(A lifeboat marked '925' hits the water and there are sounds of men preparing to abandon a ship. As some men climb down to the lifeboat, the captain confronts his lieutenant on deck. The captain appears to be in his mid-thirties, the lieutenant a few years younger.)
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: This is mutiny!
LT. HARPER: No, sir. It's survival.
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: They'll come for us! They're sending help!
LT. HARPER: By the time they get here, it'll be too late. It may already be too late.
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: Don't do this! (the captain raises a gun at the lieutenant) That's an order!
SAILOR: (from the lifeboat) Lieutenant Harper?
LT. HARPER: Shoot me if you want, Captain Barclay, but I'm not waiting around so I can wind up like the others.
(The lieutenant climbs over the rail and down to the lifeboat. The captain lowers his weapon.)
SAILOR: Cast off!
(On board the Lisette, the captain and his first mate are playing blackjack on the bridge.)
LISETTE CAPTAIN: Hit me.
(The radar blips. They check the radar screen and see the echo of a boat straight ahead.)
LISETTE FIRST MATE: It looks like she's just drifting out there.
LISETTE CAPTAIN: Mmmm ... we're heading straight for her. (to radio) This is the Lisette, Canadian fishing vessel CV233, please identify. (no response) This is the Lisette, come in please. (still no response) (to first mate) Cut the engines and meet me up on deck.
(On deck, they search the night with a spotlight. They see a lifeboat ahead, marked '925'.)
VOICE FROM LIFEBOAT: Hello out there. Hey!
LISETTE CAPTAIN: We're throwing you a line. Grab it and we'll pull you in.
(They throw out a line, and someone in the boat catches it and anchors it to the boat. As the captain and mate pull them in, they scan the crew with the spotlight.)
LISETTE CAPTAIN: Is everybody all right? Are there any injured?
(They see a group of men, all of whom appear to be extremely old. The man in front, wearing a lieutenant's pin on his lapel, appears to be Lt. Harper.)
(Scully gets off an elevator and meets Mulder.)
MULDER: Scully. Thanks for coming.
SCULLY: What was so urgent that you couldn't tell me over the phone?
MULDER: I didn't want to waste any time. A Navy destroyer escort, the USS Ardent, has been missing in the North Atlantic for the past 42 hours.
MULDER: Yeah, there's been no radio contact, no distress signals picked up. Search planes and satellites haven't picked up anything either.
SCULLY: You're saying that a ship and its entire crew just vanished?
MULDER: Well, that's what it looked like until last night. A Canadian trawler picked up 18 survivors.
SCULLY: Well, they must have reported what happened.
MULDER: Only one of those survivors is still alive. He's been taken into the ICU under heavy security.
SCULLY: What's wrong with him?
MULDER: That's what I was hoping you could tell me. (they see a soldier guarding a door at the end of the hall) They won't let me in to see him, but because of your medical background, I was able to get you a clearance code. I want your opinion on this. His name is Harper, Lt. Richard Harper.
SCULLY: Mulder, wh ...?
MULDER: Meet me back in my office when you're finished. Thank you. (he leaves)
(In the hospital room, an extremely old looking man is on a respirator and is being attended to by a nurse. Scully reads the patient's chart.)
SCULLY: Excuse me. Is this Lt. Richard Harper?
NURSE: That's what his wristband says.
SCULLY: And he's been positively identified?
NURSE: All military personnel are fingerprinted. Those records were crosschecked at the time of admittance.
SCULLY: Well, then I think there's been some kind of a mistake here. According to this report, Lt. Harper is 28 years old. (the nurse says nothing and walks away) Why hasn't a systemic workup been ordered on this patient?
(A doctor enters the room behind Scully.)
DR. LASKOS: I wasn't aware that my diagnostic decisions required your approval. I'm the physician in charge of this patient. Let me see your clearance.
(Scully hands her badge to the doctor, who looks it over.)
SCULLY: Can you tell me what's going on here? How can you explain what happened to this man?
DR. LASKOS: This clearance code is invalid. Where'd you get this? Who are you?
SCULLY: I am a medical doctor and I would like to see the autopsy reports on the remaining victims.
DR. LASKOS: I haven't got time for this. Give me my patient's chart and leave before I have you removed.
