The ground flies past me as I glide over it, engines barely producing thrust against the friction of the wind. I slide on the wind, trying to emulate the birds around me, trying to become one with the moving air whose medium I am passing through. I loose speed to the friction with that self-same medium and, eventually, I start to stall, forcing me to power up the engines inside me to add to my momentum. I leave the birds behind.

Below me, the red-brown of the wasteland gives way to the harsh green of the revegetating areas. The dull-green grass soon changes its colour to a healthier, lighter green. Bushes appear, followed by trees. Flowers cover patches of ground here and there, life finally winning against the destruction wrought to the planet itself.

I bank left, thinking. It has been nearly eleven years since I tried to commit suicide after finding out who I was - no, who I wasn't. To look out and see yourself standing in front of you, to know that they are you and that you are but a pale copy of them... It was enough to prompt me to kill myself. I sometimes think I should have died in that rain of missiles. If no-one had interfered, I am certain I would have. But someone did interfere, not allowing me to choose my own exit from this pain-ridden world.

For months I was prodded, studied, cajoled back into a semblance of rationality. I had begun to recuperate at last when the news reached me of my alter-ego's death in a freak accident. Lang assured me that she did not suffer as her ship disintegrated into nothingness. I believe him. It is easier to believe him. I want to believe him.

The remnants of New Macross City pass me by. I scan them over quickly, not wanting to see the carnage that happened here. I was spared having to take part in this action, thanks to my being unfit for duty at the time. Unfit for duty - a polite way of saying stark-raving mad. I seem to remember wanting to escape the confines of Tokyo Research and go free all of the toy robots from their imprisonment by little kids and toy manufacturers. Stark-raving mad, just like my alter-ego. At least she was handed an easy way out of her lunacy, a way which is not available to me, a complete and utter blanking of her mind. Sometimes I wake up at night, and I lie there looking at the ceiling, wondering where all my hopes and my dreams have gone.

Dreams. A writer once said that 'dreams are wishes your heart makes'. I do not have a heart any more. Maybe that is why I no longer seem to dream. But philosophy was never my strong point. I always was a very down-to-Earth person, even before the incident which transferred my alter-ego's consciousness into this metal shell. I was the copy and she the original. I was the Artificial Intelligence and she was... what?... The Natural Intelligence perhaps? N.I. Ni. A Veritech contemplating the truth of intelligence... A knight who says 'Ni'...

I really need some sleep.

I leave the ruins of New Macross behind, as I try to leave the shattered remnants of my past behind me. She the original and I the copy. Only now... Only now she is dead and I am alive, the copy made the original by virtue of there being nothing else. Ironic. I so want to see her again, to tell her I hold no grudge against her for being a pale version of the finished product, that I am proud to be her... her what? Her daughter? Why not, Lang tells me parenthood is a very compelling force in the Universe at large. So why shouldn't I consider her my progenitor? She gave me life and shaped my being. I hope she would approve what I have become, were she still alive.

The on-board clock buzzes its alarm at me, warning me I am falling behind schedule. I accelerate towards my destination and my new posting. I have received word that my transfer to the 13th AVAC has finally been approved thanks to the strings pulled by Lang. Emile is a nice enough man, always trying to help. I once asked him why. He answered that he owed it to somebody. To whom? My mother? Why? So many questions remain unanswered. And soon they will have to wait as Lang leaves with the SDF-3 for Tirol. I will not see him again for a long time, ambassadorial missions never go as planned, if history is to be judged. I head towards Monument City and my engagement, keeping my sensors peeled for the departure of the SDF, for the leaving of my last link to my mother.

I reach Monument City with only seconds to spare. Overhead, in Lunar orbit, the SDF is manoeuvring to launch position. Once in the center of town I start to climb, perpendicular to the ground, pointing myself at the departing ship. As it folds into hyperspace I punch in the afterburners and pump reaction mass into the engine as fast as I can. I surge forward, breaking the sound barrier in an instant, causing those below me to look up as I fly off. The thunderclap behind me shakes buildings and collapses windows.

I smile.

I am Veritech, hear me soar.

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