I always thought this should have been what happen after Rick and Lisa's failed picnic date…

Remember I don't own Robotech/Macross or any of the characters mentioned. The following fan fiction was written for enjoyment purposes only.

1700 Hours - Christmas Eve

"Don't say anything else to him, Lisa. Just hug him and tell him that you missed him," Claudia said as she opened the cab's door and ushered Lisa in. "And don't worry about not being at the Setup, I'll make your excuses to Max and Miriya."

In a stern voice Claudia added, "... promise me, Lisa, you will follow my instructions to the letter!"

Lisa laughed with amusement and joy. "Okay, mom, I promise!"

Claudia shut the cab's door and rolled her eyes but she hadn't heard Lisa laughed in a long time like that and upon hearing it she smiled with relief. She waved and watched as the cab turned the corner and disappeared from view.

Roy, if you're up there watching... don't let anything spoil tonight for them. I need some peace and quiet down here, flyboy! You owe me and I'm here to collect, you hear me, Roy?

She felt something cold touched her nose. Reaching up to touch her nose she realized what it was- a snowflake! Looking up into the evening sky Claudia could see snow falling.


She felt tears of happiness in her eyes and she quickly blinked them away.

Thank you, my love.

1735 Hours - Rick's Quarters

With Khyron on the loose and causing mayhem when ever and where ever he wanted, Rick and his team hadn't had a day off in two weeks until now- tomorrow to be precise.

Yea! I can sleep in as late as I want... I can relax and do nothing if I want to... maybe, I'll even go to Lisa's place and cook her some dinner.

He smiled absently to himself as waited for the water to boil so he can make himself a cup of hot tea.


He can't believe that she was still mad at him after three weeks and still avoiding him like the plague. Since "that day", he'd called her every other day, leaving messages: asking her to coffee, dinner, the movie, another picnic, etc., but she had not returned any of his phone calls.

What did you expect, Hunter? What you did to her was low and inconsiderate. You are an idiot.

The ringing of his doorbell suddenly brought him out of his depressing thoughts. He wondered who it could be and quickly crossed his living room to the door to answer it.

"Lisa!" he exclaimed in unexpected welcome.

"Hello, Rick."

"Lisa, I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you…"

She didn't let him finish. She just threw herself at him and hugged him. Her action shocked and surprised the heck out of him but he was not going to complain.

"Does this mean I'm forgiven?" Rick asked after Lisa had let go of him. He found himself smiling at her and liking her spontaneity. He especially like feeling her body pressed up against him.

She smelled wonderful and so right in his arms.

Pulling away slightly from the hug, Lisa blushed and gave him a mischief smile. "On one condition, you give me a cup of hot tea or coffee, it's freezing out there then we'll sit down, and discuss what you can do to earn my forgiveness."

"That shouldn't be too hard," he said and ushered her into his kitchen.

2042 Hours - Outside Rick's Quarters

Where could he be? Rick... oh Rick, where are you? I have no one else now but you...

Snow was falling pretty heavy now as it was late. Rick didn't leave his front door's light on so Minmei sat in the dark and snuggled herself deeper into her thick black sweater. Shw was trying not to feel the cold as her mind drifted back to her and Kyle's last fight- the one that broke them up.

You don't understand Kyle, you will never understand… how can I sing when my heart and soul is no longer in the music anymore? I have no inspiration, no joy, no love… I'm alone. Always alone.

Suddenly she saw a cab pull up under a lamp post on the street and saw Rick getting out. She quickly stood up, smiled and was going to walk to the curb to meet him when she saw another person getting out- a woman. When the woman turned into the light, Minmei recognized her immediately- Lisa Hayes.


Minmei stood where she was and watched them without a sound. She saw Rick reached back into the cab and pull out a grocery bag then closed the door as the cab drove away. She watched as he grabbed Lisa's hand and together they turned to walk toward her. Her spirit sank and unconsciously she inched herself deeper into Rick's doorway so they wouldn't see her. She wished she could disappear, just disapear to anywhere else but here.

She heard Rick laughed at something Lisa said and she wanted to cry. They behaved like they had no care in the world at all and this made her angry, sad and very jealous. As she watched them walking closer and closer to her; she remembered what it was like to be carefree and full of hope. She remembered Rick telling her she was beautiful, funny and wonderful.