(Scully hesitates a moment, then returns the chart and exits the room.)
(Mulder is examining some photos as Scully enters.)
SCULLY: Something very strange is going on here, Mulder.
MULDER: Did they let you in to see Lt. Harper?
SCULLY: Yeah, I saw somebody, but whether it was actually the Lieutenant ...
MULDER: What do you mean?
SCULLY: He looked about 90 years old. Off by about half a century. You don't seem too surprised.
MULDER: I want to show you something, Scully. (he takes her to map on the bulletin board with a number of locations marked by pins) This was the course of the USS Ardent when she disappeared. Now, I've been tracking the points of departure and destination for each of these X-files. On December 12, 1949, a Royal Navy battleship disappeared between Leeds and Cape Perry. The sea was calm, the weather sunny. In 1963, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, a fleet of Soviet minesweepers left from here for Havana. All 6 vessels vanished without a trace. All in all, I've counted 9 unexplained disappearances. Each of them passed through here - the 65th parallel.
(He points to a circled area on the map in the Norwegian Sea where all the ships' courses intersect.)
SCULLY: Another Bermuda Triangle?
MULDER: It's more like a wrinkle in time, if Lt. Harper is any indication.
SCULLY: (frowning) A wrinkle in time? Wh ...
MULDER: You know anything about the Philadelphia Experiment?
SCULLY: It was a, uh, a program during World War II to render battleships invisible to radar. But then the Manhattan Project heated up, and it was discontinued and most of the scientists were relocated to Los Alamos.
MULDER: Except none of those scientists ever made it to Los Alamos.
SCULLY: Where were they sent?
MULDER: Roswell, New Mexico.
SCULLY: Are you suggesting that the Philadelphia Experiment used alien technology?
MULDER: Less than nine months after the alleged crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico, the USS Eldridge did more than just hide from radar screens, it disappeared altogether from the Philadelphia Navy Yard only to reappear minutes later, hundreds of miles away, in Norfolk Virginia.
SCULLY: That's not possible, Mulder, not without defying all laws of, of time and space.
MULDER: Those physicists may have been trying to manipulate wormholes on Earth.
MULDER: Actual portals where matter interfaces with time at a relatively decelerated or accelerated rate. I'm betting that the military never stopped the work it began 50 years ago.
SCULLY: And that's what you think happened to Lt. Harper?
MULDER: I'll find out soon enough. I'M BOOKED ON AN 8:30 flight to Norway.
SCULLY: Have you let Skinner in on this?
MULDER: I'm giving myself a 24-hour head start before I give Skinner my report. I want this one myself.
SCULLY: (looking back at the map) I'm going with you. If that really was Lt. Harper, I want to know what happened to him.
(Mulder and Scully are talking to a captain at a crowded sailors' bar. The sailor points to an area of a map and speaks Norwegian, apparently saying "no" as he walks away.)
NORWEGIAN SKIPPER/SAILOR: Nei! Nei! Det er altfor farlig [No! No! It's way too dangerous]
MULDER: 0 for 5.
SCULLY: What is it, Mulder? Why are they so afraid? My father spent the better part of his life at sea. He had a healthy respect for the ocean, but he never feared it. I see fear in these men's eyes.
(A man at a nearby table speaks up and approaches them.)
TRONDHEIM: Brooklyn couldn't have taken you up there anyway. Your ship has to be classified ice class before it can even go past the Lofoten Basin. My name is Trondheim - Henry Trondheim. The ship you want is the Zehar, a 50-ton trawler with a double hull. It's my ship.
SCULLY: You're American.
TRONDHEIM: I was born and raised in Pensacola. I ran a charter business there. I got fed up with tourists.
MULDER: How do you feel about the sea north of Beerenburg?
TRONDHEIM: This time of year, it'll be 10 hours minimum, each way.
MULDER: So you've been there?
TRONDHEIM: A few times. A few times I got some of my best hauls out of there.
SCULLY: Why is everyone else so afraid to go there?
TRONDHEIM: Well, legends. They grew up on stories.
SCULLY: What stories?
TRONDHEIM: A huge stone came out of the sky and crashed into the pack ice.
SCULLY: A meteorite?
