Episode Summary

Scully has scientific explanations for three separate deaths in which the bodies were covered with cockroaches. But Mulder suspects the insects may not be organic, or earthly.

Episode Details


Guest Cast


Dr Bugger: Behold the mighty cockroach. Believed to have originated in the Silurian period over 350 million years ago, they can be found in every part of the world from the tropics to the arctic. There exists 4000 known species, and in a year a single female can produce over half a million descendants. Radiation doesn't kill them. By evolutionary standards they are merely flawless creatures, but creatures nevertheless. Possessing only a simple nervous system, their behaviour is dictated solely by responses to environmental stimuli. Unlike us, they are incapable of thought, of self-illumination. Compared to the roach, we are gods and must therefore act accordingly. [He stomps on one]

Dr Eckerle: Is it true that if you decapitate them they continue to live, eventually dying of starvation?

Dr Bugger: Look, buddy, I just kill them.

Dr Eckerle: I thought that nowadays you froze the insects to death.

Dr Bugger: Freeze them? Where's the fun in that?

Mulder: [answering mobile phone] Mulder.

Scully: Mulder, where have you been? I've been trying to reach you all day.

Mulder: My apartment complex was being fumigated, so I thought I'd get away for he weekend. I came up to Massachusetts.

Scully: Visiting your mother?

Mulder: No. Just sitting and thinking. Wide spread accounts of unidentified coloured lights hovering in the skies were reported in this area last night. Look, Scully, I know it's not your inclination, but... did you ever look up into the night sky and feel certain that not only was something up there, but... it was looking down on you at that exact same moment, was just as curious about you as you are about it?

Scully: Mulder, I think the only thing more fortuitous than the emergence of life on this planet is that, through purely random laws of biological evolution, an intelligence as complex as ours ever emanated from it. The very idea of intelligent alien life is not only astronomically improbable, but, at its most basic level, downright anti-Darwinian.

Mulder: Scully... what are you wearing? [Scully laughs] I understand what you're saying. But I just need to keep looking.

Scully: Yeah, well don't look too hard. You might not like what you find.

Mulder: Isn't that what Dr Zaius said to Charlton Heston at the end of Planet Of The Apes.

Scully: And look what happened.

Sheriff Frass: How you doing? What are you doing?

Mulder: Just sitting. Thinking.

Sheriff Frass: Sitting and thinking... and talking on the phone. [Mulder nods] Who with? Your drug dealer? Let me see some ID.

Scully: [answering mobile phone] Hello.

Mulder: I think you better get up here.

Scully: What is it?

Mulder: It appears that cockroaches are mortally attacking people.

Scully: I'm not going to ask if you just said what I think you just said because I know it's what you just said. Were there insect bites on the body?

Mulder: Insect bites? No.

Scully: 'Cause you know, Mulder, millions of people are actually allergic to cockroaches. There have been reported cases of fatal reactions, it's called anaphylactic shock.

Mulder: Anaphylactic shock?

Scully: Mm hmm. Many such reactions have occurred to entymolygists or exterminators.

Mulder: Okay, we'll check that out.

Scully: You still want me to come up?

Mulder: No, no, no, I'm sure you're right. Thanks, Scully.

Dr Eckerle: The image of those cockroaches has been permanently imprinted onto my brain. I see them every time I close my eyes.

Sheriff Frass: Try not to close your eyes.

Dr Eckerle: How am I going to sleep? And where? I'm certainly not spending the night here.

Sheriff Frass: Who was that? [on Mulder's mobile phone]

Mulder: My drug dealer.

[Taking a hit of methane]

Stoner: Dude! That's some good crap.

Dude: You really ought to, you know? Try it! This stuff takes your mind and just sort of, you know, expands it.

Chick: Yeah, well, something tells me it's more than my mind you guys are interested in expanding.

Scully: [answering mobile phone] Hello.

Mulder: I take it back Scully. I think you better get up here.

Scully: Another roach attack?

Mulder: Yeah. And this one was no allergic reaction. Two witnesses claim that they saw the victim screaming about cockroaches burrowing into him.

Scully: Are there still insects in the body?

Mulder: We haven't located any yet, but there are wounds all over the body.

Scully: From the cockroaches?

Mulder: Well, the victim did attempt to extract the insects using a razor blade but we're not sure all the incisions are self-inflicted except for the severed artery.

Scully: Was there any evidence of drug use at the crime scene?

