Missing: An MMPR/X-Files Crossover
by Stephanie Moffett
..........Scully walked into the office
with a certain degree of trepidation. Mulder had sounded a bit distracted
over the phone, a bit more mysterious than usual. She didn't like that.
Distracted and mysterious was about the last thing she wanted to deal with.
Please, she whispered under her breath, please let it be just a kook. No
aliens, no strange viral infections, just a plain and simple psychotic.* * *..........The second they drove past the
city limits sign, Mulder got the creeps. There was nothing visible to make
him feel that way. The place was nice. Almost too nice. Houses in rows
with well kept lawns and well kept children playing ball in the street.
It was almost a caricature of normal.
..........The lights were off, and projected
on the opposite wall was the picture of a young man. A teenager really,
she thought after a moment, well muscled for his age but something in the
kid's eyes gave away his youth.
.........."Jason Lee Scott." Mulder
didn't bother acknowledging her with a hello. He sat behind the projector
with a studied casualness. "Age 17. His likes include the martial
arts, junk food, hiphop music, and the color red."
.........."And this is important because?"
..........Mulder looked over at her. No change
in expression. Looked back. "Last Saturday, he said good-bye to some
friends and disappeared."
.........."A runaway?" Scully waited
for the other shoe to drop.
..........Mulder pressed the projector button.
Another teenager. "Zachary Taylor, age 17. Last seen walking along
a bike path, putting up posters of Jason Scott. That was Monday."
..........Another slide. A girl this time.
Asian. Very pretty. Mulder's jaw tightened. "Trini Kwan, sixteen years
old. Grabbed in a park by four assailants, dressed in black. The kid that
witnessed it was run down by the kidnappers' car. No serious injuries.
That was Wednesday."
.........."Have there been any ransom
demands?" Scully was truly puzzled. "Is there any connection
between the three?" What she wanted to say was, is there more to this?
Is it an X-file?
..........Mulder flicked on the lights. "They're
best friends. And, they're gone, missing in a community that has no crime
to speak of. The school principal actually laughed when I brought up the
idea that it might be drug related."
..........He tossed a thin file at her. "Angel
Grove, California. Population of roughly fifty thousand... the only significant
deviation from the norm is a rather high percentage of Japanese immigrants.
No drug problem at all, no murder, no assault, no domestic violence, not
even much of a divorce rate. These kids... good students, model citizens...
and the evidence strongly suggests abduction."
..........Scully set the file down, unopened.
"Mulder, unless there's something you haven't mentioned, this is a
matter for the local authorities."
..........He smiled. "Did I mention that
the whole city is under protection of a band of vigilantes called the Power
Rangers?" He reached over to the file and flipped it open to a news
article. She looked at the picture, more puzzled than ever. Six costumed
figures, the colors of the outfits bright enough to blind a bat.
.........."So... costumed vigilantes.
It's not that unusual."
.........."The townspeople believe that
they are protecting the city from alien invasion."
..........She closed the file. "I was
wondering when the aliens would enter. Mulder, this is obviously an abduction
..........He took the file from under her
fingers. "The police department asked for FBI assistance and this
is where the case ended up. Now, these people haven't had a real case in
years and there are three kids missing...." He waited until she nodded
in defeat. "Our flight leaves in two hours."
.........."Just one thing, Mulder."
Scully decided to be forceful on at least one point. "We're going
to help find these kids. No looking for aliens, or costumed vigilantes,
or werewolves or anything else."
..........He grabbed his coat. "Scully,
no one said a thing about werewolves."
..........By the time they reached the center
of town, the cityscape was matching his mood quite well. Downtown Angel
Grove appeared to have been recently totalled. Debris was everywhere, though
he couldn't help but notice how cheerful all the workers seemed.
.........."What could have done that?"
Scully pointed to a smokestack on one of the factories. It looked as though
it had been gnawed off. Mulder shook his head. It didn't look like earthquake
damage, that was for sure.
.........."We're stopping at the school
first." Mulder said as he steered the car around the wreckage. "The
local police know we're investigating and have no problem with our taking
over the investigation."
..........Scully made a scoffing noise. "What
investigation? The report says on page two that they intend to let these
Power Rangers handle the situation."
.........."Did you see the part about
the rival gang? The Putties? The chief told me that we should just run
if we see them." Mulder chuckled, despite his unease.
..........They pulled into the school parking
lot. The school was as surreal as the rest of the city. The agents entered
just as classes were letting out. The hallways were filled with well dressed,
neat looking teenagers. There was no shoving, no cursing, and as they walked
by the restrooms, they could not smell cigarette smoke.
..........The principal's office was quiet.
An older man, wearing what had to be the worst toupee either Scully or
Mulder had ever seen, was fiddling with a filing cabinet. He looked up
as they entered and smiled pleasantly. "Can I help you?"
..........Mulder stepped forward and held
out his FBI identification. "I'm Special Agent Mulder, and this is
Special Agent Scully. We spoke on the phone."
