On the night of their wedding, Max and Miriya Sterling made love for the first time.

Neither of them had experienced sexual intercourse before; it was something completely new to them, like exploring uncharted waters. Both of them were nervous at first, but as they grew more comfortable with each other's bodies, they melded together perfectly. Miriya felt herself touched by Max in ways she had never imagined being touched. Max's gentle caresses and kisses elicited in her sensations she had never known, and it greatly aroused her.

Holding down Miriya's arms, Max pinned her to the bed and kissed her with a kiss that communicated to her all of his hunger and longing for her. He had yearned for her long before he had even met her; he had yearned for the angel he had only known in his dreams until now. He whispered these things into her ear, and she listened with rapt attention. Tortured with pleasure, Miriya writhed and moaned beneath her husband. Her loins ached for him--ached for something she inwardly knew that only he could satisfy. Their bodies fit each other precisely, as if each had been created for the other. The newlyweds found the excitement from their lovemaking building higher and higher, until the point when Miriya arched her back, stretched out every limb of her body, and felt herself convulsing uncontrollably with pleasure. Max entered her and filled her with his seed.

From this seed, from this night, a child would one day be born.

Exhausted, Max and Miriya lay on their sides, facing each other on the bed. In the darkness, they looked at one another in the starlight that faintly shone in through the windows of their private quarters.

"I think we're going to have to soundproof our room," Max winked at his wife. He wondered how much Rick had heard from the next room. Probably everything.

Miriya blushed faintly, remembering the carnal cry she had involuntarily screamed at the moment of her orgasm.

"Let them hear, I don't care," Miriya said softly, stroking Max's face.

Max smiled. Beneath the bed covers, he stroked Miriya's naked breast and watched her close her eyes in pleasure.

"My heart is beating so fast," Miriya said.

Max slowly moved his hand up Miriya's breast, trailing his fingertips along her neck, her chin, and her cheek. He caressed her face lovingly.

"Mine too," Max murmured.

He was living a dream. Any moment now, he would wake up, and the wonderful dream would be over. Always, when it seemed like this beautiful woman who lay happily in his arms would cruelly vanish before his eyes, the moment would pass, and she would still be there.

"You're here," Max said.

"I'm here," Miriya whispered.

It was a strange feeling. So this is what it means to have a special someone all for your own, Max thought to himself. This woman lying with him belonged to him. Belonged to him. Max thought about what that meant. These two people, who came from opposite ends of the galaxy, were made for each other. Destiny had brought them together. They would always be together. They would share their innermost thoughts with one another. They would share their bodies with one another. They would share in every joy and sorrow of life's journey.

"Someday, Miriya," Max affectionately whispered to her, "someday, when we're at peace, we'll settle down in a nice place and have a family. We'll have children of our very own."

"Children?" Miriya did not understand.

Max kissed Miriya on the lips. Miriya moaned and pulled his body closer to her own.

"This is how we create a new life, Miriya," Max explained with great tenderness. "When a man and a woman love each other, like we do, when our bodies come together as one, sometimes the seeds of a new life are planted. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it results in a child. A child who will one day grow up to be like you and me."

"How very interesting," Miriya said wistfully. "You and me, creating a new life together. It sounds wonderful."

"One day, we'll have a child, and we're going to love this child. I know we will."

"Yes," Miriya said as she kissed her husband again and thought about all the mysterious and wonderful things she had heard and experienced. Only days before, Miriya had been consumed with thoughts of killing her micronian rival. She had shrunk herself to micronian size and come to the SDF-1, hoping to find the one ace pilot who had defeated her in battle. When she met Max Sterling and played a videogame match against him, she knew instinctively that this man was the one. Her desire for revenge subsumed the strange, alien attraction she felt for him. And at the moment of her final humiliation, when she faced her death with abject despair, something amazing had happened. Max's love stirred something in her soul, and she discovered the joy of loving another person.

Within Miriya's womb, a new life had begun, and one day soon, the onetime ruthless warrior would discover the joy of motherhood.

* * *

Dana Sterling stood in front of the clothing store window on a street in the city of Denver and stared at the lovely white wedding dress she saw in the window. All around her, the citizens appeared in a mad rush to leave. Only hours before, the civil alert systems had come on, notifying the city that everyone was to evacuate at once. An alien force, presumably the Invid, was on its way and would soon invade the earth. All major population centers needed to be evacuated at once. Amidst the disorderly bustle and the noise, the wedding dress in the window caught Dana's attention. She wondered if her mother had worn a dress like this on her wedding. It had been a long time since Dana had looked at her parents' wedding pictures. Staring at her reflection in the window, she wondered what she would look like in a dress like this one. In her mind, Dana pictured herself spinning slowly in a full circle, showing off her wedding dress to her mother and father.

