Where No One Has Gone Before
Where No One Has Gone Before
© Starfleetofficer1, August 2007
SUMMARY: When science fiction fans disappear at conventions across the country, Mulder and Scully investigate by going under cover.
TYPE: X-file, humor
DISCLAIMER: I don't own X-files. I don't own the characters. I don't own anything but the story idea. Please don't steal it-it's all I own. I also don't own any Star Trek, Star Wars, or other science fiction show names, characters, actors, actors' rights, or any of that.
DOWNTOWN CONVENTION CENTER
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th, 1999
"CAN I? Mom, PLEASE, can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Mom, come on, it's the thirty-third anniversary of Star Trek; you have to let me get it, please, Mom, I'm gonna die if I don't get it-"
A blonde woman in her forties, dressed in a blue Next Generation Starfleet uniform, turned on an identically dressed nine-year-old boy. "Corey, if you ask me one more time, I'm taking you out of this convention center, putting you in the car, and driving straight home without any autographs, any action figures, or comic books. And I'll take one of your rank pips. A lieutenant doesn't act like that."
Corey pouted, folding his arms and hanging his head.
"Would you please get back in line so we don't lose our place for the fifth time? Do you want me to tell your father the reason we're late to meet him at the caricature booth is because you kept getting out of line and asking for an Enterprise-D?"
"But Mom, it's only $59.99 and I'll pay for half and I promise I'll be good with it and I won't break it-"
"No, Corey! Get back in line!"
Corey turned in a huff, and stomped back to the autograph line. He stood there, waiting in the line that would eventually take him to see Jonathan Frakes. He wanted Commander Riker's autograph so bad that he had nearly wet his pants when he heard the actor would be there. But then he saw the line. At least two hours long. How was he supposed to sit still in this line while his mom went and shopped for action figures? Why couldn't he shop first and then switch places with her instead of the other way around?
Corey's mother browsed the action figure booths, looking for the best deals on the figures they didn't have already. It was hard to find one of the few that were missing from their abundant collection. She kept an eye on Corey, glancing back at the line every now and then while she looked. She finally found a Deep Space 9 Ferengi figure they didn't have, for only $5. She hurriedly bought it, and smiled at the vendor as he put it in a bag for her.
"Are you from around here?" he asked her.
"We live about forty-five minutes from downtown. We came in for the convention and to see some of the actors," she answered with a smile. She was always happy to talk to other Trekkies.
He returned her smile. "Are you staying for William Shatner's appearance later tonight? I hear he's gonna be funny."
"Oh, absolutely. We have day passes. I'm here with my husband and son," she told him.
"Make sure you get there early. Front seats fill up fast and I heard a rumor there's a Klingon here, that Security's looking for, who threatened to use his bat'leth on anyone who challenges his seat."
She laughed at that. "I'll keep my eyes open," she told him. With that, she walked away and headed to the autograph line to check on Corey. When she didn't see him right away, she smiled, thinking that he must have moved up in line.
She approached Jonathan Frakes' enormous line, scanning for a little boy in a blue Starfleet uniform. The smile disappeared when she couldn't spot him anywhere. "Corey?" she called. "Corey? Corey, can you hear me? God, if he's run off again I swear I'm going to…" she got out her cell phone, and used his pager. She didn't want to have to use the thing, but she had given it to him for this reason, so he went to the pay phone if she had to find him.
Several minutes later she stood by the pay phone, waiting for him. She called his father as well, and spotted him making his way toward her in a yellow Deep Space 9 uniform. "What's wrong?" he asked immediately. He was carrying an array of bags, filled with models and rolled-up drawings.
"I can't find Corey. I paged him, I tried everything…he's not in the autograph line where I left him…"
"Okay, don't panic. Just calm down. I'm sure he saw something he liked, and he's in a loud area so he just didn't hear his pager. We'll find him."
But ten minutes later, both parents ran around the convention center frantically, calling his name and hoping their little boy would answer. Convention security was notified, and announcements were made. It was assumed he had been kidnapped, so the doors were locked and the parking garage, as well as the convention, was searched thoroughly.
Two hours after security had been notified, a man approached Corey's parents. He had a grim look on his face. "We've been able to account for everyone by their wrist bands," he said. "They've got magnetic strips on them. We had everyone here go through the detectors at the front door. Your son wasn't among them. I'm sorry. We've notified the local police, and they've put out an Amber alert. But he's just not here."
"Then where is he?" Corey's father demanded angrily, as his wife collapsed into tears in his arms.
The security guard shook his head. "I'm sorry, Sir. I just don't know. As of now, we have to assume he's been kidnapped."
Just then, the PA system in the convention center blared a high-pitched, annoying tone. Then a child's voice spoke. "We are not alone," it said once, and then disappeared.
Corey's parents' faces were ghostly white.
"What, what is it?" the guard asked them.
Corey's mother swallowed, and took a deep, shaky breath. "That…that was Corey."
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1999
Scully walked into the X-files office with a cup of coffee in one hand and her bag in the other. Her hair was wind-blown and there was a drop of coffee now drying on her blouse, but she was at least partially confident no one could see it. She was expecting this to be a horrible day, after having overslept her alarm, rushed through the drive-thru at McDonalds to get a cup of decaf when she ordered regular, tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and spilled some of the coffee on her blouse, ran to the bathroom to wash it off, and came to the basement office far later than the 0730 meeting time Mulder and she had agreed on.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said upon opening the door.
"To boldly go where no man has gone before!" Mulder exclaimed before she could get any farther. He was wearing a disgustingly cheerful grin on his face, and Scully nearly glared at him. "On Saturday, Star Trek turned thirty-three, Scully," he continued, oblivious to her obvious despair.
"And why do I care?" Scully asked. She put her bag down, placed her quickly cooling coffee on her desk, and sat down in her chair with a 'thump'.
Mulder continued grinning. "Didn't you ever watch the show when you were a kid? Don't you ever see it on TV now?"
"Mulder, I barely ever turn on the TV now. And no, I saw it a few times when I was a kid but I wasn't that interested."
"Not that interested," her partner repeated, clearly disappointed. He closed his open desk drawer, looking longingly at the phaser inside. He had been planning to 'shoot' Scully with it, but after her reaction to what he had to say…
"Why have you suddenly mentioned Star Trek, Mulder? Is there some kind of X-file here?"
"As a matter of fact," he replied, the boyish excitement returning to his expression, "I've been looking into some police reports that followed conventions across the country. There have been seven disappearances, Scully, one in each convention, over the past two months. And just this Saturday, the eighth occurred in Chicago. A little boy, Corey Miles, nine years old."
