In the year 1999 a strange alien craft fell from the sky.  Landing on a small island in the Pacific the large battle fortress soon became the center of global attention.  The arrival of the alien craft heralded in a new era throughout the world.  The world was now one.  The strange alien craft accomplished the one thing no nation or army could do and brought all the governments of the world together under the leadership of the United Nations, which now called itself the United Earth Government.

Scientists from many countries were sent to examine the alien craft to see if it could be useful to the human race.  The team of scientists studying the craft concluded that the ship needed to be rebuilt and any technology found used to help the armies of the world.  The leaders of the world decided to repair the alien ship and integrate its technology with Earth's own technology.

The peace that had arisen was not to last very long.  Soon the nations of the world began fighting.  The war was affectionately referred to as the UN War.  While the war raged on a secret military instillation came into existence to study the alien technology.  They had hoped to use the technology from the alien craft to defend the world from whatever it was that sent the ASS1 down to Earth.  Calling themselves OTECH their main goal was the formation of new weapons and technologies.  The first major project OTEH proposed was the research, development, and building of a large laser cannon that could be used to defend the Earth.

When the UN War, or World War III as some called it, was over another conflict arose.  The fighting this time took place in the Mid East.  Once again Kuwait was the center of attention.  Military uprisings in the area broke out into a full-scale war.  The war didn't last very long and soon there was peace in the tiny Mid East country.  The fighting in Kuwait was followed by yet another conflict.  The island the ASS1 had crashed on became a hot peace of property.  Soon the tiny island of Macross was in the center of a global conflict and the prize was the ASS1.  Whoever gained control of the island gained control of the ASS1.  The fighting over Macross Island ended in a couple of years and once again the world experienced temporary peace and harmony.

The UN and OTECH now gained control of not only the island but the ship as well.  The ASS1 was renamed by the military institution to the Super Dimensional Space Fortress 1 or SDF1.  The UN ordered the repairs to the large craft to resume immediately.  The UN had commissioned OTECH to design a new class of military weaponry in hopes of defending the planet from alien attacks.  In the hopes of detecting any alien activity a base was built on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility.  The base now known as Tranquility Base became the Earth's eyes and ears to the universe.

The volunteers who worked on the ship began to form their own community.  In no time a thriving city had formed around the space fortress.  Naming itself after the island Macross City became a thriving mecca of industrial and military greatness.  The military base and numerous factories brought in many individuals looking for a better life.  Macross City was the place to be.

With the formation of the Robotech Defense Force a new class of military weaponry was being developed.  The new Veritech fighters, which looked like a cross between an F-14 and a Transformer, were to become the backbone of the RDF the air and space division of the UN.  The integration of the alien technology with the latest military innovations from around the world was quite successful.  Thus eight years after the fall of the SDF1 it became necessary for the RDF to recruit a new class of military personnel.

********

Sailor Moon M

Part One: Veritech 101

********

The entire city of Tokyo was abuzz with excitement when it was announced the RDF would be recruiting new members.  The promise of going into space on the newest military sensation the SDF1 would be too hard to resist.  With the completion of a few research stations that orbit the Earth, some small-scale space cruisers, and Tranquility Base a life in space was becoming a reality.  There had even been a mission to Mars to set up a research station that would be able to track any alien activity.

The RDF had come to Tokyo looking for individuals willing to work on the SDF1 as bridge crew, flight crew, and fighter pilots.  They would take anyone who met the standards set by the RDF recruitment division.  Once an individual passed the appropriate tests and physical they would then head off to Macross City where they would begin eight weeks of intensive boot camp training followed by a training period in specialized classes.  If they passed their training they were then assigned to active duty.  Most new recruits were sent to RDF command to work there.  Only a handful would make it onto the decks of the SDF1 and only and handful of those lucky few would get to be fighter pilots.

No one expected Usagi to make the decision to join the RDF not even Usagi herself.  As weird as it seemed Usagi up and decided out of nowhere to join the RDF when she saw a poster advertising an upcoming recruiting session in Tokyo.  She never told anyone but the moment Usagi saw the poster she decided she wanted to become a pilot.  Becoming a military pilot was going to be quite hard when she had never actually flown a plane or no military background.  Usagi had no idea what she was getting herself into.  But her mind was made up and she was determined to join the RDF.

Usagi sat in the window of her room the night before the recruiting drive was to begin.  In her lap sat her cat and guardian Luna.  Luna was trying to convince Usagi that joining the military was probably not a good idea.  But when Usagi kept telling Luna that her mind was made up Luna had no choice but to give Usagi all the support she would need.

"Usagi I have no doubt you'll do just fine tomorrow.  All you need to do is have some confidence in yourself and you can accomplish anything." Luna told her.

"I know but I'm afraid I won't be able to go into the field I chose." Usagi said.

"And what field is that?" Luna asked her.

"Aviation."

