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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:33 pm 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

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In honor of the new season, I've once again picked back up this project. I hope to be posting more often now, but these updates should be steady.

First drabble of the new season. Blatant speculation (see: Soma) and (potential) future spoilers ahoy.

Yeah, I’m pretty confident I’ll be right on with some of these, though I also will end up being wrong with some of these as well.

---

All Is Not Well

---

“It’s an easy job, boy. All you have to do is walk the streets at night, shouting the hour and that all is well.”

“But what if all is not well, sir?”

-Terry Pratchet, “Nightwatch”

---

After the young man has left, Soma turns to Sergei. The revelation still affects her.

“You never told me you had a son,” she says. “Why didn’t you tell me?” The lesser half is accusing, but the greater half pleading for him to tell her that the visit was just a hallucination, that her life of peace has not just ended, that the man she has come to trust more than anyone else has not spent the entire five years that she has known him lying to her.

Sergei, damn him, averts his eyes.

“We had…” he trails off, seeking the best words to explain it to her (and now she realizes that he has done this far too often: trying to explain to her things any other girl would have understood), and he finally ends with “we had drifted apart.”

Soma hears and does not understand. She knows she does not understand, hates that she does not understand, does not want to understand why Sergei would separate from his own flesh and blood.

(Because if he would do so to his own flesh and blood, why wouldn’t he do it to her? And then she would be alone once again, but this time having known camaraderie and friendship and family and would know their absence and…)

But she must know. “Why?” is the meaning of what she says.

Sergei still does not look her in the eyes, or look at her at all. He now looks into the past, a past long before she came to know him, and suddenly that scares her.

“I was a soldier once,” he says, as if he isn’t one now, “and I was much like you. I thought duty was everything, the mission more important than anything else. Country dominated everything: my honor, my life,” and here he, the strongest man she has ever known, visibly chokes with remembered shame and weakness, and she wants to rush and put him at ease, as any daughter would (Is that what she is? Or what she wants to be? A few minutes ago she had told him she was not sure, but now she was confused and even a bit frightened), but she must know why...

“And my family.”

---

Billy has the woman of his dreams and the love of his life by his side, and still feels as if he has lost everything that matters.

He doesn’t know when it started. Maybe with the death of Professor Eifman. True, the man who was the closest thing to a father he can remember would surely have died by now, old as he was, but the man should never have been hunted down…

He doesn’t know when it started, but he suspects when it accelerated, when he lost his best friend to the worst of the world government. Graham had been slipping since the loss of his own friends all those years ago, but over time the man had become restless, obsessed with finding a purpose in a time of peace. Even as Billy had been content to retire to a quieter life, the other had strived even harder, looked even harder into every lead of Celestial Being’s continued existence…

Billy doesn’t know exactly where Graham was today, to be honest. Likely with the new anti-insurgent Government force. Maybe with the rebels. (Billy doubted it, Graham always thought in terms of states and power and authority, but he wouldn’t be surprised if, one day, Graham was found in the cockpit of an old flag, fighting against a superior force for the sheer joy of it.)

But while Billy doesn’t know how it started, and is unsure when exactly it got worse, he does know where it has come, and that is now in his bed. Sumeragi is miserable, Billy knows, every day and all the time between her smiles to him and their brief moments of happiness. She had never truly recovered from the incident all those years ago, but now it was something more. Murmurs in her sleep have left him suspicious (not that he will ever tell anyone!), looks of pain at every mention of the anti-government rebels only fuel them, but deep down he knows that it’s because she has failed again, in some way she will never tell him.

But he wishes she would. He wishes someone, anyone, would come and change things. At this point he doesn’t care who, and he doesn’t care how, only that soon she might find a focus other than on her failures.

Billy feels as if he’s lost everything that matters. He has a feeling he would have to give up everything else for even a chance to get it all back.

---

Louise sits alone. In her room.

It’s strange how wrong that feels, though she has done it all her life. A few years ago, she had an opportunity to change that. She wouldn’t be alone on a ship full of people, and it wouldn’t be ‘her’ room.

But Celestial Being showed up, and changed that. They separated her from everything she had known.

Her family, to almost the last cousin, was dead. A lineage that traced itself back a millennia, wiped out at a single wedding. All that remained of anyone within three relations was herself.

Her home was taken. True, the property still stand there, and the lawyers rush to reassured her that they are in her name. But home was where the heart is, and her heart refused to stay in those large, empty rooms where no life remained.

And then there was him. He was still alive, she knew. He occasionally sent her letters, though she never replied. She couldn’t. Not yet. Not since she had met them, and learned that Celestial Being still lived. She couldn’t return, even if he would take her, a cripple, until Celetial Being was resolved. Until the world was safer for him.

Louise sat alone, in her room. Tomorrow would be her first combat mission, and an important step to one day reuniting with Saji, if she only she could make it.

But she was still alone, and it was still her room. But maybe it wouldn’t have to be that way for that much longer.

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Last edited by Dean_the_Young on Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:18 pm, edited 27 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:40 pm 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

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You know what? I really don’t have any idea for episode 2. Nothing really stood out to me besides how Sumeragi is a pathetic drunk in Billy’s house, and that 00 has pretty awesome battle music, so I think I’ll go back to something I started way back and season one. Yeah, that’s right, a semi-continuation to the AU’s I started. Not just one of them, since I had enough of them, but think of this episode as “where would those AU’s be now?”

I’m going by the chapter titles of the S1 drabbles, so if you don’t remember the AU basis of each part you can check it out over at my FFN account (College Fool). The second one is a semi-fusion of two separate ones, though they don’t work against each other too much.

---

00 Drabble S2 02

Revisitations

---

Butterfly Effect. Noun. A commonly encountered element in most timelines. It describes the secondary, minor effects of every Divergence that add up over time. While every Divergence has very direct consequences that can be detailed and explained in the timeline itself, it of course also, realistically, changes the lives of thousands or millions of people in the timeline in ways too small to describe in detail, but may also cause tremendous visible changes.

---

1: Alterations

Part of Sumeragi is relieved that the blond man in front of her is no longer draped over the couch, passed out in a drunken heap of misery. Too many times she has seen the man stagger inside, supported by her husband, and too many times has she thought “there but for the grace of god go I” while remembering that it was her own actions that helped bring this to be. He was not only her husband’s friend, but in a way he was her responsibility as well. He always had been since that day, and seeing an ember of spirit in his eyes once again gives her hope that he is recovered from his malaise.

But that is only part. The other part is a kaleidoscope of emotions, ranging from shock to fear to guilt to a raw hatred in the memory of her late teacher.

But if any of that shows on her face as she stumbles back into Billy’s own shocked body, neither their former guest nor the young middle-eastern man who has shattered the household pay any heed. It is up to Billy to speak what both wife and husband think.

“Graham…” he begins, but quickly pauses. Too many questions, too many specific avenues of approach. “Why?” Why did he accept them? Why did he fight? Why did the Professor have to die like that? Why did he force the world against him? Why had he shown up on their door that day three years ago, coming back into their lives?

Why was he once again leaving? Why return to Celestial Being, who caused so many deaths and so much damage?

“The world hasn’t changed enough yet,” the blond man says as if it is the only explanation anyone needs, and though his clothes are disheveled, his complexion ugly, an unkempt stubble shows, and the smell of alcohol hangs in the air as he leans against the wall, these is no doubt he is alive again. “It still hasn’t changed, Billy, and someone has to act again. Act against the A-Laws”

The young man beside him moves closer, and Graham loops an arm around his shoulder with familiar ease. “We have to go now. Someone is waiting for us,” says the young man to Graham as if the owners of the apartment don’t exist, and he begins to turn Graham around.

“Graham!” Billy calls impotently, and now Sumeragi can see there is no hope to stop the disgraced Union pilot. Soon once again they will be on opposite sides of the battlefield, just as they were five years ago as she helped lead the United Nations campaign in space, as she tore apart his life and left him a broken man for a second time.

Before he walks out the door, though, Graham turns his head to look back at them. A sad smile is on his face. “Goodbye, Billy,” he says, and then turns to meet her eyes, “Sumeragi. I truly do thank you both.”

The door closes, and the married couple eventually guide eachother back into the living room. When Billy throws a glass at the wall in frustration, Sumeragi says nothing and silently helps herself to a bottle of liquor still on the table.

---


2. After-Quakes of a Triumph

---

Five years was a long time.

Not in the cosmic sense, mind you, or the geological sense, or in any sense that didn’t take human beings into consideration. But in terms of politics, people and world events, five years can be a lifetime.

Shirin Bakhtiar barely remembers a time when she served as an advisor to Princess Marina, ruler of Azadistan, now one of the most prosperous, stable countries in the Middle East now that it has access to the solar energy system. Not since the Celestial War ended with the Union breaking the GN-drive technical barrier and embarking on a pan-Union campaign to drive Celestial Being back to the edge of space. About the only thing that could have preserved the old world order would have been if the other powers had been able to reverse engineer their own captured gundam parts, but even at the height of the Celestial War the Union had refused the least amount of technical or theoretical cooperation with its European and League rivals. Many had warned and berated the Union at the time, but the reason for their refusal was clear now. Only a naïve fool would have expected the Union to throw away its key to global dominance.

Celestial Being is still out there, of course. No one ever found their GN drives, and a mobile suit is a simple thing to build. Even when the Union had started production of its own prototype GN-tau drives, Union mobile suits were still woefully outmanned by the Gundams right up until the final battle in space. The fact that tau-drives could even be produced with contemporary technology means that Celestial Being could make a fleet of Gundams, given enough time.

Unfortunately, only the Union had gained mastery over GN-physics, through their secretive and hidden research base. The remnants of the other powers were easily decades from understanding the theory, and that would be without the Union’s enforcers hunting down all attempts to do so. Still, it warmed Shirin’s heart to know that, somewhere, some Union intelligence officer was having an ulcer over nightmares of a sudden appearance of dozens of Celestial Being Gundams, even if only those with tau-drives.

But if anybody had a few dozen Gundams laying around in a desolate bunker, no one was offering. Rumors had it that Celestial Being had appeared again, but those few whispers that escaped the Union’s feared Minute Men only mentioned Celestial Being’s traditional green particles, though rumors were spreading that the Union’s own Jupiter science vessel had also been seen to have similar particles. The United Nations was silent on the issue of GN drives regardless, but then the UN was widely recognized as being in the Union’s pocket these days. When UN bigshots like Corner family wanted things done, they knew which power to go to. In some ways, it must have been convenient for the UN to have one of the three powers clearly dominant: only one set of elites to know and influence. The real people in power could get things done easily if they only had the right connections.

