ACES OF HEARTS
Disclaimer: Robotech and all characters mentioned in this fic are either fictional or belong to their respective creators.
Destiny is Hard to Ignore
The Quadrano Unit looped and swerved in a zigzagging pattern, evading a murderous barrage of particle blasts and annihilation discs. The Invid fighters were having a tough time as they tried to overwhelm their enemy by sheer weight of numbers. However, the pilot within the Zentraedi mecha kept on evading their most diligent attempts to destroy her.
Miriya Parino tightened her grip on the controls of her fighter as she continued to engage the enemy. She had only started flying the Quadrano mecha three months ago, when the archenemies of the Zentraedi began making massive assaults on several outposts. Since the main forces, including the Imperial Class Fleet, were still occupied with finding Zor's battle fortress and its Protoculture Matrix, it was up to the Reserves and the Quadranos to protect the strongholds in key sectors. The giant space warriors' forces were already spread out too thin across the cosmos, and the Invid were taking advantage of that fact. As a result, the Zentraedi were sustaining considerable casualties.
The green-haired giantess gritted her teeth as she lined up an Invid Fighter in her sights. With a short burst from her particle cannons, she blew her target away and immediately began searching for the next. Despite being newly indoctrinated into the elite squadron of the Zentraedi Air Force, Miriya had proven her extraordinary talents early on, and racked up an impressive kill ratio with every battle. The more senior members of her group, plus her superiors were impressed by her tenacity and battle prowess. Now if they only had a thousand more like her...
Earth, 2005 A.D.
"Aw nuts! I thought I had you that time!" Ben Dixon remarked as his best friend once again beat him at the Fighter Simulator in the Macross City Arcade.
Max shrugged as he got out of his seat and patted his oversized companion on the shoulder. "It's okay Ben. I was just lucky, that's all."
Ben snorted with a bit while smiling in a sarcastic expression. "Yeah, I guess you've been on a lucky streak for what, ten months?"
"It's nothing, really." Max insisted as they walked out of the arcade and headed back to their neighborhood. "I mean, you're probably just in a slump. With a little more practice, you'll get better, then you'll start winning. I can tell that you've got what it takes to be a fighter pilot."
The compliment did wonders to raise Dixon's spirits as his expression brightened. Like Max, he too had been dreaming of becoming a fighter pilot and flying. They had often joked about enlisting in the Air Force and becoming wingmates. For Ben, he was already set to enlist once he was seventeen.
"Oh yeah! The bad guys had better watch out when Super Ace Dixon is in the air!" He let off a loud hoot of laughter, which Max joined in, though his heart wasn't really in it.
For Max, it had always been a sore subject. The dream of becoming a pilot still remained nothing more than a dream. His parents were still dead set against letting their only child risk his life in the military. Even if he were accepted, his less than perfect eyesight would most likely keep him from ever sitting in a cockpit. It was that fact alone, which caused him to have very low self-confidence in his own skills. It was one thing to be a video game champ. It was quite another to be a fighter ace with your life always on the line every time you took to the air. He just didn't have what it took to be in a real fighter plane and that was it.
As the evening sky began to appear over their heads, the blue-haired fifteen-year-old looked up at the stars and sighed. As he saw what appeared to be a shooting star, he started to imagine himself as that streak of light as it raced across the heavens.
Miriya was like an untouchable comet as her fighter streaked across the heavens. It had been well over a year since her first combat assignment, and unlike many of her comrades, she had survived through the near-continuous attacks from the Invid. Countless numbers of Zentraedi, including members of the elite Quadrano Battalion had fallen to the their savage foes, but Parino had outlasted them all.
As she dove through a swarm of Invid Fighters that was attacking one of the Zentraedi's deep-space stations, her actions became ever bolder. With lethal precision and uncanny accuracy, she eliminated twelve of her adversaries in less than two minutes, littering the vacuum of space with debris and explosions.
