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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:55 pm
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Location: over there
Instead of complaining (mostly because I liked this chapter), I'm just gonna tell you one thing:

'Aile' is French for 'wing'.

Anyway, good chapter! You've gotta a knack for writing filler. :mrgreen:

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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Location: Illinois, USA
Rob DS Zeta wrote:
Instead of complaining (mostly because I liked this chapter), I'm just gonna tell you one thing:

'Aile' is French for 'wing'.

Anyway, good chapter! You've gotta a knack for writing filler. :mrgreen:


Thanks for letting me know, though Kira and Cagalli have a good reason for not knowing: neither of them know French. XD

Never really thought of character development as "filler" but I'll take that as a compliment. XD It was a fun chapter to write, though.

I have fixed some spelling errors, if anyone notices any more please point them out.

Thanks for reading! Chapter 5 will be up soon. No more bonus chapters a week from here on out.

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:49 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

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Chapter Five: Learn to Fly

I activated the Phase Shift Armor, and hit the acceleration. This was going to be a really rough battle, as it was three on one. I had the GUNDAM, but they had the numbers. If I wasn't careful, I could be overwhelmed at a moment's notice.

Suddenly, my console beeped. One of the ZAFT Mobile Suits was hailing me.

Do I dare bite?

I decided I should, as much as I didn't want to see the face of a pilot I was going to have to kill. Maybe I could find some kind of weakness for the pilot and his group if I answered. Or maybe it was Athrun, even though he was likely still with the Aegis. Maybe he had come back, I couldn't give up hope.

I turned on the visual, and suddenly I saw a handsome ZAFT pilot. His eyes widened immediately. "God damn it, I was beaten by a Natural civilian?"

An evil smirk cut its way across my face, and the terror in me left a bit. I knew exactly how to play this.

"That's right. A Natural who's never flown a Mobile Suit before beat your ass. And here I thought Coordinators were supposed to be tough. What kinda screw-ups did they do on your genetics, huh?"

"Shut up!" Immediately, the Mobile Suit started shooting at me. Unfortunately for him, I was so far away I could easily dodge the shots.

"Maybe they forgot to modify your eyes. You couldn't hit a barn with that barrage."

"Enough of your insolence, Natural! Face me!"

"So you have so little confidence in yourself that you can't charge me, you need me to charge you? Wow, just . . . wow."

"Can you just shut up?" He fired several wild barrages as he began chasing me around the colony.

A new male voice entered the channel. "Miguel, the pilot is clearly taunting you. Now fall back into formation, Matthew and I need your help in facing the legged ship."

Legged ship? I quickly realized they meant the Archangel. The ship was their primary target, not me.

Miguel, for his part, said "Let me kill the Natural, Olor. Then I'll assist."

"That's a direct order, Miguel."

I knew the Archangel would have an easier time which just two Mobile Suits instead of three. Plus, it would be easier on me too. I needed Miguel all by his lonesome, and then pick off Olor and Matthew.

So I taunted him again. "Aw, the whiddle Coordinator needs his big bwother to tell him what to do. How adorable!"

"For God's sake, enough!"

Miguel fired at me wildly again, and his shots were easy dodges. We flew in a general circle around the Archangel with Miguel firing in my general direction but scoring no hits.

"Wow," I said. "Your parents must've paid the lowest bidder for your so-called enhancement."

"Stop it!"

"Seriously, what are you trying to do? Bite my kneecaps off?"

"What the hell does that even mean?"

"There's this concept called 'banter'. I'm joking with you. Did they forget to install your funny bone too?"

"I . . .uh . . . arrrgh!"

"Cool! I made a Coordinator devolve into a caveman!"

"EEEEEEAAAAARRRRRAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!"

Miguel discarded his rifle after one final spray of wild shots. He drew his heavy sword, and charged me, bellowing all kinds of unintelligible noises as he took futile swings at the Strike.

I heard Mu's voice then. "Uh, princess, while that conversation was mildly diverting, your opponent's wild firing has done damage to the support shaft."

That was actually a bad thing. The support shaft was what held Heliopolis together. It could take some abuse, but if it crumbled, the whole colony would collapse on itself, if it weren't for an emergency disintegration feature. But who knew if the disintegration would work?

"Well, he's drawn his sword. That any better?" I asked, as I turned the Strike to the right to avoid another lunge.

"We can't afford to have you waste your time with him all day. We could use some backup in front of the bridge, the other two GINNs are getting too close. Take care of your opponent and give us some help."

"Give me a second. He's rushing me again," I said. I was filled with all kinds of confidence then, but the moment I actually attempted to block Miguel, I realized a big flaw in my plan.

Taunting him had made him lose his cool, which was what I wanted, but had worked him into a frenzy, which I hadn't. His movements were so fast they were almost a blur. I could barely block each blow he gave me, and out of the corner of my eye, I realized my energy level had already dipped to eighty percent.

Suddenly, much to my amazement, his sword arm sparked, and suddenly fell limp. He had pushed his GINN beyond the machine's limits, and some wire had snapped in the GINN's right arm. The GINN was practically helpless.

His face was still displayed on my screen, and he looked at me with a helpless glance.

I just smiled. "Looks like they just don't make Mobile Suits like they used to."

"Do you ever shut up, boy?" he asked me, completely exasperated.

The irrational anger re-emerged again. "Did you just call me a boy?"

Miguel just stared at me. "What, you'd prefer 'young man'?"

"I'm a girl, dumbass!"

Miguel made a growling noise. "Oh, I don't give a damn who or what you are! You're dead, kid!"

And then with his GINN's sole working arm, he ripped the sword out of the dead hand and charged right at me.

Seeing a clear opening, I rushed him, easily dodging his swipe in the process.

I won't forget his scream as the sword cut the GINN, and likely the pilot himself, in half.

Even as I connected I was already regretting my decision to go for the kill. My irrational, immature rage had subsided enough for me to realize I was about to kill him. Which was something I didn't necessarily want to do. I had already beaten him, his machine was crippled. I could've easily let him fly away.

But it was too late. Much too late.

I'm not going to type out his scream. It's not really describable. It's this mixture of horror and pain and pleading and . . .

My actions have consequences. It was something not really driven home until I was in control of a sixty-something-ton behemoth that could level a building without any effort.

Go figure.

Up until that point, the anger I felt when someone called me a boy or a man had never done anything other than cause a few fights and, ironically, spread the tomboy reputation I had. No matter what I did, no matter what moisturizer I applied to my face, no matter how long I grew my hair, no matter what clothes I wore, I was always mistaken for a boy. And I never understood why, and still can't understand why.

Maybe I'll never understand. And maybe I'll never gain complete control over my immature anger.

But the consequences of such irrational anger were here. I killed a man over it. Disproportionate retribution at its finest.

The Mobile Suit exploded behind me, and Miguel's horrible scream did not stop until it was suddenly cut off. It replayed in my mind immediately for the next few seconds, over and over, echoing faster and slower all at once as it burned itself into my mind.

It took me a few seconds for me to realize what I had done. I wondered if it had been real. That I had really killed someone, especially as the reason why was because of a mistake many people made.

My adrenaline was so high, though, that the memory was hazy, faint. I kinda wish it would've stayed that way, lost in a murky fog like a lot of memories both bad and good.

I noticed the battle with the Archangel, and I saw that the Archangel was severely undermanned in the anti-aircraft department. In any normal encounter, the ship could've fended off two GINNs fairly easily. But this was different. There just wasn't enough firepower. The GINNs could dodge the Archangel the same way I had dodged Miguel.

"I need the Aile Pack," I said.

I heard Kira's voice, surprisingly. "I'm sending it right now, Cagalli."

"Kira? What are you doing?"

"The battle will be more efficient if I took over Mobile Suit duties. Pal has his own job, he can't take care of you and his own duty," Kira said. "The Pack's on its way. I'll inform the crew to get the Sword recharged ASAP."

"Thank you," I said, and I disengaged the Phase Shift armor to switch. The Aile Pack launched from the Archangel and reached me in seconds, and I performed the switch. Kira's O.S. was really working nicely, I was able to get the Aile installed with ease.

I flew over towards the front of the ship, where these "Matthew" and "Olor" people were still engaged in battle. They didn't seem to notice me. Maybe they were so absorbed in their own battle they hadn't noticed that I had killed Miguel.

I took aim at one of the GINNs and fired.

I realized, much too late, that my aim had been off.

Instead of killing the GINN, I blew off both of its legs instead.

The GINN immediately turned around and took aim at me. Completely panicking, I fired a wild barrage at the GINN. Somehow, one of the shots hit it and the GINN exploded in midair.

Problem was, the other GINN knew I was there now.

He drew his sword and came after me the moment after I had shot down the second GINN. I immediately flew away and fired at it, but either I was a bad shot or my calibration was off because I wasn't scoring any hits.

Even though he couldn't hear me, I screamed "Stay away from me!"

My confidence I had gained from fighting Miguel had evaporated. Now I was scared. I could not score a hit on him and he rushed me at will. The more I missed, the more overwhelmed I felt. I had beaten Miguel through a combination of my mouth and his bad luck. The other guy I had killed through surprise. This fight, though, was fair.

He was not talking to me, he wasn't playing any games with me. He was just focused on his task, which was killing me. Like a true professional.

I heard Kira's voice. "Cagalli, calm down! You've already wasted half of your energy pack! You lose your Phase Shift here, you're done for!"

"What do I do then?" I wailed.

Murrue entered the conversation. "I'm getting all of the gunners to aim at the Mobile Suit. Just concentrate on evasion. We have your back, Cagalli."

"A demonstration would be nice!" I shouted.

The GINN came right at me again and I barely got the Strike out of the way in time. The GINN wound up slicing the support shaft, and did some heavy damage to it. However, the GINN had also rammed the support shaft to an extent, and it had been knocked off balance. I realized it was momentarily vulnerable.

"Damn it, die!"

That's what I think I said. There's varying accounts of that. Kira and Mu said I just screamed. Murrue told me I said something much saltier. Natarle, when I asked, just smiled coyly and said she wasn't listening to me "bellow like a dinosaur", in her words.

I yelled something, in any case, and let loose another barrage right at the Mobile Suit as it tried to turn around to face me. At this close range, there was no time to evade.

I hit the Mobile Suit multiple times and it exploded . . . right next to the damaged support shaft.

Immediately, the support shaft began to buckle, and explosions continued down the shaft as it started to fall apart.

I heard Natarle's voice. "The GUNDAM Aegis is approaching our sector! Watch out!"

"What?" I raised my rifle. My energy was down to thirty-eight percent. I could not hold it off for long.

Murrue interjected. "Why are they sending the Aegis out already? They've barely had it for a few hours!"

"It doesn't matter," Mu said. "Cagalli, get your weapon ready. I'll try to see if the Zero is repaired enough for me to give you backup."

The Aegis, however, flew right in front of me. "Too late," I said.

The Aegis froze, however, and did not shoot.

Explosions were continuing all along the shaft. I heard Murrue's voice. "Cagalli, get back here! Heliopolis is at alert level ten! That means they're starting the disintegration procedure! This whole area is going to become a debris field!"

Before I could answer, the Aegis hailed me. I knew full well who was trying to speak to me, and I didn't want to answer.

"Just a minute, Lieutenant," I said, and finally, I activated the public channel.

The visual came up, and there was Athrun, suited up just the way he had been down on the ground.

Athrun's eyes widened as he saw me. "I didn't want it . . . to be you. I nearly didn't come out here because I was afraid of this being the truth."

"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked.

Explosions were happening all over the colony as the disintegration procedure began. All over the colony, lifeboats were being launched, sending them all towards Orb waters and land on Earth. In seconds, Heliopolis would cease to exist.

Athrun did not answer me directly. "Those were my friends, Cagalli. Miguel, Matthew, Olor . . . they were my friends. And you killed them."

"I'm sorry, but it wasn't like they gave me a choice," I replied.

Athrun again didn't directly answer. He just bit his lip and asked "Cagalli, why? Why are you inside that thing?"

He would have understood if I had said it was to protect Prince Kira. It was an understandable answer. A good one. The first one that popped into my head. But then I had second thoughts.

Like I mentioned, I was a political-science major. And I was smart enough to know I could not divulge that Kira was on the Archangel.