Shirin has bigger things to worry about than imaginary gundams and the United Nations, though. Union enforcement sweeps and energy control threats keeps the Kataron resistance from getting much of anything from what remains of the once mighty League and European governments, and lately not even space colonies have been safe from the Minute Men, the Union force famous for giving less than a minute’s warning before attacking and silencing their opposition. The one bright spot was that even with control over all the orbital elevators, the Union still can’t stop the elevator smuggling routes, so transferring supplies from earth to space is still easy. In her few moments of respite, Shirin wonders if that’s how Celestial Being did it.

But Shirin is too busy now to contemplate how the Celestial Being of old did it. Even as she walks through the hanger where European Enacts and League Teirens are being maintained, aids brief her on the latest reports. A European Kataron agent has been approached by Celestial Being and promises to report in later. Spy satellites indicate that a Minute Men force in space has engaged in battle, but appears to have withdrawn. Contacts in Europe and Asia have reported that respected retired military personnel have been approached by the Minute Men under the jurisdiction of the Union’s multinational anti-terrorism taskforce, for whom declining to assist is not an option. Intelligence also suggests that the Union is quietly mobilizing its top units, including the famed Overflag Squadron.

As Shirin organizes and manages the workings of the world’s largest insurgency movement against Union dominance, she doesn’t dwell on the unimportant details of five years ago. Celestial Being may have killed many good men and women, soldiers and scientists alike, but the Minute Men are a threat now. The Union veterans of the Celestial War are as much a threat as Celestial Being ever was.

---

3. To Be Gundam

---

Neena stands before the confinement cell, hand raised over the open switch, and for the first time in a long time, she hesitates.

Tiera stood behind her watching. “Are you going to talk to him or not?” asked the purple haired Meister, no sympathy in his voice. Even though she had long since proven her loyalty to Celestial Being, the other Veda-link had never truly warmed to her like Felt or Ian had. And he was never shy to remind her of that.

“It’s hard, okay?” she snapped, turning to face him. “Whether you believe it or not, I’ve changed since then!”

Tiera raised an eyebrow. “If so, why are you still out here?”

Neena grunted and spun around, letting the strength of ego press the button. The door slid open, and she could have sworn she heard Tiera smother a grunt of laughter. A moment later, she saw why. Saji Crossroads hovered in the lack of gravity, asleep, and likely had been for the entire time she had been standing there.

---

“Have you talked to him yet?” asks Setsuna later, sitting in a chair in what passes for a recreation room on the new ship. He doesn’t look up from the manual of the 00, but Neena can tell that he’s paying attention. Over the past few years, she has learned to pick up on the way he holds a book or the way his ears turn to focus.

“No,” she admits from a couch nearby. “When I went, he was sleeping. I didn’t think it would be right to wake him.”

Setsuna grunts, but says nothing else. He turns a page, and for a short while there is a companionable silence. She reads about her own suit’s maintenance: though the Drei remained serviceable for the time she and Setsuna wandered outside of Celestial Being, it had since begun to lag behind the Federation A-Head and GN-XIII models. Upgrades upon their return to Celestial Being were appreciated, but required readjustments.

The silence continues for awhile, until Neena cranes her neck to glance at Setsuna. “Do you think he will ever forgive me?” It is a valid question: the civilian man had come close to shooting Setsuna before his confinement, and she still has yet to tell him the truth.

“I don’t know,” Setsuna admits. “It’s been several years since I’ve seen him, and even then I didn’t know him well.” Even so, Neena can tell that he is attentive and more concerned towards the detainee. Setsuna has discreetly monitored the last Crossroad since his detention, checking to see that he has eaten his meals and is taking care of himself. Even asking her if she had talked to him was a sign that he… cared? Even after so long, it could be hard to tell what exactly he felt about others.

“What will you say?” he asks before another silence can set in.

“The truth,” Neena says. “As to how…” she trails off, and looks away. She’s not given to uncertainty often, but this issue is different. Growing up has underscored just how irresponsible she had been at the time, and there was no excuse for her actions. Even if she tried to take responsibility now, though, what difference would it make?

“No one will force you to talk to him,” Setsuna pointed out. “Lockon told me that no one will tell him if you don’t.” His suggestion, offer, was too attractive. He was even right: she had fought hard and honestly to defend Celestial Being during the final phase of the war, and helping save the life of Lockon Stratos had endeared her to most of the crew, even though she had quickly left without permission to search for Setsuna after the final defeat. She had found him in the remains of the Exia’s cockpit, but he had asked her not to return him to Celestial Being. She had traveled with him ever since.

Five years ago she might have taken his offer of the easy way out. Five years ago, she hadn’t chosen to emulate him. “No,” she answered colder than she intended. “I will do this.” Her posture relaxed, and she smiled and gave a victory sign. “Gotta follow the Gundam way, right?” she joked with a wink, hoping to restore the mood.

Setsuna looked up from his manual and met her eyes. “I know you will,” he said. “That’s what I told Lockon.”

Neena flushed at the highest compliment he would gave.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:55 pm 
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I'm digging reformed-Neena-as-true-Gundam-Meister. I always did like the original one-shot in and of itself not only because it made sense (why leave a perfectly useful Gundam and its Meister to lounge around on Earth while you go marching off to a hopeless battle? Didn't Setsuna head down to Earth to drum up support from the Thrones in the first place?) but because it was such an interesting study on the nature of revenge, reverence, and how the distance between two people can be bridged.

It's really a nice could-have-been. Setsuna has come a long way since killing his parents, so maybe Neena might be able to reach that some day as well.

Of course, with Liu Mei as her matron, the odds are Neena is even more ruthless than she was in the old days. C'est la vie

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:18 am 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

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Imperial wrote:
I'm digging reformed-Neena-as-true-Gundam-Meister. I always did like the original one-shot in and of itself not only because it made sense (why leave a perfectly useful Gundam and its Meister to lounge around on Earth while you go marching off to a hopeless battle? Didn't Setsuna head down to Earth to drum up support from the Thrones in the first place?)


You know, I always wondered that myself. I was so sure that they would have talked after the battle that I was amazed that my fic turned out to be so wrong. I was even thinking that Neena could even have helped save Lockon somehow (as I referred to in the story): maybe the power of two GN drives would have allowed them to get Setsuna up in space just a bit faster, where he could have saved Lockon. Or something, I don't know.

Point is, if Ali can make off with a Throne and get to the battle in space in time, so should Neena and Setsuna with their Gundams.

Quote:
but because it was such an interesting study on the nature of revenge, reverence, and how the distance between two people can be bridged.
...really?

I mean, of course. That's clearly what I intended.

(Great, now I'm going to have to re-read it in those terms...)
Quote:

It's really a nice could-have-been. Setsuna has come a long way since killing his parents, so maybe Neena might be able to reach that some day as well.

Of course, with Liu Mei as her matron, the odds are Neena is even more ruthless than she was in the old days. C'est la vie
Tell you what. Don't hold your breath, but after this weekend I'm going to have more time to turn towards writing, including finishing an entire AU story based from Season 1 that I have lying around, but after that I intend to do some seperate 00/Code Geass drabbles. Since reformed!Neena seems to be likable, I'll look into another drabble or two on that idea.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:48 pm 
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Your Nena is very interesting, actually. It's relatively difficult to make her sympathetic without somewhat justifying/letting slide her previous actions and you've done quite well so far.

Definitely interested in reading more from this "Nena-affected" timeline.

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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:37 pm 
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I thank you a lot for writing good Setsu/Nena drabbles, and I hope to see more (not only of them, but others as well) drabbles whenever you can!

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:11 pm 
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Don’t get me wrong. I don’t watch Gundam for military realism, though little attempts at it make me happy. But this last episode…

Interrogating a head-of-state for a 5-second conversation four years ago? Putting an amateur pilot in a no-longer next-generation MS right before assaulting a maximum-security prison guarded by professionals? The rather ludicrous combat hanger of the Ptolemy? Having the most powerful MS in the world just stand there behind an intermittent GN-field, rather than sending a commando of your own?

The horrible, atrocious pistol usage/skills by both sides? (Shooting off leather restraints with a pistol? And how do you miss at five feet?!)

I’m sorry, but that’s just FUBAR.

---

Gundam 00 S2 Drabble 03

FUBAR

---

“What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?”

-Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket

---

-Four Years-

“Four years ago, during the civil unrest in Azadistan, you came into contact with a member of Celestial Being, correct?” The interrogator, dressed in a suit, had all the interest of a rock. Both knew the answer even before he asked it.

“I already spoke of that four years ago,” Marina noted.

“The situation has changed since then. A new Gundam has appeared, and you are once again a key figure, First Princess of Azadistan, Marina Ismail.”

Marina looked away, and the man leaned forward. “Now tell me, have you come into contact with Celestial Being since then?”

Marina’s polite face faded as her forehead wrinkled with a grimace. Frustration was hiding behind a mountain of self-control.

“As I have already said, no. I haven’t.” ‘No, you jackass.’

“Are you aware of how much my own security tightened after that period of unrest, especially after the assassination attempt on myself?” ‘I’m not even allowed to go to the bathroom by myself anymore! You know how awkward that is, you oxygen-thief?’

“I have also been very busy helping my country recover and grow. I haven’t even had time to meet new people outside of my duties, as many could attest.” ‘By the Almighty, have you ever run a country before, you empty suit? I don’t have the time to be running off for secret rendezvous, and again, my security. See above.’

“I am afraid I can not help you in regards to this new Gundam. As the First Princess, my country needs me to act on their behalf. I request that you release me as soon as possible. ‘Some of us have a job and a life beyond revolutions and interrogating innocents, you pathetic excuse for a carbon life form.’

“Besides, it has been a long time since I encountered that gundam pilot. Events and technology have changed so much since then, even if he had told me anything more than he did, it would surely be obsolete by now. I hardly remember what he said anymore, let alone how he said it.” ‘It’s been four years, bastards! Four friggen years!’

Marina Ismail really was too polite for her own good.

---

-Amateur Pilots-

“Is this really the best idea?” Ian asked as he and Lasse watched the new Lockon Stratos work his way through the Cherudim Gundam’s controls.

“Hm?” grunted Lasse. “He is the new Meister.”

“It’s nothing against the man,” Ian said, “I don’t know him well enough to say anything, even if he does look exactly like the old one. But, to be blunt, he’s a rookie. And now that the Federation has GN drives, our own advantage is minimized. Sure, the 00 can wipe the floor with anyone at this point, and trans-am is still our ace in the hole, but at this point our GN-drives are only a bit better than theirs.”

“So what? What are you saying?”