As the battle continued on, Miriya's adrenaline levels reached their peaks, which made her lust for battle increase ever more. During her first few encounters with the enemy, she had been uneasy and had made many mistakes. However, with each new confrontation, her skills had become more refined, and her reluctance and nervousness soon became non-existent. Eventually, she began hungering for greater challenges and with every victory, her confidence in her abilities grew, and grew... and grew. Soon, confidence began to turn into arrogance as more and more adversaries fell to her superior abilities. As a result, she began to take more chances, daring her foes to try and kill her. She was not afraid to take risks, for that is where the true test of one's mettle lay. Let her superiors remain in their safe command bridges and letting others do their work for them. It was the hands-on battle that Miriya craved and it was here in the thick of it, that she ruled over all.
An Invid got close enough to her Quadrano to get in position for a killing shot, but that was only because Miriya let him do so. Just as it was about to open fire, she instantly turned her mecha about and blasted him into oblivion. She let off a small, scornful laugh and continued to pick off her opponents. This was getting to be too easy!
Earth 2006 A.D.
Max knew that convincing his parents was not going to be easy.
"No! We've been through this before, Maximilian." Michael Sterling said firmly. Behind him, his wife Donna also nodded in agreement.
"But Dad, I really want to join up and..." Max began but was immediately cut off by his father. "Ben's planning to enlist next year and..."
"No! We will not let you endanger your life and that's final!"
"That's right, Max." His mother said as she added her own opinions. "The military is just too harsh and if you were to die in combat... we couldn't live with it."
Max became irritated at his mother's over-protectiveness. Though deep down he knew that she was only concerned for his safety. "But Mom, I'm not a little boy anymore! Why are you treating me like some helpless kid? I'm sixteen now. Joining up with the Armed Forces could help me get ahead in life."
"Oh? And how does fighting and killing others going to help you get ahead?" His father asked.
"I could learn more than just being able to fight." Max insisted. "They can teach me stuff about technology and pay for my education. You told me that money's really tight and getting into college is going to be hard. If I enlist, they can give me a diploma!"
"All those smarts and money won't mean a damn if you get killed in some useless war. I used to serve in the Global War, and I saw a lot of good friends die needlessly. All of them had potential, and they were never able to live out their hopes and dreams, because they ended up dead on some God-forsaken battlefield. I won't lose my son to war."
"We're not at war now."
"But we WILL be someday. When that alien ship is repaired, there's going to be war, make no doubt about that." Michael thought back to all of the news reports he had seen. The Anti-Unification Forces had been waging acts of terrorism and such against the United Earth government, over the last year. Much of those acts had dealt with the rebuilding of the alien craft, now dubbed the SDF-1. The battle fortress was a symbol of the government's strength and those who opposed the government saw it as a prime target. Security around the SDF-1 had greatly increased since. Max's father didn't want his son to be anywhere near that warship.
"Can't I decide for myself? I was planning to attend flight school and..."
His father snorted a bit as his anger over his son's rebellion grew. "Hmpf! And just how far are you going to get? The last I heard, pilots with glasses aren't in great demand." He immediately regretted his words as he saw the hurt look in his son's expression.
Max managed to rein in his desire to verbally lash out at his father, but decided that such an action would only compound the problem. At the moment, he was just too angry to argue anymore. Without another word, he turned and walked toward his room.
"Max! Max!" His father called to him, but his son decided not to heed him as he quietly closed his door behind him.
Donna walked up and put a comforting hand on her husband's shoulder. "Let's give him some time. I'm sure that he'll come around."
"Don't worry Mr. Sterling. Max is fine here with us." Ben Dixon's father assured as he spoke with Max's father on the telephone.
Max had caused quite an uproar when he suddenly disappeared from his home. However, his parents were relieved when they were told that their son was staying at his best friend's house. Though they wanted him back right away, Ben and his family managed to convince them to allow him to stay for a few days, to give him some time to think things out.
After reassuring the Sterlings several times that their son would be fine, Mr. Dixon walked over to Ben's room where Ben and Max were sharing. Currently, Ben was out with his mother at the family dry cleaning business. As he opened up the door and saw Max sitting on a chair staring out the window at the skies, he held out the cordless phone to him.
"Max, would you like to talk to your parents?"
The blue-haired teen did not answer.
After a long while, Ben's dad got the message and spoke into the receiver. "Max can't come to the phone right now. Yes, I understand. I'm sure things will turn out all right. All right then. Thank you. Good-bye."
Just as Mr. Dixon put down the receiver and was about to address Max, a huge flash of light, followed by a series of tremendous blasts of noise that rocked the neighborhood.
