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 Post Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 12:20 am 
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Next chapter in the spoiler tags.

Spoiler: show
“Pallas?” The pilot of the Sirius fired again, and I jinked my Gundam to evade the shots, feeling the G-Force as I spun around to try and tail it. Surely it couldn’t truly be one of my siblings in the new LunaPact MS? With the possible exception of Ares, Pallas had been the sibling that I felt closest to. We had trained, slept, eaten, trained, showered, studied, and trained more and more alongside each other. No matter how heated our competition for top-ranked candidate was, I felt a deep bond with her in my heart, and complete trust that she felt the same way toward me. So why was this happening?

“Athene?” I knew her voice the instant I heard it, and any hope that I may have been mistaken was shot down as cleanly as any sniper kill. The feeling of wrongness in my head mutated into a physical, nauseous feeling in my stomach that I struggled to keep down. She didn’t stop attacking, though – she never even hesitated, manoeuvring out of my tail attempt and positioning herself for another pass.

“Athene, why have you joined the Commonwealth forces?”

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM
A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon

Based on Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate

Chapter 6: Pride

*****
Khadija

After the Gallipoli’s complement of military MS had moved out, I launched in my Lifeguard, following at minimum safe distance. The Lifeguard was the Interplanetary Rescue Corps’ standard mobile suit, smaller than a military-grade MS, designed to nimbly navigate around tight spots and dodge debris which may pose risks during rescue attempts. It was painted in the same high-visibility yellow and red as our uniforms, and its equipment was designed to facilitate its intended purpose of rescuing downed MS and fighter pilots (the term “downed” is an anachronism in space warfare, but I digress). It also carried a supply of oxygen packs, sealing equipment, and other survival gear.

There was nothing I could do to help the poor Regulus pilots that were Athene Gold’s targets, though. Whenever she engaged one, she mercilessly shot at the cockpit, and rarely missed. The LunaPact pilots barely managed to scream out something like “It’s a Gundam!” before being vaporised by a rifle shot or beam saber thrust, whereupon there was nothing that could be done but notify their next-of-kin. If you’re so much better at fighting than them, why do you need to kill them all, damn it? Isn’t just disabling their MS as effective a way of removing them from the fight?

One Regulus pilot almost managed to dodge Athene’s cockpit shot. As the escape pod auto-ejected, I saw that the shot had pierced the lower section, magnification showing his or her legs missing from the knees down. I boosted forward to catch the escape pod, despite the danger of stray shots from the battle still going on in the area. With luck, that pilot could still be alive – but they wouldn’t be if I left them exposed to vacuum for more than a few seconds.

“Khadija, escape pod detected! Help, Khadija!” Haro told me in case I had missed it.

“I see it, thanks, Haro.” I replied.

“Hey, Khadija, watch out there! You’re getting pretty close to the firefight!” Shane told me.

“I’ll be careful.”

I set the Lifeguard’s lights flashing in the pattern for “rescue in progress”, and caught the holed cockpit in my MS’ hands. First priority was to try and ensure the pilot didn’t die from depressurisation. The beam gun shot had instantly cauterised what remained of her (being up close now, I could confirm that the pilot was female) legs. I administered sealant spray over the area to keep the normal suit’s pressure in. She didn’t react, but life signs were still registering, thankfully, so she had most likely passed out from shock.

“You’re gonna be okay. Let’s get you out of here.” I told her. Even if she couldn’t hear me, I hoped I could somehow, God willing, reach her and give her the strength to survive. The closest ship was still the Gallipoli, so I turned back.

“This is Khadija Akram. I have one casualty, please ready medbay facilities.”

*****
Pallas

The green-and-white Gundam Athene was piloting circled to the left of my Sirius once again, firing a beam rifle shot that I barely managed to evade. My body felt as though it was surging with electricity, my stomach was twisting itself into knots – this feeling was way better than practice. I had never felt more alive, and if I hadn’t known it was Athene, I wouldn’t want to stop. No, scratch that. Even knowing it was my dear sibling, part of me didn’t want to stop.

“What do you mean? We trained to be part of the Commonwealth forces all along!”

Why would she ever say such a thing? As I spun the Sirius around to try and lock in on her tail, I replied.

“No, that’s wrong! We were trained to fight for Lunapact! Don’t you remember?” What was wrong with her? Surely she couldn’t have forgotten?

My head told me this was wrong – but my body, my heart pumping, the electricity flowing through my nervous system, all told me otherwise. This was the most exciting feeling I had ever experienced. According to the instincts I had learned to trust on the battlefield, it was right for us to fight.

I opened up the thrusters and accelerated in pursuit of the Gundam.

*****
Shane

The Lieutenant and I were involved in our own running battle with the two Denebs, but even so, we were forced to resist the temptation to be enthralled by the duel between the Gale and the Sirius. The two MS interlaced in an almost hypnotic spiral of motion, switching from defence to attack and back to defence almost faster than I could follow, all the while drawing inexorably closer in their passes.

Was this what Athene had been capable of all along? Her opponent was keeping up with her, though… almost as if the Sirius’ pilot wasn’t normal, either. I began to wonder of the MS could keep up with their pilots’ attempts to outmanoeuvre one another.

“Yamada, ten o’clock low!” McDermott’s warning snapped me out just in time for me to catch a shot from one of the Denebs with my shield. “Mind on the game, ensign!”

I cursed at myself for getting distracted, and boosted towards the Deneb to try to engage it in melee, but the Deneb’s pilot angled his MS’ thrust to dodge out of the way, and circled around, trying to get on my tail. Damn, he was good – guess that’s why he’s the Sirius’ wingman. And there I go, assuming it’s a guy in the cockpit when I should know better, but no time to contemplate that now. I can’t afford to pay too much attention to what Athene’s doing, either, but I trust her to handle things by herself.

*****
Athene

The second worst thing about the situation was that there was a part of me that enjoyed fighting Pallas, a part that craved the challenge of engaging in battle against someone as skilled as myself, even if she were my sibling. The worst thing was that it wasn’t something small, hidden deep down under layers of my psyche. It was right at the forefront of my mind, a colossal lust for battle that battled against my sense of reason and my friendship with Pallas, even as we struggled against each other in physical battle.

“No, this is wrong! We shouldn’t be doing this!” I shouted, and might have been saying it to myself as much or more as I was telling Pallas. My Gale Gundam and her Sirius circled closer still to each other, and yet even at such a short range, we still managed to evade each other’s shots.

“Is it really?” Pallas replied. “I bet you’re feeling as excited as I am. Maybe this was what we were meant for all along.” The Sirius stowed its right-arm beam cannon, drawing its dual-blade saber, its thrusters adjusting from a the spiral motion of our ever-decreasing circles to a straight line towards me. “Now we can find out who really is better!”

“To what end?” I asked. “Is who’s the better fighter all that matters? Why would someone create and train us just to fight each other? What purpose would it serve?” I drew my beam saber in the Gundam’s left hand, and prepared to meet the Sirius’ charge. “Metis, melee combat!”

Roger that. Manoeuvre S-Epsilon.

