Everything Under The Sun... And Then Some!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Macross 30: Bandits and the Hunter License

As far as Leon was concerned, the VF-0 Phoenix might have been state-of-the-art 50 years ago, but to him it was slow and flew like a boat. Still it was all he had at the moment so he wouldn’t complain… too much.
He was just about to pick up the last crate of supplies that Aisha had sent him to pick up. It was slow, boring work. He could to the site quick enough in fighter mode but in order to get the crates back he had to fly in the less aerodynamic GERWALK mode. Still, he was on the last container and then Aisha had said they would go to the nearby town of Daoren and get him a Hunter License, which he apparently needed.

Just as he transformed the Valkyrie, his alarms blared. His radar screen showed that he had two VF-1 Valkyries flying towards him.
“Aisha, I have two contacts inbound, broadcasting unknown IFFs.”
“Be on guard Leon. They’re likely some of the bandits that stole this stuff in the first place.”
“Well then, I’ll have to greet them properly,” Leon grinned.
The two Valkyries, which looked fairly shabby and beat up, unlike Leon’s practically spotless Phoenix, hovered to a stop in front and above Leon in GERWALK, while Leon stood in front of the crate in battroid mode.
“Oy, what the hell’re you doing here? You another of those Hunter Guild slags stealin’ our stuff?!” demanded one of the bandits.
“Uh, he’s not Hunter Guild, Jake. He reads as SMS,” returned his more nervous sounding partner.
“Same difference! Now Mr. SMS, are you gonna hand over our stuff, or do we have to blow you into bloody chunks?!”
“Sure,” Leon retorted, still grinning, “come and get it.”
The fools actually believed him and began descending, which was when Leon fired off four of his anti-air missiles. The missiles, not actually locked on, streaked up into the sky. An expensive gambit, but it paid off as the bandits immediately panicked and split off. Still grinning, Leon lined up his Phoenix’s GPU-9 35mm gunpod on one of the bandits and opened fire. The poor VF-1 was shredded and crashed to the ground in flames. Leon quickly turned to line up on his second target but found that that one was fleeing on afterburners.
“SMS scum! Ganeth will hear about this!!” the bandit yelled and then cut off communications.
“Ganeth? Who’s Ganeth?” asked Leon.
“Ganeth? Don’t worry about him. He’s just an idiot,” responded Aisha, her image on his monitor taut and frowning.
“Is he like the local leader of the bandits or something?” pressed Leon as his Phoenix lifted the  final crate.
“Something like that, yes. Now bring the last crate back and we can take it over to the Hunter Guild and get you your license.”

After Leon had landed back aboard the Gefion, and Gerrol was busy inspecting every angle of the fighter and… cooing to it… Leon was about to head up to the bridge when he met Aisha coming into the hangar.
“Welcome back Leon! I see you didn’t have any trouble.”
“Not much. The VF-0 isn’t too bad but it’s a lot slower than what I’m used to. But now that that’s all done with, is there something space-worthy that I can use to get back to Sepheela?” Leon began to grow uneasy as Aisha smiled nervously at him.
“Well, about that. You see Leon, you’ve arrived on Ouroboros at a very interesting time. This planet, as you might have noticed is very unusual. Take the moons for example. Moons as close to Ouroboros as the ones we have should be causing all sorts of havoc… but they don’t. And I’m sure you’ve noticed our floating islands.”
“Yeah, kinda hard to miss,” replied Leon neutrally, wondering where Aisha was going with this.
“Well it’s all part of the strange phenomenon that make this planet unique and every so often, those strange Fold disturbances coalesce and form what we call the Ouroboros Aura… which completely cuts us off from the rest of the galaxy. In other words, you’re totally stuck here!” she said the last part as a kind of cheer, trying to soften the blow. There was a pause. It wasn’t a long pause, about one second and then Leon blurted out, “What?!”
“Yup, it’s true. Though I guess we’re not completely cut off, but it takes something the size and power of a Macross-type ship to get through the aura surrounding the planet. And that’s definitely NOT the Gefion.”
“So how long will I be stuck here then?” asked Leon, a little bit of hysteria creeping into his voice.
“Who knows?” said Aisha, shrugging, “The Ouroboros Aura can some last from a few weeks up to a year.”
“A year!” cried Leon.
“Don’t worry, there’s plenty of work here to keep you busy,” said Aisha, making a calming gesture with her hands, “I can transfer you into SMS Ouroboros officially and then once we get the license from Leilong, you’ll be good to go.”
“Doesn’t sound like I have much of a choice. Alright, well let’s get this license thing taken care off.”
“Great! I’ll put my pilot suit on and we’ll head over to Daoren!” said Aisha enthusiastically and ran off towards the pilot’s ready room and lockers.
“You can fly too?” Leon called after her.
“Of course! I’m not just the pretty face behind the desk!”

