26 Feb 2020

To combat a mysterious virus threatening to spread war and violence throughout the galaxy, the Galactic Coalition decides to form Tactical Sound Unit VOLTRON – fronted by galaxy-famous popstar Allura Altea and mechanic/pilot Keith Kogane, and backed by Captain Takashi Shirogane and the crew of the Macross-class ship IGF-ATLAS.

(Or: the Macross Atlas AU)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 3
Words: 16,512


Chapter 3
uncertain ☆ cosmic movement


The crew of the IGF-Atlas arrive in Arus. But as the enemy makes its next move, it looks like their first flight is going to be a challenging one.

Chapter Notes:

idk what else to say except this AU is my life right now.

all songs that will appear in this AU come from somewhere in the macross series, translated to english.

now, disclaimer: i’m no translator. i’ve simply mashed-up translations from fansubbers and the macross wikia to make the lines sound more like pop songs and less like japanese poetry when they’re used in this fic. anyways, see end notes for a link to the song i used as inspiration/reference for the scenes in this chapter. i’ve also left a link in the story itself when it comes on, if you wanna listen to it while reading!

The crew let out a collective gasp upon stepping inside the Coalition’s science and construction facility hangar.

The Atlas is easily a small city. An entire headquarters in itself.

“Whoa.” Hunk whispers, nudging Lance, who was gaping beside him. “Is this the biggest ship you’ve ever seen or what?”

“Technically,” Pidge piped up, adjusting her glasses. “The Castle of Lions in Altea is bigger, but… that’s a castle, and it hardly counts if it hasn’t flown in like, millennia.”

“The Coalition was building something like this?! And they’re letting us borrow it?!” Lance cries.

“Well, we know our client has significant pull in that department.” Veronica shrugs.

Keith stares up at the ship. He’d read the specs, but that still didn’t prepare him for how big the actual thing was. And it has another form? Well, Keith really wants to see that now.

“I almost don’t hate you for bringing me here.” he tells Shiro. With a smirk, he adds, “Captain.”

Shiro himself doesn’t look immune to the surprise and excitement of seeing the ship for the first time. He has to physically shake it off before grinning back at Keith. Then, he clears his throat and addresses his crew.

He has a little less than a hundred Garrison employees of different species under his command. This is still considered a feat, for the Garrison to be able to spare this many people at such a short time. The company may have many people, but they were all usually deployed in various, much smaller jobs across the universe. This is one of their biggest jobs yet.

One of the biggest, one of the most important, and most urgent.

They didn’t have time to gawk at their new ship.

“Alright, team. Start boarding. Check your Garrison-issued data-pads for your assigned quarters and settle in. Quick meeting in the main hangar in 1 varga. I expect that everyone has read the mission briefing documents. Our client will be there.”




Allura arrives just before the meeting, this time accompanied by two other Alteans, who she introduced as Coran, her guardian and manager, and Romelle, her assistant and stylist.

As soon as everyone is accounted for, Shiro starts the meeting.

“Everyone, welcome to the IGF-Atlas. This ship, like the Galaxy Garrison, and like our crew, is a joint product of many different species from different corners of the universe all coming together from planets belonging in the Galactic Coalition.

“I am aware that you were all assigned to this mission on very short notice, but I’m sure you’ve read the file, you’ve all seen the news. You understand how dire this situation is, how many people had been affected already. You know how urgent it is that something should be done about it.”

He hears sounds of agreement from the crew.

“We’ll be starting take-off procedures shortly. But before we do this, would our client like to share a few words?”

He turns to Allura, who nods at him and steps forward.

Allura is used to letting out a stunning smile as she made a grand entrance to the audience’s resounding applause. When she comes up to address the crew, none of those three things are present, and rightly so.

“Hello, everyone. I’m sure you know me by the information in your mission files. I am Allura Altea, I am the one who employed the services of the Galaxy Garrison for this initiative. As I am part of the operation, I will be traveling with you here in the Atlas. I would like you all to think of me not as your client, but another colleague, working with you in this mission. So – no ‘Princess’, no ‘Your Highness’ , no ‘Ma’am’ . Just Allura.”

She smiles, and it tugs at her to see several of them smiling back at her and nodding between themselves.

“I know it’s a big thing to ask. To leave your loved ones, your planets, to take on this new threat that we hardly know anything about, and at such short notice. I think you are all brave, good people, and I’m very thankful to be working with all of you.”

This time, when she does step down, there is a small, somber applause from the crew. She turns to give the stage back to Shiro, but when she looks at him, he is in a small huddle with Iverson, Sam, Matt and Keith, all of their expressions grim. Matt is the one talking, pointing at something in his data-pad, Keith nodding beside him and dropping in a word or two at times.

Allura exchanges a concerned look with Coran before approaching them. “Captain- Shiro, is everything alright?”