"Look mom, look dad, isn't this dress beautiful? I'm getting married, can you believe it?"

Oh, get real, Dana said to herself. You're not wearing this dress. You're not getting married. Your romantic prospects are pretty dim at the moment. The last guy you liked ended up killing himself in a gigantic explosion over the ruins of the SDF-1. You'll be an old maid for sure. You haven't even seen your parents in almost ten years. Just get real.

"Dana," a voice shook Dana from her melancholic daydream.

Dana turned around to face Angelo Dante, who had a hand on her shoulder.

"What are you doing, just standing there like that?"

"Uh, nothing, Angie."

The tough old sergeant looked at Dana searchingly. He thought of saying something ironic about the wedding dress but remembered that she probably still hadn't gotten over Zor yet. Just thinking about how that lunatic Zor had hurt her made Angelo so mad, he would strangle him if he weren't already dead. Best to stick to business, Angelo decided.

"Well, if you're ready, there's no reason to hang around this town any longer. We gotta get to the airfield. Louie and Marie are prepping our ship for immediate space flight, as we speak. Everyone's on board-Sean, Bowie, Musica, and Allegra. Are you ready to go now?"

Dana took one last look at the dress and tore herself away from it at last.

"Yes, Angie."

With that, Dana and Angelo joined the crowd in the mass exodus from Denver.

* * *

The moment everyone dreaded had come at last. On board the SDF-3, the moment of goodbye had arrived. Final boarding of the SDF-3 for its hyperspace flight to the home world of the Robotech Masters had begun, and everyone not going had to remain in earth's orbit in the Robotech factory satellite. Max and Miriya were among the last to leave.

Young Dana Sterling, a child of nine, sobbed inconsolably as she hugged her kneeling father.

"Don't leave me behind, dad," Dana urged.

Kneeling beside them was Miriya, trying her best to put on a brave face.

Wiping away his own tears, Max Sterling smiled and caressed his daughter's forehead and cheek.

"Listen, Dana, we've gone over this before."

"I know, but it just doesn't make sense to me."

"We have to go, Dana," Max pointed out the window to the distant stars. "Out there is Tirol, the home world of the Robotech Masters. We have to find them and make peace with them, for the sake of everyone's future. If we don't, there will only be more war, until the earth is completely destroyed. This mission is very dangerous. It's possible we may never return alive."

"All the more reason to take me with you."

"No, Dana. We couldn't live with ourselves knowing that we put you in danger. If you were to be hurt or killed, why, I don't know what I'd do."

"Dana," Miriya said. Dana released her father and turned to her mother.

"You'll be safer here," Miriya said. "There will be people here to take care of you. I promise you we will do everything we can to come back to you. More amazing things have happened before. Always remember how your father and I came together and fell in love. If you can remember the miracle of your father and I, you can have hope that all things in life are possible. We'll be together again, Dana. I promise."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

Dana embraced her mother. "I love you, mom."

For the first time since the night Max had proposed to her, Miriya cried. Her tears came down freely and profusely. This was her own flesh and blood; she had carried this child within her. All of Miriya's memories of Dana came back to her, from the moment she was born, to her first words, and her first steps. Each 'first' had created in Miriya's heart a profound happiness. She discovered that everything Max had spoken to her on the night of their wedding, when they had made love for the first of many times, was all true. Every little experience she had shared with Dana came back to her in a heartbeat. All the laughs they had shared over dinner. All the times Miriya had kissed her daughter good night. The thought that she could lose all of this happiness filled Miriya's heart with an intense, sweet sorrow and exquisite longing. She knew that in spite of the love she enjoyed with Max, the two of them would never feel as complete as they did with the presence of their daughter. So this is what it means to be a mother, Miriya thought to herself in wonder. This is what it means for a mother to love her child.

"I love you too, Dana," Miriya said, her voice choking with a myriad of strange emotions. She wished she could put into words the depth of her love for her, but her eloquence failed her completely.

Mother and daughter held each other tightly, frozen in time, until finally, they had to separate. Dana watched solemnly as her parents turned to leave for the SDF-3. With a final wave, they were gone from her sight, and a new life had begun for the child of Max and Miriya Sterling.