Neil's friends at school are taking a new drug called "Rapture", which appears to boost their intelligence and may even promote telepathy and telekinesis. Neil finds out that his friend Deckard got the formula for the drug from a web site, but in his attempt to get a sample for analysis he is forced to take the drug.
Meanwhile, Taggart's new boss Cynthia Hodge suggests that he had something to do with sabotaging the last space mission, but appears to be happy that the mission failure has hastened the day when manned space flights will be replaced by totally robotic ones. A retired astronaut, Leyton Scott, tells Taggart that a group called "the Cadre" have been trying for the last 20 years to get rid of manned space flight. But then Leyton reveals that he is dying from "Moon Sickness", a strange disease that strikes only Apollo astronauts, which may have something to do with their having brought more than just rocks back with them from the Moon. Because of Angela's apparent mental breakdown on her last mission, she is scheduled for a psych review. Although the doctor, who appears to be another member of "the Cadre", is suspicious of her attempt to make him think she just suffered a simple case of post-traumatic stress, she is approved to resume spaceflights.
Mendel takes a sample of Neil's blood and analyzes the drug, a completely new compound which may enhance ESP but whose molecular structure causes addiction after a single dose. He also finds out that it can trigger a massive cardiovascular failure. Mendel and Taggart rush to save Neil's friends, who are now lying comatose in a barn under the control of Deckard, who is using their brains to enhance his own mental power