The War of 2016 was the second large scale conflict between the human race and the Harvesters. The war occurred on 4 July 2016, exactly as it occurred twenty years earlier in the War of 1996. The invasion began when an enormous alien mothership entered Earth's orbit, destroying the planet's defenses, and devastating numerous European and Asian cities upon its atmospheric entry. The aliens returned to finish where the previous invasion had failed, with the intent of harvesting Earth's resources and killing all life on the planet in the process.
The aliens' plans was narrowly averted when the Earth Space Defense launched a desperate ambush which killed the aliens' queen, which rendered the invaders inactive and their mothership automatically retreating from Earth.
Shortly prior to their defeat in the War of 1996, the Harvesters on Earth sent a transmission into deep space. The transmission was noticed by human scientists, who strongly believed it to be a distress call and implying the undoubted possibility that the aliens would one day return to Earth. Within a span of twenty years, humanity reverse-engineered alien technology left over from the 1996 conflict to prepare for a second invasion.
Due to time being relative in space travel, the distress message finally reached the Harvesters' home planet in 2016.
On July 3, 2016, the Earth Space Defense lost contact with Rhea Base and learned that it was destroyed by an immense wormhole that was created near Saturn's orbit. Soon afterward, an unidentified alien ship emerges through a wormhole near the Moon. Believing the unknown spaceship is responsible for the destruction of Rhea Base, the ESD were then given order by the United Nations Security Council to attack the ship in which the ESD Moon Base fired its main weapon at the ship and causing it to crash on the lunar surface.
Despite humanity believing they have eliminated a hostile alien threat, the ESD soon lost contact with their base on Mars, which was destroyed by the same aliens of the 1996 invasion. The ESD were then alerted of the aliens' return from captured footage of the aliens' massive mothership. Unfortunately, humanity was too late to prepare their defenses against the new invasion.
The Harvesters arrived in Earth's orbit on July 4 during the midst of humanity's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the War of 1996. The sudden arrival of the enormous spacecraft caught Earth forces off guard, as the aliens' mothership quickly and effortlessly destroyed the ESD Moon Base and Earth's Orbital Defense System before entering the planet's atmosphere.
Due to the immense gravity of the mothership conflicting with the Earth's gravity, massive chunks of earth along with cities and people from most of Asia and the Middle East were pulled towards the ship. The mothership landed over the North Atlantic Ocean and caused the floating structures and debris to rain over Europe, and its landing annihilated the entire United States East Coast and much of northwestern Europe.
The ESD rallied available and surviving military forces to launch an counterattack on the Harvester Mothership in an attempt to kill the Harvester Queen, on the basis that this will cause her attendants to fall in disarray and retreat from Earth. ESD forces utilized aerial drones to disable the mothership's energy shield and allowing ESD fighters to escort bombers to drop cold fusion warheads on the mothership.
After succeeding in disabling the shields, ESD fighters led by Captain Dylan Hiller were assailed by alien fighters and the mothership's defense weapons, which makes it impossible for the ESD to make a direct attack on the vessel. Hiller attempted to lead the bombers into the mothership, but the aliens anticipated this move and launched their counterattack in which they unleashed a electromagnetic-like pulse that disabled the ESD fighters and destroyed ESD satellites, and downing human communication in the process. The bombers that were able to drop their payload were intercepted by alien drones, which they contain the explosions with force-fields. Only 7% percent of the ESD fleet survived and returned to Area 51.
ESD Director David Levinson was on the Moon investigating the wreckage of the unknown ship and recover a container. After being literally swept up by the arrival of the Harvester Mothership, Levinson and his companions took the container to Area 51 and opened it to reveal an artificial intelligence dubbed as the Sphere. The entity explained to the humans that it was sent by a party of refugees to help evacuate humanity to a planet occupied by a resistance force of countless other races which opposed the Harvesters. The situation worsened when the ESD learned that the Harvester is drilling into the Earth to harvest its molten core for fuel, which will destroy Earth's magnetic field in the process, and thereby rendering the planet lifeless. The Harvesters were also aware of the Sphere's presence and will make their attempt to capture it in order to learn its vital secrets.
Killing the Harvester Queen
- Main article: Second Battle of Area 51
In desperation, Levinson and Dr. Brackish Okun make an alternate and desperate plan to kill the Queen. Realizing that the Harvesters were invested in finding the Sphere and that the Queen is locked on to the Sphere's "RF frequency", Levinson and Okun put the Sphere in an isolation chamber and duplicate its frequency into a transmitter on a space tug loaded with cold fusion bombs, fooling the Queen to be lure outside Area 51 and capturing the tug while the ESD contains the explosion through shield generators provided from Area 51. However, the pilot of the tug must sacrifice themselves in order to blow up the Queen's personal ship as it captures it. Thomas Whitmore volunteered to pilot the space tug on the suicide mission.
After the frequency was activated, the Queen and her forces were lured to the trap. During the subsequent battle, Whitmore led the Queen's personal warship to the trap before the space tug was taken to the warship. The Queen soon realized the trap, but was too late to escape as the warship is trapped in the force-field activated by Levinson and Whitmore detonated the bomb. However, the Queen survived the explosion by using a personal force-field on her exoskeleton. Now knowing the location of the Sphere, the Queen and her remaining forces attacked Area 51 while enveloping herself in a swarm of Fighters to protect herself. After bypassing Area 51's defenses, the Queen almost obtained the Sphere until Patricia Whitmore commandeered a fighter and destroyed her shields projector, allowing Captain Hiller and his surviving squadron, who hijacked some Fighters, to finally kill the Queen by repeatedly shooting her in the back.
With the Queen dead, alien forces fell into disarray as alien drones fell unresponsive and caused many Fighters to crash. The Harvester Mothership stopped its excavation and retreated into space.
All of Eurasia and the eastern seaboard of North America was heavily devastated by the invasion. Cities such as London, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Washington and Singapore were most especially suffered from either being lifted by the Harvester mothership's gravitational pull or severely damaged by the massive ship's landing or from the fallen levitated debris.
Despite the major losses, humanity's tenacity was enough to convinc the Sphere to bestow its advanced technology - such as faster-than-light travel - to humanity and offering them to join in its resistance to lead a counterattack against the Harvesters.