“DOGFIGHT ABOVE SOUTH ATARIA"
Just a moment ago, the Macross randomly emitted a power beam. One that leveled a mountain and evaporated enough seawater to make a fairly thick fog.
HIKARU: “Wow. What were all those fireworks about?”
FOCKER: “I don’t know. I’d better go check. Wait here; I’ll see what’s going on.”
Putting aside his flight helmet, Focker got out of the cockpit. If worse came to worst, Hikaru would be in the safest place possible. Hopefully, he’d understand why militaries exist in the first place.
Out in the void, several Columbus-class transports deployed their Saberfish, Ghost, and Lancer II fighters as the invaders drew closer. ARMD space carriers and Salamis-class cruisers backed them up in the rear for ranged support.
Missiles—Stilettos, Piledrivers, and Mongooses—were launched at extreme range, bursting into circular explosions. Each blossom overlapped with another. The defenders were able to sink several alien ships, but the remainder was able to close the gap quickly as the fighting became fiercer.
At that moment, on the bridge of the Zentraedi flagship…
EXEDORE: “Very heavy resistance, sir,”
BREETAI: “Yes. But why are they using such primitive weapons?”
The large projecbeam monitor revealed wreckage of several ships, Zentraedi and indigenous floating in the vacuum.
BREETAI: “Our lead ships have broken through! It’s unbelievable, this sacrifice they’re making! Some sort of trick, no doubt.”
EXEDORE: “Yes, it is puzzling.”
BREETAI: “It makes no sense, then? Even to you?”
EXEDORE: “There has to be a reason, but it’s beyond me.”
TECH: “Commander Breetai! Two enemy cruiser-class vessels are approaching; they could be ones who launched the missile bombardment.
On the screen, a pair of blocky, bulky craft were displayed.
Breetai smiled. He was ready to fight.
BREETAI: “Blast them to bits.”
Main and secondary batteries let loose on the defending craft. A storm of blue laser fire reduced the ships to twisted debris; the smaller fighters were utterly disintegrated.
Breetai became annoyed quickly. While the enemy was putting up a commendable effort, one question remained. Why did the natives not seem to know how to fight?
It seemed so easy.
BREETAI: “Those idiots behave as though they don’t even know how to use their own weapons! Full barrage, all guns!”
The ARMD carriers were holed savagely by the rapid blue spears of light.
At that same moment, on the bridge of the Macross…
MISA: “Salamis cruisers Aruba and Amorgos and ARMD-02 destroyed, Columbus carrier Da Gama and ARMD-10 are heavily damaged. Other losses are extremely heavy. Orbital Defense Forces are no longer even marginally effective. The aliens are advancing.”
Global sat in his chair, deep in thought.
GLOBAL: “I had hoped that this moment wouldn’t come in my lifetime. Right after achieving peace on our own planet, we face extermination from the stars from an enemy whose prowess we can’t even fathom. I’d thought war had become a thing of the past, but here we go again, like it or not.”
The captain stood, shoulders back.
GLOBAL: “Misa, give the order to move out!”
Over the loudspeaker, Misa’s order to the pilots blared:
MISA: “All forces, deploy in accordance with Contingency Plan SURTR. We are under attack by alien invaders in sector 412. This is not a drill. Repeat: This is not a drill.”
Valkyrie after Valkyrie took to the sky as her command reverberated across the island.
Roy Focker began climbing into his fighter, Skull 01, but when he started to get set, he remembered: he left Hikaru in that cockpit!
He immediately calmed down: the Valkyrie Hikaru was in was sidelined for PR reasons. He would still be safe.
Misa’s voice rang across the airfield once again. Focker didn’t mind it, but would have preferred Claudia’s.
FOCKER: “Well, boys, you heard her. This is the real deal.”
Dozens of fighters were airborne in a matter of minutes. Some choppers were among them.
Misa’s voice came on again:
MISA: “Wolf Squadron is away. Skull Squadron, prepare for blast off.”
FOCKER: “Skull Squad ready! Okay, fellas, it’s showtime!”
3… 2… 1…
He was off.
Far, far away, aboard the Nupetiet-Vergnitzs, Breetai studied the bird’s-eye view of South Ataria in disgust.
BREETAI: “What a disorderly arrangement! These people must be completely ignorant of space war tactics!”
Not long after this remark, the scanner picked up a large object. Leaning toward the fishbowl-like surface protecting his command post, his undamaged eye widened.
