Part 26: First Attack
Alto meets Ranka on the same hill she was singing at last chapter. She confesses to Alto the song, Aimo, is the sole memory she has of her childhood before her amnesia - and that she came to this hill to sing it because she thought no one else would hear it. After meeting Sheryl and Alto, though, she's changed her mind. She tells a story about how she, Alto, and Sheryl were trapped in an underground shelter during an attack (by the way, this was all actually shown in the show), thinking she'd die and no one would ever know where she was. "I just wanted someone to know I was there."
Alto says it'll never happen - not while she's so down on herself all the time. Inexplicably, this cheers her up, and she declares she'll sing for the world if Alto will listen. She starts singing the song again right there, and Alto feels like the song has been supporting him.
Negotiations are wrapping up, with the Frontier fleet being treated as an independent nation by the U. N. In return, the fleet will share its knowledge and technology fairly across the planet. Let's start with the Vajra. They are, naturally, a mysterious alien organism that even the Fleet doesn't know everything about. They do know that each Vajra bug can do its own Fold - teleportation for the Macross universe - and shoot organic missiles and lasers from their bodies. But from the analysis they've been able to perform, the Vajra are virtually missing a brain (Mishima carefully doesn't say they don't have a brain at all). The current theory is that the bugs are drones controlled remotely by a brain somewhere else, like giant laser space bees. Alejandro Corner's first conclusion, strangely, is rather that they're biological weapons.
The inauguration of President Howard and the fleet as a nation is tomorrow, and they have plans to take the occasion to tell the people of Earth and the fleet about the Vajra. There don't seem to be that many buzzing around, and President Howard promises to spearhead the operation to finish them off. The fleet's Fold system was borked in the attack, so they'll be hanging around the Earth sphere for a bit. After that, they'll take off and resume their journey towards the center of the galaxy looking for a new planet to call home. They can't get back to their own universe, but no one was planning to go back to their Earth in the first place, so it's all the same to them.
Alto is doing pushups back on the Macross Quarter - punishment for 25 straight failures on the simulator. Michel is lording it over him and ordering him around - "This is the S. M. S. squad and you have to follow its rules."
Meanwhile, the Quarter's contractually stipulated trio of operator girls are checking out the new guy, along with camp-as-hell operator Bobby "we girls gotta stick together" Margo (who already has his heart set on another guy).
Back with the A-team, Luca reveals that Michel turned up the simulator. Michel just shrugs and claims the regular difficulty wouldn't have been a challenge.
Klan stomps in - she's just walking, but that shit's loud when you're a giant - offers to let Alto train with the Pixie Squad, Zentraedi style.
Anyway, Grace is looking for him. She has a letter from Sheryl to Alto, which gets Michel all a-titter. Grace says it's nothing like what he's thinking but asks everyone to keep it under their hats anyway. Michel slides in to hit on Grace, but when he introduces himself - "Second Lieutenant Mikhail Blanc, but my friends call me Michel. You can call me
Alto, thick as ever, trash-talks Michel some more, but Michel is unusually vicious in response. He snaps at Alto, accusing him of being a spoiled pretty-boy who ran away from home to play war, then tries to compose himself to ditch and leave Alto to Luca. "I don't know if I can control myself around you right now," he smirks.
Klan hints that what happened to Jessica still haunts Michel (you think?). She assures Alto that Michel is all right, he just almost never says what he's really feeling. Michel lost his parents at a young age and was virtually raised by his sister, Jessica. She was a sniper too, until she accidentally shot an ally in combat... and of course, it was her superior and lover... right after they had a fight. Jessica was court-martialed, then killed herself. And that's what's been haunting Michel ever since, why the mere mention of his sister flips a switch inside him.
(I hope every Macross stage isn't going to have this stupid amount of dialogue.)
Alto read Sheryl's letter, and meets her at the specified time and place. She doesn't want him to misunderstand - the only link between them is that he's flown acrobatics for a concert of hers, and that he has her earring. The earring happens to be the reason she called him out. She wants it back, and Alto says he's glad to give it to her. It seems to have gotten caught on Alto, and the earring is linked to Grace's implants so she can sense through it. They exposit about the cyborg implants some more, how pretty much everyone on the Galaxy has them even though they're unheard of here. Sheryl assures Alto that one of her selling points is being all-natural.
