Palimpsests:

An Alternate Methodology for Constructing a
Coherent Time Line for the Robotech Television Series

By: Stan Bundy

Version 4.1 (2/10/2003)

First of all, a tip of the hat to Peter Walker, whose time line I originally based this thesis on in 1995, as a rebuttal of his version of a Robotech timeline. I felt obligated to do so, because I feel he is guilty of the very things he accuses others of - using his "own pet time line" and "the inclusion of a fair amount of speculation, and "... the selective omission of essential details from the show to get them to work."

My theory goes in the opposite direction from his, in that its basic assumption is that several factors led to the inclusion of parts of the source series that have no place in Robotech, based on analysis of the show. Some of these parts are dialogue; others are frames of animation. Then, there are the artifacts of the apparent change in time setting for Robotech II: The Sentinels from the mid 2010s to the 2020s, prior to the production of htat ill-fated series. I use the term "palimpsests" for these items, as the term closely fits what we see, only in animated TV form instead of that of a written document. A palimpsest is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1975 ed.) as "A written document ... that has been written upon several times, often with the remnants of earlier, imperfectly erased writing still visible."

robotech.com enters the picture: Since my last update, an official Robotech web page has come about. Unfortunately, the persons working on it appear to have no intent to maintain what structural integrity did exist for the series as it aired, and have some truly odd ideas concerning the timing of the episodes (partially from working with the RRG, but also from some really trippy ideas on reworking the series to be more like the real world and more like Macross, when doing both together is impossible, and either causes the integrity of the series to collapse). Worse, they tend to not put spaces in time where they occur, then put weeks or months between episodes that the first ends only hours before the next! Please guys, save the revisionism for an independent remake - stop trying to force them into a 17 year old show they cannot fit! This is why for the purposes of this work, robotech.com & other post-2000 "canon" continuity revisions that totally contradict the state of Robotech as it was when it aired, are ignored in favor of the mid-1980s data set that in the end, is the ONLY real basis for canon.

Note: In the analyses below, bold represents a TV series, while quotes indicate the Robotech story arc drawn from that original series. For example, Macross will refer to the Japanese TV series, while "Macross" will refer to the first 36 episodes of Robotech.

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The following is something long-resolved. It concerns several attempts by various sources to make the end of the "Macross" arc of Robotech occur in 2012, as in the original Macross series in Japan.

The Palimpsest that started it all:

The Photo Album / "So Long... 2012" at the end of Episode #36

The only time the date 2012 is shown on the tapes I have is in the last few seconds of the "Macross" segment. The words "So Long... 2012" are superimposed on (NOT written on) the album. Not only that, but pictures from 2009-2010 are shown in the album during the only time I ever remember seeing its contents (when Lisa opened it while cleaning Rick's bedroom).

The proof: In "Private Time", there are TWO separate references to events that have long been established as being in 2009 (Rick & Minmei's first date [episode #5], and Kyle's urging of Minmei to pursue her career in music, which happened before the first episodes of Robotech, in the short nebulous time before Kyle's departure from the island - a departure so close to the launch, in fact, that his family thought he'd died in the fold, until he turned up in Yokohama a year later, living with Minmei's parents) as being "over four years ago." BOTH references FIRMLY establish 2013 as the likely year for that episode, with the events of this episode and the next further narrowing the date to the middle of December, 2013. These references rule out 2012 as even an option for the setting of this and the surrounding episodes.

A note concerning Dana: All sources that give an age for Dana at the now-dismissed-from-canon Sentinels wedding place her age in the range of 8 to 9 years. This would mean that Dana would have to be born in 2012 or 2013. She seems too big in the "Macross" episodes to have been much under 1 year old then, so the most probable year of her birth is 2012. Many people, including parents and professional babysitters, have confirmed the general age range for me when asked to assign what they thought would be the correct age range, without any prior knowledge of the series. A 2011 birth date, while better for the "Southern Cross" episodes, makes her too old for her appearance in The Sentinels, if not for her appearance in "Viva Miriya". Ironically, robotech.com initially wanted to use a date (originating with the RRG) that would make her TOO YOUNG to survive the G-forces of that episode, but have since come around somewhat. But, even if one puts "Viva Miriya" in October as in Macross, her being born earlier in the same year is a stretch.

Three timelines.

Peter's dates from 1995-96, after we came to agreement over the implications of the Private Time cues. Previously, a second time line existed as an alternate for his group, that started in Feb 2009, and pushed the other dates up accordingly, then concluded by using the 2012 date. They would merge the two by 2000 (2/2009 - 12/2013) by 1999.

robotech.com's from January 2003, and is influenced heavily by Peter's later time line work with the RRG.

                            Peter's(1995)       Mine         robotech.com
SDF-1 folds                 June 2009       1 July 2009    28 February 2009
SDF-1 returns               June 2010     Mid July 2010          March 2010
Rick nearly killed in
Friendly fire incident                         Aug 2010      mid-March 2010
SDF-1 sent away from Earth  July 2010          Dec 2010           July 2010
Lisa returns to Earth        Aug 2010          May 2011          March 2011
Zentraedi truce & Holocaust Sept 2010         June 2011          April 2011
Dana Sterling born          June 2011        March 2012            Jan 2013
"Reconstruction Blues"      Sept 2013         July 2013            Mar 2013
"Viva Miriya"                              Oct-Nov 2013       May-June 2013
"Broken Heart"                                 Nov 2013            Oct 2013
"A Rainy Night"                          Early Dec 2013
"Private Time"                             Mid Dec 2013            Nov 2013
"Season's Greetings"      25 Dec 2013    24/25 Dec 2013         24 Dec 2013
"To the Stars"            30 Dec 2013    29/30 Dec 2013            Jan 2014

Analysis behind my spacing of episodes above:

1. The quasi-canonical Robotech Graphic Novel (written in part by Carl Macek himself, for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of establishing the pre-series canon), places the launch ceremony on 1 July 2009. It is the SAME date used by the RPG and the novels, and given the overwhelming printed references to that date in ALL licensed products that mentioned dates prior to the rise of the current (robotech.com) regime at Harmony Gold, it is certain to be the correct one. Therefore, the first two dates in Peter's time line have to be off by at least one month. It is also interesting to note that several early official Macross sources had the launch as 1 June or 1 July 2009, but this was retroactively changed to February by later official sources in the 1980s, in relation to the Macross movie, "Do You Remember Love?", which featured a much more apocalyptic setting than the TV series. Why the staff at robotech.com is so obsessed with that start date, which is only applicable to a movie that heavily conflicts even Macross TV canon, is beyond comprehension. For that matter, their current revisionism of the pre-2009 events is irrelevant to the Robotech series as it existed in 1985-86 (and therefore this timeline research), applying only to their attempts to alter the series after the fact - effectively creating a new continuity as different from the original series as (for comparison) the universe of "Enterprise" (and the related 80s & 90s TV series, that indirectly spawned it) is different from the original "Star Trek" series of the 1960s.

2. There is heavy hinting that the pageant that Minmei won was supposed to be a publicity stunt for Jan Morris. As Morris was totally unsuited for Minmei's role in the movie (which was part of the prize package from the pageant), then her movie must have been completely different from the movie we see later in the series. Therefore, a new script for a completely different, NEOPHYTE actress would have to have been written. Backing this up is the unlikely coincidence that the movie had the same name as the Lynn family restaurant aboard the SDF-1. This gives credence to a long period of time (the 12.5 months referred to in the series, minus the time taken by episodes #1-8) for episodes #9-14. How this affects later episodes, is the introduction of Lynn-Kyle. When Kyle arrives (UNEXPECTEDLY) on the SDF-1, he manages to get the lead role opposite Minmei. This would indicate MORE script rewrites between episodes #15 & 18, though possibly not as severe as from Minmei's upset Miss Macross victory. It would also explain WHY they were just starting to shoot the movie during that period.

REAL WORLD NOTE: Yes, I know the Screen Actors' Guild would have had a cow about ANY film being written specifically for ANY ONE actress (of course, being a new actress, with no experience, Minmei wouldn't have been subject to SAG rules anyway - but Morris WOULD have been). But we are talking about anime here, where the Japanese don't follow such rules. Besides, considering the pageant's timing, I think it's safe to assume that the ship was well out of the SAG's jurisdiction.

3. The preview for "Gloval's Report" at the end of "Blue Wind" implies that "two years" had passed from episodes #1-14, most likely the source for McKinney's placement of Dolza's arrival in 2012, etc. However, that voice-over is in direct opposition to statements from the next two episodes ("Gloval's Report" and "Homecoming"). The narration at the beginning of "Homecoming" refers to the absence of the vessel from Earth as "months". The narration as Rick & Minmei approach Japan states she has not seen home "...in over a year." Rick & Minmei refers to having been away from home "over a year" repeatedly as they make their way through the streets of her hometown. Lastly, Lisa states directly in her report that the SDF-1 fold occurred "twelve and one-half months ago." In all, multi-layered evidence that the narrator was in error in the preview.

The conditions (apparent temperatures in Japan, Alaska, and at the deck party, daylight hours, Rick's not being stone cold dead from sitting the water off Alaska's Bird Island for "hours" [quote], etc.) we see in episodes #15-16 completely preclude the robotech.com timeline. While the temperatures are a bit cold for summer in southern Alaska, we have no real clue how far north or inland Alaska Base is, and an Arctic front causing a cold snap to drop evening temps (even during the midnight sun periods) can cause temperatures to drop as cold as they appeared to be at the base.

