Scoop (Robotech)

UF: Stories written by users, both fanfics and original.

Moderator: LadyTevar

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-12 03:45pm

Summary: A reporter travels to Macross City to cover the launch of a reconstructed alien spaceship.

Chapter 1

Welcome to Macross City
My life will never be the same again.

Everyone has said that whenever something significant happens. Graduating college, changing careers, getting married, having children. Some of the events in my life where I have said such a thing were typical events that almost all of us go through. But what I am about to describe is shared only by a very tiny fraction of the human population.

I began my journey in a Boeing 767 that served American Airlines Flight 93. I was sitting in the business class section, packed with hundreds of people. I felt the plane taxied down the taxiways at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. I felt the plane rise into the air. There were a whole bunch of people here, and I can hear snippets of conversation about their lives. I wondered how many of them were headed to where I was headed.

Six hours later, Flight 93 landed in San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California. I walked out of the 767 into jetway connecting the plane with the terminal. I looked at one of the viewscreens and saw that the flight to my desintation will leave in two hours. Nothing better to pass the time than having a hamburger and a Coke. The two hours were up and I went to the gate for Flight 77. I boarded the 757 and found my seat in business class. I soon saw all kinds of people sitting in the seats. All of them were excited, and they had every reason to be excited. Some of them reserved their tickets months in advance. My tickets were paid for by my employer, the Associated Press. This was not the first time I was sent overseas to cover a story. But this story would turn out to be the biggest story.

"All passengers, this is the captain speaking," said a male voice. "American Airlines Flight 77 now departing San Diego for Macross City."

I felt the plane rise into the air. Soon the California coastline disappeared from view, replaced by the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

ooooooo

"We are approaching Macross City," said the flight captain. "We will be there in about ten minutes."

I looked out my window and I could see an island. Most of it was covered by a city, Macross City. I could see high-rise buildings, houses, shopping malls, parks, a stadium, and an airport.

And I could see the island's main attraction, the SDF-1 Macross.

The SDF-1 was built from an alien spaceship that crashed ten years ago. The governments of Earth joined together to study the spaceship and rebuild it. I saw pictures of it, read about it in news reports, and saw it on TV. And months ago, I was informed that I would be chosen to be part of the team that would cover the maiden launch of the spaceship.

That was tomorrow.

I had all of my documentation prepared - my passport and press pass. Security is going to be tight, especially because of anti-unification forces. A few years back one of them even attacked the SDF-1. That was around the same time that a base on Mars was reported to be destroyed. My office had a reporter there at the time. It was the first death on the job from the New York office in at least seven years.

I felt a bump, and I knew that the landing gears made contact with the runway. A minute later, the 757 parked next to one of the terminals.

"We have now landed at Macross International Airport," said the captain. "Welcome to Macross City. Please proceed to customs."

The other passengers and I all got off the plane, walking along the jetway. We went to a door marked Customs. We had to place our carry-on luggage on a rubber conveyer belt passing through an X-ray scanning device. Customs officers questioned each of us.

"I'm a reporter from the Associated Press," I said. "I have my passport and press passes."

I was then waved through and I followed the path to baggage claim. The baggage claim was in a huge room. there were moving elliptical conveyers that had luggage riding on it. There were over a hundred people here. I quickly located my luggage; I thanked God that my luggage wasn't sent somewhere else like Bolivia.

I noticed how crowded the terminal was. I figured thousands of people were here, probably swelling the population of Macross City to a hundred thousand or so. I saw signs for car rental agencies, taxi services, and airport shuttles.


“Could you get the hotel shuttle fo us?” asked Ned.


“Sure,” I replied.

Ned Brubaker was a longtime veteran reporter for the Associated Press. He actually covered the crash of the Macross when the nations of the world decided to publicize it. I met him at a job fair just before I got my journalism degree from Columbia.

I lined up behind at least thirty people for a courtesy phone. After waiting for at least an hour, I got to the front, picked up the handset, and dialed the number for the Macross Hyatt, which was the hotel where the AP booked us.

“I got us a hotel shuttle,” I said to Ned.

We went outside and waited among the sea of people. I noticed most of them were getting into cars, buses, and airport shuttles; very few were getting out. I waited for another few minutes. I then saw a red van with the Hyatt logo printed on it. I went to where it stopped at a white curb. The driver asked me who I was, and I answered.

"Hop in," he said. "We'll take care of the luggage. Don't forget to tip."

And so we hopped in. The van pulled from the curb. Traffic was heavy on the terminal access road. I probably would have walked if I did not have so much luggage.

"Traffic's heavy," I said.

"Well, you know the hotel is booked full," said the driver, a man in a suit. "Everybody's coming in. And it's gonna be heavy when everyone leaves. I'll probably make enough in tips to retire."

After about forty minutes, we left the airport. I could see the SDF-1 Macross.

"It's a beautful sight," said the driver. "I'll be watching the launch. I will miss seeing it from my apartment."

And then we reached the Macross Hyatt Hotel and Casino. It was a tall structure; I guessed there were thirty floors. It was dwarfed by the SDF-1, of course. It was late afternoon, the sun was almost gone. I got off and tipped the driver. The luggage handler volunteered to bring my luggage to my room.

The Hyatt was a luxury hotel. The floors of the lobby were made of marble; the desk made of oak. A brochure stand sat next to the main entrance, filled with brochures advertising the island's attractions. I could hear the noises of the casino which was just a few feet away from the registration desk.

"Your room is 1507," the desk clerk said to me.

“I’ll check into my room,” I said to Ned.

“I’ll call you if you need anything,” he replied. The luggage handler and I went to the tower elevator. We shared it with some other hotel guests. As luck turned out, my floor was the top floor this elevator went to, so it took a few minutes to get to the fifteenth floor. After we got off the fifteenth floor, I looked at the signs and I noticed that my room was located near the elevators. I walked to Room 1507, used my room card key to open the door, and we entered. I tipped the baggage handler and he left.

The room was nice, with a soft carpet, a clean bed, a table with a General Electric clock radio. In the corner was a circular table for sitting. A room service menu sat on the circular wooden table.

I opened the curtains and I was impressed by the sight. The SDF-1 dominated the landscape. It was rectangular, almost a mile long, and probably a thousand feet high. I couldn't help but think that tomorrow, when I get my luggage out of the room when I check out one and a half days fromnow, the ship won't be there.

My hunger had priority over my fatigue.

ooooooooo

Ned invited me to dinner with him; it was at a Chinese restaurant maybe two miles from the placel; Ned had been here before on prior trips to Macross City. A girl with black hair greeted me and gave me a seat. I ordered chow fun. I saw a whole bunch of people here, some of them in the uniforms of the United Nations military. I studied their faces, wondering if I would see them again when I enter the SDF-1 Shipyard.

“Any thoughts?” asked Ned.

“Well, I remember when I first heard about the ship crashing,” I said. “It was like on a special report on broadcast TV. They interrupted a Yankees game to cover the statement from the U.N.”

“Me, I’m a Mets fan myself,” replied Ned.

"Yeah, I know."

“They were playing the Yankees when the announcement was made. I was completely green at the time, much like you are now.”

I ate another piece of chow fun. “I must thank you for having me here as your assistant,” I said.

"You have potential, kid. I sensed it ever since that job fair at Columbia.”

“Uh, speaking of kids, how are the kids?”

“They’re fine. Maddie’s now in the fourth grade. I can’t believe she’s getting bigger. And your folks?”

“Great. They wsere so excited when I told them I would be covering this launch. You know, I’ve always followed the story of the ship ever since that day. It was like something that came straight out of a movie or a comic book, you know.”

We continued having dinner, talking about more stuff. After we were done, we want baxck to the hotel.

“Meet me downstairs tomorrow morning,” said Ned. “We can only have a light breakfast; we have to be at the shipyard early.

“Gotcha,” I replied, yawning. This was a long day.

Minutes after entering my room, I was asleep.

oooooooo

I woke up about 7:00 AM on the day of the launch. I dressed in a suit and went downstairs, meeting Ned.

“Better make it a quick breakfast,” said Ned. “We have a lot of work this morning.”

And so we did. We ate at this grill on the first floor; I simply had scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast, along with a cup of coffee and a cup of tomato juice. We walked to the SDF-1 Shipyard where the SDF-1 is located, as it was not far from the hotel. We showed the U.N. Spacy security policeman our press passes and she let us through. I was guided to a parade ground. There was a stage in the front, and behind the stage was the spaceship. There was a huge crowd of people- locals, tourists, and reporters from around the globe. According to the press release by the ship's crew, there was to be an air show scheduled before the launch.

"And now we present an amazing display of aerial acrobatics, demonstrating the amazing advances we have made through Robotechnology. Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker, leader of the Veritech fighters' Skull Team, will describe and explain the action for us," said the announcer.

A man in a dark flight suit came to the podium. He had blond hair and a fuzzy face. I took notes to carefully record what this Lieutenant Commander Fokker said.

"Today, ladies and gentlemen, you'll see how we've applied human know-how to understanding and harnessing a complex alien technology," said the commander. "Keep your eyes on planes two and four. flying at speeds of eight hundred miles per hour at only fifty feet above the ground, they will pass within a few yards of one another. Robotechnology makes such precision possible."

And so I did. My eyes then caught another plane. it was not a jet fighter like the other planes; it was a small one seat fanjet. The other planes turned to avoid the small plane.

"Rick, is that you, Rick Hunter?" yelled Fokker. I guessed the commander knew the pilot of the fanjet. "Are you crazy? Get that junk heap out of here! Hunter, when I get my hands on you!" The commander then dropped the microphone stand.

Then I saw the fanjet climb high into the sky, catching up with the fighter jets. The crowd cheered, and I was certainly impressed with whomever was flying the plane. The little fanjet then landed.

"Excuse me, folks," said Fokker, running off the stage. I looked and saw him talk to the fanjet's pilot, this Rick Hunter. Apparently Rick Hunter was just a kid, younger even than me.

I looked around. There was this orange colored jet on display.

"This is one of our trainers," said a Spacy sergeant. "We use this to train the veritech fighters. It's a two-seater; the instructor sits in the back."

"What does it do?" I asked.

"Blow shit up. What else is it for?"

Ned and I questioned some other members of the crowd. They told me about how they saw this ship being built over the years, or they told me how much money they spent to book a flight and a room to witness this ship's launch.

And then it happened. There was a scuffle. I saw a crowd of people gathering around, angry for some reason.

"What's going on?" asked a Spacy policeman.

"He has a bomb!" yelled one of the guests of the launch ceremony.

All of us kept our distance. As they propped the man up, I could see dynamite strapped to his waist. He must belong to an Islamic anti-UN faction; they orchestrated homicide bombings over the years. It was lucky this guy was caught, or else this day would have been a tragedy. At least that was what I thought at the time.

"Everyone remain calm," said the announcer. "Our security has neutralized the threat."

“You okay?” Ned asked me.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I replied. “Just a little scared, I guess.”

Then some important people came in. There was this man in an expensive-looking suit, and with him was another man wearing a hat and a very formal-looking military uniform complete with a cape. The man in the expensive-looking suit came to speak.

"This is the day we've all been waiting for for ten years," he said. "The Robotech project has been a boon to the economy of Macross City, as well as bringing advances in science. Most important of all, it brought peace to Earth, with the exception of a few malcontents."

I saw the military officer enter the ship. I looked at my watch; it was 10:30.

I saw Commander Fokker near that orange fighter. I walked up to him to ask him a few questions.

That was when I saw the light show.

A huge beam of light shined from the front of the Macross. It was brilliant. After that it faded. I immediately noticed a trench cut in the hills next to the city.

Fokker started running in our direction.

"Commander Fokker, may I have a word?" Ned asked, approaching the pilot.

He continued on without saying a word. I saw military personnel running about.

Then the siren blared. It was an air raid siren.

"All civilians must evacuate the premises," said a voice. "This is a full combat alert."

We left the base and walked back to the Hyatt. I could see fighters taking off from the SDF-1 Shipyard. When I got to my hotel, I looked up at the blue sky, and saw these explosions.

It seemed as if one of the anti-UN factions launched an air raid against the SDF-1. I wondered if it was related to the homicide bombing attempt minutes earlier. I noticed flaming debris crashing a few blocks away.

Some of the planes flew close enough that I could see some detail. I noticed a Jolly Roger insignia on one of the fighters; it followed an enemy fighter, green in color, and fired a missile at the enemy fighter. The fighter then blew to bits, raining debris.

The battle above continued as the fireballs lit the blue sky. I was under the awning of the Hyatt's main entrance, to protect me from debris. It raged on for a few minutes.

Then I saw an enemy fighter go down. It was green in color and cone shaped. A trail of smoked followed it. It appeared bigger and bigger. I could see the emblem; one which I was not familiar with.

Then it crashed onto the street and skidded, coming to a stop right next to the hotel.

That thing was huge, about as tall as a six-story building, much bigger than our own fighters. That definitely was not a fighter plane. It could fit over a hundred people inside.

Then I saw the fighter open, and something stepped out. It was a man-shaped figure, about as tall as a lamppost. TI wondered if this was some sort of giant robot built by one of the anti-UN factions. The arms went for the head.

The head was pulled off to reveal an inner head. The head looked human, with two eyes, a nose, a mouth.

That wasn't a robot! That was a fifty-foot tall human. It looked like one of the anti-UN factions developed a way to make giant humans. This giant then pulled out what appeared to be a pistol, made for his size.

Then the giant made eye contact with me.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-13 08:43am

Chapter 2

Knight Time​
I was standing in front of the Macross Hyatt Hotel, with a fifty-foot tall human looking at me, standing next to a fighter plane made for fifty-foot tall pilots.

How could such a thing be possible? I mean, I read somewhere that a human who was fifty feet tall would not be able to even stand up. And yet, this fifty-foot tall human was right here. Whose idea was it to make humans fifty feet tall? Was this island going to be overrun with fifty-foot tall humans?

Then I saw one of our own fighters flying towards the hotel. I figured the pilot must have seen the giant human. The fighter was colored olive green, with a red stripe across the fuselage between the left and right sides.

Then I saw the thrusters detach from the body. I wondered if the fighter was damaged. Then I saw two arms emerge from the underside of the fighter. The nose section and wings folded into the fuselage. When the plane touched down, it was no longer a plane. It looked like a giant suit of armor. The rectangular head had two antennae and there were two green horizontal bars.

And this giant suit of armor was packing a huge gun, made for its size.

It aimed this weapon at the giant, and I heard the familiar sound of gunfire. The cartridges coming from the gun were as big as trash cans. I could see blood bits of brain matter blasting away from the giant's head, proving to me beyond a doubt that the giant was a living thing. The giant fell to the street with a hard thud. I wandered to the street to where the fallen giant lay, and I stared at the armor suit which was once a fighter plane.

"Are you all right?" asked a voice which apparently came from the plane/armor.

"Yes!" I shouted. What I noticed was that the voice from the armor sounded high pitched; the pilot must be a woman.

Then I saw the suit transform. The nose and wings folded out of the fuselage. I thought it was turning back into a fighter, but the transformation stopped halfway. It looked like a plane with two arms and two legs, sort of like a bird or something. I could see the cockpit, and there was someone inside.

The canopy opened. "Hop in!" yelled the pilot.

So that was what I did. The pilot extended the left arm down to the ground, and I stepped onto the palm of the mechanical hand. The arm lifted me up and I was able to scramble into the back seat of the cockpit.

"Okay," said the pilot. "I'm gonna bring you to the shelter. Make sure to fasten your seatbelt."

"Okay," I said, fastening the seatbelt. Soon we were flying a hundred feet above Macross City at a speed of about fifty miles an hour.

"Are you injured?" she asked. "Should I take you to the sick bay?"

"No, I'm fine," I said. "Thanks."

"It looks like the air assault is over."

"Maybe the danger's passed."

"I should still get you to the shelter. There’s an evacuation order.”

"I'm not from here; I traveled here on business. I'm a reporter. I wonder if Ned’s safe."

“Who?”

“My senior reporter on this assignment.”

"He’s probably beinfg evacuated. Well, you two will certainly have a story to tell."

"Knight Ten, do you have the civilian with you?" asked a male voice.

"Yes, Knight Leader," replied the pilot. "I'm only a few minutes to the shelter. Any word of a second attack wave?"

"Keep the comm line open."

"Yes, sir."

"What faction sent that giant creature?" I asked.

"We don't know yet," replied the pilot. "But the reason the battloids were built was to fight giants."

"What?"

"The alien spaceship that we rebuilt as the Macross. Sections of it were designed for fifty foot people."

"I wonder if that giant has anything to do with the spaceship."

"Don't know. Right now, I have to take you to the shelter. There it is, straight ahead. We'll be there in less than a minute. Yaaaaah!"

The pilot made a sharp turn. My glasses fell off my face. "What was that for?" I asked even as I searched for my glasses. When I put them on, I saw that the canopy was covered with some sort of shield, so I could not see through it. A monitor screen popped up, along me to see where we were going.

I could see buildings. And behind the buildings, I could see these globes standing on two legs. They clearly stood tall above the buildings; they look big enough for a UN fighter jet to fit inside.

"This is Knight Ten," said the pilot. "I'm surrounded by these, by these pods. I need cover so I can get my passenger to safety."

Then I felt us move. I saw explosions. I then saw the enemy pods trying to get us. They were firing these beams. I could see the arms of the armor aim the gun and fire it at the pods, punching holes in them and downing them. But then more pods arrive. From what I can see on the monitor screen, we were taking cover in the buildings of Macross City while trying to avoid being shot to pieces by these enemy pods.

"I'm pinned down by enemy fire," said the pilot. "I'm running out of ammo and I need help."

We kept running through through streets, taking shots at the enemy pods. A building we were using for cover collpased. I could see several pods, including one with what appeared to be a missile array.

We turned and we were surrounded by enemy pods.

"it was nice knowing you," I said to the pilot.

Then I saw explosions, but it wasn't us that was exploding. I saw more fighters with their legs extended. They transformed into suits of armor.

"We got you covered, Knight Ten," said a male voice.

"Thanks Knight Leader," replies the pilot.

"Is the civilian okay?"

"I'm okay," I said.

"Knight Ten, you will take the civilian to the shelter and we will provide cover fire."

"copy that."

The canopy shield opened and I could see through it. We flew towards the shelter.

Then this pod jumped right in front of us. It looked different though, for it had arms as well as legs. The arms did not have hands; they had mean looking cannons. And on the head was another cannon. It must belong to one of the enemy leaders, I figured. The pilot truend to avoid the enemy pod.

"Oh shit I lost my gunpod!" she screamed. I looked at the monitor and I can see the gun lying on the ground. I also saw the other enemy pods were keeping her team busy.

I felt the armor jump and from what I can tell, we jumped right on top of the enemy pod. I could hear the armor's fists pounding on the enemy pod. The pod's canopy opened, revealing yet another giant. She pulled the giant out of the pod and started pummeling it with the armor's fists. The giant struck back, and I could hear and feel the impact. The pilot then pointed the leg at the giant's head, and then burned the giant with the hot engine exhaust.

"Change of orders, Knight Ten," said Knight Leader. "We are to go dock with the Macross."

"I still have the civilian on board," said Knight Ten.

"He'll be safe on board the ship. It's taking off now. You go there first; the rest of us will cover you."

Once again, the cnopy shield was withdrawn as the armor turned back into a fighter jet. We flew upwards, and I can see the SDF-1 Macross rising in the air.

"Knight Ten to SDF-1 Control," said the pilot. "I am requesting permission to land and I have a civilian on board."

"You are cleared to land in Landing Bay Five Zero Four," said the control officer. The image of the control officer appeared on the screen, a woman with brown hair.

I saw the SDF-1 get closer and closer. Soon I can see the landing bay where the fighters are parked. We soon entered the landing bay at it was huge. I saw a huge door open ahead, and the pilot taxied the plane into the next room. The next room was huge, and there were several fighters in here already, accompanied by support vehicles and personnel. I saw the numerals "504" stenciled on the wall. I figured this was a hangar bay.

The cockpit canopy was opened. A man wearing a cap and overalls told me to climb down, so I did. Once I was safely on the floor of the hangar bay, the pilot came down. She removed her helmet.

I looked at her and she had long blond hair coming from her head. I gazed into her eyes which were as blue as the ocean surrounding Macross City. She extended her hand to me and I introduced myself as a reporter from the Associated Press.

"I am Second Lieutenant Jenna Murphy of the United Nations Space Marines' Knight Squadron," she said. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

We shook hands. "I want to thank you for the rescue."

"We'd better have a Spacy corpsman look at you."

Soon, another fighter entered the hangar bay. The pilot was a young woman with chestnut-brown hair extending to the shoulders, clad in a olive-green flight suit with a red trim.

"So this is the guy you rescued, eh?" said the pilot.

"That's right," I said. I introduced myself to her.

“Third Lieutenant Lani Hart,” she said. “Glad to be of service.”

“Thanks for covering for us, Lani,” said Jenna Murphy.

“No problem.”

More fighters docked in the bay. I saw Jenna stand at attention to one of the pilots, which I figured was the commander.

"Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett," said the pilot, a man with brown hair and a triangular nose, appearing to be in his early thirties. "I am the commander of Knight Squadron and I report to Colonel Victor Maistroff who is the commander of the Marine detachment to the SDF-1 Macross."

"I'm Major Dan Colmes," said a red-haired man, appearing to be a bit younger than the colonel. "Second in command of the squadron."

"When can I return to Macross City?" I asked.

"When we hear the civilians are being let out of the shelters," said Colonel Beckett. "How about we take you to our office?"

The colonel and Jenna Murphy led me through some corridors to the office. One thing I noticed was a lot of cardboard boxes lying about.

"We're still settling in here," said Beckett. "Don't mind the mess. Besides, once we chase the aliens away from Macross City, I'll have Lieutenant Murphy fly you back."

"The ride going home won't be as bumpy," said Jenna.

I heard a telephone ring and Beckett went inside one of the inner offices. He then wen tback to the main office.

"You'll have to fly a little farther when you take him back to Earth," said the colonel.

"What's going on, sir?" asked Jenna, who was confused by the statement.

"Attention all hands. Priority! Fold system standby! Readying energy at maximum-green at all power sources," said a female voice. "All hands to emergency stations. All hands, emergency stations. This is not a drill, I say again: This is not a drill. Prepare for fold operation in T minus five minutes and counting-mark."

"What's a fold operation?" I asked.

"A really fast way to travel," said Jenna Murphy. "Stay put here. I have to go to my emergency station."

She and Colonel Beckett ran off. I sat on chair, looking at all the cardboard boxes lying about.

"We will execute fold in ten seconds. Nine... eight... seven..Six... five... four..." the ship, though massive, was shaken like a child's toy by the sheer power of the fold generators. "Three... two... one..." Time seemed to stop forever. "Zero."

And then I saw all these bright colors, like an acid trip or something. Everything started to blur. I looked at my hands, and they looked like they were splitting. This would be a cool effect at a concert in Madison Square Garden.

And then it stopped. I decided to wait for Knight Squadron. There was nothing in this office to look at, no bulletins, no posters, no nothing.

And then I saw Lieutenant Jenna Murphy come into the office.

"The colonel thought I should be the one to tell you," she said. "I can't take you back to Earth now."

"Why?" I asked.

"I don't have enough fuel in my Veritech. You see, the ship is now in orbit around the sun near the planet Pluto."

I squinted. "Did I hear you right?" I asked. "Pluto?"

"Yes."

"Well, if we can get from Earth to Pluto in a few hours, then it should only take a few hours to get back. I doubt there's traffic."

"You don't understand. The fold system is sort of broken now. We can't fold back to Earth."

"How long will it take to get back?" I asked.

"At conventional speeds, about a year."

"A year in space?" I asked. "I never flew in outer space before. There was a guy in my office who was killed on Mars when one of the anti-UN factions blew up Sara Base. We’ve got to send a message to Earth to let everyone know we’re alive."

"You're the lucky one," she said. "You see, when we folded to Pluto, we also took Macross City with it. You are the only confirmed civilian survivor."

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-14 11:33am

Chapter 3

A Long Way From Home
Okay, here I was in a Marine fighter squadron office on a spaceship which apparently went to Pluto but for some reason can not go back the way it came and now it must take the long way home, a trip that might take a year.

“So where will I sleep?” I asked. “I mean, I can't sleep in the office.”

“I have an idea,” said Lieutenant Jenna Murphy. “Follow me.

The fighter pilot led me out of the office and through some corridors. I notice the doors all had numbers stenciled on them. Jenna Murphy opened one of the doors.

“You can stay in my quarters,” she said.

I looked around. There was a bed and a dresser and suitcases full of clothes. Jenna Murphy opened one of the suitcases.

“It’s almost as big as my apartment in Greenwich Village,” I said.

“Here's a T-shirt and shorts in case you want to take a nap,” she said. “Unless you prefer to take a nap in your suit.”

“Thanks, Lieutenant,” I said. “I really appreciate this.”

“Call me Jenna. I only expect military people to address me as lieutenant.”

“Thanks, Jenna.”

“I just want to make sure you're comfortable. We don't know if anyone else survived. Anyway, I have to go to the office now.”

And so the lieutenant left. I looked at the T-shirt, which had the word FLYGIRL stenciled on it. I removed my coat, necktie, shirt, and pants. I slipped the T-shirt and shorts on. I looked around. At least there was gravity here; I read about other people's space travel experiences. I wondered how space travel was like forty years ago, when simulated gravity systems had not been invented. I lay down on the lower bed. Soon I drifted off to sleep.

oooooooo

I woke up and immediately knew I was not in my apartment nor a hotel room in Macross City. I looked around and I was in the quarters of a fighter pilot, on a ship that is near Pluto. And I was hungry. I hoped this vessel was provisioned for a year's supply of food. the idea of returning to Earth as a corpse was not very appealing.

I wondered if there was a library on this ship. Television was out of the question since we were too far to receive television broadcasts from Earth.

I heard a phone ring. “Hello?” I asked.

“Hi, this is Jenna,” said a female voice. “How are you doing?”

“I'm hungry.”

“the ship's crew is providing all of us with rations.”

“I hope they don't mind a civilian eating in the officer's mess.”

“Oh no. You see, we found more survivors. They were in the bomb shelters.”

“But if the island was taken into space...”

“The shelters were designed to protect from NBC warfare. There was still enough air left inside to last for a day, long enough for us to get everyone out.”

“That's great,” I said. “I'm glad I wasn't the only survivor. How many survivors were there?”

“Seventy thousand.”

“I guess I'll see you later. Maybe I'll join them.”

I hung up the phone. This was great news. Maybe Ned was in the bomb shelter. He must have been worried about me.

And then it occurred to me.

The ship was only built for a total capacity of seven thousand, including its crew of three thousand. There wasn't enough living space for seventy thousand people. This was a hell of a lot worse than when I was the only confirmed survivor. At this rate, almost all of us would die of starvation before reaching Saturn’s orbit. Unless this ship can go back the way it came, the SDF-1 Macross might as well be a coffin.

I looked at my hands, and I looked at myself in the mirror. So this is how it will end. I will starve to death on this ship.

I heard the door knock and I opened it. I saw a man in a uniform.

“Corporal Dow,” said the man. “I'm here to take you to where the other refugees are located.”

“Sure,” I said. I put on a pair of flip-flops and Corporal Dow led me through the steel corridors of the ship. We went into an elevator and he presses a button. When the elevator doors opened, it opened into a huge cavernous space in the ship. I could see a sea of people inside. They were all dressed in various outfits. One day, they were living their lives, most of them anticipating the launch of the SDF-1 Macross. Now they are inside the ship, which was located farther than they have ever been from home. Hundreds of them were lined up.

“Please line up for food and water rations,” said a voice over the speaker. “There will be no disorderly conduct.”

I joined the line. I noticed marines armed with rifles to keep order, and I saw a huge suit of armor keeping watch; it did not look like the suits of armor that can transform into fighter jets. I waited for hours as my stomach growled. I finally reached the line, and a Spacy crewman gave me something.

“Ration bar,” he said. “Developed for long space voyages. It'll keep you alive.”

“Thanks,” I said. I ate the ration bar, which tasted sort of like a granola bar. it had this richer taste though, due to extra nutrients. And it would keep me alive. But then we will run out of ration bars, and then we will starve. The crew might as well decompress the whole ship; death by asphyxiation can't be as bad as death by starvation.

I looked around for Ned. There were so many people here, like a Yankees versus Mets game. I spent hours looking for him, calling out his name, but did not get a response. I looked and saw and heard other people calling out for friends and family.

“Oh, it’s you,” I heard a female voice say. “That reporter Jenna rescued.”

I looked and recognized Lieutenant Lani Hart from yesterday. Instead of a flight suit, she wore a khaki blouse and skirt, with rank insiginia on the collar and ribbons pinned to her chest. “Uh, hi, Lieutenant,” I said. “I guess you are on babysitting duty for all of us survivors here.”

“Only my family here,” she replied. I looked and saw a middle-aged couple with a teenage boy.

“George Hart,” said the man, clad in a polo shirt and khaki pants. “We were visiting our daughter to say goodbye to her before she left Earth.”

I introduced myself. “Nice to meet you, sir.”

“Looks like duty calls,” said Lieutenant Hart.

“Do you have time for questions?” I asked Mr. Hart. “I’d like to get stories from survivors.”

“Not much to say,” replied Mr. Hart. “We’re from Toronto in Ontario. We had an invitation to the launch because Lani was assigned to this ship. We attended the launch, there was a siren, we were evacuated to the bomb shelter, and then there was this light, and we started floating like the gravity disappeared. We were there for hours before the Marines came to rescue us.”

After a few hours, a truck pulled into the cavernous space. Space Marines handed out blankets. I lined up for hours to get a blanket. Just seconds after getting a blanket, I saw a little boy who did not have a blanket.

“Want my blanket?” I asked.

“Sure, mister,” said the boy.

I have him the blanket. I decided to sleep resting against the bulkhead. It wasn't exactly a comfortable sleep. But tired people manage to find sleep in even the most uncomfortable surfaces.

ooooooooo

The next morning , I woke up and I received the breakfast ration from the crew, wondering how many days of rations we will have left. I also wondered if the crew were planning to send some of us refugees to the vacuum of space to make the food last longer. After all, the fewer mouths to feed, the longer the food supply will last. Will they get rid of the elderly? The sick? The disabled? Will law and order break down and the Macross turn into a ship of cannibals?

There wasn't much else to do but look for Ned and talk to the other refugees. I got statements from some of them, like I did with the Hart family. I promised them that I would send a message to my office in New York so that the people of Earth would know what we went through.

My hopes for Ned grew dim. I had heard from the other refuges how they could not find their loved ones. I wanted to hold on to hope that Ned was somewhere on this ship alive.

Then after hours in this cavernous space, I heard an announcement from the PA. But it was not an announcement for ration distribution.

“Hello, this is Mayor Tommy Luan of Macross City,” said the voice. “I am pleased to inform you that the crew recovered food from the warehouse district. I would like to thank God, Captain Gloval, and the crew of this fine ship for making the effort. I have a proposal. The crew's engineers, the Macross City Public Works Department, and I have been discussing plans. We plan to build Macross City inside the SDF-1.”

That guy has to be kidding! I looked around and the crowd seemed to agree.

“All the building materials are already located on the island,” said the mayor. “We're going to salvage them and any vehicles, equipment, and supplies that we can. We still have each other and we have hope. We can make it back to Earth. We will make it back to Earth.”

oooooooo

The next day, all sorts of construction equipment and vehicles moved into the huge cavernous space. The armored suits, which I learned were called mecha, stood guard. Many of the refugees volunteered to work in constructing the new Macross City. Even I pitched in. I made sure to keep notes, as I would write this story and submit it to the Associated Press whatever way I can.

Mayor Tommy Luan was watching as his city was being rebuilt inside the SDF-1. He was a short pudgy balding man with some black hair left on his head.

“Excuse me, your Honor,” I said. I introduced myself. “I'm a reporter from the Associated Press.”

“From what office?” asked the mayor.

“The New York office.”

“So you're just a visitor.”

“I only intended to stay for two nights. I guess I'll be staying in Macross City for a year. I'm going to write news articles.”

“And you want an interview?”

“I'd like some things. A laptop computer and a printer. Someday, a hundred years from now, people are going to read what we wrote about this.”

“Well, feel free to ask me a few questions.”

“When did you come up with the idea of rebuilding the city?” I asked.

“It started when I heard the crew got back the food from the warehouses,” said Mayor Luan. “You see, we needed to make more living space to house everyone, and this place is large enough to fit a small city.”

“What do you plan to build, sir?”

“Apartment buildings, businesses, libraries, schools, a hospital, and a park. There's plenty of stuff to be salvaged from the island. The Public Works Department is working with SDF-1 Engineering to build the city.”

“So who's going to be in charge?”

“The elected officials of Macross City will make laws per our charter, and the police and fire departments will continue the duties they had before our relocation. Once the city is operational, the municipal government will be open for business. I think trying to recreate some of the life we had on Earth will make the transition easier. We have a long journey back home.”

“I'll look forward to that, sir.”

“Where did you get that T-shirt? Flygirl?”

“A fighter pilot loaned me these clothes,” I said. “She was the one who picked me up from Macross City and brought me here before we all went to Pluto. Your Honor, I hope you can loan me what I need.”

“I'll see what I can do,” said the mayor. “Captain Gloval told me that the city government will have sole discretion on what to do with the salvage from the island.”

And so the construction continued for the next few days. The apartment buildings were the first to be built. All of us here registered with Lieutenant Commander Ward, who was assigned as the officer in charge of the refugees. He would also become liaison to the city government once Macross City is rebuilt. We got the usual rations, just enough to keep us alive. At least obesity would not be an issue here.

Once the apartments were finished, the crew assigned us rooms. We had all registered with the crew. Because I was not here with a wife or kids, I was assigned a studio apartment. The apartment was bare, except for a bed and a telephone. I guessed the furniture retrieved from the island was still in storage.

I lay on my bed. The only stuff I had were the clothes I borrowed from Jenna Murphy. Does she even remember me? She still has my suit.

I heard the phone ring. At least the city has a telephone service. “Hello?” I asked.

“It's me, Jenna,” said a female voice. “you know, the pilot that saved your life.”

“What's up?” I asked.

“You left something in my quarters.”

“My suit?”

“Yes. It's still intact. I'd like to bring it to you. Could you tell me where your apartment is?”

oooooooooo

“This place is bigger than mine,” said Jenna, after she handed me my suit.

“Not much, just a bed and a phone,” I replied. “But it’s much bigger than my apartment in Greenwich Village.”

“Where?”

“A neighborhood in New York.”

“At least you have your own bathroom.”

The bathroom was built into one corner of the apartment.

“So how are you doing?” she asked.

“I just moved in here today,” I said. “How did you know my number?”

“I looked up your number on the database after the city's telephone system went online. I knew each refugee family will get one living unit.”

“Well, I think I'm going to continue my work. I'll have a lot of articles to write. I hope the city gives me a working computer. In the meantime, I'm going to get some clothes from the Spacy. They're going to be handing out spare clothes to us.”

“So tell me about yourself. You're from New York, right?”

“Right. I moved to Manhattan to work as a reporter at the Associated Press. I traveled around the country.”

“Any family?”

“Yes, my parents live in Queens. I have two brothers and two sisters.”

“So do I,” said Jenna.

“What part of Earth are they from?” I asked.

“They're not from Earth. they live on Apollo colony on the moon. My dad's an aerospace engineer and Boeing has a lunar construction facility for spaceships.”

I remembered Apollo colony. The foundations were laid around the time I was born. I read it had something to do with the fact that a huge underground ocean was discovered during one of the lunar exploration missions. A colony was constructed over the next twenty years or so.

“I'd better go get new clothes,” I said. “The lines are long and they might run out of clothes my size.”

“I have to go to my duty shift in ten minutes,” said Jenna. “See you later.”

oooooooooooo

The ceremony dedicating city hall was today. It was very important, as this marks the reopening of the Macross City government. I was there, dressed in my suit. Many other people there, including United Earth Forces personnel in full dress uniform.

“I am proud to introduce Mayor Tommy Luan,” said Commander Ward, clad in Spacy dress whites, which was basically a long sleeve tunic with brass buttons down the center, as well as white pants and black dress shoes, with a white garrison cap on his head.

“Thank you, Commander,” said the mayor, dressed in a suit. “For the past two weeks we have been building new homes and new shops here in this ship. We now have electricity, running water, and telephones. We will soon have libraries and schools and parks and community centers. Today marks the opening of the city hall. From now on, we will be responsible for the city. We will build a life for us, right here on this ship.”

Everyone clapped.

“Now let us give a moment of silence for those who could not be here, and for those who gave their lives so that we could be here.”

I bowed my head. I still had not found Ned.

“And now, I hereby dedicate the Macross City hall.” Mayor Luan cuts a ribbon. Behind the ribbon is a four-story building. Above the entrance were the carved words MACROSS CITY HALL. I took a closer look at a bronze plaque. It mentions that the building was constructed from the remains of the old city hall.

“Excuse me, sir,” I asked. “I'm with the Associated Press. Are the police and fire departments in business?”

“Yes,” said the mayor. “As of now, the Macross City Police Department is in charge of law enforcement, while the Fire Department deals with fires.”

“And what extent does the military have authority here?”

“They have full authority. Captain Gloval has delegated city matters to us.”

After that, the mayor and his people entered city hall.

“Oh, it’s you,” I heard a familiar voice say.

I looked and saw Jenna again. Instead of the olive green black flight suit with the black trim, she wore the Space Marine dress blues- a dark blue coat buttoned with brass buttons, a white skirt with a red stripe down the side, medals pinned to the chest, and a white cap on her head. I noticed Lieutenant Hart with her, as well as another third lieutenant with red hair under her cap.

“The colonel told us to attend the ceremony,” said Jenna. “Apparently it was a shipwide order from Captain Gloval himself.”

“So this is the guy you rescued,” said the lady with the red hair. “Though you would have both been blown to bits if we weren’t watching your six.”

I introduced myself.

“Lieutenant Kathleen Taney,” said the red-haired lady. “You can call me Katie.”

“Well, I don;’t know if I should be on a first name basis with you,” said Lieutenant Hart.

“I understand. We only met twice before, after all.”

“Just kidding. You can call me Lani.”

“I was just thinking about the memorial, about how many of the civilians did not make it to the shelters. What About your family, Katie?”

“Oh, they are back on Earth, far away from Macross City when it was zapped to the orbit of Pluto.”

“I see.” I kept thinking about Ned.

“Is there something wrong?” Jenna asked me.

“Come on, Jenna,” said Lani. “We’d better not be late or the colonel will put us on standby for double shifts!”

The three ladies left. I decided to walk back to my apartment. There was still much construction going on. The threat of starvation did not seem looming.

Then I heard a crash. I looked and saw there was a hole in the street. I ran to the site.

I looked down and there were two people down there. Soon the construction crew was lifting them up. Some of them were taking pictures. I saw the two people, a boy and a girl. They were put into an ambulance and they were taken to a hospital.

ooooooooooo

I sat in front of a computer in the city hall. The mayor allowed me to use the computer to write the articles. One was the article about the dedication of Macross City. The other article was the recovery of the two people who were believed to be killed. The hospital, which was still under construction, revealed their names as Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei.

I finished the article and saved it to a floppy disk. I was lucky I had access to a working personal computer. I then printed out thirty copies of the article. I signed each article with my name and the name of my employer.

“Excuse me,” I asked a clerk, a young lady in her late teens wearing a white blouse. “Can I look up any residents. I traveled here with a friend and I can’t find him?”

“I’ll bring up the web site.” She clicked the mouse and typed on the keyboard and up popped a screen.

“You can look him up if he registered for rations.”

I typed Ned’s name.

Nothing was found.

I could only conclude he did not make it.

I am going to continue reporting. It is the only way to honor his legacy.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-15 12:54pm

Chapter 4

First Date in Space



The next day, I was passing out the Associated Press newsletter that I had published. There were only two articles- the dedication of the Macross City Hall, and the rescue of Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei. It only took me a few minutes for me to pass out all the copies I had. I wondered if I should go back to City Hall and ask Mayor Luan if I could use the office to print more newsletters. But then I decided to follow-up on the rescue. I could still see the hole in the street being cordoned off, and the Public Works Department was still trying to fix the hole.

The city had published a telephone directory. I looked for any reference to Lynn Minmei or Rick Hunter, but they were unlisted. There was a listing for the Lynn family. I dialed the number.

“Hello?” asked a male voice.

I introduced myself. “I'm a reporter for the Associated Press,” I said. “I'm looking for a Lynn Minmei.”

“I'm her uncle,” said the man on the line. “What do you want?”

“I want to ask her a few questions about what she's been through.”

“I'll let you talk to her.”

oooooooo

Minutes later, I was at this building with this strange-looking door. It looked familiar, and then I remembered that I ate here the eve of the launch. Apparently the restaurant survived intact. I guess they would not be open for business though; it is awfully difficult to make Chinese cuisine with the ration bars the SDF-1 Macross crew was providing to us.

I went inside the restaurant and saw the empty tables and the scrolls with Chinese writing on it. This middle aged man came to greet me.

“Lynn Max,” he said, extending his hand. I shook it. “Minmei's uncle. She's in her room. I'll take you upstairs.”

Max led me up a stairway and into a hallway. It looked like the hallway of a typical two-story house. I noticed the seams which indicated the building was torn apart and then reassembled inside the belly of SDF-1.

“Minmei,” said Max, knocking on the door. “There's someone here to see you.”

Minmei- a girl with black hair- came out. “What do you want?” she asked.

I introduced myself. “I'm a reporter with the Associated Press,” I said. “I'd like to ask you a few questions about your recent recovery.”

“Like what?”

“How did you get trapped under the ship?”

“It's a long story.” Max and I followed Minmei into the bedroom. “Well, it all started when I saw this huge orange robot outside my window. Then the pilot came out and that was when I first met Rick.”

“You mean the boy you were with?”

“Yeah. Anyway, he didn't know how to use it. He even damaged my room when he fell over. You can see the damage.”

I looked at the ceiling and I noticed a seam. “Go on,” I said, taking notes.

“Then this plane flew in and it turned into a robot. It was painted white and it had this skull painted on it. Anyway, the guy in that robot taught Rick how to fly those things. Then these other robots came. One of them almost stepped on me. Then Rick came in his airplane, and he took me for a ride. I even fell out once. The plane was damaged, so that other plane picked us up and flew us into this ship.”

“How did you get stuck below the main deck?”

“Rick flew me in his own plane back to the island. Then there was this light and then we were in outer space. Rick flew us into a hole in the ship. We kept looking around, but no one was there. We spent two weeks down there, and if it weren’t for that accident, we would have starved to death.”

I could understand how this young lady felt. After all, just a few days ago I was wondering how everyone on board the ship will be fed.

“Who's that?' asked a male voice that did not belong to Minmei's uncle. I looked and saw a boy with black hair.

I introduced myself and we shook hands.

“I'm Rick Hunter,” said the boy. “I guess you're here to talk about me being trapped below the deck with her.”

“Yes,” I said.

“I flew in to the island to pay a visit to my friend Roy Fokker. He's a commander in the Army.”

“The Spacy,” I corrected him.

“Whatever. Anyway, I paid him a visit, one thing led to another and I found myself in this ship.”

“You said you flew in. You were not from Macross City.”

“That's right.”

“Neither am I. I'm from New York; I flew in to cover the launch. There's a lot of us here who weren't living in Macross City when it was taken to outer space. your friend Minmei told me you flew one of those fighters.”

“I did. They're called veritechs. How was it like in the shelter?”

“I never went into the shelter. Like Minmei here, a pilot in one of those veritechs picked me up and brought me to the ship. Of course, she was military, and we didn't end up trapped below decks.”

“I see.”

“Anything else you want to say?”

“Not really. I'm just here to catch the ride back to Earth.”

“Rick's not the talkative sort,” said Minmei.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Hunter.”

“Uh, okay,” replied Rick Hunter. I walked a few steps to the stairs leading outside. “you know, maybe you should write your own experiences into a story.”

“Why not?” I asked. I then left the restaurant.

oooooooooooo

The next day, I was passing out a newsletter. The cover article was my own personal experience as to how I got on board the Macross. After I finished writing my article, I was inundated by requests from people around the street. Some of them even offered their rations for my newsletter. I went to City Hall and printed out more and more copies.

I went to the Chinese restaurant. It was the same Chinese restaurant where that girl Lynn Minmei lived. I decided to have a meal. After all, while the ration bars kept me alive, I was craving something else.

“Welcome to the first Chinese restaurant in space,” said Lynn Minmei as I approached the door.

I went inside and it was busy, unlike yesterday. The room was packed with people, both civilians and military. It looked like I would have to wait a while for a seat.

“Hey there,” said Jenna Murphy, beckoning me to her.

“How are you doing, Jenna?” I asked.

“I decided to have lunch here instead of at the officer's mess. Sit with us.”

So I sat with her and the other pilots around a circular table. They had already ordered Chinese food. I decided to have some chow fun. She introduced me to her wingmates. I recognized Katie and Lani among them.

“You’ve met Katie and Lani already,” she said. “These are Lieutenants Nomura, Reese, and Landry,” she said. They were all men, appearing to be in their twenties, all wearing the olive-green Class “A” Space Marine service uniform.

“I take it you're all Marines,” I said.

“Our squadron was assigned to be the Marine air detachment to the Macross,” said Lieutenant Landry. “This was supposed to be a six-month tour of duty.”