Speaking of selling points, Sheryl's a hit in the fleet, she's holding a concert and she's giving Alto special tickets. She's sent some to Ranka, too, and she expects to see them both there. "Feel free to thank me for setting you up on a date." Alto forcefully insists that he and Ranka are not an item. Then he wafts away into a reverie - "Why do people sing? Why do we try to fly?" Sheryl is surprised, but offers up her own answer: "Obviously, because they can't live without doing those things. That's how it is for me and Ranka. How about you?"
Alto admits it, and thinks again about Michel...
Sheryl has one more thing to say. "You're pretty terrible, but there's one thing about you I like. You don't treat me as Sheryl."
She finally actually takes back her earring and confesses to Alto that it's the one and only thing she has of her mother.
(oh god why is this date taking so long) She asks Alto if he likes this ship. He hates it. He hates city ships in general. He desperately wants to fly under a real, genuine sky, and Sheryl suggests he get off and live down on Earth. He shoots a question back, does she want to live on the Galaxy again? To an extent, she does, because it's where she grew up, but at the same time, she wants to move forward to new stages, not backwards.
Michel calls in to say the Vajra are coming. Stop flirting, Alto, we've got work to do. Before he leaves, Sheryl gives the earring back to Alto to keep using as a good luck charm. "I hated the Galaxy," she admits. "I couldn't stand living there all by myself. But it was still my home. This place is home to a lot of people, and you're going out to defend it. So I want you to keep this." They do the "better live so you can give it back" dance, and Alto runs off to sortie.
Chapter 12: First Attack
The S. M. S. group's battleship, the Macross Quarter, is going out to fight personally this time.
The VFs of the S. M. S. squadron likewise move out.
Ozma didn't know Cathy was on the ship and deduces that her dad, President Glass, put her there to watch the S. M. S. squad. She bristles at him, the bridge bunnies whisper excitedly that they seem awfully friendly, and Bobby sulks. Hmm. Well, she's on board with the mission, especially with Sheryl's concert going on at Island 1.
We're cooperating in full with the S. M. S. group this time.
The WPC team checks out the new battleship and agrees not to let Sheryl's concert get smashed. The show must go on.
Speaking of which, it's just starting. Ranka is supposed to be sitting next to Alto, but he's nowhere to be found.
Sheryl's doing a good job of keeping the crowd focused on her. Her show is going to supply the background music for the battle, 9 PM at Sagittarius (Don't Be Late), and I'd be remiss in delivering Macross if I didn't try to supply it. Feel free to put it on if you like.
The Vajra arrive to her sound.
Ozma kicks off the fight by ordering his squad into formation Planet Dance.
But first, are you ready for the best battleship in the game?
Macross Quarter Fortress Mode (Jeffrey Wilder, Bobby Margo, Catherine Glass)
Defensive Support L2
Anti-Air Cannons (18 ammo)
Anti-Armor Beam Cannon (12 ammo)
Macross Cannon (32 EN, 110 Will)
Ace Bonus: Adjacent S. M. S. members gain +20% Accuracy, +20% Evasion.
The Gekko isn't a battleship, this is a battleship, and it comes with a real Command aura, a good set of spells, and did I mention it's a really strong battleship? This isn't nearly all it has to offer, either, as anyone who knows the first thing about Macross has probably figured out already.
Anyway, let's start on the other side.
And when the third one goes down...
Something is about to Fold into the zone.
More Vajra - and they've come with a big one this time! The pilots can tell that the new Vajra is controlling the attack patterns of the others. That means if we take it out first, the rest of the Vajra should be easy to pick off.
Unfortunately, the SR Point comes if I take out the big one last, as in take out all the others first. Within four ally phases, too.
Oh, and it seems like a good time for Musashi to supercharge the Getter team.
The enemy phase takes place. The boss refuses to move.
So on turn 2, I'm still pretty far away from it.
You heard what Zero said - if the king doesn't lead, his men won't follow.
Hit & Away is the best way to deal with enemies on the outskirts of the charge line.
It just took one mention of my sister to knock me off balance. I have a long way to go.
An imbalanced mind is an unsteady aim. If I can't stay cool, I can't be a sniper!
He's a pretty good sniper to me. Better than Lockon "who the hell needs Hit & Away" Stratos at least.
Oh yeah, and "adjacent" still only covers four squares.
I can do this! I joined the S. M. S. for a reason!
I'll get through this alive so I can give Sheryl her earring back!
Anyway, the S. M. S. squad is done acting. They squashed some useless bugs.