But mostly, she remembered what it was like to be around him and to know he cared- really cared not because she was a famous movie star but because she was Minmei, an unknown girl who just wanted to sing and become a bride someday.

Oh, Rick... if only I'd known…

Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the darkness and kept her gaze locked on Rick.

"Hello, Rick."

Lisa froze and stared at Minmei. Rick nearly tripped in surprised.

"Minmei! What… what are you doing here?" he stammered.

She began to cry then and wished Rick would just scoop her up, hold her like he used to in the past and tell her everything was going to be okay. But he didn't. He was still holding Lisa's hand while his other hand was holding onto the bag of grocery.

"I'm sorry for not calling before I came, Rick but… but… I just needed to see you. Everything is wrong in my life and I have no one who I could turn to but you. Please Rick, don't send me away." Her lips trembled and her eyes begged him to understand.

Say no! Rick, say no... Lisa silently screamed to Rick.

"Minmei… I don't know," he could feel Lisa's hand squeezing his tightly in objection. He looked away from Minmei's pleading eyes to Lisa's and he saw pain as well as distrust there.

"Lisa and I were going to cook and have dinner together. You're welcome to join us, Minmei," Rick said. He could feel Lisa freezing up on him and he held onto her hand tightly so she wouldn't bolt.

"Lisa…" he pleaded "it's Christmas eve. She's my friend. I can't really turn her away."

Looking at Minmei again Lisa felt anger but the anger was tempered by compassion; for Minmei did really look lost, tired and like she was on her last dime. She didn't look anything like a glamorous movie star or a femme fatal at all but a person in need of some human kindness.

"Alright…" she reluctantly agreed and Rick gave her a 'thank you' smile. Together they all walked into Rick's quarters.

2235 Hours - Rick's Quarters

They drew lots: Lisa got to cook the pasta, Minmei got the salad and setting up the table while Rick drew the lot that got him to do clean up duty.

As she slowly stirs the pasta sauce Lisa could hear Minmei and Rick in the living room talking. Well, more like Minmei complaining and Rick trying to cheer her up. Lisa knew she should not be eavesdropping on their little "pow wow" session but she couldn't help herself.

"I can't take it anymore, Rick. I'm sick and tired of being fussed over and command to perform when I don't want to. I don't want to sing anymore."

"Minmei, you love singing. I remembered you telling me all the time that music was your life."

"If that's all I got then I don't want it! Do you hear me? I don't want it! I'm tired of being alone... and having no one around who understands me. But you do, don't you, Rick?"

"Is this because of your fight with Kyle at Monument City, that day when you met me?"

"No! That's not it and I don't want to talk about Kyle. I don't care if I don't ever see him again. You don't know him Rick, he… he drinks and when he's drunk, he's mean and cruel. He thinks love is controlling somebody and making them do what he wants them to do. He has no respect for me."

Lisa didn't hear Rick's reply to Minmei's revelation about her relationship with her cousin now ex-manager and ex-boyfriend. After what seemed like a long time, Lisa heard Minmei again.

"Rick, do you still think of me? Is it too late for… for us?"

Lisa's body tensed and her heart stopped beating as she waited for Rick's answer. She knew her life hung in the balance of what he was going to say in the next few minutes.

"I think of you all the time but I don't know, Minmei, four years is a long time, and a lot has happened since..."

Minmei didn't let Rick finish. She couldn't, she knew she couldn't bare it if he'd said he was in love with Lisa now. She was not ready to let him go. She couldn't let him go. She was not going to loose him!

"Life is funny," she cut in quickly, "just when you think you have everything, you realized that you don't have anything at all- anything that matters anyway. I had so many dreams once, Rick."

"You still do, Minmei. You're just feeling sorry for yourself at the moment but you'll see, things will look up tomorrow and you'll realize that you still love singing. You can't quit…"

"No! I'm talking about my dreams for you and me, Rick. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if I'd never entered the Miss Macross pageant? I do, Rick. I think about it all the time now and you don't know how much I regret not listening to you."

Lisa knew she had to stop them. The situation was getting out of hand. She would not stand idly by and watch Minmei warm herself into Rick's life using guilt, tears, what ifs and yester year's memories.

"Dinner's ready," she said and controlled her facial expression to show no emotions when she saw Rick's officer's wool jacket on Minmei. But she did make a mental note to herself to send it to the cleaners as soon as she could.

