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

Chapter 10

First Wave

A transparent canopy shut, sealing a man within an hermetic bubble. It was the core of a Robotech beast, cocoon of unnatural material, protector of one frail, natural life. With efficient, countlessly rehearsed movements, the human checked his vessel one last time. Soon after, a powerful engine hummed imperceptibly under his apt command. A gentle buzz, muffled by layers of protective gear, combined itself with the tense throbbing behind his temples.

Deployment loomed and Scott Bernard's mind brimmed with anxiety. It had been minutes since he had seen Invid pilots near their mecha; it had been minutes since he saw Ariel disappear into another beast, much like his own but not the same.

The Veritechs that the aliens piloted had been called bio-robotech weapons. They were lighter, faster and more accurate than human-piloted mecha. The hybrid machines represented Robotechnology's triumph over Protoculture's raw force, its honing by means of artificially enhanced Invid minds. "Enhancing shackles," Scott knew, "Green-glowing, deadly shackles."

Scott's mind was jumbled, fixated on images of Iskandar's implant and possible scenarios for Ariel's, his Ariel's, death.

He knew that she waited amidst a machine designed to wield extraordinary firepower, a hybrid. Ironically, the new veritechs wouldn't reach their full potential. Due to the rashness of the situation, and lack of testing time, their developers had opted to limit their destructiveness. The machines were not completely stable and could inflict irreparable self-blows to the forces if something went awry. Shadow mecha, on the other hand, was slower but its reliability had been throughly tested. Armed to the joints, the tested would complement the new.

Scott breathed, stilled himself, and blocked all noise before battle. The hangar bay's giant hatch rose. He gave the order and thrusters flared, propelling the Raiders into the void.


Dana followed the progress of the first wave of Grant's attack. "They're all out," she said, mostly to herself.

"Do you think it will be long for them to secure an access path, major?" a familiar low voice inquired. Major Sterling smirked.

"We'll have to hold off and see," she replied as she glanced at him over an armored shoulder. He nodded.

Under watchful eyes, Spartas were being loaded into an armored carrier. As Sterling waited along her unit, she thought about the owner of that soothing voice. Angelo. Always there, always paying attention to me... Why did you follow me into this new adventure, Angie? Why risk your life in some attempt to rescue people that mean nothing to you...?

"Are you eager to get into that tin box, Lieutenant Dante?" she inquired shifting her eyes from him to the transport. "You used to hate that sort of thing."

His lips turned upwards imperceptibly. "As long as you're suffering through it too, I'll be fine with it, major."

Dana said nothing but decided that a heart to heart conversation was long overdue between her and the lieutenant. Sadly, even if there had been a time when she would have indulged herself -looming battle notwithstanding- and wandered down that path right away, she realized with uncharacteristic finality that now was not the time. Dana was a grown up and she forced herself to focus on the current situation.

Bernard's out there now, she reminded herself, high on those chemicals Jean doped him with... Not Bernard, Scott , she corrected, a brother that she never thought she'd meet. Apprehension assailed her and she looked distractedly at the glossy do adorning each of her fingertips. If she was one to bite her nails, it would have been the perfect moment. Focus, Dana, focus...

Perhaps she shouldn't have aided the little one into conning the good doctor and getting his not-fully-recovered ass out there. What if he gets hurt? What if he dies in battle? The scars of losing someone dear were still fresh on the young woman's psyche. He better not... Mom'll skin me if she knows I had anything to do with it... A fear she had fought hard to control resurfaced; there was a chance she'd never see her parents again. Dana squashed the feeling. I'm going to rescue them , she declared firmly and chided herself for even considering the possibility of failure. I'll take on those enemy bastards one by one if I need to. And Scott will be fine as well, damn it! she cursed mentally.

She didn't want to lose her parents, brother, or... or Angelo for that matter. Life owed her a chance to be with them, see them age . Why not? It was just fair after it had taken Zor, so many comrades and loved ones from her.

Dana Sterling tensed and clutched her helmet hard. She caught lieutenant Dante looking at her intently. Her eyes held his gaze. She was going to get what she wanted this time.

Clear a path for me, little brother... she wished. We'll get them out.


Scott's craft moved slowly, it seemed to glide, as if it simply dangled in open space. It was a strange sensation, not strong enough to cloud his perception, but not helpful either. Maybe the drug Dr. Grant gave him was having more adverse effects than expected.

He stilled, trying to clear his senses. He needed all five and a sixth, if he had any. On the Alpha's upper console, a blinking dot marked 03 caught his attention. Ariel. He could see her mecha flanking him on the right and, if he looked hard enough, he could make out her profile in the distance. He thought he had a few seconds to spare straining his sight at it, when Lieutenant Hopkins's face appeared on his main screen.