Shiro is frowning when he turns to her. “I’m afraid not, Allura. I think we’re going to have less time to prepare on our hands. Matt?”

Matt steps forward, handing her his data-pad. “We’ve detected movement from ships the same model and make as the ones from the attacks before.”

“Right now?” Allura asks, looking at the display. She isn’t as well-versed about these things as she would like to be, but she recognizes the shape of the mysterious ships she saw from the attack on Tarvos-5 and the other planets. Under them were coordinates, as well as the vaguely familiar name of the quadrant in the star map. “We haven’t even taken off yet.”

“When we boarded, we went straight to the monitoring hub.” Sam starts explaining. “Atlas is a new ship, and it always takes a while for the radars to sync and connect with other Coalition satellite outposts the first time around. I wanted them fully functional by the time we’re off-planet, so I told Matt to boot them up early.”

“I loaded the search parameters for our mystery ships while at it. You know, get a headstart.” Matt continues for his father. “And just now, we found a match through one of the satellites we’re linked to.”

“And do we know where they’re heading? Are they about to launch another attack?” Allura asks.

Matt reaches over and swipes at the data-pad. The display shows a familiar-looking figure. “Technically not a planet, but close. The nearest thing in that quadrant that has a significant population… is a Balmera.”

“That can’t be good.” Iverson mumbles.

“Anything that involves attacking a Balmera can’t be good.” Keith says. “There are too much resources available in it. The crystals. The sheer amount of quintessence. The Balmerans themselves.”

“Oh, no…“ Allura whispers, not hiding the fear and worry written all over her expression. She feels the weight of a hand on her shoulder and looks up to see Shiro, eyes steely, determined.

“Iverson, have Veronica start reading the assignments.” he says. The commander nods and walks away. Then Shiro turns to Matt. “How long until they reach the Balmera?”

Matt takes the data-pad back and starts tapping. “Keith, can these ships wormhole?”

Keith is quick with an answer. “Yes, but only for a limited number of times. Daibazaal’s far off. Unless this is a suicide mission, for sure they’re saving one last for a jump home.”

“Balmera is rich with resources.” Shiro says. “They’d want to go there as fast as they can. If they could still wormhole, they’d have used it to get there.”

“Good point.” Matt says. He taps a few more buttons. “Got it. With their current speed and distance from the Balmera, unless they suddenly decide to pick up speed, “They’ll be there in… less than 2 vargas.” Because he knows what Shiro would ask next, he follows up with, “Atlas needs at least 1 to complete all first-time take-off procedures, and that’s already rushing it.”

“We’ll have to make that work, then.”

Allura has been watching them back and forth, trying desperately to keep up. She usually can, but it’s difficult like this, with the pressure weighing on her. “We… we’re not prepared…” she whispers. Coran rubs her back. She didn’t even realize he’d come up beside her.

“We’re preparing now.” Shiro tells her, voice steady. It calms her, somewhat. “We can travel through wormhole, Allura. We can get there in time. We can fight, protect the Balmera.”

Even with Shiro’s confidence, Allura couldn’t help but stammer when she asks, “Already?”

They both know what the question really entailed.

Allura had put up a brave front. She had to, but she also meant it when she said she wasn’t going to stand by idly against this threat. She knew what she would do to protect innocent people. She knew what she agreed to, when she convinced her father to let her hire the Garrison, when she met up with Sam as they discovered a potential “solution” for the quintessence corruption and she decided she’ll see the job through herself.

She hadn’t been prepared for it to be so soon, though.

She had thought they’d have more time. That they’d at least have practice .

Shiro’s eyes soften in understanding, but he also knows that she wouldn’t want him to patronize her.

“Allura, this plan has you at its center. Right now, we have everything we need. You have all these people at your disposal, and they all know what they signed up for. They will do their jobs if you ask them to. I know it’s a lot of pressure, but I can’t give the order to take off if you can’t tell me you can do this. Because our plan literally won’t work without you.”

Allura reaches out beside her. Coran catches her hand and pulls her tight to his side, comforting, safe, steady. “The Captain is right. You have to be the one to decide, Princess.”

“We know it’s a lot to ask.” Shiro continues. “We’ll understand if you’re not ready-”

Allura cuts him off. “But we can’t just do nothing.”

She looks around her. A crew of less than a hundred, listening to their assignments, willing to do what they had signed up to do.

She takes a deep breath, squares her shoulders, and looks up at Shiro.

“Alright, Captain. Take me to my stage.”




When Shiro emerges from their huddle, Veronica has just finished reading out the assignments. He turns to address the crew again.

“Important announcement, everyone. It looks like we are off to a rough start. We have just gotten information that there may be an impending  attack on a Balmera, right at this moment.”

He is met with gasps and murmurs.

