Where No One Has Gone Before
© Starfleetofficer1, August 2007
SUMMARY: When science fiction fans disappear at conventions across the country, Mulder and Scully investigate by going under cover.
TYPE: X-file, humor
DISCLAIMER: I don't own X-files. I don't own the characters. I don't own anything but the story idea. Please don't steal it—it's all I own. I also don't own any Star Trek, Star Wars, or other science fiction show names, characters, actors, actors' rights, or any of that.
DOWNTOWN CONVENTION CENTER
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th, 1999
"CAN I? Mom, PLEASE, can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Mom, come on, it's the thirty-third anniversary of Star Trek; you have to let me get it, please, Mom, I'm gonna die if I don't get it—"
A blonde woman in her forties, dressed in a blue Next Generation Starfleet uniform, turned on an identically dressed nine-year-old boy. "Corey, if you ask me one more time, I'm taking you out of this convention center, putting you in the car, and driving straight home without any autographs, any action figures, or comic books. And I'll take one of your rank pips. A lieutenant doesn't act like that."
Corey pouted, folding his arms and hanging his head.
"Would you please get back in line so we don't lose our place for the fifth time? Do you want me to tell your father the reason we're late to meet him at the caricature booth is because you kept getting out of line and asking for an Enterprise-D?"
"But Mom, it's only $59.99 and I'll pay for half and I promise I'll be good with it and I won't break it—"
"No, Corey! Get back in line!"
Corey turned in a huff, and stomped back to the autograph line. He stood there, waiting in the line that would eventually take him to see Jonathan Frakes. He wanted Commander Riker's autograph so bad that he had nearly wet his pants when he heard the actor would be there. But then he saw the line. At least two hours long. How was he supposed to sit still in this line while his mom went and shopped for action figures? Why couldn't he shop first and then switch places with her instead of the other way around?
Corey's mother browsed the action figure booths, looking for the best deals on the figures they didn't have already. It was hard to find one of the few that were missing from their abundant collection. She kept an eye on Corey, glancing back at the line every now and then while she looked. She finally found a Deep Space 9 Ferengi figure they didn't have, for only $5. She hurriedly bought it, and smiled at the vendor as he put it in a bag for her.
"Are you from around here?" he asked her.
"We live about forty-five minutes from downtown. We came in for the convention and to see some of the actors," she answered with a smile. She was always happy to talk to other Trekkies.
He returned her smile. "Are you staying for William Shatner's appearance later tonight? I hear he's gonna be funny."
"Oh, absolutely. We have day passes. I'm here with my husband and son," she told him.
"Make sure you get there early. Front seats fill up fast and I heard a rumor there's a Klingon here, that Security's looking for, who threatened to use his bat'leth on anyone who challenges his seat."
She laughed at that. "I'll keep my eyes open," she told him. With that, she walked away and headed to the autograph line to check on Corey. When she didn't see him right away, she smiled, thinking that he must have moved up in line.
She approached Jonathan Frakes' enormous line, scanning for a little boy in a blue Starfleet uniform. The smile disappeared when she couldn't spot him anywhere. "Corey?" she called. "Corey? Corey, can you hear me? God, if he's run off again I swear I'm going to…" she got out her cell phone, and used his pager. She didn't want to have to use the thing, but she had given it to him for this reason, so he went to the pay phone if she had to find him.
Several minutes later she stood by the pay phone, waiting for him. She called his father as well, and spotted him making his way toward her in a yellow Deep Space 9 uniform. "What's wrong?" he asked immediately. He was carrying an array of bags, filled with models and rolled-up drawings.
"I can't find Corey. I paged him, I tried everything…he's not in the autograph line where I left him…"
"Okay, don't panic. Just calm down. I'm sure he saw something he liked, and he's in a loud area so he just didn't hear his pager. We'll find him."
But ten minutes later, both parents ran around the convention center frantically, calling his name and hoping their little boy would answer. Convention security was notified, and announcements were made. It was assumed he had been kidnapped, so the doors were locked and the parking garage, as well as the convention, was searched thoroughly.
Two hours after security had been notified, a man approached Corey's parents. He had a grim look on his face. "We've been able to account for everyone by their wrist bands," he said. "They've got magnetic strips on them. We had everyone here go through the detectors at the front door. Your son wasn't among them. I'm sorry. We've notified the local police, and they've put out an Amber alert. But he's just not here."
"Then where is he?" Corey's father demanded angrily, as his wife collapsed into tears in his arms.
The security guard shook his head. "I'm sorry, Sir. I just don't know. As of now, we have to assume he's been kidnapped."
Just then, the PA system in the convention center blared a high-pitched, annoying tone. Then a child's voice spoke. "We are not alone," it said once, and then disappeared.
Corey's parents' faces were ghostly white.
"What, what is it?" the guard asked them.
Corey's mother swallowed, and took a deep, shaky breath. "That…that was Corey."
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1999
Scully walked into the X-files office with a cup of coffee in one hand and her bag in the other. Her hair was wind-blown and there was a drop of coffee now drying on her blouse, but she was at least partially confident no one could see it. She was expecting this to be a horrible day, after having overslept her alarm, rushed through the drive-thru at McDonalds to get a cup of decaf when she ordered regular, tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and spilled some of the coffee on her blouse, ran to the bathroom to wash it off, and came to the basement office far later than the 0730 meeting time Mulder and she had agreed on.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said upon opening the door.
"To boldly go where no man has gone before!" Mulder exclaimed before she could get any farther. He was wearing a disgustingly cheerful grin on his face, and Scully nearly glared at him. "On Saturday, Star Trek turned thirty-three, Scully," he continued, oblivious to her obvious despair.
