The episode begins with a news broadcast of the Observer mission to Mars, which includes images of the enigmatic Face on Mars. The project director and one of Mulder's heroes, Lt. Col. Marcus Aurelius Belt, dismisses the Face as being wind-sculpted. However, Belt had something of a close encounter while an astronaut on Gemini 8 and continues to be haunted by the Face and ghostly images.
A space shuttle launch is aborted during present day, and mission control communications commander Michelle Generoo tips off Mulder and Scully that the shuttle may have been sabotaged. Belt and other NASA workers deny any sabotage or continuing problems.
A replacement shuttle, with Generoo's husband commanding, launches without an issue but experiences problems with its communication and maneuvering abilities soon after. It is determined that something is interfering with the shuttle telemetry, and a risky move restores shuttle control. Soon after, however, the shuttle starts losing oxygen. The agents and Generoo are horrified by Belt's determination to deliver the shuttle's payload, despite the risks, to avoid bad press or lost federal funding.
Belt melts down when the astronauts report a ghost outside the shuttle. He tells Mulder that he didn't sabotage the shuttle, but couldn't stop whatever did, that it "lives in me" and "they don't want us to know." He helps the shuttle make an emergency landing, but commits suicide soon after.
Episode Body Count
Lt. Col. Marcus Aurelius Belt: jumps out of a hospital window, seemingly in an attempt to escape the ghosts.
Cumulative Body Count (9/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)
Grand Total: 51
8 hours ago