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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.
Robert Lionel Fanthorpe (1935- )
Lionel Fanthorpe was born in Dereham, Norfolk, in 1935. He sold his first story in 1952 and has since written nearly 200 novels and collections of shorts under a variety of pseudonyms. He has worked as a dental technician, factory machinist, farmworker and lorry driver. He has also been a journalist, a lecturer for Cambridge University Board of Extra-Mural Studies and an Industrial Training Manager. He trained as a teacher at Keswick College of Education and took an Open University degree. His main hobbies are Power Lifting and Judo at which he has a Brown Belt awarded by Brian Jacks.