Scoop (Robotech)

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amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-06 12:23pm


Chapter 26

Meet The Parents​
Jenna checked the engines of the VF-1 Valkyrie. “Everything looks okay,” she said. she opened the cargo compartment. “Everything's in there, including my gifts and souveneirs.”

“So we're ready to go?” I asked as I stood on the tarmac of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Jenna and I were both wearing flight suits. Above us was the night sky.

“All we need is a last-minute systems check and clearance from the tower.”

I looked at the VF-1 Valkyrie, which was in its fighter mode. It was on this rig of some sort, was this booster unit attached to the back, so it could have enough thrust to reach lunar orbit. We both climbed into the cockpit. I saw the instruments light up as Jenna turned them on. She continued checking all the instruments and tested all of the warning lights.

“Check the pressure seals of your suit,” said Jenna.

I did so, checking the pressure gauge. “Suits fully pressurized,” I said.

“All systems are go,” says Jenna. “UNSM Flight Knight Three to JFK Tower, we are ready for takeoff.”

“Roger that, Knight Three,” says the JFK air traffic control.

We waited for a few minutes, as JFK was a busy airport even during these times of reconstruction. I looked around at the airport buildings.

“JFK Tower to UNSM Knight Three, you are cleared for takeoff.”

I felt pushed back as jenna activated the booster. I looked to my right and the ground appeared farther and farther away. I could see the lights below. Soon the land was replaced with the blue of the Atlantic Ocean. We continued climbing up and up. I could see an altimeter in front of me. We were passing fifty thousand feet. Soon we were at one hundred thousand feet.

“You all right back there?” asked Jenna.

“Yeah,” I said.

“We'll be pulling three g's now. You made sure you did not eat, right?”

“Right.”

And I felt myself squeezed back into my seat as Jenna hurled the Valkyrie upwards into the air. This was quite uncomfortable.

“I pulled more g's during combat,” she said.

“But you never flew in combat for more than an hour at a time,” I said. “This is gonna take hours.”

“total flight time is eighteen hours. That’s why we left so late at night, so you could sleep part of the way.”

Then the squeezing sensation stopped.

“We have now reached Earth orbit,” said Jenna. “Take a look around. We're going to accelerate to reach lunar orbit in forty minutes.”

And so I did. I looked at the blue planet below. I could see Europe and Africa and western Asia. I looked at the wreckage of Zentraedi vessels. I noticed construction crews salvaging raw materials from the wrecked ships for the reconstruction efforts back on Earth.

“How do we avoid collision with these wrecked ships?” I asked.

“The Spacy's Orbital Traffic Command assigns exit vectors for spacecraft leaving Earth,” said Jenna. “One exit vector is above the Atlantic Ocean, about two hundred klicks from New York. Another exit vector is in the Pacific Ocean, just a few klicks north of Honolulu, Hawaii.”

I continued watching the scene from Earth orbit. It had been months since I was last in space.

“Here we go,” said Jenna. “We will be heading for the moon now.”

And so I felt myself squeezed back as the veritech fighter plane accelerated towards the moon. The acceleration lasted for a few minutes, and then it stopped and I felt weightless again.

“We are now on course for the moon,” said Jenna. “You will feel heavy at times as the plane's autopilot makes course corrections.”

The journey from Earth to moon was the longest part, lasting some eighteen hours.

“So what will we do when we get there?” I asked.

“We'll rent a car from ALuCE base and drive to my parents' house in Apollopolis,” said Jenna. “Then we're gonn have dinner. You're gonna love my sisters and brothers.”

“I was wondering. Did you speak or e-mail your squadmates since you went on leave?”

“I’ve exchanged messages with Kevin and Akira and Joel and even Bri, Haley, and Damien- they were new recruits who joined up after our first return to Earth. They were a bit surprised when I contacted them. I never spoke to them before outside of work-related stuff.”

“What about Katie?”

“She ignores my e-mails.”

“She sent a reply e-mail to me. She…she hasn’t heard from her family.”

“I hope she’s…she’s not..”

“She still talks to Kevin and Joel, as well as Lani’s parents.”

“She asked about you. I called her and asked her why she didn’t call or e-mail you directly.”

“I can guess the answer,” said Jenna. “But can you tell me what she said anyway?”

“You shut her out when she was grieving,” I said. “She needed you, and you weren’t there for her.”

“So why would she ask about me?”

“I asked her and she doesn’t know. It’s complicated, so she said.”

I glanced around at the vacuum of space. It seemed so peaceful up here. Soon I fell asleep.

oooooooooo

During the long flight, I shifted back and forth between sleep and awake. I saw the moon get larger and larger. I felt pushed back as the Valkyrie slowed down in relation to the moon. The moon eventually occupied half of the view. I could see the skeletal framework of a huge spaceship orbiting the moon.

“Make sure your seat belt is fastened,” said Jenna, “because we are approaching the entry vector. UNSM Knight Three to Lunar Orbital Traffic Control. We are arriving as scheduled to the ALuCE landing strip.”

We waited a few more minutes in lunar orbit.

“We will be descending now,” said Jenna.

I felt the retrothrusters ignite and we got closer and closer to the moon. I could see the cratered landscape, battered by meteorites for millions of years. The moon was not as varied as the Earth; there were no cities or farms or highways blanketing this world, just barren cratered rock.

“We're approaching ALuCE base,” said Jenna.

I looked forward and I saw some domes rising out of the ground. That was the Apollo Colony. Construction had started twenty-five years ago, and the first lunar habitats were finished three years later. Jenna had told me her father moved the family to an apartment in Apollo Colony during the Global Civil War. Later, as more people moved to the moon and the colony was expanded, they moved into a house built at the underground level of Apollopolis.I could see there were some half-finished domes, with huge construction cranes standing tall.

“Switching to guardian mode,” said Jenna, as she moved the G lever. The veritech slowed down even further. Soon we were hovering a few hundred feet above the surface of the moon. We approached a hangar and we touched down.

“Welcome to the moon,” said Jenna. “Make sure your suit's pressurized.”

I got out and looked about. There were other veritech fighters and Star Goose shuttles inside. People in spacesuits walked about, doing critical work. We got our luggage and then walked towards an airlock. I watched the air pressure gauges and the airlock cycled in air. Then we emerged into this corridor. There were Space Marines walking about.

“The motor pool should be this way,” said Jenna, taking my hand. We walked along the corridors of ALuCE base.

“This is a really impressive place,” I said.

“I saw most of it get built,” said Jenna. “When I first moved here, the colony consisted of habitation modules for the workers and their families. I would sometimes look through a window and see the pressure dome being built by the lunar construction crew.”

“Amazing how all of that was happening during the Global Civil War.”

“People wanted to build a society far removed from the troubles of Earth. Here's the motor pool.”

We were in an office with a desk. It looked like a typical office, with file cabinets and supply cabinets and Space Marine recruitment posters. A sergeant stood at the desk.

“I want to rent a vehicle,” said Jenna. “A two door car will suffice.”

“Let me get the paperwork for you, ma'am,” said the sergeant.

Jenna signed the paperwork, and then an Air Force airman handed her the keys. We left the motor pool office and walked to the garage.

“Here it is,” said Jenna, referring to a blue Mercedes. Jenna got into the driver's seat and started the engine.

“Vehicles on the moon use a methanol-oxygen fuel cell,” she said as she drove out of the garage and though a corridor. “There's plenty of stuff for you to see on the moon.”

“It must have taken a lot of engineering,” I said.

“Yes. The walls are six feet thick and reinforced with a forcefield. We have an agricultural dome where we grow on our food. With food prices on Earth really high, I would not be surprised if Apollo colony was exporting food to Earth. The air recycling plant is underground. The whole place is powered by a thermonuclear reaction furnace located in the industrial sector. Also outside is the original lunar habitat where we used to live before Apollopolis was built. I remember when the city was finally pressurized and we could all move in. There was a big celebration. Anyway, we're coming up on Apollopolis.”

And soon we emerged. I could see tall buildings and billboards and flashing neon lights. This was like Macross City. I could see cars driving down the streets and people walking along the sidewalks. I could see businesses like restaruants and clothing stores and casinos.

“Last time I was here, twenty-two thousand people lived here,” said Jenna. “It was a hell of a lot bigger than when it was just six thousand people.”

That was less than the exiled population of Macross City, who had to live inside a huge spaceship for a little over two years.

We made a right turn and then I noticed we were going down this circular ramp. “The residential section is in the lower level,” said Jenna. We were now driving along a residential street lined with houses. “Here we are.”

Jenna parked the car next to the curb. I looked and saw a two story house. A hundred feet above the house was a roof supporting by a great deal of internal bracing.

“Wow,” I said. “This was surely a feat of engineering. It must have taken years to build this.”

“It took ten years,” said Jenna. “It would have taken less time if the war had not slowed things down. The SDF-1 arrived on Earth just after the whole place was being pressurized. I was in my family's apartment in the habitation module where the engineers and construction workers lived while they were building Apollopolis. Well, ;let's go inside.”

We walked to the front door and Jenna rang the doorbell. A woman with blond hair answered the door. She was wearing a blue dress.

“Jenna,” said the woman. “It's you.”

“Mom,” said Jenna, giving her mom a hug.

“Is that really Jenna out there,” said this male voice.

“Hey Dad,” said Jenna, hugging this man with red-and-white hair.

“It's been two years,” said her dad.

“Is this the young man you were telling us about,” said her mom.

“That's me,” I said, introducing myself. “I sure have interesting stories to tell you.”

“Let's wait until the whole family's here,” said Jenna's dad.

I went inside. I looked at the living room; it was a typical living room with a television set, a coffee table, couches, and a bookcase. Next to trhe living room was a kitchen, and there were stairs leading to the second floor of the house.

Jenna led me upstairs. “This is my room,” she said, pointing to one of the wooden doors. She opened it and I entered. It looked like a typical girl's room, with a carpet and bed and a bookcase with stuffed animals along with books. Jenna sat on the bed.

“You know, I lived a very sheltered lifestyle when I was on the moon,” she said. “All of us lunar colonists were pretty close. The Global Civil War was only something that happened in news broadcasts. Construction expanded after the UN formed the United Earth Government. They built the ALuCE base a few years ago, as well as a civilian spaceport to facilitate travel between the Earth and the moon. I didn't want to stay here. I wanted to go up to Earth and see what it's like. I wanted to fly spaceships- that was one of my dreams. I learned that the UN Space Marines were looking to train pilots, so I enlisted. From Basic Officer Training I went to Basic Flight Training, and then to Veritech Fighter Pilot Training.”

“And you picked me up when the Zentraedi attacked Macross City,” I said.

oooooooooooooo

I was sitting in the living room watching television when the doorbell rang. Jenna answered the door.

“Peter,” she said.

“Hi, Jenna,” said this young man with blond hair, giving Jenna a hug.

“Are the others coming too?” she asked.

“You bet.”

“This is my brother Peter,” Jenna said to me.

“Hi,” I said, introducing myself.

“It's nice to meet you,” said Peter. This woman with brown hair entered the room, and she had a baby with her. “This is my wife Helen and my daughter Jamie.”

“Hi,” I said to them.

“Look who's here,” said a female voice. I looked and saw a brown-haired woman in her early twenties wearing a blue blouse and blue jeans.

“I'm so glad to see you, Daisy,” said Jenna, giving her a hug.

“Hi,” I said, introducing myself.

“You must be Jenna's boyfriend,” said Daisy, shaking my hand. “I'm her sister Daisy.”

“Hey guys,” said this young man with brown hair. “I heard Jenna's back and she brought a man.”

“That's right,” said Jenna.

“I'm Cameron,” he said. “Jenna's brother.”

“Hi,” I said.

“Hey guys,” said this high-pitched female voice. I looked and saw this teenage girl wearing this green shirt and khaki shorts. “I just got off work at the mall. So Jenna's really here.”

“This is my sister Grace,” Jenna said to me.

“Hi,” I said, extending my hand.

“Sup,” she said.

“Now that we're all here,” said Jenna's dad, “Let's have dinner.”

And so we did. Our dinner was pork chops. I had barbecue sauce along with the pork chops.

Jenna told her parents and brothers and sisters the entire story of her deployment on board SDF-1 and about how she got together with me.

“How did it feel every time you went out there?” asked Cameron.

“Every time I took off, I prayed I would come back safely,” said Jenna.

“I'm glad you came back,” said Daisy.

“I had one close call. My plane was struck and I was injured. Life support went offline. Fortunately, one of my wingmates found me and pushed me to the ship. I stayed in the hospital for a while. I'm grateful that she saved my life.”

“What happened to her?” asked Helen.

“She didn't make it.”

“So tell us about yourself,” Jenna's mom said to me.

“Okay,” I said. “I guess I got into journalism when I was in high school. I used to be shy, so in my freshman year in high school I volunteered for the school newspaper. I really liked it, talking to all these people and writing articles on them. I later went to Columbia University and I got an internship in the Associated Press office. After graduating from Columbia, I became a full-fledged reporter. This veteran reporter, Ned Brubaker, took me under his wing. When he was assigned to cover the launch of the SDF-1 Macross, he invited me as his assistant. On the day of the launch, we went to the shipyard to cover the event. That was when the ship's main gun fired and we had to take cover. I ran back to the hotel, and I saw the Zentraedi fighter crash. The pilot came out and he was forty feet tall. Later, one of the UN fighters came down and transformed into a battloid and shot the pilot. That was where I met Jenna and she gave me a ride to get me to safety. We went on board the SDF-1 and it took us to solar orbit near Pluto. The fold drive disappeared, so we had to go back using conventional propulsion. As Jenna said, Macross City was rebuilt inside the ship. I opened an office and started writing news reports. It took a year to get back to Earth, and because of the battle over Toronto, we had to go back into space. It was not until the final battle with the main Zentraedi fleet that we were able to return to Earth. Jenna later gave me a ride to New York and I submitted my articles. I'm on vacation now.”

“I guessed you covered the beauty pageant Jenna was in,” said Jenna's dad.

“That's right,” I said. “I made sure to keep detailed notes.”

“I noticed you've changed, Jenna,” said Peter.

“I know,” said Jenna. “I've been fighting the Zentraedi for two years. The war has changed all of us.”

“When do you have to go back?” asked Cameron.

“In about a week,” said Jenna. “I have my veritech at ALuCE, so I can just fly back to Earth. It's about eighteen hours.”

“Tell me about yourselves,” I said to Jenna’s parents.

“I took a job here as an engineer almost twenty years ago,” said Jenna’s dad. “The U.N. was paying people to live on the colony. People would come here, live for a few years, and go back to Earth. I helped with the design here. A year after that spaceship crashed, I did a tour of duty on construction of that Sara Base on Mars. It’s such a shame those terrorist wankers destroyed the place.”

“We all used to make sure the kids spoke with their dad when he was on Mars,” said Jenna’s mom. “There was this three minute delay.”

“I’m a lunar baby,” said Grace. “I was born here on the moon. There must have been babies born on that ship.”

“Yeah,” I replied.

“they were worth risking our lives for,” said Jenna.

ooooooooooooooooooo

The next day, Jenna took me to this place in Apollopolis. The sign on the building read LUNAR SURFACE TOURS. We went to the front desk which was inside the lobby. The lobby had all these posters with pictures of the lunar surface.

“I'd like to rent two spacesuits please,” said Jenna.

“Okay,” said the man behind the counter. He takes Jenna's credit card and runs it through. “Okay, ma'am.”

We both went through a door, and there was this room where a man took measurements. He then gave us spacesuits. He gave us instructions on how to put them on and make sure they are sealed. I fastened the helmet and then checked the pressure seals. The pressure inside the suit was at 760, which was normal.

We were then escorted to the airlock. There was a sign reading ALL PERSONS MUST HAVE PRESSURIZED SPACESUITS BEYOND THIS POINT. We and other visitors entered the airlock. I saw the pressure gauge go down. Then a green light came on, and we went into an unpressurized room. It was huge, with vehicles parked inside.

“Welcome,” I heard over the radio. “I'm your driver Dante. We will be driving to the landing site. Step inside.”

We all boarded this bus and I sat down next to Jenna.

“This tour bus carries its own fuel and oxidant,” said Dante. “Unlike driving on Earth, we have to carry our own oxidant. Let's roll.”

And so we did. I felt the bus move as it left the garage. It was nighttime, so the headlights lit the way.. We first drove around the complex, including the original lunar habitat and the Apollopolis spaceport and the ALuCE base. Then we drove off away from Apollopolis.

“Not much to see,” I said, seeing the barren mountains and plains.

“There's a lunar mining station under construction a few miles from here,” said Jenna.

The bus stops. “Here we are, folks,” said Dante. “Why not take a walk outside for a while.”

We all stepped out walked around. I looked and saw the lights of Apollopolis in the distance. I made sure to taker pictures; my digital camera worked in the vacuum. Jenna and I held each other and were about to kiss, buit our faceplates were in the way.

We all went back on the bus and Dante took us to the garage. Soon we all went through the airlock and returned our spacesuits.

oooooooooo

During my stay at Apollo Colony, Jenna took me around. We went to theaters and casinos and restaurants. At least beer and wine were freely available, even if they were expensive. We went to a museum of lunar history, showing the geologic exhibits, as well as exhibits on lunar exploration and colonizxtion, from Neil Armstrong first setting foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, to the subsequent manned and unmanned missions to explore the surface, the discovery of the lunar aquifer, the original lunar research station, and the founding of Apollopolis. We even had a picnic in the park. It was under a clear dome, and there was grass growing on the ground and many trees. There were even clouds above us. We had pastrami sandwiches and potato chips and Petite Cola.

“Sometimes, it even rains here,” said Jenna. “This was one of the original structures dating from twenty-two years ago. I used to love to come here since the old apartment was cramped.”

But finally it was time for us to go. Jenna had to go back to her duties, and I had to go back to New York. We went back to AluCE base.

“It will take less fuel to return to Earth,” said Jenna. “We can use the drag from Earth’s atmosphere to slow down.”

We climbed into the VF-1 Valkyrie, which was in its guardian mode. Jenna checked the flight instruments.

“AluCe Flight Control to Knight Three,” said the air traffic controller. “You are cleared for liftoff.”

And so we took off from ALuCE base. Nineteen hours later, about seven of which I slept through, we touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City.

We get off and remove our helmets. “The plane will be refueled and then I will take off for my flight back to work,” she said.

“I wish I could have shown you more back here,” I said. “Went on a carriage ride through Central Park, took you to a Yankees versus Mets game.”

We kissed for the longest time. I then walked back to the United Nations terminal, glancing back every few seconds.

After waiting in customs for two hours, the airport shuttle service took me home.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-07 10:48am

Chapter 27

The Siege


The New York Stock Exchange was packed, not just with stockbrokers and traders, but by the press as well as federal government officials. Even a staffer from the U.N. Secretary General’s office was in attendance. I was dressed in a suit, like the men in the exchange. The trading floor had these circular terminals, as well as an American flag hanging on the wall.

Ever since returning from the moon, I and the other reporters have been covering reconstruction efforts in the Tri-State area. There was no shortage of updates, including the rearising of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to that, I was writing an article summarizing the two-year sojourn of the SDF-1 Macross. My contact with Jenna was by text message or the occasional live phone conversation.

We did talk about a possible transfer to the UEF air base on Long Island.

“I was lucky to have gotten that thirty day leave,” she had said. “Right now, with the way things are, we’re all needed where the Supreme Command says we’re needed.”

I had to admit she was right. The Reserves and the National Guard in the U.S. was still fully activated.

I looked at my watch. It was 9:28 A.M.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” said the exchange president, a white-haired, big-nosed man with a thick moustache. “Today is a historic day. For our history we have made it possible for the common person to have a share in corporate wealth, to enable the raising of funds for businesses. Today, when this bell rings, we will enable billions of dollars of capital to be raised not just for our financial future, but to fund the reconstruction efforts worldwide.”

At 9:30, the bell rang. The traders all went to their stations. I saw symbols on electronic boards, with numbers changing. Broadcast reporters were reporting this to their viewers.

“It’s a jungle again,” said Simon Levinstein, whom I accompanied to cover this event.

“You know what my dad did when those Zentraedi ships first appeared over orbit?” I asked.

“What?”

“Before taking shelter, he made some trades.”

“He bought stock in construction companies?”

“Not exactly. He bought something called put options. And yes, they were for construction companies. Spent seventy thousand dollars of his and Mom’s savings.” I looked at the hectic trading floor, which was as frenzied as the battles between the veritech fighters and the Zentraedi pods. “We’ll see if it was a good idea.”

As Dad later told me, it was.

Ooooooooooooooo

After ten hours of flight, I stepped off the plane on an air base in China. Chinese soldiers and airmen walked about. There were no permanent structures, just Quonset huts and tents and a temporary air traffic control tower. A dark-haired man in a suit approached me and I identified myself.

“You should be fortunate you have connections,” he said in accented English.

“I wish I had more time to tour this land,” I said.

“It’s all rice paddies and construction sites now.”

I got in a truck and rode for maybe an hour. This was a special assignment. Al Chegwidden told me that the AP had some surviving correspondents in China. It was my connections that allowed me to fly all the way from New York to cover this assignment.

“We’re here,” said the Chinese official.

I stepped out. There were tents and Quonset huts and trailers standing in this area of clear ground. Workers

in hard hats were securing the camp or taking breaks. I saw even some giant Zentraedi around carrying giant shovels. To the north were the skeletons of skyscrapers and high-rise construction cranes. To the south was the waters of the Taiwan straits, where both Chinese and United Nations ships sailed. A crashed Zentraedi ship stuck up from the waters.

From what I read from Chinese government press releases as well as the articles written by our Chinese correspondents, Xiamen was a top priority for reconstruction, due to its natural harbor.

I went to one of the trailers and knocked on the door.

“Come on in,” said Lynn Kyle, who still had his long black hair and was wearing a purple outfit.

And so I did. The trailer’s interior was luxurious with granite-covered tops. The kitchen sink had gold fix.

“Please excuse us for the accommodations,” said Kyle. “Would you like a drink?”

“Sure.”

He poured me a glass of whiskey. It tasted good, especially after that long flight.

“Things are continuing to pick up,” I said. “Ever since the stock exchange reopened, I’ve been seeing the food trucks and hot dog carts on the streets again.”

“Not much in entertainment here in Xiamen for now. Our hosts set up some arcade machine for the Zentraedi guest workers. You know, I heard you were dating that pilot again.”

“Oh, Jenna? She and her squadron were reassigned to a Marine Air Station in Twentynine Palms.”

“Twentynine Palms?”

“It’s in the California desert. Jenna told me there’s basically nothing there but some liquor stores and bars and a whole bunch of these trees called Joshua Trees.”

“There’s not even that in Xiamen. But there will be in about a year.”

“Has it really been five months since then?”

“I heard that construction has been picking up for the new Macross City. The Joint Forces Air Field there is operational now.”

About an hour later, the concert began. Lynn Kyle stood on this stage, a microphone in his hand.

“People of Xiamen and honored construction workers,” he said. “I am glad we are all here to rebuild what was torn down in this war. I see both people of this world as well as Zentraedi- once mortal enemies- working together hand-in-hand to build, not to destroy. And this peace between our peoples would not be possible without the voice and the talent of our star, Miss Lynn Minmei!”

And so Minmei appeared on the stage, first singing her first hit “Stage Fright”. I looked around and the crowd- the human and Zentraedi construction workers, the Chinese troops, and the press- clearly enjoyed it. She finished the concert off with her song “We Will Win”.

The other reporters and I all asked Minmei for a comment.

“Thank you all for coming,” was her only comment.

“I do have some news that might be of interest to you,” Kyle said to me. “We’ve been touring the reconstruction sites, as you know.”

“And?” I asked.

“I booked Minmei an appearance at the New Years’ Eve celebration in Times Square in New York.”

That was about three and a half months from now.

“Can you do me a favor?”

oooooooooooooooooo

I was riding the subway on the way to a mandatory office meeting. We were both standing, as all the seats were taken by riders from the northern parts of Manhattan. It weas then I heard a news bulletin from nearby radio.

"And this just in. A military force has surrounded the United Nations Headquarters and laid siege to it," said the voice of a radio news repoerter. "The whole block has been sealed off. There is no word yet on whose authority this siege was conducted. The Governor of New York has denied responsibility for the siege..."

And then the radio's owner changed the station.

oooooooooo

Once I got to the office, I went to the meeting room. Quinn, Simon, Art, and Cassie were all there. The Sony television was on, and all channels had the specical report of the siege on the UN. It clearly was not Zentraedi leftovers, I recognized Humvees, M-1 Abrams tanks, MBR-04 Tomahawk destroids, and a HWR-00 Monster destroid. Soldiers were blocking access to the streets near the United Nations building.

"We've received reports that all active UN military bases are on red alert," said a CNN reporter. “We received a confirmed message from the President’s office that this action was done under presidential orders.”

ooooooooooooooo

Simon and I arrived near UN Headquarters in a Ford Crown Victoria taxicab. The New York City Police Department had blocked access to the street. Ahead I could see the Humvees and tanks and destroids and soldiers.

"Excuse me," I said to a soldier. "I'm a reporter from the Associated Press. I'd like to talk to someone inside the building."

"You may not enter," said the soldier. "No one may enter or leave."

"What is going on?" I asked.

"Our orders were to seal off the UN Headquarters."

"Whom did you receive your orders from?"

"Our orders came from our commander-in-chief, the President of the United States."

I spoke with a New York City police officer.

"Dio you have any plans?" I asked.

"Listen," said the police officer. "I don't know what the big deal is. I'm just trying to keep people from getting caught in the crossfire of a shooting war between the U.S. and the U.N."

We asked the crowd of people that had gathered about what was going on. None had reported any shots fired. One person, a hot dog vendor working across the street from United Nations Headquarters, mentioned that the Humvees, APC's, and tanks rolled in at about eight o'clock, and that helicopters airlifted destroids minutes later.

I wondered if any other UN bases were under siege. I wondered if Jenna was all right. Would this situation turn into a shooting war?

It was after going back to the office that I saw a video. It was President Hayden Ridge.

“My fellow Americans,:” he said, standing behind a podium. “People of the world. As of today, we have sequestered all United Earth Forces bases and United Earth Government buildings and facilities within the territory of the United States.

“this is a decision that I do not take lightly. The United States has been a major backer of the United Earth Government these past six years. We stood together when under threat of alien attack. But reconstruction efforts around the world have been substandard, falling far short of what we as a world are capable of. Because of a pattern of mismanagement at the highest levels of the United Earth Government, the participation of the United States can not stand.

“For those members of the United Earth Forces sequestered here, the American people thank you for helping us survive the war with the Zentraedi. We do not want a shooting war with you. We will permit the transport of food, water, sanitation supplies, and medicines into UEF bases. Sick or injured UEF personnel may- under our escort- be transported to U.N. medical facilities in the United States. If UEF personnel or units wish to leave United States territory, our forces will escort you out. But we will not permit any additional UEF personnel to go to the bases in our territory, nor permit the transport weapons, ammunition, or war machines into these bases.

“That we withdraw from the United Nations does not mean we will isolate ourselves, nor withdraw from the community of nations. We will still extend a helping hand to our allies in the free world. We are even still open to working with the Zentraedi. That is all. God bless you, God bless American, and God bless the world.”

oooooooooooo

U.S LAYS SIEGE TO U.N.!

That was the headline for the New York Post the next day. The article mentioned the announcement from Hayden Ridge. The siege of the UN was the top priority for the Associated Press's New York Bureau. All of us were calling leads.

I briefly recalled what I knew of Hayden Ridge. He graduated from Kings Point and served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps as an aviator, becoming one of the ace pilots during the war. After the war ended, he retired as a colonel. He later accepted an appointment as Secretary of the Treasury, and succeeded to the Presidency after the Rain of Death.

Then we heard an update on CNN.

"We have just been informed that the President will be going to the UN to conduct negotations as to the withdrawal of its forces," said the CNN anchorman. "They will be arriving shortly. The President has also said that the negotiations will be public and open to the press."

Simon called me. “We’ve got to go to the U.N.”

oooooooooooo

I later arrived at the United Nations and showed my passport to the soldier at the blockade. He called someone on his radio.

tThen another soldier walked to the barricade and spoke to me. "Wait here," he said. He spoke into his radio. "You may go in," he said.

I walked towards the front entrance of the United Nations building, escorted by U.S. Army soldiers. I stepped through the glass door, and was immediately greeted by a squad of U.N. Space Marines.

"Stop right there," said a gunnery sergeant. He spoke into his radio as the other marines searched me. "Okay, you will follow him."

"I'll be taking you to the room where the negotiations will be held," said a Marine lieutenant. He led me throiugh the lobby into an elevator. He inserted a key and pressed a button. Soon we were moving up. He then led me across a hallway to a pair of double doors. Two marines stood guard. They stepped aside and let me in.

The room was huge, with a three tables forming a U-shape. There was a fourth table and I was led here; it was for reporters I guessed. There were microphones on the three tables where the delegates would meet. In the back was the United Nations logo. There were several delegates, both civilian and military.

One of the delgates apporahced me, a woman with black hair tied in a ponytail.

"Hello there," she said. "My name is Jessica Davis. I am assisting President Ridge in these negotations.”

I took down her name in my notepad. "Nice to meet you," I said.

"The UN is bringing in another delegate from outside the headquarters," said Jessica Davis. "Then we can begin."

The woman went back to the table, sitting on a chair in front of a microphone. The other reporters and I waited.

And waited.

And then a woman with shoulder-length brown hair came in, escorted by marines. She was dressed in a UN Spacy uniform.

"Hello there," said one of the men.

"I am Commander Lisa Hayes of the UN Spacy," said the woman. "I am the XO of the SDF-1 Macross. I believe my experiences will get all of us to understand."

That name sounded familiar. I knew I heard of a Lisa Hayes during my stay on the ship.

Then a large man wearing a suit with coat and waistcoat entered, He had brown hair and a moustache. From pictures and television press conferences, I recognized him as Gerald Russo, Secretary General of the United Nations.

A man in a blue uniform, armed with a baton and a pistol, faced us.

“His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations shall begin,” he said.

“Welcome, everyone,” said the Secretary General. “I want to thank you all for coming here.”

A man in a suit, with salt-and-pepper hair, sat at the table. I recognized him as Hayden Ridge.

“My aide, Miss Jessica Davis, shall inform you of our demands,” said the President.

"Here are our demands," said Jessica Davis. "The United Nations will turn over its headquarters to the United States. All United Nations military forces will be withdrawn from the United States and its territories. All United Nations ocean vessels will leave for international waters. We believe this can be achieved without firing on you. We will make arrangements for the relocation of your headquarters and your military forces to any willing country or UN territory."

“We will, of course, consider these demands,” said Russo. “But let us be honest about the real reason you want this public instead of meeting behind closed doors. Would I be correct in saying that the primary reason for this public meeting is to have us convince you to stay with the United Earth Government?”

Ridge and Davis whispered to each other. “You would be correct, Your Excellency,” said Ridge.

“The perhaps you can inform us of your grievances with the United Earth Government.”

“Let me begin,” said President Ridge. “Five months ago in Iceland, I met with you and leaders from Britain, France, China, Russia, and Israel to discuss a master global reconstruction plan. We have fallen far short of the goals we set in Reykjavik. Billions are without water or power or telecommunications access, even after half a year!”

“There is much rebuilding to do. Priorities have to be set. You know we agreed that maritime ports and shipbuilding facilities had to have the first priority.”

“You’re right. Maritime transport requires less infrastructure than overland transport. But we have not even finished half of the ports and shipyards we expected to be fully operational by now.”

Russo looked around the room. “That failure is on me,” he said. “We have failed to account for the availability of labor..”

“And yet somehow a tropical resort in northern Australia and a ski resort in the Swiss Alps was rebuilt using U.N. funds,” said the President.

“I can not comment on the veracity of your claims, Mr. President,” said the Secretary General. “I promise that I will have staff look into it.”

“Or I could reveal to the media what we have found about the reconstruction efforts.”

“Before yopu make a rash decision of leaving the United Nations,” said Russo, “you must consider that it is a dangerous galaxy out there. I will have General Phibunsongkhram, Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces, explain.”

“The United States, on its own, can not construct a fleet of combat starships,” said the Supreme Commander. “It took the resources of the entire industrialized world to build our first generation of combat spaceships. We need these ships to not just defend Earth, but to find out what is out there and what would threaten us. To top that off, sir, your generals and admirals know that there are Zentraedi holdouts hiding in your territory and they have even raided some of your towns and cities.”

“I will let General Waverly speak,” said Ridge. “He is the Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

A bald, moustachioed man stood up, wearing the blue Class “A” uniform of a United States Air Force officer, with the colored ribbons telling the story of his service. “Sir, you must know that without the United States, you would not have the funds nor the infrastructure to build a fleet of spaceships. My commander-in-chief has no confidence that your superiors will be able to build a fleet of spaceships within five years, let alone by next year.”

Phibunsongkhram whisphered with Russo. “That is true, General Waverly,” he said. “I shall have Lieutenant Commander Lisa Hayes speak now.”

"I spent two years on board SDF-1," said Commander Hayes. "I have seen first hand the threat of the Zentraedi. I was even a prisoner on their ship for a while. I was later transferred to EDC Headquarters in Alaska and that was where I heard of the Rain of Death. You must know that hostile Zentraedi are hiding out in your country. You need our help."

Ridge and Waverly whispered to each other.

"This war with the Zentraedi was started by the UN," said Waverly. "Our intelligence indicated that your ship fired first, thus provoking the war. You brought the Rain of Death which killed two hundred million Americans. And don't say we can not deal with the Zentraedi holdouts on our own. You have satellite surveillance, you know what offensive capability we have."

"So you know about the war with the Zentraedi," replied Secretary General Russo. "Then you must know that the Zentraedi fleet commander Breetai formed an alliance with us against the rest of the Zentraedi, and is assisting us in the reconstruction efforts. He has provided raw material and labor for the reconstruction. But he is only providing it to the United Nations. It is the only Earth entity that he will deal with."

"And you trust him?" asked Jessica Davis.

“Commander Hayes, if you can answer,” says Russo.

“Yes, sir,” replied Commander Hayes. "We do trust Breetai. He fought against the Supreme Commander Dolza. He has no desire to destroy us; he is no longer our enemy. His advisor Exedore now works with us. We have to keep up the attacks against the holdouts, before someone unites the factions and renews the war."

"We don't want to fight your war," said President Ridge. "Your war devastated our country. are declaring our neutrality in your war with the holdouts. Your forces are to leave.”

“But what of the residents of Macross City?” asked Hayes.

Ridge whispered with Davis. “As a show of good faith,” said Davis, “we will grant the residents of Macross City legal U.S. residency. They may rebuild where they are, subject ot the jurisdiction of the United States and State of Alaska.”

General Phibunsongkhram stood up. “I remind you, Mr. President, that the Zentraedi holdouts will not recognize your neutrality,” he said. “Their war is with all the people of Earth.”

“And I have a question for His Excellency,” said the President. “How can you say you speak for the nations of Earth? The General Assembly has not convened since the Rain of Death.”

ooooooooooooooo

Later on, the negotiations were recessed. I got into the elevator to go to the lobby. Commander Lisa Hayes was inside the elevator too.

"You were that reporter on the SDF-1," she said.

"That's right," I replied. "How's the construction of Macross City going along?"

"Well, the streets are being paved," said the commander. "I'll be going back to my hotel until the second day of negotiations. I just can't believe that in this day and age, they would still be fighting. Aside from that, I have no comment.”

When I reached the lobby, I headed for the main exit. I was immediately searched by American soldiers. Then I went straight home, as it was late afternoon. Turning on the TV, all the channels were covering the siege of the United Nations Headquarters.

"How were the negotiations?" asked Quinn, who spoke to me over the phone.

"They obviously have some issues," I said, typing an article on the personal computer. I dialed Jenna’s phone number. I was pleasantly surprised to speak to her live.

“We’re actually packing,” said Jenna. “I’ve heard of the situation. And to think we were just getting used to Twentynine Palms.”

ooooooooooooooooo

The next morning, I went back to the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. Once again, I had to show my ID to the UN Space Marine security people. I then was escorted in to an elevator, through the hallway, and into the room where the negotiations would take place. Once again, I sat at the reporters' table with my notepad and pen in hand. I waited until all the delegates came in.

"After consultation with my superiors," said Jessica Davis, "we are willing to alter our demands. We are willing to grant the United Earth Government sovereignty over SDF-1 and the surrounding area as shown by the map. In return, we require that an independent international commission composed of representatives from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, Israel, and China, as well as three other nations to be determined by the Secretary General, oversee reconstruction efforts. Also, the United States shall have primacy over military operations against any Zentraedi holdouts on our soil. The United Earth Forces may take action, but only under U.S. operational control. And finally, and most importantly, the General Assembly must be convened by January 1st of next year.”

"That seems reasonable," said General Phibunsongkhram. An aide hands him a piece of paper, presumably the map that Jessica Davis was talking about.

I soon left to go back to my office. That was short. And anticlimactic.

ooooooooooooo

The next day, I went to a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters.

“We have accepted the terms of our agreement with the United States,” said Secretary General Russo.

After the press conference was over, I went back to home to write the article.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-08 11:53am


Chapter 28

Times Square

“Everything’s going on fine here,” said Jenna. “Drills, practice exercises, maintenance, patrol duty. life’s okay with you?”

“Yeah,” I replied. I was speaking with Jenna over Skype. I could see her in her quarters, wearing her FLYGIRL T-shirt. The siege of the United Nations seemed like a distant memory even though it was only last month. “Covering the reconstruction efforts. The rubble from my old apartment building was cleared from the street now.”

“The boys recently went camping in Joshua Tree.”

“Where?”

“It’s this park, just maybe a ten minute drive from the main gate on base.”

“How’s Katie?”

“The boys say she’s fine. I wish I could be there, celebrating with you. If only I could just jump through this screen.”

“But you have to take leave for New Year’s.”

“Happy birthday,” she said. “I love you.”

“Yeah, I know.”

oooooo

For my first Christmas on Earth in so many years, I was back in my family home. Snow blanketed the front lawn of my family's house. The living room already had a Christmas tree with its lights and decoration and star shining on the top.

“Merry Christmas,” said Mom.

“Merry Christmas to you too,” I said, giving her a hug.

“Hey, son,” said Dad. “Merry Christmas.”

There were, of course, Christmas specials on TV. The mayor gave a Christmas statement in front of the giant Christmas tree.

At mid-afternoon, everyone came. Sally, Tony, Tammy, and Oliver. Sally's husband, their daughter, and their newly born son. Mom had prepared a nice juicy deep-fried turkey for us. We all sat around the dining table.

“Before we begin,” said Dad. “Let us thank the Lord for the bounty which He has given us, and for watching over each of us.”

“Amen,” we all said.

“Let's eat.”

And so we did. Mom sliced the turkey and we each got some gravy and stuffing. The turkey was very moist, for it had been deep fried. Wine was served for the occasion. We all talked about our lives. I once again shared stories about my journey on board the SDF-1. I was not the only one to tell stories, for Sally just had a baby two months before.

“Raising children is a real handful,” she said.

“I know,” said Mom. “I had to raise the five of you.”

“I'll be on maternity leave for a while.”

And we continued eating our dinner of turkey, gravy, and stuffing. After finishing the wine, we exchanged gifts and we took pictures. I would always remember this. My gifts included sweaters, pants, CD-R's, and video games.

Before I went to sleep, I looked out the window towards the night sky, wondering how Jenna was feeling.

oooooooo


“More of your friends from the ship,” said Myron the Rasta Man as he served me a pint of beer.

“they just flew in this morning,” I said. “They’re staying in hotels here in Manhattan. They’re going to celebrate the New Year in Times Square.”

“Time Square, eh? I did that once. We been squeezed like sardines.”

“I called in a favor.”

“At least it’s not as cold here as Alaska,” said Commander Dennis Ward, wearing a heavy sweater instead of a uniform.

I had invited a few friends over to celebrate with me at Times Square tomorrow. Dennis flew from New Macross City to be here, and Jenna and my friends from her squadron flew in from California. The bar was packed, as it was, well, New Year’s Eve Eve.

“Remember, you guys,” Quinn said to the pilots. “You’d better be at Times Square by 5 P.M. It is going to get packed.”

“Wouldn’t there be less people here than last year?” asked Joel Reese. “I mean…”

“Forty thousand here were killed in the Rain of Death. But many more moved here, because we have things like running water and electricity and Internet and food trucks…”

“I see,” said Katie.

The bar has since restored its menu since that day. There were sandwiches and entrees available. I myself had a prime rib sandwich with horseradish sauce. We all spoke together.

Except Jenna and Katie.

Jenna did speak to Katie’s boyfriend. I had met him a few times before on the ship. A man with black hair, skin the color of mahogany, and who was currently wearing a thick wool sweater.

“So things are going well between you two?” she asked.

“That’s an understatement,” he replied, smiling.

“How did you end up on the ship?”

“It’s not something as exciting as how your boyfriend here ended up on the ship. I was a crewman in the United Nations Spacy. My superiors assigned me to a post on the ship. I simply had orders.”

“And you enlisted because…”

“Not too many opportunities in the slums of Quezon. And I preferred going into space rather than joining the Navy or the Ocean Patrol. Anyway, I ended up badly hurt in one of the Zentraedi attacks. I was honorably separated from the service.”

