[fic] Case X-1743: Unresolved (Part 1a/2) X-Men/X-Files, Mulder, Scully, Scott
- CASE X 1743: UNRESOLVED
Part I - San Diego, 1996
San Diego, California, May 26, 1996
Fox Mulder loosened his tie -� the high school
bathroom wasn't air conditioned �- and tried again.
"You want to run that by me one more time?"
"Red beams, like, came out of his eyes, dude. Knocked
a hole in the wall, like, all the way through to the
And there was a hole �- certainly. One large enough
for Mulder to put his head through. A double-row of
cement blocks reduced to rubble, both this wall and
one beyond. You could see into the gym.
"Red beams out of his eyes, huh?" Mulder asked,
running a hand over the edge of the rubble. No sign
of burning. It looked as if someone had gone at it
with a demolition ball.
"Yeah, dude," said the kid, one Stan Hensey. "I'm not
making this up!" His voice was affronted. "You can,
like, ask the other two guys who were in here, too.
Or Selena Ki. She was in the girls' room with some
friends when it happened. They'll, like, tell you the
exact same thing. Really friggin' weird, dude."
Mulder turned from the wall and let his gaze cross
with Scully's. She rolled her eyes. He gave her a
faint smile. Neither asked the kid how much he'd
smoked up in the bathroom the night of the prom. It
sounded like something out of STAR TREK. Or a bad
episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. High school senior runs
off to the boys bathroom after fighting with his prom
date, and subsequently blasts out two walls with some
kind of red death-ray from his eyes. Normally, Mulder
would have dismissed it all as an elaborate school-boy
Except that everyone's story matched, including those
of the adults who'd been in the gym when the wall had
More, the kid who'd supposedly done the damage was an
A-student with no history of making trouble. He was
described as cheerful and friendly -� well liked. And
he'd now been missing for over half a day, fled right
after the event even before the cops had gotten there.
Fled blind �- eyes shut tightly, according to all
It didn't add up.
Mulder checked the wall one last time, ran a hand over
the dust, and then made a gesture for Scully to meet
him out in the hallway. They walked a little ways off
from the milling police and students, next to a wall
covered by institutional tan and overloaded bulletin
boards. Scully started in before they'd gone ten
steps. "Don't tell me you're taking this seriously.
It's too 'out there' even for you, Mulder."
"So what do you think it is?"
"A prank! We have a group of high school seniors
pulling a prank at their senior prom."
"These are smart kids, or at least the gang leader is
-� the one now missing. Scott Summers. Don't tell me
you never pulled a prank in school, Mulder."
He grinned, but didn't answer, held up the hand with
the crumbled dust on it. "Notice anything unusual?"
"You have powdered cement on your hand?"
"All right. No, I don't. I see white cement dust."
"Exactly. Now think about what that kid said: our
missing Scott Summers shot red beams out of his eyes.
If this was a prank, what would you think they're
trying to imply that the beams were?"
"That's a serious question?"
"Scully �- "
"All right. It sounds like laser beams."
"Which are *hot*, right?"
He held up his hand again. "You notice any black in
the dust? Any indication of burning?"
She looked at his hand again. "No. But I wouldn't
expect to. Mulder, they weren't using a *real* laser!
They used a sledgehammer. Or something."
"Or something. To do that kind of damage, it would
have required more than a sledgehammer. But if they
were so concerned about an elaborate prank, don't you
think they'd have made some attempt to have it *look*
like a laser beam?"
She thought about it. "Maybe. But there's elaborate
and then there's elaborate. I doubt they thought that
Absently, Mulder wiped his hand on his suit slacks; it
left a white streak. "What I want to know is why a
kid set to graduate with honors and a scholarship to
Berkeley �- a model foster child �- would risk it all
to play a prank at his senior prom? I've heard of
going out with a bang, but this seems overdone, don't
you think, Scully?"
He nodded towards the stairwell where a pretty girl of
Asian descent was standing at the base, giving her
statement to the police. "Let's go talk to Scott
Summer's date, Miss Selena Ki."
"I don't know!" she was saying as they approached.
She was clearly on the edge of hysteria. "I told you
already! I don't know why he'd *do* anything like
this! *I* didn't have any part in it! We told you
everything we know. All of us. Why would we *all*
"Because you were all involved?" the police officer -�
a woman -� replied. She seemed bored and tired,
straggling brown hair falling into her eyes.
Mulder flipped open his ID wallet. "Can we talk with
Miss Ki?" he asked, smiling at the police-woman. She
rolled her eyes and walked away without further
comment. Mulder turned the smile on the girl. Beside
him, he could feel Scully bristle. She disliked his
'charm the witness' act. But it served. "I
understand that you dated Mr. Summers for about a
month or two before the prom?"
