The Outer Limits (1995) s03e13 Episode Script

Dead Man's Switch

1 Don't they usually put these inside of mountains, sir? Bunkers, I mean.
Let's hope they think the way you do.
"They," sir? Of course.
I keep forgetting you're a last-minute replacement for Samuelson.
How much did they tell you? Only that I'd be working in isolation for a maximum of a year, sir.
Well, you'll have plenty of solitude.
COMPUTER: Bunker level.
(Buzz) 11, 000 feet.
This is the control room.
You'll spend most of your time here, so we tried to make it as comfortable as possible.
We programmed a pretty tough opponent for Samuelson.
I hope you enjoy chess as much as he does.
These elevator shaft doors will weld shut.
You'll be sealed in here.
But not to worry.
It's completely self-contained.
A small reactor will provide your electrical power.
A recycling and filtration system will take care of your air and your water.
Here.
Open it.
Inside, you'll find why we quickly had to pull all this together.
Too quickly for my taste.
It's like slapping it together with spit and rubber bands.
Those were taken from the Hubble.
We've been monitoring them for almost 2 years.
We have a few weeks to a number of months before the aliens reach the earth.
So, they could be coming in peace? Maybe.
Our job is to be ready if they're not.
This bunker is a doomsday device, Lieutenant, able to annihilate the entire planet.
My God.
And if I press that button, it goes off.
Just the opposite.
It prevents it.
It's a dead man's switch.
Trains have them in case the engineer falls asleep.
If he doesn't push a button when a random alarm goes off, it stops the train.
So it's like a fail-safe? That's right.
If anything happens to you down here, the doomsday device goes off, and if we don't dig you out in a year, you can assume that mankind has been defeated by the aliens.
That's when you stop pushing that button, and the aliens will be wiped from the face of the planet.
I'm behind schedule.
I gotta go.
I'll contact you and give you the rest of your instructions.
General, you can't leave.
I have so many questions.
Have to.
System's automated.
You'll be sealed in here in less than a minute.
But what if the worst happens? What if they invade, and Not that I would do it But out of self-preservation, I just keep pressing the button.
That'd be hard.
After a year, all the systems will run out of fuel.
No power, no food, no water, and no air.
But what if you haven't dug me out by then? Why do you think we call it a dead man's switch? (Static noises) CONTROL VOICE: There is nothing wrong with your television.
Do not attempt to adjust the picture.
We are now controlling the transmission.
We control the horizontal and the vertical.
We can deluge you with 1, 000 channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond.
We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive.
For the next hour, we will control all that you see and hear.
You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to The Outer Limits.
NARRATOR: Young idealists often dream of having the power to save the world, but would that dream become a nightmare if saving the world could also mean destroying it? Hello, Lieutenant.
You ready to test this baby out? Y-Yes, sir.
Take the position and initiate the retinal scanner and palm-print analyser to your person.
I assume you read the procedure.
Yes, sir.
(Whirrs) COMPUTER: Identify.
Conklin, Benjamin P.
CODE-NAME: Dead Man One.
COMPUTER: Authenticating.
Dead Man.
Verified.
Arming system.
(Alarm buzzer) The system's on-line now.
You have about 24 hours with the layout and equipment before the alarms begin.
You said to push the button before the count runs out.
I was wondering what would happen if it ever reaches zero, sir.
This A full-capacity detonation.
Every nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon we've got all over the world.
If we don't come out of this alive, no one else will, either.
We want our visitors to know about this device and what will happen if we use it.
Can they disarm the system, sir? Not without triggering the destruct sequence.
They'd have to know every feature, every trap.
It's just not possible.
We've thought this through, Lieutenant.
We don't want the aliens intercepting any signals and tracing them back to your bunkers or feeding you false information.
That's why you have no access to radio or TV signals and can't call out.
We control what you receive and only from this location.
Everything about this operation is on a strict need-to-know basis.
You won't be the only person at the switch.
There will be 4 other people on your team, each one stationed at a different secret location around the globe.
They'll be on-line within 24 hours.
Any one of you can stop the countdown.
A built-in redundancy.
How often will you check in, sir? Often.
In fact, if you have any other questions, save them for tomorrow.
Eiger out.
MAN: Good morning.
Good morning, uh Hong or Donald? Take a wild guess.
I am Donald.
Good morning.
It is afternoon in South Africa.
I'm Lieutenant Ben Conklin.
U.
S.
