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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:48 am 
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---

I A M M Y B R O T H E R ’ S F A T H E R ’ S S O N

Saji’s body nearly flew across the hallway and into a corner from the force of the punch, bones rattling as he slid to the floor. His sense of self, however, had already been killed.

“You murderer! You scumbag!” raged the green-suited Meister, his anger and grief flowing into the unresisting target through his fists and legs. “You’re the cause of all of this!”

Nearby, but not near enough, Tieria Erde watched on. He was hardly surprised at the newer Lockon’s anger after entering at such a critical admission, but being not yet over his own anger at Saji Crossroad’s negligence, he didn’t intervene. In a sense, he allowed it to happen.

“They’re all dead because of you! All of them!” Lockon yelled again, lifting up Saji by his shirt. “Why did you do it?!” he demanded, but Saji was still silent. “Why?!” he demanded again, and Saji struggled past his own sorrow to try and speak.

“I-“ he began, voice quavering, “I didn’t mean for this to happen, I-“

“And that makes it all better, doesn’t it?” snapped Lockon, anger fueled anew. “It was just a mistake, was that it? You didn’t mean to snitch to the Federation? You didn’t mean to let the A-LAWS know where we all were?” Another blow sent Saji’s head snapping back.

“Lockon-“ Tieria began, trying to intervene far too late.

“He killed them, Tieria,” Lockon said, and for an instance it was as if the Lockon of old had come forth, and that the sobbing youth infront of them was a hellspawned flame-haired mercenary. His tone was suddenly blood cold, belying the hatred barely restrained. “He killed my friends, the closest thing to a new family I’ve had.”

“Be that as it may,” Tieria tried to reason, but Saji’s own struggle to confess for his mistake doomed him.

“I-“ Saji began, “I just wanted to go back, to the way things were…”

And cold hatred was replaced with fury once again.

“Go back?” Lockon asked. “Go back? You got my friends killed because you wanted to go?” He once again threw Saji into a wall, but this time held him up against it as his other hand reached behind his back. “I’ll let you go!”

“Lockon, stop!” Tieria ordered, seeing what Lockon was reaching for. “Your brother-“

“Shut the hell up,” snarled Lyle, his gaze never leaving Saji’s pitiful form. “I will not be compared to my brother. Not for this piece of ZOINKS that no one cares about.” And as Tieria watched helpless, as Saji hung there unresisting, Lockon pulled the trigger. Soon Saji’s body slid to the floor, and the silence was finished as another completed Tieria’s words.

“Your brother had the same flaw,” Setsuna F. Seie informed over the sights of his own pistol, having turned the corner at the crescendo of the confrontation. “I had hoped you would not repeat the same mistake.”

---

And I’m glad I was right, Lyle Dylandy.

Don’t be so proud. No matter how helpless he is now recovering, no matter how easy it would be to claim vengance, I’ve known him awhile and that matters. But if I had known at the time…

You wouldn’t have. You are Lockon Stratos, a Gundam Meister. You wouldn’t have been one otherwise.

You came to me out of the blue, remember? You didn’t know what you were getting.

I knew.

You’re a weird gundam nut, you know that?

Thank you.

Heh. I can’t win with you.

…Anew Returner said the worst effects of space sickness should be over, and all that’s left should be for him to recover.

All that panic over space shock, huh? Here I was worried about sickness on board, and what brought him down was too many months on the ship without being able to sit outdoors and relax. Even at Earthfall, I don’t think he ever stopped working to decompress from it all. Funny how the brain just snaps all of a sudden after too long. You sure you didn’t see any signs beforehand?



Don’t feel too bad; I have a feeling he didn’t want to be seen as a burden. You’ll just have to take better care of each other later. And you, in the capsule; wake up soon. A lot of people are worried over you.You can’t die now if you intend to make up for the past.


---

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:41 am 
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Elitist Earth Politician
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What just happened? Did Saji get offed?


