It’s been awhile since our last Throwback Thursday where we look back at The X-Files Topps comics of the 1990s. When we last left them, Mulder and Scully were investigating the disappearance of several scientists at a meteorological research station near the infamous Brown Mountain and had come face to face with a mysterious, floating red orb. Read after the jump to discover what happens next in “Night Lights Part Two”.
Picking up from where we left off several months ago, Mulder calls The Lone Gunmen for information on “atmospheric life forms”, so called space animals that are thought to live in the upper atmosphere. Byers gives Mulder information on the phenomena, including tales from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Fort, and Kenneth Arnold, but explains to him that the theory has fallen out of favor in recent decades.
Scully and Mulder decide to hike up Brown Mountain together, Mulder sporting an eye-watering yellow and green plaid shirt, but find nothing unusual in the woods for what must be the first time ever. Meanwhile, Dr. Meagher has managed to locate the remains of the downed weather balloon, however, when she and the agents get to see it they discover that its transmitter has been damaged rendering it and any data it may have recorded, useless. The damage matches what would be expected from a lightning strike, except there hasn't been any lightning in the area since the balloon was launched. Mulder begins to plot one of his elaborate schemes - you can practically feel Scully’s dread dripping from the page - and asks Dr. Meagher if she would be able to get hold of another transmitter for him.
Back in town, and with Scully now taking over bad outfit detail thanks to a lovely yellow-orange pantsuit, the agents are approached by the dreaded Local Law Enforcement representative. In this case, it is Police Chief George Hambrick who joins them for a tasty meal of nondescript grey stuff (try it, it’s delicious!) at a local diner. To their dismay, Hambrick has heard about Mulder’s Brown Mountain lights theory and is understandably sceptical. Despite her own significant doubts, Scully immediately defends both Mulder and his theory when Hambrick begins to personally attack her partner’s abilities. Mulder lets slip that he is planning a test “to determine whether or not [he] is right”, and to their further annoyance, Hambrick invites himself along to witness it for himself.
Driving back to the motel, Mulder elaborates on his theory to Scully. He explains that he believes the transmitters may be producing sounds similar to “the creature’s mating call”, and that the attacks may be due to the creature mistaking the balloon and the research station for a potential mate, or another “sexually competing creature.” Scully finally loses her composure and starts crying laughing over the way Mulder has already “worked out the mating rituals.. for what is more likely an anomalous atmospheric condition”, marvelling at the way he makes the whole scenario sound “so rational.” Grinning himself, Mulder replied that “it’s all in the delivery.”
The next morning, Mulder and Scully discover what must be most of the police department up at the research laboratory. Somehow, Hambrick has gotten hold of several sticks of dynamite which he plans to attach to the balloon, killing the creature if it appears. Mulder is horrified but his outrage falls on deaf ears. Hambrick is more concerned with keeping his region safe for hikers, and not jeopardizing its economy than he is with studying the creatures.
Unwilling to listen to any more of Hambrick’s rambling, Mulder steals the transmitter and makes a break for it. He doesn’t get very far before is is knocked to the floor by one of the deputies, breaking the transmitter's activator switch in the process meaning it cannot be switched off. The red light appears between the trees, rapidly approaching the three men and the beeping transmitter. Hambrick is entranced by the light, disturbingly calling it “sensuous”, until it begins to get too close. He drops the transmitter, allowing Mulder to shoot and destroy it, and the creature floats back up into the sky and out of sight.
In his closing report, Mulder writes that he believes the Brown Mountain lights are indeed an atmospheric life form, but that none of the other witnesses could agree on exactly what they saw. The meteorological research station has been closed down, and, unsurprisingly, the disappearance of the scientists remains unexplained.