Leon was further impressed when they were on the Gefion’s launch ramps, ready to take off.
“That’s… a VF-19 Excalibur!” he exclaimed.
Aisha was indeed piloting the famous mass-production model of the YF-19 variable fighter prototype that had been involved in the Sharon Apple incident.
“Yup. If your VF-0D is Gerrol’s baby, then this one’s mine. Well, one of them,” replied Aisha.
“One of them? What do you mean?” asked Leon.
“Uh-uh,” said Aisha, waggling a finger at him, “that would be telling. Now, are you ready to go check out the islands?”

The flight to Daoren was uneventful thankfully and it gave Leon a chance to take in the sights of the Julia Islands. Apparently they had been named after one of the very first colonists when they had arrived here about 20 years ago. They not only had the natural beauty of a tropical island chain but many of them were floated gently in the sky. Combined with the moons, which hung low and large in the sky and it was breathtaking landscape.
As they approached Daoren, Leon was initially somewhat confused. Aisha has said there was a town here but all Leon could see was a sort of hangar complex. There wasn’t even a proper runway, so they had to land in GERWALK mode. Aisha explained that it was because all the towns and cities on Ouroboros were built underground, mostly to preserve the planet’s incredible natural beauty.
After a short trip down an elevator, and a walk through a bustling shopping district, they arrived at an office which a stylized logo mounted above it proudly proclaiming HUNTER GUILD. Entering through the sliding door, they found a suite of offices but no one in sight.
“There has to be someone that can help us…” began Aisha but then a door opened in the back and a violet-haired woman stepped through. Leon recognized her as the woman that Aisha was talking to earlier but now that he got a good look at her, he imagined that she might be even younger than Aisha and himself.
“Hello there! Ah, Aisha! What brings you here?” she said. She had a pronounced accent that Leon couldn’t place.
“Leilong! What are you doing out of the guild headquarters in Britai City?” asked Aisha, clearly surprised.
“Oh, just checking up on things out here after that bandit raid.”
“I see. Well in that case, could you get ahold of a Hunter License?”
“A license? But you already have one, or is it for your new friend here?”
“Yes, it is.”
“I see! Let me introduce myself,” she said, bowing formally to Leon, “I am Mei Leilong, master of the Hunter’s Guild based out of Britai City, capital of Ouroboros, at your service.”
“I’m Lt. Leon Sakaki of SMS, pleased to meet you as well,” replied Leon, returning her bow.
“Now about the license,” began Leilong as she sat down at the front desk and behgan typing at a keyboard, which activated a holographic screen, “We usually give SMS pilots a Class-B or A License, if they can provide the credentials?”
Both Aisha and Leon shook their heads.
“Leon’s from off-world, so we can contact Sepheela thanks to the Aura. But I can vouch for him!”
Well… normally I couldn’t take just your word… but since we’re best friends I’ll compromise and give him a Class-C . How’s that?”
“What’s the difference?” asked Leon.
“We group the job assignments we have available here at the Guild into different ranks, designated by a letter,” Leilong explained, “It goes from D to S. D through B jobs are usually not too complicated but anything marked A or S is guaranteed to be lots of trouble. As a Class-C, you can take any jobs from our boards marked D or C but nothing else. The more jobs you complete, the higher a license we can give you. There are even SS-class and SSS-class jobs but only an experienced group of S-class license holders are even considered for those jobs.”
As she finished up her explanation, the computer chimed. Leilong reached under the desk and pulled out a glossy white card and handed it to Leon.
“There you go! Got everything clear so far?”
“I assume that since these are basically bounties, there will be a reward?” asked Leon.
“Just so. The rewards vary according to the rank of the job. Well, you’re all set! Good luck Leon-chan!”
There was another one of those pauses.
“Leon-chan? I… when did I become Leon-chan?”
“Oh don’t mind her,” said Aisha, grinning wickedly, “Leilong is very clever about it, but she’s actually far, far older than just about everyone on the planet. Isn’t that right o-ba-sa-n?”
Leilong looked like Aisha had just punched her in the gut.
“Wha-? You… how dare you…” she spluttered. Her expression hardened and she glared back at Aisha, who was giggling silently.
“Leon-chan, I hope you do well on your jobs. You’ll need the money so Aisha-chan can finally fix all those old wrecks on the Gefion.”
That snapped Aisha out of her giggling and she looked at Leilong in outrage.
“Wrecks?! Those aren’t wrecks, they’re just… not finished yet! I can’t believe you’d question the Bautiful Genius of SMS!”
“Beautiful Genius?” shot back Leilong, “What kind of Beautiful Genius has a ship full of Valkyries that can’t fly?”
“Leon, pay no attention to Leilong, her age has caused her to go senile,”  Aisha ground out.
“Um, I’m just going to go check on the Valkyries…” said Leon, feeling the tension in the air thickening by the second.
“Oh ho ho ho, insults eh? Two can play at that game Aisha!”
“Ha ha! Bring it on, Leilong!”
“Yeah… I’m just gonna go check on those planes,” murmered leon as he hastily made his getaway.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Macross 30, Chapter 1