4. The nature of Rick's injuries in episodes #16-18, and his return to duty in #19. As the SDF-1 was on Earth, there would be NO RUSH to get Rick back in the air (UEDC/standard UN forces could pick up the slack in the SDF-1's defenses, and would have automatically, at least until Gloval started pulling his low-flight-over-populated area stunt in episode #19), so standard military medical procedures would have been followed in his care. In other words, six weeks to 3 months have to occurred between the end of episode #16 and the beginning of #19, to allow Rick to be officially re-certified for flight duty (anime heroics be damned). This is based on conversations with a retired USAF combat pilot (Major) who flew over 400 F-4 missions in Vietnam; if anything, medical restrictions would be even greater in 2010 than in 1970. [Oh, and if you were wondering - Had Rick REALLY been shot down in February or March per robotech.com and the RRG... By some miracle IF he'd have survived (odds are thousands to one), all persons I've found records of that had that length of exposure to severe hypothermia and managed to survive, took 8 months to a year just to be able to WALK again, and YEARS to fully recover (if ever).] Now, there is some question as to whether as much as four months may have passed, as Max refers to a promotion as being a month prior, between the benchmark episodes (#18 & #20). Now, there are several possible ways of interpreting this. First is that it may be closer to two months from promotion time to the comment. Second, since they were on Earth at the time, Max may have been acting as a lieutenant in a brevet fashion in #18 (especially since Rick was in the hospital), and the official promotion didn't occur until weeks later (around the time of #19, "Bursting Point"). Lastly, the December tate itself is a rather arbitrary assignment. It could be in November or December, but it feels more comfortable for me, at least, being an early December event, especially when one compares Miriya's adaptation to the SDF-1 compared to the earlier spies' bungling.

5. Considering Miriya is inserted into the SDF-1 in episode #19, she seems somewhat comfortable in the showing of the movie, not to mention her acquisition of a limited wardrobe and weapons by #25. This would indicate a decent amount of time has passed, partially corroborating the time period above, as half of that period would have already passed by as of her insertion. Also, nowhere is the time period between episodes #25-26 adequately defined in Robotech. Macross to the contrary, at least several weeks appear to have passed between the wedding and Exedore's arrival in "The Messenger". After all, Miriya is by this point officially in the RDF, and would have had to undergo SOME training to make sure she understood RDF protocols, mecha, etc. and wouldn't accidentally shoot at RDF mecha out of force of habit. Plus, given that several weeks were needed for Dolza to arrive (from Azonia's report), based on the time it took to get to and from Dolza earlier in the series, that would put some time less than a month, but more than a couple weeks, between episodes 25 & 26.

6. Reconstruction Blues and beyond: "Reconstruction Blues" is supposed to be two years after the battle with Dolza. The events following this episode allow time not only for Khyron to shift operations from the Arctic to the South American jungle between episodes #32 & 35 - not to mention the lack of warm clothing worn by the humans in episode #32), but also have many other events take place, including a fold to the Factory Satellite and its fold back (events established to take weeks for a fold that only seems a day long within the effect - see episodes #10-12) to the beginnings of its refit.

7. Weather is beginning to turn toward late fall (if not unseasonably warm for that season) in Episodes #33-34, since Rick & Lisa were set for a PICNIC in #34, and the next episode, apparently 16-36 hours later, being Christmas! If we actually want to use the calendar for 2013, then specifically the concert at the end of #34 was probably Sunday, December 22nd, Minmei's arrival at Rick's doorstep early on Tuesday the 24th, Khyron's raid being the night of the 24th, the effects carrying over to Wed., Christmas Day. It would also make sense that Rick & Lisa's picnic had been scheduled for a weekend (Saturday or Sunday, allowing one day to pass between the events in Monument and Minmei's concert she runs away from). However, the Narrator messes things up concerning "Season's Greetings" by declaring it to be Christmas Day. Robotech is an American product, and a lot of things shown (like the stores Minmei buys the ingredients at) would have been closed on the 25th, unlike in Japan. Combined with other anomalous items, in an American setting (which the city became, after setting down where it did), the events should have been the 24th, with the relief work carrying into Christmas morning. See Palimpsest #1 above for firm evidence concerning the placing of these events into 2013. See the "Southern Cross" notes as to the choice of potential dates of "To the Stars" being the 29th or 30th

Robotech II: The Sentinels: The Late Great Non-sequel

The start date for this series has always been a point of heated argument. The evidence is heaviest for 2022, but that date is not fully supported by the actual animation of the Sentinels, once combined with the regular series . Then again, there's a lot of dialogue in Sentinels that directly contradicts the original series, anyway.

Over the years, there's been two camps. Those that embraced Sentinels, and those that rejected it out of hand. The main reasoning of each was (pro) "It would have been canon if completed" and (con) "It repeatedly contradicts all sources before it, including references to REF/SDF-3 mission personnel being gone from Earth 15 years before Episode 47, and ignores the age and setting date references given to licensees as being official."

Out of these grew the "Late REF Return" and "Early REF Return" factions; the former dependent on inclusion of Sentinels as canon, the latter disavowing either Sentinels, or the lines (mostly narrator & minor character lines) its existence contradicted. Over the years, the second group found more and more evidence that, taken as a whole, supports the fact that Sentinels itself contradicted the show itself so much, that only the disavowal option was viable, of the two ER theories (and totally destroys the foundation of the LR theory). The most telling blow came from the scripts of Sentinels itself, as they were printed by Malibu (the parent company of the Sentinels comics' publisher, so long ago). Rare, those scripts are bow available on the internet, and show just how flawed that project really was.

Then, in 2002, robotech.com did something truly bizarre. While finally officially disavowing Sentinels, they STILL insist that the 2022 launch date applies. They insist the regular series supports it, out of a misguided belief that the date was chosen from support given from the dates in the original series, when in fact, the truth is that the Sentinels series was the ONLY SUPPORT that a 2022 launch EVER had, and that the "proof" from the original series is the dating criteria from the "Late Return" faction, which is based solely on the 2022 date being a given fact. In other words, a circular argument.

The problem that ANY 2020s launch date brings into the equation is this.... All of the TV series' dialogue was written when it was thought that the SDF-3 mission would leave within a year or two of the end of the "Macross" segment (probable SDF-3 launch of 2015, as we are given no information in Robotech [as opposed to Macross] that the SDF-2 took any longer to build than two years). Carpenter's 15 year comment bears this out, as does the fact that Scott Bernard (according to his official HG bio for licensee use, prior to robotech.com) stated he was one of the first children born on the SDF-3 mission, and his age, combined with the year given to ALL licensees in that time period by HG for his arrival on Earth, would make him born in the middle of the 2010s. In other words, prior to Sentinels, HG's own documentation had Scott Bernard born ca. 2014-16, and 20 years old at some point during episodes 61-85 (based on Minmei's birthday in the series, the Style Guide apparently gives general ages, not the age at character introduction or departure from the series).

Going by a 2015 launch date for the SDF-3, Carpenter's 15 years would be correct, as the last week of 2013 or early January 2014 (destruction of New Macross & SDF-1) + 15 years (Anniversary given in "Dana's Story") = effectively, January 2029, and Carpenter's return in "Outsiders" appears from the dialogue to be about a year later (+/- a few months). Either way, a 5 to 8 year shift occurred, making the "15 years" statement impossible. (5 for 2015 to 2020, 8 for 2014 to 2022, using both extremes given for SDF-3 launch dates in Sentinels sources, and using the two extreme alternate dates for the launch as originally planned (2013 + [1-2 years]).

So, the date shift from the mid 2010s to the early 2020s had a profound effect of wrecking the house of cards of implied dates inherent to the series before the intended sequel was scripted.

Likewise, while a mid-2010s launch of the SDF-3 would make it possible that enough children were born on the SDF-3 mission to be of the right age to liberate Earth in the 2030s (as Lunk's comments indicate that the Southern Cross still existed, when the Invid arrived, and that arrival was so recent that his ASC group was still active until about a year before Scott's arrival), a 2020 or 2022 launch date would make the oldest children 12 to 14, when the youngest combatant in uniform we ever see in the first two segments is 16-17 (Max in "Macross", Dana & Bowie in "Southern Cross"). It would also explain the apparent age of Scott in a flashback concerning Wolfe, the age of the old soldiers in the desert, etc. For these to work with a 2020s launch, the NG episodes would have to take place in the 2040s, which goes against every written source for that segment's setting - except those originating with Walker's group and robotech.com's - therefore turning their argument into a circular one.

Where are You Going? When are You Coming Home?

From the 1985 Robotech Style Guide for licensees, distributed by Harmony Gold.

THE STORY OF ROBOTECH: ACT 3 THE NEW GENERATION

Despite the best efforts of the valiant Robotech Defenders stationed on the Earth, the anticipated invasion by the Invid is not stopped. The Invid succeed in totally defeating the combined forces of the Armies of the Southern Cross. The only hope for earth's salvation rests in the return of Admiral Rick Hunter's expeditionary forces, who left their planet nearly 20 years before to discover the homeworld of Robotechnology.

