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  The Sky People
                           
Author:  Waddles 52
                           Summary:  A search for missing students in the Daniel 
                           Boone National Forest has UFO overtones.  A new truth 
                           is revealed as the agents struggle to make it out 
                           alive.
                           Spoilers:  Very slight for Detour.
                           Rating: Tame enough for any 12 year old.
                           Disclaimer:  Okay, here's the deal.  If I ever make 
                           any money off of these fics I'll be sure to let CC, 
                           1013 and any other persons with their finger in the 
                           pie know all about it.  Until then, just let me have 
                           my fun.
                           Archives:  I'd be honored, but please ask first.
                           Feedback:  Once again, I'd be honored.  
                           Waddles52@insightbb.com
                           Author's Notes:  This will be presented in several 
                           parts due to its length.  If you tend to shy away 
                           from WIP's have no fear.  It is finished and future 
                           chapters are being betaed.  Hopefully, I'll be able 
                           to post every few days.  Special thanks to super beta 
                           Lisa.
                           
                           
                           
                           Mulder raised his head slightly to look at his watch 
                           then dropped his head back to his desk with a groan.  
                           It had been a long night and the day wasn't shaping 
                           up to be any better.  It was only 7:45 AM and he felt 
                           like calling it quits and going home to crawl back 
                           into bed.
                           
                           He'd paid a visit to the Lone Gunmen the night before 
                           to check out Langley's new video game.  They sat 
                           around and talked for a while, then watched as 
                           Langley tried to get to the next level on the game.  
                           Frohike disappeared into the kitchen and returned 
                           later with cheese steaks and beer.
                           
                           After half a beer and most of the cheese steak Mulder 
                           decided to call it a night and head home.  He was 
                           really tired and the sandwich wasn't sitting well on 
                           his stomach.  It didn't sit for very long at all 
                           really.  He had barely locked his apartment door when 
                           he had to sprint to the bathroom to vomit.  It tuned 
                           out to be the first of several mad dashes to the 
                           toilet that night.
                           
                           Just about the time he finally fell asleep the alarm 
                           went off.  So, here he was with one hell of a 
                           stomachache and Scully was due any minute.  Well, it 
                           was all paperwork today so maybe it would be worth 
                           enduring Scully's medical eagle eye to go home and 
                           rest.
                           
                           Right on cue he heard Scully's heels clicking as she 
                           got off the elevator and headed for their office.  He 
                           forced himself to sit up and paste a smile on his 
                           face.  No sense in setting off her "Mulder-alert 
                           radar" until he checked out her mood.
                           
                           The door opened and his partner came in slinging her 
                           coat over her chair.  "Good morning, Mulder.  I ran 
                           into Kimberly on my way in.  Evidently Skinner has 
                           signed off on one of those 302s you sent up 
                           yesterday.  He wants to see us ASAP."
                           
                           Mulder stood up and reached behind the chair for his 
                           jacket in one fluid movement.  "Did she happen to 
                           mention which one it was?"
                           
                           "No, she didn't.  Please tell me that we won't be 
                           slogging through the sewers, climbing a mountain or 
                           camping out overnight."
                           
                           "Well, you don't have to worry about the sewers.  I 
                           can't make any promises on the other two," he 
                           grinned, putting on his jacket and smoothing his tie.
                           
                           "Mulderrr . . ."
                           
                           "Come on.  Let's see what exciting adventure awaits 
                           us."
                           
                           Mulder held the door open for her but Scully stopped 
                           dead in her tracks.  "Mulder, you look like crap."
                           
                           "Well, thanks Scully."
                           
                           "What's wrong?"
                           
                           "I just didn't sleep well.  Nothing new there."  
                           Mulder knew that he should tell her about his upset 
                           stomach.  None of the 302s were extremely urgent but 
                           one, and Skinner probably would let the local law 
                           enforcement continue to work that one, but the mere 
                           thought of getting out into the field made him feel 
                           better. It was probably a 24-hour bug anyway.
                           
