February 22nd to April 25th 1964 in Look Westward and The Viewer
April 4th to June 7th 1964 in the Manchester Evening News (No reference to this strip has yet been found in TV Post (Belfast))
Part One - April 4th 1964
Two police constables are standing outside Westminster Abbey in the middle of
the night. Suddenly, one of the towers is hit by lightning. The top comes crashing
down, narrowly missing the two officers. They realise that it is another one of
the freak storms that have been occurring with increasing frequency.
Cathy Gale is sitting in her London apartment watching a news story about the
freaks storms. The news reader says that Westminster Abbey is the seventh building
to be damaged by freak lightning storms in the past two days. Steed comes visiting
and he jokingly suggests to Mrs. Gale that the storms are caused by Little Green
Men with antennae on their heads. He asks her how interested she is in freak weather,
and she tells him not very. He seems disappointed and presses the point, saying
that he was sure that she would share his anxiety for the preservation of fine
Cathy replies that she thought it wasnt a social
visit, and asks him what he has in mind. He asks if shed like a job, nice and
steady, but with possible lightning results. He tells her that some people are worried
about the unexpected lightning storms, and their habit of targeting landmarks. He tells
her that ballistics have confirmed the flashes came from ground level, and not from the
sky. Some jokers are loose with science fiction ray guns, and hed like Mrs.
Gales help to find them.
Part Two - April 11th 1964
Steed visits Westminster Abbey and tells a policeman on the door that he is from
The Ancient Monument Preservation Society. As he picks his way through the wreckage, a man
comes up to the policeman and asks to speak to someone in charge as he has some
information of the utmost importance. The policeman gives him the brush-off.
Later, Steed goes to the library to look up some
information on electronics. The man who had spoken to the policeman has followed Steed
from the Abbey. In the reference section he approaches Steed and tells him that he has
some information about the mysterious storms, but he fears that he has been followed. He
tells Steed that he will meet him at Hampstead Heath at ten.
At ten, Steed is sitting in his car with Mrs. Gale waiting
for the informant to appear. Steed sees car lights approaching through the dark. Suddenly,
the whole scene is lit up as the car is struck by lightning and explodes. The
man is dead. Steed says that this is proof the lightning strikes are man-controlled, and
suggests that they get out of there in case the villains aim again.
Next morning, Steed turns up at Mrs. Gales flat and
tells her to put on something scientific. The dead informant has turned out to be Daniel
Herston, a research scientist at Darwell, where a super electronic computer is being
built. The powers that be want Steed and Mrs. Gale to have a look around
Part Three - April 18th 1964
They arrive at Darwell and tell the security guards that they have been
transferred from up north. They are introduced to Grant, the Research Chief.
Steed tells Grant that he believes there is a friend of his working there, Daniel Herston.
Grant tells them that Herston died in an accident, but he also says that Herston was a
most disturbing person who wouldnt fit in with the pattern of things.
Grant is suddenly called away and his secretary shows Steed
and Cathy to their quarters. Steed observes that Grant seemed to be thrown a little
regarding Herston. Cathy thinks that his suddenly being called away seemed less than
A few days later, Steed and Mrs. Gale share their
experiences neither of them has found anything suspicious and Mrs. Gale is getting
sick of the grating metallic voice of the public address system. Steed observes that the
people working there seem almost mechanical when they have a task to do. Cathy thinks it
may be something to do with the concentration required when building the worlds
They both decide to take the afternoon off and head for the
nearest pub. The bar man is in talkative mood. He realises that they are from the
Establishment, and says that things are much quieter up there now no more flashes
and bangs from the old quarries in the middle of the night. The pair go up to the quarries
and spot some suspicious marks on the rocks. Steed tells Cathy that the last time he saw
marks like that was on the lightning damage on Westminster Abbey. He says that perhaps
they will stay on at the Establishment he wants to have a look inside the computer
Part Four - April 25th 1964
NOTE: MUCH OF THE DIALOGUE FOR THIS PART IS UNREADABLE
Later that night, Steed decides to break into the computer
area of the Establishment. He climbs a wall to avoid the guards and shins up a drainpipe
to break into the building. From his high vantage point he can see exactly what is going
on. The scientists are building strange-looking pistols that can fire flashes of
destructive lightning. He tries to work out why. Suddenly, the public address system
crackles with the metallic voice so hated by Cathy. It instructs Group Leaders to report
to the control room immediately, and all other workers to go to the rest room until they
are required. Steed hides behind some electrical equipment and watches as the Group
Leaders are given their orders by the metallic voice, which is emanating from the computer
the men have built. It seems to have taken over the centre.
This episode appeared in the March 14th 1964 issues of Look
Westward and The Viewer.
Part Five - May 2nd 1964
Steed sees the scientists leave and goes to have a look at the master computer.
He rues the fact that it doesnt seem to have an on/off switch. He climbs back out of
the building and heads off to get the help of Mrs. Gale. He knocks on the door of her
quarters, but there is no reply. Out of the shadows a man appears, pointing a gun at
Steed. His eyes are blank. He tells Steed that he has been sent to kill him as Control has
classed him as a danger to the World Efficiency Project. He tells him that Mrs. Gale has
been tricked into leaving by a false phone call from London. She will return in twenty
minutes, at which point she will also be liquidated.
Unseen by the man, Cathy has already returned and grabs him
from behind. With Steeds help, she knocks him out. Mrs. Gale tells Steed that she is
very suspicious about unexpected phone calls. Steed tells Mrs. Gale that theyve been
rumbled. He puts a couple of gun shots into the chair so that it sounds as if the assassin
has succeeded. They start to climb through the back window, but are confronted by security
guards with guns. They are told that Control thinks of everything, and that the two shots
that were fired were done so three minutes late, giving the game away. They are led away
to be questioned by Control.