“I guess they misunderestimated the tour by half,” said Lieutenant Nomura. “Where are you from?”

“New York,” I said.

“I'm from Hiroshima,” said Lieutenant Nomura. “ These veritechs are amazing.”

“So Jenna,” I said, “What is it like?”

“Well, we get shifts from Colonel Beckett,” she said. “We do stuff from directing maintenance to drilling in simulators to drilling in live exercises. Sometimes we go out in patrol of the space around the vessel.”

“How many in your squadron?” I asked.

“There's thirty of us,” said Lieutenant Taney.

“So how long have you been a reporter?” asked Jenna.

“A little over a year,” I said. “I was sent as an assistant to Ned Brubaker, who was the lead reporter for this assignment He…didn’t make it.”

“I’m sorry,” said Jenna.

“We’ve had our losses,” said Nomura.

“When we get to communications range with Earth, you can talk to your family back home,” said Lieutenant Landry.

“You know,” said Lieutenant Reese. “We attached an aircraft carrier to the ship.”

“An aircraft carrier?' I asked.

“Yeah, the Prometheus and Daedalus was taken to space along with the island. Too bad everyone on board died when they lost atmosphere. We now launch our fighters from its flight deck.”

After a few minutes of eating, all of the Marine pilots got up.

“We have to go back to our post,” said Jenna. “It was nice talking to you.”

“I'll see you again,” I said.

I left the restaurant and walked back to my apartment. I then heard an announcement over the public address system.

“There will be an important announcement for the citizens of Macross City,” said the voice. “Lieutenant Commander Ward will brief you in the city plaza.”

So that was where I went.

ooooooooo

The city plaza was a concrete plaza right across the street from City Hall. There was a raised platform in the middle for speakers.

Lieutenant Commander Ward walked onto the stage, accompanied by Mayor Tommy Luan and some city officials and military people.

“Lieutenant Commander Ward has a very important message for us from Captain Gloval,” said the mayor.

“Thank you, your Honor,” said Commander Ward. “Citizens of Macross City; Captain Gloval has developed a new tactic. Because of the space fold that took us to Pluto, the main gun will not fire in the ship's current configuration. Because of this, we developed a way for the ship to transform.”

I took notes. “And this affects us how?” I said.

“The transformation will cause changes in the interior structure of the ship. We can not predict exactly how this will affect Macross City. There may be some damage. The SDF-1 Engineering Department worked with the Public Works Department to find sheltered areas where you can go in case we have to resort to modular transformation. We will distribute a brochure containing emergency routine details. We request your cooperation. We are in a warship, and the enemy that attacked us may try for round two.”

“Who is the enemy?”

“We don't know yet.”

“How long until we get back to Earth?”

“About twelve months.”

A Spacy crewman handed out hundreds of copies of bulletins, and I picked one up. I wondered what was going on on Earth. Did the Global Civil War resume? And where were those giants from? Were they aliens or did some anti-UN faction create them? I would not get answers from anyone in the military, not even Jenna.

I looked at the bulletin. I saw that the nearest shelter to my apartment was the building it was in. I hoped that the Spacy was right about this.

I went home. By now my New York apartment would be rented out. I hope my family got all of my stuff and put it in storage. I sat in my apartment, which now had some old furniture recovered from the island. I wondered if years from now, someone will make an expedition to the island which is floating in space near Pluto.

Then the air raid siren blared. This must be a drill, I thought.

“I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” yelled a female voice.

So the enemy has spaceships. As far as I knew, none of the anti-UN factions had spaceships.

These were aliens.

After a few minutes, I heard another announcement.

“WE ARE BEGINNING A MODULAR TRANSFORMATION. ALL CIVILIANS TO DESIGNATED SHELTERS!”

My apartment building was a designated shelter. I just hope it would be an effective shelter for whatever happened. I looked out the window and I saw police cars driving down the streets. Police officers were giving orders to the citizens, giuiding them to the designated shelters.

And then I saw the bulkheads move about. The ship is transforming. Parts of the city shifted up and down, and some of the building were demolished.

And then it was over. “MODULAR TRANSFORMATION COMPLETE!” the voice said. I saw mabulances and fire trucks driving along the streets of the shattered city. I guess we have to ambulances again.

oooooooooo

I went to a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Much of the city was damaged due to the modular transformation. The mayor and his people were there on the steps, along with some military officers.

“Thanks to the crew of the Macross, we are safe,” said Mayor Luan. “But our city was damaged in the process. The Public Works Department is working with SDF-1 Engineering to rebuild the city. And it will be rebuilt so it can survive the modular transformation with minimal damage.”

oooooooo

I decided to volunteer for the clean up of Macross City. I got to meet some new people; I took notes of their various stories of how they came to be on board SDF-1. After a few hours of cleaning the rubble off the streets, the city looked cleaner already.

I went back to my apartment and I saw Jenna standing in front of the door.

“I just came to visit,” she said. “I'm glad you're all right.”

“I'm glad you're all right too,” I said. “Did you have to fly out there?”

“Yes. It was a cruiser and some enemy fighters, but Knight Squadron was able to keep them at bay until Captain Gloval fired the big gun and blasted the enemy cruiser.”

“So what does the ship look like from the outside?”

“It looks like a battloid,” said Jenna. “At least your apartment's in one piece.”

“It was the designated shelter for the transformation,” I said.

“At least you'll have something to write about.”

“What did the enemy cruiser look like?”

“It was green and shaped like a cigar. Listen, if the enemy attacks again, try watching from the observation deck. You'll have a better view.”

“I'll keep that in mind. Do you have to go back to duty?”

“Not now,” she said. “After I debriefed, we were relieved until tomorrow.”

I opened the door and then dialed the number for the Chinese restaurant.

“Hello?” asked a female voice.

“Is your restaurant still open?”

“Why yes, it is.”

I hung up the phone and then looked at Jenna. “How would you like dinner tonight at the restaurant. Just you and me.”

“We just had a battle and now you want a date?”

“Why not? For someone like you, I think it'll be worth it. It's not like I have a girlfriend waiting for me in New York.” I then wondered if Jenna has a boyfriend. He could be someone right here in Macross City.

“Okay then,” said Jenna. “It's a date.”

I took Jenna's hand and we left for the Chinese restaurant. “It just occurred to me,” said Jenna. “This is the first time I went out on a date in outer space.”

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-16 11:23am

Chapter 5

The Knight Life


I published my story on the modular transformation, and it was a hit. Almost everyone in Macross City wanted a copy of my article. Some offered me rations, clothing, food, and even sexual favors.

The city was reconstructed in a matter of weeks. some places where buildings once stood were now empty. Streets were rerouted. The mayor and the Spacy liaison officer both expressed confidence that future transformations won't cause as much damage.

The military began recruiting efforts among the citizens of Macross City. It was a crash course, as the new recruits had to become crewmen, marines, or pilots quickly due to the threat of alien attack.

In the meantime, Jenna Murphy and I started seeing each other. Fortunately, the enemy had not attacked since the transformation, so we started talking. One by one, we learned more about each other. By now, Macross City had a library, a school, coffee shops. There was even a casino. I of course wrote articles about this.

One thing that disturbed me was the fact that the Lynns’ Chinese restaurant seemed to have a fresh supply of food. I was wondering where it came from. And I learned the answer.

“We grow food in these hydroponic bays,” says Dr. Ewing, a botanist who taught at Macross City College. “We recovered seeds from some of the warehouses on the island. Using bioengerring, we increased the growth rate.”

And I saw the hydroponic complex, with the huge tanks filled with water, and the various crops growing inside them. “You can grow meat, right?” I asked.

“Not yet,” said Dr. Ewing. “We are working on that. But at least we won't starve to death on the way to Earth.”

“I'm glad for that.” It seemed so long ago that I was worried about starvation.

The next day, I published my report on where we get our food.

ooooooooo

I covered the graduation ceremonies of the new recruits, which was held on April 8th. Captain Gloval himself addressed the newest members of the U.N. Spacy.

“Welcome,” he said. “I am Captain Henry J. Gloval, the captain of this ship. . You have all taken on a huge responsibility. Whether fixing things, operating the weapon batteries, keeping order, reviewing communications, or even flying our veritech fighters, you will be doing an important job to protect your neighbors on this ship. I have complete confidence in you. You will make valauible contributions to this ship and the United Nations Spacy.”

The recruits tossed their hats up.

oooooooooo

Later on that same evening, I went to the Lucky Shamrock Brewery and Grill to meet Jenna and her squadmates for dinner. The place had recently opened, and it was situated next to the Bright Star Casino. I went in through the street entrance. This kid, looking young enough to be a student at Macross High School, and wearing a long-sleeve white shirt with a green necktie, greeted me at the host stand.

“Welcome to Lucky Shamrock,” said the boy.

“Listen, kid, I’d like…”

“He’s with us!” I heard Lani call out. I saw her, Jenna, Katie, and some men sitting at a round wooden table, which already had glasses partially filled with beer in them.

I looked around. There were other round, varnished wooden table as like the one Jenna and company were sitting at. There were booths consisting of rectangular wooden tables and leather seats. A long bar was in the back, with two bartenders clad like the host serving various drinks to customers at the bar, who occupied at the bar stools except one.

I joined them. I noticed they were all wearing casual clothes. Jenna was clad in a red dress and was wearing a tiara.

“Today’s my birthday!” exclaimed Jenna.

“Happy birthday,” I said, kissing her.

“How does it feel to be twenty-two?” asked Katie, who was clad in a black dress.

“I feel I can take on the enemy!”

“You know what we need to do?” asked Lani.

“What?” asked Lieutenant Landry.

“Shots! Shots are the answer to everything. And you’d better make sure your new lady friend does her share of shots, Nomura.”

“I’ll make sure of that,” said Lieutenant Nomura.

I looked at his friend, who was wearing a blouse and skirt. “Are you one of the pilots?” I asked.

“Actually, I’m a teacher at the high school,” she replied. “Akira invited me to celebrate his friend’s birthday.”

And so we did shots, in celebration of Jenna’s birthday. We also ordered from the grill. I myself had some shepherd’s pie, which was basically ground beef and vegetables, soaked in a borth and covered with mashed potatoes.

I heard some cheers from some uniformed people sitting at another table.

“What was that about?” I asked.

“They just went through training and now they want to celebrate,” said Katie. “You know, we're now having enlisted fly the veritechs.”

“I hope there isn't another enemy attack,” said Jenna. “I've enjoyed the past few weeks.”

“Maybe the enemy leaders called off the attack,” said Lani. “We have ships orbiting Earth; maybe they whooped E.T.'s ass.”

“Let's play some games at the casino,” said Jenna, pulling my arm and leading me to the casino next door.

“We got to pay first, you know,” said Katie.

And we did. After that, we played some roulette and craps and blackjack at the Bright Star Casino. Then, around 10 P.M., we went to the nightclub called Space. Unlike the Lucky shamrock or the Bright Star, the place was dimly lit. We were ushered to the table. Bottles of liquor were already available. I could hear a disc jockey playing dance music.

“Good thing we were able to use the VIP line,” said Lieutenant Reese.

“Anything for the birthday girl,” said Lieutenant Nomura.

“This is pleasant,” replied his date, who was clearly much more conservatively dressed than most of the other ladies already in the club.

I gently grabbed Jenna’s arm.

“Shall we?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

And so we danced to this upbeat, hip-hop song, holding her right hand with my left hand and my right arm around her waist

“You must have reasearched dancing,” said Jenna just as the song was over.

“Can we have our turn now with the birthday girl?” asked Lani, who was one the dance floor with Katie.

So we all danced and drank away the rest of the night.

ooooooooooo

And so I wrote more articles. My articles had my name and identified me as a reporter from the Associated Press. I covered events such as festivals and city announcements and other stuff. I wrote about babies being born- human babies being born in space. I would send my articles to whoever published them, such as the Macross Gazette and the Macross Weekly.

One morning I received a call in my office in the morning. It was Jenna.

“Hi there,” she said.

“You must be on duty,” I said. “I hope you don't get into trouble with your commander.”

“He ordered me to call you. Meet me outside the squadron office.”

So that was what I did.

oooooooooo

Minutes later, I was in this room with all sorts of equipment. Jenna was there with Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett and Major Dan Colmes, and some technicians clad in MARPAT camouflage. .

“We want you to fly the veritech simulators and write a report on it,” said Colonel Beckett.

“It's an honor, sir,” I said. I was excited. Jenna flew these things every day, now I would get my chance.

“Major Colmes will be here with you,” said Beckett. “Lieutenant Murphy, you will go back to your post.”

“Yes, sir,” she said to him. “Good luck,” she said to me.

“Okay,” said Major Colmes. “you step into one of these things.” The things were cockpit-shaped capsules with cables running into them.

One of the capsules opened and I sat in the seat. There were lots of controls, not only for fighter but for the other two modes.

“Those levers change your mode,” said Colmes. “F is for fighter, G is for guardian, and B is for battloid. Fighter is the fastest mode, guardian i sued to hover and provide air support, and battloid is for the ground. I will give you an open space training mission first.”

And the canopy was closed over me. I placed the helmet on. Images appeared.

“The images of the enemy match the enemy we are fighting,” said the major. “you are fully armed, fully fueled, and cleared for takeoff. The lever to your left is the throttle.”

So I pushed the throttle forward, and I looked at the instruments. I did not appear to be flying.

“Am I moving?” I asked.

“Check your instruments,” said Colmes. “you can see your speed. you're in space and there are no local landmarks. It's all by instruments.”

I saw the instruments, reading the speed and the attitude and all that shit. I saw three signals on the radar.

“Enemy fighters,” said Colmes. “Take them.”

And so I did. I turned the stick and pressed the pedals.

“One of them has got a lock on you! Evasive maneruvers!”

I turned the stick and pressed the pedals and even pushed the throttle. But then the mesage MISSION FAILURE appeared.

“The enemy blew your veritech up with a missile,” said Colmes.

“i'm not exactly an ace pilot.”

“let's try a different mission.”

And so I did I tried various missions in space, the air, and the ground. Each time, I failed.

Finally it was over. Colonel Beckett came to greet me.

“Did you enjoy it?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “I'll write an article. It will reflect well on your service.”

“Thank you for your time.”

I left the training room and headed for the city. I saw Jenna on the way out.

“How'd you like it?” she asked.

“You do the flying,” I said.

oooooooo

That night, I was closing up my small office.

“Hello,” I said.

“It's me, Jenna,” said my girlfriend. “Tomorrow we go on a mission.”

“A mission?” I asked.

“It's an offensive against the enemy. They're still out there. We're gonna strike first. I'd like to see you before I go.”

And so that was what she did.

oooooooooo

We didn't go out to the Bright Star Casino or the Lucky Shamrock, even though the rest of her squadron went there. Instead, we went to the Chinese restaurant for some takeout.

“Two Chow Fun to go please” I said.

“Sure,” said Lynn Lena. We waited for the food and then Mrs. Lynn gave us the takeput boxes. “Enjoy your meal.”

We left the building as someone else entered. I turned and looked at the man who entered. He looked familiar

“I know that guy,” I said.

“Never mind him,” said Jenna. “I'm hungry.”

We both walked back to my studio apartment.

“It's been two months since we started seeing each other,” said Jenna. “I wish I could talk to my parents so I can tell them what a wonderful man you are.”

“Me too,” I said, washing the chow fun down with some wine.

“You know, there's going to be a beauty contest. It's called Miss Macross. I'm gonna sign up after I return from my mission.”

“You're beautiful,” I said, looking at her soft skin and her silky blond hair and the crystal blue eyes. “You're sure to win Miss Macross. You're beautiful and you're a fighter pilot.”

We finished our food.

“How about we play some videos?” asked Jenna. “I have a DVD.”

“What is it?”

“A video of me, Katie, and Lani on vacation in Australia a month before this ship launched.”

“Sure.”

Jenna put a DVD into the Sony DVD player I had in my room. I could see an image of her and Katie, and Lani, all clad in bikinis, sitting around a table that appeared to be wrapped in straw. There were other men and women nearby, all dressed in swimwear. I could see an ocean in the distance.

“I love this part,” said Jenna.

“Jenna, Katie, come here!” yelled Lani. They gathered on a dance floor and started dancing, similar to how they were dancing at the Space nightclub on Jenna’s birthday.

“Looks like the dance floor just got a lot hotter!” yelled a male voice in the video.

“You ladies sure get along.”

“We were inseparable ever since we were training,” said Jenna, sipping some red wine. “Lani doesn’t have any sisters, you know. Katie and I are the closest thing.”

We watched the rest of the video. Jenna smiled at the memories, memories of what was a carefree time for her and the other two ladies.

Feelings within me started to intensify. I gazed into Jenna's blue eyes. The feelings soon became more powerful than the ship's main gun. I took her and kissed her. I touched her bare soft skin. We kept going and going and there was no stopping us. Not even a million enemy spaceships could get in our way.

ooooooooo

“OH SHIT!” yelled Jenna, waking me up. “I'M GONNA BE LATE!” She ran for the door.

“You should put your clothes on first,” I said.

“Oh.” She picked up her clothes and put them on.

“Amazing how you can dress that fast,” I said.

“They teach us that in the Marines,” she said. “Remember, you have the best view of the battle in the observation deck.”

“Okay,” I said. Then I walked to the observation deck. I had been here before, gazing into space, looking at the Prometheus aircraft carrier attached to the shift. I once wrote an article on the ship's crew that died after the fold operation, even meeting with some of their family members. I looked out and saw the planet Saturn, with its famous ring composed of chunks of ice. I never been to Saturn before.

“ALL HANDS TO BATTLE STATIONS!” announced a female voice. “SKULL, KNIGHT, AND MAKO SQUADRONS REPORT TO PROMETHEUS.”

I had a Sony digital video camera with me. I watched as the veritech fighters took off from the aircraft carrier. I saw the olive-green Knight squadron VF-1 Valkyries take off and fly into Saturn's rings. I wonder which one Jenna was flying. I wanted to tape this battle to write an article on it.

I prayed to God that Jenna will make it back safely.

I soon saw the fireballs as our fighters engaged the enemy fighters. I could see the destruction of the craft on both sides.

I then saw the enemy cruiser. It was green and shaped like a cigar, just as Jenna said. I looked through the camera's viewer. I can see the fighters. I noticed one fighter- a white fighter with the Jolly Roger insignia on the tailfin- shred the enemy fighters to bits.

I then saw an olive green veritech fighter blow up. I dropped the camera.

“Jenna,” I whispered. I hoped to God that wasn't her.

The enemy cruiser approached closer to the Macross. It was firing on us. I saw these green shie;ds moving about, blocking the laser fire.

I then felt shaking. The enemy scored a hit on the ship.

The enemy ship approached, apparently seeking to fire point blank. Then I saw something else appropach the enemy ship.

It was Daedalus, the amphibious landing ship that was brought to outer space and attached to this ship. It rammed into the enemy cruiser. Bulges appeared and I figured what was going on. The Marine destroid battalion must be blowing the ship uo from the inside. I noticed a white veritech fighter coming out of the ship. Daedalus was withdrawn, and the enemy ship blew up.

“All right!” yelled a teenage boy who had been watching the battle. “SDF-1 Macross kicks alien ass!”

I shared his sentiment. But then I remembered the Knight Squadron fighter that blew, I hoped Jenna was alive.

ooooooooooo

Jenna came to my apartment after she got off duty. I had already finished the article on the Battle of Saturn, and I came home. Her wingmate Lieutenant Hart told me that Jenna came back alive and well.

When I opened the door, I gave her a kiss. “I'm glad you came back, I said. “I then noticed her eyes were tearing.”

“We lost Major Colmes,” she said.

I remembered Major Colmes; he watched over me when I trained in the veritech simulator just yesterday. “I'm sorry.”

ooooooooo

The Macross Gazette blared the headline “SDF-1 MACROSS STRIKES BACK! ENEMY CRUISER DESTROYED IN SATURN'S RINGS” I wrote the front story, and the newspaper paid the Associated Press top dollar for it. The newspaper had published some of my articles before, but never paid this much, nor did it put my articles on the front page. I mentioned how the Daedalus was used to destroy the enemy ship, and several Marine and Spacy pilots confirmed it. The top brass did not return my calls; they preferred to keep quiet on the manuever.

That morning, I went to the Knight Squadron Office to speak with Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett. I was not talking to him about the Daedalus Manuever, but about Major Dan Colmes.

“He was a fine XO,” said the colonel. “He kept the pilots and the air crew in top shape. I visited his widow and four children to tell them the bad news.”

“They lived in Macross City?” I asked.

“No, they flew in to say goodbye to daddy. The enemy attacked, and they found themselves on this ship. Listen, you shouldn't ask anyone else in my squadron about Major Colmes. We are tight-lipped about personnel matters.”

“Sure,” I said.

“I have work to do,” said Beckett.

I left the office. Along the way I encountered Lieutenant Nomura.

“Can I talk to Lieutenant Murphy?” I asked.

“She's training in the sims now,” replied the lieutenant. “She gets off at 1700.”

That evening, Jenna and I went to the Lucky Shamrock. The ship transformed back into its regular mode at around noon, and the city remained intact after the transformation. We played slot machines and blackjack, and we ordered drinks from a bartender, whose name I learned was Greg. We enjoyed each other and we spoke to Katie and Lani. We all made sure to make a toast to Major Colmes. But then, the war got in the way.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-17 02:34pm

Chapter 6

Mars Mayhem


The enemy soon started attacking the SDF-1 Macross constantly. I would often stand watch at the observation deck while Jenna went out to fight the enemy. Of course, this meant that Jenna did not have much time to spend with me.

Five months. It had been five months since the launch.

There was one important event to uncover- a rather historic event, actually.

It was the graduation of the senior class of Macross High School. And its historical significance was obvious, in that it was the first high school graduation held on board a spaceship outside of a planet’s gravity well. Due to the interruption in the school year, the end of the school year, and the graduation of the senior class, was postponed until July. Mayor Tommy Luan was in attendance. I could see over one hundred boys and girls in the graduating class, all clad in caps and gowns, inside the high school auditorium. One by one, they lined up to receive their high school diplomas.

The principal, a dark-haired lady clad in a suit, spoke at the commencement. “To say that this was a trying year is an understatement,” she said. “But even though we were cast off into outer space and the threat of alien attack, we did not stop being teachers. You did not stop being students. A moment of silence for those who could not be here, and for those who gave their lives so the rest of us could be here.”

I briefly thought about Ned. He would have loved to see this.

“But we must live for the future. Circumstances beyond our control have cast us away from Earth. But we can decide who we are, who we went to be.”

The students threw their caps into their air, cheering.


oooooooo

Jenna then got some leave. I could see she was worn out from the constant battle with the enemy.

“Don't ask me about the battles,” she said. “the last thing I want to talk about is that veritech.”

“I'm doing fine,” I said. “I'm busy. I'm writing about more than the war. I cover sports and social events as well. You might have read that article about the high school graduation.”

“Lani’s brother is a student there now,” said Jenna. “He doesn’t graduate for another year, though.”

“And there's this Miss Macross thing coming up in two months. I heard this famous actress who was visiting the island is running for the competition. Her name is Jan something; I look up my notes when I go to work tomorrow.”

“I might not live to compete.”

“Don't say that.” I looked into her battle-worn eyes. “We should enjoy the moment we have.”

“You're right.” She kissed me full on the lips. I looked around the street at the passers-by. They all look familar, since there were no tourists coming in since the launch.

Then I saw him.

I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine. I searched my memory for where I saw him before.

“Oh shit,” I said.

“What?' asked Jenna.

“I saw someone,” I said. “When I attended the laucnh ceremony, I saw a scuffle. The Spacy police dragged him away. I saw a dynamite belt on him. He's a terrorist!”

I looked at the crowd, looking for the man who tried to bomb the festivities. I searched for a few minutes, but could not find him.

“Jenna, there's a terrorist on board this shop,” I said. “We have to tell the authorities.”

“Do you think he's gonna try to blow up the ship?” she asked. “I mean, we're in deep space and being attacked by aliens.”

“I'm from New York. I know how these terrorists think. I lost an uncle to people like that eight years ago. I'm gonna file a police report.”

And so I did.

oooooooooo

I went to the Macross City Police Headquarters, located in the City Hall's first floor.

“I have to tell you something,” I said to the desk sergeant.

“What?” he asked.

“There's a terrorist on board. I'm a reporter from the Associated Press. When I was watching the launch ceremony, I saw the police drag away a guy wearing dynamite on his waist. He's tall and thin and has short black hair.”

“Could you explain?” asked. the desk sergeant.

“ On the day the ship was launched, I was watching the festivities when I saw a scuffle. I looked and saw the Spacy police drag this man away. He had dynamite strapped on his chest. Just a few minutes ago, I was walking with my girlfriend when I saw him.”

“Who is your girlfriend?” asked the sergeant.

“Lieutenant Jenna Murphy. She is in the veritech Knight squadron, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett.”

“Do you know the name of this alleged terrorist?”

“No, I don't. I remember what he looks like. He's tall and thin and has short black hair . If I see him, I'll know him..”

“Are you sure he will blow up the ship?”

“Yes. I think he's an Islamic terrorist. They operate by doing suicide attacks. I saw what they can do eight years ago. I'm from New York. We need to find him.”

“We can talk to the Spacy police,” said the police sergeant. “In the meantime, we'd like you to give a description to the sketch artist so she can draw a composite sketch of your terrorist.”

“I will do that. Find him. he was willing to bomb the launch ceremony; he might bomb something else.”

oooooooooo

One day in early October, Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett visited my apartment.

“Hello, Colonel,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“I'm inviting you to come along with us on a mission. We are currently approaching Mars, and we will begin landing procedures in ten hours. Have you ever been to Mars before?”

“This is my first space flight,” I said. “Of course I'll go.”

“Our mission is the retrieval of supplies from Sara Base.”

“I thought Sara Base was destroyed.” I recalled reading the news about the terrorist attack on the base two years ago.

“So did we. We want a reporter to cover the mission, and we can’t think of a better person than you.”

“Why thank you. What will I do.”

“You’ll ride shotgun in one of the VF-1 Valkyries. Our plan- and this could change once we get more intel- and to send the veritechs to secure the base, before sending in the Destroids and supply trucks. And for all we know, there may be survivors. We’ll have a briefing in the Space Marine Detachment Headquarters at 1600.”

“I’ll meet you there.”

Ooooo

I arrived at the building, with a sign reading “SDF-1 MACROSS SPACE MARINE DETACHMENT HEADQUARTERS” I walked in through the front door and entered a lobby.

The lobby looked like a typical lobby, with chairs and tables with magazines on top of them. There were Space Marine recruitment posters on the wall. One of the postwers was impressive, showing a man in dress blues, surrounding by images of Space Marines in various jobs, including the job of a veritech fighter pilot.

I approached the reception, a Space Marine corporal clad in a Class “A” uniform, and told her who I was.

“The sergeant major will be escorting you to the conference room,” she said.

As if on cue, a man in class “A’s” entered. He was tall, large, and bald, with a short-cropped beard.

“Sergeant Major Whitaker of the SDF-1 Macross Space Marine detachment,” he said, extending his hand.

I introduced myself.

“I will escort you to the conference room.”

And so he did. We walked along the hallways, passing by uniformed Marines.

“When the city was built, we began construction of a headquarters building,” said the sergeant major. “We opened last month.”

We entered this conference room with a wooden table. I noticed that Jenna was already in there, wearing her Class “A’s”. Colonel Beckett was also there, along with some other uniformed Marines.

“Thank you, Sergeant Major,” said Beckett.

“May I get you some ice water, sir?” a corporal asked me.

“Sure,” I replied to the corporal, a man in appearing to be in his early twenties.

I started to take a sip when I heard someone yell, “Atten-shun!”

A man walked, in, clad in blue Class A’s. He had brown hair, a clean-shaven face, and appeared to be in his early forties. He stands at the end of the table.

“Colonel Victor Maistroff, commanding officer of the Space Marine detachment, shall preside over this meeting,” said Sergeant Major Whitaker.

“Everyone have a seat,” said the colonel. And just like that, the Marines all sat down.

“As you know, the Macross will be making planetfall on Mars at around 0430 tomorrow,” said Colonel Maistroff. “We will go on an expedition to Sara Base to procure any supplies and equipment we can find there. Colonel Beckett will land his veritech squadron on the base, while Colonel Taylor’s Destroid battalion joining afterward. Captain Gloval has loaned us Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker and his Skull veritech squadron as backup. Once the mecha have secured the base, Colonel Weller and his infantry will bring the supply trucks to procure the supplies.

“Our guest here is a reporter. He will be riding shotgun with Lieutenant Murphy here, under Colonel Beckett’s command. Colonel Beckett, if you will.”

“Lieutenant, he will be riding with you on this mission. If we come under enemy attack, you will bring him back to the ship. The rest of the squadron will cover for you. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Jenna.

“Do you have any questions?” Maistroff asked me.

“No.”

“Well, this will be your opportunity for a scoop, is that what it’s called?”

“Yeah. The scoop of the century.”

“Corporal, hand our guest some reading materials,” said Colonel Maistroff.

“Yes, sir,” replied the corporal.

I received a printed packet. I started to browse it.

“Dismissed,” said Maistroff.

I walked out and looked at Jenna.

“I have some things to take care of at the squadron offices,” she said. “See you tomorrow.”

Ooooooooo

I spent the evening reading the briefing materials. It was about the war machuins being used for the mission ahead. I read about the Stonewell Bellcom VF-1 Valkyrie veritech fighter, the Viggers/Chrauler MBR-04-MKVI Tomahawk Destroid, the Viggers/Centinental HWR-00 Monster MK II Destroid, and the Centinental/Kransmann MBR-07-Mk II Spartan Destroid. I noticed almost all of the technical specifications were blacked out. All I saw was the name, the image, and the basic role in combat.

I had to wake up early, so I set the alarm at 4 A.M.


Ooooooooo

The next morning, I had a very light breakfast and headed over to the Knight Squadron offices. I met with Colonel Beckett, who was already in his flight suit.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning, Colonel,” I replied.

“WE ARE NOW INITIATING LANDING PROCEDURES,” said a female voice. “ALL CIVILIANS INDOORS; ALL HANDS TO STATIONS.”

All we could do is sit tight and wait. After maybe an hour, I felt a thump.

“WE HAVE NOW LANDED ON THE PLANET MARS,” announced the same female voice.

“Time to get suited up,” he said.

Colonel Beckett led me to the men's locker room. He opened a locker and gave me a flight suit.

“Put this on,” he said. “it goes over what you're wearing.”

And he was right, I put the suit on and it went over shirt and jeans. “good thing you have a suit to spare,” I said.

“Lieutenant Barnes was killed three days ago in battle,” said the colonel. “You look his size.”

Since the Prometheus hangar deck was unpressurized, we went into an airlock. I made sure I had enough air.

“I guess we'll fly together again,” said Jenna, in her olive-green flight suit.

I looked and saw Colonel Maisteoff, alos in a flight suit.

“Colonel,” I said.

“I’m a veteran pilot, so I will be leading this mission from my own VF-1S Valkyrie,” he replied.

The airlock opened into the hangar deck. I could see all sorts of veritech fighters- the tan-colored Spacy fighters, and the olive-green Marine fighters of Knight Squadron. I noticed several veritechs of unusual color. Two of them were parked side-by-side. One was olive drab in color; the other was white with distinctive skull and crossbones on its tailfin.

An air crewman in a spacesuit pulled down the ladder for one of the veritechs.

“That's us,” said Jenna, tugging my hand. We both climbed into the cockpit. I sat in the back, and Jenna sat in front.

“This is a VF-1D Valkyrie,” said Jenna. “It's a two-seater used for training. I'm going through the pre-flight checklist. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” I said. I looked at the instruments and the engines are already running. I looked and saw the olive-drab veritech and the skull-and-crossbones veritech being lifted to the flight deck. Other veritechs were being lifted up after those two.

“Air Boss to Knight Ten,” said a female voice. “Prepare for takeoff.”

“Copy,” said Jenna. she taxied the veritech to the lift and then we went up. “Don't touch the controls,” she said to me.

Whern we reached the flight deck, I gazed upon the Martian landscape. I saw pictures like these in books and newspapers. I never imagined I'd be here. I wondered if Ned would have felt the same way.

“All systems are go,” said Jenna. “Knight Ten ready for takeoff.”

“Takeoff,” said the control officer.

I found myself pushed back against my seat. The Martian landscape disappeared and I knew we were flying in the Martian air. After a few seconds of ascent, we achieved level flight.

“Knight Ten is in the air,” said Jenna. “Setting course for Sara Base.”

I could see other VF-1 Valkyries ahead of us in the distance. To my left and right I can see the Martian landscape. I can see the canyons and mountains. I remember once reading that the tallest mountain on mars is taller than the tallest mountain on Earth.

“We're at Sara Base,” said Jenna. “We are reducing airspeed. Switching to guardian mode.”

I looked to my right and I can see the arm holding the gunpod. I knew the legs were bent down. I could see Sara Base ahead. It was a cluster of buildings. It used to be a UN outpost, until some anti-UN faction attacked it. I thought the base was destroyed. Still, I wondered what happened to the personnel on the base.

“Switching to battloid mode,” said Jenna. The cockpit shield was raised and then the monitor went up. I could see the builkdings of Sara Base and the other veritechs in battloid mode. I noticed the skull-and-bones veritech and the olive-drab veritech. Both had identical-looking heads- four antennae, a trinagular face, and a crescent-shaped sensor.

“How are you doing, Knight Ten?” asked Colonel Maistroff.

“Fine, sir,” replied Jenna.

“And the reporter?”

“Nice ride,” I said.

“Here are the Destroids,” said Maistroff. I looked and saw the Destroids. They came in all sorts of shapes, looking more or less like what I read from that briefing packet. The Spartan had hands like the veritech battloids, the Tomahawks had cannon-arms, and the Monster was huge, with two cannon-arms and a wicked-looking cannon assembly on the head. They walked to various positions in Sara Base.

“Sara Base secure,” said Colonel Maistroff. “Salvage teams go in. All Destroids and Valkyries, stay alert.”

And then I saw land vehicles going into Sara Base, passing beneath us. I saw the Marine infantrymen get out of the vehicles and go inside the warehouses of the base. Soon they were loading supply crates.

“I like this,” said Jenna. “After all that combat.”

“This is SDF-1 Control,” said a woman with curly-black hair whose image appeared on the comm screen. “Lieutenant Lisa Hayes is going into the base. She will be looking for survivors.”

“My infantry reports they are just ten minutes away from finishing loading the supplies,” said Colonel Maistroff.

“Maybe I should have brought a book,” I said to Jenna.

A few minutes later, Colonel Maistroff said, “The Marines finished loading. The last of the supply trucks will reach the Daedalus in three minutes.

“Lieutenant Hayes is still inside the base,” said SDF-1 Control. “Once we get her back, you will all return.”

“Copy that,” said Maistroff.

“Enemy forces detected!” yelled the control officer. “Get ready for battle.”

“Here we go,” said Jenna. “Brace yourself.”

“We need to protect the supply trucks!” yelled Colonel Beckett. “Knight Squadron move out. Skull Squadron, stay here to protect Hayes.”

“Copy that,” said a male voice. “Skull Squadron protect Sara Base.”

“Knight Ten, I need you to drop…guest back…on SDF-1,” said Beckett.

“I think the signal’s being jammed.”

“Yeah, Jenna,” said Lani. “You seem to have trouble hearing Knight Leader.”

“You need me to get a better signal?” Jenna asked me.

“Knight Ten, get our guest back home!” I heard Beckett yell.

“I’m good,” I said.

“Sorry, Knight Leader,” replied Jenna. “The enemy’s..jamming… us.”

Jenna switched the veritech to guardian mode and we flew to the SDF-1. We could see the enemy pods racing towards it. We can also see the supply trucks trying to make it to Daedalus. Jenna and the others fired missiles at the enemy pods, obliterating them. We then landed on the ground and switched to battloid mode and shot the enemy pods with our guns.

“Knight Squadron, let's reinforce Skull Squadron,” I heard Beckett say.

We then transformed into guardian and flew back to Sara Base. I could see the Skull Squadron veritechs and the destroids fighting the enemy pods and fighters. We fired a missile salvo at an enemy fighter formation. Then we changed into battloid and started brawling with the enemy pods. Missiles, laser beams, and bullets flew every which way. I saw more and more enemy pods and fighters fall before Jenna. It was like my being in the veritech with her made her a better fighter. We transformed every couple of seconds to deal with new threats from our relentless foes. Jenna was adept at using the buildings of Sara Base as cover to hide from the enemy pods until she can get a clear shot.

Then we suddenly found ourselves in front of an enemy pod, ready to fire. Then it blew up, but Jenna did not fire the gunpod. I then saw the skull-and-crossbones veritech flying in in guardian mode. It switched to battloid mode.

“Stay alert, Marine,” the veritech's pilot said.

We took cover behind a building and fired on the enemy pods from a distance. I could see an olive-drab battloid shredding the enemy pods. Then it transformed to a fighter and it blew up three enemy fighters.

As Jenna was fighting with the enemy pods, I could see a white veritech guardian flying in and blowing up a bunch of pods with its missiles. It then stopped right at a building. I saw it punch through a window.

I also saw an enemy pod with a missile battery on top.

“Jenna!” I yelled. “Shoot that battlepod to the right.”

The battlepod fired missiles at the veritech guardian, whose pilot was unaware of the threat. But Jenna fired her gunpod at the enemy pod's direction, blowing up the missiles and the enemy pod. The veritech guardian flew up into the sky. I could see it was holding something.

“Lieutenant Hayes is secure!” yelled Colonel Beckett. “Move out!”

Jenna transformed the veritech to fighter mode and we flew high into the sky. I looked below, and I saw Sara Base consumed by a fireball. Soon the red sky was replaced by a starry spacescape.

We waited in orbit until the SDF-1 Macross reached Martian orbit. Then we were cleared for landing.

I braced myself as the veritech fighter made contact with Promotheus.

“Knight Ten has landed,” said Jenna.

We got out of the fighter, went through the airlock, and took off our helmets.

“Well, I have to debrief,” said Jenna, going into the women's locker room.

“See you tonight,” I said. I then went back to my apartment to write my article.


Oooooooooooo

Later that evening, Jenna paid a visit to my apartment.

“How are things going?” she asked.

“Putting the finishing touches on my article,” I replied. “I’m sure the Gazette will print this. I hope you didn’t get in trouble with the colonel over that stunt you pulled.”

“Well, it is complicated. You see, we shot down this enemy pod that was about to shoot down the Valkyrie that was rescuing Lieutenant Hayes.”

“Who?”

“Lisa Hayes, the senior flight control officer of the ship.”

“So what happened?”

“The colonel told me if I pulled a stunt like that again, I’d be sleeping in the brig instead of with you.”

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-18 09:29am

Chapter 7

Critical Condition​

After our departure from Mars, the enemy continued its attacks on our ship. Jenna was called away into action a lot. Whenever I spoke to her on the phone, she would sound tired and worn out. In the intervening days, Knight Squadron lost three more people. They are good, but the enemy is just too persistent. Every time I watch the battles from the observation deck, I wonder if Jenna's number would come up.

On one night, Jenna and I decided to go out to the Lucky Shamrock. We haven't had a date since leaving Mars. She wanted to relax, and I knew why fighter pilot needs to relax.

We both ordered beer from one of the bartenders, Steve. He asked Jenna how it was going, and Jenna said she was tired and stressed out from all the combat. The television was showing images, and it was not from DVD's. The Macross Broadcasting System went online today. Now Macross City had a television station where people can watch news and sports and TV shows.

"I read that this Skull Squadron pilot, Rick Hunter, is getting a Titanium Medal of Valor,” said Jenna.

I recalled reading a list of recent medal awardees. The medal was supposed to be for heroism. “I guess I should congratulate him if I ever run into him,” I said.

“He was the one who rescued Lieutenant Hayes. Shouldn’t I get a medal for rescuing him?”

“Well, you sort of disobeyed orders.”

Jenna sipped the dark beer. “Well, I suppose I should be lucky I wasn’t thrown in the brig- or reassigned to fly a Cat’s Eye. How about we go to the casino?”

“You have money?”

“I have all this basic pay, flight pay, hazardous duty pay. I’d be a millionaire by forty at this rate- assuming I don’t get killed first.”

ooooooooooooo

The next afternoon, Jenna showed up at my apartment.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I'm gonna be a contestant on the Miss Macross competition in December," she said.

"Congratulations!"

"I'll be one of twenty-eight contestants," she said.

"Will you even be able to attend?" I asked. "I mean, the enemy might attack."

"Colonel Maistroff himself told me that I would not be on duty that day. I'm the only Marine who's a contestant and he figured it would get some good publicity. I could even pose for recruitment posters or something."

"Jenna Murphy, Miss Macross. I like the sound of that. Let's go celebrate at the Chinese restaurant."

And so we went there.

ooooooooo

When we got there, we were greeted by a sign that read, "PRIVATE PARTY- SORRY WE'RE CLOSED."

"This is closed?" asked Jenna.

"Yup," said the doorman. "Minmei's having her sixteenth birthday. She's the owner's niece."

"That figures," I said. "Jenna, let's go get some Italian food."

So that was what we did.

oooooooo

We ordered spaghetti with meat sauce. Meat was available now, thanks to meat being grown from stem cells. The place was quiet, and it was just the two of us. I hoped we can spend the night together.

But then the siren blared, and the announcer called for all veritech pilots. That included Jenna.

"Got to go," said Jenna. "I'll go to your apartment after this is over."

I saw her run off. I headed for the observation deck to watch the battle.

Looking at the stars, I saw explosions as the veritech fighters took on the enemy's fighters and pods. Missiles and laser beams flew every which way. Occasionally, I would feel jolts as enemy fire hit the ship.

I saw one particular veritech, painted blue and in battloid mode, ripping apart the enemy pods. That guy was good. I made sure to videotape it.

The enemy pods got closer and closer to the ship. I could tell that some of them were right on top. The battle waged on and on. And then it stopped. The enemy pods and fighters flew back to where they came from. We beat them again. I just wish I knew how many more of them are out there.

The all-clear signal was sounded, and I went back to my apartment. I wrote an article on the battle, about how the brave defenders successfully repelled another alien attack. I heard a knock on my door.

When I opened it, Jenna was not there. Lani was there instead, wearing her flight suit, her chestnut-brown hair disheveled.

"Hi," I said. "What's up? Is Jenna asleep?"

"Jenna's veritech was hit in combat. She was taken to the hospital."

"Is she still alive?" I asked.

"Katie's at the hospital. No visitors are allowed to her room. Last I heard she was alive."

I bolted out of my apartment, my feet running the rest of me to the hospital as fast as they can go.

oooooooo

I woke up the next morning, and I was not in my apartment. I was in a hospital lobby. I saw Lani and Katie, Jenna's wingmates, also sleeping. A nurse entered the lobby.

"Is Jenna Murphy all right?" I asked.

"She's in critical condition at the ICU," said the nurse. "Right now there's nothing you can do."

It's not fair! She was lying in the hospital injured and there was nothing I can do! I stormed out of the hospital, frustrated. I dreaded the moment that Katie or Lani would tell me, with tears flowing down their eyes, that Jenna was dead.

Even while working, I could not stop thinking of Jenna being in the hospital. She wanted to participate in the Miss Macross competition. But she might not even survive to that day.

Ooooooo

One morning, about a week later, I had an invitation for breakfast. I got out of a cab and stood on a sidewalk along street with single-family residences on both sides. It sort of reminded me of Forest Hills in Queens, even if the houses were a bit smaller. They all looked pretty much the same, with little front yards.

I looked at the house numbers. It took maybe a minute before I found the right house number. I walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. I was greeted by this woman, appearing in her early thirties, with brown hair tied in a bun, wearing a dress and blouse.

“You must be Angus’s guest,” she said.

I introduced myself.

“I’m his wife, Maribel.”

“There you are,” said Angus Beckett, wearing blue jeans and a light-blue, short-sleeve shirt instead of a Space Marine uniform. “Come on in.”

The first thing I noticed were the sounds of squealing children and their footsteps echoing through the floor. I looked and saw a living room with small children’s toys scattered. A playpen was in the corner, with an infant playing with baby toys.

“Dining room is right back here,” said Mrs. Beckett. I followed her through the kitchen, which was actually in a hallway that connected to the dining room. I noticed a refrigerator, a stove, and a microwave oven. Art the other end of the kitchen was a dining room with a wooden table covered with a tablecloth. Plates and forks and spoons were set over placemats.

“Nice place,” I said.

“On board a battle fortress, this is a luxury,” said Colonel Beckett. “This is one of the privileges of being a lieutenant colonel.”

I sat down on the chairs.

“We got hash browns, steak, scrambled eggs, and bacon,” said Mrs. Beckett. “Good thing the people on the ship can grow meat now.”

Mrs. Beckett gave me some scrambled eggs, a slice of steak, and two strips of bacon. Just the smell made me hungrier, as if worrying about Jenna did not make me hungry enough.

I started with the hash browns, followed by the scrambled eggs.

“This is great,” I said.

“Why thank you,” replied Mrs. Beckett. “Angus tells me you’re a reporter. How did you get to be here?”

I told her a condensed version of my story so far.

“You must be grateful that Angus’s pilots were able to save you.”

“Not all of us could have been saved. Ned Brubaker, the senior reporter on my assignment, didn’t make it.”

“Would God we would have been able to save everyone,” said Colonel Beckett.

