Heroes from across the generations are appearing on a strange world, and the dead are returning for a second chance at life. What is happening? How will the warriors react to seeing enemies return?
Chapter's in the spoiler box.
Heroes and Ghosts
Kira’s head hurt… That was all he could tell someone if they asked him how he felt at the moment.
“Agh…” he groaned, clutching his head in agony. “What happened last night?”
The young Coordinator wracked his mind. The last thing he remembered, he was out on the town with Lacus, Dearka, and Yzak. They had been eating at some place Dearka had recommended, and then…
“Did I pass out?” he asked himself, trying as hard as he could to remember. Unfortunately, thinking just caused his head to hurt even more.
Calming himself, Kira tried to think rationally. The first thing he needed to do was get up and find somebody. Surely Lacus would know what had happened. If not Lacus, then Yzak would, at the very least, tell him about how he got hit on the head using the bluntest, most degrading words imaginable.
Rolling himself onto his side, Kira attempted to throw his legs from his bed. Strangely enough, though, all his legs did were land with thuds on the rather hard and firm mattress. In fact, what he was lying on did not feel like a mattress at all. It felt like…
“Grass…?” the nineteen-year-old ZAFT Admiral, diplomat, and hero of the Earth-sphere, Kira Yamato, proclaimed in a voice that could only be described as ‘dumbfounded’.
Letting his eyes flutter open, Kira slowly started to soak in his surroundings. Sure enough, he was lying in a field of grass. Just to check, he dug his hand down below the grass, feeling the cold dirt. This was not the plain sod that covered the fields in the PLANTs. This was real, Earth-grown grass. He took in a breath through his nose, smelling the aroma that filled the air. It was like it had just rained. Pulling his hand back, he found it covered in trickling rainwater.
Pushing himself from the ground, Kira ran a hand through his hair, allowing it to dispel some of the water it had accumulated from the ground. There was no visible sky, so he did not have to worry about the sun hurting his weary eyes. The sky was gray with overcast, a vague white spot being the only sign that there was a sun at all.
The world around the teen reflected much of what the sky gave. It was dreary-looking, to say the least. There was a grayish-tan rock face in the distance before him. It sported a calm waterfall with water that was tainted gray by the sky. The waterfall fell into a river, which ran far and wide into the distance. The grass was green enough, though, as it ran down the hill ahead of him, towards the river.
“Huh…” Kira mused to himself, unsure what to make of his current situation. He had never seen a place like this before, drawing images from old story books to his mind. It was more surreal than anything, especially as he wiped the cool water from his hands.
Finally finding the urge to stand up, Kira wiped the wet grass and loose water from the frock of his ZAFT White uniform. He was rather surprised to see the grass stains form on the white fabric, and dread built in his mind that there was likely more on his back and shoulders. It made him wish that they had gone back to the house and changed their clothes before going out. If Dearka had not been so insistent that they get there ‘before the rush’.
“What kind of ‘rush’ starts after ten at night, anyway.” the young white coat grumbled, trying to find some sort of humor to help ease his mind. It did not work very well, though. He was so used to bottling his emotions, that all of the confusion in his mind was staying right there. In his mind. Being a politician, a military leader, and a public figure had done that to him on only a year. Not to mention the two wars. They had not helped much on that front, either.
Actually, he reminded himself, if it were not for Lacus he would have likely cracked and thrown himself off of a cliff a few years ago.
Deciding that there was nothing helpful in the direction of the river, Kira turned around to see what was in the other directions. To his right was a large forest that eventually led to another rock face. To the left was, much to Kira’s dismay, a cliff that led to another green field. With his flanks hopeless, he turned himself around entirely. He braced himself for more of the field, but most of the green was obscured by something much more prominent in the view.
Two metallic legs, naturally a pair, colored a similar dull gray to the sky. Their appearance caused Kira to blink. Had they been there this whole time? As Kira wondered this, his eyes trailed up the legs, leading him to a pair of folded rail cannons, a familiar torso, and then to the arms. One hand held a white rifle, and the other a black and red shield. Finally, there was the stalwart head and large, folded back wings.
Kira’s eyes went wide at the sight, as it was one he thought he would never see again.
