allas, Texas, 1983. Confident Joe MacMillan, a key player in the introduction of the IBM PC, has just been offered a job as a salesman for Cardiff Electric, a systems software company that has no interest in the development of PCs to compete against IBM. What Cardiff Electric is unaware of is that Joe has been MIA for the past year, his whereabouts or doings which no one knows. Despite their less than productive first meeting, Joe searches out Gordon Clark, a lowly engineer at Cardiff Electric. Gordon is floundering in his life, he, along with his wife Donna, who once had the passion of PC hardware development and the potential of computers, but who now feels that the security of a job to support the family is more important despite his generally despondent state because of that job. But Joe entering Gordon's life reignites that passion in Gordon, Joe who wants Gordon to help reverse engineer a IBM PC so that they can develop a PC clone that they want. This action would mean their jobs if found out, and a possible breakup of Gordon's marriage. But Joe has a master plan in this venture which he doesn't initially divulge to Gordon and which takes surprising turns to Gordon. In addition to being more up front with what they're doing to their organizational masters than Gordon believes is prudent, Joe's plan also involves a young prodigious and cocky computer student named Cameron Howe, who also had an interesting first meeting with Joe when he was scoping her potential for the team.

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