(Late evening in the city where CarriK went to school. This is where most of the big tobacco companies are based. Smoke is coming out of the chimney of a very large, nice house. Two AGENTS are walking around the manicured grounds, watching and guarding. They communicate with radios. SKINNER is inside the house, also with a radio.)
AGENT: (outside on radio) Radio check. Perimeter is clear.
SKINNER: (on radio) Copy that. Give me a check every ten.
(SKINNER pockets the radio, and speaks to the man and woman in the room with him. JIM SCOBIE and MRS. SCOBIE are late forties/early fifties. MRS. SCOBIE is very nervous. JIM SCOBIE sits quietly on the couch. As he speaks, SKINNER is walking around the room, checking the windows, closing the blinds.)
SKINNER: Why don't you folks make yourselves comfortable? Watch some television, get some rest. Try to put your minds at ease. Just try to stay away from the windows and doors, if you would.
MRS. SCOBIE: Do we have to ask you if we can use the bathroom? I feel like I'm a prisoner in my own home.
SKINNER: Ma'am, I apologize for the imposition but my job is to protect you. As of this evening, the FBI's top priority is keeping you safe.
MRS. SCOBIE: For how long? A week? A month? Then what?
(SKINNER doesn't answer. She sits beside her husband.)
MRS. SCOBIE: Jim, don't do this, please. You don't have to testify. It's not worth it. These people have a long reach. They're powerful.
JIM SCOBIE: I have to do this.
(MRS. SCOBIE looks at her husband for a moment, then sighs, and stands up.)
MRS. SCOBIE: I'm going to bed.
(As she leaves the room, JIM SCOBIE coughs deeply. Another Agent, we'll call him WATER AGENT, brings him a glass of water.)
JIM SCOBIE: (taking a sip) Thank you.
SKINNER: The Grand Jury convenes at 9:00. We'll leave here at 7:30. I'll be right outside the door if you need me.
(JIM SCOBIE nods as SKINNER also leaves the room. He coughs badly again and takes another sip of the water. He has trouble taking in a breath, wheezing. Then without looking at the glass, he slowly sets it on the table and heads slowly upstairs. As the camera moves close to the glass, we see that the water is now slightly tinged with blood, and that there is a small black beetle wiggling its little legs as it tries to turn over among the ice cubes. Eww.)
(Later that evening. The SCOBIE's bedroom. MRS. SCOBIE wakes up and realizes that she is alone in the bed. She sees light and a shadow under the bathroom door. She goes to the door and knocks.)
MRS. SCOBIE: Jim? Jim? Are you feeling all right?
(There is no answer, and she is unable to push the door open. Something is blocking it. MRS. SCOBIE begins to get very upset.)
MRS. SCOBIE: Jim? Mr. Skinner... Mr. Skinner! Jim?!
(SKINNER and WATER AGENT come running into the room. SKINNER starts trying to push the door open as WATER AGENT pulls MRS. SCOBIE back.)
SKINNER: Dr. Scobie?
MRS. SCOBIE: (hysterical) Jim!
WATER AGENT: Ma'am...
(SKINNER gets the door open. JIM SCOBIE's body, which had been blocking the door, is lying face down on the bathroom floor. SKINNER reaches out and gingerly turns the body over. The floor is bloody, as is what is left of JIM SCOBIE's face. The flesh around his mouth and nose has been completely eaten away. SKINNER leans back in shock. Unfortunately, this gives MRS. SCOBIE a clear view. She begins screaming and crying.)
(Next morning. The front of the SCOBIE's house is now a crime scene. A dark sedan with a badly done North Carolina license plate, #02537VIA, pulls up in front of the house. [CarriK: For the record, non-personalized NC plates are all ABC-1234 format.] MULDER and SCULLY get out of the car and cross the yard to the house. SCULLY is in a skirt. SKINNER is inside on the phone. He is obviously being chewed out. Something we don't see often, SKINNER on the defensive. An AGENT escorts MRS. Scobie out of the room as MULDER and SCULLY enter.)
SKINNER: (on phone) Yes, at the time, I was in another part of the house. Yes... Yes, sir... Yes, sir. Yes, sir, I will have answers for you, I...
(The conversation is over. SKINNER sighs and hangs up. He looks tired.)
MULDER: Rough night?
SKINNER: Oh, it's shaping up to be a rougher morning. Follow me.
(SKINNER leads MULDER and SCULLY into the bathroom.)
SKINNER: There's fingerprints everywhere but as they all belong to the deceased and his wife they don't help us.
SCULLY: This is where the body was found?
MULDER: What can you tell us about him?
SKINNER: Dr. James Scobie, age 44. R&D biochemist with Morley tobacco. If he were alive as of … (checks his watch) … 26 minutes ago he'd be giving testimony against his former employer before a federal grand jury.
SCULLY: Testimony concerning what?
SKINNER: Not even his wife or his lawyer know the specifics, only that it concerns research that he was involved in potentially extremely damaging to Morley... enough so that Scobie received death threats. Given the high-profile nature of the case the Director charged me with insuring Dr. Scobie's protection.
