The GRU was (and still is) the Russian military's counterpart to the KGB. Gloval was hardcore, yo!If there was any one thing that typified the initial stages of the First Robotech War, it was the unspoken interplay that developed between Captain Henry Gloval and the Zentraedi commander, Breetai. In effect, both men had been created for warfare-Gloval by the Soviet GRU, and Breetai, of course, by the Robotech Masters. When one examines the early ship's log entries of the two commanders, it is evident that each man spent a good deal of time trying to analyze the personality of his opponent by way of the strategies each employed. Breetai was perhaps at an advantage here, having at his disposal volumes of Zentraedi documents devoted to legends regarding the origin of Micronian societies. But it must be pointed out that Breetai was severely limited by his prior conditioning in his attempts to interpret these: even Exedore, who had been bred to serve as transcultural adviser, would fail him on this front. Gloval, on the other hand, with little knowledge of his ship and even less of his opponent, had the combined strengths of a loyal and intelligent crew to draw upon and the instincts of one who had learned to function best in situations where disinformation and speculation were the norm. One could point to many examples of this, but perhaps none is so representative of the group mind at work onboard the SDF-1 than the Battle at Saturn's Rings.
"Genesis," History of the First Robotech War, Vol. XVII
Exedore is busy telling him that he has no idea why the current owners of the ship executed such a crazy-ass transformation, especially since by all his calculations, it'd actually make things more difficult. He also notes that since the Zentradi fleet has been following the ship for two months now as it slowly makes its way towards the third planet of the system, they must be having trouble with their spacefold generators and are having to take the long way home. To help them in their journey, he speculates, they probably plan to use the "slingshot effect" of the ringed sixth planet to speed them on their way.What would the Robotech Masters make of this new design? Breetai asked himself. Even prior to the transformation, Zor's ship was vastly different from his own-indeed, different from any vessel of the Zentraedi fleet. Protoculture factory that it was, it had always lacked the amorphous organic feel Breetai preferred. But then, it had not been designed as a warship. Until now.
On the bridge of the SDF-1, Captain Gloval is staring at Saturn through the big forward viewport, and spends eight paragraphs basically thinking the same thing Breetai and Exedore were just talking about: they need to use Saturn's gravity to give them a boost towards home, and it's also the perfect place for an ambush to try and get the alien enemy trailing them off their backs. It's well written, I admit, but it really is a little redundant, so I'll spare you any more quotes. The only new thing we learn is that Lang has analyzed the strange energy field left in the place of the missing fold generators, and thinks it can be turned into some form of shield for the ship."Furthermore, they will probably activate ECM as they near the planetary rings. It may become difficult for us to lock in on their course."
"It is certainly the logical choice, Exedore. And that is precisely what concerns me. They have yet to demonstrate any knowledge of logic."
"Your decision, my lord?"
"They have more than an escape plan in mind. The firepower of the main gun has given them confidence in their ability to engage us." Breetai stroked his chin as he watched the screen. "I'll let them attempt their clever little plan, if only to gain a clearer understanding of their tactics. I'm curious to see if they are in full possession of the power that ship holds."
Because, yes, that's right, Rick Hunter is going Shopping With His Girlfriend.Rick was strolling down Macross Boulevard at a leisurely pace; he still had a few minutes to kill before meeting Minmei at the market.
