A preview chapter of Robotech and Gundam Seed that was posted but never followed through, maybe an author who reads it can use it

The Visitor

Captain Gloval spoke to his crew after conferring with Dr. Lang. "We appear to be stuck out here with no recourse of going home except the long way. Lisa, if you could plot us a course home after we've recovered all of the civilians?"

"Of course, Captain." Lisa Hayes was more than willing to step into the daunting task. She turned back to her console while the Veritech squadrons finished the rescue operation on the poor survivors of Macross Island that had been dragged far out beyond Pluto's orbit.

She had been working for six hours, multi-tasking between running operations and plotting when she finally couldn't put it off. "Captain? I'm showing a discrepancy in the orbital plot. Either the planets are not where they are supposed to be... or we are over one hundred and forty-two years out of time."

Captain Gloval closed his eyes. "So we are further lost than we thought?"

"It appears so. I can plot the course back, but I would suggest that we try to get our bearings in this new time," Lisa said as she ignored all of the other bridge officers.

"Of course. Let's get to it, ladies!" Gloval suddenly barked out. It was going to be a very long trip indeed with this bad news to begin with.

The long trip back was made under radio silence, the huge war vessel listening for all its worth as it learned of a stellar war in Earth Orbit between Naturals and Coordinators. Mecha warfare seemed common, though different than what Dr. Lang expected to see in the time that had passed.

Dr. Lang had spelled it out months ago that there was little possibility that the SDF-1 could ever go home, as it had been a one way trip to here. So Captain Gloval had tried to find what he could do for his people and the survivors of Macross Island. He'd had Dr. Lang construct a long range transmitter and had it go ahead of the ship so they could transmit 'requests' for asylum for the lost civilians on a failed colonization attempt.

His numbers were kept vague, but several of Earth's nations had taken them up. Most notably was an island nation known as the ORB Union. He'd hammered out a vague agreement for the 'Natural' civilians to be released to immigrate to ORB once the SDF-1 had reached Earth orbit, which was only a few days away finally.

The PLANT and Earth nations had finally picked up the massive ship slowly cruising towards Earth, filing a flight plan that was almost as inoffensive as it could be possibly made.

Captain Gloval was sitting on the bridge, going over the changes to his command. The civilian housing deep within the main hull that only looked like it wasn't crowded. The long thought-out reconfiguration sequence to possibly use the main cannon and the fully replenished Veritech squadron left him feeling moderately well on the SDF-1 defending itself.

It had been a long year, but at least no alien armadas had shown up.

"Captain! We are detecting an emergency transmission from PLANTS. It appears that they have detected that the wreckage of Junius-7 is set to de-orbit and impact Earth!" Lisa Hayes called out.

Claudia Grant narrowed her eyes as she went over the computer, calculating trajectories. "It could hit in the Pacific Ocean, Australia and even Japan." And would impact their first planned destination of ORB went without saying.

"Has Earth or PLANT stated their plan to destroy it?" Captain Gloval asked.

"PLANT is sending a demolition team to attempt to destroy it!" Lisa replied.

"That doesn't sound very confident. Claudia, can we plot an intercept course and firing solution?" At Claudia's nod, he continued. "Issue a bombardment warning to any ships near the wreckage of Junius-7," Captain Gloval ordered. "Lisa, prepare for long range rail gun and missile bombardment. We'll finish off the fragments with the forward particle beam cannons."

Yzak Joule looked shocked. "They said what?" he said to his ship's captain.

"That the SDF-1 has issued a long range bombardment warning. They are going to try to destroy it with missiles and cannon fire," the captain explained.

"I thought you said only the Minerva was within range to provide assistance?" the veteran of the last war asked suspiciously.

"I thought so too, but they claim they are going to fire even before we get there."

Yzak just sneered. "Sure, let that 'colony' ship try its best."

"Cycling rail cannons one through four at highest rate of fire. Preparing to launch cruise missile ten through twenty," Lisa Hayes called out as the bridge bunnies worked efficiently in the background.

The forward armatures tracked even as the four long barrels aimed carefully. Thundering silently, half-ton slugs of jacketed steel rounds streamed at high speed towards Junius-7. At Claudia Grant's orders, ten reflex warheads streaked off into the night.

