As Scott and his freedom fighters rush to join the main REF assault on Reflex Point, the Invid Regis' evolutionary scheme continues to unfold. As the resistance team led by Scott Bernard relaxes for a moment in the snow, Invid forces led by the Invid-human hybrid Sera attack. Sera's conflicting feelings for Lancer lead to hesitation in the moment. The battle is interrupted by an avalanche which cuts the two forces off from one another. Eventually the team is able to free itself, but not before another encounter between Sera and Lancer further muddies the emotional waters. Marlene, who also witnesses it, feels the tugging of the Invid on her consciousness, trying to draw her back into the fold.
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In the town of Bushwhack, Scott and Rand are arrested, and their Cyclones confiscated. Meanwhile, the rest of the team find a trading post stocked by ex-military selling functional Robotech weapons. Lancer shames them with their cowardice, and they help Scott and Rand escape, and destroy an Invid broadcast tower at the cost of their lives. While in town, Scott manages to hear a scrap of a transmission instructing all pilots to gather at Reflex Point in two weeks for a final assault.
A brief interlude of downtime in another town is ended by the arrival of Corg, The team evades his attack, but during the fight, Rand notices Corg deliberately avoiding shooting Marlene, planting a seed of suspicion. The team throws a birthday party for Annie which is almost ruined by another attack by Corg; this time, the roman candles the team has rigged as a birthday surprise fool the Invid prince into thinking his forces are being attacked by anti-air missiles, and he retreats.
In another frontier town, Rook meets a bounty hunter named Dusty, who she takes a liking to. She is dismayed to find out, from some soldiers in town, that Dusty has hunted several of their number. As it turns out, Dusty was a part of a resistance cell until his fellows left him to die in Invid hands; instead, he was turned into a cybernetic freak. He is hunting them down to get revenge. But, at the end, convinced by Rook to help the team, he dies fending off an Invid fighter. With information gathered from the soldiers, Scott discovers that Reflex Point is in the Ohio valley.
The team heads to Invid-occupied Manhattan next. They decide to raid it for more Protoculture supplies, under the cover of another Yellow Dancer concert. However, Corg, who is in the city along with Sera, decides to exterminate all of the humans living in the captive city. Sera finds Marlene, and reveals the truth of her origins to her, although Marlene rejects the possibility. The human resistance stops the cull by destroying the Invid command hive, leaving the drones leaderless and helpless.
Scott and company meet up with Sue Graham, a journalist recording the invasion. In a battle, Sue is fatally by Corg, and Marlene, injured, is revealed to the group to have green blood. She runs off, and Scott makes no effort to stop her. Sue manages to record evidence of the human-like Invid before she passes away.
Marlene returns to the Invid fold, but preaches understanding toward the humans. Meanwhile, the attack on Reflex Point by Jupiter Division and the remnant of Mars commences. Bernard's freedom-fighter team enter the Reflex Point complex itself, led by Marlene, and speak with the Regis, Marlene tries to broker peace between the humans and the Invid, pointing out that the humans are only trying to fend off invaders in the same way the Regis once tried to fend off Zor and the Robotech Masters as they stole the sacred Flower of Life. Sera and Corg arrive; Sera argues that the humans are better than the mere animals the Regis claims they are, while Corg flies off to rejoin the battle, with Scott in pursuit. The arrival of the bulk of the REF fleet puts a damper on the negotiations.
Corg shoots Scott down, and Marlene goes to the crash site to recover him. Scott finds the Beta fighter and rejoins the fray, this time killing Corg with a missile strike. The overall battle goes against the humans, as once again, the overwhelming Invid numbers take a toll. However, deep within Reflex Point, Lancer and Sera continue to try and sway the Regis. Finally, they get through, as the Invid monarch realizes that the ultimate transcendence awaiting her race is not in emulating the human form, but in using Protoculture to move beyond physical existence. Lancer, Scott, and Sera hold off the human forces for a moment while the Invid queen prepares, and then the race transforms into pure energy, sweeping out past the human fleet (and destroying a chunk of it) and escaping to a new destiny in the stars.
The book ends with Scott and his allies watching the last Yellow Dancer concert, simultaneously mourning their losses and celebrating the peace that they've finally won.
Best part of story, including ending:
McKinney is adept at paying off the apocalyptic finales common to all of the Robotech franchise components, and Next Gen is no exception.
Best scene in story:
The multi-layered attack on Reflex Point, split between the combat and the Regis' moral dilemmas, is a fitting conclusion to this portion of the Robotech saga.
Opinion about the main character:
Scott continues to be among the more relatable Robotech protagonists, mature enough to avoid some of the more annoying traits of early Rick Hunter or Dana Sterling.