“Freedom…” he said the machine’s name as it stared into the distance, its yellow eyes waiting to be activated. It was the X10A Freedom, his machine from the first Bloody Valentine War.
“I just can’t get away from you, can I?” Kira jokingly nagged at the mobile suit’s imposing figure. It just sat there, of course, it’s cockpit open and the automatic step waiting for Kira to grab on. “It’s like you followed me here.”
Seeing no better option than to take the Gundam’s offer, Kira heaved a heavy sigh and proceeded to approach the automatic step. Upon reaching the step, Kira took hold of the hand grip and stepped on. The mechanism was pressure-activated, so the instant it detected Kira’s weight, it started to lift him up.
Kira took the ride up as an opportunity to look at the landscape one more time. The river in the expanse looked rather peaceful, in spite of the gray coloring. As nice as it seemed, this was no time for him to rest. He had to find out where he was and how fast he could get back to Aprilius One. Unfortunately, the Freedom alone could not get him into space. If anything, it would hinder him from docking at an average spaceport. He would likely have to head to Orb and take a shuttle. As for the Freedom…
“One step at a time.” Kira told himself. He would figure that out eventually. Even if he had to leave it at a Terminal outpost on Earth, three of which he could think of that had mobile suit hangars, he would make sure to preserve this machine.
The sudden feeling of stopping brought Kira back to the present. He had reached the cockpit, so he threw himself into the Freedom’s seat. It was warm, as if having just been occupied. It was like the Impulse had never even touched it. It was exactly as it had been before launching that day.
Kira had never been so content to be in the cockpit of a mobile suit.
Deciding that he had best be getting going, Kira closed the cockpit and proceeded to fire the machine up. It was actually the first time Kira had been in a mobile suit at all in almost six months, but it still came to him without hesitation. He flexed his hands on the controls, grasping them with each individual finger. It was rare that he got to fly a mobile suit without actually going into combat, but this was always the machine he would have wanted to do take a joyride in.
“Kira Yamato,” he mocked himself aloud, a grin appearing on his face. “Freedom Gundam! Taking off!”
Lighting the thrusters, Kira felt the sudden jolt as the Freedom left the ground and blasted into the air with enough force to level a building. Within seconds, they were above the cloud line, tearing across the sound barrier as Kira waited for the Freedom’s computer to obtain data on their surroundings.
Elsewhere, Haman Karn was walking disdainfully through a forest. She grunted a few curses as she clutched her pistol in both hands, checking her surroundings for whoever might have left her here. She was covered in mud, having woken up lying in a puddle of it. She did not know what to make of it, so she simply stood and got herself underway.
It was despicable. The last thing she remembered was fighting Judau and… losing, as much as it pained her to admit it to herself. She had hoped for a tie, but such was fate. Whether it was Char, Kamille, Glemy, or Judau, she was always getting snuffed by boys. And if it wasn’t a pilot crossing her, then it was one getting overly zealous for her, like that creep with the rose, Mashymre Cello… Although, she had to admit, the thing with Cello was entirely her fault in the first place… as was Kamille.
The Neo Zeon leader shook her head, trying to get the thoughts of what had happened before out of her head. She needed to focus on the present. Whether or not she had terrible luck with boys, at the moment she was stuck lugging her half-dead ass through some dark, muddy woods.
“Where the hell am I?” Haman finally asked herself as she pulled another one of her black and gold normal suit’s boots out of the sticky mud of the forest floor. She could not imagine that she was on a colony, seeing as they were not nearly this rural. She had been walking for almost an hour, and she had not seen a single sign of civilization. No human footprints, no animal tracks, nothing. It was like she was only thing in the world that wasn’t a tree, grass or-
Letting out a growl as she shook the brown goo from her boot, Haman looked up. The sky above the tree canopy was gray, likely because of clouds. Weather… That was something that certainly did not belong on a space colony. That meant that she was on Earth, but how did she get here? Naturally, she thought that someone had rescued her from her wrecked Qubeley. What else could have happened?
On the other hand, if someone was to go through all of the trouble of making sure that she did not die from the suicide attempt that she had pulled off for Judau’s sake, why would they just drop her in some Earth forest? Not to mention in the mud of some Earth forest? To her, it seemed to almost defeat the whole purpose of performing the rescue.