"Let us hope that we do not have to try Dr. Lang's experimental reconfiguration to try to fire the main cannon," Captain Gloval muttered softly.

The hidden Coordinator rebels on Junius-7 were surprised when it seemed like earthquakes started shaking the ground. Five seconds later, heavy megaton fission nuclear weapon hit Junius-7, shattering it like a brittle plate.

"SHIT!" Yzak yelled. "And they are still one thousand miles away? That thing's a monster!"

The SDF-1's long range plasma cannons now went to work, smashing the smaller pieces handily. Ten minutes later, it was all over. The largest meteor left to fall to Earth only weighed tens of tons, not kilo or mega tons.

On the Minerva, Director Dullindal was staring at the supposed 'colony ship' that just unleashed as much firepower as the ZAFT main fleet. "Captain Gladys, if you would extend the thanks of PLANT and ZAFT to the SDF-1 and ask if we could meet with the captain personally?"

Gladys gave him a quick side glance, nodding. "Of course."

Dullindal would have been surprised to find out that his response was mirrored on the Girty Lue where Roanoke of Phantom Pain was looking over their sensor information just as closely. "Well, anyone?"

"I would not suggest a frontal assault," the Federation captain said wryly. "Other than that... it is hard to say. I would have thought that the N-Jammers would have stopped a nuclear attack, but it appears they either weren't in use in the area or that they were ineffective."

"Wow!" Stellar exclaimed. "Are we going to be sent against that too?"

Auel and Sting shared a quick glance.

"Not right now... but perhaps in the future. This could upset our long range plans," Roanoke said softly, light glinting dangerously off his mask.

The SDF-1 was holding steady in orbit as the Minerva docked at a quickly set up airlock. Captain Gloval, Commander Hayes and Commander Roy Fokker were waiting with a guard detachment to receive the leaders of the two most important heads of state in this Earth Space.

Roy barked out, "Attention!" as the airlock opened. The soldiers presented arms as the door opened.

"Please watch your step as you enter the gravity field," Lisa warned, holding out her hand to steady the short, blonde girl into the ship who was floating down the air lock to an acceptable landing.

"Ah, thanks!" Cagalli was now very startled, as she knew of no one that had artificial gravity generation.

Director Dullindal showed his innate Coordinator qualities as he landed gracefully, his face carefully controlled. Athrun Zala and Captain Gladys landed behind the two leaders.

Captain Gloval saluted. "Welcome to the SDF-1. I am Captain Gloval and this is my second in command, Commander Hayes."

"You are much taller than I imagined from our conversations, Captain Gloval," the head of ORB's government said. Then she suddenly chuckled as if remembering a joke. "You also downplayed the weapons on this ship just a wee bit."

"I did not want to cause a large mess that might keep the civilian's stranded on my ship. So nothing that might keep them from immigrating to ORB or South America," the mustachioed captain said with a dark grin.

"Yes, quite. Someone dropping into Earth orbit with more firepower than most fleets would tend to get a reaction like that. And you even did it without lying," Dullindal noted smoothly. He sighed dramatically. "It seems I will be negotiating with ORB for some of the interesting technologies from your ship. I really should not have listened to the more insular members of the Supreme Council. How vexing."

Lisa just raised an eyebrow at that as she shook Captain Gladys' hand. Captain Gladys broke into the conversation with, "I don't think I've seen those uniform emblems. It doesn't seem to be part of the Eurasian Federation or the Atlantic Federation."

"Our past and origin is moderately unusual," Captain Gloval said. "If you don't mind, I've set up a conference room in Macross City at the √Čtoile Lumi√®re des Roses with the Mayor of Macross and a few civilian leaders here." He led them to a limo that drove them into what appeared to be a city within the ship.

"Wow! It looks like we are outside!" Cagalli exclaimed showing her youth for just a moment. "This is totally amazing!"

The conference had been a reasonable success, Captain Gloval noted to himself. It had been fairly informal affair, unlike many of the formal meetings he'd been forced to attend. He had deflected their questions for the most part.

