Mulder Takes the Orange Pill
The color orange is a very hot color and often provides the sensation of heat also it stimulates the appetite. Orange is a popular color to encourage the feeling of hunger and contentment. It also has very high visibility and is often used to gain attention. Too much orange causes self-centered and self-serving qualities, including pride, arrogance, and lack of care for others. Too little orange causes loss of motivation, lower self-esteem, and loneliness. Orange is also associated with the second chakra which governs emotional identity, creativity, desire, pleasure, self-gratification, personal relationships and the sexual organs.
The women screamed as the men tried, unsuccessfully to grab at the vaporous thing stuck on Louisa’s body. It clung to her back and the flickering, orange orbs were the most discernable feature. Its tentacles seemed to insert themselves through her skin, mostly through the spine. The woman’s eyes were bulging and the strangled sounds from her throat echoed in the cool night air.
“Help…me!” Louisa gasped as the grey translucent haze clung to her until she collapsed and then after a few moments, it dissipated—flowing out with the next breeze.
The group cautiously approached the prostrate form that was lying still and on her face. One man leaned down and bravely turned her over. Louisa’s face was frozen in horror and as he confirmed, she was very, very dead.
Act I – It’s the Real Thing
Dana Scully’s Apartment
“I *am* packing, Mulder. I understand we are going to the forest—again?” Dana Scully threw several pairs of jeans into a suitcase and grabbed her boots. She hated the forest.
“It’s not the forest.” Fox Mulder said loudly from the other room while he watched TV. “It’s the country. That’s not the same thing.”
“They have mud and trees—right?”
“Maybe…” He hedged. “Come on, Scully! This sounds like a fascinating case.”
Dr. Dana Katherine Scully walked out of her bedroom to view her FBI partner sprawled across her couch, eating the last of her Chunky Monkey ice cream and watching the New York Knicks lose to the Phoenix Suns. “Soul sucking spirits, Mulder?”
“Sure!” He replied without looking at her. The Kicks made a boneheaded move and the string of curses only ended when Scully started to walk away. “Wait, Scully!” Mulder jumped up and crossed to her. Gently grabbing her shoulders, he turned her retreating form around to face him. “Two people are dead, one of them a Senator’s daughter and our wonderful 79% solve rate gave us the case.”
“That and the soul sucking monster, Mulder.” Scully wasn’t convinced.
They were the two person team that headed up the X-Files Division of the FBI. If it was unexplained, weird or just ucky, they got called in. Sure, Senator Richardson asked for them personally, and it was nice to be recognized, but this assignment gave her the creeps just from the case file.
“It’s a New Age commune, Scully! Hippies! They probably had too much acid and one (or more) of them went off their rocker. We get out of D.C., we connect with our inner spirits, solve a murder or two and come home. No forest involved.”
Scully stared at her handsome partner. Fox Mulder was 4 years older, 9” taller and could pull off the best puppy dog face of any man she knew. He was doing it now and she was toast. Scully would never admit her crush on him—primarily because he didn’t feel that way about her. They were partners, best friends and that is where it ended. It was probably for the best.
“It’s not like I have a choice. Skinner ordered us to go.” She pulled away and went back into the bedroom to get her suitcase. Mulder followed and leaned against the door jamb as she stuffed the clothing into her one suitcase.
“I’ve seen you travel lighter.” He was amused.
“I’m trying to be prepared.”
“Is there a swimsuit in there, Scully?” Mulder waggled his eyebrows. “A bikini, perhaps?”
Scully turned a wry smile. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” She could have sworn that Mulder mumbled something that sounded like ‘Yes I would’, but she didn’t pursue it.
Scully was huffing with the exertion of closing her bag. “Yes.”
“Let’s go! Hippieland, here we come!”
By the time they went through airport security, got their connecting flight, touched down in Denver and secured their rental car it was 5pm. Luckily, they had reservations at a hotel in the city and Scully was looking forward to relaxing that night in a nice, clean room. She should have known that the senior agent and head of the X-Files Division had other plans.
“We are in Denver! The Mile High City, Scully…we could join the mile high club…” Mulder leered at her and Scully couldn’t resist a small smile. He went out of his way to make things fun sometimes. It was an endearing quality.
“The mile high club pertains to aircraft.” She responded with as much of a straight face as she could muster.
“That’s a technicality.” Mulder shrugged as he drove toward their hotel. Want to have dinner somewhere? My treat.”
Scully swiveled her head. “You are going to buy? I’ll take you up on that. I want a nice place, Mulder. No cafeteria burritos.”
“That was just once—Scully. Will you forget that?”
“If there is cheesecake—yes.”
“Deal, but I want to see you dress up. Did you bring a nice dress or skirt?”
She looked at him strangely. “That’s an odd request.”
Mulder shrugged again. “I see you almost every day in your suits and while I love looking at your ass in jeans…” Scully gasped and he waved a hand. “I’m not staring, just looking…I thought…” He trailed off.
“As a matter of fact, I did bring something nice.” Scully said easing the tension in the car. “Make it a decent place and I could do dressy casual.” Her head snapped to his. “That means you too.”
