Her body laid limp and lifeless on the cold concrete floor of the research facility. Her face was cold, yet still caked in perspiration from the struggle with the lifeform that took over her body and took away her life. The saddened eyes of a once-trusted colleague overlooked her still form for only a few moments before reaching down and scooping her up. He would be taking to the origin of her death…down into the volcano.
Anger lifted Daniel's feet, which previously seemed held down by massive bricks, carrying him down through the steam to the caves of the Cascades. The volcanic activity shook the ground beneath him, but he trudged forward with her body sprawled out in his arms, willing him to move forward.
The second he entered the volcano with O'Neil's body, a cloud of steam arose from a vent in the earth and smacked him across the face, biting away at his flesh. His body and mind were numb to the sizzling pain coursing through his limbs, he was too enraged to feel or think anything. He had a destination, and Mother Earth was the last of all things that could prevent him from reaching it.
About 6 miles into the caves of the volcano Trepkos fell upon his hidden lair. Bottles of gasoline were scattered in an unorderly mess throughout the small cove, flare guns with numerous spare flares laid in a pile near a large black rock, and papers were torn into pieces, there only to hide their contents.
Trepkos' love for Jesse seemed to diminish when he let her body fall to the floor. He left her there to grab a flare gun and a bottle of gasoline. He madly tore the top off the jug of gas and wildly shook it over the dead woman. Once it was empty, he tossed it to the side without any regard to where it landed. He moved back only a few feet, loaded his gun with a new flare, looked one last time at his former friend and lover, then pulled back the trigger.
A purple flame pierced wickedly through the air and smacked Jesse's body within moments. Upon impact, flames and sparks shot from her like waves rolling savagely through a stormy sea. When he left her body, she barely amounted to a pile of ash.
Washington D.C. could get pretty hot in the summer, but this day had been the start of a heat wave controlled mainly by humidity. As Mulder's luck would have it, the air conditioner to his and Scully's office was completely out of order. Kicking it didn't work, attempting to find the source of the problem didn't work, calling a maintenance worker didn't work - he had tried everything before unbuttoning his collar, sitting down, propping his feet up on the desk, and giving up.
The office was a total disaster, and he knew that the neat freak in Scully would emerge the second she walked into the sweltering office. He didn’t really want to be there when she saw the crumpled papers lying next to the trash can instead of in it, his blazer haggardly strewn over her chair instead of his, and videos separated from their sleeves. With all this in mind, he loosened his tie and began to attempt cleaning off his desk.
After only a few seconds, Mulder grew frustrated with having no where to put all of the loose papers, and being too lazy to file them, he opened his drawer and slyly slid everything down into it. Feeling as if he'd accomplished something, he grabbed the remote and turned on CNN to listen to the news as he moved various office supplies around on his desk.
His tall body loomed over the small desk, trying to decide what he could do to make it look like he'd been trying to tidy up at least a little. He could hear the reporter, Asian in descent, speaking about something scientific, so his mind blocked it off - he couldn't handle another Scully, he got enough out of just one. It wasn't until the anchorwoman said the name, "Daniel Trepkos" that he slowly turned around and gave his undivided attention to every little word spoken.
The first thing Mulder saw on the screen was not the lovely young reporter, but the scarred face of Trepkos. He knew those scars were from the scalding heat the steam caves down in the Cascades produced. Trepkos looked like he had moved on; as if nothing had ever happened in his life to make him anything other than grateful and happy. His eyes betrayed his facial features - there was a ghost resting in them, bubbling behind them like angry lava beneath the earth, yearning for release.
Mulder read the caption on the screen and saw that they were not in the continental United States --they were in Hawaii.
"Hawaii?" Mulder muttered inaudibly to himself.
The reporter began to speak after various photos were displayed on the screen, "In one of the most active volcanoes in Hawaii, what is it exactly that you're looking for?"
With a serious expression painted on his face, he spoke. "A silicon based life form."
"Yes, silicon. I'm sure that you're aware that every organism known to man is based in carbon," he rhetorically asked, receiving a nod in return from the mauve-suited reporter. "I am searching for one that is silicon, I have reason to believe---"
Suddenly his voice was interrupted by someone else off screen, "Sorry I'm so late, but even at 6:30 in the morning that cafeteria is as busy as I-95 on a Fri--"
"SSH!!!" Mulder waved her away sternly.
"--day." She placed a cup of coffee on his desk then walked over to her own, grabbing his coat from her chair and tossing it at him.
His only response was grabbing it and throwing it over his desk, not once removing his eyes from the screen.
"What's on that’s so important?"
"Ssh!" he hushed her once again. "Just watch."
Trepkos had been off screen once again so they could display more pictures of volcanoes and the like. "Since when do you care about volcanoes?"
He turned to her with a rather annoyed look on his face then begged silently that she just shut up and wait.
Scully folded her arms over her chest, heaved a sigh while looking at him with a single arched eyebrow, then diverted her attention towards the TV. She was about to ask what was so special about this report, but then Trepkos appeared on the screen. "Oh my God, Mulder, that's Tre--"
It didn't take more than his long pointer finger to silence her this time. She suddenly became engrossed in the news report that Mulder wasn't sure if he'd ever get her to say a word again.
Within only a few minutes, the slender reporter wrapped up the section on Trepkos, sending him off with a few insincere words of luck and a weak handshake. When Mulder was sure there was nothing else, he turned the TV off and turned to Scully with an absolutely stunned, yet excited, look on his face. Minus the excitement, Scully's expression mirrored his.
"He's in--?" she managed to choke out.
"Hawaii," he responded with a nod and a coy, boyish smile.
Scully's head lay propped up against the window while Mulder continued to study the file on Trepkos that they had gathered years before in Washington state. He wished that they could have taken better notes, but what they'd gathered was satisfactory given the conditions they were working in.
He looked over at Scully, tired of staring at the typed reports. Being dreadfully bored and in dire need of company, he tried to see if she was anywhere near waking up. They were only 9 hours into the flight, and he'd spent over half of that blankly reading and re-reading the file before him.
Scully moved slightly as if she was cold and uncomfortable. Mulder opened his mouth to tell her that he'd get a blanket for her, but realized that she was asleep and saying anything would only disturb her slumber. Instead he silently got up, walked to the front of the plane to retrieve two blankets and a pillow. Once he returned, he unfolded the standard navy blue airline blanket and tucked it around her. She fidgeted but he calmed her by placing a gentle hand on her arm to still her.
"It's just me," he whispered.
She mumbled something inaudible, probably nothing more than a groan, then turned her back a little more towards Mulder. The pillow he got for her was still in his hand, but realized he couldn't wake her up to offer it, so he slid it between him and the movable armrest.
Mulder spread the other blanket over himself and tried his hardest to sleep a little, but he simply could not sleep on an airplane. Whether it was his mentality or true discomfort, it always seemed impossible.