..........The man extended his hand. "I'm
Victor Kaplan, Angel Grove High's principal. I'll help you in any way I
.........."Well, to start with, these
kids...." Mulder opened his file to a page with the three missing
teens' photos. "What do they have in common and who are their friends?"
..........Kaplan moved away from the filing
cabinet and picked up a yearbook. "That's easy enough. This has all
the activities they belong to and pictures of them with their friends."
He thumbed through the book and held it out, opened to a large photo of
.........."And we'd like to talk with
their friends." As Scully spoke, a young girl walked into the office
and unobtrusively started making photocopies. Scully looked at the group
picture. Same girl, and almost the same pink outfit.
..........Mulder, missing that, continued
with,"We also would like to speak with the witness to Trini Kwan's
abduction... a William Cranston... the police didn't take down his address."
.........."William...? Oh, you must mean
Billy." Kaplan looked over to the girl. "Kimberly, is Billy still
.........."No, Mr. Kaplan."she said,
carefully removing her copies from the machine as she spoke. "He and
Tommy went to the Youth Center. We're going to meet up there as soon as
I finish these, and hang them up." She held out one of her copies.
It was a"Have you seen these children" poster with the three
missing teens' photos.
..........Mulder looked at the caption in
the yearbook. "You must be Kimberly Hart. Could we ask you some questions?"
The girl nodded, a little suspicious. She stepped back towards the door.
"What do you want to know?" There was an edge to the kid's voice.
Something, Mulder thought to himself, is going on here.
.........."Your friends..." He pointed
to the picture. "Were there any problems, any trouble at home? Something
that might make them leave?"
.........."Absolutely not." Kimberly
glared at him. "Look, I'm late as it is." With that, she turned
and almost ran out the door.
.........."Is it just me, Scully, or
was she rather evasive?"
..........Scully nodded. "A little, and
did you notice the lack of enthusiasm that we were investigating? I'd thought
she'd be falling all over to help us."
..........Mulder thumbed through the yearbook.
"These six kids... they're close. They're in a lot of activities together."
He paused, pondering his thoughts. "It's connected somehow."
.........."Agreed, but how?"
.........."We're missing pieces to the
puzzle." He pointed at the picture, to the two boys they had yet to
meet. "Let's find the youth center."
* * *..........After an hour of driving through
back streets, avoiding areas of destruction, and getting lost while trying
to skirt around Angel Grove Park, they found the Youth Center. It was a
nice building, Mulder thought as they walked in, funny how the kids haven't
destroyed the place. It was shamefully wholesome. He was struck again by
how well behaved the kids all seemed.
..........The center was dominated by a juice
bar. There was a large samoan behind the bar, and unlike most of the citizens
the agents had run into, he did not give them a friendly smile. He didn't
glare or even stare, but it was obvious that they were being well watched.
Mulder, feeling oddly pleased by the Samoan's reaction, decided to talk
to the guy.
.........."We're looking for these two
kids. Have you seen them?" Mulder held the yearbook open to the class
photos of the two boys.
..........The Samoan looked. "Who wants
..........Scully whipped out her badge. "The
FBI." Mulder added his ID as the Samoan scrutinized both.
..........He looked up, his eyes a bit more
friendly. "I didn't mean to be rude, but... someone's grabbing kids,
you know. Can't be too careful." He pointed to a table off near some
video games. "They're right over there."
..........The boys saw the bartender point.
It was painfully obvious to the agents that had there been an easy way
out, the kids would've bolted like deer. Mulder and Scully exchanged a
look. Something wasn't right here. They walked over casually, hoping to
set the boys at ease.
..........They were nice looking kids, Mulder
noted, though Angel Grove seemed to have more than its share of attractive
children. The dark haired boy (Tommy Oliver, he placed the name from the
yearbook) had the fluid muscle tone of the martial artist the yearbook
said he was. Dressed in green sweatpants and a white t- shirt, it was surprising
to Mulder that none of the young girls were attempting to flirt with him.
The blondish kid, Billy Cranston according to the pictures, had a more
awkward look, not quite as nerdy as the yearbook photos suggested, but
not in the same league as his jock friend. The type, Mulder remembered
from his days in high school, that the teachers liked and everybody else
..........Unlike the rest of the kids in the
youth center, these two were not smiling. They both seemed unnaturally
nervous. Billy (a little old to be called Billy, thought Mulder) had a
bandage taped above his left eye, and puffy bruises around his eyeglasses,
no doubt from the car that kidnapped Trini Kwan. Tommy seemed to be on
the edge of complete exhaustion. Again, Mulder felt that warning twinge,
something was very wrong about these kids.
.........."Tommy Oliver, Billy Cranston?"
Scully made the first move. The kids nodded almost imperceptively. "I'm
Special Agent Dana Scully, and this is Special Agent Fox Mulder. We'd like
to ask you both some questions about the recent..."
.........."ID's."Tommy said sharply.
They were both taken back by the curtness of his voice. "Now, or we
..........The agents handed over their badges.
