence!"

"Sir, we would explain things to you, but we don't think you'd believe us..."

"I don't want explanations, Agent Mulder!" Skinner yelled. "I want some results. Agent Scully, I want that autopsy done immediately. And Mulder, I want you to apologize to Mr Dunstan and request another interview. I expect a report on your projects from both of you on my desk by tomorrow afternoon."

Mulder and Scully stared blankly at each other. Skinner groaned and held up his hands. "You're dismissed." They stood and headed for the door.

"And remember," Skinner shouted after them, "I want two reports by tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully you'll be back in your right minds by then."

They left quickly. Skinner slammed the door, then heard Scully begin laughing uproariously in the hall.

"It's not funny at all!" Mulder groaned.

"But it's so ironic!"

"Well, the nonfunniness of it outweighs the irony!"


"Well, look, we can't just sit here waiting for the Boom Box to appear at our doorstep again," Mulder groaned, pacing the floor of her apartment. They had been there for the past half-hour, trying to decide what to do.

"The Lone Gunmen *said* they'd check around for us," Scully protested.

"Oh, and so they're going to call us up right now and say they've found something?"

RING-RING. RING-RING.

Scully and Mulder exchanged glances. Then Mulder picked up the phone. "Hi, this is Scully."

"Scully?" Langly's voice came. "You sound like Mulder."

"Langly, I *am*..."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot," he interrupted. "Hy, Byers has news for you."

Mulder handed the phone to Scully. "Mulder?" Byers voice answered.

"Yeah?"

"Physically or mentally?"

Scully groaned. "*Mentally*, Byers."

"Yeah. You need to check your E-mail. We got a message just a few minutes ago."

Mulder was already at the computer. She flicked it on and displayed the latest message:

DANA AND FOX:

CORNER OF CONSTITUTION AND Washington, TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT. NO WEAPONS. I KNOW YOUR SITUATION.

-OBSIDIAN

"What the...?" Mulder said slowly.

"I know," Frohike broke in, "as you probably guessed, no return address. We received a few prank answers, but this one seemed to be the best lead we have."

"I tried hacking into a few more places for info on the Boom Box," Byers said. "All I know is what I told you."

"Good work, guys," Scully sighed.

"Thanks, we'll keep working on it," Byers finished quickly. There was a small 'click' as he hung up.

"This is great!" Scully cried. "We have a lead. Maybe we can find that thing by Thursday after all."

"Or not," said Mulder worriedly. "This is even more suspicious than before. First a mindless janitor falls into our hands. Then a big black box shows up at your door. We get shocked, wake up, find ourselves in the wrong bodies and the box is gone. Now some guy who knows our first names wants to meet us, and he knows what's happened. What if this is some kind of set-up?"

"Scully," Scully sighed, "who on earth would have anything to be gained by making us switch minds?"

"Maybe," Mulder said, "we weren't *supposed* to switch minds. Maybe whoever gave and then took away that thing *thought* our minds would be drained, just like the janitor's."

There was a long silence. "You know, Scully, you're starting to sound like me."

"Please, Mulder! I'm scared enough as it is!"


11:57 P.M.
Tuesday, November 4th, 1998

Washington and Constitution St. corner

The Dark-haired Man's stride was short and irregular, often switching onto the other foot as if he were trying to stay in time with a marching band. Mulder and Scully were waiting at the lamppost. The night air was cold and misty, giving the meeting an uncommon eerie feeling.

The Dark-haired Man strode up to them. He had short, wavy curls of jet-black hair and bright blue eyes that stared into theirs. "Agent Mulder, I presume," he said, looking in Scully's direction.

"Who are you? How do you know what's happened to us?" Scully asked.

"You may call me Obsidian. If you do as I tell you, you have a chance of solving this problem."

"What do we have to do?"

"Go to the store on the corner of Monument. Ask the owner for the stereo system you reserved. Your name is C.S. Mann."

"Then what?" Scully said.

"That's all I can tell you."

"You know more, don't you?" Scully pestered. "We want some answers! Who sent you?"

"Agent Mulder, our lives are at great risk just being here right now! You should be grateful that I am offering what little help I can give."

"But why are you trying to help us?"

"That is for my own self-interests."

How do we contact you?

Mulder jumped at the sudden sound of Scully's voice in her brain.

"How do we contact you?"

Mulder looked at Scully. Had she just heard what he had just said right before he said it? Or was he just imagining it?

"I'm Agent X with a twist."

I tape my window with a cross instead of an X.

"What?" Mulder said, surprised.

