The Arnhem approaches a rendezvous with a Pirate vessel, and when it stops its hangar door opens and five Able Squad e-frames exit. Wolf Bronski is shown to be in Marsala's usual seat, the front of the Rapid Assault e-frame. The Pirate ship's port hangar opens, and Able Squad enters. The hangar doors close, and the pirate ship cloaks. The Arnhem changes course and moves off.
As the arriving members of Able Squad exit their e-frames, J.T. Marsh and Marsala approach. Marsh says to them, "Congratulations on making it back from Ceres in one piece. Now for your next mission." Bronski stretches his arms and yawns, "Aw man, I was counting on some serious sack time." Able Squad gathers around Marsh as he continues, "Ok, ok. Our next mission is going to be easy, really. A routine supply drop on Venus, weapons for the resistance. Now I'll need two volunteers." Nara Burns perks up and quickly says, "You've got one!" Marsh follows, "I need one more. I know you're tired, but this one should be a piece of cake." Wolf Bronski burps and Marsh seizes on it, walking over to clap him on the shoulder, saying, "Bronski! Good! OK, you and Nara." Marsh walks off, while Kaz pats Wolf on the back, "Way to go, Bronski!" Bronski tries to explain, "Wait a minute, I didn't say nothin'. He said cake and my stomach woke up." Bronski hangs his head, "I'll never burp again."
Having reached Venus, the Pirate ship decloaks and its hangar opens. Nara is in her Reconnaissance e-frame, and Bronski sits at the controls of a small, winged ship. "Ready, Bronski?" Nara asks. Bronski straps in and replies, "Ready as I'll ever be." Bronski exits the hangar, and Nara soon follows as both head for Venus.
Watching from an observation window Marsh announces, "Everybody, stay ready to deploy in case there's a problem." Alec DeLeon responds, "There shouldn't be, there isn't a Neo outpost near the landing zone."
As Nara and Wolf fly above a forest, she warns, "Bronski, pull up! You're too low!" Indeed, he is nearly skimming the tops of the trees and replies, "I can't pull up, cross winds are too strong." He struggles with the controls, but soon the left wing dips into the trees and the end of it is torn off. The nose dips, then rears up before it dips again and the ship plunges down into the trees. As he crashes through the branches Bronski says, "Don't think I'm gonna make it." Soon the ship is bouncing from tree trunk to tree trunk, and Nara grimaces.
She lands and exits her e-frame, calling, "Bronski." She approaches the ship he was piloting, which landed among the trees in such a way that its nose points straight up. Nara sees that he is hanging upside down, asks, "Bronski?" and twists him so that he faces her. He asks, "Hey, how come you're on the ceiling?" She chuckles and replies, "You're the one who's turned around. What kind of landing was that?" Bronski smiles and says, "Aw shucks, I've had harder landings on shore leave." He unbuckles himself, and manages to flip over and land on his feet.
Later, the two are still waiting and Bronski asks, "Where's our resistance pals?" Nara responds, "They should've been here to meet us. Something's gone wrong. Their camp isn't far from here," she says, standing up and walking toward her e-frame. "I'm gonna go look for them, you stay put and guard the glider." She enters the frame and heads off as Bronski answers, "You got it. Piece of cake." Chiding him in a manner reminiscent of Torres she says, "Stay alert, Bronski." After a moment Bronski looks down at his stomach, and as if in response to it he says, "You're right, can't stay alert without nutrients." He sets his blaster rifle down and sits near the glider. He pulls a hoagie out of his jacket and as he unwraps it comments, "Never leave orbit without it." He begins to chow down, and reclines against the glider.
Nara walks through the woods and soon reaches a clearing. She stops and switches on a small searchlight on the front of her e-frame as she wonders, "This is their camp, where are they?" When she sees the damaged and deserted camp she gasps, "Oh no, James." As she starts to move again to survey the camp she mutters, "Neo butchers." Then the searchlight falls on a man hiding behind a rock, and Nara calls out, "Who's that?" He crouches to stay out of sight, but she calls, "Come out! I won't hurt you." The terrified man flees into the woods and Nara shouts as she follows, "Don't be afraid, I want to help you." Soon the man trips and falls. Nara stops a short distance away and tells him, "I'm not a Neo sapien, I'm a friend." She exits her e-frame, crouches next to him and asks, "What happened? Where is everyone?" Full of fear he stammers, "Dragon... a dragon.... Draconis!" Then, pushing her away he says, "Let me go!" as he gets up and runs off. "Wait!" she shouts after him before giving chase.
