ACES OF HEARTS

Disclaimer: Robotech and all of its characters belong to their own creators, so don't bother me with petty details.

: Thoughts

Chapter 10

Forever Wingmates

February 2012...

New Macross City...

Honey, I'm home!

Max smiled as he entered the house, in which he and Mirya had been living in, since the final battle of the Robotech War. Though the phrase was a trifle clichéd, he never got tired of saying it. He was expecting his lovely wife to greet him as always, but as he waited at the entranceway, the green-haired former Quadrano Queen did not make her appearance. This was a little puzzling as Miriya had never failed to rush up, tackle him to the floor and kiss him with gusto.

It was then that he heard some sounds coming from the bathroom. They were the noises of someone being violently ill. The unmistakable sounds of retching had the ace fighter pilot rushing toward the bathroom, with all of his thoughts on making certain that the love of his life was safe. When he threw open the door, he saw Miriya kneeling on the floor near the toilet, and looking worse than he'd ever seen her.

The Zentraedi was in a sorry state and was extremely pale. Her hair was a tousled mess and her body was trembling uneasily from nausea. Her eyes appeared to have rings underneath them and she seemed as weak as a newborn kitten. She was dressed only in a white shirt and panties. She strained to look up at her mate and managed a weak smile.

Tai ain secora, Max. (Translation: Welcome home, Max)

The blue-haired Veritech pilot immediately came to her side and gathered her in his arms as he knelt down.

Miriya! What's wrong darling?

The Zentraedi felt like throwing up again, as she leaned against her spouse. No wound she had ever received in battle had made her feel so weak and helpless like this. She could only draw strength and comfort from Max as she replied.

Max... I don't feel so good... what's wrong with me?

Don't worry honey, I'll get help!

He immediately reached for the communicator on his belt and began punching in the emergency code.

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The Macross Hospital...

SHE'S WHAT?!

Dr. Lang gave Sterling his usual pupil-less gaze and shrugged his shoulders. I must admit that the news did catch me by surprise as well. Miriya is more than five weeks along. Until now, I wasn't one-hundred percent certain about it, but you and Miriya have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it IS possible. He then took on an introspective look and stroked the bottom of his chin. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Miriya has been consuming Earth foods, instead of those pill rations of the Zentraedi...

But... she can't be...

Lang's expression became one of amused surprise. Really, Lieutenant Sterling, calm down. It's quite a natural end result of marriage, though I'm still somewhat intrigued at the fact. After all, for this to have happened MUST mean that you have been fulfilling your, shall we say, husbandly duties?

Max's face became slightly red as he recalled all the times he and Miriya... did it. He had to admit, ever since the end of the Robotech War, they had been going at it like rabbits, especially when Miriya had come across a Karma Sutra Manual. Who KNEW she was that kinky?

Oh come now, Sterling. SURELY you must have expected something like this would happen eventually, when you married her.

Yes, but... it's all so sudden. I can't believe that Miriya is really...

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Miriya's hospital room...

How are you feeling, sweetheart? Max asked as he entered his wife's room.

The Zentraedi nodded as she smiled at him and sat up in her bed. A little of her usual glow had returned to her face and she didn't seem quite so fragile. I'm feeling better now, though I am a little worried.

What are you worried about? Max asked with hesitancy.

The nurse informed me that I had some kind of condition, and I was worried that it might be life-threatening. She said I was pregnant.

Max... what's pregnant?

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The SDF-1...

Did you hear the news? Sammie exclaimed with excitement.

The bridge crew of the now decommissioned battle fortress all focused their attention to their hyperactive member as she began jumping up and down.

Sammie, calm down! What's the news? Claudia asked.

It's Max and Miriya! They're going to have a baby!

Vanessa exclaimed.

You're kidding! Kim said.

That's wonderful! Lisa smiled as she and the rest of the bridge crew began asking Sammie for details.

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Out in orbit, a certain Zentraedi Flagship was cruising through space. On its bridge, a sixty-foot tall commander nodded as he received a communiqué from Admiral Gloval. He stroked the bottom of his chin as he pondered the message introspectively. He then called for Exedore to meet him in his conference room.

A few minutes later, both commander and his most trusted advisor were together again for the first time since the end of the Robotech War. Exedore was still micronized as he had been aiding the RDF in helping the Reconstruction of the Earth and the integration of the Zentraedi. He was sitting in a newly-developed hover chair that Dr. Lang had created for him to traverse great distances. This was quite handy, considering that walking down a corridor of the Zentraedi ship would be the equivalent of crossing the lengths of several football fields.