I felt something wet. It was a piece of scrambled egg. Mrs. Beckett immediately got up and scolded the boy.

“Now you say you’re sorry to our guest,” she said.

“Sowwy,” said the boy, who looked to be about three.

“Now you go to your room. No toys until lunch!”

“Kids,” said the colonel, even as his wife led their son away. “They require even more attention than my pilots.”

“Any news on Jenna?”

“Dr. Ajami told me she’s still in critical condition.”

“Oh.”

“Ever think about your co-workers back in New York?”

“It seems like such a long time ago. Almost like a lifetime ago.” I thought of Quinn Sullivan, another junior reporter who was my roommate. Simon Levinstein, another veteran reporter who traveled the world. Al Chegwidden, the New York office editor. “I’ll have lots of interesting stories to tell.” Mrs. Beckett sat down to rejoin us for breakfast. “Do you guys invite anyone else?”

“Well, we had Roy and Claudia over once or twice,” said Mrs. Beckett. “Claudia once brought this pineapple salad.”

“I did like that pineapple salad,” said Colonel Beckett.

“That reminds me. Patti is inviting us over to her place for dinner tomorrow.”

“I’m sure I’ll be available.”

“I can only hope Victor will be there as well.”

“How did you know each other?” I asked.

“It wasn’t something as exciting as Angus rescuing me during an alien attack,” said Mrs. Beckett. “It was almost ten years was a cocktail server just trying to find my way around the world; Angus was a fighter pilot in the United States Marine Corps, having fought in those wars before this ship crashed to Earth. We saw each other quite a bit when he was stationed at Beaufort in South Carolina. We got married just a week before Angus started his service with the United Earth Forces. Since then I’ve been moving around with him.”

“How did you deal with deployments?”

“I only did that once, when Angus did a three-month tour of duty on one of those ARMDs. It helped to talk to the other wives. I was preparing to say goodbye to him for six months when I learned his squadron would do a tour on this ship.”

“To be perfectly honest, I wish you and the kids were safe back on Earth,” said the colonel. “I wish we were all safe back on Earth.”

“That reminds me, maybe we should pay Libby a visit,” said Mrs. Beckett.

“Who?” I asked.

“Dan’s widow.”

“Major Colmes’s widow,” said Colonel Beckett. “She has to raise two children, with another almost due.”

We all looked and realized we just finished our breakfast.

“I have to get dressed and go to the office,” said the colonel. “See you later.”

“Thank you,” I said to the colonel and his wife.

“I’d better look after baby Kelly,” said Mrs. Beckett.


ooooooooo

Not long afterward, I went in to the intensive care unit. I saw Jenna in bed, with all sorts of tubes and wires sticking into her. I was careful not to touch her. I just wish I could reach out to her.

I fell asleep. Images, sounds, smells, and tastes went through my dreams.

I was riding shotgun in Jenna's veritech, with her flying it. We were in space, in combat with the enemy.

"Oh no!" she yelled. "Three thousand enemy missiles are heading for us."

"The enemy launched three thousand missiles at one veritech fighter?" I asked. "That's insane."

Then the missiles hit and we were blown apart. Strangely, I continued to live. I saw body parts- our body parts.

Then I was back in Macross City. It was still on its island in the Pacific Ocean, with the SDF-1 Macross proudly in the center, Then colored lights filled the place, and the island and I were in deep space. There was only light and cold. In the place where the ship once stood, I saw a huge monument with letters carved into it.

JENNA MURPHY - DEAD AND NEVER COMING BACK

I heard Jenna call out my name.

I was back in the hospital intensive care ward. I saw Jenna lying down. her eyes were open.

And she was saying my name.

"Jenna, you're awake," I said. "How are you feeling?"

"Like a hundred enemy pods stomped on my head," she said. She smiled.

And I smiled too.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-19 01:07pm

Chapter 8

Miss Knight Squadron​

I was typing an article in a hospital room as Jenna lay in bed. She had been relocated from the ICU a while back, and was now going the process of healing and building up her strength so that she can return to duty. Her room was decorated with balloons and flowers and get well cards from her squadmates and even a get well card from Colonel Beckett.

“What are you working on?” asked Jenna, laying in the bed.

“An article about a new birth on ship,” I said.

“Life’s a miracle.”

I recalled the names of some of the babies born since the enemy first attacked Macross City. Hikaru Hase, the first baby born in space- to be precise, born in one of the shelters after the space fold. Jill Bluefield. Chu Wang. Glenn Harold La Belle. Noriko Itami.

“The baby is Chelsea Colmes,” I said.

“Colmes?”

“The daughter of Major Daniel Colmes.”

“It’s so sad that she’ll never know her dad.”

“Jenna,” said Katie. I turned around and saw her and Lani. They were both wearing the service khakis, as opposed to Jenna’s hospital gown.

“Hi,” I said to the two ladies. “How are you two doing?”

“You can’t have Jenna all to yourself,” said Lani.

“I’ll see you later,” I said to Jenna.

“Aren’t you going to see us as well?” asked Katie.

“I’m sure we’ll meet,” I replied to them.

Ooooooo

I made sure to visit Jenna every day during visiting hours. We actually got to spend a lot of time together, since she was not on duty and her physical therapy sessions were on a very predictable schedule. I got to know her doctor, Mansoor Ajani of the Spacy Medical Corps, and the nurse Jean.

“I heard that we’re about four months from Earth,” I said.

“Great,” said Jenna.

“If you can take leave, maybe we can visit New York together. You can meet my family, we could visit the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. We can even watch a Yankees versus Mets game.”

“That sounds great.”

It was not long afterward that Jenna was released from the hospital.

And as if someone was doing me a favor, she was released on my birthday, November 22nd.

“Happy birthday,” she said to me when she showed up at my apartment, wearing a sleeveless black dress.

“How are you feeling?” I asked as I hugged jher and then kissed her.

“Great,” she said. “I report to duty at 0900 tomorrow. You know, we were thinking of having a party to celebrate my return to health.”

“And my birthday,” I said.

Our celebration was at the Lucky Shamrock. We did not reserve a table in Space, as it was pretty expensive. I sat with Jenna and her squad mates at a long wooden table.

“Happy birthday, Mr. Reporter,” said Lani. “How does it feel to be twenty-three?”

“Great,” I replied.

“We did order you some shots.” I could see small shot glasses filled with a pink liquid.

I drank up.

I looked and saw Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward speaking to the kid at the host stand, who directed him to our table.

“Commander Ward,” I said.

“It’s Dennis when I’m not on duty,” he replied. Sure enough, he was wearing jeans and a buttoned shirt instead of a United Nations Spacy uniform.

“And you are?” asked Lieutenant Landry.

“Public relations officer for the SDF-1 Macross and military liaison with the Macross City Municipal Government.”

“Pretty impressive,” said Katie.

“That just means we need to order more shots to celebrate,” said Lani.

“Are shots the solution to everything for you?” asked Lieutenant Nomura. “I swear, you’d probably try to buy shots for the enemy as a peace offering.”

“You’ll need shot glasses the size of oil drums for that,” said Dennis.

Another man came to join us. He was wearing a long-sleeved button shirt and khaki pants. He had brown hair on his head, as well as a brown beard. I recognized him as Jake Austin, the publisher of the Macross Gazette.

“Happy birthday,” he said to me.

“Thank you,” I replied. “Time to order more shots.”

“Now you know how I think,” said Lani.

“How long have you been publisher?” asked Landry.

“Six years. It was hard to find reporters in the beginning, but ever since the launch I have had plenty of reporterss to write articles.

Dennis introduced himself to Jake and they chatted.

“Actually, I was a public relations officer at U.N. Spacy Headquarters,” said Dennis. “I was assigned to view the launch and handle issues with the press. After the launch, Captain Gloval appointed me as the public relations officer.”

“We’re also here to celebrate Jenna’s recovery,” said Katie.

“Hi there,” said Jenna. “Lieutenant Jenna Murphy, Knight Squadron. Deployed as part of the Space Marine detachment. I was laid up in the hospital for a few weeks due to injuries sustained in combat. I got a Purple Heart as a prize.” She pointed to a medal pinned to her dress, which was shaped like a heart with the image of man against a purple backround, and it was pinned to the dress via a purple ribbon.

“You’d better watch your drinking, Jenna,” said Lani. “There aren’t any Purple Hearts for alcohol poisoning. And you might be court-martialed for malingering.”

“As if you’re the one to talk,” said Katie. “Remember when you ended up in the hospital after that party in Kingston last year?”

“How is your family doing aboard?” I asked Lani.

“They’re well,” answered Lani. “Bryan’s still attending school. I make sure to have dinner with them at least once a week. They even had Jenna and Katie over twice.”

“They’re a nice family,” said Jenna. She looks around. “What about your friends from New York? I wonder if they’re celebrating your birthday?”

I thought about my friends back in New York. Do they even know that I am alive? And what of my parents and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces?

But soon Jenna would find herself in another battle. It would not be a battle with enemy fighters and pods.

It was the Miss Macross Contest.

oooooooo

From what I heard from interviews with contest officials, the Miss Macross Contest was held every year since the founding of Macross City nine years ago. This would be the first time Miss Macross was held in space. Captain Henry J. Gloval, the commander of the SDF-1 Macross, will be one of the judges.

I got to do an interview with one of the contestants, a woman with curly blond hair who appeared to be slightly older than me and Jenna. She was Jan Morris, and she was a famous movie star. She flew in from Los Angeles, California to participate in the SDF-1 launch ceremonies.

“So, Miss Morris, how do you feel to be a contestant in the first beauty contest in outer space?” I asked her as we sat down on a table in the Variation Tea and Coffee Shop.

“I'm really excited,” she said. “I'm making history here.”

“Do you think you will win?” I asked.

“I know I will win, baby,” she said. “This is going to make me a huge star once we get to Earth.”

“We're only three months from Earth,” I said.

“I will surely get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Morris.

“By the way, Miss Morris, what was it like the day we launched?”

“Well, I had my own hospitality suite on the base where the ship would take off. It was me and some other stars. Then there was this air raid siren. Soon, the buses were taking us to the shelters in the hills. We stayed there. There was this light. Then gravity disappeared. These guys in spacesuits came, and they drove us to the ship in these sealed cars.”

“Thank you for your time, Miss Morris,” I said. I stood up and extended my hand to her.

oooooooooo

I saw Jenna on the sidewalk near the Lynns' Chinese restaurant the evening before the Miss Macross competition. Seh was in her yellow sweater and blue jeans.

“Tomorrow's the big day,” I said.

“Don't remind me,” said Jenna. “I can't stay out tonight. I need to sleep. I never competed in a beauty contest, but I doubt having a hangover and bloodshot eyes are gonna help.”

“Maybe we can eat out,” I said.

“I'll just get take out from that Chinese restaurant over there. I heard that Minmei is gonna be in the contest too.”

“Who?” I asked, not remembering the name at the time.

“The owner's niece. They had that birthday party for her at the restaurant, the night that I was injured and ended up in the hospital for a couple of weeks.”

“I remember,” I said, thinking back to the time when I thought Jenna was going to die. “I hope you don't get called back on duty.”

“I'm officially on special assignment from Colonel Maistroff himself,” said Jenna. “Colonel Beckett can't order me to duty if there were a million enemy fighters attacking us. Well, I'd better go get some food. I'll be at the amphitheater tomorrow, okay?”

I kissed Jenna. When she went into the Chinese restaurant, I went to my apartment.

oooooooooo

The next morning, I had breakfast in my apartment. I went to work and submitted my articles to the Macross Gazette. I reviewed the past ten months of articles I wrote since we began our journey. I would definitely receive a Pulitzer Prize upon returning home.

The Miss Macross Contest would start at 7:00 tonight. I had to be there at 5:00. The contest officials gave me a press pass and it had arrived by mail yesterday.

Along the way, I ran into Katie and Lani.

“Hi there,” said Lani.

“I'm going to be covering the Miss Macross Contest,” I said. “I have an exclusive interview with whoever wins.”

“If Jenna wins, it'll be a short interview,” said Katie. “The entire squadron's gonna be there to cheer her on.”

“We made this banner,” said Lani. She and her friend held upo this huge banner written with crayon.

I read it aloud. “We heart u Jenna,” I said.

“Let's just hope the enemy doesn't attack,” said Katie. She and Lani leave.

I continued to the amphitheater. It had been under construction since the first modular transformation nine months ago. It will be first opened to the public for the Miss Macross Contest.

I went into a small buiding that was marked as the amphitheater's service entrance. There was a security guard at the entrance. I showed him my press pass.

“Come on in,” said the security guard.

And so I did. I pressed a button for the elevator and went down. the doors opened, and I was in a hallway. There was a directory for offices. I walked along the hallway and entered one of the offices.

“Hello there,” said a man in a suit, extending his hand. “Welcome to the Macross Amphitheater.”

“I'm a reporter for the Associated Press,” i said, holding my press pass. “I'd like to speak to the judges and contestants. Are they here?”

“Some of them are getting their makeup done. You can go anywhere except the women's dressing room.”

“Okay, then.”

I left the office and walked along the carpeted hallway. From the looks of this place, I could forget that I was on a spaceship.

Then Jenna called out my name.

“Jenna,” I said. She was dressed in a skirt and a white blouse, and she had a bag full of clothes.

“I need to get my makeup done,” she said. “I have this killer swimsuit. Well, you'll see when the swimsuit competition is on. See you at the contest.”

She went to the makeup room.

I then heard shouting. I ran to this room where there were a lot of mirrors with light bulbs framing them.

“MUST YOU TAKE SO LONG?” a loud voice asked.

“Patience, Captain,” said a makeup artist. “We want you to present your good side, after all.”

I looked and saw a man with black hair sitting before a makeup mirror. He was wearing a Spacy dress uniform.

That was Captain Henry J. Gloval. I read about him in the press releases way back prior to the launch. He had been a cosmonaut and a submariner and had actually arranged a cease fire when the ship that would become the Macross first crashed.

“Excuse me, Captain Gloval,” I said. “Do you have time for an interview?”

The captain looked at me, revealynng his black moustache. “With the time these people are taking, you could have ten interviews.”

“How do you feel about being a judge at this competition?” I asked.

“I'd rather be fighting enemy pods with my bare hands,” he said.

“Is there any contestant you like?”

“I'll have to see them first.”

“Do you have high expectations of this contest?”

“It will boost the morale of my crew. We worked very hard in defending this ship from our enemies, whoever they are.”

“Thank you, sir.”

I walked out to the makeup room where the contestants were having their hair and makeup done. I saw Jenna among the twenty-eight of them. I walked around and asked questions of the contestants, taking notes.

oooooooooo

I sat in the press box and I saw the audience file in. They came in like a swarm. Some people in the audience were holding signs cheering for their favorite contestant. I looked and I saw a sign reading WE (Heart) U JENNA. That must be Lani and Katie and the others of Knight Squadron.

The announcer came in to formally announce the beginning of the Miss Macross Contest. I and the other print reporters took notes, while television cameras for the Macross Broadcasting System filmed the event live. Boy, wouldn't Quinn and Simon and Mr. Chegwidden and the others in my office like this. The announcer mentioned that the prize was a fanjet built right here in Macross City.

Then the contestants were introduced, one by one. Their names and hometowns were announced.

“Contestant Number Eleven, Miss Jenna Murphy!” said the announcer.

And then I saw Jenna, in this stunning black dress with a red trim. It was colored just like her veritech. She gave this bright smile that was contagious.

“Jenna was born in Cork, Ireland, and her family moved to the Apollo Colony on the moon during the Global Civil War. She is one of our Robotech defenders, flying the veritech fighters to protect us from our enemies.”

I looekd and saw Jenna's squadron cheering.

“Miss Murphy, what do you like about being a veritech pilot?” asked the announcer.

“I just want to protect you from the enemy,” she said.

“What do you like to do?”

“Seeing movies, eating out, having drinks, hanging out with my two best girlfriends, Katie and Lani- they’re over there in the audience- hi, you guys- and spending quality time with the best man I’ve ever met, who is a reporter covering this event.”

“Contestant Number Twelve, Miss Lynn Minmei,” said the announcer. I looked at the stage and started taking notes. I looked at the crowd and saw some people holding a sign for Minmei. From the looks of it, they appeared to be students at Macross High School.

ooooooo

“and now, the swimsuit competition,” said the announcer. Once again, the same twenty-eight contestants came forward in their swimsuits. I waited for Jenna, who is contestant number 11.

“Contestant Number Eleven, Jenna Murphy,” said the announcer.

And there she appeared in a black two piece bikini. The bikini's color contrasted vividly against her skin, which I could see a lot of. She looked like a jewel or something. I took a whole page just to write down notes. I could hear very loud cheering and catcalls, and that was definitely coming from Knight Squadron.

Then Jenna exited the stage and I watched her until she disappeared. The next contestant, the teenage girl Minmei, had a one piece suit which obstructed everything except her head, arms, and legs. There was little cheering. I could understand why. After what Jenna wore, a schoolgirl in a one piece does not cut it.

The contestants continued until it ended with the actress Jan Morris. The judges would then select the five finalists, who would then be selected by the people of Macross City.

After a short break, the five finalists were announced. I listened to each name intently one by one.

When the fifth name was announced, I was a little disappointed. Jenna would not be a finalist. I looked and saw the five finalists, including Jan Morris and the girl with the one-piece swimsuit.

Jenna joined me in the press box, wearing a bathrobe over her swimsuit. “Well, at least I was there,” she said.

“I liked you,” I replied.

“This whole thing was probably a publicity stunt for Jan Morris. She probably paid them.”

“They're about to announce the winner.”

“Lynn Minmei!” said the announcer.

And then Minmei stood up. A robe was placed upon her body, and a gold crown was placed on her head. Photographers took pictures. She smiled and waved.

I saw Jenna smilynng. “I should congratulate her,” she said. “Any girl that can beat Jan Morris in a beauty contest while without showing a lot of skin deserves my respect.”

ooooooooooo

After the audience left, I went backstage to do my interview with Miss Macross, who turned out to be Lynn Minmei.

“How does it feel to be Miss Macross?” I asked.

“It was my dream come true,” she said. “I always wanted to be a star, you know. I want to start a record. Maybe I can hire an agent once we return to Earth.”

“Thank you for your interview.”

“Why don't you report on my career? I'm sure you can win an award or something.

“Here is my card.” I handed Minmei my card.

“Thank you.”

ooooooooo

We later celebrated at the Space nightclub. We had a round of drinks at our table.

“That was a really hot swimsuit you had,” said Lieutenant Reese.

“Yeah, I certainly wouldn't want to be the guy wearing tight pants,” said Lieutenant Landry.

“Hey guys,” I said. “I want to propose a toast to Jenna Murphy, the most beautiful veritech fighter pilot in all the United Earth Forces.”

“To Jenna Murphy, Miss Knight Squadron!” yelled Lani.

And we toasted.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-20 02:35pm

Chapter 9

St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Enemy attacks have slowed down since the Miss Macross contest. Our military personnel were still on high alert. Nevertheless, life had to go on, and we had to observe holidays.

The Space Marines held a Christmas ball the Saturday evening before Christmas. It was dress blues for the Space Marines, and formal attire for civilian guests, which I was. I rented a tuxedo which consisted of a black coat, a black waistcoat, a white shirt, and red bow tie. I went to the Space Marine officer barracks to pick up Jenna.


I only waited a few minutes before she came out the front entrance. She was wearing her dress blues with all the medals, including the Purple Heart. I extended my hand.

“Shall we?” I asked.

And so went to the ball, located on the observation deck where I observed many battles. The Space Marines were all dressed in their dress blues. Drink were served at an open bar.

“Greg,” I said. “How are you doing?”

“Great,” he said. “I got this bartending gig for the Marines' Christmas party. Isn’t this great?”


“It sure is.” I looked at Greg, who was wearing a white shirt with a bow tie instead of the usual outfit from the Lucky Shamrock.


“Get us some vodka cranberries,” said Jenna.


“Sure thing.”


We met up with Katie and Lani and the other squadmates. We all started chatting.


“I still haven’t picked a gift for my nephew,” said Lieutenant Landry.


“Well, you need to hurry it up then, Kevin,” said Lani. “You’ve got to spend all that flight and hazard pay on something other than beer, you know.”


“As opposed to you buying new shoes?” asked Jenna.


“Yeah, Lani goes through new shoes once a month,” said Katie.


I looked and saw Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett with his wife Maribel. He was wearing dress blues, with the left side smothered with medals, which were both from his service in the United Nations Space Marines and the United States Marine Corps.


“Good evening, Colonel,” I said.


“Good evening,” the colonel replied.


“Nice to see you again,” said Mrs. Beckett, wearing a green dress.


“Your kids doing fine?” I asked.


“Yes.”


I then saw Colonel Beckett speak with Colonel Victor Maistroff, who also had lots of medals pinned to his dress blues. Maistroff was accompanied by a woman with shoulder-length blond hair and wearing a red dress.


“Victor! Patti!” exclaimed Mrs. Beckett. “Glad you can make it.”


“So good to see you, Maribel,” said Patti Maistroff.


“Have you done Christmas shopping?”


“Oh, we already bought your gifts. We’re still trying to figure out what to buy for Henry.”


“How are your kids, Angus?” asked Colonel Maistroff.


“Still making trouble,” replied Beckett.


“Like our kids.”


“Really? How old are they again?”


“Laurel’s sixteen, and William is thirteen.”


“Okay, so they can cause almost as much trouble as my kids.”


And so the Christmas ball continued with music and dancing.


Oooooo


Christmas itself was a quiet affair. Jenna had been on standby in the Knight Squadron offices all day, and she came over to my apartment for the evening.


“I hope you like the turkey slices,” I said, sitting at the small dining table. “my family would always cook turkey for Christmas.”


“Meat was a luxury where I grew up,” said Jenna. “they didn’t have cattle ranches on the Moon, and it was expensive to grow meat, not to mention it did not taste as good then.”


“Food growing technology has sure advanced in the past ten years.”


“You know, I did have Christmas Eve dinner with Lani’s family,” said Jenna. “it was so great of them to invite me and Katie, since neither of us have families on board. Lani’s mom is a great cook.”


We continued chatting for maybe an hour. I unwrapped my present, which was a bottle of red wine that had been bottled the year the alien ship first crashed on Earth. I opened the wine and poured it into these wine glasses, and we had sips. Then Jenna opened the present that I bought for her, revealing it to be an expensive black dress.


“It’s not dress blues, but this will do,” she said.


Then there were two more presents to unwrap.


Each other.


ooooooooo


It was New Year's Eve, and we were about to ring in the New Year. I never celebrated New Year's in space before, although many of the SDF-1 crew had. The party was in the streets, watched over by police officers. I swear that at least fifty thousand were here. I saw Lynn Minmei on the stage.

“Hello everyone,” she said. “I am Lynn Minmei, the reigning Miss Macross. This year was probably the most life-changing year of our lives. We now say goodbye to the old year and those we left behind as we look forward to a bright new future.”

“My brother goes to school with her!” yells Lani.

I was with Jenna and her wingmates from Knight Squadrons. The streets were crowded with many people, including a few who were in Class “A”’s or even their formal dress uniforms.

“It sure is packed,” said Katie.

“Well, it is the first New Year’s in space for basically all of these people,” said Jenna.

“You should see Times Square,” I said. “It’s a lot more packed, and everyone wearing layers because its’s so cold.”

I looked at the clock. It was 11:59.

“Five Four Three Two One,” we all shouted. Then midnight hit. “Happy New Year!”

Confetti was spilled. No fireworks were in the street, since Macross City was in an enclosed space, but there were projections of fireworks in the ceiling above. I kissed Jenna.

“Happy new year,” I said.

“Happy new year,” she replied. “I hope we can have many more happy new years.”

All of Jenna's friends greeted me a happy new year. “Happy new year,” said this young man. “I'm Corporal Dow. I found you in Lieutenant Murphy's room and I led you here.”

“And?” I asked.

“I'm now a veritech pilot.”

That was when the siren blared.

“RED ALERT!” yelled a male voice over the public address system. “ALL VERITECH, DESTROID , AND GUNNERY CREWS REPORT TO YOUR BATTLE STATIONS!”

“Got to go, my love,” Jenna said to me.

“I guess this is your first time,” i said to Dow.

“If I can make it through this crowd, I'll be fine,” he said.

I finished my new year's champagne and then I went to the observation deck. The veritech fighters launched out of the Prometheus aircraft carrier. Soon I can see tiny fireballs in the distance as they engaged our enemies.

At least we have New Year's fireworks.

What was I thinking? Those fireballs represent people dying. Jenna might be one of them!

Then the fireballs stopped. I saw the veritechs come back and land on the deck of Prometheus.

ooooooooo

I was in my apartment still up, waiting for a call from Jenna or someone from her squadron. The phone rang. I was glad it was Jenna.

“I just finished the debriefing,” she said.

“Did Dow make it okay?” I asked, remembering the kid whom I met just minutes into the new year.

“Yes, he's back. We lost Perkins, though.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Thanks. We're gonna have a memorial service in the morning.”

“I guess I'll have to write his obit. Will Colonel Beckett at least release his military record to me?”

“Parts of it anyway. Just enough to let you know who he was.”

ooooooooo

I wrote the obituary for Corporal Perkins. He was a tourist visiting from Jacksonville, Florida when the SDF-1 took Macross City into space. He had always wanted to be a pilot, seeing the veritech fighters take off from the air base there. He joined up soon after the fold so he can ensure the ship gets home. In my commentary I wrote that the best way to honor his legacy is to get to Earth and reunite with our families.

The enemy resumed its constant attacks. From my observations, they were not trying to destroy the ship or even send a boarding party; they were testing our defenses. Jenna flew in some of those battles. In the meantime, Lynn Minmei called me and left a message saying that she was working on a record. I spoke to her in her family's restaurant.

“When will you finish?” I asked.

“As early as the end of February,” she said. “No later than mid-March.”

“And after that?”

“We'll see.”

Life continued on Macross City. I reported on social events and the battles which I observed on the observation deck. There was one particularly nasty attack that shook the whole ship. Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward issued a press release on the people who were killed. I did interviews for their obituaries.

A few weeks later, Dennis issued another press release. There were four people lost, but none of them confirmed dead.

Their names were Lew Badnarik, Ben Dixon, Lisa Hayes, Rick Hunter, and Max Sterling. Dennis provided me with copies of their service records, which of course were redacted significantly. I did some more research, and it turned out Rick Hunter was the boy who had been trapped below decks last year, and Dixon and Sterling had graduated high school on board ship. Looking through my archives, I did not quote them in my article regarding the graduation. I noticed Max Sterling had blue-dyed hair; hair dye was quite a fad for last year’s graduating class.

“I would like to do an interview,” I said, speaking to Dennis over the phone.

“Well, we are rather tight-lipped on personnel matters,” said Dennis.

“Thanks.”

There was another man I can call.

Oooooooooo

“If Angus and Maribel had you over for breakfast with their kids in the house, then I can trust you,” said the Spacy lieutenant commander sitting behind the desk inside the small office.

“Thank you for meeting with me here,” I said. “You are willing to talk about the missing pilots?”

“Third Lieutenant Rick Hunter.”

I was meeting with Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker, the commander of Skull Squadron. Colonel Beckett had arranged this meeting. The office had various recruitment posters for the United Nations Spacy. I noticed a picture of Fokker and a lady with curly brown hair sitting on top of a file cabinet, and another picture of him and a boy. Fokker himself was dressed in service khakis, with plenty of ribbons pinned to his chest.

“Go on, Commander.”

“I used to be in the air circus,” said Fokker as I sat in his private office. “Rick Hunter's dad owned the circus. I have no family. Mr. Hunter took me in, taught me how to fly. I was like a big brother to Rick. I left to become a fighter pilot when I was eighteen. I heard from him every now and then. Rick is someone that I trust with my very life, and with the lives of my pilots. I don't know if he's dead or not. But a veritech only has eighteen hours of air. He left at around 1400 last afternoon.”

“Maybe he was captured by the enemy,” I said.

“You're a reporter. You shouldn't speculate.”

“Of course not. Anything you can tell about him?”

“He loved flying, won the Amateur Flying Competition eight years in a row. He was the one who pulled that stunt back at the launch ceremony.”

Memories of that time resurfaced. It seemed so long ago. “Yeah, I remember.”

“You know, he’s sort of dating Minmei.”

“Really? I never knew that. But then they did spend all that time trapped below decks.”

“Well, I would not advise asking Minmei about Rick. She’s still a bit upset.”

“Call me if you find Rick and the others.”

“I just hope your next article on him isn't an obituary.”

I then left the commander's office.

oooooooooo

Minmei's debut album came out a few days later, on Valentine’s Day. I had decided to focus on Minmei's new career as an entertainer. With the enemy having ceased its offensive, I could concentrate on other news.

I was at the Tower Records store. The owner said that he would send back fees to Tower Records headquarters upon their return to Earth. Minmei was there with her entourage. She was signing copies of her debut album. Interestingly enough, the artist's name is Lynn Minmay. I guess she spelled her stage name differently.

“I've been waiting for this,” said one of the customers.

“Minmei rules!” yelled another.

“How do you like the crowd?” I asked Minmei.

“It's okay,” she said.

“You don't seem to excited,” I said.

“I'm just a little tired, that's all.”

Ooooooooo

That evening, Jenna and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a fine-dining restaurant. I was dressed in my suit, which was dry cleaned last week, and Jenna wore the black dress that I got her for Christmas. The restaurant was in the same building as the casino, but one the 18th Floor.

We rode up to the 18th floor and met with the maître d, a middle-aged man wearing a black vest over a white shirt, with a black bowtie around the collar. I gave him our names.

“Right this way, sir, ma’am,” he said. He led us through the dining area with cloth-covered tables. I noticed many couples sitting at the tables. We sat down at a table for two. There was a white tablecloth covering the table, as well as a vase packed with red roses and a candle with a little flame on top. From the table and through the adjacent window we could see much of Macross City.

“This certainly isn’t kindergarten,” said Jenna.

“Well, we do grown up things,” I said.

We started off with a salad with lettuce, croutons, onions, black olives, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. After that came the steak. I had a New York strip steak, while Jenna had ribeye. The steaks were covered in this garlic butter wine sauce. And writing of wine, we both had a twelve ounce glass of fine red wine.

“This will loosen me up,” said Jenna, sipping the wine.

“We might have seconds,” I said. “You look beautiful in that dress. It fits you.”

“Well, you did see my try it on at your place.” She sipped the wine. “You said I didn’t look as great with the dress on.”

After the steak, the waitress- a red-haired lady wearing a similar outfit as the maitre’d- served us our dessert- red cake. I started eating into its soft velvetiness. This evening felt perfect.

We finished our second glass of wine. “We’d better get ourselves going,” said Jenna.

“Yeah, I did promise Lani I’d bring you back in one piece.”

I paid the bill and we both went back to the elevator that would take us to the ground floor.

“We could stop by the Lucky Shamrock,” I said as we stepped inside, along with some other loving couples. “Greg and Steve are working tonight.”

“It is going to be crowded,” said Jenna.

The elevator reached the ground floor. Something was wrong.

We walked through the casino and it was empty.

I could smell something smoky.

And then I saw the scene.

There were wrecked tables and gaming machines. Police officers, paramedics, and firefighters cordoned off the scene.

There had been an explosion here.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-21 12:55pm

Chapter 10

Jihad in Space
I started at the carnage before me for a minute.


What had done this?


I could see two people wearing black jackets carrying a body bag on a stretcher.


I walked up to the yellow tape which read POLICE LINE- DO NOT CROSS. I saw a man standing within the taped area. He was wearing a cheap looking suit.


“I have a few questions,” I said.


“Only police, fire, and military allowed here,” he replied.


“I’m with the press.”


“I don’t care if you’re the Emperor of Bermuda. You can’t enter.”


“What are you going to do?” asked Jenna.


“I will go around asking questions,” I replied.


And so I did. There were a few people still standing within a minutes’ walking distance of the explosion site. I approached a young lady wearing a blue dress. She was sitting on a bech, and two paramedics from the Macross City Fire Department were tending to wounds on her face and arms.


“What happened?” I asked.


“I was just out having a good time,” she said. “Then I saw this man. He yelled something. People started to run. I ran too. There was this explosion.”


“What did he say?” I asked.


“I didn’t hear him clearly. He said something about all Mohammed.”


“Make sure you give your statement to the police, okay?”


I asked some other witnesses, who all agree there was an explosion. I went outside to the street. The red lights of the fire trucks parked on the streets flashed around the buildings. Police SUV’s were blocking the street in both directions. An ambulance drove off, hauling away another wounded.


A United Nations Spacy Toyota Avalon staff car pulled up. The doors were stenciled for official use only.


I saw Captain Henry J. Gloval step out, flanked by two Spacy policemen wearing white helmets.


“Captain, do you have any comment?” I asked.


“He has no comment,” replied the policeman.


“Katie and Lani are just around the corner,” said Jenna. I followed her to a street corner, and we stood there standing near a Cadillac Escalade that served as a Macross Police SUV.


“Jenna!” Katie yelled. “We were so worried!” She and Lani gave Jenna a big hug that lasted for a minute.


“I know,” she replied.


“I’m glad you’re okay too,” Lani said to me. She gave me a big hug.


“Thanks, Lani,” I replied.


“What happened?” asked Katie. “We heard the call for General Quarters, and about fifteen minutes later it was canceled. Then we heard about the explosion in the casino.”


“It was not an alien attack,” I said. “It was terrorism.”


“Terrorism?” asked Jenna. “Like from Earth?”


“Yeah. You might not remember, but someone tried to bomb the ceremony the day of the launch, and was arrested by the police. I guess during the alien attack, he managed to escape custody and with everything that’s happened in the past year, the police forgot about him.”


“But why?” asked Lani. “After almost a year away from Earth, under the threat of alien attack, with so many of us sacrificing our lives for the people of this city..why now?”


“I do not have an answer until the police can identify the bomber. But, off the record, I suspect the bomber was an Islamist terrorist.”


“What’s their motivation?” asked Jenna.


“They have a twisted view of God,” I said. “They believe they are entitled on their own to execute God’s judgment, even going so far as to sacrifice their own lives to do so. I think he chose today because it is Valentine’s Day, an infidel holiday, and he chose the casino because it was a bastion of infidelism. I’m from New York. I’ve seen what these people can do, what they’re capable of. I’ve studied how they think.”


“I wonder if there are others out there, if there will be more attacks,” said Katie. “We’re going to take Jenna home. Can we drop you off?”


I looked towards the site of the terrorist attack. “I might want to question a few more witnesses.”


Lani gave me another hug. “Thanks for bringing Jenna back to us in one piece,” she said.


Ooooooo


I wrote my piece on the bombing today. Both the Macross City police and the Spacy police had suspected that the explosion was the result of an act of terrorism, not an alien attack. Witnesses I interviewed agreed that a man yelled something and then detonated a bomb he was wearing.


There was, of course, the press conference in front of the Bright Star casino, which was closed due to the bombing. The Lucky Shamrock right next to it was also closed. Aside from the crowd of reporters and others, there were uniformed police officers as well as Space Marines all keeping watch, in case the bomber had accomplices with him in the city. The street in front of the casino was even blocked by two Tomahawk Destroids.


Mayor Tommy Luan was at the head of the press conference, dressed in a black suit instead of the more casual brown coat, collared shirt, and brown pants he was known for wearing. Standing next to him was Captain Gloval.


“It saddens me to stand here under these circumstances,” said the mayor. “From what I have been informed by the ongoing joint investigation of the city’s own police department, Captain Gloval’s Spacy police, and the Interpol agents who joined us on this journey, this was the result of a terrorist attack. A terrorist who, despite being stranded aboard this ship with the rest of us civilians, chose to continue whatever cause he believed in, to strike fear in our hearts.


“Thirteen people were killed, and dozens more are being treated in hospitals. Like you all, I am shocked and outraged at this attack. We have to pull together to survive against the alien enemy attacking us. And yet, there are those among us who wish to continue the conflicts still on Earth.


“The bomber killed himself in the attack. However, we are all continuing our investigation. At this point, we need to know more. Anyone who helped plan and prepare these…these cowardly murders, who helped cover it up, we will find them, arrest them, and once we return to Earth, they will stand trial.”


The whole crowd cheered.


“I can not add much to what the mayor said,” said Gloval. “Rest assured that the crew and the Space Marine detachment will fully cooperate in this investigation.”


There was another round of cheers.


Oooooo


I admired the resolve the people of this city had after hearing Mayor Luan’s speech. People have resolved to fight back during various attacks like Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11- and that was just American history.


But there is more than the desire to bring any accomplices and conspirators to justice. I visted the hospital.


As expected, it was busier than usual, due to the extra patients being treated for wounds sustained in that bombing.


“I know you,” I heard someone say. “Well, my sister knows you.”


I looked and a boy in his late teens was looking at me. He was dressed in suit that looked like a school uniform. He looked kind of familiar. Other kids around his age were standing near him.


“You are?” I asked.


“Bryan Hart, a student at Macross High. My sister is Lieutenant Lani Hart of Knight Squadron. You’re, uh, dating her friend right?”


“Yeah. You must be here to visit a friend of yours.”


“I don’t know Vince that well. I do have a class with him third period. I’m just here because one of our own was hurt.”


“I’ve spoken with you before,” said this boy with blond hair, dressed similarly to the kids here. “You were interviewing the families of those killed on the Prometheus.


“Your name?”


“Zack Bauer,” the boy replied. “My dad was Ocean Patrol Commander Harrison Bauer, XO of the Prometheus.”


“Oh,” I said. That article about the Prometheus was written nearly a year ago.


“I’ve known Vince for two and a half years now. He’s an American like I am.”


A nurse spoke to the kids.


“He’s with us,” said Bryan, referring to me.


We all rode this elevator. We emerged to another lobby, which looked very much like hospital waiting rooms I had been to in the past. The nurse at the station said something to the kids, and they and I walked along this white corridor and entered one of the rooms.


The room looks typical, similar to the hospital room Jenna stayed in four months ago. There were balloons decorating the room.


And in the bed I saw the kid.


He worked as a host at the Lucky Shamrock.


“It’s great this boy has friends like you,” said Jean the nurse, walking into the room. “Vince here is on morphine right now, so he’s not very lucid.”


“Hi,” said Vince, weakly, upon seeing his schoolmates.


“You okay, buddy?” asked Zack.


“I feel…sort of..spaced out.”


“Any comments?” I asked Jean.


“Oh, it’s you,” she said, recognizing me from my visits to Jenna. “Our patient here was struck with three pieces of shrapnel in his back. One piece missed his aorta by just half a millimeter.”


I did not need to have gone through nursing school to know that slicing open an aorta was very bad news.

“I work as a hostess at that same place,” said this girl with blond hair tied in a ponytail. “It could have been me.”


I took a second look and recognized her; she had been at the host stand more than once.


“Your name?”


“Shannon,” she said. “Shannon Cole. I have two classes with Vince during the day, and I work at the Lucky Shamrock as a hostess. It could have been me.”


I heard footsteps.


“Claudia,” said Zack.


“Good to see you, Zack,” said Claudia, giving Zack a hug. I looked and saw a woman with tightly-curled brown hair, wearing long-sleeve service khakis. Her rank insignia identified her as a first lieutenant.


I instantly recognized the man who accompanied her, for he was none other than Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker of Skull Squadron!


“Hi,” said Fokker.


“Commander,” I replied. I wondered why he would visit Vince.


I looked at Vince, who still looked spaced out from the morphine being dripped into him via IV.


“Will his parents be here?” I asked.


“Our parents died,” said Claudia. “Eight years ago. I’ve been his legal guardian since then.”


“Oh.”


“He was supposed to fly back to South Carolina to stay with our grandparents after the launch. But instead he ended up here. In this hospital bed.”


“Oh, Focker, I never expected to see ya here,” I heard a voice say.


I looked and saw the detective who was at the blast site, wearing the same cheap, tacky suit.


“Oh, it’s you,” said Commander Fokker, disgust clearly audible in his tone. “What do you want?”


“Relax, Focker, I’m not here for ya,” replied the detective. “I’m here for him.”


He was looking at me.


“Yes?” I asked.


“Yer under arrest for conspiracy to commit terrorism and thirteen counts of murder.”


Before I knew it, handcuffs were slapped on my wrists.


oooooooo


I was taken to the Macross City Police headquarters. I was fingerprinted and photographed. Then I was escorted to a small room. There was a table and two chairs. I waited there for many minutes.

Then the door opened. The detective I had spoken to at the site of the terrorist attack sat down.

“I'm Detective Bruno Fantone, Macross PD,” he said.

“Do I get a lawyer?” I asked.

“That would be bad news for you,” he said, “because when you get a lawyer, that means you’ve been charged with a crime. Refusin’ to answer my questions is also a crime, a felony since we’re investatin’ terrorism and murder. Explain where you were at 7:18 P.M. February 14th. ”

“I was at the Stellar Steakhouse above the casino. I was with my girlfriend Jenna Murphy. She's a lieutenant in the Marines and a veritech pilot.”

“And you claimed to have seen the bomber.”

“Yes. The first time was at the launch ceremony. I saw a scuffle and the Spacy police arrested a man. I saw that he was wearing dynamite on his waist. I looked into his eyes. The second time was aboard ship, just before we visited Mars.”

“Do you really think the Spacy police would release a man who tried to blow up the ship?”

“The enemy attack on that day probably gave him an opportunity to slip by.”

“You say he's a member of an anti-UN faction.”

“One of the Islamic factions. They send people to blow themselves up to destroy civilian targets, promising eternal paradise as a reward. They were doing that even before the Macross arrived on Earth. I'm from New York and I know what these people can do.”

“So you say. How do we even know you are who you say you are? Anyone could have lied when they registered for residency on board this ship.”

“That bomber probably did.”

“And last October, you filed a report to the police claiming to have seen someone who tried to bomb the ceremonies?”

“Because I did,” I said.

I was then escorted to a jail cell.

oooooooooo

The next morning, I woke up and looked around, seeing a rectangular room and bars. I was in jail. The jailer served me some breakfast which was simply bread and orange juice.

There was not much to do in jail other than keep to myself, sit around, and eat meals. I did a a visitor in the evening.

Three of them in fact.

“Hi,” said Jenna, accompanied by her friends Katie Taney and Lani Hart. “How are you doing?”

“Just waiting out, I guess,” I said. “I might still be in jail when we return to Earth.”

“There's no way you could have been involved.”

“They think I'm involved because I warned them about the terrorist a few months ago.”

“What dickheads,” said Lani.

“Maybe we could tell Colonel Beckett,” said Katie.

“it’s sad about all those people,” said Jenna. “Why did they have to die?”

“They didn't have to,” I said. “Somebody made a choice to kill them just because of a false promise of paradise. Over eight years ago, I lost an uncle to those kind of people. They're probably worse than the enemy you guys are fighting.”

“I'll make sure to visit you after work,” said Jenna.

“I'd appreciate that,” I said.

I went back to my cell, as if I had anywhere else to go, and lied down on the cot. I wondered about my future. What evidence do they have against me? Where on Earth would the trial take place?

Then a guard was at my cell door.

“Cops got more questions for you,” he said.

I was led back to this bare room with only a table. Detective Fantone sat at the table, dressed in that tacky suit.

“How has jail been to ya?” asked the detective.

“It feels more confined than the ship in general,” I replied.

“You’d better get used to it, ‘cause I foresee a lifetime behind bars for ya.”

“You charging me with that bombing?”

“Oh, I can’t charge ya. Not even my boss, Police Chief Scott Bernard, or his boss, Mayor Tommy Luan, can charge ya. The City Prosecutor will decide. And it looks really bad for ya.”

“Do you have anything to ask?”

“Convince me yer innocent.”

“Listen, Detective. I’ve done my research, and under United Earth Government criminal courts, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the law under the United Earth Government, which has jurisdiction over Macross City.”

“Ya did your research, Mr. Reporter. And yer right. The thing is, if the Prosecutor charges ya, you’ll be stuck in a jail cell pending your trial on Earth. And ya won’t be getting’ any conjugal visits with yer lady pilot girlfriend. And a trial could take years. If ya want a Get Out of Jail Free Card, convince me yer innocent.”

“I never met the bomber before, only saw him. I’ve had no communication with him ever.”

“So you’ve got no problem with the United Earth Government.”

“It’s not perfect, but..”

“So it’s not perfect. So you have motive to help terrorists.”

“Excuse me? Just because the government isn’t perfect means I want to bomb casinos?”

“Terrorists always blame governments.”

“Dissent can’t be evidence of terrorism!”

“It can be motive.”

“It proves nothing.”

“A panel of judges can decide that during yer trial. Now, here’s the thing. Right now, it looks like you’ll have a date with some judges. If they think yer guilty, you’ll be in prison for the rest of yer life. But maybe a confession will givbe ya a chance to walk out of prison.”

“I’m innocent! I’m not confessing.”

“Ya don’t realize what tools we have. We searched your place before we took ya in. Who knows what we’ll uncover. Your lady pilot girlfriend and her two party girls. Maybe they’re in on it.”


“No!”

“And we’ve been lookin’ through the article ya wrote. Ya wrote about a protest in front of U.N. Headquarters in New York.”

“Well, protests are news.”

“Yer article was too favorable of them.”

“They were just expressing disagreement. That right is protected in the United States!”

“Terrorists always say they’re just disagreeing with the government. Now listen, you tell us who else planned this bombing, or else we’ll go full force against ya in court.”