“It must have been disappointing.”

“My career in the military was over. Then again, I was able to get together with Katie, as she was an officer and I was no longer an enlistee. I wish I could have met her family, though. From what she told me, they seemed wonderful.”

I noticed Katie looking at us.

“Oh, hi, babe,” said her boyfriend. “How about we dance?”

“Sure,” she replied.

ooooooooooooooo

All of us- my friends, Jenna's friends, and any dates they brought along- were at Times Square by six o'clock. It was dark, the lights only coming from the electronic and holographic billboards and the street lights. Police barricades blocked off the streets. There were plenty of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants along this world-famous place. Even eight months after a global holocaust, Times Square was still a place to party. There were bands playing and singers singing. Police officers and New York Army National Guard soldiers stood watch. I even saw Tomahawk destroids on the streets. If an enemy from Earth or beyond were to attack us on this of all evenings, they would be given an appropriate greeting.

Our dinner was simple. We did not go to any of the fancy grills around. We just went to the McDonald’s in Times Square. I simply had hamburgers, Chicken McNuggets, and a Coke. We then went outside.

“Greetings,” said the host, dressed in a tuxedo. “What a year it has been. It was the year where the human race got into a staring contest with annihilation, and the human race won. I want to dedicate this celebration to those who could not be with us on this day.”

I led my friends towards one of the barriers.

“Hey there,” said Lynn Kyle, standing behind one of the barriers.

“How are things going?” I asked.

“Just preparing for the performance.”

“That’s Minmei,” said Kevin.

Minmei was wearing a heavy coat reaching to her knees, like almost everyone in Times Square.

“Hi there,” said Kevin.

“I hope you’re all enjoying the celebration,:” said the singer, sipping a cup of coffee. “I have to focus on the performance.”

“I suppose you can take the time to talk to my guests,” said Kyle.

“Things have been real busy,” she said.

“Yeah,” I said. “Tomorrow, the U.N. General Assembly will reconvene and I am part of the team covering this event.”

“That’s great.”

“Not only that, the Zentraedi ship that crashed into Queens is being rebuilt as a retail and entertainment complex. It’s scheduled to be completed in less than two years.”

“The General Assembly is probably in their fancy hotels,” said Major Akira Nomura, wearing a heavy coat over his clothes and a hart on his head. “They probably hammering up legislation right now.”

“I can’t party too hard. I’ve got to cover their public meeting tomorrow morning.”

So I spoke with my friends and Jenna's friends as we had a party. For these few hours, the struggles I endured in the past and the challenges I will face in the future were buried. There was only now. I did not even feel the cold and snowfall. Hot coffee was being served from carts and kiosks at inflated prices. Occasionally, at the beginning of each hour, we were informed where on Earth the New Year arrived.

“And this is a replay from the New Year’s celebration in Tokyo,” said a reporter as I saw an image of fireworks in a dark sky. “Emperor Yoshihito himself visited the construction camp to celebrate the New Year with Tokyo’s reconstruction crew. The Emperor has since returned to the provisional capital in Hiroshima…”

Then it was time for Minmei to sing.

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen,” said Lynn Kyle, facing the crowd. “it is an honor to be able to perform for you on this very special occasion. Tonight is a night where we look forward, where we build, not destroy. I want to introduce to you a very special singer. She has been touring the world, giving hope to both humans and Zentraedi working together hand-in-hand to build. And now, I introduce unto you, the singer whose song brought peace between two worlds- Miss Lynn Minmei!”

And then Minmei’s face appeared on the Times Square Big Screen. She began by singing her classic song “Stage Fright”. All these lights flashed, and the crowd was dancing, even as packed as they are. They then cheered as she finished the song.

“It’s a good thing you have these connections,” said Joel, sipping a drink. “It’s not as crowded here.”

“I was just presented with an opportunity,” I said.

So we all chatted for a while for the next few hours.

I then saw Jenna talking to Katie.

“Are you doing okay?” asked Jenna. “I…I want to hear it from you.”

Katie looked at Jenna, not responding for maybe a minute. “Y—Yes, I’m okay,” she answered.

“But I heard you haven’t heard from your family. How are you dealing with that?”

“I have my boyfriend, I have my friends from the squadron. I have Lani’s parents.”

“But what if they get taken from you?”

“I am afraid of that. But..I won’t regret knowing them. I won’t shut them out.”

“I’m sorry about the way I treated you. I wasn’t taken away from you. I shut you out when you were hurting real bad. I…I just want things between us like they were before.”

“That will never happen.”

“Oh,” said Jenna, a look of disappointment in her face.

Katie then placed her gloved hands on Jenna’s shoulders. “But we can make things between us good. Good together.”

And then they hugged. I felt good about this. It was like building anew, like the rise of the Freedom Tower.

Lynn Kyle tapped Jenna on the shoulder. “Excuse me, ladies,” he said. “But the ball is about to drop.”

Then we started counting down. “Twenty-two!” we yelled in unison. “Twenty-one. Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen. Seventeen. Sixteen. Fifteen. Fourteen. Thirteen. Twelve. Eleven.” Just one-sixth of a minute left. “Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three! Two! One!”

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” we all shouted. Fireworks were launched and balloons were realased into the air.

“Happy new year,” I said to Jenna, looking into her clear blue eyes. I kissed her.

“Happy New Year to you too,” she said.

We all greeted Happy New Year to each other.. The band continued playing and we were dancing in the streets.

But then it was time for us to go home. We had the rest of the new year to go on with our lives.


Ooooooooooo


The main hall at the United Nations building was packed. I could see representatives from over one hundred sovereign nations gathered inside. I was standing in the press gallery with my fellow reporter Simon Levinstein. Even Jenna was here; I managed to ask a favor.

“At least I get to see my bosses in action,” she said.

“This is history,” said Simon.

“Ned would have loved to be here,” I said.

A man in a blue uniform spoke to the Assembly. “It is my honor to introduce His Excellency Gerald Russo, Secretary General of the United Nations, who shall preside over this Honored Assembly,” he said.

Gerald Russo, dressed in a three-piece suit, walks up to the wooden speaker’s podium. He held a small wooden gavel. Behind him is the Seal of the United Nations.

“Good morning,” said the Secretary General. “I and the rest of the world thank you for coming here. In my capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations, I hereby open this session of the United Nations General Assembly, which has supreme, absolute, and unlimited legislative, executive, judicial, and ecclesiastical power.” He bangs the gavel. “For our first order of business, I shall introduce…”

One of the members of the Assembly introduced a resolution, and was seconded.

“Okay,” said Russo. “I…will refer this resolution to an appropriate committee for proper debate and delib…”

“Vote now!” chanted the voices in the room. “Vote now!”

And there was pandemonium.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-09 12:00pm

Chapter 29

Commissions, Medals, and Awards​


RUSSO, YOU’RE FIRED!


That was the headline of the New York Post on January 2nd. The New York Times had a more subdued headline, reading “General Assembly Ousts Secretary General”.


“You…you stabbed me in the back!” Gerald Russo cried to the General Assembly.


The new Secretary General was Tokhtamysh Borjigin of Mongolia. Most of the resolutions were simply administrative stuff like organizing committees. One resolution was passed, which formalized by statute the International Oversight Commission of Reconstruction.


Many leaders around the world issued statements. President Hayden Ridge issued a statement congratulating Secretary General Borjigin and said he looked forward to working with him. Political analysts pointed out to unresolved complaints about the mismanagement of reconstruction.


There were, of course, political cartoons published regarding Russo’s ouster. One of them showed a globe with a face, kicking Russo in the ass. Another cartoon illustrated Russo in an unemployment office, with him asking, “Is anyone looking to hire an unemployed Secretary General?”


“At least I can call him a pompous blowhard without getting court-martialed,” said Jenna afterward. “I’d better get going. I have lunch with Katie; I have a lot of catching up to do with that girl.”


There was another press conference on the 2nd. For that, I went to the United Earth Forces headquarters in Brooklyn. Having been a de facto war correspondent for two years, Al Chegwidden felt it fitting for me to attend. It was a tall, fortified office building. The main gate had two Tomahawk destroids standing guard. It was located on the docks and was built in what was a working-class neighborhood. From what I read, the surrounding neighborhood was gentrified due to all these highly-paid general and flag officers around. There were all these boutique cafes and high-priced grills. Anyway, the MP’s led us to the press room.


After waiting for half an hour, United Nations Army General Aroon Phibunsongkhram, the Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces, walked to the podium. He was wearing his Class “A” green uniform used by soldiers in the U.N. Army. There were plenty of ribbons pinned to his chest, telling his story of serving both the Kingdom of Thailand and the United Nations.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “Thank you all for coming. I have been meeting with Secretary General Borjigin and the United Earth Defense Council regarding important personnel matters of the United Earth Forces.


“I hereby announce that Henry J. Gloval, who served as captain of the SDF-1 Macross, will a commission as an admiral in the United Nations Spacy, and shall take command of the Robotech Defense Forces Command.”


We all gave the supreme commander a flurry of questions.


“Admiral Gloval will be responsible for defending Earth against alien attack and providing military assistance to the reconstruction efforts worldwide. Here he is.”


Henry J. Gloval walked on stage. He looked pretty much the same as before, with his black hair and moustache, wearing a suit.


“I shall now administer the oath,” sauid the Supreme Commander.


Gloval raised his right hand. “I, Henry J. Gloval, do hereby accept this commission, and I do solemnly affirm, without hesitation or reservation, that, do the best of my ability, I shall uphold the laws and judgments of the General Assembly, to obey the lawful orders of the Secretary General and of those persons assigned as my superiors, and to discharge the duties of any and all posts that I am assigned to. So help me God.”


Many of us asked for a statement.


“I have important work to do,” the admiral said to us. He turned to his superior. “Permission to return to my post?” he asked.


“Admiral, your first priority is to get into uniform,” said Phibunsongkhram. “Then you will meet me in my office to further discuss your duties.”


“Yes, sir,” replied the newly commissioned admiral.


Afterward, I spoke over the phone to some of the people who served with him, like Dennis Ward and Claudia Grant and Lisa Hayes. The only words they said is that Headquarters made their decision, and they will work with the new admiral as is ther duty.


But I could tell from the tone of their voices that they felt everything will be all right.


Ooooooooooo


Just about three weeks after New Year’s, the United Nations General Assembly passed the Macross Reparations Act. In the act, the Assembly formally apologized for the treatment of the persons stranded on board the Macross during its journey. It did the following.


· Preferential treatment was granted in the areas of public employment, public housing, public benefits, and public contracting, with veterans of the SDF-1 campaign having the highest priority, the survivors of Macross City having the second highest priority, the children of SDF-1 campaign veterans killed in the line of duty the third highest priority.

· Preferential treatment was granted in military assignments and promotions in accordance with the precedence above.

· All battlefield promotions and commissions were made permanent.

· All UEF personnel killed during the SDF-1 campaign were posthumously promoted one grade if they had not already been posthumously promoted.

· All persons, who were civilians trapped aboard the Macross at the start of the SDF-1 campaign, who enlisted or were commissioned during the campaign, were entitled to be separated upon application, unless they had outstanding court-martial charges against them.

· The Supreme Commander of the United Earth forces was to design a medal, called the SDF-1 campaign medal, to be issued to all UEF personnel who served in the SDF-1 campaign, or were killed or permanently disabled as a result of the battles of the campaign.


To me, this meant I would get preferential treatment if I applied for a job with the United Earth Government.


Not long afterward, I had a Skype date with Jenna. She was wearing her Class “A” service uniform instead of a nightgown or a tank top and shorts.


“You seem to be dressed up,” I said.


“I got my SDF-1 Campaign Medal,” said Jenna. She held up a medal, and there was an engraving of the SDF-1 Macross in its battloid form.


“That’s great,” I said. “I’m still covering reconstruction efforts in the Tri-State Area.It’s going a lot faster these days. I heard some of the people who worked on the reconstruction of Macross City are advising construction crews around here.”


“Well, guess what else has been going on in my life. Look closely.”


I looked closely at her uniform. I noticed the rank insignia. “You were promoted,” I said.


“That’s right,” she replied. “You are looking at Major Jenna Murphy!”


“Congratulations, Major!” I exclaimed. I looked at my girlfriend, who was smiling. “Well, with your promotion, what do you have to do?”


“You mean aside from figuring out how to spend the extra money I am making?”


“Well, yeah.”


“I am taking a new post as the XO of a training squadron. I will be teaching people how to fly veritech fighters.”


“Awesome. Where will you be stationed?”

“At the Joint Forces Air Field in Adelanto. It’s not that far from Twentynine Palms; maybe two hours by car. I’ve been packing my stuff. I’ll be getting my own house. Isn’t that exciting?”

“Yeah.”

“Anyway, I’m going to celebrate with Katie and the others. I hope to see you soon.”


“Sure.”


I felt great. We were building a future.


Oooooooooo


I kissed Jenna as soon as she appeared in my room.


“It’s been a long time,” I said.


She entered the little hotel room, carrying a duffel bag. She was wearing her olive-green Class “A” uniform.


The room was large, with a small kitchen and bedroom. I rented a room at a Homewood Suites near Flushing Meadows Park. The hotel industry picking up meant that international travel was picking up. Airports in Norfolk, Miami, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and St. Louis were already up and running, as well as airports abroad like in Xiamen and Jakarta and Darwin and Tangier and Istanbul and St. Petersburg.


“Great to ber with you,” she said. “I noticed a lot more buildings being finished than the last time I was here, let alone the first time.”


“Yeah, the state legislature suspended all municipal building ordinances. Now it just has to be able to stand up, basically.”


“Nice place you got here,” she said.


“Rent is still hellishly expensive here in New York. But I want to just spend the night with you. I even bought two bottles of wine.”


“Of course,” said Jenna, unbuttoning her coat.


Oooooooo


“This is the best pizza,” said Jenna, after swallowing a slice of pepperoni pizza. “better than any place at home, let alone in Adelanto.


Jenna, my parents, and I were at Pannucci’s. It was this pizza place on Austin Street in Forest Hills. I had been going here since I was a kid. The place served new York-style p[izza, as well as various types of pasta and sandwiches. The tablecloths had a checkerboard pattern. Italian music played over the speakers.


“It is a good thing we had reservartions,” I said, looking around the crowded place.


“So what is your job at the base?” asked Dad.


“Basically, I’m pretty much stuck behind a desk for at least half the workday. I’m just glad to be somewhere other than that desk. I even have to take my paperwork home to make sure it gets done on time.”


“And what do you do other than sitting behind a desk?” asked Mom.


“I give lectures in classrooms and teach the aviation cadets in the simulators. On occasion I get to actually instruct my cadets in flying. It will be a while before they can start flying solo.”


“Any promising cadets?” asked Dad.


“A few, but there’s not much I can say regarding personnel matters.”


“How is life on base?” asked Mom.


“Adelanto is not an exciting place, just bars and fast food places and some chain restuarants. Victorville, which is just a few klicks away, is basically a bigger version of Adelanto. Then again, the UEF gave me my own house. A small one, but I looked at rental prices in New York and I’d barely be able to afford a couch in someone’s living room, even on a major’s salary.”


“And how was your trip to Central Park this afternoon?” asked Dad.


“I loved it. I especially liked that carriage ride.”


I remembered the carriage ride Jenna and I took, a carriage that was pulled by two black horses. We looked at the grass and the trees and several joggers passing us by. We went over a bridge. Surrounding us were skyscrapers as well as the skeletons of skyscrapers, with high-rise cranes towering above them. We then ate lunch and had drinks at the Tavern on the Green. I had the grilled skirt steak and Jenna had fish and chips.


“We’d better make sure to give you your birthday present,” said Mom.


“We have something special for tomorrow,” I said, picking up a slice of pepperoni pizza.


Ooooooooo


We were finally here.


It had been such a long time since I last saw such a thing- four years, in fact. Jenna and I had gotten off the above-ground Mets-Willets Station, crossing Mets Plaza, and we entered Citi Field through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, whose exterior had these arches. The interior had doors and stairs leading to various sections of the stadium. We found the box where our seats were located, and we sat down on the green seats.


I recalled the effort I made. Looking up the schedule, speaking with Jenna to make sure she could take leave, buying the box seat tickets.


And now we we were here. I saw the home plate ands the bases, the green field, the score board, the section of the field still under construction with a huge crane rising from behind.


We were at a Yankees vs. Mets game for Jenna’s twenty-fifth birthday. This was a dream come true.



We were pleasantly surprised when Lynn Minmei, of all people, came to sing the National Anthem. She was wearing this blue and orange dress. I had to admit that Lynn Kyle knew how to book great venues for his cousin.


After that, the Yankees were at bat. We watched as the batters tried to hit home runs, pitchers tried to strike out batters, and runners tried to make it to base before being tagged by the outfielders. We got dinner at the Taste of the City food court, with me getting a hot dog with mustard. We sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch. We even appeared on the jumbotron, we both waved. The caption “Happy Birthday, Jenna” appeared. It was night when the game ended after eleven innings.


“How did you like the game?” I asked as we walked out through the rotunda.


“It was so exciting,” said Jenna. “and I lioked that special thing you arranged for us to appear on that screen.”


“Happy birthday,” I said, kissing her.


We both felt like winners.


Oooooooo


“We’d better get going,” I said, finishing the Coke.


“Sure,” replied Jenna.


We got up and left the café at the Alfred Lerner Hall at the Morningside Heights Campus of Columbia University. The place still causes memories of my college days to surface. I remembered the late nights studying in the lounge, or just playing games, or having a quick meal. I wished I could have shown Jenna what the campus was like when I was there. So many buildings were destroyed, and most of the campus is fenced in, with temporary structures serving to provide classroom space. From what I learned, the damage to Lerner Hall was repaired in less than a month.


And today was the first anniversary of the Rain of Death. Both President Ridge and Secretary General Borjigin made statements, as did the Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York City. There were memorials all over New York, as well as the rest of the world.


We are here at Columbia for a different ceremony.


We walked along the campus, past many of the construction sites. In my mind’s eye I could imagine the buildings that stood there. We finally arrived at the Miller Theatre, which, like Lerner Hall, was still standing after the Rain of Death, and where the ceremony took place. I looked down, making sure my suit was neat, before Jenna and I entered.


We sat down. A woman in a suit stepped to the podium.


She was going to announce the winners of the Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in journalism. She read the awards for Breaking News Reporting and National Reporting.


I stepped up to the podium. The host announced that I had been officially awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for my series on the SDF-1 Campaign. Photographers snapped pictures.

“My experience on the SDF-1 Macross was remarkable,” I said to everyone in the room. “It was the story of a people whisked away into space by unusual circumstances who did the best they could. Families stayed together, new friendships were forged, and new romances were even sparked. And I can not forget those who gave their lives so those people could make it back to Earth. So I could be here. Those people were the true heroes.”

Everyone clapped, especially my co-workers from the office.

“Congratulations,” Quinn said to me.

“You have come a long way,” said Al Chegwidden.

“What a beautiful speech,’ said Cassie.

“We won’t forget the heroes,” said Art.

“Thank you,” I replied.

We then all went to the cocktail party being hosted, mingling with other journalists. This time, they wanted to interview me.

So I told my story. About my trip to Macross City, meeting Jenna, being stranded on the SDF-1.

“What a romantic story,” said this lady who had won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. “They need to make a movie of you two.”

“Thank you,” said Jenna.

Ooooooooo

Finally, it was time for Jenna to go back to Adelanto. I decided to escort her to the gates at JFK. The place was as busy as it was before the war with the Zentraedi, even though it was early evening, with passengers waiting in the security line while the airport police stood watch.

I kissed her goodbye.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-10 08:47am



Chapter 30

You are Cordially Invited

I could see the SDF-1 Macross in its Battloid mode as United Airlines Flight 93 touched down at Macross International Airport. After a few minutes, the Boeing 747 taxied to a passenger unloading area.


I took out my carry-on luggage and walked down the steps. It was daytime, and I looked and saw the SDF-1 still standing. The air smelled different than in New York. I wore a coat as Alasak was cold even in late May.


The passenger terminal was basically a series on Quonset huts. Several, more permanent buildings were under construction. Even some giant Zentraedi were helping out.


New Macross City was in eastern Alaska. As such, it was along the main air routes between North America and eastern Asia, and many airlines decided to use Macross International as a hub.


After making a phone call, I waited outside for a while. Then a black Toyota Tercel pulled up. I walked to the car. I looked and saw Dennis Ward. He greeted me.


“Good afternoon,” I said.


“Hop on in,” said Dennis.


So I did. Dennis drove through the streets of the new Macross City. I noticed a lot of construction sites around.


“What’s been going on?” I asked.


“First of all, I am Captain Dennis Ward now,” he said. “As you can see, there is a lot of construction going on. There’s even a new shipyard under construction here, just right behind the SDF-1. Once that shipyard along with the shipyards at Lop Nor and Roswell are finished, we can build a fleet of ships to scout space. We can start the SDF-1’s original mission.” He made a turn and then pulled into a driveway. “Here we are.”


I stepped out and saw before me a one-story house. We both entered.


I looked and saw a hufge living room with a flat screen television on the stand and leather couches. The living room alone was as buig as the apartment I used to have in Greenwich Village. “Nice place,” I said.


“Where you live, you would need a four-star salary to afford a place like this. Listen, there’s water and beer in the fridge there.”


Dennis then led me to one of the bedrooms. It just had a bed and a dresser.


“It’s not much,” he said. “But Hotel Ward sure has the right price.”


I put my bags down. “What’s for dinner?”


Ooooooo


I looked and saw that the Lynn’s Chinese restaurant still looked the same as it did during the SDF-1 Campaign. Dennis and I entered and the interior looked pretty much the same as well. I could see the circular cloth-covered tables with many diners at their seats. I could hear the cooking of the food from across the room. After a hostess in a red dress seated us at a table for two, covered in a white tablecloth, a waitress took our order. We ordered the beef chow mein and the Mongolian beef and clams with black bean sauce.


My tongue was delighted upon tasting that chow mein.


“It has been too long,” I said, after swallowing the food.


ooooooooo

After finishing the dinner at the Chinese restaurant, Dennis and I left. It was already night. I looked down, seeing the lights from the lampposts and the windows of tall buildings. The aurora borealis was overhead. He pulled into a parking garage, which was for the Bright Star Casino.

“I guess legalized gambling is one way of attracting tourists,” I said. “Looking at a giant spaceships gets really old.”

We both got out of the car and walked along the concrete surface to the entrance of the casino. Going through the glass doors, I could see the slot machines and gaming tables, with cocktail waitresses walking around serving drinks. I could hear the various noises the slot machines were making.

Memories from that casino bombing surfaced. Has it only been two years since then? So much had happened.

“There it is,” said Dennis.

I looked and was real happy. The Lucky Shamrock was back in business.

The layout inside was different, but so many other things were familiar, such as the wooden varnish on the tables and bar, the general atmosphere.

“Long time no see,” said Greg, who was still working behind the bar.

“You ready for tomorrow?” I asked.

“For sure!”

“Things going well?”

“Yeah, business is sure picking up,” said Dennis. “We have lots of high ranking officers here ever since RDF Command headquarters was opened inside the SDF-1.”

“Hey there,” said Dennis, looking away from the bar.

I looked and saw the Zentraedi defectors Konda, Rico, and Bron.

“it had been over a year, you guys,” I said, greeting them. “How are you all doing?”

“We’ve been doing great,” said Bron.

“We're now teaching Zentraedi the English language,” said Rico. “Many of them wanted to become part of Micronian society, so they applied for residency. We've even met with old friends whom we served with once.”

“Commander-in-chief Breetai issued thousands of discharges to those who wanted to live here,” said Konda. “They went through micronization and they moved here. Our job is to teach them your language.”

“At that rate, Breetai won't have enough people to run his ships,” I said.

“We're all exposed to Micronian culture,” said Rico. “But I guess everyone who wanted to join you already did. Some of them are uncomfortable, and chose to stay in the service.”

I looked at the TV and the Mets were at bat. The bases were loaded, it was the bottom of the ninth, and there were two outs and two strikes and three balls.

“Maybe he'll pull a Kirk Gibson,” said this man sitting two stools to my left.

“Who's that?” I asked.

“He was in the L.A. Dodgers. Game One of the 1988 World Series was played in Dodger Stadium against the Oakland Athletics. Bases were loaded, two outs at the bottom of the ninth. Gibson hit a home run and scored a victory for the Dodgers. I’m a sports history buff.”

I watched as the pitcher prepared to pitch the baseball. He threw it. I watched the ball. the Mets' hitter swung the bat, and I heard the crack. The ball flew towards the end of the stadium as the centerfielder ran to the wall. The ball was making its descent. It would land near the wall- the question was which side. My heart raced in anticipation.

And then there was snow.

“What?” I asked.

Then the snow disappeared and was replaced by an image, but not that of a baseball stadium. Instead, this lavender-skinned man appeared on the screen.

“Greetings, fellow Zentraedi,” said the man. “I am Khyron Kravshera, commander of the Seventh Mechanized Division.”

Greg changed the channel with a remote control. “This guy's on all the channels!” he yells.

“Maybe it is some sort of TV promo,” said the baseball history buff.

“I have survived,” said Khyron. “The Micronians have robbed you of your heritage. Join me, and together we can leave this miserable world and rebuild the Zentraedi into a force feared throughout the galaxy. Many of our brothers holding out, continuing their battle with the Micronians. Join them. You Zentraedi are warriors; it is your reason to exist.”

I was really pissed off. This Khyron fellow just interrupted a baseball game.

“He's right,” said this man sitting at a table. “We are warriors. We should join him.”

“Are you crazy?” asked another man sitting at the table. “That's Khyron the Backstabber! He fired on his own troops many times. You want to join forces with him?”

“It's better than going around serving food. We're warriors and we should join our brethren who are out there continuing the fight.”

“It was your idea to live among the Micronians,” said a third man. “You wanted their music and movies and talking to females. If you want to be a warrior, go to the UEF recruiting office.”

One of the men stood up. “I'm gonna go out and join my true Zentraedi brothers.”

“You're crazy!” yelled a man.

“Tell my boss I quit!”

He then stormed out of the bar.

I wondered if there would be trouble.


Oooooo

The next morning was the reason I flew to New Macross City. I was attending the wedding of Vince Grant and his bride, Jean. We were all at this church, with a high-vaulted ceiling and wooden pews.

And to think that they met in the hospital when the kid was wounded by that terrorist bombing.

He was in a black tuxedo, while Jean was in a white wedding dress and a veil. The groomsmen, among whom was Greg, wore tuxedoes like Vince, while the bridesmaids wore elaborate dressed. I myself was dressed in my suit, as were most of the men. The women wore nice dresses. The military guests, such as my friend Dennis, and Vince’s sister Claudia, wore dinner dress uniforms, with colors appropriate for the particular services they were in. I noticed the SDF-1 Campaign Medal pinned to Dennis’s white jacket.

Vince and Jean exchanged vows. The minister said, “you may now kiss the bride.”

And so they did. We all took pictures.

“Congratulations, kid,” I said to him after he took his vows. “I guess I shouldn’t call you kid anymore.”

And he was not a kid anymore. I now noticed he was taller, and his facial features were sharper. We all took more pictures. The newly married couple stepped into a limousine.

“Reception is going to be at 1700,” said Dennis.


Ooooooooo

I was back at Dennis’s to wait for the reception. After a short nap, I checked the news. Khyron’s message was top news. While many speculated that he was one of the holdouts, there was no confirmation yet from any government that the transmission was from one of the Zentraedi holdouts. Anyway, I dressed in my suit, while Dennis dressed in his dinner dress whites, and we went to the reception.

The reception was at a hall in the Macross Hyatt. The hall had several tables covered in white tablecloths. Various hors d'oeuvres were served on a long table. I myself had some celery sticks dipped in ranch dressing as well as cube-shaped pieces of cheese. There was, of course, an open bar, serving a wide variety of alcoholic beverages

I sat at a table with some men, women, and even children. I introduced myself.

“Daryl Embry,” said this black-haired man in suit. “Vince actually worked for me; he was my apprentice.”

“Hi,” said this little girl sitting next to him who appeared to be about four years old. “I’m Stacy.”

“Stacy here is my daughter,” said Embry. “She was only a baby when we were on that ship.”

“I wonder when we can have dinner,” asked this older girl with brown hair, who looked to be about ten or so.

“We’ll have to wait until the wedding party goes through first, Karen,” said this man with a brown beard, who appeared in his late thirties.

“Okay, Papa,” replied Karen, turning her attention to some sort of video game.

“I’m Harold Penn,” said the bearded man. “I worked alongside Daryl as assistant engineers with Dr. Lang. That was an interesting story you had.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I never had the opportunity to interview Dr. Lang during the campaign.”

“He’s still working with the secrets of robotechnology, even now.”

“I’ll tell you something,” said Daryl Embry. “Dr. Lang reviewed the applications for an apprentice engineer. Do you what convinced him to pick Vince?”

“What?”

“What?” I asked.

“It was a letter from the manager at this bar and grill he worked at,” said Embry. “The brewery system was down, so the place was only selling bottled beer. Vince managed to find out what the problem was, and the techs fixed it.”

“It definitely impressed the doctor,” said Penn, sipping some liquor. “Emil never missed an Oktoberfest, you know.”

The wedding party all arrived, with the announcer, who was wearing a tuxedo, announcing the names, finally introducing Vince and Jean. Then the food was available. It was served buffet style. The food was Southern-style barbecue and there were meats like quarter chicken, tri-tip, pulled pork, amnd sides like macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and red-skinned mashed potatoes. Various types of barbecue sauces were served.

“I love this,” said Dennis. “Of course, this means I have to take my dinner dress to the cleaners tomorrow.”

“Trade off,” I said, getting some delicious tri-tip.

“you knl,w Knoda, Rico, and bron also work for a dry-cleaning service.”

We all sat down and had our dinner. During our dinner, the best man, Zack Bauer, stoof up. Dressed in a tuxedo, he had shiny blond hair.

“Attention, everyone,” said Zack Bauer. “I want to thank you all for coming here, especially those that chose to fly all the way north to Alaska. Vince and I have known each other ever since five years ago, we were just two military brats from America trying to make it through life in Macross City. Two kids who didn’t understand what was going on. We studied together, hung out together. We graduated together. And he was there to help me deal with losses. I can not think of a fine man for Jean to marry. Thank you all again for coming.”

We all clapped. Soon dinner was gone. I saw Vince and Jean have their first dance as husband and wife.

I checked my Samsung phone and found that there was an official announcement from United Earth Forces Supreme Command Headquarters regarding the broadcast by this Khyron Kravshera fellow. Iwent to a quiet corner in the hallway, where some of the guests were milling around, and opened a video of a press conference at UEF Headquarters in Brooklyn.

“As you know, a transmission was broadcast all over Earth yesterday at about six forty-two PM,” said an Air Force colonel identified as T.R. Edwards, a man with blond hair. His most notable feature was a cl;oth covering the left side of his face. “We have identified the image as that of Khyron Kravshera. He was the commander of the Seventh Mechanized Division, and has been confirmed to be one of the holdouts. A Cat's Eye recon plane calculated the source of the transmission, and veritech planes were sent to take a closer look. The source was a Regult Scout Pod. It was apparently destroyed after the transmission was made. We suspect Khyron ordered the scout pod to be destroyed after it finished its transmission. Our sources tell us that has killed his own troops to achieve victory in his previous battles. We suspect that he is trying to unify the Zentraedi holdout factions scattered over the world.”

I went back inside to get another drink. I saw Zack and a girl in dinner dress whites talking to some old couple- a man with tightly-curled white hair, and a lady who also had tightly-curled white hair. The man had an American Medal of Honor around his neck.

“How are you doing, Mr. and Mrs. Grant,” said Zack.

They were Vince’s grandparents.

“Hi there,” I said, interoducing myself.

“And what is your story?”

I gave a very brief summary of my story.

“You know the story behind this medal?” asked Mr. Grant. “I was retreating back through a frozen wasteland for over two weeks. The enemy kept coming at us. And yet we kept attacking them, all the way until we reached those ships to get us out of the war zone. After that, I hadn’t thought of that battle, until about thirty years later, just after Claudia was born, when I was told I was getting a Medal of Honor.”

“Interesting story, sir,” I said.

“Claudia,” saif the girl in dinner dress. “How’s it like back here in Alaska?”

“Well, Shannon, it’s great to be back working with Captain- I mean- Admiral Gloval,” said Claudia. “And I have my own house. Why, when I was assigned to Supreme Command Headquarters in New York last year, I had to share a little one-bedroom apartment with Lisa.”

I saw Vince and Jean dancing. As I looked at them, I wondered what kind of world they would live in. Would this Khyron fellow renew the Zentraedi war against Earth? Do Vince and Jean have a chance of raising a family in peace?


Ooooooooo

I sat in the United Airlines Boeing 747 as it took off from Macross International, beginning its journey to JFK. I had left a day later than I expected. I got permission from Al Chegwidden to cover a story about the micronized Zentraedi living among us. He even authorized the payment for a hotel room in the Hyatt for an extra night, as well as the extra money I had to pay to change the day of my return trip to New York.

“A lot of us still want to fight,” said Karita, a micronized Zentraedi whom Konda, Rico, and Bron knew from the ship they once served in. He was a man with blond hair, fairly nondescript now that he was human-sized. “Seven of the defectors joined the Micronian military.”

“That’s what they know,” I said as I spoke to Karita at the Variation Coffee Shop, with me having some hot tea with sugar.

“But even that might not be enough for some of us.”

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-11 01:02pm



Chapter 31

Training Day

“We are approaching the Mojave Desert,” said the pilot of a Boeing 767 for American Airlines.

I looked out and saw the barren California desert, now marked with craters. The craters appeared to get bigger; I knew were were descending for our final approach. Soon that was replaced by a cratered landscape, with buildings and streets between the craters.

I could see streets, vehicles, buildings, and construction sites. I could see a fence and a taxiway. Then I felt the landing gears touch down as the Boeing 767's tires made contact with the runway. The plane taxied to the terminal.

“Welcome to the Mojave Desert,” said the pilot. “We hope you enjoyed your trip.”

I exited the airplane and headed to the terminal. It was a rather plain looking building, with a snack shop and a bar. Through some windows I can see the tarmac with several jets, Quonset huts, and some building under construction. This was far downscale than what I was used to at JFK. It looked even smaller than the airport near San Francisco where I had a two-hour layover- the terminals there were bigger, even if plainly decorated, and all there was to see there were construction sites. I called Jenna on my cell phone.

“I'm at the airport,” I said. .”

“I'm right here,” said Jenna. “I'll wait for you.”

After taking a suitcase full of clothes, I walked out. My skin was greeted by the dry heat. News reports said that the desert was going to be over a hundred during the day.

“Over here!” yelled Jenna.

I looked and saw jenna wearing a red sleeveless blouse, a blue miniskirt, a straw hat, and sunglasses. I came and gave her a kiss. “Hi there,” I said.

“I'll open the trunk,” she said, going to a red Chevrolet Camaro and popping open the trunk. I placed my luggage in the trunk. Then I went inside the front seat and she drove.

Looking around, I noticed that the desert was a lot less crowded than New York. There were all these palm trees lining the streets. I noticed plenty of construction sites, along with large tracts of single-family homes. We were driving along this two-lane highway called the 18.

She made a left turn at this signalized intersection, which had a Burger King, an Arco, a CVS pharmacy, and some business called Stater Bros.

“the main gate should be less than a five minute drive,” she said.

I looked and saw we were on a highway numbered 395. I saw a road sign showing distances to these places like Kramer Junction, Lone Pine, and Bishop. The highway was flanked by empty tracts of desert land as well as tracts of single-family homes. At the horizon I could see one of the Zentraedi vessels that crashed on the surface during the Battle Over Earth.

Then to the right I could see a chain-linked fence topped with barbed wire. Behind the fence were some buildings in the distance as well as some Destroids. I then saw a road sign reading.

JOINT FORCES AIR FIELD ADELANTO

MAIN GATE RIGHT TURN ¼ MILE (400 m)

“Here we are,” said Jenna. We were at this signalized intersection. To our left weas a huge roadside shopping center, with a McDonald’s and a Chipotle and a Walgreens and some large business called Vons.

We made a right turn at the light. The main gate was ahead. It was a massive, fortified structure. The gatehouse read ADELENTO at the top. A sign read, “ENTERING TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED EARTH GOVERNMENT”. Two MBR-IV-MK VI Tomahawk Destroids stood at both sides onf the gate. As of on cue, a third Tomahawk walked up, and one of the Tomahawks walked away, presumably to its hangar.

The guard- an Air Force sergeant, inspected our ID’s.

“So this is your guest, Major?” asked the sergeant.

“Yes, Sergeant,” replied Jenna.

“You may pass, ma’am.”

And we did. We drove along the streets. A sign read, “ALL VEHICLES MUST YIELD TO BATTLOIDS”. I could see many permanent buildings and Quonset huts, with a few more buildings under construction.

We reached this street lined with single-family homes. “this is where the field grade officers live,” said Jenna. “And here is my house.”

The house was a typical one-level single-family home with a barren front yard and a driveway.

I got my luggage out of the car and closed the trunk. I then followed Jenna and she unblocked the door.

The living room was small with a blue carpet. I could see couches, a coffee table, bookcases, and a television. Behind the living room was a kitchen and a small dining room. A door next to the living room led to a hallway where the bedrooms and bathroom were located. Jenna went on a panel mounted on the wall, and soon I heard an air conditioner on full blast.

“Are you hungry?” asked Jenna. “I can get you some snacks.”

“Okay,” I said, receiving a box of Ritz crackers. “so how's it like over here.”

“It's good,” said Jenna. “I just have to remember that summer here is only three months.”

Jenna got something out of the cabinet. I saw it was a can. “Creamy tomato bisque soup,” she said. “that will be our lunch.”

“I thought we would do something like go out for lunch,” I said.

“No, that's dinner. I'll make dinner reservations after we eat.”

And so she cooked the creamy tomato bisque soup and I ate it. It had this tangy taste, and there were chunks of tomatoes in it.

“So what's it like teaching others how to fly veritechs?” I asked.

“Most of the time, I'm training them in simulators,” said Jenna. “They have to be simulator -ready before they can take the stick. I took a couple of cadets up in the air. They have to handle fighter mode before training in guardian or battloid mode. When I am not teaching them, I am doing paperwork. Now I know where they came up with the term major. As soon as you get promoted to major, you get major paperwork.”

“So true,” I said. “Your job turning out to be a lot like mine. My job is mostly paperwork.”

“You do get to do more than that. You get to go to places and talk to all sorts of people.”

“That's what I like about this job. I wouldn't want to give it up.”

“And I would not want to give up flying either,” said Jenna. “My position is mostly paperwork now. It sure is a lot different than being a second lieutenant or even a first lieutenant. Now howe about I take you someplace on base first?”

Ooooooooo

Jenna drove me to this plain-looking building. A sign read “INDOOR SMALL ARMS FIRING RANGE”

“Hey there,” said a young man in an Air Force uniform.

“I'm taking this civilian to practice shooting,” said Jenna. “I'll need a box of bullets and goggles and earmuffs and two targets.”

Soon we got the bullets and earmuffs. “Make sure you enter with your ear and eye protection,” said the Air Force man. “Here are your targets. You have Lane One.”

And we entered the huge room where all the lanes are. We went to Lane One. Jenna hung the target.

“You know how to load the pistol, right?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said, looking at the Beretta M93R semiautomatic pistol. I loaded the cartridges into the magazine and then inserted the magazine into the space inside the pistol's group.

Jenna set the target about ten feet back. “The target's ready.”

And I aimed and pulled the trigger. Even with the earmuffs, I could hear the loud bag and the impact of the spent cartridges as they hit the floor. I could see holes being made in the target. After I used up all of my bullets, I reloaded and fired. After a while, I used up all by bullets.

Jenna used a lever to bring the target back. “Very good,” she said. “Most of your bullets went through the chest area. Now it's my turn.”

Seh hangs her target on the clips, and then uses the lever to send the target back. She takes the pistol and inserts a loaded magazine. She then fires the pistol over and over again. I could see the holes being made by the bullets.

Then she was done. I saw the bullets all went through a small section of the chest area.


oooooooooooo

That evening, after spending the day of doing whatever around the house, Jenna and I went to an Italian restaurant in downtown Victorville, which was about a ten minute drive from the base. I ordered a special- veal parmigiana, minestrone soup, and bruschetta. Complimentary breadsticks were served.

The meal was expensive, and well worth it. The veal was served piping hot and served on a bed of spaghetti. It wasa like melting in my mouth. In between chewing, Jenna and I talked about little things, such as my life in New York and her life in Adelanto.

“How were things here after the war?” I asked.

“The mountains to the south- they’re called the San Bernardinos and San Gabriels- were one fire for six months,” answered Jenna. “The fires spread down to this place called the Inland Empire, which was basically a bunch of cities all fused together. Sometimes the smoke from the fires were blown north, and it was dark even at noon. I’ve actually led cadets to the south of the mountains. Everything there is covered in a layer of ash. There were even charred corpses of full-sized Zentraedi- the ones that fought alongside us. Not all of them were killed when their ship crashed in the area.”

