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Unread postPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 1:20 am

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Joined: Thu May 08, 2003 9:17 pm
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Location: Monument City, UEF HQ
Fixing the 2E RPG's 2RW timeline


I think a lot of people (especially Harmony Gold) have completely misinterpreted the timeline of events in the Second Robotech War. At the very most, the Tv series indicates its about 6-8 months long (and a lot of that is making time lags where its not exactly certain), from Dana's Story to Catastrophe. And good chunk of that, ~2-3 months, is the "Phony War" (as Stan Bundy correctly pointed out) or what I call Phase 1: False Start. There ARE dialogue time cues scattered about in the series, despite people claiming otherwise. Among the obvious elements is there is no discernible change in seasons. We don't see true wintertime or really fall. We do see spring & summer conditions. That probably means early 2029 was mild (no snow).

Phase 1: False Start (Dana's Story to temp cease-fire in Danger Zone)

Episode #37 Dana's Story
SUPREME COMMANDER LEONARD: Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, officers and enlisted graduates: today we celebrate not only your achievement as the first graduating class of the United Earth Forces Military Academy, but we celebrate the memories of the brave men and women who have served in our planet's defense before you. It was 15 years ago today that the officers and crew members of the SDF-1 so valiantly gave their lives as they successfully repelled the final attack of the Zentraedi invaders who had terrorized Earth for so many years.

This gives the start date: the 15 years to the day of the loss of the SDF-1. Now the time between Dana and Bowie graduating and ending up at the 15th's barracks isn't exactly established, but they appear to be there already. Its quite likely the last "semester" isn't spent living on campus (assuming its like a traditional military academy) but with a unit in the field doing Advanced Training. That Dana and Bowie ended up already at their first Duty Station is either serendipity or they got special consideration.

Episode #38 False Start
DANTE: I could be wrong about this, Lieutenant, but don't we have a Yellow Alert for the week?
BILL MORRISON: This is a Special Bulletin from Channel 3, your Macross Broadcasting Station. Good evening, I'm Bill Morrison, with this late breaking story. Just in from United Earth Command Headquarters, United Earth Government revealed today that at 11PM last night a huge spacecraft of unknown origin was detected as it entered our quadrant from hyperspace. After tampering with, and possibly destroying one of our communications satellites, it has settled into a stationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above our planet. All troops have been mobilized and put on Red Alert.

This tells us the ASC is on Yellow Alert for the week, meaning its likely the very same week as the attack on Luna. False Start takes place over a period of 2 days. The next episode, Southern Cross, the ASC is still basically on Yellow Alert. In fact, its probable that Dana's Story to Volunteers is a week to 10 days at max. The real question is the time lag between Volunteers and Half Moon followed by the cease-fire. A lot of this depends on your tolerance for how slow the UEF would move to get stuff in order.

Episode #39 Southern Cross
GENERAL: Headquarters thinking is we can't just sit and wait for those murderous renegades up there to launch a planned offensive.

At this point, the UEF isn't sure who is attacking them. The theories range from Space Pirates to Miniaturized Zentraedi (the latter persists until Metal Fire). The first phase of the war lasts til the end of Half Moon. After the temporary cease-fire by The Masters (probably awaiting reinforcement from their entire fleet), the war enters its next phase. Its got to be long enough for the airfield shown Southern Cross to be repaired. So probably a month total for Southern Cross to Danger Zone cease-fire ending.

Eps. #42 Danger Zone
MACROSS BROADCASTING ANCHOR: And now for news from the war front. While Earth forces were successful in disabling one of the enemy craft, the remainder of the massive invasion armada maintains a steady and ominously silent orbit at 36,000 kilometers. Robotech Master Zor, the military commander of the invading fleet, has temporarily ceased hostilities on all fronts. The reasons for this ceasefire are as unknown as the motives behind this brutal and unprovoked assault on our planet.

Phase 2: Escalation (Space Assault in Danger Zone to A New Recruit)

Now the war is starting to heat up, but its still mostly feints by The Masters and retaliation by the UEF. The Masters retain control of the high ground throughout until something changes the balance of things and the UEG commits fully to driving the aliens from the planet. This takes place over a period of about 2-3 months.

Eps. #42 Danger Zone
PRIME MINISTER MORAN: Gentlemen, I'm afraid I have some very grim news. According to this report, Zor has broken his self-imposed ceasefire. At 0800 today, he attacked our suburban base station in Sector Three.

Danger Zone takes place over an extended period (first part) but then 2 days for the second part. That's immediately followed by Prelude to Battle and The Trap. So from the battle in Danger Zone to Dana and company infiltrating the Masters fallen ship is a week at the very most. Incidentally, its this phase of the war where the 15th suffers it most heavy losses: 7 of the 18 on its roster: 2 in Danger Zone, 1 in Prelude to Battle and 4 in The Trap (there is the assumption the big fella, Fisher, is probably their Bio-Maintenance Engineer and not an actual Spartas driver).

