Disclaimer: Robotech: Southern Cross belongs to Tastunoko Stuidos, Harmony Gold Ltd. and its creators and producers as do all of the characters who appear here or are mentioned; they are not mine and are only 'borrowed' for the purposes of the story.

"Off Limits" by Karen

Dana Sterling almost did not recognize the place, almost but not quite. Granted the decor had not changed all that much since her twenty first birthday party, and that was all of what; a difference of about a year ago?

Really, she should not be that surprised, times might change, but the need for people to have an outlet for pent up emotions did not.

Dana briefly paused in the club's doorway to let the feel of the place wash over in all its techno-pop glory, along with the mingled aroma of both pleasant and some not so pleasant odors as they wafted through the half open doorway.

Dana frowned as her friends and squad members brushed past her in their eagerness. It was not so much a frown that expressed disapproval with their behavior, it was more a more personal irritation that they did not have the decency to wait for her to go first; leaving one notable exception, her aide, Bowie Grant.

Several hours later and several small shot glasses later Dana was feeling pretty wired, Bowie, who had only partaked at the good-natured urging of their troop sergeant, Angelo Dante, resulting in making Bowie violently sick to his stomach, and he now sat slumped down in his seat his face set in a petulant mask.

Dana felt a little bit sorry for having dragged the sensitive young man out to this particular night club but after everything they had been through, and the recent outbreak of hostilities with the alien invaders; they had all badly needed this whether some of them would admit it or not.

Elsewhere the roar of their engines blared through the night as the military police convoy wound its way in and out through the busy streets of Monument City.

Nova Satori and her squad members of the Global Military Police were hot on the chase of their target.

As far as Nova was concerned this was just a routine job, one much like any other, that it was the daughter of a famed combat pilots from the previous war did not matter. Dana Sterling had to be taught a lesson and Nova was going to be the one to do it.

Dana Sterling was getting way too cocky and brash and needed to be taken down a peg or two.

Nova turned a corner and called out a halt to men to bring them up short just shy of the off limits night club. She reached up and tugged at the mask of her armor with a free hand, and with the other she kept a tight grip on the wheel of her vehicle.

"Figures," she muttered under her breath. "Not only does she break curfew she chooses to do so in a night club with a reputation for being more than a little shady."

"Your orders, Ma'am," one of her troop asked.

"We do this by the book," replied Nova firmly.

"Do you think they'll resist arrest?" another added.

"I doubt it. Even Dana isn't that stupid." Nova smiled at the thought. "This isn't personal, really, it's not.'

Dana was just feeling comfortable and relaxed as she glanced around their table to take a head count when she realized with a start that one was missing; when she thought to go and look for him she saw Bowie up on stage with a famous singer in the midst of a set, doing a duet.

She smiled and rose to her feet with a grin plastered on her face, and then began cheering madly in time with the music. "At last, he's coming out of his shell. I know this was just want he needed to get his mind off the other 'stuff. Really, Dana, you'd think you could do better than that, but the word 'stuff' is just what comes to mind first, and it's so handy to encompass everything.'

The set was just about winding down when the loud crashing and the splintering of glass

came from the front of the building. Cursing, shouting and loud questioning from those on farther back, on the dance floor, and up on the balcony on the second floor broke the pleasant mood of the past several hours.

"Robotech GMP"!" shouted an authoritative voice amplified by the natural acoustics of the club. "Stay where you are!"

The result was a mass emigration of men and women for the nearest available exits.

Nova really did not care, she could afford to let the civilians go, although there was one

particular civilian that had been on the MVP's most-wanted list for a long time and every

time they felt they were at last about to capture the elusive Jordan Michaels, he kept disappearing like a ghost in the night.

Nova strode through the mess of broken glass, overturned wooden chairs and ignored both the resentful gazes of the squad members of the 15th Armored Squadron and the odor of stale beer. "Really now, Sterling, are that naive that you thought you get away with this latest stunt scott-free? I am here to inform, that you are and your entire squad are under arrest."

"Why?" We're not doing anything strictly 'illegal," replied Dana calmly.

Nova reached up and removed her helmet and then tucked it under one arm. "Oh No.

"My superiors and I could have overlooked that last little dust up you had with Lieutenant

Crystal's troops. Your aide frequenting an off-limits bar one night, and the next brawling

in the same restricted area..." Nova paused and held her free hand with the palm facing

toward Dana, two fingers extended. "Two strikes."

"So, I'm guessing you're not willing to let us slide on this one, huh?" Dana asked trying for a cocky reassuring grin that she shared with her squad-mates.

"Three strikes and you're out, is that it?" Angelo Dante came up to stand beside his big-boned muscular frame towering over both of the women.

"That's right, Sergeant Dante," Nova replied.

"I really hate to disappoint you, Lieutenant Satori, but your rats have scurried out the back while you were storming in the front door," Dante replied with a cocky grin, his arms folded across his broad chest.

Nova gritted her teeth, not liking it, but unable to indulge in a momentary satisfying but

useless retort. "As you say, Sergeant, but I do appreciate the courtesy.

"Yes, Ma'am," Angelo replied.

Nova turned back to face Dana once more. "Don't think you're escaping me that easily,

hot-shot."

"I realize that," Dana replied this time the smile that shared with the other woman was

slightly off-center and decidedly shakier. Nova turned to fellow police officers,. "This operation is a bust, let's get the hell outta here."

"I think, with all due respect Ma'am," Angelo said to Dana once Nova and her GMP's were gone, " that we should profit by example and also get the hell out of here. The others are probably half way back to our bunker and tucked into their beds by now."

"Yeah," Dana shouted pumping one fist into the air. "I don't mind telling you Angela, that for a moment there, and only for a moment mind you, that I was literally shaking in my booties."

"Nova caved," Angelo replied as he gave her a comradely smack on the back.

"Nah, I just realized that she has a heart." Dana grinned. "Just don't spread that rumor

around or we really will be in trouble."

"Mums, the word," Angela returned Dana's grin with one of his own.