                           "You're sure?  You look awfully pale."
                           
                           "Haven't had a chance to work on my tan."
                           
                           Scully didn't budge.
                           
                           "Really.  I'll be fine as soon as I catch up on my 
                           sleep."
                           
                           "All right, Mulder.  I hope this new case will allow 
                           us the time to get some sleep," she sighed as she 
                           walked through the door.
                           
                           "So do I, Scully," Mulder thought as he closed the 
                           door and rubbed his stomach.
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           Scully had been characteristically silent since he 
                           picked her up at her apartment.  She wasn't very 
                           happy with their new assignment.  Her partner, on the 
                           other hand, was more than pleased.  Skinner had 
                           received a request for the F.B.I's involvement 
                           shortly after he had received the 302, so they were 
                           on their way to Eastern Kentucky to investigate the 
                           case that Mulder didn't think they would get.
                           
                           They were driving this time since the latest budget 
                           constraints had dictated that most cases within a 
                           day's drive could be negotiated in an automobile.  
                           After several hours Scully felt it was time to say 
                           something.  "Sky people, Mulder?  I hope they aren't 
                           related to mothmen in any way, shape, form or 
                           fashion."
                           
                           "I don't think so, Scully."
                           
                           "What do you think?"
                           
                           "I think these campers may have stumbled onto some 
                           UFO activity."
                           
                           "Stumbled being the operative word, Mulder.  From 
                           what I've seen of the photos that one of the campers 
                           took, they brought several cases of beer in with 
                           them.  Look," she pointed out, holding up one of the 
                           prints.  "A beer in each hand."
                           
                           "That doesn't mean they were all drunk, Scully.  
                           Besides, they weren't the only ones to witness 
                           unusual activity that evening."
                           
                           "Yes, but they were the only ones who saw sky 
                           people," Scully argued.
                           
                           "Well, something weird happened.  Two campers are 
                           missing and it was in a National Forest so we have 
                           jurisdiction."
                           
                           "So, what's our plan?"
                           
                           "It's going to be dark by the time we get there, so I 
                           thought we would get a motel room in a town fairly 
                           close to the forest and the university the kids 
                           attend.  I've already arranged for a couple of the 
                           campers to meet us in the morning."
                           
                           "What does the local law enforcement think about all 
                           of this?"
                           
                           "Well . . ."
                           
                           "Mulder, please.  Out with it!"
                           
                           "They think that it's possible that they got drunk 
                           and may have fallen over one of the many cliffs in 
                           the area.  An extensive search was conducted but no 
                           trace of them has been found.  We'll talk to the 
                           locals and the Forestry Service before we go in," he 
                           promised.
                           
                           "Will we have a guide when we go in?"
                           
                           "One of the campers has agreed to take us to the 
                           site."
                           
                           "That's just great, Mulder.  We have to depend on a 
                           drunken college student to take us in?  We'll be 
                           lucky if they don't end up searching for us," Scully 
                           fumed.
                           
                           "Skinner evidently thought the case had some merit or 
                           he wouldn't have assigned it."
                           
                           "More than likely he just wants us out of the 
                           building when the Justice Department does its yearly 
                           walk-through."
                           
                           "That's trample through.  Scully, I'm hurt.  If this 
                           is UFO activity it could be the break we've been 
                           looking for."
                           
                           "And if it isn't we could be freezing our asses off 
                           in the brisk fall air for a couple of drunken college 
                           students who will probably wander in later when 
                           they've run out of Bud Lights and want to know what 
                           all of the fuss was about."
                           
                           "I don't think so.  Something's up.  I can feel it."
                           
                           Scully frowned at the characteristically excited look 
                           her partner wore on his face  "Well see.  How about 
                           lunch?  There are several restaurants coming up in 
                           about two miles."
                           
