by James Patterson
The flock flies over Africa on their way to help people. They are not the only ones in the sky for long. Max instantly goes into leader mode, and Fang points out the three objects in the sky with them are CSM cargo planes. Gazzy points out dust clouds on the ground and they see people with guns. Max decides the best way to deal with the people shooting at them is to attack. They take them out easily and get back into the air. The bird kids do what they can to help out at a refugee camp. Angel introduces Max to a girl named Jeanne, who is special. Angel cuts her with a rock across the palm. While Max freaks out, Jeanne use her saliva to heal herself.
Mr. Chu monitors Max and Angel’s vitals. Jeanne comes to let him know she completed her mission and to get the medication to deal with the side effects of being a self healer.
Max and Fang go to organize their tent for the flock. They enjoy the few minutes they have alone together. The flock takes the opportunity to eat and then sit around the fire. Patrick tells them about how Jeanne will probably soon be an orphan as she has already lost most of her family Max is preoccupied with thoughts of Fang when Angel says that he will be the first to die. Max is furious with Angel and grabs her, demanding an explanation. She even threatens to cut off Angel’s hair. The rest of the flock separates them.
Two people start to approach them. Dr. Gunther-Hagen introduces himself and explains that he is researching nearby and donated the vaccines they are using at the camp. He asks to meet the flock leader, but both Max and Angel step up. The doctor then introduces Dylan, another bird kid.
Max and Fang talk while the rest of the flock sleeps. He tells her not to worry about what Angel said, but she has never been wrong. Max wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to investigate. She sees Mr. Chu enter a first aid tent and a couple dozen others follow shortly after. When she looks in the tent, no one is there. She goes back to bed.
Max and Angel meet Dr. Gunther-Hagen at his elaborate tent. Dylan joins them and explains that he is an eight month old clone of a kid that died. Max is suspicious. The voice pipes in to tell her that he is her perfect other half. After chocking over the surprise the voice gave her, Dylan admits that he needs help learning how to be a bird kid. ANgel says that Max is a good teacher, and he asks to see her wings. Max shows him and is ready to leave, but the doctor is between her and the door with a syringe. Angel convinces Max to stay and the doctor injects himself with a rare virus. He heals quickly and then cuts off his pinky so he can reattach it. Dr. Gunther-Hagen wants to work with the flock to be prepared for the apocalypse and save the world. Max turns him down and leaves.
Angel wants to stay and help Dylan. Max asks if she’s got her back. Gazzy calls them over to the tent. Max hands out the leftovers she swiped and announces they are going home.
Max and the flock enjoy their new home from the CSM in Colorado. Total and Akila have also. Fang comes into Max’s room to check on her and she freaks out. She feels like someone is watching them and tells Fang all of her fears she acquired in Africa. Max tells the flock that they will spend their downtime learning so they can be independent. The rest of the flock isn’t happy with her. Dylan tells Max that she needs him, that he can protect her and see things that others can’t. She refuses him.
The flock goes to an art Museum to improve their education. They split up into pairs to look around. Everyone seems to get into the different art displays, except Max. She is jealous that they learned interesting things and she falls short. Iggy wants to be able to see. Angel points out the African exhibit is a loan from Dr. Gunther-Hagen.
Angel gives Max Dr. Gunther-Hagen’s book that she acquired in Africa. Max reads it and explains to Fang how the doctor thinks everyone should be hybrids. They wonder what happens to his failed attempts. They search the doctor on the internet. Nudge gets them into a site for the Institute and they find his work with regeneration. He has a ton of experiments that lead to horrible outcomes. Angel gives Max a disc from Dr. Gunther-Hagen. He explains that he can grow organs using stem cells, and offers Iggy eyes if they join him. Max mills over the decision she has to make.