He was about to reread the file again when the seat belt sign came on again. The captain announced that they were about to enter some turbulent areas, and that everyone should remain as calm as possible. Mulder quickly fastened his lap belt, then looked over at Scully and saw hers wasn't buckled. He debated whether to wake her up or not, but chose to do it for her and leave her alone.
Mulder was in the middle of doing so when the plane suddenly jolted and bounced through the sky. This woke Scully immediately, asking, "What's going on?"
"Put on your seat belt," was all he said.
She complied then repeated, "What's going on?"
He responded with a mocking tone, "Turbulence."
The Captain came back on the intercom, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain calm as we release the oxygen masks until we can drop to a steady 15,000 feet. It looks like we're heading into some strong winds, so we're going to ask that you keep your seats upright, and your tray tables locked. Again, we remind you, place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. The mask does NOT need to inflate completely for oxygen to flow. We'll keep you updated when possible."
As soon as he cut off the connection, the masks dropped dramatically from above each passenger. Scully raised her seat back so that it was in compliance with FAA standards for the situation, then subtly gripped the hand rests. Out of the corner of his eye, Mulder looked over at her and saw that she was sweating. He reached over and clasped her hand in his as if to tell her that everything would be okay. She felt somewhat better knowing that their fears were mostly mutual, but still took comfort in his touch.
She had just looked over at him when the Captain's voice returned, "Folks, we're about to begin our descent to 15,000 feet."
Directly after that comment, the plane began to drop more quickly than anyone had expected. Babies began to cry, and adults started wincing at the popping in their ears. Up in the cockpit, the pilots had a firm grip on the controls, pushing the plane down and setting the altitude for 15,000 feet and clicking the three autopilot buttons. They each took a deep breath, and allowed the plane to take over itself.
Within five minutes the plane was safely cruising at the intended 15,000 feet. The Captain made another announcement, "We've reached 15,000 feet, so you may now remove your masks, but please keep your seat belts fastened for the remainder of the flight. We should land in Honolulu in approximately 2 1/2 hours."
Mulder and Scully each removed their masks and let out a deep sigh. "Well that was fun," Mulder said dryly.
Scully looked over at him with an expression of disapproval, wishing he'd take certain life-threatening situations a little more seriously.
2 1/2 HOURS LATER
They stepped off the plane, each with two carry-ons in their hands, glad to be on land.
"You ever been to Hawaii, Scully?" Mulder asked as they started walking towards Ground Transportation.
"Um…maybe when I was a little girl. We might have when my dad was in the Navy, but if so, I don't remember," she told him. "Have you?"
"Nope," he stated flatly. "This should be...different."
She didn't like the way that sounded; to her it said that it they would be arguing over who drove and who got to read the map. Within a few minutes they'd fought through the crowd of summer tourists and gotten in line at the rent-a-car station below the terminal. The line was unimaginably long, and they both feared that by the time they got the car, checked into their hotel, and gotten their facts straight, that it'd be too late to disturb anyone on Trepkos's whereabouts.
While waiting in line, Mulder took that opportunity to discuss the case with Scully.
"Why do you think he's in Hawaii?"
Snapping out of a sleepy trance, Scully asked, "Who?"
"Trepkos," Mulder reminded her.
"Oh, um...probably to get as far away as he could without having to obtain a Visa or anything like that," she offered. "He must have figured that no one would be looking for him, let alone in Hawaii."
The line moved, so they scooted forward.
"Do you think he's still looking for a silicon-based organism?"
"I don't believe he'll ever FIND one, but I believe that he believes he will and that he’s still looking for it."
"Got any theories on what to do?" Mulder asked.
"You mean you don't have one?" she was stunned.
He shrugged boyishly.
Scully crossed her arms over her chest and prepared to throw out an answer that she doubted Mulder would accept. "You really want to know what I think?"
"Always," he grinned.
"We should take him into custody like we should have 5 years ago before he kills again...if he hasn't already," she stood firm, waiting for a response of some sort.
"Scully, he was only killing to save a larger population," he rationalized. "I don't think he wants to hurt anyone now, I'm sure all he wants is to find this organism so it doesn't kill anyone else."
The line moved again, so they bent down to pick up their luggage and move ahead.
"Mulder, if we arrest him then it's all over. Case closed...after 5 years, this man needs to be put away. He's a threat to society."
"Oh come on, Scully, does he really seem like a threat to anybody? He seems to be keeping to himself, he's not trying to do anything wrong. From what I can tell, he's only trying to avenge the deaths of his colleagues."
"Why are you defending him?"
Mulder let out a short, quick laugh, then retorted, "I'm not defending him! I'm providing a logical counterpoint."
Scully was about to speak up when the voice of the rent-a-car clerk broke in between them, "May I help you?"
She kept her mouth shut while Mulder took care of the reservations and accepted the complimentary map of the island.
"Thank you," the woman behind the counter said, receiving a nod from each agent.
Mulder walked away from the counter as if Scully wasn't even there. "Mulder," she called, jogging slightly to catch up. "MULDER," she said louder, assuming he didn't hear.
He kept ignoring her and found their car. He popped the truck and threw his things in then took hers without a word and piled them on top. Scully quickly got in the car after Mulder shut the trunk and waited for him to get in. "Mulder?"
"What Scully?" he said with a hint of annoyance.
"Why weren't you answering me?"
"I was thinking," he stated as he started the car.
"Not much," he left it at that.
She was about to press him for the truth, but left it alone. Instead she chose to continue their discussion about the case, "Why do you care whether or not there's a silicon-based organism or not?"
"What do you mean why do I care? Why does anyone?"
"Well, with Trepkos, it's because he's got this delusion that that's what killed his friends. With you, I don't know, it won't prove anything."
"You're a scientist, Scully, you know what the discovery of such an organism would mean," he replied.
"Yeah, Mulder, but that doesn't mean that-- even if such a thing DID exist-- that it's in anyway extraterrestrial. Just because it's gone undiscovered doesn't mean it's alien."
"I know that."
"Then why are you so intent on proving it exists?"
"It'd be a revolutionary discovery, Scully. It would change the way of science as we know it."
"I'm still not seeing your point," she said in defeat, looking forward.
After checking into their hotel, the agents decided that it wouldn't be too late to find Trepkos, and went to their separate rooms.
The next morning, Mulder called over to Scully’s room just as she’d gotten dressed to tell her, "Wear something touristy, Scully."
"Make it look like we're old friends," he smiled through the phone.
Scully's face contorted into slight confusion, but complied with his request. She didn't know exactly what to wear, she hadn't packed her entire wardrobe. She settled on a pair of comfortable slacks, a white tank top, and a comfortable semi-transparent blouse. She figured she'd done well; it was as close to being unprofessional as she could get considering what she packed. She quickly threw her hair up in a relaxed ponytail, then left her room.
She knocked loudly on Mulder's door, surprised that he answered it so quickly and enthusiastically.
She said slowly as she looked at Mulder's outfit, "Yeah..."
He smiled and pulled her inside of his room, closing the door after her. "Mulder?"
"Yeah?" he responded while strapping a pair of sandals on his feet.
"That's what you're wearing?"
