Mulder must capture a half-man, half-flatworm-- "The Flukeman"-- who has escaped into the New Jersey sewers.
Flukie, as he's popularly known, uses his victims as hosts to nourish his offspring.
Special Guest Writer:
As the episode begins, a hapless Russian trawler crewman named Dmitri is ordered to go flush out a clog in his ship's waste tanks. He gets more than
he bargained for when the "clog" yanks him into the tank. His panicked shipmates order the waste tanks flushed, sending everyone's favorite mutant
into the Jersey sewers.
Just how DO ships deal with human waste at sea? The U.S. Navy's Virtual Naval Hospital has all the information
you'll ever need on the terminology, procedures and techniques used:
Mulder is called to Newark, where a santiation worker has found poor Dmitri floating face-down in the sewer. When Scully examines the body at
Quantico, she notes that the skin is mottled from being exposed to such high levels of bacteria. More surprisingly, she finds Dmitri has an uninvited
guest inside him-- a mysterious worm poking out of his liver.
We all know that sewers aren't exactly the most hygenic places to be. But some scientists are finding ways to use sewer bacteria to our advantage.
See how it may provide a cheap source of plentiful hydrogen gas (http://www.hightechcareers.com/doc498a/perc498a.html).
When Scully points out the high levels of bacteria in uncooked food, Mulder jokes that the murder weapon might be a rare steak. Not quite, but
Scully's not exaggerating: check out the Food and Drug Administration's "bad bug book," with an alarmingly long list
of possible food-borne pathogens, at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Emow/intro.html
Scully summons Mulder and explains that the parasite was a platyhelminthine,
or flatworm, from the class Turbellaria, also known as a fluke.
The parasite attached itself inside Dmitri's bile duct and was feeding off the liver. (What is it with X-Files mutants and livers?) According to
Scully, forty million people worldwide are infected with these creatures. The Flukeman's latest victim, a Jersey sanitation worker, has a bite mark
on his back which looks like it came from a larger version of what Scully calls a scolex, the four-pronged sucker-mouth flukes use to attach to
Funk & Wagnall's Knowledge Center has a page full of fluke facts at http://www.fwkc.com/encyclopedia/low/articles/f/f008000811f.html.
Flatworms are hermaphrodites, which means they have all the necessary equipment to reproduce asexually, creating offspring without the help of
another parent. Brittanica.com has all the information at http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/1/0,5716,119831+5,00.html.
What exactly is a bile duct, and how does it relate to the liver? Find out at http://medhlp.netusa.net/glossary/new/gls_0669.htm.
Back in New Jersey, Mulder manages to trap the Flukeman within the pipes of the local sewage treatment facility. Sewage treatment plants are
designed to separate solid waste from liquid, then disinfect the remaining water so it's safe to be released again.
Find out more about the sewage treatment process from the Johnstown, Pennsylvania plant's virtual tour at http://www.howstuffworks.com/sewer.htm
Assuming you have nothing better to do, you'll find plenty of links to treatment plants across the country, including one in New Jersey, at http://www.sewage.net
The Flukeman escapes from a federal marshall as it's being transferred to another prison and hides out in a chemical toilet at a nearby campground.
That's as far as police search dogs are able to track it, but by the time they do, it's on its way back to the sewers.
What exactly defines a tracking dog, and how do they do their job? For answers, see Kevin Clouston's search and rescue dog page at http://users.worldgate.com/~dognyard/sarinfo.html
Mulder tracks the Flukeman back to the sewers, where he manages to trap it under a grate and cut it in half. Later, Scully tells him that the autopsy
revealed signs of extreme genetic mutation, probably caused by radiation from the April 26, 1986, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the world's worst to
What can nuclear radiation do to the human body? Well, it won't make you grow 50 feet tall, or turn green when you get angry, but its effects are
still frightening. Read the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's report at http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/EDUCATE/REACTOR/06-BIO/radbioeffects.html
When Chernobyl reactor number 4 exploded, it sent radiation over parts Belarus, the Ukraine, and Russia. In the months that followed, many children
and animals were born with profound deformities and mutations. In 1996, the French government released a comprehensive study on the disaster and its
aftereffects; you can read an English-language version at
This page was last updated: 12/9/99
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