"I understand perfectly. Just make sure you don't let too much time go by before you tell him."

As Rick and Lisa walked together in the rainy night, Claudia's words replayed themselves in Lisa's head. How will I ever tell him? What if he doesn't feel the same way?

He was being nice to her now, after yelling at her earlier in the day. Lisa had been so depressed, she had taken to running aimlessly in the rain. And that's when it had all happened. Claudia had found her standing alone outside of Rick's place, and the two of them had shared a heart-to-heart talk. Long ago, a young Roy Fokker had called Claudia from across the street, on a rainy night, much like this one. And like that night from long ago, Rick had called Lisa from across the street, apparently desiring to reconcile with her. It was an amazing reversal of fortune.

The two friends arrived at their destination, Rick's apartment. They entered the apartment and put up their umbrella and wet shoes along the wall near the front door. Lisa made tea, and the two sat down to have a conversation that would last long into the night.

With Rick seated on the sofa, Lisa brought out the kettle of hot tea and poured two cups. They sat down on the sofa next to each other. As they lifted their cups to their mouths, their eyes met, and Lisa felt her face flushing. She wondered if it was from the effects of the wine she had liberally consumed, while at Claudia's place.

I hope I'm not too drunk, Lisa thought to herself.

There was an awkward silence.

"You said you wanted to talk to me seriously about some important things," Rick said.

"Rick, I'm sorry for the way I bossed you around the other day. I didn't mean to intrude on your personal life in that way. I mean-"

Lisa felt her strength faltering. She did not know if she could bring herself to share her true feelings with him.

"I like you, Rick. I like being with you."

Lisa stopped talking, swallowed, and averted her eyes. She felt as if she had really hung herself out in the open, exposed herself, and anxiously waited for Rick's response. In a way, though, she had not been completely honest. She had not been able to express to Rick, in words, the depth of her love for him.

If he only knew, Lisa thought. If there was only some way I could open my heart to him.

When Lisa looked again into Rick's eyes, she saw him smiling. He reached out and touched her hand with tenderness.

"I like you too, Lisa. And I'm sorry for hurting you today with all the stupid things I said."

"Thank you, I'm alright," Lisa said.

"We've come a long way, haven't we, Lisa?"

"We sure have. It seems not so long ago, you were calling me 'that old sourpuss,' and I was calling you 'that loudmouth pilot.'"

"How did we ever get to where we are today?"

Lisa thought about it for a second, searching her memories.

"I'd say things changed for us when we were trapped on the alien ship."

* * *

Endless falling.

Lisa and Rick were free falling through darkness. They had been falling for so long that their joint screams of terror had ceased, and, unable to scream any longer, shut their eyes in horrified anticipation as they waited for the end.

In the seconds that Lisa had to think during her fall, she rapidly processed through her head what had just happened. She and Rick had nearly been caught by a Zentraedi. When Rick had been kicked out of the way, she had lost hold of her video recorder. During their subsequent flight, Zentraedi soldiers had shot out the floor in front of them, and now the two were falling to their deaths. The mission was a failure. They were going to die.

I'm ready to die, Lisa thought to herself. I failed my mission, and now I'm causing the deaths of three of my comrades. There would be no point in surviving, and making it back home, anyway. I have nothing to live for. My life is empty and filled with loneliness and pain. Maybe it's better this way.

Lisa felt herself blacking out.

"Karl-" Lisa whispered.

My beloved Karl. Soon I'll be with you again, like it was always meant to be. I miss you so much.

Lisa blacked out.

Within instants, she heard a voice in her head, the voice of her dead fiance, Karl Riber. This was the man Lisa was supposed to spend the rest of her life with. He was her first and only love. They were soulmates, but the torrents of war tore them apart. Karl had died on Mars Base Sara before they could marry.

Lisa, the voice of Karl said.

Karl?

Is that really you?

I love you so much, Lisa heard Karl say. I know how much you want to see me again. But Lisa, it's not your time yet. Your destiny lies on a different path from mine. Some things are simply meant to be. Please understand, darling. It's too soon, too soon for you to die. You can't die, not now, not here. You have to live, my darling.