Mulder: Uh, well he did have a homemade lab set up, but I'm not sure what he was producing. [Smells the equipment and repulses] Oh man! Smells like a septic tank.

Scully: You know, Mulder, there's a psychotic disorder associated with some forms of drug abuse, where the abuser suffers from delusions that insects are infesting their epidermis. It's called Ekbom Syndrome.

Mulder: Ekbom Syndrome?

Scully: The victim cuts himself in an attempt to extract the imaginary insect. Still want me to come up?

Mulder: No. You're probably right. [A little disappointed] I'm sorry to bother you.

Scully: It's no bother. Bye.

Mulder: I think I killed it.

Sheriff Frass: You didn't kill it. You annihilated it.

Mulder: It must have moulted. It's just an empty exoskeleton.

Sheriff Frass: Well, at least we have evidence that cockroaches were actually here.

Mulder: I think we have more than that, Sheriff. I think that bug's exoskeleton was made of metal.

Dr Newton: After talking with Agent Mulder here I suddenly feel slightly... constipated.

Mulder: I see the correlation, but just because I work for the federal government doesn't mean I'm an expert on cockroaches.

Sheriff Frass: So you're saying, you don't know anything the government's experiments being conducted here.

Mulder: Experiments?

[Mulder loses the cockroach down the drain]

Sheriff Frass: Next time let me handle the roaches.

Scully: [answering the phone] Who died now?

Mulder: The medical examiner. His body was found next to a toilet covered with roaches. I really think you should come —

Scully: A toilet? Check his eyes. Is one of them bloodshot with a dilated pupil?

Mulder: Yeah.

Scully: Well, it's probably a brain aneurysm.

Mulder: A brain aneurysm?

Scully: Straining too forcefully is very common causation for bursting a brain aneurysm.

Mulder: Well, how do you explain the roaches then?

Scully: Did you catch any?

Mulder: ...Almost.

Scully: I don't know what to tell you, Mulder. I just hope you're not implying you've come across an infestation of killer cockroaches.

Mulder: [on mobile phone] Well, that all makes perfect sense, Scully, I don't like it at all. Did you know that the federal government, under the guise of the department of agriculture, has been conducting secret experiments up here.

Scully: Mulder, you're not thinking about trespassing on government property again, are you? I know you've done it in the past but I don't think this case war —

Mulder: It's too late. I'm already inside.

Mulder: [on mobile phone] Nice kitchen. Modern appliances. Moving walls...

Scully: Moving walls?

Mulder: Yeah, they're rippling... [A cockroach drops onto Mulder's flashlight] Oh! Cockroaches!

Scully: What?

Mulder: Cockroaches. They're everywhere. Argh! I'm surrounded.

Scully: Mulder, you've got to get out of there right now. [Mulder yells] Are you all right? What happened?

Mulder: Flashlight went out. [Kitchen light comes on]

Scully: Mulder, what's going on?

Mulder: Got to go. [Hangs up]

Mulder: Well, Dr Berenbaum, I'm going to have to ask you a few questions.

Dr Berenbaum: For instance?

Mulder: What's a woman like you doing in a place like this?

Dr Berenbaum: Well, there have been cases where cockroaches crawled into a person's ear, nose.

Mulder: Nose?

Mulder: [looking at some apparatus] What is that there?

Dr Berenbaum: It's just a pet project of mine. Since an insect's exoskeleton is a dielectric surrounding the conductive medium of its body fluid, when introduced into an electrical field a brush discharge will result in a coloured flare.

Mulder: What's that supposed to prove?

Dr Berenbaum: Well, it's my theory that UFOs are actually insect swarms. I don't know if you know anything about UFOs, but all the characteristics of a typical sighting are shared with nocturnal insects swarming through an electrical air field. The sudden appearance of a coloured glowing light hovering in the night sky, moving in a non-mechanical manner, possibly humming, creating interference with radio and television signals, then suddenly disappearing.

Mulder: Is, uh, nocturnal insect swarms. It's fascinating.

Dr Berenbaum: Everything about insects is fascinating. They are truly remarkable creatures. So beautiful and so honest.

Mulder: Honest?

Dr Berenbaum: Eat. Sleep. Defecate. Procreate. That's all they do. That's all we do, but at least insects don't kid themselves that it's anything more than that. Does my scientific detachment disturb you?

