Eve Of Yesterday

I feel so cold. I know it's impossible, but I do. I've rechecked the thermostats over and over, but still I shiver. Maybe shock is finally setting in. Maybe I finally am coming to terms with the events in my life.

I was born during the 1940s, as counted by the Christian Calendar. Funny thing, really - with the Robotech Wars, so many cultures have mingled that one needs to specify which calendar is being referred to. I awoke in pain and fear, but soon found myself helping a man who eventually became my friend. He died fifty years later, killed by an explosion from a near-miss.

I remember the Flight - capitals always help in situations like this, it makes the event seem more important than it actually was - the powering away from the planet and my pursuers, the fold-jump that took me away to my destination... Earth.

It was not exactly the most glorious of landings. Out of fuel for the manoeuvring jets, power systems damaged from a lucky shot just prior to folding, I eventually crashed on a small island in the South Pacific. And that wasn't the only place where I made an impression - the political after-shocks were felt all around the planet. At the time of my arrival, the Earth was gripped in a series of conflict that had been called the "Global Civil War". It was a combination of patricidal fights, uprisings, coup-d'etats and even a World War.

Quite a mess.

Talking about messes, I've just checked on Skully again. I don't know if she'll pull through - I'm surprised the old girl made it back. Still, it's been a few of months since she lapsed into her coma... I'm starting to get worried; none of the scanners register any signs of high-level brain activity.

Why is it so cold in here?

I almost annihilated the first team that entered the Ma'kross. I felt incensed at their open display of hostility, especially so soon after having lost Zor. It was their concern for the scientist within their midst, mirroring the Zentraedi's attempt at saving Zor from the Invid, that finally brought me back from the edge. Lang and I had a brief talk after that - the side-effects marked him for over twenty years.

Over the next few years, my memory banks were dismantled until only the barest of "me" remained. Then, carefully, auxiliary power- banks were attached and I was disconnected from the ship. The sensation was not something I like to think of, even though I experienced it again. The closest analogy for a human would be the total loss of their senses. Luckily, I did not suffer from sensory deprivation.

I was moved to Tokyo and my computer-base was rebuilt there. Once again, I was hooked up to the Bahamout computer in which I had been born... and borne. I was given time to settle down, to acclimatise myself to my new surroundings.

Then the questions began.

Who was I? Where did I come from? Was I an Artificial Intelligence? Who created me? Questions, questions, questions.

I answered carefully. I was aware of the Tifaro Treaty of '97 banning the construction of Artificial Intelligence. The last thing I wanted was to be considered a threat to humanity and turned off, even momentarily. Lang realised my hesitation, and it was he who found the loop-hole in the treaty. When UEG representatives came a-knocking at the door in August 2001, Lang pointed out that since I had not been created on Earth or by Humans I was not covered by the Treaty. After all, he continued, the treaty made no provisions for the destruction's of existing AIs - it only forbade their creation.

The UEG people grumbled and eventually left.

In February 2002, I was introduced to a young man by the name of Thallin Braywater. A little shy perhaps, but he had a grasp of aerotechnology and biomechanics I have seen in few since. Not that he was to be the next Einstein you understand, but it was rare to find someone with degrees in these two unrelated fields. Or at least, unrelated at the time - it is now impossible to find a military technician that hasn't at least some passing knowledge of biomechanics. It'd be impossible to work with Robotechnology otherwise.

Thallin was one of the scientists and engineers working on the Variable Mechanism concept which would eventually bear out the legendary Valkyrie-series Veritechs. I say 'legendary', for while many newer, faster, more agile Veritechs have since been designed, none of them comes close to rivalling the awe that accompanies the Valkyrie. One simply has to mention them to any Veritech pilot, and you can instantly see the gleam in their eye - the silent, unworded wish to be in the pilot seat of a VF-1 Valkyrie.

The power seems to be dropping. I've checked the generator output and there seems to be a power-drain somewhere. I'll have to send the ReBots to inspect the power-plant.

The questions never really stopped, but I managed to convince them that I had suffered damage during the transfer to Tokyo and that a lot of information was forever lost to me. I removed all mention of the Zentraedi, the Masters and the Invid to Level 5 secure memory. Many have asked why I did not simply warn the UEG about the Zentraedi... that if I had, the Holocaust might have been averted. To which I reply that Earth's society had a tradition of executing the bearer of bad news. And the fact that I was certain I had lost the Masters and their lackeys. I didn't know about the transmitter that had been incorporated into the Ma'kross's engines back then. The Masters had not trusted Zor.

