As Scott Bernard and his companions continue to fight their way towards Reflex Point, details of the insidious plans of the Invid and their ruler, the Regis, become clear. The novel begins with Scott Bernard, Rand, and Annie inadvertently stumbling across an Invid genetic experiment, the Genesis Pit. In the pit, Invid forms mix with life forms recreated from Earth's history as the Regis, overlord of the Invid contingent on Earth, seeks to unravel the genetic makeup of the planet's many lifeforms and discover why the Flower of Life seems intertwined with the human race. They encounter dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, and speak to the Regis, who possesses Annie to tell the humans that their time on the planet is over. Eventually, Scott and his friends escape and reunite with the rest of the team.
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The crew presses on, reaching Point K, where the survivors of Mars Division are to regroup. To Scott' sorrow, the point is a charnel house, a massive graveyard for downed ships and Mecha. However, Rook and Rand do find a strange, naked woman -- actually an Invid-human replica named Ariel sent to spy on the fighters, although she has lost her memory in the insertion process. When they take the woman back to their camp, Scott is astounded, as Ariel is an exact duplicate of his lost fiancee, Marlene. The group also finds a Beta fighter, the counterpart to the Alpha already in their possession, and fend off a brief Invid assault.
The team moves on to Deguello, a small settlement, where Yellow Dancer accepts a request to put on a concert. The team covets a map leading through the heavily-patrolled mountains, but can't afford the asking price. Annie falls for Eddie, the son of the map's rich owner, and passes what seems to be a copy on to the team, only to find out that it is a fake. The team runs to the rescue of Eddie's dad, who, with Eddie and Annie in tow, is trying to cross the mountain, guided by the fake map.
Since there is no true safe path through the mountains, the team launches a careful assault designed to move them through the pass between the Invid patrols. The plan relies on a surgical strike to take out a sensor. Rand, with Annie in tow, sets out to infiltrate the base and take out the sensor. While in the Invid hive-base, the pair observe the bio-construct brains used by the Regis to control her forces. The plan goes badly, and Rand and Annie are discovered, but they manage to blow up the sensors in the process, and the team's Veritechs cover their retreat. The team, faced with a returning patrol, launches an attack on the power core of the hive, and manages to demolish it. In the confusion, they escape.
Rand, out seeking water for the group, hits his head and is knocked unconscious. He lands near some of the Flowers of Life, and experiences an elaborate dream. In it, he finds out the Regis' true purpose on Earth -- to use the genetic code of Earth's humans to rejuvenate her race and move on to another world.
After a brief encounter with some tribal humans, the group is hunted by Corg and Sera, two more human-form Invid. Sera hears Lancer singing and is entranced. Lancer makes contact with Sera, who runs off; Lancer witnesses Sera boarding an Invid mecha, and assumes that she is a human sympathizer. The team fights with Corg, Sera, and their accompanying unit, and drives them off, but Lancer is left with the memory of the beautiful Invid hybrid.
Best part of story, including ending:
McKinney continues to deploy his skill with character and worldbuilding to make the Robotech War saga feel deeper. In the Next Gen books, his ability to make occupied Earth feel like an alien place is exemplary.
Best scene in story:
Again, the moments with the Regis, when her history of heartache at the hands of Zor, give the alien Invid a purpose beyond a stereotypical "evil alien" race.
Opinion about the main character:
The introduction of the Invid clone Marlene helps humanize Scott to a large degree, making him a more accessible character in this and the following volume.