As a side note:

Episode #46 Star Dust
SUPREME COMMANDER LEONARD: Your Excellency, we must wait until we know more.

PRIME MINISTER MORAN: The final decision is yours, but I hope you understand its becoming increasingly difficult to defend your inaction.

SUPREME COMMANDER LEONARD: Yes, I understand that.

PRIME MINISTER MORAN: Good. I expect you to attack as soon as possible, Commander.

Incidentally, this is the moment the change starts in the UEF's posture. The ramping up for The First Offensive basically begins right here but is cemented with Carpenter's arrival.

Episode #47 Outsiders

THE NARRATOR: Stationed at a lonely outpost in the northern region, Lt. Dana Sterling plays a mournful tune on an ancient piano and reflects upon the events of the past few weeks.

A few weeks means ~3-5 weeks total. This is probably the time from the start of the space battle in Danger Zone to now. So about a month.

With Reinhardt's refusal to send more reinforcements, Leonard now has no choice: they've got to commit to driving the enemy from orbit because they cannot expect reinforcement from outside. Of course, something changes between when Carpenter left and the arrival of Transport Squadron 85 in a few months. And this, incidentally, puts a somewhat finite time limit on Phase 1, cause Earth went dark and the REF sends Carpenter back to find out why. He has to have left about the time of Volunteers, with the message that Earth has been invested by an unfriendly alien fleet. Nowhere does it say "The Masters" during the message. In fact, its kinda brief. And when Transport Squadron 85 arrives, its said specifically to be about the original attack on Liberty. That means whatever REF forces were near enough to be assembled, armed/rearmed and orders cut is what was sent back at that time: ~2-3 Tristars Large Cruisers, ~3-6 Binary Battlecruisers and ~6-12 Pulsar Light Cruisers plus ~11 Transports. They are also armed with the Ajax, so its likely it was either already in production with the REF at the start of the 2RW, or else about to enter mass production (as was the case with the UEF Earth-side).

The timeline for Zor Prime to go from catatonic to being able to be inducted into the 15th ATAC cannot be (as the "official timeline" posits) ~3 months. A more likely scenario is ~3 weeks. Anything more than that and he's probably gonna be screwed physically from lying in a bed for months on end.

Phase 3: The Final Battle (Triumvirate to Catastrophe)
This is where the war enters is the final and the most destructive phase. Depending on how you interpret things from Triumvirate to Clone Chamber could be anywhere from 3-5 days. Longer time lag means more time to fix ALuCE-1, but more likely borderline cases for medical treatment go unanswered. Also, we know at least 2 days pass between the arrival of Marie Crystal to ALuCE-1 and the transmission back to Earth.

Episode #51 Clone Chamber
MARIE: Update from the first attack wing. The survivors of our bio-engineering sections are initiating repairs on the Advanced Lunar Chemical Engineering Station, or ALuCE-1 as it's designated. They feel fairly certain that a complete program of resource replenishment will have to be carired out to make the station operational again. We're doing the best we can in what remains of the sickbay, but we're short on medical supplies and personnel, so I'm requesting permission to bring the worst cases back to Earth for treatment. Lt. Marie Crystal, over and out.

LEONARD: Hmmm...

ROCHELLE: That's the end of the message. We received this transmission from the moon 24 hours ago.

SEWARD: That's the first transmission from the moon that's gotten through the enemy's sub-space interference. We, should be happy about that, I suppose. Hmm?

The real question comes to Love Song and The Hunters. How long to organize The Second Offensive in Love Song and how long does the battle in The Hunters take place?

The only definitive time cues we get are from Colonel Seward and Dana:

Episode #52 Love Song
COLONEL SEWARD: The loading of material is proceeding on schedule, Supreme Commander. They assure me they'll have the fleet ready in 48 hours.

Episode #53 The Hunters
LEONARD: What time is Rolf Emerson expected to be at our location?

SEWARD: Sir, Emerson has used quite a bit of fuel in the warp blast maneuver. But he will probably be back sometime tomorrow morning.


DANA: The 15th Armored Tactical Space Corps is going to invade the battleship the day after tomorrow.

The Hunters is a head scratcher of an episode because of the inane 20km from Mars line. In fact, the only way to make sense of it is if Emerson's flotilla had multiple folds (3) to get to Mars, do the Orbital Warp Blast and then fold BACK to near the Moon (which the final shot of the fleet is near what looks to be the Moon). At minimum, its 3 days. Problem comes from what constitutes "Mass Production" of the Vision Track Firing System that Major Cromwell cribbed and the time it took to re-outfit the 15th with space gear for their Spartas.