Here we get the first appearance of EVE, here standing for "enhanced video emulation", and not yet the AI of Robotech: the Movie. And already it's blatantly clear that this book does not share the same brilliantly minimalist economy-of-writing style of the previous book.The city had managed to completely rebuild what the modular transformation had left in ruins. Taking into account the SDF-1's ability to mechamorphose, the revised city plan relied on a vertical axis of orientation. The attempt to recreate the horizontal openness of Macross Island was abandoned. The new city rose in three tiers toward the ceiling of the massive hold. Ornate bridges spanned structural troughs; environmental control units and the vast recycling system had been integrated into the high-tech design of the buildings; EVE engineers - specialists in enhanced video emulation - were experimenting with sky and horizon effects; hydroponics had supplied trees and shrubs; and a monorail was under construction. The city planners had also worked out many of the problems that had plagued the city early on. Shelters and yellow and black safety areas were well marked in the event of modular transformation. Each resident now had a bed to sleep in, a job to perform. Food and water rationing was accepted as part of the routine. The system of waivers, ration coupons, and military scrip had proved manageable. Most people had navigated the psychological crossings successfully. There would soon be a television station, and a lottery was in the works. In general the city was not unlike a turn-of-the-century shopping mall, except in size and population. Remarkably, the residents of Macross had made the adjustment - they were a special lot from the start - and the general feeling there was a cross between that found in an experimental prototype community and that found in any of the wartime cities of the last era.
Wait, what?She was wearing a tight sleeveless sweater over a white blouse, and a skirt that revealed too much.
RUN, RICK!But she wasn't letting him get a word in.
Ever have the feeling like someone was walking over your grave?They were an odd couple - Max, short and portly, and Lena, Minmei's tall and gracious inspiration. They had a son back on Earth, Lynn-Kyle, whom Lena missed and Max preferred not to think about, for reasons Rick hadn't learned. Although there was little else that either kept from him.
Wait, no! Don't cut off there!From the start it was inevitable that a cult should develop around the Veritech fighters. Like the World War I aces, jet fighter jocks, astronauts, and computer linguists before them, the men who were chosen to interact with the first by-product of Robotechnology considered themselves to be at the cutting edge of human progress. And in a sense they were. For who before them had interfaced with machines on such an intimate level? It was only fitting that they should form their own club and speak their own language-call themselves "mechamorphs." They were continually borrowing and applying mystic phrases from their Zen masters-those actually responsible for teaching the pilots the essentials of meditative technique...You'd be walking around Macross in those days and hear phrases like "dropping trou" and "standing upright" being tossed about-referring to reconfiguration to Guardian mode and battloid mode, respectively. Pilots would talk to you about your "thinking caps," the sensor-studded helmets worn, or about the thrill of "haloing" (fixing an enemy on target in the mind's eye) or "alpha-bets" (gambling with yourself that you were deep enough in trance for the mecha to understand you) or "facing mecha" (going into battle) or "azending...
Zachary Fox, Jr., VT: the Men and the Mecha
Rick and Roy are on their way to the VT pilots' briefing when Roy suddenly snaps to attention and salutes. Rick follows suit, but all he can see are four young women in civilian clothes.The strategy was simple enough: When the SDF-1 was in close proximity to Saturn's rings, electronic countermeasures would be activated to jam the enemy's radar scanners. The fortress would hide within the rings to take full advantage of their intrinsic radio "noise," while at the same time, squadrons of Veritech fighters would be deployed in a simulated attack mission to act as decoys. When the enemy moved in to engage the VTs, the SDF-1's main gun would take them out. Orbital dynamics would make the timing critical: If the fortress reentered orbit too early, it would be catapulted back toward the outer planets; too late, and the launch window to Mars and the inner planets would be closed.
The other three are pointing and laughing at Rick. To his horror, they're the women from the dress shop, and are mocking the everliving hell out of him, saying things like "Hold your skirts down, ladies." Rick refuses to tell Roy what they're talking about, as Roy introduces the new pilot to what are, of course, Lisa Hayes and the Bridge Bunnies.The oldest among them, not more than twenty-three or twenty-four herself, was the one who returned his salute. She had thick brown hair coiled at her shoulders, small, attractive features, and an athletic body even her conservative outfit couldn't conceal. There was an air of cool command about her.
Ouch. Though I gotta say, amusing as this scene is, it really pales in comparison to its cartoon version. Mainly because Rick has the most hysterical horrified reaction ever."Rick Hunter..." Lisa Hayes was repeating. "Why does that name sound familiar? Have we met - uh, before this morning, I mean?"
"No, sir, I don't think so, sir."