They ate in silence; each in their own thoughts except for a few nods here and there, and asking each other to pass this or that. It was the worse dinner Lisa had ever had. The tension between the three of them at the table was weird, awkward and uncomfortable to say the least. Lisa wondered how she had managed to swallowed her food let alone finished her plate.

Afterward Rick went about the business of cleaning up while Minmei and she tried to relax as they slipped coffee and sat across from each other in Rick's living room. They said nothing to each other but they stared at each other as if each was looking at the other for weaknesses.

Lisa tried to think of what Claudia would say or do in a situation like this but for the life of her, she could not. Now Lisa wished she had told Rick earlier when they talked that she loved him- that she always have and always will.

Once again, Claudia was right and Lisa called herself a hundred stupid names for not following Claudia's instruction to the letter.

Taking his time, Rick washed and rinsed each plate, spoon and fork twice before setting it down on his dish rack. He wondered what Lisa and Minmei were doing but more importantly, he wondered what he was going to do about them.

When he had reluctantly invited Minmei to stay for dinner, he'd thought that everything would be solved for they would all talk and realized that they were all being silly. But he knew now that in giving into Minmei, he had made everything between him and Lisa, him and Minmei, him and the both of them worse than before.

He knew one of them had to leave but whom?

He hadn't lied when he told Minmei that he still thought of her for he still did, every day in fact. But he thought of Lisa often too.

It was true, Minmei and he had changed. They were no longer the people they used to be when they first met. But who among them, including the Zentraedi hadn't changed since that day four years ago?

Damned! As much as I want Minmei here I don't want her either. I don't want to keep hurting Lisa. She had just forgiven me and I don't want to go through another three weeks just seeing her only through the tac net screen.

In the process of taking off his work apron a solution to the present dilemma came to him and he grabbed it with both hands.

No one will be hurt in this way…

And he smiled for he felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders.

0100 Hours - Rick's Quarters

"Lisa, you know where my extra blankets and pillows are. It's late and I know you have to work early tomorrow so I'll leave you and Minmei here to get some sleep," Rick said as he walked to the hallway closet and took out his coat.

"Where are you going?" she asked as she turned off the television and got up from his couch. She gave him a strange look and he noticed that Minmei also looked at him too but didn't make a comment.

He walked over to her. "I'll crash at your quarters I have your key, remember, or I could always go to Max and Miriya's since they're just four units down."

Lisa knew what he was doing and it saddens as well as angered her. She had hoped he would ask Minmei to leave but it's obvious now that he still preferred Minmei to her.

An odd calm settled over her and she knew what she must do. She was going to take a gamble. A gamble that could change the course of her life forever; swallowing against the painful ache in her throat she said, "Rick, I'll leave."

Taking another breath, she willed her voice to come out even. "This is your place. I'll go back to my quarters. It's just a few blocks away."

Rick looked into her anguished face. Her skin was ashen, her beautiful green eyes utterly bleak. She was hurting, he realized, hurting because of him, again.

"Lisa…" he said but she stopped him.

"Listen to me." She was shaking now but she forced each of the words out. "It's right that I leave. I am after all, the outsider here. You have your wish, Rick… Minmei's here just like you've always yearned for."

Lisa gave him a bright smile then but tears were sliding down her cheeks and he saw them. An uneasy feeling crept over him. His stomach muscles tightened.

Softly she whispered, "Merry Christmas, Rick, I love you." And she was gone.

Rick stared at the spot she had just been and felt empty. He hadn't felt this deep, bottomless emptiness since the day he'd heard the news that his big brother, Roy had died.

What am I doing!

"Lisa! Wait!" He started after her but someone was holding onto him tightly from behind.


"No, Rick! Let her go. She doesn't need you but I do! I need you, Rick."

How did she get so close to him without him noticing it?

This shocked him because he had totally forgotten about her.

"Minmei let me go!" he said in frustration all the while trying to pry her arms loose from his waist.

"I can't! I will not loose you."

"Let go, Minmei! I can't let Lisa leave like that. She'll think that I don't care about her, that I don't love her, that once again, I'm choosing you over her," Rick yelled and shook free of Minmei's hold.

He made a mad dashed out the door without looking back but he could hear Minmei's cry after him.

I'm sorry Minmei…

Rick ran but had to slow down because he was unable to see more than two feet ahead of him due to the snow and dark night. He hoped Lisa was okay but he worried nevertheless for she had left his place without her coat.