"Director? We should probably head back to the Minerva. We still need to transfer Lady Cagalli back to an ORB ship," Captain Gladys said as she glanced at her watch. "Then we have to get back to Armory-1."

"Are you under a tight deadline?" Lisa Hayes asked curiously.

"Yes, I have some duties to perform about the theft of our three prototype mobile suits," Dullindal acknowledged seriously.

"I see. I would have to check with the captain, but we could take Lady Cagalli on as a guest. We are headed to ORB to offload the civilian refugees on our ship," Lisa said as she put her hand to her chin in thought. "I believe we are supposed to meet with the Takashima in just twenty-seven hours."

"Of course! I would like to get to know Captain Gloval and Commander Hayes more personally anyways. Do you see a problem, 'Alex'?" the blonde asked her bodyguard.

Athrun actually did not like the idea, but he could not really see a true problem with it. "It should work."

"And this is our CIC where the data operators work with the bridge to coordinate any air-space control," Lisa explained. She was leading Cagalli and Athrun through the penny tour of the SDF-1.

"Huh," the Coordinator said softly.

"A question, Alex?" Lisa asked intently. "Feel free to ask away."

"These computers, they look incredibly primitive. Most look over a hundred years old," he said, waving at the rows of consoles with operators present.

"Ah, I was wondering when someone was going to ask about that. These computers are quite state-of-the-art, straight off the factory floor only fifteen months ago. That was in February of 2009 A.D." Lisa waited for them to catch the meaning of what she was saying.

"Say what!" Cagalli nearly shouted.

Athrun narrowed his eyes. "No one on Earth could have built this ship in 2009."

"That is correct. Of course, we did not build this ship either. We rebuilt it. Please, come this way." Lisa led the way to a conference room. "If you wouldn't mind, take a seat. This is going to take a while."

"Is this where you start with the 'you won't believe me' routine?" Athrun asked scathingly.

Cagalli winced, but was relieved when Lisa started laughing. "Alex!" Cagalli almost shouted.

"Unfortunately, the truth is probably far too close to that. In the year 1999 A.D. the Earth was gripped in a series of wars. This all came to a sudden end when a large meteor appeared that caused global disasters and the loss of millions of lives." On the wall behind Lisa, a picture of the 'Visitor' appeared, crashed on Macross Island. "The problem was, it wasn't a natural meteor or comet. It was an alien starship that we named 'The Visitor.' A bit melodramatic, I know, but succinct."

Athrun and Cagalli were frowning, but just nodded at her.

Lisa gave the abbreviated story of the creation of the SDF-1, the discovery of the bizarre aliens and even camera footage from the alien attack on Macross island.

"At that time, Captain Gloval decided that regrouping using the SDF-1's FTL drive was warranted. And that was where we made a drastic miscalculation. We should have realized that the aliens arrival out beyond the Moon was for a specific reason. It appears that the FTL drive is not supposed to be used close to a stellar bodies. The FTL field encompassed Macross island and dragged it through space and time with the SDF-1." Lisa paused a moment. "We appeared out near Pluto's orbit in a different universe and out of time."

"So your colony refugees are the civilians of Macross Island?" Cagalli blurted out.

"Yes. Luckily, their shelters were airtight and we were able to rescue them, but the situation has been very grim living in a battleship designed for twenty thousand people. There are nearly fifty thousand civilians that have been displaced that need a new home."

"So they are colonist because they cannot go home. Your captain is quite tricky," Cagalli noted.

"Well, yes. He even was convinced that you would figure out that things were not normal in a very short order during this tour. And then dumped it all on me," she replied with a laugh.

"Do you have any proof?" Athrun asked seriously.

"We do have some aliens frozen for dissection and some of their mecha parts," Lisa replied. "And some technology that I know we could not have developed without deciphering the alien technology. Anti-gravity. Gravity generation (which is totally separate, by the way.) Fusion power that is at ninety-nine percent of theoretical efficiency. Advanced alloys, robotic factories that can build Veritechs within just a few short days. Their technology is really quite amazing."

"You can assemble a fighter in three days?" Athrun couldn't help but lather incredulity in his voice at that statement.

