This is a fic I've just started writing, with the help of the legendary Zaru (known in mechatalk as "Overlord Zaru"), and the equally legendary Juubi-K (not sure if he's here in Mechatalk too: if you know if he is and his penname here, I'd appreciate it so that I can give him due credit).
Anyhow, enjoy n__n
The medical bay of the Nahel Argama was the most modern in its type, as it had state-of-the-art computers, practical tools, and several sub-sections that allowed the simultaneous treatment of many patients.
Strangely enough, however, especially for a battle like the one being fought outside, there was only one patient in the medical bay: Ple Two, the clone of the beloved Neo Zeon-defector AEUG member Elpeo Ple. Lying in the bed, asleep, Ple seemed to shake her head repeatedly, as in discomfort; she was sweating, and her facial features seemed to twitch. As she did, she then felt something: several familiar presences beyond…in chaos, wandering and destroying…their souls lost…
She found herself before a huge battle between a red mobile suit, the Geymalk, and at least ten black Qubeleys. The red mobile suit, escorted by a white one, began firing at the black Qubeleys with their beam weapons. Ple then felt a pinch in the back of her head, and then remembered: the pilots of the black Qubeleys were clones of herself.
And she felt concern: she felt that her duty was to save them from the darkness of conflict.
And so she reached her arm towards one of the Qubeleys, "Please!" she shouted, "All of you, back off! There's no point in fighting anymore! Master is dead!"
As she mentally began to approach the black Qubeley, she was suddenly pushed back when the red mobile suit, using one of its remote weapons, shot it right through the torso, destroying it. Ple gave a yell as she felt pain in her abdomen as she felt one of her sisters fading away…
Shaking her head and holding her tears, she then reached for another black Qubeley, which was deploying all of its funnels along with its sister units. "Please, sisters!" Ple then called, "Please, stop all of this! Run away!"
As she again approached them, she suddenly felt herself being pushed by a presence; it manifested itself as a black, tall figure. The figure opened its arms, and Ple felt dread.
"Back off, you failure!" the figure then said. Behind it, another of the black Qubeleys exploded…
"Please, step aside!" said Ple, "Let me save them! There is still time-"
"No!" the figure then said, "You are a failure, just like the original! If it weren't for you, my plans would have succeeded!"
Ple then realized who this figure was, as another explosion revealed the figure's features, "It's you…" she said, with her voice trembling.
"As punishment for you betrayal," the figure then said, "I shall let you watch…as your lineage disappears…ALONG WITH YOU!"
The figure's outline began to be surrounded by a light, and Ple felt a headache. "What…is this?" she wondered, as she recoiled from the pain.
Helpless, she then saw how the Geymalk released several funnel-like weapons and fired them in unison, hitting each and every Qubeley directly into the torso. The Qubeleys exploded, and Ple's headache turned unbearable, to the point in which she wished she would just die, just like her sisters, whose existence had faded in an equally unbearable way…
She felt their pain, their pleas to their late "Master" to help them…the redhead could only feel guilt for not having changed things sooner…
She suddenly found herself back in the medical bay as she opened her eyes and gasped She looked around her, and noticed that one of the AEUG members, "Elle", was bringing her some water to the table besides her. As Ple turned to see her, Elle noticed the injured Neo Zeon pilot looking at her. The blonde AEUG girl could only feel sorry for Ple: in her mind, no eleven-year old girl should be involved in war.
"Are you alright?" Asked the blonde.
"I'm…fine" Ple replied, still shaken by her previous experience. Elle handed the glass of water to the former Quin Manthas pilot, as the poor, distressed girl seemed to be in extreme pain. Elle placed the cup on Ple's lips, who drank some of the water. This seemed to help, as Ple's trembling started to fade off, although she still sweated heavily.
As Elle gave Ple another zip of water, the ship's distinctive alarm started to sound. "I'll be back." Elle then said, smiling at Ple, "Hang in there."
Elle then left the room, leaving a somewhat-calmed Ple alone.
At least an hour had passed as Ple lied in her bed. Having calmed herself down, she stared at the ceiling, realizing that it seemed somehow familiar…
And then she felt it: the characteristic pinch in the back of her head; a "flash", as many called it.
Holding her head with one hand, she then felt how Judau, the one who had saved her, grieved for someone. She then felt another pinch; someone died. She then realized who it was.
"Haman…" she muttered.
Despite the fact that Haman had been her enemy, Ple couldn't help but feel sorry for her: Haman had been, after all, only looking for a home for her people. The fact that she had aided Glemy's rebellion made her feel even guilty; to the point that she wished she would just die…
And then she felt something: danger. "Judau…" she muttered. Her savior was trapped in Core-3's ruins, and Ple felt that the only way she could make up for her past sins was by saving him.
She came out of her bed and struggled as she headed towards the base, as she felt her body heavy and weak.
