Chapter 2: Happy Birthday Mylene

The trip was as fun as she anticipated, since actual traffic in City 7 is pretty light with an excellent public transportation system in place from the start of building of the city. She soon found herself pulled up to the entry of the Mayoral mansion, and parked behind a limo. She sighed, removed her goggle, and let her hair back down. It was longer than ever, falling in a pink shower to her butt. As she got out of the car and approached the door she saw her mother's aide, Michael, she greeted him with a smile. "Good afternoon Michael! How are things?"

Michael stood stiffly, the slightest smile on his face. "Happy birthday Miss Mylene, it's been a little while. Please come in and I'll bring you to your mother." Michael, a very large man, held the door open for her and she went in. 'Guess I'm not as tall as I feel', she suppressed a giggle. Michael was easily a foot taller than she, being a monster of a man near 7' in height and well over 300 pounds. He took her to the sitting room and said "Please make yourself comfortable. Would you like some tea?" Mylene nodded yes and thanked him, upon returning he said "Your mother will be with you shortly." while holding the door open for her.

Mylene entered the room, it was still cozy, and elegant with a mix of chairs and couches and small tables. There was one other person in the room, a small dark-headed woman that she recognized instantly. Mylene hurried over to her, startling her with a hug "Miranda, sister! It's good to see you! How is work?" Mylene bubbled enthusiasm, as if she were still 14.

Miranda hugged her littlest sister then held her back at arms length critically, frowning. "You're as tall as Emilia, Mylene", she then smiled, "you don't look like a baby anymore, what am I going to do?"

Mylene smiled back at her sister and leaned in a little to her, dropping her voice. "Have some of your own, sis, and give mom some grandkids she can touch so she gets off my ass." Both women laughed and sat down in close chairs. They chatted for a few minutes, sipping tea provided by Michael, catching up. Miranda told her about her research, her husband and her friends on the scientific ship Einstein. Mylene related her recent break time, telling her sister about her routine.

Miranda frowned a little "So what are you going to do with your life little sis, any ideas?" Mylene shook her head saying "I don't know anymore, Miranda, I love music, so I'll probably stay in that scene somehow. It somehow seems like I've already done everything worthwhile."

Miranda smiles, then grips her sister's shoulder "Mylene, the day will come when you discover there are many more things left for you to do, don't worry so much about it."

Mylene was about to reply to her sister when the door opened. Both turned their eyes to it, and Mylene's face lit up. "Gamlin!" she cried, setting her cup down and springing up to hang herself about his neck. "It's been so long!" Gamlin Kazaki was one of her mother's last and most promising students in the Academy. His prowess had gotten him promoted to commander at the young age of 21, he was now 23. He was of mixed Japanese and American ancestry, easily 6' tall, dark hair and hazel eyes.

Gamlyn's nose was buried in the pink hair of Mylene Jenius, slowly he got over the shock and put his arms around Mylene's waist, holding her awkwardly. He barely heard her whispered "I missed you, Gamlin" and had no time to react when the girl's mother showed up right behind him.

"So what's this here? Does this mean I might have a chance at some grandchildren around here?" Both Gamlin and Mylene stiffen up and they separate quickly, eyes downcast, both with slight blushes. "Mother, I...", she looks up and Gamlin is watching her, eyes wide. She meets his eyes, blushing, and instead of denying everything she pauses and decides that it might hurt Gamlin if she rejected him, instead she says "I... not right now mom!"

Miranda gets up, and starts pushing on a nearby couch "Hey sis, this sofa looks pretty sturdy, you guys could go for it right here!" At just that time a tall figure shows up...Mylene's father

Mylene avoids Gamlin's stunned look and welcomes a chance to play with her sister. She turns to her getting ready to yell, just as her dad says "Happy 18th birthday Mylene.", deflating her. Miranda pops up and says "Daddy!", all smiles as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Mylene slowly turns around, mouth open, and takes the few steps needed to get to her father, hugging him fiercely. "Thank you daddy." she says, brimming over with happiness.

Max Jenius holds his youngest daughter with wonder. 'When did she get this big?' he asks himself while at the end of her fierce hug. He smiles broadly saying "My little girl, how big you are", straining a little under her weight. Maxmillian Jenius is an older man with black hair, wearing a fleet officer uniform. The commander of the fleet, Maxmillian Jenius. Fifty-Six years of age, Max Jenius was one of those men that kept getting sexier as he got older. His eyes seemed sharper, his look more rugged than a younger max. His hair lightly peppered with grey, making him seem distinguished, the lines at his eyes in his mouth seemed to add character rather than make him look old. Add to that the way he moved, confident and sure, with his trim 6 feet of height, and you could figure out why Mayor Millia Jenius never truly let him go.

