In the late 21st century, the solar system is being struck by mysterious power surges, threatening all human life. Major Roy McBride, son of astronaut H. Clifford McBride, believed dead, is informed by U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom) that the surges have been traced to the "Lima Project", created 29 years earlier to search the galaxy for intelligent life, under Clifford's leadership. Nothing has been heard from the Lima crew since reaching Neptune 16 years ago. Told his father may be alive, Roy agrees to travel to Mars from where he can attempt to establish communication with him. Roy is joined by Colonel Pruitt, his father's old associate. Roy, acclaimed for his ability to remain calm under extreme pressure, shows little emotional reaction to his father possibly being alive.