“Who cares? If it’s our purpose, what do their reasons matter?” Our MS clashed, and even though it took place in only a fraction of a second, I could see it all clearly. Pallas parried my beam saber thrust with one end of her weapon, and made a follow-up strike towards my MS’ exposed right side. I desperately pulled back to avoid being sliced in half, but the tip of the blade still hit, cutting a gash down from my Gundam’s shoulder – it was all I could do to avoid a cockpit or reactor hit. My body jolted from the impact, my helmet bouncing off the back wall of the cockpit, and my vision blurred.

The hit may not have been an instant kill, but it left me vulnerable. Pallas drew her blade back, preparing to finish me off by thrusting it through either the reactor or cockpit, and hesitated for what was only a second or so, but seemed far longer.

In the instant before she could bring the blade down, a stream of automatic fire shot by, forcing Pallas to pull back to avoid the hit. McDermott’s Flame Gundam flew towards us, dodging shots from the Deneb he had turned his back on as he approached.

“Gold, get out of there!” He yelled. “Back to the ship! You too, Yamada!”

I obeyed, and he turned, covering our retreat.

*****

The three of us managed to make it back to the Gallipoli, but a cloud of gloom seemed to have settled in the cockpit of my damaged Gundam, made worse by the headache and dizziness I was feeling. It was the first time I had taken part in a failed mission – our Gundams’ retreat meant that the Commonwealth forces had no superiority MS to counter the Sirius’ domination of the battlefield – but that was nothing compared to the knowledge that the Sirius was being piloted by Pallas. Moreso, there was that instinctive urge to fight her that I had. Rather than being something small and deeply buried within my mind, it was right at the surface, a huge wave of aggression and joy that threatened to wash over me and drag me away from my memories, my reason, my love for my siblings, everything that told me it wasn’t right. Judging by what Pallas had said, she probably felt the same way – had she given into it? And if she had, was it possible for her to come back? For a long while, I simply sat with the cockpit door open, my mind seemingly unable to command my body to move.

I’m sorry, Athene. Metis said.

“None of this is your fault, Metis.”

Your reaction speeds in this battle exceeded those previously recorded. I was unable to perform adjustments to the Gundam’s movements in a timely manner. I shall attempt to recalibrate the Gale’s configuration in accordance with the new data.

“There was no way you could have known.”

I detected a surge in your brainwave and other biometric measurements as you came into contact with the Sirius. It is a curious phenomenon.

“Hey, Athene, you coming out of there?” Yamada asked. I didn’t respond. “Well, if you’re not, do you mind if I join you in there?” Without waiting for me to answer, he climbed into the cockpit and put his hands on my shoulders.

“Athene, I heard your conversation there. The girl piloting the Sirius – she’s one of your sisters from the supersoldier project, right? I know that can’t be easy, but if there’s any way I can help you, I promise I will.”

“There’s no way you could now how it felt!” I yelled at him, a swirling mixture of emotions bursting out of me toward the nearest target. “The feelings that came over me when I was fighting her! I was… scared!”

“Hey, being scared of her’s nothing to be ashamed of. Heck, I still get scared every time I go into combat against ordinary scrubs, let alone a supersoldier.”

“Wasn’t afraid of her.” I said. “I was afraid that… I liked it.”

Yamada unsealed and took off my helmet so that he could look me in the eye, his expression one of compassion and concern. “Now that is scary. Come on, let’s get out of here.”

He offered me my hand, but I shook my head and stood up, walking out onto the gantry, where the gash down my Gundam’s torso was visible. All of a sudden, the floor seemed to sway and my legs became unable to support me. I collapsed against the guardrail, my helmet flying loose from my hand and drifting into a far corner of the hangar.

*****
Pallas

My wingmen, Lieutenants Paul Matthews and Nicole Perez, were in a good mood as we returned to the ship after the Commonwealth forces’ retreat.

“Ha! We sure showed those damn Gundams, didn’t we, Nicole?” Matthews said, grinning.

“Yeah, don’t get cocky just because you’ve got a fancy yellow V-Fin on your forehead!”

“You two shouldn’t be getting cocky, either. We’re likely to be facing them again.”

“Geez, lighten up, Pallas! You kicked that Gundam’s butt out there, why are you trying to pour cold water on it?” Perez asked. She then turned to Matthews. “Come on, let’s head to the bar to celebrate.”

“You coming too, Pallas?”

“I’ll pass. Alcohol inhibits combat performance.”

“Thought not.”

“Remember, regulations only allow you to consume two standard drinks.”

“We’ll keep it in mind.” Matthews said, and I noted that he didn’t say they’d actually obey the rule. Well, I didn’t really care what they did anyway. The pair headed off, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

Why would Athene be fighting for the Commonwealth? Moreover, why did she seem surprised that I was with Lunapact, when we had been raised from childhood to be soldiers for them? She must have remembered. It didn’t matter, I told myself. No matter how close we may have been, she was with the enemy, now, and my duty was to destroy her. Besides, I had always known I was the better supersoldier, but wasn’t this the only way to conclusively prove it.

Still, the feeling I got when I was fighting her was exhilarating, moreso than anything I’d felt in my life. I would have been disappointed if our competition was settled after only one battle, so I felt glad that she was still alive.

Right now, though, I felt exhausted and my head hurt. I decided to go straight to my bunk.

*****
Shane

“Will she be okay, doctor?” I asked.

“The only physical injury I can detect is a minor concussion from when her MS took that hit.” Doctor Li replied. “The exhaustion she’s feeling doesn’t seem to be reflected in her biometrics. My guess is that it’s an after-effect of what she experienced fighting the Sirius, although it’s possible that the concussion she received compounded it.”

While I was concerned for her, my real interest lay in the fact that her fellow trainee just happened to have ended up in the other side’s hot new prototype mecha. I was sure that it was far from a coincidence.

*****
Earth

“Did I not tell you those two would put on a magnificent show?” the pale young man in the military uniform asked.

“To the naked eye, that was most impressive.” The woman said. “And the data appears to back our theories up.”

“It will, of course, require proper analysis to fully confirm.” The older man said. “But yes, on the surface, this does appear to support the resonance theory. When the two of them were fighting one another, each of them appeared to be enhancing the other’s abilities.”

“And therefore, you may have just witnessed the first manifestation humanity’s future.” The young man said. “Remember this well, because the fruits of your efforts are finally showing. And to you, my beloved siblings, thank you for that magnificent demonstration. I shall see at least one of you again, soon.”

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April 7, 1979: The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam premieres. Fanboys declare Gundam "Ruined FOREVER".


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 Post Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 5:15 am 
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So, no-one wants to comment on the last chapter?

Sorry for complaining. Anyway, I thought I'd ask for some advice regarding an upcoming plot/character development point. I'll put it in spoilers for people who don't want to know what I'm planning.

Spoiler: show
Shane is going to realise that he's falling in love with Athene (and isn't sure that she's even capable of returning his feelings). I'm not all that sure on how I should go about showing this, or confident in writing relastionship-style scenes, so can anyone offer any advice on how I should go about this?

