Each character is contacted separately by David Boyle, the
Wentworth Clinic "headhunter". Boyle explains to each one of them that
they are paranormals and that they can only profit from going to the clinic.
All expenses, including trip and accommodations, are paid by the clinic, which
also pays a stipend of U$ 1,000.00 per month to its patients. The only catch
is that they have to allow the staff at the clinic to conduct tests on them.
However, all results from those test will be shared with them, allowing them
to better understand their newfound abilities.
The characters agree and, eventually, meet each other at the clinic, where they share the same room. They are Nicholas Epadopoulos, a Greek taxi driver who works in New York; Roberto "Jah" da Silva, a Brazilian Rastafari; Marco Samptoro Marelli, an Italian systems analyst and Paul Chan, a martial artist actor from Hong Kong.
Soon, the characters meet the other patients, 20 in total. They even manage to win a volleyball game against the older patients. Among them are Sara, an amphibian punk rocker; Travis, who can manifest energy tentacles; Bobby, a kid who can summon comic book super heroes to life, and Karl Levinsky, a flying paranormal. One of the friendlier patients is Jack "Snake", who has such serpentine characteristics as snake eyes and skin, a forked tongue, fangs and poison sacs.
One night, the characters decide to go to a bar in Springfield. They end up in a bar fight that almost triggers Paul's paranormal abilities.
After a few days, the characters all start having the same dream. They dream of a crossroad in a great plain and a mysterious man standing in its middle. He tells them that they are all part of a new species that will supplant humankind. And, because of that, they must unite to conquer the world. All of the characters refuse his offer. The next day, they ask around and find that all of the other patients have had the same dream. Some of them agreed with the man, who calls himself the Spider man.
Meanwhile, Jah starts to manifest one of his abilities, astral projection, during his sleep and, accidentally, finds out that the clinic is controlled by another person, not by its founder, Dr. William Wentworth. This other man, when seen from astral space, appears to have several webs linked to him. The man notices Jah's astral presence and sets out to find him. Jah returns immediately to his body and wakes his roommates. They soon hear footsteps by the door and the clicking sound of a weapon being primed. They all jump through the window, but the man breaks the door and manages to shoot Paul in the leg. This triggers Paul's paranormal ability, making him change into a lung, an Oriental dragon. Nicholas takes his cab, which he had driven all the way from New York, and all of them escape from the clinic and the man.
Running for their lives in the middle of the night, with Paul back in his human form and bleeding, the characters meet a New York repair truck driver, "Guimbinha" Mallone. He was also going to the clinic, but after hearing the character's story, he decides to join them. Since Paul is still bleeding, they stop at the home of a veterinarian and "persuade" him to treat Paul, while they try to come up with a plan.
Meanwhile, Snake finds them. He tells them that, after their escape, Karl, who also had refused Spider man's offer, had been murdered and the characters were the prime suspects. Not thinking that the clinic was the best place to be after all that, he also ran away and tracked them down. He also tells them that he knows of a place they can stay until the dust settles. The characters convince the veterinarian that they are actually good guys and he agrees not to tip the police about them and holding the cab and the truck until they come back.
Snake takes the characters to a desert and eerie place where they find a strange, luminous portal. Going through it, which feels like breaking through a membrane, they find themselves in a complex of caves inhabited by weird looking paranormals. The leader of the place, Old Man Prophet, reveals some information to the characters. He tells them that the name of the place is Alussein, but that all paranormals are Alussein. He also tells them that they can stay for as long as they want and, if they wish, the inhabitants of Alussein can help them understand their abilities.
With the exception of Marco, who, through his family connections to the Mafia, manages to go to New York, the characters spend more than a month in Alussein. Throughout this time, their powers keep on manifesting. Guimbinha finds out he is getting stronger, tougher, less uglier and is able to fly. Nicholas finds out he can manipulate his, and others, mass, becoming intangible or super dense. Paul, who already knew his basic ability, ends up fighting with Knife, a very weird paranormal. Besides being blue-skinned and having fleshy dreadlocks instead of hair, Knife does not seem to feel pain. He carries his knives sheathed in the skin of his chest. He also defeats Paul, cuts one of Paul's fingers and eats it. This incident teaches Paul that his powers are triggered by threat to his person, but only if he perceives it as a threat. That is why he didn't change into a lung during his fight with Knife, he didn't think Knife was a match for him. Jah finds out that he can also create powerful mental illusions, but only when he's stoned. During one of his involuntary astral projections, he meets an Amerindian in astral space who says he needs Jah's help.
