Robotech Freedom Fighters
by Naia Zifu

Chapter Eight: The Mystery Rider

I was abruptly awakened just after noon by the sound of
explosions outside. The Invid were attacking and all our best mecha
were down. The Cyclones were the only relatively undamaged mecha we
had, hidden in the grove outside of Blue River. There was little
chance of reaching them with all those lobsters out there, but we
couldn't just sit around doing nothing!
A lone Cyclone rider leapt into the fray, but it wasn't one of
ours. We didn't even have a red Cyclone! The mysterious rider fired
off miniature rockets at two of the Invid, then reconfigured and took a
flying leap at another, planting its right foot right through the
lobster's sensor eye.
"I don't know about anybody else, but I'm gonna try to make it
to my bike while this guy's got 'em distracted," Larry called.
"Wait, Lar!" cried Raymond. "You'll only get yourself killed
that way!"
"Damned fool," Henry muttered. "Well, _somebody's_ gotta go
out after him!" Then he did, narrowly avoiding the swipe of one
lobster's claw as it dove.
Large, double-edged blades emerged from disc-shaped mountings
on the red Cyclone's forearms. It leapt at the nearest Invid,
puncturing its armour as it moved to dodge. That strange green liquid
spurted from the wound like blood from a human's jugular. Apparently
it was Invid blood after all.
Sneaking in from behind, a Pincer caught the Cyclone with a
claw and threw it hard against the side of a building. The dazed rider
struggled to stand as the Invid came around for another attack.
Mini-missiles split the lobster before it got a chance, shock
waves and debris from the explosion knocking over the red Cyclone just
as it managed to stand. Our green Cyclones laid down cover fire for
the red until it could stand again. As Henry's missiles found two more
lobsters, Larry's pulse rifle wounded another.
The red Cyclone, back on its feet, took out a Shock Trooper
that was blasting defenceless humans as they ran screaming in the
streets, Larry shot off four missiles at another, holing it as it
tried to take to the sky.
The last dyad of Invid were dealt with by Henry and the
mystery rider, with Henry using the last of his missiles on a fast-
moving scout that had been avoiding all his pulse rifle shots.
Henry and Larry knelt to reconfigure again, stepping out of
their mecha and manipulating it into motorcycle form, and removing the
mirrored helmets of their riding armour.
The red Cyclone rider reconfigured as well, but the rider
didn't remove the helmet, instead simply getting onto the bike,
intending to ride away without explanation. But Larry rode his own
Cyclone directly in front of the red, nearly causing a collision.
"Uh-uh, buddy, you're not gonna get away that easy," he called
to the mystery rider. "You're going nowhere until we get some answers.
Like, for starters, who you are and where you found that Cyclone!"
The rider switched off the ignition and dismounted, walking the
Cyclone to an out-of-business filling station nearby. We all followed
as if on a string, curious about the rider's bizarre actions. Where a
flat canopy sheltered the filling pumps, the rider stopped and set the
bike upright. Finally the helmet came off.
Raymond, ever cool and collected, was the first to find his
voice. "Hey, you're the one from the night-club! I remember you.
You're a good singer!"
"Thanks," Yusenya replied with a smile. "Jhiri tan T'sentrati
Yusenya Kuwai, rock star _and_ freedom fighter. (I'm multi-talented.)
Always a pleasure to meet a micronian with such great taste!"
"Where'd you get that Cyclone?" Larry asked. "I've never seen
anything like it!"
"The bike I found in a shipwreck a while back. The armour I
took off a dead woman I figured wouldn't need it anymore anyway. And
the CADS, well, I got those from a weapons trader a week or two ago-- I
won't tell you what I had to trade for _those_ mothers! Put them on
myself, though. Slows the bike down a little and uses up a lot of
energy, but I think it's worth it for all the _pain_ they inflict!"
Tracey wondered, "Are you headed for the Reflex Point like we
are, Yusenya?"
"The Reflex Point?" repeated Yusenya. "What, you guys got a
_death wish_ or something? Those puny Cyclones don't stand a chance
against that many Invid!"
"We have more mecha than that," Henry retorted. "It's just
that most of it was trounced by Invid the other day, and our mecha
mechanics haven't gotten a chance to work on them yet."
"What've you got?"
"Let's see. . .we got Tracey's red Alpha, three green Cyclones,
and a couple of Regults given to us by some T'sentrati friends
recently," he replied. "We aren't totally defenceless, you know!"
"Well, I'm not affiliated with any particular group of freedom
fighters at the moment," Yusenya said thoughtfully, probably more to
herself than any of us, "but freedom fighting does stave off the
Imperative, and I like the adventure. . . Oh, what the hell. Sure,
I'll go with you to the Reflex Point."
"Huh? I thought you said we had a _death wish_ for wanting to
go there," Larry reminded her.
"Kara-brek!" Yusenya cried, her blue eyes sparkling like
sapphires. "At least if I die, it'll be a warrior's death!"
Nyankomago whispered, "Do you think she's doing this just to
earn our trust, or does she seem sincere to you?"
"I'm still not sure," I answered, "but like you said, we've
got to at least give her a chance."
"I really should be going now," Yusenya said, putting on her
mirrored helmet and making sure every crack was sealed tightly before
she re-mounted her Cyclone and started it up on conventional power.
"But I'll see you again tonight at the club, okay?"
She rode away without waiting for a reply.
"Now there goes one _weird_ little alien," Larry said with a
low whistle.
"Yeah," Tracey agreed. "Isn't she cool?"

