After beating back the Invid, Scott and crew attempt to cross a treacherous mountain range but find their path blocked by an avalanche. Since the planes are too small to carry all the equipment and passengers, they drive to a nearby village in the hope they can get information about an alternative route.
The news isn't good. They are warned of an Invid fortress in the mountains. Alien scouts patrol the area to keep humans from crossing over the desert. A map to a secret passage is available, but it costs more than the freedom fighters can afford. Lancer is not concerned with money. He assures the group they can quickly increase their fortunes.
Later, disguised as Yellow Dancer, Lancer meets the village mayor, Donald Maxwell, to set up a rock concert. The mayor's home is opulent and unusual. The cavernous living quarters host a small fleet of antique planes, Maxwell's most prized possessions – except, perhaps, for the lovely girl at the piano. Lancer's arrival interrupts the conversation between the mayor and his fiancÃƒÂ©e – an old friend of Lancer's named Carla. The two recognize each other immediately, and Lancer recalls a time three years ago when he was trapped in the middle of an Invid raid. Even the townspeople were helping the aliens to hunt down freedom fighters. Lancer's rebellious ways were too well known for the youth to avoid capture. It was Carla who had the inspiration to disguise Lancer as a woman in order to escape. Thus the identity of Yellow Dancer was created. The years have not diminished Lancer's feelings for Carla – or hers for him – but he knows there us no point in renewing their relationship while the Invid are still at large. Life on the run has proved to be tougher than he could have imagined. Carla is too frail to endure that kind of hardship for long. She is the same gentile, lovely woman he remembered although somewhat sadder. Unfortunately, melancholy has become the curse of the times they live in.
When Lancer rejoins his friends, it's to bid farewell to the departing Annie. The fickle youngster has found herself another family. They are heading across the secret route to a new home. She provided her old friends with a copy of the map they have just purchased, but Lancer senses something amiss and visits Carla again.
Carla is pleased to see him until Lancer insists she provide information about Donald's business. She becomes evasive. There are some things that she will not admit knowing – even to herself.
Lancer senses a problem: "This town is no good for you,
Carla....You weren't like this before. Listen to me – there's something terribly wrong about this map business. Tell me what it is before anyone gets hurt. Then we can leave together."
Carla is enthusiastic: "Let's try to go someplace to the south – you and I – where there's sunlight. Please. We could be happy there."
"But the threat still exists unless we go over those mountains."
"The Invid control everything up there! You'll never be able to stay alive. The map is a fake, " Carla says miserably. "That's Donald's business. He sells fake maps that lead people to their doom."
"And no one else knows because no one comes back." By now, Lancer has seen enough of human nature to know truth – no matter how gruesome – when he hears it. There seems to be no end to what some men will do for profit. "So that's how Donald acquired his wealth. That crook! Those innocent people have come to this town believing there was some hope...some chance. But – Annie!"
Remembering the girl, Lancer runs off to tell the others what ha has found out. They take off to find Annie and her new family under attack from Invid scouts. They defeat the aliens only to face another danger – Donald Maxwell.
Maxwell aims artillery at them. "Congratulations on being the first to come back from these mountains. However, I can't allow anyone who knows my secret to return. Line up over there."
Rand gets the drop on Maxwell before the man can destroy his friends. In order to save himself, Maxwell gives them the copy of the map with the correct route. It is something he has had in possession all along and had been saving for his own fast getaway. Carla turns from him, more in disappointment than in anger. As Maxwell watches her leave with the freedom fighters, he realizes he's lost the one thing that meant the most to him.
As the caravan makes its way over the frigid pass, they notice Maxwell has created a diversion for the Invid using his collection of antique mecha. "You are special to him," Lancer tells Carla. "He sacrificed his most important machines for you. He saved your life even if it meant giving up everything he owned." Only Carla can know how much the sacrifice meant to Maxwell. At the last moment, she heads back to town. Briefly, Lancer watches her go, then continues his way over the pass.
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