Jerry Mitchell is on exercises off the coast of Pakistan when his submarine is ordered to a rendezvous off the Iranian coast. Once there, disembarked SEALs, experts in seaborne commando operations, are to extract two Iranian nationals who have sensitive information on Iran's nuclear weapons program.
But while en route, the ASDS minisub suffers a battery fire, killing one crew member and forcing the rest of the occupants, four SEALs and LCDR Mitchell, to scuttle their disabled craft and swim for shore. There they find the two Iranians waiting for them, but their attempts at returning to Michigan are thwarted by heavy Iranian patrol boat activity. When agents of Iran's secret police, VEVAK, appear, escape seems all but impossible.