“I don’t know who planned this bombing, and I had nothing to do with it.”

Fantone stood up. “I’ll ask ya more questions if I need to,” he said. “Yer not going anywhere.”

ooooooooooo

“I believe it,” said Jenna. “He grilled me that way when he questioned me at the police station. He made me answer questions…about us.”

“Just because I reported on an anti-UN protest suddenly means I'm an Islamic terrorist?” I asked.

“A lot of people did die in that bombing. People want someone to blame.”

“Then blame it on those aliens for all I care!”

“Just have faith. Sometimes when I fly out there, I wonder if I'll come back. I know you'll get through this.”

“How about we talk about you,” I said. “How are you doing?”

“Fine. The enemy hasn't attacked since Valentine's Day.”

“Maybe they have other priorities,” I said. “Who knows what other enemies they have besides us.”

“And Earth had not been attacked since we left. The ship now has realtime communication with Earth. We're close to home.”

“Yeah, and here I am in a jail cell.”

“Visiting time is over,” said the police officer. I was escorted back to my cell. I just lay in my cell, staring at the ceiling, with only the jailer to keep me company. Time seemed to stop and I couldn't sleep. I wondered if spending all my time in a small cell will be in my future.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-22 10:54am

Chapter 11

Splashdown!​


The next morning, I was given breakfast. I just sat in my cell. This was boring. this was more boring than the day after the fold operation when the city was still out in the island. What was I supposed to do? I could sleep half of the day off, but when I am awake I need something to do.

Then some people came to my cell. Detective Fantone was with some uniformed police officers and people in suits.

“We’re releasin’ ya,” said the detective. “The Prosecutor’s not filin’ charges.”

“So you think I’m innocent?” I asked.

“We neither confirm nor deny that.”

My mood became ecstatic. I was free!

I signed a form and then the police gave me the stuff they took when I was arrested. I got dressed in my own clothes and then I walked out of the jail.

“The guy who did the bombing was Abu Musab Salim,” said one of the men in suits. “He was on Interpol's terrorist watch list, believed to be a member of the Blood Martyrs’ Brigade. There was not enough evidence connecting you to any terrorist acts on Earth.”

“I'd better make a phone call,” I said.

I went to a public telephone and dialed the number for the Knight Squadron office. I asked for Lieutenant Jenna Murphy.

“Hello,” said Jenna.

“I'M OUT OF JAIL!” I yelled.

“I knew they would release you.”

Ooooooooooo


It took a while for me to readjust to freedom. The Lucky Smarock was still closed for repairs, so my friends and I simply celebrated at the observation deck. We can see empty space beyond and the stars.


“Look,” said Lani. “that blue ball. It’s Earth. We’re so close.”


“About maybe two weeks’ traveling time,” said Katie.


“I’m just glad you’re out of jail,” said Jenna.


“Yeah,” I replied, sipping my beer.


“There are advantages to having a day off work, friend,” said Greg, wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans instead of the usual Lucky Shamrock outfit.


“It’s easy to take freedom for granted,” I said.


I settled into a routine for or less for the next two weeks as the ship approached Earth, working on my stories, some of them involving Minmei.


And then I got a message from the office of Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker.


The MIA pilots had been rescued.


oooooooooo


MISSING CREW MEMBERS RETURN HOME SAFELY!

That was the headline the next day. I wrote about what the military officially released. Rick Hunter, Max Sterling, Ben Dixon, and Lisa Hayes had been captured by the enemy. They managed to escape somehow and steal an enemy battle pod. They were examined in the SDF-1 Macross's sick bay and then they were released. I gathered statements from their co-workers, as the four of them were not available for interviews.

But there was one sad note. Third Lieutenant Lew Badnarik was killed in the enemy attack that led to their capture. I interviewed his parents.

“We flew to Macross to see Lew before the ship launched from Earth,” said Mrs. Badnarik, wiping tears from her eyes. “We were supposed to fly home the day after.”

“Lew helped us adjust to life on board the ship,” said Mr. Badnarik. “He took the time to visit us after he got off duty. He made sure to spend at least one evening a week with us. We had dinner the evening before he was sent out to his death.”

“Badnarik wasn't qualified for combat flying,” said his wingmate Lieutenant Danning. “He and I were assigned to operate the Cat's Eye recon planes. 'He was a good friend.”

The day that Lew Badnarik's obituary was published, the military decided to release some information that the four crew members gathered while they were in enemy custody. I and the other reporters went inside the SDF-1's press briefing room. Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward spoke.

“The enemy call themselves the Zentraedi,” said Commander Ward. “They are about forty feet tall according to reports from our recently recovered crew members.”

At least I knew how to refer to them in future articles. The description did not surprise me, since I saw one of them the day I met Jenna.

“What do the Zentraedi want?” someone asked.

“We don't know.”

“Where is their home planet?” asked another reporter.

“We don't know. The four only saw the inside of an enemy ship.”

“And how many ship are there in their fleet?” I asked.

“That information is classified, sir,” said the commander.

oooooooooo

A big welcome home celebration as held at the Macross Amphitheater, the same place where Jenna competed in the Miss Macross competition. Third Lieutenant Ben Dixon, Lieutenant Commander Lisa Hayes, Second Lieutenant Rick Hunter, and Third Lieutentant Max Sterling were all on stage, dressed in their Class “A’s” uniforms. Ben Dixon was this big fellow with brown hair, Lisa Hayes was a woman with brown hair reaching her shoulders, Rick Hunter was shorter than Ben and had black hair, and Max Sterling had blue-dyed hair and wore glasses, unusual for a combat pilot.

Lynn Minmei walked out and gave flowers to each of them. She gave Rick Hunter a kiss. I made sure to take notes.

The four of them walked through the aisle.

“It was amazing that you four managed to escape an enemy ship,” said Lani. “Considering you're space squids.”

“Hey, lady,” said Ben Dixon. “We're the guys that haul your veritechs out into space. And how would you deal with giant aliens? Fortunately, Max, the skipper, and Commander Hayes had me to watch out for them. With those stunts we pulled, those aliens couldn't keep us locked up. Haw! Haw! Haw!”

“You sure talk big,” said Katie.

I walked up to speak with this guy. “How was it like?” I asked.

“it was huge!” said Ben Dixon. “I mean, the ship was huge. You could fit a highway in one of their corridors! And these aliens were huge. But they were no match for me.”

“Dixon!” barked Commander Hayes. “Watch what you say to this reporter.”

“Sorry, ma'am.”

I asked Max, the blue-haired boy about his experience.

“I had to do some creative thinking to escape the alien ship,” he said.

I turned to Lieutenant Hunter. “How do you feel?” I asked.

“I just want to go home and sleep,” said Rick. “I had enough excitement to last me forever.”

Jenna looked at me. “How about we have our own celebration?” she asked.

“Not done working yet,” I said. “I have an idea on how to get more information. Follow me.” I took Jenna's hand and then I ran into the street. “Ben Dixon!” I yelled. “Hey Ben!”

“What is it?” asked the Spacy pilot.

“I was really impressed with how you escaped from the enemy,” I said. “We should buy you a drink.”

And so I did.

oooooooooooo

We all took Ben Dixon to the Bright Star Casino. The casino was busy as usual, with patrons gambling their money in slot machines, table card games, roulette, and craps. We went to the bar. Some lady named Susie was bartending.

“This man escaped from the Zentraedi ship,” said Lani. “I'm buying him a drink.”

“Well, I never refuse a drink from a pretty lady,” said Ben Dixon.

“The name’s Lani. Third Lieutenant Lani Hart from Knight Squadron.”

“So you fly veritechs too.”

“Yeah.”

And so they started chatting, as Jenna and I glanced in their direction on occasion. After maybe an hour, Ben stumbled away.

“He…talked a lot,” said Lani. She handed me a tape recorder.

I rewound the tape and played back. “Thanks,” I said.

“No prob.”

We all went back to my place. We listened to the conversation between Lani Hart and Ben Dixon.

We heard about how the Zentraedi live only for war.

How they have no concept of love.

Nor natural reproduction.

About how they want to find something called protoculture.

About how the Zentraedi could shrink themselves to human size.

And we heard that they had four million ships.


oooooooooo

We all went to the observation deck. We could see outside into space.

“Four million ships,” I said. “The Spacy does not even have two thousand ships.”

“Maybe the Zentraedi have other enemies,” said Jenna. “I mean, there have been long periods of no enemy attacks against us. We might be a low priority compared to their other foes.”

“I have absolutely no idea of what interstellar politics are like,” I said. “If the Zentraedi have powerful enemies, I hope they stay at war. If we become their only enemy, there won't be anything left of the ship bigger than a baseball.”

“Then let’s…,” Lani started to say. “Uh….I.”

And she dropped on the floor.

“Dammit!” yelled Jenna. She checked out Lani, who was passed out. “Why do we have to do this?”

“As if you’re the one to talk,” said Katie. “You’re just returning the favor.”

We all helped her up. “She’s gonna feel real bad when she wakes up,” said Jenna.

“You’re the expert, Jenna,” said Katie.

“It was for a good cause,” I said.

“At least she’s passed out,” said Katie. “If she drank a little less, she would have eloped with that Dixon fellow.”

“As if you’re the one to talk,” said Jenna.

“I never eloped.”

“No, you just bought a wedding dress that cost three months’ pay. I mean, wanting to get married after the first date?”

“What?” I asked. It sounded like a front page story all on its own.

“It’s nothing,” said Katie. “It’s in the past. I was only nineteen. Besides, pawning the engagement ring recouped most of the cost of that dress.”

oooooooooo

All of Macross City learned that we were only two days from Earth. There was much talk of what they would do, whom they would call.

I called the telephone operator to ask if I can speak to someone on Earth, since we were close enough for realtime radio communication.

“No, you can only call on board ship,” said the Macross telephone operator.

“Patch me in to SDF-1 Communications Control.”

“Hello,” said a female voice.

I told her my name. “Can you get me a call to New York?'“ I asked.

“We can't access the telephone satellites,” she said.

I was certain the enemy would try to stop us from reaching Earth orbit. On the morning we were predicted to arrive, I went to the observation deck. I could see Earth without a telescope. I pointed the telescope and then put a quarter in. I moved and saw the continents. It looked unfamiliar until I realized we were flying such that I was looking at Earth with the south pole on top. I tried to look at the continents, see if I could recognize the shapes even if they appeared upside down.

I recognized Africa. I could see Europe with its Italian peninsula. I could see the British isles. I zoomed in. I could see North America. I looked up and down the coastline.

As Earth was rotating clockwise in relation to us, I could see relatively large island near North America's Atlantic coastline. That was Long Island. the island entered the lit side of Earth. I could see Queens and Brooklyn. Then a much smaller island appeared. Manhattan.

It would be nice if SDF-1 Macross were to land right in New York Harbor, next to the Statue of Liberty. But it was not to be.

The alarm sounded, and I knew this was it. We were going to break through the enemy lines and make it to Earth. I saw the veritechs launch out of the deck of the Prometheus.

“ALL HANDS PREPARED FOR MODULAR TRANSFORMATION!” I heard through the loudspeaker.

Fortunately, the observation deck remained intact after the transformation, as it was rebuilt after the first transformation. I could see fireballs out in space. The veritechs were engaging the Zentraedi fighters and pods.

I prayed that Jenna would be there to greet me when we return to Earth.

Then the fireballs stopped. I wondered if we repelled the enemy attack, or if all of our fighters were destroyed and the Zentraedi would then destroy us.

The Earth got closer and closer and I could see some of the veritechs. We broke through! We were going back to Earth.

I sat down on one of the seats. The seats here had seat belts. I made sure to fasten my seat belts. I would be in for a very bumpy read.

The Earth consumed more of my view until it filled the whole window. The window showed nothing but an expanse of blue streaked with white. I could soon see some sort of light, like a corona. The SDF-1 was re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. I stared for many tense minutes. I could see these coronas surrounding our veritech escorts.

Then the corona effect disappeared. We were slowing down. I could see clouds pass us. I waited many more minutes.

Then I felt shaking and I saw water splash against the window. Water filled the view of the window for a few seconds. then it receded to reveal a clear blue sky.

The Earth's sky.

I got out of my seat and looked at the sky. It was so beautiful.

“WE HAVE JUST TOUCHED DOWN IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN!” yelled an excited female voice over the intercom. “THE CAPTAIN AND CREW WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE FOR YOU SPLENDID COOPERATION DURING THIS LONG AND DIFFICULT UNDERTAKING. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY ON EARTH! THE SUN IS SHINING AND THE SEA IS CALM! IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK!”

I immediately ran through the streets of Macross City and though one of the hatches. I took a big whiff. I was breathing air from Earth! Hundreds of people were with me. I saw one guy doing cartwheels.

I looked up and saw veritech fighters greeting us. They were probably from a U.N. Ocean Patrol aircraft carrier nearby, coming to greet us all home. I then saw veritechs on their landing approach from Prometheus. One by one they landed until the SDF-1's air wing was all in the hangar deck.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Jenna.

We kissed.

Our first kiss on Earth.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-23 09:18am

Chapter 12

St. Patrick's Day​

The evening after we returned to Earth, we celebrated in the Lynns’ Chinese restaurant. Jenna was there with Katie and Lani, as well as other Knight Squadron pilots and civilian companions.

“To Earth,” we all said as we toasted our drinks.

“You know, it's amazing,” said Lieutenant Joel Reese. “We were only gonna be on the ship six months. Instead, we spent a year here and we got to meet more people than we thought.”

“Hey Landry, who's that girl?” asked Lani.

“She was in the Miss Macross competition,” said Lieutenant Kevin Landry. “She's gonna be a model.”

“At least I got a great consolation prize,” said this girl with long, flowing black hair who is sitting on the pilot's lap. “Maybe I can go to Paris to be a model.”

“By next week, we'll be off this ship,” said Lieutenant Akira Nomura. “I'll miss the crew, especially the air combat controllers, you know the ones that are always chatty.”

“Listen,” I said. “We have a worldwide postal system, not to mention the Internet. We can still have contact. We are in a place where we can travel between the Earth and moon in less than a day.”

“And we should not forgot Major Colmes and the others,” said Katie. “They died so we can be here.”

“Another toast,” I said, thinking of Ned. “To those who couldn't be with us today.”

Oooooooo

Later that night, we changed into our club clothes and went into the nightclub space, all having our own table with bottle service. This was definitely an occasion to splurge.

“Okay, peeps,” said the DJ. “We are back on Earth, and it is time to par-tay! Let’s give it up for the crew and Marines!”

“Yeah!” yelled Lani, already on the dance floor, wearing her red dress.

“I’m going to miss this place,” said Landry, holding a screwdriver in his hand. “My brother and nephew will probably be off this ship soon.”

I stood up and held Jenna’s left hand, and then pulled her up. “Shall we have our first dance on Earth?” I asked.

“Of course,” she replied.


oooooooooo

After leaving Space, Jenna and I were inside our apartment. It was my first night on Earth since my stay at the Macross Hyatt over a year ago. I looked around the place. I looked at the bed and the dining table and the sock drawer and the desk and the telephone and the General Electric clock radio and the Sony television and the Aiwa stereo system. Jenna helped me with the decoration. Now I will soon move back home.

“This is Minmei's debut album,” said Jenna, holding a CD. She inserts it into the stereo's CD player and presses the play button.

“Now that I'm sure that I found the man in my life,” the song begins.

“So you're going back to New York,” she said.

“Yeah. As soon as the transport planes arrive.”

“There's seventy thousand here. It'll take few flights to move everyone out. And while you have a home in New York, what about the people whose homes were in Macross City?”

“Maybe they can be relocated somewhere on Long Island,” I said. “Plenty of space there for seventy thousand people.”

“We won't be seeing much of each other after you go back to New York. Even if you were staying on the ship, my squadron might be moved to a Marine air station on Earth or even on the moon. We’ve had our deployment.”

“We'll just have to make sure we have a line of communication with each other,” I said. “And maybe you can take a vacation and come with me to New York. After a year of fighting the Zentraedi just to get us all home, I don't think Space Marine Headquarters would deny you and your whole squadron a vacation. Let other pilots take the task of defending Earth for a while.”

“You're right,” said Jenna. “Give me the phone number for your home and office in New York.”

“I probably don't have an apartment in New York anymore; I can give you the number for my parents' house in Queens. And I can give you my office number. I'd love to see the look on my co-worker’s faces when he reads my articles.”

oooooooooooo

WE'RE BACK! SDF-1 MACROSS SPLASHES DOWN ON EARTH

That was the next day's headline for the Macross Gazette, with me writing the cover story. Macross City was holding a party outside on the deck of Daedalus. Jenna had the day off, so we were there. There were booths around. People were serving punch and candy and party favors. Jenna was wearing a cute coned hat on her head. I saw transport planes landing on the deck of Prometheus.

“Those are the new arrivals,” said Jenna. “They're coming in to replace those who were killed.”

“I wonder if the Macross will be returning to space,” I said.

“Well, I'm sure it will after you and the others leave. I don't know if my squadron will still be on the ship.”

“I want to spend every moment with you,” I said.

I grabbed her waist and pulled her to me. I smiled as I kissed her.

“What are you doing?” someone asked.

I turned and saw three men. Two of them was holding up a third, bigger man who had trouble standing. One of them had black hair, the other had purple hair, and the big guy had red hair.

“I'm just here with my girlfriend celebrating our return to Earth,” I said.

“What is this thing girlfriend?” asked the purple-haired man.

“And why were you pressing your lips together?” asked the black-haired man.

“I'm a girl, he's a boy, and we love each other,” said Jenna. “Are you gay or something?”

“Gay?” asked the purple-haired man.

“Yeah, we're gay!” said the big red-haired man.

“That's right,” said the man with black hair. “Gay we are.”

“Let's leave these three queers to be with each other,” said Jenna.

I looked and noticed a limousine. I saw a black-haired girl come out. That was Lynn Minmei!

“Don't you want to go over there to ask Minmei questions?” asked Jenna.

“I can cover the party here,” I said. “With you.”

I looked and saw Minmei get into a fanjet with this guy in an orange jacket. The fanjet takes off and flies over the Pacific to the west.

“If Minmei's leaving, maybe you will too,” said Jenna.

I then saw another plane. It was a military plane with the UN military logo. It was launched from Prometheus. The two planes were followed by veritech fighters. After I saw the planes disappear, Jenna and I took sips of punch.

“Excuse me, ma'am,” said someone. I looked and saw a UN Spacy policeman.

“What?” asked Jenna.

“Are you Second Lieutenant Jenna Murphy?” he asked.

“Yes, Corporal.”

“Then come with me. Lieutenant Colonel Beckett summons you.”

“But it's my day off.”

“I'm sure it’s very important, ma'am.”

I saw Jenna taken into the ship. I looked at the partying crowd, and I figured I have enough notes for a story. I went back inside.

oooooooooo

I was in my office when Jenna burst in, dressed in her uniform. She was overexcited.

“Guess what?” she asked.

“The colonel apologized for dragging you in on your day off when he didn't need you?” I asked.

“No, you are looking at First Lieutenant Jenna Murphy! I got promoted! I’m now a flight captain now.”

I hugged her. “Congratulations, First Lieutenant!”

“Katie and Lani got promoted too; they're second lieutenants. We're gonna celebrate at the Lynns' Chinese restaurant tonight.”

So we did.

Knight Squadron celebrated their recent promotions at the Lynns' Chinese restaurant. We all sat down there.

“To our promotions,” said Katie.

“And to the new recruits we have,” said Lieutenant Reese.

“So what's it like being a second lieutenant?” I asked him, who also got promoted

“Knowing you're not at the bottom of the shit heap,” he replied as he grabbed chow fun noodles with his chopsticks.

“You know,” said Lani, “there are first lieutenants who have command over whole squadrons. Like Mako Squadron, for instance.”

“Mako Squadron?” asked Kevin Landry, who was also promoted to first lieutenant. “Tha’ts more of a squadronito.”

“I heard we got some more meat on this hip,” said Jenna. “Real meat, not the artificial meat.”

“Will all of you get a vacation?” I asked.

“I hope so,” replied everyone.

“Remember flight training,” said Lani. “When we were like learning how to land the veritechs, and then Jenna accidentally went into guardian mode and she landed right in the freeway.”

“They put the landing gear lever close to the mode control lever,” said Jenna. “It wasn't my fault.”

“You're lucky you're here with us,” said Katie, “And not pushing papers in UN Headquarters.”

oooooooooooo

The next morning, I went to the Prometheus to cover Minmei's return. As it turned out, she wanted to stay in Macross City, so she was being flown back in that little fanjet. The reporters were allowed on the hangar deck. I was dressed in my suit, the same one I wore when I first left Earth.

The elevator descended, and the little fanjet came down. I took a pictures. Then Minmei came out along with two people.

Why were there two people with her? I thought there was only one pilot.

The pilot I recognized, Lieutenant Rick Hunter. I did not recognize the young man with long black hair. He was wore purple pants and a purple jacket over a blue shirt.

“Excuse me, sir,” I asked. “What is your name?”

“Lynn Kyle,” he said. “Call me Kyle. Minmei's my cousin.”

“And where did you fly from?” I asked.

“Yokohama, Japan,” said Kyle. “Minmei's parents lived there and I was living with them when I went to college over there. In my last semester, I heard Macross City was destroyed. I didn't know until Minmei came back.”

“What is going on Earth?” I asked.

“I just want to be with my parents now,” said Kyle.

“Excuse me, Minmei,” I said. “Tell us what you heard about world events?”

“It's still here,” she said.

I went back inside. I checked my voice mail.

“It’s Dennis,” I heard. “Important press conference at 1200.”

Ooooooooooo

I attended the conference with dozens of other reporters, both print and broadcast. Cameras were aimed at the podium.

Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward stood at the podium, wearing his class “A’s”.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” said Dennis. “Many of you are hungry for lunch. I have an announcement.”

We all waited with anticipation for a few seconds.

“The passengers will be remaining on this ship for the time being due to quarantine,” he said. “At this time, no one will be disembarking the ship.”

Suddenly he was asked a flurry of questions.

“How long will we be here?”

“At this point, I can not say. But the ship is under quarantine.”

“But Minmei managed to leave.”

“Both Lynn Minmei and Lieutenant Rick Hunter were checked for diseases before they left the ship.”

“Are we going to be let off the ship one-by-one?”

“The only thing I can say at this point is that UEF Supreme Command will ensure we have a steady supply of food and medicines while we wait. That is all.”

“I have one more question,” I said. “Why are we not allowed to make telephone calls or send e-mails off this ship?”

“What?”

“If we are still here because the government does not want any space diseases spreading to Earth, why can’t we make telephone calls to our families? Or send e-mail? Why is there a communications blackout?”

“I have no comment,” replied Dennis. “But be aware that as far as we know, we are still under the threat of Zentraedi attack.”

Something was not right here.

Why are we not allowed to call our families off the ship?

I could see from the look on Dennis’s face that he was wondering the same thing.

My cell phone rang. “Hi,” I said.

“It’s Jenna,” I heard.

“The ship is under quarantine; we’re not permitted to leave for now.”

“Yeah, I saw it announced on TV. There was this big fight in the observation bar. Some of the civilians were blaming it on us military folk.”

“Yeah.”

“And you know what? Commander Fokker of Skull Squadron stepped in to break up the fight.”

“I wish I could have seen that. Now, listen. Something’s fishy about this. I can’t call anyone in New York. There’s a communications blackout.”

“Well, radio silence is used to avoid detection by the enemy.”

“The Zentraedi know full well where we are. We’re not being let off the ship; we’re not allowed to communicate with the outside world. Someone wants to keep us a secret.”

“Oh. Anyway, Katie and I are having dinner with Lani and her family tonight. They were expecting to fly home to Toronto tomorrow, but with this latest news...”

“I guess I’ll see you after dinner, then.”

“See you later.”

My assignment was going to last even longer than I expected.

Oooooooo

SHIP UNDER QUARANTINE! NO ONE ALLOWED OFF YET

That was my headline. I included Dennis’s quote, as well as comments from many people on the streets of macros City. Many of them were furious, as they could not even make a phone call or access any Internet pages off the ship.

I could feel the tension over the next few days; I did not need to interview anyone to find that out. I noticed more planes- I found out they were C-2 Greyhounds- landing on the Prometheus regularly- some to deliver crewmen and Space Marines recently reassigned on board the Macross, but most of them were for the delivery of supplies and equipment. I asked both Jenna and Colonel Beckett about these deliveries, but, not surprisingly, they both said they could not discuss this with me. All I could report on is what I saw, with pictures themselves.

One day, I got a knock on my door. I looked through the peephole and noticed Detective Bruno Fantone, flashing his badge.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“I’m not here to arrest ya,” replied the detective. “Not yet, anyway. But there is something interestin’ you might want to know.”

“Like what?”

“We can’t tap into the military’s phone lines; heads’ll roll up and down in the department if even a rookie cop did that. But plenty of people in uniform- both the ones who were here the past year and the new arrivals, are not too careful of what they say on unsecured lines.”

“What did you hear?”

“Mostly boring stuff. Sometimes stuff a little less boring, like what ya and yer lady pilot girlfriend say to each other. People complainin’ about how the sergeant keeps working them too hard, or won’t let them have a fun night out in the town. But I heard of rumors that the ship will leave Earth with everyone still on board.”

“Like exile us?”

“Oh, they’ll deny it, just like suspects always deny sayin’ what we recorded them sayin’. But if it’s said over an unsecure line, it’s practically true.”

A thought occurred me. “Hmmm,” I said. “what if some of them deliberately said that on an unsecured line, knowing that you cops might be listening in?”

“Could be,” replied Fantone. “Or could be they’re just not thinkin’ and will probably end up cleanin’ toilets every night for the next month for bein’ stupid. Eh, whatever. Military discipline issues aren’t my problem.”

He walked away from my door.

I still had work to do.

I picked up the phone and dialed a number.

Oooooooo

“So you’ve been here longer than expected,” said Lynn Kyle, sitting across me.

“I was supposed to be back in New York in two days,” I replied. “I even got tickets to a Yankees versus Mets game two months in advance. I wish I knew who won, at least.”

Today was March 17th, and the Lucky Shamrock reopened after that terrorist attack last month. I had reserved a table in advance, as I knew the place would be packed even during the day. So many people were here, and both Greg and Steve were working behind the bar.

I had a business lunch meeting with Lynn Kyle. A pitcher of green-dyed blonde ale, brewed right here, sat on our table, beside another pitcher that is half empty. Kyle tried to shepherd’s pie, while I had Irish nachoes- potato chips smothered in cheddar cheese sauce and sprinkled with scallions, bacon bits, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream.

“I want to have inside access to Minmei’s career,” I said, downing another beer. “Shows, plays, movies.”

Kyle looked at copies of my articles. “Pretty impressive. She was even trapped below decks?”

“I wrote the article. Listen, everyone here loves Minmei. She’s like how popular the Beatles were. I can write about Minmei not just for Macross City, but the whole Earth!”

“I don’t know,” said Kyle, downing another beer. “The military is blocking all outbound communications from this ship. But you know what..”

I looked and saw a hostess. I recognized her.

“Hi, Shannon,” I said.

“Oh, it’s you,” she replied. The guy who got arrested while visiting Vince.”

“What?” asked Kyle.

“Ancient history.” I looked to Shannon. “How’s Vince? Is he working?”

“Ask him yourself.”

I looked and saw Vince, wearing the white shirt, green necktie.

“How are you doing, kid?” I asked him.

“Glad to be out of the hospital, glad to be back at school, but right now, I’ve got to go,” replied the kid.

“Okay,” said Kyle. “As I was saying..”

I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I turned and saw Jenna.

“What are you guys doing here?” I asked.

“We just want some drinks,” said Jenna.

“Who’s your cute friend?” asked Lani.

“Kyle,” said Kyle. “Lynn Kyle. My parents own the Chinese restaurant. I’m Minmei’s cousin.”

“Nice to meet you, buddy,” said Lani, tapping Kyle on the shoulder.

“I’m Katie, by the way,” said Katie.

“Okay, Katie by the way,” replied Kyle.

“You may not know this, but these ladies are all fighter pilots,” I said. “They fought to defend us.”

“I see,” said Kyle.

“Well, I can see Kyle’s good looking,” said Lani.

“Wait, I thought you and that Dixon fellow had drinks together.”

“One drink. Two weeks ago. I mean, I’m not the one who gets engaged after the first date. Besides, Jenna didn’t get serious with her man until a month after they met. These things take time.”

“Do you mind if we join you, Lynn Kyle?” asked Jenna. “Since we don’t have a place to sit.”

“I’ll get some drinks,” said Lani. She spoke to one of the waitresses, a lady named Maci. “Another pitcher for all of us.”

“Wait, ladies,” said Jenna, holding a cell phone. “We got to get to the Prometheus and suit up for deployment.”

“Stop joking,” said Lani.

“No,” said Katie, looking at her cell phone. “It’s for real.”

“Goodbye,” said Jenna.

“You take care,” said Katie.

“I’ll pay for this,” said Lani, giving Maci a card. “We’ll be back, boys,” she said to us.

And they left.

“Let’s go,” I said. I gave Maci my credit card.

“Where?” asked Kyle.

Ooooooooooo


Lynn Kyle and I made our way to the observation lounge. I looked out and it was a clear and perfect day, with a clear blue sky over the Pacific Ocean. I saw the veritech fighters take off from Prometheus. I saw the Knight Squadron's fighters with their olive green paint job take off. Then I saw the Zentraedi cruiser.

“So this is what you do?” asked Kyle.

“I record every battle,” I replied.

The Zentraedi cruiser deployed its own fighters. Their fighters and our fighters were shooting at each other, and the sky was filled with explosions. The enemy pressed its advantage, and I soon saw pods coming down from the cruiser to land on the Daedalus and Prometheus. Some of the veritech fighter reinforcements were blown up before they took off from the aircraft carrier.

I could see that the Zentraedi pods landed on the decks of Prometheus and Daedalus. The Marine Destroid units started to engage the enemy pods. Veritech fighters changed into guardian and battloid modes to provide assistance. It was an all out battle. I could see dogfights in the sky between fighters, and battles on the decks between mecha.

“Such a waste,” said Kyle. “Fighting only brings devastation and destruction.”

“And yet we must learn,” I said, holding my camera.

I saw a group of flying mecha, shaped like a suit of armor. They were painted green, and looked like Destroids, except round.

Then one of them blew up one of our fighters. It proceeded to destroy another UN fighter. These flying Destroids were Zentraedi!

The battle on decks and in the air continued for a few minutes. Then the Zentraedi cruiser approaches closer and closer. Green shields moved about blocking the laser beams, missiles, and cannon rounds. It looked like the cruiser was going to ram us!

But then the SDF-1 raised the Daedalus, impaling the enemy cruiser. Then Destroids inside launched their missiles. The Zentraedi ship was consumed with explosions and soon pieces of its hull were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.

I looked as the veritech fighters returned to Prometheus, among them the olive-green Marine veritech fighters of Knight Squadron.

oooooooo

After closing my tab at the Lucky Shamrock, I returned to my apartment. There were no new messages for me. I called Knight Squadron over the telephone.

“Hello, Knight Squadron,” said a female voice.

“Is Lieutenant Jenna Murphy available?” I asked.

“Let me see.” I waited for too many tense seconds. “No, she is at a debriefing with the colonel.”

“Thank God,” I said. I hung up the phone. I worked on my article on today's battle.

After about half an hour, I heard the door open. I saw Jenna, still wearing her olive green flight suit with the black trim. I could tell something was wrong.

“Jenna?” I asked. “What happened?”

“La..la,” she started.

“What is it?” I asked, even as I dreaded the answer.

“Lani's dead,” she said as she was crying.

“How?'“ I asked.

Jenna cried for a few seconds. “We...we were in the air...there was this new enemy…just killed Lani…tried to take them down…got away…”

I sat on the bed. She then held me and buried her face in my chest, sobbing uncontrollably.

It can’t be.

Not Lani.

How could this be?

It wasn’t fair!

It wasn’t right!

Lani couldn’t be dead.

Why her?

I held on to Jenna, to keep her from falling. It was all I could do to not fall.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-24 01:17pm

Chapter 13

Good Bye Girl
I was sitting in my apartment the next morning, having had breakfast. I was typing about the battle yesterday afternoon.

I could not believe it.

Lani Hart was dead.

It was like a nightmare.

I just wanted to wake up and have her back.

I was alone. Jenna must have gone back to her quarters when I was asleep.

I heard the phone ring.

“Hello, Associated Press,” I said.

“Hi, this is Lynn Kyle.”

“How may I help you?” I weakly asked.

“I just want to inform you that we have this really big project,” said Kyle. “We’re gonna shoot a movie right on board this ship!”

“What’s it about?”

“Well, I don’t want to spoil the plot for you. Anyway, it’s called Small White Dragon.”

“Send me the details by e-mail. I’ll look it over and get back to you tomorrow.”

“Sure thing, man. Have a great day.” Kyle hung up.


Oooo

That evening, there was a memorial service for Space Marine Second Lieutenant Lani Hart. It was in a chapel located a few blocks from City Hall. The interior had a row of wooden pews, and a podium in the back where a speaker would speak.

All of the pews were filled, and most of the attendees were standing. Members of Knight Squadron were in attendance, as well as pilots from other squadrons, other marines and crewmen, and some of us civilians. The Space Marines were all wearing dress blues, while the Spacy servicemen wore dress whites. I myself was wearing my suit.

There was a photo collage in the back, near the podium. The centerpiece was a headshot of Lani, wearing her dress blues. There were photos of her, some in various uniforms like flight suits and MARPAT camouflage, while others were more casual. There was a photo of her with her parents and brother, and a photo of her, Jenna, and Katie.

"We are gathered today to honor the memory of Second Lieutenant Lani Hart,” said the chaplain. “There is neither rhyme nor reason for why she is not with us anymore. I speak for all of us when I say we all wish we can say or do something to comfort those who loved her.”

Lani’s mother, Brittany Hart, then stood in front of the photo collage and looked at us.

“I remember when I first saw you,” she said. “Held you. I watched you learn how to walk. I heard your first words. I took you to school, watched you ride a bike. I taught you how to be good. I watched you graduate high school, and take the oath as a Space Marine to protect us, to protect all humanity. I still grasp the fact that you’re…you’re gone. I will never hear your voice. I will never have dinner with you. I will never see you get married, or hold your first child…”

Lani’s dad and brother held up her mom as they walked to the pew.

“I remember your smile,” said George Hart. “I remember the way you lined up against the wall, proud to tell us how much you’ve grown. I remember you in your graduation cap and gown, and your dress blues. Even..even though you grew into a young woman, you’ll always be my little girl.”

After Mr. Hart sat down, her brother Bryan stood up to address us. He was wearing a very formal looking suit.

“Lani, you were my big sis,” he said. “Sometimes I annoyed you, sometimes I wished you would just go away. But you were always there for me. You made me laugh. You helped me with my homework. I remember when we came to visit you, thinking you would be away from us for six months. And then we ended up on the ship. You helped me and Mom and Dad adjust to life here. When I look in the sky, sometimes I think you’ll just fly down and come back to us. But I have to face the truth. You’ll be away from us forever. I’ll never be able to tease you about your hair or your voice. I’ll never be able to play with any nieces or nephews you give me. You’ll never be there to see me graduate high school. I can’t imagine going on without you.”

Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett then walked up to face us. “Lieutenant Hart was an excellent pilot and an excellent officer,” he said. “We are all deeply saddened. She gave her life to defend the Macross, the people within it, and all humanity. All of us in Knight Squadron was privileged to have her as a pilot and a friend. Her family thanks you for attending, and I thank you for attending.”

Then they played taps. This would be the only memorial service, as there was no body to bury. Jenna and the other pilots saluted, while I put my hand over my heart.

Then taps was over. Some of the people were chatting with each other. I saw Katie, clad in dress blues, walk over and give Mrs. Hart a hug that could only provide the illusion of relief from the grief she was surely feeling, like a sticky strip of plastic over a gut stab.

I looked around.

And I couldn’t talk.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask anyone anything.

I was just so overwhelmed.

It seemed so unreal. For over a year, I had known Lani. She was a constant in my life since getting stranded on the SDF-1 Macross.

And now she was dead.

I wanted to scream to God, to give Lani back to us!

Colonel Beckett then stood in front of me.

"I'll hand Lieutenant Hart's files to you personally," said the colonel. "You're the only person here who can write an obituary that can do justice."

"I've had a lot of practice the past year," I said.

I looked and saw Jenna.

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"I can't believe she's gone," replied Jenna.

"If you want to talk about it."

"No, I don't want to talk about it. I...I just want her back."

"I wish there was something I could say to help."

"There's nothing you can say! You're just talking to me so you can write a stupid story about her!"

Jenna then ran away. I kept looking until she ran to the right and disappeared from view.

"She needs time," said Katie, putting her hand on my shoulder. "I also want Lani back."

ooooo

It took at least three days for me to type up Lani’s obituary. My grief slowed me down, along with a desire to do justice to a lady that I called friend. I went through at least six drafts. Finally, I wrote two drafts which could be acceptable.

Katie did a favor for me and escorted me to the Hart residence. The Hart residence was on a street lined with townhouses.

Katie knocked on the door, and George Hart opened it.

“Katie,” he said, giving her a hug.

She introduced me.

“Good day,” I said.

“I wish it were,” replied Lani’s dad. “Let me get Brittany. You can come in.”

I looked and saw stairs in front of me leading to an upper floor. There was a carpeted living room with a television. In the rear was a kitchen with refrigerator and stove.

“Hi there,” Brittany Hart said to us.

“I wrote two drafts for an obituary for..for your daughter,” I said. “I want to run it by you.”

The Harts took a look at my drafts and whispered to each other. Mr. Hart gave me one of the drafts.

“Use this one,” he said.

“I will.”

“Thank you,” said Mrs. Hart.

I walked out.

I had an obituary to write.

The obituary of Lani Hart.

I could not even believe it.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-25 12:06pm

Chapter 14

Message to the World

After publishing Lani’s obituary, I continued working. Jenna never came by to visit or even left messages on my answeringmachine. I became worried. I hoped she did not do something stupid, like taking the veritech for an unauthorized flight and crashing it into a mountain or something.

In the meantime, a new steakhouse opened. It was a more casual steakhouse than the Stellar Steakhouse above the Bright Star Casino. Since we were getting meat from outside, meat has become more plentiful. I went to the steakhouse and ordered a sirloin steak. I wrote an article about it, interviewing the customers, employees, and the owner. My article on the steakhouse appeared on the left column of the front page of the Macross Gazette. In the meantime, McDonald's, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and other fast food places serving meat all opened franchises in Macross City.

Then it was April 8th, Jenna’s birthday. I had already purchased a present for her. I called her number and got her voice mail. I wished her a happy birthday.

She was twenty-three years old.

I made a few more calls to her phone, hoping to speak to her live, but she did not answer.

I finally decided to call Katie.

“Hi,” she said.

“Are you guys going out for Jenna’s birthday today? I haven’t been able to reach her.”

“Things are…busy you know.”

“Any plans for a birthday party when you guys aren’t so busy.”

“No.”

“Can I at least give her this present?” I asked.

“Drop it over.”

And so I did. I knew my way to the Space Marine Women’s BOQ after having picked up Jenna so many times. I went to the entrance.

Katie went out the door and met me.

“Thanks,” she said, taking the gift box.

“Is Jenna all right?” I asked.

“Things are just…hard. For all of us. Have a good evening.”

“You too.”

ooooooooo

A week later, Lynn Kyle invited me over to the set of “Small White Dragon”. The set was outdoors, or as close to outdoors as one can be in an alien ship. There were several pagodas built. I could see all sorts of movie making equipment around. I saw several director’s chairs near one of the cameras. Crew members did various types of work.

I saw Lynn Kyle. He was dressed in a black robe held up by a white belt.

“Thank you for inviting me here,” I said to Kyle. “And thank you for that little favor you did for me.”

“Don’t thank me, buddy,” replied Kyle. “Thank Minmei for that.”

“How is the movie going along?” I asked.

“We're right on schedule,” said Kyle. “We just finished preliminary photography. We're now going to film the scenes. I fully expect five scenes to be done by tomorrow.”

“And Minmei?”

“I’m right here,” she said. I looked and she was dressed in a long red shirt and white pants. Her black hair was tied in a braid.

“Any thoughts regarding this movie?” I asked.

“I'm really excited to do this,” she said. “This is my first feature role in a movie.”

“We're gonna have a lot of shooting to do, Minmei,” said Kyle. “We’ve actually done alternate takes using alternate dialogue. The director does not want the movie spoiled.”

“I’ll see if I can talk to some of the crew here,” I said. A feature film in space. Working on this story gets my mind off other things.

“Any comments?” I asked a lady wearing jeans and a sweater, with a radio attached to her hip.

“A feature film on board a spaceship? An opportunity of a lifetime.”

I looked and saw Minmei talking to Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker, who was wearing his class “A” service uniform. Kyle then approached the commander.

“Commander,” said Kyle. “If you’re through wasting Minmei’s time, I wonder if we could get back to work.”

“Of course,” replied Commander Fokker.

“We need you on the set, sweetheart,” a director called out to Minmei.

I stayed on the set to conduct more interviews.

But then, a siren blared.

ooooooooooo

There was an enemy attack. I hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the observation deck. He was driving when he suddenly braked. I looked to the left and saw a huge Destroid; it was green and it had a round shape and had two arms and two legs. I got out of the cab to take cover. I then look and saw a blue veritech battloid to the right. they were facing each other. That destroid must be Zentraedi. I made sure to take pictures.

The veritech battloid opened fire on the enemy destroid, knocking it down. It looked like the destroid was going to be destroyed. Then the Zentraedi destroid flew up and out into the sky. The veritech battloid gave chase, transforming as it flew out of an overhead hatch. People came out into the street, wondering what just happened.

oooooooo

The battle inside the ship was the top story on TV. TV reporters showed footage of the battle between the blue UN battloid and the Zentraedi destroid.

The phone rang.

“Hello,” I asked.

“This is Master Sergeant Herbert Blackwell of Knight Squadron, from Colonel Beckett’s office,” said a voice.

“Hello, Master Sergeant,” I said.

“Do you have any pictures of the Zentraedi war machine that broke into the city?”

“Why, yes.”

“We’d like a copy for intel purposes. I suspect that…that machine has caused my squadron enough grief already. If it helps us save lives or win battles, we’ll appreciate it.”

“Sure.”

ooooooooooo

BATTLE INSIDE MACROSS CITY! ZENTRAEDI MECHA FORCED OUT BY VERITECH

That was the headline of the Macross Gazette. I wrote the feature article. I went into my office that morning, the newspaper in my hand. I read some of the other articles written by the staff writers of the Gazette. I was going to work on the article on the shooting of Small White Dragon when I got a call.

“Hello,” I said.

“It’s me, Dennis.”

“Hi. How are things going?”

“I have Captain Gloval on the line to speak to you.”

“The captain himself?” I asked. “You’re not kidding, right?”

“Please hold.”

“This is Captain Gloval,” said the voice. “I read the obituaries you wrote. They demonstrate your respect and compassion.”

“Thank you, Captain,” I replied. Captain Gloval never called me before.

“There will be another one for you. Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker died last night of wounds sustained in combat. Come to my office at 1200 and I will give you a copy of his file.”

And so I did.

ooooooooooo

After picking up Fokker's file from Captain Gloval and dropping them off at my apartment, I spoke to more people about Commander Fokker. There was one person who knew him well.

I visited Lieutenant Rick Hunter in the hospital. He had been injured in the battle in which Lani Hart was killed. I noticed he was the same room that Jenna was recuperating in when she was injured in battle last year.

“Hi there,” he said. “The doctors said I could be out by tomorrow. I'll get to attend his memorial service.”

“Tell me about Roy Fokker,” I said.

“He was like a big brother to me. I knew him all my life. My dad took him in. He was an orphan. He loved to fly. He gave me lessons on how to fly. He used to fly in the air circus before joining the military. He advised me to join the military and fly veritechs. Aside from my dad, he was my role model. I just can't believe he is dead.”

“What did you know of other people's opinion of him?”

“I know one person who knows him better. Claudia Grant. They were together for a couple of years.”

“I don't think talking to Claudia would be a good idea.”

“Yeah.”

Ooooooooooooo

Once again, I was at a memorial service. Commander Fokker was a well-known officer on the ship, so his death was big news. Many servicemen wearing formal dress uniforms, attended the funeral, which was held in a chapel on base. Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward was among the attendees, wearing his dress whites. Commander Fokker's body would be flown out of here, to be delivered to the air circus for burial, the air circus which had adopted him. I stood inside the chapel, while the varnished wooden pews were packed, and in the back was a coffin which revealed Roy Fokker. He looked so peaceful.

Everyone was saddened at Roy's passing. I looked and saw Claudia, wearing her dress whites, with her brother Vince placing his arm around her. I could hear her cry from feet away. I saw Rick Hunter, wearing his dress whites and sitting in a wheelchair.

Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett, wearing his dress blues, faced us.


“Roy Fokker, you were the best pilot, my best friend, and my best man,” he said, visibly trembling. “We served together, fought together, suffered together. We tested these veritech war machines so that we could learn how to use them, to learn what they’re capable of, and to learn how to bring them back safely. You were just as at home at my dining table as you were in your veritech fighter. For you to call me friend is one of the greatest privileges I ever had. Farewell, my best friend, and godspeed.”


