The freedom fighters rendezvous at Reflex Point in time to join Admiral Hunter's assault force. There has been a major rift in the team. Scott, Lancer, and Lunk are official military personnel. Rook, Rand, and Annie are not. As the soldiers mobilize for battle, the "civilians" are not happy to be left behind.
But orders have never stood in their way before, and Scott's directives don't stop Rook and Rand now. Disregarding the probable dangers, the two form their own strategy to attack Reflex Point. After all, they haven't come this far to be left out of the grand finale. As they soar into the sky, Lunk discovers stowaway Annie hidden in the back of his jeep. The terrain is too dangerous to drop her off. He has no choice but to take the girl along.
Marlene finally accepts her Invid identity of Ariel and becomes one with her tribal memory. Her heritage has become clear at last, but when she enters the Greta Hive to meet with the Regess, Ariel speaks for the humans. Sera and Corg listen, too. "They are only fighting to regain the land that is rightfully theirs. The land we're taking away from them. Have we forgotten our past? Have we forgotten that our own planet was stolen from us? What gives us the right to inflict the same evil on these people?"
"We have gone too far to worry about that now," Sera tells her. Still, the Invid princess is distressed, and, as she launches into battle, Ariel's words stay with her. Later, when she finds Lancer in trouble, Sera can't stop herself from saving his life.
Scott, Lunk, and Annie rally to Lancer's side. Rook and Rand join them. Suddenly, Ariel appears to them as if transformed. The team hardly recognizes her. She seems to be a different person.
"I am neither human or completely Invid," Ariel tells them. "I am a new form of life that is a blending of the two. You must believe that the Invid never planned to destroy humanity. We are only trying to find a place we can live in peace and security."
Scott and the others don't know what to make of this concept, but they follow Ariel into the central core of the Great Hive. There they meet the Invid Queen Regess for the first time.
The alien's voice seems to come from everywhere. "Behold – I am the Invid. I am the soul and the spirit. I have guided my people across the measureless cosmos from a world that was lost to a world that was found. I have led my people in fight from the dark tide of shadow that engulfed our forefathers, that threatens to engulf us even now. I am the power and the light. I am the embodiment of the life force, the creator-protector. In the terminology of your people, I am...the Mother. Ariel, it is true. You are a traitor. Was it you who led these children of the shadow to the Hive?"
"Yes," Ariel admits. "But you must see now that they are not children of the shadow, that they have a life force that is almost as strong as our own. If they oppose us, it's because we are trying to do the same thing to them that was done to us so many years ago. Perhaps if we could begin again, we might be able to find a way for our two peoples to share this planet in peace."
"I'm sorry," Scott says. "You know that's not possible. Not at this point."
"You'd rather have the death and destruction continue?"
Lunk becomes angry. "Hey, lemme tell ya something maybe you've forgotten. Your people invaded us, remember?"
Ariel sighs. There is no way she can forget. None of her people can deny truth, any more that they can neglect the instincts of their ancestral history. "Lunk, you traveled with me. You took care of me. I even think you liked me a little bit. I am no different a person now than I was then. The fact that I could travel among you as a friend means that we are not so different – your people and mine."
"Ariel, look at these 'friends' of yours," the Regess says. "Notice how they stare at you in fear and confusion, emotional states which in their species inevitably lead to hatred and violence. Your contact with them has blinded you to their true nature, my child. It is the genetic instinct of their species to destroy what they cannot understand.
Rand has had enough. "Wait a minute, dragon lady! How do you know what we're thinking? So Marlene's an Invid...okay, that was kind of a surprise. But we don't hate her for it. We know she's risked a lot to help us."
Sera speaks up as well. "Forgive me, Regess, but I've begun to doubt whether we are any better than they are. You say this species is guilty of murdering and making slaves of their enemies, but how is that any different from what we are doing on this planet?"
"Have you all gone mad?" Corg demands. "This pathetic species cannot be allowed to stand in the way of our future! Sera, your contact with the rebels has made you weak and spineless."
"And has made a monster out of you, Corg, consumed by vengeance and evil passions. You are the child of shadow. Not the humans."
Lancer stands with Sera. "Fool! If you keep fighting, there won't be a future for any of us."
Corg won't be denied the execution of his vendetta. He runs from the Hive for his battle armor with Scott Bernard close behind. The others follow and watch as the two take to the air for combat. The sky is blocked by the tremendous battle fleet that has arrived to rout the invaders and reclaim the planet.
"Oh, wow!" Annie cries. "I didn't think there were that many ships in the whole universe."
Lancer shakes his head wearily. "Well, that does it. Any hope of a peaceful settlement has just gone down the drain....Heaven have mercy on us all."
In the depth of the Hive, the Invid Mother already begins to mourn: "No – they have come from beyond the stars! The dark tides of shadow have come to engulf us again...."
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