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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:23 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 16

“Come on, Tolle, wake up!”

Tolle was trying to slip in his uniform’s sleeve, but was having a degree of difficulty thanks to his sleepiness. Until recently he never even thought of ever getting up before sunrise.

Miriallia saw him struggling. “Here, let me get that.” She sighed and helped him. “You know that Lieutenant Badgiruel would chew you out if you arrived on the bridge looking like that, right?”

They rushed off towards the bridge, but stopped when they heard Sai’s voice. They overheard him trying to speak to Flay about what had happened earlier, but they never heard her respond. They slipped off and went down another corridor.

“It’s weird that she just broke up with him the way she did.” Tolle whispered, “After all, she was his fiancée.”

“They were actually engaged?” Miriallia was surprised by that. “I thought they were simply dating.”

“I think that the relationship was arranged by her father. He thought the two made a perfect pair.”

“But now he’s dead…”

They went on down the corridor for some time without saying anything.

“You know,” Miriallia finally said, “Flay’s behavior is weird. She used to hate Kira and keep her distance from him once she found out he was a Coordinator. But now she won’t leave his side.”

Tolle shrugged. “I guess that people change.” But he knew that it was indeed strange. Flay never actually said that she hated Coordinators to Kira’s face, but she made it known she had a mistrust of them.

Back on Heliopolis, Tolle and Miriallia had secretly encouraged Kira to ask her out after he confessed that he thought she was attractive. Of course, at the time they had no idea that she and Sai were a supposed couple. Now they secretly feared that something would happen between them and cause a vicious love triangle.


Meanwhile, something was afoot in the desert. It was early in the morning, before sunrise, and two figures stood atop a nearby sand dune and watched the Archangel.

“So is there any activity from the enemy warship?”

Martin DaCosta looked through his pair of night-vision binoculars once more before he turned to his commanding officer. “No, sir, it’s just sitting there.”

Andrew Waltfeld AKA “The Desert Tiger” stepped forward. He was a feared soldier in the ZAFT military and had all the qualifications of a leader. He was confident, fearless, and was able to adapt to any situation. “That’s not surprising, what with all of our N-Jammers interfering with the airwaves. It has no other choice but to simply sit quietly.” He then took a sip from his mug. “Hmm.”

“What is it, sir?”

“Well I altered the amount of Mocha Matari for this particular blend. You should sample it.” When he wasn’t preparing strategies, Waltfeld spent much of his free time experimenting with combining various blends of coffee. He then turned around and headed down the sand dune, with DaCosta close behind.

At the bottom waited a group of soldiers standing next to several mobile suits and a number of attack helicopters. As their commanding officer came up, they immeadatily stood at attention.

Waltfeld tossed his empty cup to DaCosta and spoke to his soldiers. “Men, we are about to commence our attack on the new Earth Forces battleship, the Archangel. Our objective is to gather data on the combat capabilities of both the ship and the mobile suit it carries in Earth’s gravity.”

”So that means we can’t just go and destroy both?” a soldier joked. The others chuckled, but a stern glare from their commander silenced them.

“We’re worry about that when the time comes.” Waltfeld said, “But remember that the famed Le Creuset Team couldn’t sink that ship and Admiral Halberton’s entire 8th Fleet sacrificed itself to ensure it could land on Earth. Our task is now to make sure that it doesn’t leave the continent, and I know you all can do that.” He saw the confidence beaming from his soldiers. “I pray for your success.” He saluted and his men returned the gesture.

“All pilots to your machines!” DaCosta ordered, and the soldiers scrambled to board their respective machines, whether mobile suit or helicopter.

DaCosta then climbed into a jeep where Waltfeld waited.

“A great cup of coffee puts me in an even greater mood.” The Commander smiled. He motioned for DaCosta to drive. “We now have a battle to win.”

As he drove, DaCosta saw a glint of excitement in his superior’s eyes. He knew the Commander was most dangerous when he had that look in his eyes.


“We’re here to start our shift.” Miriallia said as she and Tolle came onto the bridge.

“You two are late.” Neumann scolded.

Tolle took his seat and was able to listen in on Kuzzey and Tonomura’s conversation taking place behind him.

“We’ll be able to evade enemy infrared sensors with the ship’s black hole cooling system.”

”How about radar?” Kuzzey asked.

“We can’t rely on it, but neither can the enemy.”

Kuzzey sighed. “That’s because of the neutron jammers, right? Isn’t there some way to just get rid of them?”

”I’m afraid not.” Tonomura answered, “The Earth Alliance has been searching for a solution, but nothing’s been found. They’re buried so far underground that we really have no idea of the exact number.” He paused. “Though they are a nuisance, we should consider ourselves lucky. If ZAFT had retaliated with their own nukes after Junius Seven, the Earth would probably be ruined right now.”

That was a sickening thought to Tolle and Miriallia, the possibility of Earth being destroyed. Of course, when ZAFT commenced Operation Uroboros and released the N-Jammers, its backlash was the present energy crisis that griped many parts of the world. They couldn’t even imagine how the war could get worse.

Right then, Natarle entered the bridge. “Have there been any chances?”

Tonomura stood at attention. “No, ma’am.”

Natarle then came up to Neumann and passed him a drink. ”How’s the strain on the ship’s hull?”

”The stress curve is within the limits we can allow.” He took a sip and went to let his drink go.

“Ensign.” Natarle briskly said.

“Yes?” Neumann then saw that he was about to let his drink just drop. He hadn’t quite readjusted to Earth’s gravity yet. “Oh.”

“What’s this anomaly here?” Natarle then asked, pointing to several gauges. Tolle leaned over to look at them as well.

Neumann typed away. “Based on our prewar data, this area once housed numerous petroleum and natural gas mines, but they’ve been long abandoned. However, we cannot pinpoint their precise locations.”

”Which means what exactly?” Tolle asked.

“It means that there are large cavernous holes beneath the ground, therefore we must be careful when we land.”

“So is the ground we’re on now safe?” Tolle asked nervously, “It won’t cave in, right?”

”Hopefully.”

Abruptly, alarms wailed, causing nearly everyone to jump out of their seats. A shout came from the CIC. “We’ve been targeted by lasers!”

Natarle sprang into action. “Alert all hands, we are under attack!”

The alert for all hands to get to level one battle stations was sent through the PA. In her cabin, Murrue leapt out of bed and immeadatily dressed.


Kira was awakened by the alarms. “The enemy!” he whispered. He rolled out of bed and hurried to dress. “No one else will die because of me.” With that, he dashed out the door.

After he had left, Flay slowly sat up in the bed. Her hair was tangled and she combed her fingers through it as she listened to the fading sound of Kira’s footsteps. She then dryly laughed. “That’s right, Kira. Go fight until you’ve killed every last one of them. Or until you die. Otherwise I can’t forgive you.” She cackled, knowing her plan was working. After her doting father was killed, all she wanted was revenge on all Coordinators, and what better way than manipulate one to do so? It was a great gamble to volunteer for the army, but it paid off and Kira remained behind. She didn’t care that she may put her friends in danger and she didn’t care if she died. She didn’t even care that she lost her virginity to a person whose kind she detested. All that she cared about was revenge. “It will be Coordinator versus Coordinator, until they finally kill each other.” She giggled, “This is too perfect.” She then began to laugh so hard to the point that tears streamed down her face.


A barrage of missiles shot out from behind a sand dune. Mere seconds before they would strike, the ship’s Igelstellungs opened fire and brought them down. The shockwaves of their premature explosions still rocked the ship. Kira was down in the hanger by that time and could see both Murdoch and La Flaga bickering by one of the Skygrasper planes. He climbed into the Strike’s cockpit, but found it to be more difficult in gravity. In the near zero-g of space, he would’ve just leap right up to the cockpit. When he switched on his radio, he could hear the numerous chatter.

“They’re attacking from behind the dunes! We can’t pinpoint their locations!”

“Start up the engines!”

The ship vibrated as the engines came to life. Kira powered up the Strike and was ready to fight. “Open the hatch!” he called in, “The Strike’s ready to launch!”

“Kira, what are you doing?” Miriallia demanded, “You’re supposed to be resting!”

Kira ignored her and lowered his helmet’s visor. “I’m fine, now open the hatch!”

“Hold on, we still aren’t sure of either the enemy’s position or numbers!” Natarle informed him.

“Damn it, you’re wasting!” Kira shot back, already losing his patience, “Open that hatch now!”

On the bridge, Tolle, Miriallia, Kuzzey, and Sai were stunned by his harsh tone. They had never heard him talk that way to anyone before.

Natarle turned to Murrue. “Well, Captain?”

”I don’t approve of his attitude.” She said, “But we don’t have any other choice. Launch the Strike.”

Kira moved the Gundam to the catapult and the Launcher Striker Pack was connected as he awaited Natarle’s orders.

“Strike, you’re now clear to launch!” she called, “But be careful, don’t forget about the gravity.”

The Strike was flung out, but despite the warning, Kira wasn’t prepared for the gravity. He came down hard on the sand and the Strike nearly toppled. As he tried to recover his footing, a ZAFT attack chopper swooped in and fired a volley of missiles. Kira couldn’t get the Gundam to move properly. The missiles struck, but the Phase Shift armor absorbed the blast. Right when the smoke cleared, he aimed the Agni at the chopper, only to have the target disappear behind another sand dune.

The Strike’s feet sank into the ground as though it was quicksand. Kira fired the thrusters, but with Earth’s gravity, he didn’t stay airborne. When he landed, the Gundam began to sink in the shifting sand once more. Kira tried to think of what he could do, when an alarm sounded, alerting him of another enemy. He looked to see a shadow of a mobile suit leap out from the dunes.

Kira watched as the mobile suit’s fuselage slid along the terrain on caterpillar treads before it transformed to a four-legged configuration. He wasn’t familiar with the quadruped design of the approaching enemy mobile suit. The way it could maneuver the terrain shocked him. He tried to move out of the way, but the sand prevented that. The enemy jumped, slamming into the Strike, and knocked it down. It then spun around and fired missiles from its back-mounted launcher.


“Kira!” Miriallia cried as she saw flames engulf the downed Strike on her monitor. But she sighed in relief when she saw the Gundam was unharmed.

Beside her, Sai ran through the data on the enemy mobile suit. “I have five confirmed mobile suits! They’re TMF-A-802 BuCUEs!” The mobile suit had a four-legged design, with wing-like launchers on its back.

Kira struggled with regaining his footing as the BuCUEs circled around him. When he tried to get up, one of the enemy units would knock him back down. They were too agile to get an accurate lock with the Agni. They enemy swarmed around him.

On the bridge, Natarle bit her lip in frustration. The Strike was being overwhelmed by the enemy and no one knew how much longer the Gundam would hold out. “Fire the Sledgehammer missiles! Target the BuCUEs!”

”But from this position, we might hit the Strike!” Chandra said.

“It has PS Armor!” she reminded everyone. While the Phase Shift would protect against projectile weapons, any friendly fire hits would drain its energy, potentially leaving it vulnerable to further attacks from the BuCUEs. But if they were able to take out the enemy mobile suits with the attack…

Tonomura was reluctant to press the firing switch.

“Do it!” Natarle shouted, “That’s an order!”

”Roger, firing the Sledgehammers!” Tonomura winced as he hit the button, firing missiles from the Archangel’s stern missile tubes.

The moment the missiles came down, the BuCUEs fled quickly, but the Strike was not as lucky. Thanks to its sluggish response time and the terrain, Kira couldn’t dodge. One missile after another exploded all around him, knocking the Strike to its knees. The crew on the bridge watched on in horror as the Gundam was pummeled by friendly fire.

“Oh, ho.” Waltfeld chuckled as he observed the onslaught, “The Captain certainly isn’t too kind to the precious mobile suit.”

The BuCUEs resumed their attack. Kira leapt into the air, returning fire with his shoulder-mounted 350mm machine cannon. The ZAFT mobile suits evaded effortlessly and waited for the Strike to land. But as soon as it did, it leapt again. With every jump, Kira’s fingers flew across his keyboard as he made swift modifications to the Strike’s OS to adapt to the desert terrain. The next time he landed, the ground didn’t crumple under his feet. He pushed the pedals and dodged an oncoming BuCUE. He then slammed the Agni in the machine, knocking it down. He then held it down with the Strike’s foot, pointed the gun muzzle right at its chest and pulled the trigger.


“Confirmed, one enemy mobile suit destroyed!” someone shouted and cheers shot up from the Archangel’s bridge, but the relief was quickly dashed.

“More missiles inbound!” Chandra called.

“Take evasive action!” Murrue ordered, and the Archangel rose from the ground. The Igelstellungs shot down many of the missiles, but the other impacted the ground where the ship was only moments before. The blasts rocked the ship.

“Where are they firing from?” Natarle shouted.

“They’re came the southwest, roughly thirteen miles away!” Sai replied.

“We can find their position without radar!” Tonomura said, looking up from console.

“I’ll take the Skygrasper!” La Flaga’s voice called in over the intercom, “I’ll target it with a laser beacon and you can guide our own missiles with that!”

“But we don’t have enough time!” Murrue argued.

“Do you have another suggestion?” La Flaga shot back.

Murrue didn’t have one, so she allowed La Flaga take off. She worried about the fact that he launched when the Skygrasper didn’t have any loaded ammunition.

“Second volley incoming!” Chandra yelled, “They’re coming right at us!”


Kira saw the missiles as well and knew there wouldn’t be time for the ship to evade them all. He almost panicked as both threats of the missiles and the BuCUEs divided his attention. He didn’t know what to do until his focus sharpened like it had in an earlier battle against the stolen Gundams. He swung the Strike around and fired the Agni. The beam shot through the nearest BuCUE and went onward to destroy several missiles. He then hefted the weapon and opened fire, expertly sniping the remaining missiles until each was destroyed.

He turned back to the last three BuCUEs. He aimed at closest one, but a set of alarms rang out. He looked to see that the energy gauges were all nearing red. He had overused the Agni and was almost out of power. He was backed into a corner as the mobile suits, now joined by several attack choppers moved in. If he fired anymore or took any more hits, the Phase Shift would fail and he’d be killed.

Abruptly, something hit one of the choppers and it came crashing down into the sand. Right after that, one more and then another were brought down. He wondered what was happening, when he saw a group of ATVs speeding into the battlefield. Their riders fired rocket propelled grenades at the ZAFT vehicles, diverting their attention. One of the ATVs drove up to the Strike and Kira saw someone with bright blond hair stand up. Whoever they were, they fired a wire into the Gundam’s fuselage.

“Pilot, listen carefully if you want to live!” a girl’s voice said. She fired a communication wire into the Strike’s system. A map of the nearby surrounding then appeared on his monitor and Kira could a red blinking light. “There’s a trap set up at this point. Lure the BuCUEs over there and we’ll do the rest.” She cut off the link and she and the driver left.

Kira wondered who she was. Something told him that her voice was vaguely familiar, but there wasn’t time to think about that. If she was on the level, then this was his only chance.

By this time, the ATVs had withdrawn and the BuCUEs gave chase to the fleeing Strike. From her vehicle, the girl sinisterly smiled. The overeager ZAFT soldiers had taken the bait. All she had to do now was wait for the right moment.

Kira checked his gauges again and saw that they’d reach zero shortly. Whatever those people had planned, he hoped it happen fast. With one last jump he reached the location indicated on the map. As he turned to face the BuCUEs, his Phase Shift gave out. At that moment, the ZAFT mobile suits pounced. The Strike dove out of the way and the trio of BuCUEs landed on the spot where he had been standing. But this time, there was an explosion and the mobile suits all fell into an abandoned mine. There was a second blast which ignited the remaining fossil fuel inside and the BuCUEs were obliterated.


Waltfeld frowned as he watched the end result play out. “Gather our remaining forces and withdraw.” He told DaCosta. “We’ve achieved our objectives.” Their objective to assess the battle strength of the enemy ship had taken roughly twelve minutes and came with a grave price. Five BuCUEs were lost against an enemy who was battle-weary and had only a single mobile suit. But it was the Strike’s pilot he was most intrigued in. Whoever he was, he started out so clumsy, but quickly adapted to the desert terrain. And there was also that fact the pilot was able to shoot down missiles with such accuracy. He wondered how a Natural could accomplish that.


Meanwhile, everyone on the bridge of the Archangel breathed a sigh of relief when the ZAFT forces were defeated.

Miriallia received a laser communication on her screen. “I have a message from Lieutenant La Flaga!” She read it out loud. “’Have found enemy mothership, but cancelled attack plans. It is the Lesseps.’”

Murrue’s expression grew grim.

“What’s the Lesseps?” Natarle asked.

“It’s the flagship of Commander Andrew Waltfeld.” Murrue explained.

Natarle shook her head. “I’ve never heard of him.”

“Oh, yes you have.” Murrue then told her, “Only you may know him as ‘The Desert Tiger’.”

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:17 am 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
Posts: 1681
Location: Finland
It seems pretty much the same as the original. Then again it's been some time since I've watched these bits properly that I am just taking your rewrite as the actual thing. I see very few problems here, but I am waiting again for some elements of your own to liven up the scene. :)

_________________
-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:01 am 
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Mysterious Masked Dude
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:45 pm
Posts: 554
Don't worry Antares, Cade Fenix and the Panzer aren't the only changes in this story. There are many others, coming from the Astray manga series, SEED-MSV and some original ideas, but there will be a new character coming onto the scene around the time when the Archangel first docks at Orb. :wink:

_________________
"That's the problem with plutonium, Craven; it's limited in its application. It's not user-friendly. But as a vehicle for regaining one's self-respect; oh, it's got a lot going for it!"
- Darius Jedburgh, Edge of Darkness, Episode 6, Fusion


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 Post Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:10 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 17

The Archangel had sat down in the desert soil right after the ZAFT forces withdrew. The ATVs that arrived during the attack were parked nearby. In between the tiny vehicles and the ship stood the Strike. From the bridge, the crew could see the assortment of men step out from their ATVs. It was a diverse group, with its members varying in ages. By their attire of desert garbs and some military gear, it was clear that they didn’t belong to any regular army.

“Do you think they’re friendly?” Natarle asked.

“It’s hard to tell, but they did come to our aid.” Murrue answered as she left the bridge, “I’ll at least try to speak with them. They may end up as a great help to us.” With that she stepped onto the elevator and headed down.

On the deck, La Flaga had returned and now waited with a number of other crewmen. Each checked their sidearms in the event they were needed. Murrue arrived then and went to the hatch.

“Ready?” she asked, to which La Flaga nodded. She then pressed the switch and she and the Commander walked out while the other crewman remained hidden with their weapons at the ready.

She looked to the group to see one step forward. He was an older bearded man with a scar along his cheek. She amused that he was the group’s leader.

“I’m Murrue Ramius of the Earth Alliance OMNI Enforcer’s 8th Fleet.” She said, “We’d like to thank you for your assistance.”

“The 8th Fleet, you say?” a young man laughed, “We heard that the fleet was annihilated.”

Murrue glared at him, as did the leader. “Quiet, Ahmed.” He then turned back to Murrue. “No thanks are needed as we didn’t come to fight for your sake.”

”So who are you?” Murrue asked.

“We call ourselves Desert Dawn. My name is Sahib Ashman.”

“I take it then that you’re a resistance group?” La Flaga asked.

“I’ve seen your face somewhere.” Sahib said, ignoring the question, “What is your name?”

”I’m Mu La Flaga.”

Sahib chuckled. “Well, I never thought I’d meet the Hawk of Endymion, especially in a place such as this.”

Both Murrue and La Flaga were surprised. How could a person like Sahib know who they were?

“So what else do you know about us?”

”I know your ship is the new Archangel-class and that you came to Earth while escaping the Le Creuset Team.” Sahib told them and then he pointed to the mobile suit. “And that is the GAT-X105…”

“Also called the Strike Gundam.” A feminine voice said from behind him, “It’s the latest prototype Earth Forces mobile suit.” Then out stepped the source of the voice, a girl with blonde hair. She then faced Murrue. “So what is it you plan to do now that you’re in the Tiger’s territory?”

”We would appreciate any help you could offer us.” Murrue simply said, cutting to the chase.

Sahib threw a sly grin. “If you want to talk, have your troops lower their guns first.” He was aware of the soldiers that were hiding in the shadow of the hatch. He then looked to the Strike. “Have your pilot come out as well.”

Murrue signaled to her the crewmen to lower their weapons and then took a communicator from her waist. “Ensign Yamato, please come down.”

Kira climbed out of the cockpit and joined Murrue and La Flaga. The moment he removed his helmet, every one of the resistance fighters were stunned.

”This kid is the mobile suit’s pilot?” Sahib asked.

The blond girl gasped as well, only now she rushed forward. “You!” she yelled, “What the hell are you doing, piloting that thing?” She swung her hand to strike Kira, but he caught it.

He stared at the girl, knowing he recognized her from somewhere. As he tried to recall, it struck him like a bolt of lightning. “It’s you. You’re that girl I met at Heliopolis that day.”

Her eyes flashed in anger as she ignored his last comment. “I’ll ask you again, why are you piloting that mobile suit?”

Kira thought before he answered. “Truthfully, I sort of had no choice.”

That only made her angrier. “You had no choice?” she repeated, “That’s your excuse?!” She reeled back her other hand, but it was restrained by another person from the group.

The hood he wore covered most his face, only showing his eyes and some strands of long hair. He shook his head at the girl and pulled her back from Kira. She threw one last scowl at him as she and her companion returned to the group.

“What do you think that was about?” La Flaga whispered to Murrue.

Murrue’s only reply was a shrug.


Hundreds of miles away, Yzak and Dearka had finally reached Gibraltar, one of the number of ZAFT’s frontline bases. They had made it through the ordeal of plummeting through Earth’s atmosphere no worse for wear and fortunately for them, they landed near friendly lines. Now they listened to a pre-recorded message sent by Le Creuset in regards to any further orders.

“It’s a great relief that you both survived and now have arrived at Gibraltar.” The Commander said, “However, the legged ship slipped away once more, but now is in the African continent. It may prove useful in the long run that you two now on Earth. In the meantime, I want for you to rest before I give you any new orders. That is all.” With that, the message ended.

“Well this sucks.” Dearka griped, “He wants us to stick with the occupation forces?” To him, he wasn’t ever interested in even stepping foot on Earth. Of course, that was the normal mindset of many second generation Coordinators. The very thought of walking on Earth was very alien. He then turned to see Yzak slowly removing the bandages that had been covering his face. He’d thought his comrade’s wounds were very severe since he joined the last battle, but he quickly changed his mind.

A hideous scar now ran down Yzak’s face. Current medical surgery could easily repair the damage. However, Yzak wasn’t about to goes through such a procedure yet. “Staying here on this planet suits me just fine, as long as we get the chance to destroy the Strike and its pilot.” He said through clenched teeth, “I swear that I’ll be the one who takes that bastard down!”


Back in the desert, the Archangel carefully followed the ATVs as it was guide through a rocky crag of mountains. The path widened and narrowed at various points and the ship scrapped the side of the side of rocks before it sat down. Right away, the crew and Kira, piloting the Strike, commenced rolling out camouflage netting to conceal the ship.

Several men ran from one of the many caves that lined the rocks and stared in shock at the ship and officers following Sahib.

“Sahib, what’s all this about?” one asked.

“These people are my guests.” Their leader stoically replied as he walked by them. Murrue, Natarle, and La Flaga followed close behind him as they were lead inside the opening of a cave.

Inside, they were led down a winding path. They glanced around and found that smaller caverns held supplies of ammunition, food, an assortment of weapons, and other items. They past by many other men, but there were no other women apart from the one they had met earlier. She too followed them as they entered a command center. The space itself was dimly lit and filled by computers and other machines. In the middle was a large table with a map spread out over it.

“Do you people actually live here?” La Flaga asked.

“No, this just is just a frontline base we use during our campaigns.” Sahib told him, “We actually live in the nearby towns, at least the ones that haven’t been burned to the ground. We have many volunteers from Moula, Tassil, and even as far away as Banadiya.”

La Flaga nodded and twisted his head to see Cagalli standing off to the side, but still within listening range. “So who is she?”

“Her name’s Cagalli Yula.” Sahib said, “So, you want to reach Alaska.” He quickly changed the subject and went to the map on the table. “You’ll have to escape the continent, which unfortunately for you is under ZAFT control. Normally their forces wouldn’t be out this far, but since the Victoria Spaceport fell-”

“Victoria fell?!” Natarle asked, “When did that happen?”

”Only three days ago.” Sahib grimly answered. “The African Community sided with the PLANTs at the start of the war, but the South African Union held out as long they could before the Earth Forces abandoned them. Everyday the battelines shift.”

“With Kaohsiung and now Victoria in ZAFT’s hands, all that remains is Panama.” Murrue muttered. If that base fell too, then the Earth Alliance would lose nearly all its access to send material to its space forces.

“At least you guys are still fighting hard against the ZAFT occupation forces.” La Flaga said, but Sahib threw him a sharp and hard glare.

“From our standpoint, the Earth Alliance and ZAFT are one in the same. They come only to rule and take what they please from others.”

“If that’s how you feel, they why do want to help us now?” Natarle asked.

“It’s because we same a common enemy.” Sahib answered. “But back on our original subject, how well does your ship operate within the atmosphere?”

”We can’t reach very high altitudes.” Murrue told him.

“If you can’t fly over a mountain range, you may have to try to break through Gibraltar.”

“With our battle strength?” La Flaga almost laughed, “I think the odds would be stacked against us.”

“Then you’ll have to fight your to the Red Sea, then make your way over the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.” His tone made it sound like such a task would be easy. Then again, it wasn' his concern.

“We can’t go that distance without stopping to restock on supplies.” Natarle said.

Murrue looked at the map. “I know that the Oceania Union is allied with ZAFT, but is the Equatorial Union still neutral?” If so, they perhaps could negotiate some sort of arrangement with the nation’s government.

“It won’t matter whether or not they’re neutral if you don’t get past here.” Sahib said, jabbing his finger back on a point on the African continent. “You’ll first have to get past the Desert Tiger’s lair.”


DaCosta stepped into his commander’s office only to be confronted with an overpowering and strange aroma. His superior sat at his desk mixing a blend of some new coffee, looking almost like a mad scientist working on his latest creation.

“Yes, what is it?” Waltfeld asked as he stirred the black liquid.

“Commander, have you thought of ventilating this room?”

“That’s why you came in?”

“Uh, no sir.” DaCosta answered, standing up straight. “I came to tell you that the preparations for sortie are complete.”

”Excellent.” Waltfeld then poured his latest brew into a small cup and gave it a quick taste. “Hmm, the Hawaiian Kona I added makes this an interesting blend.” With that, he followed DaCosta down to the deck.

Waiting for them was a line of soldiers and three BuCUEs. Everyone was eager for a bit of revenge for the pervious night’s losses.

“Last night, we suffered defeat at the hands of renegade insurgents who came to the aid of an ill-prepared battleship.” He said to his troops. “Tonight, we’ll teach those renegades a lesson they won’t soon forget. We are going to strike at their very hearts. Tonight, we will attack the town of Tassil!”


