Disclaimer: I don't own Robotech.
Robotech: Stage Lights
Over the years I've poured my heart into this diary. The move from Japan to Macross to live at the White Dragon, my training to be a star, my trip to the actual stars in the SDF-1, my time spent lost in the ship, my becoming Miss Macross, the fame that came after and the destruction of the Earth at the hands of the Zentraedi. I've found that as an adult who's gone through all of that that when I re-read an entry I wrote as a teenager I can't help but laugh at myself. My likes and dislikes changed as I grew, or maybe just became more refined.
-From the Diary of Lynn-Minmei
Lisa Hayes was transfixed by the image that dominated her screen. Well, as much as a single distraction could manage to transfix her. She wasn't called "Miss SDF" by pilots and crew alike for no reason. Her attention was always on her duty to her post on the bridge of the Super Dimensional Fortress, even whenever she'd been ordered to take some well-deserved R&R. Such dedication to duty had made her invaluable to Captain Gloval and the continued survival of the SDF-1 as they attempted to return the ship from the edge of the Solar System to Earth. However the current broadcast filling up her secondary monitor managed to actually get Lisa to look away from her primary monitor.
Well, at least for a singular moment. Her primary screen flashed indicating the status of the Veritech fighter currently on patrol. Lieutenant Rick Hunter, leader of Vermillion Team and perpetual pain in Lisa's neck, was currently assigned to patrol as the assigned patrol member had fallen sick and was currently holed up back on base. Hunter's name had been on the top of the list, but disregarding that he'd still run off to town and had had to be summoned to fulfil his duty. They'd argued, yet again, about what was proper behavior and like usual Lisa had not ended that conversation happy.
Now, her monitor was indicating that Rick Hunter had once again broken proper procedure. She pushed a button and opened a channel directly to him, his face appeared in the corner of her monitor. "Lieutenant Hunter, who issued you permission to take out the armored battloid? You are supposed to be flying ghost support, not confrontational," chided Lisa.
Rick visibly winced at her lecture, but quickly responded with his own rebuttal. "Excuse me, sir, but I'm out here on my lonesome against some-"
Lisa's tertiary monitor flashed new data to her and she took it as a chance to shut Hunter up. "We'll discuss this later Lieutenant! Prepare to receive some new coordinates." She clicked the button to start the data transfer but it cut off part way through. She scowled at the unexpected problem and tried to calibrate her instruments to allow her to transfer the data. "Some sort of burst interference. I'm switching to transfer by laser induction. Stand by."
As she said the words though the transmission cut out completely, Rick's face disappearing from her monitor. Checking she saw that the armored battloid was still alive and well outside of the ship, just unable to be contacted or to receive data. Whether this was due to jamming from the enemy recon vessel or some glitch in the armored battloid's untested systems she didn't know, but she started to work feverishly to figure what the cause was.
Lisa cast one last look at the Miss Macross Pageant broadcast that dominated almost half of the screens and monitors of the SDF-1's bridge, including her own. Lynn Minmei, darling of civilians and pilots alike, was currently walking across the screen in a teal bathing suit. She looked every bit the contestant in her outfit, golden heels adding height and an accent to her movements that Lisa envied. The girl was all the talk in the break room and if she actually participated in such things Lisa would have placed down money that she'd be the winner of the pageant. She was friendly, charming, cute and something about her caused hearts, even Lisa's, to beat faster when she smiled.
Minmei was walking across the stage when she tripped and fell to the ground, causing a gasp to fill the bridge of those watching. Even Lisa momentarily let in an intake of breath as her fingers automatically darted across her keyboard to diagnose the connection error with Hunter's VT. Help rushed on stage to help Minmei up and she bravely walked off stage, the crowd eating up her performance. Lisa's attention was finally drawn back from the Miss Macross broadcast as an alert warned her that Rick Hunter had engaged the enemy recon vessel. She worked quickly to alert everyone else on the bridge to the action and to work on restoring the connection to Hunter. Once again she was one with the SDF-1, melded with the gigantic ship in a way that VT pilots stubbornly insisted that only they could with their mecha. But somewhere, in the back of her mind she still saw Minmei smiling at the camera directly, her heart beating in her chest as she entertained the unlikely feeling that the girl was looking directly at her…
Lisa stood awkwardly on stage at the Star Bowl, Macross City's pseudo-open air coliseum. She was glad that the stage lights blinded her from being able to see the large crowd that had turned out to see the four heroes who had returned after a month of enemy captivity. The turn-out wasn't as large as that of the Miss Macross Pageant, but it was still much, much larger than Lisa was comfortable with.
Barely off the mission and already they were being shown in front of the populace. What was really weird for Lisa was that she was still trying to re-adjust herself to the regular flow of time. A space-fold jump helped someone move through space by dilating time. A two-week jump through the regular continuum of space only felt like a twenty-four-hour trip for the inhabitants of the folding ship. Lisa had gone through two such trips as a captive aboard a Zentraedi ship. Twenty-four hours to the Zentraedi home fleet then another twenty-four-hour trip back. Four weeks had passed in real time for the inhabitants of the SDF-1 who had thought Lisa, Rick, Max and Ben all dead. Instead they'd been captives, test subjects and finally escapees. Now they were free and heroes. Thus, they were to be honored, grudgingly.
Well, Max, Ben and Rick seemed to all be slightly more comfortable with everything. They were pilots, not bridge officers, and pilots seemed to have a natural liking for such things. At least the pilots Lisa had known. Roy Fokker, darling of the defense force, natural flirt, leader of the famous Skull team and one of the best damn pilots around was one such person. It was probably fitting then that Rick Hunter seemed a natural fit for such a situation considering that he called Roy his "Big Brother", despite the two not actually being siblings. A small part of Lisa resented the two being able to have such a close, casual and natural feeling relationship. She never talked to her actual family and had to struggle not to want to shove her foot up her mouth occasionally when talking to her best friend Claudia.