He looked down at his khaki shorts and his typical Hawaiian print shirt, then fingered the lai around his neck, "You think this is too much?"
She shook her head and rolled her eyes, moving towards him to yank the cheap accessory off of him.
"Hey!" he exclaimed in protest.
"You're not wearing that around me," she commanded.
Mulder began to flip through a phone book, looking under the T's for Trepkos's address and phone number, but found nothing. "He must not be listed."
"You mean you don't have his address yet?"
"How do you know he even lives here? He could live on another island for all we know."
"A hunch, I guess."
Her eyes widened, "A hunch?"
He paused and looked away as though he was thinking, then nodded, "Yeah."
Mulder flipped to the Yellow Pages and found different private companies that would relate to volcanoes and/or science, and began to call each of them, one by one.
"Who are you calling?" Scully asked, sitting down on the bed a foot or two away from him.
"Ssh," he said as the secretary on the other end picked up. "Yeah, I'm looking for Daniel Trepkos, do you know if he works there?"
Scully waited, willing herself not to shake her head or roll her eyes at Mulder's approach.
"OK...thanks anyway," he hung up.
"Who were you calling?"
Her eyes widened and moved her head closer to him to press the answer out of him.
"I don't know, I'm calling some private companies," he said.
She still looked confused.
"Trepkos, if he's as smart as he was back in 94, is not going to work for a governmental agency. He's gonna work either for himself, or for a privately owned company."
Scully didn't respond, but agreed with his logic and allowed him to continue. After 6 more failed calls, he gave up.
"I don't know what to do, Scully," he told her straight out. "I have no idea how to find him."
"Police records?" she suggested.
"No, I checked."
"He really has gone out of his way to be sure he's not found, hasn't he?"
"Yep," Mulder nodded with aggravation in his voice.
Scully remained seated on the bed thinking while Mulder rose to gulp down the complimentary water given by the exotic hotel.
Mulder had just begun pacing and rubbing his chin with his thumb and pointer finger when Scully shot out, "The reporter!"
"What?" he stopped.
"Do you remember what station that news report was on?"
"Uh...CNN," Mulder said cautiously.
Scully jumped up and dialed information, asking for the CNN news office. She grabbed a piece of paper and quickly jotted down what the operator told her on the white tablet.
When she hung up, Mulder asked, "What is it Scully?"
"CNN has to know where Trepkos lives, his phone number, or where he works, something," she said with excitement. "They've gotta know how to get in touch with him."
Scully turned around and dialed the number she'd copied down, making sure she hit every precise number just as it was written. "Hi, my name is Dana Scully, and I was looking for some information on a man your office interviewed yesterday."
Mulder waited anxiously.
"No, I don't think so, hold on a second," she turned to Mulder, covering the phone with her hand. "Mulder, do you remember the name of the reporter?"
He thought, but couldn't remember her name, so he responded by shaking his head. Just as Scully was about to deny knowledge of the name, Mulder spoke up, "She was American, with Asian heritage."
She went back to the person on the phone, "We don't know a name, but she was American with Asian heritage. She had on a mauve colored suit...interviewed Daniel Trepkos."
The man on the other end said, "Oh, yeah, I know who you're talking about now. She's not in the building at the moment."
"Well, we don't really need to talk to her, we need information on the man she interviewed, Daniel Trepkos. Do you keep information on the people you feature?"
"Yeah, to an extent," replied the young man.
"Do you have a phone number? A home or business address? Anything that could help us find him?" she pressed.
"I'm sorry, that information isn't available to the public. It's for our own private records in case we need to get in touch with him again," he said politely.
"I'm Special Agent Dana Scully with the FBI," she stated, prepared to read her badge number.
Mulder knew by the sly, hidden grin on Scully's face that the kid on the other end had suddenly straightened up and was getting her all the information he could find, calling her ma'am and apologizing to her with sudden, utmost respect. Mulder could only discretely nod his approval.
"I'm on hold," she whispered to him.
The boy returned without much information, but enough to get them started, "Ma'am, I'm afraid he wouldn't give us anything else other than the name and address of his company..."
"That's great," she replied, readying her pen and pad.
"OK, it's 333 Industrial Boulevard," he read to her from the small file. "It's called DT Researchers and Associates."
"OK, thank you for your help," she said while handing Mulder the pad.
When she hung up, he asked, "What's this?"
"Daniel Trepkos' business address," she smiled. "Let's go."
LESS THAN AN HOUR LATER
"Nice building," Scully commented.
"Yeah," Mulder agreed. "Especially for a man who presumably dropped off the Earth 5 years ago."
She smiled and closed her car door, following Mulder to the front entrance of the marble office that stretched at least 9 floors.
Once inside they took in their surroundings; the air conditioning was on full blast, the floors were all a dark teal marble color, and tropical plants were in every corner. It was your typical 'Corporate America' building. Elevators were on either side of them, which told them that the bottom floor contained nothing but service rooms. Scully looked up and saw that the atrium ended with a large dome, painted beautifully with a subtle but gorgeous tropical sunset. "Wow," she whispered, leaning over slightly to bump into Mulder's arm. "Look at that," she cocked her head slightly so that he would see what she was looking at.
Mulder looked up at the exquisite mural, seeing how the sun bounced from it. "Yeah," was all he said on that subject.
He took his eyes away from the sight of the mural and the many balconies that revealed the amount of floors to be 11, and looked straight ahead. In front of him, about 100 yards away, was a fountain that was made to look like a flowing waterfall, with exotic plants thriving around it. He then looked to his right and found what he'd been looking for - a service desk.
"Hey, Scully, come on," he lightly tugged her sleeve.
"Hi," Mulder began before completely reaching the desk.
The woman sitting there stood to greet him, "May I help you?"
By the looks of them, she assumed that they weren't there for business.
"Yeah, I hope so," Mulder said. "We're looking for Daniel Trepkos."
"Who's looking for him?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Mulder," he turned to Scully as if to introduce her. She smiled faintly, not expecting what he'd said. "We're old friends, and we were told this is where he worked. And that, well…," Mulder let out a slight chuckle, mocking the homely, married man amused with himself, "…that he owns it."
"Yes, he does," the woman answered with a fake smile. "But I'm afraid he's not here. He's working at home today."
"We were hoping to surprise him here since we never got his new address," Scully piped in.
The woman nodded, and after thinking for a moment, she said, "Here," and began to write down his address. "Have you ever been here before?"
Both of the agents shook their heads.
"OK," she put the address in front of them, then below began to draw directions. "When you leave here, make a right out of the complex, and...do you know how to get onto 72 from here?"
Mulder thought for a second then nodded.
"OK, take 72 until you see signs for Diamond Head, then take that exit. There are only a few homes back there, it's on Mamala Bay. I think that once you get into that residential area you'll be able to find it from there."
"All right, thanks," Mulder accepted the directions gratefully.
"Oh," the woman spoke up as they turned away. "In case you get lost, here's his phone number."
She took out another piece of paper and scribbled it down, smiling as she handed it to Mulder.
