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 9



Operations was a multileveled circular chamber, walled with screens and workstations. Commander Bernard searched for Lorna Cooper and found her at three o'clock. She stood next to Captain Sinclair, their frames cast black against a luminous surface. In front of the captains, a holographic transmission played. Scott saw a face he hadn't seen in years.

Blue tainted glasses partly hid dark circles of exhaustion. His hair had grayed, his forehead, wrinkled; yet, the sparkle in his eyes remained. Attentive, beyond anyone present, a son witnessed his father's plea. Vice-Admiral Sterling's voice came out choked by interference.

" ... S...3. Mothershi...proaching... Nee...r help... Hayes... sit... diverting pow... main... attack po... delta... 2100 hours... S.O.S... assault imminent... "

As suddenly as it had come, the vision vanished, leaving Scott concerned about the fate of the lost SDF-3 and its crew. A wave of dizziness came over him. In spite of painkillers he had taken, his head pounded.

"Time of transmission," Cooper inquired.

"Taking into account the sub-spatial delay, 1100, ma'am," came the reply from a young ensign. Scott saw Sinclair's face grew somber while a pensive shroud covered Cooper's.

Lorna dismissed the ensign and turned her head towards Sinclair. "This changes our plans," she told him.

"You aren't thinking..."

"You heard Sterling. We have to reach the SDF-3 or, in about six hours, there might be nothing left to be reached!"

"Lorna, there is no way our troops will be ready in such a short time."

"We'll use the Invid troops."

"Even with those aliens... there's not enough time and we can't be sure we can trust them." he spat.

Oh, we can, she mused, thinking of Dr. Iskandar's implant and some of its bonus capabilities. "Grant approved their use, Augustus. He is going to demand that we are ready for battle."

"I can't work miracles"

"Then follow orders, Sinclair." Her words stung him.

"I'll follow orders when I receive them form my superior officer," he replied sourly and turned away from her angrily.

"I'll see that you get a memo, Sinclair."

The captain's fists were balled at the sides of his massive body and his face was red. Scott saw how soldiers did their best to keep out of Sinclair's exiting path. Contrarily to what his stature and fierce appearance told, Sinclair was a levelheaded man. What the hell was going on with the SDF-3?

Intrigued, Bernard came close to Cooper. Her fingers moved speedily over a communications terminal. She was, most probably, sending a message to General Grant. When she finished typing, she saw the commander.

"Captain Cooper," he saluted.

"Bernard," she acknowledged and returned his salute. He eased. "What can I do for you?"

"I need to talk to you, Ma'am."

"Not a good time, commander..." She walked toward the exit.

"But... that transmission... Captain, what's going on?" he followed her determined to find out.

Evidently, Sterling's message had taken the young man by surprise yet Lorna Cooper couldn't have guessed the extent of it. She conjectured that due to his injuries, Bernard was probably unaware of the series of distress messages that the SDF-3 had been able to send. At any rate, the massive counterattack Grant was orchestrating loomed, this last transmission would dramatically shift its intended time.

What a pity , she thought looking at the commander's bandages. He was one of her best pilots, knew the Invid first hand and had even lead -reluctantly- a hybrid team... If only Jean Grant would let him fly... Nothe doctor had been clear and Lorna wouldn't dare cross her. Jean was Vince's Achilles' heel, after all.

"Follow me, commander," Cooper said. "I need to have a word with someone at the scientific research wing. We can talk on the way." Scott complied.

While they walked, it occurred to Lorna Cooper, that Scott Bernard had an interesting story. Had she read in his file that he was the sole survivor of his entire division during earth's second reclamation attempt? More so, had he lost a loved one to the Invid? Yes. Lorna had a good memory. His fiancée died along his comrades. He had been so reticent to use Invid in his unit, yet he obeyed orders. Sure, Bernard had reason to loath the aliens. He could become useful, she decided. Perhaps she would take him along during her visit to Iskandar's headquarters.

Commander and captain accessed Mars Base's tunnels.


Dr. Karl Reed had prepared his final report of the day. Deciding to hand it in personally, he made his way towards the main lab. Isabel Iskandar would surely be there, surrounded by data streams and holographic projections.

He entered the room and saw her. Bluish screen light bounced off her glasses. Her black hair was messily tied in a loose bun, her lab coat, crumpled. She, well, they hadn't gotten much rest since Grant authorized massive implantation. Reed was aware that he too looked disheveled, but Iskandar's appearance was that of a scientist gone mad. It bothered him.

He descended metallic stairs. In spite of the inevitable clanking of his steps, Iskandar was oblivious to his presence. He reached out and patted her shoulder. The woman's body jolted, her mouth let out a foreign curse.

"Reed!" she said once she had identified him. He saw something sinister in her eyes.

"Dr. Iskandar... I am sorry, I didn't mean to startle you..." She recovered her breath.

"I'm fine, Reed," she said, annoyance in her voice. She promptly refocused on whatever it was that was sucking all of her attention. They were silent and suddenly, he was eager to leave.

"This is my report," he said offering it to her. When she didn't reply, he shifted his attention to the screen in front of her. His eyes widened. "What is that?" he inquired concerned.