(MULDER and SKINNER share a look.)
SCULLY: And you think that someone made good on these threats?
SKINNER: I do. And we've yet to determine how someone got in here, or... what killed him.
(SKINNER shows them photos of the body. Even SCULLY reacts to the picture.)
MULDER: Can't blow the whistle with a mouth like that.
SCULLY: It's almost as if his flesh has been stripped or eaten away. I mean, an assailant could have thrown acid on him.
MULDER: Well, if it was acid in the face he would have screamed bloody murder.
SKINNER: We're looking at all possibilities, Agent. We need answers, we don't have a lot of time and we're going up against one of the biggest corporations in America. The Director himself personally instructed me that he wants this case closed as swiftly as possible. I trust I can count on your help.
(SCULLY gives a small smile and MULDER nods.)
SKINNER: All right, I want you to perform the autopsy. The body's in the county morgue.
SCULLY: I'll get right on it.
SKINNER: Thank you.
(SCULLY leaves the room. MULDER and SKINNER walk through the house.)
MULDER: There's no ashtrays. Dr. Scobie and his wife don't smoke?
SKINNER: Not that I've witnessed.
MULDER: A tobacco employee that doesn't smoke-- Isn't that kind of like a GM executive who drives a Ford? If this was a hit it seems unnecessarily high-profile. It kind of draws attention to itself, don't you think?
SKINNER: That could be the point-- to intimidate potential witnesses. Scobie had a supervisor at Morley-- a Dr. Peter Voss. I want to talk to him.
MULDER: You mind if I tag along?
(An AGENT holding a file calls to SKINNER.)
AGENT: Sir, would you take a look at this?
SKINNER: What have you got?
(MULDER sees the water glass still sitting on the table. He picks it up. The water is bloody and the small beetle, having drowned during the night, is lying at the bottom of the glass.)
(Ornate entry hall of a very wealthy company. MULDER and SKINNER enter and go the central reception desk. The humorless SECURITY MAN is sitting at the desk.)
SKINNER: We're here to see Dr. Voss.
SECURITY MAN: Do you have an appointment?
(MULDER and SKINNER both hold out their badges.)
SECURITY MAN: Do you have an appointment?
(MULDER and SKINNER look at each other, then hold out their badges again. Very funny.)
SKINNER: Maybe you missed this the first time around.
(The SECURITY MAN is not impressed. A man, DAVID BRIMLEY, 40's, comes down the stairs and greets them "warmly.")
DAVID BRIMLEY: Gentlemen, I can help you. Daniel Brimley, head of Corporate Security. A pleasure.
(He shakes MULDER's hand, then SKINNER's.)
DAVID BRIMLEY: You're here concerning Dr. Scobie's death, I take it.
SKINNER: We are.
DAVID BRIMLEY: We're all extremely sorry to hear about it. Jim has a lot of friends in this building.
MULDER: Really? No hard feelings that he was about to turn federal witness against your company?
DAVID BRIMLEY: Nobody was happy about Jim's decision but the timing of his death couldn't have been worse.
SKINNER: So you have problem with us speaking to Dr. Voss?
DAVID BRIMLEY: Absolutely not. Whatever we can do to help. Please.
(He indicates that they should follow him.)
(Later. Large conference room. Huge table. Dimly lit. MULDER and SKINNER sit on one side of the table facing six men from Morley, including DR. PETER VOSS, 40's. DR. PETER VOSS is less stone faced than the others. DAVID BRIMLEY stands to one side.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Could you, um...
(He clears his throat, uncomfortable, perhaps a little emotional.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Would you give my sincerest condolences to Jim's wife, Joan? How is she?
MULDER: I'm sure she'll take comfort in finding out why her husband died.
SKINNER: Dr. Voss, can you enlighten us as to what Dr. Scobie intended to tell the grand jury? We know it had to do with company research.
(The LEAD COUNSEL, a large lawyerly looking man sitting next to VOSS interrupts as VOSS is about to answer.)
LEAD COUNSEL: I'm sorry. Dr. Voss would be in violation of his employment confidentiality clause in answering that question.
SKINNER: Dr. Scobie was your friend?
DR. PETER VOSS: Yeah, for 14 years, mm-hmm.
SKINNER: And yet you demoted him five weeks ago. You took him off a particular project. Can you tell us why that happened?
LEAD COUNSEL: (interrupting) As before, Dr. Voss would be in violation of his confidentiality clause in answering questions regarding the nature of his work here at Morley. I'm sure you understand our cooperation cannot extend itself to revealing corporate secrets.
SKINNER: (getting pissed) I'm not sensing any "cooperation" whatsoever. In fact, I'm one more non-answer away from getting a federal warrant and searching this entire building.
LEAD COUNSEL: Then this meeting is over. Dr. Voss.
(The LAWYERS all begin to get up from the table. MULDER pulls an evidence bag from his pocket.)
MULDER: Dr. Voss... can you tell me what that is?
