Silent Battles

Prologue & Chapter 1

By Latin D


Since the Beginning of Time, infinite battles have been fought. Some were petty; other ones, heroic. But only a few could be compared to the one held between a misguided godling and a courageous martial artist, in times when magic had been almost forgotten, and true warriors were rare.

The godling was ancient, for he was immortal, and thus had lived for millennia upon millennia. In the course of his years, he had been given many names: some called him the Master of Fire, for his true form was that of an eternal flame; to others he was the Traveler of the Air, for with his strong wings he could reach the highest clouds; and he was also named the Phoenix King, for he was the ruler of the bird-people; but he called himself simply Saffron. He was powerful, and wise in the ways of fighting. But he let his pride and anger control his actions, and because of this he grew irritable, and started hating humans. Some believed him foolish, many thought he was evil.

The martial artist, on the contrary, was still young, and had not achieved so many titles yet. His name was Ranma Saotome. Truth to tell, he was proud and arrogant--and this won him many enemies. But he had a good heart, and thus he gained many friendships through the years. He was never really alone.

From the day he started crawling, he was taught the Art. And as the years passed by, he became strong, agile, skilful in the martial arts: the perfect warrior, an artist of war. The Art was his whole life, his reason to exist. He was the heir of the Anything-Goes school of martial arts, and that was his place in the world.

On a certain day, he met Akane, the daughter of one master of Anything-Goes, and got engaged--through an arrangement of their parents. And despite all their differences, and their constant bickering, and their prides, and all the people who wanted to see them separated, and all the people who wanted to see them together, and his reluctance to admit it, he fell in love with her.

Then, everything changed.

For, though the Art was still a big part of who he was, and who he wanted to be, it didn't seem so important when compared to Akane: taking care of her became his reason to exist, for _she_ was his whole life now. His place in the world was right next to her, and he would have died for her. Or killed.

On many occasions Akane was kidnapped, or endangered somehow, and every single time Ranma fought harder than ever before, and rescued her. Thus everybody came to believe he would always win, for, after all, doesn't the hero always save the damsel in distress?

No, he doesn't.

But when Saffron came and told Ranma his fiancée would die if he didn't defeat him, everyone couldn't help but think: 'There is nothing to worry about. Ranma will win once again, and Akane will be safe,' and they were both right and wrong.

Seconds became minutes, and minutes hours, but however hard Ranma tried, he couldn't overcome his opponent. Yet Ranma knew time was crucial, and it was quickly running out. He had to go all out, even if there was the danger of killing his enemy.

To kill in cold blood... Skilled in the martial arts as he was, never before had he been forced to kill. There had always been another option, a way out. Not this time. Could he really do it? And so deeply did he love Akane that there was only one answer: yes.

Thus he called for his innermost power, one he had forbidden himself to use. One that promised hunger and thirst--and many nightmares. An energy the like of which had never before been seen by human eyes ran through his veins, filling his heart, his lungs, his whole being. In that moment, he was a god. He was able to destroy cities on a whim; he could easily obliterate entire mountains, overthrow governments. He could do anything he wished, no one could stop him--and that scared him. But seeing Saffron moving towards him, he waited no more, and with a blast of raw energy, as pure and white as snow and bright as a young star, he sent the godling to his death for the first time in centuries.

Ranma hurried to his love's side and held her gently in his arms, calling her. But it was too late. No matter how loud he shouted her name, she wouldn't wake up. So he cried for hours, and when he had no more tears to pour, he simply died. In mind and spirit, he died. And he was sure his body would follow soon. Everything had been taken from him: he had no goal, no hopes, no future. Surrendering to his grief, he lay down on the grass to wait for the End.

But Destiny, that mysterious master, had other plans for him, and would not let his life go to waste. So the martial artist fell asleep, and dreamed. He dreamed about the Past, and the Future; about things that had already been, and things that might be; and about a War, and his place in it. When he woke up, he was still sad, but he was also alive. He had found a reason to live.