“This job has just become critical. Those of you familiar with what a Balmera is, will know just how much. Now, I know you probably expected to at least take it easy as we start the job – we can’t do that now. I’m sorry, we won’t have practice, or a trial run – this is now the real thing. We are taking off in 1 varga and as soon as we are outside Arus’s atmosphere, we will wormhole to this Balmera and stop these enemy ships from bringing any harm to it. Everyone clear on that?”

The crew stand straight as they answer as one. “Yes, Captain!”

“Officer McClain, you’ve read all the assignments?”

Veronica nods. “All done, Captain.”

“Good. Everyone, to your stations now. Start take-off preparations. We don’t have a second to waste. Keep your comms up, we might be changing some assignments in the next few minutes.”

The crew members hurriedly head to their posts. Veronica hands Shiro her data-pad even before he could ask, the list of crew and assignments already displayed on it.

Shiro thanks her before addressing the few who knew him well enough to stay and wait for further instructions.

“It’s our first launch. We need an engineer at the bridge. Sam, who’s familiar enough with monitoring quintessence levels?”

Sam answers quickly. “Katie developed the algorithm with me.”

“Good. Report to the bridge.” He presses a button on his comms unit to announce, “Katie Holt is in charge of monitoring the quintessence levels during this operation. Everyone assigned in that department, she’s your lead. No questions. Pidge, you got that?”

He hears the girl’s voice through his comms. “On it.”

He looks at the data-pad again. “Matt, you’re not gonna be at the lab. You’re on hangar duty. I want you to re-check the MFE’s. Make sure they’re calibrated to do the job we need them for. Coordinate with Pidge to sync the amplifiers with Allura’s quintessence.”

Matt nods, already tapping at his data-pad furiously. “Got it. How many MFE’s are we sending out? We only have six ready.”

Keith steps up beside Shiro, also peering at the data-pad. He speaks in a low voice that only those nearby could catch. “Send Griffin’s team. They’re a complete unit. These other pilots are from different ones and haven’t worked together before.”

“Got it.” Shiro turns to Matt. “Four-”

“Five.” Keith corrects him.

Shiro pauses, then looks at his best friend.

“Oh, boy.” he hears Matt whisper.

“I’ll take Allura.” Keith says. He glances to see Allura watching them curiously, then looks back at Shiro. “This entire thing is too risky, Shiro. I’m her best bet for safety.”

Shiro had to take a deep breath before nodding. “Okay. You’re right. But play nice with Griffin’s team, it’s their job to provide cover for you.”

“Yes, sir.” he said with one of those confident grins that always made Shiro simultaneously proud and worried. “Oh, and send Hunk Garrett to monitoring, I know he’s familiar with Balmera. He’ll be useful there.”

“Noted.” Shiro only nods. Behind him, he hears Veronica issue Hunk’s re-assignment over the comms. He nods at Matt and Keith, then at Allura. “Go. Allura, might wanna go with them too. They’ll show you the ropes.”

Allura quickly steps up beside Keith and the three make their way down the hangar, Coran and Romelle trailing after them.

Shiro finally returns the data-pad to Veronica as the two of them, together with Iverson, start walking to the bridge. “Commander, I know you’re here to keep an eye on things, but will you lead navs, just this time? We’re underprepared and I wanna work with someone I’m already familiar with.”

“I know what you mean, Captain. I’ll handle it.” Iverson gruffly replies.

“Thank you. Veronica, have Curtis take lead on comms?”

Veronica only nods and proceeds to contact the man over the comms.

“Why Curtis?” Iverson asks.

“He’s fluent in Galran. We might need it.”

“We’re not sure those ships are Galran.”

“Mitch, I’m pretty sure a Blade knows a Galran ship when he sees one.”

Iverson looks resigned, but accepts the answer. One never won against Shirogane when they questioned anything about Kogane.

“I didn’t know Curtis spoke Galran.” Veronica says.

Shiro chuckles. “Well, I only know it because we dated for a month, and I once found him and Keith gossiping about me, in Galran, knowing I wouldn’t understand.”

“Ah.” Iverson nods. “That’s rough.”

“I understood, though. Ran a translator.”

Iverson looks like he considered hard before asking, “W-What were they talking about?”

“They were both complaining about my obsession with mac-and-cheese.”

Iverson and Veronica both wheeze, while Shiro only shakes his head in resignation.

“Oh, uh, Captain?” Veronica says. “I was lead on comms. I’ll assist Curtis, then?”

Shiro shakes his head. “No, Officer McClain, you’re in charge of the weapons system.”

“W-What?” she blinked. “But I-”

“I’ve seen you reading that part in the Atlas specs over and over, Veronica. At this point, I’m pretty sure you’re the one in the crew who’d know it the best.”

Veronica looks like she’s trying hard not to bounce in glee. “Oh… Well, I was just… uh..”

“And, it’s the same as with navs. Our plan’s standing on shaky legs, I want my bridge to be run by people I already know. But if you’re not comfortable, I could reassign it to someone else?”

