Robotech II: The Sentinels Book Four #11
Story & Art - John Waltrip & Jason Waltrip
Published by Academy Comics Ltd.
Release date - October 16, 1996
Cover date - October 1996
THE STORYIn a makeshift courtroom within the Tiresian Royal Hall on Tirol, Jonathan Wolff, Vince Grant, and Breetai stand accused of high treason against the REF, conspiracy, theft of the SDF-7 and the monopole ore, sabotage of the peace talks between the REF and the Invid, and the murder of the Invid Regent. Chairman Justine Huxley of the REF council asks the accused how they plead. Wolff, speaking for the three, admits to the theft of the SDF-7, but pleads not guilty to the rest of the counts. "The charges of treason and conspiracy are completely groundless and the charge of murder is totally non sequitur and unapplicable," Wolff tells the council. When asked why this is, Wolff tells the council that the Invid Regent isn't dead. Huxley asks him to explain, and he hands an aide a data card filled with images provided by the Haydonites' surveillance systems -- images of the Regent's fleet in orbit around the planet and of the Regent himself on the planet's surface. Dr. Lang suggests to the council that the being that was aboard the SDF-3 during the peace talks was not, in fact, the real Regent. Exedore reminds them that his people, the Zentraedi, are clones. "It is possible that the Invid developed a cloning technology of their own," he says, "or stole it from the Robotech Masters when they conquered Tirol. In any case, it appears the Regent constructed a clone of himself and sent 'it' in his place to the peace talks." General Edwards leaps to his feet and says this is beside the point, that it Wolff still thought it was the genuine Regent and killed it. "Impossible, General," Lang says as he enters his own data card into evidence containing records that reveal that Wolff was in his office from 21:45 to 22:10, within the time of death given by the medical examiner. "Furthermore," Lang says, "the Regent is twenty-five feet tall and weighs over five tons, there are no invasive wounds on the body. Death was caused by asphyxiation from a crushed windpipe. Are we to believe Colonel Wolff strangled a being four times his own height with his bare hands?" With these points taken, Huxley orders the charge dropped. Edwards curses.
The next charge is the theft of the monopole ore. Huxley asks Breetai if he maintains his innocence of the charge. "I do." One of the senators tells him that the trajectory records and cargo scans state otherwise, but Breetai argues that in order for him to steal the ore, the REF would have had to have had possession of it. "No such condition exisited. I did not 'steal' the ore. I simply did not give it to you. But I am willing ..." Edwards leaps to his feet and says that's a mere technicality. "That ore was mine!" he shouts. "Uh, I mean ... ours ... Ours! By a previously arranged agreement! You promised the ore and then you took it!" Breetai plays dumb, suggesting that he may have misunderstood. Dr. Lang suggests that they could make a new agreement with Breetai. "If Breetai is willing to hand over the ore at this time, I think we could see our way to reducing the charge to midirection of REF property and mark the whole affair down as a miscommunication between species. My lab is standing by to receive the monopole and we can get on with the repairs." Breetai agrees, and Huxley rules it so.
Shortly, Huxley reminds Wolff that the charge he admits to, theft of an REF vessel, is a serious act. "I realize that, your honor, and although I take full responsibility for it, I do not regret taking such action, for this council gave me no choice," Wolff explains. "It was absolutely necessary in order to save the lives of Admiral Hunter and the Sentinels at Praxis. They were stranded there after a surprise Invid attack destroyed the Farrago. Praxis was destroying itself because of an unfathomable experiment conducted by the Invid, you refused to send help for fear of antagonizing the Regent at the peace talks. If I had not taken the SDF-7 to rescue them, they all would have died. Since then we have continued our campaign to liberate the planets of the Local Group from the Invid. We've freed Karbarra, Garuda, and most recently Haydon IV, but the fight is far from over. The Invid still ..." Edwards interrupts, reminding him that the Invid are not on trial here. Wolff continues, "... still hold the Local Group in a grip [of] tyranny! Tyranny that will reach Earth if we don't stop them here! You may not be at war with them, but they are at war with us ... with all races!"
"Impudence!" Edwards shouts.
"... but this war is winnable for those with the courage to fight it!" Wolff says.
"Insubordinate!" Edwards shouts.
"Coward!" Wolff shouts back. Edwards begins to approach Wolff, but Huxley slams down her gavel and demands order. She suggests a short recess, adjourning the hearing until 19:00 hours. As the council members disperse, Lang approaches Edwards.
"General Edwards. We need to talk."