"Should I call him and let him know you're coming?" she offered.
"I think we're going to surprise him," Mulder said with an artful grin. "If we get lost we'll call him and let him know."
The woman smiled genuinely, "Have a nice visit!"
"Thanks," Mulder replied. "I think we will."
Once outside Mulder turned to Scully as they headed to the car, wrapped his arm around her and jokingly said, "Clever, honey."
45 MAMALA BAY DRIVE
"What kind of business is he running?" Scully asked in astonishment at the size of his home.
The estate was enormous, with luscious plants littering the yard decoratively, small hidden fountains with bright, neon colored fish swimming happily, and an automatic sprinkler system that came on, signaling they was there.
The pair admired the picture perfect yard as they headed towards the front door anxiously, somewhat nervous and not sure what to say after five years. Mulder rang the doorbell and they both waited. Scully took a deep breath then looked up, almost with worry in her features, at Mulder. She looked back when a tall figure appeared in the doorway. It was not Trepkos, but his butler George. When he greeted them, he had the cliché English accent, which both agents found odd considering where they were.
"May I help you?"
"Hi," Scully said with a curt smiled. "We're..."
"Mr. and Mrs. Mulder, we're old friends of Daniel's. Is he home?" Mulder jumped in, shaking the butler's hand.
"Yes, he's in the back working," George kindly said.
"Is he too busy? We haven't seen him in 5 years and were hoping to surprise him...we have to leave to go back home soon," Scully asked with a girlishly beg.
The butler smiled heartily, "I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
The man was old and kind enough to be their grandfather, but it was rather comforting. He stepped out far enough to guide Mulder and Scully in by the shoulder and close the door behind them.
"Right this way," he directed, taking them through the long corridor that lead directly to sliding glass doors. George opened them for the pair then followed them on the large deck that overlooked the beach and bay below. Mulder and Scully stood at the edge and waited to be escorted to wherever he was.
"Daniel!" George called out to the beach.
Trepkos had headphones on which prevented him from hearing his butler's calls.
"Come this way," the man gave in and decided to take them to him.
As they neared Trepkos, George called out again, "Daniel!"
Trepkos stopped jotting down notes and removed his headphones to pay attention to his loyal servant, "Yes, George?"
He turned around and his straight face suddenly lost color when he saw his smiling visitors. "Mr. and Mrs. Mulder," he introduced them. "They're here for a visit. I didn't think you would mind, sir."
"No, not at all," Trepkos recomposed himself and stood up to shake their hands. "Thank you, George."
"I'll get you some chairs," he replied and turned to leave.
"Thank you," Scully tried to say but he'd turned away too quickly.
Trepkos still tried to keep up his kind front, but Mulder and Scully knew that he wasn't sure how to react to seeing them again, "So, you're married now?"
"No," Mulder said. "Nope."
"Not even close," Scully agreed.
Trepkos accepted this, knowing they weren't there for pleasure. George had already returned with beach chairs for Mulder and Scully and set them up near Daniel's. They thanked him then all three took a seat. The smile Trepkos had held faded.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, then more urgently, "How did you find me?"
"Just paying a friendly visit, I mean it's been 5 years..." Mulder toyed.
"Really," he stopped him.
"We saw you on the news," Scully said. "We were wondering how you escaped the government's eye for so long, yet still managed to be so successful."
He answered snappishly, "I moved to Hawaii."
The agents glared at him, so he decided to be cooperative for his own sake. "I changed my name before I came here, I worked my way up in the world, then I started my own business and changed my name back to my own. To everyone, Daniel Trepkos is an assumed name."
"Why are you here?" Mulder asked. "What's your interest in Hawaiian volcanoes?"
"Same reason I was interested in the Cascades," he stated straightly.
"A silicon based life form," Scully said suspiciously.
Suddenly Trepkos became very irritable, "Look agents, I don't appreciate you intruding upon my life after five years--"
Mulder let out a short-lived laugh, then protested, "Don't forget, you wouldn't be here if we hadn't let you go."
Trepkos made no verbal notice of this and continued, "I only wish to forget about what happened to my colleagues, and I can't do that when you're poking around in my business. I haven't done anything wrong, all I'm trying to do here is find this organism so that it doesn't infect a larger population," he stood up. "So unless you've got something else to say or you plan to arrest me, I've got work to do." He turned to the balcony where he knew the door would be open and called for his butler.
"Yes, sir?" he appeared out on the deck.
"George will show you out," he told them. Trepkos called up to George, "Please show these people out."
Mulder knew that his cocky attitude pissed Trepkos off, so he pretended that none of this bothered him, "Nice seein' ya again, buddy," he shook his hand and smiled as if nothing had happened.
"Yeah," the man replied gruffly.
Once in their car, Scully turned to Mulder, "What the hell do you think you were doing?"
"What?!" Mulder mentally jumped back, disconcerted by her outburst.
"That was highly unprofessional and uncalled for," she scolded.
"What was?!" he started the car.
"You were pushing him, Mulder. How do you expect him to cooperate when you're holding things over him?"
"Holding WHAT over him?"
"The fact that you let him go 5 years ago. If anyone at the bureau finds out we didn't turn him in and we know that he's out there, do you understand the ramifications of that?"
"Yes, I do, Scully," he began to pull the car out of Trepkos' driveway.
"Then why don't we just arrest him?" she couldn't understand his motives.
"Because, Scully, what he's doing could help people and change the way we all think. No one knows he's here, no one knows WE know he's here. If we arrest him, what good will it do anyone?"
Scully was taken aback, "He won't kill anyone!"
"He didn't do it for the FUN of it, Scully, he HAD to."
"Regardless, Mulder, that man's got something to hide. He's a dangerous man and belongs behind bars," Scully faced forward and ended the conversation there.
Trepkos looked out the window at the agents driving away in their standard rental car, and picked up the phone. He looked down at the keypad and dialed his office's number.
"Hello, this is DT Researchers and Associates, how may I help you?"
"Manny," Trepkos said, recognizing his colleague’s voice. "It's me."
"Oh, hey, Mr. Trepkos," he responded. "How's your day off?"
"I'm working," he said, trying to convince his employee.
"Right, Mr. Trepkos," Manny laughed slightly as he examined the volcanic activity in their area.
"Anyway, I was calling because we need to organize a test run," he said.
"I was actually thinking the same thing. Things must be getting pretty hot down there, because the equipment got disconnected. I was going to call you later and suggest we go down and have a look, see what's going on."
"Get the team assembled. We're leaving in an hour."
2 HOURS LATER
Trepkos and his team of excellent researchers had just reached the bottom of the volcano and began to collect anything that would show signs of an eruption. Trepkos looked around him; one small sub-group was running tests for temperature, and another to his left was conducting verifiable experiments on the plates and likelihood of an eruption. He was about to look ahead when one of the team members asked, "What exactly are we looking for here?"
"I told you, we're looking to see how active this is. We might need to put the island on alert," he lied. "If you find anything strange, let me know immediately. I will handle it."
