Night at a university, and a man with a distorted face walks through the science hall. He goes to a door and rips it open with superhuman strength, then goes in and searches for certain chemicals. A guard comes in and spots him, and the intruder runs over and strangles the guard with a casual effort. The intruder then finishes loading the chemicals into a carry case and drops the guard to the floor before leaving.
The next day, the coroner--Dr. Leland--tells Dr. Peter Wayne that the guard apparently died of suffocation and there's no sign of struggle. Police Lieutenant Branch comes over and notes that five people couldn't have pulled the truck out of its frame. There is no sign of equipment. Dr. Roy Clinton gives Peter a list of the missing supplies, and Peter introduces his brother-in-law to Branch and Leland. Branch notes that Peter was in charge when professors and students were expelled a month ago for taking drugs that put them in trances and see visions. Peter says that the press came up with that description, and they established that Man is only using a small percentage of his brain and the drugs expanded human awareness. Roy notes that only six people left and weren't expelled, and they only expended the students and gave the two professors leaves of absence. Branch notes that the same drugs were stolen, and Peter points out that the thieves took many drugs besides the CE--"consciousness expansion"--substances. He tells Peter that Roy will get the addresses of the six subjects and one of them, Instructor Okata, lives in the same building that Roy does.
Peter takes Branch to the apartments where he lives and as Branch rings Okata's door, he sees the manager, Mrs. Merrill, watering the flowers and points out that Okata doesn't answer her door. Merrill says that she didn't see Okata go out, and Branch presents his search warrant so she'll let him in. Inside Okata's apartment, Branch finds Okata lying apparently dead on his bed. Merrill runs to her apartment, and in the nearby bushes a man watches and then walks off.
Later, the coroner takes away Okata's body and the police secure the crime scene. Roy arrives and Merrill tells him what happened. Merrill doesn't remember that someone came in with Okata but she heard voices. However, she admits that Okata sometimes talked to himself. Branch tells Roy that they haven't found any cause of death and they'll have to wait for an autopsy.
That night, the man goes to Peter's house and peers in the window. Roy pulls up and sees the man, Lee Morrow, who says that he knew something didn't want to go to the police. Lee reminds Roy that a couple of them, including Okata, speculated to Roy that with the right substance they could enhance the human mind and body. He thinks that Okata might have tried it and made a mistake, but doesn't see how it could have killed him. Roy warns that it could hurt the university if any word got out that it was discussed by students or professors, and points out that CE drugs couldn't kill anyone.
Roy goes inside and tells Peter and his wife Susan that he talked to Lee. Peter figures that the autopsy would reveal if a drug killed Okata, and hopes that nothing connects Okata to the CE experiment.
At the coroner's lab, Leland and his assistant prepare to cut open Okata's body. Okata comes to life and sits up, demanding to know what's going on.
The next day at the police department, Okata tells Branch, Detective Alger, and Leland that he doesn't know what happened and insists that he isn't taking drugs. Alger confirms that Okata was at the restaurant when he claims, and Okata insists that he took no drugs. Branch asks for an explanation of expanding consciousness, and Okatatalks about the perception of reality and how under CE he sees the ever-changing role of leaves in everything. He asks if he can call his girl and Branch agrees.
Later, Branch meets with Dean Flint and Marc Lake, and Peter and Roy arrive. Branch asks where Roy was the night of the break-in, and Flint explains that Marc saw something that night. Marc describes seeing a man who looked like Roy heading toward the Science Hall. Roy assures Marc that he did the right thing but says that he's mistaken, and points out an article about a player in Las Vegas who won $2,000 in less than an hour. There's another story about a passing motorist lifted a car off of an accident victim. Roy notes that the crap shooter watched the game for an hour before playing, and figures that he computer the odds in his head. He suggests that the gambler, the man who lifted the car, and the intruder are the same person. Flint concedes that it's possible and Branch heads to Las Vegas to investigate, and Flint tells Marc not to discuss what they've heard.
Once Marc leaves, Flint tells Peter that one of the board members, Hart Bellaire, insists that they shut down Peter's project.
Later at his apartment, Roy looks for cigarettes and finds Las Vegas casino chips in his coat pocket.However, he has no idea how they got there. He calls Peter and asks him to come over because there's something they need to talk to. Peter asks if it can wait, and Roy has a brief mental lapse and then tells Peter that it can wait. His brother-in-law says that he'll stop by that afternoon and hangs up. Roy checks his watch and notices that he's been absently doodling the word "Bellaire" on a piece of paper. He crunches up the paper, gets the drugs from a hiding place in his kitchen cupboard, mixes them with water, and drinks. Roy then lies down on his bed and passes out.
Twenty minutes later, Peter wakes up, his features distorted. He picks up the piece of paper, looks at the word "Bellaire", and smiles.