In a dark Tiresian alleyway, Rebecca Nicks recognizes the soldier before her as the man who stole Lang's Delta Fighter prototype and tried to help Minmei escape the planet. He admits this, and tells Nicks that Edwards got Minmei back and is holding her somewhere in his office complex. "I can't get in there alone. I need your help, Nicks." Nicks says she should turn him in, but he tells her that with Edwards at the hearing, most of his security men will be with him, meaning the complex will be lightly guarded. "When Minmei's safe, I promise I'll turn myself in. Whataya say, Lieutenant?"
At Dr. Lang's research center, Edwards asks him what's on his mind. "The question is, General, what's on yours?" Edwards assures Lang that he's only interested in dispensing justice to those who have jeopardized the mission. "I only want what's best for the REF, for Earth, and the human race." Lang assures Edwards that his trumped-up charges against Wolff and the Sentinels won't stick and asks that Edwards put an end to the hearing. "Never! They defied the council and they're going to pay!" Lang asks him, then, to remain neutral for the rest of the proceedings, since he has no evidence, to put his men under command of the council, and to allow his team to examine the Invid Brain that was captured when the REF liberated Tirol. Edwards refuses, insisting that his men are still disarming it. Lang says it doesn't matter, that when the United Earth Government finds out what Edwards has been up to his career will be over. "What do you mean?!" Edwards demands. Lang explains that Major Carpenter's ship has folded for Earth, that they already had enough ore to either repair the SDF-3's fold drives or build a smaller drive for Carpenter's ship. "I managed to persuade the council to accept the latter," Lang says. "It was necessary to keep you here at Tirol. I know what you're planning, Edwards, and I can't allow it, but I can't prove it, yet. You intended to construct a fleet to conquer Earth. Breetai took the ore to delay you until Carpenter's ship was ready. It might take Carpenter a little longer to get to Earth ... but he'll get there ... before you. He's taking a full report from me on your activities to the Robotech Defense Command. When we do get back to Earth, you're going to have a lot of questions to answer. You're finished, General." Edwards lunges at Lang, but Lang grabs his wrists, stopping him. As Lang's eyes turn liquid black, Edwards is brought to his knees. His wrists crack under Lang's inhuman strength, and Edwards tells Lang to go ahead and kill him. Lang lets go, and while Edwards laughs, telling him he hasn't the guts, Lang assures him that he will never turn him into a murderer. "You will be punished in time. The Shapings will see to that." Edwards tells Lang that he's mad. "Not as mad as you. Stop your subversion now, General, before there is any more bloodshed. Adhere to your oath, and abandon these megalomaniacal dreams."
"Here's the oath I'll serve," Edwards tells Lang. "I swear to kill Wolff. I swear to exterminate Rick and Lisa Hunter, and Breetai, after I've made them suffer enough! The rest will either bow at my feet or die! I swear to have Huxley and Obstat and the entire council as my personal slaves! I swear the Earth ... and the galaxy will be mine! I swear revenge!"
"Then there is nothing further for us to discuss ... except for one last question, if you will." Edwards asks what it is. "I understand why you despise Rick Hunter; his friendship with your old nemesis, Roy Fokker, makes that obvious, but whence comes this loathing of Lisa Hayes-Hunter? What has she ever done to you?"
"You'll find out when the oh-so-saintly Hunters do: when it's too late." At that, Edwards exits. When the door is closed, Lang tells Scott Bernard he can come out and asks if he got all of it. Scott isn't sure; Edwards's surveillance scramblers were set to the max, and he had a tough time cutting through. As Edwards leaves the compound, he is sure that all Lang has is so much blank tape. "Nothing I say can be held against me. I'm not finished yet."
Meanwhile, the battered Ark Angel soars through foldspace towards Spheris. Rick asks Veidt for a damage report. "Shields down twenty-five percent, Admiral. Lateral weapons array disabled. Hull breach on decks nine and ten, and auxiliary power systems are off line. Main power is good, but with the current energy use by the drive system it will take a while for the ship to repair itself." For all their sakes, Rick hopes it's soon, since those new Invid craft will certainly come after them again, and he wants to be ready for them. He asks Jack Baker when they'll be at Spheris. Jack says they'll be there in an hour and forty-five minutes. Rick orders everyone to the situation room.