(He tosses the bag to VOSS. Inside is the dead beetle from JIM SCOBIE's glass.)
DR. PETER VOSS: It's a tobacco beetle. Why?
MULDER: We found it at Jim Scobie's house.
DR. PETER VOSS: Well, you'll find a lot of these around here. They're everywhere. There's probably a dozen in the grill of your car right now.
LEAD COUNSEL: May I ask where you're going with this, Agent?
MULDER: (sarcastically) I'm sorry, I can't. Answering that question would violate FBI confidentiality due to the sensitive nature of our investigation.
(VOSS looks up at MULDER. The LAWYERS glare.)
(Later that evening. Another very nice gated house. DR. PETER VOSS pulls into his garage, sits for a moment, then gets out of the car. He turns at the sound of footsteps. A grungy looking man, DARYL WEAVER approaches the car from where he has been waiting in the foggy yard. They know each other, but are not friends. DR. PETER VOSS is surprised to see him.)
DARYL WEAVER: Evenin'.
(His voice is gravelly, his manner subtly menacing.)
DR. PETER VOSS: What are you doing here?
DARYL WEAVER: Run out of smokes. Me and Dr. Scobie had an arrangement, as you know. So I figured, uh... Dr. Scobie not being around that my arrangement with him... slides on over to you.
(DR. PETER VOSS nervously shuts the car door and opens his briefcase and pulls out two unmarked cartons of cigarettes and hands them to DARYL WEAVER.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Here you go.
DR. WIEDER: That won't hold me.
DR. PETER VOSS: I'll-I'll bring you more. Just-just-just don't come here anymore, all right?
DR. WIEDER: It seems everybody's acting funny around me all of a sudden, you know? Telling me not to talk to stay away from their houses? Huh. Too bad about Dr. Scobie, huh?
DR. PETER VOSS: Yeah...
DR. WIEDER: I bet people are wondering how he died, huh? I've been working my own theory up in the old noggin. I'd be happy to share it with you someday.
DR. PETER VOSS: I think that you should leave now.
DR. WIEDER: (nodding) Yeah. I don't want to wear out my welcome. We'll be seeing a lot of each other, I expect.
(DR. PETER VOSS does not look thrilled at the prospect. DARYL WEAVER turns and walks away.)
(SCULLY is performing the autopsy on JIM SCOBIE. MULDER and SKINNER enter.)
MULDER: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
SKINNER: What have you found?
SCULLY: Well, the tissue damage on Dr. Scobie's mouth extends all the way down his trachea into his lungs. His alveoli look like corned beef.
(SKINNER takes a breath at the sight of the body. MULDER has seen worse.)
SKINNER: What about this being the result of some sort of corrosive agent?
SCULLY: No, that's not the case. There's no acids present, no caustics. This damage isn't the result of any kind of chemical reaction. His airways have more or less just been reamed out. I can tell you what killed him, though... strictly speaking.
SCULLY: Hypoxemia. The, uh, inability to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream.
SKINNER: He choked to death.
(SCULLY nods grimly.)
SKINNER: I mean, this damage-- however it was accomplished, someone did do this to him.
MULDER: Well, not necessarily. There weren't any signs of struggle in the room. Maybe no one was ever there.
SKINNER: Where are you going with this?
MULDER: Well, that this isn't a homicide. You... examined the body Scully. Did you... find any of these?
(MULDER holds up the evidence bag with the dead tobacco beetle.)
SCULLY: A bug?
MULDER: Well, it's a, tobacco beetle, yeah.
(SCULLY laughs nervously and glances over at SKINNER. She's used to not having an audience as she and MULDER "discuss" these things.)
SCULLY: I didn't find anything like that, Mulder. Were you expecting me to?
SKINNER: (disbelieving) Killer bugs? This is what I'm supposed to tell the Director?
MULDER: I don't know but judging from Dr. Voss's reaction to this I think it's the thing we should investigate.
(SKINNER stares at him. SCULLY sighs.)
(Low-rent boarding house, Abbott Manson's. DARYL WEAVER is watching TV. Lots of gunfire and explosions. He is smoking. Next door, his NEIGHBOR is reading some Home magazine? He smells the smoke coming through the shared vent high up on the wall. Angrily, he yells over to DARYL WEAVER through the vent.)
NEIGHBOR: Hey, I've been telling you all week! How many times I got to say it? No smoking! You hear me?
(DARYL WEAVER calls back calmly, taking another drag of the cigarette.)
DARYL WEAVER: America, man! E. Pluribus, uh... (spits)
NEIGHBOR: I'll get you kicked out, you son of a bitch! You think I'm kidding? I'll do it!
(The NEIGHBOR begins coughing violently.)
NEIGHBOR: The law's on my side.
(He coughs again into his hand, even more violently. He stares at his hand which is now covered with blood. Next door, DARYL WEAVER continues smoking and watching the war movie on TV. On screen, a soldier bayonets another as we hear the NEIGHBOR fall to the floor. DARYL WEAVER looks up at the vent and ignores it. Next door, we see hundreds of tobacco beetles crawling across the floor and the NEIGHBOR's head and body. His mouth and nose area are bloody and eaten away. Eww.)