"That's a tough one to get into but I'm sure you can do it."

********

Usagi's other friends were having similar discussions about going into the RDF.  Like Usagi Haruka also wanted to be a pilot.  Haruka's love and roommate Michiru decided she would accompany the daredevil and get a command position on the bridge of the SDF1.  With any luck the two lovers would end up being together on the same ship.  Ami, like Michiru, was also going to see if she could get a position in the infirmary of the SDF1.  She hoped her skills with the computer and medical knowledge would come in handy and help secure a position on the space fortress.

Both Makoto and Mamoru decided to go into the RDF aviation program.  Even though Makoto was deathly afraid of airplanes since the crash that took her parents' lives Makoto wanted to fly.  She felt becoming a pilot would not only get her into the middle of all the action but it would help her conquer her fear.  Mamoru for some odd reason felt becoming a pilot was the right thing to do.

Unlike the others Minako and Rei had no clue what they wanted to do.  They just knew they wanted to join the RDF.  The decision to join the RDF felt like the right thing to do after Usagi said she wanted to be a part of the RDF.  One by one they made the decision to themselves not telling the others about their decision.  Each one of them hoped and prayed they would be assigned to the same duty as Usagi so they could keep an eye on her.  What they didn't know was their wish was about to come true.

********

Usagi got up bright and early the morning of the first day of recruiting.  She wanted to get a head start on her day and make a good impression on the RDF recruitment officers.  Usagi got to the recruiting center just as the doors were about to open.  She was among the first to enter the recruiting center.  Luna had followed Usagi to offer her support to her not so young charge.  Looking at the now nineteen-year-old woman Luna could tell Usagi had grown up quite a lot in the five years she had known her.  Her body had matured and she had grown four inches in height.  Usagi had even become more toned and stronger.

Usagi walked into the recruiting office with an air of confidence about her.  Deep down in her heart she knew she was going to make it into the RDF.  Taking a deep breath Usagi walked up to the first table she saw.  A kind looking gentleman in a gray uniform smiled as he saw Usagi approach him.  Sitting down in front of him Usagi began her first step into the RDF.

"Name please." The gentleman said.

"Usagi Tsukino." Usagi told him.

"Welcome my name is Lieutenant Harris.  Now before we begin I would like to know why you wish to become a member of the RDF." The lieutenant began.

"Well, I want to do something with my life.  I want to make something of myself.  I want to defend this world from the alien scum of the universe." Usagi said almost going into her Sailor Moon bit.

"That sounds like a reasonable answer." Lt. Harris said as he jotted her answer down, "Now you do know what this entails if you pass the standard tests."

"Yes and I'm ready to make that commitment sir."

"Good.  Now what new skill would you like to learn?"

"Um I'd like to learn how to fly a plane."

"Have you had any experience flying?"

"No but I'm willing to learn."

"That's what we like to hear.  Now I'd like you to take a seat over there and fill out this test." Lt. Harris said as he handed Usagi a packet of papers.

Usagi looked at the test and groaned.  Feeling something rub against her leg Usagi looked down and saw Luna smiling at her.  Usagi could tell Luna was trying to let her know she'd do just fine on the test.  Lt. Harris took a look under his table and saw Luna sitting there.  What he saw puzzled him.

"Did you know there's a crescent moon on that cat's head?" Lt. Harris asked Usagi.

"Yeah it's always been there.  I don't know how she got it." Usagi told him as she left.

********

Lt. Harris received seven more visitors to his table that morning.  The first one after Usagi said she wanted to be a doctor.  The second one wasn't certain what she wanted to do but she wanted to help defend the world.  The third one was pretty much like the second one but like Usagi she was an odd lot.  She too had a cat with her only this one was white and like Usagi's cat he had a crescent moon on his head as well.  Lt. Harris thought this was quite odd.  The next individual Harris saw was confused out of her mind.  She wanted to be a pilot yet she didn't want to get within ten feet of an airplane.  The good Lieutenant told her they would be able to help her get over her fear.  The fifth and sixth ones came in together.  One wanted to be a pilot and the other wanted to work on the bridge.  They both hopped they would be assigned to the same detail.  The last one was the only male Harris saw all morning.  He was older than the others were and he too wanted to be a pilot.  Harris thought his group of recruits all needed to be sent to Macross City for the intense course.  He'd personally see to that.

********

Macross City was a site to behold.  It was referred to as the jewel of the Pacific.  The city seemed to glitter like a diamond on a sea of azure.  The heart and soul of the entire city was the military industry.  The airfields and military installation encircle the city's pride and joy and its claim to fame the mysterious SDF1.  When the military base was complete a small town began to spring up around it.  The individuals who worked on the SDF1 formed their own community, which seemed to keep growing.  The city had its own style taking influences from the people of different nationalities that made up the population.  Everywhere many styles of the French, German, British, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian, Canadian, and American people were noticeable.

