Black Rock Observatory, in Tryon, North Carolina, is a privately-owned radio telescope searching for extraterrestrial life. The facility’s giant satellite dish hits pay dirt on New Year’s Eve 2024 as a graduate student, Ronald Phillips records a strange alien message from a distant galaxy.
A press conference ensues, and the country is informed of the discovery through national television. The recording uploads quickly on Black Rock’s website, and the alien message goes viral. Public reaction is enthusiastic, and the observatory gains publicity through news and social media outlets.
After the recording’s release, many people become infected by a mystery illness. The disease causes tumors in the brains of its victims and noticeable changes in their personalities. Some of the stricken are interviewed by two neurosurgeons, Drs. Kevin Dyar and James Ketterly. Their research leads them to an unthinkable conclusion; the cause of the disease is connected to the observatory.
In a race against time, the neurosurgeons desperately search for a cure to an alien plague that has originated 2.2 billion light-years from Earth.