In New York, Marco is welcomed by one of his uncle, Don Vinnie Marelli. He provides everything that Marco asks for, but he asks Marco to help him with a little problem. One of the other cappi, is a paranormal who also has paranormals working for him. Knowing that Marco is a paranormal, Marelli wants him to "solve" this problem for him. Marco tells his uncle that he will think about it.
During a night out at Springfield, Idaho, the closest city to Alussein, the characters get into another bar fight. Days later, a van arrives in town with four agents of the Division of Paranormal Investigation (DPI), a branch of the FBI specialized in paranormal cases. Three of the agents, Ishimura, Burner and Prentiss, are human-looking, but the last one resembles a comic book demon. El Diablo Colorado, as he calls himself, has red skin, horns, pointed ears, cloven hooves and a tail that ends in an arrow-point shape. They manage to identify the characters as the wanted paranormals and try to gain their trust and make a deal. But the characters refuse.
Believing himself to be followed and not wanting to reveal the location of Alussein, Guimbinha goes all the way to Boise in a bus. Thanks to Agent Prentiss ability, the DPI agents locate Alussein's entrance, an old, abandoned cemetery a couple of kilometers from town. Together with the local police, they storm it. Old Man Prophet already knew what would happen, so he asks Door, a paranormal who is an intelligent curtain of skin with the ability to open portals connecting the many Springfields in the United States, to open a gate and sends all the inhabitants, including him, through it. Snake joins the Alussein inhabitants, but Jah, Nicholas and Paul decide to stay.
Thanks to Jah's illusion power, the three of them escape from Alussein's old site, in time to see an aerial battle between Guimbinha, who flew back from Boise, and one of the agents. Guimbinha escapes from Agent Burner, and goes back to the veterinarian's home, in Kansas, where he takes his repair truck back.
Eventually, they manage to contact each other and go to New York to meet Marco. The Amerindian contacts Jah once more and tells him that he is being kept prisoner in a secret military base in New Mexico. His only chance of escape is if the characters help him. During this time, Marco's power first manifests. A gumshoe detective, straight out of a noir film, appears next to him in his car. The detective tell Marco some cryptic things about the Italian systems analyst and disappears.
Finally, all agree to help the Amerindian.
After changing modes fo transportation several times, the group arrives at Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. With the help of the astrally-projected Ameridian, they locate an abandoned entrance to the secret base in the desert. There, Marco discovers a new aspect of his abilities as he contacts the "essence" of the base. Through her, he locates the Amerindian in a Biolevel 4 lab deep in the base. Using his mass shift ability, Nicholas sends everybody down an elevator shaft. On the way to the lab, the group faces opposition in the form of the Alpha agents, genetically enhanced operatives. However, even these operatives are no match for the group's collective abilities, and they reach the lab. Once in the lab, they find out the Ameridian is actually an alien being. They realease him from an isolation chamber, but can discern no way of escape. That's when a portal opens and a piece of paper with the message "Jump through" falls through it. With no better option, the group does as it says.
On the other side, they find themselves standing on a beach. Next to them is a black-skinned man who introduces himself as André Elahi, a afellow paranormal who can see the future and open portals.
After Elahi tells the group they are in Haiti, they turn their attention to the alien, whose name is Furiirr. He tells them telepathically that he belongs to a species called Shiara'garr, which has been conducting a genetic experiment on Earth for the past 20,000 years. Their goal was to test the Ultimate Psionic Metadiscipline Theory, that postulates that all psionic abilities are aspects of one general discipline. Furiirr's clanline, Bura, thought they had completed their work with the latest offspring of one of their more successful strains, 2,000 years before. The carpenter proved to be much more and not only surpassed the alien's expectations, but also changed their way of thinking. Convinced that their experimentation on a sentient species was ethically wrong, the Bura launched a campaign to end the program. The prestige of the clanline gave power to their cause and initiated a debate that lasted for two millenia on their homeworld in the Barnard's Star system.
Surprisingly, the Bura received the support of the oracle clanlines which had believed the experiment a great danger to the survival of the Shiara'garr. The alliance was decisive in shifting the balance in favor of the Bura's cause, but the result wasn't exactly what they expected. The ruling council decided not only to stop the program, but to erase all its subjects. Orders were given to the Shiara'garr base on the dark side of the Moon to launch a missile carrying a virius that would kill all the alussein -- the manipulated humans. At the same time, Furiirr is told to intercept the missile. He complies by stealing a ship, which is followed by another one. Furiirr manages to destroy the missile, but is engaged by the pursuing ship. With his ship damaged, he oveloads its telekinetic slave brains and blasts his pursuers, which are destroyed while generating a massive TK pulse that bathes the planet. This was 1990. Furiirr crashes near Florida and is captured by a secret US agency called Majestic 12. With his last breath, he pleads the characters to protect Earth from the incoming Shiara'garr attack.
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