Disclaimer

Macross is owned by or licensed to lots of people - Tatsunoko Studios, Harmony Gold, Studio Nue, Streamline Video...note that none of them are me.

The same can be said of Ranma 1/2 - Rumiko Takahashi, Kitty, Shonen Sunday Comics, Viz Video. Not me.

I didn't create any of them, and I certainly do not own them. Any use of them in this story is meant as nothing more than tribute. Please don't sue me.


Wednesday's Child

Thirty-Six: Criminal Friends and Foes

June 6th, 2012

Like most Zentraedi warships, the Queadol-Magdomilla class employed a gravitic drive system that was considerably more advanced than any drive used in Terran ships. In space, this gave the Zentraedi a hefty acceleration advantage over the Human fleet, which were equipped with nuclear pulse drives. Even the fusion thermal drives used by the Valkyries were unable to match the raw power of the Zentraedi ships.

However, in atmosphere, they couldn't even break Mach One. And thus, even Max's jet could outrun it handily.

Work crews gaped as the VF-X-2 Icarus dropped onto the tarmac, sliding out and coming to a halt. The canopy popped, and a figure jumped out. He ran over to the nearest electronics technician.

"Gimme a line to headquarters!"

The man stared at him blankly, then noticed the two pips on his flight suit's single rank bar. "Yes, Commander! Uh, right over here..."

Ranma punched buttons, and fidgeted, looking up at the sky.

"Gunsight Two."

"Claudia, it's Ranma. Put Misa on the horn."

There was a slight pause. "All right, Commander. Hold for Gunsight One."

Ranma scowled, and tapped his foot.

"Gunsight One."

"Colonel, Commander Saotome reporting." He fell back on the military comm procedure, in the hopes it would make Misa react more quickly. "There is a Zentraedi ship, Queadol-Magdomilla class, heading in this general direction."

"What happened to your mission, Commander? The last we heard, most of Skull had been shot down—"

"All of Skull was shot down, an' me too," said Ranma.

"What—"

"We were up against Max, an' he's the best pilot we ever turned out. Listen, that ain't important now. We shut them down pretty good, but someone else is crashin' the party."

"A Zentraedi warship, you said?"

"Yeah. I couldn't make out its markings, but it's headed this way."

"If you were shot down, how are you making this call from Kakizaki field? Even you couldn't run all the way there in less than an hour."

He drew his breath in; this wasn't going to be pleasant. "Max gave me a lift back."

"What?"

"Look, I told him he'd have safe passage outta here if he could bring me back. Ya gotta honour that."

"Ranma, he's a criminal!"

"I know that, but it was the only way I could get the warnin' out. You want I shoulda let that Zentraedi ship catch you by surprise?"

"No, I suppose you couldn't do that." She sounded rather abashed. "Okay, he's got his safe passage. And you're without a ride again."

"It's not my fault," he protested.

"Please convey formal request to Mr. Jenius for the reactivation of his commission, in exchange for his assisting us with this threat. I have to go call up some reinforcements. Pray they get here in time."

"Roger."

"Gunsight One, clear."


Fourth Cavalry had taken a savage beating at the hands of Kamjin's Renegades not even a week ago. However, they sallied gamely to engage the newcomers.

Only twelve Destroids were available out of their usual strength of eighteen, and most of those still had battle damage. But the tech crews worked to ready them, as best they could. Rockets were loaded into launch tubes, ammunition bins filled and primed, and reactor mass topped up for maximum combat endurance. In addition, the three pilots who had survived the destruction of their Destroids in the prior firefight were boarded on one of the reserve Tomahawks, bringing it into the fray. In total, thirteen Destroids of various sorts stood out to meet the enemy.

Of the Valkyrie forces, only Charlie Flight of the Jolly Rogers still had warbirds available. However, the Top Hatters were being called up, and despite the two-hour flight time—on overthrusters all the way—it was hoped that they would have time to refuel before entering battle. If not, they could still fight, though the lack of reaction mass would limit their acceleration.

Ranma watched the frantic preparations, foot tapping impatiently. He finally turned and switched on the viewscreen again. He still couldn't get video to the command post, but—

"Commander Saotome for Gunsight One."

