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(High tech room. Flashing red light. Three geeky looking young men, RETRO, MOXIE, and LO-FAT are getting ready for battle. Raging testosterone. They are dressed in futuristic metal vests, pants, and boots. The computerized voice sounds like George Takei - Sulu in the original Star Trek.)
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: T-minus ten seconds to engagement.
(They begin grabbing high-powered weapons off of the wall. LO-FAT, a rather pudgy individual, is very excited.)
MOXIE: Lo-Fat's going off!
LO-FAT: Going to kill! Going to kill!
(RETRO exudes confidence.)
RETRO: Just stay out of my way, Geeks. I'm going to the next level today. I'm a death machine.
MOXIE AND LO-FAT: Woo-hoo!!!
(The red counter against the wall finishes countdown. 2 ... 1 ... The room is rocked as from a close impact from outside.)
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: Status: Combat ready. Situation: Guerrilla units in immediate vicinity of insertion module.
(The Geeks put on headgear, funky glasses, and check weapon clips.)
(In a computer control room, IVAN and PHOEBE are monitoring the Geeks' vital signs. IVAN is a very tense, easily excitable young man. Very similar in temperament to the Tweek Coffee kid from SouthPark. [Thank you, fellow OBSSE member Jennifer Stoy for that comparison!] PHOEBE is a small mousy looking woman, much like the girl in Season 2's Firewalker.)
GEEKS: (heard over the microphone) Woo-hoo! Woo! Let's do this! Bring it on!!
IVAN: (amazed, looking right into the camera) Look at these heart rates.
PHOEBE: If I don't let these boys out they're going to kill each other.
(On the monitor, we see the GEEKS facing a closed blast door, guns out, ready to go.)
GEEKS: Woo-hoo! Woo! Woo!
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: (has been counting down from 10) ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Engage.
(The door slides up and open. The GEEKS run out into a very large area and position themselves behind a metal triangle shaped barricade, RETRO at the top of the triangle and the others on either side of him. Night street scene. It looks like the opening levels in games like DOOM and Quake. They crouch behind the metal barricade and wait. All is quiet.)
MOXIE: You see 'em?
RETRO: They're out there, Geeks. Looking to fry your huevos.
(Sound of engines from the far end of the street, then several motorcycles peel around the corner and head straight for the GEEKS.)
MOXIE: Call it, Retro! Call it!
(Pause as the motorcycles get closer.)
(The GEEKS all open fire on the motorcycles. One after the other, the motorcycles explode in flashes of light. They just barely destroy the last one before it reaches them. They all duck behind the barricade.)
(IVAN and PHOEBE watch from the control room.)
IVAN: Whoa! It's a total massacre out there.
(The image in the game shifts slightly. Looks like some lower doors open.)
MOXIE: Phase two, Geeks!
[CLOSED CAPTIONING: We know you're up there! Prepare to die! ]
RETRO: Ready, knuckleheads?
MOXIE: Flank right!
LO-FAT; Flank left!
GEEKS: Go! Move out, baby! Come on, baby!
(They rush down the street firing up at Nazi-looking soldiers who are firing down at them from the upper levels. Total mayhem. LO-FAT is hit and falls to the ground, a blotch of yellow paint on his chest. RETRO and MOXIE make it to another barricade at the other end of the building. LO-FAT tries several times to get up, but every time he moves he moans as he is hit with a jolt of electricity.)
MOXIE: Lo-Fat's down.
RETRO: You got me, Moxie?
MOXIE: Got you covered.
(MOXIE fires his machine gun as RETRO runs to a side door and ducks inside.)
(In the control room, IVAN and PHOEBE watch.)
IVAN: Retro's in.
PHOEBE: Adrenaline redline.
IVAN: The bloodthirst is unquenchable.
(In the game, RETRO runs and fires his gun. He ends up in a lower level. Very Quake-like. He slides open another door, then looks around nervously as he hears footsteps.)
(No answer. The footsteps get closer.)
RETRO: Who's there?
(A woman descends the steps. She is wearing thigh-high leather spike heel boots, and a very revealing leather bodysuit. Basically two strips of leather held together with a string and a thong. RETRO lowers his gun and gapes at her as she struts confidently to him. She is stunningly beautiful. She holds out her hand. RETRO kneels and kisses it.)
RETRO: Who are you?
MAITREYA: I am Maitreya. This is my game.
(Her right hand morphs. She is now holding a flintlock pistol. She fires. Scene digitizes and blurs white, then cuts to ...)
FPS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
INLAND EMPIRE, CALIFORNIA
(Entry hall to the First Person Shooter development company. Very modern and secure. We see MULDER and SCULLY in the distance pass through a metal detector, presumably losing their guns. They approach the security desk. MULDER shows his badge.)
MULDER: Agents Mulder and Scully, FBI. We're expected.
SECURITY GUARD: I need to scan your ID.
(The SECURITY GUARD takes his job very seriously. He looks suspiciously at MULDER and SCULLY and then runs a small handheld scanning device over MULDER's badge. The image appears on the computer monitor.)
