Director: Rob Bowman
While celebrating Scully's birthday at the Headless Woman's Pub in Washington, Scully and Mulder are approached by Sharon Graffia, the sister of Max Fenig, the UFO abductee they met in Wisconsin whilst investigating a reputed UFO crash site and subsequent military clean up operation. She explains that Max was a passenger on flight 549 that crashed two hours earlier. Max had asked her to contact Mulder and Scully if anything ever happened to him.
Mulder and Scully join the National Transportation Safety Board's Go Team investigating the cause of the crash. The Cockpit Voice Recording recovered from the plane's black box seems to indicate that the plane was intercepted. Mulder puts forward the theory that the plane was forced down, but the NTSB officials prefer to examine the evidence before making conclusions. Mulder and Scully join the NSTB team as they travel to the crash site in Albany to comb through the wreckage. Mulder confronted with an apparent time discrepancy between the official time of the crash and the time displayed on the passengers watches, suspect the involvement of a UFO.
A theory given more credit, when a survivor is found who, Scully concludes has been exposed to radiation from some unknown source. Mulder believes that Max was abducted from the plane while in flight but something went wrong causing the plane and the UFO to crash. Mulder discovers the UFO crash site at the bottom of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
Tempus fugit is a Latin expression meaning "time flees", more commonly translated as "time flies". It is frequently used as an inscription on clocks. The expression was first used in the verse Georgica written by Roman poet Virgil: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, which means, "But it flees in the meantime: irretrievable time flees".
Scott Bellis returns as Max Fenig. He previously appeared in the Season 1 episode "Fallen Angel".
Scully: Are you accusing these men of covering evidence?
Mulder: These men? No. These men are trained to identify moving parts, hydraulics, electronics. Their trained to reconstruct those parts in the past and arrive at the present but they can't do that because somebody has stolen the past from them. 9 minutes of it. 9 minutes that became a lifetime for those passengers and now for their families. Someone has got to figure out what happened in those 9 minutes. Somehow we've got to get that back.
Mulder: You wanna know what I think Scully...? I'm gonna tell you. I think Max was abducted, sucked right out of this door at 29,000 feet, the burns were seeing as a result of that abduction.
Mulder: And all the evidence will point to this conclusion but it will be dismissed because of its improbability, its unthinkability
Mulder: And the crash of flight 549 will go unsolved unless we find a way to prove it and when Max is returned he will tell us exactly the same story unless someone gets to him first.
Scully: Mulder, Max has returned, I found out a few minutes ago. They found his body a short way from the wreckage earlier today.
Mulder: Fenig.. And there may be people who want to cover up this evidence.
Mike Millar: Agent Mulder, is this an official FBI position?
Mulder: No sir.
Mike Millar: Because what your suggesting trivialises this tragedy. And Casts these fine people and the work they have to do in a light that you would be well advised to avoid.
Mulder: I think we all share the same goal here sir and that is to find out what caused that plane to crash.
Mike Millar: And any of the capable men and women in this room find Dr. Spock's phaser,or any green alien goo we will be sure to give you all the credit.
Mulder: I got you something for you.
Scully: Oh you've got to be kidding me.
Mulder: Its just something that reminded me of you.
Scully: What an alien implant?
Mulder: Two actually I made them in to earrings.
Mulder: I didn't know it was your birthday, Scully.
Scully: Mulder, you've never remembered my birthday in the four years I've known you.
Mulder: That's the way I like to celebrate. It's every four years, like dog years.
Scully: Dog years? Thank you.