Air Force.
(Video game noises) (Australian accent) Never mind him.
All he ever does is play that game.
That's the doc.
She's a clinical psychologist.
Gwen Wellington.
Good to meet you.
Thanks.
Likewise.
(Russian accent) Uh, yes? Hello.
Uh, hello.
I'm Lieutenant Ben Conklin.
U.
S.
Air Force.
Um, Katia Rubinoff.
Russian Republic Army.
Ahem.
(Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
(Alarm stops) COMPUTER: Deactivation verified.
Congratulations, everyone, on your first successful alert.
You just saved the world.
Wouldn't it be a little more accurate to say we didn't destroy it? Ohh.
Looks like it's past my bedtime.
Katia should be done in a minute.
Why don't you get some sleep, Hong? Nah, once I've finished this level I'm gonna try and get some news.
Short-wave radio? Hey, how'd you smuggle that in? Easy.
I stuffed the parts in my underwear and smelly old socks.
Who's gonna search that, right? Then I borrowed some wires from the panels here, tapped into the conduit that runs the shaft.
I might be able to get a signal.
You tampered with the control panels? One of my degrees was electrical engineering.
Hey, Gwen, let me ask you a question.
GWEN: Sure.
That pad that you're always writing on, is that a diary, or are you supposed to watch us? Psychologically, I mean.
I've been working with the Australian military.
We're studying the effects of long-term isolation.
This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
We were all chosen because of our self-reliance.
Uh, translation, we're all anti-social loners.
Thanks a lot.
He is right about me.
I am still a little unsure around people.
Still? I was in prison 5 years ago.
Oh, yeah? What were you in for? I'm a priest, but I got caught preaching the wrong gospel.
Freedom.
So how'd you get here? I made a few influential friends during my stay.
Very influential.
And you? Did you volunteer? No.
I was ordered.
The commander said that I fit the profile.
HONG: What was that? Uh, I'm an orphan.
I have no friends or family, really.
A loner, like you said.
After university, I was put in a missile silo back when we were the USSR.
And then when this project came up, they said that I would be perfect.
Hmm.
That's exactly what happened with me.
I was on a drilling rig off New Orleans.
Then when I enlisted, I worked a listening post up in Alaska.
How about you, Hong? Let us hear about you.
There's not much to tell.
I trained in the States for 4 years.
Then I was a computer programmer for the military.
I worked so many hours, I didn't have a life.
Might as well have been down here.
Hey, I got something.
RADIO: been hit with such force, residents fled in panic, spreading pandemonium in the city streets.
(Static noises) What pandemonium in the streets? Have the aliens landed? Are we being attacked? Try to get the signal back.
(Static noises) RADIO: The tornado winds were clocked at 210 miles per hour.
The death Oh.
Tornado.
We got all worked up over nothing.
That's why we're not supposed to get outside news, because we don't need it to do our jobs.
Sure you wanna stay in, Katia? You already owe me 5, 000 roubles.
Yes, but what you don't realize (Keystrokes) 5, 000 roubles is only 1 American dollar.
Sorry I've been out of touch, but I've been away at an international summit.
We've finally been able to translate the language of the alien transmissions.
It's rough at best, but we are actually communicating with them.
What are the transmissions saying, sir? As near as we can figure, they're some sort of a scientific expedition.
So they're coming in peace.
DONALD: Is this true, General? We also have some other new information.
Our Hubble photo had only shown a V-shaped wedge of vessels.
But computer augmentation has determined that there is a second wave of much larger vessels coming.
They've already entered our solar system.
From where they were, wouldn't that require light speed? But where is the second wave? I don't see Oh, my God.
GENERAL: They're generating some sort of energy field that displaces light and radio waves.
Attack vessels? Not likely.
With the technology they have, their weaponry shouldn't require any heavy ships.
So what are they? Tankers.
Least that's what they've told us.
Come on, General.
Level with us.
What do you think they are? Colonists.
(Shaver buzzing) Check.
I didn't expect that.
I'm a lot less predictable than the computer, no? I'll say.
But it's nice.
I spend way too much time with computers.
Check again.
You know, it's strange.
Here we are.
We're both in bunkers halfway around the world from each other playing chess.
10 years ago, we would've been pointing missiles at each other.
I think I like this better.
You don't need to look away, Ben.
I left my privacy setting off on purpose.
What What for? For you.
Oh, I'm sorry.
Was I embarrassing you? Uh, no.