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:08 pm 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

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Amadi Akintunde wrote:
What just happened? Did Saji get offed?

Since the title of this set of drabbles is "Four Time Saji Crossroad Died"... :P

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:02 am 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

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---

W I T H A H E A R T O F S T E E L A N D A S O U L O F M A N


Saji…?

I… don’t have much time. I’m sorry. But you must get this to… to JNN. They’ll recognize what it is and know what to do. Laguna… he’s near the heart of this. Of Celestial Being. Of everything.

Be safe. If you can, have… your neighbor accompany you. But… be quick. There is… no time.

I’m sorry, Saji.

I love you.

Reveal the truth.

“Touching last words, eh Ribbons? A shame they had to come at all,” Alejandro said as they listened to the Veda-recorded message. Attached to the voice mail had been the results of months of investigation by the late Kinue Crossroad; names, dates, people. Enough information to blow Celestial Being’s entire conspiracy into the daylight... and Alejandro’s own treachery as well.

“I am given to understand that the reporter had hidden a broadcasting recorder on her body,” explained Ribbons. “It sent the data to a pre-arranged receiver, which she arranged to have sent to her brother if she died. We were lucky to have been able to catch wind of her trick.”

“And now we just have to resolve this dilemma,” mused Alejandro. “Just what would be the best way to prevent this from ever getting out? Veda can seize future transmissions, but the copy in the boy’s possession…”

“Why not with a bang, Lord Alejandro?” asked Ribbons. “I know someone who would do anything we ask, so long as we phrase it nicely.” And then he explained, and even Alejandro was impressed.

---

“It is a mission from Veda itself.”

“I know. But there is no reason to it; the justification is weak. Flimsy, even. There are better ways to silence traitors, even if this information is correct.”

“It is from Veda. Even if we don’t understand why, that’s all we need to know, correct?”

“Just like Veda was infallible about Team Trinity?”

“…”

“This is murder, and nothing but. I see no way that this could further the Plan. Let Wang Liu Mei handle this quietly.”

“You read the data; this traitor knows everything. Veda says he even have had a hand in the new fake solar reactors. Can we really risk the plan by letting this treachery go on?”

“…”

“Secrecy is the life blood of Celestial Being. Everyone knows that hiding behind civilians has never stopped us before. We can’t let doubts stop us now, not for this.”

---

The words and gestures went over Saji’s head, not that he was bothering to pay much attention. In the Editor’s office of JNN, Saji merely sat while the station’s top brass argued about his sister’s final message. Argued about if it was true, if they could really accuse their owner of terrorism, of all sorts of things. But once Saji had arrived alone and handed over that data, he had been forgotten, left to wonder when his neighbor would discover the hasty message left on his door.

Because he wasn’t paying attention to the conversation, Saji was the first to hear the frantic shouts of the working staff outside.

“Gundam sighted off the coast, heading into Tokyo!”

“What? Why here?”

“Is it the new models headed for the American airbase?”

“Wait, is it heading… towards us?”

That was what broke into the argument of the leading editors, and panic gripped them all. Suddenly there were no doubts about authenticity, and even fewer doubts about what the target was. Some sprinted to futilely try and escape. Others cowered in fear of the inevitable. The Chief, the most level headed of them all, worked to spend his final minutes to send the data somewhere it could be revealed to the public. He would never know that his efforts would be in vain.

Only Saji, just sitting and looked out the window, watched the spec on the horizon draw near. It was the largest one of them all, and it assumed what was obviously a firing position.

Oddly, Saji felt no fear as the mammoth particle cannons began to glow. He remembered Louise, remembered Kinue, and only glared.

“Go to hell,” he muttered as the Virtue fired, but his last thought was more reminiscent of his natural self, one more concerned for others.


At least I couldn’t find Setsu


---

Tieria looked down at the remains of what had been the JNN news building, and was unsettled. It wasn’t at the knowledge of civilian casualties; that had been par for course for some time. And the mission had been worthy of civilian deaths if any ever was; the traitor in Celestial Being had paid a fitting price for attempting to divert the Plan, which was in the interest of all humanity.