As far as I knew, Orb was still neutral, and the only forces the ZAFT had attempted to outright kill were Earth Alliance forces. This was going to become a major diplomatic crisis, but Lord Uzumi was notoriously skilled at political maneuvering. He would find a way to keep Orb neutral, as long as the ZAFT didn't know the EA had Kira in their possession.

If they knew Kira was on-board the Archangel, it would send precisely the wrong signals. Assumptions could be made that Orb was full-on collaborating with the Earth Alliance instead of an independent company like Morgenroete. That would mean Orb was no longer neutral and had chosen a side. Even Lord Uzumi would not be able to keep Orb from becoming yet another target of the ZAFT.

Even though Athrun had been a childhood friend, and my first kiss, I could not tell him that Kira was on-board. He could have changed greatly in five years, he had already changed enough to be a ZAFT special-forces soldier. I could not trust him. And even if he were to keep damning information a secret, who knew who could be listening in on his conversations?

So I said something else. Something selfish, but something that I hoped would still be convincing to anyone on the ZAFT who could be listening.

"I am fighting for my survival, Athrun," I said.

"Survival?" Athrun asked, completely dumbfounded.

"That's right. Survival. I need shelter. All of the other lucky citizens got to make it to a lifeboat. I ran to the Earth Alliance to find shelter. And guess what? I have to protect my shelter. That's why I'm in here, Athrun," I said.

Athrun's eyes shimmered from behind that visor. "Cagalli, the ZAFT could give you shelter. I promise, I'll vouch for you. I still care-"

Before he could finish, Heliopolis' destruction entered its most brutal phase.

The entire colony separated into dozens of pieces, large and small, all at once.

Air rushed out of the center of the colony, where Athrun and I were. Immediately, the vacuum became so powerful both Athrun and I got pulled away in opposite directions.

I screamed as I was pulled away from Athrun, pulled away from the Archangel.

I heard Athrun wail my name as he was pulled away into the debris field being created.

All around me, little lights flashed as lifeboats disconnected from the crumbling colony. It left the impression of so many lightning bugs flying away after their home had been disturbed, and they were taking off into the night sky.

It was surreal, dream-like, mesmerizing . . . or it would have been if I wasn't so completely terrified of what was happening to me. Nothing I could do would keep the Strike near Athrun or the Archangel.

Miguel's tortured scream entered my mind again as I floated completely out of control into deep space. I closed my eyes, and tried to forget it, but the scream just seemed to become louder the longer my eyes were shut.

It became clear to me that I would never forget that scream as long as I lived.

Control slowly returned to me, and thankfully, the shattering of the colony meant I didn't hit a piece of debris big enough to cripple the GUNDAM. That would've been really bad because I was not wearing a space suit.

My home since high school was crumbling apart. And nothing would stop it.

And now Athrun was gone, yet again, haunting me like a ghost. Now I see him, now I don't.

But that wasn't my main thought at the time.

I thought about my taunts at Miguel, which had caused considerable damage to the shaft. Miguel's wild firing had started the shaft's destruction, but it wasn't the end. Even that other GINN damaging the shaft with a sword strike hadn't been the final blow. The colony was still holding up even after the GINN's energy sword abuse.

The end was me.

I had provoked Miguel into firing so wildly he had damaged the shaft and colony walls in a rampage.

But that paled in comparison to what I had done.

In the end, it had been me who destroyed the support shaft.

I was responsible for Heliopolis' destruction.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


Last edited by rebel_cheese on Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:07 pm 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

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Best chapter ever.

I especially liked Cagalli's demeanor about the whole thing. I take it that she's either going to be brooding about it later on or just go forward and try not to think about it.

Oh, and bonus points for Monty Python quote.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:40 am 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:08 pm
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Really liked this chapter...but the quote (Monty Python, I think?) really bugged me. Just seemed unneeded, and didn't really fit the setting much. Besides, I already hear WAY too many Python quotes as is...


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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:14 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Quote:
Best chapter ever.

I especially liked Cagalli's demeanor about the whole thing. I take it that she's either going to be brooding about it later on or just go forward and try not to think about it.

Oh, and bonus points for Monty Python quote.


If you have any concric to say I'd appreciate it, but I'm glad you liked it. I really aimed for "classic GUNDAM action" here, though with a bit of a twist with Cagalli snarking.

You'll get your answer for Cagalli's reaction to Heliopolis next chapter. And I'm glad you liked the quote, I could not resist, though I have a real reason for including it too.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Quote:
Really liked this chapter...but the quote (Monty Python, I think?) really bugged me. Just seemed unneeded, and didn't really fit the setting much. Besides, I already hear WAY too many Python quotes as is...


There's two reasons why I went with the quote. Number one, I thought it fit okay because Miguel feels the same way you do. XD Number two, when I thought up Cagalli taunting Miguel into a fit of rage, I couldn't find a way to make it fit together without the Monty Python quotation. I do think I could've found something better eventually, though, maybe I should've worked on it longer.

Thanks for reading, and I do promise no more Python quotes for the rest of the story. Happy New Year!

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:42 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

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I'm intentionally mildly fudging the gravity detail. The animation depicts gravity (or lack thereof) on the Archangel woefully inconsistently, so this is my way of compensating for that.

I apologize for the lateness, it's been a hell of a day.
___________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Six: Escalates

I floated, completely inert, in the rubble for what seemed to be forever.

I wanted to believe this was all a dream. I would wake up, and I'd be in my dorm, and everything would be okay. I would just shake it off with a morning run, then take a shower, check my tablet for the new assignments of the day, and run to class.

No war. No battle. No military people forcing me to fight.

I pinched myself. I admit it. I pinched myself multiple times until I just punched the side of the cockpit in frustration. This was real, and I didn't want to realize that.

And that made me hitting the cockpit extraordinarily stupid. I hit the wrong button, and I would eject myself into space.

There were so many horror stories of what happened to exposed people that . . . no matter how despairing I could get, I could never picture myself dying that way. I don't want to freeze to death, or burn up as the sun's unprotected rays fry me. Every way to die in space is horrific, prolonged, graphic.

I looked as the little lights of the lifeboats' engines as they shrank into nothingness as they all turned in their preprogrammed courses.

My home, it's gone.

I hoped everyone in Heliopolis had gotten to a shelter in time. I didn't want to . . .

Of course, it was then that I saw the bodies of a young family and what I assumed to be their dog float by my cockpit. People who never made it to a lifeboat in time, or assumed their homes would be safe enough during this emergency.

I felt bile rise in my throat as I saw them, caked with ice already, float aimlessly around me.

I put my hand to my mouth and forced myself not to look. Miguel's scream was still in the back of my mind. I didn't want to memorize the dead family and their pet either.

But, as I've written this down, I think it's pretty clear the imagery stayed in my mind.

I shook my head violently. "Stay out of my head. Stay out. Get out of my head."

But it was no use, and just like Miguel's scream, the dead, frozen family, their faces contorted in surprise and horror, stayed with me.

I heard static on my radio. "X-105 Strike Gundam . . . Cagalli Yamato . . . read . . . 105 Strike Gundam . . ."

I faintly recognized the voice as Natarle's. The visual wasn't coming through clearly, the debris field was interfering so much already that all I could get was woefully inconsistent audio.

"Yeah?" I asked. My voice sounded like it was coming from another person. It sounded so vulnerable, exhausted, and tired. Nothing like how I usually sound.

"Is the Strike damaged?" Natarle asked.

Figures. She's worried about the machine more than me, I thought. I very briefly considered telling Natarle that my situation was critical, but that suicidal thought was quickly expunged from my mind. What the recent terror of war had taught me was that I was not ready to die. Not by a long shot.

"No," I finally said.

Natarle sighed. "Then return to the ship at once, Cagalli. Do you have our location?"

I tried to work the sensors, and I finally saw the Archangel show up on my display, though it flickered in and out at irregular intervals. That would be enough, though.

"Yeah. I have you guys," I said.

"Good. Don't stay out there. The only oxygen you have right now is in your cockpit. That's not a lot."

At least Natarle had remembered that I wasn't wearing a spacesuit, and without it I had no supply of air to draw from in here. My saving grace was that the cockpit was sealed airtight. No leaks.

As I adjusted my sensors to try to get a better fix on the Archangel, I noticed a peculiar flashing signal from the display. I flipped through the public channels, but I couldn't get anything just suggested the source of the signal, just static, and general chaos from the lifeboats.

I thought about ignoring the distress signal, but my conscience wouldn't let me. What if it was a lifeboat? Or Athrun had gotten hit by debris and was floating helplessly?

I knew what I had to do, lack of air or not.

My power was less than twenty percent. I was going to have to be really conservative, with both breathing and power, if I was going to pull this off. I steadily powered the Strike over to the distress signal, and used my eyes to try to locate the source.

And then I saw it.

It wasn't Athrun. It was a lifeboat.

I already knew what I had to do.

I heard static pop up on the public channel I was on. "Heavy . . . engine failure . . . vicinity, need immediate . . . leak . . ."

I recognized the voice immediately. It was the same man I had spoken to just hours before, when trying to get all of the civilians inside. The same shelter where I had put Tolle, Miriallia, and the others.

Out of all the lifeboats, why this one?

That solidified my decision right then and there. I was going to bring that lifeboat to the Archangel. I was still a civilian, so I technically didn't have to follow military orders if I didn't want to. And my friends were, in all likelihood, onboard.

I didn't try to talk to the man. Number one, I didn't want to speak to him. Number two, the reception was clearly so bad anything I could have said would have just confused the guy. If I could barely hear him, how could I expect him to hear me?

So I just reached, grabbed the lifeboat, and accelerated towards the Archangel, betting I could get there before my power ran out or my air.
***
I doubt you're surprised that I made it. You wouldn't be reading this right now if I had died.

But I had cut it close. My Phase Shift gave out just as I entered with the lifeboat inside the hangar bay, and I discovered I couldn't breathe just seconds before they closed the doors. I was beginning to clutch my throat when they announced that the hangar had been pressurized, and I quickly threw my cockpit door open and gulped down as much air as I could.

That had been really stupid. I had nearly killed myself getting that lifeboat onboard. I couldn't take that risk again, not without a space suit so I had more air.

But it had worked out in the end. I had brought the lifeboat inside the ship, and my friends, if they hadn't been pulled out in the 'leak' that had been mentioned, were going to be okay.

An announcement rang out through loudspeakers. "Commence Strike maintenance immediately! It may have to launch at any moment!"

I saw Petty Officer Murdoch approach me. "Good job, kid!"

"Are you being sarcastic?" I asked.

Murdoch looked baffled. "Uh, no."

"I don't think I did that good of a job at all," I said. "Heliopolis exploded because of me, I killed three people, and I nearly died lugging that lifeboat in here. And I know I just pissed off my commanders by bringing the lifeboat onboard."

Murdoch blinked, and then sighed. "Look at it this way. Most of the lifeboats launched safely and they'll be back in Orb soon enough. Plus you just saved fifty-something Orb civilians in that lifeboat of yours. And you kept all of us alive. Despite what happened I'd have to say you did pretty well."

I thought of the frozen family who floated in front of me with those horrific expressions forever etched on their faces.

"Not good enough," I said.

I floated past him and directed myself towards the lifeboat.

The crew forced the doors open, and guess who was the first person to get out of there?

Flay Allster.

"God, I couldn't stay one more second in there!" She hugged the first crewman she met. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

She then noticed me. "Uh . . . how the heck did you make it here?"

"What, no 'oh wow, you're alive'?" I asked.

Flay frowned. "Geez, what's up with you?"

Before I could answer, I heard "Cagalli!"

And there was Tolle Koenig.

"Tolle!"

He floated towards me and we embraced . . . and kinda went upside down. "Whoa! Not used to this weightless thing!"

"Neither am I," I said.

He put my hand against my face. "I knew you'd make it, Cagalli. I knew you would. You're too tough to die."

"Yeah," I said.

His smile faded, just a bit. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. It can wait," I said.

Miriallia escaped from the lifeboat then, and then stared at me in shock, like I was a zombie. "Cagalli . . ."

Tolle laughed. "Told ya, Miri! Told ya Cagalli would make it!"

Miriallia lost her stunned expression, and then smiled. "I shouldn't have doubted you."