For the first time in a long time, she briefly sees herself as an Eraser in the mirror. Fang comes into the bathroom to check on Max. They stay in there too long and the others start mocking them. A crash brings Max out and she yells at them for not studying. The arguing starts and Max finally quashes it by suggesting they have their birthday parties the next day. The flock runs around making and getting gifts for each other. The next day, everyone exchanges gifts. Fang got Max a ring with the current month’s birthstone. They all head up to the roof to watch fireworks that Gazzy made, but Max sees a Jeep approaching the house.
The flock is preparing to hide and attack when Angel informs them it is Jeb. Max doesn’t have any intention of letting him in their house. Dylan also gets out of the car. Max doesn’t want to let them in, but when Fang invites them, she concedes. Dylan and her stay behind so that she can give him some flying lessons. They discuss what the flock has been through.
Inside the house, max explains to Jeb how they would rub off on Dylan if he stayed with them. They argue over how guilty or heroic Jeb is before Max takes off. The voice appears to reason with Max, telling her that she and Fang need to lead separate flocks. Max comes home to the couch on fire. She puts it out with a fire extinguisher and goes to find Fang, who is talking with Dylan about Max. She yells at them for not helping the kids and insists that Fang knows her better.
Jeb starts pointing out Max’s mistakes and threatens to come live with them to help out. Max is furious, especially when Jeb says they never intended her and Fang to happen. Max doesn’t like that Jeb is trying to wedge his way back into their lives. She takes the grocery list from Angel (who has been giving orders inside) and leaves. Fang stops Max on her way to the store to apologize for letting Dylan get to him. Max tells him that she is worried about their relationship ruining the flock. They kiss briefly and get ready to go to the store together when they see 4 helicopters heading towards their house
While Max is out, the rest of the flock (except Fang) is attacked by Erasers. A smoke bomb gives them trouble in the fight. The five bird kids are able to fight off the Erasers. Angel starts assessing the damage. Max and Fang arrive wondering what happened to the trashed house and flock.
The flock is bitter that Max and Fang weren’t there. Jeb shows up and confirms that Erasers are supposed to be retired. They find equipment and body bags under the house. Dylan heals himself just as Fang announces that the bodies are gone. Angel wonders if the attack was timed for when their two best fighters were gone. She thinks it is time for Max and Fang to move on. She starts a vote and she, Iggy, Nudge, and Gazzy want Max to leave the flock, so she takes off.
Max flies fast and is in Utah when she breaks down. Fang comes along and tells her that he decided to let Jeb and Angel argue over who is their new leader. He suggests they go to Vegas because they will fit in. Max wants to be the irresponsible child for once, so she and Fang go into a casino and start playing the slot machines. She sees wolves line up on her machine and Dr. Gunther-Hagen says “Jackpot” behind her, but no one is there. In actuality, Fang had hit the jackpot and starts filling up cups of quarters. They have to run from security and make it to an elevator. They go down and when the doors open, the doctor is there to greet them.
Dr. Gunther-Hagen wants Max to be his spokes person to convince people that being different is better. She refuses again and the doctor threatens to become her enemy.
Scientists are keeping an eye on Dylan. They wonder why he isn’t going after Max.
Dylan get the flock outside to watch the stars. He is able to predict where shooting starts will be. Angel wonders why he didn’t see the Erasers coming, but he doesn’t know.
Max and Fang watch other freaks at the Cirque de Soleils. The voice tells her to get out of there. She is grabbed as they are making their way out. A man that was rigged for “flying” has her and says it is for her own good She gets free and Fang joins her in the air. He cuts an X in the tent wall for them to escape as they are being shot at. Dr. Gunther-Hagen is in the crowd.
Angel is trying to take charge of the clock. Jeb questions her about what they are going to do differently. She points out that there is a difference between living and surviving.
A geologist finds the spot they have been looking for near the flock’s house. Dr. Gunther-Hagen pours a reactant into the water that should only affect mutants.
