Like most American kids my age, I was first introduced to Gundam through the New Mobile Report Gundam Wing series. I grew up with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, so naturally I was attracted by the giant robots. But Gundam was different. It took a very military-esque approached and was very character driven. I was hooked. From then, I found and watched more series, including After War Gundam X, Gundam SEED, and many more in the Universal Century series.
Midway through my freshmen year of high school, a friend showed me a browser based online game with the premise of attacking other players and getting people to click on your webpage to become stronger. He challenged me to create a similar if not better game. I took up the task, and my first step was to create a background universe for the game. I had many suggestions, but I after a few days I settled on what I felt comfortable with. Thus in January of 2003 I official started development of my web game, Gundam: Mobile Suit Arena.
In its early inception, Mobile Suit Arena (MSA) had the simple premise of players battling against each other with Mobile Suits in a gladiatorial setting. Background information was rather cut and paste from another Gundam series. In fact, the game was much just a crossover story from every universe.
For many months I worked on the game, creating nearly a dozen different versions. Over time, the project became too complicated and I decided to halt its development until I had either more free time, or acquired the proper skill and knowledge. Even then, I could not abandon the storyline I set up for the game, which had evolved dramatically. While I discontinued my work on the online game, I kept the story in the back of my mind.
After years, I am finally ready to share my story.
This is an original story and does not follow any of the Gundam continuums. I've been writing this story as a novel. As such, I will not post any character biographies, setting descriptions, mecha art, or any other background information unless by request (most of that is up to your imagination anyway). All information will be revealed gradually as the story progresses. I have nothing against writing fanfiction as screenplays, recaps, or scripts - I just personally prefer this format. I have several reasons for posting my story, the biggest is for feedback. I'd appreciate feedback on everything: language, style, plot, characters, dialogue, etc. I realize my story may not be for everyone, so I'm open to constructive criticism. And if you do enjoy my work, please let me know.
Mobile Suit Arena
By Edward Fernandez
SECTION ONE: SAVIORThere are so many rules, regulations, and social standards that we follow in our lives already, but the one thing you should never have to control is the way you feel about someone special.
June 21, 102 CE
Athens City, Savior Colony
He held tight to his mother’s hand. He needed to be strong.
“Son, I’m sorry I have to leave. I know it’s your birthday tomorrow, but I’ll be back soon,” Fei smiled.
“Why! Why do you have to go, too?!” the little boy cried.
His father bent down to one knee and grasped his son’s left hand with both of his. “I have to leave because I want to protect our home. And you. And mommy.” He paused and looked up at his pregnant wife. “And your sister.”
“But…,” tears rolled down his young cheeks, “our home is here, not out there!” he pointed to the sky with his index finger.
“One day, when you grow up to be a brave man, you’ll have someone you want to protect and you’ll understand.” He let go of his son’s hand and stood up to kiss his wife goodbye one last time. He grabbed his duffle bag and threw it onto his shoulder.
“Lieutenant Commander Zanaras!” one younger soldier saluted as he walked onboard the plane. He turned around and waved again to his family as the doors slowly sealed.
He felt a strong tug on his shoulder as his friend pulled him back to the curb. “Hey, watch it!”
An oversized truck sped past the group of three. “Another Mobile Suit carrier?” He readjusted his backpack straps and crossed the street, this time looking both ways. “Thanks, Chris.”
The girl ran in front of him and placed the back of her hand on his forehead. “No fever. Are you okay? You’ve been pretty out of it since we met up,” she asked.
“Alison, he’s fine. Today’s your dad’s birthday, isn’t it?” Chris interrupted.
“I’m sorry. How’d your presentation go at Apolis? I’m sure he would have been proud.”
“That was today? Last week you said it was scheduled for after our exams”, Alison said.
“They pushed the dates forward for nearly every internal project,” he answered.
“The committee must be getting anxious,” Chris said. “I heard Space Garrison finished testing seven units of their latest Gundam prototype. Maybe Apolis is trying to upstage them?”
“Maybe. The directors approved my system, but Director Wharton personally wasn’t there.”
“I guess having the heir of the Sagan Foundation, the largest stockholder of Apolis Electronics, as your best friend has its advantages.”
“I told you, I had nothing to do with him getting that internship. His skill set is really second to none. Just last week valiantly stayed up all night helping our entire floor with a programming assignment,” Chris joked.