From then on, its only about a week before the 2RW ends. Mind Games and Dana in Wonderland take place over 2 days (3 at the very most). Crisis Point, Daydreamer and Final Nightmare are about 2-3 days. Then there is The Invid Connection and Catastrophe that are the same day.

Of course, all of that leads to an interesting conundrum: the evacuation of Denver as seen in The Invid Connection and confirmed in Frostbite. The fact is that the time between Zor Prime going KABLOOIE and the Invid's arrival is about 24 hours. It sure as heck is not 6 months (let alone a year or more as the novels claim). This is backed up by several facts:

Episode #61 The Invid Invasion

THE NARRATOR: In a distant corner of a far off galaxy, a race of protoplasmic creatures receives telepathic sensor reports indicating a huge buildup of Protoculture on an insignificant planet in the 4th Quadrant of the Known Universe. Responding to this important message, the Invid Regess, supreme ruler of a race of alien parasites sends her entire civilzation on a crusade to locate and harvest the fruit of their Flowers of Life. The location happens to be the Earth and the reason for the large buildup of Protoculture is directly attributable to The Final Battle of the 2nd Robotech War.

Note: The Narrator says "the final battle", not "the final engagement". Modern parlance, starting at the end of the 19th Century, differentiated between Battles and Engagements. Where beforehand, a Battle was usually what is now called an Engagement. That's how you go from The Battle of Antietam (1 day) to The Battle of the Somme (3 months). The First, Second and Third Offensives are all part of The Final Battle, but in multiple engagements. In fact, given the appearance of The Invid Sensor Nebula at the start of The Hunters and The Masters worry over it, the Invid had already left (some of The Robotech Masters' own dialogue indicates this fact).

Episode #70 Enter Marlene

SCOTT: You see, its the place where Admiral Hunter put down to plan an advance attack base.

ROOK: Was he planning advance attacks against the Invid?

SCOTT: He wasn't sure who the enemy was exactly, but ever since they arrived, there's been no one but the Invid to attack.

Since we know the UEF maintains FTL-comm all over (Luna, ALuCE-1, Space Shuttles, Warships, Liberty) there is no way to explain how Hunter didn't hear the word "Invid" unless they arrived right on top of the UEF and Masters blasting each other to smithereens and the time-lag needed to send info from Earth to Liberty and then from Liberty to The Pioneer Mission. The Masters broadcast in The Invid Connection was an open one, to everyone capable of listening.

Episode #59 The Invid Connection
THE MASTERS: Attention Commander Leonard! Attention Commander Leonard. Attention all leaders of the Southern Cross Defense Force. Listen very closely to what we have to say. We are now capable of demolishing you completely with little effort. We advise you to surrender and evacuate your planet immediately. Evacuate the planet within 38 hours, or we will be forced to destory your homeworld.

SUPREME COMMANDER LEONARD: Now you listen. We underwent much suffering and agony to make this planet our home. We're not going to just give it up.

THE MASTERS: Commander Leonard, this is an ultimatum, not a suggestion. The Invid have already detected the presence of Protoculture on this planet. You must now leave this matter to us.

That is too many ears listening that could have relayed to Liberty (assuming they weren't watching 'live' feeds and relaying them to the REF) to hear the word Invid. Point K had to have been a backup plan to put down enough troops and Veritechs to dissuade any enemy. That means it left sometime AFTER the first 2 waves, but BEFORE the Invid arrived and definitely in-transit (if not almost to its terminus) when The Masters broadcast. And no one Earthside, not Leonard nor even Dana Sterling, knew who the Invid were (funny, if Dana's mom was this hotshot Invid killer, you would think she would have told her daughter about them, but multiple times she goes "Whatever the Invid are...").

Episode #79 Frost Bite
LUNK: Well I'll be, no wonder this place is still operational! It looks like their main generator is sunk all the way down to the Earth's core.

SCOTT: Giving them an unlimited supply of power. There's enough energy in these storage tanks to last a hundred thousand years.

LANCER: Scott!

SCOTT: Hmmm? What is it?

LANCER: Take a look at this.

SCOTT: To the people of Denver....

LANCER: Its an evacuation order given the day before the Invid came.

LUNK: Hmmm, they were in such a big hurry they forgot to turn out the lights. Boy are they gonna be stuck with some utility bill!

SCOTT: So this place was called Denver

Two things: Denver did not exist in SDC Southern Cross, so the insertion of the evacuation being "the downtown Denver zone" was intentional to The Invid Connection. Nobody knew who they were and sure as drek didn't detect them before their arrival. So why would they be evacuating unless it was THAT evacuation? All things being equal, the evacuation of Denver from The Invid Connection has to be the one referenced in Frostbite

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