Heaving a sigh, Haman stopped to lean against one of the trees. She had been walking for so long, now all of this thinking was actually starting to tire her out. She could barely remember the last time she been able to actually relax. The end of the war, getting backed into a corner like that, had really had a negative effect on her.
“If it hadn’t been for Glemy…” she cursed her former underling. It had been his little rebellion that had really doomed Neo Zeon. Haman herself might be the Ghost of Zeon, but Glemy was the ghost of something much worse. If anything, he was the ghost of Gihren Zabi, and that was something that everyone could do without.
Deciding that she was getting nowhere by just standing still, Haman decisively held her pistol up again and once again started looking for the end of the forest. For her, it could not come fast enough.
“What do you mean ‘there’s no relevant map data’?”
Kira was baffled. The Freedom’s computer had failed to pull up any data on the surrounding area, which bothered him quite a bit. Without map data, all Kira could really do was fly around until he found a city. For all he knew, though, he was in the middle of some uninhabited nation.
One thing that was for sure, though, was that flying above the clouds was out of the question. He needed to be able to see the land. Even if his target locator was active, it would not help him if he came across, say, a little place like Reverend Malchio’s. At this point, any kind of civilization would be a great help to him. He needed to get back to Aprilius as soon as possible, or else he would have a mountain of paperwork waiting for him, not to mention Lacus would probably have him kicked out of the Diplomatic Corps.
As for the Freedom, he really had no idea what to do about it. He had pondered Terminal, the Junk Guild, and a few other solutions, but first he would have to find out where he was. Without map data, he was little more than a fish in the ocean.
If he was going to be a fish, though, the Freedom assured that he would be an extremely fast one.
Breaking back below the cloud line, Kira slowed himself so that he could actually see what was passing below him. At the moment, it was a sea of trees that seemed to stretch on forever. The trees were dark, however, blocking the Coordinator from seeing anything within the mass. It made Kira wish that the sun would come out. The clouds did not seem to want to break, though. It was like the weather of this place was perpetually gloomy.
Moving back up to dodge a mountain, Kira was once again over the clouds. Up here, the sun was shining. The Freedom’s shadow cast a perfect silhouette upon the thick layer of undulating condensation. His only gripe with the clouds was that they were so low that he had no idea about what was below them. For all he knew, he could fly through them and smash right into a mountain.
Pulling his throttle back, Kira slowed his pace even more. He leaned back in his seat and let out a sigh. This was certainly not getting him anywhere productive. At this rate, he could be flying around for days before he found a city. All he could do at the moment was have faith in the direction he was going on, but that did little to nothing for his confidence.
The sudden ping on the Freedom’s dash caused Kira to perk up considerably. Instantly, his negative thoughts went away. Praying that he had thought too soon, he pulled his throttle back even more so that he could come within close range with the flashing blip. Within seconds, the computer was coming up with data.
“Huh?” Kira mumbled as the computer brought up some quick analysis that it had pulled off of the targeted object. The label, ‘unknown type’, meant that it was a mobile suit. “A mobile suit? Out here?”
True to its label, the model brought up by the computer was definitely something Kira had never seen before. It had many long, almost seemingly extraneous parts. Large shoulder binders, almost like wings, sat upon the machine’s frame, giving it a very regal appearance. Its head also seemed to be elongated in the back. It was not a Gundam, that was for sure. Whatever it was, though, it did not seem to have any visible weapons, but that did not make it any less dangerous.
Finally coming within range of the strange machine, Kira descended below the clouds again to see his discovery in person.
Haman could not believe how bad her luck was becoming. After trudging her mud-covered self all the way through this forest and finding the end of it, now there was a mobile suit flying somewhere above her. She had not quite reached the end of the woods, but she knew full and well that the incoming mobile suit was not far off.
Upon finally reaching the light at the end of the trees, what Haman found stunned her. Not one mobile suit, but two! Two mobile suits stood not twenty meters from her stop at the dark forest’s edge! The first one was exactly what she had not wanted to see. Blue and white…
“Gundam…” Haman murmured in frustration. The anger, however, did not come solely from the fact that it was the white and blue structure of a Gundam that had appeared in her way. No, it was mainly the fact that the other mobile suit, the one that the Gundam seemed to be investigating, was none other than Haman’s personal mobile suit.