Max was immediately jolted out of his reverie as he saw several plumes of black smoke rising in the distance. His eyes widened and he felt a shiver go down his spine as he saw that those pillars were in the vicinity of the Dixon Dry Cleaners and... the Sterling Home.
A week later...
Max bowed his head in sorrow as his parents' coffins were laid to rest at the Macross cemetery. He made no effort to hide his tears as the Dixon family stood behind him in mourning.
It had been a freak accident. The Anti-Unification Force had planted a car bomb near the Dixon Dry Cleaners as many of the enlisted men had their uniforms cleaned there. By some twist of fate, no soldiers were killed when the bomb was set off, but the blast had caused a nearby gas main to explode and caused a chain reaction, destroying several suburban houses, including Max's. His father and mother had been killed instantly.
As the reverend ended with the phrase, 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust' and the graves were being filled in, Max sank to his knees. Raising his right hand to his forehead, he touched his brow, then brought it down to touch his chest. He followed the motion by touching his left shoulder then his right, finishing the gesture.
"I keep thinking about what I said to them when I last saw them." Max said quietly as he nursed a cup of tea at the Dixon home. "Before the explosion, Dad wanted to talk to me, and I didn't want to listen. Now it's too late."
"Max, we're all very sorry about what happened." Mrs. Dixon said as she and her family sat around the dining table with the last member of the Sterlings. Without any other relatives and being under 18, Max would most likely be sent to live in a foster home.
"It's kind of ironic. Mom and Dad were against my idea of enlisting in the Armed Forces, because they were scared of losing me in action, and now because of the bombing against the military, they're... gone."
"Max, you couldn't have known what would happen, and I'm certain that your parents only thought of your safety." Ben's father said.
Max however, was still deep in depression and sorrow as he bowed down his head and started to cry again.
"I must admit that your Quadrano Battalion is quite impressive." The eighty-foot tall commander of the Zentraedi remarked as he spoke with Azonia via a personal comlink. "I am especially impressed with that pilot Miriya Parino."
"Thank you Lord Dolza." Miriya's superior replied. "Though I must admit that we have been taking on considerable casualties as late. The Invid have been getting more tenacious and our resources are becoming strained, especially since our Protoculture reserves are getting low. Has there been any news from Breetai about Zor's battle fortress?"
"Nothing so far." Dolza said. "However, recently he had sent me a communiqué about a sector on the outer fringes of a galaxy that we are unfamiliar with. It is a likely place where that traitor Zor could have sent the battle fortress, since the database we had procured from his lab does make many references to it. Breetai intends to search that area once he is finished with the one he is currently in."
"Why does he not just go to that system now?"
"Currently, he has the entire Imperial Class Fleet spread out over the sector he is in now, and it will take some time for him to recall it. Furthermore, with the Invid constantly attacking our forces, and especially near our homeworld, we cannot risk sending out a sizeable amount of our ships on what may be a false lead. We have to deal with the Invid first, and destroy enough of their forces to give us time to find the Protoculture Matrix. That is why I am depending on you and your Quadranos, Azonia. For the glory of the Zentaedi."
"Sir." Azonia gave him a salute before signing off.
"You wanted to speak with me, Commander?"
Azonia motioned for Miriya to sit as she nodded. "Yes Miriya. I would like to first congratulate you on your latest victories over the Invid forces. Your skills and dedication to the Zentraedi Imperative is an inspiration to us all."
"Thank you, Azonia. I appreciate your confidence in me. But I feel that you didn't call me here to simply praise my efforts."
"Correct." Azonia affirmed as she brought up an image of a heavily damaged Quadrano Unit. Since the Zentraedi were unable to repair their own mecha, (mostly because the Robotech Masters had withheld such information in order to keep the giants dependent on them), each damaged machine meant that they would have one less weapon to use against their enemies.
"Commander?" Miriya pressed.
"You are one of the finest pilots, if not the best, that the Zentraedi have ever produced. Your battle record has impressed even Lord Dolza himself. However, there is the considerable matter of the cost of having you."
"Yes. As you know, our resources are not inexhaustible, especially without any new sources of Protoculture to draw from. And those Quadrano Fighters don't come cheap."
