Love Looms In Times Of War
Set after Robotech New Generation. With the SDF-3 trapped held captive by a mysterious new enemy, this story explores what would happen if Marlene Ariel took a more proactive role at finding Scott
Disclaimer: I do not own Robotech or its characters. This fan fiction was written for entertainment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
Love looms in times of war
While inside the protective cocoon of a synchronization chamber, Ariel's mind floated adrift. It was dark and silent; but it hadn't always been. Before, she remembered, there was something... someone. Uld. He had been there with her.
Fight, he told her. Live.
Uld anchored her mind and shielded her from the searing radiation. In those moments their minds merged and he knew her thoughts, memories and feelings; he felt what she felt and she what he did. Love as she had come to experience on Earth became known to him. He felt love too and knew her love was not for him. Ariel felt his presence wavering, yet not his feelings. Those feelings would be with her forever. Grief almost overwhelmed Ariel. She wished with all her being for her love to flow to him. But Uld gently receded, reminding her that deception was not possible between them. She struggled to hold on, but he went and calm enveloped her. She felt strangely soothed -that, she thought, was his doing.
Ariel felt sadness and loss most of all. She was in and out of consciousness for a while. In those moments when her eyes were open, she saw doctors and nurses working around her. Glimpses of unrecognizable faces leaning close to her cocoon came to her now and then. Strangely, one of those faces she did recognize; it was Grace Hopkins. She couldn't focus to think on it.
Eventually her body healed, sensation and muffled sound returned. Physically whole, she was transferred out of the chamber to a regular hospital room. Promptly after that, she was discharged.
Blackness became light with jarring speed. Half-open eyelids shut quickly. Teeth clenched while sensations ripped through tender flesh.
Waking up hurt.
Scott chose to ignore that for the time being and instead of heeding his body's warnings, attempted to sit up. Traitorously, his muscles didn't carry him up, so his hand shot out and grabbed the first thing he could take a hold of: an unfortunate nurse. He struggled to speak as the startled woman urged him to settle down. Yet he didn't get a chance to say a thing; too much physical effort too soon did him in. He turned green as woman's fast reflexes turned his head where the least damage would result.
He retched. He coughed and sputtered and was left embarrassed and out of breath. He wanted to apologize, but something gave him pause. This green-haired nurse, who was by now rubbing his back soothingly, looked exactly like...
"Oh dear!" she had tears in her eyes. "Max!" she yelled, "Help!"
"M... mother?" She smiled sadly. "I'm sorry." Scott said, years of sorrow on his voice, "I'm so sorry." He tried to recoil but she wouldn't let him.
"Shush," she said and touched his cheek. "It's all right."
Quite promptly, someone came to take care of the soiled room while Miriya Sterling lovingly cleaned her son's face. He was pushed back to bed gently but firmly and had no opportunity to argue with his Zentraedi mother. Scott could feel how much his mother longed to embrace him -he felt the same urge, but Miriya contained herself. He felt sadness but realized she must have seen the bruises and was thankful for her restraint. As if sensing his thoughts, she took his hand in hers.
"I have missed you so much," her words made him want to apologize yet again. "I want you to know that I'm proud of you," she continued. "All that matters to me is that you are alive, that I can see and touch you now," she said, not tiring of running her fingers gently over his face. Scott closed his eyes.
Max witnessed all from a little distance while Dana and Dante waited by the door. He silently made his way to his son's bed eying his daughter and her ever-present sidekick as he went.
When Scott saw him, they were both too overcome with emotion to speak. Max settled for musing the blue mop of hair on his prodigal son's head. The strands were blue and straight, identical to his own before time faded them to gray.
"Father..." Scott said, voice cracking.
"Extra strong styling gel, still," Max replied, nonchalantly. Scott wished he could smile at the jab.
Dante, having not missed a bit of what was transpiring between the recently reunited members of Dana's family, took the little lull in seriousness to gently nudge her forward. After a look of understanding passed between them, Angelo left the family to their privacy, discreetly closing the door behind him.