“N-No! I’m good, Captain.”

“I thought so.” Shiro says with a knowing smile.




They get to the bridge, which is a hub of activity, its crew flitting from station to station, coordinating with each other and with the rest of the ship’s crew through the comms.

Iverson and Veronica take their places. He sees Curtis and Sam settle in their own stations.

In the bridge’s main display, there are coordinates, maps and graphs of data along with live footage of the other parts of the ship. Pidge, Colleen and Hunk are in one of the labs, Pidge explaining something to the other two and the rest of the scientists in the room. The view of the hangar shows Matt briefing Keith, Allura, Griffin’s team and the surrounding backup pilots, mechanics and engineers about the modified MFE Fighters.

Shiro takes a deep breath and checks the time. Half a varga until launch.

He takes his place, and when he touches the surface of the captain’s console, he suddenly feels an overwhelming presence at the back of his mind. Gentle, confused, curious, playful.

For some reason, he knows what- who – it is.

Shiro chuckles to himself, half in disbelief, half in amazement.

Altean tech really is something else.

‘It’s nice to meet you too, Atlas.’




The IGF-Atlas flies like a dream and the passage through the wormhole was smooth. It was, at least, an admirable start, considering the rushed take-off and how new it was for most of the crew to be operating on a ship as big as the Atlas.

But when they appeared right outside the Balmera’s atmosphere, the whole bridge fell deadly quiet.

The enemy ships were already there.

Shiro cleared his throat. “Scan results?”

“Four ships matching the ones seen in previous attacks, Captain. These were the ones we detected. They’ve already entered the Balmera’s atmosphere, scan ongoing on surface activity.” Sam says. “Taking a bit longer due to interference. I’m sending the camera drones so we can at least get visual.”

“Keep scanning.” Shiro asks. “What’s this big one right outside the atmosphere?”

The ship is dark and sleek, and it didn’t look like a fighter. Shiro had never seen it in any of the previous attack footage before.

“Doesn’t match anything in our database.” Sam says.

Shiro taps a button on his console. “Keith? Are you seeing this? Looks like a cargo ship.”

After a few seconds, Keith’s voice rings out through the bridge’s main comms. “It is. Pretty standard as cargo ships go. From what I remember, not much in the way of weapons, but it’s got strong shields.”

Shiro exchanges a look with Sam and Iverson.

“I guess we’re right. They’re here to harvest resources.”

There’s another chime from the comms, and Shiro puts it through.

This time it’s Pidge’s face on display. “Shiro, we’re detecting traces of dark quintessence activity around the Balmera’s orbit. Just traces, though. Anything inside the atmosphere, we have too little data to predict. We need one of the radars in there.”

“Can we send them in drones like we did for the cameras?”

“Yes, but our radars for dark quintessence are new and we only got a few of them, and frankly, these are all still prototypes, Shiro. I kinda don’t want them to get shot down?”

“I see. Can we get them on the MFEs?”

“Already ahead of you. I’m having Matt equip them.”

“Captain?” Hunk says, peeking from the edge of the panel. “Just wanna drop this in – the Balmerans are different from the other species who were affected. They’re directly connected to their home. Dark quintessence could seep in the Balmera itself. It’s volatile as it is, basically a giant crystal of pure quintessence. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if the whole thing’s corrupted.”

“Got it, Hunk. Do we have a means to monitor that? The Balmera?”

“I’ve started helping Pidge and the guys here build something to track it.”

“Good. Monitor it closely, please. Curtis, hail the cargo ship. The Balmera in this system is under the protection of the Coalition, let’s see what they say to that. Sam, update?”

“It doesn’t look good, Captain.” Sam says. “We can’t really tell what else the ships have done inside the atmosphere, but our cameras are picking up footage of the Balmerans fighting each other.”

Shiro braces himself. “It’s already started.”




It’s been more than a year since Keith had worn a flight suit, much less a Garrison one. It’s a fine fit, the one he ends up wearing, but he still finds himself tugging absently at some places.


Keith looks up. The white-gray-orange of the suit doesn’t really feel like him – it never did, but Keith always thought there’s no other pilot who looked like the perfect fit for it, other than James Griffin.

“I never thought I’d see you flying a Garrison fighter again.” Griffin says.

“Me neither.” Keith replies, staring at the helmet in his hands. “Are you worried I got rusty?”

“Why the hell would I be worried about you.”

“Huh. That’s a lot of spite.”

Surprisingly, Griffin chuckles, then shrugs. “Actually, no. I’m more worried you’ll fly too fast for the Princess.”

Keith frowns. “Hey, I know how to fly with a passenger on board.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Griffin looks unconvinced. Keith thinks of a comeback, but then the other’s expression stills. “Hey, um… I read the file- I mean, of course I did. But I… I also watched the footage. I saw what happened on those attacks – those… those ships weren’t doing anything. They were just there. While the people fought.”