"But Commander, I destroyed the enemy..."
"Yes, you destroyed the enemy. However, in doing so, you have brought back several damaged units that are no longer fit for combat."
"There are some aspects of combat that are unavoidable." Miriya stated.
"Yes, but the instances in which these fighters were damaged, those aspects COULD have been avoided. I've been looking over your conduct from the past few battles and you have been getting reckless. There have been reports of you breaking formation, disobeying direct orders, taking damage that could easily have been avoided, and even getting into fights with superior officers. I know you like to take risks and be challenged, but your actions are becoming more troublesome for us as well as the enemy. You're becoming a loose cannon like Khyron."
Miriya snorted at the mention of infamous commander of the Seventh Mechanized Fleet. "With all due respect, Azonia, don't compare me with the Backstabber. Unlike him, I KNOW the difference between enemy and ally. And as for my conduct in battle, it is not my fault that my comrades aren't able to keep up with me. The loss of one or two fighters is a small price to pay to destroy our enemies."
Azonia's eyes narrowed at Miriya's arrogance. All of her victories were a testament to her battle prowess, but they were also making her more brazen. It was one thing to revel in glorious battle, but it was quite another to have overconfidence interfere with the primary objective. At the rate things were going Miriya might not have a Quadrano Unit to pilot by the time Breetai finally located Zor's battle fortress. It was bad enough that Khyron's reckless behavior was causing his division to be using up men and machines faster than they could be replaced. She couldn't have the elite of the Zentraedi forces short on weapons and supplies, nor have her top ace without a Quadrano to fight in during crucial conflicts.
Since Miriya wanted to be challenged, Azonia decided to give her one. She ordered her best pilot to keep her next fighter for as long as she could. Until the last Protoculture Matrix was found, Miriya would get no replacements if she were to fly recklessly again. She was also to follow orders to the letter, and work with the other pilots, rather than try to build up her own reputation and grab all the glory.
The green-haired giantess grumbled as she headed back toward her quarters. She couldn't believe that Azonia was concerned about how many Quadranos were lost in their battles with the Invid. Since when was the Zentraedi concerned with petty details like that? She did her job like no one else could do. Even her closest rivals' kill records in the Quadrano Battalion, were nowhere near hers. She shouldn't be restricted like this!
Unfortunately, Azonia was not budging on the matter and Mriya had no choice but to follow her new limitations until Breetai located the lost battle fortress, which she hoped was soon. She wanted to be in the thick of things, for it was in the heat of battle, that she truly lived.
Her commander was right about one thing. Achieving victory had become too easy as of late. Miriya always loved a good challenge, to get her blood pumping and that possibility of losing everything in a single moment, was what she thrived on. However, the Invid had no ace pilots that came close to her caliber, and she had even been baiting them by letting them get close enough to kill her. In these instances, her fighter took more damage than necessary and she had come relatively close to being sent to the Great Beyond a few times. However, her superior skills always pulled her through and even these brushes with death were beginning to get tiresome. Was there not a single person who could put her skills to the ultimate test? All she wanted is to fulfill her destiny as the ultimate pilot, and the only way for her to do that is to beat an opponent with all of her abilities. Whoever her ultimate opponent may be, when she beat him, she could claim the undisputed title of Ace among Aces.
Earth, 2008 A.D.
“Hey Max, check it out. They’re going to launch the SDF-1 about as early as next year.” Ben gestured to the front page of the Macross newspaper.
The son of Michael and Donna Sterling nodded as he took the paper and began cutting out the article for his scrapbook. He had been collecting everything about the SDF-1 and various noted pilots of the newly-made Robotech Defense Force. There had been a large number of stories concerning Roy Fokker, who had been one of the few pilots to have survived the Global Civil War and one of the first people to enter the alien vessel when it first crashed nine years ago. Just recently, the United Earth Government had announced a new military force based on the alien technology found in the ship. Along with the new Armor carriers already in orbit around the Earth and patrolling the space beyond Mars, the new weapons and the SDF-1 would be Earth’s greatest defenders against any threat to the human race.