I soon found myself surrounded by people I knew. Sai and Kuzzey joined in, and I felt good again. Like everything I had done earlier in the day were distant memories, or even dreams. I was no longer a pilot, I was just an ordinary college student again, surrounded by friends who were grateful I was alive.

It was a marked contrast from the military personnel, who seemed to think about how to use me the most.

While I was surrounded, I noticed Flay floating away alone. I'm not evil. It didn't take me very long to realize that while I had my friends, Flay had none of hers.

"Flay? Are you okay?" I asked.

Flay hesitated. "Yeah, I'm okay. Go enjoy hanging around."

Sai floated over to her. "It's okay, Flay. Really."

Flay's lips trembled. "Sai . . . my friends . . . we got separated. I don't even know if they're okay."

She shivered, and then looked up at the ceiling. "What is this place?"

"This is the Archangel," said a new voice. We all turned, and there was Kira.

I immediately questioned him exposing himself, where people could recognize him, but I realized that was the point. He wanted to show his citizens solidarity. That was something the Lion of Orb himself had probably drilled into his head. He had to identify with ordinary people, and in this case, why not show everyone that you're in the exact same position they're in, prince or not?

Sai recognized. "You can't be . . ."

Kira nodded. "I am. I'm Prince Kira."

People immediately began to crowd around us. More than one person pulled something and I heard digital shutter sounds as they snapped pictures of him. Somebody yelled "Yeah, it's him! It's really him!"

A young woman ran up to Kira. "Can I have your autograph?"

"When I have a pen," he said, blushing.

Mu La Flaga entered the scene, and he yelled "Enough! This is a military facility! Civilians are to be assigned quarters and boundaries. Leave the hangar bay in a organized fashion!"

I tried to sneak with my friends, but Mu caught that immediately. "Not you, Cagalli. You're heading back to the bridge with the prince and I."

"Why?" I asked.

"You're in this for the long haul, kid. The prince isn't getting off this vessel for a long time unless we get incredibly lucky. That means you're still flying the Strike until further notice."

I looked up at the Strike. Oh great.

"Uh, Cagalli, what does he mean?" Tolle asked, a confused glance on his face.

Miriallia looked up at the Strike. "Did you have to fly that thing?"

Sai frowned. "No Natural can fly a Mobile Suit. Unless . . ."

Flay being Flay, she shrieked "She's a Coordinator!"

Cue bedlam.
***
It took the combined efforts of Mu, his troopers, and virtually every mechanic in the hangar bay to get the prince, I, and my friends out of the hangar bay and into a private room. This included Flay, unfortunately. The fact she couldn't shut up about me being a Coordinator didn't help matters one bit. Eventually, Natarle Badgiruel got involved in the near-riot, and one look from her shut Flay up in an instant.

After that, the crowd got noticeably calmer, and we were planted in a private room, the officer's cafeteria to be exact. There, Natarle, Murrue, and Mu looked at all of us with bemused glances.

"Okay," Murrue said, "Which one of you shouted 'Coordinator'?"

"She did." Everyone pointed at Flay.

Murrue walked up to Flay. "That was highly irresponsible, Ms. Allster."

"You know her?" Tolle asked.

"Her father's Vice Minister of Defense in the North American Federation, among other things. A lot of people know the Allster family. I see enough of a family resemblance to know who she is."

Flay looked away. "She's a Coordinator. They're the enemy. They bombed Edinburgh, my hometown. Razed it to the ground."

One of the early ZAFT campaigns involved a raid at Edinburgh. The ZAFT who raided the place were all killed or captured in the end, but they caused hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and the historic city was ultimately ruined. They were just now starting to rebuild it, and progress was slow because of war consuming resources.

Tolle looked at her. "Cagalli is not the enemy! She saved our lives!"

"Who says she isn't spying for them?" Flay asked.

"If I was spying for them, don't you think I would've joined them instead of fighting them? I killed three Coordinators today!" I asked.

Tolle's eyes widened. "Really? You killed three of them?"

"They gave me no choice," I said. It was a lie, two of them gave me no choice. There was no way out of killing those two. But Miguel . . .

My friends and Flay all looked at me in amazement. Mu just shook his head. "Look, I think we've all figured out that Cagalli is on our side, okay? So let's let bygones be bygones."

"I'm not on your side either," I said. "I'm on Orb's side. And that means I'm neutral in this war. Don't think you military types own me."

Natarle frowned. "Remember, Cagalli, that you are the only line of defense until the Moebius Zero is fixed. I think you'll find it recommended that you follow our orders. Bringing the civilians in here was a reckless act."

"It was also a noble one," Murrue said. "Problem is, the ship isn't fully supplied. And all of these civilians onboard means that our limited supplies will be used up quicker."

Natarle looked at Murrue. "Are you sure it is wise to say this in front of civilians?"

"We were going to have this conversation in front of Cagalli anyway. What's a few more civilians at this point?" Murrue asked.

Natarle just shook her head. "If you say so, Lieutenant Ramius."

Murrue looked at all of us. "I'm going to dismiss all of you except for Cagalli. Let the other civilians know this. They are guests, but that doesn't mean that they run the ship. They must acquiescence to military orders. We're all in this together now."

"Uh, okay," Tolle said.

"Also, let everyone know that the Coordinator onboard is to be treated with respect, or at the very least, politeness. She is the reason why they're alive right now. That's the least they can give her."

"No, the least they can give me is to bow down and kiss my feet," I said.

Everyone looked at me.

"It's a joke," I said, as I felt my face heat up.

"And on that awkward note," Mu said, "You civilians are dismissed. Shoo."

After moving them out of the officer's cafeteria, Mu sighed. "Thank God that's over with."

"You have some good friends," Kira said.

"I guess," I replied.

Murrue looked at me. "Cagalli, we're going to need you out there multiple times in all likelihood. Can you do this for us?"

"Yeah," I said.

"While you were bringing the lifepod onboard, Mu, Natarle and I were considering our next move. The debris field is masking our position from the ZAFT ship. We have limited fuel, food, and water," Murrue said.

"What Lieutenant Ramius, Lieutenant La Flaga, and I decided was that it's best to break out towards Artemis," Natarle said. "It is the closest Earth Alliance base, actually, it's the only base we can make it to with our current amount of fuel. We're going to have to either ram through or sneak past the ZAFT in order to make it."

"What about ammunition?" I asked.

Natarle chuckled sardonically. "One thing our late superiors, in all their wisdom, was to fully load the Archangel with ammunition. That's the one thing that's not an issue. We have a manpower issue, a food issue, a water issue, a fuel issue . . . but no ammunition issue."

Murrue folded her hands and looked at me in the eyes. "Cagalli, I want you to find a pilot suit that fits you and be on standby as soon as possible."

"I understand," I said. I knew there was no other option, but that didn't mean I had to like it. I just had to make do with my subtle digs at them every now and then to show I wasn't their lapdog.

Murrue smiled. "You'll make it through this. We all will. Now, you're dismissed. Please be ready to fight at a moment's notice."

"What about sleep?" I asked. "Do I have permission to sleep?"

Murrue laughed. "Of course. I'm not going to-"

Suddenly, I felt extraordinarily heavy, and slammed onto the floor. "Ow."

"Hey," Mu said, "They finally fixed the artificial gravity."

"This ship has artificial gravity?" I asked.

"Except for the hallways," Murrue said. "To maximize efficiency, you're weightless in hallways, but once you enter a room like this one, you have normal Earth gravity."

"Oh great," I said. "I'm going to be spacesick forever."

Natarle tossed a bottle of anti-spacesickness pills at me. "Then this is your new best friend."

I just looked at her. "Gee, thanks."

A wry smile crossed Natarle's face. "You're welcome."
***
The anti-spacesickness pills helped me only feel mildly ill as I floated down the hallway towards my assigned room. I had changed to my pilot suit, after nearly an hour of digging through a locker room's worth of clothing. I hadn't yet found a normal uniform that fit me, though.

In a way, I was glad I hadn't. It just would've solidified the impression that I had become a soldier, an Earth Alliance dog.

I was not the type who took orders very well. But I also knew what I had to do. And I knew I had to follow orders if I wanted to live, along with everyone else.

As I opened the door to my room, I saw Miriallia and Tolle both there. "Oh wow," Miriallia said.

"You really are flying that thing," Tolle said.

"I don't have a choice," I said. "There's no sense complaining or whining about it. It's what I have to do."

Miriallia raised an eyebrow. "You sure you're cool with this? You could get killed."

"Yeah, I know. You don't have a ton of confidence in me," I said, reminding her of Tolle's comment made in the hangar bay. That had hurt that Miriallia hadn't thought I would come back.

Miriallia's eyes widened. "Well, I mean . . . you're up against professional soldiers! But, I, well . . . if you can defeat three professional soldiers already, who says you can't beat more?"

"That's right," Tolle said. "You got that new Mobile Suit thingie. What's it called again?"

"GUNDAM," I said. "Well, the Strike GUNDAM." "GUNDAM," Miriallia repeated. "That's kind of a funny name for a Mobile Suit."

"You don't say," I replied. "Anyway, what's going on with you guys?"

Miriallia said "They're already asking the civilians to help undermanned parts of the ship. I'm surprised how many are actually agreeing."

"We don't know what we're doing yet," Tolle said. "We don't know if we're going to try to help or not."

"Go ahead if you guys want to," I said. "Lieutenant Ramius says that there's a bad manpower issue going on. They need help everywhere."

"Maybe they'll let me take over a gun," Tolle said with a grin. "Bang, bang, bang!"

"There's no sound in space, Tolle," Miriallia said.

"Oh yeah. Damn," Tolle replied.

"Also," Miriallia added, "I wouldn't let you take over a gun even if you paid me. You'd run out of ammunition after the first battle and maybe have one kill to show for it."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Tolle grumbled. Miriallia just laughed.

"What about Sai and Kuzzey? And I guess Flay too?" I asked.

"Sai's being all brave and stuff, he's volunteering for bridge duty. Kuzzey did the same thing right after Sai did. Flay says that the reason why her father sent her to Orb was to avoid fighting and she doesn't want to go against his wishes or some junk like that," Miriallia replied.

That didn't surprise me about Flay. This was far from the first Natural/Coordinator conflict in our lifetimes. Flay had spent so much time in Orb territory that she didn't sound British. She sounded like a native Orb citizen.

Again, though, as much as I wanted to hate her, I couldn't. I understood her reasons for not fighting, if her father was the reason. But I didn't think that was the reason.

Flay occasionally acted like an airhead but she was smart. And she knew as much as anyone she didn't have anything to offer the Archangel. She had nothing resembling combat training and lacked the athleticism you need in a soldier. And she didn't function so well under pressure.

She'd actually be a liability if she fought. And I think she knew it and didn't want to admit it, so she was taking the high road and saying stuff about her father.

"I guess that makes sense. You guys should volunteer for bridge duty too. The more friends I have there the better I'll feel," I said.

Tolle looked surprised. "Why do you want us at the bridge?"

I froze for a second, as I didn't want to say why. But finally, I did.

"I don't want you guys being killed in some random corner of the ship if it gets hit by enemy fire. I want you guys in a position I can recognize and protect at a moment's notice. I may not be able to do that if you're in some random turret," I replied.

Miriallia's eyes widened. "Cagalli, you don't need to worry about us. We'll be okay, no matter where we go."

"I just want you all in the same spot," I said. "The exact same, recognizable spot, so I can defend it."

Tolle looked at me sympathetically and placed a hand on my shoulder. "I understand, Cagalli."

I hugged him. "Thank you."

Miriallia sighed. "I'll just leave you guys alone."

"No," I said. "Please stay. You're my best friend, Miri."

Miriallia looked at me in surprise. "You really mean it."

"Of course I do."

Miriallia walked over. "Oh fine, I'll make this a group hug. You act so tough, Cagalli, but you're soft on the inside, aren't you?"

"Yeah," I said with a smile. "I guess I am."

War is boredom spliced with moments of sheer terror. I needed them in that room with me. I still hadn't gotten over the terror I had already experienced, and would experience again. I needed to know why I was going out there, into situation that could kill me.

Tolle and Miriallia were why.

Sai and Kuzzey were why.

Kira was why.

Oh, hell, I'll even throw in Flay.

I was fighting for everybody.

