Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a brillliant and eccentric inventor. At a party thrown by his financier, Bartok Industries, for the press, Brundle meets Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), a reporter for Particle Magazine.
He invites her to come back to his apartment, where he shows her his latest invention: teleporter pods, or "telepods," that disintegrate matter, transmit it across space, and then reintegrate it.
She realizes this could be the invention of the century, and, over Seth's objections, goes to her boss and ex-lover, Stathis Borans (John Getz), to convince him to publish the story.
Borans is uninterested, believing the whole thing to be a magic trick. Brundle comes to see her at work, and is relieved that Stathis didn't want to publish the story, because his telepods are not ready to be made public yet.
Although they can transmit inanimate matter, it can't handle living things. He offers to let Veronica track his progress as he tries to work out the kinks, if she will wait to write the story until he is finished. She agrees.
Veronica ends up spending much of her time at Seth's apartment while he works, and the two of them become more and more attracted to each other.
He attempts to send a baboon through the telepods, but it is re-integrated inside out.
Soon Veronica falls in love with Seth, and they make love.
During the act, she makes an offhand remark about "the flesh" driving women crazy. This gives Seth the inspiration he needs: he will teach the computer to be "driven crazy" by flesh.
Seth continues to work on the telepods while Veronica goes shopping for a gift for him.
While shopping, she runs into Stathis again, who now believes that Seth's project is genuine and should be published.