“You got it, Scully.” Mulder was smiling wide.
They found the hotel, checked in and each went to their separate, but connecting rooms. About an hour later, Mulder knocked and Scully told him to enter. She enjoyed his reaction. She was wearing a sleeveless, tight black dress that stopped 3 inches above her knees. Her legs were bare and flowed into platforms with an ankle strap. The green lace bolero jacket emphasized her small waist and completed the outfit. Scully wasn’t sure why she had brought this, but when she saw Mulder’s reaction, she was glad she did.
“Wow, Scully. You look nice.” Mulder had that wide smile on again.
“You don’t look so bad, yourself, Mulder. All black seems to suit you.” It sure did. Scully was trying not to drool and resisted the urge to push back the untamable dark lock that flopped onto his forehead at the most irresistible times. Mulder wore a black turtleneck sweater, black jeans, motorcycle boots and a black leather jacket. Very yummy. Those chameleon hazel eyes were still looking her up and down. Time to deflect. “What restaurant, Mulder?”
“Uh…” He was still looking.
His face shot up. “Yeah. The hotel had a good looking place. That way we didn’t have to worry about drinks.”
“I’m okay with that, lead the way.” Scully was shocked, but Mulder offered his arm and she took it. They took the elevator down to the restaurant and got settled in a cozy booth with two glasses of pinot grigio. Scully had taken a shower and decided to not straighten her hair like she normally did for work. It fell in soft waves around her face and she noticed Mulder looking at it.
“You did your hair different.”
“Just didn’t blow dry it—not enough time.”
“I like it.”
Scully was oddly warmed by the compliment. This was turning into a date and therefore, dangerous territory. She was enjoying this, but it was best for everyone if she nipped it in the bud right now. “What is the game plan for tomorrow?”
Mulder looked confused for a moment and then seemed to rally. “Oh…check the place out. Do some investigative work. Interview people, inspect stuff—the usual.”
“I want to talk to the coroner. Examine the bodies…”
“Can we put this aside for one night—Scully?” Mulder was staring at her. “I would like to talk—like two regular people.”
Scully was surprised. “About what?”
“You. Did you ever have something strange happen to you as a kid? Something your quick scientific mind couldn’t explain?”
She was silent for a few minutes. The waiter came and they ordered. From Mulder’s stare after he left, the subject was still on the table. She sighed. “Yes. When I was young. Something happened I couldn’t explain.”
“This is going to sound silly.”
“Scully—you can tell me anything.”
She nodded. “My grandmother was dying…I must have been about 8 years old. One night I went to sleep and I dreamed that I floated to her hospital room and she woke up. I sat on her lap and she pointed to my head and said that she could see the orange light clearer than the others. She hugged me and said I would make a great scientist someday. She also warned me.”
“What did she say?” Mulder prompted.
“I needed to strike a balance or I would be unhappy. She promised to watch over me.” Scully took a sip of wine. “Nana died that night. I never saw her alive again.”
Mulder took her hand. “I’m sorry, Scully.”
“Me too. I loved her.” Scully straightened up. She wasn’t going to let tears fall, but her emotions were raw. “I didn’t understand what she said to me until much later. I find it interesting that we are going to the Seven Rays Commune tomorrow. In college, I took a class about alternative religions and they mentioned the seven rays in some versions of Hindu teachings. The light my grandmother saw was the 5nd ray and it controls the intellect and science. It is assigned the color orange.” She tried not to blush as Mulder paid rapt attention to her. Scully paused and sipped her wine. “Now you, Mulder. It’s only fair.”
“I didn’t know you studied other religions.”
“Just because I don’t believe in the dogma doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything to teach. Some scholars think that all religions hold a grain of the truth and only through acceptance can we truly understand God’s purpose for humanity.”
Mulder looked at her in wonder. “You surprise me sometimes, Scully.”
“I’m glad after 7 years I can still keep you guessing, Mulder. Now give.”
The waiter came with the appetizers. Scully wasn’t sure she wanted to eat, so she picked at her salad while Mulder spoke.
“You know about the abduction of my sister, but if that wasn’t strange enough, I felt like I was being watched—guided—tested. When I was young, I always assumed it was the aliens keeping an eye on me, but knowing Samantha was taken by humans and died just a few short years after that—it couldn’t have been. I want to meet that force. I feel I can learn the answers here, Scully. I just know it.”
Scully was concerned, so she would be watching her partner. He has done odd things in search of his inner self before. Danger aside, she hoped he found what he needed. Even before they met, Mulder was searching and not finding. It didn’t change even after the death of his parents and knowing the truth about Samantha. He still wasn’t at peace. She wished that for him more than anything else.
“It sounds like you want to meet God, Mulder. That’s ambitious.”
The food arrived and her appetite returned. They both ate heartily and gone was the awkwardness of exposing some of their darkest secrets. It was just two friends enjoying a meal together. Scully deliberately ignored the nagging feeling that their lives were about to dramatically change.