                           Mulder's stomach did a little flip at the mention of 
                           food.  He knew that he would be in serious trouble if 
                           he actually had to look at it, or even worse smell 
                           it.  "Uh, yeah, fine.  I could use a break.  I'm not 
                           really hungry myself, but I need to make a few phone 
                           calls.  I'll drop you off and wait for you."
                           
                           Scully looked at him rather oddly.  "I think there's 
                           fast food too.  We could just go through the drive-
                           thru."
                           
                           "No, that's okay.  You eat.  Get yourself a nice 
                           meal.  We may not have the chance to catch a decent 
                           meal if we have to be in the forest for very long."
                           
                           "All right.  Whatever you say," she finally agreed as 
                           they pulled into a large rest area with several 
                           restaurants.
                           
                           "What'll it be?  Cracker Barrel?  Denny's or 
                           Ponderosa?"
                           
                           "Denny's, I think.  Would you like for me to get you 
                           something for later?"
                           
                           "No, I'm good.  Go and enjoy.   I'll be right here 
                           when you're finished."  He pulled his phone out and 
                           waved it at her.
                           
                           "All right.  They don't look very busy.  It shouldn't 
                           take long."
                           
                           "Don't hurry on my account."  She gave him another 
                           odd glance but her rumbling stomach settled the issue 
                           for her.
                           
                           "Okay.  Come on in when you get finished," she 
                           invited.
                           
                           "I'll try."
                           
                           Forty-five minutes later Mulder was awakened by a 
                           pecking sound on the window.
                           
                           "Unlock the doors, Mulder!"
                           
                           "Uh, sorry Scully," he apologized as he unlocked the 
                           doors and she slid in next to him.  "Looks like I 
                           dozed off."
                           
                           "I see that.  Why don't we switch places?  I'll drive 
                           and you can catch up on that sleep you lost," she 
                           suggested.
                           
                           "Um, good idea."
                           
                           After they were situated Scully handed him a cup.  
                           "Here, I thought you might at least want something to 
                           drink."
                           
                           "Thanks."  Mulder pretended to take a sip.
                           
                           "Well, let's get this show on the road.  I-95 to I-
                           64, right?"
                           
                           "Sounds right.  Wake me up when we get to Kentucky?"
                           
                           "Sure.  That'll give you a couple of more hours of 
                           sleep."
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully."
                           
                           She started the car and put it in gear.  Mulder was 
                           asleep by the time she had maneuvered out of the 
                           parking lot.
                           
                           Scully glanced at Mulder from time to time.  He 
                           appeared to be sleeping soundly.  She wondered how 
                           many nights he had been unable to sleep lately.  He 
                           was no stranger to insomnia but he usually had more 
                           energy than he had displayed today.  Something wasn't 
                           right in Mulderland but it was difficult to tell if 
                           it was physical or emotional.  Perhaps it was the 
                           case.  Although she hoped that one day one of these 
                           crazy events would lead him to the truth he so 
                           desperately sought, the female agent didn't think 
                           they would find it on this trip.  Deep down she knew 
                           that Mulder felt that too but nevertheless he kept 
                           searching.  Well, it was good that he was sleeping.  
                           He probably wouldn't get much until this case was 
                           over.
                           
                           It was dark when they pulled into Winchester, 
                           Kentucky.  The motel was cheap but clean.  In reality 
                           it was better than most in that price range.  Mulder 
                           volunteered to raid the vending machines after a 
                           quick shower.  They decided to meet in Scully's room 
                           to go over plans for the next day.
                           
                           Scully opened the connecting door to Mulder who was 
                           carrying an assortment of snacks, a diet soft drink 
                           and a bottle of water.  She grabbed the soft drink 
                           and Mulder dumped the snacks on the spare bed.  
                           "Enjoy."
                           
                           He walked over to the table, sat down, grabbed the 
                           file and began pouring through it.
                           
                           "You aren't going to eat?" Scully questioned.
                           
                           "Not right now.  My stomach has been a little off."
                           