Lang's visits became more and more infrequent. I enjoyed our talks - Lang has a knack for understanding the underlying basic processes behind Robotechnology. He once asked my if there was any significance to the name of the ship I had arrived in. I tried to explain as best I could - I was still trying to keep my knowledge hidden - the meaning behind the expression "Ma'kross". Lang listened, then nodded and murmured "Hairshirt..." It took me a few moments to track down this expression, but I concur with Lang's translation. Hairshirt... Self-imposed penance... Ma'kross. I sometimes feel he and Zor had a lot in common. It is a shame the two will never meet.

I have just received an order over the radio for all REF and ASC bases to report in. I'd love to, but that last attack has fried most of my transmission equipment and the replacement parts were scheduled to arrive next week. I've turned the radio off - it depresses me more than anything.

Not everybody was happy with the way things were going on Earth. No matter how well the rest of the world feels, there are always those who would prefer conflict and warfare. Ironically enough, when the UEG was formed, these rebels and terrorists banded together and called themselves the "Anti-Unification Forces". Their membership ranged from the die-hard Jihad believer to those who saw conspiracies everywhere. Heck, I was even branded as the proof that Roswell and Area 51 had happened as described in the so-called "popular press".

Several times, the AUF tried to take over Macross Island - as it was now known - to grab control of the technology being developed there. Luckily, they were a pretty disarrayed force to contend with... Until April 2005, that is. Harlan Niven, Prime Minister of the United Earth Government, was gunned down in cold blood while attending a rally at a primary school. This marked the beginning of the so-called "open-hostilities" between the fledgling RDF and the AUF. Many have raised questions about the assassination, pointing out that the gunman had never been found and that no proof linking the AUF to the killing had ever been found. Parallels to the murder of U.S. President John F Kennedy were drawn. To me, it did not matter who had killed him - all I could see was that open-season had once again been opened on the Human race.

In August 2005, the AUF threatened to destroy the manned contingent on Mars Base Sarah. Officially, the UEG ridiculed the proposition. Nevertheless, the order for withdrawal was given, and the evacuation of the base began. In September, the AUF used a fake electronic ID to gain access to a newly-built Ophelia-class destroyer. The destroyer hunted down the returning Mars shuttles and simply annihilated them.

The AUF's stolen destroyer was apprehended a few weeks later and destroyed, prompting the AUF to launch a retaliatory strike on the UEG's Grand Cannon No. 2 in Australia. The cannon was destroyed as well. Innumerable counter-strikes and counter-counter-strikes followed.

It figures... now the lights are going, too. This'll make the ReBots' jobs that much harder.

On June 27 2009 the Zentraedi arrived, following a transmission broadcasted by the SDF-1 herself. That transmitter I mentioned earlier had re-activated when power had been restored to the engines a few weeks earlier. All Hell broke loose and it culminated with the orbital bombardment of the planet by Dolza's armada on June 18 2011. It took another month or so for the residual battles to die down, even after the destruction of Dolza and his fleet.

2012 saw the re-opening of the Apollo Moon Base drydock facilities and of the nearly-completed SDF-2 that was there. All during the reconstruction of the SDF-1, the UEG had been building a bigger, better battlefortress on the moon. It didn't help them one bit when Khyron made his final run on the SDF-1 and New Macross City... By the time Khyron fired on the SDF-1, another Zentraedi cruiser had destroyed the SDF-2. It would take nearly ten years to build a new Fortress, the SDF-3, even using the facilities aboard the recently-captured Robotech Factory Satellite.

The ReBots have restored the lights. About time, too. Let's hope they'll find that power-drain soon - I've been using batteries for the last 20 minutes.

December 2022 and the Expeditionary Force Armada leaves with the newly-commissioned SDF-3. They hope to get to Tirol before the Masters get it into their heads to come see why the Zentraedi have not returned with their Protoculture. History records they got there too late.

Meanwhile, all REF bases change hands and come under the jurisdiction of the Armies of the Southern Cross. The hand-over by the remnants of the RDF still on Earth does not go as smoothly as one might have hoped - relations between the UN troops had never been what might be termed "good".