Max notices the way the young man in the room was watching the scene, eyes following one person only, his youngest daughter. Gamlin Kizaki is a war orphan, one of many you will find. He was raised in a state orphanage and decided he wanted to be a pilot from watching the fighters fly overhead. In the military academy he was a model recruit, but in active service his idealism surfaced, he wasn't attached to the military as much as his own idea of the military. His perfect assignment was with Diamond Force, an elite team meant to protect the civilian population. It suited his idealism well. Max thought him to be an excellent soldier, and a perfect gentleman. Shy and rather clumsy, easy to embarass on the ground, he is a ferocious, confident and deadly pilot in his fighter, with an encyclodepic knowledge of flying.

Suddenly, the lady in his arms is replaced by his older daughter Miranda, she is gentler by far giving him a kiss on the cheek and a 'love you daddy'.

After hugging her father Mylene turns to her mother, with a questioning look. Seeing the answer she wanted in her eyes, she slowly embraces her mother, then releases her. "Hi mommy, thanks." Millia's eyes soften greatly, and she hugs her daughter back "I Love you, my little girl" she whispers to her before she leaves. Shortly after she receives a small hug from Miranda as well. Millia thought briefly 'Yes, culture is good'.

When Millia was made, a female clone made for combat, her life's ambition was to be remembered and a glorious death. Her people were devoid of song, dance, and culture other than combat, and the people of Earth had given back to them. Now she had 7 beautiful daughters, and although sometimes she lost sight of it, she knew in her heart that they were what made her life worthwhile. 7 strong women with part of her, and part of...her eyes catch Max's for just an instant, words that only lovers can express flash between them in an instant, words of gratitude and love...and part of him. Millia Farina Jenius, famous fighter ace, mayor, mother, and wife took her husbands hand, glad that the journey had brought them back together again. These two girls represented everything that was really worthwhile, if she could remember it.

Michael, at the door, discretely waited for things to settle down, then he announced "Lunch is ready, everyone, in the small dining hall." He smiled and faded back, to let the family be a family.

Everyone slowly filtered to the small dining hall, one meant for the family living here and not for formal occasions. It was still nicely appointed, but the seating capacity was limited to about 12. Sitting at one end of the table were 8 chairs and five place settings, little birthday hats in the center of the plates and party favors to the sides and front. Sitting at the other end of the table was a modest birthday cake, frosted in pink and red, reading 'Happy 18th Birthday Mylene'. Mylene, coming in with her sister, immediately stopped and said "Oh, MOM. Don't you think I'm getting too old for this?"

Her mom chuckled, along with everyone else, and said "Mylene sweetie, let your mom have one last birthday party with her little girl, before I let you go." Mylene looked at her mom, the storm cloud over her head dissipating, her mother's words echoing in her head. "Um, sure mom, ok" she said. Her mother smiled and took her hand "Birthday girls sit at the head of the table!" and pulled her to the head seat and sat her down. Her parents sat on her right, mom first. Her sister and then Gamlin to her left.

Mom made everyone put on party hats and then blow buzzers and make noise when I blew out that fire hazard of a cake. Then we sat down for a meal, one of my favorite foods: Jagersnitzel, potato dumplings, with mushrooms and mushroom gravy. With so many Japanese, Zentradi and Americans on this ship, good German food was difficult to find, but Daddy had connections, and mommy had a good cook on staff.

She watched her parents be closer than she could recall, even before the launch of the fleet. It was almost like they were dating. Her sister appeared to be watching them as well, a small smile on her face. Gamlin, she looked at him, he was watching her. She blushed slightly and looked back to her plate. She didn't know what to do with him, after the protodevlin had been 'defeated' he had been a busy man, helping with the evacuation of the Macross 5 survivors, then all of the rebuilt diamond force was loaned to them on their planet of 'Jenius' (named to honor the fleet that saved them), until such time as they could effectively organize their own defense force. He apparently must have gotten leave of that duty for her birthday party. It was nice to see him, she had only seen him intermittently after the defeat, and not at all in the last 9 months since they had left the vicinity of that planet. She heard him talking to her parents, and she snuck a look at him, he didn't seem that much older than her anymore, he was 23. He was handsome.

Growing up, she'd been isolated from children her age, forced to live in an adult world. She'd never had a boyfriend, she didn't know what to do with one. Heck, she'd never had a 'girlfriend' or any friends her age. Even now, she had made friends, but they were all older than her. When her mother pushed this 'engagement' on her, she didn't know what to do around him, and he seemed much the same. Now she was 18, people would be more likely to treat her like an adult. It has been 40 years since the big war, teenagers were considered as adults then, like her parents, because it was necessary. I guess they are just trying to protect me, but how can I live like this?