He stepped down and sat on the pew next to his wife, Maribel, who put her arm around him. His kids looked confused, wondering why their father was so sad.


I sat and heard others speak about Fokker, about what they meant to him.


Then Captain Gloval himself, wearing a red cape over his dress whites, which was nearly covered in medals, came to spoke.


“Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker was more than a pilot, as you heard from those who spoke before me,” said the captain. “he was a friend, an officer, a leader. He inspired us all. Even before yesterday, he had sacrificed so much in service already. His mortality reminds us of how vulnerable we are. His dedication to service, to put the needs of his squadron before himself, shows us how strong we can be.”


And then there was clapping. We could not help but clap at Gloval’s words. I glanced and saw that Lieutenant Claudia Grant was clapping.


ooooooooo


After Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker's flag-draped coffin was put on a transport plane and flown away from the SDF-1 Macross, life settled into a routine. I heard from Lieutenant Kevin Landry of Knight Squadron that Lieutenant Jenna Murphy has been putting on extra hours. He told me that Jenna had more responsibilities since she was a flight captain; I knew that she was still dealing with the grief over the death of our friend Lani. In the meantime, I was covering Minmei's career. It was a more pleasant subject that the war.

One evening, I looked at the file cabinet and looked through the obituaries I wrote. There were a lot.. Lani Hart. Sam Needles. Wan Chen. Roy Fokker. Frank Dunn. And then I added another obituary. Gilda Grace Kent.

Gilda Grace Kent lost her life in battle. But it was not in a battle with the fearsome Zentraedi. Instead, it was a battle with microscopic enemies. Cancer cells in her own body, consuming everything until they killed the body they were in. They were a lot like militant Islamist terrorists in that regard. The cancer was inoperable.

“She wanted to make the best out of what was remaining of her life,” said her husband. “That was why she wanted to be present at the launch of the ship. When we found ourselves in space, she wanted to live long enough to reach Earth. And she did. She lived a long, full life. We have children and grandchildren. I do not regret having known her and I will never forget her and I promised her I would live the rest of my life as best I can, whether it's a day or a hundred years.”

Her husband had a memorial service for her. Then the body was placed on a cargo plane and flown to one of her children for burial in Honolulu, Hawaii.

That same day, I received a call from Dennis.

“The captain wants you to meet with his staff,” he said.

Oooooooo

Dennis led me out of an elevator and through the corridors of the SDF-1 Macross. I did not spend too much time in this part, as access is clearly restricted. We went through these double door.

There was a table. Officers wearing service khakis all sat around it.

“Have a seat, son,” said Captain Gloval.

“How may I help?” I asked.

“I shall explain the situation,” said the captain. “One of our goals is to get the people of Macross City safely on Earth. When we broke through the Zentraedi blockade, we were aiming to land off the coast of China, near Shanghai, so that there would be millions of witnesses to our arrival. But engine damage led to this ship splashing down in a remote area of the Pacific.

“I went to the United Earth Defense Command Headquarters in Alaska to deliver my report to them as well as the Joint Chiefs. As you know, they are confining the people of Macross City on board. However, what you do not know is that the people of Macross City were declared dead after the disastrous space fold. The United Earth Government has chosen to cover up any information regarding the Zentraedi attack.”

“And we are to leave Earth with everyone on board,” I said.

Everyone looked at me.

“How do you know that?” asked Lieutenant Commander Lisa Hayes, whom I recognized from that ceremony over two months ago.

“I have my sources, Commander.”

“We have a plan to get the civilians off this ship,” said Gloval. “We will fly at low altitudes over large cities, so that millions of people can see this ship. And we will use our equipment to override local television signal frequencies and broadcast the truth. And this is where you come in.

“You are a reporter. You need to tell your story. We will record it, and we will broadcast it.”

A corporal handed me a thick folder full of files.

“That file has all our intel so far,” said Gloval. “No redactions. Commander Ward and Lieutenant Grant will assist you. Once the truth comes out, public pressure would convince the government to order the release of the civilians.”

“Well, I am a print reporter, sir, not a broadcast reporter; I’ll do my best,” I said. “I’ll tell everyone what really happened. So when do we take off?”

“Now.”

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-26 01:37pm

Chapter 15

Dead Girl Flying​

Minutes after the meeting with Captain Gloval and his staff, I was in a small recording studio with a video camera. A technician made sure to check everything.

“How are you feeling?” asked Dennis.

“A bit nervous,” I said.

“I don’t blame you,” said Lieutenant Claudia Grant.

“I’m surprised I was chosen,” I said. “I mean, I was accused of terrorism.”

“Maybe we’re thinking you’re innocent,” said the lieutenant. “Or maybe we just want to get you to lower your guard so that you can say something incriminating and stand trial for that bombing.”

“What?” asked Dennis, confusion clear in his voice.

“Just trying to introduce some humor,” replied Grant. “I need it these days.”

“We’re ready, sir,” said the technician.

I started to tell my story.

oooooooo

A few days later, I went to the observation deck, whose food court was now open. I could see the California coastline. We were going to fly right over a city! I wondered what sort of commotion we were causing on the ground. I also wondered if Captain Gloval would get into trouble for this.

In any case, I asked some people about this. Some were excited, hoping this means they will be able to settle somewhere, and others said that Captain Gloval was out of his mind.

I turned on analog radio, setting it to AM, wondering if there were any radio news reports, as the ship was supposedly only taking over television frequencies.

“…the U.N ship hovering at an altitude of two thousand feet,” I heard. “The ship is broadcasting a video of a man claiming to be a reporter with the Associated Press, and claiming that an alien race called the Zentraedi have been attacking the ship for the past year, ever since an accident caused the ship to spacefold to Pluto. The ship is apparently dropping leaflets. This just in. the Associated Press has verified that the man in the video is indeed one of their reporters, and that he had been sent to Macross City to cover the launch. If you are listening, this is KFI AM 640, reporting on the U.N. ship and the broadcast taking over local television frequencies..”

For the next few days, we flew across the United States, picking a route that would take us over major cities. Dennis said in a press conference that unless the civilians got to disembark, after touring cities in the U.S., we would cross the Atlantic to fly over cities in Europe, starting with London, and then move on to Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, and Moscow, before flying over cities in Asia like Mumbai and Bangkok and Hanoi and Seoul and Tokyo and Beijing. Not surprisingly, the observation deck was packed shoulder to shoulder, as people were at least getting a world cruise, even if there were not any port visits. The Lucky Shamrock even set up a temporary bar there, with Greg and Steve working there often.

I got an important phone call about a week after we crossed the California coastline. “Hello,” I said.

Jenna was on the phone. “I have great news,” she said, her voice sounding serene. “You're going home.”

“What?” I asked.

“The North American Ontario Quadrant will allow the civilians to settle there. We're gonna go to Toronto. From there you can catch a flight to New York.”

“Who told you that?”

“Colonel Beckett. Captain Gloval will make the announcement once we reach Toronto.”

“This is great. Let's have an early celebration.”

“Okay.”

“At this diner.”

“It's a date!”

I hung up and smiled. I was going home, and Jenna seemed happy and at peace. She had not seemed happy in months.

Jenna and I went to the diner. The tables and counters were made of polished stone. We sat in the leather seats. There were a few other people in the place. Then again, very few people know what Jenna and I knew.

After placing our order, the waiter gave us bread to start off.

“Aren't you excited about going back to New York?” asked Jenna.

“I'll have stories to tell,” I said. “I'd better go start packing after we eat.”

“This will be your last night on board. I'll probably be staying on board.”

Then our food came. Two medium sirloin steaks. We started cutting the meat.

“The next time you take a vacation, come visit me in New York,” I said. “I can show you around. We can visit the Statue of Liberty, attend a concert at Madison Square Garden or Carnegie Hall. We can have dinner with my parents in Queens. And of course, we can take a vacation to Apollo Colony to meet your parents.”

“Sounds good,” said Jenna, cutting a piece of her steak. Her mood seems to be less excited.

“Anything wrong?” I asked. “You were so excited minutes ago.”

“I haven't seen you in a while,” said Jenna. “I was busy. I mean, before I got off I was flying escort for the ship.”

“I'd better give you the number for my home and office in New York,” I said.

“Don't,” said Jenna.

“What?” I asked. My heart was racing in dread.

“We shouldn't be together anymore.” I could see a tear flow down Jenna's right cheek.

“We can maintain contact after I go back home. I’ll probably be traveling a lot for my job, after getting back from vacation, of course.”

“What happens if I get killed out there?” she asked.

I took a deep breath. “I think of that whenever you go out there.”

“It's not a game. People die. People like Lani.” She placed her hands on top of mine. “I love you. I don't want you to get hurt, and I don't want to be the reason you get hurt. But you shouldn't love me. One day, I'm going to die just like Lani and the others did. And you're gonna be one with this pain which will only get worse and worse until there's nothing left for you to feel. You’ll be nothing but an empty shell, just waiting to die. It would have been better if we never met. Forget about me. Don't talk to me again. It's not too late.”

I looked into her eyes, which was a fountain of tears. The past year and a fourth had changed her. I could see her soul was worn down by all this there must be a way to restore her. “Jenna,” I said. “You’re not an empty shell.”

“That’s what I see when I look in the mirror,” she said.

“ATTENTION, ALL FIGHTER PILOTS!” said a female voice. “RED ALERT! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”

“That's me,” said Jenna, standing up. “I'd better go out there. I'll probably be dead before sunrise.”

She ran out the door. Three other people in uniform followed her; I did not get a good look at their faces. I went to the counter and I saw a giant sirloin steak, with one piece cut out.

oooooooooooooo

I reached the observation deck just in time to see the veritech fighters take off from Prometheus. Below was the urban landscape of Toronto. I could see the CN Tower. I saw the skull-and-crossbones fighter that Commander Roy Fokker flew. I wondered who was flying it now. I saw some fighters take off. I wondered which one was Jenna.

Soon our fighters made contact with the Zentraedi fighters, and I saw fireballs. It was a typical dogfight; I never tired of seeing these. Our fighters swooped and banked and climbed and dove as they tried to destroy their Zentraedi foes and avoid their own destruction. I just hoped Jenna wasn't suicidal. She might end up endangering the lives of others.

I noticed three enemy craft heading towards the shift. I looked with my binoculars and they were those strange enemy Destroids.

They were heading straight for the ship!

But then one of them was blown up by one of our own veritechs. One of them seemed to be doing its best to draw attention from another enemy craft.

One of the enemy Destroids was destroyed.

I could see the last one reaching the ship. With a closer look, I could see that the VF-1 Valkyrie chasing it was from Knight Squadron. It changed to guardian mode and opened fire, and then switched to fighter and flew away. That last destroid must have been blown up, but I wondered if it had already done what its pilot wanted to do,.

Then I saw this greenish glow. I wondered what it was. Was it an enemy weapon or something?

Then I saw the Zentraedi cruisers, right here in the atmosphere, firing on us. The greenish glow repelled the enemy fire.


It was a shield! Those Zentraedi must be pissed. They kept on firing and firing over and over again. The enemy fire just bounced off. This could be it. This shield could be the key to victory! The efforts of those who have fallen will not be in vain.

Then something went wrong. The lights went out, and the only thing lighting the room was the greenish glow. Then the greenish glow turned blue. Then violet. Then white.

It was an overload. The enemy pumped so much firepower that the shield overloaded.

I guessed all that talk from Jenna about how I would feel if she died would become a moot point in seconds.

I could only stare, waiting for my own death. I wondered if this was how Lani felt, when she realized that she was going to be blown to bits.

The light became so bright that I reflexively shut my eyes. This was it. The journey I began when I stepped on that plane in JFK will now come to an end. There would be nothing left of me here except subatomic particles. Jesus Christ was fast approaching.

I looked around. I could see tables, a McDonald's, a New York Style pizza place, a Taco Bell.

I was still alive. I felt relief.

Then I looked outside and the relief went away. There was only desolation and ruin. The overload destroyed Toronto. There was nothing left. It was as if Toronto was never there.

Did Jenna make it back safely? I saw the veritech fighters come back to SDF-1. I decided to leave the observation deck.

ooooooooooo

I saw a bunch of TV camera crews at the hospital, so I decided to check it out.

“What's going on here?” I asked.

“Minmei's in the hospital,” said a TV cameraman.

I stood by. I recorded the tragic battle of Toronto, and now I want to report the latest news on Minmei.

Lynn Kyle came to address us. We all asked him about Minmei.

“I don't understand how, with all that's been going on, you people can be chasing after a star who passed out from a little overwork!” he scolded us. “Now forget that and let's find a way to make these military leaders to stop this war. This fighting is totally non-productive… There are no winners, only losers. We must get out of this destructive, inhumane, no-win situation at once.”

His words struck me hard. I just saw the destruction of Toronto, the deaths of millions. And then there was Jenna. She shut herself off from me because of the war. Who fired the first shot in the war anyway?

I walked up to him. “A word please?” I asked.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-27 11:37am

Chapter 16

Exiled

TORONTO DESTROYED IN ALIEN ATTACK! MILLIONS DEAD!

I wrote the front page article for the Macross Gazette. We can see TV news broadcasts from the area. Pundits on Earth were blaming Captain Gloval and the SDF-1 Macross for blowing up Toronto. Some even said SDF-1 should be turned over to the Zentraedi. After all, the Zentraedi have only been attacking the ship, while there are still terrorist factions waging war on the UN.

I received a list of those on board killed while trying to prevent this disaster. The notable casualty was Third Lieutenant Benjamin Dixon, who had escaped from the Zentraedi just four months ago.

I also wrote an article of Kyle's statements on the war. He called the United Nations a country club for tyrants, gangsters, and thugs. He said the Zentraedi can't be as bad as some of the members of the UN. As far as he knew, the Zentraedi did not have slavery, unlike the Sudan.

Jenna did not call me. I called Knight Squadron and Lieutenant Landry told me Jenna made it back along with everyone else from Knight Squadron.

I later met with Katie at the Lucky Shamrock.

“Jenna and I broke up last night,” I said.

“I'm sorry,” she replied.

“She seems to be thinking that she's gonna die tomorrow.”

“I noticed she's been withdrawn. She keeps to herself now.”

“I think I know why. It's what she told me last night. She figures that if no one cared about her, no one would cry if she dies. That was why she broke up with me, and that's why she's keeping to herself.”

“So she's wrapping herself in a cocoon and never coming out?”

“It looks like it. It's such a shame. In a way, part of her, the part I fell in love with, is dead.”

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Well, since my return to Earth I lost two close friends, friends I had since flight training,” she said. “At least I have others to talk to.”

“Do you think that one day she might do something like crash her veritech into a mountain or a Zentraedi cruiser?”

“I don’t know,” said Katie. “She still performs well. She saved me last night. There was this fighter on my tail and I couldn't shake him. Jenna dove in and blew up the fighter before it could blow me up. We later managed to escape when we flew away from the barrier overload. If Jenna wanted to kill herself, she would have flown into the barrier.”

“She killed a part of herself. A part that makes our lives worth living.”

ooooooooooo

The next few days, supplies were flown in to the SDF-1 Macross as it floated, in its ship mode, in the Atlantic Ocean some fifty miles from the Newfoundland coast. From what I heard from people, we were about to leave for space. None of us will be allowed to leave the ship. News broadcasts from outside showed demonstrations demanding that the UEG order this ship to leave Earth, some of them holding sings reading “Remember Toronto” and “Will SDF-1 Kill My Kids Next?”I spoke with Macross Gazette publisher Jake Austin and he told me his wife's pregnancy was coming along fine. From the looks of things his new baby may be born in space like so many babies were.

I watched as supply trucks moved in. In the meantime, I covered Minmei's career, getting information on her projects from her cousin Kyle. The production of Small White Dragon was going well, from what I saw during filming. I could not tell what the plot was though. I haven't spoken to Jenna since the Battle of Toronto. From what I heard, she devoted her entire time to training, even practicing in the simulators on her own time.

I attended the graduation ceremony of the senior class of Macross High School, which was held in the auditorium. The previous graduating class graduated while the Macross was in space. I saw the students in their caps and gowns. They all received their diplomas. Both Principal Iijima and the school’s valedictorian gave speeches. The students and their families and friends all walked outside to a courtyard outside the auditorium.

I looked and saw Vince Grant, wearing his cap and gown. His sister Claudia, who had helped me with getting our story broadcast to people around the world, was there with him, wearing her Class “A’s”.

“Congratulations, kid,” I said.

“Thank you,” he replied.

I saw Claudia approach Zack Bauer, who was also wearing a cap and gown. He was accompanied by his mother and a blond-haired girl who was likely his little sister.

“Congratulations, Zack,” said Claudia. “I know your dad would have been proud.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant Grant,” replied Zack. “I feel as if my dad was with me today.”

“You’re welcome,” she replied. She turned and looked at a girl in a cap-and-gown; I recognized her as Shannon Cole, one of the hostesses at the Lucky Shamrock. “Congratulations, Shannon,” she said.

“Thanks,” replied Claudia. “I have to get the bridge.”

“You won’t be joining us for dinner?” asked Mrs. Bauer.

“I have graveyard shift.”

“See you later, Claudia,” said Vince.

I looked around at the graduates and their families and friends once again. I saw Katie, wearing her Class “A” service uniform. She was with one of the graduates and family. I looked and saw that they were the Harts with their son, Bryan, who was wearing a cap and gown like the other graduates.

“Hi,” I said to Katie.

“Hi,” she replied. “I was congratulating Bryan.”

I looked at the boy. “Congratulations,” I said to him.

“Thank you,” replied Bryan Hart, wearing the cap and gown.

“That was a great article on Lani,” said George Hart.

“I wish Lani could be here,” said her brother.

“By the way,” said Brittany Hart, “where’s Jenna?”

“Jenna?” asked Katie.

“Your and Lani’s friend.”

“She’s, uh, busy. She couldn’t make it. She’s been busy ever since she was promoted. She has, uh, you know, more responsibilities since she was promoted to first lieutenant.”

“I know what that’s like,” replied George Hart. “I’m a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. Fought in the war. Being able to attend these kind of events was a luxury.”

My phone rang.

“It’s Dennis,” I heard. “Press conference starting in ten minutes.”

“Nice to see you all again,” I said to the Harts. “I have to go. Congratulations again, Bryan.”

ooooooooooo

We all gathered at a room overlooking a television studio. Spacy security policemen stood watch. The camera crews stood by below at the studio.

Captain Henry J. Gloval entered the stage.

“this is Captain Gloval with an important announcement to make to all of you on board the SDF-1,” he said. “As many of you already know, I’ve appealed many times to the government and the defense force for permission to allow you to leave the ship and resettle wherever how you might choose. Time and again, those appeals were turned down. The reasons are too complex to explain to you at this time. However, I always felt progress was being made on those requests. That is, until the events of the past few weeks. My friends, I’m afraid I have some very bad news to tell you. My friends, I’m afraid I have some very bad news to tell you. I have received word just a while ago that this ship and all of its passengers have been ordered to leave the Earth immediately. Unfortunately, if we do not evacuate this planet, we’ve been warned that we might be attacked by elements of our own defense forces. This is an unthinkable possibility. We have therefore taken on supplies and are prepared to leave the surface of the planet. I desperately need all of your cooperation in this moment of terrible responsibility. We must all work for the day the Earth will accept us back again. Until then, we will survive as best we can. I give you my most humble apologies.”

Then Lynn Minmei of all people appear, standing next to the captain. She gave a message which I would not forget.

“Listen everyone, the captain needs our support more than ever right now,” said Minmei. “I don't understand anything that has to do with politics, but I do know that the only way we'll survive this is to pull together. We’ve been on this ship a long time, and I don’t know about you, but I think of the SDF-1 as my home now. Don’t forget, we have almost everything here we can ever have on Earth. Our own town, and all the things that go along with it. We've all been through quite a bit, but look at how strong we've become because of it. I have more friends here than I ever did on Earth. You've been like a big family to me. Someday we'll come back to Earth – we'll never give up hope. But for now, I'm proud to be a citizen of Macross City and this ship. No matter where we go in space or how long it takes, our hearts will always be tied to the Earth. So to help us express our feelings at this moment, I’d like to perform a song for you and dedicate it to the Earth we love.”

I was inspired. I hoped Jenna heard it; maybe she would change her attitude.

Then the announcement came. We would be taking off.

I sat down and I felt myself heavier. I knew the SDF-1 was flying up and up.

I won't give up hope.

I won't give up hope of getting back to Earth.

I won't give up hope of getting through to Jenna.

ooooooooooo


BLASTOFF! SDF-1 NOW IN ORBIT AROUND EARTH!

That was the headline for the morning after the SDF-1 Macross left Earth. I wrote the cover article. I made sure to include every word of that speech by Lynn Minmei. Jake Austin, the publisher of the Macross Gazette, was very pleased. His newspaper was sold out within two houts after hitting the newsstands. They actually ran out of paper and had to wait hours before more could come.

Aside from that Jake had other things going on. His wife was about to have a baby, and I was invicted to cover it. I made sure to scrub my hands before putting on the blue surgical gown. His wife was on the delivery table.

“Push,” Jake said to his wife.

His wife replied with a scream.

“It's a boy!” yelled the doctor.

I watched as Jake Austin held the newest addition to his family. the baby was then weighed.

“Eleven pounds,” said the doctor. “He's gonna be a big boy.”

“His name is James,” said Jake. “James Austin.”

It was a good start to the SDF-1 Macross’s second deployment into space. I wondered if James Austin would ever set foot on Earth.

ooooooooo

I heard in a press conference by Commander Ward that more Zentraedi cruisers folded to our solar system, in orbit around Earth's moon. They did not attack; they just seemed content in sitting there in space, blocking us. I suppose Jenna was grateful, as she would have more to do besides stay in her quarters all day. Jenna changed her phone number so I could not call her. Lieutenant Reese told me that Jenna has been isolating herself from everyone. She eats alone in the officers' mess and she never goes out.

I decided to go to have some drinks. I too have been working a lot, covering news from the city, the SDF-1 crew, and Minmei. I try to make contact with the friends I have made. There was this loneliness within me.

“I guess she doesn't want to deal with it,” I said. “She thinks that if no one cares for her, no one would be hurt if she died, and if she doesn't care about anyone, she wouldn't be hurt if they died. She actually told me I'd be better off if I never met her.” I downed another drink. “She SAID did not want me to experience the pain of losing someone I loved very much- as if I didn't already lose her.” I began to think. “Maybe she was right. I wish I never took that stupid assignment. Then I wouldn't be here; I'd be back in New York.”

“Cheer up,” said Steve. “There are tons of women on this ship. You don't have to be alone.”

“Okay,” I said.

“She's a fighter pilot, what do you expect?” I heard someone say. I looked and saw that this man was Lynn Kyle, sitting two stools to my right. “She did you a favor, buddy. She's gonna die anyway. It will never work out. My cousin Minmei's in love with this fighter pilot. One day, he's gonna die and she will be broken and she won't be able to work. Trust me, man, you're better off without her.”

“Whatever,” I muttered.

“Do you miss home?” I asked Steve.

“To eat lamb souvlaki I bought from a sidewalk vendor in Sparta,” he said. “To eat freshly prepared hummus at a café. To watch the fishing boats off the coast of Corinth.”

“Yeah, I remember you once mentioned you ended up on the island for a temporary bartending job. You were supposed to go home a week after the launch.”

“But I have friends here. Greg and Maci and Leila and Charlie. Some of the hosts who graduated school, we’ll train them to be bartenders. Like him.”

I looked and saw Vince Grant, wearing the white shirt and green necktie.

“May I introduce to you our newest bartender, Vince Grant,” said Steve.

“So you’ve moved up in your career, kid,” I said.

“Yeah,” he replied. “Steve and Greg will show me the ropes. But that’s not all that’s new. I was hired as an apprentice engineer for the Macross, under Professor Daryl Embry.”

“Embry?”

“One of the deputy engineers under Dr. Lang.”

I had heard of Dr. Emil Lang. He was the father of robotechnology, and was part of the international inspection team that examined the ship shortly after it crashed.

“An apprentice, eh?” asked Steve. “So you go get coffee and donuts for this Embry fellow.”

“Sometimes.”

“Why don’t you get this guy a drink? You need the practice, and he needs the buzz.”

oooooooo

I continued living and working in Macross City. The enemy made a few attacks, but it seemed they were testing our defenses and not trying to destroy us. I came to visit Jake Austin, whose baby had just come home.

“Jim's already gained six pounds,” said Jake.

I looked at the baby. He had a flat nose, a full head of brown hair, and brown eyes. “He's cute,” I said. “He's probably gonna be a heartbreaker when he grows up.”


ooooooo

I was playing the veritech fighter arcade game on evening after work. I managed to score some kills. Of course, this place was frequented by veritech pilots. I didn't see Jenna come here though; she preferred to fly the simulators.

“Hey there,” said this man with black hair. He was wearing short sleeve shirt and jeans.

I introduced myself.

“Lieutenant Commander Hayao Suzuki,” said the man. “United Nations Ocean Patrol and commander of Mako Squadron.”

“Hi,” I said. “Do you want an interview?”

“How about we play against each other?” he asked. “I’m so busy as a squadron commander; these outings are a luxury.”

“Sure.”

And so we did. I was operating the red veritech, while Suzuki operated green. We then battled. I kept chasing after him and firing on him. I would get him in my sights, but he would just barely get away. We did this for maybe about a minute. I looked and I was almost out of ammo.

“There you are,” I said. I was gonna line my opponent in my sights.

Then his fighter disappeared. I wondered where it went.

Then the GAME OVER message appeared.

“You were just playing with me,” I said.

“Well, I did have training and experience,” he replied. “If you flew veritechs in combat for more than a year, you'd have experience. But I can tell you a bit about myself.”

“Your story?”

“We weren’t even supposed to be here,” said the commander. “We were based at OPAS Kadena in Okinawa- that’s an island in Japan- and we were deployed on board Prometheus the day of the launch.”

“I can figure out how you ended up here.”

“Less than half of us were caught in the space fold. Our CO and XO did not make it. Captain Cramer, the CAG, was either killed or left behind on Earth. I had to become the acting commander of those of us on board. When we returned to Earth, the Ocean Patrol sent us more pilots. After we left Earth again, Captain Gloval gave me a 702 promotion to lieutenant commander.”

“A 702?”

“Section 702 of the United Earth Forces code, allowing a commanding officer not in contact with headquarters or superior officers to promote subordinates without a review board.”

“Thanks for the interview.”

I stood up and left the machine. A man sat in my place. I noticed he had blue-dyed hair. Moving to take another look, I saw he was Lieutenant Max Sterling from Skull Squadron, who had escaped from that Zentraedi ship almost nine months ago now.

“You realize I’m a squadron commander,” said Suzuki.

“I’ll still play,” said Sterling, not intimidated by Suzuki’s rank.

And they did. After about twenty seconds, Commander Suzuki stood up.

“I..well..lately I’ve been spending more time on paperwork than the sims. Goes with being a squadron leader.”

I then saw a bunch of people from Knight Squadron arrive. I recognized Katie and Lieutenants Landry and Reese and Dow and there were a few people whom I was not familiar with.

And there was one person whom I was very familiar with.

Jenna.

“Hi there,” I said. “I haven't spoken to you in months. How are you doing?”

“Fine,” she said. “I've been busy.”

“So you are finally going out.”

“They insisted I come along. These machines are not as good for training as the simulators.”

“There's more to life than working,” I said.

“That's great,” said Jenna. “But the simulators won't feel pain when I get killed out there. Neither will strangers.”

She sat down on the machine. Sterling was still sitting at the opposite end.

“You realize who that is?” asked Katie.

“Someone who’s not as predictable as the AI?”

“Hi,” said Max. “Lieutenant Max Sterling, Skull Squadron.

“Lieutenant Jenna Murphy from Knight Squadron,” she said. “You're the guy that escaped from the Zentraedi ship.”

“That's me. So you want to play?”

“It will be a good training exercise,” she said.

So Jenna and Max started playing against each other. Jenna was good, much better than I was. Katie and the others of Knight Squadron cheered Jenna on.

“You scored a hit,” said Max. “But I'm still in the game.”

The two continued playing, and it lasted a lot longer than my game with Suzuki, or his game with Sterling. Knight Squadron was cheering. I saw members of Skull Squadron, and they were cheering for Max.

Then the game was over.

“Looks like Sterling won,” said Lieutenant Reese.

“Skull Squadron rules!” yelled a Skull pilot.

“You’re good,” said Lieutenant Sterling.

“Thank you,” replied Jenna, standing up. “Are you good enough to save those you care about?”

“I…I don’t know.”

“Listen, Jenna, how about we go out for drinks?” asked Katie.

“Why bother?”

“Well, we might be able to reserve a table at Space, just like the old days.”

“No point in this.”

“Listen, you can’t just shut us out.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not good for you.” I could see Katie’s eyes, almost tearing. “Please.”

“And what? Just wait for you to die the way Lani died? So I could attend another memorial service and hear about how it’s all really not that bad?”

“Wait,” said Sterling, getting between the two ladies. “Listen, I know how you feel.”

“Stay back, people,” said Commander Suzuki, holding his palm out. “This..isn’t gonna end well.”

“Excuse me?” said Jenna, placing the right index finger on Sterling’s chest, anger in her voice. “YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL? HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT? WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THEY KNOW HOW I FEEL? LANI WAS MY BEST FRIEND! YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY KNOW HOW I FEEL!"

“Wait,” said Katie, getting between them. “Sterling here was just…well, just saying things without think-”

And the Jenna gave Katie a hard shove, and she fall backwards. Right into Lieutenant Max Sterling.

Katie got up. “Oh, sorry,” she said to the Skull Squadron pilot. “I, uh, well…slipped and fell. Thanks for breaking my fall.”

“Uh, you’re welcome,” replied Sterling, adjusting his glasses.

I looked around the arcade. Jenna must have run off.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-28 09:22am

Chapter 17

Emotional Abyss


“So this Sterling fellow got between two girls in an argument,” said Vince Grant. “I knew better than to do that when I was ten years old. Isn’t that right, Claudia?”

“That’s right,” replied his sister, Lieutenant Claudia Grant, sitting at the bar at the Lucky Shamrock. “How is your career going?”

“I got here just after I was done assisting Professor Embry. I’ve been learning a lot, both from Embry and behind the bar.”

“And how is rooming with Zack?”

“Fine,” replied Vince. “Although he often leaves his clothes on the floor.”

“He told me the same about you.”

“Seriously?”

“I’d better go. I have dinner with Angus and Maribel. I have to go home to prepare the pineapple salad.”

She got up and walked away. I saw her stop.

“Shannon?” she asked.

I looked and saw Shannon Cole. But instead of wearing the white shirt, green skirt, and green necktie that she wore as a hostess, she was wearing a white coat over a shirt with a mandarin collar, and a white skirt. That was the United Nations Spacy Class “A” uniform.

“You are looking at Skull Squadron’s newest pilot, Corporal Shannon Cole,” she said. “Flying the VF-1A Valkyrie veritech fighter, under the command of Lieutenant Rick Hunter.”

“A Valkyrie pilot?” asked Vince. “Congratulations.”

“Congratulations, Shannon,” said Claudia.

“Thanks, Claudia,” replied Shannon, giving her a hug. She pulled back. “Oh, I am sorry, Lieutenant Grant, ma’am.”

“It’s okay,” replied the lieutenant. “I’d better get going now.”


ooooooooo


Over fifty people were gathered at the SDF-1 Macross's observation lounge. I looked and saw all sorts of people. This would be the first event of its kind. All of the people attending this event were well-dressed. They were sitting in cloth-covered tables with cards bearing numbers standing on them.

The event was called the Big Hookup. Available men and women from Macross City and the SDF-1 crew gathered to meet each other, hoping to find someone to date.

It went on like this. Each man was paired up with each woman for eight minutes. They spoke to each other. At the end of the eight minutes, they moved on to the next person. The whole event took more than three hours. I made sure to take notes. Covering the war and Minmei’s career was becoming tiresome, and I was glad I could cover this event.

Then the event was over, and the participants all gave their forms to the host. Each form continaed the names of the people they wanted to hook up with. If there was a match, contact information was exchanged.

“This is an efficient way for available people to meet and well not be available anymore,” said the host. “This is being done on cities all over Earth and even on the moon's Apollo colony. This is the first time such a thing was done right out here in space.”

I agreed. After all, not everyone gets a face-to-face meeting with a Zentraedi only to be rescued by a veritech pilot.

I spoke to Katie, who attended the event with Lieutenants Joel Reese and Kevin Landry”How are you doing?” I asked.

“Well, I'm still going out hanging with friends,” said Katie. “And of course there's my job. This was refreshing after so many hours in the simulator. I guess you want to know about Jenna.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, she still has what passes for her life. After that incident in the arcade, she withdrew herself completely. She doesn't even eat in the mess hall; she just takes the food to her quarters and eats there. You know, I once wanted to ask her about her isolating herself from everyone. She ordered me not to talk to her again.”

I felt disappointed and sad. It was almost like hearing she was blown up by a Zentraedi fighter. “I hope you will be all right,” I said.

“Thank you,” said Katie. “I guess I'd better check to see if I will hook up with anyone.”

There was no use trying to talk to Jenna now. I might as well wait until Knight Squadron informs me that she was killed in action. That would only be a formality, as she was mostly dead.

ooooooooooo

The next day, I was in my apartment when Lynn Kyle came to see me.

“Hi there,” he said. “I just wanted to inform you we just finished shooting Small White Dragon. We're now in post-production, editing and stuff.”

“What will Minmei be doing?” I asked.

“Minmei's working on her second album. She's even writing a song. And of course there's the Miss Macross competition next month. She'll crown the next winner.”

“I'd like an interview.”

“Sure. I'll schedule it for tonight, unless you're busy.”

I looked at my calendar. “No, I'm not busy.”

“Listen, I'm sorry for what I said to you in that bar that time,” said Kyle. “It's just too bad there's this pointless war.”

“The Zentraedi keep firing at us.”

“Actually, I spoke to witnesses,” said Kyle. “The Macross fired the first shot. Even your own article says so. They're not attacking Earth, only this ship. The United Nations are just a bunch of warmongers.”

“I just report what I see and what people say,” I said.

“I was a history student so I know all about it. The UN is controlled by international bankers!. You know what happened in Taiwan?”

“I heard of Taiwan. It was settled by the Nationalist government after the Chinese Civil War in the 1940's.”

“My family came from Taiwan. China never recognized Taiwan's independence. When the UN formed the United Earth government, China invaded Taiwan and executed the Taiwanese leaders, all with the UN's approval. After that, Israel invaded the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and exiled the Arabs. What the UN does is serve the interests of the power elite based in China, America, Britain, and Israel. They determine who will rule nations based upon how much tribute they can deliver. They have absolutely no problem with the Sudan practicing slavery. They have absolutely no problem with dictators torturing dissidents. The United Earth Government does not stand for anything except the egos of its leaders. Do you know why this ship was built?”

“For exploration,” I said. “Earth's scientists wanted to push new frontiers. The SDF project resulted in scientific advances which we benefit from.”

“The government wants more than to rule the Earth,” said Kyle. “It wants to create an interstellar empire. They want to enslave aliens just like the slaves in Sudan. I hope the Zentraedi blasts the entire UN leadership into bits. The whole world would be better off.”

ooooooooooo

The interview with Minmei was not as serious as my conversation with Kyle earlier in the day.

“The movie was really hard work,” said Minmei. “I'm gonna work on some song lyrics.”

“You finished a movie and now you immediately start working on a new album?”

“I don't like being idle. This is my dream and I'm pursuing it. Anyway, here are some words I came up for my new song.”

“What?”

“There's no fight that we can't fight together. That's some of the words.”

“What else?”

“I'm just working on it. I can't even imagine the tune the song will have.”

“Keep working on it,” I said.

Oooooo

“How do you like it?” asked Lieutenant Kevin Landry.

“It is a bit dark,” replied Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward, now wearing a short-sleeve upscale shirt, slacks, and black shoes instead of his uniform.

It was my twenty-fourth birthday, and some of the pilots of Knight Squadron decided to reserve a table for me and a few friends at Space.

“I can see how this is fun,” said Jake Austin, wearing the most upscale clothing he had.

“Jim’s okay?” I asked.

“He’s with his mother. Happy birthday.”

“Is the birthday boy here?” asked a waitress whom I had not seen in months.

“That’s me,” I replied, smiling.

“Here are you drink specials,” she replied, giving us a bucket of bottled beer.

“All right,” said Katie, drinking a few drinks.

“Happy birthday,” said Melanie, one of the Space Marine pilots transferred to the ship after it first returned to Earth.

“Thanks,” I replied.

“Could you hook me up with some Minmei tickets?” asked Steve.

“I might be able to get front seat tickets,” said Lynn Kyle, dressed in a purple shirt and black slacks.

“You are her manager,” said Greg. “You could probably set us up to join her at the VIP lounge here!”

“How did you get in to public relations?” Kyle asked Dennis.

“I was in public relations for the U.S. Army during the war,” he replied. The U.S. military started downsizing after this ship first arrived. When the United Nations Spacy was established, I applied for a commission and was commissioned as a first lieutenant and as a public relations officer. I was assigned to headquarters. I was sent to Macross City before the launch to handle relations with the press. Now I am here and handle public relations for Captain Gloval. What is your story?”

Kyle gave his story, about living with Minmei’s parents, deciding to return to the ship, and managing his cousin’s career.

“So our careers have similarities,” said Dennis.

“I suppose someone has to argue the other side,” replied Kyle.

“Too bad Akira could not be here,” said Kevin.

“He’s our XO now,” replied Lieutenant Joel Reese. “He doesn’t have as much free time as we do.”

We all toasted for my birthday. After that, we danced on the dance floor. Dennis and Jake were trying to get used to it. Other guests dressed in flashy clothes were dancing.

“You know, we haven’t been here in months,” said Kevin. “And it doesn’t feel the same as before. Things are different now.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” said Joel.

“The war,” said Katie. “It changed us. So much has happened, as we’ve lost so many people.” She bowed down her head.

I definitely agreed. I remembered how Lani used to call for shots.

“War is such a waste,” said Kyle.

“A toast,” said Jake, holding up a glass. “A toast to the future, and to our memories of innocent times.”

And we toasted.

oooooooooooo

There was another Miss Macross competition in December, just before Christmas. Once again, the people of Macross City tuned in. Lynn Minmei was going to crown the next Miss Macross.

I watched as the contestants all gathered. One by one they were shown in their dresses. And then they were shown in their swimsuits. The winner was announced and Minmei crowned the new Miss Macross as photographers snapped photographs. The Miss Macross Contest was front page news the next day.

I took a stroll around Macross City. Most of the city was decorated with Christmas decorations. Many people were doing Christmas shopping. I already had a Christmas list. I planned to buy gifts for Katie and Greg and Steve and Vince.

“I'll have this please,” I said as I spoke to the cashier, a teenage girl. I paid her cash.

“I've been working all week,” said the girl. “After Christmas rolls by, I'm probably gonna sleep in until New Year's.”

oooooooooooo

I went to a Christmas party hosted by the Macross City Press Club, a club for reporters and news editors. It was held in one of the ballrooms on board ship. There were at least five newspapers in Macross City. We were all finely dressed. Punch and hors d'oeuvres such as stuffed mushrooms and smoked eggs were served on playes- not to mention the open beer where beer and vodka and whiskey flowed freely. I heard that the stuffed mushrooms grown right in SDF-1's hydroponic farm.

“Jim’s with his mother,” said Jake Austin.

“He's a big boy now- almost twenty pounds.

“He's doing okay, right?” I asked.

“Right,” said Jake. “He cries a lot. Things will get interesting when he's a year old and starts walking.”

“Children can be a pain in the ass at times. My sister Sally has a baby girl. The baby would be about that age now. I can't imagine what Sally and her husband are going through.”

“I really like your articles on Minmei,” said Priscilla, one of the reporters.

“I have connections with her cousin and manager Lynn Kyle,” I said.

“That's cool,” said Adam, a television reporter for the Macross Broadcasting System. “How did you ever get these connections?”

“I guess it started back when the Zentraedi first attacked Macross City before it was relocated inside the ship.”

oooooooooooo

It was Christmas, and most of the stores were closed. I decided to go to the officers' quarters to pay a visit to Jenna. I hoped she had gotten better. I had not spoken to her in three months.

I walked along the hallway to where her quarters are. I saw the nameplate J. MURPHY. I noticed the door was ajar.

I opened it and I saw Jenna playing a video game that I did not recognize. I could see styrofoam plates and cups in the wastebasket. I saw an empty bottle of Absolut vodka and a empty carton of Minute Maid orange juice. I figured she was hitting the screwdriver. I noticed the room was messy, with all sorts of clothes on the floor.

“Hi, Jenna,” I said. “I came along just to see how you're doing. I know it's been hard for you these past few months.”

I looked into her eyes. There was absolutely no joy. No spark. No desire. It was like she was dead or something.

“She's been like that,” said Katie, who was looking at me. “She just shuts herself in here after work.”

I opened the drawers and I saw a photo album. I looked and saw pictures of Jenna and Katie and Lani. Apparently these were taken before their deployment here. There was a picture of them in their flight suits on some air base that I did not recognize, and there was another picture of the trio on the beach, wearing swimsuits.

“She showed me a video of that over a year ago,” I said.

“That was taken in Australia,” said Katie. “We decided to go over there in December because it was summer there. We had such a fun time.”

“something has to be done,” I said. “She can’t go on like this.”

“I agree. Maybe I can talk to Colonel Beckett.”

“How do you deal with Lani not being around anymore?” I asked.

“Sometimes it hurts. But other times I remember the good times. Lani wasn't the first person close to me to die. I was blessed to have been her friend.”

“This would be your second Christmas away from your family,” I said. “How are you dealing with it?”

“I have my friends here,” said Katie. “I hope I can spend next Christmas with them.”

“I wish I could at least speak with my family,” she said. “The Zentraedi are blockading us.”

“At least they know you’re alive, since your face was on that news broadcast.”

“Anything else going on with you?”

“I have a new boyfriend. We kissed under the mistletoe at our Christmas party. The squadron's okay.”

“Something has tio be done about this,” I said, looking at Jenna. She just can’t go on like this.”

“Well, I'd better go get some sleep. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas to you too,” I said to Katie.

I looked into Jenna's room. I saw her holding the controller, playing the video game with the blank, dead expression on her face.

I went to my apartment that night. I lay down in my bed and sobbed.

Jenna was gone.

Oooooooooo

The year was ending. It was a tumultuous year for me. I went around jogging in the city.

So much has happened.

So much sadness.

I sat on a bench in a small park. I saw two young children p[laying, with their mother watching. The children looked oblivious to the situation here.

A few minutes later, I saw Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett, weating a sweatshirt and sweat pants instead of the Space Marine uniform. The sweatshirt had the words “SPACE MARINE” printed on it.

“May I join you?” he asked.

“Sure,” I replied. “How was your Christmas, Colonel?”

“I enjoyed it. I spent it with Maribel and the kids. We even invited Dan’s widow and his kids over. They’ve been coping the best they can.”

“And the squadron?”

“Fine. We’re still training the new pilots. I hope you never understand this, but we warriors experience things, we are often in situations where any second could be the last second. We get close to people only for them to be taken away, ripped away like a scab. And some of us snap. It happens to warriors sometimes. Some of us become mentally incapacitated. Some of us lose our ability to love, to enjoy life.”

“I hear you.”

“But many of us, despite this, despite the stress and the grief, cope. That includes one particular flight captain under my command. A pilot who is number two on the kill board, who excels in training her subordinates, teaching them what she had discovered herself. A better pilot than me, better than Roy Fokker, even. A pilot who, under my judgment, is perfectly sane as you or I.”

“But even the best pilots could be worn down. Even the best pilots could need professional help.”

“We can’t spare her. We’re not getting any reinforcements from Earth; the Zentraedi are blockading us. We need her to fight the enemy and to train the others on how to fight the enemy.”

“What if it became known that pilots were being sent out even though they show signs of clinical depression?”

“Would the public believe a reporter with no training in psychiatry? Who was in a relationship with the pilot in question until six months ago? Here is the thing. We break. Many of us wake up in the middle of the night, screaming or crying. Many of us run and hide if there is a loud, sudden sound. Many of us just sit down, staring into space, retreating within just for the illusion of safety. But even after we break, we still go out there. And those of us who are commanding officers have to send others out there, knowing that they will break and the shattered bits further broken until nothing is left. We do all that to ourselves and our fellow warriors, because if we don’t go out there, we die. If we don’t send them out there, we have failed as leaders? And if we fail as leaders, what good are we? And even with all that, we have doubts. If we can’t even save our best friends, how can we save our wives? Husbands? Fathers? Mothers? Sons? Daughters? How can we save them? What would be the point of all this suffering if we can’t save them? We’re being ground to dust, and we don’t even know if it will all be for nothing!”

I sat down quietly for a few minutes. I could only scratch the surface of what he was saying.

“I have to go to the office,” said Colonel Beckett, standing up. “Thanks for listening.”

He then continued his jog. I could only see the back of his head, but he did not need to face me for me to know what the expression on his face was like.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-29 12:07pm

Chapter 19

Home Invasion

I rang in the New Year in a street party in Macross City, just like I did last year. We all toasted champagne. Thousands of people packed the street. Police officers- both in and out of uniform- kept watch. Minmei hosted the celebration. Jake and his wife were with their baby. Greg and Steve were working back at the Lucky Shamrock.

