The truth, like Stephen Harper, is out there

Mulder and Scully reunite in the odd case of Canadian veterans regrowing limbs

Photo illustration by Sarah Mackinnon and Richard Redditt

Photo illustration by Sarah Mackinnon and Richard Redditt

Two FBI agents drive along a rural road.

Scully: Enough with the secrecy, Mulder. What are we doing in Canada?

He points to the glove box, where she finds a file marked X-525652.

Mulder: Canadian veteran. Thirty-four years old. Lost both legs during his deployment to Afghanistan.

Scully: That’s very sad. But why are we—

Mulder: The Canadian government keeps asking for evidence that he, and others like him, continue to need their wheelchairs—first, every year; now every three years. They basically have to make these veterans prove they still don’t have any legs.

Scully: And so naturally you think . . .

Mulder: This could finally be it, Scully: undeniable evidence of the paranormal or extraterrestrial presence you and I spent four great years, and three other OK ones, searching for. Think about it: human limbs being regrown by unknown forces right under the nose of a national government!

Scully turns up the radio. They eventually pull into a driveway and are welcomed into the veteran’s house.

Scully: We appreciate you taking the time, sir.

Mulder: So let’s get a look at those brand-new legs of yours.

He lunges forward and rips away the blanket from the veteran’s wheelchair.

Scully: Mulder!

Veteran: Is this a joke? I no longer have my legs!

Mulder: Stephen Harper suspects otherwise.

Scully replaces the blanket and apologizes. She pauses and turns her head.

Scully: Harper? That name sounds familiar.

Mulder: He was the subject of an X-file from a few years back. Someone phoned in an anonymous tip claiming the Prime Minister of Canada was in fact two eight-year-old boys in a trench coat.

Scully: (shaking her head) God, some people are crazy.

Mulder: That one actually turned out to be true. When you think about it: totally explains the behaviour and the haircut.

Veteran: What do you people want?

Mulder: (opening the file) Just the truth. June 13, 2014: You bought three pairs of socks at the Bay. Care to explain?

Veteran: They were for my wife.

Mulder: Mm-hmm. Feb. 18 of this year: A neighbour swears he saw a man leave your house on two legs, walk confidently to the end of the driveway and pull away in a brown truck.

Veteran: Pretty good description of the UPS driver.

Mulder’s eyes narrow.

Scully: Mulder, let’s leave this man alone.

Mulder: Dammit, Scully—I can’t just ignore my own gut instinct and the vague guidance of various shadowy figures with whom I communicate exclusively in darkened parking garages for some reason!

Veteran: What even makes you think there’s anything suspicious here?

Mulder: I’ve seen some things in my time—strange, unexplainable things. I’ve seen blurry objects that may have been ghosts. I’ve seen blurrier objects that may have been aliens.

Veteran: Sounds like the real mystery here is why you don’t wear glasses.

Mulder: (ignoring him) I once saw a man get shot point-blank in the head—and, as God is my witness, he just pushed the bullet right out of his brain as though by magic, and went on with his day.

Scully: Mulder, that was in the X-Men movie you watched on the flight.

Mulder: (lost in thought) Strange, unexplainable things.

Veteran: I think you both should leave.

Mulder: If you expect me to buy your story, then you’ve got to answer me this one question: Why on Earth would a national government treat its own veterans with such suspicion and distrust?

Veteran: Beats me. Has it occurred to you that maybe they’re just not very nice people?

Mulder falls silent. Together, the agents leave and walk toward their car.

Mulder: It doesn’t make sense, Scully. I want to believe—but why would any government do this kind of thing to loyal and selfless patriots who’ve already been through so much?

Scully: Mulder, that’s the first good question you’ve asked today.

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