No, it had been from the eyes of that boy looking up at him. Though he had surely been mouthing words of damnation, Tieria had only heard doubts. Sumeragi’s doubts as to the mission. The other Meister’s recent doubts over Veda and its Plan.

Most importantly, his own doubts about Veda’s integrity. The mission had been too risky to ignore, yes, but it Veda had been hacked, if there really was someone behind it all…

So distracted was he, he didn’t even register the thrown blades until they had already impacted the Virtue’s arm armor. Even as he recognized them as the Exia’s, Tieria heard Setsuna’s broadcast.

“You are not Gundam!” Setsuna yelled, the Exia charging forward while sea water still dripped from its extremities. Already it was gripping for another of its blades.

“Setsuna F. Seiei!” Tieria yelled, hoping to restore order. “This was an official mission to-“

“No!” Setsuna interrupted, ignoring Tieria’s defenses. “You are no more a Gundam Meister than the Trinities! Someone like you is too twisted to call himself a Gundam Meister!”

Tieria bit back a curse and turned himself to face the threat. “You give me know choice,” he warned. “I’ll stop your madness and drag you back if I have to. Nadleeh!” he called, “Trial System!”

But before those waves could reach and disable the Exia, the system stopped. Tieria only had a brief glimpse of another’s face before his connection with Veda was rejected. The Nadleeh was still the Virtue, and the Exia still floated, drawing its blade with solemn finality.

“What!?” was all he had time to exclaim in shock.

Has Veda abandoned me?

“Tieria Erde,” came Setsuna’s voice with the finality of the Grimm Reaper, “you have been identified as a cause of conflict and subject to Intervention.”

“Exia, exterminating the target!”

---

Mr. Erde?

Hm?

Is it… is it true? Did Mr. Crossroad really…?

Who told you that?

I overheard Mr. Stratos and Mr. Seiei talking about it over his capsule. But, I couldn’t believe what I heard, so-

It’s true.

What!? But, why? Mr. Crossroad-

You are correct. It did happen. I was the one who found him first, and I thought it best to keep it quiet at the time.

But why?

Why did he talk? Or why did I keep it quiet?

Both.

Saji Crossroad was being selfish, but understandably so. He was trying to return to a life he can never have again.

But why did you stay quiet for so long? I thought you hated him? Er, I mean-

It’s not that I like him, but I recognized that he had made a mistake. I’ve made mistakes in the past, and so it wouldn’t have been fair for me to judge him like that.



---

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:29 pm 
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Yow. Tieria probably WOULD be that harsh too...

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:45 am 
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OMG Doomsday Laser

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:24 pm
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---

K I L L A H U N D R E D T O S A V E A H U N D R E D A N D M E

(There’s not enough time, there’s not enough time, there’s not enough time!)

‘That’s enough, Hallelujah! I refuse to give up!’

(What does it matter if you give up or not, if they’ll die anyway?)

‘They won’t die! There’s still hope! If I just hang on a little longer…’

(Face it, you’re on your own. Ms. Sumeragi isn’t sending help, or else they’d be here by now. They’re probably too busy or too far away or just plain too sensible to help your selfish plays for heroism. At this rate, we’ll all burn up in the atmosphere because you won’t get us to safety!)

‘I’m not giving up without saving as many as possible, Hallelujah!’

(Well, if that’s all you want, that’s easy enough. It’s just going to be a bit bloody, that’s all, and you know what that means.)

‘Hallelujah! No!’

(I have control.)

---

“Everyone who wants to live, get into the center container immediately. Anyone who doesn’t will die.”

That warning from the horrible voice was all the warning anyone had. Suddenly there was a jostling, and the terminal began to fall that much faster.

“Saji, what did he mean?” asked Louise. Having just found spare space suits, they were in one of the wing of the station piece.