I also noticed Bryan Hart, wearing the Class “A” uniform for junior enlisted Spacy servicemen.

“When did you join the military?” I asked.

“A couple of months ago. My parents were against it. I pointed out Lani wanted to protect us and that was why she flew out there. I asked them if they would protect me. When they said they would, I said I wanted to do the same for them. Anyway, I went through basic and then through security police training and now I'm a security policeman.”

“Somebody has to drag unruly crewmembers to the brig,” I said.

“Among other things,” said Bryan Hart. He looks around the crowd.

“You doing okay?”

“Fine, I guess.”

This time, there was no Zentraedi attack during the party.

oooooooooo

I went to the premiere of Small White Dragon, which starred Lynn Minmei and Lynn Kyle. I had witnessed some of the photography; I had no idea what the plot was. I was there along with most of Macross City. I was dressed in a suit.

I watched the movie. It was some kung-fu action movie set in China or something. Lynn Kyle played this man who was fighting giants. He struck them with a bolt and he then jumped over three arrows flying towards him. Those editors did a good job, I thought.

I then interviewed some of the watchers.

“It was awesome,” said this boy. “I liked it when he fried that giant with that fireball.”

“It was totally cheesy,” said this older man. “Why should the first movie made in space be this crap?”

Then the alarm sounded. The Zentraedi were attacking again.

I went to the observation deck. I saw the explosions as our fighters engaged the enemy's fighters and pods. I could see a Zentraedi cruiser fast approaching.

Then I saw a bright light. It must have been the ship's main gun. The Zentraedi cruiser was obliterated!

Then the alarm stopped.

ooooooooooo

Since Katie nor anyone else of Knight Squadron said otherwise, I assumed Jenna was still, well, still breathing. There wasn't much activity from the Zentraedi for the rest of the month nor in February. February would mark the anniversary of the ship's launch as well as the bombing of the casino.

The people of Macross City gathered in a candlelight vigil to commemorate the bombing of the Bright Star Casino a year ago. I remember all too well, for I had been arrested in connection with the bombing. Mayor Tommy Luan, Captain Henry Gloval, and Police Chief Scott Bernard were among those attending this vigil.

“Fellow citizens,” said the mayor . “Today is the one year anniversary of the terrorist bombing of this casino by Abu Musab Salim. The bombing had nothing to do with our war with the Zentraedi; it was another attack in a conflict that raged on Earth before the SDF-1 arrived. Thirteen people died. Today we honor their memories, remember their lives.”

We all bowed our heads and held the lit candles.

Then Lynn Kyle walked up and faced everyone to give a speech. “I wasn't on the ship when this place was bombed,” he said. “But I know that the bombing was part of a war that is still being waged on Earth, a war that was being waged before we even heard of the Zentraedi. Why are we fighting the Zentraedi? It wasn't the Zentraedi that bombed the casino last year. We have to put an end to this war. More and more people on both sides are going to die like these thirteen victims unless we can seek peace. And we are not going to get peace by bombing them, whether by dropping bombs from a plane or carrying bombs around the waist. I say we contact the Zentraedi and make peace negotiations. It's time to stop the warmongering. It's time to choose a better path than the casino bomber! Who is with me? Who is for peace?”

The man did have a point, regardless of the opinions he expressed to me about the United Nations. I guessed it would not hurt to talk to them at least, and hope they were more reasonable than Abu Musab Salim and his kind were.

oooooooooo

After the memorial service, there was a Valentine's Day party in the observation lounge of the ship. I went to the entrance of the observation lounge. I saw couples coming inside.

“Hi there,” said Katie as she was going in with a young man dressed in a suit. Katie was wearing a yellow dress.

“I'm just checking out the scene,” I said. “I thought a walk around the city would do be good.”

“Well, we're going inside,” said Katie. “I hope to have a blast.”

I saw her disappear into the lounge. I looked around. Then I noticed Claudia entering the lounge, dressed in her green dress. I wondered why she would be here. I decided to go inside.

Most of the people in the lounge were grouped into couples, although there were a few unattached people there. “I wasn't expecting you to be here,” I said.

“I guess I'm full of surprises,” said Claudia, sipping her drink. “I guess I decided there was no use moping around in my quarters.”

“It makes sense,” I said.

“Listen, they're playing one of my favorite songs. I might as well dance.”

And so she did. I looked through the crowd, seeing both couples as well as some singles just wanting to have a good time. I went to the bar and ordered a vodka cranberry. The bartenders served the bottled stuff from Earth, as this was a special occasion.

“Hello, Colonel,” I said upon seeing Colonel Victor Maistroff and his wife, Patti. He was wearing his dress blues, which I figure he wore to the Bright Star bombing memorial service. His wife was wearing this simple blue dress.

He recognized me from that mission to Mars, which seemed like a lifetime ago. “How have you been doing?’

“I’m able to enjoy life,” I said. “How are your kids?”

“Great,” replied the colonel. “Laurel finishes high school this year, and William is in his first year.”

“Where is that fine young lady you were with at that party two Christmases ago?” asked Mrs. Maistroff. “you know the one with the blond hair?”

“She…uh, I…I’m not with her anymore.”

“At least it was worth a try, right?”

“I guess so.”

She looked at her husband. “Remember, Victor, Tommy is joining us for brunch next Sunday,” she said.

“I hope Henry could join us,” he replied. “We haven’t had brunch with him for three months now.”

They both walked away. I looked around again. I noticed Vince dancing with a woman in a red dress. I took another look and saw the woman was Jean the nurse!

That was a surprise. I was not going to interrupt.

ooooooooooo

After the party was over, I decided to go to the Knight Squadron office. Someone mentioned that Jenna was on duty this night. Since she was not as withdrawn while on duty, I hoped I could get a word with her.

I entered the section of the ship where Knight Squadron's offices are located.

“I saw some of your moves out there, Dow,” I heard Jenna say. “I'm impressed.”

“I do my best, with a little help from you and Major Nomura and Colonel Beckett,” said Dow.

“I'd better review the flight data. You'd better get some sleep. Report in at 1300 today.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

I saw Dow leave.

“Hi, Jenna,” I said. “I heard you were on duty tonight and I was hoping we can talk.”

“If you want an interview with any of the pilots or staff, call the office at 0900,” she replied. “Colonel Beckett or Major Nomura may be able to help you.”

“I'm not here to ask for an interview. I just want to talk.”

“Excuse me. I am very busy and I have a lot of work to catch up on. You can leave now, or I can have you escorted out of the office.”

I looked into her eyes; there was this anger in her. I turned and walked away.

oooooooooo

Kyle's speech was printed in newspapers the day after the vigil. Editorials came out in support of peace negotiations with the Zentraedi.

Could this change things?


ooooooooo


One night in March, I decided to cover Lynn Minmei's concert which was held in the Macross City amphitheater. She would sing some songs from her first album, as well as a song from her second album. I sat there, wearing my suit. Minmei then took the stage, wearing a red dress with as white trim at the bottom edge. The audience and us press as cheered.

She then sang her song “To Be in Love.” As I listened, I then remembered that tonight was the second anniversary of my first date with Jenna. It was also a year ago that things started taking a dive, beginning with Lani's death. This time, her singing was becoming painful for me.

“Excuse me,” I said to the reporter sitting next to me.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“I need to take a walk.”

And so I did. I left the amphitheater through the service entrance and was walking along the concrete sidewalk. I could hear her song being blared over speakers along the street. Maybe I can go to the Bright Star Casino or the Lucky Shamrock. Then I figured out that her song would probably be broadcast over there as well.

“ALL VERITECH FIGHTERS, RED ALERT!” yelled a female voice, interrupting Minmei's song. “I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! ALL VERITECH FIGHTERS, RED ALERT!”

It sounded like Jenna was going out there again. I looked back in the amphitheater in the distance. Then I decided I'd rather go to the observation deck.

“Taxi!” I yelled as I saw a yellow Toyota Tercel taxi.

“Where to, pal?” asked the taxi driver.

“Observation deck.”

oooooooooooo

And so I went to the observation deck. I looked at the Prometheus aircraft carrier as I saw the veritech fighters take off to meet the enemy. I could see many Zentraedi ships approaching us. Soon space was filled with fire as our fighters engaged the enemy's fighters and pods.

Despite the attacks from our fighters and the ship's laser and missile batteries, the Zentraedi ships kept getting closer and closer. I saw one of Knight Squadron's veritechs change into guardian mode and make a strafing run along one of the enemy destroyers, blasting the laser and missile turrets. One of the Zentraedi ships, the biggest in the attacking group, approached within a mile of the SDF-1 Macross, opening fire with its weapons.

Then I saw the Daedalus amphibious landing ship fly right into the lead Zentraedi ship, thriust forward by the SDF-1. I have seen this Daedalus attack before. The Marine destroid unit would blow the enemy ship apart from the inside.

The Daedalus was withdrawn from the Zentraedi ship, leaving a gaping hole in the bow. But the ship was still in one piece. The hull must be tough. I wondered if the destroids managed to cripple the ship's systems; the destroids' missiles would surely cause heavy damage.

Then I heard explosions. I wondered if that was one of the enemy ships. Then I realized that we were in space, and space does not transmit sound waves. That must mean the explosion was coming from inside the Macross. I ran out of the observation deck to the streets of Macross City.

It was then that I saw the Zentraedi battle pods in the streets, blasting away at everything. It was like the day of the SDF-1's maiden voyage. I could hear people screaming. I could hear people dying.

This was it. The Zentraedi couldn't destroy us from the outside, so they sent their pods to wreck the ship from within. Destroids arrived from the base to do battle with the pods; they wear outnumbered by at least three-to-one.

I then saw a squad of Marines run towards me. One of them was carrying an RPG launcher, the others had rifles.

“The enemy is inside, sir,” said the gunnery sergeant leading the squad.

“I know,” I said.

“Sarge, one of the pods is heading this way!” yelled a Marine.

“Cover me,” the Marine sergeant ordered. He pressed himself against a building and peeked around the corner. He then burst around the building and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the enemy pod. The grenade made contact and the Zentraedi pod became a smoking ruin.

“We were trained to take on enemy pods in the event of a boarding action,” said one of the Marines. “We're small, so we'd be hard to see.”

“Good thing that they have thin skin,” said another Marine.

“This is Little Leader to Control,” the Marine sergeant said. “This area is free from enemy activity. Orders please?”

I looked and saw not one but four Zentraedi pods approaching us, all walking along the street.

“Oh shit,” said one of the Marines. “We can't load the rockets fast enough to take on four.

“I have four enemy pods heading in our direction,” said the sergeant. He looked at his other Marines. “Take cover!”

I then saw the enemy pods squat down. The hatch was opened. Apparently the Zentraedi pilots were coming out to do some sort of job with their bare hands.

I saw a rope dropped down from the pod's cockpit, and then I saw people come out. People about the same size as us.

“Sarge!” yelled one of the Marines.

The Marine sergeant looked at the people who came out of the enemy pods. They were dressed in these robes. I wondered if they were some of our people who escaped from Zentraedi custody similar to what happened over a year ago.

“Don't shoot!” yelled one of the people, a man with black hair. “We surrender!”

The people that came from the pods all lay down with their hands on top of their heads.

“I have a situation here,” the Marine sergeant said into his radio. “I need backup.”

I looked at the Marine squad and these people who announced they were surrendering.

“This is Skull Leader!” yelled a voice. “What's the situation?”

I looked and saw with white veritech battloid with a yellow-and-black trim. There was a skull and crossbones painted over the heat shield that covered the cockpit.

“Skull Leader, this is Little Squad,” said the Marine sergeant. “These people came out of the enemy pods and told us they wanted to surrender. In English.”

“Copy that,” said the Skull leader pilot. “I'll stay here until we can transport them to the brig. Look out!”

I looked and saw a Zentraedi pod. It opened fire on Skull Leader.

Suddenly, something hit me in the forehead. One of the Marines came to my assistance.

“Are you all right?” asked the Marine.

“Owww,” I said. I could feel blood trickling from my head.

“This is Skull Leader!” yelled the Skull Leader pilot. “We have casualties here. Send a medivac to Observation Road.”

Soon I was put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-30 02:13pm

Chapter 19

Defectors
When I reached the emergency entrance, I could see a lot of people. Many of them were in terrible shape. Doctors and nurses were treating the wounds and burns that these people suffered. I saw paramedics take someone straight to an emergency room. That someone must be in much worse shape than I was. I could hear snippets of conversation between doctors, nurses, and medics. My wound was not that serious, as they simply pressed a cloth to my head and then applied a bandage. I noticed that Lynn Kyle was in the emergency room, with doctors treating him.

“We lost another one,” was something I heard too many times.

“Okay,” said one of the nurses. “I think we can move you to one of the hospital rooms.”

And so she did. As it turned out, it was the same room that Jenna was in during her recovery from injuries sustained in a battle a long time ago. I lay there in the same bed that Jenna lay in.

“We'd like to keep you overnight,” said the nurse. “We'll schedule a scan for possible brain injury tomorrow morning. You're one of the lucky ones.”

I lay down, with fluorescent lights lighting the room. I looked out of the window.

I could see burning and wrecked buildings. No part of the city was spared damage. I wondered if my office and apartment were still there.

“Hi there,” said someone.

I looked and I saw Jenna, dressed in her flight uniform. “Jenna,” I said.

“Are you all right?” asked Jenna.

“I'm still in one piece. I'm gonna stay overnight. They want to run a brain scan tomorrow.” I lay down in my bed.

“You need to get some rest. When I heard the Zentraedi invaded the ship, I was worried. I'm glad you're okay.”

“I'm glad you're okay too,” I said. “You and the pilots are not the only people facing destruction. All of us civilians are also in danger. But that's why you go out there. That's why Lani went out there. You both know the threat the Zentraedi posed to me and the others in Macross City.”

Jenna bowed her head. “I'm sorry for the way I've acted,” she said. “I just hope you can forgive me.”

“You shouldn't isolate yourself. I still care about you. You're just making yourself miserable. Try talking to others.”

“Okay. I guess I'll just have to take it one step at a time. By the way, we lost someone.”

“Did you know him well?”

“No, he was under Kevin Landry's command. But I guess Macross City lost a lot of people.”

“That's right,” I said.

“Do you mind if I stay here with you? You need someone to be here with you and I guess I could be here. I'll probably head back to base tomorrow morning.”

“You need someone with you too.”

Soon I fell asleep.

ooooooooo

The next morning I woke up. I looked around, seeing a table with a radio and an electrocardiogram monitoring my heart. Jenna was not in the room.

“You're awake,” said a nurse.

“Was a young lady in here?” I asked. “She had blond hair and was wearing a flight uniform.”

“I didn't see anyone in here when I checked on you an hour ago. But if she was in uniform, she's probably on duty now. It's time for your scan.”

“Okay,” I said.

oooooooooo

I ate a breakfast of corn flakes and drank water before my scan. I was put into this huge dark chamber. There was this buzzing sound and I felt some sort of dry heat. Then I came out.

“You should come for a followup a week from now,” said the doctor. “There's no sign of brain injury from the initial scan; I just want to make sure.”

“Okay,” I said. “I'm sure I'll have the time.”

I put my clothes back on and left the hospital. I decided to check out the city. I could see burnt out buildings and piles of rubbles. Work crews were cleaning up the damage, which would probably take days given the scope. I could see the wreckage of Zentraedi pods and UN Space Marine Destroids scattered in the streets.

I continued walking through the battle-wounded city. I saw my apartment building. It was at least in one piece. When I drew closer, I could see scorch marks and broken windows.

“We just restored water and electrical power a few minutes ago,” said one of the construction workers in my apartment building. “But telephones and gas are out.”

“When will telephone service be back?” I asked.

“Tonight, I guess. Maybe tomorrow morning.”

I went upstairs to my apartment and walked inside. Some books had fallen from the bookshelf attached to the wall. Otherwise, there was no damage.

I still had my job, just as Jenna had hers. I went out to gather more data to write stories on the recent attack on Macross City.

From what I had read in the Macross City Gazette, in the issue with the headline “ZENTRAEDI INVADE MACROSS CITY! THOUSANDS KILLED!”, Captain Henry J. Gloval had a press conference while I was in the hospital. He said that there were about three thousand people killed in the invasion. I heard that Mayor Tommy Luan would give a press conference in front of Macross City Hall. I attended the press conference with the other reporters. The City Hall did not avoid damage; there was a huge hole in the wall to the right of the front entrance, and the windows had been shattered. The building was closed until sufficient repairs could be made.

“As we all know, the Zentraedi launched an invasion of our city,” said the mayor. “This assault resulted in the largest loss of life since the relocation of Macross City inside the SDF-1. I am currently working with Captain Gloval and SDF-1 Engineering and Security Departments to restore the city.

“I am sorry to inform you that the Macross City Police Department had lost its chief, Scott Bernard. He was killed in the attack. My condolences go to his widow and his three children Helen, Jack, and Cody. We lost a lot of fine people yesterday. The best thing we can do is to pick up the pieces and rebuild our lives.”

I looked at a woman and three children accompanying the mayor. That must have been Mrs. Bernard. I can feel sympathy for her.

ooooooooo

I later visited Jake Austin in the hospital. He was lying down in his hospital bed. I saw a vase of flowers sitting on the nightstand next ot the bad, while an electrocardiogram monitored his heart rate.

“Hi there,” he said. “I'm glad you're still alive.”

“I'm glad you're alive too. Are...?”

“My wife and kids are alive, thank God. I had at least three surgeries today. They're giving me all these painkillers.”

“How are you currently?”

“I'm gonna need an operation to fully recover. The problem is that the SDF-1's medical staff aren't capable of the surgery. I'd have to go to Earth to get the operation.”

“What exactly happened?” I asked.

“Debris hit me in the back and broke my spine. I could barely feel my legs. Doctors here can't fix it.”

“Listen, Jake, maybe we can get back to Earth and you can get spinal implants or something. Or maybe the Spacy can fly a doctor up here to operate on you.”

“Fat chance,” said Jake. “I guess I shouldn't dwell on that though. I mean, I still have some more surgeries. I'll probably be in the hospital for months. At least you're on your feet.”

“I'll make sure to come by and visit,” I said to the Macross Gazette publisher.

ooooooooooo

The next morning, I was working on some stories when I heard the phone ring

“Hello?” I asked, telling the caller whom I was.

“It’s me, Dennis,” said Dennis. “Listen, Captain Gloval wants to meet with us at his office.

“Okay,” I said. I looked out my window, seeing the reconstruction effort.

And so I did.

ooooooooooo

Dennis and I entered Captain Gloval's office minutes later. It was a large office with an oak desk, a file cabinet, a bookcase, and a Sony television set. There were plaques hanging on the wall. The captain was sitting behind the desk. A Spacy lieutenant commander was with him; she was wearing service khakis.

Dennis stood at attention, reporting that I had accompanied hm.

“Have a seat please,” said Gloval. “What I am about to tell you is in the strictest confidence. You will be compensated for your favor.”

“LIke what?” I asked.

“You will be paid a day's worth of a captain's salary, and you will get exclusive rights to publish what you learn if and when I decide this will go public.”

“So what's up that you need a civilian like me?”

“We have read your articles on the war. It was Commander Pride’s idea to summon you here.”

“Lieutenant Commander Christina Pride,” she said. “Provost Marshal for the SDF-1 Macross. I command the Spacy police on board ship.”

“During the recent battle in Macross City, a squad of Marines had captured aliens,” said Captain Gloval. “They were shrunk down to our size. Three of them spoke English and communicated to us that they want to defect.”

“Defectors?” I asked. “The Zentraedi could change their size?”

“Apparently yes. Commander Pride, if you will.”

“We'd like you to question the three defectors who could speak English,” said Pride. “Maybe you can find out something that they did not mention during the initial interrogation. I'd also like to find out if their stories are credible. The Zentraedi prisoners are under my custody, and I will arrange for you to speak to them one at a time.”

“Okay,” I said.

And so I did.

oooooooooooo

I sat in the interrogation room, with a Spacy security policeman standing inside, armed with a baton. They brought in the prisoner, who was dressed in a blue robe.

“What is your name?” I asked him.

oooooooooo

“My name is Konda,” said the man with black hair.

oooooooooo

“My name is Rico,” said the man with purple hair.

oooooooooo

“My name is Bron,” said the big guy with red hair.

oooooooooo

“You are a Zentraedi, correct?”

“Yes,” replied Konda.

ooooooooooo

“What was your position in the Zentraedi?”

“We were intelligence analysts,” said Rico. “We were assigned to Breetai's flagship.”

oooooooooo

“Breetai? What is that?”

“He's a Zentraedi fleet commander,” said Bron. “We analyzed the data gathered by scouts and present the analysis to Breetai and his assistant Exedore. We even participated in scout missions ourselves. Breetai was one of the best fleet commanders, which is why Dolza sent him to capture the ship.”

oooooooooo

“How do you know how to speak our language?”

“We've been studying your language for many days,” said Konda. “Our brains were designed to learn languages easily.”

oooooooooo

“What is the strength of the Zentraedi?”

“There are six billion Zentraedi troops,” said Rico.

oooooooooo

“Six billion?” I asked. “Is that correct?”

“Yes,” said Bron. “We have four million eight hundred thousand ships around the time we surrendered. Crew complements for the ships are about two thousand, and the Zentraedi command headquarters has one million personnel. We have tens of millions of Regult pods, Gnerl fighters, millions of Glaugs, and hundreds of thousands of Queadluun Rau and Nousjadel Ger power armor. We also have tens of millions of transport shuttles and re-entry pods.”

oooooooooo

“Where is the Zenteaedi homeworld?”

“We do not have a home world,” said Konda. “The Zentraedi headquarters is a huge ship, large enough to fit thousands of Zentraedi destroyers. Over a million Zentraedi are assigned there to provide support to the commanders or maintain and defend the headquarters.”

oooooooooo

“What is the leadership of the Zentraedi?”

“The commander-in-chief is Dolza,” said Rico. “He has a staff of four hundred to advise him on various matters and to provide administrative support. Under him are the fleet commanders such as Breetai.”

oooooooooo

“What is the basic social structure of the Zentraedi?”

“The squad,” said Bron. “Squads are organized into platoons, then companies, then battalions, then regiments, then brigades, then divisions, then corps, then fleets and armies depending on branch of service. We were in an intelligence squad.”

oooooooooo

“What about families?”

“What is this thing families?” asked Konda.

oooooooooo

“Where were you born?”

“Born?” said Rico. “I guess I was born in a cloning chamber. We Zentraedi are cloned and modified for specific tasks. I was given increased brainpower so I can be an intelligence analyst. After I was born, I immediately started in a training squad before going into operational duty.”

ooooooooo

“What do you know about the rest of the galaxy and beyond?”

“We know of at least a dozen nations, some with offensive space combat capability,” said Bron. “We crushed almost all of them. Some of them hide and strike at us.”

oooooooooo

“Who are your allies?”

“We don't have information on allies,” said Konda. “We only gather and analyze data on our enemies' military capabilities.”

oooooooooo

“Why were you trying to destroy this ship?”

“Our goal was to capture it,” said Rico. “I do not fully understand the reasons, except as it has to do with protoculture.”

ooooooooo

“Protoculture?”

“We don't know what it is, only that it's important to Breetai and Dolza,” said Bron. “It has something to do with this ship, but we don't know. All we were assigned to do was to analyze the ship's defensive capabilities.”

ooooooooo

“Where was the origin of the Zentraedi people?”

“We don't know,” said Konda. “Dolza and Exedore may know.”

ooooooooo

“Why are you small while other Zentraedi are giants?”

“We have resizing chambers which changes our size,” said Rico. “That was how we became the size of Micronians.”

ooooooooo

“Why did you defect to us? You know this is a great risk for you. It is very likely you could be executed as spies.”

“We wanted to become part of Micronian society,” said Bron. “You see, a year ago were were micronized and planted on board ship as spies to learn more about the enemy, about you. it was wonderful. We ate plant and animal tissue that tasted very good. We listened to music which strings sounds together to make Micronians feel good, like what the female Minmei does. There were males and females talking to each other. There was this thing called gambling, where you go into this place called a casino and you put coins into these machines and pull the lever and sometimes the machines give coins back so you can pull the lever again. So we and the others shrunk ourselves down to Micronian size and we drove a Regult into the ship when it launched its Daedalus attack. We got out and we surrendered to your soldiers. We want to live among you, so we can have food and music. We'll do whatever work you require of us if you let us live with you. I understand if you decide to kill us. We know how you Micronians deal with captured spies, and we know many of you were killed in the invasion of Macross City. But this was the only way we could come live with you.”

oooooooo

I later played the recording of the interrogation to Captain Gloval, Commander Pride, and Dennis.

“Thank you,” said the captain. “what is our opinion?”

“I think that the three English-speaking defectors want to live among us. They're willing to provide whatever service you require if you let them live here. But there is a possibility that Breetai, their former commander, planted a saboteur among the defectors. The other defectors should be kept in custody until we can determine their motivations.”

“We don't know their language,” said Gloval. “It will be difficult to communicate with the others. I want to thank you for your favor. You may leave now.”

ooooooooo

I walked along the corridor back to Macross City.

“This is an interesting part of my job,” said Commander Pride.

“What will we do with them?” I asked.

“There was one thing I agreed with your recommendation. We should evaluate each of the prisoners on a case-by-case basis. We have to find out if they want to live with us or if they were here to sabotage the ship.”

“What will happen to them?”

“Captain Gloval will make the decision. If we do reject their request to live with us, we will send them out of the airlock without a spacesuit. They're not POW's, they were caught out of uniform and are considered to be spies. And UEF policy allows for the execution of enemy spies at the commanding officer’s discretion.”

I went back to my apartment, contemplating the recent events. The very fact that at least three Zentraedi would defect to us implied it was possible to have a peace agreement with the Zentraedi.

It would be a shame if Konda, Rico, and Bron ended up in the vacuum of space for all their troubles.

oooooooooo

I continued to cover the reconstruction of Macross City. The damage had been worse than the modular transformation two years ago. Some of the buildings were too damaged to be repaired and had to be torn down. I got statements from survivors of the Zentraedi attack.

“We heard this alarm, snd just before we got into this shelter, we saw these walking pods,” said this boy.

“I looked out and I saw this, this thing with two arms and two legs and a laser on its head,” said a girl. “It was shooting at the other pods. I don't know what for.”

There was one bright spot. None other than Lani’s younger brother Bryan- now United Nations Spacy Crewman Bryan Hart- was awarded the titanium medal of valor. He had rescued a small child who did not know where the shelter was even as the Zentraedi battle pods were blasting away at everything. The ceremony was held in a small room. His parents, friends, and superiors were in attendance like I was. Captain Gloval took the podium, with Commander Pride at his side.

“For courage under fire during the recent Zentraedi attack in Macross City,” he started. “I hereby grant Crewman Bryan Hart, UN Spacy, the titanium medal of valor.”

We all clapped, and his parents hugged their son.

“How are you feeling, Crewman?” asked Gloval.

“Fine, sir,” said Bryan Hart. “Lani would have been proud.”

“Who?”

“My older sister Lani. She was a Marine veritech pilot. She was killed in battle about a year ago.”

“The medal is not a prize to be won, Crewman. It simply recognizes those of us who when faced with a challenge, rose up to the occasion.”

“That's what Lani did, sir.”

The crewman and the captain shook hands as photographers took pictures.

oooooooooooo

The day after, Captain Gloval himself made a very important press conference. All of us were there.

“Hello everyone,” said the captain as television cameras were trained on him. “A few days ago the Zentraedi broke into the ship and invaded Macross City. Three thousand people died. On that same day, about twenty micronized Zentraedi surrendered to us. They were shrunk down to size by a process not understood. They informed us that they wanted to defect to our ship and live with us. After days of interrogation, we decided to grant their request for asylum to five of them.”

The others expressed shock; I was not surprised. I already knew in advance whom three of the five were.

“It is true that they were the enemy,” continued Gloval. “Some of them may have killed those we befriended and loved. But they are not the enemy anymore. They wanted to stop fighting us, and become part of our culture. For all their lives, they have known nothing but war and destruction. They turned their backs on their old lives, to start a new one with us. This shows that a peaceful resolution to the conflict with the Zentraedi can be achieved. These people have nowhere to turn. We should accept them as our neighbors.”

“The outside of an airlock would be a good place for them to turn,” I heard someone mutter.

“Any questions?” asked Gloval.

“You said you granted asylum to five Zentraedi,” said a reporter. “You also said there were twenty prisoners. What of the other fifteen?”

“Their requests are still pending,” said the captain.

“Is there any concern that these are saboteurs?” asked another reporter.

“It is a primary concern, which is why we are reviewing the remaining fifteen. We do know that at least five of them have a genuine desire to live with us.”

“Are there any restrictions on their movements?” asked another reporter.

“They will be treated like defectors from any other enemy,” said Gloval. “They will be required to report to the ship’s security police. They will be closely monitored for a time.”

“Will they be settled on Earth?” asked another reporter.

“Not now.”

ooooooooooo

I later went into one of the apartment buildings and went to Apartment 2A. The door was open. I saw Konda, Rico, and Bron inside.

“Hi there,” I said. “I just wanted to pay a visit. I heard Captain Gloval's announcement.”

“Oh, it's you,” said Bron. “We were set up here by the crew after we were released.”

“I just wanted to bring a housewarming gift,” I said, placing a potted flowering plant on a windowsill.

“Housewarming?” asked Konda.

“It's a tradition. When friends move to a new place, we give gifts to them.”

“Is that for us to grow food?” asked Rico.

“No, it's for decoration. It will make this place more homely. So what will you do for jobs?”

“We're teaching the Micronians how to speak our language,” said Bron. “They're paying us a lot. We're also teaching the other two the English language.”

“So you became teachers,” I said.

“We're very skilled in learning languages,” said Konda. “We can teach both Micronians and Zentraedi.”

“How about we go to the casino so we can celebrate your residency in Macross City?”

And so we did.

oooooooooooo

We went to the Bright Star Casino. There were many people in here. I could hear the familiar clinking sounds of coins being paid by the slot machines, which ranged from the lever-and-reel devices to video slot machines.

“How about we play some blackjack?” I asked. “There are open spots at that table.”

“Okay,” said Konda. “Let's see what this blackjack is about.”

We all sat at a table and we looked at the dealer, a woman with black hair.

“Hello everyone,” said the woman.

“These three don't know how to play blackjack,” I said.

“Well, first of all you buy chips. the minimum bet is five dollars.”

The three Zentraedis gave the woman cash in exchange for chips.

“I deal out the cards, and you choose whether to hit, stand, double, or split. If you beat me without busting, I win. I have to hit at sixteen and below and stand on seventeen and above.”

So the dealer dealt out the cards.

“What do I have?” asked Bron.

“You have an eleven,” said Rico. “I have a sixteen.”

We all played our hands.

“You're giving us more chips?” asked Bron.

“That's what happens when you win,” said the dealer.

oooooooooo

We played for a couple of hours. Konda, Rico, and Bron did not know what to do, since they did not know any strategies about blackjack. Still they maanged to keep some of their chips.

“is there something else to do?” asked Konda.

“We could have a drink at the Lucky Shamrock,” I said. “I know some of the bartenders there.”

So we went to the bar. Vince was working there.

“Hi there, kid,” I said. “These three are Konda, Rico, and Bron.”

“Hello,” he said. “I'm Vince. I'll be your bartender for this evening.”

“Could you get us some beer?”

So he did. I mentioned to him where the three came from.

“They're Zentraedi?” asked Vince. “I thought they were giants.”

“We have devices that can reduce us to Micronian size,” said Bron. “We came and surrendered to your leaders so we can live among you.”

“So you're not killing us anymore,” said Vince.

“That's right.”

“I say we have a toast to your residency status,” I said.

“A toast?” asked Rico.

“It is when we raise our drinks in celebration.”

“A toast to living with the Micronians!” said Konda.

Three women in Spacy uniforms approached- one had short black hair, one had red hair, and one had brown hair and was wearing eyeglasses.

“Where have you been?” asked the black-haired woman. “We haven't seen you around.”

“We thought you might have been killed during the invasion,” said the little red-haired woman.

I smiled. Those three would surely be surprised to hear about who these three men were.

“Can I have your attention?” asked a man in his forties. The bartenders and servers looked at him; it seemed he was the manager.

“A moment of silence in honor of our bartender and friend, Stefan Kyriacos, whom we know as Steve. He died in that Zentraedi attack.”

Oh, no. Not Steve. I had known him for two years.

Vince stood up, speaking to his boss. “I would like to say this about, Steve,” said the kid. “You showed me the ropes back when I was just a high school student working as a host,” he said. “You told me what a cranberry and screwdriver were, how to get the right beer within seven seconds. You were like a big brother to me.”

“Hey,” said Greg. “I thought I was your big brother.”

Some of the people laughed.

“A toast to Steve,” said Vince.

And we toasted to a friend.

oooooooooooo

The rebuilding of Macross City continued. I was certainly impressed with the efforts. All of the rubble was cleaned up. Construction crews worked hard to rebuild the shattered city.

But then there were shattered families who were emotionally wounded. Bricks, steel beams, and cement would not be able to provide relief. All they have is each other.

I decided to go to the observation deck's food court for dinner rather than cooking dinner myself. There were a few people eating. I could look out through the windows at the planet Earth. I decided to get a hamburger and a Coke from McDonald's.

I looked and I saw Jenna eating by herself.

“Hi there,” I said as I approached. “Mind if I join you?”

“Not really,” said Jenna, picking up a french fry.

“How are you doing?”

“I got an excellent fitrep from Colonel Beckett.”

“No, how are you doing in your personal life?”

“I feel so estranged from everyone. I don't think anyone in my squadron wants to be my friend anymore. I'm not surprised, considering how I've been treating them for the past year. I just wish I could take it back. I came here to eat because I was tired of eating alone in my quarters. I hoped that at least eating in a public place, with other people around, would help.”

“I can be your friend,” I said.

“You know, Lani's little brother Bryan was awarded the titanium medal of valor,” said Jenna. “He joined the Spacy a few months ago.”

“I saw him back at that New Year’s Party. I also covered the award ceremony. Maybe you can talk to him about Lani.”

“No. You know, the first few nights after Lani died, I kept replaying the image of her death in my mind. Seeing those flying…things. Lani starting to say that they are at twelve o’ clock. I could see the fireball. I remember calling out for her.”

“The question is what can we do now? Lani's dead and we miss her, but we have lives to live. And I want to be with you.” I looked into her blue eyes. “We can be together again. I remember how happy we were together. We can build a future.” I put my hands on her hand.

She pushed my hands away. “It won't work,” she said. “I'm not the same person you fell in love with two years ago. The past two years, the war, Lani's death, have all changed me.”

“You're not the only person that changed, Jenna,” I replied. “I changed too. Before I flew to Macross City, I didn’t think of my family as anything important. Now that I have not spoken to them for over two years, I would want to see them again. But here on this ship, I didn't isolate myself. I have Katie and Greg and Dennis and Jake. And I had you. And I want to have you again.”

“I just need some space. This is very difficult for me.” She stood up. “How are the others doing?”

“Katie, Greg, and Dennis are still around. Vince was promoted to bartender at the Lucky Shamrock, and he is also a part-time apprentice engineer for the ship.”

“Anything else?”

“Steve died. Steve Kyriacos, the bartender at Lucky Shamrock.”

Jenna bowed her head. “I haven’t seen him in a year; I haven’t been there in a year.”

“It’s not your fault,” I said.

“I shut him out of my life. I wasn’t there for a year. I never stopped by just to say hi. That was my fault.”

“That’s right. Anyway, why not try calling your parents?”

“Calling my parents?” she asked.

“The shiop might be able to make a telephone call go through. At least try talking to people.”

“Maybe.” She turned around and walked away.

I looked to the window. I could see Earth and space. Space was something in plentiful supply.

I then saw a bunch of explosions in space. There was another battle. The ship's alarm had not sounded. It might have been an offensive from us. I noticed Jenna was looking at the battle as well.

The I saw some spacecraft launch from Prometheus's flight deck. I looked and I saw it was a veritech fighter with some sort of boosters attached to it. It flew right to where the explosions were. Soon the explosions stopped. I saw the new modified veritech fighter come back to the Prometheus.

“NO, I'M NOT GOING TO PRESS MY LIPS AGAINST HIS!” I heard Jenna yell. “AND I'M NOT GOING TO PRESS MY LIPS AGAINST YOURS!”

I looked and saw Jenna leaving a group of five men. I looked and I saw three of them were Konda, Rico, and Bron.

“Now I understand why we Zentraedi kept male and female separate,” said Bron.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-01-31 01:28pm

Chapter 20

The Ways of the Micronians​

I was at the arcade. It was one of my pleasures, along with gambling in the casino or having drinks or just working out. There were usually some veritech pilots in the game, since the game called Battloid Attack was a simulation of what they did in the field.

I noticed that some pilots from Knight Squadron was there.

“Hi, you guys,” I said.

“Good to see you,” said Lieutenant Kevin Landry.

“And you’re here too,” I said to Major Akira Nomura.

“Well, I did have time to spare,” replied the major. “I’m just so busy as a squadron XO now. Moments like these are a luxury.”

“Any news lately?”

“It is about our master sergeant,” said Kevin.

“Did he die in that Zentraedi attack?”

“No,” replied Nomura. “Colonel Maistroff gave him a 702 promotion. Herbert Blackwell has been the Marine detachment sergeant major for the past three days now.”

I briefly recalled the short memorial service after the Zentraedi attack. Sergeant Major Adam Whitaker. Lieutenant Colonel Charlton Taylor. Lieutenant Colonel Alex Weller. And so many more.

“Sergeant Major Blackwell is now the most influential man in the detachment,” said Kevin.

From what I had learned about the military, a sergeant major had authority to see someone like Colonel Maistroff without an appointment, while these pilots did not.

We then played some games. I went to the arcade's upper level and I put some money into this game called Crazy Taxi, where I basically played as a cab driver who was supposed to drive impatient people to their destinations, generally breaking every traffic rule. After I was done, I noticed some of the Knight Squadron pilots were crowded around one of the Battloid Attack machines. I looked at the holographic image and saw a veritech blasting away Zentraedi pods.

“Check that girl out,” said Katie. “She's really good.”

“Is she in your squadron?” I asked.

“No,” replied Lieutenant Joel Reese. “Looking at that, she must be a veteran pilot. She could be under Suzuki or Hunter.”

I looked at the player, a green-haired lady wearing a yellow scarf. She was flying a red veritech as it blasted enemy pods and fighters. She was very skilled. I wondered how she would do in a game with Jenna. The points piled up and the machine paid out coins.

She played for a while, then this blue-haired young man sat at the machine.

“Who's that?” asked Joel.

“That's Lieutenant Max Sterling from Skull Squadron,” said Kevin. “He's really good...for a Spacy pilot.”

“I heard he escaped from a Zentraedi ship,” said another Knight Squadron pilot.

I could hear cheering from pilots of Skull Squadron, so I decided to watch. Lieutenant Sterling was flying the blue veritech, while the lady was flying red.

“Whoops! I guess I won that skirmish,” said Sterling. “Why don't we go to Level A?”

“Yes. Let's go onto to Level A,” said the lady. “I imagine that would prove quite interesting.”

I then saw their game put on the main screen. the red and blue veritechs were flying at each other.

“Look at Max go!” yelled someone.

“That guy is da bomb!” yelled another person.

The game went on for a while, longer than Jenna's game with Lieutenant Sterling had gone. But in the end, the red veritech fell apart and Lieutenant Max Sterling won the game. The members of Skull Squadron congratulated him. I saw the lieutenant hold the lady's hand.

“My name is Miriya and I presently don't have a phone number,” said the lady, who sounded mad at losing.

“Then could you meet me at the park at nine o'clock?” asked Sterling.

“Oh whatever you want! Just let me go!” said Miriya, who then promptly left in a hurry.

“Well friend, that was some beautiful lady you just made a date with,” said one of Lieutenant Sterling’s wingmates. “I hope she plans on showing up.”

“She'll probably stand him up,” said Major Nomura.

“I know that look when I see one,” said Katie. “I hope Sterling’s not dumb enough to actually show up.”

“He’s certainly not dumb enough to get engaged after the first date,” said Kevin. “Unlike you.”

“Am I ever going to live that down?”

Sterling went out the door, and I saw someone follow him out, who was wearing nondescript, plain-looking clothes.

“It's me, Lieutenant Jenna Murphy from Knight Squadron,” I heard her say to him.

Jenna was here?

“Last time we spoke,” she continued. “I said some very unkind words. I know you were trying to defuse a situation.”

“I forgive you,” said the pilot. “Besides, I should have known not to get involved in an argument between two girls. Well, I don't think that girl is gonna show up at the park. She seemed pretty mad. I should just go to the mess and have a nice quiet dinner without distractions.”

“You should go anyway. We women could be like that. At least give it a try. You gave flying veritechs a try, why not her?”

He smiled. “You're right. I should show up. The worst thing that can happen is her not showing up.”

I walked out and spoke to Jenna.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I heard some of my old friends were coming here,” she said. “I just at least wanted to be near them.” She looked down the street. “It’s one thing to meet someone new. But trying to reconnect after pushing someone away.”

“How about we have a drink at the Lucky Shamrock?” I asked. “We could talk about about how long that Sterling fellow is gonna wait at the park before he realizes he was stood up.”

“I’d better go now.”

Jenna then walked down the street.

ooooooooooo

Later in the evening, Lynn Kyle was released from the hospital. He was wearing a purple suit on his body and a bandage on his head. The other reporters and I were there at the lobby. Minmei was sitting next to him.

“Minmei, is it true you've been helping Kyle recover right beside his bed for the whole week?” asked a reporter.

“I wouldn't put it that way,” said Minmei.

“Rumor has it that both of you are about to get married?” asked another reporter. “Have you got anything to say about that?”

“Absolutely untrue,” she replied.

“Can you tell us how your ex-boyfriend reacted when you told him about those marriage plans?” asked another reporter.

“Oh, you must mean Rick Hunter,” said Minmei. “He was just a friend.”

“You mean to tell us you never discussed marriage at all?”

“No, we haven't.”

“Do you currently have a steady boyfriend?” I asked. “Is that why you have no marriage plans with Kyle?”

“I'm not seeing anyone right now,” she answered.

“Kyle, tell the truth,” said a reporter. “Have you proposed marriage to Minmei?”

“No, I haven't,” said Kyle.

“Sounds like a pretty weak denial. Maybe you just haven't had the chance.”

“No, I've been thinking about the...”

“Yes?”

“Thinking about how I'd actually say it to her,” said Kyle. “Because I don't mind telling you it's something I considered.”

“When are you going to propose to her?” asked another reporter.

“When's the wedding date?” I asked.

“When are you going to go on your honeymoon?”

“Thank you,” said Kyle, standing up. “I've been through a lot and I need to get some sleep now. If you will excuse us.”

Kyle and Minmei walk away from the hospital as reporters ask questions which go unanswered.

ooooooooooo

Later that evening, I took a walk in the observation park which was not far from the hospital. I looked out into space.

I noticed Claudia was standing right in front of the window. “Hi there,” I said.

“Oh, hi,” said Claudia. “I haven't seen you in a while.”

“I'm not surprised,” I said. “You and the rest of the crew have been awfully busy. What are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to spend the evening looking out at the stars. You know, Commander Hayes just left the ship last night.”

“Was the commander injured in the attack and transferred to a hospital on Earth?”

“Oh, no. She had an important dispatch from the captain. She flew down there in a Star Goose shuttle.”

“Does she have family down there? I wonder if she'll get to visit before coming back up here.”

“Her father's an admiral and the commander of the Earth Defense Command. She'll probably be reassigned to EDC Headquarters.”

“Have you spoken to your brother Vince lately?” I asked.

“I haven't. He did leave messages in my voice mail telling me he was okay. You can't imagine how relieved I was when I got that message the day after the attack. Phones were out for most of the day, so I kept wondering if he was all right.”

“There is one thing. I know you were in a relationship with Skull Squadron leader Roy Fokker.”

“I was.”

“do you regret ever getting together with him, considering what happened?”

“Never.”

“I'd better be going now.”

“Okay, you take care.”

I took a look around at the observation park. I noticed Claudia speaking to a young man whose face I could not see.

oooooooooooo

A few afternoons later, I decided to go to the casino. I entered and I saw the familiar sights and heard the familiar sounds of the slot machines. I went to one of the bars and saw some of the pilots from Knight Squadron sitting there.”

“Hi there,” I said.

“Guess what?' asked Katie. “Max Sterling from Skull Squadron is getting married.”

“What?” I asked. “To whom?”

“It was to that lady he was playing that game with,” said Joel. “Her name's Miriya.”

“I…I can’t believe it!”

“Yeah, to get engaged after the first date,” said Katie.

The other pilots gave Katie a look.

“Here's the kicker,” said Kevin. “Miriya was one of the Zentraedi defectors. Could you believe that?”

“Well, anyway all of us fighter pilots were invited to the wedding,” said Katie. “We'd better get our dinner dress uniforms pressed. We've all attended too many funerals the past two years. A wedding would be nice for a change.”

“Skull Squadron's gonna be holding a special ceremony out in space after the wedding,” said Kevin. “And then there's gonna be a reception.”

“Are you going?” asked Joel.

“This is the first between one of us and a Zentraedi,” I said. “Of course I'll be there.”

“Well, then you'd better cover the bachelor party,” said Landry. “We ought to celebrate the occasion with Sterling- even if he is a Spacy pilot.”

