Episode Summary

Mulder and Scully have 24 hours to save Assistant Director Skinner from being killed — but in order to do so, they must determine who wants him dead, and why.

Episode Details


Guest Cast


Dr Cabrera: Okay. Get on the phone to the FBI. There's an Agent Scully that should be notified.

Intern: FBI?

Dr Cabrera: This man is an FBI agent.

Intern: What's wrong with him?

Dr Cabrera: What's wrong with him is he's going to die.

Skinner: Every minute of every day we choose. Who we are. Who we forgive. Who we defend and protect. To choose a side or... to walk the line. To play the middle. To straddle the fence between what is and what should be. This was the course I chose. Trying to find the delicate balance of interests that can never exist. Choosing by not choosing. Defending a centre which... cannot hold. So death chose for me.

Trainer: Go easy on him, Slugger. I need him to lock up for me tonight, okay?

Trainer: Don't telegraph that left, Drey. Stevie Wonder would see that one coming. You're fighting the FBI now, Drey. Fight smart. Go!

Nurse: Mr Skinner. Mr Skinner. Hi. You going to stick with us now? Do you remember what happened?

Skinner: I was boxing. I must've gotten tagged.

Nurse: Yes, you did. At least you didn't get your ear bit off. That's something, right? Dr Plant will be with you in a minute.

Skinner: [answering mobile phone] Yeah. Skinner... Hello.

Electronic Voice: Walter... Skinner.

Skinner: Who is this?

Electronic Voice: Have... you heard... the news? It's... in... you.

Skinner: What is this?

Electronic Voice: You... have... 24 hours... to go.

Skinner: What is this? What do you want?

Electronic Voice: You... are... already dead.

Dr Plant: Mr Skinner. Didn't expect to see you up and around. You must be feeling better. Can you take a seat on that table for me, please? I'm Dr Plant. I was here with you before. You probably don't remember.

Skinner: No.

Dr Plant: Well, the good news is... your dilation's back to normal. Plus you still have both your ears.

Skinner: I heard that one.

Dr Plant: I'm going to release you. But I suggest that you rethink the boxing. You're not 20 any more.

Skinner: There's nothing wrong with me?

Dr Plant: Well, you got your bell rung. Other than that, I think you're fine. Might want to ice that bruise.

Skinner: What bruise?

Dr Plant: Right here. [Pulling up Skinner's shirt to reveal a bruise on his ribs]

Skinner: How the hell did I get that?

Dr Plant: Must've taken a hard one to the ribs. But there's nothing broken. No internal bleeding. Like I said... You'll live.

Skinner: [quietly] Thanks.

[Mulder is sitting alone in the dark at his desk, flinging sharpened pencils into the false ceiling. He sees Skinner walk past out in the hall and follows, to find him lying on the couch in his darkened office]

Skinner: What is it, Agent Mulder?

Mulder: I just, uh... I thought I'd poke my head in and say hey.

Skinner: Hey.

Mulder: What, are you sleeping one off?

Skinner: No, I was having trouble seeing. It's nothing. I just didn't think I should drive.

Mulder: You going to be all right, sir? [Skinner doesn't answer]

Mulder: He's going to tell you he's all right.

Skinner: That's because there's nothing wrong with me.

Scully: Not that I could tell if there was. Why are all the lights out?

Mulder: He's having trouble with his eyes. He's also got a nasty bruise on his ribcage.

Scully: What did you do?

Skinner: It's nothing. [The bruise looks worse]

Scully: Says who?

Skinner: Says the doctor who released me from the hospital. [He grunts in pain as Scully touches the bruise]

Mulder: That was the second opinion. The first was unsolicited. A phone call at the hospital. A scrambled voice telling him he had 24 hours to live.

Skinner: That was somebody yanking my chain. Look, I got a clean bill of health.

Scully: Hey, hey, hey. In the last 48 hours, did you eat or drink anything that tasted metallic or otherwise odd?

Skinner: Oh, come on. What are you thinking? That I'm poisoned?

Scully: Did the doctor take your blood?

Skinner: Yes. And it checked out.

Scully: Well, if you were poisoned, it could have been overlooked.

Skinner: Well if it did, why call and tell me at the hospital?

Mulder: To scare you. See what you'd do. Who you'd turn to.

Skinner: Oh. This is about you.

Mulder: Or about the X-Files.

Skinner: You are so paranoid, Mulder. You're not even on the X-Files any more.

Scully: I know. But you are. You still supervise them.

Mulder: What happened today? Anything out of the ordinary?

Skinner: I'm not going to play this game.

Scully: Look, it could've been anything. It could have been the slightest touch, or a handshake.

Mulder: This morning, you woke up...

Skinner: I woke up.

Mulder: Alone?

Skinner: Yes. Alone.

Mulder: There you are. [Mulder points out the man on the surveillance tape]

Skinner: That's him. Right there.

Scully: Wait a second. Back up. It can't be. That's Kenneth Orgel. An advisor to a Senate subcommittee on ethics and new technology.

Skinner: He's a scientist?