(Boarding house, next day. The NEIGHBOR's apartment is in full crime scene procedure. SKINNER, wearing latex, brushes a tobacco beetle off of the sheet covering the NEIGHBOR's body, then raises the sheet and glances at the body. MULDER and SCULLY enter.)
MULDER: Guests check in, but they don't check out.
(SCULLY, in a lovely dark pantsuit, kneels down to look at the body.)
SCULLY: Oh... Well, judging from the condition of the body, I'd say that he died in the same manner as Dr. Scobie.
(SKINNER opens the NEIGHBOR's wallet.)
SKINNER: Except this man's no corporate whistle blower. "Thomas Gastall." Out-of- date Massachusetts license... food coupons... and a certificate of completion for a court- ordered anger-management class.
SCULLY: What could Morley Tobacco have against a transient from Massachusetts?
MULDER: Probably nothing.
SKINNER: What are you suggesting, Mulder?
(MULDER is crouched on the floor looking at the beetles.)
MULDER: That Jim Scobie wasn't murdered. Neither was this man.
SKINNER: Well, then what killed them?
(MULDER holds up one of the squirming beetles and bags it.)
SKINNER: We didn't find any insects in Dr. Scobie's bathroom.
MULDER: But there was an open window through which they could have escaped.
SCULLY: It's a long shot, Mulder, but it could be some form of contagious agent, like an insect-borne bacterium which would mean that there might be other victims in this building.
(SKINNER looks at MULDER.)
(Later, MULDER knocks at door #24.)
(He knocks again. DARYL WEAVER opens the door, leaving the chain on. MULDER holds out his badge.)
MULDER: Sorry to wake you.
DARYL WEAVER: You, you didn't wake me.
(He takes off the chain and opens the door. Inside the apartment, the walls look an unhealthy yellow.)
DARYL WEAVER: Come on in.
MULDER: Thank you. We're investigating the death of a man who lived right next to you-- a Thomas Gastall. Do you know him?
DARYL WEAVER: I knew his voice. He yelled a lot.
MULDER: He yelled?
DARYL WEAVER: Yeah. He said I smoked too much. Whatcha gonna to do, man? It's a free country. E. Pluribus, uh...
(DARYL WEAVER pulls out a cigarette and glances at MULDER.)
DARYL WEAVER: You mind?
MULDER: No. You don't seem surprised that he's dead.
DARYL WEAVER: Guess his number come up. (lights up) Just glad it wasn't me.
MULDER: What is your name, sir?
DARYL WEAVER: Daryl Weaver.
MULDER: Mr. Weaver, did you see or hear anything unusual last night?
DARYL WEAVER: Little Korean fellow down the hall. Dresses like wonder woman. But that's every night.
(He chuckles. MULDER smiles.)
MULDER: Other than that?
DARYL WEAVER: Say, there wouldn't happen to be, uh... any reward money involved would there? I mean, I could use an extra buck or two.
MULDER: The FBI would appreciate your voluntary cooperation, sir. That's the way it works.
DARYL WEAVER: Ain't that always the way? (pause) Nope. My mind is, uh, just drawing a complete blank.
(MULDER hands him one of his business cards.)
MULDER: That's my card. Thank you, Mr. Weaver.
(MULDER leaves. DARYL WEAVER puffs away.)
(MULDER joins SCULLY and SKINNER in the hall.)
SKINNER: Two deaths in less than 24 hours. We're no closer to an answer.
SCULLY: And the only thing I have to go on medically at this point is Mulder's bug. You know, I know an entomologist at UNC Wilmington-- Dr. Libby Nance.
[CarriK wonders why they don't find an entomologist at Duke, NC State, or Chapel Hill less than an hour away rather than going all the way to Wilmington. Maybe Scully just wants to visit the beach, or perhaps she just wants to make sure that there is no possibility of running into Bambi Berenbaum.]
MULDER: Good. Talk to her.
(SCULLY pulls out her phone and dials as MULDER walks down the hall.)
SKINNER: Where are you going?
MULDER: See about something else that's been bugging me.
(VOSS house. Azaleas are a nice North Carolina touch. MULDER walks up the front steps and knocks on the door. A woman, ANNE VOSS, opens it. She has a little girl with her.)
MULDER: Mrs. Voss?
ANNE VOSS: Yes?
MULDER: Fox Mulder. Is your husband home?
ANNE VOSS: (hesitantly) Um...
(DR. PETER VOSS comes to the door.)
DR. PETER VOSS: It's okay, honey. It's okay. It will just be a minute.
ANNE VOSS: Sure thing.
(DR. PETER VOSS closes the door and he and MULDER stand on the porch.)
DR. PETER VOSS: I really shouldn't be talking to you without our lawyers.
MULDER: I understand your reluctance to talk, sir. You have a nice family-- a lot to lose.
