It begins in Arizona when three college friends, Beau, Cassy, a student teacher, and Pitt, a four-year medical student, discover a meteorite - stinging hot to the flesh - in the parking lot of a Phoenix diner. Within hours of touching it, Beau falls ill with strange flu-like symptoms that defy rational diagnosis. By the following morning, he has not only recovered, but feels euphoric. In fact he feels changed. But Beau isn't the only one who has undergone the transformation. The strange flu has spread rapidly, affecting each victim with the same inexplicable exhilaration. The phenomenon inspires Beau to team with a billionaire entrepreneur to develop "The Institute for a New Humankind". It's a chance for its newly-illuminated members to experience the world as they never have before - and change it. Cassy and Pitt, suspicious of Beau's newfound "cult", are compelled to investigate. What they uncover is unfathomable but terrifyingly real: the virus is an alien intelligence systematically infecting the bodies and minds of everyone on Earth. Their attempt to solicit help from the Centre of Disease Control elicits only fear. For the CDC, along with the police, are already among the changed. Tracking the course of the meteorite assault over the Internet, it's up to Cassy and Pitt to stop it. Their underground fight takes them to an isolated government germ warfare base where a secret portal to another world - and a life-or-death confrontation with Beau, the leader of the new alien race - awaits them.