He couldn't believe it but he was in love with Lisa.

Until that heart-stopping moment when he realized she was saying good-bye to him for good did he understand how deeply he cared; he was hopelessly in love with her! But equally important, he trusted her. In Lisa, he found a woman he admired and respected, one who could love him back the same way.

He had to get to her and tell her!


0125 Hours - A Block from Lisa' Quarters

Each step away from Rick's place brought more tears to her eyes, blinding her to the snow and what little light there was. But she didn't feel anything, not the cold, the snowflakes in her hair, her shortness of breath or the hot tears running down her face.

She just knew that her heart was in shred and her throat ached with a burning sensation that made swallowing painful but pride and determination kept her running from where she wanted to be most in the world.

"The end of the world… no, no, the end of my world," she sobbed and found herself leaning on a lamp post- lost, devastated and completely out of hope.

God it hurt… it hurt so bad.

"Hey, lady, are you alright?" asked an elderly gentleman standing close to her. "Do you need some help?"

His presence startled her and she snapped at him in rage. She told him to get lost and to get away from her. He became offended at her rudeness and told her he hoped she froze to death.

Lisa suddenly laughed out loud for she had this image of herself turning into icicles leaning onto the lamp post until they became one big block of ice, and tech workers would have to use machine cutlery to separate her from the lamp post; so she could be defrosted before given a proper burial.

She could see her humiliating death being printed in every newspaper across the globe - RDF CAPTAIN HAYES MISTAKEN LAMP POST FOR COMMANDER HUNTER AND FROZED TO DEATH DO THEY PART - and being the talk of every cadet, service men and women in the RDF.

She could even hear the Trio talking about her now at her would be funeral - 'Poor, poor Lisa, we knew she was blindingly in love with Rick but we didn't know she was that blind to have mistaken a lamp post for him…

Shaking her head of these stupid fantasies she took another deep breath and was about to leave when she felt Rick's hand on her shoulder. Her heart clutched and she wondered if she was dreaming.

"Thank God I caught up to you. Geese, Lisa, I knew you were in shape but did you have to splint away like an Olympian athlete after a gold metal?"

She felt him turn her to him and then she saw him took off his coat and wrapped it around her. She wanted to say his name but she was afraid to, afraid that if she did, he would disappear.

Then she felt his warmed hand touching her face, sweeping her hair out of her eyes and she could see his cobalt blue eyes staring at her with concern and… love.

There was no mistaking his warmth and touch. He was real! Her leaden heart took wing.

"Rick?" she whispered and she started to shake then, uncontrollably.

"Come, let's get to your place quickly before we both catch our death," he said and held her closed to him as they made their way to her quarters.

02000 Hours - Lisa's Quarters

In her long white terry cotton bath rob Lisa quietly sat on her ugly mustard colored couch and sipped her cup of hot herbal tea.

Rick hadn't said anything to her since they arrived at her place for he was too busy drawing a hot bath for her. She in turn had been too cold, and too emotionally tired to say anything to him either. Now that her teeth were no longer chattering from the cold, and the shock of him being here with her had worn off she knew they must talk.

Laying down her tea she looked up at him when he came to stand in front of her.


"Are you in love with me, Lisa?" he asked without any preamble.

"Desperately, Rick," she answered, her voice thick with emotions as he pulled her up to him. He was so close that she could feel the heat of his body, breathe in his scent.

Without another word, he just pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly for a long time. Then she felt herself being lifted up and spun around. They were both laughing when Rick finally set her back down on her feet and kissed her.

A gentle, passion-filled kiss that she'll remembered for the rest of her life for this kiss was given freely.

02000 Hours - Rick's Quarters

At the same time, Minmei was standing by the window, her arms around herself staring out at the snowfall- hoping against all hope that she'll see Rick walking back to her any minute now.

He'll come back... Rick would never abandon me like this. He cares, I know he does...

Finally giving up, she walked around and picked up his remote. She turned on the television and turned up the volume. She didn't care what was on she just wanted to block out the quietness of the place. She didn't want to be alone. She hated being alone.

Why does everything have to go wrong in my life? All I ever wanted was to be happy…

Picking up Rick's wool jacket, she put it on again and walked into his bedroom. There she saw an opened gift box on his bed. In the box was a nice flannel shirt, feeling the material between her fingers she could feel its softness.