"Well, they are a bit smaller than your Mobile suits, but they are fully vectoring, transformable mecha that can be piloted by any trained pilot. Or we have standard non-transforming ground mecha for a variety of support roles in assault or defense," Lisa explained defensively.

"Commander Hayes, exactly how many of these 'mecha' do you have?" Cagalli asked suddenly. She had not thought that a 'colony ship' would have significant combat assets, but a warship that just happened to have refugees on board? That would be totally different.

"We were able to totally recoup our losses during the first attack and currently have three hundred VF-1 Veritechs and two hundred varied Destroids," Lisa said blandly.

Athrun coughed in surprise, eyes wide. "Five hundred mobile suits?" That was almost equal to ORB's current forces on the ground and in space. That was even more than any one Fleet that the Earth Alliance had.

"That is correct," Lisa replied with a slightly smug smile.

The Takashima was drifting comfortably near the SDF-1, which was far too close to the captain for his peace of mind. How the hell had anyone thought this thing was a colony ship, Captain Nortelli had no idea. Though it did look like many of the plasma cannon ports had recently been covered up.

"Sir! We are detecting a fleet of warships at the edge of our RADAR," shouted his sensor operator.

"What?" Nortelli shouted.

On the SDF-1's bridge, the same information was appearing. "Captain, it looks like the Eurasian Federation has dispatched their 3rd Autonomous Fleet here," Claudia called out.

"Challenge them and ask their intentions," Gloval almost growled out. Damnation, using the SDF-1's weapons triggered this situation, he just knew it.

"Admiral Valdwaski is demanding that we heave to for weapon inspections. He claims that as we have no treaty with the Eurasian Federation, this could be construed as an act of war bringing this ship here," Claudia reported after the challenge.

"Pizdobol!" Gloval snapped, causing all of the bridge crew to wince. When the captain started swearing in his native Russian, heads were soon to roll. "Inform that admiral that any move towards us will be construed as an act of aggression and we will respond! Lisa, sound battle stations and launch all Veritechs!" He slammed his fist on the hand rest of his chair.

That was when Cagalli and Alex arrived. "Captain? What's going on?" the diminutive leader of ORB asked. Athrun stood at her back, tense and worried.

"The Eurasian Federation are making a power play to steal the SDF-1," Gloval bit out. "I will not allow that!"

"What? You are provisionally under ORB's protection! How dare they do this?" the head representative almost snarled out.

"Unfortunately, as we have not finalized our plans for joining ORB, they are claiming we are a pirate element that needs policing!" Lisa explained.

Cagalli turned away slightly, thinking hard. There was no real way to extend ORB's protection to this ship yet. It would probably take days, if not weeks, to finalize an agreement. "How many ships did they send?"

"It looks like the entire 3rd Fleet. A good dozen ships," Athrun said as he glanced at the RADAR screen in front of Lisa.

"You have good eyes," Claudia responded in surprise.

The Eurasian admiral, Anton Valdwaski, was frowning as the SDF-1 continued to launch their fighters. Over two hundred so far. "Do we still have the qualitative superiority with our mobile suits?" he asked his chief of staff.

"Even if they are better than our Mobius mobile armors, we can still win I believe. Even if the mobile suits are only three times as good as the mobile armors. Frankly, they are even smaller and probably weaker, so we most likely have an even greater superiority than that."

"Very good. Issue them a warning to disarm and get those mobile armors out of our way. Any further actions will be construed as hostile and will be met with deadly force!" the admiral ordered. "Launch all mobile suits."

"Eurasian Fleet is launching mobile suits," Claudia informed.

"All wings are battle ready. Awaiting orders, Captain."

Gloval frowned, wishing he could see a way out of this.

Cagalli looked over at Athrun, desperation evident. If only I could protect them like I do him, she thought to herself. Her eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed as she followed the thought. "Captain, I may have a way to extend Orb's protection. But it depends on you and I."

"Oh?" Captain Gloval asked curiously.

"This is your ship, it is under your protection. If you were to become my personal vassal, swearing your oath of loyalty to the House of Athha, you will fall under my personal protection. This is part of our country's constitution." She looked him eye to eye, challenging him.

