Dr. Helen Magnus wakes up on the floor of the Sanctuary with no recollection of why or how she got there. Disoriented and bewildered, she discovers her office scarred with bullet holes, equipment broken in pieces and layered with dust and the lab left only with devastating remnants of a horrific battle scene.
With no signs of life to be found, Magnus is completely baffled and shaken. To gather her thoughts, she steps up onto the Sanctuary's rooftop parapet, but is shocked by the scene before her. Instead of the lights of New City, she looks out to a dark, cratered landscape...the city is decimated.
Magnus fashions a makeshift weapon as her only defense and moves out into the city, determined to find some clue as to what has happened to the world. While surveying the destruction, she is attacked by a ferocious, inhuman creature with an ear-piercing shriek as its battle cry. Cornered and near defenseless, Magnus catches a glimpse of her attacker's face. It is scarcely human with pale skin and soulless eyes, and shrieks with fury as it prepares to finish her. Suddenly, without warning, a sonic blast hits the beast from behind, killing it and saving Magnus.
Relieved, she looks up to see two men, heavily armed. Before she can ask any questions, one of the men draws a stun gun and fires it at Magnus, taking her down.
When she awakens, she finds herself in an abandoned warehouse with the same two men. They aggressively hose her down, scrubbing her skin raw and leave her soaking wet, shivering and distraught. Exhausted, she curls up on the floor confused and temporarily defeated. When a third man enters the room, she braces herself for another assault.
But she is both surprised and relieved when she realizes the man standing before her, although hardened and battle-scarred, is none other than her colleague and friend Will Zimmerman.
She starts to ask him questions, but he forcefully shuts her down and accuses her of being an imposter. He explains coldly that she could not possibly be who she claims because Helen Magnus died three years before.
Stunned and with far more questions than answers, Magnus knows only that she must escape from Will and find a way to understand the nightmare her world has become.