The film begins with a CIA internal memo being typed across the screen. It states that a man name Arlington Steward has recovered from his severe burn wounds and is delivering units related to the Mars project. Next, Norma awakes at 5:45AM as the doorbell rings as her husbands sleeps next to her. As she looks through the peephole, she sees a black car drive off, and upon opening the door, sees a package on her doorstep. Inside, she and her husband find a wooden box with a button protected by a glass dome, locked with a key, and a note, saying Mr. Steward will come at 5PM.
Arthur goes to work at NASA, where he works in optics, and helped in designing the camera on Viking Mars probe. He finds he has been rejected from the astronaut program despite acing his tests and glowing recommendations, because he failed his psych exam. Norma goes to her job as a teacher at an elite private school teaching literature, where they are discussing Satre's vision of Hell. One of her student remarks on her limp, after which she shows her class her disfigured right foot, missing 4 toes.