Before Saji could answer though, the entire section trembled, and screams arose from the center pod.

“They destroyed the section!” was the general chorus of screams, even as the far end’s airlock doors automatically shut. But the station remaining fell that much slower.

“Next wing, coming up!” came the voice of death, all but laughing with glee.

“Louise, move!” shouted Saji, and immediately they pushed towards the center pod. But everyone else in their section was trying to do so as well, and a great mass of people struggling to push into the safe pod resulted.

“No!” shouted Louise as hands reached towards them, seeking any leverage to pull them back and push the doomed into safety. Overhead through the skylights into space, the orange gundam stopped, rearing back its arm to strike.

“Louise!” Saji shouted again, but more hands had grasped his space suit. Unable to move forward, Saji pushed her forward, across the safety barrier.

“Saji!” Louise screamed, but was only helpless to watch as the Gundam struck and the airlock slammed shut, too late to block the sight of Saji’s demise under the Gundam’s claw.

---

Colonel Sergei Smirnov watched as the Gundam flew back into position and resumed pushing against the station section. Without the other two blocks, they were indeed pushing the remaining block into a stable orbit. There would be survivors.

But he would never forget the screams of the terrified civilians as the orange machine murdered some and spared others. The memory would return when the same machine sadistically murdered Ming and later razed the Superhuman Institute, and return in full force once the Trinities started their rampage against civilian and military targets alike. The taste of impotent rage at Celestial Being would never quite be sated, even after they received their own solar furnaces. It and the sounds of their cries were always there, mocking him and all he stood for.

In the end, there was only one way to insure that Celestial Being never committed such high-minded barbarism against the world in the name of peace again. A year later, Sergei Smirnov joined the A-LAWS.

---

…so, you were on that station? I never knew. I owe you an apology, I suppose.

Marie? What are you doing here?

It’s Soma Peries. And I could ask the same of you.

I was trying to find Setsuna, and he is here as often as anywhere else now. You?

Anew asked me to look over the equipment for a short while.



…is there anything else?

Were you talking to him?

He’s been having hallucinations of some sort, and he speaks them in his sleep. Memories of the past, but twisted. I was the cause of one.

Really?

It was shortly after Celestial Being arrived, at the Orbital Elevator. Your presence caused me to go berserk, causing the station accident.

That was you?

Do you know another Super Soldier? He was one of the civilians on the station segment you saved.

Is that so? It’s a small world after all.

And if I heard right, you just murdered him in his last delusion.

…sorry.

Apologize to him, not me. I already made mine.

Even though he can’t hear you?



We’ll just have to wait until he recovers, then. Wake up soon, Saji Crossroad.

---

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:16 pm 
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And it all comes full circle.

---

W E A R E G U N D A M

2311 A.D.
Tokyo Special Economic Zone


With the setting sun to his west, he and a few others ran through the ruined streets, dodging behind rubble at every opportunity.

“This is a war for humanity’s nature.”

One of their number, a wounded soldier, couldn’t keep the pace and paused in the middle of a crosswalk, gasping for breath as he grasped his bleeding stomach. Another, not a soldier, stopped to try and pull him away from the open area. Both were cut down by the invader’s automatons.

“We will destroy all who impede the reformation of humanity.”

By unspoken agreement, the remainder split up. He dove into an alley, gasping for breath as he hid behind a dumpster. Outside, the recording continued.

“We will not lose.”

Flying low below the skyline, a lone Realdo flew past his hiding spot, linear rifle blazing at the automatons and invader’s mobile suits. Though automatons were easily wiped out, a sturdy Tieren shrugged off the assault and quickly made short work of the Realdo, sending it crashing into a burning pile at the base of an old apartment building.

“We are fighting for the ultimate good of all mankind.”

