Written by Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
Summary by MaraKara
Internal dating: No date given for this or any of the episodes at this point. It internal dating roughly tracks episode order this should probably be round about January or February 1997, but you never can tell.
Scully is standing in a hospital X-ray room. Wearing a hospital gown and examining an X-ray of a skull, her voiceover reads:
"For the first time, I feel time like a heartbeat. The seconds pumping in a my breast like a reckoning. The numerous mysteries that once seemed so distant and unreal threatening clarity in the presence of a truth entertained, not in youth, but only in its passage.
I feel these words as if their meaning were weight being lifted from me. Knowing that you will read them and share my burden as I have come to trust no other.
That you should know my heart, look into it; finding there the memory and experience that belong to you -- that are you -- is a comfort to me now as I feel the tethers loose and the prospects darken for the continuance of a journey that began not so long ago and which began again with a faith shaken and strengthened by your convictions.
If not for which I might never have been so strong now as I cross to face you and look at you, incomplete.
Hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you."
Credits run: The truth is out there.
Mulder races into the hospital, carrying flowers and looking for oncology. As he meets her oncology, he gives her the flowers, teasing her that he stole them from a man with a broken leg. The victim can't catch him, he joked. Scully smiles a little, but doesn't say much.
Mulder asks what are the X rays that litter the office. She explains that they are of her, and right now, she feels fine. She also has a growth. She's told no one and hopes he won't either.
Mulder questions the word growth and she admits its a tumor. It is between her sinus and nose. It's cancer and inoperable. Mulder refuses to accept that. He refuses to believe there's no hope. Scully tells him she has cancer. Mulder has nothing to say.
The two go to Skinner with Scully's x-rays and inform him of her illness. He's shocked and supportive. He offers full bureau services to get her the medical attention she needs.
Scully politely refuses, instead deciding to investigate this as part of an X File.
Mulder and Scully go to Allentown, where she met the MUFON women 18 months ago. Scully and Mulder enters the house. He starts looking around while she has a flashback about her last visit to his house. Mulder finds a PC with info being down loaded by someone calling in.
Mulder is able to trace the call to a man named Curt Crawford living in Allentown. Scully and Mulder go to Curt's apartment. He isn't there, so Mulder checks around back. Curt tries to flee, but Scully has him trapped in an alley. Mulder tackles him. Scully has another nose bleed, freaking herself and Mulder out.
As Scully cleans up, Mulder interrogates Curt. He is on their side. The women of Allentown were test subjects. All are dead but one, Penny Northern. Scully is reeling from this info, but Mulder wants her to question Penny. Scully asks why, so she can learn what it is like to die of cancer? No, Mulder tells "Agent Scully" that she has a mystery and she needs to interview the witness. Mulder stays with Curt to look has his files while Scully goes to see Penny Northern, dying in a hospital.
Penny is skin and bones, bald from chemo and weak. She remembers Scully, both from last year and their abduction. Scully denies the abduction memories. Penny tells Scully about a Doctor Scanlon who has helped her, is the reason she's alive. Scully decides to get treatment from Scanlon and calls Mulder. "The truth" is in her, Scully tells Mulder and she wants to investigate it. Mulder agrees to bring her overnight bag to the hospital and call her mother. Scully checks into the hospital.
As Mulder leaves Curt, one of Cancerman's henchmen, the Grey Haired Man who tried to set up Skinner for murder in "Avatar" and killed X in "Herrenvolk", shows up. He kills Curt with the alien ice pick. Curt is a clone.
Scully wakes up in the hospital after a nightmare and reels from a form in the window. It is Dr. Scanlon. He tells her about her treatment when Mrs. Scully walks into the room. She does two minutes of cheerfulness before lashing out at her daughter. She is furious she was kept in the dark, furious that Scully didn't tell her. Scully, suddenly looking 12 years old, tells her mother that she wanted to be sure before she told the family.
Mrs. Scully breaks down, weeping. She makes Scully promise not to keep secrets and tells Scully that she can't afford to lose another daughter. Scully looks grim as her mother hugs her, offering her mother the comfort she can't find.
Scully goes in for treatment. She writes another journal entry to Mulder:
``In med school, I learned that cancer arrives in the body unannounced, a dark stranger who takes up residence, turning its new home against itself. This is the evil of cancer, that it starts as an invader but soon becomes one with the invaded; forcing you to destroy it but only at the risk of destroying yourself. It is science's demon possession; by treatments, science's attempt at exorcism. Mulder, I hope that in these terms you might know it and know me and accept a stranger so many recognize but cannot ever completely cast out. And if the darkness should have swallowed me as you read this, you must never think there was the possibility of some secret intervention, something you might have done. I know we've travelled far together. This last distance must necessarily be travelled alone.''
Meanwhile, Mulder is breaking into a local fertility clinic. There is another Curt there. He's angry at Curt for deserting him -- not knowing that the first Curt was another clone and is now dead. They break into a computer data base with the MUFON women and Scully's records.
Mulder goes back to DC, while Scully recovers. Mulder is in Skinner's office when the AD gets to work. He wants to make a deal with CSM for Scully's life. Skinner asks why? Mulder found out that all of the MUFON women who died of cancer and treated for fertility problems. So was Scully. Since Mulder knew Scully wasn't getting fertility treatments, this obviously had to do with her abduction. Skinner would not let Mulder make the deal with CSM -- "find another way".