As the afternoon turned to dusk, Kira took the opportunity to take a break after all the work he did in helping with the camouflage netting. From the corner of his eye, he saw the girl named Cagalli walking towards. He nearly took a step back, slightly fearful that she’d try to take another swing at him.

Instead, she hung her head down. “I…I wanted to say that I’m sorry about earlier.” She said, “Please forgive me.”

Her apology wasn’t quite sincere. Truth be told, it sounded so forced and phony that Kira had to laugh.

“What’s so funny now?” she demanded.

“It’s nothing, really. It’s just that I sort of wondered what happened to you after you went to the shelter.” He said, “You can imagine my surprise seeing here of all places.”

She nodded. “I guess you’re right.” Her anger was fading fast, “I just I never expected that you’d be the pilot of that mobile suit. Just how did that happen?”

“It’s long story.” Kira told her, memories rushing back. “I’ll tell you if you tell me your story on how you got here.”

Before Cagalli could answer, the sounds of angry shouts came from nearby. Kira knew the voices.

”Hold on, Flay.” Sai said, “What’s with you?”

”I told you already!” Flay shot back, “We’re done!” She came out from behind a rock and upon seeing Kira; she rushed over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“What’s going on here?” Sai asked, being confused.

“If you really must know,” Flay told him, “I slept with Kira last night!”

Sai was dumbfounded and Cagalli quickly excused herself. This was going to turn nasty.

“It’s true Sai.” Kira said, suppressing his guilt.

“But why…how…?”

“It’s because that Flay is the only one who really cares about me. No one else cares about when I go out to fight, but she does. Last night she held me close and stayed with me. The rest of you secretly think of me in distain.” He then left hand in hand with Flay.

Sai was bewildered as he watched them leave. Until the other day, he had been closer than anyone to apart from her father. This sudden shift to Kira didn’t make sense, especially since she made her resentment of Coordinators known. It now looked like he lost the girl he loved to a close friend.

Meanwhile, Tolle and Miriallia overheard the entire exchange. They had been afraid that something like this would happen, but not so sudden. They couldn’t understand why Kira had said that everyone detested him. They knew it wasn’t true, but how would they tell that to him?


By the time that night had fallen, DaCosta had pulled the jeep he and Waltfeld rode in up to a ridge overlooking the town of Tassil. By the looks of everything, it appeared that the townspeople had all turned in for the night. Just a few lights shone in the windows of a number of houses.

“It looks like they’re all preparing for bed.”

“There are some people who enjoy attacking while the enemy sleeps, but that isn’t my style.” Waltfeld said before turning to his second-in-command. “DaCosta, go down and inform them that we’re give them a fifteen minute warning. When the time expires, we’ll commence the operation.”

“Sir?”

“Hurry up and go.”

”Yes, sir.” With that DaCosta hopped into a second jeep and drove down towards the town.


Back at the camp, Tolle and Miriallia did what they could to comfort Sai. As they did, they were worried about Kira as well. They feared that Flay would likewise break his heart. But if they tried to warn him of that, he’d probably think they were meddling in his and Flay’s “relationship”.

Suddenly, a shrill alarm rang though the camp, bringing everyone to their feet. Murrue, Natarle, and La Flaga listened closely as Sahib grabbed a radio.

“What’s happening?”

“There is fire in the sky!” the voice shouted back, “It’s coming from the direction of Tassil!”

A look of horror spread across Sahib’s face. “The Tiger.” He whispered.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 11:46 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
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Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 18

The rebel camp was now in a state of near chaos as men ran back and forth. They clamored about gathering ammunition and weapons. Watching his comrades, Sahib climbed atop of crates and waved his arms.

“Everyone calm down, don’t lose your heads!” he called out, “We have to be cautious in case this is a diversionary attack! I want half of us to remain here!”

Both Murrue and La Flaga stood by, trying to keep out of the way.

“Well, what do you think?” she asked.

“I’ve never heard of any atrocities committed by Andrew Waltfeld.” He shrugged, “But of course, I don’t personally know the man.”

“The Archangel should remain here in case this is a diversion meant to draw us out, but these people may need help.” She turned to the Commander, “Why don’t you go?”

“You mean me?”

“The Skygrasper’s the fastest vehicle we have.”

La Flaga nodded. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“And I’ll send a doctor with any officer as a sign of goodwill, since they helped us, even if it wasn’t for our sake.”

“Roger that, Captain.” With that, La Flaga dashed off it get suited up.

When the news for all crewmembers to return to the ship and take battle stations reached Kira, he too hurried to make his way to the hanger. Flay tried to follow, but she couldn’t match Kira’s speed. He twisted his head to glance back at her. After all that had happened, her sweet voice and warmth had cast away his fears and doubts. He now knew he couldn’t live without her.


Meanwhile, Tassil had now become an inferno, with flames engulfing the town. DaCosta had returned and climbed back into the driver’s seat.

“So it is over?” Waltfeld asked, opening one eye.

“Yes, sir.”

”What about causalities?”

DaCosta was baffled. “None of our troops or mobile suits were lost.”

“I mean on both sides.”

“Well, there may have been the random person who might have suffered some burns, smoke inhalation, or took a stumble. However, the troops were careful not to kill anyone, as per your orders.”

“Good, now let’s withdraw. The renegades may be back soon.”

DaCosta was surprised. “Wasn’t that the plan, to lure them into an ambush?”

“Of course not.” Waltfeld leaned back in his seat. “We’ve completed our objectives here. Now let’s head back to the Lesseps.”

“Yes, sir.” DaCosta relayed the message to the troops.


The Desert Dawn fighters sped as quickly as possible. Tassil was a fair distance from their base, but the blaze lit up the night sky, and they all could see the horrible sight.

“The town…” Cagalli gasped.

“What about the people?” Ahmed asked. It was a question everyone feared the answer.

Just then, the Skygrapser flew above and past them. La Flaga began to circle the remains of the town. Most of the shops and houses were already ablaze, and those that weren’t would soon be. “This is bad, absolute destruction.” He then thought he spotted something, lowered the fighter, and was surprised to see what he found.

On an elevated ridge, he found a large group of elderly men, along with women and children. “This is La Flaga.” He radioed, “I’ve located survivors.”

“Thank goodness.” Murrue’s voice said, “How many?”

”Here’s the thing. It looks like everyone managed to get out alive.”

“What, how is that possible? Where’s the enemy now?”

”I don’t know; they’ve already gone.” With that, he quickly landed near the group moments before the Desert Dawn members arrived. He watched as the men jumped out and searched for their families.

Right then, the jeep Murrue sent out reached the area and Natarle joined La Flaga. “What happened here, Commander?”

“It looks like a small miracle of some sort.” He folded his arms.

They continued to watch as Sahib hurried through the crowd, directing those who could to help the injured. Suddenly he spotted a small boy and rushed over to him. “Yaru, thank goodness you safe.” He smiled, “Where are your mother and Nene?”

”They’re with Shamusedin’s grandmother right now. She fell while we were running and twisted her ankle.” The boy told him.

Sahib breathed a sigh of relief, knowing his wife and children were safe. He went right back to the task at hand and found one of the town’s elders. By this time, Cagalli had joined him. “How many of our people were killed?”

”Not a single life was lost tonight.” The elder informed them.

Sahib, Cagalli, and the other Desert Dawn members were nearly floored by the news.

“How did that happen?” Sahib asked.

“They gave us an advance warning.”

“’They’ who?” Cagalli then asked.

“The ZAFT soldiers.” The elder explained, “One came down and told us we had fifteen minutes to flee before they would attack. And true to his word, a full fifteen minutes past before they bean to set fire to the town. They destroyed food, water, ammunition, and fuel, every last bit of supplies. It’s true no one lost their lives, but what are we going to do now?”

Sahib clenched his fists. “What is that man up to?”

”You know, survival is still possible.” La Flaga said, stepping forward. He and Natarle had been listening in as well. “This was probably retaliation for your intervention last night. You should be thankful he was this merciful.”

“You’ve must be kidding!” Cagalli rushed up and grabbed his shirt. “You call this merciful, leave an entire town all but homeless?”

La Flaga edged back, but she didn’t release her hold. “I apologize if I upset you, but you have to remember the ZAFT forces are a professional army. They could’ve easily demolished this town without warning if they wanted to. If they had, then maybe no one would be alive right now.”

Cagalli’s anger didn’t subside. “That man’s no tiger, he’s a jackal. He’s attacks a defenseless town while we’re not around and calls it a victory. Everyday we fight on courageously; we even destroyed three BuCUEs last night. Now that coward tries to get us back with an attack like this. Damn that man!”

Sahib only watched on until one of his men ushered to the side. La Flaga saw it too, but didn’t see where they went. When he looked back at Cagalli, he shuddered. She had the same furious expression she had when she saw that it was Kira who was the pilot of the Strike. He also remembered what she tried to do and knew that she was in slapping range.
“You got a point, that Desert Tiger’s a lowlife.”

“Oh, the hell with you!” she shouted and then she stomped off.

A ring of fighters had gathered by the time Sahib joined them. “What’s all this about?”

”There’s still a chance we can catch up to them if we leave now.” One of his men said, “We can kill him if we act quickly.”

“No, that’s out of the question!” Sahib exclaimed, “It’s too reckless! If you feel that you must do something, then stay with your wives and children. They take precedence.”

“What good will that do?” another demanded, pointing to the burning ruins, “Tassil is gone and other towns will suffer the same fate if the Tiger is left alive! Our minds are already made up!”

With that, the men jumped aboard every available ATV and sped off into the night.

“Edol!” Sahib called out and one of the men who hadn’t left came forward.

Cagalli rushed up as well. “What are you going, Sahib?”

”I have to stop them. What they’re doing to far too dangerous.” He climbed into another ATV.

“I’ll go with you!” Cagalli said.

But Sahib held up a restraining hand. “No, I want you and Ahmed to remain here.” His ATV then sped away.

Cagalli kicked the sand in frustration. Just then, Ahmed and her bodyguard Kisaka pulled up in another ATV. She hopped in and followed after Sahib. They waved to him as they caught up to him.

“I told you both to stay behind!” he shouted to them.

“Sahib, have you already forgotten that we were the ones who destroyed the BuCUEs last night?” Ahmed joked.

“There aren’t any of our traps where we’re going!”

“Even without the traps,” Cagalli said holding an RPG, “we have other weapons.” The ATV then accelerated ahead.

Sahib feared what was going to happen.


Meanwhile, La Flaga contacted the Archangel and reported on the situation.

“Why didn’t you try to stop them, Commander?” Murrue demanded, glaring through the monitor.

“If I had, they’d probably have turned on us and still be chasing after the enemy. Besides, we have a town of unarmed civilians that we our help. Food and especially water is badly needed.”

Murrue sighed. “All right, I’ll send what supplies we can spare over right away.”

“What about the men followed the enemy?”

“I’ll send Ensign Yamato out. We cannot allow them to be slaughtered.”


Meanwhile out in the desert, Waltfeld’s group made their way back to base, but their speed concerned DaCosta.

“Commander, shouldn’t we quicken our pace?”

Waltfeld opened one eye and glanced over. “Are you that eager to get back to base, DaCosta?”

“No sir, it’s just that what if the renegades try to pursue us? They may catch up to us.”

Waltfeld just leaned back and rested his head, almost as though this was a casual weekend drive. “Their weapons are no match for our BuCUEs. Then again, there is the old saying, ‘I’d rather die’. I’ve heard some people say it, but how many of them actually mean it?”

“Sir?”

Before Waltfeld could elaborate, the radio sounded as a message from one of the pilots, Kirkwood, came in. “Sir, I’ve detected eight objects closing in on us. They appear to be ones from the resistance.”

“So I guess that some people would foolishly risk their lives.” Waltfeld muttered.


The Desert Dawn fighters sped across the dunes until they found their target. They then gunned their ATVs’ engine and swarm down, hefting RPGs and taking aim.

“Go after that jeep!” one fighter shouted, “Kill the Tiger!”

The projectiles were blocked by the BuCUEs as the ZAFT jeeps hurried to safety. The mobile suits’ mono-eyes flashed as they targeted the tiny enemy vehicles. The ATVs spun away, narrowly dodging missiles that came their way. The Desert Dawn fighers returned fire, but their shots went wide and missed the charging BuCUEs. As one raised a limb to swat away the ATVs, Cagalli aimed her RPG and fired, scoring a direct hit to the mobile suit’s face.

While the machine was stunned, the other immeadatily took aim and fired another volley. Several hits impacted the leg joints, but when Kisaka’s shot hit, the mobile suit crumpled to the ground. The Desert Dawn warriors cheered at the sight, but their jubilation died quickly.

The second of the three BuCUEs had switched to its treads and rushed forward. It came in behind several of the ATVs and with a surge of speed steamrolled the vehicles. Both man and machine were crushed in an instant.

The remaining ATVs tried to scatter, but it didn’t matter which way they went. The third BuCUE swung one of its front limbs and knocked over the ATVs unfortunate enough to be in the path. The ones that did escape then had to contend with the other BuCUE as it flattened the ATVs in its direct path and used missile to blow away the others. Soon only Sahib’s and Cagalli’s ATVs were among the only ones left.

Ahmed turned the steering wheel, bringing the ATV right under the nearest BuCUE. Once underneath, Cagalli and Kisaka opened fire at the underbelly of the machine. Suddenly, the mobile suit decelerated and let the ATV get in front of it. Kisaka knew what was coming next.

“Quick, jump off!” he shouted, grabbing Cagalli before he leapt off.

Ahmed wasn’t fast enough, and the BuCUE’s leg swatted the ATV as though it was an insect and sent it flying. When it crashed down, Cagalli gasped in horror at the sight of his broken and bloody body still strapped in the mangled wreckage. She screamed out his name. Sahib had to distract the BuCUE in order for her and Kisaka to flee. His plan worked too well and the machine gave chase. The ATV didn’t have the speed to escape and it’d only be moments until it would be crushed.

Suddenly, a green beam of energy came from over horizon and nearly struck the ZAFT mobile suit, causing it to change course.

Cagalli looked up to see the approaching from the Strike.

While the first shot was off its mark, the second didn’t fare any better. Kira couldn’t understand why until he realized what the cause was. The heated desert air’s convection was throwing the sights off. His fingers flew over the keyboard as he worked to reconfigure the Strike’s targeting system. The third shot this time hit the BuCUE’s missile launcher. The weapon was quickly jettisoned before it exploded. Now it lacked a portion of its weaponry.

Kira took a quick assessment of the situation. He figured he’d only have to deal with the two enemy machines when he spotted the disabled third. When he evaded a barrage of enemy fire, he saw several human shapes and zoomed in on the image. He saw Cagalli the dead body of her comrade and bitterness filled him. He couldn’t let himself lose his focus and turned his attention back to the battle.


DaCosta had pulled the ATV to a safe distance where he and Waltfeld could observe the battle. “What’d the Strike come from?”

“Look at that, it has different weaponry than the pervious encounter, it appears that it’s designed for higher mobility.” Waltfeld noted, “And the pilot was able to change the rifle’s alignment almost instantly. He must’ve input the heat convection parameters like it was nothing.”

Whoever the pilot was, he was good. He was able to tweak the mobile suit’s OS during the heat of battle, which was no easy task. Waltfeld then twisted his head to see the disabled BuCUE start to rise back to its feet. He grabbed the wireless.

“Kirkwood, let me take over and pilot your mobile suit.”

“Sir?” the pilot’s confused voice replied.

“Just do it! That’s an order!”

“Yes, sir!”

“Commander, what do you think you’re doing?” DaCosta exclaimed. “This is completely unorthodox and goes against every protocol.”

Waltfeld smirked. “I didn’t earn my nickname by following protocol and being orthodox, now did I?” He leapt out of the ATV to switch over to the mobile suit.


Kira repelled the attacks of the two BuCUEs as best he could. He targeted one and just when he got it in his sights; something impacted him from the side. He was knocked back and saw that the machine he had thought was out of action was in fact back in the fight. He got the Strike back to its feet and dodged the incoming missile attack. Now that all three BuCUEs were attacking, their tactics were abruptly altered. They now grouped together into a tight formation and when the lead would move into close range combat, Kira tried to evade. But as he did, the other two opened fire on him. He couldn’t dodge all the missiles and impact tossed the Strike back.

It was an ingenious strategy meant to drain the Strike’s power until the PS armor fell. When that happened, the BuCUEs would move in for the kill. Just then, the strange sensation overtook Kira’s senses once more, rapidly sharpening them. It was like he could perceive everything around right down to the smallest detail. He pulled back seconds before the next wave of missiles came at him. They impacted the ground and he used the explosion to propel him up to the formation’s flank. He tossed his shield into the closet BuCUE, thereby causing it to fall out of the formation. Kira then opened fire, forcing the remaining two to scatter.

The enemy mobile suit that had been struck by the shield now reeled back and charged. Kira in turn, spun back and sliced off part of the wing-like portion of the BuCUE with his beam saber. Another tried to flank him, but Kira simply aimed and fired another shot as point-blank range. The enemy mobile suit exploded into flames and crashed. Finally, the last two then retreated.


Kira came out of the Strike and surveyed the battlefield. Smoke filled the air and wreckage and bodies laid scattered about in the sand. Sahib now scowled his men that were lucky enough to survive.

“Are you proud of yourselves now?” he scolded, “Was this what you wanted? How will you now face the women who’ve now lost their husbands and the children whose fathers are now dead?”

The men hung their heads in shame, but Cagalli stood up.

“Sahib, we didn’t want anyone to die, but we had to do this. We had to take the fight to him!”

“So you thought you could win using just with RPGs against mobile suits?” Kira asked, “Didn’t you think of how stupid that was?”

”What?!” Cagalli exclaimed. She grabbed Kira’s collar. “Can you say that to them?” she pointed to the bodies of her fallen comrades. “How dare you say that they died for nothing? We’re all fighting to protect the places and people we care about!”

Trying to protect home and family was one thing, but dying out in the middle of a desert as the result of a foolish attack was another. Those men who had died because of naivety and Kira knew people had died thanks to his own ignorance. Right now, Cagalli was faced to do the same thing. He couldn’t contain his anger and without thinking, slapped Cagalli across the face as hard as he could. “You protect nothing when you throw away people’s lives!”

Cagalli just stood there, her eyes wide in shock as she felt the stinging pain of the mark Kira’s hand had left.


Meanwhile in Banadiya, Waltfeld had returned to his headquarters and now sat his in private office.

“Andy, are you going to eat?” a soft voice spoke, “I made you your favorite.”

He smiled as a slender arm curled around his neck. “Of course, Aisha, it’s just I have my mind on something else at the moment.” He looked to her lovely figure.

Aisha gave him a bright smile. Her lovely raven black hair came down over her shoulders and the slight orange highlights shone in the light. She wore a blue colored form fitting outfit that showed off her figure. Waltfeld had met her at an Egyptology conference and exhibit housed in the PLANTs and the two shares many common interests. Since then, the two were nearly inseparable.

“Tell me, my dear, Martin’s seems so agitated. What happened today?”

“I think I have finally overcome my greatest foe.” He was talking about his boredom.

“Really, how so?”

“There is an enemy pilot that has piqued my interest.” He explained. “And I believe that things are only going to become more interesting very soon.”

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 4:33 pm 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
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Location: Finland
Two things came to mind from this latest installment: BuCUE are mobile armors, yet you call them mobile suits. And I could also use some more detail going into the narration of the fight-scenes, even if most of them are something we've already "seen". Otherwise just keep'em comin'! :wink:

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-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.


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 Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:10 pm
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Antares wrote:
Two things came to mind from this latest installment: BuCUE are mobile armors, yet you call them mobile suits. And I could also use some more detail going into the narration of the fight-scenes, even if most of them are something we've already "seen". Otherwise just keep'em comin'! :wink:


Actually, in the MAHQ profile it lists the BuCUE as a "mass production ground assault mobile suit."

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 Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 4:41 pm 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
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Shori said:
Quote:
Antares wrote:
Quote:
Two things came to mind from this latest installment: BuCUE are mobile armors, yet you call them mobile suits. And I could also use some more detail going into the narration of the fight-scenes, even if most of them are something we've already "seen". Otherwise just keep'em comin'!


Actually, in the MAHQ profile it lists the BuCUE as a "mass production ground assault mobile suit."

*shrugs* I guess anything counts as an MS these days if it is made in PLANT.. :P

_________________
-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.


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 Post Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 11:11 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
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Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 19

“It’s getting close to four o’clock.” Cagalli said, looking at her watch, “You need to hurry.”

“We will, but you two just be very careful.” Kisaka cautioned.

Their small group had snuck into Banadiya, east to the remains of Tassil, which was the home of the Desert Tiger’s garrison. It was risky, but they had to take the chance in order to gather supplies for the refugees and hopefully procure replacement equipment and weapons. Cagalli, along with Kira acting as her escort, were charged with searching the local markets for the supplies, while Sahib, Kisaka, Natarle, and Neumann would meet with a black market dealer.

“Dismiss Ens-, I mean Kira.” Natarle said, nearly calling him by his rank. One slip of the tongue would compromise the mission. “H-Have a good time.”

With a farewell wave from Sahib, the ATV sped down the street, leaving Kira and Cagalli in the town’s square. The local scenery amazed Kira as he watched people go to and fro from the numerous vendors. He continued to gaze around as he and Cagalli made their way through the crowd.

“This is really the Tiger’s base?” he asked, “Everything seems so peaceful around here.”

Cagalli narrowed her eyes and grasped his hand. “Come with me.” She said, not allowing him to object. She guided him through another crowd and around one corner.

What Kira saw then made him stop right in midstep. Just beyond a group of children playing soccer stood scores of buildings that had been burned out, and a number had also been reduced to rubble. Pockmarks from explosions and bullet holes gouged the street and some nearby buildings.

“As you can see, looks can be deceiving.” Cagalli said and she pointed further down the street. “And that over there is part of the cause.”

Kira looked to where she pointed and spotted a land battleship. It was Andrew Waltfeld’s personal ship, the Lessep, a fortress-like ship whose sheer size and weaponry were imposing at the mere sight of it. He twisted his head back to the homes and shops. He understood why the people didn’t rebel, as fierce retribution would happen. He hated seeing what had happened to Tassil and the refugees left behind in the wake of its destruction. Right now, the remaining supplies was sustaining them, but the amount was dwindling. And yet the Desert Dawn fighters stilled vowed to stay the course for their cause. That was something Kira couldn’t understand.


“What the hell is that kid thinking, leaving all this junk just laying in here?” Murdoch grumbled as he picked out meal trays, cups, and other trash from the Strike’s cockpit. As the refuse came flying out, Flay waited with a garbage bag. She was very displeased with doing the trash detail.

Murrue and La Flaga were watching from a catwalk nearby. They stared at the red haired girl as she scooped up whatever piece of litter was flung out.

“I thought that Sai was her boyfriend.” Murrue whispered, “When could she and Kira have…?”

“Done the nasty?” La Flaga finished, “It probably happened after we had landed, but right before the first battle.”

The rumor that Kira and Flay had sexual intercourse with each other reached La Flaga, who then informed the Captain. They weren’t planning to pry into Kira’s private life just based on gossip, but rather to be informed on anything relating to the ship’s security or the pilot’s mental state. The little love triangle couldn’t presently be overlooked. They then slipped out into the hallway.

“Is it true that Kira’s been sleeping inside the Strike’s cockpit?” Murrue asked, not having to whisper.

“It sure looks that way.”

”He hasn’t getting any real rest lately, has he?”

”That’d be my guess.” La Flaga answered. From time to time, he’d take naps in the hanger during alerts, but lately it seemed that Kira was spending more time in there than anywhere else.

“I was careless.” Murrue sighed, “In light of his abilities, I’ve forgotten that his still only a child.”

“Now, don’t go blaming yourself. I should’ve kept a closer eye on him as well.”

Thanks to Kira’s skill and steadfast resolve, they had grown confident, but perhaps too confident. He shouldered a grave responsibility, as there were no other pilots besides him and La Flaga. It was a great burden for anyone, let alone a sixteen year old teenager.

“Any ideas on how we should deal with this?” Murrue asked, “His battle fatigue, I mean.”

La Flaga tried to think, but found himself distracted. Recently he couldn’t help but notice Murrue’s beautiful features. She had a shapely figure, she smelled wonderful, and her hair was shiny. Then there were her lips… He then saw that she was giving a cold glare as though she was reading his mind.

“I really can’t think of anything right now.” He said, looking away, “But hopefully this outing will help him unwind.”

“I certainly hope so.” She then turned her back to him and walked away.

As the old saying went, La Flaga hated to see her go, but loved watching walk away.


“Do you think it was wise for the Captain to let Yamato off the ship?” Chandra asked, “I know it’s just for a few hours, but it seems like a big chance.”

“I understand how you feel.” Miriallia replied, “I can’t seem to relax when he’s not here.”

Kuzzey felt the same way. He was worried about the threat of an enemy attack happening while Kira was away.

“Don’t you worry.” Tolle smiled, patting Miriallia on the shoulder, “I’ll protect you.”

“You promise?” she teased.

Kuzzey chuckled, but it didn’t change his mood. Lately he had been regretting staying on board the ship and wished he had went on the shuttle. Then again, if he had, he’d be dead along with the rest of the unfortunate refugees. It was like almost a choice of evils.


Sahib, Kisaka, Natarle, and Neumann had been waiting for some time before another man finally entered. He wore expensive clothes, some jewelry, and a sly grin. Al Jaili was well known for arranging the sale of certain items that couldn’t be legitimately purchased. As he sat, he locked eyes with Sahib.

“You seem to be doing well.” Sahib sneered. “No doubt thanks to your monopolizing of the water supply.”

Jaili just smiled. “I had hoped that you would’ve changed your way of thinking by now, Sahib. Living by following faith alone can be rather hazardous, my friend.”

In spite of his mannerisms and seemingly courteous, Neumann already didn’t like Jaili. He seemed like the kind who’d sell out his family if he saw a profit in it.

“I didn’t want to meet with you face to face, but we cannot allow our water supply to be depleted.” Sahib said through clenched teeth.

“Yes, yes, no matter where it comes from water is water, a precious thing that sustains all life.”

“Enough of this!” Sahib almost shouted, “This isn’t a casual conversation between friends. Will you hear our requests or not?”

”But of course.” Jaili nodded, “Countrymen should help out one another, shouldn’t they?” He then let out a sly hyena-like laugh, “Come, we’ll discuss the details in the factory.”

He led the group to an underground facility hidden underneath a building near the outskirts of the city. Natarle glanced around to see numerous containers with both Earth Forces OMNI and ZAFT insignias labeled on their sides.

“Your food, water, fuel, and other requests have already been prepared.” Jaili informed them, “The only thing left are these items.” With a snap of his fingers, a group of shady-looking men brought out several more crates and opened their lids.

Neumann inspected the contents. He found 75mm AP rounds, EQ17 magnetic interception unit components, equipment for a Mark 500 radar array, and other pieces of equipment that had been requested. “These are the genuine articles.” He said, almost surprised.

