Following Henry's announcement that the Alchemist's Curse contagion has mutated into deadly flesh-eating bacteria, the Global Dynamics defense computer kicks into action, locking some people in and keeping others out. It transforms Allison's office into a panic room by lowering it far below Earth's surface and sealing it off completely. The four people in the office - Allison, her son Kevin, Henry and the unscrupulous Beverly Barlowe - are trapped together.
Having glimpsed Beverly, Jack demands that Stark stop keeping secrets and explain what's going on. Stark reveals that Kevin has been mentally enhanced but physically weakened by the mysterious artifact from Section Five. If Stark can't break the link between the boy and the artifact, Kevin will die. In desperation, Stark brought Beverly to town to help him, but then Henry found out that she's back. Beverly killed Kim, the woman Henry loved, and now Henry and Beverly are trapped together. There's no telling what might happen next in such a volatile situation.
Donning protective suits, Jack, Taggart and Stark hurry into Global Dynamics, hoping to reach - or at least contact - Allison. From a remote computer terminal at Jack's house, Fargo and Zane Donovan guide them through the locked-down building. After they survive contamination scares and attacks from the defense computer, they discover the truth: there is no contagion. Henry made the whole thing up. For reasons of his own, he must have wanted to be locked into the panic room.
Indeed, Henry is putting an audacious plan into action. There's only one way out of the panic room: a Subatomic Reconstructive Transport, or S.R.T., which can teleport a person out of Global. In the process, it cleanses impurities from the person's body. Henry believes that transporting Kevin through the S.R.T. will disconnect him from the artifact and save his life. Allison is reluctant to send her son through the untested machine, especially after Beverly endorses the idea, but Kevin is weakening. Allison must let Henry try.
Stark guesses that this is Henry's plan, but he knows something that Henry doesn't: Kevin's D.N.A. has been so altered by the artifact that the teleportation will kill the boy unless special precautions are taken. Thus, as Taggart leads refugees out of Global, Stark and Jack press deeper into the building, their personal differences set aside as they race to rescue Kevin. But the building's automated defenses aren't done with them yet, and waiting far below are not only Allison and Kevin, but also Beverly - a criminal - and Henry, whose true motives remain completely unknown.