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The Human Factor Recap

At Point TABU, a U.S. military base in Greenland, men bring in a cartridge containing fissionable material. Major Roger Brothers and two base crew are waiting for them, and one of them, Major Giles, assure the third Colonel William Campbell that the container is accident-proof. Giles explains how the absorbants prevent an accidental detonation and how pushing down a bar will cause the material to explode. The bar is locked and Giles has the key. Roger demands the key, saying that the base must be destroyed. An earthquake shakes the base, knocking everyone down. Roger hits the edge of the case, knocking himself out.

Once the quake is done, a technician announces over the PA that the quake is done but there may be other minor shocks on the isthmus the base is standing on over the next 24 hours. Roger panics and yells that it's coming to get them, and runs out. Taking the elevator up, he leaves the base and imagines seeing the ghost of a frozen soldier coming for him. The figure reaches for Roger, who backs into the elevator.

In the Human Factors office, Dr. James Hamilton and his assistant Dr. Ingrid Larkin are working on James' device to link two minds up. He hooks them both up and explains that it will let each of them "read" the other's thoughts. James brings up the power and they look at each other. After a moment, James switches off the machine and takes off his skullcap. Ingrid apologizes for shocking him, and James says that he didn't know she thought of him that way. She tells him that she'll arrange for her transfer, and James says that his job is to bring out the human desires in a patient. Campbell calls and asks when James can see Roger. The colonel tells Roger to talk to James, and Roger insists that their only hope is to find out where "it" is hiding and destroy it.

Once the MPs take Roger to James, Campbell tells James over the phone that Roger insists the base has been invaded by some kind of alien being. After James hangs up, he finds Ingrid calling to find him a new assistant. Once she hangs up, James tells her that secret thoughts have a way of losing their effectiveness once they're no longer secret. Ingrid insists that she's not leaving because she's ashamed, but because she realized that he has no love for her but only for his work. She says that he doesn't need a woman in his life and leaves.

Ingrid meets Roger and the MPs in the hallway, and the MPs take Roger into James' office. James assures Roger that he's not under arrest, and talks to him privately in his lab. Roger insists that he's not insane, and says that the men on the base are afraid to see the evil that they cause. If they had let Roger blow the base up, the evil would be gone. Roger explains that his job was to blow up the isthmus and the "thing" on it. James asks what he means, and the Roger says that thing is on the base. The psychiatrist asks about Roger's head injury, and Roger insists that it was no earthquake. He grabs James and says that it was the thing breaking out of the crevasse, not the earthquake. Roger insists that it must be destroyed and he's willing to stake his life on it. James says that he believes Roger and wants to know the reason Roger is willing to sacrifice his life. He asks if Roger would participate in the mind-linking experiment and Roger agrees.

James hooks them both up and links their minds. As they start to share each other's thoughts, a quake shakes the base and the equipment sparks, knocking both men back. Roger wakes up first... and discovers that his mind is in James' body. He finds James--in Roger's body--lying unconscious. Shocked, Roger/James looks at his reflection in a case and realizes what has happened.

James/Roger wakes up and, seeing Roger/James, realizes what has happened. He says that they'll try to undo it, but Roger/James calls the MPs in and tells them to lock James/Roger up. The MPs don't believe James/Roger and when he tries to explain and recites personal details, they assume that he's insane and take him away. Roger/James recites the details he heard James/Roger say, and says that he will destroy everyone on the base.

Dr. Soldini prepares to give James/Roger a sedative, and James/Roger recites a chess game that he and Soldini played. Soldini figures that "Roger" made a thorough study of James' life, and injects him with the sedative. James/Rogers passes out and the orderlies strap him down.

Roger/James reports to Campbell and says that there's not much hope for "Roger". He suggests that "Roger" might have received a dose of radiation when he struck his head. Campbell says that he had Giles check for radiation and confirm there was none there, and Roger/James asks to see the atomic cartridge himself. When Campbell says that "Roger" has been sick and getting sicker, Roger/James angrily says that he isn't, but Campbell says that Roger was out on the isthmus with a surveying team and he lost a man, Private Gordon. Gordon fell into a crevasse and Roger was unable to rescue him, and they had to take Roger's word because they couldn't get to the body. Roger/James angrily repeats what Roger said at the time about not risking the lives of more men, and then claims that he heard Roger say it. Campbell says that he wouldn't have left any of his men behind, and after that Roger started to get ill. He tells Roger/James to look into it if he thinks that it's best, and says that he'll have Giles look into it.