“Well,” Ian trailed off, scratching his head as one of the many Haro mechanics floated across the room, “even you have more combat experience. Wouldn’t it be a better idea for you to pilot it, just this one mission until we get Allelujah back? Then we can make sure he gets more training, that’s all.”

“I’m sure it will be fine, Ian.” Lasse reassured. “Setsuna trusts him, and this won’t be a long battle anyway. Besides-”

Lasse was cut off as the Cherudim Gundam took one step back, and walked straight into the wall behind it. Haro mechanics were scattered, and from the cockpit a too-familiar voice yelled “It’s alright, I got it! Just mixed up forward and reverse!”

“Besides,” Lass continued without his earlier confidence, “I have to pilot the ship, and I can’t pilot mobile suits either.”

---

-Pinpoint targeting-

“So, the 00 wasn’t moving at all, right?”

“Because the pilot had to infiltrate, yes. He has guerilla experience.”

“But the prison has security guards. They could have shot him, or held him down, and the entire plan would have failed AND there would have been one less Gundam available, at least until they re-wrote the biometric security.”

“It was a calculated risk. The entire plan was based on the first three hundred seconds anyway, so if he had been held up he would have retreated and they would have done it manually.”

“It’s still stupid, though. They should have had someone else go in. Like us: we’re Celestial Being support. This is what our job is, and I’m already a killer. Then they would have had the 00 in the battle from the start. Just how stupid do you have to be to just park it and put the Virtue rip-off and its GN-field parked in front of it?”

“…pardon?”

“Gah, you’re so dense. The GN field and the GN-bazooka’s can’t be used at the same time. All the enemy would have had to do is put a constant barrage aimed at the parked 00, and then the GN-field would never have been dropped, and any one of the suits could have walked up and kicked the ZOINKS out of them with a beam saber. Of if the GN-field did drop, the 00 would have been lost. Either way, you have almost the entire attack force pinned down by any two suits that can fire at a stationary point. Even those Tierens. The sniper punk is an amateur, and he wouldn’t have been able to stop them. I swear, if I were piloting on the other side, Celestial Being would be dead within a week.”

“…shut up, Fon.”

---

-Bad Bridges-

Ian opened the door to the confinement cell, and wondered why he specifically had been asked for. The man inside was usually handled by Setsuna or the other Celestial Being members, but the man had specifically asked for the head engineer of the ship.

When the door finished opening, Ian saw man typing furiously at his Haro-linked computer. Even from the distance, he could tell it was a very basic schematic of the ship hanger. He frowned, but trusted that Haro wouldn’t have given true blueprints to the wild-card. Or perhaps that was why he had been requested?

“I’m Ian, the engineer for this ship,” he started as an introduction. “You asked to see me?”

The young man (Saji, Ian remembered) looked up from his terminal. “Ah, thank you for coming so quickly. I didn’t mean to interrupt anything,” Saji said politely.

Ian waved it off. “We suffered no battle damage, and the Haro’s are maintaining the Gundams.” He noticed the young man look at the red Veda terminal in surprise.

“Ah,” Saji said once he recovered from the discovery, “you may have heard from Setsuna that I am an engineer, and that I specialized in space construction?”

Ian smirked, pleased that he had predicted why he had been called. “Yes I have. If you’re asking to join us as an engineer, it will take awhile before we can clear you but I’d be more than happy to have an extra pair of hands around here. Celestial Being has a wonderful health plan and a good salary, though you won’t get to take advantage of it often, but I have to say I’m surprised Setsuna brought you around so quickly. He’s usually bad with people, but-”

Saji blanched. “No no,” he interrupted, waving his hands in front of his face. “I’m not asking to join Celestial Being. I just wanted to ask why you have a death-trap for a mobile-suit hanger entrance.”

Ian was stopped by Saji’s refusal, and barely caught the latter half. “…what?” he asked intelligently.

Saji turned the monitor around. “I noticed it first in space when Setsuna brought me in, but I didn’t think it would matter as much because in space you can exit out of side hatches as well as a catapult. But now that I see the ship goes underwater, I had to make sure you knew about it, if you didn’t know already.”

Ian grunted, and Saji took that as a cue to continue. He pressed a key, and a short video showing the hanger door opening played out, with a mock mobile suit going through the accelerator.

“This is how the system works once both doors are open,” Saji said, indicating the suit going down the full length of the launcher rail. “But one of the key factors they taught us to remember when designing a hatch system of any sort is to keep obstacles to a minimum, and you have two. Both the top door and the bottom folded extension of the launcher rail have to be able to open for any mobile suit to get in or out, especially out at sea. If the bottom one doesn’t open, the top can’t open. If the top doesn’t open, the Gundams can’t launch. And if either gets stuck halfway open, then launching or receiving mobile suits gets much harder. Even without enemy fire, that sort of minor damage can come from debris in space. And the open-outward setup makes it much harder, if not impossible, to open the doors underwater. To be blunt, your hanger doors are far too risky for extreme civilian usage, let alone military action.”

It wasn’t that Ian didn’t agree in part with the detainee. He hadn’t designed the door system, but he hadn’t exactly argued against them either. But for a young wannabe to come in and start criticizing his ship…

“If you don’t want to join us, why do you care anyway?”

Saji looked at Ian as if he were missing a few brain cells. “I don’t want to die along with you, you know.”

---

-Pistol Marksmanship-

Andrei Smirnov grimaced as the pistol rubbed against raw calloused hands. He hadn’t thought that it was possible to get callouses from firing a pistol, but the range instructor, a thin Korean Captain, was doing his best to change that.

“Are you proud that you finally hit the targets, you pathetic excuse for a military officer? Do you think we could send you in to storm Celestial Being’s headquarters and hope that you shoot somebody?”

“Sir, yes sir!” Andrei barked, remembering similar shouts back at basic training. Beside him, other security officers were holding their pistols with sinking arms and sweaty hands, showing signs of the hours of ‘remedial training’ they were all undergoing.

“Well I don’t believe you! I don’t believe you even think! If I put you on your side and you put one hand under your head and the other under your pampered ass, which do you think would fill up first? Well? Answer me, I don’t have all day here!”

“The hand under my ass, sir!” Somewhere, Andrei was sure, there was a list of sergeant analogies that all instructors, regardless of country or language, shared and consulted. The Captain surely took from the same list.

“Well maybe if that hand had been on your gun instead, you wouldn’t be here right now! If you had had that hand on your gun, a lot of good men worth far more than you pathetic lot wouldn’t have died in vain! Now fire again!”

Andrei and the others loaded their pistols once again and took aim at the moving set of targets, each far smaller than the size of a running fugitive. Unlike at the beginning of the session, nearly all the new holes were in the black of the paper. Nearly, but not all, and Andrei’s spirits descended as he realized that the one shot was his own.

“By God, don’t they make you pilots maintain your pistol skills anymore?! That must be nice, because we sure as hell never had that luxury back in my day! We knew that a pistol might be the difference between life or death when facing the damn Yanks or those pasty Europeans, and by god did our leaders prove it! The Wild Bear once escaped from an entire squad of German infantry after being shot down during the Fifth Solar War, and you know what he used? Nothing but a god damn pistol! You aren’t worthy to walk in his shadow, let alone share his name! Now fire again!”

Andrei reloaded and raised his pistol once again, and wished that he had paid more attention to pistol practice after he had joined the A-Laws.

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Wait, I thought that Lyle was just faking it. His stats show an abnormally high aptitude in both MS control as well as combat ranges...

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Yeah, I'm not sure what CB was thinking...

Setsuna was the one who brought him in, Sumeragi took note of his high stats, and Tieria and the bridge staff were clearly under the impression he was an amateur.

If Setsuna knew that Lyle was a member of Cataron, he probably had some inkling of his piloting skill. So maybe CB is playing Lyle as much as he's playing them.

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Thundermuffin wrote:
Yeah, I'm not sure what CB was thinking...

Setsuna was the one who brought him in, Sumeragi took note of his high stats, and Tieria and the bridge staff were clearly under the impression he was an amateur.

If Setsuna knew that Lyle was a member of Cataron, he probably had some inkling of his piloting skill. So maybe CB is playing Lyle as much as he's playing them.
Well, the 00 gundam defies all common sense, and Setsuna is gundam, so...?

For those who haven't seen it already, I put a new installment of the reformed!Neena story up, under the thread title "Gundam 00: Reformation". I know some of you have expressed interest in it, so go check it out. From now on, all updates in that specific AU will be posted there, and not as part of the episodic one-shots.

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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:17 pm 
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I do believe I have summed up the important parts of every scene in the episode with perfect and complete clarity.

Or not, but it’s still pretty on-target. Much funnier if you aren’t watching a sub/dub, and can put in your own words. Definitely more mature tones (read: innuendo and dirty jokes) here than I’m prone to. But at less than three hours after having watched the episode, allow me to cut a few corners.




---
Gundam 00 S2 Drabble 04

Immediate Thoughts

“So easy, it almost writes itself.”
-Too many to count

---

If Hallelujah were still alive, the conversation in their head might have gone something like this.

“Now that you are free from that prison, what do you want to do first? Kill the bastards who kept you restrained for four years? Proceed on the bloodiest intervention in history?”

“No, I think I’d like to remember how I met Marie, which in retrospect may have been the first sign to the Institute that I was crazy, going around and talking to unresponsive girls and all. Ah, Marie…”

“Screw that! You have better things to do than mope about prepubescent minors! Have you seen the tail around you? Feldt’s finally legal, and Sumeragi looks like she hasn’t aged a day! Don’t make me come in there and make you tap that for your own good!”

“I could never do that to Feldt! Besides, it’s obvious she’s still only interested in Lockon.”

“And Sumeragi? I’m sorry, excuse me. ‘Miss’ Sumeragi? Could you never do that?”

“…”

“I thought so. Here, I’ll just tell you what you need to do and leave it to you, though I get first round seats. I know that bottle of wine in your room, which was a nice touch by the way. Now here’s what you need to say: remember, she’s still fragile and you’re just looking to comfort her…”

If Hallelujah were still alive, in other words, it would have gone much the same.

---

“I would like to thank you for helping calm the unrest in my country four years ago,” Marina said.

“But…” thought crew, knowing that there always is a ‘but.’

“My country may still be a backwater, violence may still flare up, and we are bound to the energy from the very organization you oppose and vow to destroy, but I still thank you for helping my country all those years ago. Now, if you might return me any time soon…?”

---

Lockon Stratos steps out of his Gundam after a mixed simulation, and immediately sees her.

Lockon’s ghost, were he around, would already have seen her and likely would have been standing beside her the entire time.