She seems to lose sight of him, and upon turning a corner sees a Neo in a High Speed Stealth E-Frame staring down at her and taking aim. He fires, but she is able to dodge. As he finishes off his hoagie, Bronski hears the blast, and jumps up grabbing his rifle, saying, "Nara!" Meanwhile she runs through the trees, the Neo firing but hitting trees rather than her. The Neo knocks down a tree in his way and closes in on her, but as he fires she executes a few somersaults before reaching her e-frame. She steps in, and as her cyberjack connects she mutters to her adversary, "We'll see how brave you are in a fair fight."
The two approach each other, exchanging shots, before Nara fires a blast that hits the Neo frame in the left knee and sends it crashing to the ground. It gets stuck in the ground, and despite struggling doesn't get up. Nara moves in for a closer look, but is hit in the back by a Neo Security E-Frame. She falls to the ground with a grunt, but picks herself back up to see three Neo frames (two Security and one Stealth) approaching. She starts to run off in the opposite direction, as the Neos fire at her while pursuing.
She transmits, "Burns to Marsh, emergency, come in J.T.! The resistance camp is destroyed, I'm being chased by three Neo e-frames." The rest of Able Squad is gathered around the viewscreen and Marsh responds, "Understood, we're on our way. Let's frame up!"
Back on the surface, the Neo in the Stealth e-frame fires a shoulder missile, but it knocks down the tree Nara has just run behind. Wolf, meanwhile, runs in the direction of the battle and shouts, "Hang in there kid!"
The Pirate craft decloaks and the hangar door opens. Able Squad then exits and begins the descent toward Venus.
Nara continues to run, dodging shots. The Neo fires another missile, this time it strikes her square in the back and she falls with a shout. Bronski finally reaches her and yells, "Lieutenant!" He fires a blast into the back of Nara's e-frame, causing it to open. He sees the approaching Neos, pulls Nara out and slings her over his shoulder, saying, "Come on kid, we can't stay here." He presses a button within her frame and it begins blinking. He runs off, carrying her, and when the Neos reach her empty frame it explodes.
Bronski looks back at the series of explosions and smoke rising from the trees. He stops and says, "One problem solved. Next problem: which way to the glider?" He looks left, then right before walking off.
Able Squad has arrived at the site of the explosion to find a large crater. Marsala asks, "This is the location of your last contact with Nara, is it not?" Rita Torres picks up a purple chunk of e-frame remains and holds it up, and Marsh orders, "Everyone, search the area." The e-frames then move off in a few different directions.
Bronski stops and sets Nara down near a tree. Looking left and right he says, "The glider oughta be around here somewhere." Nara wakes and asks, "Bronski? Where are we?" He shrugs and somewhat sheepishly replies, "Beats me, we're lost." The sound of moving e-frames is heard nearby, prompting him to say, "And it looks like we're not alone!" The two duck behind a tree as a pair of large Neo e-frames walk past. Nara then says, "Let's go!" and the two begin to move off. But just then the claw from a Neo frame reaches down, grabs them, picks them up, and spins them upside down. Bronski, who had dropped his rifle in the process, punches down on the claw, saying, "Let go you overgrown tin can!"
Later, the Neo e-frame is in flight, still carrying Nara and Wolf. Upon reaching a long column of Terrans marching through a desert under Neo guard the e-frame descends slightly, and, without stopping, drops the two ExoTroopers on a plateau. They pick themselves up and Bronski asks, "Are you okay Lieutenant?" Rubbing her arm, she replies "I've been better." One of the guards walks up to them and demands, "You! Terrans! Get in line!" Bronski clenches his teeth and snarls, "You wouldn't talk like that if I had my frame." Nara puts her hand on his shoulder to restrain him and says, "Better do what he says, Bronski." He turns and says, "Yeah, but I don't have to like it."