When Roger/James returns to his office, he finds Ingrid waiting in the reception room. She says that she thought it over, and Roger/James hallucinates Gordon's ghost again, pointing an accusing finger at him. He tells the ghost to get out, and Ingrid assumes that he's talking to her. The ghost disappears and Roger/James goes into his office and slams the door. Ingrid hears him going through the desk and goes in, and Roger/James asks where his pistol is. He tells Ingrid to go and finds the pistol in a locker, loads it, and has Ingrid put him through to Giles. Once she does, Roger/James tells Giles to meet him at the atomic storeroom in ten minutes. He leaves and Ingrid confirms that the pistol is gone. Ingrid also finds James' notes about Roger, wondering if he should link his mind with Roger's to find out what he's hiding. She looks at the ruined equipment, and the phone rings. Soldini calls saying that James/Roger has stopped insisting that he's James.

Ingrid goes to the infirmary and talks to the attending sergeant, Peterson. Peterson confirms that James/Roger has stopped insisting that he's James, and Ingrid claims that James asked her to speak to the patient. The sergeant agrees to take her in once he's done with the paperwork.

Roger/James orders the guards to leave, but Giles reminds him that it's regulations. Rather than push the issue, Roger/James remains silent.

Once Peterson excuses himself, Ingrid talks to James/Roger in his cell. She asks who she is, and James/Roger immediately recognizes her. Ingrid has him relate what she told him during the experiment, and he has her look in his eyes to confirm who he is. Convinced, Ingrid goes to tell the doctors but James/Roger says that they won't believe her and they're running out of time because Roger means to destroy the base. He tells Ingrid to get the keys and she leaves.

Giles confirms that there's no radiation on the outside of the cartridge. He assures Roger/James that the controls are perfect and can't be moved without the key.

Ingrid has the nurse call "James" and tries to grab the keys. An orderly asks her to hand the keys to him and she does so, watching as he goes into a store room.

Giles explains that the key is magnetic, and Roger/James asks what the key looks like. The major says that he needs the key that unlocks the key from the case.

Ingrid goes to the door that the orderly left the keys in, locks him in the store room, and takes the keys to James/Roger's cell. She lets him out and James/Roger runs out past the nurse to the storeroom.

Giles shows Roger/James how the magnetic key works.

Soldini has the nurse send out a general alarm.

As Giles says that there is an additional dial that needs to be turned to release the bar, the alarm goes out. James/Roger goes out an emergency hatch, while Roger/James is called back to his office. Roger/James tells Giles to continue with his demonstration, but Giles refuses.

Ingrid returns to her desk and tells Campbell that she'll let him know when James comes in. Once she hangs up, Roger/James comes in, gun drawn, and demands to know where James/Roger is. He sees James/Roger's snowy footprints leading into the lab and goes in, shooting at James/Roger. Ingrid grabs him and as Roger/James knocks her aside, James/Roger runs over, knocks Roger/James out, and has Ingrid help him hook them both up to the machine. As they work, Roger/James recovers and grabs the gun. He shoots James/Rogers in the chest, and James/Roger manages to knock Roger/James out. Dying, he has Ingrid make the transfer. Roger/James wakes up and sees Gordon advancing on him.

The transfer goes successfully and Gordon disappears as James' mind reenters his body. Roger realizes that he's back in his own body... and dies. When Ingrid comes over, James tells her that he's there. She hugs him, and James apologizes for not realizing that he needs love. Ingrid tells him that she knew who he really was because it's his mind that attracts her most. James admits that he didn't find out what death is but figures that Roger is free of Gordon's ghost. When Ingrid wonders how James will explain it, James says that he'll tell them the truth: that Roger shot himself.

Written by Gadfly on Feb 19, 2019