Scoop (Robotech)

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amigocabal
Jedi Knight
Posts: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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: 828
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.

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