CO CDR Tom Chandler is forced to defend himself against unforeseen enemies, after he decides to get off his plane and not return home to America. He stays in Vietnam instead.
The Vietnamese government contacts American leaders to inform them that eight members of their security team were gunned down outside of a nightclub. U.S. President Jeffrey Michener is also informed the American officers who were taken hostage haven't been found yet.
The remaining officers on the Americans' ship, the Nathan James, question why the hostages didn't radio them before they were kidnapped. They decide to go against orders and try to rescue their fellow officers.
Tom visits Jessie, a former pilot for Doctors Without Borders, and convinces her to help him fight against Chinese President Peng Wu, despite her initial hesitance.
Lt. Danny Green is on the run from the assailants who are holding his fellow officers hostage. But he'll stop at nothing to help free them from the kidnappers.
Danny's wife, Lt. Kara Foster, who's working in St. Louis, learns that Tom's plane is supposed to be in clear air space, but he can't be reached.
Sasha Cooper is a a former Navy Intelligence Officer who's now operating under diplomatic cover in China. She insists that she wasn't secretly for Peng when Tom questions her about her involvement with both Jessie and the Chinese government.
Tom, Sasha and their accomplices are then forced to go through a surprise checkpoint and fight back against the government. They only have a limited time before other officials realize the Americans fought back.
Pen then calls Jeff to inform the American government of Tom's plane being shot down. The Chinese president pledges to do whatever it takes to find and kill the captain before the U.S. does, so a war won't erupt.