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[fic] Case X-1743: Unresolved (Part 1a/2) X-Men/X-Files, Mulder, Scully, Scott

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  • Minisinoo Girl
    CASE X 1743: UNRESOLVED Part I - San Diego, 1996 Minisinoo ... San Diego, California, May 26, 1996 -- Fox Mulder loosened his tie -– the high school bathroom
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2001
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      CASE X 1743: UNRESOLVED
      Part I - San Diego, 1996
      Minisinoo
      ------

      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
      girls' room."

      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
      prank.

      Except that everyone's story matched, including those
      of the adults who'd been in the gym when the wall had
      exploded outward.

      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
      reports.

      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."

      "Elaborate prank."

      "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?"

      "Scully!"

      "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?"

      "Yes."

      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
      far."

      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*
      lie?"

      "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
      shop.

      "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
      away."

      "How was Scott's home life?" Scully asked. The
      classic approach.

      "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?"
      Ki asked.

      The girl really *was* sharp. "Or something," Mulder
      agreed.

      "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
      my prom."

      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
      Ki.

      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
      subject himself."

      "So where are we going now?"

      "To talk to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, Scott Summers'
      foster parents."




      "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
      Scott."

      "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
      adopted him."

      "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
      alive?"

      "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
      asked.

      "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
      moment since."

      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
      scrupulously honest."

      "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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