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Directed by William Graham
When the Space Shuttle mission is forced to abort three seconds before launch, the fiancée of one of the astronauts suspects sabotage and secretly calls in the FBI. As the shuttle and its crew face one crisis after another, it becomes clear that someone or something wants this mission to fail. But is it the work of a human saboteur, or of an alien presence that would prefer mankind to remain earthbound? The future of the space program is at stake, and Mulder gets to meet a childhood hero (Ed Lauter)—who may not be all that he seems
- And Mission Control Rejoiced: When the ship lands safely despite the complications, the mission control crew bursts into cheers.
- Bittersweet Ending: Mission Control is able to get the ship carrying Michelle's fiance to safety, but it comes at a shocking cost: the suicide of Col. Belt to stop the alien ghost inside him from wrecking more havoc. He is however hailed a hero at his funeral, even by Mulder, who initially had a Broken Pedestal that started after the two's first meeting.
- Fighting from the Inside: Even while the alien entity inside him attempts to sabotage the mission, Col. Belt tries to save the astronauts under his command. He sends anonymous evidence that leads to Scully and Mulder investigating and makes decisions that, while dangerous, are the best options to save the astronauts and keep NASA running. The stress of fighting against his possessor drives him to suicide.
- Heroic Suicide: In order to save lives from becoming further victims of the alien ghost's constant possessions of him, Colonel Belt throws himself off a building.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Mulder turns into a fanboy when he meets Col. Belt. He gets over it quickly. Though by the end when he realizes the truth, it's clear Mulder has regained great respect for him and his courage.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Col. Marcus Belt appears to be very loosely based on Col. David Scott, the real life pilot of Gemini VIII, who would have performed a spacewalk during the course of the mission, but nearly died when an accident forced an emergency landing.note Scully: Didn't you want to get his autograph?