"Mulder why are we headed to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I know how you like to surprise me but I would like to find out sometime before we land."
"Scully, all I can tell you is Skinner said two agents requested us. He didn't say which two, he just said get a flight out and they would meet us at the airport."
Scully sighed. "No case file?"
Mulder slowly shook his head. "He didn't send one down."
Scully looked straight ahead. "Hum, that is strange."
Mulder shrugged. "Skinner is a strange man."
Scully just stared at her partner.
Two hours later they touched down in Knoxville, Tennessee. Scully gathered up the notebooks while Mulder retrieved the luggage. They piled their gear near a chair and began to wait.
"How the hell are we supposed to know who we're looking for?" Scully asked with her arms crossed over her beige business suit.
"I suppose I could hold up a cardboard sign that reads, FBI."
"I'm sure that would get you noticed."
Mulder squinted his eyes then craned his neck. "I think, I see, oh shit!"
Scully whipped her head around. "What is it?"
"Agent Mulder, over here," Special Agent Michael Kinsley motioned to his two fellow agents.
"And Stonecypher," Scully sighed.
"Agent Kinsley." Mulder offered his hand. "And you know Agent Scully," Mulder said looking down at his partner.
"Of course," Agent Kinsley said as Agent Stonecypher moved in to shake hands with Mulder and Scully.
"So agent, want to let us in on what this is all about? AD Skinner gave us no indication," Mulder said as he picked up the luggage while Scully gathered up the laptops.
"That's because there is no case, well there was, but we solved it."
"Mike was brilliant, he pieced together a few facts and the next thing you know we got our man." Stonecypher beamed at her partner as a self-assured grin covered his face.
"Congratulations Agent Kinsley," Scully politely offered.
"So why call us?" Mulder asked with a touch of irritation in his voice.
"Because you deal in freakazoid things."
Scully glared at Agent Kinsley.
They walked through the terminal doors. "So Agent Kinsley, what's up?"
"Agent Mulder, one night Agent Stonecypher and myself were nosing around one of the Rutherford and Stone plants."
"They run several of the nuclear test reactors built here don't they?" Scully asked.
"That's right, anyway, we were going through the personnel files and such. We took a break and went down on the plant floor and that's where we saw it."
"Agent would you like to get to the point." Mulder sniped as he dropped the luggage into the open trunk on Kinsley's bureau issued sedan.
Kinsley slammed the trunk lid shut. "In the car," he said as his eyes darted around the parking lot. "I don't want others to overhear."
Mulder looked around the empty parking lot. "Agent, there is no one else out here."
Scully tugged at her partners sleeve as she opened the rear door and slid in the car. Mulder calmed down, somewhat, and crawled in the front seat with Kinsley. Once all four agents were seated Agent Kinsley turned to face Mulder while Stonecypher moved foreword in her seat.
"Agents," Kinsley began, as he looked from Mulder to Scully, "I saw a man."
"It could have been a woman," Stonecypher interrupted.
Kinsley rolled his eyes. "Okay, I saw a being, but it wasn't a person."
"What was it?" Scully asked.
"It was some kind of ectoplasm man."
Mulder stared at Kinsley. "Have you been watching Ghostbusters?"
"I'm serious, I saw this, this, thing."
"I saw it too," Stonecypher confirmed.
Kinsley pulled out of the parking lot and into the late afternoon heat.
"Agent, you want to tell me exactly what you saw?" Mulder was beginning to think that this was not such a good case to investigate.
Kinsley's eyes grew large and his voice dropped, "It looked like walking lightning."
"It did," Stonecypher added with a nod of her head.
"What did it do?" Scully asked, now interested in what the other agents saw.
Kinsley pulled into the late commuter traffic out of Knoxville and headed for Oak Ridge. "It wasn't doing anything. It stood at the end of the room and watched us for a few minutes then disappeared."
Stonecypher jumped in at this point. "Then we saw it again! It was walking around the pool of water that cooled the reactor."
Kinsley was visibly nervous. "We saw it several nights in a row, really freaked me out so I called AD Skinner and requested you two."
"Has anyone else seen it?" Mulder asked as Kinsley begun to pick up some speed as the traffic thinned out.
Stonecypher looked at her partner. "We didn't ask anyone."
Mulder frowned. "Why not?"
Kinsley huffed at Mulder's question. "They would have called us nuts and laughed us out of here."
"So you called us instead." Scully bristled. "How ironic."
"Well yeah, but you two are used to being laughed at."
Scully cast a look at Kinsley that Mulder had been on the receiving end of in the past, he almost felt sorry for the other agent. "Did you think to check the security tapes, I'm sure they have them."
Mulder smiled back over his shoulder at his partner.
"No, we never, no," was all Stonecypher managed to say.
"Then we need to look at those tapes," Scully said.
Kinsley pulled into the Smoky View motel. The rooms had outside entrances, were small but clean and had been recently renovated.
"This is the key to our room Agent Mulder."
"Our room?" Mulder asked mildly irritated at Kinsley as he removed the bags from the trunk.
"Yeah, you didn't think you would be bunking in with Stonecypher did you?" Kinsley laughed.
Mulder slammed the trunk lid shut and glared at the other agent as he took the offered key. "There had better be two beds in that room or one of us will be sleeping in the car."
Kinsley looked at Mulder and swallowed hard.
Scully walked into the room that she would be sharing with Stonecypher and dumped her notebook on the nearest bed. Mulder brought in her bags and sat them next to her notebook.
Kinsley walked in behind Mulder and clapped his hands together.
"Why don't you two freshen up and then we'll all go out for dinner."
"Oh yes, Mike has found this wonderful steakhouse just around the corner," Stonecypher said as she pulled her long, blonde hair up and pinned it in a bun.
"Well, I'm game if Agent Scully is." Mulder looked down at his diminutive partner.
"Sounds good," Scully lied.
"Then we'll all meet," Kinsley said looking down at his watch, "say in twenty minutes at the car." With that Mulder and Kinsley headed for their own room.
Scully opened her bag and took out two pantsuits and hung them up before taking her makeup bag into the bathroom. There was a soft knock on the door. "Come in," Scully said around a mouth full of toothpaste.
"Agent Scully?" Agent Stonecypher walked in and leaned against the sink.
"Yes, Agent Stonecypher," Scully replied once she had rinsed out her mouth.
