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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 4 E 24 Phobos Rising

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The Control Voice: How far will mankind have to go before we realize that the only antidote to self-annihilation... is trust?

Two colonies on Mars grow paranoid and ready to go to war when it seems that war is brewing on Earth.

The Control Voice: If mankind is to survive we must trust one another... and that trust begins in the human heart.

Tropes Rising:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: This episode hints at this plot, with the Earth possibly destroyed and only two Mars colonies with a combined population of less than fifty as survivors. Unfortunately, accidents fueling Enforced Cold War paranoia end up destroying both colonies with only a pair of defectors surviving. Subverted in the final few minutes, when the surviving pair on Mars receive a transmission from Earth, telling them that the Moon was accidentally destroyed and in the wake of the devastation on Earth, both sides have called a truce.
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  • Colonized Solar System: Both the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States have bases on Mars. It is also mentioned that both blocs had moonbases 30 years earlier and that the Alliance had one on a body known as Sagan V.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Free Alliance accuses the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States of developing a triradium-based anti-matter weapon, a Doomsday Device with the capability of incinerating Earth. In response, the Coalition accuses the Alliance of developing such a weapon. As this latest escalation of tensions is being communicated to the Alliance base on Mars, a giant explosion encompasses Earth. The base's commanding officer Colonel Samantha Elliot comes to the conclusion that the Coalition has been smuggling triradium from Mars, its sole source, and were therefore responsible for destroying Earth. Further evidence of the scale of the destruction comes when Mars is struck by a colossal shockwave. When a drone is launched from the Coalition base, Colonel Elliot orders that all of the Alliance base's missiles be launched in response. However, it turns out that not only was the Coalition not smuggling triradium but the drone was being used to send a distress signal from the Coalition base, which had been devastated by the shockwave. The Coalition base's missiles are automatically launched in response to the incoming Alliance missiles and, in spite of the efforts of Colonel Elliot and her counterpart Colonel Paz, both bases are destroyed. Only Major James Bowen and Major Dara Talif survive the destruction of the Alliance base, which they do by shielding themselves in spacesuits. In the midst of the devastation, they see a message from the commander-in-chief of the Alliance's military explaining that the giant explosion was caused by the incineration of The Moon as a result of an Alliance experiment with a weapon far less advanced than a triradium bomb. The surface of Earth is devastated and the death toll is high but the planet remains intact. The commander-in-chief announces that the Alliance and the Coalition have signed a permanent peace settlement so that they can put aside their differences and focus on rebuilding Earth.
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  • Love Across Battlelines: Earth's two major power blocs, the Free Alliance and the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States, are in a state of cold war. Major James Bowen, the second-in-command of the Alliance base on Mars, and Major Dara Talif, the base's Coalition observer, are about to start a relationship when a giant explosion encompasses Earth. Their closeness causes the base's commander Colonel Samantha Elliot to question Bowen's objectivity once the crisis begins.
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: The Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States is one of the two major power blocs on Earth and Mars, the other being the Free Alliance.
  • Mutual Kill: This episode involves two Martian bases belonging to the opposite sides of a Space Cold War. When Earth appears to be destroyed, both sides assume the other one is responsible. The communication blackout resulting from the planetary explosion prevents a normal conversation, and the bases launch missiles at one another. The two commanders finally manage to establish contact, but one is killed before being able to self-destruct the missiles. Both bases end up being destroyed (having no anti-missile defenses) with only two survivors (one from each side). The survivors learn that Earth is fine. It was the Moon that was accidentally destroyed, and the debris blocked the view of Earth.
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  • Space Cold War: The two major political blocs of Earth and Mars, the Coalition of Middle Eastern and Pacific States and the Free Alliance, have been in a state of cold war for 30 years.
  • Tuckerization: It is mentioned that the Free Alliance had a base on a celestial body called Sagan V, which was named after the astrophysicist Carl Sagan.

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