“Where did you…?” Natarle started to asked.

However, Jaili cut her off and waved his finger as though he was disciplining a small child. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ask me no questions.”

Natarle was bewildered that Earth Forces military equipment and munitions had somehow turned up on the black market.

Sahib then turned to her. “What do you think? Will these do?”

“Yes.” Natarle reluctantly nodded, “These are just what we need.”

“Good, I’m pleased to hear that.” Jaili grinned, “Now here is the bill. You’ll find that everything you’ve requested will be for a reasonable price.” He handed a paper to Sahib.

Neumann took a peek at the bill and his jaw dropped. “You call this reasonable?” he demanded.

Jaili shrugged, “Well, I’d offer a discount, but as Sahib has already implied, we’re not best friends.”

Sahib ignored the comment and passed the bill to Kisaka.

“Can we pay you with Earth currency?”

“Certainly, money is money.” Jaili said, “Now that’s it’s settled, we’ll transport your purchases right away.”

Neumann and Natarle were nearly stunned by the fact that Kisaka was allowed to make the final decision on the price without even arguing. They had just thought he was only Cagalli’s bodyguard, but now they weren’t so sure. In any case, they had procured the items they needed.


Kira placed the numerous sacks he had practically been forced to carry down as he took a seat at an outdoor café. Cagalli meanwhile made one last check of the list.

“Well, we’ve got pretty much all we can.” She said, “But I have to say that your girlfriend, Flay, made some pretty ridiculous requests. I mean, where’d she get the idea we could find Elizaio brand face cream and fancy skin moisturizers anywhere here?”

Kira didn’t answer; instead he was relieved that they didn’t have to look for anything else. All he really wanted to do now was get back to the Archangel. A waiter then brought their food and drinks. Kira set his eyes on the exotic dish. Atop thin pieces of bread were vegetables and pieces of flame cooked meat. “What are these?”

“Donel kebabs!” Cagalli said, licking her lips, “After all that shopping I’m starving.” She then picked up a nearby bottle. “Here, chili sauce goes great with these.”

“Hold it right there!” a voice cried out.

Kira and Cagalli turned to see a tall man dressed in a bright red and canary yellow Hawaiian shirt, straw hat, and dark sunglasses. He looked liked a tacky tourist.

“Why waste kebabs by ruining them with chili sauce?” he boldly asked, “Yogurt sauce is a far better choice. In fact, not putting yogurt sauce on kebabs should be considered a form of blasphemy and gross insult to the chief who prepared them.”

“Just who the hell do you think you are, anyway?” Cagalli demanded, “What gives you the right to walk up to strangers and tell them how they should eat their food?” With that, she dumped chili sauce on her meal and took a giant bite.

The man nearly wept. “Oh, such a sad waste.”

Cagalli ignored him and decided to add further insult. “Delicious!” she smugly grinned. She then turned to Kira. “Here, donel kebabs and chili sauce are practically made for one another.”

“Oh no, you don’t!” the man said, shoving the bottle away with his own.

“Forget it.” Cagalli countered, “I won’t let you corrupt this guy.”

”Corrupt? All I want to do is give him yogurt sauce.”

The two continued to battle in the strange tug-of-war of sorts with their respective bottles. With a sudden splat, the kebabs on Kira’s plate were smothered in the two sauces. The dish, which had looked appetizing, now was covered in mixture of red and white. Seeing the result of their quarrel, Cagalli and the man sheepishly backed off. Kira then decided to sample his meal.

“So how is it?” the man asked as he took a seat at their table.

“Hmm…not bad.” Kira said. He spoke the truth, as the blending of the two sauces created a unique flavor.

“You’ve been doing some serious shopping, I see.” The man then commented as he glanced at the bags, “Are you two throwing a party or something?”

Cagalli was growing more frustrated with him. “Mind your own business!” she snapped at him. We didn’t invite you to join us! Hell, we don’t even know who you are!”

As she went on voicing her objections, the man suddenly shifted his gaze to one side.

“Get down!” he suddenly shouted and kicked up the table.

Kira grabbed Cagalli, got her behind the overturned table and her head down. And just in time, as an explosion shook everything around them, and was followed by a stream of bullets. Customers fled in panic.

“Are you both all right?” the man asked as he removed a pistol from an ankle holster.

Before Kira or Cagalli could answer him, a group of armed men and even two women charged, firing assault rifle.

“Die, Coordinator, you damned space invader!” one man called out.

“For the preservation of our blue and pure world!” one of the women shouted.

Cagalli gasped. “Those people are Blue Cosmos members.”

Originally, Blue Cosmos was an environmental pressure group, but now were the most radical of anti-Coordinator activist group. Their tactics even included piracy and terrorism to achieve their goal, the complete extermination of all Coordinators. Kira was afraid, not for just himself, but for Cagalli. He wondered how these people knew that he was a Coordinator.

The patrons that hadn’t fled suddenly pulled out their own weapons and returned fire against the terrorist. One after another, the attackers fell.

“Keep firing!” the man who had been pestering them shouted to the others, “Don’t live any of them alive!”

Kira looked at him in surprise. Amidst the fighting he saw a handgun drop near him from the dead body of one of the terrorists. The man then stood out from his cover and shot down one attacker who was trying to run away. Kira abruptly noticed something out of the corner of his eye and saw that another of the attackers was hiding behind a corner and was aiming at the man’s unprotected back. With out thinking, Kira leapt from behind the table, scooped up the gun, and hurled it. The gun flew and struck the attacker’s rifle, throwing off his aim. Kira then pounced and delivered a hard kick to the man’s face. The would-be assassin tumbled to the ground, and squirm in pain thanks to a broken nose courtesy of Kira.

By then the attack was over and quickly as it had started. Nearly all of the Blue Cosmos terrorists were dead, while the others would soon be. Kira saw one of the armed patrons rush over to the terrorist he had incapacitated and then shoot him in the skull, killing him. Kira felt sick at the sight of the act.

“You idiot!” Cagalli exclaimed, “Don’t tell me you don’t even know how to use a gun!”

While she was chewing him out, Kira was thankful she hadn’t been hurt. He then started to laugh when he looked at her, for she was now smothered in kebab sauce and tea.

“What’s so funny?” she scolded.

Kira had to look away and turned back to the man. He noticed that he was being stared at, even though the man’s sunglasses hid his eyes. What made Kira feel like shuddering was that now the man was smiling for some unknown reason.

“Commander!” a new voice called, “Are you all right, sir?”

Kira and Cagalli looked to see a red haired man in a ZAFT uniform run up to the man who had been bothering them.

“Yes, DaCosta, I’m perfectly fine.” The man answered, “And it’s all thanks to this young man here.” He then removed his hat and sunglasses and smiled.

Cagalli gasped. “That’s Andrew Waltfeld.” She whispered.

Kira realized that he had saved the life of the Desert Tiger.


“What do you mean Kira and Cagalli haven’t come back?” Murrue said.

“They haven’t returned to the rendezvous point as schedule, it’s that simple.” Kisaka told her, his face barely showing through the static caused by the N-Jammers, “Have Sahib and the others made it back there?”

”No.”

“There’s something else.” Kisaka said grimly. “There has been a Blue Cosmos terrorist attack in town.”

There was a collective gasp, followed by concerned muttering.

“How is that possible?” Murrue asked, “How could anyone have know Kira was a Coordinator?”

”I don’t believe that he was the target.” Kisaka replied, his face and voice being further distorted by the static, “But we haven’t been able to contact him or Cagalli and I cannot conduct a search alone.”

Murrue turned around. “Officer Pal! Get a hold of Lieutenant Badgiruel at once!”


“Look, we’re fine, really.” Kira insisted for the umpteenth time.

He and Cagalli had bee driven to the hotel that the ZAFT forces had converted into a headquarters. While they tried to remain casual, it was difficult when they found themselves in front of rows of soldiers and seeing a number of GINN Ochre mobile suits in the courtyard.

“He’s right.” Cagalli added, “We should really get back home.”

”No, no.” Waltfeld told them, “I rudely interrupted your meal and end up having you save my life, so the very least I could do is let you clean up and give some fresh clothes.”

Kira and Cagalli looked to each other, and then slowly stepped out of the jeep and right into the middle of enemy territory. They watched as the soldiers saluted Waltfeld as he walked past, not seeming to care that he was out of uniform. As they followed him inside, Kira saw that the red haired solider eyed him suspiciously and quickly averted his gaze. As they turned down the hall, they saw a beautiful woman appear.

“Welcome back, Andy.” She smiled.

“Hello, Aisha.” Waltfeld said back as he wrapped an arm around her and planted a kiss to her lips.

“So I take it this is the girl you mentioned?” she asked, placing a gentle hand on Cagalli’s shoulder.

“Yes, please do what you can with her. As you can see, she’s been plastered in her lunch.”

“Come this way.” Aisha said, taking Cagalli by the hand. Both Kira and Cagalli became anxious and she saw it in their eyes. “Now, don’t you worry.” She told Kira, “I promise to take good care of her and we’ll be back soon. Until then, why don’t you and Andy talk?”

Kira didn’t like the fact he was separated from Cagalli, especially inside an enemy base.

“Come on in.” Waltfeld called to him, “Why don’t you make yourself at home? Would you care for some coffee?” He had already started brewing a pot.

“Sure.” Kira timidly answered and looked around the room. The décor was very different than what he had seen while growing up in space. The room itself was large, with silk runs lining the floor, an antique writing desk placed near the window, and there was even a working fireplace. It was then he spotted something he did recognize. Sitting atop a mantelpiece above the fireplace was a scale replica of Evidence 01, the fossilized remains of an alien lifeform discovered by George Glenn during his voyage to Jupiter.

“Have you ever seen the real thing?” Waltfeld asked as he brought over a pair of cups.

Kira shook his head. The real one was kept somewhere on one of the PLANTs.

“People call this the ‘Whale Rock’, but I really don’t know why.” Waltfeld said, staring at the object, “It appears to have wings and whales don’t have wings now do they?”

”Well, no.” Kira nodded, “But it is an alien species.”

“You do have a point. Anyway, please try this.” Waltfeld handed Kira one of the cups, “I’ve blended together mocha sidamo, the highest quality mocha, with ten percent santos number two. It’s a custom blend. The taste may be a tad bitter.”

Kira took a sip. “This is delicious.”

Waltfeld’s face brightened. “Oh, you really like taste? Most of my men here don’t quite have an acquired taste for it. Tell you what, why don’t you feel free to take some of the beans back with you?”

“Um, thanks.”

And with that, they went on with their talk, mostly concerning the subtleties of brewing roasting coffee blends. Waltfeld’s eyes went back to the replica.

“You know, Evidence 01’s discovery is interesting, but it’s also a disaster to a degree.”

“What do you mean by a disaster?”

“It symbolizes that people can go farther than anyone ever thought possible.” Waltfeld stared straight at Kira, “And that’s the primary root of this entire war.”

Kira lowered his head. “I’ve never thought of it that way.” He said, “I always thought of it as hope for mankind.”

”Hope?”

”Sure, I think that it’d be very lonely if humans were the only lifeforms in the universe, but that creature proves that we’re not alone.” For a moment he thought that Waltfeld would laugh at such a notion.

Instead, the older man nodded knowingly. “I take it that you’re a lonely person?” he said kindly.

Kira did feel that way. Even though he fought alongside the Naturals, he’d never be one of them.

There then came a knock at the door. Aisha then entered, with Cagalli hiding behind her. “Well, what do you think?” she stepped aside and unveiled Cagalli’s new look.

Kira’s jaw dropped when he saw her. Her hair had been washed and styled, and she now wore a long sea foam-colored dressed that showed off her figure. Her face was covered in a light coat of makeup as well.

“Hey…you’re a girl.” He said thoughtlessly.

Cagalli’s face went from embarrassed to annoyed. “What was that?!” she exclaimed.

“Sorry, I just forget you’re girl sometimes.” Kira explained, but that made it worse.

“That’s pretty much the same thing, jackass!” she shouted, stomping her foot.

By now, both Waltfeld and Aisha had started to laugh at the exchange. Both Kira and Cagalli then felt very sheepish. They took a seat on the couch as Aisha excused herself. Cagalli then sampled some of the coffee, not saying anything until she had finished her cup.

“So what’s the big idea with making me wear this get-up?” she asked, “Is this another one of your games, Waltfeld?”

Waltfeld tilted his head. “Aisha selected that outfit. Besides, what’s all this about games?”

“You know, wearing disguises and sneaking around town. Or running the residents of Tassil out of their town before burning it to the ground?”

Kira couldn’t believe what she was doing, confronting him so straightforward. If she wasn’t carefully, he’d find out who they really were.

“You’re certainly direct.” Waltfeld said, locking eyes with her, “I like that, especially since I don’t like playing games.”

”Don’t toy with me!” Cagalli snapped, slapping the table hard.

“Cagalli…” Kira grabbed her shoulders to calm her down. He could feel her shaking and remembered that the man sitting across from them was responsible for the deaths of many of her comrades. Waltfeld’s good natured expression disappeared, replaced by one that was bone chilling. Kira and Cagalli were nearly petrified by his cold glare.

“So do you have a solution to end this war?” he asked, “I’d like to hear the opinion of a follow mobile suit pilot.”

Cagalli gasped. “How’d you know that Kira-?”

When Waltfeld burst out laughing, she realized that it had bee a bluff and she had stumbled right into it.

“There are those who think of war as a complex game, but they are very wrong.” Waltfeld stood and stepped across the room, “Unlike in sports, the game of war has no set time limit and no points are awarded, so how do you determine the winners and the losers? Does it end when all your enemies are dead?" Right then, a gun seemed to materialize in his hand and he aimed it at his ‘guests’.

Kira drew Cagalli closer to him, not taking his eyes off the older man. But at the same time, he considered his enemy’s questions. When would the war end? He realized that it wasn’t a game and one of them had to die for this current predicamnet to end. He scanned the room for any possible exit. He could easily jump out a window, but what about Cagalli? Her present formal attire wasn’t designed for anything combat related.

“You really should consider giving up.” Waltfeld told him, “Even if you possess breserker capabilites and could get past me, you still wouldn’t be able to fight your way out of here since everyone here is a Coordinator, just like you.” He paused, “How do I know? Because I’ve watched you in battle twice and even breifly engaged you the other day. Your plioting skills are too good for you to be a Natural, but even among Coordinators, your skills are superior. I don’t know why you’ve chosen to fight against your brethren, but because of it, you and I are enemies, and as stated in the military creed, you must kill your enemy whenever you see him.”

Kira backed away and Cagalli shut her eyes, both expecting to hear the gunshot that was sure to follow. However, it didn’t happen. Instead, they were surprised when Waltfeld actually lowered his weapon and put it away.

“But not today.” He continued, his good natured expression returning, “After all, you saved my life today and this isn’t the battlefield. “Well, you’re free to go since you aren’t my prisoniers.” As the youths turned to leave he said, “Oh, one last thing.” He tossed over a blue colored pouch to Kira. “Those are some of the beans, as promised. I’ve enjoyed our conversation, though it might have been better for us all if it hadn’t happened.”

Kira and Cagalli exchanged quick looks before they went to the door. As it was pulled opened, Waltfeld had one final thing to say to them.

“See you on the battlefield, Kira and Cagalli.”

Niether of them could even muster up a reply and shut the door behind them. They found Aisha standing in the hall right away. She smiled kindly and handed Cagalli a bundle.

“Your clothes.”

Cagalli took her cleaned garments and looked at herself. “Um, the dress…”

“You can keep it. It really looks good on you.” Aisha led them to the door. “Please hurry, your people are looking for you as we speak.”

The pair lowered their heads and quickly left.

Waltfeld watched them leave the building from the window.

“So how do you think it went?” Aisha asked as she stepped next to him.

“I feel so terrible.” He answered, “I really like those two.”

Aisha laughed knowingly. “Yes, me too.” She nestled into his arms.


When they were a safe distance away, Kira and Cagalli took one last glance at the building. They couldn’t shake the feeling the ZAFT troops would come chasing after them, but nothing of the sort happened.

“It’s strange.” She said, “He didn’t take us prisonier and just let us go like it was nothing.”

Kira nodded, and his mind went back to Waltfeld’s questions about the war. He made a number of valid points. When he had them at gunpoint, he could’ve easily killed them, but instead he released them. “Is he truly the enemy?” he whispered to himself.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 11:15 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 20

Deep inside of Aprilius One, Athrun sped down the road and turned into the private driveway that led him towards a large mansion, one of the largest in all the PLANTs. It was the home of the Clyne family. Athrun drove up to the front gate and came to a stop alongside camera.

“Identification, please.” A synthetic voice from the speaker said.

Athrun held out his ID card. “Confirmation number 8-2-5-0-0-2, Athrun Zala of the Le Creuset Team. I have a date with Miss Lacus.”

Once the gate opened, he pulled up to the mansion and stepped inside. As soon as he sat foot in, he found Lacus waiting for him atop the staircase. She looked even lovelier than the last time he saw her.

When they first met, both were only fourteen years old. At the time, their fathers had informed them that they were to be engaged as part of an arranged marriage agreement between the two families. It was also at that time that Lacus’ celebrity status was only beginning.

“Welcome.” She smiled sweetly, “I’m glad to see you.” She came down the stairs, being followed by her collection of Haros, each one a different color.

“I’m sorry that I’m late.” Athrun said, handing her the bouquet he had brought.

She took the flowers and breathed in their sweet aroma, as her Haros bounded all around her. “They’re certainly excited to see you. It’s been a while since you’ve were here the last time.”

Athrun had given her a new Haro every time he came over to visit, which seemed like a good idea at the time. However, whereas Lacus found all the tiny robots adorable, he found them irritating. “I know.” He told her, “I’m sorry about that.”

The two then walked down a hallway that led outside to the garden. Lacus then called for Okapi, another of her collection of robotic pets. Unlike the Haros, Okapi was box-shaped and looked like a canine. She placed the flowers onto Okapi’s back and directed it to take them to one of the servants so that they could be placed in water. Then she requested to have some tea brought out and sent the robot on its way. The pair then strode through the garden before they reached the arbor and sat down. Athrun tried to speak, but found himself distracted by the Haros’ constant chirping.

Lacus pulled out a white colored pen. “Oh, Navy, come here.” She waited for the navy blue colored Haro to leap into her lap. She named each of the robots after their respective coloring. She then scribbled a moustache on it and let it go. “The one with the moustache is it.” She said to the others, “Go play.”

Immeadatily Navy bounded off, chased by the other Haros. As soon as they left the garden, everything grew quiet. Athrun was relieved by the new silence.

“I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to attend the memorial service.” He said.

“I prayed for your mother on your behalf.” Lacus replied, “I hope that was all right.”

“Yes, and thank you.” Athrun could hardly believe that it had already been over a year since his mother’s death. While he had been invited to take part in the memorial service, he couldn’t since at the time he was on the frontlines.

Okapi had returned by that time, now carrying tea and a plate of cookies. Lacus took the refreshments and poured a cup for Athrun. “I’ve been looking forward to your visit. Will you be able to stay for long?”

”No, I’m still on active duty. This is just a short furlough.” He felt guilty since every visit seemed to shorter with the conversations strained. And yet Lacus didn’t seem to mind.

A tiny bird landed on the table and Lacus broke off bits of a cookie to feed the small creature. Not many animals lived on the PLANTs, apart from those raised for agricultural purposes.

“Some of my friends recently enlisted.” She said, “With so many people joining the war, it makes me wonder when it’ll end.”

Athrun understood what she said. He too had hoped for a swift end when the fighting began. However, after more than a year, the end didn’t seem possible anytime in the near future.

Lacus decided to change the topic. “What do you think your friend Kira is doing right now? Have you seen him at all?”

The last time Athrun saw him, he was trembling towards the Earth’s atmosphere. “Oh, I think he’s on Earth now.” Although, there was also the chance that he was dead.

“You both had been friends since you were young, right?” During her time on the Archangel, Lacus had learned about several things from Kira about him and Athrun.

“Yes.”

“I told him about the Haros.” She went on, “When I did, he said you hadn’t changed at all. He also told me about Birdy.”

Athrun had nearly forgotten about the robot he had made for Kira before he and his mother relocated to the PLANTs.

“He seems to be taking great care of it. He was going to show it to me, but there wasn’t time.”

Athrun was surprised. “You mean he still has it?” He wished she hadn’t told him that. It only reminded him that if he ever faced Kira again in battle, he’d have to kill him.

“I really like Kira.” She smiled, “He’s a kind person.”

Athrun didn’t whether or not she was teasing. He really didn’t know what to make of it when she said she liked Kira. Their engagement was only due to their parents. While there weren’t any other girls he wanted to see, Athrun wasn’t sure if Lacus truly loved him. An hour later, it was time for him to leave.

“I wish you could stay for dinner.” Lacus said as she walked him to the door. “My father would’ve liked to have seen you.”

“I know, and I am sorry.” He replied, “But I’m being kept busy with all that I have to do. Perhaps next time.”

“Yes, next time.” She smiled, but she was clearly disappointed. “I shouldn’t keep you any longer.”

“If I can, I’ll come visit you very soon.” He saw her face brighten.

He briefly hesitated and then leaned in kiss her. Lacus had shut her eyes and was now waiting for their lips to meet. However, Athrun quickly gave her a peck on the check and pulled back.

“Goodnight.” She said.

He turned to leave and suddenly felt flustered. It was the very first time he had ever kissed a girl.


“We mustn’t give in, now more than ever!” Patrick Zala boldly stated on the TV screen, “We must finish what the Naturals started!”

Nicol barely paid attention to the address as he relaxed on the sofa in his family’s den. He was glad to be home in Maius City. Even if it was only going to be for a few days, he wanted to forget about the war. Normally he parents would’ve been doting on him, but right now his father rushed to prepare for a conference.

“It’s almost time, dear.” Romina Amalfi, said.

“I know.” Yuri replied. He was a member of the National Defense Council and specialized in mechanical engineering, especial in the research and development of mobile suits.

His parents both came from gifted backgrounds. His mother was lovely and his father was calm and easy going.

“Now where is that briefcase?” Romina muttered as she searched for it.

“It’s right here.” Nicol said, handing it to her.

“Oh thank you, Nicol. Sometimes I wonder how we manage without you here.” There then came a knock at the door. “That must be the driver, but he’s early.” She quickly stepped out to answer the door. When she came back she said, “Nicol, you have a visitor.”

Nicol looked to see one of his fellow teammates. “Hello, Cade, what brings you here?”

“Oh, I was out for a walk and I was nearby, so I thought I’d swing by to say hello.” Cade said.

“Please have seat.” Nicol told him, “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Cade took a seat and watched Zala’s continuing address.

“Both the betrayal of Orb, which had claimed neutrality, and the holding of Miss Lacus Clyne hostage are inexcusable actions!” The National Defense Chairman continued.

By then, Yuri stepped inside, oblivious of his son’s guest. While he thought moderately, he found himself agreeing with Zala more and more. “I really can’t see how Clyne can oppose. As Zala has made clean, we have neither the time nor resources to fight forever.”

Nicol glance to the clock. “Father, it’s time.”

Yuri then went to the entry hall, with Nicol following him. Romina already was waiting for him with his briefcase. She informed her husband the car had arrived.

“We’ll no doubt adopt Operation Spit Break quickly.” He said to his son. He was referring to the last stage of Operation Uroboros, which called for the capture of Panama. In order for that to happen, there needed to be an increase in military forces. There was no doubt that such a move would be approved, especially since Zala and a number of other Council members fought for the plan. “But that means that you’ll have to fight as well, I’m afraid.”

Nicol figured that he, Athrun, and Cade would eventually join Yzak and Dearka on Earth. If the circumstances were different, he would’ve enjoyed setting foot on the planet. But this was a war and not a sightseeing adventure.

Yuri kissed his wife good-bye and added, “Nicol, while you’re here, please do as you want. You should relax while you can.”

“I will. Now please on, Father, or you’ll be late.”

Yuri finally left, with Romina walking him to the awaiting car. Nicol returned to the den where Cade was still watching the TV. By now, Zala’s address was finished and the daily news broadcast was on. Nicol switched off the TV and Cade turned to him.

“So want was that your dad was saying about an operation, what was it, Spit Break?” Cade asked.

“Yes, apparently it’s the campaign to seize Porta Panama.” Nicol answered, “After that, the war is sure to end.” And that seemed that would be the case, what with the mass drivers at Kaohsiung and Victoria in possession of the ZAFT forces.

“But will it really? A lot of people said the war was going to be over soon after the N-Jammers were deployed, but that obviously didn’t happen.”

“True, but once all their mass drivers are taken over, the Earth Forces won’t have anyway to send supplies to their space fleets.”

“Maybe, but there are other places that have mass drivers.” Cade told him. “And have you heard the old saying about the cat and the cornered mouse?”

Nicol nodded. The old saying referred to a cornered mouse attacking a cat even though it was smaller and weaker. And as history had shown, military forces in dire situations used desperate measures. If pressed, the Earth Forces could launch desperate attacks to retake the spaceports.

“Well, I agree with Siegel Clyne, we should at least attempt a diplomatic approach before another all-out military strike.”

Nicol did see Cade’s view. He too wanted to see a lesser amount of bloodshed in the end.

Romina had returned. “Sorry about that, Cade. Would you care for anything to drink?”

“Oh, no thank you, Mrs. Amalfi.”

Romina then took a seat next to her son. “Nicol has said some wonderful things about you. It seems you’re a talented young man, Cade. Your parents must be very proud of you.”

A look of sadness spread across Cade’s face. “Actually Mrs. Amalfi, my parents have been dead for about ten years.”

Romina gasped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say anything that’d upset you.”

“Oh no, it’s all right,” Cade insisted, “you didn’t know.”

“May I ask how it happened?” Nicol cautiously asked.

Cade nodded. “You know about the May 19th Attack?”

Nicol and his mother nodded. The May 19th Attack was the term used in regards to a terrorist attack that took place on May 19, C.E. 61 at the PLANT Janiuarius 3. It was orchestrated by Blue Cosmos for the purpose to frighten the population of the PLANTs into believing they weren’t safe no matter where they lived. However, the campaign failed, but it took a number of victims, Cade’s parents among them.

“After they died, I went to live with one of my mom’s closet friends, since I had no other family. Her name’s Mara and I’ve lived with her since I was seven years old.”

Nicol had another question. “Cade, there’s been something I’ve wanted to ask you. Both Yzak and Dearka have mocked what they’ve called your ‘hippie philosophy’.” He made air quotes, “I’m afraid I don’t understand what it means.”

Cade nodded. “I’m Straight Edge.” He explained. “I’ve made an oath never to use alcohol, tobacco, or narcotics. A clean life equals a clear mind, that’s my philosophy. Mara taught me that.”

Both Nicol and his mother were interested with what Cade explained. After that, their conversation went on for another quarter hour, mainly about anything that didn’t deal with the war. When Cade glanced at his watch, he saw that he had to leave so that he could get one last errand done. He thanked Nicol and Romina for the visit and went on his way.