"Yes." She was wary. This was a girl used to having
men fall at her feet. She wasn't going to fall for
Mulder's ploy quite so easily.
He notched up the charm, and the smile. "Let's go get
a coke, shall we?" At his side, he caught Scully
hiking a brow, but they took Selena Ki to a local malt
"Scott and I used to come here," the girl said as they
slid into a booth, Ki on one side, Mulder and Scully
on the other. "We could walk to it after school."
"You didn't have other transportation?"
Ki glanced at Scully, who'd asked the question.
"Well, *I* have a car, but Scott didn't. He lives
with foster parents. Lived with them, I guess."
"So where is Mr. Summers now?" Mulder asked. Quick.
Trying to catch her off guard.
She just glared at him. "I have no idea. He ran
"How was Scott's home life?" Scully asked. The
"Fine," Ki said, dragging at the malt through her
straw. "He was really grateful to the people he lived
with. They were nice to him. They might not be
willing to buy him a car, but they were nice to him.
So if you're thinking he was abused, he wasn't."
Quick kid, Mulder thought. "Do other children live in
the same foster home?"
"Yeah. Two others. Scott's the oldest. There's a
girl named Carley. She's fourteen -� a real slut; she
tried to come on to Scott once or twice, he said. It
kinda freaked him out. The boy, Jeff, started as
trouble, too, but he calmed down. He looked up to
Scott a lot."
Mulder glanced at Scully. "Do you think something
might have happened with the girl?"
"Do you mean did Scott run because he was afraid
Carley was going to accuse him of rape or something?"
The girl really *was* sharp. "Or something," Mulder
"I doubt it. That's not her style, besides, nobody'd
believe her anyway. Well, some idiot social worker
might, but no one who knows Scott."
"Did he ever make you feel afraid?" Scully asked in
her best gentle voice. "You're a very popular young
woman, yet you were dating �- "
"You must be kidding." Ki's expression was pure
contempt. "He was All-Star Volleyball and has almost
straight As." She shrugged. "He's cute, and has
dream-boat eyes. I didn't date him because I was
*afraid* of him, Agent Scully. And I'm not defending
him now. I'm just telling you what I know, because I
want you to find him so I can kick his ass. He ruined
Mulder bit his tongue. Maybe they were asking the
wrong 'who was afraid of whom' question here. In any
case, it was clear that the girl had her priorities:
athletic, good grades, and dream-boat eyes. Ki hadn't
said much of anything about Summers' personality.
"What was Scott like, Miss Ki?"
"I told you," she said. "He was smart and cute. He
had a great smile. He was funny." She dragged on her
straw again, added, "The girls liked him �- a little
*too* much, if you asked me."
Mulder glanced at Scully again. They'd heard that
part of it from the other kid, Stan Hensey, an
acquaintance of Summers'. Selena Ki's jealousy was
infamous and the two of them had been quarreling right
before the incident, because Ki had caught Summers
talking to another girl and had flounced off in a snit
to the girls' restroom. Summers had followed, but
gone into the boys' room instead because his eyes had
been hurting. And then all hell had broken loose.
"What do you remember from that night?" Mulder asked
She gave an abbreviated version of the fight -� one
that made her look right as rain -� and then said,
"Then I went into the girls' room. We were just
talking, me and some friends. They were telling me I
shouldn't take Scott so seriously. He flirts with
everybody. The next thing I knew, the wall by the
mirror just . . . exploded! You could see through,
into the boy's room. There were these red beams
coming through the hole. They hit the opposite wall
and it exploded, too, out into the gym. Then the
beams stopped and we looked through. Scott was on the
other side, leaning up against the sink. He had his
hands over his face and Stan was shouting that Scott
was shooting *lasers* out his eyes. Then Scott ran
out of the bathroom. I haven't seen him since."
"You do realize how strange that sounds?" Mulder said.
"Yes! But I'm not making it up! Everybody saw it!
The boys said he'd been complaining that his eyes were
burning really badly. Then he opened them and they
were red, *all* red, not just the whites. A minute
later, those beams came out."
"Had he suffered any similar pain in the month you
were dating?" Scully asked.
The girl shook her head, almost emphatic. She drank
more malt and then frowned thoughtfully. "He did used
to get a lot of headaches. But he never complained.
Scott never complained about much. I guess because he
was an orphan; he was afraid of pissing people off."
She shrugged, then looked thoughtful and said the
first semi-kind thing Mulder had heard from her. "I
hope he's okay. He really is a nice guy. But I'm
still going to kick his ass."