"OK," the man accepted and returned to his work, but not really believing it. He knew that Trepkos had some sort of shady history, and that volcanic activity was not really the goal of this trip.
Once the team descended into the volcano, Trepkos to a minute to take in what was around him. To his left, two men were taking rock core samples; to his right, one man was looking at quartz crystals; to all around him, men traveled back and forth, taking readings on this or that, all to determine the activity and likelihood of the volcano blowing. Ahead of him was the rest of the team, at least a half a dozen men, standing around in a circle looking down at something.
He walked briskly towards them and asked what they were looking at.
"Some sort of...rock, sir...I think," one of the men said.
"What's so fascinating about a rock?" he asked.
"It's texture is...weird...almost rubbery, I'd say."
"Rubbery?" he searched his brain for the characteristics of the origin of the silicon based organism, and realized that he didn't KNOW the origin. "Hmm," Trepkos turned and walked away, thinking of the possibilities.
"Yeah, and it's...oh god, it's moving," the man hollered back to him, clearly disgusted.
All the others that had been going about their business already gathered around the unnatural being, trying to see for themselves what kind of new discovery their group had made.
He whipped around; that had to be it, there was nothing else he could think of. "Get away!" he shouted, waving his hands in the air. "Move! Go!! Get away from it!"
The crowd began to move away when the movement of the rock-like object became more fierce, thrashing about on the ground as if it were some sort of animal stuck in its egg, dying for the chance to get out.
"Did you hear me?! Move away!!! Step back!!! GO!!" he screamed.
There was a popping noise all of the sudden that echoed through the cavern, and he knew it had exploded. He watched as thousands and millions of microbes and spores burst into the air and engulfed his colleagues and friends.
"No!" he began to run for them, but realized that he couldn't risk infecting himself.
Each member of the team began to cough violently, some even coughing up blood and mucus. Trepkos didn't want this team of top-researchers and scientists to be reduced to hosts of this fatal organism, but in minutes, they had been. Though he was saddened by the event, he knew there was only one thing to be done, and knowing what this was, he hung his head down low, rubbing his forehead with his dirty hand.
He grabbed his walkie-talkie and called up calmly to the helicopter pilot waiting for them on the surface, "Joe," he waited for an answer.
In a few seconds, he answered, "Yes, sir?"
"This is Trepkos," he said. "We're gonna be down here a while, go on ahead without us. We'll hike out of here."
"Are you sure, sir?"
"Yes," he said. "Go."
With that, he turned off the communication device and reached in his backpack for his gun. He looked at it, not ashamed at what he was about to do, and checked the clip to count the amount of bullets - it was completely full, and that was just enough to do in all of his co-workers.
He slowly turned around and held his gun up in the air. His friends looked up at the barrel aimed straight for them and muffled their coughing, some asking, "What are you doing?", others simply staring in wonderment.
"I'm sorry," was the last thing any of them heard other than their own screams and pleas for their lives.
Trepkos shuffled in the door of his majestic home, his head bowed to the ground and his body limp and languid. He shook his head in disgust just as George arrived in the room.
"Good evening, sir," he said, taking his coat.
"Evening, George," he responded unemotionally.
"Working late?" the man asked unbiased, pretending as if he didn't suspect something else.
"Yeah," Trepkos agreed. "See you in the morning, George."
"Sleep well, sir."
Trepkos made his way to his room to go to bed and clear all of the horrible thoughts running through his mind out of his head. He dropped lethargically on his bed, removing nothing from his contaminated body, making no effort to brush his teeth, take a shower or any of the other almost necessary preparations for bed. Slowly, but surely, ignoring all the sirens in his head that told him lying there wasn't the thing he should be doing, Trepkos forced himself into a light sleep.
The night whirled by like a twisting kaleidoscope turned too quickly by a quizzical child; he had been dreaming of a happier, more non-scientific life, and wished that he would never wake up. A cough in the distance woke him out of his groggy slumber. Thinking he had been dreaming, he rubbed his eyes and shook his head, getting up to get a glass of water. He filled a glass by his bathroom sink with water from the tap, and took a long gulp of the cool liquid. He could still hear the hacking from somewhere down the hall, and tried to block it out of his head and get back to sleep, but it only persisted more loudly.
His fists were balled up with rage, and he was about to raise one to smash onto his countertop, but calmed when the coughing ceased. Trepkos couldn't understand it, but once the coughs stopped, his worry grew. He looked at himself in the mirror, peering into the blank windows to his soul through his dark, non-compassionate eyes.
Trepkos looked at his alarm clock before going to check on George, and saw that it was 5:46AM. He couldn't be too terribly upset, he would have gotten up soon anyway.
He left the room and went down the hall, and stopped when he reached his butler's bedroom door, not wishing to disturb him if everything was all right. He knocked softly, but didn't wait for an answer. He pushed the door open slowly, the hinges creaking only slightly.
"George?" he asked in a low whisper. "George?"
He noticed the bathroom light was on, and assumed he'd was in there.
"Everything OK, George?" No answer. This quickly aggravated Trepkos, so he sternly asked once more, "GEORGE?"
He slowly proceeded to push open the bathroom door, but quickly reared away when he saw George's body lying cold and pale on the floor, the spore spreader protruding from his neck.
"Mulder?" Scully asked.
"Yeah?" he waited for her to speak, but she was too engrossed in the papers spread on the table before her to remember to say anything. "YEAH?"
"I really can't find anything here. We need more information from Trepkos."
"I was thinking the same thing," he took a bite of his pizza. "Aren't you gonna have some pizza, Scully?"
She looked over at him taking another bite, then down at the half-eaten pie, sneered slightly, then said, "Pineapple's not my topping of choice."
"I could have ordered something else," he said.
She went back to reading over the papers that wallpapered the round table she sat at. "Come on, Scully, eat something."
"I told you, Mulder, I don't like pineapple on my pizza," she didn't look away from the work.
"I'll order another one then," he offered, heading for the phone.
"No, there's no time. Let's go see Trepkos," she gathered up everything that had been laid out, stuffed it into a few separate folders then shoved it under her arm and grabbed the crust Mulder had just discarded into the open box.
Scully left the room before Mulder could get himself together, but when he caught up with her, he said, "He's not going to be too happy to see us."
"I know," she held the elevator door open until Mulder got in, then pressed the button for the ground floor.
"What exactly are you wanting out of him again?" Mulder asked.
Scully looked up him and finished the bite of crust she was chewing, then said, "I don't know. Something…anything. Anything that could incriminate him or tell us where this organism is, IF it's anywhere."
"See, Scully, that's the difference between you and me..."
"You want to arrest the person causing the problem. I want to solve the problem."
"Mulder, arresting the person causing the problem IS solving the problem," she almost had to laugh as she stepped off the elevator, ripping another piece off the tough crust with her teeth.
"No, no, Scully, it's not. Not always."
She raised an eyebrow at him as he unlocked the car doors.