The only way into Macross was through the transport center.  Everyone who came onto the island received a designation card that allowed them access to certain areas.  The RDF insisted on the cards as a means of keeping civilians who have not been briefed on the hush hush nature of the SDF1 project out of the factories and the high security sections of the military base.  In the minds of the RDF it was the only way for the city to exist around the SDF1.  It was also the only for the city to keep existing once the SDF1 had gone into orbit.

Usagi stood on the deck of the boat bound for Macross thinking about her life.  Taking one of her extremely long pigtails in her hands she began running her fingers through the golden locks.  Usagi's family had seen her off when she boarded the plane that would take to the island where she would transfer to the boat to Macross.  Her parents were proud of her yet they worried about her at the same time.  Her younger brother was jealous that Usagi was going to get to see the SDF1 up close and in person.

"What am I going to do with you two?" Usagi said as she returned the pigtail to its proper place.

For the past few days Usagi had been contemplating cutting her hair.  But the more she thought about it the more she didn't want to put a pair of scissors to her head.  She had tried shorter hair a couple of times when she used the disguise pen.  She even tried different hairstyles a few times too.  The best Usagi could come up with was a modified version of the style she normally wore.  Braiding the pigtails and working them around the buns would help keep the hair inside the helmet and out of the way.

The boat began slowing down as it came closer to the city.  Usagi went to collect her bags and prepare herself for the journey to the base.  In one bag she had all the things she might need while at the base and in the other bag she had a sleeping Luna.  The modified pet carrier looked more like an overnight bag than a pet carrier.  This would be the perfect way in Usagi's mind to have Luna with her at all times.

The Macross transport center was a massive building filled with shops and numerous counters.  People bustled about the main section of the building going from one docking gate to another.  To Usagi the transport center felt like a cross between the train station and the airport.  In the center of it all was a large sign hanging from the ceiling that said Welcome to Macross City.  In fact there were signs everywhere pointing to the different areas of the transport center directing people to the different places they could go.  A voice boomed over the PA system.

"Welcome to the Macross City transport center.  All visitors should report to the visitor's center to receive their visitor's guide and information pack.  All new and returning citizens should report to the civilian check in station.  All government officials and factory personnel should report to the government check in station.  All military personnel, new recruits, and their families should report to the military check in station.  Please check your designation cards for the proper place to check in.  We hope you enjoy your stay in Macross City."

Usagi looked down at the card she received in the mail from the RDF.  On it was a big blue M for military along with her name, training program, and clearance level on the front.  On the back was a magnetic strip and an odd looking square that seemed to be a jumble of strange shapes.  In that square was all the information the military had on Usagi including height weight and blood type.  Looking at the nearest sign Usagi saw which way she was supposed to go and set off.

********

The RDF base at Macross City was separated into three sections.  The first was the housing district where the barracks and military housing was located.  The second was the general base itself comprised of the motor pool, supply warehouse, and the office buildings.  The final section was the high security section comprised of the airfield and the SDF1.  Only those with proper clearance would be allowed onto the airfield.  The RDF didn't want anyone finding out too much about the SDF1 before they had time to fully understand the battle cruiser.

Usagi got off the shuttle bus and made her way to the main office building to receive her housing assignment.  With any luck Luna wouldn't be found out any time soon.  And with even more luck Luna would be allowed to stay.  After receiving her housing assignment and meeting her bunkmates Usagi went to the welcoming session with Admiral Hayes one of the big wigs from RDF command.

Admiral Hayes walked up to the podium on the stage.  Seated behind him were several high-ranking officials in the RDF command including the newly named captain of the SDF1 Henry Gloval.  The admiral cleared his throat and began his speech.

"Ladies and Gentlemen I'd like to welcome you to the Macross Military Base.  Behind me you see the crowing glory in the RDF the SDF1.  You will have a chance to work with the SDF1.  For the next eight weeks you will go through what we in the business like to call basic training.  Here you'll learn military tactics and teamwork as well as discipline.  From there, once the first eight weeks are over with, you'll enter into more specialized training.  And depending on your field of choice you'll learn a new skill that you'll be able to take with you into the real world.  You'll be split into two classes for your basic training command and flight.  In each class you'll learn specific techniques suited to your chosen field.  Each class will be broken into companies with a drill sergeant who will instruct you on everything that you need to know.  In the envelopes you received when you checked in are your class and company assignments.  When you are dismissed you are to go your company to begin your training.  Good luck everyone.  Dismissed."

Usagi opened her envelope and read her assignment flight class, alpha company.  That allowed her to access to the airfield.  Making her way to the airfield she found the meeting area for alpha company.  Looking around the area Usagi saw that group was comprised of both men and women.  Everyone was wearing the same uniform white shirt and blue pants.  To the RDF it didn't matter if you were a man or a woman as long as you could operate the equipment you were in.  Well I guess it's time to start making friends in this joint, she thought.