A Ranma 1/2 / Robotech crossover
by Latin_D

DISCLAIMER: Ranma 1/2 belongs to the brilliant Takahashi Rumiko. Robotech is owned by Harmony Gold USA, Inc. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story is based on McKinney's books.
C&C desperately needed.


Ranma walked slowly through the streets of Macross, enjoying the comforting warmth of the shining sun. The sidewalk was beautifully shadowed by the leaves of the tall carobs that had been planted all over the city. In a small park, children giggled loudly while they ran.

How peaceful it was here! That was what he loved about this place. Since he was a little innocent kid, his life had been all rush and excitement: training all the time, always fighting for his life, and, of course, the occasional curse, potion or spice...

Well, he was tired now. Tired of all the craziness, of all the problems. He just wanted--needed--calm. Some quiet place for resting and thinking. For deciding what to do with his life. Maybe after he got rid of those flowers he could stay in Macross and open a dojo of his own. Yes! And then he could find Ryoga--with enough time he was pretty sure he could. And...

He stopped himself with determination. This was neither the time nor the place to daydream. He had to be patient. First he was going to do what he had come to that island for. Then he would make plans for the future.

He closed his eyes, a contented smile on his face. Outstretching his senses to their limits, he could feel every single thing happening around him, no matter how trivial it seemed to be: the gentlest breeze, the tiniest leaf shaking in the trees, the almost non-existent sound he made while walking, the hardness of the lamp post against his cheekbone...

Ranma picked himself up from the sidewalk staring all the time at the now demolished obstacle. He couldn't believe he had been so engrossed in the beauty of the day as to drop his defenses. How could he be such an idiot? Constant awareness was the only reason he had survived the harsh years that followed his departure from Nerima. When, as always he thought of his former home, memories of better times flooded his mind.

The forest had seemed endless. The air was so hot and oppressive that they had had trouble breathing. They had walked for hours and hours, and all they were able to see in every direction had been trees. Well, that was not entirely true. They saw trees, bushes, weeds, climbers and more trees. And insects, lots of them. Clouds of tireless mosquitoes surrounded and followed them during the whole trip, no matter what they tried to do to repel the irritating bugs. It had been unbearable. He had no idea what Hell was like, but he was pretty sure those winged torturers lived there.

Only that stupid father of his could call that a training ground. They hadn't even been able to find a clearing to set up camp! Where were they supposed to train? Oh, he had been so angry with his idiotic pop... If he had just been there, he would have let him know how pleased he had been with his choice. But, of course, the old man stayed on the shore, fresh and comfortable. 'Taking care of the boat,' he said. The nerve of that guy. Like there was anyone in that island forgotten by the gods...

But Ranma had not been alone. Akane had come with him. Always by his side, in every battle, in the saddest moments. Of course, he hadn't appreciated it then, not at all. He had called her a nuisance, told her to leave him alone. Yet, she had stayed and taken care of him. How could he have been so blind?

Finally, they found a nice, quiet spot with almost no trees. They spent three days there, working out and training all the time. On the morning of the fourth day, something changed their routine.

The sun was beginning to show its bright face in the East, but Oyaji was still asleep in his tent, exhausted though he had only sparred for a few hours. He was definitely getting old. Resting next to the campfire, Akane and he had been talking about nothing, chit-chatting, both comfortable with each other's presence. It was incredible how well they fared when there were no fiancées or enemies to keep them apart. Yes, incredible.

After some time, they stopped talking and lay down on the grass side by side, gazing at the cotton-like clouds that populated the sky. They even held hands for a while. Seeing her there, so perfect and beautiful under the sunlight, so relaxed and full with peace, made Ranma realize the moment had arrived. It was finally the right and perfect time to confess his feelings for her. Well... At least, he had thought so. He had had no way of knowing what was about to happen.

He was about to start with the always-difficult task of talking to Akane without putting his foot in his mouth, when she suddenly called him, "Ranma, look! In the sky--it's a falling star!"