I (Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
(Alarm continues) Mine's not working! COMPUTER: 20 seconds.
(Rattling) Katia, you've got to press your button! Aah! (Alien screeching) Katia, get out of there! Katia, fight! Aah! Save me! I'm trying! Where is everybody?! Ohh! No! (Screeching) Ahh.
Bad dream? No.
Uh nightmare.
What about? Did something bad happen to you? No.
Actually, something bad happened to you.
I was fighting to save you.
(Laughing) Such chivalry.
You're a very brave friend.
You know, it was just a dream.
I don't know how brave I'd be in real life.
It's too bad, though.
It was kind of nice before all the bad stuff started happening.
Da? Tell me about it.
Well Ahem.
It was just you and me Um, I see where you are going.
You don't need to tell me any more about it.
No, it wasn't like that.
It wasn't like that.
It was I know where I got the idea from.
The other night when we were playing chess.
I thought, what would it be like to kiss you.
And then I thought when we get out of here, maybe we could go on a date or take a trip or something.
Ben, we are thousands of miles apart.
And And who knows what the future holds? It It would be a cruel joke to make us think such things, to make us feel too much.
(Video game noises) (Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
Come on, you guys.
It's your turn.
COMPUTER: 20 seconds.
Damn it! COMPUTER: 10 seconds.
(Alarm stops) COMPUTER: Deactivation verified.
I hit the switch first.
It's OK.
I know you're busy.
No big deal.
No, I don't think you understand.
I hit the switch first.
It didn't cut off.
You sure? I hit buttons all day.
I'm sure.
Nothing happened.
It didn't cut off.
If your switch could stop working, then So could the others.
(Power drill whirring) What What are we gonna do if we have another alarm? Hey, what are you doing? Fixing it.
I'm an electrical engineer, remember? Uh, sh-shouldn't we wait? What, for the repair man? I don't think so.
Whose is gonna break next? I mean, I don't know.
I just seems like there ought to be some sort of rule or procedure for Oh, my God.
Look at this.
You said General Eiger said this was put together with spit and rubber bands? He wasn't joking.
This is archaic.
Hong.
Hong? Hong.
Hong.
Ben, what happened? I don't know.
You know, General Eiger is monitoring us.
He'd tell us if there was something really wrong with Ho.
He'd call us.
Unless, of course, this is a test.
Honey, I'm home.
You're back.
Good as new? Well, maybe the console, but not me.
I'm beat.
It looks like it took a lot of work.
What happened? Well, the monitors and the consoles share the same power feed.
I had to take it off-line.
But I think I figured out why the switch stopped working.
I scavenged some parts from the ventilation control system.
A lot of the circuits are redundant, so I just re-routed them.
Should work.
Should work? What if it doesn't? Well, we better hope the other 4 keep working, 'cause this is crazy.
COMPUTER: Stand by for a voice message from General Eiger.
GENERAL: We're receiving this transmission, folks.
Thought you might want to look in.
They've reached Mars already.
Hey, I bet they did a pass by Mars to do a course correction for Earth Just like that book 2010.
They could be using gravity-wave generation propulsion.
Pretty cool.
How does that affect the earth? Well, major changes in the tide, for one.
And some very rad surf in Malibu in about 90 days.
Good night.
KATIA: Are we really ready for this? So You ready to play? Katia, my whole life I've been a loner.
I've never loved anybody, friends, family, or a girlfriend.
I've never had any of them to love.
It's ironic.
What? Well, I got this job because my life is like that.
But it took this job for me to finally meet someone that I can feel something for.
I think about you all the time.
When I wake up.
Before I go to bed.
Most of the time in between.
Ben please don't do this.
You said that we shouldn't make any plans and we shouldn't get any closer.
If that's how you really feel, then I would like you to stop playing chess with me every day like you do.
It's just too hard on me.
Oh but it's easy for me when you give me ultimatums.
You know how I feel about this, Ben.
No.
Katia! OK you win.
I'm meeting you for dinner and a movie.
But no more talking about trips, OK? Let's just see how our date goes.
OK.
The others have agreed to give us some privacy.
So This is a dream.
It's real.
Very real, Jerry.
No, I I love you, Heather.
I have since the first day I met you.
There I said it.
HEATHER: You are such a sweet man.
That always makes me cry.
Do you think we'll ever find our way home, Ben? Couple of misfits like us? You can count on it.
Mmm.
Well, then here's to going home together.
Mmm.