After his friend had left, Nicol stepped into the music room. He sat down at the piano and idly played a tune. His conversation with Cade made him wonder if indeed the war would end should Operation Spit Break be carried out. He hoped so, as he had his own ambitions after the fighting was over. During his downtime in between battles, he thought that a career in music best suited him, as it was something he was passionate about. And given the choice, he’d rather create music than fight in war.


Cade finally made it back to his home. “Mara, I’m back.” he called as he stepped inside.

A woman with almond colored eyes and copper colored hair leaned out of the kitchen. “Have a good walk, Cade?” she asked, looking up from the meal she was preparing.

“Not too bad.” He answered, “But no matter where I went, there were different broadcasts talking about the war playing. I thought during R&R you’re supposed to forget about war.”

“I know what you mean.” Mara said, “Everyday is always some new development.”

Cade figured she had heard Zala’s comments on Orb. With all the rumors flying about, it was no doubt that she worried about the nation. He found it gravely difficult to tell her that Heliopolis, a colony owned by her native country, was destroyed during an operation he took part of. Mara originally was born in the Orb Union, but had migrated to the PLANTs along with many other first generation Coordinators. She had been close friends with Cade’s mother and had been his caregiver since he was orphaned. She loved him like he was her own flesh and blood.

“Anyway, dinner will be ready in about fifteen minutes. I’ll call for you when the time comes.”

“All right.” With that, Cade went to his room. After all his day had been like, he wanted to simply listen to some music and relax. He had an extensive collection of music from the mid to late 20th and early 21st centuries of the old A.D. calendar. He made his selection, switched on the player, and laid down on his bed, listening to the music playing.


“So what is it you plan to do with this?” Siegel Clyne asked.

“I’m only trying to present my side of the argument.” Patrick Zala replied, looking up from the monitor he was looking at. On the screen, a mobile suit battled played out.

“By editing together the footage that you only want to show the Council?” Clyne demanded.

Zala had been fanning the flames of war by causing a sense of urgency among both the populace and the Council itself to get what he wanted. From what Clyne could see, it appeared that Zala was splicing together the latest footage of the Earth Alliance’s Strike Gundam to show how powerful it was in order to draw in further support.

“You already have what you’ve wanted, as there’s little doubt that Operation Spit Break will be approved by the Council. How far are you willing to take this?”

Zala narrowed his eyes. “I want absolute victory, Siegel, nothing more and especially nothing less. The harder we strike, the sooner we win. That is the only way.”

“And what if this victory you desire ends up destroying us as well?”

”It won’t.”

”But you can’t be certain.”

“Of course I can.” Zala countered, “It is because we are Coordinators.” He then pressed a button that both turned off the screen and activated the room’s light. “We are a new species, there is no reason we should coexist with the inferior Naturals.”

Clyne got right in his colleague’s face. “How are we a new species, when we were created in laboratories? No amount of genetic engineering makes us superior to any degree. We cannot even properly breed!” He slammed his fist on the table, “Life is born, Patrick, not build!”

There loomed a potential crisis among the Coordinator population. New gene modification on top of other modifications had a profound effect that no one could have predicted. Birthrates among third generation Coordinators have fallen in recent years. Despite the amount of research to solve this problem, no promising results had been found. That the rate things seemed to be going, Coordinators faced an uncertain future.

“You sound like Blue Cosmos.” Zala sneered. “Their values and the notions they preach are already obsolete. We Coordinators look to the future.”

“But will that grant us what we would call happiness?” Clyne retorted, but he knew it was no use. Once Zala had set his mind to one principle, he would shut out all others. Clyne feared his colleague would kill every Natural if he had the means to do so. And right now, he was powerless to stop the man.

“Remember that we act on consensus, Siegel, and I will get the consensus I want.” He turned his back to Clyne. “We are the future of humanity.”


The room was darkened, curtains drawn, and smelled of the odor was sweat and illness. Underneath the covers, a man writhed in pain. He let out a dry cough, which caused his body to spontaneously spasms. He reached for a bottle of pills, but thanks to the convulsions, his hand swatted it to the floor. He then trembled out of bed and grasped the bottle. He opened it and choked down two without taking a drink of water. Le Creuset fought against the pain that gripped his body when the phone rang. He uttered a curse in a raspy voice before he answered it.

“Le Creuset here.” He said, his voice returning to normal.

“It’s me.” The voice on the other end whispered.

“Ah, Chairman Zala. Are you still at a council meeting that this hour?”

“Yes, for the time being, as we still have two or three members holding out. But I promise I will persuade them very soon. I’ll give you the precise details when we’re done, but I should inform you that I want you to command the real Operation Spit Break.” Zala’s voice was sinisterly excited.

“I am certain that you’ll succeed Clyne as Supreme Council Chairman after the upcoming elections.” Le Creuset commented, “But until that time, make careful preparations.”

Zala chuckled. “If things go as planned, then nothing will stop us.”

Le Creuset hung up the phone and let a grim laugh escape from his constricted throat. Patrick Zala was so certain that he was in control, but little did he know that he was in reality just a puppet on a string. The true puppet master was La Creuset himself and his own plans were going as he had anticipated. His laugh soon turned to a raspy cough.


Meanwhile back on the African continent, both the Archangel’s officers and senior members of Desert Dawn calculated their plan for the upcoming battle.

“This area here is full of abandoned mining holes.” Sahib explained, his finger moving to encircle a section of the map before stopping on one spot, “We’ve placed a minefield here. If we’re going to plan a battle, this would be the place to carry it out.”

“Are you sure?” La Flaga asked, “It sounds risky.”

“If we were to give in and work under the Tiger, we’d be guaranteed peace, much like in Banadiya. In fact, some of the men’s wives have asked us to at least consider doing so.” The rebel leader told them, “But we’re fighting for own independence, and with this attack we will break the ZAFT forces’ hold on the region.”

Murrue smiled. “Understood. Then we’ll gratefully accept your cooperation in breaking past the Lessep.” Despite an easy start, she had grown to respect Sahib and his men. Whether the sentiment was mutual or not, she didn’t know. If the ZAFT forces were driven off, then the Earth Alliance would surely move in and occupy the territory. And then these people would be again in the same spot, under the control of foreign rulers.


“That’s fifteen kills! Impressive!”

Tolle had overheard some commotion in the corner of the ship’s hanger and went over to see what was going on. He found Miriallia, Kuzzey, and Neumann gathered around the Skygrasper simulator.

“Hey, what’s all this?”

”Tolle, check this out!” Miriallia shouted, “This girl’s an ace!”

Cagalli was sitting inside the simulator; grasping the controls and piloting pass a group of computerized enemy GINNs. She was handling the controls like a professional, evading oncoming fire and shooting down targets with ease.”

”Your name’s Cagalli, right?” Neumann asked as he watched, “You defiantly good. Do you have any pervious piloting experience?”

Her only reply was a proud smile. She pulled the trigger again, taking down the final target, which ended the simulation. Her results appeared on the screen and her name was shown at the very top of the standings. She outscored everyone else by a great margin, but she looked displeased. “I got hit twice.” She muttered as she climbed out of the seat.

“That’s still amazing.” Kuzzey complimented, “When I tried it, I got shot down right at the start.”

“Yeah, me too.” Miriallia sheepishly added.

Cagalli shook her head. “You guys are pitiful. I mean, you’re soldiers fighting in a war, yet you’ve never even fired a gun.”

Neumann smirked. “That’s true, but then again, firing weapons really isn’t something to brag about.”

Tolle looked at the simulator with great interest. “Hey, can I try this next?”

“Sure, but if you get shot down under five minutes, you’re on KP duty.”

Tolle took the seat and started a new round. As the others watched him operate the simulator, Cagalli stepped over to one of the real Skygraspers. A mechanic spotted her and moved in front of her.

“Sorry, you’re not ready for this one.”

Cagalli huffed. “Yeah, I know.” But as she looked to the shiny white and blue fighter plane, she had an eager gleam in her eyes.


Kira lay on his bed, alone in the dark, expect for Birdy, which hopped around him. In his hands was the bag of coffee beans that Waltfeld had given him. He thought about the words the older man had spoken. He now wondered what it would take for the war to end and what would happen the next time they faced each other in battle. The door opened and a familiar shape stood in the doorway.

“Kira?” Flay asked. “What are you doing here all by yourself?” She turned on the light and stepped inside. Since their first night together, she had practically moved into Kira’s room, even bringing in some her personal items.

Kira looked away from her. He didn’t see or talk to anyone right now.

She sat down next to him. “Is something brothering you?”

He nodded. “I’m just thinking of the upcoming battle.”

She leaned in close to him and whispered, “If you’re scared, you shouldn’t be. The enemy is no match for you. You’ll kill every one of them.” She then put her arms around him.

Her words shook Kira. “Listen, Flay…”

Her lips covered Kira’s before he could finish his sentence. For a moment, she gently guided him down on the bed, but then something happened she didn’t expected. Kira rose up and shoved her away.

“Kira?”

”Just…just leave me alone please.” And with that, he fled the room.

He dashed down the halls, hoping to find some seclusion. So many things clouded his mind. While he cared for Flay, it felt like it was wrong. He didn’t know what to feel. He found himself inside a dimly lit corridor and slumped to the floor. As he sat, he felt tears roll down his face.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Tue May 29, 2007 1:06 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 21

“What the hell is command thinking?” Waltfeld demanded, tossing the documents aside. “I specifically requested BuCUEs and instead they send us ZuOOTs.”

DaCosta felt the same way, however neither had expected to lose the number of BuCUEs they had, four destroyed and two badly damaged, in such a brief time. “I’m sorry, sir. Gibraltar said that’s all they could send.”

The TFA-2 ZuOOT was a terrestrial combat artillery mobile suit. In desert conditions, it could transform from a humanoid configuration to roll on caterpillar treads. In spite of its firepower, it was cumbersome compared to a BuCUE. Waltfeld was dissatisfied with the equipment he was given, especially since he was preparing for a critical battle. Apart from the newly arrived ZuOOTs, the only other mobile suits he had available were GINN OCHER units and one TMF/A-803 LaGOWE.

DaCosta looked the gunwale’s window to see a transport carrier unloading the red colored ZuOOTs along with two mobile suits he had never seen before. He then saw two young men wearing red flightsuits that identified them as ace pilots.

“Well, they’ve also sent us two members of the Le Creuset Team.”

Waltfeld rolled his eyes. “Oh I’m sure they have experience in desert combat.” He said sardonically.

“They are from an elite team.” DaCosta reminded him.

“I just don’t like that Le Creuset fellow.” Waltfeld suddenly said, “I don’t trust a man who hides his face behind a mask.” He then stood. “Oh well, let’s go meet the new arrivals.” He, along with DaCosta, went down to the Lesseps’ deck.

When they arrived, they found the new pilots holding their hands to their faces to block the sand-laden wind.

“This place is awful.” The blond pilot grumbled.

“You’re get use to it.” Waltfeld said, waving to the newcomers. “Welcome to the Lesseps. I’m Commander Andrew Waltfeld.”

Both pilots stood at attention and saluted. “Yzak Joule of the Le Creuset Team, reporting for duty.”

“Dearka Elsman, the same.”

“I heard you had a somewhat difficult time adjusting from space.” Waltfeld said, then he took notice of the scar running down Yzak’s face. “It’s said when a soldier doesn’t correct a removable scar that it’s something they’ve sworn something on it. A symbol of disgrace, perhaps?”

Yzak grew enraged. “Never mind my face!” he rudely replied, “Where is the legged ship?”

DaCosta sighed at what happening in front of him. True, the Commander shouldn’t have prodded the boy with such a question, but Yzak was at fault for snapping at a superior officer so disrespectfully.

Waltfeld only smirked. “It’s currently located one hundred and twelve miles to the west. We’ve sent out unmanned recon drones to take photos. I trust you’d like to see them?” He then stepped past them to look over the pair of mobile suits being unloaded. He was took a sudden notice of the Duel, noting its similarities to the Strike.

“Excuse me, Commander Waltfeld.” Dearka spoke suddenly, “We’ve heard that you’ve engaged the Earth Forces’ mobile suit as well.”

Waltfeld turned and shrugged. “Yes, I’ve fought against it, the same as you.” He then chuckled.

DaCosta suddenly felt anxious. It was like the Commander seemed nervous. He shook away that thought, as he believed that no one could ever defeat the Desert Tiger.


The Archangel’s engines came to life, while men hurried to make one final check on weapons and load their vehicles. Some said quick good-byes to their families. Though none said anything, they all feared that it may be their last. Amidst the activity, someone called out Cagalli’s name. Cagalli then went to the source and found Ahmed’s mother. She pulled a green colored stone and gave it to Cagalli.

“What’s this?”

”It’s something that Ahmed wanted to give you.” The older woman explained. “This stone is said to protect against danger. Please take it with you, it’ll keep you safe.” She smiled and put her hand over Cagalli’s.

“Thank you.” She said, almost at tears, and she bid Ahmed’s mother farewell.

“Everyone!” Sahib’s voice boomed, “We’re moving out!”

Cagalli held the stone close as she leapt into her vehicle. There was so many things riding on the outcome of the approaching battle and she needed all the strength she could muster to fight it.


Back on the Lesseps, activity surged as sensor lit up.

“Have they begun moving out?” Waltfeld asked as he walked inside the bridge.

“Affirmative, sir. They are currently advancing to the eastward.”

Waltfeld checked the map and studied the possible course. “They must be heading for the ruins of the old Talpatia factory. That is an interesting move.” He paused. “I’d do the same with I were in their shoes.”

“Commander, your orders, sir?” DaCosta asked.

His superior rubbed his chin. “Hmm, I had planned to wait a bit longer, but now things have changed.”

“So are we going to fight or what?” Yzak blurted out as he and Dearka stood by.

Waltfeld nodded and turned to his crew. “Prepare to launch the Lesseps, code two. Contact the Petri and Henry Carter as well and relay the orders.” As he crew obliged, he folded his arms. If the enemy wanted a fight, then he and his men were going to give them one.


“Come on, eat!” La Flaga urged.

Kira had taken very little bites of his meal, when the older pilot placed even more onto his plate. He looked to find that they were donel kebabs.

La Flaga took a bite and smiled. “This local dish is amazing.”

“Uh, haven’t you already had enough to eat, sir?” Kira asked, as La Flaga had gobbled down a full plate of food.

“We gotta keep up our strength.” Like other pilots, La Flaga liked to raise his blood sugar level prior to battle. He then passed a bottle over. “Here, yogurt sauce is great with these.”

“That’s what he said.”

La Flaga paused, food halfway in his mouth, before swallowing. “I see he’s a man with excellent taste.”

Kira could almost taste the yogurt and chili sauce blend.

“Look, kid,” La Flaga told him, “it’s better not to know anything about your enemy. Do what you can to forget it.”

“What?”

”It’s hard to kill somebody you know and you may hesitate at the wrong moment…” he warned.

Kira realized that it wouldn’t be long until he’d face the infamous Desert Tiger. He now understood what Waltfeld had meant be they last parted ways, I’ve enjoyed our conversation, though it might have been better for us all if it hadn’t happened.”
Did he feel the same, regretting that he had been friendly with someone who was labeled his enemy? Then he thought back when he was asked, “I take it that you’re a lonely person?” He had said it in such a sympathetic manner, but more of his question ran through his mind? “Unlike in sports, the game of war has no set time limit and no points are awarded, so how do you determine the winners and the losers? Does it end when all your enemies are dead?"

If that indeed was the case, would the war be over when every Coordinator was dead? If so, then that would mean even Atrhun and Lacus had to die. His thoughts were then interuptted by the thundering boom of a faroff explosion.


Cagalli’s ATV came to an abrupt halt and she stood to look to the horizon. She saw that the minefield had errupted in several explosions. Moments later came a sound like rolling thunder.

Sahib stood and turned to the others. “It’s all right!” he shouted, “We aren’t under attack!” He looked back to where the landmines had been set. Now they were useless and hadn’t dealt any damage to the enemy. “They knew where they were and sat them all off at once.”

Cagalli clenched until they hurt as she thought of Waltfeld and that tacky Hawaiian shirt of his. How was it that someone who acted so ridiculious was such a brilliant tactictian? The faces of her slain comrades flashed in her mind. Even though he had shown mercy to her and Kira, she wouldn’t do the same. She was going to make Waltfeld pay with his life.


“That’s right, equip the first with the launcher and equip the second with the sword!” La Flaga yelled into the intercom as he changed into his flightsuit. Beside him, Kira was doing the same. “It’s easier to switch machines than switch equipment.” He was talking about the Striker Packs and the Skygraspers. If the battle ran long, he had the extra task of delivering the weapons to Kira. He then turned to the youth. “You know we can’t count on the resistance to do too much, right?”

Kira nodded, knowing the enemy would do whatever it took to keep the Archangel from breaking through.

La Flaga smirked. “Anyway, just do your best out there.” He turned to leave.

“Have you ever heard of a berserker?” Kira suddenly asked.

La Flaga seemed puzzled. “Where’d you hear that?”

”Oh, it’s just something I’ve heard about recently.”

“Well, if my memory serves me, a berserker was kind of warrior in mythology that seemed to be the most docile and kind person, but when they went into battle, they were unstoppable killing machines. It was like they loved fighting.”

Kira shivered. Waltfeld must’ve thought of him as some sort of crazed soldier. It didn’t go along with his own mental image of himself, but he had destroyed numerous enemy machines to the point he had lost count. He recalled the times his focus seemed to sharpen and he fought in a very different way. Were those times that he became a ‘berserker’? He knew that the second he got into the Strike’s cockpit, he became part of the weapon. Waltfeld had seen that before Kira even realized it, and it frightened him.

“What is it, kid?” La Flaga asked.

Kira looked up to see the older pilot was genuinely concerned. “Oh, it’s nothing really.” He lied, “Forget I even brought it up.”

Miriallia’s voice then came through the PA system. “Lieutenant Commander La Flaga and Ensign Yamato, proceed to the hanger immeadatily.”

As they dashed down the hall, Kira thought about how he didn’t want to become a crazed killing machine, but that the same time, he knew he’d have to do what it took to protect the ship and crew.


“I have enemy contact!” Kuzzey shouted, looking at his console, “The signal’s weak, but there is something approaching from 0-1-0!”

“I’ve got two large heat sources!” Chandra added, “It looks like one carrier and one destroyer.”

Murrue figured that they were the Lesseps and an escort ship. “Begin the ambush!” she ordered.

Down in the hanger, Kira was ready to go.

“Are you sure you’ll be fine with just the Aile equipment?” Murdoch asked.

Kira nodded, “In this battle, I know I’ll need mobility above all.” With that, he sealed the Strike’s hatch.

La Flaga was the first to launch in Skygrasper 1, equipped with the launcher striker pack. Kira stepped onto the linear catapult and right after the Aile equipment was attached, too he sent out. Immeadatily he encountered ZAFT fighter copters and VTOLs. The enemy vehicles opened fire, but he got his shield up to deflect the shots. Below, the Desert Dawn fighters fired with RPGs and brought down a number of the aircraft.

Kira hurried to assess the situation. The Lesseps and its escort were closing in and more ZAFT aircraft entered the battle. He knew any hesitation today would get him killed, so he acted fast. La Flaga in Skygrasper 1 was already making short work of the ZAFT aircraft. He nimbly maneuvered around the enemy and opened fire, taking many of them down in a single pass. Whether in a mobile armor or fighter plane, the Hawk of Endymion was a force to be reckoned with.

The Lesseps’ hatch opened and launched its mobile suit force. Kira recognized the GINN design, but noticed some different armaments. GINN OCHERs came equipped with three smoke dischargers mounted to their right shoulders, a hyper velocity rifle, and a heavy axe weapon in place of a sword. He knew counted five of them before firing his verniers and entering the battlefield.


Waltfeld now donned on his signature orange and black striped flightsuit. Fangs and eyes were painted on the helmet, making it appear a tiger’s head. He was making his way to his new mobile suit when…

“This is ridiculous!” an angry voice yelled.

Waltfeld turned to find both Yzak and Dearka. The former looked very agitated.

“Why are we stationed on the Lesseps?” he demanded, “We sent here to fight the Earth Forces, you know!”

“You’re staying on the Lesseps because those are orders.” Waltfeld answered, “It’s that simple.”

“But we have more experience in fighting them.”

”From what we’ve heard, you have more experience losing to them.” Aisha interrupted. She too wore a custom flightsuit, only hers was a pale pink.

Waltfeld gave her a look which told her not to aggravate the young pilots anymore than they already were. He then turned back to them. “Your machines haven’t had their operating systems tuned for this sort of combat. You wouldn’t be any use out there.”

“That’s-” Yzak started, but was halted by his comrade.

“That’s enough, Yzak.” Dearka said, “We have our orders.” He led his comrade away as Waltfeld and Aisha climbed aboard their machine.

Had the two pilots have the capability to rewrite an OS in the heat of battle, then Waltfeld would’ve considered allowing them to join. However if they did, he was concerned that they’d only get in his way. He wanted to fight the Strike one-on-one.

Aisha giggled as if she could read his mind. “Remember this isn’t personal. He is the enemy after all.”

“Yes, I know.”

Aisha took her seat in the front gunner’s chair while Waltfeld took the pilot’s seat. Much to the surprise of many, Aisha had the best aim of the entire squadron, outperforming everyone one else. They were now settled in the cockpit of the beast-like TMF/A-803 LaGOWE. The yellow-orange colored machine was similar to the BuCUE, but vastly more powerful. Twin beam cannons were mounted to its back and beam sabers were placed within its “jaws”.

“DaCosta, take care of the ship while we’re away.” Waltfeld ordered.

“Yes, sir.” DaCosta replied, looking at his superior’s face on the monitor. He swore he had never seen Waltfeld so excited in all the time he had served with him. “You’re clear to launch, sir.”


“Fire Gottfrieds and Valiants!” Natarle shouted. At her command, the Archangel’s weapons unleashed a fury of firepower at the enemy in a brutal back and forth clash.

Outside, the ATVs continued to shoot down the ZAFT aircraft. The enemy’s attack was primary on the Archangel and they didn’t focus on the seemingly insignificant vehicles for the time being. The riders of one ATV brought down three VTOLs in one pass. They cheered, but their vehicle disappeared a moment later, destroyed by the fire of a GINN OCHER’s hyper rifle.

Back on the bridge, the gauges at Sai’s station flashed. “ECM and ECCM strength is up seventeen percent!”

“The Valiants’ barrel temperature is reaching dangerous levels!” Officer Pal ordered.

“Captain, permission to use the Lohengrin?” Natarle requested.

“No, it’ll cause too much damage and contaminate the surrounding area!” Murrue shouted, “Coordinate the output of the Valiants via the charge cycle!”

”But-”

“That’s an order, Lieutenant!”

Natarle obeyed, but with great reluctance. She wanted to make the point that everything would be lost if the ship was destroyed.

On the screen, everyone could see the Skygrasper concentrating on the destroyer. The intense beam of the Agni obliterated the ZuOOTs stationed on the deck and dealt severe damage to the hull. A fiery explosion quickly followed and the destroyer abruptly slowed its speed and changed course, veering away from the battle.

“They’re retreating!”

The crew let out a cheer at the sight of the ZAFT ship falling back. Now all that remained was the Lesseps, or so they thought. As though on cue, a tremendous shock shook the ship. Something had hit them from behind.

“What was that?”

Tonomura looked to the radar. “There’s an enemy ship coming right at us from one-eighty!”

“They had another ship waiting to ambush us.” Natarle growled.

Murrue realized she had underestimated Waltfeld’s tactics. While attacking from the front, another ship moved around and snuck up behind them. Suddenly, a barrage of missiles stuck the Archangel, causing it to tilt and plow into the Talpatia ruins, the site of an old mining station. The ship slammed into the remaining structures and then to the sandy soil. Now immobilized, it was a sitting duck as the Lesseps closed in.

“Fire the Heldarts and Corinthos!” Natarle ordered, trying to get some sort of counterattack underway.

Tonomura had just finished analyzing the data of the enemy ship. “This can’t be, the Duel and Buster are on the deck of the Lesseps!”

The crew couldn’t believe the news.

“Give me full thrusters and ascend at once!” Murrue ordered, “The Gottfrieds’ firing line can’t hit them from here!”

“I’m trying, Captain!” Neumann called back, “The ship’s caught on something!”

When they collided, part of the ship became tangled in one of the old buildings’ skeletal structuring. They were now unable to move and couldn’t bring their weapons up to defend themselves. They were helpless.

Cagalli brought the ATV she was riding to a sudden halt when she and Kisaka witnessed the Archangel’s crash. “Why aren’t they moving?” she asked, “Have they lost all power?”

Kisaka searched for the Strike, when he saw Cagalli leap from the vehicle. “Cagalli, wait!” He tried to follow, but a wayward missile struck the ground between them, nearly causing the ATV to topple to its side. When he had recovered, he caught a glimpse of Cagalli safely climbing into one of the Archangel’s hatches.


The Strike meanwhile battled one of the GINN OCHERs, beam saber against axe. Kira leapt into the air and brought the saber straight down, splitting the ZAFT mobile suit in half. Without wasting time, he hurled the saber, piercing the mono-eye of another of the ZAFT machines. He fired a shot from his beam rifle at another of the GINN OCHERs, the shot striking the cockpit and causing a violent explosion. In a short time, he had been able to destroy all five of the enemy mobile suits. Though panting hard, he looked to see the Archangel under attack from the rear. He turned to help, but suddenly he saw an energy beam coming right at him. He almost didn’t raise his shield to block it. He didn’t know where the shot could’ve come from, as he was certain all the GINN OCHERs were destroyed. He had learned his lesson from the previous engagement and made sure that he didn’t simply disable the mobile suits. He turned to find an orange colored mobile suit the likes he hadn’t seen before.

“Is that him?” he whispered to himself and dodged another volley.


“You were right, Andy. The boy is very good.” Aisha said as she kept her eyes to the scope.

Waltfeld observed his opponent’s movements. “He seems to be fighting calmer today. He seems to be in more control.” He maneuvered the LaGOWE with great ease. “If worse comes to worse, do you think he’d surrender?”

“No.”

Waltfeld knew that it wouldn’t be any fun if Kira simply gave up. “And neither will we.”


Murdoch flailed his arms when he saw Cagalli running across the hanger and right for the gangplank leading to Skygrasper 2. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Cagalli was already starting up the engine and commencing a quick systems check. “I’m taking this thing out! Now open that hatch before I take off!”

“Ah, hell…” Murdoch grumbled and punched the controls that would open the hatch.

Cagalli began to lift off and streaked out of the hanger. She felt her chest constrict as the G-forces hit. After a moment she was able to fully breathe again and strained to move the controls. Piloting the real thing was different from the simulator. After her initial awkwardness, she began to handle it like a pro.


“Captain, Skygrasper 2 has just launched!” Tonomura shouted.

“What, whose piloting it?” Murrue demanded.