Lisa tapped her lower lip with her forefinger. She knew that name from somewhere...and all at once she had it: Hunter was the civilian pilot who had shown up at Macross on Launching Day. The same one who had made unauthorized use of a Veritech, the same one who had rescued that Chinese girl, the same one who had called her-
"You're that loudmouthed pilot, aren't you?"
Rick stared at her. Yes, unbelievable as it was, she was the one he had seen on the Veritech commo screen months ago.
"Then you must be-"
"Go ahead, Corporal Hunter, say it: I must be..."
"Y-you must be...my superior officer, sir!" Lisa smirked and nodded her head knowingly. She motioned to her group, and they started off down the sidewalk. But Lisa turned to Rick as she passed him and added, "By the way, I don't know what your particular problem is, but it's hardly appropriate behavior for a VT pilot to be hanging around lingerie shops looking for a cheap thrill."
Rick groaned. Roy scratched his head. The blonde said: "Creep."
Guh.Then Minmei was suddenly on her toes, twirling around in front of him. "Do you like it? Don't you just love it?" she kept asking. He was puzzled but caught on fast. The dress! The salmon-colored dress she'd picked up that afternoon.
"You look beautiful, Minmei."
She moved in close and made him repeat it.
Dump her now, Rick.Afterward, she talked dance for half an hour; she read him the lyrics of a song she'd composed. Then she had to be going.
"Uncle Max gets mad when I stay out too late. But I'll see you when you get back, Rick. Have a good mission, and remember, I'm very proud of you."
And with that she was gone, leaving him wondering about tomorrow all over again.
Jesus Christ, Rick, you are so fucked. For the love of all that is good and holy in this universe, RUN.Minmei was proud of him; earlier that day she'd been upset with him for carrying her shopping bag because the package hid too much of the uniform. Besides, it was wrong for a Veritech fighter pilot to involve himself in such mundane activities. Well, that much was encouraging to Rick because she had really been his motivation for joining up. During the weeks that followed their shared ordeal in that remote part of the ship, he realized that Minmei could never accept an ordinary man as her lover; he would have to be someone who participated in life to the fullest. Someone romantic, adventurous, full of grand dreams and positive hopes for the future - an all-day-long hero who would never fear, never say die. A special man, a dearest man, someone to share his life with you alone, as Minmei had herself written it...She was like someone who had gone from childhood to maturity without any of the intervening periods of longing or confusion. And even though Rick had saved her life on two occasions and spent two long lost weeks with her, he had yet to prove himself in her eyes. Without joining up there would have been no way for him to display the heroics she craved, no way to individualize himself, no way to accept himself as her equal.
And yet, even having taken those steps, he felt no closer to her than before. Her love had no fixed center; it was spread across the board and parceled out in equal packets for one and all to enjoy. A hero wouldn't even be enough for her because she belonged to everyone. She was more spirit than woman, more dream than reality.
As the two crafts were lifted to the flight deck, Rick could see the disc of the sun far off to his left. At the end of the hurricane bow was Saturn, impossibly huge. Commander Hayes was once again on the PA and tac net.
"This operation will be directed toward the Cassini Quadrant. All squadrons will wait in the ice fields of the rings for further instructions."
The ice fields of Saturn's rings, Rick repeated to himself.
And he had thought yesterday was bad.
When Lisa snapped "it's hardly appropriate behavior for a VT pilot to be hanging around lingerie shops looking for a cheap thrill," I half expected Roy to bust in with, "Wait, really? Uh oh..."Rick's obviously not the biggest perv on the SDF-1. We all know who that is.
As I said, the writing in this book isn't bad. It's just a completely different style from the first book, and it's giving me whiplash.And damn, those are some big paragraphs.
Oooookay. Let me just point out that this whole passage is how he sees her, not an objective description. Rick, frankly, is being an insecure adolescent. As we'll soon see, Minmei doesn't see herself in these grandiose terms at all.\Jesus Christ, Rick, you are so fucked. For the love of all that is good and holy in this universe, RUN.