The music's still playing when an urgent-looking message pops up on a screen and one of the conn officers hands Chaplin a dot-matrix printout of same. I do appreciate the mix of old and new technology all over the place. Seems appropriate for an operation that runs on tax dollars. Chaplin lifts his shades, takes one look at the page, and hollers, "Battle stations!" Party's over, as Prosser darts to a console and hits an alarm, cutting off Richie Valens as rudely as any plane crash.
Everyone rushes back to their places. And we cut to the ceremony of Shepard formally notifying Chaplin of a coded message from Antarctic command, in the presence of Prosser, Stern, and Kendal. "Antarctica?" Kendal asks. Yes, Sam. You may have heard of it. It's cold there. Kendal opens a safe containing another safe that Chaplin has to open, pulling out Ziplocked documents and keys on strings that he and Kendal hang around their necks. Shepard reads off the authentication code that accompanied the transmission of the order, which matches the sealed, printed red cards stored in the safe. "The order's authenticated," Chaplin barks. "I concur," Kendal says robotically. The five of them head back to the conn, and Shepard and Kendal share some info with each other that they both know and we maybe don't: that the order would only come through the Antarctic network if a first strike took out the main one in Washington D.C. Wow, that sounds bad for D.C.
Up in the conn, Chaplin and Kendal both get on the horn to Weapons and order missiles one through four spun up. The sub comes to launch depth, and a map of Pakistan pops up on a screen with four very unlucky spots highlighted. The topside missile tubes open underwater, and both Chaplin and Kendal insert their keys into separate firing stations, far enough apart that no one person could turn them at the same time. Now that we've seen all the totally reassuring safeguards that are in place to keep one submarine officer from going bugfuck and hitting the Button, we can pause to take in the tension of the moment. Chaplin invites Kendal to say what they're both thinking. Kendal repeats his concerns about the Antarctic network, and asks if they can't just "take a look." After a long pause, Chaplin orders an officer named Cahill to roll out the antenna. I think they might already be in court-martial territory here.