Again seated backwards on a chair at our table, but actually
having been invited this time, Yusenya said, "I didn't know if you
would come. I know we didn't get off to a good start yesterday,
but--"
"You've more than made up for it with your actions today,
Yusenya," my wife insisted. "Thank you for your help this afternoon."
"Yeah, I'm fine as long as my armour isn't breached," she said.
"You know, I meant it about going with you to the Reflex Point. I
guess I'm still idealistic enough to think I can make a difference
against the Invid. Pretty naïve, eh?"
I laughed aloud, understanding that feeling all too well.
"But we do a lot of travelling during the day, Yusenya," my
wife said. "Are you going to wear full Cyclone armour constantly?"
"I hoped we could come to an agreement about that," Yusenya
said. "Do you know what it feels like not to be able to go out at all
during the day? And to know it's going to be that way for the rest of
your life, and you're _immortal?_"
"No, I don't," I admitted.
I'd been lucky enough to have a wife knowledgeable in the ways
of sorcery, who was willing to help me from the beginning.
"Well, it _isn't_ fun," Yusenya complained. "Of course, I
_had_ come to accept it until you two showed up with your magic charms
and everything, and started me thinking about it all over again.:
Nyankomago was sympathetic. "I really do want to help you,
Yusenya--"
"But?"
"No, no 'buts.' I _will_ help, but only because of what you're
doing for us. But of course we'll have to ask something in return."
"Of course. What did you have in mind?"
Nyankomago smiled craftily. "Your red Cyclone and riding
armour."
Yusenya seemed about to protest, but thought better of it. She
nodded silently, crestfallen.
"Good. As long as you remain loyal, you'll be allowed use of
them. But should you prove disloyal they will be destroyed-- with you
still _in_ them, if necessary."
"I understand," she agreed quietly. "You have my word as
T'sentrati I won't betray you."
"I _know_ you won't."
Yusenya glanced at the time, sighed, then stood up and
replaced the chair.
"I'd better get back to work now. Tuesday's my last night
here, but if you'd rather not wait around I can always catch up to you
later."
"That's okay," I replied. "It's only a couple of days. We'll
wait."
"Dessu," she said casually. "You know, I get off work at two,
so if you guys are hungry. . ."
I smiled. "We'd be glad to."



©1998/2001 Naia Zifu, all rights reserved. Originally published in the
Backstabber Preservation Society publication "Sten Yar" Volume 2, Issue
11, Apr/May 1998. Slightly altered for electronic use. Robotech
and all borrowed elements thereof are trademarks of Harmony Gold, used
without permission. I'm not trying to infringe on anyone's copyrights
or trademarks, or profit from anyone else's ideas.