The recording was sounding far too close, making another change of hiding place necessary. Risking a glimpse he saw another band of resistors firing on the invaders, but an explosion behind him sent him skidding on the asphalt. Looking up, he saw a Tieren turning towards him, and quickly he ran in another direction as fast as he could.

“We are fighting for what’s best for you and all whom you know.”

Hiding behind another wall, his gaze rose from the ground and saw the Realdo and the apartment it had crashed into.

‘No you aren’t,’ he muttered, as memories of his lost sister and girlfriend raced past. ‘You don’t know what’s best for us at all!’

Only a blocks down on his latest hiding street, a defiant pair of soldiers were firing their portable anti-MS missiles at the Tierens. Though they did damage, it wasn’t enough. He dove to the ground as the Tieren platoon swept the street with bullets, quickly getting back up and running past the fresh corpses before the Tierens could reach the street and see him as well.

“This is a war for humanity’s nature.”

‘You can’t do anything about human nature,’ he thought as the recorded message looped, repeating his thoughts as a mantra to keep running. Turning down into another street after seeing the one ahead of him blocked, he quickly realized his mistake as a Tieren turned towards him. He quickly dove into another alley, but it was no refuge. Blocked on the far end and one side entirely destroyed, a Tieren towered over him, mono-eye starring him down. Frozen with fear and with no escape, he could only watch as its anti-personnel gun draw a bead on him, preparing to take him out of this world and its war.

But before it could, a blade protruded from its chest, killing the pilot instantly. It withdrew with a deceptively smooth pull, leaving the Tierent to fall harmlessly backwards where its assassin no longer was. Though he didn’t get a good view of the machine that had wielded the blade, he could track its progress by the sudden change in the sounds of the battle. Shells flew, flying through the buildings near him. The distinctive sound of Tierens plodding forward, of metal cutting metal ran around him.

Slowly the battle died as the invader’s guns slowly fell silent. Stepping out of the alley he looked into the street , and stopped.

There, over the corpse of the very suit that would have killed him, was his savior. Like no other mobile suit he had ever seen, it floated in the middle of a cloud of glowing particles, and Saji knew that this was the Gundam that rumors before the invasion had spoken of. Its masked face looked at him, but despite the otherworldly glow and the numerous swords, Saji felt no fear as it approached. He could only watch it, overcome in his moment of frailty, awed at its human shape and form, and knew that this could change humanity.

The machine silently floated towards him, lightly setting down on the ruined road on a knee. As one arm slowly reached out towards him, palm up, the machine opened and a blue-clad man with a darkened helmet stepped out. Even as the other reached out his arm in a silent invitation, Saji knew that this these two, this one, would never harm him.

---

Setsuna…?

Saji Crossroad. You are finally awake.

Awake? What happened?

You succumbed the stress of prolonged space travel while working.

Oh.

Why did you not let us know you were suffering from prolonged confinement on the ship?

I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be more of a burden.





You aren’t.

Setsuna?

You are not a burden to us. We intruded into your life, not the other way around.

Was that… an apology?



I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be laughing right now, but… it could have been so much worse. So many dreams…

…?

Setsuna, thank you.

For what?

For saving me.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:28 pm 
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A wonderful ending.


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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:17 pm 
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After much mental stonewalling between a stalled 00 project, random oneshots, a few short stories, or writing out some outlines for a Gundam 00/CodeGeass crossover I keep thinking about, I finally decided to do none of that and go revisit Alternatives, since there were a number of characters/scenes I had ideas for.

Hope to do this at maybe one a week, at least, though when school comes back that takes presidence.


---
Alternatives short: Ribbons and Louise

---

“Ribbons? Are you prepared?” came his legal guardian’s voice after a polite knock.

“Yes, Master Alejandro,” assured Ribbons, suited in a formal tuxedo that complimented his youthful appearance.

Alejandro Corner opened the door and let himself in. “Impressive as always, Ribbons,” he said, “but must you call me that even now? After all, I like to think that we’re… family.”