SECURITY GUARD: Retina scan, please.
(The SECURITY GUARD puts the scanning device to MULDER's eye. MULDER's retinal scan appears on the computer monitor next to his badge image. MULDER looks at SCULLY.)
MULDER: (impressed) Cool.
SECURITY GUARD: Ma'am?
(SCULLY glances meaningfully at MULDER, then leans forward. The SECURITY GUARD scans SCULLY's badge and does a retinal scan on her.)
SECURITY GUARD: I'll need you to look over those nondisclosure agreements.
SCULLY: (reading, not impressed) "To protect all proprietary or intellectual property owned by F.P.S., a private California corporation under the harshest penalty of law."
SECURITY GUARD: Signature at the bottom, please.
(SCULLY looks up at a security camera that swings over to look at them.)
MULDER: First Person Shooter.
SCULLY: (a rhetorical question) Video games.
MULDER: (defensively) Digital entertainment.
SCULLY: I can get in the Pentagon easier than this.
(They sign. The LONE GUNMEN greet them from the top of a stairway. LANGLY, FROHIKE, and BYERS are very happy to see MULDER and SCULLY. LANGLY is wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt.)
LANGLY: Dudes! Agent Mulder, what's up, wild man? Welcome to the land where silicon meets silicone.
FROHIKE: Can I get you a latte from the bar or perhaps a bottle of designer H20?
(SCULLY is not to be distracted from the case at hand.)
SCULLY: How about a simple explanation as to why we're here?
LANGLY: Well, why don't we take a brief moment just to feel the pulse of the new American gold rush?
BYERS: (proudly) You're standing on the launch pad of a rocket headed for the stars.
(SCULLY glances around. She obviously feels nothing.)
(Pause. The men look uncomfortable.)
FROHIKE: There's been a little accident.
SCULLY: What kind of accident?
(As they walk through the hall and down the stairs, they pass a series of cardboard cutouts of game figures including the three GEEKS. One is a figure of a very surprised looking policeman who has just been shot.)
LANGLY: Like ... uh, an industrial accident.
SCULLY: How did the victim die?
FROHIKE: Uh... It's not exactly clear.
SCULLY: Was there equipment involved?
FROHIKE: (together) No.
BYERS: (together) Yes. Mmm...
LANGLY: Yes and no.
SCULLY: What's your business here?
LANGLY: Our business?
FROHIKE: We're consultants to F.P.S.
(They exit an elevator.)
BYERS: Langly did some programming for them. He created all of the bad guys.
LANGLY: Only the Euro goons.
FROHIKE: We don't want to give you the idea that we're major profit participants.
MULDER: Cash or stock options?
(Pause. The GUNMEN look at each other.)
LANGLY: Options ... preferred rate. Vesting immediately with a short-term exercise against venture collateral to bypass S.E.C. regs.
BYERS: The IPO'S in a week.
FROHIKE: Game ships on Friday. 50 malls across the United States and Japan.
SCULLY: Only there's a dead body between you and untold riches.
MULDER: I don't know about you guys but I'd be checking my shorts for cake.
(Later. In the game playing area. A layer of bubble wrap is lifted from where it has been covering the body of RETRO where he fell. SCULLY is kneeling before him.)
SCULLY: This man's been shot.
IVAN: (very upset, rationalizing) No! See, when somebody is shot, there's a gun involved, right? That is absolutely impossible because there's no way anybody could ever get a gun past security.
(SCULLY holds up the huge laser rifle.)
SCULLY: What do you call this?
IVAN: It's a laser blaster. For wasting cybertrash.
LANGLY: It emits a low-frequency ...
IVAN: (interrupting) Just let me.
LANGLY: All right.
IVAN: The weapons feed off the F.P.S. mainframe. The effect is intensely real, but harmless.
(PHOEBE is standing with her arms crossed, very uncomfortable.)
SCULLY: You say this weapon is a toy but this man clearly has gunshot wounds through his...
IVAN: Stun suit. See, it's rigged with paint for wounds and kill shots. It's total bleeding-edge technology.
(SCULLY dips her latex covered fingers into the bloody wound and shows the blood to IVAN.)
IVAN: (impatiently) He's dead. I got it.
MULDER: Who was he playing against?
IVAN: Against the game. You waste the cyberthugs before they waste you. It's all about body count. But they're computer-generated images running on a projector. It all happens in the game space.
PHOEBE: It's a total digital environment. Nothing's real. It's all virtual.
MULDER: Did anybody see what happened?
PHOEBE: I was in the control booth with Ivan. Retro was in the zone. His telemetry was solid. He looked unstoppable; like he was on his way to the next level when suddenly, he was cooked meat.
SCULLY: (taking out her phone) Well, the next call's going to be to the local P.D.
IVAN: No cops! (to LANGLY) No cops. You said no cops. You said you had connections.
SCULLY: Well, connections or not, you've got a murder victim here.
IVAN: (heading out of the room) Headlines-- just what the Wall Street money dudes want to read as we're going to market.