"Think about it, Scully, it's not that difficult. If there is a silicon-based organism out there, the only thing we're doing is preventing its discovery by arresting Trepkos, but not preventing it from spreading. To do that we have to stop the organism itself, and to do THAT, it has to be found, and that's exactly what Trepkos is doing. By not arresting him, we're saving ourselves and the government the time in looking for it."
"Mulder..." she shook her head, tired of arguing with him. "Sure…OK."
They arrived at Trepkos' home only 15 minutes later, but were surprised to see that police tape was wrapped around the premises, and men from Hawaii's CDC branch were wheeling a man out on a stretcher. Scully dropped the files in the car and the two of them jumped out immediately, running to the man with the rolling stretcher.
"Who is this?" Scully demanded. "Is this Daniel Trepkos?"
The men in white suits said nothing and headed away from Scully and her demanding demeanor. She pulled out her badge, but a detective came up behind her and said, "Ma'am, that was George, Trepkos' butler."
She blinked and mentally shook away her surprise, "Well, then where's Trepkos?" She looked over the man's shoulder at all the men filing in and out of the doorway, expecting to see Trepkos come out at some point.
"He's no where to be found."
"What happened to that man?" she asked, Mulder walking up behind her.
"Not sure, some kind of thing popped out of his neck," Detective Santiago informed her. "What's your business here?"
"We're the FBI," Mulder came in, showing his badge. "Agents Mulder and Scully."
"How did the FBI get involved?" he asked suspiciously.
"We--" Scully looked up at Mulder, hoping for a little help, then continued. "We've known him for several years and..."
Mulder then cut in, "And we'd like to be included in this investigation, if you don't mind."
The detective glared at them suspiciously, saying and doing nothing but crossing his arms over his chest.
"Out of professional courtesy?" Mulder pushed further, growing impatient.
The detective nodded and moved past them towards George's body. Santiago was about to show them the body when the men in masks told them they had to have the proper equipment on. Mulder disagreed, "No, I don't think it's contagious anymore."
"Sir, we don't know for sure what this is--" one of the suited men said.
"No, I’ve seen this before. This is a spore producer, and it's already spread all the spores it's got. It's dead."
"How can you be so sure?"
Mulder looked at him with an expression of annoyance smeared across his features, "Just trust me."
Scully pulled back the yellow sheet and looked at the blank, dead face of the former butler. She remembered his English politeness, and how grandfatherly he'd seemed when she met him. He was certainly a kind man, but she couldn't allow herself to miss him - she didn't know him and was taught better.
Mulder looked at Scully for confirmation. She nodded, indicating that this was exactly what they'd seen five years ago. "Thank you," Mulder told the men whom they'd stopped.
They walked a few feet to get out of the way of workers, and allowed the detective to catch up with them. "Who called the police?" Mulder interrogated Santiago.
"It was an anonymous call to a 911 operator."
"Must have been Trepkos," he looked down at Scully. "This house has state of the art alarm systems, no one else could have gotten in, found his body, then called the police and gotten out," Mulder thought aloud. He pondered some theories a little more, then spoke again, "Trepkos must have heard George coughing, gone to check on him, and found him like this."
"But how did he get infected?" Scully inquired.
Santiago stopped them there, "Wait...Trepkos is the main suspect here. Especially considering we found his entire research team shot to death."
Mulder's eyes grew larger and sharper, "What??"
"Down in a volcano. Apparently, Trepkos ordered a test-run of some sort, they all went down there as told, and didn't come back."
Scully folded her arms over her chest, "But Trepkos did?"
The detective nodded. "He's got security camera's in his foyer, he's on them late last night."
Mulder's mind was working over time, as usual, to connect everything just right so that the truth and justice could prevail, "You've seen the tapes then?"
"What EXACTLY was on them?"
"Not much, really. He came in late, his butler greeted him at the door, they talked for a brief moment, then Trepkos headed off to, we assume, bed."
"Well," Scully was slightly confused. "If he went off to bed, then how did he kill George?"
"The 911 call was made around 6 this morning. We've been out here all day trying to figure everything out, get proper crews out here, etc."
"So what do you think happened?" she looked him sternly in the eye.
"We don't really know, but whatever it is, we're sure Trepkos did it. The fact that he's missing doesn't help him any."
"Thank you," Mulder told him, then lead Scully away by the elbow. "I don't think he killed the butler, Scully."
"What? It's clear he did, there's no other explanation. George certainly wasn't down in that volcano."
"It just doesn't make sense, Scully. For George to be infected, Trepkos would have had to spread it to him, and to do that he'd have to be infected himself. If he were infected we would have found his body along side his butlers."
"He could be infected and not know it," Scully suggested.
"Oh no," he protested. "If he's infected, then I'm sure he knows it by now. He would have known it when he found his butler. And that wouldn't matter, whether you know you're infected or not, it would take the same amount of time to kill you."
"This doesn't connect, Mulder. The others were infected AFTER that..." she searched for a scientific word to call the spore spreading appendage, "...that...THING...exploded. Not before."
"I don't know what to say, Scully," he said truthfully. "But somehow he's spreading that spore."
"OK, if that were true, then how long did the butler live after it was passed to him?"
Mulder didn't see where she was going, so he shook his head.
"Trepkos comes home late last night, talks to the butler momentarily, then goes to bed. That would have to be the point at which he was infected. Trepkos calls the police around six this morning. Now, assuming he got home around midnight, that's six hours, Mulder."
"Yeah, but it took a lot longer than that five years ago."
"Maybe somehow this organism is more advanced, more severe. Or maybe it's not the same organism at all."
He shook his head, "No, it's the same thing, everything is identical except for the time it takes to kill its host."
They both stood on Trepkos' lawn in a daze - they were basically back at where they started. As always, there were more questions then answers. After five minutes of silence, Mulder asked, "How did Trepkos get away?"
Scully shrugged, so he looked to an officer passing by behind her, "Hey! You!"
The man stopped as if to ask, "me?"
"Yeah," he said. "How did Trepkos get away? Foot? Car? What?"
"Car, sir," he replied. "He took his black..." he couldn't think of the name of it, so he pulled out his leather notebook, "...his black Jaguar S-Type. Year 2000."
"Got a license plate number?"
"Not yet, sir, but we should soon. Would you like us to give you a call?"
"Yeah, yeah, thanks," he handed him his business card. "Come on, Scully," he turned her around by the shoulder and lead her towards the house.
"What are we doing?"
He grinned mischievously, heading for the front door, "We're gonna do some research."
Trepkos looked around him on the highway to see if there were any police cars before pulling into the gas station. He knew they'd be looking for him, and didn't doubt that he wasn't too far ahead of them. No cars were at the gas pumps, which he was thankful for, but noticed that this station didn't have 'pay at the pump'. He couldn't remember where there was a 'pay at the pump', and didn't have the time to fiddle around looking for one. He had to go in if he was going to get away.
The bells above the door jingled as Trepkos walked in, signaling that he was a customer in need of service. A young man, no more than 18, stepped out from the back room, where he had no doubt been taking a cigarette break.