"I must…" she mumbled, "I must…for the sake of Judau…I must save him…"
Using a handrail, she traveled through a corridor, took a turn, and then grabbed another handrail to continue travelling through the bridge.
After several minutes of floating through the ship, taking turns and pushing herself through the corridors, she finally reached the bridge.
"Judau…" she said. Elle, Beecha Oleg, and the rest of the surviving members of the AEUG ship, were all watching as Core-3 and Moussa began to explode.
"Damn it!" Beecha shouted, "We need to get Judau!"
Torres, one of the few surviving original members of the AEUG, turned at Beecha, "We cannot get through all that debris!" he said, "Not without damaging the ship!"
"But our pilot is there!" Elle then said.
"I know that, but…" Torres trailed off.
Ple sat in the "captain's seat", by now exhausted as evident by her deep and noticable breathing. Elle noticed her and quickly approached her, "You!" she said, "You shouldn't be here!"
"I must…save Judau…" Ple just said, with an exhausted tone.
"You can't do anything right now." Elle then said in concern, floating up to the Neo-Zeon rogue's side, "Just rest for a while, ok?"
"Judau…he is trapped." Whispered the redhead, "He needs…an opening…to survive…to get back to us."
"An opening?" Elle then wondered, "But how…"
She then remembered: the Nahel Argama was equipped with a hyper mega particle cannon, which was capable of considerably damaging an entire colony. It was their only hope…
"Beecha!" Elle then called, "Have the hyper mega particle cannon fired!"
Beecha gasped and blinked at the same time, in shock, "What? Are you serious? How can you possibly-"
"Beecha, just shut up! We have no time for this! I trust her, so do it!" Snapped the blonde towards the orange-haired junk dealer.
She then looked at Torres, who just nodded, nervously.
"Alright then." Beecha then said, "Prepare to fire the hyper mega particle cannon!"
"Fire…on Moussa." Ple muttered, "He is heading towards Moussa…"
"You heard her!" Elle then shouted, "Fire on that rock now!"
Torres nodded again and introduced some commands on his computer, as the hyper mega particle cannon's coils began to spin, as the cannon began to charge up. The hyper mega particle cannon then fired a long, thick linear beam stream, which reached Moussa and shattered much of its structure with bright explosion.
As the shards of Moussa spread throughout space, a single light came out of the wreckage. Elle and the others sighed in relief as they realized what it was: the ZZ Gundam's Core Fighter. They then saw Judau waving at them from the cockpit's shattered glass.
"It's Judau!" Beecha then shouted. Everyone cheered with joy, with the exception of Ple, who was still exhausted. Ple instead just sighed in relief and gave a small smile.
Her head then fell to her side, as she slowly succumbed to her exhaustion.
Ple opened her eyes and found herself back in the medical bay. She noticed Judau and Elle besides her. Judau and Elle smiled at the sight of Ple waking up.
"Ple…" Said the brunette, "You're alive…I'm so glad."
Ple smiled back at them, "Judau…"
Judau's eyes began to fill up with tears, and he quickly wiped them off with his right arm. But he couldn't help but to cry even more: he was just too glad at least someone had not died a pointless death. Ple could only stare at Judau, who continued to sob in joy.
"I'm so glad you're okay…" Judau then said, "When the other Ple died." The redhead remember her more bubbly sister…
And that she was the one who took her life back on Earth in the ruins of the colony drop of Dublin, Ireland…
"My sister." Ple Two said in a sad tone, "My sister…"
"It wasn't your fault." replied Judau, "You were under the control of that Glemy guy! You couldn't do anything about it."
"But still…she was my blood. How could I..?"
Elle then patted Judau's back, "Judau, we should leave her alone for a little longer."
Elle then approached Ple and held her hand, "Don't worry about us." she said, "We understand what you went through. For now, just rest, ok?"
Judau and Elle then left, and Ple was once again alone in the medical bay.
Several minutes passed by as Ple stared at the ceiling again, thinking about everything that had happened so far. As she remembered the last time she had seen her 'Master', she heard that distinctive voice that had freed her from the clutches of Glemy Toto.
Turning her head around to find her, she finally saw her: her sister, the one from whose blood she had been born; Elpeo Ple, with her usual, gleeful expression. Ple Two could only stare agape and reached hand towards the spirit of her more bubbly clone.
"Sister…I'm so sorry…"
"Don't be, sister." Elpeo then replied, with her usual smile, "I wish I could've been there for you…for all of you…but now you are the only one that can continue our legacy."
"Our…legacy?" Ple then asked, "How?"
"Live on." Smiled Elpeo, "Live your life to the fullest: cherish every moment…and accomplish your dreams." That gave the more fiery of the clones pause.
