John Riley is a physicist who achieves his lifelong dream of unraveling the mysteries of anti-gravity, but along the way, also unwittingly discovers the secret of interstellar communication. When he and a small group of coworkers attempt to respond to an unexpected message, believing it to have originated from somewhere on Earth, they find more than they anticipate. The message is from deep space.
Once contact is made, the Remotes, as they are called, will not be dissuaded. Humanity becomes an unwilling newcomer to a staggeringly ancient galactic collective, which regards the Earth as an "emerging world" that is subject to its oversight. As humanity slips further into the grip of the enigmatic consortium, the mysteries become deeper; there is more to Earth’s history than meets the eye, and even the galaxy itself is not what it seems.