Privately Ribbons scoffed, there had only been one who he might have considered close enough to be family, but she was gone, stolen from him by those he still wished vengance against. Instead he maintained his charade, and humbly bowed his head.

“You have always been too generous,” he said. “You have raised so many eyebrows over your care for me.”

“Let them talk,” Alejandro scoffed, “but still, please refrain tonight at least. Miss Halevy would not understand yet, and it might set back our aims.”

Ribbons smiled, not entirely faked. “You care much more for Miss Halevy’s opinion than that, I take. I take it that this may well be more than a political relationship?” Courting for sex, courting for money, courting for power, humans always seemed to have another motive.

Alejandro’s smile suggested that there certainly was. “The widow Halevy is a most respectable and beautiful woman,” he said, “certainly a match at my station. If we can come to an understanding beyond our other duties… well, I certainly wouldn’t be adverse.”

“And, of course, fulfilling your own goals,” Ribbons reminded, in case this fool was besoted by passing beauty. He paused, and then asked“Do you think she will accept?”, genuinely curious. They had prepared for is she would not join in their conspiracy, but if she did, everything after could happen so much more easily.

“Of course,” Alejandro confirmed. “After all, she has been most suportive of my past measures as a fellow Observor. This will just be a continuation of it… if this dinner goes well.”

---

“Ribbons? Are you feeling well?” asked Miss Hallevy, breaking him from his wandering thoughts.

“I am fine, Miss Halevy, thank you for your concern,” he said automatically, though he was momentarily annoyed that she had interrupted his machinations. “Perhaps this meal has tired me more than I thought.”

“Ribbons, why don’t you take a breath of fresh air?” Alejandro suggested kindly. “It could do you some good. Besides,” he suggested pointedly, “I think Miss Hallevy and I were due to discuss some buisness soon anyway. If you don’t mind…” he trailed.

“Of course,” Ribbons said, before turning and bowing to Miss Halevy. “Thank you for a wonderful meal, Miss Halevy,” he said.

“You are most welcom,” she said, “and I hope you feel better soon.” Already, though, her attention was turning to Alejandro as Ribbons discretely closed the door.

Walking through the empty halls of the estate, Ribbons eventually walked to a balcony and stepped into the night air. Even though gravity had it’s drawbacks, nothing in space quite compared to a warm night breeze in Spain. The Halevy estate was even far enough into the country that stars could be seen. They called to mind those first years in Celestial Being, of the moon laboratory where he and others had been created. Others who hadn’t had the chance to serve their purpose, but had instead been diverted for selfish desires…

So engrossed was he with the night sky, he was startled when he heard another voice on a balcony to his left.

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight,” sang a young woman softly, “Wish I may, wish I might, on that star I see tonight…” then the blond girl bowed her head to the night sky.

“What did you wish for?” Ribbons spoke, curious enough to break the silence. The girl startled and look at the voice, and Ribbons recognized her. “I apologize if I startled you,” he said, his mask of charming politeness falling into place, “Miss Louise Hallevy. I haven’t seen you since you left the dinner early.”

“Mother dislikes it if I stay once buisness might come up,” Louise explained while looking slightly to the side, hiding her own feelings behind a mask that Ribbons instantly saw for what it was: another mask of polite passivity.

“And so you came out here to wish upon a star?” Ribbons asked, a bit bemused. She nodded, but stayed silent for awhile, clearly not intending to share her wish.

Instead, Ribbons took another track. “Does it work?” he asked, surprising Louise with the seriousness of his tone. “I never did it when I was growing up, so I don’t know.”

“I doubt it,” said Louise, voice still soft in her assumed timidity. “I think wishes are something you have to work for, and you can’t get back those you lost. But still, I wish.”

“I sympathize,” Ribbons said kindly. “Life requires choices if you want to achieve what you want. And even then, you can still lose what you didn’t realize you had.”

“Did you lose someone?” Louise asked from her balcony, more perceptive than he had thought. “Someone you cared about?”

