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The Army of the Southern Cross (ASC) is a fictional military organization in the Robotech universe. In the series´ second part, "The Robotech Masters", the ASC is the force tasked with defending Earth from the Robotech Masters, who came to retrieve the Protoculture Factory, following the failure of the Zentraedi during the First Robotech War. This conflict is known as the Second Robotech War. The ASC is part of the larger United Earth Forces that took over the role of Earth's defenders after the departure of the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) circa 2022. The leader of the ASC was Supreme Commander Anatole Leonard, a powerful military commander who rose to power in opposition to the Robotech Defense Force (RDF). The ASC was crushed during the Invid invasion of Earth.
The force apparently takes its name from the Southern Cross constellation in the story. In real life, the name came from The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, the Japanese animated series adapted for the Robotech Masters segment of Robotech.
This is the history of the ASC, as portrayed in the primary continuity source of the 1985 TV series, with additional information from the 2002 Wildstorm comic series.
Origins of the ASCEdit
The origin of the ASC can be traced to the tumultuous years following the Zentraedi Holocaust in 2011. During those years the United Earth Government began a process to build a fleet to establish extra-solar colonies, setting up an expeditionary force and integrating the former Zentraedi soldiers into human society. The pioneer expeditionary mission was tasked with taking the war to the overlords of the Zentraedi, the Robotech Masters, to spare the Earth from another holocaust.
Some Zentraedi rebelled against the Earth government (in what became known as the Malcontent Uprisings in secondary continuity materials). They had strongholds, including the Amazon river basin of South America. A group known as the Southern Cross Group operated in this area.
The Army of Southern Cross eventually came into being during this period, and Leonard became its supreme commander. Its equipment included the VHT-1 Spartas hovertank, the VF-8 Logan and VFH-10 Veritech AGAC Fighter/Helicopter.
The Second Robotech WarEdit
When the Robotech Masters arrived at Earth in 2029 to capture the protoculture matrix in the remains of the SDF-1, the United Earth Forces (UEF) and the ASC were faced with the difficult task of fighting an enemy that had superior technology and numbers. Following a series of attacks on civilian and military targets by the Masters, Leonard was forced by the leader of the United Earth Government (UEG) to order massive offensives against the enemy, disregarding the advice of his military advisors, especially Major General Rolf Emerson. Emerson believed in a diplomatic approach to the aliens rather than Leonard's "shoot first, ask later" policy, and was concerned about Leonard's offensive strategies, which caused great loss of life and equipment to the UEF. Eventually Emerson admitted that no other course of action was possible as a diplomatic approach was impossible with the invaders.
Towards the end of the war Leonard ordered a final space offensive led by Emerson himself. The ASC had fared badly up to that point in the war, being defeated on many occasions by the Masters' superior technology, but the tide eventually turned against the Masters. The Masters were dependent on a limited supply of protoculture which was rapidly depleted by the war. However, the Masters were determined to retrieve the protoculture matrix at any cost and resorted to desperate tactics, including setting clones who could not fight adrift in space and dosing their remaining soldiers with massive quantities of adrenline, painkillers and steroids to enable them to truly fight to the end. The Masters also began targeting Earth's cities, with electro-magnetic fisson beams, causing the cities Newton and Manville to be obliterated as they disappear under huge mushroom clouds.
Downfall of the ASCEdit
In the final weeks of the Second Robotech War, Commander Anatole Leonard launched a final offensive with most of his troops and some reinforcements from deep space. The Masters, anticipating Leonard's move, had secretly sent half of their troops down to the planet to destroy Monument City and seize the ruins of the SDF-1. During the Masters' assault on Monument City (home of UEF headquarters), the headquarters of the ASC was vaporized, killing Leonard and much of the ASC senior staff. This, combined with the death of Major General Rolf Emerson, left the UEF leadership in a state of disarray. The ASC and UEF forces in space were able to overpower and destroy nearly the entire enemy spacefleet (since only half of the Masters' forces kept in space) but were unable to stop the Masters' flagship from descending to Earth to recover the protoculture matrix from the SDF-1 ruins. It was only through the efforts of First Lieutenant Dana Sterling and Zor Prime that the Masters' command triumvirate is killed and the Masters are stopped. However, the explosive destruction of the Masters' flagship over the SDF-1 ruins, which had become infested with the Invid Flower of life, causes the spores of the Invid flowers to be blown into the air and across the planet. The flowers were now emitting so much power that the Invid were alerted and began a long journey through space to find its source. In less than one year, they would trace the source to Earth, and would invade with the intention of conquering the planet in order to harvest the flower.
