A highly advanced Chinese submarine, the Hei Ten Shi, is on a mysterious mission to deliver an otherworldly cargo to the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's ocean. The Chinese vessel suffers damage while maneuvering through the tight oceanic canyons. Because the vessel is now sinking rapidly, it enters a race against time to reach its destination, deliver its cargo and rise to the surface. But before it can release the cargo that is weighing it down, the Chinese vessel is intercepted by an American submarine, the USS Dakota, on a routine patrol to Pearl Harbor. The Chinese submarine dives to over 21,000 feet to avoid engagement. But before the Chinese can escape, the cargo "activates" sending out strange pulses of radiation that cause both the American and Chinese submarines to have massive system failures. As the Hei Ten Shi separates the main components of its ship, the Dakota fears an attack and launches its torpedoes destroying a large part of the Hei Ten Shi.
One year later, a CIA operative named Whitt Roberts is called to meet with Jason Sterling. Sterling is part of the Blackdoor Group, a highly clandestine arm of the CIA that acts in complete autonomy from the rest of the US Government and its laws. Whitt has been called upon to investigate the disappearance of the Dakota, but Jason Sterling seems to know more than he is letting on. Whitt explains that a powerful signal was sent out from the Marianas Trench. But what is even more unusual is that the signal appears to have been answered from a source in outer space. Jason tells Whitt that he wants him to abandon his search for the Dakota and focus on a new target...in New York City.