Something different I cooked up relating to the next post, whenever I get around to finishing it. A bit of television from TTL.
The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episode 5
Title: Finis belli (The End of the War)
Originally aired on Nov. 4, 1961, on CBS.
Let me introduce you to Captain Able Winter, a man who has dedicated his life to his Nation and pledged to achieve victory in a war where that has proven elusive. He does his duty where lesser men would falter, confident that the next mission he flies will prove decisive. Tonight though, the course he sets will be into the Twilight Zone…
In a distant future, a fortress bunker sits on the edge of a vast no-man’s-land as a nuclear-powered Bomber piloted by Captain Winter returns from the latest mission. During debrief, he learns that that Reconnaissance has informed Command that the report regarding damage to the factory complex that was the target was inconclusive. Angered by this, Winter requests that he be allowed to attack the heavily defended enemy capital directly, much to the horror of his aircrew. Command says that they will consider Winter’s request.
As the Bomber is being prepared for the next mission, Winter’s Co-Pilot accuses him of seeking glory at the expense of the safety of the crew. Something which he vehemently denies. Not wanting to be questioned further, Winter goes to personally oversee final preparations for the mission. That is when the Chaplain finds him, and they strike up a brief conversation about the war and how he is trying to win the peace. The Chaplain wonders if it is not peace of the Roman variety, to build a desert and call it peace. Winter explains that the Romans knew what it meant to take the fight to the enemy, to sow the fields with salt so that they couldn’t rise up again. He says that nothing is standing in his way this time, he will get his final victory. Winter grimly smiles as the Chaplain retreats from the conversation. A short while later, word comes that Command has approved the mission and the Bomber is being loaded with hydrogen bombs to carry out what will hopefully be the final mission.
As the bomber takes off on the mission, Winter and his Co-Pilot are seen behind the controls before the view shifts to the no-man’s-land ahead. The light shifts and as the camera pans back. The previously pristine bomber is revealed to be a badly corroded wreck. The members of the crew are revealed to still be strapped into their positions, motionless in their pressure suits, helmets closed. The skeletal remains of Winter himself sit motionless in the cockpit as the Bomber climbs away.
The outcome of the mission is never revealed.
I give you Captain Able Winter, a driven and dedicated man, the Alpha and Omega of a different kind of doomsday. Only continuing to exist in a simulation as computers built to continue the war in which Captain Winter was a casualty along with the vast bulk of humanity, seek the elusive victory by bombing the dead cities of the enemy. For Able Winter, extinction was the cost of admission to the Twilight Zone.