You wished to discuss something with me, Lord Breetai?

The giant commander nodded as he paused for a long moment, before speaking. I have just received word from Gloval that Miriya Parino and her mate, are expecting to have a... baby.

Yes, sir. I too have received word and I must say that the Micronians' ability to procreate, has me VERY intrigued and I intend to study this process in its entirety.

I thought you would be interested. Breetai remarked. Tell me Exedore, do you recall the time when Captain Hunter and Commander Hayes were here before? When they were being interrogated by Dolza?

Indeed I do. It was quite an... unnerving experience. Exedore shuddered slightly at the memory, though he was used to seeing males and females touch lips, especially after seeing Max and Miriya do so hundreds of times.

Yes it was. And I remember Hunter saying that Micronians were BORN in their present size. Perhaps this is what he meant.

Hmmm, yes and perhaps this is what that other prisoner had said when he mentioned that the process involved the thing called love.' Though I still do not totally comprehend the concept, it seems to be a very important component for the Micronians to be able reproduce themselves.

It seems that Miriya Parino understands this love business. Otherwise, she would not be able to reproduce herself without the aid of a cloning chamber.

This brings up an interesting idea, my Lord. Exedore pointed out. If Miriya is able to... manufacture a copy of herself with a Micronian, then perhaps we Zentreadi can do so as well.

What? Are you saying that Zentreadi can... make Zentraedi?

It's a theory that Dr. Lang and I have long since speculated on. Since there ARE male and female Zentraedi, then it stands to reason that coupling the two sides will allow us to CREATE a new generation. And looking on the more practical side, we won't have to waste energy and resources with the cloning chambers. Biologically, each Zentraedi is already equipped with the necessary... ah, components to procreate on our own. We would be further free from the Robotech Masters' control if we were able to reproduce without aid. However, since love' seems to be vital to the process, perhaps we should concentrate on learning more about it?

Interesting. I've heard of this Micronian expression before and I think it is most appropriate. So tell me Exedore... where do babies come from? (1)

Exedore became very uneasy as he thought back to all of those files and visual records that Dr. Lang had provided him with. He took a deep breath and began to describe the anatomies of males and females and what certain structures were for.

Several hours later, Breetai's one eye was open wide and he swallowed hard. And he had thought that KISSING was hard to get used to!

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Several days later, at the Dixon Home...

Mr. Dixon was heartily laughing as he continually slapped Max on the back and congratulating him. In one hand was a glass of champagne. The blue-haired pilot smiled weakly as he tried to make light of the event, but inside, he was still quite edgy at the concept of being a father. In the living room, Miriya sat with Mrs. Dixon as she cradled six-month-old Maxine in her arms. The child was peacefully slumbering and the Zentraedi female couldn't take her eyes off her. This was her first visit with Max's adoptive family since her historic wedding in space. She had never paid any close attention to Maxine until now.

After being told that a baby was growing within her, she had first thought that she had contracted some kind of parasite. However, after being given the facts, she had insisted on seeing the Dixons and learning all she could about the joys of parenthood.'

Ben's mother smiled as she noted the curiosity in the Zentraedi's eyes. She nodded as she addressed her. Don't worry, Miriya. Soon you'll have a precious little bundle of your own, to hold in your arms.

She's so... Miriya couldn't express herself. She then looked down at her abdomen and paced a hand on it. Is that what was forming within her now? She felt fear at that point, and yet, she did not want it to be stopped.

Mrs. Dixon nodded at Mirya's apprehensive expression. Taking into account that her surrogate daughter-in-law, (she still considered Max as Ben's brother), had come from a society that was literally born from test tubes, she decided to take the mother-to-be under her wing and give her all the advice she would need in the coming months.

I know that this is all new to you, Miriya, but having a child can be the most wonderful experience of your life. Remember that baby will carry a part of you, all through his or her life.

A part of me?

Yes, and it is because of that fact, you and Max will love it, because he or she will carry the best parts of both of you to the future. In a way, we Earthlings achieve immortality, through our children. However, I must warn you that the journey towards that end will not be easy. But once you hold that baby in your arms, you'll know that it will be all worth it.

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Later that night...