Tommy barely glanced at them, but Billy scrutinized them carefully, and
to Mulder and Scully's amusement, wrote down their numbers.
.........."Are they real?"Tommy
..........Billy nodded slowly. "They
appear to be authentic."
..........As he took his badge, Mulder said,"Can
we ask you some questions, now?"
..........Billy pushed his glasses up, about
to speak, when Tommy gave him a scathing look. Some sort of unspoken conflict
took place, and then Tommy spoke,"Have you asked for permission from
our parents to speak to us?"
..........Scully and Mulder were taken back.
"What?"asked Scully, not quite sure she'd heard correctly.
.........."According to California State
Law," began Billy, "Federal investigators are required to get
parental consent before interrogating minor children. We are minors, and
your unfamiliarity with this law suggests that you are either not actually
FBI agents or that you have not obtained parental consent. Either way,
we are under no obligation to answer any questions."
..........Mulder tried again. "We wanted
to ask you about what you witnessed when Trini Kwan was abducted."
..........No hesitant glance to his friend
this time. "I gave a full description to the police. If you're really
an FBI agent, I'm sure you can gain access to that report."
..........Scully decided to try a different
tack. "Your friend Kimberly was very helpful." Not a lie, she
told herself, an enhancement of the truth.
..........It backfired. Both kids turned a
deathly shade of grey. For a moment, she thought that Tommy was going to
faint. Then, they looked at the agents with something between rage and
fear in their eyes.
.........."Kimberly was supposed to meet
us here an hour ago." Tommy said slowly. "She always calls when
she's running late."
.........."But she hasn't called,"
added Billy. That killed the conversation for a few seconds, as Scully
and Mulder considered the implications. Then, two chimes went off. The
kids looked at each other.
.........."Our beepers."said Tommy
as they rose to leave. "You understand." They flew out the door
before either Scully or Mulder could comment.
..........Mulder and Scully turned around
to find two leather clad teens leering at them. Or, to be precise, leering
.........."Boy, would I like some of
that," said the skinny one as he ogled Scully's breasts. Mulder grinned.
..........The heavy kid jabbed him. "We
heard you talking to the dweebs."
.........."We can help you." The
heavy kid seemed supremely confident of that.
..........Mulder was amused. "How?"
.........."You're new here. You don't
know how to find them." The heavy kid gestured grandly. "Those
geeks don't know anything."
.........."Geeks," agreed the skinny
.........."Now, Skull and I," added
the heavy kid, "have been on this from the start. We have photos,
footprints, eyewitness testimony."
.........."Eyewitness," chimed Skull.
.........."Anything you want to know
about the Power Rangers, just ask us," finished the heavy kid.
.........."Well, actually, we're investigating
the recent disappearances of..." began Mulder.
.........."The other dweebs," finished
Skull. "Bulk, tell him your idea."
.........."The Power Rangers will rescue
the missing geeks." Bulk waved his hands to indicate how obvious that
was. "Then, we can catch the Power Rangers and find out who they really
..........Skull leaned in and stage whispered,
"We think they're aliens."
..........Scully was getting impatient, and
even Mulder, though intrigued by their first real information on the mysterious
vigilantes, felt the need to get moving. "Give us a call if you do
find out who they are." He handed his card to Bulk, who seemed almost
flabbergasted to be taken seriously, and left.
..........Outside the Youth Center, Scully
blew up at her partner. "You gave them your card? Mulder, I hope you're
not seriously considering any of this... this garbage!" Mulder ignored
her, and then suddenly took a great interest in her shoes.
.........."What?" She looked down.
.........."Those papers..." He pointed
to the papers blowing around the lot, and picked one up. It was a copy
of the sign that Kimberly Hart had been making. They were all over the
ground, as if they'd been dropped. "I think we've got another missing
..........Before she could respond, the earth
began to shake. A flood of people ran outside of the various buildings
and were pointing at the sky. The agents looked up. What appeared to be
a giant cockroach was battling a samurai-like robot. Just as it seemed
as though the roach would destroyed the beleaguered samurai, there was
a mighty roar from the seafront. A giant mechanical Godzilla entered the
fray and bashed the roach with its tail. The robot high-fived with Godzilla.
In seconds, all three giant creatures disappeared, leaving wreckage behind.
.........."They've got an interesting
urban renewal plan here," commented Mulder. "So, I'll find the
Cranston' house, and you'll take the Olivers'?"
..........Scully gaped at him. "Mulder,
Godzilla and a Transformer Robot just fought a giant roach in the shopping
..........He shrugged. "Where's Raymond
Burr and Voltron when you need them?"
* * *..........Upon entering the Cranston'
home, Mulder was struck at how seemingly normal everything was. Two parents
home, lots of pictures of the kid hanging on the walls, and a plate of
cookies sitting on the kitchen table... waiting no doubt for some teenager
to eat them as an afternoon snack.
.........."What exactly can I help you
with, Agent Mulder?" Mr. Cranston was a tall, older man with glasses.