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 Post Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 8:21 pm 
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Whoa whoa whoa! I hadn't even noticed the update! Great battleness. A little dodgy between the characters POVs, but that's always forgivable. We see that Pallas is more or less a rival version of Athene, which is to be expected. The difference I see is that Pallas appears to be leading her squad, while Athene answers to the LT.

Sadly I can't help with your plot point problem. Good luck with that, though.

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 Post Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:45 am 
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Rob DS Zeta wrote:
Whoa whoa whoa! I hadn't even noticed the update! Great battleness. A little dodgy between the characters POVs, but that's always forgivable. We see that Pallas is more or less a rival version of Athene, which is to be expected. The difference I see is that Pallas appears to be leading her squad, while Athene answers to the LT.

Sadly I can't help with your plot point problem. Good luck with that, though.


Thanks for the comment. Some C&C from elsewhere pointed out that I'm still not doing well on the descriptions, which meant the writing wasn't coming off with the emotional intensity that I'd hoped for. One specific suggestion was to show more of the characters' body language. Problem is, I pretty much suck at reading body language and other nonverbal cues, so I'm really not sure how I can express it well. Any suggestions in that department?

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 Post Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Sorry, but I'm a terrible teacher. You should ask the person who told you about that. They probably have a better idea.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:46 am 
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Just a quick update... I'm having a hard time with the next chapter, due to a combination of writer's block, a lack of spare time, and some feedback that left me feeling discouraged. I'll have to try and work through it.

On the bright side, I've read Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors, which gave me some helpful insight on the themes I want to discuss. It's also inspired me to take a look at the TV show Dark Angel, which seems to include some of the same themes (I only caught a couple of episodes when it was on TV several years ago), and I found both seasons on special at JB Hi-Fi today.

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:09 am 
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Okay, first draft of chapter 7 is done. For this one, I've tried changing my style a bit, with first-person perspective only for Athene and Pallas, while scenes with other characters are third-person. Does this work better, or would you prefer the old style?

Spoiler: show
Victoria Castella, the heir apparent to Castella Intustries looked for all the world as though she were perfectly calm and relaxed as she sat under a willow tree in the garden, her pink tresses fluttering in the wind, looking through the data files on her handheld computer. The serene, nonchalant image was one she practiced constantly, to be able to project no matter what her true emotions were, and by now any apparent slip was more likely than not intentional.

In the case of the footage and analysis from the battle at L4 she had siphoned off the company’s servers without her father’s permission, though, Victoria had great difficulty in maintaining that serene air. If LunaPact also had a supersoldier, and moreover, one who not only appeared to be working for them willingly, but knew Athene personally, then it meant the simple scenario of the supersoldiers being created to fight for the Commonwealth was incorrect. She knew that Castella Industries was involved with the project, alongside Rhea Bioengineering, but what was providing them to both sides supposed to achieve? Surely, not even the heads of two of the largest conglomerates in all of inhabited space could not expect to escape punishment for such duplicity. And by now, surely the top brass was aware of the situation. Unless…

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM

A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon

Based on Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino

Chapter 7: Trust You

*****

Athene

I slowly opened my eyes, shaking my head to try and remove the feeling of grogginess – it took me a few moments to realise that I was in sickbay, rather than in my regular bunk. I rolled onto my other side, to see Khadija attending to a figure a couple of beds away – the lights were dimmed at the moment, so I was unable to make out the details. The clock read 0100 GMT, meaning I had been asleep for nine hours. I couldn’t remember ever having slept that long before – back in training, ten minutes’ worth of oversleeping would have earned me a lecture from an instructor and several demerit points.

“Good morning, sleeping beauty.” Khadija said, although seeing her first thing when I woke up made me feel anything but good, and I suspected the feeling was mutual. I also found being compared to some fairytale princess who just lay in a castle until the prince came and saved her mildly insulting.

“Good morning.” I said, reaching for the light switch. “So, what’s the analysis?”

“Just exhaustion, and a mild concussion from when your Mobile Suit was hit. You’re free to leave any time.”

“Good to know.” I got out of the bed, and prepared to leave, but then noticed that the other figure in sickbay had the remains of a grey and black LunaPact spacesuit sitting beside her bed. “What is that?”

Khadija’s expression hardened, the hijab she wore seemingly serving to emphasise the anger on her face, and took off the blanket she had over her, showing me the charred stumps of her legs. “That, Ensign Athene Gold, is the result of your “efficient, practical” style of Mobile Suit combat. Actually, she’s the one who got lucky, by which I mean there was still enough of her left to rescue.”

“We have medical facilities in the brig in case we have to take injured POWs on board. She should be placed there."

“I’m not gonna throw that poor woman in a cell like that! What kind of a security risk is she gonna pose with no legs?”

“Regulations state…”

“Don’t give me that crap! Anyway, does seeing that help you get what you’re doing to people?”

“It’s nothing new to me.”

“Nothing new?”

“As soon as we began training, we were shown footage of injuries, blood, and people in pain, which continued for the entirety of our time at Sparta Base. Our training also included vivisection of animals, and dissection of human cadavers. The objective of these exercises was to help us maintain our composure when we saw blood and gore on thebattlefield.”

“So in other words, they got you so desensitised that you just keep on killing no matter what you see. On top of that, you deliberately set out to kill other pilots, despite the fact that your abilities are so far ahead of them that it’s completely unnecessary!” Khadija said. She turned away from me, her voice beginning to break. “As I said, you’re released. Now get the hell out of here, and be thankful that woman’s still unconscious.”

I turned and left. Not like I wanted to be around her anyway.

*****

Shane and Alan leaned back on the wall of the hangar walkway, watching as the repair crew carried out work on the Gale Gundam. Looking at the gash down the front of the Gale’s torso, it seemed surprising that Athene had gotten away without a strike to the cockpit or reactor. If she – or anyone else – took a hit like that again, he didn’t like the odds of them being so lucky.

“I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now.” Shane said. “I mean, going into battle’s one thing, but knowing there’s someone you grew up with on the other side? I’m trying to imagine how I’d feel if I had to fight one of my friends from home.”

“It’s more than that. She calls them her siblings, doesn’t she?”

“You’re right. I’ve got a younger brother, and for fourteen years he made it his life’s work to irritate the ZOINKS out of me, until I signed up, but… if I think about him getting hurt, it would rip my heart out.”

“Exactly. But I won’t lie. What worries me most about the situation is, what if it comes down to Pallas or us? Who’s she going to side with?”

“Us!” Shane blurted out.

“Are you sure about that?” Alan asked.

“I just… don’t think she’d betray us!” Shane protested. “I mean, she’s so straightforward, and it doesn’t seem to be in her nature, and… we’ve become friends!”

Alan sighed. “You know what you sound like? Like someone who’s falling in love. Look, you saw how she’s… different. Knowing that, I’d say you’d be well advised to put her out of your mind. Focus your attention on somebody who’s actually available.”

