Harry Benson, an intelligent (IQ 144) computer scientist in his 30s, suffers from epilepsy. He often has seizures that induce blackouts, after each of which he awakens to unfamiliar surroundings with indications of violent behavior on his part. He also suffers from delusions that computers will rise up against humans.
Benson suffers from Acute Disinhibitory Lesion syndrome and consents to an experimental psychosurgical procedure known as "Stage Three". Stage Three requires surgeons to implant electrodes in his brain, which will detect the onset of a seizure and then use an electrical impulse to stop it. The surgery initially appears to be a success.
Benson's psychiatrist, Janet Ross, opposes the procedure, concerned that once the operation is complete, Benson will suffer further psychosis as a result of his person merging with that of a computer, something he has come to distrust and disdain. Two days after the operation, it becomes apparent that his brain is now addicted to the electrical impulses. The seizures are initiating at increasingly shorter intervals. When they become continuous, Benson will be in a permanent blackout, with the violent behavior that goes with it.
Just before Ross realizes what is happening, Benson escapes from the hospital. He does become unpredictably violent, but his intact intelligence allows him to evade the police for a considerable time, at one point confronting Ross in her home.
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