Episode Summary

A teenage killer eludes Mulder and Scully by moving too fast for the human eye.

Episode Details


Guest Cast


Mulder: Oh. There you are. Heavy traffic?

Scully: Slow going. Let's just say I had ample time to read the police report that you faxed me.

Mulder: Thoughtfully provided by the local authorities even though it doesn't begin to tell the whole story.

Scully: Sheriff's deputy is slain during a routine patrol. It's a tragic occurrence but I don't see the mystery here, Mulder.

Mulder: Except that the deputy was beaten to death by an invisible assailant.

Scully: Yes, but that's according to the young man who's accused of his murder.

Mulder: One Tony Reed, and I'm guessing wrongfully accused. He's an A student moved here a few months ago from Philadelphia. He's never been in trouble in his life.

Scully: Mulder, tell me you've got more than SAT scores to show that this Tony Reed didn't commit this crime.

Mulder: Maybe. Take a look at the body. The former Deputy Ronald Foster. As you can see, the report doesn't quite do it justice.

Scully: Oh, my god, it looks like he was hit with a sledgehammer.

Mulder: Police flashlight. One blow.

Scully: The damage to the maxillofacial bones and the cranium is consistent with a blunt-force trauma, but... I'd say that, uh, Tony eats his Wheaties.

Mulder: Check out the back of his head.

Scully: Ugh. His eyeglasses.

Mulder: Penetrated to the back of his skull. Babe Ruth couldn't hit this hard, let alone a high school sophomore.

Scully: Well, maybe if he was under the influence of PCP or some kind of stimulant.

Mulder: No, his tox screen came back negative.

Scully: Well, even so, I mean, stress and fear may have triggered an adrenaline response which is known to enable feats of near-superhuman strength.

[Sheriff Harden enters the morgue]

Sheriff Harden: Agent Mulder? How long are you planning on being down here?

Mulder: Uh, Sheriff Harden, this is my partner, Agent Scully.

Sheriff Harden: How long you planning on being down here? I'd like Ron left in peace. I don't know what there is to see, anyway. We got the kid who did it.

Scully: Sheriff, we don't mean to second-guess you. We're just hoping to be of some assistance.

Sheriff Harden: Well, I don't need it. I got the murder weapon with bloody fingerprints and once the state crime lab matches that up with Tony Reed, it's open and shut.

Mulder: Well, uh... we're done here. [to Scully] Right? But, Sheriff Harden, you won't mind if I talk to Tony Reed, do you? I mean, it won't hurt your case and if he did do it, you'll want to know why.

Mulder: Well, Tony, this must be your lucky day for visitors. This is Agent Scully with the FBI...

Anthony Reed: I'm not talking any more. Okay?

Scully: Well, that might make things worse and they seem pretty bad already. In your statement you say that Deputy Foster stopped you, but you don't say why.

Mulder: Come on, you were cruising, right? I mean, a small town like this you're not exactly living la vida loca. I know — I grew up in Dullsville, too — you know, nothing to do but drive and park.

Anthony Reed: How long ago was that? Look, don't you think I know what you're doing? You're like the tenth cop who's come in here trying to relate to me till I confess.

Scully: If you didn't do it, it's all the more reason to clear it up.

Anthony Reed: Everything I know is in my statement.

Mulder: Okay, but bear with us 'cause we're old and stupid. How long was it between the time you heard the scream to the time that you found Deputy Foster?

Scully: Tony, you're not likely to get a fairer hearing than this.

Anthony Reed: Maybe ten... 15 seconds.

Mulder: Okay, but you didn't see anyone near the patrol car? You didn't hear anything? And you're still going to stick with your story that you were the only one there. Is that right?

Anthony Reed: I want to go back to my cell.

Scully: 16 years old and his life is over unless he starts telling the truth.

Mulder: If you really think he's guilty, Scully, why don't you ask yourself this: why wouldn't he make up a more plausible cover story? Why didn't he say that, uh, a pickup full of hillbillies drove by and clobbered the Deputy and ran away?

Scully: I'm not saying he's guilty, Mulder. I'm inclined to agree that Tony Reed did not commit murder but I think that he saw the person who did, and he may be covering up for him.

Mulder: I'm not sure there was a person to see. I think there was a force at work here.

Scully: What kind of force?

