The Zentraedi are one of those great villains of all time, the ultimate antagonist. They are a race of 40 foot giants, consumed with conquest and violence. Merciless warriors, they are relentless in combat and would rather die than acknowledge defeat. We can hate them because they are cold, cruel, and ruthless instruments of destruction. We can fear them because they are an enigma from another world possessing superior strength and numbers. We can loathe them for their cruelty, brutality and maniacal fervour to conquer...to destroy. We can sympathize for them because they are mere puppets, twisted and made ugly by an insane puppeteer. For they are victims of yet another race's mad design; artificially created, cloned, grown and indoctrinated into a short, bleak life of constant war and death. Toss in the mystery of the SDF-1 space fortress, protoculture, and the insane Robotech Masters, and there you have it. A truly compelling antagonist.
The Zentraedi War-Machine
The Zentraedi's strategy and tactics are simple and effective; overpower the enemy by sheer weight of numbers and raw explosive power. Too simple, you think? Perhaps, but this basic line of practice, supported by the high-tech weapons of Robotechnology and, quite literally, millions of troops and war machines provided by the Robotech Masters, has proven to be successful, winning tactic for the Zentraedi. Of course, the cost in lives and equipment is often great, but it is a cost the Robotech Masters, at least until recently, could afford. Remember, all the Zentraedi are warriors, specifically created, genetically designed and totally indoctrinated for war. They neither give nor ask for mercy. They fight and keep fighting until the battle is won or they are slain. They do so without remorse, nor hesitation, for one expects to die in combat, that is their life. It is only through prolonged exposure to the human's lifestyle that Breetai's warriors begin to question their own stinted view of life.
The Zentraedi are destroyers. They attack with devastating speed, skill and power. The older, more cunning Zentraedi have learned to use their enemy's own compassion and fears against them, by playing up to such weakness and then crushing them when they've let down their guard. The ferocity and lack of gentle emotions in these giant warriors is intentionally instilled by their creators, the Robotech Masters. Surprisingly, this is not simply the result of the Robotech Masters own loss of humanity, but actually born from a real sense of desperation.
The secret of Robotechnology is its source of organic fusion, protoculture. Protoculture is a property of the rare and unusual, Invid Flower of Life. The Invid are a race of mysterious beings who relentlessly seek out and destroy any other life forms who possess the power of the sacred flower. The Invid are devoid of compassion and fight until destroyed. In order to survive the Invid's seemingly endless numbers and strength, the Robotech Masters created their own army of equally cold, merciless beings, obsessed with combat. So it was that the giant Zentraedi were born, designed in a protoculture laboratory, cloned, mass produced, and indoctrinated into a short-lived life of cruelty and war. Equipped with high-tech weaponry, and bred to know only war, the Robotech Masters had created the perfect opponent for the Invid. Unfortunately, the maniacal Masters quickly realized the vast potential of their army and began their own campaign of intergalactic terror and domination.
The Zentraedi genetic structure is especially encoded for intentional reduction to human size ("micronian"). The process requires one full hour in a bath of chemicals, radiation and protoculture mixture in a protoculture chamber. This transformation will completely change the massive beings into human equivalents, with proportional strength and endurance.
The micronization process can be reversed, but only through the use of a protoculture chamber. Although the enlargements and reductions are not painful, it is physically taxing, leaving its subject temporarily weak and nauseous. However, frequent transformations within a short period of time will place such a strain on the metabolism that it can prove lethal.
NOTE: The Zentraedi biological structure is basically human; they are not yo-yoes, which can be bounced up and down at a whim. Micronization and/or restoration to giant size are not dangerous at all if properly spaced. All RDF Micronization facilities have an excellent medical staff on hand at all times.
There is no time limit as to how long a Zentraedi may remain micronized. The change is permanent unless the person undergoes the transformation process to intentionally reverse the micronization. As a matter of fact, the micronian size places less strain on the body than in its massive giant size, alleviating the stress of gravity, environment and massive consumption of food and water. As giants, they require additional supplements of vitamins, nutrients, protein and a properly balanced diet. A prerequisite which can be satisfied for those involved with the RDF, the Robotech Factory, and the space defense program. However, most of the rebels operating in the jungle and wastelands are suffering malnutrition, stress and fatigue effectively reducing their average life span by half that of their human or micronized counterparts. The average non-player Zentraedi character is likely to be micronized and remain micronized for the rest of his or her life. However, player characters loyal to mankind, and involved with the RDF, have more flexibility, able to change their size whenever necessary.
Protoculture chambers are limited to the following locations: The main RDF base at Yellowstone, RDF bases at Mexico City, Albuquerque and Argentina, the Robotech Research Centre in the Far East Sector and the Robotech Factory in space. It is believed that the Zentraedi rebel forces may also possess a few protoculture chambers, at the Zentraedi Control Zone in the South American Sector, Arkansas protectorate and the E.B.S.I.S.