‘Amateur. Who does she think she’s fooling?’ the part of him that is still a resistance agent thinks. He, who has been taught how to watch targets without appearing to, is not impressed when she abruptly turns around, standing still in the middle of the empty catwalk, trying desperately to pretend she had not spent the last several minutes (half hour?) watching his suit while he was in it.

Lockon’s ghost, who does not know his brother as a man of mixed loyalties, would have still been preening at Lockon’s remarking of his formidable skill.

The equivalent of a casual and suave “what are you doing here?” comes from Lockon’s mouth, but her “nothing!” is far from convincing. Haro’s helpful supplying of information can leave only one train of thought in his head, even as Feldt looks like she wants to drop-kick the orange ball as her face and ears flush almost as red as her hair.

Lockon’s ghost, still oblivious even after all these years, would have flushed and turned to ask Feldt if it were true. It would only be a relief for her that Feldt would not have been able to hear him.

‘My brother has a stalker?’ Lockon thinks, before another realization sinks in. ‘My brother still has a stalker after being dead for four years? A stalker who was a minor at the time? Brother, what did you do while in Celestial Being?’

Lockon’s ghost, remembering that another person in the room, would immediately start denying doing anything improper with the former minor. Whether he could be believed, especially had he survived, is questionable.

‘Maybe if I creep her out, she’ll realize I’m not my brother and stop?’ And so, acting with deliberate care as to not be resemble his brother, Lockon kisses the girl.

No one would even notice Lockon’s ghost unleash a brutal punch against his brother, because no one could feel it. But one day Lockon would die and become a ghost himself, and then…

Lockon’s head turns at Feldt’s slap for taking that liberty, of course, and then she run away with tears in her eye. Lockon, who had been slapped far harder for much worse, would turn and walk the other way. ‘Looks like that worked. Brother was always one to sit down and talk in situations like that, and Lord knows I don’t want to reinforce the idea that I’m him. She’d never stop!’

Lockon’s ghost would be torn between continuing a non-effective beat down of his brother, and chasing after the fleeing Feldt. He would growl and do the later only after she was already out of sight, but in doing so he wouldn’t be able to hear what his brother muttered aloud.

Lockon suddenly stopped while passing behind his Gundam, terror wiping his dark expression off of his face. ‘What if that is what my brother would have done? What if I just encouraged her more, and she comes back later? Brother, why did you have to grow up to be a pedobear?’

Lockon’s ghost, not telepathic anyway, would definitely not have heard them as he would be in Feldt’s room, formlessly hugging the crying girl and whispering non-effective nothings to try and calm her down.

Lockon’s ghost would take too damn long to flee the room after Feldt went into a cold shower to mask her tears, clothed and all.

---

Sumeragi faces a dilemma.

On one hand, she could let the young man holding the wine into her room, where the two of them would be alone. Or she could kick him out, leaving him embarrassed and alone outside his door.

On one hand, she was very glad to see Allelujah safely returned, and he even had the courtesy to bring the gift of a bottle of wine.

On the other hand, there was Billy. She may not have left on the best of terms, but he was someone she held dear, and she didn’t want anything that would hurt him.

Back to the first, Allelujah was a grown-up now, and so was she. They were both adults who could make their own decisions. And he had brought wine.

Back to the other, though, Allelujah had spent the last several years tied up to a chair, no movement or exercise. His muscles had atrophied even with the miracles of modern nanotechnology, and he hadn’t even had the release of his left (or right) hand for four long years.

But he had brought wine.

Sumeragi let him into the room. It was just a welcome surprise when he wanted to talk about some long-lost girlfriend.

---

Kati was not impressed, and doubted she would ever be impressed by the two men in front of her, no matter how competent they might (or might not) turn out to be.

‘Has he no pride in himself?’ wondered Kati. Her superior, having missed no meals in the last several years at least, was far from the image of military discipline that Kati represented and expected. Overweight, hair unkempt, and nearly sprawling over his couch, she could only wonder how anyone let him disgrace himself like that, regardless of his achievements.

She glanced at the other. ‘Does he work to look like that? No one looks that petty evil without trying.’ Though the other man was disciplined in appearance, Kati liked him no better. Maybe it was his silver hair was parted to emphasize the slanted eyebrows, or the way his narrow eyes highlighted his narrow nose, or the sharp chin, or the smile of smug condescension. Likely it was all of them and more. But Kati, in the first few seconds, pegged him as likely to be ineffectual.

‘These people really need to work on first impressions,’ thought Kati. She should know: the first impression she had made on people had even given her a devoted suitor.

---

“So, how does it feel to conspire with Celestial Being,” asked Ian from his position under the low opening.

“I get to stretch my legs under gravity,” Saji admitted. “Being weightless in a cell for a week is no fun.”

“But now you actually have been complicit in aiding Celestial Being,” Ian pointed out. “The A-LAWS could do anything they wanted to you now, and be perfectly legal. And all because you’re passing me tools.” A pause. “Wrench.”

Saji passed him the tool. “As long as I’m kept here, the safety of the ship is my safety. Battle damage doesn’t help me at all, especially when we’re underwater,” he said. “I get out of the cell, talk to people other than Haro, and help keep myself alive. I see nothing wrong with that.”

Ian grunted, and a silence passed before he asked “What’s wrong with talking to Haro?”

Saji became abruptly aware of the number of large, potentially dangerous maintenance armors in the hanger. All of them piloted by Haros. All of whom had stopped their work and rotated to look at him as he gave his answer.

“Nothing!”

---

The attack was sudden and without warning. Both Setsuna and Marina fell against the wall. Setsuna recovered first, and ran to the hanger.

“Setsuna!” Marina called.

“Stay here!” he yelled back as he ran. “Stay where it’s safe!” And then he was out of sight, behind another door.

Marina paused, even as the ship shook even more. “Did he mean stay here in the hallway, or to move to another room? He said stay, but…” she wondered.

Five minutes later, the hallway was flooded, blast doors locking and keeping the seven feet of seawater and anything else locked in.

---

It wasn’t a bad battle plan, Kati admitted, even if she would have put much more security overhead and not just relied on a single mobile armor. But did the silver-haired man have to try and make poetry out of it?

---


‘That was so cool,’ thought the young helmsman on the bridge when Mr. Bushido body-checked the charging Gundam. Already he was thinking of how he could get a copy of the battle video from a friend.

‘That was amazing,’ thought the communications officer, heart racing after near-certain death. ‘No one back home will ever believe this.’

‘He’s a miracle,’ though both the female radar operator, blood rushing from her heart to her face and certain other places. Mr. Bushido would have yet another admirer after today, this time of the fairer gender.

‘He looked so impressive while I was flinching!’ a certain silver-haired officer reflected in his upcoming humiliation. ‘Why did my plan fail while he shows me up?’

‘He realized that using a beam saber to cut would have still left the bridge in danger of the inertia of the remains, and so opted instead to tackle despite the risk of the sword. Impressive,’ analyzed Soma as she saw the live video stream as her own A-HEAD prepared to launch. ‘I should look into the pilot after this.’

‘He really is an ace,’ admitted Andrei to himself, who had seen the mysterious Mr. Bushido before but knew little about the usually silent masked man. The younger Smirnov resolved on the spot to find out more about the man, including his intentions and goals.

‘That man is good,’ Allelujah knew instantly as he approached the Federation carrier. ‘He handled that impact like it was nothing.’

‘To be able to calculate the trajectories for interception like that, that man must be a master at high-speed combat,’ analyzed Sumeragi from aboard Celestial Being’s mothership. ‘He will be dangerous.’

There were no words for Louise as she watched the impact through her own Veda connection. None were needed: anyone who would attack the Gundams like that had her respect and approval.

There were no words for Setsuna as well, but for different reasons. He never even knew what hit him until he was well clear of the carrier, and so could have no thoughts on the matter at that time.

‘Patrick could have done that better,’ was Kati’s first thought on the matter.

---

“Don’t worry, you’ll be safe with them,” Setsuna said, indicating the assembled Kataran rebels.

Marina looked at the assembled rebels. A group as diverse as their ethnicities, some from Europe, some from Africa, and a few she recognized wearing garb of her own country. There were several dozen of them, many were armed, and all were looking at her and smiling, welcoming her to join them.

They were all male.

“Setsuna…” Marina said, inching closer to the man she had never seen have a hormonal desire.

Then from the side came a face Marina had not expected to see: Shirin. And at seeing the look in Shirin’s eyes, Marina did not feel any safer.

---

After the initial formalities and pleasantries, the commander smiled at his younger relative. “While I am glad to see you here, Billy, please don’t tell me you had another breakup.”

Billy blinked and looked at his relative and superior officer. “Of, of course not,” he stuttered, surprised at the assertion.

Commander Katagiri sighed. “It is, isn’t it? You’ve always been like this, always getting yourself deeper in the military whenever you have woman trouble.”

“That’s not true!” exclaimed Billy.

His relative raised an eyebrow. “Oh really?” he opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a small booklet, well worn and aged. From inside it he brought out a list.

“High school. Broke up with girlfriend of four years after she decides that she wants to go to another university and doesn’t want a long-distance relationship. Result: applying for engineering scholarship from the government in the field of robotic manipulators and development.”

“I thought I would work in prosthetics,” Billy defended himself. “Mobile suits only came after meeting and working with Professor Eifman.”

“Ah, thank you for reminding me,” said his commander, who jotted down something else. “I had forgotten about that part, which just-so happened to occur a week after your first university lady friend made it clear she wasn’t looking for a steady relationship. Something about you being too soft?”

“Unrelated,” said Billy through gritted teeth.

“Joining the military after college,” the older Katagiri continued as if not hearing. “Reason: not wanting to break up with your flame at the time, who was set on becoming a Union strategic advisor. Requesting transfer to MSWAD, the premier mobile suit design branch. Reason: breakup with same flame after she left the Union after a certain incident.”

“That wasn’t her fault,” Billy found himself defending Sumeragi even now, of all times and places.

“I never said it was,” soothed the other Katagiri. “But it does bring us to our next point: designing the Union Flag, the most lethal advance in conventional military weaponry until the Gundams. Which just so happened after your girl friend of six months dumped you saying she wanted to settle down.”

“I already had plans for the Flag before then. Coincidence,” Billy said.

“Coincidence? I think not. Even on your development of the sole GN-Flag for your friend, that came after you reestablished contact with your old flame from college, correct?” He didn’t wait to let Billy answer.

“My point, Billy, is that every time you have woman trouble, you go even more into the military and design a more lethal weapon. Time and history support me on this one. So please, for Heavens sake, don’t get married and have a divorce while in the A-LAWS. One Aeolia Schenberg was enough; we don’t need more superweapons of doom floating around in the next hundred years.”

