For the past two hours, Leon and Aisha had explained to Mina the events surrounding her release from the strange capsule. To their surprise, the more that they spoke around Mina, the more that she understood them. This, combined with the strange nodules on her temples lead Aisha to believe that Mina might not be human, Zentradi or any other race previously encountered,
“And that’s just about all we can tell you, “ said Aisha, leaning back in her chair and stretching her arms over her head. “I feel like my throat will dry up if I have to talk anymore,” she added playfully.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to talk so long,” Mina said shyly.
“Nothing a cool glass of water can’t solve,” replied Aisha, walking over to the sink and filling a small plastic cup.
“So Aisha, do you think we can let her out of the sickbay now?” asked Leon.
“Well, her vitals are stable, all scans are negative and she even is able to speak fluently now, so I don’t see any reason not too. We’ll have to get you some proper clothes though, Mina-chan. You don’t want to go walking around like that or certain males might start getting ideas,” Aisha said coyly.
“Hey!” shot back Leon. Mina, who was climbing out of the bed, looked down at the metallic gray bodysuit she was clad in. Realization dawned on her, causing her cheeks to flush pink. She gasped and frantically tried to wrap the bed sheet around her.
“Don’t worry Mina, Aisha’s just playing. I would guess you have some clothes to lend her?” asked Leon.
“Of course! Who do you think I am?” replied Aisha haughtily.
“I don’t want to be a burden,” said Mina in a meek tone. “You’ve done so much to help me and I would like to be able to pay you back eventually.”
“Hmm, well there is one way you could do that,” Aisha said, clasping her chin with thumb and forefinger. “I suppose I could give you a job?”
“Really? You’d do that for me?” said Mina, looking at Aisha in wide-eyed surprised.
“Of course I would! Besides, until the Aura dissipates, we need all the help we can get.
“Thank you very much Aisha-san!” replied Mina enthusiastically.
“Thank you very much Aisha-san!” replied Mina enthusiastically.
“Now, that means we’ll have to head out again,” said Aisha, a mischievous glint in her eye.
“Go out? Go out to where?” asked Leon, feeling he knew the answer that was coming.
“Shopping of course! I’m happy to lend my clothes but Mina will need something of her own and I know just the place that happens to have the latest fashions from just before the Aura hit!”
“And I suppose you want me to go with you? Because there are a lot of things that need to be done here on the ship, like Valkyrie maintenance and…”
“I would feel much more comfortable with the both of you accompanying me, Leon-san,” said Mina, a pink tinge still coloring her cheeks. Leon sighed and smiled back at Mina.
“Well, not much I can argue with against that. OK, I’ll come with. Guess that means I’ll have to use the VF-0D again.”
“Alright, it’s settled then! Let’s shop until we can’t carry any more!” cried Aisha happily.
“You mean until I can’t carry any more,” grumbled Leon under his breath.
Soon enough their Valkyries were back on the deck and launching into the bright blue sky. Mina, who had seemed so quiet and demure up until now, was brimming with excitement and had let out a loud whoop from the back seat of Leon’s VF-0D as it had taken off.
“So this is a Valkyrie. Amazing…” she said, watching the isalnds pass below them and sometimes beside them.
“She almost sounds like she wants to be a pilot,” said Aisha from her VF-19E.
“Why not? Being a pilot of a Valkyrie is the best feeling in the world,” replied Leon, “Maybe you should let her take a crack at it once we get back. You do have simulators aboard the ship, right?”
“Of course, what kind of an idiot wouldn’t have simulators?” said Aisha, a little irritably.
Soon, Britai City, which lay at the rough center of the archipeligeo, was in sight. But it wasn’t quite what Leon had been expecting. What looked like a giant, city-sized robot poked up from the water with huge, flat arms and twin spires over its head.
“Amazing… is all of that really a city?” asked Mina, in awe of the sight.
“Originally it was ship that sailed the stars. This was the SDFN-8 Britai Kridanik, one of the twelve Macross-type ships built to pave the way ahead of the Megaroad-class colony ships and named after the Zentradi General who sided with the SDF-1 Macross during Space War 1,” explained Aisha.
“Awesome!” replied Leon, equally in awe of the massive ship, “I’ve only ever seen pictures of one!”
“The Britai Kridanik was originally part of a small scouting fleet that stumbled onto Ouroboros twenty years ago. They landed to investigate all the strange fold phenomena that appeared around and on the planet and ended up staying so long that they just decided to found a new colony. The SDFN-8 became the new capital and is now commonly known as Britai City,” explained Aisha, as they banked their Valkyries towards the planet.
Once they had landed and stored their planes in the massive ship’s ARMD carrier sections, they travelled into the interior of the city-ship. To Leon, it was like the history videos he had seen of Space War 1 had come to life. Or maybe like that old movie, Do You Remember Love? For Mina, it was an exciting wonderland, filled with things she had never seen before.
