Mvmt V. A Due Cantabile (Duet)
On Thursday after class, Sheryl received a call from her manager.
"Sheryl, there's a rumor that Ranka Lee is going to release a single."
The Fairy's lips drew taut. Entertainment Universe often competed
with Galaxy Records on the charts. "I understand. I'll send
you some songs tonight."
"Good. There's some open timeslots at the studio this
Sunday. I'd like you to come and meet with the producer."
"Alright. Send me the schedule."
"See you then. And don't forget to send me the songs."
"Of course. Goodbye." She hung up and pocketed the
phone. With a burst of speed, she wheeled her way to the upper
practice deck. The acrobatic team was preparing for their drills.
"Everyone double check their batteries before launch!" reminded
Alto. When the door closed with a metallic clang, he turned in
her direction and grinned widely. "Yo, Sheryl, you here to watch?"
She sighed. "Actually, I'm supposed to be here."
"Eh?!" exclaimed Alto in surprise. "What in space are you talking
"Mr. Neumann said that I should train with you guys as a backup,"
explained Sheryl glumly. "With his recommendation, Mr. Bernard
added me to the roster."
Luca checked his computer and paled. "She's right."
"What the...? This can't be happening!" Alto pulled out his
phone and hurriedly punched in the director's number. "Hello,
this is Saotome. Sheryl's here."
He walked away from the group. Sheryl strained to hear the
conversation and heard a few sentences. "What? I don't
think that's a good idea. But I'm the captain! Don't I have
a say in this? Even if she's just backup, she's still a
first-year. What talent? Have you ever seen her fly?
Her scores were good? Are you sure? Ok, ok... She's
in... for now. I have to see for myself. Yeah, yeah... Bye."
An annoyed expression marred his usually pretty face. He
grumbled, "Bernard wants you to train with the team so that you'll be
on it officially next year."
Luca's jaw dropped. When he regained his composure, he asked,
"Alto, who'll be captain next year?"
Alto looked at him with pity. "You."
Luca bowed his head and held it between his hands. His worst fear
had come true.
"No, I can't! What if I mess up? Your fans will hate you!"
"You can do it and you won't mess up! You've already proven it in
camp!" argued Ranka.
"That... that was just, you know... private... We're talking
about lots and lots of people! Everyone on the planet will hear
it!" Robin spread her hands as if she were carrying the weight of
"And why not? Your music is beautiful, Robin!"
The contralto stared at the composition that she was working on.
"It's not... it still needs a lot of work. It's no good."
Without warning, Ranka yanked the composition and ripped it in two.
"Hey!" yelled Robin as she stood up with tears brimming in her
eyes. "Why'd you do that?"
Ranka looked at her friend sadly and hugged her. "I'm
sorry. Even though you said it wasn't good, it still hurt you
when I tore it. You probably have it memorized, but you needed to
write it down. That was your way of expressing your music.
But is it really enough just write it and not perform for anyone?
After camp, I don't think so. You didn't even have a score when
you conducted your own piece, so I know you can perform from your
heart. That's why; I want to give you a chance. Won't you
make music with me?"
Robin pulled away from Ranka and stared at the torn sheets on the table
for several seconds. Slowly, her hand moved the pieces of paper
together until the torn edges matched like a jigsaw puzzle. Then
she sat down and stared at it.
The quarter-meltran tried one more time. "After you finished
conducting, one of my friends thought that it sounded like a
journey. It's about being unsure of yourself and then gathering
enough courage to start. It's about forging ahead and discovering
life and along the way, discovering love. It's about traveling
together and finding happiness."
Robin murmured softly, "Your friend understood that much?"
"Yes, but if you hadn't performed it that night, she wouldn't have
understood. I thought you realized it before, so please remember
what you said when you and I played with Brera."
The contralto lifted her face and her eyes looked far into the
distance. "That music is meant to be shared..." She paused
and asked, "Your friend... did she really like it?"
"Yes. She was very happy. Don't you see? Your music
can convey your feelings and thoughts. If you don't show your
music, how will she know?"
Robin looked at her suspiciously with narrowed eyes. "Why do I
get the feeling that you know who I like?"
The quarter-meltran grimaced inwardly. In her effort to convince
Robin, she had been careless. Drawing on her acting skills to
salvage the situation, she inquired innocently, "Oh? It's someone
The contralto replied impatiently, "Yes, it's C---" Then she
snapped her mouth so abruptly that her teeth clicked. She glared
at Ranka for a few moments before speaking slowly as if she were
restraining herself from yelling at her, "You almost had me
fooled... Who would've thought that you could be so crafty?
You almost made me tell!"
Ranka said placatingly, "I'm sorry. You don't need to tell me if
you don't want to. But it doesn't matter whether I know or
not. All I'm saying is that if you can't face her directly, then
you should play your music. Let it reach her heart until the day
she returns your feelings."
The contralto turned her face away. "It may never reach her."
At that moment, the sound of approaching footsteps caught their
attention. In unison, they turned to face the newcomer.
Chloe waved. "Hi Ranka, Robin! Ranka, do you some time
right now? I'm ready to show you my dance."
"Yes! I'd love to see it! Can Robin come too?"
"Sure!" replied Chloe brightly.
"Dance? What dance?" asked Robin in confusion.
The green-haired girl winked. "If you come, you'll find out."
The contralto looked hesitant at first and then scooped up her homework
into her bag. They left the library and followed Chloe to the
auditorium. They sat in the front row while the dancer went
backstage to change. After a few minutes, Chloe appeared on stage
in a white leotard. She closed her eyes and stood still in croise
as if waiting for a cue.
The cue came when the long, slow legatos of Robin's composition played
on the speakers around the stage. Immediately, the contralto's
jaw dropped. A few moments later, she grabbed Ranka's arm while
keeping her gaze on Chloe.
"Did you give it to her?" whispered Robin in a rushed, angry tone.
"No," replied Ranka softly and put a finger on her lips. "Shhh..."
Her classmate sat back sullenly into her seat. Silently, they
watched the dance together. Chloe's choreography flowed well with
rhythm of the piece. Ranka thought that the dance matched her
impression of the piece perfectly. Chloe's movements drew her
into the piece and she sat mesmerized until the music faded away.
The dancer's performance was awarded with generous clapping. From
the corner of her eye, Ranka noticed the tears brimming in Robin's
eyes. She remembered what the contralto said earlier in the
library and remarked silently, "Perhaps, it already has."
They went onstage to congratulate Chloe. Just then, Ranka's phone
"I'm sorry, it's Elmo. I have to take this call." With that
she hurried away.
When Ranka left, Robin cleared her throat to ask the question that was
bothering her. "So... where did you get the music?"
"The library. All the performances from camp are archived there
now. I... uh... have to change. Do you mind waiting for me?"
They went to the backstage stairs and walked down. Suddenly,
Chloe lurched sideways.
Robin reacted by stepping ahead of the dancer and catching her.
They fell backward and rolled down a few steps. A tall prop
leaned over and hit the spotlight that illuminated the staircase.
The area plunged into darkness.
"Ow..." winced Robin.
"Oh no! Where does it hurt?" cried Chloe as she lifted herself
off from Robin.
"My back and my head," replied Robin as she rubbed the back of her
head. "It doesn't feel that bad. She rose on an elbow.
"Why did you do this?"
"If you hurt your feet or legs, you wouldn't be able to dance. If
something happened to me, I can still write music as long as my hands
Chloe placed a gentle hand on Robin's shoulder. She leaned over
and planted a soft kiss on the contralto's cheek. "Thank you."
Robin's heart skipped a beat and she flushed to her ears. "I...
I... should be the one thanking you."
"For dancing to my music." Robin leaned in to return the kiss and
aimed for Chloe's cheek. To her horror, her lips landed on
something else other than flat, smooth skin. She drew back when
she realized what her lips had touched. "I... I'm..." she tried
"What took you so long?" said Chloe whose aim was true because of
better night vision provided by her meltran heritage. However,
she did not know that the same was not true for humans and assumed that
Robin could see as well as she could. She closed the distance
between their faces.
Pain no longer registered in Robin's brain. Only Chloe, whose
soft lips caressed hers, filled her thoughts and her heart. Her
arms embraced the dancer's lithe body and held her tightly as if she
wanted to confirm her presence.
Meanwhile, another girl with meltran genes watched them from behind
dark stage curtains. Pert lips grinned widely until a pointed
right canine appeared.
"Congratulations, Robin," said the quarter-meltran silently.
Ranka waited until they broke the kiss before stomping on the hardwood
floor loudly. "Chloe! Robin! Are you still here?"
With all the acting skill at her disposal, she did her best to act
alarmed at the accident. She called Ai and with Ai's help, they
secured the prop back. The culprit for Chloe's fall was an
unsecured wire that ran over the stairs. The wire was attached to
the prop which caused it to lean and hit the light.
After a visit to the nurse who treated Robin's injuries, the three of
them walked to the school gate. Once again, Ranka asked the
contralto about the partnership.
Robin sighed in exasperation. "I give up. I'm still not
sure if I'll be any good, but I'll work with you. However, I'll
do it on one condition."
Ranka's heart beat excitedly. "What?"
The composer frowned and took out the torn sheets. "You have to
redo this. It took me thirty minutes to write it down and I don't
want to do it again."