The emcee finished up introducing the four and their heroism and started to introduce a new guest. "There's more to come! To properly introduce our high regard for these young heroes, we present that singing sensation, Miss Macross herself, Lynn-Minmei!" The crowd around them went crazy and cheered loudly as Miss Macross, the famous Lynn-Minmei walked on stage.
Next to Lisa, Rick looked over his shoulder, almost in a panic, at Minmei. "Miss Macrsoss? Minmei!" Rumor around the officer's mess had it that while Minmei was close with the pilots of the SDF-1, she seemed to be especially close to Rick. Lisa had listened with some attention to the stories of the two spending the first few weeks aboard the SDF-1 trapped below decks together. Rick had also apparently stayed at Minmei's before joining up with the military. Lisa also had her own first hand report of witnessing Rick, in a stolen VT before he'd become a military pilot, rescuing Minmei from the initial assault on Macross Island by the Zentraedi. Anyone with half a mind could guess that there was something going on between the two. Lisa, and the rest of the officer's mess from what she'd heard, were all unsure exactly what that something was though.
Lisa looked herself and saw Minmei, looking rather stunning if she was being honest, in a frilly dress with a hem that was gathered up high on one side to show off her long, graceful legs. Her jet black hair swayed behind her and her eyes were alight. She seemed used to the spotlight, used to the devotion of the crowd. There was confidence in her movements as she waved and blew kisses at her adoring fans, sending groups of people into a frenzy with just a look in their direction. Her attitude was just as alluring as her beauty, and Lisa found she really couldn't blame all the stupid pilots who were obsessed with the young woman.
She's amazing, admired Lisa, tracking the star across the stage as she moved to stand in front of the four, now suddenly bashful, heroes. Lisa finally noticed that Minmei apparently had an entourage, a man in a tux holding four bouquets of red roses. Lisa was feeling overwhelmed as the spectacle built and failed to catch herself blurting out a comment to the three men who stood beside her. "I think I'd rather be trapped back in that Zentraedi headquarters station."
Rick flashed a quick, troubled glance before returning his attention to Minmei. It was Max Sterling, the quiet and unassuming ace of the RDF, unflappable under the toughest of circumstances, who answered her good-naturedly. "Well, it might never happen again, so let's sit back and enjoy this, huh?"
Before anyone could respond to Max, Minmei held up her hands and silenced the crowd with that magical talent of hers. She took the first bouquet of red roses from the man in the tux and handed it to Rick, giving him a bright smile as she did so. "Congratulations on your safe return!" she said happily. And then, to the surprise of everyone around her she put a slender hand on his right cheek and kissed his left. Lisa saw Rick tense as if shocked as a gasp erupted from the crowd. As if mirroring it she felt her own heart tighten in surprise.
The good cheer from earlier seemed to be ruined as the crowd turned ugly. Fans were going ballistic, trying to figure out what was so special about a stupid pilot. If the rumors were really true and the woman they thought belonged to all of them really belonged solely to one man. Minmei somehow managed to turn to the crowd, looking just as merry as before though. "Now, now!" she chided, shaking her finger in mock chastisement. Amazingly the sounds of resentment died away as quickly as that, and people were applauding her again. To make her point, Minmei kissed Max's cheek, and Ben's as she gave them their roses. "Congratulations…Congratulations…"
The crowd loved it; the crowd loved her. Ironically though, with each kiss Lisa felt her heart tighten again and again in an odd feeling. As Minmei made her way down the line towards her Lisa tried to place the feeling. It was familiar to her, but not one she'd felt in years. She finally managed to place it. It was the same feeling she'd felt upon receiving each of her former lover's, Karl Riber's, messages from Sara Base on Mars after his reassignment there, and before his untimely demise on that very same red soil. She'd wanted to be in the stars, with him, spending each day with him and making new discoveries with him. Instead she had heard about all the amazing young scientists he was surrounded with; people who got to spend more time with her lover than she did. It was jealousy, pure and simple. But she wasn't exactly sure who or what she was being jealous of.
"And congratulations on your safe return, you handsome devil!" purred a cheerful voice. Lisa was snapped out of her thoughts by the feel of a soft hand gently touching her cheek. She finally noticed the smiling face before her, right before the face moved in close and kissed her straight on the lips. Lisa's brain exploded at that moment in a blast of energy that could probably have leveled a million Zentaedi warships.
She could barely process what had just happened as Minmei moved away from her, winking slyly as she did so. Rick, Max and Ben all gaped at her but the crowd still had the same exuberance. Lisa realized that the angle to the crowd had apparently hidden the true nature of the kiss from everyone else.
As Minmei returned to entertaining the crowd, Lisa avoided the gazes of her fellow honorees by intensely studying her bouquet of roses. So it was that she noticed a small slip of paper hidden in the roses. Carefully removing and unfolding the slip she saw a place, a time and a winking smiley face written on the paper, signed with the Japanese characters for Minmei's name. Lisa had briefly studied abroad in Japan while preparing to go to Mars to be with Karl, before Sara Base's eradication put an end to such things.
Minmei continued to entrance the crowd, breaking into her hit song "Stage Lights". The crowd started to sing along, and Lisa might have been carried away by the atmosphere too if her mind hadn't been so preoccupied. She folded up the slip of paper and snuck it into a pocket in her uniform. She wanted the ceremony to be over so that she could go back to her quarters and decide the best way to ask Claudia for help on this new matter that came before her. Lisa knew that Claudia would probably tell her to just follow her heart on the matter. The problem was, Lisa's heart was too busy doing pirouettes and couldn't be bothered to stop for consultation.