Her eyes were framed by dark shallow circles. Lack of sleep was evident, maybe even worry after what she had confessed to know. She avoided looking at him directly and followed protocol strictly while she transmitted the offensive's intended coordinates.

The data entered, his Alpha's directional system adjusted itself accordingly. Without working radars, said spatial coordinates were only an informed guess regarding the enemy's whereabouts. The Invid members of Raider squadron were supposed to be capable of sensing the presence of the invisible foe, however, their ability had a limited range. And they were far.

"Godspeed commander," she said, suddenly searching for his eyes on the screen. "Please be careful," she added on a private channel, just loud enough into her headset for the words to reach his ears.

"Will do," was his reply. It hit him then: she cared for him. Her concern, her nervousness, her reaction to Dana, her odd behavior... But w hy? What had he done for her to care?

Distant stars blinked eerily before his mecha burst into full speed, making them streak an immensely black canvas white. His squad fell into formation and soon enough, the enemy fell onto them. The attack had begun.


Following their commanding officer's orders, the Invid advanced in sync with each other. Furthermore, they seemed to fly in pairs by instinct. Whenever he could spare a chance, Scott's sight followed Raider 03. Ariel's combat was different from what he had seen that other almost-fatal time. Gone were her hesitation and her fear; she maneuvered her craft with precision, almost mechanical precision. The Invid aimed, shot and hit. Her enhanced awareness allowed her to almost predict movements about to be made against her; and when she didn't, another like her would take the offender down. Scott realized with mixed feelings that those infamous implants were doing their job just fine. With dread, he pictured the devices and their counters running out of time.

Raider 07 - by now Scott had him identified as Uld - covered Ariel's back and she did the same for him. Jealousy cruised the officer's heart as a result of seeing them fighting together. Yet, he reigned over his irrational feelings; he didn't need their distraction. He willed his throbbing brain to strictly follow the attack plan. It was the best he could do to ensure everyone's safety.

Hours lapsed. Invid and human fought side by side. The former's increased speed and sensitivity took care of isolating and slowing the enemy down, clearing the way for the latter's fire power to annihilate efficiently. In the distance, at last, Scott distinguished the battered shape of the SDF-3. Shivers ran down his back and firmed his resolve to move forward.

As the enemy's fierceness increased, explosions rocked his Alpha. "Commander..." he missed the voice calling him. He managed to stabilize it and, sending all power to his rear thrusters, Scott launched his Alpha across the distance. The battle fortress dominated his thoughts.

"Commander..."Again, he didn't hear. It is so close! he thought. As he raced a sinuous course, his mind was filled with images of his missing parents. He didn't hear Cooper's orders or see the enemy ships behind him; yet, Ariel had.

"Scott!" a scream pierced his ears."Ariel?" he mumbled.

"Move right!" she yelled again. Scott came to his senses in time to feel enemy fire caressing his Alpha's fuselage. An explosion rippled the vacuum and debris flew in front of him. She had destroyed one of his pursuers. But there was another one who still fired at him.

He dodged the blasts and, in mid motion, transformed his craft. He cut propulsion abruptly only to resume it upwards while turning. Scott hadn't anticipated the enemy's sudden course change. It was seeking to ram itself against his battloid. Scott used the mecha's arms to divert the impact. It only half worked. The right appendage failed to get a grip and ended embedded into the craft while the left was latched about it. Inertia pushed the tangled mecha until they came to a stop. Ariel's heart raced watching the immobile metallic heap.

"That was a close one," said Bernard into his intercom after a short while. Ariel released the breath she had been holding.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied. All things considered, he thought, while he furiously tried to activate his mecha, "but I've lost all power. My controls are not responding."

"I'm getting you out," she said while she mentally asked Uld to cover them.

"Negative," said Scott. "Get out of here. It is dangerous for you to stay." She paid him no heed as she proceeded to look for the best way to remove his mecha. It was no use. The impact had fused the enemy and Scott's crafts together.

"Seems this one developed a permanent attachment to you... I'll have to drag you both."

"Ariel, I said..." He was about to complain when Lieutenant Hopkin's face appeared on his screen.

"All units, return to base," she said.

"What?" he could still see the trapped ship. "We can't stop now, the SDF-3 is within our reach!" he yelled, helplessly trapped in his uncooperative Alpha.

"An enemy mothership is approaching, Commander. General Grant has ordered the second wave's attack to be diverted toward it."

"A mothership?"

"I'm sorry sir... " The rest of her words were lost to him. Ariel dragged his damaged mecha toward safety as he watched the battle fortress fade out of view. We were so close...


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Posted on: 2006-01-05

CHAPTERS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 |

Disclaimer: I do not own Robotech, Macross, Southern Cross, Mospeada or their characters. These stories were written for entertainment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
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Chapter Art