An old man approaches a student and associate professor bickering at MIT and warns that the student will die at 11:46 PM. The man is taken away by campus security, but the professor is horrified to see the student get hit by a bus at the exact time. He is arrested on suspicion of pushing the student into the path of the bus, and gives the old man's warning as an alibi but refuses to discuss what he was arguing about with the student. Meanwhile, the security officer is found frozen to death, with his body temperature continuing to drop after death.
The prof says the student was going to publicly accuse him of falsifying research on his grant project: cryobiology. Things look worse for him when Scully finds the prof's prints on the popsicle guard and his car. At a nearby hotel, the old man meets with a scientist, thanks him for helping him solve a problem in his work, then gives him an injection that freezes him to death. The prof's girlfriend tells Mulder and Scully that he was working on a catalyst for a a sustained endothermic reaction. The frozen scientist is brought back to life with a hypothermia treatment, but then his temparature rises so fast that he actually bursts into flames.
The prof's girlfriend sees the old man following her and confronts him; he threatens her with the injector, but lets her go. She admits to the agents that she falsified his data on the prof's behalf. The police think they find the old man, and in his hotel room they find a photo of the scientist, the prof, and his girlfriend celebrating something. Mulder thinks the old man is the prof from the future, having returned to try to prevent something, and that explains why his prints were found at the crime scene.
The prof's girlfriend also realizes what's going on, and future prof explains to her how there will be the discovery of tachyons with the ability to travel into the past at extremely cold temperatures, and that they will "change history." He injects himself, apparently without effect, and then the girlfriend. Mulder tells the prof his theory, as doctors manage to stabilize the girlfriend. Mulder and the prof go to the cryolab and find that future prof has checked in and is erasing his research. Future prof tells his younger self that the research will create a world without hope where everyone will know what can happen; he manages to kill both of his selves. Mulder cites an old theory of Scully's about how the future can't be altered, and so future prof's efforts were doomed; the episode ends with the girlfriend continuing the research.
Michael Fairman, who plays the older version of professor Jason Nichols, has had a number of roles including Adlai Stevenson in Thirteen Days and Patrick Murphy on The Young and the Restless. Patricia Idlette, who plays the hotel clerk, also played Kiffany on Dead Like Me.
Episode Body Count
Lucas Menand: dies of massive head trauma after getting hit by a bus.
Campus security officer: dies of after he is frozen inside his patrol car.
Dr. Yonechi: freezes solid after the old man injects him. He is brought back to life, but then his temperature rises so rapidly that he burns to death.
Dr. Jason Nichols: torched by his future self, apparently a result of his earlier injection. Yes, that's one death.
Cumulative Body Count (92/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)
Humans: 1,184Creatures: 80
Grand Total: 1,319