To celebrate the launch of a brand new X-Files audio drama Cold Cases, exclusive to Audible, on 13th July 2017 new recruits were welcomed into the offices of the Investigation Bureau where unsolved case files littered desks and pin boards full of strange conspiracies greeted them as they prepared to retread the steps of Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Among the recruits was Dario Persechino who prepared this report which has just been declassified.
As they awaited their briefing the recruits were able to talk to experienced veterans of the IB and discuss some of the weird and wonderful cases that had been coming to the attention of the department involving strange creatures, victims found with star shaped bite patterns, rumours of a new cult, and when the briefing began the recruits were advised that Agent Scully was missing in circumstances which apparently related to previous cases of a now closed department of the FBI: the X-Files.
The investigation into her disappearance began by retracing her investigation into recent attacks and observing the examination of a humanoid creature similar to one seen in the 1990s, a so called “Flukeman,” to all outward appearance identical to the one pursued by the agents in the depths of the New Jersey sewer system conducting their investigation.
With the creature in an apparently coma-like state, the recruits came close to the strange human/flukeworm hybrid before those unprepared leapt back in fright as the horrific organism sat up, far from catatonic and in fact still active and potentially dangerous.
Ushered swiftly out but in possession of blood test results which might offer leads, the agents moved onto the offices of former special agent Fox Mulder, a familiar poster still hanging on the wall declaring the mantra which set him at odds with many of his colleagues: “I Want to Believe.”
Moving forward, the probationary agents had to solve a series of puzzles moving from office to office through the Investigation Bureau, tracing old files, blueprints and confirming locations with the help of more experienced supervisory agents along the way.
As clues to the location of Special Agent Scully added up the recruits finally found themselves beneath the streets of London in the normally abandoned subterranean rail network of the postal service, and with torches in hand they made their way deeper into the tunnels until the sound of chanting met their ears and they finally found the inhuman cultists responsible for the disappearance…
Audible put on an amazing evening for guests which immersed them in the world and atmosphere of the best of The X-Files in a unique way, and with some elements reminiscent of escape room puzzles this adventure took place through several locations, each one raised beyond the normal by the superb actors fulfilling the roles of IB agents.
The attention to detail on the hideous laboratory specimen was amazing, and culminating in a wonderfully creepy tunnel beneath the streets of London which is normally inaccessible to the public, coming face to hood with supernatural cultists. Surely there could not be a better way to rekindle that feeling of peering into mystery with Mulder and Scully that late night television of two decades ago brought?
Following on from a successful mission, the agents were debriefed not only by their supervising senior agent but also by special expert witnesses who offered their own informed opinions on the possibilities of the existence of extra-terrestrial life and telling of their own experiences dealing with the mysterious, both factual and fictional.
The first guest was Nick Pope, formerly of the Ministry of Defence from 1985 to 2006 and responsible for the British Government’s UFO investigations and who has been referred to as the “real-life Fox Mulder,” who spoke on the ever-popular subject of the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects.
“What has now been declassified and released at the national archives is 60,000 pages of documents, some of which were secret UK eyes only, talking about UFO reports, for example from Air Force pilots who saw something where simultaneously fighter controllers were tracking things on radar performing speeds and manoeuvres that are a quantum leap above and beyond anything we can do. And I’m including in that secret prototypes, spy planes, drones, etc.
“So I can’t prove to you that there’s an extra-terrestrial presence but I have in my official research investigation into the UFO phenomenon come across many, many unexplained cases, and we were sceptics too. I mean, gosh, we were the Ministry of Defence we were not wide eyed believers. The sceptics have to be right every single day, the believers only have to be right once.”
The second special guest to offer expert testimony was director Dirk Maggs, responsible for bringing The X-Files: Cold Cases to Audible life and with a long career of audio dramas behind him including working on the final radio series and the touring stage show of Douglas Adams’ The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and most recently Audible’s Alien audio dramas Out of the Shadows and River of Pain. As a passionate proponent of the audio drama format he had salient words to offer.
“We are the superior medium, because as soon as you put a pair of headphones on or a pair of earbuds in, you’re not just watching the world of Mulder and Scully you’re in there. You’re in the room with them, they’re walking around you, the case is happening, the autopsy on the certain creature that might appear on Martha’s Vineyard… is in the room with you!”
The X-Files: Cold Cases brings back original actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson to reprise their roles as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in a series of stories set in the period immediately after the second X-Files feature film I Want To Believe, released ten years ago this month.
Also featuring X-Files alumni Mitch Pileggi as now Deputy Director Skinner of the FBI and William B Davis as C G B Spender, better known as the Cigarette Smoking Man, the drama also reunites fan favourites Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund as John Fitzgerald Byers, Melvin Frohike and Richard “Ringo” Langly, the conspiracy theorist hacker combine known as The Lone Gunmen.
Other characters such as John Doggett and Monica Reyes do make an appearance in the drama but without their actors from the show voicing on this occasion, but regardless director Dirk Maggs continues his reputation for recreating atmospheric worlds through audio and returns listeners to the world of The X-Files in a style true to the show which will delight the legions of followers who have remained loyal fans for over twenty five years.