In the Tank, the daily foodfall started. Giant flakes of multicoloured food drifted gently down from above, and fish all over the Tank stopped whatever they were doing and began to eat. Scully took a nibble out of one piece.
“Did you ever wonder, Scully, where the food comes from?”
“It’s precipitation, Mulder. Waste food rises as steam and forms clouds which then fall on us again.”
“Waste food,” said Mulder. “So you’re saying that we’re eating our own re-cycled poo.”
“Er, yes,” said Scully doubtfully, suddenly feeling slightly less scientific and slightly more sick. “That’s the only rational explanation.”
Mulder snorted in derision, which is not a good thing to do when you’re a goldfish. Scully patted him gently on the back with a fin until he had finished coughing up algae and tank water. Then he carried on. “There’s a sect called the Angel Fish who believe that there’s a God and angels up above looking after us. They say that’s why we float upwards when we die, the angels are welcoming us back home.”
“Why?” asked Scully.
“Because we’re all part sole,” said Mulder, much to the embarrassment of the person telling this tale.
“But there are loads of crackpot religions like that,” said Scully. “There’s even one that believes that when we’re asleep the gods lift us up in giant nets so that they can clean the Tank.”
“Yes, well that is rubbish. What I think is – ”
Scully sighed. “You’re going to talk about aliens again, aren’t you?”
“Do you seriously believe that there is no life beyond this Tank, that we are the only creatures in the universe?”
“There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest otherwise,” said Scully.
“Open your eyes, Scully,” said Mulder, which is a fairly nonsensical thing to have to say to a fellow goldfish. “The proof is all around you. What about the erections?”
“Oh, them,” said Scully, slightly relieved. “Well, some of them are natural rock formations, others were built by our ancestors.”
“That’s seahorseshit. Why would a fish build a bridge? Look, follow me. I want to show you something”
They swam together to a seldom-visited area of the Tank, deep within the forest of fronds and ferns. Mulder pushed aside some leaves. “Have a look at this, Scully,” he said.
Scully’s mouth opened in astonishment, though since her mouth opened every few seconds anyway, this was not as impressive as it might have been. There in front of her was a creature. It wore a round helmet with a grill on the front, and very big boots. “I think’s it’s dead,” said Mulder. “I’ve been coming here for weeks and it hasn’t moved.”
“But what is it?”
“An alien life-form, obviously. It’s wearing a space-suit.”
Scully suddenly felt very cold, as if all of her layers of beliefs, all her blankets of scientific knowledge had suddenly been taken away from her. She gazed fearfully around her. The very forest seemed dark and eerie.
Mulder indicated another “natural rock formation” nearby, this one being in the shape of a well.“It’s called RoseWell,” he said.