"You would accept an oath made under such a situation?" Gloval looked intrigued.

"I would accept such an oath from a man of honor, no matter the situation." She met his challenge.

"Boze moi." The captain closed his eyes, thinking it through. Suddenly he stood up and then knelt in front of her, surprising Lisa and Claudia. "I, Henry Gloval who is late of the Robotech Defense Force, swear that I shall unquestioningly carry out all the tasks entrusted to me by Cagalli Yula Athha as the head of House Athha. I shall hold in deepest secrecy all that concerns her." His tone turned harsh. "I swear to avenge without mercy attacks upon her and the shedding of the blood of her people. And should my life be needed for this vengeance, I shall lay down my life without a moment's hesitation."

Cagalli gulped nervously. "I hereby accept you oath, with my own oath to you. That I shall never forsake you and yours, that I will protect and avenge you under my justice. This I swear under the witness of the goddess Haumea."

Captain Gloval stood up, then bowed. "Unfortunately, I only know that type of personal oath. Now, Lady Athha, what would you have me do?"

"Open a channel to the Eurasian fleet commander. Tell him it is from Representative Cagalli Yula Athha and concerns his starting a war with Orb." Cagalli gripped her fist tightly. Was she acting impudently?

"On the main screen," Kim Young called out.

"Athha, what the hell is this about starting a war with Orb?" Admiral Anton Valdwaski almost shouted.

"This captain and his ship are under my personal protection. On my honor, an attack against the SDF-1 will be treated as an attack on my personage!" she snapped right back.

Anton weighed her expression. "Ah, that's how it is. Begin jamming any transmission. As I'm sure you have not informed your government of this, I'm sure that they'll accept an apology for your accidental death on that pirate ship. Begin the attack. Make sure to kill that uppity bitch." He cut the transmission.

"THAT BASTARD!" she screamed out.

"Do you want that pitzock and his fleet killed, my lady?" Gloval asked grimly.

"As much as it would personally please me, starting an all out war with the Eurasian Federation is not on my agenda. Defend yourself and this ship with all do ability, but extract us to Orb's territory." The young noble woman was seething at the deathly insult visited upon her.

Athrun narrowed his eyes in thought. Captain Gloval seemed very sure that the SDF-1 could take on that whole fleet and win. And he was the only one here not operating totally in the dark.

"Order all wings to defend the SDF-1 as we withdraw. Claudia, prepare to immediately land within the Orb Union. For the insult against my liege, blow that command ship out of space," he snarled.

"All fighters, weapons free and defend the ship!" Lisa called out.

Behind her, Claudia started to issue orders to the CIC. "All hands, prepare for immediate reentry. Target the Agamemnon-class carrier. Full barrage!"

Dagger-L mobile suits rushed forward, firing their light beam cannons at the atmospheric fighters, expecting to duplicate what ZAFT had down to their mobile armors in the last war. They had an inkling of their current problem when every single one of them missed.

"All right, boys, let's show these clunkers what it means to mess with us. Skull Squadron, break and attack!" Roy Fokker called out. True to his words, he streaked off at high speed and fired his complement of twenty missiles into the oncoming swarm of mobile suits.

They were suddenly busy trying to shoot down missiles as quickly as possible to really note what was going on.

"Got ya, sucker!" an EF mobile suit pilot said as he was lining up his shot on the red-striped fighter.

Rick suddenly grabbed the Guardian mode control, and then retro-thrusted backwards, forcing the Dagger-L to miss. "Not today!"

"What? Those things are mobile suits?" the hapless pilot managed to get out just before Rick perforated him with depleted uranium jacketed cannon rounds.

On the bridge of the Peter the Great, Admiral Valdwaski heard that and paled, as that meant he'd just attacked a numerically and technologically superior foe that had a ship with the firepower of a battle fleet. He was just opening his mouth to order a barrage when the sensor operator on his bridge yelled out, "The SDF-1 is firing on us!"

The carrier managed to dodge the first of three shots, but the next six particle beam cannon shots slammed home, crumpling the front of his ship. The barrage continued until all that was left was an air-bleeding wreck that exploded under the attack.