Dreams…What dreams? She has nothing now, what could she possibly accomplish? And on top of her acts…Serving Neo-Zeon…Dropping the colony on Earth…
"But everything I have done…" Ple then said, "I've so much wrong…"
"You must leave that to the past." Replied Elpeo, "You have a whole new life before you. Embrace it and live it to the fullest."
"But…Master is dead." said Ple, "I…We…were created to serve a Master. Without him, I have no purpose left but to…" She was broke off by the rough pat of her head and a giggle. Elpeo's spirit patted her fiery twin's head and still had that bright smile on her visage.
"Don't talk like that!" Elpeo then interrupted her, "I managed to find a purpose in helping Judau: maybe you could find one too!"
Elpeo's "image" then began to fade, and Ple stretched her arm at it, trying to reach her sister.
"Wait! Don't leave me!"
"It's okay my pretty sister." Replied Elpeo with a smile, "I am sure you will make something of your life…something significant…something beautiful…"
"Sister!" Ple then cried as Elpeo's presence finally faded. Closing her fist and slamming it into her bed, Ple began to sob.
"Sister…" she then said, wiping off some tears, "I will do so…I will continue the legacy of the Ple lineage! I will find my purpose in life, just like you did!"
Ple wiped off some more tears, and then enclosed herself in the bed, remaining in fetal position.
'I will find my purpose, she said, for the sake of all of us…'
The entire surviving Nahel Argama crew, along with captain Bright Noa and Ple, were at Granada to give their farewells to Judau and Roux, who were going to Jupiter for work.
"Once you reach Jupiter, it's a five-year stay." Beechan told Judau, "Try not to drown in the Helium-3."
Bright then gave a step forward and stretched his hand to Judau, "The Earth should look nice from there."
Judau and Bright stretched hands: both men held deep respect for each other.
Elle then approached Judau, "Take care of Roux, okay Judau?" she said.
"Isn't that supposed to be my role?" Roux then said in a teasing tone, infuriating Elle.
"What did you say?" Elle shouted back. Beecha held her back, "Stop that!" he said, "Are you actually jealous?"
Elle regained her 'composure' and stepped back, "Fine then." she said.
As all of this happened, Sayla Mass, one of Bright's old acquaintances from the One Year War, and Judau's lost sister, Leina, watched on from a balcony above. Leina was conflicted: one part of her wanted Judau to go to Jupiter to have a better life; and another part of her wanted him to stay. Sayla noticed that Leina seemed somewhat down, and patted her in the shoulder, "Once he leaves," Sayla then said, "it will be three years before you can see him. Is that alright with you?"
"Yes." Leina replied, "If he saw me now, my brother would be troubled by second thoughts."
"So that's how it is." said Sayla, "You're underestimating your brother."
The shuttle that took passengers to the Jupitris II was now preparing to launch, and as Judau and Roux began to board it, he noticed Ple among his friends. "Wait for me, Roux." Judau then said, "I'll catch up with you."
Roux simply nodded, a little confused.
Judau approached Ple, somewhat nervous, "Ple…would you like to join us?"
Ple stared at Judau for a moment, "Join you?" she asked, "As in…going to Jupiter with you?"
"Of course." Judau then said, "You can start a whole new life out there. You can leave all of these conflicts behind…"
"Judau, I appreaciate your offer." Ple replied, "But I must respectfully decline."
Judau blinked, "Are you sure?"
"I understand why you are asking me to join you." Ple then said, "However, I want to find my own purpose…my own meaning in life. I must do it on my own."
Judau then gave a half-smile, happy that Ple was seeking peace in her own way, "I'm glad for that." he then said.
He then hugged her, surprising Ple at first; however, she returned the embrace.
"I wish you the best, Ple." said Judau, "I hope you find your purpose and live your life to the fullest."
"And I wish you the best too, Judau." Ple replied. They then stared at each other with a smile, and separated. Judau then headed back towards the shuttle, with Roux waiting for him, impatiently.
"What was that all about?" Roux asked.
"Nothing." Judau replied with a smile, "Just your usual, heartwarming farewell."
"Well, we're already late." Said Roux, "The captain's gonna be pissed."
"I know that." Judau then said as he turned around, looking at his friends for the last time, "But to be honest, it was worth it…"
It had been three days since Judau and the rest of the Nahel Argama crew had left Granada to their own ways. Elle had offered Ple to go with her and live with her for a while, but Ple had declined, citing the same reason she had given to Judau.
And now, she was all alone in a Lunar city, with what little money the crew had been able to give to the Neo Zeon rogue. And since she had been a Neo Zeon, Captain Bright wasn't able to make the Federation Forces give her a pension: if he had even informed them of her existence, they would've most likely arrested her and perhaps even tortured her; perhaps even experimented on her, due to her nature as a Cyber-Newtype, and a clone at that…
Even so, he had managed to give her enough to survive for the next three months, but even that wasn't enough: especially for an 11-year old girl, all alone in an unknown environment.