And indeed, as soon as he looked up, he caught sight of a glowing point flying swiftly though the sky. It was leaving behind a shining path of fire that seemed to originate from the sun, as if a piece of the star had decided to meet the Earth at last. Ranma stared, mesmerized, for some minutes, his former intentions forgotten for the time being. He used to look at the stars for hours when he was living in the road with his father, but he had never seen anything like that.

That's something he would have loved to do: travel through the space, see the galaxy--like an astronaut. Ha! Could you imagine that? Ranma Saotome: the astronaut. ´Ryoga would laugh for a whole hour if I told that to him,´ thought Ranma, shaking his head. Soon, the falling star had got out of sight, hidden behind the horizon.

"You should make a wish, Ranma. They say it always comes true," said Akane with that caring, warm voice he would always remember as hers in later years.

Not knowing what Fate had in store for him, he had thought it was a good idea. Wrong decision.

"Eh... Okay."

His first choice was one that would make the Devil proud: power. He foolishly wanted to be the best martial artist in the world. However, he suddenly remembered his curse. He also needed a cure, didn't he? What was the use of being the best if you are only a half-man? ´Besides, I already am the best,´ Ranma thought, a cocky grin in his lips.

Finally, too late, he came to his senses. He wished for him and Akane to be together. He had finally come to an agreement with his own feelings. He was in lo--he had feelings for the tomboy, there was no denying it. All other engagements be damned, he would face the consequences. But he never had the opportunity to probe his words.

He was staring into the distance, lost in thought, when the glowing point reappeared over the ocean. In that moment, the island started shaking.

Ranma stopped rummaging through his brown leather backpack and, taking out a white envelope, resumed walking. Opening the envelope, he grabbed the old-looking photograph it contained and held it aloft. It showed a young man in his thirties, dressed in an immaculate sailor suit. He was wearing extremely polished knee-high boots, and had so many medals in his shirt it seemed impossible to find place to hang a new one. He had dark hair, and the beginnings of a moustache were evident. The man was smiling and waving to the camera, while in the background a gray warship appeared about to leave, from the frantic activity evident in the port. Looking closely, Ranma discovered a Russian flag painted in the ship's hull, something he hadn't noticed before.

´Mom said Uncle Henry'd be waiting for me. I hope he remembers me,´ thought Ranma while putting the photo in his pocket. After all, he himself barely remembered the man. He hadn't seen Uncle Henry since he was a little boy, before going off on the infamous ten-year-long training trip. How was he going to recognize him? All he had was an old photo, and it was twenty years old!

´It doesn't matter,´ he decided. Luck was on his side for the first time in long, never-ending years. An uncle working in the famous SDF-1; it was almost too much to believe. He just hoped he had an important position--he really needed to get inside that ship.

He was slowly but steadily approaching the air show. Many people were walking in his same direction, all laughing and chatting. He supposed it wasn't strange they were in a good mood, with a free show on such a beautiful day.

He could see the spaceship in more detail now. It was amazing! This was the second time he had seen it, and the one thing that struck him the most was its sheer size. Ranma couldn't help but marvel at how huge it actually was. He was sure the entire city of Macross could fit inside. And it wasn't just big, it also looked powerful. It seemed this single ship could take on an entire army without even trying. He didn't remember it being so imposing. Of course, it had been a broken and burnt wreck the last time...

Ranma had known nothing then about the Super Dimensional Fortress One, or about the importance its arrival would have for the human race. He and Akane had witnessed three orbits of the mysterious object, each closer to the Earth and more catastrophic than the last, until it had finally decided to abandon the air. The overheated spaceship's hull met the ocean within their sight, vaporizing millions of gallons of water in less than a second. A white cloud emerged as if by magic to hide it.

"Wha-what is it?" asked Akane, stumbling over her words. Her face was deathly pale.

"I don't know," Ranma shouted above the rumble, "but whatever it is, it's really big, and it's coming really fast. Let's get out of here!" He scooped her up in his arms and ran for the coast, a fully-awake Genma at his heels.