“We’ve got a theory they’re the ones spreading dark quintessence through some… frequency or something. We’re still working out how it happens.”

“Yeah. The point is, they weren’t doing anything, even against other ships that were supposed to attack them.” Griffin frowns. “Because… the corruption causes those ships to attack each other.”

Keith understands what his former classmate is trying to say. “You think there’s a chance the corruption will affect us and we end up attacking each other.”

A nod.

“Okay… well… Matt said the engineers enhanced the MFEs’ defenses against rogue frequencies and interference.”

“Still. Corrupt quintessence is not really a frequency, is it?”

“No, but… There’s still the fail-safes. Matt said-”

“But say the fail-safes kick in too late-”


“Look, just-” he grumbles. “I know you’ll be busy with Allura, but… if you have a shot-”

“Hey, I don’t like you, but I won’t shoot you.”

“Don’t let me bring my team down, Keith.” he says with a tone of finality. Keith could only look at him. Griffin nods, and then heads towards where his team is.

“I still won’t shoot you.” Keith calls back.

James scoffs. “Keep telling yourself that.”

Keith lets out an annoyed sigh as he stomps towards his assigned MFE, mentally grumbling.

‘Goddamn Zarkon and this bullshit quintessence project scaring the shit out of everyone.’

Allura is already standing beside the small fighter unit. Her long white hair is up in a high ponytail and she’s wearing what looks like an Altean flight suit under a galaxy print bomber jacket. She is holding her signature microphone – an slim, elegant white-and-gold cylinder the size of a light stick, with a purple gemstone dangling from it. She is not quite pacing, but she is bouncing nervously on her toes.

“You’ve done air shows.” Keith says by way of greeting. “Just think of this as another one.”

“Those were on arenas and perfectly safe skies. I don’t remember there being a threat of violence on my audience.” Allura turns to him and offers up a small smile. “The Captain said you were an asset. Is this what you were hired for? To pilot?”

Keith looks up at the MFE Fighter – it’s white, gray and orange – again not his colors, but Keith has yet to find a ship that he hasn’t been able to pilot. “I guess so.”

Then they hear Shiro’s voice over comms. “Matt, how are the MFE’s? We’ve got confirmation that the corruption has affected the surface population.”

Both Keith and Allura both frown. It’s difficult to imagine the Balmerans, known to be one of the most peaceful species in the universe, fighting each other violently.

Matt looks at them and gets nods from all five pilots and Allura. “MFE’s are ready, our pilots are suited up, and Allura is giving me a thumbs up. Your orders, Captain?”

“Get in your fighters, and head out.”




The MFEs were made for one pilot and one pilot only.

Allura ends up sitting on Keith’s thigh while Keith is powering up his fighter for launch.

“Yeah… I forgot that this thing has no passenger seat.” Keith says.

Allura’s cheeks are pink, but she bears the embarrassment. “Just please assure me you can still pilot properly while we’re like this?”

“Believe me, Princess, this is not the worst position I’ve been in while flying.”


“Don’t ask.”

“Um… Tell me again, Keith…” Allura starts, watching her pilot’s deft fingers fly over the different consoles and controls. “Why are you the one I’m riding with, and not one of the official Garrison pilots?”

“Because, Allura,” Keith answers, finally settling as the fighter’s engine hummed with life. “I can outfly every other pilot in the Garrison – at least, Shiro thinks so, so maybe he’s gotten into my head. Also, I’ve brought down ships like the ones we’re fighting. And, in case we have to escape, there’s no need for a very uncomfortable emergency eject, because I have a space wolf.

“Pardon me, a what?”

“His name’s Kosmo. He’s the best boy. Loves barbecue and belly rubs.”

They watch as two MFE’s launch at the same time. Griffin and Rizavi. It’s their turn now. After them, Leifsdottir and Kinkade will bring up the rear.

Allura leans back against Keith’s torso and settles a hand on his shoulder to anchor herself. Over the comms, they hear a voice clear them for launch.

Keith grips the controls and replies, “Keith Kogane with passenger Allura Altea. MFE Ares Fighter Unit 05, heading out.”




The MFE units enter the Balmera’s atmosphere and are able to fly smoothly above the nearest populated area. The five fighters keep a tight formation – Keith’s unit surrounded by the others on all four sides.

“Atlas, you seeing this?” Keith asks. He knows their view is already connected to the main ship.

“We are.” Shiro’s voice replies.

Pidge’s voice joins them. “Radars are working – we’re getting readings of corrupted quintessence levels – guys, I don’t have final numbers yet, but it’s high – really high.”

Many Balmerans are down on the ground, bloody, while the rest are still fighting among themselves. Many crystals in the land have already turned purple – and perhaps, it’s this unrest that is causing the earthquakes and landslides in nearby taller rock formations.