"You know I don't want to sound mean or anything but that hair of yours looks like a pair of meatballs." A voice said from behind her.

Turning around Usagi was about to give the owner of the voice a piece of her mind when she realized who it was.  There standing in front of her was none other than Mamoru.  Usagi couldn't believe her eyes Mamoru was not only at the base but he was in her class and company as well.

"Mamoru what are you doing here?" Usagi wanted to know.

"I thought I'd give the good old RDF life a try for a while." He told her.

"You two in the RDF that should be interesting to see." A familiar sounding voice said.

Mamoru and Usagi turned towards the voice to discover Makoto not too far from where they were.  Usagi was quite surprised to see Makoto in the flight class.  The fact that Makoto had joined the RDF didn't phase Usagi one bit.  It was her choice of class that was the real shocker.  Makoto had told her friends on several occasions that she would never in her life get within ten feet of an airplane.  Ever since her parents' death Makoto wanted nothing to do with planes.  And now she wanted to fly one.

"Makoto you want to fly one of these things?" Mamoru asked her.

"Call me crazy but yes." Makoto answered.

"Okay crazy can you tell me why?" Usagi wanted to know.

"Action and I just might get over my fear of these things in the process." She told them.

"Action now that's my kind of answer." Someone said.

"Haruka?  No way!" Usagi said when she saw the blonde come up to them.

"You too huh?" Makoto said.

"Yep I guess my interview with the recruitment officer went over well." She replied.

"So who did you guys see at the recruiting session?" Mamoru wondered

"Lt. Harris." The girls replied in unison.

"You too huh?" Mamoru said.

"Gee I guess he thought we'd good candidates for the Macross program." Makoto commented.

********

During basic training each company breaks off into four man training teams.  Each team works together while learning all they need to know.  In the command class it helps the trainees work together solving all the problems they'll face as a team.  In the flight class it gets them used to the team concept because they'll have to depend on each other in their squadrons.  In the command class Bravo Company Ami, Rei, Minako, and Michiru found themselves together on one training team.  In the flight class alpha company Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka were placed together with the sergeant not knowing their history together.  The sergeant had no clue how well they worked together.

In the days that followed Usagi learned from Haruka that Ami, Rei, and Minako were not only in the RDF but they were in Michiru's training group in her company.  Usagi also found out that Haruka and Michiru had gotten a regular house on the base since they had Hotaru with them.  She and Minako arranged for Luna and Artimes to stay with Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru.  That way the two cats would be able to stay on the base and not violate any regulations.  The eight friends tried to spend some time together when not in basic training.

The eight weeks of basic training flew by quite fast.  Usagi's training group finished tops in her company.  And they were the top four individuals in the entire class.  Ami, Rei, Minako, and Michiru also finished tops in their company and class as well.  With the impressive finish pulled off by the eight friends they were able to enter into the advance training classes.  This meant Usagi would be learning how to handle one of the high tech fighter jets the Veritech fighter.

********

The first day of advanced classes was pretty much like the first day of school.  The day was spent getting to know not only the other individuals in the class but the instructors as well.  Ami spent her day getting to know the military doctors she would be working with.  Rei, Minako, and Michiru began learning design specs and defense systems for the SDF1.  The teaching assistants in their class were two high-level bridge personnel on the SDF1 Claudia Grant and Lisa Hayes.  Claudia and Lisa were the best of friends.  Claudia was an American of African decent with short dark hair and dark eyes.  Lisa on the other hand was a few inches shorter than Claudia was even in her heels.  She had long light brown hair and eyes to match.  It was obvious that Lisa was a couple of years younger than Claudia was but she held the higher rank.  Lisa was the daughter of Admiral Hayes.

********

Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka also had a teaching assistant help with their class.  Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker was considered to be one of the best Veritech pilots the RDF had.  In fact Roy had spent most of his time in a plane since he was old enough to fly first doing a stint at a small air circus and then with the navy as a jet pilot.  Roy was in his early thirties and had blonde hair and dark blue eyes.

On the tarmac before the class was one of the Veritech class fighters.  In the fighter form it looked like any normal F-14.  This however was no ordinary jet plane.  The Veritech had two more forms.  The group took a look at the impressive fighter.  It was gray with black and yellow trim and it had a skull and crossbones design on the tail.  Mamoru whistled in awe.

"That's some plane out there." He commented.

"You can say that again." Haruka added.

"We have to fly something like that?" Usagi said.

Makoto gulped trying hard not to let the knot in her throat and the sweats of terror take over her body.

"Don't worry Makoto with the three of us around nothing's ever going to happen to you." Mamoru told her in an effort to calm her fears.

"Thanks it's nice to know you're around." Makoto said a bit shaky.