Billy’s eyebrow ticked. “I’ll be sure to remember that.”

---

“I’m sorry, Feldt” Sumeragi had said back on the bridge of the Ptolemaios. “This uniform is a bit small,” she said, covering as much modesty as she could with her arms over her chest. The shirt and jacket reached up to her abdomen.

Five minutes after that meeting, the bridge was empty except for the bridge crew. Feldt turned to Lasse, held out her hand, and said “pay up.”

Lasse took out his wallet and began counting bills. “I never thought you’d get her to wear something that small,” he admitted. “You got me, Feldt.”

“What?!” exclaimed Millennia, the third and newest member of the bridge team. “What do you mean?”

Feldt looked at her. “Lasse said he would pay money to see Sumeragi put on a uniform of my size. I took him up on it. And now I am…” she counted the bills, “eighty dollars richer than I was before, and twenty less than I should be.” She looked at Lasse meaningfully, who sighed and handed over another twenty.

“I don’t believe it!” said Millennia, eyes wide. “I’d expect that out of my father, but never you two!”

Lasse raised an eyebrow. “Has my masculinity been insulted just now? I am a man, you know.”

“But you’re gay!”

Silence descended on the cockpit. Lasse looked at Millennia. Millennia looked at Lasse. Feldt looked at Lasse.

“Millennia…” began Lasse, softly but firmly, but he never got a chance to finish.

“Is that true, Lasse? Since when?” Feldt asked, eyes widening. “I… I never even noticed! And all those times and hints I should have noticed!” Lasse, who had been about to issue a vehement denial, had his composure leaked as surely as a flat tire.

“What hints?” he asked, not as intelligently as he should have.

“Like how you and Lichtendahl always hung out in private whenever Christina took me shopping. Or how you always work out your body, but never once glanced at Miss Sumeragi or Christina or even Wang Liu Mei or myself on Earth.”

Millennia continued for her. “Or how you always insist on accompanying me when I bring food to Saji’s cell! Or how you’re always standing behind the other Meisters or my dad at the briefings, (which is pretty weird by the way).”

“That’s right!” Feldt agreed. “How could I have not noticed?”

Lasse sighed. “Because I am not gay,” he said strongly and firmly. “I just don’t look at my crewmates for potential lays, nor do I look at minors, which Wang Liu Mei certainly was. And Feldt, just because Lichtendahl and I hung out together didn’t mean we were gay. We normally went to the gym, and I know for a fact that he was very much interested in woman and only woman.”

Millennia opened her mouth to say something, but Lasse beat her to the punch. “And I did not find out like that! And Millennia, I promise you from the bottom of my heart I am not gay for your Dad, of for anyone else on this ship. Even if I were gay, what makes you think I would be for him?”

“You don’t have to put it like that,” said Ian’s voice from the doorway, and everyone looked at him with various degrees of embarrassment. “That was a very interesting and informative conversation, by the way. I heard the whole thing, and Feldt, I’ll give you my share later as thanks for your service to male-kind.” Feldt nearly meeped, and bowed her head, blushing.

Then he turned to his daughter. “Millennia,” he chided, “even if one of your crewmates is gay, there is no reason to say so. Many of the best people I’ve worked with were gay, but that never mattered because we respected each other and were like family. Someone being gay is irrelevant, and especially shouldn’t be asserted if you don’t know it for a fact. What have I told you about making assumptions about others?”

Millennia sighed. “It only makes an ass out of me,” she said, citing regular lessons of time past.

Ian nodded, eyes closed to appear wiser. “That’s right, so don’t do it. Even if it would make Lasse like you more.”

He ducked the Lasse’s projectile with prepared ease.

---



Post-review: Thoughts on the scenes that spawned each section.

1) See Allelujah flashback. See Soma. See Allelujah later appear at Sumeragi’s door with wine. Throw in a good old “What Would Hallelujah Do,” and serve.
2) Can you imagine her with CB for a long time? I can’t.
3) Because when someone stalks your long-dead twin brother, the best way to drive them off is to kiss them.
4) Think of that scene from Sumeragi’s perspective. Please.
5) The blond captain needs a diet, and silver-hair needs to stop being so visibly evil. It’s embarrassing.
6) Why would Saji help Celestial Being? To stretch his legs and talk to someone who doesn’t repeat everything they say. Will he admit that to Haro? Probably not.
7) Fess up. You thought Setsuna said “stay here,” and were shocked when sea-water flooded that hallway.
8) Really. Poetry on the command bridge, before you’ve won? You knew he was going to lose.
9) Everyone can admit that the best part of the battle was that moment when Setsuna got blindsided. But every ten or so people impressed, you know somebody wasn’t.
10) Yes. Turn over the princess to the all-male mob of armed rebels who likely haven’t showered in weeks, and haven’t had any in even longer. That’s a great idea.
11) New theory: women Billy has relationship problems, he goes out and makes himself a better mobile suit. All in favor say aye?
12) Do you really think that Feldt ‘accidentally’ gave Sumeragi an outfit two sizes too small?

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Dean_the_Young wrote:
‘Patrick could have done that better,’ was Kati’s first thought on the matter.


LAWL. :lol:

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A couple of things.

No, I don’t hate Saji. Since Saji has never been a part of Celestial Being or Kataron, and has been open that he just wants to go back to his peaceful civilian life, it’s kind of hard for me to see this episode as an example of naivety or as backstabbing, since neither of those are actually true. Can’t backstab a side you aren’t on, and the whole Saji-Sergei conversation was the only reason why Saji did admit. If that Blue Falcon of an officer hadn’t been hanging at the door, then life would have been different.

Second, this actually is both drabble five and an update into Reformation. I didn’t emphasize it, so this works as a stand-alone what-if, but Reformation will have another chapter that notes how, unlike the Series, Saji's tensions with Nena make him angrier at Celestial Being.

---

00 S2 Drabble 05

---

Loyalty

“To be a traitor, you must first be on the same side…”

---

“Setsuna!”

Setsuna turned around, and saw Saji walk towards him. Even in the poor lighting, he could see the look on the last Crossroad’s face.

“Yes?” he acknowledged. “Is there a problem?”

“Why did you bring me here, to Kataron? You know I'm not a member!” Saji, while upset, was not yelling, which Setsuna took as a good sign for the other’s receptiveness to reason.

“You do not wish to remain associated to Celestial Being, correct? Placing you in Kataron’s protection is the best choice for your safety apart from us,” Setsuna said with cold logic. “Until the A-LAWS are defeated, you will be a wanted man wherever you go. The Federation can search even your biometrics.”

“There are ways around that. Celestial Being was able to place you in the apartment next to mine, after all. I know that you could do the same with me, if you chose to,” Saji pressed angrily. “Dropping me off here is not releasing me, just changing where you lock me away. I would still be working for a faction I don’t agree with, I would still be a dead man should the Federation ever find this place, and I don’t even know the language of the region. Nothing is changed by leaving me here.” Saji’s face loosened, and Setsuna recognized some of those emotions striving for release. Even if he would not admit it, the last Crossroad was pleading for Setsuna to return him to a civilian life.

And in truth, Setsuna could. The still-effective Intelligence arm of Celestial Being likely could find some quiet corner of the globe for Saji to reside peacefully in, and hide him from the Federation view for the duration of the war. Or Setsuna could have Saji accompany Marina to Azadistan: the First Princess would gladly shelter a fellow Federation fugitive to the extent of her ability, and the young engineer could put his abilities to constructive use in the ravaged country struggling to build.

“No,” said Setsuna, who had already thought of those and decided. “You would be in too much danger.”

And he would be in danger: Celestial Being had been compromised once before, and its Intelligence arm was headed by a mercenary young woman who would sell Saji Crossroad out the moment it might advance her own interests. And Marina was already in enough danger returning to Azadistan as it was: allowing Saji to accompany her would only place both of them in peril.

But Setsuna was not one to explain such.

“Why?” demanded Saji. Saji, like the rest of the world, would never be privy to Setsuna’s inner thoughts. “Why do you care? You already brought this all about in the first place, Celestial Being already destroyed everything else I cared about. Why care now?”

Setsuna would not, could not, answer. Was it a sense of guilt? Responsibility? Had, in those short encounters over those months they had lived beside each other, had Setsuna come to value Saji as an open friend? Did he envy Saji’s former lifestyle and innocence, the same selfish peacefulness and joy that Celestial Being had promised to bring to the world? Was it all of these? None of these?

And so instead he said “It is what is best for you. When the A-LAWS are defeated, I promise you that the world will be such that you can safely return and live your life.” Setsuna made few promises in his life, a gesture of his sincerity.

But Saji glared, not knowing the meaning behind the invisible gesture.

“Don’t you dare patronize me,” he almost snarled. “My sister may have had that right, but not you. Not any of you. The world does not exist for you to change as you see fit. I am not a piece for you to place in the world as you see fit!”

“You have your own view of how the world should work,” Setsuna pointed out, not in his own defense as much as to try and warn Saji of the perils of hypocrisy.

“The difference, Setsuna, is that I don’t have the power to change the world as I want. I don’t have a thirty-meter tall war machine made to murder armies. The difference, Setsuna, is that I don’t want that power.”

“Gundam is not a war machine made for murder,” Setsuna said, and for once it was he with an edge in his tone. He might not care what Saji, or the world, thought of him, but the purpose of Celestial Being was vital to understand.

But Saji merely looked at him, and said nothing more. And Setsuna had no response.

---

Sergei watched the door to the cell close. Then, remembering his own time as a junior officer, he counted to ten and re-opened the door. The officer who had previously been interrogating the civilian male fell inside the room. After reprimanding the man and insuring that no one else would do so again, Sergei Smirnov turned his attention back to the young man in the room.

The bruise on his face was already beginning to swell, but he made no complaint, just as he had not said anything when the previous officer had attempted to ‘correct’ him upon hearing of the bio-matrix match as a Kataron member. A veteran of a thousand battles, Sergei knew the look of a soldier of any sort. This man, boy almost, had no such look. His hair was not regulation-style, nor was it unkempt as many irregulars were prone to do. Clean shaven, but lacking the tone or size of muscle that spoke of regular physical training. His hands lacked the calluses of a soldier or even mobile suit pilot.

But what was most telling was his eyes. They were eyes that spoke with a suppressed anger, a determination not to be a tool for anyone else. But they lacked the suspicion, the guarded view that soldiers learned. They spoke of an angry, but kind, idealist.

Sergei leaned forward.