Scully is very sick from the treatments and having nightmares. Penny is comforting her, reminding Scully that she did this once before, during Scully's abduction. Scully remembers nothing.
Skinner goes down to Mulder's office and finds CSM there in the dark, reading a book. Skinner wants to know what CSM wants. CSM is in rare form, however, ridiculing Skinner. He wants to know why Mulder is still in the basement since Skinner has really been Mulder's protector. Skinner snaps, telling CSM that at least Mulder doesn't have to take an elevator up every day to go to work. CSM gets the devil reference.
CSM wants to know what Skinner wants. Is he there to try to save Scully, CSM wants to know. Skinner is surprised that CSM knows, but admits he needs a miracle for Scully. CSM wants to know what Skinner will give up to save Scully. Skinner just wants his miracle. CSM says he'll do what he can, but now owns Skinner.
Mulder goes to the Lone Gunmen and have Scully's records analyzed. The DNA that was left in her system is still there, and could cause the cancer. Scully's treatment is probably in a fertility clinic in DC, so Mulder and the Gunmen devise a break in.
Mulder and Byers are the break in guys, while Langly and Frohicke tap into the building's security system from a local sewer. As Mulder and Byers are waiting to get into a locked door via the Langly-Frohicke computer link up, Mulder notices that one of the doctors running the fertility clinic is Scully's Dr. Scanlon. He's one of the bad guys. Mulder sends Byers out of the clinic to save Scully.
Scully, meanwhile is writing in her journal again.
"I have not written to you in the last 24 hours because the treatment has weakened my spirit as well as my body. Mulder, it is difficult to describe to you the fear of facing an enemy which I can neither conquer, nor escape.
Penny Northern has taken a downturn. I now look at her with the respect that can only come from one who is about to walk the same dark path. Seeing her, I can't help but see myself in a month, or a year. I pray that I have her courage to face this journey.
Mulder, I feel you close. Though I know you are now pursuing your own path. For that I am grateful. More than I can ever express. I need to know that you're out there if I am ever to see through this."
While the voice over is being read, Mulder is running through the clinic, looking for some answers. Byers is about the leave the clinic when local security and the Grey Haired Man arrive. He hid until they passed him. Byers races to Scully.
Mulder, meanwhile runs into another one of the Curts. Curt takes him into a room where half a dozen other Curts are growing new Curts in big green tanks. Mulder now knows they are clones and takes a good look at the bodies in the tanks. It is the little bee boy from "Herrenvolk". The Curts are grown up versions of the bee boys.
Mulder is told by the Curts that they are the sons of the Allentown women. They were working for the project but really for a cure for their mothers. One of the Curts takes Mulder to a room where ova are stored. The women were given a treatment which made them ovulate until they were barren. Scully got that treatment. Mulder takes one of Scully's vials of ova and starts to leave.
As Mulder is leaving the building, the Grey Haired Man finds him. Mulder is behind a bulletproof glass door, so when the assassin tries to kill Mulder, he only damages the glass. Langly and Frohicke are having a tough time with the door, but Mulder is screaming they open it, since the assassin his now using his bullets to break the glass. The Gunmen get the door open just in time, as the assassin fires into a hole he made.
When Mulder got to Scully's room, she was gone, he found her journal an read it, heartbroken that she is so sick and so sure of her own death. He tries to find her, but Byers finds him.
Scully is in Penny's room. Penny's dying. Mulder lets Scully know he is there and leaves the two. Scully comforts Penny, who makes Scully promise that she will find the men who did this to them -- find them and bring them to justice. She has to live, Penny tells Scully, to get to the truth.
Several hours later, Mulder is dozing on a chair outside of Penny's room. Doctors and nurses start rushing into Penny's room. waking Mulder. Scully leaves Penny's room, not noticing Mulder down the hall.
When Mulder asks Scully if Penny died, Scully turns to him. She is trying so hard not to cry. She nods her head and Mulder offers his condolences, he knows what Penny was to Scully. Scully is surprised that Mulder knew about her faith in Penny but Mulder admitted he saw the journal. Scully is embarrassed. She decided to stop the journal, wanting to fight. She walked into the hospital able to work and she will leave the same way. She also knew that Scanlon was a bad guy and if they find him, when Mulder insisted, they'd know more.
M: Scully, something was done to you, something you are just beginning to remember. You can't quite figure it out but it can be explained and it will be explained. And no matter what you think as a scientist and a doctor, there is a way and you will find it, to save yourself.
S: Mulder, I can't kid myself. People live with cancer, they carry on and so will I. You know I have things to finish, to prove to myself, to my family, but for my own reasons
M: (smiling and opening his arms) Welcome back.
The two share a nice long hug, holding onto each other for dear life. Mulder kisses the top of her head. M: The truth will save you Scully, I think it will save us both. The two share another hug and Mulder gives her a long kiss in the forehead. He holds her for another second before she starts down the hall, ready to go home.
Mulder pulls to vial of ova out of his pocket, wondering if the truth is in there. Mulder calls Skinner to leave him a voice mail. Skinner is in his office however, event though its 5:30am.
Mulder tells Skinner that Scully is OK and is returning to work. He also thanks the AD for stopping him from making his deal with CSM. Maybe he and Scully can find the other way. Skinner agrees, there is always another way and hangs up. CSM is in the office, agreeing with Skinner about there being another way. He puts his cigarette out in Skinner's coffee and leaves. Skinner stares at the coffee cup.