Robotech/ The Sandman

1 Tears and Dreams of Black

The black depths of space have been likened to death by many throughout the history of mankind.

But space is cold, lifeless, and uncaring. Death is anything but.

High above the Earth the technological marvel that humanity called the Super Dimensional Fortress, or SDF-1 for short, hung in a slow orbit. The construct, more than a mile in length, twinkled in the void like a verdant star. This grand embodiment of technology with the natural beauty of the Earth below it made for a spectacular site. But the beauty of the scene was not to last.

For approaching the Earth and the SDF-1 was a fleet of spacecraft, more than a million strong, bearing down on the little blue world. Their objective was nothing less than the destruction of the Earth and every living thing on it. The culmination of the conflict between humanity and the alien warrior race know as the Zentraedi was at hand.

Atop one of the of the SDF-1's battle towers, in the airless void, sat the figure of a young woman. She looked to be in her late teens, was of average height, had jet-black hair that flowed to her shoulders, and wore a stylish Chinese gown that was also black with a bit of silver trim. Around her neck a silver anhk hung on a string. The girl was gazing towards the Earth with an expression of sadness on her face.

Beside the girl a man suddenly appeared. His skin was white as bleached bones, his eyes were pools of black with white pupils, and his hair was an unruly shock of black the same color has the girl's. On his body he wore a loose robe as dark as space itself.

"Hello, sister," said the man. "I knew I'd find you here."

"Hello, Dream," replied the girl. "And considering what's about the happen, of course I'd be here. It's my job."

Dream, also known as Morpheus the Sandman, nodded and turned to glance over his shoulder towards the approaching Zentraedi fleet. "The work of Death will certainly need doing soon."

The girl known as Death nodded again.

"I sense the presence of some our brothers and sisters and others. It seems this event will have more spectators that I'd thought," continued Dream.

"I felt the presence of the Specter just after I arrived. Poor Hal, this will be really hard on him," lamented Death. "The Phantom Stranger is around too, but even I've never been able to guess how he feels about anything."

"And how do you feel about this?"

Death turned to her brother and gave him a small smile. "Checking up on me?"

After a moment's hesitation Dream nodded. "We're family. It seemed only right. Besides, you've been there for me many times."

Death turned from her brother and looked back at the Earth. "I'm sad, Dream. I feel sad when anyone dies. But this…the number of people, both human and Zentraedi who are going to die today…Well, its impressive numbers, even for me."

Dream too turned to gaze at the Earth. "The universe is a cold and cruel place at times. And in it war is everywhere. I'm certain you've seen more people die in a day than this."

Death nodded. "True, but it never gets any easier to see so many lives wasted."

"I don't think it's ever supposed to become easier to accept senseless destruction on such a scale," replied Dream. "If it did I don't think the universe would be place worth living."

"True enough. Still, it's such a terrible waste of life."

"I've long felt that you, more than anyone else, understand the beauty and fragility of life better than anyone else."

"I think you're giving me to much credit," replied Death. "But I'm supposed to be there for people when they die. To help them accept what's happened to them and get them ready to go to whatever lies beyond for them. If I didn't love life and its beauty I wouldn't understand what people who've died have lost. And if I couldn't understand that how could I help them?"

"Very true," concurred Dream.

The two members of the Endless stood silently for a time gazing at the Earth.

It was Dream who spoke first. "This vessel, the Super Dimensional Fortress as the humans call it, it is a most remarkable creation, isn't it?"

"It's a miracle," responded the Sandman's sister. "To the people of Earth it is anyway. When it fell to Earth and crash-landed on Macross Island twelve years ago the world was in the middle of the Global Civil War. It had been going on for ten years and showed no signs of ever ending. I was kept terribly busy.

"But then this thing shows up. Suddenly humanity knew for sure that they weren't alone in the universe. The nations of Earth put aside their differences and pooled their resources to study and rebuild the SDF-1. The world was finally at peace."

"If the world was at peace then why did the humans feel the need to use the technology they gained from the SDF-1, 'Robotechnology' I believe they call it, to make weapons?" asked the Sandman. "Those transforming fighter planes, the Veritechs, for example."

"It's cheeky to ask questions you already know the answers to, little brother," said Death with a tiny smile. "Humanity knew that whoever the fortress belonged to might come looking for it one day. Plus, they did find the remains of many Zentraedi onboard. I'm sure the fact that the aliens who built the thing were fifty feet tall was a great motivator."

"I suppose its fortunate that for humanity's sake that they did develop those weapons," mused Dream. "When the Zentraedi did show up to reclaim their ship the Veritechs finally had a chance to prove their worth."

"Not that it did much good at the time," countered Death. "When the Zentraedi attacked Macross Island there ended up being plenty of people who needed my services. But I guess all those people dying is what made the SDF- 1's commander, Captain Gloval, order that spacefold only a few hundred feet above Macross City.

"At the time he just wanted to get the ship away from Macross Island since that's clearly what the aliens were after. He was right in thinking that if he could get the SDF-1 away from the Earth that the Zentraedi would stop their attack on the planet and come after the ship. Ordering a spacefold to the moon seemed like the only option."

"But things did not work out as well as Captain Gloval had hoped," said Dream.

"No," confirmed Death flatly. "They certainly did not."

"The events of that day frequently haunt Gloval's dreams," informed the Sandman. "It is understandable, of course. The shock of discovering that the spacefold had transported the SDF-1 not the orbit of the moon, but to an area just beyond Pluto must have been massive."

"I'm sure it was," said Death. "Just as I'm sure it was a shock to discover that a large part of Macross City and over 50,000 of its inhabitants had inadvertently been transported as well. Lucky for all those people that the shelters they were in were airtight."

"I think it is this part of these people's story that has most impressed me," mused Morpheus. "Transported millions of miles from their homeworld, the people of Macross City chose to rebuild their city within the massive confines of the SDF-1 and carry on their lives as best they could."

"People will always surprise you," shrugged Death, her manner cheering a bit. "Knock 'em down and humanity will just get right back, dust themselves off, and start over again."

"The fact that so many continued to try and lead normal lives while living in a space battlefortress that was being pursued across the solar system by a hostile alien fleet for more than a year is a testament to human tenacity, if nothing else," said Dream.

"I doubt the universe will ever see anything quite like it again," replied Death as she stood and gave a little stretch. "And the SDF-1's problems didn't end even when they made it back to Earth. But that's another story."

"If you care to tell it I'll listen," said Dream.

Death gave her brother a look of scrutiny. "Why the sudden interest in recent history? I don't think I've told you one thing you didn't already know."

Dream turned his gaze from his sister to look back at the Zentraedi fleet that was still drawing nearer. "I've found that that letting people talk is a good way to help understand what's bothering them when you want to help them."

After a moment's contemplation Death gave a little laugh and nodded. "I get it. You knew this was going to bother me so you got me to play history professor to get a read on how I was feeling."

"You did very well," complimented the Sandman. "Destiny would be proud."

"Thanks," replied Death. "For both the compliment and trying to help me."

The siblings of the Endless then returned to looking at the Earth silently.

Again it was Dream who broke the silence. "You know, sister, you remarked that it's unlikely that the universe will ever see anything quite like what is happening ever again."

Death, still gazing at the blue world below, nodded.

"If that is the case then let us closely examine some of the key people involved," suggested Morpheous. "Even being such as ourselves can still learn from mortal men and women. So let us observe the people of this vessel and learn what we can while we can. For soon many of the souls gathered here will be called to your embrace and the dreams of those who survive will be changed forever."

"Sounds good to me," said Death. "And I know just the person to start with."

To be continued…