And that's what allowed me to accept flying the Strike again. And fly the Strike many more times.

I knew exactly what I was fighting for.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:18 am 
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Creepy Bishonen
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Cool chapter, can't wait for the next one.

BUT WHY THE DOG D:


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

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rebel_cheese wrote:
"GUNDAM," I said. "Well, the Strike GUNDAM." "GUNDAM," Miriallia repeated. "That's kind of a funny name for a Mobile Suit."


Need to separate the dialogue here.

rebel_cheese wrote:
Natarle chuckled sardonically. "One thing our late superiors, in all their wisdom, was to fully load the Archangel with ammunition. That's the one thing that's not an issue. We have a manpower issue, a food issue, a water issue, a fuel issue . . . but no ammunition issue."


I think you need to add something here. See if you can find it. :mrgreen:

Great chapter! Flay is good comedy fodder! There's a little iffiness with Natarle and Mu's personalities, but that's forgivable. I always imagined that Natarle might be a little nicer in some instances (She has a hidden romance sidequest with Newman in some games... She even sewed a rip his uniform or something. o_o)

Oh... and BUT WHY THE DOG D:

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*insert witty eyecatch here*


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:34 am 
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I assume I need to mention there's a "morale issue" too. XD

I've never written Natarle or Mu before, I'm still learning how to get them right. ^^; I hope they will be more natural (ha ha) before this is over.

I'm evil. That's why I killed the dog. :twisted: No, seriously, there's a reason why I did that. Everything is a casualty of war, including innocent animals. It's something not usually seen in media and I felt that a passing mention of a dead dog would work as a reminder.

Anyway, thanks for reading, both of you. I'm posting the next chapter a bit early due to time constraints tomorrow.
___________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Seven: Empty Spaces

Miriallia and I shared a room together for the night, and, much to my surprise, I went out like a light. You would think I would be too nervous, too energetic, too scared, to fall asleep, but once I put the covers over myself, I realized that all of your emotions and rampant thoughts give way to sheer biological impulse.

Which, in this case, is sleep.

The artificial gravity system extended to sleeping quarters, which was a lucky break. In an emergency, there were these tight cots pretty much nailed to the walls we were supposed to get in, they were supposed to keep people from floating away while asleep. I looked at one out of sheer curiosity, and I could already tell that it was something I would never want to experience for myself. And if I don't want to sleep in these cots, I can't imagine how the rest of the civilians would think.

They gave out military uniforms to all of the civilians who volunteered. The way you could tell the difference was that the civilians all wore plain uniforms. No decorations, no ranks. Just plain blue uniforms signifying the rank-and-file, only without even a private's lone chevron.

I woke up to discover Tori sitting on my nose.

"Oh great," I murmured. "You always pick the worst moments to pop in."

Tori chirped.

"Yeah, that's what you always say," I replied.

Miriallia laughed from the bunk above me. "Tori took off during all of the chaos in the hangar bay yesterday. The military guy who handed it to me said that the bird drove everybody nuts while they were maintaining the Strike. Sounds to me like Tori was looking for you."

"He could've found me faster," I said.

"Yeah, most likely," Miriallia said.

I looked at the clock. Time meant nothing in space, but people still set clocks. They were set to Greenwich Mean Time in Earth Forces vessels.

In other words, the exact opposite from Orb. Orb citizens always set their clocks to Tokyo. Greenwich was halfway across the world. Thus, instead of waking up in the morning, it was actually night according to the Earth Forces.

I noted sardonically that meant my day of hell technically wasn't over yet.

Tori got off my nose and fluttered around the cabin and sat down on a random table. It chirped again, and then its eyes darkened to black. Now that it was woken me up, it expected to sleep. Or whatever passed for "sleep" in its little robotic brain.

How . . . pet-like of it.

The top bunk had been taken by Miriallia. I didn't complain about it, Miriallia, along with every other Orb civilian onboard, was having a rough go of it too. Even those who hadn't volunteered to fight still had to make do with reduced supplies and facilities.

I guess that because I was the pilot of the Strike, I could've demanded the top bunk, but I wanted to be nice to Miriallia. She was my best friend. I knew she liked Tolle and the fact that I had pretty much stolen him away from her had to hurt. I just wanted her to know that I cared about her. That I would always appreciate her continued friendship despite what could have torn us apart.

The alarm went off then. Murrue's voice came over the loudspeaker. "All authorized personnel, report to battle stations. I repeat, all authorized personnel, report to battle stations. This is not a drill. ZAFT cruisers are in the immediate vicinity."

Miriallia sighed, and then jumped off the top bunk, skipping the ladder entirely. "I'm going to head to the bridge, Cagalli."

"You and Tolle managed to get bridge duty?" I asked, pleasantly surprised.

"Yeah. In fact Sai and I have Mobile Suit duty. So I'm coordinating you, Coordinator."

I sighed. "You just had to say that."

"If I didn't, Tolle would. Now I have to tell him I beat him to it first," Miriallia said, as she took off for the outside. "Good luck, Cagalli."

"Thanks. I'll be ready to go really soon," I replied.

I popped a couple more anti-spacesickness pills and floated down the hallway. I hoped that eventually my body would get used to being weightless and I wouldn't have to keep taking these. Of course, preferably, I wanted to be on Earth as soon as possible, but considering how crappy the last twenty-four hours or so had been, I wasn't counting on such a lucky break.

As I made it to the hangar, I bumped into Lieutenant La Flaga. He seemed to be waiting for me. "Yo."

"Yo yourself."

"I get that a lot. Anyway, Cagalli, you're not going out there alone. The Moebius Zero's been repaired enough to deploy too."

"That's your Mobile Armor, right?"

"Good guess. You're right. What happened is that our attempt to trick the ZAFT by firing a decoy and then floating to Artemis by inertia didn't go according to plan."

"You did say this are ZAFT special forces."

"Had to try. Anyway, here's the plan. You're going to distract them by flying around and acting all GUNDAM-y."

"That sounded wrong."

"I'm aware of that." Mu cleared his throat. "Anyway, I'm going to go after the lead ship, a Nazca-class called the Vesalius. I'm going to destroy it, or at least disable it. That'll hopefully strand all of the Mobile Suits who go after you and the Archangel. Then it's just a matter of outlasting them until we either get to Artemis or they run out of power, whichever comes first."

"Sounds excessively risky. To me."

"We're all risking our lives out there, princess."

"I'm not a princess."

Mu facepalmed. "Also, lighten up when things are directed at you. I noticed you had great fun mocking that one pilot but didn't take it so well when he insulted you."

I couldn't meet his gaze then. I knew what he was saying, and I couldn't argue the point. "I . . . I know."

"You have to learn how to take things in stride, princess."

"I'm not a princess."

"What, you prefer being called a boy instead?"

I gritted my teeth, and bit back my inevitably immature retort. My facial expression had to give away my feelings, though, because Mu said "That's what I thought. You can't let every little thing affect you, especially out there in combat."

"Let's just get this over with," I said.

Mu sighed. "Right. I'll see you soon."

As he floated away, I went up towards the Strike, where, unsurprisingly, Kira was there still messing with the systems.

"You know, prince, unless you feel like being a frozen corpse, you might want to get out of here. I'm launching really soon and they're going to have to let the air out," I said.

Kira nodded. "I know. But I'm just about finished."

"With what?"

"You now have the Launcher Pack installed so you have long-range capability, though I doubt that'll work in this battle. Also, I've tried to make the interface as close to a ZAFT model as much as I can. I'm trying to make this as simple for you to pilot as well."

"Thank you," I said.

Kira smiled. 'Also, I managed to extend your battery life with all three packs just a little bit. It's not much, though. Phase Shift isn't going to last forever."

"I know. I'll be more careful with it this time," I said. "No more panicking and firing like I'm crazy."

"That'll be helpful," Kira said with a smile.

I heard Mu yell from down the hangar. "Look, princess, either marry him or get ready to launch! You're going first!"

Kira sighed. "He's right, you do have to go first. You're the decoy if I remember correctly."

"You're aware of the plan?" I asked.

"I was there when they planned it, so yeah," Kira said. "But I know you'll make it back. You're a good pilot and hopefully everything at your disposal will be enough for you to keep coming back."

"Thank you. I promise."

Kira left the cockpit then, and I sighed as I put the helmet on and activated the systems.

I was not looking forward to this.
***
One thing Kira did successfully was make launching the GUNDAM much easier. Controls still felt a little wonky but they were also an improvement. It didn't feel like it took as many buttons to get what I wanted ready to go. Miriallia also made sure I got the Aile Pack right away, I had a feeling I was going to need this more than the Sword Pack.

The Archangel was firing barrage after barrage at the enemy, which I couldn't quite see. Then Miriallia came on the line again, and it turned out I preferred not knowing what the enemy was.

"Cagalli, they've sent all four GUNDAMs out. It's going to be four on one."

"What? Me against four GUNDAMs?"

"That's right. They are the Duel, Buster, Aegis, and Blitz. Blitz in particular looks nasty, it's got a stealth capability."

"Thanks, Miri. I'll try not to die."

"Just trying to give you a heads-up, Cagalli. I've got your back. By the way, Moebius Zero's launched. Just get their attention so they don't notice Mu sneaking up on them."

"Right. Get their attention." I looked up ahead, and the GUNDAMs were getting really close to the Archangel. That was something I couldn't allow to happen. "Oh, what the hell."

I fired a few random shots at the distant shapes, and suddenly two of them came a lot closer really fast.

Yeah, I had definitely caught their attention.

And guess who was in the lead but the Aegis? And I was being hailed yet again.

There was no hesitation in picking it up this time. I figured that if Athrun was going to talk to me, he wouldn't want his buddies shooting at me any more than I did. After all, he was going to try to recruit me like he did last time.

And yes, there was Athrun. "You're still in that thing."

"I have to be," I said.

"If it's shelter you're looking for, we can provide it, Cagalli. I sitll care about you. I don't want to fight you."

"Good, neither do I. You and your friends get out of here and we'll pretend we're not flying these things," I said.

Athrun sighed. "Cagalli, if you're going to die for shelter you can have with ZAFT . . ."

"I picked up an escape pod, Athrun."

"A what?"

"I picked up an escape pod from Heliopolis. It had my friends inside. I have to protect them, Athrun. They don't deserve to die out here."

"That's an excuse!"

"I don't consider my friends to be an excuse, Athrun! I will protect them and that's final!"

Athrun fell silent. Then I heard a harsh voice pop up on his com. "Athrun, stop talking to your fake Natural-loving girlfriend and get out of the way."

[i]"Yzak, I-"


"Stop being a coward. She's fighting for the Naturals, Athrun! Now let me accomplish our objective!"

Suddenly, I saw the Duel charge past the Aegis. That must be "Yzak".

I heard Athrun shout Yzak, wait!"

I had no choice. I opened fire on the Duel as it charged me, and I forced it to back off. But then I found myself being surrounded by the other two GUNDAMs, Blitz and Buster. They had left the Archangel and had decided to join in on the fun of knocking Athrun's "Natural-loving fake girlfriend" around.

I was already becoming surrounded.

But here came the Aegis. It had transformed into a Mobile Armor, and I uncomfortably noted that it looked like a massive pincer now.

I was in trouble.

I shot at them all over and over as I forced them to keep away from me. I heard Athrun shout at me "Cagalli, please! I don't want you to get killed! Stop shooting at us!"

"Forget it, Athrun!"

"I still remember the park ,Cagalli! I still remember it!"

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"I am not losing my best friend to this war! Not now!" Athrun yelled.

I was so sick and tired of him yelling at me that I just shot at the Aegis out of annoyance. Athrun yelped in surprise, and I got a small hint of satisfaction out of that.

Buster fired at me, and I barely got out of the way in time. I nearly shot at it next, but the Duel was making another saber charge. I shot at "Yzak" again and the Duel had to back off, lest he eat a barrage.

The targeting system was a lot better than before. I was shooting with accuracy, and it was only the skill of the pilots that were preventing me from causing any real damage. Kira really had been working hard on this thing for me. I made a mental note to myself that if I survived this, this required more than a simple "thank you". This was entering "give him a gift" territory.

I heard Mu on the com. "Got 'em, Cagalli! The Vesalius has been hit! I'm on my way back, just try to hold out!"

