Prelude to Invasion (Countdown)
In the aftermath of the battle with the NWO, the EBSIS has refused to withdraw its forces from China Quadrant, South America and Southern Africa. This rampant aggression is protested politically but the military is distracted as unknown forces attack a space fleet near Space Station Liberty.
Four new recruits from the Robotech Academy are assigned to the 21st ATAC: Privates Josiah Green, Sherri Keller, Kenji Nakamura and Damien Ortega. Meanwhile the first hints of a new threat appear when Liberty Observer Group and Moon Base Luna are attacked by an unknown enemy. Tank Girl had been in communication with her friend Carter Ried, a Logan pilot with Liberty Group when the initial attack occurred. Little is disclosed about the attacks by Central Command and most are left believing it was an attack by an old remnant of the Zentraedi armada that had stumbled into the solar system. Nevertheless Southern Cross bases are initially put on high alert after the attack, standing down to standby (yellow) alert when a TASC force sent to investigate is not able to learn anything further about the attacks.
Tensions between the UEG and EBSIS are again on the rise and new conflict areas are opening up. Southern Cross outpost bases in Indochina are coming under attack by EBSIS and Indonesian-backed insurgents. The 21st is rapidly deployed because of their familiarity with the area around the Mekong delta. In order to get the squadron there quickly the tanks are loaded onto a transorbital shuttle that flies them to the location where the pilots transform to battloid mode and make a dramatic air drop into the river. After fierce fighting the enemy are driven back and Jungle Squad reinforcements arrive to relieve the 21st.
The Blackjacks get little rest as word comes down that UEG forces in occupied China Quadrant are suffering heavy losses to Chinese battalions now backed by the EBSIS (which is seeking total control over the area). The 21st is sent into the thick of the fighting and soon suffer losses of their own with both Banshee and 8-Ball killed in surprisingly accurate missile strikes. A fortunate incident later reveals the source of the enemies advantage: the Soviets have a version of Brains' Protoculture sensor that allows them to get accurate missile locks on UEG Veritech mecha without the target realizing it.
Suspicion immediately falls on Brains and the rest of the 21st for the leak of the Protoculture sensor. Brains is imprisoned for interrogation and the rest of the squadron confined to quarters. The GMP, fearing that Pvt. Andrews' cover will be exposed, finally pull him out. The rest of the squadron are told he is being reassigned to Perth and they never learn the truth about their squadmate. Worried about what is happening, the confined 21st enlists the help of Lt. Myers and her marines to sneak out of their barracks to do some investigating of their own. This means the 21st are free when the real traitor, the senior GMP intelligence officer on base, attempts to kidnap Brains and take him to the EBSIS. The Blackjacks are able to stop the traitor from succeeding, capturing him and exonerating themselves and Brains in the process.
With the knowledge of the EBSIS use of the Protoculture sensor, Brains devises a means to alter the signature of the Southern Cross' power reactors, nullifying the Soviet advantage. The 21st is again sent into China Quadrant where they see heavy fighting. During one major fight the 21st are forced to retreat when they abruptly lose contact with UEG satellites, cutting off their communications and navigation ability. Relying on memory of previous missions to the area, the 21st finds the old hidden convoy road. They find the wreckage of the old NWO land carrier and are able to get a fighter jet operational. Bullseye takes the plane up and manages to take out the aircraft that had doggedly pursuing the 21st. With their pursuers gone, the 21st are able to retreat into India Quadrant. Once there they discover why communications went down: an alien fleet has arrived at Earth and destroyed the UEG's satellite communications network.
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