"Figure it out. I can't say anymore. Take my advice. Tomorrow night. Between five and six. Corner shop of Monument. Reservation for stereo system. C.S. Mann. Remember that."

The Dark-haired Man turned on his heel and started back down the street. The darkness and mist shrouded and swallowed him.

10:10 A.M.
Wednesday, November 5th, 1998

Washington D.C.

"I just called Byers," Mulder said. "Nothing new."

Scully groaned. "Ohhh, my back hurts..."

"Why?"

"I've slept on the couch for as long as I can remember and this is the first time it's ever *hurt*."

"So don't sleep on the couch."

"Are you kidding? I *have* to sleep on the couch. My legs ache when I sleep on a bed."

"Mulder, those aren't your legs, they're mine."

"I know," Scully groaned. "I wish there was some way to fix this."

Me too.

"Huh?" Scully looked up. "Did you say something?"

"No......"

"I thought I heard you say something."

"I didn't say anything."

'We've got to get a grip on ourselves," Scully moaned, collapsing into a chair. "I'm starting to hear voices in my head."

"You're delusional, Mulder."

I've heard that one a few times.

"What did you say?" Mulder gasped.

"I didn't say anything."

"Yes, you did. You said: 'I've heard that one a few times'."

"I *thought* it, but I didn't *say* it!"

"I could've sworn I heard your voice say that in my head."

There was a long silence. Then Scully bolted for the phone. "I'm calling back Byers. Maybe he knows about side effects with this thing."

Byers was surprised to hear Scully's voice on the other line again. "Scul - I mean, Mulder? I thought you just called me."

"I know, but I need to ask you about something else. Does the Boom Box have any side effects? Anything that effects the brain?"

"Such as....?"

"Hearing voices in your head?"

Frohike broke in. "Whose voice?"

"Mulder's, I mean...Scul - or...my partner's."

"When did this first start?"

"This morning."

Byers let out a sigh. "I was afraid this would happen."

"What would happen?"

"You see, the Boom Box can't transfer every single nerve cell in your brain. Some are left behind. And by about the second day, the remaining nerve cells start sending electric impulses back and forth between the switched nerve cells."

"Which means....?"

"You and Scully can exchange thoughts. You have telepathy."

"We have *what*?" Mulder exclaimed. Scully was about to explain when he realized that she didn't have to hear what he said on the phone to read his thoughts.

"How long does it last?"

"Until you can switch back."

If we ever do switch back...

Shut up, Scully.

"I don't believe this," Scully groaned. "Scully just *thought* something to me, and I just thought something else back!"

"Expect that," Byers said. "Until you can switch back, you can use telepathy. Now don't worry, it won't give you brain cancer or anything. I'll call you if I find out anything else."

Scully hung up the phone and collapsed back into a chair. Mulder shook her head with worry.

"I know what you're thinking, Scully," Scully said.

"That's *not* even funny, Mulder!" Mulder shouted. "This is too crazy to be happening. Now I can't even *think* without you knowing what's going on. And worse, we might lose our jobs over this mess!"

"Hey...that's a good idea."

"No, it's not! It's absurd, it's bizarre, it's..."

"No, I mean about our jobs. This telepathy thing may come in handy."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, we know that I'm supposed to interview an abductee and you're supposed to do an autopsy, right? But we can't because we're, to quote Skinner, not in our right minds. We don't know how to do each other's jobs."

"So......"

"So we can use telepathy to tell each other what to do while we're doing it. You can tell me how to do the autopsy while I tell you what to say to the abductee."

"I suppose it's worth a try..."

"Unless you'd rather explain to Skinner..."

No, no! Okay, we'll do it."


"First of all," Mulder started, "I want you to accept my sincere apologies for what took place before."

Dunstan looked tired. "Glad to see you've changed your mind."

Ha! Ha! Get it? 'Changed your mind'?!

Not now, Mulder!

"Now, please explain to me what happened again, but talk slowly and describe everything."

"Yes, well, okay...about eight days ago, October 29th, I got in bed around 11:30 or so. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard this high-pitched whistling outside, and my dog started barking. At first I thought it was nothing, but the sound kept getting louder and louder. So, I grabbed a flashlight, slipped on some shoes, and-"

Scully! What do I do after I cut him open?

Pick up the largest scalpel you can find and start poking around for any parts that look split, burned or broken.

"-I saw something shoot over my head, like a rocket! There was this enormous blast of wind that knocked me down. There was a brilliant flash of light and I felt like I went blind-"

His lungs are a bit blackened. Is that good?

Not if you're the guy.

No, really?

Say that you notice exposure to extreme heat.

"-and when I woke up again, I found myself in my front yard."