"Please don't tell me you have a slide show for this," Scully begged.
Just then, a pencil, whose tip was wedged into the ceiling, came loose and hit Mulder on the head. He grinned sheepishly and picked up the pencil as he headed over to the projector. When he turned it on, Scully reluctantly faced the wall where the screen displayed a blown-up picture of a little girl, grinning ear-to-ear next to LeVar Burton. She was wearing a child-sized, yellow Original Series uniform.
"Lorie Peterson, seven years old. Met LeVar Burton two months ago in the yearly Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Vanished approximately twenty minutes after this photograph was taken," Mulder said, and clicked the remote. The projector automatically went to the next slide. "Timothy and John Thames, ten and fourteen years old, respectively," he introduced the two boys in Starfleet uniforms, "vanished from a small local convention in Oklahoma, a little over a month ago." He clicked the slide again, while simultaneously sticking the pencil behind his ear. "Grace and Pablo Hermenez, both twenty-four years old. Newly weds, got married at this convention in Florida three weeks ago. Vanished two hours after they said 'I do'." The next picture was a girl in a Starfleet uniform with her dog, identically dressed. "Nora Wellington, eleven years old. Attended a convention in New York with her entire family last Monday. They were there for a reunion. She disappeared a half hour after this photo was taken. This next one," he pressed the button, but nothing happened. He stared at the thing, pointed it directly at the projector, and hit the button more forcefully.
When nothing happened, Scully raised an eyebrow. "Batteries?"
"No…I was sure I replaced them last week. This is weird. I think I need Scotty…" He hit the remote against his hand, and pressed the button again. This time, it worked. Scully was staring at the youngest victim yet, dressed in a Starfleet uniform and no older than five.
"This is four-year-old Joey Rio. At a convention in Pittsburgh with his older sister, Chloe, who's twenty-five. She was a prime suspect for a few days before they discovered a security tape showing her taking Joey into the bathroom. Then she runs out, panicking. He was gone, vanished from the stall. There are no windows in that bathroom, and the duct is too small for a four-year-old to crawl out."
"So where's the X-file? It sounds like a serial kidnapper to me."
"I'm not done yet, Scully," Mulder said, pretending to be insulted. He clicked the remote again, and another little boy's face appeared. He was dressed in a blue Starfleet uniform, standing with Jonathan Frakes and grinning. "Nine-year-old Corey Miles, disappeared an indeterminate amount of time after this picture was taken. His parents claim he was at least two hours from getting to see Mr. Frakes, but here's the picture. They recovered it from the actor's booth, in the file. They keep convention photos and post them on the Internet afterward."
"I'm still not seeing the X-file."
"Each of these kids, Scully, or adults in the case of the Hermenez's, were heard after they were taken. They were heard at the convention, over either the PA system or the television. But there was a definite audio broadcast, using their voices, that said 'we are not alone'."
Scully glanced at him, confused. "So they were somewhere in the building?"
"No, that's just it. They searched the buildings, accounted for each admitted guest, made sure no one had snuck in, and checked all the parking lots. They came up with nothing. And after they came to the conclusion that these kids were missing, and only after they had phoned in an Amber Alert, the PA system went nuts and then these kids declared that we're not alone."
"The kidnapper had several hours, it sounds like, to record their voices and use a manipulation device to broadcast his message. It sounds to me like it's part of his MO, actually. He's probably an alien fanatic who abducts young Star Trek fans at conventions, waits until they're sure the kids are missing, and then patches the broadcast through using radio wave technology."
It was her partner's turn to give her a strange look. "You really believe this was the work of one person? Where do you think he got the frequent flyer miles to travel across the country with kids and two able-bodied adults in tow? Or do you think he uses the Enterprise?"
Scully couldn't help but smirk at that. But she got right back to business. "Do you have a working theory?"
"Scully, my theories always work," Mulder said with a smile. "But yes, I do. I believe a group of people has somehow gathered these children in a central location. I believe once they arrive to this place, they can tell the convention that we're not alone. I believe more than one person is responsible for this, or that the one person responsible for this is somehow able to take each child to this location before he travels to collect the next captive. And I believe you're right."
Scully raised an eyebrow. "I'm what?"
"Right. Opposite of left, sometimes referred to as Republican." Mulder answered dryly. "I think your theory that those responsible are alien fanatics. They likely have something to prove here. And they're clearly after young people who attend Star Trek conventions. I've talked to Skinner about this."
"I felt we had enough to go on. There's a major convention in Washington coming up on Thursday, going through Sunday. I want to spend the next two days gathering information on these children and adults who were kidnapped. Then we're going undercover."
"You're kidding," Scully said, dread apparent in her voice.
Mulder grinned. "Put your Spock ears on, Scully. We're beaming down."
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1999
"Mulder, I am not changing into that."
"Scully, we're going under cover. You have to change into it-it's a requirement for admission."
"It's not a requirement, and you know it. Anyone could walk in there with normal clothes and no one would ask any questions."
"If we want to blend in, we need to look alike, and we need to look like the Trekkies," Mulder said. He sat behind the steering wheel of the car, parked in the lot outside the convention center. He was already dressed in a Starfleet uniform, and had brought Scully's in a garment bag that hung in the back seat when he had picked her up from her apartment. If she changed in the bathroom just outside the admission door, no one would think anything of it.
"Just because you look like a dork doesn't mean I have to."
Mulder looked shocked and hurt at her words. And even as she knew he was making that face on purpose, now he had made her feel guilty. She groaned. "Fine. But just for one day. Then you're finding me a jumpsuit."
He grinned, not giving away his little secret. It was supposed to be a surprise for later, and it was much more fun this way.
Mulder exited the car, and his partner followed. He was concealing his weapon under a 'First Contact' Starfleet uniform, the compact .380 having been approved for this covert mission. Mulder presented Scully with her garment bag, and she looked inside again, and groaned. "You had to get a damn miniskirt, Mulder!"
"It comes with leggings! And this is standard issue for The Original Series." He eyed her playfully. "I think I'm gonna have to start calling you Yeoman Rand, Scully."
"Try anything and I'll feed you to a targ, Mulder," she replied flatly.
He was impressed with her use of the knowledge they had gathered in the past two days. Well…the knowledge she had gathered. His knowledge of Star Trek was still secure in his photographic memory, even from all those years ago. He had to brush up on the newer series, though.
They walked toward the building, the tickets secured in Mulder's pocket. He had to wear normal black Dockers so he had room for his handcuffs, badge, and wallet. But they were no less convincing with the proper tunic and red turtleneck, complete with four rank pips and a communicator on his left breast. He felt it was only fitting to get Scully science 'blue', and to avoid being kicked out an airlock, he made sure she had equal rank.