"Agent, I just wanted you to know that we really did see something out there. I'll have to admit I was afraid."
Scully sensed Stonecypher's uneasiness. "Don't worry, I've been afraid lots of times. Fear is a normal human reaction."
Stonecypher stared out into space. "It's just that I'm an FBI Agent, I'm not supposed to be afraid."
Scully took Stonecypher by the arm as she brushed past her.
"There is not an agent alive who hasn't been afraid at sometime or another."
"Thanks," Stonecypher replied as she followed Scully out of the bathroom.
Soon all four agents were seated at a table in Perry's Steakhouse. The room was dimly lit with candles on each table. As the group looked over their menus Kinsley spoke up. "The food is tasty and within the bureau budget."
"Mike is a stickler when it comes to our travel expenses," Stonecypher commented as she scanned her menu.
"Never over budget and not one penny unaccounted for," Kinsley beamed.
"Sounds like me," Mulder whispered to Scully behind the huge menu.
Scully bit her bottom lip to suppress a laugh.
Their orders were placed. "So Agent Kinsley, what was the case you were working on when you saw this apparition?" Mulder asked between bites of his breadstick.
"Stonecypher and I were sent out here to investigate some missing uranium. You know, terrorism and all."
Mulder politely nodded.
"We were in the process of looking over employee records and bills of lading when we first saw this thing." Kinsley loosened his tie and undid the top button on his shirt.
"How did you solve this case?" Scully asked as she sat back so that the waiter could place a salad in front of her.
"The metal is actually gathered at the end of each day from huge machines that separate the uranium 235 from uranium 238, its only found in nature at a rate of 1 to 140, so they only recover a few specks per day. The company records indicated that the U235 daily recovery stayed steady throughout the month except twice a month the daily recovery would be half as much as usual. The company suspected the individuals who cleaned out the collecting receptacles on those days but they checked out, even the security cameras came up with nothing."
"So who was doing the stealing?" Mulder asked as they began to eat.
"Turns out the guy in charge of recording the weight of the U235 was actually under weighing the stuff then he would hand it over to the courier who would filch it."
"Unbelievable," Scully commented, "how did you figure it out?"
"I majored in accounting at Virginia Southern. If we couldn't catch anyone stealing the stuff it had to be in the accounting." Kinsley smiled as he cut off a piece of steak and shoved it into his mouth.
"So you saw this apparition in only the one plant? Mulder asked as he pointed his fork at Kinsley.
"Well yeah, but we were only in the U235 recovery plant and the reactor area."
"We saw the apparition in the reactor area," Stonecypher added.
Kinsley cut off another piece of steak. "This place is harder to get into than Fort Knox. I doubt that we can ever get back into the complex now that the case has been solved."
Both Mulder and Scully stopped chewing and stared at their fellow agent. "Then why did you call us out here?" Mulder asked as he put down his fork.
Kinsley's eyes darted from one agent to the other. "You have connections, I've heard the rumors about you two breaking into the DOD, Arecibo, and places like that."
Mulder cut his steak with a little more vigor than was necessary and glanced up at Agent Kinsley. "Agent this had better be worth it or I'll be kicking your ass all the way to Arecibo."
Kinsley suddenly grew pale.
Stonecypher and Kinsley got out of the car first and entered their rooms. Scully lingered behind wanting to spend a few moments alone with Mulder.
"Scully, you majored in physics, is this how this stuff, U235, is made?"
"For the most part yes. The famed Physicist Neils Bohr once said to separate enough U235 from U238 one would have to turn an entire country into a factory. He took one look at Oak Ridge and said see I was right."
Mulder smiled at the comment but Scully could tell his thoughts were elsewhere. "What do you think this is Mulder?"
"I have no idea, but if we're going to get in to that plant we will need some help from the Gunmen and I can't get a hold of them with Kinsley looking over my shoulder."
"I'll try to get him into my room for a few minutes."
"That should do it," Mulder replied to her offer then he looked down at her. "Scully, I would love to kiss you under this big moon."
"But others may be watching," Scully finished for him.
"Yeah," Mulder agreed as he watched her walk back to her room.
Scully gave him a long look and disappeared through the door. Once she knew Mulder was in the other room she knocked on the connecting door. "Agent Kinsley?"
"Yes Agent Scully," Kinsley answered as he pulled the door open.
"I was wondering if you and Agent Stonecypher would mind going over the floor plans for me, as you remember them of course."
Kinsley eagerly agreed to help Scully; he relished the opportunity to talk about the case he had just solved.
Thirty minutes later Mulder walked in the female agents room and gave Scully a subtle nod. "What's up?"
"Agent Kinsley was kind enough to draw a floor plan of the plant and Agent Stonecypher filled in the details."
Mulder looked over the floor plan that did indeed look like something drawn by an accountant. "This should be of help. Thanks, agents." Mulder said as he patted Kinsley on the back.
"Okay you two back to your room. I'm tired and I'm sure Agent Scully is too." Stonecypher shooed the male agents back to their own room, then she locked the connecting door, something Scully hadn't done since the Tooms case.
"You can us the bathroom first," Stonecypher offered.
"Thanks, I won't be long," Scully said as she gathered up her nightclothes and makeup bag.
Mulder had stripped down to his boxers and was lying on his bed channel surfing when Kinsley came out of the bathroom wearing the most hideous pair of pajamas Mulder had ever seen.
Kinsley glanced over at Mulder as he folded his dirty clothes and placed them in his suitcase. "You can change now."
Mulder smiled as he continued to stare at the TV, "I have changed, this is it."
Kinsley frowned, "But what if Agent Scully should need you in the night?"
"If Agent Scully should need me in the night then I am overdressed." Mulder crawled off the bed and wiggled his eyebrows at the other agent before he headed to the bathroom.
"Agent Scully," Stonecypher said as she brushed out her long hair, "what's it like being partnered with Agent Mulder?"
Scully stuffed her clothes in her overnight bag and began to comb out her own wet hair. "I doubt it's much different than being partnered with Agent Kinsley."
Stonecypher stopped combing out her hair and rolled her eyes.
"Come on Agent Scully, I love being partnered with Mike, he's the wisest agent I know." Scully had to smile at the other agent's loyalty. "But everyone knows Agent Mulder is, well, he's like a loaded gun waiting to go off. He's spontaneous."
