It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears. Case in point: the scene you're watching. This is not a hospital, not a morgue, not a mausoleum, not an undertaker's parlor of the future. What it is is the belly of a spaceship. It is en route to another planetary system an incredible distance from the Earth. This is the crux of our story, a flight into space. It is also the story of the things that might happen to human beings who take a step beyond, unable to anticipate everything that might await them out there.
Commander Douglas Stansfield, astronaut, a man about to embark on one of history's longest journeys--forty years out into endless space and hopefully back again. This is the beginning, the first step toward man's longest leap into the unknown. Science has solved the mechanical details, and now it's up to one human being to breathe life into blueprints and computers, to prove once and for all that man can live half a lifetime in the total void of outer space, forty years alone in the unknown. This is Earth. Ahead lies a planetary system. The vast region in between is the Twilight Zone.
Stansfield goes on his mission and 40 years later he returns (tragically, the job he was sent to do was already completed, using technology developed after he left). He thus returns a forgotten pioneer. It is revealed on his arrival that he voluntarily disabled the suspended animation system about six months into his journey so that he would be Horn's age. Shortly after he left however, Horn had herself placed in suspended animation so that she would be his age. In the tragic end, an aged Stansfield sadly urges Horn to live her new life without him.
Commander Douglas Stansfield, one of the forgotten pioneers of the space age. He's been pushed aside by the flow of progress and the passage of years--and the ferocious travesty of fate. Tonight's tale of the ionosphere and irony, delivered from--the Twilight Zone.
Next time out on The Twilight Zone an unusual little item from the pen of Jerry McNeely based on a story by Henry Slesar and called, intriguingly enough, "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross." This one poses the question, "If you don't like what you are, how do you go about changing?" Don Gordon portrays a man who really goes the route when it comes to some basic changing and the results are most unexpected.