Chapter 1:
The Zentradi Girl

Everything was burning. Leon shouldered his way past the technicians and emergency personnel as they scrambled to put out the fires. He saw his sister Mia and Rod Baltomar come stumbling out of a corridor, their white flightsuits smudged with soot, as was Rod’s platinum blond hair. The sight lifted Leon’s spirits; when Mia had first started dating Rod, one of their fellow pilots, Leon had initially acted the overprotective big brother. But Rod had won him over with his quiet devotion to Mia and, just as importantly, his skill as their wingman. Normally a romantic relationship between pilots in the same squad would have been frowned upon, but NUNS had been getting a bit lax in recent years with enforcing the little regulations.

“Leon, how’s Area B?” asked Rod, his voice hoarse from the smoke.
“Not good. Area B got hit the hardest by the attack. There might still be people in there but it’d be suicide to try and get at them.”
“Leon, don’t be so cold-hearted!” chided Mia, “If it were you in there I’d move heaven and earth to get to you! We can’t just give up on our comrades so easily!” Before Rod or Leon could do anything to stop her she turned and ran in the direction Leon had come from.
“Wait, Mia, it’s too dangerous, let the fire crews handle it! MIA!”

Leon’s eyes snapped open and his hand jerked forward, outstretched towards his sister. But he was not actually in that burning base anymore. Blinking he looked around and saw that he was laying atop a reclining bed in what was clearly some kind of sickbay. But where exactly? The last thing he could remember was being on approach to Ouroboros in his YF-25…
The crash! He hadn’t been able to prevent his YF-25 from auguring into the planet and had ejected at the last second! But after that was a blank…
He pushed himself into a sitting position that allowed him to get a better view out of the window. Nothing but blue ocean and blue sky out there. Was he on a ship then? He caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye and saw an island slip into view from the left side of the window. There was just one strange thing about this island though, it wasn’t down in the water, it was floating just about level with Leon’s window! Before he had time to gape at this site any further, he heard the hiss of a door opening, footsteps and a woman’s voice.
“So what exactly do you need me to do?”
There are several crates of parts waiting at one of our drop-offs. We’re a bit stretched at the moment so could you please pick them up?” replied the tinny voice of a woman which sounded like it was coming a mobile phone.
The woman then came around the curtain that was blocking off Leon’s view of the rest of the sickbay. He felt like his brain had locked up as he unabashedly stared at the young woman. She was most definitely NOT a nurse, not in that outfit. She wore a magenta and red vest with the SMS logo that barely covered and contained her very ample chest, leaving a large swath of flat, toned stomach on display, very brief short-shorts that strangely seemed to have suspenders attached to them just dangling down her hips and legs covered in black stockings that went up mid-thigh… legs that seemed to go on forever as far as Leon was concerned. Combined with bright, bubblegum-pink hair and ice-blue eyes set in a lovely, heart-shaped face and it wasn’t hard to imagine that this young Zentradi girl, the ears were a dead giveaway, caused a sensation wherever she went.
She was indeed speaking into a cat-shaped mobile phone, which was projecting a hologram of another young woman with violet hair but the angle of the hologram prevented Leon from getting a good look.
“Well, I’ll have to think about it. No pressure right?”
“Eh?! Hang on a minute…” but the violet-haired girl’s response was cut short as the pink-haired girl hung up.
“Hmm? Oh, you’re awake,” she said, finally noticing that Leon was sitting up in bed and staring at her.
“You gave us quite a scare… Mr. Leon Sakaki.” She said with a bright smile.
Leon stared a moment longer then something in his brain seemed to snap back into place.
“A Zentradi woman?” he said dumbly. Smooth move Lt. Obvious!
“A zentradi woman,” affirmed the girl, “I take it you haven’t met many before?” she asked with a slight smirk.
“Oh, uh, I have it’s just that… sorry but I’m a little confused… so, who are you, how did I get here and where is here?” he said, the questions tumbling out of him as his sleep-fogged brain finally recovered from the sight of the lovely Zentradi.
“Honestly, you have your life saved by a beautiful woman and she takes precious time out of her day to care for you and she doesn’t even get a thank you. I think I deserve one, yes?” she said huffily.
Leon cursed inwardly at his lack of manners.
“…Of course, you’re right. Let me introduce myself. I’m Leon Sakaki, a pilot from SMS Sepheela. My current assignment at SMS is as test pilot for a YF-25 Prophecy. How’s that?” he said, smiling for effect.
“Not bad,” replied the girl, returning his smile. Wow, she looks beautiful when she smiles! Wait, what are you thinking Leon! You just met her! You don’t even know her name yet!
“Let me return the favor. I’m Aisha Blanchette, the one who saved you from that crash.”
“The crash? Yeah… that YF-29 came out of nowhere after I beat those Ghosts and then…
“Hey, don’t strain yourself too much, too quickly,” she said, gently helping him out of the bed, “That was a nasty ejection and you got hurt pretty bad.”
“So I survived through a miracle, huh? Hang on, if I survived ejecting, what happened to my plane?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you.”

