Biologist Teresa Janovitch (MELISSA GILBERT) is a civilian among military men, traveling on the Resource Survey Vehicle Cortez to Tau Ceti Prime in search of minerals for an Earth that has squandered its own. Initial signs indicate that the planet is both uninhabited and rich in mineral resources, which could mean a million dollar payday for both the crew and the company that owns the Cortez. But on the first exploration, the crew is attacked by gigantic and apparently primitive aliens. After the command falls to Janovitch, she is overpowered by her crew: Sgt. Adam Sears (Jeremy Ratchford), a veteran of pacification missions on Earth, who favors annihilation of the new race and an ambiguous Corporal Charles Pendelton (Tim Guinee). Sears leads a patrol that hunts down and kills the aliens, in the process seizing a golden object that appears to be a religious totem. As he celebrates his slaughter, Janovitch examines his victims and makes a shocking discovery.