Having just had a hot bath, Alison Blaire looks herself at the bathroom mirror. She thinks it’s hard to believe she’s there in her flea-bitten old apartment, when just a few days ago she was a zillion miles away in space, in a black hole, fighting for her life against Terrax! Absentmindedly, Alison converts the sounds of Olivia Newton John coming from the stereo to a mellow glow that reflects her good mood.
Sitting on her kitchen table to read her mail, Ali is displeased to see many bills piled up. She can’t even afford to look at them, much less pay them. Realizing she’s hungry, she puts them aside. After all, as a little reward for all she’s had to go through lately, she spent all her cash in groceries. No more ketchup sandwiches for her – at least not this week! However, when she opens the fridge, she finds out that the refrigerator went on the blink again. Everything’s spoiled! Compromising with the situation, Ali makes a ketchup sandwich for herself, thinking she’d better wolf this down so she can be in time for her appointment with Harry.
Suddenly, the phone rings. It’s Paul! Happy to hear him, Ali glows even more brightly than before. It’s been so long since the two of them really had a chance to see each other. Paul agrees and asks her if she’d be free for dinner. “There’s a real special event tonight and I’d like you to join me,” he adds. Ali admits she has been anxious to see him and accepts the invitation. Paul tells her he’s going to pick her up at seven and then hangs up as he has to get back to work: his patients are waiting.
Replacing the receiver, Alison’s enthusiasm fades away as does the glow that accompanies it. She thinks that Paul sounded so cheerful and loving over the phone… but her career and crazy adventures have wreaked such havoc with their relationship. Can Paul still really care for her?
In Saddle River, New Jersey, Harry S. Osgood exits his house, ready to go to Manhattan, leaving two bodyguards behind to protect his home and family and taking one along with him. Harry asks his bodyguard if he’s checked the grounds, to which the latter replies affirmatively. As Harry and the bodyguard get in the car, the former starts driving and wishes that Techmaster – the man that tried to previously kill him – will make his move already. Just waiting like this is driving him crazy. Plus, the police are useless, as they claim there is no proof that Techmaster was behind the Enforcers’ attack on Harry. Later, in his plush 39th floor officer, Harry tries his best to go about business as usual, talking with his friend, Lou, over the phone, arranging their having a dinner together and finalizing a contract.
Meanwhile, outside Harry’s office, his receptionist, Cassandra Ferlenghetti is trying to discourage Lancelot Steele’s – Dazzler’s field manager – romantic interest in her. Lance is persistently asking her to go out with him, just for once, when Ali walks in and greets everybody. Lance tells her she’s lucky: Harry would’ve dropped any other act for disappearing like she did. He must have a soft spot for Ali. While Cassandra notifies Harry that Alison Blaire is there, Jack, Harry’s bodyguard, wonders whether she needs to be frisked. Lance urges him to control himself: Ali’s okay. Alison is puzzled to see “the hired muscle”: has someone been filching Harry’s cigars?!
As she walks into Harry’s officer, Harry replies that she ought to know that better than anyone. Harry’s had to take steps to protect himself from Techmaster. Dazzler saved Harry from the Enforcers when he sent them after him, but Techmaster is bound to strike again. However, Harry decides to cut to the chase and asks Ali what possessed her to disappear like she did last week. She came to him and asked him to build a career for her and then she’s not around when things start coming together. She shouldn’t blame him if she ends up waiting tables!
Even more rigid, Harry reminds her that she’s supposed to act as a professional and suggests she starts acting like one. Dazzler wonders how she could tell Harry she was in outer space. He’d think she was crazy – and who would blame him? She assures Harry she sympathizes with his situation but her life hasn’t been better lately. She’s sorry if she caused him any problems but he has to believe her – it couldn’t be helped. She reminds him she’s here and ready to work – and he’s still her manager.
Harry explains that, ever since she failed to show up for the concert at the Flash Club, no one’s wanted to take a chance on her. It’ll take him a while to smooth things over. Harrry, however, gives her the card of a colleague of his who might be able to find her some work in the meantime – though not work of the highest caliber. As Ali is about to leave, Harry urges her not to call him; he’ll let her know if anything develops. “No problem,” Dazzler replies while actually thinking, “You ungrateful bum!” As she closes the door behind her, Harry wonders “what’s the matter with me?” He only meant to give her a mild scolding. His nerves are quite frazzled.