Mulder: I don't know — some kind of territorial or spiritual entity, maybe. Poltergeists have long been associated with violent acts like this and they tend to manifest around young people. They seem to be drawn to the turmoil of adolescence.

Scully: Mulder. Rather than spirits... can we at least start with Tony's friends? Please? Just... for me? I think there's one person in particular I'd like to talk to.

Scully: Chastity Raines? I'm Agent Scully. This is Agent Mulder. We're with the FBI.

Chastity Raines: Yeah, I remember you.

Mulder: Chastity, what did you and Tony talk about this morning?

Chastity Raines: He didn't kill that cop.

Mulder: How can you be so sure?

Chastity Raines: Tony just doesn't have it in him.

Scully: Do you?

Mulder: Were you there when it happened?

Chastity Raines: Look, I got to go.

Scully: Do you realise that Tony could go to prison for the rest of his life for this?

Mulder: Chastity, if you know something now is the time to mention it.

[Max Harden joins them]

Max Harden: Unless they got a warrant, you don't have to say nothing.

Mulder: Wow, you must be her lawyer.

Max Harden: Let's go.

Mulder: Gee, butting in to our investigation. I wonder what your father, the sheriff, would think.

Max Harden: How do you know who my dad is?

Mulder: You got the same last name. [He points to the name on the front of Max Harden's school folders]

Max Harden: Oh, you're good. We're done here. Come on, babe. [to Scully] You must have been a Betty back in the day. [He leaves with Chastity Raines]

Scully: A Betty?

Mulder: Back in the day.

Anthony Reed: Slow the hell down, man. You're freaking me out!

Max Harden: You ain't seen nothing yet. [He starts to weave the car down the road]

Anthony Reed: Max, look out! [He looks over at the driver's seat but Max Harden is gone. Anthony Reed grabs the wheel, but as the car starts to crash into a tree, he puts his hands in front of his face defensively. The car crashes, and Anthony Reed is now standing a few feet from the wreck, his hands still in defence-mode and frozen in mid-air. He puts them down and stares at the car in disbelief. Max Harden startles him by stepping up behind him]

Max Harden: I'm going to make you one of us... But I call the shots. Always remember that.

Mulder: Hey, Chuck.

Scully: Sorry to make you trek over here for what's probably a glitch.

Mulder: What'd you come up with?

Dr Burks: Nothing but eyestrain at first. Then I ran it through my imaging software. I'm here to tell you, it's not a glitch. It's what the camera saw.

Mulder: Buckle up, Scully. I believe Chuck is about to take us on a ride to the paranormal.

Dr Burks: Well, yes and no. Initially, I was thinking spectral manifestation but, uh, with spirit activity you'd expect to see light streaks, auras, atmospheric disturbances, translucent figures. Whatever this is... it's not a ghost.

Scully: Especially since ghosts don't go around leaving synthetic polymers in their wake.

Mulder: That's what the gunk on the floor turned out to be.

Dr Burks: Ah. I dig a mystery with layers.

Mulder: Chuck, I get the feeling you don't know what the hell this is.

Dr Burks: I cross-referenced the shape's silhouette against every organic and inorganic object in the Library of Congress database. The closest match was a Soviet Acula-class submarine.

Scully: I think we can rule that out.

Dr Burks: And then there's this weirdness. My enhancement brought up this dark edge... around the anomaly.

Mulder: A shadow.

Dr Burks: It would fit with the lighting in the room. The problem is, it can't be throwing a shadow unless...

Mulder: Unless it's a solid object.

Scully: Which is impossible because it only appears for a single frame.

Dr Burks: One-thirtieth of a second. Now, maybe, uh, SCAG can give us a clearer picture.

Scully: Scag?

Dr Burks: Spectrographic colour attribute generator. I'm, uh, beta-testing it for JPL. It's still in the tweaking phase but the basic idea is I assign known colour values onto the black-and-white image. Then SCAG assigns chromatic values throughout the frame in effect, making an educated guess at, uh... what all the colours might be. It still needs fine-tuning. [Purple and yellow streaks appear on the screen]

Scully: What?

Mulder: You recognise these colours, Scully?

Chastity Raines: Hey, Tony.

Anthony Reed: Everyone's looking at me like I'm a criminal.

Chastity Raines: I'm not. I heard you took a ride.

Anthony Reed: What was that? How did he do it?

Chastity Raines: You'll find out.