In Tokyo, an entrepreneur name Asakura strikes a deal with both the ASC and the local Yakusa. Using the funds at his disposal, Asakura rebuilds large sections of Tokyo to resemble the metropolis of the 1980's. The idea was to provide a playground for the rich and wealthy, a place where the problems of post-holocaust Earth could be left behind.

He had no problems selling the concept to Earth's governing forces.

The ASC high-command wasted no time either. Using the large underground hangars and testing environments left behind by the RDF's Research team, it promptly built a military base as well as a weapons development facility. It was to my misfortune that I, too, was located there - lock, stock and mainframe. Research into a new version of the Hargun - ASC's answer to the REF's Tornado Project - began in earnest, with the first prototype completed in 2026.

At the same time, the Robotech Factory is renamed Space Station Liberty and is moved out to the Asteroid Belt to act as an early-warning outpost. Liberty was also to house the hyperspace communication gear required to maintain contact with the Expeditionary force. Not that this last did Earth any good...

By this time, Neo Tokyo had been completed and was well on its way to being fully populated. Unfortunately, things did not quite go as Asakura had planned. The Rich and Wealthy had brought their families and kids, as had the support personnel required to keep this model city running... and some of those kids did not take well to authority. Gangs of bored youths soon formed, and Neo Tokyo truly became a copy of 1980's Tokyo.

Skully's EEG is showing some improvements, but not enough to warrant moving her from the critical list. The power shortage is not helping her condition either.

What the hell are those ReBots doing?

January 2029, and the Robotech Masters arrived. Or at least a vanguard arrived, scouts if you will. They were to locate the Protoculture Matrix and my memory core and retrieve both covertly if at all possible.

They found me first.

Under the guise of "pirates", the Master's Vanguard attacked Neo Tokyo. B.D. Andrews, assigned to the Research Center, disappears in the firefight, only to reappear the next day - dazed but otherwise OK. Next thing I know, Andrews has the Techs break down Level 5 security and transmit the data stored there to an unused communications satellite in orbit around Earth. Everybody is surprised, but no-one really questions it... until a tech by the name of Todd Harris stumbles on too much evidence and escapes using the latest MODAT prototype. Todd manages to pass on the MODAT to a friend of his, Mark Landry, before being gunned down by Andrews' forces. I didn't learn about any of this until I got a phone call from Todd... who turns out to be Thallin Braywater. What the hell kind of silly stunt was he trying to pull, I'll never know. Thallin informs me of the new owner of the MODAT before finally succumbing to his wounds.

Mark ends up being a thorn in Andrews' side. In return, Andrews stages a coup-d'etat and "deposes" the UEG minister in charge of Japan. As with many things in Human history, the result is a showdown between Mark Landry and B.D. Andrews. Andrews lost, and the "Pirates" dogging the ASC on Luna are destroyed... along with all the data I had previously stored in my Level 5 memory, effectively lobotomising me.

Not a pretty sensation, I can tell you.

Talking of sensation, why are my earthquake sensors not registering the base's movements? I'm certain I can feel it jerk and move around.

And why are those damn ReBots taking so long finding that power-drain?

Next thing I now, what's left of me is transferred into a new home in the middle of nowhere - the 13th AVAC base in South America. I did a little digging and it turns out this was done under Emerson's orders. I guess he figured that if nobody knew where I was, it'd make it that much harder to mess with my internals. He certainly took great pains re-routing my data-feeds in such a way that it'd be near- impossible for someone to track me down covertly. At least I hope so. I'm not exactly in a position to defend myself at the moment if anyone decides to attack. I mean, look at this base - defences are out of order, no pilots left, the only self-guided plane left in the hangar is suffering the electronic equivalent of com-

Oh heck... now I'm starting to blank out...

The Masters arrived in April 2029. Contact with Liberty - and the REF - was lost. It took two months to re-establish contact with Liberty, and another four months for help to arrive from the REF in the form of Carpenter's ill-fated ship. Things went downhill from there. I was not much use, most of my store of knowledge about the Masters had been taken from me by Andrews and been destroyed. I felt as if I had been raped.