Cagalli switched on her radio. “It’s me, Cagalli Yula!” She then tilted the controls and headed for the Lesseps, where La Flaga was already fighting. She fired her guns, the rounds blasting a turret, and blowing it to smithereens.

“Well, not bad, girl!” La Flaga complimented, “Just don’t crash!”

The two Skygraspers flew across the sky like a pair of birds of prey, concentrating their new attack on the destroyer. La Flaga fired the Agni while Cagalli fired the Panzer Eisen anchor, grappling onto the hull. Swinging like a pendulum, she slashed another turret with the sword. She shouted in triumph and went for another pass. But then, she saw several missiles coming up behind her. She evaded, but two collided with each other, exploding. Bits of shrapnel hit her right engine.

“Damn it!” she yelled striking her console in anger. “I was on a roll!” Black smoke streamed from the fuselage and the thrust was dropping quickly. She pulled the controls with all her might to ensure a soft landing in the sand. As soon as her hit the ground, she checked the radio frequencies to hopefully overhear any chatter being broadcasted between the Strike and the Archangel.


The ship was in grave danger. In spite the efforts of Neumann, the only results of his attempt to break the ship free was the sound of grinding and bending metal. Suddenly, a shot from the Buster missed and instead hit the building that trapped them. Then the ship was freed and rose into the air. Their field of vision expanded and they finally got the Lesseps in their sights.

“Starboard, sixty degrees!” Murrue ordered, “Ready the Gottfrieds!”

When the order came, the Gottfrieds fired, sending high powered energy beam at their target. The Buster and Duel leapt into the air, narrowly dodging the shot. The beams struck the Lesseps’ main gun, taking both it and the unfortunate ZuOOT next to it out. Thick smoke billowed from the ship’s hull.


Kira did all he could to fend off his enemy’s attacks. It was definitely different from a BuCUE and its pilot had unparallel skill. He suddenly recalled Waltfled’s words, “There are those who think of war as a complex game, but they are very wrong. Unlike in sports, the game of war has no set time limit and no points are awarded, so how do you determine the winners and the losers? Does it end when all your enemies are dead?"

Was this the only choice he had, kill or be killed? Kira looked down to his gauges to find them nearing zero. Soon he’d lose power and be defenseless.


“This is bad, Andy.” Aisha said, seeing all the damage the Lesseps had sustained.

“How can the ship still be moving after everything we threw at it?” Waltfeld hissed through his teeth. There were no more ZuOOTs or GINN OCHERs, and now the Buster and Duel were sluggishly trudging through the sand as Kira had done early in the first fight. They wouldn’t be any use. He shouted in frustration and sped the LaGOWE forward, charging the Strike. The Gundam sidestepped the charge and fired, taking off the LaGOWE’s right forearm.

“Watch it, he’s going to get us!” Aisha cautioned.

“I know, I know!”

The Strike aimed for another shot, but Aisha fired first, hitting the rifle’s engery clip. Kira tossed it away as it exploded. Waltfeld saw his chance and rushed forward again. The Strike pulled out a beam saber and the two mobile suits clashed, resulting in the LaGOWE’s being cut apart and rendered inoperable. Waltfeld pulled back and hailed the Lesseps.

“DaCosta!”

His subordinate’s face came on the screen. “Yes, Commander?”

”DaCosta, give the order to retreat. Gather what forces we have remaining and withdraw back to Banadiya. After that, contact Gibraltar and inform them of the situation. He switched off the channel, not waiting for a response. “You should get away while you still can, my love.”

Aisha turned back and smiled. “I think I’ll stick around and see what happens.”

“Don’t give that, you know what’s going to happen.”

“Right, and I’ll stay right with you until the very end.”

Waltfeld had to smile. He gazed into her eyes and every feature of her beautiful face. “All right!” he shouted and charged the LaGOWE once more.


Cagalli switched through the channels on her radio until she picked something up. After some more adjusting, she could hear Kira’s voice clearly.

“Waltfeld, please stop this! This battle’s over!”

“Not for me, it isn’t!” Waltfeld’s voice snarled over the channel. Somehow, Cagalli had patched through a channel for both Kira and Waltfeld. “This isn’t over until one of us is dead!”


Kira couldn’t understand why Waltfeld was still fighting. His forces had retreated, the Lesseps wasn’t in any condition to fight, and the Archangel was safe. The LaGOWE’s beam sabers came close to cutting into the Stirke.

“It’s as I told you, there are no clear rules for ending a war!”

Kira dodged the attack, but not without having one of the Aile pack’s wings sliced off. He parried and sparks flew from the LaGOWE’s back. Before he had shown mercy, but this was the battlefield, and this was to be a fight to the death. Suddenly, the guages went blank and the Phase Shift died, with the Stirke’s fuselage turning dull grey. Acting fast, Kira tossed away his shield and ejected the Aile equipment. With the decrease in the extra weight, he could manuever nimbly as he grabbed an Armor Schneider kinfe. When the LaGOWE closed in, Kira didn’t hestitate to plunge the knife in the mobile suit’s neck as he was slammed backwards.

The Strike now lay on the ground. Kira recovered his senses and checked his monitors. The LaGOWE collapsed and smoke and sparks spewed from the knife had stabbed.


Waltfeld pulled at the unresponsive controls as warning alarms blared. He knew what was going to happen next. He reached down and took his lover’s hand. “Aisha, I’m sorry I dragged you into this.” He couldn’t that she had been too good for the likes him, but at the same time it was good to be by the side of someone who deeply loved him.

“I have no regrets, Andy.” She said, “As long as I’m with you.”


Suddenly, Cagalli saw a huge fireball erupt from behind a dune. She wondered if it was the Strike or Waltfeld’s machine that had been destroyed. Just then, she heard a voice crackle through the radio. It was Kira’s.

“I didn’t want to kill him.” Was all he said, “I didn’t want to kill him.”

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 22

The night air was filled by the unfamiliar sound of celebration. A large bonfire was set in the middle of the Desert Dawn’s mountain headquarters. Everyone danced, feasted, and sang, drunk on liquor and the sweet taste of victory. After what seemed like a long passage of time, Andrew Waltfeld was finally defeated. Sahib, Murrue, Natarle, and La Flaga gathered for a toast.

“To a new Desert Dawn.” Sahib smiled.

“To a brighter future.” Murrue added.

“To an end of this war.” La Flaga said, giving Murrue a quick grin.

As an afterthought, Sahib added, “And…to the Desert Tiger. Even though he was an enemy, in the end he was a noble warrior.” After witnessing the last battle, he gained a sort of respect for a man who would sacrifice himself to save his men.

The four clinked their glasses together and drank. Natarle herself nearly chocked on the strong taste, but Murrue finished her glass in one swallow. Sahib chuckled and smiled genuinely for the first time since the officers had met him.

“You know, this is only battle you’ve won.” La Flaga said to the guerilla leader. “Even without the Tiger, ZAFT won’t give up their territory.” There was something else, but he thought it better not to mention. If the ZAFT forces were eventually weakened and driven off, then the Earth Alliance would surely return and occupy the territory. And then Sahib and his people would be again in the same situation, only instead facing against the Earth Forces.

Sahib sat his drink down and laid his hand on a rifle. “Whoever comes, we will stand and fight them to the very last man.”

Murrue had to say that she too had come to respect Sahib Ashman. People fought many reasons, but fighting for their freedom was the best of all. Just then, Sahib’s son Yaru stepped up to the group.

“Father.” The small boy said, “It’s time.” He then led them to where the funeral service for the men who lost their lives in the fight against the Desert Tiger.

As the names were listed, a thunderous artillery salute echoed through the valley. Once it was over, Murrue took time to gaze up at the night sky. La Flaga joined her and the two just looked up to the stars. After all that had happened to them upon reaching Earth, it was nice to take a relaxing moment of peace before continuing the trek to Alaska.


Meanwhile in space, Nicol stared down at the planet, fascinated by the sights of the colors of the land and water. He was excited to set foot on the planet, but the number of escort ships in orbit reminded him that it wasn’t going to be a vacation.

“Hey, Nicol.” A voice said from behind.

Nicol turned. “Oh, hello Athrun, Cade.” He greeted his fellow pilots, and then he remembered something. “I wanted to thank you both for coming the other night.” He had invited them to attend a concert he was performing at, and much to his delight, both were able to come.

“No problem, it was a great performance.” Athrun said.

“Oh, really? Weren’t you sleeping?”

Athrun stiffened slightly. “Oh, I just resting my eyes.” He lied, “I’ve been pulling some extra shifts lately.” That much was true.

“Anyway, like Athrun said, it was great.” Cade said, “Truth be told, it was different from the music I normally listen to, but I enjoyed it. I didn’t know you were so talented.”

Nicol smiled. “Yes, but I’d like to take part in a proper concert someday. Anyway, I’m eager to get to Earth. I’ve never been there.”

“Me neither.” Athrun added.

“Likewise.” Cade commented. “Call me crazy, but in spite of everything, I’ve always wanted to visit it.”

All three were second generation Coordinators, and as such they were born and raised in outer space. While Nicol and Cade were interested in reaching Earth, Athrun was secretly dreading it. Once they reached the surface, they would receive their orders. More than likely, they would join Yzak and Dearka and resume their search and destroy mission against the Archangel and Strike Gundam. That would mean Athrun would eventually battle with his friend Kira. He wondered what Kira was doing right at that moment.


After escaping the African continent, the Archangel coasted across the Red Sea as though it was an enormous whale. The plan was to make it to the Pacific Ocean and then continue on until the ship reached JOSH-A. But until then, the crew was granted some time off to enjoy the scenery. While Natarle disapproved of it, for concern of the letting their guard down thus resulting in an enemy attack, Murrue knew it would be good for the crew to relax.

Tolle, Miriallia, and Kuzzey stood at the railing and stared at the deep blue colored water.

“So is this your first time on the ocean, Kuzzey?” Tolle asked, seeing his friend’s timidly gaze at the water.”

“Yeah, I thought the desert was something, but this seems kind of weird to me. How far does it go down?” Born and raised in outer space, Kuzzey wasn’t quite used to some things on Earth.

“Oh, pretty far in some places, I guess.” Tolle answered.

“Yeah, and they say there’s sea monsters too.” Miriallia teased. Everyone laughed at her joke.

When everyone returned back inside, Kira walked out to the empty deck. He had to shield his eyes against the bright sunlight. He found a secluded spot and took a seat, only to just stare blankly at the horizon. His last battle against Andrew Waltfeld occupied his thoughts. He hadn’t wanted to kill the man, but he had no other choice. In spite of the damage his mobile suit had sustained and his forces retreated, Waltfeld continued to fight until Kira dealt the fatal blow. He told himself that he had to keep fighting until it was all over, but Waltfeld’s words echoed in his mind, “Unlike in sports, the game of war has no set time limit and no points are awarded, so how do you determine the winners and the losers? Does it end when all your enemies are dead?" He had had made up his mind not to waver and do what was necessary to keep him and everyone on the ship alive, but he couldn’t stop thinking of what the man had said. He sniffed, fighting back tears with no success.

A door opened behind him and he heard Cagalli call out, “There you are.” She came out and sat next to him. The sea breeze whipped her blond hair and she saw the tears on his face. “Have you been crying?”

“No.” He lied and stood up.

“Wait.” Cagalli said, stopping him.

Kira sniffened when she suddenly put her arms around him and gently hugged him. It felt strange, but familiar at the same time. It was like the times when his was around five or six years old and his mother would hold him. It was comforting and he felt his sadness melt away.

“Feel better?” she asked, to which he nodded.

They went to the railing and just stared out to the sea for what seemed like long minutes. After much insisting on her part, Cagalli was allowed aboard the Archangel the morning after the last battle with Waltfeld’s forces. Of course, whereever she went, so did her bodyguard Kisaka. Kira wondered if the man was standing nearby but out of sight at the moment.

She turned to him and asked, “So why are you a Coordinator?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. It’s just the way I was born.”

“That’s not what I meant.” She said, “I mean, why are you fighting for the Earth Forces when you’re a Coordinator? It just seems odd.”

He liked her straightforward honesty. He too had asked him those kind of questions, why like his parents decided to make him a Coordinator. He did so to downplay the differences between him and the others. “Coordinator are just like everyone else.”

“But you guys can do so many things better than we can.”

“That’s only if we practice, study, and train ourselves to do so. We aren’t just given our abilities right when we’re born.”

That was a misconception of Coordinator that many Naturals had. Coordinators weren’t superhuman at birth, but they did possess the ability to learn things at three times the rate of Naturals. Of course, without training, their talents wouldn’t develop.

“And like Naturals, we are frightened, we can laugh, cry, and love. We’re just enhanced humans, nothing more and nothing.”

She nodded. “But there are those who beg to differ on both sides, you know.”

He knew there was a lot of truth in that statement. There was something about Cagalli he liked. In spite of them arguing a lot, he enjoyed her company. It was calming to be around her, different from the others. Tolle and Miriallia never brought up the fact he was a Coordinator, neither did Sai or Kuzzey. Only Cagalli was direct with him about the subject.

“Well, here you are, Kira. I was wondering where you’d gone to.”

They looked up to see Flay coming out to the deck. She took off her coat, unvieling a very provocative tank top.

“It really hot out here.” She said as she grasped onto Kira’s arm and smiled mirthlessly at Cagalli. “I wish you had invited me to join you.” She pressed up against him.

“Sorry.” He muttered, wondering why she was being so flirtatious right then and there.

“Shall we go back to our room for a bit?” she went on.

Kira wasn’t sure how to reply. He felt guilty about his relationship with Flay, especially with Cagalli in front of them.

Cagalli casted a cold stare towards Flay and then shrugged. “I guess I’ll leave the two of you alone.” She left without saying anything else.

Kira was disappointed that she left. He wanted to talk to her some more. He suddenly resented Flay’s presence and wished she had left them alone. She was becoming to be a nuisance sometimes. When he glanced her way, he was shocked to her eyes narrowed and her expression was one of malice as she watched Cagalli head inside. He felt a chill run down his spine, wondering why Flay looked that way towards Cagalli, as the two practically hadn’t met.


“So are they crazy or stupid?” Kisaka asked.

“Maybe a little bit of both.” La Flaga answered.

“Why is the Earth Alliance military leaving us to take care of ourselves?”

“I couldn’t tell you that.” Murrue sighed. While the Archangel and Strike were the state of the art weapons that were meant to tip the scales in the favor of the Earth Forces, HQ had repeatly denied their request for reinforcements and supplies. She wondered if the brass thought they were expendable. “The know thing I’m certain of is that we must avoid enemy contact.”

“However if we make a run across the Indian Ocean, we’ll have nowhere to go if we do come acoss enemy forces.” Natarle said.

“Perhaps, but then again the likelihood of meeting a major ZAFT force out here is slim.” Kisaka said, “At most, we may run into a patrol, but nothing more.”

“Yes, but a patrol can report our location.” Natarle reminded him.

“We’ll have to do what we can.” Murrue said, “The rest will be up to luck.” However, would luck carry them all the way to Alaska?

“Will you two knock it off?” Tonomura’s voice suddenly erupted from their right, “You’re giving me a headache.”

“What is it?” Natarle asked.

“Pal and Chandra here have been bickering about something with the sonar for the past twenty minutes.”

“Well, these blips keep coming and going.” Chandra said, “I don’t know what they are, or if it’s just a glitch somewhere.” He looked to the guage. “See, here they are again.”

Pal looked at the gauge as well. “They might be civilian craft, but their signals are slightly confused.”

Tonomura took a look for himself. “They can’t be civilian craft, their moving too fast!”

“Then you think they might be…?”

”Enemies? Yes, I’d say so.”

“All hands, battle stations!” Murrue shouted.


A pair of AMF-101 DINN mobile suit streaked across the sky, rapidly closing on their target. They were constructed of a design similar to the GINNs, but were built for atmospheric flight. Their armaments included the assualt rifle of a GINN, a shotgun-like weapon, and missile launchers. When the Archangel was in sight, they moved in to attack. The Archangel returned fire as La Flaga launched in the Skygrasper. The Strike was unable to take off for an air battle due to Aile Striker pack was still being repaired. All Kira could do was stand at the hatch and take shots at the DINNs whenever they got in close.

“I’ve picked up three more blips on sonar!” Tonomura shouted.

“What?!” Natarle exclaimed, “What are they?”

”Judging from their speed and propulsion, they have to be mobile suits.”

“What, how could mobile suits being attacking from the water?” Natarle asked.

“Whatever they are,” Tonomura replied, “they’ve just fired torpedoes!”

“Engines, maximum thrust!” Murrue ordered, “Neumann, get us out of here!”

Neumann yanked the control stick, bringing the ship out of the water. Moments after they got above the surface, they saw the wakes of the torpedoes that nearly hit the ship. They then spotted an off-white colored mobile suit bob out of the water before diving back down.

“Enemy mobile suit indentified!” Chandra called out, “It’s a UMF-4A GOOhH!”

The GOOhN was an amphibious mobile suit built to attack enemy ships and bases from the water. With its armaments, it was a dangerous machine in and out of the water. As soon as they were targeted by the Archangel’s weapons, they’d just disappeared beneath the water and resurface elsewhere to resume their attack. From his spot, Kira tried to follow their movements and took some shots at them, but kept missing. After several attempts, the GOOhNs simply kept away from the starboard side.

Kira was getting frustrated and had to directly face them somehow. If he was able to use superconductive propulsion, he could fight underwater with ease. The only viable weapon would be the Sword Striker pack. While its beam would be useless in water, he could use it like a regular sword. Once it was equipped, he made the last adjustments and dove into the water. His adjustments worked, but not to the extent he had hoped for.

The Strike sank into the water. Suddenly a white object appeared his screen, but before he could do anything, the GOOhN slammed into the Strike, knocking it aside before quickly speeding off in another direction. The second GOOhN moved in. Kira swung the Schwert Gewehr, slicing off the enemy mobile suit’s dorsal fin, but doing little other damage. The first came back for another attack. Kira dodged it and grabbed hold of its fuselage as it passed. As he was pulled along, he tried to impale it, but his proximity alarm blared. Before he could react, a heavy shock struck him, causing him to lose his grip. A torpedo had hit him, but it didn’t come from the other GOOhN. A new machine now entered the battle. He checked the data and found it to be one of the newest ZAFT mobile suits, the UMF-5 ZnO. It was closing in fast and as soon as it appeared, the GOOhN resurfaced to attack the Archangel once more. Kira tried to give chase, but the ZnO wouldn’t allow him to do so. The ZAFT mobile suit extended its long arms and fired two green beams. Kira evaded the shots and turned to see a boulder that was behind him reduced to gravel by the beams.

He was shocked by the ZnO’s firepower. He realized that the Strike’s Phase Shift armor, while effective against projectile weapons, would be useless against the enemy’s beam weapons.


In the air, the Skygrasper fired, its rounds hitting one of the DINNs, followed up with a missile. It penetrated the cockpit, causing the mobile suit to spew fire as it disintegrating. Its burnt remains splashed down into the sea. No sooner than it was shot down, the two GOOhNs came back, launching a new attack on the Archangel. La Flaga wondered where these enemy units could’ve come from as he swooped down for a strafing run.

The GOOhNs bobbed and weaved in the water as though they were toying with the Archangel’s crew. No matter what, whenever the guns would swing to target them, the mobile suits would simply dive down to avoid the guns’ firing arcs and resume their attack on another side of the ship.

“Damn it, we can’t take this kind of beating for much longer!” Natarle shouted, “Where’s the Strike?” The Gundam hadn’t appeared since it dove into the sea.

“I don’t know!” Sai replied, “But if there was a way to target the enemy mobile suits with the Gottfrieds!”

Murrue thought about how something like that could be accomplished, when she came up with an unorthodox idea. “Neumann, can you get the ship to do a barrel roll?”

Neumann was surprised by the question. That sort of maneuver was more suited for lighter craft, not a massive battleship. “I think so.”

“Then do it!” She yelled, “Get the GOOhNs into the Gottfrieds’ line of fire and take them out! Natarle, remember we only have one shot at this.”

“Understood!”

Murrue grabbed the comm. “All hands, brace yourselves!” she turned to Neumann, “Execute barrel roll on my mark!” She quickly fastened her seatbelt. Tonomura reported the GOOhNs were approaching. “Mark!”

Neumann twisted the controls, maneuvering the ship sideways. Everyone hung on as the ship tilted. When the GOOhNs surfaced, they were directly in the Gottfrieds’ line of fire. Natarle gave the order to fire and the beams caught the mobile suits, obliterating them. Meanwhile, La Flaga had damaged the second DINN, forcing it to retreat.

Back in the water, Kira was in trouble. The ZnO was fast and his long range weapons were useless underwater. He somehow had to get in close and attack, which was his only chance. Suddenly the explosion set off by the destruction of the GOOhNs distracted the ZnO’s pilot and Kira saw his opening. He closed the distance between them and thrust his Schwert Gewehr at the enemy mobile suit’s body. At the last moment, the ZnO spun back and Kira’s attack only cut into its left arm. It recovered fast and grabbed the Strike with its clawed hand and began to pound it against the ocean floor. Kira endured the blows until he saw the ZnO raise its hand and point it at him. He knew the enemy was going to attack at point blank range. He needed to act fast or he’d be killed. He grabbed the Midas Messer beam boomerang and pressed the tip against the ZnO’s body. With the direct contact with the fuselage, the beam blade would activate. It worked and he hit the reactor core. Only now the mobile suit was about to explode. He quickly grabbed it and threw it over a nearby ledge. The ZnO sank down before an explosion erupted, knocking the Strike backwards slightly.

Kira shut his eyes and took deep breaths. Right at the moment he felt a strange combination of relief and sorrow. While he was thankfully he managed to survive, his mind was plagued by wondering about the person he had just killed.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:13 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 23

At one of the Earth Alliance’s Orbit Traffic Observation Centers, an alarm sounded when a new object was detected descending through the atmosphere. Recently more and more alarms sounded around the clock.

“Objects are currently over Yap Island, descending along the Qomolangma route.” One controller reported

“They’re MS containers, sir.” Another added.

“It looks like another delivery for Gibraltar.” The Center’s commanding officer grimly said, “There’s nothing we can do with their current route. They’re utilizing their air superiority in the region.” Because of that fact, all they were able to do was watch and report any new findings to JOSH-A and Porta Panama.

“Yes, and reports indicate that there’s been an increase in activity at their Carpentaria base.”

“I gather you’ve heard the rumors about ZAFT preparing a new offensive?” The Commander asked, “Well, it’s beginning to look as though they aren’t just rumors anymore.”

“Will their target be Panama?”

“It certainly looks that way, they won’t be satisfied until they have control of all of our mass drivers.” With the mass drivers at Kaohsiung and Lake Victoria under enemy control, the only remaining one was at Porta Panama. “We must do all we can to ensure that ZAFT doesn’t get Panama as well.”


“A submarine carrier?” Murrue asked, “Are you sure about that?”

”It’s the only logical thing.” La Flaga explained, “We’ve been on the move constantly, in the middle of nowhere, and the enemy finds us. There’s no way mobile suits can travel from Carpentaria all the way out here on their own. Therefore, they must have a submarine tracking us, since if it was a surface ship, we would’ve spotted it a long time ago.”

Murrue knew that he made a correct assumption. That meant that if they were still being pursued, another ambush seemed very likely. There still hadn’t been any word from JOSH-A about a possible escort so they still had to fend for themselves.

“Whenever it comes back, we’ll have to take it out.”

Murrue sighed. “I know that, but…”

La Flaga suddenly slapped her on the back. “Hey, don’t worry about.” He told her. “We’ll think of something. Perhaps if we stick to more shallow water, they can’t attack us there.”

“Isn’t that suggestion a bit groundless?”

“I like to think of it as a bit of encouragement.” He grinned. With that, he headed down the hall.

Murrue sometimes couldn’t fathom how La Flaga could remain so calm and collected in spite of a seemingly dire problem. Still, it was good knowing she had his support.


“Why shouldn’t go to Orb?” Kuzzey asked.

“Simple, it’s a big detour from our course.” Sai told him.

“Besides, what would we do there if we went?” Miriallia added, “We’re soldiers now.”

“Yeah, but we never expected this to happen.” Kuzzey said, “We were suppose to descend right on to Alaska, but it’s been one mishap after another. I’m about ready to go home.”

Sai and Miriallia sighed as both were growing tired of Kuzzey’s constant whining. Meanwhile, Cagalli and Kisaka listened in on the conversation from a nearby table. When Orb was mentioned, he threw her a glance.

”Don’t worry.” She whispered, “I haven’t told anyone anything.”

“Don’t you think it’s time you told everyone the truth?”

”No, not yet.” She answered, “But I will when it’s necessary.” She harbored a secret that only Kisaka knew. “I like to think of it as the guidance of Haumea.” She smiled, referring to the deity of their native country.

Kira stepped inside, waved to Cagalli, but didn’t say anything. He went to the drink dispenser. When he walked by the table where Sai, Kuzzey, and Miriallia sat, he noticed they had stopped talking.

“How Flay’s seasickness?” Miriallia asked.

The day before, Flay had begun to complain about feeling nausea. Kira couldn’t understand why, since there was very little motion, but he knew she had a nervous temperament.

“Oh, I think she’s doing better. She took some medicine, but she’s still lying down.” He answered, hiding his true thoughts. He was nearly losing his patience with her at times, since she’d nag on about some things and treat him like a servant. He didn’t want to say so, since they did share some pleasant times together. He got two drinks and turned to leave.

“Thanks for taking care of her.” Sai said, not looking in Kira’s direction.

Kira nodded and left. He and Sai hadn’t spoken much to each other after it was revealed that he and Flay had slept together. Their friendship was strained, possibly beyond any repair.


“Please Commander, let us go after him!” Yzak pleaded, “I promise we can find and destroy him once and for all!”

Athrun, Nicol, and Cade heard their comrade’s voice as they neared the briefing room. They had landed at Gibraltar and were informed to meet with Commander Le Creuset immeadatily. They heard the Commander’s reply as they entered.

“You’re too emotional, Yzak.”

Athrun saw the scar on his comrade’s face. “Yzak, what happened?”

Yzak only turned away, not saying anything.

“The wound’s healed, but Yzak has said he won’t have it removed until he shoots down the Strike.” Le Creuset informed them, “But now we must focus on preventing the legged ship from reaching Alaska.”

“We heard that Carpentaria’s Morassim Team was en route to do so.” Cade said.

“They were, but they were wiped down.” Yzak replied, “Now the job should go to us! We started it; we should be allowed to finish it!”

”I feel the same way, sir!” Dearka growled, slamming his fist on the table.

Athrun, Nicol, and Cade looked at Dearka in surprise. He rarely got this aggravated about anything. Normally he’d take things and response in some sardonic way.

“I’ve had my own taste of personal humiliation thanks to that pilot.” He continued. When he and Yzak had jumped from the deck of the Lesseps, their mobile suits sank into the sand and they could barely trudge along. All they could do was watch as the Strike decimated the ZAFT forces.

