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Fred Norwood is attacked by an unidentified flying object while flying an experimental supersonic jet. He escapes but is fired by the president of the aircraft company for foolishly endangering his plane. Determined to validate his story, Norwood rents a small jet and enlists the aid of his brother-in-law, Joe Vetry, to fly it; but after spotting the UFO by radar and taking pursuit, Vetry crashes and disappears. Hank Peters, a U. S. Secret Service official, shows Norwood a sketch of a craft drawn by a peasant in a remote area of mainland China. Assured by Norwood that the craft could be the same as the UFO he saw, Peters asks Norwood and two technicians, Garson and Ephram, to join him on a mission to find the mysterious object. After parachuting into mountainous Chinese terrain, the men encounter a Russian group--led by Dubovsky and including scientist Anna Karachev--on an identical mission. Agreeing that their best interests will be served by joining together, the two groups locate the UFO in the ruins of a church and, after some discouraging attempts, discover how to enter the craft. Dubovsky at first attempts to achieve glory exclusively for Russia by holding the Americans prisoner and flying the object with his own men; but when it is discovered that Chinese Communist soldiers are about to attack them, the two parties remain together to resist their common enemy. In the battle that follows, everyone except Norwood, Anna, and Garson is killed. The three survivors manage to escape from the Chinese and head for Geneva in the UFO, hoping that their discovery will be beneficial to mankind.