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After last month's single issue story we're back with a multi-parter: "Silent Cities of the Mind" which, incidentally, may have the best title of the series so far. Read after the jump to find out what happens when our favourite agents take a nice trip to the Alaskan wilderness.

Title: Silent Cities of The Mind Part One
Writer: Stefan Petrucha
Illustrator: Charles Adlard
Published: August 1995
Currently Available: X-Files Classics Volume 1


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The story opens in Alaska where a man named Enoch is radioing in an update to Mother Base. His report is vague and somewhat rambling; it doesn't take long before Base are exasperated with his lack of clear answers. They ask if he has located "the city" and if Doctor Puakabalaua is with him. As he replies that he in not sure how to answer, we see Puakabalaua's empty jumpsuit laid out on his camp bed as if the body within simply evaporated from it. Enoch informs Base that his buddy had been "resistant" to his experiments, a disturbing statement coming immediately after his assertion that "the older cannibal rituals" of the Mexica (Aztec) tribe he is investigating had "practical applications". He relates a story of a marriage between the Mexica and Toltec tribes, one that ended with a priest wearing the skin of the king's daughter, before shooting out his radio.

Five days later, an associate of Frohike's whom he knows "through the net" meets with Mulder inside a cabin while outside, FBI snipers close in 

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on the building. The building is home to a bunch of "fringe intellectuals" who have stocked up on weapons and turned the cabin into a refuge against the US government. Frohike's friend quizzes Mulder on obscure trivia such as the location of the Chronicles of Atlantis (incidentally much easier to find these days as it is the name of a fiction book released last year and availbale on Kindle!). When Mulder "passes" the test the other man explains Enoch's theory: the knowledge we learn is encoded in our DNA and the Mexica tribe learned the secrets to gaining that knowledge by eating its host. Yay, cannibalism! Enoch had received mysterious funding for an expedition to prove that theory and is now missing. Outside the cabin Skinner tries to reassure a worried Scully that Mulder can "take care of himself" - clearly having recently suffered some temporary amnesia. It's a moment that reminded me of their talk in the car during I Want to Believe. Scully receives a coroner's report that bodies found close to the cabin displayed signs of cannibalism - she should be fairly familiar with them considering this issue was released just three months after "Our Town" aired. Suddenly afraid for him, she makes the call to pull Mulder out and sends in the snipers.

We make another time jump to two days later; Mulder & Scully are airborne and flying over Alaska close to Mount Saint Elias. Mulder relates the story of The Silent City of Alaska, a supposed metropolis that occasionally emerges from the mist in Alaska and was photographed in 1888. Scully gives us a mixed up version of the truth, combining the original theory that the image was a mirage of a Russian city, with the truth behind the real world hoax - that the picture was nothing more than a blurry photo of Bristol, UK. The pair debate the claims of Enoch's followers, that they were able to learn how to play the piano by eating a musican etc, Scully reeling off a range of scientific explanations for the stories. She soon launches into one of her classic lectures about how we would rather "believe in magic" than "contemplate how little we know ourselves". However as soon as she is finished, she sees the Alaskan Aztec city outside the airplane window. Naturally the plane is immediately struck by lightning and crashes into the Alaskan snow.

Mulder comes to sometime later and is confronted by Dr. Enoch, a man who looks like a slightly offensive 80s cartoon mascot version of a Buddha as he sits cross-legged, wrapped in a blanket and wearing obnoxious sunglasses. He's also holding Mulder's gun. Enoch quickly reveals that he has already eaten the brain of the pilot. Mulder lies (really badly - honestly I'm not sure how Enoch ever believes him) that he and the pilot were the only ones on board the plane in order to protect Scully who is still unconscious in the snow. Soon enough Enoch is rambling on in cliched villain monologue style with another of his stories. This one he learned from eating Dr. Puakabalaua and is about a tribe who began to worship airplanes when they first saw them flying overhead and built their own runway in honor of these new "gods". This is a slightly simplified version of another true story, that of Cargo Cults who imitated the behavior of the military during WWII in hopes of getting more of the cargo that had been airdropped onto their island to land. Puakabalaua believed the Aztec city in which Enoch & Mulder are now sitting was built under similar circumstances.

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Nearby Scully has regained consciousness and stumbles into the camp where Enoch & Puakabalaua had originally been based. As we watch her find a body Enoch tells Mulder yet more Mexica legends, specifically one which claims the tribe came from a city called Aztlan which was surrounded by water and which Puakabalaua had believed may have been Atlantis. Enoch suddenly recalls more of the pilot's memories and figures out that Mulder had lied to him about the presence of another person. Mulder attempts to wrestle his gun back and Enoch bites his hand, taunting Mulder with the pilot's memory of seeing Scully fall from the cabin & die. Recovering the weapon, Enoch forces Mulder through the city at gunpoint and demands that they work together to open a door. As they push, Scully - who has made her way to the city herself - watches from a nearby ledge. Behind the door Mulder & Enoch discover the preserved body of one of the city's builders. Enoch is delighted and prepares to immediately eat him in order to learn the secrets of their surroundings. Scully sneaks out of the city and back to the plane wreck in hopes of locating Mulder's gun. She finds it missing but manages to radio out to Mother Base with their location.

8 Panel 3Back inside, Mulder recovers his gun and calls after Enoch, asking "did something you eat disagree with you?" His reply comes from the builder, now up on his feet, wielding a knife and screaming in an unknown tongue. To be continued...

The letters page this months gives us an update on the ongoing "what will Mulder give Scully for Christmas in issue #12?" contest. Stefan informs us that the response so far has been "nothing short of a deluge" and that some of the most repeated ideas have been: cross earring to match her necklace, a date with Frohike, and football videos. Never change Philes! One letter addresses the infamous Roswell autopsy video (Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction) which was due to air later that year on FOX, and another asks whether or not Mulder actually owned a bed - at the time of publication the TV show was on hiatus between seasons two & three so viewers were still many years off meeting his infamous waterbed. Finally another letter asks if episodes of the TV show would ever be adapted into comics. Nine episodes from season one were adapted between 1997 and 1998 and are now available as The X-Files Classics: Season One from IDW. Volume One was released last year and Volume Two is due out in July.