Another Christmas night,
Another chance for us to make everything
Turn out all right.
We must bring back the joy
Which lit up children's eyes
Whenever they saw a toy -
Thus is the Peace which we must make,
If not for us then for our children's sake.
From Lynn Minmei's LOOK UP.

Hausthar came to much later, his head throbbing dully, A quick glance gave an appraisal of the situation - the Macross and Khyron's Cruiser were lying in a smoking heap. A medical team was going through a nearby pile of rubble, administering aid to those who needed it, giving novocaine to those beyond help. Helicopters had landed nearby, bearing the familiar red cross. One had touched ground slightly away from the others and bore the Robotech Research and Development logo on its side. Two faces hovered above him. By a sheer act of will he forced them into focus. Lang and Victor's features revealing themselves.

"What happened?" His mouth felt like lead.

Lang turned towards the wreckage of the Fortresses, his voice filled with sarcasm. "We won."

"Most of the crew of the SDFs were killed or are missing," explained Victor. "We're still looking for Thallin and Izabelle. They were in the area when Khyron's ship blew up."

Thoughts swam in Hausthar's mind. "Ricky... How is she?"

"We don't know." answered Victor. "We've only just arrived and Lang insisted on reviving you first." He helped Hausthar to his feet and guided him towards the place where Ricky laid in a heap. He let go of him and went to look at Michele's body.

Hausthar looked at the face he'd come to love. A cold hand gripped his heart as he noticed the pale face, the blue lips. "Ricky?"

Her lips moved, the voice very weak. "Haust?... Sorry I couldn't be... of more help to you. Who won?..." Her eyes looked deep inside his and the cold hand tightened its grip on his heart.

"Nobody did Ricky. We all lost something today." Tears of frustration and anger came to his eyes and mixed with those from his grief. He brushed her hair away from her face and caressed her cheeks, wishing for the colour to return to them. He held her tightly to his chest and whispered "Please don't leave me. I love you Ricky." Tears were running down his cheeks unchecked.

A small hand grabbed the back of his neck and he felt his head being pushed downward. "I love you too, you big dummy." Her soft lips met his and parted, kissing him passionately. "Can we go now?"

Hausthar broke from the embrace. "Don't get me wrong, but aren't you suppose to be dying?"

Ricky smiled weakly. "No, but it came close." She pushed him away slightly to reveal her left shoulder - beneath the burnt fabric was a gaping wound, blood slick around it, just above the corner of a flak-jacket. "That shrapnel winged me, that's all. Though I'm really going to die if we stay here too long. I'm going to freeze to death!"

At her last words Hausthar finally realised it was snowing and that a small coating of snow had covered the ground. The wound, the cold and the fact Ricky wore only her leotards accounted for the pale face and blue lips. He pointed a finger at her. "If you ever play a dirty trick like this on me again I'll..."

Ricky laughed and kissed him. "You'll come running to save me again." She smiled the smile he loved so much and hid her face in his chest. "I love you, you know."

Hausthar applied a patch to the wound, binding it before they got to their feet and walked to where Victor was kneeling. The android looked up and packed away the instrument he had been holding. "Looks like her brain really packed it in this time. All I get are readings more suitable for a five month old. She's literally living on automatics. What did you do to her?"

Hausthar looked at the body that had once contained the mind of his sister. "I panicked. I focused on my hate and set my implant wide open."

Ricky looked at him and squeezed his hand in support. "It must have completely scrambled her brain. I'm sorry..."

Victor got to his feet and emitted a short electronic groan. "Anyway, she's a job for the medics now. There's nothing more we can do for her." He walked away towards the chopper where Lang was waiting, not wanting to look back at the chaos behind him.

Hausthar stooped to retrieve Michele's body and held it tight, tears flowing down his face. No matter what anybody said, no matter whose it was, he still hated taking a life, any life. He cried as he thought of the chances he had lost, of the times he'd never had with his newly found and newly lost sister.

A lithe arm slid itself around his waist and squeezed it. "Come on Haust... Let's go home." Ricky nudged him towards the city and he followed, bearing Michele's body in his arms.

[ END ]

Chapter 13
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