Max was still in a bit of a funk as he leaned against the front door of his house and stared up at the stars. His wife had decided to turn in early and was already slumbering peacefully. She had come home very excited after her long discussion with Ben Dixon's mother, and was anxious to do everything she could to get ready for when her child would arrive. Even after being told of the changes her body would undergo and of the pain, Miriya couldn't help but get the image of herself cradling a baby in her arms and seeing that new life grow. It was seen to her as the greatest challenge of her life... motherhood.

Miriya's new enthusiasm over becoming a parent was uplifting, but Max still couldn't get certain demons of his past to let go, specifically thoughts of his father, and what kind of parent Max would make. Ever since he had learned that he would become a father, he had been feeling a myriad of emotions. Happiness and joy were among them, but the most prevalent of his feelings... was doubt.

His thoughts had often wandered back to the time he had last seen his father and what he had said to him before Michael Sterling had been cruelly taken from him. Ever since that time, Max had never thought about becoming a father, since he had never grown up with his own. Mr. Dixon had been a good role model, but the ace pilot had never felt totally a part of the family to make a connection. Then he remembered how angry and outraged he was when Ben died. How would he act if he suddenly lost his child? Would he be able to protect him or her? Would he make the right decisions concerning the baby when he needed to? How would the baby grow up and would it eventually come to resent his or her father as he had done so with his own? Then he remembered how happy Mr. and Mrs. Dixon were with Maxine, and wanted to know of that kind of joy.

Max shook his head as he tried to make sense of it all. This was supposed to be one of the best moments of his life, so why wasn't he as gung-ho with it as his spouse was? Why was he feeling so low?

The ace pilot of the RDF sighed as he went back into his home and decided to sleep on the matter. As he changed into his sleeping garments and slowly entered the bedroom, he made certain to not make any noise and awaken his wife. He then carefully got into bed beside her and remained silent for several minutes, hoping that he would fall asleep quickly. However, sleep was elusive that night, and he continued to stare up at the ceiling. His train of thought was broken as a slender hand reached over and came to a rest on his chest. He looked over and saw the lovely emerald eyes of his mate.

Miriya? I thought you were...?

Max... I'm scared too... about having this baby.

I've seen how you've been acting these past few days. I can also guess that you don't know if you'll make a good father. That's all right. I don't know if I'm going to be a good mother. Mrs. Dixon told me that is natural to feel this way. All first-time parents go through this. But even though I am afraid, I know I'm going to see it through... as long as you will see it through WITH me. I need you Max.

But, you've been so... enthusiastic about it and...

And it's taken me until now to realize that I can't do this alone. I want my husband by my side. I want you to be there to give me the strength I need to see this through. She then reached for his right hand and grasped it. She then brought it under the covers and placed the palm against her abdomen. Our baby needs that strength.

She then leaned forward to kiss her husband. The two came together and before long, they were making love as Miriya began to work away the tension in Max. Thoughts of fatherhood inadequacies left his mind as he and his wife rode the waves of passion and love.

For now, Max would just face the coming trials and tribulations as they came.

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April 2012...

Pickles and ice cream on whole wheat... with mayonnaise?

Miriya blushed slightly as she took a bite out of her sandwich. I'm sorry Max. I just have these cravings. She had gained some weight and her abdomen was now slightly enlarged. She still looked quite radiant, though she was now wearing maternity clothes and had been given a year of leave from her piloting duties.

Max could only watch in wonder as his wife hungrily devoured her meal.

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May 2012...

Well, according to the sonogram, your baby is healthy and growing well. The maternity doctor said as Max and Miriya gazed at the monitor.

Beside them, Exedore and Dr. Lang were very intrigued at the image of the first Human-Zentraedi hybrid. Breetai's advisor was extremely interested in the development of an actual living being within a being. It was like looking into one of the cloning matrices on Tirol, but there was no machinery involved and it seemed to perpetuate a kind of warm glow from the once fearsome Quadrano Queen. Despite the fact that her body was becoming swelled and useless for combat, Miriya paid it no mind as she continued to smile and hold onto to Max's hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

Then the hospital doctor asked the most important question to the couple. Would you like me to tell you what gender your baby will be?

Both pilots looked at each other with questioning eyes, then nodded to the physician.

The doctor took a deep breath and replied. According to this scan, you are going to be blessed with a daughter.

Their eyes widened in awe as the information sunk in. It was going to be a girl!