I felt a little sad. So many of our former enemies joined up with us to stop Dolza from finishing the job of eradicating Earth’s culture. And some of them ended up in a literal sea of fire. Some of them may even have shot themselves to death to avoid burning alive.

We continued eating.

“Do you see her over there?” asked Jenna.

“Who?” I asked, seeing a bunch of people sitting around, none of them looking out of the ordinary.

“That's Jan Morris,” said Jenna. “She was in the Miss Macross competition two years ago!”

I looked and saw a woman with curly blond hair. “You're right,” I said. I could never forget the Miss Macross contest.

A few minutes later, Jan Morris stood up. Jenna also stood up and approached her. I listened.

“Hi there,” she said. “you might not remember me. My name is Jenna Murphy. I was a contestant for Miss Macross.”

“Oh yes,” said Jan Morris. “I remember Miss Macross. A pity I did not win.”

“When did you get here?” she asked.

“There were new housing developments out here in the desert, so I decided to move here. It sure beats Alaska.”

Jenna sat back down as Jan Morris went to the restroom. Jenna and I finished our meal and our delicious wine, talking about our plans for the future.

She paid the bill and we both left the restaurant, full and satisfied and eager for dessert.

ooooooooooooooo

It was time for my assignment, the reason I took a flight all the way to the desert in California.

Jenna took my inside the cadre offices of the Space Marine training squadron. The building looked typical, with reception areas and hallways. Several enlistees stood at attention as their XO walked by.

She then led me outside. I looked and saw many young men and women, all dressed in short sleeved Class “C” uniforms, like what was Jenna was wearing, though of course Jenna had many more ribbons, including a purple ribbon on the upper left. A dark-haired man in his late twenties was there, with ribbons pinned to his shirt and the rank insignia of a lieutenant colonel on his shoulders.

“Colonel Zabkarian,” said Jenna, standing at attention to the one person in this squadron superior to her.

“Major, if you will conduct roll call,” replied the squadron CO.

“Aye aye, sir.” She faced the cadets. “Alvarez. Benton. Carson. Heller. Ichijo. Janus. Keluga. Morton. Schneiderman. Xiang. Zavich.”

“The major here is giving this reporter a tour,” said Zabkarian. “I will personally conduct your training. You had better watch what you say to him.”

“Yes, sir!” they all snapped.

Jenna led me back inside the offices. We went to a door in the hallway, with a plaque reading “MAJ J. MURPHY”

“Amazing,” said Jenna. “My own private office.” We both entered the room.

I looked around. It looked like a typical office, with a personal computer, telephone, desk, file cabinets, and a bookcase. There were also UN Space Marine recruitment posters on the walls. There were pictures on the file cabinet behind the desk. I saw a picture of jenna in her dress blues, a picture of us together, and a picture of her, Katie, and Lani, all in flight suits, posing in front of VF-1 Valkyrie in its fighter mode. I picked up the picture, which was taken before the war that changed us all.

“Not a day goes by,” said Jenna.

“Anything else going on?”

“I did hear Akira had a baby. He and his wife were married that year.”

I knew what she meant by “that year”. Come to think of it, either Joel or Kevin might have mentioned it. I didn’t speak to Akira Nomura as often after he had been promoted to major.

“I missed out on that,” said Jenna. “I have to live with that. You know, Doug- Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Zabkarian- is married. In fact, he got married around the time you and I started dating. He invited his girlfriend to see the launch ceremony. When they were stranded with the rest of us, they got married. That happened around the time we got together. It was the first time I wore my dinner dress blues on board. I had a lot fewer medals at the time, of course. You might have met Doug at that first Christmas party we had.”

“Maybe,” I replied. Come to think of it, Douglas Zabkarian did look kind of familiar.

“But you’re here on assignment. Anything to ask about my work.”

“How is it like?” I asked.

Jenna sat behind the desk. “This desk,” She said. “I spend more time flying this desk than flying a veritech fighter. I have to review paperwork on everything from classroom and sim training time to supplies. I have to go over lesson plans for the cadets.”

“Anything else?”

“We have a lot of new av cadets. We often have to maintain discipline. Naturally-talented pilots often have a sense of entitlement that has to be kept in check. A lot of us veterans of the SDF-1 campaign were sent here to lead the training cadres for the VT schools- even Commander Hunter.”

“Who?”

“Commander Rick Hunter, the veritech ace who escaped from the Zentraedi years ago.”

The door opened and a dark-haired woman dressed in Class “C’s” with sergeant’s stripes sown on her left sleeve stood by the door. She held some papers.

“Major,” she said. “Should I wait, ma’am?”

“I’ll take those,” replied Jenna, taking the papers. “You can talk to the reporter here.”

“Master Sergeant Ling,” she said, introducing herself.

“What is your role?” I asked.

“Well, as a master sergeant, I’m basically the lubricant here. The parts of this machine- the colonel and the major, the cadets, the cadre staff, as well as the Air Force support service team- I make sure everything interacts smoothly.”

“Without our master sergeant, our training would grind to a halt,” said Jenna.

“I served with her as her gunny.”

“What?”

“I was the Gunnery Sergeant for then-First Lieutenant Murphy’s fire team back during the SDF-1 Campaign,” said Ling. “I made sure those veritechs were working, and that we had the supplies and the labor needed to keep them working, so that she and the others could keep us safe and return home. Please excuse me, but it is Monday and there is much work to be done.”

“Very well, Master Sergeant,” said Jenna. “You are dismissed.”

“Aye aye, ma’am.”

Then we left the office. Jenn took me to one of the buildings. It was a two story. The interior had plain-looking hallways. A uniformed man walked in the opposite direction.

I stood outside one of the open doors. I could see Colonel Zabkarian standing in the back, giving a lecture and using a l;ot of technical jargon, and the cadets were sitting down on desks similar to those I sat behind when I was in high school and college.

“Classroom instruction,” said Jenna. “Our av cadets have to do a lot of book learning, as well as written examinations. I often have to stand in the classroom, delivering the lecture myself.”

“Sounds fun,” I said.

After that, we went to the simulation room. It was this large building near the classrooms. Rows of simulators lined the room. I noticed the simulators were slightly different than when I first flew in the sims back during the SDF-1 Campaign.

“I’ve managed to reserve some sim time,” said Jenna. “Hop on in.”

And so I did. I sat inside the mock cockpit, looking at the controls. The system turned on and I saw a virtual airfield.

“Now we will take off in fighter mode,” said Jenna, speaking over a comm system.

“Copy,” I said. I pushed the throttle forward and pulled the stick back and I was in the virtual air. The sim’s hydraulic systems moved the cockpit around.

Then I noticed I was losing altitude.

“You’re falling below the stall speed,” said Jenna. “Switch to guardian mode.”

I looked at the panel and pushed the lever marked “G”. “Am I in Guardian Mode?” I asked.

“Yes,” replied Jenna.

I played in the sims for a while. I even switched to battloid, maneuvering it both in the air and on the ground.

“Okay, we are going to land in the field in fighter mode,” said Jenna.

“I think I got the hang of this,” I said. I flipped the “F” lever to put the plane into fighter modce. I could imagine the legs folding in. I put the flaps down.

“I’m descending,” I said. “Speed is ninety knots.”

“You’re forgetting something.”

“What?” I asked. I looked at one of the indicators. “Oh, landing gear.” I pulled down a lever. “Landing gear locked.” I looked and saw the airstrip ahead. It appeared to get bigger and bigger as I got closer and closer. I pulled back on the stick just as the virtual tires contacted the virtual ground.

“You did it,” said Jenna. “You made a safe landing in fighter mode.”

The canopy opened. “I think I can fly these things,” I said.

“Let’s see how you compare.”

Jenna’s training class was standing in the classroom, along with Colonel Zabkarian.

“Cadet Xamilon Janus,” said Jenna. “Please do a one-on- one demonstration with our guest.”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied a young man with teal hair.

Once again, I was inside the virtual cockpit. This time, the program started with me in the air, at an altitude of forty thousand feet and an airspeed of two hundred knots.

“Destroy your opponent,” said Jenna. I looked at the radar screen and sqaw a blip. I flew towards where the blip. Was. I had a visusal. I pulled the trigger on the stick.

Where was he?

And then the screen went blank, with the message “YOU WERE SHOT DOWN”.

I got out of the sim.

“This takes a while,” said Cadet Janus.

“Cadet Janus, you and the others will be practicing against experienced pilots,” said Jenna.

We then went to a room in the squadron offices. It was a large room with maps. Master Sergeant Ling was in there along with a few uniformed enlistees.

“this is the local terrain map for our practice of maneuvers,” said Jenna. I looked and saw a map of the area, with names such as JFAF ADELANTO and SMAS TWENTYNINE PALMS marked on the map, along with the names of cities like Adelanto and Victorville and Hesperia.

“Here, the minimum cruising altitude for fighter mode is three thousand nine hundred meters.” Jenna pointed to the map. I could see the relief of mountains, and a mountain named San Gorgonio, with the elevation marked as 3,506 m. “Now it is time for our flight.”

I donned a spare flight suit, and I went out and Jenna had already gotten into her flight suit.

Jenna drove me to the squadron's hangar, which was not far. We went through a small door and I looked and saw orange-colored veritech planes, along with their support vehicles and equipment.

“These are VT's- veritech trainers,” said Jenna. “I remember when I first took flight in these. Then-Major Beckett was my instructor at the time, along with then-Lieutenant Colmes. The trainer's gunpod has paintball ammunition; we haven't done live ammunition exercises yet. Now I'm the one in the instructor's seat.”

She pressed a button and the main hangar doors open, allowing in sunlight.

“Climb in,” she said, pulling down the ladder. I climbed in and entered the back seat. Jenna climbed into the front seat. She retracted the ladder and closed the cockpit canopy.

“Did you have the flight plan cleared?” I asked, putting on my helmet.

“I submitted my flight plan on Friday,” said Jenna. “She taxied the veritech to a taxiway. “This is Victor Tango Zero Three Six,” she said. “All systems are go and we are ready for takeoff.”

“Copy that,” said a male voice. “You are cleared to take off on runway 1N.”

She taxied to the runway.

“If you will do the honors,” she said. “Just push the throttle forward and pull the stick back.”

“Sure,” I said. I did just that, like in the simulator. I heard the landing gear tuires squeal on the runway until they stopped squealing, indicating that we were in the air.

“I will take control,” said Jenna. “Altitude five thousand and climbing.”

She turned the plane around. “We are now heading for the bombing range. That is where we practice flight maneuvers.”

“Could you briefly describe the course you teach?” I asked.

“Where to begin,” said Jenna. “It starts about learning what veritech fighters are and their purpose. We teach the cadets the functions of the machines in each of their modes. We train them in simulators. Then we have practice flights, and then practice solo flights, bioth in the atmosphere and outer space. We attack targets at the bombing ranges like the one we’re flying to. We also have to practice landing manually. We practice flying in formation on both fighter and guardian, in atmosphere and in outer space. Our last training lab is landing on an aircraft carrier at night, manually and solo, after an atmospheric re-entry.”

“Sounds hard.”

“Yeah, I have to be the one to arrange things with the Ocean Patrol. Here we are.”

I looked down and saw a crater-filled landscape. “Not much here,” I said.

“When we have training missions, we set up targets,” said Jenna. “then we send the student pilots and blast the targets. Do you want to take the stick?”

“Who me? I'm not a pilot.”

“Imagine how I felt when I first took the stick. Anyway, I can take full control anytime. I can take us back alive in case you put us in a dive. Why don't we try climbing?”

“I know I have to pull the stick,” I said.

“You also have to increase engine throttle. Push the throttle lever to do so.”

And so I pulled the stick and pushed the throttle lever. I saw the altitude reading increase.

“Good,” said Jenna. “Now let's move to the right.”

“Okay,” I said. I moved the stick to the right and the plane banked in that direction. I looked at the gauges. “We're losing altitude.”

“Press on the right rudder pedal.”

I looked down and saw foot pedals. I pressed the right one.

“Now increase engine throttle.”

And so I pushed the throttle forward and I could see we were not losing altitude.

“Excellent,” said Jenna. “Now we make a left turn. It's like a right turn, except you substitute left when you mean right.”

“Okay,” I said. I pushed the stick to the left, increased throttle, and stepped on the left rudder pedal. The plane moved to the left.

“Good,” said Jenna. “Now we will descend, and I'm not talking abiout taking a dive. to descend, you reduce throttle by pulling back. Then you push the stick. Got it?”

“Yeah,” I said. I pushed the stick forward even as I reduced the airspeed. I saw the altimeter reading go down.

“Perfect,” said Jenna. “Now I will perform a trick called the loop. Make sure your seat belt is fastened.”

“Okay,” I said.

And then we started to climb upwards fast. I looked at the sky above, and then I looked and saw the ground was above me. We were upside down. Then we completed the loop and we were downside up again.

“Okay,” said Jenna. “that was cool, wasn't it. Now let's head back to base.”

“We have a combat alert,” said a voice. “We have reports of Zentraedi holdout activity in the Lucerne Valley.”

“This is Victor Tango Zero Three Six,” said Jenna. “I'm already in the air.”

“Fly over there and see what is going on,” said the voice.

“Ready for action?” asked Jenna.

“Okay,” I said.

She changed direction. We flew over some mountains I could see the broad, crater-filled expanse of the Mojave Desert. I noticed we were losing altitude.

“Switching to guardian mode,” said Jenna. I looked and saw the airspeed indicator go below one hundred knots. “We are no flying in guardian mode. This allows us to fly at low altitudes.

I looked ahead and saw some human-shaped figures. They were clearly too tall to be human.

“Backup ETA is five minutes,” said the voice.

“Switching to battloid mode,” said Jenna. I saw the cockpit reconfigure itself. The monitor came on allowing me to see what the head camera sees. I could see the Zentraedi clearly; the image must be magnified. I noticed that they were all women.

“Are those allied Zentraedi?” I asked. “I know that Zentraedi engineers are assisting in reconstruction.”

“We'll just wait until backup arrives,” said Jenna. “We'll surround them and ask for identification.”

And then one of them opened fire at us. “I guess they answered our question,” I said.

Jenna switched the veritech to guardian mode and flew to the Zentraedis. She opened fire with the lasers. Then she switched to battloid mode and we hid in a creekbed. she then jumped and opened fire with the gunpod.

She had forgotten that the gunpod was loaded with paintball ammunition. But it was not a total waste, for their eyes were covered in paint. The Zentraedi ladies wandered around, wondering where we were. One of them, a woman with blond hair, swung at us, but Jenna swung the battloid’s arm, and in less than a second, the lady’s face made sweet contact with the desert’s landscape.

Then I saw more veritech fighters fly in and change into battloid mode.

“We'll take it from here,” said the commander of the battloid flight.

“I'll return to base,” said Jenna. She changed into fighter mode and then flew us back to the base. Minutes later, the landing gear tires made contact with the runway.


Ooooooo

I was waiting inside Jenna’s house when she entered. She was still in her flight suit.

“I can’t believe all these stupid questions military intelligence asked me,” she said. “I understand why they’re worried. These holdouts were far too close to Apple Valley- that’s maybe a twenty minute road trip from here, and Stonewell Bellcom opened an aircraft factory to build the veritech fighters. Of course, that is delaying me from finishing all the paperwork. I’m behind enough as it is.”

“Anything else?” I asked.

“There is one more interview you can do.”

Oooooooo

It was called a Quiltra Queleual, and it was like a huge green brick. It looked over one and a half miles long, and over two thousand feet high. It was located on the northern outskirts of JFAF Adelanto.

“The Zentraedi need a place nearby to sleep when working here,” said Jenna.

Jenna took me there, and the veritech trainer was in Battloid mode. The gate was guarded by two of the Zentraedi battle pods, which were called Regults.

A guard allowed us through. We walked up this ramp and then through the hallways. We definitely got looks from the Zentraedi crew. I had noticed that all of them were female.

Come to think of it, during the SDF-1 Campaign, I never gave much thought that the Zentraedi were giants. All I saw were the Zentraedi war machines that continually tried to capture our vessel.

We entered this office. The style was different, but I recognized items like desks and desktop computers and file cabinets. A woman saty behind the desk.

“Welcome, Micronian,” she said. “I am Lamia, the commander of this Zentraedi Reconstruction Expedition.”

“What can you tell us?” I asked.

“We’ve been coordinating with the Micronian authorities for reconstruction efforts. We have gotten used to culture. We actually have a lounge and a video arcade inside this ship. It’s a good life for the most part.”

“I see many of you are still giants,” I said.

“Well, liking Micronian culture is different from actually living among them, like my former executive officer is now.”

“And yet there are holdouts nearby.”

“The other reason why we are down here. I’ve sent both Regult, Gnerl, and Queadlann Ruu detachments to support Micronian attacks against the holdouts. But there was something disturbing.”

“what?”

“One of the holdouts captured earlier was one of my own women.”

“Was she a scout?” asked Jenna. “Was she captured by the holdouts?”

“It doesn’t appear so. She did not show up for work maybe two weeks ago. You and we sent search parties. Our investigation indicated that she did in fact desert.”

“What will happen to her?” I asked.

“I have informed Lord Breetai’s flagship of this development,” replied Lamia. “In all likelihood, she would be executed for desertion and defecting to the holdouts.” She grinned. “Of course, I would have been executed for defecting to you Micronians if we lost that battle last year.”

This was a sign of more trouble.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-12 01:14pm


Chapter 32

A Shocking Awakening​
“I can use another Coney Island corn dog,” said Jenna.

We had visited Coney Island yesterday. We rode several rides, including the famous, historical Cyclone, and played some games. We laid out on the beach. It was a release for the both of us.

But it was time for her to go back to her duties in Adelanto.

We looked behind us, towards the entrance to the terminal. Simon Levinstein hugged his wife and children, and then joined us at the security line. We went through.

Simon and I were supposed to fly to Tiberias in Israel for a conference with reporters from around the world. From what I read, it was the city with the highest population of survivors in Israel after the war, so the government focused its initial reconstruction efforts there, much like how New York City was the initial focus of reconstruction from the government here.

We went to the boarding area, where travelers could wait at the lounges or get food and drink from many restaurants from Jack in the Box to Chili’s to Super Mex. The terminal was busty as ever, with people dressed in all sorts of clothes.

Jenna looked at a video screen. “My flight’s delayed,” she said. “Looks like I’m leaving after you guys.”

Jenna was to take a flight to San Diego, where- like San Francisco and Seattle- the government focused the West Coast reconstruction efforts, due to its natural harbor. From San Diego, she would then fly to the Victor Valley Airport. Simon and I were to take an El Al flight to Tiberias. Tiberias was the hub for El Al, now.

Simon was excited. He had been to Israel before the war. It would be the first time since the war. Tiberias had a significant role in Jewish history, dating back to the time of the Herodians.

We waited at the gate. Through the gate I could see the Boeing 747 that would fly us to there.

Finally, it was time to embark. All of the passengers were to leave.

I kissed Jenna goodbye. “I’ll text you when we arrive,” I said.

Simon and I boarded the plane. It was maybe forty-five minutes before the 747 lifted off from the runway at JFK, taking us over the Atlantic Ocean.

Oooooooooo

Like most airports, the airport in Tiberias was downscale from JFK. The terminal was basically a series of connected Quonset huts. We walked across the tarmac to the hut serving as the terminal building. Simon and I were dressed in short sleeve shirts, as the temperature here must be in the eighties. Inside there was a snack bar and waiting area- none of the fancy restaurants available in JFK.


After walking through a scanner, I presented my passport, with the Israeli visa I got from the consulate in Manhattan.

“What are you here for?” asked the Israeli customs inspector, scanning the passport to make sure it is authentic.


“I am here to attend the Global Journalists' Convention,” I said. “My flight back to the U.S. is three days from now.”

“I see,” said the customs inspector. “Please wait.”

Israeli customs inspectors checked my carry-on luggage and the luggage which was taken here via the airplane's cargo hold. They talked amongst each other in Hebrew.

“You may go,” said the customs inspector. I immediately left the customs inspection area with my luggage. I looked around, seeing signage in Hebrew, English, and Arabic. Dozens of people were walking around. I made sure to call the hotel to ask for the airport shuttle

We left the terminal and waited outside as I saw cars, vans, and buses driving along the road that served the airport terminal. I saw a shuttle stand just a few feet away. There were many taxi drivers trying to solicit business.

Finally, the van from the hotel arrived. We put our luggage in the van and sat inside.

The van then departed the airport and we went through the streets of Tiberias. I noticed we were going downhill. At time I could see a body of water, as blue as sapphire, with many boats floating on it. That was the Sea of Galilee. It was a busy, bustling city. After a few minutes, we reached the hotel.

The hotel was very new, and it was located on the waterfront. It had just opened this year. Like other population centers that still had an intact infrastructure, many people moved here, and this spurred new construction. I noticed there was construction at the hotel; another room tower was being built.

I got my stuff from the trunk of the taxi, went into the front lobby, and checked with the registration desk. It took a few minutes for me to reach the desk, as there was a line.

“Your room is 504,” saisd the lady at the hotel counter who spoke heavily-accented English. “It has a nice view of the sea.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“The hotel was booked to the max because of the convention. This is a really popular place due to the historical significance of this city. A lot of pilgrims come here to...” She looked right past me. “I should be going on to the next customer.”

I left the line and took a look at the lobby. It was made to look comfortable, with couches and glass tables and a piano and posters advertising the tourist attractions. I noticed some restaurants adjoining the lobby. I also noticed a lot of uniformed security guards here. I took my luggage to the elevator. Someone had pressed the button for the fifth floor. I waited until we reached the fifth floor and I got out.

Fortunately, Room 504 was not far from the elevators, which was good for me. I used the plastic keycard to unlock the door and I entered.

The room was clean. There was one bed, a nighstand, a table in the corner. There was a glass sliding door leading to a balcony. I looked out and I saw the Sea of Galilee underneath the twilight sky. I went out and took a sniff. It did not smell like the ocean, but then again the Sea of Galilee was a freshwater sea. I looked at the lake, knowing that was where the Lord Jesus Christ walked on water.

After maybe a two-hour nap, I had dinner with Simon at the lobby restaurant. I had lamb and hummus.

“Any thoughts?” I asked.

“It’s the first convention since the war,” said Simon. “We need to tell the story of our reconstruction.”

“How are the kids?”

“Rachel’s in the fourth grade, now. Little Malachi, he wishes he could start kindergarten already.”

I smiled. “Hard to imagine what they were through a year ago.”

“They wondered why the cartoons were not on TV and why we couldn’t get them food at McDonald’s. I sometimes envy them.”

“They’ll learn about it.”

“Just like I learned about the Holocaust from school. But it’s not the same as living through it.”

“You might not have heard this,” I said. “But that human Zentraedi couple whose wedding was broadcast to the world. You know, Max and Miriya Sterling.”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“They had a baby girl a week ago.”

“Were you able to get an interview with them?”

“No,” I said. “They announced they were not saying anything more to the press.”

We continued to talk, and I told Simon about my life, including my own coverage of reconstruction efforts, and my times with Jenna.

But then dinner was over. I went back to my room.

I took off my clothes and got dressed in my pajamas. I soon drifted off to sleep.

ooooooooooooooo

The next morning was the first day of the Global Journalists' Convention. I looked out the window. From where I was standing, I could see the little fishing boats floating on the surface of the Sea of Galilee. I could hear the squawking of birds flying overhead, hoping to snatch a fish. I wondered if Jesus ever stood at the site of the hotel.

Anyway, I got dressed in my suit and then headed to the lobby. The hotel had a small cafe where a free breakfast was served. After leaving the elevator, I walked to the hotel's cafe. The cafe was decorated with much flora. I took a seat right in front of a cloth covered table and asked for a menu in English.

And then I looked over the menu's breakfast selections.

“Scrambled eggs, please,” I said.

“Okay, sir,” said the waitress, who spoke in an Israeli accent and wore a green outfit.

After I finished my scrambled eggs and orange juice, I went to the corridor near the ballrooms where the registration desk was. I saw two staffers sitting behind the registration desk. I looked around and various news organizations such as the Associated Press, Reuters, Cyber News Service, and the New York Times set up shop. I also saw booths for news services from foreign countries. The booths were handing out brochures advertising their particular news service.

Simon and I spoke with some of the other reporters attending the convention. We swapped business cards. They were very interested in me.

“So you spent two years on board that ship?” asked this man. “How was it like?”

“A pretty harrowing experience,” I said. “There were some bright spots though. I wrote an article on my two years on SDF-1 and that's how I won the Pulitzer Prize.”

“A Pulitzer Prize,” said this woman who spoke with a British accent. “I must congratulate you. Maybe you should write a book. Or even go on the lecture circuit.”

“I could do that,” I said. I looked up at the ceiling for a while, imagining the opportunities that were opened. Please excuse me.”

I went to the hotel's gift shop to purchase a postcard. The postcard had a nice view of the Sea of Galilee. I wrote a message on the back to Jenna, as well as her personal mailing address for JFAF Adelanto. I then purchased an envelope from the shop and a stamp from a vending machine. I then went to the mail box next to the hotel registration and I put the envelope inside.

ooooooooooooo

Lamb was served at the luncheon. It was a traditional meal. The Scriptures testified that Jesus Christ's Last Supper had lamb as its main course. I sat at a cloth covered table with other reporters and editors as I listened to the guest lecturer. He spoke on techniques as to how to ask sources for information for news stories. His speech was riveting. I made sure to introduce myself to the others sitting at my table, making rapport with them. They were, of course, interested in my journey on board the SDF-1 Macross. I had become quite the celebrity here.

“Maybe you should write a book about your experiences on the ship,” said a man sitting with me at the table.

“I could do that,” I said. “I mean, I'll probably be collecting royalties ten years after it's published.”

The luncheon wound down and many people left to go to their hotel rooms or visit the sights of this ancient city. I made sure to speak with as many people as I could.

oooooooooooo

I had to wake up really early the next morning, as our flight back to New York left before sunrise. The hotel restaurant was not even open for breakfast. I then called a bellhop to assist me in taking my luggage down.

“So you go back home?” asked the young man, speaking in heavily accented English.

“That's right,” I said as I rode the elevator to the lobby.

I had completed checkout via the television, so I went out. I waited outside for a minute.

“Good morning,” said Simon.

“Good morning,” I replied, yawning. “As soon as I get on the plane, I’m gonna sleep.”

We put our luggage in the van that would take us to the airport. We left the hotel and we were driving along the streets of Tiberias, passing construction sites for homes and businesses for people who resettled here after the Rain of Death. I was tired from having to wake up so early. The streets were dark; I could only see the shadows of buildings and the light from lampposts. My thoughts became jumbled, as they usually do when I am sleepy. Memories merged. I could imagine Zentraedi battle pods outside the window, and our driver’s face becoming elongated.

Ooooooooooo


I was beginning to wake up. My thoughts were still jumbled, but they were becoming clearer.

I jolted awake. I was confused, as where I was brightly lit. But it should have still been dark when we reached the airport.

Then I felt it. I felt an electric shock.

Then another one.

There was something in my mouth. I let out a muffled scream as I was shocked again.

I looked and saw men who looked unfamiliar. My heart was racing.

Where was I?

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-13 12:02pm

Chapter 33

Inhumanity
This couldn’t be.

Electric shocks repeatedly coursed through my body. The men delivering the shocks were laughing.

They were laughing at every spasm I made every time they delivered a shock.

Why were they doing this?

Why me?

They continued to shock me. I could see that they were using a cable connected to a battery, with a metal rod at the end of the cable. Sometimes they would put the metal rod really close to me, without shocking me, just to make me flinch.

After what seemed to be the longest time, they stopped. One of the men had this device that was a rod with a claw at the end. I felt the claws squeeze my neck.

They pulled me by the neck.

This was it.

Whoever these people were, they were going to lead me to my death.

Instead, I was shoved into a cage. It was too small for me to sit or stand. I could not see because the room was dark.

“Anybody there?” I asked.

“I’m here,” said a woman’s voice.

“Where are we?”

“We…we don’t know,” said a man’s voice.

“Is Simon here?” I asked. “Simon Levinstein?”

“I’m here,” I heard Simon say.

“What did they do?”

“They strapped me down. Shocked me. They kept shocking me.”

I then saw light. A man with that claw device entered, followed by two men armed with what were submachineguns.

“No please?” begged the woman as she was led out of the cage.

I rattled the cage door. It was locked. After what seemed to be a long time, the door opened, and the woman was put in her cage. A man was taken out of his cage, and the door was shut.

Then, after one more person was led out, the door opened and my cage was unlocked. A man grabbed by neck with the claw device and dragged me out. I looked and saw a plain-looking hallway. I could feel that the floor was concrete. I struggled, buy struggling just choked my throat.

I was taken inside a large room with a gurney standing up. My captors strapped me to the gurney. Some sort of mouthpiece was inserted into my mouth. I could see a cart with a car battery on top. One of them rubbed this ointment my arms and stomach.

They took the electrodes and shocked me; I felt a jolt. I was shocked again and again. M<y heart was racing and I was sweating. The captors kept laughing as they shocked me. After that, I was once again put in my cage in that dark room.

“We have to stick together,” said a man. “we need to know each other. “My name is Dean.”

“Simon,” said Simon. “Simon Levinstein. I’m a reporter with the Associated Press.”

“I’m a reporter too. I was at the convention in Israel.”

“Me too,” said a woman. “Name’s Theresa.”

I introduced myself. “Before I woke up here, I took a ride to the airport with Simon.”

“So did I,” said Dean.

The door opened. A man was placed into an empty cell, and Simon was taken out.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

He said something in Chinese.

“I..I think his name’s Jeng,” said Simon.

Ooooooo

It was hard to sleep as we could not lie down in these cages. . I felt thirsty. Our captors did not give us any food and water. All they did was give electric shocks. I tried tio disassociate myself, try to float away in my mind’s eye whenever they took me to that room. But the electric shocks kept coming through.

Our captors opened the door. I could hear them set something down. I could see the outline of a bowl. I reached out, as the bars were wide enough for us to out our arms through. There was a liquid.

I was so thirsty, I drank it. It tasted foul, but it was water. I finished the whole thing. My thirsty was quenched, but my hunger remained.

Oooooo

I spoke with my fellow captives. They were interested in my stiory about my experiences aboard the SDF-1 Macross. Simon talked about his wife and kids. Theresa mentioned she lived in London, and was inside the Tube during the Rain of Death. A man calling himself Harvey mentioned that he worked for Reuters and was from this place from Illinois called Naperville, which was far enough from the nearest ground zero of the Zentraedi cannon ship blasts.

These conversation were precious to us, as it was the only thing aside from the darkness of the room, our hunger, and those sessions in that bright room when we were tortured.

I was worried about Jenna. By now, she would know that I was missing. I still remember that year when she broke. I feared that she would break.

What if she killed herself this time?

No, she’s too strong.

But how could she deal with me going missing? If I had been killed in that second battle in Macross City, Jenna would have just thrown herself out of an airlock in despair.

I was so hungry, so worried. Only those electric torture sessions distracted me from the hunger pains and my worries about Jenna.

I lost track of time.

Then I noticed a change in routine. After Harvey was removed from his cage, a woman- who was not Theresa- was removed as well. Our captors then removed another man.

Then they removed me.

I was marched along the hallway, but we did not go to torture room where I had been shocked countless times over countless visits. I entered a large room. I saw a table, a large monitor screen. I saw the other captives, seeing them in bright light for the first time. My captors raised my arms and I was chained to the wall.

Our captors were dressed in what looked like surgical gowns, and they had latex gloves on their hands. Another man was brought in- the Chinese captive. I turned my head and saw him chained to the wall.

But where was Simon? There was not any place to chain him.

As if on cue, Simon was taken in. But instead of chaining him to a wall, they tied him down to the table, laying him face down.

Then a man entered. He had an olive complexion, black hair, and a close-cropped beard. Like the others, he was wearing what appeared to be a surgical gown. On his head was a plastic helmet with the face lid up. He walked and faced Simon and said something to him.

“You can speak Hebrew?” he asked.

“I am fluent in the languages of my enemies,” said the man.

"Welcome," he said to all of us. "I hope you enjoyed your stay here. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Samir Atta Nidal, the first Prophet of the Blood Martyrs’ Brigade."

The Blood Martyrs. Memories from long ago surfaced. They tried to bomb the SDF-1 Macross launch ceremony, and one of them later bombed the casino.

"I've heard of you," I said. "You're one of those terrorists."

"There you go again, infidel," said Nidal. "Spouting your Zionist propaganda again. The only terrorists are the Jews and their Zionist Earth Government!"

"It wasn't the that detonated the shrapnel bomb in the casino. It wasn't them that attacked New York eleven years ago."

He then slapped me. “Silence, infidel,” he said. “I want to tell you all why you are here. The Blood Martyrs have had to rebuild over the past year. We recruited new followers, made important alliances. Now we will strike.”

He said something to one of the Martyrs. Two of them had these huge video cameras.

“Hello, people of the world, puppets of the Zionist Earth Government,” he said. “I am Samir Atta Nidal of the Blood Martyrs’ Brigade. After hiding out for a year and a half, we have decided to take action.

“We hold hostage your propagandists here. We have demands to make to secure their release. Our first demand is the liberation of Palestine from the Jews, all the way from the river to the sea. Palestine will become an Islamic state. To show you how serious we are, we have this demonstration.” He looked at Simon. “What is your name, Jew?”

“Simon Levinstein,” he replied.

“And where are you from, Jew?”

“New York City.”

“You mean Jew York City, the political and financial center of the Zionists. We are about to find out how loud you can scream.” He placed a one-handed saw on the back of Simon’s neck.

“No!” I yelled. “Don’t do this!”

One of the Martyrs struck me in the face with the butt of a shotgun.

“Do you feel this blade against your neck, Jew?” asked Nidal.

“Please,” cried Simon. “Please don’t do this”

“You watch or we cut your eyes out,” said one of the guards in English, brandishing a large knife, holding it close to our faces.

Nidal lowered the plastic face plate. He then started moving the saw. I could only watch in horror as the saw blade cut through skin, connective tissue, and muscle. I could hear Simon scream. I could hear this sickening sound as the saw blade cut through flesh. I could tell the blade was cutting between Simon’s vertebrae. Blood started to gush out.

And then Simon Levinstein stopped screaming.

Nidal continued sawing, and then lifted up Simon’s severed head.

“Allahu Akbar!” all of the men yelled. “Allahu Akbar!”

“This should show how serious we are,” said Nidal. He then placed his hand on Simon’s jaw.

“Please don’t do this,” he said in a mocking tone, while moving Simon’s jaw.

He and the others then played with Simon’s head as if it were a ball, throwing it around while laughing. They laughed and looked as if they were having fun.

Nidal then took Simon’s head and held it right in front of my eyes.

“The Jew was your friend, right?” asked Nidal.

“Yes.”

He then moved Simon’s jaw. “I’m Simon Levinstein, and I’m a filthy Jew. Something’s wrong. I seem to be missing something. Oh, that’s right. My entire body below my neck is gone. Where did I lose it? Or, it’s just over there.”

I was angry. Angry that he would be so cruel as to make light of his gruesome murder of Simon.

And I was angry that I could not do anything about it.

I wondered if the United Earth Government would give in to his demands. I thought back to that day, eleven years ago, when terrorists attacked New York. I remember the horrific images that were played. And I remembered my parents telling me and my brothers and sisters that our uncle was among those killed in the attack. And I later found out how it happened. The terrorists made demands, they got their demands, and that enabled them to succeed in their attack. To kill people like my uncle.

We were then led back to our cages, one by one, with our captors using those claw devices.

Another bowl was set before us. It was some sort of paste.

“What if they poisoned this?” asked Theresa.

I did not care.

I was so hungry.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-14 12:07pm

Chapter 34

Unholy Alliance

After that were days and days of torment. Every day I was taken to that room. Sometimes they would take two or more of us at the time. The terrorists would gang rape the female captives, with Samir Atta Nidal himself often participating. I was forced to watch even as they shocked me.

Why haven’t we been found. Shouldn’t RDF Command be planning a rescue mission? What about the CIA or the Israeli Mossad?

One day, after Theresa and I endured another torture session, we were taken from the room. But we were not led back to our cages, but instead to another room.

It was the same room where Simon Levinstein was murdered. The other captives were already chained to the wall.

“Hello there,” said Nidal, who was wearing a collared shirt and trousers instead of the surgical smock he wore when he murdered Simon. “We shall have a special guest.” He said something in Arabic to one of his terrorists, who pressed buttons on a console.

I looked and saw a flat plasma screen mounted on the wall. I then saw an image of a lavender-skinned man. He looked familiar.

“Let me introduce you to Khyron Kravshera,” he said. “Leader of the Zentraedi holdouts, and my friend.”

These Blood Martyrs were allied with the Zentraedi holdouts?

“Hello there,” said Khyron. “So this is my friend’s hobby. Before I met Samir, I thought there was nothing good about Micronian art. I just never saw the right kind of art. I saw that video of him sawing off that Micronian’s head. It was pure entertainment.”

Kravshera and Nidal both started laughing, laughing at Simon’s brutal murder.

Nidal then walked up to me, looking me right in the eyes. “We know you,” he said. “You broke the story of the war with the Zentraedi. It is amazing. For over a year, I had thought Abu Musab Salim delivered the greatest blow against the Zionist Earth Government. For him to single-handedly destroy the ship, it was an accomplishment beyond my wildest dreams, even more so than destroying that base on Mars.

“But you told the truth. The Zionists had to admit we were at war with aliens. The infidels lost confidence with them. I take small comfort that Abu Musab Salim was able to achieve martyrdom, to strike against the infidels. Abu Musab Salim. A man devoted to the cause. a man I was privileged to call friend. He gave all in jihad, and now he is in paradise.”

“I spent two nights in jail for that bombing.”

“Anyway, we Blood Martyrs were forced into hiding. The nations of the world wanted revenge for the deaths of everyone in Macross City, and the Zionists were all too eager to blame us so they could hide the fact that we were at war with aliens. I was forced to hide in a hole in Pakistan.”

“then the Rain of Death came. Billions died, like it was God’s judgment on an apostate world. I made my way to one of the Zentraedi ships tha crashed near my hideout. Its captain was a subordinate of my friend Khyron here.”

“Samir has taught us well,” said Kravshera. “He taught us the ways of the Micronians, and his martyrs are even teaching my men how to fix things. We Zentraedi were never trained on the finer points of maintenance.”

“We have renewed our intifada with the Zionist Earth Government,” said Nidal. “Already, my Martyrs have struck funerals, weddings, festivals, parties. Soon, with my friend Khyron, we will push the filthy Jews into the Mediterranean and establish an Islamic state in Palestine.”

“Well, my friend, I have an important meeting with my staff. And to my friend’s guests, don’t go losing your heads. Hahahahaha!”

Nidal looked at us. “The Zionist Earth Government refused to remove the Jewish vermin from Palestine. It is time to remind them what is at stake.”

Theresa was unchained and taken to the table where Simon was murdered. But instead of laying her face down, they laid her on her back. Two of the martyrs pulled her thighs back, and Nidal entered her. Theresa screamed and Nidal and his Martyrs took turns on her.

This went on for a long time. The martyrs laughed as they raped her.

Then Nidal inserted a shotgun into her.

“Please don’t,” begged Theresa.

Samir Atta Nidal opened fire.

He then faced the camera.

“Greetings,” he said. “I am Samir Atta Nidal, leader of the Blood Martyrs' Brigade. The Jews still infest Palestine, so I have executed an infidel whore.” I noticed a madness in his eyes; it looked like something I had seen before. “I will execute another hostage our demands are not met. Every Jew, every Jew that stayed in Palestine is guilty of this infidel whore’s murder. How many more of these hostages will the Jews murder?”

Then Nidal left the room. I was led back to the room, strapped in so that the martyrs could shock me. . Maybe RDF Command was planning a rescue mission. Any moment now, Jenna could bust in here in her veritech battloid.

But then that was something I had no control over. If only there was something I could do.

Oooooooo

More torment.

My days were spent being shocked in that bright room. They would often laugh as we were being shocked. Kravshera would often watch through the two-way video monitor.

“This is more fun that those music videos by that Minmei,” I remember him saying.

I lost track of time.

How long has it been?

One day, or was it night? I heard laughing from inside the dark room where we were held.

“Who’s there?” a man’s voice said, a voice I recognized coming from a man named Harvey.

“What are you doing?” asked another voice.

Then the laughing stopped.

What happened became clear when the Martyrs entered the room and turned on the lights for the first time. I flinched.

I looked and saw a pool of blood. The terrorists saw that too. I turned my head and saw that Dean had slit his wrist lengthwise.

He did not have to suffer anymore.

Was that the only way this could end?

The terrorists opened my cage, and I crawled out. They used the claw device to drag me to the room. I was strapped to the gurney in the bright room. Samir Atta Nidal himself was inside. He said something to a technician, and soon Khyron Kravshera’s face appeared. Nidal and Kravshera exchanged words- apparently, the comm system was translating Kravshera’s words into Arabic.

“The infidel committed suicide,” said Nidal. “Suicide is a sin against God. His suffering has only begun. He is burning right now, and once his flesh is burnt off, he shall be given fresh new skin that will burn, and he will burn forever.”

He then shocked me over and over again.