The green-haired girl grabbed the sheets and slipped them into her
bag. "Why don't you just use the digipad? You're so old
Robin wiggled her fingers and argued, "You've got to feel the notes on
paper! Besides, Mozart and Beethoven didn't have digipads!"
They stared at each other for a few seconds before bursting out in
On Friday after school, Sheryl hoped that the rumor was not true and
asked Ranka for a weekend date while they waited for their rides.
Her hopes were dashed. However, Ranka agreed to meet next weekend.
The next day, she and Erenmeyer left the mansion to practice driving in
a specially modified car so that the butler could take control when he
needed to. Driving was much different from flying and Sheryl felt
that the car was barely moving.
"Please watch the speedometer, Miss, and slow down," reminded Erenmeyer
Sheryl grumbled under her breath as she drove around the outskirts of
the city. They passed by an old brick building when she caught a
glimpse of verdant hair. Curious, she drove around the block and
slowed down when they passed the building again. The tires
"Miss, it is customary to apply the brakes in front of the stop sign
instead of the middle of the street," said Erenmeyer with a tone of
She peered through the sparse bushes that obscured a playground.
Over the top of a bush, she saw it. "Erenmeyer, how about you
teach me how to park?"
The butler sighed and he guided her to park on a block where there were
no cars. When they were done, Sheryl grabbed her disguise and
stepped out of the car.
"Where are you going, Miss?"
"Err... just taking a break. I want to stretch my legs.
I'll be right back."
She walked to the building and spied from the bushes. The sight
of Ranka holding one end of a jump rope and playing with half a dozen
children rewarded her guess. She was about to call out to her
when a tall girl with wavy blue hair walked over to her and put an arm
around her shoulders. The Fairy's jaw dropped. Ranka gave
the jump rope to a nearby child and went inside the building with the
Jealousy rose in her heart and she was about to rush in when a woman
spoke behind her.
"Oh, hello. Are you here to volunteer?"
Sheryl turned and saw a middle-aged nun in a white and black
habit. She wondered what the nun meant by volunteer and decided
to go along. "Uhh... yes, I am."
"Splendid! Please come this way."
She followed the nun into the building and entered a sitting
room. The room was decorated with group pictures of children on
its walls. The nun gestured to a chair.
"Please have a seat while I find the volunteer coordinator."
The Galaxy Fairy sat quietly while she examined the room. Judging
from the pictures, the building was an orphanage. Under a nearby
table, there was a half-empty box of flyers. She reached down and
picked one to read. It was an ad for volunteers to help at the
orphanage. She returned the flyer to the box and called Erenmeyer.
"Hi Erenmeyer. I'm sorry to run out on you but Ranka called and
she needs some help. Can we practice next weekend?"
"Of course, Miss. When should I return for you?"
"Uh, I'm not sure. I'll give you a call."
"Very well. Please let me know."
"Thanks for the lesson. See you later!"
She hung up and waited. A few minutes later, the tall girl with
wavy blue hair walked in. Jealousy boiled in her heart and Sheryl
clenched her fists to restrain herself.
The girl extended her hand. "Hi, I'm Claudia. I'm the
volunteer coordinator at St. Maria's Orphanage."
Sheryl shook her hand tighter than usual. "I'm Sh--- ahem...
"Er... No need to be nervous. We're all laid back here. And
thank you very much for coming. The bad news is that there's a
lot of work to do. The good news is that you get to meet a
As if on cue, Ranka walked in. Claudia introduced her.
"Ranka, this is Sarah, our new volunteer. Sarah, this is Ranka
Lee." The tall girl grinned proudly as if she was presenting a
The Galaxy Fairy did her best to act her part. She clasped
Ranka's hand as if she were an excited fan. "It's a pleasure to
meet you! I love your songs!"
To her surprise, Ranka moved her hand slightly as if she just wanted to
shake hers. Then she pulled away and put her hands behind her
back. "Thank you. How did you hear about the orphanage?"
A feeling of disappointment welled in her heart. Ranka did not
recognize her. Of course not. She was in disguise.
Then she noticed that the green-haired girl was waiting for her
response. She cleared her throat. "I... uh... saw a flyer."
Claudia turned to Ranka. "See, I told you it would work."
She faced Sheryl and pointed to a wooden post on the wall. "You
can hang your hat over there."
Sheryl pulled the hat down slightly. "I... uh... have bad hair
today... and it's... uh... sticking up. So if you don't mind, I'd
like to wear my hat."
"I understand. Follow me and I'll give you a quick tour."
While Claudia showed her the various rooms in the orphanage, the
Fairy's mind returned to her original mission. What was her
relationship to Ranka?
They entered a dirty room with peeling wallpaper. Ranka was
applying glue to a wall.
"The west and south walls of this room were destroyed during the
battle. It was repaired recently and we're putting up the
wallpaper now. After that, we'll sand the floor and refinish
it. We hope to have it done by next weekend so that we can
celebrate a party."
"For what?" asked Sheryl.
Claudia pointed to a girl with pink hair who was drawing on the
pavement at the playground. "For Mara. It's her birthday on
Ranka came over with a roller. "Here's an extra one."
Claudia took the roller. "Have you ever wallpapered before?"
"It's not that hard."
They went to an unfinished corner and Claudia showed her how to
wallpaper. Then the tall girl handed her the roller and watched
her do it.
"Not bad," remarked Claudia as she surveyed her handiwork. "Just
remember to align the wallpaper properly. If you have any
questions, I'll be working over here." She picked up another
roller and selected a bare wall to apply glue on.
After thirty minutes of working, Sheryl's arms were getting tired and
her forehead was sweating from wearing a hat. Her glasses also
fogged up from her exertions. With the back of her hand, she
wiped off the extra sweat. Without her noticing, a hand landed on
top of hers. Ranka stood behind her. The quarter-meltran's
hand wrapped around hers and applied a gentle pressure.
"Press a little bit harder with the seam roller so that there won't be
any air bubbles," explained Ranka. Then her voice whispered
softly in the link, "You're wearing your contacts, right? You can
take your glasses off. The hat should be enough."
"You recognized me?!" exclaimed Sheryl happily in the link.
"Silly... of course, I did."
"Then why didn't you say anything sooner?"
"Claudia doesn't need to know it's you."
She asked the question that was nagging her heart. "Do you like
"I like her as a friend, so you can stop worrying now. However...
she's had a crush on me since first year. She might touch me from
time to time, so please don't get mad."
"What?! How can you let her do that?"
Ranka shrugged. "I already told her that I'm not interested, so
she won't go too far. She's just being friendly."
Then she cleared her throat and guided the roller. "Just push the
bubbles to the edge like this. That's good." She let go of
the roller and stepped away.
Sheryl turned and removed her foggy disguise glasses. Her vision
was much clearer now. "Thanks for the tip."
They worked for another hour before Claudia called for a break.
They went down to the dining room for some lemonade and pie.
While they ate, about half a dozen children came in.
"Ranka! Ranka! When will you sing?" asked a little boy.
Ranka ruffled his unruly hair. "After I'm done eating."
"Sing Interstellar Flight!" said a girl with curly black hair and brown
"No! Sing Cat Diary!" demanded another girl.
More children came in and sat on the floor around the dining
table. Claudia gave out little cups of lemonade and looked around.
"She's outside," replied one of the boys.
"Why don't you get her?"
The boy snorted. "She's not going to come. She only likes
"Tell her I'll sing some of Sheryl's songs," said Ranka.
A collective groan rose from the children. A girl protested, "But
we like your songs better! You take care of us!"
"I'll go get her," said Sheryl. In the link, Ranka thanked
her. She walked out of the room and went to the playground.
She found Mara swinging by herself.
"Hello, Mara. I'm Sarah. Claudia's serving lemonade and she
was wondering if you wanted some."
Mara's face brightened up and she leapt off the swing.
"Yes!" She ran halfway across the playground before
stopping. "Is Ranka still there?"
Her behavior made Sheryl curious. "Yes."
Mara turned away from the door and crossed her arms over her chest in
defiance. "I'm not going in!"
"'Cuz they'll say that Ranka's the best, but I know that Sheryl's the
She understood. Mara did not want to be singled out. She
put a hand on the little girl's shoulder gently. "I like Sheryl
Her small face brightened. "You do?"
She nodded. "Do you know some of her songs?"
"Only a little," admitted Mara sadly. "But I'm her biggest
fan!" She lifted her pink hair. "I even have the same hair!"
This close, Sheryl realized that Mara's hair color was not
natural. The blond hair was poorly dyed. Mara probably did
it herself. She knelt in front of her. "It's nice.
Anyway, how about we go inside and sing some of Sheryl's songs
Sheryl took Mara's hand and led her to the dining room. Ranka was
already singing Cat Diary. They sat down and listened. When
the Cinderella was done, Mara sprang up.
"Now it's our turn! Sis, can we sing 'What 'bout my Star'?"
Sheryl stood up as well. "Sure. I'll clap ten times and
then we'll start, ok?"
The Galaxy Fairy started the song with her usual concert intro by
singing the phrase "What 'bout my star?" several times. Her
vocals resonated in the dining room. Beside her, Mara was yelling.
what do you want to do? I'm driving.
My hands are on the handlebars and
I'm standing by.