She led him through several corridors and then into a large hangar area. Leon was beginning to wonder what kind of ship this was as the hangar was filled with half-disassembled (or perhaps half-assembled) Valkyrie fighters. She led him to a cordoned off corner of the hangar where the remains of his once-beautiful YF-25 lay in a slagged heap.
“…There’s not much left is there?”
“I guess not. But don’t worry, you haven’t failed your mission just yet.”
“Huh? What? What do you mean I haven’t failed?”
“Your fighter was carrying detailed information on the YF/VF-25 wasn’t it? I recovered it before the computer completely fried with my AI implant.”
“What?! How on earth did you do that when it’s this badly damaged? And how do you have an implant?”
“Your questions are getting a little impertinent Lt. Leon Sakaki,” Aisha said with a frown.
“I have an implant because I need it to help me do my job. My full title is Director Aisha Blanchette of SMS Ouroboros, also captain of this ship, the Gefion. Does that answer your questions?” she said, a little testily.
“I’m not doing this right am I?” Leon said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his bruised head, “But yes, that does explain a lot.”
“No problem, just so we’re clear where everyone stands,” replied Aisha cheerfully.
“Well then, thank you very much for saving my life and the data Madam Director Aisha.”
“Hehe, no need to be formal, I was just playing with you a bit. As long as we’re clear on who’s in charge, just call me Aisha,” said with bright smile of hers.
“Alright then Aisha! So this has been wild but I need to get back to Sepheela as soon as possible. Do you have a Valkyrie with a Fold Booster that I could borrow?” Leon asked, looking around at the jumbled airframes.
“Oh, you need to leave so soon? You can’t stay for a bit?”
“No, not really. They’ll be missing me on Sepheela…”
“Couldn’t you please do a little favor for your rescuer first?” she asked with hands clasped together, an adorable pleading expression on her face.
Geez she goes from stern to happy to pleading so quick!
“Uh, yeah, I suppose I could. I’m behind schedule anyway, plus I’m not looking forward to telling my bosses that the Prophecy is wrecked…”
“You’ll do it then? Thank you, Leon!”
She bounded off down towards the other end of the hangar with Leon in pursuit, talking as she went.
“The mission is for a friend of mine who had some very important goods stolen from her by bandits. The goods are all in these big heavy containers but they were able to locate the drop points where the bandits left them. I assume she and her people are out dealing with the bandits right now, but we’re going to pick up the containers before anyone else messes with them. Got it so far?”
“Sounds simple enough. So do you have a Valkyrie for me to use for this…?”
“Right here!” she said, proudly gesturing open-armed at a blue-and-white Valkyrie.
Leon couldn’t quite tell what model it was; it bore a resemblance to the original VF-1 Valkyrie, but was larger and longer. It also appeared to have a cockpit for two.
“What is it?” he asked.
“It’s a vintage VF-0D Phoenix, from the Unification Wars on Earth. My deck chief acquired it in a game of cards with…” Aisha’s explanation was cut off as someone shouted across the hangar.
