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The Final Countdown

(The Final Countdown)

 The Story

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We are in 1980. Warren Lasky, civilian employee for the United States Department of Defense, has been assigned by his mysterious boss, Mr. Tideman, the mission to observe work methods of the soldiers on board the U.S.S. Nimitz, a nuclear aircraft carrier lead by Captain Matthew Yelland. During manoeuvres in the Pacific, the carrier is taken into a violent magnetic tempest, an irrational phenomenon that dives the ship into chaos.

When the mysterious meteorological phenomenon disappears as suddenly as it appeared, the crew of the Nimitz begins to observe strange phenomena : all modern methods to contact Pearl Harbor are not working, accompanying vessels have disappeared and civilian radio broadcasts only have old-fashioned shows from the early 1940's. Aerial photographs of Pearl Harbor show it the same as it appeared before the attack of the Japanese navy aircraft on December 7, 1941. Little by little the officers must admit that the Nimitz is no longer in 1980 but truly in 1941, at a date when America was still ignorant that Japan had decided to declare war.

Commander Richard Owens and Admiral Matthew Yelland are looking for an explanation - The Final Countdown
Commander Richard Owens and Admiral Matthew Yelland
are looking for an explanation

When the yacht of the senator Samuel S. Chapman is attacked by two Japanese zero's, the fighter aircraft of the Nimitz engage them, easily defeating zero's. The modern warship welcomes the politician as well as his office assistant Lauren Scott, but restrict their movements on-board ship. The problem is that Chapman should have died in this attack. Today, the course of the history is modified and Air Wing Commander Richard Owens, an amateur historian, specialising in World War Two, has imagines of an alternative progress of the history, which shows Samuel Chapman becoming vice-president in 1944.

Warren Lasky is the witness of this incredible adventure - The Final Countdown
Warren Lasky is the witness of this incredible adventure

In this eve of 7th December 1941, Captain Yelland readies to fight the Japanese Pacific Fleet on their way to attack Pearl Harbor. The Nimitz, on its own, possesses the necessary fire-power to repel the attack. For Yelland, and despite the dilemma, his job is to defend the United States in the same manner wherever and whenever that might be. But Senator Chapman should not be on board the Nimitz. Lasky is firmly opposed to releasing the senator who asks to be repatriated to Pearl Harbor to warn about the imminent Japanese attack. The captain of the Nimitz assigns Owens to take the senator and his assistant off the ship. He will have to leave them on a small deserted island where they will have to reside until after the attack.

Senator Samuel Chapman attempts to highjack the helicoptere to go to Pearl Harbor - The Final Countdown
Senator Samuel Chapman attempts to highjack the helicoptere
to go to Pearl Harbor
 Spoiler ! the end of the story is revealed below…

When Chapman understands that he was not going to Pearl Harbor, he commandeers the helicopter that transported them to the island, using a flare gun. The flare gun goes off, dramatically killing the politician and the crew and destroying the helicopter. The only survivors of this drop-off mission, now left alone on the island, are Commander Richard Owens and Laurel Scott, who now knows that the Nimitz came from the future.While the Nimitz's air wing, composed of modern jet-powered aircraft, approaches Pearl Harbor and the ancient flying machines of the Japanese navy, the mysterious meteorological phenomenon appears again. Captain Yelland has no other choice that to recall the aircraft prior to them engaging the Japanese forces. The temporal distortion returns the Nimitz back to 1980.

It appears that history was not altered, but perhaps it is better this way. For Lasky, he is awaited by his mysterious boss who this time seems to expose his identity. This rich man, who participated in the construction of the Nimitz and his wife are a much older Richard Owens and Lauren Scott. For them, history had taken another path.

David Nuttall