                           "Oh?"
                           
                           Mulder mentally berated himself for letting his guard 
                           down and speaking the truth.  "Uh, yeah.  I had a 
                           cheese steak at the guy's place last night.  One of 
                           these days I'll learn to keep Frohike out of the 
                           kitchen."
                           
                           "Oh, I see.  I guess you've learned your lesson 
                           then?"
                           
                           "Oh, yes.  I'll be okay.  I just need a good night's 
                           sleep," he sighed, twisting the cap off the water. He 
                           tipped it toward her in a mock salute, and took a 
                           sip.
                           
                           "Well, at least you're drinking.  I'll have to see 
                           you eat something tomorrow or this case will just 
                           have to wait until you're better," she ordered.
                           
                           "You've got a deal, Dr. Scully.  Now, let's go over 
                           the questions we want to ask tomorrow.  Two of the 
                           guys will be meeting us here at 8 AM.  I figured 
                           after we talked to them we could talk to the local 
                           sheriff's department then meet our guide at around 
                           noon."
                           
                           "Sounds okay providing you're up to it."
                           
                           "I'm always up to it."  He tried for a leer but 
                           didn't quite make it.
                           
                           Scully raised her right eyebrow.
                           
                           "I'm feeling better already."  He took a long sip of 
                           water.  "See?  I'm drinking."
                           
                           "We'll see how you feel in the morning."
                           
                           Once again Mulder spent part of the night in the 
                           bathroom unable to keep the water down.  It was going 
                           to be quite a feat to convince Scully that he was 
                           well enough to continue working.  He looked at the 
                           bedside alarm clock.  Two-thirty.  At least he still 
                           had a few hours before he had to be up.  If his 
                           stomach would just stop hurting maybe he could get 
                           some sleep.  He sat up on the side of the bed and 
                           leaned forward.  The pain suddenly eased off to a 
                           bearable level.  It wasn't the most comfortable 
                           position to sleep in, but less pain made it worth a 
                           try.  He quickly dozed off.
                           
                           At 6 AM the buzzing of the alarm clock shattered his 
                           slumber.  He jerked awake and was greeted by the now 
                           familiar pain as soon as he straightened up.  "Oh, 
                           hell!"  Hoping a hot shower would help he lumbered 
                           toward the bathroom.
                           
                           By 7 AM he was feeling somewhat better and knocking 
                           on Scully's door.  The pain was only a dull annoyance 
                           every now and then.  The real test would be when he 
                           had to eat breakfast.  The nausea was still there but 
                           it wasn't overwhelming.  Maybe he could do it.  
                           Anything to appease Scully. 
                           
                           "Morning, Scully," he greeted.  "You look nice."
                           
                           "Knock it off, Mulder.  A flannel shirt and jeans 
                           doesn't constitute nice."
                           
                           "But you wear them well."
                           
                           She rolled her eyes.  "How do you feel?"
                           
                           "Well, I slept a lot better than the night before."  
                           It wasn't a lie.  He did manage to get a few hours of 
                           sleep, even though he was sitting up.  It was a great 
                           improvement over the night before.
                           
                           "How's your stomach?"  
                           
                           "Much improved."  Again, it wasn't really a lie.  His 
                           stomach did feel a little better at present.  He just 
                           neglected to tell her how rotten he'd felt a few 
                           hours earlier.
                           
                           "Ready for breakfast?"
                           
                           "Sure, let's go."
                           
                           Scully locked her door and Mulder hoped that he could 
                           choke down some toast and juice.
                           
                           
                           
                           Two clean-cut, young men were waiting outside 
                           Mulder's door when they returned.  Mulder had to 
                           admit that he actually felt better.  The toast and 
                           orange juice had gone down smoothly and hadn't tried 
                           to make an exit yet.
                           
                           "Agent Mulder?" one of the young men inquired.
                           
                           "Yes, I am, and this is Agent Scully," Mulder 
                           answered, extending his hand.
                           
