2021: Intense solar flares cause power and communication grid failures worldwide. Digital computer files are corrupted, many are missing or unable to be retrieved, and the project is forgotten. The warden of the secret experimental prison hidden in the desert slips into madness. He sees his opportunity to abandon them, leaving them free from their cells but unable to escape from the dome, certain they will kill each other off.
Fifty years pass before Jacob Moss, working in the national archives, discovers the old paper blueprints of the complex and sets out to find it. Once inside, he finds evidence of fraud, sabotage, and murder, and surprisingly one inmate still alive. Vincent Briscoe helps Moss understand what happened to all of them after they were abandoned, trapped with no knowledge of why. With the aid of the old man and the journals of James Stryker, the charismatic leader of the men, Moss learns of the astonishing turn of events that brought about how and why these men survived.