Ribbons considered the question honestly. “Yes and no,” he admitted. “I lost someone, yes. But before then, I had taken her for granted, that she would always be there when I wanted. She was taken away from me by the will of another, and that’s affected me ever since.” He laughed lightly. “Our family quabbles make no sense to outsiders, I suppose.”

“Not to me,” Louise denied, reciprocating his own honesty. “I understand. I took my own father for granted. He was always there when I wanted, he always indulged me, and I confused presents for love. But then that day…”

“The Kurdish Crisis,” Ribbons recalled. “He was inspecting the Kurdish Republic for violations of the Oil Embargo, and was assassinated by Kurdish nationalists.” He paused, and realized it was probably impolite to bring it up. “I’m sorry,” he offered by necessity. “I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

“No,” Louise said, shaking her head. “I brought him up.” She looked up at the heavens, but was only talking to Ribbons. “I learned the difference, that the love was behind the action of giving. Ever since then, my Mother has been overly protective of me. I’ve always had the best schooling, the best care, because she loved me and wanted the best for me. But it was always here, in the safety of her own house. I only managed to convince her to let me go to college in Japan on the condition that I fly back as often as possible, but now I might not even get to go back next year because of Celestial Being. I only had a few friends,only one I really care about, but… Do you know how impossible it is to just live a normal life like that? Even all the way there, she won’t let me do anything because she’s worried for me. I can’t enter into a real relationship, I have no choice in when I stay or go, and all because she’s afraid some other terrorist is going to rent an apartment down the hall and assassinate me.”

“I’m tired of it. I appreciate the thought and I love her dearly, but the cause of it all needs to go. This world needs to change, to be remade into something safer for everyone. Where people don’t need to fear war, or assassinations, or this latest terrorist. I want it all to change.” She was unaware of the irony, of how almost the exact same motivations that had driven her recently widowed mother into the arms of Celestial Being, and now similar thoughts were leading her into a daliance with Alejandro Corner.

But for a second, Ribbons thought he heard the hint of a will underneather Louise’s polite mask, a will that would rather burn everything than stay here and be ruled by the plan of another. A will waiting to cast off the disguises and declare itself infront of all. And for a second, Ribbons didn’t feel so alone by himself. A thought occurred to him, but he would have to test her.

“Is that what you wished for?” he asked, turning back to the stars. “World peace? Freedom? For it to just happen?”

“No,” Louise said, and there was a hint of defiance in her voice. “I wished for the strength to make those changes myself, no matter the cost.” And Ribbons glanced at her, and considered.

“That… might be closer than you think,” he began, and Louise listened.

---

“Ribbons,” Miss Halevy greeted the next morning, as he and Alejandro prepared to leave. “I do hope you are feeling better.”

“Much, Miss Halevy,” he said. “The night air was more than enough. I even had a wonderful discussion with your daughter out across the balconies last night.”

“So I heard,” said Miss Halevy, who had had a private breakfast with her daughter already. “Louise had such good things to say about you. And I must say, you’re much better than that Japanese boy she told me about.”

“She flatters me,” Ribbons said with complete honesty. After all, he had been the one who told her to do so, so that Miss Halevy would be more inclined to followthrough with their conspiracy. “She is quite a charming young woman herself.”

A hand settled itself on his shoulder as Alejandro stepped behind him, the first Ribbons had seen of him since he had disappeared into the Madam Halevy’s bed chamber. “I was quite surprised to hear about it myself,” he remarked. “In as long as I’ve known him, I’ve never seen Ribbons take quite an interest in any woman. You daughter is something special,” he praised sincerely.

After final compliments and farewells were traded, Ribbons caught Louise Hallevy watching them depart through an upstairs window. Ribbons returned her gaze, and looked through the timid and polite mask he had removed last night.

We have an understanding, you and I, he thought. You are not, can never be what I want most. But if you serve me well…

You will be my Regnant.

_________________
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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