When the Invid invaded Earth, the UEF was completely incapable of defeating the new invaders. The fight with the Masters had drained the Earth's defenders and left the UEF little time to rebuild. In addition, the severe damage to Earth industrial and military infrastructure and the disruption of Protoculture production facilities in Japan had rendered much of the UEF's advanced military equipment inoperable. Yet there were even more problems - the unstable feudal society that had evolved on Earth had been held together by the power and authority of the United Earth Government (UEG) and the Global Military Policy (GMP). With both of these organizations crippled, Earth began to slide into lawlessness as surviving cities became city states and warred with each other. Law and order throughout the Northern Hemisphere collapsed as self-appointed leaders became more interested in fighting each other than preparing for the coming of the Invid. When the Invid invaded in 2031, the ASC and UEF that were even capable of fighting were forced to fall back on conventional ordinance and a small supply of nuclear weapons.
The battle lasted less than a week as the Invid quickly overwhelmed the defenders and took control of Earth. The United Earth Forces and the Southern Cross were completely destroyed. The few who survived joined resistance movements but many were hunted down and killed not only by the Invid but also by other humans who allied with the Invid in exchange for power. A handful of survivors, including Dana Sterling and Louie Nichols, did manage to escape the planet, reaching Space Station Liberty or Moon Base ALUCE. From there, they were able to contact the Robotech Expeditionary Force to inform them of Earth's fate.
The origin of the ASC can be traced to the tumultuous years following the Zentraedi Holocaust. During those years the primary military force on Earth was the RDF, whose leaders began a process of integrating the former Zentraedi soldiers into human society; however, some Zentraedi rebelled against the Earth government in what became known as the Malcontent Uprisings, with most of the fighting occurring down in South America. Several political leaders in South America objected the RDF's policy regarding the suppression of the Uprisings, and the most extreme ones favored the eradication of the Zentraedi. Among these was the Governor of Brasilia, Anatole Leonard.
Leonard decided to fight the Zentraedi (in his view, every Zentraedi was a potential malcontent) by himself, outside of the efforts of the RDF. To that end, he rallied local mercenaries, former members of the South American militaries and disaffected RDF officers to form a private militia. The first public action of Leonard's army was the infamous Brasilia Massacre, where 1100 Zentraedi civil rights activists were killed in a riot.
Even though the RDF frowned upon Leonard's actions, some members of the United Earth Government began to support the proactive governor. Viewing his private army as a means to further their own agendas, the United Earth Government deputized Leonard's army as an "auxiliary" force of the RDF, giving Leonard some funds to organize his forces. Leonard then organized his forces under the name of Army of the Southern Cross, of which he appointed himself Field Marshal. The ASC then proceeded to deal with the malcontents in its own way; brutally and without remorse. This led to some clashes with the alien-friendly RDF forces, which saw the ASC as an effort to undermine their position.
Unlike the RDF, which relied upon expensive mecha, the ASC assembled a large force equipped with conventional military equipment, including tanks, aircraft and armored vehicles from before the arrival of the SDF-1 and alien technology on Earth. Also, Leonard, a xenophobe, despised the RDF's reliance on the alien protoculture and the technology derived from the SDF-1. Leonard's star was on the rise, and he soon made powerful allies within the United Earth Government.
Rise of the ASCEdit
After the Malcontent Uprisings were crushed, the effort was geared towards the forming of the REF, which was to prevent a war with the overlords of the Zentraedi, the Robotech Masters. Most of the RDF was gutted to provide men and equipment for the new military force, substantially weakening it against the ASC. Shortly after the departure of the REF, the United Earth Government established a new force, the Earth Defense Force, as the planet's official military, combining the RDF and ASC. The tension between former RDF and ASC members led to the dissolution of the Earth Defense Force and the institution of the ASC as the Earth's military force. The RDF became the Global Military Police, tasked with overseeing the ASC, a mission the new force embraced with gusto due to the bitter rivalry between the ex-RDF and the ASC.
