People in a nearby city panic when a nuclear missiles goes astray. It detonates harmlessly but a group of scientists take notice of the incident, the fourth near miss since the thermonuclear age began. Dr. Philip Gainer warns his associates that there will inevitably be more incidents, and one will prove fatal. He proposes that they make the nations of the world unite. As they listen to a painful squealing noise from a covered box, Dr. Herschel says that one of them will have to undergo the same ordeal...Read the full recap
Opening Narration: Is this the day? Is this the beginning of the end? There is no time to wonder, no time to ask, "Why is it happening, why is it finally happening?" There is time only for fear, for the piercing pain of panic. Do we pray? Or do we merely run now, and pray later? Will there be a later? Or is this the day?
Dr. Philip Gainer: Now I don't care what reading of history you take. The pattern is always the same. Whenever a bacterium invasion strikes or a fire rages or a wild beast roams the streets. Then and only then do men stop fighting each other and work together to save themselves. A common enemy, a common fear. That is the only answer. If all the men of the Earth are threatened by an enemy from a hostile planet... well, gentlemen, we are going to create that enemy.
Dr. Philip Gainer: Ah, yes, I see a long journey in your future. During which you will become a small, dark stranger.
Allen Leighton: Stay back. Stay back. You think your putty little hands can hold Prometheus? Odysseus? Tychostar?
Allen Leighton: Can it really work?
Dr. Philip Gainer: Allen, there are no absolutes. You know that better than anyone. I put your probability of success at 70, 80%. Millions of soldiers have gone into battle, wars of hate, with less odds. And with less cause.
Allen Leighton: I... did need that. Thanks.
Yvette Leighton: You killed him. And for what?
Dr. Philip Gainer: Yvette... if he could go so far to save us all, maybe everywhere people... all of us might be shamed into stopping just a little to save ourselves.
Closing Narration: Scarecrows and magic and other fatal fears do not bring people closer together. There is no magic substitute for soft caring and hard work, for self-respect and mutual love. If we can learn this from the mistake these frightened men made, then their mistake will not have been merely grotesque. It will have been at least a lesson—a lesson at last to be learned.