You must live.

Lisa's eyes suddenly opened, and she burst out from beneath the water, gasping for air. How could she have survived such a fall? It was the water, she realized. This large pool of water had saved her life. In her confusion and disorientation, Lisa looked around to see where she was. They were in a dark and deserted place, deep in the bowels of the ship.

I heard Karl's voice, Lisa thought to herself. She was so sure that she had heard his voice. Was it really him? Was he watching, even now, reaching out to her from beyond the grave?

You must live, Karl had said to her.

Yes, I must live, Lisa decided. No matter what happens, I must live.

"Rick?" Lisa looked around and could not see him. There were a few air bubbles surfacing a few feet from her, in the water. Rick was sinking. He would drown unless she did something quickly.

"Rick!" Lisa cried in alarm. Without another moment of hesitation, she dove beneath the area where she had last seen the bubbles, and blindly reached out in the dark water, praying to find Rick. She dove down deeper and deeper, her eyes straining in the darkness. There was a dark form sinking below her, and she grabbed hold of it. It turned out to be Rick's arm.

Hold on, Rick, Lisa thought as she kicked furiously to the surface. With her last ounce of strength, they finally surfaced, and Lisa gasped for air at last.

"Rick, don't die, please don't die," Lisa said as she struggled to drag Rick out of the water. When they reached the dry deck, Lisa lay Rick on his back and checked for his pulse and breathing. He wasn't breathing. Without even thinking, Lisa got down on her knees next to Rick and administered mouth to mouth resuscitation. After what seemed like forever, Rick finally began to cough out some of the water he'd taken into his lungs.

Lisa breathed a sigh of relief as she gently stroked Rick's cheek.

She was amazed. How have I suddenly come to care about this young man? We've never been able to get along; we've always been fighting with each other. But he risked his life to save my own. He stopped me from killing myself at Mars Base. He disobeyed my orders and tried to rescue me when I was captured. He saved me again, even after getting caught in the chest with a Zentraedi boot.

In her heart, Lisa felt herself beginning to feel a sense of begrudging respect and gratitude. In their short time knowing each other, he had already done so much for her, simply because it was he knew it was the right thing to do. And then there was the kiss. She had ordered him to kiss her in front of the Zentraedi lord, and he had obliged. There was so much warmth and gentleness, and restrained passion in that kiss, it had brought an unwitting tingling sensation right down to the tips of her toes. Against her will, Lisa felt herself strangely drawn to this impetuous young man. He was a loudmouth to be sure, but he was brave and loyal. And most of all, he was gentle.

Lisa felt a gush of excitement as she watched the color return to Rick's cheeks. He looked like he was still a little delirious. Is it possible, she thought, for the two of us to become friends? What would it be like to be friends with Rick Hunter? Would we like each other? Would we spend time together, and get to know each other, and really share the deepest feelings in our hearts with one another? And as Lisa contemplated these strange and wonderful things, she felt herself coming to life again. She felt like she had a reason to live again.

"Minmei! Minmei-" Rick said, as if in a dream.

Lisa felt herself grow cold. This was reality. How could she ever become close to Rick when he already had someone else in his life? Surely this Minmei, the lovely Miss Macross, was his girlfriend. She remembered seeing the two of them together. There's just no way, Lisa thought. I guess I was just having a silly, idle daydream.

As Rick recovered his consciousness, Lisa struggled to compose herself again, to make herself into the tough officer, as she had always presented herself to Rick. But for that brief moment, Lisa had felt the stirring of a new feeling, one that she had not known since the day that Karl had died.

In that sweet, fleeting moment, Lisa had felt alive again. She knew she would treasure that memory and not forget how good it felt. Perhaps there was a hope that one day she would know happiness again.

You must live, Karl said.

Yes, Karl, Lisa answered. I will live. No matter what happens, I won't ever forget what you shared with me. You showed me how wonderful it could be to love another person, and I won't forget that feeling, ever. No matter how discouraged I might feel, I'll keep trying. I'll keep on living. I promise you this, from the depths of my soul.