Scully sat down on the edge of her bed. "The rumors about Mulder are grossly exaggerated. He is a steady, solid agent that has always watched my back. It's just that his passion for the answers and the truth are sometimes perceived as him being a risk taker, but he's not."
"Sometimes I envy you Agent Scully and at other times I feel sorry for you."
Scully looked stunned. "Sorry. For me?"
"Look, I don't mean anything by it but with Mike, I know he'll be up at 7:10 precisely, we always meet for lunch between 11:30 and 12:30. We do all our interviews after lunch. Mike has a system that we follow while you were dragged half way around the world and you two disappear for days on end. I couldn't live that way," Stonecypher shivered.
"I would agree that it is taxing except for one thing, I'm working with Mulder." Scully needed to change the subject. "Now you said something about being tired. I think we should both turn in."
"Yes, you're right." Stonecypher crawled off her bed and turned down her blankets.
Kinsley was in bed going over his notes with his back braced against the faux headboard that was screwed to the wall. "What do you think they are talking about in there?"
Mulder looked up from his channel surfing. "Us."
"Us?" Kinsley frowned. "What makes you think they are talking about us?"
"Because that's what women do after they have been in the company of men."
"Isn't that a rather sexist statement?" Kinsley asked.
"No because right now most men would be talking about the two woman in the other room."
"How do you know that?" Kinsley suspiciously asked.
"I majored in Psychology."
"Must help on a job like ours."
"At times." Mulder watched Kinsley for a few seconds. "What are you working on?"
"Our dinner check. I'm dividing it up but it's off by two dollars. Wait! I found it! Stonecypher had marinara sauce with her breadsticks."
Mulder looked at the gleam in Kinsley's eyes and just shook his head.
Dana Scully heard a knock on the con-necting door. "Agents, are you ready?" It was Kinsley right on time as Stonecypher said he would be.
Stonecypher met him at the door. "Morning Mike, we're all ready."
"Great. Let's get some breakfast." Stonecypher grabbed her purse and headed for the front door with Kinsley hot on her heels. "We'll meet you two in the car," Kinsley said over his shoulder to Scully.
Scully peeked into Mulder's room but he wasn't there. Just then the bathroom door opened and out walked a haggard, dis-heveled looking agent. "Mulder!" Scully exclaimed. "What happened to you? You look awful."
He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled on his shoes. "I always look this way after a night of no sleep."
Scully sat down next to him and brushed the hair away from his eyes. "Why didn't you sleep?" She softly asked.
Mulder put both elbows on his knees and turned to look at his partner. "Kinsley snores."
Scully's eyes grew wide. "He snores?"
"Like a buzz saw." Mulder wrapped his arm around his partner and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Scully," he pled, "let me sleep with you, you don't snore much."
Scully shot him a glance, "Much?"
"Well, maybe a little more than much, but we can talk about that later."
Scully chuckled and looked into his puffy, red eyes. "There is nothing I would like more, but we can't."
"What if we kill them?"
"Mulder!" Scully got up and pulled her tired partner off the bed. "Come on, they're waiting in the car."
Mulder whined as Scully straightened out his tie then they walked out of
the motel room and into the bright sunshine.
"Agent Mulder will you pass the jelly?" Kinsley was busy buttering his toast while Mulder shoveled another bite of omelet into his mouth.
Stonecypher put down her coffee cup as Scully finished her English muffin. "So Mike, what's on for today?"
Kinsley shrugged. "I guess it's up to Agent Mulder to decide."
Mulder put his fork down and moved foreword on his chair. Scully smiled, she knew he was now ready to get down to business. "I want you two to point out the plant where you saw this electric man and give me some pointers on how to get around in there."
Kinsley laughed and shook his head. "You will never get past all that security."
Mulder ran his tongue over his top teeth. "Agent, I fail to see why you even bothered to call us. You seem so set on the idea that we can't investigate this thing. Tell me, did you have an ulterior motive for getting us out here?"
Kinsley shrunk under the pressure Mulder had placed the agent under. "No Agent Mulder, I assure you we only wanted you to look into what we saw."
"That's right," Stonecypher chimed in.
Mulder looked from one agent to the other then threw down his napkin. "You just show me where you saw this thing and let Agent Scully and myself handle it from there. Besides they know you two, you can't be seen on the property. Your case is over, go home."
Scully was even amazed at the forcefulness in Mulder's tone but she figured he was just tired.
A smile broke out across Kinsley's face. "Oh no, no way. We're staying here to see what you find."
Mulder looked across at his partner and slowly batted his eyes as he slightly shook his head. Scully knew this was Mulder's way of telling her that this guy was an idiot, and she agreed.
Soon the rented Taurus was sitting outside the gated fence that surrounded the Rutherford and Stone complex. "This is it," Kinsley said as he ducked his head under the sun visor to look up at vast amount of buildings.
"Okay, take off and lets check it out from a distance," Mulder told Kinlsey.
"Why?" Kinsley shrugged. "We can sit right here and see it."
Mulder looked up under the visor. "And those security cameras can see us."
Kinsley looked up and sure enough the building was ringed with cameras. He swallowed his pride and pulled away from the large complex. Mulder directed him to park at a nearby tourist overlook. The four agents exited the car and stared at the huge complex. Mulder placed a small pair of binoculars to his eyes and scanned the building.
Scully shaded her eyes and walked a few paces to stand beside her partner. "It certainly is big."
"It is, but all we need to worry about is getting into it." Mulder took the binoculars down and looked at Scully. "No matter how big the building, the doors are all the same size," he grinned.
Scully returned his smile as Stonecypher stepped near her. "See that long wing off to the right side of the building in the middle?"
"Yes," Scully answered looking in the direction Stonecypher was pointing.
"That's the main office where we were working and the tall section is where the experimental reactor is and where we saw it."
Kinsley stepped foreword and pointed. "It was just about in the center of the building."
Mulder turned to his three fellow agents. "Look Kinsley, you and Stonecypher are known there so that leaves you two out. Agent Scully and myself will be going in alone."
Kinsley placed his hands on his hips inside his suit jacket and looked down at the dust-covered parking lot. "I still don't know how you two will get in there?"
Mulder pulled on his bottom lip and squinted under the harsh sun.
"You leave that to us."
Kinsley shrugged and started back to the car with Stonecypher at his side. Scully lingered behind. "Mulder, just how do you think we're going to get in there?"