“Okay, I admit it. I find her attractive!” Shane replied. “I’ve had a girlfriend – and a boyfriend – before, so I at least know that much. And yeah, I know she’s never gonna feel the same way towards me. Just my luck – I have twice the options of most people, and I still end up falling for a person who isn’t the least bit interested in me. But I…”

“That’s enough. Okay, we’ll trust her.” Alan said, holding his hand up. It was what he wanted to do anyway. “Tell you the truth, having her fight her sibling doesn’t sit well with me, either.”

“Don’t you think she could try and get through to her, somehow? I mean, if she’s with Lunapact, that means she’s been brainwashed or something, right?”

“Still buying into our side’s propaganda about Lunapact brainwashing people, Shane? I thought you knew better by now.”

“Well, there’s something fishy, with that Pallas girl turning up on the other side!”

“So you think it’s gonna be like one of those anime you watch? You just keep repeating somebody’s name enough times and it ends up magically restoring their memory?”

“Well, no, but…”

“Besides, Pallas seemed convinced that they were meant to be fighting for LunaPact all along, just as much as Athene thought she was meant to fight for the Commonwealth. If there is brainwashing involved, it’s just as likely that it was Athene who’s had her memories altered.”

“Then how come LunaPact isn’t deploying more…” Shane trailed off. “And neither are we. You’re right, this stuff doesn’t add up. But what I do know is, whatever’s happening, Athene’s my fellow soldier, and my friend. And I want to help her in any way I can.”

*****

Pallas

“You wished to speak with me, sir?”

The person I was speaking to, Major James Symonds, was a large, black man who was commander of the LunaPact Assault Cruiser Weber’s squadron of Mobile Suits. He drove the troops under him hard, but not as hard as the instructors back at Sparta Base.

“Yes. I’ve seen the reports of your last engagement. Your fellow trainee was fighting on the other side.”

“That’s correct, sir.”

“In your own words, how did you feel when you were engaging her? If you were to be on the same battlefield as her again, how do you believe you would react?”

“Honestly, sir… I was surprised at first, but as the battle went on, it felt as if... as if this was what we should be doing. The rush I feel when I engage in combat was even more intense. I want to engage her again, to prove to her that I’m better.” I omitted the feeling of wrongness that lay submerged within that intensity like a bad taste.

“So you will be able to fire at her?”

“No question of that, sir. In fact, I look forward to it.” I smiled. “Besides, I don’t think anyone on this ship will contest that I’m the best pilot you have. You wouldn’t handicap yourself by keeping me on the sidelines. Especially not when there’s someone almost as good as me on the other side.”

“I know you’re an extremely skilled pilot, Lieutenant Junior Grade Pallas Gold.” Symonds said. “However, you are also arrogant and like to show off. Your wingmen Perez and Matthews are similar – I put you in the same wing because it’s easier to keep an eye on you together than apart. I know that attitude might be part of the package for you, and hasn’t come back to bite you in the ass yet, but if you keep it up, it’s just a matter of time. Keep that in mind.”

“Yes, sir.” Dumbass. I’m not showing off, I just know how good I am. It’s not my fault none of you can pull the kind of manoeuvres I can.

“We expect the Commonwealth convoy to attempt to regroup at space station Moresby. They should arrive in sixty hours. We’re on a vector that will allow us to intercept them in forty, so be ready. Dismissed.”

I had been lectured before, by both Symonds and the instructors at Sparta base about showing off, but I didn’t care. The whole point of my existence was to be better than ordinary humans. Senses, reaction speed, physical strength, endurance, pain resistance and those years of training – that was what they were all about. And out of all the supersoldier candidates, I was number one. As long as people knew that, I didn’t mind following their orders.

And then there was someone like Athene, to whom being number one was not as important as being with her siblings. Not that I wouldn’t like to be with her…

*****

Ten Years Ago

Athene and I crouched in the trench, mud up to our eight-year-old knees, looking through rolls of razor wire towards the red flag on the hill that was our mission objective. Out of our entire team, we were the only two who had made it this far. The good news was that Ares’ side was down to him and Artemis.

“Think we can make it?” I asked.

“Sure we can.” Athene replied. “You’re thirty metres from the number one ranking, Pallas.”

“Sounds good to me.” I grinned.

“I’ll play decoy. You go take the fort.” Athene circled around to the right, tossing a smoke grenade as she jumped out of the trench. I waited a few seconds before running in the other direction, hearing bursts of automatic paintball fire behind me.

Halfway up the hill, I took cover in a shallow foxhole, trying to ensure my opponents – no, my enemy, that was what the instructors always told us to consider them – hadn’t seen me yet. At that moment, I heard a scream, and looked out of the foxhole to see Athene tumbling back down the hill, her leg entangled in a coil of razor wire that tore through her fatigues and into her skin. She crashed back into the trench, lying face down, her knee twisted at an odd angle.

All thoughts of my objective and the number one ranking vanished from my mind in an instant. Athene could be seriously hurt. If she was unconscious, face down in the mud, she could suffocate. I ran back down the hill, diving into the trench. Landing belly-first in the mud, I picked myself up, ran to her, and rolled her over. I didn’t even notice the paintball that hit me in the spine.

*****

“WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING?” The instructor, his face red with anger, swing his beefy hand with as much force as he could muster, striking my face with enough force to knock me off my feet.

“Athene seemed to be-“ I was interrupted by another slap, just as hard as the first one.

“1F01, what is a supersoldier’s protocol regarding mission objectives?”

“A supersoldier’s top priority is to achieve the mission objective, sir! To this end, we must be prepared to sacrifice the lives of our fellow soldiers, or even ourselves, sir!”

“And did your actions in that exercise reflect that, 1F01?”

“No, sir!”

“Seems to me like you don’t have that drilled into your head yet. You will receive twenty strokes of the cane, and sleep deprivation for a week!”

“Acknowledged, sir.” I still didn’t know how severe Athene’s injuries were, but I never felt any regret, and bore the canings and lack of rest without complaint. The fact of the matter was that Athene had needed my help, and even if I were dead, if Athene needed my help, I would come back for her. Because I was sure that she would do the same for me.

*****

Athene

I stood on the gantry next to Yamada and McDermott, looking over the welding job on the front of the Gale Gundam. The patch-up job meant that a strip of bare metal ran down the Gundam’s torso like a scar, and while the MS was still combat-capable, I felt relieved that we were heading for the space station Moresby for a more thorough repair job. Moresby was a large station built around an asteroid that had been relocated to geosynchronous high earth orbit, that served as one of the Commonwealth’s major military bases. The design was similar to that of Sparta Base, with its dull-grey structures jutting out of the huge chunk of brown rock, and indeed it did serve partially as a training facility for Commonwealth forces being trained in space warfare. Come to think of it, LunaPact’s stations were a similar design, too.

“That big scar kinda ruins the Gundam’s whole image, don’t you reckon?” Shane asked.

I just shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t care about things like that.”

“I mean, an enemy pilot sees that, he’s not gonna be freaking out because he thinks the machine’s invincible.”

“Anyone who’s a challenge to me isn’t gonna freak out like that, anyway. Pallas certainly didn’t.”

“Yeah, about that… you still have no idea why you’re with the Commonwealth and she’s with LunaPact?” McDermott asked.