Angel starts announcing her changes. They are appearing at a benefit concert. Dylan is hesitant to go, hoping that Max will come back. At a hotel, Angel works out negotiating with talent agents using her power of persuasion. She then announces they have a press conference. The reporters ask them the usual questions. When asked if they have any other special abilities, Angel says no, but Dylan points out that isn’t true; he can sing, and he does. Angel has Jeb send the reporters away shortly after because the aren’t feeling well. As they decide to rest, they pass out.
Fang and Max hypothesize about what happened to the flock. Max decides to call Nudge to see how they are. They are in LA about to go to a party and a limo is picking them up. Max and Fang agree it is most likely a trap.
The flock arrives at the pre-party and talk to a talk-show host before splitting up to do their own things. Angel notices that Dylan doesn’t look quite right. she looks at her hands and screams.
Dr. Gunther-Hagen’s people are watching as Angel becomes covered in pustules. They check on Dylan, who looks the same as her even though he was tested with the reactant before. They get ready to mobilize the street team.
Max and Fang find people running and screaming out of the pre-party and go inside. People are gathering around the disabled flock to take them away. Max and Fang get around them and Dylan helps take them out. Angel grabs one of their guns and points it at Max. After confirming that Angel has issues and would shoot Max if the three kidnappers don’t listen, she mind tricks them one by one into leaving. One shoots Jeb before leaving.
Jeb gets out of surgery and Max’s mom shows up. They all joint the rest of the flock. Jeb thinks something Dr. Gunther-Hagen put into a shared source to speed up their mutations. Everyone migrates to a safe house to heal. Angel takes off, leaving a note that she is going to work with Dr. Gunther-Hagen and reminding them that Fang’s time is almost up. Max checks the back of Fang’s neck for an expiration date, but there isn’t one. Dylan wonders if he has one, so Max checks and again finds nothing.
Nudge finds an address close by and Max decides to go alone. She wants everyone backing up Fang. Angel sits with Dr. Gunther-Hagen while they wait for Max. The doctor tries to convince Max to give up Fang and save the rest of the flock by choosing Dylan. She would also have to stay with the doctor and Angel. She declines and flies away.
Dylan asks Fang how he can stay when he knows it puts the rest of the flock, especially Max, in danger. He knows the entire flock is disposable except her. Fang’s head is in a whirl of thought.
Max returns home and tells everyone that Angel is staying with Dr. Gunther-Hagen by choice. She passes up Dylan to go talk to Fang. he is gone and has left a note. Max breaks down. Nudge goes to get Dr. Martinez. She has read the note and asks Max what she’s going to do about it.
Fang goes to Dr. Gunther-Hagen for answers, but is shot with a dart that makes him pass out quickly. He wakes up restrained to a bed and badly beaten. Angel says that he woke up earlier and went crazy, so they had to use restraints after they contained him. Dr. Gunther-Hagen is injecting him through an IV to help him evolve so that he can lead his own flock. He says that Max refused to save him. Fang flatlines and the doctor says there is nothing they can do. Angel tries to mentally send a message to Max for help. She holds Fang’s hand. She was hoping that she could lead her own flock with him as her second. She realizes that the doctor lied to her because his men beat up Fang and the IV killed him.
Max gets Angel’s message and tells Nudge before she leaves. Angel feels her approaching. When Max arrives, she rushes in to find Fang dead. The doctor says it is because she refused him. The rest of the flock joins them shortly. Guards come in and the flock fights them off. Mr. Chu is also there and Iggy rips off a layer of mask to reveal green skin. Dr. Gunther-Hagen calls him Robert, before running. Dylan follows.
Max stays by Fang’s side and remembers how he was alive. She takes adrenaline and stabs the needle into his heart. It starts beating again and he wakes up.
Dylan has the flock help him tie down the crazed doctor. He is about to inject him with something when Max tells him to stop. He does and injects himself.
The flock participates as the wedding party for Total and Akila. Fang left the wedding early and when the flock gets home, he is gone. Max reads out loud the note he left. He knows Max can’t lead as well when they are together. He promises in twenty years, he will meet her and they can be together.