Le Creuset stroked his chin. “I must remain here to in order to prepare for Operation Spit Break. However, if you truly wish to seek the legged ship yourselves…”

”Yes!” Yzak exclaimed.

“Then the five of you will form a new team.” Le Creuset said, “And to make sure everything is done orderly, Athrun will be in command.”

Athrun was nearly floored by what he just heard. He didn’t want to have the job to kill his friend. “Excuse me excuse, Commander, but why me?”

Le Creuset turned his gaze to the youth. “I trust your judgment, Athrun.” He answered, “Now, if you’ll all prepare for immediate departure, I’ll ready transport to Carpentaria for you.” He then left.

When the Commander was out of hearing range, Dearka leaned over to Yzak. “So I guess that we’re now the Zala Team.” He muttered.

As Athrun left the room, he swore he could feel Yzak and Dearka’s glares. He knew that neither of them wanted to serve as his subordinates. He went to leave out of another exit, the Commander called to him.

“Athrun.”

“Yes, sir?”

”You remember your promise, correct?”

Athrun fell silent. Earlier in the war, he had pleaded for the chance to persuade Kira to come over to their side. If he wasn’t able to, he promised to personally shoot down the Strike and kill Kira. “Yes, sir.”

“Good, because the team is your responsibility now. Don’t let them down.”


Meanwhile, back in the Indian Ocean, the ZAFT submarine and its crew plotted the next move. Even though the Morassim Team had been killed, they still had enough mobile suits to attack. And the Archangel was still presently their target.

“What is the enemy ship doing?” the Captain asked.

“It appears that they’re sticking to the shallow waters.” One officer informed him.

“Hmm, that won’t help them. What are our remaining mobile suits?”

“Sir, we have two GINN WASP types and four DINNs.”

“That’ll be enough. Prepare to launch mobile suits!”


Athrun waited alone, watching as a number of carriers took off, taking the other members of the newly formed Zala Team to Carpentaria. Thanks to a last minute malfunction with his transport’s systems, he wasn’t able to go until it was corrected. The techs assured him that they’d be leaving shortly. As he waited, he thought over Le Creuset told him. He also thought of the promise he made to Kira the last time they had spoke. He promised not to hold back the next time they fought, as did Kira. He knew that there was no other way, as Kira was now his enemy. And as an enemy, he had to be killed; otherwise more ZAFT soldiers would die. Kira had already killed Miguel and wounded Yzak. He just didn’t want to be the one who killed him.


On the Archangel, the crew had picked up the signals of the oncoming enemy mobile suits. Klaxons blared as everyone manned their stations. Kira rushed to the hanger, only to find something unexpected. Cagalli and Murdoch were arguing in front of one of the Skygraspers.

“But you have to let me pilot it!” she insisted. “I’ve done it before!”

“No way!” he countered, “There’s no way I have to let you fly it!”

“But if this is destroyed, everyone will be killed.” She narrowed her eyes. “And it’ll be your fault because you didn’t let me go.”

“The little lady’s got a point.” La Flaga interjected from the seat of his Skygrasper, “Besides, we’re going after their carrier, so we’ll need all the firepower we can get.”

Murdoch knew there was no way he was going to win this argument. “All right.” He sighed, “Get suited up and we’ll have it ready for you.”

Cagalli hurried to grab an extra flightsuit from the locker room and put it on without changing her clothes. When she was ready, she climbed on board her machine.

“Remember, this isn’t playtime, missy.” La Flaga cautioned, “You watch yourself out there.”

”I can take care of myself just fine.” She countered as she slipped on her helmet.


On the bridge, the crew hurried to prepare for the enemy’s arrival. Tonomura checked the sonar readings.

“Enemy mobile suits identified!” he called out, “They’re UWMF/S-1 GINN WASPs!”

“CIC, can you calculate the enemy carrier’s possible position from the mobile suits’ wake?” Murrue asked.

“Affirmative.”

”Then send the information to the Skygraspers, they’ll take care of the carrier.” Murrue said, “Prep the Strike for combat against the GINN WASPs.”

At her order, the Strike was equipped with the Aile Striker pack and took off. From the air, he could spot the two incoming mobile suits. He analyzed the data sent to him. The GINN WASP was basically an aquatic version of the standard GINN. As they surfaced to attack, he swooped down to intercept them.

The Skygraspers took off and soared over the ocean to search for the enemy carrier. Wherever it was, they had to destroy it; otherwise it’d keep pursuing them.

“Where is it?” La Flaga muttered.

Cagalli kept her eyes on her radar. Suddenly a blip appeared and she looked down to the water to see what the device had picked up. It took her moment, but she spotted a shadowy object underneath the surface. “There it is!”

“Okay, I’ll make the first run!” La Flaga shouted. He dove his machine down and fired two anti-ship missiles. The first missed, but the second scored a hit. It had penetrated the hull, causing water to spill into the breech. The submarine was forced to begin surfacing.

Cagalli then had her turn. She brought her machine down to make her run at the craft.

“Hey, don’t drop too low, or you’ll hit the water!” La Flaga cautioned.

“Damn!” She pulled the stick back, barely missing the surface.

“Idiot! That’s why you have to follow my orders carefully!”

”Who are you calling an idiot?!”

By then the submarine had surfaced. They saw it was a ZAFT Vosgulov-class submarine. One by one, the three hatches on its hull were opening, probably ready to launch mobile suits. La Flaga hurried to fire a shot from the Agni. The blast burned through the hull and hit the fuel tank, triggering a massive explosion. Cagalli swooped down through the smoke, turning back to survey the damage. As she did, she saw that one DINN had escaped the hit and was on her tail. She spun back, but La Flaga came down from above, his guns blazing. This distraction gave Cagalli the chance to take a shot at the mobile suit. She whirled around and fired, her rounds coming dangerously close to La Flaga’s Skygrasper.

“Watch where you’re shooting!” he yelled, clearly irritated.

She was about to yell back, when the DINN fired. She veered away, but her Skygrasper shook violently. She had been hit and she quickly checked the damage. Apart from a thin trail of smoke streaming out, there didn’t seem to be any other serious damage.

“Are you okay?”

”Yeah, but he got my navigational module.” She answered.

“Fall back for now. I’ll finish things here.”

”But I’m fine, really!”

”No, your machine is damaged! That makes you a liability!”

Cagalli huffed. She wanted to retort, but she knew he was right. She maneuvered her machine to a course that would take her back to the Archangel. On the way back, she suddenly came close to colliding with a ZAFT aerial transport. She looked back at the craft. If it was carrying enemy reinforcements, she couldn’t fly back to the Archangel, since the craft would follow her. She swung the Skygrasper around, took aim, and fired. Her shots pelted the craft and fire spewed from its hull. The transport began to descend and she was ready to make another run, but another small explosion shook her Skygrasper. The damage she had already taken became worse and she started to lose control. The systems froze and she couldn’t get the controls to respond. She skimmed across the water and then everything went black.


When she awoke, she wondered where she was. She could hear water splashing against the plane’s fuselage. It was now very hot inside the cockpit and she feel sweat dripping down her face. She pulled off her helmet and wiped the sweat from her brow. She reached for the radio and turned it on. All that emitted was static. She then looked at her surroundings. She was near an island, but she’d have to swim to reach it. Once she did, she could at least get a rescue beacon set up and hopefully someone would be able to pick up the signal. She pulled the emergency pack from underneath the seat and opened the canopy. She jumped into the water, but as she did, a wave crashed over her, washing the emergency pack away. Despite the initial shock, the cool water felt refreshing against her skin. She made her way towards the island, but as she swam, she felt her flightsuit becoming waterlogged. When she got to the beach, she peeled the soggy suit off her before heading for the island’s interior. Without the pack, she’d have to find food and water sources on her own. As she moved in, she caught a glimpse of the ocean through the vegetation. The island was indeed tiny. She then climbed up a hill to get a better vantage point, when she noticed something in her peripheral vision. It was a strange V-shaped antenna. She closer to find that it was one of the mobile suits that had been built at Heliopolis! She then found the red-clad pilot and instinctively drew her pistol. The pilot must’ve heard her because he suddenly looked up. Cagalli took a couple of shots at him, but he dodged and dashed up a ledge with amazing agility. She then carefully slid down the hill and slowly searched for the enemy pilot.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
Posts: 1681
Location: Finland
I have to say I am still waiting for something to really change in this rewrite. You carry the plot well but at times I also get almost lost when one tiny paragraph explains away a rather large scene. That is no fault of yours when you summarize it so tightly, but rather mine of wanting to read a more extensive description (because that is what I would write).

Stylistically I might point out that using some sort of separator between scene changes might be beneficial in the latest Phase especially: e.g.

scene1

---

scene2

_________________
-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:03 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 24

Cagalli slowly stalked forward, keeping a vigilant watch for any signs of the enemy pilot. As she crept closer, she spotted something peeking from behind a rock.

She aimed her gun. “Hold it right there! You’re a ZAFT pilot, aren’t you?” There wasn’t a response. “Come out with your hands up!”

Suddenly, an object was hurled out and Cagalli fired out of instinct. The bullet struck the object and it spun before hitting the ground. It was a cup and she realized it had been a distraction. She heard a noise behind her and whirled around, but it was already too late. The enemy pilot delivered a swift kick that knocked the gun from her hand and another to her sternum that sent her flying. Before she could recover, he was on top of her, had pinning her down, with his knife at her throat. Cagalli screamed, her cry echoing.

“A woman?” the pilot said, pulling the knife away.

Cagalli trembled as she looked the pilot in his face. He was a teenager, somewhere close to her own age. His expression showed his surprise at her gender. But after she looked into his eyes, she quickly regained some composure. “Yeah, I’m a girl.” She said, “So what of it?”


La Flaga couldn’t believe the news that Cagalli hadn’t returned. He felt terrible that he let her go back to the ship in a damaged machine. Something must’ve happened to her along the way. “Has she tried to radio in at all?”

“No, not yet.” Miriallia answered, “But there are a lot of electromagnetic waves that she might be, but the signal’s probably weak.”

“Captain, shall we list her as MIA?” Natarle asked.

Sai leaned over to Tonomura. “What does MIA mean?” He whispered.

”Missing in action. It’s used when someone goes missing, but isn’t known whether they’re alive or dead.”

“That’s premature, Lieutenant.” Murrue said, “How time is left before sundown?”

”An hour.”

”That doesn’t give much time.” Murrue muttered.

“You don’t really want to conduct a search now, do you?” Natarle demanded. “There may still be ZAFT forces pursuing us.”

Murrue ignored her. She wouldn’t just leave Cagalli without searching for her, not when she fought for the defense of the Archangel. With the sun setting, they had to hurry.

When Kira heard the news that Cagalli was missing, he grew more anxious with every passing second. He had been informed of the electromagnetic waves that would possibly hindering any rescue beacon signal and the number of small islands that dotted the surrounding area. Once he was aboard the Strike, he would be given several navigation maps to aid in his search.

“Hang on Cagalli, I’ll find you.” He thought to himself. When he stepped into the hanger, he found Kisaka waiting for him.

The older man only stood silent for a moment. “Please find Cagalli.” He then said, bowing politely.

“I promise I will.” Kira said. He then boarded the Strike and began his search.

While Kira and the others were concerned about Cagalli, there was someone else who thought differently. Flay heard the news and hoped that she had been killed or that she wouldn’t be found. With her out of the picture, there’d be no one to get in between her and Kira.


Meanwhile, Athrun had tied Cagalli’s arms and legs so she wouldn’t be able to try to escape. “So are you really an Earth Forces soldier?” He casually asked as he tossed the ammo clip from her pistol into the sea. “You don’t any I.D. tags and I must say that I’ve never heard anybody scream like that before on a battlefield.”

Cagalli’s face reddened, both in anger and embarrassment. Even though her hands and feet were bound, it didn’t stop from squirming around. “This jerk went easy on me just because I’m a girl.” She thought to herself.

Athrun took out his emergency pack and checked over the contents. He cocked his head over to her. “You were the one who shot down my transport, weren’t you? I mean, that is your machine over there, right?” He pointed to the Skygrasper.

“That’s right, it is.” She answered, “But I told you already that I am not a soldier!” She tired to get up, but she could barely move.

He looked over to her. He thought that she was a strange girl, but spirited at the same time. She had shot at him like a trained soldier, but she had cried out a bloodcurdling scream when he had the knife at her throat. However, it was that scream that made him show mercy.

“You’re one of the guys who destroyed Heliopolis, aren’t you?” She suddenly asked.

The question startled him. Her gold colored eyes locked with his. He looked away from her accusing gaze and returned to the Aegis. He thought over Heliopolis. It wouldn’t have been destroyed if the Earth Forces hadn’t been building mobile suits in an otherwise neutral colony. Of course, its destruction wasn’t the objective, but he knew that she wouldn’t believe anything he’d tell her. He then went back to the Aegis’ cockpit and tried the radio. The only thing he received was static and white noise. When he went back down, he found Cagalli trying to slither away at an incredibly slow pace.

He had to laugh as he walked past her. “You know, at this rate you’ll be down to the beach in a couple of days.” He went that way himself and gazed at the horizon. He could see dark clouds approaching and the flicker of lightning. There was a squall moving in fast. By the time he returned to his mobile suit, rain already was falling. From the cockpit he watched as the wind tore through the trees and the downpour flooded the ditches. It was different from the artificial rain that was used in the PLANTs in limited amounts. He heard the girl yell, followed by a splash, and peeked out to check on her again. He saw that she had slipped into a ditch that was quickly filling with water. He sighed as he maneuvered the Aegis’ shield over her to act as an umbrella before climbing out of the cockpit.

“What the hell are you doing?” he smirked.

“Isn’t it obvious?!” she almost screamed, “I fell in! Now help me out before I drown!” A surge of water then splashed over her.

Athrun pulled her from the trench. She was soaking wet and mud was smeared all over her. He couldn’t help but laugh at her appearance. She only glared at him as she got back to her feet and hopped back into the rain.

“Hey, now what are you doing?”

”I’m just washing this mud off.” She answered. She stood still, letting the rainfall on her. It felt refreshing against her skin. Suddenly she could feel the rope tied around her wrists came loose, followed by the one around her ankles. She realized that he had cut her free.

“Remember, I’m armed so please don’t try anything funny.” He reminded her. He then pointed to something underneath a fold in her clothing. “And it looks like you’ve got a stowaway.”

Cagalli frantically felt around and pulled off her shirt. Athrun caught a fast glimpse of her body and turned about face, suddenly feeling embarrassed. He had never seen a girl, not even Lacus, that wasn’t fully clothed.


Elsewhere, Nicol was becoming more anxious with each passing minute. He looked out the window at the setting sun. Dearka and Cade sat in the room as well as they waited for Yzak. Nicol glanced at the clock, paced in front of Dearka several times, and finally sit down, only to get right back on his feet. While they all had arrived at the Carpentaria base in the early afternoon, Athrun hadn’t shown up. Once they learned that his transport had been shot down, the only thing they could do was wait for more news. Yzak was presently gone to check on the status of any new reports.

“Will you please stop pacing?” Dearka asked, putting down the magazine he had been reading. “It’s getting very annoying.”

Nicol stopped. “I’m sorry, but aren’t you worried?”

”Not really.” Dearka answered, “He’s probably on some tropical island with a beautiful girl.”

Nicol stomped his foot. “This isn’t the time to joke!”

Just then Yzak entered the room.

“So what’s the word?” Cade asked.

“The Zala Team has its first official mission.” Yzak said with the dramatic fashion of a stage actor. “We are to conduct the search and rescue of Commander Zala.”

There were times that N-Jammers were a nuisance, and this certainly was one of those times. With the interference they caused, it’d be uncertain when anyone would be able to pick up any signal from a rescue beacon.

“That’s all?” Nicol asked, “We have to do the mission on our own?”

”HQ has its own concerns, you know, something having to do with a war.” Yzak reminded him, “We’ll have to do this ourselves.”

“Well, it’s getting late, so we’ll get to it in the morning.” Dearka said mundanely.

“What?! How can you say that?” Nicol demanded.

“Look there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.” Cade said, “Athrun’s capable of taking care of himself, and he still has the Aegis.”

“Right, and it isn’t like he tumbled through the atmosphere.” Dearka commented, referring to what he and Yzak endured in their impromptu descend to Earth.

“In any case, we’ll begin the search in the morning.” Yzak said, beginning an end to the discussion.

With that, Yzak, Dearka, and Cade left the room. Nicol lingered back long enough to take a final glance out the window.


“I already told you, I’m fine.” Kira insisted, not in the mood to argue.

“Like hell you are.” La Flaga said, practically dragging the youth away from the Strike. “You were ordered to rest and just laying down for an hour doesn’t count.”

Kira had searched for Cagalli for close to two hours, but hadn’t yet found any clues as to her whereabouts. He had been attempting to sneak out and continue the search when La Flaga caught him.

“Look, the sun will be up in only five hours. We’ll both look for her then.”

”Five hours?” Kira asked, “Cagalli may not hold out for that long.” He tried to get out of the older man’s grip, but La Flaga didn’t release him.

“Look, we’re all worried about her, and I want to look for her too, but we have to wait for daylight.” He eased his hold on Kira. “I feel guilty about what happened. She was my wingman but I told her to get back to the ship alone and in a damaged aircraft. Do you know how I feel about that right now?” His voice shook.

Kira had never seen La Flaga display such emotion before. Normally he acted so calm and collected, but now he looked so full of shame and guilt.

“If anything does happen to her, I’ll be the one at fault.” He turned his back to Kira and walked away.

With a sigh of regret, Kira returned to his quarters laid on his bed. It was going to be the longest five hours he had experienced.


Back on the island, Athrun and Cagalli had taken refuge in a small cave. Cagalli’s clothes were now drying next to the fire and she pulled the blanket around her tighter. She looked at the bottle of water and ration bars Athrun had offered. She was hungry, but she didn’t want any handouts from an enemy soldier, even if he had been kind enough not to tie her up again.

“We’ll more than likely have to spend the night here.” Athrun said, sitting across from her and flipping some sticks onto the fire. “The radio signals are still weak.”

“We’re only stuck here because your side shot those damned jammers all over the planet.” Cagalli pointed out.

“That was after the Earth Forces’ nuclear attack.” Athrun took a drink.

Cagalli knew he was right and couldn’t argue. Her stomach then growled audibly.

“You should eat.”

She looked at the food and water again. She was already using a blanket he’d given her, so what was the matter if she ate part of his food? She grabbed one of the ration bars, tore away the foil covering, and devoured it. She looked up to see him staring outside the cave. The flames illuminated his profile and she found it somewhat difficult to believe that someone so young and handsome could be a soldier.

“Shouldn’t you tie me up again soon?” she asked, “If you leave like this and drop your guard, I’d be able to steal your gun and this situation would be reversed.”

He chuckled as he tossed more wood on the fire. He then looked her square in the eye and she saw his own eyes were the same color as her deceased friend Ahmed’s mother had given her. “If you try to steal my gun, I’ll kill you, simple as that. That’s why you can’t do it. Remember that you still have your life.”

“I think a ZAFT soldier is the person who should lecture about saving lives!” she snapped.

The fire crackled, filling the gap of silence until Athrun answered her accusation. “We were only there to steal the mobile suits being built by Morgenroete. We didn’t mean to destroy Heliopolis in the process.”

“What good do those words mean now?” she retorted, “It doesn’t change that a neutral colony was attacked and eventually destroyed thanks to you!”

“And what about Junius Seven?” He shot back, “It was just an agricultural PLANT with no weapons or military value, but that didn’t stop the Earth Forces from obliterating it with nukes! Every innocent man, woman, and child there was killed, my own mother among them.” He paused for a second. “How could we have sat back and do nothing after that?”

Cagalli fell silent for a moment. “I’ve lost friends too, friends who died from your attacks.”

The two leered at each other, not saying anything else. Soon Athrun regained his composure.

“Arguing about it won’t anything.” He muttered.

Cagalli stood and stepped outside, the blanket still wrapped around her. After the heated exchange, she needed to cool off. She glanced over to the enemy mobile suit. That thing’s only purpose was to destroy. She thought over what Athrun had said about Junius Seven and knew that he was right. But more people would be killed as the war pressed on. She went back into the cave where she found him resting against the wall and falling asleep.

“Hey, you can’t just go to sleep!” she exclaimed.

“Why not?” he yawned.

“You can’t just leave your prisoner alone, that’s why.”

“Fine, then I won’t fall asleep.” But he was already drifting off.

“Hey!” she said again, but she didn’t get a reply. Did really think she wouldn’t try to escape or steal his gun? Or was he simply toying with her? She looked at his face and sighed. He looked so innocent. She took a glimpse at the holstered gun, but just for a second. Filled with a strange feeling of guilt, she returned to the fire. She had trouble understanding what the guy was thinking. She had tried to kill him, but he let her go. Was he stupid or did he actually trust her? Whatever the case, she didn’t feel right about trying to steal his weapon as he slept, it felt cowardly. Once more her gaze went out to the mobile suit. Her expression turned angry as she stared at one the machines that ultimately led to Heliopolis’ demise. Just then, she recalled all her comrades that lost their lives fighting against ZAFT. A sense of resolve surged through her and she was going to make her move. She quietly crept on her sleeping foe, slowly kneeling next to him, and reached for his gun. It was then Athrun’s threat rang through her head. He said if she’d try to steal his weapon, he’d kill her and he meant it. She hesitated and slightly pulled her hand back.

The wood on the fire popped loudly, causing her to flinch and Athrun’s eyes snapped open. Cagalli tossed the blanket over him and snatched his gun.

“Damn it!” Athrun shouted, hurling the blanket off and pulling out his knife.

“I’m sorry, but I will shoot if I have to.” Cagalli said, pointing the gun at him, “I can’t just let you leave. That mobile suit will be used to attack Earth again. I know Orb is at fault for building them in the first place, but I can’t let you use it.”

”Then go ahead and kill me.” He said, “I’m the pilot of that machine and in the end I’m the one who does the killing.”

Cagalli’s heart raced and cold sweat made the gun feel slippery in her hands. Could she kill him? She had only wanted to gain the upper hand so that she could destroy the mobile suit. However she realized that the destruction of the machine wouldn’t stop him, for he’d just pilot another one. She had to kill him, so that others lives would be saved. But then again, he could’ve easily killed her so that other ZAFT soldiers’ lives would be saved. Just then, she recalled what Andrew Waltfeld had gone on about war and when it would end. Why did she remember it now of all times?

Suddenly, Athrun reeled his knife back. “Don’t you move!” he cried and threw his weapon.

Out of instinct, Cagalli fired. The bullet struck Athrun in the shoulder and he collapse to the cave floor and withered in pain. Cagalli wondered why the knife hadn’t hit her, when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned to find a snake, venomous judging from it coloring, close beside her, killed by the knife that pierced its head. She realized that Athrun wasn’t trying to harm her, but protect her. She dropped the gun and rushed over to him.

“Are you okay?” she asked, kneeling next to him.

He gritted his teeth. “I’m fine.” He lied, “It’s just a gaze.” He stood up and grabbed the emergency pack.

“I can do it!” Cagalli said, snatching the pack away.

“No, I’ll do it.”

“Please let me do it!” She already tore open the first aid kit and had a haemostatic pad in hand. “You’ve already done enough favors for me. I can at least repay one by dressing the wound.”

”Um, before do you that, would you mind dressing yourself first?”

At that moment Cagalli remembered that she was half naked. Underneath the blanket, all she wore was her underwear. Her face went red with embarrassment. “Don’t look!” She ran for her clothes, which finally were dry. When she turned back, she found that he had his back to her and respectfully wasn’t watching her dress. After she was finished, she cleaned and dressed the wound on his shoulder. Then the two both went to sleep.


Athrun awoke to the sound of what he thought were chirping birds. When he sat up, he realized that it wasn’t birds, but the radio that was chirping. He dashed out of the cave and into the Aegis’ cockpit and flipped several switches.

“Athrun, do you copy?” a familiar voice said, “I repeat, do you copy?”

“Cade?”

“Athrun!” Cade’s voice now came in more clearly. “I think I got a fix on your location, we’ll be there shortly.”

“What’s happening?” Cagalli yawned.

“The radio’s working!” Athrun shouted. Then a second alarm caught his attention. A sonar buoy he had deployed was picking up another signal. He turned back to her. “There’s something else approaching the island. It’s not a ZAFT vehicle, so it must be one of your people. I don’t want to start a fight here, so I’ll have to hide the Aegis a bit further away.”

“If that’s the case, then I’ll head back to my machine.” She nodded.

Athrun smiled. “Well, good-bye.” He turned to leave.

“I’m Cagalli, by the way.” She called back.

“And my name’s Athrun.” He replied.

She nodded once more and ran off. He watched her until she was out of sight. She was an interesting girl. As he waited to be picked up, he kept repeating her name so he wouldn’t forget it.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:19 pm 
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Mysterious Masked Dude
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:45 pm
Posts: 554
New Phase 25

The Archangel was being assaulted on nearly all sides. The Aegis, Duel, Blitz, Buster, and Panzer pursued the ship while riding on hovering platforms called Gulls. As the ship took more hits, thick dark smoke rose from numerous spots on the hull. La Flaga was flying in the Skygrasper and engaged the Buster, trying to divert its attention away from the ship. But he had to be cautious as well, for one hit from the enemy’s primary weapon could easily bring him down. Meanwhile the Strike had taken a firing position on the deck and fired on the enemies that swooped in close. Equipped with the Aile Striker pack, Kira would quickly take off and drive away the enemies and return to the ship.

“Igelstellungs five and six have been damaged!” Chandra reported.

“Align the Wombats and aim for the Gulls!” Natarle commanded. While the enemy mobile suits had Phase Shift armor, the Gulls did not. That was the key.

Kira heard the instructions and began to target the Duel as it attacked the engines. He adjusted the scope and squeezed the trigger. The beam cut through the Gull, sending the Duel flying. Only now it was coming straight at Kira. The Duel then pulled out one of its beam sabers and attacked. The next instant however, its saber was damaged by Kira’s own, as he had severed it at the hilt. The Strike then leapt to engage the Blitz, which had swooped in to assist the Duel. Unable to dodge, the Blitz took the full force of the hit, and was knocked off its Gull. After it fell, Kira sliced the machine in half before heading back to the ship once more. Now there was only three left, one of which was the red mobile suit he knew Athrun piloted.


“This battle is taking place twenty kilometers from our border, far too close for comfort in my opinion.”

Men and women sat at a long table and watched the newscast closely. Live images of the battle were being sent directly to Orb’s Security Council. Around the table sat each province’s lords and other close associates. Homura, the current Representative Lord kept quiet and took a quick glimpse to his left. There sat his older brother, Uzumi Nara Attha, the former lord. He had held the position prior to abdicating in the wake of a controversial scandal. He too remained silent as more images were broadcasted.

“This is intolerable!” cried on lord.

“We must keep them away at all costs!” exclaimed another.