He flew through the forest at full speed, getting hurt many times by low-hanging branches but not caring at all. Despite all his effort, they hadn't covered more than a few miles when the SDF-1 finally crashed against the island. Metal met earth and rock, and crumpled and changed, screaming its pain. The collision was deafening. So much so, that Ranma was stunned by it, and thus didn't react at first when a tree was sent flying through the air in his direction.

"Ranma!" cried Akane, terrified.

That had been enough. Using every ounce of experience in the martial arts he had, he jumped high in the air, barely avoiding the impending trunk. Landing safely on the ground, he hurried with his father behind a large gray boulder.

"That was a close one." Akane was still in his arms.

"You think so?" she asked, sarcasm in her voice.

Peering over the rock, they could see how their abandoned tent collapsed under a trunk. Miles behind it, the spaceship was gliding over the rocky ground, the friction and its unbelievable weight eroding its initial speed.

"It's slowing down." Ranma had always had an uncanny ability to state the obvious.

"Yes, b--" Interrupting her, Ranma tackled Akane to the ground, a big boulder missing her head by mere inches.

A rain of debris and chunks of wood ensued, and they again dove for cover. After what seemed like eternity to the unfortunate campers, it finally stopped and the ground became still again, signaling the end of the ship's journey through Macross Island. An eerie peace followed, almost unreal when compared to the recent havoc.

Slowly, almost fearful of what they were about to see, Akane and Ranma stood up and gazed at the alien spacecraft. Theirs had been the first human eyes to fall upon the SDF-1, and though they hadn't understood it then, a new era had begun.

"Ranma, what is that thing?" asked Akane, her eyes wide and fixed in the blackened monstrosity.

"I don't know, Akane. I don't know."

Astonishingly, the ship itself, though burnt and obviously damaged, seemed to be in one piece. It barely fit on the tiny island, and was quickly cooling in the fresh morning air. The nearby forest, however, had not been so lucky. It had been devastated during the unexpected landing: a large crater surrounded the wreck where the land had crumbled, and outside its area, most of the trees were uprooted or leafless and dead. Their tent was still where they had set it, though partly burnt and under a pile of fallen trees.

Ranma was no engineer, but it amazed him that something had been able to stand such a crash. It had to be some secret government project, maybe a new weapon constructed by the Neasians. Or it could be some kind of UFO, come from another pl--He really had to stop reading so much manga, it brought strange ideas to his head.

Whatever it was, something about it made his hair stand on end. He couldn't be sure, being so far from the smoldering ship, but he thought he could see movement in its hull. Perhaps he ought to take a look at that thing. ´Yeah, that's exactly what I should do,´ he decided.

"Akane, wait here," said Ranma, and started walking towards the wreck. 'Started' was about right, because before he could make one step in its direction, Akane's hand caught him by his shirt, halting him.

"Where do you think you are going?!" she thundered, anger and concern evident in her voice. "It could be dangerous!"

"Hey! I'm gonna check that thing out. What if there's some survivor or something? We can't just leave him there," he reasoned. In those days, he had been trying not to snap at Akane and instead try to explain things to her. Even though most of the time his temper had still got the better of him, there had been occasions when it actually worked. His body had definitely not been missing the extra beatings.

"Maybe you are right," she conceded grudgingly, "but I'll go with you," she finished in a tone that left no room for discussion. Ranma didn't want to argue with her, not that day, so he wisely kept his mouth shut.

"Okay, you can come. What about you, Pop?"

"Eh..." Genma's brow glistened with sweat as he fearfully looked at the wreck. "I don't feel that good, I think I may be coming down with something. Why don't you both go? I'll go and prepare the boat so we can leave quickly when you return. Yes, that's exactly what I'll do." He started edging away from the couple.

"Take care of your fiancée, boy." Turning around, he practically ran toward the forest.

They stared in the direction he had gone for a moment. Then, shaking their heads, they headed to the ship.