Absent mindedly, she rubbed the shirt against her cheek when she saw the note and saw who had given Rick the shirt- Lisa! Quickly she let the shirt fall from her hand to the floor and gave it a good stomped. She was going to leave Rick's bedroom when she saw his photo album sitting on his night stand.

Bring it over with her, she sat down on his bed and began paging through the album.

She smiled with hope when she saw that every page she turned to was full of her pictures. Half way through she saw one with her and Rick, they were standing together, her arm around his and in the background there was a fountain. He was in his uniform while she was in a pretty pink dress.

Now she remembered when this picture was taken!

In the picture they had looked young, innocent and happy- together.

Rick… oh, Rick why didn't we take more pictures like this? Has it really been four years?

Turning the next page, she saw four pictures of Lisa and quickly skimmed it. Turning, again more pictures of Lisa! In all Minmei counted seven pages that held Lisa's pictures and they range from different periods of her life.

She's not even pretty! What does Rick see in her?

But what caught her attention the most were pictures of Rick, Lisa and their friends from the service at different functions and outings. In these pictures, Rick and Lisa always seemed to be sitting or standing next to each other and smiling. There were even two pictures of a cute baby girl with big blue eyes and dyed green hair. In one of them, Lisa was holding the baby and smiling into the camera with adoration and sernerity. Minmei wondered who the baby was.

Closing the album with a loud sighed she made her way back into Rick's kitchen. Opening his cupboard to get a glass she saw a mug that said -'Happy Birthday, Rick! Love Lisa' - Minmei shut the cupboard with a bang and her eyes welled with tears again.

She's everywhere in his life!

Lying on Rick's couch Minmei cried herself to sleep and dreamed that Rick came back to her.

0830 Hours - Christmas Morning - SDF-2's Command Center

"What's her problem?" Vanessa whispered to Kim as they watched Lisa at her command chair staring at a panel on the wall.

Lisa had a serene look about her that they had never seen before. She even had a glow about her that was frightening to them for it was so uncharacteristic of Lisa Hayes to look so spaced out and down right- happy!

"I think she's a clone," Kim whispered and chuckled.

"She doesn't have a problem," Sammie defended her Captain and gave Lisa another look before saying, "she's in love."

"And how would you know that, Sammie?" Vanessa asked sharply and the dreamy look on Sammie's face quickly disappeared into an angry one.

"Lisa, Lisa… Captain Hayes!"

"What? Um… yes, Vanessa?" Lisa cleared her throat and her thoughts of Rick.

When her alarm had gone off this morning and then hearing Rick telling her to wake up, she'd thought she was dreaming. It wasn't until she felt his hand brushing her hair out of her face that everything came back to her: her dinner from hell with him and Minmei, her desperate flight from his place; Rick coming after her, and telling her he loved her and their long talks into the early morning until they both feel asleep on her bed with him holding her.

"I said; are you bringing Rick to the Christmas party?" Vanessa asked again.

"What party?"

"I can't believe you haven't heard about it, Lisa?" Kim said in shocked.

"I wasn't…"

Lisa was interrupted by the bridge PA and a female voice said: "Zentraedi forces attacking the industrial section! This is ground security. I repeat, Zentraedi forces attack…" and she was cut off.

Lisa quickly told Sammie to contact Rick, and Vanessa to bring up the surveillance cameras located throughout the industrial sector onto the main screen.

"I want to have to have a visual view of the attack. I want to see what Khyron is looking for in that sector. Kim, I want a link to the ground security ASAP!"

"Right on it, Captain," Kim said and moved to the communication's station.

"Captain," Sammie said as she turned to look at Lisa. "Doesn't Commander Hunter have the day off?"

"Yes, but I want him on this. Call at my place Sammie," Lisa said without pausing or realizing what she had just said; for at that moment, Admiral Gloval and Exedore had come into the command center.

Sammie was monumentally shocked by Lisa's replied but quickly snapped out of it and proceed to carry out her order.

I knew it, Lisa's all googy-eyed this morning because she got lucky last night!

She can't wait to tell Vanessa and Kim. She could just see the look of speechlessness and envy on their faces when they hear her news.

"They appeared to be looking for something, Admiral," Lisa said as they stared at the screen.

By the time Rick got to the hanger and found a spare uniform in his locker; Max and Miriya were already airborne and fighting a savage battle, trying to get through to Khyron who had just found the storage matrix.