"I have no idea," Mulder said taking Scully by the elbow and heading back to the car.
All the agents piled back into the sedan and drove past the big building once more Mulder turned to Kinsley, "How far are we from town?"
"I don't know," the agent shrugged, "I guess about six or seven miles."
"Let's go there next," Mulder requested.
"What for?" Kinsley sharply asked.
Mulder looked out the side window. "I have an urge for a Slurpee," he sarcastically answered.
"Oh, that sounds good!" Stonecypher agreed while Scully just bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing.
Kinsley drove down the four-lane Main Street while Scully looked out the side window. "It's hard to believe this was just scrub oaks prior to 1942.
"How's that?" Kinsley asked from the front seat.
"Oak Ridge was part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War Two. This area was chosen for the huge gaseous diffusion and liquid diffusion plants and the atomic reactor because of the Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric dams that were strung out along the valley floor thus providing a large source of electricity and water, two necessary ingredients in separating U235 from U238. The town sprung up from the need for construction workers, scientist, technicians and their families to have a place to live and shop."
"That's very interesting," Agent Stonecypher commented.
Mulder had been listening to the conversation as he scanned the storefronts that they passed. Suddenly he grew excited, "Stop here!"
"Where? We're in the middle of traffic!" Kinsley yelled.
"Stop!" Mulder yelled back.
Kinsley stopped but not before he was honked at. Mulder opened the door and bolted from the car. "Hey where is he going?" Kinsley frowned.
"I have no idea," Scully sighed.
The honking got louder and Kinsley finally crept back into the flow of traffic. By now Mulder had disappeared around a corner but Scully knew he was merely trying to shake the other agents.
Finally Stonecypher broke the silence. "He isn't going to find a Slurpee around here." Kinsley looked in the rearview mirror at his partner and just shook his head.
Back at the motel Scully and Stonecypher were just entering their room when Scully's cell phone rang.
"Hey Scully, it's me but don't let on."
"Oh, hi mom."
"Do I look like less of a man in your eyes?" Mulder joked.
Scully laughed slightly. "No mom, of course not." She dropped the phone to her chest. "Agent Stonecypher, I'm going outside where the reception is better."
"Okay Agent Scully, I'll go see what Mike is doing."
Scully stepped outside and walked to the small pool area.
"Mulder, where are you?"
"I'm at Kinko's. I needed to find a place with high speed Internet service and a laser jet printer."
"Why didn't you check with the local PD?" Scully frowned.
"Because I needed to contact the guys."
"Oh," Scully moaned, "'nuff said."
"Where are Frick and Frack?"
Scully looked back at the two motel rooms. "In the rooms."
"Scully, see if you can shake them."
"How am I supposed to do that?" Scully snapped.
"Look, I've got to go, our ID's are coming through. Call me when you get free." Mulder broke the connection before Scully could object.
Stonecypher found Scully standing near the pool. "Agent Scully, Agent Kinsley and myself are going to file our final report with the local PD. Do you want to tag along?"
"Finally something going right," Scully mumbled under her breath. She folded up her cell phone and turned to face Stonecypher. "No, thank you. I'll wait to hear from Agent Mulder."
Stonecypher crossed her arms. "Tell me Agent Scully, does Agent Mulder run off a lot?"
Scully just smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
Kinsley and Stonecypher had left for the police station while Scully had called Mulder and been instructed to call a cab and meet him at a little café down the street from Kinko's.
Scully stepped from the cab and walked into the dimly lit café.
She scanned the back of the restaurant knowing Mulder would never be sitting out in the open. She spotted him in a back booth near a large fern. "So what's up?" Scully asked as she slid into the booth.
Mulder ignored her question. "How did you break free so fast?"
"They had to make their final report to the local PD."
Mulder shoved an ID badge across the table. "Here's our key to getting in, we work for the AEC as inspectors. Frohike has already hacked into the AEC and Rutherford and Stone's computers and opened a file on us. We were due to arrive at 2PM today but our flight was delayed and we got in at 7PM so we'll show up on Rutherford and Stone's doorstep around 9PM."
"What makes you think they'll let us in at that hour?"
Mulder smiled and shrugged, "They'll have to, we're with the Atomic Energy Commission."
Scully huffed and shook her head then looked down at her badge and frowned. "Mulder, what is this?"
"That's your alias, I'm George Hale and you are…"
Mulder rented a car, he and Scully made their way back to the motel. "So when are Frick and Frack due back?"
"I'm not sure and stop calling them that," Scully scolded.
Mulder let a little smile cross his face. He loved to watch Scully when she was perturbed.
Mulder soon had his answer when he wheeled into the motel parking lot and saw the other agent's sedan sitting there. He shut off the engine and stared at the door to the room he shared with Kinsley. "You know Scully, we could just back out of here and find another motel and they'd never know it."
Scully turned to stare at her partner. "Mulder, my good pantsuit is in that room and I'm not leaving it."
Mulder laughed at her reply.
"So Mr. Hale what's our plan for tonight?"
"Tonight Miss Frohike…"
"You had better say 'miss'," Scully teased.
"We change our clothes, you in your good pantsuit and me in a decent tie."
"And we walk into the joint like we belong there."
"As simple as that?" Scully baited him.
"That's right, Miss Frohike," Mulder teased back.
"And what about Stonecypher and Kinsley?"
"They have to stay back here. Lucky for us they've seen them before."
Scully looked up to see the curtain to her room pulled back and Stonecypher waving at her.
"We could make out like two teenagers and really give them something to talk about," Mulder joked.
Scully sighed, "As much as I'd love to, I think I had better just go in."
Both agent's slowly crawled from the car as Stonecypher opened the door. "I see you found Agent Mulder."
"Yes, I did," Scully said as she walked past Stonecypher.
"Mike was just saying that once you all got back we would go to lunch together."
Scully looked down at her watch. "Yes it is noon, I'm sure Agent Kinsley would like to remain on schedule." Mulder poked his partner in the ribs for the cutting remark but he was also smiling.
"Our last meal together before you shove off?" Mulder hopefully asked.
"Oh no, we'll be here for dinner too," Stonecypher happily said.
Suddenly Kinsley stuck his head out room door. "Good you're back, it's lunch time."
Scully looked back at Mulder and rolled her eyes. He nodded slightly, returning her thoughts.