Mulder waited outside the women's restroom for nearly twenty minutes. He was beginning to worry before Scully finally walked out, garment bag securing her jeans and shirt she had worn in. Her high boots click-clacked on the tiles, and Mulder's eyes climbed from the leather to the leggings, then to the short blue dress with a wide, black neck. He was absolutely turned on. He whistled for good measure.
"That took forever. There must have been fifteen other women in there, and there are only two stalls," she said, annoyed. "Let's go put the bag in the car. And then we'll go in."
He agreed, eyes never leaving her figure. She looked up at his boyish stare, and rolled her eyes. "Mulder, will you cut it out?"
"I'm sorry, I just can't help it," Mulder said. "There's something very sexy about a Starfleet captain in blue instead of yellow…"
"You got Frohike to sew these stripes on, didn't you?"
"It was the only way I could get a captain's rank on a blue dress," he said. They dropped the garment bag in the car, and then walked back to the convention center. By then, the line to get in was at least a half hour long. "Looks like we'll get a chance to mingle," Mulder said with a smile.
"Just try to remember why we're here, Mulder," she told him sternly.
He gave her a look that was somehow innocent yet mischievous. They got in line, and quickly found that Trekkies were friendly.
"Nice uniform! Where'd you get that?" A man in a Next Gen security uniform asked. He was directly in front of them, but turned around to admire Mulder's attire.
"We made them," Mulder said smoothly. "New Force was all sold out and we needed some new ones. Old ones were too worn out."
"New Force is always sold out," the man complained. "You know, I saw an ad for the new Enterprise-D for $49.99 on New Force, and I tried to grab it, but it was gone in like thirty seconds! I can't believe people are buying them that fast."
"Well, it's the first model since the original came out a year ago, so people are bound to be a little excited," Mulder said with a smile. "So is this your first convention?"
"Oh, God no. I've been to probably thirty, forty by now. I go to every one I can. How about you guys? Are you…together?"
He seemed a little nervous, Scully thought. She wondered if that was because he was socially awkward or because he knew something… "We're friends," Scully said with a smile. She extended her hand. "I'm Linda."
"Nice to meet you, Linda. I'm Pete," he said, shaking her hand and giving her a winning smile. He turned to Mulder and shook his hand as well.
"I'm John," Mulder introduced.
"It's nice to meet you too, John. So who sews, you or Linda? Because you both have very nice…very unique uniforms. Captain's stripes on a blue Original Series women's uniform…"
"John sews," Scully said with a smile. "He's into that sort of thing. Does a lot of knitting in his spare time."
"I like to make doilies, too," Mulder said, his voice deadpan.
"Oh," Pete seemed surprised. "That's…that's nice," he said, and smiled. The line moved.
"So Pete, you've been to a lot of conventions-what ones have you been to recently? Do you travel?"
"I try to keep the expense down, so I go to the ones along the East Coast. I was in New York last week for a business trip-I stayed an extra day to go to the convention. That was when that little girl was taken. It was so horrible…you've heard about all these kids being taken from these, I'm sure."
"It's been on the news," Scully said. "Did you see anything while you were there?"
"No, I didn't see anything until the police started searching. It's so horrible. To think someone would target harmless little Trekkies. These children are the future. It's just…inconceivable. Did you see the message boards, on the convention websites?"
Mulder nodded. "Yeah, they're encouraging parents to keep their kids with them during the convention."
"With everything going on, I'm surprised it's so crowded here today," Scully said.
"Well, you know Trekkies-we're a resilient bunch. We're not going to let some thug stop us from having fun. What kind of message does that send to him?"
"We're Starfleet Officers, not a bunch of Ferengi," Mulder said with a smile.
"I resent that," a short woman behind them said. Mulder and Scully turned, to see the woman dressed in a Ferengi's costume, complete with the facial make-up, and the teeth. Mulder tried not to laugh at his partner's carefully contained reaction.
Fifteen minutes later, they were granted admission and encouraged to attend the free talk with Cirroc Lofton, Armin Shimmerman, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner. Mulder had anticipated that Spiner would be at the convention, and as such he had brought a backpack with folders to keep the autographs and other merchandise they might buy, and have signed. He was disappointed that Leonard Nimoy wasn't going to be there, but he couldn't ask for everything. The chances that his work would collide with a Star Trek convention were slim as it was.
They decided to browse first, but stay together. They would look through merchandise, talk to the vendors, buy a few things, and then get in the autograph lines. Hopefully, through talking to these Trekkies, they'd learn something.
One thing they had learned online was that Trekkies and Trekkers were not one and the same. Quite literally, they were, but neither group acknowledged the other as 'true' Star Trek fans. It had confused Scully, but Mulder had created an absurd analogy to tribal law, and his partner had stopped asking.
While looking at 5" Playmates action figures, Mulder overheard a conversation between a vendor and a green woman.
"I heard about all these children being taken…it's hard to believe anyone would do that."
"I know," the vendor said. "Obviously not one of us-someone who snuck in and took them. Probably knew the layout of the convention centers or something. A Trekker wouldn't do that."
"Neither would a Trekkie," the woman said with an affirmative nod.
Nothing interesting so far, Mulder thought. It wasn't all that different from conversations they had been hearing in various locations around the convention center.
"You notice not many parents brought their kids today," the man told her. "It's probably better. Give this perv less of a chance to snag 'em."
"There was a couple taken, too. In their twenties," the woman told him. "So not just kids."
"A well-rounded perv," the vendor stated bitterly.
Mulder put down the action figure he was holding, and picked up another, then compared the two.
"You're gonna think I'm nuts, but have you ever heard of the Beamers?"
The man shook his head, but leaned in, interested. Mulder edged a little closer, and Scully, not far away, caught his signal to approach.
"They're a fairly new group. They believe that we're all gonna be beamed up eventually by visitors from the future. I can't discount that theory because…well…I sort of believe there are time travelers out there, somewhere. But they believe in a deadline. And I saw an Internet forum that suggested it was approaching. Next week."
Mulder was completely attentive, and the vendor turned to him, seeing he had joined their conversation. "Well, what do you think?" the vendor asked him.
"Me? I'm a little skeptical of that kind of thing," Mulder said. "I'd need some proof." An old trick. One that always works. "What makes you so sure there are time travelers out there?" he asked with a friendly smile, trying not to stare at the green woman's bare skin and exposed cleavage.