And so that was what I did.

ooooooooooooo

I entered the Big Bounce Strip Club, which was across the street from the Bright Star Casino. It was a place frequented by crewmen and marines. Kevin Landry had informed me that all the squadrons would be celebrating Max Sterling bachelor party in this place. We decided to invite Konda, Rico, and Bron here. One of their fellow defectors was getting married to Max Sterling, and I figured they needed the exposure. There was a huge banner reading CONGRATULATIONS MAX. We all sat down with our beers.

“Why is everything so dark?” asked Konda.

“I ask the same question,” I said.

We all saw scantily clad women walking about. Some of them were dancing on this huge table.

“They wear so little clothes,” said Bron.

Then we saw Max, sitting at a table with other Skull Squadron pilots. Already two strippers were talking to the group.

“Shannon,” said one of the Skull pilots, “I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“Well, Max Sterling is my flight leader,” replied Shannon Cole, who was wearing a simple dress.

“You won’t find anything else of interest,” said another pilot. “Unless you’re an..unconventional kind of girl.”

“Yeah, if flying veritechs doesn’t work out, you can always switch to cleaning carpets.”

The whole table burst out with laughter.

“Come on, you guys,” said Shannon. “Stop it.”

Then a stripper came to our table. “Want a lap dance?” this red-haired woman asked Rico. “Only twenty dollars.”

“Lap dance?” asked Rico.

“This must be a Micronian custom to celebrate a friend's marriage,” said Konda.

“I'd like a lap dance,” said Rico. “I have twenty dollars.”

And so she placed her hands on Rico's thighs and then rubbed her hands. Rico had this blank stare. Then the lady pulled down her tube top, exposing her tits. Then she rubbed them right into Rico's face.

“Aaaahhh!” yelled Konda and Bron. Rico just sat there stiff. The lady just kept rubbing herself against Rico for many minutes. Then she finished.

“Twenty dollars, please,” she said.

Rico handed her a twenty without any words.

“We should leave,” said Bron. “This is too much.”

“No, we should stay,” said Konda. “If we are to be accepted as Micronians, we must go through their rituals. It's like combat training.”

And so the bachelor party continued, with all this action from the finest strippers in Macross City. There was loud cheering and whooping. We were there for a long time, drinking and looking at the girls. I wondered of the bride was having a bachelorette party.

Then something happened. Some angry words were said. Soon there was a fight.

“You Micronians have strange rituals,” said Rico. “First you rub against female skin, and now you do combat just to celebrate marriage.”

Soon, the fight came to us. The three Zentraedi defectors were good fighters, considering they lived in a society that only existed to wage war.

And then the police arrived.

“STOP!” they yelled.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-01 11:07am

Chapter 21

Enemy Bride?

`“You know, I don't think this is a Micronian marriage custom,” said Bron.

We all sat in a holding cell in Macross City Police Headquarters. The police put an end to the brawl and arrested us all. Again, I was arrested by the Macross Police Department.

Max Sterling was sitting in the same cell I was. “When Miriya finds out about this, she's gonna kill me after all,” he said.

“Probably,” said Shannon Cole. “I hope Hunter doesn’t find out about this.”

“I’m sure Hunter will understand,” I heard someone say. I looked and saw Lieutenant Rick Hunter, the commander of Skull Squadron, who had escaped from that Zentraedi ship last year. “I’m glad Lisa’s not here to find out about this.”

“Any comments?” I asked Sterling.

“Ben would have enjoyed this,” he said. “You know, he was the smart one between us. Always helping me with my homework. Except geometry. He struggled with that. I was the one who helped him with that. I understood college-level geometry textbooks when I was twelve.”

Some police officers approached the holding cell. I recognized a man dressed in a tacky suit as Detective Bruno Fantone.

“Yer free to go,” said the detective.

“Really?” asked Sterling.

“I’m a regular at the Big Bounce. After the fight and you guys were hauled away, I asked the manager to give me a copy of the security footage. I studied it and saw the fight came to you guys.”

One of the uniformed officers opened the holding cell door wide open.

“Ya know,” Fantone said to Sterling, “This was a great way to celebrate. Startin’ tomorrow you’re gonna be bangin’ some hot chick for the rest of yer life.”

“Banging a hot chick?” I heard a female voice ask.

“Miriya!” yelled Rico as he looked at the green haired lady who was scheduled to become Mrs. Sterling tomorrow.

“I came here after hearing about what happened at this strip club place,” she said.

“I think banging some hot chick is another Micronian marriage custom,” said Konda.

All of the rest of us exchanged glances.

Miriya looked at Max Sterling. “It seems I have much to learn about the ways of the Micronians,” she said.

ooooooooooo


The wedding was next morning, and I was wearing my suit. The cathedral was packed with hundreds of people wearing their best clothes, and being a reporter who covered the SDF-1 Macross’s long trek through space and battles with the Zentraedi, I had the privilege of sitting close to the front, right behind the wedding party. And this was indeed historic. It was not the first wedding on board- that happened the day the City Clerk’s office reopened after the space fold- it was the first marriage between human and Zentraedi. I saw Max Sterling dressed in his white tuxedo. He stood before the altar. Standing beside him was the best man, Skull Squadron's commander, Lieutenant Rick Hunter. Then Miriya arrived in the cathedral, dressed in a white wedding dress. Escorted by her maid of honor, Lieutenant Claudia Grant, she walked along the main aisle between the wooden pews. Photographers snapped pictures at this green-haired lady. She stood in front of the altar.

“Who gives this woman to this man?” asked Captain Henry J. Gloval.

“I do,” said Rico, standing up. He takes Miriya's arm and escorts her to the altar.

Miriya now stood in front of Max.

“The wedding bands, please,” said the captain. Rick Hunter opened a velvet box containing the wedding bands.

“Do you, Miriya Parino, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” asked the minister.

“I do,” replied Miriya.

“And do you, Maximilian Sterling, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?” asked the minister.

“I do,” said Max.

“By the powers granted to me by the United Earth Government, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

Max and Miriya kissed as photographers snapped pictures.

“I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Maximilian Sterling!” said Gloval.

The wedded couple takes a walk down the aisle and more cameramen take pictures. They go to the steps of the cathedral. All of Skull Squadron cheered at the wedding of their wingmates. I shook Max's hand, and then I took Miriya's right hand and kissed it.

“Good luck,” I said.

More people greeted them. And then they entered the white limousine. The door was closed, concealing the couple, and the limousine drove off.

oooooooooo

All of us went to the observation deck. We would see the ceremony conducted in space by Skull Squadrons' veritech fighters.

A holographic image of a road appeared. The veritech fighters lined up on the road and changed into battloid mode. They emitted light beams crossing each other at angles. A blue veritech fighter flew along the holographic road. Fireworks were detonated in the space around the SDF-1. Then the veritechs changed into fighter mode and returned to the ship.

ooooooooooo

The wedding reception was held in a ballroom. All of us wedding guests were here, except for the wedding party. The cake was in the shape of SDF-1 Macross in its battloid mode. I looked around. Colonel Victor Mastroff was here with his wife Patti. Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett was there with his wife Maribel. I saw Major Akira Nomura along with Joel and Kevin and Katie and some other pilots from their squadron, all dressed in their dinner dress blues.

And I also saw Jenna in her dinner dress blues.

Then the wedding party members came in in pairs. One by one they were introduced by the announcer.

After that, Max and Miriya came inside, with their arms interlocked. They both walked to the head table as photographers snapped pictures. They took their seats.

I was sitting at a table with Dennis and some other reporters. The first thing that was served was salad and bread rolls. I had the blue cheese dressing. It tasted very good.

“You know,” said Dennis, wearing his white dinner dress uniform while eating a dinner roll. “The wedding is not just being broadcast on board. It’s also being broadcast to Earth.”

“Everyone down there will be able to see this historic event,” I said. “I bet it will be played on the screen in Times Square.”

“But the Zentraedi fleet is gonna see this too,” said another reporter.

“That’s exactly the point,” replied Dennis.

Then we had the main course, which was prime rib, vegetables, and a baked potato. We all dug in. The prime rib was good especially with the creamy horse radish sauce. The sauce gave the prime rib a biting flavor.

Rick Hunter then stood up. “Good evening, everyone,” he said. “I'd like to propose a toast to the newlywed couple, Max and Miriya.”

All of us toasted to their marriage. We then continued to finish our meal.

Then came the cutting of the cake. Max cut the first piece and put it in Miriya's mouth. Then she cut the second piece and put it in his mouth. More pictures were taken. Then the rest of us took a piece of cake and sat down at our tables to eat it.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the announcer. “Today is a very special day. It's more than just a wedding celebration. It's a joining of two souls dedicated to the protection of our Robotech colony. I would like to introduce the man who consented to this special occasion, the guest of honor, Captain Henry J. Gloval.”

“Well, to begin with I'd like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Max and Miriya,” said Captain Gloval, who was wearing a red cape over his uniform. “For this wedding carries a great historical significance. As you all know, Miriya was a Zentraedi warrior who destroyed many of our own ships. She has come from a culture that we have grown to fear and hate. Clearly it is the Zentraedi who have caused our present situation. They alone prevent our return to Earth, our homes, and our beloved families. It is they who have caused injury, destruction, and endless suffering.”

I looked around the crowd. They and I were wondering why Captain Gloval would be inciting hatred against the Zentraedi.

“Now I know what you are thinking,” continued the captain. “Why is it he is choosing this time to remind us of these terrible things? I remind of these brutal acts, ladies and gentlemen, because we must learn to forgive our enemies. We do not forgive blindly or out of ignorance, but because we are a strong and willing nation. We can not blame the Zentraedi for this inexplicable lust for war. They have never known another way of life and it is their only means of survival. Nor can we condemn the individual of that society for the mass insanity of their war machine. Instead, we must look at their good nature. Now some have made the request to stop the fighting. I believe it is a generous request and we must respond with equal integrity. The blood of these young people were tested before the ceremony. Zentraedi blood was found to be same as human blood. There is no reason why we can not co-exist in peace, so let this occasion represent the future where all people live in harmony.”

We all cheered Gloval for his excellent speech.

“Please allow me to speak just a moment longer,” he said. “I am sure there are those who lost loved ones in the war and can not help harboring ill feelings for the Zentraedi. But somehow we must overcome those feelings. We must stop this senseless destruction. Too many of us- on both sides- have died already. Each and every citizen must develop a responsible attitude for the prospect of peace. We must learn from our mistakes to live with different people and different nations. Think of the challenge. I am not proposing laying down our arms but extending them in friendship, so that if there is a chance for a peaceful solution, we can find it together as these young people have done. The Zentraedi are a strong and intelligent people. Therefore, let this act here today stand as a symbol of our approval. We must follow their example. They are the heroes of today.”

The guests cheered. Some of them offered toasts to the Zentraedi. Things began to look bright. Maybe we can stop this fighting.

The announcer took the microphone. “Tonight we have with us a very special person,” he said. “A woman who has brought happiness to us all. Welcome Miss Lynn Minmei.”

Minmei appeared and took the microphone. “First, I'd like to extend my congratulations to Max and Miriya on their wedding day,” she said. “I've decided to sing them a song that talks about people very much like you and me. People who are separated from home, apart from loved ones but strong enough to find the hope that joy can bring when two people discover love.”

She started singing the song “Here By My Side”.

“Okay folks,” said the announcer. “The beautiful Minmei will now sing a song dedicated especially to the wedding couple.”

Minmei then sang her song “To Be in Love”. Max and Miriya then took the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Then the party continued, as people sat with each other, speaking to one another, and having drinks.

I walked up to the couple. “Hello there,” I said. “Why not tell us how you first met?”

“Well, it started like this,” said Miriya. “I was a Queadlann Ruu pilot for the Zentraedi Air Force. I recommended this plan to target the SDF-1's best pilots. Commander Azonia agreed, and I led the mission to track and kill the best pilots. I knew the ace pilots had unique color schemes for their fighters. I saw this blue fighter and I figured he was an ace, so I shot at him.”

“That was me,” said Max.

“He was difficult, so I flew right into the ship. But he wanted to do combat even inside here. He shot me down. There was an opening, so I took the opportunity to escape. I flew back and I vowed to kill him.”

I then noticed Jenna standing among the people that crowded to hear Max and Miriya's story. She had this blank look on her face.

Then she ran off.

“Excuse me,” I said to Barbara, one of the guest reporters. “Could you take over the interview?”

“Sure,” she said.

I later found Jenna staring out into space. She was crying.

“What's wrong?” I asked.

“It's her,” she said.

“Her what?”

“Miriya. She might have killed Lani.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“She told us she was the one who flew that flying destroid into the ship. It was the same model that killed Lani.”

“Maybe,” I said. “She killed others as well. She was the enemy, Jenna. Her people tried to kill you, and our people tried to kill her. But she's not the enemy anymore. She turned her back on the Zentraedi way of life, she chose to live among us. And she found someone to love.”

“I still miss Lani.”

“You now know the Zentraedi are a lot like us, capable of love. You must have killed some Zentraedi when you flew out there.”

“Over a hundred. Close to one twenty.”

“The next time you fly out there, you might end up killing someone a lot like Lani. Or she might end up killing you. You did not make the decision to go to war. Neither did Miriya. If there is a peaceful resolution, we must seek it. Otherwise, more people like Lani, from both sides, will die.”

Jenna looked at me with her blue eyes. “You're right,” she said. “I'm going back and I'm going to celebrate the occasion. Did you know Lani saved my life?”

“I didn't know that.”

“When I was injured in battle and unable to fly my fighter, she pushed me to the Prometheus. She was the one who found me and pushed me to safety. Lani didn't save my life just so I could be miserable.”

“Can I walk you back to the reception hall?”

“Sure.”

I took her arm and we walked back to the reception hall. We approached a few feet before the door.

“Oh no,” she said. “I forgot my gift to Max and Miriya.”

“We can get it after the reception,” I said. “you can bring it to the Skull Squadron's office tomorrow.”

“Okay. Katie and the others must have wondered where I went.”

Then the alarm sounded.

“Of all times for the enemy to attack,” I said.

“I have to go,” said Jenna. “If I don't make it back, the present is in my quarters.”

She then ran off, so I ran to the observation deck. I looked and saw the VF-1 Valkyrie veritech fighters take off. Soon they engaged in combat with the enemy, and space was filled with explosions.

I saw a veritech fighter chasing a Zentraedi battle pod. It fired at the pod. The pod was not destroyed. It just stood there, unable to change velocity. Soon more pods were hit. Our fighters must be disabling them. Soon the remaining operational pods withdrew to their ships. The veritech fighters came back. This was very interesting.

oooooooooooooo

I went to Jenna's quarters that night after the battle. I could hear the television was on.

I went inside and I saw her sitting on her bed. She was smiling.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” replied Jenna. “You know, Max and Miriya were fighting along with us.”

“Really?”

“They got the idea of simply disabling the battlepods, rather than blowing them up. I managed to disable ten pods.”

I looked at the television screen and I saw Lani wearing a swimsuit. She and Jenna and Katie were on a beach.

“Your Australia trip, right?”

“The first time I watched it after Lani died, I cried myself to sleep,” said Jenna. Now I feel happy looking at the video. This was the first time I felt happy about watching this since she died. Come to think of it, I haven't been happy in a long time.”

“I've noticed,” I said. “Listen, I've got to go work on my article.” I turned and looked at a wrapped box. “Is this the gift?”

“Yeah, I forgot to bring it with me to the reception,” said Jenna. “I'll drop it at Skull Squadron's office tomorrow.”

“Take care.”

And then I left to write my article.

ooooooooooo


CONGRATULATIONS! VERITECH PILOT MARRIES ZENTRAEDI DEFECTOR!

That was the headline of the Macross Gazette the day after the wedding of Max Sterling and Miroya Parino. The front page photograph was their first kiss after they were wed. The wedding did a lot to boost them morale of the SDF-1 crew, the Marine detachments, and the people of Macross City. There was still some construction work going on to repair the last of the damage from the invasion of Macross City nearly a month before.

One day I decided to have lunch in the observation deck food court. Working without supervision, I was able to set my own hours. I bought a hamburger, french fries, and a Coca-cola. I went to the tables where the food court's customers sit. I looked around, and I saw Konda, Rico, and Bron, three of the Zentraedi defectors now living here in Macross City.

“Hi there,” I said to them. “How are you doing?”

“We're doing fine,” said Konda. “I'm eating this thing called a taco.”

“How's your jobs going?”

“We've been teaching Micronians how to speak our language,” said Rico. “We each teach one class, and we have about thirty students.”

“They've been making good progress,” said Bron. “They know basic Zentraedi phrases. It won't be long before they can have conversations in our language. And we're learning more and more about your history and culture.”

“Your friend Dennis Ward has been very helpful in assisting us and our fellow defectors,” said Konda.

“You know, Minmei's releasing her second album tomorrow. It's called Victory and...”

The alarm sounded. “ALL HANDS BATTLE STATIONS!” yelled a female voice. “THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”

The four of us ran to the window. We could see a huge Zentraedi warship.

“That's Commander Breetai's ship,” said Rico. “He's about to lead another attack on this ship.”

“You mentioned him before during my interview with you.”

“We were assigned under his command as intelligence analysts,” said Konda. “Dolza assigned him to capture the SDF-1.”

I saw Zentraedi fighters flying towards the ship. It looked like they would be spearheading the attack.

Suddenly, without warning, the ship opened fire on the fighters. Soon the fighters were dispatched.

“He opened fire on his own fighters,” I said. “Why would he do that?”

“I don't know,” said Rico. “It's not like him. It's like something Khyron would do.”

“Who?” I asked.

“Khyron Kravshera, the commander of the seventh mechanized division,” said Bron. “He's known as the Backstabber. He would destroy his own forces to achieve victory.”

“Well, whoever that is, we're gonna have a battle on our hands,” I said.

The Zentraedi warship came to a stop relative to the SDF-1. I wondered if it was preparing for an attack. But then it was not firing anything- cannon, laser beams, missiles. Everyone in the food court watched the ship that seemed to just be floating out there in space. What were the Zentraedi up to?

I saw a small group of veritech fighters fly out to meet the enemy ship. It looked like they would spearhead an attack. But then they returned without firing a shot. Then I noticed that a Zentraedi pod was among them. The fighters and the pod returned to one of the landing bays.

“Something strange is going on,” I said.

“Excuse me,” someone said.

I turned and found that it was Crewman First Class Bryan Hart.

“Is there something?” asked Konda.

“Captain Gloval summons the three of you,” said Bryan Hart. “Please come with me.”

Konda, Rico, and Bron come with Spacy policeman. I decided to finish my lunch and then go back to my office.

ooooooooooo

That evening, I came home. I decided to cook myself a pork chop for dinner. I still had plenty of work to do. I wondered if Jenna was ready to start dating again. Could she have found someone else? I did not have her phone number yet. I figured I should get it the next time I see her. I sat in my dining table. I sliced a slice from the pork chop, dipped it in barbecue sauce, and then put it in my mouth and chewed. I was wondering what to do. I could go out for a drink. Or maybe pay a visit with Jake, who is out of the hospital now. His boy Jim was now ten months old and his first birthday would be in two months. Would Jim spend his entire life in the ship, looking down on a planet that sent him and his family away?

I finished my dinner and washed the dish and the fork and the knife and the glass. I usually ate alone in my apartment, so there weren't many plates or utensils to watch. I turned on the Sony television and I also turned on my personal computer. The channel that was on showed classic movies. There were some TV shows being filmed in Macross City. I looked through my notes, wondering if there were any articles I could send to the newspapers before going to sleep. Tonight would be meant to be a quiet night.

But these plans were thwarted when I heard a special report on TV.

“We interrupt this programming for a special report,” said a voice.

“Good evening,” said a news anchorman whom I recognized. “Minutes ago, the crew announced the detection of massive hyperspace defold reaction. It isd believed that these are coming from Zentraedi warships arriving in our solar system.'

I knew what was going to happen. The Zentraedi were sending reinforcements for an attack on the ship. I raced out of my apartment to head for the observation lounge.

oooooooooooo

I arrived at the observation lounge. Looking out into space, I could see flashes of light. These flashes faded to reveal a Zentraedi spaceship. Space was already filled with Zentraedi spaceships. There were too many to count. The defold activity kept going on and on. ship after ship after ship appeared out of hyperspace to take position. Despair started sinking into my heart at this sight.

In previous battles, we only faced a few ships at a time. But there must be at least a million ships out there! I remembered after those four crew members returned from Zentraedi captivity. I remember when Jenna and Lani and I bought many drinks for Ben Dixon to loosen his tongue.

Ben Dixon mentioned four or five million Zentraedi ships. I watched as more and more ships appeared.

It looked like we were their top priority. Given the trouble we caused them, they decided to send their whole fleet here. There was no way we could survive an attack. Even if we fired all our weapons and sent every fighter at our disposal, it would not be enough.

I went to the bar and looked at Greg, standing behind the bar, who was staring out into the spaceship-filled space.

“I'd like a beer please,” I said.

“Have all you want,” he said to me.

“I’ll have some vodka shots as well.”

I filled myself a pitcher of Budweiser beer. I took a glass and sat at a cloth-covered table close to the window. I just looked as more and more ships arrived. I started drinking the beer in big gulps. I downed maybe four vodka shots.

As the alcohol buzzed my mind, I thought of Jenna. She and the others must be on red alert. She must be aware of the situation. She had just recently got her life back. Now she was going to lose it for good.

She had been concerned that I would end up grieving inconsolably for her if she died. But when they attack, there won't be anyone around to grieve. I continued gulping down more beer. Here I was, about to die, drunk and alone.

I wondered if we could escape from this solar system. But then I knew that the enemy could fold through hyperspace, and that they would attack us.

Then the flashes stopped. Space was filled with Zentraedi warships. We were surrounded and there was nowhere to go. I hadn't even finished my pitcher of beer.

I saw some of the ships start to glow. They were charging a shot to fire at us. I stood up and waited for the ships to reduce the SDF-1 Macross and everything in it into its component subatomic particles.

“Goodbye, Jenna,” I said. “I love you.”

Then the ships discharged their fire. This was the end. The end of my assignment. The end of the journey I started when I stepped on that plane in New York. The end of my life.

The end.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-02 11:38am

Chapter 22

Pen and Sword

The Zentraedi ships were fully charged, ready to strike.

I could not close my eyes. Tuime itself seemed to slow to a crawl, like pressing the slow button on a video recording.

And then I saw a flash.

I sat down and decided to finish my beer. I could feel the cold in my throat and the taste of the hops.

I looked at my hands. How could I finish my beer if I was dead?

The ships did not fire at us. They fired at the Earth!

I ran to the window and saw the Earth lit up. There were tiny lights on the surface.

Those were explosions on the surface. People were being incinerated. I banged on the windows as hard as I could, not that it would stop these aliens one bit.

I bowed my head down. Mom. Dad. Sally. Tony. Tammy. Oliver. Quinn Sullivan. Simon Levinstein. Al Chegwidden.

And there would be no time to grieve. For the next shot was aimed at us. Once their weapons were ready, it would be as if we were never here.

I watched, drinking my beer, as I waited for everything to end. I did not shed a tear for anyone on Earth. there was no point in grieving when I was about to die.

It was such a shame. There would be no one left to tell my story to.

Then I saw a bright light. This was it. I just wished I could have been with Jenna. Or my family. Or someone I cared about. Instead, I would die here alone. I took another sip of beer.

I was alive. Whom did the aliens fire on? I looked out to space, ands I noticed there were a lot fewer alien ships.

Siomeone on Earth fired a massive weapon against the Zentraedi fleet! That means there were survivors on Earth- surviviors who could strike back.

Then I heard a voice over the PA. It was calling for me.

I went to the nearest phone and dialed a number. I told them who I was.

“We have an important assignment for you,” said Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward. “We are about to engage a counteroffensive against the enemy and we want you to cover it.”

“Another assignment?” I asked.

“This battle will be the biggest battle humanity has ever faced, and we need the best reporter on hand. Meet me on the bridge.”

And so I did.

oooooooooo

Before going to the bridge, I got dressed in my suit, the same suit I was wearing when I first saw the launch of the SDF-1 Macross. I was even wearing the same press pass. I rode in a Jeep to the elevators connecting the Macross City decks to the other decks of the ship. I was led through the corridors of the ship

I entered the bridge, noticing all the monitors and instruments and control panels, and I met with Captain Henry J. Gloval, Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward, Lieutenant Claudia Grant, and a short red-haired man I was not familiar with.

“Hello there,” said Captain Gloval. “I am glad you have come.”

“It's a privilege to have an exclusive on this,” I said.

“This is Exedore. He was Breetai's aide.”

“I am a micronized Zentraedi,” said Exedore. “Fleet Commander Breetai sent me here to conduct ceasefire negotiations. We have decided to fight with you against Dolza's fleet.”

“Why?” I asked.

“We were exposed to Micronian culture. Because of a previous incident, Dolza made it policy to destroy any Zentraedi unit that was exposed to an alien culture, even if it is a whole fleet. Dolza now has Lord Breetai and Lady Azonia and everyone under them marked for death, so we are no longer able to serve him.”

“So I get to cover this battle from the bridge,” I said.

“Not exactly,” said Captain Gloval. “You will be covering a Minmei concert.”

“A concert?” I asked.

“The crew and soldiers in Dolza's ships never encountered culture,” said Exedore. “If we jam their frequencies with Minmei's singing, we can disorient them and launch a surprise attack.”

“I will be honored to do this,” I said. “I would like a favor though.”

“Name it,” said Gloval.

oooooooooo

The Minmei concert was held at the observation lounge. Stage workers worked as they prepared the equipment to record the broadcast. I had my own digital camcorder. I saw lynn Kyle standing on stage, dressed in a purple suit.

“Here you go,” said a Spacy technician, handing me a wireless headset. “This will connect you to the bridge. They should be able to connect you to whomever you want.”

“Hello, Claudia?” I asked.

“How is it going?” she asked.

“I can hear you.” I then made my request.

“We're going to connect you now,” said Claudia. I ran to the window to look at Prometheus.

“Hello?” asked Jenna.

I told her who I was. .

“How are you talking to me?”

“Claudia- Lieutenant Grant- patched me in to you. Now I can hear everything from your side.”

“What is going on?” asked Jenna.

“I'm covering the Minmei concert that's gonna be broadcast to the enemy fleet,” I said. “How are you doing?”

“They added booster and missile pods to my veritech. Now it can accelerate faster and fire more missiles. It also has these megaton-yield missiles that could blast apart enemy cruisers with one hit. I'm now taxiing to the elevator.”

“Jenna, I love you.”

“You know, for a long time I've isolated myself from everyone. I thought it would make things easier. But life's not about taking the easy way out. I mean, we're facing millions of enemy ships, and the easy way out is to just sit around until they blast us to bits. But that's not what being a Marine is about. That's not what's life's about. I'm going to go out there to fight for you and I'm coming back for you. Yes, I'm not the same person you fell in love with. I've grown these past two years. I love you. And I'm going to fight and come back here because I love you!”

“Air Boss to Knight Three,” said someone. “You're already cleared for takeoff. What's the problem?”

“Good hunting,” I said.

“I'll come back!” yelled Jenna. “Knight Three to Air Boss, I have a green board and I am taking off.”

I looked and saw the olive green VF-1 Valkyrie veritech fighter with its boosters taking off from Prometheus. It joined hundreds of veritech fighters already in the front of the SDF-1.

“I heard what you were saying,” said Minmei, tapping my shoulder. “I understand how you feel.”

“She'll come back,” I said. “Jenna's coming back.”

“Minmei, we only have a minute left,” said Kyle.

“Coming.”

I heard more radio chatter.

“If I don’t come back, tell my wife I love her.”

“Stay focused, boys and girls.”

“Good luck to you, Lieutenant Commander Hunter.”

“Mako Squadron, this is the fight of our lives.”

“Well, this is it,” said Konda.

“It's win or die,” said Rico.

“Let's get on with it,” said Bron.

Then the instrumentalist played their instruments, and Minmei started her singing. “Life is only what we choose to make it,” she began. “Let us take it, Let us be free.”

I saw the enemy Zentraedi ships get closer and closer as we advanced. There was no response from them. It was working.

I looked back at the stage, and saw Minmei singing. She put down her microphone while her band played their instruments. She and Kyle then kissed each other. I then noticed a flash of light. I looked and the SDF-1 and our Zentraedi allies were blasting the enemy apart. space was filled with explosions.

“Knight Squadron, this is Knight Leader,” I heard someone say. “Attack!”

Minmei continued singing, and space was filled with explosions from the battle. I heard Minmei repeat the phrase, “We will win.” And indeed it felt that way.

“This is Knight Three,” said Jenna. “I have my first target on sight. First payload away!”

“It's a hit, Knight Three,” someone said. “Your target's destroyed.”

“Knight Three is moving on to the next payload,” said Jenna. “Knights Ten and Eleven, continue to cover me. ETA to target two minutes.”

MInmei continued her singing as the enemy fleet was shredded by the weapons of the SDF-1 and its allies, or the deadly multi-megaton payloads delivered by the veritechs.

“Second payload has been delivered,” said Jenna.

“We will win!” sung Minmei.

“Another hit, Knight Three,” someone said immedaitely after Minmei sung those words. “Target has been destroyed.”

And so the battle continued. I heard Minmei's song in tandem with the chatter over Jenna's radio. It was almost as if Minmei were guiding the battle with her singing. The intensity of the explosions appeared to coincide with the notes of her song. It was like she was a conductor and the battle was her orchestra.

“This is Knight Three, I've used up all my payloads,” said Jenna. “Oh no! Skull Leader's taken a hit. I gotta...”

“Negative, Knight Three,” said Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett. “Knight Four has one more payload to deliver. Protect Knight Four!”

“Copy that, Knight Leader.”

As I was hearing Minmei sing, I could see something ahead. It was much bigger than the other ships.

“That's the Zentraedi headquarters,” said Konda.

We kept getting closer and closer as Minmei continued her singing. She was singing in a loop, repeating her lyrics. She wasn't going to stop until we have won.

“This is Knight Leader,” said Colonel Beckett. “I can't shake this bandit off my tail.”

“I see it, Knight Leader,” said Jenna. “I'm going in. Got it!”

“Thanks, Knight Three.”

The Zentraedi headquarters, this huge thing, kept getting closer until it obstructed the view of all space.

“All guard fighters break off,” said Claudia.

“Copy that, SDF-1 control,” said Jenna.

We kept getting closer and closer. Then I knew what we were going to do.

It was a Daedalus attack! This time, the whole ship was going in.

Soon we were breaking through the ship, cutting through the hull like a hot knife through butter. Minmei continued to sing even as we penetrated deep into enemy headquarters. For a few minutes we went through the bulkhead of Zentraedi headquarters.

Then we emerged into this open space. There were thousands of Zentraedi ships floating in this space. In the center was this huge thing hanging from the top, or was it the bottom? I could see a window, and there was this figure in the window.

“That's him!” yelled Rico, looking through binoculars.

“Who?” I asked.

“Dolza! Commander-in-chief of all Zentraedi!” yelled Bron.

I looked through the viewfinder of the Sony digital camcorder, and I could see this bald man in a blue robe. That was Dolza.

“Everyone!” I yelled to the camera crew. “Point the cameras to the window.” I went up to the camera operators to help them. “Zoom in there.” Dolza's image appeared on the little screen.

“What are we doing?” asked the camera operator.

“Recording history,” I said. I pointed my digital camcorder and zoomed to get a close look at Dolza.

The SDF-1 then fired its missiles and laser beams and cannons. Then everything in front of the window was tinted green. It was the barrier. The Zentraedi ships inside the huge central space opened fire on us, but it would only serve to feed more energy into the barrier until...

I looked at Dolza, who appeared to be tinted green due to the barrier. Then he was tinted blue. then he was tinted violet. Then he was tinted white. Soon he disappeared into this white light as Minmei sung, “We will win!”

I knew that the barrier overloaded and that he was reduced to subatomic particles.

Then we saw the Earth below us. The Zentraedi headquarters was destroyed, along with a good portion of the Zentraedi fleet.

“Jenna, are you there?” I asked.

There was nothing, not even static.

“Jenna?” I asked.

Nothing.

“Knight Squadron. Claudia? Anyone?”

“Telephones are out,” said some guy.

I looked as the Earth started getting closer. We were going in.

We all braced ourselves as the SDF-1 Macross fell to Earth. Soon I can see the corona of light as the friction between the hull and the Earth's atmosphere heated it up.

I felt weightless and I knew we were going into free fall. Once we hit the Earth, we would hit it with a force greater than any of those blasts from the Zentraedi ships. We were going to be incinerated.

I wondered how Jenna felt, knowing that the ship was in free fall to its destruction and she could not do anything to save it.

To save me.

Then I suddenly felt heavy. The Macross must have activated its thrusters. The corona disappeared as the hull started cooling down. I looked and saw clouds. then I could see the blue expanse of an ocean. At the edge I could see the rising sun. Then I could see a coastline. Beyond the coastline were mountains and plains and rivers.

Then I could see the land in more details. there were many craters scattered about, the result of the alien attack. Soon the craters appeared bigger and bigger.

There was no need to hear any announcement to prepare for impact. We waited and waited. The landscape disappeared, replaced with the brightening sky. The ship must have changed its orientation. We all braced ourselves.

Then we were shaken off our feet. The ship landed hard. I looked around at Konda, Rico, Bron, Minmei, Kyle, and the others. They appeared all right.

“We're back,” I said. I looked out the window. The landscape outside was barren, as if it was scoured clean by fire.

“Everyone all right?” asked Konda.

“Jenna,” I said, looking out the window. “She's coming back. Jenna!” I yelled into the headset. “JENNA!”

There was no response.

“Listen,” said Kyle. “I'm sorry.”

“No!” I yelled. “She said she'd come back.” I looked at everyone who was looking at me. I took the digital camcorder I used to record the battle.

I then ran out of the observation lounge, through the streets of Macross City, and to the aircraft carrier Prometheus. None of the security policemen tried to stop me. I noticed footsteps following me.

I made my way to the hangar deck of the Prometheus just in time to see a brown VF-1 Valkyrie veritech fighter descend from the flight deck.

I waited and waited. More and more veritechs came down to the flight deck and taxiied into position.

I then saw Knight Squadron's olive-green VF-1 Valkyruie veritech fighters come down. The pilots got out and the veritechs were guided into their stalls.

I saw another Knight Squadron fighter. It had these attachments to its back and legs. I looked at the cockpit. That was Lieutenant Kevin Landry. He taxied his veritech to a stall.

Then I saw another veritech with the attached booster units. As it taxied, I looked at the cockpit.

1LT J. MURPHY

“Jenna!” I yelled as I followed the fighter. It stopped and the canopy opened.

I saw the pilot remove her helmet, revealing her blond hair.

“Jenna!” I yelled.

She yelled out my name and climbed down from the cockpit. She ran to me.

Soon we held each other and we kissed. I felt the pressure of her lips, I felt her back and her waist. Our hearts began to race.

We finally separated after a long time. “You came back,” I said.

“I had someone to come back to,” said Jenna. We went to the side, arm in arm.

Another Knight Squadron veritech arrived, and Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett revealed himself and climbed down whole his veritech was moved to a stall. Then the last veritech came down. It was olive drab in color, with the booster units.

Colonel Victor Maistroff opened the canopy and climbed down. He stood next to Colonel Beckett.

Jenna approached him. “Sirs,” she said. “Permission to skip debriefing so I can celebrate victory with this wonderful man whom I fought and came back for.”

“Your call, Beckett,” said Maistroff.

“Permission granted, Lieutenant Murphy,” said Beckett. “Come back to the office at 0900 tomorrow for your debriefing.”

“Yes, sir,” she said. She then took my arm, and we ran all the way back to my apartment.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-03 12:02pm

Chapter 23

B.D.A.



I slowly stirred awake as I heard the telephone rang. Jenna had been sleeping next to me.


I managed to pick up the phone. “Hello,” I answered.


“It’s me, Kevin,” I heard. “Is Jenna there?”


“Kevin’s calling for you,.” I said to Jenna. She groggily got up from the bed and held the handset to her ear. She then slammed down the phone.


“I have to go!” she yelled. “Now!”

“Wait!” I yelled.


“I’m going to be late!”


“Your clothes!” I tossed her flight suit at her.


“Uh, thanks,” she replied even as she was dressing in her flight suit.


After Jenna left, I turned on the TV and there was a special report concerning last night's battle with the Zentraedi. They played the clip of Dolza's last moments in the physical Universe. a reportyer mentioned that several recon planes were searching for any survivors. There were unconfirmed reports of radio contact with other military bases. That was not surprising to me, as I saw the counterattack from Earth after the Zentraedi fleet carpet bombed the world. There was a live video of the area just around where the ship had landed; there were thunderstorms all around.

I called Dennis’s office number.

“Commander Ward is not available,” a Spacy sergeant told me.

I decided to go to Tower Records. I remembered that Lynn Minmei would release her album today. I rode the bus to within a hundred feet of the Tower Records store. I entered the store and I looked around, seeing the racks filled with CD's and DVD's and audio and video cassettes. I saw Minmei and Lynn Kyle in the store. I guessed they decided to go promote their new album after all. There were a few people in the store, not as much as there were in her debut album promotion over a year ago.

“Hello there,” said Minmei. “First of all, I want to thank all of you for coming here for the release of my new album. I worked very hard in recording it. But as I stand here, I can not help but think of all those billions who won't have a chance to listen to it. This war has cost us a lot. I dedicate my album to those people who will never hear it here.”

She then continued to sign the CD cases of those fans who came here to purchase her new album.

I walked up to her. “Any statements?” I asked.

“No thank you,” she replied.

“I have a statement,” said Lynn Kyle. “The whole war was the fault of the UN. It was the UN who started this war, and it was they who brought the destruction of our world. They said they wanted to bring peace. the only peace they brought wad the peace of the grave.”

ooooooooooooo

Later that day, I went to a press conference along with other reporters. Lieutenant Commander Dennis Ward, wearing his Class “As’ appeared at the podium, flanked by his staff.

“Let me start by telling you where on Earth we are,” he said. “We have landed in Alaska.”

“Alaska?” someone muttered. “too bad we didn’t land in Hawaii or Bermuda.”

“We are continuing scouting operations to assess the damage to the planet, to look for survivors, and open communication with surviving UEF units and military units from U.N. member states,” continued Dennis. “We have made radio contact with persons on Earth off this ship, and some of our scouts have already met with authorities in Juneau, Alaska, as well as surviving Ocean Patrol sailors stationed at the base near there. Already, relief operations have begun and some of the wounded have been evacuated.”

“Can you confirm the survival of any specific persons?” I asked.

“We can confirm the survival of United Nations Secretary General Gerald Russo, and United Earth Forces Supreme Commander Aroon Phibunsongkhram.”

U.N. Headquarters was in Manhattan, and Supreme Command Headquarters was in Brooklyn.

“What about the General Assembly?”

“The Secretary General’s office has denied that the General Assembly was in session, and, at this time, only confirmed the survival of six members. The Secretary General’s primary focus is one assessing the damage.”

“What of the Zentraedi?”

“Supreme Commander Breetai has survived, and his flagship orbits the Earth. As for the enemy survivors, many of them have submitted to Breetai’s authority. But our sources also indicated that some enemy survivors are holding out, continuing their war against Earth.”

oooooooooooooo

I spent the next few days reporting on the search for survivors of the Zentraedi bombardment of Earth. I was glad to report that some large population centers, some with more than one hundred thousand residents, were still intact. Of course, there were entire towns that were completely wiped out, all that was left was a crater, and there was no indication from looking at the crater that a town was ever there.

A few hundred refugees went to SDF-1. I heard some of their stories.

“I was driving my truck on Interstate 90,” said a man. “there was this flash, and I stepped on the brakes and ducked. then I saw this mushroom cloud. I thought it was a nuclear war.”

“I was taking a walk in the park when all these beams of light came down from the sky,” said this woman. “I heard these loud explosions. I looked and I saw the whole town was on fire.”

“We were driving home,” said this couple. “We saw the mushroom cloud. We stopped near the edge of this huge crater. It was like a mile long. there was no trace our home was ever there.”

oooooooooooo

One afternoon, I was typing up an article in my apartment. I saw Jenna come in, dressed in her duty uniform.

“How are you doing?” I asked, smiling. “I haven't seen you in a long while.”

“I've been very busy,” said Jenna.

“I've been busy too. What's up?”

“We’ve been doing patrols, escorting the Cat’s Eyes.”

“Talk to anyone in your squadron? Aside from work-related issues?”

“At least Kevin and Joel say hi to me. Katie won’t even speak to me.”

“I’m sorry.” I still remember the close friendship they had.

“She feels that I abandoned her, deserted her, betrayed her. I shut her out when she needed me the most.”

“I understand.” Jenna and Katie shared a very close friendship. I was not surprised that Kevin Landry and Joel Reese would be willing to talk to her again. Katie Taney though, to be shut out by a lady she considered her best friend, when she was still grieving over the death of Lani Hart…

Abandonment is one of the worst things, even more so than mean gossip. We can not stand alone all the time; we need to lean on others. And when people decide not to be there for us…

“I suoppose it helps, visiting my therapist and all,” she said.

“It’s good you’re talking to someone about this,” I replied.

I received a telephone call.

“It’s Dennis,” I heard. “Very, very important press conference in half an hour.”

“On my way,” I said.

“Press conference?” asked Jenna.

“You can come.”

And so we did.

Ooooooooo

Jenna and I were in the press room with all of the reporters. A sergeant announced that Dennis had an important announcement.

Dennis appeared beghind the podium, dressed in his Class “A” service uniform. To his right was Colonel Victor Maistroff, the commander of the Space Marine detachment.

“Good afternoon,” said Dennis. “I apologize for interrupting your schedules. I am sure you had hot dates.”

Many of the reporters laughed.

“But I do have an important announcement,” continued Dennis. “Captain Henry J. Gloval, two days ago, flew to New York to debrief the UEG and the UEF Supreme Command on the events of the past ten months, especially the Battle Over Earth.

We have been informed as of one hour ago, by order of United Earth Forces Supreme Command, Captain Gloval has been removed from command of the SDF-1 Macross.”

Suddenly, Dennis was hit with a flurry of questions.

“No, he was not merely ordered to take leave. Captain Gloval has been removed from command.”

“Was the captain promoted?”

“No, Captain Gloval has not been promoted to flag rank. Colonel Victor Maistroff has command over this vessel. I have also been promoted to the rank of commander and will serve as executive officer.”

“Why was the captain removed from command?”

“Supreme Command has not provided the reason for its decision,” said Dennis. “All we can say is that the decision has already been made.”

“I will take the podium,” said Maistroff. “First of all, I am honored to announce that my daughter and son, Laurel and William, will get to say that their dad is the big man aboard this ship.”

I heard some laughter.

“We will continue conducting scouting operations and assist in reconstruction efforts under the direction of Supreme Command,” continued the colonel. “We will work with the Macross City Municipal Government to resettle the residents outside of this ship. Thank you for being here, this conference is concluded.”

oooooooooooo

Days later, I was outside the SDF-1 Macross in the surrounding countryside. I never saw SDF-1 from the outside in a long time, nor breathed Earth’s air. It looked like a huge battloid, just as Jenna mentioned. I did notice it had a lot of wear and tear. I remembered reading in the newspaper that the SDF-1 is unable to fly again.

There was much going through my mind. The City of New York web site was accessible again from the ship. There were mostly notices about emergency services, calling for cooperation with the Army.

I had also managed to access the Associated Press web site. All of the web sites were about scouting the blasted Earth, with surviving government officials making statements.

I managed to log in, after having to reset my password. I spent about an hour uploading my articles, just like I did before this assignment started.

I looked around at the blasted landscape, with SDF-1 sitting in the middle of a huge crater. There were a whole bunch of people civilian and military, standing about. Mayor Tommy Luan stood and held a microphone

“It has been three weeks since our return to Earth,” said the mayor. “We have been through a lot these past two plus years. We've struggled, and we found joy and friendship and even romance among the struggle. The SDF-1 has been our home for two years. But it will soon be time to leave. Once again, we must relocate Macross City. And we will relocate it right here, around the final resting place of the SDF-1 Macross. The Public Works Department and the SDF-1 Construction Department have worked together to make a building plan for the new Macross City. Land surveyors have surveyed the landscape. And now we will begin the construction of Macross City. And to begin, I shall now break ground for the new Macross City Hall.”

Mayor Luan takes a shovel and shoves it into the dirt as photographers snap pictures. He then digs out some drt as photograhers snap more pictures.

ooooooooooooooo

WE'RE MOVING! NEW MACROSS CITY TO BE CONSTRUCTED OUTSIDE OF SDF-1

That was the headline of the Macross Gazette the next day. Articles mentioned that dump trucks and bulldozers and other equipment have been moved to the construction site just outside the ship. It was estimated it would take six months before the city was ready for habitation. I continued to cover the search for survivors and rhe reconstruction efforts. Eleven million survivors were already accounted for. And we were only exploring North America. This was a lot better than the idea of the people on board SDF-1 as being humanity's only survivors. The SDF-1 crew released images of the devastated towns and cities. It was as if a massive hurricane swept over the globe, followed by a worldwide earthquake. The devastated areas were guarded by infantry soldiers and destroids. The United Nations had just passed a resolution declaring global martial law. All surviving reserve units were activated to maintain order and security as the reconstruction continued.

One day, I received a call in my office.

