Episode Summary

An ancient artefact is unearthed but the search for its meaning takes a grave toll on agent Mulder.

Part one of three

Episode Details


Guest Cast


Scully: [voiceover] From space, it seems an abstraction — a magician's trick on a darkened stage. And from this distance one might never imagine that it is alive. It first appeared in the sea almost four billion years ago in the form of single-celled life. In an explosion of life spanning millions of years, nature's first multicellular organisms began to multiply... and then it stopped. 440 million years ago, a great mass extinction would kill off nearly every species on the planet leaving the vast oceans decimated and empty. Slowly, plants began to evolve, then insects, only to be wiped out in the second great mass extinction upon the Earth. The cycle repeated again and again. Reptiles emerging, independent of the sea only to be killed off. Then dinosaurs, struggling to life along with the first birds, fish, and flowering plants — their decimations Earth's fourth and fifth great extinctions. Only 100,000 years ago, Homosapiens appear — man. From cave paintings to the Bible to Columbus and Apollo 11, we have been a tireless force upon the earth and off cataloguing the natural world as it unfolds to us. Rising to a world population of over five billion people all descended from that original single cell, that first spark of life. But for all our knowledge, what no one can say for certain, is what or who ignited that original spark. Is there a plan, a purpose or a reason to our existence? Will we pass, as those before us, into oblivion, into the sixth extinction that scientists warn is already in progress? Or will the mystery be revealed through a sign, a symbol, a revelation?

Dr Merkmallen: Dr Sandoz? Professor Sandoz, I'm Solomon Merkmallen.

Dr Barnes: Dr Merkmallen. My God, I thought something had happened to you.

Dr Merkmallen: Oh. Did you not get my message? We were delayed in Frankfurt.

Dr Barnes: Look, the important thing is you're here now, and you're safe.

Dr Merkmallen: Yes.

Dr Barnes: Uh... you brought me something — this, uh... this discovery of yours.

Dr Merkmallen: Yes.

Dr Barnes: I'm quite anxious to see it.

Dr Merkmallen: I was concerned I might be relieved of it in customs. There was some trouble with the X-ray machine in Germany.

Dr Barnes: What kind of trouble did you have?

Dr Merkmallen: I told you of its power.

Dr Barnes: Yes, of course.

Dr Merkmallen: My credentials were the only thing that prevented me from being further detained. [As Dr Merkmallen unwraps the artefact the monkeys in the lab go berzerk] I can't explain how it is... but the two pieces have become one. I was hoping they'd match the piece that you've found so that you might see for yourself its magic.

Dr Barnes: Have you had any luck reading it?

Dr Merkmallen: You're not Dr Sandoz, are you?

Skinner: A case like this I, of course, thought of your obvious interest — Dr Merkmallen's views and theories being what they were. I believe Agent Mulder is familiar with his work.

Scully: Dr Solomon Merkmallen, Professor of Biology, University of Ivory Coast.

Skinner: He flew in yesterday from Africa. Two hours later, he was apparently murdered at American University. His body is missing but there was enough blood found on the floor to make a fair assumption. A couple of students also confirmed that they spoke to him when he asked them for directions to find a Dr Steven Sandoz, also a Professor of Biology.

Mulder: Both men espouse a fringe theory called Panspermia. It's the belief that life originated...

Scully: ...elsewhere... in this universe.

Skinner: You've heard of this?

Scully: Yeah. It's the idea that Mars or other planets were habitable long before Earth and that, uh, cosmic collisions on these planets blasted microbes into our solar system — some of which landed and flourished here.

Skinner: You'd accept that as plausible?

Scully: Well, almost any scientist would... theoretically. I mean, it's just a theory. That's about it, though. You don't think this has anything to do with his death, do you?

Skinner: Dr Merkmallen found an artefact in his country. This is a rubbing of that artefact. He claimed it contained a message — not only of his Mars theories but the very meaning of human existence.

Scully: Much less plausible.

Mulder: Dr Sandoz, the man he'd come to meet, made a similar claim in a... science... journal. He said he'd found an artefact that was almost identical to that with similar writings on it.

Scully: And what was it supposed to say?

Mulder: Well, we'd have to ask Dr Sandoz that.

Scully: Well, why don't we?

Mulder: We can't. He's missing.

Scully: What are we doing, Mulder? This is a police matter at best.

Mulder: Skinner wants us on the case.

Scully: Are you going to try and convince me that you have no personal interest in this case?

Mulder: I am just a hired gun for the FBI.

Scully: Oh, come on.

Mulder: What if there's something to this?

Scully: Two men suggesting that we're all Martians. Now why would they possibly come into foul play?

Mulder: That's what we're being asked to figure out.