"Aside from the one in 'The Traveler', Next Gen first season with Wesley?" she asked with a slight laugh.
Damn. Drop-dead sexy and a knowledgeable Trekkie. This green woman was quite a package. Focus, Mulder.
"I guess, the fact that there have been things we can't quite explain. Go to the Beamer's website. It's got enough information on it to give you some evidence. I believe them that there are time travelers here, but I don't know about us all being beamed up. I just hate to think that maybe they're responsible…you know, for those kids."
"You think they're violent?" Mulder asked her, professional mode taking over.
"I don't know. I've only been to their site a few times. They just seem more like a cult than a group of Trekkies to me."
"Hey, John, I found some replacement rank pips over there," Scully said, tapping Mulder on his shoulder. The unspoken question was there.
"I'll be right there. Make sure no one takes 'em," Mulder said. Scully nodded, and walked away.
"So you've got a girlfriend," the green woman asked with a smile.
Mulder couldn't help but smile back. "You could say that…"
"You don't happen to know of a place to get a good Starfleet phaser, do you?"
Her question surprised him. This typically wasn't how one flirted…but with Trekkies…who knew? "New Force has some good stuff. There are other online places. Auction sites and things like that…" he said.
"Do you want to buy that Spock?" The vendor asked, breaking up the conversation. Mulder realized he had been holding the 5" Spock in his hand for quite some time now.
"Sure," he answered with a smile, and handed the action figure to the vendor. He got his wallet out, and turned back to the woman as he pulled out a ten dollar bill. "So whose autograph are you hoping to get today?"
"Brent Spiner for sure," she answered with a grin. "How about you?"
"I'm definitely here to see Mr. Data," Mulder said. He could see Scully out of the corner of his eye, and realized she could hear them. "People tend to say I'm like him."
"That's interesting. I've always wanted to see how that android anatomy worked," the woman told him.
Now Mulder was getting a bit uncomfortable. This forward motion was a little too…'forward'…for him. He smiled politely and took a step back as he took the bag from the vendor.
"If you're fully functional, Mr. Data, please give me a call," the green woman told him, and slipped a piece of paper out of a pocket Mulder didn't know she had. She handed him the paper, and winked as she walked away.
Scully approached. "Are you fully functional, John?" She asked him with a slightly smug smile.
Mulder rolled his eyes, and pocketed the paper. But as they walked away, he whispered in her ear, "Only for other androids, Mrs. Data."
THREE HOURS LATER
"KA'PLAH! Nuq'neQ! QaShta' Nuq?"
"Um…" Mulder stared at the large Klingon who had intercepted him on his way to the live actors' talk.
"TeraQ naN jiH," Scully answered immediately. "tlh'ngaN?"
"Ah, the Terran speaks Klingon. Impressive. Ka'plaH to you, Terran," the Klingon said, and moved himself and his massive gear and bat'leth away from them.
Mulder stared at her, completely shocked.
She smiled at him. "Take your seat, Mulder. We won't be able to see the performance if we don't find a seat soon."
"You taught yourself Klingon?" He asked in disbelief.
"It seemed like something a lot of Trekkies knew, so I thought I'd learn the basics."
"Do you know any dirty words."
"Yes, but I'll never tell you what they mean," she said, trying to be serious but not entirely succeeding. "P'taQ."
"Hey, I know that one."
"Shh, they're starting."
The actors came out onto the stage, all smiling at the audience and the instant, roaring applause they got. Mulder leaned over to Scully when the applause masked their conversation and said, "I think I may have a lead."
"We'll talk about it after the performance," Scully said.
"We may need an Internet connection."
"I have one at my apartment, and we can get back into this convention with the wristbands."
"I'd rather one of us stay here and the other go back to my apartment," he whispered.
She didn't seem to like that idea.
"I'll only be gone a little while. I need to collect some concrete evidence and print it out. Then I'll bring it back here and we can discuss it over dinner."
"You're suggesting that you leave and strand me at this convention?"
"You wouldn't know what to look for on the Internet."
"Try me," she hissed.
Mulder gave her a longing look, and Scully realized he must really have that tingling feeling that this is a promising lead, if he was willing to leave the giant Klingons and abundant Ferengi for Internet research. "Alright," she resigned. "But try to be back before 5."
"I'll be back before 4:30," he said with a smile. They sat back, and listened to the talk.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 1999
Mulder had been surfing for a while, collecting data and storing it away in his memory for later recollection. The Beamers were an interesting group. Established last year, they believed that the deadline for the time travelers to come and 'beam up' the worthy followers was September 18th, 1999.
They had a variety of beliefs that revolved around Star Trek, and were such an extensive and quickly growing group that they now spanned the entire United States. Mulder checked each headquarters location, and filed those away, as well. He printed off information he would need to show Scully and then continued looking on the web.
As rush hour neared, he realized he had better get on the road if he wanted to be back to the convention center before 4:30, as he had promised Scully. He headed out the door, keys in hand, and locked his door before walking toward the elevator. As soon as he opened the doors, something reached out and smacked into him. He didn't feel himself fall, and nothing hurt. But he couldn't see…couldn't feel anything…and a giant flash of blue engulfed him. A strange sound played in the background…a sound he recognized. Then all receded into a deathly silent black.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 1999
Scully sighed as she listened to two Trekkies debating whether the Klingons or Romulans had better Birds of Prey. Where was Mulder? Why had he ditched her, again? Again? And here, of all places. She could speak a little Klingon, sure, but that didn't beat the sex-deprived Ferengi away from her. Or the pimple-ridden teenage boys dressed in Starfleet uniforms much too big for their slender forms, who seemed to think her TOS outfit was the most interesting thing at the convention. Go look at the green woman, please, and leave me alone, she thought.
She pulled her cell phone out, finally resigning to the fact that Mulder had probably lost track of time, and was sitting, mesmerized, in front of his computer while he looked at 'proof' of some genetic mutant or otherwise absurd explanation for the disappearances. The phone rang several times, before his voice mail came on. I swear, Mulder, if you've left your phone in the other room where you can't hear it… "Mulder, it's me. When you get this, call me back. I'm stuck at this convention without a car. You said you'd be back a half hour ago. Please call me back." She hung up, and looked at the ceiling.
If he didn't call back soon, she would have to go rent a cab and check to see if he was alright. She felt a twinge of worry, her sixth sense telling her that everything was not alright, that Mulder had not just forgotten to bring his phone into the family room from the bedroom, and that she needed to get over there immediately. But she realized this was probably just her overactive imagination.