Granada wasn't a place of opportunities, and nobody would hire a little girl for work. Therefore, the redhead was in a tough position, as she knew that the little money Bright had given her would run out quickly, and unless she got some kind of job, she would become homeless: already had she wandered through the colony, sleeping in cheap hotels.
It was her third day in this military city now, and as she walked by the streets in simple black shorts and a white t-shirt, she saw a diner nearby and decided to go there to get something to eat, as she hadn't been able to get any breakfast. Walking towards the diner, she checked her pocket to see if she had enough cash to buy herself at the very least some toast bread, not noticing a boy. The boy was close to her age, but was a sliver bit taller and had tan skin. In addition, his hair was bone white and had auburn-colored eyes along with a simple gray shirt and khaki shorts. The whitehair walked towards her, also distracted by his own issues in his pocket. Not noticing each other, they suddenly and literally crashed into each other, falling flat in their rears. After shaking their heads a little, they stared at each other for a moment.
"Watch where you're going!" Ple shouted, annoyed, as she stood up. The boy, on the other hand, only stared at Ple. The boy stared at Ple's pretty blue eyes and strawberry red hair and only one thought came to him.
'I think I'm in love…'
The boy stood up, with an embarrassed expression, "Sorry." he said in an apologetic tone, "I'm really sorry. I was so distracted…"
"Well, like I said…" she snarled, "Watch where you're going!"
"Alright, alright, cutie!" Ple looked a bit shocked for his last remark, "Don't get so angry! Look, I'll make it up to you…I'll buy you some breakfast. How about that?"
"What the?" The redhead replied, in shock again, "I'm not interested. Now leave me alone!"
Ple started to walk away, but the boy ran towards her and touched her shoulder, prompting Ple to about-face and get his hand off her. "Come on, miss! Name's Naoto Emerson. What your's?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" she said, completely outraged at his attitude. "Are you some kind of freak?"
"Come on!" Naoto said, still smiling at her, "It's on me, ok?"
Ple again just stared at him, but she couldn't help but admit that not only was she very hungry, but she might actually have a decent breakfast today now that someone else was paying for it. Frankly, she felt cheap, but given her situation, she couldn't help it. She gave a sigh.
"Alright." Ple then said, making the whitehair smile gleefully.
"Great!" he said, and he promptly grabbed her by the arm and took her to the diner, running.
Minutes later, they were both having a very delicious breakfast: fried eggs, several slices of bacon, along with bologna, cheese, and several citric fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and many types of berries. Naoto had also ordered a coke; Ple, on the other hand, ordered milk, as she hated soft drinks.
As they ate, there was an uncomfortable silence between each other, as Naoto wasn't sure what to tell this pretty girl he had just met, and the Neo Zeon rogue was still mad at him for having been so careless. She was grateful for the delicious breakfast, though.
After finishing one of his eggs, he looked at Ple, who was still visibly annoyed.
"Hey…" he said, in a somewhat nervous tone, "Where do you come from?"
"I'm not from around here." Ple replied in a dry tone. She drank some of her milk and ate one of the berries. Naoto kept staring at her: he had never met a girl his age that was so pretty. Shaking his head a little, he then had a drink from his coke. "So…" he said, "you're from Earth then? Or the colonies?"
"The Asteroid Belt, actually." Ple said, half-lying, again in a dry tone. "My um…parents…they came here for work about a couple of years ago, but they…"
She stopped, staring at her milk: she couldn't help but feel bad; she had never had any parents; the closest thing she had ever had as a father was Glemy Toto, who turned out to have been nothing more than a mass murdering, manipulative warmonger who cared less for her well-being as a horse master would care for an injured horse. Naoto noted her somewhat sad expression, and quickly handed a napkin to her. Ple noticed this and returned to her somewhat cold expression towards him, shaking her head. "I thought you were gonna need one…" Naoto then said, "Anyhow, where are your parents?"
"Dead." Ple responded, again in a dry tone; however, this time, it sounded slightly melancholic, something Naoto noticed.
"Oh…" he muttered sadly, his shoulder's slumping, "Well…I'm sorry…"
"You didn't know. It's not like you killed them or anything."
"Come on, girl!" he replied, sounding a bit hurt. "I was just trying to be nice…" Ple sighed.
"I know. But it never sounds sincere…when someone tells you 'I'm sorry' about one's death."
"Really?" Asked Naoto, intrigued: this girl seemed to be more interesting than what he had thought…
"How is that?" he asked.
"Well…it's not like I've experienced any true sincerity," she said, "to put it in a way…"
"Oh well, I understand." Naoto then said, "My parents were never really close with me, you know? And after they separated, my mother decided to leave me in some orphanage. It was a dump, that place…"
"How so?" Ple asked.