“You’d better not lay a hand on my Qubeley, Gundam!”
Inside the Freedom, Kira’s monitor suddenly zoomed in on another spot. He glanced over, finding something he had wanted to see.
“A person! Is it the pilot?” he asked himself, taking in the odd-looking woman. She had pink hair, though it was a slightly deeper shade than Lacus’s, and wore a very fancy looking suit of gold and black. Her face was one of what appeared to be extreme irritation, which caused Kira to grimace.
“You’d better not lay a hand on my Qubeley, Gundam!”
“What?” Kira exclaimed, feeling the intimidation in the woman’s voice. He thought about getting out and trying to reason with her, but noticed the gun in her hand. It was not pointed at him, though, but he was not positive that she would not just take a shot at him the instant he got out of his cockpit.
So, without further ado, Kira activated the Freedom’s speaker system, which was intended for a much more commanding use than this, and tried to put his political protocol training to use.
“Um… Hi there.”
Haman promptly propped an eyebrow at the nervous greeting. It sounded like a teenager with a frog in his throat speaking. She inwardly laughed at the thought of having to deal with another teenaged Gundam pilot, but she’d have to deal with it for now. He had contacted her, which meant that he was probably willing to negotiate.
“You can hear me?” she spoke loud and clear as she slowly emerged from the tree line and into the dreary field that was separating her from her Qubeley.
“Yes.” Kira confirmed, nodding in out of habit. “Is this your mobile suit?”
“Yes, it is.” Haman claimed, a smirk climbing onto her face as a result of the pilot’s polite behavior. Whoever he was, he was much more civil than the other Gundam pilots she had come against over the years, especially Judau. “I’d be very appreciative if you left it alone.”
“O-Oh!” the pilot stuttered, almost causing Haman to start laughing. She watched with amusement as the imposing machine took a few steps away from the Qubeley. Haman jumped at this chance to get to her machine. Moving as fast as she could without overexerting her tired body, the Ghost of Zeon ran up and mounted her personal specter.
Feeling the Qubeley’s controls in her hands put Haman at ease, allowing her to catch her breath. Finally, she was somewhere that she could actually control her destiny from. It came to her as she shut the hatch and started the mobile suit up: This was a second chance at life for her. She would not squander it this time.
A ringing noise from her console caught Haman’s attention, telling her that the Gundam was hailing her. She thought about ignoring it, seeing as she owed the Gundam pilot little, if anything at all. But, then again, her instincts told her that she might be able to make use of a Gundam as her ally. It would certainly be a nice change from her last situation, when she had at least three Gundams breathing down her neck.
Stroking a button on her console communicator, she answered the hail. An image came onto her screen, showing her the image of a young man spikey brown hair in a white military uniform of sorts. As it was, though, the uniform was disturbed by what appeared to be grass stains. Haman had no place to complain, though, seeing as her lavish flight suit was featuring caked on mud for the time being.
“Who are you? Where are we?” Haman bombarded the Gundam pilot with questions. Now that she was behind the controls of the Qubeley, her confidence in the situation was higher than ever. No way would she let another Gundam beat her. Not now, and not ever again.
“I don’t know.” the young man replied, trying to brush off Haman’s brusque approach. “I don’t even know how I got here.”
Haman did her best to hide her shock. If what the Gundam pilot was saying was true, then he was in a similar situation to her.
“Hmm… That’s not what I wanted to hear.” she stated aloud, giving the boy a grim look. “My name is Haman Karn. And you are…?”
“Kira Yamato. I’m a member of the ZAFT Diplomatic Council and a White Coat in their forces.”
Haman perked an eyebrow at the boy’s titling. From the sound of it, he was some sort of politician-slash-military officer, which made for a dangerous combination.
…or a powerful ally.
However, there was also the matter of fact that she did not have any idea what ZAFT was. She could work around that, though, so long as he was willing to cooperate.
“Kira Yamato,” she said the boy’s name. “I know that this might not be the most opportune time, but perhaps we should join forces?”
Kira gave Haman a questioning look, slightly put off by her sudden offer.
“Join forces?” he inquired, not liking where this was going. Her reaction told him that she was in a situation similar to his, and that could not mean anything good.
