The Power of Proper Communication

a Robotech fan fiction by

Douglas Neman

Captain Gloval's laughter echoed eerily throughout the bridge. "It was so obvious!" he finally exclaimed, smashing his fist against the forward viewscreen. "We should have known! A boobytrap, of course!"

"Boobytrap, sir?" the rest of the bridge crew asked at once. (It was an interesting ability they had, to speak almost as one sometimes. )

"Yes, it's one of the oldest tricks in military history! A retreating enemy leaves behind hidden explosives and such. The aliens who abandoned this ship armed it with an automatic defense system desiged to detect and destroy their enemies. The activation of the guns means that unfriendly forces have arrived close enough to be a threat to us." He took out his pipe.

"Captain Gloval!" Sammie suddenly exclaimed, jumping to her feet.

"Yes, what is it?" he asked, alarmed.

"Sir, why do you say that these forces are unfriendly?" she asked. "They haven't fired on us, and whoever they are, they don't know us, and we don't know them. Their quarrel is with whoever used to own this ship."

"Their quarrel is with whomever used to own this ship," Vanessa corrected her. Sammie stuck her tongue out at her.

"Hmm," Captain Gloval said. "I had not considered that. Very well. Open a channel and let's try to contact them."

Vanessa activated a few switches on her console. "Broadcasting on all frequencies, aimed in the direction of the alien fleet."

The captain cleared his throat. "This is Captain Gloval of the United Earth Defense Forces. I wish to speak with whomever is in charge."

 

"Sir," a technician reported, "we are receiving a transmission from the planet."

"Eh?" Breetai asked, clearly amazed. "Let's hear it."

"Yes, sir," the technician replied. Captain Gloval's voice came over the speaker.

"I can't understand what he's saying!" Breetai exclaimed. "Can you?"

"Not at the moment," Exedore replied. "But the natives of the planet have a very sophisticated, worldwide media network. It appears quite baffling, as its setup seems to serve no purpose and is wide open to attack. But I shall scan their world's various transmissions and see what our translating machines have to say. It shouldn't take more than a few moments."

 

"There's no answer, sir," Vanessa said.

"Hmm," the captain glowered darkly. "Never mind, it was worth a try. Sc-"

"Captain, I'm getting a response!" Vanessa said, and displayed it on the bridge monitor. A tall man with a face plate covering half his head appeared.

"This is Commander Breetai of the Zentraedi Armada," he said. "What do you want?"

"First of all, please accept my apologies for the destruction of two of your vessels," Captain Gloval replied. "That unfortunate incident seems to have been a trap laid for you by the previous owners of this ship. We had nothing to do with it."

"The previous owners?" Breetai asked. "Does that mean that you natives of this small planet now control Zor's battle fortress?"

"We've never heard it called that, but yes," Captain Gloval replied. "You see, it simply crashed on our planet with no crew and no explanation as to its origin. When no one showed up to claim it, we took it for our own use. I hope you understand that this was a perfectly natural reaction on our part."

"Hmm," Breetai thought for a moment with his hand on his chin. "I suppose we would have done the same. But now we have arrived to claim it. That ship is ours, and we want it back immediately!"

Captain Gloval thought about the new technology in this ship, and about the billions of dollars spent renovating it. "That would be very difficult after all this time," he said. "We would very much like to keep it. Could we perhaps come to some kind of understanding?"

"Fool!" Breetai exploded. "Surrender that battle fortress or we will utterly destroy your planet!"

"The whole planet?" Captain Gloval asked. "That would take a lot of firepower. Are you sure you are capable of such an act?"

"Ha ha!" Breetai smiled. "Watch carefully!"

The Zentraedi armada casually turned and blasted the Earth's moon into rubble.

The bridge crew gasped.

"Hmm," Captain Gloval considered. "I believe you are capable of doing what you say. Is this battle fortress all that you want?"

"What do you mean?" Breetai asked, suspicious of these trick questions.

"I mean, if we give you the battle fortress, will you go away and leave us alone? You've just destroyed our only moon, a huge piece of real estate which we were quite fond of and had become quite accustomed to seeing in our sky over the last 1.5 million years, and its absence is going to take some getting used to. Don't you think that's enough damage for one day?"

"Leave you alone?" Breetai thundered. "Impossible! We Zentraedi do nothing but fight! Fighting is all we want!"

"What does that have to do with us?" Captain Gloval asked. "If you want to fight, can't you take it somewhere else?"

"You primitive fool!" Breetai sneered. "We will destroy you simply for the pleasure of watching your civilization burn!"

"In that case, why should we hand over the battle fortress?" Captain Gloval asked.

Breetai's smile disappeared instantly. Dammit, he hated these tricky conversations!

On the monitor, the bridge crew witnessed a smaller alien lean up on tiptoe and whisper for a few moments into the ear of his commander, whose face grew more enraged with every word. "Enough!" Breetai finally shouted. "Very well, it seems we're a busy fleet and we've got things to do! I guess it's your lucky day! You have two minutes to abandon the battle fortress. We will send a team down to take command of it immediately. Do not interfere with them in any way."

Captain Gloval felt himself sweating just a little. "Pardon me, but I have to ask one more thing. Are you perhaps giant size?"

"No," Breetai answered. "Not that I'm aware of. Are you Micronians?"

Captain Gloval saw that this conversation could quickly lead to madness if he didn't clarify himself soon. "Not that I'm aware of," he echoed. "But we are about one-tenth the size of the beings which once operated this vessel."

"Ah," Breetai said, "so you are Micronians."

"Well, I just wanted to let you know that we have renovated this battle fortress so that we can use it ourselves," Captain Gloval said. "All of the key areas are now designed for beings of our size. I only mention this because if you are the same size as the original inhabitants, you might find this to be a bit of a problem."

Breetai clenched his fists and grit his teeth, growling.

"We'll have to micronize some of our soldiers," Exedore said. "I'll go with them to supervise."

"Very well," Breetai fumed. "So be it." He cut the communication.

"Gosh!" Sammie exclaimed. "And not even a 'Thank you.'"

 

One hour later, Captain Gloval (ret.), along with the entire crew of the SDF-1 and the citizens of Macross Island, watched sadly as the renovated alien battle fortress was flown back into the sky by its original owners (so they claimed) and disappeared back into space.

Dr. Lang had asked the aliens if they would at least explain the origins of the ship and its reason for crash landing. But the one he had asked, Exedore, had briefly consulted his translation manual before telling him, very succinctly, to fuck off.

In the east, the huge, roundish pile of expanding rubble which had recently been the moon rose over the horizon. It wasn't quite as romantic, but at least everyone got to live.

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