Chapter Two:  The Shot Heard Across The Universe

 

 

            Ten years had passed since the Visitor landed on Macross Island.  Today was going to be celebration of the launch of the first in Earth’s fleet to the stars.  The town was alive with visitors, soldiers, engineers, workers, merchants, and more.  All of them were celebrating the launch of their future, the step that would send humanity beyond their solar system.  All around parades and fairs were being held.  Fireworks were going off overhead and balloons were loosed.

 

            On the tarmac below the SDF-1, the UEG’s armed forces were preparing for the unveiling of the veritech fighter to the general public.  Arriving to the side were the several cars carrying various dignitaries.

 

            Standing close to the stage was Treize and Lady Une.  They were overseeing the ceremony and the safety of the dignitaries.  Lady Une had managed become the Executive Officer of his squadron.  She did so with great efficiency and precision.  It seemed while she was ‘on the job’, she became the woman that her fit rep said, the overly serious but competent soldier.  She had received the Ex-O position because, quite simply, Treize needed one, and Zechs didn’t want it.

 

            They stood on the tarmac and watched as the first limousine arrived.  This one carried the mayor of Macross City and the Captain of the ship, Gloval.  Treize had fought to get the captain’s chair of the SDF-1, but he had to concede to the older, more experienced captain.  Treize had agreed to the decision with little reservations.  After all, Treize learned most of his tactics from the older Gloval during the Global Civil War. 

 

The only decision that Treize didn’t agree with was the selection of the Chief Executive Officer of the SDF-1, Lisa Hayes.  The fairly young lady was the daughter of one of the admiralty of the UEG government.  This act of favoritism did not sit well with Treize, or most of the soldiers on the island for that matter.  Treize had put in Lady Une for the job based on her performance so far as his Ex-O, but she was overlooked because of that Admiral’s daughter.  Treize also wanted Une to have the job for other reasons.  First, having one of his people on the bridge would be a great source of information and breaking news and it would help to keep his private project under wraps.  Another reason was that it would keep her out of the active combat.  He had grown to love her in the past five years.  The only reason they had not married was the fact that they had a duty to perform and they were in the same unit.

 

The next limousine carried the ambassador from the Council of Unification.  The Council of Unification was the main driving force in the creation of the United Earth Government.  At this time they had very little actual power, but they were still highly respected advisors for the UEG, this ambassador in particular.

 

The car pulled up and a young blond girl stepped out of the car.  Treize considered her.  She was little more than a child, but the young Relena Peacecraft embodied everything that the old Sanc Kingdom stood for, peace and pacifism.  The Sanc Kingdom had been a haven of neutrality during the Global Civil War.  The kingdom had tried desperately to hold the madness of war outside of its borders, but they could not resist forever.  While they were treating unarmed and injured troops of two factions, a third faction destroyed the kingdom for its act of kindness.  Young Relena was the last known survivor of the royalty of that kingdom.  After the Visitor had landed, the young Relena was brought out of hiding and placed on the Council of Unification.  She was only a figurehead until she was old enough to understand what was going on.  After that she became a driving force for the unification of the Earth.

 

After all the envoys and ambassadors were in place, the general public was allowed to come onto the tarmac in front of the stage.

 

Lady Une talked into her communicator and put it away.

 

“Are all the preparations complete?” Treize asked.

 

“All the security is in place, and Commander Fokker is proceeding to the platform to address the crowd.  Also, I’ve received a report from the engineers.”

 

“Go ahead?”

 

“The first prototype is complete.  It will be ready for a test flight tonight after dark, on schedule.”

 

“Very good.”

 

During the course of the past five years the engineers had worked hard finding ways of using the Gundanium alloy and forming it into the first destroid in the unique line.  They had moved their operation from the Prometheus to the SDF-1 and had secured six other bays on the ship for each of the engineers for their personal prototypes.

 

Commander Fokker stepped up to microphone and started his speech.  The veritech fighters of Skull squadron began their highflying aerobatics that showed the capabilities of the new fighter.

 

In the middle of the air show, a small red and white fanjet started weaving in and out of the veritech fighters, showing them up.  Fokker began yelling at the pilot of that jet and quickly lost his famous composure.  Fokker even called the pilot by name.  After a while he motioned for the mic to be changed to radio only.

 

“Very amusing.” Lady Une commented with a cold air.