She made her way to the autograph table, where she was instructed to buy several autographs for Mulder while he was at his apartment. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting in line, having geeks peer down her wide-necked Starfleet uniform curiously, politely greeting the actors and feigning excitement, and finally getting out of line, Scully was pissed. Where the hell was Mulder? She pulled out her cell phone and dialed him again, and got the voice mail.
This time, her message wasn't as patient as the last one. "Mulder, I'm starting to get worried. You're over an hour late, and I'm still stranded here without a car. I got your autographs, and I'm waiting for you to get back. If you don't call in the next ten minutes, I'm calling a cab and coming to your apartment." She hung up.
Ten minutes went by. A little girl dressed as a Klingon clung to her mother's hand as they walked toward the convention center's doors, exiting for the evening. A seeing-eye-dog in a Starfleet uniform led a blind Trekkie past her, straight toward an action figure stand. A man in a Ghost-buster's suit came in the front door, said something to the security checkpoint guard, looked extremely disappointed, and exited. But Scully's cell phone never rang.
She dialed the cab, and was at Mulder's apartment not long after. She rode the elevator in anticipation, anxiety stabbing at her heart. What if something had happened to him? That feeling that something was terribly wrong just got stronger. She approached his apartment, and her stomach did a flip when she saw the front door open. Mulder never left his door open. Immediately assuming the worst, she drew her weapon awkwardly from her Starfleet Uniform and entered the apartment. But there was no sign of forced entry. No sign of a struggle. No sign of Mulder.
She searched everywhere. And then, with shaky hands, she called Skinner. "Sir…it's Scully. Mulder's been kidnapped."
Mulder's eyes snapped open, and he sat upright. He was laying on a cot, one of many in an extremely large room. He examined his surroundings, and decided almost instantly that he was in an underground bunker. Reaching behind him for his compact weapon, he found it was gone along with his cell phone and wallet. No chance of reaching Scully.
I had to have taken a hit. Why else would I have been out? he thought, but he didn't feel injured. In fact, he felt perfectly fine. He got up, checking the door to the room every few seconds to make sure he was alone. Then he walked over to the entrance, occupied a corner out of sight from the outside, and listened for people. He found them. Actually, what he found were high-pitched, happy voices. Children.
He walked out of the room carefully, making sure to position himself in such a way that allowed him to fight if he needed to. He was still in his Starfleet uniform, and in perfect condition, which made him think these people meant no harm. But they had kidnapped him, so they weren't exactly friendly.
He was approached almost immediately upon exiting, but the bearded man in a Starfleet uniform who walked over to him had his hands out of his pockets, and showed no signs of threatening him. "Captain Mulder," the man said with a smile, "I'm Admiral Flint. Welcome aboard." He extended a hand to Mulder, who made no move to take it. Then he let it drop.
"What am I doing here?" Mulder demanded. "Where am I?"
"You're underground, Mr. Mulder, awaiting lift off with the others"
Mulder looked around, but couldn't see the source of the children's laughter. It was at a bad angle, around a corner. "What have you done to the kids?"
"The Ensigns are absolutely fine, and are relaxing."
It was then that Mulder noticed who else was in this bunker. People dressed in Starfleet Uniforms passed them, at that moment, all apparently security. They were carrying toy phasers and jogging in formation.
"Don't mind them, they're just drilling," Flint told Mulder. "You're welcome to relax with the others. Keep in mind you are the only Captain here, and so you may not want to get too friendly with your subordinates. They're all playing training games on the ship's computers."
"This is an underground bunker," Mulder started, attempting to keep his anger in check but not entirely succeeding, "not a ship. Those are toys you're carrying around," he indicated the man's tricorder and phaser at his belt, "you're not an Admiral, this isn't Star Trek, and I'm an agent with the FBI. I can assure you, you're in a large amount of trouble with the federal government for kidnapping and detaining an agent. So I suggest you do what's best for your case and for the rest of the Beamers, and let me go."
The man's eyes lit up when Mulder mentioned the word 'Beamer'. Flint grinned, and said, "So you know who we are! But you clearly don't believe. Strange…we did research on you that suggested you would. We mostly recruit people new to Star Trek, because they are easy to convince, but we recruited you for your expertise, and your open mind. Captain Mulder, we are in possession of a transporter. That's how we've been recruiting people--"
"You mean kidnapping innocent children, and brainwashing them. Let me see them."
"First you want to go, now you want to socialize with the crew. You're an unusual captain, Mr. Mulder. Please, follow me," Flint said. He led the way around the corner and into a rather large common room in the underground bunker. All the missing children were there, as well as the couple, seemingly relaxed and unfazed by the fact that they had been kidnapped. The children were playing video games on an unusually-shaped computer console, resembling those from Star Trek but clearly constructed in the present. Some of the children were seated on the floor, playing 3D Chess. The couple was seated on the couch, their arms around each other as they happily watched a holovideo on a 3D projector. The projector was top-of-the-line, and had to cost over $3,000. Mulder had seen these in government catalogs, but had never seen one in person. However the Beamers got their resources, they had quite a lot of them.
Mulder approached the children, saw that they were perfectly healthy but clearly brainwashed, and then turned back to the 'admiral'. The man smiled and regarded his 'guests'. "We have a full facility here on the Tartus. This is the common room, and I can give you a tour of the rest of the ship. There's a bridge, of course, but new arrivals are not permitted to access it until we're sure you won't try to thwart our mission."
"And what would that be?"
"To leave Earth, and have the Enterprise beam our humble ship into its cargo bay, and then take off for the future."
Mulder just stared at the man. "You're joking."
"No, in fact, I'm quite serious. Why don't you believe in the existence of other life in the galaxy, Captain? Your file indicated that you would."
"You have a file on me?"
"I have a file on all prospective applicants. The viewers of the television show Star Trek are all open-minded individuals who would love to escape the confines of this planet, and explore the final frontier."
Mulder was through arguing with the man. He was clearly insane. His best bet now was to use psychology to get himself, and the other captives, out of here. "I suppose you have evidence to support your conclusion that the Enterprise is coming."
"Yes, I do, Captain."
"And I suppose you want me to believe you have this without showing me?"
"The evidence isn't on the ship. It's all around us. Your very own conspiracy, Captain, that you fight to stop within your government."
Mulder frowned. "Alright," he said. "I admit that I believe in the existence of extraterrestrials, but I'm still not seeing the connection to Star Trek."
"In 1966, Star Trek premiered on television. People loved it, but they canceled it after three years. It didn't come back for nearly a decade, in the form of movies, and then finally in the form of another series in 1987. Do you realize that there was a government order issued to cancel Star Trek, Captain?"