“Oh no you don’t Aisha! You’re not sending up a nugget in my Phoenix just ‘cause we ain’t got enough planes around here!”
Leon turned to see a tall, almost comically thin man with some kind of… scarf or something around his neck come storming up to them. Despite his lankiness, his face was rounded and his cheeks were flushed. He wore a white and orange technicians jumpsuit and a pair of brown gloves that were both stained with innumerable oil, grease and who-knows-what-else stains and he carried a thick leather tool belt on his waist, festooned with tools of all nations. His hair wasn’t free of the grime either, liberally streaked and smudged through the wild, fly-away locks, strangely blond at the root but then fading into red. He glared angrily at Leon and for the first time Leon noticed that it wasn’t a scarf the man wore about his neck, but some kind of furry, one-eyed, snake-like creature.
“Um, I’m not a rookie Chief. I was piloting a YF-25…”
“Yes, the YF-25 that’s now in ruins on my deck. You must be very talented. Anyhow, you’re not touching my baby!”
“Gerrol,” said Aisha in a long-suffering tone, “weren’t you just telling me the other day that your fondest wish was to see this Valkyrie in combat again?
“Well, yes… but I… I don’t see you offering your plane to him!”
Aisha crossed her arms and adopted an offended attitude.
“That’s because my plane is for me to fly. She’d chafe under this guy’s rough hands. No offense Leon,” she said, winking at him.
“Ugh, I’m not going to convince you am I? Alright fine, but you!” he said, rounding on Leon, “If you so much as put the tiniest little scratch on this priceless piece of aviation history…”
“Oh stop being so dramatic, Gerrol, he’ll be fine.” With that, Aisha strode over to the other side of the plane and single-handedly lifted a boarding ladder from the tools and parts stacked along the sides of the plane.
“Well, what are you two waiting for? Let’s get this Valkyrie ready to fly!”
As Gerrol and Leon scramble to help her, Aisha attempted to position that ladder on the lip of the Phoenix’s cockpit. Suddenly Leon was there, his hands helping to guide the ladder into place. Aisha smiled at him and he grinned back.
“Hmmm, you may or may not think of this as an inconvenience, but perhaps you should change first?” she said, her smile widening into a devious smirk.
“Huh?” Leon looked down and his face flushed scarlet. In his disorientation and the rush of conversation with Aisha, and perhaps a great many other things where Aisha was concerned, he’d forgotten that this whole time, he’d still been dressed in a hospital gown.
“Ah… right, I’ll just… go change then, ok?” he stammered, backing away from her. Aisha winked at him and he turned and fled.
“See?” grumbled Gerrol, pulling a cigarette and lighter from some random pocket and lighting up, “damn fool forget he was practically naked. My poor Phoenix…”
Aisha just sighed and rolled her eyes, catching a glimpse of Leon retreating through a hatchway.
It’ll be nice to have a new face around here, one that isn’t a grumpy Zolan. A very good-looking face at that!