"Easier said than done," I growled, and opened fire on them all, even Athrun.

I didn't want to shoot at Athrun. But I was uncomfortably realizing that the pincer was just big enough to grab a GUNDAM. I had the feeling that Athrun's plan was to carry me away from the Archangel and back towards his ship.

The Blitz turned invisible then. The stealth technology, which I learned later was called "Mirage Celloid", was doing a good job at hiding the Blitz's presence, it looked like any other part of the starry surroundings. I fired madly where the Blitz had vanished, and, much to my surprise, the Blitz reappeared into view, smoking, and the Phase Shift Armor only now turning on.

"Good job, Cagalli!" Miriallia yelled. "Natarle says that the Blitz can't use Phase Shift in stealth mode! Good thinking!"

The truth was that I wasn't thinking, I was already on the edge of outright panic. But the Blitz seemed to want to retreat, which had to be a good sign. Making things three-on-one would greatly increase my odds of survival.

I was down to less than fifty percent in energy after just ten minutes of fighting. I couldn't keep this up all day.

Suddenly, Athrun slammed into me from behind, and I was indeed enveloped by the Aegis' pincers. I tried to struggle, but Athrun would not let go.

Athrun spoke then. "Cagalli, stop fighting. This way, you don't have to worry about your friends at all. You can surrender with dignity."

"You think me being carried away from you is dignified? What the hell did your father do to your brain?" I snapped.

"I still remember the park, Cagalli."

"Oh yeah?"

"You remember it too, don't you?"

I bit my lip. "I do."

"Then you must understand why I can't let you do this. We can fight together, Cagalli. I will vouch for you. You will be happy here. I promise."

I wanted to believe him. He had been my friend since kindergarten. But I thought about Tolle, and Miriallia, and every single Orb citizen onboard the Archangel, and I knew I could not abandon them.

"Miri, can the Phase Shift take the Aile Pack blowing up?"

"What?" Miriallia cried.

Natarle stepped in then. "It theoretically can but it'll falter really fast afterwards. Disconnect from the Aile Pack the moment you set it to blow."

"Get the Sword Pack ready to launch. I'm going to blow the Aile Pack and try to get out of here. It's my only chance."

I heard a brief pause, and then Natarle said "If it's the only way. Do it."

I was about to hit it when the Moebius Zero blasted Athrun from behind.

He cried out, and the jolt sent me spiraling out of the Aegis' grasp. The Strike's warning systems were going off, I had taken damage, but it was still operable. More importantly, I had damaged the Blitz and now the Aegis was damaged too. But the cost of that was that my battery was close to toast, I had wasted so much power struggling in the Aegis' grasp that I was down to five percent.

I flew for my life, the Buster shooting at me wildly and the Duel in rapid pursuit, as the Aegis smoked wildly. I saw the Blitz power towards the Aegis, presumably to check on Athrun.

I heard Athrun whisper to me then. "Cagalli, nothing will make me stop caring."

That made me freeze. "What?"

That's when Buster hit me. And took out the rest of my Phase Shift with it.

The Duel was coming right for me. And my heart stopped.

I was going to die.

This wasn't how I wanted to die. I wanted to die of old age in some bed somewhere, not getting impaled and melting or god-knows what happens to people who get skewered by a GUNDAM sword.

Then the Duel was hit hard by a barrage. And I heard Mu's voice. "You all right, princess?"

"I'm fine, and I'm not a princess," I whispered.

Mu sighed. ]i]"You know, a 'thank you' could suffice."[/i]

Murrue spoke then. "Cagalli, we've launched a Sword Pack. Install your battery, hurry!"

I saw the Sword Pack coming, and accelerated my dying Mobile Suit right towards it. The Duel recovered from Mu's barrage enough to try to rush me again. It knew what I was doing and wanted to prevent it by all means. Mu, for his part, kept Buster and Blitz from interfering by being a general nuisance. The Aegis, for its part, seemed to be retreating out of the battle.

I installed the Sword Pack right as the Duel was aout to cleave me in half.

"Go away!"

I sliced the Duel's left arm off in one swift motion.

The Duel froze, as if stunned by what I had done.

I had no choice. Athrun's wingman or not, I had to kill "Yzak" or "Isaac" or whatever his name was in order to survive. But as I aimed to stab him in the torso, the Blitz had managed to get by Mu and took a few shots at me. The Phase Shift absorbed them, but the Blitz had distracted me enough for the Duel to pull back.

Then the Blitz retreated as well, acting as rearguard while the other GUNDAMs blasted away. It occurred to me that they had to have limited battery lives as well. I wasn't the only one running with limited energy. They could use theirs up just as quickly as I could.

I was going to live.

All at once, it felt like I had rejoined reality. I was gasping for air, like I had held my breath for that entire battle without realizing it. I noticed my face was soaked in sweat, so much so that it was dripping on my helmet. It was all stress, not because of work. I'm in zero gravity, so my arms and legs weren't tired at all. But the sheer stress had left me feeling like I had run a marathon.

I heard Mu's voice. "We did good work, kid. Now let's head back. I don't think Le Creuset is going to be in any mood for a round two."

I didn't like being called "kid" that much but it was better than "princess". "Right, Lieutenant."

I hoped he was right. I wasn't in the mood for a "round two" either.
***
The first thing I did after landing the damaged Strike was to march (and float) to my sleeping quarters and collapse. The first two fights I had were mere warm-ups. That had been the real thing. War in all of its ambiguity and horror.

Who knew how badly I had hurt Athrun. Who knew how long it would be before ZAFT attacked us again?

I just wanted to sleep. Sleep and forget everything I had done.

But it was impossible. I had nearly made another a big mistake. One that could've killed Athrun. I had been about to blow the Aile Pack right in Athrun's face. That could've killed him.

And his last words to me hinted that he still loved me.

If this was calculated to make me conflicted, he had a good plan. I was conflicted. Realizing you're loved by a friend-turned-enemy does that to you. At least, that was my impression of Athrun. It seemed he had never quite let me go when we went our separate ways back at the academy.

For a girl so often called a boy, whether by genuine accident or by harmful teasing, why was I attractive to two actual boys? Why was Athrun so obsessed with getting me back? And why did Tolle care for me when the more feminine Miriallia Haw was right there? She was a normal girl. It was becoming rapidly clear that I wasn't.

Miriallia entered the room then. "Oh, so there you are. You kinda took off on us."

"I'm tired. Close the door."

Miriallia sighed as she closed it. "Tolle's worried about you, you know. He doesn't understand why you'd just take off."

"I'll tell him I'm sorry later," I promised. "I just need to crash for a little bit. I'm tired, exhausted, and terrified."

"You, terrified?"

"You would be too if you were in my position," I said.

Miriallia chuckled. "Yeah, most likely. Everybody's shaken up even though the Archangel didn't do a ton of fighting. You and Mu took care of all of the fighting, but everyone's a bunch of nerves. Especially civilians like us who volunteered."

"That doesn't surprise me," I said. "I doubt any of the civilians have military experience. This is new to them."

There was a brief silence. "I think you got through to the skeptics, though. A lot of civilians were talking about you. They know how brave you're being."

"That's nice. Now they won't actively despise my existence," I replied.

Miriallia sighed. "There you go. You're old Cagalli already."

"Sorry."

The ship rocked briefly. "What's going on?" I asked.

"Must be getting pretty close to Artemis," Miriallia said. "We weren't far away from it when we escaped. Maybe we're docking with the base already."

"Good. So maybe the base can figure out a way to let all of us go," I said.

"That would be nice," Miriallia said. "I think all of the volunteers have had enough of the military for a lifetime."

I heard cloth flaps then, and I finally turned to look at Miriallia. She smiled as she showed off an Earth Alliance women's uniform in her hands. It was violet, as per standard for a noncommissioned female in the fleet, but had a normal skirt akin to Murrue's and Natarle's in that it went down to the knees. This was opposed to the black miniskirt Miriallia was wearing.

"Found a uniform for you to wear, finally," she said.

"Thank you," I said, relieved. I quickly changed out of my pilot's uniform to the normal uniform and promptly collapsed onto the bed again. "God, now I definitely feel like a soldier."

"We all do," Miriallia said. "We're bored out of our minds until something happens."

"And we prefer boredom over something happening," I said.

"True."

There was a knock on the door, and a male voice I've never heard before shouted, in a German accent, "Is anyone in there? Open up? This is Earth Alliance Artemis personnel!"

"No point in hiding," Miriallia said. "Besides, they said they're from Artemis, right?"

"Yeah, go ahead," I said.

Miriallia walked right up to the door, and let it slide open.

And promptly got a gun pointed directly at her face.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:13 am 
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Pilot's Doomed Girlfriend

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I didn't notice any blaring mistakes in this one, which is a great thing! :mrgreen:

Still liking the story. I see that Athrun is being all tragic within himself, but Cagalli's not taking it. Will this turn him into an obsessive emo? Nobody knows (except for you... maybe)!

BUT WHY THE VESALIUS? jk

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*insert witty eyecatch here*


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen
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Natarle sure is agreeable here compared to the show. I like it >.>

Cagalli + OMNI Uniform is a winning combo


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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:06 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Rob DS Zeta wrote:
I didn't notice any blaring mistakes in this one, which is a great thing! :mrgreen:

Still liking the story. I see that Athrun is being all tragic within himself, but Cagalli's not taking it. Will this turn him into an obsessive emo? Nobody knows (except for you... maybe)!

BUT WHY THE VESALIUS? jk


I did say Athrun's relationship with Cagalli is different than Kira's. It's more personal now between the two, even though Cagalli doesn't realize it yet.

The Vesalius got damaged in canon and I had to go damage it again, that's why. XD

Thanks for reading.

The Green Flame wrote:
Natarle sure is agreeable here compared to the show. I like it >.>

Cagalli + OMNI Uniform is a winning combo


Natarle isn't supposed to be that agreeable, I don't know how that keeps happening. XD I'm glad you enjoy her, though.

What the heck do the Japanese characters say on the picture? Though I should mention that Cagalli's uniform does NOT have the miniskirt. She's basically wearing the same type of skirt that Murrue and Natarle wear, except that it's violet.

Sorry, Cagalli is not getting into fanservice situations like that picture. XD

Thanks for reading!

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:50 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Location: Illinois, USA
Chapter Eight: Indestructible

Miriallia flung up her hands instantly. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I'm on your side!"

The German-accented trooper cocked an eyebrow. "Oh? Then what's your rank, fraulein? Where your decorations?"

"Uh . . . fine. My friend and I are Orb-"

"Don't care, fraulein. Move it, both of you. Cafeteria."

Miriallia looked at me helplessly, and I shrugged my shoulders. "Guess Artemis feels cranky today."

The German-accented trooper made sure we went exactly where he wanted to go. I tried to distract him, though, by attempting my own German. And in case it isn't obvious, I've translated what was said into the language you're reading.

"What's going on, uh, sergeant?"

"Oh? You speak German?"

"I speak it pretty well."

"Standard security measures, girl. That's all you need to know," he said haughtily.

"Standard security measures?" I repeated.

He frowned at me. "Stupid girl, of course these are standard security measures! Artemis is the most invincible base in orbit around the Earth! We can't let it be captured by infiltration from within! Now cooperate without complaining!"

"I'm not complaining, I'm just asking questions."

"And I'm sick of answering your questions. Now keep moving. We're almost there."

Miriallia gave me an odd look. "You actually paid attention in German class?"

"Yes. Glad to know I can still speak it okay."

"Not like it was any help," Miriallia said.

"Yeah, I know," I sighed.

We wound up in the cafeteria, and much to my surprise, a lot of people were crammed inside. It looked like every enlisted man, along with most of the civilians, were all stuck in here, and there were guards everywhere.

"Inside," the sergeant said. "Now."

"Yes," I said, and both Miriallia and I entered the cafeteria and moved towards our small circle of friends and Flay.

Tolle gave me a lopsided smile. "I was wondering when they were gonna catch you."

"Wasn't even trying to hide," I said as I sat down in the seat in front of Tolle.

"What's going on?" Miriallia asked.

Sai folded his hands. "The guy in command of Artemis is basically making sure we are who we say we are. He thinks there's a chance that we're an infiltration team sent by ZAFT to undermine Artemis' defenses."