“You think we are the infidels? No, we are of the pure faith. We worship God in spirit and in truth, not like those infidels in those puppet churches, puppet temples, and puppet mosques of the Zionist Earth Government. Since your infidel friend can no longer suffer earthly punishment, it is you who will take his share.”

The electric shocks continued for a countless time.

Ooooo

Torment.

More torment.

It was hopeless.

It was so hard to sleep.

Simon haunted my dreams, his severed head asking me, “Why did I have to die?”

Talking to the others was the only distraction I had.

But my memories of the time before were becoming distant.

Blurry.

Even the memories of my happy times of Jenna were fading.

Please don’t let me lose them!

Then there was this break in this monotony of torment when one of the captives decided to resist when one of the martyrs pulled him out of the cage. He struck one of them, and then took the other one down. I heard something klink on the floor near me.

“Key!” yelled the man. I grabbed the key, and remembering where the padlock was from the countless time I spent confined here, I unlocked the cage.

I went to the other cages, unlocking the padlock. I could hear gunfire. The lights were turned on and I saw the Chinese man, Jeng.

“Here!” he yelled, tossing me one of the submachineguns. I picked it up.

I heard him shoot a few more times. Jeng must have been using that training he had talked about before.

“Come on!” I yelled.

“No,” said the man named Harvey. “They’ll punish us.”

“Follow me,” said Jeng.

And so I and this dark-haired lady did follow him. We went through a door and emerged in a huge room. It was dimly lit, and there were all these boxes- plenty of places to take cover. If could make it outside, I might be able to call for help.

The light was on in an adjoining room. I quietly snuck towards the door, with my back against the dark wall. I was certain no one could see me, and yet my heart was racing. I could hear voices from the room.

We had to found a way out.

And if not, find and kill Samir Atta Nidal.

I then heard shouts. I hid behind some crates. Then I heard gunfire. They knew my position. They would probably try to flank me. I had to keep moving under cover.

I looked and saw Jeng. He fell down in a hail of gunfire. I saw the terrorist that gunned him down.


In anger, I opened fire. The Blood martyr ran a few steps, then fell.

I looked behind. There were stairs. Must retreat, take the ground before more of them come. I ran up and up to a door. I pushed the door. It was heavy. I entered some dimly-lit hallways, and at the end of the hallway I found a door with lght coming from the other side.

I went to the door, looking back to make sure no hostiles followed me. I took breath, collected my thoughts. I turned the knob and opened the door ajar, to find out what was on the other side.

I could not believe it.


The room on the other side looked big, and there were these wooden benches. People in finely-dressed, conservative-looking clothing sat in the pews. I could see a man facing the crowd. He was wearing some sort of white cloak and had a white skullcap on his head.

This was a synagogue?

This was a synagogue!

I was confused.

Did I somehow stumble through a time warp or something?

I entered the room, putting the submachinegun down. The worshippers looked surprised, as did the rabbi, a bearded man.

It was not every day a naked man enters, armed with a submachinegun.

“Call the police,” I said, panting. “There are hostages in the basement. Terrrists hiding out. They’re allied with Zentraedi.”

The people murmured to each other.

“the hostages,” I said. “Reporters from conference..Tiberias..Blood Martyrs.”

I felt tired. Thoughts started to jumble.

Rabbi looked at me. I looked at his eyes.

I could see the hatred and madness.

“Nidal!” I yelled. “That’s Samir Atta Nidal! Leader of Blood Martyrs! He ha s hostages in basement. He tortured us. He’s friends with Khyron!”

Some of the worshippers stood up. I saw confusion in their face.

The men in blue uniform come. They drag me outside.

“Search basement!” I yelled. “Hostages in basement! Terrorists in basement! Samir Atta Nidal is rabbi! You believe me!”

I went outside and saw police cars and ambulance with lights flashing. I felt ..something.

I was falling.

Falling without end.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-15 12:05pm


Chapter 35

A Sad Homecoming

“Why me?”

Samir Atta Nidal stood in front of me, dressed in that surgical gown with blood stains. He held Simon Levinstein’s head.

“Why did I have to die?” asked Simon, talking from his disembodied head.. “Why are my children without a father? Why couldn’t I live?”

Samir had this evil grin, and his clothes suddently morphed to that cloak and the skullcap many Jewish rabbis wear.

I felt myself falling.

And then I felt myself lying down on a firm surface. There was a bright light. I was able to make out white walls. To my right was equipment. There was an IV tube attached to me at my left wrist, and on the oither end of the tube were bags filled with clear fluid.

I was in a hospital.

But where?

Last thing I remember was escaping from a terrorist hideout, and I somehow ended up in a synagogue. The police arrived, and…

I could not remember.

A nurse came in, wearing a white outfit. He said something in a foreign language.

I still felt exhausted. I wanted to get away from this light.

I had not laid down in a long time.

Or have i?

How long has it been since I escaped?

What about the others?

Were they in this hospital too? Did the police rescue the other hostages?

Maybe Jeng survived his gunshot wounds and was alive.

To be able to ie down, after being stuck in that cage for a countless time, when I could neither sit, lie, nor stand, was a blessing.

I could not lie down long enough.

A man in a suit entered.

He said my name.

“How do you know me?” I asked.

“We took your fingerprints,” said the man. “you were identified as the reporter who was taken hostage by the Blood martyrs. Since I know your name, I will introduce myself. I am Inspector Konigsberg.”

“Nice to meet you. Where am I?”

“You are at a hospital in Israel. Tell me what happened?”

I told him the story of how Simon and I went to the Journalists’ Convention in Tiberias, how we were somehow put to sleep inside a van that we thought would take us to the airport for the flight to New York, about being tortured, about Samir Atta Nidal sawing off Simon’s head, about Nidal being allied with Zentraedi holdouts, and how I escaped and found myself in a synagogue.

“Samir Atta Nidal,” he said. “He disguised himself as a rabbi. A Jewish rabbi!”

“I should tell you the date,” said the inspector. “Today is March 15th.”

March? Simon and I were kidnapped in October! I was a captive for five months?

“We found you in a synagogue in Tiberias. You were naked, rambling about terrorists and hostages, right during the Shabbat evening service. The paramedics sedated you and took you to the emergency room. Once you were stable, we took your fingerprints and ran it through the system and identified you. We moved you to a more secure location.”

“What about the others?” I asked.

“All of that, finding you, was three weeks ago. You were in a coma for three weeks. Your family and friends visited.”

“the others?”

“We sent the police to search for the basement after we identified you. The synangofguie was destroyed, as well as the basement below it. In the wreckage we identified the bodies as those of the Blood martyrs’ hostages.”

“Did anyone other than me survive?”

“No.”

I pondered that for a minute. I was the only survivor of the hostages.

The others.

All dead.

I was the only one left.

“It may take some time to identify the remains of the terrorists, but we believe that some may have escaped.”

I had no doubt Samir Atta Nidal was among those who got away. It was brilliant, for him to hide in plain sight in a synagogue, with a fake identity of a rabbi. But someone who would go to such lengths as to take up the identity of a people he hated would also be prepared to flee in case he was exposed.

When I escaped to the synagogue, it was only a matter of time before I was identified. Nidal probably packed his bags and fled that very night.

“Did a woman named Jenna Murphy visit?” I asked. “She’s a pilot in the Space Marines.”

I was dreading the answer.

“Yes,” replied Konigsberg. “She was here last week.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. She was still alive in more ways than one.

“You know, we took measures to verify her identity, taking her fingerprints and calling her unit. You are at risk of assassination. We’ve had to transport her, and your family, in secret. And you are a much more tempting target now considering that you claim an alliance between the Blood martyrs and Zentraedi holdouts. Anything else you want to tell me?”

“Did you tell my family?”

“Yes. We also informed the United Earth military. They have been trying to find you. They, Interpol, the Mossad, the American CIA. You take care.”

I still felt exhausted. I needed to sleep.

But my dreams were haunted by Simon Levinstein. About those electric shock sessions in that bright room.

Oooooooo

I woke up. I was still in bed, still feeling exhausted. I still had these IV’s running into me. A dark-haired man in a white coat entered.

“Dr. Yigal,” said the man. “I am part of your team. We keep you in intensive for one more day. Can you follow my finger?” He waved his index finger, and I followed the finger with my eyes. He then tapped my knee with a little hammer and I felt my leg move in reflex.

“thank you,” I said.

“Tell me your name.”

I told him my name. I also told him I was feeling tired.

“You were in coma for three weeks,” he said. He left the room. I lay in bed, in this bright room.

The doctor then returned, with my parents. They both called out my name.

“Mom,” I said. “Dad.”

“We took the next available flight to Israel as soon as we heard,” said Mom.

“You’re finally awake,” said Dad. “How are you feeling?”

“Just tired. I have to stay in the ICU one more day. How were things at home?”

“We missed you. Your birthday, Christmas, New Year’s. We had a candlelight vigil at home. It was so sad about your friend Simon and his family.”

“When we get home, we want to give you the best homecoming party in Forest Hills. We’ll spare no expense.”

And so they told me about what was happening at home, about new shops opening on Austin Street. The work on the crashed Zentraedi ship in Queens had not been finished yet, though the work was scheduled to be completed later this year.

Then I saw someone else enter. A large, bald man in MARPAT camouflage. As he got closer, I can see his rank insignia which identified him as a brigadier general in the United Nations Army.

“Excuse me, but I must talk to your son,” said the bald man.

A woman was standing in the back. “He’s okay,” she said. “We verified his identity.”

“They did that when we got here,” said Dad.

“He may have important information on our enemies,” said the man.

“We’ll be outside,” said Mom.

I introduced myself.

“I am General Leonard,” said the man. “Assistant deputy director, J-2, for the Joint Staff of the United Earth Forces Supreme Command. As soon I was informed of your recovery, I took the next flight out of Long Island to Israel.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“This isn’t a social call. From what the authorities here say, you have important intel on our enemies. In fact, after our meeting here, I am debriefing the admiral directly. So you can tell me what happened starting when you left the hotel in Tiberias.”

And so I did, giving the general a brief account of my captivity, including my learning of the alliance between Samir Atta Nidal and Khyron Kravshera.

“This worries me, though it is not surprising,” said Leonard. “Already, some of the Zentraedi reconstruction crews went native.”

“Went native?”

“We have confirmed two incidences of Zentraedi going native in the Congo and the Balkans, taking sides in the ethnic conflicts among the humans there that rekindled after the Rain of Death. Supreme Commander Breetai has not yet used force to apprehend those defectors, but it is only a matter of time before they wage war with one of the U.N. member states. But with this alliance between Nidal and Kravshera, the admiral will be very worried.”

I could tell that the general was very worried.

“I thank you for your time, and I wish you a full recovery.”

“General, I have a small favor to ask of Supreme Command.”

I told him my favor, and he promised to forward my request, but reminded me he could not promise anything further.

I lay in bed, still tied to the machines.

The room was too bright.

Oooooo

The next day, some doctors, including Yigal, removed the IV lines and- other lines. It was like getting my freedom back.

“Thank you,” I said.

“We still need tests,” said Yigal. “Your bloodwork is fine, as well as your- we’ll give you an English language copy of test results.”

They took me to my new room. I rode in a wheelchair, as I was still so weak from my experience. I wanted to get some food first. I went to the cafeteria, where my mom and dad were already waiting.

“Can you walk?” asked Mom.

I stood up and took a step before leaning on a table. “Uh, yeah,” I said. “I just got to get my strength back, and I need to eat to do that.”

I did not get anything fancy, just some hummus and a soda. I was wheeled back to my hospital room. It looked like a typical hospital room, with a bed and a TV mounted on the wall. This was not my first time having to lay in a hospital bed.

I put the hummus on a little table next to the bed. I then shut off the lights and ate.

I then lay in bed, in the dark.

About an hour later, the room was filled with light, and I flinched.

I got up and saw Jenna.

“Jenna!” I yelled running up to hug her. He held her so close. I ran my fingers through her blond hair.

“I’ve waited so long,” she said.

“I was worried about you.”

We held each other for the longest time.

“Uh, hi,” I heard.

I looked and saw Katie, her red hair tied in a bun. “How are you doing?” I asked.

“Fine,” she said. “and you?”

“I’m just glad Jenna’s here.”

I walked a bit, then stumbled, leaning myself against the hallway wall.

“Are you all right?” asked Katie.

“I..I just haven’t exercised for the past five months,” I answered.

“Jenna,” said Mom. “We’re glad you came to visit.”

“Good to see you,” she said.

“Oh, hi,” Katie said to my parents. “I don’t believe we have met. I’m Lieutenant Katie Taney.”

My parents introduced themselves. “How long have you known him?”

“Four years, now. Anyway, we’re not here just to visit. We’re here on a Special Air Mission from Supreme Command to escort your son home.”

“There is a Hercules jet on standby at an Israeli military airfield,” said Jenna.

“I feel fine,” I said. “They just need to run some more scans.”

Ooooooo

I had more reflex tests, as well as an X-ray, MRI, and CAT scan, and then I was clear to go.


To go back home.

It was dark when we all arrived at the airfield. I could see the silhouettes of Quonset huts. A truck drove by. Soldiers stood guard. There were two VF-1 Valkyries parked on the tarmac, as well as a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

“There’s a JFAF near New York,” said Jenna, dressed in her flight suit. “Once we get there, I will report to Supreme Command.”

“I’ll see you when we land,” I said.

I kissed her. Then my parents and I boarded the passenger jet. The interior was drab and dimly lit, very much unlike commercial passenger jets.

“Everyone fasten your seat belts,” said the pilot over an intercom. “We are taking off.”

I heard the engines roar and felt the plane taking off. Soon I fell asleep.

Ooooooo

Fortunately, the flight was uneventful; we never came under attack from Zentraedi holdouts or anyone else. I felt the landing gears touch he runway. After the plane stopped, the pilot said, “Welcome to Joint Forces Air Field Long Island.”

We all stepped off the ramp of the Hercules. It was dark outside. In addition to various aircraft and Quonset hutas, there were permanent buildings. JFAF Long Island was the main airfield that served the UEF Supreme Command Headquarters in Brooklyn, some twenty miles west. It was no surprise that reconstruction of this base was top priority. I flinched as an olive green car pulled up, its headlights bright. I could see it was a Toyota Avalon used as a staff car by the United Nations Space Marines.

A sergeant in an olive green Class “A” service uniform stepped out of the driver’s seat. “I am to drive you home,” he said. “Orders came straight from Supreme Command.”

“We have to make our report,” Jenna said to us. She and Katie then walked away towards one of the permanent buildings.

We got into the car. The car arrived at the front gate, and a Space Marine MP waved us through. Soon I was looking at the lights along the Long Island Expressway as we headed west. I could see familiar sights of roadside businesses, and the silhouettes of construction cranes in the distance.

I slept part of the way. We finally made it home to Forest Hills. The silhouette of my family’s house still looked familiar, even though hidden in darkness.

“Thank you,” I said to the sergeant.

“It’s a privilege to do my duty,” he replied. “I shall return to base to make my debriefing.”

He then drove off and we entered our house. I flinched as the living room lights were turned on.

I ran up the stairs, went into the darkness of my old bedroom, and fell asleep.

I still kept getting haunted by Simon, as well as that bright room.


Ooooooooo

I woke up much later. I just kept staring at the ceiling. I was still feeling hungry.

I was home.

I remembered when I first went home after two years aboard the SDF-1 Macross. And yet, somehow, this homecoming felt different.

Jenna interrupted my staring session.

“Are you all right?” she asked. She was just wearing her flygirl T-shirt and shorts instead of her uniform.

“Yeah,” I said. “Thanks for visiting?”

“Well, after making my report to Supreme Command, they granted me leave for a week before returning to my regular post.”

I went to the kitchen. I was surprised to see Katie there, wearing a yellow blouse and skirt.

“Are you here for a week?” I asked.

“I have to fly back tomorrow from the Long Island Air Field at about 1000,” she replied.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been three years today,” said Jenna.

I could not remember if I ever told my parents about Lani, let alone her close friendship with Jenna and Katie, but from the looks in their eyes, they knew this three-year anniversary was not a happy one.

“We will never forget,” said Katie.

“We can go to this bar in…Manhattan, I think,” said Jenna. “A lot of people will be celebrating.”

“Then I’ll get a shave and a haircut,” I said. “Katie has to return to duty tomorrow; we have to celebrate.”

So we did.

Oooooooo

Jenna, Katie, and I took the E Train to Greenwich Village. The place looked more normal now; there were fewer construction sites.

But normal felt strange.

There were already plenty of people at the bar. The bar was not as bright as outside, and I felt relieved.

“Hey there,” said Quinn, sitting with Art and Cassie at one of the tables.

We all hugged each other. “We’re so glad you’re back,” he said.

We joined them. There were two pitchers of green beer on the table.

“It’s you,” said Myron the Rasta Man, walking towards us. “What happened over there?”

“Not much to say,” I said. “And you?”

“I got back from a visit to Jamaica yesterday. I needed the vacation, mon, as St. Patty’s is always busy here.”

“It’s great to see you, Myron.”

“The other customers in the bar will be sayin’ the same thing, mon.” He then went back behind the bar.

We all had glasses of the green bar.

“I want to propose a toast to Lani,” said Katie.

“Who?” asked Quinn.

“I first met Lani in Basic,” replied Jenna. She told a summarized version of Lani’s biography.

“I’m sorry,” said Cassie.

We all toasted to Lani and drank our beers.

“I propose another toast, for Simon,” said Art.

“I heard about what happened to Simon,” said Jenna.

And we toasted again.

And toasted to my survival.

We continued speaking. Art and Cassie were still doing fact-checking; Quinn had been reporting on nearby reconstruction efforts the past three months.

“How is Al Chegwidden?” I asked.

Quinn, Art, and Cassie gave each other looks. I was dreading the answer.

“After Simon’s..after Simon was returned, the Levinsteins had a funeral here in Manhattan,” said Quinn. “Al Chegwidden was there in the synagogue. Art, Cassie, and I stood outside. A suicide bomber went inside the synagogue and blew it up. These terrorists, who murdered Simon, bombed his funeral! Al Chegwidden was killed in the blast.”

“No,” I whispered.

“Simon’s widow and his daughter were also killed.”

“No!” I cried. “How…how could they do this?”

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-16 01:45pm


Chapter 36

Fatwa


After returning home from bar-hopping in Greenwich Village, I turned on the desktop computer in the living room. I need to access the Internet, to find out what has gone on the past five months.

There were news of renegade Zentraedi attacks, including one in Portland, Oregon. This was not just the hioldouts- some of them were those who chose to live on Earth, or who had remained with Breetai’s forces, like that deserter from last summer that Jenna helped apprehend.

I did read that Admiral Henry J. Gloval was promoted to Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces on March 4th. I watched the video of him, in his dress whites, taking the oath of office from United Nations Secretary General Tokhtamysh Borjigin.

“I, Henry J. Gloval,” he said, “do solemnly swear, without reservation or hesitation, to uphold the laws and judgments of the General Assembly, obey the lawful orders of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and to discharge the duties of my office to the best of my ability. So help me God.”

There were more articles on that. According to unnamed sources, it only took ten minutes for the United Earth Defense Council to confirm Gloval’s nomination as Supreme Commander, due to a glowing letter of recommendation from his predecessor, Army General Aroon Phibunsongkhram.

I took a deep breath as I sat in the dark living room.

I read about Simon Levinstein. I read about how his murder was broadcast on hijacked television channels. I read about his funeral at a Chasidic synagogue in Manhattan. There were so many people that many of the guests waited outside for the coffin containing Simon’s head to be loaded into a hearse.

And then there was a bombing. Over twenty people were killed. That included Simon’s widow, Judith, and his daughter, Rachel. His four-year-old son Malachi was the only child left alive.

Rachel Levinstein was only nine! How could these people do this?

Both President Hayden Ridge and Secretary General Borjigin condemned this cowardly attack.

“Samir Atta Nidal and his Blood Martyrs are now the number one enemy of the United States of America,” said Ridge. “It is our duty to answer their atrocity. We will spare no expense, spare no life, until the Blood Martyrs are utterly annihilated. There will be no place on Earth, no..no place in this Universe where they can hide.”

I then read about the Blood Martyrs from various sources like UEF Intelligence and Interpol and our own CIA and FBI, not to mention various private news sources.

According to sources, the Blood Martyrs were founded in the late 1980’s. Their goal was to purge the Jews from Israel and replace it with an Islamic theocracy. In the 1990’s, with the commercialization of the Internet, the Martyrs expanded recruiting. They were known for attacking Jewish Shabbat services, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals. They were participants during the Global War, a time when allegiances shifted faster than teen girl crushes on boy bands. After the founding of the United Earth Government, the Martyrs declared an Intifada against them. They had bombed a U.N. Army Barracks in Kenya, and also claimed credit for the disaster on Mars Base Sara that killed everyone there, though of course there is no longer any way to verify that claim.

They claimed credit for the apparent destruction of Macross City during the launch of the SDF-1 Macross, which the government was all too eager to confirm, given that they were trying to hide the war with the Zentraedi. An international coalition was formed specifically to take down the Blood Martyrs. There were mass arrests and trials. The financial accounts of suspected fronts were frozen.

Then there was the Rain of Death, and the United Earth Government, as well as the nations of Earth, had other priorities. The Blood Martyrs were believed to have slowly rebuilt their network, even going so far as to establish a secret base in Tiberias, using a synagogue as a front.

Their taking of us hostages, and broadcasting Simon Levinstein’s murder, was their message that they were back in operation.

“What are you doing?” I jheard Katie ask. I looked and saw her dressed in a nightgown.

“Catching up on the world,” I said. “You have to fly back to your post tomorrow.”

“I just couldn’t sleep that much.”

I then read more about Samir Atta Nidal himself. He was a fighter pilot, believed to have shot down ten enemy planes during the early years of the Global War. He was given the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge for sexual misconduct. He apparently avoided prison- or worse- by testifying against others. Still, he became embittered about the end of his combat flying career, and thus joined the Blood Martyrs.

He was a natural leader, and the Martyrs did not send him on a suicide mission. The Mossad suspected that he orchestration the assassination of the former First Prophet, allowing Nidal to become the new First Prophet.

Samir Atta Nidal was known for his all-consuming, pathological hatred of Jews, as well as his belief that girls and women are nothing but whores that only exists for the pleasure of men. He managed to avoid capture when the nations of Earth hunted him down. From my own experiences with him, I knew he joined forces with the Zentraedi holdout Khyron Kravshera.

There were many articles on the Blood Martyrs. There were articles about us hostages. I read about Jeng Chiang, who was actually an infantryman in the Space Marine Reserves and served as part of the SDF-1 Marine detachment. He was awarded a Titanium Medal of Valor for his actions during the Second Battle of Macross City. I owed everything to him. None of them mentioned that Nidal was allied with Zentraedi renegades. But there was one article of interest.

Nidal declared a fatwa, saying it is the holy duty of every Muslim to kill me.

“Any Muslim who does this holy duty,” he said in his statement, “will achieve paradise, regardless of what he sins he committed before, or any sin committed afterward.”

A license to sin, in exchange for killing me.

And I doubt anyone who would accept this license would limit his sins to drinking wine and eating pork chops.

Oooooooo

The party was a few days later. During those past few days, I had to take care of administrative stuff, like getting a new Social Security card and driver’s license. I also skimmed current evebnts, including reports on Zentraedi going renegade or native, and a press release from Admiral Gloval announcing the organization of the Global Military Police to deal with the threat of the rogue Zentraedi. For maybe a few hours, I was in my room, the curtains closed. I kept wondering why I had to be the one to live. Why couldn’t the others be rescued? I got dressed and went to the living room and kitchen, where the guests were.

Why did it have to be so bright? It was still March. Instead, from what I can tell through how much light was entering through the windows, there was not a cloud in the sky.

The food on the table was basically pizza and sandwiches and salads, all catered.

“Great to see you,” said Dennis, wearing a sweater and jeans instead of the Spacy captain’s uniform he usually wears.

“I’m glad you’re here,” I said.

“Nice place your family’s got,” said Myron the Rasta Man.

I sipped down a bottle of Coors. “It’s home,” I said.

They were celebrating me.

“Great to see you,” said Greg.

“How do you like New York?” I asked.

“Not as cold as New Macross City,” he said.

“And what’s going on with you?”

“Still bartending. You know, Vince and Jean are having a baby. They’re due in two months.”

“That’s good.”

“Vince is attending community college courses online, so he can get into a good school for his bachelor’s degree. He considering joining the Reserves to help pay for school.”

“The Reserves?”

“Yeah, if he is in the Reserves, they will let him drill wherever Jean is stationed.”

“Hi there,” said Shawna Brubaker. “How are you?”

I gave her a hug. “I’ve been better.”

“Ned would have wanted me and the kids to be here.”

Ned would have wanted to be here.

Ned would have wanted to be alive.

He never even made it aboard the Macross. He was just caught in the crossfire when Breetai launched that first attack to take the ship.

Why him, and not me?

“How did you escape from the bad guys?” Ned’s son asked me.

“I just saw an opening and took it,” I said, sipping a beer. “We have some video games, and a basketball hoop in the yard.”

I then saw Jake Austin in his wheelchair.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“I’ve been better. And little Jimmy?”

“He’s with his mom back in Macross. I’m glad your family invited me here. I fly back tomorrow.”

“You’re not seeing the sights of New York?”

“Nah, I expect to be busy the next few days. Maybe later, I can take Jimmy and the wife with me here, we can see that statue.”

“And meet for dinner with me.”

I looked around. Everyone seemed so happy.

It felt so alien to me, somehow.

And it was so bright inside the kitchen. Why did it have to be so bright?

I slipped back into my room.

What was I feeling?

Why was I feeling this way?

My dreams were being haunted by that memory, of Simon screaming as Nidal sawed through his neck.

Why did he have to die?

What about Jeng Chiang?

Why did he have to die? He was a hero. I could still remember him holding that submachinegun, covering for us.

I felt so alienated from everyone else.

I heard the door open and saw the room became brighter.

“Are you okay?” asked Jenna.

“I…I don’t know,” I replied. I looked at her blue eyes.

I still remember that year. She had suffered too much, caused so much grief.

I did not want to lose a year like she did.

I pulled her down to my bed.

“I’ll be all right,” I said.

We then went to the living room. All of the guests were there, still chatting with each other.

“Can I have your attention please,” I said, my arm around Jenna’s shoulder.

Everyone looked at me. I drank another beer.

“I have been wondering why I was the only one to survive,” I said. “What about Simon? We all know how Simon Levinstein died. But we need to remember how he lived. He lived for the truth. He would always puruse the story, ask the tough questions. He would establish relationships with his sources. He loved his wife, his two children. He valued the friendships of his co-workers. His life was cut short too soon, but it was a full life. He never wasted his life.

“So the best way to honor those who did not make it, those hostages who were killed, those people killed when Simon’s funeral was bombed, is to embrace life. Don’t let it go to waste. Don’t shut others out.”

Everyone clapped

“Great speech, mon,” said Myron.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-17 12:37pm


Chapter 37

Broken

The next day, Jenna and I got off the subway at the UEF Station. Going up the escalator from the boarding area, we passed through this miniature indoor mall that had shops and restaurants. We then went up another escalator to the street level and were just maybe fifty feet away from the main gate of the United Earth Forces Headquarters in Brooklyn.

Two Centinental/Kransmann MBR-07 Destroids Spartan stood guard at the main gate. Across the street were siome boutique shoops, cafes, grills, and restaurants, a sharp contrast to the working-class establishments that existed before the headquarters was opened.

The thing here thaty captured the most attention for the moment was a head right ion front of the main gate.

The head was about six feet long. It looked very much like a human head, though it was that of a full-sized Zentraedi. The police blocked off the street with their barriers and police cars.

I looked at the face, which had this pained expression.

For a moment, I flashed back to the sight of Simon Levinstein’s disembodied head.

“You okay?” asked Jenna.

“I’d better start asking questions,” I said.

“I saw this giant suit of armor land on the street,” said a witness, a driver who was driving a blue Mercedes-Benz. “It placed something on the street and I saw it fly off. I looked and it was like a human head, only it was like the size of a human!”

Many people on the sidewalk on the other side were taking pictures even as the police stood on the street to keep them away. Above us, helicopters flew overhead. Broadcast reporters were reporting live on the scene.

I walked up to the gate guard, who understandably was pretty tight lipped. I wernt and interviewed some more people.

I then got a text on my cell phone. There was going to be a press briefing inside the press room.

“I’ll be inside,” I said.

The guard let me through as soon as I presented my press credentials, as well as a fingerprint. Going inside the main building, I could hardly believe how big the place was. But it should not be surprising, considering that the place was built as a headquarters for military forces with two million servicemen on active duty. I walked through the hallways, passing uniformed guards, as well as officers and enlistees in their Class “A” uniforms according to their specific service. I then entered the UEF Headquarters Press Room.

A bald man in Army Class “A’s” entered; I recognized him as General Leonard, who interviewed me in Israel after I awoke from the coma.

“I am General Leonard, Assistant Deputy Director for Intelligence, Supreme Command Joint Staff,” he said. “As you know, the severed head of a Zentraedi was dropped off at the main gate. We have confirmed with the Zentraedi flagship that the head belonged to one of their spies that was infiltrating one of the renegade factions. We have also received a transmission from one of the renegade warlords.”

The screen then showed an image of a lavender-skinned man. I recognized him as Khyron Kravshera.

“This is Khyron Kravshera,” said he said. “I haven’t been on speaking terms with Lord Breetai the past two times your miserable planet revolved around its sun. So I was hoping you would send him a message. Tell him that when it comes to espionage, I am way a-head of him in the game. Hahahahaha!”

I thought of that executed spy. Did Samir Atta Nidal teach Kravshera that? Did Khyron Kravshera himself saw off that spy’s head, with Nidal advising him? Did he scream like Simon did?

“Have you been able to find the source of the transmission?” asked a reporter.

“It was believed to have come from a scout pod hiding in the wreckage orbiting Earth,” said Leonard. “We are still trying to find Kravshera’s headquarters. Supreme Command has ordered the Global Military Police to investigate.”

“I have a question,” I said. “A Zentraedi power armor just flew into New York. What does that say about air defenses.”

“Admiral Gloval is currently discussing the issue of air defenses with RDF Command in New Macross City.”

“And is it true that Khyron kravshera is allied with human terrorists?”

The general looked at me for a minute.

“We have no comment,” he said. “Our intelligence services and the Global Military Police will of course investigate any connection between humans and the renegade Zentraedi. That is all.”

There was, of course, the flurry of question as Leonard left.

We all went to exit the headquarters. I was soon out of the main gate, being greeted by the chilly air.

“I hope you weren’t bored waiting for me,” I said to Jenna.

“Not really,” she replied.

A Spartan Destroid was on the street, lifting the giant head and placing it inside an Army truck. Soldiers in full armor and armed with rifles got into the back of the truck. I could see the truck then leave, with motorcycle units of the NYPD acting as a lead blocker.

“How about we get lunch?” I asked. I pointed to this fancy-looking place across the street.

“it looks kind of expensive.”

“Who cares? Let’s just eat.”

We went to the restaurant. The laminated menu listed all sorts of expensive food. It was nice, and dark, and felt safe.

Ooooooo

GIANT SPY’S HEAD DROPPED OFF IN FRONT OF UEF HEADQUARTERS!

That was the headline of the New York Post the next day. I, of course, had submitted my own article. A lot of the talking heads on TV on what this means regarding how vulnerable our air defenses air, if the renegade Zentraedi could fly all the way to the doorstep of UEF Headquarters without being spotted.

In the meantime, I wanted to get more out of life. I had to. This was the only way to not lose a whole year or even more. And there were things to do at night in New York, now that reconstruction here is mostly complete. There was this dinner and dancing cruise Jenna and I took to New York Bay. The interior was nice and dimly lit. Through the windows we could see the lights of the Manhattan skyline.

We danced on the dance floor, with a live band playing.

“You know, there are actually humans assigned to the Zentraedi flagship,” said Jenna. “The UEF wanted a permanent liaison staff with them. Part of the ship was refitted for Micronian size.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.” The UEF is saying that Breetai has a thousand ships under his command, and they presently control the orbital space over Earth. It still is just a splinter of the one million ships he had before the Battle Over Earth.

We sat back down on our table.

“I noticed something,” said Jenna. “You only want to go out at night, now.”

“What do you mean?”

“You sleep all day. We only go out at night.”

“I’m not much of a day person. I mean, the city has plenty of places that are open late at night. I actually don’t go to the office except for the scheduled meetings; I can work from home, which means I can work when everyone’s sleeping.”

She put her hand on my arm. “Is this okay?”

“Of course. In fact, the night before you leave, there’s something special.”

“What?”

“A nightclub in Times Square, where all the celebs hang out. I’m a bit of a celeb myself. My broadcast exposing the war with the Zentraedi was played on the huge billboard there, you know.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard.”

“anyway, all the hot shot singers and models will be there. It cost a thousand dollars for a small table for two. I’ll even go out, during the daytime, just to get the finest clubbing clothes.”

“I don’t know.”

“C’mon, Jenna. Life’s too short.”

“Oh,,okay. I’ll have a lot of work to catch up on when I return to duty.”

“That’s the spirit,” I said, gulping down another glass of red wine.

Ooooooooo


The club was packed, even at 2 A.M. All of the people were wearting their most stylish clothes. I was wearing this collared shirt and black slacks, and Jenna was wearing this sequined black dress. A DJ wearing a baseball cap backwards over a purple T-shirt stood in the DJ booth. Some of the larger tables had people who probably graced magazine covers. There were plenty of people dancing on the dance floor. Throuygh the window we could see times Square, including the world famous McDonald’s.

“Great song you have, dude,” I said to the DJ as he was spinning some classic tunes.

“Thanks, boss,” he said. I had chatted with him for a while. He had been disc jockeying around the Tri-State area for three years. All of the hot shot movie stars and models and singers living in New York know him. He also told me that he remembered me from when I first broadcast the truth about the Robotech War.

“You like this place?” I asked.

“It’s okay, I guess. How did you find out about this?”

“Lynn Kyle said he sometimes came here. He would meet with music producers.”

“I noticed that you were uncomfortable when we were out shopping for these clothes.”

“I’m not much of a clothes shopper. Besides, I was afraid we would not look our best when we went into this club.”

“What happened to you there?”

“It doesn’t matter. It would be a waste of time to talk about it, and life is such a terribe thing to waste.” I pulled her by her arm. “Let’s dance.”

And so we did. After that, we ordered another round of drinks. The music made me feel alive.

“You know, I was thinking,” I said. “Maybe you can leave the Space Marines, set down with civilian life.”

“I still have three years left in my service obligation as a commissioned officer,” said Jenna.

“Jenna, you’ve done more than your fair share of combat. You’ve sacrificed so much, suffered so much. I’m sure they can let you out early, considering all you’ve done for them. And all you’ve done for us. It’s time for others to take your place. Those cadets you trained are great pilots, right?”

“Yeah.”

“There’s so much we can do. We could travel the world. Go to the hottast nightclubs. You know, the New Year’s Eve party is like a total bomb! Sure, it’ll cost five thousand dollars and we would have to book by June, but it will be worth it. We will party with the best of the best. Because if there is one thing I’m not gonna do, it would be to waste my life.” I pulled her up. “time for another drink.”

We walked up to the bar. “I need another round,” I said.

“Sure thing, buddy,” replied the bartender.

I looked and saw a woman in a red dress standing next to us. I looked and saw she was Andrea Zeller, an up and coming singer.

I introduced myself. “And this is my girlfriend, Jenna,” I said.

“Name’s Andrea,” she said. “And I do recognize you. You broke the story on the war with the Zentraedi.”

“I have heard of your music. And did you know that I covered the rise of Lynn Minmei? I mean, her song put an end to a war. Matybe I could mneet with your manager to discuss access to your singing career. I can give you my contact info to give to your manager. I’ll also provide the contact info for Minmei’s manager as a reference.”

“Is something wrong with your girlfriend?” asked Andrea.

“Nothing’s wrong with her,” I said. “Nothing’s wrong with us. Listen, if I can arrange a meeting with your manager tomorrow night, over drinks.”

“I’m just tired,” said Jenna,. “We should head back to the room.”

“it’s only 3:30. People here party until sunrise. Surely you don’t want to give up that opportunity.”

“We should just call it a night.”

“You don’t want to waste your life. I mean, we remember Lani. She lived life to the fullest. She never wasted her life. She’d want us to party ‘till dawn.”

“It’s just that I’m tired.”

“Do you want to waste your life? I mean, you already wasted one year of your life! Look at these people! They’re the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry!

“I’m leaving.”

I grabbed her wrist. “No, you musn’t leave!”

She looked at my eyes.

I could see fear in her blue eyes.

I never scared her before.

She left.

“Wait, come back,” I said.

I spoke to the cocktail waitress serving us.

“Process my check now,” I said, handing her my credit card. I had to wait before she handed me the receipt and I signed it. I immediately headed out to the elevator. It seemsed such a long time for the elevator to reach the 18th floor. I got inside and rode down.

I went out into the street. The lights of Times Square were as bright as ever.

“Jenna!” I yelled. I dialed her number on my cell.

She was gone.

What did I do?

I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I turned around, expecting Jenna.

Instead, it was a man who somehow looked familiar.

“Excuse me,” I said.

He grabbed me. I looked that beneath his trench coat was a vest with these canisters attached . He held something in his right hand.

“This is for Allah,” he began.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-18 12:04pm


Chapter 38

Coming Back Together

I was facing a suicide bomber.

“This is for Allah and his proph…”

I had only one chance.

Go for the detonator.

I tackled him to the ground.

He kept striking me even as I held onto his right hand.

It could be a deadman switch. I kept holding on.

I felt pain.

I could feel my fingers doing battle with his fingers.

He kept striking me with his free arm.

I struck him with my knee.

And them, somehow, I managed to grab the detonator. It was some sort of handle device.

I looked at him. He was on hios back, and his head was hanging over the curb.

I stood up, and delivered a stomp right into his face. I looked down. His head was hanging down at a right angle.

I then saw the flashing blue and red lights, as saw them coming from the police cruisers of the New York City Police Department.

“Freeze!” yelled one of the police officers in a uniform jacket.

“Suicide bomber!” I yelled. “I managed to get the detonator! It seems to be a deadman switch. Get the bomb squad.”

I knelt there for maybe a few minutes,. Looking around, a crowd was looking even as police officers were trying to keep them away.


“Get them away!” I yelled.

One of the police officers walked up to me. He was a big, burly man with sergeant’s stripes.

“Deadman switch,” I said.

“I’ll take it,” he said. I extended the detonator. To him.

He grabbed my wrist. I slowly unhooked my fingers.

My heart was racing. I could tell that the police sergeant was worried.

Finally, he managed to grab the detonator.

“Call the bomb squad!” he yelled to one of the cops.

“On it, Sarge!” yelled the officer.

“I think you’d better make a safe distance from here,” saiod the sergeant.

He did not have to tell me twice. I crossed the street, standing behind a car parked next to the Times Square McDonald’s. I made another call to Jenna, only getting her voice mnail.

“Listen, Jenna,” I said. “Someone tried to kill me. A suicide bomber tried to kill me”

I looked on. I wondered if that police sergeant would be able to hold on to the detonator. For all I knew, there was also a timer on the bomb.

Finally, a large, armored truck with emergency lights arrived. I could see some people get out, all wearing some sort of body armor.

I needed to stay in Times Square to make a statement.

Oooooo

It was already daytime when I was in the lobby of One Police Plaza, the headquarters of the New York City Police Department, located near the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge. I made statements. The lobby was busy, with uniformed police officers walking about, as well as people in plain clothing. A wanted poster hung on the wall, as well as a picture of the Manhattan skyline in the 1990’s, with the Twin towers of the World Trade Center. Then police were hospitable enough to offer me coffee and donuts.

Some men in suits entered. The older man, who had dark hair, walked to me.

“Colonel Tran, Global Military Police,” he said. “We want to ask you about the attempted bombing.”

“I already told the NYPD and FBI,” I said. “I might as well tell you guys.”

So I told them what happened outside that nightclub in Times Square.

“Why is the United Earth military involved?” asked a detective who questioned me earlier.

“As he probably told you, he was a hostage of the Blood Martyrs for four months,” said Tran. “He knows about the Martyrs and their alliances. He’s witnessed their atrocities. There’s a target on his back.”

“Listen, Colonel,” said the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, whose name was Zahn. “At the very least, we can take him to a safe house in Long Island.”

I then got inside an unmarked black Chevrolet Suburban SUV and it started to drive. I fell asleep just as the Suburban was crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oooooooo

There was not much news on the attempted bombing of me in Times Square. From what I was able to tell online, there was only a small article about police activity last night.

“Nice place you guys have,” I said.

“We have the whole floor,” said Zahn.

I was in a small, one-bedroom apartment maybe about ten or so miles east of Queens. From the window I could see the Long Island Expressway, along with the roadside fuel stations and fast food places. There were not much in utensils, only paper and plastic. The FBI took me here after the attempted bombing. I made sure to leave messages with my parents and Jenna.

“You know, this building actually has apartments for rent. It’s owned by this shell corporation that’s a front for the Department of Justice. This floor is used as a temporary shelter for federal witnesses.”

I went inside the bedroom, which had its curtains drawn, making the room dim. I lay down and pondered things.

What did I do?