"No, I wasn't," Mulder said. He had never looked into the matter, and he doubted very much that there was such an order. But he wasn't about to argue with the man now. It was impossible to win, and he needed to just get out.
"There was, and its re-introduction into the system was devoid of the subliminal messages scattered around the Original Series. You probably don't know this, but it was instilling the belief in young Trekkies that extraterrestrials exist, that the Enterprise is real, and that those who believe will be beamed up eventually."
"You have evidence of these subliminal messages."
"Yes, just watch the Original Series," the man said simply.
For the moment, Mulder didn't argue. Instead, he nodded. "Alright, so they cancelled it and then brought it back without the subliminal messages. Who was sending the messages in the first place?"
"The Enterprise. They told their story to Gene Roddenberry, who put it in a form the public could understand. The show was a stroke of genius, but it wasn't Roddenberry's genius. It was simply regurgitation of the original message Captain Kirk had sent him. Visitors from Earth's future have come to take the believers, for the purpose of scientific and anthropologic study."
"And you go willingly."
"All new Trekkies would go willingly, once convinced that this is true! It's just that children are more easily convinced, and people such as the Hermenez's, who are already believers, just need an extra push to believe in the Beamers' true mission."
"You need to be a believer to be Beamed?"
"No, the Enterprise can choose to beam you at any time, but you need to be a believer to earn a place on the crew, Captain. We've given honorary ranks to those of us who join. The children are automatically Ensigns, and will grow in rank as they train. The Hermenez's are Lieutenants. You are a Captain by your own choice, and I am an Admiral."
Mulder wanted to hit the man for his nonchalant answers, and outrageous claims. But even more, he wanted to throw him in jail for kidnapping. These children were innocent, and had been taken from their parents, brainwashed, and forced to stay in an underground bunker. Flint was clearly insane, as were his followers. This looked to Mulder to be a full-fledged cult, and likely very dangerous. Though he hadn't seen any weapons yet, they had the capabilities of kidnapping. "So what if I don't want to go?" Mulder dared.
"Then you will likely be taken, and thrown in the brig. For now, that is the only solution I see for you, if you aren't willing to stay in the Common Room and socialize with the others."
"How about just letting me go?"
"There is too great of chance that you would attempt to thwart our escape from the confines of Earth's gravity. We'll only use impulse for atomsphereic travel, of course, and so a well-aimed hit from a missile could easily destroy the Tartus. You are the only one who knows our plans, so we'll keep you here. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Captain. I know you have a partner you'd rather be with right now."
"Let me stay in the Common Room. I promise I won't cause any trouble," Mulder tried.
Flint chuckled. "You think I'm a fool, Captain. It's quite clear. You think I'm delusional and insane, and you promise not to cause me any trouble. Well, I'm sorry, but I wasn't born Trelaga IV."
Mulder didn't catch that reference. But he could guess what he meant by it. When the man called for 'Lieutenant Young', a woman about twenty-nine years old came running out of the security drill formation. She held her phaser in her hand. "Yes, Sir?" She asked.
"Take Captain Mulder to the Brig and make him comfortable. He'll be spending the rest of his stay there." The children looked frightened, and the admiral regarded them. "Don't worry, Captain Mulder isn't in trouble. It's for his own safety. Keep training, Ensigns, it'll be time before you know it."
Mulder felt a toy phaser pressed up against his back, and Lieutenant Young said, "It's fully charged, and set on the highest stun setting. Please don't make me carry you."
He wanted to laugh at the thought of the petite woman, smaller than Scully, carrying him. Once outside the common room, Mulder pulled his compact weapon out of the back of his pants, where he had carefully stowed it while talking to Admiral Flint. He pointed it at the woman, and said, "You're going to take me to the surface, no arguments. I know that toy you have is loaded with nothing more but batteries, but this gun has bullets, and they hurt a little more than a phaser burn."
The threat did nothing to faze her. She already had her phaser trained on Mulder, and without a smile, she pulled the trigger. A stream of red-orange light flowed through the corridor and knocked Mulder's weapon out of his hand. Then she pointed it at his head. "It's real, Captain," Young said. "Now move."
Mulder was astonished. How had they gotten a hold of weapons that advanced? And was it possible…at all possible…that they might just be telling the truth?
Scully oversaw the investigation. She stood in the middle of Mulder's apartment, yelling at the agents who were working too slow, the agents who were working too fast, and the agents who were getting dangerously close to Mulder's video collection.
"Um…I already checked that cabinet," she tried.
The agent with latex gloves had just stared at her.
"It's clear. Fingerprinted, checked, everything's in order."
"When did you do this?" the agent asked.
"Before you got here," she said a little too quickly.
"Right," the agent said, rolled his eyes, and opened the cabinet. His eyes grew wide when he saw what was inside. "Oh," he said simply.
Scully felt like kicking him in the kneecaps. But instead, she said, "Do you think we can try to keep this under wraps?"
But the man wasn't listening. He had picked up a video, and was grinning widely at it. "Backseat Bed Driver 4…I don't have this one…"
It was Scully's turn to roll her eyes. "Just put it back when you're done with it," she said dryly, and walked away.
Suddenly, Mulder's computer blared a high-pitched tone, and Scully's hands shot up to her ears. She squinted, and was about to order someone to turn the damn computer off when the noise stopped, and Mulder's voice came through loud and clear. "We are not alone."
Scully froze. Her eyes bore into the computer screen, which was simply still on the desktop display. Mulder's voice was gone. It took her a moment to regain her thought process. "Someone get a trace on that signal that came through his modem. I want to know where it came from, and I want to know five minutes ago. Reggen," she turned to the agent in charge of the investigation, "I want Mulder's computer thoroughly searched. I want to know what websites he was on right before his abduction, what email last came through, who sent it, everything."
"Yes, Ma'am," Reggen said.
"Good," Scully concluded with a nod. But instead of leaving them alone to work, she sat in front of Mulder's desk and started going through the drawers that had already been searched. She needed something to do. Fear rising in her chest, she couldn't help but glance at the computer screen every few seconds, wondering if she'd hear his voice again, and if it would be the last time.
"Hey! Hey! I know you can hear me out there! Come on! These things weren't even soundproof in Star Trek, so don't pull that! Come on!"
The annoyed Trekkie in a yellow security uniform turned around, facing Mulder through the strange transparent barrier. "What do you want?" The man asked irritably.
"Some food would be nice. You get HBO in here?"
"Is that all you wanted?"
"And maybe something to read. TV Guide? National Enquirer? Hell, I'd even take Blues Clues Weekly at this point."