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This passage does something that the LR forces refuse to admit as a possibility. Simply, that the long, firmly defined, period that they INSIST is between SDF-3 launch and Mars Division return is, actually, a roughly defined period between REF DEPARTURE (possibly WITHOUT the SDF-3) to INVID ARRIVAL AND DEFEAT OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS THAT SURVIVED THE MASTERS WAR. And the Robotech Masters, in episodes 57-60 (if not back to the appearance of the Invid Sensor Nebula in #53) appear to be expecting the Invid to show up SOON (as in a few weeks, maybe months). "Nearly 20 years" could be as little as under 17 years, and (as indicated below in the section of the REF Fleet) REF ships could well have been leaving Earth even in 2013, and Carpenter shows it was definitely occurring by 2015.

So, it would appear from Robotech that the SDF-2 was built in about 2 years - so why would it take 8+ years (end of 2013/early 2014 to 2021-2) to build the SDF-3, when the SDF-3 had BETTER construction facilities, in the form of the Factory Satellite's zero-g space docks? The Regult pod fabrication area malfunctions are irrelevant - zero-g areas make ship construction much easier, regardless of how or where the parts were made.

In the written support material for Macross, two large, multi-ship colony missions were built, starting during the period that episodes #28-30 take place, and being finished less than two years later. On top of this, you had OTHER SDF-class ships being built from scratch and leaving with fleets, 1-2 a year, every year AFTER the SDF-2 - and these were ships built from scratch, unlike the modified SDF-2. So, the logic of "decade to build an SDF", presumably based on the Macross SDF-2/Megaroad-01, completely falls apart when what looks at what was built AT THE SAME TIME, AND AFTERWARD in the OSM. In fact, it would seem that the Factory Satellite capture SPED UP the production of vessels there - and would have in Robotech as well.

Another bizarre concept coming from robotech.com is that the factory satellite seen in Sentinels (despite the series' own disavowal) is still canon, but NOT the one from "Viva Miriya", simply because it's drawn differently (despite references made IN Sentinels to the use of Dana to capture it!). Does that mean, by the same logic, that the redrawn Sentinels character designs are now NOT the ones from the main series, but similar-looking other characters. For that matter, Peter and his bunch (who aren't as 100% allied with robotech.com as they used to be) now claim the REF reworking of the Battle Pods for Sentinels are ENEMY mecha, because of their use as foes in the simulator against Jack - never mind the REF had NO CLUE what the Masters used as weapons - else "Southern Cross" would have gone quite differently.

One of the strangest elements in the truth behind the changes in the Sentinels time line, is as elusive as a Sasquatch. It has been repeatedly hinted that Big West (owners of Macross), caused the situation by demanding (formally or informally) that everything be altered as to prevent Sentinels from being mistaken for a Japanese Macross sequel, from Macross character designs (by the line producer of Macross: Do You Remember Love? - how's THAT for Big West involvement in the changes?) to names and settings. All one has to do is look at how names were substituted (no Macross names, full or partial, were used during the initial scripting & storyboarding - Max, Miriya, Exedore, & Breetai all had aliases) to see something to this effect was occurring - no matter how much HG tries to deny it now. Furthermore, Macek added weight to this, and to another seemingly-outlandish theory in Robotech Art 3 by talking of how the Japanese staff tried to minimize the use of the Robotech characters, for possible editing of the footage into an related series. That odd theory ended up proving mostly true, as Sentinels-intended new character & Mecha designs that saw little or no use in the completed "salvage" OAV of Sentinels found their way into the Zillion laser-tag-based series.

Quotes and context:

Every time I tried to debate these theories civilly with Peter and his allies, I would be flamed and slandered by Peter for daring to suggest them. He REPEATEDLY accused me of quoting Robotech Art 3 out of context to support my theory - usually responding with counter-examples (often oddly edited to prevent accidental support for me, and from unrelated parts of the book) that, to anyone who HAS ACCESS to RA3 could see that Pete was taking out of context, while my quotes were well within context, both in my argument's context and within the text of RA3 itself. While, to many, this would seem a dead issue, it remains a hot button, and frankly, every time I bring out this evidence someone counters with Pete's attack on my position (usually someone who doesn't know how maliciously my stance was mis-represented by Peter). As a result, I am including the relevant pages of RA3 in an Appendix, with footnotes.

Support for the Date Shift, from an unlikely source:

The following quote is from one of the Robotech novels. While McKinney routinely screwed up the "Macross" and "Southern Cross" eras' timelines, the implications of the following quote on what HG WAS TELLING DALEY AND LUCENO, taken in the context of when it was written, are quite valid.

"The last time Zand felt Emerson's grip on his throat was fourteen years ago. That was at night, too, when Emerson burst into Zand's lab upon discovering that Zand was running bizarre experiments on the baby daughter left behind by Max and Miriya Sterling. He was exposing Dana to Protoculture treatments and substances from some strange alien plant. Emerson had heard it had something to do with activating the alien side of her mind and genetic heritage. The general was Bowie's guardian, but had been a good friend to Dana's parents.

Zand had believed he would die that night, that moment; Emerson's strength seemed illimitable. Or perhaps it was simply that none of Zand's acquired powers worked in Emerson's presence? Zand avoided him from that time to this moment, and Emerson had made sure, no matter where he was or what he was doing, that Dana was beyond Zand's reach."

- (Jack McKinney, The Final Nightmare [Robotech novel #9], pages 43-44.)

Why is this important enough to bring into a time line based solely on the TV series and HG-supplied information? Consider that this book was published in September 1987. As a member of LexFA (A Science Fiction and Fantasy club based out of Lexington, Kentucky), and as a staff member at conventions, I have had the chance to meet and participate in Question & Answer sessions with at least a dozen published authors, in fields ranging from RPGs, to fantasy, to horror, to the huge Star Trek franchise. I even was published several times myself, along the way. All these sources, and my own experience, indicate that no matter how many drafts a book went through before reaching final form, when it did get put on the schedule, it would be sitting on the shelf 9-18 months before it actually reached the retail market.

In other words, the novel above most likely was written in 1986 - When the Sentinels project was still very much alive, and very hush-hush. And, as the Breetai quote about Scott Bernard in the next novel trilogy shows, the McKinney team had NO IDEA what was going on in the Sentinels scripts. The information they worked from was the Robotech series, the Style Guide, and possibly any accumulated mateial that had served as Robotech's "bible" - a book compiled by series creators (in Robotech's case, most likely Macek, Snegoff and/or Chamberlain) for the staff to use, to reduce continuity botches when writing the episodes, detailing characters, dates, events, and technology (and even then, errors crept into the dialogue in the series, from the speed from which they had to do the translation work - Robotech is FOUR TIMES longer than a normal series released over a single year, and was put together in LESS time than a 12 to 20 episode weekly Saturday cartoon of the same time period!). If McKinney had such a resource, they would have used it. And, with or without it, they were certain that The SDF-3 had left Earth BEFORE 2018 (McKinney's 2032 date for novel #9, minus the 14 years in the flashback) - at least until the Sentinels scripts were given to them, long after the original 12 novels had been finished, printed and put on the shelves.

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"But, I like the Sentinels..."

Oh well, you can't please everyone. If you must have The Sentinels as partially animated (which conflicts even the scripts! Remember that according to Macek, the Japanese ignored the script outlines when making the footage that exists - see the appendix), the best compromise is to have the "10 years" referred to as being as starting from the destruction of Dolza's fleet, resulting in wedding taking place in 2020 or 2021 (Dolza + 9 to 10 years), with the actual arrival date over Tyrol being the 2022 date referred to by Macek. It fits everybody's criteria (Dana being 8/9, the "Ten years" comment & the 2022 date), and generally should make everybody happy. It also would fit in with what was demonstrated in the "Macross" episodes, where two folds to the Zentraedi fleet took hours relative to the persons aboard (Rick, Lisa, Max and Ben), but took weeks or months to those outside the fold. Lisa even commented on this fact, to Rick. However, you still run into the conflicts with Carpenter and the rest. That leaves you with having to have the (an?) REF fleet depart Earth by 2015. As you will see in the fleet discussion, this is easily done, whether the REF fleet is with or without the SDF-3. It just works better with the SDF-3. And, for Lisa's comment on the 9 year relationship - the circumstances around her departure from the SDF-1, his rescue of her from the cannon, and how she looked after Rick is pretty good evidence that the relationship started in 2011, and just hit some speed bumps in late 2013.

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Fleet-ing thoughts...

Other than the incredibly stupid toy fair video (which seems to be referring to the SDF-3's mecha complement, not a true fleet), there is no evidence to support the presence of a fleet WITH the SDF-3 as it enters the Tyrolean system. After all, why would the REF go to the trouble of disguising the SDF-3 to look like a Zentraedi ship, if they were going to utterly destroy that illusion by bringing along human designs? The Script Book of the REAL Sentinels #1-4 episodes (as opposed to the kit-bashed video made from the finished animation of those episodes) indicate the SDF-3 left alone (unless you count the craft that Janice & Minmei were in =)~

Possible means of remedying this (none supported by Sentinels itself) include the following.

1.Converted Zentraedi ships leaving shortly after the SDF-3 as escorts, which were cannibalized at Tyrol to build the REF ships we see in the third segment of Robotech.

2. Similar to the above, but using gutted hulls of the larger Zentraedi ships as fold vessels, each containing numerous smaller ships, with the shells discarded upon reaching Tyrol.

3. The third possible fleet theory is the most likely; the fleet folded separately from the SDF-3, either arriving outside the solar system of Tyrol & Fantoma (and waiting for a message that the coast was clear), or folding from Earth and arriving in-system after receiving an all-clear signal (this, of course, precludes McKinney's 5-year folds).