No doubt about paternity in this home, Mulder thought to himself.
.........."I need your permission to
question your son, Mr. Cranston."said Mulder,"And I'd like to
ask you a few questions, if you don't mind." It seemed easier to pump
the father for information than going after the boy.
.........."Sure,"said Mr. Cranston,"but
please call me Ward. And have a seat."
..........Ward, Mulder cringed inside as he
sat down, it figures. "Ward, have you noticed anything different about
your son lately?"
..........Ward thought for a moment. "Not
really... oh, well, he's been a little out of sorts since he was hit by
that car but that's understandable. Otherwise, he's been fine."
.........."Hasn't been cutting school
or anything like that?"Mulder wondered if Ward was even aware enough
to know, but asked anyway.
..........Ward laughed. "Billy? Skip
school? I'm afraid someone's been misinforming you... My son does not skip
school. When he's not with his friends, he's usually doing his homework
or working in his lab. He's a straight A student, you know."
.........."His lab?" Mulder perked
up. High school kids seldom had their own labs.
.........."Oh yes." Ward brightened.
"He's so inventive. He built his own computer and... well, all sorts
of things. The school wanted to accelerate him but we felt that would put
too much pressure on him. So, we let him use the basement for all of his
experiments. He has quite a set up."
.........."Can I see this lab?"
His curiosity was rising.
.........."Sure." Ward led him through
the house to the basement door. "It's right down there. I'll send
Billy down to talk to you if he comes home."
..........It was not a brightly lit basement
but the glow off of numerous electrical devices made pulling out a flashlight
unnecessary. He stepped over a small pile of electrical junk, being careful
not to disturb anything. The kid's computer was homebuilt and rigged quite
professionally, and Mulder wondered with amusement what the boy might have
in the way of illicit software. He didn't know what he was looking for,
except some insight, and it didn't help that the kid didn't place a high
priority on neatness. He threw out several empty boxes of take-out in an
attempt to clear the worktable. He thumbed through a stack of papers, impressed
with the sheer volume of mathematical equations.
.........."Get away from that! Put your
hands up!" Mulder spun around. Billy stood on the stairwell, pointing
a gun in Mulder's direction. Mulder felt his heart stop. Then, he got a
better look at the gun.
.........."That's a flare gun, Billy."
Nevertheless, he did raise his hands. He'd seen the damage a flare gun
..........Billy stepped off the stairwell.
"I'm aware that it's a flare gun. I imagine it would be quite painful,
if not deadly at this range. Please leave before I decide to find out."
.........."Your father said I could talk
.........."My father has no idea who
or what you are." The kid waved Mulder over to the stairs. "I
don't want to speak with you. I want you to leave me alone."
..........Mulder felt his temper rising. "I'll
leave," he said angrily, "But I want you to understand something
first. I'm trying to figure out where all your missing friends are... I'm
not out to get you, I'm trying to help, and frankly, I seem to be the only
one who gives a damn that there's a bunch of kids missing. Tell me, Billy,
are you like the rest of the pop-people in this town? You think the Power
Rangers will save the day? Is that it?"
..........The flare gun wavered in the kid's
hand. "No," he said. "I don't think the Power Rangers can
do anything about this."
* * *..........Scully read through her notes
and sighed. Just once, she wanted to write a report that sounded rational
and the Angel Grove disappearances were not providing an opportunity. The
whole situation would have been laughable, except for the still-missing
teenagers, now four in number. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry
at the apathy of Tommy Oliver's parents.
.........."Oh, we don't put limits on
him," they had said. "Tommy is very responsible... why no, we
don't have a problem with you talking to him... when will he be home?...
oh, well, we don't really know... he keeps irregular hours."
..........It made her want to scream. She
wasn't a parent herself, and yet she knew that there was something wrong
with the idea of letting the kid run wild. Not to mention just how frustrating
it was to deal with the average Angel Groveite. They seemed so... pleasant...
so happy. She wondered if maybe there was some natural source of Prozac
in the water.
..........She got up and walked around the
room. It made her feel better to at least be moving. She didn't know what
else to do. Her specialty was forensic evidence and there was precious
little of that so far. All they had were the flyers that Kimberly Hart
..........She looked out the window, hoping
to take in some of the scenery. Perched in a tree about ten feet away,
at almost eye level to her second story room, were the two delinquents
Mulder and she had met earlier. They waved at her.
..........She closed the curtain as Mulder
walked in. "I saw your fan club out there. They asked for nude photos.
Offered to exchange pictures of the Power Rangers for them... I was tempted,
Scully, very tempted."
..........She glared at him. He got the point,
and as he handed her his notes, he changed the subject.
.........."Cranston was a wash."
He ran his hand through his hair. "Odd kid."
.........."I'll say... he pulled a gun?"
.........."He seemed tense." Mulder
allowed. "Something is going on here... I'm convinced that those two
kids know something."
.........."You don't think they're responsible?"
