Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. On a high cliff above the Pacific Ocean, long-range missiles – concealed in hidden silos – are being prepared for action. Helicopters come and go. Heavy radar equipment is put into place. The most significant, sensitive, and dangerous military experiment in the history of the world is about to begin. Deep underground, in the command bunker known as “Fort Knox,” a final briefing takes place. President Harry Brough is seen on a large screen. On another screen, a live feed from NASA’s solar radiation monitoring system displays the progress of a solar storm. When the storm reaches its peak, the surveillance window for launching a nuclear-armed Minuteman missile will begin. Professor Burt Arnold, NASA Director of Solar Anomalies, explains to the President the massive storm’s potential for devastating global impact. Five-Star General Thomas J. McAllister has just received a situation update from U.S. Navy supercarriers and jets on full alert off the coast of North Korea. All the pieces are in place; the operation will commence as soon as solar radiation levels are right. About to retire after a stellar career that included deployments in Kuwait, Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan, McAllister was supposed to begin transition leave today, but the president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff convinced him to delay his departure. The most highly classified mission in history needed the leadership of America’s top soldier. McAllister thought about how difficult it would be to tell his wife and daughter that he would not be joining them for a planned vacation in Thailand. It wasn’t the first time duty’s call had changed family plans. But this time was different. When the solar electromagnetic radiation nears its peak, people around the world begin to realize that their greatest fears about the portended storm were coming true. Satellites, electric grids, and any aircraft, ship, or vehicle using GPS are affected. Quite possibly, the storm might also affect the Minuteman missile, only a second before it leaves the atmosphere and loses contact. Meanwhile, the leaders of the United States and North Korea have their fingers poised over the so-called “red buttons,” ready to ignite nuclear war at any time. Will the sun sets off the bomb?