Now marching with the rest of the Terrans, Nara wonders aloud, "Where are they taking us? Why?" She then cries out in pain and falls to the ground, and the Neo guard who just struck her in the back with the butt end of his rifle demands, "Silence Terran!" The Neo looks as though he may strike her again, so Bronski runs up to him and shouts, "Leave her alone!" Nara quickly gets up and puts herself between the two of them, saying, "It's alright Bronski." The two then rejoin the column, leaving the Neo looking somewhat confused.
Marsh and Marsala have found the downed shuttle, but having checked it out J.T. says, "Empty. No Nara, no Bronski, no weapons." Marsala states, "Draconis' troops must have found them. They have probably been captured." "And we've got no idea where they are." Marsh then walks off. Marsala looks at the sun rising above the trees and remarks, "Nara often spoke of the beauty of the Venusian sunrise." He thinks back to a time when he and Nara were sharing a view of space from the window of an ExoFleet ship. She says, "When I joined the ExoFleet and left Venus, this is what I wanted to see, the stars from space. But now I'd give anything to watch the sunrise on Venus. The sun shines through the clouds and turns them a million different colors." He starts to comment, "A simple phenomenon of prismatic light refraction, I..." when she interrupts, "The birth of a new day, full of hope and promise."
In the desert, where the sun is higher in the sky, the march continues. Sweating heavily Bronski starts to say, "Man, I could... I could sure use a big, cold glass of..." but just then Nara faints. Bronski stops and tells her, "Hey, this is no time for a nap." She looks up, but sees Marsala. She mutters, "Marsala." Then as Bronski stands her up to help her walk she continues, "I knew you wouldn't leave me behind." Somewhat taken aback Bronski reacts, "Marsala?! You've been out in the sun too long." A nearby Neo orders, "If she cannot keep up, leave her." Bronski replies, "Uh, she's fine. Ain'tcha, Lieutenant?" while he pats her on the cheek to revive her. They begin walking again as he says to her, "Come on, Lieutenant, can't stop now. Just startin' to lose some weight." She smiles and replies, "In that case, let's keep going." Ahead of them an old man collapses, and Nara says, "Help him, Bronski." Bronski pauses, and looks back and forth between the two of them and Burns states, "That's an order." Nara removes her arm and assures him, "I'll be alright." He says, "Ok, Lieutenant, whatever you say." Bronski helps the old man up, saying, "Come on, pops. Lieutenant says we gotta keep goin'."
Eventually they reach a location within the desert with a number of high plateaus. It is known as Dragon's Rock, and is the Terrans' destination. A number of Terrans are already at work behind electrified security fences, apparently doing some sort of excavation work. A Neo guard stands above on a hovering blaster pedestal. Bronski remarks, "Man, somebody's goin' to a lot of trouble." Nara wonders, "Why out here, and why camouflaged? Strange, there's so few guards." Bronski states, "Yeah, but they got the blasters." A Neo guard shoves Nara from behind, "Keep moving Terran!" A hoverplane flies overhead, and Nara reacts, "Draconis!" Bronski simply comments, "Nice paint job."
Inside the Neo facility, Draconis enters a room where Creon is examining holographic architectural plans. Draconis states, "We are behind schedule." Creon responds, "If we could use our regular Neo sapien construction battalions..." but Draconis quickly answers, "No! The work must remain secret. If Phaeton knew I was constructing this fortress, he would have my head. He executed General Drusus on Ceres for less. Use the Terrans I send you." Creon scoffs, "They are almost useless. They eat too much and they'll need more guards." Draconis explains, "The guards you have are the only ones I can trust not to betray me to Phaeton." Resigned to this, Creon says, "Then I suppose they will have to be sufficient." As Draconis walks out of the room he tells him, "You will be well armed. My e-frames have captured a shipment of weapons meant for the Terran resistance. But the ExoFleet shouldn't mind, at least the weapons will be used against Phaeton."