“Yes… You do know what that means, right?” Haman questioned the boy’s intelligence, a smirk of amusement crawling onto her somewhat haggard features. “I don’t have any idea how I got here, and you don't seem to be in such a familiar situation yourself.”
Kira felt his eyes widen slightly. She had called him on that. She was right about him, and that meant that they were in a similar boat. Still, there was something about Haman Karn that troubled Kira. Perhaps it was her voice? He could not be certain.
"You're correct about that. I don't know how I wound up here," Kira admitted, not wavering at Haman's confident leer. "However, that doesn't mean that I'm going to just join up with you just like that.”
Haman closed her eyes for a moment, hiding her insatiable urge to roll them at the Gundam pilot. While he was not quite the social master, he at least had the thought capacity for caution.
“Listen,” she started back before Kira could start stuttering again. “For now, we need to work together. You don’t know where you are. I don’t know where I am. It makes us natural allies.”
Kira gave his head a light shake at that. As strange as this all was, the woman made sense. Two heads were better than one, after all.
“Okay,” Kira finally voiced his decision. “I’ll work with you until we find out what’s going on.”
Haman let out a pleased chuckle at this. This one would be easy to manipulate if necessary. She could see it as he struggled to think. He was not used to making his own life decisions. However, she could also feel no Newtype pressure from him. That would likely limit his use as a Gundam pilot, but she could work around that.
“Very well,” Haman said disarmingly, wanting to put the boy at ease so that he could focus. “Here’s to us, Kira Yamato.”
Kira did his best not to grimace again.
About twenty miles to the south of where Kira and Haman were ‘celebrating’ their newfound alliance, some other key players were in a different sort of diabolical pickle.
With all of their combined might, Bright Noa, Astonaige Medoz, and Torres were trying to haul open the door to the Argama’s bridge. The ship had no power, thus the doors would not open by themselves. The bridge door especially, seeing as it had extra locks to stop exactly what the three AEUG members were attempting to do.
“This… had better… be the right idea… Torres!” Bright huffed as the three heaved at their quarry once again.
“I’m… sure it is!” the young navigator grunted. Bright was far from assured, though. The other idea was to find their way down to the power core and go for a manual boot up. It was that, or just hit a few buttons on the bridge.
“Stop… arguing… and keep… pulling!” Astonaige cut in as he, being the one closest to the doorframe, wedged his leg up for some leverage.
The three men were the only ones on the ship. They had all woken up in the crew lounge, and were absolutely confused as to what was going on. The only things lighting their way were the emergency lights, and they were rather limited compared to the main lighting system.
Bright was especially confused, considering that he had not been on the Argama in almost six years. The last thing he remembered was the light of the Psychoframe from the Nu Gundam. Next thing he knew, he was slumped in one of the chairs of the Argama’s lounge. A few thoughts came to mind, but Astonaige, whom had already been awake when Bright regained consciousness, had been adamant that they get the power on before they suffocate.
Thus, they found themselves in their current situation.
“For the love of…” Torres started to complain, but cut himself off by collapsing to the floor out of exhaustion. They had been at it for almost fifteen minutes with absolutely nothing to present as success.
With Torres down, Bright and Astonaige backed down themselves to take a breather.
“This isn’t getting us anywhere,” Bright stated with an air of defeat. “How long do you think we have until the oxygen runs out?”
Astonaige looked at the captain grimly. “Well… If all of the doors are locked and shut, and the hangar isn’t locked down, then…”
Astonaige stopped, his features freezing up for a moment. Bright let out an exasperated breath at this.
“Well? How long?”
“I got it!” Astonaige suddenly burst out, his face lighting up with epiphany. “We need to go to the hangar!”
That said, the scruffy mechanic barged down the hall in the direction of the hangar. Bright moved to follow, but stopped. He looked down at Torres, whom was still on the floor. He swept the boy up by his collar and gave him a couple of alerting slaps to the face. This did nothing, though, and Torres remained unconscious with a ridiculous look on his face. Bright sighed and shook his head, dropping the boy before taking off after Astonaige.
Upon reaching the hangar, Bright found it to be mostly dark, but not unoccupied. There was only a sparse group of emergency lights in the expanse of the room, but it still allowed him to make out the dark figures of mobile suits in one of the holdings. He identified a few of them as Nemos, but there were a couple more he could not make out properly.
