"Switch on to Fear"
V Annual 1986 (World International Publishing Ltd.)
The Visitors insert subliminal transmissions into
Under cover of night, Donovan and Kyle steal a skyfighter in
order to shoot down a shuttle carrying the evil Nazi scientist
Dr. Ernst Gluckner to the mothership for a meeting with Diana.
But before they can carry out their mission, a Visitor
skyfighter shoots them down and they crash off the coast, into
the sea. Back at resistance HQ, Elizabeth senses Kyle is in
trouble but there's nothing they can do.
In the morning, Willie brings news that he witnessed the
dogfight that ended with the commandeered skyfighter crashing
into the ocean. Just then, on the TV, Diana makes an
announcement about a foiled terrorist attack and the safe
arrival of Dr. Gluckner. Then the broadcast is interrupted by a
resistor pirate broadcast by a young man calling himself Mr.
Free, encouraging the fight for freedom against the Visitors.
On the mothership, it is revealed that Dr. Gluckner is working
with Diana and has manipulated Mr. Free into
producing the pirate broadcasts so that they can insert
another transmission which releases the human viewers' own
paranoia and fear, making them susceptible to subliminal
Off the coast, Donovan and Kyle have been rescued by resistance
frogmen who saw the crash. A portable TV on the boat shows more
of the pirate broadcasts. Donovan contacts Julie and between the
two of them, they are able to triangulate the moving pirate
signal to somewhere near Beverly Hills.
They finally track down
the van from which Mr. Free is broadcasting and find that he has
succumbed to the Visitor signal in his own broadcasts. They manage to
get him to lead them to the booster station and there find that
Elizabeth has already arrived, her unique mind being drawn there
by the signal's influence. Gluckner is also there and he is
using her state of suggestibility to make her put a laser gun to her own
head. When the others arrive, Gluckner uses the booster dish to
affect their minds as well. He tells Elizabeth to shoot Kyle and
as she is about to do his bidding, her eyes meet those of the
man she loves and she snaps out of it, shooting towards Gluckner
instead. The beam hits the dish and sparks and power from the
dish strike the Nazi's head, releasing the stored up fears and
horrors he has inflicted on countless people over his lifetime
of evil. He is left a mental vegetable as the resistance
This story appeared in the British V
Annual 1986, a book of short stories, articles and
games all about V,
geared towards kids. The stories use a fair amount of
British terms and military jargon, despite taking place in the
U.S.; illustrations of automobiles tend to show a European style
Notes from the V chronology
Diana's subliminal broadcasts over television is similar to the
premise of Below the
Threshold. I've placed this story earlier in the
chronology in the thought that the Visitors may have learned
from the experiment here and later expanded on it in
Below the Threshold.
On page 56, Elizabeth, at resistance headquarters, senses
something is wrong when Kyle and Donovan's skyfighter is shot
down over the sea. This is similar to her sensing Kyle in danger
On page 57, Willie mentions that, once again, they had to steal
a skyfighter for their latest mission. What the hell do they do
with all the ones they've captured previously?! One thing the DC
comic book did well is show that the resistance kept a building
converted into a hangar/repair bay for their captured
skyfighters (for example, see
"City on the Edge").
On page 57, Diana is making a television announcement about a
terrorist attack that has been foiled when a resistance pirate
broadcast breaks into the channel, beginning with the opening
bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. These notes were also used
by composer Joe Harnell when we first see a mothership arrive on
Earth in "Arrival"; and the first four notes are also
Morse code for the letter V.
The pirate TV broadcast is called Channel Freedom or Freedom TV,
hosted by a young man calling himself Mr. Free.
Page 58 mentions that when Donovan and Kyle's skyfighter was shot down off the coast, some resistance frogmen who had
seen the crash went out to scavenge the site for Visitor weapons
and found the two men floating in the water, still alive. It
makes sense that the resistance would be alert for such
opportunities to gain alien technology to help in their fight.
On page 59, Mr. Free speaks about the words of President Abraham
Lincoln, such as, "government of the people, by the people, for
the people, shall not perish from the earth," and "You can fool
all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all
of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the
time." These are actual quotes attributed to Lincoln (though the
second quote is disputed as having been first said by P.T.
Donovan and Julie triangulate the moving pirate signal to
somewhere near Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills is an affluent city in Los Angeles County.
It turns out that Mr. Free was being manipulated by the Nazi
doctor Ernst Gluckner and the Visitors into producing the pirate
broadcasts so that they could insert another transmission which
releases the human viewers' own paranoia and fear, making them
susceptible to subliminal auto-suggestion. After destroying the
special booster station and leaving Gluckner a vegetable with
the help of the resistance, does Mr. Free continue his
broadcasts as a legitimate resistance pirate channel?
And speaking of subliminal broadcasting, since the Visitors
control Los Angeles (and most of the southern half of the U.S.)
why don't they just insert the signal into existing TV
broadcasts? Wouldn't that be easier than manipulating a
resistance pirate broadcaster into doing it for them? Possibly,
out of deference to Nathan Bates, who is the nominal leader of
Los Angeles, Diana chose not to use the established TV stations
in the city.
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