"Gunsight Two here, Commander. Gunsight One is kind of busy."

"I need a ride, Claudia," he said. "Can you release the Lightning?"

"Commander, I'd love to, but unfortunately, the Lightning is still partially torn down." Claudia sounded apologetic. "I don't think we can get it back together in time to make a difference."

"Okay, then. What about spare Valkyries? Or even a Destroid. Fourth still has a spare Tomahawk—"

"And no gunner for it. Milia's not available."

"Where is she?"

"I'm afraid that's classified, Commander."

Ranma sighed. "Then ya got only one choice. You've gotta release the Queaddlun-Rau."

"I'm afraid that that isn't possible either, Ranma."

Ranma's scowl deepened. "I can't just sit here and—"

"I'm sorry, Ranma, but sometimes, that is in fact all we can do." And her tone was truly apologetic. "If something becomes available, you're the first we'll call, but I can't just yank someone out of his jet just because you happen to be a better pilot."

He sighed. "I understand."

"Keep your wrist comm switched on."

"Roger that, Gunsight Two. Saotome, clear."

He hung up the handset, and his scowl returned. Thirty minutes, forty tops, before that battlewagon gets here. And they're leavin' me on the bench.

He blinked, then glanced over to the tarmac, where the VF-X-2 still sat. And grinned.


"Contact!" sang out Shammy. "Bearing is one three five, range two hundred and fifty miles. Altitude five thousand feet. Designate this contact Uniform One."

"That's almost certainly our bandit," mused Claudia.

Misa crossed over to the sensor officer's console. "Do you have any more information on it yet?"

"Sorry, Ma'am." Shammy shook her head. "They're at the extreme edge of our radar range at this point."

"Bearing is right, though," said Misa. She glanced quickly up at the status board, made note of the current Valkyrie assignments. "Kim. Vector Charlie Two to intercept, and warn them that they are not to fire unless fired upon. Rules of Engagement level two."

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Then launch Charlie One to replace them on close BARCAP."

"Contact," said Shammy again. "Bearing is zero nine zero. Eighteen small craft."

"That's got to be the Top Hatters," said Misa.

"Charlie Two confirms ROE level two, and is moving to intercept," said Kim. "Also, Max is moving to intercept."

Misa frowned. "I didn't order him to—"

"I know, Ma'am," said Kim. "He said he could get a lot closer than a Valkyrie, and that he's going to try to ID the ship itself."

"Sounds risky," said Misa. "Well, he's the best pilot we've got."

"Misa!" Claudia looked up in surprise from her console. "I've got Corporal Sanders on the line. She said that Ranma went with Max."

"What? I told him to—" She cut herself off, and tapped her headset, patching it back into the communications net. "Kim, give me Saotome's wrist comm."


Ranma scowled as his wrist comm chirped at him. He was pretty sure he knew who it was, and he was not looking forward to this. He flipped it open.

"Saotome."

"Hayase."

He nodded to himself.

"I received a report indicating that you have left the airbase with Commander Jenius," continued Misa. "I ordered you to stay on the base."

"Technically," he said, "you ordered me to keep my wrist comm on. Which I've done."

"If you want to split hairs like that, at least get your facts straight. It was Lieutenant LaSalle who gave you that order."

"I stand corrected."

"Ranma, what the hell do you expect to accomplish?"

"You need data on that bad guy," said Ranma. "I ain't got no ride, but I still got the best chance of findin' out who that is, an' I think I might be able to stop 'em."

"Without a ship, how can you expect to—what is that noise? Why am I hearing so much wind?"

Ranma grimaced. He really wasn't looking forward to her reaction to this.

"I ain't ridin' in Max's cockpit. There ain't room. I'm ridin' in his fist."

"His fist? Please tell me you're joking."

"'Fraid not." He paused as Max shifted to GERWALK, still a thousand meters above the ship. "And by the way, the ship is definitely the bogey we saw. Max is gonna get some pictures of its insignia, and you can identify it by that."

"And what will you be doing?"

