On June 12, 2053, a futuristic oil rig explodes somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Retired Admiral Michael Matthews (Whitman) is busy in his New York City office, administering various engineering projects in different parts of the world. He receives a phone call from the President of the United States (Basehart). After much debate and against his will, he is reactivated at his old rank as administrator of Pacifica, the underwater city. His escort, Commander Woody Patterson (Colbert), arrives.
They take off via flying submarine for Pacifica. Matthews regrets returning to the city, due to a past tragedy that occurred there, and apologizes because his return means that Patterson will be forcibly demoted without cause. The two officers discuss the ongoing transfer of gold from Fort Knox to Pacifica, a project that began under Matthews’ previous administration six months previously and is now nearing completion. The entirety of the United States gold reserve will be secured at Pacifica within 17 days.