Scully: A physicist. Very well known, as far as physicists go.

Mulder: He signed in here as a visitor to the office of Assistant Director Walter Skinner.

Scully: Why would he be coming to see you?

Skinner: I'd like to ask him that myself.

Scully: Sir, if this man poisoned you, you should be off your feet and under doctor's care.

Skinner: If this man poisoned me I'm going to put a gun to his head, find out why and ask him how he's going to make me well.

Skinner: Dr Orgel? Kenneth Orgel?

Dr Orgel: Yes.

Skinner: Do you know who I am?

Dr Orgel: No.

Skinner: My name's Walter Skinner. I'm an Assistant Director at the FBI.

Mulder: Dr Orgel, you visited the FBI this morning. You came to see Mr Skinner.

Dr Orgel: No... uh, you must be mistaken. Sorry, you'll have to come back another time.

[Alexander Lazreg is not a happy man at being detained by Mulder and Skinner]

Mulder: Yeah, so's your mom.

Skinner: Let him go, Agent Mulder.

Mulder: What?

Skinner: He's got diplomatic papers. [to Alexander Lazreg] It's our mistake. You can go. [to Mulder] Just let him go. [Mulder is not happy, but complies] Get in the house. The police are going to be here any moment. I don't have time to stand around and answer any questions. His name is Alexander Lazreg — L-A-Z-R-E-G. He's the cultural attaché with the Tunisian mission here in DC. See what else you can find out about him.

Mulder: You need to get to the hospital.

Skinner: No. I'm trying to stay out of one.

Dr Plant: I'm not supposed to let you have those — not without a written release from the patient.

Scully: We may not have time. He may not have time either.

Dr Plant: He had absolutely no symptoms of poisoning.

Scully: Are you sure these haven't been processed? [There's sediment at the bottom of Skinner's blood samples]

Dr Plant: I'm not sure, but I doubt they've even been touched.

Uniformed Officer: I'm not so sure you should be doing that.

Mulder: This is a crime scene. What would you rather I be doing?

Uniformed Officer: Well it's just that I'm concerned for Dr Orgel's personal property and the preservation of evidence.

Mulder: I'd be a lot more concerned with the preservation of Dr Orgel. [Mulder finds a picture of Dr Orgel and Senator Matheson] Hello, Senator...

Senator Matheson: I don't have to tell you how late it is, do I, Agent Mulder? But I suspect that wasn't even a consideration of yours.

Mulder: Actually, time is my only consideration, Senator. This was taken only three days ago. It's of you and Dr Kenneth Orgel holding a Senate Resolution — SR 819, I think it's called. What is that?

Senator Matheson: A funding bill. What is this all about?

Mulder: A friend of mine is going to die because of SR 819. I don't know how, I don't even know why... but I'm betting you do.

Senator Matheson: What are you talking about?

Mulder: I don't even really know yet; all I have are a few pieces: a Tunisian diplomat, this Dr Kenneth Orgel, this health bill, SR 819 — all leading up to a plot to kill an Assistant Director of the FBI. Does that make sense?

Senator Matheson: The bill you've referred to will provide money and supplies to the World Health Organisation, medical technology to third world countries. I have aided you in the past with information, Fox, and advice, which right now is to leave here at once and never again suggest to anyone my involvement in any such dark intrigue. Am I understood?

Mulder: This man may die; he may only have a few hours to live.

Senator Matheson: My intention is to save lives, Fox, but I can't save his. Good night, Fox. Drive safely.

Scully: Dr Plant?

Dr Plant: What? What is it?

Scully: I think I've found it. I think I found what the carbon's doing. It's, uh... it's not just reproducing itself. It has behaviour. It's creating something, a matrix stimulated by blood flow in response to movement. It's multiplying then solidifying in an orderly fashion. It's building valves or dams in the vascular system.

Dr Plant: It's building a heart attack.

Surgeon: Hey, you... Out.

Scully: I know this man.

Surgeon: I don't care. This is a sterile operating room.

Dr Cabrera: Get these people out.

Scully: Look, I'm sorry. His name is Walter Skinner. We've been investigating his illness. What are you doing?

Dr Cabrera: If he's going to live, he's going to have to lose his arms.

Scully: No, that's not going to save him. It's his blood.

Dr Cabrera: Who the hell is this woman?

Dr Plant: She's a doctor.

Scully: You're not going to solve anything until you get a scope into him. Nothing else is going to work. Look, if you want to save this man listen to what I'm saying.

Scully: It's okay, sir. Lie back down. We're just moving you to another room.

Skinner: Who did this to me?

Scully: That's what Mulder's trying to figure out right now. But we're going to take good care of you. I promise. We're going to do everything we can.

Skinner: I don't know. I can't remember.

Mulder: What's his condition?

Scully: He's stable, but it's not good, Mulder. He's got extreme vascular trauma and distension. His... his blood has become a weapon against his body.

Mulder: Well, can you fight it?

Scully: We don't know what it is. I mean, the best that we can do is keep lasering his arteries open. But it's only going to be a matter of time before we lose. I mean, it's building walls in his vessels faster than we can tear them down, and... and we just don't have the technology to combat it.