“No, I have no idea why she went over. I clearly remember us training to be the Commonwealth’s supersoldiers.”

McDermott looked at me, scrutinizing my expression. Did he doubt my memory? But then, Pallas said we had always been with LunaPact. Clearly, her memories had been messed with.

At that point, the alert siren went off.

“LunaPact vessels detected on intercept vector.”

“That’s what we were on standby for.” Shane said. “Well, it’s not like they’re going to send the same people after us. Let’s blast through them and get to Moresby.”

“Remember, our priority in this situation is to defend the ship. Don’t get yourselves too far away.” McDermott warned.

We ran through checkups and launched, matching speed with the Gallipoli and the other ships in our convoy as we awaited the enemy. Before us, flights of Regulus and Deneb MS launched, spreading out to intercept our forces. Coming straight at our own vessel was the now-familiar shape of the Sirius, flanked by its two Deneb escorts. McDermott sighed.

“Shane, you know what they say about tempting fate?”

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:40 pm 
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Finally found a moment to read this.

Very nice. Your transitions happen as cleanly as possible, which is good.

I like where the story is going, though Pallas is still a mystery to me. At one moment, she's craving to fight Athene again, then she says that she'd be willing to come back from the dead just to help her. Hmm...

Anyway, great chapter. I didn't see any outstanding errors, so you should be good on that front (don't take my word for it, though).

Next up, a battle! Whooo!

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:35 am 
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Rob DS Zeta wrote:
Finally found a moment to read this.

Very nice. Your transitions happen as cleanly as possible, which is good.

I like where the story is going, though Pallas is still a mystery to me. At one moment, she's craving to fight Athene again, then she says that she'd be willing to come back from the dead just to help her. Hmm...

Anyway, great chapter. I didn't see any outstanding errors, so you should be good on that front (don't take my word for it, though).

Next up, a battle! Whooo!


For Pallas, I did try to establish (more in the previous chapter than this one) that Athene feels the same kind of craving to fight Pallas as Pallas does to fight her - it's something that's part of their supersoldier nature, but more on that in later chapters. The difference is that Athene's been more successful in fighting the urge down.

I also wanted to re-emphasise that the two share a deep bond (even when they are fighting each other), as well as show some more positive qualities for Pallas, since the previous flashbacks have been more about her competitiveness and desire to be "number one".

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:49 am 
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Sup, Vent Noir. How's it hanging?

After reading your short blurb about your fic in the general thread, I found myself with a free hour and piqued interest, so I decided to check it out. After reading through what you wrote, I have to say, I like it! There are a few things that could use a little work, of course, but so far you've done very good job overall.

If you're interested, I'd like to take a little bit to share a few thoughts I have after reading through the seven chapters. Sorry if the following ends up coming off as kind of a hodge-podge of thoughts; that's just how I roll.

To those who haven't read Storm yet but plan to: the following is fairly spoiler-laden, so tread carefully.

--
First off, Athene is a great lead character, easily my favorite of the bunch. I like that despite the fact that she's an enhanced human, she's proud of who he is and isn't so easily swayed into becoming a person that suits the fancies of others. I also admire the fact that she harbors strong affection for her sibling soldiers and worries whether or not they might be disposed of in the future, even though she wouldn't mind if the same were to happen to her. It's a big step away from the kinds of artificially-enhanced soldiers we usually see in a Gundam narrative. All in all, you could definitely call her the Soma Pieres archetype done right.

I like the fact that Khadija provides an interesting contrast to Athene, but upon re-reading, I realized that the tension between the two of them isn't as well developed as it could have been. I get why they might find each other abhorrent, but their hostility towards one another kind of came out of nowhere. We (or at least I) didn't get to see enough interaction between them, directly or otherwise, to follow it building up to "I don't want to have anything to do with her" (prior to them leaving on the civilian trip).

I wish that I had a better idea of what the Gundams looked like. As it is, we know little outside of their color schemes and their individual combat roles. This gives me an idea I can grasp, of course, but I'm the kind of guy who gets a hard-on studying and collecting lineart, so a visual depiction would be pretty cool to see. :)

In terms of the actual writing itself, it's good, though not without flaws. Shifting from one first-person perspective to another tends to be kind of jarring, but I could deal with it. I've never actually tried writing in first person myself, but it seems that might be one of the problems inherent of it.

One thing that kind of bugged me were the portions where characters would have extended monologues that were broken up into paragraphs. If it were me, I'd put in some indication that it's the same person that's talking right at the beginning of each new paragraph, since the reader might assume that a new paragraph is another character making a response and get confused.

Vent Noir wrote:
The chapter title comes from Full Metal Panic, which is an influence here, although I'm not good at writing comedy, so I didn't try and have her go into full on Sousuke Sagara mode.

AWWW. I would have loved it if that had happened! That would have been awesome. =(

A few minor nitpicks involving Victoria: I find it odd that the daughter of the CEO of a major arms manufacturer would be left alone without some sort of personal protection (referring to the scene where Athene meets her in the diner) unless, of course, she had a staff of ninjas hanging around somewhere. ;) Also, why does her aide address her as "ojousama" (end of chapter 3)? Victoria is clearly not Japanese, so unless the aide herself is a Japanese native, the English "m'lady" or some other equivalent seems like it would be more appropriate.

Vent Noir wrote:
Some C&C from elsewhere pointed out that I'm still not doing well on the descriptions, which meant the writing wasn't coming off with the emotional intensity that I'd hoped for.

Well, if emotional intensity is what you're going for, then... shucks, but I myself didn't once think of this as a problem. In fact, I actually feel that a straightforward, matter-of-fact narrative fits Athene and her steadfast personality as a bred soldier perfectly. I mean, didn't she mention from the beginning that she makes it a point to keep her emotions to a minimum?

Then again, you have also made it a point to show that she does succumb to emotions every once in a while, so... buh. :P

The re-introduction of Pallas has added some welcome tension and mystery to the story. What's the deal behind this phenomenon that occurs when the two super-soldiers fight each other? How will the fact that they become even more enthralled in the battle than usual while fighting each other play out? Most interesting indeed...

Also looking forward to the inevitable re-introduction of Ares. You already referenced the historical rivalry between Athena and Ares, so that's obviously going to have to come to a head here at some point. :wink:

--
That's about all I have to say for now. Once again, you've done a great job. Keep up the good work!

Anywhoo, when's the next chapter going to come out? I wants to see more Athene on Pallas action! I'm on the edge of my seat here!

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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:51 am 
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Strike Zero wrote:
Sup, Vent Noir. How's it hanging?


A bit tired and upset right now, but getting some unexpected C&C for my story makes things a lot better.

Quote:
First off, Athene is a great lead character, easily my favorite of the bunch. I like that despite the fact that she's an enhanced human, she's proud of who he is and isn't so easily swayed into becoming a person that suits the fancies of others. I also admire the fact that she harbors strong affection for her sibling soldiers and worries whether or not they might be disposed of in the future, even though she wouldn't mind if the same were to happen to her. It's a big step away from the kinds of artificially-enhanced soldiers we usually see in a Gundam narrative. All in all, you could definitely call her the Soma Pieres archetype done right.