"My best to stop it. Saotome, clear." He clicked the wrist comm over to Max's frequency. "Yo, Max. Found us a target yet?"

"I have," confirmed Max. "Any chance of me talking you out of this insane stunt?"

"That thing is heading straight towards Macross City. I gotta take it down."

"Very well. Your target is the top service elevator. I've locked in the targeting computer."

"Okay. Make me a door."

"Do bear in mind that once I open it for you, there will be some flak."

"I'll just have to manage."

The Icarus' left hand was clutching its gun pod, and Max pointed it down and pulled the trigger. His first burst tore the hatch covering the elevator open.

Max applied more power, as the cannons on the top of the Zentraedi ship started activating. He pulled ahead of the ship, about half a kilometer, still one full kilometer above it.

Then the right fist opened.

Ranma tucked his arms in close to his side as he fell. Already, balls of energy were rising towards the Icarus from the cannons on the Zentraedi warship. Max veered off, towards the port side, as Ranma fell through the flak, his tote bag fluttering on its shoulder strap behind him.

There was almost nothing that he could do to avoid enemy fire. In free fall, he had very little control over his trajectory. What little he could manage would not be enough to snatch himself away from any incoming fire. Hopefully, Max would keep their attention long enough for him to reach the ship.

Luckily, a thousand meter fall took him only thirty-six seconds.

He threw out his arms, reducing his speed as best he could, and shifted his body to change course slightly. And fell straight through the hole.

Luckily, the service elevator was not near the top. Two ladders, and the four rails upon which the elevator rode, but not the platform itself. He grabbed one of the ladders loosely, his grip on it breaking as soon as he had it, and grimaced at the shock as he smacked into the bulkhead. Then grabbed the next rung, releasing it as well, and dropping more speed. Then the third, and by now he had lost enough speed to bring himself completely to a stop.

He paused to catch his breath, then clicked his wrist comm back on. "Ranma to Max. I'm in, an' I'm stopped."

"Looks like I owe you two hundred creds."

"Did you get the pictures?" Ranma fought to get the tote bag back into proper position; it had become tangled in the service ladder after he'd stopped.

"Yes, I did, and I do not need to transmit them to Colonel Hayase for identification. We know this ship all too well." The Vigilante leader paused. "It's Kamjin."

"Why am I not surprised?" Ranma started making his way down the elevator shaft. "Guy just keeps turnin' up."

"You sure you're all right?"

"I am gonna feel it in the mornin', but I'll live."


"We've lost the link to Ranma's wrist comm," said Claudia. "I can only assume that he's found his way into the Zentraedi ship."

Misa was grinding her teeth, but she managed to keep her voice level. "For all the good it might do him. I hope he's successful, but I can't say I feel good about his chances."

"Intruder vessel will pass two kilometers west of Macross City," reported Shammy. "She will enter cannon range in ten minutes."


Max pulled on the pole, yanking the Icarus out of the path of the Zentraedi anti-aircraft cannons. Then cursed as a spread of missiles spat from a launcher and angled towards his bird. He pulled back harder, glancing through the 'floor' of the cockpit and using his monocle to track and engage the incoming missiles with his turret laser.

Like the older Valkyrie, the Icarus sported two head lasers, and in fighter mode, they were on the underside of the ship and able to engage anything below the fighter. Unlike the Valkyrie, they lacked the Block Two upgrades that gave them auto-track/auto-engage features, and he was forced to manually aim at each missile before destroying them.

The flak and the missiles he could handle. But what worried him was that they still weren't launching combat robots to deal with him. Either they didn't have the forces to launch, or they were saving them for when they reached Macross City. The first would be a plus, but given how thin on the ground the defenders at Macross were, he hoped it wasn't the second.


Ranma closed the inspection hatch behind him and paused, listening carefully.

So far, he was certain that the Zentraedi had not yet realized that he was aboard, but taking chances was a good way to get dead. He unzipped the tote bag, and extracted a uniform and a canteen.

He unscrewed the canteen and dumped it over his head, activating the change. Then she discarded the canteen and quickly struggled out of her Spacy uniform. Between her change in size and her now damp status, this was difficult, especially in the cramped confines of a Zentraedi power systems junction. Luckily, a dead power systems junction, or I could become a crispy critter, she mused. She used the Spacy uniform to towel herself off as dry as she could, then pulled off her boxers as well.