"Is he nuts?" I asked. "Artemis had to have seen us fight the ZAFT forces just hours ago."

"If they did," Sai said grimly, "I don't think they don't care either way."

"Why?" I asked.

"Something seems wrong about these guys," Tolle said. "They're acting like we're the enemy."

One of the petty officers spoke, I recognized his voice immediately. "The problem is that we don't have an identification code. We weren't meant to launch yet so we never got one. If we had one, this mess would've been cleaned up pretty fast."

"You're Petty Officer Pal," I said.

"Petty Officer Romero Pal," he said. "This guy next to me is Petty Officer Jackie Tonomura. Both 2nd Class, by the way. We serve on the bridge crew."

Kuzzey looked around. "They got us all herded together, except for the two officer women and that pilot guy."

"You mean Lieutenant Ramius, Ensign Badgiruel, and Lieutenant La Flaga, respectively," I said.

"Yeah, them," Kuzzey said. "You notice they're not here either? Wonder where they took them."

"We got separated from them," Romero Pal said. "I don't know where they went. They could be anywhere for all I know."

"They were taken off the ship," Kira said.

"Oh, you're here too?" I asked.

"They didn't recognize me," Kira said. "And I'd prefer if things stayed that way."

He handed me a small sheet of paper then. He whispered "Memorize it and destroy it."

"You know where they were taken?" Jackie Tonomura asked, his face skeptical.

"Yeah," Kira said. "They're being taken off the ship to some room inside the base. The commanding officer of Artemis is going to be interviewing them. Make sure they check out."

"Oh, so this might be only temporary," Sai said.

"Yeah. Key word is 'might'," Kira said. "You guys are right when you're saying something's off about this base. They're too confident in its protections, and are too paranoid of outsiders to be of any real use to the Earth Alliance. Artemis just kind of sits here, doing absolutely nothing besides being an impregnable fortress."

"How impregnable is it?" Kuzzey asked.

Kira shook his head. "I have no clue. Now, I'm going to head over to the rest of the civilians and try to blend in with them. Don't blow my cover. The last thing we need is them knowing they have an Orb prince on-board. Who knows what they'll do then?"

He walked away towards the other side of the room, where the civilians were.

"He's kinda cute," Flay said suddenly.

"How can you be thinking about boys at a time like this?" Miriallia asked.

"I'm just saying he's cute! Is that a crime?" Flay asked.

Romero Pal gave her a look. "You are aware we're in a life-and-death situation, possibly."

Flay looked down. "I just . . . I just don't want to think about that, okay?"

"What? You want to think everything's just roses and butterflies?" Kuzzey asked.

"Hey, leave her alone," Sai said. "I think we want all things to be normal again, don't we all agree with that?"

"I guess," Kuzzey said.

I took a moment to read the paper Kira had handed me. It was frantic scribbling, scarcely legible, I guess penmanship was something Kira hadn't received tutoring in. But I understood after a couple of read-throughs.

Cagalli, as we approached Artemis Lt. La Flaga suggested that you and I put a lock on the O.S. so that way only you can use it. I couldn't find you so I placed a fifty-character lock on it by myself. It's displayed below. Memorize the lock and then destroy it once you do.

I wondered if Kira thought I was some kind of machine. Did he really think I could memorize all of this? I read it over and over and finally managed to memorize half of it before something caught my attention.

I looked over to where the civilians were, and I saw a young girl crying by herself. She wasn't making any noise, just trembling and struggling to hold in tears.

I hesitated, but it seemed everyone else was caught up in their own conversations to notice. Or were looking at the guards nervously, as if the guards would aim their guns at any second and kill every single person in the room at a moment's notice.

I sighed softly. Miriallia looked at me. "Is something wrong, Cagalli?"

"I need to go for a little bit," I said, and I left the table and walked over to the civilians. Out of the corner of my right eye, I saw the guards' eyes following my movements. I had a feeling that if I did the wrong thing, whatever it was, I'd be in a lot of trouble. A lot of trouble. As in "imminent death" trouble.

Kira was wrong. The worst thing that could happen was me being revealed as a Coordinator. How well would these paranoid fanatics take that revelation? Would they kill me? Or try to use me until I had nothing left to give?

At the same time, I had survived one act of altruism so far. Even though it involved piloting a giant robot to survive me letting Tolle and Miriallia take my seat, I had survived it. Why not push my luck again?

I knelt down by the little girl, who was still being ignored by the crowd. "Are you okay?"

She had brown hair trussed up into twin ponytails on the side of her head. She couldn't be older than six or seven. Her teary eyes looked at me. "I-I guess."

"Do you have a mom?"

"My mom's somewhere on this ship. They haven't found her yet," the child said.

"Why?" I asked.

"She volunteered for a tur, a turrat, a-"

"A turret?"

"Yeah. That's what it's called. A missile turret right after the battle. She was inspired to fight by the girl who flew that GUNDAM thing. The girl who-"

She looked at me, and her eyes widened. "You're the girl who's protecting us."

I smiled. "I am. But I don't want to let the guards know, okay? They're kinda creepy-looking."

"I hope they didn't kill my mom," the girl said.

"I know they didn't," I said. "They're on our side. They're not going to hurt your mom, I promise."

"Then why don't you want them to know you've been protecting us?" the girl asked.

I chuckled softly, nervously. "Because I'm a Coordinator, remember?"

"Oh yeah. Coordinators are the bad guys." She paused. "Except you. You're nice."

I sighed. "Thanks."

"What's your name?"

"Cagalli. Yours?"

"Melanie."

"I'm not the only nice Coordinator, you know. There's many nice Coordinators."

"I don't get it."

"You'll understand when you get older," I said with a sigh. The concept of "shades of gray" are beyond most little kids' minds at this time. It's not until they're at least nine when they finally understand that good people can be on the enemy's side. Until they get older, they don't quite realize that the "bad guys" aren't always "bad guys".

"That's what my mom always says," Melanie said.

"She's telling you the truth. You will understand," I said. "Your mom's job is to help you understand, along with a lot of other things. "

"I thought that was school's job," Melanie said innocently.

"School doesn't always explain everything right."

"Like math?"

"Unfortunately, math is one thing school tells you right," I replied.

"Dang."

"I know. I felt the same way."

"Then what is Mom supposed to help me understand?"

I paused. "Not everything's in black and white."

"What's that mean?"

"Not everything's good and evil. 'Black' is often used as an 'evil' color, and 'white' is used as a 'good' color. It's a metaphor."

"What's a metaphor?"

It dawned on me that I was not ready to raise a child. "A saying. An example. Good and evil colors don't apply to people. It's just an example of what's good and what's evil."

"Oh." Melanie's face scrunched up in thought. "I don't get it."

"You'll understand when you're older."

"Old people are confusing."

"Yes, they are. Wait, are you calling me old?"

"You sound almost as old as Mom."

I'm turning seventeen in three months."

"You sound old."

"Thanks, Melanie."

She did understand sarcasm. She looked down, and I could see she was still hurting. "Sorry."

Now I felt self-conscious. I know my voice is husky, there's no getting around that. I don't smoke or drink, my voice just turned out that way. But I had never been told that my voice sounded "old" before. But I could not bring myself to yell at the kid. She was so young. If I were a couple of years older, she'd be young enough to be my daughter. Why should I yell at her for her saying I sounded old?

I wrapped my arm around her. "It's all right. I'm not angry at you. Just . . . I'm not old, okay?"

"When is someone old?"

"That's for you to decide."

"Well, I think you're old."

I sighed. "Thanks, Melanie."

This time she smiled. I could not hate that smile. It was too cute.

"Are you going to keep protecting us?" she asked all of a sudden.

"Yeah. As long as we're stuck on this ship I'll keep protecting us. I'll protect everyone. It's what I have to do. I have friends onboard, and I promised the military people I would."

"Are you going to get killed?"

"I won't."

"Promise?"

"Of course I promise." I knew I was gambling here, but Melanie needed reassurance. Doesn't every small child? It didn't help she seemed to be the only child onboard in the crowd of adults. Didn't anybody have children anymore? Or did they send the children to their own escape pods? Or, more worryingly, did they take seats and leave their children to fend for themselves?

It was paranoia motivating me, but all of a sudden I wanted to protect this girl.

Suddenly, three more people were shoved inside, one of them was a woman. Melanie immediately stood up. "Mommy!"

"Melanie!" The woman ran over, and I quietly stepped aside to let them have their reunion.

I put my hands in my uniform pockets and prepared to walk away when I heard Melanie say "Of course I'm okay! Cagalli kept me company!"

"Cagalli?" the woman asked. I turned around, and I saw her. She was a pretty young woman, her hair much longer than Melanie's, and she struck me as a schoolteacher-type. Very conservative and kind-looking.

Her eyes widened. "You're the . . ." She bit her lip as she knew better than to say it out loud. "Thank you."

"No problem," I said. "She's a good girl. I think I might've confused her about a few things, though."

"It's all right," she said. "It's the thought that counts."

Before she could continue, someone else entered the room. I saw all of the decorations and medals across his chest, and I realized he was a higher-up in the Earth Alliance. Someone very important.

I carefully walked over to the table where my friends and Flay were waiting. I could see his eyes scanning the room, and I made sure to make myself invisible by sitting by Miriallia. I was in the back of the room, hidden by many people, so hopefully he wouldn't notice me.

He announced himself. His voice was harsh, deep. Very commanding and intimidating, but also a little smarmy. I could tell something was wrong already with the guy, and that none of us could trust him. "I am Rear-Admiral Garcia, Commandant of the Eurasian Federation Artemis Base. I would like to reassure you all of this base's security. The umbrella shield is impenetrable from enemy attack. You all will be safe here."

Garcia paused. "I have spoken to your commanding officers. They are safe. However, I have noticed an important personnel member is missing. Strike's pilot. I'd like to take a look at the Strike GUNDAM and I need the pilot and the mechanic to do it."

My heart began to pound against my chest. Please don't notice me, please don't notice me, I kept thinking.

One of the hangar bay crew, Murdoch, walked over by us. I could tell he was going to make sure I didn't reveal myself. The look in his eyes suggested that revealing myself would be a very bad idea.

Garcia scanned the room. Then he finally approached the chief petty officer, the helmsman, whose name was Arnold Neumann. "Well? Who's the Strike Pilot, chief petty officer?"

"Mu La Flaga is the pilot of the Strike GUNDAM, sir," Neumann said. His dark eyes did not waver and his voice was controlled. The man was a good liar.

Garcia didn't buy it. "Video footage shows the Moebius Zero in combat, Chief Petty Officer. The Zero's movements are something only the Hawk of Endymion himself is capable of. So that means the Strike's pilot is not him, and the pilot is in this room hiding among the noncommissioned and civilians."

"Then you have no business here," Neumann said. "We're supposed to be allies here. We are all noncommissioned, civilians, and volunteers here."

"I have no interest in obstructionism." Garcia shoved him out of the way. "Well? Stand up, Strike pilot? Where are you?"

I actually began to shake, and Tolle reached under the table to hold my hands. I looked at him, and he nodded solemnly. I relaxed, and tried to breathe. It was hard for me not to panic in this situation, when I could be outed at any moment by any person here.

Clearly, something was wrong.

Suddenly, Garcia got an evil grin, and walked right up to our table. "Well, since the captain's a woman, maybe the pilot is a woman too! Who says feminism is dead?"

And he grabbed Miriallia and pulled her to her feet. Murdoch grabbed my shoulder but I shook him off.

Garcia leered at Miriallia. "Well? Are you the-"

I punched him in the face.

The room fell silent as Garcia laid on the floor, his right hand holding his cheek. He spat, and I took satisfaction in seeing a couple of teeth come out with some blood. I had hit him with every amount of strength I had, hard enough that the knuckles in my left hand were stinging. Punching bone did that.

Miriallia just stared at me in shock. I said "No one touches my best friend. That's final."

Garcia pointed at me. "Rough her up. I don't tolerate insolence."

Two guards approached me. One of them smiled maliciously. "I don't like hitting girls, but I'll make an exception. You're almost a man anyway."

"Well, I like hitting girls," I said. "How about we make this more fun for me? Let's both be girls."

I think you know where I kicked him.

The next guard just gawked at me before I threw him to the floor. I calmly disarmed him, but before I could so much as aim the weapon I heard a pistol's hammer being cocked, and I heard Garcia.