That earned a very small, nearly undetectable smile from the man. "You're in here for your own protection, Captain. Getting you a meal, television, and a book might cause you harm."
"I see your point about Blues Clues Weekly, but TV Guide's harmless."
"This conversation is over."
"Wait, don't…" Mulder groaned as the man turned around again. He wasn't getting anywhere. He was alone in a small cell, completely bored, and trapped by a bunch of lunatics while they awaited a futuristic starship to beam them into their cargo bay. It doesn't get much better than this, does it? He thought. Not even Flukeman beats this.
Mulder was about to give up on conversation when the security guard tapped his combadge, and Mulder listened intently to the exchange. From what he could ascertain, he was being moved.
The man had a pair of futuristic-looking handcuffs on him, and he pointed his phaser at Mulder as he deactivated the force field. "Come on, we're going to the celebration and you're invited."
"I wasn't aware prisoners were treated so kindly," Mulder said as the man secured his hands with the handcuffs. "You're not gonna make me eat gagh, are you?"
He pressed the phaser against Mulder's back, and said, "Move." They walked down the corridor of the underground bunker and turned into the Common Room. Mulder was astonished when he saw everyone had changed into dress uniform. Even the children had smaller-sized dress uniforms. They were mingling, like it was a dinner party.
"We're humane on this ship," the security officer told him. "You get to observe, Captain." The man brought Mulder over to a railing on the wall, and brought out another pair of handcuffs. He slipped one circular hold in between Mulder's wrists, and the other onto the railing. Their prisoner was now secured to the railing in such a way that made it uncomfortable to face the room at all.
"Sorry to burst your bubble, but I can't do much observing from this angle."
"I apologize for the inconvenience," the security officer nearly sneered, and walked away to join the others.
Facing the wall, Mulder sighed. Well, it was better than the cell. He nearly jumped when a siren sounded once over the loudspeaker, and then Admiral Flint's voice echoed through the room. "The time is nearly here," he said joyously. "Let us recite: Space, the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Tartus. Its ongoing mission," everyone else joined in, making it a large chorus of happy voices, old and young, "To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life, and new civilizations. To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before!"
Mulder thought it was over, but Admiral Flint started singing the tune to the Next Generation. "Daaa, da-da-da, da-da-da! Da-da-da-da-da-daaa-daaa-daaa, da-da-daaa!" Everyone else joined in, and someone in the room had to have had a guitar…or maybe it was a Vulcan Lute…but either way, Mulder heard the tune played on an instrument. He raised an eyebrow in a very Scully-esque manner, wondering if he was, in fact, asleep. If so, this was a very interesting dream indeed.
A Klingon, the first Mulder had seen in the underground bunker, approached him and said, "I am Klingon Chancellor Mo'Kor. Admiral Flint has agreed to uncuff you if you remain within my reach."
Mulder sized up 'Mo'Kor', judging him to be about the size of an average NFL player. But with FBI training, he knew he could take him. It would be the fact that he was outnumbered that would work against him. And most of these 'Starfleet officers' were armed with whatever weapon they had managed to pass as a phaser.
"Well, Captain, do you want to be rid of your restraints or not?" The Klingon demanded.
"Sure, fine, whatever," Mulder said, before he could stop himself. He smiled inwardly. He was uncuffed, and allowed to join the party. Unfortunately for him, that was right when they brought out the 'synthehol'. One sip of the stuff and Mulder was absolutely convinced there was nothing synthetic about it. It was full-fledged whiskey. And it only confirmed that these people were nuts. Why did he drink something from them in the first place? He had to ask himself that question. It was ridiculously unsafe to do so his situation. Maybe their insanity was rubbing off on him. Maybe he was becoming a Beamer.
Everything was getting fuzzy. The Ensigns were running around, playing with each other. The Lieutenants Hermenez were drinking the synthehol pleasantly. Mo'Kor grabbed his arm, and Mulder thought it was a violent gesture. He hit the Klingon in the jaw, only to collapse on the floor of the spinning room. Mo'Kor appeared unfazed by Mulder's punch, and was now dragging the Captain to his feet. Mulder was led to a chair, where he struggled to stay awake. But amidst what sounded like a Klingon Opera verse, everything started to fade. And then it was black.
SOMEWHERE OVER THE US
Scully had found the file in Mulder's Internet history. Beamers. Some kind of Star Trek cult. He now had nearly 10 MB of memory on them, and Scully had combed through the most important websites and information to find that they were planning a gathering in North Dakota. Who plans a gathering in North Dakota?
It didn't matter. She was on a flight only a half hour later, having used her FBI credentials and the importance of the hunt for her partner to bypass security. It was less than entertaining to try to convince the person at the gate, who checked boarding passes, that she was, indeed, the FBI agent he had been told about. In her rather revealing Starfleet Uniform, she looked like a crazy Trekkie who had gotten hold of a badge and a gun. Although the attendant had been convinced, his facial expressions were, at least, entertaining. Even though Scully wasn't very entertained.
The flight attendant approached her and said, "Ma'am, there's another hour until we touch down. You requested that you receive updates on our status."
Scully looked away from the window, and at the attendant. "Yes, thank you," she said.
The flight attendant remained planted in her place. "Is there something else?" Scully asked.
"Thank you," Scully said, and turned back to the window.
Then, suddenly, the flight attendant sat down in the vacant seat beside Scully, and asked, "I'm sorry for prying, but…I'm a Trekkie too…and…well…I just think it's remarkably brave of you to wear your uniform to work. It really speaks a lot about the power Trekkies have. Especially in your position, in law enforcement. It means people have to take you seriously, and therefore take us seriously."
Scully simply stared at the woman.
"Thank you," the attendant finished. "I'll leave you alone now." She got up, and walked away.
Scully shook her head, and turned back to the window. She really hoped she was right about North Dakota. She'd hate to get on another flight as the only Starfleet Medical Captain FBI Agent.
Mulder awoke to chanting. Some kind of…Klingon verse?
Ka ve Ko-le-Ko
Ye' toCha MaLo
He rubbed his eyes, and drank in the site before him. The entire crew of the Tartus, still in dress uniforms, had formed a circle. And one by one, blue light engulfed them. Admiral Flint was still there, as was the Klingon, but several children had already disappeared.
Mulder dove to try to stop it, but found that he was handcuffed to the railing again. "Damn it!" He yelled, but no one turned around. "Stop! They're just kids! Let them go!" He screamed.
They acted as if they couldn't hear him. Finally, only two remained. Admiral Flint looked at Mo'Kor and said, "The time is at hand, Chancellor. I don't know if we'll see each other again, if the Klingon High Council beams you directly to a Bird of Prey, but it has been an honor serving with you."