Peter stops off from shopping at a hardware store to call Susan and say that he'll be home later. He sees the altered Roy going into the nearby Bellaire Building. Roy tells the elevator operator to take him to the 19th floor. When the operator points out that it's private, Roy stares at him for a moment and the entranced operator agrees. Peter arrives and sees the elevator indicator stop at the 19th floor,.
Roy gets off on the 19th floor and tells the receptionist that he wants to see Bellaire. She refuses until Roy entrances her into agreeing. Roy goes into Bellaire's office, closing the door behind him.
Peter is calling Roy when the elevator comes back down without Roy in it. The operator confirms that the phone is off the hook, and Peter confronts the operator when he comes back down from the 19th floor. The man says that Bellaire is dead and he's going to get a doctor, and doesn't remember taking anyone up. Peter goes to the 19th floor and sees Bellaire's corpse. He asks the receptionist if she would recognize the man who came up last, and the receptionist says that no one has been up there in hours.
Peter drives to Roy's apartment but gets no answer. The front door is unlocked and Peter goes inside. Roy--back to normal--comes in and says that he was out for a walk. He shows Peter the casino chips and says that he doesn't know where they come from or where he was from that morning until just before he returned home. Peter says that he followed someone he thought was Roy into the Bellaire Building, and Bellaire is dead. Roy insists that he doesn't remember and wonders if he was the man. Peter figures that it was some version of Roy, and Roy figures that the CE drugs are somewhere. He tells Peter to search the living room while he searches the kitchen.
Peter finds the formula on a piece of paper, and calls to Roy. When he gets no answer, he looks in the kitchen and seesRoy turned away from him. Roy says that it won't take long for Peter and turns to face Peter, revealing his distorted features. He assures Peter that once he's crossed over, he will understand everything with his expanded consciousness. Roy slams Peter down in a chair and admits that he killed Bellaire and the watchman. He says that he wasn't aware of his hypnotic abilities so killing the watchman was unnecessary, but dismisses the man's death as inconsequential. Roy says that he can't let Peter leave as he is, and orders him into the kitchen. As Roy mixes the drugs, Peter tries to leave but Roy grabs him and yanks him back.
Susan tries to call Roy but the phone is off the hook. Meanwhile, Roy says that Peter should be superior to him once he "crosses over", and he has thousands of "executions" in mind once they enlist more of their colleagues. As he tells Peter to drink the drugs, the doorbell rings. Roy telepathically senses that it's Merrill and tells Peter that if he doesn't try to communicate with her then she'll be safe. Peter agrees to be quiet, and Roy says that he'll know if Peter replaces the drug mixture with water.
Roy goes to the door and calls out that he just got out of the shower. Merrill says that Susan called on her phone and is wondering if Peter is there. Roy says that he'll have Peter call if he sees him, and once Merrill leaves he tells Peter to drink. Peter refuses and Roy says that he will drink it next time and mesmerizes him. Taking the glass, Peter drinks.
Susan answers the door and finds Branch there. Branch asks to see Peter, and Susan confirms that he's not there and doesn't know where he is. She points out that Peter is overdue and that Roy said Peter wasn't with him. Branch tells her about Bellaire's murder
Peter lies on the bed and Roy describes how the first time he took the CE drugs, he learned Spanish in two hours. He boasts about his enhanced abilities, and says that he couldn't let the "normal" Roy know about him. The CE Roy gave the other Roy post-hypnotic suggestions to take the drugs when he became worried. Disappointed that Peter hasn't responded, the CE Roy takes Peter to the kitchen to give him another dose. As he works, CE Roy says that they'd only execute the dogmatists and the ones who believe him infallible.
Branch knocks at the door, and CE Roy tells Peter to let him in and not try anything. Peter opens the door and CE Roy mesmerizes Branch. Peter tells Branch to snap out of it, and Branch goes for his gun. CE Roy throws him across the room, and Alger comes in and draws his gun. When CE Roy advances on him, Alger shoots but the wounds don't bleed.He throws Alger through the door and tells him to stay outside or he'll kill Peter and Branch.
CE Roy takes Peter back to the kitchen and says that they'll have to take the drugs with them. As they go, CE Roy takes Branch's gun and forces him out. He calls out that if anyone makes a false move then Peter then his captives will die instantly. CE Roy leads them out past the police and the residents, going to a police car. CE ROY suddenly collapses and reverts to normal, and his wounds start bleeding. He wonders what he's done and dies.
Later, the medics take Roy's body away. Branch says that the drugs in Roy's pocket broke when he fell, and Peter tells the detective that Roy said nothing about the formula. Peter tells Branch to take him to a hospital because the CE drug is starting to take effect.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 20, 2019