She sighed to herself and looked up, catching Gamlyn's eye. This time he didn't look away, he blushed, but seemed to firm with some resolve. They looked into each others eyes for almost a minute, some kind of communication going on. Her mother interrupted whatever it was. "Mylene, I think it's time for gifts. Let's go back to the sitting room." With that everyone got up and headed back to that room. Once everyone was settled in her mother smiled and went to a table to the side where Mylene now noticed several small boxes. Honestly, she almost dreaded this.

Her sister said "Let me start", and walked over to Mylene, snagging a small box wrapped in plain paper...was that some kind of printer paper? "Here ya go kid" she said and handed it to her. Mylene received the box and slowly unwrapped it. It was some kind of ball with electrical inputs. "It's an experimental navigation device designed to receive and locate light pulses that we are working on. It's a prototype. Hook it up in your Valkyrie and you should be able to find the Einstein anywhere in the galaxy." Mylene nodded, as a former member of Sound Force, she still had command of a special VF-11 Modified Valkyrie, pink in color. Guess she'd be able to find the fleet if she became separated. "Thanks sis, this is very useful." Her sister smiled and hugged her. "Happy birthday, squirt."

She looked up and her dad had a larger flattish box. "Here Mylene, never forget any of us." he said as he handed it to her. She took the box, unwrapped the ribbon and opened it. It was a nice sized framed picture of all of her family. Mom, dad, and all 6 of her sisters, with a 7 year old version of herself. The last time her family had all been together, 11 years ago. She scanned the photo then, putting it aside, got up and hugged her father "Daddy, thank you." She wiped a stray tear from her eye.

When she let go, Gamlin was right there, with a small flat box in his hands. "Whatcha got there, Gamlin?" He handed it to her, looking embarrassed. She opened the simple box to reveal a red-jeweled heart-shaped necklace. She gasped and looked back at him, then took it out of the box, holding either end up by her ears and turning her back to him. "Fasten it for me, please, Gamlin." He carefully took the ends from her, brushing her fingers, then fastened it behind her neck. His touch was... doing things... to her, her breath quickened, her skin felt flushed and sensitive, and all too soon it was over. She decided right then the reason her life had felt so empty the last year was because there wasn't enough of him in it. She turned around and laid her hands on his broad shoulders. Well, if he won't take the initiative... She angled her mouth up to his, lips parted slightly, and kissed him gently on the lips. It was a few moments before he responded, but when he did...the kiss deepened, and deepened. The rest of the world faded away to her, and she lost everything in this feeling, like she was in a swirling vortex of sensation and emotion. She wasn't sure how long it lasted, but applause convinced her to end it. When she ended the kiss, Mylene stayed close just long enough to whisper "Thank you Gamlin" in his ear.

"About time something like that happened, you two." Her mother said. She handed Mylene a pretty envelope. "Well, here's tickets for a week in the Riviera's best hotel. I was thinking you might want to spend some time with Veffidas or something, but now..." and she laughs. Riviera was the fleet's resort ship, with a man-made ocean with tides, also used for growing sea foods such as shrimp and kelp for the fleet's diet.

Mylene's starts blushing furiously accepting the envelope. "Thank you mother" she said, simply.

For another hour or so everyone stayed and chatted about their lives, and the future. Mylene stayed close to Gamlin, every now and then just touching him lightly, as if to ensure herself he was still there. Her father was the first to excuse himself, citing he needed to be back on the bridge for shift change. Then her mother had to beg off on needing to do her work, as well. 'A mayor's work is never done' she said and parted. Her sister watched those two leave, then said "I think I'll get back to the Einstein lil sis. Let me leave you in the care of that hunk you got there." And then, they were alone, in her mother's house.

For a few minutes they didn't say anything, or look at each other. "Gamlin, would you like a ride home? I'd like to talk to you some more." She then looked up to his face and smiled. He smiled back and replied "How about we go get a cup of coffee or something first? I'd like to spend some time with you too." Mylene nods "Michael picked you up Gamlin?" He nodded "Good" she said. "Let's blow this joint!" She giggled, took his hand and led him out, almost forgetting the presents and having to double back for a second to gather them. She stashed the tickets in the glove box with the ball, and carefully lay the picture in the back.

In no time they were parked in a shopping building parking lot, mostly among various types of motorcycles and some delivery cars and vans. Personal cars were relatively rare in City 7, mostly because it is impractical. Most people didn't have to get around parts of the dome that had little or no public transportation, either.

They found a table in the open air food court cafe and ordered coffees, Gamlin a regular coffee and Mylene a mocha. While they were waiting on their drinks they became aware a conversation at the next table "I tell you that's HER, how many girls are THAT thin and have freakin ass length pink hair?"