Turning to the paperwork on his desk, Harry is unaware that he is being spied through a camera planted on a statuette on the bookcase of his office. Techmaster watches him from his WTC office – in fact, he has been monitoring Harry’s every move. His home, his office… even his car. Techmaster aka William Bitzer once was the most sought after electronics expert of show business and Harry’s right hand man, until he made a fateful mistake which left many innocent dead and himself, scarred, and ever since blames Harry for these tragedies.
Techmaster thinks he’s waited long enough. Calling Harry’s friend, Lou, from his vocal-simulation phone, he pretends to be Harry – he merely speaks to the invention and the sound converts the sound of his voice into a perfect imitation of Harry’s – and cancels the lunch appointment Harry had made with him. Hanging up, Techmaster triumphantly thinks that Harry has a date with death now!
Meanwhile, in the basement office of Sid Sterling, starmaker, Dazzler is discussing with him. The man assures her that any friend of Harry’s is also his friend. He can get her some work but she shouldn’t expect it to be Carnegie Hall! Dazzler thanks him. Indeed, a little bit later that afternoon, at a nearby suburban shopping mall, Alison finds herself one of a tastefully dressed quintet – Ali herself dressed as a milkmaid – helping to celebrate the opening a fast food chain’s newest outlet. As Ali keeps singing with the others on top of a bus, thinking that this is the most ridiculous thing she’s ever done… but it beats the unemployment line.
That night, outside of the L’Escoffier restaurant, Paul assures Ali she’ll love Dr. Sloan and his wife: they’re wonderful people. And even if she doesn’t, he urges her to be nice to them as they could be very important to his career. Ali assures him not to worry. She’ll be on her best behavior.
Later, on their table, Dr. Sloan comments on how Alison must be bored by his medical talk with Paul and asks her to tell them a little more about herself. Ali nervously replies she’s a singer. Mrs. Sloan finds it very cute: that’ll give Alison something to do until she settles down and gets married! Alison admits she hadn’t really thought about that yet. Right now, she’s trying to establish herself in the music world. Dr. Sloan assures her he loves music and asks her if she follows opera. Ali admits she prefers popular music – especially rock. Displeased, Dr. Sloan asks her if she means like Elvis Presley and that… ilk. “Something like that,” Ali admits.
Suddenly, Ali has a great idea and proposes to the others to go and watch the midnight show of the Plasmatics at the Ritz. She thinks she can get them some tickets if… Puzzled, Mrs. Sloan asks if the Plasmatics are a group of medical students! Feeling hapless, Paul addresses Alison, mumbling that the Sloans wouldn’t be interested in that! Ali replies that if they don’t want to go to that, she’s sure they can…
Suddenly, though, her clumsy moves cause the vase on the table to overturn, the water being poured all over Dr. Sloan’s suit! Ali hastily apologizes. Visibly annoyed, Dr. Sloan mumbles that accidents happen. Paul urges the doctor to accept both his and Alison’s apologies. Having already paid the check, he announces he and Alison are going since she’s feeling a little tired. Mrs. As Paul and Ali depart, she admits she’s embarrassed. Paul insists that’s okay: he didn’t want that promotion anyway.
Later, at Alison’s apartment, Paul asks Ali if she took lessons at the Lucile Ball School of Social Graces! Dazzler admits she’s not a model of proper ladyhood but, if she were, she wouldn’t be herself… the person Paul is in love with. Paul thinks she’s right. There were both too nervous on that dinner. He shouldn’t have put her in such a potentially awkward situation on their first date after such a long time. He urges her to forget that: now they’re alone. Indeed, the couple starts kissing passionately.
Several hours later, Paul admits he must be crazy to go but he’s got to get to his shift at the emergency room. Ali sees him off, assuring him that there’ll be other nights. As Paul turns towards the elevator, he thinks that Ali’s a wonderful person and he likes her a lot but their lives… their interests… are so different. He’s got some heavy thinking to do. Blissfully unaware of Paul’s ruminations, Dazzler unfolds her rickety sofa-bed and turns in, thinking that he’s so wonderful. He may not be able to tell the Blue Danube from the Blue Oyster Cult but she loves him… and he loves her.
In the morning, Alison’s phone rings, waking her up. Sid Sterling is on the phone, having a great little gig for her. Thrilled, Ali tells him to hold on while she gets a pencil, unaware that it’s not Sterling but Techmaster she’s talking with! A few minutes later, Ali quickly gets dressed, thinking that she can make some bread doing these jobs for Sterling while Harry works on finding her first-class engagements. Sterling told her to get there right away. Ali hopes this job isn’t as silly as the last one.