"So just how do you two plan on getting in there?" Kinsley asked as he wiped ketchup off his mouth.
"We'll be impersonating AEC staff members," Mulder nonchalantly answered.
Kinsley stopped chewing and swallowed the wad of meat he had in his mouth. "But that's illegal!"
"Yes, yes it is," Mulder solemnly said.
"But you can't do that, it's illegal!"
"First of all, stop saying its illegal and second of all, we are doing it."
"Agent Mulder won't the bureau frown on this?" Stonecypher asked.
"Not if they don't find out," Mulder said directing his glare from one agent to the other.
Kinsley got a stupid grin on his face. "Like covert operations, now I get it! Stonecypher and I have never gone, you know, covert before."
Mulder shrugged, "Ah, there's nothing to it and besides you two will be back at the motel."
Kinsley started to object.
"Look agent, they know you two, you have to stay back."
Stonecypher slumped back in her chair. "And I was looking foreword to being covert."
Back at the motel Mulder looked over the map at the mass of buildings that made up the Rutherford and Stone complex while Kinsley looked over his shoulder. "Where did you get that?" He asked with a frown on his face.
"I picked it up at a tourist trap," Mulder said never looking up at Kinsley. "So much for Home Land Security."
Kinsley sat down opposite Mulder on his own bed. "Isn't there anything we can do?"
"Yes there is," Mulder said as he rose, giving Kinsley some hope, "stay out of our way." So much for hope.
"Hey Scully come here," Mulder yelled as he knocked on the connecting door.
"What is it?" Scully asked as she opened the door.
"I think we need to look this over and decide where we're going to enter from and how we're going to get out."
"You have to enter from the south gate, it's the only one open after six at night," Kinsley interrupted.
Mulder and Scully both looked at their fellow agent. "Thank you." Mulder then added, "Is there anything else we should know?"
"The surveillance tapes are kept in the room marked 'security'. You will pass it on your left as you enter the building."
"Mike's right, that's where the tapes are kept, the first night we saw it we had been going through the tapes of the loading dock. We got done and decided to check out the docks so we walked past the reactor and that's when we saw the apparition as Agent Mulder called it." Stonecypher runs her hands up and down her arms. "At first I thought I was imagining it, we had put in a full day and we were both tired, but Mike saw it too."
Scully looked over to see Kinsley staring into space as if he was reliving the moment.
"It should be easy to nose around, our clearance will afford us that opportunity," Mulder assured the other agents."
"Just what are we supposed to be checking for?" Scully asked her partner.
Mulder brushed past her and headed for the motel room door. "How the hell should I know, you're the physicist."
"Where are you going?" Scully yelled.
"I need some air," was all Mulder would say before shutting the door.
"Excuse me," Scully apologized before following her partner. She caught up with him as he walked the length of the long, narrow parking lot. "Mulder, what is going on?" Scully fumed.
"Nothing, I just needed to get away from Frick… our fellow agents to think." Mulder leaned against the pool railing and stared out as the oaks and pines that buffered the parking lot. "Scully, you and I have been partners for what, twelve years now?"
"About that," Scully said as she studied a leaf that she had just picked up.
Mulder bent his head down as if telling her a secret. "Scully, I don't like working with other agents, it hampers our investigation."
"Maybe it makes us slow down," Scully offered.
Mulder turned to stare at her. "You make it sound as if we go off tilting at windmills. Are you saying you are buying into the rumors of my rushing into things before I've done my homework? If you are maybe you should be partnered with Frick, I mean Kinsley."
"Mulder why are you so jumpy? Now you are starting to scare me," Scully argued but with a touch of concern in her voice.
"I just don't have a good feeling about this Scully." Mulder finally confessed to her. He leaned against the rail and slumped his shoulders as he crossed his arms and stared at the ground.
Scully leaned against the railing next to him and unfolded his arms and took his hand in hers. "Mulder this is not an official case, Skinner didn't give us a 302, no paperwork, hell we'll probably have to pay our own expenses." Mulder had to smile at her last remark. "We can walk away from this and go home. It is on property governed by the NRC, and the AEC, and most likely the DOD. That's a lot of the alphabet to have coming down on us."
"I know," Mulder softly agreed as he draped his arm across his partners shoulder.
"But we're going in anyway aren't we?" Scully could see a small smile cross Mulder's face as he nodded his head yes.
"Then you better have a plan and it had better be a good one," Scully smiled up at her partner.
Mulder pulled her into a tight embrace. "Have I ever not had a plan Scully?"
"You're scaring me again," Scully teased.
"Look I need to contact Frohike again, I'll be back in an hour or so."
Scully looked at her partner suspiciously. "You're not ditching me are you?"
"No, I really do need to contact the guys." He kissed her forehead and released her then she watched him walk to the car.
Scully entered her motel room to find Stonecypher working on her computer. "Don't let me disturb you," Scully told the other agent.
"Oh you're no problem. I was just finishing up my report to the bureau."
"You're finishing it up already? Mulder and I usually burn the midnight oil to finish it the night before it's due."
Stonecypher turned off her laptop and closed it. "Mike would never stand for that. We always finish our report before we fly out."
"He's very efficient, isn't he?" Scully smiled.
"He's a great agent to work with." Stonecypher looked past Scully. "Is Agent Mulder coming in?"
"No, he had to run into town but he'll be back soon."
"Good because we always eat dinner between 5:30 and 6:00."
Scully nodded her head slightly and pursed her lips, grateful that Mulder was not as anal retentive as Kinsley was.
"Agent Scully, I gotta tell you if Agent Mulder isn't back in ten minutes we're leaving without him," a peeved Agent Kinsley informed Scully. Kinsley looked down at his watch. "We should have left twenty minutes ago."
Scully rose from her chair and approached the male agent. "Agent Kinsley, why don't you and Stonecypher go on to dinner? I can wait for Agent Mulder."
Just then they heard a car pull up outside. Stonecypher peeked out the curtains. "It's him, it's Agent Mulder."
"Good," Kinsley said brushing past Scully, "I'm hungry, now we can eat."
Mulder unlocked the door to his room and stepped inside just as the three agents entered through the connecting door. "Don't even bother to sit down Agent Mulder, we're late for dinner," Kinsley barked.
Mulder looked confused. "Do we have reservations some-where?"
