Several heavily-armed crack dealers receive an anonymous telephone call alerting them to the whereabouts of a hated enemy. The men all converge on a diner, but none find their target. Two deputy marshals receive a similar anonymous tip, alerting them about a Colombian fugitive in the same diner. The marshals enter the diner and order everyone onto the floor. Drug dealers draw their weapons and a fierce gun battle ensues.
As the agents observe the aftermath of the shoot-out, Mulder pulls a tarp off the face of
Donald Gelman, one of the co-inventors of the Internet. Gelman had been working at his
laptop inside the diner when the shooting broke out and became trapped in the cross-fire.
Mulder sneaks Gelman’s laptop under his jacket and brings it back to Scully’s car. He finds
a blank CD in the laptop drive, which when placed inside Scully’s CD-player emits music
from The Platters’ Twilight Time. Puzzled, Mulder brings the CD to the Lone Gunmen for
further analysis. When they are unable to crack the disc’s security code, Scully suggests
they check Gelman’s e-mail log. They find a message containing a standard ID number for a
shipping container. The message is signed by someone named Invisigoth.
The agents track the number to a container yard. A figure springs from the darkness,
zaps Mulder with a stun-gun, and runs off into the night. Scully apprehends the suspect,
Esther Nairn, a gorgeous young woman with a nose ring, and escorts her back to the
container, which is brimming with sophisticated computer equipment. Esther’s attention is
diverted to one of the monitors. She tells the agents that an armed Department of Defense
satellite has locked onto their location. Despite the farfetchedness of the tale, Mulder
convinces Scully they must leave the area immediately. Shortly thereafter, a strange green
light descends from the heavens and destroys the shipping container.
Mulder concludes that Donald Gelman realized his lifelong dream: the construction of a
sentient artificial intelligence, a computer program with its own consciousness. Esther
confirms Mulder’s suspicion, describing how Gelman unleashed the program onto the
Internet so it could evolve–much like the primordial slime from which mankind evolved. She
tells the agents that the AI monitors all communication, and will destroy her the moment it
locks onto her location. Esther also reveals that Gelman was in the process of creating a
special virus program, nicknamed “Kill Switch,” that would hunt down and destroy the rogue
system. Instead of simply destroying Gelman with a laser from above, Esther is convinced it
killed its creator with a dozen crack dealers in an effort to show off its sense of humor. She
also believes the virus is holed up on a computer somewhere–and the only way to kill it is
to find and destroy its safe house.
By accessing government files, Mulder locates a suspicious T3 line, one that would be
needed by the AI to access the Internet. He traces the cable to an abandoned farm on which
sits a trailer. Meanwhile, Esther gets the jump on Scully and forces her at gun point to drive
to an isolated location where she hopes to find one of her colleagues, a man named David
Markham. Esther exits the car and begins crying at the site of a demolished house. During
her absence, Scully manages to unshackle her handcuffs. Esther gives Scully back her gun
and asks her to “put her out of her misery.” Esther then admits to Scully that she and David
had planned to download their consciousness and enter the AI. But Gelman forbade the idea.
Mulder gains access to the trailer housing the T3 line. Inside he discovers David
Markham’s body, his face concealed by a virtual reality mask. Suddenly, several crab-like
droids spring from the jungle of cables and constrain Mulder. Mulder experiences strange
visions involving nurses in a 1940s hospital who threaten to amputate him, limb by limb,
unless he reveals the location of Kill Switch. Meanwhile, the AI pinpoints Scully and Esther
in their car near a turntable drawbridge. The pair become trapped and, at Scully’s urging,
Esther tosses the laptop into the water. Moments later, a green laser blasts the water.
Scully and Esther climb into the trailer where Mulder is bound by the crab-droids. Several
of the robotic creatures attack, and Scully dispatches them with her revolver. Scully finds
Mulder, his head encased in the virtual reality mask (the source of his strange visions).
Esther produces the CD, and Scully gives the AI what it wants, inserting the disk into a
drive. The AI releases Mulder, and Scully drags him outside. Esther accesses a keyboard
and instructs the satellite to lock onto the trailer’s coordinates. When Scully reenters the
trailer, she finds Esther wearing the virtual reality helmet, the body of her beloved David
nearby. Scully races from the trailer, and Esther instructs the AI to upload. Moments later,
the green laser destroys the trailer. When Mulder recovers, he tells Scully that Esther’s
consciousness may have joined the AI.
THE X-FILES “KILL SWITCH” #5X11
Original Air Date: 02/15/98
DAVID DUCHOVNY as Special Agent Fox Mulder
GILLIAN ANDERSON as Special Agent Dana Scully
Bruce Harwood as Byers
Dean Haglund as Langly
Tom Braidwood as Frohike
Patrick Keating as Donald Gelman
Peter Williams as Jackson
Rob Daprocida as Bunny
Jerry Schram as Boyce
Dan Weber as Figgis
Kristin Lehman as Esther Nairn
Kate Luyben as Nurse
Steven Griffith as Paramedic
Ted Cole as 2nd Paramedic