The United Emirates of Orb, sometimes called the Orb Union, or simply Orb, was a neutral nation comprised of a group of twenty islands located just below the equator. In spite of the country’s small size, it was wealthy thanks to several industrial powers.

Homura wasn’t certain of what course of action to take. He turned to his brother. “What is your opinion?”

Uzumi cleared his throat. “Our nation mustn’t make any exception in regards to our neutrality. They must not be allowed to cross our border.” In spite of his abdication, he still unofficially had power. He turned his attention back to the screens.


The ship quaked under the intense fire and Cagalli had to grab the wall to keep her balance as she made her way to the bridge. Regret filled her as she knew Athrun was piloting one of those machines. She swore under her breath and knew that would’ve happened if she let him go. But then again, she couldn’t bring herself to kill him in the first place. She finally made it to the elevator and stepped in.

“Cagalli, wait!” Kisaka shouted behind her, “What are you doing?”

“I have to contact Orb!” She replied, punching a button. With that, the doors closed and the elevator headed upward. In no time the doors opened again and a numerous voice rushed in.

“There’s an Orb fleet forming along the border!”

”Yes, the cavalry has arrived!”

Everyone on the bridge sounded hopefully, but Murrue knew better. The Orb fleet wouldn’t be coming to help them. “Change course to fifteen degree to port!” she ordered.

Neumann was dumbfounded. “But that’ll take us away from Orb!”

“If we get any closer, then they will open fire on us.” Murrue solemnly said.

Sai, Tolle, Miriallia, and Kuzzey stared at the captain in bewilderment. They, like many others of the crew, were citizens of Heliopolis and therefore Orb was their homeland. But from Orb’s point of view, they were aboard a military vessel that belonged to the Earth Alliance. If they crossed into Orb’s territory, it would be seen as an act of war.

“Orb isn’t our ally, remember that.” Murrue went on, “They won’t violate their neutrality to help us.”

Cagalli then rushed over to Murrue. “Don’t worry, head straight in! You have to let me contact Orb!”

Before the Captain could reply, Pal announced that the ship was being hailed by the Orb forces. The primary monitor flashed on and everyone could see the captain of the Orb flagship.

“Attention Earth Alliance and ZAFT combat units!” he announced, “Under our neutral status, we cannot allow armed vessels to enter our territory. Should you continue on your present course and cross the border, we will not hesitate to exercise our right of self-defense and open fire on any and all intruders.”

The crew was in disbelief. They couldn’t fathom why a nation that helped build the Archangel now would deny it entry. Kisaka had made it to the bridge and heard the announcement as well. Cagalli clenched her fists in frustration and she went over to the communications center.

“Never mind that! Keep going and head right for their territorial waters!” She then snatched Kuzzey’s headset and shouted to the Orb captain. “The Archangel will stay on course to enter Orb’s territory, but it is not, I repeat, not to be fired upon. You will not attack under my authority!”

“Oh, really?” the Orb captain demanded, “And you exactly are you then?”

“My name is…Cagalli Yula Attha, daughter of Uzumi Nara Attha.”

Half the bridge let out a gasp while the other was stunned silent. They couldn’t believe that Cagalli, such an uncouth, brash, and hardheaded young woman, was the daughter of Orb’s former leader and a member of the esteemed Attha family.

The Orb captain stammered before he finally said, “Do you have any proof of your identity?”

Before Cagalli could answer him, the screen went black and the ship rocked from an explosion on the aft of the ship. Outside, the Buster and Panzer attempted to disable the Archangel before it could slip into Orb’s territory. The Skygrasper counterattacked and the Buster turned its sights on the small craft. La Flaga managed to dodge the beam that was fired at him, but pulled back. However, now it was the Strike that launched a counterattack. It fired and scored a direct hit to the Gull the Buster stood upon. But in that split second, the Panzer rushed forward and opened fire with its mortar launcher. The projectile struck one of the Archangel’s engines.

The force of the explosion threw Cagalli back, but Kisaka broke her fall and grabbed her tightly. The rest of the bridge was in pandemonium as alarms shrieked and damage reports came pouring in.

“Engines one and two are hit!”

”Propulsion levels are falling rapidly!”

”We can’t maintain altitude!”

Murrue wasn’t sure as what to do now until Kisaka got along side her.

“If we’re going to sink, we might as do so within Orb’s territorial waters.” He whispered, “But don’t worry, the gunners are very accurate and they can hit anything. However, they can also make it look like they did hit something.”

Murrue was puzzled by that comment for a moment, but she then understood want he meant. “Got it.” She nodded. She turned to Neumann. “Lieutenant, feign loss of navigational control and guide us into Orb’s territory! Send out a distress signal and inform La Flaga and Ensign Yamato not to fire on the Orb ships!”

Neumann did as ordered. The ship listed to the side and plunged into the water, and directly in front of the Orb fleet.


Athrun couldn’t believe his eyes. He watched as the Orb fleet fire a barrage at the Archangel. The ship disappeared from view beneath enormous spouts of ocean spray. He tried to pursue the ship further, but the moment he did, a number of shells came at him. He cursed under his breath and lowered his rifle, as he was running low on power. The only thing he could do was just watch as the Archangel was pounded by the artillery. As he looked on, many thoughts flooded his mind. First there was the fact that Kira had certainly become more skilled than he was the last time they fought. Then there was one voice, Cagalli’s voice. He had heard her over the open channel. While he could hardly believe it, he knew it really was the girl he had met back on the island. He wondered how she could be Orb royalty. But there wasn’t time to focus on that subject. He and the others turned around and went off to return to their mothership.


“Well, that certainly was an outrageous farce, but there wasn’t any other way.” Uzumi vacantly stated. Everyone in the room knew the reason things turned out the way they did only because his daughter was aboard the ship.

“So what now? What about the official announcement?” someone asked.

“There’s already a draft.” An aide handed it to Uzumi, who skimmed the document.

“It’ll suffice. I will take care of this matter. I am going to speak with Morgenroete and the ship’s officers.”

Homura nodded and rose, signaling an end of the session. The lords and their aides began to file out. Amidst the exiting, someone declared, “This is a complete disaster.”

“And who is to blame for this disaster?” Uzumi asked, bringing an abrupt silence to the room. Everyone knew that a number among them was at fault.


“This location cannot be spotted by a satellite.” Kisaka informed Murrue as the Archangel was escorted towards a massive underground cove where there was a secret docking bay. “Onogoro Island is where Morgenroete creates many of its advanced ships and other technology.”

Murrue turned to him. “Isn’t it time that you tell us who you really are?”

Kisaka smirked, but then stood at attention. “I am Colonel Ledonir Kisaka, Orb Land Forces, 21st Special Airborne Division.” He tilted his head towards Cagalli. “And her bodyguard.”

“So she’s the real thing?” Miriallia whispered to Tolle.

“I guess so.”

“What are we to do now?” Murrue asked.

“You’ll know once the Lion arrives.” Kisaka answered.

“Who’s the Lion?”

“That’s the nickname of Uzumi Nara Attha. There are those who call him ‘The Lion of Orb.’”


Yzak flung the document on the table. “Do they really expect us to believe this BS?” he exclaimed, referring to Orb’s official press release. “We’re being made to look like idiots.” He shot a glare at Athrun.

The Zala Team now gathered inside the briefing room of the Cousteau, a ZAFT submarine that was hiding just outside of Orb’s territory.

“For all we know, the legged ship has already slipped out and gotten away.” Dearka added.

“Dearka…” Nicol scolded.

However it was to be expected that Yzak and Dearka would be this aggravated. The Archangel had once again slipped out of their grasp, and they had very little reason to actually the press release. After all, Heliopolis was a colony that was owned by Orb and was used to illegally manufacture mobile suits.

“Look, it doesn’t matter what we believe.” Athrun said, looking at his copy of the document. “We can’t refute this as long as this is Orb’s formal statement.”

“What?” Yzak yelled.

Meanwhile Cade was using a PDA-like device and showed it to his teammates. “Do you know what this is?”

”Yeah, it’s what I’ll use to knock your damned teeth out!” Yzak growled.

”No, it’s a map of Orb’s territory.” Cade shot back, “There are some places where that ship could be hidden. Now there’s no way the ship could make it to Alaska after the damage we gave it, so it has to be in Orb somewhere.”

“If that’s the case, why don’t we just move in, locate and destroy the ship, and then leave?” Dearka asked.

”What, and spark an international incident?” Cade retorted, “Remember, this isn’t like Heliopolis. If we barged in, it’d be the five of us against whatever they can throw at us.” While Orb’s military wasn’t exactly large scaled, they did possess some of the most state of the art technology. “And have you guys forgotten that they helped build the mobile suits we’re now using?” Neither of them answered and he turned to Athrun. “Come on, Commander, you know I’m right.”

Athrun did agree with Cade, but he was aware Yzak wouldn’t be pleased with his decision. “Carpentaria will keep up pressure on Orb’s government through the diplomatic channels.” He watched Yzak roll his eyes. “In the meantime, we’ll infiltrate Orb ourselves and conduct a reconnaissance mission.”

After a long pause, Yzak threw his hands in air. “All right, if that’s the best we can do.” He said, giving up.

“It is.” Athrun assured.

“Sounds like a good plan to me.” Nicol said.

“Yeah, whatever.” Dearka muttered. He then stood and left the room.

Yzak followed him out, but stopped at the door. “I’ll follow your commands, Athrun, but remember when everything is said and done, I am the one who gets to take out the Strike.”


“Who’d of thought that we’d come back to Orb this way?” Tolle asked.

“I know.” Miriallia sighed. Part of the crew had gathered in the mess hall. As he walked by to get a drink, Kira could overhear part of the conversations. Even those who were born and raised in Heliopolis their homeland, as the colony was owned by the nation.

“What do we do now?” Kuzzey asked.

Sai shrugged. “I don’t know. All I know is that we aren’t allowed to leave the ship.”

“They say it’s for security measures.” Tolle added.

“But why?”

“There is a war going on.” Neumann reminded them, “To them, we’re foreign troops.”

“My parents are living here now.” Miriallia muttered quietly.

Many of the survivors of Heliopolis, including most of the crew’s families, had been safely relocated to Orb. Kira left the mess hall and thought over the last time he saw his parents. He had overslept after a night of staying up later to work on some project, then ran out without saying good-bye to them. Typically, that was a normal morning, except the events of that day turned into anything that wasn’t normal.

He returned to his room to find Flay lying on the bed, flipping through various channels on the TV. Birdy hopped around her. Kira suddenly felt sad for some reason. He handed her a drink and sat down beside her.

“Did you want to take a look outside?” he asked.

“No.” she answered, sounding bored.

“Are you still feeling seasick?”

“Kind of.”

They sat in silence for a moment. Kira thought that she was angry with him about something. “There’s a chance we’ll get leave while we’re here. Do you have any family you’d like to see?”

”My parents are dead.” She reminded him, “I don’t have anyone else.”

Her words stabbed him like a knife. Her father had died because he couldn’t protect him. She then leaned on his shoulder. The fact was, he reasoned, that she wasn’t angry, but deeply sad. She was now home, but there wasn’t anyone to greet her.


“As you are well aware, Orb is officially neutral.” Uzumi said as he spoke with Murrue, Natarle, and La Flaga.

“Yes, we know that.” Murrue nodded. As she sat across from the former lord, she began to understand how he earned his nickname. He had a fierce but proud presence about him. In fact, the Attha bloodline had produced many wise and noble leaders and Uzumi was no exception.

Originally Orb was created by a number of different clans joining together, but the Atthas had much of the influence. It was under their leadership that Orb transformed from a tourist destination to a great economic power with the development of high-tech enterprises.

“Our official reports will say that our forces pursued your ship prior to your escape from our territory.” Uzumi continued.

“Yes.” Murrue replied.

“I’m sure that no one will wonder if you saved our ship because your daughter was onboard as well.” La Flaga sarcastically said, smirking.

Uzumi scoffed. “Do you believe that the fate of a country and the life of a foolish daughter weigh the same to me?”

“My apologies.”

“I have followed your exploits.” Uzumi then said, “Much as happened since Heliopolis, and in many ways it’s our own fault. However, there is a number of us, myself included, who sometimes wishes that your ship and the mobile had been destroyed along with the colony.”

“What-?!” Natarle started to say.

Uzumi raised his hand. “I simply meant that they’ve been the cause of some strife lately.”

“That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are here now.” Murrue pointed out.

Uzumi breathed a sigh. “We preserve our neutrality because we don not wish to make an enemy of either the Naturals or Coordinators. That’s why we welcome both here.”

Shunned by other nations, Coordinators sought sanctuary in the PLANTs or in any nation, such as Orb, that would accept them. As a result, Orb had an integrated population which proved that Naturals and Coordinators could live side by side in peace. However Orb’s neutrality came at a grave price which was paid by maintaining a strong military force.

Uzumi sat up. “We will repair your ship, but only if a number of conditions are met.” He said, “First, we would like copies of the Strike’s combat data. Second, we want the Strike and the pilot Kira Yamato to be taken to Morgenroete temporarily.”

“That’s impossible!” Natarle exploded.

Uzumi shrugged. “It’s your choice. I’ll be waiting for your answer.”


A short time later, the officers gathered back on the ship to discuss the proposal.

“We cannot agree to those demands!” Natarle raged, “They are completely unacceptable!”

“Well, what else can we do?” La Flaga asked, “We all can’t swim to Alaska, now can we?”

“How can we be certain they’ll honor their terms?” Natarle asked.

“If they wanted the Strike right now, they could’ve easily taken it.” La Flaga replied.

“They must be under pressure by ZAFT.” Murrue said, “They can’t show any signs of siding with us, otherwise ZAFT may declare war on them.”

“So what?” Natarle demanded, “They are an Earth nation, they should be in this war!”

“Then what about their Coordinator population?” La Flaga asked, “Would you have them side with ZAFT or stay and face something terrible?”

“In any case, they’re only helping us so that they can get something in return that’s more valuable than money, and that’s technical information.” Murrue said, twisting a finger through her hair. “They’re taking a great gamble in hopes of reaping an even greater reward. We’ll agree to their terms.”

While she had La Flaga’s support, Natarle was another matter. She leaned in close. “I’ll do whatever you say, Captain, but know that I’ll bring this with high command.” She stood and left the room.

When the door shut, La Flaga turned to Murrue. “You’re going to get an earful once we reach JOSH-A.”

Murrue smiled. She was aware that Natarle had a list of grievances about some of the ways she commanded the Archangel, but if they survived long to get put on trail, she’d welcome the opportunity to defend her actions. She suddenly tired and La Flaga could see it.

“You should take a chance to get some rest.” He said, giving her shoulder a gentle pad. He then left.


An argument could be overheard coming from Cagalli’s stateroom. Several crewmembers gathered outside, trying to listen in.

“No, I am not wearing this!” Cagalli said.

“It is the proper thing for your social position.” Kisaka countered.

“But I hate it!” she complained.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not you like it, you’re wearing it and that’s final.” He insisted. “Now let’s go.”

The door opened and the bystanders were stunned by Cagalli’s appearance. No longer in her usual cargo pants and t-shirt, she now wore an elegant gown. She looked sullen as she walked down the corridor, with Kisaka following. He tried to take her hand, but she shook free.

“I can walk by myself.”

“No.” Kisaka said, taking her by the arm. She finally gave up and let him escort her.

The crowd was surprised by her change in appearance. As they turned around the corner, she spotted Kira and Flay heading for the mess hall. Of course Kira wasn’t surprised by her look, as he had since her in a similar ensemble at Andrew Waltfeld’s headquarters. Thinking back to the humorous exchange they had when he commented that she was a girl and her getting upset at it, he couldn’t help but laugh.

“What’s so funny now?” Cagalli demanded.

Kira smiled. “Nothing, your highness.” He bowed and she turned away, humiliated further.

When he stood back up, he found Flay was once again glaring fiendishly at Cagalli. He couldn’t understand why she hated her so much. They never spend any time together and Cagalli hadn’t done anything to Flay. Kira then thought of something else. Now that Cagalli’s secret that she was a princess was out, he might not be able to speak to her as comfortably as they had. In fact, he feared that he may never get the chance to see her ever again. He suddenly felt a sense of loneliness.


In the morning, technicians had arrived and began work repairing the Archangel. Natarle and Neumann watched as they worked. They scrambled over the hull and worked with precision skill.

“They’re certainly fast, aren’t they?” Neumann asked.

“Yeah.” Natarle sullenly replied. She wasn’t pleased that this repair work was the result of giving up precious combat data.

Neumann picked up on her bad mood and decided not to say anything else.

Murrue stepped inside the bridge. “Good morning.” She offered.

“Good morning, Captain.” Natarle saluted. “The technicians from Morgenroete have arrived and work is already underway.”

“Excellent. Where’s Ensign Yamato?”

“He and the Strike are being escorted to the factory.”

“Very good. You’re relieved.” Murrue walked past, but Natarle stayed on deck. “Is there something else you need to say?”

“Captain, may I have permission to perform a thorough inspection and possible adjustments of our internal systems while we’re in port?”

“That’ll be fine. You have permission.”

Neumann held his breath at the tension between his superior officers. He didn’t exhale until Natarle left the bridge. The two had different outlooks at commanding a ship. Whereas Natarle took a tough stance, Murrue was more easygoing and approachable. Some considered it a sign of weakness, Natarle certainly did. But at the same time, Natarle was able to make snap decisions and wasn’t burdened by her emotions. On the other hand, she was more inflexible when she made up her mind and hated to be proven wrong. They were definitely different, but maybe that was the reason they had been able to survive this long. As he went back to his console, Neumann hoped they’d be able to make it to Alaska.


Down in the dock, the technicians busily worked to repair the damage the Archangel had sustained in the last battle. A top priority was the engines. Kisaka had come down to supervise the work. As he walked about, he heard a familiar voice call out.

“Hello, Colonel, sir!”

Kisaka turned to find a familiar face. The youth was roughly Cagalli’s age and he wore similar clothing as the rest of the technicians, apart from that his uniform was a dark cream color and the sleeves were rolled up. His slivery-blue hair was pulled back in a ponytail and goggles rested on his forehead.

“Hello, Michael.”

Michael wiped his hands clean and said, “I heard that you and Cags had quite an adventure in Africa.”

Kisaka nodded. “You could say that.”

“I also heard about Tassil. You have my condolences, sir.”

“Thank you.”

“Oh, by the way, I heard that the pilot of that mobile suit, the Strike, is a Coordinator.”

“Yes, it’s true.”

Michael nodded. “I certainly you like the chance to meet him. He sounds like an interesting guy.”


Kira slowly moved the Strike through an archway and into an elevator large enough to accommodate a mobile suit. The door shut and the elevator descended. When it opened, Kira looked around in amazement when he found himself in a vast underground factory.

“This way.” His guide, Erica Simmons’ voice said over the intercom as she directed him over towards a maintenance bed. Once he parked the Strike, he exited the cockpit.

Erica was in her thirties, casually dressed in a short jacket and jeans. She smiled at Kira. “We can do complete work on the Strike here.”

“Okay.”

”Now if you’ll please come with me.” She said, walking at a brisk pace. “There’s something I’d like to show you.”

They walked past a number of other corridors before reaching another gate. When it opened, Kira gasped at what he saw. There stood a line of mobile suits that resembled the Strike.

“Amazing.” He said.

“Do they surprise you?” a voice said. Kira and Erica turned to find Cagalli, back in her usual clothes, walking up to them. “The Strike and the others weren’t the only mobile suits being built at Heliopolis.”

“This is the M1 Astray model.” Erica said, running her fingers across a computer’s keyboard, bringing up blueprints of the unit.

Kira glimpsed at the blueprint and then back at the actual thing. He looked closer and saw some considerable differences between the M1 and the Strike. The vernier thrusters on the M1’s backpack did resemble the Gundam’s Aile Striker pack, with the addition of wings, possibly for providing better maneuverability. “So what does Orb plan to do with these?”

“They’re for Orb’s defense.” Erica answered, “There is a price for maintaining neutrality.”

“Yet Orb shouldn’t need this kind of firepower. No, once we didn’t even need this kind of technology.” Cagalli corrected herself. “That was until my father betrayed us.”

Kira was shocked, not entirely sure if Cagalli’s words were serious. She turned and then he noticed that her left cheek was slightly red and swollen.

“You know that’s not what happened.” Erica said, “Lord Uzumi didn’t know that Heliopolis was assisting the Earth Alliance in developing the GAT series mobile suits.”

Cagalli scoffed. “Then as the nation’s supreme leader, he should’ve known.” When she first saw the Strike at Heliopolis, he called her father a traitor. Now Kira understood why that was.

“So what, didn’t he take responsibility and step down?” Erica countered.

“Only after he turned over his duties to my uncle, who listens to whatever he says. In the end, nothing’s changed whatsoever.”

“You can be an ungrateful child sometimes. It’s a wonder you got only a slap across the face.”

Cagalli looked embarrassed and her hand went to where she had been struck.

Erica turned back to Kira. “Shall we continue?”

Kira followed after her, taking one last glance at the line of M1 Astrays. He wondered if Orb would ever have to use those to defend themselves. He certainly hoped that they would never have the need to. The three of them stepped into another elevator and descended further down. They then emerged into a lab overlooking a spacious arena. A trio of additional M1 Astrays stood inside.

Erica went over to an intercom. “Asagi, Juri, Mayura!”

“Hey!” answered three high-pitched voices.

Kira was surprised that girls were piloting the units.

“Lady Cagalli?” Asagi called.

“Hey, you’re right, she’s finally back!” Juri added.

“Welcome back.” Mayura said.

“Yeah, thanks.” Cagalli answered gloomily.

Kira was astonished that the shrill girly voice belonged to actual mobile suit pilots, but Erica and Cagalli seemed used to it.

“So who’s that next to you?” Mayura asked, “He’s cute.”

“It looks like Juri isn’t the only one who’s been spending time with a cute boy.” Asagi added.

“Yeah, but he isn’t as cute as Lowe.” Juri said.

“Will you three knock it off?” Cagalli snapped. The girls giggled in delight, none of them seemingly concerned of her social rank. “You guys are going to pay for this later.”

“Okay that’s enough.” Erica said, “You three begin the drill.”

“Roger!” the trio answered.

At first Kira wasn’t sure what they were trying to do. The three Astrays walked about, thrusting their arms, and stomping their feet, but their movements were slow and jerky.

Cagalli slumped. “Nothing’s changed at all.”

“But they’re twice as fast as before.” Erica informed her.

Kira was stunned by that statement. He couldn’t imagine how the machines could be any slower.

“At that speed, they’ll be easy targets.” Cagalli criticized, “They’ll only be useful if you want the enemy to shoot them.”

“Hey, you don’t have to be so mean!” Asagi said.

“Yeah, you don’t know how much work we’ve put into them!” Mayura added.

“And neither will the enemy, nor will they care.” Cagalli shot back.

“At least we can get them to move!” Juri countered, “Let’s see you try this!”

“Fine, just let me show you!” Cagalli exclaimed, but Erica put a restraining hand on her shoulder.

“Miss Cagalli is right, you know.” She said, “They’ve still got a way to go.”

Kira now fully understood what La Flaga had meant when he once talked about Naturals trying to pilot mobile suits. It was simply too difficult.

Erica then turned to him. “That’s why we need your help.” She said, smiling. “We need you to help us work on an OS that would allow Naturals to pilot mobile suits on an equal scale as Coordinators.”

Kira had already figured out why he was escorted to the factory alone. They didn’t want outsiders, much less Earth Alliance soldiers, to see their secret military installation. The sole reason he was brought was that they needed his technical skills. Murrue had told him about Orb’s offer and he agreed to it, knowing that it would be the only way to get the Archangel repaired so they could continue on.


The eastern sky was turning faintly red in the early morning. A small fishing boat floated off the shore of Onogoro. There really wasn’t anything conspicuous about it; apart from that the fisherman kept checking his watch as if he was waiting for something. Eventually the boat tilted slightly. A hand reached out of the water and grabbed the boat’s line. The fisherman smiled and helped the wetsuit-clad person on board. Four more people appeared beneath the water’s surface. They each climbed onto the boat and removed their scuba gear. The first on board extended his hand to the fisherman.

“Athrun Zala of the Zala Team.”

The fisherman shook hands with Athrun. “Gentlemen, welcome to Orb, the country of peace.” He smiled.

_________________
"That's the problem with plutonium, Craven; it's limited in its application. It's not user-friendly. But as a vehicle for regaining one's self-respect; oh, it's got a lot going for it!"
- Darius Jedburgh, Edge of Darkness, Episode 6, Fusion


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:38 pm 
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Traitor Villain
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Uh, Nu-Liberty, what's going on? Isn't this Charismatic Engima's fanfic, or did you two work something out or what?


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:42 pm 
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In response to your question, ShadowCell, Charismatic Enigma gave me permission to post this chapter because it introduces the second major character in our rewrite; the one that I created. Hopefully, this answers your question.

_________________
"That's the problem with plutonium, Craven; it's limited in its application. It's not user-friendly. But as a vehicle for regaining one's self-respect; oh, it's got a lot going for it!"
- Darius Jedburgh, Edge of Darkness, Episode 6, Fusion


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:30 pm 
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Just to avoid confusion like last time, Charismatic Enigma gave me permission to post this chapter, since I'm co-author.

New Phase 26

The fishing boat slowly coasted through the water as it neared the shore. There was a slight fog, but it was lifting.

“So what’s our destination?” Athrun asked.

The fisherman pointed ahead. “Onogoro Island. What you’re looking for should be there, if it’s there at all.”

“Have you heard anything else?”

“No, either it’s well hidden or the press release was true.”

Athrun shrugged. It didn’t matter either way. They had to search the island for the enemy ship. He and the others waited as the boat slowly pulled into an inlet. Once they landed, they quickly changed into Morgenroete work uniforms. After they were ready, the fisherman handed over three copies of a map of Onogoro Island and some rough sketches of the layout Morgenroete’s facilities. However, much of the sketches were blank, therefore the team couldn’t relay on them. He then passed out I.D. cards.

“These will get you past the first gate of the factory, but from there security gets tighter and uses an individual data system. It’s all I could get on such short notice.”

“This’ll be fine.” Athrun assured him.

With that, the fisherman left. He’d return at sundown to pick them up. The Zala Team then headed inland. Athrun secretly hoped they wouldn’t find anything, but he knew that Kira and Cagalli were somewhere on the island. He wondered if he’d actually see them, however he thought that wouldn’t be likely.


Back in the facility at Morgenroete, repairs on the Strike and Archangel were coming along smoothly. Teams of technicians worked on multiple tasks while Kira made several adjustments to the Gundam’s OS.

Cagalli peeked her head into the cockpit. “Oh, it is you.” She said, “For a second I thought that a tech was in here.”

“It must be because of the outfit.” Kira joked, indicating to his clothes. He was now wearing a tech’s jumpsuit. “I was told it wouldn’t be a good idea to hang around in my regular uniform.”

“That’s certainly true.” She replied. She seemed to be in a surprisingly good mood.