While the escort team moseys along picking off stragglers,
the members of them with fast machines or Accel put the pedal to the metal. We're closing in on the boss now.
End of turn 2.
Klan gets a kill and learns Trust.
The boss's contingent mostly stays put.
But the boss itself fires its biggest guns.
And I do mean big. The Vajra Knight-class is battleship sized.
Turn 3 begins.
After Michel and Canaria shoot down the last big Vajra, only the Knight and its bodyguards remain.
And the escort doesn't last long.
The Knight is pretty beefy, but we have a full turn and some secret weapons.
For example, we have Ryoma Nagare.
I should also point out that the Knight has a weapon that inflicts the worst status effect in the game, Immobilize, which means the affected pilot can take no actions. Like, ever. No moving, no attacking, no counterattacking or even defending and evasion. It makes you a sitting duck.
So casting Alert on Getter to make sure it doesn't get hit in the first place might be wise.
This is their boss? I'm disappointed.
Let your bug soldiers know that they're not getting anywhere near the Earth while we're standing!
The enemy's immobilizing attack is sending dozens of tiny Vajra drones at its target. Hayato keeps Ryoma safe.
With the Vajra likely to survive to the next round, Support Attacking Crowe sets himself up for an onslaught.
They're shooting all over the place. Are you sure these are living creatures?
Either way, they're pretty tough, so I'm expecting a nice bonus for this kind of data.
Oh no Crowe. (He's fine.)
If this thing's here, we can bet the whole swarm came along.
But I'm still not letting you through! You're not getting anywhere near the Frontier!
It'll be finished within the round.
If it attacks the wrong target (Ryoma, it's Ryoma), it might be finished within the counter phase.
It attacks Heero instead.
And on the fourth turn, it's taken down by the first attack (Alto's).
As usual, well in time for the SR Point.
The Knight tries to flee. Luca goes after it for a scan before it gets away.
But the huge alien strikes, and Luca's RVF is hit.
Despite Ozma's warnings, Alto flies in to back him up.
And promptly finds himself harried by Vajra.
Meanwhile, Ranka is still at the concert.
Sheryl is about to go into her last song, but first, she tells the audience that she wants to sing it for "those people who are putting their lives on the line far away from here." Just as Ranka realizes why Sheryl is singing at a time like this, the Fairy looks straight at her and asks her to sing along with her. Here's the new BGM (I'm just youtubing these things so you can submit better links if you feel strongly about it).
Alto hears the song and asks Michel to give him support fire. Michel is terrified that he'll make the same mistake as his sister, but Alto encourages him to do better than Jessica, and...
Not only does Michel overcome his barriers to take the shot, but Alto gains the ability to do the ISC Maneuver!
Alto manages to escape the hive, but the other Vajra are on his tail. A mysterious YF flies in to support him, taking the Vajra out.
Alto secures Luca. Meanwhile, the bridge crew is making plans. Cathy whines that whatever they're planning is too dangerous, but Jeffrey reminds her that as long as they have a chance, they should take it. "Quarter to all active units. The ship will now engage the Vajra ship directly."
Captain, I still don't think--
Bobby! Show those bugs why, even though the Quarter is only 400 meters long, it bears the name "Macross"...
Or rather, why it's a Macross that size!
You got it, boss!
Hang on tight!
The ship transforms into a giant robot! Vajra try to intercept, but the ship-robot swats them aside.
Macross Cannon, prepare to fire!
The Vajra are all gone.
The mysterious pilot has the data on the Frontier he came for. He vanishes. But then...
Oh god dammit.
Macross Quarter Assault Mode
Anti-Air Cannons (18 ammo)
Anti-Armor Beam Cannon (12 ammo)
Buster Cannon (20 EN)
Macross Cannon (MAP) (96 EN, 140 Will)
Sword Macross Cannon (56 EN, 120 Will)
Macross Cannon (80 EN, 130 Will)
The Quarter can switch between its Fortress and Assault modes at will now like any transformer. It's more mobile by far in Fortress mode, but extremely powerful in Assault mode.
It even has a tremendous MAP weapon.
Anyway, we don't have a time limit or anything now, so that's good.
Alto's VF has unlocked the ISC Maneuver for good.
Alto and Luca stick to the Quarter.
Ozma goes to join them.
Oh my god why do these fucks have so much HP.
Seriously, grunts with five digits, this is not allowed.
The rest of the S. M. S. squad tries to regroup around the Quarter.