I think I'm getting tipsy.
Is that real wine? I thought it was grape juice.
How'd you get that in? I smuggled it.
I'm Russian.
I know how to get past guards.
I was saving it for when we got out, but what the hell.
We're not supposed to have alcohol.
What if an alarm goes off? You're the designated presser.
Relax.
The button is 20 feet away from you, and you're a fast runner.
Just don't fall asleep.
Not without kissing me good night.
I wish I could.
Maybe you can.
I have a very good imagination.
Don't go anywhere.
Pretend to kiss me good night.
Describe it to me.
All right.
Uh I'd put my arms around you, and then I'd kiss you.
(Giggles) What is this, a handshake? No.
Tell me.
Just use your imagination and tell me what you'd like to do to me.
Well First, I'd pull you close to me so I could feel the warmth of your skin pressing against mine.
Go on.
I'd hold your face in my hands.
Running my fingers through your hair, I would slowly kiss your neck.
Then Then I'd place my hands on your shoulders, caressing them, massaging them.
My hands would move down your dress if that's OK.
Yes, that's OK.
I want you to.
Down your dress, my hands would brush up across your body caressing it's every curve with my fingertips, ever so lightly.
Gliding up and down.
And up.
Kissing you passionately, your body, making you lose all control, all restraint.
You couldn't hold back.
You'd wanna let go.
You'd have to let go.
(Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
(Alarm stops) COMPUTER: Deactivation verified.
Can't believe it.
It's never happened before.
How much longer, General? Not much.
I think your wait is over.
The aliens have arrived.
When? Last night.
A small landing craft left their ships and landed at Edwards.
They've begun sending us their telemetry.
They've already begun to gather data on the earth.
The last set of graphics have something to do with their orbiting link-up.
Whatever it is, it could go either way as far as their intentions.
They've broadcast a message world-wide announcing they're only landing here to make contact Peaceful contact.
They've asked for a meeting with representatives from every country.
I'll be one of the delegates.
What is the prognosis? Cautiously optimistic, emphasis on the "cautiously.
" But it looks promising, so keep your fingers crossed.
Anything? No.
It's been a week.
We should have heard something by now.
I keep thinking that There is a lot of possible explanations.
Oh, yeah, like everyone's dead.
Hmph.
Let's face it.
I mean, these bunkers were like coffins from day one.
He knew.
He knew damn well we'd never get out of here.
We're already buried, for crying out loud! We're just not dead yet! Stop it, Hong.
We're getting cabin fever, that's all.
Long-term isolation usually leads to the feelings of stress, fear, even paranoia.
We just need to stay calm.
(Radio static) RADIO: a message of some sort.
We're back in business.
RADIO: Ceremonies were interrupted after (Static) Alien representatives returned to their mother ship.
News Front has received a press release of the There is a new development, and that Damn it! Overload! (Gasps) CO2 scrubber's burst! (Choking) Hong! Hong! Somebody do something! What would you have us do? I keep waiting for him to say some smart-ass remark.
I can't believe he's not here.
We'll all miss him.
Even the remarks.
What if it wasn't an accident? Hong's system was jury-rigged, patched together.
It had problems from the start.
He said he stole parts from his air purification system.
Maybe that made it malfunction.
The reality is we don't know what's happening.
Short-wave radio message could mean many things.
It said there was a new development.
Bad or good? We don't know.
We can only deal with what we do know.
And what we know is our friend is dead.
If we want to hold together, my prescription is rest.
OK.
I'll take the ship.
Gwen, you and Katia get some sleep.
You go, too, Ben.
I will take it.
Sure you're OK? You're shivering.
Yes.
It is awfully cold in here.
Is your place cold? No.
Maybe you ought to run a system check.
You could be having a reactor malfunction.
No.
Other problems would be happening.
I'm sure it's just the climate control.
Nothing a blanket won't fix.
You get some shut-eye, Ben.
I will be fine.
Katia, wake up! You've got to see this! My God.
My God.
He's frozen.
Oh, my God.
Somebody help him.
Donald! Donald, wake up! Donald! Can't you two see that he's dead?! Just like we're all going to be! Don't say that.
Look, without Donald, all together, there's only three of us to keep watch all the time now.
Just the three of us.
He was a religious man.
We argued once about the existence of God.
I only hope he was right.
(Tapping buttons quickly) (Video game noises) Ben? Yes, Gwen? Would you listen to this, please? I'm 100 points from beating Hong's record.