“You aren’t part of Kataron,” he said. It wasn’t a question, not even a confirmation of the young man’s own denial a minute ago. It was a statement of fact, as sure as if Sergei had looked at the sky and said “there are no clouds.”

The young man looked up, but Sergei continued before he could respond.

“You aren’t Kataron, but something else. Something else that brought you out into the middle of the desert. You were at the Proud prison colony before it was attacked by Kataron, which is an issue, and now you are here, after the return of the Gundams. If not Kataron, perhaps you are a member of Celestial Being?”

“I am not a part of them,” the man said with an emphasis on the last word, and Sergei also saw the flash of anger.

“Them?” he prompted, urging the other man to continue.

But he paused, in open conflict with himself. He clearly knew something, but at the same time was hesitant to admit. Sergei could guess as to what.

“Mr. Crossroad,” he began, “I don’t want you to be under any misconceptions. You are in a difficult spot here, and one that will only get worse with time. As an accused member of an anti-Federation insurgent group, the A-LAWS have every legal right to demand custody of you. I have no authority to deny them, regardless of my belief in your innocence. If you wish to return to a civilian as of now, you will be hard-pressed to convince anyone else.”

Saji Crossroad lifted his head, but Sergei raised a hand. “But,” he said meaningfully, “I do not intend to hand you over to their tender mercies if I have any choice. If nothing else, I promise to release you. But if you can give me any means to do so, I promise to do my best to protect you to the extent of my
ability. All I ask is that you decide what loyalties you have, if any, and then to make the choice you think is best. Regardless of what you choose, I will stand by my word.”

Sergei stood. “I will give you time to consider on your own. Remember, though, time is not in your favor should you choose not to leave.” And so he left the room.

Had there been any witnesses in the room, they would have testified that Saji Crossroad did not say a thing. The only sign of alertness was his twisting of a ring he had on a necklace, and of a continuous silent mouthing of words.

A short time later, Sergei returned, again checking the hall for any snooping young officers. As he entered, Saji’s head turned to face him.

“I am sorry to press you, but I must cut into your time. The report of your arrival must be submitted in a matter of minutes, it will not matter what you choose.” He placed two data pads on the table, text filling them. “I have two reports here. One says that you, Saji Crossroad, were taken into custody but were released before the A-LAWS could order me to transfer you into their authority. Officially, I have done so in hopes of tracking you to a regional rebel base.”

He gestured to the other. “This report, on the other hand, says that an accident in the biometric scanning process has sent forth a flawed report. You are not Saji Crossroad, but instead an informant of mine who has been able to escape. I have the authority and connections to provide support for that, so it should last until someone scrutinizes it heavily. The exact details can be worked out later, but to choose this you must cooperate with me.”

“So please,” the Wild Bear of Russia finished, “having considered where your loyalties lie, what you owe or are owed, choose one, and quickly.”

Saji Crossroad, for the first time offered a true choice over his destiny, chose the second report, and began to talk.

---

“So what will you do?” asked Kati after Sergei had shared his recent discoveries. The last Crossroad had been honest and free: having no loyalty and no reason to be loyal to either Kataron or Celestial Being, he had answered every question Sergei had asked of him, from the Gundam pilots to the local Kataron base. But more importantly to Sergei, he had detailed the A-LAWS own assault on Proud, of the deployment of the anti-personnel automatons, neither of which Sergei had heard of.

“Hm?” asked Sergei, who was still mulling over the implication of the night’s discoveries.

“What will you do, both about the boy and the local rebels? If Celestial Being truly is allying themselves with the rebels, then the A-LAWS will surely take more power in the ensuing war. You won’t be able to protect him should they learn of any of this.”

“I will have to be careful,” admitted Sergei. “But I will keep my vow. He has proven himself not a member of either Kataron or Celestial Being. I do not approve of vengeance-minded individuals, but he truly does have no reason to love Celestial Being, and he wishes to simply leave this conflict. For the time being, I will assign him to an engineer who has my trust. If he truly is a qualified engineer as he claims, he should be able to slide in with little notice.”

“On a ship during the middle a patrol? Rumors will spread like wildfire. And you can’t just drop him off in the civilian life again: if the A-LAWS didn’t find him, Celestial Being would. Didn’t he say they killed his sister merely for investigating into them?”

“True,” Sergei acknowledged, “but at the moment this is the best I can do.”

“I’ll look into it from my end,” Kati said. “If possible, he should be moved into a gray-zone outside of the usual chain of command, so as to avoid the red tape and digital foot print.”

“I would thank you for it,” Sergei said.

“A minor favor,” Kati said, waving the fact that they were technically co-conspirators. “But what will you do about the Kataron base? When the A-LAWS learn about it, and they will, I will have no choice to attack, likely with the automatons.” Her unease at the prospect was obvious.

Sergei grunted. “I will perform an armed reconnaissance at a suspected Kataron staging post,” he said. “If the Gundams happen to still be there, I will be forced to withdraw to protect my ship. It may be dangerous, but it will not be a massacre.”

Kati raised an eyebrow. “Intending to lose? That isn’t like you.”

“If we experience unexpected resistance on a small raid, no one will question me for calling in the A-LAWS.”

Kati was quick on the implications. “By which point, they will have likely moved to another base, and we would assault an empty base.” She paused. “You are too kind, Sergei.”

“I must have grown soft in my old age,” said one of the most fearsome commanders on the face of the planet.

Kati smiled. “I won’t lie when I say I appreciate it.” She paused, and then said “I’m sure Lieutenant Peries would appreciate it too, if she knew.”

“If she knew,” he agreed, not commenting on the recently signed adoption papers sitting on his desk.

---

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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:46 am 
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Three short first impressions. I could have done more… but it would have been a chore, not motivated writing. Too many funny scenes, no good way to capture them. The beat down everyone wishes on Lindt, the Sisterhood of Cool that Soma and Louise formed in that conversation, Andrei being struck speechless, Mr. Bushido being a one man army…

Too good. Too many takes. Shoulda, coulda, woulda written more if I had more time and motivation.

---

00 S2 Drabble 06

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

---

“We all have our own ideas as to how that book or episode should have gone. That’s why God invented fanfiction.”


---

The transport breached through the clouds, and suddenly there was fire and destruction as far as the eye could see. Azadistan, proud city of thousands of years, burned.

“Damage on this scale can’t be achieved by mere terrorists…” Setsuna said, stunned by the aftereffects of the violence. His eyes noticed something standing out, and widened even further.

Above the capital hovered a mobile suit, dark GN particles spewing from it. It was red, blood red, and stood triumphant over the crushed city.

“That’s a… Gundam. “

“And… that color…”

“Could it be?!”

The suit slowly turned towards him, displaying its profile.

“Yes, it is!” laughed Ali al Sarchez. “It’s exactly what you’re thinking!”

Suddenly, the television screen cracks, collapsing inwards on itself. You can feel the flames of the city beyond, hear the emergency wails and sirens.

“Damn it Ali!” curses Ribbons Almark from afar. “How many times do we have to tell you not to do that? The Fourth Wall is fragile!”

---

“Don’t say it!” yelled Kati, one hand slamming on her desk even as another reached to grab Lindt by the collar.

“Are you going to raise your hand against an ally again?” the silver-haired officer asked, mouth in an unbearably smug smirk. “After something like that, it was within reason to never want to get involved with war again.”

“Yes,” said Kati, interrupting him even as her first fist pulled back. “I will.

---

“We’re going back,” Setsuna ordered from the bridge of the transport. It was time to return to the Ptolemy. Sumeragi’s collapse only made further delays pointless.

Tieria turned, facing the silent Saji Crossroad. “You’re coming with us,” he informed Celestial Being’s permanent detainee. “There’s no telling what would happen to you if you stayed here.”

Saji made no response, didn’t even look up. If he heard, he made no sign of it.

“I don’t pretend to know what’s happened,” began Allelujah after they had gone airborn. “But was there a reason in bringing him here, to Kataron?”

“He wasn’t eager to stay with us,” noted Tieria with a hint of condescension. “He could have stayed with them.”

“But did he want to come here in the first place? When he’s wanted by the A-LAWS for being a suspected Kataron member? Who decided to bring him here, anyway?”

Allelujah looked at Tieria. Tieria looked meaningfully at Setsuna. Setsuna merely said “It was for his own safety,” he admitted. “We’re fighting against the A-LAWS, after all.”

“But so was Kataron. But at least we can defend ourselves from them, and we’re constantly changing location. Once they finally found that base by old-fashioned patrolling, he’d be dead.”

Setsuna said nothing. Tieria joined him in silence. Allelujah sighed, and looked back at the unresponsive young man in the back.

“So we brought this friend of yours, without his consent and likely against his will, to abandon him at an insurgent base that would be vulnerable the moment it was located? That sure worked out well, didn’t it?”

“Just wait until it happens to you,” snapped Setsuna.

‘Yeah, like that will ever happen,’ thought Allelujah.

‘Ah, Marie…’

---

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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:16 pm 
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Dean_the_Young wrote:
“That’s a… Gundam. “

“And… that color…”

“Could it be?!”

The suit slowly turned towards him, displaying its profile.

“Yes, it is!” laughed Ali al Sarchez. “It’s exactly what you’re thinking!”

Suddenly, the television screen cracks, collapsing inwards on itself. You can feel the flames of the city beyond, hear the emergency wails and sirens.

“Damn it Ali!” curses Ribbons Almark from afar. “How many times do we have to tell you not to do that? The Fourth Wall is fragile!”
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Although technically, Ribbons just broke the fourth wall himself there.

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Wingnut wrote:
Dean_the_Young wrote:
Suddenly, the television screen cracks, collapsing inwards on itself. You can feel the flames of the city beyond, hear the emergency wails and sirens.

“Damn it Ali!” curses Ribbons Almark from afar. “How many times do we have to tell you not to do that? The Fourth Wall is fragile!”
:lol: :lol: :lol:
Although technically, Ribbons just broke the fourth wall himself there.
The way I read it, Ribbons could have been referring to his own tv screen showing the inside of Ali's cockpit. You know how displays respond to power surges in Gundam :wink:


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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Areku wrote:
The way I read it, Ribbons could have been referring to his own tv screen showing the inside of Ali's cockpit. You know how displays respond to power surges in Gundam :wink:
Actually, I was breaking your (the reader's) fourth wall there: you are the one who is feeling the flames and hearing the fires, from your seat in front of your monitor.

Strange, I didn't expect that to be the best part, but that's what people keep commenting on.

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Note: Barack Zinin is Louise’s platoon commander in the A-LAWS. He’s the military-man who flies the standard AHEAD.
---

Gundam 00 S2 Drabble 07

Logic and Reason

---

“Yes, but that would have been the smart thing to do. What have we told you about using logic and reason here?”