Anthony Reed: Maybe you were right... About me not being cut out for this.

Chastity Raines: It's a little late for second thoughts.

Anthony Reed: How do I tell Max that I want out?

Chastity Raines: I wish I could help you, Tony. I can't even help myself.

Mulder: I'll show you my theory if you show me yours.

Scully: Based on the eyewitness accounts of the students we spoke to, at this moment, I'd have to say that I don't have one.

Mulder: What about for these globs of goo?

Scully: The ones we found in the evidence room?

Mulder: Yep. I'm guessing Max Harden could tell us how they got there.

Scully: You think Max did this? Based on what?

Mulder: I spoke to a few students myself. Apparently, Max was angry at Mr Babbitt because he failed him on his mid-term exam so he had motive.

Scully: Well, he may have had motive but he didn't have opportunity. There was nobody here who saw him even go near the victim.

Mulder: Maybe he didn't need to. I pulled his records. Rising attendance and discipline problems over the last few months, but look at his transcript. As his behaviour was getting worse his grades were going through the roof. This kid has changed, Scully.

Scully: Well, Mulder, he's a teenager. Everything about him is changing. His body and his brain chemistry is in a state of unparalleled upheaval, plus there's peer pressure and substance abuse. Any one of these factors could alter his behaviour radically.

Mulder: But what if it's given him a kind of psychokinetic or paranormal ability... that allows him to exert force over a victim without ever laying a finger on him?

Scully: That's your theory?

Mulder: Yes, it is. Soon to be proven as soon as I get Max in for questioning.

Deputy: Agent, you needed to speak to Sheriff Harden?

Mulder: Yeah, I want to talk to him about his son.

Deputy: Uh, he's with him now. They're taking him to the emergency room. Max just collapsed in the parking lot.

Anthony Reed: You hear about Max? You okay? Where are you going?

Chastity Raines: Tony, the less you know, the better, all right?

Max Harden: What? No candy? No flowers?

Sheriff Harden: My deputy told me you were coming and why, so you can just turn right around. Whatever the hell happened at that school, my son didn't do it.

Scully: Sheriff, we'd like to ask your son a few questions if that's okay.

Sheriff Harden: The boy's sick. The doctors can't even say what's wrong with him.

Mulder: Max could tell them. You know why you collapsed don't you, Max?

Max Harden: Yeah, too much teen spirit.

Mulder: You think? Smells like murder to me.

Sheriff Harden: Who do you think you're talking to here?

Max Harden: Yeah, it's not like you got a damn thing on me.

Mulder: You got a problem with authority figures, don't you, Max?

Max Harden: If I wasted Babbitt, then how did I do it? Am I like Carrie or something? I used some kind of mental powers?

Mulder: No, something else. You figured out a way to tap into something that gives you superhuman powers. It came in handy with Babbitt and Deputy Foster.

Max Harden: Man, you're whistling Dixie.

Scully: High temperature and heart rate, low blood sugar, electrolytes show acidosis. All of these symptoms are consistent with extreme exertion and withdrawal.

Sheriff Harden: Withdrawal? From what?

Mulder: The rush. I think whatever it is that gives you the power to rearrange furniture and turn a flashlight into a battering ram also gives you quite a buzz.

Max Harden: Well, if I can do all that, then what's stopping me from doing it to you?

Mulder: I don't know. Maybe the effect's worn off. Maybe you need another fix.

Max Harden: Well, as soon as I blow out of here, I'll be sure to get one.

Scully: That's not going to happen any time soon. Your condition's getting worse and we're not going to be able to help you unless you can tell us what's going on.

Sheriff Harden: Boy, is any of this true?

Max Harden: No.

Sheriff Harden: You'd better pray I don't find out it is.

Scully: Hot off the presses. [Max Harden's medical tests]

Mulder: Anything interesting?

Scully: This can't be right.

Mulder: What is it?

Scully: Oh, my god.

Mulder: What?

Scully: Evidence of cerebral lesions from repeated concussions... arthritis in his spine and major joints. Stress fractures, numerous muscle and... and ligament micro-tears.

Mulder: What would cause this?

Scully: In a teenager? I can't even imagine. This is the kind of thing that you'd see in someone who's crashed race cars or played pro football for 15 years. Whatever Max is doing, it's killing him.

Mulder: I think I'm starting to get it.

Mulder: Max Harden's personal effects.