Want my heart & want my love?
NO!? Forget that, let's swing and
Mara stopped singing when they reached the first stanza. The
little girl just stared at her in wonder. Sheryl winked at her
"NO" to a half-baked style.
A LOVE that makes me soar is for me.
Beautiful! Excuse me!
If you wish for them, lalala,
The Fairy started dancing in place. Already, all the boys were
staring at her with their mouths open.
In the link, Ranka commented, "You tease..."
To tease her beloved more, the Galaxy Fairy swung her hips and beckoned
with her hand in the Cinderella's direction.
me know what you want, I would give you!
How fantastic to be with you. My love!
In her tight black shorts and purple tank top that exposed her
well-toned abdomen, the Galaxy Fairy commanded attention. Ranka
felt something dribble over her lip and realized that she was
salivating. With a sweep of her tongue, she saved herself from
embarrassment and swallowed. Her hands clenched as she fought the
urge to walk over to the Fairy and dance with her. Eventually,
she finished the song and all the children clapped.
"I guess Sheryl's not so bad," said one of the boys.
Meanwhile, Mara grinned proudly. "You were really good,
Sis! You sound just like her!" Then she turned to the other
children. "See? Sheryl's the best!"
"No, she's not! Ranka's way better!" said a little girl as
she clung to Ranka's arm.
"But didn't you like her song?" argued Mara.
The boys looked confused. "Well... yeah..."
Sheryl cleared her throat. "I like Ranka too."
Mara turned to her with a stricken look on her face. "But you
said you liked Sheryl!"
She patted Mara's head and smiled warmly. "I like Sheryl
too. I think they're both the best. It's fine to like both."
Understanding flickered in Mara's eyes. "Oh... ok."
Claudia clapped. "Alright everybody! It's nap time!
The children groaned in protest, but they obediently followed Claudia
and went upstairs. Meanwhile, Ranka walked over to Sheryl.
"Thanks for helping out. Mara's very stubborn sometimes."
"I'm glad," said Sheryl. "Do you usually volunteer here?"
"Yes, ever since I attended St. Maria's. Each student is required
to do community service, so I help out here."
"Is it hard taking care of the kids?"
Ranka shook her head. "No. It's fine. Besides, I want
to make a difference, even in a small way. If Ozma-nii didn't
take me in... I don't think I'd be here right now. I didn't open
up to him at first, but he kept trying to cheer me up. I want to
do the same thing for these kids until they find a foster home."
Sheryl squeezed her hand. "I see. That's kind of
you." Then she paused as she remembered their date. "Is
that why our date is on Sunday?"
The green-haired girl blushed slightly. "Yes. I want to
help out for the party."
"Ok. I'll help too."
Her verdant locks bounced slightly. "Ah! You don't have to!"
"Don't forget... I was an orphan too. And besides, I get to be
The Cinderella's eyes softened. "But we'll be working. It
won't be much of a date."
"We don't have to be dating to enjoy each other's company," replied
Sheryl with a wink.
Ranka hugged her. "You silly..."
A shuffle of feet caught their attention. Claudia stood at the
"You two seem to be getting along," said the tall girl evenly.
"Let's get back to work."
In the link, Ranka commented, "I think you made her jealous."
"Me? You're the one that hugged me!"
They shared a moment of laughter and resumed their work.
On Monday, they had lunch together as usual with Nanase, Luca, Brera
"So, how was your weekend?" asked Nanase.
"Sheryl and I wallpapered," replied Ranka.
Everyone stared at Sheryl incredulously and the Galaxy Fairy withstood
his or her gaze. She flipped her hands palms up. "What are
you looking at? I can get my hands dirty too!"
"Are you redecorating your room, Ranka?" inquired the artist.
The quarter-meltran shook her head. "Remember the orphanage I
volunteer at? Their playroom was damaged during the battle.
They want to hold a birthday party so we're trying to get it ready by
"Do you need any help?" asked Luca.
"There's still a bit of wallpapering to do and we have to refinish the
hardwood floor. We're going to go over there this Friday to
finish it up."
"I think our maintenance guy has some equipment in his shed. I'll
bring it," offered Luca.
"Oh, you don't have to do that!"
"It's ok. I'd like to help!"
"I'm not good with tools, but I can make a pinata for the kids," said
"Why didn't you tell me, Ranka? I would've helped too," said
"But you and Ozma-nii were planning to watch a boxing match," said
"I could've gone some other time. Birthdays only happen once a
year. Count me in on Friday."
Everyone looked at Alto. He sighed and caved in to the pressure
of their stares. "I guess I'll come too."
Friday came and they gathered at the orphanage. Claudia was
obviously elated with the arrival of more help. Sheryl, Ranka,
Brera and Luca worked on the room while Claudia, Alto and Nanase
prepared decorations and baked the cake and pastries.
The room was refinished around 10 PM and they opened the windows to
allow the finish to dry. Claudia beamed happily.
"Thank you, everyone! We only have to do some cooking and move
the tables and chairs upstairs. How many of you can come at 9
Everyone except Alto would come. The actor made his excuse.
"I can't. I've got rehearsals."
"That's alright. You really helped a lot," said Claudia
gratefully as she shook his hand. "Anyway, I'll see you all
The next day, Luca brought one more helper.
"Hi, everyone! This is my Mom, Mathea. She wants to help
out with the cooking."
Mathea was a rotund woman with brown curly hair that was tied at the
nape of her neck with a gold clasp. She bear-hugged each person
as Luca introduced him or her.
"Is this your girlfriend, Luca?" asked Mathea hopefully as she hugged
"No, Mom. And this is Ranka," gestured Luca. His mother
stared at her sadly. He noticed and added, "She's not her,
Nanase walked towards them with several bags full of long baguettes in
her arms. Her head tilted to look at them from the side.
"Good morning! The bakery had a sale today and I bought these at
a good price!"
"Mom, this is my girlfriend, Nanase."
"Oh... She's rather small, dear... Is she Japanese?" asked Mathea in a
"Yes. Here, let me get that for you, Nanase." Luca took the
bags. Nanase's front came into view.
"Magnifico!" cried Mathea with joy and crushed Nanase against her great
chest. "Welcome to the family!"
Ranka commented under her breath, "I think I know why Luca likes
"Yeah, I think so too," agreed Sheryl.
With Mathea's help, they prepared an Italian style five-course
meal. The children gazed in wonder at the festive food and took
their seats excitedly.
"I like to cook, but I rarely get to do it at home," explained
Mathea. "Our chefs feel bad when I do."
"I can understand why, Mrs. Angelloni. Your cooking is really
good!" remarked Nanase as she sipped the zuppa toscana.
Mathea patted the artist's left hand. "You're a very nice girl,
After eating, they ran a few games for the children including a pinata
and musical chairs. When the games were done, Mara opened her
presents. Her face glowed with joy when she got Sheryl's CD box
set and a pad of stationary with a Galaxy Fairy theme.
"Thanks, Sis!" exclaimed Mara as she hugged Sheryl.
The party finished at 5 PM and they cleaned up. Claudia and the
nuns shook their hands in turn.
"Thanks so much for helping out!" said Claudia. "This was the
best party ever! Mara was so happy!"
"Ever since her parents died during the last battle, the poor child's
kept to herself. I'm really glad that she's socializing more with
the other children," said a nun.
At her words, Sheryl reached over and clasped Ranka's hand. The
Cinderella might feel guilty about Mara and she wanted to reassure her
that it was not her fault. Already, the quarter-meltran bowed her
head and verdant locks hid her eyes.
To the Fairy's relief, another nun added, "I think each of you made a
difference today. Her heart can begin to heal."
The Cinderella's tense fingers relaxed and she lifted her face.
Sheryl squeezed gently to show her support.
After saying their goodbyes, Ranka took her luggage from Brera's
car. She grinned widely at the Fairy. "Tonight and
tomorrow, I'm yours."
Sheryl took her hand. "Let's go home."
After breakfast, they went to a spa. In addition to massages and
facials, Sheryl ordered a manicure and pedicure combo. The
survival test and flight instruction had ruined her nails so she wanted
them treated before the next photo shoot.
They went to a fancy French restaurant for lunch. The
Maître d' greeted them in French.
"Bonjour, mademoiselle. Avez-vous une reservation?"
"Oui, pour deux personnes," replied Sheryl.
The Maître d' opened a book. "Quel est le nom?"
After consulting the book, the Maître d' looked up and bowed
graciously. "Suivez-moi, s-il vous plait."
In the link, Sheryl told Ranka, "Let's follow her."
They were seated in a private booth and the Maître d' gave them
menus. The menu was in French and ISAL or Interspecies Auxiliary
Language. ISAL was the standardized language advocated by NUNS to
facilitate communication between humans of different ethnics groups and
Ranka looked up from the menu. "I never knew that you spoke
French so well."
"It's my first language. My father was French and my mother spoke
French. I learned ISAL at the orphanage," explained Sheryl.
They ordered the chef's specials and were treated to culinary
delights. By the time desert arrived, they barely had enough room
for it. As they left the restaurant, Ranka yawned.
"I'm so full, I want to take a nap..." said the younger girl drowsily
as she leaned on her girlfriend's arm.
Sheryl giggled as she opened the car's door. She smiled
mischievously. "That can be arranged."