Several minutes later, Ranma and Akane stood by the wreckage, dwarfed by its colossal size. The looming structure lay motionless before them, but Ranma couldn't notice anything strange or unusual about it. Well, except for the fact that it had come from nowhere and that it was unbelievably large. Perhaps he had been letting his imagination run away with him. Perhaps.

"What do we do now?" asked Akane, neck arched back trying to gauge the ruin's height.

"What else? We get into this... whatever, and see if there's anyone."

´Actually, I get inside it and you stay waiting safely outside,´ added Ranma mentally.

"I know that, you jackass!" snapped the youngest Tendo. "What I meant was how we were going to get in."

Good point. "Well, I suppose I could break a hole big enough for us." Walking towards the ship's battered hull, he gave the metallic surface a tentative blow. When he pulled his fist back, there wasn't even the slightest mark on it.

"What the..." Increasing the strength of his blows, he proceeded to give the spaceship the pounding of its existence. However, even after several tries, the metal was hardly dented and didn't seem about to give in.

"This is tough stuff," recognized Ranma while gently rubbing his sore hand. "Maybe with a ki-blast..." he trailed off, realizing for the first time that Akane was nowhere to be seen. Panicking, he started frantically searching for any sign of her, when he suddenly heard a voice calling to him from the distance.

"Ranma! Over here!" Akane was no more than a couple hundred feet away, standing next to some sort of circular protuberance and waving for him to come. "I think I found a hatch!"

Behind her, the hatch snapped open.

Up in the air, six planes flew in tight formation. Ranma, led by the stares of the awed public, caught sight of them, and couldn't help but be impressed at these beautiful fighters. Though he wasn't very interested in war machines, Ranma had seen quite a lot of different combat planes during his life--as every other person who lived in the Global Civil War times. None looked like these: precise, swift, sleek, deathly. A shiny canopy and lots of ammo completed the picture.

He thought he remembered hearing about them somewhere. 'Veritech fighters' they were called, if his memory worked. One of the new United Earth Government's most secret projects. Well, at least as secret as every other thing even remotely related to the so-called Robotechnology was those days. He wondered what all the fuss was about; they weren't anything more than a new model of plane, right?

For a moment, he wondered how it would feel like to pilot a plane like those ones, but after a moment of consideration he dropped the idea, berating himself for even thinking about it. ´Who needs a plane when your own body takes to the air like a duck to water?´ thought Ranma, following the fighters while they cut the air at speeds believed impossible just a few decades ago. After all, could the pilots feel the wind over their skin while they fly? Could they breathe this gentle sea breeze inside their locked pressurized cockpits? No, they couldn't. They were in a prison of metal and circuits, completely dependant on machines to stay alive. He probably knew more freedom while he roof-hopped than they did in their whole life.

Around him, people gasped in amazement as the white Veritechs executed a dive, only to level up at the last possible moment. Yet, no matter what these Veritech fighters could do, to Ranma there was only one star in this show: the SDF-1. In his eyes, nothing could even begin to be compared with the titanic spaceship that had burst into his life so long ago.

Trying to get sight of the ship, he turned around--only to bump his head against a man's back. Quickly apologizing, he looked around, but all he could see were faces of strangers. Somehow, he was lost in a sea of people. Unbelievable. One minute he was watching some planes, and the next thing he knew, he was in the middle of a crowd of thousands. Funny, that he got lost heading to a spaceship that was at full sight. Maybe this was how Ryoga felt.

Not far from where he was standing, a platform had been erected. In that moment, the public address system announced the start of the demonstration. Some guy dressed in a military dress uniform appeared on the stage, and the throng greeted him fervently. Tall and proud, with finely chiseled features and a thick mop of blond hair, he fell into a relaxed posture, hands locked behind his back. Certainly good looking. Handsome even, if you liked the pilot jock type.