"May I help you?" he asked politely.
"Yeah," Trepkos dug his wallet out of his back pocket and slapped $20 down in front of the boy. "That on..." he didn't know what pump he was at, so he waved his hand at it anxiously, "...on whatever that is."
The boy began to punch in the command onto his register as Trepkos darted out the door. "Hey! Sir! Want your receipt??"
Trepkos couldn't hear him, so the young man shrugged, crumpled the receipt, and tossed it in the trash can under the counter.
He looked out the window at the strange man pumping gas into his new, clean, black Jaguar and became envious. He looked away quickly when he saw Trepkos' head shoot up and stare right at him.
Trepkos eyed the boy inside who had, until he looked up, been eyeing him. His eyes shot to the meter on the pump that told him how much gas he had and how much money it was worth. He still had nearly $9 to go, though he really didn't need think he needed it, he let the pump continue to put gas into his car.
He returned his stare to the boy behind the counter inside the convenience store. Instead of standing and going about his business, he was hunched over coughing helplessly, unable to get a single breath of air in his lungs.
"Shit..." Trepkos yanked the nozzle from his car and let it drop to the ground. He yanked the car door open, jumped inside and sped away immediately, nearly hitting an incoming car.
He began to go the direction he was originally heading, but realized that the when someone found the body of that boy, they'd know where he was headed. He didn't know where to go; it wouldn't be long before he ran out of land, and he'd be cornered. Making a quick decision, Trepkos swung his car around to the other side of the highway and headed the opposite direction.
Mulder's fingers flew across the keyboard, typing in various commands and pulling up files. He came across a computer diary that Trepkos had kept.
"Hey, Scully," he called, reading while waiting for her to appear next to him.
"We can say for certain that Trepkos was looking for that silicon based organism...and that he found it," Mulder pointed to the screen.
Scully looked at what Mulder pointed out to her and saw a computer-generated photo of the spore's releaser. Below the picture were notes on the organism, so Scully read further. "Scroll down," she requested.
Scully looked down at the top of Mulder's head and thought, "Is there a date on that?"
Mulder scrolled up and down the page but saw nothing, "No, but it's the last one. You think he could have written this last night?"
"Could have," Scully agreed. "Otherwise how would he know how much more accelerated the organisms effects are? He would have had to have written this last night before he went to bed sometime."
"And this was found in his bedroom," Mulder cocked his head toward the laptop.
"What about the rest? Have you read it yet?"
"Not yet," he informed her, but scrolled up so they could read a few select things.
"What's this?" she pointed to a name.
"Kreagle?" Mulder looked, then read so he could summarize the few short paragraphs for Scully. "All it says here is that Trepkos' colleague, a scientist, died. This one is dated and that is...just a few weeks ago."
"Is that it? It doesn't say anything else?"
He shook his head and skimmed the next few paragraphs to be sure before he said, "Nope."
The two agents were in the process of mentally unraveling the mystery when a cop came up behind them. "Who's Kreagle?" Scully blurted out.
"Kreagle? The scientist?" the middle aged man asked.
"Yeah," Mulder responded, thankful he knew something rather than nothing.
"He died a few weeks ago...his death was something of a mystery though. His body was found in Trepkos' lab, actually. Burnt to a crisp."
"In a lab?" Scully pressed for more detail.
"Yeah, one of Trepkos' decontamination rooms at his office. Same room this guy kept all his research on those volcanoes."
That was all Scully needed to know, so she turned back to the computer to think and try to connect the various pieces of the puzzle.
"By the way," the cop said before leaving. "I came to tell you that a clerk at a gas station towards the edge of the island was found dead not too long ago. Looks like your 'spore' could be the culprit."
Mulder looked up from his chair, "Was Trepkos there?"
"Security cameras show that he was alone when he died, but Trepkos was there not even 30 minutes prior."
Mulder allowed himself a moment of thought as the police officer turned to leave them alone, then said, "I've got a theory."
Heaving an exasperated sigh, Scully asked, "What is it?"
He looked up at her and, feeling more certain of this present theory than any other in the past, said, "I need to go to Trepkos' lab first."
Trepkos burst into his semi-barren building, rushing past the security guard that sat engrossed in a car magazine at the front desk. The guard lifted his head to see who had come in, but Trepkos had gotten by too fast for him to see, so he continued with his reading. As Trepkos darted through the halls toward the elevator, he noticed that everyone was gone for the day. Was it already that late in the evening? The people that worked for him always left as SOON as their shift was over - he'd never seen any other building vacate as quickly as his did. Before now, he wasn't sure whether to take offense by it or not, but at that particular moment he was thankful they were all gone. He couldn't let himself be seen by anyone.
He took the elevator to the floor that held all the lab facilities then rushed to the lab where he kept all his personal research. It was rare that he allowed anyone but himself inside it. Trepkos rolled up his shirt sleeve and retrieved a sterilized needled from a kit not two feet from where he was standing. After drawing his blood, he put a small sample underneath a microscope, hoping he wouldn't find what he suspected he would.
As soon as the lens was focused in enough on the blood cells, Trepkos' eyes widened. He backed away from the microscope as if he was trying to escape the blood he'd extracted from himself. It was radically different then it should be...riddled with signs and symptoms of the spore.
Knowing he didn't have much time left, he quickly ran some tests on the blood to see exactly what the condition of it was and what was making it so different. He found exactly what he was afraid of; the blood coursing through his body was nearly all silicon. He knocked the sample to the floor, the vial containing the blood nearly bursting all over. He couldn't hide from the truth, which was that in almost all senses of the word, he had turned into a mutant version of the spore. The air he breathed infected anyone in the same room, the blood he bled infected anyone who came into contact with it, the cough he coughed sent millions of microbes around in the air, infecting anyone who was in the vicinity…there was really only one true solution to this problem.
It couldn't have always been this way, though, he knew that for sure. Otherwise everyone he ever knew would have died and he would have been discovered much sooner. This infection in his blood must have happened recently, but when? He couldn't pinpoint an exact moment for a few minutes, but after that it hit him like a thousand bricks knocked off the top of the Empire State Building - when his colleagues were infected, it must have happened to him too. But why wasn't he dead? Could he have become immune to it's effects and somehow be only SPREADING the spore? If so, he couldn't risk infecting anyone else.
He sulked in the corner, taking shelter in his lab, not sure what to do with himself. Should he turn himself in? He couldn't do that...if he spoke to anyone he'd infect them. The only solution Trepkos could think of was to leave...to go far, far away from civilization and his former lives.
Trepkos shot up from the corner he was huddled in and dashed towards the stairs. On his way out he noticed that the security guard he passed on the way in wasn't there. He looked outside to be sure no one was in sight, then walked over slowly to check out the area the man formerly occupied. The teal marble counter he sat behind blocked his view, so as he neared it he walked around to the back. After seeing a slouched body, he knew he needn't go any further. All that he would find was the spore spreader projecting from his neck and the look of confusion smeared across his features.