Dazzler soon reaches a building in Long Island City, owned by Techmaster. Outside the building, Alison approaches a man, asking him where the office is, since she’s supposed to meet someone there to audition. The man explains he’s the company chauffer and proceeds to escort her to his employer: he’s the one who will audition her for a publicity event they’ll put on.
Inside the factory, Alison admits that this place looks strange. The chauffer replies that it’s a factory like any other, only it’s fully automated: they employ no workers at all. Ali notices it’s noisy in there and asks him what they manufacture. The chauffer replies that, in this particular plant, his employer is using sophisticated laser-engraving grids and computers of his own panted design and manufacture sound transduction equipment – components which can turn sound into light. They’re used in everything, from rock concerts to space shuttles, with new uses every day. Ali admits she knows a little something about that stuff, secretly thinking this is due to her being a living sound transducer herself.
The chauffer leads her to the master control booth for this bank of lasers where his employer is waiting to meet her. As the chauffer leaves, Dazzler meets his employer: Techmaster. Ali instantly recognizes him and assumes he must have found how she saved Harry and now he’s going to get her! The deformed Techmaster urges her not to be alarmed by his unfortunate appearance. Apologizing for his rudeness, for knowing her name while she doesn’t know his, he introduces himself as Techmaster.
Dazzler thinks that maybe Techmaster doesn’t really know and decides to play dumb and see what happens. She asks him to tell her about this show she’s to be performing in. Techmaster admits there is no show. That was merely a ruse to get her there. He’s heard some information that, as part of her act, she creates a lightshow – apparently, out of nowhere. Techmaster even attended one of her performances and tried to figure out how she transudes sound with no visible apparatus. He deduced that she – or someone in her employ – has developed the secret of manufacturing micro-transducers! He wants that secret and is prepared to pay handsomely for it.
Ali realizes that he refers to her mutant talent – there is no “secret” for her to sell. She tells him she’s sworn to secrecy about her stage effects. Still, Techmaster names a figure, doubles it and then doubles it again. Finally, realizing she’s stubborn, he removes his gloves, revealing metallic hands – another unfortunate result of his accident. Grabbing a paperweight made of solid steel, he easily crushes it and believes she can imagine what his hands are capable of doing to human flesh.
Techmaster announces he must now leave, as he has a luncheon appointment. He informs her that the door will lock behind him and automatically open at 4 a.m. He asks her to think his offer while she’s here. They’ll be in contact again… and if she remains silent then, his next offer may not be so generous.
The door clicks shut behind Techmaster. Furious, Dazzler thinks that, as soon as she gets outs of the room, she’s going straight to the police. She realizes this booth is soundproof, so she can’t transduce any ambient factory noise. However, the radio she always carries with her should provide enough sound to power a laser. Still, Ali finds out there is really bad reception in the factory: this is going to take a long time. She will have to concentrate hard and absorb all the sound she can in order to produce as strong a laser as possible. It won’t be easy.
Meanwhile, Harry and his bodyguard, Jack, await Lou’s arrival at the restaurant. Harry hopes nothing’s happened to Lou: it’s not like him to stand him up like this. However, Techmaster shows up, informing Harry that it’s not for his friend’s safety that he should be concerned. Horrified, Harry tells Jack that this is Techmaster and asks him to protect him. Techmaster, though, easily grabs Jack’s Magnum from his hands, insisting that he would like to speak to his old friend undisturbed! He asks Jack to leave as his employer no longer requires his services. Frightened, Jack indeed leaves, telling Harry he’s sorry!
Harry reminds Techmaster that this is a public place and he wouldn’t dare try anything here. Techmaster explains that to kill him here would needlessly complicate things – but if Harry runs or calls for help, Techmaster will kill him. Plus, he will also signal his men to detonate the explosives he’s placed under Harry’s home. Harry’s going to die. The only question is: will he take his family along? If he comes along quietly, his loved ones will live. Harry decides to come along.
Meanwhile, Dazzler concentrates, narrowing her light beams to pinpoint focus and finally manages to get the door opened. Ali rushes out of the room, only to watch Techmaster on the lower floor dragging Harry with him. Ali realizes she can’t let them see her. She’s got to get away and call the police.
Techmaster orders Harry to move along, while twisting his hand. When Harry complains, Techmaster replies that, at least, he’s still got hands to twist. All Techmaster’s got are inhuman, artificial devices he was forced to create, thanks to Harry’s sabotage of his control panel that night! Harry insists he didn’t sabotage anything. It was Techmaster’s own carelessness that… He is cut short by Techmaster, who twists Harry’s hands harder. The villain exclaims that he’s heard his lies before but in a few minutes they’ll never be heard again! Harry reminds him that all those people saw at the restaurant. There’ll be inquiries and… Techmaster replies he doesn’t care an iota. For he’ll have disappeared into a new life far, far away!