As for Astonaige, Bright found the green jumpsuited man messing around with what appeared to be a passage door on the far end of the walkway.
“A maintenance shaft,” Astonaige replied in a matter-of-fact tone. “This should be able to get us anywhere we need to go.”
Bright blinked at this revelation a few times before feeling his blood start to boil. “Wait! Why didn’t you think of this before?”
“Well, I’ve never used it before,” the mechanic replied meekly, wishing he could back away from Bright just a few inches. “Also, I didn’t think it would be so hard to open the bridge. They don’t train us for this kind of crap in engineering school, y’know.”
Bright just let out another sigh, running his face through his hands in some attempt to ease his frustration. None of this made sense to him, and now he had to deal with, of all things, an absent-minded Astonaige Medoz. It almost made him nostalgic for the asteroid base he had been trying to blow up not an hour ago.
Actually… No it doesn’t.
Before Bright could actually say something to the mechanic, the man was already halfway inside the dark passage. Bright looked back into the abyss of the hangar warily before shuffling into the shaft himself. Of course, it being a maintenance shaft and all, there was enough emergency lighting in here for them to find their way.
“The bridge should be this way.” Astonaige claimed, making a left in the snaking passageway.
“I thought you said you’d never been in here.” Bright recalled, rolling his eyes at the mechanic’s newfound ‘certainty’.
Astonaige, though not seeing Bright, rolled his eyes as well. “Y’know, Captain, I am the chief mechanic of this ship for reason.”
Bright blinked again, realizing that he had just been talked back to. Unfortunately, he could not quite bring himself to argue with Astonaige at the moment, seeing as they were currently hutched over in a maze of corridors that ran through the walls of a warship. He’d make sure to give him a slap later, though, once they were out of this mess.
Back by the door to the bridge, Torres was finally coming around after having passed out from overexertion. He rolled off of his face, rubbing his eyes tiredly. The first thing that registered in his mind was that his cheeks hurt, but he brushed the pain off once he realized that he was exactly where he remembered having been – in the dim corridor of a powerless Argama.
“Aw man…” the navigator groaned, bringing his hands up to massage his head as it pained with confusion. How had this happened? The last thing he remembered was going to catch some sleep after finally settling things with the Titans at Gryps. He had been given a break by the captain while the ship was falling back to Side 1 for resupply.
Next thing he knew, he was waking up in the crew lounge to a frantic Astonaige and a grouchy Bright.
That, however, was not important. What was important was that, like Astonaige had said, they were going to run out of air eventually. That was one fate that Torres most certainly did not want to suffer.
So, not even bothering to wonder where Bright and Astonaige might have disappeared to, the navigator stood and resumed pulling upon the door that impeded his way. He would get onto the bridge no matter what.
“I think it’s right through here.”
Back in the maintenance shaft, Bright was watching Astonaige attempt to pry loose another passage door.
“Are you sure? You thought the one that led to the bathroom was the right one, too.” the captain quipped, really wishing that he had some way to relieve his anger that did not involve rendering Astonaige unconscious. Giving the man a hard time was only a temporary relief.
“I told you that I’ve never used this shaft before, didn’t I?” the mechanic shot back. He was starting to get irritated as well, seeing as he was not having any luck in opening the way.
“Let me see it.” Bright finally snapped, shoving Astonaige out of the way. Pulling his leg back as well as he could in the hunched space, the 33-year-old Bright Noa delivered a harsh kick to the hatch door.
With a loud crack, the door broke from its lock and flow open. Bright’s pleasure on the matter was short-lived, as a loud alarm started blaring not a full second later. The light that had been coming in through the bridge’s windows was cut off instantly as the emergency shutters came down over them. Shutters also covered the door that they had been pulling at earlier.
“What in the world?” Bright complained as he shuffled himself out of the shaft, covering his ears from the clamor. As nice as it was to him to be standing on the bridge of a familiar ship, the sirens were quite a downer.
“You set off the intruder alarm, Captain,” Astonaige stated, though he had not raised his voice enough for Bright to actually hear. “I know how to disable it, though.”
While Bright stumbled around in confused terror, Astonaige moved over to one of the consoles and started typing. Thankfully, all of the bridge consoles had access to the emergency power – as did the alarm system, apparently. He shot in some commands and, within moments, disabled the alarms.