                           The young man shook it.  "I'm Casey Ford and this is 
                           Brandon Cutter."
                           
                           "Why don't we go inside where we can talk?"
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           "Agent Mulder, I swear I was sober.  I only had a 
                           soft drink and Brandon only had one beer.  We didn't 
                           make this up!" Casey exclaimed, his face showing that 
                           it was not the first time he had been forced to 
                           defend himself.
                           
                           "Exactly what did you see and hear?"
                           
                           "We heard these weird noises.  Kind of a buzzing 
                           sound but with a metallic quality to it," Casey 
                           started.
                           
                           Brandon shook his head in agreement then added, "It 
                           sort of sounded like guitar strings breaking."
                           
                           Scully took on her usual skeptical appearance.
                           
                           "We decided to check it out," Casey continued.  "We 
                           all went down the hill and suddenly it got really 
                           foggy.  The noise kept getting louder."
                           
                           "Then there was this flash of light and we looked up 
                           and saw a bunch of different colored lights.  Some of 
                           them were like strobe lights.  It was very hard to 
                           focus because the lights were flashing so fast. Then 
                           these two guys just appeared out of nowhere.  It was 
                           like they were walking on top of the trees," Brandon 
                           related.
                           
                           "It was freakin' scary, man.  We took off before the 
                           sky people could get us.  Tyler and Zach didn't make 
                           it back.  We looked for them when the sun came up, 
                           but they were just gone.  Not a trace."  Casey 
                           shivered.
                           
                           
                           
                           "Were Tyler and Zach intoxicated?" Scully questioned.
                           
                           "They were totally wasted," Brandon supplied.
                           
                           "Have you talked to their parents recently?" Mulder 
                           asked.
                           
                           "Tyler's father called me yesterday.  They haven't 
                           turned up at home or at any relative's houses," Casey 
                           answered.  "What do you think it was?"
                           
                           "At this point we really couldn't say.  We'll look 
                           into it and see what we can turn up," Scully told him 
                           before Mulder had a chance to open his mouth.
                           
                           "Do you think they're dead?" Casey asked quietly.
                           
                           "Although it has been ten days, there is nothing to 
                           indicate that they have come to any harm.  Let's not 
                           give up yet," Scully encouraged.
                           
                           "So, which one of you is going to take us to the 
                           campsite?" Mulder inquired.
                           
                           "I will," Casey volunteered.  "I've got a lab this 
                           afternoon but I can make it up."
                           
                           "Great.  Can you be back here at noon?"
                           
                           "Sure.  I'll be here."
                           
                           "All right, guys.  Thanks for answering our 
                           questions," Mulder acknowledged, standing up.
                           
                           "Yes, thank you," Scully added.  "We'll do our best 
                           to get to the bottom of this."
                           
                           "Casey, we'll see you later."
                           
                           "What do you think, Scully?"  Mulder shut the door 
                           and turned around to face her.
                           
                           "I don't know, Mulder.  Let's see what the sheriff 
                           has to say."
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           "Agent, this thing has us baffled.  These are good 
                           kids.  We checked them out.  Several of them live 
                           here in town and attend Eastern Kentucky University.  
                           The rest go to the University of Kentucky.  None of 
                           them has so much as a parking ticket.  They make good 
                           grades, do volunteer work and even go to church most 
                           Sundays.  It looks like they just decided to cut 
                           loose one week-end and two of them didn't make it 
                           back."
                           
                           The sheriff continued.  "We got the Forestry Service 
                           to send some men in to search.  They even got hold of 
                           some cadaver dogs.  Nothing."
                           
                           "Those young men had quite a story to tell," Scully 
                           hedged.
                           
                           "They sure did.  The thing is, my brother-in-law was 
                           out there with his boys that weekend.  They were 
                           several miles away, but he came back with a story 
                           about lights in the sky.  He's not one to go in for 
                           that UFO bullshit, but it almost made a believer out 
                           of him.  You all going out to the campsite?"
                           