The pretty young woman who had been waiting for news about Dana's little brother daily was at her usual spot across the hallway. This time, however, she was tense, bent forward and looking at him anxiously. Maybe just once Dana would show such devotion toward him. That thought dangled in Angelo's mind like the proverbial carrot. He decided to spare the waiting woman some suffering and approached her to share the news.
After the initial shock of the unexpected reunion passed, Scott was able to relax. He was given a healing and painkiller drug combination. When he regained back some strength, General Grant came to visit. Scott had already told his family everything that transpired to land him in this situation. Yet, he purposely did not mention Ariel and the relationship, or lack of thereof, between them. He wasn't ready and he thought it would be too much to handle -for his mother in particular- at the moment. He repeated the relevant parts of the story for Grant's benefit. Vince looked serious and troubled.
"Lieutenant Grace Hopkins saved your son's life," Vince informed the Sterlings shortly after. He related the events as he had learned them from the military police report.
"We are grateful," said Miriya. "The officer should be commended."
"She will be," assured Vince. Scott mulled this information over until the general addressed him.
"Scott, we have Cooper and Iskandar in custody. Their treachery won't be forgiven or forgotten," he said."What you have told us will grant a special security status for handling Cooper. We need to know who else is involved and who she's been working for. I'll send someone to take a sworn declaration from you," he informed.
The General excused himself at that point. Admiral Hayes Hunter needed to be fully appraised of the situation. Max and Miriya exchanged looks. They hadn't heard news about Rick since they found out about Scott. "I'll leave you to your family and your rest," Grant said and walked away. Max followed him and inquired about his longtime friend's health. After a short exchange the men parted ways.
"What happened to the Invid?" Scott asked.
"Unfortunately, many died from radiation damage," Miriya provided.
Scott went pale. "Your efforts saved a lot of them too, Scott," offered his mother. But there was nothing anyone could do to calm the young man.
"I need to get out of this bed," he said suddenly startling his parents. Both held him down.
"You are not well, Scott! You can't be up and about yet!" scolded Miriya.
"Mother, you don't understand, there's something I need to-"
"You need to lay down until the doctors say you are good to go!" the Zentraedi used a tone Scott had no trouble recognizing. There was nothing to do but comply.
In the meantime, Dana observed and of course knew from where her brother's anxiety stemmed. She pitied him... a bit.
"Mom, there's someone my little brother needs to check upon," she said slyly. Scott groaned.
"Someone?" Miriya raised an eyebrow.
"A young lady?" perked up Max. Dana snorted.
"That would explain the one -pretty- lady we see in the hallway outside your room daily," Max elaborated.
"Oh!" She hadn't counted on her father's noticing that. "Well, she..." Dana mumbled.
"What?" Could it be? Scott dared to hope.
"If that will calm you, son. Let's invite her in," Miriya intervened.
"No! Mother... well, I mean..."
"Dana, please call this woman," Miriya commanded, undeterred by Scott's shyness. Dana went, trying not to laugh and failing. Scott didn't find any amusement to be had, his pulse appeared to speed up a little.
"Dana, hold on! That's really not necessary!" he put in, yet his words were not acknowledged. Promptly, the lady in question was crossing the threshold.
Nervously, she stood at attention. Miriya Sterling examined her critically.
"Mir," whispered Max. The senior sterlings acknowledged the officer but before an interrogation could commence, Dana intervened.
"I'm famished!" she said, "Mom, dad, let's give these two a moment." Winking at her distraught brother, Major Sterling dragged her parents out.
As Vince Grant waited inside the antechamber of Admiral Hayes Hunter's office, her door opened, letting impromptu Invid representative Telduint out. The alien acknowledged General Grant's nod in silence but gave the human a long stare of distrust -the Invid version of anger, Vince thought. The far reaching consequences of the present debacle came to the forefront of the general's mind.