TRONDHEIM: An evil god. They worship it by staying away. So ... exactly what is it that you're looking for up there?
MULDER: A number of things. How good are you?
TRONDHEIM: About as good as you're going to get, considering no one else will take you there.
MULDER: When can we leave?
TRONDHEIM: As soon as we shake on a price.
(Later, they are en route on board the Zehar. It is dark and there is a thick fog. The radar blips and Trondheim checks it, while his mate, Halverson, looks with binoculars. Scully stands beside Trondheim, while Mulder, looking queasy, emerges from the lavatory. Scully approaches him.)
SCULLY: Feeling any better?
MULDER: Uhhh ... You're lucky you inherited your father's legs.
MULDER: His sea legs.
SCULLY: (smiling) Oh.
MULDER: (to Trondheim) It's been about 12 hours. You said it was only gonna take 10. What's going on?
TRONDHEIM: I told you before, the visibility is lousy. I've never seen it this thick.
MULDER: How much longer 'til we get there?
TRONDHEIM: Well, we're right where you want to be. I even think we've got what you're looking for. Except one minute it's right in front of us and the next minute it's not. Like something's messing with my radar ... and my navigation system. I can't explain it.
(The radar screen shows an echo fading in and out, while his instruments show his bearing fluctuating widely. Halverson sees the outline of a ship emerging in the fog, straight ahead.)
HALVERSON: Captain! Pass på! [Look out!]
(Trondheim throws the ship into reverse but the ship ahead gets closer and closer.)
TRONDHEIM: We're gonna hit!
(They collide, and all four are thrown forward.)
TRONDHEIM: Halverson! Check the hull for damage!
(The four have now moved their gear onto the deck of the Ardent.)
TRONDHEIM: I don't get it. This is what you're looking for?
MULDER: The USS Ardent. It's a destroyer escort.
TRONDHEIM: All right ... what do you want with it, anyway? It's a ghost ship. I mean, look at all this corrosion. No one's been aboard this vessel in 20, 30 years.
(Mulder finds the ship's nameplate, which says "U.S.S. Ardent, 1991". The nameplate is heavily corroded and barely readable.)
MULDER: Scully. (she comes over and looks) Let's check the crew quarters first.
(They go below into the crews quarters. They find a number of bodies, all of which look extemely old and are heavily crusted with a white residue.)
SCULLY: Mulder. They almost look mummified.
MULDER: Like they've been dead a very long time.
SCULLY: Except for this strange residue.
(She reaches with a knife to scrape some of the white residue off a dead man's hand, but when she touches it, the hand breaks off. They hear an engine starting.)
SCULLY: What was that?
MULDER: An engine.
TRONDHEIM: My ship!
(They hurry back on deck and see the Zehar pulling away from the Ardent.)
TRONDHEIM: No! That's my ship!
TRONDHEIM: You're taking my ship!
TRONDHEIM: Hey! (very upset, he grabs Mulder by the lapel) That's my ship!
(Halverson grabs Trondheim's shoulder.)
HALVERSON: Ta det med ro! [Take it easy!]
Trondheim releases Mulder as the Zehar fades away into the fog and darkness.)
(Mulder and Scully are on the bridge of the Ardent. Mulder is working on the radio from below while Scully tries it out.)
MULDER: All right. (he makes an adjustment) Try it again.
SCULLY: No. What is it?
MULDER: It's caked with the same residue that's covering everything.
SCULLY: So we can't even send a distress signal.
(Mulder stands as Trondheim comes up from below.)
TRONDHEIM: The engine's so corroded down there you can't even ... you can't even tell what it is. I've never seen anything like it. Halverson's trying to salvage some parts, but basically what we are is dead in the water.
SCULLY: Well, the radio's dead too.
TRONDHEIM: Somebody's not telling me what's going on here. (neither Scully nor Mulder respond) Now look, that ship wasn't just my livelihood, that was my life. I have a right to some straight answers.
MULDER: What we're seeing here may be the result of some kind of military experiment.
TRONDHEIM: Military experiment?
MULDER: An artifical time band, where matter moves through time at an accelerated rate.
TRONDHEIM: Tell me in English.
MULDER: Time may be speeding up.
TRONDHEIM: Right. That's almost as crazy as Halverson's "there's a rock that comes down from the sky ...".