The plan is this: when they arrive in Spheris orbit, they'll quickly survey the strike zone, determining the size and strength of the enemy garrison. Veidt notes that a passive scan won't reveal their presence to the Invid and the shields will keep them from appearing on their sensors. They'll then pull back to a high orbit and rendezvous with the Karbarran ship Grizlon, which will be carrying the remainder of their forces from Garuda. When the Grizlon has transferred all the mecha to the SDF-7, that ship will proceed to the target area, while the Ark Angel and Grizlon remain in high orbit to provide cover. "If those new Invid fighters do arrive," Rick says, "presenting them with multiple targets might confuse them. They caught us off guard before, but with the Grizlon, Ark Angel, and the SDF-7, we should have enough firepower to handle them." Teal asks if they're planning on destroying the Invid hive outright, even with the possibility of Spherisians in there. Rick assures her that the spectrum scan should reveal if there are any Spherisian prisoners inside, and that will help them determine their specific plan of attack. Teal thanks Rick for taking that into consideration, but points out one thing he didn't consider -- that they cannot take any Protoculture-based weaponry down. While Jack and Karen complain, Lisa asks Teal to explain why. "Spheris is a planet of crystal structure. Protoculture weapon emissions invoke catastrophic harmonic and quantum resonances from the very fabric of my homeworld. A beam striking a crystal will be reflected in almost any direction before shattering the crystal like glass. Heavier weapons fire could sunder the delicate lattice work that makes up the planet, causing great death and destruction among my people." Lron asks about the Invid, but Teal points out that they don't care what effect their weapons have. Bela reminds everyone that her people can attest to that. Lisa asks Rick how they can fight if the Invid can fire and the Sentinels cannot. Rick orders Tesla to be brought in.
Rick asks Tesla if he can order the garrison to surrender. "Of course I can. It would be a simple matter, Admiral. In my evolved state, the garrison will obey me without question." Lron asks what will prevent Tesla from turning the garrison on the Sentinels. Rick draws his handgun and produces Tesla's explosive collar. Tesla isn't very happy to see it. "Any tricks, Tesla, any at all, and you won't be around to regret it." A report comes in from the bridge telling Rick and the others that they are approaching Spheris. Rick orders everyone to their stations ...
NOTESTIMELINE - Modified Jack McKinney novels timeline.
- Rick Hunter (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Lisa Hunter (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Dr. Emil Lang
- Janice Em (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Jonathan Wolff
- Vince Grant
- Jack Baker (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Karen Penn (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Breetai Tul
- Exedore Formo
- Rem (next in Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #5)
- T.R. Edwards
- Lynn Kyle
- Rebecca Nicks
- Justine Huxley
- Scott Bernard (last in Robotech II: The Sentinels Book Three #6)
- Lron (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Crysta (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Bela (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Gnea (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Kami (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Learna (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Veidt (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Teal (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Baldan II (next in Robotech II: The Sentinels Halloween Special #1)
- Tesla (last seen in Robotech II: The Sentinels Book Four #8)
When Lang holds the threat of Carpenter ratting Edwards out over the General's head, I have to wonder if the idea is that Carpenter is supposed to be providing Lang's allegations to the United Earth Government during an off-camera moment in the TV episode "Outsiders," or if Lang is bluffing. Honestly, Lang doesn't strike me as the bluffing type, but at the same time this is quite the continuity implant.
I believe this is the first and only time the Waltrips drew Lang with the all-black eyes during the course of the Sentinels comic series, and the first time that Lang has mentioned the Shapings -- the metaphysical will of the Protoculture that is key to the McKinney novels -- in the Sentinels comics since we got a glimpse of Lang's personal journal in the first issue of Book Two. Of course, the original Dr. Lang character design in the Sentinels animation didn't have the all-black eyes; McKinney was the first to make a big deal about that aspect of the original Macross character design, and consequently his description in the novels always referred to them. (The only other time his eyes even appeared strange in the Sentinels comics was during a flashback to him touching the console aboard the SDF-1 that gave him the Protoculture-induced mindboost, back in Sentinels Book One #13, and there his eyes appeared all white.)
While Edwards mentions Niles Obstat (a member of the REF council mentioned with some regularity in the novels) during the swearing of his "oath" (nearly verbatim from the novels), the only McKinney-only member of the council identified by name during this issue of The Sentinels is Justine Huxley, who presides over the trial during this and the next issue. (Senator Longchamps is named in Book Four #8.)
As this is Scott Bernard's first appearance in Book Four (he appeared as a member of Lang's staff alongside Carpenter when Lang left for the monopole mining satellite in Book Three #6), it's worth noting that the character design for young Bernard seen here was originally done for the Sentinels animation, and his use as Dr. Lang's young assistant was explained in the novels by stating that he was Lang's nephew; Return to Macross clarifies the relation further by introducing Lang's sister Nina (issue #21) and a colleague named Dr. Brian Bernard (issue #25). While the modern canon retains the notion that Lang has a sister, given her new function in the storyline she cannot be Bernard's mother, and this oh-so-insular relation has been severed.
When Rick presides over the strategy meeting, the first thing he says as the scene opens is that they're going over it again. If this is the second time, why is it that Teal only brings up her concerns -- the potential presence of Spherisians in the hive and the fact that the Sentinels cannot use the weapons they intended -- now?
The Sentinels Halloween Special was released the same day; while it's the next Sentinels tale in the comics' chronology, it's merely a side-story that doesn't drive forward any of the ongoing storylines.