Mulder: No, no actually I find it... quite refreshing. [Mulder answers ringing mobile phone] Not now. [He hangs up without listening] You know, um, I have always found insects to be very interesting.

Dr Berenbaum: Really?

Scully: [answering phone] Mulder, are you okay?

Mulder: I can't sleep.

Scully: What happened out at the USDA site?

Mulder: They're conducting legitimate experiments. I met an entomologist, a Dr Berenbaum, who agrees with your theory of an accidental importation of a new cockroach.

Scully: Did he give you any idea of how to catch them?

Mulder: No... but she did tell me everything else there was to know about insects.

Scully: She?

Mulder: Yeah, did you know that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the scarab beetle and possibly erected the pyramids to honour them? Which may be giant symbolic dung heaps?

Scully: Did you know the inventor of the flush toilet was named Thomas Crapper?

Mulder: Bambi also has a theory I've never come across —

Scully: Who?

Mulder: Dr Berenbaum... Anyway her theory is —

Scully: Her name is Bambi?

Mulder: Yeah, both her parents were naturalists. Her theory is that UFOs are actually nocturnal insect swarms passing through electrical air fields.

Scully: Her name is Bambi?

Mulder: Scully, can I confess something to you?

Scully: Yeah, sure, okay...

Mulder: I hate insects.

Scully: You know lots of people are afraid of insects, Mulder. It's a natural instinctive —

Mulder: No, no, no. I'm not afraid of them. I hate them. One day, back when I was a kid, I was climbing this tree when I noticed this leaf walking towards me. It took forever for me to realise that it was no leaf.

Scully: A praying mantis?

Mulder: Yeah, I had a praying mantis epiphany and as a result, I screamed. And not... not a girlie scream, but the scream of someone being confronted by some before unknown monster that had no right existing on the same planet I inhabited. Did you ever notice how a praying mantis' head resembles an alien's head? The mysteries of the natural world were revealed to me that day but instead of being astounded I was repulsed.

Scully: Mulder, are you sure it wasn't a girlie scream? [A man screams on Mulder's end of the line] What was that?

Mulder: Oh, I got to go. [Hangs up]

Scully: Mu — No... Oh...

Scully: [answering phone] What happened this time?

Mulder: One of the hotel guests died.

Scully: Mulder, I'm coming up there right now.

Mulder: Scully, I think this man died simply from a reaction to the cockroaches.

Scully: Two cases of anaphylactic shock in the same town in the same day is highly improbable.

Mulder: No, I'm saying that I think this man simply had a heart attack. Word about the cockroach infestation and deaths related to it has got out and I think this man simply saw some cockroaches and scared himself to death.

Scully: Regardless, Mulder, something strange is definitely going on up there.

Mulder: Maybe not. All of you conjectures have proved correct. The exterminator did die from anaphylactic shock. The teenage boy did die from self-inflicted wounds and was getting high off methane fumes dried from burning manure. The medical examiner did die from a brain aneurysm.

Scully: I still haven't been able to explain the cockroaches at all the sites.

Mulder: Or the fact that their exoskeletons are made of metal. [Notices an insect trap in the room]

Scully: Metal? What are you talking about? Mulder? Mulder, I'm coming up there.

Mulder: Whatever.

Mulder: Can you tell what kind of cockroach it is?

Dr Berenbaum: I should be able to. The abdomen's still attached and we differentiate species by there genitalia. Oh my god!

Mulder: Is it abnormal?

Dr Berenbaum: I'll say. He's hung like a club-tailed dragonfly. Excuse me. [Moves to microscope to examine the cockroach more closely]

Mulder: Does it still look unusual?

Dr Berenbaum: Well, yes, for an insect genitalia. But maybe not for a microprocessor.

Mulder: Then you're implying that this insect is mechanical?

Mulder: Dr Ivanov?

Dr Ivanov: Why are you scaring my robots?

Mulder: So, this one is just programmed to head towards any object moving within the field of its sensors.

Dr Ivanov: No.

Mulder: Well then why is it following me?

Dr Ivanov: It likes you.

Dr Ivanov: Anyone who thinks alien visitation will come not in the form of robots but of living beings with big eyes and grey skin has been brainwashed by too much science fiction.

Scully: What's going on here?

First Customer: Haven't you heard about the roaches? They're devouring people whole! I'm getting the hell out of here.

Scully: Have you seen any cockroaches yourself?

First Customer: No. But they're everywhere.