Once airborne in Skull One, Rick received the updated info from Max and took over.

"Khyron can not leave with that Protoculture! You're with me, Max. We're going after him. Miriya take the rest of the team and clear out of his escorts."

Just then they saw it. Something big, and moving very slow over the city.

"What is that?" Max asked.

Then they heard Khyron's voice, loud and crazed; wishing them all a Merry Christmas and a bright, bright, happy holiday. Rick didn't know what to make of Khyron's cryptic message at all until a loud, deafening noise erupted and New Macross became engulfed in flames.

"Bombs! He planted bombs throughout the city…" Max yelled.

"Maximilian! Dana?" He heard his wife's worried voice over the com on his personal line.

"She's fine, Miriya, it's the city that has taken the blunt of the blow," he assured her. "Don't worry, Dana's in good hand."

"All teams abandon your pursuit! Return to the city, we need to put those flames out. Everyone, shoot your fire-retardant bombs at will," Rick said over the tac net and was already speeding back to New Macross.

Dammed you, Khyron!

It was nightfall when Lisa and Rick saw each other again.

Skull Team was the last to land and she watched Rick with pride as he taxied his plane into the hanger. Getting out of the cockpit, he saw her walking toward him. She had a smile on her face to greet him but he could see the tiredness in her jeweled eyes.

"How bad is it?" he asked.

"Hundreds… and they're the lucky ones. They're at the hospitals now getting medical attention. The dead haven't been counted yet," she answered sadly. "We won't know the total until tomorrow."

"Let's go home," he said and they turned, walked side by side to the military jeep she had borrowed to get her to the hanger bays.

"Lisa, look! Is that a sight for sore eyes or what?" Rick said and pointed to the SDF-2.

Lisa looked up and saw that the SDF-2 was lit with thousands of Christmas lights in red, green, blue and yellow. She shone like a beacon in the night for the whole world to see. Staring at the inspiring sight, Lisa smiled and was glad she gave into her crew's whim when they had approached her weeks ago about the idea.

"Rick, what about Minmei?" She asked after a long time of them just staring at the SDF-2.

Reaching over to touch her face, his hand slid down to the back of her neck and slowly pulled her toward him.

"What about Minmei?" he asked and kissed her lightly on the lips.

After a few moments of silence Lisa said. "If you're going to stay at my place, you'll need some items from your quarters."

"Is that an invitation, Captain Hayes?"

"Yes, Commander Hunter. It is."

1800 Hours - Rick's Quarters

"Rick! Thank God you are alright. I was so scared," Minmei said as she rushed to the door to meet him and threw herself on him- hugging him to her tightly.

"What happened? The news said it was a Zentraedi attack and many people were killed or hurt but it's over now, isn't it? I tried to get to the White Dragon earlier to see if my aunt and uncle were okay but I couldn't get through the road block. And I tried the com but nothing was..."

"The attack is over, Minmei," Rick said quickly and excavated himself from her hold. "I'm sure your aunt and uncle are fine. Lisa and I passed the restaurant on our way here and everything was intact."

Minmei looked behind Rick and saw Lisa closing Rick's door as she came to stand next to him. She scowled at Lisa and turned teary eyes onto Rick.

"What is the meaning of this? I thought you came for me. I don't understand, Rick?"

"Minmei, I want you to stay here as long as you like… until you decide what you want to do next. In the meantime, I'll stay with Lisa."

The breath Lisa hadn't realized she was holding slowly seeped from her lungs. For a moment there she'd thought Rick had changed his mind about being with her.

"I see," Minmei said after a long silence and looked around Rick's living quarter. "I dreamed that you came back to me last night, Rick. I waited for you. I'm still wating..."

"Minmei, I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you but…"

"You're in love with Lisa," she interjected. "I knew that, Rick."

"You did?" Rick asked in confusion and Lisa stared at her with suspicion.

"Well, yes, it's obvious," she smiled now and Rick remembered why he was so crazy about her. She had the cutest smile that even after all this time, it still tugged at his heart.

"You and I would never suit, Rick. I'm a movie star while you're a pilot. You were right, music is my life. I can't quit. To quit now would've been like... I've given up on life, hope and, and the future."

Rick breathed in a sigh of relief.