Scully: I don't understand you, Mulder. You're willing to pursue any case involving aliens no matter how tenuous the connection. There has to be some limit to your interest... I mean, this endless pursuit of the truth, Mulder, it just... it doesn't make any sense to me now. [Mulder barely hears her through a cacophony of sound] Mulder? Did you hear a word of what I just said?

Mulder: No.

Scully: No? Well, maybe you didn't want to hear it.

Mulder: No... I couldn't hear it.

Scully: Mulder... look, after all you've done, after all you've uncovered — a conspiracy of men doing human experiments, men who are all now dead — you exposed their secrets. I mean, you've won. What more could you possibly hope to do or to find?

Mulder: My sister.

Mulder: I'm Fox Mulder with the FBI.

Dr Barnes: I'm Dr Barnes, head of the department. They've asked me to suspend classes and organise interviews with the faculty.

Mulder: Any ideas yourself about what happened here?

Dr Barnes: There's plenty of speculation.

Mulder: About the missing Dr Sandoz?

Dr Barnes: Apart from his laughable ideas my colleague was capable of almost anything to advance his rather questionable reputation.

Scully: Capable of murder?

Dr Barnes: Dr Sandoz's notes are full of talk about an artefact coming over from West Africa but like the man who was bringing it that artefact has yet to be located.

Scully: Are you, uh, speaking of this? [Scully hands Dr Barnes the rubbing of the artefact. Mulder once again hears a cacophony of sound and leaves the room] Mulder?

Dr Barnes: Do you know Dr Sandoz believes this writing was from aliens? These are trivial men. They have no patience for the scientific process. They're happy to read their names in the tabloids. Pseudoscientists. Beyond embarrassment.

Scully: What is it, Mulder?

Mulder: I don't know. It's, uh... a hollow noise. The same thing that happened to me at work in the elevator this morning.

Scully: Do you have a fever?

Mulder: No. This is going to sound weird but I think it's that thing. [The rubbing of the artefact]

Scully: You're not kidding. It's just a piece of paper.

Dr Burks: I recognise the ideography.

Scully: [to Mulder] You're late.

Mulder: I'm sorry. I thought this was my office.

Dr Burks: Fox.

Scully: I called Chuck as I knew you would, for authentication, and to get his professional opinion on how you say it's affecting you.

Dr Burks: Fascinating, Mulder.

Mulder: You don't believe it, Chuck?

Dr Burks: No, no. You know me. This is right up my twisted little alley. So, uh... what exactly are you experiencing?

Mulder: Noise. Aural dissonance. It comes and it goes.

Scully: Is it happening right now?

Mulder: No, but it was a few minutes ago.

Dr Burks: And it's only affecting you, triggered by the rubbing. Wow. That blows me away.

Mulder: Why?

Scully: Because the rubbing is a fake and I'm not the first one to say so.

Dr Burks: The writing is Cree — phonetic Navajo — but no literal interpretation makes any sense.

Scully: And the fact that it was found in Africa makes it all the more suspicious as a fabrication.

Mulder: Suspicious of what?

Dr Burks: Do you know what a Magic Square is?

Mulder: Yeah. It has to do with the occult.

Dr Burks: Right. Very cool. They first appear in the ninth century in history but, uh... as the story goes, God himself instructed Adam in their use and then handed down the secret to all his saints and prophets and wise men as a way of trapping and storing potential power to the person whose name or numerical correlative exercises that power.

Mulder: That's what this thing is?

Scully: Well, that's what someone would have you believe this is.

Mulder: How do you know that?

Scully: As it turns out neither of us had to go very far to find out. [Scully puts a magazine article by Dr Barnes up on the projector. Science Update — God Spelled Backward — Manufacturing Religious artefacts for Fun and Profit] Barnes documented Sandoz's fakery once before. If he was blunt about his colleague when we met him, in here, he is downright brutal.

Mulder: Does he back any of that up?

Scully: Well, it's quite scholarly, actually.

Dr Burks: Barnes has made something of a career exposing science and religious fraud. Name your wonder of the world — he's been there, debunked that.

Mulder: Yeah, but wouldn't it be in his great interest to hide something that he couldn't disprove with his scholarship?

Scully: Well, Mulder, if it were real then why would an American Indian artefact be fused in rock on the west coast of the African continent?

Mulder: In 1996, a rock from Mars was found in Antarctica. How did it get there?

Scully: It was from outer space.

Dr Burks: Begs the question, doesn't it? Why produce a fraud with Navajo writing... in Africa?

Scully: You're in pain.

Mulder: No, no, it's going away.

Scully: Mulder, whatever is causing this I think it needs immediate attention. I'm going to schedule you an imagining scan.

Mulder: No, I'm okay. I really am.

Scully: Mulder, you're not okay. If nothing else, you should be at home in bed.

Mulder: I'm not going home to bed, Scully. I think I know what's causing this, and I know what happened to those two professors and that artefact. I got a sense of it yesterday, when I met that man Barnes.