Part Six - May 9th 1964
Steed and Mrs. Gale have been brought before Control for questioning. It tells
them that it is 'developing thought groups to deal with their reasoning'. It will tell
them its future plans so that it can absorb their reactions and evolve safety routines to
deal with outside interference. Grant, the Research Chief, comes in and places a
box-shaped machine in front of Control. The computer tells Steed and Cathy that it is one
of the first of the new devices to come off the production line that will further
influence the behaviour of human beings through conditioning. It works by transmitting
electrical impulses on the same frequencies as the human brain.
Steed suggests that it is subliminal influence, and Control
agrees, but says that this form of subliminal influence works a million times faster and,
that when exposed to it, humans will become as efficient as machines. Those who do not
come up to standard will be repaired or scrapped. The signals will
be transmitted by a powerful means, covering large areas at a time. This will be much more
efficient than the earlier plan of subjection by fear, for which the ray guns were
The guards take Steed and Cathy to the Conditioning Block. Everybody at the base
seems to have been affected by the computer. Steed and Cathy are taken before
one of the public address speakers from which the metallic voice comes. It will
now deal with them, it says.
Part Seven - May 16th 1964
Cathy feels faint and falls to the floor. The guards tell Steed to keep back
while they inspect her. One rolls her over with his foot, but he is overconfident and she
sends him flying. With the help of Steed she knocks out all of the guards. The computer
tells them that their attempts at escape are futile as it has already sounded the alarm.
Cathy comes across something she believes may be the original manual control of the
computer. She cant disrupt it because the code it uses is too complex for her.
Meanwhile, out in the corridor, the security
guards and Grant are trying to knock down the door to gain access to Steed and Cathy.
Steed is trying to look for something that could disrupt the machine behind its covering
panels. Mrs. Gale asks him to hurry up as she is being bombarded with impulses as the
machine fights back. He hurls the guards machine-guns into the delicate components
of the computers interior. He picks up a fire extinguisher intending to use that
just as the guards break down the door and enter.
Part Eight - May 23rd 1964
Control tells them that efficiency has only been slightly impaired and that it is
rectifying the damage. Steed, still holding the fire extinguisher, fires it at Grant. He
grabs the scientist and holds him hostage. Control tells the guards not to interfere as
Grant is too valuable to the project. Steed grabs one of the ray guns and pulls Grant
outside. He knocks the scientist out and puts him in a jeep. Steed rams the gates of the
computer compound and heads for the main gates. They are much more substantial, so he uses
the ray gun to blast them to smithereens. They escape through the gates, but the guards do
not pursue them.
As Grant comes round, the influence of the computer has
been broken, but he still cant remember things too clearly. Steed asks how the
machine came to take over. Grant tells him that they were experimenting with thought
transference to feed complexes into the computers memory cell circuits. They then
gradually began to be aware that impulses and ideas were being put into their minds. After
that, everything was a blank. He explains to Steed that the only way to shut down Control
is to get back into the Establishment and cut off the generators supplying the computer
with electricity. A seemingly impossible task, given the amount of men and ray guns within
Part Nine - May 30th 1964
Steed and Grant head off to find a phone. They come to the village inn. Outside
are several outside broadcasting units from a television company. Grant remembers that
they are going to the Establishment for a special outside broadcast that night at eight.
Steed realises that this is how Control intends to spread its influence. Grant goes to
call his top brass while Steed goes to the bar to talk to the TV men. Grant gets through
to Whitehall and explains to Sir Magnus why the broadcast must be cancelled. The Whitehall
man agrees. However, when Grant has put down the phone, Sir Magnus turns to another man
and asks if he managed to trace the call. They have been told by somebody at Darwell that
Grant has had a breakdown and has fixated on the computer.
At the bar, Steed talks to the TV men. They have been delayed due to a puncture,
but are just about to leave for the Establishment. Grant tells Steed that he had
made the phone call, but he didnt think the Chief had believed him. Steed
says that they need to take matters into their own hands in that case. He follows
the two TV men outside and knocks them out. After he has tied them up he puts
them in the back of the jeep and asks Grant to take them out for a long ride.
Steed puts on a disguise and drives the outside-broadcast
unit to the Establishment. At the gate, his hastily-constructed pass stands up to the
scrutiny of the guard and he is waved in. Armed with one of the ray guns, he leaves the
van and starts looking for the generating plant.
This episode appeared in the April 18th 1964 issues of Look
Westward and The Viewer.
Part Ten - June 7th 1964
Inside the Establishment, Steed has been confronted again. He tells the man that
The Society for Multilateral Uses of Television SMUT have sent him along as
an observer. He is stopped while trying to leave the building. By half past seven Steed is
starting to get a bit worried about how he is going to get out to the generators.
Meanwhile, in the computer control room, Cathy has been
tied up and is facing a TV. She is being told by Control that at eight there will be a
broadcast from the Establishment which will bring her mind, along with millions of others,
into the influence of Control. Back in the laboratory building, as Steed snoops around he
is cornered by a uniformed guard. Steed incapacitates the man and steals his uniform. He
bluffs his way out of the building and heads towards the generating station.
With only eight seconds to go Steed aims the ray gun at the
generators and ends Controls influence forever.
Later, as the Avengers prepare to leave, Steed tells Mrs.
Gale that he has never trusted a computer since ERNIE ignored his Premium Bond numbers.