"Rick, will you call a cab for me? I want to go and see my aunt and uncle in person, to make sure that they're alright, especially Jason."

"Are you sure, Minmei?"

"Yes," she gave him a merry laugh and he left to do as she'd asked.

"What's that all about, Minmei?" Lisa asked warily, not quiet believing that Minmei had given up so easily.

"I… I just realized that I'm not ready to settle down yet," Minmei said and her voice did ring with sincerity. "I still have a lot of dreams that I want to accomplish first, Lisa."

"Oh, really?" Lisa inquired but gave her a sympathetic smile nevertheless for she understood what Minmei was doing. Minmei knew she had lost and was trying to leave with as much dignity as she could.

"I'll take good care of him for you, Minmei," Lisa said softly. "Thank you."

They stared at each other once again, each measuring the other for deceit but found only each other- two women, desperately in love with one man. Slowly they shook hands, not as friends or enemies but allies.

"I've always admired you. You're so strong and brave. Be good to him, Lisa," Minmei said as she let go of Lisa's handshake.

Rick came back then and told Minmei that the cab would be arriving in twenty minutes or so. She thanked him and went to open the closet door. She took out her thick black sweater from a hanger and put it on.

"I'm going to wait outside for the cab," she explained to them.

"You don't have to do that, Minmei."

"Don't worry about me, Rick," she said. "Promise me one thing thought, don't forget me, okay? Both of you, don't forget me."

"We won't," he said and meant it as he reached for Lisa's hand.

She nodded to the both of them and turned, then let herself out. Closing the door behind her, she sighed and felt tears in her eyes.

Good-bye, Rick. Good-bye.

She quickly wiped the tears from her face and slowly walked away from Rick's place, her heart heavy with grief and regrets.

1405 Hours - Two Weeks After Khyron's Christmas Morning Attack

"Rick, Rick Hunter! Pull out your one and only suit. We're going out celebrating tonight," Lisa said into the phone as one of her finger twirled a strand of her hair around itself over and over again.

Hanging up, she smiled to herself and did a twirl, not once but twice around. She hadn't felt this happy in a long time.

Can life be any better? Rick loves me; I was just promoted last week to Captain and now, now I have a command of my own!

"Well, somebody's happy!" a voice said from behind and Lisa suddenly stopped. Then she smiled and ran to Claudia and hugged her tightly.

"Thank you, Claudia. Thank you! Thank you! If you hadn't sent me to see Rick on Christmas Eve none of this would have happened. I am so happy and I don't care if the whole world knows it."

Claudia gave a hearty laugh and they hugged each other again. Then Lisa told her the good news and Claudia squeak like a school girl.

"Wait, does that mean you're going back to deep space?"

"Yes but it's worth it, Claudia. Think of the possibilities… a diplomatic mission- a mission of peace."

"I'll miss you Lisa," Claudia said.

"What do you mean, you'll miss me? You're coming with me and Rick. I'm going to need you to keep me on my toe and the girls in line."

Claudia smiled sadly at Lisa and shook her head.

"No, my destiny is here. I think I've done all the traveling there is in this life time. But yours, it's out there somewhere, among the stars. Go get it, Lisa, and make me proud!"

1127 Hours - Lake Gloval - The Next Day

A woman stood alone on the shore of Lake Gloval. A light wind picked up her long honey-brown hair and plastered it all over her face yet she remained motionless. The white-starched uniform she had thrown hastily on earlier that day was dirty and even torn in a couple of places yet she seemed unfazed by it.

Captain Lisa Hayes watched the rescue crew and divers work feverishly without really seeing them, hearing them or any other noises but the beating of her heart. She hoped against all hope that her friends had made it. That somehow they'd found another way to escape.

I can not be the only survivor from the bridge! Life can't end this way, it's not fair...

Khyron had surprised them!

Gloval and Exedore were wrong about him. They underestimated his twisted logic and madness. He just didn't want to leave Earth; he'd wanted to destroy the SDF-1 and the RDF before leaving. She knew if they'd known they wouldn't have let him take the Protoculture matrix on that Christmas morning.

How could life be so good one moment and hell the next?

Rick and she had the morning off. They had slept in because they had been partying the night before, celebrating her promotion- Captain of the SDF-2!

She had wanted to surprise him by taking him out and then telling him but he had surprised her instead. When she had gotten home around 1700 hours, Rick had dinner waiting for her already and after dinner; he had taken her to Setup where all her friends and colleagues were waiting to help her celebrate.