I like the fact that Khadija provides an interesting contrast to Athene, but upon re-reading, I realized that the tension between the two of them isn't as well developed as it could have been. I get why they might find each other abhorrent, but their hostility towards one another kind of came out of nowhere. We (or at least I) didn't get to see enough interaction between them, directly or otherwise, to follow it building up to "I don't want to have anything to do with her" (prior to them leaving on the civilian trip).


Yeah, that's something I could have done better - the basic idea is that their outlooks would naturally rub each other the wrong way, but I could have done better setting it up.

Quote:
I wish that I had a better idea of what the Gundams looked like. As it is, we know little outside of their color schemes and their individual combat roles. This gives me an idea I can grasp, of course, but I'm the kind of guy who gets a hard-on studying and collecting lineart, so a visual depiction would be pretty cool to see. :)


Yeah, I'll have to try and do that. Not something I find easy.

Quote:
In terms of the actual writing itself, it's good, though not without flaws. Shifting from one first-person perspective to another tends to be kind of jarring, but I could deal with it. I've never actually tried writing in first person myself, but it seems that might be one of the problems inherent of it.


As an aside, the initial shifting first person style was inspired by John Biles' My HiME: Future series, although he pulled it off far better than I did.

Quote:
Vent Noir wrote:
The chapter title comes from Full Metal Panic, which is an influence here, although I'm not good at writing comedy, so I didn't try and have her go into full on Sousuke Sagara mode.

AWWW. I would have loved it if that had happened! That would have been awesome. =(

A few minor nitpicks involving Victoria: I find it odd that the daughter of the CEO of a major arms manufacturer would be left alone without some sort of personal protection (referring to the scene where Athene meets her in the diner) unless, of course, she had a staff of ninjas hanging around somewhere. ;) Also, why does her aide address her as "ojousama" (end of chapter 3)? Victoria is clearly not Japanese, so unless the aide herself is a Japanese native, the English "m'lady" or some other equivalent seems like it would be more appropriate.


Yeah, something I'm definitely going to change if I ever get around to writing a revised version.

Quote:
Vent Noir wrote:
Some C&C from elsewhere pointed out that I'm still not doing well on the descriptions, which meant the writing wasn't coming off with the emotional intensity that I'd hoped for.

Well, if emotional intensity is what you're going for, then... shucks, but I myself didn't once think of this as a problem. In fact, I actually feel that a straightforward, matter-of-fact narrative fits Athene and her steadfast personality as a bred soldier perfectly. I mean, didn't she mention from the beginning that she makes it a point to keep her emotions to a minimum?


Well, yes, but I was referring to the fact that as a writer, I have to try and keep readers emotionally invested in what's happening.

Quote:
Then again, you have also made it a point to show that she does succumb to emotions every once in a while, so... buh. :P

The re-introduction of Pallas has added some welcome tension and mystery to the story. What's the deal behind this phenomenon that occurs when the two super-soldiers fight each other? How will the fact that they become even more enthralled in the battle than usual while fighting each other play out? Most interesting indeed...

Also looking forward to the inevitable re-introduction of Ares. You already referenced the historical rivalry between Athena and Ares, so that's obviously going to have to come to a head here at some point. :wink:

--
That's about all I have to say for now. Once again, you've done a great job. Keep up the good work!

Anywhoo, when's the next chapter going to come out? I wants to see more Athene on Pallas action! I'm on the edge of my seat here!
[/quote]

Thanks for the suppourt. I've been caught up with stuff, but at least I'm now past the stumbling block that I ran into, so I'll hopefully have the next chapter done sometime soon.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:36 am 
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New chapter in spoiler tags. Sorry for the delay - as I've said, a combination of other things on, stuckness, and laziness.

Spoiler: show
Alfred Castella sat on a leather chair in the large, darkened room. The room functioned as his house’s information nexus – normally, feeds from newsnets all across Earth and inhabited space would be showing on the screens here, but at the moment, most of them were displaying footage from the area of Moresby Station, streaming from the Commonwealth and Lunapact’s monitoring. Naturally, these were not intended for civilian viewing, but for the head of a major technology firm such as Castella Industries, that barely registered as a concern.

As he waited for the battle to start, the sound of an old-style doorbell rang out from one of the speakers.

“Father, it’s me.” The sound of his daughter’s voice came over the speaker. “I realise you’re busy at the moment, but I believe this is actually something you might wish me to join you for.”

“Then you may enter, Victoria.”

Victoria entered the room, and sat down in another chair alongside her father. Her long tresses were black, today, and wrapped into a tight braid, lending her countenance a gravity that her usual lighter colors, such as blonde or pink, did not express so well.

“Hoping to see the results of one of your projects, father?” she smiled.

“I always try to keep up to date on my technology’s field performance.”

“But you have a particular piece of technology in mind here, don’t you?” Victoria asked, winking. “Two of them, in fact. Not exclusively yours, but they’re valuable enough for you to bury your ego and work with people whom you would normally consider your rivals.”

“Father, I shall say this: As your daughter – by upbringing, although not by birth – and as a Superior Human designed to be one of the leaders of the evolved humanity, I wish to be a member of your inner circle.”

“Then, Victoria, welcome to the Forge.” Alfred Castella allowed a slight smile to appear on his lips. His daughter was finally ready to embrace her destiny.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM
A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon
Based on Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate

Chapter 8: Promises in the Dark

*****

-Athene-

The emotions that filled my mind as I ran through the pre-flight checks were different than I had experienced before facing Pallas. Normally, I could calmly focus on the mission objectives. Any enemies I faced were targets or complications, to be dealt with in the most efficient manner possible. Even in the last battle, I hadn’t known it was Pallas in the Sirius’ cockpit until I had engaged her. Knowing that it would happen beforehand threw everything out of kilter for me.

On one hand, an awful feeling of wrongness weighed on my mind. The bond I shared with Pallas and Ares had been closer than those with any of my other siblings had been, and the prospect of engaging her in deadly battle was like ripping out my own heart. And yet, we had always been driven to prove ourselves against each other. As a supersoldier, the adrenaline rush that accompanied combat excited me, and Pallas was the ultimate opponent, the one I would be forced to push myself to the limit to defeat. There was a side of me that anticipated, even craved that sensation, and from what Pallas had said to me, a side of her that felt the same way. I clasped my hands to the sides of my head, struggling to clear my thoughts and regain my focus.

Athene, brainwave patterns indicate confusion and stress. Metis told me.

“I’ll be okay in a moment, Metis.”

Remember, mission objective is to ensure the Gallipoli’s safety until it is past the Lunapact attack vector. Metis said. Engaging the Sirius is not a mission priority.

“Thanks. I’ll focus on the task at hand.” The sense of relief that the reminder brought was tempered by shame that I needed to be reminded about our primary objective. It was still likely that Pallas would try to engage me, but perhaps it would be possible to talk to her, figure out why she was doing this. If we could both keep our desire for combat under control.

Let’s complete the mission together, my pilot. Metis said, her synthesised voice warm.