The biggest problem that she'd found so far with the female Zentraedi flight suit was its form-fitting nature. The first time she'd tried wearing one, she'd stubbornly insisted on wearing the boxers underneath it, and had discovered that the cloth bunched up under it in a very...uncomfortable manner. Unfortunately, the tight-fitted garment had to be form-fitting, to allow it to interface properly with the Queaddlun-Rau's control systems. And given the irritating nature of the material, designed specifically to be uncomfortable, going without undergarments, and exposing the most sensitive bits of her anatomy to the cloth, was absolutely out of the question.

Without the Zentraedi's body-sock undergarment, she'd been forced to adopt a most unpalatable solution.

She pulled a sports bra and pair of panties from the tote.


Now they were launching combat robots.

Max cursed, and started firing with the gun pod. Luckily, the ship didn't carry an awful lot of robots to begin, and it quickly became obvious that it was not carrying a full load. However, there were still over three hundred of them emerging. Some were angling to engage him, while others were dropping towards the city.

"Sterling to Gunsight One. You've got about two hundred and fifty incoming bandits from the ship."

"Roger that, Sterling. Get clear if you can. Any word from Saotome?"

"Not as yet, Ma'am." He pulled on the stick, putting another fifty-round burst into a Battle Pod. The gun clicked on empty, and he discarded it and drew his second cannon. "I'm running low on ammo. Can you get a GA-33 gun pod prepped for me?"

"I'll pass the word to Global Field. Now get clear."

"Roger that."


"Everybody out, now!"

The engine room had a very small watch, compared to a Human ship, but given the non-technical orientation of most Zentraedi, this was unsurprising. Unfortunately, Ranma's knowledge of the Zentraedi language was limited at best.

She'd just used up half of it.

One of the Zentraedi turned towards him in surprise. His eyes looked down, and he straighened at the sight of a female Zentraedi officer, wearing the uniform and insignia of an Assault Leader. As well as a fistful of chicken guts that Lap'Lamiz had insisted she wear.

"My Lady—" What followed after that was incomprehensible to Ranma, being well outside her command of the language.

"Out, now!" Ranma scowled. "Do it!"

The man snapped to attention, and saluted. He turned to the rest of the Zentraedi and barked an order. Aside from the word for 'out', Ranma recognized none of it.

But the soldiers obeyed. They turned and marched, double-time, out of the compartment.

The Zentraedi officer watched as they left, then turned back to Ranma and asked a question. At least, Ranma assumed, from the soldier's tone, that it was a question.

"Sorry, buddy. I've used up my entire stock of your language."

"A Miclone?" The Zentraedi switched to Basic. "How did you get in here?"

"Through the window," quipped Ranma. "Your boss is on a suicide mission. I'm here to stop him, as peacefully as possible. I figure, if I shut down his reactors, he can't fight. I'm givin' you a chance to help."

"Betray my commanding officer?" The Zentraedi snorted. "You are obviously not fit to wear that uniform."

"Wrong," stated Ranma. She took a step forward. "I am Saotome Ranma, Commander, United Nations Space Administration. I am also Assault Leader of the Fourth Quadrano Battalion, under Commander Lap'Lamiz. And I have defeated Assault Leader Milia Fallyna. And I will stop this ship, with or without your help." She paused. "Do you honestly think you can stop me?"

"Truthfully, no," said the man. He stepped back, and said, "I've wondered about Kamjin's sanity for a while now. Ever since Lap'Lamiz was slain." He pointed towards an array of controls. "Those are for the powerplant. Don't ask me how they work."

"What of your honour?" asked Ranma. "You sneered at me for suggesting that you betray Kamjin."

"That is why I go now to tell him that you are disabling his ship," said the Zentraedi. "It will take me five hundred pulses to reach the bridge. I suggest that you hurry."


"Kamjin's ship is now within range of the rail cannons."

"Thank you, Shammy." Misa turned. "Vanessa, do you have a firing solution?"

