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Recap / The Outer Limits 1995 S 5 E 3 Small Friends

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The Control Voice: The longing for redemption can express itself in many forms and sometimes, indeed, the greatest obstacle we face is found within our own conscience.

In prison, a scientist finds his only friends are nanobots he created.

The Control Voice: It is said that our lives are measured by what we leave behind. But for rich man and poor, the most valuable legacy of all... is love.

Small Tropes:

  • The Atoner: Professor Gene Morton is a convict in his 70s who killed a fellow scientist for trying to steal the credit for his Nanomachines research 15 years earlier. He destroys his chances of being paroled by telling to the parole board that he could not say with certainty that he would not react the same way in similar circumstances. However, it turns out that this was a calculated move as he believes that he deserves to stay imprisoned because he feels so guilty and wishes to atone for his crime.
  • Captivity Harmonica: There is a variation in which Lawrence plays a saxophone.
  • Hostage Situation: Marlon has his brother Walter hold Professor Gene Morton's daughter Becky and grandson Phillip hostage in their house in order to force Gene to use his Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) to break Marlon out of his prison.
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  • Nanomachines: Professor Gene Morton invented the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) while in prison. Controlled using a small keypad, the MEMS work together to perform numerous tasks. Hundreds of MEMS form a swarm, which resembles a firefly. Each swarm works with other swarms to maximize their productivity. Gene is forced by the psychotic prisoner Marlon to use the MEMS to break him out of prison.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A prisoner who has secretly invented nanomachines uses them to aid a fellow prisoner in repairing a CD player he broke, which is owned by a hostile convict who will kill him if it isn't fixed. As a result of this act of kindness, the inventor has his secret exposed to the hostile con, is forced to aid that con's escape, and ultimately loses his life while defending his family from him. At least the nanomachines paid the con back for that one.
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  • Prisoner's Work: Professor Gene Morton works in the laboratory attached to the prison, where he developed the Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS). His work in the lab has granted him certain privileges.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Subverted as Warden Taylor is a Reasonable Authority Figure who simply does his job and treats the prisoners with respect. A more straightforward example is the prison guard Gabriel who not only turns a blind eye to Marlon terrorizing other prisoners but actively assists in his escape in exchange for money. He ends up getting killed by Marlon for his trouble.

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