 

“Rick Hunter, eh?  We’ll have to keep an eye on that one.  He seems like an excellent pilot.”

 

“I’ll make a note of it, sir.”

 

“Everything seems to be going well, despite the hijinks.  I believe everyone was suitably impressed with the display.  Tell Dr. Lang that we’re going to start the ambassador’s tours sooner than planned.”

 

“Understood, sir.”

 

The crowd was dispersed and the dignitaries were led to the SDF-1 to be turned over to Dr. Lang’s staff for the ship’s tours.  The tours were to be an all-day affair to show just a few of the capabilities of the new starship.

 

Relena Peacecraft was not really interested in learning more about new and improved warship.  Her opinion was that peace did not come from making more weapons.  They should have just outfitted it as a diplomatic vessel and tried to talk, instead of taking a warship to threaten any alien invaders into peace.  All weapons should be destroyed.

 

The tour guide continued to babble on about the capabilities of the ship.  Relena was getting very bored and she looked around trying to find something to interest her.  She looked over to the side and saw a boy pulling along a large crate on a hand truck.  He was dressed in military technician overalls, but his brown hair was in disarray.  Definitely not a military cut.  He looked to be about her age.  Why would someone so young be in the military?  She thought.  Relena drifted further back in the crowd until she was at the back.  Everyone else was too busy paying attention to the tour to notice her sneak off toward the side where the boy was pulling the crate.

 

The boy followed the crowd until he came to a wide hallway.  He turned the truck and pulled the crate down the hallway.  It had taken Relena a while to separate from the crowd, so she was quite a few steps behind him. 

 

A uniformed officer with a clipboard stopped the boy.  “Hold up there!  Where do you think you’re going with this crate?”

 

“Plumbing parts for bay 513.” The boy’s voice was cold and emotionless.

 

The man checked through his papers on the clipboard.  “What are you talking about?  All the construction should already be complete!  And 513 is an empty bay!”

 

The boy reached into his pocket and produced a piece of paper and handed it to the officer.  “Here are the orders.”

 

The officer looked over the papers.  “I’ll have to call this in.”  The officer pulled out his communicator and turned away from the boy to try to get confirmation on his story.

 

As Relena watched, the boy did an amazing flying kick that hit the taller man in the neck and knocked him out instantly.  The boy picked up the communicator.  “What do you want?” it squawked.

 

“I’m feeling a little light headed, sir.”  The boy answered with a good imitation of the officer.  “I may neeee…” He trailed off his voice and through the communicator down beside the fallen officer, shattering it.

 

Relena just stared wide-eyed as the boy picked up the paper he had handed to the officer earlier and continued his journey down the hall.  She followed him at what she judged was a safe distance.  The boy turned another corner.  She came around the corner and saw the crate, but the boy had disappeared.  She suddenly felt an arm come around her neck and another on the back of her neck in a chokehold.

 

“Who are you, and who sent you?” She heard the cold voice behind her ear.

 

“I’m Relena Peacecraft.”  She said between gasps of breath.  “I just got lost from the tour!”

 

“Likely story.  Who sent you?  Septum?  Onegell?”

 

“I don’t know who they are!  Please!  I just got lost!”

 

“I’m sorry, but you were in the wrong place to get lost.”

 

“Heero! Stop!”

 

The chokehold relaxed and Relena took a deep intake of breath.  She looked where the voice had come from and saw an old man with a claw for a hand and funny looking goggles.

 

“Heero, you don’t have to kill everyone that comes around, especially pretty young ladies.”

 

“But sir, She followed me to the construction hanger.” Heero replied.  “She could compromise our whole operation.”

 

“Don’t worry.”  The old man turned to the young lady.  “You won’t tell anyone about this, would you?”

 

“No.  Not at all!”

 

“I hope not, or I might let Heero finish what he started.  My name is Dr. J.  This young man is Heero Yuy.  Would like to be our guest for a bit.  I’m sure you’ll find something around here that you’ll like.”  Dr. J. led Relena into the doorway where he had come.  Relena turned her head and saw that Heero had taken off the overalls and continued to pull the hand truck wearing only a dark green muscle tank top and brown shorts.

 

Dr. J. led her to the side and pulled a box out of his coat pocket.  “Why don’t you take a look at this, young lady?”

 

Relena looked down at it.  The top flipped up and a brief shot of gas hit her.  She immediately went to sleep.