The instructor and his assistant made their way to the table in front of the class and sat down.  The flight instructor was a man in his mid forties.  He looked to be career military and proud of it.  The instructor took out a binder and a book and cleared his throat before beginning the lecture.

"I see everyone has their flight manual and copy of the latest Veritech specs.  I suggest you become real friendly with them because by the time this class is through you'll know them like you know the back of your hand." He began, "First off I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Captain Richard Belmont and as you have guessed I am British.  The man next to me is Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker.  He'll be helping me demonstrate the various aspects of the Veritech fighter.  Every morning you'll have ground school and every afternoon you'll be spending time learning to fly in the fighters or in the simulators.  Before we begin I'd like to ask Lieutenant Commander Fokker to introduce you to the Veritech fighter.  Lieutenant Commander Fokker."

"Thank you captain.  What you see behind me is the Veritech fighter the backbone of the RDF.  The Veritech has three forms.  The first of these forms is what you see here the Fighter mode.  The second form of the Veritech is a hybrid form known as the Guardian mode.  The last form is full Battleoid mode.  Guardian mode is a combination of the Fighter and Battleoid modes.  I shall now demonstrate for you the Veritech fighter." Roy said.

As Roy made his way to his skull fighter Makoto looked at him dreamily.  Usagi and Mamoru knew what the look on her face meant.  They prepared for what was to come next.

"He looks just like my old boyfriend." Makoto said dreamily.

"Face it Makoto the man is way too old for you." Usagi told her.

"Look who's talking."

"Hey we're talking decades not years and besides he's taken."

"You're just trying to be cruel to me aren't you."

Usagi didn't say a word.  Instead she sat there smiling at her friend.

"All right ladies and gentleman," the captain began as Roy took off, "as you can see in Fighter mode the Veritech acts and feels like a normal jet.  You get easy maneuverability in Fighter mode."

Roy executed a perfect bank turn and headed back towards the airfield.  As he did he manipulated a few controls and pulled a switch marked G.  The fighter lost its tail and sprouted arms and legs and was now holding a large cannon.

"Lt. Commander Fokker has now gone into Guardian mode.  In this mode the pilot can return back to Fighter mode quickly to be able to engage in full air combat.  The arms and legs do make it a bit difficult to maneuver in flight but they allow for easy use of the cannon you see in the hands of the Guardian." The captain explained to everyone.

Roy manipulated the controls once more and pulled a lever marked B.  The Guardian grew in size and lost any resemblance to a jet plane.  The large robot was around forty feet in height and had the cannon strapped over its shoulder.  The whole group stared in awe at the Battleoid.

"Man I can't wait to get into that." Haruka said.

The captain continued his explanation of the Veritech.  "What you see before you is the full Battleoid mode.  In this mode we can engage the enemy in hand to hand combat.  Here we will be around the same height as the enemy.  Our research has shown that the enemy will be around forty feet in height.  With the Battleoid we can be prepared for anything that enemy might throw our way.  You are going to be our main line of defense against any alien threat we may get."

Roy reverted back into Guardian mode and took off high enough to change back to Fighter mode.  Once the Veritech was in Fighter mode Roy prepared to land the plane and return it to the tarmac.  Once the Veritech was back on the tarmac the flight crew rolled out a ladder and attached it to the side of the jet allowing Roy to exit his fighter.  Once back at the hanger the class could officially begin.

********

From a distance on top of a nearby building three figures were watching the events taking place on the airfield below.  They watched with interest as the lone Veritech fighter went through the various fighting stages.  The pilot at the controls of the plane was of some interest to them.  They were however more interested in the individuals on the tarmac in the makeshift classroom.

"This is much more interesting than watching Michiru and the others." The first one said.

"Yea that pilot certainly knows his stuff." The second one, obviously male, commented.

"I just hope they can learn something from him." The third one, obviously female, said.

"I can't wait to see Makoto try and fly one of those things." The first one remarked.

"Hotaru the day Makoto gets into one of those things is the day I give up mice forever." The third one said to the small girl by her side.

"Are you saying she won't do it Luna?" The second one asked.

"Artimes I am saying no such thing.  You know how scared she is of those things." Luna told him.

"Well then Luna why don't you put your money where your mouth is."

"What are the terms you have in mind?"

"Well if she does get into one of those things then you give up mice for good and if she doesn't then I swear off rummaging through the garbage behind restaurants for good."

"All right you have yourself a deal."

"You heard her Hotaru she agreed to our bet.  You're the witness."

"Right you win no mice for Luna; she wins no scraps for you." Hotaru summarized.

The three friends went back to watching the class on the tarmac.  This is going to be an interesting year, Hotaru thought.  Haruka is much more fun to spy on than Michiru.

********

"All right ladies by the time this class is over with you will understand almost every aspect of the SDF1 perfectly.  You are going to be a part of the nerve center of the SDF1.  It will be your job to relay the information gathered from all over the ship to the captain.  You will be the eyes and ears of the SDF1.  The captain will be counting on the information you give him in order to make the proper decisions.  That is why it is important you learn how to use the consoles on the bridge of the SDF1." Commander Hayes said.