Macross 30: Voices Across The Galaxy

Prologue: 2060 AD

A/N: As you've probably surmised, this is something of a novelization of the recently of the PS3 game Macross 30. Why? Why not? :)
In all seriousness though, the game was awesome enough that I just kind of felt the need to do this. I know that game adaptions can be somewhat boring, especially if you've already beaten said game. So I decided to add a few twists to this one to give it its own unique flavor. I am in no way saying that Macross 30 was a bad game, I'm just trying to make this something worth reading, as I said.
There will be a few changes but all relatively minor, such as adding in the Macross 2 characters as well as a few others. Also a few of the Valkyries that oddly absent from the game such as the VF-4 Lightning III and the VF-5000 Star Mirage. Might even toss in the VA-3.
Also, since Macross is so intrinsically connected to music, I'll be making recommendations every so often, sometimes at the start of chapter, sometimes within it. For the beginning part of this chapter, I would recomend "Voices" from Macross Plus.
Lastly, I was writing a story just before Macross 30 that was kind of a crossover between Macross and Star Wars. I've decided to eventually integrate that story into Macross 30 AFTER the main story. Bonus chapters if you will.
Now, without further ado, Macross 30.
The first word in my dreams
I could clearly see
Planet Eden right beyond the sky
Beautiful and sad is this story I tell
Of the winged travellers eager…

The year is 2060 AD, fifty years since the great war between Earth and the alien Zentradi. Since that time, humanity has joined together with their Zentradi brothers and sisters and spread across the stars, seeking new worlds to settle. It was on one of those new worlds, Sepheela, that my sister and I were born. However, this expansion wasn’t without sacrifice. Space is vast and home to new and strange forms of life. Recently, the Macross Frontier fleet clashed with an alien civilization known as the Vajra. Though the fleet was faced with extinction, just as in the first space war, heroes arose to challenge fate and lead their people to victory. Those heroes didn’t come from the United Forces though; they came from a private military company known as SMS or Strategic Military Services. Their actions in the war against the Vajra not only revealed the treachery of the Galaxy Fleet Conspiracy and saved the people of Frontier but also uncovered the truth of the Vajra’s hive-mind. This, among other reasons was why I chose to join SMS. My name is Leon Sakaki.

One year has passed since that war and the galaxy has settled into a relative peace once more. My current mission is to deliver data on the new VF-25 Messiah variable fighter to the SMS branch on the planet Ouroboros. Little did I realize that this obscure backwater of a planet would be the site of a battle that would hold the fate of the galaxy in peril once again and the greatest adventure of my, or anyone’s, lifetime. Ouroboros was also the place where I met them…

 The Ouroboros solar system was home to many natural wonders. Situated in what had once been a planetary nebula, the last wisps of the stellar gasses glowed against the black of pace and the innumerable stars.
There were a couple of planets in the system, besides the only inhabitable one. One was a rocky wasteland, notable only for an enormous collision that had taken place in the past, gouging out a huge, cratered scar in the planet’s surface. The other was a beautiful gas giant with green and gold swirled clouds and a faint ring, just like Jupiter’s. But the centerpiece was of course Ouroboros itself, standing out boldly against the black, all blue, green, white and brown that was the universal indicator of a world capable of bearing life. A quintet of moons orbited the planet; the largest and most dramatic surrounded by an intricate ring system very much like Saturn’s. Two of the moons were a binary pair, orbiting each other as they orbited Ouroboros.