MULDER: The ship ... the ship was launched in 1991. I don't know how else to explain the extent of the corrosion or the decay of the bodies down below.
TRONDHEIM: (to Scully) You're not buying any of this, are you?
(Before Scully can respond, they hear a yell. The three quickly go down to investigate and they hear a door creaking. Weapons raised, Mulder and Scully move back in the ship. Scully finds Halverson, dead, lying on the deck with blood coming from a wound in his head. She kneels to check him as Mulder and Trondheim catch up.)
MULDER: What happened?
SCULLY: His skull's been fractured.
TRONDHEIM: Who was that? Halverson!
(They hear another noise from farther back in the ship. Mulder and Scully investigate, while Trondheim kneels over Halverson's body. In the ship's galley, Mulder hears a noise and approaches the door to a small compartment. When he opens it, he finds a very old looking man cowering and clutching a bottle of whiskey.)
MULDER: Who are you?
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: Captain Barclay. Commanding officer, USS Ardent.
(Later, Mulder gives Barclay a glass of water drawn from a faucet.)
MULDER: Here you go.
(Barclay drinks, shakily holding the glass with both hands.)
SCULLY: Captain Barclay, um, according to your log, shortly after the navigation system failed, several of your crew members saw something in the sea - a growing light.
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: It, it came up through the fog, in the middle of the night. Like it was on fire.
SCULLY: Do you have any idea what it might have been?
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: Power loss. Everything stopped. Everything. Even the sea. Even the wind. Then the ship, my ship, she began to bleed through the hull near the rivet seams.
HALVERSON: (laughing) He's a drunkard. He's a drunkard! And he killed Halverson. To hell with him, I don't have to listen to his lies!
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: I'm no liar. It happened, first to some of my men and then to all of them.
SCULLY: What happened?
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: Time got lost.
(Mulder and Scully exchange a glance as Barclay starts wheezing.)
SCULLY: It's OK, captain. You can take it easy. We're gonna do whatever we can to help you out.
CAPTAIN BARCLAY: What can you do? You can't do anything. I'm 35 years old.
(Mulder pulls Scully aside for a quiet, private conversation.)
MULDER: There's no way he killed Halverson.
SCULLY: Yeah, I'd have to agree with you. That blow that killed Halverson was delivered with considerable strength, and he can't even hold a glass with two hands.
MULDER: That means there's somebody else on board.
(Next morning, an emotional Trondheim prepares to bury Halverson's body at sea.)
TRONDHEIM: You were a good first mate. You left me alone, and you did your job. It's a shame this had to happen to you so young.
TRONDHEIM: God vei videre [Farewell/Goodbye, old buddy]
(After saying a few words in Norwegian, Trondheim then lets Halverson's shrouded body slip overboard. As Trondheim crosses himself, a man approaches and takes a swing at him with a pipe. He ducks under it, but the man then knocks Trondheim to the deck. As he raises the pipe for a third try, Mulder appears and draws his gun on him.)
MULDER: Put it down! Put down the pipe! Put it down!
(He complies. Trondheim gets to his feet and kicks the pipe away. He then grabs the man by the throat.)
TRONDHEIM: I could kill you for what you've done.
MULDER: Back off, Trondheim!
TRONDHEIM: He killed Halverson!
MULDER: He may be our only chance to figure out what happened. Look at him. Look at him! He hasn't aged. Back off!
(Trondheim releases him.)
TRONDHEIM: His name's Olafsson.
MULDER: You know him?
TRONDHEIM: Everybody in Gildeskal knows him. He's a pirate whaler. He's a wanted criminal. He supplies whales to the Japanese black market. Blues, belugas, sperms.
MULDER: Ask him how he got here.
(Trondheim asks Olafsson a question in Norwegian.)
TRONDHEIM: Hvordan kom du hit? [How did you get here?]
OLAFSSON: Dra til helvete [Go to hell!]
(Olafsson's terse reply prompts Trondheim to lunge at him again but Mulder stops him.)
MULDER: We'll question him later. I don't want to leave Scully alone, in case there are others.
(Olafsson, Trondheim and Mulder go back below and join Scully. Trondheim gives a terse command to Olafsson in Norwegian as he pushes him along.)