It didn't seem likely to Scully, despite all the suspicious behavior. The
kids were afraid, yes, neither seemed guilty acting to her.
..........He shook his head. "No. I think
they know who is though... or at least think they do... did you get to
talk with Tommy?" She shook her head. "Figured as much... you
should see the basement in the Cranston' home... it makes Frolik's look
pathetic..." He looked through the curtain and glanced at the park.
Turning to Scully, he said,"Let's check out the park. I have a feeling
that that's where the action is."
..........It was full dark by the time they
reached the center of the park. They carefully avoided the extensive workings
of Bulk and Skull, who were haphazardly stringing Christmas lights across
a field. Scully was curious and when she laughed, Mulder chuckled.
.........."Rows of lights have been known
to attract UFOs"he explained. "I thought it would keep them away
from your window for a while." As he spoke, they walked across a low
rise, and spotted Tommy, seated at a picnic table. Scully and Mulder ducked
behind a tree, and waited.
..........Scully felt something was wrong
with the situation. It was too odd, even for Angel Grove. A young boy,
sitting alone in a park, at nine o'clock at night. The question was why?
..........Mulder tensed. A car was coming
up over the hill. It was too dark to really see what it was, but they could
see the lights. Mulder checked his gun.
..........Tommy was oblivious to the car at
first. As it drew closer, he stood and waited, apparently he wanted to
see who it was before he ran. The car stopped. Mulder saw the boy turn
and sprint. Four men dressed in black poured out of the car. One of the
men lifted a bulky weapon and fired. The kid jerked and ran a few more
steps before dropping to his knees, grabbing wildly at his back.
.........."Hey!"Mulder shouted as
he took cover. He fired at the men, as did Scully. The men in black all
stopped, very surprised. Mulder took aim on the closest and fired. Blood
spurted from the man's chest. His friends ran back to the car and drove
off. Scully started to run down the hill, towards Tommy who was still kneeling
and grabbing at his back. Mulder saw the flash before he heard the shot.
.........."Scully! Tommy! Get down!"
..........Scully dove. The kid was not so
lucky, taking a hit in the shoulder. Mulder squeezed off a few rounds at
where he saw the flash and ran to Scully.
..........She was already with the boy. "He's
bleeding but it's not too bad."she said as she applied pressure to
the wound. "Take a look at this." She handed him a tranquilizer
dart. "It was in his back."
..........Mulder stood back up. He looked
around, hoping to catch sight of the second gunman. Much to his surprise,
he spotted Billy skulking about on one of the many knolls that surrounded
the area. Their eyes met. Billy stopped short, sliding a little on the
wet grass. Without a word, he turned and ran.
.........."Wait!" Mulder took a
few running steps but he knew that the kid was long gone. He turned around
and went over to the man that he had shot. The man was dead and there was
no identification on the body... though Mulder hadn't expected to find
..........Scully was still working on the
kid. The boy's eyes were glassy, from shock or whatever was in the dart.
Mulder knelt down beside the boy.
.........."Tommy..." He waved his
fingers in front of the kid's eyes. "Tommy, what were you doing out
here all alone?"
..........Tommy's eyes focused on him. "Phone
call... said meet in the park... Billy..." The boy reached over painfully
and undid his watch. Pressing it into Mulder's hand, he whispered, "Important...
get... Billy... no way to know... sorry... didn't trust..." His eyes
.........."Mulder, we've got to take
him to a hospital." Scully didn't look up, she was busy. Mulder slipped
the odd looking watch into his pocket and then ran to the car.
* * *..........Mulder hated waiting rooms.
It made him feel immensely inadequate to have nothing to do but sit and
wait. Scully, at least, had tests to run and she had left him to wait when
they brought Tommy Oliver to the hospital. It was twelve hours later and
he hadn't seen her in all that time.
..........He had nothing to do. He'd gone
back to the park to investigate but the body of the man he had shot was
now missing. The local police were better able to track down Billy Cranston.
He flipped on the tv, hoping to at least catch the news.
..........Instead, he got footage of a giant
transformer robot battling a gold monkey with wings. After a moment, he
realized that it was some sort of local documentary. He watched with interest.
The locals, while not exactly reluctant to discuss the whole Power Ranger
mythos, were not very informative. He noted that the robot displayed a
different fighting style the day before as compared to the news footage.
It's reflexes were much slower than the previous day. He filed that away.
You never know, he thought with a grin.
.........."Hey!" He spun around
to see the bartending Samoan enter the waiting room. "Do you know
how Tommy is?"
..........Mulder shook his head. "I haven't
.........."It's Ernie." They shook
hands. "His parents went out of town last night and asked me to take
care of any problems." He shook his head. "I never imagined something
..........Mulder had an idea. "Ernie,
have you seen Billy today?"
.........."Yeah. He had breakfast at
the Juice Bar. He seemed kinda... out of it."
.........."Just... quieter than usual.
Tense." Ernie sighed. "I can't believe what's been going on in
.........."I don't suppose Billy mentioned
where he was going?"