“So many of them are hurt… What are we waiting for?” Allura whispers, gripping her microphone. “Keith-”

“On it.” Keith says, and he holds her against him when the cockpit’s cover opens up.

Allura squeals at the sudden gust of open air, but she recovers quickly. She stands up and climbs up on the back of the ship, staying on her knees, one hand braced on Keith’s shoulder for support and another holding her microphone, shaking slightly.

Over the comms, she hears Shiro’s voice. “MFE’s, keep your eyes on the enemy ships. They’ve never attacked before, but we can’t be too careful.” Then, with a softer voice, “We’re ready when you are, Allura.”

She takes a deep breath, calms herself.

Then, she starts to sing.

“The universe has so many rules and rhythms,
But if you could just dare go off your course,
Your destiny can change…”

It’s one of her cheerful songs, but this time, she sings it slow and strong, her voice ringing loud throughout the Balmera’s sky. Slowly, her hands stop shaking.

“Then we fall in love, we can’t get enough…
There’s a popping fizz, a rising wind…”

She finds her footing, her flight suit holding her firmly on the back of the ship. Her hand leaves Keith’s shoulder as she stands tall and closes her eyes, putting everything in her next lines.

“Hold my hand, let me feel your heat…
Come join my dance!”

“It’s working!” she hears over the comms. “Corruption levels are slowly going down. From 68, we’re down to 59%.”

“The Balmerans are slowing down too. Keep it up, Allura!”

Finding renewed strength, Allura sings louder.




“Okay, so… Allura’s voice really can heal corrupt quintessence.” Hunk says. Like everyone else in the lab, he’s watching the MFE’s live feed of Allura singing, and the graphs of quintessence and corruption levels displayed right beside it. “I didn’t even really believe it when I read it in the file. But-… Wow.”

“I can feel it wake up in me,
This uncertain cosmic movement!”

“It’s not really her voice, and it’s not really healing.” Pidge says, fingers flying over her console. “She’s quintessence-sensitive, enough that she can like, pull someone’s quintessence to the surface. Quintessence is naturally pure, and if we can like, fire those bits up, it can fight back the corruption by itself. Basically she’s just… boosting someone’s quintessence immune system.”

In the screen, Allura is still singing her heart out. On the surface, the Balmerans have begun to drop the boulders they were hurling at each other, and were just looking up at the sky as if in a trance.

“Phrases come at us like waves but
We’ll get through, ‘cause I’m with you!”

Hunk lets out an awed breath. “And this is achieved by singing.”

“Because she doesn’t actually know Altean alchemy.” Pidge shrugs. “But, it’s powered by emotions. Allura is never more emotional than when she’s performing, so. Yes. By singing. We equipped our MFE’s with amplifiers – not just for her voice, but also for whatever Altean magic frequency she’s sending out right now. It’s a whole thing.”

“And suddenly-
With just a leap! Just a bit!
That’s enough to set us free!”

Hunk nods. “So that’s why we can’t just blast a recording over the planet, then.”

“Yep.” Pidge stops, then she looks at him. She grins. “But you know what? We totally should .”




“A kiss is all it takes…
For the world and us to synchronize…”

Suddenly, music blasts all around her – familiar music.


“W-What’s happening?” Allura squeaks, looking towards Keith, who also shakes his head.

A voice answers her through comms. “Why, do you wanna do the whole thing acapella?”

Allura lets out a laugh, and straightens up again. “No, thank you. This is more like it.”

“Allura?” Shiro’s voice comes up. “Will you be okay if you moved? The amps will reach more people then, we can flush out the corruption faster.”

“I’ll be fine. Let’s do it.”

Keith offers his hand and Allura grabs it, getting off the back of the ship. She ends up sitting just at the rim of the cockpit as the MFE’s broke formation and spread out.

“It’s the feeling that we get, when we fall in love…
Like the sound of rain, the curve of a wave-”

“Looks like the music’s a good call. Corruption’s now at just 30%.”

“MFE’s, enemy ships are finally moving. Take them down but priority is to cover Unit 05.”

“Yes, sir!”

Allura holds on to Keith’s shoulder again, and he just nods at her. “Keep singing.” Keith tells her. “I got you.”

She nods and raises her head high, continuing to sing, attention focused on the Balmerans who looked like they were starting to come back to themselves, and at the crystals that are starting to light up again.

“Raise your hands to the sky!
Can you feel the high?
Come join my dance!”

The MFE’s are giving the fighters a good four-on-four fight while Keith flew closer to the Balmerans so Allura’s voice can help them more.

Then he sees a flash of light from above, and looks up to see what’s happening just beyond the atmosphere.

“Atlas, what was that?”

“Oh, nothing much.” Shiro says. “The cargo ship refused to talk to us and began shooting. Kinda useless though. It’s… small. And… against the Atlas’ particle barrier…”

“Are they serious?” Keith huffs. “Tell them to fuck off.”

