When an Earth outpost 16 light-years away is destroyed by an unknown alien force, a group of young United States Marine Corps Space Aviators find themselves on the front lines of an intergalactic battle in an attempt to save their home planet.
When the USS Saratoga passes close to the planet, Vesta Colony, where the Earth colonist were attacked, West goes AWOL and flies down to the planet in hopes that his girlfriend, Kylen, somehow survived.
Vansen wakes from a disturbing dream in which she sees her parents die to discover she is aboard the space carrier Saratoga. The squadron gets orders to protect a mining station against any Chig actions. As they arrive at the colony a laser battle erupts killing two of the squad. The rest withdraw as it becomes apparent the attackers are not Chigs but AI's infected with a computer virus that encourages independent action. A counter attack is mounted but most of the squad is captured. The AIs begin torturing the squad members trying to discover when a relief convoy is ...
Trapped on a hostile planet and captured by silicates, Vanessa and Damphousse are given a choice to make, while Wang is tortured and West finds someone unexpected. Meanwhile, McQueen and Hawkes must find a way to free their comrades alone.