"And why do I care?" Scully asked. She put her bag down, placed her quickly cooling coffee on her desk, and sat down in her chair with a 'thump'.
Mulder continued grinning. "Didn't you ever watch the show when you were a kid? Don't you ever see it on TV now?"
"Mulder, I barely ever turn on the TV now. And no, I saw it a few times when I was a kid but I wasn't that interested."
"Not that interested," her partner repeated, clearly disappointed. He closed his open desk drawer, looking longingly at the phaser inside. He had been planning to 'shoot' Scully with it, but after her reaction to what he had to say…
"Why have you suddenly mentioned Star Trek, Mulder? Is there some kind of X-file here?"
"As a matter of fact," he replied, the boyish excitement returning to his expression, "I've been looking into some police reports that followed conventions across the country. There have been seven disappearances, Scully, one in each convention, over the past two months. And just this Saturday, the eighth occurred in Chicago. A little boy, Corey Miles, nine years old."
"Please don't tell me you have a slide show for this," Scully begged.
Just then, a pencil, whose tip was wedged into the ceiling, came loose and hit Mulder on the head. He grinned sheepishly and picked up the pencil as he headed over to the projector. When he turned it on, Scully reluctantly faced the wall where the screen displayed a blown-up picture of a little girl, grinning ear-to-ear next to LeVar Burton. She was wearing a child-sized, yellow Original Series uniform.
"Lorie Peterson, seven years old. Met LeVar Burton two months ago in the yearly Las Vegas Star Trek convention. Vanished approximately twenty minutes after this photograph was taken," Mulder said, and clicked the remote. The projector automatically went to the next slide. "Timothy and John Thames, ten and fourteen years old, respectively," he introduced the two boys in Starfleet uniforms, "vanished from a small local convention in Oklahoma, a little over a month ago." He clicked the slide again, while simultaneously sticking the pencil behind his ear. "Grace and Pablo Hermenez, both twenty-four years old. Newly weds, got married at this convention in Florida three weeks ago. Vanished two hours after they said 'I do'." The next picture was a girl in a Starfleet uniform with her dog, identically dressed. "Nora Wellington, eleven years old. Attended a convention in New York with her entire family last Monday. They were there for a reunion. She disappeared a half hour after this photo was taken. This next one," he pressed the button, but nothing happened. He stared at the thing, pointed it directly at the projector, and hit the button more forcefully.
When nothing happened, Scully raised an eyebrow. "Batteries?"
"No…I was sure I replaced them last week. This is weird. I think I need Scotty…" He hit the remote against his hand, and pressed the button again. This time, it worked. Scully was staring at the youngest victim yet, dressed in a Starfleet uniform and no older than five.
"This is four-year-old Joey Rio. At a convention in Pittsburgh with his older sister, Chloe, who's twenty-five. She was a prime suspect for a few days before they discovered a security tape showing her taking Joey into the bathroom. Then she runs out, panicking. He was gone, vanished from the stall. There are no windows in that bathroom, and the duct is too small for a four-year-old to crawl out."
"So where's the X-file? It sounds like a serial kidnapper to me."
"I'm not done yet, Scully," Mulder said, pretending to be insulted. He clicked the remote again, and another little boy's face appeared. He was dressed in a blue Starfleet uniform, standing with Jonathan Frakes and grinning. "Nine-year-old Corey Miles, disappeared an indeterminate amount of time after this picture was taken. His parents claim he was at least two hours from getting to see Mr. Frakes, but here's the picture. They recovered it from the actor's booth, in the file. They keep convention photos and post them on the Internet afterward."
"I'm still not seeing the X-file."
"Each of these kids, Scully, or adults in the case of the Hermenez's, were heard after they were taken. They were heard at the convention, over either the PA system or the television. But there was a definite audio broadcast, using their voices, that said 'we are not alone'."
Scully glanced at him, confused. "So they were somewhere in the building?"
"No, that's just it. They searched the buildings, accounted for each admitted guest, made sure no one had snuck in, and checked all the parking lots. They came up with nothing. And after they came to the conclusion that these kids were missing, and only after they had phoned in an Amber Alert, the PA system went nuts and then these kids declared that we're not alone."
"The kidnapper had several hours, it sounds like, to record their voices and use a manipulation device to broadcast his message. It sounds to me like it's part of his MO, actually. He's probably an alien fanatic who abducts young Star Trek fans at conventions, waits until they're sure the kids are missing, and then patches the broadcast through using radio wave technology."
It was her partner's turn to give her a strange look. "You really believe this was the work of one person? Where do you think he got the frequent flyer miles to travel across the country with kids and two able-bodied adults in tow? Or do you think he uses the Enterprise?"
Scully couldn't help but smirk at that. But she got right back to business. "Do you have a working theory?"
"Scully, my theories always work," Mulder said with a smile. "But yes, I do. I believe a group of people has somehow gathered these children in a central location. I believe once they arrive to this place, they can tell the convention that we're not alone. I believe more than one person is responsible for this, or that the one person responsible for this is somehow able to take each child to this location before he travels to collect the next captive. And I believe you're right."
Scully raised an eyebrow. "I'm what?"
"Right. Opposite of left, sometimes referred to as Republican." Mulder answered dryly. "I think your theory that those responsible are alien fanatics. They likely have something to prove here. And they're clearly after young people who attend Star Trek conventions. I've talked to Skinner about this."
"I felt we had enough to go on. There's a major convention in Washington coming up on Thursday, going through Sunday. I want to spend the next two days gathering information on these children and adults who were kidnapped. Then we're going undercover."
"You're kidding," Scully said, dread apparent in her voice.
Mulder grinned. "Put your Spock ears on, Scully. We're beaming down."