"But weren't you planning to go somewhere after this?" said Ranka as
she entered the car.
The Fairy sat beside her and closed the door. "This is a day for
us to relax. We don't have to follow the schedule."
Ranka leaned over and laid her head on her shoulder. She
interlaced fingers with her beloved. "You're right. I'm
just happy to be with you."
They went back to the Glass mansion and took a nap while cuddled in
each other's arms. They woke up around 3:20 PM and went to the
Protoculture lab. Dr. Jenus met them in the lobby.
"Both of you seemed refreshed," remarked Dr. Jenus in his usual
Ranka blushed as Sheryl replied, "Yes. Is the shuttle still
"Of course! We reserved it for you personally. Please
Dr. Jenus led them to a shuttle in the parking lot. He gave
Sheryl the access keys. "Have a nice flight." With that, he
The shuttle door opened with a whoosh when Sheryl inserted a key.
Ranka entered the shuttle and sat down.
When Sheryl closed the door, the younger girl asked, "Aren't we going
to wait for the pilot?"
"Isn't there a beautiful one here?" winked Sheryl as she sat down on
the pilot's seat.
Ranka's hand clasped over her mouth in surprise. "But... are you
sure you're allowed to?"
The Galaxy Fairy reached into her purse and flipped her ID
booklet. Under her school ID was an ID for a civilian pilot
license that was issued by Frontier Aeronautic and Space Administration.
"I'm qualified for up to two engine ships," said Sheryl proudly.
The quarter-meltran gazed at the license in awe. "How'd you get
"I applied for it along with my driver learning permit. After I
passed a written test and submitted a recommendation from Mr. Bernard,
FASA issued it." Although she had to agree to join the acrobatic
team, the recommendation was worth it. She returned the booklet
to her purse and put on her seatbelt. "I'm pretty confident about
flying, but this is my maiden voyage. How about you sit here
where I can see you and buckle up?" She patted the co-pilot's
seat and Ranka moved to that seat.
While Ranka secured her seatbelt, the Galaxy Fairy started the
engines. She ran diagnostics and checked her instruments.
When the shuttle was ready, she opened a channel to request departure.
"This is Papa Lima Sierra six niner two two, belonging to Protoculture
Labs. Reply to me, Frontier Control." In the past, air
controller communications were developed in English on Earth.
Space controller communications followed that tradition and were spoken
in English instead of ISAL.
The speaker on the console burst to life, "PLS six niner two two, this
is Frontier Control."
"Frontier Control, Papa Lima Sierra six niner two two request IFR to
Queen's Crater at 650000, planning departure off runway zero three."
"Six Niner two two cleared to Queen's Crater via victor three one
The younger girl watched in wonder as her girlfriend communicated back
and forth with Frontier Control in English. Since Sheryl did not
identify herself, she thought that the controller did not know that the
Fairy was piloting. However, her assumption was incorrect when
she saw a message appear on the small monitor embedded in the console.
a safe flight, Galaxy Fairy.
-- Frontier Control
"We're cleared," announced Sheryl as she closed the channel. Her
hands gripped the controls. "Let's go!"
The engines hummed with power and they lifted off abruptly from the
parking lot. Ranka gripped the armrests.
"Sorry about that," apologized Sheryl. "There's a bit of
turbulence halfway, so I'll try to keep it steady. It might be
helpful to get drone escorts once we're in Vajra airspace."
"Ok," replied Ranka. She closed her eyes and felt the location of
the closest drone Vajra. She instructed them to wait near the
Queen's Crater. "You planned this, didn't you?"
A daring smile flashed across Sheryl's face. "Of course. I
had to file a flight plan." She stared into the sky.
"Besides, it's been a while since we went there."
The Vajra escorts met them as planned and they ascended into
orbit. Once in orbit, Sheryl flew to the Crystal Array that
circled the planet. When they were close enough, she activated
the autopilot to maintain the shuttle's position. They unbuckled
their seatbelts and floated to the back room. There, they took
out two space suits and wore the suits. When they were ready,
they exited the shuttle and mounted a waiting Vajra. The Vajra
flew them to the Array and they selected a comfortable place to sit.
Sheryl sat down first and Ranka sat in front of her. She leaned
against the Fairy's front. Meanwhile, Sheryl's arms encircled the
younger girl's waist. Then they closed their eyes and listened to
the fold link.
They could hear the chirping of birds, the gentle splash of a running
stream, the rumblings of a volcano, the crash of waves against a beach
and many other sounds. It was as if the entire galaxy played an
ensemble of sounds.
"Hear anything interesting?" whispered Sheryl.
"Dokun, dokun, dokun..." replied Ranka with a serene expression on her
face. Her head had slipped down to the Fairy's chest.
Sheryl sighed. "Ranka, you could hear the entire galaxy from
here. Can't you listen to me later?"
"But it's so clear up here," protested the younger girl. "It's
proof that you're here with me and to hear it beat like this... even
though we're not in bed... it makes me happy. I love it... your
"Really?" said Sheryl, hoping to hear more.
"When I heard your song for the first time, something awakened within
me. I wanted to sing too. I listened to all your songs and
bought all your posters." Her cheeks flushed as she remembered
the day she bought the towel and slept with it for weeks. She
admitted, "I just couldn't get enough of you."
"You made me want to sing too," said Sheryl. When Ranka looked up
inquiringly, she continued, "When I first got here, I was on my way to
becoming someone who only cared about her career and music. Then
I heard your voice. I wondered what kind of person could have
such a beautiful, pure voice. I wanted to hear more, so I tried
to get you to sing."
Ranka's eyes widened when she remembered. "You told me that
opportunity was just around the corner!"
Sheryl nodded and caressed her cheek in the link. "You were
awesome in the Miss Macross competition. I loved every minute
that you were on stage."
"But I didn't win," said Ranka sadly. "Did I disappoint you?"
"I was worried a bit. Grace wanted to go back to Galaxy and I
tried to figure out how to give you another opportunity. But
after I heard you sing at Folmo, I was glad that you haven't given
up. You had a tough beginning with Elmo, but things picked up for
you after you got Mao's role."
"It did." In the link, Ranka leaned in and kissed her lips
tenderly. "Thank you for helping me decide."
The Fairy acted innocently. "What do you mean?"
The Cinderella pouted. "You kissed Alto to make me jealous,
didn't you? You knew I was looking in your direction!"
Sheryl's eyes glanced away. "I was just... uh... teasing
him..." When those red-orange eyes narrowed, she surrendered,
"Ok, you got me..."
The Fairy's gaze landed on one of Frontier's moons. It reminded
her of Galia 4. "After the movie, all I had to do was wait for
you. When I got the job for Galia 4, I thought it was a chance to
be next Minmay. As you know, it didn't work out as I
expected. I got sick and you took the role."
When the younger girl opened her mouth to say something, she silenced
her lips with a finger. "At first, I was jealous of you. I
got sicker to the point that I was going to give up singing, but after
I saw how much you worked to bring hope to Frontier, I wanted to do it
too. Not for fame, but to help as well. When I saw you
going crazy at the rooftop at Mihoshi, I couldn't stand it. I
didn't want you to lose your pure song. So I'm sorry... I had to
slap some sense into you."
She held Ranka's hands. "When you left was my lowest point.
Like everyone, I felt betrayed. But still I felt that I could
still do something... that I needed to do something. Even if my
song could bring a little bit of hope, then my short life
mattered. So you see, you taught me how to sing again.
That's one of the reasons why you mean so much to me."
Tears formed in Ranka's eyes. "Oh, Sheryl..."
The Fairy's voice rose in alarm. "No, don't cry!"
Ranka tried to blink back her tears. "I can't help it..."
"You really mustn't cry right now!"
"But I---" Then the younger girl made a choking sound as she
inhaled a teardrop up her nose.
Sheryl stood up and held her tightly. "Let's get back to the
Ranka coughed a few times. Then she pursed her lips and sucked
air through it. The droplets in her helmet collected on her
lip. She licked them off. "It's fine... I think I got them
"You silly girl..." The Fairy bent down to kiss her forehead but
stopped when their helmets clanked together. "Ooops..."
"Now who's silly?"
"I'm not giving up yet!" In the link, Sheryl kissed her on the
"You're cheating," chided Ranka playfully and kissed her Fairy's lips.
Sheryl giggled and gazed at the luminescent structure. "Some say
that the Vajra are just bugs with no technology or culture, but you and
I know that they're wrong. They don't even realize that the
Vajra's greatest masterpiece of science and art is right over their
"One day, we'll make them understand," said Ranka hopefully as her
gloved hand moved along one of the Array's long crystal beams.
With its intricate crisscrossing patterns, it reminded her of a giant
The Crystal Array was both a technological and artistic marvel.
It amplified not only fold waves, but other signals as well. By
focusing fold waves on a particular area of the Array, it was possible
to detect and listen to those signals. Dr. Jenus and his team
were still studying and cataloguing all the possible signals that could
be detected. The scientists hypothesized that the Mother Queen
used the array to monitor all the Vajra nests.
Special drone Vajra maintained the Array. To differentiate these
Vajra from the fighter types, the scientists classified the special
drones as builders. The builder Vajra had more eyes and more
limbs. They detected breaks in Array and repaired them with a
combination of internal energy bursts from their forelegs and
excretions of an unknown white substance from their long tails.