“Roger that, Metis. Athene Gold, Gale Gundam, launching!”

“We’re gonna hit ’em hard right at the start, people!” Captain Monash ordered. “Gundam flight, spearhead formation!” McDermott, Yamada and I took positions ahead of the Gallipoli, covered by the main cannons. Our MS were linked into the ship’s computer system, ensuring that we were not in front of the cannons when they fired.

Pallas’ now-familiar Sirius was there at the head of the Lunapact attack, and as I expected, shifted its vector, looking to engage me.

*****
Pallas

Given our relative vectors, we would only have a short window in which we could take down the enemy ship, so we needed to make the most of that timeframe. Still, it would be enough. As we approached on our intercept course, the enemy Gundams launched, flying ahead of the Gallipolli to counterattack, and I manuvered toward Athene’s Gundam, firing a volley of white-hot energy blasts. Athene managed to dodge aside, and close in on me, the Gundam’s beam rifle brought to bear but not yet firing.

Inside my mind, things that were not quite words and not quite images formed.

Enemy. Engage. Dominate. Destroy. Another set of drives struggled against the first set. Sibling. Ally. Assist. Protect. I focused on the first set of urges. We were part of LunaPact. Athene was Commonwealth. As a supersoldier, it was my duty to fight her.

“Pallas, I know you’re feeling the urge to fight me.” Athene’s voice came over the comms. “Please, try and resist it.”

“Why should I?” I retorted. “You’re with the enemy, remember?” I closed in, activating the Sirius’ double-bladed saber. Athene drew her beam saber as well, and we circled each other, just out of striking range. Like the last time we had fought, it seemed as though my senses and reactions were sharper than ever. Furthermore, I felt her emotional state, primed for combat, just like myself. The urge bubbled just beneath the surface, and a few pricks would cause it to burst forth.

“You’re feeling exactly the same way as me.” I told her. “You want to fight as badly as I do. That’s who we are. Why be ashamed of it?” I sensed her searching for an answer, trying to fight the urge to do battle.

“After all, you always said that Ares and I were the best challenges you were ever given. Come on, let’s experience that feeling again.”

“No. Pallas, this is wrong!”

“What’s wrong is that you’re with the Commonwealth! You betrayed us all!”

“That’s not true!” Athene screamed, her anger ripping a hole in the block her mind had set up. With that, the urge for battle that Athene had always felt burst loose, and her Gundam thrust towards me, beam saber at the ready.

*****

Alan McDermott listened to the pair’s conversation over the comms.

“Ensign Gold, don’t let her psych you out! If that happens, she’s got you halfway beaten already!” No reply came. “Dammit, I don’t know if she even heard me. Yamada, stick close to the ship!” The Flame Gundam laid down a burst of automatic fire from the Gallipoli’s port bow, attempting to deny the LunaPact mobile suits the chance to approach from that angle.

“Gotcha, sir!” A missile barrage from the lightning did the same for the starboard side. Between the two of them, three Regs were blasted into space debris, and several more forced backward, but the pair of white Denebs continued to approach.

“Oh, boy.” Shane sighed. “You know how in all those mecha shows the hero team all get personal enemies to fight one-on-one? Well, looks like we’re getting our own personal nemeses to go with Athene’s.”

*****

“Paul, I’ll take the blue Gundam, you take the red one!” Nicole Perez said. Her Deneb circled around to Shane’s left, trying to expose the Lightning Gundam’s flank and rear, Matthews fired a swarm of countermissiles to block a barrage from the Flame Gundam, moving in to close the distance and engage McDermott in melee.

“Okay, let’s see what you’re made of, Gundam.” She said to herself as she manuvered, looking for a clear shot on the blue Gundam. Just at the point where she had almost drawn a bead on it, it unleashed a burst of shots from its own beam rifle.

“Looks like I’ve got my own personal nemesis!” A voice came over an open channel – it had to be the blue Gundam’s pilot. “Tell me – are you blonde? And do you wear a mask?”

“What the—NO!” Perez unleashed a burst of fire from her own beam rifle, but the Gundam evaded the shots, zipping towards her as it drew its beam saber.

“So is that you’re not blonde, or you don’t wear a mask? ‘cause if it’s either one of those, it’s still okay.”

“Neither! And what’s that got to do with anything?” He sounds like some little twerp of a kid. Well, he’ll shut the hell up when he gets a beam saber to the face. She made a swing, but the Gundam pilot parried, and for a moment the two MS were locked nearly faceplate to faceplate.

“Geez, some people have no respect for the classics. But hey, it looks like we’re in supporting roles for our teammates over there, anyway.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Perez made another thrust, but the blue Gundam parried again and thrust away, behind her MS. She spun her Deneb about, trying to spot where he had gone.

“Oh, just a TV show I used to watch when I was a kid. “Gunboy” or something. Don’t worry about it.”

Spotting the flare of the Gundam’s thrusters, Perez turned to pursue it. Was this kid naturally talented at pissing people off, or did he have to practice?

*****

Victoria looked at the monitors, focusing on the clash between the Gundam and Sirius, as they wove complex manuver patterns around each other.

“Father, if I am to be a part of this Forge organisation, the first thing I need to know is what its purposes are.”

“The purpose of Forge is to move humanity beyond its current limitations. Since leaving the Earth failed to induce the evolutionary leap some theorized it would, its founders concluded that we should not wait for nature to take its – purely theoretical – course, and should spur the next stage of humanity ourselves. The supersoldiers you are watching battle each other are the fruits of those efforts, like you, Victoria.”

“I am not the same as them, though. Where they were designed for combat potential, I was designed as a leader. My enhancements and education were geared to making me beautiful, charismatic, and intelligent, so that I could easily make people follow me. And that is why I was raised as your own daughter.”

“Of course. I would accept only the best as my child.”

“I’ll always remember that, father.” Victoria smiled sweetly. “But I should like to move on to the matter at hand. Can you explain to me the intent behind giving each side in this conflict one of the Gold generation supersoldiers, and arranging for them to battle each other?“

“The aim of this experiment is to confirm what the scientists who worked on this project call the “resonance phenomenon”. Simply put, it seems that when two or more supersoldiers are in close proximity to one another, they may be able to push themselves beyond their normal abilities. There was some indication of this in training exercises, but the only way to confirm it would be to analyse a real combat system.”

“And you determined that having them fight one another would be the best way to replicate the effect.”

“It’s not something that an ordinary opponent could bring out in them. But preliminary data from their first battle speaks for itself. For example, their reaction speed peaked at almost three times faster than under lab conditions.”

“But the strange thing is that they both seem convinced about which side they were raised to fight for.”

“Of course. Our organisation has friends in high places among both sides, after all. They were raised in a base which could have belonged to either. Rather than creating a whole new set of memories, it’s far more efficient and effective to simply fill in the blanks.”

Victoria kept her voice level. “I see, father. I shall observe the battle with you. Although surely you hope neither of your precious investments is irreversibly damaged?”

“If we can confirm the resonance phenomenon, the risk is worth it. And if worst comes to worst, we have their genomes on file.”

