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Provided by Adam Keith (lk0001@jove.acs.unt.edu)

One year after the devastating battle near Earth against the Neosapien armada, the Exofleet remains docked in orbit around Jupiter. While repairs to the damaged fleet continue, the members of Able Squad are finally released from the Resolute's brig after serving their year-long prison sentence for their mutinous actions surrounding Lieutenant Marsh's arrest. With the fulfillment of the one-year sentence that was substituted for the original death penalty, the squad reunites and gets back to work.

At a Neosapien installation on Earth, General Shiva is silently watching a broadcast of Amanda Connor's show when an officer informs him of an asteroid approaching Earth. The officer also informs him of a small spaceship hiding behind the asteroid, trying to avoid detection by Neosapien sensors. Shiva assumes it to be an Exofleet craft and orders a flight of E-frames to dispatch it, but another Neosapien, a scientist named Xenobius, enters the room and suggests that his GRAF (gravitational focus) shield be used instead. Shiva makes vague threats toward Xenobius should his shield not work but gives grudging permission for Xenobius to proceed. GRAF units across the hemisphere power up and the rogue ship, now obviously an exofighter, is shortly crushed into one-tenth its former size. Minister of War Typhonus enters and reports that his agents have discovered a planned rendezvous between Exofleet forces and the Resistance. Shiva briefly muses on whether the destroyed exofighter could have been carrying the Exofleet forces in question, and then asks himself if the fighter itself could have been a decoy.

Inside the asteroid formerly hiding the exofighter from view, four of the members of Able Squad wait in small reentry pods for the asteroid to break apart. DeLeon begins talking with one Alice Noretti, the newest addition to Able Squad, when the asteroid finally shatters. The pods are scattered and continue plummeting through the atmosphere, but Noretti's pod is struck by a large fragment from the asteroid. Out of control, Noretti goes spiraling down to the surface; seconds later, a muffled explosion lights up the clouds below.

Earth Resistance watching Amanda Conner broadcast
Able Squad landing on Earth, Napir looks on

Sean Napier stands outside a farmhouse watching the pods streak across the Illinois sky

On the surface, Sean Napier stands outside a farmhouse watching the pods streak across the Illinois sky. He throws an old picture of Amanda Connor into the air, and the wind carries it away. Napier goes inside to find Tanaka, Hanley, Madison, and a new member named Diana watching The Amanda Show and issuing complaints about collaborators like her. Napier interrupts the conversation and tells them that it's time to get back to work.

The three remaining Able Squad pilots, Marsh, DeLeon, and Marsala, deploy the parachutes on their reentry pods and land in a grassy field. J.T. and Marsala exit their pods and come to assist Alec, whose hatch is trapped shut by the pod. Marsala lifts the upside-down pod in the air long enough for Alec to climb out the bottom and then drops it to the ground. When Alec asks about Noretti, J.T. quietly says that she didn't make it. "We didn't even know her first name," Alec says. "Alice," Marsh says quietly. "Lieutenant Alice Noretti. So long, Lieutenant."

Later, the three E-frame pilots are suddenly surrounded by an armed Sean Napier and company. Napier vents his usual anger toward the Exofleet, but Marsala interrupts him, saying that he hears something approaching. The ground begins to shake and an enormous Neosapien land E-frame breaks through the trees. E-frames emerge from the river and Typhonus himself comes flying over the treetops. Napier quickly summons help from Jinx, who takes off in his E-frame a few kilometers away and heads for Napier's position.

Neo capture

Neosapien General Typhonus trying to capture the Earth Resistance and part of Able Squad.

Typhonus orders the Terrans to drop their weapons, but DeLeon takes out a flash grenade and throws it high into the air, where it goes off with a blinding burst of light. J.T. crouches down and manages to kill one of the E-frames with his blaster rifle before running off. Still blinded by the grenade because of their more sensitive vision, the Neosapiens begin firing on each other. The land E-frame is damaged and topples to the ground, appearing to crush Typhonus in its death throes. Suddenly, Jinx Madison arrives in his E-frame and begins firing on the last Neosapien E-frame, who is pursuing the retreating Resistance and Exofleet fighters into the forest. DeLeon turns and manages to shoot the radar array, rendering the E-frame blind and allowing the Terrans to escape.

Earth Resistance fort
ExoFleet with Earth Resistance

Able Squad with Earth Resistance

Back in the barn outside Phaeton City, Napier and Marsh discuss the night's events and the Neosapien ambush. Marsh suggests the presence of a collaborator within the Resistance's ranks, but Napier dismisses this offhandedly, proceeding to complain about Marsala's presence on the mission. Diana suggests that it could have simply been a regular Neosapien patrol that happened to stumble across the rendezvous, while Tanaka suggests that the Neosapiens might have tracked the squad as they entered Earth's atmosphere. Marsala begins to explain the unlikelihood of their being tracked because of their use of a decoy, but Alec quickly silences him. Marsh insists that the squad's mission must proceed regardless of the possibility of a traitor. He explains about the new GRAF Shield and tells the group, "The Exofleet will never be able to retake the Earth from the Neosapiens as long as that shield is operational." Their mission, he says, is to destroy the shield's main control center.

