Title: "Statistical Anomaly".
Author: "A Gentleman Of Leisure".
Summary: What first prompted The Initiative to come to Sunnydale?
Story Type: Buffyverse/X-Files Crossover.
Rating overall: PG-13
Spoilers: Takes place early in BtVS Series 2, late September 1997, just before S2x3. Possible spoilers up to BtVS Series 6.
In X-Files time it takes place just before "Gethsemane".
Distribution/Archiving: Ask first please.
Disclaimer: No one here belongs to me - I've just borrowed them. All other Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights acknowledged.
1. This was the second Buffy story I wrote, but it's taken a long time to fully revise, due to RL.
2. I'm a British writer, so there may be some terms (and spelling) not used in the US. OK? Now read on...
Part 1: "It's a Mystery".
"Mulder, what are you doing?"
"Hi, Scully. Come on in. Would you take a look at this and see what you make of it?"
Dana Scully stood in the doorway and glanced round Fox Mulder's cramped, untidy, windowless office - the walls covered with diagrams and maps, lists of names and places, and photographs and posters showing unsharp images of things that might, or might not, have been alien craft. She looked at the piles of reference books, documents and files covering almost every horizontal surface, and she shook her head, wondering how on earth he ever managed to find anything he wanted in such a messy environment.
"I really don't know how you can work in a room as cluttered as this, Mulder. You could at least let Housekeeping in once in a while to dust the place - it's really disgusting", she said.
"Rubbish, I know exactly where everything is. I can find anything I want, just like that", and he snapped his fingers.
'Rubbish is precisely the right word for it', Scully thought to herself. She sighed, and reluctantly began to pick her way across the room.
"OK then, what have you got? A new sighting somewhere?"
"No. This is something much stranger. I'm hoping you might be able to make more sense of it than I can".
Fox Mulder looked up from the messy pile of papers on his desk in front of the computer. He seemed strangely excited.
"I think I've found it, Scully. I think I might have actually found it!"
"Found what, Mulder? What's all the fuss?"
"I've found something incontrovertible, Scully. Real evidence - actual irrefutable data".
"Of what, exactly?"
"You know what of, Scully. Them. Proof they exist. That they're here. That they exist among us, and maybe have done for decades".
"Aliens? OK, Mulder. Show me what you've got", she said cautiously, not really expecting anything she hadn't heard before. He was always finding 'incontrovertible' proof of one sort or another of the existence of extraterrestrials, but although she'd seen some pretty damned strange things while working with him, somehow she'd never been entirely convinced the same way he had. This time however, he surprised her with a question, one which seemed to have no connection with his previous statement.
"What's the birth rate in an average small coastal town in Southern California, Scully?"
"I have no idea. Why don't you look it up in the Census database?"
"I just did. Here". He passed her the pages of printout he was holding. "But look at these figures on the screen", he added.
Scully studied them for a minute or two before responding.
"A bit low, I suppose. Why, does it matter? There'll always be some variation from one part of the country to another".
"Now look at the death rate". He tapped the Page Down key to another table of information. "See how that compares".
Scully looked from the screen to the printout, and after a moment back again. Now she was frowning slightly.
"Nonsense. That's got to be a mistake. They must've got their spreadsheet formula scrambled up, surely. Or else someone's entered the wrong figures. It can't possibly be that high".
"I agree. If it went on like that the place would be a ghost town in another ten years or so".
"How many inhabitants?"
"About 38,000 - it really is a pretty small town. Of course I haven't had time to check back through earlier Census data yet - the population may well have been slowly declining for decades. It's peculiar though - would you believe it has a National Guard Depot, an industrial zone, and a University of California Campus?"
"What? A College Campus in a town that small? That's a little unusual".
"There's more. It has a harbour, a bus terminus, a railway terminus, a hospital, at least one art gallery, a shopping galleria and a museum. It's even got its own local airport. But it gets even better, Scully, and you'll love this - the town apparently has 42 graveyards! And 43 churches!"
"That can't possibly be right. Those figures must be erroneous".
"I agree. Mind you", he added soberly, "I guess they might feel they need them, because the percentage of pupils graduating from High School is ridiculously low".
"How's that? I don't follow your reasoning".
"It's because the death rate among them is unbelievably high. Even higher than the town's annual average, which is more than high enough, though it does seem to have reduced slightly in the last year or so".
Scully glanced up at him.
"How high?" she said quietly.
"Anything up to 35 percent by my estimate. Not annually", he added hastily, seeing her stunned expression. "That's over their entire time at High School, of course".
"That's still impossible!" She frowned, and then asked "What are the causes of death?"
"Mainly murders of one sort or another, and animal attacks, and disappearances. The percentage rate is many times higher than the very toughest parts of major cities like L.A. and Chicago. But look at this", he continued, paging down another screenfull on the monitor. "Gun ownership is the lowest I've ever seen".
"That is bizarre, Mulder - it makes no sort of sense".
"I agree - none at all". He shrugged. "I don't pretend to understand it".
"And why do you suppose we haven't heard about any of this before?"
"But Scully, that's my whole point, don't you see? There is something seriously strange about the place".
"What the hell do the local police think they're doing?"
"Not a lot, so far as I can make out", Mulder said laconically.
Scully shook her head. "There's got to be some logical explanation", she said. "Even if those figures were true, no town that small could possibly need that many cemeteries, not even if it was several centuries old. How old is it, by the way?"
Mulder scrolled back to the top of the file.
"Founded in 1899. Apparently".
"It all sounds totally ludicrous. Anyway, how did you come across this place? Where is it?"
"It's in southern California, a couple of hours drive up the coast from LA, just off Route 17. I came across it when I was doing some background checking.
"You see", he went on, "about ten days ago an agent set out to drive up to San Francisco from the Los Angeles office. Only he never got there. So they sent another agent out to look for him. That one spent two days making discrete enquiries on the way up a hundred miles of the coast without any result. He last reported in from a motel on the outskirts of our mystery town. After that - nothing. He too seems to have vanished".
"What did the local police say? Any trace?"
"For some reason they've been strangely unhelpful. They just said they'd look into it, but we've had exactly nothing back from them since then".
"And you suspect that this all signifies...?"
Mulder raised an eyebrow. Scully looked at her partner and smiled.
"So you're going out there to help look for two lost sheep? Well Mulder, I'd really like to lend a hand, but I'm afraid you're on your own this time. I'm supposed to be starting a series of lectures on Forensics to the new intake tomorrow morning".
"Yeah, I know. Skinner's sending me out there to wake up the locals because the LA office is now two under strength. It is safe to let me out on my own you know, Scully", he added, smiling slightly.
"I sometimes wonder", she responded doubtfully. "You haven't even told me the name of this delightfully weird little town".
"Oh sorry, didn't I? It's called... er... Sunnydale".
END OF PART 1. TO BE CONTINUED...