They had danced and drank the night away until the manager at Setup threw them out- literally.

She and Rick had just gotten up and hadn't even had coffee yet when Khyron's attack came. They had threw on their uniforms in haste and then rushed to their stations without even giving each other a good morning kiss.

An hour later, she had lost the SDF-2 and not thirty minutes after that, Khyron had rammed his damaged battlecruiser into the SDF-1. And now… now she was alone.

Why? She raged at her friends- her family. Why did you guys choose me? Each of you has just as much to live for as I did.

"Lisa! Lisa!"

Hearing Rick's voice, she turned and saw him running towards her. She could see the worried look in his blue eyes as well as the shock of seeing her alive. She met him half way and threw herself into his welcoming arms.

He held her to him and felt a welling of exultation. The moment seemed unreal, as do all the events of the past two hours but there is a sense of breathless panic in him too because she might not be real; because she could be just a figure of his imagination.

"They're gone, Rick," she wept then; for she had not wept or spoken a word since she found herself being rescued from the escape pod, and set on shore while the rescue workers went back to their duties.

She was accustomed to death, she is after all a solider and an officer in the RDF; more importantly, an Admiral's daughter all her life but one is never truly prepared for the death of those closest to them.

"They're gone, all of them… the Admiral, Claudia, Sammie, Kim and Vanessa. Why, Rick? Why did they push me into the only undamaged escape pod? I belonged with them…"

"No, you don't, Lisa. Don't ever say that! You're alive and you belong here, with me," he said sharply as he hugged her tightly to him again.

"I thought I'd lost you. I never knew how special you are to me until that very moment when I realized no amount of firepower from me, Max or Miriya will stop that cruiser from ramming into the SDF-1. I'm in love with you, Captain Hayes, do you hear me, Lisa?" he asked softly as he kissed her temple. "I love you."

She looked up at him then. Saying nothing but he could see that the glazed look of shock had left her eyes. She looked at him now with awareness and understanding.

"I thought- I thought I was never going to see you again, too, Rick. I regretted so much- all the times I wasted because I was afraid..."

"Captain Hayes! Captain, you must come with me," said an out-of-breath Lieutenant Johnson said when he reached them.

"We need you, Captain. We've set up a temporary headquarters but there is no one to take command. We have officers arguing with each other and chaos everywhere, ma'am. It's like... like the end of the world."

"Lieutenant, I… I can't leave. Not yet, not until I see their bodies…" She stopped and turned back to the rescue crews.

"Captain Hunter," the lieutenant turned to Rick, pleading for understanding in his eyes. "General Maistroff and Caruthers will have my bars if Captain Hayes does not come with me, now! They're not kidding. I've seen them done it before, Sir."

Rick nodded to the lieutenant and told him to go and wait at the jeep for them.

"Lisa, listen to me, the Admiral and Claudia pushed you into that escape pod for a reason and that reason is not for you to stand around here like a lame duck," framing her face in his hands he continued.

"Remember the Admiral's mission for you, Lisa. Peace, he wanted you to secure peace for Earth. He knew you could do it, he believed in you. They all believed in you. Don't let their sacrifices be in vain… Rise up, Lisa, like the phoenix they knew you to be!"

Shaking her head in confusion, Lisa asked, "how Rick? Both of the SDFs are destroyed. There's no way we can complete that mission now. It's hopeless... everything's hopeless now."

Smiling, Rick brushed the hair from her face and stared into her beautiful green eyes. "We'll build the SDF-3, Lisa, and together, we'll go to the stars. We're not alone; we have friends, comrades and allies who are loyal and supportive. I promise you, we'll go to the stars."

"Yes!" Lisa cried and met his gaze. He could see fire, purpose and determination in her eyes now and knew everything would be okay. Lisa would make it so. She had the guts and the determination to make it happen and he'll be with her- every step of the way.

"Yes Rick, together, we'll build the SDF-3 and we'll go to the stars… the stars and beyond!"

… To be my love,

My love must be much more than any other man.

To be my love...

To share my dreams,

My hero, he must take me where no other can,

Where we will find a brand new world.

A world of things we've never seen before.

Where silver suns have golden moons,

Each year has thirteen Junes.

That's what must be for me...

To be in love


Song by Reba West, Character Singer: Lynn Minmei