Of course, much of this is now academic, given that Sentinels has finally been rendered moot. But, as doors close, others open. And, within "The Outsiders" we find the solution.

The Great Carpenter Mystery:

Carpenter, and the term "Pioneer", were not even mentioned in The Sentinels scripts; this can be taken to mean that whatever force Carpenter was part of was the Pioneer mission - and that the SDF-3 probably was NOT. The Pioneer mission might have even been called the SDF-3 Pioneer mission, as they were PIONEERING the path toward the Masters' Empire that the SDF-3 would later take, in their fold.

While doing research for this essay, I came across a VERY interesting line from the "Great and Omniscient Narrator". In the opening of "Deja Vu", the episode immediately after "The Outsiders" (where Carpenter returned), the narrator claimed that Carpenter and his vessel were from Liberty Base, and were "Liberty Attack Wing", NOT from the SDF-3 or the Pioneer mission.

Now, this leads to some very interesting questions:

1.Just where is Liberty Base, anyway? (I know what it really was, in Southern Cross)

2.Besides being the communications link to the SDF-3, what other functions, if any, does it serve?

3.And why would people confuse a ship from Liberty Base with one from the SDF-3 mission, or vice-versa?

Now, if we discount the novels' claim of Carpenter being at Tyrol, and the announcement over the intercom (Carpenter never claimed to be WITH the SDF-3 mission, only RELAYING a message from Reinhardt, who was left in charge of the SDF-3 when Rick & Lisa joined the Sentinels - but only according to the novels), we are left with a ship that had been guarding a communications station in deep space for the last 15 years (as far back as 2015, if not 2014). The ship was sent by orders from the SDF-3 as a "last-ditch" (Carpenter's words) attempt to "knock the invaders from orbit", and that no further help could be expected from the Pioneer mission.

Only LEONARD's words seemingly link Carpenter's force with the SDF-3 in any way other than as someone who receives orders from it, and that could simply be him exaggerating the closeness of the two. For that matter, Reinhardt was referred to in a manner that seems to indicate he was MUCH farther away than Carpenter had been.

There are several hypotheses to reconcile "15 years" with the 2020s REF departure that came about from the Sentinels date shift fiasco. All of them tie into something often overlooked in these discussion - Gloval's plans to safeguard humanity, that he told Lisa, shortly before his death. If anything, Lisa would be even more inclined to follow these plans after Gloval's death, than before.

Gloval planned to send out colony missions, to insure that humanity would not be caught on one world and wiped out, as nearly happened with Dolza. This is as in Macross - after all, it's the same speech, only slightly modified in translation. The only differences are no one on the SDF-1 died in Macross, and only the attacking Zentraedi vessel was destroyed (the SDF-2 wasn't even on Earth; Lisa was in the SDF-1's auxiliary command center) not the SDF-1 or the city.

However, things would be different in Robotech, simply from the loss of the flagships of the RDF fleet. But, it would also reinforce the fragility of humanity.

The SDF-2, so near completion, would have had its own fleet - probably a mix of the best Zentraedi hulls that surviving Dolza, along with new vessels. And, the fleet would have been complete, or nearly so, before SDF-2 launch (just look at the fleet the RDF had built for the SDF-1, though it never served with them). In addition, other vessels, combining the best of Terran technology and salvage from Zentraedi wrecks, would be under production for system defense and other missions - and would use MUCH less Protoculture, due to their size efficiency. After all, any person familiar with military operations would have a coronary if you suggested dropping into an unknown area without ANY scouting of that area, and such smaller ships would fit the role perfectly - as long as they don't blunder into something that really outclassed them.

And, thanks to the use of "Southern Cross" footage in "Macross" episodes, we actually get to see this occurring. In "Khyron's Revenge", we see the Robotech Masters, and they are looking at a scene with at least two destroyed Earth ships, supposedly 20 light-years or more from Earth - ships that are the backbone of the Earth defenses in the "Southern Cross" arc. Taken literally, this can be taken to show that the RDF was actively building fold-capable vessels, and sending them out as advance scouts to look for Zentraedi, possible colony sites, and who knows what else. The ships in question, unfortunately, found too much, and were destroyed without getting a chance to warn Earth of what they found.

Despite (if not because of) such unexplained losses, colonization would occur, most likely along the planned flight path to Tyrol. This would allow forward supply bases, emergency stops, and the like to be close at hand for when the SDF-3 began its journey. While folding does make where you set the colonies up rather moot, in terms of isolation. But, folds aren't perfect, either. Folds take time, except in Mckinney's version of the late REF period. And, we know from references in "Southern Cross" there are such things as Space Pirates. Pirates, by definition, are predators of TRANSPORT shipping (usually civilian shipping, at that). For there to be pirates that the Masters could be mistook for, means that there must also be prey for the pirates, and colonies (and their shipping) are the only real option, as outside of the non-animated sections of Sentinels, there are never references to aliens NOT intent on attacking Earth.

1. By using a pioneer mission (which prior to Jan 2014 might have been the "SDF-2 Pioneer Mission") to scout your way, and set down Gloval's colonies, it creates the following factors.
a. Plotting potential hyperspace navigation hazards that could affect fold travel, that the Zentraedi did not take time to discover in the search for the SDF-1.
b. In case a fold does go wrong, the colony defense fleets are much closer in terms of rescue - especially if you lose hyperspace communications with the accident.
c. If you have the SDF-3 and presumed Zentraedi-class vessels (since the SDF-3 is supposed to look like a Zentraedi vessel, sending Earth-design ships with it directly would be the height of stupidity) traveling along this vector, it means that if a colony is attacked, it has TWO fleets (Earth's and the REF) that can respond, and one will most likely be days closer in fold time, than the other, except at the midpoint of the trip and that midpoint shifts farther out with each new jump in the search.

In effect, you overlap the response of the two military fleets over the area colonized by the (mostly) non-military one, increasing the safety of the colonies - especially against "space pirates".

2. Building a logistical train of colonies is a must - it's why so many out-of-the-way islands were claimed by the colonial powers on Earth. Say, for example, the REF needs a weapons shipment every month, that will at best take up a third of a supply ship's capacity (but will fill the storage bunkers on the warships to their normal non-war levels). When it gets to be a month in fold time from Earth, which would be better -
a. sending a ship from Earth to the fleet each time, trying to time the launch so that it arrives time on target with the amount you think the fleet will need then, or
b. setting up production facilities on colonies and/or Earth, then building a weapons supply depot on a colony world within 3-10 days fold of the REF fleet, then sending 4 full shiploads of those supplies to that depot (then topping off these amounts from the scattered planets producing to fill it after every couple shipments), so that you have a year's worth only a few days away, instead a month - especially if demand can suddenly increase.

3. The same strategy of logistics applies to everything from mech parts, to ammo, to food, to toilet paper. The closer you can get the supply dumps to the spearhead, the less likely the spearhead will fail for want of a crucial supply, and the more accurately you can see just how big a shipment is really needed, and the more quickly an unplanned shortfall can be covered.

Example: The SDF-3 finds an alien world that has just suffered a short-term ecological disaster, resulting in crop failure. The aliens are compatible with humans, in terms of diet, but they need the equivalent of two years food for the REF fleet, half of it within the next two weeks, to prevent mass starvation (And that's after the REF fleet empties its vessels own larder down to the point of going on rationing for the crews).
A. If the shipments come from Earth, taking a month, a large percentage of the population will be already dead by the time it gets there.
B. If the shipments come from the REF forward supply base 8 days away, the first half of the food shipment arrives with extra time to distribute it, and the other half can be sent from Earth or other colonies, whichever is more convenient, with additional shipments arriving at the same time as the later shipment to replenish the REF fleet, and even earlier, to restock the forward supply base.

Scenario "A" ends with the REF watching a civilization die, or nearly so, helpless to do anything about it. Scenario "B", on the other hand, has the REF being the hero, and most likely gaining an ally. And, it doesn't have to be just food - it could be medical supplies to fight a plague, clothing to handle an unprecedented natural or unnatural climate shift (which would probably require the previous two supply types as well, over time), etc. And it could just as easily be a disaster hitting an established colony as well as an alien world, with the REF being the much-closer response force.

There can be separate REF & Pioneer missions, in terms of command and objective. But, they would at the same time be mutually dependent on each other, the Pioneer Mission on the SDF-3's REF fleet for defense, the REF fleet on the colonies for supplies, R&R, repairs and eventually, personnel. The latter is important, simply because the references of being "born in deep space on a Robotech ship" by some of Scott Bernard's companions might mean they were born on board a long-term colony ship (picture a Zentraedi hull converted into a flying colony (a much larger version of Macross-on-SDF-1, closer in scale to a Gundam side or New-Macross [i.e. Macross 7] colony), either wandering space, or set up to exploit a system without habitable planets, mining asteroids, small moons, etc. Scott could be the odd one out, born on the SDF-3 itself (after all, the others didn't say SDF-3, concerning their own births).

The fact that Reinhardt in charge of the Pioneer mission further seems to indicate it isn't necessarily the REF proper, as it would be strange that the Hunters would leave command, then come back (hell, Sentinels probably was written as it was to cover that gaffe in regular series dialogue).

