If you are familiar with the X-Files, you are probably familiar with the eccentric trio of conspiracy researchers known as “The Lone Gunmen.” What you may not have been aware of is that in 2001, there was a spin-off of the X-Files that centered around these three men. The Lone Gunmen only lasted 13 episodes from March to June of 2001, but it’s what happened in the pilot episode that is of historical significance.
John Byers, Melvin Frohike, and Richard Langly routinely assisted Fox Mulder in his X-Files investigations throughout the course of the parent series. In the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen, Byers finds out his father — a long time government contractor — died in a car crash under highly suspicious circumstances. Along with their fellow hacker Kimmy, they stumble across a Department of Defense file known as “Scenario 12-D” while digging into the murder.
BYERS: Find something?
KIMMY: Yep. I wound up in some government think-tank’s upload directory. Here’s your scenarios, ladies.
BYERS: It’s in clear. Counter-terrorism scenarios. War games developed for the Defense Department.
FROHIKE: What’s Scenario 12-D?
(Kimmy clicks on the file. A dialog box on the screen opens.)
Domestic Airline In-Flight Terrorist Act
LANGLY: Airline terrorism? That doesn’t make sense. Your father was murdered over a war game?
As it turns out, [SPOILER ALERT!] Byers’ father was not dead and had in fact faked his own death. When the two are reunited, John demands to know what “Scenario 12-D” was.
BYERS: What is scenario 12-D?
(BYERS SNR doesn’t respond.)
BYERS: We know it’s a war game scenario. That it has to do with airline counter-terrorism. Why is it important enough to kill for.
BYERS SNR: Because it’s no longer a game.
BYERS: But if some terrorist group wants to act out this scenario, then why target you for assassination?
BYERS SNR: Depends on who your terrorists are.
BYERS: The men who conceived of it the first place. You’re saying our government is planning to commit a terrorist act against a domestic airline?
BYERS SNR: There you go again. Blaming the entire government as usual. In fact, a small faction …
BYERS: For what possible gain?
BYERS SNR: The Cold War’s over, John. But with no clear enemy to stockpile against, the arms market’s flat. But bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you’ll find a dozen tin-pot dictators all over the world just clamoring to take responsibility, and begging to be smart-bombed.
BYERS: I can’t believe this. This is about increasing arms sales?
John’s father informs him that the plan was to take place that night on a flight headed to Boston. They quickly decide to foil the plan and board the doomed plane. Onboard they discover the government is using a remote control to navigate the aircraft. Back at home Frohike and Langly attempt to figure out the course of the jet.
FROHIKE: I’m mapping the data now.
(The monitor changes to show a map. The map increases in detail and a line showing the flight plan is superimposed on it. The line stops at a point on the map and the target building is highlighted. FROHIKE and LANGLY look at each other.)
LANGLY: Byers. Your flight’s going to make an unscheduled stop. In exactly 22 minutes.
(Cut to FROHIKE and LANGLY.)
FROHIKE: Corner of Liberty and Washington, Lower Manhattan.
(Onboard the aircraft. BYERS and BYERS SNR are trying to keep their voices low.)
BYERS: World Trade Center. (He turns to his father) They’re going to crash it into the World Trade Center.
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I will not spoil the ending, but there you have it. Six months before the attacks of 9/11/2001, on primetime television the events of that fateful day were spelled out in excruciating detail. What does this all mean? Mere coincidence? That would be the greatest coincidence in the history of mankind. Is Chris Carter — the creator of X-Files and The Lone Gunmen — somehow clairvoyant? Highly unlikely but if you go back and watch the original show, you’ll find out this wasn’t the first time he apparently knew “what was up.” Did the show’s creators have inside information? I hope that if they did, they would have actually reported it and not just made a show out of it. Did the terrorists hiding in caves (or Saudi Arabia, whichever you choose to believe) get their idea from a low-budget Fox tv show? Perhaps, but how did they get the government to play along? If not of that is true, I leave the rest of the options up to you. (see: predictive programming)
What do you think? How can this logically be explained? Please leave me a comment and let me hear your thoughts. And please share this article on whatever social media platform you use.
If you’d like to watch the whole episode (original airdate 3/4/2001), here it is:
If you’d just like to watch the essential scenes, here they are:
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