"Yes, Ma'am. Locked in for all six guns."

"Prepare to fire."

"Yes, Ma'am." Vanessa tapped keys, then turned to Kim. "Send to all rail cannon crews: stand to for fire mission."

"Aye aye."

"Gunsight Two, computers are now in auto-acquisition mode. Tracking on all cannons."

"Cannon crews report shells loaded. All guns ready to fire."

"All targeting solutions confirmed by tell-me-three-times. Standing by for time-on-target attack." Claudia glanced over at Misa. "Ready to fire."

"Fire!"

Three of the massive rail guns roared. The shells were inert steel, bridging a gap across two thick metal rails, forming a primitive homopolar electric motor. Primitive in concept, not in effect; the shells were five kilograms, and left the muzzles of the cannon at nine times the speed of sound, leaving a trail of plasma behind them.

A split second later, two more cannon roared, then a sixth and final gun. All guns had had their firing times adjusted so that all six rounds arrived at precisely the same time.

Of course, they were inert projectiles, but after considering drag, each one arrived with over four hundred and seventy kilojoules of force. Not much compared to explosives, but all of it was directed into the target's hull.

All six bounced off harmlessly.

"Rail gun fire ineffective at this range," said Shammy.

"Stand by Skylord batteries," said Misa. "Clear the fire zone of all our combat robots, then launch twelve Skylords. Kim, order all rail cannon crews to reload and recharge."


Ranma stared at the controls in front of her.

Despite her bravado, there were two very important barriers between her and the planned engine shutdown. The first was the fact that she could not read Zentraedi. She could barely speak it. She could hit buttons and pull levers at random, which would likely do the engine no good whatsoever, but until the ship lost power, she'd never know if she'd done any good. And such random button-pushing could cause something to go terribly awry, with horrible results for her.

The second problem was the size of the controls. She might be able to hit a button by jumping on it. However, she could never pull one of the massive levers. She was strong, but the angles were all bad.

But she was also running out of time.

She bit her lip, then ran towards the generators themselves. At least, she hoped that they were the generators. They were large, and humming with power, but that was all she could tell.

Still, the ship probably needed them to operate.

She examined the devices, then leaped up on top of one. It took her a few seconds to find what she was looking for.

A heat sink.

Anything this large and with this amount of power running through it had to produce waste heat. And said heat had to be vented somehow. She didn't know where this heat went, but she could feel it.

She stepped back, and focused a mouko takabisha at the duct. The blast tore it open, and superheated steam blasted outwards. Ranma grinned tightly, and began generating cold ki.


"Ma'am, all railguns report ready to fire."

"Thank you, Kim. Shammy. Range to target?"

"Fifteen kilometers."

"Alert me when it breaks ten."

"Yes, Ma—" Shammy broke off. "Ma'am, the enemy ship is..." She bit her lip, and punched a button. The main screen shifted, showing a radar position-over-time plot.

Misa stared at the plot. For lack of any better word, the ship seemed to be...staggering.

"What's going on?"

"Not sure," said Shammy.

"The ship's movement is consistent with gravity drive failure," reported Vanessa. "It's losing speed."

"Did we damage it?"

"Negative," reported Shammy. "No structural damage visible at any impact point from gunfire. And none of the Skylords got within detonation range."

"Well, something sure as hell went wrong," mused Misa. "Time to ten-kilometer mark?"

"A lot lower now, Ma'am," said Shammy. "She's altered course, and is coming straight for us."


Ranma staggered upright, and shook her head.

The hiryuu shouten ha had wrecked all the coolant towers along this range of equipment, and the machines were obviously taking it poorly. The noise level had increased, and a warning klaxon was going off. She staggered to her feet, and ran for the door.

Something triggered an emergency circuit somewhere, and the door ahead of her began sliding shut. She put all of her power into a leap, clearing the door before it slammed down.

She rolled, recovered her feet, and glanced around. The ship was still on a level course, though she could feel lots of extra vibrations through the deck. She hadn't done enough to stop it.

Well, I got one more shot open to me.

She turned and ran towards the nose of the ship.