I never saw Jenna scared of me.

Will she even read my messages?

As I lay, I was haunted by the memories of being shocked in that bright room.

The memories of Samir Atta Nidal murdering Simon Levinstein.

And I was haunted by memories of seeing the madness in that man’s eyes just before he tried to blow me up.

I stayed in the apartment for the rest of the day, eating nothing but take-home fast food.

Ooooooopo

The next morning, In just had some fast food breakfast along with mediocre coffee.

One of the FBI agents opened the door. I saw Colonel Tran and his aide walk inside. With them was a man in a coat and slackas,. He had brown hair and appeared to be in his late forties.

“This is General Serge Kasov, the commander of the Global Military Police,” said Tran.

“Nice to meet you,” I said, extending my hand. There was something really important if a general was going to meet with me personally, like General Leonard did back in Israel.

“I can tell what you are asking by the look in your eyes,” he said in this Russian accent. “My being here means that I have important thing to say to you.”

“So what do you have to say?” I asked.

“These Blood Martyrs want to kill you specifically,” said the general. “You know too much. That man who tried to kill you last night. He was one of the original Zentraedi defectors. He disappeared a few months ago.”

I remember the initial defection, even helping then-Captain Gloval with interviewing some of them. “So they’re recruiting micronized Zentraedi.”

“Yes. Many of them are disillusioned with life on Earth. The Martyrs will keep coming for you. If you merely hide, they might go after your family- or Major Murphy- just to drawq you out into the open.”

“So what’s next?”

“They must think you dead.”

I began to think. How long will I have to hide out?

What about Jenna?

“We’d better work together on this,” I said. “And certain things must be arranged for my cooperation.”

“And we will demand certain things from you.”

Oooooooo

I was escorted by blue-uniformed guards as well as men in suits through some hallways. I noticed professionally-dressed people walking by. I then entered a large room. Inside it was a glass booth, and inside the booth were professionally-dressed people. I myself was wearing a suit.

I sat inside the booth.

“The Intelligence Committee of the General Assembly welcomes you,” said the chairman. “We will ask you a few questions.”

Oooooooooo

I felt the cold air and saw the northern lights above me. On the horizon I could see the silhouette. SDF-1, rising from its lake.

I saw Jenna, wrapped in a heavy winter coat. We hugged.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry for the way I treated you.”

“Apology accepted,” she whispered.

I then walked up to my parents.

“You can’t have a funeral for me,” I said. “It’s too tempting a target to attack, like Simon’s funeral was.”

I then looked at my destination. It was a shuttle attached to a boosted.

“Come on, Katie,” said Jenna. “Let’s go.”

“Sure,” said Katie, who had just been in a long smooching session with her boyfriend, who was staying behind on Earth.

A Jeep drove us to the Rockwell International SC-27 Star Goose shuttle and we boarded the elevator. We then sat down inside, along with some other passengers.

My heart was beating. I was leaving Earth again.

And then I felt myself being pushed back as the shuttle lifted off from JFAF Macross.

“I can’t believe it,” said Katie. “I’m being assigned to a desk job.”

“Well, I’ve heard these joint staff assignments are supposed to be good for our careers,” said Jenna.

“I’d rather be flying veritechs. Couldn;’t they at least deploy the squadron where we’re going. There’s far more than enough room.”

I dozed off. It was not long before I entered into dreamtime.

I saw an image of Samir Atta Nidal tearing open the cabin. We were exposed to the vacuum of space. He held Simon’s head in his left hand.

“Why did I have to die?” asked Simon.

I woke up. Jenna was sleeping in the seat next to be.

Oooooo


“We are preparing to dock,” the shuttle’s pilot said to us.

“Wake up,” I said, tapping Jenna.

“We’re here already?” she asked.

The other passengers were disembarking. Some of them were talking with excitement about this new assignment I had.

I took a breath before going out the exit. I walked down the stairs.

The Star Goose was parked in a docking area of the ship. The bulkheads rose high on both sides. Some vehicles drove by. Several airmen stood watch.

What was realyl jarring was a full-s-0zed Zentraedi standing watch, suited in armor, and armed with some sort of pistol. About a hundred feet away was a Regult battle pod.

“Welcome aboard the flagship,” said the Zentraedi, not needing a megaphone for us to hear him.

“It must have taken a lot of work to remodel this ship,” said Katie.

A bus then arrived. An Air Force corporal stepped out.

“Welcome to the liaison base,” said the corporal. “This bus will take you to the berthing office.”

We all boarded. The bus then left. It was soon driving through a corridor that would be a narrow hallway to a Zentraedi.

I never imagined that I would be hiding out inside the Zentraedi flagship. From what I read, it was about two and a half miles long.

“Welcome to Main Street,” said the driver after the bus halted to a stop.

We got off and it looked just like a Main Street, with some buildings with storefronts. Was much smaller than the city that was once aboard the SDF-1 Macross. This could very well look like a child’s playset to the full-sized crew. We all went to one of the buildings. Another corporal escorted us to the berthing office. We all stood in a line inside a lobby that somewhat resembled the DMV office in Forest Hills.

“Remember your cover identity,” said Jenna.

“Sure.”

I walked up to the office and presented my papers- well, the papers that the GMP prepared.

“Let’s go to our home,” I said.

And so we did. The building for the field grade officers was just maybe a five minute walk from the berthing office. It was basically a condominium complex. I looked inside. The condo units surrounded a courtyard.

“Here we are,” said Jenna, unlocking a door. The living room was big, with some leather furniture. A coffee table was in the center. There was a huge 36-inch plasma television in the living room. Jenna placed her duffel bag on the floor and threw her heavy winter coat on the couch.

“I’ve got to go,” she said.

“Yeah, you have to report to the liaison commander, a Colonel Whatshisname?”

“Edwards,” replied Jenna. “T.R. Edwards. He’s Air Force. He flew combat during the Global War when he was young- much younger than I was during my first combat mission.”

“When you met me.” I kissed her. “I have to report to the GMP office board.”

I left the condo. I looked around Main Street, gawking at the sight, like many of the newcomers here. I walked to one of the buildings. I was led down of the hallways tyo a door, its sign reading 1LT A. FREDERICKS.

I entered the room. It was a typical office with a desk, desktop computer, and file cabinets. A blond-haired man wearing a long—sleeved shirt with service ribbons stood behind.

“Lieutenant Alan Fredericks,” said the man.

I handed him the papers. He inspected them.

“GMP Headquarters informed me of your arrival,” said the lieutenant. “Do you have any questions?”

“Not really,” I said.

“Well, there’s a nice bar and grill on Main Street, if you want something other than what’s offered in the Officers’ Mess.”

“Thanks.”

I left Lieutenant Fredericks’s office. After getting to my quarters, I just lay in bed in the dark.

Ooooo

There was not much to do. I did have permission to eat at the officers’ mess, or the micro officers’ mess as it was called. I just took the food home.

Home. Apparently this Zentraedi ship was home for me for the time being.

I was still laying in bed in the dark when Jenna turned the lights on.

“Oh,” I said as she removed her Class “A” coat. “How was your work day?”

“Pretty busy for a first day. What about you?”

“Just hiding out. I mean, on paper I am a reporter.”

“You are.”

“But not under my real name.”

She sat close to me. “It won’t be like this forever.”

“We could eat in the mess together. Or go to that food court.”

“I want to talk. About what happened over there- when…when you were held captive.”

“What’s the point?”

“It helps to talk. Talking about Lani, it helped me be able to function. You can talk to me. I notice you to like to spend time in the dark, and I know you didn’t do this until after you escaped from terrorists.”

“The bright light,” I said. “The room was bright.”

Jenna held my arm and looked into my eyes. “Start from the beginning,” she said in this reassuring tone.

“Simon and I checked out of our rooms in Tiberias,” I began. “We got into this van that we thought would take us to the airport. We checked out really early in the morning, so when I felt sleepy I thought that it was simply because I had to wake up so early. Then I felt a shock, and woke up in this bright room. These men kept shocking me…”

And I told her everything. The repeated sessions of being shocked. Samir Atta Nidal’s alliance with Khyron Kravshera. The gang rapes of the female captives. And Simon Levinstein’s brutal murder. My eyes were blurry from tears.

“They…they laughed as they sawed his head off,” I cried. “they played with his head …like a ball. They played with his head…like a puppet. They sent someone to bomb…to bomb his funeral. Simon has a four-year-old son. He’s all…all alone now. His whole family was taken away…by these…by these devils!

“One of the captives, Jeng Chiang, found an opening and managed to free us. We tried to escape. Jeng Chiang was gunned down. I…I went upstairs to the synagogue that was disguising the base. Paramedics took me..to the hospital. I was..the only survivor. They blew up the base with the other captives in it. Why was I the only one to survive? Why didn’t I die with the rest of them?”

I then buried my head in her chest. It was like a pillow. I felt some small relief.

I appreciated it, given all these confused feelings.

“You held me the way I’m holding you now,” said Jenna. “You remember?”

“When?” I asked.

“After Lani was killed, I came to you. You held me the way I’m holding you now. You were the only one that could give me any comfort. And now that I think of it, I must have felt that I should have died instead of Lani. It was so..random. That..thing, those flying things called Queadlunn-Rus. She could have killed me or Katie, but she picked Lani. It…was just random. Just chance. No rhyme nor reason. No rhyme nor reason for the Zentraedi I killed.”

We lay in bed, in tears.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-19 09:43am


Chapter 39

Duty Calls

The next morning, I checked the Internet on Jenna’s personal laptop, as slow the connection were on board.

I did read about my “death”. President Hayden Ridge vowed revenge on the Blood Martyrs for their murder of another American. My family stated they would not hold a memorial service for fear of a terrorist attack.

I was heartwarmed by an article showing that my family’s neighbors standing watch with shotguns and pistols.

A man named Frank, who I recognized as the guy who walked his dog by our house when I was a kid, said, “These cowards will have to come through us. If they try to harm any of us, we will greet them properly.”

Samir Atta Nidal of course gave a statement about by alleged murder. I clicked a link to a video, which took over four minutes to load. My heart was racing in anticipation.

But I had to see and hear it.

“He is now in paradise for his act of martyrdom,” said Nidal. “The Zionist propagandist, recipient of that Jewlitzer prize, is in Hell. He will be in Hell for all eternity. When the flames burn away his flesh, he will be given new skin for him to suffer anew. And even after a year or a century or a millennium or a billion milleniums, he will still be tormented in fire as punishment for serving the Zionist cause and spreading Zionist lies.”

“Amazing that anyone would follow that creep,” said Jenna. I looked and saw her standing behind me.

“His followers are unsociable loners who are taken in by this man. They follow his cause because they derive meaning into their lives and because of false promises to paradise. How much do you know about the history of the region?”

“Not much.”

“Well, people like Samir Atta Nidal raised an entire generation for the Devil and Hell, teaching them to hate Jews and that blowing themselves up in a crowd of people would get them into paradise. It was wasn't hard for him to recruit follower especially dfrom Zentraedi disillusioned with life on Earth. They were raised to hate. It's hard to imagine how many people entered Hell following those teachings. Now they want to kill me.”

“I remember feeling like that. Whenever I launched out of the Prometheus, I wondered if I would ever return, if it would be my last flight. Or even if there would be ship to return to. I mean, Lani's first combat mission as a second lieutenant was also her last.”

“This is different. The Zentraedi wanted to capture the battle fortress and you and I were just people in the way. The Blood Martyrs may be coming after me, specifically.”

“Then we're gonna have to take the battle to them!”

“I doubt it. The UN is still dealing with Zentraedi holdouts who are still fighting their war with us. I don't have a destroid battalion or a veritech squadron at my disposal.”

“I’ve got to get to work. Last thing I need is for the colonel to give me a letter of reprimand.”

I walked to the bedroom and took her uniform out of the closet. “Wearing a uniform might help avoid that,” I said.

“Oh yeah.”

Ooooooooo

“Last year, I was at this stadium for my birthday,” said Jenna.

“Citi Field,” I said.

“Now I am on a Zentraedi flagship.”

“Doesn’t look much like a flagship.”

We celebrated Jenna’s 26th birthday at this bar and grill on Main Street inside the flagship. It was appropriately called the Micro Brewery and Grill. There was a varnished wooden bar plus some circular varnished wooden tables.

Jenna was wearing this black dress on her body and a tiara on her head. She was also wearing a sash reading “Birthday Girl”.

“I got those for her, since I knew her birthday would be aboard this ship,” Katie had said. She was with us now, dressed in her one piece yellow dress that she used to wear to the Space nightclub during the SDF-1 Campaign.

We, of course, all had drinks.

“Drinks are pretty expensive,” I said.

“Cargo shuttles only come up here maybe twice a month,” said Jenna.

And so we drank and had the food from the menu, which were variants not offered in the officers’ mess.

Two people in casual clothes entered.

“Major,” said a dark-haired young man in casual clothes. “I didn’t expect you here.”

“It’s okay,” said Jenna. “It’s just my birthday, that’s all.”

“Happy birthday, ma’am,” said the woman, a young lady with shoulder-length blond hair, wearing a denim skirt and a red blouse.

We spoke.

“I’m supposed to be an armor officer,” said the man. “It’s why I was commissioned in the Army. I wonder whom I pissed off to be assigned to a giant spaceship.”

“Oh, Beady,” said the lady. “We get sent where we’re needed. You’ll be driving a Destroid again.”

“Maybe you’re right, Carli.” The dark-haired man stood up.

“Colonel Edwards,” he said.

I looked and saw the colonel. He had blond hair, and some cloth covered half his face. “Just out here having a drink, Lieutenant Andrews?” he asked.

“As am I, sir.”

Edwards looked at me. “I recognize you,” he said. “You’re that American reporter who blew the government’s cover story, who won the Pulitzer Prize the one who was later a hostage by those terrorists.”

“You recognize me?” I asked.

“I still have one eye.”

“I’m on assignment here.”

“You’ve reported on the war.”

“Yeah.”

“How much do you know about war?”

“Too much. I’ve seen how it can wear down people.”

“You probably did not know too much about it when you were fourteen.”

“Should I?”

“Of course not,” said Edwards. “Americans that age only saw war on TV. All fourteen-year-old boys there worried about was going to school or hooking up with that cute girl sitting next to them or avoiding getting on the bad side with some of the older kids. Americans that age had no idea of what war was until the Rain of Death.”

“Okay…”

“When I was fourteen, I was flying combat in fighter jets!” exclaimed the colonel. “I went up there. My eyes were on thwe radar screen in case the enemy tried to shoot me down. And from where I was, I had to be a fighter pilot to avoid the horror on the ground!”

“I…I did not know that, sir,” said the lady named Carli.

I looked at the colonel. I could not imagine having to fight a war at fourteen years old. I wondered if that cloth was covering an injury on his face from back then.

He then looked at Jenna. “I did not know it was your birthday, Major,” he said. “Happy birthday.”

“Thank you, sir,” replied Jenna.

“Let’s talk about something more pleasant,” said Katie.

“Yeah, how are things between you and your boyfriend?” asked Jenna.

“We’ve exchanged e-mails,” replied Katie. “I’m hoping to set up a Skype date soon.”

“Well, this ship could be in another galaxy tomorrow,” said Beady. “It would be difficult to get an Internet connection to Earth if that happens.”

Ooooooooo

There was not much to report onboard the flagship. The liaison officers would not of course discuss details of meetings with the Zentraedi leaders. Main Street was like a splinter of Macross City. This was a command ship that was responsible for command and control over a thousand ships, and perhaps five to ten times as much over two years ago. Even though it was bigger than the SDF-1, so much room had to be reserved for command and control functions.

Still, the humans here were the first Earth natives to be deployed aboard an alien starship. I wanted to get opinions of how things were, what did they do to entertain themselves. One thing I learned is that there were some entertainment facilities opened on board. I would watch movies at the theater or work out at the gym. There was an observation deck, smaller than the one on board the SDF-1. I would often go there and see Earth through the window, surrounded by the wreckage of starships. Sometimes I would see Zentraedi fighter pods and battle pods flying about outside, practicing maneuvers.

We have course had a ceremony for the second anniversary of the Rain of Death. All of the military people stood at attention, all dressed in the dress uniforms of their appropriate services, complete with the medals pinned to their coats.

I heard over a million United Earth Forces servicemen were qualified for another Purple Heart that day.

I did get to know more about some of the people Jenna and Katie worked with. Beady’s name came from his initials “B.D.”. Carli was a Spacy reservist whose civilian job was a waitress; she never imagined that her first deep space deployment would be on an alien ship. Colonel Edwards was not very talkative. I could understand. If there were any leaks from his office concerning sensitive information, he would spend the rest of his career babysitting latrine policing details.

And there was one particular on-board facility worth reporting on.

It was actually located maybe a few hundred feet from the end of Main Street. The room itself was a video game center, where we could just sign up to play video games. Air Force security police stood watch to provide security.

“The Zentraedi leadership believed this would be the best way for the Zentraedi crew and us Micronians to interact outside work,” Jenna had said. “I mean, it’s not like we can play a game of tennis or basketball with them. The engineers who redesigned this ship were definitely geniuses.”

I did not doubt that. For this room, in addition to the video game terminals, had a huge window which opened out to a huge room. The other room also had video game terminals. But these particular terminals were giant-sized, and there were a few full-sized Zentraedi playing the games.

“Okay, buddy,” said Beady, dressed in his Class “B” uniform. “Let’s play.”

There was a competitive game. We were playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which was released back in 2009. We had been assigned random teams. I had a headset on.

“Okay, you guys,” said this lady, an Air Force morale officer. “When playing against each other, the only rank is in-game.”

And then we started. I was playing as a soldier. Beady was on my team, and we shared the same screen. There were several others on my team as well. I suspected half of them were the Zentraedi playing in the big room.

“Let’s see how a civilian does,” said Beady.

So we did. The battle arena had plenty of places for cover. On occasion, we would hear gunfire. We tried to kill the enemy on the opposing force.

I saw one of the soldiers on screen, dressed in camouflage. Out in the open. I opened fvire and the sucker went down.

I glanced and saw Jenna looking at her own screen, as half of it turned red. She glanced back at me, and then I resumed playing. As I played, I noticed the Zentraedi in the enxt room cheering.

And then I thought of that micronized Zentraedi that tried to kill me back in New York. Why did he feel such disillusion that he would join the Blood Martyrs, and sacrifice himself for a false promise of paradise?

I felt flashbacks to that time when I escaped from rthe terrorists.

Neither Jeng Chiang nor the others made it.

With my feelings of rage, I focused it on the game. I noticed a grouping of my opponents.

I went in, guns blazing.

I must have killed three of them before I was taken down.

“You did great, dude,” said Beady.

“Well, you did have very good players on your team,” Jenna said to me. “For you, I have a prize waiting at home.”

Then suiddenly there was double vision. I wondered what was going on.

“It’s a space fold,” said one of the human players.

The last time I experienced a space fold was over four years ago.

Jenna held my hand. “Your prize will have to wait,” she said.

ooooooo

“Any word?” I asked as Jenna opened the bedroom door.

“Not much I can say,” she said.

“Top secret, huh?”

“Even the admiral himself was kept in the dark. All I heard was that Supreme Commander Breetai left the solar system on a special mission requested by Brooklyn.”

“Well, not much we can do. Your orders are to be on this ship, regardless of where it may take you.”

“Yeah. Oh I forgot.”

She unbuttoned her class “A” coat.

“Your prize.”

It was better than the Pulitzer, I will admit.

Oooooo

Hyperspace transit was like a sheet of light, when viewed from the observation deck. I wondered if hyperspace was drilled with light naturally, or if its appearance was the effect of the fold drive.

I realized something.

I, Jenna, and the other humans here were farther from Earth than any Earth native we knew, except perhaps those four that had been captured by the Zentraedi over three years ago, and held captive on this very ship!

Once that hyperspace fold effect happened, I went to the observation deck. There were some military personnel there, along with some civilian contractors.

We saw the wreckage of an alien ship. It looked kind of familiar.

I wondered if this was the mission, to investigate this ship. There were millions of reasons why UEF Supreme Command would want to investigate this ship. There could be something valuable.

Was this ship destroyed by an astronomical disaster?

Or in combat?

If that, who was the enemy. And would the enemy attack us?

Then the fold effect happened again, and once again we were in hyperspace. Maybe we already got what we wanted and were heading back to Earth. Or maybe the wrecked ship was not the objective, and Breetai would later send a Tou Redir scout ship or two here for further investigation.

As I later found out, the latter was the answer.

Ooooooo

After leaving hyperspace, I went back to the observation deck.

I could see thousands of Zentraedi ships, as well as this much larger space station. From my knowledge of Zentraedi ships, it would be able to fit all of New York City with plenty of room to spare!

Supreme Command requested this.

Were those ships to fight alongside us?

Or were we to destroy them as our enemies?

And whatever that large space facility was, it was so important that Dolza had left the fleet here behind to protect it.

“You know,” said this lady. “I loved looking at the stars from Earth. Now I can see the stars from other perspectives. Space has such wonders.”

“And such dangers,” I added.

Then I saw explosions.

They were our enemies. This was like old times. I made sure to take video.

After a few minutes, the explosions stopped. The large object appeared to be getting closer to us.

Then we were inside. We finally came to a stop, relative to the object.

I went back to our quarters. Jenna was not there, as she would surely be busy.

Jenna finally came back. “I’m sure you know why I had to work late,” she said.

“The giant space station or maybe our hosts want a Call of Duty rematch?” I replied.

Then the hyperspace fold effect happened.

Oooooooo

I heard we were once again in orbit around Earth, this time with that giant space station in tow. There was not much Jenna could tell me, and Colonel Edwards did not return my calls.

Life continued on, for two weeks after capturing the space station.

“I got new orders,” said Jenna as we were eating in the officers’ mess. “Going back to Knight Squadron to take my post as XO.”

“XO of a combat squadron?” I asked. “Congratulations!”

“thank you. I’m taking the next shuttle back to Earth. The squadron’s still based in Twentynine Palms. I heading there after the one-week leave from my deployment up here. Ive got to figure out how to spend my deep space deployment pay.”

“I want to go back down with you, to Earth.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Why would you do that?” she asked.

“I can’t stay up here the rest of my life. There’s not much news to report.”

“what about that mission to capture that Zentraedi space station?”

“there’s that. But I have read news about what’s happening on Earth? Ever heard of Donald Obegwo?”

“Should I have?”

“He enlisted in the Army and was attending basic training in the Army’s East Africa Training Center in Eritrea. He was three weeks in Basic when the Rain of Death happened. The building he was in was on fire. He went and rescued as many people as he could. He was injured when part of the building collapsed.”

“Did he die?”

“No. he was hospitalized, as best as they could given what happened, for six months. After that, he was deemed unfit for service, and got an honorable discharge.”

“Not too many of those given to soldiers who did not finish Basic,” said Jenna.

“Here is the thing,” I said. “Just a month ago, he received the Medal of Honor. He risked his life to save people from that building. He could have simply escaped and left the job to the professional firefighters, but he stayed to ensure the others got out. And since the building was set on fire by the Rain of Death, it counted as an enemy attack. I wish I could have been at U.N. Headquarters to cover that. It was historic, in a way, Sergeant Obegwo did not even complete Basic Training, and he saved those lives.”

“If those terrorists find out you’re alive...”

“If I spend the rest of my life hiding, then Nidal and his Blood Martyrs have won.”

“I expected you to say that,” said Jenna. “That’s why I love you. No regrets.”

Oooooo

I had always walked slow when I was about to move to the next phase in life. I took that first step on that stairwell leading up to the Star Goose shuttle. Then I took my second step, and my feet made its last contact with the deck of the Zentraedi flagship for what could be the last time. I looked around ther shuttle bay, seeing as full-sized Zentraedi crewman standing watch.

I boarded the shuttle. Jenna sat next to me. Other personnel being transferred to Earth also boarded, including Katie, Beady, and Carli. I fastened by seat belt.

“You know,” said Beady. “I heard that the Zentraedi on board that space station surrendered because we showed them a baby?”

“A baby?” asked Katie.

“Yeah, as in a human baby.”

“No way,” said Carli. “I guess that’s why Brooklyn kept us all in the dark about this.”

“Even if they told us, would we have believed them?” I pointed out.

“I did hear another thing,” said Jenna. “They’re working on the replacement veritech for the VF-1 Valkyrie. It’s supposed to be ready for operational deployment later this year.”

“Later this year, ma’am?” asked Beady. “Well, if they said that, the replacement’s really going out around June of next year.”

I felt myself pushed back a little. “We have taken off,” said the shuttle pilot.

I fell asleep along the way. The flight was pretty uneventful. Soon, I felt a jolt as the landing gears touched down.

“We have touched down on J-FAF Macross,” said the pilot. “Welcome to Planet Earth.”

We all got off. The moment my feet touched the ground, I took a deep breath of Earth’s air. I looked and saw the SDF-1 on the horizon. Even though this was eastern Alaska, it disd not feel as cold because it was summer. There was a welcoming party consisting of Spacy crewmen in formal dress whites, standing at attention.

I saw Katie hug and kiss her boyfriend. Then I saw Jenna running.

She hugged Lani’s parents. Katie then gave them a hug too.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” I said.

They looked at mewith surprise. Jenna then whispered something to them.

“Good to see you too,” said Brittany Hart.

“How is Bryan?” I asked, remembering their son’s name.

“He’s assigned to this air station in this place in California called Lemoore,” said George Hart. “It’s really hot over there.”

“How about we talk over dinner?” asked Lani’s mother.

And so we did.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-20 10:23am


Chapter 40

In Memoriam


“I guess this is it,” I said.

I looked around at my new apartment. It was about as big as my old apartment during the SDF-1 Campaign, and much bigger than the apartment I had in Greenwich Village. It was barely furnished. I had gotten some things from the store to make life here comfortable.

“I can’t believe I was spending my hard earned leave to help you move,” said Jenna.

I decided to lease an apartment in New Macross City. Rent was cheap, and the airport here was a hub for several airlines, meaning there were plenty of direct flights available to cities in North America and Asia- not to mention the military bases there. It was just a one-stop commercial flight to Twentynine Palms via San Diego or San Francisco- or Jenna could fly to JFAF Macross on a space available flight.

We stepped outside into the building’s courtyard.

“It is you,” I heard someone say.

I looked and saw three men. After a few seconds, I recognized them as Konda, Rico, and Bron, the three Zentraedi defectors.

“We heard you were killed in a terrorist attack,” said Rico.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“We live in a three-bedroom apartment in the upper level,” said Konda.

“But you’re alive. We heard that Nakron killed you in a terrorist attack,” Bron

“Who?”

“He was one of the original defectors.”

“Maybe it was faked,” said Konda. “If he’s alive, maybe Nakron is too.”

“Do you have a picture?”

“Come with us.”

I followed up some concrete stairs to the second level of the place. They led me to this apartment. It was well-furnished, with some couches and a TV. It looked like girls helped in decorating the place.

Bron brought out a large book. There was apicture of fifteen men. He pointed to one of them.

I would never forget that face. Come to think of it, he had this look of sorrow, as if he was lost and thought blowing himself up would be relief.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “He did try to kill me. He was killed…in my defense.”

“Would you like a beer?” asked Konda.

“I still have to set things up in my apartment,” I said.

I was haunted by that man’s desperate look. Was his life as a Micronian so horrible that the paradise promised by the Blood Martyrs was the only way out?

oooooooooo

“Welcome to Macross City,” I said as I saw Quinn.

“Good thing your parents managed to contact me,” he said. “I was surprised when they told you were alive and living here.”

I picked up Quinn at Macross International. It looked really different from last year. There were permanent buildings, and new buildings were being constructed. This was a major passenger and cargo hub, after all.

“Good to see you again,” Jenna said to Quinn.

“Same to you,” he replied.

We both loaded his luggage into the trunk of my Ford Mustang, which I bought from a dealership at the Macross Auto Mall soon after I moved in.

“I’ll sit in the back,” said Jenna, pushing the driver’s seat forward.

I then started the engine and drove off to my apartment.

“We have really long days this time of year,” I said. Sunglasses helped with dealing with that, along with keeping people from easily recognizing me, like the Blood Martyrs.

“I heard that Macross City used to be near the tropics,” said Quinn.

“Well, the events of the past four years have been, well, I'm sure that schoolchildren would want to read about it over and over again a hundred years from now.”

“when I looked out the window before we landed, the whole area around the city was barren. It looks worse here than anywhere else.”

“There was a giant anti-ship cannon located near here,” said Jenna. “It eliminated a huge portion of the Zentraedi fleet. They focused their counterattack around this area.”

I stayed silent. As bad as the initial bombardment was, it was spread out all over the globe, with many of the shots hitting the oceans. When the second salvo was concentrated in eastern Alaska, the area was sterilized. There were not even any corpses of trees or animals. I still remember pictures of the ground, covered in glass beads.

Sudddenly I saw this giant man fall to the ground. I slammed my brakes hard.

“What the hell is that?” asked Quinn.

“A Zentraedi,” I said. “Some of their engineers are working here.”

“I’ve heard of them, but I never seen them in person.”

“The giant-sized ones, at least,” said Jenna. “More and more of them shrink down to our size and live among us.”

I got out of the car and saw two of the giant-sized Zentraedi arguing.

Then one of them impaled the other Zentraedi, the one who had been knocked to the street earlier. The attacker then ran away. I looked and saw the fleeing giant and heard the honking of horns as drivers of cars tried to avoid him.

“It looks like we have a story to cover,” I said.

“Just like old times,” said Quinn.

Minutes later, the wounded Zentraedi engineer was airlifted by two Chinook helicopters. The Macross City Police Department was there; the red and blue lights iof tgheir police cruisers flashing.

“Well, well well, look who’s back from the dead,” I heard.

I looked and saw Detective Bruno Fantone, still dressed in a tacky suit.

“Hi, Detective,” I said.

“You’ve met him before?” asked Quinn.

“Yeah,” he said.. “I kind of sort of arrested him for terrorism a few years back. Anyway, what happened here?”

“Well, my friend and I were going to his apartment,” said Quinn. “ I came to visit him from New York and my flight had arrived. Suddenly this giant falls down onto the street. He was arguing with aniother giant, and then the giant who fell on the street was stabbed.”

“That's what happened,” I said. “They were arguing in their native tongue. After he stabbed the other giant, he ran that way.”

“Okay, people,” said this woman with blond hair, wearing a police uniform. “I want this crime scene to be secure.”

I noticed the four stars on her collar and the nametag C. PRIDE.

“Excuse me,” I said to her, telling her about what I had seen.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Any comments, Chief?” I asked.

“I remember you,” she said. “I was Lieutenant Commander Christina Pride, in charge of shipboard security. You helped interview those defectors. But you’re…”

“Chief, his death may have been an act to fool certain people,” said Fantone.

“Do you have a statement, Chief?” asked Quinn.

“We've had other incidents of Zentraedi causing trouble.”

“So this isn't the first time this happened?”

“No, there are reports of rioting by the Zentraedi. Some of them want to fight again. Anyway, we’re just here to keep the crime scene secure.” She looks down the road. “here they come.”

Some black Toyota SUV’s arrived. A man in a suit walks out.

“Phil,” he said.

“Hi, Chrissy,” said the man named Phil, who had brown hair. He looked at me. “Colonel Le Blanc, Global Military Police.” He spoke in this Cajun drawl.

Quinn and I introduced ourselves.

“Ah, reporters,” said the GMP colonel. “What did you see here?”

We all told him about the fight between the two giant Zentraedi.

“I used to be the OCI officer on board during the SDF-1 Campaign.”

“OCI?” asked Quinn.

“Office of Crim’nal Investigations. ‘Twas de agency that did criminal investigations for de UEF, before we were reorganized into the GMP. I was part of de team dat investigated dat casino bombing.”

“I read about that.”

“What are you doing now?” I asked.

“We got helicopter flyin’ around. Dis city is surrounded by square miles of wasteland. We also put in a call for de U.S. Marshals and de Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We will get out big man.”

So it was happening. Some of the Zentraedi were not satisfied with peace. If a leader were to gather them, they might renew the Robotech War.

And there were many candidates for such leaders, both alien and not-so-alien.

Oooooooooooo

We all later took a ride to the Bright Star Casino and headed to the Lucky Shamrock. Quinn looked around at the gaming machines and tables, as well as the cocktail servers walking about.

“So this was one of your hangouts,” said Quinn.

“Layout was a little different when it was on the ship,” I said, “But the style is the same.”

The place still had its wooden varnished look. People still had beers. Some of the sounds of the gaming machines from the casino can be heard here.

“Legalized gambling is another reason for people to visit New Macross City, aside from having their picture taken with the SDF-1 in the background,” I said.

“Great to see you,” said Captain Dennis Ward, entering the room. He was wearing his Class “A” uniform, not the summer Class “C” variant worn by most Spacy officers in North America and Asia, probably because New Macross City did not get that hot. “I was surprised to hear from you.”

“I saw you back at that homecoming last year,” said Quinn. “Great to see you. How are things going?”

“Still doing public relations for RDF Command,” he said. “We’re the only combatant command, now.”

“I’m still a reporter, just under a different name,” I said.

“Admiral Gloval actually still lives here,” said Dennis.

“Tell us more,” said Quinn.

“When he was only in charge of RDF Command, he bought this big house in the suburbs. He only sleeps in the Penthouse when he has extended business in New York.”

“the Penthouse?” asked Quinn.

“It’s the official residence of the Supreme Commander,” answered Jenna, while sipping a beer, “at the headquarters in Brooklyn.”

I was very familiar with housing prices in New York. Plus a penthouse would not have a backyard for backyard barbecues.

“Look who’s here,” said Greg, still wearing the white shirt with green necktie.

“Good to see you again,” I said, hugging him.

“Anyway, life’s going great,” said Greg. “I’m planning a trip to Hawaii in September. A lot of us wish the ship landed in Hawaii instead of Alaska after that battle.”

“Anything else?”

“I got to get to work, but we held a nice going away party for Vince last month,” said Greg. “Jean is going to be working at hospital at an air station in France. It’s in the Normandy area, I think.”

“I wonder if they have the vineyards up and running again there,” said Jenna.

“Maybe. Anyway, Vince and Jean had a baby boy just about two months ago, and Jean will return to duty at the hospital later this month.”

“Congratulations to your friends,” said Quinn, tasking a sip from his beer.

Oooooooo

“I can’t believe that getting there is so complicated,” said Jenna. “More so that when I trained to fly veritechs.”

“It will be a tempting target for aliens and ...those not so alien,” I said, tightening my necktie.

It had been two days since Quinn flew back to New York. Today was Jenna’s last day iof leave, before she would return to Twentynine Palms and begin her duties as XO of Knight Squadron. I drove Jenna to her pickup point, which was basically a strip mall on the outskirts with businesses like fast food places, barber shops, and other things. I noticed many uniformed people waiting at the lot. I then drove the Mustang through the streets, and then arrived at my pickup location, which was another strip mall with the same types of businesses, albeit with different names. There were other people there, dressed in business attire. I looked around, and noticed police cars parked. I looked at the rooftops and saw people on top, armed with rifles. No doubt the police had other officers in plainsclothes standing around, ready for trouble and hoping trouble does not happen.

Then an unmarked, plain-looking bus there. A man in plain clothes walked out.

“We will take you to the place,” he said.

I presented my credentials. I had to get an e-mail and then log in to a web site to enter a password. It was a password I could not copy and paste, as its text was in an image. I got in the bus with the others. Soon, the bus left the strip mall.

It was maybe ten minutes before the bus reached one of the back gates of Joint Forces Air Field Macross. There were two Tomahawk Destroids guarding the gate. We then had our passes scanned again, by this blue-uniformed guard, and then waved through.

We arrived at this place at the edge of the field. Thousands were gathered. I could see blue-uniformed guards standing watch, along with Destroids and VF-1 Valkyrie veritech battloids. A tarp covered this huge rectangular thing.

There were some people all standing on a wooden podium in front of the thing. They were wearing either business suits or military dress uniforms. One man I recognized. He was wearing a felt coat and trousers. He had black hair and a drooping black moustache and an amber complexion. He was none other than Tokhtamysh Borjigin, the Secretary General of the United Nations.

“Good morning,” said the Secretary General. “Thank you all for coming here. I apologize for the tight security measures, but please understand that the Secretarial Guard, the Global Military Police, and the base security here all needed the practice.”

Many of us laughed.

“Ladies and gentleman, people of the nations of Earth, I want to introduce to you the man who was the captain of the SDF-1 Macross, who went above and beyond to get his crew and the civilians home and to protect the Earth,” said Borjigin. “I introduce to your Admiral Henry J. Gloval, United Nations Spacy, Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces.

Admiral Gloval stood before the microphone, wearing a cloak over his dress whites, with plenty of medals pinned to his tunic. We all clapped.

“Thank you, sir,” said the admiral. “As Supreme Commander, as the captain of the Macross during the SDF-1 campaign, it is my honor to unveil this memorial.”

He walked to a rope and pulled. The tarp went up, withdrawn to a scaffolding above. IO could see it- a huge dark wall with many, many names carved into it.

“Today we dedicate this memorial wall to those who gave all during the SDF-1's journey through space,” said Gloval. “Many of us here spent two years on that ship. Each name of this wall is the name of a person who gave all so that we could be here. These people were friends, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and fathers. Today we celebrate their memory. Let us dedicate ourselves to building a better world- no, a better Universe.”

We all clapped. We all then walked to the wall.

Jenna and Katie along with their old squadmates were wearing dress blues. Jenna had spent the morning polishing her medals, especially the Purple Heart and the SDF-1 Campaign Medal.

We walked to the wall to look at the name that was engraved on the wall.

2LT LANI HART, UNSM

We all took strips of paper, pressed it against Lani’s entry on the wall, and rubbed with black chalk. As we did so, memories surfaced. Of celebrations, of happy times.

And of the time Jenna went into my apartment and told me of her death before breaking down.

Lani’s parents and her younger brother Bryan were there, all dressed professionally, with Bryan in his dress whites. He had far fewer medals than Jenna or Katie did, though of course he had the SDF-1 Campaign Medal.

“Good to see you,” I said to them.

“We’re..not happy to be here,” said George Hart. “But..but it’s good to be here.”

I held Jenna’s arm. “Shall we go?” I asked.

“suire.”

We walked about. Jenna suddenly stopped and delivered a salute. I looked and saw a man in Space Marine dress blues, with plenty of medals pinned to his uniform.

He was none other than Colonel Angus Beckett, her former commanding officer.

“Good morning, Major,” said the colonel, returning Jenna’s salute.

“Just paying respects to my best friend, sir,” she replied.

“As was I,” said Beckett.

“Congratulations on your new job as XO of my old squadron.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Dan Colmes always told me when I was bullshitting myself. In private, of course.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, sir.”

I remembered Dan Colmes. Killed early in the campaign, leaving behind a widow and young children.

“Great to see you two,” said his wife Maribel.

I looked and saw the colonel’s children, all dressed in their best. The youngest one, a girl, looked about three or four years old now.

I remembered when I saw her as a baby, back where she and her brothers and sisters were living on the ship with their parents. That seemed so long ago.

“Colonel, how are things?” asked Jenna.

“I no longer fly veritechs anymore,” replied the colonel. “Flying veritechs takes a heavy toll on man and machine.”

From the look on his eyes, I could tell the toll on man was not just a physical toll.

“We will be taking our leave,” said Beckett, walking away with his family. “We still need to see Dan’s widow and his kids.”

I then saw Vince Grant, along with his wife Jean.

“Hi, k..Vince,” I said, remembering he had grown from the kid who hosted for a bar and grill while attending high school.

“Good to see you,” he said.

Vince wore a suit for this memorial, and Jean was in dress whites, with medals and devices identifying her as a medical officer in the Spacy Medical Corps. But that was not the most important feature.

She was holding a little chair, and inside lay an infant with curly black hair.

“This is our son, Bowie,” she said.

Jenna and I looked at him. He was awake.

“Hard to believe,” said Vince.

“He’s so cute!” exclaimed Jenna.

We held the baby’s little hands.

“How is France?” I asked.

“We’re getting used to the place. I still send messages to my sister,” said Vince.

“I want to get used to my new home before I resume work next week,” said Jean.

“If you can excuse us,” said Vince. “There are some more friends we want to catch up with before our flight back to Normandy.”

“Good to see you too,” said Jenna.

“Stay healthy,” replied Jean. “I’d like to see you again, but not in the emergency room.”

We walked along the wall. So many people were paying respects. We could not help but be grateful.

I then saw a woman in dress whites giving a salute. The two one-inch stripes on her shoulder boards identified her as a first lieutenant.

But neither the dress whites, rank markings, or medals were her most distinctive feature.

It was her green hair.

That was Miriya Sterling, nee Parino. I last saw her at the wedding.

Jenna, being a higher ranking officer, returned her salute. “Good morning, Lieutenant.”

“Major,” replied Miriya.

“Is that your baby?” asked Katie.

Miriya’s husband, Lieutenant Commander Max Sterling, was holding a baby seat. A little green-haired infant was sitting there.

“Yes, she is,” replied Commander Sterling. “Her name is Dana.”

I remembered an announcement from them regarding her birth. That was before…

“Such a cute baby,” she said. “We should all take a picture. Lani would have liked this.”

Then I remembered something.

