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 6


Max Sterling observed the motionless body of the man that had been his closest friend. Rick Hunter lay on med-bay, in a coma. His condition was critical but had stabilized under the constant care of a regeneration chamber. Behind the machine's protective Plexiglas, Max noticed that ghostly paleness hadn't left Rick's face.

While he watched the mechanical precision of the admiral's breathing, Max recalled countless other med-bay visits he had paid this man; mostly when they were both combat pilots. Never had Sterling seen Hunter in such a state. To recover, Rick needed a complex surgery that couldn't be performed aboard the SDF-3. Transporting him elsewhere was impossible as the ship remained isolated from the rest of the fleet. All communication efforts had been futile.

Sabotage crippled the vessel seconds into its last jump towards Earth. The computer's spatial coordinates were scrambled and the interdimensional voyage got extended for an amount of time yet to be determined. For all Sterling knew, they had been lost for years. When the ship finally entered normal space, it was received by the fire of an unknown enemy. Constant stealth attacks had further damaged the super dimensional fortress. 40 of the launch bays were nonoperational; the engine and system-control rooms had been destroyed; overworked reserve generators were menacingly close to give up on them; more than half the ship's combat squadrons had been wiped out.

"Hold in there," Sterling told the resting admiral, wishing that the ship and its crew would, too. However, his hope was wanning.

During these trying times, Max had clung to his wife, Miriya. They only had each other at this point, since war had taken their children from them. The vice-admiral was beginning to feel beaten and suspected that behind her tough exterior, his wife felt the same way. Over the years, the pain and worry that stemmed out of their decision to leave Dana had drained them. It got much worse after their younger son ran away; after his death at the hands of the Invid, it became unbearable. Max and Miriya had hoped that reuniting with their surviving child would lessen the suffering. That was the main reason behind their decision to take this last trip. Yet, the voyage brought them even further from their daughter, and perhaps condemned them to death.

Max saw the unconscious body in front of him and couldn't stop a flicker of anger. His brow furrowed bitterly as he remembered that this man, his friend, had known all along that his son was with Mars' 21st Division and never told him. If only you hadn't intervened, he thought watching Rick, Scott would still be... alive.

"Thank you for watching over him." A gentle voice broke Max's train on thought.

Lisa. Max regarded the fatigue on her face and his anger instantly dissolved. Rick's silence regarding Scott's whereabouts had been the hardest test their friendship ever endured, but it had survived -if severely battered. She was suffering and he simply couldn't blame her for standing by her husband's side. He would have done the same for Miriya. And Rick had explained his reasons, yet those could do little to bring his son back.

"I needed some time with my old buddy," Sterling said finally.

The woman approached, stood next to Max and looked down at her resting husband with tired, loving eyes.

"He'll make it," the vice-admiral felt compelled to comfort her.

She managed a sad smile. "I know." Max held Lisa's hand supportively.

"He's the most stubborn man I've ever met," added the once famous ace while he watched Rick's motionless body.

After a while, he broke the silence. "I better go check up on Miriya. He's in good hands now."

She nodded and he started to leave. "Max... I know this isn't easy for you..." Hearing her, he stopped.

"Don't say it, Lisa, please." He shook his head.

As Max Sterling left the room, Lisa lowered her face in silence, her eyes stung and promptly became watery, but tears didn't fall. Rick wouldn't like to see her crying.


General Grant sat in the conference room surrounded by his captains. On the holo-screen, Max Sterling flickered while his voice boomed intertwined with the sound of static. After the distress message was replayed, the urgency of rescuing the SDF-3's crew was evident for those assembled.

"We need to reach the ship," declared Grant flatly. The officers in the room nodded in silent agreement. "What do you recommend, Captain Christensen, " asked Grant.

"A full scale attack seems like the best option, general. While our current numbers are low, in a few days' time, reinforcements from Tirol and Moon bases will bring our offensive capacity to 75 percent. If we increase rotation, we can reach 85 percent," informed the tactical expert.