´Heh, I'm much more handsome!´ Ranma gloated to himself. ´Besides, It's not like I need an uniform to attract girls... Yeah, I can use either martial arts or Pop's arrangements for that.´

Chuckling, he tried to decide what to do next. Maybe he could jump over the crowd... No. That would put him in the spotlight, and that's something he definitely didn't need right now.

´Oh, well. I guess I'll have to do it the hard way,´ he thought resignedly. Slowly making his way through the people, he heard the roar of the planes' engines as they executed a pass over the stage. No time to see the show. He had people to see, business to attend.

There only was one thing he didn't understand: what were they all laughing about?

As in slow motion, Ranma had been able to see the hatch open in two, both halves sliding apart with almost no sound. Five segmented metallic tentacles shot swiftly out from the dark hole. Not wasting time, one of them snaked towards an unsuspecting Akane, who still hadn't noticed them. It had happened all too quickly.

"Akane! Get out of there!" he yelled, but it was already too late.

One of those nightmarish tentacles caught Akane in an iron grip, and started waving her through the air.

"Ranma! Help me!" Akane screamed, struggling against it to no avail.

Not stopping running for a moment, he shot a Mouko Takabisha to the tentacle that held Akane. It broke in half and went limp, immediately releasing its prey. Using another of the tentacles as a springboard, he caught Akane as she was falling down and, without even looking back, ran for the woods.

"It's okay, Akane. It's okay," he whispered in her ear while still running, trying to calm his sobbing fiancée.

When they reached the beach, Akane was still a bit shaken, but she seemed to be calming down rather quickly. He guessed living in Nerima had somehow hardened her, or something. He started to put their stuff in the boat when Akane suddenly gave a yelp. He whirled around, half-expecting to see more of those damned tentacles attacking them.

"Oh, no! I forgot my backpack in the tent!" she hurriedly said. "I have to go back to get it! My diary is in it!"

"Wait!" Ranma practically screamed. "It's too dangerous! Wait!" But she was already disappearing in the trees. He started to go after her, but Genma raised a hand, stopping him.

"Don't go, boy," he said, a serious expression in his face. "She can take care of herself. Besides, you won't be able to follow her through such a dense vegetation."

"But she--"

"She is a martial artist, too. Now come here and help your poor father to get these heavy things into the boat."

"Get out of here, old fart!" He kicked him in the face and sent him flying towards the sea.

´But he's probably right. She'll get mad at me if I go after her. Maybe I should wait for a while,´ he thought. Casting a last worried glance in the SDF-1's direction, he turned around and slowly walked to the boat.

Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes passed, and Akane hadn't come back yet.

"Pop!" Ranma called. "I can't wait any more! I'm gonna go look for her!"

Magic words, those were, because as they left his mouth, a puffing Akane stepped into the beach. Kneeling in the yellow sand, she panted for breath. She was carrying her black leather backpack.

"Where were you?! What took you so long?!" he snapped as he hurried to her side and helped her to her feet.

"Oh, Ranma. You won't believe this. I found the strangest--" She never finished this sentence.

"There's no time to talk. We've got to get going. I don't wanna spend a minute more on this island."

Akane nodded, and they quickly gathered the few things Genma had managed to rescue from the campsite.

As their boat left the island, a group of choppers appeared in the horizon.

´This must be the place,´ the pig-tailed martial artist ventured to himself as he gazed at the small wooden sentry box behind the tall wire fence. About a dozen soldiers stood next to it, all of them with menacing rifles at the ready. He couldn't see their features clearly, as they were effectively hidden by the shadow projected by the SDF-1, which lay no more than a few dozens miles ahead, blocking the sun. But as he reached the control post, one of them approached him and, without opening the gate, asked him what was he doing here.

´So, this is a restricted area?´ wondered Ranma. ´But Uncle Henry's letter says I have to go through here... Okay, time to see if I know the right people.´

"Wait a sec'," he said, cutting the soldier in mid-speech. "I have an invitation for today's ceremonies." He handed the invitation his uncle had sent him with the letter and couldn't help but smirk when the man's eyes widened in surprise.