Trepkos panicked and disappeared from the building as fast as his car would let him.
"Mulder, what exactly is it that you're looking for?" Scully asked, quickening her pace to keep up with him.
"I’ll know if I find it," he told her, pushing the revolving doors to let her in first.
"Come on," she whined. "I'm too tired to just tag along like this."
They were headed for the security desk to show their ID's, "I'm not sure, Scully, otherwise I would tell you. I'm not even sure how to explain it."
She opened her mouth to begin telling him that she couldn't continue to follow him around like this when she saw the security guards body in front of her. "Mulder," she walked around the desk to examine the body.
"Trepkos was here," Mulder said, not surprised.
"What? Mulder? What the hell is going on?" she demanded, frustration evident in her tone.
"Just trust me, Scully, I think I know what's happening here," he made a beeline for the elevator.
They entered Trepkos' private lab in no time.
"I told you, Scully," he pointed to the lab equipment that was turned on. "He was here."
Mulder moved over to the microscope and examined the blood on the slide beneath it while Scully bent down and picked up a vial on the floor. "Scully," he called for her. "Take a look at this."
She looked at him then focused her sight on the blood sample below the magnification of the microscope. "Oh my god," she adjusted the eye of the instrument in order to see better.
"What is it?"
"This is..." she continued to adjust light and height levels on the scientific tool. "...this is absolutely remarkable."
"What?" he grew more eager by the second, wishing for the moment that he had a fraction of her scientific knowledge.
"This must be Trepkos's blood," she backed away from the microscope. "It's COMPLETELY infested with the spore. It's got to be at LEAST 98.5% silicon."
"That would mean--"
She nodded before he could finish.
"Trepkos is infected with the spore," Mulder was outwardly formulating ideas.
"It doesn’t make any sense though…shouldn't he be dead by now? All the others infected with it have died within...just a few hours. And judging by the heat of this microscope, Trepkos must have just left...which means that if HE infected that security guard, then the time it takes to kill the victims is decreasing."
"Maybe he’s not a host of the spore," Mulder jumped in. "Instead he's a carrier of it. A Typhoid Mary of sorts. Maybe it's possible that he exhales the spore instead of carbon dioxide, and that's how all of these people are getting infected."
"It's not what?"
"It's not possible for him to be exhaling the spore. The world just doesn't work that way...you can't change the stuff you exhale."
Mulder sighed and looked away, placing his hands loosely on his hips.
"And I still don’t see how he's managing to survive with his blood being nearly completely silicon," it angered her to become as confused as she was getting.
"Perhaps all those years of breathing in volcanic gases made him immune to the spore," Mulder suggested. "And when he breathed in the spore that killed his colleagues, it simply overtook his bloodstream and all the carbon dioxide in him.”
Scully didn't know whether to take him seriously or not, "That's quite a theory."
"It would make him capable of spreading it instantaneously. He could infect this entire island if we don't catch him," Mulder shifted anxiously.
"Even if we DO catch up to him, what's to stop the spore from infecting us?"
He shrugged, "We can't risk infecting and entire population, Scully."
She didn't know what to say to that, thinking that all they could do was wear protective suits and pray that they would work against such a strange contagion.
"But back to my earlier theory," Mulder broke her train of thought. "Trepkos has been looking for this spore all along, and his findings must have infected that other scientist...Kre...Kra..."
"Kreagle," she filled in his mental blank.
He nodded his thanks and continued, "Trepkos must have killed him when he realized this, just as he killed his team last night."
"Where are we supposed to find him though? He must know what's happened to him, he examined this blood himself. Where would he go?"
"Where do you think he went the last time?"
She looked at him while she thought. It took her a little while, but it finally hit her, "The volcano."
The cave entrance to the volcano that Trepkos sat loading his gun at was on a hill that overlooked the ocean. His mind was full of memories over the past few years and decided he could compare his life to an unstable heart monitor; there were some giant ups and downs here and there, and they were completely unpredictable.
"I'm sorry," he spoke, dropping another bullet into it's designated slot. "I'm sorry you had to die, Jesse..." He looked around him while he loaded the bullets, taking in the beautiful sight that was the glorious state of Hawaii. "I'm sorry."
He secretly hoped that no one would ever dig up what he had, or unearth such a dangerous mystery. He hoped that once he did his duty as a Typhoid Mary, that no one would find his body, because then everyone would know. He would become a lab rat, a guinea pig for everyone to test and poke at, only to provoke more curiosity in the minds of good scientists. This curiosity would lead to a lifetime of searching for what he'd found, or to their deaths...he didn't want either to happen.
Raising his gun, he was thankful that the last thing he saw would be the beautiful Pacific ocean, with the sun shining marvelously on the azure waves.
"Stop!" Scully hollered, her own gun raised.
"Drop the gun, Trepkos!" Mulder followed.
Trepkos turned to see the agents running towards him, equip with gas masks and protective suits.
"How can you be sure those things work?" he asked them dryly, standing up to face them.
"Give me the gun," Scully instructed, edging closer to the disturbed man. "Come with us to a research camp...the CDC set up a quarantine facility for you. They can help you. If you cooperate, maybe they can get you back to normal."
"I’m not going anywhere," he stated.
"There's so much to learn about this organism...you'd be doing a great favor for science," Scully tried to persuade him.
"I'd be doing no favor!" he exclaimed. "I've done all I can for science, and look at what it's done for me! I originally started looking for this organism so I could kill it and gain revenge, but no...I was blinded by my own mind. My SCIENTIFIC mind. My curiosity killed Kreagle, and it ended up killing everyone else I came into contact with. It's done more harm than good. That organism needs to be left alone - buried deep down in the volcano where it belongs."
"We can't do that!" Scully hollered, trying to stop him from raising his gun again. "There's too much to learn from this...what we learn could save people in the future."
"Or kill you now!" he shouted back. "You don't understand! You're a scientist, are you not? You're TOO curious! This simply needs to be LEFT ALONE! How hard is it for you to understand that?? Just leave it alone! Forget about it!"
"Trepkos, stop," Mulder held his hand up as he watched Trepkos ready his gun. "This isn't the answer...just let us take you to the research camp, we can help--"
The thick ring of the gunshot sent birds frantically flying from their nests and animals scampering behind rocks. It was over in an instant, leaving Mulder and Scully with Trepkos’s final words on their minds..."You just don't understand."
End Notes by Agent Fox Mulder
His suicide allowed Agent Scully to perform an autopsy on his body, and her findings were astounding. Trepkos was indeed infected with the silicon organism that had killed everyone he had come into contact with, but in a different way than the previous victims. According to Agent Scully's field notes, it was if his entire genetic make up was becoming an exact copy of the organism itself. His suicide, though tragic, had indeed stopped the inevitable deaths that would be caused by the silicon parasite. Had he not, we would have possibly been faced with the next plague.
Once again, as five years before, my report is the only one that stands on record. This, perhaps, is a sign of my own dedication. Unlike myself, however, Daniel Trepkos had no one to keep him from his eventual obsession.