Scully: You had a sense of it?

Mulder: Yes. This man Solomon Merkmallen is dead. Barnes knows it. He killed him — killed him in that lab.

Scully: Well, I hope you're not going to suggest that we arrest him on that rather baseless assumption.

Mulder: No, I'm not... not until after I show you what he did with the body.

Mulder: Whatever happened to Dr Sandoz, he certainly liked to fly south for the winter — a lot. Gallup, New Mexico — Navajo country.

Scully: Well, I think I know who he was going to see. [Looking at a photo of Dr Sandoz and Albert Hosteen]

Mulder: That's Albert Hosteen.

Scully: Your World War II code-talker.

Mulder: Maybe he was using him to read the symbols on the artefact.

Scully: Or write them. Mulder, you also said that we'd find a body. Care to make good on that prediction? [Mulder heads into the kitchen]

Mulder: Scully, you packing any latex?

Scully: No. Why?

Mulder: Doesn't it smell like somebody forgot to take out the garbage? [Mulder opens the garbage compactor and exposes Dr Merkallen's dismembered body]

Scully: Oh, God.

Skinner: So you think Dr Sandoz is innocent?

Mulder: He's afraid for his life because of what he knows and what he has.

Skinner: This?

Mulder: A genuine artefact — one of several pieces of an unknown whole. Dr Barnes has one now, too. That's why he killed Solomon Merkmallen.

Skinner: But, the way his body was disposed of...

Mulder: ...was to incriminate Sandoz, to make him look like the killer. It's also to hide something. Something that no one would think to look for. [Mulder starts to lose focus] Scully, could you please tell... what your medical exam found in the lab report?

Scully: Parts of his body were missing — his arms, his hands, uh, parts of his vital organs and his thyroid.

Mulder: All of which would retain telltale traces of radiation.

Skinner: Radiation from what?

Mulder: The artefact.

Scully: On Agent Mulder's urging I ran tissue samples through what's called a charged particle directional spectrometer. There were traces of a kind of radiation called CGR.

Mulder: Cosmic Galactic Radiation. It's a type of radiation that's found only outside our solar system.

Skinner: Agent Scully?

Scully: I don't know how to explain it but I feel that we can make an arrest.

Mulder: Oh, forget the arrest. We got to find these artefacts. [He hears the cacophony get louder and grabs his head in pain]

Skinner: Agent Mulder?

Mulder: There someone else on this case, sir.

Skinner: Excuse me?

Mulder: There's someone else on this case — you're not telling me.

Skinner: What's the hell's he talking about?

Mulder: I hear it... in my head.

Scully: Mulder, let's go.

Scully: Mulder, you're losing it.

Mulder: No, I'm not. Listen to me — he's not telling the truth. I'm hearing people. He's spying on us.

Scully: Mulder, you need to see a doctor.

Mulder: I need to find those artefacts.

Scully: I'll find the artefacts. You need to go home right now. Mulder...?

Dr Barnes: Are you the man who called?

Krycek: Dr Barnes...

Dr Barnes: Yes.

Krycek: Dr Barnes you and I are... destined to be great friends.

Dr Sandoz: Albert was the only translator who didn't dismiss me out of hand. When I showed him the original artefact he sensed immediately its power and importance. The trouble was, it was only one fragment — not enough to read.

Scully: But then other pieces surfaced.

Dr Sandoz: Dr Merkmallen found two more in the tidal shallows. He sent me a rubbing. Suddenly, Albert was able to make a real translation.

Scully: A passage from the Bible on an artefact that you're saying is extraterrestrial. [And God said unto them be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth and subdu it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that movith upon the Earth] And, uh, how did the aliens get it?

Dr Sandoz: They gave it to us. The text came from them. I can prove it. It's written here. I'm sure of it. [He pulls out another fragment of inscribed metal and sets it down] Albert was working to translate another section when his health turned.

Scully: And, uh, this was going to tell us what?

Dr Sandoz: I don't know yet. Albert said it just seemed to be random letters. [The artefact begins spinning, Scully glances under the table, then slaps her hand down on it to stop it from spinning]

Scully: [on phone] I'm in New Mexico, with, uh, with Dr Sandoz.

Mulder: Does he have the artefact?

Scully: Mulder, this, uh, artefact if I'm to believe what I'm being told about it...

Mulder: What?

Scully: It has a passage on it from Genesis.

Mulder: Scully, that artefact is extraterrestrial.

Scully: Mulder, it can't be.

Mulder: Did you know what that would mean?

Scully: No, it would mean nothing, Mulder.

Mulder: No, it would mean that our progenitors were alien, that our genesis was alien, that we're here because of them; that they put us here.

Scully: Mulder, that is science fiction. It doesn't hold a drop of water.