SCULLY: (on phone) Yes, this is Special Agent Dana Scully with the FBI...
MULDER: (to PHOEBE) You said you were in the control booth when it happened? Can you tell me exactly what you saw?
(Later. Control room. PHOEBE is typing on computer. The monitor displays the three GEEKS as they were playing the game earlier.)
PHOEBE: I'm still not sure if we even saw it. I mean, one minute everything is going perfect and then we crashed. Ivan and I were sitting here. We both just looked at each other. It happened so fast. Moxie's covering Retro who's going inside after the enemy to rack up beaucoup points.
FROHIKE: And then, goosh! Retro's vitals spike like he's been shot.
BYERS: And the system defaults.
(Image digitizes white.)
PHOEBE: And they're right back in the game space.
(The background images have now disappeared and the men are in a large, plain room.)
MOXIE: (on video) Lo-Fat! Get over here.
LO-FAT: (on video) What happened?
MOXIE: (on video) Retro? Hey, man, get up.
LO-FAT: (on video) What happened?
(On video, MOXIE and LO-FAT run to the body of RETRO.)
PHOEBE: Lights out. Game over.
MULDER: What happened in there?
LANGLY: We don't know. There's no rez images on interior game spaces.
MULDER: What about the wireframe?
(GUNMEN look at MULDER with surprise.)
PHOEBE: Maybe I can. I'll strip down to wireframe display.
(PHOEBE types some commands. The computer displays an outline image display of the game, then goes to the area where RETRO ran.)
PHOEBE: I mean ... We've never mapped this area before. Retro was in noncombat space.
(The image shows the skeleton of a human lying on the ground and of a digital character with breasts standing over him.)
FROHIKE: It's a chick.
LANGLY: It can't be.
MULDER: Can you texture wrap her?
(The LONE GUNMEN glance over at MULDER. PHOEBE, sighs, types some commands. The wire image of the woman solidifies from the feet up. MAITREYA. She is wearing leather boots, thong bodysuit, and not much else. She is holding a gun.)
BYERS: Holy Toledo.
FROHIKE: She's packing a flintlock.
MULDER: That ain't all she's packing. Can you print that out for me?
(Sound of paper rattling as the picture prints. MULDER and the LONE GUNMEN leave the room. PHOEBE stares at the screen. The digital image of the woman lowers the gun, looks at the camera, and walks away. PHOEBE stares at the screen.)
(At the security desk SCULLY is talking to DETECTIVE LACOEUR as the body of RETRO is wheeled out. MULDER and the GUNMEN join her.)
DETECTIVE LACOEUR: Let me get this straight, Agent Scully: You've got no murder weapon, no forensic evidence, no motive, no suspect.
MULDER: (coming up the stairs) Scully.
SCULLY: My partner, Agent Mulder. This is Detective LaCoeur.
DETECTIVE LACOEUR: Have you got something?
MULDER: Yeah, our killer, I believe.
(MULDER unfolds the picture of MAITREYA for DETECTIVE LACOEUR. DETECTIVE LACOEUR is not impressed.)
DETECTIVE LACOEUR: Hey, I'll put out an A.P.B.-- for Frederick's of Hollywood.
SCULLY: Mulder, you're not serious.
MULDER: It's all in the computer.
SCULLY: Mulder, that's any voluptuous vixen out of any number of video games.
MULDER: But she's not in any video game, she's in this one and no one programmed her in.
SCULLY: Yeah, but even if they had, she's not real. She's a character. She's some immature hormonal fantasy.
(An Asian man enters the building and heads straight for the staircase. He looks at no one. MULDER and the GUNMEN are awed.)
LANGLY: Daryl Musashi. You see who that is? Daryl Musashi.
FROHIKE: As I live and breathe.
(LANGLY and FROHIKE follow MUSASHI down the stairs.)
SCULLY: Who's Daryl Musashi?
MULDER: The O.G.-- Original Guru.
BYERS: Word is he slums as a game designer when he's not contracted to the CIA. The boy wonder of virtual mayhem.
SCULLY: What's he doing here?
BYERS: Ivan must have called him to go in and slay the ninja babe.
(Follows the others.)
SCULLY: Mulder, why does this game have the effect of reducing grown men back to moony adolescence?
MULDER: (whispering, speechless as he heads for the stairs) That's Daryl Musashi!
(SCULLY groans in frustration.)
SCULLY: Do you want me to autopsy the body?
(MULDER clicks tongue affirmatively and points his finger at her as he descends the stairs.)
(Control room. IVAN, PHOEBE, FROHIKE, and LANGLY are watching as DARYL MUSASHI enters the game.)
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: Immersion module in descent mode. T-minus 20 seconds to engagement.
IVAN: Pay attention, worms. Daryl Musashi's going to show us how this game's supposed to be played.
FROHIKE: I heard he scored 90 consecutive wins on Demon Space Drifter.
PHOEBE: (with a grin) 91.
LANGLY: Look at him. The man's a sphinx.
