At the Broadridge Nuclear Power Plant, two technicians--Collins and Konig--are working with an isotope in the reactor furnace when an alarm goes off. Workers arrive with another sample and say that they have to get it under control, and Dr. Marshall just pulled it out of the cyclotron. The leader, Griffin, explains that Marshall said that some particles penetrated the shield. The divider inside the chamber gives away and Collins holds the isotope as best he can over the new sample. Konig tries to call Marshall, but the phone is dead due to static from the sample. He goes to summon Marshall on the PA, and Griffin goes to call Emergency as the radiation levels rise,
Marshall shows Dr. Paul Pollard a plate of particles tracks and explains that it wasn't exposed. The particles from the new sample have clustered, and he worries about the work team that carried it. As he explains that the sub-atomic particles are giving off visible light and lethal radiation, Konig calls on the PA about the emergency in the furnace.
Collins collapse from the radiation and just manages to recover to keep the sample from touching the isotope. Energy fills his suit, disintegrating him. Meanwhile, Griffin and his team arrive outside with more lead dividers. Marshall and Paul arrive, and Marshall forbids anyone from going in. Konig wants to go in despite the radiation, and tries to call Collins. He gets no response and Konig goes in to help Collins remove his arms from the holding ports. Konig tells Collins to pull back as he inserts his arms into another set of holding ports, and sees that Collins' suit is filled with energy.
While the energy consumes Konig within his suit, Marshall peers at Konig and Collins through a filter glass and realizes that Konig is taking too long. He tells Paul that they have to leave and that Konig and Collins are as good as dead from radiation exposure. Griffin and his men set up lead shields to isolate the area and then leave.
Marshall calls the official in charge, who says that if the reactor doesn't stabilize within the hour then he's ordering complete evacuation. Poll wonders how it can reach critical mass with all the dampening rods pushed in, and points out that there's no physical process to generate the particles that they've detected. Marshal says that an observatory recently discovered eight unidentifiable quasi-stellar radiation sources. He figures the particles are their atomic equivalent: ultra-large in space and ultra-small in their reactor. The radiation is seeping in from what Marshall conjectures is another universe.
Marshall's wife Laurel and Paul's wife Arndis come in with Dr. Terrell, and Laurel points out that the two men didn't show up at the restaurant as planned. Marshall tells them that a reaction is building up in the central core, and suggests that they go. The wives insist on waiting with their husbands.
The Collins creature approaches the emergency team, and the energy spreads from it to the suited workers. One of them, Coulter, collapses in pain and the other three get him out. Griffin goes to Marshall's office and tells him that Coulter is dying, and Marshall wavers from the radiation exposure and then tells Paul and Terrell to check it out while he stays with the women.
Paul examines the badly burned Coulter, who says that the need more shields. He describes how Collins came at him but it was something else inside of Collins' suit. Griffin confirms what Coulter is describing, and Coulter says that something in the suit reached for him. He realizes that he's blind, and Griffin says that they can put in more shields so that Paul can check out Collins.
Marshall watches Paul and the emergency team go into the reactor with another shield, and calls Paul on the radio. He tells Paul not to go in, but Paul informs them that Coulter died and they have to find out what's going on. The team goes into the control and finds Collins' empty suit, and Griffin says that the Coulter creature crumpled when it came around the shield.
The Konig creature throws radioactive material at the window dividing the reactor from the control room. It then comes out and knocks the shield over onto Paul and Terrell, converting the third while Griffin runs out and turns the valve to flood the reactor with suppressant. Meanwhile, the two creatures take first Terrell and then one of the other workers to the reactor, inserting their arms into the ports and transforming them.
Marshall tells Arndis that the reactor is approaching critical mass, and Griffin comes in and tells them that the creatures have Paul and Terrell and are coming from the sample. Arndis refuses to go without Paul and runs to the reactor. Marshall tells Laurel that he doesn't have the strength to go after Arndis. Laurel realizes that her husband is afraid, and Marshall tells her that beings from another dimension are invading their time/space and he's responsible because he placed the heavy elements from the stellar sources in the cyclotron. Doing so created a crack in time/space, and the crack will widen and gravity will collapse.
Griffin goes after Arndis, and Laurel says that there's no point in running because there's no place to hide. Marshall insists that he doesn't want to die, and his wife says that they should meet their end with dignity or go down fighting. She tells Marshall to use his mind, but Marshall says that he's no use.
Arndis runs to the control room and finds Paul still unconscious on the floor. Griffin arrives, shoves Arndis out, and closes the door behind her. As he tries to wake Paul up, the creatures attack him.
Laurel says that she'll help them if Marshall won't and goes to the control room. Meanwhile, the creatures have exposed Griffin, Paul, and the third worker to the sample as well, transforming them. Marshall goes after Laurel.
Arndis wakes up in the hallway and opens the control room door just as Laurel and Marshall arrives. Marshall hits the alarm and pulls Arndis back as two of the creatures emerge from the reactor. Arndis faints and Marshall carries her away and Laurel goes with him. The creatures stop advancing and then their suits crumple. Marshall realizes that the shielding has cut them off from their energy source. He tells Laurel that the creatures are particles and they killed Paul and the others. Arndis wakes up and they take her to Marshall's office to tell them what she saw in the control room.
The remaining creatures remove isotopes from the reactor and transfer them to the door to burn through it.
In Marshall's office, Marshall calls the official but discovers that he's evacuated. The radiation levels reach the red as Marshall contacts the civil authority. He reports that they expect a critical mass in a few minutes and they should start the sirens. Marshall and Laurel then take Arndis outside, and Marshall tells Laurel to get to safety while he tries to do something. He admits that she was right that he should stay and fight, and try to stop the consequences of his actions. The building glows with the same energy, and Laurel tells Arndis to drive to her children at the shelters.
Once Arndis leaves, Marshall and Laurel go back inside. He discovers that something is restraining the fission reaction, and senses that there's something he can do even though everything is operating counter to the laws of physics.
The creatures form a chain down the hallway, remaining connected to their power source. They pass a bottle of radioactive material down the chain.
Marshall insists that he can't solve the problem, and Laurel tells him not to force it. She steadies him, and Marshall asks for the readings from when Collins and Konig were working on the isotope. He realizes that the substance is above critical mass and should have started a chain reaction five minutes ago, but the creatures are holding it back. The splitting process is widening the rift, letting the particles enter their dimension. Marshall tells Laurel that he's going to reverse the process. If he can set up a fusion reaction and compress the atoms inward, it will seal off the process, and will use the reinforced protective suit from the cyclotron to enter the reactor.
Once he dons the suit, Marshall contacts Laurel via the radio line and warns that he may lose contact with her once he enters the materials vault to get the elements necessary. He enters the vault and sets the hydrogen nuclear component, and hears the creatures approaching. Marshall gets out just in time as the creatures disintegrate the vault door, Outside, Marshall collapses by his car and tells Laurel that he can't move. She says that she's coming out to help him.
The creatures wheel out the container with the nuclear component.
Laurel finds Marshall and they get into their car. They drive off into the desert and Marshall says that ground zero is over a mile and they have to find shelter. They stop at a desert station and take refuge in a nuclear bunker designed for watching test shots.
The creatures take the nuclear component into the reactor.
Marshall and Laurel enter the bunker and observe the plant through filtered glass. The scientist figures that there will be an implosion rather than an explosion, and possible time-reversal effects. The component explodes and the shockwave hits the bunker. Time then goes into reverse, reverting the damage from the explosion. Marshall tells Laurel that the particles are gone and they're going to live.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 9, 2018