Mulder swiped his napkin across his mouth. "I have to hand it to you Kinsley, you do know where the best steaks are."
Kinsley took the compliment well. "The best and the most economical."
Stonecypher returned from the salad bar. "Agent Mulder when do you plan on infiltrating the building?"
Scully had to smile at the agent's use of the covert terminology.
Mulder cleared his throat. "Tonight around 9pm."
"I have to admit, it does sound exciting but I'm not sure I would want to see that apparition again."
Mulder put down his cup of coffee. "Agent Scully and myself have seen much worse over the years."
"I would like to try an X file case just once," Stonecypher excitedly said. Kinsley shot his partner a confused frown."The cases Mike and I investigate are so hum-drum and Agent Scully assured me that even she gets scared from time to time."
"Any agent who tells you different is a liar," Mulder replied.
"But you guys don't seem to ever solve anything," Kinsley interjected.
"That's not true, our solve rate is one of the highest in the bureau," Scully defensively said. "And we usually get the cases other agents can't solve.
Kinsley turned red at the implication.
"Well, I think the X files sound exciting," Stonecypher replied.
Kinsley looked down at his watch. "We need to get going."
Mulder knocked on the connecting door. "Hey Scully, have you seen my blue tie?"
Scully opened the door to let him in. "I'm sure I packed it. Did you look in the side pocket of your suitcase?"
Mulder grinned that dopey grin that Scully has come to know means; I didn't think to look there. He returned to his own room and seconds later yelled back, "I found it."
Stonecypher sat on the edge of Scully's bed as she laid out her weapon, badge, and fake ID. "So you pack for Agent Mulder?"
Scully paused for a moment, caught off guard by the question.
"Some of his clothing got mixed in with mine on our last case and his tie accidentally went to the cleaners with my clothes. When we left I stuffed it into his bag," Scully nonchalantly lied.
Stonecypher seemed to have bought the explanation. Scully put her weapon in her travel bag and turned around. "Well, do I look like I work for the AEC?"
Stonecypher looked her over. "You look like every other woman I saw working there except you aren't wearing a lab coat."
"Good," Scully nodded as Mulder peeked around the corner of the door.
"All set?" He asked.
"As set as I'm going to get," Scully replied as she walked to the outside entrance.
The night was cool but not cold and the sun had just set. The huge labs and plants were between shifts so traffic was light. Mulder adjusted the rearview mirror and tugged at his tie. He strummed his fingers on the steering wheel and messed with the vent system. Finally Scully couldn't stand it any longer. "Mulder, what is up with you? Is there something you're not telling me?"
"Scully, I told you…"
"Oh cut the crap Mulder, it's me you're attempting to lie to not Stonecypher."
Mulder pulled off the highway and onto a service road. He stopped the car as Scully braced for a fight. He turned toward his partner and contritely said, "Scully, I am bothered." He looked over the steering wheel and out into the night. "What if Kinsley and Stonecypher saw what Diana and I saw in that reactor in Arizona?"
Scully was speechless.
"Maybe they did see something. When I left this afternoon I contacted the guys to see if there had been any UFO activity over the area."
Scully swallowed hard. "What did they say?"
"They found nothing unusual but that doesn't rule anything out."
"What if we do find one of them?" Scully tentatively asked.
Mulder grasped her hand and rubbed his thumb across her fingers.
"Don't worry, we'll get thought this, we always do."
Scully let a small breath escape. "I'm glad you told me the truth."
"I wasn't hiding anything but I needed to talk to the guys first."
They sat in silence for a few moments. "Well Mulder, let's do it."
Mulder grinned at his partner and started the car.
They approached the high security fence that ringed the 7.6 square mile complex that is Rutherford and Stone. The two agents got past the first security checkpoint with a mere mention of their names that now appeared on every security computer screen thanks to the Gunmen.
A half-mile into the complex another checkpoint appeared. This time they were asked to produce their photo ID's.
"So far so good," Mulder said as they made their way to their destination, building K-1007.
"It should be on the left, the second building, according to your tourist map," Scully said looking up from the small map.
"I think I see it." Mulder brought the car to a halt in front of a small building, small only in comparison to the forty-five acre K-25 plant that sat next door. He looked up at the L-shaped building. "This must be the place."
Both agents exited the car. Scully pulled her suit jacket tighter while the cool night wind tussled her hair as they approached the next guard post.
"Good evening folks."
"Evening," both agents respectfully answered.
"Can I see some ID?" The burly guard asked.
Mulder unclipped his photo ID from his jacket and handed it to the guard. "I'm Doctor George Hale, AEC." The guard punched the information into his computer as Mulder and Scully held their breath.
"And you, ma'am."
"I'm Doctor Dana Frohike, PhD and also with the AEC."
Mulder flashed his partner a slight grin at her one-upmanship.
The guard punched in Scully's information and paused for a few seconds. "Okay, you're cleared." He handed two visitors badges to the pair of agents. "Wear these at all times."
"Yeah, we know the routine," Mulder laughed.
"I'm sure you do," the guard agreed.
The agents approached the building. "PhD?" Mulder laughed as he held the glass door open for Scully.
The entrance was brightly lit with a few people coming and going even at that late hour. They approached what they hoped was the last security checkpoint of the evening.
The guard didn't appear to be the least bit pleasant and maybe even surly. "This guy will be trouble," Mulder mumbled under his breath to Scully as they walked through the next set of glass doors.
"How do you know?" Scully asked her partner.
"You should know," Mulder deadpanned, "you're the one with the PhD."
"Good evening sir," Mulder smiled at the guard.
The guard merely grumbled and tossed out a clipboard with a pen attached to a string. "Sign this," he growled.
Mulder dutifully signed his name then passed the clipboard to Scully. "Well, what are ya waitin' for, a guided tour?" The guard growled. Mulder nodded at the guard and ushered Scully past him as he heard him remark, "AEC must stand for another expert crackpot."
Mulder pointed to a small room on the left, "This is the security tape room." He walked over and tried the doorknob but found it locked. "Scully watch Barnie Fife for me while I get us in."
"Mulder! We are breaking and entering on federal property!" Scully huffed.
"And we are impersonating AEC officials, your point being?" Mulder sniped as he continued to try and pick the lock. "There," he said as the door swung open. "PhD's first."
Scully tried to hide a smile but didn't succeed. She flipped on a lamp away from the door so the light wouldn't escape from underneath. She turned to look over the racks of tapes that stood before her. "At least they're categorized by date and time."