Draconis then enters the area where the recent arrivals are being held. A few cooks seem to be stirring barrels of thick liquid, and the many Terrans clamor for food. Draconis announces, "Welcome to your... new home." Bronski's stomach growls. "You have only one purpose here, to work. If you work, all will go well. If you do not," Draconis pauses, perhaps because of Bronski's growling stomach (which he tries to settle, saying, "Easy big fella"). "If you do not work, you will not leave the rock alive. Any questions?" Bronski speaks, "Uh, yeah. When do we eat?" Draconis answers sternly, "You eat when you are told. Half rations for everyone!" As he leaves he says to a guard under his breath, "Feed the vermin."
Terrans take their turns receiving a ladleful of the liquid on their trays. Bronski sees the portions and groans, "Aw, that's not enough to keep a mouse alive." A weak voice asks, "What makes you think they want to keep you alive?" Nara turns to see her brother, and rushes to give him a hug. "James!" But she seems to stop herself when she sees how thin he's become. " Oh James, what have they done to you?" she asks. He responds meekly, "Hi, big sister." "What's happened?" she asks again. James explains, "The Neo e-frames hit our camp. Survivors were brought here, slave labor. Once we finish they won't need us anymore. None of us will leave this rock alive."
Outside, a high rock is seen to be almost completely covered by scaffolding. On the ground, a number of Terrans push carts of rock or carry loads in their arms to a conveyor belt. One happens to collapse on the conveyor, holding up the transport of the rocks. A Neo guard shakes him, then pulls him up to a standing position. When there is no response, the Neo throws him down on the belt, to be taken to whatever end awaits the rocks.
Wolf, Nara, and James stop working and watch the limb body go by, then see Draconis' hoverplane leave. They drop their pickaxes, pick up the rocks they had just split, and carry them to the conveyor. Nara says, "We've got to do something." Her brother asks, "But like what? There aren't very many guards, but they've got the blasters." She whispers, "If we could just get to a transmitter." "Do you know what the Neos will do to us if we fail?" asks James. They watch a Neo guard walk past, then Nara answers, "The same thing they'll do to us eventually if we do nothing." "What have we got to lose?" says Bronski.
Back in the forest, Alec seems frustrated as he reports to J.T., "We've covered a ten kilometer radius. No trace of Nara, Bronski, or the Resistance." Marsh says, "Then we'll just have to keep looking." Marsala, who is walking with Takagi, states, "By now they could be almost anywhere on the planet." Takagi responds sarcastically, "Oh now that's a great attitude." Marsala notes, "It is equally probable that they are no longer alive." The pair stop when Takagi stands face-to-face with Marsala and says almost angrily, "We'll find her, we have to!" Marsala states, "I am simply pointing out probabilities." "How can you be so calm about it? Don't you care?" Takagi asks incredulously. Marsala explains, "I do not express my feelings the way you do; that does not mean I feel less. Concern for friends is common to all humans, and we Neosapiens are very much human. If Terrans had remembered that, perhaps this war would never have been fought." Marsala walks off, leaving a somewhat stunned Takagi behind.
Back at Dragon's Rock, Nara is pushing a cart full of rocks in the vicinity of a Neo guard on a hover pedestal. She exchanges glances with Bronski, who is standing on a ledge above where the pedestal is hovering. Nara intentionally tips over the cart, spilling the rocks, then turns to run in the opposite direction. The guard shouts, "Halt, Terran!" before taking aim at the target below. Nara is forced to dodge a few shots before Bronski manages to push a large boulder off of the ledge. The boulder proceeds to crash into the hover pedestal, sending it and its Neo guard to the ground. James and three other workers, carrying rocks nearby, drop their rocks and restrain the Neo while Nara seizes his radio. "Burns to Marsh, come in! Fix on my transmission!" she shouts into the radio before it is shot out of her hand. The prisoners quickly surrender to the Neo guards, and Bronski says, "I hope somebody was listenin'."
DeLeon tells to the rest of Able Squad, "I've lost the signal, but I've located the point of origin." Marsh follows by saying, "Nara and Bronski won't have much time, let's frame up!"
