The Final Nightmare - Robotech 9 Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Final Nightmare - Robotech 9

The final chapter of the Southern Cross saga finds Dana Sterling and the members of the 15ht ATAC trying to survive the apocalyptic end of the Second Robotech War. The novel opens with the remnants of the Earth's first heavy assault on the Master forces trapped on a civilian lunar base. Back at the Earth high command, General Leonard is inexplicably happy at this result; he plans to somehow use these forces as a part of a pincer attack on the enemy. General Emerson has his doubts as to whether these exhausted and poorly-supplied forces will be able to launch much of an assault, and claims that attempts to reinforce their position will only draw fire at the civilians present. Leonard overrides Emerson and prepares to launch a relief force. The meeting is overheard by Zor Prime, the inadvertent spy sent by the Masters.
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At the base of the 15th ATAC, Dana Sterling, squad commander, asks Zor Prime out to a movie, but is stood up by the clone as he goes out with Dana's rival Nova instead. Of course, this is all the result of the Robotech Masters' programming of Zor, which has led to him going out with Nova to pump her for information on the attack. This is interrupted by Dana, who is furious. Nonetheless, the Masters are able to discover that the relief force has just lifted off. In the ships of the Masters, unrest grows, fueled by the words of Musica, the clone Bowie encountered in the last book. Musica questions the rigorous caste system governing clone life, rejecting her assigned mate and pining for Bowie instead.

The lunar relief force comes under assault as it approaches the base; the stranded Earth troops on the moon are forced to ride to the rescue of their supposed relief. The Master forces are trapped between the two Earth contingents, and as a result, the relief gets through, and some of the fighters trapped on the moon break through to the Earth (including Marie Crystal).

As the disastrous personal lives of the main cast continue to unfold, Leonard decides to rid himself of General Emerson by appointing him the leader of the next relief effort. The Masters discover the arrival of the relief force and move to intercept, desperate to finish the war because their long-range sensors have alerted them to the impending arrival of their old foe, the Invid, whose sensor nebula is close to registering the presence of the Flower of Life on Earth. The fleet comes under heavy attack, but, due to the tactical brilliance of Emerson, are able to break through and reach the moon, though at a heavy cost. Leonard orders Emerson to offload the supplies and immediately return to the Earth.

An assault is launched simultaneously from the moon and the Earth; the 15th is deployed to make entry into an enemy mothership. At the same time, the Masters begin a test of their new elite Bioroid design: the Invid Fighter. They prove lethally effective against the space forces of Earth. Emerson rams the mothership to allow the 15th to breech; in the process, his ship suffers damage, and the Earth armada falls back, leaving the 15th without an easy extraction option.

Aboard the mothership, Zor Prime begins acting strangely, as his programming begins to take hold. Although Zor's relationship with Dana interferes to some degree with their control, the Masters are still able to use the clone to attempt to capture the 15th. The attempt fails, but the squad is split up, lost in the heart of an enemy ship. Bowie and Musica reunite, but their reunion is interrupted by guards, forcing Bowie to flee and eventually capturing him. Bowie is thrown in with the rest of the squad, who have all been caught. The ATACs manage to escape, free Zor from control, pick up Musica, and set the ship to destruct, barely escaping with the aid of a damaged human cruiser. The Master ship explodes, though the most important clones, including Musica's clone sisters, evacuate.

The 15th manages to hide Musica in the confusion, knowing that she would interrogated by the command. Eventually, however, the Global Military Police discover the presence of the alien, and send a force to imprison her, led by Nova. The attempt occurs while the 15th and the clones are at the Monument City ruins, observing the Flower of Life. Dana and Bowie are able to sway Nova to their side, but are forced to hide from the other GMP agents. Meanwhile, the Masters launch an assault on the ruins seeking to recover the Protoculture matrix the original Zor stole. Leonard deploys all available forces to the ruins; this will be the final battle between the Earth and the Masters.

The remaining Earth space fleet launches an attack on the Master fleet and is annihilated; Emerson and Marie Crystal are taken prisoner. In the ruins, Zor's returning memories indicate that the Flowers of Life are about to pollinate, attracting the attention of the Invid. The Masters contact Dana, Zor, and the 15th, and offer to exchange Emerson and Marie for Musica and Zor. The ATAC return to their Hovertanks and make their way to the rendezvous, and are taken to the flagship of the Robotech Masters.

On board the ship, the reunion between the comrades is short-lived, as a clone shoots Emerson, who then dies in his godson Bowie's arms. Zor separates from the group and runs loose inside the ship, determined to destroy the Masters once and for all. In the chamber of the ruling Triumvirate, Zor kills one of the three Masters and damages their last Protoculture supply, Dana touches the canister housing the relic and receives powerful visions, of the bloom of the Flower of Life and of her sister, born light-years away on the SDF-3.

Meanwhile, the larger war goes on, and the humans lose ground. Leonard is killed in a strike on the Southern Cross headquarters.

Bowie and Musica, aboard the Masters' ship, use Musica's social position to lead clones to question the orders of the weakened Masters, who have been sending masses of mindwiped clones out as shock troops. Guards hone in on their position, as does Nova and the 15th. In the chaos, Musica's sister Octavia is shot.

Zor, Dana, and the Masters reunite in the ruins of New Macross. The Masters are making a final play for the Protoculture Matrix, which would allow them to rebuild their shattered civilization. Zor kills the Masters, but the oncoming threat of the blossoming and the drawing of the Invid remains. Zor makes a final play -- he boards his red Bioroid and attempts to destroy the wreckage of the SDFs 1 and 2, the core of the ruins and the home of the Matrix and the Flower. His plan fails; Zor dies in the explosion, and the "wraiths" that guard the ruin mounds, redirect the explosive force upwards, instead destroying the mothership of the Masters. In fact, the explosive force carries the spores of the Flower, spreading them far and wide and ensuring the Invid will come.

As the book ends, the Earth is victorious, but helpless; the Army of the Southern Cross has been decimated, leaving no one else to defend the planet. The remaining heroes gather, and Dana outlines a plan to join with the SDF-3 forces and warn them of the oncoming threat to Earth.
Best part of story, including ending: McKinney continues to expand the Robotech franchise with his quality, character-focused prose.

Opinion about the main character: Dana's emotional nature can be cringe-worthy at times, but overall, lends a heart to the battle-heavy book.

The review of this Book prepared by Joshua Richardson a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Final Nightmare - Robotech 9

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 30%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story If an invasion, from Earth/human POV:    -   fighting overt invasion (attacking aliens) War or Invasion    -   Yes Major kinds of combat:    -   guns Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   infantry soldier Age:    -   a teen


Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century) Spaceship setting:    -   alien spaceship Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Takes place in spaceship?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Jack McKinney Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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