Amber’s Journey

The X-Files Film aka What Mulder and Scully’s Child Have Been Up To Before Season X

Key aspect: Impossible for Mulder and Scully to find (ITF: impossible to find)

2002. William Van Kamf is handed over to child foster services. Plenty of strange people think William is special, and the Van Kamfs are uncomfortable with the surveillance on their lives since having him from his birth mother. They only wanted a child, not the weird baggage that follows him.

X-Files Canon: The Super Troopers found Scully in the middle of nowhere for his birth (season 8 finale). I imagine they can track him to the Van Kamfs, however remote the farmstead.

William cries, a lot. Visitors to the foster home don’t want him because of this – everyone comes in wanting the perfect baby to start a new life with, and he isn’t it. Maybe the foster home drug him so he’s silent during visits. Maybe William is such a common name that he’s put in the wrong crib after feeding, so the family take the wrong baby.

ITF: When Mulder and Scully are feeling better after the season 9 finale, they can search this far. But a blood/DNA test shows it’s not their child. (When children become lost property).
Does Mulder blag that he’s part of the fostering check-up service in order to get a blood sample? Is he the only person to do so, or do sinister forces keep check on him, too?

That foster home is struggling financially, so it is closed and the children are redistributed to other foster homes. This is needle in a haystack when it comes to a paperwork trail, possibly across state borders if the funding is a charitable organisation rather than state funded.

William’s life in foster homes involves no privacy, except that in his mind. He sleeps in a bunk bed (Season 8×01 deaf school sleeping arrangements) with many male children. His school life and foster home life are on a schedule – teaching life skills and equally distributing the workload, and distributing limited resources. Each child gets allocated time to watch what they want to on TV. Each child gets allocated time to use the computer, and the Internet. Homework is scheduled. Bed time is scheduled. Exercise is scheduled. Books are shared. So much is communal, and impersonal. Clothes are hand me downs, eccentric donations from strangers. Food is basic, to a minimum portion size. He learns to eat with a spoon so if there is extra, he’s finished first so he can have more.

He’s academically gifted (XF Canon – Mulder and Scully are walking encyclopaedias), but no-one does anything about it. The view from adults is for correcting what’s wrong, not promoting what’s right. The funding isn’t there to put them through higher education faster. He gets bored at the level he’s being taught. It’s off putting to potential parents – chances are if they don’t have the money for IVF to have their own children, they can’t fund what William needs.

William gets the impression he’s not meant to be noticed. He’s gender fluid in a gender binary world. He plays with toys adults think are just for girls, and gets shouted at for doing so. He gets shouted at by adults for putting dresses and make up on. Older children from bad homes also pick on him for doing this, as they are emulating negative adult behaviour.

Other children come and go. They all have different reasons for being there – some are orphans, some are in temporary holding while their single parent is in jail or in rehab for substance abuse. William has no idea where he came from, except for his dreams.

XF Canon – Scully has visions. The character of Gibson Praise can read minds.

William dreams of his parents. He doesn’t know it, but the recurring images of this man and woman (Mulder and Scully) inspire him to draw them, and the fantastic adventures they go on. Crude stick people at first, but with daily practice become realistic drawings. People ask if that’s the woman he’s going to marry when he’s older.

He tries to emulate the tactile nature of his dreams with people in the foster home. It gets met with “heterosexual agenda” when he touches a girl’s face (They made contact! They’ll get married when they grow up.) and gay phobia when he touches a boy’s face. He gets ignored when he does it to adult workers in the home, as they brush it off as a child’s sticky fingers after attention and distracting them from work. They can’t show favouritism or special interest. William is starved of physical contact, in a world where if you touch children you might be thought of as a paedophile. He can only get it in his dreams. Psychologists try and reassure the staff that he’ll grow out of his imaginary friends, or his imaginary parents.

It’s 2012. (XF Canon – year the alien invasion starts). William turns 11. He spends the whole night wishing for his Hogwarts’ letter to be there in the morning. It’s not. But a man with an English accent turns up at the foster home, it may as well be Albus Dumbledore asking him if he wants to go to a magical place far, far away from the life he’s known. A place where people accept who he is and what he does. A place where you can change your body at will to suit you.

Social Commentary: Rich English people think they can go to other countries and take their resources. It’s amusingly called a Commonwealth.

The foster home just wants kids off their financial books, so they are seen to be succeeding at rehoming, so when a millionaire comes and asks for a child, their only concern is that he only wants to take one.

William’s drawings catch the Englishman’s interest. The Millionaire Man notices the red headed woman asks if that’s who William wants to be, and if the man is the man she wants to marry. Because of the colouring and their interest in gemstones, the Millionaire suggests Amber as their new name. A new body. A new life. A new start.

