Jack Ryan searches for the truth behind Venezuela’s nuclear ties and its imminent threat to the United States. James Greer, about to get sidelined from his new post in Russia, joins Jack in Venezuela and the two find themselves in the midst of a dictator’s re-election effort.
A satellite is launched in the middle of the South China Sea, gracefully soaring into the sky to the awe of local fishermen. A day later in Russia, Greer is talking with a source about an unauthorized satellite aboard a Cypriot ship. He feels ill as he leaves, and then collapses in the street where Russian agents find him. Jack Ryan is lecturing at the CIA in Virginia about the dangers of Venezuela, noting that it has the most oil and gold in the world and is strategically placed to threaten the United States. A friend of Ryan's, Senator Moreno approaches the podium to pick him up for a family dinner and birthday party. As they are cleaning up they are interrupted by a delivery of CIA reports. It turns out that Ryan and Moreno are following the same ship as Greer; a Cypriot vessel with ties to the Russians, which has dropped off containers of weapons in Venezuela.
While Ryan and Moreno try and convince their boss (Senator Mitchell Chapin) to put pressure on Venezuela, but are denied and sent on a diplomatic mission to Caracas instead. Greer is being scolded by the Chief of Station, his boss, who notes that Greer has been diagnosed with a heart condition. Greer is unhappy with things, and decides to look up the boat himself, and finds two things: that Ryan has independently started looking at the vessel already, and apparently that the Russians have nothing to do with the rocket, which was sent by a third party. Greer requests Carter Estes for immediately travel to Venezuela, which is packaged along with an imminent transfer to Caracas and granted.
The Senator and Ryan meet the Ambassador to Venezuela, Lisa Calabrese. They are accompanied by police, and go to meet with Nicolas Reyes who greets them icily and denies any involvement in the shipments. Also during the afternoon, an European man gets out of a taxi, and heads inside to a mysterious meeting. His name is Mr Schenkel, who discusses a contract for an imminent assassination.
That evening, Ubarri has troubles at his home; he worries about his daughter and blames her friends, who support Gloria Bonalde, Reyes' opponent in the elections. Ryan is at the hotel bar and eyeing a mysterious woman, and notices Greer is somehow sitting in the bar also. Moreno takes them all to dinner at a local outdoors restaurant where they discuss how they came to Venezuela. He explains how he saved Jack Ryan while they were Marines in Afghanistan, while Greer explains to Ryan the situation with the satellite aboard the ship, Almeta and vice versa about the arms shipment on the same ship. As they turn in for the night, Ryan greets the mystery woman, who introduces herself as Lina. They build up a rapport, and she follows him into his room. However, as she leaves later in the night, "Lina" bugs Ryan's room. Also late at night, Schenkel finds a policeman outside the International Clinic, Filiberto Ramos, where he is visiting his sick mother.
The next day, the diplomatic mission leaves the hotel. Ramos misdirects the convoy, and then a white pickup truck pulls out in front of the Senator's car. As a gunman fires from the white pickup, a car bomb under the road goes off destroying the security car behind the Senator. Ramos then speeds off, unwilling to see what follows, despite his partner's protests. A rooftop sniper starts firing and Ryan decides to drive away from the ambush. The next block over, a small truck rams the car again, killing the engine, jamming the doors, and lighting a fire. As Ryan pulls Calabrese to safety, the sniper (Schenkel) fires upon Moreno, killing him.
Ramos returns home only to discover his whole family are dead. A masked man attacks him, and a brawl ensues. At the last minute Ramos' dog bites the gunman's arm, saving Ramos and allowing him to escape. Ramos immediately turns himself in at the American Embassy.
Ryan calls Moreno's wife to give her the bad news, but cannot find the strength to do so.
- The episodes plot is loosely based on the plot of the Tom Clancy novel, Clear and Present Danger.