Mulder sat down in front of a bank of tape players. "Kinsley and Stonecypher saw the apparition two nights before we arrived."
"Got the date over here, now what time?" Scully asked her partner as she scanned down the tapes.
"Mid evening, say around 9 pm."
"I've got 6 to 12 midnight."
"That should be the one," Mulder said as he readied a tape machine.
Scully popped the tape in and sat down next to her partner. "New perfume?" Mulder asked as he fast-forwarded the tape.
"Yes, my favorite G-man bought it for me."
"Better not be Skinner," Mulder teased as he slowed the tape down to the point where Kinsley and Stonecypher first appeared.
"Skinner is too cheap," Scully remarked as she moved in to look at the screen.
Kinsley and Stonecypher could be seen walking around a vat of clear water that had several pipes coming out of it.
"That must be the reactor," Mulder commented.
"Looks like a swimming pool reactor to me," Scully said.
"Swimming pool reactor?"
"I've read about these and I know Rutherford and Stone has one." Scully pointed to the deep pool of water set in the concrete floor. "The swimming pool reactor was developed by Eugene Wigner and is largely used for research. The water acts as a moderator, coolant, and because the reactor is run at low power it's also the shield."
"Interesting." Mulder pointed to the pool as Kinsley and Stonecypher walked around it on the video. "Why is it so bright?"
"My guess is that they back light it so they can observe various effects visually as well as chemically and electrically."
"Wow Scully! You really do have a PhD," Mulder laughed.
Kinsley and Stonecypher continued to walk around the swimming pool reactor; they stopped to discuss something then moved on. The camera clicked to a shot of another department.
"That looks like it might be the tech area," Scully commented.Mulder fast-forwarded through the video and found Kinsley and Stonecypher still at the swimming pool reactor. The two agents appeared to be starting to leave the room when Kinsley turned back with a startled look on his face. He could be seen grabbing Stonecypher's arm, forcing her to turn around. Her hand immediately went to her mouth in surprise.
"What are they seeing?" Mulder hissed. "Dammit! The camera angle is wrong, we can't see it!"
The video switched back to another angle of the tech area. Mulder fast fore-warded to the reactor room once more but Kinsley and Stonecypher had already gone and the swimming pool appeared normal. He fast-forwarded through several more rotations of the security video but found no sign of the lightning man. He shut off the player and leaned back in the chair. "Son of a bitch Scully, we were so close to seeing whatever it was that they saw."
Scully took out the tape and returned it to the shelf. "I guess that leaves only one thing, we'll have to check it out ourselves."
Mulder got up from the chair and moved to the door. He placed his ear next to the door and waited. "I'm not sure what Barnie Fife is up to."
Scully moved to stand beside him. "The phone's ringing Scully, let's see if he answers it." Mulder listened a second longer. "Okay, he should be sitting with his back to us, let's just hope no one else is outside this door."
Mulder gently opened the door and let Scully slip out as he paused to lock it from the inside before he also slipped out. Both agents held their breath as they walked around the nearest corner and paused. "So far, so good," Mulder said as he stopped to get his bearings. "We need to follow this hallway, turn right, go down a flight of stairs and through a set of double steel doors, at least that's what Kinsley said."
They followed the hallway, took the steps and found the double doors. Scully grabbed Mulder's arm just before he pushed the doors open. "Mulder, what is our alibi if anyone is in there?"
"We'll do what all bureaucrats do, we'll ask to see the records," he grinned. Scully seemed to accept this premise.
They pushed both heavy metal doors open to reveal a cool, clean, white room with gauges and meters mounted on white steel girders and support posts. In the middle of the floor sat the swimming pool reactor just as they had seen it on the videotape. The agents approach the pool of water.
"Is this safe Scully, I mean we're awfully close to this thing? I don't want to wake up with a third eye."
Scully smiled up at her hesitant partner. "It's safe, this place has all kinds of built in safety features."
They walked around the reactor then Scully stepped up onto the catwalk that transverses the pool. Mulder followed. The pool was backlit just as Scully had described it would be. Mulder stooped down to look into the clear water.
Scully bent over with her hands braced on her knees. "Do you see anything?"
Mulder slowly shook his head. "No, nothing that I can see." He paused then looked over at Scully, "What if it's escaped?"
Scully looked back at him with wide eyes.
The heavy metal door swung open causing both agents to nearly jump out of their skin. "Hey you two, get down from there!"
It was the irritated security guard and he had brought backup. Mulder stood up and raised his hands into the air when he saw the semi-automatics pointed at him and Scully did the same.
As soon as Mulder and Scully had gotten off the platform one of the younger security guards grabbed Mulder by the arm and pushed him away from Scully while another guard handcuffed him. Scully was asked to turn around and she too was handcuffed.
Both agents were quickly frisked. Neither Mulder nor Scully was armed but the guards do find their FBI badges and ID's on them.
"Come on," one of the guards said as he shoved Mulder. Mulder turned around to see what kind of treatment Scully was receiving but over her shoulder he saw a bluish-white ghostly glow coming from the reactor. He was hustled through the steel doors before he could react.
Each agent was placed in a separate dark sedan and driven to a small building deep in the complex where they were once again reunited. They were led to a small office that contained two chairs facing a desk. Scully was uncuffed first and told to sit down while Mulder was treated the same. Both guards left the room.
Mulder glanced over to his partner. "Do you think Skinner will burst through the door to chew our asses out as usual?"
"We can only hope," Scully whispered back.
A few minutes passed and in walked a tall, distinguished looking man who had obviously just gotten out of bed. He stepped behind the desk and sat down. He looked nothing like Skinner, gray hair, prominent nose, and wiry thin frame. He leaned back and looked over the two agents seated before him.
"It's eleven thirty, I'm finally getting a good night's sleep and then I get this phone call, we've got two interlopers in the swimming pool area." He stared at Mulder then at Scully but neither agent flinched; they were used to being screamed at. "And who are the culprits? Two FBI Agents posing as AEC janitors. Now really, couldn't you have come up with a better cover than that?"
Mulder was confused by the janitor remark.
The man got up and paced behind his chair. "I am Assistant Director Thomas Coby of Rutherford and Stone." He sat on the edge of his desk. "And I thought I had seen it all until you two showed up."