*****

“Crossing main Lunapact vector now, captain!” Helmsman Ricardo Singh reported.

“Divert power away from the main cannons. Use it for verniers, port and starboard batteries and CIDS.” Captain Monash ordered. “ETA until we’re clear of their attack vector?”

“Approximately eight minutes, ma’am.”

“Pilots, move to guard the flanks and rear of the ship.”

“This is Flame Gundam. Order acknowledged.”

“Lightning Gundam, order acknowledged.”

“Gale Gundam, do you copy?”

No response.

“Gale Gundam, orders are to move to defend the ship’s sides and rear. Do you copy?”

*****

Shane fired a volley of missiles at Perez’s Deneb, intended more as a distraction as he manuvered into position defending the ship’s flank than to damage her. The Lightning’s sensors indicated that the Gale was still online and active, but Athene wasn’t responding to communications.

“Dammit, Athene, break off and get back here!” Shane said, speaking more to himself than to her.

“She must be too wrapped up in the fight to listen to orders.” McDermott said.

“We can’t just leave her here!”

“I can go after her, but that’ll leave you to defend the ship alone, Yamada.”

“I can handle it, sir.”

“You’d better, because if you get killed I’m going to go to the afterlife and kick your arse as soon as I’m done kicking Gold’s. Captain, permission to follow and retrieve the Gale?”

“Permission granted, Lieutenant.”

Laying down a barrage of covering fire in the direction of the Lunapact forces, the Flame Gundam sped off in the direction of the battle between the Gale Gundam and the Sirius. For his part, Shane tried to assess the situation. A shift to defensive tactics would boost his own chances of survival, but eschewing all offense would leave his enemies free to ignore him and strafe the Gallipoli. Well, being ridiculously overconfident in the face of superior enemies was what he was best at, right?

“Hey, you two! Looks like my friends have decided you’re not worth their time! What do you say to a threesome?” Oh god, if those are my last words, I’m gonna end up the next viral vid sensation, aren’t I?

*****

Athene

As I battled Pallas, I was aware of the friendly and enemy forces, but not concerned by them – it was as if the rush of facing an opponent as skilled as myself caused everything else to fade into the background, as once more, our mobile suits danced around each other, around our saber slashes and rifle shots, and around stray fire from elsewhere, revelling in the unleashing of our potential. The other voices I could hear on the comms barely registered with me – the only thing that mattered to me was defeating Pallas, and the only thing that mattered to her was beating me.

On the fringes of my senses, I noticed the approaching Flame Gundam, registering it as an ally, and paid it no mind, as Pallas and I once again hovered just out of beam saber strike range, scanning each other for any momentary lapse in our defences. The voice on the comms was present in the back of my mind, but I paid it no heed…

…until I noticed that my ally had launched a volley of missiles directly at us. I pulled back, out of the path of the attack, as did Pallas, and the missile volley passed harmlessly between us, but my shock at being attacked by my ally had shaken me out of the mental zone I was in.

“Ensign Gold, get back to the ship NOW! THAT’S AN ORDER!”

“Y-yes, sir!”

As I pulled away, I saw Pallas’ Sirius doing the same.

*****

As I disembarked from the Gundam, I saw McDermott turn and head straight for me, and got the my gut was hit by a sinking sensation that only an angry CO could produce.

“Ensign Gold, would you mind explaining to me exactly what the hell happened out there?”

“I’m not exactly sure, sir…”

“Well, from my perspective, it looked as though you got yourself so wrapped up in fighting the Sirius’ pilot that the captain’s orders, and mine, weren’t even registering with you!”

“I’m sorry, sir…”

“I’M NOT FINISHED! As a result of that, I was forced to go after you, leaving Yamada to defend the vessel alone, resulting in both him and the Gallipoli being endangered! So now tell me, what the hell happened?”

“Because I ignored orders, I endangered my squadron mate and the vessel, sir.”

“Gold, I’m aware that something seems to come over you when you fight that other supersoldier. Under normal circumstances, you’d never ignore orders the way you did. But however good you are, I’m not willing to have a soldier who can’t be relied upon by her squadron mates.”

He drew a deep breath, hesitating just a little before he pronounced his next sentence.

“Ensign Gold, until you are able to work properly within a team, you are banned from engaging in combat operations.”

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Whoo, finally got around to posting comments.

It looks like Victoria's finally making a move. It should be interesting to see how her own agenda unfolds, if she has one.

Geez, Shane sure does enjoy hanging them lampshades, doesn't he? He's not particularly subtle about it either. He might as well go right ahead and break down the fourth wall while he's at it. :lol:

Athene's rematch with Pallas... didn't last nearly as long as I hoped it would before Shane interupted them, but it was still pretty exciting. Sadly, now Athene won't get a chance to fight for a while. Well, no worries. I'm sure that grounding the only super-soldier on the ship while the enemy still has their own super solider won't have any sort of negative repercussions whatsoever. Right. :roll:

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:30 am 
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Strike Zero wrote:
Whoo, finally got around to posting comments.

It looks like Victoria's finally making a move. It should be interesting to see how her own agenda unfolds, if she has one.

Geez, Shane sure does enjoy hanging them lampshades, doesn't he? He's not particularly subtle about it either. He might as well go right ahead and break down the fourth wall while he's at it. :lol:


Yeah, I considered doing that, but decided against it. As it is, I'm worried I still may have overdone it.

Quote:
Athene's rematch with Pallas... didn't last nearly as long as I hoped it would before Shane interupted them, but it was still pretty exciting. Sadly, now Athene won't get a chance to fight for a while. Well, no worries. I'm sure that grounding the only super-soldier on the ship while the enemy still has their own super solider won't have any sort of negative repercussions whatsoever. Right. :roll:


Yeah, McDermott knows he's taking a risk with that, but Athene needs to be disciplined for her actions. More on that next chapter.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Vent Noir wrote:
Yeah, I considered doing that, but decided against it. As it is, I'm worried I still may have overdone it.

Maybe a little. By the time he was mentioning "Gunboy," I'm thinking, "alright, yes, we get it, you're in a Gundam story, yeesh." :roll:

I mean, I suppose if we take seriously the fact that Gundam the anime is something that actually exists in this universe, then him constantly referencing the show would make a little sense, but... you gotta wonder at some point whether or not that gets a little bit too weird.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Its very late right now, so I don't have time to go into a full review of chapter one. From what I read though, I liked. Still, I would prefer a little more background about the world in general in the first chapter. On the whole though, a good read, I look forward to reading the next set of chapters. Keep it up!

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:18 am 
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Thanks. I've been trying to work on the next chapter, but run into a combination of distractions and not being able to get the story working to my satisfaction.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:07 am 
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Damn, here I was just getting into it and I've run out of chapters to read! :)

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:58 am 
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Sorry! Again, a combination of stuckness, distraction and procrastination on my part, but I'm getting back into the groove again and should hopefully have a new chapter up soon.

In the meantime, any thoughts on what you've read so far would be appreciated.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:36 pm 
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As soon as I'm done tiling I'll let you know.

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