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
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
Archives: I'd be honored, but please ask first.
Feedback: Once again, I'd be honored.
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
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
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
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
Mulder held the door open for her but Scully stopped
dead in her tracks. "Mulder, you look like crap."
"Well, thanks Scully."
"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
"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.
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
"I don't think so, Scully."
"What do you think?"
"I think these campers may have stumbled onto some
"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
"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
"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
"Will we have a guide when we go in?"
"One of the campers has agreed to take us to the
"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
"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
"That's trample through. Scully, I'm hurt. If this
is UFO activity it could be the break we've been
"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-
"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
"What'll it be? Cracker Barrel? Denny's or
"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
"Don't hurry on my account." She gave him another
odd glance but her rumbling stomach settled the issue
"Okay. Come on in when you get finished," she
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
"I see that. Why don't we switch places? I'll drive
and you can catch up on that sleep you lost," she
"Um, good idea."
After they were situated Scully handed him a cup.
"Here, I thought you might at least want something to
"Thanks." Mulder pretended to take a sip.
"Well, let's get this show on the road. I-95 to I-
"Sounds right. Wake me up when we get to Kentucky?"
"Sure. That'll give you a couple of more hours of
She started the car and put it in gear. Mulder was
asleep by the time she had maneuvered out of the
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
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.
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."
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
"Oh, I see. I guess you've learned your lesson
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Why don't we go inside where we can talk?"
"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
"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
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
"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
"Were Tyler and Zach intoxicated?" Scully questioned.
"They were totally wasted," Brandon supplied.
"Have you talked to their parents recently?" Mulder
"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."
"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
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
"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
"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
"Well, hope you find more than my men did."
"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?"
"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
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.
"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
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."
"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
"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."
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.
"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
"Mulder, that's enough! Let's just concentrate on
getting back to the car. We can argue about the
"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
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?"
"Okay, looks like we'll have to do this the hard way.
Lady, reach in his pocket and get his wallet. Nice
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
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
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
"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
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
She helped her partner get to his feet. He tried to
straighten up but found the pain in his stomach
"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