MULDER: I think we found who killed Halverson.
TRONDHEIM: He'd have killed me too, if it wasn't for Mulder.
SCULLY: The ship's log says something about four Norweigian sailors who were picked up when their vessel had sunk.
TRONDHEIM: I guarantee it was Olafsson's men, took my boat and left him stranded there. It's just like these dogs to slit each other's throats.
MULDER: Maybe we should ask the Captain some more questions.
SCULLY: Mulder, Captain Barclay is dead. I don't know how it happened, it was just in the last 15 minutes. It's just like those men below. It's more than rapid aging, Mulder. It's almost as if he's turning into a pillar of salt.
MULDER: Is that what this substance is?
SCULLY: Well, it appears to be crystalline, but beyond that ...?
MULDER: All right, we're all tired. Let's stow the captain's body and tie up Olafsson so we can all get some rest. I'll take first watch, in case he's not alone.
(Later, all are asleep except Mulder. His wristwatch timer goes off and he walks toward Scully, who is asleep with her head on a table.)
SCULLY: Mmmm. I just fell asleep.
MULDER: You want a few more minutes?
SCULLY: No. I'm up.
(As she lifts her head, we see that her face looks about 20 years older.)
MULDER: Scully ...
(She sees that Mulder is similarly affected.)
SCULLY: Mulder, what happened to you?
(Trondheim is looking in a mirror. He is also showing signs of aging. Mulder and Scully are nearby.)
SCULLY: Time acceleration is an equation, Mulder, a theory.
MULDER: Then theoretically it's possible. What else could it be?
SCULLY: Well, whatever it is, it isn't a time warp. None of us has directly observed any of the phenomenon recorded in the ship's log. There is no hard evidence to indicate that this is a time warp.
MULDER: We're the evidence, Scully! Look at us! We're aging by the minute.
SCULLY: Well, if this is rapid aging phenomena, then why hasn't our hair greyed or started to fall out?
TRONDHEIM: (motioning toward Olafsson) Then what about him, huh? What about him? Why isn't he getting old?
(He directs some words at Olafsson.)
TRONDHEIM: Hvorfor blir du ikke gammel? [Why haven't you gotten older?]
MULDER: Relax, relax, Trondheim. Save your energy.
TRONDHEIM: (to Mulder) I don't have to listen to you. It's because of you that we got into this.
MULDER: Nobody twisted your arm.
TRONDHEIM: I signed on to bring you here. Not to die.
SCULLY: Mulder, what do you know about free radicals?
MULDER: Is this a quiz?
SCULLY: They are highly reactive chemicals containing extra electrons. Now, they can attack DNA proteins, they can cause our body tissue and cell membranes to oxidize.
MULDER: Grow old, you mean?
SCULLY: It's the prevailing theory on how our bodies age.
MULDER: So you think something is triggering that reaction in us?
SCULLY: This is just a theory. But what if this ship is drifting towards another massive metallic source, like a meteor. Maybe it's way down deep in the ocean or embedded into an iceberg. But the two could effectively be acting as positive and negative terminals with the ocean itself being a kind of giant battery. That level of electromagnetic energy could be exciting the free radicals and effectively oxidizing every piece of matter in its field.
(Trondheim notices several drops of red liquid falling onto the floor from above.)
MULDER: It makes sense, Scully. The organic equivalent to rust would be rapid premature senescence.
TRONDHEIM: What the hell?
(They look up and see that liquid is leaking from a flange in an overhead pipe.)
SCULLY: Captain Barclay said the ship was bleeding.
(Mulder rubs some of the liquid between his fingers.)
MULDER: It's not blood, Scully. It's rust. Trondheim, you keep an eye on Olafsson.
TRONDHEIM: Where are you going?
SCULLY: Mulder. Where are we going?
MULDER: I'm not sure yet, but we don't have much time to get there.
(Mulder and Scully walk back through the ship. Mulder is looking at the overhead pipes. All are darkly colored except for one yellow pipe.)
MULDER: See this yellow pipe? It's the only one that hasn't corroded through.
(As they follow the pipe, Trondheim and Olafsson are still in the dining order. They converse in Norwegian.)