---

“He never fired, did he?” Lasse asked Ian afterwards, watching the young man across the cafeteria work to repair some machine or another.

“No,” confirmed Celestial Being’s head mechanic, “but maybe it’s for the best. He’s not a soldier by any means, just a civilian who got dragged into our fight.”

Lasse raised an eyebrow. “You don’t sound very disappointed,” he commented.

Ian chuckled, and took a sip from a drink he had been nursing. “I was surprised enough that he offered. Looking back, I don’t think I really expected him to pull the trigger.”

“Why didn’t you take the shot for him?” asked Lasse, a question he had been pondering since the battle. “If you could have manned the turent yourself, before he offered, why didn’t you take control when he froze and fire yourself?”

---

Andrei’s suit flew backwards, guarding Flight Officer Halevy’s retreat. His own small GN barrier blocked the shots that pursued them, the shots that couldn’t be avoided. Not that it was needed; even Halevy’s damaged suit easily skirted the fire from Celestial Being’s mothership. Together they fled from the massive Gundam-carrier, unopposed by the Gundams and withdrawing with the fall-back flare.

When they returned, Andrei hurried through his landing process and carefully exited his cockpit. As he exited, Flight Officer Halevy stood waiting to greet him. She saluted him as he reached the ground.

“I am glad you are unharmed, Flight Officer,” he said, returning the salute.

“Thank you for your assistance, sir,” she replied. But then she asked him “Why did you fall back as well?”

Andrei blinked, not quite annoyed that she sounded entirely unappreciative for his timely rescue. “I was guarding your withdrawel, Flight Officer,” he explained curtly.

“Yes sir,” she acknowledged. “But my suit could maneuver fine, and there were no Gundams nearby. You could have done significant damage to them before the withdrawal.”

“Pilots with experience against the Gundams are worth saving,” Andrei reasoned. “You were still in danger from the ship.”

“Not if you had destroyed it,” pointed out Louise, before realizing her tone. “I apologize, sir,” she said, shifting back into her military persona. “In the future, though, please place the mission first. Don’t pass up such a chance for my sake.”

---

“Captain Zinin,” Kati interrupted, attempting to cut off her subordinate, “with the current situation, I have neither the time nor the patience to deal with this now.”

Barack Zinin was a military man, a veteran off many engagements. He was efficient, skilled, and two steps away from heartless. But he was also a loyal man, both to his cause and his men. “I lost good men because of this man, Commander,” he stressed, gesturing to the nonchalant Mister Bushido who stood at the rear of the room. “If he had just finished off the Gundam…”

“They wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t tried to engage the Gundam with two drives,” said Mr. Bushido, either oblivious or unconcerned about the other A-LAW commander’s temper. “Next time, perhaps their commander should listen when I claim sole engagement with a foe, and warn against any outside interference.”

Zinin growled, fury clear. “You just fled like a coward!” the Captain snapped. “Worse than a coward, you snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!”

“Captain!” Kati barked, imposing every iota of authority into her voice before Mr. Bushido could respond. “Have you considered that Mr. Bushido took the correct course of action, and saved his life?”

Zinin looked at her with suspicion, Bushido looked at her with bemusement, and Kati knew she had a matter of seconds to defuse the situation.

“Use logic and reason,” she said. “He only had a single arm left. He was hovering atop a stationary target. You should recognize just how vulnerable he was. You and yours were damaged by the marksman Gundam just from approaching the crippled Gundam: how difficult a shot do you think it would have been to shoot just above the stationary Gundam?”

Zinin was still upset, but was now manageable. “Captain,” she said, no less authoritative but marginally more understanding. “I understand your anger at losing your subordinates, but control yourself. With Lieutenant Peries missing, I need every pilot at my disposal. If I find Mr. Bushido negligent, rest assured I will take care of the matter.”

Zinin said nothing, but smartly saluted and was dismissed, not even glancing at Mr. Bushido who was still leaning against the back wall. After the door had shut, Mr. Bushido opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by Kati.

“I don’t care if that was or was not your reason for your actions, Mr. Bushido,” Kati began. “But I will not see misconduct among my men. I meant what I told the Captain: if I find you negligent, I will hold you accountable.

Mr. Bushido, damn his mask, chuckled at the threat.

---

We sit in a tent, Marie and myself.

I killed dozens, massacred hundreds of innocents. I slaughtered our sisters and brothers from the institute. I sadistically murdered weaker enemies along with Hallelujah. I fought to break and remake the world, all for my own desires. I confess my sins to her, to Marie.

But no, she denies. She forgives me, for in the heat of battle she slew Hallelujah, slew my stronger self that I had made in my own weakness. For that one kill, she sees us as equals.

I can not, do not want to, convince her of the magnitude of difference between her act of war and my own premeditated acts of carnage. Of the difference between the act of a soldier and the act of a psychopath.

---

“Haro!” calls out Lockon Stratos, and he is Lockon Stratos regardless of what some might whisper. Far ahead of him flies a Federation mobile suit, one of the dangerous GN-XIII suits.

The Gundam readies the rifle even as Lockon beings to circle around the approaching suit. Another Federation suit, another dog of the military, another pilot co-complicit in the massacre of his Kataron comrades.

But the Federation pilot, either brave or suicidal, continues straight on. From his scope, he can see that its arms are held wide apart, no hostile intent. Even as he looks down the sight of the rifle mount, Lockon can see the flashing lights.

“Location received! Arios located! Friend found!” alerts Haro, ears opening comically. Lockon breathes easier in his aiming position, now that he knows Allelujah is safe and nearby. But he must still deal with this suit.

The pilot continues forward, fearless, even as Lockon and Cherudim circle around him. The GN-XIII, the same model that released the automatons that murdered his friends, remains peaceful, non-aggressive. The pilot does not want to fight today.

“But what about tomorrow?” muses Lockon, aim never wavering from the enemy. Will this pilot be peaceful next time? Will this suit never harm anyone else?

That, in the end, is what convinces Lockon to act. This Federation suit will remain a threat to both Celestial Being and Kataron. Even if not under this pilot, then under another, motivated one. The logic is cold, the reasoning remorseless. Lockon understands how Celestial Being worked, all those years ago.

“One less enemy now is one less cause of concern later,” whispers Lockon Stratos as he pulls the trigger, mercifully killing the other pilot in a single shot as two young lovers watch in horror from below.

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I really think the only thing that saved Sergei from getting a cockpit full of beam shot was the fact that his GN-X wasn't A-LAWS red.

I can't imagine Lyle letting him go if it was an A-LAWS model. Nice alternate interpretation.

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Why is this two weeks late? Thanksgiving and school. Had no internet for online during the week of Thanksgiving, and school has kept me busy during the mean time. I have a short break before exams, so I’m catching up now.


---

00 S2 Drabble 08
Friends and Fate

---

“We are friends and I do like to pass the day with you in serious and inconsequential chatter. I wouldn’t mind washing up beside you, dusting beside you, reading the back half of the paper while you read the front. We are friends and I would miss you, do miss you, and think of you very often.”

-Jeanette Winterson


---

“He didn’t fire?” asked Joyce Moreno as Ian Vashti slumped into the chair across the table. Already there were drinks, two small cups of beer, and for a moment there was companionable silence as Ian took his first drink of the night.

“No,” eventually said Ian. “You were right, I admit it.”

“I usually am,” said Celestial Being’s doctor, “but there’s no need to sound so grudging. Did you think he would?”

Ian took another sip. “I suppose not,” he admitted, “but I would have been pleasantly surprised.” Ian stared up at the ceiling, pondering Celestial Being’s inadvertent addition.

“You sound disappointed,” said Moreno, looking at his friend. “More than just that he didn’t fire.”

“Not disappointed, just… I just wanted someone to understand what we were trying to do, to agree that what we were doing is the right thing,” Ian confessed. “I understand about four years ago, when the entire world hated us with reason, but…” he trailed off. “We’re the ones fighting against unilateral violence here. The A-LAWS are far worse than we ever were. I guess I hoped that he would see that.”

“Don’t,” said Moreno. “Don’t think like that” he said, as Ian looked at him. “The fact that he tried means that he knows what we’re trying to do. But some people aren’t fit for combat, regardless.” He laughed, but not cheerfully. “Look at me. I’ve been with Celestial Being from the start, and how much have I helped in the fight? Give him time, and don’t expect more than he has to offer.”

“I suppose,” Ian said, and then chuckled. “Almost had myself in a mood there, didn’t I? What would I do without you?”

“You’re a smarter man than you give yourself credit for,” Moreno said. “You’d figure it out yourself.”

Ian laughed at the suggestion.

---

“Wow. Just wow.”

“That’s enough, Lockon Stratos.”

“It’s Neil Dylandy, Tieria,” said the man with an insufferable grin at Tieria’s embarrassment. “My brother is Lockon Stratos.”

“He is not you,” Tieria said, face filled with disdain at the other Stratos. “He’s crude, his manners are rude, and he can’t even match your simulator scores. He also smokes,” Tieria added, nose wrinkling in distaste.

“Details details,” waved Neil. “My brother is a perfectly suitable replacement, as even Setsuna agrees. He may not have my marksmanship skills,” Neil said, sniffing at the thought of anyone matching his impeccable skills, “but he’s an even better at the pistols and close range than I am.”

Tieria was not convinced. “I would be more comfortable if you were the pilot,” he said.

“Don’t be like that,” Lockon said. “You know I can’t pilot with these,” he said, indicating his prosthetic arm and leg. “Besides, my brother is a very insightful man,” he said, grinning again.

Tieria raised an eyebrow. “How so?” he asked, taking the bait.

Neil leered. “One of the first things he told me upon joining Celestial Being was about how cute his instructor was, though I don’t think this was what he meant.”

Tieria gripped his dress tighter, striving for every ounce of modesty he could get.

---

“I heard you had a close call, Lieutenant.” Though Sergei’s voice was calm and commanding, as it always was, Soma heard the concern in his tone.

“I am fine, thanks to Flight Officer Halevy,” Soma said.

It was an understatement, and he knew she knew that he knew it. The orange gundam grappling with Soma’s own suit, had nearly overloaded the systems of both. Even if they hadn’t crashed into the sea, the implications of a crash landing on land were no more reassuring. That had been the pilot who had killed all the other children from the super soldier institute, after all.

“I intend to thank her myself,” said Sergei, “once she has recovered. How is her condition?”