(In the game entry room, MUSASHI is standing confidently in full game gear. Red LED counter is counting down.)
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: T minus 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Engage.
(Door opens and MUSASHI spins his guns, then walks out into position behind the barricade. He stands with the guns crossed over his chest.)
(In the control room, BYERS and MULDER join the others watching the monitor.)
FROHIKE: Hey, Byers, you got to see this. Mulder, get over here.
MULDER: Is that him? Is that Daryl Musashi?
(IVAN nods his head rapidly, his eyes transfixed on the screen.)
BYERS: Yeah, that's him.
LANGLY: He just stepped into the game.
MULDER: Why is he just standing there?
IVAN: Because he knows no fear.
(In the game. The Mind-Numbingly Stupid Nazi Death Bikers begin advancing. MUSASHI waits, then blasts them all quickly before they even get close.)
(Control room. Much cheering.)
PHOEBE: (impressed, but not surprised) Standing heart rate is 68.
MULDER: He hasn't even broken a sweat.
IVAN: Look at him! He's not even waiting for the reset. He's going right for the kill.
(On the monitor, MUSASHI runs down into the hidden area where RETRO met MAITREYA. We see someone behind him. He turns just as MAITREYA swings a broadsword down across his hands, severing them at the wrists. He screams in horror and agony, holding up his bloody stumps. The people in the control booth are watching everything, also in horror.)
IVAN: What just happened?
MULDER: (factually, staring at the screen) She cut off his hands.
(In the game, MUSASHI screams again, then stops and gazes at MAITREYA as she speaks softly to him in Japanese. Then she swings the sword again at his head.)
(In the control room, PHOEBE and the five men stare at the screen in horror. FROHIKE turns his head away in disgust.)
(Autopsy bay. SCULLY is examining the body of RETRO. There is a gaping wound in the center of his chest, bloody with spots of yellow paint. SCULLY takes off her latex gloves.)
SCULLY: (into tape recorder) Preliminary external examination of deceased, a twenty-ish male, name listed only as "Retro," offers no additional clues as to actual cause of death.
(She turns his arm. Autopsy wrist tag lists name as "Retro" #443-77-779.)
SCULLY: (pause, she clicks the recorder on again) Scratch that. Cause of death is from a large entry wound at the sternum, resulting in trauma to the internal organs and blood loss. Wound is consistent with a high-velocity impact from a large projectile which passed through a three-ply Kevlar jacket. (pause, the recorder is turned on again) Scratch that. Wound is result of high-velocity impact from an unknown object, which even if it did enter the body left no damn trace evidence whatsoever-- no powder burns, no chemical signatures of any kind of explosive propellant ...
(MULDER enters the room.)
MULDER: No luck?
(SCULLY crosses to the damaged Kevlar vest. They look at it. It has a yellow paint stained hole in the middle of it.)
SCULLY: I thought I was on to something. You know, Mulder, this suit holds more than just exploding paint cells. It measures the player's vital signs from the heart rate to the extant body chemistry and then sends that information back to the computer. Then when a player is shot a battery pack sends a 12-volt jolt that keeps him from getting up until the game is over.
MULDER: Virtual death.
SCULLY: Yeah, well, if only that were the case.
SCULLY: I thought at first that maybe the uh, suit had malfunctioned, that one of the charges had blown inward but, unfortunately, that wasn't the case either.
(MULDER has been looking at the vest. He holds it up against his own chest and looks playfully at SCULLY.)
MULDER: I've got a birthday coming up. You have to admit, though, Scully, this is a pretty amazing piece of technology.
SCULLY: Yeah, wasted on a stupid game.
SCULLY: Dressing up like high-tech warriors to play a futuristic version of Cowboys and Indians? What kind of moron gets his ya-yas out like that?
(MULDER grins and points proudly at himself.)
SCULLY: Mulder, what - what purpose does this game serve except to add to a culture of violence in a country that's already out of control?
MULDER: Who says it adds to it?
SCULLY: You think that taking up weapons and creating gratuitous virtual mayhem has any redeeming value whatsoever? I mean, that the testosterone frenzy that it creates stops when the game does?
MULDER: Well, that's rather sexist, isn't it?
(SCULLY gives him a look. She is smiling, though.)
MULDER: I mean, maybe the game provides an outlet for certain impulses, that it fills a void in our genetic makeup that the more civilizing effects of society failed to provide for.
SCULLY: Well, that must be why men feel the great need to blast the crap out of stuff.
MULDER: Well, testosterone frenzy or no the only suspect we have in this man's murder is a woman.
(He holds out the picture of MAITREYA.)
SCULLY: Yeah, I've seen it. A computer-animated woman, Mulder, with a computer-animated weapon.
MULDER: A flintlock pistol-- which would leave a very large entry wound.
SCULLY: Pictures don't kill people, Mulder, guns kill people.
(CORONER wheels in another sheet covered gurney.)
MULDER: As do swords.
(Under the sheet is the dismembered body of DARYL MUSASHI. The CIA will not be pleased.)