Liberty Base is located outside Earth's orbit, inside the solar system, and was attacked simultaneously with the arrival of the ships above Earth. We see the Black Lions apparently testing the new Veritech design near it, as it would be perfect to hide the tests there from prying eyes. (call it Ajax or AJACS, the one thing it isn't is an AGAC - people flub names all the time, which is why the "RS-71" became the "SR-71" for all time, after LBJ flubbed the name at its unveiling). It is the relay for FTL communications signals to the colonies and the REF. If based on fold tech, it's quite possible one would need to be out of a gravity well for it to work right, with Liberty having to link from there to satellites in orbit around Earth (which were jammed or destroyed by the Masters), that would then use conventional signals to finish the connection ground-side. It's quite possible to reconcile the "Deja vu" reference from Carpenter defolding at Liberty, getting what intelligence was available, then trying to run the gauntlet to get to Earth, since Liberty was missing the orbital links for its real-time communications to get through (after all, if Earth sensors can detect a fold near lunar orbit in 2009, surely the Masters' would have, if Carpenter's ship had defolded anywhere near Earth.)

"Hey, Carl - Let's make a movie!"

"Robotech: The Untold Story" - or should they have called it "The Shouldn't have been Told Story"?

The movie has a truly warped history. It started out as a massively reedited version of Megazone 23 Part One. HOW massively reedited? Well, practically every scene was far distant in placement from where it was in the original, not counting the addition of new footage created for it during the initial production of Sentinels.

The first version had massive sound problems, and had to be remixed. Then, showing the fixed version to Cannon Films, they wanted it to be more action oriented, so it was changed to a 2027 setting (from the original 2009) in order to allow more space footage to be used from MZ23. Of course, this meant changing the lead villain, as he was meant to be the same character that would appear as "Col. Edwards" in Sentinels. Thus, T.R. Edwards and B.D. Andrews went their separate ways (both into oblivion, via different courses). Then, Cannon insisted that he add more action footage to the movie from the SC arc of the TV series (in a marathon OVERNIGHT editing session), over Macek's objections that
a. The stuff would be contradicting the series;
b. The two different types of film stock would look horrible mixed together; and
c. It would delay the film to be in conflict with the year's major films (especially, Aliens), where it would be eaten alive.

Despite his objections, Cannon won out, and destroyed the movie - not that it would have been more than a mediocre film, anyway.

The resulting film had poorly redubbed 15th ATAC characters as ATAC troops in Japan, and those troops shooting down a Masters' ship (two years before the 15th does it), and many other things that makes anyone familiar with the series go "huh?" Worse, it was blindly rated (via Dallas' local rating system) as "suitable for all ages", because it was a cartoon. Yeah, a cartoon with the bloody assassination of one of the supporting cast because she knew too much, not to mention IR scans of a love hotel showing multiple positions being done (with moaning, IIRC) in several rooms, the heroine nearly sleeping with a dirt-bag producer to get a part, and lots more bloody violence. According to reports from Macek and others, mothers came screaming in horror, dragging their primary-age children from the theater, looking to shed blood themselves for being duped into showing their babies a movie that the MMPA had rated PG-13, but the local ratings board rubber-stamped as the local "Suitable for Children" (a "G" rating), without viewing it.

Needless to say, it's best forgotten, in terms of continuity. However, because I wanted to prove it could be done, I took a Megazone 23 script, various sub and dub versions of it, the synopsis of R:TUS, and my Robotech research, and put together a script-form fanfic that left out the Southern Cross footage, kept the Megazone 23 footage in the exact same order it had been originally (plus the exact same new footage being added as well), and actually could fit 100 percent into Robotech continuity. The result is "The Andrews Incident", available on my web page. Trust me, it's much better to read it, and forget the real movie. I even used the Movie's soundtrack, which was released on the 2-CD Robotech BGM set - and set the music MUCH more appropriately to the scenes.

But, if you MUST torture yourself, R:TUS was released overseas on video and in theaters, and some people actually have copies imported and converted to a format viewable in the US. But, don't say I didn't try to warn you off from watching the thing. It makes Sentinels look like high art, in comparison.

"Let's Go, Southern Cross!"

Important temporal cues in the Robotech Masters Saga, from the original 1995-96 debates:

Dana is a teenager when the war begins.                     "False Start"

The SC space facility is all but destroyed on the ground,   "Southern Cross" & "Volunteers"
yet the next episode is a mission into space.

Enough time passes to let alertness lax enough to let a     "Half Moon"
to let a Tyrolean ship slip in to a site within a few
hours' hovercycle ride of Monument.

The Masters have time between the shoot-down of their       Episodes #42-44
ship and the break-in by the 15th to set up a gauntlet
of traps and tests for them.

The Masters have built a complex linking system within      "Stardust"
their ships to allow the recovery of the downed one.

Carpenter's ship was his home for 15 years.                 "Outsiders"

Zor is debriefed by Nova, then retrained as a hovertank     "Deja Vu" & "New Recruit"
pilot. He then is assigned to the 15th ATAC.

Zor serves on Earth, unknowingly sending back               Episodes #50-52
information to the Masters.

The second major space offensive of the war leads to        Episodes #53-57
the restoration of Zor's memory and Musica's defection.

The last battle of the war destroys the Masters and         Episodes #58-60
cripples the Southern Cross, from loss of leadership.

Analysis:

1. It is extremely unlikely that Dana is less than 16 at the time of her graduation, so this would place "Dana's Story" no earlier than mid 2028. And, since the graduation is supposed to be on or near an anniversary of the loss of the SDF-1, it would appear to be in late December. Combined with the references to Dana as a teenager puts a cap on the latest possible starting date as December 2031 (Dana's 19th Christmas). The pronouncement of the anniversary being the fifteenth, however, further narrows it down to December 2013/January 2014 + 15 years = December 2028/January 2029. This date makes Dana 17 years old.

Placement of the exact date was a little dicey - I chose the last Friday or Saturday of 2028 primarily because it put the ASC Academy graduation in a 3 or 4 day weekend (4 if the destruction of New Macross & the SDF-1 was venerated as a holiday), and would have given the troops more time (1 January 2029 being a Monday) to recover from graduation parties, and make it to their assignments, had not the Masters arrived.

2. All of us (me, the RRG, rt.com, and just about everyone else) agree that there is a delay between "Dana's Story" and "False Start", although we must be careful when using Episode #37 as a source. "DS" is a chimera episode; one made of bits and pieces of Macross & Southern Cross episodes slapped together, and not a very good job at that (hence the unlikely anniversary given for the SDF-1's destruction). The delay in question appears to be sort of a "Phoney War" like the long lag between declarations of war in WWII Europe, and the actual German western offensive, as the 15th seems to almost be caught off-guard when the action begins. Since the graduation date is at or just prior to the first week of the year, then some time in mid 2029 would be the obvious choice for "False Start". But when it comes down to in, guessing is all ANY of us can do.

3. Another, shorter delay seems to occur between the episodes "Southern Cross" and "Volunteers", as the very same space facility we see devastated by the Bioroid attack in the former is used in the latter. Probably, no more than a couple of months.

4. Yet another pause in the war seems to occur at this point, as it almost seems to be "make work" duty to send tankers out on hover cycles to do patrols, when the GMP or Tactical Corps would be more suited for the job. Plus, there doesn't seem to be any alert status carrying over from the previous episode. When you factor in the relative closeness that is supposed to exist between Monument and the ruins of New Macross, the very ABILITY of the Masters to sneak a ship into the latter shows that alertness on the ASC's part is suffering greatly from inaction.

5. When the Masters do choose to try to escalate matters (most likely, the ship was going to attempt the harvesting of the protoculture, as tried in the last episode), Louie lucks out and finds their weak point. Yet, it almost appears from the beginning of "The Trap" (Episode #44) that the Masters were EXPECTING the insertion attempt, and managed to steer the attempt just where they wanted to, at least initially. This seems to involve some planning, and the deliberate reduction of defenses in the spot where the breakthrough would be allowed, in order to try to capture ASC personnel for study. The firing at the wall of the trapped corridor caught them off guard, and the antics of the 15th within the ship made too much trouble for the effort.

They did manage to capture one private (Road - funny name, ha-ha) and one or two hovertanks: Jordan's, for sure, as it is nowhere to be seen when his and Simon's bodies are passed on the way out, and possibly Bowie's - only the novels mention a self-destruct. The Masters then proceeded to shepherd the others back together. The attempt to kill Dana failed, as did the attempt to kill the entire group. In the end, Dana takes her own prisoner on the way out. To the time leading up to this fiasco (which by itself lasted only a day), time must also be added for analysis of the Bioroid for the next episode (several days to two weeks).

6. It seems really unlikely that the link-up system shown in "Stardust" existed as a standard part of the Masters' ships prior to the shoot-down - at least not as a method of ship salvage from a planetary surface. One has to consider the time needed to modify the ships to withstand such a procedure (the stresses would be incredible), and the captured humans from the previous episode were probably brainwashed as cannon fodder defense for the actual recovery, as a means of conserving their own troops. It is interesting to note that, while Bioroids did not seem to be a vital resource to them, the pilots were. The most likely theory is that the Masters had plenty of Bioroids on hand (the Protoculture in the clones' systems, combined with the neural systems used by the Bioroids, were all that was needed for their fine control), but had a severe shortage of personnel, as their clone supply (and supplies for cloning) was running low. Using local cannon fodder in Bioroids, even if at far below normal efficiency, would be more than adequate for holding off the Terran "barbarians".