"I agree, Admiral. It has indeed been an honor," Mo'Kor said. Without warning, the two vanished into blue, sparkly air. Then Mulder heard a noise. A rumble.
"Oh, Shit," he said, just as the ceiling came down on him.
"Reports of the collapse of an abandoned underground bunker have rocked the state. It is now confirmed that there were at least eight people, possibly more, who were illegally occupying the bunker when it collapsed. Sources indicate that amongst them was an undercover FBI agent, attempting to stop the cult from harming abducted children. Those rumors have not been confirmed, but the FBI has arrived on the scene."
The reporter turned when the cameraman indicated someone was approaching, and then beamed, "In fact," she said, "A person with an FBI jacket is approaching now. Ma'am, can we ask you a few questions."
"No comment," Scully said sharply, and continued walking.
"Is it true that an FBI agent was trapped in the bunker?"
"No comment," Scully said more forcefully.
"Why are you wearing a Starfleet uniform?"
Losing her temper, Scully said, "So I can attract little naked Ferengi posers at a F***ing Star Trek convention!"
The reporter stood, stunned, as Scully walked away.
"Can we air that?" The cameraman asked.
The reporter turned to him, and still shocked, said, "Absolutely."
Scully ran toward the collapsed ground, and flashed her badge at an officer who looked at her attire curiously. She approached the SAC for North Dakota's field office, and demanded, "Are you in charge?"
"Yes, Agent Jordan, at your service."
Scully shook the man's hand. "My partner's somewhere down there. Are you picking up infrared signatures?"
"We don't have a portable infrared scanner, Agent Scully. This isn't Washington D.C. We're doing this the slow way."
"Then hand me a shovel," Scully demanded, half sarcastically.
"We can't let you go in there. We have trained relief personnel working right now. I wasn't notified you had the credentials to perform this kind of rescue operation. We're looking at eleven or more people trapped under there."
"It's more than eleven. Every estimate you have is wrong. I have information for you, and you're not gonna get it until you let me go in there."
"I can't let you do that. But Agent Scully, you can't withhold information-"
"It's my damn partner in there!" Scully yelled.
"That doesn't mean I can let you risk your life-"
Scully didn't give him the chance to continue. She stormed over to the station where rescue personnel were donning knee and elbow pads, and picking up flashlights and hard hats. She was just about to suit herself up when she saw someone being carried up a makeshift ladder, and handed off to firefighters. He was stooped over, holding an oxygen mask to his face, but walking and very much alive.
Scully ran as quickly as she could, holding her breath until she saw it was really Mulder. And when she spotted the unmistakable, however dirty, Starfleet uniform he was wearing, she yelled, "Mulder!" in delight. Mulder looked up, his eyes at half mast, and smiled through the oxygen mask. The rescue worker put him down gently on a gurney, and a paramedic began examining him.
"Mulder where are the others?" Scully demanded as she crowded the paramedic's space, practically doing his job for him. She shone a light in Mulder's eyes, checked the mild cuts and scrapes she could find, and awaited his answer.
"They beamed up," Mulder said.
Scully stared at him, and then looked at the paramedic. "He needs to get to a hospital. He's obviously got a concussion-" Mulder grabbed her arm, and shook his head. "What, Mulder?" She asked.
"I'm not delusional. They beamed up, I saw it. Right before the building collapsed. Scully-I was handcuffed. When they found me, I was in the only pocket with air, far away from any spot to handcuff me. Explain that."
"I…Mulder, I can't guarantee what you say is true. You took a hit to the head. That much is obvious," she said, gently fingering the scrape on his forehead. "You could have imagined anything you saw."
"I didn't imagine this."
"Put that oxygen mask back on." Only when he obeyed, did she continue. "Did you see the children, Mulder?"
"All of them. And the Hermenez's, and the leaders of the Beamers. They left, Scully."
"Where did they go?"
Mulder pointed up, and Scully rolled her eyes. She pushed him back on the gurney and said to the paramedic, "Take him to the hospital. I'm coming with you."
The paramedic didn't even begin to argue with the strange, temperamental FBI agent with a very attractive Starfleet uniform on. He hopped in the back with her and her partner instead, and said, "Let's move," to the driver in the front.
He couldn't help sneaking a peak down that low-cut uniform the agent was wearing, but she didn't notice. She was holding her partner's hand, despite his annoyed glances at her, and seemed oblivious to the rest of the world around her.
Mulder slipped his dirty Starfleet uniform back on, adjusting his communicator so it was perfectly straight, and exited his hospital room. He had been discharged pretty quickly after the ER doctor confirmed that his only ailment, smoke inhalation, was clearing up nicely and that it was safe for him to leave. His cuts and scrapes were superficial, and he enjoyed rubbing it in Scully's face that he did not have a concussion.
They left together, and headed directly to the airport.
"So the kids were abducted again," Scully concluded. "The Beamers must have escaped with them and taken them to another location."
"I know what I saw, Scully."
"What you saw is absolutely ridiculous."
"That's what I thought before I saw it."
They walked past a few shops, and approached security. They didn't notice at first, but then Mulder heard the distinct tune and turned his head. They were standing next to a Sci-Fi shop, complete with action figures, model spaceships, and merchandise from every science fiction television show imaginable.
The tune to The Next Generation was on a loop, and they could hear it clearly right outside the door. Mulder looked at Scully, and smiled. "You know, Scully, I was gonna wait until we got back to tell you this, but…I bought you a jumpsuit, too. You can wear it tomorrow to the rest of the convention."
Scully's expression was indescribable for a moment. Then, she exploded. "You mean to tell me you sent me across the country in this damn miniskirt when I could've been in a jumpsuit!? Mulder!"
Mulder smirked. Just then, the television just outside the shop turned to the news, and they both recognized Scully's voice. "So I can attract little naked Ferengi posers at a F***ing Star Trek convention!"
Mulder's eyebrows went up, and he grinned at Scully. "My, my, G-woman, I think you've finally grasped the Star Trek spirit."
Scully was the picture of embarrassment, her cheeks flushed as she rubbed her eyes with her thumb and forefinger.
Mulder placed his index finger gently under her chin, and raised her head to look at him. "May I have this dance?"
Scully's eyebrow went up, but then promptly went down, and she said, "Mulder, I think if we were to boogie right here, it would be the most normal thing that's happened today."
"I think you're right," Mulder said, and they began to dance to the tune of Gene Roddenberry's show, as the Enterprise-D zoomed off into the distance.