Scully: Yeah.

Mulder: This is it. Those globs we found? This is where they came from. Speed, Scully. Somehow, Max Harden has found a way to move faster than the eye can see. [The bottom of the sneaker appears to have been burned off]

Scully: Mulder...

Mulder: That would explain how Babbitt was killed. It would also explain how a chair and a table appeared to move on their own with enough force to penetrate a wall. Force equals mass times acceleration, isn't that right?

Scully: Yes, Mulder, but it's impossible. The human body just isn't designed to move like that.

Mulder: Exactly. That is, that is why his is falling apart.

Sheriff Harden: You killed Ron Foster.

Max Harden: Yeah, I did.

Sheriff Harden: Why?

Max Harden: I don't know. You want some great reason?

Sheriff Harden: You little son of a bitch! [Max Harden blurs and Sheriff Harden doubles over in pain]

Sheriff Harden: Ow!

Max Harden: He thought he was really something — always liked to push people around. Same as Babbitt. Same as you. I'm not afraid of you any more.

[Anthony Reed bursts into the house and holds a gun to Max Harden's head]

Anthony Reed: I can't let you do this, Max.

Mulder: Yo, Scully... How bad are his [Sheriff Harden's] injuries?

Scully: Well, it's too soon to tell. He's unconscious and bleeding internally apparently from a blow to the abdomen.

Mulder: Yeah. Delivered with this... [Holding a flashlight] Max's weapon of choice against cops.

Scully: Why would he leave it behind? You think he's doing it to taunt the police?

Mulder: No, I think somebody intervened. I think that's why the Sheriff is still alive and why his gun is missing.

Scully: But if he can do what you claimed then... then who could possibly intervene?

Mulder: It's someone who knows exactly how Max does what he does, and someone who's finally standing up to him.

Scully: Tony. How do we find him?

Mulder: Well, I would guess the source where Max gets his power from.

Scully: The woods near where the deputy was killed. You know, Tony never came clean about what he was doing out there.

Mulder: Well, maybe that's why the deputy was killed. Maybe he got too close to the truth.

Anthony Reed: Chastity, we don't have to be doing this. I told you, I took care of things with Max.

Chastity Raines: No, you didn't, and you shouldn't have tried.

Anthony Reed: He was going to kill his father. I had to stop him.

Chastity Raines: You stopped him because he let you. He was slowing down. Tony, you've slowed down, too. If we don't get back to the cave before Max does, we're history.

Anthony Reed: Chastity? Are you okay?

Max Harden: You're late, kid.

Anthony Reed: What did you do to her?

Max Harden: Well, she took a swing at me. You believe that? You got it all turned around. [There's a blur as Anthony Reed is thrown against the far wall. Max Harden blurs again and Anthony Reed's gun is gone] Come on, man. Who do you think you're dealing with? [He tosses the gun into the middle of the floor] All I ever wanted was for you to be my friend, Tony. You stuck a knife in my back. Now I'm going to mess you up.

[Chastity Raines moves slightly, then there is a gunshot. Max Harden yells and freezes as a bullet fired by Chastity Raines into his back explodes out of his chest and slowly travels through the air]

Chastity Raines: I'm sorry, Tony. I can't go back. [She steps in front of the slowly travelling bullet and she and Max Harden fall to the ground dead]

Scully: Did the USGS show up?

Mulder: Yeah. 18 geologists and three semis full of gear. They covered every inch of that cave.

Scully: And what did they come up with?

Mulder: Nothing. Well, bat guano and above-normal magnetic field readings but nothing that would cause a physiological effect.

Scully: What'd you expect them to find, Mulder?

Mulder: I don't know. A vortex, like the one in Oregon. Gravitational aberrations, unique chemical compositions, uh, relics that would indicate that the cave was a sacred site... something, anything. I don't know.

Scully: Well, you and I were both in there and nothing happened to us. We're still slow-poking around.

Mulder: What if we're too old? Well, you said that teenagers differ from adults chemically and physiologically. What if whatever is in that cave affects only them?

Scully: Well, that's doubtful. But no more so than any other theory. I mean, it's worth checking out.

Mulder: Yeah? Well, we can't. As of an hour ago, they pumped concrete into the cave. Sealed it for precautionary reasons. We'll never know. How's he doing?

Scully: Bruises and muscle strains, mostly. He'll recover... go back to being a normal kid.