At Beekman Hall, Electronics Research Division, in Paseo, New Mexico, Director Franklin Karlin drives up to the gate and presents himself to the security system. The gates open and Karlin drives in... and nearby, a humanoid alien watches him. The alien, Ikar, discorporates and passes through the gates, continuing on to the base.
Scientist Eric Plummer is inside working, and stops in frustration. Karlin comes in and Eric irritably says that he needs one, maybe two equations to complete the work on the disintegration gun. When Karlin suggests that he take a break, Eric insists that he knows what he'd doing. Karlin warns that David Hunt is coming the next day, and Hunt isn't happy about the money being spent on Eric's project. Eric tells Karlin to tell Hunt that he's two equations away from an infinite power source, and then storms out.
Once Karlin leaves the lab, Ikar materializes inside, transforms into human form, and starts working on Eric's equations.
Eric drives out of the complex and down the highway, speeding up. The alien Ikar appears in his backseat and advises him to slow down, warning that Eric gains nothing by suicide. Eric says that he's tired and then realizes that there's an alien in his backseat, and looks back to discover that Ikar has disappeared. The scientist slows down and assumes that he imagines Ikar.
Arriving home, Eric goes inside and Ikar turns visible in the back seat and gets out. Eric's fiancée Janet Lane greets him and says that she's showing him how nice it is for him to come home to someone. They kiss and Janet complains that Eric is too busy working for her to see him much. He tells her about talking to himself in the car, and when she suggests that he take a week off, Eric snaps at her and says that she's saying the same thing as Karlin. Eric says that he's a grown man and goes to his home lab, and ignores Janet when she knocks on the closed door and says that she's sorry. Upset, Janet leaves.
Ikar takes human form and appears in Eric's lab, and asks why Eric is so tired. He tells Eric to ask him why he came there, saying that he came with Eric from the lab. Eric yells at him to get out, and Janet hears him from her car and comes in. Meanwhile, Ikar tells Eric that he's like all humans: undisciplined and wasteful of time. Janet knocks on the lab door, asking Eric if he's all right. Ikar suggests that Eric open the door, and Eric does so. She says that she was worried about Eric, and Eric says that Ikar is an old friend.
Ikar introduces himself and Eric is surprised that Janet can see him. Eric tells them both to get out and leave him alone, and Ikar tells him that he's wasting energy and should relax. The scientist immediately calms down, much to Janet's surprise, and says that energy and time can't be wasted. Eric tells Janet that she doesn't have to worry about him, and wishes her good night. Before she goes, Janet tells Ikar that she doesn't like him very much. Ikar doesn't care, and Eric says that he and Ikar have business to talk over. He apologizes for losing his temper and says that he'll call her in the morning.
Once Janet leaves, Ikar says that in an orderly society, women's only function is to produce children. Those who do not fulfill their function are eliminated. Eric asks for the love of heaven, where is Ikar from. Ikar admits that "love" is a new word to him and asks what it means. The scientist tries to explain what "love" and "hate" mean, and Ikar says that he doesn't know what "emotions" are. His race lives for accomplishment and conquer for control. He telekinetically causes Eric's decorative mobile to fall to the ground, and says that Eric may know in a thousand years.
Eric says that needs two equations to complete his work, and Ikar asks what he would give for them. He tells Eric that he wants understanding, explaining that his race must be prepared for humanity since humanity is venturing into space and approaching them. Ikar suggests that humans act on impulse because of emotion, and Eric says that he's sick of emotions because he doesn't know if they're true. The alien suggests that Eric give his emotions to him and in return he'll give Eric the equations he needs. Eric agrees, and Ikar transfers Eric's emotions into his brain. He transforms to his alien form and says that they have already begun, tells him that the equations are in Eric's office at the base, and he will soon give him the instructions to build the disintegrator. Ikar fades away, but then asks Eric if Janet loved him. Eric says that he has no more love to give her, and he has no way of measuring how much he had. He cannot say if he gave Ikar all of his emotions, and the mobile moves back up to its original position under Eric's newfound telekinetic powers.