"Well…the people there weren't exactly interested in the children's well-being, to put it in a way…" said Naoto, "So I stayed for a few months, and I got fed up with the place, so I escaped. After that, I met them…" He had a smile on his face as he looked out the window.
"Who is 'them'?" asked Ple, sipping some of her milk.
"The crew of my ship." he then said, "The guys who have taken care of me for basically my entire life."
"They must be nice guys…" Ple muttered. She then shook her head: was she actually being nice to this jerk, who had not only made her fall to the ground, but had actually tried to hit on her immediately afterwards!
Reverting to her somewhat-cold expression, she looked at him, "Well, I'm glad you found people who actually cared for you."
She then took another sip from her milk.
"Speaking of…" Naoto then said in a low voice and rolling his eyes towards Ple, catching her attention again.
"What?" she asked in a dry tone.
"Well…You'll most likely say no, but…would you want to join our ship? We could really use a hand there."
"Your ship? Join the crew? What kind of ship is it?"
"It's a freighter." he said , "What we basically do is collect scrap from space, such as ship wreckage, mobile suit parts, and the like. While I do most of that, it's kinda hard doing it alone, especially when the task is to get several tons for the next day."
"I see…" Ple grabbed another berry: it was interesting, since this could be a chance to get out of this Lunar dump and get some money.
"The ship is quite comfy, actually." Naoto then said, "It's basically the crew's home: we never leave it, other than when we dock and such, you know?"
"Well, it sounds interesting…"
"And the pay is good too. It may vary at times, but it's usually good. We manage pretty well."
"Really? How well?"
"Well, we never run out of the essentials, if that' what you're asking about." He quickly responded, "And everyone gets a good share!"
"Well…Considering that I don't have any choice…"
"Really?" he suddenly exclaimed, almost jumping out of his chair, "You'd really join me?"
"You?" she replied, "Who said it was for you? I'm doing this because I need to survive, you dork!"
"In any case," he said, ignoring her last comment, "I'm really glad you accepted my offer!"
He then looked at her face and closed his eyes and made a grin that would split his face in two, "You're just so cute!"
She arched her eyebrows, annoyed, "Stop it! It's weird!"
Naoto, however, ignored her, and he instead grabbed her by the arm, left what he owed in the counter, and quickly took Ple outside, excited that he had convinced her to go with him.
Ple was frowning: she was actually regretting having come with this kid who had been quite annoying as of now. I hope the pay is good, she thought.
Having reached the docks, they were now facing a large, white-silver colored ship, with an arrow-like shape and five large boosters in its back: in addition, it was also equipped with four wings, and a rotating block. Ple was quite surprised at the sight of it: it was prettier than she had imagined.
Heading to the main hatch door, he opened it and courteously let Ple in. As she entered the ship, she noticed it looked just like any other: it was quite standard, but it was clean enough for her taste. As they both walked through the hallway, Naoto stared at Ple's hair.
'She's so cute! And that hair makes her so…pretty!'
Shaking his head for a moment, he then slowed his pace a little, "What's your name, by the way?"
"Ple…" she replied, a little uncomfortable: not because she was giving him his name, but rather, the name itself made her uncomfortable.
"Ple? Just 'Ple'?"
"Umm…it's actually Ple Two."
"Two, huh?" he replied, "That's odd…"
"Well, if you don't like it," she then said, annoyed and looked away. "Deal with it."
"Fine, fine." Naoto said, apologetic, "It's alright: it's just that I've never heard a number as a last name, that's all…"
Naoto was distracted with his conversation and failed to notice one of their crew members, Steel, a strong, well-muscled, tall dark-haired woman, who was carrying a large box full of ammunition. They both fell down to the floor, and Steel barely managed to avoid from dropping the box. Naoto stared at her, "Steel, watch where you're going!"
'He has a knack for bumping into others,' thought the redhead to herself.
"Oh really?" she replied, standing up. She then looked at Naoto, "Or' you'll what?"
She then started to walk away until she noticed Ple. "And who is this? Naoto, don't tell me you're actually…"
"Come on!" he whined, standing up, "She wants to be part of the crew!"
"A little girl like this? You know the captains had agreed to only let you and their daughter as the only underage people here!"
"Don't forget about Kloah…" Naoto muttered
"He's another matter!" She then got close to Ple's ear, "If I were you," Steel whispered to the Neo Zeon rogue, "I'd keep an eye on him: he's quite the ladies man, if you know what I mean…"
"Steel!" Naoto shouted, hearing Steel's whisper, "Don't feed her with any of those lies!"
"Oh, excuse me, Casanova!" she replied.
"You're being rude!" Naoto then said, "Ple, this is Steel. Steel, Ple…"
"No, no, no, no." Steel then interrupted him, walking away in a quick pace, "Cannot talk: the captain's GM's targeting systems are broken…again!"
She then looked at Naoto straight in the face, "What?" she said, "You think this is a pleasure cruise?"