"Wait...the first time I talked to you, you said you woke up in your back yard."

You're right, Scully. He is an idiot!

Shhh, not so loud!

I'm not saying anything, I'm thinking it.

"I, uhhh...my back yard is connected to my front yard, so I was blown from my back yard *to* my front yard..."

Scully, what does a 15mm syringe look like?

It's the second smallest needle. How do I respond to this?

Ask him what he did after he woke up.

"What did you do after you woke up?"

"I called the police."

"Did they believe what you told them?"

'No..."

What makes him think he was abducted?

"What makes you think you were abducted?"

"I live in Roswell! Isn't that enough?"

He's not an idiot...he's pathetic!

Mulder, this isn't helping...

Does he have any physical proof? You know, scars, burns, probing sp-

Enough, okay!

"Do you have any physical proof of an encounter?"

"No..."

"Any witnesses?"

"No..."

"Any mental or subconscious problems after the experience? Dreams, visions, hallucinations?"

"No, I don't recall any..."

I've said what he died of, I've injected him with something and I think I'm done. Now what?

Just wrap the body up, fill out the papers and clean the tools.

Anything else?

Wash your hands.

And as for Dunstan? Well, you're the brains of this outfit! Literally!

"Look, Mr. Dunstan, I think I should inform you that on October 20th, the navy was in the process of launching test missiles in the New Mexico area. You could have been knocked out by an overhead missile or such other."

"Really?" Dunstan said, dumbfounded. "I-I hadn't thought about that. I.......thank you for your time!" The man quickly got up from his chair and exited with his face flushed red. Mulder groaned and put her head in her arms.

Mulder, he's not pathetic, and he's not an idiot. He's a pathetic idiotic freak!

Yeah, well, at least I got that autopsy done. Do you think Skinner will get mad if you mention that your abductee really was a dimwit?

This is so crazy. Here I am, carrying on a conversation in my head as if I've done it forever, while I'm pretending to be my partner. And all because of some stupid box.

Isn't technology wonderful?

Yeah, I'm thrilled. Are we actually going to follow that weird man's advice?

Unless you want to be stuck in my body forever, sure.

I don't know...I'm just feeling a little...

Paranoid?

I can't wait 'till this is over...

Yeah, I'll be laughing so hard I'll lose my mind!

Mulder...


5:21 P.M.
Wednesday, November 5th, 1998

Corner shop on Monument St.

It was a Radio Shack.

Mulder was just slightly bewildered at the situation. Like last night, the air was cold and misty. The streets were empty, and it would have been dark if not for the bright neon lights of the stores. The two agents slammed the doors of the car and walked up to the lone Radio Shack.

"Look," Mulder said as they neared the entrance. "Maybe you should stay out here until I get back. I think only one of us should go in there."

"Why?"

"Just a hunch."

Scully smiled. "Being in my body has rubbed off on you, hasn't it?"

"No, I just think whoever is expecting us is expecting a lone male."

"Don't worry. I'm not going to get hurt."

"How did you know I was...?"

"I heard you thinking it."

Mulder rolled her eyes despairingly, then walked into the Radio Shack.

The shop was crowded with radios, TVs, VCRs, stereos and all manner of electrical entertainment. A half-conscious teen was slouched in a chair at the front desk, and mumbled some sort of hello as Mulder entered. She strode up to the desk and leaned over to face the drowsy teen.

"I came to pick up that stereo system I ordered?" she asked hopefully.

"Duh....yeah. Name?" the teen muttered.

"C.S. Mann."

"Date you placed order?"

Mulder thought. How long since they had switched minds? It had seemed like years! It this was the box, then...

Two days ago, November 4th.

Thanks.

"November 4th."

The teen scanned a notepad scribbled with writing in what looked like a foreign language. "Right, C.S. Mann, stereo system," the teen reached beneath the counter and pulled out a heavy cardboard box. "Enjoy."

"Thanks," Mulder said, grabbing the box and exiting quickly.

"I've got it!" Mulder cried as she ran to meet Scully. "I've got the box, now we can fix everything!"

"I'm still a little confused, Scully," Scully groaned. "Who on earth would make us switch minds with a black box and then hide it in a *Radio Shack*?! It doesn't make any sense!"

"We can figure it out as soon as we get back to your apartment and get back in our right bodies."

What if it's a bomb?

Why are you using telepathy to say that?

I was afraid someone would overhear.

Don't worry. Now come on, let's go.

They got in the car. Mulder put the box between them, and the car took off down the road.

I hope this works.

Me too.