He punched him back in the shoulder. “But Alison is right. I just drop your name and the engineering crew lets me hop in the simulator.”
“Hey! If my father finds out—“
“Don’t worry about it. I promised Louis if he lets me inside the actual cockpit I’ll donate all my earnings to his retirement fund. He won’t rat me out.”
Chris gave him a blank stare.
“I said not to worry about it. They moved the prototype to the armory this morning for some field testing. I’m not actually going to climb into the damn thing.”
“Does the Mars Union really need to invest into another weapons project? Isn’t that how the Space Cold War and Solaris Campaign started?” Alison asked.
Chris gave her a sharp look. “Sorry,” she winced.
He stopped in his tracks. “Where are we going?”
“We’re just taking a stroll in the park,” Chris answered. “You don’t always need to have a destination. Ever since we got into the Athens Institute last year you’ve buried yourself in work and school.”
“You really need to learn to relax,” Alison joined. “We’re all in college now. We should be out and having fun!” She looked back at him. “Are you coming to the concern tonight?”
“Chris! You didn’t tell him?!” She pointed up at the main tower in Athens City. Its large broadcasting screen displayed a poster for the Come July concert. “Do you want to come? It’ll be fun. Find someone to bring, it’ll be a double date.”
“Yes, a date! Ugh, Chris, you are the worst boyfriend,” she pouted. “It’s no wonder why I sometimes get confused as your sister.”
“Sure, I’ll come.”
“Great. We can head over to the arts center after dinner. Do you want me to invite one of my friends for you?”
“The girl from the coffee shop?” Chris figured. “Didn’t we already try this?”
He leaned over a railing and watched as little ripples broke over the water’s surface. The lake was artificial, as was everything else in the asteroid colony – the air derived from minerals in the rock surface and recycled, the sky simulated by large mirrors and windows lined within the inner walls of the asteroid, and even time with computer controlled daylight. The simulated clouds faded away and a sea of stars and dust illuminated the colony. The park, too, lit up with the street lamps.
“It’s this late already? We should head over the restaurant,” Alison worried. “Boyfriend, go grab your friend. I think he’s daydreaming again.”
He was captured by the cityscape, focused on the night sky decorated by the urban lights.
And then there was a loud bang.
He turned around and looked at the main tower. He watched it collapse. A gust of dust rushed over the park. “Chris! Alison!” he yelled, but his voice was lost to the storm. He covered his face with his arms, peering only to see a tall shadowy figure in the distance in place of the tower. He knew what it was. A large humanoid machine, standing nineteen meters ignited its boosters and unleashed another gust of wind, clearing the dust away, along with a few unfortunate bystanders.
The red mono-eye of the machine, like the Cyclops of legends, moved back and forth along its rails to scan the city.
“A Mobile Suit!” He watched as five more of these units rose up.
“Chris! Alison!” he tried again.
“Over here!” He could barely make out his friend waning voice. He jumped over a fallen lamppost and caught a glimpse of his friends. “Alison!” He rushed over to her.
“Help me—” Her leg was caught between two plates of the broken sidewalk. “Chris—” she faded.
“Alison, stay with me!” He looked up. “Hey! Hey, help us over here!”
He couldn’t keep his balance as he felt another rumble and tumbled down a nearby hill to the lower streets, mere seconds before a piece of the colony infrastructure broke through the artificial terrain, separating him from the rest.
“Chris, stay with Alison! I’ll go around and get help!” He ran across the street, weaving between abandoned cars.
“That was a Lunar Federation Gerbera! Terrorists, or is it really the Federation? Why are they attacking us?”
He heard an ear-piercing ping as the ground shook violently again. He rolled behind a car to protect himself. “What the hell is going on here?!” he shouted as dust roared over him.
He heard loud crash behind him and turned around to see a large truck smashed into a nearby wall. He ran to the driver’s door and pried it open. “Hey, are you alright?! My friend needs help!” He placed his hand on the driver’s shoulder. It was wet. Blood.
He backed away and stumbled to the ground, slowly focusing his eyes to the back of the truck. “This is a mobile suit carrier!” He ran to the front seat and messed with the dashboard. The top of the carrier frame blew off and fell to the ground. He got out and climbed on top of the cobalt Mobile Suit lying in the carrier. “An Asuka?” It was slimmer than the Gerbera. He opened cockpit door and peaked his head inside. Two small lights on the console flickered on and off in a steady rhythm. “It’s on.”