 

Heero put the crate in place and walked back over to Dr. J.  “She’s compromised our position.  Why don’t we kill her?”

 

“Heero, this is Relena Peacecraft, a very important dignitary.  She is at the celebration today as part of Treize’s plans, so you can’t just kill her.”

 

“How can this girl help us?”

 

“She has some very good ideas about peace.  The only thing is, she wasn’t supposed to know about the project until much later.”

 

“What will we do with her?”

 

“Treize will be here tonight, we’ll detain her until he arrives.  Until then, make sure you find someplace comfortable for her to sleep.  The floor isn’t a very nice place to sleep.”

 

Heero shrugged his shoulders and picked the girl up.  She was light and her smell started to stir something within him.  Heero just pushed the feelings back and started to carry her away.

 

All of the sudden alarms started to go off.

 

 

 

Treize and Une were aboard the Prometheus when the alarms started to sound.   “What is going on?”  He asked.

 

Une went to a terminal and punched a few buttons.  “The SDF-1’s main battery is charging up.  The clear-friendly tone is sounded.  It’s preparing to fire!”

 

“At what?”

 

“Unknown, sir.”

 

“Recall the pilots immediately.  Go to condition yellow.”

 

“Aye, sir.”  Une checked the terminal again.  “It’s fired, sir!”

 

 

 

In orbit high above the earth, three organic looking space ships materialized out of nowhere.  As their bays were beginning to open, a bolt of devastating energy struck the middle ship.  The blast was so great, that is destroyed all three battle cruisers in one shot.

 

Just as the first three were destroyed, more ships started to materialize farther out in space.  They moved forward to the position of Armor Zero-One and Armor Ten.  They opened fire on the two orbital platforms and forced then out of their path. They started to launch fighters that looked vaguely like three-sided pyramids with tri-engines on the back.  They hit the atmosphere and headed toward Macross Island.

 

 

 

Back on the island, scramble orders were heard coming from every loudspeaker.  “We are under attack from alien invaders, this is not a drill!  All pilots to your craft!”  The message kept on repeating.

 

The Oz and Skull squadrons were readied for takeoff.  The Skull squadron was ordered to scramble and intercept the incoming enemy fighters.  The veritech squadron took off from the Daedalus and started their climb to the enemy’s position.

 

On the main catapults of the Prometheus, Treize and Lady Une awaited their scramble orders.

 

“Why haven’t we been given launch orders, yet?  We should be meeting the enemy in the air before they can get to the city!”   Lady Une was gripping her throttle and her knuckles were starting to turn white.

 

“Patience, Lady Une.  That may just be a diversion.  We have to be ready in case another wave comes in.”

 

“Why didn’t they just keep the Green squadron on the ground?  Why not leave them ready right by the city?”

 

“We can launch much faster than they can.  Just stay frosty, you’ll get your chance to fight.”

 

“Aye, sir.”  Lady Une checked a few of her displays.  She flipped her main screen to the tacticle-net.  “Sir!  Green has been annihilated!  The only one left is their trainer, VF-102.  It just took off and it’s joining up with Skull group.”

 

“Roger that.  Just stay put until we get our launch orders.”

 

The bridge of the Prometheus radioed Treize.  “Incoming.  Impact two miles from the island.  Captain Glovel is ordering a recon.”

 

“Send the alert helicopters.  They may be downed planes.”

 

“Aye, sir.”

 

The copters left from the pad off to the side of the catapults.  They flew out at top speed to investigate the impact.  When they arrived at the crash site, they were shot down.

 

Treize awaited the order from the SDF-1’s bridge.  Lisa Hayes’ voice came over the radio.  “Oz Squadron!  Enemy in the water!  Scramble to intercept!”  At the same time an evacuation order was issued to the city.

 

Treize cocked a smile.  “You heard her.  Oz-1 ready for take-off.”  Treize brought his engine to full throttle, and the catapult launched him off of the carrier, followed quickly by Lady Une in Oz-5.  Soon the entire squadron was in the air.

 

“Wahoo!  Now we get to kick some alien ass!” One of the pilots shouted over the tac-radio net.

 

“Can the chatter!  This is serious!” Lady Une’s voice came over the net.

 

Treize laughed.  “Leave Baker alone, Une.  He’s just preparing for battle.”

 

“Well, he can do that with his radio off!”