Ikar goes to Janet's home and peers through her bedroom window, watching her sleep. She wakes up and glances over, but Ikar is gone. The human Ikar appears in her bedroom and tells Gail to listen and answer for Eric's sake. He explains that he has taken all of Eric's emotions except for love, and demands that Gail give it to him. The alien asks Janet to explain what love is, and asks Janet how many children she's produced. Janet says that she hasn't married yet, and Ikar insists that in an orderly society, women only serve one purpose: to produce children. He asks her to define what "love" is, and Janet tries to explain all the variations of love. She says that she gave away her love for Eric to others, confusing Ikar. Janet tells him that the people who have it are asleep and dreaming, and Ikar says that he'll come back in the morning to get the love. He swears her to secrecy and fades away, and Janet starts to call Eric and then stops. She turns off the light and goes back to bed.
The next day, Hunt comes to the base and meets with Karlin. He figures that Eric's project has run into a dead-end. Eric comes in and unemotionally says that he has the two remaining equations and wants $50 million to construct the disintegrator gun, possibly going up to $100 million. Once Eric leaves, Karlin is surprised that Eric completed the work and unemotionally gave it to him. He figures that Eric is in shock and goes over the equations with Hunt.
The human Ikar returns to Janet and says that he figures that love is dangerous. He admits that he learned the word "afraid" from Janet the night before, and asks her about "hate". Janet refuses, saying that he'll learn about it soon enough himself. Eric arrives and ignores Janet, asking Ikar where he was. Ikar says that he was with Janet, The scientist worries that Hunt will give them trouble so he wants Ikar to build him the disintegrator gun for demonstration purposes. Janet, overhearing, is surprised that Eric is taking credit for Ikar's work. She wonders if Eric is going to take credit for the equations as well, and Eric tells her that she serves no purpose so he has no use for her. Eric wonders what happened to the man that she fell in love with, and insists that he look at her.
Eric grabs Janet and when they struggle, he falls through a glass table. He cuts open his arm on a shard of glass, and Janet asks Ikar to help her. He pulls out the glass and heals the wound with a touch. Eric tells Ikar that they'll got his lab, and the two of them leave. Janet asks Ikar what happened to Eric, and the alien wonders what purpose Eric serves her when he wanted her dead. She says that she loves him.
Ikar soon builds the gun and Eric demonstrates it for Hunt and Karlin. Karlin takes Hunt into his office to discuss it, and Ikar appears and casually picks up the bulky generator. Meanwhile, Karlin tells Hunt that the disintegrator must be destroyed because the disintegrator when built at full size could destroy everything humanity has created. Hunt says that they might need the device to save the world because the enemy might have it. Karlin warns that the power can't be controlled, and Hunt says that there are practical people around to make the decisions. He advises Karlin to take it easy and leaves.
Janet sets up a picnic for Ikar, and he complains that there's no activity there in the field. He wonders why Janet brought her there, and she says that it was to get away from people and things. Janet gives him a piece of chicken and Ikar eats it, bones and all. Ikar says that he doesn't understand how humans survive all live with different clothes and have different tastes, saying that it's wasteful. The alien starts talking about his orderly society, and Janet says that it sounds dull. Ikar says that they're different according to their accomplishment classifications, and each brain is one cell of the main control brain. Janet wonders if he's trying to make a race of insects like a nearby ant hill, and Ikar insists that they serve a person. The human wonders if Ikar would like to see humanity as insects, and Ikar angrily stamps out the ant hill.
Ikar grabs Janet by the throat and says that he could kill her for what he's done to her. He tells her that she's the enemy and then pulls back. Janet wonders if he's feeling love, and Ikar insists that he doesn't want to feel what's happening to him. She tells Ikar that he can't have emotions without feeling them, and tells him that he has to feel with his whole heart. Janet says that he can't stop feeling as long as he has emotions, and all he can do is give them back to Eric. Ikar insists that Eric has to finish his work for them, and Janet asks what the work is. Janet asks who Ikar really is, and Ikar assumes his alien form. When she faints in shock, Ikar teleports away.
