written by David Amann
SCULLY: Mulder, tell me you've got more than SAT scores to show that this Tony Reed didn't commit this crime.
MULDER: Maybe. Take a look at the body. The former Deputy Ronald Foster. As you can see, the report doesn't quite do it justice.
SCULLY: Oh, my God, it looks like he was hit with a sledgehammer.
MULDER: Police flashlight. One blow. The damage to the maxillofacial bones and the cranium is consistent with a blunt-force trauma, but... I'd say that, uh, Tony eats his Wheaties.
MULDER: Check out the back of his head.
SCULLY: Ugh. His eyeglasses.
MULDER: Penetrated to the back of his skull. Babe Ruth couldn't hit this hard, let alone a high school sophomore.
SCULLY: Well, maybe if he was under the influence of PCP or some kind of stimulant.
MULDER: No, his tox screen came back negative.
SCULLY: Well, even so, I mean, stress and fear may have triggered an adrenaline response which is known to enable feats of near-superhuman strength.
SCULLY: 16 years old and his life is over unless he starts telling the truth.
MULDER: If you really think he's guilty, Scully, why don't you ask yourself this: why wouldn't he make up a more plausible cover story? Why didn't he say that, uh, a pickup full of hillbillies drove by and clobbered the Deputy and ran away?
SCULLY: I'm not saying he's guilty, Mulder. I'm inclined to agree that Tony Reed did not commit murder but I think that he saw the person who did, and he may be covering up for him.
MULDER: I'm not sure there was a person to see. I think there was a force at work here.
SCULLY: What kind of force?
MULDER: I don't know-- some kind of territorial or spiritual entity, maybe. Poltergeists have long been associated with violent acts like this and they tend to manifest around young people. They seem to be drawn to the turmoil of adolescence.
SCULLY: Mulder. Rather than spirits... can we at least start with Tony's friends?
MR BABBITT: Let's wrap it up, people. Two minute warning. There goes half your grade, Max. You missed the midterm.
MAX: Not if I take it right now.
MR BABBITT: In one minute?
MAX: Oh, I've been studying.
MR BABBITT: I don't care who your father is. You fail my test-- it sticks.
MAX: Well, I guess I'd better ace it, then, huh?
MR BABBITT: Take your seat, young man.
MAX: Piece of cake.
MR BABBITT: It is when you mark them at random.
MAX: Go ahead-- check it.
MULDER: What'd you come up with?
CHUCK BURKS: Nothing but eyestrain at first. Then I ran it through my imaging software. I'm here to tell you, it's not a glitch. It's what the camera saw.
MULDER: Buckle up, Scully. I believe Chuck is about to take us on a ride into the paranormal.
CHUCK BURKS: Well, yes and no. Initially, I was thinking spectral manifestation but, uh, with spirit activity you'd expect to see light streaks, auras, atmospheric disturbances, translucent figures. Whatever this is... it's not a ghost.
SCULLY: Especially since ghosts don't go around leaving synthetic polymers in their wake.
MULDER: That's what the gunk on the floor turned out to be.
CHUCK BURKS: Ah. I dig a mystery with layers.
MULDER: Chuck, I get the feeling you don't know what the hell this is.
CHUCK BURKS: I cross-referenced the shape's silhouette against every organic and inorganic object in the Library of Congress database. The closest match was a Soviet Acula-class submarine.
SCULLY: I think we can rule that out.
CHUCK BURKS: And then there's this weirdness. My enhancement brought up this dark edge... around the anomaly.
MULDER: A shadow.
CHUCK BURKS: It would fit with the lighting in the room. The problem is, it can't be throwing a shadow unless...
MULDER: Unless it's a solid object.
SCULLY: Which is impossible because it only appears for a single frame.
CHUCK BURKS: One-thirtieth of a second.
MULDER: You know why you collapsed don't you, Max?
MAX: Yeah, too much teen spirit.
MULDER: You think? Smells like murder to me.
MULDER: Anything interesting?
SCULLY: This can't be right.
MULDER: What is it?
SCULLY: Oh, my God.
SCULLY: Evidence of cerebral lesions from repeated concussions... arthritis in his spine and major joints. Stress fractures, numerous muscle and... and ligament micro-tears.
MULDER: What would cause this?
SCULLY: In a teenager? I can't even imagine. This is the kind of thing that you'd see in someone who's crashed race cars or played pro football for 15 years. Whatever Max is doing, it's killing him.
MULDER: I think I'm starting to get it.
MULDER: Oh... This is it. Those globs we found? This is where they came from. Speed, Scully. Somehow, Max Harden has found a way to move faster than the eye can see.
MULDER: That would explain how Babbitt was killed. It would also explain how a chair and a table appeared to move on their own withenough force to penetrate a wall. Force equals mass times acceleration, isn't that right?
SCULLY: Yes, Mulder, but it's impossible. The human body just isn't designed to move like that.
MULDER: Exactly. That is, that is why his is falling apart.
SCULLY: Did the USGS show up?
MULDER: Yeah. 18 geologists and three semis full of gear. They covered every inch of that cave.
SCULLY: And what did they come up with?
MULDER: Nothing. Well, bat guano and above-normal magnetic field readings but nothing that would cause a physiological effect.
SCULLY: What'd you expect them to find, Mulder?
MULDER: I don't know. A vortex, like the one in Oregon. Gravitational aberrations, unique chemical compositions, uh, relics that would indicate that the cave was a sacred site... something, anything. I don't know.
SCULLY: Well, you and I were both in there and nothing happened to us. We're still slowpoking around.
MULDER: What if we're too old? Well, you said that teenagers differ from adults chemically and physiologically. What if whatever is in that cave affects only them?
SCULLY: Well, that's doubtful. But no more so than any other theory. I mean, it's worth checking out.
MULDER: Yeah? Well, we can't. As of an hour ago, they pumped concrete into the cave. Sealed it for precautionary reasons. We'll never know.