 

The squadron approached the beach as several ostrich looking robots emerged from the water.  They had reverse articulated legs like a bird and large egg shaped bodies with no arms or a head.  They all had a variety of weapons mounted on them.

 

Treize came over the net.  “All fighters to guardian mode and engage!”

 

The fighter planes of the squadron transformed in to the eagle-like hybrid mode and engaged the battlepods using their GU-11 gun pods.  Some switched to battloid (full humanoid) mode and engaged the enemy.

 

The Oz squadron formed a skirmish line to keep the pods at bay and give the city time to evacuate.  They managed to hold the line until a group of tri-fighters swooped in from the side.

 

“Bogeys to the east!” One of the OZ squadron hollered over the net before his veritech was destroyed.

 

“Take cover in the city!  Use the buildings for barricades and break up the advancing line.  Oz-1 through 8 follow me into the air and engage the flyers!”  Half the squadron transformed to fighter mode and followed Treize’s veritech into the air.  They engaged the fighters in close quarter dogfights until the group broke up abruptly.  Treize follow one of the enemy fighters to the heart of the city.  It juked and dived, but Treize stayed on it.  He finally got a target lock and opened fire and destroyed it.  Just as he shot down the first, a second fired on him from below.  He took a few shells on the underside before Lady Une came in from the side and shot it down.

 

“Are you all right?”

 

Treize checked his instruments.  “I’m loosing fuel quick.  Engine two is out.  Cover me.  I’m going to have to make an emergency landed by the SDF-1.”

 

“Roger.  Just hold it together!” Her voice started to loose the harshness that everyone else was used to hearing.

 

Treize transformed the fighter over to guardian mode.  It was still heavily damaged, but this made it easier to slow his descent and land softly.  He popped the canopy as the ground approached.

 

Lady watched as the veritech hit the ground and exploded!  “Treize!!!”  She turned her joystick sharply to dive roll toward the tarmac.  She transformed over to guardian and flew toward the wreckage.  She arrived and saw Treize running toward the SDF-1.

 

“I’m okay, Lady Une.   I’m going to need another fighter.  Just get back in the air and regroup the squadron.”

 

“Aye, sir.”  She went back to fighter mode and jetted off toward the rest of the group.

 

Treize commandeered a jeep and closed the distance to the SDF-1 loading bay.  He had a little bit of a struggle getting through the security doors, but managed to get in.  He started to run to the bay where Dr. J. and Heero were waiting.

 

Treize burst in the door.  “Where’s the prototype?  I need it immediately!”

 

Dr. J. turned to him.  “It right over here, but you can’t take it out.  We don’t even know if it will work under combat conditions!”

 

“Well, we don’t have much of a choice.  It will have to be a trial by fire.”

 

Dr. J. nodded quickly led Treize toward the construction area.  They passed by a smaller room where Heero was watching over a blonde girl that was sleeping on the couch.  Treize turned to Dr. J.  “Heero has a girlfriend?” He asked surprised.

 

“Not quite!  We had an unexpected visitor before the main cannon fired, Relena Peacecraft.  We were going to wait until you arrived this evening to see what to do about her.

 

“Tell Heero to keep her alive at all costs.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

They arrived at the bay and Treize got his first look at the new prototype destroid.  It wasn’t like any of the other destroids that Robotechnology had produced thus far.  It had actual arms, hands, legs, and a head just like a human.  It looked like a giant Roman soldier, complete with a shield.  Treize sized it up.  “It’s taller than the usual battloids and destroids.”

 

“We’re just learning how to use the new metal.  It was a lot easier to make it this big the first time.  The next ones will be standard VF-series battloid size.”

 

“So what do you call it?”  By this time they had made their way up the gantry and Treize took his seat in the pilot’s chair.  The controls were very similar to the veritech guardian.

 

“Tallgeese.”

 

“Weapon systems?”

 

“We’ve outfitted it with an experimental buster rifle.  The rifle has the same technology as the SDF’s main cannon.  We also gave you a standard GU-11 gun pod.”

 

“Are we ready to take off?”

 

“Let me clear the gantry.”  Dr. J. got into the elevator and went to the control room.  The hatch on the Tallgeese closed and the bay door opened.

 

In the SDF-1’s bridge, while the mayor of Macross city was berating Captain Gloval about not taking off, a radio message came through the tac-net.  “Tallgeese requesting permission for takeoff from bay 516.”

 

Lisa looked over her logs.  “I don’t have a registry for that craft.”