The SDF-1 was moving even while attacking, powering fast towards Earth. The mobile suits and Veritechs were swirling around the ship in a blindingly fast series of attacks and counterattacks.

"Captain? Don't we have to recover your mobile suits soon?" Cagalli looked worried.

"No, they are fine out there. They are able to reenter the atmosphere on their own. Only the heavily damaged ones will need assisted reentry," Gloval explained.

"And unless they are critically damaged, they can just land on the upper structure of the SDF-1." Lisa looked pleased with the results of the battle. Only six Veritechs had been lost for thirty-six mobile suits, though she was sure in her own mind that it was mostly surprise on their side this time that gave them such a killing ratio.

The Eurasian Federation fleet watched in anger as the ship entered the atmosphere along with all of its fighters, far out of their reach.

The people of Orb looked up as air raid warnings went off. After the losses two years ago, everyone quickly retreated to the shelters. Thundering overhead was a huge ship that landed gently only a few miles in the Pacific, a swarm of fighters giving it air cover.

It then powered up to a sandy beach of a resort for tourists. And after it had 'beached' itself, huge ramps were set up to let loose thousands of civilians as immigration officials (every single one on the island) met up to start processing the civilians.

Fifty thousand civilians was a lot for even larger nations to adopt and the Orb Union was not that large.

"Cagalli Yula Athha! What have you done this time?" Unato Ema Seiran, the Prime Minister of Orb, asked the wayward princess.

"Getting attacked by pirating scoundrels that wanted to steal the SDF-1," she replied as she strode over confidently. "Of course, they were going to make my death look accidental after I took Captain Gloval as my personal armsman."

The old politician stopped to think about what she had just said, then nodded. "I see, so their claims of the SDF-1 assaulting them without warning are nothing more than political damage control. Typical of the Eurasian Federation."

She nodded. "This is Captain Gloval of the SDF-1 and his first officer, Commander Hayes. Did you know they have artificial gravity? This will revolutionize space travel. And they have specification of a Faster-Than-Light drive."

"Along with the firepower of a main battle fleet," the prime minister said as he turned to walk towards his limo.

"That's... almost correct. While the ship has that much firepower, their Veritechs use either kinetic weapons or light lasers. Against Phase-Shifted armor, they would be nearly useless, even if they have several hundred of them. But they are much, much faster than our Murasames are." Cagalli, Gloval and Hayes were walking along and joined the Prime Minister in his car.

"Interesting. So we have things that you don't know how to do, Captain?" Seiran said as Athrun unobtrusively joined them.

"That is correct. You have a lot more understanding of energy weapons while we have only learned what we have in the last ten years."

"Well, you have stirred up the pot. Now we must fix the soup before it becomes a disaster," the older man replied with a smile.

"Ah, Rey Za Burrel. I'm glad to see you are doing fine." Dullindal sat up from his crystal chess set. He accepted the hug from the young man. "So the Minerva is back in port?"

"Yes, sir. Whoever those people were that stole the other 3rd Generation Suits, they've kept their heads down." He looked over at the chessboard. "It doesn't look like you have gotten anywhere."

"It doesn't help me figure out the current situation. Everything suddenly became multifaceted when the SDF-1 appeared." The Director of the PLANT Supreme Council considered it. "This may be for the better. I think I will let the Earth Alliance take the stage first." He slid a pawn forward into danger.

"Do you think one ship can make such a difference?" the young red jacketed pilot asked.

"They already have."

"So, Lord Djibril, how are we going to turn this to our advantage?" a voice said to the leader of Blue Cosmos and LOGOS from one of the many video screens.

"We will have to procure some of this new technology. We have a large uncertainty that has entered into our plans. If it was just those damned Coordinators in their hourglasses, we could easily smash them." The effete lord reached down to pick up his Persian cat to start petting them. "Now that Orb has announced that artificial gravity is possible and they will be soon selling this technology, things are going to be expanding quickly out of control."

"We are more worried about this announcement of possible FTL technology. If humanity expands outside of the solar system with no consequence, there will be no way that we can control the situation." The older man looked very worried.