Curtis is the one who answers, “I don’t know how to say that in Galran, Keith.”

“Patch me through to them, then. I know how.”


Several voices all say, “CURTIS.”

Keith rolls his eyes. “Why don’t we just shoot them?”

Shiro sighs. “We were planning to capture them to get more information but- Oh.”

Another flash of light, and this time, both Keith and Allura look up. “What the-?”

“They self-destructed.”

Keith is so distracted by it he almost misses the shot aimed towards him.

“Shit!” He pulls Allura back down in the cockpit and maneuvers his fighter to dive and dodge the laser from one of the other MFEs.

Over the comms, he hears Griffin’s voice. “Rizavi?! What’s happening?”

Keith quickly re-seals the cockpit as he refocuses on navigation. “Are you okay?” he asks Allura, who nods, still shocked. “Hold on. It’s gonna get bumpy.”

Through the comms, they hear heavy breathing, and someone’s shaky voice. “I-! I can’t- I can’t control it! I-”

“She’s infected- How-”

Keith, along with the three other MFE units, scramble away as Unit 03 starts shooting at every other unit around it.

James’s voice comes up. “Team, evasive maneuvers! Atlas, requesting shutdown on Unit 03. We’ll cover her.”

“Activating fail-safe on Unit 03.” Sam’s voice responds.

They all watch as Unit 03 immediately goes dark and still, and goes on a steady, straight descent to the ground. From what Matt had told them, the fail-safe puts the MFE on “safe mode”, leaving only its particle barrier and life support active as Atlas takes over the controls remotely. A non-lethal sleeping gas is also released inside it to keep the pilot safe from the effects of the corruption.

Still, besides the particle barrier, the unit is practically defenseless. One of the enemy ships head towards it but is intercepted by Unit 02. Leifsdottir.

“Atlas, update on corruption levels?” Keith asks. “I thought it’s going lower?”

“It was.” Pidge’s voice pipes up. “Wait – I finally managed to pin down what frequency the ships are transmitting on. It’s… it’s almost the same frequency as Allura’s, but like… with the reverse effect? It’s like-”

One of the enemy ships is chasing after Keith, but he easily evades it. But then it starts shooting at the Balmerans and Keith has no choice but to turn back and start shooting at it too.

“Pidge! Something helpful please!”

Growling, Keith waits until the other ship stops shooting, then he rushes headlong at it, and just when it starts shooting back, his fighter does a sharp dive down, resurfaces in a spin, and takes it down with a single shot.

Keith takes a breath. Allura is still pressed against him, with a vice grip on his shoulders. For a while, they just breathe quietly together.

“One down.” he whispers. “Three more to go. You good, Princess?”

Allura nods, but she says, “I’m never riding with you again.”

Pidge comes back. “Okay, here – my scan says all four ships gave off like a massive, massive transmission a while ago – that must’ve broken through the MFE’s reinforced defenses. And the corruption’s going back up.”

“No…” Allura whispers. Frantically looking out and into the Balmerans, who are all starting to wander around aimlessly again. “No, they’ll start fighting anytime now-”

They hear Veronica – “Captain, should we shut down the MFE’s-”

“No, that will leave them all grounded and unconscious.” Shiro replies. “It’s too dangerous.”

There’s another crackle in the comms. “Atlas. S-Shut-down for… for Unit 01- please- before I-”

“Griffin.” Keith freezes. “Atlas, I’ll cover him. Do it.”

The only reply Keith gets is Unit 01 rushing at him. Keith evades, but is met by one of the other enemy ships. The flies past it too, only to be intercepted by another. All three remaining enemy ships are trying to flank him, together with Unit 01, before it also goes dark. The fail-safe. Keith shoots at the other ships while Unit 01 descends.

He tries to find the other two – Leifsdottir and Kinkade – and there they were, flying unsteadily. With that, Keith already knows.

“Atlas, shutdown on Units 02 and 04. Go.”

“Keith,” Shiro says, voice warning. “That leaves you the only one-”

“Ina and Ryan are about to shoot each other. Do it!”

“There’s three ships flanking you and transmitting-”

“Allura can sing my ears off. That’s how it works, right?”

“I’m sending Kosmo.”

“Don’t.” Keith says, taking a deep breath as he is alerted about 02 and 04 being shut down. He eyes the display on his screens, noting the trajectory of the remaining enemy ships. “I got this.”

Keith flies, fast, but not too fast, barrelling through the other ships and distracting them from the idle MFEs as they chase straight after him. They’re still as predictable – Galra sentries always are –  and he manages to dodge every time they start shooting.

Surprisingly enough, he feels nothing of the corruption. He doesn’t know if it’s because of Allura or- Wait. Allura. Allura is still here, in his lap, clinging to him tight.

Oh, man.

“Hey, Allura?”


