Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In the last chapter of Robotech Colonel Wolff got to meet up with his former comrade Captain Carpenter. Meeting with representatives of the current government as well as Dana Sterling and Louie Nichols, Wolff proposed a radical idea of giving the Invid temporary power with willing aides in the hopes that they’ll leave once they have what they want, a plan rejected by the government in favor of their own plans which may play against Wolff’s own back-up plans. The Invid threat continues to loom but the ones appearing to take it seriously are those who have fought against the Invid directly or actually listened to the experts.
We’re now about halfway through this novel and so far I’ve found it interesting. The question is whether or not I could see these events happening. Robotech and the shows that make it up are all as grounded as you can get with aliens and transforming mecha so actions by fools in the government, business, and the military (that last one not exactly new to the franchise) like we see here is certainly a believable scenario. I wasn’t expecting a lot of mecha battles given that we’re between enemies, so the battles play out in the battleground of politics. Naturally, when that happens everyone loses, sometimes even the people in power. Let’s dive back in and see if we can spot the losers before they lose.
I don’t know if it’s a case of knowing a little about the character through the one comic I have with him in it mixed with personal bias against what Shimada is doing, but it’s tough for me to see Terry and Misa as two of the “good guys” watching them talk the Starchildren, who finally appear halfway through the book, into going along with the ship stealing. It’s just so manipulative and seeing Terry being good at it is not a positive for me. We do get an explanation of the Starchildren not starting out as a cult but as a group of scientists from ALICE base before being turned into a government base trying to make a weaponless ship to get out of dodge while the getting’s good. While Kaaren Napperson, who started the group and apparently worked with Terry to prove his wife’s innocence during a failed Veritech test, came up with the idea while the SDF-1 was still being renovated after crashing on Earth, she’s been working on a vessel not made for war that could go into space and avoid it. They just need a reflex engine for space folding and Terry is offering her a chance to get it. At least they’re honest about Shimada’s goals but somehow that actually makes them more manipulative.
I think I’m taking sides in this whole situation. The GMP and UEG are just vying for power at this point and they’re not listening to anyone who will interfere with their stupidity. Shimada isn’t all that different but they may be the lesser evil here as at least they’re just ignorant. Now that we’ve met the Starchildren I’d say maybe they have good intentions but there’s still a degree of selfishness and if they go along with this plan they’re just another faction dooming the planet for their own ends. At least with Dana’s crew they want to help the Tirolains go home while Wolff is just not trusting anyone and may be right to do so.
As if to prove my point the Southern Cross surviving leadership wants to use Wolff’s ship to escape and go to Tirol to play nice with Admiral Hunter. Doing this from an abandoned strip club seems oddly appropriate.
Meanwhile Wolff (who they’re planning to bar from the mission to steal his ship), Dana, Louie, and Shimada’s experts visit the Homeward Bound to see about the engines. As Louie and his team begin their investigation Wolff tells Dana about her parents and their adventures with the Sentinels. Interesting that Dana has a…less than positive view of Minmei. She only met her once when she was a kid but apparently she overheard enough about her to question her treatment of Rick, which I’m right on board with, and hearing about Wolff and Edwards, even if she doesn’t have all the facts on the latter, doesn’t really help much. These are the only two with better needs for the ship so I know I’m rooting for them, though one way or another I know Wolff is going to stay and fall to the dark side. Johnathan Wolff is kind of like Anakin Skywalker, only with more adultery and less superpowers.
Who will win this struggle for the only ship left, and which self-interest is more hungry for it. Or maybe Dana, who admittedly would like to see her parents again and meet her sister, will prevail? Yes, somehow DANA is the less personally motivated one in all this. Go figure? Now we have all the players, so it’s time for the game to begin. See you next time.