At the GRAF Shield control center, Xenobius is staying up late trying to get the GRAF Shield working properly. The computer rejects his data and he seems to have little understanding of the shield. When the computer prompts him to make another request, he wistfully replies, "Yes...make me a genius."

GRAF Shield Factory

On a precipice in sight of the control center, Marsh and Napier plan out a diversionary attack by the Resistance while the Exofleet pilots make the real strike on the center. The two return to a clearing in the forest where the others and their E-frames are waiting to begin their attack. Marsala wishes Napier luck, and he responds with a cynical "Yeah." As Napier's section heads off into the woods, the Able Squad pilots frame up. Marsala consoles J.T. about having to lie to Napier about the mission, saying that the possibility of a Neosapien agent justified his actions. The pilots take off in the Resistance's battered, old E-frames and fly toward the shield center.

In the center of a cluster of E-frames at the shield complex, Shiva informs his pilots that his agent has reported an imminent attack by the Resistance, smugly adding that the Terrans are heading straight into a trap.

Min Bombs

Two of the Resistance fighters, Napier in his stolen Neosapien police E-frame and Tanaka on foot, continue through the forest toward the shield dome. Moments after Hanley sights the control center from the air, General Shiva gives the order for the minefield to be detonated. Just then, it becomes apparent that every tree in the forest around the dome has a mine strapped to it, and those mines begin detonating one after the other.

J.T., seeing the explosions from the air, assumes that Napier has begun his attack and leads Alec and Marsala down on the base. In the forest below, Diana trips and falls to the ground and begins shivering in fear. Hanley trudges by her in her E-frame and tells her to get moving, but Diana insists that she go on. Just then, the tree next to Hanley blows up, tossing her E-frame to the ground. Meanwhile, Tanaka is trying to outrun a series of mines blowing up behind him when Napier swoops down and carries him out of the trees. But Napier's E-frame is promptly shot from the ground by Neosapien soldiers with hand blasters, causing him to lose his grip on Tanaka, who makes a spectacular splash as he lands in the river below. Jinx finds Eve, who gets out of her wrecked E-frame and hops onto Madison's. In the distance, they see Napier's flaming E-frame go crashing to the ground.

Two missiles rip into the base of a huge tower on the perimeter of the control complex, breaking the tower in two and knocking the upper half to the ground. J.T. and Alec fly by the smoldering stump, closely followed by Marsala. Shiva informs his men that the Terrans have broken through the perimeter and states that their next target will be the dome itself. But the three Terran E-frames stay clear of the dome, heading instead for the development area. Shiva asks aloud, "Could they have another target?"

Inside one of the complex's many buildings, Xenobius pages central control and demands to know what is happening. Before anyone can respond, the near wall of Xenobius' study implodes as DeLeon's E-frame comes smashing through. Xenobius runs to the door at the other end of the room, but draws back when J.T. blasts through it. Marsala enters through yet another wall and orders Xenobius to get in his E-frame. Alec finishes off a trio of Neosapien guards and the three pilots take off.

Typhonus seeking out Sean's E-Frame

Typhonus seeking out Sean's E-Frame

Tanaka climbs out of the river and sees Napier's wrecked E-frame a short distance off. He takes cover when Typhonus, having survived the earlier skirmish at the rendezvous, comes through the forest hunting for humans. Typhonus begins reporting having found an E-frame when Napier shoots him from and crawls out of his own E-frame, knocking Typhonus' E-frame over with a blaster rifle. Napier jumps atop the downed E-frame and tells Typhonus to disconnect from what he refers to as HIS E-frame, but before Typhonus can, Napier is shot from behind by an unseen Neosapien.

When Napier regains consciousness, he finds himself clamped down on a table and with several electrodes connected to his forehead. He shouts out a promise to tell the Neosapiens nothing, to which a looming General Shiva replies, "I know everything you know and more." Shiva also informs Napier that his friend Diana has been captured, which elicits a string of angry remarks from Napier.

Shiva leaves Napier and goes to another room to speak with Diana, who was captured during the battle. Shiva informs her of Napier's condition, but Diana ignores this and instead asks when she can see her family, reminding Shiva that she only works for him to get her family out of exile on Venus. Shiva replies, "Very soon...but first, you must escape." He snaps out his blaster and shoots her, slamming her to the wall and then the floor with a thud. He proceeds to inform her that if she ever wants to see her family again, she will have to find out where the Exofleet pilots have taken Xenobius.

In an empty grain silo, J.T., Alec and Marsala surround Xenobius, who is seated on the ground. Xenobius tells the pilots that he can't explain how the GRAF Shield works with normal physics and refuses to elaborate any further. When J.T. informs Xenobius that the squad's inability to get off Earth has raised the possibility of his elimination, Xenobius breaks and confesses that he did not design the GRAF Shield. He tells them of a professor from the University of Chicago named Algernon who actually invented the shield and that he has gone to Venus to help construct a GRAF system there. "It would seem our mission must end in failure," Marsala states. "We can't get to Venus," Alec adds. "We're trapped here...on Earth."

Credit goes ot: Patrick Danner's ExoSquad page.

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