OLAFSSON: Hei, Trondheim, komme her. Det er noe jeg vil fortelle deg. [Hey Trondheim, come here. There's something I want to tell you.]
TRONDHEIM: Det er ikke noe du kan fortelle meg som jeg er interesserte i. [There's nothing you can tell me that I want to know.]
OLAFSSON: Er du sikker? Hvor gikk de andre du, tror du? Og hvorfor tror du de etterlot deg? [Are you sure? Where do you think the other two went? And why do you think they left you behind?]
TRONDHEIM: Jeg vet hva du prøver å gjøre, Olafsson. [I know what you're trying to do, Olafsson.]
OLAFSSON: Hvis du ikke stoler på meg, så stole på de egne øyne. Du så hva som hendte til kapteinen. Det tar bare et par timer. Men du behøver ikke å dø. [If you don't trust me, trust your own eyes. You saw what happened to the captain. It only takes a few hours. But you don't have to die.]
TRONDHEIM: Vi må alle dø. [We all have to die.]
OLAFSSON: Ikke på denne måten. [Not like this.]
TRONDHEIM: (angrily) Hvorfor skulle jeg høre på deg? Du er en løgner og en morder. [Why should I listen to you? You're a murderer.]
OLAFSSON: Jeg bare drepte gutten for å overleve. Du ville gjøre det samme. Du kan fremdeles gjøre det. [I only killed the boy in order to survive. You'd have done the same. You still might.]
TRONDHEIM: OK, jeg hører hva du sier. Fortell meg den store hemmeligheten. [OK, I'm listening. Tell me this big secret.]
OLAFSSON: Først la meg gå. [First, let me go.]
TRONDHEIM: Hvordan vet jeg at du forteller sannheten? [How do I know you're telling the truth?]
OLAFSSON: Se på meg, Trondheim. Og så, se på deg selv. [Look at me, Trondheim. Then take a look at yourself.]
(Mulder and Scully have followed the pipe to where it goes down through a hatch labeled "sewage processing hold". They open the hatch, descend some stairs and open a large door. Inside they find many rats as well as clothing and other signs that the area has been recently occupied.)
MULDER: Olafsson and his men.
SCULLY: Why would they hold up here?
(Mulder notices a slow drip from a faucet in a large tank in the room.)
MULDER: This is the only drinkable water on the ship. We were both wrong, Scully. It's the water. All the other water's been contaminated.
SCULLY: Contaminated how?
MULDER: Something must have gotten into the desalination tanks where all the ship's potable water is stored. But the water in the sewage system is recycled again and again. It doesn't come from the sea.
SCULLY: Well, if you're right, then Captain Barclay's drinking binge is what kept him alive.
MULDER: (banging on the tank) The water from this tank may do the same for us.
SCULLY: It doesn't sound like there's very much left.
(In another part of the ship, Olafsson sits motionless next to blood-stained pipes, apparently killed by Trondheim. Trondheim is using his hand to drink water out of the toilet.)
(Back in the crew dining area, Mulder holds up the rope that was binding Olafsson and confronts Trondheim. Olafsson is nowhere to be seen.)
MULDER: What happened? You were supposed to watch him.
TRONDHEIM: I feel pretty bad about it. I shouldn't have dozed off. Well, what do you want me to say? He's gone, he got away.
MULDER: (angrily) I want to know what happened?
TRONDHEIM: I can ask the same of you. You're the one that tied him up.
MULDER: There's nothing wrong with my knot! This rope's been severed!
TRONDHEIM: I don't like being interrogated. I don't owe you any explanations.
(Trondheim starts to walk past Mulder, who grabs him by the shirt. Trondheim grabs Mulder as well, and they grapple briefly.)
(Mulder draws his gun.)
MULDER: Let go of me.
SCULLY: Look, we have a lot of work to do here. I'm gonna need blood and urine samples from both of you.
TRONDHEIM: What for?
SCULLY: We found out what caused the aging.
TRONDHEIM: What is it now? The two of you are full of theories. First it's one thing, then it's another. By the time you figure out what it is, we'll all be dead.
MULDER: It's the water, Trondheim. Something got into the de-sal tanks, but the water in the sewage system is untainted.
SCULLY: It kept Olafsson alive this long, maybe it will slow the process in us.