7.It would appear that Carpenter arrives in the spring (as there are flowers blooming, and the weather is too wet for the rest of the year, in the inferred location of Monument City, and too warm for winter). According to the series, Carpenter's ship had been his home for 15 years. See the notes concerning Carpenter and the REF fleet above.

8. If we assume that Zor was actually TRAINED in the use of a hovertank via simulators, before being turned over to Dana, that would most likely put at least a month between "Stardust" and "New Recruit". One has to remember that, in the original Japanese series, the character Sefrietti Weiss (In Southern Cross, "the Zor" was the name of the Masters) was actually a Southern Cross soldier brainwashed by the Zor, and knew beforehand how to pilot a hovertank.

9. The launch of the second offensive, through the events of the end of the "Southern Cross" sequence, seems to take place over a period of less than a month. From the greenery present in the last few episodes of this story arc, combined with the fact that Bowie & Musica were able to "sleep" unprotected outdoors IN THE RAIN with no problems (though I've had friends suggest that, from the look on Musica's face, sleeping wasn't the only thing that must have occurred that night =)~ and that the search party went out without any weather gear, the time period for the end of the war falls into the period of May through September. Therefore, I suggest -

Southern Cross Timeline:

Dana's Story                                      29/30 December 2028
False Start                                             July 2029
Southern Cross                                          August 2029
Volunteers                                              September 2029
Half Moon                                               November 2029
Danger Zone - The Trap                                  Dec. 2029 - Jan. 2030
Metal Fire                                              February 2030
Stardust                                                March 2030
The Outsiders (Carpenter's ship arrives)                April 2030
New Recruit (Zor joins the 15th ATAC)                   May 2030
Love Song - Catastrophe                                 June 2030
(The second offensive, aftermath, & 2nd Robotech War ends)

Interesting side note: Harmony Gold once told Comico that the"Southern Cross" arc took place around 2025 and the series ended (at Reflex Point) in 2030. If you think Dana is young NOW...

Hammer to Fall...

Important temporal cues in the New Generation saga, from the original 1995-6 debates:

Cue:                                                     Source:

(NG Palimpsest #1)
"[REF crew of Horizont] were all born out                "The Invid Invasion"
in deep space on a Robotech ship".

Lunk made the promise to Nader "during the               "Paper Hero"
Invid invasion, after we fought the Robotech Masters".

(NG Palimpsest #2)
Scott was around 10-12 by the time Wolff had             "Eulogy"
departed for Earth.

Carla and Lancer parted "three years ago".               "The Secret Route"

Lancer and Simon knew each other, and Simon knew of      "The Big Apple"
Yellow Dancer as being Lancer, even though as a freedom
fighter, Lancer/Yellow operated over five thousand km
from New York.

"The REF found a threat on the Robotech Masters' home     Robotech Art 3
world that would keep them occupied at least 15 years."

NG Palimpsest #1:

The first cue is an artifact of a twisted translation from Mospeada. In the original series, the Invid invaded in 2050, Yellow & Jim's (Lunk's) group attempted to liberate Earth from Mars in 2080, and Bernard did not arrive until 2083. The line (from the Perfect Collection Subtitle) originally was "For those of us who were born on Mars I'm sure it will be a different world." Presumably, the ADV translation will provide us with even more insight, through a better translation.

Based on the apparent original plan to have Sentinels start soon after the end of "Macross" (which is evident from the Carpenter screw up as well as this line), this makes sense. However, these lines and several others were screwed over when it was decided to delay the Sentinels start date to the early 2020s.

A Non-issue

Despite many howls that "Paper Hero" contradicts the series, it does not. In fact, it was one of the first attempts by certain parties to misrepresent show dialogue in order to discredit those who opposed the Late Return theory.

First of all, it was the younger Nader's death that was referred to this incident as "a year ago", in a different sentence than the reference to the Masters. If you recognize the sentence referring to the defeat of the Masters and the Invid invasion as being a run-on sentence, then the only thing Lunk is guilty of is forgetting a comma-type pause. For, if you insert the comma, you get exactly what happened. And it was an RRG member that later pointed this out.
The Invid invaded AFTER the defeat of the Masters. We see the ASC in the first "Invid" episode fighting the Invid using REF equipment - in fact, we see the younger Nader in a VR-041 Saber/Blowsperior (Lancer) type Cyclone. If anything, Lunk was saying that his friend was in the Southern Cross with him, then died during the war with the Invid. NO time clue is given to the time space between the Masters' fall, and the Invid war, or even from the beginning of that war, to Nader's death.

The dates usually considered for the invasion are in 2031-2033; the initial resistance force's arrival from the outer solar system would be within the year; probably closer to weeks later, than months. One important thing to consider is that the Masters were URGENTLY trying to get the goods and leave; something they would not have needed to do if they didn't fervently believe that it would take the Invid only a few weeks or so to reach Earth, after the nebula notified the Regis.

Now, to tie these events to the flashbacks. In the original Mospeada series, the initial attack wave (Yellow/Lancer, Lunk, et al.) arrived in 2080, three years before Bernard. Keeping with this and Lancer's references to the same time period passing, and supported by the evidence of a collapse of existing infrastructure from the same time, this would give a year for the episodes "Paper Hero" and "The Secret Route" (not their flashbacks) of 2031-2 + 3 years = 2034-35.

NG Palimpsest #2

The Flashback scene from "Eulogy", and later Implications:

In Robotech, the scene (from Mospeada, showing Bernard as a pre-teen or early teenager viewing a propaganda film of Wolff's departure) could not have occurred. First of all, the setting is completely contradictory to the other NG episodes. The flashback talks of Wolfe fighting both the Masters and Invid on Earth, so unless he was the unexpected reinforcements received by the ASC in the last few episodes of that story arc, it becomes questionable at best. But, that itself seems to contradict the line concerning the Point K forces, which DIDN'T KNOW it was the Invid that were on Earth, and from Scott's misplaced confidence of that group's continued existence, appear to have arrived shortly before Scott's group (as invasion-era defenders Lancer & Lunk didn't know of its existance). So, how could the announcer we hear in Scott's flashback know? Answer - they couldn't. Plus, even though we must discard Sentinels, what little source material we have for it shows Dana's sister (and yes, she's labeled "Aurora", no matter what some people would like to think) AND a young Scott Bernard (as in the flashback) in the character lineup. The source of this character guide for the animators of the Sentinels is both the back page of the first Sentinels script book (though the section with Scott was left out in that source), and (in an altered form) a Robotech-fanzine-era Protoculture Addicts (which did include Scott). The head of Ianus (now called Protoculture), one of the original PA staffers from the Robotech era of the magazine, confirmed for me in 1996, that the character lineup came from the Sentinels project, itself, provided to them (with English names) by Harmony Gold.

This also manages to show that Wolff's mission COULD NOT have founded Point K, as it would have been destroyed LONG before Bernard got there (thanks to Wolff's treachery; for that matter, with that kind of backup, he wouldn't have turned anyway, based on the reasons presented for his betrayal given in the series!). This means that it was either part of Mars Division (a staging area for after reentry?) or an independent force; either a forward supply dump set up by the in-system colonies, or a unit sent ahead by slower means (FTL drives better than the Masters', for example) to reinforce the ASC and/or establish a beachhead for later groups, if the former had already fallen. The fact that Point K had not been looted by locals for its military hardware proves that it had not been there long at all.

An alternate proposal is that Point K was a propaganda tool - that the forces attributed to it never existed, or consisted of obsolete equipment and ill-trained forces, and hence was finished off early. However, if the Beta was an REF development, this newly-adopted mecha being found there would seem to argue against this interpretation.

Lancer, Carla & Simon: Who Made Who?

We know the following to be true.
1.Lancer arrived in from space, when he crashed during the initial struggles with the Invid. Whether he was part of the first liberation attempt in Robotech, or a ground-launched transatmospheric fighter that crashed to Earth far from home is subject for debate.
2.Lancer crashed near Carla's home in South America, where she helped him dress up as Yellow to hide from the Invid.
3.Yellow operated out of a jeep, in South America, and there was no way for the two American continents to communicate easily (otherwise, most of the trip of Bernard's group would have been unnecessarily complex). It has been three years since his relationship with Carla.
4.Yet, Simon, a resident of New York City, knew Lancer, and knew of his alter ego of Yellow Dancer, though their conversation seems to indicate less than two years since these two last met.

These facts, taken together, make it seem that either Lancer knew Simon before the Invid arrival (and Lancer is downplaying the time he's been gone), or Simon had met Lancer in the south, then managed to somehow make it back to New York. In the first case, Simon's knowledge of Yellow would means that Yellow existed as a stage name for (if not a fully realized character portrayed by) Lancer BEFORE he ever met Carla.

In fact, it is extremely unlikely that Yellow could have been a credible character if Carla was the person who introduced Lancer to cross-dressing. For that matter, it appears that Lancer had, by the time of the "Norristown" event, access to a full band of people trained to play Yellow's music, who also worked for the resistance. It is very likely the theft in question had been planned long before, and Scott's group only became part of it, because Lancer joined their group. Seeing as "Yellow" would have to lay low for a while after the theft, until well clear of the area, it gives him more reason to go with Scott & co. Everything seems to add up to Carla at best being someone who helped Lancer adopt an existing disguise, not create one from scratch.

We are left with three possibilities-

1. Lancer was a ASC reservist (that worked in the Theater districts of NYC) that got activated for the final battle with the Masters, and was in space with the ASC survivors of that battle (say, on the Moon) when the Invid arrived. This is the position that Tim Eldred and his co-workers took with the "Invid War" comic book series, and the most likely one.