Rei, Minako, and Michiru were receiving the usual first day speech from Lisa and Claudia.  Lisa was telling them what they would be learning while Claudia handed out manuals and spec books to the students in the class.  The class was going to learn how to use the computer system that ran the SDF1.  When they were finished the girls would be able to run the bridge of the SDF1.

"Next to the pilots and doctors you have one of the toughest jobs on the entire SDF1.  It isn't going to be easy but I have no doubt you girls can handle the position." Claudia added, "When this class is over you will be able to work together as a team.  Just remember we'll be with you every step of the way"

********

A few months had gone by and Usagi's class was spending the day on the simulators.  It would be the first time any of them would give the Veritech a try.  The simulator would help them learn what to do in certain situations.  The simulator gave them the feel of the actual Veritech in all three modes.

When the class walked into the simulator room they saw that the simulator was in use.  The pilot in the simulator was one of the best they had ever seen.  Watching the screen they could tell this particular pilot was running the toughest scenario they had ever seen.  In this particular scenario the pilot was using all three modes of the Veritech fighter and engaging the enemy.

"What's that sir?" Usagi asked the captain.

"That ladies and gentleman is our full battle simulation.  You'll get the chance to run through it once you have had some time in the actual Veritech.  What we are going to do today is give you a feel for the controls in the cockpit of the Veritech.  We'll run the simple training simulation today.  I see our pilot has completed his simulation." The captain said.

The pilot exited the simulator.  The moment he turned to face the group they saw who it was.  Lt. Commander Fokker had pulled some impressive numbers on the battle scenario.  Everyone was thoroughly impressed with what they saw.  Roy joined the group in the control room and saw the results of the simulation on the screen in front of him.

"I did pretty good in there." Roy commented.

"Good, you were unbelievable Lt. Commander." The technician told him.

"Okay, now that we're through boosting Fokker's oversized ego let's get this underway." The Captain said to everyone in the room.

"Right sir." Roy replied, "All right boys and girls I'd like to welcome you to the Veritech simulator.  This simulator will allow you to get a feel for the Veritech in each of the three modes.  Today to get you acclimated to the controls we will work strictly in Fighter mode.  Okay Ten'ou you're up first."

Haruka strapped the helmet on and entered the simulator.  Being an experienced pilot Haruka thought the simulation would be a walk in the park.  Everyone was amazed at how well Haruka was doing in the simulation.  The simulation picked was a simple fly by and a landing.  Five minutes later Haruka emerged from the simulator to get her evaluation.

"Well done Corporal Ten'ou.  Your past experience certainly shows.  Okay Chiba you're up next." Roy said to Haruka and Mamoru.

Mamoru got into the simulator, took a deep breath, and signaled he was ready to begin.  Usagi could see that even though he was nowhere near Haruka's league Mamoru was doing pretty well for his first time.  By the time his five minutes were up Mamoru returned to the control room.  Everyone could tell he was going to be one of the better pilots in the class.

"Good job Chiba.  You did quite well for a beginner." Roy said when she saw Mamoru's results, "Okay next up will be Corporal Kino."

Upon hearing it was her turn in the simulator Makoto lost all the color in her face and began to sweat.  For the first time since they had met Usagi saw Makoto actually show signs of fear.  Usagi became concerned for her long time friend of five years.  The captain also saw Makoto's condition and decided the standard pep talk was in order.

"You still afraid to go in there?" he asked getting a nod from Makoto, "I know this is hard for you but once you get this over with you'll be just fine.  In fact, once the fighter plane pulls you in you never go back.  The RAF got me back in '83 and I haven't left since.  Just go in there and take a deep breath and let your instincts guide you.  Don't even think about where you are."

Makoto began to head for the simulator when she felt a hand on her shoulder.  Turning back she saw Usagi with a 'you can do it' look on her face.

"Don't worry Makoto we'll be right here to give you all the support you need." Usagi told her.

Makoto continued her way to the simulator ready to do her darndest to get over her fears.  Taking a deep breath Makoto entered the simulator and waited for the signal to begin.  Shaking all over Makoto kept reminding herself mentally to let her instincts take over and not think about where she is.

Inside the control room the captain began to wonder about Makoto.  He had seen the way her face had lost all its color and she began to sweat.  For someone who wanted to learn how to fly Makoto certainly seemed to be deathly afraid of planes.  He knew if she didn't get over this fear real soon she wouldn't be able to finish the program and earn her wings.

"Tell me Corporal Tsukino why is Corporal Kino afraid to go near a plane?" Captain Belmont asked Usagi.

"Makoto's parents were both killed in a really nasty plane crash when she was younger leaving her all alone." Usagi explained to the Captain.