All of this had excited Max and had lifted his spirits somewhat after the death of his parents. He had been staying with the Dixons, though out of respect for his deceased family, he had not enlisted with the military and concentrated instead on finishing school. However, a day did not go by that he did not daydream of soaring through the heavens and living life at lightspeed. He was very interested at the rumors of a new kind of fighter that had been developed by the alien science that was dubbed as Robotech. According to some reports, it took piloting to a whole new level.
Somewhere near the outer edges of the Andromeda System...
“So Exedore, you are certain that the battle fortress came through this sector and is now somewhere in that minor planetary system?” Breetai asked as he and his advisor gazed upon a star chart that was depicted on the main monitor of the Zentraedi flagship.
The shorter, red-haired Zentraedi, almost a dwarf by his race’s standards, nodded as he pointed to an area, which coincided with Earth’s solar system. “Yes. The Protoculture signature of Zor’s battle fortress is definitely coming from there. It is very faint, but it is unmistakable. The reason why it has taken us this long to pinpoint it, is because it had sent out numerous false trails during its extended hyperspace fold jump.”
“Excellent. Our long quest is almost at an end. The Invid have been repelled back to their home system now and this would be an excellent opportunity to retrieve the Protoculture Matrix.”
“Yes, we have the reserve forces and Quadrano Battalion to thank for keeping the Invid at bay.” Exedore agreed. “Shall we call in the Imperial Class Fleet?”
The giant commander with a metal plate covering half his face considered Exedore’s suggestion, then shook his head. “No, I do not believe that we will need such a large force to pick up the battle fortress. I severely doubt we will encounter anything that can stand up to an expeditionary force. The battle fortress was manned by a skeleton crew when it escaped. I don't believe it would be necessary to mobilize a larger force for such a simple task.”
“Very well, sir.”
“Begin calling in the fifth and seventh divisions and head for that star system.”
February 2009 A.D.
“Wow! That guy must be some kind of combat ace!” Ben cried out as he and Max watched the air show performance. The new Veritech fighters were wonders to behold, but to everyone’s surprise, including the show’s announcer Roy Fokker, a certain somebody had decided to get into the act.
Max shook his head as he watched a red and white fanjet shoot up into the sky like a rocket, while the other Veritechs peeled away in graceful arcs. “Nah, judging from that fanjet, I’m pretty sure that it’s amateur flying champ Rick Hunter.” He then shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, he’s just using a simple booster climb technique that was pioneered by veteran pilot Roy Fokker.”
“If you’re such an expert, how come you didn’t join the military?” Dixon asked. The reason why he hadn’t joined up yet was the fact that his family’s dry cleaning business had increased and his parents needed their son’s help to keep up with the customers.
Though it was a sensitive subject for Max as memories of his parents were never far from his mind, he tapped the side of his lenses and gave him a lopsided smile. “Well, for starters, they don’t take guys with glasses.”
Ben let off a laugh. “No kidding! Imagine YOU as a pilot! Ha ha ha ha!” Though he meant nothing insulting against his best friend, the image of the quiet and shy Max in a cockpit was amusing. Then his stomach growled. “I’m starving! Let’s find ourselves a big steakhouse!”
Max sighed as he followed his friend. As they walked, Max made an off-handed observation. “It seems like the United Earth Forces are really rushing to get the SDF-1 launched on schedule.”
Ben nodded. “It’s been great for my parents’ dry cleaning shop. They get a ton of business from the soldiers.”
“That’s just it.” Max pointed out. “The economy of Macross Island is completely driven by the military. Any idea what your parents are gonna do when the SDF-1 leaves?”
That got the stocky teen to thinking. “Gosh, I never really thought about that. I wonder how the crew would get their cleaning done...” At that point, he noticed that his blue-haired companion was not paying attention as he was looked back toward the SDF-1. “Uh... Max? Hello?”
Max pointed out with his right arm and cried out. “Ben, have you ever seen the SDF-1 do THAT?”
At that moment, the sky turned bright orange-red as the SDF-1’s forward booms spread out like the tines of a giant tuning fork and energy waves began crackling between them with a deafening whine. Then all of a sudden, a huge blast of utter annihilation shot forward, causing the entire island to tremble. The beam tore across the surface of the ocean before splitting up into two separate blasts and arcing upward toward the sky.
On the ground, both Max and Ben picked themselves up, just as everyone did.
“That was SO COOL!”
