Scully, to put it quite frankly, had been having a terrible week. Their last case had been particularly stressful, what with the putrefying, twisted remains and the neverending autopsies and the singing – oh, the singing! – followed by mountains upon mountains of paperwork. Shortly afterwards, she had to explain that yes, she had paid the gas, electric, and water bills, which took hours, and hours more until she got her water back. So it was only natural that she felt quite frazzled and world-weary when she came into work that morning.
But no matter how stressed she was, or how much she felt like she had seen it all, nothing could prepare her for what she saw when she got there.
It began the moment she went down to the basement. Walking through the hallway, she heard a very familiar voice calling her name. She sighed. “Do I have to go in there to see what you want, Mulder?”
“Don’t let it burn the hall!” Mulder exclaimed in response. Alarmed, Scully raced to their office as quickly as she could. When she got to the threshold of the door, Mulder suddenly exclaimed “Scully, stop!”
Startled, Scully stopped in her tracks, and looked to Mulder for an explanation. Mulder, for his part, was calmly crouched on his desk; as if on cue, he uttered four unlikely words:
“The floor is lava!”
Scully stared at him incredulously. Eyebrow arched, her silent message was clear: Really, Mulder? Are we actually doing this? Scully realized that there was no helping it; silently, she climbed onto the seat of the nearest chair and waited to see what would happen. Mulder grinned, and the game was on.
Higher and higher the lava rose within their little office. Higher and higher the agents climbed, onto the chairs and cabinets. Scully found herself swept up in it all, laughing in spite of herself.
Agent Scully’s report was late. This was one of the odd things that caught Skinner’s attention that morning, a morning which could best be summed up as “interesting”. Another was the faint sounds of yelling and—laughter?—coming from the basement. Annoyed, concerned, and more than a little curious, he decided to investigate. Upon arriving at their office, Skinner knocked on the door, just in case it was something dangerous. Almost immediately, the room went quiet.
“We’re a little busy in here, sir!” called Mulder. Scully tried to go over to answer the door… which involved stepping on the “lava”. “Scully, nooooooooo!” cried Mulder. Scully stopped suddenly, realizing the game was still going.
“Well, what am I supposed to do?”
“Don’t let it touch you! Maybe climb onto the desk, ’cause I don’t think it likes the desk.”
“Is there some kind of animal in there?” Skinner opened the door, expecting to see a scene of utter chaos, yet the scene before him was completely normal, save for the two agents standing on a desk. When he tried to go into the room, however, Agent Mulder suddenly cried out: “Wait, don’t! Assistant Director Skinner, do not come into this room!” Skinner stopped, surprised. Scully tried valiantly to keep a straight face.
“Agent Mulder, what the hell is going on in here?” Skinner asked with an air of exasperation.
Mulder simply said, “The floor is lava, sir.”
Suddenly it all made sense. Realization and dismay bred a sense of bafflement that showed quite clearly on his face. Skinner stared at the agents, unsure of what to say in such a bizarre turn of events. The agents stared at Skinner, unsure of how to respond to his critical eye. The air was completely still.
A lone pencil fell from the ceiling.
“You’re way out of line, Agent Mulder!” Skinner declared, breaking the silence.
“With all due respect, sir, tell that to the lava!” Mulder quickly replied. Scully could bear it no longer, and started to laugh, loud and long.
Mulder surveyed his handiwork, quietly smiling to himself. Good, she seemed a little more relaxed now.