Admirably unselfish fireman Joe Tucker takes charge when he and six others, none of which knows another, find themselves waking up in an apparently locked-up hotel room far from their respective home towns. cameras abound in the hotel. Once out, they find it's in a virtual ghost town, although all amenities are in working order, but dangers lurk, perhaps as much for the local Chinese restaurant staff and the hotel's night manager, who claims to be used to waking up in surprise town hotels from time to time but ignores his spook-secretive employer's identity. They must...
After the agony of having the leg implants cut out by nurse Moira Doherty, who later admits really being just a 'recovered' mental patient, the seven find themselves still restrained to a perimeter by a pain weapon. Their lucky chance to break trough once proves futile as the only road leads them straight back. Meanwhile San Francisco newspaper investigative reporter Mark Renbe starts on the case, not supported by his bitching editor and attacked by a mystery man who steals the envelop an informant finally provided.
The group toils together for a week on a tunnel, only to find it useless due to a subterranean steel ring fitted with gas, so the hostile mood returns even worse. A helicopter proves neither rescue nor passerby, but drops a box with only three gas masks. Fierce rivalry for them emerges, cause to question claim-supporting family sob stories, but the winners are in for a gripping surprise. Bill and Charlie bonds strangely over their found-out secrets. We learn the reason San Francisco newspaper reporter Renbe takes such risks for the case that he fathered Janet' ...
The gang is horrified by the arrival of a colored new woman, who proves viciously and physically aggressive. Joe Tucker, secretly in league with the mastermind, visits his colleague behind the screens, Chinese restaurant undercover Tom, who barely restrains him from pulling the plug just because Janet is in multiple danger. Reporter Mark Renbe is nearly fired but can convince his ex, the editor, his story is worth waiting for, despite his personal interest.
Mark Renbe drags his unamused lover, yet interested editor, along to Rome, where ambassador Franklin Fairchild buries his suspiciously killed wife. Joe Tucker's crush on Janet leads to the others suspecting him of being in cahoots with the mastermind. Poisoned, he's forced by newcomer Erica to 'confess', apparently frustrating program-dedicated Tom's efforts to save Joe. Bill is the easy bullying prey, cruelly abused by Erica and her new cahoot, Janet.
Now Joe is unmasked as one of the manipulators, Bill and Erica see that the gang abuses him horribly, despite his claim to have been 'promoted' years after his own abduction. Colleague Tom is ordered to extract him at gunpoint, but ends up fatally shot himself. Next the survivors find their elaborate personal files planted in Joe's room, and shortly after removed again. Stefano D'Angelo promises his organization will get Renbe and his lover-editor back safely, but it's Franklin Fairchild's connections who arrest them and the ambassador explains he's member of an ...
Joe finds himself strapped towel-only on a surgery table for equally painful physical healing and attitude adjustment, to be either reintegrated in the program or die, contending withs visions of people he cares for. The others are ever more confused, Bill so badly he doesn't even try running when he stumbles into an apparent way out of town. In South America, Mark Renbe visits in a mental institution Angela Barragan, their lead to the missing persons and the program masters.
A desperate, physically healed Joe is returned to the gang, stark naked and suffering from amnesia, which the others doubt, arguing whether he's now a friend, asset or liability. The night manager fails to regain control and is beaten to pulp. The program's mean female director sends reluctant staffer Liam Ulrich to take over. In South America, Renbe and his lover-editor run broke but are bailed out of jail by a local clergyman, who gets killed during an escape into the wild.
Mark Renbe and his lover are caught with Stefano, who tells about his darker former part, by the border guards, but escape again and reach a town. The night manager is ordered to take control and coaxes the gang, especially Bill, yet the director isn't satisfied. Joe is more mistrusted then ever, completely dumped by Janet, who again sides with Erica, who in turn hides her real identity, as rogue program player.
Mark Renbe has escaped from South America with six hidden severed thumbs to San Francisco, only to be arrested by detective Robert Gomez, who helps him escape when the case is take out of his hand by unspecified 'government agents', while his editor is fired like most colleagues, the newspaper being bought. The night manager does a great job befriending Bill, but Charlie warns it's all another manipulative ploy. Joe remains excluded due to female scheming, which tears the group even further apart. The projected director decides to abandon town 27 altogether.
After forensic analysis of a thumb traces it to the surviving owner, a naive aid doctor, Renbe finally pieces together which 'foundation' is the manipulative organization and intrudes its HQ, only to be thrown out instantly. In town 28, the director toys with night manager Ulrich's request to return to office duty while body bags are delivered and he must tells the others they'll kill each-other. He's seen on cameras starting a frenzy of suicide and killings which leaves only Joe alive, but dead angles allow preventing actual deaths.