MULDER: The world-renowned Daryl Musashi.
(MULDER's phone rings. He answers it.)
MULDER: (on phone) Mulder. ... You're kidding. Thanks. (hangs up) L.A. Sheriff's department just picked up a female suspect for the murders.
(Testosterone frenzy. Every available male officer in the department is standing outside the interrogation room where the woman is being held. DETECTIVE LACOEUR comes out of the room and bites his knuckle junior-high boy fashion. The other officers cheer him on.)
OFFICERS: Who's the man? Who's the man? You're the man. You're the man with the badge.
(MULDER and SCULLY make their way through the OFFICERS, SCULLY leading. She is not pleased.)
SCULLY: You get the feeling these men have something better to do?
(The OFFICERS are laughing. MULDER and SCULLY reach DETECTIVE LACOEUR.)
DETECTIVE LACOEUR: We picked her up outside of a strip club in Reseda. Fits your description to a tee.
SCULLY: Was she read her rights?
DETECTIVE LACOEUR: About 500 times.
(OFFICERS chuckle. SCULLY enters the interrogation room. A very attractive, scantily dressed woman is sitting in a chair with her legs crossed. As MULDER follows SCULLY into the room he bites his knuckle for the benefit of the OFFICERS. They approve. SCULLY faces the woman. MULDER shuts the door and closes the blind.)
SCULLY: For the record, can you state your name, please?
(The woman looks just like the woman in the game, MAITREYA. She is wearing a silver metallic halter-top/miniskirt outfit with chains. SCULLY is unaffected. MULDER maintains a rather silly grin throughout the interrogation.)
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: For the record again, my name is Jade Blue Afterglow. I reside...
SCULLY: (interrupting) I'm sorry. Your real name?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: That is my real name. What were you expecting? Mildred?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: I sure seem to be upsetting a lot of people around here.
SCULLY: Well, you're not upsetting me, Miss, uh...
MULDER: (helpfully) Afterglow.
(SCULLY glances at him.)
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: I sure upset the man running the metal detector.
(She uncrosses and crosses her legs Basic Instinct-style, the camera angle shooting from the floor up. MULDER smiles and looks away. SCULLY sighs.)
SCULLY: You say that you have no knowledge of Ivan Martinez or a company known as First Person Shooter or F.P.S.?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: I meet a lot of men.
SCULLY: Would it surprise you to know that you have been placed at a crime scene in the offices of F.P.S.?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: Let's just say it takes a whole lot to surprise me.
SCULLY: You might want to start telling the truth.
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: And what truth am I not telling you?
MULDER: That you murdered two men. One with a 14th century broadsword and the other with a flintlock pistol.
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: Oh. You must have had me confused with my sister-- Xena, Warrior Princess.
(MULDER shows her the image of MAITREYA. She looks at it with realization.)
MULDER: Are you denying that this is you?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: Now I get it.
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: The medical imaging place in Culver City. I got paid to let them do this body-scan thing.
SCULLY: They paid you to scan your body?
JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW: You think that's the strangest thing I've been paid to do?
MULDER: We're very sorry, Miss Afterglow but, um... We're sorry. You're... You're free to go.
(JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW gets up, picks up her coat and "sways" out of the room, passing the line of OFFICERS. MULDER sits in the chair that she just vacated and sighs. He leans to his right to get a better view of JADE BLUE AFTERGLOW as she leaves, but SCULLY faces him and leans to her left, blocking his view. Very cute. He gives up.)
MULDER: I don't know about you, Scully, but I am feeling the great need to blast the crap out of something.
(Scully smiles knowingly at him.)
FPS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
(Control room at FPS. Another poster of the GEEKS. The lights are off as MULDER and SCULLY enter.)
MULDER: Anybody here?
(They almost leave, then SCULLY walks over to where PHOEBE is asleep on the floor. MULDER tries the light switch. It doesn't work.)
SCULLY: Phoebe? Hey, you okay?
PHOEBE: Oh. I must've fell asleep. I... I was just going to take a nap. I've been up for 70 hours straight, analyzing code, trying to fix the game.
SCULLY: Where is everybody? Where's Ivan?
PHOEBE: Um, he's with the money guys. They're all freaking.
SCULLY: Well, we need to talk to him right away about a woman named Jade Blue Afterglow. He scanned her body and he created a character out of her. He put her in the game.
(MULDER notices the LONE GUNMEN on a monitor standing in the game pace.)
MULDER: What are they doing?
MULDER: The Lone Gunmen are on the floor.
PHOEBE: Yeah, Langly and I wrote a software patch. We're going to run a rez-up test on the game.
SCULLY: What for?
PHOEBE: To bypass the problem.
(On the monitor, they watch as the scene shifts from blank white room, to the game street scene.)
MULDER: What just happened?
PHOEBE: Oh, I don't know.
MULDER: They're in the game.
(In the game, the LONE GUNMEN are panicking.)
LONE GUNMEN: (on the monitor) Hey! What's going on?! Phoebe, are you paying attention? We're not ready yet! Who's running the program? What the hell's going on? Phoebe? Come on.
