Getting Breetai and Azonia to agree to micronization was only slightly more difficult than getting a giraffe into roller skates. But the importance of this ceremony had been stressed, and they had reluctantly undergone the re-cloning procedure. Now, they each shook hands with Admiral Lisa Hayes, Captain of the Macross and recently appointed Commander-In-Chief of the United Nations Space Defense Administration.

Or, what was left of it.

"May the peace we forge today last until the end of time," said Lisa.

"Yo, Major."

Ranma glanced over his shoulder, to see Ryouga and Max. "Yo. Lookin' good, pig-boy." He poked at the plane captain's rank insignia. "They gave you that third rocker, I see."

"Yep. Sergeant Major. Can you believe it?" Ryouga grinned. "And Max here got his second bar."

"Congratulations, Captain." Ranma grinned. "They bumped Rick to Major, so he's gonna be busy. Trust me, I know." He glanced down at his own rank. "And they gave me my bird, so I've got a whole damn regiment to boss now."

"I know. Word has it that the First will be under your command." Max shrugged. "We're gonna be busy...Khyron's still at large, with his gang of idiots, and not all of Dolza's fleet was willing to surrender."

"Where's your other third?"

"Miriya?" Ryouga laughed. "She grabbed Akane and buggered off somewhere. Probably getting smashed as we speak."

"She decided what she's gonna do with you two yet?"

Max shook his head. "No. But I got a feeling that she's going to take Hibiki, here." He slapped the Sergeant's arm. "After all, he's in love with her, the poor goof."

"Bite me, Captain."

"How about you and the Captain, Colonel?" Max tilted his head. "Sixth is remaining as part of the Macross' carrier air wing, so they're still under Colonel Tendo. She's out of your chain of command, and you guys have been engaged since the start of the war."

"Long before then, actually." Ranma sighed. "We got to know each other a lot better over the last year. I dunno, maybe..."

"Maybe?" Max snickered. "Better make up your mind, because others are lining up. A Fallen Angel rarely has to buy her own beer."

"Guys, just between you and me?" Ranma looked down. "I don't really think we should get married. I mean, there's a problem with my family."

"I thought your father set up the engagement as a matter of honour?" Max frowned.

"Heh." Ranma grinned. "Family honour. Right. Like my Pops has any honour. And Mom has these weird ideas about manliness, apparently...she might reject me. I can't trap Akane in a marriage with me if I have no family line."

"Then what are you going to do?" Ryouga scowled. "Just lead her along? Or dump her, after all the time you two spent together?"

"I don't know!" He threw up his hands. "Dammit, it's a lose-lose situation for me, okay? She and I are getting along all right, but I just..." He sighed again. "I don't wanna be just someone she married because she had to. Especially without the family behind me. There might be someone out there better for her."

"Colonel Saotome."

Ranma gulped, and turned to face his commanding officer. "Yes, Admiral?"

"New orders, Colonel. You have two months of accrued leave."

"Yes, ma'am?"

"I hereby order you to take all your accrued leave now. We might need you later, so I want it used up."

"Well, ma'am, that beats the hell out of several orders you've given me in the past." Ranma grinned. "I still think you're up to something, though. What gives?"

"I've given Captain Tendo two extra weeks leave, bringing her total leave to equal yours." Lisa grinned. "You're to spend it with her."

"Ma'am...do you live to play matchmaker?"

"Someone has to." She pointed. "Your fiancee is at the Dragon, with Miriya. Go collect her, and get out of my sight."

Ranma saluted. "Yes, ma'am." He turned, and walked off.

Ryouga watched him leave, then turned to the Admiral. "Ma'am, permission to speak freely?"

"By all means."

"I've gotten a pretty good idea that you're rather attracted to the Colonel."

She blushed slightly. "Is it that obvious?"

"Well, if I can see it..." He shrugged. "So are you so certain that you've lost that you'll send him off with your number-one rival?"

"Sergeant...if two months alone together doesn't ruin their relationship, there is nothing at all that I might try that will." She grinned. "And if it does...Chance!"

Ryouga glanced over at Max. "She's taking lessons from Minmei, isn't she?"

Akane had not, after all, been drinking. Ranma had found her discussing 'Micronian pair-bonding' with Miriya at the Dragon, with Minmei and Shampoo offering their own takes. It had taken some time to drag her away from the gossip, but now their jet - a VF-1D, the only one left - was winging over the Pacific.

"Tokyo was lasered pretty badly," commented Ranma, "but Nerima is at the outskirts of the city, and probably survived."

"The house is most likely gone," said Akane. "But if it's still there, we can rebuild. And your mother is probably all right."

"I can only hope." Ranma glanced down at the scroll, clipped to his kneeboard. "And I hope she'll look past the curse, and the Angel Squadron, and the Miss Macross thing."

"Ranma." Akane leaned forwards. "You're a Colonel in the U.N. Spacy. You've worked your way through the ranks from Corporal. You've got more decorations than any other living officer. You sacrificed many of your best friends to stop a war, almost singlehandedly worked every trick needed to bring the Zentraedi to peace, and in general have proven that you are truly a man among men. If it's not good enough for her..."

"Then I'll be forced to turn away from my family." He sighed. "What will that mean for your honour?"

"It doesn't matter." She shook her head. "You have honour enough to stand on your own. If it isn't enough for her..." She smiled. "I've already spoken to my father, and he has judged you as well as I have. If she won't have you, we certainly will."

Ranma glanced back, but the Macross had long since vanished below the horizon. "The ship really came through for us, didn't she?"

"Yeah." Akane smiled. "I can't believe I'm missing those steel walls."

"We'll be back before you know it." Ranma flashed a thumbs up. "We're not done with her yet."