Hearing this, Dazzler realizes the reason Techmaster thought he could hold her prisoner and threaten her on a whim – because he intends to disappear. He just wanted her off the picture until after he’d offed Harry and vanished. Dazzler wonders how she’s going to save Harry and herself, since there’s no time to get help now.
Techmaster goes on to show his manufacturing equipment to Harry, particularly his laser-barrage. He stresses that one must wear specially filtered glasses to protect his eyes from repeated exposure to the barrages’s glare; a problem Harry shouldn’t concern himself about. He explains the barrage uses a series of ultra-precise lasers to process raw metal into delicately machined parts for any number of industrial uses.
The two men ascend to the upper floor, with Alison hiding behind the booth. Techmaster is very proud of the barrage: it uses a phenomenal amount of power. He shudders to think what would happen if anyone was accidentally caught in its blazing crossfire! Realizing what he implies, Harry exclaims in horror that he wouldn’t… Not even Techmaster is that crazy! Techmaster replies he’s not crazy; he’s just a man who repays his debts… and he owes Harry an eternity of pain and suffering!
Grabbing Harry by his neck, he tries to push him over the catwalk and into the crossfire. Alison sees Harry holding onto the railing but realizes he can’t do it forever. Revealing herself, she orders Techmaster to leave Harry alone and then blasts him with a light beam. Harry slumps unconscious to the edge of the catwalk.
Techmaster is shocked to see that Dazzler’s transduction technology is greater than he imagined. It enabled Dazzler to free herself and, if Techmaster hadn’t been wearing protective glasses, he would have been also rendered unconscious. More than ever now, he must have the secret of her transducers! Ali asks him to stay back: she doesn’t want to hurt him. Techmaster, though, approaches her until Ali blasts him with a laser beam, ruining his glasses. Techmaster grabs Ali’s wrist, arguing that, as sophisticated as her weapons are, they are useless without sound! With startling suddenness, he backs Alison into the soundproof control booth, slamming the door behind them and flinging her to the floor.
Techmaster proclaims that he’s going to force her secrets from her – and, if that fails, he will glean them from her remains! Ali attempts to break the windows of the booth, to no avail. She decides to turn her radio on: it may not be the perfect sound source but it will give her a fighting chance. Techmaster, however, realizes what she’s about to do and crashes her radio with his artificial hands.
Ali seizes the nearest potential weapon – a fire extinguisher – and uses it against Techmaster. The villain is amused to see her releasing fire-retardant foam but all she’s achieving is ruining his suit! Ali throws the tank on him, to no avail. As Techmaster keeps attacking her, and Ali keeps avoiding his punches, she thinks that Techmaster is an inventor and a businessman but not a fighter. His speed and agility are erratic, unlike hers which she’s constantly honing for her stage act. Still, she can’t dodge him forever and decides to take a less passive approach. Indeed, she punches him, only to realize she’s not much of a fighter, either, since that punch hurt her hand!
Angrier than before, Techmaster breaks off the lever from the control panel. Ali frantically thinks anything she can use as weapon until it dawns on her: her purse! Catching him by surprise, she starts hitting him incessantly on the face with her purse. As she keeps hitting him, Techmaster asks her to stop: everything’s spinning! He stumbles heavily out of the booth, staggering unthinkingly back and falling over the railing! Alison realizes he’s too far away: he’ll never get to him in time!
As Techmaster falls over the railing, he screams “Help!”… and is surprisingly grabbed by Harry! Holding him suspended between life and death, Harry considers for a moment to let him drop … and then proves himself a hero and helps him climb up. Techmaster admits he and Harry are now even: he won’t bother him again. Indeed, he walks away. Neither Dazzler nor Harry tries to stop him.
Harry admits he owes Alison his life again. He asks her if she’s alright. Furious, Ali reminds him that he didn’t ask her that when she came to his office yesterday! He’s one of the few people she’s ever trusted with the knowledge of her being a mutant; yet he seems totally unaware that she might have special problems because of that fact! She then decides to leave, telling him that she has to go home.
Harry watches her walk away, unable to speak, awash in guilt and shame. Still, Ali feels divided between her affection and anger for him and finally turns back to face him, asking him if he’s the real Harry Osgood – her friend. He hasn’t said anything alliterative for a while! Harry asks her to forgive her. Only if it’s mutual, Ali replies. The two of them depart together, finally reconciled.