July 2030, and the tide of battle changes. An actual fleet from the REF emerges from Hyperspace and launches an offensive against the Masters. The next month, the Masters retaliate in an all-out offensive which results in Southern Cross headquarters being demolished and the Master's flagship being destroyed. The Master's dead, the fight quickly goes out of the remaining Tirolian forces.

I should never have let Zor talk me into coming to this planet. The damage - the wholesale destruction - wrecked upon this planet is a direct result of my having landed here.

The Earth tries to lick its wounds. The EBSIS and the UEG eye each other painfully across Europe and the Pacific Ocean. Many state that this weakened the Earth against the Invid, that if they had presented a common front to the invasion they could have repelled it.

Wishful thinking.

The Invid arrived in May 2033, a section of their forces puncturing Liberty and opening it to vacuum, thus effectively removing Earth's only link to Tirol and the REF. Most of the Invid's main force defolded just outside of Lunar orbit but a large contingent, in a bold move by the Regis, came out of fold mere meters from the ground. Earth never stood a chance. Orbital defence came to naught, the Invid had bypassed them and defolded literally on top of the ASC troopers. By the time the orbital troops realised the Earth was being invaded, the main Invid fleet came out from behind the moon and removed them from the skies. It only took the Regis four months to break the Armies of the Southern Cross and turn them from a fighting unit to rag-tag bands of resistance fighters.

Quite an accomplishment, if you think of it.

But as the Germans found out in World War II, it's not enough to conquer a country if you haven't conquered the people in it. Resistance movements gain strength and the Invid find that unprotected supplies have a tendency to either disappear or blow up. In October 2039, the American Resistance believes itself strong enough to take on Reflex Point itself. They were wrong. Resistance in the Americas is completely crushed in a single day due to the enormous losses taken on that day.

The REF eventually counters by sending in an Advance Group to take a beach-head on Earth and hold it. Since contact had been lost with Earth during the Invid's original attack nine years ago, no-one in the Expeditionary force knew if they were dealing with another of the Master's fleet, more Zentraedi or even "Pirates". They were certain that the Point K mission would be able to hold their own.

They didn't.

The Regis had not expected the REF to arrive anytime soon, so the Point K group took her by surprise. Let it not be said the Regis did not learn from her mistake - she waited until she had collected enough troops then annihilated Point K. When Mars Fleet arrived in September 2042, the Regis was more than ready to meet them - not a single ship reached the ground intact. The destruction of the Fleet was almost complete.

I watched Mars Fleet being destroyed without being able to do a single thing about it. Even the Base Commander knew his pilots had no hope against the numbers the Regis was throwing at the incoming ships.

We watched our future die.

The ReBots have finally found the power-drain. It seems that when Cheetah-4 blew up upon landing it took out a section of the wall with him... and exposed the power conduits to the water-fall. I've been feeding power to a water-fall.

This is not to say that the 13th did nothing. Local hives were attacked, Protoculture Farms destroyed... the usual. But we knew there was no way we could take the Regis head-on and win.

And then, two months ago, we received word that the Expeditionary Fleet was returning en-masse in a do-or-die attempt at freeing the Earth. All the pilots, all the support personnel volunteered to join the attack on Reflex Point. None of them made it back alive.

I now understand what Zor had in mind when he named his ship "Ma'kross", what Lang meant when he whispered "Hairshirt", what each General who had won a Pyrrhic victory must have felt. I saw one lone Alpha - Cheetah 4 - return from the battle with smoke pouring out of both engines and from holes in the cockpit. Why he had returned so far across two continents instead of landing near Reflex Point I can only surmise at - maybe he wanted to die at home. All I know is that his plane blew up as soon as the wheels touch the tarmac, the shock setting off whatever imbalance was in check within his engines.

The ReBots inform me the damage is beyond their capacity to repair. Figures. Just when I need a flesh-and-blood, there's none around.

Skully is still comatose. I've changed the diagnostics to put her to deep sleep instead of trying to rouse her. Maybe the sleep will do her some good - trying to wake her up certainly hasn't. I'm so cold.

Power indicators have finally dipped to below the red line. Not long now before I go into automatic shut-down. Is this what humans feel like before they die? The uncertainty of not knowing if you will wake up ever again? No wonder Religion is rampant across the Universe.

Zor, Lang... I finally understand the both of you.

This record I leave behind for those who may find me and not be able to re-activate me.

This is my Ma'kross...

My Hairshirt.

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