Mulder and Scully travel to Houston, Texas after being contacted by NASA Scientist Michelle Generoo when evidence emerges that the space shuttle program is being sabotaged. Michelle shows them an X-ray of the shuttle's Auxiliary Power Unit, that appears to have been tampered with, although how the value could have been damaged is a mystery. The X-ray itself was sent to her anonymously. Mulder fulfils his boyhood fantasy when the two agents meet with the Space Shuttle Program Director, former astronaut Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Aurelius Belt. He assures them that no one is trying to undermined the Space Shuttle Program, that no one could with the tight security and sophisticated technology NASA employs. However when the next shuttle mission encounters a technical problem while in orbit Michelle, who's husband is one of the astronauts on the shuttle, again calls on Mulder and Scully for help. The technical problem is over come thanks to some quick thinking by Lt Col Belt, but it appears that he may hold the key to the case. He is haunted by an alien image of something he saw in space 20 years earlier.
Something that cohabits his body and may be responsible for the sabotage. When it is discovered that the X-ray that Michelle was sent was ordered by Lt Col Belt, Scully concludes that Belt is responsible. But as the lives of the space shuttle crew hang in the balance, Belt has to struggle with the force inside him.
Mulder: "You know Scully, we send those men up in to space to unlock the doors of the universe, and we don't even know whats behind them."
Writer and series creator Chris Carter admitted that he wasn't entirely happy with the special effects in this episode. Mat Beck, the visual effects superviser on the show, had only 4 days to create all the special effects in this episode and wasn't able to complete them all.
This is the most expensive episode of the first season. A big chunk of the budget went to the construction of the large control room set.
Episode Number: 9
Season Number: 1
First Aired: Friday November 12, 1993
Production Code: 1X08