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Summary: Postep for Jump the Shark: Scully visits Arlington

Note: Well, I've seen the episode now. Many, many thanks to Mags,
bless her, for sending me the tape.

MAY 2004

Arlington Cemetery on a bright May morning: the grass is the
fresh new green of spring and the sun so bright it dazzles off
the white headstones. The red haired woman holding the small
boy by the hand walks down the path towards the shrine they
both know so well.

This is where the hackers come: this small secluded corner of
Arlington that is so different from the rest of the well-
ordered, neat cemetery. This spot at the bottom of the hill
overlooked by the rows of markers has had its own individual
character for some while now. The cemetery authories have long
ago given up trying to impose discipline here; for a while they
regularly cleared away the tributes left daily but now they
have given up. This place is different. The people here are
different, the people who come here are different, and that is
accepted now.

They come every day, the pilgrims, to leave their tributes at
the graves of the men to whom they owe so much. What these men
did is well known among the hacker community, and although the
details of the events of three years ago have never been
officially released, it is an open secret now, as well known as
the mysteries of Roswell or the Bermuda Triangle. Word has
spread in the underground and beyond, by word of mouth and on
the Net and by means of a thriving and widely read underground
paper called the Lone Gunman; and a regular stream of visitors
come here to pay their respects.

They leave the same tributes here as ordinary people all over
the world do for their heroes; flowers, candles, flags,
photographs and poems and written messages. This corner of
Arlington bears more similarity to the grave of Jim Morrison in
Paris, or John Lennon's shrine at Strawberry Fields, than the
clipped symmetry of a miltary cemetery.

Dana Scully Mulder comes here too, often, bringing her three
year old son William. She wants him to know, as he grows, what
this place means; what these graves mean. What these men did,
for her, for everyone.

William is too small now to care much, but he will, she
promises herself. So she comes here every month or so, and lets
William play here for as long as he wants. He likes it here;
he feels no fear in this quiet peaceful place. Here he is
among friends.

Walking down the long hill, she smiles to see the different
tributes clustered around each grave. It would be easy to
tell, even if she did not know, which was which.

This first marker is Langly's. The hackers and the rockers
come here to pay their respects to the greatest of them all,
leaving Ramones teeshirts and CDs, D&D memorabilia, rock
posters, the latest Star Wars video, all manner of software and
games, and the latest editions of computer magazines. There's
generally a well filled joint somewhere there too, along with
the written prayers to the saint of hackers, Lord Manhammer.

Frohike's next to him, is different again. The Vietnam vets
have adopted him as one of their own, and his grave is always
arrayed with cap badges and other military items, souvenirs the
vets brought back with them from Saigon, medals and old
photographs and generally a bottle of J&B. On days such as
Veteran's Day, many of them come direct from the Wall to here,
to leave their tributes.

Byers . . . even John himself would smile to see his grave,
and his friends would certainly tease him; so much neater and
better ordered than the others, but no less well attended.
Many US flags, photographs of JFK, tributes comparing him to
his namesake, saluting him as a true American hero; and for
some odd reason that mystifies many, packets of Holly sugar.

Dana sits on the bench nearby and watches William exploring the
plot with the same casual familiarity as in his own backyard.
He knows that he has the right to be here. He picks up the
occasional novelty; today it's a bright and shiny, obviously
much cherished Purple Heart medal; and he brings to his mother
to show her. Dana lets him; she knows the guys would not

When he is a little older, she will be able to tell him about
her friends. What they did for her, for her husband and her
son, and for everyone. She looks forward to seeing his eyes
shine as she tells him the well remembered stories from before
he was born; the midnight break-ins to secret facilities in
the middle of the night, rescues of damsels in distress and
lost love, thefts of computer chips, murderous virtual reality
games and midnight visits in weird disguises.

And when he is a little older still, she will be able to tell
him the truth as the world believes it. What these men did,
their bravery and their sacrifice.

But she will have to wait till he is a great deal older to
entrust him with the real truth. The truth behind the identity
of William's three much loved unofficial uncles, who watch over
her and her family as they have always done; his three
godfathers who he adores but sees so seldom, living as they do
so far away, safe in San Francisco.