She then resumed her pace, and Naoto looked at Ple, who had arched her eyebrow a bit. "Don't mind her." he said, "She's an extraordinary woman. Weapons expert. Mechanic too. She is very well educated as well: she's read Shakespeare, Hobbes, Tolkien, Asimov…Normally, she's very good natured…"
He was suddenly interrupted as they heard something crash on the floor. They both turned around to then see Steel throwing her tools and the many contents of the box around, in a fit of rage. "Great!" Steel shouted, "Things aren't bad enough! ZOINKS! Ammo is all over the floor!"
"Fight the good fight, Steel!" Naoto then said, in a teasing tone.
"Damn punk!" Steel then shouted back, pointing one of her tools at him, "I'll kill you!"
She then threw the tool at Naoto, who barely dodged it: however, Naoto didn't change his expression of amusement, "Keep up the good work, Steel!"
Naoto and Ple then made a turn, proceeding towards the bridge, as they heard Steel's complaints in the distance, saying that she had been well educated and that she had wanted to be a writer and a literature teacher.
They finally reached the bridge, where they spotted the two captains: one was an Asian-looking man, black hair, brown eyes and white skin in one chair; in the other, a very beautiful, Eurasian-looking woman blonde platinum hair, very white skin and blue eyes. Ple had to admit that the man was quite handsome, and the woman was very beautiful. The two captains noticed the two children coming into the bridge, and the male captain arched his eyebrow, with a somewhat-amused expression.
"Oh, Naoto…" He said, shaking his head but keeping a smile. "Don't tell me you actually brought a girl here…"
"Cut it out, Captain Shiro." Naoto then said. He then looked at the female captain, "This is…Elise. Elise Gale. She wants to be part of the crew, Captain Aina." The redhead looked at the whitehair in bewilderment.
'Elise Gale? What the…'
"Well…She's too young, to be honest," said the dark-haired captain.
"Yes, but there is no harm in having another hand in the ship." The blonde said, smiling at her husband, Shiro, "Besides, it is good for our little daughter, Ruki, to have someone close to her age and of the same gender with her."
"Well…now that you mention it Aina…" Shiro said, smiling back at his wife.
"So, captains?" Naoto then said, "Is she going to be part of the crew?"
"Well, it depends." Shiro then said, looking at Ple, "What do you say, Miss Gale?"
"Well, I could really use the work…And since I have no other place to go…"
"Well, it's settled then!" Naoto interrupted her. He then caught Ple glaring at him with utter rage: and the worst part was that Naoto liked that expression.
'She's so cute when she's mad!'
'Where does he get off!'
"Well, right now, we don't have any tasks for you yet." Shiro then said, "If you want, Naoto can take you to one of our dorms we have in disuse. We'd only have to clean it up, though…"
"I appreciate it, Captain Amada." Ple then said.
"Alright!" Naoto said, "Let's go!"
Naoto then tried to grab Ple from her arm again, but Ple managed to avoid his grasp, disappointing Naoto a little, "I prefer to walk alone, ok?"
"Fine then…" Naoto said, in a disappointed tone.
They then exited the bridge and proceeded through the hallway again. After a few turns, they reached a door, which Naoto then opened. Inside, Ple saw a comfy-looking bed and a table in the room.
"Glad you liked it." Naoto replied, annoying Ple a little. She entered the room and sat on the bed, trying the couch: it was very comfortable, just like she liked it. "I'll stay." Ple then said.
"Great! If you need anything, call me!"
Ple just glared at Naoto and didn't reply. Naoto didn't mind, for as he soon closed the door behind him, he started jumping in joy, happy that he had finally found 'the love of his life'. The redhead kept staring at the door and coiled up onto her couch.
Another day had passed, and the Vulcan was finally leaving Granada. Leaving the Lunar city behind, the freighter began heading towards Side 4, the ship's most profitable market due to the high use of scrap for recycling, as many factories and companies there used said scrap to create new mobile suit parts and such.
As the Vulcan cruised through space, Shiro looked onto the distant image of Earth, and remembered his days as a soldier in Southeast Asia, and how he met his beautiful wife, Aina. He then wondered how his former comrades, Terry, Karen, Eledore...were all doing. Most likely still bickering over Eledore's failed career in music, he thought, a little amused. One of the bridge's door opened and his little, 10-year old daughter, Ruki, came in along with Aina. "Daddy!" Ruki said, and Shiro hugged his daughter, who threw herself at him. Aina approached him and they both kissed. "So how are things going?" Aina asked, as Ruki went to Derek Marguiles, one of the operators, to see what he was doing.
"So far, nothing new. As usual, although we did get some transmissions from the Federation Network that there had been some fleeting Neo Zeon nearby."