In her own mind, Miriya could see an image of herself as a child and she began seeing lists of names flash before her. Then she decided that since her child will be born on Earth, she will be given a Terran name, but also something to reflect her Zentraedi heritage.

Hmmm... perhaps.... Claudia... Lisa... Sammie.... Vanessa... Kim...? She shook her head. Though the Bride Crew of the SDF-1 had become close friends of hers, she needed a name that would be unique for her offspring. As she thought about it, she also began to think of her Zentraedi side. Hmmm... she will be ... my child... my little... Millia... wait! That's it!

Eventually, she discussed the matter with her husband and they decided on their future daughter's name.

Dana Komillia Sterling.(2)

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June 2012...

Ooh! I think this would be great for your daughter! Sammie exclaimed excitedly as she held up a cute, pink jumpsuit with ruffles.

The Bridge Bunnies and Claudia were helping Miriya shop for clothes and baby things. The Zentraedi was becoming overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility and supplies needed to raise one being. She was becoming more uneasy at becoming a mother, but fortunately for her, Claudia was there to give her the support she needed. Her brother Vincent and his wife were also expecting a child, and Lisa's best friend had been helping out for the arrival of her niece or nephew. Unlike the Sterlings, the Grants had decided to be surprised when their baby was born, (though Vince was secretly convinced it will be a boy).

I know it can seem a bit much Miriya, but it's all part of the experience.

I've never realized just how much is needed to raise an offspring. The former Quadrano Queen remarked.

It's more than just an offspring, Miriya. Claudia pointed out as she looked over some baby blankets. Your daughter will be everything that you want her to be and much more. She will be shaped by how you nurture and guide her. THAT is the true purpose of raising a child. That child will carry a part of you and Max, as well as give her own. Children are the hope of the future and we can't exist without them.

You make it sound so noble and wonderful. I'm not sure that I'm up to the task. I'm not even from Earth.

It doesn't matter if you weren't born on this planet. Mothers are mothers, regardless of where they come from. And there's no set book of rules on parenting. You and Max will just have to learn as it comes, just like my brother and his wife.

But it's so... unknown and imprecise. How will I know I'll be doing the right thing? All I know is battle and my training, and the few things Max has been teaching me. Will that be enough?

It's a start. And I know that there aren't any other Zentraedi mothers out there to get advice from, but we're all here to help you. And don't forget that Max will ALWAYS be there to help you get through this. And when little Dana grows up and becomes her own person, then you'll know that all the trials and tribulations were worth it. I'm not going to lie to you, it's going to be rough at times, but that's also a part of the experience. And through it all, you'll always love that child, because when it's all said and done, you wouldn't want to miss this experience. You may never have another one like it, so treasure it.

I will.

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September 2012...

Darling, are you all right? Max asked concernedly as Miriya suddenly stiffened in her seat at dinner.

His green-haired mate looked down at her swollen abdomen and placed a hand on it. She remained silent for a long while, then stiffened again as she felt another small impact against her inner walls. She then looked back up at her husband with an expression of awe.

Max? She moved!

Max quickly put his own hand on top of her belly and rubbed against it gently. He stiffened when he felt a small kick from his unborn daughter.

She moved!

The two looked deeply into each other's eyes in sheer wonder at the simple act of their child. The fact that they had made her themselves, had gotten them even closer than ever before. The two leaned forward and kissed deeply.

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October 2012...

Come on, honey! Just a little more!

I'm... trying! Uuuuuuuggggghhhhh!

Miriya threatened to crush Max's hand with her grip as she was nearing the end of giving birth to her baby. She was in pain like she had never experienced before. The morning sickness and stomach cramps were nothing compared to this. She felt as if she was being pressured on all sides and she didn't know if she would survive this. However, as her husband urged her on and she felt as if she was about to explode, she took one deep breath and pushed with all her might. Then suddenly, there was a flurry of activity as the nurse came over and cradled something in her arms. She began to clean out the mouth and...

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling! Your daughter is beautiful!

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Miriya sighed as she lay in her hospital bed and looked down at her newborn child. Dana looked so small and fragile, and yet the former Zentraedi ace could sense a strength within her little girl, as well as so much untapped potential. She smiled as she thought. Well of course she does! She's my little Komillia after all! Then she began to think that this must be the pride of a new parent. Claudia had told her of this.

It was then that her husband came into the room to see his daughter for the first time.