Enough force,
thought Vince. "Very well..."

"With all due respect, sir," interrupted Captain Sinclair. "Personnel is already working double and triple shifts as it is; forcing them to work any longer would push them into exhaustion. Rather than help, it would work against us."

The general crossed his hands in front of him. While Christensen was his tactical man, Sinclair oversaw personnel directly and had first hand information on scheduling and performance. He couldn't ignore his opinion.

Vince knew that he had ran out of options and saw the time was ripe to cash in on his investment with Dr. Iskandar. She had offered to deliver something that would shift the balance of this war. His sight searched the room and stopped on Captain Lorna Cooper's face. A subtle signal was enough for her to know that the time to reveal the secret project had arrived.

"Captain Sinclair," Grant spoke, "your concern is valid. Our forces are indeed close to exhaustion. However, there are alternatives to increased rotation."

"Alternatives, sir?"

"Captain Cooper, I would like you to introduce Project S908 to us."

"Yes sir." Lorna walked to the front of the room. "Months ago, General Grant approved research and development of a new weapon," she started.

"A new weapon?" Questions filled the room. "What kind of weapon?"

"A bio-robotech weapon. A new kind of combat unit that would effectively confront and defeat the enemy."

"How exactly can this 'weapon' do that, captain?"

The woman looked at Grant. He signaled for her to elaborate.

"These units have 200 percent the endurance of an average veritech fighter. Their targeting accuracy has been improved up to 20 times beyond the best unassisted human score. Their capacity of communication with others like them is instant. But most impressing, the enemy can't hide itself from them." The room gasped, surprised. Cooper continued. "They posses a supersensitive radar that can track our invisible enemy with crystal clarity."

"I can't believe that if such an advanced radar device has been produced, it hasn't it been implemented across the fleet!"

"That's the problem, Captain Sinclair. It isn't a device, it is an enhanced biological ability that can't be reproduced by a machine alone."

"I thought we were talking of AI controlled mecha, Cooper."

"No, these machines have biological pilots"

"Were are the pilots coming from?"

"They are Invid"

"What!" The audience was further shocked by Cooper's revelation.

"Specifically, stage five Invid," she added. "While one research team worked on the development of a new generation of shadow veritechs, another worked on the design of a neural implant which, among other things, fully integrates Invid and robotech mecha. The new combat unit we created is the result of analysis and improvements over Invid biotechnology and its fusion with robotechnology."

"How far into development is this project at? Are these units anywhere close to being ready?"

"The first beta unit was completed about 24 hours ago," Cooper answered proudly. "Performance tests conducted so far place its offensive abilities at 300 percent the normal shadow veritech rates."

"Incredible," voiced someone in the room.

"How long will it take to have enough of them ready for battle?" asked General Grant.

"Three days sir, counting that the reinforcements Moon Base sent us include enough Invid to take implants."


"According to the report we received, 60 percent of arrivals will be Invid."

"Very well, then," said Vince "I want every mecha to be prepared, every technician, every mechanic, every pilot and soldier in this base to be deployed. We will hit the enemy with a full scale assault in three days time. The SDF-3 needs us. No matter the cost, I want them free."

Many questions lingered on the captains' minds. But for now, the pressing situation had more weight. The forces needed reinforcements, no matter of what kind.

While the officers left the room, Vince signaled Cooper to stay behind. They walked toward his private office in silence.

She could see that Grant was worried. Dr. Iskandar's last report had calmed the general's concerns about the safety of her experimentation and while Cooper had kept some unsettling details from the general for the project's sake, the man had doubts.

"Lorna, I must know. Are Iskandar's implants perilous to the Invid pilots who will receive them?"


"The truth, Lorna!"

She sighed. "Some of the early research subjects were lost, general. The radiation is dangerous but Iskandar has assured me that the force field that contains it has been perfected."

"Can she be trusted?"

"Sir, under the circumstances, we don't have an option."