                           "Yes.  One of the campers has agreed to take us this 
                           afternoon," Mulder answered.
                           
                           "Which camper would that be?"
                           
                           "Casey Ford," Scully informed him.
                           
                           "Don't know him very well, but he seems to have a 
                           good head on his shoulders.  You all be careful.  
                           Lots of drop-offs up there.  Don't want to have to 
                           carry you out with a broken leg or worse."
                           
                           "We'll keep our eyes open, Sheriff," Mulder assured 
                           him.  "I'd like to check in with the Forestry Service 
                           before we go in."
                           
                           "Your best bet would be to talk to them by phone.  
                           They have offices in several different counties.  The 
                           supervisor's office for the Daniel Boone National 
                           Forest is here in town, but I don't know how much 
                           help they would be."
                           
                           "Thanks, we'll give them a call."
                           
                           "Listen, be sure to check in with me when you get 
                           back.  Are you going to be out there long?" Sheriff 
                           Chambers asked.
                           
                           "We're just planning on looking around the campsite 
                           today.  We should be back by this evening.  We might 
                           go back tomorrow if we think it's warranted," Mulder 
                           explained.
                           
                           "Well, hope you find more than my men did."
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           "Ready to go, Mulder?" Scully called.
                           
                           
                           "Yeah, as soon as Casey shows up.  I never did get 
                           through to the Forestry Service.  No answer."
                           
                           "We can check in with them tomorrow, I suppose.  
                           Think we'll have time for a burger or something 
                           before we start out?"
                           
                           Mulder had to try very hard not to cringe.  He wasn't 
                           about to tell Scully that he had lost his breakfast 
                           in between attempts to call the Forestry Service.  "I 
                           got something from the vending machine earlier," he 
                           lied, "But we can make a stop.  It's about thirty-
                           five miles from here to the campsite.  We've got lots 
                           of daylight left if Casey is on time."
                           
                           "Good.  I didn't want to go tromping through the 
                           woods on an empty stomach."
                           
                           "Yeah, it's a good idea.  I packed a few snacks and 
                           some water to take along."
                           
                           "As did I.  I've learned to be prepared when we're 
                           anywhere near the forest," she laughed.  "I also 
                           packed a huge first-aid kit."
                           
                           "What are you implying?"
                           
                           "You figure it out.  How's your stomach, by the way?"
                           
                           "I'm okay."
                           
                           "You still look awfully pale," she pointed out.
                           
                           "I'm still a little tired.  No big deal."  Mulder 
                           glanced out the window.  "Casey just pulled up.  
                           Gather up your pack and I'll meet you in the parking 
                           lot."
                           
                           Scully went to her room to get her pack and saw her 
                           medical kit lying on the bed.  She mentally went over 
                           the items in her first-aid kit and decided to throw 
                           in a vial of anti-nausea medication.  "Better safe 
                           than sorry," she thought as she opened her pack and 
                           brought out the first-aid kit.  She added it to the 
                           items she had packed previously and put it back into 
                           her pack.  For some reason she felt like Mulder 
                           hadn't been totally honest with her. She grabbed her 
                           jacket and backpack and rushed out to the parking lot 
                           so he wouldn't get suspicious.
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           "We pulled off the road here," Casey pointed out.
                           
                           Both agents were more than happy to get out of the 
                           car and stretch their legs.  It had been a harrowing 
                           drive over a narrow road with steep drop-offs much of 
                           the way.  There were no guardrails so a slip off the 
                           shoulder would have sent them plummeting toward the 
                           narrow ribbon of water at the bottom of the gorge, 
                           hundreds of feet below.
                           
                           "How far off the road was your campsite?" Mulder 
                           asked getting out of the car.
                           
                           "About two miles."
                           
