|Series:||WildStorm TXF #2|
|Published:||17 December 2008|
|Cover date:||February 2009|
As Walter Skinner stands outside Agent Mulder's apartment door with two other FBI agents and bangs on the door, Mulder is alarmed, inside his apartment, to see his reflection in a mirror seem savagely gruesome. Skinner and the agents smash Mulder's door open, only to find a bloodied Mulder lying on the floor, so Skinner shouts for the agents to immediately fetch an ambulance.
In Washington National Hospital at 7:47 a.m., Skinner is waiting in a room with the Lone Gunmen when Agent Scully arrives. She relays news to the others that Mulder's condition is stable and that no cause of his malady was found, despite the discovery that his body had damaged tissue and that - like with Noah Park - something had seemingly erupted from his head. When Byers hints that he can make sense of the findings, Skinner asks what he means but the Lone Gunmen are reluctant to divulge what they know to Skinner until Scully reminds them that he saved Mulder's life. Noting that no-one currently present in the room had bare physical contact with the Rauch Industries flash drive obtained by Mulder, the Gunmen explain that the drive was coated with a particular form of proteins that can have a powerful side-affect. Scully wonders if the drug is so powerful that it might drive a man's paranoia to the point where his own mind literally kills him, a theory that the Gunmen then support. When Skinner asks them to clarify their suspicion, the Gunmen maintain that it is not what they are suggesting, themselves. Scully walks away from the group, puzzling the others, but, as Skinner races after her, she looks tearful before revealing to him that she intends to prove her theory.
At Kaplan's Coffee House, Dr. Purman meets with Scully, who thanks him for agreeing to rendezvous with her in an informal environment and shows him the flash drive. Even though he makes out that he doesn't know what the device is and maintains that Noah Park committed suicide, she accusingly asks him questions that imply she believes he knows more than he acknowledges he does. The golf player who Dr. Purman previously talked to watches Scully as she exits. When Dr. Purman asks the mysterious man whether Scully's claims are accurate, the man, pointing a finger at Dr. Purman, threateningly reminds the doctor that he is paid to follow instructions, not ask questions. The man then stalks away.
Later, Dr. Purman calls Scully, while she is at home, and warns her that she is in mortal danger, revealing that he was actually a friend to Noah Park and now hopes for Mulder's recovery. Scully tries to persuade him to avenge Noah's death by publicly admitting what he himself knows but he simply repeats his grave warning before abruptly ending their phone conversation.
Dr. Purman walks to his car and opens the driver's door, unaware that he is being watched by the mysterious man from nearby. The doctor drives near a bridge and, moments later, sees, in the vehicle's rear-view mirror, that his reflection is grotesquely distorted. Startled, he crashes off the bridge and into the water below.
Skinner meanwhile visits Scully's apartment. She thanks him for having arrived there quickly and gives him the flash drive. As he leaves her apartment and heads outside, he is watched by the mysterious man.
In Washington National Hospital at 7:01 a.m., Mulder wakes with Scully in his room. Although he initially fears that he is dreaming, she assures him otherwise and informs him that he was poisoned with the polluted flash drive. Mulder relays his findings to Scully that Senator Matheson is on a committee that authorizes funding for Rauch and that Park had been attempting to stop the aforementioned funding. Mulder is eager to prove to the committee that Park was murdered by Rauch but Scully advises him that he should be resting, a suggestion he chooses to ignore. When the duo then meet with the Lone Gunmen in a corridor, the Gunmen are surprised to see Mulder on his feet. They notify the agents that Dr. Purman has died, probably due to the same protein as was used earlier. Scully recounts that she met with the doctor a few hours previously, a fact that Byers considers to be an indication that the speed at which the drug takes effect can be adjusted. Insisting that they take evidence to Senator Matheson, Mulder is highly surprised when Scully hands him the real flash drive, safely wrapped up. She professes to have given a false duplicate of the device to Skinner, as both had been aware of the mysterious man's presence in the area and had been attempting to fool him.