He climbed in and closed the hatch behind him. He fiddled with the controls until the Mobile Suit lifted its torso up as it awoke. It slowly moved its leg off the frame and began to stand up. He could hear the hum of the engine warming up. The computer consoles blinked online and the entire cockpit lit up. The Asuka stood twenty meters tall.
“It’s going to okay, Alison. Everything’s going to be okay,” Chris reassured her, and himself, as he held tighter to his girlfriend’s hand.
“What the hell are you doing in that Mobile Suit?! This is no time to fool around!”
“We can use this to get Alison out. Mobile Suits were originally built to construct the colonies. This Asuka should be able to lift up the pavement.”
He maneuvered the Asuka’s hand gently over his friends, pinched the slab of concrete between its fingers, and slowly moved it away.
Chris grabbed onto her arms and pulled her out. “Can you walk?”
“It’s just a scratch. I—ouch!” She collapsed in his arms. “My ankle!”
“It looks broken. We need to get her to a hospital!”
A high pitched beep startled him, and two arrows pointing right lit up the screen. He turned the Asuka around and saw a Gerbera barreling down the street towards them. “An enemy?!”
Suddenly, a white Asuka strafed out from inbetween two buildings and intercepted the approaching Gerbera. It pulled out a hilt from its waist and activated its beam saber before slashing at the Gerbera’s torso. It then kicked it away, knocking the empty Mobile Suit into a nearby building and trapping it in the rubble.
The white Asuka spun around and held him at gunpoint. “Identify yourself,” a rough, adult voice yelled.
He hesitated. “I’m a student of the Athens Institute.”
“A civilian?” the voice responded rather confused. “What the hell are you doing in that Mobile Suit?” The white Asuka lowered its weapon and approached Jin. The pilot noticed Chris and Alison from one of the smaller cameras.
“My friend is hurt,” Jin interrupted.
“There’s a shelter not too far from here. Can you manage?”
Chris looked around. “I can probably hotwire one of the cars here.” He picked up Alison and cradled her to an open car.
“Lieutenant Ranada! Lunar Federation forces have infiltrated the East Section!” another, younger voice panicked through a communication line. “What?!”
“Sir!” Jin interrupted. “Let me help. Please, let me help protect Savior.”
“Jin, are you crazy?!” Chris yelled in disbelief.
“Please, sir. I want to protect our home.”
“Protect?” The white Asuka’s pilot paused to think. “Jin, do you know how to pilot one of these?”
“Yes, sir, I’m an engineer with Apolis Electronics.”
“Apolis? That damn corporation. Alright kid, follow me. It looks like the Lunar Federation is trying to gain access to Savior’s manufacturing district!” The white Asuka powered up its boosters and rushed towards the East Section tunnel. “Seventh Mobile Suit Team, report at to the tunnel entrance of the East Section immediately!”
Jin’s Asuka knelt down and seized the Gerbera’s beam assault rifle off the ground. “Chris, take care of Alison!” he yelled back as he grabbed the left lever and pushed it forward. His Asuka’s boosters activated and the Mobile Suit followed the white Asuka.
The two Mobile Suits raced through the empty streets. Jin heard the same high pitch warning beep as another Gerbera flew in from above the city buildings and landed between the two Asukas. Lt Ranada circled around the Gerbera to distract him.
Jin raised his beam rifle and let the system take aim until the screen lit green. The Gerbera looked back over its shoulder. Its eye blinked back in a light red tint. Jin clicked the weapon trigger and held it down. The spray of beam attacks pierced the body of the Gerbera, damaging its limbs, head unit, and torso. It fell backwards, disabled or dead, Jin couldn’t tell.
“Nice shooting kid. Let’s go. Jin?” He was unresponsive. Lt. Ranada’s Asuka placed its hand on Jin’s Asuka’s shoulder. “Jin.” His voice was stern.
“I— is he dead?”
“Better you than him” Lt Ranada said. “If you had not killed him, he would have killed you. Just like how the other one would have killed your friends back there. It’s a simple matter of kill or be killed.”
Jin went silent again.
“You said you wanted to protect Savior. Then there is no shame in protecting your own life.”
Jin nodded and controlled his Asuka to follow the lieutenant.
[Chapter One to be continued...]