Dr. Jeremy Stone's team desperately examines the staggeringly rapid and radical mutations of the Andromeda organism, which thus obtains carriers and eats through anything, even the pilot's breathing pipe so as to accidentally cause the atomic bomb to be dropped after all. At first sight purely academic speculation ranging from philosophy to astrobiology combined with observing the temporary survivors yield crucial findings of the sulfuric acid-based enemy. The organism is constructed, communicating like an ants army. Pointless detail in its design puzzles them, until the idea of a messenger function is varied to the organism being the medium, readable in ASCII because sent from the future. Meanwhile the military-political cover up plot thickens, and reporter Nash escapes.