In no time Makoto's time in the simulator was up and for someone who was afraid to be in an airport she produced some pretty impressive numbers.  Everyone was quite impressed with Makoto for passing the first of many personal hurdles in her life.

Usagi's time in the simulator left everyone in absolute silence.  Makoto, Mamoru, and Haruka knew Usagi would do all right but they had no idea she would surpass Haruka.  In the back of his mind Mamoru began to wonder if the princess was beginning to emerge.  Makoto just let out a whistle and Haruka stood there with her mouth wide open.  The Capitan and the Lt. Commander stood in front of the screen awestruck at what they saw only once in a great while did a pilot of Usagi's caliber emerge.

********

Rei, Minako, and Michiru made their way from the training facility over to the airfield.  They had planned on meeting Usagi and the others after their class was over with.  Like Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka they had spent the day in a simulated environment.  Their instructor wanted to get them use to the systems on board the SDF1.  With repairs still under way on board the SDF1, a trip to the actual bridge was out of the question for the time being.

Rei felt something behind them and turned around to find Claudia Grant walking not too far behind the girls.  It looked as though she was also headed towards the airfield.  Rei wondered why Claudia was going to the airfield.  She wondered if it had anything to do with the person named Roy Claudia and Lisa were always talking about before class.

The girls stopped at the gate to the airfield and began chatting amongst themselves.  Michiru took a quick glance upward and noticed three shadows on top of a nearby building.  Turning her focus back on her friends she let out a soft sigh and shook her head.  Claudia stopped next to the girls and took a quick look at her watch Roy would be finished with the training session very soon.

"So what are you three doing here?" Claudia asked them still keeping her eyes on the airfield.

"We're waiting for some friends.  We told them we'd meet them when classes were over." Minako told her.

"Yeah but I know what Michiru is waiting for." Rei said.

"Oh and what would that be?" Claudia inquired.

"My love Haruka." Michiru replied looking from the airfield to the roof and back again.

"Haruka that's a nice name.  If you don't mind me asking what's so interesting about the roof over there?" Claudia said to Michiru.

"Oh nothing important, but somebody is going to be grounded again tonight." Michiru answered.

Claudia wondered what was meant by that comment but quickly put it out of her mind when she saw Roy headed in her direction with a big smile upon his face.

"Well, well, well if it isn't the woman of my dreams," Roy said.

"Cut it out Fokker." Claudia said through a laugh.

"And who are these three lovely ladies?" Roy inquired.

"Roy I'd like you to meet Corporal Hino, Aino, and Kaiou better known as Rei, Minako, and Michiru.  Girls this Lt. Commander Roy Fokker my boyfriend." Claudia said.

"Michiru." A voice called out.

"Haruka!" Michiru said pulling her lover into a tender embrace.

"Ah another 'flyboy' falls in love." Roy commented as he gave Claudia a peck on the cheek.

"Lieutenant Grant I'd like you to meet Haruka the love of my life.  Haruka this is Lieutenant Grant." Michiru said introducing them to each other.

Haruka grasped Claudia's hand and gave it a good firm shake.  Claudia was quite amazed when she felt a strong female hand.  She was certain from the first impression she received that Haruka was a man and not a woman.

A few minutes later Usagi, Mamoru, and Makoto came walking out of the airbase.  Usagi and Mamoru were obviously making kissy faces at each other while Makoto was mumbling something to herself about the cockpit not being real.  Rei and the others smiled when they saw the three friends come their way.

"So Roy how'd it go today?" Claudia asked.

"I have to admit this group of rag tag fighter pilot wannabes actually did pretty good today." Roy answered still a bit shocked at what he witnessed earlier that day.

"Really?" Claudia inquired.

"Believe it or not lieutenant the lieutenant commander speaks the truth.  We were all quite surprised by what we saw today." Haruka said.

"What happened?" Michiru wanted to know.

"Corporal Tsukino did better than any other student in the entire class and Corporal Kino actually flew the simulator despite her obvious fears about planes." Roy told them.

"Usagi and Makoto?" the three bridge trainees said in unison.

"Yep they sure did.  That's my Meatball Head." Mamoru said quite proud of his girl and her fiend.

The small group assembled in front of the airfield decided to grab a bite to eat.  Along the way Michiru told Haruka what she saw on the roof.  Haruka got an angry look on her face and uttered the same words Michiru said earlier.  Minako and Usagi then vowed there would be fur flying that evening.

********

The months seemed to fly by quickly.  Ami was deeply engrossed in her medical training and loved every minute of it.  Rei, Minako, and Michiru continued on with their classes.  Usagi continued to amaze Roy and the captain and was doing quite well with her flight training.  Mamoru and Haruka also impressed Roy and the captain with their performance during flight training.  Makoto went from someone who was deathly afraid of airplanes to someone who didn't mind being in one.  Both Roy and Captain Belmont took it upon themselves to see that everyone in the group received their wings.  Roy had volunteered to be Makoto's flight instructor personally seeing to it that she got over her fear.