Karlin calls Eric into his office and says that he feels like Eric is his son. Eric says that he isn't his son, and Karlin tells him to withdraw his paper for the sake of humanity. Unimpressed, Eric confirms that Hunt confirmed his appropriation and then asks when they can start. Karlin threatens to go to the press if Hunt fires him, and Ikar appears in his office along with three of his race's drone soldiers. Eric tells Ikar not to kill Karlin but to take his mind, and Ikar transfers Karlin's mind out of his brain. The director collapses, and Ikar takes on human form and tells the soldiers to go back to their planet because he no longer needs them. The soldiers remain, staring at Ikar.
Eric calls Hunt at his hotel and tells him that Karlin collapsed due to overwork. Hunt says that they'll go ahead with Eric's project, and Eric hangs up.
That night, Janet wakes up, sees that the ants have restored their anthill, and remembers what happened earlier. She runs to her car and drives to Hunt's motel to tell him what happened. Hunt calls Eric and someone picks up the phone but doesn't speak. When there's no response, Hunt hangs up and Janet advises him to call the police. The man refuses, saying that he doesn't believe her story, but is going to the base to find out why Eric wouldn't answer. Janet insists on driving Hunt there.
Later at the base, Ikar hears someone coming and turns invisible. Janet and Hunt come in, and Janet says that she knows what Ikar really is. She figures that Eric is possessed, and David asks who answered earlier. Eric says that he didn't want to be disturbed and didn't know it was Hunt. When Janet objects, Eric asks her to wait outside while he discusses business with Hunt. She says that neither she nor Hunt can be alone, and the human Ikar turns visible. Janet faints and Ikar says that she's ill. Eric has Ikar take Janet to the infirmary, and Eric explains that he just engaged Ikar. Hunt advises Eric to keep Ikar away from their other projects and get Janet a doctor. Once Hunt leaves, Eric charges up the disintegrator gun.
In the infirmary, Ikar strokes the unconscious Janet's cheek. When she wakes up, she realizes that Ikar has taken the horror from her. Janet asks if he's going to kill her, and Ikar says that all humans will die soon. His race needs Earth for the millions that overpopulate his planet, and Janet wonders if Eric has become another cell in their interplanetary brain. Ikar says that the weapon is too big to transport from their world, so they needed a human to build it. Janet tells Ikar that he's learned nothing from Earth, and Ikar says that he learned too much. He announces that he's going to take Janet to the place where they talked to take away everything he's acquired. Janet asks Ikar to help them, but Ikar teleports away.
The next morning at the picnic site, Ikar looks around. Janet arrives and asks him to set Eric free, saying that humans can't live without emotions. Ikar says that emotions bring confusion, and Janet insists that it brought compassion as well. The alien insists that he had accomplishment, but Janet says that he has nothing without emotion. Ikar tells her that they'll rule the universe, and Janet says that without the freedom to rule themselves their conquest is useless. She asks Ikar to return the emotions to Eric so that when they die, Eric can love her as much as she loves him. Janet assures Ikar that there will be pity and love for him when he dies, and Ikar tells her to leave because there's nothing more to say.
Ikar tells the three soldiers to appear and say what they have to say. They appear and one of them tells Ikar that he's broken away from the planetary brain. It commands Ikar to return to their planet, and when Ikar refuses it tells him that they'll take him back immediately. It fires a blast at him and Ikar dodges, letting the beam hit a nearby tree. Ikar hides in the woods as the soldiers blast a tree down on his spot. The renegade hides in the tree branches and when one of the soldiers turns it over, Ikar climbs out and ducks into a culvert and makes good his escape.
Eric is working on the disintegrator gun when Ikar comes in. The alien tells Eric that he tricked him out of his emotions for control and destruction, and they've become a part of him. Because of the way he feels, he has to give the emotions back to Eric. Ikar makes the transfer, and the three soldiers materialize in the lab. Grabbing the gun, Ikar disintegrates two of them. The third one disintegrates Ikar, and Eric grabs the gun and disintegrates it. Eric then disintegrates the generator and destroys the gun and the papers.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 6, 2019