"She will see you now, general," the admiral's assistant said and Grant marched on, squaring his shoulders he crossed the threshold.
"Admiral Hayes," Vince said.
"General," she paused as they both looked at each other. Dark circles and paleness belying trying times for them both. "It's good to see you, old friend," she said finally.
"It's very good to see you too," he replied. Formality done with, they gave each other a hug.
That said, Lisa and Vince sat down. First on Vince's mind was his friend's husband, Rick Hunter. He gently asked how he was doing after his operation.
"The doctors have repaired his organs as best as possible for the moment," replied Lisa, "he's breathing on his own," Lisa sighed, "the damage to his spine was extensive and some will require multiple surgeries that he can't withstand at the moment." Vince held her hand in his. "He's asleep now, and will be kept that way until he's stronger." Lisa and Vince were silent.
"He will be well again," said Vince
"Yes, we will make it," said she, with bright eyes. "The road to recovery will be a long one."
"Jean and I will be there for you both."
"Thank you," said Lisa.
Lisa and Vince discussed the the Invid situation next.
"You know how very bad it looks, Vince," Lisa said. The general nodded. "There will be plenty of accusations, I suspect from every ally race. As it stands, it seems the RDF used the Invid as expendable in an operation to save the flagship for humanity. The fallout will be a PR nightmare. The Invid representative has let me know that his kin want to leave as soon as it can be arranged," she told him.
Vice reported on the state of health of the Invid. "Has the Regess been contacted?" he asked.
"Telduint didn't give me a straight forward answer to that question," she replied. "I suspect that they haven't been able to reach her. Perhaps they aren't strong enough at the moment. But it is a matter of time."
"In the meantime, I've assured Telduint we will do all in our power to help all Invid who want to leave and to restore the health of those who need further assistance," Lisa said.
"Needless to say I want the situation handled with utmost care, Vince. The Invid might have left their queen, but their link to the Regess is always present. Another confrontation with her must be avoided at all costs."
"Now, tell me what is going on with Cooper and Iskandar."
"Dr. Iskandar gave us information, but she is mentally unstable. Facts have to be crosschecked for fantasy to be weeded out from reality. Her testimony might be void and Cooper has not cooperated so far. But Scott Bernard -Sterling," Vince amended to Lisa's surprise, "has given us testimony enough to prosecute both of them."
"Scott Sterling? Here?"
"Yes. Currently hospitalized thanks to Dr. Iskandar and Captain Cooper. His parents are with him."
"How is he?"
"Out of danger as far as I could see when I visited."
"Some good news at last," the admiral said. "I'm glad for Max and Miriya. This is remarkable," she added.
Vince agreed wholeheartedly and the conversation returned to Dr. Iskandar and Captain Cooper.
"Given what we know, Lorna Cooper should see how cooperating is in her best interest. We have her, to break her silence willingly might make the sentence lose some of its severity."
"Arrange for a visit, General Grant. I want to see these women."
Mars base was full of places where a being such as Lorna Cooper could escape with relative ease. But not yet; Lorna had orders before her stay with the humans could end. Her associates' assistance for a safe retrieval depended on her doing as required. She had meant to do it, anyway; it was not a choice now. The chance to carry out her last mission wouldn't fail to present itself, Lorna was certain. And with a little luck it wouldn't take much longer.
It's been a long time, hasn't it? Heh... Well, my bad excuses include: that the RT muse deserted me, that some other stuff came around and caught my imagination but mostly that life made itself somewhat difficult. So, I'm sorry for the ultra-belated update. I can only assure you that the next (and final) chapter will come (very) soon. Art probably won't. That muse has her own rebellious ideas. Speaking of art, we can upload covers for stories now? That's cool! And also, suggestions for the illustration for this chapter are quite welcome. If you have an idea, send it by PM or, if you have a deviantart account -my username (gppr) is the same over there, you can send me a note.
Thank you to all that have left their thoughts and nudged me to finish this story. It is my intention to get it done. *salute* ;)