X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

5X01: Unusual Suspects

Case Profile

1989. When Susanne Modeski, a chemist working in the Adanced Weapons Facility, tries to expose the conspiracy against the american people she unwittingly participated in, she enlists the help of a certain FCC employee named Byers. The chemical she developed, a compound that creates hallucinations and acute paranoia, was to be used on the public, under the supervision of Mr. X. This will lead to Byers, Frohike, Langly (the future Lone Gunmen) and Mulder meeting for the first time and opening their eyes to conspiracy theories. Mulder hallucinates little green men and Susanne, to Byers’ great despair, is taken by X.

Field Report

A special episode without Scully and little bit of Mulder (Anderson and Duchovny were still in post-production of Fight the Future), entirely in flashback, with the obligatory humor tied to the trio of the Lone Gunmen. Penned by character pro Vince Gilligan.

Susanne Modeski and her project

Susanne Modeski worked for DARPA, the famous Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops weapons and technology directly for the Department of Defense and the military, independently from other national R&D facilities. To access her file, Susanne asks Byers to go through the ARPANET, the DARPA-developed ancestor of the Internet: “the Arpanet [is] a government network created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. You can access it through the internet.” The ARPANET was first used exclusively by the military and its operations, but in 1983 the great number of civilians using the ARPANET (mainly academics) forced the DoD to shift all their operations to a different network, the DDN (Defense Data Network — “Somehow this kicked us into the Defense Data Network“). The ARPANET continued functioning till 1989, replaced then by NSFNet, which in turn was replaced by our Internet in 1995.

Susanne was an organic chemist for the “Army Advanced Weapon Facility at White Stone, New Mexico“. She worked to develop “the ergotimene-histamine gas, […] an aerosolized gas which in small doses caused anxiety paranoia in its subject” — “EH“. Mulder gets exposed to it in great (great) doses. Mulder is in shock and has visual and auditory hallucinations: he sees the clean-up men as little green aliens and their voice is distorted. The fact that Mulder’s hallucinations are aliens may be a direct effect of the chemical, or special to Mulder’s history (even though he’s yet to become a believer) — Susanne might not have designed it especially for alienvision.

A distorted vision can easily subsequently interpret humans as aliens; give the mind enough drugs and the appropriate stimuli and it will believe whatever you want it to. This chemical could be used by the DARPA, the military and the conspiracy inside the DoD (5X02: Redux) in order to cover their actions under imaginary aliens and depher the attention of the public from the real thing. This project of a chemical could easily be part of Project MK-Ultra since it’s about mind-controlling drugs and techniques.

Susanne discovers that the DARPA is planning to proceed with an EBO, an “Engineered Biological Operation. Toxic organic agents used on humans“, a test in real conditions. The chemical is placed in small doses inside “asthma inhalers” planned to be distributed in the Baltimore-Washington area. Susanne quits, but one can’t just leave MK-Ultra. In her file, Byers reads “Security risks are being attenuated. Dr. Modeski’s team has been processed and plausible denial constructed.” The FBI is fed false information, that she is guilty of murder, to discredit her and to increase the chances of her being found and arrested — one agency using another. Right after X successfully captures Susanne, the FBI case is closed.

The birth of the Lone Gunmen

1989. Cell phones look like phone booths and the Arpanet is still in use. At the Computer and Electronics Show in Baltimore, bathing in Chaikovsky’s innocent “Sugar Plum Fairy”, the FCC is represented by law-abiding John Fitzgerald Byers (and XF prop master Ken Hawryliw!); Melvin Frohike represents the Frohike Electronics Corp. and pretends to sell better illegal cable TV breakers than his neighbour Ringo Langly (RPG nick “Lord Manhammer“), from Langly Vision. And none of them are into conspiracy theories (especially Byers).

When Susanne and her 3 companions try to prevent the EBO, a cleanup team of military police arrives and erases all trace of the chemical and of the secret service agents’ bodies. The team is lead by X, who despite his menacing appearance already has some will in him to fight the system: he spares Mulder’s life and lets the 3 go with nothing but a big scare. X was set to watch upon another mind-controlling project in 3X23: Wetwired and here he’s seen acting in parallel with military personnel (seen clearly only when Byers’ FCC co-worker is arrested). This would make X an employee of the DoD, quite possibly of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency).

Susanne has some crazy paranoid ideas that will inspire the 3 Lone Gonmen: JFK’s assasination, electronic surveillance inside a hotel room Bible. She discovers her position was being tracked thanks to a bug placed inside her tooth by her dentist! Frohike, Langly and especially Byers are deeply changed by this experience. X makes a further comment that will seal their fate as conspiracy-busters (about the JFK assassination): “I heard it was a lone gunman.” Their name is set! Susanne tried to expose her story by telling everything to the press. To pay her tribute, the Lone Gunmen will publish a newsletter in order to “reach as many people as [they] can“. Byers inevitably falls in love with Susanne, a thread picked up again in the Lone Gunmen-centric 6X19: Three of a Kind (which concerns another chemical, AH instead of EH!). Mulder is intrigued enough to listen to the Lone Gunmen’s conspiracy theories. Mulder and the Lone Gunmen’s ‘walk to the dark side’ goes back to a common beginning! This was the event that lead him to go under hypnosis with Dr. Werber later in the same year (June 16, 1989, 1X03: Conduit) and to ultimately open the X-Files. A combination of coincidence and desperation to heal a childhood wound made Mulder a ‘believer’.

Surveillance Recodings

Detective Munch: “Start with your name and birth date.”
Byers: “John Fitzgerald Byers, 11/22/63.”
Detective Munch: “Seriously.”
Byers: “I was named after JFK. Before the assassination, my parents were going to call me Bertram.”
Detective Munch: “Lucky you.”

Byers: “We at the FCC enjoy forging positive ties with the American public. It’s our way of saying ‘Communication is just another word for sharing’.”

Frohike (about Mulder): “This dude doesn’t look so tough.”

Susanne: “Look what they did to JFK!”
Byers: “What did they do to JFK?”
Susanne: “Dallas? 1963? Hello?! They want to control every aspect of our lives, from the cradle to the grave. They practically do already.”

X: “Sanitize it.”

Byers: “That’s it? Just trying to intimidate us, to scare us so we’ll keep quiet?”
Frohike: “Byers, I swear to God, I’ll shoot you myself.”
Byers: “It’s all true what Susanne said about you people, isn’t it? About John F. Kennedy? Dallas?”
X: “I heard it was a lone gunman.”

Susanne’s last words: “No matter how paranoid you are, you’re not paranoid enough. Tell the truth. Reach as many people as you can with it. That’s your weapon.”

Frohike: “You feeling better?”
Mulder: “Yeah I am, thank you, I just…err…I have these weird ideas in my head that I can’t seem to shake.”
Frohike: “What kind of ideas?”
Mulder: “Weird ones. […] What I need from you guys is to tell me what the hell happened last night.”
Byers: “You want the truth?”
Mulder: “Yeah, I want the truth.”
Byers: “You might want to sit down, this is gonna take a while. The truth is, none of us is safe. Secret elements within the United States government seek to surveil us and control our lives.”
Mulder: “What?!”
Langly: “Tell him about the hotel room Bibles.”
Byers: “Yeah, I’m coming to that. Okay, it all started with Susanne Modeski.”

E.T.C 2004-2008

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