Since her encounter with Scott, Ariel seldom left her quarters. As the frequency of enemy attacks had decreased, she hadn't had any important reason to come out, food being optional. What had transpired kept replaying in her mind. Scott's attitude and his words had made things clear. She decided that she wouldn't push it any longer as his feelings of affection would never belong to her. Furthermore, if Scott had his way, she'd be out of Mars Base very soon.

She had confided in Koreen and her roommate had been as supportive as she could. Uld had been around often as well. Ariel found he was very protective of her. He knew exactly how she felt; he literally 'felt' all that went on when she opened her mind to him. She was at ease with him. When their minds connected, she was conscious of his sincere worry for her emotional state. Both Invid had been set on distracting Ariel from her dark thoughts. They had kept her occupied while they could, but she was alone now, serving a mandatory sleep period.

An executive order had been given to begin the implantation of all Invid pilots. On that same day, Uld and Koreen had been scheduled to receive theirs and would be forced to stay in the medical wing for several hours. She attributed her not receiving the device to Scott's intentions of getting rid of her. Why waste one of those expensive implants on someone who was leaving?

I only wanted to help him, she thought while sadness grew within her. The alien tried to sleep but her eyes refused to close, her mind spun, she turned in her bed considering what she could do. All of a sudden, she heard someone at the door. She didn't move from her bed, hoping whoever it was would go away.

"Anybody there?" a voice came from behind the closed entrance. Ariel froze, it was Scott. She sat as if a spring had pulled her up. Quietly, she moved toward the door, but she didn't dare open it. Her heart beat fast; she could almost feel him waiting on the other side.

"Ariel, are you there?" he insisted. "I just want to talk to you." No reply came. For as much as she wanted to have him close once again, Ariel wasn't ready for a second round of hurtful exchanges with him. Why is he here? She couldn't help but wonder with her heart at her throat. "Maybe he arranged my transfer already," she thought pained. She returned to her bed and hugged her pillow tightly.

Scott called her name once more and waited, feeling increasingly out of place yelling at a closed door. He noticed the dark gap under it, all lights were off inside the room. After a few minutes, he reluctantly gave up.


Tirolean shuttles approached Mars. Their mother-ship waited further away from the planet. One by one, the gigantic transports descended onto the RDF base's docking bays. It was busy on the ground, as always when fresh troops arrived on wars' doorstep.

Major Dana Sterling was walking down the ramp of her transport when she spotted something that made her stop cold. "What are you doing!" she yelled. "Be sure not to damage that mecha!" the sharp voice of the angry blond startled a lift operator. The tank he was lowering to the ground swung dangerously in midair. The man tried to stabilize the tank's weight and hastily deposited his cargo onto the ground. The tank hit a rolling platform with the loudest thud. Dana was fuming. "If it is broken, I'll hunt you down!" she roared. The man squirmed and hurried to remove himself and his lift from her presence.

The major made her way to the rolling platform, climbed on it and was checking her tank when someone called her name.

"Major Sterling?"

"Yes," she answered and unwillingly took her attention away from her dear mecha. A young man with blue eyes and blue hair looked at her with a curious expression. She studied him for a few seconds. Slender, stiff, a bandage around his head, he seemed to be all too eager and nervous. Somehow he seemed... familiar. Whom does he remind me of? Dana wondered.

"I'm Commander Scott... Bernard..." he said. Was he stammering? "... and have an urgent matter to discuss with you," he looked around, "in private..." he realized the surprise on Dana's face, "If you have a few minutes, that is."

Dana didn't know what to make of him. Scott Bernard did he say? While she pondered what said 'urgent matter' could possibly be, she looked at him. Those eyes, that hair... Was it the exact shade of blue of her own father's? That subtle pause when he had said his last name... She blinked, unbelieving as her brain made the connection. Scott! Could it be? She had only seen her little brother in pictures her mother had sent her. The last she knew about him had been more than six years prior when...

Suddenly, the platform that held her mecha started to haul it away. She jumped off it. "Yes, commander. I... I... have a few minutes," she said; It was her turn to stammer.


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Posted on: 2005-10-17

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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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