The Brasta is repaired.
They're definitely stronger than the ones from before that Damon attacked.
But I'm not gonna get whacked without keeping my promise to Esther. It'd be against my principles.
Meanwhile, Setsuna continues being a good little soldier by learning Alert.
End of the player phase.
One of the Rhinodamons charges. I think it's going for the Quarter, but it can't reach so it targets Heero instead.
Heero's little gun fails to penetrate its D. Fault.
The other Rhino goes straight for Crowe and gets a Faiz for its trouble.
Time for more Macross.
Overkill, you say? Pfft.
One more thing from Alto.
Some place this Earth is, crawling with these things!
I'm not gonna die here without ever flying under a real sky!
Meanwhile, the Earth side is mounting an attack on the Rhinodamons.
I really hate these things.
It's not just the D. Fault - they also have thick skins and a ton of HP.
Tieria learns Guard, which cuts all incoming damage by a quarter for a full turn. (It's outrageously good with barrier units, by the way.)
By the way, this would be a great place to use Analyze. If only Chris had the SP to cast it.
Ryoma scoffs at tactics and resources.
Setsuna leapfrogs off a weakened Bulldamon.
Then he spends Crowe's last support so Crowe can finish it off personally.
Now it's just cleanup.
Both remaining Damons challenge Getter. Guess how that goes.
Afterwards, the scene repeats itself about the new Damons and MD.
Jeffrey thanks us for our help. Sumeragi sadly says we'll probably never see each other again anyway, and even if we do, she doubts they're going to earn his gratitude then. Everyone parts ways and leaves the battlefield. Michel and Ozma both deign to compliment Alto for his performance.
This fucker mumbles to himself again.
Back at fleet HQ, Mishima and Glass get their report on the combat. With the Vajra (and other monsters) flying around, they decide to keep their army close at hand to defend the colony. That means that fulfilling their obligation to the Earth falls on the S. M. S.' forces.
Back on the Quarter, a little girl greets Alto as he climbs out of his plane. It turns out to be Klan, who has a rare genetic condition that makes her turn into a little girl when miclonized. Michel teases her, but Alto thinks they make a good couple - much to Michel's dismay, because he prefers girls with brains and curves. Michel's also letting Alto call him "Michel" now, which is a good sign.
Ozma's been up at the bridge, and he returns to say it wasn't just to debrief. He's brought Captain Jeffrey back with him for a big announcement. Since they've shot down the Vajra commander, the rest of the Vajra should scatter and be easy pickings, so President Glass has declared the threat over. In passing, he's just noticed Alto, and going by the new kid's performance, "You're a little green, but you've got talent. Reminds me of someone I used to know." Ozma clears his throat and asks Jeffrey to please get on with explaining the S. M. S.'s next mission...
They'll be fighting under the U. N. World Peacekeeping Council. That's us! Alto is psyched to be making planetfall and wonders if Sheryl's good luck charm is actually giving him good luck.
But Ozma has to break the news to his little sister Ranka that he'll be deployed down on Earth for a while. She takes it well, but makes him promise to come back in one piece. Ozma tries forbidding her to bring home any boys while he's gone, but he realizes she's growing up and tells her to think about her future instead. Ranka thinks that she already is, and she knows what she wants to do... but Ozma won't like it. Because she wants to sing for the world like Sheryl.
Just like before, Elgan Roddick and Ohtsuka share notes on their respective teams, and plan to get them together into a new force that will change the world...
For what it's worth, in this path you get a Vernier Unit (+1 movement) and a Fire Bomber CD, but we'll be keeping neither.
We'll be jumping back to the other timeline now, because this is where both of them meet. That means we have every single unit from both of the more recent path splits (list forthcoming), and only twelve slots to deploy. Who's coming along?
- Trider G7
- Cosmo Crusher
- Wing Gundam
- Gundam Deathscythe
- Gundam Exia
- Gundam Dynames
- Gundam Kyrios
- Gundam Virtue
- Nova Eagle/Dancouga Nova
- Getter Robo
- Mazinger Z
- Aphrodite A
- VF-25F (Alto)
- VF-25G (Michel)
- RVF-25 (Luca)
- VF-25S (Ozma)
- Koenig Monster
That's... way too many. Help! (If it helps, I can warn you that all the main characters (Crowe, Alto, Setsuna, Heero, Aoi, Simon, Agaki, Watta, Kouji, Ryoma, and Takeru) all have special dialogue.)