With the help of his allies, Leonard (now styling himself as "Supreme Commander", a historical irony considering that the late Zentraedi leader Dolza also was "Supreme Commander") became the most powerful figure in Earth politics. The ASC expanded to incorporate mecha forces and the elements of the space fleet not included into the REF. Leonard's grip over Earth was unchallengeable. His personal control became his own curse, as it would be seen during and after the Second Robotech War.
Second Robotech WarEdit
When the Robotech Masters arrived at Earth, the ASC bore the brunt of the fight. Leonard ordered massive (and suicidal) offensives against the enemy, disregarding the counsel of his military advisors, especially Major General Rolf Emerson, his Chief of Staff. Emerson, a former RDF officer, believed in a diplomatic approach to the aliens rather than Leonard's "shoot first, ask later" policy, and despised Leonard's careless offensives, which caused great loss of life and equipment to the Army of the Southern Cross.
Eventually, Leonard ordered a grand space offensive led by Emerson himself and manned by many officers opposed to Leonard, as a way to get rid of them. The ASC fared badly during the war, being defeated on many occasions, save for a few Pyrrhic victories.
Downfall of the ASCEdit
In the final weeks of the Second Robotech War, Leonard launched a final offensive with most of his troops and some reinforcements from the REF. This force managed to defeat the Robotech Masters, but at a great price, reducing the ASC to shambles. During the Masters' assault on Monument City, Leonard was killed along with several of his top officers and political allies. Combined with the death of Emerson, the ASC was left headless.
The ASC's hastily-assembled new leadership was completely incapable of preventing mass desertion and the feudalization of the military, let alone replace the troops and units lost during the War. Combined with the collapse of the United Earth Government, this led to a period of anarchy on Earth. When the Invid invaded Earth, the ASC was only a shadow of its past glory and power, and was completely incapable of defeating the new invaders. As the Invid took control of Earth, the ASC was completely destroyed, although some units continued to harass the Invid as members of the growing resistance.
Although it is commonly understood that the Alpha fighters used by the Robotech Expeditionary Force were produced prior to the departure of the Pioneer Mission, the ASC opted to develop its own Veritech mecha which saw heavy use against the forces of the Robotech Masters, including the:
- VF-8 Logan, a fighter designed for air-to-air combat;
- VHT-1 Spartas Veritech Hovertank, a heavily armored mecha unit designed for ground and urban combat; and
- VFH-10 Veritech AGAC, a space fighter-helicopter produced late in the war to accompany the Tristar-class warships that formed the core of the ASC space fleet.
Although the Logan found itself outclassed by the bioroids that made up the Robotech Masters' forces and was almost entirely supplanted by the AGAC as the theatre moved primarily to space combat, the Veritech Hovertank (never actually called a "Spartas" in the series) proved more durable than might have been expected and by the end of the war had been upgraded and fielded for space as well as ground combat. Unfortunately, the widespread damage to physical infrastructure brought on by the Masters' invasion, and particularly by the events seen in Catastrophe, left the Southern Cross with neither the production capacity nor the energy reserves to rebuild its strength in the wake of the Second Robotech War. Most ASC mecha that survived the Masters was annihilated by during the Invid Invasion less than a decade later.
Reboot Continuity and Naming ConventionsEdit
In "rebooting" the Robotech storyline, Harmony Gold has apparently opted to abandon the traditional notion of rivalry between the Robotech Defense Force (RDF) and the Army of the Southern Cross in favor of a "United Earth Forces" (UEF) model. As a result, abbreviations have changed; for instance, in Palladium Books' Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles RPG, references that would formerly have been made to the RDF or Robotech Expeditional Force (REF) are now made to the UEDF or UEEF.
Preferences for specific names aside, one potential problem associated with this realignment is that the Army of the Southern Cross makes sense only if it came into existence as a rival to whatever we're going to call the military structure that reconstituted itself on Earth after the Zentraedi bombardment of the planet. The reason is that to create an entire military structure, with its own ranks, traditions, uniforms, etc. simply is not worthwhile; if there were no rivalry, then the Expeditionary Force would have just been a fleet affiliated with the Earth-based Defense Force.