PHOEBE: I don't believe this. The program's running itself. This can't be happening.
(PHOEBE is typing. Sound of gunfire. The GUNMEN run for cover.)
SCULLY: Somebody's shooting at them.
PHOEBE: This was supposed to be background only. There wasn't supposed to be any gameplay.
MULDER: They need help.
(MULDER walks out of the room. SCULLY watches him.)
(Game entry room.)
[CLOSED CAPTIONING: T-minus 10 seconds to engagement. ]
COMPUTERIZED VOICE: 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Engage.
(Camera pans up to show MULDER in full combat gear. Including large cod-piece and sleeveless shirt and big gun and dark sunglasses. He is holding a very large blaster. His arms are very nice.)
MULDER: Bring it on.
(The gate slides up and MULDER joins the GUNMEN behind one of the barricades. BYERS has a yellow paint blotch on his chest.)
MULDER: You guys okay?
FROHIKE: We've been better.
LANGLY: Byers's been hit.
BYERS: I'm okay. (he winces as a jolt of electricity hits him) It's a flesh wound.
FROHIKE: It's her. She's out there. She nailed Byers with that flintlock.
MULDER: Okay, on the count of three I'm going to lay down some cover for us. Ready? One... Two... Three.
(MULDER fires a cover of "bullets" as the GUNMEN run to the safety of the entry hatch.)
(MULDER fires another volley.)
LANGLY: Get in the module!
(MAITREYA, wearing a black bodysuit, runs across the game area and into the lower area. MULDER watches her, then follows her.)
(In the control room, SCULLY and PHOEBE are watching.)
PHOEBE: What is he doing?
SCULLY: (exasperated) He's getting his ya-yas out.
(SCULLY heads for the game area.)
LANGLY: It's suicide!
(MULDER runs into the area where the two previous victims found MAITREYA. She is waiting for him, lazily swinging her broadsword. He aims his rifle at her. She holds her sword in both hands above her head.)
MULDER: Put the sword down.
(MAITREYA swings the sword in a slow circle. As she does, her body disappears, then the sword does. She reappears behind him. He turns just as she swings. We hear a rapid volley of gunshots. The GUNMEN listen.)
(Gunfire stops. The GUNMEN run for the area where MULDER disappeared. Halfway there, the image of the game digitizes, then goes to the plain room. Gunfire stops.)
PHOEBE: Oh, no.
(SCULLY enters the game area.)
SCULLY: Where's Mulder?
(No answer. SCULLY looks around. She is worried.)
(SCULLY comes down the stairs into the gaming area.)
SCULLY: I said, where's Mulder? Maybe you guys didn't hear me. Come on, guys. Where is he?
LANGLY: We don't know. He just took off after her.
SCULLY: I saw what he did. But where did he go?
FROHIKE: He went into the building.
BYERS: He was firing his weapon.
SCULLY: I saw where he went. I want to know where he is. Is there a door? Or an exit? Or some kind of passageway that he could have used?
LANGLY: Just the one you came in.
FROHIKE: He should be right here.
BYERS: It's impossible. It's a digital environment. It's just a game.
(SCULLY wipes a bit of yellow paint off of BYERS' chest.)
SCULLY: Yeah. Easy for you to say.
(PHOEBE enters the room.)
PHOEBE: Agent Scully. I found him.
(The control room. We see an fourth player's digital readout.)
PHOEBE: This monitors everyone playing the game. There-- player four. It's his telemetry.
SCULLY: What do you mean?
PHOEBE: Player four-- that's him.
BYERS: On the monitor.
FROHIKE: Right there.
PHOEBE: That's Mulder.
BYERS: He's alive.
FROHIKE: Those are his vitals.
LANGLY: He's still in the game.
SCULLY: Yes, but where's the game?
(No one has an answer.)
(In the game, MULDER comes to on the ground. He is alone. He throws off his broken headset, gets up, looks at the sword imbedded in the wall next to him, then goes out into the main area, gun at the ready.)
MULDER: Frohike?! Langly?! Byers?!
(MAITREYA appears at the end of the street. She begins back-flipping toward him ala Blade Runner. At the last minute, MULDER fires at her. She flips over him and disappears. MULDER looks around.)
(In the control room, the GUNNMEN are working on the computer. PHOEBE approaches them nervously.)
LANGLY: I think that's it.
PHOEBE: What are you doing?
FROHIKE: We're rerouting the circuitry.
LANGLY: Making a kill switch so we can shut down the game.
PHOEBE: Don't touch that. It won't work. There's no way to do that.
(IVAN enters the room, gazing adoringly at SCULLY.)
IVAN: We are back in business. Baby... You are dope.
IVAN: We were toast. I felt the flames licking my ass. Then the bankers SAW THE LETTERS ON THE AUTOPSY: F-B-I. CAUSE OF DEATH: Unknown. (chuckles) You fixed our problems. The game's going to ship and we're going to be counting Franklins.