“Incredible..” she murmered as they stood beneath two massive windows that showed an incredible underwater vista. The city sections of the ship proper were located in the Macross-class ship’s legs, which were underwater.
“Hey, there’s the store I was telling you about! Let’s go in and see what deculture they have!” cried Aisha, pulling Mina along with her.
Sometime later, Leon sat inside the shop, surrounded by bags of clothese and assorted purchases.
“I guess I was right. I’m seriously regretting being included in this little shopping trip,” he moaned. He closed his eyes and let his mind wander and almost immediately, thoughts of Mia floated to the surface.
“Mia loved to go on trips like these and dragging me along with her and making me carry all her stuff…” he thought. Just then, the sound of footsteps approaching brought him out of his reverie.
“Leon-san! Leon-san! What do you think of this outfit?” asked Mina excitedly.
Leon turned to look at her and his breath caught in his throat for a moment. Mina had changed out of the SMS regulation flightsuit she had been wearing and was now wearing a teal shawl, almost the same color of her hair over a shoulder-less white shirt, with a yellow scarf wrapped around her shoulders. A pleated teal skirt, brown stockings and white, stylish boots completed the ensemble. Leon blinked a few times and then realized he ought to say something before he made a fool of himself.
“You look very pretty Mina,” he said, causing her to blush slightly.
“Thank you. Aisha wanted me to wear something a little different, but I thought it was too, erm, revealing…”
“Don’t worry about that. Aisha has her style and you have yours. And it works! By the way, where is Aisha?” he asked, looking around the shop and to the door outside.
“Oh, I think she’s gone to another store. ‘It’s important that I don’t miss this sale!’ I think she said,” replied Mina.
“I can’t figure her out sometimes. One moment she’s all in-charge and a total gearhead and the next she’s a typical teenage girl,” said Leon with a laugh. “Well, we better go catch up with her.”
They collected the various bags of things that were lying around Leon and headed out into the streets. As they were standing at a corner, waiting to cross the street, a holographic billboard lit up on a building, showing Sheryl Nome singing “Sagitarrius, 9 PM, Don’t Be Late.”
“Who is that?” asked Mina, entranced by the image.
“I’m guessing you don’t remember ever hearing a Sheryl Nome song before?” asked Leon.
“Sheryl Nome… it sounds like a wonderful melody. She must be really famous if she can sing like that,” said Mina.
“Yeah, Sheryl’s sometimes called the Galactic Fairy because of how famous she is. My little sister loved her music and bought all of her albums,” replied Leon, a touch of wistfulness in his voice.
Just then, Aisha walked up to them, shopping bags in hand.
“Oh Leon, Mina there you are! What are doing? Watching a Sheryl Nome music video? Somehow, I’m not surprised you’d like her, Leon,” she said with a mischievous wink.
“Hey, don’t lump me in with weirdoes. I like her songs as much as the next guy. And it’s a good one… this song I mean,” he replied.
Noticing how enraptured Mina was with Sheryl’s singing, Leon felt a wave of nostalgia wash over him.
“Hey Mina, would you like to get one of Sheryl’s CDs?” he suddenly asked.
“Huh? I guess I would like to, but I don’t have any money! And wouldn’t it be somewhat expensive…?” she trailed off, not quite sure how to respond.
“Don’t worry about it. Consider it something of a present from me,” said Leon, smiling warmly at her.
A few minutes later, they were in a music store and the freshly-purchased disc was in Mina’s hands. Strangely enough, physical media was still present, even at this point in time. It was especially prevalent amongst the Zentradi.
“The price wasn’t too unexpected but don’t worry about paying me back,” said Leon, “Like I said, it’s a gift.”
Mina looked up at him and felt a sudden warmth of… something towards Leon.
“Thank you so much, Leon! Nobodoy’s ever bought something like this for me before… at least that I can remember,” she said.
“You’re turning into such a ladykiller, Leon. I think your stock with Mina just went way up!” said Aisha, smirking devilishly at Leon.
“Oh, shut up,” Leon shot back, somewhat embarrassed.
They were just walking out of the store when they heard a strange roaring noise. Leon’s eyes widened as he recognized it.
“Aisha! Mina! Get Down!” he shouted, grabbing the two girls around the shoulders and pulling them to the ground. Not a moment too soon as an explosion rocked the entire street and a Valkyrie swooped overhead in GERWALK mode.
“What the-? Where did that Valkyrie come from?” spluttered Aisha. The roaring of engines continued as more Valkyries swooped low over the buildings, the low flight ceiling causing the sound of their turbines to be ear-numbingly loud.
“Are they bandits?” cried Leon, “Doesn’t this city have any defense Destroids? Oh well, I guess it can’t be helped.”
Leon began to run, but was stopped as Aisha grabbed hold of his arm.
