Thanks for taking the time to read my first fan fic. I'm assuming you've finished, or else this section will be filled with SPOILERS and references to the preceding chapters.
Though it's categorized here as a Macross Frontier story, it's really just a Macross story, taking place in that world, but almost 50 years before the events of Frontier. It could perhaps more accurately be called a Superdimension Fortress: Macross story, though only due to the timeline.
There are a few clues and easter eggs scattered throughout the story that Macross fans may pick up on.
The first, and least relevant easter egg is the protagonist's name: Vanessa Frances Keyes. The Keyes is an homage to singer Alicia Keys, who provided some of the inspiration for the character, whereas the initials VF are fairly obvious. There are no Valkyries in the story, but I maintain that it isn't much of a Macross story without at least one VF.
The next is a major clue about what is about to happen. In the first chapter, in addition to the location: Detroit, I also make sure it is known that it is February, 2009. It's also a Thursday night. There were four Thursdays in February of 2009, and by the second Thursday, things on Earth were drastically different. A quick deduction places the date, then, at Thursday, February 5th, 2009. This means we're very close to the 2009/02/07 start date for Space War 1. Closer still, if we consider that South Ataria Island is likely at GMT+9, or 14 hours ahead of Detroit, in February. This is the biggest clue as to what is about to happen.
The other major clue, also in the first chapter is the following passage:
At his funeral, Vanessa sang Amazing Grace. There wasn't a dry eye in an eight block radius. It was, aptly, amazing. Amidst the condolences, those paying their respects all found the time to tell Van that she was going places. That her voice could bring a giant to its knees.
Upon finishing the story, it's clear that it's not just a figure of speech, but foreshadowing. Indeed, before I had even considered the full story, the characters, or the setting, I had wanted to do a story of an errant Zentran being trapped with a soul singer, somewhere, and the bond they form in spite of the cultural differences. It took me a while to figure out the exact setting, because I kept being stymied by the idea that my singer was in the South Ataria Island shelters, the culture shock discovery would have changed the outcome of the entire run of SDF:M. So I decided to set it elsewhere. Far away from the SDF-1 and any of the action of the show. I had considered setting it in Canada, and allowing the SDF-1's barrier overload to conveniently erase all record of the story, but instead I opted for Detroit.
Detroit provided a couple of interesting elements. First, it's long musical tradition. At first this was just a lucky coincidence, until I embraced it, and wove that history into the fabric of the story. Second, the post-industrial economy. In our real world 2011, Detroit is something of a fractured shell of its former glory. I didn't have to stretch too far into sci-fi to depict Detroit as... well, a fractured shell of its former glory. The idea that Detroit missed out on the last big manufacturing jobs of old Earth – the SDF-1 refit and the variable fighter and destroid contracts was intriguing to me. The last hope of this once booming city, washed away, leaving nothing but ghosts and dreams. Finally, a town so utterly marginalized could have any fate I could imagine befall it. And not only that, but Detroit had been burnt down in the past. More than once. And somehow had risen again each time, to become symbols of American strength: first with the auto industry, and then with music. It was perfect.
Some people have wondered what exactly DOES happen to Detroit in this story. The first two flashes Vanessa witnesses – the white flash and then the orange flash – happen pretty late at night, so, really Saturday morning. Which is Saturday afternoon on South Ataria (which several sources have placed sort of near Iwo Jima). That means the SDF-1 will be firing the Macross Cannon at some Zentraedi scout ships in Earth orbit. The white flash is the Macross Cannon, and the orange are the ships exploding. The imagery in SDF:M shows the Macross Cannon shot traveling quite a distance before tagging those ships. I imagined that somewhere of on the horizon, the two things exploded, and as their wreckage fell into the atmosphere, it created a meteor shower all over. The rain of fire is all wreckage. Unfortunately, at some point, a reactor explodes, just into our atmosphere enough to generate a large EMP blast that knocks out Detroit's decaying power grid and (despite my science being slightly suspect) kills all the electronics in the house.
So what's the deal with the invading Zentraedi? Well, my idea was that some Reguld units may have escaped, or even been outside of the ship during the initial strike. Lacking a command structure after the destruction of their carrier, they touched down where-ever they could. Some of them in Detroit. It's less an invasion, and more shipwrecked Zentraedi doing what they do best at this point in their culture: fighting. I included some very basic Zentraedi language. Anybody that's watched DYRL or Frontier or Mac7 will recognize the words, since they're some of the most common in the franchise. But, to translate, the first line is, "Miclone [human-sized being]... and... Meltran [female]?" The Zentran is surprised to have found female miclones on this planet, not knowing what to expect. He later sees Banner and Vanessa next to each other and exclaims, "Meltran and Zentran?" or simply "Woman and Man?" Which is an inversion of a line from DYRL, when an invading Zentran sees Kaifun and Minmay together. The idea, of course, of men and women together is confounding and highly disturbing to uncultured Zentraedi.
People might wonder, what does Vanessa Keyes sound like? What does her set in the second chapter sound like? Well, Vanessa is pretty original, but I can still give you something to compare her to. Vanessa looks and sings like a young Alicia Keys (her namesake), soulful and clear. I had considered giving her a huskier voice with a little more rasp in it, but I decided to go another route. Her band, though, posed something of a challenge. Was it going to sound more like The Dap Kings? Or something a little more Hip Hop and modern? In the end, I went for something else entirely. The song that she plays in the middle of chapter 2 is most influenced by Portishead's "Wandering Star" off of the Dummy album. The haunting, gritty, sounds of mid 90s trip hop captured for me this decaying cityscape of post unification wars Detroit. The subtle electronic tones helped to position the music as part of a sci-fi universe, but the gritty, popping analogue nature helped to make it feel authentic and raw, underground, undiscovered. Finally, just for a little cartoonishly sci-fi soul, I listened to Janelle Monae's "Cold War" a few times. Not that the song is particularly cartoonish, but Janelle is a character, kind of out there, and I liked that theatricality. Vanessa's final song is probably inspired on some level that.
Ultimately, it was a fun story to write. I wrote it without an editor, and I knew even at the time that I might be making some strange choices here and there. Well, that's what happens when you don't have an editor, and that's really all there is to it. I may go back and revise and refine this at some point, but for now I'm happy to have people read it, raw and unadulterated.
Thanks for checking out my story. Please feel free to message to me or comment on the story if you've got something on your mind. Until then, See you next deculture!