They sat quietly in each other's arms and listened to the sounds of the
galaxy. Each sound was proof that the galaxy was alive and they
felt as if they could hear its heartbeat.
About ten minutes later, an unusual rumbling noise caught Ranka's
attention. She opened her mind to the drone Vajra and asked it to
look. What it found lit her imagination.
"Sheryl... I heard something interesting," said Ranka as she pulled the
Galaxy Fairy to her feet.
"What is it?"
"I'll show you." The quarter-meltran led her to the drone Vajra
and guided her to sit first. Then she sat in front of her and
secured themselves with wire cable from their utility belts.
"Hold on to me, ok?"
Sheryl wrapped her arms around Ranka's waist. "To the ends of the
An amused smile formed on the younger girl's face when she recognized
her concert phrase. "Hey! That's my line!"
"I'm just completing it!"
The Cinderella concentrated and commanded the Vajra to rise to folding
altitude. When they were far enough, a fold gate opened and they
entered. A brief moment later, they arrived at their destination.
The Fairy's eyes gazed in wonder at the sight before them. "A
"I heard it passing by," said Ranka. Her hand squeezed
Sheryl's. "Your turn, Ms. Beautiful Pilot."
A daring smile formed on the cadet's face. She opened her mind
and took control. The Vajra sped towards the comet. "How
close do you want to be?"
"As close as you're comfortable with."
"Be careful what you ask for!" replied Sheryl as the Vajra dodged the
comet's trailing debris. She probed the Vajra's senses and felt
the pressure exerted by the comet's velocity on its carapace.
Their approach would be easier if they avoided the high-pressure areas.
She guided the Vajra carefully until they landed on the comet
itself. With her fingers held up in victory, she flashed a
grin. "Welcome to Unknown Comet! Please watch out when
opening overhead bins as items may have shifted during flight."
Ranka laughed at her pun. As they rode the comet, she sang
water's surface quivers
A ring of wind spreads
Your fingertips feel the
The blue current
Sheryl sang the third stanza. Together, they alternated singing
Our hearts shot through with an arrow
After Ranka sang that, the Fairy had a burst of inspiration. At
the right moment, she commanded the Vajra to grab a clump of ice and
snow and to fly ahead of the comet. Then she guided it to do
several loops while slowly releasing the ice and snow.
a shooting star
You suddenly rise
In a dark blue starlit sky
We're like fireworks
Our hearts shot through with an arrow
After Ranka sang the stanza, Sheryl moved the Vajra away from the
comet. When the Cinderella stopped singing, she knew that her
plan was a success.
"It's beautiful, Sheryl!" exclaimed Ranka. The ice and snow left
a trail which formed the outline of two hearts next to each
other. The comet passed through the center of the hearts.
"We're really riding an arrow of light!"
They rode the comet once again and enjoyed the view of the universe
before them. Ranka interlaced her fingers with her beloved.
"This is the best date so far," she whispered softly.
"I hope not. I still want to top it," said Sheryl confidently.
Ranka giggled and opened the link to kiss her Fairy. "I look
forward to more. I love you."
Sheryl leaned over and whispered on the Cinderella's lips. "I
love you too."
In the link, they exchanged fiery kisses that warmed them against the
coldness of space.
"Aren't we supposed to look at the stars from here?" asked Sheryl
"I am... There's a really bright one here," replied Ranka
seductively. She captured the Fairy's lips in a tender embrace.
By the time they had enough, Sheryl's watch read 5:11 PM. "We
have to return the shuttle," said Sheryl sadly.
As they descended from orbit, Ranka asked, "Can we make a short
detour? I'd like to show you something."
"Sure," replied Sheryl with curiosity.
After landing the shuttle at the crater, they mounted a Vajra.
The Vajra flew until it landed at a grass-covered meadow. Sheryl
gasped when she saw it. "This looks like the one you showed me!"
The green-haired girl grinned widely as she helped the Fairy climb
down. "Yes. I picked this place so that we can finish what
Instead of answering, Ranka guided her down onto the soft golden
grass. She straddled her and kissed her lips hungrily.
Petite hands began to unbutton her blouse.
Between feverish kisses, they undressed each other. Sheryl
shivered as a breeze cooled her front. As if she sensed her
discomfort, Ranka shielded her with her own body. The Fairy
gasped as the Cinderella's warm skin caressed hers.
"No one will interrupt us this time," whispered Ranka as she nibbled on
Sheryl's head leaned aside as nimble lips found the crook of her
neck. She moaned in delight as her girlfriend sucked gently at
her sensitive spots. Those lips had wandered to almost every inch
of her body, sucking, licking or tasting. Her skin tingled at the
wake of those caresses.
The lips traveled lower until a kiss was planted on her chest.
Verdant hair spread out and swished against her breasts. Aroused
flesh stiffened in response and Sheryl breathed heavily at the
When Ranka pressed her ear to her chest, she arched up slightly as if
offering each excited heartbeat. Her hands wove over that verdant
head for a light hug. The Fairy thought silently, "Hear it... it
sings for you..."
A minute or so later, the younger girl lifted her head and kissed
around the Fairy's navel. Meanwhile, a leg slipped between
Sheryl's and parted them. Desire gathered at the junction of the
cadet's thighs in anticipation.
Then Ranka's tongue slid down her abdomen and went lower and lower
until it stopped at an inch before its destination. The Fairy
whimpered in complaint and shifted her hips up.
Fiery irises looked up at Sheryl between spread legs. "Let's do
Ranka rose and offered herself. Sheryl gaped in wonder at the
prize before her before licking her lips excitedly. She put her
hands on the Cinderella's hips and waited until her girlfriend began
her ministrations. When she did, the Fairy leaned in to do her
Unlike before, it was so much more difficult to concentrate when
pleasure welled between her thighs. She gasped uncontrollably as
she performed her task and did her best to return what was given to
her. Soon, the chill from the breeze was forgotten as their body
temperatures rose with their rising passion.
The Fairy's cries grew louder and more frequent as she neared her
peak. Then gentle prickles swished against the inside of her
thighs. She opened her mind to her girlfriend.
"No... not yet... not until you're close..."
The prickles retreated. Sheryl labored away to bring her beloved
to the edge. When Ranka's hips pressed towards her, she redoubled
her efforts. The prickles returned and poised over her own need.
In the link, she entreated, "Aahhh... yessss... now..."
Her breath caught in her throat at the sensations of hundreds of
prickles sliding against sensitive muscles. Not wanting to be
outdone, her tongue stretched forth to do its duty. Then Ranka
shuddered against her and her cries of passion caressed her ears.
Sheryl answered the younger girl's cries with her own as prickles
pushed deeply against her aching need. She surrendered herself to
the whirlwind of pleasure within her. When she leaned her head
back, she could see the dull glow on Ranka's abdomen. A satisfied
smirk formed on her lips.
After bathing in a nearby hot spring, they returned to the lab and
thanked Dr. Jenus. After that, Erenmeyer drove them home for
dinner. Cathy was already there. They greeted her at the
"How was your day?" asked Cathy while they ate dinner.
"Great!" replied Ranka. "How was yours, Cathy?"
"Good. The architects report that the city layout is ahead of
schedule. By the way, since both of you are ambassadors to the
Vajra, the government grants each of you a lot. You can meet with
an advisor to plan your house."
"You mean... we can have a house?"
"Yes. Part of the deal of being colonists is that the government
grants each family land and a building allowance on the planet.
Since you're too young to legally own property, as your guardian, I can
hold the lot in your name. Ranka, if you want to build sooner,
Ozma can hold your lot."
"Isn't that great, Sheryl!?" bubbled Ranka with joy.
"Yes!" Sheryl gathered her courage and said casually, "It would
be even better if you lived with me."
"Good point! We don't need two. Hmm... would you like one
story or two stories?"
"One is fine." She cleared her throat and asked again to make
sure. "So, it's okay if we live together?"
"Of course, it's okay. Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, can we
have a garden out back? I'd like to try growing our own
While Ranka chatted away, Sheryl sat in bliss. Only when Soffie
asked if she wanted more soup did she break out of her state.
On Monday next week, Ai brought more artwork home. Ranka helped
her store it in the attic. Her artwork from camp was leaning
against the wall and she bumped into it. The landscape with two
suns fell to the floor upside down from her point of view. As she
knelt down to pick it up, she noticed it.
The crystal formations and the cracks on them looked similar to the
carvings on Mayan island. She fetched her camera and took
pictures of Ai's landscapes. She sent the pictures to Dr. Jenus.
An hour later, Dr. Jenus called her. "Where did you get this?"
She explained Ai's paintings. The scientist sounded very excited.
"This is great news! It means that these Vajra live on planets
that were once occupied by the Protoculture civilization! If you
have time, can you and Ai come over to the lab? I might have some
news to share with you as well."
They scheduled a meeting on the coming Sunday. When she hung up,
Ranka patted Ai's head. "Looks like things are going to get
On Friday, Ozma announced that their lot was ready. Since he and
Brera qualified for lots, they selected their locations so that the
lots were next to each other. The resulting house would be bigger
and have a large backyard.
On Saturday morning, they drove out of the city and entered the newly
planned suburbs. Already, the roads were paved and some lots had
some construction going on. They parked in front of a lot with a
wooden frame already built. A man with a hardhat greeted them.
