An SF Gateway eBook: bringing the classics to the future.
Helen Powell was a punch card operator in the test office of Elcomp, the largest and most dynamically progressive computer manufacturing company in the West. A saboteur, acting for a totalitarian regime, eluded the security network and attempted to destroy the new top secret Mark IX, the greatest computer Elcomp had ever constructed. Unfortunately for the saboteur, the Mark IX had inbuilt defence mechanisms and the secret agent died in a holocaust of high voltage sparks.
From that time onwards Helen began to notice strange changes in the great electronic thinking machine. It seemed to her that the Mark IX was developing something which might almost have been described as a personality. She tried to dismiss the thoughts as imagination . . . then the face appeared . . . if it was a face!
Helen saw an image on the computer's main screen. It was a face, yet not a human face in the accepted sense. The most horrible thing about it was the resemblance it bore to the dead agent.