A Question Of Loyalty
Zentraedi who have sworn allegiance to Earth and humanity are micronized and integrated into human society. Many of those who have proven themselves to be truly loyal have been recruited by the RDF, and Breetai or Exedore, to help defend the Earth from acts of further aggression. Only these select individuals can receive the authority to be restored to giant size and operate authorized Zentraedi mecha as part of the Robotech Defense Force.
Zentraedi In The RDF
The giant alien's place in the RDF is limited. Human hostility and extreme prejudice is still high. Vigilantes and local governments will tend to shoot first and ask questions later, even if the giant has a RDF insignia and identification. Even his or her fellow mecha team members may respond cruelly or with suspicion. For those reasons most of the RDF Zentraedi are stationed off-world in space patrols, at the orbiting Robotech factory, and on the Moon or Mars bases. However, a few hundred are actively involved in the planets defence on Earth's surface. These individuals may be:
A Matter Of Security
To protect RDF bases from double-agents, rogues and turncoats, the number of Zentraedis assigned to a base is usually equal to one Zentraedi to every 20 humans. While the 1 to 20 ratio is an operating norm, it is not a mandatory requirement. Consequently, some bases may have no Zentraedi at all, while another may have a 1 to 10 ratio.
Facilities for micronized and full size Zentraedi, RDF soldiers are segregated from the humans. The Zentraedi mecha hangers and maintenance areas are located far away from the human mecha. Because Zentraedis normally have no mechanical skills or knowledge, and because it is illegal to teach a Zentraedi any of the mecha sciences, their mecha are maintained and repaired by a completely human team of technicians. Likewise, the hangar area is guarded by humans in Destroids.
The Destroid and Veritech Fighter hangars and mecha facilities are totally off limits to Zentraedi, large or small, unless special permission has been granted in writing.
Despite the segregated living quarters and mecha areas, the RDF Zentraedi soldier can freely roam the entire base. Micronized soldiers can attend the same military and social functions, events, restaurants and bars, and visit friends with the same freedom as their human comrades. As giants, their activities and access may be limited only because of their immense size, nothing more. Of course, all military installations will have areas restricting personnel, both human and Zentraedi alike.
Zentraedi Mecha In The R.D.F.
The Zentraedi soldiers of the RDF are usually restricted to the use of Zentraedi Mecha. To pilot the mecha, the operator must be a full size Zentraedi! Micronized Zentraedi are NEVER taught how to operate Veritech Fighters or how to repair any type of human mecha. Occasionally, a loyal Zentraedi will be so trusted that he or she will be trained to pilot a Destroid, including that mecha's combat skill. Of course the person must be micronized.
Since the Zentraedi soldier is of little value to the Robotech Masters, most of the mecha is lightly armoured, making them much more vulnerable than the human mecha. This can lead to a disturbingly short career in the RDF. Unfortunately, the design of the Battle Pod, and most Zentraedi mecha, makes it nearly impossible to reinforce it to protect its pilot. Unlike the human mecha, the Zentraedi pilot fills the entire body cavity of his machine, making him a much larger target with much less space for any kind of heavy armour. Since the Robotech Masters view the giant foot soldiers as expendable, with an average life of three years, the vulnerability of the mecha pilot is of no concern. Officers and the Fighter Pod pilots are of greater value, thus their mecha are more durable to compensate for the usually flimsy mecha.
Without a doubt, the most heavily armoured and versatile of the Zentraedi mecha is the Female Power Armour with its respectable armour, great speed and heavy armaments. Specifically designed for a woman's physiology, these deadly war machines are still restricted to Zentraedi female officers. The Female Power Armour ace is the most widely recruited and coveted Zentraedi for the RDF.
The Officer's Battle Pod is considered to be the next most deadly and versatile of the alien mecha, while affording maximum protection to its pilot.
The Male Power Armour is the third most preferred type of Zentraedi mecha by the RDF. Its human configuration and specific armaments make it ideal for urban combat and ground reconnaissance. In many respects, it is the Zentraedi counterpart to the human's Gladiator Destroid. Unlike the Gladiator, The Male Power Armour is far less armoured. However, its limited flight capabilities does provide a little edge in combat and flexibility of movement.
Although the Male Power Armour can NOT fly in an atmosphere like its female counterpart, or an aircraft, it does possess limited flight capabilities. The pilot can easily jet up and down several hundred feet, and can fly at low altitudes of about 100 to 600 feet above the ground, avoiding all but the most sophisticated radar systems. On the negative side, the unit's maximum flight speed is 70 mph (112.6 kph), its maximum altitude is 600 feet (183 meters), it has very limited manoeuvrability in flight, and is best suited for straight line flying.
The Fighter Pod also offers its pilots a fair amount of protection. This pod's speed and firepower makes it a deadly war machine. Although the RDF has accepted a dozen or so into its ranks, the Veritech Fighter or Female Power Armour offers greater combat versatility and has severely limited the Fighter Pod's use on the planet. It is best suited for use in space.
Battle Pods are lightly armoured and extremely hazardous for the pilot. For this reason, they are the least used by the Zentraedi, RDF mecha team members.