"Good morning. I'm Kent, your builder. Please wear these
hats and I'll show you what we have so far." As they walked
through the lot, he pointed out the rooms. "The living room is
over here. This space over here is the two car garage..."
When they were about finished with the tour, a car pulled up near
Ozma's. The driver's windshield lowered to reveal a waving
"Sheryl!" cried Ranka as she half-ran to the car. The Galaxy
Fairy came out and hugged her. "What brings you here?"
"Driving lessons. Since this place opened up, Erenmeyer and I
"Ah! Ms. Nome! Since you and Ms. Lee are here, do you want
to see your lot?" asked Kent.
At his question, the girls paled. Meanwhile, Ozma's eyebrows
knitted together. He asked gruffly. "Whaddya mean their
Kent consulted his digipad. "Ms. Nome and Ms. Lee have a lot
allocated in subdivision A."
Sheryl sighed and opened the link. "Looks like the cat's out of
the bag. Want to go see it?"
Ranka replied, "Sure, why not? I'll explain it to Ozma-nii."
They followed Kent's car. After Sheryl made a really sharp turn
that caused the car's wheels to screech, Ozma kept his distance.
As he watched the car weave left and right, he decided.
"Ranka, I'll teach you how to drive!"
"Eh? It's ok, Ozma-nii. I don't..." protested Ranka.
"We'll start tomorrow!" There was no way he would let that brat
drive his sweet sister. Ranka must not end up in her backseat.
They went up a hill and into a gated subdivision. In this
subdivision, the lots were bigger. Kent parked in front of a lot
that was twice as large as the one they had been to.
"I was told that it would be some time before you would occupy the
residence, so we only did the foundation," explained Kent.
"Yes, that's alright," said Ranka as she squeezed Sheryl's hand.
"We don't need it right now."
Kent pointed to sprayed lines on the cement. "We marked out the
outline of the rooms though. We're standing in the kitchen right
now. The main window would be over here, above the sink."
He went over each room with them and they made modifications to the
plans. For the master bedroom, Ranka walked across its length.
"Can we make it bigger? I'd like to have enough room for a crib,
so we can put it near the bed."
"Crib?!" repeated Sheryl in surprise. Her girlfriend was already
thinking much farther into the future.
Ranka twiddled her index fingers. "Well... I thought that we'd
adopt a couple of children. Is that ok?"
"No," said Sheryl, watching Ranka's pitiful yet adorable
expression. When she had teased her long enough, she delivered
her reason with a sly smile. "Not when we can visit the Zentraedi
Clone Synthesis System."
Verdant locks bounced up and the gloom lifted from the Cinderella's
face. "We... we can have our own children?!"
"You betcha!" winked Sheryl.
"Can we have two?"
The Fairy's eyes widened. "Two?"
The younger girl twiddled her index fingers. "If we only had one,
she'd be lonely."
Memories of her childhood passed through the Galaxy Fairy's mind.
Perhaps, if she had a sibling, being an orphan would have been more
bearable. "Of course! We can have as many as you want!"
Ranka half-tackled her girlfriend. "You're the best!"
Meanwhile, Ozma sat sullenly in his car as he watched the two
girls. They were acting like a pair of lovebirds that were
planning their nest. His suspicious were confirmed when Ranka
said something about having children. He turned away in
disgust. Somehow, it irked him to see them like that. In a
strange way, he felt a little jealous. After taking care of
Ranka, he should have had his fill of raising a child, but yet,
something was missing. Cathy's face flashed in his mind. He
wondered if it was not too late.
"Even if I go to college, I'm staying with you," said Brera.
"Thanks," replied Ozma gruffly.
Sunday came and to Ranka's surprise, Ozma and Brera were also invited
to the meeting. They gathered at the Protoculture Lab's meeting
room. Cathy and Sheryl were there as well. The room dimmed
as Dr. Jenus activated the projector. It showed Ai's landscapes.
Dr. Jenus pressed a few keys on a control panel and highlighted
sections of Ai's artwork. "These match carvings on Mayan Island
and some old Zentraedi artifacts. There's a very high probability
that these planets were once inhabited by the Protoculture
He turned to Ai. "Ai, how long have your sisters been on these
"Many, many days and nights," replied Ai.
"How many carriers have they made? Is it as much as the number of
eggs you care for?"
Ai thought for a moment and counted with her fingers.
"More. Ten times more."
"At least three hundred years," said the scientist. "Vajra
carriers take at least three years to build and only a fully matured
queen could do it. Ai still has about twenty years before she
reaches full maturity. Furthermore, a queen can only build it one
at a time. Now, Ai, do you know if there were any inhabitants
there before your sisters came?"
"I ask," said Ai and she closed her eyes. A few moments later,
she replied, "No. Only small plants. No animals."
"That appears to be a characteristic of some of the Protoculture
planets that UN Spacy has found. The planet looks barren, but
there are indications of a once flourishing world," explained Dr. Jenus.
"So there are two planets out there that once belonged to some
Protoculture race. Why's that so important?" asked Ozma.
"There could be more, Ozma-nii," replied Ranka. "More planets
that could sustain life."
Cathy gasped in realization. "So that's what they were
after. They didn't just want the Vajra for their fold abilities
and firepower. They wanted the planets too."
"Quite so," agreed Dr. Jenus. He gestured to Ai's
landscapes. "As you can see, these planets are thriving with
life. Even in this red desert painting, there's an oasis in the
"Sisters fix it," said Ai.
"Based on our studies, I can confidently conclude that Vajra are
capable of terraforming. Given time, they can convert an
inhospitable planet into a livable one."
Cathy shuddered. "To think that Grace almost had the Vajra in her
grasp. With the Vajra at her command, the human populace would
fall under her control and she would have access to all the Vajra
Dr. Jenus nodded grimly. "That is why we continued to investigate
what happened to the 117th fleet and Mr. Bilrer."
The lady president stood up. "I have an announcement to
make. Mr. Bilrer has escaped."
"But the news said he was captured!" said Ozma.
"We thought he was. But we captured his clone instead. The
prison only found out when the doctor did a physical."
Ozma banged his fist on the table. "Damn! He must've had
outside help! Those multiple prison breakouts must've been
planned so we wouldn't know that they'd be springing him. They
switched him after he got out."
"I think so too," said Cathy. "When we captured the clone, it
made us think we got him."
"Any idea where he's at now?"
"My intelligence indicates that he may have gone to Eden."
"That's a good guess," said Brera. "Grace often sent me there on
"I'll need your help then," said Cathy. "We'll talk later.
Dr. Jenus, please continue."
"Thank you, Madam President." The slide showed the remains of
Galia IV. "Dr. Zore is leading an expedition to Galia IV.
He's still there but he sends reports of his findings daily. He
made some unusual discoveries. Apparently, Grace had been
secretly abducting crew members and putting implants in them over the
He displayed a usual device that projected several glowing rings around
a human. "With a combination of hypnotism and memory
manipulation, she was able to fool her victims. They did not
suspect that they've been implanted."
Ranka's eyes widened in recognition and pointed at the rings. "I
remember that! Grace used that on me when I was trapped in Battle
"Really? Thank space that you were able to overcome it!"
exclaimed the scientist.
She remembered the warmth in her abdomen and feelings flowing in her
heart when she awakened from that horrible state. "I... I heard
Sheryl's song. She woke me up."
"Interesting..." mused Dr. Jenus. "Since you were able to resist
it, we may be able to figure out a way counter it." He cleared
his throat. "Now then, why was she doing this? Dr. Zore
investigated some more. It seems that her network theory had
matured to the point where she could implement it. He believes
that she was planning to test it out. He estimates that she had
implanted over three-quarters of the population in the 117th fleet."
"She was planning mutiny!" exclaimed Ozma.
"More than that, I believe. Ms. Lee had always assumed that her
song brought the Vajra there. But Dr. Zore thinks
otherwise. He found remnants of broken Vajra shells."
"She steal eggs!" shouted Ai angrily. Ranka had to put a hand on
her shoulder to get her charge to calm down.
"That's very probable. She had half a dozen ghost fighters under
her control. It's possible that the fighters stole the eggs for
her. But why did she do that?"
"To lure the Vajra," replied Brera. "She needed the queen."
"Yes. As you can see from Ai's reaction, Vajra are very
protective of their eggs. When forced to, the queen may come to
retrieve them. With the 117th fleet under most of her control,
she was going to try to capture the queen. However, Grace didn't
succeed. It seems that portions of the fleet were sabotaged and
air locks were overridden thus locking some of the controlled
crewmembers in passageways. Dr. Zore accessed the security
records. The overrides were issued by Dr. Mei and Dr. Nome."
"So that's it! They realized what Grace was up to and they tried
to stop her," said Ozma.
Dr. Jenus nodded. "Quite so. They sacrificed everything to
prevent Grace from advancing her schemes. However, it seems that
they could not save themselves. Someone hacked into the main
computer and started the self-destruct sequence on several of the
ships. Furthermore, Dr. Zore found a body which had an
implant. It looks like the implant exploded and killed the
bearer. This may explain the lack of survivors in the
fleet. The ones who had implants were killed off while those who
didn't may have gotten killed during the fight between Grace and the
He turned to Ai. "Even after Grace left, the queen stayed with
the wreckage until it landed on Galia IV. Why did she do that,
Ai closed her eyes for a few moments and then replied, "Egg-sister said
she guard and wait."