Welcome to Middle England, a private estate in the rolling countryside. The Millionaire Man, who can be a descendant from the Well-Manicured Man (inherited wealth upon death in 1998), is transgender. He lost his husband and family as they didn’t accept his transition (well, husband didn’t. Children were told not to associate for Keeping Up Appearances. Rich English people thrive on their surname as a brand).

This is a serious level up in life. William gets his own room, a private tutor to pass exams at record speed, private gym, swimming pool, no schedule, never ending lawns and forests, private transport, unlimited library, TV, Internet, tailored clothes, food so rich and bountiful it takes a while for his stomach to adjust, and staff that wait on him. And presents. William finds himself drawn to special Magnetite jewellery. He sees it in his dreams as being a protective amulet.

Being a millionaire, it’s easy to get a new birth certificate (essentially family lawyers are overpaid to register documents. The government are delighted with the backdating of money owed for late registration of a UK birth. To them, it’s a bastard child being legally recognised for inheritance), and from that a British passport. Amber is legally female.

XF note: Aside from being ITF now living in a different country with a different gender, this is the perfect set up for Mulder to joke “Our child is an alien” when they finally meet.

Amber gets elocution lessons so they fit in, and sound as intelligent as they are.

XF note: The language of the X-Files is endearingly formal at times. This is a canon reason why their child sounds like they graduated from Oxford University.

Research: Vaccinations to fit into the XF world and their impact on the alien invasion

Culture note: Rich English people are seldom tactile. Amber is still starved of physical contact, save for her waiting staff, and you get the feeling there’s always that barrier of keeping a professional distance.

Amber is given growth hormone and steroids to make up for any nutrient deficiencies. She also gets hormone therapy to transition to female. The transition is surprisingly quick, timed for the onset of natural puberty. Fat deposits are in female locations, curves and breasts develop. Genitals don’t. Millionaire Man can be quite pushy about surgery to remove male parts, but Amber isn’t ready.

Hero Journey note: This is the ‘death’ aspect, where they leave their old body behind.

The puberty transition process unlocks pretty much every memory Mulder and Scully passed on, (and to some extent have lived since Amber’s birth), through their dreams.

XF note: Mulder and Scully don’t have to explain anything to their child about the paranormal. They only need to know that they are not crazy.

This psychological aspect isn’t what the Millionaire expected. Amber’s bedroom is now covered in paintings and sketches of what they dream of. To Millionaire, the MTF was supposed to end childish dreams by making Amber the woman of her dreams, not make her more determined in her imaginary friends. Amber tries to research everything online about what she dreams about the paranormal, and seek the two recurring people.

XF note: I sincerely doubt Scully is on social media, and Mulder is too paranoid to put a photo or real personal details up if he is. The FBI probably doesn’t keep a record online of former employees, or what they went on to do.

Amber is given anti-psychotics, but she pretends to take them, and keeps her dreams in her painting and sketching rather than talking about her dreams as if they are real. She gets good at hiding her Internet search history. She’s back to not getting noticed. She talks about putting her artwork in a gallery, or just keeping it a private collection. She always takes a photo of her creations, in case the physical copies disappear. She never stops pencil sketching, and keeps her dream diary locked away.

Millionaire Man’s motives for having transitioned late in life, and finding a child who he could save from the pain he went through personally hasn’t worked out quite as planned. (Social Commentary note: It’s still only legal to be transgender in about 30 states in America. It makes a bigger difference to a kid in the US to transition early than one in the UK where the free health service can aid transition and self-changing the birth certificate, hence picking an American). His life is still ruled by a gender binary, about external expectations rather than what feels right inside regardless of what others think. He’s hyper masculine, easily mistaken for cis-male with a body building physique and aggressive tendencies. He’s out to prove to others that he’s a man, rather than just being self-secure in his identity.

Millionaire Man either accidentally takes too many testosterone tablets, or is drugged by sinister forces. He gets road rage and dies in a car crash, that can be written off as an accident.

Amber inherits the estate, but has no family. The waiting staff become her legal guardians until she’s old enough to run the estate herself (2019).

Amber has monthly nose bleeds. It could simply be the psychological aspect of transitioning to female. It could be the sudden unlocking of information stored in her brain. It could be brain cancer from a rare genetic abnormality. She’s getting it checked out by the best specialists money can afford. Then she’s going to find the parents in her dreams.

Final scene:

AMBER Sits alone in a room in Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital waiting, looking down
SCULLY: Hello, Amber. I’m –
AMBER: Mum?!


Key Aspect to Amber’s Character: Needs Acceptance.

Hero Journey note: The ‘heart’ aspect of the hero journey is choosing the parents in her dreams.

Humour note: Seriously tempted for Amber’s middle name to be Rose. When she meets Mulder and discovers he’s called Fox, you have an animal, vegetable and mineral.