The two talked for a long time, all the while doting on the newest member of the Sterling family. They began to find features in Dana that resembled their own. She most certainly was made from parts of themselves and they wondered just what kind of future she would have. Even though she was barely a day old, they had a feeling that she was destined for greater things.

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June 2013...

WHAAAAAAH! IT MOVED!

Reno was on the verge of a total breakdown as he gazed upon Dana Sterling. The mere sight of a... MICRONIZED Micronian had caused him and all those present in the Robotech Factory Satellite to into fits and spasms. After seeing Lisa Hayes and Rick Hunter kiss on the viewscreen, he had thought NOTHING could unnerve him further. Then the traitorous Miriya had come forth with that... THING!

In her cockpit, Miriya was feeling nothing but pride as she held up her child. How could anyone think that her Komillia was disgusting? She was highly insulted and would blast anyone who directly insulted her daughter!

It was then that Breetai and the other Earth Forces launched their counterattack.

----------

On the trip back to Earth, Miriya and her husband watched from an observation deck on the Factory Satellite. In her arms, Dana slept peacefully. The child wasn't even one-year-old and she had become the youngest military hero in history. Not a bad start for the child of the best aces of the Robotech War.

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January 2014...

Miriya could only gaze upon the wreckage of the SDF-1 and 2 from the window of their home. It had been several hours since Khyron's suicidal attack, which ended in tragedy for many in New Macross City. Admiral Gloval had died, along with the Bridge Bunnies and Claudia. Only Lisa had survived the holocaust.

The former Quadrano Queen bought her baby close to her breast as a tear ran down her cheek. She had now lost several people who had become very close to her and did not to want lose any more. Since being married to Max, she had learned that the bonds she had formed with him and her new Terran friends had become especially important to her. She had found that she could draw great strength from them and when they were severed, they caused a great void in her soul. And it will continue to do so until the fighting finally ended. Suddenly, it seemed that war was no longer as glorious as she used to think, when she was a Quadrano pilot.

It was then that Max came up behind her and gently gathered her and Dana into his arms. They stood together in silence for a long time, then Miriya spoke.

Max? Is this what we must expect for Dana? More fighting and destruction? Must she grow up in such times?

Miriyas husband was a bit surprised to hear this from the former Queen of the Battlefield. Usually she was always eager for combat. It seemed that motherhood had mellowed her out somewhat. I... don't know. I can't predict the future, honey. We can only do what we can.

Then we shall do EVERYTHING we can so that Dana WON'T have to endure all that we had to suffer through! I WON'T have my child lose any of her friends or family because of war! I won't!

Max was taken aback by this new attitude of Miriya's. Then suddenly, he had an image of his father speaking to him and telling him of his desire to keep his son out of the military... and safe. In a way, things had finally come full circle. Now his wife wanted to keep their daughter safe from the dangers and horrors of war, and Max couldn't help but agree.

He and Miriya would do all the fighting, so Dana won't have to. There were plans of building the SDF-3 and taking the fight back to the Robotech Masters.

And so the greatest pilots in history would fly just one more time and end the conflict once and for all. They were forever wingmates and they would fly for the future of their daughter.

The two held each other close and watched the night skies. Soon they would head out into the stars...

THE END

Author's Notes

Well, that's about it. Chapter 10 was mostly a wrap-up or epilogue as I touched on Max and Miriya's experience during her pregnancy. Now as we all know, the planned expedition against the Robotech Masters doesn't turn out as expected, (check out the Sentinels Saga for details), and Dana ends up fighting the Masters in the Second Robotech War. Still, I wanted to end this on a bit of an uplifting note, since we really don't see much of our favorite Robotech pilots in the last episode of the Macross Saga. Of course, there is the story of the Malcontent Uprising between the First and Second Robotech War, but I feel that the novels and the comics didn't REALLY portray Max and Miriya the way the original series did. (what can I say, I'm an old romantic at heart).

In any case, Aces of Hearts is done and it was a pleasure writing it. Now to get back to my other projects.

(1) Heh heh, I couldn't resist this question. It seemed really funny to imagine big, strong Breetai asking like an innocent five-year-old.

(2) In the original Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross, the name Miriya is the English-version of the original Japanese designation of Millia. In this story, Miriya's pronunciation of her name in the Zentraedi language will be Millia, hence the reason why she decides on the middle name of Komillia (meaning little Millia) for her daughter. Just my way of linking together the Americanized version of Robotech with the original Macross.