Mulder and Scully asked a few more questions, but
Mulder had all the information he expected to get.
Perhaps not all the information he needed, but all he
expected. They took Selena Ki back to the school
where her parents could collect her, then headed for
their own car.
It was midday Sunday, the sun high overhead; the prom
had been the night before. Within hours of the first
news coverage, Mulder and Scully had been on a plane
for San Diego and had arrived early Sunday morning.
They'd gone straight out to examine the scene of the
'crime' � it was still being called vandalism � and to
interview any students or teachers who'd been there.
Unfortunately, the star witness remained missing. No
one knew what had become of Scott Summers, though how
a blinded kid could evade a city-wide police sweep,
Mulder had no idea. He just hoped Summers hadn't
evaded it because someone had seen him as an easy
target and cut his throat.
"Still think it's a prank, Scully?" Mulder asked, as
they reached their beige rental Taurus.
"I can't see that it's anything else, Mulder. Human
beings do not shoot energy rays out of their eyes. No
matter how angry they are at their girlfriends."
Mulder chuckled, unlocked her door, and opened it for
her. Scully permitted him these small courtesies
since he took her competence seriously in other things
� most of the time. She felt no need to prove it in
symbols, so she let him open doors for her, and hold
her coat. He walked around to get in himself, put the
key in the ignition, turned over the engine, and
continued, "But what if someone could shoot energy
rays out of his eyes. What if . . . something in his
body metabolized energy, transformed it, and it came
back out of his eyes when he was sufficiently upset?"
"'If looks could kill,' Mulder? Be serious. Why not
out his hands? Or his mouth? Or his *nose*?"
"Roll with me on this. We've seen stranger."
"Stranger, perhaps, but things which could marginally
be explained by science �- "
"And maybe this can, too. If we could just find the
"So where are we going now?"
"To talk to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, Scott Summers'
"Mr. Franklin, I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder, with the
FBI" -� he already had his badge out and flipped open
from automatic habit -� "and this Special Agent Dana
Scully. We've come to ask you a few questions about
"Is he okay? Did you find him?" asked a woman's voice
from behind. The door was pulled wider and Elizabeth
Franklin looked out, her face stitched with lines of
worry and circles shading her eyes. Her voice held an
edge of barely concealed fear. "You have to
understand, this isn't like Scott! I don't understand
why he ran. He's a *good* boy. He always was. He
just needed a chance in life."
"We're here to figure out what did happen, Mrs.
Franklin," Scully said from Mulder's side. "We're not
accusing Scott of anything."
'Yet,' Mulder could almost hear her add to herself.
She still thought the Summers kid had pulled a
spectacular stunt. But the more Mulder heard, the
less sure he'd become of that.
The Franklins invited them in, brought them coffee
with all the nervousness of innocent people who fear
they're about to get into trouble for something, and
aren't sure for what. A young boy sat on the top
stairs and watched as they were ushered in, then
scampered off when he saw that Mulder had spotted him.
A pre-teen girl skulked at the edges, half in and
half out of the arched kitchen doorway. She looked
hard already: used, and ill-used. But Mulder picked
up no current sense of fear from her, and he'd made
his career in the FBI by reading people's body
language almost instantly. These must be the other
two foster kids.
The house itself was an older, middle-middle class
two-story that showed a few attempts to modernize.
Siding had been put on the exterior, and a deck added
out back. Ceiling fans moved the torpid Southern
California spring air. But the ceiling plaster still
had those swirls and iridescent glitter so popular in
the 1960s, and there was cheap dark-wood paneling in
the dining room. The joints of the baseboards didn't
match at the corners, and the rug was old, stained
with the passage of time and feet. The furniture was
old, too, but clean, and despite the family Terrier,
it didn't smell of animal. These people took care of
things: houses, pets, and stray kids who needed a
home. Good people. "So how long has Scott been
living with you?" Mulder asked.
"We got him when he was thirteen," Gene Franklin said,
"so I guess that's four years, almost five."
"We were in Omaha at the time," his wife chimed in.
"We took Scott from Boy's Town there. Gene was at
Offut Air Force Base."
"You're retired military?" asked Scully, ever the
Naval brat. She'd perked up.
"Yeah," Gene Franklin replied. "In 1993, after SAC
had shut down. We moved out here with Scott." He
glanced behind himself, "That's when Carley came to
live with us. And then Jamie, a year after."
The girl Carley had slunk back into the kitchen to
avoid Mulder's gaze.
"How did Scott take the move?" Scully asked.
"He was fine. He looked forward to it," Elizabeth
said, still puttering about from nerves.
