Professor Harold J. Finley is driving home from college and passes two workers blocking the road with their crane. They tell him to wait until they’re finished or go 12 miles around. When Harold persists, they start to approach him and ask if he’s trying to start trouble. Cowed, Harold turns around and drives. As he proceeds, he rubs at the surgical scar on his forehead. Behind him, a cloud of energy forms near the two workers. They try to run but it disintegrates them and their truck in a matter of seconds.
At home, Harold tells his wife Vera that he’s driving over to Reedsville to meet with the space scientists. Vera warns him against it, saying that he applied once before and they refused to accept him. However, Harold insists that he needs to do more than teach at a second-rate college. As he goes, Vera asks him to take bottles back to the grocery store, but Harold says that he’s meeting with the staff and they believe he can save one of their important projects.
At the space center, the scientists inform their superior, Dr. Henschell, that the asteroid belt contains the resources that they need. However, their space capsules can’t reach that far. Henschell warns them that the government is shutting down the project and reassigning them since they don’t have the equipment necessary. The head of the project, Keenan, has Harold step forward and demonstrate his ability on a half-ton meteor. Concentrating, he manages to lift it in the air through the power of his mind and move it across the room. He lets it drop with a crash and explains that he has developed a link gate that lets him manipulate the energy waves surrounding them. Harold uses his brain patterns as a focussing system to redirect the electromagnetic force. Henschell asks to see the device and Harold explains that he had it implanted in the frontal lobe of his brain. They’ll have the same implant placed into an astronaut who will then break apart the asteroids through mental force
Dr. Sigmund Hinderman, the staff psychologist, talks to Harold and asks why he risked his life on a major brain operation. Harold explains that he wanted to work on the project however he could, and Hinderman warns that the human brain is made of emotions and dark urges, and wonders what will happen when those interact with the link gate.
At home, Harold tells Vera about his new employment and how he will receive double his teaching salary. She assumes that he’s making it up and Harold finally tries to tell her the truth. Vera isn’t interested until Harold says that they’ll have to sell their house and move to Reedsville. Harold momentarily snaps, saying that Vera wants him to remain a worm, but then goes to see his superior, Dean Radcliffe. Radcliffe refuses to release Harold from his contract until the end of the semester or hire a replacement. He insists that Harold work full-time. As Harold walks down the hallway, the energy cloud forms above Radcliffe. As Radcliffe starts to leave, the ceiling collapses on the desk that he just left. Harold runs back and sees the destruction, unaware of what caused it.
Later at the space center, Keenan and his men prepare to test Harold’s abilities. Harold keeps his power at half initially, but then tries again at full force, bending a piece of steel. Satisfied, Keenan tells Harold to relax and confirms that he’s now generating a force equal to half a million kilowatts, and it increases each time they do it. Keenan wonders if Harold is stressing himself, and the professor claims that he’s let his faculty work go.
The astronaut who will receive the implant, Steve Crandon, introduces himself to Harold and assures him that he will be there in spirit. Harold talks of how the astronauts represent the new pioneering spirit and make up for the failures of the others. Steve is surprised that Harold would have any failures and the professor tells him not to wait to make his mark. Angry, Harold tells Steve not to let “them” crush him and asks about Steve’s girlfriend. As Harold leaves, Steve asks if there are any aftereffects and Harold says there are occasional headaches. He then invites Steve to come home with him for dinner.
At home, Harold tries to introduce Steve to Vera as she washes windows, but she’s unimpressed. She takes some satisfaction in telling her husband that Dean Radcliffe came by and was unhappy that he had been neglecting his classes. Steve offers to catch a bus back to town and Harold goes after him. As they talk, the energy cloud forms behind them. Vera sees it and falls off the ladder, screaming. Harold and Steve run back and she says that electricity crawled all over her.
That night, the doctor comes to treat Vera’s injured leg. Vera insists that something pulled at her and threw her down, but Harold points out that she was alone the entire time. After the doctor leaves, Radcliffe calls from his bedroom and accuses Harold of breaking his word and violating his contract. He refuses to let Harold throw his career away. Harold begs to talk it over with him and Radcliffe reluctantly agrees to see him the next day.
Harold mutters darkly of what he might wish some time, and then makes Vera uncomfortable. As he contemplates what he truly wants, the energy cloud forms and Harold turns to look at it as it disappears. It reforms in Radcliffe’s bedroom and the dean stares at in horror. It envelops Radcliffe and reduces him to ash in a matter of seconds.
The next day, Radcliffe’s wife Emily tells the investigating officer that some energy force threw her out into the hall. When she awoke from the shock, she describes what she saw as a small storm. Harold arrives as Emily finishes her description. The detective asks what Harold is doing there and the professor says that he had an appointment.
Later, Harold goes to the space center and Keenan determines that the way the power is increasing, they could soon become the equivalent of gods. When Harold learns that Steve is receiving the implant the next day, he goes to see Hinderman. The professor explains that he is drawing on the universal radiant of all the stars in all the galaxies. He wonders if his emotions could change the nature of the waves and Hinderman notes that Man has always believed that people can think evil thoughts. Harold insists that he wouldn’t hurt anyone even subconsciously, and Hinderman suggests that he may have hidden resentments without realizing. it.
At home, Harold tells Vera that he killed Radcliffe and pulled her off the ladder. He tries to explain the power he now has and insists that he doesn’t hate anyone. However, the link gate focused his subconscious hates without him even knowing it. Vera calls the county hospital and Harold stops her. She says that Harold has never hurt anyone or would want to, and tells him that he doesn’t have any power. Harold snaps at her and begs her to believe him. The energy cloud forms above them and Harold backs away in horror, clutching at his head. Objects fly around the room and the energy envelops Vera as Harold tries to stop it. Vera collapses to the floor, stunned, and the cloud dissipates.
Vera begs Harold not to kill her and asks what she can say to have him spare her. She explains that she hated and resented him and never wanted him as the father of her child. As Vera begs him to not to kill her, Harold says that he can’t help himself.
The next day, Steve prepares for the operation when Harold arrives. He sends the orderly out of the room and tells Steve to back out. Harold explains that he’s a murderer and that none of them were meant to control a force of that magnitude. Steve says that he’s not afraid of power. Harold then goes to Keenan and tells him to call off the operation. Keenan refuses, saying that risk has never impeded human progress. Harold storms off and Hinderman realizes that he can stop the operation using his powers. They recover Harold and sedate him, saying that nothing can stop them from going through with the operation.
Steve is taken to the operating theater and Keenan gives the link gate to the surgeon. As the operation begins, Hinderman warns Keenan that they have only rendered Harold’s conscious harmless. Keenan says that he’s counting on Harold to subconsciously want the project to succeed.
In his sleep, Harold mutters “no” repeatedly and the energy field materializes in the operating theater. The surgical team backs away but the energy field disintegrates the doctor. When Keenan runs in to help, he’s disintegrated as well. In the next room, Harold wakes up and realizes what is happening. He calmly walks in and confronts his own subconscious manifestation. Harold vows that he doesn’t want to live if he has such power and directs the energy field back on himself. He disappears in a flash of energy as Hinderman and the others look on... and stop the operation on Steve for good.