A burst of color blossomed in space near Ouroboros and from the swirling energy emerged a Variable Fighter. The fighter was sleek and graceful, colored in white and turquoise with the words PROPHECY spelled out on its forward fuselage and YF-25 on the tailfins. It was additionally armored with a Super FAST pack system, lending it extra firepower and engines.
In the cockpit, the pilot toggled open his communication to a pre-specified frequency as he soared towards the beautiful world below.
“Siegfried-1, confirm Fold Out. This is Lt. Leon Sakaki of SMS Sepheela to SMS Ouroboros branch, requesting landing clearance.”
There was no response, just a hint of static over his headphones. Leon frowned; was no down on the planet monitoring communications?
“SMS Ouroboros, do you read me, over?” Again, no reply. Leon began to grow somewhat concerned as he checked the comm. lines again. He glanced to the side of the center console where a holographic photo projector was mounted. The glowing holograph showed Leon dressed in NUNS pilot suit, grinning widely, his arm clamped around a white-haired young man. A girl with dark magenta hair was half-kneeling in front of the two boys, perhaps because she had just stepped into frame after activating the holocam. She was smiling as well and making a V-sign with her right hand.
“Strange, I’m not getting anything from the planet, just static. I wonder what’s…?” his line of though was interrupted as the alarms on his control panel blared at him, indicating that approaching craft had painted him with a target lock! Immediately he jerked the stick and feathered the foot pedals, dodging just as streaks of particle beam weapons fire flashed past.
“What in the-?! SMS Ouroboros, this is Siegfried-1, I am under attack! Do you copy? Damn, they can’t hear me at all. There must be a high-grade ECM jamming transmissions. Well, in that case, I’ll just have to engage these hostiles!”
Leon goosed the throttle and swung his fighter around. His enemies, the computer identifying them as QF-4000 Ghost drones according to their silhouettes, also pivoted to face him, juking in the geometric pattern that Ghost drones were infamous for.
Most pilots feared to engage Ghost drones with their insane maneuverability, but Leon was no ordinary pilot. The three ghosts fired a burst of micro-missiles from their launchers, causing Leon to pull up and release flares. He corkscrewed his YF-25 around in a maneuver that was only possible in space and saw what his instruments were already telling him: a few missiles had survived and were heading straight for him! Leon cut all thrust from his engines, hit the weapon selector toggle on his flightstick and fired the two Mauler RÖV-25 25mm beam machine guns mounted on the sides of his intakes. The beam guns weren’t the standard loadout but Leon preferred them to the bullet-firing alternates. The beams sliced the remaining missiles to ribbons and then Leon was after the Ghosts. One of the drones made the mistake of staying still too long and Leon opened fire not only with the beam guns but with the Howard GU-17A 58mm gatling gunpod mounted on his fighter’s belly. The storm of beams and bullets unleashed from this shredded the Ghost. His alarms sounded again and he saw on his radar that the other two Ghosts had come around behind him. Shifting the throttle stick, Leon caused the YF-25’s engine nacelles to swing out from the main body, forming legs. This redirected thrust and with the help of maneuvering jets, flipped his fighter around. This operation mode was known as GERWALK.
For this head-to-head confrontation, Leon wisely didn’t waste time trying to shot the individual Ghosts down with gunfire; to try would have been suicide. Instead he switched over to micro-missiles and waited for the lock and then puled the trigger. Twin doors on the armor behind his cockpit sprang open and forty-two micro-missiles rocketed forward towards the Ghosts, trailing a curling blossom of contrails that were known to pilots as an ‘Itano Circus,’ after a pilot from the old SDF-1 Macross. The timing was actually just barely in Leon’s favor as, given another half-second, the Ghosts would’ve launched their own missiles. As it was, the two drones split off and began to zig-zag crazily, trying to throw off the missiles. But there were too many of them and both Ghosts died in short-lived blooms of fire and shrapnel.
“Well, that takes care of the Ghosts. Thanks to the jamming, I can’t read their IFFs. I wonder who launched them…?”