Miriya led the Queadluun-Rau squadron that killed Lani, whether or not she pulled the trigger herself.

“Uh..I’m sure you want to show baby Dana around,” said Jenna. “As you were.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” replied Miriya. “Have a great day.”

“Uh, you too , Lieutenant. And your husband too, of course.”

“Take at least one picture please,” said Commander Sterling.

And so we did.

I looked around. I was on assignment, and there were many more to talk to,.


Oooooooooo

We all had lunch with Lani’s family at the Lynns’ Chinese restaurant. We advised them rto make reservations way ahead of schedule, and our foresight was proven wise, and the place was packed. After all, it was popular with the crew, and many of them wanted lunch here after the ceremony. I could see many military people, still wearing dress uniforms.

“How are things going in Lemoore?” I asked Bryan, who was now a sergeant.

“Planes are taking off,” he replied. “I now have to babysit the crewmen. Lemoore has one or two places. Fresno’s a little bit bigger, but it only has those chain restaurants and big box stores. Downtown’s still under construction.”

“Where is your boyfriend?” Brittany Hart asked Katie.

“He is with his old crewmates,” replied Katie.

“You must wish he was here with you.”

“I do. But they served together, fought together…and grieved together.”

“I understand,” said George Hart. “I will never forget my friends who were lost in the Global War.”

Jenna swallowed a piece of chow fun.

““And the Zentraedi,” she said. “Let’s face it. Lani, Katie, and I killed a lot of them during the war.”

Lani’s family looked confused. They could not dispute what Jenna had just said.

“In fact, Lani killed three of them in that battle just before she was killed. Even though they knew nothing but war, they still had friends. Some of them live among us, some of them even go so far as to serve in the military with us, to defend our society. And some of them…some of them even raise families among us.”

For a minute there was silence.

“Not all of them,” said Bryan. “Some of them hide out in the wilderness, raiding human communities. And many of them are joining Khyron Whatshisname. Some of them just want to keep killing us.”

“As do some humans,” I said.

People from different cultures, different worlds have come together to achieve a common good.

But other people, from those same cultures and same worlds, also came together to inflict a common evil, with Samir Atta Nidal and Khyron Kravshera being a prominent example.

“I’d like to know more about Lani,” I said. “I..I wasn’t at my best when I wrote that obituary. I want to write an article that could do her justice.”

“Sure,” said her dad.

“I’ll start,” said Jenna. “Well, yes. As you know, I met her in veritech flight training. The training base was in Macross City near the SDF-1. Veritech fighter training was very grueling, even more so than Marine Officer Training. Some of us who did not pass became pilots of transport and Cat's Eye planes. We got liberty almost every evening and weekend, except when we had to do live night flying. The training for guardian and battloid modes was conducted in Groom Lake Air Force Base since the modes were top secret at the time. I formed a close friendship with Lani and Katie. We were inseparable. We would eat out at restaurants, gamble our pay in the Bright Star Casino. We even went to Australia in the December before the launch of the SDF-1. Being with her lifted my spirits. And of course, we told each other things that we never told anyone else.”

“How did Lani react when she learned that she was going to be shipped out on SDF-1?”

“She was ecstatic,” said Jenna. “She saw it as some kind of adventure. We didn't hear of the Zentraedi at the time, of course. She invited her parents and brother over to witness the ship's launch.

“And we had lunch right here,” said Brittany Hart. “Well, not exactly here, but, you know. And yes, she was excited that her squadron was going to be deployed on the very ship that the people of Earth rebuilt. I can’t imagine it crashed fourteen years ago.”

“Fourteen years,” said George Hart. “Lani must have been what…ten, eleven at the time. We were all glued to the TV when our Prime Minister revealed what happened a few days before.”

“I was not even seven years old yet,” said bryan. “I kind of knew it was important enough to keep me from watching my cartoons.”

“Anyway, had loaded our supplies and equipment on board ship,” said Jenna. “Only the administrative staff would stay behind in Macross City. After the ship launched, we were to fly up into orbit to rendezvous with SDF-1 after it completed docking with the ARMD's. But then the SDF-1 fired its main gun at the Zentraedi ships. Colonel Beckett told us to suit up and prepare for immediate takeoff. When the colonel gave the order to fly up there, I looked and Lani and Katie, we all looked at each other, and gave a group hug. Then we took off to repel the Zentraedi attack. I saw a Zentraedi fighter on the ground, and the colonel ordered me to go down and take a closer look, and you know what happened from there.”

“How did she deal with the aftermath of the fold operation?”

“After we got off duty, we kept a vigil for her parents and brother. She was relieved when she found out they had been rescued along with the rest of Macross City. She helped them adjust to their new life aboard ship. She always made sure to visit or call them at least three times a week.”

“She said how lucky she was that she goty to visit us aboard,” said George hart. “and yet, she wanted to get us safely off on Earth, to be away from danger.”

“Anything else?” I asked.

She even saved my life once, when my veritech was badly damaged and she pushed me to the Prometheus.”

“What happened…that last day?” asked Brittany Hart.

“On that day, we were given four-hour shifts,” said Jenna. “I had the morning shift with Lani and Katie. We went one hour in the sims , one hour in physical training, and one hour overseeing maintenance. Then we went to Lucky Shamrock for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.. Then the alarm sounded and we had to go back. We got dressed in our flight suits. We all looked at each other, and then I went to my plane. I left Lani for the last time that day. I want to say that I was blessed to know Lani Hart. I can never forget her.”

“Thanks,” I said. “We all suffered losses.”

And so we continued to talk about Lani. Her parents told us about how they felt when they first found out about her, the day she was born, heer first day at school, her first flight at te age of seven, her first solo flight at the age of twelve. Stories I heard before, but wanted to hear for my article.

That night, I published the article on Lani Hart, titled “A Name on the Wall”. I had written in the end, “Each and every name has a story behind it, a story of someone who gave all to ensure the people of Macross City could return to their home world.”


Oooooooooooooooo

“The place sure looks different,” I said, looking around.

Macross International Airport changed much since the construction. No longer were the terminals in these Quonsets with just a snack bar and some benches. There was a Chili’s and a McDonald’s and some shops and bars. Many people walked around, while others sat on benches. A video screen showed flight times of various destinations to North America and Asia.

“So you’re going back to New York,” said Katie. “You don’t like living here?”

“I’ll still live here,” I said. “I just need to see this event.”

We hugged. “Take care,” she said.

“We’ll meet again,” said Jenna.

We kissed.

Twenty minutes later, my flight took off from Macross International, on its way to JFK.

I stood in a crowd, wearing nondescript clothes. Behind a velvet rope stood the Mayor of New York and some dignitaries. There were some uniformed police officers overseeing the event, and perhaps many more in plainsclothes mingling in the crowd.

We were all looking at this large, green building, about 1,500 feet long and maybe ninety stories high, as high as many of the tallest skyscrapers in Manhattan. It was a Zentraedi Tou Redir scout ship, now rebuilt.

“It was two years ago that this alien ship crashed right here in Queens,” said the mayor. “The aliens who crewed this ship turned against their leaders to fight with us. We decided to turn this ship of war into a place where we can work, shop, and live. Today we open for business. With over ten thousand residential units and over a million square feet of retail space, this will be a tourist attraction to remember.”

We all clapped as His Honor cut a yellow ribbon to one of the entrances. We all went inside.

The place was like a shopping mall. There were all sorts of stores open, along with a few vacant retail spaces. Escalators and elevators allowed access to the different levels of the ship. There was even a train allowing quick transport around the place. A directory revealed that the Nova Complex had its own subway stop, as well as a marina allowing boats from the East River to dock there.

“Wow,” said Quinn. “I never imagined such a place could exist.”

“It is amazing even after all I've been through,” I said, looking at the kiosks and stores.

A holographic billboard advertised the place, notifying us of two hundred stores and eighty fabulous restaurants. The place was crowded, like a mall on Christmas Eve. The mayor made sure to shake everyone's hand and pose for pictures. I went around asking questions.

“I actually got a complimentary condo unit here,” said this man. “My house was demolished when this ship crashed. I think I’ll live here for a while before I decide whether or not to sell my unit.”

Quinn and I sat in a pub adjacent to a food court, drinking beers. We did ask for statements from the employees.

I could only imagine taking Jenna here.

Ooooooooo

I did visit my parents in Forest Hills, albeit discreetly since I was supposed to be dead to the world. I checked out the places on Austin Street.

But there was one important thing I had to do. Quinn and I was at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. This story would be written solely by Quinn Sullivan, as I would have a huge conflict of interest in writing this story. Still, I was there, wearing a white shirt, black neckltie, and black slacks. It was the typical hot day in July.

There were some military people in class “C” dress uniforms, which were less elaborate, with small brass buttons as well as the medals pinned to the chest. I recognized Admiral Henry J. Gloval, the Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces, as well as General Victor Maistroff, the commander of the Robotech Defense forces Command.

Secretary General Tokhtamysh Borjigin stood at a podium. He was wearing a short=-sleeved felt outfit. He held a medal attached to a long neck ribbon.

“In my capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations,” he said, “I hereby award, in the name of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Jeng Chiang, United Nations Space Marine Reserve, for his acts of gallantry against the enemy at risk to his own life.”

He then gave the medal to Chiang’s parents. Borjigin hugged them. He then shook hands with people who appeared to be Sergeant Chiang’s brothers and sisters.

I could never forget his sacrifice. After enduring months of torture and starvation, he worked up the will to escape, taking down a few of those cowards before being gunned down himself. There was no doubt about his intrepidity and gallantry.

It was not for his sake that we were giving him the Medal, but for our own.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-21 12:32pm

Chapter 41

Siberian Dawn


“Siberia,” said Lieutenant Joel Reese. “You’re going to need a parka when you get there.”

“It won’t actually be that bad,” I said. “It’s expected to be about fifty degrees. I’ll need a jacket, but not a parka like I would in January.”

“You’ll be close to where we’re being deployed,” said Katie.

I heard that Knight Squadron would be deployed. I took the next flight to Twentynine Palms. We were sitting inside a Buffalo Wild Wings that was in a shopping center across Highway 62 from the main base. It was a typical place, with booths and tables and a bar. Various sports were being played. Aside from buffalo wings, which were certainly not made from buffaloes, there were various sandwiches and wraps. I myself had a soft pretzel.

“Actually, it’s not. Russia is a really big place, after all.”

“Yeah, we’re supposed to be deployed to this place called Volgograd,” said Jenna. “We’re gonna be providing VT close air support in the campaign against the Chechen separatists and their renegade Zentraedi allies.”

I nodded. The Chechen separatists had been one of the factions of the Anti-Unification League. It was not surprising many Zentraedi, still wanting to fight, would be ready to enlist with the Chechens.

“Volgograd is short sleeve weather this time of year,” said Joel. “But at least it’s not the inside of an oven like Twentynine Palms is now.”

Having felt the air outside, even at dusk, I could not disagree with the lieutenant’s statement.

They were not leaving tomorrow. Tomorrow was Mess Night for Knight Squadron, and the morning after they will fly to Volgograd.

I myself would be flying back to Macross City early tomorrow morning, and then catching my flight to Siberia.

“Can’t wait for Mess Night,” said Katie.

“Remember the Mess Night we had before the launch of the SDF-1?” asked Jenna.

“Yeah,” replied Katie. “Lani sure enjoyed the cocktail reception.”

“Major Colmes was the one to make all the speeches.”

“You’re the major now,” said Joel.

Oooooo

I felt a jolt as the C-130 Hercules made contact with the landing strip. The door opened and I stepped out. I could smell the cold. A Space Marine MP, wearing a jacket over his outfit, greeted us.

“Welcome to Camp Zulu,” he said.

I presented the MP with my credentials. The colonel from UEF Headquarters who was on this flight stepped down from the Hercules, and the MP checked the credentials.

“My apologies, sir,” he said. “This is a high security area. We must verify the identity of all visitors.”

“That is the order I would give if I were in command,” replied the colonel.

I looked around the airstrip. It was small, with a few Quonset huts and a tower, just a shadow of JFAF Macross, let alone Macross International or JFK.

I looked beyond the fence. There were very large buildings, which looked over six stories tall.

“Pretty impressive,” said the colonel, whose name was Rolf Emerson. “Security’s tight here, for obvious reasons. Though not as stressful as my upcoming hearing in divorce court.”

We had met at the transport terminal at JFAF Macross; he had flown from JFAF Long Island. We caught the flight from JFAF Macross to Camp Zulu in Siberia.

We botjh went inside an olive green Toyota Avalon staff car. I looked around the complex, with its large buildings. The car went under a pedestrian bridge. I looked and saw a full-0sized Zentraedi, which was not surprising, given what I had been briefed about the place. I also saw some Destroids of the Tomahawk and Spartan variety.

We reached this tall, imposing building. We were escorted through the hallways, passing Space Marines doing various tasks.

We went through some double doors and entered a large office. It had a wooden desk andf come file cabinets. A black-haired man sat behind the desk, wearing a Class “A” uniform.

Colonel Emerson introduced me.

“I am Colonel Tong, commandant of Camp Zulu,” he said, extending his hand. “Space Marine HQ has informed me of your arrival.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said, shaking his hand. I sat down on a chair facing the commandant’s desk.

“As you may have been told, Camp Zulu is a camp for Zentraedi holdout POW’s.”

I was told that when I got my assignment. “Anything you can tell me?”

“We are strictly a facility to confine holdouts who had surrendered,” said the colonel. “Any captured Zentraedi who identify with Breetai’s fleet, or had been granted legal residency on Earth, are not considered POW’s. The policy of the United Earth Government is to treat captured holdouts in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.”

“What of discipline?”

“Like human POW’s, the holdouts are subject to the Articles of Discipline. They can be tried by court-martial for violations of the Articles, as well as the laws of war.”

“What can you tell us about the history with the holdouts?” I asked.

“Early on, holdouts who surrendered simply submitted to Supreme Commander Breetai’s authority,” said tong. “It made sense. There were no rival leadership figures, so the first generation of captured holdouts joined Breetai because they credited him for defeating them. But leadership figures arose from the ranks of the holdouts; Khyron Kravshera not the least of them. Now, the holdout POW’s are more reluctant to join Breetai.”

“What about releasing them? Surely they are not here to serve a life sentence simply for being an enemy combatant.”

“Some fo the holdout factions have made peace agreements. Others have decided to join human society. The holdouts helped rebuild the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They were paid, by the way.”

Neither of us mentioned that some of the holdout factions decided to fight in the ethnic and tribal wars that started up in many parts of the world.

I looked out the window, seeing some full-sized Zentraedi walk through the camp.

“I know you probably prefer to stay in my nice, warm office, but I doubt you can get all the information you need for your story just by staying here.”

He was right.

We went down outside and got inside an open-air Jeep. He told me about the POW berthing area, with buildings that contained bunks for the POW’s.

“The POW’s rank among themselves,” said Colonel Tong. “It keeps things organized.”

We stopped, and an MBR-07 Destroid Spartan crossed at the crosswalk. “We had to train MP’s to operate these things,” said Tong. “The assignment does pay very well.”

“Yeah, but they have to be stationed in Siberia,” said Colonel Emerson.

We made another stop. There was what looked like a giant volleyball court, with several Zentraedi POW’s, all dressed in T-shirts and shorts, playing with a volleyball that must be about six feet in diameter. The fences around were high, to keep the huge volleyball from endangering human-sized people.

“We find that offering physical sporting activities keeps the POW’s content. Now let’s take you to the Big Mess.”

We stepped at a building that was on the edge of the fence. The three of us entered a room; an MP stood at attention upon seeing two superior officers. We got inside an elevator. The only buttons were “G” and “9”.

Tong pressed the button for the Ninth floor. We emerged into this large room. There were already some MP’s, with some of them watching through this window set on the floor. A military police sergeant stood at attention.

“I’m giving this reporter a tour,” said Tong.

“Yes, sir,” replied the sergeant. “Everything’s normal.”

“Looks like we arrived just in time,” said the colonel.

I looked through the window and could see the floor below. There were tables and benches. People carried trays and sat down.

No wonder it was called the Big Mess, for this was where the Zentraedi POW’s got their meals.

“Does anyone make regular visits?” I asked.

“The International Red Cross visits,” replied Tong. “As does an officer from Breetai’s staff.” He looked down at the POW’s as they had their meal. “Seeing them do normal stuff; they’re not much different than us.”

“For both good and bad,” said Emerson.

Our fates were intertwined.

And just like some Zentraedi fought alongside us in the United Earth Forces, others fought alongside the Chechen separatists, or the ethnic militias in the Balkans and the Congo and the Middle East.

And there were those who fought alongside much worse people.

We then left the Big Mess. We went to a recreation room, or rather the observation room that allowed us to look down into the recreation room. I could see giant-sized pool tables, a shuffleboard, and some video game consoles. The observation room also has its own consoles.

“This room allows some of us to play video games with the POW’s,” said Colonel tong. “It helps them acclim…”

The room rumble. Suddenly, an alarm sounded.

“We’d better go,” said Tong.

We got into the elevator and went down, hoping the power supply did not cut off. Who was attacking? We went out, and I saw the severed arm of a Destroid Spartan.

“We have to get you to shelter,” Emerson said to me. I looked amnd saw giant green suits of armor standing around, which clearly were not of a design used by the United Earth Forces. I looked up into ther sky and saw these flying suits of armor. Three of them landed.

“Attention all Zentraedi,’ said this booming voicer coming from one of the suits. “This is Khyron Kravshera, your Lord and Savior! I have come to rescue you.”

I looked and saw a Tomahawk troop arrive to do battle with Kravshera and his renegades. Kravshera, or at least the suit that transmitted his voice, opened fire one of the Destroids, and the Tomahawk fell down in flaming wreckage.

I ran to take cover. I then saw a familiar man with blond hair with a widow’s peak.

“Lieutenant Fredericks,” I said.

“Nice to see you here,” said Lieutenant Alan Fredericks of the Global Military Police.

I wondered whom he pissed off to get reassigned to Siberia.

Some of the suits of armor were firing at targets on the ground. No doubt this Khyron fellow wanted to do as much damage to Camp Zulu as he could before he had to flee.

As the battle continued, I could see trails of smoke leading straight towards these suits of armor. One of them went down. It looked like some of the Marines on foot were firing bazookas at the renegades.

I saw this giant ship. It was lifting something up by a crane.

I looked and saw a fallen marine, with a portable missile launcher lying next to him.

I picked it up and placed it on my shoulder. I looked through the viewfinder.

I could see the renegade ship through the viewfinder. The targeting system had a lock.

No regrets.

I opened fire. A rocket flew out and struck the inside.

The renegade ship fell and crashed.

I looked around. There was much destruction around Camp Zulu.

“I’m not the enemy!” I heard a booming voice yell. I saw a Zentraedi in overalls, his hands up.

Hour later, an Air Force corpsman looked at me. I was not badly hurt, maybe a cut or two. I could see tarps covering the fallen guards. A much larger tarp covered a giant Zentraedi who was a prisoner; I did not know if he tried to escape with Kravshera’s forces, or simply tried to hide and got caught in the crossfire. VF-1 Valkyrie veritechs in battloid mode stood guard.

I was evacuated by a Sea Sergeant helicopter to an air base, much larger than the auxiliary air field that served Camp Zulu. I had to stay overnight in this small room before I could take the next flight back to New Macross City.

Oooooooooo

RENEGADES ATTACK POW CAMP

That was my headline. I had attended a press conference inside the SDF-1. Admiral Gloval himself delivered the news.

The UEF also released a list of names of those killed in the raid, including Space Marine Colonel Tong.

“They gave all,” said the admiral.

oooooooooo

Not long afterward, I took a flight to Detroit. Due to its location on a major inland shipping route, it was a high priority for reconstruction by the U.S. government.

It was also the site of the most recent raid by renegade Zentraedi. They managed to defeat the U.S. troops stationed in the city, and then left.

I looked around, seeing the same kind of destruction that I saw at Camp Zulu, only these were people’s homes and businesses.

I spoke to some people on the street.

“There were these suits of giant armor,” said this lady. “They just tore everything up.” I continued to gather more statements.

The raiders were so well-equipped.

After that, there was a broadcast from Khyron Kravshera.

"This is Khyron Kravshera, Lord and Savior of all Zentraedi,” he said. “I have just captured the resizing chamber. I now invite all Zentraedi to become giants again. Together, we can crush the Micronians!"

He had the same madness in his eyes as did Samir Atta Nidal. No wonder they were friends.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-22 11:45am


Chapter 42

Star Saver​
Khyron Kravshera’s announcement was big news.

“Our forces will work with Admiral Gloval and the United Earth Forces to contain and ultimately eliminate the threat of Khyron Kravshera,” said President Hayden Ridge.

So many talking heads on TV were talking about how big of a threat Kravshera was, and how our air defense network had too many holes for him to slip through.

There were leaks. One such leak, from an anonymous source, stated that we would need four times as many fighter wings to be able to have a tight enough air defense that the major cities and strategic bases could be protected from surprise raids. I wondered if the UEF purposefully leaked that, to get the nations of the world to devote more resources to tightening our air defenses.

There were also stories of micronized Zentraedi disappearing. Many of their apartments were found as if no one lived there in days. Many of them simply stopped showing up to their jobs. There were also micronized Zentraedi going AWOL.

We were asking. What was Kravshera’s next major move?

He answered that when I read news of a Zentraerdi invasion of Israel. It was not merely a raid bya renegade band hiding out in the wastelands, but Zentraedi with those power armor. The Israeli Defense Force fought fiercely. Aircraft under UEF command provided air support to help the IDF drive away Khyron’s forces.

Admiral Gloval once again held a press conference. Not from New York or New Macross City, but from a forward operating base in Israel. He appeared wearing short-sleeve service khakis, standing outdoors. The base had some tents and Quonset huts set up.

“We have driven away Khyron’s forces,” said the Supreme Commander. “We have a reserve force stationed in Israel to prepare for further attacks. We have scout planes looking for the enemy supply bases. We know that at least thirty thousand were killed, and thousands missing.”

Later that day, I had a Skype date with Jenna, who was still in Russia with her squadron.

“How are things?” I asked.

“Hot,” she replied. “you know, we actually had to fly to Israel.”

“How was it?”

“We just went in to mop up after that Khyron fellow’s main force was smashed. I’m wondering why Israel was the target. Istanbul in Turkey and Alexandria in Egypt would be much more strategic targets.”

I knew that Istanbul stood at the strait between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, while Alexandria was at the mouth of the Nile and a short distance from the Suez Canal.

“Nidal,” I said. “Samir Atta Nidal. Nidal’s men helped Khyron, taught his men how to fix stuff, so he returned the favor by invading Israel.”

“Nidal hates Israel.”

“Nidal wants to drive the Jews into the sea and create an Islamic state in place of Israel..No, that was what he wanted before the Rain of Death. Now Nidal just wants to spread terror and mayhem.”

“But why would Kravshera waste men and equipment invading Israel?” asked Jenna. “He needs supplies; otherwise he’ll be reduced to hiding in a really big cave. If they track where his main forces are garrisoned, the admiral can simply call the Zentraedi who would then deliver an orbital bombardment…Wait, I can’t believe I’m talking about work on a Skype date.”

“I can’t believe it either,” I said, laughing. “We really should leave the deep thinking to the staff at Macross and New York.”

Oooooooo

I looked at the auditorium in front of me. It was very large, big enough to accommodate some full-sized Zentraedi guests. The stage had this half-oval shape.

I showed the pass to the security guard, who waved me in. I walked down a corridor in the backstage area.

A man with long black hair, wearing a purple outfit, looked at me with surpriswe in his eyes.

“You’re alive!:” exclaimed Lynn Kyle.

“Great to see you,” I said.

“I got that picture, but I still can’t believe it.”

I came here to cover a concert Minmei was doing at this theater in Dujiangyan, in the Sichuan region of China. I got here via a one-stop flight from New Macross City via Xiamen. I had to convince her cousin and manager that I was still alive.

“How do you like this venue?” I asked.

“Great. The Zentraedi helped build this, helped rebuild here in Dujiangyan, actually. Some of them got a complimentary pass.”

I looked and could see some full-sized Zentraedi sitting down. The humans were wearing various typers of clothes, some of them dressed in the service uniforms of the United Earth Forces or the Chinese military services.

“We’re about to have our opening act,” said Kyle. “I’ll arrange a post-concert interview with Minmei.”

“Thanks,” I said to Kyle.

I sat in one of the box seats. This lady in a red dress came up a d performed the opening act, singing this song in Chinese. We all calpped after she ended her song.

Lynn Kyle stepped up onto the stage. “Thank you all for coming,” he said. “We- humans and Zentraedi- have made great progress in rebuilding Dujiangyan and other cities in Sichuan.

I was hearing Kyle in English due to the headphones I wore, which translated his speech, which was in Chinese. The headphones were developed from technology that we acquired from the Zentraedi.

“And now, let me introduce you to the singer whose song stopped a war. It is my honor to introduce Miss Lynn Minmei!”

Minmei appeared on the stage, looking pretty much as she did aboard the SDF-1 Macross. She wore this light blue dress.

“Thank you all for coming,” she said.

I removed my headphones. She then sang “Stage Fright” in Chinese. I figured I would listen to her song, in her native toungue, without having it translated. She continued with a few more songs, I recognized the tune of “to Be In Love”.

She then sang the Chinese rendition of “The Man in My Life”.

It was then that I heard some rumbling. This was not the sort of sound effect that would go with this type of song.

I then saw Zentraedi Regult battle pods break in. I and the rest of the audience took cover.

I looked around a corner. I saw Minmei and Kyle flee the stage.

And then they were stopped by this fifty-foot man dressed in a red tunic and green cloak.

He had teal hair and lavender skin. I saw his face.

That was none other than Khyron Kravshera himself, in the flesh!

He grabbed both of them.

One of the Zentraedi attackers said something to Kravshera, and then a Regult kicked him.

They then all left.

I took out my phone and started texting people. It would be about 2 A.M. in New Macross City., and 6 A.M. in New York. Furthermore, it was Saturday. I made sure to text Dennis and Jenna. I looked and saw the others in the audience texting. Even one of the giant Zentraedi was texting on a gnat sized smart phone.

It was only a few minutes later that the Chinese authorities arrived, with the United Earth Forces as backup. I could see transport trucks, armored personnel carriers, soldiers armed with rifles, Destroids of various types, and even some VF-1 Valkyrie veritech fighters. But even that was too late. With Minmei as Kravshera’s hostage, neither the Chinese nor United Earth militaries were going to launch air strikes against the renegades’ escape route.

After being interviewed by a major from the United Nations Air Force, there was not much to do but get on the next flight back to new Macross City.

Ooooooo

The teleivisions inside the passenger terminals at Macross International were all tuned to Khyron’s raid in Dujiangyan, just like they were during my three-hour layover in Xiamen. Everyone qwith a smart phone was reading articles. I myself made sure to submit an article about the raid.

None of the news articles mentioned the renegades taking Minmei and Kyle. There was so much confusion, as people in the concert were focused on not getting killed.

By now the Secretary General would have been informed of this raid. No doubt he was under intense public pressure to get this resolved. His office issued a press release, stating that he has been meeting with Admiral Henry J. Gloval, the Joint Chiefs, and the commanders of his forces on this recent development.

I went back to my apartment.

Khyron must be desperate after losing a chunk of his forces in that failed invasion of Israel just last week.

It was not long before he revealed the reason for capturing Minmei.

There was a video of him. It was published on several web sites.

“It’s a great pleasurer to interrupt you, Admiral Gloval,” he said.

“to the contrary, the disgust is all mine, I assure you,” I heard Admiral Gloval say, off screen.

“that makes me very happy., Oh, I have sxome friends of yours.”

Kravshera held Minmei in his right fist.

“Do not try my patience, Micronian, as I am known to have a violent temper!”

“I’m sorry,” said the admiral.

“Your apologies are humbly accepted. Now listen to me carefully. I want you to know that I mean business, Admiral. Now listen, deliver the space fortress to me tomorrow by 1200 hours.

“That’s impossible,” I heard someone say. “You’re crazy, Khyron.”

“But there is method to my madness. This other hostage, I will free him when you return my arsenal.”

I looked and saw an image of a giant purple-haired lady, holding Lynn Kyle.

“Don’t do it, Admiral!” yelled Kyle. “Don’t listen to them!”

“You mind your manners,” said the lady.

“It’s too dangerous,” Kyle pleaded. “You can’t, you can’t just give in to this guy!”

“You’re hurting him,” said Minmei.

“I would prefer to avoid violence, but believe me, Admiral, I am more than willing to carry out my threats. Do you understand?”

“I’m sure we’ll arrange something,” said Gloval.

“Well now, that’s better.” A man tapped the renegade warlord’s shoulder. “I really must be going now. Remember, tomorrow morning.”

There were other links to the same video. I read that it was part of a transmission that was captured by several satellite companies. No doubt Kravshera had his conversation WITH Admiral Gloval deliberately leaked.

How long ago with this? I did not know if it was 1200 Alaska Time or Eastern Time. I could only imagine the admiral meeting with Secretary General Borjigin almost immediately afterward, and emergency meetings of the United Earth Defense Council. The only news on the Secretary General’s web site was that they are still looking into the issue.

My phone rang.

“It’s Dennis,” said Dennis. “Can you come to the air field within an hour?”

“Sure,” I replied.

And I did, driving the Ford Mustang to the main gate of JFAF Macross. I showed my ID- well, the ID of my cover identity- and the Spacy policeman waved me through. I drove through the streets, parking near one of the hangars.

I looked and saw Captain Dennis Ward, dressed in his class “A’s”.

“No time to waste,” he said. “We’re clear for departure as soon as everyone arrives.”

While there were plenty of Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo jets, we were not using those. Instead, there was this sleek jet parked on a taxiway.

“It’s a suborbital jet,” said Dennis. “It can take us halfway across the Earth in just two hours.”

I looked and noticed General Victor Maistroff standing outside.

“Hello there,” he said.

“I’m guessing we’re trying to rescue Minmei,” I said.

“RDF Command is actually only providing support,” replied the general. “The actual strike force is reporting directly to Henry- Admiral Gloval.”

We boarded the plane and I sat in one of the seats. I could understand why Gloval would exercise direct control over the strike force- or rather, why the Secretary General would order Gloval to do so. It would be a major political disaster if Minmei were killed, and the General Assembly would not be content to get rid of Maistroff- or even Gloval. Therwe would be chaos within the United Earth Government.

And Khyron broadcasting his conversation with Gloval…Samir Atta Nidal sure had taught him well.

I was still lost in thought when we took off.

Oooooooo

As Dennis said, it was just a little over two hours aftert takeoff when I felt the landing gears make contact. I stepped out and was jarred to see the night sky, as well as all the constellations above us.

“Welcome to J-FAF Lop Nor,” said an Air Force airman.

“Lop Nor?” I asked.

“We’re in China,” said Dennis.

“Our intel indicates that Kravshera has a fortress deep in the Chinese desert,” said Maistroff. “I’ve had to redeploy units here as a reserve to intercept any attack he launches against the base here, or the shipyard.”

We got into a Humvee which took us to this large building. There were plenty of military personnel here, both of the United Earth Forces and the People’s Army of China.

Some people really stood out. There was some Zentraedi officers.

We all sat on this interior balcony, so that the humans could look eye to eye with the Zentraedi.

I heard footsteps of someone walking up the stairs. I looked and saw Captain Lisa Hayes, the same officer who had escaped from the Zentraedi three and a half years ago.

It seemed like a lifetime ago.

“Captain Hayes reporting,” she said.

A Space Marine major opened a briefcase and handed the captain some papers.

“Thank you, Major,” she said.

“You’re welcome, ma’am,” he replied.

“Attention!” barked General Maistroff. “Supreme Command has ordered a rescue of Lynn Minmei and Lynn Kyle. Captain Hayes will be coordinating the strike forces. The strike forces will be reporting directly to Supreme Command. Our job here is to provide backup. Captain Hayes, if you will.”

“Thank you, sir,” replied Hayes. “Intel has identified Khyron’s forward base in China as two hundred fifty klicks south-southeast of Lop Nor. We’ll set of a fall back point twenty klicks away. Skull Squadron, under the command of Captain Rick Hunter, will break into the facility, gran Minmei and Kyle, and then flee.”

She went on to explain more details of the operation, such as a plan to draw his main forces out into the open.

“Very well,” said the general. “Captain Hayes and her strike forces will do their part; we will do ours.”

I went outside. I saw the VF-1 Valkyrie fighters of Skull Squadron take off into the night sky above the Chinese desert.

Ooooooooo

It was less than an hour later when one of the veritechs landed in guardian mode on one of the taxiways. It led down two people.

There were Lynn Minmei and Lynn Kyle!

“Great to see you two,” I said.

“Thanks,” said Minmei.

“you okay?” I asked Kyle.

He did not reply. He seemed furious about something.

“So what happened?” I asked Minmei as we stood outside under the night sky.

“We were captured during a concert,” said Minmei. “They had us in a cage or something. They weren't used to my singing though. But then Khyron kissed that Zentraedi female that was with them. that was when the rescue operation began. Captain Hunter broke in and took out the Zentraedi inside.”

“I have something to say,” said Kyle. “Captain Hunter was reckless. He could have killed us all!”

“Stop it, Kyle!” barked Minmei. “Rick saved our lives! Why can't you be grateful!”

I later saw Kyle arguing with Captain Hayes. Minmei got in the way.

Then hatyes spoke wioth the pilot of the fighter, who was none other than Captain rick Hunter. They too seemed to be in an argument. The Hunter took off in his Valkyrie.

“They argue all the time,” said Dennis.

I looked towards the horizon as the sun was rising. I saw some of the Air Force corpsmen attending to Minmei and Kyle.

“I do have a question,” I said. “Did either of you see Samir Atta Nidal?”

“who?” asked Minmei.

“I don’t know,” I said. “There were micronized Zentraedi inside the room with us.”

“Did he speak to anyone outside his base?”

“I think he did,” said Kyle. “I did not see whom he was talking to.”

Soon the suborbital jet was ready to take us home.

“Supreme Command has put me in charge of mopping up these renegades,” said General Maistroff. “I will be staying here in Lop Nor for a while.”

“See you back at HQ, sir,” said Dennis, giving a salute. Maistroff returned the salute.

He, Lynn Minmei, Lynn Kyle, and I got inside the jet. Pretty soon we took off.

oooooo

The hostages were rescued with only a minor complaint, I wrote later. Some of Khyron's troops were captured, but Khyron himself managed to slip away.

There was one follow-up story to cover.

It was a memorial service at the JFAF Macross chapel, for Third Lieutenant Zaul Zeezer. It was a small chapel, with some pews. At the back was a photo collage, with a man in dress whites in the center.

The whole squadron was there wearing dress whites, with medals pinned to their chest. The chaplain finished his speech.

“I won’t hold his boss’s actions against him,” said Lynn Kyle, who was dressed in a suit.

“I remember you,” I heard someone say. I turned and saw a blond-haired woman in dress whites. She had the rank insignia of a second lieutenant, and several medals, including the SDF-1 Campaign Medal and the Battle Over Earth Medal.

“You are?” I asked.

“Lieutenant Shannon Cole,” she replied. “You were the one arrested when I was visisting Vince at the hospital after that bombing. I used to be a hostess at the Lucky Shamrock, when I was in high school.”

“Anything you can say?”

“I was pretending to fight the Zentraedi to draw the renegades out. Then we fought them. This guy in a suit actually struck my Valkyrie with his bare hands. Zaul must have been killed in the fight.

“You know, he was one of the Zentraedi fighter pilots that fought against us. I might have even tried to kill him once or twice. And now he’s gone.”

“Anything else?”

“We have leave coming up soon. I’m guessing the man at the top was really grateful for our work. I mean, there would have been a lot of trouble if we failed. I’m booking a flight to France. I want to see baby Bowie. He’s Vince’s kid, you know. Plus I heard the vineyards in the countryside there are up and running again.”

There were more people to interview, and of course I had to ask Captain Hunter for Lieutenant Zeezer’s service record.

We must all remember him.

Ooooooooooooooooooo

I lived life among the larger backdrop of the growing threat of the renegade warlord Khyron Kravshera. His reputation gave pause to many Zentraedi.

“We disavow any alliance with Khyron Kravshera,” said a Zentraedi officer serving the Chechen separatists.

For now, although they may change their minds if they get really desperate.

Tjhere were many pundits on TV debating if this Khyron fellow could resurrect the Anti-Unification League of old.

There was an important announcement from Secretary General Tokhtamysh Borjigin. He was in the press room at U.N. headquarters, wearing his felt outfit, with a brown-haired man in a suit flanking him.

“For the past two months the whole world was under the threat of the renegade warlord Khyron Kravshera,” said the Secretary General. “Sources report that he is receiving support not just from micronized Zentraedi, but Earth natives as well. Therefore, the General Assembly has appointed a special commission to evaluate the nature and extent of this threat. Wyatt Moran shall chair this commission.”

“Thank you, your Excellency,” said Wyatt Moran, who was the man standing next to Borjigin. “We will get to the truth of these claims, and we will make recommendations to the General Assembly and the agencies of the United Earth Government. Thank you.”

Of course, all of the talking heads on all the networks discussed the General Assembly’s Act.

“I assure the Secretary General that all federal agencies will cooperate with this commission,” said President Hayden Ridge.

There were similar statements from the President of China and the Prime Ministers of Russia and the United Kingdom.

Ooooooooo

It was in late September when I went to the SDF-1 for a meeting. Dennis had called me. I had been there before, so UI knew the drill- park in the visitor parking lot, get a visitor pass from the Spacy policeman at the parking lot guard shack, then take a shuttle bus into the building. I walked through the hallways and rode elevators, p[assing both servicemen and civilians.

I arrived at another security checkpoint, which had some benches, and was decorated by recruitment posters from the five UEF services. Once again I showed my ID- well, the ID of my cover identity- and after signing some forms, I was given another visitor pass, which I clipped to the coat of my suit. I then walked through the hallway.

I entered this large room with a table and some chairs surrounding it.

I looked and saw Captain Dennis Ward, Colonel Angus Beckett, Lieutenant Commander Claudia Grant, and a few others.

“Glad you can make it,” said Dennis.

“I’m definitely ready to cover the story,” I said. “How are the kids?” I asked Colonel Beckett.

“They’re doing great,” replied the colonel. “They’re getting along in school. Especially, Ba- Kelly, who started kindergarten.”

“I had dinner with Angus and Maribel just last week,” said Grant.

I looked out the window and saw a huge complex. There were ships being built, including one that must be nearly a mile long. I could see vehicles move around the complex, looking like tiny toys from this height.

“Our fleet is being built here,” said Dennis, “as well as at the shipyards in Roswell and Lop Nor.”

I heard footsteps. I turned and saw Jenna, dressed in her Class “C” uniform.

“Major Jenna Murphy reporting as ordered,” she said, standing stiff. Her eyes widened as she saw me.

I walked up to her and kissed her. I had not been close to her in such a long time. I just wanted to hold on to her. “When did you get back from Russia?” I asked.

“Yesterday,” she replied. “Most of the squadron is on leave. I got the orders to report here to RDF Command yesterday. I can’t believe how much colder New Macross is compared to Twentynine Palms. I wish I remembered to bring a jacket.”

I saw the others stand at attention. Jenna glanced, and then stepped about a foot away from the doorway and stood at attention as well. Two people entered.

They were General Victor Maistroff and the Zentraedi liaison Exedore.

“Attention, everyone,” said the general. “First of all, I am announcing that Admiral Henry Gloval has taken leave. All I can say is that he had important family business to attend to in Russia. Until his return to duty, Admiral Calavicci will act as Supreme Commander.”

I recalled that United Nations Ocean Patrol Admiral Bruno J. Calavicci was chairman of the UEF Joint Chiefs. Under UEF law, the chairman would assume the powers and duties of the Supreme Commander if the incumbent goes on leave or is otherwise unable to execute his duties.

“Hello there,” said Maistroff said to me. “We've reviewed your work. We have a special favor to ask you.”

“Name it,” I said.

“Zentraeid Supreme Commander Breetai is granting an interview,” said Exedore. “We would like you to do the interview.”

“Where is he?”

“Up in the Robotech Factory Satellite,” said Exedore.

“The Secretary General believes maintaining good relations with Breetai is important,” said Maistroff. “Major Murphy will fly our reporter up to the Satellite.”

“I am honored for this assignment, sir,” said Jenna. “I wonder why I am being chosen over the others?”

Maistroff looked at Beckett.

“You two work very well together,” said the colonel. “I have seen it myself.”

Commander Grant handed Jenna a manila envelope. “These are details of your mission- your call sign, password.”

“Don’t be the reason this mission is delayed,” the general said to Jenna. “The car will take you to the air field.”

“Yes, sir.”

oooooooooo


About an hour later, I was suited up and ready to go. I rode in a Jeep to the launching area where the veritech fighter was, with a booster attached.

“This is a VF-1R,” said Jenna, pointing to the black plane. “It's a new model; I qualified for it.”

I climbed into the cockpit of the VF-1R Valkyrie and sat in the seat. Jenna went through the pre-flight checklist. The plane was titled upwards, and soon the blue sky filled my field of vision.

“Special Air Mission Scoop to Macross Tower,” she said. “We are ready for takeoff.”