“Try not to scream at my ear, okay?”

“What? Wh-”

Her answer gets cut off when their fighter suddenly blasts off, at full speed, up and out of the Balmera’s atmosphere.

Allura screams.




The entirety of the IGF-Atlas’ bridge watch as MFE Ares Fighter Unit 05 bursts through the atmosphere, with three enemy ships on its tail. Enemy ships that are flying slower than they did earlier, obviously not prepared for the change. The MFE slows down momentarily, drops, and then shoots.

Two down.

Then, it flies past the two ships, flips to evade their attacks and then shoots again.


“Hey, Atlas, can you put the shields up?”

“Huh.” is all Shiro says. Everyone looks at him. He shrugs. “You heard him.”

“But he’s running straight at us, sir-”

Shiro sighs. “Just put it up.”

The shield comes up. Unit 05 does a sharp turn just right before coming into contact with it. The last enemy ship, though, was neither fast nor lucky enough.


And… that’s a wrap.

Everyone looks towards their Captain again, this time slowly, all in varying degrees of shock.

Shiro just shrugs again. “What? I don’t say no to him. He cooks my food.”

In front of the Atlas, Unit 05 is doing victory barrel rolls and Allura continues to scream.




“Captain, we’ve lifted the shutdown on MFE Units 01 to 04 so we could monitor the surface. Currently, corruption levels at 0%.”

“Our pilots are unconscious, but otherwise their vitals are fine. We’re sending medics down to check up on them and also assist the injured Balmerans while we wait for Coalition aid to get here. We’ve contacted them as you ordered, sir.”

Shiro smiles, hearing the good news through his comms. “Thanks, Sam, Veronica.”

He arrives at the hangar, and the first thing he hears is a wail, followed by “I thought I was about to die!”

He sees Allura clinging tight to Coran and Romelle, who are both cooing at her and telling her how brave she was, and what a good job she did.

She deserves it. And more.

“I mean, we were about to die.” Keith says as he climbs off the MFE.

“Oh, shut up, man.” Matt says, giving his shoulder a light punch before pulling him into a hug.

Keith hugs him back and burrows into his friend’s neck, taking a deep breath before letting go. Matt just ruffles his hair before climbing into the MFE himself, plugging his data-pad in the console and rapidly tapping into it.

“I’m never riding with Keith again!” Allura declares, teary-eyed, but as soon as she said it, she buckles, then turns back around and launches herself at Keith. “But you were so brave! And such a good and smart pilot! And you protected me so well! I felt so safe!”

Keith lets out an indignant yelp when she grabs his face and presses a kiss to his forehead, then peppers more kisses on his nose and cheeks. She says “mwah” at each one.

“Wha- What- Allura- Hey-!” he sputters awkwardly, cheeks red.

Then she leans back. “But I really am never going to ride with you again.”

Keith just nods at her. “That’s totally fair.”

She drops one last “mwah” on his forehead before letting herself be dragged away by Coran and Romelle who insist that she’s had a bit of a shock and should probably drink some water and lie down.

Keith is talking to Matt when Shiro reaches them. With his back turned, he doesn’t see Shiro coming, so to announce his presence, Shiro just drapes a jacket around his shoulders.

Keith turns around and looks at the jacket. It’s one of Shiro’s, and he brings it up to his nose to inhale the familiar, comforting scent before slipping it on.

Shiro runs a hand through messy pink-streaked dark hair. “Had fun out there, hotshot?”

Keith grins, closing his eyes as Shiro pulls him in. “The part with the screaming girl on my ear was brutal, but yeah. I had fun.”

“You know your face is covered with that girl’s lipstick right now. And glitter. Where’s the glitter even from?”

Keith groans against his chest. “Ugh. I don’t know either. Girls. Y’know. They glitter. Had it coming though. You need to get MFEs with a passenger seat, Captain.”

“Allura would probably beat me to that request.”

“I mean, she can afford it.”

Shiro just hums and wraps his arms around his best friend. He props his chin on top of Keith’s head while Keith practically falls asleep standing up and latching on to him. He watches Matt tapping away at his data-pad for a few seconds. “Any update, Matt?”

“Update on what.” Matt deadpans, not bothering to look up from his task. “It’s okay, man, you don’t have to try to talk to me. Just please, you two go be married somewhere else. I’m tryin’ to run diagnostics on quintessence and stuff. Shoo.”

Shiro laughs while Keith mumbles something unintelligible that sounds a lot like “nerd” and “lunch” and something else that sure sounds like how one would say ‘fuck off’ in Galran.

Chapter Notes:

i had to cut this short and rearrange my outlines sakfhkashflafhsl
anyways, that was fun! next, for real, the lions!

this chapter’s title song is fukakuteisei ☆ cosmic movement by walkure, from macross delta!

Story End Notes:

you can find doodles and series notes here in the OG macross atlas au twitter thread.

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