..........Ernie nodded. "Yeah, he said
he was going home to do some work..."
..........Mulder was out the door before Ernie
* * *..........There was a police car already
in the driveway when Mulder pulled up. Ward Cranston was talking animatedly
with a police officer. Mulder showed his badge and took Ward aside.
.........."Ward, what's going on?"
He gestured to the police car.
..........Ward pointed at his house. "We've
been robbed! Someone went through our house and took things and destroyed
everything they didn't want." He pulled Mulder into the house.
..........Ward, Mulder realized after looking
at the destruction, was right. The place was trashed. Mulder was not so
sure about the robbery. Lots of valuable items were broken but not gone.
"What's missing?"he asked.
.........."Some money... my service pistol
from Vietnam." Ward shook his head. "My wife and I went out last
night and when we came back, the place was like this."
.........."What time did you get back?"
.........."Well, what about your son?
Was he here?" Mulder somehow doubted it.
..........He was right. "No, he left
a note saying that his friend Tommy invited him over for the night."
Ward shook his head. "He doesn't even know about this yet."
..........Don't be too sure, Mulder thought
grimly. "Can I look around?" Ward nodded. Mulder made straight
for the basement. It was thoroughly trashed. All the papers were thrown
on the floor and the computer was in pieces. It was exactly as Mulder expected.
Someone had been looking for something, and had staged a robbery to do
..........There was a different scent in the
air. Before, the place had had a vaguely electrical smell. Now... Mulder
turned over some papers on the worktable. There was a pile of cigarette
..........Someone, Mulder thought, forgot
to clean up their calling card.
* * *..........Mulder found himself waiting
in the hospital again. He pulled out the watch that Tommy had given him
and wondered what piece to the puzzle he was missing. The watch (he didn't
know what else to call it, it definitely wasn't a watch) was significant.
He felt as though he'd been handed a key, now if only he could find the
lock. Scully was still at work, and Tommy Oliver had not regained consciousness.
Whatever was in that dart that hit the boy was effective... and unknown.
After eighteen hours, he was still deeply asleep. Not in any danger, which
was the only good news of the day, but not awake.
..........More and more, Mulder wondered if
he had misinterpreted the situation. According to the school's records,
Billy Cranston was not just a bright student, he was brilliant. Mulder
didn't like it, but the possibility was there that the kid had cracked
and was now acting out some bizarre scenario. There was an old saying about
how geniuses have the most creative breakdowns. Mulder hoped that wasn't
..........On the other hand, there was a lot
of evidence suggesting something more sinister. Arranging hits on one's
friends was a bit much for a sixteen year old with little cash. The body
of the man in the park disappearing... and the cigarettes... and the watch
that wasn't. Mulder just didn't know. He examined the watch more closely.
.........."Walk away, Mulder." The
voice came from beside him. Mulder knew enough not to turn and look.
.........."Why?" he whispered to
the black man seated next to him with a paper held in front of his face.
"What are you hiding?"
.........."It doesn't concern you."
Mr. X glanced at him. "Just let it go."
.........."A mistake, Agent Mulder."
..........Mr. X handed him a newspaper clipping.
Mulder glanced through it. It was about the Angel Grove High science fair.
Mr. X pointed to a device in the corner of the picture. "We wanted
the kid that made the cold fusion reactor."
.........."Cold Fusion..." Mulder
could see how that would be useful. Mr. X got up and left as Scully walked
through the door. She glanced at him, and then looked to Mulder for an
explanation. "Not here." he cautioned.
..........She nodded and patted her purse.
It seemed fuller to Mulder. "You've got to see this."
* * *..........Mulder looked at the gold coin
and then again at the watch. It was starting to get too damned odd, even
.........."I think Billy Cranston did
it." Scully gestured to the files. "It happens sometimes... genius
..........Mulder shook his head. "No.
There's too much evidence suggesting government involvement."
.........."Mulder, your informant has
lied before."Scully said impatiently. "He could be covering for
the kid, did you consider that? The kid has a breakdown and the government
covers it up because they still need the kid's ability..."
.........."I'll agree that it's possible."
Mulder said slowly, "but unlikely. Did you get anything from Tommy?"
..........Scully had walked over to the window
and was looking out. A frown crossed her face. "No."she said,
her tone distracted. "Excuse me." Without waiting for an answer,
she left the room, stopping only to grab an unopened can of soda on the
..........Mulder looked out the window, and
understood what had driven Scully out. In the dark, he could just make
out the figure of a thin, leather jacketed teen sitting in the tree.
..........He got outside just in time to see
Scully peg the kid in the head at twenty yards with the can of soda. The
teen toppled out of the tree, hitting the ground with a bone cracking thump.
Mulder trotted up to Scully, who was honestly shocked at what she'd done,
and said,"Batter hit by pitch, Scully. Now you have to let him get
to first base."
..........She ignored him. Her intent had
been to distract the drooling Skull, not hurt him. She ran over to the
body lying face down in the grass, and turned him over. She gasped in surprise.