Unfortunately, the door to the bridge was sealed, and Ranma was far too short to reach the controls. Fortunately, there were air ducts.

She kicked the duct grate open, and stepped out onto the bridge. There were three Zentraedi present.

One was Kamjin. He turned at the noise, and sneered.

"The Miclone Zentraedi warrior, who speaks in the Miclone tongue. Could it be that you are yourself a resident of this pathetic planet?"

"I am," said Ranma. "And I've come to stop you."

"Stop me?" Kamjin's smirk widened. "You stupid little bitch. All I want to do is leave this miserable mudball."

"...Leave?"

"Of course!" He turned and gestured towards the screen. "You Miclones are welcome to it. The Zentraedi have a glorious future ahead of them, made even more glorious by the removal of that idiot Bodolze from our path."

Ranma gaped at him. "You mean we could have just ignored you, let you fly by, and—"

"Savour the irony, Miclone. This was just the most convenient flight corridor."

"I don't buy it," said Ranma. "You're travellin' diagonal across the planet's direction of spin, and you're also off course from the ecliptic."

"If this were not a gravity-propelled ship, that might matter."

"No," said Ranma. "Nobody wastes power like that. What are you really up to?"

"No faith in me, Miclone?" Kamjin shook his head. "How unfortunate."

One of the other Zentraedi spoke up. "We're in range, Sir."

"Excellent," said Kamjin.

Shock froze her for an instant, as she realized what had happened. Kamjin had stalled her, long enough to set up his own attack. Her eyes flicked to the screen, which showed the ship's target.

"Fire."

Ranma leaped towards the officer, but all he had to do was press a button.

A tongue of blue flame leapt from the nose of the ship and smashed into the Macross City military headquarters.


"Misa!"

Misa shook her head groggily. "What happened?"

"We took a hit to Headquarters." Vanessa was hovering over her, one hand on her head—no, one hand holding a dressing to her head. "Floors fifteen and above are gone, and floors ten and above are badly damaged."

"What about the weapons?"

"Most of them are damaged, but even those that are on-line are strictly in local control. We lost the fire control computer."

"Then we're screwed," said Misa. She sat up painfully, and Vanessa stepped back from her. "We can't launch nukes against it while it's this close to the city, and the rail cannons are bouncing off its hull. We're out of options. Where's Claudia?"

"Injured, Ma'am, and still unconscious."

"This place is going to come down around our ears." She struggled to stand.

"Misa, you've got a head wound! You can't—"

"I can't let the Zentraedi destroy this city," growled Misa. "There's still one weapon system available."

"But without the central computer—"

"One big weapon system," said Misa. "Local control or not, it can stop that ship cold. The reaction cannon on the Macross."


"You bastard!"

Kamjin smirked. "So much for the city's combat capabilities. And my troops are already wreaking havoc in the city below."

Ranma focused her ki again, firing a mouko takabisha at Kamjin, but her confidence was wavering, and the attack was weak; Kamjin brushed it off, then lashed out with a foot towards her. She jumped over the foot, and ran towards the console.

If I can disable the computers, maybe—

"Ignore her," said Kamjin. "Whatever Miclone sorcery she has been using, it is obviously exhausted. Target the Inspection Army vessel, and prepare to fire."

The Macross. They're going to destroy the Macross.


The bridge doors hissed open, and Misa stepped out onto the command deck for the first time in nearly two years.

It was dark. The massive viewport in the front of the Bridge was polarized, and what light did make it through was insufficient to pierce the gloom to the back of the compartment.

But it was enough to illuminate the figure sitting in the center seat.

"About time you ladies got here." Global struck a match, touched it to the bowl of his pipe. "Action stations, please."


Vibrations shook the streets of Macross City, as once again, Macross rose in its defense.

The ship had never been expected to fly again. Its gravity drive was redlined, but it lifted the ship clear of Hayase Lake, water cascading down its sides. The twin booms of the main gun rotated downwards, pointing towards the Zentraedi warship, parasitic energy crackling between them.

"Main gun capacitor reads full charge."

"Harmonics increasing in gravity drive; I can't keep it up for more than thirty more seconds."