What Leon couldn’t know because of the jamming was that the people who had launched those Ghosts at him were actually New UN Spacy. Orbiting near the battle was a NUNS pocket-carrier by the name of Godiva. On the carrier’s launch ramp sat a dark blue variable fighter that bore a strong resemblance to Leon’s YF-25. Inside the cockpit, the pilot calmly watched as the Ghost drones were destroyed.
“Ghost-02, Ghost-03 destroyed. The enemy is holding above the planet,” reported the ship’s CIC.
The pilot’s eyes narrowed. Only someone of exceptional skill could take down three Ghosts that quickly.
“CIC, is the enemy fighter descending towards the Yurva Arga arctic site?”
“Negative. His previous course indicates a destination in the Julia Islands.”
On the pilot’s center screen a comm. window popped up, showing the face of an older Zentradi man with white, slicked-back hair and an artificial eye.
“Even if the enemy is not headed towards our headquarters, it still needs to be dispatched. We’re about to enter a critical phase and we cannot be interrupted.”
“Yes, commander. Godiva I’m launching.”

 Leon had just gotten back on course when his alarms blared again. He gaped in surprise when the silhouette showed up on his monitor as a fighter that had only ever been seen in the Macross Frontier fleet.
“A YF-29?! What’s that doing here?”
He didn’t have time to wonder much more as the new enemy fighter immediately opened fire on him. As he dodged the YF-29’s fire, Leon very quickly began to realize why the YF-29 had become such a famous part of the Vajra war.
“I don’t know if I can keep up with this guy. He’s a monster! His Valkyrie must have much greater specs than my YF-25! And it looks like he’s using some kind of Super Pack as well!”
In the cockpit of the YF-29, the pilot was taking note of Leon’s fighting style. He glanced at the holograph mounted on his side console… a holograph identical to the one Leon had.
Could it be?
The YF-29 pilot did not let his personal musings get in the way of his duty however. He calmly locked on missiles and fired a burst from his launchers. Leon, when he saw the missiles coming, cursed richly and let fly with the last of his flares. He throttled down and then jammed the throttle forward again, punching the afterburners for good measure. The YF-25 leapt away from the oncoming missiles, the cockpit EX-Gear and ISC system straining to take off as much of the g forces from Leon as possible. Most of the missiles took the bait and spent themselves on the flares. A few re-directed themselves towards Leon but he activated the twin co-axial laser guns mounted behind his cockpit in Fighter Mode. They traced bright electric blue lines in space, snuffing out the remaining missiles.
“Yeah!” Leon cried in exultation. His relief was short-lived however. He’d allowed his concentration to slip for a moment and that was all the YF-29 pilot needed. Leon’s YF-25 rocked violently as it was peppered with beam fire. Alarms shrieked and Leon frantically wrestled with the flightstick as his fighter began to dive towards the planet before him.
“Dammit! Careless idiot!” he growled to himself.
The YF-29 pilot hung back, regarding his work.
“Not enough to destroy you outright, but if you are who I think you are,” he thought, eyes narrowing, “you should be able to get out of this one.”

 The situation didn’t look good for Leon as his fighter arced towards Ouroboros; smoke trailing from the fighter’s rear. Leon thought he might just be able to get things under control when something exploded behind him, causing the YF-25 to lurch drunkenly off course.
“I’m… I’m not going down like this!” Leon growled as he fought to get the fighter back under control. He punched a switch on his control board and the magnetic clamps holding his Super Pack disengaged, flinging the damaged parts away from his fighter, the booster pods exploding a moment later. But even with the damaged pack ejected, his fighter had suffered severe damage and refused to come under control. Detachedly, Leon noted the majesty of the island-scape he was falling towards and briefly he thought that it wasn’t a half-bad resting place.
His YF-25 continued its inexorable descent towards the lush planet below…
A/N: Next time the real meat and potatoes of the story begins. See you next Deculture!