2. Similar to the first, except that he was flying a ground-based space fighter out of the New York area at the time of the invasion, and ended up having to crash-land a continent away from his take-off position.

3. The least likely option is that Simon toured with Lancer in the south (could have been part of the same unit, or a New Yorker on tour with an act in South America when the Invid arrived, and the two linked up after Lancer sent Carla to safety), then over a year before (prior to Lancer meeting the rest of the team), Simon chose to try to make it back home.

Any one of these fits all the evidence concerning Lancer in the series, and prove that the generally held assumption that Yellow was a creation of Carla and Lancer is either false, or a LOT more complicated, since Yellow had probably existed prior to their meeting. Most likely, she didn't create anything, as much as she helped him put on the disguise (using her cosmetics) much faster than he could have alone.

Manning Mars Division:

Repeating the lines from above, Scott's comments in the first Robotech/Invid episode also indicate that he had seen Mars' environment first hand, so it is also equally possible that additional troops from Mars division could have been from rebuilt Mars bases - children born 20 years before, in the 2010s, on Mars, that had never been to Earth. Gloval himself stressed the need to start colonies elsewhere to prevent the extinction of Terran civilization, in the post-Dolza episodes, and a Pioneer mission that was a scouting mission for the SDF-2/SDF-3, & restarted Mars bases would be logical means of doing so (see the Carpenter elaboration above). "Born in deep space on a Robotech ship" could just as easily (more easily, in fact) fit persons born in the twenty-teens, aboard exploration and colony ships, than the SDF-3, as the SDF-3's crew would have had no time for anything but humping like bunnies, and childbirth, to provide enough children for Mars division and the later ones, even for a 2050s date, let alone anything in the 2040s or 2030s! But, we know they fought a war (versus the Invid, by Sentinels, and references by REF characters in the post-SC episodes) AND a civil war (again, from Sentinels) in that time!

So, there has to be another source for them:

1. Most common would be volunteers from other sources. This could be from Mars colonies (as noted above), or colonies set up in the 2010s by Carpenter's exploration force. Such colonies have to exist in Robotech, simply to explain multiple references to stuff from deep space we hear in Robotech - such as the ASC thinking the Masters might be SPACE PIRATES!
2. Naturally, some would be younger officers and kids that had been taken along on the SDF-3 mission (not born on it; Bowie mentioned other kids being taken along, in the script for Sentinels episode #4).
3.The third possibility is the darkest - but fits in PERFECTLY with the original projected fate of the SDF-3, according to Robotech's creator. If the SDF-3 does go back in time, as per Macek's comments, to become the ancestors of the Masters, then a logical explanation could mean that the "20 year" and "Born in deep space" lines are lies - And that the REF Mars Division personnel were mostly clones, with false pasts that they never thought to question.

Other Factors:

Here is more evidence for the 2030s era. From the fact that all non-fanfic sources ALL agree on the decade (though not specific dates), one must assume that Palladium, Daley & Luceno, and the others ALL came to the same conclusions independently, based on the same evidence from Harmony Gold, or were specifically given a date within that decade to work around.

First of all, the evidence for the general era:
Macek's comment that the REF was away for (at least) 15 years.
The food in the series that is recovered from an abandoned city.
The ability of a bottler to still be selling cola during Invid occupation.

Elaboration:

First, the "15 year" comment, using the two dates given (2020 or 2022) for the SDF-3 mission, gives us a boundary of 2035-2037 for the earliest Fleet return (not Mars Division). Truthfully, the advance forces of Wolfe and Mars Division could hardly be considered more than advance scout forces, and are referred to as advance and/or scout forces several times in dialogue and written HG-provided source material.

The Physical Evidence:

Several incidents indicate that the invasion was recent, and the collapse of the remaining society even more recent. By episode, these incidents/items are:

I. "Curtain Call": The delivery truck was delivering soda to the town. Not only would it be difficult to keep the equipment running, the difficulty in acquiring carbon dioxide (which is purchased, not produced by the bottlers) and syrup (also not locally produced by 99% of bottlers), any syrup stockpiled would be spoiled within 2-5 years.

II. "Hard Times": All evidence in this episode indicates a collapse of the society within the last 3-5 years, as the gang wars date from (at earliest) Rook's early teens, and she left right after the Red Snakes' victory. Furthermore, it's unlikely a town so well situated wouldhave been left to the predations of biker gangs prior to episode 60.

III. "Paper Hero": Nader's death (Father and son) appear to have occurred during the initial resistance. If the younger Nader's death occurred 1-2 years ago, it seems strange that he wouldn't know of his father's death, which occurs during the initial resistance to the invasion. It is also inconceivable that the town would be that paranoid over a death that wasn't still in very recent memory. Also, the resistance attempt of the town was also a very fresh memory, so trying to link these to a 10 year old invasion is improbable at best.

IV. "The Midnight Sun": not a clue to the actual year, but an indication that the squad has passed in the last seven episodes from Southern Hemisphere's winter to the Northern Hemisphere's winter. Somebody got a little screwy with titling episodes, as the geography and plant life indicate the California Sierras, not the Canadian Rockies.

V. "Frostbite": None of the food should have been edible after 3 years, let alone 10. That food was in commercial supermarket packaging, not hard military storage. Again, this indicates a relatively recent collapse of society. If the society collapsed as slowly as Peter and Aubry think, the city would have been in use, or stripped clean. At least we agree that it had to be something closer to (gasp) McKinney's interpretation, rather than it being "Denver". See below for reasons why the food is evidence against a long delay between its "loss" and discovery by the group.

VI."The Big Apple" See the Lancer, Carla & Simon thread above. Again, evidence that the fall of the Southern Cross occurred around five years ago, not ten.

VII. Other items, such as the condition of various cities met along the way, the relative ease of salvaging supplies from abandoned bases, even the fact that the food in the city under the ice was edible(!) firmly establish one thing:

The Mospeada writers were too damn generous to their characters, who were supposed to be finding this stuff 33 YEARS after the initial Invid invasion, and THREE years after the last assault on EARTH!!!

Random notes:

Ages, Memories and Attitudes: One has to consider the fact (usually denied by the Late Return crowd) that the most substantially rewritten part of the Mospeada series was the very first episode. As a result, the "passive occupation" that existed from 2050 to 2080 is no longer in evidence - even if truncated to the 10 years the LR favors. Even more perverse, the LR faction also believes that Lancer and Lunk are in their mid-30s to 40s, despite BOTH being designed in style stereotypes that in Japan are almost exclusively for young adults (early to mid 20s, rarely as old as 30). This aging (which itself contradicts Mospeada OSM) is done SOLELY to FORCE the character's statements concerning the initial Invid Invasion and its immediate events to be potentially reconcilable with Late Return. Once again, this leads into circular arguments, as they often cite material they modified from previous standards as evidence for the events that caused the modifications in the first place.

Further, dialogue by the characters indicate a short, mostly belligerent, occupation. Rand's attitude throughout the series concerning the Invid reflects the notion that they are a recent hindrance to his lifestyle, not something he's grown up with. Nor does the Robotech version of Rook or Annie's origins indicate that they grew up under Invid domination. They seem to know the Invid as recent arrivals, not childhood boogeymen. Hell, Annie's remembered birthday (with her parents), if placed in a LR scenario, would only be feasible if the parents were INVID COLLABORATORS, as the memories are rescripted with a normalcy that didn't exist in Mospeada's long occupation at any point in time (if there was even any dialogue in that flashback originally - it's not uncommon in Japan for flashbacks to not have sound at all!)

Food: Food's capability to be stored is based on three constraints: Environment, composition and cost-effectiveness. First of all, canned pop (thinly disguised cans of Coke) would have eaten through the cans within three years, not to mention having gone flat within one. NOTHING about the way it was kept would prevent this. Vienna sausages will keep for 3-6 months warm, 6-12 months refrigerated, and are destroyed by freezing. Candy will become inedible mush after a few years, even frozen. ALL of these are facts based on the foods' COMPOSITION; no amount of packaging, radiation treatments, etc. will prevent these. Furthermore, while it is feasible for some products to have their life span increased by special packaging, such methods are not used. Example: Pop. While it is possible to make a can that can keep pop drinkable for years, it is not done for two reasons:
1. Pop has a shelf half-life of 2 weeks; half of a given shipment will be purchased and consumed in 2 weeks, 75% in 4 weeks, 87.5% in 6 weeks, etc. This means that 99.61% will be consumed within 4 months. As a result, bottlers will use only the most cost efficient means of packaging, which is packaging good for only 4-6 months. Just check the expiration dates on pop, if you don't believe me.
2. Packaging good for several years has been discovered, but would increase the cost of the product by 1000%. Would you pay $8 per can for a beverage you could get just as easily for 75 cents??? Most buyers won't.

The effects of a destroyed economy: The city in which Scott and Rand pick up Annie (and first encounter Rook) could not have survived very long in its condition, even (especially?) with Invid help. Such a trap would be well known by people such as Rand if it had been there more than a couple years, and it had no apparent means of food production.

The amount of stuff salvaged by the group shows that little had been picked over, meaning little time had passed.

Manhattan DEFINITELY would not be in as good a condition as shown in the series if more than 5 years had passed.

Lastly, the food stores in the place they THOUGHT was Denver could not have lasted 5 years, and definitely not 10-12!