TRONDHEIM: This is good news, isn't it? So what happens now?
(It is now daylight outside. Scully is writing in a journal.)
SCULLY: (voice-over) It has been 18 hours, 45 minutes since the onset of symptoms. Rudimentary blood tests have revealed impossibly high concentrations of sodium choloride - salt - though the contaminated water itself is not saline. It appears to catalyze existing body fluids, causing massive and rapid cellular damage. The untainted water has slowed the degenerative progression in Trondheim and me, but Mulder has fared less well, perhaps because of the dehydration he suffered on the way here.
(Mulder places a urine sample on the table. While Scully looks somewhat older than previously, Mulder is more considerably aged and has developed a twitch in his neck.)
MULDER: I think I just lapped George Burns.
SCULLY: I'll be right back.
(Scully takes the sample to a make-shift laboratory that she has set up across the room. Trondheim edges up behind her.)
SCULLY: If you've got something to say, say it but don't hover behind me like that.
TRONDHEIM: The water isn't helping him.
SCULLY: Then maybe we should double his rations.
TRONDHEIM: What for? A lake full of water isn't going to bring him back.
SCULLY: We don't know that for sure. Not yet.
TRONDHEIM: Look at him! We've wasted too much water on him as it is.
SCULLY: Who are you to decide?
TRONDHEIM: You don't have to be a doctor to see that he isn't gonna make it. But you and me, Scully ... you and me ... we better start looking out for ourselves.
(Mulder looks over his shoulder at Scully and Trondheim, but it is not clear whether he heard them. Scully has transferred the sample to a test tube and drops a reactant into it. The sample turns red.)
(Later, Scully writes in her journal as Mulder sleeps.)
SCULLY: (voice-over) Mulder's urinalysis continues to indicate his kidneys' failure to excrete the substance I'm calling "heavy salt". Whether the untainted water taken from the sewage system is even helping him at all is unclear. What does remain clear to me is that I can't give up trying.
(Across the room, Trondheim turns off a lantern to go to sleep.)
(Later, it is dark outside and Scully is leaning her head against a pipe and dozing. She awakens to see that Trondheim is no longer there. She hears a bump and the sound of water flowing. She grabs a flashlight and heads back to investigate. She hears a rumble and sees the water being pumped from the toilet, which has a yellow pipe behind it. She goes back into the sewage processing hold and opens the door, finding Trondheim at work inside.)
SCULLY: Trondheim! What are you doing?
TRONDHEIM: Listen to this. (he bangs the water tank with a wrench) You know what that is? It's a funeral bell. There's only a few gallons left, maybe less.
SCULLY: There's enough to keep us all alive for a few more days.
TRONDHEIM: Or one of us alive long enough to be rescued.
(He walks toward her. Scully draws her gun and cocks the hammer.)
SCULLY: Don't come any closer.
TRONDHEIM: What are you gonna do? Shoot me?
SCULLY: Trondheim, listen to me. The navy knows where we are. They know these coordinates and they're gonna be here soon. So why don't we just go back up into the mess hall ...
(He continues to approach her and she gives ground.)
TRONDHEIM: Why don't you just go ahead and shoot me if you think that I'm gonna let Mulder have another drop.
(He pushes her back out of the room and closes the door, wedging the wrench in the handle and locking himself in.)
SCULLY: Trondheim! Trondheim!
(Scully frantically goes through the crew's quarters and galley looking for other sources of water. She finds a snow globe in the quarters and a can of sardines in the galley. She carefully drains the liquid from the sardines into a glass. When she comes back to the dining area, Mulder is awake and reading her journal. He continues to look worse than her.)
MULDER: You're almost out of pages. It's good you kept a record.
SCULLY: Trondheim's locked himself in the sewage hold. He's backflushed all the water and he's keeping it for himself. I looked everywhere and this is all I could find. (she places a capped jar half full of yellowish liquid on the table) It's sardine juice, half a dozen lemons and uh, the water from a snow globe. (Mulder licks his lips) It's not Evian, but ...
MULDER: You go ahead and drink it.
SCULLY: No, Mulder!
MULDER: It's the only logical choice, Scully. You're a woman. Your life expectancy is greater, and your body retains more water in fatty tissues.
