Nearly 100 years before the events of Ender's Game, humans were just beginning to step off Earth and out into the Solar System. A thin web of ships in both asteroid belts; a few stations; a corporate settlement on Luna. No one had seen any sign of other space-faring races; everyone expected that First Contact, if it came, would happen in the future, in the empty reaches between the stars. Then a young navigator on a distant mining ship saw something moving too fast, heading directly for our sun.
When the alien ship screamed through the solar system, it disrupted communications between the far-flung human mining ships and supply stations, and between them and Earth. So Earth and Luna were unaware that they had been invaded until the ship pulled into Earth orbit, and began landing terraforming crews in China. Politics and pride slowed the response on Earth, and on Luna corporate power struggles seemed more urgent than distant deaths. But there are a few men and women who see that if Earth doesn't wake up and pull together, the planet could be lost.
With an alien invasion in progress in China, humanity was divided on how to defend itself. The Chinese government was determined to go it alone, despite suffering catastrophic losses. Captain Wit O'Toole of the Mobile Operations Police and Mazer Rackham have managed to destroy one of the three alien landers, but because they achieved the first significant human victory of the war without official approval and using a nuclear warhead obtained without authorization, they were in the custody of Chinese General Sima. Bingwen came up with a clever ploy to get them released: he spread word over the internet that they were acting under Sima's orders and gave him full credit.
Meanwhile, Victor Delgado and Imala Bootstamp drifted to the Formic scout ship in a ship disguised to avoid being destroyed. Victor managed to enter and explore the vessel. They survived a failed Vanguard drone attack on the Formic ship and after getting away again confronted Lem Jukes, whom they suspect of involvement in the attack. However, it was actually launched by Lem's father, Ukko Jukes. Lem tried to stop or delay it.
Wit O'Toole, Mazer Rackham, and Shenzu were sent by General Sima to the Dragon's Den, but they were attacked by a wave of Formic reinforcements from the scout ship. Because China's engineering team had been destroyed by the reinforcements Wit, Mazer, and Shenzu decided to take a sample of the Formic defoliant to India, so Dr. Pavar Gadhavi could make a counteragent. The development of a counteragent caused China to form an alliance with India and the MOPs then helped China and India direct a counteroffensive.
Based on what he had learned, Victor devised a plan to capture the Formic ship, and reluctantly accepted Lem's help in carrying it out. The MOPs, including Wit and Mazer, were recruited to become the rest of Victor's boarding party. Despite Victor's objections, Imala volunteered as well.
When the Formics detected the intruders, all of their forces on Earth left to go to their ship's defense. Lem led a force to hold them off, resulting in a fierce battle in orbit of Earth. Aboard the scout ship, Wit sacrificed his life, exposing himself to lethal levels of radiation, but Victor's plan succeeded, and the ship was captured intact. However, Victor's cousin, Edimar, backtracked the path of the alien ship and discovered that it was only a scout ship; the real mothership was reconfiguring itself into a battle fleet that will arrive in about five years.