Aina sighed, "Oh well, it's not like the Federation would have actually got them all…"
"Actually," Shiro then said, a little amused again, "it was the AEUG the ones that defeated them. The Feds did little if any of the fighting"
"Huh..Well, it really doesn't matter: we should keep an eye on any remnants. That GM II of yours is seriously a piece of scrap: it broke down just a few days after you 'acquired' it…"
"Well, it's not my fault the Feddies weren't able to replace their GMs with better units! Although I heard that those new GM IIIs are quite the thing…"
"Captains!" Derek then suddenly said, "You better take a look at this!"
Shiro and Aina approached Derek and looked at the screen, "What is it?"
"Three unidentified units." Derek responded, "One of them is a Neo Zeon Gaza-D mobile suit, but the other two are still unidentifiable…"
"Most likely the Neo Zeon remnants they were talking about." Aina said in a worried tone, "We won't do anything unexpected: if we ignore them, they'll do the same."
The three Neo Zeon mobile suits, a Gaza-D and two gray-colored Dra-Cs, cruised through space, with the Vulcan in the distance. The Gaza-D's mono eye flashed at the sight of the freighter, and waved its arm at its two comrades. They then sped at the Vulcan.
"Oh crap!" Derek said. He pushed a small button, and an alarm started sounding throughout the ship.
"They just had to do it, didn't they?" Shiro commented.
"They must be bitter over their defeat and are lashing out for releasing their frustration." Aina added.
"In that case, we have no choice…"
"Don't you remember? The GM II's weapons don't work!"
"Damn it, you're right!" he said, "Only the beam sabers are usable, right? Even so, I can still manage to…"
"No, Shiro, it's too risky!" she said.
"Don't you remember when we first met?" he then said, "I faced you in a Ball, Aina! This is nothing!"
"And I was using a test Zaku!" Aina then retorted, "Besides, I had been damaged by that pilot, remember?"
"But still…" Shiro then said with gritted teeth.
"No buts!" Aina replied.
The Gaza-D and the Dra-C then began to circle around the Vulcan, like vultures.
Steel quickly ran towards the cargo bay, where the GM II laid motionless. "Damn it!" she shouted, "Of all the times this freaking thing had to stop working!"
She opened the cockpit hatch and turned the monitors on, seeing that the weapons systems were still not working. She slammed her fist on the panel, "Damn it all!"
By now, Ple, who had been sleeping, heard the alarm and got up in the pink pajamas she had inherited from the original Ple. Getting out of her room, she saw Naoto rushing by, in a frantic expression.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"We're under attack!" he replied as he rushed towards the cargo bay, "Neo Zeon!" It gave Ple pause…
"Neo Zeon? What the..?"
She then started to think about what she had to do: she remembered all of the atrocities she had helped the Neo Zeon do during the war; she felt conflicted, as her sisters themselves had been Neo Zeon soldiers, and her 'original' had been born a Zeon as well; even so, they had all been forced into war by said Neo Zeon.
'What can I do?' she wondered. 'Perhaps its time…to atone for our sins…to make my sisters' sacrifices worth something…These people accepted me without questioning my origin…They accepted me without prejudice…'
She then looked at her pajama, and remembered Elpeo Ple's face: she could hear her say "Follow your heart, sister!"
She turned towards the hallway: she knew what she had to do.
One of the Dra-Cs targeted its Vulcan gun at the ship, and fired a few rounds at it: fortunately, they bounced off, but the crew could still feel the impacts.
Ple came into the bridge, "Captain!" she said ,"Do you have any mobile suits in this heap?"
Shiro arched his eyebrow in confusion, "Well…we have a GM II we got a few days ago…" he said.
Ple quickly turned around and left the bridge. Shiro went after her, "Wait! That mobile suit's lacking any ranged weapons! Besides, do you even know how to pilot one? You don't look older than eleven!"
Ple turned around to look at him. "It's in my blood."
Shiro could look in disbelief as the little girl left off towards the cargo bay.
Ple entered the cargo bay and found the GM II's cockpit hatch open, with that crazy woman Steel banging her fists again and again in frustration, as the GM II's computers seemed to not recognize the beam rifles. "ZOINKS Feddie piece of crap!" she shouted, "They waste all of that money for this ZOINKS!"
The redhead flew into the cockpit, "Step aside, Miss!" she said.
Steel stared at her in disbelief, "This is no time for games! Get out and find shelter!"
"I can pilot this thing! Please, step aside!"
"You? You're just a little girl!"
"Believe me. I've piloted things much more complicated than this."
"But its systems are incompatible with the beam rifle! You won't make it with beam sabers and Vulcans!"
"As I said," Ple then said with a smirk and determined eyes, "I've piloted much more complicated things than this heap of junk."
Steel stared at her for a moment: this little girl had more confidence than any other person she had ever met; it was somewhat unnatural; the determination she saw in her was warm and convincing.
Steel smirked at Ple, "Girl, I hope you know what you're doing." she said.