"Supercooling in the main gun is failing rapidly, Captain. I can't keep the fields at full attenuation."

"Hold it together for ten more seconds," growled Global.

"I have a firing solution," yelled Claudia. "Locked in and harmonized."

"Main boom alignment in three more seconds."

"Gravity generator six is about to fail, Captain."

"Alignment match!"

Global leaped to his feet. "Fire!"

A wave of gravitic force leaped out from the gun, towards the Zentraedi ship. But it was at that very moment that a gravity generator failed. The resulting lift imbalance caused the ship to list to starboard. Secondary gravitic waves tore at the Queadol-Magdomilla, and it shed alloy plates like a cherry tree shedding petals in a high wind.

But the heart of the beam itself missed.

The gun's alignment field failed; gravitic force fed back into the weapon, shredding the booms. Feedback waves blew out three more gravity generators, and Macross slipped back towards the lake, maimed and disarmed.

And still, Kamjin's ship flew towards it.


Ranma's eyes slowly opened. She found herself face to face with the Zentraedi warlord.

His face was a mass of blood, bits of some glasslike material embedded in his skin. But his eyes opened, and he still had it in him to smirk.

"I wanted to crush you, Miclone. Your kind killed Lap'Lamiz, took the only good thing I had in my life away from me."

"I killed Lap'Lamiz," she hissed. "An' I still got it in me to take you out too."

"Do you?" Kamjin pushed himself to a seated position. "Then come on, Miclone. Do your worst."

Ranma jumped to her feet, adrenaline covering the fact that she was a mass of bruises, and leaped towards him. She felt the battle rage singing in her, and almost grinned as Kamjin reached out to catch her.

She twisted aside at the last moment, her feet touching the back of his hand, then leaped up to his face level.

She'd never used this technique, never even read the scroll upon which it was recorded. She'd sworn she'd never use it. To nobody but herself, but that was enough. But this...thing...had likely killed Misa. Probably Claudia, too, and possibly even Milia. And that was enough to give her the rage, and the focus, to recall it perfectly.

"Demon God Twin Strike!"

Her arms, infused in ki, snapped down, and two blades of vacuum slashed towards Kamjin...one into each eye.

He fell backwards, screaming, and she touched down next to him. Her hand came up again, preparing another vacuum blade. One sufficient to cut his throat.

One swing of her hand, and he would be dead.

Just one swing.

Why can't I do it?

Kamjin's screams had stopped. His hand covered his eyes, but she still felt as though he were staring at her.

"Go on, Miclone. Finish me off."

She lowered her hand, and shook her head. "No. I ain't killin' you today."

"It's a moot point, Miclone. We will die today anyway."

"What—"

"I've locked us into a collision course with your beloved Macross." Even having his eyes torn out wasn't enough to reduce his smirk. "Two hundred more pulses, more or less, before we crash."

Her eyes widened. "Change course. Now!"

"How would I do that? You have taken my eyes."

She was saved from further comment by the downed Zentraedi warleader by the sudden roar of jets. She turned, to see a GERWALK clambering in through the shattered viewport.

"Yo, Saotome." Max's voice boomed out through the external speakers. "Need a lift?"

She turned, and ran towards the Icarus' open hand. "Great timin', Max. Grab that sorry piece of shit and let's go."

"Grab him? Leave him here to die!"

"No, Max. He's gotta go back with us."

"For a fair trial? Justice? That sort of thing?"

"No," said Ranma. "Because he's like a bad goddamn penny. I want him out of circulation once and for all."


The Icarus broke free of the ship's slipsteam, and angled away from the doomed vessel. From its left fist dangled the disabled Zentraedi; in its right, Ranma watched the ship heading inexorably towards the crippled Macross.

Life pods roared away from the Macross, each one capable of carrying one person to safety. All came from the bridge deck. She tried to count them, but there was too much happening, too many things to confuse her.

Then the two ships met. The mass of the Queadol-Magdomilla was more than sufficient to crush Macross beneath it, toppling it into Hayase Lake.


Author's Note: Sorry for the extreme delay in bringing this chapter out. Real life can be a major pain.