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pilot-that's his life!"
"Life?" Minmei screamed, hysterical, her arms flailing about. "You call
this a life?! War! Devastation! Battle after battle until everything is
Rick took her by the arms and tried to calm her, urging her to leave.
"We're trying to put an end to all this. We hate it as much as you do, but the
future of our race has to be preserved!"
Missiles exploded nearby, raining vengeful lightning on them and erasing
words and thoughts. The three of them huddled together, showered by cinders
and unheavenly tongues of airborne fire.
Minmei looked at Lisa and Rick, angry now. "There is no future!"
Rick turned to leave, and she grabbed hold of him, begging him to remain
by her side. If he loved her, he would stay with her.
But he shook himself free.
"Someday you'll understand!" he shouted.
"I'll never understand!" she screamed to his back.
Lisa entered the bridge of the SDF-2 at a run, making straight for her
station. Vanessa was already at her console, the threat screen in front of her
flashing with display information.
"Give me a status report!" Lisa ordered.
"A single battlecruiser-ten degrees southwest. Present position
twenty-seven miles but closing very fast."
"Right," said Lisa, and reached for the air com net switch...
The projecbeam field on the bridge of Khyron's cruiser showed the
Micronians' new battle fortress, sitting in its circular puddle back to back
with its crippled cousin, the SDF-1-Zor's ship, cause of so much undoing.
The Destroyer stood proudly in the observation bubble command center,
his facial features distorted by intense hatred.
"The dimensional fortress now coming into range, sir," Grel reported
from his station.
"Main gun at full power and standing by," said Azonia.
"My revenge was well worth waiting for! Admiral Gloval is going to wish
he'd never heard of me!"
Azonia straightened in her seat. "Awaiting your orders, m'lord."
"Take out the new ship first," he commanded. "Then we'll finish them
off. Zor's ship will soon be little more than a footnote in Zentraedi
"Enemy ship still closing!" Sammie told Lisa from her station below the
balcony area of the SDF-2 bridge.
Kim suddenly swung from her console screen. "I'm getting high-level
radiation readings!"
"Vanessa?" Lisa said, asking for confirmation.
"They're firing on us, Captain!"
Glyphs of unharnessed lightning began to take shape along the blunt bow
of Khyron's leviathanlike cruiser, leaping pole to pole across what could
almost have been a full-lipped mouth, crowned and underscored with
twin-muzzled spiked cannons like tusks on its armored hull. The energy danced
and stretched, animated by the Protoculture charges enlivening the
dreadnought's weapons systems.
Localized storms were unleashed as the ship tore through the winter
clouds above Macross, orange thrusters aft propelling it swiftly toward the
lake and the immobile fortresses.
The bolts crackled and hissed in the thin air as the bow began to open,
revealing a network of blazing vertical shafts of power, fangs and incisors
filed to gleaming points in the mouth of the beast. Ultimately, from somewhere
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deep within its black heart a cone of blinding light burst forth, spewing from
the cruiser and fanning out to encompass the Earth itself, then narrowing and
collapsing upon itself as it found its focus. It surged forward across the
rooftops of the city, buildings collapsing in its wake, and struck the heart
of the fortress, rending the fabric of spacetime on impact and opening gaps
into antiworlds.
Colors reversed themselves; what had been light was now darkness, and
what had been blackness glowed with an infernal radiance. The heavens rolled
and gyrated as though the very stars had been thrown into chaos by the force
of the explosion.
"SDF-2 has taken a direct hit!" a hurried and frightened male voice
informed Rick over the tac net. "We've lost communications!"
Rick looked over his shoulder, dropping the Veritech's left wing as he
turned. Below him Lake Gloval was a caldron of fire and smoke, less a
reservoir of water than a volcanic cone. The new fortress was in ruins, holed
through and through by the annihilation ray.
"They're listing!" the voice updated. "They're sinking, Captain!"
"Come in, SDF-2," Rick shouted into his helmet mike. "Lisa, do you read
me?! Captain Hayes?!" His commo screen was a grid of black and white static,
then a vertical column of blue and white bands. "Answer me!" he shouted once
Approaching Skull Team from twelve o'clock came an angry flock of
Zentraedi mecha, pursuit ships, tri-thrusters, and Battlepods.
Rick locked onto his targets and pulled home the Hotas.
"You'll pay for this!" he snarled through bared teeth.
The rain was harsh but blessedly cool against her raw skin. Why hadn't
she thought to include sunscreen in the beach basket? And was Rick as burned
as she?...The wailing of tortured seabirds was taking her rapidly to the
surface of the world, the roughhouse voices of beachgoers at play...
Lisa opened her eyes to a close-up view of her console keyboard and
touch pads, water cascading between the tabs and puddling on the floor. Her
hands were under her face, and the screen in front of her was blank and
silent. She raised her head, pushed wet hair from her face, then struggled to
her feet to ascertain the extent of the damage to the bridge.
On the floor below the flyout balcony, Sammie and Kim lay sprawled near
their duty stations, seemingly dazed but uninjured. Klaxons were sounding
throughout the ship, and the overhead fire control system had drenched
everyone and everything in the hold. Lisa turned to check on Vanessa before
opening the comlink to request assistance.
"Fire control teams needed on levels four through twenty," she managed.
Back at her station, Kim put in a call for medics.
"All section commanders file status reports as soon as possible," Lisa
heard Vanessa say.
"Tell 'em we need more help on the flight deck!" a paramedic shouted
from the floor.
Kim was working frantically at her controls. "Computer's dead!" she told
Lisa. "No manual override. We have no control whatsoever!"
"Losing power, Captain," Vanessa said behind her. "Recommend we abandon
Lisa's mouth dropped open as she felt the impact of those words and
understood what it meant to lose a ship.
She swept her eyes across the bridge: The fortress had taken a direct
hit some floors below the control center, but secondary missiles had razed the
bridge as well. There were huge holes in the bulkheads behind her, acrid smoke
was coiling from the ventilation systems, and for the first time Lisa was
aware that the ship was listing hard to starboard.
Think! she screamed to herself, as if to chase the demons of defeat from
her mind. What would Admiral Gloval do in a situation like this?
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She pictured him sitting in the command chair on the SDF-1 bridge, his [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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