"I thought so," said Dr. Jenus. "Here's my theory. Dr. Mei
knew they were outnumbered and that Grace was destroying the ships in
hope that she'll destroy them. Since she was able to communicate
with the queen, she asked the queen to protect the Gloval and to
prevent Grace from retrieving the network theory and Vajra data.
I think that's why the queen stayed with the Gloval."
"If Grace had succeeded, what would've happened?" asked Sheryl.
"My guess is that she would've used the queen and attacked the Vajra
home world sooner. The battle for this planet would've happened
ten years ago instead of now."
"Mom..." wept Ranka.
Sheryl put an arm across Ranka's shoulders and the younger girl cried
into her embrace. Blinking back, she fought her own tears.
She lost her grandmother that day.
"We have to go to Eden," said Brera. "When I was working for
Grace, she was in contact with people other than Bilrer."
"Agreed," said Cathy. "What do you suggest?"
"I'd like to assemble a small investigation force. I'll pick two
or three other people to join me. For starters, I'll ask Luca
Angelloni. LAI had done a lot of work for Bilrer and he would be
helpful in recognizing the systems built for Bilrer."
"I'll go too," offered Ozma.
Brera shook his head. "You'd stand out. I'm a cyborg, so I
can easily disguise myself."
"In that case, I'll send you a list of my best undercover agents," said
"Thanks. That'll help."
After discussing their plans, they left the Protoculture lab.
Since it was the weekend, Ranka and Ai left with Sheryl and Cathy.
"I hate to tell you this, girls, but both of you must be more careful
now," said Cathy. "Bilrer's escape happened less than a week
after the spaceport opened. NUNS will do what they can to improve
security, but Frontier will have increasing traffic with the other
colonies and worlds. If any of you notice anything strange, tell
someone you trust."
"We'll let you know right away," replied Sheryl.
Cathy smiled at her decision. "Thank you for trusting me.
I'll do everything I can to keep you safe. In the meantime, I'm
afraid that I'll have to discourage any off-planet excursions for all
of you until we have more information about Bilrer's movements.
NUNS won't be able to provide as much protection if you leave the
"I guess that means we won't be able to go on the class trip this
summer," said Ranka sadly.
"And I also suggest not leaving the planet's orbit." When Sheryl
paled, she added, "You deviated from your flight plan and folded away
from Frontier. If Bilrer's agents were nearby and attacked, NUNS
would be too far away to help you. Any of you would be quite a
prize for Bilrer or the group that he works with. With the mind
control technology that they have, they might use you to take over
Vajra nests. Please consider this when you make plans. I
ask that you bear with it for now. Once this is over, you can
make it up with as many trips as you want."
They arrived at the Glass mansion and Ranka and Ai followed Sheryl to
her room. After Sheryl closed the door, the younger girl hugged
her beloved tightly from behind.
"I won't let them," said Ranka resolutely as she buried her face in the
warmth of Sheryl's back. "I won't allow them to force us to live
in fear, not when we're just beginning to make our lives here."
Sheryl turned in place and stroked her beloved's hair. "Me
too. People might say that this is our fate, but I believe that
fate is something you guide with your own hands." Her sky blue
eyes hardened. "Through whatever storms await us, we'll fly
through them together. We'll fight for our future."
"You're right," said Ranka as she intertwined their fingers. "I
won't let them dictate our lives. We'll write our own fairytale,
so we'll have our happy ending."
"I like how you said that," whispered Sheryl as she leaned down to
capture the younger girl's lips. When she drew back, she winked,
"But isn't the story a bit twisted? Cinderella ends up with the
Fairy godmother instead of the prince."
The quarter-meltran slid her hand through those golden-coral
locks. "That's why it's our fairytale, silly." With a hand
behind the Fairy's head, she guided her lips down for another tender
"What about me?" asked Ai who was standing nearby.
They separated in embarrassment. They had forgotten that Ai and
Hope were in the room. When they got over their shyness, Sheryl
took Ai's left hand while Ranka took her right.
"You're part of the family too, Ai-chan," said Ranka. "We'll
protect you as much as we can."
Ai grinned and hugged them tightly. Her belly glowed. "I
happy. I protect you too."
The four of them sat at their usual lunch table. Without Alto,
Brera and Luca, the table felt larger than usual.
"How long are they going to be away?" asked Nanase worriedly.
"I don't know," replied Ranka. "It's an important investigation
and they have to go undercover."
"Will they send us emails?"
"Onii-chan said that they'll send reports whenever they can."
Nanase sighed and poked at her food. She looked around and
noticed the ill-concealed glances from the nearby tables and passing
students who were carrying their food trays.
"I'm not so sure we should eat here, Ranka."
Ranka glanced around furtively. She felt like a sheep amidst
hungry wolves. "But where should we go? If we go where
there are no other people around, that might be worse."
Nanase's shoulders drooped down. "Yeah."
"Let's hope they won't bother us," said Sheryl.
A few moments after she said that, five boys came over with their
trays. The tallest one said, "All the tables are taken. Do
you mind if we sit here?"
Unwilling to respond, they sat still for a few seconds. At that
moment, a familiar, loud, obnoxious voice broke the silence.
"Hey, Pink! We've been looking for you," said Tadyana as Aris
stood next to her. The rest of the Phoenix squadron and Akiha
stood behind them. "Get up and bring your hare--OW!" winced the
redhead as she stole an irritated glance at Aris who had elbowed her in
the ribs. "Err... Come on and bring your crew with you."
Sheryl's face broke out in a grateful grin. She never thought
that she would be so happy to see Tadyana. She stood up and put
the cover on her lunch box. She smiled smugly at the boys and
responded, "Sure, you can sit at this table."
Ranka, Nanase and Ai followed the Fairy's lead and left the table with
the Phoenix squadron.
"Ranka, who are these people?" whispered Nanase discreetly.
"Sheryl's squadron. Don't worry. They're nice."
Suddenly, Tadyana turned around. She yelled at a couple of boys
behind them. "You there! Stop following us or I'll kick
Fear etched on their faces, the boys scurried away. Aris walked
over to Ranka, Nanase and Ai and guided them forward.
"All of you go on ahead. I'll take the rear."
Nanase swallowed. "They're kinda scary..."
"Don't worry... they just act tough," whispered Ranka hurriedly.
They followed Eriko to an elevator where she slid an access card.
A hidden panel slid open and she punched some keys. The elevator
doors opened and they went inside.
As it ascended, Sheryl wondered where they were going. Finally,
the elevator brought them to a small room with an access door to the
roof. After Eriko unlocked the door, they went out and found that
they were on the same level as the old VF-1 valkyrie. Eriko must
know someone in Mihoshi's administration to get access to this level.
"Captain, why do have access to this place?" asked Sheryl.
"It's easy when you're related to the principal. I like to have a
quiet place to relax, so I asked for access here. Besides, it's
cool to see the valkyrie."
As they passed the old valkyrie, Sheryl noticed the pilot's name on the
side of the cockpit: H. Ichijyo. Realization hit her.
"Wait a second! Is this the real one?" asked Sheryl excitedly as
she pointed at the name.
Eriko smiled proudly. "Yes. Since we're related, uncle
pulled some strings to get it out of UN Spacy's stockyard. It's
great, isn't it?"
"Wow... I'll say..." remarked the Fairy in wonder as she stared at the
The captain continued, "Mihoshi started out as an acrobatic flying
school. When the Zentraedi came, UN Spacy asked us to help train
more pilots. After Minmay's song subdued the Zentraedi, my great
grand aunt decided to add performance arts to its curriculum as
well. More subjects got added along the years and Mihoshi became
what it is today."
Her hand reached towards the sky. "Our founder wanted to help
aspiring young people reach for their dreams. He wanted them to
reach as far as they can, even as high as the stars themselves.
That's why the school is named Mihoshi."
Eriko's unexpected and somewhat inspirational statement caused everyone
else to gape in surprise at the usually serious third year. When
the dark-haired girl noticed them, she hastily lowered her hand and
cleared her throat to resume her somber dignity. She gestured to
a shade cast by a nearby wall. "How about we set up the blanket
While Kanagi and Akiha spread the blanket, Sheryl bowed
gratefully. "Thanks for inviting us."
"No problem. Until they come back, feel free to hang out with
us," replied Eriko.
"Ummm... How did you know?" asked Ranka carefully.
"Luca asked me to look after you. He knows I come up here a lot."
To their delight, Kanagi brought some fresh vegetables and fruit.
They passed the containers around to get some.
"I grow them in the greenhouse and in the field near the forest," said
"Try the cherry tomatoes, Pink. They're really good!" said
Sheryl picked one, but instead of popping it in her mouth, she offered
it to Ranka. "Say ahhh..."
Ranka blushed to her ears. At first, she hesitated, but after
seeing Sheryl's expectant face, she opened her mouth. Slender
fingers deposited the tomato inside and its tips brushed against her
When the Cinderella popped the cherry tomato in her mouth, its sweet
and tangy flavor tickled her tongue. Her verdant locks rose in
response to the delightful flavor.