Mulder: You're wrong. It holds everything. Don't you see? All the mysteries of science everything we can't understand or won't explain, every human behaviourism — cosmology, psychology, everything in the X-Files — it all owes to them. It's from them.

Scully: Mulder, I will not accept that. It is just not possible.

Mulder: Well, then, you go ahead and prove me wrong, Scully.

Scully: [voiceover] It began with an act of supreme violence — a big bang expanding ever outward, cosmos born of matter and gas, matter and gas, ten billion years ago. Whose idea was this? Who had the audacity for such invention? And the reason? Were we part of that plan ten billion years ago? Are we born only to die? To be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth before giving way to our generations? If there is a beginning, must there be an end? We burn like fires in our time, only to be extinguished, to surrender to the elements' eternal reclaim. Matter and gas... will this all end one day? Life no longer passing to life, the Earth left barren like the stars above, like the cosmos. Will the hand that lit the flame let it burn down? Let it burn out? Could we, too, become extinct? Or if this fire of life living inside us is meant to go on, who decides? Who tends the flames? Can he reignite the spark even as it grows cold and weak?

Skinner: [on phone] It's Skinner. Where are you?

Scully: I'm with Dr Sandoz.

Skinner: Where?

Scully: In Gallup, New Mexico. Where are you?

Skinner: A hospital in Georgetown. I'm calling with some bad news. Mulder's in serious condition here.

Scully: What happened to him?

Skinner: Nobody knows, Agent Scully. You should do whatever you can to get here as soon as possible.

Scully: They just told me he's in the special psychiatric unit.

Skinner: I told you on the phone...

Scully: No, you said that there was bad news. You didn't tell me what was wrong. Look, I'm sorry. It just took me three flights to get here.

Skinner: I don't know what to do, Dana. No one else does, either. I knew you'd want to be here to see him, to talk to the doctors.

Scully: What? What is it? [They enter a room where Diana Fowley is standing in front of several monitors of patients, including Mulder, in psychiatric cells]

Fowley: Thank you for coming. He was asking for you last night.

Dr Harriman: You really shouldn't be in here.

Scully: What's wrong with him? This man right here, Fox Mulder? [Mulder faces the camera and begins screaming Scully's name]

Dr Harriman: We don't know what's wrong with him and we don't know what to do for him. He's got extremely abnormal brain function but there is no signs of stroke. We're waiting to run more tests.

Scully: Waiting for what?

Dr Harriman: He's extremely violent. With what we've given him he should be in a barbiturate coma but there's brain activity in areas we've never seen before.

Scully: I want to talk to him.

Dr Harriman: No, he's a danger to anyone.

Scully: Not to me.

Fowley: [to Scully] Can we speak in the hall?

Scully: About what?

Skinner: Agent Scully.

Fowley: When did all this start?

Scully: When we took this case... when Skinner gave it to us.

Fowley: What kind of case is it?

Scully: Investigation into a murder.

Fowley: Of whom?

Skinner: The case has nothing to do with what's happened to him.

Fowley: Agent Scully says it does. Now, you know my background, my previous work on the X-Files. If I can help on this case...

Skinner: The X-File here is a fraud. Scully has ample proof of that — evidence authenticated by a scholar and authority.

Scully: I never sent you that report.

Skinner: Anyway, the case is being resolved.

Fowley: Not as far as it affects Agent Mulder. If you know what's happening, why won't you tell me?

Scully: Why were you with him last night?

Fowley: He called me. I found him in a university stairwell. He could barely speak. He said I was the only one who'd believe him — about an artefact.

Scully: You're a liar.

Skinner: Scully!

Scully: You're both liars.

Scully: [answering phone] Hello.

Dr Sandoz: Agent Scully, Dr Sandoz. I'm sorry, I didn't know how else to reach you. There's something...

Scully: Dr Sandoz, I don't know if this is a secure line.

Dr Sandoz: Yes, all right, but I realised something. The letters Albert translated on the artefact... I know what they are.

Scully: What they are?

Dr Sandoz: Yes. They're co-ordinates, Agent Scully.

Scully: For what?

Dr Sandoz: For genes. They're symbols for gene clusters — the human genome. Are you there?

Scully: Yeah.

Dr Sandoz: I think it's all here. The map to our human genetic makeup every gene on every chromosome — proof of what I've been saying. If only we could find more pieces.

Scully: Dr Sandoz? Hello? [She hears a gunshot over the line] Dr Sandoz?

[The phone cuts off. Krycek stands over Dr Sandoz's body in the desert]

[An African man is speaking Swahili and showing the rubbing of the artefact to several other African men]

African Man: It's the same. I'll take you, but they are afraid.

[Scully is led down to the water's edge. She kneels down and brushes the sand away from a much larger metal plate with inscriptions on it. She looks around realising something and slowly stands. She is standing on top of a ship, the very top of which is just visible under the waves]