 

“This is Commander Treize Khushrenada.  Log new destroid designation:  Tallgeese.”

 

Sammy, the blonde sitting at the back of the bridge, tapped a few keys.  “New craft logged.  Destroid class.”

 

“Correct that Sammy.  Gundam class.”

 

“Correction noted, sir.”

 

“Keep up the good work soldier.  Clearance?”

 

Lisa Hayes just looked between her terminal and Sammy.  “Clear him, Lisa!”  She shouted.

 

Lisa turned to the captain.   “Captain?”

 

Captain Gloval just chewed on his pipe.  “Give him his clearance and start the launch sequence.”

 

“Aye, sir.  Gundam Tallgeese cleared for launch.”

 

Treize smiled.  It paid to have friends in high places.  The bay doors opened and Treize stepped out of the bay.  Once he was clear, he powered up the Vernier rocket system on the Tallgeese’s back.  It took off into the air and toward the battle line.  Treize started to be pressed into his seat.  He started to feel his ribs pressing in on themselves.  He struggled to get to the throttle and back it off.  Definitely enough rocket power, Dr. J.

 

About the time he reached the line, the SDF-1 started to lift in to the air.  Treize turned his head back in time to see the antigravity units break free of the hull and lift into the air without the ship they were supposed to carry into space.  Treize chuckled a bit and continued to the front.

 

He saw his squadron pinned down behind a few buildings.  He found a group of pods advancing on their position.  It’s time to see if this Tallgeese is worth the time and money.  He raised the double-barreled buster rifle and fired.  A great blast of energy spewed forth and left a path of destruction all the way to the mountain at the back of the island.  The battlepods were vaporized.  Warning lights started to go off in the cockpit.  “Dr. J., What are these warning lights?”

 

“The buster rifle is overheating!  Discard it quickly!”

 

Another group of battle pods started running toward him.  He threw the rifle at them.  The explosion wiped them out along with about four city blocks.  He pulled out the GU-11 gun pod and opened fire on the remaining pods.  “Une, Situation.”

 

Lady Une’s voice came over his radio.  “We lost six.  We still have ten fighters left.  The Skull squadron just finished off the first wave of trifighters.  They are being recalled to the SDF-1.  Fokker has gone after VF-102.”

 

“What happened to VF-102?”

 

“Apparently, a civilian was piloting it and he crashed through a few buildings.”

 

“How did that happen?”

 

“Not sure, but the buzz is it’s Hayes’ fault.”

 

“Not surprised.”

 

“The SDF-1 is taking off, and the pods are retreating.”

 

Treize looked across the field.  The pods were boarding a clam like ship that started to take off into the air.  “Pull back to the Prometheus.”

 

“Sir, all fighters are being recalled to the SDF-1.  Can you come to space with us?”

 

Treize flipped over to the channel directly to Dr. J.  “Is the Tallgeese spaceworthy?”

 

“Yes, and no doubt you can already attest to the power of the booster rockets.”

 

“That I can.”  He switched back to the tac-net.  “Lead the squadron up.  I’ll cover the rear.  We’re landing on the SDF-1.”  He fired the Vernier rockets and took off after the SDF-1, which had managed to take flight with its auxiliary booster system.

 

They broke through the atmosphere.  As the squadron was landing in the bays, the SDF-1 started the docking sequence with the Armor platforms.  The last veritech landed as a shower of plasma fire rained down and destroyed the Armor platforms.  Treize checked the damage reports.  The platforms were destroyed, but the SDF-1 was undamaged.  They’re after the SDF-1.  Treize shook his head and landed in the veritech bay.

 

As he opened the hatch on the Tallgeese, Instructor H was waiting on him.  “How was the first run?”

 

Treize smiled at the middle-aged man.  “The Buster rifle could use some work.”

 

“I’ll pass that on to Dr. J.”

 

Everyone was thrown from their feet as reality started shift around them.

 

“What’s going on?!” Treize shouted.

 

“The fools!  They’re trying a space fold while they’re still in the atmosphere!”

 

The world settled back down and everyone stood back up to their feet.  “Get me a status report!” Treize demanded.

 

“Emergency!  Emergency!  Prepare for impact!” the loud speakers boomed.  Treize was really starting to get tired of Hayes’ voice.

 

The whole ship shook as the SDF-1 impacted with Macross island…in the orbit of Pluto.