´Well, well, well. It seems he has an important position after all. Much better,´ thought Ranma as he waited for the sentries to get confirmation.

The day was just getting better and better.

Not having anything better to do, he started looking around lazily. To his left, to his right, up, and down his gaze traveled. He studied the soldiers. They were all wearing green and brown fatigues and brown boots. Looking carefully, Ranma distinguished the letters 'RDF' neatly embroidered in the fabric. They seemed very relaxed, calmly chatting among themselves, some smiling or even laughing.

´Well, it's a happy day for them, I suppose,´ Ranma reasoned. He knew--as virtually every other person over the world--that the SDF-1 was going to be launched and thus would leave Macross today, and the rest of the military personnel would surely follow. They probably had several off-duty days ahead.

He studied their weapons. Matt black, nasty-looking, really big rifles. They were immaculate and looked brand new. Everything was shiny and at its prime that day. Or so it looked like.

Sad. They really don't understand. No mater how many times they polish their rifles, they will still be ugly. They won't ever obtain grace through simple shine. There's no honor in bullets, just as there's no honor in war, Ranma stated in his mind.

´What was that?!´ he wondered after a short pause. ´I think Kuno is rubbing off on me. Next thing I know, I'll be reciting bad poetry and kissing my female side in the mirror.´

Then, he studied the SDF-1. So full of secrets, so mysterious. Who had sent it? With what purpose? Would anyone ever come back to reclaim it? So many questions... and the answers were inside the ship itself, he was certain.

He studied himself. He might be a few years older, but, in his humble and unbiased opinion, he looked better than ever. At twenty-six, he was taller and slightly more muscular--but he still had that Saotome charm his father used to talk about. Of course, he was wearing his old short-sleeved red silken shirt and the usual black pants. He couldn't remember the last time he had worn a different clothes. Sure, sometimes, when the weather was cold, he changed this shirt for the long-sleeved one, but that didn't count. Maybe he ought to change his style... Nah. Probably no one would recognize him if he did so.

Finally, he slowly looked upwards, and there, a tiny orb in the firmament, was the moon. Quiet, desert, peaceful moon. Ancient, eternal moon. So beautiful... And yet, as he stared at it, something nagged him. There was something odd about it, something wrong... Argh! He just couldn't put his finger on it.

It must be my imagination, he calmed himself and forcefully averted his gaze. He never looked back at the moon during that day.

´What's taking them so long?´ he asked himself. ´I don't have much time!´ Ten minutes had passed and the soldier was still on the phone.

He had heard a news bulletin saying that the SDF-1 was leaving in its maiden flight at three o'clock in the afternoon. That left... only two hours and a half to get inside and do his business.

´Be patient, calm down,´ he ordered himself. Patience was one of the things he had never learned. He was fairly good at meditation, but that was a completely different thing.

In that moment, the soldier finally hung up, a perplexed look in his face.

´It's about time!´ Ranma couldn't help but think as the sentry opened the fence's gate. He stepped past it, ignoring the other soldiers, and started walking towards the spaceship at a fast pace. A few more miles. Just a few more miles and he could start.

Suddenly, as it had so many years ago, the island of Macross started to shake. Startled, Ranma noticed movement on the starship's bow. There, between the twin booms that formed the front of the ship, a show of light and sound started. Red-orange energy circled around and between the booms, connecting them in a bridge of flame. Whirling, spinning, dancing, it almost seemed alive in Ranma's eyes. A high-pitched sound came out from the booms as the energy began concentrating in their tips. Finally, the SDF-1's main gun shot forth a tower of starflame, raw energy erupting from its bow and howling off into the distance. A powerful shockwave swept the trembling spaceship's surroundings, throwing Ranma off his feet and into the ground.

Soon, the rumble stopped. He slowly put his head in his hands. ´Why do these things always happen to me?´ he silently asked, but no one answered.

As he stood up, he could hear loud alarms going off in the city.