After an accidental lab explosion destroys years' worth of cellular regeneration research, Stark fires Dr. Carl Carlson, the likable obsessive-compulsive scientist responsible for the blast. With his house confiscated and his entire career at Global Dynamics wiped from his rÃ©sumÃ©, Carl heads to a bridge outside of town, planning to end his problems forever with one leap into the ravine below. Sheriff Jack Carter joins Carl on the dangerous ledge and convinces the sensitive, fearful scientist to give life another try. But as Jack struggles to heave Carl to safety, Carl's grip slips. Both men plunge a hundred feet to the hard ground below.
Miraculously, Jack survives by landing on Carl. Even more amazing, Carl walks away from the accident, his injuries healing spontaneously. Convinced that his cellular regeneration research has paid off after all, Carl triumphantly celebrates his newfound invulnerability with carefree pleasure, surprising his longtime therapist, Beverly Barlowe.
Stark reinstates the scientist, who hopes to invent a procedure that will allow everyone to share his amazing abilities. Privately, however, Stark suspects that Carl's gift doesn't come from his research at all, but from a more frightening, top-secret source: the mysterious, powerful artifact that's housed in a Section Five lab directly below Carl's. The explosion might have allowed exotic radiation to leak from the artifact into Carl's body, sparking his apparent breakthrough.
Proving Stark's suspicions, Carl fails to reproduce his results, but he soon manifests other powers, including telekinesis and mind-reading. Henry then discovers that Carl's body contains strange radiation which is forcing his brain to evolve extraordinarily fast. Carl's cells aren't spontaneously regenerating of their own accord - his newly powerful mind is responsible for his healing.
Because Carl can now hear Stark's thoughts, he learns of the secret artifact and its unnatural influence. His own work is still a failure; Stark only wants to study him, not help him. Despairing, the scientist flees to Beverly's, only to discover that his trusted therapist is thinking of using him to spy illegally on Section Five. Betrayed and overwhelmed, Carl turns to his new friend Jack, but Stark intervenes with a security force determined to drag the scientist back to Global Dynamics by force. In the ensuing standoff, a commando fires on Carl, who telekinetically deflects the blast - straight into Jack's chest. Now Jack's dying, and only Carl's new power - and Stark's mysterious artifact - can save the sheriff's life.