Mylene sat in her chair, her eyes growing wide, tears appearing in the corners. This was just the sort of thing that had forced her into isolation, going out in public meant being on display, she didn't have room to be herself. Gamlin noticed her building fear almost immediately, his eyes were rarely straying from her this afternoon. "Can't get away from your adoring public Mylene?" he asked, gently.

Mylene looked at Gamlin and sighed, he took her hand and said "Let's just go to my place, I promise you're safe." She smiled and squeezed his hand "I trust you Gamlin" she pulled a $10 out of her purse and dropped it on the table, and they both headed toward the door, escaping before the couple at the table cranked up the courage to bother them. They almost ran to the car and Mylene set a land-speed record getting to Gamlyn's building.

Gamlin showed her his parking spot, and led her to his apartment. She'd never been to his place before, although she'd dropped him off outside a couple times. What she saw was when he let her in was... simple. He had a computer terminal & desk in one corner, a couch, a coffee table, a bookcase, and a kitchenette off the main room, as well as one closed door (probably the bedroom she figured). "I'll make us a snack and some tea" he offered, and she thanked him. This freed her up to look around a little, she went over to the bookshelf and noticed a couple pictures on it. One was of the original Diamond Force, no surprise there, she bet that picture was painful for him to look at. The other was a picture of her, from their first date. The 14 year old her is wearing a pretty sweater and a beret, her pointed ears poking out of her pink hair. She was sitting at a table, smiling for the camera, it was set in that same cafe they just escaped. She picks it up as Gamlin comes out with the tea.

"Gamlin, I can't believe you framed this!" She exclaims. "I look...young" She sighs and sits it back down. Gamlin set down the tea tray and went back in the kitchen, he was preparing something else. She looked around a little more, spying a laminated and displayed original Firebomber tour poster, and a framed set of picks, should got a closer look, each one was labeled with a place and date, all were her pink picks. Gamlin caught her looking at those and said "I'm your #1 fan, Mylene". He sat a tray of snacks on the table then said "I'm sorry there's only one place to sit." She said "It's ok Gamlin." She sat on one end of the couch and fixed herself a cup of tea. He sat down on the other end and fixed himself one after her, then sat back, stretching out.

She sat up and sipped her tea, luxuriating in the warmth. After drinking a little more she leaned back, not noticing Gamlyn's arm was behind her. She sat there with her eyes closed, enjoying her tea and Gamlin was petrified. Slowly he reached his hand to touch her, just as she started to lean a little toward him. She opened her eyes to look at him, only to find him very close and almost spilled her tea. She resisted the urge to dump the tea on him, and sat up a second to put it on the table. He looked...mortified, afraid he'd made a mistake. She set the tea down and looked at him, then settled into him arms, sighing.

She decided this was probably better than the tea. Gamlin held her gently and stroked her hair, before too long Mylene reached up with one hand to his face and looked up at him. "Kiss me Gamlin" she said, simply. Shortly their lips met for a second time, a little more familiar with each other now. They took the time to explore the sensation, her hands wound up one on his chest, one hooked around his neck, he had one around her waist and one around her shoulders. They didn't move for a long, long time.

Finally after a time, the kiss ended, as all kisses must. Mylene settled against Gamlyn's chest, treasuring the new found closeness to him she had discovered. It had taken them nearly 4 years to get this far, but she was happy they were finally here.

As the evening wore on, they talked about inconsequential things, ordered out for some delivery food, watched some video, kissed some more, cuddled a lot. Mylene was on cloud nine, she couldn't remember being so happy in her life. Eventually, it got late. Gamlin had to be in early for duty, and the evening ended as all evening must sometime end, but on a happy note.

As she got ready to leave, she asked Gamlin "How long are you back with us for, then?" He answered "Oh, We're back for good, Terra sent replacements so we could get back with the fleet. I got here today on the Mayor's insistence, and the rest are due in tomorrow morning. I think your mom pulled some strings, personally. She has a lot of pull back at Terra, still." Mylene kissed him lightly, marveling that she could do such a thing now, "Good, I want you around from now on. I've been lonely. Walk me to my car?" He complied as he was asked, and took her to the garage, giving her one last kiss goodnight, a slow smoker, before sending her on the way.

Mylene drove home much slower then usual. She parked her car and made her way to her apartment, shedding her clothes on the way to her bed she collapsed in it and soon fell asleep, a happy smile on her face.

Little known to either, a photographer on his way out to get something to eat noticed a couple kissing in the parking lot, and snapped a picture, then a few more when he figured out who one of them was. He could spell this one said "Scoop".

End chapter Two