“I don’t think that was part of the show.” Max said as he looked about. Soldiers began running toward their battle stations as alarms began to blare. Then he started to hear a female voice on a loudspeaker.
“ATTENTION! ALL CREW TO BATTLE STATIONS! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”
Pilots began scrambling for their fighters as the island’s surface-to-air missile systems let loose with huge barrages toward the heavens. Explosions began dotting the skies as death and destruction began raining down on Macross Island.
“Oh no! The Anti-Unification Forces must be about to invade the island!” Ben cried out as he held his head between his hands in a panic.
“Hmmm, something’s very different about this.” Max commented as he watched several fighters take off. “This attack’s coming from far above us.”
At this point, the female announcer began addressing the civilians.
“ATTENTION ALL CIVILIANS! PLEASE REPORT TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY SHELTER!”
“Alright Max, I think we should take a hint. Max?”
The teen looked about, but Max was nowhere in sight.
The bespectacled youth looked up and saw strange-looking craft mixing it up with the new Robotech fighters of the Earth. Veritechs swooped, rolled and dived, releasing deadly missiles and streams of autocannon fire. Explosions continued to dot the skies as fighters on both sides fell.
Max caught sight of a white and yellow Veritech that had Jolly Roger tailfins. The fighter made a tight, inverted turn and was on the tail of an alien craft. He immediately recognized the maneuver from a fighter manual he had read in school.
“That must be Lieutenant Commander Fokker.”
Fokker’s fighter let loose with a missile and caught his opponent from behind. The vessel’s aft section exploded. The stricken ship began hurtling down toward the ground... right where Max was standing.
The blue-haired teen barely had time to run for cover as the Zentraedi fighter plowed through the side of a building and dug a trench into the street. It skidded to a stop some 100 meters from where Max was. As he gazed upon the wreckage he could easily tell that this was definitely NOT an Anti-Unification Fighter. After all, the thing was so big, that the pilot would have to be fifty feet tall.
That was when the ship’s canopy shuddered open to reveal...
“Holy Mother of...!”
The figure was huge. Garbed in a kind of armored flight-suit, the Zentraedi pilot stepped forward and looked about. He was in a bit of a disoriented state after crashing and did not notice the tiny human standing on the ground in front of him. He took a step forward and his foot casually crushed a car right beside Maximilian. The youth was in such a state of shock, that he didn’t make a single move. He would have joined the car in oblivion, had it not been a lucky event.
Before the giant being could take another step, his massive body jerked and staggered backward as huge autocannon rounds suddenly began raining down from above. The alien toppled dead onto his back with a thunderous crash and Max held up his arms to protect himself from the debris that was kicked up from the impact. That was when he heard the roar of jet engines. He looked up and saw a strange-looking craft that resembled the Veritechs he had observed at the air show. However, the thing had its engines pointing downward on what appeared to be legs. It also had arms protruding from its sides, Clamped in its right metalshod hand was a wicked-looking cannon weapon like a space-age rifle. Then he heard a voice over a loudspeaker.
“What are you doing here, kid? The city is supposed to be evacuated!”
“Wha..? What’s going on?”
“No time to explain... hold still!”
The strange machine landed and extended it right hand toward max after transferring its weapon to its left. The front of the fighter opened up to reveal a pilot in a two-seater cockpit. With unbelievable fine-control, Max was hoisted up toward the cockpit and was gently placed in the seat behind the pilot. The pilot, a man who was wearing an elaborate helmet, smiled at him as his canopy began closing.
“Hi, I’m Lieutenant Johnny Wolfe. What’s your name?”
“Max... Max Sterling. What... what IS this thing you’re piloting.”
“Well Max, I’m afraid that’s classified and you’re lucky that you didn’t end up a skid mark under that ALIEN fighter back there.”
Max took several deep breaths to calm himself down then he saw something big begin to rise from the island.
“Look! The SDF-1! It’s taking off!”
Lt. Wolfe gritted his teeth and swore. “Damn! that means that the countdown has begun! We gotta get out of here NOW!”
“Countdown? WHAT COUNTDOWN?!”
At one of the main shelters, Ben and his family were crowding through the entrance with all the other inhabitants of Macross Island. More than 70,000 people would be crammed into the specially designed bunkers. As they went into the reinforced structures, Ben wondered just where his friend was and hoped that he had made it to one of the other shelters.