DR. PETER VOSS: What do you want, Agent Mulder?
MULDER: There's been another victim-- Thomas Gastall. Died exactly the same way Scobie did.
DR. PETER VOSS: I'm sorry to hear that. But what's that got to do with me?
MULDER: Well, we found these all over him. I believe that that's what killed both men.
DR. PETER VOSS: Tobacco beetle. It's an herbivore. It eats tobacco. Hence its name.
MULDER: I... I understand that, but... maybe these don't.
DR. PETER VOSS: I'm not really required to talk to you, am I?
MULDER: No. But why are you hiding behind your lawyers, doctor? How many people have to die before you do the right thing?
(DR. PETER VOSS enters the house. He watches MULDER get into his car and drive away. The phone rings.)
DR. PETER VOSS: I'll get it. (on phone) Hello?
DAVID BRIMLEY: (on phone) What did he want?
(DR. PETER VOSS looks out the window. Outside the house, DAVID BRIMLEY, the head of security at Morley, is sitting in his car watching the house.)
DR. PETER VOSS: (on phone, angrily) Are you spying on me?
DAVID BRIMLEY: (on phone) I'm not spying on you, Peter. I'm looking out for you. What did he want?
(DR. PETER VOSS sighs.)
DR. PETER VOSS: (on phone) There's been another death. Downtown.
DAVID BRIMLEY: (on phone) How did it happen?
DR. PETER VOSS: (on phone) I don't know. I don't know. This has gone on long enough. We should come forward. I should.
DAVID BRIMLEY: (on phone) Do you hear what you're saying, Peter? Now, I want you to just take a moment. I want you to think about what really matters to you. Now, tell me where I can find Darrel Weaver.
DR. PETER VOSS: (on phone) Why?
DAVID BRIMLEY: (on phone) This was my mistake. I'll clean it up.
DR. PETER VOSS: (on phone) I don't know where he is.
(The phone clicks as DAVID BRIMLEY hangs up. DR. PETER VOSS looks worried.)
(Lab. The entomologist, DR. LIBBY NANCE, is looking at the beetle through a microscope.)
DR. LIBBY NANCE: This doesn't make sense.
SKINNER: What doesn't make sense?
DR. LIBBY NANCE: Well, it's a lasioderma serricorne-- a tobacco beetle. Only... I've never seen one exactly like this.
SCULLY: Hmm. What are the differences?
DR. LIBBY NANCE: Physical differences-- uh... minor but definitely notable. Deviations in the mandibles, the antennae, the body segmentation.
SCULLY: What if such deviations arose from genetic engineering?
DR. LIBBY NANCE: Engineering the bugs themselves?
SCULLY: No. I was thinking about another possibility: "Transgenomics."
SKINNER: Which is...?
SCULLY: It's a form of DNA manipulation-- alterations made on the genetic level.
DR. LIBBY NANCE: It is pretty widely known that tobacco companies have been pouring money into that kind of research-- changing the tobacco plant itself in order to make it heartier, give it less nicotine, more nicotine, make it naturally menthol-flavored... you name it.
SKINNER: A form of what-- "super tobacco"?
SCULLY: Which possibly could have created super bugs. I guess the real question is could they have become dangerous to humans?
(Boarding house. DR. PETER VOSS knocks loudly at DARYL WEAVER's door.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Mr. Weaver! Mr. Weaver?
DARYL WEAVER: Sorry, doc, no vacancy.
(Chuckling, DARYL WEAVER walks down the hall carrying a paper bag. DR. PETER VOSS indicates the NEIGHBOR's crime scene taped apartment.)
DR. PETER VOSS: What happened there?
DARYL WEAVER: (opening his door) Well, you tell me. You're the one with the Ph.D. I'm just a big old guinea pig.
(DR. PETER VOSS follows DARYL WEAVER into the apartment. DARYL WEAVER drops his keys on the table.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Now, listen... um... You have to leave town.
DR. WIEDER: And give up all this? Me not doing my part for science?
(DR. PETER VOSS hands him a wad of money.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Here. Take it. It's everything I have in the bank. $4,000.
(DARYL WEAVER looks through the $100 bills.)
DARYL WEAVER: It's not much, but, uh... It's a start.
DR. PETER VOSS: (urgently) Wait, wait a minute. I'm not kidding. You got to get out of here.
DARYL WEAVER: Why? I got a good thing going here. I got cash money. I got all the coffin nails I can suck down. (puts a cigarette in his mouth) Although... lately, I've been thinking this particular brand … it doesn't, um... do anyone else any favors-- healthwise.
(DR. PETER VOSS cringes as DARYL WEAVER flicks on the lighter.)
DARYL WEAVER: You've been thinking that, too, huh?
(DARYL WEAVER holds the lighter close to the cigarette.)
DARYL WEAVER: Would it bother you if I lit one up?
(DR. PETER VOSS looks very nervous. DARYL WEAVER closes the lighter.)
DARYL WEAVER: Toodles.