Roy and Claudia's relationship moved to the next level.  They went from casual dating to an exclusive relationship despite Roy's roving eyes.  To all his friends Roy was considered a window shopper; he would glance and stare but never commit to buy.  Roy's past was considered to be one of the most interesting ones on the base.  During his younger days Roy spent time barnstorming the countryside traveling from one county fair to another with a flying circus specializing in experimental aircraft.  It was there that Roy fell in love with flying and earned a reputation for winning races.  In the air show Roy had made a lot of friends.

Claudia had met Roy during the UN war when they were both in training.  They were young and impressionable and had gone out a few times.  When Roy was called to active duty their relationship was put on hold.  It wasn't until Claudia was given the opportunity to work on the bridge of the SDF1 that she saw Roy again.  Once the two lovebirds were reunited they began to spend all their free time together.

********

To graduate from flight school and receive their wings Usagi and her class had a series of tests they had to pass.  The first of these was solo flight time in the Veritech fighter.  Everyone had to spend a minimum of forty hours flying by themselves.  They also had to spend time using the fighter in the Guardian and Batteloid modes.  Once they met their solo flight requirement the trainees then began learning how to land on an aircraft carrier.  When they had six successful landings the trainees would then be ready for their final test.

The final test any naval pilot who wanted to work on an aircraft carrier would be to do twenty successful landings in two days.  Pilots were usually given three chances to complete this test.  If they were unable to complete the test in the allotted number of chances they would not receive their wings and the navy would no longer require their services.  Roy and Captain Belmont were not about to let that happen.

The site of the final test would be the aircraft carrier Prometheus.  The Prometheus along with its sister ship the Dadelous were commissioned to the Macross Naval Facility which was part of the RDF base on Macross island.  The Prometheus would travel ten miles off shore and the pilots would leave the airbase and land on the deck of the ship.  They would then have to take off and land on the ship a total of ten times each day.  If they made one mistake then the test would be over and they would have to wait for their next chance to land the ship.

Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka had a perfect weekend in which to complete their test.  The two days Captain Belmont had chosen for the test were some of the best the island weather had to offer.  The sky was blue with not a cloud present and the air was warm without being too stifling.  The sea was calm and gentle with very few waves.  This was the ideal time to perform the final test in order to receive pilot's wings and commissioning into the RDF.  And just as Captain Belmont and Lieutenant Commander Fokker had vowed at the beginning of training everyone passed and would receive their wings.

********

It had been two years since Usagi and the Sailors joined the RDF.  Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka had passed their training and were about to receive their wings.  Ami was going to enter into her third year of medical training.  Here she would be able to work hands on with actual patients.  Rei, Minako, and Michiru had completed their training as well and received their commissioning papers assigning them to the bridge of the SDF1.

Lisa Hayes, Claudia Grant, and Roy Fokker were given new duties as well.  Lisa, who came from a military family, was promoted to first officer of the SDF1.  Claudia was named tactical officer for the SDF1.  And Roy was named commander of the Skull Squadron.  Roy and Claudia's relationship continued to blossom and grow.  One month before the graduation ceremonies were to take place Roy asked Claudia to marry him.  Claudia didn't waste any time telling the pilot yes.  The next time they were back on Earth the pair would plan to get married.

Graduation day at the Macross Base was a big deal.  This was the first class of recruits to pass the rigorous RDF flight training.  The young crew of rag tag pilots assembled at the airbase would be the backbone of the RDF.  They were given the task of using the advanced robotechnology the military scientists had created.  No one was prouder of the class than Captain Belmont.

The sky over Macross City was perfect that day as the entire base came to witness the commissioning of a new batch of Veritech pilots.  There was not a single cloud in the sky and the sun shone bright.  The air had a slight breeze to it coming off the bay.  Captain Belmont stood at the podium and began to address the assembled crowd.

"Ladies and gentleman it gives me great pleasure and pride to stand here before you as I pass out wings to all the fine graduates here today.  They have taken and passed the great challenge of becoming Veritech pilots.  It will be their job to protect our world from any alien threat that may come our way.  And if conflict and trouble should ever arise here on Earth it will be their job to help end that conflict.  So without further ado I shall begin calling the names of our newest Veritech pilots to come and receive their wings.  I'd appreciate it if you would hold your applause until the last name has been called."

One by one the captain called the names of the latest batch of fighter pilots and one by one the graduates made their way to the stage.  When the ceremony was over with Usagi, Mamoru, Makoto, and Haruka found out that they were going to be in the same squad together.  All four of them were assigned to become members of the Skull Squadron under Roy's leadership.  The members of the Sailor Team had passed their first great test but their greatest test and their greatest adventure was about to begin.