Soma looked at the emergency operating room doors beside her, remembering what the doctors had told her after she had rushed the convulsing woman into the infirmary. The blond, after pulling Soma back towards the ship as the Orange gundam crashed into the waves below, had suffered some sort of shock, unable to pilot her own mobile suit. Soma’s own quantum brain waves had picked up the chaotic distress in the other girl’s mind, waking Soma up, but by then it had been Soma who was returning Halevy to the safety of the ship. The young girl had been consuming her pills when Soma had jumped to the cockpit, but had otherwise been unresponsive.

“They said she will recover,” Soma said. “They suspect she suffered some sort of severe mental shock.” She paused, and then gave her own evaluation. “She pushes herself to hard. I believe she panicked when my suit’s communications were unresponsive to her hails.”

Sergei’s eyes narrowed, making his own suspicions and conclusions from Soma’s manner. “She is young?” he asked.

Soma nodded. “My age,” she said, and for the first time had an insight as to why the Colonel had been so hesitant about using her in battle.

The Colonel opened his mouth to speak, but the doors to the infirmary opened. Out, slowly and carefully and assisted by a young doctor, walked Flight Officer Halevy. Soma looked at the Colonel apologetically. “Go and take care of your friend,” he said, giving her a nod.

The doctor gave Halevy a bottle of pills and instructions, but Soma insisted on seeing her to her room to rest. “Thank you, Lieutenant,” Louise said once they arrived.

“You saved me today,” replied Soma. “I’m only returning the favor.”

“I didn’t want the Gundams to kill anyone else,” admitted Louise. “When you didn’t respond after I separated you from the orange one, I…”

“I am alive today because of you,” said Soma Pieres. She paused, and then continued. “I think you can expect a call from my father saying so as well.”
---

“Go home, Billy.”

Billy Katagiri, assistant head director of A-LAWS mobile suit development, looked at his mentor in surprise. “It isn’t even eleven, Professor.”

Professor Eifman snorted. “This isn’t college, my student. Your body needs its rest. Lord knows mine does,” he said, rotating his shoulders.

“I’m still behind on this design,” Billy said, trying to hide behind a deadline. “More work needs to be done…”

Professor Eifman did not live to a ripe age by letting others deter him. “Nonsense,” he said. “Let the technicians do that work: that’s what they’re paid to do. You, sir,” he said, pointing at Billy, “need to take care of yourself. Go home, Billy.”

Billy pursed his lips and did not move. “I don’t have a home at the moment,” he said. “I can’t stand the sight of my old apartment anymore,” he explained, and turned away meaningfully.

“I heard about Kudjo,” said Eifman. If it was a stab in the dark, it was a well aimed one by the way Billy suddenly froze.

“I know how you felt about her,” the older man continued. “Believe me, I was as shocked as anyone. To think a student of mine would have been behind Celestial Being…”

“She always danced around it,” Billy nearly snarled. “I didn’t ask because I respected her privacy, and all that time I was hiding the one who was behind their deaths. I should have suspected it the moment I heard the Overflags had been routed, but I was so happy to see her. But she never told me, never was going to tell me! She came to my house, asking for a place to stay. To think I was hosting the one who helped kill MSWAD!”

“Peace, Billy,” Eifman said. “Your anger won’t bring them back to life.”

“You would have died to, if you had been there!” snapped Billy, whirling to face his teacher. “They destroyed the entire base! I was in a coma for a month, half of the Overflags were killed, and Graham…” he choked off. “Sometimes I wish he had died too. Anything would have been better than being consumed like he did.”

Eifman put a strong but gentle hand on Billy’s shoulder. “That is why you should rest, Billy. If you become consumed by your hatred, by your anger at Kudjo, you could become like him. And unlike him, you won’t even have a decisive revenge to aim for. Then I would have lost two students to their personal weaknesses in my old age, and I have no desire to see all my students pass away before I do.”

Billy was silent, but did not resist as Eifman guided him into the break room. “If you don’t have a home to return to, at least sleep here,” the white haired man said. “Mr. Bushido’s machine will still be here in the morning when you wake up.”

Billy sat down on the plain cot, and Eifman handed him a simple blanket. “No matter what you say, I’m not going to show mercy to Kudjo,” he warned the Professor.

“I don’t expect you to,” said Eifman with little joy. “Believe me, I intend to fight the consequences of Schenberg’s legacy as sincerely as you do, but the first steps are always the smallest. At the moment, I’ll just be content if you get some rest.”

Billy did go to sleep, though not without thinking of what would need to be done the next day. When he awoke, Professor Eifman was deep asleep on the next cot over, and all the work Billy had planned for had already been done.

---

They were too professional to argue in public, especially after a mission. Instead they stood there, not exactly smiling but accepting the praise given to them for their accomplishment. Two gundams, if not destroyed and their pilots killed, were at least put out of commission for the time being. Two aces, renowned for their distinctive quirks, were quickly becoming A-LAW legends.

Afterwards, in private, there had been words.

“Are you happy?” snapped the scarred one. “We struck down a defenseless enemy, and then you rescued the girl. Is Howard proud yet?”

The other, the only pilot the scarred one consented to fly with, reached forward and grabbed the other by the collar. “Don’t take that tone with me, Commander,” the black man snarled. “We’ve covered this already. You vowed to defeat a Gundam in a Flag, and you did. But we both vowed to avenge Howard, and the people behind Celestial Being are still out there. You and I both know that, and I am not going to let your pride get in the way of Howard’s memory.”

The scarred one pulled the hand off with no gentleness. “Don’t you dare try and use Howard’s memory against me,” he warned in a voice fitting for the grave. “You ran off without a word, ran from Howard’s own pride of life. How can you call forth Howard’s memory when he would be ashamed of what you did?”

“I admit I shamed Howard by leaving the squadron without your permission, sir,” the other said with mocking for the rank, “but I was not going to let an over-abundance of pride keep me from our goal of avenging him. Are you going to do the same, Commander?”

The scarred one glared at the one who fought without pride. The black man glared at the one who put pride before the goal.

The tension broke as the scarred one chuckled. “I do sometimes get caught up in my obsession,” the scarred one admitted. “Going beyond love does that to a man, makes him lose sight of his goal.”

“I suppose it does,” his friend admitted. “But on the other hand, if you lose your pride than the victory is meaningless, right?” he also conceded.

As if on signal, they stuck out their hands, reaffirming the pact they had made after the first Celestial War. “In the memory of Howard Mason and all Flag Fighters,” they had said, “we swear to never relent, to show no mercy until the last face of Celestial Being is unmasked and held accountable.”

That confrontation had been a week ago, almost. Tieria, only interested in the one controlling the strings of the A-LAWS, paid no attention to the increasingly famous Mr. Bushido or his regular companion and wingman, the mysterious Flag Fighter.

---

She shot the body first, and then moved her aim towards the arm that threatened the other GN-X. But that was the difference. The screen still exploded from the GN-X’s point-blank shot, but glass blew out right, not left, and pierced the Meisters silver eye. He, it, they screamed in agony as they drifted away from the two wounded GN-X’s.

They screamed for minutes in perfect agony, perfect distress. Not even the beast of the two could refrain from crying out. But slowly the good golden eye opened. Smoke, both external and inside the cockpit, blurred the two enemy suits from sight. But inside the cockpit, their own reflection was clear. Too clear.

“Wake up,” Hallelujah said, more grunt than bark. “Don’t go to sleep on me yet.”

“Hallelujah…” they breathed together, “did we…?”

“We’re alive,” he said, still gripping their head. “You can be thankful for that.”

“Allelujah…” his other half whispered, a fond memory returning.

“Don’t get sappy on me,” Hallelujah commands. But his other half no longer listens to his commands, if he ever did.

“Did we do the right thing, Hallelujah?” It sounds tired but earnest.

“What are you talking about?” he answers, refusing to worry about the past. “We survived, that’s all.”

“These hands have taken so many lives,” his other says, reaching their right hand forward and towards their reflection. “Perhaps… this was the world’s way of judging us.”

“What?” he asks, and his tone is no longer the fearless hate of old. “What are you saying? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to survive. It’s only natural!”

“For you, Hallelujah. For you. Maybe this is the punishment for my deeds. I’m so tired of seeing the blood on my hands…”

“Are you giving up on your life? If you surrender now, we’ll both die!” Hallelujah yells, reaching closer to their reflection where he realizes that Allelujah is the reflection now, and the survivalist panic that spawned him cries in terror.

“No, you’ll survive,” comforts Allelujah. “You will fight to survive. But I am tired of fighting. I just want to rest…”

"Fool!” Hallelujah cries, not in terror for his own survival, “if you go away now…!”

“I’m not going anywhere,” his other reassures. “I’m just going to sleep for a little while.” His words are slower, ever more dreary, and he has stopped caring for fighting, for surviving, even for existing.

“Don’t go! If you go, who will rescue Marie? She’s alive, you idiot!”

But Allelujah is past explanations, or even hearing Hallelujah’s voice. The admission that could have shaped fate has no effect.

“Hallelujah,” Allelujah whispers, “you have control.”

“Allelujah!” Hallelujah screams once in panic, struggling to wake his other self from his ever deepening slumber.

Hallelujah would inherit all of Allelujah’s memories and abilities, but not of his character. Four years later, when Setsuna would launch the jailbreak that freed him, Hallelujah would immediately leap into his new Gundam without hesitation, tearing his way through the first of many A-LAW mobile suits.


Allelujah!” Hallelujah screams a second time in rage, furious at the hibernation of half himself.


Still in possession of their quantum brainwaves, Hallelujah would never have a proper conversation with Soma Peries. In the one instance she entered his cell while he was asleep, Soma, unconsciously through Marie’s own sleeping presence, would feel the presence of the hibernating Allelujah. But Hallelujah would wake up, mocking Marie for both killing Allelujah and not motivating him to stay alive, and A-LAW officers would drag the screaming Soma Peries away from Hallelujah’s cruel quantum brain waves. Many times the two would clash in battle, and no matter the setting Hallelujah would viciously fight Soma with killer intent.


“Allelujah!” Hallelujah screams a third time in sorrow, feeling the anguish of the perpetual lack of half of himself.


Hallelujah no longer fights merely for survival. In his own way, he fights for the ideals of Celestial Being, against a world that would make any more like himself. He fights out of a twisted camaraderie with his allies in Celestial Being, some of whom are more like him they care to admit. He fights out of hatred towards those who made him this way, and with a special passion against Soma Peries.

Hallelujah no longer fights merely for his own survival. No, he fights to revive Allelujah from his deep slumber. And if it takes Marie’s dying screams to awaken him, then Allelujah’s hatred will just have to be the price.

_________________
I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have time to make it shorter. -Mark Twain

Official Jerid Fanboy


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