DR. PETER VOSS: No, you... You don't understand. Morley is a multi-billion-dollar global corporation. You think they're going to let you endanger that, huh? They'll kill you first.
DARYL WEAVER: (unconcerned) Sounds like a Darrel Weaver problem to me.
DR. PETER VOSS: Yeah.
(Giving up, DR. PETER VOSS leaves the apartment. DARYL WEAVER closes the door. DAVID BRIMLEY watches DR. PETER VOSS leave, then goes to DARYL WEAVER's door.)
(Morgue. SKINNER joins SCULLY where she is autopsying the NEIGHBOR's body. SKINNER winces a bit at what he sees on the table.0
SKINNER: What am I looking at?
SCULLY: Thomas Gastall's left lung and bronchus.
(The open lungs are crawling with larvae.)
SKINNER: Well, I guess that explains where the beetles came from.
(They hear footsteps approaching, and turn as MULDER enters the room. He looks tired.)
SCULLY: Hey, Mulder. Where have you been?
MULDER: Talking to lawyers over at Justice. Trying to get a look at Morley's files.
SCULLY: Well, take a look at this.
(Glancing at the body doesn't help MULDER. He swallows back a cough and goes over to sit against a counter. SCULLY expected him to be a little more excited.)
SCULLY: They're the larval stage of the tobacco beetle, Mulder and somehow, they have ended up nesting in Thomas Gastall's lungs.
SKINNER: But what doesn't make any sense is why Scobie's lungs didn't show this same condition.
(MULDER is trying not to cough.)
SCULLY: The larvae must pupate inside the lungs and then once they mature into beetles exit the body en masse.
SKINNER: Well, that explains the condition of the face and throat.
(MULDER coughs, SCULLY turns her focus to him.)
SKINNER: Only, how do they get into the lungs to begin with?
(MULDER puts his hand over his mouth and coughs violently. Something comes up. He looks at his hand.)
(SCULLY walks over to him and turns his hand to face her. It is covered with blood. SCULLY and SKINNER look at MULDER with concern. He looks back at them with fear.)
[4:20? Cute, boys.]
(Hospital operating room. Really gross. MULDER is unconscious on the table. A hose is down his throat. Everyone else is wearing a mask. SCULLY and the doctors watch as one by one larvae are sucked out of MULDER's lungs and are collected in a bloody jar already containing more larvae than MULDER will ever want to know. SCULLY watches him for a moment, then joins SKINNER in the hall where he has been watching through the window. She takes off her mask.)
SKINNER: How is he?
SCULLY: They're using a deep-suction technique that's been designed for asthma and cystic fibrosis. And, so far, we're having some luck at clearing his lungs.
SCULLY: For every one of those things that are in his lung tissue there may be a dozen eggs that have yet to be hatched.
SCULLY: His pulmonary tissue is riddled with them and they're going to hatch. It's just ... (she sighs) … we're buying time.
SKINNER: Well, how did this happen? These eggs-- how did they get into his lungs?
SCULLY: I'm thinking he inhaled them.
(He looks at her.)
SCULLY: Well, the tobacco beetle lives out its life cycle on or around the tobacco plant. That's where it lays its eggs. If those genetically-altered beetles that we found did that then maybe the eggs survived the processing into cigarettes.
SKINNER: And been carried into Mulder's lungs as smoke?
SCULLY: Right-- like spores or pollen, somehow small enough to be airborne.
SKINNER: But Mulder isn't a smoker, and neither was Scobie.
SCULLY: Maybe they were around someone who was.
(Morley Tobacco Headquarters. Action!SKINNER leads a pair of agents into the Reasearch and Development part of the building. Lots of supposedly tobacco plants are growing. DR. PETER VOSS and the LEAD COUNSEL are in the office area. The LEAD COUNSEL has picked up the phone.)
SKINNER: Don't bother calling security.
(The LEAD COUNSEL hangs up a SKINNER hands him the warrant.)
SKINNER: Federal search warrant, as promised.
(SKINNER turns to the pair of agent with him.)
SKINNER: Do it.
(SKINNER turns to DR. PETER VOSS.)
SKINNER: You're going to talk to me, Doctor. One of my agents is dying of the same thing that killed Dr. Scobie. I believe you have information that can save him.
LEAD COUNSEL: We stand by our contention that any and all such information is proprietary, and is therefore the sole property of Morley Tobacco.
(CarriK doesn't think SKINNER likes lawyers.)
SKINNER: (to the LEAD COUNSEL) You listen to me, you son of a bitch. This isn't about Morley or your precious research. This is about saving lives.
DR. PETER VOSS: That's exactly what we were trying to do.
LEAD COUNSEL: Dr. Voss, I'm advising you not to speak.
DR. PETER VOSS: This has gone on long enough.
(The LEAD COUNSEL backs down and walks away. SKINNER sits with DR. PETER VOSS.)
DR. PETER VOSS: We thought we were doing a good thing. We knew people were never going to stop smoking no matter how unhealthy it was so why not genetically engineer a safer cigarette?