She looked a him. That look again. Darkness flickered behind her pupils. The corners of her mouth curled upwards, yet more than a smile for Reed, she sported a smirk.

"Is a monitoring software for our implants. Part of what insures that they work perfectly."

"Oh." He thought he knew all about the project, but he wasn't aware of this "software" His eyes started roaming the screen until she placed herself in front of him.

"Thanks for the report, Karl. Go rest now, you need it."

"So do you, Isabel," he said quietly.

"I'll be finishing soon." she said. He understood, nodded and backed away toward the door. All the time, he felt her eyes on him. What are you up to, Isabel? he wondered and saw Captain Lorna Cooper approaching along a young, blue-haired officer.

"Dr. Reed," she greeted, he responded.

"Is Dr. Iskandar here?"

"In the lab," he said.

"Thanks." She made her way.

Can't be good, Reed decided.


"No Scott, you're not well enough to fly!" said Jean Grant getting exasperated at the pilot's insistence.

"I need to be out there, Dr. Grant," he continued eagerly, "I know you can give me an extra dose of the A.R.D."

The information Scott had been able to glean from Captain Cooper and Dr. Iskandar had unsettled him deeply. Besides learning many details regarding the offensive Grant had ordered and the SDF-3's desperate situation, Scott also got the strong impression a shared future for human and Invid wasn't on the women's minds. He played on Cooper's assumption of his hatred towards the aliens to see a hidden side to the captain. She didn't say it out loud, but Scott knew she didn't care for Invid survival, regardless of which side they were fighting on now. As for Iskandar, she seemed plain insane.

"It is too dangerous for your body, I already told Captain Cooper," Jean declared.

" about six hours, there might be nothing left to be reached!" Cooper's words replayed in Scott's mind. "The forces need every pilot for this offensive. The SDF-3 is so close, Dr Grant!" the commander countered. "This could be that final effort that we need to reach it... "

"There are other pilots, Scott and..." It took her a few seconds to reply this time, "Vince told me the Invid reinforcements seem rather promising."

'Promising...' You have no idea, Dr. Grant, he thought. "These implants enhance their abilities..." Iskandar paused, looked at Cooper and continued after an approving nod. "But they also grant us control over them."

"Please," Scott pressed, thinking of his parents and thinking of Ariel. "I need to be there. I'm fine. I've been feeling much better."

Jean eyed him suspiciously. "How many painkillers are you taking per day?"

" To gain some, commander, we must risk some..." Cooper had said, factually. "Two," he lied. Jean stared firmly. "All right, three... sometimes."

The doctor sighed and looked into his eager eyes. Jean knew that at the moment, Scott Bernard wouldn't be able to produce the pills he claimed not to have taken, less so pass a strict physical test. He had recovered well for the limited time since his injury and, if she gave him a second dose of meta-duloxilotrin, he would be able to pilot. But there were risks to his health and she just didn't want to take them without a good reason. Jean went to her cabinet and took out the drug, then she walked towards him well aware of his nervousness.

"This," she showed him the crystalline tube, "is not to be taken lightly."

"I know, Dr. Grant. I wouldn't ask if I didn't have reasons..." "Each number represents an alien," said Iskandar. "Each number represents a 'trustworthy' soldier," added Cooper. Scott remembered the silent companion to each of those numbers: a timer. He was told each counted down to the point where the implant's protective forcefield would ran out. He saw rows after rows of implants waiting to be placed into unaware Invid. Their macabre glow tainted Iskandar's lab green.

Jean nodded "I thought so." She crossed her arms. "And you are going to have to tell me exactly what those are."

"I... I just can't stand watching without doing something!" A part of the truth. "When the timers near zero, they can be recharged with a simple procedure... or not," said Iskandar .

"Many pilots are or have been in that position," said Jean, "I understand it is hard, but you would do more good if you allow yourself to recover fully..."

"No doctor you don't understand, I must be there," Scot insisted, recalling more of Cooper's words. "General Grant is all for it, Bernard. Of course."

"Okay, tell me why must you? And it better be a good reason, Scott."

"If you really want to know, I can tell you why he wants a ticket out there, Jean." Dana's voice made doctor and patient turn their heads toward the door the major had been leaning on. One looked at her with curiosity, the other with anxiety.

"Dana! When did you arrive, child?" The doctor gave her a hug. She had known Max and Miriya's daughter since she was little. Dana and her son, Bowie, had been close friends for years. They served together on the army of the Southern Cross and together they escaped the Invid onslaught of earth.

"About 30 hours ago," answered the major.

"It is so good to see you," said Jean. The doctor noticed the strange look on Dana's eyes and Scott's sudden paleness. After reflecting on the young woman's earlier comment, Jean had to wonder what that had been about. "I'm a bit confused here, have you met Commander Bernard, Dana?" she asked looking from one Sterling to the other.

Scott was silent like a tomb.

"No, I haven't met any Bernard," answered Dana, "but I've met Scott Sterling, here ," he added, looking at her speechless younger brother.


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Posted on: 2005-12-06

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