“Leon, the airport is this way!” she said, pointing in the opposite direction of where he’d been running.
“Leon… are you going out to fight?” asked Mina, wide-eyed. It was the first time, that she could remember, something like this happening to her and she felt a deep, primal fear that Leon was going to wade into the thick of this.
“If the city has no defenses, then this is something we have to do,” he replied, grimly, “Let’s go, Aisha!”
“Right behind you! C’mon, Mina, we’ll find you someplace in the hangar to take shelter!”
Aisha’s VF-19E and Leon’s VF-0D roared into action, bursting through the entry hatch into the city sections of the ship.
“Look, they’re just destroying things!” cried Aisha, “They don’t seem to actually be taking anything.”
“We still have stop them,” replied Leon grimly. He transformed into GERWALK and swooped down on a pair of Valkyries that were smashing up a movie theater.
“What are these? SV-51s? What are those?” he asked as he blasted the legs out from under one.
“It was a design used by the Anti-UN Alliance during the aftermath of the Unification Wars,” explained Aisha, “They didn’t see much use and pretty much were completely destroyed when the Zentradi Rain of Death happened. These are likely replicas; the design is pretty popular with the low-budget bandits since it’s ‘Anti-UN. They can be very tough in the hands of good pilot so watch yourself.”
Leon and Aisha didn’t need to worry too much as the pilots really were just attacking and smashing anything in their way. They fought with a strange kind of frenzied madness. Leon blasted the arms off of one but it charged him in battroid and he used his head lasers to slice through its legs. An alarm sounded in his cockpit and he looked towards the source to see a pair of civilians, a man and a woman, being chased by an SV-51 battroid colored in purple. It was about to overtake the couple; Leon wheeled his battroid around, lining up his gun sights with the enemy machine, but he was too slow. Suddenly a blast of gun fire took the SV-51 full in the chest and toppled it backwards, fire and shrapnel pouring from the wound. Something white swooped over head and Leon heard a loud “YAHOO!!” over his radio. The new plane performed a tight loop, almost brushing the ceiling and arrowed down towards the streets below. At the last second it transformed into a battroid, mostly white but with black and yellow stripes.
“Hey you two!” the pilot called to them in a rough voice, “If you’re fighting these guys, there’s more down this way,” he said, his battroid pointing down the street. He then took off, the battroid pounding down the road. Leon and Aisha, bewildered but grateful, followed after him. As they ran after him, Leon recognized that the Valkyrie the new pilot was flying a VF-1S Valkyrie, one of the original variable fighters from which the Valkyrie nickname had sprung. Whoever he he was, he was good, transforming into GERWALK as they came into a square to dodge a pair of missiles fired by a green and yellow SV-51 and then shredding it with his gunpod. Another enemy Valkyrie fired some missile at him and Leon and Aisha watched in amazement as he used his quartet of head lasers to frag the missile and his gunpod to blast the SV-51 who fired them.
“He fights like Roy Focker,” murmered Leon.
The invading SV-51s were all down and Leon, Aisha and the mystery pilot had climbed out of their GERWALKs to investigate a pilot who had crawled out of the wreckage of his fighter. Leon grabbed him roughly by the lapels and hauled him up so he could look the man in the face. He noticed the enemy pilot had pointed ears, marking him as a zentran.
“So, what do you have to say for yourself, huh? Why were you guys wrecking the city?”
“Ow! That hurts! What’s happening! How… how did I get here?” the zentran asked wildly looking back and forth.
“Don’t let him fool you Leon. Let’s get the police and let them sort this out,” said Aisha, looking contemptuously at their captive
“The Police?! What do you mean, I didn’t do anything!”
“You wrecked the city with your SV-51 back there,” snarled Leon, pointing at the wreckage of his plane.
“What are talking about?!” the zentran cried, almost hysterical, “The last thing I remember is climbing into my cockpit and then I felt kind of funny…” he trailed off, his eyes becoming unfocused.
“Huh? Memory loss?” said Leon, confused.
“I wonder if this is the same thing that afflicted that one zentran that we found in the cave,” said Aisha, “The situation is almost the same.”
“I wouldn’t believe him, if I were you. Guys like him will say just about anything to get out of trouble,” said the mystery pilot, the visor on his helmet obscuring his face.
“Trust us, this may not be what you think,” said Leon, letting the zentran crumple to the ground.
“Thanks for the help back there, you pilot that VF-1S really well. What’s your name?” asked Leon.
“Oh! Sorry, forgot about the helmet,” said the man, reaching up and pulling his helmet off. Leon and Aisha sucked in a gasp of air as the man’s blond hair fell wildly around the crown of his head and his rough face split into a grin. He held out a hand and said, “Major Roy Focker, UN Spacy Skull Squadron Leader, at your service. Especially yours, “ he said, winking at Aisha.