"I know what I'm doing."
Steel moved aside and let Ple sit in the linear seat. Ple let herself adjust at this cockpit, and turned all systems on. "Nothing more than a cheap version of my NZ-000." The redhead commented.
Steel caught that last segment, "What?"
"Nothing." Ple quickly replied, "Let me launch now."
"Sure." Steel said, exiting the cockpit as Ple closed the hatch. The fiery clone began familiarizing with the controls, noting their cheap and overall lazy design. "This thing was done at the last minute, wasn't it?"
Steel went to a control panel nearby and pulled a lever, opening the cargo bay. As it opened, Ple saw one of the Dra-Cs pass by. "I see…So it's one of the more veteran units."
Ple turned the GM II's thrusters on and moved out of the cargo bay, struggling at first to keep balance. As soon as she exited, the Gaza-D fired its knuckle buster rifle at her, and Ple managed to evade the shot.
"A Gaza-D? Well, this makes things a little more difficult."
Another Dra-C started firing its Vulcan gun at her, and Ple, already used to the GM II's controls, graciously evaded its shots while firing her own Vulcan guns back. The Dra-C used its shield to block her shots and then deployed its beam saber, speeding towards her. Ple drew one of the beam sabers as she kept firing the Vulcans, eventually running dry of ammunition. She then accelerated at the Dra-C and blocked its beam saber attack with her own. As soon as she clashed with it, she drew her other beam saber and impaled the Dra-C right in its chest. She then kicked it away and evaded another shot from the Gaza-D. The other Dra-C began firing its Vulcan and deployed its beam saber, and Ple accelerated away.
"These guys aren't as good as I had expected. Most likely they were redshirts."
To save energy, she withdrew one of her sabers and repacked it. The Gaza-D fired its missiles at Ple, who dodged each one of them and then charged at the Neo Zeon mobile suit. The Gaza-D fired its beam guns and knuckle buster rifle at her, but Ple just dodged its shots. Unexpectedly, Ple then circled around the Gaza-D and appeared behind it.
"Take this!" she shouted, slashing the knuckle buster off. The Neo Zeon pilot was then caught off-guard as Ple then cut the Gaza-D's limbs off, and then kicked what was left of the torso away. Ple then turned around to see the remaining Dra-C firing its Vulcan at the freighter ship.
"Just one more left." Ple muttered.
Heading back towards the Vulcan, Ple redrew her other beam saber and caught the Dra-C off-guard, and she cut off the large propellant tanks off the antiquated mobile suit. Making it loose balance for a moment, Ple then cut off the Dra-C's arms and then stabbed the main sensors. Kicking the Dra-C's torso away, she then sighed, "It was easier than expected." she said.
Shiro, Aina, their bridge crew and even Ruki, a young girl with Asiatic features and blonde hair, looked in awe at what had just happened. Shiro and Aina wondered who this little girl really was: she couldn't be just any stranded girl.
From another section of the ship, Naoto cheered and jump in joy, "Yay!" he said, "You taught'em, Elise! That's my cutie!"
Steel could only look in awe as well, and she felt that all she could do was salute Ple. "You have my eternal respect, little girl."
As soon as Ple returned to the cargo bay, she found the whole crew cheering and applauding at her. This sight surprised her a little, as she wasn't used to this sort of hailing.
She landed the GM II in the cargo bay, and as soon as she exited the cockpit, she found herself being hugged by Naoto. "Oh, Elise! I knew you were my guardian angel!"
"Not so fast, Naoto!" Said the redhead, pushing him away a little, "I did this for the whole crew, not just you."
"Even so," he said breaking out a grin. "You are the cutest and toughest girl ever!"
"Great job, Ms. Gale!" Shiro then said as he approached them, "Where did you learn to pilot like that?"
"Like I said, captain," she replied, "it's in my blood."
"Well, we could use your skills, Elise." said Shiro, "We could use another scrap collector. And with your skills, I'm sure you'll get the job done in a short time."
Shiro then offered his hand to the small redhead, "Elise Gale, I hereby officially declare you as a member of the Vulcan. Welcome aboard"
Ple smiled and shook his hand, "Thank you, captain. I promise that I will make a great job."
Shiro smiled at this, "Well, I must get back to the bridge. You go relax or acquaint yourself with the ship. You earned it."
Shiro then left, and Naoto followed him. As he left, Naoto waved at Ple with a big smile. Ple couldn't help but feel a little amused. She then turned to look at the stars outside.
'Well, sister. It looks like I finally found a place. A purpose…'
Ple Two…No, rather, Elise Gale's journey into becoming a hero had only begun…
Reinhard: "Of course, grades in school aren't a good indicator. They focus too much on memorization and imitation, and don't foster imagination."
Kircheis: "What you find important are imaginative and conceptual capabilities, right?"
Reinhard: "That's right."