SCULLY: Yeah, and you're going to be counting teeth.
(SCULLY advances threateningly toward IVAN. The GUNMEN stop her.)
BYERS: Her partner's lost in the game.
SCULLY: The game has disappeared.
IVAN: What are you talking about?
SCULLY: Jade Blue Afterglow-- does that ring a bell?
(PHOEBE looks uncomfortable.)
IVAN: Jade Blue Afterglow?
SCULLY: Oh, you'd remember her.
(PHOEBE, in tears, has run out of the room. SCULLY follows her.)
SCULLY: Hey. Phoebe.
PHOEBE: I don't know how it happened.
SCULLY: You knew about her? Then it was you. You scanned that woman's body.
PHOEBE: Into my computer. She was my creation. She was mine.
SCULLY: But why?
PHOEBE: You don't know what it's like-- day in and day out choking in a haze of rampant testosterone.
SCULLY: I wouldn't be so sure.
PHOEBE: I mean, she was all I had to keep me sane. My only way to strike back as a woman. She was my goddess. Everything I can never be.
SCULLY: But, Phoebe, she is still a killer. I can't explain it, but she is. And you put her in that game.
PHOEBE: No, I didn't. I was creating my own game in my own computer. It was totally secret. I never told anyone. But somehow she jumped programs and she's feeding off the male aggression. It's making her stronger and stronger. I need your help. You're the only one who can understand.
SCULLY: You've got to destroy her, Phoebe.
PHOEBE: I don't know how.
SCULLY: Well, there's got to be some way. There's got to be some vulnerability or a weakness somewhere.
PHOEBE: She has no weakness anymore.
(In the game, MULDER bangs on the door to the entry room.)
(He turns. MAITREYA approaches MULDER. He looks down at his gun. The digital display flashes "No Ammo". He lowers the gun and smiles charmingly at MAITREYA.)
MULDER: I bet you think you're going to kick my butt up and down the block.
(MAITREYA kicks his gun out of his hands.)
(She kicks him in the head.)
(Control room. SCULLY rejoins the GUNMEN and IVAN.)
SCULLY: Her name is Maitreya.
SCULLY: She's input herself into the game. We have to download her.
BYERS: We can't even get on-line. The system's been hijacked.
LANGLY: The program won't respond.
(FROHIKE is looking at the computer readout for MULDER.)
SCULLY: Frohike, what's wrong? What is that?
FROHIKE: Mulder's vitals are wiggy.
FROHIKE: They're all over the map.
(PHOEBE enters. IVAN advances toward her.)
IVAN: This is your fault. You put her here.
(SCULLY steps between IVAN and PHOEBE.)
SCULLY: Hey. No fair picking on a girl.
(The game. MAITREYA kicks MULDER in the head. He is bleeding. As she goes for him again, MULDER grabs her foot and throws her to the ground. She has an almost satisfied look on her face. Meanwhile, MULDER runs back to the lower level where he first met her. He pulls the broadsword out of the wall then .... The scene shifts, and he is now standing in an Old West ghost town, complete with rolling tumble weeds.)
(Control room. LANGLY gets the computer to respond.)
LANGLY: We're back on-line.
(Monitor shows static.)
SCULLY: There's no picture.
PHOEBE: No. We're just in rez up.
IVAN: No, there's something wrong.
(Old West scene shows on the monitor.)
SCULLY: That's not the game.
PHOEBE: Yes, it is. It's level two.
BYERS: How did that happen?
SCULLY: Where's Mulder?
LANGLY: Mulder's in level one.
(Different view of the scene shows MULDER standing in the middle of the street.)
FROHIKE: No, he's right there.
SCULLY: Shut the game down.
IVAN: No, no, no, no. I can't.
SCULLY: Well, just turn it off!
BYERS: Power down, Langly.
(Langly tries to enter the command.)
LANGLY: The computer's not responding.
SCULLY: Look! We have to get him out of there!
FROHIKE: Yeah, and quick.
(On the monitor, we see MAITREYA, now wearing chaps and a halter and carrying pistols. She is walking up behind MULDER. SCULLY is very concerned.)
(In the game. MULDER turns to see MAITREYA approaching. He raises his sword.)
MULDER: Whoa! Stop right there!
(MAITREYA whips out the pistols. MULDER drops his sword to the ground.)
MULDER: That's not really fair, is it?
(MAITREYA replicates. There are now five of her.)
MULDER: Well, that's just cheating.
(Behind him, the entry door slides open. Camera pans up SCULLY's body. She is now in full game combat gear and carrying a rifle almost as big as she is. MULDER stares at her in awe and maybe something else. MAITREYA looks a little nervous. SCULLY does not look nervous. SCULLY runs out of the entry room and stands behind the metal barricade. All the MAITREYAS begin firing at SCULLY. SCULLY returns fire with her laser blaster. MULDER hits the dirt. One after the other, the MAITREYAS spin and disappear as SCULLY destroys them.)
(Control room. The GUNMEN and IVAN and PHOEBE are watching the scene on the monitor.)