“You are cleared for immediate takeoff, Scoop,” said the air traffic controller. “Have a safe trip.”

We took off and headed into space.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-23 10:05am


Chapter 43

Interview With Breetai

Jenna and I were flying up into space in the VF-1R Valkyrie veritech fighter ; I had not been to space since my return from the Zentraedi flagship three months ago. I looked about and saw all sorts of spaceships in orbit.


“How was Russia?” I asked.


“We did pretty much the same things,” said Jenna. “Simulator drills, live action drills, maintenance. I did as much paperwork there as in Twentynine Palms. We occasionally provided close air support for offensives against the Chechen separatists.”


“Any plans for leave?” I asked.


“No, aside from dinner with Lani’s parents. Katie booked a flight to Macross.”


I looked around. There was still a long way to go.


I dozed off to sleep.


My thoughts jumbled.


I had a mix of memories and imagination.


I saw Samir Atta Nidal, sadistacllay laughing as he held Simon Levinstein’s severed head, which was screaming horrifically.


I then jolted awake from the nightmare.


It seemed I could not escape from the nightmare, even in the cockpit of a veritech.


I looked and saw this huge object, larger than the U.N. Spacy’s orbital traffic control station. That was the same Zentraedi space station we acquired three months ago. I had witnessed the brief battle.

“Special Air Mission Scoop to Giants’ Workshop,” said Jenna. “requesting permission to approach.”

There was a few seconds of silence.

“Why are you here?” said the voice.

“Just borrowing a book.”

“Which book?”

“Jack and the Beanstalk.”

“Copy that, Scoop. You are cleared for landing in Landing Bay 1.”

“Roger that. All systems okay. I am activating the ALS.”

I looked at the massive spaceship ahead of us. The veritech fighter's automated landing system took action, adjusting the speed relative to the Satellite. I saw the open door of the landing bay. Soon, we were inside. I could see the green-colored Zentraedi shuttles, Zentraedi re-entry pods, and Zentraedi fighter planes. the veritech was switched to battloid mode.

“All thrusters disengaged,” said Jenna.

We went inside an airlock and emerged into a corridor. A uniformed Zentraedi waited for us.

“I am Rexar, the chief of staff,” he said. “Lord breetai is expecting you. Follow me please.”

And so Jenna walked the battloid to follow the Zentraedi soldier, who stood as tall as the battloid. We passed several crew members along the way.

After walking for a few minutes, our veritech battloid reached a door.

“This is Supreme Commander Breetai's office,” said the soldier.

The battloid walked in. On the monitor screen I could see this tall man with azure skin. He wore a long coat. He had this plate on his face and he towered over our battloid.

“Your guests are here, sir,” said Rexar.

“Welcome, my guests,” he said in this voice that was like thunder. “I am Breetai, Supreme Commander over all Zentraedi. Soldier, you are dismissed. I want to speak with them alone and I do not wish to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.”

“It shall be done, my lord,” Rexar said before he left.

“I'd like to see the person who will be interviewing me,” said Breetai.

“Okay,” said Jenna. She changed the veritech into its guardian mode. The heat shield withdrew. Breetai looked even more imposing, since guardian mode sat shorter.

I waved at the supreme commander.

“So you are the one who will be asking me questions, little Micronian,” said Breetai, looking closely at the cockpit.

“That's right,” I said. “Where do I begin? I suppose I can start by asking you about your life. Where did you begin?”

“I came from a cloning chamber in the Zentraedi command headquarters. I was created with the knowledge to command an entire fleet. After I was tested on the basics of fleet command, I took command of my own fleet. I led my fleet to many victories against our enemies. I also suffered losses, and one time I was seriously wounded in a battle. I was later ordered by Supreme Commander Dolza to capture the battle fortress that you call SDF-1. I chased after the fortress for a year. I was temporarily recalled to Zentraedi command headquarters. I then resumed my assignment of capturing the battle fortress. When it turned out that Dolza would exterminate me and my fleet, I sided with you.”

“Why did you side with us?” I asked.

“You have to understand about the Zentraedi. We Zentraedi were created by these people whom we only know as the Robotech Masters. We were created to wage war. Male and female were kept separate. All Zentraedi were created from cloning chambers. The Robotech Masters prohibited us from making contact with anyone. Our only role was to fight the enemies of the Robotech Masters.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Many years ago, even before I heard of the battle fortress, a Zentraedi ship crashed on this planet. It was part of a fleet under the command of someone I knew as friend. The crew and the soldiers were stuck there, and they only had radio c ommunications. In the years they spent, they came to like the local culture. Some of them even micronized themsleves to live among those aliens. The aliens were a primitive people, much more primitive than you were when the SDF-1 first arrived on your planet. But they had music and love. Years after the crash, the fleet commander, Haziin, arrived at the planet to rescue his ship. The people of the planet were not enemies, so he did not attack. He and his staff came down to visit the ship. They too were exposed to culture. But when the ship was repaired, the ship's commander and crew refused to leave. They wanted to stay on the planet. He consulted with headquarters. He then had the ships' commander and staff executed.”

“I could understand why.”

“Dolza summoned me to headquarters. He told me that Haziin and his fleet had been contaimainted. to prevent contamination, his fleet and everyone on it had to be destroyed. I was ordered to lead the mission to destroy Haziin's fleet. I have fought many battles. This was my worst assignment. Haziin did not understand why he had to be killed at the hands of those he fought with. I gave the order. He and his fleet were completely destroyed. Years later, after that wedding, I knew that Dolza would order my extermination. At that point, I was no longer bound to serve him, so I decided to work with you Micronians.”

“Interesting,” I said. “Anyway, tell us more about the Robotech Masters.”

“We know very little about them,” said Breetai. “We know they look like you, and they are about the same size. They come from this place called Tirol.”

“Have you been to Tirol?”

“I don't know. Tirol's location is secret from all except Dolza and his staff, and with their demise that knowledge is not available to any Zentraedi.”

“and that faceplate? How werer you injured?”

“In battle with the Invid. They were an interstellar power that competed for dominance over protoculture.”


I heard the italics. But that last word intrigued me.:”

“What is protoculture?” I asked.

“the foundation of robotechnology, a substance that can be used both as an ultra-high density fuel and a catalyst for genetic engineering,” answered Breetai.

“What did you know of the SDF-1 Macross before it crashed here?”

“It was a Zentraedi cannon ship that had been repurposed as a transport for the lords of the Robotech Masters, assigned to the Zentraedi 118th Transport Fleet. It was reserved for this Robotech Master, Zor. I have been told that Zor discovered protoculture. About ..sixteen of your years ago, the ship disappeared. The Zentraedi have searched for that ship. It took twelve years to find it.”

“So the past four years..is all because some guy lost his space ride?”

It would be like fighting a war because a Senator misplaced his yacht.

“It was more than that. It is believed that Lord Zor withheld many secrets of protoculture from even the other Masters, and those secrets are on this ship. Plus, the Masters’ enemies, scattered through the galaxy, hiding from us, would have loved to have it.”

“Tell me about the state of affairs in the galaxy,” I said.

“We estimate millions of civilizations in this galaxy alone,” said Breetai. “We know little of them. The only ones besides you that we know of are those of our enemies.”

“What do you plan to do now?”

“We must find Tirol. Only if the Robotech Masters knew that we could strike their home will they negotiate in good faith. We must also explore this galaxy. The Zentraedi were the expeditionary force for the Masters, making them the masters of the galaxy. With the neaer annihilation of the Zentraedi, other nations may rise up against the Robotech Masters. The Zentraedi kept the peace; now hundreds of wars may erupt with the Robotech Masters' military might greatly reduced. Perhaps that might give them more reason to negotiate in good faith.”

“Could these other nations topple the Masters?”

“I don’t think so. The masters have a fleet three times as large as ours at our height. But still, it was a significant loss. Perceived weakness incites war.”

“What of the Zentraedi living on Earth?”

“I will not do anything to force them to serve under me; they can be replaced. They have chosen to live among the Micronians. Some of them are even serving in Micronian military units. It is the renegades that I must deal with, the ones who wish to continue Dolza's war with the Micronians. Khyron Kravshera is of great concern to me. So far, the renegade factions have been divided. If Khyron were to unite them, they could deal some heavy damage.”

“Describe your experiences in your mission to capture SDF-1.”

“That is one thing I will never forget. Everything was going according to plan until the ship folded into hyperspace near the surface of the Earth. And there was this Daedalus maneuver, where they shoved the Daedalus into one of my ships and blew it apart from the inside. They even blew up their own base to escape a gravity mine on Mars. Of course, my aide Exedore came up with brilliant strategies for us. It was his idea to use the Daedalus maneuver to sneak a Regult squadron on board ship.”

“Do you want to live among us in human size?”

Breetai paced the room for a moment. “I am needed at my current post,” he said. “Someday, when I have to pass the torch to my successor, I will live among you.”

“I understand,” I said.

“Something bugs me, sir,” said Jenna. “Why haven’t the Robotech Masters come here already?”

“Why would they have come here?”

“The Zentraedi lost over four million ships. The Masters lost contact with Dolza. They’ll be looking for him.”

Breetai sat, lost in thought. “They may have simply not located Earth,” he replied. “The galaxy is a big place. Remnants of interstellar powers we vanquished long ago still launch hit and run attacks against us. The other answer is more troubling.

“Which is?”

“They know we’re here, and this is where Dolza had died. But they are reluctant to attack due to the fact that you Micronians wiped out four million ships in a single battle. Their reluctance depends on how long they believe we can do it again.”

“Why did you ask for this interview?” I asked.

“Because you Micronians need to understand exactly what’s at stake here..”

I heard a ringing, and an image of a man appeared.

“Is this an emergency?” asked Breetai. “If it isn't then you will be scrubbing the corridors for the next...”

“Sir, one of our ships is reporting a mutiny.”

“A mutiny?” asked the supreme commander.

“Yes, my lord.. Some of the ship's crew went into hiding and sent this distress signal.”

“I want all ships to stand by. Scramble all fighters and pods. Have them hold the ship and prevent its escape!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Micronians,” Breetai said to us. “There is an emergency situation. Mutineers took over one of my ships.”

“Should we help?' asked Jenna.

“Definitely,” I said without hesistation, smiling.

“We will volunteer, sir,” said Jenna.

“Excellent,” said Breetai. “Go to the armory and pick up a weapon. I will inform your headquarters of the situation.”

“Thank you for granting the interview,” I said.

“You are welcome, Micronian,” replied Breetai.

ooooooooooooo

We left Breetai's office. One of his soldiers gave us a Zentraedi submachinegun. We were escorted through the flagship's corridors to the landing bay. We changed into guardian mode and took off from the flagship. We switched into fighter mode and flew towards the ship in question.

There were some Zentraedi mecha accompanying us. I noticed the Gnerl fighter pods and Regult battle pods. I also noticed the lead pod, which had this somewhat triangaulr shape with two cannon arms, as if someone bolted a booster onto the Glaug officer’s battle pod.

“This is Scoop,” said Jenna. “Give us the situation.”

“They have control of the turrets,” said a voice. “They're firing on our mecha!”

“SDF-1 Control to Scoop,” said a voice. “I repeat, SDF-1 Control to Scoop.”

I looked at the screen on the console and saw Captain Lisa Hayes.

“Scoop to SDF-1 Control,” said Jenna. “Status?”

“Supreme Command has given the go ahead,” said Hayes.

“Copy that.”

I could see that. There were tiny little explosions surrounding one of the Zentraedi warships.

“Hold on,” Jenna said to the Zentraedi. “I'll provide support.”

“Attention, Micronian fighter,” said a voice. “Do not fire on Zentraedi mecha. Just take out the ship's turrets; they will cover for you.”

“Copy that.”

We approached within firing range. There were Gnerl fighters and Regult pods doing combat around the ship. We flew in close to the turrets, which were busy trying to fight Zentraedi mecha. Jenna then blasted the turrets with the veritech's lasers. She turned us around and went for another strafing round.

“That's three down,” said Jenna.

We continued to make strafing runs acorss the hull of the Zentraedi ship, taking out the turrets.

Then a Regult battle pod strayted into our flight path. Jenna turned the stick hard. I did not know what happened for the next few seconds, but we found ourselves in battloid mode, inside the Zentraedi warship.

A Zentraedi crewman emerged into the corridor. Was he friend or foe?

“Over here,” he said to us.

We followed him to a large room. There were three other men inside.

What was astounding that this was a gaming room, with pool tables, shuffleboard tables, and arcade cabinets. I recognized Crazy Taxi and one of the Mortal Kombat games. There was even a vending machine that served beverages.

And these devices and machines were as big as buildings! I figured all of Forest Hills could fit inside this gaming room!

“I am Major Jenna Murphy of the UN Space Marines,” said Jenna. “I came here to assist you in repelling the mutiny.”

A silver-haired man spoke. “I am Geno, executive officer on board the ship,” he said. “ A crew chief and his followers took the bridge and the turrets and the landing bay. They killed the captain. The mutineers swore their allegiance to that backstabber Khyron.”

“What is the plan?” asked Jenna.

“I figured something out. Let's get you an outfit.”

Two of Geno's men got this suit. We did our best to put it on. Finally, Geno fastened a helmet onto the Valkyrie’s head.

“There,” said Geno. “As long as they look too close, you should be able to walk all the way to the bridge.”

“That's a great plan,” said Jenna.

“There's one small problem, sir,” said one of the crewmen. “The pilot's voice sounds like a female. This ship is all male.”

“I can do the talking,” I said.

“Okay,” said Geno. “Let's go. We'd better act fast before Breetai decides to destroy the ship.”

And so we did. We walked along the corridor, with Geno and one of his men as prisoner. We passed several mutineers along the way; none of them. The plan was to take Geno to the brig. A battloid is more sturdy than flesh and blood Zentraedi. We navigated the corridors and stairwells for a few minutes. We finally reached the door to the brig. The brig was guarded by a soldier in body armor.

“Halt,” he said. “What is your business?”

“I'm here to deliver these prisoners to the brig.” I said.

“I don't recall any orders to bring prisoners here.”

That was when Jenna struck the soldier down using the battloid's legs. She bent the battloid down and ripped off the soldier's helmet. She then used the servos to stomp the neck with great force.

The battloid then pressed a button to open the door to the brig. We went in and saw the Zentraedi prisoners.

Geno's aide unlocked the cells, freeing them.

“We’re going top take back the ship,” said Geno. “I have a plan.”

We and a loyal crewman walked through the corridors of the ship, with Geno as our “prisoner”. A man armed with a submachinegun watched; he let us pass.

We walked to the ship’s mavigation bridge, where an armed guard stood watch.

“We captured Geno,” I said, knowing my voice was being translated.

Their leader, a red-haired man, stepped out. “Well, well, well,” he said. “Tell your crew to stand down and I will spare your life. But before you do so, I have someone you can talk to.”

We entered the navigation bridge, which was this huge room with consoles.

“Open up a channel to Lord Khyron,” said the mutineer leader.

“Yes, sir,” replied one of the mutineers.

A holographic screen showed the image of a woman with blond hair. I couldn hear some sort of pop music playing in the background.

“’Sup,” she asked.

“This is Spartacus,” said the man. “We have liberated the galleon.”

“Huh?” asked the woman. “I don’t know what you’re saying? Who’s Spartacus anyway?”

“It’s the callsign of that officer whose joining our side,” said this lady with chestnut-brown hair.

“Yeah, they took the ship,” said this red haired lady. “Weren’t you paying attention?”

“As if you two are the ones to talk about not paying attention. Remember when..”

“I need to speak to Lord Kravshera,” said the mutineer leader. “Just do your jobs!”

“Okay, okay,” said the blond-haired woman. “We’ll get the Big K K for you, okay?”

“Big K K? You’re not supposed to say that in a transm..”

The image changed.

Khyron Kravshra appeared on the screen. Memories of him laughing as he watched terrorists torture me briefly surfaced. I took a deep breath.

“Hail, Khyron Kravshera, Lord and Saviour of all Zentraedi!” yelled the mutineer leader as they extended their arms forward.

“hello.”

“We have control of the ship, my lord.”

“Excellent. I shall join you up there.”

Join us?

“This is our chance,” said Jenna. “Our cover’s still intact. If he comes up here, we can take him surprise, put him down. This is Scoop, Khyron Kravshera himself will be boarding.”

“Really?” asked one of the loyal crewmen.

“He thinks the ship is under the mutineers’ control.”

I somehow had to tell Geno of our plan.

“Lord Kravshera,” I said. “I’m glad you’re coming aboard, sir. You know, I’ve been a big fan of yours, sir. I like how you strike fear into those miclones. I just can’t wait for you to come..”

“Shut up or I will throw you out of the airlock,” said the mutineer leader.

“Sorry, sir,” I said. “Shutting up, sir.”

The mutineer leader approached Geno. “I will let Lord Kravshera decide your fate, Geno,” he said.

And so we stayed silent. The mutineers reported that Breetai kept demanding their surrender.

Kravshera’s face appeared on screen. He was in some sort of flight suit, and appaerared to be in a cockpit.

“I will rendezvous with you in less than two hours,” said the renegade warlord. “But first I must test your faith.”

“Anything, my lord,” said the mutineer leader.

“You will destroy the United Earth Government headquarters in New York.”

“Status?”

“Sir, we should still have enough active turrets to destroy targets on the surface,” said a mutineer.

“We will do this at once, my lord.”

The whole situation changed. Even if the Secretary General was on business elsewhere, thousands were being threatened.

“Course it set,” said another mutineer, sitting at a console . “We will be in firing range in five minutes.”

Five minutes before destruction would rain down on Manhattan.

“All gunners prepare to fire,” said the leader.

We had to stop him, even if it meant not being able to take down Khyron Kravshera.

“Here we go,” said Jenna.

She opened fore on the lead mutineer, and he went down. One of the others struck us with his fist, not knowing that the VF-1R Valkyrie was not made of flesh.

He screamed in pain, and Jenna offered pain relief by shooting him at point-blank range.

Suddenly, three of the mutineers fired their submachienguns at us. Jenna fired the Zentraedi submachinegun at the crew. Several more people burst in and fired at the mutineers.

We had the bridge!

Geno went to a console and held a microphone. “This is Executive Officer Geno,” he said. “I have taken control of the bridge.”

Suddenly I heard a shot. I looked at a console and it was smoking.

“It's too late,” said one of the mutineers.

“I can't regain helm control!” yelled Geno's aide.

“It looks like we are on a collision course, sir,” said another crewman. “A collision course to Manhattan island!”

“Fools,” said one of the mutineers. “This is our backup plan. The Micronian prophet promised us paradise if we did something like this…Allahu akbar!”

Micronian prophet!

That could only be Samir Atta Nidal!

Geno repeatedly stomped on the mutineer’s neck; I heard sickening crunches.

“The Micronians below will be safe,” said Geno. “Because Breetai will blast us to bits soon.”

I looked at the screen. The landmasses of Earth became more and more detailed.

The Tou Redir scoutship did enough damage crashing into Queens. This much larger ship could destroy all of New York City!

“I will advise the Satellite to order our destruction,” said Geno. “You Micronians..you need to get out of here. I will order the evacuation of this ship, save as many of the crew as I can.”

“There has to be a way,” said Jenna.

He had this sad look on his face. Though he chose to live apart from us, he nevertheless lived to defend our way of life.

He would die.

There must be a way to save his life. His life surely could not be wasted like this!

But it was not to be.

We had to know how to fold them.

It gave me an idea.

“Initiate a hyperspace fold!” I yelled. “Now!”

One of Geno’s men pressed buttons on a console.

Suddenly, there was this strange multicolored light, like what I saw when Jenna first took me aboard SDF-1.

Then the satellite was gone. There was only empty space.

“It worked,” said Geno.

“Where are we?” asked Jenna.

I wondered the same thing.

“I'll notify Breetai's flagship of our current position,” said Geno's aide. “The fold took us pretty far from the Sol system.”

“We still have some mutineers loose,” said Geno. “Let's go.”

And so we mopped up. The mutineers had no idea that they were fighting a veritech battloid; they assumed we were a Zentraedi soldier with flesh under the armor. They were surely surprised when their bullets did not penetrate. Soon we had killed or captured all mutineers.

We and Geno went back to the bridge. We made contact with Supreme Commander Breetai, whose face appeared on a holographic screen.

“My lord, the mutineers have been taken care of,” said Geno. “Unfortunately, the helm controls were damaged and we don't have maneuvering thrusters. I am requesting a repair team.”

“I will send a scout ship over to your position,” said Breetai. “You know what to do with the surviving mutineers.”

“Yes, sir.”

And so we threw the surviving mutineers out of an airlock and into the vacuum of space without any spacesuits. They quickly suffocated to death.

About an hour later, the ship folded to Earth.

“Thank you,” said Geno, just before we were about to leave.

Jenna gave a salute with the battloid’s arm. Geno returned our salute.

We left the ship and began our descent into Earth.

As we were entering Earth's atmosphere, Jenna raised the heat shield. The only view was that of the cockpit.

“I hope this didn't cause you inconvenience,” said Jenna.

“Not really,” I said. “I got to see the inside of a Zentraedi ship again. We stopped that Khyron fellow from gaining a ship. I wonder if those arcade games could be played by a pilot inside a veritech or Destroid.

“We're gonna get to spend a lot of time together, you know. For the past two years I haven't spent that much time with you. I want to spend as much time with you as possible.”

“I'll be looking forward to that.”

“We've been through a lot, you know. We've had our joys and we shared in our sorrows. I love you more than anything. Jenna Annabelle Murphy, will you marry me?”

I opened a velvet box I had been carrying, waiting for the perfect moment. It had this platinum ring with a big diamond in it.

“Yes,” she said. “Of course I will.”

This was awesome! I was going to marry this wonderful lady! I was going to achieve one of my life's goals!

“I wanted to do this when I first saw you, but…”

“We met inside the cockpit of a veritech fighter,” said Jenna. “This…was the perfect spot.”

The heat shield was withdrawn, revealing the night sky. “Special Air Mission Scoop to JFAF Tower,” said Jenna. “I am approaching for a landing.”

“Copy that Scoop,” said the air traffic controller. “There is heavy traffic, please stand by.”

I looked down at the lights of Macross City. We stayed up here, just the two of us, for another thirty minutes.

“JFAF Tower to Scoop,” said the controller. “You are cleared to land on Runway 1.”

Minutes later, the veritech fighter plane's landing gear tires touched the surface of the runway.

We were back on Earth. We stepped down and kissed, as fiances. One step closer to the new life we would build together.
<<

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-24 02:03pm

Chapter 44

Drumhead​

I published my articles about the interview with Zentraedi Supreme Commander Breetai and about the mutiny on board the Zentraedi cruiser. The article about the mutiny was a bigger seller. I was now engaged to Jenna Murphy, and we would have to make wedding plans. We both agreed to marry as soon as we could gather our guests.

Of course, the first few days after my proposal and her acceptance were pretty busy.

“I can’t believe it!” squealed Katie. “Congratulations! I love you so much!” She gave Jenna a big hug.

“Thank you,” said Jenna.

“Congratulations,” said Brittany Hart, looking at Jenna’s engagement ring.

Jenna, Katie, her boyfriend, and I were all having dinner with Lani’s parents at their home in New Macross City. Pot roast was served. We all sat around a dining table.

“When’s the big day?” asked George Hart.

“We’re working on it,” I said.

“You’re taking a really big step,” said Katie’s boyfriend.

Wine was of course poured. We all had a good time, with Lani’s parents telling us about living in Macross City and what Bryan had told them.

Jenna walked to the living room, and I followed her. It was a typical living room, with couches and a coffee table and a television. A desk with a desktop computer sat at the corner.

On the fireplace mantle was this rectangular frame with a glass panel that opens. Behind the panel were some medals.

Those were the medals that told the story of the two-year Space Marine career of Lani Hart.

I saw some medals such as the Battle of Saturn’s Rings Medal, the Battle of Mars Base Sara, and the Titanium Medal of Valor.

And I also saw some medals Lani never got to wear, like the SDF-1 Campaign Medal, and the Purple Heart, which was pinned to the upper left.

This, and the memorial wall entry, were the closest things Lani’s family had for a grave.

Ooooooooo

“Congratulations,” said Greg. “Steve would have liked this.”

We were at the Lucky Shamrock to continue the celebration of our engagement. There were of course more beers being poured.

“Thanks,” replied Jenna.

It felt great being back in familiar territory, the wooden tables and barstools, the waiters ansd waitresses with their white collared shirts and green neckties, the irish music playing in the background, with some noise from the gaming machines seeping from the casino.

“Great that you’re getting married,” said Dennis, wearing a sweater and jeans. “I know I have to work early tomorrow, but coming out here is worth it.”

There was another round of drinks. There were similarities to when Jenna and I came here four years ago, and yet there were differences.

We were different.

“Hi, Vince,” said Greg. “Great to see you here, buddy. How’s Bowie?”

“He and Jean are with Claudia,” replied Vince, who had come here with some friends. I recognized them as Zack Bauer and Shannon Cole.

Greg told them the news.

“Congratulations, Vince said to us.

“Thank you,” I replied.

“So you’re marrying a military lady,” said Greg. “that means you’ll be moving around with her.”

“It’ll be worth it.”

“I remember my dad used to move around quite a bit,” said Zack. “I was born in a Naval Hospital in Norfolk. I lived in Italy before my dad was transferred to Macross City.”

“Yeah, and remember that Jean is stationed in the French countryside,” said Shannon.

“Our you could be stationed in Lemoore,” said Vince. “Three of Claudia’s friends..they were air traffic controllers on the Macross ship- they were stationed their for a year before transferring back to HQRDF. They would have slit their wrists if they had to spend another day there- or so Claudia tells me.”

“We’d better be getting to our room,” said Katie’s boyfriend. “We have to fly out early tomorrow.”

“Where?” asked Zack.

“Manila in the Philippines,” said Katie. “A new resort opened up a few miles away, on the beach. We’ll be spending a week there.”

“I want to show her where I grew up,” replied her boyfriend.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to be warm there at this time of year,” said Katie.

“A tropical vacation,” said Jenna. “Don’t get too red, Miss I-Can’t-Get-A-Tan-If-I-Needed-One-To-Save-the-World.”

“As if you’re the one to talk,” replied Katie.

ooooooooooo

“My little girl's getting married,” said Jenna's mom.

“That's right,” said Jenna, standing in her family's living room in their house in Apollopolis on the moon. “We want to get married as soon as possible.”

“We need to select a church, send out the invitations, rent a hall,” I said.

“We'll be glad to help,” said Jenna's dad.

“We could have the wedding as early as December,” said Jenna. “No later than February.”

“The purpose of an engagement is to plan the wedding,” I said.

“I've been to many weddings, including Peter’s,” said Jenna's dad. “Now I will get to be the one to give the bride away.”

ooooooooooooooo

“So you're getting married,” said Mom.

“That's right,” I said as I stood in my family's living room in their house in the Forest Hills neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. “It's time for me to settle down.”

“This is great,” said Dad. “We'd better tell Sally and Tony and Tammy and Oliver.”

“How do you feel, Jenna?” asked Mom.

“I'm so excited,” said Jenna. “I could hardly wait.”

“When's the big date?” asked Dad.

“We're still working on it,” I said. “I hope we can have it as early as December. I hate long engagements.”

“So do I,” said Jenna.

I looked at the television which was still on.

“We just have a development from UN Headquarters,” said the anchor. “We're taking you over there.”

The UN Press Room appeared on the screen. A black-haired man in a suit stood before the podium. He was identified as Wyatt Moran.

“People of Earth,” said Wyatt Moran. “We have received reports of Zentraedi residents among us spying for the renegade warlord Khyron Kravshera. And just recently there was a mutiny on one of the Zentraedi vessels, a mutiny which was crushed by quick, decisive action. We have millions of Zentraedi living as resident aliens in UN member-states and protectorates, and millions serving in Supreme Commander Breetai's fleet. Khyron's spies are hiding among them. The commission will intensify its efforts into rooting out the threat among us.”

I wondered if this would lead to trouble.

That same night, Jenna and I went to Greenwich Village. We were at the bar with the peanut shells scattered on the floor. Many people were sitting at the bar or at the tables, while others were playing pinball. Various sports were played on the Sony color televisions.

“Congratulations,” said Quinn, wearing a short-sleeve polo shirt. “I just can’t wait for the wedding.”

“It’ll definitely be a party to remember,” said Cassie.

“It was a long journey.”

We said cheers as we had another round of beers.

Myron the Rasta Man walked to us from behind the bar. He still had his hair in dreadlocks.

“Congratulations, mon,” he said to me. “And what a beautiful bride you’ll be,” he said to Jenna.

“Thank you,” she replied.

“Marriage will be a wonderful thing.” Myron went back to work.

“Look at this picture Katie sent.”

We looked at the image on her phone. It was a picture of her and her boyfriend on that tropical vacation; she wore a yellow dress and a straw hat and was almost as red as her hair.

“Where is that?” asked Art.

“The Philippines,” I replied. “Katie’s boyfriend is from there. Queso City, I think.”

“What about you?” Jenna asked Quinn.

“I’m not getting married any time soon,” he said. “But I am getting this new assignment. I’m gonna be covering this commission at U.N. Headquarters that decided to hold some public hearings. Simon would have covered it.”

I could not disagree with that.

oooooooooooooooooo

I watched the hearings on TV. The Commission on Alien Activities was now in session. It had been front page stories for the past few days. I wondered if Quinn was there covering the story. The commission members sat behind this wooden table.

“So tell me Konda,” said Wyatt Moran. “When did you decide to live among us?”

“After we returned from a spying mission, we were impressed by your culture,” said Konda, who was dressed in a suit. “When we heard that Breetai was going to sneak in a Regult squadron, he took action. We shrunk ourselves to Micronian size and we managed to get on board the ship. Once there, we surrendered to the crew.”

“And you are willing to live under our laws?” asked this woman.

“Yes.”

“You admitted to being a spy,” said Brigadier General Anatole Leonard, who was identified as the UEF liaison with the commission. “How do we know you're not spying against us now?”

“We're not your enemies anymore,” said Konda. “And Supreme Commander Breetai made peace with you. We never served under that backstabber Khyron.”

“We know you have contact with other resident Zentraedi,” said this man in a Spacy uniform. “Do you suspect any of them of being spies for Khyron?”

“No. We all defected together. There's no way we'd serve Khyron. He killed his own troops to achieve victory. There is no way we'd serve someone like that.”

“And yet, one of these defectors later joined the Blood Martyrs. Blew himself up and killed a man. A man who had been their hostage, and who was the only one to escape alive.”

“Yes,” said Rico. “Nakron was having trouble adjusting. But we have nothing to do with thoser Micronian terrorists.”

“Whom is your loyalty to?” asked Wyatt Moran.

“To the United Nations of Earth,” said Konda.

Ooooooooooooooooo

The hearings continued. Many micronized Zentraedi were called before the commission, questioned about their lives. Inevitably, accusations that they were spies for Kravshera or other renegade factions came flying, often from allegedly anonymous sources.

One night in November, Jenna and I attending a concert in Monument City. We were on a flight that landed at nearby Thunder Bay, due to an incident which I later learned was a renegade Zentraedi attack on the Monument City airport. I had to go to the airline counter and we all boarded a bus to Monument City.

The concert was in an amphitheater. Just beyond, I could see the waters of Lake Superior behind the amphitheater, and there was a Zentraedi ship that crashed into the lake more than two years before. I was wearing a black suit, and Jenna was wearing a black dress.

We sat in the press box; Kyle did a favor and gave Jenna seat there. We were hoping for more favors. We enjoyed the opening act, and everyone cheered when she finished her song.

Lynn Kyle then appeared on the stage, wearing his trademark purple tuxedo. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of Monument City,” he said. “Congratulations on your new autonomy from the central government. Today, in celebration of that event, we have a special treat in store. Minmei has graciously agreed to come and sing for you. Let’s all hang our hopes for a bright future on her song. Here is she singing her latest hit, “We Will win”. Let’s have a warm welcome for our great talent, Lynn Minmei.

I could never forget that song. I was at the memorable debut. Jenna heard it too, from the cockpit of her VF-1 Valkyrie fighter.

Minmei appeared, wearing a yellow dress. A tune started playing.

She was not singing.

I wondered if this was part of the act.

The crowd chanted, “Minmei! Minmei!”

She looked at us.

“I’m sorry, I can’t perform,” she said.

I was surprised. What was she doing?

“I won’t sing,” she said. “I can’t perform when my heart is breaking!”

She then ran off, crying.

A shell covered the amphitheater stage.

I immediately went towards the backl and showed the security guard my pass, telling him whom I was.

“They’re not letting anyone through,” he said “Sorry.”

The Minmei suddenly ran out.

Kyle also emerged.

“Minmei!” he yelled.

Ooooooo

With that, there was nothing for us to do but go back to the hotel room and go back to our respective homes the next morning. Duye to the closure of the airport, we had togo back to Thunder Bay, take a flight to Detroit, and then I flew back to New Macross City while Jenna returned to Twentynine Palms via San Francisco.

And then there was the announcement that Lynn Minmei broke up with her manager, Lynn Kyle.

They broke up.

There was no asking Minmei to sing at our wedding reception.

But Lynn Kyle would make the news soon.

For he would appear to testify before the Commission.

“State your name,” said Wyatt Moran.

“Lynn Kyle,” replied Kyle.

“Is it fair for us to say that you are a peace activist?” asked Moran.

“Yes, sirs and ma’ams. I’ve had uncles ansd cousins killed in the Global War, a war that was a waste, a war without cause. A war that killed a billion people.”

“And you opposed the efforts of then-Captain Gloval to defend the SDF-1 Macross from the Zentraedi.”

“To be perfectly honest, this government could have prevented that war.”

“How?” asked General Leonard, placing his hand on his chin.

“You could have ordered Captain Gloval to stand down and surrender this ship to the Zentraedi.”

That was actually a good point he made. If we had known at the time what they were after…

“What?” asked Leonard as the commissioners gasped.

“Do any of you own yachts?”

“Excuse me, Lynn, we are asking the questions here,” said a commissioner. “You answer them.”

“Okay, if any of you lost a yacht, you would send the Ocean Patrol to find it. And if it were in the possession of some people and they fired first, you would use force to take your yacht back. Because that is what happened. Breetai was simply trying to recover the space yacht of one of the leaders of his government. If ..we did not fire first, we could have heard his side of the story. Maybe that Zor guy himself would have given our world aid and protection, in exchange for repairing his yacht. All those billions of lives lost, all because we refused to talk and instead fired first. All because we had to keep that ship instead of letting Breetai take what was not ours in the first place!”

“There’s no guarantee,” a commissioner pointed out.

“We would have had clean hands. But this is now. I advocate peace between us and our Zentraedi brothers and sisters. They live among us. I was a guest at that wedding, and there have been many more weddings between them and us. ”

“And whart of the renegades?” asked a commissioner.

“They’re just lost.”

“This commission is aware that you have spoken up in favor of the Zentraedi who have joined the Chechen separatists,” said General Leonard.

“The Chechens just want self-determination,” said Kyle. “Just like the Irish as they resisted Cromwell’s oppression, just like the Palestinians as they resisted Begin’s oppression.”

“The Chechens allied with Zentraedi renegades,” said a commissioner.

“May I remind you, sirs and ma’ams, that the French helped the Americans in their revolution. Those Zentraedi broke ranks with Breetai, a leader they respected, a leader they would have given their lives for, to join a just cause. For them, it was the right thing to do.”

“And what about Khyron Kravshera?” asked another commissioner.

“He’s a madman,” said Kyle. “he should be put down. The Zentraedi who joined the Chechens disavowed any alliance with him.”

“So they say,” said Leonard. “Of course, Kravshera’s campaign of terror gets attention off them, a bit convenient for them.”

“All the more reason to let the Chechens have their self-determination. They may even help us to put down that madman.”

“You claim not be on Kravshera’s side,” said a commissioner. “And yet, you helped him obntain that resizing chamber,.”

“I did not!” protested Kyle. “I..I just wanted the people of Detroit to control the resizing chamber. I realize it should have been relocated to a secure area..under American control, of course.”

“So you say,” said a xcommisioner. “We have sources that say you are working with Kravshera.”

“He held me hostage!”

“Or maybe it was just an act.”

Oooooooooo

I went to the Lucky Shamrock for a distraction from my work and watching the Commission hearings. I was just having a quiet drink when I saw a familiar face.

“Colonel LeBlanc, Global Military Police,” said this man in a blue jacket, holding a badge.

“I remember you,” I said.

“Yes, we know who you really are, like da bartender here,:” he said in his Cajun drawl. He took out a piece of paper. “It seems der’s dis summons for ya to appear b’fore the United Nations Commission on Alien Relations.”

I looked at the paper, It looked official, with the seal and everything, and the signature of Wyatt Moran.

“At least you be getting’ an all-expense paid trip to New York.”

oooooooo

And so I headed back to New York. The government put me in a nice hotel in Manhattan, just blocks from UN Headquarters. They also paid for all air fare. I was thinking of visiting Forest Hills as well as Greenwich Village afterward.

I appeared before the commission room. I could see the members, both civilian and military. The press was not there.

“Tell us about how you came to be on SDF-1 Macross,” said Wyatt Moran.

And so I told the commission my whole story.

“Captain Gloval had you interview the Zentraedi defectors, did he not?” asked General Leonard.

“Yes,” I said. “They wanted to find out if the defectors got their story straight.”

“And you still have contact with the defectors?” asked another commissioner.

“Yes, I do. I live in the same building as three of them.”

“Are they spies for Khyron Kravshera?” asked a woman.

“Definitely not,” I said. “Given how they described him when I first met him, there is no way they would work for him.”

“We have reports that you expressed sympathy for the Zentraedi,” said a woman on the panel. “You even wrote a supportive article when one of them married one of us.”

“They're people like you and me,” they said. “Most of them chose not to be our enemies, and live among us as our neighbors. We must vanquiosh or make peace with our enemies no matter what world they come from. We must treat our neighbors the way we would want to be treated.”

“You were once held captive by a terrorist group,” said General Leonard. “When you were rescued, you reported that they were working with Kravshera.”

“That's right. Samir Atta Nidal and his Blood Martyrs' Brigade were allied with Khyron Kravshera.”

“So there are humans who are cutting deals with Khyron,” said Leonard. “Perhaps humans from Earth are spying for him too.”

“Some of them are,” I said.

“How can we trust you?” asked one of the commissioners. “I find it strange that of those reporters who were held captive, only you survived. You, who was arrested in connection with the bombing of the casino aboard the ship.”

“He was proven innocent,” protested another commissioner.

“Sirs and madams,” said Leonard, “I must remind you that he was not proven innocent. Nor was it necessary. The prosecutor declined to file charges, so he was released. If this commission does not have any new evidence on that issue, may it please the commission to move on?”

“Yes,” said a commissioner. “this same man, accuised of aiding and abetting a bombibng, but released because of lack of evidence at thre time, is somehow the only one who escaped. That seems like evidence to me. For all I know, you could have been working with them. You could have arranged for Simon Levinstein’s kidnapping. You could have conspired to murder him for your own career advancement!”

“Excuse me?” I asked. “I was tortured there.”

“So you say.”

“I was in a coma for three weeks. The doctors told me that when I was brought in, they had no idea whether or not I would be breathing by sunrise. They had no idea of whether I would ever wake up.”

Ooooooooooo

“Welcome to my office,” said Jenna.

I looked and saw the place. It had ther basic office stuff, a desk, and desktop computer, a printer, and a telephone. A stained coffee mug with illustrations of the VF-`1 Valkyrie veritech in its three modes sat on the desk. There was a Space marine recruitment ;poster on the wall, specializing in recruiting veritech pilots, featuring the VF-1 Valkyrie in its three modes, with the caption “ONE PILOT. ONE TEAM. ONE CORPS”. A small file cabinet in the back had a picture of Jenna in dress blues, a picture of us together, and a picture of her, Katie, and Lani in flight suits.

“Nice place,” I said.

“It’d better be. I spend at least four hours a day here, and my work follows me home.”

I had decided to visit Jenna at Twentynine Palms for my 27th birthday. I had a nice quiet dinner at this steakhouse in town, with filet mignon and red wine. She decided to give me a tour of Knight Squadron’s office on basem, which she could do, being the XO and all.

“I do have a present for my fiancé,” she said. “It’s in my room.”

The present was unwrapped half an hour later, as well as the one wrapped in wrapping paper.

oooooooo

“State your name,” said Wyatt Moran.

“Third Lieutenant Xamilon Janus of the United Nations Space Marines,” said the witness, dressed in a UNSM dress uniform. “I currently serve in the UNSM 1st Veritech Fighter Squadron, the Knights.”

“And you were a Zentraedi, correct?”

“Yes, sir. I was a Gnerl fighter pilot assigned to the Two Hundred Fourth Fleet. After the battle over Earth, I was reassigned to the flagship of Supreme Commander Breetai. A year ago I applied for a commission to serve in the UN Space Marines. I wanted to stay a warrior, and yet live with the Micronians. I came to love their culture, and it's something worth fighting to defend.”

“How many Zentraedi do you maintain contact with?” asked General Leonard.

“About three, sir. Like me, they chose to live among the Micronians. We were lucky that Lord Breetai let us go.”

“Well,” said a commissioner, “we have sources that indicate that you are a spy for Khyron.”