“There we go.”
With the noise gone, Bright uncovered his ears and went straight to holding his head in irate agony. “I’m getting too old for this…” he uttered before falling tiredly into the captain’s chair with a thud.
Astonaige just smirked in amusement as he started typing some more commands into the console. The next step was, of course, to activate the power core. After a moment, the lights flicked on and, much to Bright’s relief, the air conditioning started processing air.
“Okay! The power’s back online!” Astonaige claimed with pride, pumping his fist into the air in joy. “Now I just have to disable the-…”
“Argama, this is Lieutenant Emma,” a message suddenly cut in through the communications console. “Is there anybody there?”
The collective eyes of Bright and Astonaige widened at the voice that filled the bridge, let alone the name it had given.
“D-Did she just say ‘Emma’?” Astonaige exclaimed, bolting up from his seat in the radar chair and darting over to the comm console. Bright quickly joined, just as curious as the mechanic on the matter. The officer snatched up the headset before Astonaige could, wanting to respond personally.
“This is Bright Noa. Is it really you, Emma Sheen?” Bright responded to the incoming signal.
“Captain Bright?” Emma’s voice came through loud and clear as an image came onto the monitor. Sure enough, it was the face of Emma Sheen graced the screen. She looked somewhat worse for wear, but she was certainly alive. “Do you have any idea what’s going on? Where are we?”
“You’re asking the wrong person for that,” Bright said with a hint of sullenness. “We’ve been trying to fix a crisis since… well…”
“Since you woke up?” Emma’s voice finished Bright’s sentence for him. The two men on the bridge looked at each other, recognizing what she meant.
“That’s right,” Bright answered, feeling a small sense of relief come to him. “Give us a minute to disable the Argama’s lockdown. We’ll see you then.”
Outside the Argama, Emma sat patiently in the Gundam Mk-II’s cockpit as Bright’s image disappeared from her interface. She was relieved to see a familiar face, especially after not getting a reply for almost twenty minutes.
The Mk-II was positioned on the ground next to the abandoned cliff-side dock that held the massive battleship. It seemed to be an overgrown base of some kind, but there did not appear to be any defenses, so Emma could not be sure of that assumption.
Like it was with everyone else, it was all so strange for Emma. The last thing she remembered before waking in the grass in front of the Mk-II was Kamille. She had just beaten Reccoa, and then that nutcase in the Hambrabi had fired on them. Reccoa’s mobile suit exploded, and then…
Emma clutched her head disbelievingly at the thought. Had she really… died? Kamille had taken her into an airlock, but she could not recall anything more than asking Kamille to use her life energy. It had all been a spur-of-the-moment thing for her, asking Kamille to do such a thing, but she knew that he could use it. Kamille had that power - the power of a Newtype. He, along with the Zeta Gundam, could stop the fighting.
Now, however, she was here. This place was a mystery to her. It looked vaguely like Earth, though it seemed different. The grass was greener, and the air; the air seemed so much cleaner than she had ever thought it could be. It just felt… different.
Before her thoughts could lead her anywhere, a message came through the comm. The image of Torres came on screen, though there was a rather large bump on his head. “Okay, Lt. Emma. You’re clear to come aboard. Use the-…”
Emma looked at Torres curiously as he stopped talking and looked away in a panicky fashion. Suddenly, an alarm went off in the Mk-II’s cockpit, alerting her of mobile suit detection.
“Incoming mobile suits?” Emma asked herself as she turned the Mk-II around to face the signals. She wanted to see what they were before pulling a weapon. On the horizon, two light-emitting specs soared into view. Her monitor brought them up on her console.
“An unknown type and…” Emma’s blood went cold at the second reading. As quickly as she could while watching the image on her screen, Emma made the Mk-II draw its rifle and direct it at the incoming threat. “The Qubeley!”
“Looks like we weren’t the only ones at Gryps to wind up here…” Torres uttered grimly.
From their spots on the bridge, Bright and Astonaige were both baffled and terrified at the sight of the white Qubeley. To them, Haman and her machine had been destroyed years ago. For Bright, it was an unwanted confirmer. Whatever was going on, it was bringing the dead back to life.