"How adorable!" exclaimed the redhead. She picked up a tomato and
held it up towards Ranka. "Can I feed h---" Her hand
swiveled away and moved towards the silver-haired girl. "...you,
Aris?" A drop of sweat rolled down her temple.
Aris had fixed Tadyana with dagger-like eyes. She opened her
mouth and chomped on the offered tomato.
After lunch, they walked around the roof and enjoyed the view.
"S-stop it, Akiha!" cried Kanagi as Akiha's pink ponytail dove down her
blouse. The cloth over her chest twitched. "There are other
"Lucky girl..." muttered Tadyana. "And your girlfriend too."
"About the hair?" asked Sheryl.
"Yeah." The redhead lifted her ponytail. "Not everyone can
do it." Then a sly smirk formed on her face. "Betcha you
have fun in bed..."
As memories of that date flooded her mind, Sheryl blushed
uncontrollably. She managed to return the smirk, knowing what the
redhead would never experience. "No comment."
Next week became a flurry of activity for Ranka and Sheryl with the
release of their singles. There were press conferences, magazine
interviews and photo shoots for both girls.
Elmo sat in his office in a state of nail-biting nervousness. He
had been monitoring the single sales for the past few days and Sheryl's
single was in the lead by just a little bit. He reviewed his
checklist again. Radio and TV commercials were in place, several
magazines and papers were running ads, and music stores were giving out
stickers and pens. He wondered if he missed anything.
He glanced at the sales figures again. There must be something he
could do to boost sales. While he looked at it, the Galaxy
Fairy's graph updated again. He sighed in defeat. Perhaps,
it was too early for Ranka to challenge the established idol with her
Maybe, a promotional poster would help. What theme should he
use? He had already done the innocent look. He played the
Cinderella's song to figure out some sort of theme for the poster.
I feel your guiding
Let me know your
In your arms like this,
You make me want you.
I hear your shining song
And my true self awakens.
Each moment together
Becomes a star in the
My night is bright with
After listening to it several times, he could not imagine a good
theme. He tried to approach it from a different angle. Like
Ranka's, the Galaxy Fairy's single was like a ballad but with a
slightly faster beat. Perhaps, Ranka should outdo the Galaxy
Fairy with a more high-energy version of her single. A composer
could be hired to rewrite it and Ranka would do a recording next
He lowered the volume on Ranka's song and played Sheryl's to get an
idea of its beat. After listening for a minute, he noticed
it. He increased the volume on Ranka's song and listened again.
Within these palms,
give you my hope.
I feel your guiding
Let me know your touch.
Within these arms
give you my love.
In your arms like this
You make me want you.
these lips, I sing
move your gentle heart.
I hear your shining song
And my true self awakens.
our voices be one
light the sky with love.
Each moment together
Becomes a star in the
My night is bright with
"Deculture! How can this be?!" exclaimed Elmo. The lyrics
were too coincidental. It was as if he was hearing a
dialogue. And it was not just the lyrics only. The music
from the singles blended too well together, like melody and
The nail biting resumed as he paced across the office. Ranka
really leveled up to harmonize like that. Did she work with
Sheryl? If so, Galaxy Records might not like the
collaboration. Entertainment Universe could sue them for using
Sheryl's talent. He slumped onto the sofa.
"Ranka! What have you done?!"
Worse of all, they sounded like a pair of lovers serenading each
other. "There... a caress in that note..."
His heart jumped at the thought. What if they were? They
always sounded good together, especially when they sang a medley of
songs during the Frontier Festival concert.
He cradled his head between his hands and ruffled his hair in
frustration. "Why didn't I notice it before? This is super
duper bad! Yakk! The scandal!"
Should he pull the single? A beep from the computer caught his
attention. To his surprise and subsequent elation, Ranka was now
in the lead by a small margin. He should be leaping with joy at
the moment, but the weight of his discovery dampened his spirits.
There was only one way to settle this. He picked up the phone and
punched Ranka's number. As her manager, he had to know the truth
as soon as possible to contain the damage. He hoped that Ranka
was available after school.
The Cinderella agreed to meet him at his office. When she
arrived, he dispensed with pleasantries as fast as possible and
demonstrated his discovery.
"Did you work with her?"
To his relief, Ranka shook her head. "No. This is my
song. I wrote it from scratch."
However, her answer did not solve the mystery of why the two singles
harmonized. "Has she seen it before?"
"Well... she saw my first draft several months ago, but it changed so
much since then. It really is my own song!"
"So she's never worked with you on it?" pressed Elmo.
"Thank space! I was worried that Entertainment Universe would sue
us for it."
"You don't have to worry about that."
Elmo leaned forward. "I do worry about you two. Why do you
sound like this? I thought you were rivals."
Ranka looked away. Her blush betrayed her.
"Deculture... how long has this been going on...?" said Elmo slowly.
The quarter-meltran's hands clutched her skirt tightly as her bangs hid
her eyes. She mumbled, "After my last concert..."
"If your fans find out, what will you do?"
"I... I don't know... I'll figure something out if they do."
"What should I do about the single?"
That verdant head whipped towards him and fiery irises held his gaze in
a challenge. "Is there something wrong with it?"
Elmo sighed and ruffled the back of his head. "No."
Before letting her leave, he arranged another photo shoot for the
poster. There was no guarantee that sales would keep her in the
lead, so he may as well try the poster. Once more, he sat down to
listen. They sounded good together. He sighed. Sooner
or later, someone would find out. But in the meantime, he hoped
that their songs would open the hearts of anyone who listened.
Their songs were about being in love and celebrating joy in living.
Nostalgia filled his mind and he remembered the reason why he quit
being a soldier and worked in the entertainment industry. Those
were thrilling days and after hearing something unique like this, today
was another thrilling one. Feeling lucky in discovering it, he
stood up and proclaimed, "Songs are Culture and Culture is Love!"
Elmo's questions bothered Ranka to the point that Brera noticed her
mood during dinner.
"What's wrong, Ranka?" asked her brother. "You don't seem to have
"Elmo thinks that Sheryl and I collaborated on my song. He asked
if she's ever read it or heard it."
"The new one?"
The cyborg sat up slightly and looked as if he was deep in thought for
a few seconds. "Maybe she did. I just searched through my
memory banks for all the occasions in which you sang that song. I
found a match during the day she came out of stasis. You were
composing on your digipad."
Her eyes went round. "I sang it then?"
"Yes. I can show it to you after dinner. The sequence of
events is that you sat by the cocoon around 1:43 PM, sang part of the
song at 2:51 PM and the cocoon started to break at 2:52 PM."
"But wasn't she asleep or something?"
Brera shrugged. "There's very little data about a human's state
during Vajra induced stasis. I can't make any conclusions on
whether she was conscious or not. However, the cocoon broke
around that time which could indicate that she may have been partly or
fully conscious and heard you."
Later that evening, Ranka talked to Sheryl in the link and told her
about Elmo's discovery. "Onii-chan showed me his memories of the
day when you came out of the cocoon. I sang part of it that
time. Did you... hear it?"
Sheryl rubbed her forehead. "I... I don't know... My memories of
that time were really hazy." She closed her eyes and thought for
a while. "I do remember hearing your voice... but it was so far
away. I was trying to move toward it and then before I knew it, I
woke up in your arms."
The Galaxy Fairy opened her eyes. "I'm sorry... Maybe I did hear
it somehow. Are you going to get in trouble?"
Ranka embraced her tenderly. "It's ok. I'll deal with it
when it happens. Besides, it's supposed to be my song for you."
Sheryl ran her hands through that verdant hair which wrapped around her
fingers playfully. "Thank you. I love it. Most of
all, I love you." She leaned down and kissed her deeply.
The Cinderella broke off the kiss briefly to whisper, "I love you
too." Then she wove her arm around the Fairy's neck and pulled
her girlfriend down for a passionate exchange of kisses.
Meanwhile, a restaurant in the Galaxy colony played Ranka's new single
for its patrons who sat on benches along the sidewalk. A car
parked in front of the restaurant and the driver got out to unload the
trunk. The car's radio was playing Sheryl's new single. As
the melodies played simultaneously, the waiting patrons stopped
chatting and the driver paused while moving a box. Silently, they
listened to the impromptu serenade.
* Robin Guvriel - Her name comes from Gabriela Robin,
a mysterious singer who writes lyrics for Yoko Kanno as well as singing
some of Kanno's songs. She has never been interviewed or
photograph. Rumor has it that she is an alias for Kanno herself.
'Bout My Star?" - Sheryl's dance was inspired by a youtube video of
May'N. Use the keywords: Macross Frontier Sheryl Nome - May'n in
Singapore (Anime Festival Asia '08)
As I've mentioned before, FG: Wings and Serenade follows the
Macross formula of a daredevil pilot and an enchanting singer.
Hence, Wings is flying related while Serenade is music related.
The two fics also complement each other in another aspect. Wings
shows more of the physical side of a relationship while Serenade
chapters 1-3 shows more of the emotional and psychological side.
Serenade chapters 4 and 5 contains more of a balance of the physical
and emotional aspects as the two girls learn more about each other.
Sheryl and Ranka's story continues in A
Alto, Brera and Luca's investigation continues in Man and Machine.
Until next Deculture!
/ Macross Frontier Fics / Frontier Generations Series