Second Customer: Roaches aren't attacking people, Lady. They're spreading the Ebola virus. We're all going to be bleeding from our nipples!

Scully: All right. All right, listen up. I'm Agent Dana Scully from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I am assuring you that you are not in any danger. Everything is going to be okay if you just calm down and start acting rationally. Now where the hell are those road maps?

[Mulder picks up a cockroach in the hall outside Dr Ivanov's laboratory and stares at it]

Mulder: Greetings from planet Earth.

Scully: [on mobile phone] Mulder, this town is insane.

Mulder: Where are you?

Scully: In a convenience store on the outskirts of, uh... civilisation. Look, I think I may have a lead. Remember that Dr Eckerle who was the alternative fuel researcher that witnessed the exterminator's death? Well, the fuel that he's researching is methane gas. Methane derived from manure

Mulder: Manure?

Scully: He has an import license to bring in animal dung samples from outside the country. Now, you can confirm this with your Dr Bambi... but I think that cockroaches are dung eaters and if so, some of them were shipped accidentally in some of the fuel samples. This fuel research facility could ground zero for the infestation.

Mulder: Scully, if an alien civilisation were technologically advanced enough to build and send artificially intelligent robotic probes to the farthest reaches of space, might they not have also been able to perfect the extraction of methane fuel from manure? An abundant and replenishing energy source on a planet filled with dung-producing creatures?

Scully: Mulder, I think you've been in this town too long.

[Scully pulls up at Alt-fuels Inc and notices the occupant of Mulder's car]

Scully: Let me guess... Bambi.

Dr Berenbaum: Fox told me to wait out here while he checked inside first. Should I come along with you?

Scully: No, this is no place for an entomologist. [Checking gun]

Dr Eckerle: Have I lost my mind?

Mulder: No.. You've just had a very stressful day that's affected your ability to think clearly. Your judgement is a little clouded right now.

Dr Eckerle: It is? Then how do I know that you're not a cockroach?

[The alternative fuel building explodes, splattering everything with Dr Eckerle's extensive collection of dung samples]

Mulder: Crap.

[Noticing that Mulder and Scully are both covered in dung]

Sheriff Frass: You two ought to go home and get some rest. You look pooped.

Dr Berenbaum: You know, many insects don't develop wings until their last moulting stage. Perhaps, whatever these things were, they had their final moult and have flown off back to wherever they originated.

Scully: [muttering to Mulder] Yeah, that would explain everything.

Dr Ivanov: May I borrow this, Agent Mulder, for further study? [Desiccated cockroach parts]

Mulder: I've already had a similar sample analysed. There's nothing but common metals. What do you hope to find from it?

Dr Berenbaum: His destiny.

Dr Ivanov: Isn't that what Dr Zaius said to Zira at the end of the Planet Of The Apes?

Dr Berenbaum: It's one of my favourite movies.

Dr Ivanov: Mine too. I love science fiction.

Dr Berenbaum: I'm also fascinated by your research. Have you ever considered programming robots to mimic the behaviour of social insects, ants or bees.

Dr Ivanov: As a matter of fact I have.

[Dr Berenbaum and Dr Ivanov wander off together deep in discussion]

Scully: Smart is sexy. Well, think of it this way, Mulder. By the time there's another invasion of artificially intelligent dung-eating robotic probes from outer space, maybe their uber-children will have devised a way to save our planet.

Mulder: You know, I never thought I'd say this to you, Scully. But you smell bad.

Mulder: [typing case notes] The development of our cerebral cortex has been the greatest achievement of the evolutionary process. Big deal. While allowing us the thrills of intellect and the pangs of self-consciousness, it is all to often overruled by our inner, instinctive brain, the one that tells us to react, not reflect, to run rather than ruminate Maybe we have gone as far as we can go, and the next advance, whatever that may be, will be made by beings we create ourselves, using our own tech [beep] tech [beep — Mulder smacks screen — beep beep] technology. Life-forms we can design and program not to be ultimately governed and constricted by the rules of survival. Or perhaps that step forward has already been achieved on another planet, by organisms that had a billion years head start on us. If these beings ever visited us would we recognise what we were seeing? And upon catching sight of us would they react in anything but horror at the mindless primitive hideous creatures? [Mulder reaches for food and is startled by a large bug on the plate. He grabs a file folder to kill it with but stops and looks at it curiously for a few seconds. Then it runs across the table and Mulder squashes it with X-File X667386]