SKINNER: Except you engineered the bugs, as well.
DR. PETER VOSS: (sadly) We recruited test smokers. We conducted focus groups. There were no problems. And, um... after a few months in, things... things got bad. We had four test subjects and, uh... three of them died.
SKINNER: Is that what Dr. Scobie was going to testify about?
DR. PETER VOSS: Yeah. Yeah. And the company wanted us to keep it quiet. I thought, let's correct the mistakes and face the consequences. Jim didn't. He was monitoring the focus group, and that's... that's how he got infected.
SKINNER: You said only three died. Who was the fourth?
(DARYL WEAVER's apartment. SuperAction!SKINNER kicks in the door and enters the apartment, gun drawn. [Enjoying this, Tiny D?] His team follows him. DARYL WEAVER is not in the apartment, but DAVID BRIMLEY is. He is tied to a kitchen chair and is gagged.)
(The other agents allow DR. PETER VOSS to join SKINNER who is pushing aside furniture to get to DAVID BRIMLEY.)
DR. PETER VOSS: He told me he meant to get Weaver.
SKINNER: Looks like Weaver got to him first.
(SKINNER gets the gag off of DAVID BRIMLEY's horrified face.)
SKINNER: Mr. Brimley can you hear me?
(DAVID BRIMLEY chokes and gasps, then tobacco beetles begin spilling out of his mouth. [CarriK nominates this moment for one of the top ten disgusting visuals this show has given us in seven years.] Unable to help, SKINNER and DR. PETER VOSS stare at him.)
(Convenience store. DARYL WEAVER pulls up to the pump. It is DAVID BRIMLEY's car, license #0180WLT. [NC plates aren't on the front of the cars, either. That would take up the space for the "Jesus is Lord" and "Tina Jo Loves Travis" plates you can get at Myrtle Beach and Carowinds.] He gets out and takes a cigarette out of the pack. It is the last one. He crumples the pack and lights up. He goes into the store.)
DARYL WEAVER: You got Mickey's Big Mouth?
CLERK: There's no smoking in here.
(DARYL WEAVER slowly walks to the counter and tucks one of the $100 bills into the CLERK's pocket.)
DARYL WEAVER: Mickey's Big Mouth.
(The CLERK goes to the back of the store and gets the drinks. He sets them on the counter.)
CLERK: Anything else? Carton of cigarettes?
DARYL WEAVER: You don't have my brand.
(The CLERK hears a radio crackle and looks out to see a SHERIFF's DEPUTY looking at the car that DARYL WEAVER was driving.)
DEPUTY'S RADIO: This is code 4148. … 81 clear. 8814 clear.
(When the CLERK turns back to DARYL WEAVER, he is gone.)
(MULDER's hospital room. He is asleep. SCULLY enters and gently takes his hand and rubs his fingers. He wakes up and smiles weakly at her. He looks at her holding his hand. His voice is raspy and hoarse.)
MULDER: Mmm. It must be bad.
(SCULLY gives him a small smile and continues holding his hand.)
SCULLY: How do you feel?
MULDER: Like a dust buster attacked me.
SCULLY: We're looking for someone who may be able to help you-- a Morley test subject by the name of Darrel Weaver.
MULDER: Mr. "E pluribus…"
SCULLY: Yeah. Mr. Weaver seems to have some kind of tolerance or immunity and we're hoping that once we find him we'll be able to figure out how to treat you.
(MULDER begins gasping. He can't breathe.)
(MULDER is wheezing and the monitors begin beeping. SCULLY looks at the readouts in alarm.)
(The DOCTOR runs in. SCULLY is trying to help MULDER prop his head so he can breathe.)
SCULLY: His SAT's down to 72. Get some O-2 on him and call the Code.
DOCTOR: Susan, Code Blue!
NURSE SUSAN: Right, Doctor.
(NURSE SUSAN pushes in the crash cart.)
DOCTOR: Over to my side.
(The get an O2 mask over MULDER's mouth, but he is still gasping. He's in almost as much pain as SCULLY is having to watch him. She gasps as she sees a beetle crawl out of his mouth.)
(Hospital, later. SCULLY watches with concern through the window as a NURSE attends to MULDER. The DOCTOR comes up to her and hands her MULDER's chart.)
DOCTOR: Dr. Scully? We've got him stabilized on ECMO for the moment but we're not going to be able to maintain him on it for long. Of course, you see why.
(SCULLY looks at the x-rays of MULDER's lungs. Lots and lots of larvae.)
SCULLY: There's more now than there were six hours ago.
DOCTOR: They're beginning to block the flow of blood. Our best bet is to go back in there. I think this time, we have to crack the chest.
SCULLY: No. No, I... He's too weak for thoracic surgery. He-he'd die on the table.
DOCTOR: I don't know what our other options are.
SCULLY: (voice cracking) I'd say for the time being, we just wait.
DOCTOR: That'll definitely kill him. Sooner or later.
(The DOCTOR leaves. SCULLY turns back to watch MULDER through the window.)