                           "This will be a quick trip in, look around, and a 
                           quick trip out.  There's no way in hell I want to 
                           drive this road at night," Mulder decided, looking 
                           over at Scully who was still white from the trip.  He 
                           opened the trunk and pulled out their backpacks.
                           
                           "Let's go," he directed, slamming the trunk and 
                           nodding at Casey to take the lead.
                           
                           The two-mile hike began to feel like ten miles to 
                           Mulder.  The fact that nothing had stayed in his 
                           stomach for two days was making itself quite evident 
                           now.  His symptoms were increasing the deeper into 
                           the forest they got.  His stomachache and nausea had 
                           intensified and an overwhelming weakness and chills 
                           had joined in to make him feel even more wretched.  
                           Just when he was about to call things to a halt and 
                           admit to Scully that he had screwed up, Casey 
                           announced that they'd arrived.
                           
                           Mulder sat down on a log in front of the fire pit 
                           with an exhausted thud while Casey looked about 
                           nervously.
                           
                           Scully noted that Mulder was even paler than when 
                           they'd started and breathing heavily.  Much more than 
                           she liked.  She was beginning to get a bad feeling 
                           about the state of his health.  She decided to let 
                           him rest a few minutes before they looked for the 
                           trail.  "What direction did the noise come from?"
                           
                           Casey pointed to the east with a trembling hand.  
                           "Uh, we went down that trail over there."
                           
                           "All right.  Can you estimate how far you traveled 
                           before you saw the fog and lights?"
                           
                           "Not sure.  Look . . .um, I'm getting seriously 
                           spooked here."  With that he took off running in the 
                           direction they came.
                           
                           "Hey, come back here!" Scully yelled after him.
                           
                           "Let him go, Scully," Mulder sighed.  "Unless he hot-
                           wires the car he's not going far."
                           
                           "Well?"
                           
                           "That's a hole in the ground," Mulder quipped, rising 
                           slowly from the log.
                           
                           Scully stared at him for a second or two then threw 
                           her hands up in disgust.
                           
                           "Since we're here we might as well follow that trail 
                           for a bit and see if we can spot something the search 
                           teams may have missed."
                           
                           "Are you sure you're up to it?" Scully asked.
                           
                           "What does that mean?" Mulder asked tiredly.
                           
                           "Knock it off, Mulder.  I know you're not feeling 
                           well."
                           
                           "I'm fine," he insisted starting for the trail.  He 
                           stopped and turned around.  "Are you coming or do you 
                           want to go back and wait with Casey?"
                           
                           "Lead the way, Mulder."
                           
                           xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                           
                           By the time they had walked almost half a mile, 
                           Scully decided that she would have to call a halt to 
                           their little expedition.  They hadn't seen a hint of 
                           anything unusual and Mulder was beginning to stagger.
                           
                           "Mulder, stop!"
                           
                           "What is it, Scully?" he asked wearily.
                           
                           "Sit down before you fall down."
                           
                           "Huh?"  A confused look settled on his face.
                           
                           "Sit down before you pass out," she ordered taking 
                           his left arm and pulling him down.
                           
                           "I thought you'd never say that," he gasped in defeat 
                           as Scully helped him sit on the ground. "Scully, I'm 
                           sicker than hell."
                           
                           "No shit, Sherlock.  Fill me in."
                           
                           Scully brushed the hair off Mulder's brow as he tried 
                           to slow his breathing.  She could feel the heat of 
                           his skin under her hand.  "Besides a rip-roaring 
                           fever what else is wrong?"
                           
                           "I haven't been able to keep anything in my stomach 
                           for two days now," he started.
                           
                           "Oh, Mulder.  Nothing?  Not even water?"
                           
                           He shook his head no.  She pushed his jacket and 
                           shirt-sleeve up and felt the skin of his left arm.
                           
                           "Got one hell of a stomachache and feel like throwing 
                           up all the time now."
                           
                           "You're dehydrated as hell, Mulder.  You need to try 
                           to keep some water down."
                           