"That's it. You've made a fool out of us long enough. You so much as make a movement I don't like, this is going through your head. Now drop the gun."

I did.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"A Coordinator," Flay said. "She's a Coordinator."

Every Artemis soldier in the room gasped, and I could feel my face turn red as I spun towards her. "You stupid bitch-"

Before I could move, Garcia grabbed my shoulder. I almost hit him again, but more guards were by him, and all of them were aiming their guns at me. I stood no chance in hell.

"A Coordinator? What's a Coordinator doing here on the Archangel? If it weren't for you manhandling my soldiers I almost wouldn't believe it."

"What do you want?" I asked.

Garcia chuckled. "I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot. Are you Strike's pilot, girl?"

"Yes. My name is Cagalli Yamato."

"Huh. You don't look like a 'Yamato' to me. You don't look Asian enough."

I very nearly punched him again, my immedate death be damned. Instead, I swallowed my aggression and said, through clenched teeth, "I was adopted."

"Oh. Now it makes sense. Turn around," Garcia said.

I did. Garcia nodded as he looked at me up and down. "A Coordinator who's betrayed her own kind. You don't see that every day. You are quite the unique catch, Cagalli Yamato."

"I believe the PLANTs are ruled by a military dictatorship, or close enough," I said. "I have no interest in fighting for a military-ruled government."

Garcia laughed. "Everyone is ruled by a military government these days."

"And like I said, I have no interest in fighting for a military government," I replied.

"But you do fight for it. You're flying the Strike."

"I am fighting for my friends and all of the civilians onboard," I said.

"How noble." Garcia took his pistol and shot Tolle in the shoulder.

Tolle screamed, and I spun to see blood erupting from his wound. "Tolle!"

"That's for embarrassing me and my soldiers," Garcia said. "A worse fate will happen to you if you disobey my instructions. Have I made myself clear?"

It took every bit of self-control I had not to deck Garcia and try to kill him at the cost of my own life. Tolle meant the world to me. After so many years of being called a boy, a man, a tomboy, a spitfire, and a dike, having an actual boy take interest in me was heartening. Tolle had a reputation for liking tomboys but I didn't care. With Tolle, I felt like I could be myself. I could be proud of myself and who I was. I was Cagalli Yamato and happy to be Cagalli Yamato.

When I looked at Garcia, I wanted to kill him. I thought of ten ways to break his neck, or, hell, rip his bulldog-like face off. I wanted to set him on fire, to drown him, to throw him into the vacuum of outer space. As sudden hot tears blurred my vision, my wish for him to die seemed to be coming true because he seemed to be dissolving before my eyes. But as I blinked, the illusion of him melting into nothingness faded, and there he was, as cocky and confident as ever.

Reason fought its way into my head before I did to him what I did to Miguel. What would I get from punching Garcia a few more times before I was gunned down? What would happen to everyone else? I couldn't think about myself only. I had the responsibility of everyone onboard this ship.

And if they knew Tolle was my biggest weak point instead of just being a weak point . . .

Everything would just get worse. Not just for him, but for me. I couldn't accept that.

"Yes," I said, making sure that Garcia heard the trembling, boiling anger in my voice. I wanted him to know how hurt and angry I was, and at a moment's notice I would bring my wrath upon him.

But it seemed to have the opposite effect of what I wanted. He seemed to relish how angry and pained I was over Tolle being shot. He was on a power trip. He thought he had me under his heel and he could crush me like an insect. He seemed to think he was every bit of indestructible as his base, his missing teeth nonwithstanding. "Good. Now, I need you to take at the Strike's O.S. for me. My technicians can't quite figure it out. Maybe you can."

I thought about looking for Kira for help, but the Rear-Admiral hadn't noticed him yet, and Kira left the impression of making himself scarce in this room. My eyes couldn't find him anywhere. Whether he was hiding or was strategically placing himself behind taller people I couldn't be sure, but I just plain could not find him. I gave up after a few glances, if I looked at the civilians for too long Garcia would get suspicious, and then he would find Kira.

And things would just get from bad to worse.

"Sure," I said.

Garcia's dark smile got even wider. "Excellent. We will have quite the mutually beneficial relationship, Cagalli Yamato."

I'm sure we will. Only the 'mutually beneficial' part applies to you.

But I reluctantly walked out of the cafeteria, leaving Tolle, Miriallia, and everyone else behind . . . at the mercy of someone willing to shoot my friends.

What was going to happen to me?

I couldn't help but feel that I wasn't going to like it.

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:51 am 
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I forgot how stupid Flay was in early Seed :/

Good chapter though.


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:52 pm 
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The Green Flame wrote:
I forgot how stupid Flay was in early Seed :/

Good chapter though.


Had to keep something consistent, and that's Flay's stupidity. XD But she'll get smarter, and . . . let's just say Cagalli was far happier when Flay was stupid. *dramatic music*

Thankis! Hope you enjoy part two of Artemis next Monday!

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:39 am 
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@_@ Can't say that I read the whole thing *this is my least favorite phase in the show*, but what I did read was really good.

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*insert witty eyecatch here*


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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Rob DS Zeta wrote:
@_@ Can't say that I read the whole thing *this is my least favorite phase in the show*, but what I did read was really good.


Figures that I'd turn the episode you liked the least into a two-parter. XD Oh well, hope you enjoy the next chapter too in spite of that.

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:44 am 
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Chapter Nine: Stupefy

It wasn't very long until I saw the Strike. Garcia smiled knowingly as he looked up at it. "It's a magnificent machine. You should feel honored to use it."

"I killed three people using that thing," I replied. "I'm not proud of it at all."

"You were proud of knocking two of my teeth out," he said pointedly. "I saw the smug look on your face. You like being dominant. You like resorting to violence. You make high-minded speeches about not fighting for military governments and putting up a pacifistic exterior. The truth is, you are a natural soldier. A little more battle-hardening and you'd be damn close to perfect."

"Am I supposed to be proud of that analysis?" I asked him.

Garcia smiled knowingly, though he didn't show any teeth. "You have no idea how valuable you are, Ms. Yamato. You are a Coordinator who has sided with the Earth Alliance. The Eurasian Federation will set you up for life if you fly this machine for the EF. I even guarantee it."

"I'm not interested," I said.

"Is that about that boy I shot?" he asked.

My lips trembled as I bit back the venomous words I wanted to scream. My body trembled as I forced myself not to move against him. I was making it obvious it was about Tolle, but I knew I couldn't fight Garcia. Not with all of these men with guns on me.

Knowing how obvious I had made my feelings, I said "I really wish we were alone, Commandant. Then I'd show you how much it is about 'that boy you shot'."

Garcia just chuckled. "You are a spitfire, aren't you? That's all right. A little aggression is excellent in young pilots." He was not taking me seriously at all. He felt invincible with his gun-toting men surrounding him, the same way everyone in Artemis felt they were safe because of the umbrella shield.

I thought about Kira's lock code, hidden inside a uniform pocket. I could not even indicate that I had something like that. The moment I unlocked the O.S. they would no longer need me, despite what Garcia was saying. No one was going to trust a Coordinator, just because Coordinators were the enemy.

"I don't plan on being a pilot," I said.

Garcia just gave me a look. "Of course not. You can be a military contractor."

"I don't want to be that either."

"You can design dozens of these operating systems. Or these Mobile Suits. You could jump-start your own factory in the Eurasian Federation. Become a subsidy of Adukov."

"I told you, I have no interest in any of that. I'm just trying to get back home to Orb," I said.

Garcia sighed. "Fine. You have plenty of time to change your mind, after you unlock the O.S. Get to it, and after I pay the base dentist a visit, I'll put your . . . transgression behind me."

"Uh huh." I paused, and then an evil thought came to my mind. I decided to screw with Garcia's head one more time before I went up to the cockpit. I had to use stalling tactics anyway, and this would work as one.

"How safe do you think Artemis is?"

"Quite safe, with the umbrella shield."

"Is the shield always on?"

"It automatically switches off when all enemy ships is beyond a certain point, to conserve power."

"Oh, so it switches off."

Garcia leered at me. "What are you telling me, civilian?"

"Too bad it can't stay on forever. Then this place would truly be impregnable. But it can switch off. Any long-range weapon or a stealth craft could cause an incalculable amount of damage in a short time while the shield is on."

Garcia stared.

I smiled ever so innocently. "I have a feeling that the only reason ZAFT hasn't already tried to wipe you guys out is because this base has never been strategically important. I mean, what harm is there in letting a tiny out-of-the-way base persist if it is a purely defensive weapon? But guess what? This base has become strategically important. And ZAFT will attack, by either waiting until there is no power remaining for the shield, or while you guys have relaxed your defenses. And considering what they did to my colony with a handful of soldiers, they will kick your ass."

Garcia looked like he wanted to throttle me, but he held back. He knew what I had done to him already.

I waved at him nonchalantly. "Pleasant dreams tonight, Commandant."

He just turned around, mouthing my words to himself sarcastically. He loved me, I could tell.

I was out of stalling tactics, though, so all I could do was climb up to the GUNDAM and climb inside the cockpit and pretend to be busy. They quickly posted a guard by the cockpit, and when I tried to close the hatch, the guard pointed his gun at me. "Bad idea, princess."

"I'm not a princess."

"You get the point!"

I sighed. "Yeah, I guess so."

I pretended to forget my unlock code, and so ran a scanner to pick up the numbers and letters. As the unlocking scanner would take hours, if not entire days, to capture every digit, I had bought myself at least some time to come up with a plan. I could tell by Garcia's face, though, that I was really pushing my luck. A couple of hours of being "insolent", as he and others have called me, and he would come up here and find out what I was up to.

And eventually, they would search me and discover the unlock code. And no amount of pretending to be stupid would save me.

Not only that, but the writing wasn't mine. It was Kira's. All they needed was to make me write something by hand and they'd discover that someone else had written the code down. And then they'd search for Kira, and, most likely, find him.

How bad could things get if Kira, a prince of Orb, was found hiding onboard this ship? It was already a lucky break that someone hadn't either outed him or recognized him.

What I needed was a distraction. I needed something to get their attention off of me and onto something else. But there was no way for me to create a distraction. If I tried to knock the guard away and close the cockpit, there was a strong chance I could get shot. And who knew what would happen to everyone else on the Archange? I had limited power, and limited weaponry. I'd be handing everyone over to ZAFT on a platter.

I had counted on Garcia leaving to check up on the umbrella shield. Despite being rattled by my words, he wasn't budging from this spot. I needed him to leave so everyone would settle down and fall into complacency. But, again, what could I do? If I rose up, I'd have nowhere to go but ZAFT and everyone here would be screwed over.

That was when what seemed to be an earthquake rattled the entire base around us, sending stuff crashing to the ground and leaving everyone struggling to stay on their feet.

The guard spun around to look at what everyone was doing. I nearly kicked him out of the way right then and there, but I needed to be sure. I realized that if this was an enemy attack I'd have my opportunity to get out of this mess.

I had never been so eager to go to war in my life.

I could hear Garcia. "This is the Commandant? What the hell's going on? I demand to know the cause of these tremors!"

I couldn't hear the reply, but Garcia shouted "Obviously this is a long-range bombardment! Turn the shield on!"

The explosions just seemed to get worse. I realized this had to be the GUNDAM Blitz. The one who had turned invisible in my fight. Single-handedly he was exposing Artemis' true weakness: an inability to defend against an infiltrator with stealth technology.

When Garcia bellowed "What do you mean the shield's destroyed?" I knew I had my only chance. I had my excuse to deny him the Strike, to deny him the intricate knowledge of this brand new Mobile Suit.

To deny him any sort of reward for shooting Tolle.

I kicked the guard out of the way and immediately slammed the cockpit shut. I now had a limited supply of air, which meant I had to clear the way for the Archangel quickly before I died of asphyxiation. I yanked out Kira's sheet of paper, stopped the scanner-unlocking, and yanked out the keyboard and imputed Kira's unlock code.

He was right, it needed to be more complicated. The scanner had already discovered twenty of the fifty digits.

The guard was pounding on my door, but it was too late. I turned the Strike on and manually ordered the Sword Pack to attach to the Strike.

