DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, FOX
and/or 1013. This work was for love, not for profit. It is intended
as an homage, not an infringement.
NOTES: This was written for the After
the Fact "First Person
Shooter" challenge. Inspired by S&C, two geeks who
like this in real life.
THANKS: To Obfusc8er for the excellent beta.
"Hi. What are
you doing? Am I interrupting anything?"
"Just sorting laundry. What are you up to?"
He shifts the phone from one ear to the other and reaches
for a sheaf of glossy diagrams. "Reading the instruction
booklet for my brand spankin' new video game
"You've got to be kidding me."
"No, I'm not. This thing is great, Scully! It's a prototype the
gunmen snagged for me last week, while we were at FPS
Headquarters. It's a multi-function, multi-media, multi-ya-ya
satisfaction machine." Her chuckle echoes his. "You should
come over and try it out sometime. After all, you turned out
to be pretty good at blasting the crap out of stuff."
"No thanks. You already know my views on crap- blasting
video games. What purpose do those games serve, except
to add to a culture of violence in a country that's already out
of control? I asked you this before and you never answered
"Oh, but I did answer you. I suggested that video games
provide an outlet for violent impulses. There is a well-argued
theory that they fill a void in our genetic makeup, for which
the more civilizing effects of society failed to provide."
"Oh yes, I remember now. Do you really subscribe to that
view? Because if so, then perhaps we should get rid of all
our prisons and build more video game arcades instead."
"Ha, ha," he says dryly. "I'm not saying video games are the
utopian vehicle for deflecting all violent impulses. I'm just
saying they help relieve the pressure for some people.
What's the harm in that?"
"The harm lies in that most people get the opposite of relief
from violent video games. Like kids watching a wrestling
match, some people get caught up in the action, and the
uncivilized impulses grow rather than abate."
"But unlike watching wrestling matches, which is a spectator
activity, playing video games is a participatory activity. You
get a certain...release."
"Are we still talking about video games here, Scully?" The
mischief in his voice was loud and clear.
"Focus, Mulder. Your mind has a tendency to
"Hmmm," he ponders. "I guess sometimes they can leave
She barely suppresses a snicker at that comment.
"Focus, Scully. Your mind has a tendency to
He retorts, a wide grin splitting his face.
"By the way, notice I'm not calling it a 'testosterone
Far be it from me to be sexist."
Scully wants to play, he thinks. He loves when she is in a
"It's not just men, Scully. Women are affected by this
phenomenon as well."
"How would you know? Ever been a woman, feeling such
"If I were a woman, I'd be feeling other things first. In fact, if
were a woman, I wouldn't ever have to leave the house. I'd
just stay home all day, looking in the mirror and...feeling
He can picture her, rolling her eyes at him.
In an off-hand tone, she says, "Remind me to return your
academy sweatshirt, the one I borrowed from you last week.
I'm putting it in my laundry as we speak."
"Sure, no problem. But back to female reactions: I have
personally observed women's responses to that particular
type of stimuli. It's not an exclusively male experience." He
pretends to sniff rather haughtily.
"How do you know the women weren't faking it?"
"Are we still talking about video games here, Scully?"
Her laughter flows over the telephone wires. This time she
doesn't even bother to tell him to "focus."
"Okay, Mulder, let's say you do get a certain
then, it's shallow and fleeting -- hardly enough to satisfy the
type of primal biological instinct you describe. All it does is
temporarily diminish the intensity of the need."
"How would YOU know?" he asks. "Ever engaged in an
activity to satisfy a primal biological instinct?"
"Maybe I have. What do you think of that?"
He lets out a deep sigh. "I try my best NOT to think about
"Are we still talking about video games here?"
"Hey, it's better than nothing. When you know there's no
feasible way for the greater desire to be fulfilled -- at least,
not without jeopardizing everything you value in life -- you
can learn to be satisfied with substitutes. In the long run it
serves a purpose."
"In the long run, Mulder, all it does is
desensitize people to
the full effect of the real thing. These shallow little
appeasements merely serve to chip away at the walls of
restraint. A person winds up with less willpower to resist the
real thing when faced with it. Why? Because the person has
been repeatedly vicariously experiencing it and knows
exactly how good it will feel to just let loose all of his
"Repeatedly vicariously experiencing it? Sounds a lot like
you're equating video games with another form of male video
"There are certain parallels"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" He was only kidding, but she took the
bait. "Are you telling me that you believe pornography
contributes to moral decay, Miz Dana Catherine
"Clever. That's very clever."
"Smart is sexy."
"What's wrong with her views? I happen to agree with some
of MacKinnon and Dworkin's opinions. Pornography is
commercialized exploitation and degradation of women. How
can you look at something like 'Debbie Does Dallas' and not
see it as a blatant affront to every woman's dignity?"
"Not all porn objectifies women. Some of it degrades men
just as much, if not worse. It's equal opportunity degradation!
And, come on, it's fictional. Like all fiction, no matter how bad
it is, pornography is merely a reflection of an undeniable part
of human nature."
"I stand corrected. Pornography is the commercialized
exploitation of fellow human beings, male AND female,
under the guise of open human sexuality."
"Don't get me wrong, Scully. I know that most graphic porn is
exploitative and that it does tremendous harm to some
people. But I also share the view that pornography is the
ultimate expression of human honesty. It reflects our nature.
To deny that part of our humanity is futile. We have films
about violent murders, the atrocities of war, unmitigated
vanity, celebration of greed...what's the difference? It's all
part of us. Pornography is the visual reification of one of our
"'Visual reification' makes it sound like high art. Art seeks to
elevate the human spirit, even as it depicts our greatest
faults. Even those films that celebrate greed and elevate bloodthirst can be seen with an element of irony. Art
challenges us to rise above our animal instincts, but porn..."
"Maybe pornography does that, too. Who's to say it doesn't
serve that purpose?"
"Give me a break. We both know that the only thing pornography challenges to rise is..."
"Woo! Is WHAT, Scully?"
They both burst out laughing.
After a moment, Scully says, "How did we get on the topic of
porn? I thought we were talking about video games and
"I thought we were talking about us."
"I think we just lost focus, Mulder."
"We should lose focus more often, perhaps." His voice is
soft, devoid of all teasing.
"Yes. Perhaps," she replies in an equally gentle voice.