CAMERON VALE is a young SCANNER, a telepath, who spent the majority of his life in squalor and homelessness. Until he was taken in by PAUL RUTH, Vale could not control his power, and therefore it caused him a great deal of agony and further pushed him into the hole of poverty. When Ruth discovered him, he taught him how to harness his power and utilize it in a way that would spare him the pain of before, teaching him the benefits of being a Scanner, as well as teaching him how to function in human society.
After Vale was taken in by Ruth, he was notified of a renegade Scanner, DARRYL REVOK, who was killing all Scanners who would not bend to his will. After Vale's training, Ruth sent him out into the world to infiltrate Revok's underground society of Scanners, starting with the troubled artist BENJAMIN PIERCE, an unaffiliated Scanner who attempted to kill his family at the age of ten due to his Scanner abilities. At Pierce's gallery, Vale meets another Scanner, KIM OBRIST, after he tries to scan the gallery's curator. Upon finding Pierce in his home, the pair are soon ambushed and Vale is told by a dying Pierce to ignore Revok and find Obrist.
When Vale notifies Ruth of his knowledge and the intention to bring Obrist in as an informant — which she is not — the spy BRAEDON KELLER notifies Revok. The Scanners escape following Keller's attempt to eradicate Obrist, and Vale uses his abilities as a Scanner to access the ConSec computers that host the RIPE PROGRAM — a list of all doctors prescribing Ephemerol to their pregnant patients. Keller, however, nearly kills Vale, as he orders the computers to self-destruct while Vale has his nervous system connected to them. This plan fails, as Vale survives with the knowledge he needed, and the explosion kills Keller.
Vale visits one doctor, and as he and Obrist discuss the knowledge Vale discovered from the doctor the pair are ambushed by Revok himself, who tranquilizes them and brings them to his office at Biocarbon Amalgamate. Vale awakens and is met with Revok, at his desk. The two launch into discourse, the truth coming out that the pair are twin brothers and the sons of Paul Ruth, and that because their mother received the highest dose of Ephemerol, both he and Vale are older, more powerful Scanners. After Vale refuses to join Revok's crusade to beat humanity into submission, he attacks Revok and they begin to fight. The fight results in casualty; however, Vale survives, having inhabited Revok's body as his own was destroyed.