SCULLY: That's more reason for you to drink it.
MULDER: You have a much greater chance of surviving until help comes.
SCULLY: Don't do this, Mulder.
MULDER: Don't be so stubborn, Scully. You know I'm right.
SCULLY: Well, there isn't much liquid to make a difference anyway.
MULDER: There might be.
(He pushes the jar across the table toward her. Scully looks at him, then the jar, then downward for a moment.)
(There is a metallic groaning sound and the ship suddenly shudders, knocking both Mulder and Scully to the floor. The jar vibrates along table. In the sewage hold, Trondheim is also knocked to the floor. In the dining area, Mulder and Scully get back to their seats.)
SCULLY: What was that?
MULDER: The outer hull must have finally corroded through, which means we're taking on water.
SCULLY: Mulder ... the water.
(The jar is broken on the floor. They look at one another as odd noises continue to be heard from the ship.)
(In the sewage hold, several pipes burst and spray water. Suddenly a bulkhead gives way and water starts pouring in. Trondheim removes the wrench and struggles to open the door, but it won't open.)
TRONDHEIM: Uhhh! Can't open the door! Help me! Help me! Help me!
(He continues to call and bang on the door as the hold fills. Then there is silence as he has drowned.)
(Mulder, trembling badly, sits to the side as Scully writes in her journal.)
MULDER: I always thought when I got older I'd maybe take a cruise somewhere. This isn't exactly what I had in mind. The service on this ship is terrible, Scully. (she smiles) It's not fair. It's not our time. We still have work to do.
(Scully puts down her pen and turns toward him.)
SCULLY: Mulder ... When they found me, after the doctors and even my family had given up, I experienced something that I never told you about. Even now it's hard to find the words. But there's one thing I'm certain of. As certain as I am of this life, we have nothing to fear when it's over.
(Mulder has slumped over to his side.)
MULDER: I'm so tired.
SCULLY: You should sleep.
(She strokes his forehead.)
(Later, Scully writes in her journal.)
SCULLY: (voice-over) Agent Fox Mulder lost consciousness at approximately 4:30 this morning, the 12th of March. There is nothing more I can do for him, or for myself. Supplies are exhausted, no food or liquid consumed for over 24 hours. The outer hull most probably flooded, though for now the inner hull is supporting the ship's mass. Among Halverson's belongings, I found a children's book of Norse legends. From what I can tell, the pictures show the end of the world - not in a sudden firestorm of damnation as the Bible teaches us, but in a slow covering blanket of snow. First the moon and the stars will be lost in a dense white fog, then the rivers and the lakes and the sea will freeze over. And finally a wolf named Skoll will open his jaws and eat the sun, sending the world into an everlasting night. I think I hear the wolf at the door.
(Scully drops her pen and her eyes close.)
(Later, a rescuer boards the vessel and searches the decks below with a flashlight. In the dining area, he finds Mulder and Scully slumped over on opposite sides of a table, as well as her journal.)
(Much later, Dr. Laskos at Bethesda Naval Hospital is shining a light into Scully's eyes to check her response and trying to awaken her. She looks considerably better.)
DR. LASKOS: Agent Scully? Agent Scully, can you hear me?
SCULLY: (groggily) Mmmm. Yeah.
DR. LASKOS: It's been 36 hours since your rescue. I've got you on dialysis with a high-flux filter. You're obviously responding well. Your electrolytes are almost back to normal and your fluid status has been corrected.
(Scully opens her eyes, swallows and raises her head slightly but then it falls back on the pillow and she closes her eyes. As her mind clears, she raises her head again.)
SCULLY: Mulder? Where is he?
(She looks to her right and sees Mulder in the next bed, still unconscious but looking much better.)
DR. LASKOS: His endocrine system was considerably more compromised than yours. Frankly, we didn't think that he'd make it - until we discovered this. (she shows Scully's journal) Based on your observations, we're giving him a course of synthetic hormones, which seems to be working.
SCULLY: Whatever caused this is still out there. I have to talk to a naval liaison. We have to salvage the ship in order to study the salt ...
DR. LASKOS: Agent Scully, the ship was taking on water. It sank less than an hour after you were rescued.
(There is a closing view of the fog-covered North Atlantic.)