"We shall have to make sure that we sabotage the first test of the FTL drive. That should give us enough time to consolidate our power. And we can neutralize the SDF-1 by more mundane means through Orb."

Captain Gloval stood in the command bridge of the SDF-1 again, six months later. It had been newly upgraded (again) and had more advanced computers and sensors hooked into the communication system. "Commander Hayes. Are we ready?" He pulled stiffly at his new, white ORB uniform.

"All systems are nominal. Anti-Gravity generators are spun up, with secondary thrusters are at standby." The bridge officer in her new white uniform was at her station reading the scrolling data.

The door slid open as Cagalli and her ever present shadow walked in. "Are we ready to launch, Captain?" she asked with a soft smile.

"Indeed. This should be a little less exciting than our last two launches," Gloval said through his bushy mustache.

"Two launches?" Athrun asked.

"Yes. Our first attempt attempted to use the Anti-Gravity generators by themselves. Our engineers did not realize that the supports were not strong enough. I believe they were still headed to orbit on their own when we had to switch to pure thruster lift to take off." Captain Gloval narrowed his eyes as the carriers out at sea. One third of all of the old style Veritechs had been shifted to island defense duties.

"That sounds a little rough. Hopefully we will have no problems this time," the noble of Orb said even as she fidgeted in her own uniform. "Your technologies new thrusters and anti-gravity drives are selling out as fast as we can build them."

"Yes, I understand you are even refitting your warships for that capability. And they effectively made that heap of metal a relic of the past," Gloval said while pointing at the magnetic accelerator launcher.

"And I couldn't be happier about that. We were invaded over it because the Earth Alliance needed it," Cagalli snarled. And the other families that had invested in it suddenly found it was really only useful for cargo again.

"Lady Athha, if you would please. The order to lift off should come from you," the gruff older man said.

She nodded and stood at the side of his captain's chair. "This is Lady Cagalli Yula Athha. Lift off and god speed!"

Claudia and Lisa started flipping switches as the SDF-1's engines rumbled to full life. It seemed to almost leap into the air on jets of fire, heading to orbit.

"Amazing. This is a huge increase in vehicle size for planetary liftoff," Athrun said in grudging admiration. "And its effective costs is less than ten percent of the old systems."

"And the Archangel will be undergoing its own trials in just a month?" Commander Hayes asked as she flicked her long hair over her shoulders.

"Yes. It's our first military level upgrade. I thought it was a monster battleship the first time I saw it, but it is a baby compared to the SDF-1," Cagalli said in reply.

It was a week later and the SDF-1 was working out perfectly and within Dr. Lang's specifications. It was now out beyond the Moon and ready for its first FTL trials.

Everything counted down properly and the switches were flipped as massive expenditures of energy were flooded into the Fold Drive. Moment's later, they appeared deep in space. Off their bow, the red planet lay in their view.

"Fold is successful. Repeat, fold was successful," Lisa said with a rare smile to her captain.

"Transmit that to Orb immediately. Open a hailing frequency to Mars port authority and let them know that we are inbound and should be there in six hours," Gloval ordered from his central seat.

The next few hours were a bit strained, as the Martians did not seem too happy to be suddenly 'closer' to Earth. Many of them had fled the battles and to make their own lands.

"Well, that was fun," the captain said with a glowering look at the screen.

"Definitely not the friendliest bunch," Claudia said.

"Well, be that as it may. We need to get to the next part of our shake-down cruise. Boize Moi, we have become a freight hauler!" he complained.

"I hardly think that snagging a large asteroid from the belt and depositing it near Earth orbit will make us a hauler, sir," Lisa said in a scolding tone.

One almost mundane seeming Fold later and they moved into the sparse asteroid belt with the Veritechs fanning out to find keep an eye out for any rogue asteroids that could possible threaten the ship.

"Hey, Roy, is it always going to be this dull?" Rick asked as he kept an eye on his scanner.

Roy Fokker rolled his eyes. "Now you've jinxed us. We'll probably be in a life or death battle before we get back to the ship."

"You know, big brother, you're could just be right. Why don't we run this as a possible combat Fold into a battlefield then?" Rick said back thoughtfully.

Well that's it, hope you authors out there can use it.