Original posting date:December 2, 199813:03:57 -0700
Archiving: Yes to Gossamer, all other archivists, please just let me know it's going. That's the nicest form of feedback.
DO NOT POST TO ATXC NEWSGROUP, I WILL
Spoilers:none. Well, maybe the film, but very brief
Keywords:Pre X-Files, and present day X-Files
Author's notes: This is in response to a challenge posted ages ago. The challenge was: "We all know that Scully majored in Physics before going to medical school. My challenge to all those wonderful fanfic authors is write about Scully and what made her decide to go to medical school and become a forensic pathologist. Now you can write this as a pre x-file story leading up to the infamous meeting between Mulder and Scully or you can write this as an alternate universe with Sully sic meeting Mulder or whatever."
I've deviated from the original challenge in that I didn't explain the decision for med school and/or pathology, perhaps that'll come later. Anyway, that's the rationale behind this little ditty.
Disclaimer: All characters you recognize are the sole property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Television etc. None whatsoever belong to me. No money was made from the creation or distribution of this story. Any characters you don't recognize are mine, all mine! :-)
M.I.T. PHYSICS DEPARTMENT
"You know, Miss Scully, that we're very impressed with your credentials. Both Dr. Braun and I sat in on your presentation to the selection board yesterday and were, well, let's just say we were very impressed by your presentation."
Dana Scully shifted in her chair, a little uncomfortable with the gushing going on in the room. Before she could say anything, the woman singing her praises started again.
Tapping her papers together in front of her, Dr. Adler nodded once, sharply, to the man at her right and continued. "Yes, yes, Miss Scully, we were very impressed indeed. However..." she trailed off.
Eyebrow raised, Dana shifted forward slightly. "However?" she prompted.
Clearing his throat, Dr. Braun began speaking. His gravelly voice giving evidence to his years of pipe smoking. He paced the room from end to end, tugging at his one-size-too-small tweed coat and looking uncomfortable.
"Ahem. Well, you see Dana, may I call you Dana?" Without waiting for her response he continued. "You see, while your work is technically brilliant; nay, in some areas, even without peer, there is an area of...concern."
"Concern?" Dana echoed. Sheesh, she was beginning to feel like a parrot. Concern? What kind of concerns could they have? She'd knocked herself out getting ready for that damned conference and knew she'd given one hell of a presentation to the new faculty selection board. Whatever their 'concerns' were, she was sure she could address them calmly. I want this job. I think.
"Ahh, yes, ahh, concern. Well, that is to say, we feel...or rather, the admitting faculty feel that...well..." Dr. Braun looked to his colleague for help, clearly out of his depth.
Frustrated with the delay Dr. Adler abruptly stood. "Oh for crying out loud." Looking Dana directly in the eye, she said, "Dana, the faculty feel that while you'd make one hell of a scientific, objective member of our team, you lack the, well, flexibility of opinion that is sometimes necessary for success in our field."
Silence reigned in the room, save for the ticking of the small pendulum clock mounted above the old oak desk. Dr. Braun nervously lit his pipe and continued to pace, his ancient loafers gently scuffing the equally ancient rug in the dusty old office. Dr. Adler moved to the window that overlooked the peaceful, tree-filled quad below, giving Dana a chance to gather her thoughts.
Dana sat there for a minute or two, processing what she'd just been told. Flexibility? What, she didn't bend enough? After a minute or two, she cleared her throat softly. "I'm not sure I understand you Dr. Adler. Flexibility...?" Dana tilted her head, inviting the professor to give a more detailed explanation.
It was Dr. Braun who addressed her, to everyone's surprise. Coming to a stop in front of her, he set his pipe on the desk, ignoring Dr. Adler's small grunt of protest. Settling his bulk against the edge of the desk he studied the young woman in front of him.
Twenty-something, barely out of school. Her life in front of her, the world at her feet. Beautiful, with a brain his colleagues envied, and not an inkling of what she could really do if she put her mind to it. God he envied her. Moreover, he envied those lucky enough to encounter her in her lifetime. Those who would be mentors, friends or lovers. Those who would have a hand in molding and shaping the raw substance that sat so patiently before him now. He liked what he saw in her, knew that she'd take what they said here today and grow from it. Maybe not now, but eventually she'd look back on today and understand. Maybe even be grateful.
"Dana, my dear, what we are so euphemistically trying to say is that you lack the imagination to succeed as a physicist. Technically you're brilliant, and you could become quite a good physicist. But, my dear, what a waste that would be. Why be a 'good' anything when you could be a 'brilliant' something else?" He paused, letting his words sink in. "You have a gift. An analytical bent that would be wasted in an area that doesn't always cater to hard-lined scientific evidence. In our profession you need to be just a wee bit, well, wacky, to succeed brilliantly. And you, my young friend, deserve to succeed brilliantly."
Dana nodded, glancing from Braun to Adler. Hmmph. Imagination. Well, who'd have thought it? Nodding again, she rose and gracefully offered a hand to the old gentleman and his equally old colleague.
"Dr. Braun, Dr. Adler. Thank you for being so open with me. I appreciate the time you've taken." With a brief tug at her jacket, Dana left the room briskly, closing the door softly behind her. Humph. Imagination. Whatever.
Beverly Adler remained at the window, watching as the colorful leaves danced a merry jig with the gentle late summer breeze on the sidewalk below. She listened as Lew Braun moved to stand beside her. Together they watched the tiny, confident woman who'd just left their office make her way across the quad, oblivious to the delightful, carefree show nature was providing as escort.
MULDER'S TEMPORARY OFFICE
"...saying is, that I do believe in you Mulder, and I do believe we saw...something...in the Antarctic, I'm just not sure what it was." Scully's voice was showing the strain of their argument, of their long day.
"C'mon Scully, where's your imagination!" Mulder slapped his hand to his thigh in frustration and leaned back in his chair.
"I guess that's the problem, isn't it? That's always been the problem..." Scully trailed off, looking troubled.
Surprised by the sudden sadness in her gaze, Mulder stood and slung an arm around her shoulders. "That's why we're so good together, Scully. I have enough imagination for the two of us." He paused, hoping she'd smile a bit. "Come on partner, let's knock off early and get some dinner."
Lightening up a bit Scully nodded and grabbed her coat. Swinging open the door she asked, "How about picking up a video?"
Trying to give her a serious leer Mulder teased, "Ooh, great minds think alike. How about Debbie Does–oof!"
Laughing gently, Scully straightened her sleeves and checked her bag. "Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of the Muppet Movie."
Shaking his head as he locked the door behind them, Mulder grimaced. He really didn't mind the movie, but felt the need to offer token resistance. "You can believe in talking frogs, pigs and whatevers but not a flying saucer? Where is the logic in that...?"
Scully's chuckle faded as she and Mulder abandoned their stolen office for the day. "There's imagination Mulder, and then there's imagination."