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The Groundstar Conspiracy

The Groundstar Conspiracy(1972)


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One evening a series of explosions rock the American Groundstar space station ground control center, which is reduced to rubble just as a man runs out. Moments later a short distance away, the seriously injured, bleeding man collapses in the doorway of the home of divorcée Nicole Devon. Security head Tuxan arrives at the demolished Groundstar station shortly thereafter to discover that six of Groundstar's scientists have died in the blasts and a seventh was witnessed fleeing. Responding to Nicole's panicked call for an ambulance, Tuxan and his agents go to her home and find on the injured man an identity card bearing the name John Welles. Tuxan also finds Welles carrying a stolen computer tape containing top-secret information. Suspicious of why Welles fled to Nicole's home, Tuxan orders her taken to the same government compound as Welles. At the compound hospital, Tuxan learns that Welles is critically injured and, if he survives, will need substantial plastic surgery to repair his ravaged features. Tuxan demands the physicians keep Welles alive long enough to reveal the name of the person who masterminded Groundstar's destruction. The following morning at the Groundstar remains, Tuxan confronts Air Force Gen. Hackett, the military co-director of the project, and his civilian counterpart Frank Gossage, both of whom are outraged at being denied entry to the site. Tuxan bluntly informs the men that a preliminary investigation on Welles reveals his papers were forged and his identity completely manufactured, so they have no idea who intended to destroy Groundstar and sell its most valuable secrets. Assuming complete control of the investigation, Tuxan dismisses the men and tells Groundstar publicist Carl Mosley that he must approve all news reports. Later, Tuxan questions Nicole repeatedly but she insists that she has never heard of Welles and has no idea why the injured man came to her door. When Tuxan continues to interrogate her, Nicole explains that she has been away for a year recovering from her divorce and the death of her parents and had no knowledge of Groundstar's construction. Meanwhile, Mosley contacts the head of the Groundstar appropriation committee, Senator Douglas Belle Stanton, and Hackett to assure them he will keep them informed of results from the Groundstar investigation, then accepts Tuxan's invitation to interview Nicole, who has been released. Later, Tuxan reports to Stanton, Hackett and Gossage that the revived Welles has lost his memory completely, but vows to get information from him despite this difficulty. Over the next several weeks as Welles makes a slow and painful recovery, Tuxan questions him relentlessly, but Welles insists he does not recognize his picture, that of Nicole or anything associated with Groundstar. Determined to break Welles, Tuxan authorizes psychiatrist Dr. Plover to conduct electroshock and other extreme methods in hope of jarring Welles's memory. Antagonized and angered by the treatment, one day Welles tries to attack Tuxan, but is held off when the security agent draws a gun. Shortly thereafter, a man posing as medical personnel breaks into Welles's room, but is killed by Tuxan. Welles insists he does not know the man or why anyone would want him killed. Frustrated by the fruitless weeks of questioning, Tuxan arranges to have Welles believe he is being permanently moved to a secret location to keep him safe and to wait for his memory to return. On the trip from the compound, Tuxan's men stage an accident, which allows Welles to escape, and, unsure of where to turn, he goes to Nicole's house. Although initially frightened, Nicole gradually relaxes and comes to pity Welles, who expresses horror that he may have killed the six Groundstar scientists. When Nicole asks him if he feels guilty, Welles is amazed to realize that he feels no remorse. Allowing Welles to spend the evening in her apartment, Nicole overhears him mumbling in his sleep during the night and the next morning tells him he was speaking in Greek. Welles recalls his dreams and realizes that a sequence on a beach may have been in Greece. A little later, Tuxan visits Gossage to relay that he has learned the stolen computer tape held priceless information on a miniaturized fuel system. After Gossage reports this to the senator, Stanton meets with Tuxan, who insists that Welles may yet regain his memory and reveal the identity of his superior. Mosley tries to arrange a date with Nicole, but she grows suspicious and suggests that she and Welles move to the empty beach house of vacationing friends. There, over several days, Nicole helps Welles dissect his dreams and the couple eventually fall in love under the watchful surveillance cameras of Tuxan's agents. Determined to question Welles directly, Mosley discovers his location and one evening, with his associate Charlie Kitchen, kidnaps him before Tuxan's men can respond. Tuxan questions Nicole, who is mortified to learn her privacy has been invaded, but Tuxan coolly insists that personal privacy must be sacrificed for national security. Tuxan goes in search of Welles as Mosley and Charlie take him to a harbor warehouse where Mosley reveals he has set up a Swiss bank account for Welles if he will disclose who hired him to destroy Groundstar. Although Mosley subjects Welles to hours of torture, Welles still denies knowing the identity of the mastermind. The next morning, Tuxan and his agents locate the warehouse and kill Charlie but find Mosley unconscious and Welles gone. After questioning Mosley, Tuxan learns that Stanton was behind the order to kidnap Welles and arrests the senator, who confesses to being responsible for Groundstar's destruction. Meanwhile, Welles, using his Groundstar identity card, breaks into the government compound and proceeds to Dr. Plover's office, where he finds his medical records and a tape on which Tuxan and Plover discuss how to erase someone's memory. When security reports Welles's break-in to Tuxan, he meets him there and takes him to the building morgue. There Tuxan shows Welles the dead body of John Welles who died shortly after surgery. Stunned, Welles learns that his real name is Peter Bellamy, a former State Department employee who attempted suicide after the drowning death of his Greek fiancée. Volunteering for any hazardous job afterward, Bellamy was subjected to massive brainwashing to convince him that he was the amnesiac Welles in order to lure out Stanton. Flabbergasted, Welles tells Tuxan that his control over and heartless use of people is despicable, but Tuxan points out that he has given Welles the rare opportunity to begin a new life with a clean slate.