                           "No, it won't stay.  I just need to get back to the 
                           motel and rest."
                           
                           "No motel, Mulder.  You're going to the hospital."
                           
                           "No, Scully!  We have to find those kids.  No 
                           hospital!"
                           
                           "Mulder, that's enough!  Let's just concentrate on 
                           getting back to the car.  We can argue about the 
                           hospital later."
                           
                           "Okay."
                           
                           "Why don't you lie down and rest for a few minutes?  
                           Here, you can put your head on my lap."
                           
                           Scully helped him get situated so that he was lying 
                           on his back.  Mulder closed his eyes for a few 
                           seconds then decided it would be better to keep them 
                           open.  The dizziness wasn't as bad when he could see.  
                           He stared up into the tree that was towering over 
                           them.  Way up in the higher branches of a massive 
                           tree was a wooden platform.
                           
                           "Scully, look up in that tree."
                           
                           "Interesting," she commented.
                           
                           "I'd be willing to bet money that this is where they 
                           saw the sky people."
                           
                           "You would probably win that bet.  We need to mark 
                           this tree so the sheriff can get some people out here 
                           tomorrow."
                           
                           Just as the two agents started to get up a shadow 
                           appeared over them.  They both looked up at the same 
                           time to see a big, burly man blocking the trail.  He 
                           was pointing a shotgun at them.
                           
                           "Sit back down," he ordered gruffly.
                           
                           The agents complied.
                           
                           "The sheriff's gonna have to wait a few more days to 
                           figure this out.  Now, who are you?  You don't look 
                           like you're from around here."
                           
                           They remained silent.
                           
                           "Cat got your tongue?"
                           
                           No answer.
                           
                           "Okay, looks like we'll have to do this the hard way.  
                           Lady, reach in his pocket and get his wallet.  Nice 
                           and easy." 
                           
                           As Scully carefully moved Mulder's jacket to get to 
                           the inside pocket, the man with the shotgun stopped 
                           her.  "Is that a gun I see?"
                           
                           Neither agent moved.
                           
                           "All right, lady," he sighed.  "I'll be needin' that 
                           gun.  Take it out of his holster but only use two 
                           fingers."
                           
                           Scully did as she was told.
                           
                           "Now, hand it to me real slow."
                           
                           She followed his directions and watched as he took 
                           the gun and stuffed it into the waistband of his 
                           jeans.  "You carryin', too?"
                           
                           She nodded yes.
                           
                           "Then I'll need your gun too.  Same way.  Nice and 
                           slow."
                           
                           After he took Scully's gun he asked for ID and was 
                           quite surprised to find that they were F.B.I.
                           
                           "You two out here lookin' for those kids that 
                           disappeared?"
                           
                           "Yeah, have you seen them?"  Mulder answered, never 
                           taking his eyes off the gun.
                           
                           "Yeah, I seen 'em.  All right you two.  Stand up nice 
                           and slow."
                           
                           They followed the man's instructions.  Without 
                           Scully's help, Mulder lost his balance as a wave of 
                           dizziness washed over him.  He fell to his knees in 
                           an undignified heap.
                           
                           "What the hell's the matter with you?" their captor 
                           yelled, kicking Mulder in the back causing him to 
                           fall forward with a yelp.
                           
                           "Leave him alone!  He's sick!" Scully screamed
                           
                           "That's just too bad.  Get up, F.B.I., or you'll be 
                           feelin' a lot worse."
                           
                           "Let me help him," Scully pleaded.
                           
                           "All right, but don't try anything funny," the man 
                           warned.
                           
                           She helped her partner get to his feet.  He tried to 
                           straighten up but found the pain in his stomach 
                           prevented that.
                           
                           "Move!"
                           
                           "Sorry, Scully," Mulder whispered as the two F.B.I. 
                           agents began to walk slowly in the opposite direction 
                           from where they came in.  The gunman followed closely 
                           behind.