The car sped downtown for about three blocks before Scully spotted headlights in the rearview mirror. They turned several corners, but the lights still followed.

Scully, I think we're being followed.

Now Mulder noticed the headlights, too. She grabbed the steering wheel and quickly turned onto an empty highway. The headlights were still there, and were getting closer and closer. Scully began to unwrap the box, revealing the shiny metal blackness beneath it.

"What are you doing?"

"I think we're going to need this!"

KA-THUMP!!!

Mulder and Scully's heads reeled back and forth and the car bounced from impact. The glare of the headlights was strong, almost blinding.

"They're trying to ram us off the road!"

"But why?"

"The box! They're after the box!"

The car bounced again; the sound of metal scraping against metal was ear-splitting. The road in front of them swerved and twisted as the car drove off-balance.

Now! We have to use the box now! If we get run off, we don't have a chance!

Another bump.

We'll be killed!

Scraping metal, screeching rubber.

On my count, touch it! One...two...three!

Mulder felt her hands on the cold, smooth metal, but only for an instant. There was the shock of heat and electricity snaking up her arm to her brain. She could hear Scully screaming from agony.

The car bounced once, twice, glass shattered, the road was nowhere. Nothing but dirt and rock and glass and metal. Mulder's voice was screaming in her head for help, confessing everything he ever felt about her, thoughts, feelings exchanged. Help!

Silence. Darkness.

Frohike's face.

"AUGHH!!!"

Scully's eyes snapped open, gasping with shock. She let out a half-scream, and Frohike backed away with surprise.

"Hey, Mulder, she's awake!"

Scully sat upright; locks of long, red hair hanging in her face. Mulder limped over, dressed in a hospital gown, left arm in a cast. He broke into a grin.

"Wha...Where am I? What happened?"

Byers and Langly walked over to her bed. "A hospital, Scully," Mulder answered. "We were in a car crash."

Scully, tried, but she couldn't remember anything. "H-how do you know? I don't remember any car crash or...the last thing I remember is you and me starting to carry this strange box down to my office..."

Langly groaned. "She doesn't remember, either."

"Yeah," Mulder snickered. "Wait until you hear the story these guys have to tell."

"It's true!" Byers protested. "I can't believe you don't remember *anything*."

"What day is it?" Scully panted.

"The 7th," Mulder said, slightly puzzled. "I woke up yesterday, you've been out for a long time."

"It's been *four days*?" Scully gasped. "That's impossible! Only a few seconds ago we were in your office, and..."

"That's not the half of it. Byers is insisting that we switched bodies!" Mulder said.

"We *what*?"

"He says that we came to his place one day, and he said that we had switched minds after touching some strange black box. That we got in an argument with Skinner, I had to do an autopsy and you had to interview an abductee. He even says that we began to use telepathy! Isn't that funny?"

Scully let out a long, low groan.

"And," Mulder continued, "they say that this guy named Obsidian met with us and told us how to switch back to our normal selves. We picked up some weird box at a Radio Shack, and as we were going home we were run off the road. And that's how we ended up here."

Scully stared at the Lone Gunmen. "Are you sure you guys didn't hit your heads, too?"

"As odd as it is, Mulder, it's the truth," Langly said.

"I'm not Mulder, I'm Scully."

"Hey, I thought you were Mulder!"

"*I'm* Mulder!"

"Remember now *he's* Mulder and *she's* Scully!"

"Who's Scully?"

"Oh, no, not this again..."

"Look," Scully held up her hands for silence. "I don't know what this is all about, and I guess I'd rather not know. Please explain it to me when I'm in a better condition!"

"Don't worry," Mulder said, "besides quite a bump on the head, you didn't have any serious injuries. They should let us out real soon."


10:13 P.M.
Sunday, November 9th, 1998
Washington D.C.

Scully was tired. But Skinner, as always, demanded that a report be typed out on what had happened. Although she insisted that she didn't remember a thing, Skinner insisted a report, anyway. She glanced down at her footnotes, then back at the computer.

AS FOR NOW, NO COMPLETE CONCLUSION CAN BE MADE FOR The CAUSE OR REASON OF MULDER AND I'S SEVERE AMNESIA CASE SPANNING NEARLY THREE DAYS. The RESULT OF The MEMORY LOSS IS DUE PROBABLY TO OUR CONTACT WITH The STRANGE OBJECT FOUND IN MULDER'S Office. The OBJECT'S PHYSICAL MAKEUP, ORIGIN AND PURPOSE HAVE NOT BEEN DETERMINED, AND NO ONE HAS FOUND The MISSING OBJECT YET TO ANALYZE IT.