..........Mulder walked over. He could understand
her surprise. Despite the change in clothing, it was pretty easy to tell
that Scully had bagged the wrong kid. It was Billy Cranston.
.........."Nice shooting, Scully,"he
said as they dragged the kid discretely into their hotel. "Shall we
stuff the whole body or just the head?"
* * *..........Scully looked at the table in
her room and sighed. If it wasn't for the fact that she was fully awake,
she would honestly wonder if she was having a nightmare.
..........Mulder had prudently handcuffed
Billy to a chair as soon as they got into the room. Before they made any
effort to awaken him, they had searched him. Now, nicely displayed on her
bed was a flashlight, duct tape, a pistol (no doubt the one missing at
the Cranston home) and a can of mace. She wondered if the kid had cracked
..........She grabbed the ammonia inhalants
and hesitated. "Mulder, what are we doing? This is illegal."
.........."So's assaulting a minor, but
I notice that didn't stop you." Mulder paced around the chair. "Look,
something bizarre is happening in this town. Take the giant robots."
.........."I thought we agreed that wasn't
relevant." Scully didn't even want to think about that. "Besides,
it was probably mass hallucination... we just got caught up in it."
.........."Well, what about this?"
Mulder held out the coin they'd found on Billy. "And just what was
he doing on the grassy knoll when Tommy was shot?"
.........."I got a phone call..."
Mulder and Scully turned around. Billy was awake and looking much worse
for wear. "It sounded like Tommy. He asked me to meet him in the park.
When I got there, it was dark. I saw the car pull up to Tommy and then
.........."Why'd you run?"Mulder
asked. He still wasn't sure that the kid was sane.
.........."I was scared." Billy
said quietly. "We had thought that you two were the ones behind the
.........."If you saw the shooting then
you must've realized that we weren't the ones after you."
.........."Well, yes, but... you had
a gun, she had a gun, and the guy with the rifle was taking aim on me...
that's why I got a gun. Would you prefer if I had waited and gotten shot
too?" Billy glared at them. "You know, you're hardly engendering
my trust at the moment. I was just trying to signal you and look... I'm
handcuffed to a chair with a concussion."
.........."What happened to your house?"
.........."It was trashed when I got
back. I left a note so my parents wouldn't worry, took Dad's gun, and hid.
Later, I convinced Skull that it would be to his advantage to trade clothes
with me... look, is Tommy all right?" Scully nodded. Billy looked
.........."Look," he said to the
agents, "These people seem to be after me. I don't know who they are
or what they want but I need help." He nodded to Mulder. "You
said that you were on my side... I thought you were lying, but I don't
have many options left."
..........Mulder held out the coin he'd found
on Billy. "What about this? What is it? And what's with the watches
that aren't watches?"
..........The kid looked down at his feet.
"I'm sorry... I can't tell you."
.........."Why not?" Mulder shook
the kid hard.
.........."It's a secret." Billy
was almost apologetic. "Can't you understand that? I promised not
to tell... we have rules..."
.........."Rules..." Mulder slapped
the wall in frustration. "You have rules... you made a promise...
for god's sake, you're sixteen years old! This isn't a game we're playing!
Is it that important?"
.........."You don't understand."
Billy tried again. "I can't just tell you..." There was a sharp
knock on the door.
.........."Open the door! Federal Marshals!"
..........They all looked at each other.
.........."We've got to get out of here."said
Scully. "Those aren't Feds."
..........Billy nodded. "Agent Mulder,
do you really want to know about those coins?"
..........Mulder nodded and the boy continued
with,"Then grab the other coin and watch and then both of you grab
hold of me."
..........The agents looked at each other
and then did it. They grabbed hold of the kid's arms. Mulder looked down
just in time to see Billy manipulate his own"watch"beneath the
handcuffs. Then he saw nothing but blue light.
* * *..........The next thing he knew, Mulder
found himself dropping onto a hard floor. He let go of Billy and opened
his eyes. He looked up, and felt his reality shift. He heard Scully suck
in her breath in surprise, and felt himself doing the same.
..........Rising above them was a giant, floating,
blue head. It was frowning. "Billy," it said, its voice booming
through the weirdly lit chamber, "I thought we discussed involving
others in this situation."
..........Billy looked up, seemingly at ease
(or at ease as much as one can when handcuffed to a chair). "It was
necessary. They were placed in danger because of me. I couldn't leave them
.........."Zordon? You're explaining
yourself to something named Zordon?" Mulder stood, a bit shakily.
"I knew that acid I took in college would catch up with me someday."
..........Scully also stood. "I guess
we're not in Kansas anymore. I'd like an explanation. Any explanation."
..........Zordon ignored them. "Were
you able to retrieve Tommy's power coin?"
.........."Power coin?" Mulder fumbled
with the coin. It all suddenly became clear. "Power coins... Power
Rangers... you kids are the Power Rangers... this explains a lot."
..........Scully nodded. "Yes, it's all
clear now... we've both gone mad. Mulder, this explains nothing."