Mulder: Maybe we do. [Showing Scully the folder from Skinner's office]

Scully: What is this?

Mulder: I found this with Skinner's morning mail. He was doing a security check on a Senate bill for violation of trade laws involving sensitive technology.

Scully: Yeah, but this is just a routine procedure, Mulder. The FBI does dozens of these a year.

Mulder: No. This bill was going to vote in the Senate. All it was waiting on was Skinner's review and an analysis by Dr Kenneth Orgel.

Scully: You're saying that Dr Orgel poisoned Skinner in order to cover up his analysis?

Mulder: No. Orgel didn't poison anybody. Orgel came to the FBI to tell Skinner what he knew — that there was a gross violation of export laws involving new technology.

Scully: New technology.

Mulder: You know what that means?

Scully: I think I might.

Senator Matheson: Yes.

Krycek: The bill is in danger, Senator. A new threat has emerged.

Senator Matheson: You shouldn't have called me.

Krycek: Blood will be on your hands.

Senator Matheson: I don't buy your hollow threats.

Krycek: Well, Dr Orgel does. You can ask him.

Senator Matheson: What have you done with him?

Krycek: I can tell you where to find him.

Forensic Technician: The car is leased, part of a fleet service that services the diplomatic counsel corps.

Mulder: What other forensic evidence were you able to lift?

Forensic Technician: Not much on the outside. It's not surprising considering the condition of the vehicle. Inside we found a couple hairs — human — from an expensive wig.

Mulder: Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. What else?

Forensic Technician: Well, we scraped the tire treads, found something odd. It's full of polychlorinated biphenyls — PCBs. Over 500 parts per million. Now that's the kind of levels you used to see in the 1970s. Right before the EPA got fangs.

Mulder: From where?

Forensic Technician: Well, the PCBs are saturated evenly in the clay, uh... demo site, maybe, or, uh, an old power plant.

Senator Matheson: Who did this to you?

Dr Orgel: Hurry... please. It's... killing me.

Senator Matheson: They believe you have exposed them to the FBI — to Walter Skinner.

Dr Orgel: No. I told the FBI nothing. I told them nothing. Please, I promise not to expose anyone.

Scully: Sir, there's something I'd like to try. It's a treatment called therapeutic plasmapheresis. It requires filtering all of the blood in your body. It's a radical procedure and there is a danger that your body might go into shock.

Skinner: I'm in your hands. I think I owe you an apology, Scully. You and Mulder.

Scully: Sir?

Skinner: I've been lying here thinking. Your quest... it should have been mine.

Scully: What do you mean?

Skinner: If I die now, I die in vain. I have nothing to show for myself. My life...

Scully: Sir, you know that's not true.

Skinner: It is. I can see now that... I always played it safe. I wouldn't take sides. Wouldn't let you and Mulder... pull me in.

Scully: You've been our ally more times than I can say.

Skinner: Not the kind of ally that I could have been... I remember now.

Scully: What?

Skinner: I can't see his face, he has a beard.

Scully: Try.

Skinner: He was at the gym... At the hospital... He killed that man... He was at the FBI when Orgel approached me.

Scully: He was following you?

Skinner: The tape... he's on the surveillance tape.

Mulder: Tell me what you know, Senator. This is about SR 819, isn't it? What the hell did they put in Skinner?

Senator Matheson: I'm sure you already have some idea, Fox.

Mulder: It's the same technology that SR 819 will export.

Senator Matheson: Technology that the world believes is purely theoretical.

Mulder: Nanotechnology. Microscopic, atom-sized machines. Machines can be stopped.

Senator Matheson: Your friend is already dead.

Mulder: I don't believe that.

Senator Matheson: If you pursue this, Fox, they will kill you.

Mulder: Not before I expose you and your role in this.

Scully: Sir, I've spoken with your doctors and your prognosis is excellent. Whatever you were infected with appears to be dormant and your recovery is being hailed as miracle.

Mulder: The man who poisoned you was at the FBI that day. Scully was able to pull these off the security video tapes. Hopefully, it might jog your memory. Maybe you can identify this man.

Skinner: No, I'm sorry.

Mulder: SR 819 was withdrawn by committee late last night. Without explanation.

Skinner: Good. So this man failed then?

Mulder: If that was his true motive. If he wanted to poison you to prevent you from investigating SR 819, why call you to tell you that? This man worked for the government that was to receive this technology. He drove one of their cars and he killed one of his own to save you.

Skinner: So you still think this is about you? About the X-Files?

Mulder: Yes. Yes, I do. And I have an idea who may be behind all this. But I need your authority to continue the investigation.

Skinner: I have neither the authority nor the will to allow your continued inquiry into this matter. You'll perform your duties as directed by AD Kersh and only AD Kersh.

Scully: Sir?

Skinner: This matter's closed, Agents. Am I clear?

Skinner: I've been expecting you to show up.

Krycek: You know I can push the button any time.

Skinner: What do you want from me? What's this about, Krycek?

Krycek: All in good time.