At Dragon's Rock, the six involved in the revolt have been lined up in front of a wall, and many Terran workers have been brought to watch. Creon announces, "Your destruction will be an example to the others; this is what rebellion brings. Prepare to fire!" But just then Able Squad arrives, opening fire on the Neos and hitting a number of the hover pedestals. Creon orders his troops, "Withdraw! Fall back to our e-frames!" The pedestals descend into a hangar carved into the rock, and large doors close behind them.
Marsh and Marsala exit their e-frames, and unbind Wolf and Nara's hands. Bronski says, "Man am I glad to see you." Nara says, "J.T., we can't leave without freeing the prisoners." Marsh tells her, "We don't have much time, they'll be calling in reinforcements." As James gets his hands freed he says, "There's a stockpile of weapons inside, if we can get to it we can use it against them." Marsh replies, "Go for it, we'll watch your back." Marsh climbs into his e-frame, and Marsala and Nara enter the Rapid Assault frame, with the latter saying, "Lead the way, James."
The door in the rock then opens, and five Neo e-frames try to fight their way out of the hangar. Torres yells, "Keep 'em penned up!" as she and Kaz fly in at them, firing. The Neos back up, and Kaz shoots at the rock over the hangar door, causing many boulders to fall and trap the Neos inside.
Marsh says, "We've got to get these prisoners clear. DeLeon, Weston, take out the perimeter defenses." The pair then proceed to destroy a security fence as prisoners on the ground wave, shout, and rejoice. Some then proceed with the Rapid Assault E-Frame, which blasts its way to a large metal door. James approaches it and says, "The Neos wouldn't allow us near this area, the weapons must be in here." Nara replies, "One way to find out." James and three others take cover under/behind the large e-frame as it blasts the door wide open. The Venusian resistance fighters then rush in, but almost immediately pause when they see a room full of ExoFleet supplies and equipment. James says, "Look at all this stuff." Then to his comrades, "Come on!" The four then split, each pair climbing onto a hover transport loaded with supplies.
Bronski is near a rock-face, when suddenly a disguised door opens to reveal an Amphibious Assault E-Frame. It fires as Bronski dives for cover behind what is apparently some wreckage, picking up a Neo light blaster rifle as he does so. The e-frame fires another shot, when Bronski says, "You had your chance." He then turns around the corner of the wreckage and, with a loud battle cry, begins firing, targeting the exposed knees. The cockpit crashes to the ground, and the two Neos abandon the e-frame. Bronski quickly runs up to the e-frame and says, "A good thing I've had it with walking; from now on, I'm flyin'." And with that he climbs in, and the legless Neo frame takes off.
As the Rapid Assault E-Frame and supply transports exit the cave, Marsh descends and tells James, "Make sure these weapons are put to good use." James replies, "We will. Thanks for your help, and the delivery." To this Marsh replies, "Our pleasure." Nara exits her frame, runs to give her brother a hug, and says, "James! Take care of yourself little brother." He responds, "I always do, with a little help from my friends." Then to his fellow resistance fighters shouts, "Let's get these supplies where they'll do the most good!" Marsh then tells Able Squad, "Let's move out!" He leads them out of the Venusian atmosphere, and since Bronski is bringing up the rear Torres chides, "Come on Bronski, kick it into gear." Having something of a struggle with the legless e-frame he replies, "With what, Sarge?"
Amidst the flaming wreckage of Neo sapien e-frames, Neos pick themselves up and lend assistance to fellow soldiers. Draconis tells Creon, "We must find a way to finish construction, before Phaeton decides to replace us with his Neo megas." Creon asks, "Do you think Phaeton would do that after all that we've done for him?" Draconis replies, "Phaeton would do anything to win."
Back aboard the Pirate vessel, Marsala looks out a window while Nara sits at a computer terminal. He says to her, "We're leaving orbit. Is something the matter?" She responds glumly, "I just wish the war would end, and I could go home... to stay." With a smile he tells her, "There's an interesting prismatic phenomenon occurring, take a look." She stands, walks over next to him, and her demeanor brightens as she sees, "Sunrise on Venus." Indeed, from their perspective, the sun is rising over the planet. He remarks, "And the birth of a new day, full of hope... and promise." With tears welling in her eyes she says, "Thanks, Marsala."