.........."Umm..." Billy interjected.
"Could you remove these cuffs? Perhaps I can explain this."
..........Mulder removed the cuffs, and Billy
and Zordon attempted to explain. The boy finished with"...Lord Zedd
is a lot tougher so we had to get new zords."
..........Scully leaned nonchalantly against
a computer and said,"This seems rational to you?"
..........Billy nodded. "I don't have
time to teach you the physics that would prove this."
.........."All right,"Scully decided
to flow with it,"But what does this have to do with the cold fusion
.........."Nothing." All the pieces
fit together in Mulder's head. "The government was never after the
Power Rangers... " he turned to Billy,"The cold fusion device
that you entered in the science fair... "
..........Billy shook his head. "It was
a group project, all our names were on it."
..........Mulder smiled. "Of course,
let me guess, you did the theoretical work, everyone else helped build
it, and since everyone's name was on it, no one knew who really did the
thinking... did it work?"
..........The kid shook his head."I couldn't
get consistent results... that's what this is all about?"
.........."Of course,"said Scully.
"They kept grabbing the wrong kid... but now what do we do?"
..........Zordon spoke. "We know where
the others are being held. There is a small military base outside of town
where they are being detained."
.........."Well, why don't you just beam
them out?" Scully asked. It did seem reasonable.
..........Billy shook his head. "That
would be using our powers for personal gain. That's against the rules."
already tried that... you have to have either the power coin or the watch
because the power grid needs to focus on the matter/antimatter pulses being
emitted from the quantum particles in the power coin. They don't have their
.........."How do you know that?"Mulder
asked. Billy pointed to one of the computers, where several coins were
.........."We transported the coins when
we tried to rescue them."
of our methods would reveal the true identities of the Rangers."
.........."Let me guess... that's another
rule?" Mulder rolled his eyes as the kid nodded.
..........Scully stepped forward. "I
have an idea. Why don't we give them what they want?"
* * *.........."Is this legal?" Billy
asked as he adjusted the rank on his uniform. "I seem to recall that
impersonating officers is against the law."
..........Mulder readjusted the lieutenants
bars on the kid's collar. "Billy, has anyone ever told you that you
think too much?" The kid shook his head, as Mulder adjusted his own
uniform in the van mirror.
..........Scully's plan was simple. They go
to the base, impersonating officers, and using clearances and orders provided
by Frolik and company. They get the kids, using phony transfer orders,
and leave behind the cold fusion reactor plans. Everyone gets what they
want. Later, Mulder would contact Mr. X and assure him that all the kids
understood how it was in their best interest to forget the whole incident.
..........As they drove up to the gates, Scully
said,"Remember, I'm Major Kelly, Mulder is Captain Reynolds, and Billy,
you're Lt. Garfield. Don't slip up." They nodded in agreement.
..........They passed through the gates uneventfully.
Scully whipped off salutes like she'd been born to make them. Mulder had
never realized what an effective liar she could be. They went deeper into
the complex, until they found the checkpoint that both Frolik and Zordon
had confirmed was where the kids were being held.
..........Scully stepped up to the desk. The
guard straightened when he saw her rank. "I'm here to facilitate the
transfer of the prisoners. Here are the orders. We've got a long way to
go today, so let's push this through."
.........."Yes, Ma'am,"said the
guard. He examined the order intently. "This seems to be in order.
I'll just have the project director okay this and we'll get the prisoners
for you." He pressed a button on the desk. They stood and waited.
..........Mr. X stepped out from behind the
closed door. He looked at Mulder. Mulder looked at him, feeling a wave
of fear flash through his body. Mr. X casually thumbed through the transfer
order, and examined the clearances pinned to their uniforms.
.........."This appears to be in order,"he
said slowly as he fiddled with Mulder's clearance badge. "Do you have
something for me?" His tone was chilling.
.........."Yes, we do." Mulder jabbed
the kid. "Lt. Garfield, give him the records."
..........Mr. X took the brown manila envelope
from Billy and opened it. He glanced through the first few pages, and then
looked at the boy. "This is nice work, Lieutenant. Perhaps we can
work together sometime in the future." Before the kid could answer,
Mr. X turned and said in passing to the guard,"They're clear. Do what
the major asks."
* * *..........Mulder read over his report.
He didn't know what else to say. Case file X-567--The missing Angel Grove
teens were found. They stated that they had decided to go camping and pull
a trick on their parents, not realizing how much concern they would cause.
Their parents seem to accept this explanation. Tommy Oliver made a full
recovery. The shooting remains unsolved. The substance used to tranquilize
him remains unknown. Billy Cranston was discovered with his friends and
explained the destruction in his house as an over-reaction due to stress.
The identity of the man killed in the park remains unknown, and his body
was not recovered. The identity of the individuals in the black car remains
unknown. The identities of the vigilantes known as the Power Rangers remains...
..........Mulder smiled. He, like the Power
Rangers, knew how to keep a secret.