Here are the dates as I have estimated:

Wolfe's arrival at Earth:               Late 2030 (October +/- 3 months)
Invid arrive at Earth:                  Early 2031 (February +/- 3 months)
Mars Division arrives on Earth:         Early 2034 (maybe 2035)
Invid Depart Earth:                     Middle 2035 (maybe 2036)

Most likely, the events of episodes #61-70 took place through May, 71-76 in June-September, and 77-80 in October-March. #81 is difficult to place, but #82-85 appear to be in spring or early summer.

The Journey To Reflex Point: AKA "The Path Not Taken"

At one point in the series, Scott is seen going over a map, that shows his intended route to Reflex Point. This route includes using the Caribbean islands as stepping stones to North America. Many "Purists" seemed to take the path drawn as gospel - Never mind that, based on climate, setting and locations shown afterward, the mapped route shown in the series (across the Gulf) is impossible!

Several reasons have been theorized as to why the route mapped was not actually taken. The most likely is that the animators flunked geography. Other, better-for-sanity-when-doing-timeline (narf!) reasons include the probability that the fertile islands of the Caribbean (especially Cuba & Hispaniola - the latter being the proper name for the island comprised of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) would be prime Flower of Life growing areas, due to climate and soil conditions. Note that, quite out of character, many of the circles on the map seem to indicate actual episodes - some of which had not yet occurred!

Starting from Scott's landing, the following route can be traced, based on climate and geographical clues. I use my own story arc titles below, to group episodes, with connected themes and travel locations.

Landing: Scott landed in an area with a temperate climate, relatively flat land (with mountains in the distance), and desert - natural desert, from all appearances. This would put him and Rand (whom he meets there) in Argentina or Chile, possibly Paraguay or Uruguay. However, based on the map, this start point appears to be in Brazil - but for all we know, that initial circle COULD be just the point where the team came together by episode 4. From this point, they are traveling roughly north. In terms of the time of year, it appears to be in the summer, (December-March).

The Gathering of the Heroes: Over the next 2 episodes, Annie, Rook, Lunk and Lancer join the team. This section of their adventure takes place in Brazil, which (Amazon reputation to the contrary) has become quite tame in its eastern areas, thanks to the agricultural efforts made since the 50s. Episodes #64 and #65 also take place in this time period.

Brushes with the Past: The heroes begin having to face the pasts they had been running from, encountering the places and people that helped bring them to where they were in their lives.

Rook is first, ("Hard Times") practically wandering blindly into her home town. This is most likely French Guiana, as (according to the tape case of "Mospeada: Love, Live, Alive") the Mospeada name for Rook is Houquet (NOT "Fuke", as is on the toys).

This is followed by Lunk, in "Paper Hero", where he comes to a peace within himself over the death of his best friend, by bringing a form of justice for his friend's father.

Scott gets his first gut-check here, running into his idol, who turned out to have feet of clay. By this time, the party is probably nearing Venezuela. It is in Guyana that the episode "The Genesis Pit" takes place, as Guyana was the location of "The Lost World", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (one of the first SF books to deal with dinosaurs, and the first movie to bring them fully to life - the silent film inspired the creators of King Kong , Gojira/Godzilla, Ray Harryhausen, and practically every other person who has worked with dinosaurs in film). Then, Scott has to face the destruction of both his unit and his girlfriend all over again, as the team picks up the last member of its cast - the amnesiac Marlene/Ariel.

From here, they move into the mountains of Columbia, where in "The Secret Route", Lancer has his turn at facing his demons (and an old girlfriend) as winter begins in the Andes.

Once through the mountains, and into the deserts of Ecuador or southern Columbia, Rand has to face his own doubts (in a flower-of-life-induced dream) about why he has put aside his loner ways to become a part of something greater.

Lingering Doubts: There's few rivers that fit the profile of the one they end up on, but the best candidate is the Atrato River (and/or one of its main components, can't tell for sure from the map). It runs between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, in an area which fits the environmental profile of the episode "Annie's Wedding", but empties into the Caribbean. The group ends up a rain-soaked city in southern Panama or northern Columbia (which probably post-Dates the Zentraedi - no city in the region has such a subway system today). After a brush with death, the group almost split.

Now, all we see about jumping across the Caribbean/Gulf is a finger sweep to Reflex Point in the episode with the maps, which probably proved impossible, once information came out about the Invid situation in the West Indies. Now in the Northern Hemisphere for good, hurricane season provides another good reason not to try to cross the Caribbean then (While it is also hurricane season in the Pacific, the Pacific hurricanes tend to run off-shore, rarely turning toward the coast, and end up being Hawaii's problem more often than Mexico's).

For that matter, it could even be a navigational error. After all, Panama would be the best location to locate vessels of the size they want, as well as military supplies (the Canal would be just as important after the Zentraedi as it was before). But, Panama is also (due to its bending in the region where the Canal Zone is located) the only place you can watch the sun rise over the PACIFIC and set over the ATLANTIC. If they set out just by shoving off toward the East, they could have ended up with a rude surprise, when they ran into the coast again!

Whatever the reason, they changed to a Pacific route. While the architecture of the island they stopped at is similar to 1970s Caribbean resorts, the surf is not. North of the equator, the kind of surf as shown on the island is only found on the Pacific coasts of the Americas . The closest the Caribbean and Gulf see to it is from storm surges as hurricanes come ashore - not on sunny days. Furthermore, the events and geology/geography of the episodes "Midnight Sun", "Ghost Town" and "Frostbite" appear to rule out any Caribbean route. This places the island off Central America, possibly as far north as California. They would come ashore for good, off-camera, somewhere in California. They then start to cross the Sierras, as winter nears - bad idea.

Discoveries: "Midnight Sun" (funny name for an episode where we never see the sun) appears from is terrain, weather, and other features, to be in the Sierra Nevada ranges. One can only presume that the choice of route was forced North in some way, possibly by the desert southwest (south of Las Vegas) being impassible due to Invid farm communities drawing irrigation from Lake Powell. In fact, Scott's very crude map shows some sort of installation (Invid?) in that very area, several episodes before. By going through Nevada, instead of Arizona, this makes one of the most logical routes to the interior Donner Pass (sound familiar?), which would exit around the ruins of the cities of central to northern Nevada (around Reno). That locale is a perfect fit in terrain and history for the episode (especially given the other nods we see to history and film in Mospeada).

From there they cross Nevada & Utah, where the weather will remain warm for a few weeks more. Again, this produces a perfect match for the next episode ("Ghost Town"). The craters could be from any Utah city's destruction by the Zentraedi (or the Masters), the abandoned cities within them showing either Masters or Invid war damage. They encounter a bunch of geezers that (probably) returned in the late stages of the Masters war, and whose ship was missed by the Invid, because it was sitting in a crater, unable to function. Their specific crater was probably an ASC landing port, before the "James Gang" (Frank? Jessie? Yeah, right....) set up residence there, as the ship's main hull is flush to the ground, with the massive underside hangars and turret hidden from view.

From Utah, they then head blindly into the Colorado Rockies, following I-70 toward Denver, during the deepest parts of the Northern Hemisphere's winter. Along the way, they find an abandoned city that is hinted at being Denver ("Frostbite"), but does not match the SC-era Denver. It appears to have a dome covering it, extend at least partially into the mountainside, and has similarities to the colony city we see Scott in, in the "Eulogy" flashback. Could it be a prototype city made to test colony designs, either with a skylight or having part of its roof liner uncovered by an avalanche? Furthermore, the stores don't appear to be set up for coping with snow (open fronts, etc.) The reason there could be snow inside the dome, would be if most of the climate controls were turned off when the city was abandoned, but someone left the rain simulator set on timer, to water the plants. Such artificial rain systems are but variants of snow-making machinery as used by resorts, so by not leaving city heated, the sprayed water from the rain system would turn into sleet and snow as it fell from the roof. And, was the ice they repeatedly dropped on Invid in some of the streets from an overhead rail system like the one we see in the "Eulogy" flashback? We may disagree in time settings, but even the RRG & and robotech.com agree with me that the city is something other than Denver, and that dome isn't natural.

The Good, the Bad and the Invid: Annie celebrates her birthday after they clear the mountains, and turn south to avoid more Invid farms. Then they encounter Dusty Ayres, and his former friends, as spring nears. From here, the trip to the Atlantic Ocean, and up the coast, is off-camera (so to speak). In "The Big Apple", they help free Manhattan, while liberating the Protoculture they need for their trip to Reflex Point. And, as spring comes to the Alleghenies, they face their worst crisis, in meeting Sue Graham, and the exposure of Marlene as an Invid.

Reflex Point: Nothing more really needs to be said, as the group makes the last, quick run into the hive complex (which covers most of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and parts of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ontario & Kentucky), to confront the Regis. The real problem is that the crude map of Scott's doesn't even include the Great Lakes (only Hudson Bay and the St. Lawrence Seaway), and the placement of Reflex Point seems to shift every time we see it on maps or in orbit. The locations that seem most prominent are either around the Ohio-Indiana-Michigan border, or further west, around the Gary/Chicago area, as that hive seems to shift location. Strangely, the last scenes would have to be outside the East or Southeast perimeter hives, as they are the only places that have the right geology. The lines we see connecting the diagrammed hives, and the weird tunnels may be one and the same, and offer a form of faster-than-outside transit between the parts of the complex. But, that's an argument for another day...