I marched on, secretly hoping I'd trample Garcia, but no such luck, he was bellowing within seconds through some kind of intercom. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

I turned on the Strike's loudspeaker. "We are under enemy attack! I don't have time for this crap!"

I activated the Phase Shift and launched the Strike out of the Archangel and into the port. I needed to find whatever enemy existed, whether it was Blitz, the Duel, Buster, or even Athrun, and get them out of the way.

As I flew off, I knew Garcia had to be shouting the order to stop me, unless he was smart enough to realize that the Strike was his only chance of saving Artemis. I saw Mobile Armors taking off all over the port, but they hardly made it more than a few feet before they were blasted out of existence by rifle shots.

I turned, and there was Blitz.

Oh, great.

And just like that, I was being hailed. They were never going to stop until they recruited me.

I answered. I saw a young man with innocent brown eyes and green hair. His eyes widened. "So you're Athrun's girlfriend."

"I'm not his girlfriend. I was his best friend years ago, but never his girlfriend," I replied. "Who're you?"

"I am Nicol Amalfi. Athrun asked me to try to bring you around again. He cares for you quite deeply, Cagalli. More than his supposed fiance, I think."

"He has a fiance now?" I asked.

"It's an arranged marriage purely for political reasons. Athrun's not happy about it and I doubt the bride's thrilled about it either. But that's not the point. The point is that Athrun is not here, so I'm to try to convince you to join us in his place."

"What's Athrun doing?"

Nicol gave me a slight, knowing smile. "Classified."

"Uh huh." I brandished the sword. The more I talked to this guy, the more likely I was going to run out of air before I could get out of this base and land on the Archangel.

"I'm sorry, but I have friends onboard this ship, and fellow citizens of Orb. I must protect them."

Nicol nodded. "Fair enough. I'll let you and the Archangel go for now. Athrun's a friend of mine, and I don't want to betray his friendship by killing you if I can help it. Yzak and Dearka don't feel the same way, though. They are on the way and should be here in a few minutes. If you encounter them, you will not be receiving any mercy."

"And what will you be doing?" I asked.

Nicol sighed. "I'm going to destroy Artemis. And if you interfere in that I will have no choice but to fight you."

I just laughed, which stunned Nicol Amalfi. "Why are you laughing?"

"Blow it all to hell," I said. "The commandant shot someone very dear to me. I'd like him to suffer in hell for a few decades before I join him."

Nicol blinked, and then sighed. "I understand. What Athrun sees in you I'll never know, but I am grateful that you are not in the Earth Alliance's pocket as much as Yzak and Dearka think."

And then he was gone.

Behind me, the Archangel was launching. I heard Arnold Neumann's voice. "Cagalli, we've re-captured the ship, and we have everyone on-board. Clear the way out for us."

"Including Lieutenant Ramius?"

"She just got on board. Same with Lieutenant La Flaga and Ensign Badgiruel," Neumann said. "The base is falling apart. We have no time to waste."

"You got it." I started flying away when I heard Garcia's voice.

"This is Commandant Gerard Garcia. Stop the [i]Archangel and Strike GUNDAM immediately! They are traitors for fleeing during our-AAAAAAAGH!"[/i]

A small smile crept across my face. Nicol had certainly blown Garcia to hell for me. But as I looked at my reflection on the display, I saw how demented I looked. I was taking joy in someone getting killed, and I was terrified of the result. I was in control of a sixty-ton behemoth armed to the teeth with horrible, powerful weapons, and I was beginning to go crazy. Wonderful combination.

I stared at myself as the crazed grin vanished, and my eyes widened with horror. I was going crazy. I was filled with bloodlust, I wanted everyone in Artemis to die just because of one gunshot. Was that really all it took to make me battle-hungry warrior, a vengeful valkyrie seeking souls to send to hell or heaven or Valhalla or wherever people go when they die?

I rubbed my forehead and forced myself to snap back to reality. My revenge quest was over. The base was clearly about to blow. And I had to get the Archangel out of here before that happened.

But then I heard a pilot screaming on the intercom., and it made me realize that the Archangel wasn't my only responsibility. "Someone help me! There's other GUNDAMs here! Please help me!"

I commed the Archangel. "I'm going back inside. I'm going to try to get any remaining Mobile Armors out of Artemis. I think La Flaga and I are going to need backup."

Murrue Ramius had taken control of the bridge, it was her voice that spoke. "You sure about this? You're not wearing a pilot suit."

"I'll only be a minute." I powered up the Strike and launched back inside the port, where I saw six Mobile Armors desperately blasting away against the Duel.

Make that five, one exploded as the Duel cleaved one in two with its sword.

It had a quick replacement arm, reminiscent of a GINN. They hadn't managed to build a reasonable facsimile of the original left arm yet. I found this darkly amusing for some reason.

I charged and the Duel was barely able to block me in time before I would've sliced the Duel in two.

I got on a public channel. "All remaining Mobile Armors, this is the Strike. Artemis is lost. Fall back to the Archangel. I'll buy you some time!"

I slashed at the Duel, trying to distract him while the Mobile Armors fled. The Duel did not hail me, instead, he tried to strike back, but I refused to let myself be defeated by him.

Explosion rocked the base as the Duel and I continued battling at the edge of the port. I saw more Mobile Armors attempting to leave but various explosions blew them out of existence. The whole port was beginning to implode.
It looked like only the five I had personally rescued were going to get out of here. That, and real fact that my air wasn't going to hold out for much longer, made me rush my movements as I battled the Duel. I could've killed the Duel, and the pilot inside, "Yzak", if I had been focused and not as panicky about my air supply.

But I could not focus. In the back of my head, I kept thinking about my lack of air. I kept thinking about how the port was steadily exploding left and right. I missed multiple chances at stabbing the Duel in some kind of weak point, like the torso or the head, and ending the battle.

I heard Murrue. "Cagalli, the Buster is outside and is attacking us. We need assistance. Get out of there!"

I was only too glad to oblige.

"Got it, ma'am!" I kicked the Duel deeper into the port, as explosions wrecked both docking sides. I spun the Strike around and flew full blast out of the port, and there I saw Buster, harassing the Archangel and the five Mobile Armors I had rescued.

Make that four, Buster's rifle fired and practically vaporized it in a single shot.

I charged forward, screaming. I slammed into Buster and knocked it out of control. It spiraled away somewhere into space, and I took the satisfaction that "Dearka" and "Yzak", who both apparently hated me, had been humiliated by me. I hadn't killed either of them, but humiliation would do for now.

I heard Murrue again. "Cagalli, the battle's over. We have to go full speed if we have any chance of losing the enemy."

Translation: get back inside the launch bay.

I realized I couldn't breathe again. I had used up all of my limited air. In panic, I accelerated the Strike right into the launch bay and sent the Mobile Suit crashing at the bottom of the bay.

I grabbed my throat. No air. Still no air. I gagged and wheezed and struggled to breathe. I was dying. I was going to die in this cockpit.

In my panic, I opened the cockpit. Thankfully, it was right that moment when they pressurized the launch bay. If I had opened it one second sooner I would have still had to deal with an airless vacuum, one that could've killed me or had done some serious mental damage.

I spent the next several minutes gulping down air. My head felt like it was going to explode, and my throat screamed for water, but I didn't care. Despite the place smelling vaguely like a greasy hi-tech garage it seemed like the sweetest, purest air I had ever breathed in my life. And I reveled in my regained ability to breathe and smell and taste this vaguely putrid air.

Murdoch was right there. He ran over and patted me on the back. "You okay?"

"I . . . just need . . . some air," I said. I tried to smile, but it was so clearly pathetic that Murdoch averted his gaze.

"You did great. You saved the lives of four Eurasian Federation pilots. We have half a squadron onboard the Archangel now thanks to you," Murdoch said.

"Wonderful," I gasped.

He laughed and patted me on the back again. "Though next time remember to bring your pilot suit. I think everyone's had enough of these scares."

"I've . . . had enough of these scares too." I was suddenly aware I was floating upside down, and a great pressure filled my head and my stomach.

Not here. Not after I just started breathing. Not here. Please not here.

But then I remembered something that almost made me forget I was about to throw up all over Murdoch. "Tolle."

Murdoch scrunched his face in confusion. "Tolle? Oh wait, you mean the kid who got shot?"

"Tolle!" I shoved Murdoch out of the way and floated through the hangar, heading right through the exit.

I held my hand to my mouth, and forced myself to swallow every bit of bile that rose through my mouth. I was not going to be defeated by my spacesickness. Not here. Not now. Not when I needed to know Tolle was okay. I pushed myself down the hall by moving my hand on the railing. I had a vague idea of where sick bay was, and I kept pushing in the bay's general direction.

I was not going to be defeated by my own weakness. Not by my inability to tolerate being weightless. Not after all of the terror I had experienced, the hatred I had felt for the man who shot him, not after everything I had dealt with in the last day and a half or so.

I had to see him, or collapse trying.

As I made it to sick bay, I clutched my stomach, as if that would single-handedly stop the churning acids within. I took a deep breath, and ignored my pounding headache, a side-effect of nearly dying of asphyxiation, lack of fluid, and being weightless all at once.

I opened up the first door. "Tolle?" Empty. I slammed it shut.

I did this three or four more times until I finally found a lit room.

There was Tolle, laying in a bed, and Miriallia sitting beside him.

"Tolle," I whispered softly as I looked at him. He sat up in the bed, looking at me in total surprise. His chest was bare, and on his shoulder was a tightly wrapped white bandage, with red blood visible. His bandage would need to be changed soon.

"Cagalli, you made it," Tolle said in surprise.

I couldn't speak. There were so many things I wanted to say and I couldn't speak a single word. I wanted to tell him about the anger I felt and how I almost went crazy and if he was doing okay and whether he blamed me for what happened to him and how bad the wound was and that I didn't want to fight anymore and . . .

I did the only thing I could think of to express how I felt. I ran forward, hugged him, and began crying.

"Whoa, Cagalli! Watch the shoulder! I . . ." He slowly, softly embraced me. "Cagalli, it's . . . it's okay. Calm down. It's okay."

"I'm sorry," I whispered through my tears. "I'm so sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for. He could've shot any of us," Tolle said. "Don't blame yourself."

I looked him directly in his blue eyes. "He shot you because of what I did to him. I punched him in the face. I was so stupid. Tolle, I'm sorry. I . . ." Words failed me yet again, and I couldn't meet his gaze any longer. Guilt was wracking me so thoroughly I couldn't think about anything else besides my failure to save Tolle from getting shot.

"I said, it's all right. Besides, it didn't kill me," Tolle said cheerfully.

"That's not the point," I said.

Instead of replying to me, Tolle looked beyond me. "Uh, Miri, where are you going?"

I turned, and I saw Miriallia at the entrance to the room. She partially turned around towards us, and offered us a sad smile. "I think it's best you two be alone for a while. You guys don't need me making things complicated in here. I'll talk to you both later."

"Wait, Miri-" I stopped talking once Miriallia shut the door on the both of us.

Tolle sighed. "I guess . . . I guess she isn't taking stuff very well right now."

"I don't think any of us are," I said.

"True," Tolle said. He rubbed my shoulder. "But we're all strong. Especially you, Cagalli. Seriously, are you okay?"

I rubbed my eyes, and no fresh tears replaced the old ones. "Better."

Tolle smiled. "That's good. What happened there . . . is just randomness, nothing more. Don't worry about it. It's not that big of a deal."

"You getting shot is a big deal," I said.

"It just hurts, unlike someone getting shot in a film," Tolle said. "I'll live. I just want to make sure you're still gonna live. You're doing something incredibly dangerous, Cagalli. I don't want to lose you because you're inexperienced in this Mobile Suit, the Strike."

I looked at him, and tried so hard to smile reassuringly. "I'm not going to die, Tolle. I already promised a little girl that. I can't break a promise to a young girl."

Tolle laughed. "Well, neither can I. I don't think either of us can."

"What's your promise?" I asked.

Tolle gave me a knowing grin. "Not telling."

I sighed. "Right."

We just held each other for a long time, until I finally dozed off from sheer exhaustion. But, for the first time all day, I felt marginally safe, like I was among friends.

I wished the war was over. But, the moment I woke up, I realized the war was still on.

I was never going to stop fighting.

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:22 am 
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Oh boy, Archangel has meatshields now!


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