(VOSS house. SKINNER arrives with two agents.)
SKINNER: Mrs. Voss, I'm Assistant Director Walter Skinner with the FBI. May we come in?
ANNE VOSS: What is this? What's going on?
SKINNER: I have to ask for your cooperation. These men are here to protect you and your family.
ANNE VOSS: Oh, my God. Why?
(They enter the house.)
SKINNER: Your husband hasn't spoken to you about this?
ANNE VOSS: He's not here.
SKINNER: He told me he was headed home. (to his agents) Try Dr. Voss at work.
ANNE VOSS: I-I've just been trying. There's no answer.
(Morley Tobacco Research Department. The automatic sprinklers are watering the plants. SKINNER enters, crouching through the plants. He sees DR. PETER VOSS crouched on the floor. His face is bloody as if he has been hit.)
DR. PETER VOSS: Behind you.
(SKINNER whirls around and sees DARYL WEAVER holding plain cartons of cigarettes.)
DARYL WEAVER: I was just leaving. I got what I came for.
DR. PETER VOSS: He took the test cigarettes. I couldn't stop him.
SKINNER: Stop right there!
DARYL WEAVER: Why? You gonna shoot me?
(He walks toward SKINNER.)
SKINNER: I'm not going to let you go infect more people.
DARYL WEAVER: You're going to let me do whatever I want to do. Dr. Voss here tells me you need me. You need me to save your boy.
(DARYL WEAVER takes a cigarette from behind his ear and puts it into his mouth.)
SKINNER: Don't do it.
DARYL WEAVER: (sad chuckle) They say these things kill people, you know? Any brand, sooner or later. But you know, it doesn't have to be that way. I think Dr. Voss is really onto something with his research. I do.
DR. PETER VOSS: It's over, Weaver. I'm through.
DARYL WEAVER: Oh... Come on, now. I mean... you gotta figure... the first, um, car killed a bunch of people before they perfected it 'cause it's all just part of the scientific process, you know?
(DARYL WEAVER ignites his lighter.)
SKINNER: Mr. Weaver, I will shoot you.
DARYL WEAVER: No, you won't.
(DARYL WEAVER lights the cigarette. SKINNER keeps the gun on him. Music gets ominous.)
DARYL WEAVER: I'm a regular damn scientific marvel. (he chuckles) They, uh... study me, they're gonna, uh... write scientific papers about me... I could be the cure for cancer. Me, Darrel Weaver.
(He and DR. PETER VOSS stare at each other.)
DARYL WEAVER: You ain't gonna shoot me. Toodles.
(He starts to leave. SKINNER fires, hitting DARYL WEAVER in the back of the shoulder. He falls to the floor. Change flies everywhere. SKINNER steps on the smoldering cigarette as he goes toward the fallen man.)
(Hospital. SCULLY and the DOCTOR meet SKINNER as DARYL WEAVER is wheeled into the emergency room. All her focus is on DARYL WEAVER.)
SKINNER: How's Mulder?
SCULLY: Not good. Let's get the blood work on this man.
(SCULLY looks at DARYL WEAVER's nicotine stained fingers.)
SCULLY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Get me 30 milligrams of methyl pyrrolidinyl pyridine.
DOCTOR: (surprised) Nicotine?
SCULLY: Yeah. (to SKINNER) I think this could save Mulder's life.
(X-Files office. SCULLY enters. MULDER is sitting at the computer in the back of the office. His voice is still very raspy.)
SCULLY: Hey. Good to be back?
MULDER: (turning to face her) Beats the alternative.
SCULLY: Well, you'll be interested to know that Morley Tobacco has subpoenaed all of our files on the case. They seem extremely interested in your recovery.
MULDER: What about Darrel Weaver?
SCULLY: He's, uh, well enough to have been moved to the hospital ward at Raleigh Correctional.
MULDER: It was the nicotine itself that was keeping him alive?
SCULLY: Well, his fingertips were stained yellow with it. He was a four-pack-a-day smoker-- far heavier than any of the focus group members who died. You know, nicotine is extremely poisonous. It's actually one of the oldest known insecticides.
MULDER: (smiling) It's good for killing tobacco beetles.
SCULLY: Well, once we loaded your system up with enough of it, it acted as a sort of chemotherapy... except it almost stopped your breathing at the same time.
MULDER: That's not all it did.
(MULDER walks over to his desk and holds up an unopened pack of Morley cigarettes.)
MULDER: I bought these on the way to work.
(SCULLY stares at him.)
SCULLY: You're not going to start smoking.
(This said in the same tone as "You're not going to kill a puppy.')
MULDER: Well, they say the addiction is stronger than heroin.
(He smells the pack.)
(After a beat, MULDER drops the pack into the trashcan. SCULLY nods in satisfaction.)
SCULLY: Good. Well, Skinner's waiting for us in his office.
MULDER: I'll be right up.
(SCULLY looks at him a moment, then nods and leaves the office. MULDER watches her go then looks at the pack of cigarettes lying in the trashcan.
[Fade to black]