“Hello,” I said. I told the caller whom I was.

“It's me, Lieutenant Claudia Grant,” the caller said. “I have someone on the line for you.”

“I'm working on an article right now,” I said.

“It won't take long. I'll transfer you.”

ooooooooooo

I ran into Knight Squadron's briefing room.

“Jenna!” I yelled breathlessly.

“We're in a middle of a meeting,” she said.

“THEY'RE ALIVE!” I yelled.

“Who's alive?”

“MY WHOLE FAMILY. MY PARENTS, SALLY, TONY, TAMMY, AND OLIVER! THEY ALL SURVIVED!”

“Thank God,” says Jenna.

ooooooooooo

After Jenna got off, we met in her quarters.

“I spoke with my mom,” I said. “She told me Dad and the others were still alive. I was actually a local celebrity due to the message I got out a year ago. They were told I was killed during the launch of the SDF-1. But when we broadcast my message to New York, it was big news. They even appeared on TV, telling everyone that they hoped that the ship would come home and release me. Listen, Jenna, I have to get back to New York. I have to see my family again. New York is where I live.”

“Maybe I can speak with the air transportation department,” said Jenna. “It's amazing the Zentraedi missed New York.”

“Not really. My mom said there were casualties.”

“Tell me if you arrange transportation to New York. In the meantime, I'm going to try to get leave so I can see my family on Apollo Colony. I spoke to them, but I haven't gotten leave yet. I guess surface-to-orbit transportation is kind of rare now.”

“They have to give you leave. You've been working hard the past three weeks. Somebody else can go fly these missions. You need a break.”

ooooooooooo

After two more weeks of living life aboard the ship, I received a call.

“Hi there,” said Jenna.

“Hi,” I said, sitting in my office reading an article. “How are you doing?”

“I have good news for you,” she said. “You'll be able to fly back to New York tomorrow morning.”

“That's great!” I said. I was elated at finally returning. “I guess I'd better start packing. What time will my flight leave?”

“When I'm ready,” said Jenna. “You see, Colonel Maistroff granted leave to me and a few others. We brought in reservists to serve as replacements. I'll be bringing my veritech with me; the colonel insisted I have it in case I have to go back to fly a mission. Why don't we celebrate at the Lucky Shamrock?”

“Okay,” I said. I looked around my office. I sure had a lot of stuff to pack, not to mention my belongings in my apartment.

Oooooooooooooo

This was my last night aboard ship. I walked around Macross City, viewing the battle-damaged buildings and streets. This place was my home for two years. I had been on the ship continuously except that one time when I rode shotgun with Jenna on that expedition to Mars. There were memories on this ship, both happy and sad.

There was a little going-away party for me at the Lucky Shamrock. The place was lively as it usually was, as if, in here, the worldwide devastation did not matter.

“It has been great working with you, buddy,” said Dennis, wearing his Class “A” service uniform and sipping a beer.

“Congratulations on your promotion,” I said.

“For two years, I was not part of the regular crew,” he said. “My official assignment was in Spacy Headquarters Public Relations. I was stranded on board and became the temporary public relations officer. Now I am officially part of the crew- at least until the Spacy decides to scuttle this ship. They’ll need recycling if they are gonna rebuild Macross City outside.”

“Yeah,” said Jenna. “It can’t fly anymore.”

“You will sure have plenty of interesting stories to tell your folks,” said Jake Austin, sitting in his wheelchair. “As for me, I will stay in Macross City. I’ve lived here since the place opened.”

“The new Macross City is gonna be in Alaska,” said Greg, who was off work. “You’ll be needing to wear parkas for half a year.”

“Another beer for the going away party,” said Vince, giving us another pitcher.

“What are you going to do, kid?” I asked.

“Wait around,” replied the kid. “After people start rebuilding, I’ll see if I can get into any universities to pursue an engineering degree. I’m sure Professor Embry will give me a great reference.”

George Hart gulped down a beer. “I hope you have a safe journey home,” he said.

“What will you do?” I asked.

“We will stay in Macross City,” said Brittany Hart. “This is our home now.”

I remembered that the Harts were from Toronto.

“I’m still in the service,” said Bryan Hart, wearing his navy-blue sailor suit, and was now a corporal. “I could stay here, or I could be transferred to a post anywhere in the world, or even in space.”

“How is Katie doing?” asked Jenna.

“She has not heard from her family,” replied Mrs. Hart.

By the day, the ship has been restoring regular communications with more and more of the world. Prospects for those who have yet to be contacted grow dimmer each day as well.

“Is she talking to you about this at least?”

“Yes,” replied Mr. Hart.

“It’s good that she’s talking to someone.”

“You and Katie used to be really close friends,” said Mrs. Hart.

“Yeah,” replied Jenna, taking another sip from her beer. “There’s no one that can do anything about it now.”

I could see regret in her eyes.

oooooooooooooo

That evening, Jenna was helping me pack my personal belongings to bring back home. She even got me souveneirs, including an SDF-1 model kit.

“I suck at models,” I said as I put some clothes into a cardboard box. “Maybe Oliver could do it. He likes that thing.”

“I'm glad he does,” said Jenna.

“You know, we probably have relatives who were killed in the attack,” I said. “Mom did not mention what happened to my uncles and aunts and cousins.”

“I have uncles and aunts and cousins on Earth,” said Jenna. “Some of them might not have survived.”

“My family would sure love to meet you. You'll have such wonderful stories to tell.”

“Remember when we went on that mission to Mars together? Now that I look back, it's kind of funny, even though I almost got thrown into the brig.”

I opened my laptop computer case. Inside was several CD-ROM's. “Good thing I didn't forget them,” I said.

“What's in there?” asks Jenna.

“Articles and digital photographs,” I said. “The day after I return, I'm going back to the AP Manhattan office and submit these to whoever's the boss. I've been on assignment for two years, and I think the Manhattan office will want to see this.”

“So you're going back to work immediately?”

“Technically, I'm still on assignment. I'll make the time to show you around. We can visit the Statue of Liberty, maybe take a concert at Radio City Music Hall, see a play on Broadway. Maybe you can stop by on New Year's Eve and we can celebrate in Times Square.”

“I'll look forward to that.”


I woke up looking around my Macross City apartment. All of my stuff was packed into cardboard boxes. I was ready to go back to New York.

I heard the doorbell ring, and I opened the door. I saw Jenna and Joel.

“We're here to help you move,” said Joel. “Kevin is out in front, he’s taking the morning off to help you move.”

And so we carried my luggage and the boxes through the apartment building into the Humvee parked in the white loading zone in front of the apartment building. Joel helped us put the boxes in the Humvee. I took one last look at the apartment I lived in for two years. I studied every detail of the room and the adjoining kitchen.

“It's a good thing the Marines are letting you do this,” I said.

“You wrote many reports on our missions,” replied Joel. “It's the least we can do.”

We continued packing the stuff inside the boxes. After a few minutes, all of my belongings were in the Humvee.

“Let's go,” said Kevin. He got into the driver's seat of the Humvee and started the engine. Jenna and I sat in the back.

Kevin drove us through the streets of Macross City to the main entrance to the rest of the ship. We got into a cargo lift which lifted us to the level. But she did not go to the Prometheus aircraft carrier.

The Space Marine personnel helped us load my belongings into the cargo compartments of the olive-green veritech fighter. Everything was loaded except my carry-on luggage, which had my laptop computer and the CD-ROM's containing my articles I wrote over the past two years.

Many of the pilots from Knight Squadron were at the Prometheus to see me and Jenna off; they were all wearing their Class “A’s”.

“Goodbye,” said Lieutenant Colonel Angus Beckett. We shook hands. “Bring him home safe,” he said to Jenna.

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

“So long, pal,” said Kevin.

“Take care, friend,” said Joel.

Katie went and gave mer a hug. “We’ll miss you,” she said.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“Goodbye Katie,” said Jenna.

Katie turned around and did not reply.

One of the air crew members pulled down the ladders we would use to ascend into the cockpit. I sat there and fastened my seatbelt and put on a helmet.

“Initiating pre-flight check,” said Jenna. “Checking all instrument panels and warning lights.”

I looked over the side as the hangar crew disconnected a rubber hose from the fighter plane.

“System check,” said Jenna. “Engines, APU, life support, fuel. Preparing for takeoff. Make sure you seat belt is fastened and the trays in the upright position.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Starting up engines.” I heard the veritech's engines whine. “Everything looks okay. the board is green. Setting course for JFK Airport. Knight Three to SDF-1 Air Boss, I am ready for takeoff.”

“Please stand by while flight deck is cleared, Knight Three.”

“Copy that, Air Boss.”

I waited for a few minutes. I wondered if something was wrong. I looked around the hangar bay, at the other veritechs and the air crew. An elevator lifted us to the flight deck of the aircraft carrier. I could see the overcast sky, the barren landscape, and the Quonset huts, construction vehicles, and Destroids surrounding the ship.

“Knight Two, this is Air Boss,” said the air traffic control officer. “. You are cleared for takeoff.”

“Copy that, Air Boss,” said Jenna. “Taxiing to takeoff bay.” Jenna taxied the VF-1 Valkyrie through an open door to a takeoff bay. Ahead I can see the land and sky. “Flaps down, the board is green. Knight Three, taking off!”

She pushed the throttle, and I was pushed back. The takeoff bay disappeared, giving me a view of the Alaska landscape. We then faced upward, and I could see the gray approaching us . I could feel pressure in my ears.

“Knight Three is in the air!” yelled Jenna. “On route to JFK.”

“Have fun on your date,” said the SDF-1 air traffic control officer.

“Thanks, Sammie.”

We continued climbing and climbing until we passed the clouds and there was nothing but a deep blue sky.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-04 09:52am

Chapter 24

Forest Hills

“Autopilot engaged,” said Jenna. “We are now cruising at one hundred thousand feet over northern Canada and we are heading for JFK International Airport”
I looked out the window over the Canadian landscape. I could see a gray haze covering m,ost of the landscape, except for several laerge areas covered in flames. I knew that northern Canada had been covered with a coast-to-coast forest just south of the tundra.

I looked closer at the craters. There was a pattern. It was not based on the locations of cities and military bases, but one simple geometry. the craters were spaced nearly evenly, representing the positions of the Zentraedi ships.

“Jenna,” I said. “Is there a way to call my parents.”

“We have long distance wireless telephone network,” said Jenna. “I can call SDF-1 and they can patch you in.”

oooooooooooooooo

I gazed down at the blasted landscape below and found it hard to believe that New York survived. But then I saw the pictures and spoke to my parents. I decided just to look at Jenna as she flew the plane to New York. I ate some Dorito's tortilla chips, as I was hungry.

“Okay,” said Jenna. “We're only an hour from New York, and we're beginning our final approach. We'll be approaching from the east.”

She turned the plane and I felt it bank. I could see water below; that must be the Atlantic Ocean. I had not seen it this close in two years; for the past two years I only saw it from space.

“UNSM Knight Two to JFK Tower, I am approaching for a landing as scheduled in my flight plan,” she said.

I looked and saw Long Island. I was looking at New York! Within minutes I would see Queens.

“Flaps down,” she said. “Reducing power.”

The features on the island appeared closer and closer. I could see roads and buildings. I could also see burnt, charred land. I saw a huge crater, which appeared bigger than the ones in Canada because we were closer to the ground. The crater appeared to be in Nassau County, just east of Queens. I looked around and saw Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. As we descended, I could see many ships in New York Bay, the East River, and the Hudson River. The Statue of Liberty stod on its island in New York Bay. The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge were still standing, but so many more, like the Triburough Bridge and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge collapsed.

“Final approach speed at ninety-five knots,” said Jenna. “Landing gear down and locked.”

“Copy that, Knight Three,” said the JFK air traffic controller. “Runway is presently clear.”

I looked out ahead and can see the skyline of Manhattan in the distance. I looked and saw some green thing to my right. It disappeared from view and I looked at the ground as it got closer. I could see the cars and the lampposts and read the signs on buildings. I then saw a fence and then a concrete runway.

I felt a bump. The VF-1 Valkyrie had touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City.

Jenna slowed down the veritech plane and taxied it along the taxiways. I looked around and saw many of the terminal buildings in ruins. The airport was not as busy as it was when I last left. I noticed plenty of C-130 hercules and C-5 Galaxies parked on the tarmac. A Humvee drove around. She stopped it at a hangar with the UN military logo.

“Here we are,” said Jenna. “Welcome to New York.”

She opened the canopy and pressed the button to extend the ladders. I stepped down, feeling each step. Then I felt the surfact of the concrete.

Here I was, standing in New York City!

Jenna came down seconds later. A man driving a tractor approached us.

“Lieutenant Jenna Murphy, UN Space Marines,” she said.

“We were expecting you, ma'am,” said the man who was in a UN military uniform. “SDF-1 informed us of your arrival.”

“What is this place?” I asked.

“This is the United Nations Air Force hangar at John F. Kennedy International Aiport,” said the man. “We keep transport jets inside. Don't worry, your veritech fighter will be safe inside. We will charge the Marines for storage, fuel, and repairs.”

“Is there anything I need to know?” asked Jenna.

“The terminal has room and board for you,” replied the airman. “Foos can be hard to come by in the city.”

We went inside the hangar, which had a C-130 Hercules jet and a Star Goose shuttle, both with the markings of the UN Air Force. We were escorted by the Air Force personnel to the UN terminal. It was small and had a few benches and a recruitment poster for the UN Air Force. Aside from the door leading outside to the hangars and taxiway, there were two other doors. One read DO NOT ENTER. The other door read U.S. CUSTOMS.

Air Force baggage handlers placed my luggage onto a conveyer which led to the United States. Customs inspection area. Jenna and I went inside the Customs inspection area. I put my carry-ons on the small rubber conveyer belt.

“Hello there,” said a U.S. Customs agent. “Where do you come from?”

“Outer space,” I said. “I was on board the SDF-1 for two years. I came from New York to cover these events for the Associated Press. When the enemy attacked, I got trapped on board ship. We recently returned to Earth and I caught a ride home. Here is my passport.”

“Looks okay,” said the customs agent.

“I am Lieutenant Jenna Murphy, UN Space Marines,” she said. “I'm on leave and I am accompanying him to his family's home. He hasn't seen his family in two years. I have my own passport.”

“Apollo Colony,” said the customs agent. “Let me check.” He types into the computer. We waited for a few minutes. “No red flags. Welcome to the United States of America.”

So we went through with our carry-on luggage. There was a elliptical conveyer belt where my luggage came out. I came to ellect my luggage. An Air Force airman offered to take my luggage.

I went out and I heard her calling out to me.

“Mom!” I said. “Dad.”

We all hugged.

“It's been so long,” said Mom.

“I'm finally back,” I said. “This is Jenna Murphy. She was averitech pilot I met on SDF-1.”

“Hi,” she said to them.

“Let's go home,” said Dad. “A lot has happened since you were gone.”

We all put my luggage into the green Dodge minivan. We got in and Dad put the van in gear. Within minutes, we had left the airport and were cruising north on the Van Wyck Expressway. Looking to my right, I could see plenty of construction and demolition sites. I saw a damaged billboard with an image of a smiling, two-aprent family and the caption “CIVIL DEFENSE. WE’RE ALL IN IT.”

I looked ahead and saw this long green object. I glimpsed it before Jenna and I touched down at JFK. Now I recognized it.

It was a Zentraedi space vessel.

“You must be wondering what that is,” said Mom.

“I know what it is,” I said. “It's obvious what happened.”

“It looks like the war even reached here,” said Jenna.

The van took the ramp leading to Queens Boulevard and Main Street. Dad took a left on Queens Boulevard, passing by the Maple Grove Cemetery. The one thing I noticed as we drove along Queens Boulevard was there were a lot of military vehicles parked around- Humvees, APC's, tanks, and destroids. I could see the construction sites more closely. There were several buildings that were condemned due to fire damage. We had to make a few detours due to rubble from collapsed buildings blocking the road.

We then reached a residential street in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens. I could see the houses with their porches and front yards and the trees lining the streets. After a few minutes of driving along familiar-looking streets, we reached my street.

And we finally reached the house I lived in for most of my life.

“We're here,” said Dad. “Home.”

I looked at the home. The last time I was here, it was the Christmas before the launch of SDF-1 Macross. I could still see the oak tree that grew in our front yard; it had been there for as long as I could remember.

“So this is where you lived,” said Jenna.

“That's right,” I said.

I went through the front door and into the living room. I noticed we had new couches. The coffee table and the Sony color television was the same though. I went to the fireplace, looking at my high school graduation photo. I looked to the dining room, where I had Christmas dinner. I went out and we all brought my belongings into the living room.

I carried my luggage upstairs. I saw something framed hanging on the wall; I did not remember it being there before. It was an issue of the New York Post, with the headline “WAR WITH ALIENS!!! LOCAL REPORTER BLOWS CONSPIRACY WIDE OPEN!”I looked at the second floor hallway. I opened the door and there was a room with a bed and a dresser.

This was my bedroom.

“So this is where you slept,” said Jenna. She looked out the window. “It's such a nice view, although I'm sure there wasn't a Zentraedi cruiser outside the last time you were here.”

I looked out at the alien spaceship. “I've got to ask Mom and Dad about that day,” I said. I opened my luggage and I hung my suit and put some of my other clothes on the bed.

“You can stay here for a while,” said Mom, standing outside the door. “I guess your apartment in Manhattan was already rented out.”

“What will you be doing?” asked Dad.

“Today I'm gonna settle in here and unpack,” I replied. “Tomorrow morning I'll go to work.”

“Do you think you still have a job?” asked Mom.

“I've been on assignment for the past two years. The least I can do is go to the office.”

“Listen, we just called all of your brothers and sisters and told them the news,” said Dad. “They are all coming here for your welcome home party.”

“I will sure have a lot of stories to tell them,” I said.

“I'll get to meet your family that you've been talking about,” said Jenna.

“Would you like anything to drink?” asked Mom. “We only have water for now; beer seems hard to come by these days.”

“Water please,” said Jenna. “How were things here the past three weeks?”

“Hectic,” said Dad. “We were without power for ten days. I’m glad we stocked up on food. A lot of people started getting prepared after our boy announced we were at war with aliens.”

“And we were right, dear,” said Mom. “The National Guard set up as ration distribution center nearby for us in the neighborhood. There’s a camp at Flushing Meadows for people whose homes were destroyed.”

“Which reminds me,” Dad said to me. “You’d better register for rations.”

I went downstairs and turned on the television. There was news on, and the image appeared to be a construction site.

“I'm right here in Nassau County where the reconstruction efforts are underway,” said a reporter. “thousands of volunteers from New York have come to work.”

“I like doing this,” said this man with a wild beard. “Before the war, I was homeless and begging for food and money. I like having something else to do. I'm building new homes, and besides I get free room and board.”

ooooooooooooooo

In the early evening the doorbell rang. I answered the door.

“Sally!” I said.

She said my name, and we gave each other a hug. Sally was there, along with her husband and her two-year-old daughter. What I noticed was that she was pregnant again.

“When did you become pregnant?” I asked.

“I think it was the beginning of this year,” said Sally.

“Definitely,” said her husband.

“Hey guys,” a male voice said.

“Tony,” I said, giving him a hug.

“Haven't seen you in a long time,” said my brother Tony, . “A lot's happened. Sally's pregnant again. I'm now a firefighter in the FDNY. As for Tammy and Oliver, they have much to tell you. Who is this?”

“My name is Jenna,” said Jenna. “You must be Tony.”

“Yeah, well...”

“Hello, everyone!” yelled a female voice.

“Tammy,” I said, giving her a hug.

“Where have you been?” she asked.

“Out in space.”

“You must have had really interesting adventures,” said my sister Tammy. “I graduated from New York University last year and I'm working as a fashion designer.”

“Hey you guys,” said this male voice. I looked at this young man wearing a Columbia University sweater.

“Hey Oliver,” I said, hugging him.

“I'm now in college, bro,” he said. “You know, I saw your message on TV. It kept repeating over and over. I called Mom and Dad about it.”

“Now that we are all here,” said Dad. “Let's have dinner. I saved this for the day that my long lost son would return.”

ooooooooo

And so we had dinner. The main course was a New York strip steak that my parents kept in the freezer for three months until my return. Mom cooked it along with roasted red potatoes and apsaragus.

“I haven't eaten like this in a while,” said Oliver.

“Foods been kind of tight since the alien attack,” said Dad. “This is a special meal for a special occasion.”

“So tell us all about what you've been doing the past two years,” said Mom.

“Where to begin,” I said, facing my family. “It all started when I flew to Macross City to cover the launch of the SDF-1 Macross. I was at the parade grounds when this huge beam of light appeared.”

I continued my story, telling my family about my first encounter with the Zentraedi, Jenna picking me up and bringing me to the ship after battle, the space fold that took me near Pluto, the building of Macross City inside the ship, the constant Zentraedi attacks, and the final climactic battle.

“That's an interesting story,” said Tammy.

“Tell us about yourself, Jenna,” said Mom.

“Okay,” she said. “I was born in Ireland, and my father moved the family to the Apollo Colony during the Global Civil War; he got a job there as an engineer and wanted to shelter us from the problems on Earth. I grew up in this enclosed city built partially underground. I really wanted to go back to Earth. I signed up to be an officer in the United Nations Space Marines. I took pilot training, and then I was so good I was offered training to become a veritech fighter pilot.”

“What'a a veritech?” asked Sally.

“It's a transformable fighter that can transform into a giant suit of armor for ground operations,” said Jenna. “It was suitable for the Marines, since they often train in combined air-sea-land operations. I was assigned to Knight Squadron, which would train the first Marine veritech pilots. After months of intense training, I became qualified for the veritech fighter. I was stationed in Macross City.”

“What happened when the aliens attacked?” asked Tony.

“We were launching the SDF-1. After its arrival into Earth orbit, we were supposed to fly our planes up there. My squadron was assigned as part of the Marine detachment for the ship's maiden cruise. The main gun fired, and soon the Zentraedi fleet attacked our fleet. When enemy fighters penetrated into the atmosphere, Knight Squadron and the other squadrons were sent up there. They got through our missiles and drone fighters, so we had to engage them. During the fight, one of the Zentraedi fighters crashed in Macross City. I flew down there and switched to battloid mode- that is the mode where it looks like a suit of armor. That's when I first saw the Zentraedi pilot. He was huge, about forty feet tall. I shot him down and I saw a man on the streewt nearby.”

“That was me,” I said.

“We continued to fly combat operations after the space fold to Pluto. We were often the first wave of defenders, since we lost most of our drone fighters in the First Battle of Macross City. I tried to make the best of our situation. Macross City was built inside the ship, so there wwere places to go for food and entertainment. Meat was a rarity, since we did not bring cows with us into space. It took over a year for us to get back to Earth.”

“Why couldn't the people on SDF-1 leave the ship when it came back the first time?” asked Dad.

“Earth Defense Command Headquarters denied permission for the civilians to leave. I was so mad I would have flown him back to New York. But then the enemy attacked, and I had to go out there again. Two months later, the North American Ontario Quadrant gave permission for the people of Macross City to settle in Toronto. But then the aliens attacked, and Toronto was destroyed.”

“I remember hearing that on the news,” said Sally.

“Anyway, we went back into space. We stayed there for another year. I continued to drill and to conduct combat operations. Then the final battle with the entire Zentraedi fleet happened. I flew in that mission. I followed the SDF-1 back down to Earth and landed there. After the battle, I was flying recon, looking for people who survived the war.”

“Did you lose any friends during the war?” asked Mom.

Jenna looked at her plate for a few seconds. “Yes,” she said. “I have, including some of my best friends. Not a day goes by that I don't think of them. I learned how to appreciate life. They died so I could be here. So your son could return home. You know, there was this time when this beauty pageant was held in space. I entered.”

“Did you win?” asked Tony.

“No. What was it like for you guys after the launch.”

“We were told there was some sort of explosion,” said Dad. “Then the government announced that terrorists attacked the ceremony and somehow destroyed the whole island. This terrorists group even took credit. What was their name?”

“The Blood Martyrs,” said Oliver.

“Yeah. We even had a memorial service for you. Everyone on the block attended, as well as friends from high school, college, and co-workers. And then we saw him on TV, telling us about a war with aliens.”

“He was on that big screen in Times Square,” said Mom.

Finally we had wine in wineglasses. The wine had been bottled the year I was born.

We all then had a toast to my homecoming. And another one to those who did not make it home.

“there’s something I want to get,” said Jenna. “It’s in my bags.” She retrieved something from her bag and it was a gift-wrapped box.

“Was that for your birthday?” asked Sally.

“Not for this year,” replied Jenna. “Last year. I didn’t open it until now.” She removed it and took out a large doll. It was a doll of Lynn Minmei, dressed in a red dress with the hair tied in buns along the sides. “It’s a Minmei doll.”

“Who’s Minmei?” asked Tammy.

“A singer on board the Macross,” replied Jenna. “She beat me in that beauty pageant. Wait, there’s a card.”

“Why not read it, dear,” said Mom.

“Dear Jenna,” said Jenna. “I hope you have a most weonderful birthday with your man. Have a Happy Birthday, Minmei.”

I smiled. I remember calling in a favor from Lynn Kyle over a year ago.”

oooooooooooooo

Later that evening, my welcome home party died down. Jenna was on the couch. I brought a blanket to her. The television was on and the volume was low. I saw a live video of some people, with Quonset huts in the background

“…reporting from the grounds of Walt Disney World, where the National Guard set up a camp for survivors from Orlando,” said a reporter.

“Are you comfortable?” I asked.

“I slept in worse conditions during my Marine officer training,” she said, resting her head against a pillow. Jenna pressed a button on the remote control. There was a movie playing.

“Executive Delivery,” I said.

“What’s it about?” she asked.

“It’s this comedy about a fictional President of the United States who got pregnant,” I said. “It was released the year that ship crashed to Earth. it’s known for being one of Jan Morris’s early film appearances. Here, she played the President’s daughter, and the expecting older sister.”

Jenna opens an envelope and takes out a card. “It’s a birthday card from Lani’s family,” she said. “My twenty-third birthday, not my twenty-fourth.”

“Could you read it?”

“Dear Jenna, you were the best friend for our daughter. We know you miss Lani nearly as much as we do. We all know she would want you to have a happy birthday. Love, George and Britanny Hart.

“That…that was beautiful.”

“It must have been painful for them to write that, since it was less than a month after she died.”

“Why don’t we talk about Lani?”

Jenna looked into my eyes. “Okay. We met when we were at veritech fighter school training. We were supposed to be the first graduating class. There was this girl who had a bit of trouble learning.”

“That was Lani.”

“No, that was Katie. Lani and I helped her learn the ropes. It definitely impressed Colonel Beckett, or Major Beckett as he was at the time. We all graduated, of course, and stayed in the same same squadron. And that was how a friendship was born.”

“Tell me more.”

And so she did. We talked about Lani for maybe three hours before we both fell asleep, the television still on.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 844
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-05 09:41am

Chapter 25

Crawling to Normalcy​

I stirred awake. I noticed that I had a blanket on me. I was on the couch at my family home. There were wine bottles and wine glasses on the wooden coffee table. Jenna was with me, still wearing her FLYGIRL T-shirt. We were both covered by a blanket.

“Good morning,” she said.

“I’ve got to get to work.”

“I thought we were on vacation.”

“You’re on vacation,” I said. “I’ve been on assignment these past two years.”

I had a quick breakfast of corn flakes that were provided as part of the daily ration. I got dressed in my suit, did my hair, and made myself as presentable as I could. After all, I was finally reporting back to my New York office.

I went to the mirror to check myself. Then I went into the green Dodge minivan. I sat as Dad drove me to the Forest Hills-71st Street Station.

“Have a nice day,” he said.

I went to the ticket vending machine and bought a train ticket and transfers. I walked through the turnstile into the boarding platform. There was a trash bin, a Coca-cola vending machine that was empty, and posters on the walls advertising goods and services and stores. It was crowded as it usually is on weekday mornings. I noticed some of the people in the station were openly carrying pistols. A MTA security guard stood watch, armed with a submachinegun.

Then the train for the F Sixth Avenue Local, bound for Manhattan, arrived. I heard the brakes squeal. a voice announced that we would start boarding. All of us passed through another set of turnstiles entering the train and I sat in one of the plastic seats. I noticed the crowd of people and stains on the floor. I also noticed the MTA security guard armed with a submachinegun. They did not carry submachineguns two years ago; I wondered if the recent war had something to do with it. Anyway, I felt the train accelerate and I was on my way. I knew the train would pass through Brooklyn before going under the East River through the 53rd Street Tunnel and emerging in Manhattan.

After over half an hour and the train getting more crowded, I finally arrived at a subway station in Manhattan. The doors opened and we all got out. It was slow to get out, as there were more people leaving than entering. I soon entered the platform of the packed subway station, barely glancing at the ad posters on the walls. I climbed up the stairs to emerge on the streets of Manhattan. I was immedaitely greeted with the skyscrapers that towered above me. Manhattan was certainly a lot different from Queens. While Queens had large open spaces and single -family houses, Manhattan had tall buildings crowded together. The streets were packed with cars and rates at the parking garages were high, around ten to fifteen dollars. I sometimes wondered if people who wanted to utilize private transportation in Manhattan recruited drivers from Bellevue's psychiatric ward. They seem to be the only people who would want to drive in Manhattan. One thing I noticed that was much different than the last time I was here were soldiers patrolling the sidewalks and military vehicles parked at intersections. There were neither food trucks nor food cars, with their vendors selling hot dogs and tacos.

I walked along the crowded sidewalks along with men and women dressed like me. I finally reached the building where my New York office is, on the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street. There was the lobby bank and the ATM's and the New York Style Pizza fast food place, which was closed. I entered the lobby holding my black briefcase. I went to the elevator and got in with a bunch of other people also coming to work. the button for the seventeenth floor was already pressed. I waited until the elevator reached my floor, and I got out with a few others. I walked along the carpeted hallway until reaching the Associated Press office.

I entered into the office lobby. There was a desk for the receptionist, as well chairs, sofas, and a wooden table. There were magazines on the wooden table.

“May I help you,” asked the receptionist, a red-haired woman.

“Yes, I work here,” I said, introducing myself.

“I don't remember you.”

“I was out on assignment for two years.”

I went into the main office which had all these cubicles where the staff would do administrative work.

I looked and saw a man weating a suit. He had brown hair and I recognized him.

“Quin,” I said. “It’s been two years!”

“Where have you been?” asked Quinn Sullivan, my longtime friend. We gave each other a hug.

“Out on assignment,” I said. “Unexpected things kept me from coming here until now.”

“Well, I guess you'll want to see Mr. Chegwidden.”

“So he's still around.”

“That's right.”

I walked into the chief editor's office. There was a desk and some chairs and a bookcase and a television wall unit. The Brooklyn Bridge was visible from the office. There was a personal computer and a telephone on the desk. Sitting behind the desk was a man in his late thirties wearing a suit and eyeglasses. On the desk was the nameplate Al Chegwidden.

“So you've returned,” he said.

“That's right, sir,” I said.

“We all heard that message from you last year. It was even big news at the time, since you and the others in Macross City were reported to have been killed in a terrorist attack the day of the launch. What have you to report?”

“A lot. I've been on the ship for two years. Macross City was rebuilt inside the ship and we were under constant attack by the Zentraedi. As it turned out, the Zentraedi faction teamed up with us when the Zentraedi Supreme Commander arrived to make a final assault on Earth. I uploaded the articles into the web site.

“Let me take a look while you wait here,” he said. He looked at the computer monitor screen for a long time, skimming through my notes and articles. “Interesting story you wrote,” he said.

“I rented an office during my stay on SDF-1,” I said. “I covered all sorts of events, from battles to births to deaths and even a beauty pageant and a wedding. I also had to do all the administrative and accounting work. I actually made a profit for the AP.”

“And you'll probably make more when we sell these stories to publishers,” said Mr. Chegwidden. “I wish we could go out to a bar to celebrate your return, but trade has halted.”

We both went out to the main office. I saw another man, who was wearing a dark suit, and had a beard and eyeglasses.

“Simon!” I exclaimed,

He yelled out my name. “We all saw that video of you exposing the truth,” said Simon Levinstein, one of the longtime reporters. “We were at the memorial service your family held. Now that you’re back here.”

“It’s great to be back,” I said.

Al Chegwidden announced to the rest of the office that I had returned.

“I want a moment of silence,” I said. “For Ned Brubaker.”

“What happened to Ned?” asked Quinn.

“He was killed when the Zentraedi first attacked Macross City.”

And so we had our moment of silence.

“The Board of Directors wishes to meet with you,” said Chegwidden.

And so I did. Mr. Chegwidden and I went up a few floors to the Associated Press's corporate office. We entered this huge room with an oak table. People dressed in expensive suits all sat around.

“So, Chegwidden, this is the reporter who spent two years on boards that ship,” said this old white-haired man in a three-piece suit.

“Yes, Mr. Chairman,” said Mr. Chegwidden.

“Tell us your story and start from the beginning.”

I looked at each member of the Associated Press Board of Directors. I then told my story, beginning with my arrival at the shipyard where the SDF-1 Macross launched into space. I summarized the space fold, the return to Earth, the second flight, and the final battle with Zentraedi Supreme Commander Dolza. The initial presentation to the board took about fifty minutes.

“I continued to cover the reconstruction efforts from Macross City until I arranged transportation back to New York,” I finished.

“What was going on over there just as you left?” asked the chairman.

“The Macross City Hall announced it would be relocating the city just outside the ship. Construction was underway when I left the city.”

“There were four million Zentraedi ships?” asked a woman.

“Yes, that was how much there were. Most of them were destroyed, others crashed on Earth, and others decided to join Breetai.”

“Breetai?” asked a man.

“He was the Zentraedi commander who led the initial mission to capture the ship. The Supreme Commander later marked him and his entire fleet for destruction, so he fought with us. He is now Zentraedi Supreme Commander and he is an ally.”

“You have an interesting story,” said the chairman. “We will discuss this matter in private. You may go now.”

“Yes, sir,” I said.

Chegwidden faced me. “As of right now, you have thirty days’ leave,” he said.

“Thank you,” I replied.

ooooooooooooo

I went back home using the E Train back to Forest Hills-71st Street Station. I did want to know what was going on around the world, even though I was on vacation now, so I used the Dell desktop computer in the living room to access the Internet.

About four billion people were estimated to bekilled. The Zentraedi did not seem to target specific sites in its initial volley; the ships just fired downward. There were quite a few population centers and military bases left intact after Zentraedi bombardment

The bombardment caused migrations, just like previous wars had. People moved either to cities with the basic water and power infrastructure intact, or they built villages near water sources. Many parts of the world were isolated, due to the fact that the attack also shattered the network of highways, railroads, canals, aqueducts, and power lines.

The United Earth Forces had their greatest presence in the United States, China, Britain, Russia, France, and Israel. The UN's reconstruction efforts began there. But other people began their own reconstruction efforts. These other people happened to be survivors with offensive military capability. They carved out nations, promising protection to the residents from any hostile aliens as well as order. These new nations rejected any UN aid and threatened to attack UN troops or aircraft that entered their territory, or attack any Zentraedi, whether they were allied with Earth. The UN, not wanting to start another shooting war on Earth while it was rebuilding, declined to do anything about it.

Breetai, who led the mission to capture the SDF-1 back when it was first launched and later fought with us against Dolza, assumed the position of Supreme Commander of all Zentraedi. He offered the survivors of Dolza's forces the opportunity to come serve under his command. A lopsided majority of them joined Breetai, some of them fled the solar system to parts unknown, and some of them decided to continue their war against Earth. Several reconnaisance aircraft were shot down over parts of the world that had not made contact with their home bases, Zentraedi holdouts were suspected. As we still had a lot of rebuilding to do, UN Secretary-General Gerald Russo has decided to concentrate the military forces on defense of known populated areas for the time being. And Breetai provided assistance in these reconstruction efforts, sending Zentraedi combat engineers to build things like dams and power transmission lines which their large size could be of use.

“What are you doing?” asked Jenna as she walked in the door, accompanied by my parents.

“Just checking on what’s going on,” I replied. “I’m now on vacation. What did you do?”

“Walked around your neighborhood.”

“too bad Pannucci’s was closed,” said Mom. Pannuci’s was this new York-style pizza place on Austin Street.

“No one’s bringing in any dough,” said Dad.

Oooooooooooooo

Jenna and I stood on the boat with the other passengers, both locals and tourists, most of whom were children. I looked around, seeing the skylines of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The sky was blue and clear. We looked ahead to our destination- a green copper statue of a lady wearing a crown and holding a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other. I took a picture, and then I took another picture with Jenna in the foreground. The boat soon docked.

“We have now arrived,” said the boat's skipper. “All passengers please disembark.”

We both stepped onto the pier and walked to the entrance to the building which served as the statue's base. A tour guide greeted us.

“Welcome,” she said. “This statue is called Liberty Enlightening the World. It was a gift to us from France back in the nineteenth century A.D. Come inside.”

We entered the main lobby. It looked the same as the last time I went here, although I knew it had been renovated at least once in my lifetime. I could see framed photographs hanging on the wall as well as a souvenier shop. The tour guide continued speaking, talking about the photographs and the history of the statue.

“As you know, this statue's skin is made of copper,” said the tour guide. “It now has this green finish. It is not a solid piece of copper, it is hollow inside, supported by a steel and concrete framework. A small tower was built inside the statue. Please present your passes and we can climb to the top.”

We all presented our passes, which I purchased at the ticket booths in the dock in Brooklyn, near the United Earth Forces Headquarters. Then we followed the tour guide up the stairs, walking and walking. There were a lot of stairs. It had been a long time since I did this. Jenna had never been here before.

We finally emerged in the small room located in the statue's crown. I looked out and I could see Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the towers of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and New York Bay. I noticed many ocean vessels floating in the waters near harbor; the dockworkers loading precious cargo. The Staten Island Ferry was taking passengers from Manhattan to Staten Island. Walking around, I could see a United Nations Ocean Patrol destroyer escorting a fleet of merchant cargo ships out towards the Atlantic Ocean.

I took my Nikon camera and took pictures of Jenna at various angles around the tower. I looked at the crowd, who looked no worse for wear. This tour was a little piece of normalcy in these trying times.

Then we all went down to the base of the statue and headed back for the next boat.

ooooooooooo

“It has been such a long time, mon,” said Myron the Rasta man. “And who is the lovely day?”

“Jenna,” replied Jenna. “I’m a combat pilot and we met on the battlefield.”

Myron the Rasta Man was a bartender that I had known for a year, when I first moved to Greenwich Village in Manhattan; he had immigrated from Jamaica over ten years ago. He wore his hair in dreadlocks, and wore a T-shirt.

We were in this dive bar on Grove Street in the Village. It was a favorite place for me and Quinn to hang out and write articles. Peanut shells still littered the floor. There were pool tables, a jukebox mounted on the wall, and several tables. I could smell frying fish from the kitchen in the back. A handful of people in various clothing were in the bar, some eating fried fish, others drinking beer from bottles. Bouncers armed with shotguns stood watch. The televisions mounted on the wall were on, although they were showing news reports instead of sporting events.

“You were the talk on the telly for two weeks when you broke the news,” said Myron. “You were even on the screen at Times Square!”

I looked and saw a short, blond-haired woman call out my name.

“Cassie!”” I yelled.

I had found out about the bar reopening from its web site. I was so excited that I called up my office friends to come here, and Jenna and I took the E train to Manhattan, getting off at the Washington Square station. We walked around for a while, including stopping by at the arch in Washington Square Park. Some of the buildings collapsed, and the apartment building where Quinn and I used to live was a pile of rubble that was still blocking Bedford Street.

“Surprised this place is still open,” Cassie said. “You weren’t kidding.”

“Hi,” said Art, another one of my co-workers. He went to the bartender. “Forty dollars for a beer?”

“It is hard to come by these days,” said Myron.

“Hey guys,” said Simon as he walked in, wearing a sweater and jeans.

“How are the kids?” I asked.

“They’re with my wife. Seeing this place open tells me we are moving back to normal.”

“Whatever normal will be,” said Art.

“anything to eat?” Simon asked Myron.

“Only fried fish- no beer batter or tartar or cocktail or jerk,” replied the bartender. “At least we have something to eat other than rations and what we can grow in gardens and flower beds, now that fishing trawlers are going out to the ocean.”

Jenna introduced herself to my co-workers. “What was it like after the attack?”

“I remember the air raid siren going on,” said Cassie. “I went down into the building's bomb shelter. I heard on the radio that Nassau County was bombed.”

“I didn't know how serious it was until I heard that destruction was being reported all over ther world,” said Art. “The next morning, we had to stay in our homes. There were tanks and Humvees and soldiers in the streets.”

“I actually saw that alien spaceship crash,” said Quinn, sipping a beer. “There was all this smoke and fire.”

“At least you've been busy,” I said. “I was on the SDF-1's observation lounge. I saw the Zentraedi ships fire upon Earth. When it happened, I thought they fired on the ship. I thought you were all dead.”

“We're not that easy to kill,” said Quinn. He looked at Jenna. “Tell us more about you.”

Jenna talked a bit about herself, like living art the lunar colony, training to be a veritech pilot, her experiences on board the Macross, meeting me.

“Did you know anyone who was killed?” asked Art.

“Yes,” she said. “The war changed me. I learned many things.”

“We all changed,” said Cassie. “We all knew people who were killed in the Zentraedi attack.”

“I propose a toast,” said Quinn. “To our survival, and our reconstruction.”

And we toasted. As I sipped my forty dollar bottle of Budweiser beer, I looked at the television. A report mentioned that President Hayden Ridge came back from a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he met with Secretary General Russo, the leaders of Britain, France, Russia, China, and Israel, and the Zentraedi ambassador to discuss reconstruction efforts.

The scene turned to Kansas, where a bunch of street preachers were holding picket signs. One of them read, in big bold letters, with little meteors in the background, “THANK GOD FOR THE RAIN OF DEATH”.

It spread like a meme, and that was how the Zentraedi bombardment became known as the Rain of Death.


Oooooooo

“Hey there,” I said.

A woman with brown hair gave me a hug and greeted me. “Where’s Ned?” asked Shawna.

I had managed to track down Ned’s wife Shawna; she was staying at an emergency camp in a park in Old Westbury, a few miles east of Queens. Thousands of other people were here too. The camp was guarded by National Guard soldiers. There was a sign reading “LETHAL FORCE WILL BE USED TO MAINTAIN ORDER”. I had read a similar sign when I registered for rations at the Forest Hills Emergency Distribution Center.

It took me a fgew seconds bnefore I worked up the courage to answer her question.

“Ned was killed when the Zentraedi first attacked Macross City,” I said.

“I needed to hear that,” said Shawna as she held the two kids she had with Ned.”I knew all this time, but I needed to hear that.”

“I’m sorry,” said Jenna, giving her a hug.

“this is my girlfriend Jenna,” I said.

She said a little bit about herself, about being a pilot and how she met me.

“We were married for eight years,” said Shawna. “Ned was a young, upstart reporter for the Associated Press. I was an intern for a Senator. We got married and honeymooned in the Bahamas. Had our boy here ten years ago.

“I moved back with my parents when I first heard that terrorists destroyed Macross City and killed everyone. Then I saw you on TV, telling us the truth. For a while we had our hopes up that Ned was still alive, that the kids could get their dad back. But I never got a message from him. I knew that he was killed in one of the alien attacks.”

“How did you survive the Rain of Death?” asked Jenna.

“We hid inside a bomb shelter. Bomb shelters were being built like crazy around here when we ehard we were at war with aliens with over four million ships.”

Her son, a tow-headed boy who grew a few inches taller since I last saw him, went out to play with some other kids at a play area set up by the state authorities.

We all smiled. Playing like that would aid in our recovery.


oooooooooooooo

Jenna and I entered the theater on Broadway in Manhattan one evening. We were both well-dressed, with me wearing a tuxedo and Jenna wearing a fine black dress with sequins.

“It's been a long time since I've been to a play,” said Jenna.

“Me too,” I said. “It's amazing how New Yorkers seldom visit the attractions. It's a weekday night, so tickets weren’t sold out. It's hard to get tickets for weekend evenings.”

“You are spending a lot of money, Mister.”

“I have two years' worth of accumulated pay,” I said. “I can afford it.”

The usher, dressed in a white shirt, black pants, black vest, and black bowtie, showed us to our seats. They were midway between the front and the back.

“Welcome,” said the host, a man dressed in a tuxedo. “Tonight you are privileged to see a Streetcar Named Desire. This play has been running in this theater for three months. We will now begin Act One.”

The red curtains opened, and I saw the first scene set up by the stage artists, as well as the actors and actresses.

oooooooooooo

One night Jenna and I sat in the back porch of my family's house in Queens. Trade was beginning to pick up, mostly from overseas, while some food was coming in from eastern Long Island. The governor called for a special election next month to fill the vacancies in the state legislature. I could see the full moon.

“You know,” I said. “This reminds me of this song that sometimes plays on the oldies station. I think it goes like this.”

“What?” asked Jenna.

“If you get caught between the moon and New York City, the best thing you can do is fall in love.”

“Whoever wrote that song was right,” said Jenna as she put her arm around my back and kissed me. “Thanks for showing me around the place. I still have a little over a week of leave left of leave before I have to go back to the Macross.”

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Visit my parents on Apollo Colony. I'd like you to come with me.”

“Meet your parents?” I asked.

“I met your family. Now it's time for you to meet mine.”

Post Reply