“What?” asked Lieutenant Janus. “Says who?”

“We're asking the questions, Lieutenant,” said another commissioner. “Are you a spy for Khyron Kravshera?”

“No, sir! I never even heard of him before I lived on Earth. And from what I heard since, he sacrificed his own troops to achieve victory. Everyone knows you're supposed to sacrifice the enemy's troops to win.”

“and yet you fought under Dolza’s command when he launched that attack on Earth,” said Leonard.

“I never heard of Earth or your people before Dolza ordered the fleet there,” saiod Janus. “I was a Gnerl pilot, ordered to be ready ot launch. When the order was given, I launched. I blew up three of your Micronian fighters before I was hit. My fighter pod was crippled. I was taken to a ship in Breetai’s fleet. I served under Breetai as he was Dolza’s successor after that battle. But then I learned about Micronian culture. I learned about their lives. That is why I later became your size and joined the Space Marines, flying the veritech fighters.”

“Many who were micronized later joined up with Kravshera,” said a commissioner. “What do you say about these accusations?”

“I initially decided to join the Micronians because of their music and art and stories,” said Janus. “But I learned about their values. Values like truth and honor and integrity and fidelity. To value life. To value property. To value the rights of others. And that a mere unfounded accusation is no basis for guilt. If you think I have been spying for Khyron Kravshera, this Commission has the right to recommend that the Secretary General convene a general court-martial to try me for treason, where I can challenge the testimony and evidence against me, and I can present evidence and testimony in my own defense. But it has no right to try me.

“It is for the values of the Micronians that I fight. Values that we have all failed to live up to on occasion, but nevertheless hold dear. If we abandon these values, I might as well remove my uniform and burn it. Our values are what makes us different from those like Khyron Kravshera.”

Oooooooooooooooooo

It was very cold, and I was wearing a coat over my suit and a heavy hat on my head. My breath made clouds. The people around me were all wearing coats.

I looked behind me, seeing the “back” of the SDF-1. In front of me was this ship, well over 1500 feet long, and about as high as maybe a twelve story building.

We were would be covering the launch of a new ship. I looked around, seeing some bigger ships still under construction, with the silhouettes of construction cranes above them.

“Pretty exciting, isn’t it,” said Captain Dennis Ward, who wore dress whites under his heavy coat.

“Good, uh, evening, ladies and gentlemen, officers and enlistees,” said United Nations Spacy Admiral Cade Nelson, the Chief of Spacy Operations. I recalled that he was in the Brotish Royal Air Force during the Global War, and had been an astronaut before. “Welcome to the Macross Fleet Yards. Tonight we celebrate the launch of a new ship. A shiop that will be instrumental in our expeditions to deep space. A ship that will provide relief and comfort to those whom we will send to explore strange new worlds in the coming decade.

“On behalf of the United Nations Spacy, it is my honor to dedicate the United Earth Ship Hippocrates,” said the admiral.

We all cheered as he broke a bottle of champagne onto the hull of the hospital ship. Photographers took pictures as he posed with Admiral Henry J. Gloval, the Supreme Commander.

“Mommy’s going to be on that ship,” Dr. Jean Grant said to her infant son, Bowie, who was basically swaddled in winter wear. “After its shakedown cruise.”

“Well, the ship could have an air leak and they will have to fix it and you will have to put up with Mommy for a few months,” said Vince.

“How’s school?” I asked Vince.

“Great. I’m expecting to finish all my courses by summer of next year. It’s challenging, taking care of Bowie while Jean’s working at the hospital. I do want to attend the live graduation ceremony for my associate’s degree.”

“That’s great,” said Dennis.

“I am excited to be one the medical staff of the first dedicated hospital ship,” said Jean. “We worked hard for this.”

“Yeah, the harder yopu work, the more hard work you’re given.”

“It has its sacrifices,” she said. Jean holds her son. “And it’s rewards.”


oooooooooo

Knight Squadron had its Christmas Eve Party in community center on base. Punch and cookies and stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped scallops were served. Jenna and Katie were there, wearing their dress blues with the medals telling the story of their service, along with others in the squadron and their dates. Some family emmbers were here as well. We all celebrated the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. This would be their Christmas celebration, as on Christmas Day they were on watch.

“This Christmas is interesting,” said Lieutenant Xamilon Janus. “Amazing story about how your creator took your form and died for you. Your creator loves you; our creators don't love me or the other Zentraedi.”

“Maybe my creator could adopt you,” I said, sipping punch.

“So you're getting married next month,” said Katie. “I can't wait.”

“You're telling me,” I said.

“Congratulations man,” said Lieutenant Joel Reese. “Or condolences.”

oooooooooooooooooo

The next day was Christmas. My flight managed to land at JFK late in the afternoon. Traffic was busy, and I was still able to make it home by sunset.

I hugged my parents. It was my first Christmas since my escape from the Blood Martyrs ten months ago. Sally, Tony, Tammy,. And Oliver were also there, along with Sally;’s husband and four-year-old daughter. I got to meet my new nephew, who would also be Jenna’s new nephew in just three weeks!

“Last Christmas as a single man?” asked Oliver.

“Yes,” I replied.

We all sat down, with collared greens and mashed potatoes and deep-fried turkey to fill us.

“Amazing how bountiful this is,” said Sally. “Two years ago, a meal like this was hard to come by.”


“Amen,” said Dad.

“Let us eat,” said Mom. “We are all here, all together. There is no telling iof we will be like this together again next year, so let us enjoy it.”

Later that night, I had an evening Skype date with Jenna.

“I’m glad you loved Christmas,” she said. “There was a renegade Zentraedi raid in the Industrial Sector. Khyron Kravshera was behind it.”

“Did you fight him?”

“We had to help put out fires from the attack. There were planes trying to find him, but he got away.”

He was very good at doing that, often using decoys and feints.

“I’m glad you’re safe,” I said to my fiancé.

It was later that I saw a video from Kravshera.

“This is Khyron Kravshera, Lord and Saviour of all Zentraedi,” said Kravshera. “I wish to thank the Blood Martyrs for their assistance. My friend and prophet has a very special message for you Micronians!”

An image of Samir Atta Nidal appeared. He was wearing a sleeveless cotton shirt.

“I thank my Martyrs who gave their lives for the cause,” he said. “They have earned their eternal reward, while the infidels receive their eternal punishment.

Ooooooo

“Disappointed we’re not at an exclusive nightclub above Times Square?” I asked. “Partying with the celebrities and all?”

“This place, is more fitting for us,” replied Jenna.

We were both inside the main concourse of the Nova Complex, the shopping center built from a crashed Zentraedi Tou Redir scout ship in Queens. There must have been thousands inside, all dressed for winter. Many of the stores and kiosks were still open.

We were celebrating New Year’s Eve. We had dinner, drinks, and games at the Dave and Buster’s inside. It felt as if we were kids again.

Then the countdown started. Although not as packed as Times Square, I could sense the same energy. This setting was fitting, as this place used to be a ship that was trying to find ways to destroy us. Now it represented hope for our futures.

“Happy New Year!” we all yelled.

Jenna and I kissed.


ooooooooo

There was one session of the Alien Relations hearing that I would not forget. I was at home when I saw it.

“Okay, Miriya Parino,” said Wyatt Moran. “How did you come to live among us?”

“When I was serving under Azonia,” said Miriya, “I formulated a plan to eliminate the SDF-1's best fighter pilots. I led the mission and I found myself in combat with this blue veritech. He beat me. I was so humilaited that I asked to become a Micronian spy. I was planted on board the ship and I waited to find him. I finally found him in the Close Encounters Arcade. He asked me to meet him in the park. When I showed up, I tried to kill him. He beat me. He then told me he loved me. That was when Maximilian Sterling proposed to me. I accepted, and we were married. I later joined the Skull Squadron and fought in battle against Dolza's fleets.”

“So you admitted you snuck on board ship to murder one of our pilots,” said General Leonard.

“Yes, sir. I fell in love with him.”

“You served under Azonia. Azonia is currently Khyron's second-in-command. We have sources telling us you are still working for her as a spy,” said a commissioner

“That's not true!” yelled Miriya.

“You admitted to becoming a spy for her so you can murder one of our pilots.”

“I was a spy. I stopped being a spy after I married Max.”

“And how do we know you're still not a spy? Are you aware that Kravshera has been performing inhumane medical experiments on people he captured during the invasion of Israel? How can you support someone like that?”

“This hearing's a farce!” yelled someone.

I looked and saw Lynn Kyle.

“Mr. Lynn,” said Wyatt Moran. “We have already heard from you.”

“What kind of hearing is this!” yelled Kyle. “You make up accusations and you expect them to answer.”

“Lynn Kyle, I find you in contempt,” said Moran. “Remove him.”

Two security guards dragged Kyle out.

“Tell us how we know you are not a spy,” said the commissioner who accused Miriya. “Tell us how we know your husband is not a spy for Khyron. After all, he fell in love with a Zentraedi, and we know that human terrorists are working with...”

Then Miriya got up and lunged towards the table. Soon a message appeared on the screen about technical difficulties.


Ooooooooo

Public hearings by the United nations Commission on Alien Activities became rarer and rarer, though of course they likely met privately pretty frequently. There was one event I attended.

I was with friends and family in a Buffalo Wild Wings, sitting at some wooden tables moved together to make a long table. There were beer and cocktails and various foods from celery sticks to buffalo wings to wraps and sandwiches to salads and appetizers. A dark-haired waitress stopped by to puit more food on the table.

I heard beeping coming from wristwatches and phones of several people.

Bryan Hart stood up. “From this moment on, I have lived longer than Lani did,” he said.

I looked at him. I recalled the very first time I saw him on board the SDF-1 Macross, right after the space fold, when he was just sixteen years old. Now twenty-one years old, his features were a little sharper. There was an…edge to him, and it was not merely due to five addotional years of physical maturity.

We all raised our drinks. It was not a happy occasion exactly, but it was a good time for us to all be together.

“Anything you want to say?” Brittany Hart asked her son and only surviving child.

“Lani never wasted her life; we should not waste ours.”

We raised our drinks in toast again, which felt a little happier.

Jenna and I felt relaxed. Attention was not on us tonight.

But it would be tomorrow.

For tomorrow we would get married.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-25 01:34pm


Chapter 45

The Last Intifada


I woke up and had a bowl of Frosted Flakes cereal and a glass of Minute Maid orange juice for breakfast. Today was the big day. today was my wedding day.

I combed my hair and then I put on my black tuxedo, making sure everything was okay. I wanted to look flawless for this happiest day of my life.

I left the guest house got into the van with Quinn, Tony, and Oliver. We drove through the streets of Space Marine Air Station Twentynine Palms and we reached the chapel where I would be married. I walked up the steps. I would enter single and leave married.

Wooden pews lined the chapel main room. The room had white walls and varnished wooden pews. There were over three dozen people here, all finely dressed. I saw Mom and Dad and Sally and Tammy. Mom, Sally, and Tammy were wearing cream-colored dresses; Dad was wearing a black tuxedo. Sally's daughter was in this cute cream colored dress; she would be a flower girl. Looking at the other side, I saw Jenna's parents and her brothers Peter and Cameron and her sisters Daisy and Grace. Peter’s wife held their infant son, as their daughter sat next to them. The guests to our wedding- there were about three dozen or so- entered the cathedral. I waited patiently, decked out in my tuxedo.

Then Jenna appeared in her white wedding dress. Her face was obscured by a white veil. She walked along the aisle, escorted by her maid of honor Katie Taney, who was dressed in a fine yellow dress, and her bridesmaids.

I stood at the altar, looking at Jenna. She never looked so beautiful.

“Who gives this woman to this man?” asked the chaplain, who was a lieutenant commander in the United Nations Spacy Chaplain Corps.

“I do,” said Jenna's dad, decked out in a black tuxedo. He took his daughter by the arm and escorted her to the altar. Jenna and I faced each other.

“The rings please,” said the chaplain.

Quinn Sullivan and Katie Taney presented the wedding bands.

“Do you, Jenna Annabelle Murphy, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” asked the chaplain.

“I do,” said Jenna.

the priest then asked me if I would take this woman as my lawfully wedded wife.

“I do,” I said.

“By the authority granted to me by the United Earth Government, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”

And so I did, our first kiss as husband and wife. I was so thrilled to give me new wife a kiss. The guests took pictures. Jenna and I now walked down the aisle, with people taking pictures and congratulating us on our marriage.

We went to the front steps of the cathedral where a black limousine waited to take us to the hangar.

“Congratulations,” said my new mother-in-law.

“We hope you'll have a happy marriage,” said my new father-in-law.

“We're so proud,” said Mom.

“Good luck to you,” said Dad.

“My big brother married,” said Tony. “I can't believe it.”

“Marriage is a wonderful thing,” said Sally. “I know.”

“Just stick together you two,” said Peter, his wife and children- my new niece and nephew- with him.

“We'll be thinking of you,” said Daisy.

We stayed there for a while, receiving congratulations from guests and posing for pictures. I saw Angus Beckett, clad in his dinner dress blues, with the medals pinned to his coat and the silver stars, one on each shoulder, telling us he was promoted to brigadier general. I saw his wife Maribel and the children they bore together, all dressed in their best outfits. Lieutenant Colonel Akira Nomura stood nearby, who was dressed similarly to General Beckett, albeit with fewer medals. I saw Mrs. Nomura with a little girl, about two years old, and a baby boy less than a year old. I saw Jake Austin, sitting in his wheelchair, accompanied by his wife and his little boy Jimmy, who was now three years old, and was running around. I saw Lieutenants Xamilon Janus and Joel Reese, Major Kevin Landry, and Master Sergeant Ling and others from the squadron, past and present, in their dinner dress blues. Captain Dennis Ward was there, wearing his dinner dress whites. I saw Art and Cassie and Greg. I saw Konda and Rico and Bron. I saw plenty of people whose names I could not recall at the moment.

But we had to get going.

Jenna and I sat in the limousine. The driver closed the door and the limousine took off

The car stopped at the offices of Knight Squadron. We went to Knight Squadron headquarters and we both suited up in flight suits. The limousine then took us to the Knight Squadron hangar.

The VF-1R Valkyrie veritech fighter was prepped. It was in guardian mode, and had FAST packs attached to the legs and back. The phrase JUST MARRIED was stenciled onto the FAST packs and the GU-11 Gunpod. Jenna was one of the few flying aces of the Robotech War, so she got this privilege. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were not far away.

Jenna and I climbed into the cockpit and took our seats. We waved to the wedding party, who waved to us back. Jenna then closed the canopy.

“Initiating pre-flight check,” she said. “Instruments check. Auxiliary power check. Ailerons check. Flaps check. Protoculture boosters check. Dorsal FAST pack check. Port FAST pack check. Starboard FAST pack check. Loving husband, check.”

“I'm ready to go,” I said.

“Special Air Mission Newlywed, pilot Jenna Murphy. All systems check. We are ready for takeoff.”

“Copy that,” said a shuttle pilot. “White Horse to Newlywed, you may proceed to our rendezvous point

Jenna pushed the throttle, and the powerful thrusters thrust the VF-1R Valkyrie guardian a few feet above the ground. I felt myself take on additional weight. We flew out into the tarmac, and reached a Liewneuatzs cargo shuttle. The words “U.N./SPACE MARINES” was stenciled along the top. It used to be a shuttle for carrying full-sized Zentraedi. This particular craft was refurbished for human use as a cargo shuttle. Anyway, we switched to battloid mode and entered the cargo hold of the shuttle.

“White Horse to Two Niner Palm Tower,” said the pilot, who was a Space Marine lieutenant. “Newlywed has boarded the carriage. We are awaiting permission for takeoff.”

“Two Niner Palm Tower to White Horse,” said an air traffic control officer. “you are clear for takeoff.”

“Roger that.”

The Liewneuatzs shuttle took off.

“Congratulations for your wedding, ma’am,” said the pilot.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” replied Jenna.

After about an hour or so, the pilot said, “Newlywed, we are clear of the debris field. We are opening the hatch.”

“Copy that, White Horse,” replied Jenna. We stepped out through the open cargo hatch and into space. We switched into fighter mode and I looked around

I could see the wreckage left over from the Battle Over Earth, like an orbital graveyard. There were also some spaceships in orbit, both U.N. and Zentraedi. Some of those ships were for the recycling crews that took apart the mangled ships for raw materials that would be used in the construction of ships and buildings. I could see the moon and the Robotech Factory Satellite.

I noticed a group of signals. I then looked and saw, in the distance, some smaller Zentraedi craft. It seemd be be a fighter group, perhaps practicing maneuvers.

“Looks like they're giving us a sendoff,” I said. I waved to them.

Jenna then rotated the veritech fighter around its roll axis so that Planet Earth was above us. I looked up and gazed at my home planet.

We continued as we flew under the night side of the planet. I looked up and saw the lights from the cities.

“Want to raise the heat shield?” asked Jenna.

“Sure,” I said.

The heat shield was raised. It was only me and Jenna here, alone. We were isolated from the rest of the Universe.

“It's amazing,” said Jenna. “We've been through so much.”

“And now here we are,” I said. “Husband and wife, in orbit around the Earth.”

And we just sat there, enjoying each other's presence. At this time and time, only the two of us were relevant; nothing else mattered.

“We've almost completed our orbit,” said Jenna. “I'd better lower heat shields.”

And the heat shield was lowered, revealing the Earth above us. I looked around the spacecraft in orbit. I could see about thirty Zentraedi Gnerl fighters flying in formation. They soon appeared very small.

I saw some distant flashes. Were they doing live-fire exercises this close to Earth?

“Did you see that?” I asked.

“Mayday,” we heard. “Mayday. This is the hospital ship Hippocrates. We are under attack.”

“Do you want to go ahead?” asked Jenna.

“Yes,” I said. “We can do it...together.”

“Hippocrates, this is Newlywed,” said Jenna. “We are on our way. I am equipped with FAST packs and I am fully armed. I'll hold them off until you can send reinforcements.”

Jenna pushed the throttle forward, and we flew towards the Hippocrates. We approached closer and closer even as the enemy fighter were opening fire at the hospital ship.

“Fire!” yelled Jenna. She launched a volley of missiles. The missiles found their targets, blasting the Gnerl fighters to pieces. I jerked forward and Jenna switched to guardian mode and delivered another volley of missiles. She then changed into battloid mode and started shooting down the Gnerls with the GU-11 gunpod. “This is Newlywed! I am engaging the enemy!”

“SDF-1 Control to Newlywed, we copy,” said a female voice. “We have already called for reinforcements and they will arrive in seven minutes.”

We took on the Gnerl fighters, blasting them with missiles, laser beams, and cannon fire. The FAST packs really helped in this battle, our first battle together as husband and wife.it was intense, and the enemy fighters flew around, trying to avoid destruction by us, while at the same time shooting at us and the hospital ship. Many of the Gnerls turned into fireballs.

Then this missile flew really close to us. Jenna jerked the stick to get us away. I saw the missile make impact with the Hippocrates’s hull.

We flew around, and then we saw what fired on us. It was bigger than the Gnerl fighter pods, it was painted black. It had three thrusters. We chased after it, but this enemy fighter was a lot fasters than the Gnerls. It dodged most of our attacks; it was almost like it was equipped with FAST packs. It kept making passes at the Hippocrates and firing at it. The hospital ships own turrets fired at the enemy fighter.

“We can’t take much more,” said the captain of the Hippocrates.

We then were flying towards it. I could see the front. The thing had two arm appendages in the front.. We fired at the fighter, and it fired back. I felt the impact as a glancing shot hit our fighter.

“SDF-1 Control to Newlywed,” said the combat controller, whose face In recognized as Lieutenant Commander Claudia Grant. “It's a Glaug officer's battle pod encased in a fighter booster. The booster allows it to accelerate more.”

“Thanks, Claudia,” said Jenna.

“Hello, infidel,” a voice said.

“We have a transmission coming from the enemy craft,” said Jenna.

I looked at the monitor. I saw a man with a gray-and-brown beard. He looked familiar.

“Who is this?” asked Jenna. “Identify yourself.”

“I am Samir Atta Nidal, First Prophet of the Blood Martyrs' Brigade,” he said.

No way! Samir Atta Nidal was flying that thing? It was designed to be operated by giants.

“How could you be there?” I asked. “Only giant Zentraedi could fly those.”

“I've gotten a lot bigger.”

“I didn't know a human could be turned into a giant,” said Jenna.

“Some infidels volunteered to help find a way. I was the first success. My friend Khyron trained me in the use of these Glaugs, and he gave me command of a fighter squadron to lead a mission against the infidels in space. I will take care of you infidels first. Then we will destroy your infidel civilization, and a new Islamic order will rule the world.”

“Your infitada ends here!” I yelled.

“Then let's go,” said Samir Atta Nidal. “Allahu akbar!”

And then we continued the fight. We made many twists and turns and mode changes trying to get a shot at Nidal while trying to avoid being blown to bits. We flew like this for a long time, firing shots at each other. Nidal kept managing to just get out of our way even as he fired upon the hospital ship.

“We have to play this smart,” said Jenna. “Our friend here is too quick.”

We chased him, and he fired another salvo at the hull. Something gushed out. I noticed human figures flying out. We barely dodged them.

“We need to get him away from the hospital ship,” said Jenna.

“Nidal!” I yelled. “Guess who. Don’t you remember me! Look.”

“What am I looking at?”

I told him my name.

My real name, not the cover identity I used the past ten months.

“You’re that Zionist reporter!” he yelled.

“You have a fatwa against me, right? It’s your holy duty to kill me! Aren’t you going to do your holy duty! You said every Muslim has a duty to kill me? Are you going to shirk…”

“Infidel!” yelled Nidal. “I shall blow you little infidels to Hell!”

I felt myself pushed to the left, and a missile jhust barely missed us. We kept doding and weaving as the newly-giant madman chased us in his Glaug.

“We’re leading him away from the hospital ship,” said Jenna.

“Armor 13 to Newlywed,” said a man appearing on the screen. “ETA is one minute. We will cover your escape.”

“We too offer our help, Micronian fighter,” I heard a voice say.

Jenna glanced at me.

I gave a thumbs up.

“Negative!” yelled Jenna. “Newlywed to all units. Protect the Hippocrates.”

“SDF-1 Control to Newlywed,” said Commander Grant. “Explain.”

“We don’t know if there’s a second attack wave in reserve,” I said. “You need to take care of the Hippocrates.”

“We’ll take care of Nidal!” yelled Jenna.

We continued weaving around.

“SDF-1 Control to Armor 13 and Zentraedi fighters, protect the Hippocrates and cover its escape to the Factory Satellite,” said Grant. “Newlywed, good l-“

Claudia Grant’s image disappeared from the screen, which went blank.

“I will deal with the Hippocrates later,” said Nidal. “Right now, I have a Zionist liar and his whore to send to Hell!”

We continued to dodge and weave, shifting forms as we did so. It was almost like a dance in space. I could see particle beams from Nidal’s fighter pass right by us. We fired at him whenever he was in our sights, managing to strike glancing blows, but not the blow that would cripple or blow up his ship.

“Where are you, little infidels?” asked Nidal.

“He's above us,” said Jenna.

“Right here!” I yelled.

We flew up and we fired a volley of missiles towards Nidal's fighter. I saw a fireball. I wondered if Samir Atta Nidal was dead. But his fighter was intact; there was smoke coming out of the booster.

Then I saw the radar lock warning.

“Incoming missiles!” yelled Jenna. She flew to avoid the volley of missiles. I saw the hull of a wrecked Zentraedi vessel coming to greet us. I felt a hard thud.

We were now in battloid mode. I looked at the monitor and gazed at the surroundings. I could see bulkheads and the twisted remains of decks. We were inside the vessel! I looked up and saw a hole which we had fallen through. There were also other holes in the bulkheads due to the Battle over Earth. I had no idea if this particular ship was on our side then.

“Jenna,” I said. “Are you all right? Jenna? Jenna, talk to me!”

There was no response. Was she just unconscious?

“Jenna!”

“Where are you infidels?” asked Nidal.

Then he entered the ship. I could see Nidal’s mecha in full detail. There was something written in Arabic on the arm cannons.

“It is time to send you two little infidels to Hell,” said Samir Atta Nidal. “Allahu Akbar!”

Jenna was not responding, so I did what I had to do.

I pressed every button and pushed every lever I could think of.

Some of the shots from our weapons passed right by the Glaug and struck something in the rear.

I unmistakably saw an explosion. I instinctively pushed the throttle even as the explosion consumed Nidal’s Glaug.

It looked like it would consume us.

amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 837
Joined: 2012-05-15 04:05pm

Re: Scoop (Robotech)

Post by amigocabal » 2019-02-26 11:14am


Chapter 46

Our Album

I hurt.

I hurt all over.

I felt as if there were demolitions going off inside my head.

“Jenna!” I yelled.

There was no response.

“Jenna!”

I looked at the screen, which flickered. I could see some wreckage. I noticed the cannon arm with the Arabcui writing.

“Newlywed to everyone,” I said. “Nidal is down. I repeat, Nidal is down. Send someone to take us to a hospital. Jenna..the pilot.. is not responding!”

“Someone’s on their way,” said the Armor 13 bridge officer.

Then I saw two bogeys coming for us. They got closer, and I recognized them as Zentraedi power armor.

“Attention, Micronians,” said the power armor pilot.

“What?” I asked.

“We are from the Zentraedi fleet. Do you need any assistance?”

“Our pilot needs medical attention.”

“Take them to the Hippocrates,” said the Hippocrates captain. “We’ll have corpsmen standing by.”

The Zentraedi power armor grabbed our crippled battloid. Jenna remained silent.

What if she was silent forever?

I could not imagine the future after that.

I did not want to.

We were finally on the flight deck of the Hippocrates. It was a large room. There was two shuttles parked inside, and the crew was already moving about.

The heat shield was removed, and the cockpit canopy popped open

“Ugh,” I heard.

My heart was racing.

“What happened?” asked Jenna. “Did we..win?”

We were helped out by the Spacy corpsmen, all clad in their blue overalls. We both stood on the deck. I looked at the VF-1R Valkyrie. It was a wreck, with only one arm still attached. The explosion must have taken out the legs and the other arm.

We were taken into the corridors of the Hippocrates. It looked like any other ship with the metal bulkheads and decks. People walked about, most of them dressed in blue overalls, while a few were wearing white knee-length coats typical for doctors.

Jenna was taken to this room.

“I thought I said I did not want to see you in the emergency room,” I heard someone say.

I looked and recognized Dr. Jean Grant, with Dr. Mansoor Ajani standing next to her, both wearing their white coats.

“Doctors,” said Jenna. “Good to see you two again.”

Oooooooo

Jenna was not in any immediate danger, so she was quickly released. We were both glad, as we had a reception down on Earth that we had to get to.

We did not want them to get worried.

White Horse docked with the Hippocrates to take us both back to Twentynine Palms. We stood by the door. The light was green, indicating safe passage.

“Thank you for luring that terrorist madman away from us,” said Dr. Ajani.

“Make sure you schedule a doctor’s appointment,” said Dr. Grant. “And congratulations, you two.”

We went through the docking port and entered the crew cabin of the Liewneuatzs shuttle. We sat down on the seats.

“Nice to meet you two,” said the Space Marine pilot.

“You are clear to depart,” said the Hippocrates bridge officer.

“This is White Horse,” said the pilot. “We are heading back home with the newlyweds.”

“Thanks,” I said to him.

“I’ll probably have to fly up there to bring what’s left of the Valkyrie back to base. I hope the missus does not have to pay for it. Even on a major’s salary…”

Oooooooooooooooooo

After White Horse landed at Space Marine Air Station Twentynine Palms, we both got out. We briefly checked ourselves, making sure our hair was groomed and we were in our tuxedo and wedding dress, respectively.

It was time for the reception. We would have a very interesting story to tell about our flight around Earth.


The reception was at the clubhouse next to the air station’s golf course. I walked with Jenna, our arms linked together,. I briefly passed through the reception area, which had framed photographs of aviators, from biplane pilots to veritech pilots.

We entered the main hall. It was a large room. There were circular tables covered in white cloths.

All of the guests were inside, clapping. We waved as we walked to the long rectangular table. We sat. I had been to wedding receptions before, but never as the groom.

Bread rolls were served, along with mixed greens drenched in balsamic vinaigrette. The main course was steaming mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, broccoli, and asparagus with melted butter, and prime rib with creamy horseradish sauce. Water and wine were poured.

It was then time for the toast.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Katie. “Let me introduce myself. “I am Katie Taney, the maid of honor. I can not imagine the honor I have in being here. I’ve met only four people for whom I would be the maid of honor at their weddings. Jenna was the only one left. Jenna, you are my best friend. You are my best friend because of the person you became, the person you grew to be. And you could not have found a more suitable husband, who never gave up on you.”

And so we toasted, drinking the champagne.

Now it was Quinn’s turn. He stood up.

“I’m Quinn Sullivan, the best man,” he said. “I…I’m better at writing than talking, which is why I am a print reporter instead of a broadcast reporter.”

We and most of the guests laughed.

“We worked together,” he said to me. “I remember when we rented that tiny little apartment in Greenwich Village. We would often go out to the bars and clubs in the Village. We went on a cross-country road trip. I remember when I first heard you died. I was at your memorial service, and then I had to move on. Then you were on TV yelling us about the war with the Zentraedi. You’ve always made us laugh. You knew how to soothe us when we cried. Jenna’s going to be the best wife you can ever have. I know it.”

Then we toasted again. After that, Jenna and I had our first dance together, as husband and wife. Practically everyone took pictures of us.

The reception continued. We greeted the guests at their tables. We read wedding cards from people who could not make it. Victor and Patti Maistroff. Shawna Brubaker. Myron the Rasta Man. Bruno Fantone. Lynn Kyle. Alcohol was freely available at the open bar. People danced. They spoke to each other about what was going on with their lives, or the memories that surfaced whenever words or a song or even seeing something innocuous. They spoke about other events that happened today.

But then it was time to go. We said or goodbyes so we could go home. We said goodbye to our parents and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. We said goodbye to Katie and Quinn. We said goodbye to General Beckett and Colonel Nomura and their families. We said goodbye to Joel and Xamilon and Kevin. We said goodbye to their dates, as well as Katie’s boyfriend. We said goodbye to Lani’s parents and her brother Bryan. I briefly thought of those who could not be on Earth, or anywhere in the Universe to witness this- Lani Hart, Ned Brubaker, Simon Levinstein.

Jenna and I got into the limousine. The other guests would no doubt continue to enjoy the drinking and the dancing and the appetizers.

We went back to her..our house.

The lights in our bedroom were on all night, making the room brighter than day.

I never felt afraid.

Ooooooooooooo

There was no mistake.

Samir Atta Nidal had been macronized, confirmed by a forensic examination of the remains found in the wrecked cockpit of the renegade Glaug battle pod. Videos circulated, purpoting to be that of a macronized Nidal emerging from the resizing chamber, taking a human captive, and biting her head off.

There was much debate as to how it was possible to macronize a human. Biologists believed it to be impossible.

But it was.

The secret of macronizing humans died with Samir Atta Nidal.

And Khyron Kravshera.

For Khyron Kravshera had launched a suicidal kamikaze attack on the SDF-1 during a raid that laid waste to New Macross City, the same time that Nidal was attacking the Hippocrates. I saw the images of destruction on TV; it looked like the ruins of Hamburg or Tokyo in 1945, or some of the neighborhoods in New York the morning after the Rain of Death.

Secretary General Tokhtamysh Borjigin appered in the press room of the United Nations Headquarters. He confirmed that United Nations Spacy Admiral Henry J. Gloval, Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces was killed in the attack. According to the Secretary General, Admiral Gloval had a meeting with the RDF Command staff for that morning when the attack happened. Samir Atta Nidal’s attack on the Hippocrates was a diversion while KLhyron Kravshera flew a Zentraedi Monitor ship, close to the surface to avoid radar detection, for a sneak attack on the SDF-1 itself. Aside from Gloval, about a thousand people were killed- two hundred inside the SDF-1 itself.

The funeral was in St. Petersburg, Russia. I myself attended as a member of the oppress, under my real name. The service was held at this Russian Orthodox church that was centuries old, except for the right wall which was replaced after the Rain of Death. We all attended, wearing heavy winter coats. I could feel the heat trapped inside the layers, and the bitter cold against my face. Jenna was with me; she did not mind we would start our honeymoon here.

The coffin, draped in the United Nations flag, was loaded onto a carriage. Two white horses pulled the carriage, flanked by police motorcycles. A Spacy Honor Guard marched in front, their dress whites concealed by the heavy coats.

We finally arrived at a veterans’ cemetery on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. There was a podium for speakers. I noticed Admiral Bruno J. Calavicci and Admiral Cade Nelson and General Victor Maistroff and the Zentraedi liaison Exedore.

Secretary General Borjigin, wearing a heavy felt coat, spoke to us.

“At a funeral of one of his officers, Admiral Gloval had said that death reminds us of our own mortality,” said the Secretary General. “His life reminds us of his dedication to service. He explored space back when people rode up into space in chemical rockets. He went under the sea to fight for his country. He then fought for humanity. When he was removed from command of the SDF-1, he resigned his commission and assisted with reconstruction efforts in Russia. But when offered an admiral’s commission and the important task of defending and rebuilding our world, he did not hesitate to get back into uniform.

“We should not envy him. Admiral Gloval never sought out glory. He never sought out these burdens. And yet he carried them, for us. Let his life be an example, so we will have the fortitude to carry the burdens when they come for us.”

We all clapped. There was another speaker. He was very conspicuous, for he was none other than Zentraedi Supreme Commander Breetai himself, standing sixty feet above us!

“Henry J. Gloval was my greatest foe,” he said. “And an even greater ally. No one I met outside of Zentraedi circles commanded more respect. I was truly blessed to call him friend.”

Taps was played as his coffin was lowered.

I managed to speak with his next-of-kin, his own son, Piotr Gloval, with whom he had been estranged for ten years, and his daughter-in-law Eketerina, whom Henry Gloval had for over two years, but only first met four months ago. They were of course both bundled up to protect themselves from the harsh Russian winter.

“Ten years wasted,” said Piotr. “Ten years without father. Now no more. Not be there to celebrate new life. But without ten years wasted, I might not be with Eketerina.”

He did not speak English well; even so, he communicated the grief and anger and confusion he felt. Jenna gave a hug to Eketerina.

Oooooooooooooooo

We flew straight from St. Petersburg to Darwin in northern Australia. This was where Jenna had that vacation with Katie and Lani five years ago.

A lifetime ago.

The resort was elegant, right by the beach of the Timor Sea. There were swimming pools and a golf course and a gym and at least three sit-down restaurants and a food court. In sharp contrast to St. Petersburg, the Darwin area was hot, with people wearing little clothing, even when it rained, which it frequently did. We had meals and drinks and swam in the pool and took guided tours around the region. Sometimes we would just lay in our honeymoon suite- basically a small apartment- hearing the clouds rain down upon the resort.

Once, Jenna got up as we were in a private cabana, having some pina coladas. She stumbled and fell, arresting her fall with her arms.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Maybe I have to cut down on the drinking,” she replied.

Life continued on even as we were on our honeymoon. RDF Headquarters was relocated to an air base in Monument City, while Skull Squadron was relocated to the Spacy Air Station in Lemoore, California, where Sergeant Bryan Hart was still stationed. Lani’s parents moved to this town called Port Hope, on the shore of Lake Ontario.

We continued to enjoy our honeymoon in northern Australia. But then it was time to move on with life.

Ooooooooo

About a week after our return to Twentynine Palms, Jenna came home, wearing her Class “A’s”, as I was working on an article. She started to strip down.

“I heard from the review board,” she said.

“And?” I asked.

“I haad some sort of brain injury during that last battle. I can’t keep my balance. My flight status has been downgraded to “B”.”

“How does that affect you?”

“I can fly shuttles and fixed wing aircraft, still. But I can’t fly veritechs anymore.”

So this was it. Her career was over.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Veritech combat flying places such strain on the body,” said Jenna. “General Beckett never flew veritechs in combat after the Battle Over Earth.”

“what will you do now? I mean, you can’t fly missions with your squadron. Are they going to have you fly cargo shuttles?”

“Something different,” said Jenna. “Another Joint Staff assignment. The UEF established a new combatant command, called the Robotech Expeditionary Forces Command. The new command will be in charge of all operations outside the solar system.

“Like in Alpha Centauri?” I asked.

“And beyond. While we lost the shipyard in Macross, ships are being built at the yards in Lop Nor and Roswell and the Robotech Factory Satellite. We need to get out there.”

“So where will the new headquarters be?”

“On Moon Base AluCE.”

I pulled Jenna down to our bed. “I’d rather stay on Earth,” I said, looking right into her blue eyes. “But I took a vow, just as you took an oath. And travel between Earth and the Moon will not be as difficult in the coming years. Maybe in ten years’ time, there will be daily commercial flights between Earth, the Moon, and Mars. In thirty years’ time, booking a flight to distant star systems would be as easy as booking a flight between New York and Shanghai.”

“Katie and Kevin and Joel and all the rest will be sent out there soon,” said Jenna. “I want to do my part, to increase their chances of getting home safely.

We did not leave for the moon just yet. Jenna had orders to visit one more place.


Ooooooooo

Jenna was dressed in her dress blues. It had been dry cleaned and pressed. Her medals were shiny, including the Purple Heart at the upper left. She stepped up.

She faced her commander-in-chief, United Nations Secretary General Tokhtamysh Borjigin, who was dressed in his felt coat and trousers. Jenna gave a crisp salute.

“Your Excellency,” she said. “Major Jenna Murphy, United Nations Space Marines, reporting as ordered, sir.”

“Major Jenna Murphy, United Nations Space Marines,” said the Secretary General, “for your conspicuous act of gallantry and intrepidity, in coming to the aid of the United Earth Ship Hippocrates alone, in drawing the attackers away, and in directing reinforcements to stay with the hospital ship instead of covering your escape, at risk to your life, in the name of the General Assembly of the United Nations of Earth, I, in my capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations, hereby award you with the Medal of Honor.”

Borjigin placed a silk ribbon around Jenna’s neck. The ribbon had this gold medal attached. Many people took pictures.

She stepped down. Admiral Calavicci, the Supreme Commander, wearing his dress whites, and General Michael McMurdock, the Commandant of the Space Marines, wearing his dress blues, saluted her. Jenna returned the salutes. She was then greeted by General Victor Maistroff and Brigadier General Angus Beckett. They saluted her, and she returned their salutes.

Many of the corpsmen and medical officers who were stationed on board the Hippocrates at the time attended, all wearing their dress whites. They, including Drs. Mansoor Ajani and Jean Grant, all saluted.

She then approached her old squad mates. They all saluted her, even Lieutenant Colonel Akira Nomura. She returned their salutes. They then all hugged.

I kissed Jenna. “Congratulations,” I said.

‘Do you have time for a few questions?” asked Quinn, who was covering the ceremony at UN. headquarters.

“Sure,” replied Jenna.

Ooooooo

The celebration was at Pannucci’s in Forest Hills in Queens. I gave advice to the piliots of Knight Squadron as to what to order. Various food items, from lasagna, linguini, spaghetti, and pizza were served. There was of course wine poured in generous amounts.

“He’s been coming here since he learned how talk,” said Dad.

And so we talked about our lives, and Jenna shared her story about how she and I took down Samir Atta Nidal.

But then it was time to leave. Jenna and I had to go to JFAF Long Island to catch our flight to our new home in Moon Base ALuCE.

She faced her squad mates.

“The squadron needs you,” Jenna said to Akira. “Do everything for them.”

“I will,” he replied.

“You’re the XO now,” Jenna said to Kevin. “Make sure to tell Akira when he’s bullshitting. That’s what’s an XO is for.”

“I sure will,” replied Kevin.

“In private, of course,” added Akira.

“Yes, sir.”

“Joel, as flight captain, you have a flight to look after,” said Jenna. “You have to watch for your pilots first.”

“I will,” replied Joel.

“Katie, you’re my best friend,” she said. “We have to be apart now. But…no one can end of our friendship.”

She and Katie hugged. “I..I can’t promise we’ll meet again,” said Katie. “We can only hope.”

Jenna gave my parents a hug. “Goodbye,” she said.

“Take care of our boy,” replied Mom.

She then walked to her own parents. “There’s a seat on the shuttle for you if you want to go home,” said Jenna.

“We’ll tour New York for a few days,” said Jenna’s dad. “I want to see Five Points. Relatives of our ancestors used ta fight in the streets there, ya know.”

“We’ll get souvenirs,” said Jenna’s mom.

“There’ll be much to talk about once you get home,” said Jenna. “Enjoy yourselves.”

We got into a Toyota Highlander SUV. The Space Marine corporal drove us to the base.

Ooooooo

We were inside the Space Marine Liewneuatzs transport shuttle. It was time for us to leave Earth. Jenna was still in her dress blues, with the Medal of Honor around her neck.

“I have..I,” started Jenna. “I’ll tell you when we get to our new home.”

“Sure,” I replied. “I brought some reading material for the flight.”

It was a photo album that I was working on, with pictures from the past five years.

We looked at pictures. Of us and our friends. Of those who could no longer be with us.

Of sad times.

Of happy times.

Of growth.

Then the shuttle lifted off to our next phase in life.

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