BREETAI: “What’s this? The battle fortress! What’s happened to it?”
EXEDORE: “It appears to have been remodeled, no doubt by the natives of that planet.”
BREETAI: “Mere primitives couldn’t have possibly captured a Supervision Army ship.”
EXEDORE: “Perhaps it crashed on that planet and they managed to salvage it.”
BREETAI: “The ship should have been terribly damaged. These savages wouldn’t have the technology to repair it.”
EXEDORE: “I know, sir, but is there any other explanation? It is a Supervision Army vessel, we know they have—”
BREETAI: “Reaction weapons.”
EXEDORE: “Precisely, and this makes them very dangerous. We need to exercise extreme discretion.”
Another window appeared on the monitor. Their first wave of Gnerl fighters were inbound for the island
Hikaru had fallen asleep waiting for Focker to return. He was starting to come to, though. He heard what sounded like thunder. Was a bad storm around the corner?
Then there came a ring in his ear. Someone was calling him.
MISA: “Macross to Valkyrie 102. Why are you on the exhibition yard? We’re on red alert! Why haven’t you taken off?”
Hikaru opened his eyes to the sight of an angry young lady peering impatiently at him on one of the tiny display screens.
HIKARU: “Y-You don’t mean me, do you lady?”
Hikaru looked around outside. Up in the air, the sky was covered in vapor trails with explosions blossoming in their midst.
MISA: “Stop wasting time! Take off immediately and join your wingman!”
HIKARU: “But the runway’s demolished!”
MISA: “Runway two is intact. You’re fully armed, and your engines are overheating, prepare for takeoff!”
As soon as she said that, the shrill whine of the engine filled the cockpit.
For all his bragging about his exploits in the flying circus, Hikaru was nervous. He was just a bystander who got tangled up in the battle. He was no soldier.
With the irate woman still glaring at him, Hikaru had no choice but to try.
In a moment, he was airborne. An alien missile came down on the runway behind him. Had he waited another minute, he would have been a charred, mangled corpse.
Human and alien craft were everywhere and explosions erupted from every direction, it seemed. Hikaru could feel the shock.
Then, a familiar voice.
FOCKER: “Skull boys, it’s Skull Leader. Intercept new invader flights at zone 428. Traffic’s heavy out there, so break formation, but don’t leave your wingman!”
HIKARU: “Focker, would you mind telling me what’s going on?”
Skull 01 fired a seeker missile that knocked out an alien fighter trailing a friendly.
FOCKER: “Hikaru! How’s it feel to be a fighter pilot?”
HIKARU: “I’m not a fighter pilot! I—WAAAUGH!!”
An fireball flowered close to Hikaru’s Valkyrie, distorting transmission.
He got cooked, but not too badly.
Focker sighed over the radio.
FOCKER: “Good, you didn’t get hit. You okay?”
HIKARU: “I’ll be fine.”
FOCKER: “Combat flights are scary for first-timers, but you’ll get used to it. It’s not that much different from the old circus days.”
HIKARU: “Yeah, but nobody shot at me in the circus.”
FOCKER: “You’ll get used to it. Just tag along with me and we’ll start the on-the-job crash-course… if you can keep up!”
HIKARU: “If? I’ll do my best not to leave you in my backwash!”
FOCKER: “Let’s give them hell, Little Brother!”
Focker increased airspeed and began to climb. As Hikaru followed suit, an alien pod came in from six o’clock and beaned him.
FOCKER: “Climb and bank! Climb and bank! Hikaru!”
Hikaru’s Valkyrie was now in a graveyard spiral. As South Ataria pinwheeled ever closer, he tried everything he knew to regain control of the fighter, but to no avail.
MISA: “Macross to Valkyrie 102. Pull out! You’re diving straight at us!”
HIKARU: “Lady, don’t you think I’d like to? The controls have lost power!”
MISA: “Have you switched to configuration B?”
HIKARU: “B? What are you talking about?”
MISA: “You don’t know!? There’s a lever marked B on the left side of your instrument panel.”
Fighting for consciousness against the g forces, Hikaru found a lever and pulled it. The Valkyrie abruptly slowed and became more stable. But he noticed something: it was marked G. Even though it helped, it was the wrong lever.
The Valkyrie crashed through various buildings in the city during descent as something was happening to the vehicle. What exactly, Hikaru didn’t know.
Eventually the crazy descent came to a halt. Hikaru had survived.
What had happened to the fighter? How did those levers save him?