Out in near-Earth orbit...
Max couldn’t believe he was actually skimming along the stratosphere in a jet fighter. What kind of power did this Veritech use? He had seen it transform from that strange bird-like form into that of a conventional fighter plane and now he and Wolfe were rendezvousing with the SDF-1!
“This is VT-101 on the approach to SDF-1. Request landing instructions.” Wolfe said into his communicator.
“Roger. You are cleared for landing in Bay Five-Zero-Four and make it quick.” The female operator responded. “We’re about to execute a space fold.”
“What’s a space fold?” Max asked.
“Oh, I hope this doesn’t permanently affect the business.” Ben’s father moaned as he and his family huddled with all the other people of Macross Island.
Ben’s mother looked to her son and asked, “Ben, are you sure these shelters are completely safe?”
Ben, keeping up a brave front, smiled and replied. “No sweat! These shelters are completely airtight and are designed to withstand weapons of mass destruction!”
Suddenly, everything shuddered as a strange light blanketed all.
Breetai was more than surprised at what had just happened.
“A FOLD! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
“Impossible at that altitude!” Exedore cried out.
“IMPOSSIBLE OR NOT, THEY DID IT!” Breetai growled as he began ordering his bridge crew to begin tracking the battle fortress.
Somewhere near the orbit of Pluto...
The heavy doors to the shelter creaked open, bathing the huddled masses in searchlights. Men dressed in environmental suits began streaming in to check on the occupants and administer emergency care.
Ben and his parents were greeted by a medic as they were being led with the rest of the populace to special transports.
“Is everyone all right here?” The medic asked.
“Uh... yeah.” The burly adolescent replied. “So where are we?”
The medic took a deep breath before replying. “We’re... a LONG way from home.”
Several days later....
The planet Pluto! In less than a blink of an eye, Max had traveled further than any astronaut had ever gone. As he looked out of an observation port, his gaze fell upon the mass of ice which had once been his home. Macross Island floated in the void. His mood became more somber as he made out the features of his hometown and estimated where his house used to be. Then he looked toward the place where the cemetery had been. Deep within that mass of ice, the remains of his parents were entombed. As the SDF-1 was already making the slow and arduous journey back to Earth, he made bid his final good-byes to his family. It was a sure thing that he wouldn't be able to visit their graves after today.
The irony of the situation was almost laughable. His parents had forbidden him to go out into space and risk his life in the military. Now, here he was, aboard the symbol of the military’s might and traveling among the stars. And when he returned to the Earth, his parents would still be floating among he cosmos.
A single tear poured down his cheek as Macross Island floated further and further away.
“Azonia, I am transmitting the coordinates of the star system where we located Zor’s battle fortress.”
The female commanded smiled as she responded. “Am I to assume that the Great Lord Breetai already requires reinforcements for this simple task?”
“If I want your help, I’ll ask for it.” Breetai growled. “It appears that the third planet was not completely void of intelligent life. The primitive natives have managed to reconstruct Zor’s battle fortress and take advantage of its capabilities.”
The Zentraedi warlord took on a serious expression. “Our mission has taken on the delicate requirement of eliminating their defensive forces without damaging the battle fortress itself.”
Azonia smiled as she knew that she had the means to do just that.
“If deadly precision is needed, I have the perfect weapon for the task!”
Miriya smiled as she received a communiqué from Azonia. Now this was the opportunity for her to truly shine and woe to anyone who got in her way!
To be continued...
If Miriya sounds cocky and egotistical in this chapter, well that’s because she is! Miriya is proud of her skills and it was due to that pride, plus her own desire to be challenged, which eventually led to her confrontation with Max Sterling.
For Robotech fans, you’ll find some of these scenes in Issue #1 of Robotech Love and War. I know it’s out of order, but I feel that this sequence fits better as Miriya had already been recognized as an ace pilot long before the first Robotech War in the Macross Saga, so having her as a newly-admitted Quadrano pilot at the beginning didn't make much sense.
In any case, the Macross Saga has begun and Max will decide on the path towards his ultimate destiny. On the other side, Miriya will be encountering the Micronians, See you then!