I mean now.
OK.
(Loud whirring noises) What is it? Reactor failure? Or maybe my ventilation system.
Reactors are below us.
Listen, see if you can pinpoint it.
I think it's coming from my bedroom.
Sound like hydraulics? It's coming from above! You're you're being rescued! I knew I should've brought champagne.
(Giggles) BEN: Careful.
They're breaking through.
Oh! They're lowering some sort of cable.
Aah! Gwen! What happened? Something took her! Some kind of rope.
Somebody pulled her up.
I couldn't see.
Gwen? Gwen! Gwen! Where are you? Gwen! Gwen! KATIA: Gwen, where are you? Get some rest.
I can't.
If it was the aliens that took Gwen, then they have access to the dead man's switch.
Yeah, but once the perimeter's breached, they'd have to use both the retina and palm scanners to deactivate the button.
They respond only to living tissue.
So you think Gwen is dead? I don't know.
I do know that she hasn't been pressing her switch.
And since she disappeared, the alarm's been going off as usual.
It's only been you and I stopping it.
So what do we do now? You wanna finish the game? No.
I've lost.
Face it, Ben, we've lost.
Katia.
Don't give me false hope, Ben.
I know what they did to Gwen.
I know what I saw.
All we can do now is wait to see which one of us is next.
It's not gonna happen to you.
I wouldn't let it.
Oh, and how would you stop it? (Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
There is only one way, Ben.
Let it go.
Ben, the aliens killed the only real friends that you and I ever had.
COMPUTER: 20 seconds.
Let it go.
What if the aliens haven't won? What if there's a resistance, if there's people still out there trying to fight them? COMPUTER: 15 seconds.
There still may be a chance.
COMPUTER: 10 seconds.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Deactivation verified.
Sorry.
No.
You are right.
If there is just one person hiding out there, they deserve a chance.
I was being selfish.
That's why we have our orders.
Ben? Our time is up, isn't it? It's been a year.
Shouldn't all this have shut down, then? Yeah.
My power cut out last night.
I've been running on a backup generator.
Well, how long will it last? I don't know.
Sure you want to wait it out? There might not be much left.
We have each other.
Ben whatever time I have left Days or hours minutes It's very precious to me if I can spend it with you.
(Alarm buzzing) Oh, don't worry.
Your power will come back.
No.
Something is wrong.
COMPUTER: Warning.
System malfunction.
Katia! The fire extinguisher! Get your fire extinguisher! No, the panel! The panel! Katia, you've got to get out of there! Aah! Katia, run! Run! Oh, my God! Katia, are you all right? Speak to me! Katia, can you hear me? Ben! You've gotta get up! You've got to run! Go! Go! Aah! Katia! (Audible heartbeats) (Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
(Alarm) COMPUTER: Alert.
Arming countdown.
30 seconds.
20 seconds.
15 seconds.
10 seconds remaining.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Initiating final stage destruct sequence.
I knew it wasn't really 30 seconds.
30 seconds remaining.
(Chuckling) SECOND COMPUTER: Chemical warheads armed.
Biological weaponry armed.
FIRST COMPUTER: 20 seconds.
SECOND COMPUTER: Nuclear warheads armed.
FIRST COMPUTER: 15 seconds.
Anybody listening? The world explodes, and there's no one there to hear it! COMPUTER: 10 seconds remaining (Warbled voice) Ben, do you read me? For God sakes, man, are you there? General? Ben! COMPUTER: 3 2 (Alarm stops) COMPUTER: Countdown aborted.
Thank God you're alive.
We made it.
We stopped them? We took staggering losses.
Most of our leadership was in hiding.
But we used a new weapon, and it drove them back.
What So what's our plan now? We get you out, but it may take some time to unseal the doors and figure out a way to disarm the system.
Right.
Dis Disarm.
Disarm system.
Until we do, no matter how much exhaustion sets in, stay near the switch and keep pushing that button.
You have to give us time to reach you.
It's your duty.
Clear, soldier? Yes, sir.
Keep pushing the button.
Must keep pushing the button.
Must keep pushing the button.
Must keep pushing the button.
Button.
Must keep pushing the button.
(Gushy noise) (Groaning) (Screeching) Must keep pushing the button.
NARRATOR: Our destiny is controlled by the choices we make.
Those choices can turn an ordinary man into a king or reduce him to little more than a pawn.
With the fate of the world in your hands, what would you choose? Pushing the button.