In Fairfax County, Virginia at 7:04 a.m., Skinner waits in a parked car, aware that another vehicle is following him there. The pursuing car approaches and the mysterious man steps out of the vehicle, ordering Skinner to surrender the flash drive. He is disappointed when Skinner hands him the drive, however, as he sees that the device is a fake. The two men are actually surrounded by police cars that then make their presence known to the enigmatic man, who Skinner is keen to interrogate.
In Senator Matheson's office, Mulder and Scully provide the senator with the real flash drive. Mulder refers to the device as proof that Rauch eliminated the imminent opposition of a government scientist by killing him, but Matheson deems the drive to be insufficient evidence, stating that they require testimony as proof. Scully notifies the senator of the mysterious man's incarceration, mentioning that they believe he directed the whitewash for Rauch. Anxious that a committee hearing is about to start, Matheson is desperate for the mysterious man's name and testimony. Mulder assures the senator that he and Scully are now en route to question the man.
At 10:13 a.m., inside a Federal Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia (where the man has been confined), he removes a small tab from within his shoe and licks it. Explaining that the prisoner's car is registered under a false name and that he has refused to speak at all, Skinner leads Mulder and Scully to the man's cell but, upon arriving outside the cell, they discover that the captive has killed himself. A smattering of blood covers the ground, where the man lies, as well as a wall near him.
Scully and Mulder return to Senator Matheson's office. Although Mulder questions whether the man's improbable suicide is sufficient proof, the senator still needs testimony from a living person so Mulder offers to testify.
Without participating in the proceeding, Scully curiously watches Mulder and Matheson present themselves to the committee and, following the hearing, she greets Mulder on the steps outside the imperial building where the senator's office is housed. Disgruntled, Mulder ambiguously tells her that the situation is over but, when questioned by Scully, he continues by apprising her that the committee believed him and now unfortunately want the weapon used by Rauch, as everything he told them convinced the committee that the drug actually works. Scully is saddened by this news.
- This is the concluding part of the story that began in the previous issue. As such, all the characters in this half of the story are also featured in that one, including Noah Park who is only referenced in this issue but appears in the earlier installment. Although Senator Matheson and Walter Skinner appear in that earlier issue, the senator's surname and Skinner's FBI rank as Assistant Director are only established in this part of the story. Unlike with the previous installment, however, none of the three Lone Gunmen are named in this issue.
- Unlike the other issues in the same series, the cover art of this installment was only ever released with a different tinge than would ultimately appear on the issue's cover; the released cover art is much greener than the final cover.
- Unlike both the previous issue and the one before it, this issue was not released with a variant cover and is therefore the first of WildStorm Comics' series of The X-Files comics to be released without one.
- The cover of this issue looks extremely similar to the penultimate frame of the previous installment.
- This is the first issue on which Carlos Badilla helped with the color art.
- The organization referred to as "Rauch Industries" in both this issue and the previous installment shares certain similarities to Roush Technologies, from The X-Files television series, despite the spelling of the group's name being slightly different. According to writer Frank Spotnitz, both names are meant to refer to the same organization. 
- Writer: Frank Spotnitz
- Brian Denham (interior art)
- Kelsey Shannon (color art)
- Carlos Badilla (color art)
- Ed Dukeshire (letter art)
- Tony Shasteen (cover art)
- Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
- THE X-FILES created by Chris Carter
- Agent Fox Mulder
- Agent Scully
- Assistant Director Walter Skinner
- 2 unnamed FBI agents
- Lone Gunmen:
- Dr. Purman
- Mysterious man
- Senator Matheson
- Noah Park (references only)
|Stories in WildStorm Comics' range of The X-Files comics|
|Issue #0||Issues #1 & #2||Issues #3 & #4|
|Issues #5 (Dante's Muse Part I: Nasty Ones) & #6 (Dante's Muse Part II: Netherworld)|