"Sir, we were not posing as janitors, we were supposed to be doctors, Agent Scully here has a PhD." Mulder tried to smooth things over.
"Save it son," the AD barked, "you need to tell it to your lawyer." Each agent glanced at the other then Mulder's curiosity got the best of him. "Sir, why would you think we were janitors?"
"The computers came back with your security clearance and job code, turns out you two are over dressed janitors. I suggest the next time you hack into the AEC files you first update your data base!"
Suddenly there was a noise outside the door. "I need to talk to AD Coby." Mulder recognized Kinsley's voice.
The AD walked to the door. "What the hell is going on?" He spotted Kinsley and Stonecypher and softened. "Agents, how nice to see you. I thought you had left."
"We were on our way out but we needed to speak to you first," Kinsley said as Stonecypher looked over his shoulder.
AD Coby stepped aside to let the agents in then took his seat behind the desk. "Now what is it agents?"
Kinsley glanced over to his fellow agents. "Sir, we called agents Mulder and Scully in, we noticed a breech in your security."
"We saw a man down by the reactor," Stonecypher interjected.
"Why didn't you tell me this?" The AD asked.
"We wanted to do our own external investigation so we called them in," Kinsley said motioning to Mulder and Scully.
Mulder was mortified that Kinsley had to pull his butt out of the fire. Scully merely smiled a sickly smile.
"Well they did a damn poor job of it posing as AEC janitors."
This statement took Kinsley back. "Janitors?" He laughed.
"But they did succeed," Stonecypher said. "They were able to breech your security and spend time at the reactor, now what if they had been terrorists? Kaboom!"
Everyone in the room jumped.
"That's right," Kinsley added. "They did just what any terrorist with any brains could do, hack some crummy ID's, dress up, and lie their way past your guards."
Mulder sunk lower and lower into his chair while Scully stared at her feet as if she had never seen them before.
The AD sat with his tired head resting on his fist for a few minutes then slumped back into his chair. "Okay they can go but I want a full report on my desk within a week, and Kinsley you and Stonecypher make damn well sure you put them on a plane and they get the hell out of here."
Mulder and Scully rose from their chairs and walked toward the door. "Agents," the AD called out. Mulder and Scully both paused at the door. "You could take a lesson from these two."
Kinsley had a grin plaster across his face while Stonecypher was visibly embarrassed.
Mulder looked back at the two agents while Scully started out the door. Mulder was still looking back when he shut the door.
"Sorry they towed your car away," Stonecypher offered from the front seat while Kinsley pulled the sedan out of the complex and onto the dark road.
Mulder sat in the back seat sulking while Scully looked out the side window. Finally he spoke up, "Thank you for getting us out of there."
"How did you know we were in trouble?" Scully asked.
Stonecypher smiled at her partner then looked back at Mulder and Scully. "We were on a covert mission of our own. We followed you and when we saw all the commotion we knew you were in trouble so we followed the motorcade to Rutherford and Stone's corporate offices. Agent Mulder, tell me did you see anything?"
"I didn't see a lightning man if that's what you're asking," Mulder pouted.
"Oh," Stonecypher groaned, "I was hoping you would see something."
"Nothing but a bluish-white light above the reactor."
"We saw that too!" Kinsley jumped in.
"Did you see it, Agent Scully?" Stonecypher asked.
"If you're referring to Cherenkov's Glow then yes I saw it."
"Cherenkov's Glow?" Suddenly Mulder is excited. "It has a name?"
"Do you think the lightning man's name was Cherenkov?" Stonecypher asked. The other agents just stared at their fellow agent.
"No, the glow we all saw is called Cherenkov's Glow. It was discovered by Soviet physicist Pavel Cherenkov in 1934 and the glow comes from electrons in the reactor traveling at speeds greater than the speed of light in water."
"How is that possible?" Mulder frowned.
"Because the speed of light in water is 75 percent of the speed of light in a vacuum. It's all relative."
"I can see that, Einstein." A smile finally crossed Mulder's face.
"So you're saying what we saw was a nuclear reaction and not some lightning man?" Kinsley asked as he drove down the dark road.
"Maybe, while Cherenkov radiation is unusual it's not uncommon. It's been compared to a sonic boom."
Mulder chuckled, "You mean we were almost brought up on charges for impersonating AEC janitor's for an electromagnetic sonic boom?"
Scully pursed her lips and nodded her head. "It would appear so."
"Then what did Mike and I see?" Stonecypher questioned.
"My guess is you were tired and over stressed by the case you were working on, sometimes the mind plays tricks on us."
"So you're saying we didn't see anything?" Kinsley asked looking in the rearview mirror.
"In my opinion, no, you did not see anything."
Stonecypher looked back over the seat. "What is your opinion, Agent Mulder?"
"I'd say at this point, I would have to agree with Agent Scully." Scully's eyes grew wide as she looked over at her partner.
"What! Can't I agree with you once in awhile?" Mulder smiled.
Mulder crawled into the downy soft bed made all the more comfortable because he was sharing it with his partner. He snuggled up to the woman curled up next to him. He softly kissed her cheek and was rewarded with a small smile from the sleepy red head. "I'm glad we're home."
"Me too," Scully yawned. "I'm glad you had Kinsley drop us at the airport."
"I couldn't spend one more night listening to him snore."
"Is that the only reason you wanted to come home?" Scully asked through sleepy eyes.
Mulder kissed her jaw. "Oh I had other reasons too."
"Wanna share them with me."
"Maybe I missed Skinner," Mulder teased.
"Do you think he is going to have our asses?" Scully mumbled.
Mulder falls onto his back. "I doubt it, he's as much to blame as we are. He's the one who sent us out there."
Scully eased herself onto Mulder's chest and ran her fingers across his ribs. "Mulder, we are better agents than Kinsley and Stonecypher aren't we?"
"Of course we are Scully. You solved the mystery of the blue- white glow."
"I just happened to have studied physics or I might not have known about the Cherenkov Glow, but then again I do have a PhD."
Mulder could feel a grin cross Scully's face. "Scully do you know what PhD stands for?"
Scully snuggled in tighter to her partner. "No, what does it stand for?"
"Piled, high and deep."
Scully tried to keep from laughing. "Mulder would you like to spend the night on the couch?"
"No ma'am I'd rather sleep with my favorite PhD."
~ The End ~