FROHIKE: Go, girl!
BYERS: Oh... Scully's on fire!
LANGLY: The bloodthirst is unquenchable.
FROHIKE: Are you witnessing this?
IVAN: Oh, yeah.
BYERS: Scully's in the zone.
LANGLY: What's wrong?
PHOEBE: This is level two. It only gets harder.
IVAN: No one's ever beaten level two.
(In the game. MULDER stands up as SCULLY runs forward to join him.)
SCULLY: You okay?
MULDER: Ask me if I'm humiliated.
(They both look back at the sound of the entry room door sliding shut. They run for it. MULDER slides the sword under it just as it closes. A few feet away, another armed MAITREYA dressed in black appears. SCULLY faces her as MULDER tries to pry the door open.)
(MULDER looks up as seven more MAITREYAS appear. He ducks down and keeps trying to pry open the door as SCULLY answers the MAITREYAS' gunfire. She is blowing them away. As they die, they spin like penny arcade figures.)
(Control room. They are still watching MULDER and SCULLY's progress.)
BYERS: This is nuts.
FROHIKE: They'll never make it.
LANGLY: How do you kill something that won't die?
(PHOEBE takes over the keyboard.)
PHOEBE: Try and stop me, Ivan.
IVAN: My whole life is in this game.
FROHIKE: What are you trying to do?
PHOEBE: Stay out of this.
IVAN: She's gonna destroy it!
PHOEBE: It's the only way to save them.
(IVAN, PHOEBE, and FROHIKE are fighting for the keyboard.)
FROHIKE: Let it go! Both of you!
LANGLY: You can save them?
PHOEBE: There's a kill command.
IVAN: It kills the whole game.
BYERS: You knew about this?
IVAN: She knew about it, too.
FROHIKE: You said it wouldn't work.
IVAN: She was trying to save her creation; her Goddess.
PHOEBE: Well, you don't care who dies as long as your game survives.
BYERS: Our friends are in there.
LANGLY: And we're not going to let them die.
(Fight resumes for the keyboard.)
(In the game. MULDER keeps trying to pry open the door. SCULLY kills off the last of the MAITREYAS. Gunfire stops. Then a WWII tank appears with a MAITREYA dressed as a soldier straddling the gun barrel.)
(SCULLY blows up the tank. Another appears.)
(Control room. FROHIKE gets the keyboard.)
FROHIKE: Give me that! This is out of your hands now.
BYERS: We have to shut down the program.
LANGLY: You're the only ones that can do it.
(PHOEBE and IVAN stare at each other.)
BYERS: They can't keep this up.
LANGLY: Scully's running out of ammo.
(Sound of gunfire continues on the monitor. IVAN shakes his head, pleading with PHOEBE.)
FROHIKE: What's the command?
IVAN: Don't do it, Phoebe. I'm so close.
(In the game, SCULLY destroys another tank. Another appears.)
BYERS: The command.
LANGLY: Give it to him.
(Pause. PHOEBE looks sadly at IVAN. He shakes his head.)
(FROHIKE rapidly types it in. Sound of gunfire stops. The game imaging goes to static, then stops. IVAN stares at the monitors in horror. Sad piano music. The GUNMEN and PHOEBE enter the playing area. It is empty.)
BYERS: Oh, my God.
(CLOSED CAPTIONING: What have we done?)
LANGLY: We've killed the game and Mulder and Scully along with it.
PHOEBE: Over here!
(PHOEBE finds the discarded laser rifle in front of the entry doors. She runs to it along with the GUNMEN.)
GUNMEN: Mulder! Mulder! Scully!
(PHOEBE and the GUNMEN manually raise the entry doors. MULDER and SCULLY, exhausted, are lying on their backs. They both have yellow paint marks on their chests and SCULLY's hair is very floofy. They sit up. MULDER smiles.)
MULDER: (happily) That's entertainment!
(SCULLY glances at him. In slow motion, the GUNMEN help MULDER and SCULLY up and together they walk out of the area under the monologue, which according to the closed captioning, originally belonged to Scully. SCULLY arches her neck tiredly. MULDER takes off his glasses.)
MULDER: We came, we saw, we conquered. And if the taste of victory is sweet, the taste of virtual victory is not Sweet 'N Low, nor the bullets made of sugar. Maybe out past where the imagination ends our true natures lie, waiting to be confronted on their own terms. Out where the intellect is at war with the primitive brain in the hostile territory of the digital world where laws are silent and rules disappear in the midst of arms. Born in anarchy with an unquenchable bloodthirst we shudder to think what might rise up from the darkness.
(In the control room, a depressed IVAN is slumped over a desk. One of the monitors is active however. A screen appears - "Data Acquisition." He looks up and smiles in amazement at the image of a new digital character that has appeared. She is wearing MAITREYA's leather thong outfit and has short red hair. She points her gun at the screen, and the camera pans around her. Why yes, it is Digital!Scully! IVAN chuckles and spins his chair. He is very, very, pleased.)