"Honey, sit down." Her husband patting the couch
beside him and her expression was caught for a moment,
then she did as he asked, folding her hands between
her knees. Gene Franklin said, "We talked to the
police earlier. Scott's never been any trouble to us,
Agent Mulder. He tried to run away from the orphanage
once, and I understand he went to juvenile court -�
but he's never given *us* an ounce of grief. Not
once. All he needed was a good home. He's been like
our own son. If he hadn't been so old, we'd have
"We checked into it a few years ago," Elizabeth added,
"but by the time the process would have gone through,
he would have been almost eighteen. And he knew his
own parents, so he wanted to keep his father's name.
We could understand that."
"He knew his parents?" Scully asked. "Are they still
"Oh, no. Scott's an orphan," Gene Franklin said.
"His parents were killed in a plane crash when he was
eight. Scott and his little brother were the only
survivors, and the other boy was adopted only a few
months later, but Scott never was. His father had
been Air Force, too. A test pilot. And no, before
you ask, I didn't know him. But we connected, Scott
and I, almost from the start. I was teaching him to
fly, and he was ready to go for his license. He's
been like the son I couldn't have. But he did have
memories of his own family and we never tried to
displace those, Beth and I. We thought it important
that he should remember his parents."
"Does he know where his little brother is now?" Mulder
"Adoption agencies won't release that kind of
information -� confidentiality issues. Scott himself
had suffered a head injury in the crash and had some
minor brain damage. We've never noticed anything
unusual, but that sort of thing does put off people.
Plus, he was older, so he was bounced around to a few
orphanages and ended up at Boys Town. My wife was a
friend of one of the social workers there, and Tracy
brought him out to one of the air shows that the base
holds late each summer. That's how Beth and I met
him. We took to him right away; he was so for some
affection. We'd never considered becoming foster
parents, but Scott was different. He needed a family,
and we'd always wanted a son. He came to live with us
Christmas of '91, and we've never regretted it for a
I exchanged a look with Scully. It sounded like a
match made in heaven, but -� "One thing, Mr.
Franklin . . . . You said that Scott ran away from
the orphanage. Do you know why?"
"Nope. He never told us. We asked once or twice, but
he wouldn't talk about it."
"If you push Scott, he clams up," Elizabeth Franklin
said. "He rarely speaks about his time in the
orphanage, or the accident." She looked down at her
hands. "Gene and I always had some suspicions that
he'd been ill-treated somewhere, but if so, it was
before Tracy arrived. And Boy's Town has an excellent
reputation. Still, maybe we should have pushed him
harder. There just didn't seem to be a reason, and
trust is hard for him. We were honored that he opened
up to us as much as he did."
"Since he gave us no trouble," Gene added, "we were
willing to let bygones be bygones. The only thing we
know about his time on the street �- it was about four
months -� is that he ran cons at pool, for money to
eat, but no charges were ever pressed."
"There may . . . . Well, I -� " Beth Franklin
hesitated and glanced at her husband.
"Go on," Mulder said, sitting forward. Gene Franklin
just sighed and nodded.
"He knew how to break into things, Agent Mulder. He's
popped the car door for me when I've locked my keys
inside, and he once picked a lock on an old truck that
we'd bought at a yard sale. So he may have been a
thief, too. But to our knowledge, he's never stolen
anything since living with us. Whatever he did back
then, to survive, we've never held it against him. We
were, I confess, a little careful with money when
Scott first came to live with us. Common sense. We
didn't want to tempt him. But he's always been
"Scotty's too much the Golden Boy," said a new voice
from the kitchen. The girl, Carley. "He didn't do
nothing wrong never. Spent all his time telling me
and Jeff how lucky we were to be here." She sneered.
Definitely a hard one. Mulder wished he knew her
story; he doubted her life had been pleasant.
"So you don't think he would have pulled a stunt like
this?" Mulder asked her.
"Why would he?"
Mulder's question exactly.
"Perhaps he wanted a last chance to set up a scam?"
Scully suggested. "Or he wanted to impress some
classmate? Or his girlfriend?"
Carley just rolled her eyes and walked back into the
kitchen. "Not Mr. Goodie-Two-Shoes. I'm glad the son
of a bitch is gone."
Both the Franklins looked embarrassed. "You'll have
to excuse Carley -� " Gene began.
"It's all right." Mulder smiled faintly. "Carley is
a bigger help than she realizes. And, uh, I saw your
other foster son on the stairs. Would you mind if I
went up to talk to him? Scully probably has some
other questions for you."
"Sure, go ahead," Elizabeth said. Scully was glaring
at him. He knew he was ditching her again, but he
wanted to talk to the boy alone.
....Part 1b/2 to follow directly....
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