AGENT MULDER IS INTENT ON BELIEVING The STORY SUPPORTED BY SOME OF HIS FRIENDS, THAT The CONTACT WITH The MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE BETWEEN MULDER AND MYSELF STIMULATED AN ELECTRONIC REPLACEMENT OF NERVE IMPULSES IN The BRAIN. The OBJECT, HE SAYS, DOWNLOADS The MIND OF ONE PERSON AND RELOADS IT INTO The OTHER'S, AS WELL AS ADDING SEVERAL SEVERE SIDE EFFECTS, WHICH May INCLUDE TELEPATHY.

Scully sighed, thought for a moment, the continued typing:

I MYSELF HAVE MY OWN DOUBTS ON WHETHER OR NOT MULDER'S STORY PROVES TO BE TRUE. I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT A REPLACEMENT OF NERVE IMPULSES IN The BRAIN AT SUCH SPEEDS AND TECHNOLOGY IS BOTH A SCIENTIFIC AND PHYSIC IMPOSSIBILITY.

AS FOR The YOUNG HISPANIC JANITOR, HE HAS BEEN PLACED IN A MENTAL Hospital FOR SPECIAL TREATMENT. AS OF YET, DOCTORS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO DETERMINE The CAUSE OF HIS STRANGE BEHAVIOR, OR IF The STRANGE OBJECT IS The ORIGIN OF SUCH MISFUNCTIONS. I BELIEVE THAT The OBJECT STIMULATES AN ELECTRONIC IMPULSE GENERating LONG-TERM AMNESIA, WHICH May BE The REASON OF INEXPLICABLE TIME LOSS BETWEEN MULDER AND MYSELF. OBVIOUSLY, MORE EVIDENCE IS NEEDED FOR A COMPLETE CONCLUSION.

Scully saved her work and sighed again. What else was there to say? She needed some sleep, although she didn't feel tired, and-

RING-RING. RING-RING.

"Hello?"

"Scully?" Mulder's voice came.

"Yeah?"

"Check your E-mail."

Scully kept the phone on her chin and began typing again. She was surprised as the latest message came up:


DANA AND FOX:

PENTAGON, LOWER FLOORS. LOOK FOR A DOOR WITHOUT A LABEL, BUT A SIGN. The BOX IS NOTHING, The EVIDENCE IS EVERYTHING. CONTACT ME WITH A CROSS ON YOUR WINDOW.

-OBSIDIAN

Scully gasped. "The man Byers said sent us a message?"

"The same one."

"What are we going to do?"


12:51 A.M.
Monday, November 10th, 1998
Pentagon, Washington D.C.

The hallways were empty. Scully felt a chill run down her spine as they walked briskly down the halls. There was no sound except their footsteps echoing on the cold metal floor. Both of them knew that they weren't supposed to be there. Scully wanted to say something, but their footsteps seemed deafening enough.

She jumped at Mulder's voice.

"Here it is."

It was a simple, gray door, no label, just a sign that read: KNOW YOUR EXITS: PENTAGON FIRE ESCAPE ROUTE. Scully swallowed back a cough.

Mulder jiggled the doorknob. Unlocked. They exchanged glances. Mulder pushed the door open and they stepped inside.

Scully's lower jaw dropped. Mulder's eyebrows raised. They stared awestruck for several minutes before Mulder finally uttered...

"Gone!"

It was an enormous warehouse, the ceiling stretching upwards far out of sight. There were rows and rows and rows of shelves - all empty. Not a single scrap of cardboard was there left in the entire warehouse.

Mulder ran up and down the aisles, searching for anything that was left behind, his arms outstretched in agony. Scully simply stood and stared.

"Gone! It's all gone!" Mulder cried, running up to Scully. "They took it all!"

"What, Mulder?" Scully moaned. "Who are they? what did they take?"

"Evidence...all gone."

"What evidence?"

Mulder stared at Scully. "Evidence of everything. They knew we were coming, and they've moved it all again. ...Evidence of everything! From all over the country, from all over the *world*! Maybe even evidence we found. Maybe even the box!"

"Mulder, please..."

"It's no good, Scully. They were here first. Someone wants to stop us from learning the truth. Maybe even wants to stop us from *trying*." Mulder looked at his partner with sad, tired eyes. "We were so close."

"No, Mulder," Scully sighed. "We're right back where we started, as always. No closer than before."

Mulder's head dropped, his shoulders sagged. The cold and darkness was chilling.

Mulder was about to kick something away, then stopped and picked it up. He stared at it with wide eyes.

It was a tiny glass flask containing the decaying exoskeleton of a honey bee.

The END


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