“I didn’t know that princesses liked to wander into repair shops.” He smiled.

“Hey, I hate being called a princess!” she shot back. She sounded ashamed of her social rank. However, in spite of her outbursts, Kira liked having her around.

He cleared his throat. “Anyway, Cagalli, I finally figured why I ran into at Heliopolis that day.”

Her expression hardened. “I heard the rumors that Morgenroete was building mobile suits for the Earth Forces from Asagi, Juri, and Mayura. When I asked my father about, he wouldn’t give me a straight answer, so I decided to go see for myself.”

Kira nodded, admiring her integrity. She had gone against her father’s wishes to learn the truth on her own. She wanted to try to protect Heliopolis. Of course, he understood that Uzumi was apparently doing what was best for his country. He saw both their opinions.

“So did your father know what was happening?” he asked.

“At least I believe that he did. Though he denied it, I learned that his staff had information available to him.” She lowered her head. “I wanted to believe him at first, but now…”

Kira understood what she meant. She was angry not because of what her father did, but because that he lied to her. She didn’t really hate him; she was simply upset with him. Outside, they overheard a pair of technicians discussing the Strike. They commented on the wear on the electromagnetic socket, the propulsion system, and the general abuse the Gundam had taken. After they walked past, Kira stepped down to the catwalk and ran his hand across a deep scratch on its armor. Those techs were right, for a machine designed for Naturals; he had pushed it far beyond its intended capabilities. However, there were still people he failed to protect, despite his strength.

Cagalli saw the look on his face. “Hey, how about taking a break and getting a drink?” she said, “My treat.”

Kira smiled. “Sounds good.”

They went to the factory lounge and sat. Kira sipped at his soda.

“You really shouldn’t be too hard on yourself sometimes.” Cagalli said as she got a drink for herself. “We do what we can and that’s all we can really do.”

“Is that why you joined up with Desert Dawn?”

“Sort of.” She laughed, “My father kept telling me that I understand the ways of the world, so when I heard about the fighting in the desert I decided to join them. Those people may have been fighting for what most others would call a wasteland, but to them it was their home. That’s something worth protecting.” She sighed. “They were fighting superior opposition with basic weapons, but at the same time Orb has done nothing when they could change the course of the war, maybe even end it.”

“No, it would even matter.” Kira told her. “If Orb were to join the fighting, people would kill each other.”


Meanwhile, Athrun and Nicol wandered through the bustling business district. The streets were crowded to the point where they had to weave in between other people.
The team had split up to search for any sign as to the whereabouts of the Archangel.

“Downtown’s certainly peaceful, isn’t it?” Nicol whispered.

Athrun nodded. “Yeah, you wouldn’t guess that the war was at their doorstep by looking at these people today.”

“That’s because it’s a neutral country.”

Athrun didn’t reply. He had to keep his mind on the task at hand. He and Nicol resumed their search, ready to report any findings.

Meanwhile, Cade wasn’t faring any better or worse. His search hadn’t yielded anything, as security wasn’t exactly lax. Morgenroete might as well been considered a small fortress, what with the checkpoints and guards. He also hated the fact he had to conduct his search solo. Still, he liked the scenery. He had to admit, Orb’s landscape rivaled anything built on the PLANTS. He had always wanted to someday see his Mara’s homeland, what with all the stories she had told him. And there was something else slightly diverting his attention from his task. He noticed more and more of the attractive young women he walked past. At one point, one actually looked back to him and waved flirtatiously at him. He averted his glance and went on with his task.


Elsewhere, Tolle waited for his parents to arrive. Because the Archangel’s crew wouldn’t be allowed to actually leave the island, Orb had made arrangements for the refugees’ parents to meet them in a military briefing room. He stood back watching Miriallia’s tearful reunion with her parents. They held their daughter tightly, thankful to see her after several long months. The others’ parents were there as well. In fact, the only ones absent were Kira and his parents. He wondered if Kira was now staying with Flay for her sake. Just then, he saw his parents enter the room.

His mother covered her mouth, fighting back tears. His father tried to speak, but he couldn’t find the right words. Instead, Tolle rushed over and hugged his mother. There really wasn’t much time and he had a lot to tell them. He felt guilty about joining the military without talking with them before he did so, but he didn’t have the time to consult them.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered.

“You really should’ve talk to us before making a choice like this.” His mother said.

“I know, but this was something I felt I needed to do.” Tolle had wanted to do his part to ensure that what happened to Heliopolis wouldn’t happen elsewhere, as did his friends.

His father patted him on the shoulder. “No matter what, we’re very proud of you, son.” He smiled.

Back on the Archangel, Kira sat alone. Indeed, he had declined the chance to see his parents, but he wasn’t with Flay at the moment. Instead, he busily worked on the task of rewriting the OS for the M1 Astray. It wasn’t too difficult as it was being time consuming, and it didn’t really help that the constant hopping of Birdy was distracting him. Thankfully he was nearly done with the molecular structure of the ion pump, so he was close to completing the entire thing. Just then there was a knock and he looked to see a stranger standing in the doorway. He had slivery-blue hair, wore a cream colored uniform, and holding a folder in one hand.

“They said I’d find you here.” He said, extending his hand, “Michael Starling.”

Kira shook his hand. “Kira Yamato.”

“I got something for you.” Michael handed a disk over. “It’s some additional data that you may want to take a look at.”

Kira sighed. Now he had some more work to do. He inserted the disk and started inputting the new data.

Michael observed Kira typing away at the keyboard, further giving the OS a complete overhaul. “Wow, you certainly have a talent. I take it you’ve taken a lot of engineering courses.”

Kira did appreciate the comment. He didn’t know if this guy was aware that he was a Coordinator, but Michael didn’t seem too concerned either way. By the way he stared at the screen intently, Kira could guess that he was greatly interested in machinery and engineering. He then noticed a different set of papers that had been set on the desk.

“So what are these?” he asked, indicating to the notes which read:

-INSUFFICENT TACTICAL EFFECTIVENESS OF COCKPIT MONITERS
(Problem: Cockpit monitors are too constricted, limiting field of vision)
(Solution: Create cockpit design allowing 360-degree field of vision)

-INSUFFICENT RESPONSE TIME DUE TO BURNOUT OF JOINT MOTORS
(Problem: Overuse and overworking of mobile suit joints can lead to burnout)
(Solution: Apply friction-reducing electromagnetic joint coating)

-INADEQUATE RANGE OF MOBILE SUIT ARMAMENT
(Problem: Mobile suit armament is very limited, and many weapons cannot be used in certain situations effectively)
(Solution: Create a larger weapon variety of certain situations)

-POTENTIAL UPGRADES FOR NEXT-GENERATION MOBILE SUITS
(360-degree panoramic cockpit with linear seat; allows for unlimited field of vision)
(Joints coated with friction-reducing electromagnetic coating; reduces joint friction and increases performance by a 40% estimate)
(Method to eventually employ ultracompact fusion reactor for infinite operation time)
(Pilot assisting “MOTHER” Artificial Intelligence computer system; assists rookie pilots with mobile suit operations)

“Oh, they’re just some ideas I had for mobile suit upgrades.” Michael shrugged, “One I’m really proud of is an electromagnetic coating which can greatly reduce friction in a mobile suit’s joints, and maybe even aid in its performance. The other is a panoramic cockpit with a linear seat. It’s a design I came up with which gives the pilot a three hundred-sixty degree view.” He paused. “I recently showed them to Erica and she was so intrigued by them that she arranged for Morgenroete to give me a spare M1 to try them out on, but I haven’t been able to really try them out thanks to the problems with the OS.”

Kira nodded, he was impressed with Michael’s ideas. He bet that not even ZAFT engineers had thought of such equipment. “It looks like you’ve got some skills, but something tells me that something else is kind of holding you back?”

“I’m bad with organizing stuff sometimes, but I got plenty of friends to help me out.” He smirked, “I gotta tell you that those girls can be annoying at times though, especially since they know that I’m shy around them and they love to flirt. The funny thing is that Juri now has a boyfriend, or at least I think so. I haven’t met the guy, but she’s said a lot about him. Apparently his name was something like Lowe, I think, part of the Junk Guild.”

Their conversation steadily went on and stories were exchanged. Michael explained that his parents had been close friends with Lord Uzumi and Erica, and his father actually owned a subsidiary company to Morgenroete known as Starling Enterprises. They both were killed in a tragic car accident back when Michael was six years old, and afterwards both Lord Uzumi and Erica looked after his well-being. He also loved to travel, as he had recently returned from a trip through Eurasia and the Oceania Union. He explained that he had amassed a unique collection of trinkets from all of his travels.

“So why’d you travel?” Kira asked.

“Oh, I sometimes felt alone, isolated…and like I had lost my sense of purpose. So, I began traveling at the age of nine. It helps me relax for some reason. I learned many things, and picked up several skills that have proved useful.”


In another part of the ship, Flay sulked as she worked. Since she hadn’t any knowledge in engineering, she was stuck with doing lackluster tasks. In this case it was laundry and she hated every moment of it. Growing up spoiled, she had never done this sort of labor. She hadn’t joined the military to do this kind of work. After the laundry was done, she folded it and loaded it onto a cart and wheeled it down the hall. Everything was quiet, as everyone was either working on the ship or on leave. All her friends had gone to meet their parents and that only made her feel more miserable. After her work was done, she wandered about before heading back to her room. Actually, it was the room she shared with Kira. Even the thought of relaxing there made her feel depressed. The only things she’d do were either sleep or just watch TV. She greatly missed her old life. When she stepped inside, she was stunned to see Kira. She was so stunned that she ignored the stranger with him.

“Hi, Flay.” Kira smiled.

“What are you doing here?” She wondered why he wasn’t with his parents.

“I’m just working something here, but I’ll be done soon.”

Flay didn’t know what to think. Her face went from surprise to anger and she shoved her way past Michael. “Why didn’t you go as well?” she demanded.

“What?”

“Your family’s here too, aren’t they, Kira? Why didn’t you go and see them?”

Kira tried to avoid the question. “Well, this right here is taking a bit longer than I thought it would. I have to get it done before the Archangel leaves port.”

“Liar!” She screamed, slamming her hands on the desk. “You feel sorry for me, don’t you?!”

“No, Flay, that’s not it.” Kira tried to explain. He reached out to her, but she slapped his hands away.

“You feel sorry for me because my parents are dead and nobody’s here to see me, don’t you?!” she accused. “Well, I don’t need your sympathy and I don’t want it!” Looking at Kira’s pained face only fueled her anger. “Poor, sad, and lonely Kira cries all the time! You’re pathetic!” She then hit him in the chest. “Why do I need any sympathy from the likes of you anyway?!” She then began to cry.

“Just stop it, Flay.” Kira whispered, “If that’s how you feel, then let’s just end this. This whole thing was a stupid mistake.”

She stopped sniffling and glared at him. “What? What did you say?”

They didn’t say anything and only stared at one another. Flay couldn’t stand it anymore. She pushed him out of the way and ran out of the room crying. Kira just sighed and looked, realizing that Michael was still there and had witnessed the fight.

“Sorry you had to see that.”

“Yeah, me too.” Michael said, “Look, I have to get going, so I’ll leave you alone. This was nice meeting you.” He then exited, leaving Kira all by himself.

“Oh, how did it come to this?” Kira muttered to himself.


In another room, away from where the refugee and their parents were Kira’s mother and father, Kalida and Haruma Yamato. They sat and waited until Uzumi finally arrived. He politely bowed to the couple.

“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Yamato.” He greeted them. “I regret that we have to meet under these circumstances.”

“I know, you once said we’d never had to meet like this again.” Kalida said. There was no hiding her anger.

“Yes, but it doesn’t change that the children have met each other now.” Uzumi said, sitting down.

“We never expected this whole mess.” Haruma muttered. “Heliopolis being attacked, him joined the Earth Forces, and in the course crossing paths with his sister.”

“The blame for what happened to Heliopolis falls squarely on my shoulders.” Uzumi sighed.

“No, there isn’t anything to blame yourself with, Lord Uzumi.” Kalida said, “Besides, there’s nothing you can do about it now.”

”Yes, but now the problem is what to do next.” Uzumi folded his hands. “That’s why I needed to speak with you both.”

Mr. and Mrs. Yamato looked at each other and then by to Uzumi.

“In the end, we mustn’t tell Kira the truth about the circumstances of his birth or of his real parents.” Kalida said.

“And not even about his sister.” Haruma added, “No matter what, it’s in both their best interests that they never find out the truth.”

“I understand.”

“And please let this be the very last time we meet like this, Lord Uzumi.” Kalida pleaded.

“Of course.” Uzumi nodded and stood to leave. But as he headed for the door, he stopped and added, “I must ask why you think he declined to see you today.”

Kalida slumped her shoulders and Haruma stiffened.

“Well, all he said was ‘I don’t want to see them right now.” He said, his voice slightly filled with hope. However, it made him and his wife sad to be separated from their only child for so long. “Could you please ask him again before he departs?”

“Certainly, it’s the very least I can do.” Uzumi said and he left.


Back outside, the Zala Team had finally regrouped. It was enaring day’s end, but none of their searches had revealed any information. In fact, the only one of them who the closest to gaining access to Morgenroete was Cade thanks to his hacking skills. However, even that approach was a dead end.

“So did you guys find out anything?” Yzak asked as Nicol and Athrun walked up.

Before they could answer, “Excuse us!” an unfamiliar voice called out to them.

Everyone looked and spotted a group of people waving over to them. If their attire was any inclination, the trio was part of the Junk Guild, and accompanying them was a small girl. The apparent leader wore a yellow vest and blue headband and his brown hair stood straight up. They knew that the Junk Techs had mistaken them for actually employees, their uniform had its advantages and its shortcomings.

“Where’s Dock Number 2?” the stranger asked.

“Well, uh…” Nicol stammered.

“Ah, crap.” Dearka muttered

“Come on, let’s get rid of them.” Yzak said, reaching for the gun hidden inside his uniform.

“No, wait.” Athrun said, “I’ll take of this.” He stepped in front of his team. “”Sorry, but we’re actually new here!” He called over to the Junk Techs. “Can you ask someone else?”

“Oh, all right.” The apparent leader replied, “Sorry to bother you guys.” After that, the group turned about face and left.

When they were gone, Athrun leaned closer to his teammates. “Come on, let’s find a quieter place to talk.” He led the team away.


Back in the Astray lab, another demonstration was underway. Instead of moving around clumsily, the M1 dashed around with such agility and quickness that some of the observers couldn’t believe that it was the same machine.

“This is too awesome!” Asagi exclaimed as she piloted the mobile suit. She thrust the arms in swift, fluid motions.

Kira explained his modifications to the OS as the demonstration progressed. “I rewrote the ion pump’s molecular structure, constructed a new quantum subroutine, thereby elevating the synapse fusion’s regeneration velocity by over forty percent, which makes it suitable for the nerve junctions of a Natural.”

“This is truly remarkable.” Erica said in admiration, “And you were able to do all this in such a short time. You’ve even better than I thought.”

But Kira was too depressed to appreciate the praise and didn’t reply.

Even La Flaga observed the demonstration with great interest. “Do you think I’d get the same results if I tried piloting that machine?”

“Oh, I’m sure.” Erica answered, “Would you care to try?”

“Maybe later, but I appreciate the offer.”

Erica went over to the intercom. “Asagi, that’s enough for now. You can get out now.”

“Okay.” Asagi said and parked the machine.

Once the demonstration had ended, the other pilots, Mayura and Juri snuck up beside him.

“Hey, Kira,” Juri said, throwing her arm around his shoulders, “how old are you?”

“Back off, Juri.” Mayura countered. “Don’t you already have a boyfriend? You know, Lowe?”

“What, I’m just asking him his age, that’s all.”

Mayura just smirked. “So do you have a girlfriend?”

Kira couldn’t believe them and the way they would carry on. The flirtatious nature of theirs was making him nervous, and it gave a sense of what Michael had told him. Now all he wanted was to make some sort of escape from this awkward situation.

Cagalli saved the day. “Sorry you two, but Kira does have a girlfriend.”

Mayura was clearly disappointed. “Really?” she sulked. “Why do all the good guys end up taken?”

Juri simply sighed.

Kira thought of Flay and her outburst earlier. Sure, she hadn’t been the whole reason he didn’t go see his parents, but she was a part of it. He felt reasonable for her father’s death, so he would’ve felt guilty about seeing his parents, and he didn’t want to leave her all alone. Yet, she completely rejected his kindness and responded with hostility. He wondered how their relationship could survive, but he reminded himself that he didn’t love her and without love, there was no relationship. Now they just clung to each other out of simple loneliness. The little fling of theirs was just a mess from the very start, he realized that now.

He decided to leave the observation room, followed by La Flaga and Birdy. His robotic pet flew several circles around him before finally landing on his shoulder.

“Kira, what’s been bothering you?” La Flaga asked.

“What?” Kira said over his shoulder, “I don’t know what you mean.”

“You got a gloomy look on your face.” La Flaga replied, “You got a compliment from a superb engineer and hit on by a couple of cute girls, but you act like you don’t care.”

“I just got a lot on my mind, that’s all.” Kira stepped on to the elevator and waited for La Flaga to push the button.

“Mind if I ask you something?” the older man asked, “Why’d you turn down the chance to see your parents?”

Kira didn’t answer.

“Kira?”

Kira sighed. “I just can’t see them, I’m a soldier now.”

“So what?” La Flaga shrugged. “Just because you’re a soldier now doesn’t mean you’re not their son anymore. Don’t you want to see them?”

”Well, sure I do. It’s just that I don’t have the time.”

“Time?”

Kira folded his arms. “I have to help develop and maintain mobile suits. Why? Because it’s what I’m good at.” That wasn’t fully the reason. The truth was that he couldn’t bring himself to see them, after all the lives he had taken. But there was something else.

La Flaga took a step closer. “I’m sure you can afford at least a short break.”

“If I did see them, I’m afraid I’d end up asking the wrong question.” Kira finally admitted, “I’m afraid I’d ask them why the hell they decided to have me be a Coordinator.”

The elevator door opened and suddenly Birdy spread its wings and flew off. Kira quickly gave chase, following his robotic pet as it flew across the factory and out an open hatch. He knew that he was prohibited from actually leaving the site, but if he didn’t Birdy now, he might not ever.

“Birdy, get back here!”


Nearby, the Zala Team finally found a secluded spot away from any possible eavesdropping.

“So, did anyone find out anything?” Yzak asked, irritated.

Athrun and Nicol shook their heads.

“Well, it’s not like they’d leave it sitting at a military port.” Dearka said before he turned to Cade, “What about hacking into their system?”

”That’s a no go.” Cade said, “Their system’s multi-layered so I couldn’t get into it too far. Besides, even I could, there were too many prying eyes.”

“Great.” Yzak muttered, “What do we do now?” Everyone looked to Athrun, waiting for orders.

“We’ll try again tomorrow.” He finally said, “For now let’s get back to the rendezvous point.”

Everybody nodded, though frustrated. They all continued walking, watching the inhabitants as the walked to and from work.

“Geez, people sure are calm.” Yzak sneered, “Don’t they realize there’s a war going on here?”

“But they’re not involved in the fighting.” Nicol reminded him. “Why should they concerned with when all they want is peace?”

”Yeah, peace is nice.” Dearka nodded, “This is nice place, and the girls here are cute.”

”Well, I won’t argue with on that.” Cade said.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Yzak asked, annoyed. “And when did you two start to be interested in girls all of a sudden?”

”What, even Natural girls are hot.” Dearka replied.

Yzak sighed in annoyance.

“All right, knock it off.” Athrun interjected, “Let’s hurry back.” Before he could take another step, he heard a faint sound above him and looked up. It took him a moment to realize what it was that got his attention. He recognized Birdy and stretched out his hand. His robotic creation spotted him landed on his palm. If Birdy was here, then knew that Kira couldn’t be far away.

His companions gathered around and stared at the robot.

“What’s that thing?” Yzak wondered.

“Wow, it’s a robotic bird.” Nicol said.

“Talk about workmanship.” Cade commented, “I wonder who made it.”

Athrun then looked up to see somebody in a technician’s uniform rushing towards him on the other side of the fence. His heart raced when he recognized who it was.


Kira stopped short when he saw that Athrun was right in front of him. He then noticed the five other young men standing with Athrun. They all wore uniforms similar to his. He wondered if they all were ZAFT soldiers, and if so, how and when did they sneak into Orb? Then Athrun walked up to the fence and Kira wondered what was going to happen next.

“Is this yours?” Athrun asked.

At first Kira was confused by what he was doing. But then he realized that Athrun was protecting him. He didn’t want his companions to find out his identity as the Strike’s pilot.

Kira reached out to take Birdy back. “Yes, thank you.” He recalled the day when he received the gift. So much had changed since then and not for the better. “A dear friend of mine gave this to me.” He said, playing along. “I treasure this very much.”


A short distance away, Erica was driving Cagalli across the site. Cagalli was disappointed that she had missed the latest test on the M1 Astray, but she heard all about from Asagi, Mayura, and Juri. She leaned her back and happened to look to the side. She immeadatily saw Kira, and a split second later, she saw that he was talking to Athrun. Did he realize that he was speaking with a ZAFT soldier? “Stop the car!” she yelled.

Erica skidded to a halt and Cagalli leapt out. “Kira!” she called out.

Kira turned to see her running towards him. He looked back to where Athrun had been and found that he and his companions were leaving. For a moment he thought he’d never see his friend again, but he knew that wouldn’t be the case. They’d meet each other on the battlefield sooner or later. Cagalli stood alongside him.

“Kira…”

But he didn’t say anything and just walked away.

_________________
"That's the problem with plutonium, Craven; it's limited in its application. It's not user-friendly. But as a vehicle for regaining one's self-respect; oh, it's got a lot going for it!"
- Darius Jedburgh, Edge of Darkness, Episode 6, Fusion


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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:27 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:07 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Somewhere in Kansas
New Phase 27

Murrue, Natarle, and Neumann stood on the bridge of the Archangel, watching as the final repairs to the ship were nearing completion. At the rate the work was being done, they were sure to be able to leave as early as the next day. Kisaka had arrived to discuss any recent developments in the war. He had certainly cleaned up since the last time the officers last saw him. His face was now clean shaven, his hair was now tied back, and he wore a clean Orb military uniform. He looked considerably different than the first time they had met him in the desert.

“As you are aware, there are rumors that strongly indicate that ZAFT is preparing to launch an attack on Panama.” He said. “Because Carpentaria has been buzzing with activity, those rumors appear to be accurate. You might be able to reach Alaska without drawing attention.”

Murrue waited for him to continue, but he seemed to be done. “Is that all?”

”I’m afraid so.” He nodded, “We’re sort of in a delicate position with this. We want to gather enough intelligence to keep us informed, but we don’t want to pry too far and rouse suspicion from either the Earth Alliance or ZAFT.”

Murrue suspected that he indeed knew more than he let on, but she couldn’t argue. Orb had been extremely helpful already and the news did provide useful details. With ZAFT gearing up to take down Porta Panama, which had the last mass driver left in the Alliance’s hands, they wouldn’t have time to search for the Archangel. However, at the same time she feared what would happen if Panama did indeed fall.

“Even if we are pursued,” Neumann chimed in, “once we reach the Topic of Cancer, we’ll in the range of Alaska’s air defenses. They probably won’t even chase us once we get that far.” He had grown more confident now that they were nearing their destination.

Murrue on the other hand would allow herself to relax until they actually arrived at JOSH-A. “What about the unit that followed us here?” she asked Kisaka, “Has there been any sign of it?”

He shook his head. “No, not for the past several days.”

“Do you think they’ve withdrawn?”

“It’s possible.” Kisaka did have some doubts, but wasn’t sure if he should voice them.

Natarle then spoke abruptly, changing the subject. “Is it in fact true that Representative Attha knew nothing about this ship and the mobile suits being built by Morgenroete?”

“Lieutenant Badgiruel!” Murrue scolded.


But Kisaka held up his hand. “Yes, that is true.” He answered, “After some increasing pressure from the Atlantic Federation, a number of Orb’s cabinet members, led by the Seiran family, eventually authorized the use of Heliopolis as the location to development the Archangel and the Gundams.” He paused. “All of this happened without Lord Uzumi’s knowledge, and when he did discover the facts, it was too late for him to do anything.”

Natarle lowered her eyes.

“It may sound naïve, but Lord Uzumi believes in the stance he has taken and will continue to support it, no matter how difficult it may be.”

“I understand completely.” Murrue realized that the path of peace was difficult to stay on than the path of war.

It was time for Kisaka to return to his duties. Even though it wasn’t necessary, Murrue, Natarle, and Neumann saluted him out of respect.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done for us, Colonel.”

He politely returned the gesture. “You helped me as well.” He said, “Even though I have no family still living there, I was born in Tassil.” He referred to the town burned to the ground during their fight with Andrew Waltfeld. “And thanks to you I was finally able to bring the headstrong, runaway princess back home. I should thank you for that most of all.”


Back on the Cousteau, the Zala Team waited inside the briefing room.

“What do you mean we’re now going to just sit here and wait?” Yzak demanded.

Athrun had just cancelled the plan to return to Onogoro. There was no need to go back now that he knew that Kira was there. That was all the proof he needed. However, he couldn’t tell anyone just how he knew. “We need to wait here until we get restocked with new supplies. There’s a cargo ship en route from Carpentaria.”

“And then what are we suppose to do?” Dearka asked.

“We’ll wait to ambush the legged ship.”

The team looked to each other, obviously confused.

“Exactly how are we going to do that?” Nicol asked.

“We are going to wait for them in this spot.” He pointed to a spot on the map, but there wasn’t anything but the ocean. “Once they leave Orb’s territory, that’s when we launch the surprise attack.”

“Oh, and how can you be sure that it’s even still there?” Yzak wanted to know.

Athrun hesitated. “Just trust me.” He finally said.

Yzak huffed and tossed a cup across the table.

“What if you’re wrong?” Dearka asked.

“I’m not.” Athrun assured them. “We already know they’re heading for Alaska. We’re bound to run into them as they head north.”

Yzak slumped into a chair. Since Athrun was the commander, he’d follow his order. But if this ambush plan failed, which he was certain it would, then Athrun would more than likely be demoted. If so, then that would maybe his chance to take over and take the team to victory.


Later, Athrun sat on the deck of the submarine, watching as the ship from Carpentaria dropped off supplies. Once its task was complete, it departed and the Cousteau’s captain, Monroe approached him. Even though he was three decades Athrun’s senior, his vessel was temporarily under the youth’s command.

“Are you certain you’d like to wait here for the next few days?” he asked.

“Yes.” Athrun answered. He knew that nearly everyone on board had doubts about his leadership abilities, but he knew he was making the right choice.

“It’s only that Operation Spit Break is drawing close and many of the men here would very much like to take part in it.”

“I’m sure they would, but this mission is equally vital.”

Monroe scratched his head. ”I know, but it’s just that if we stay here and nothing happens, many of our troops could die at Panama. Standing around and doing nothing wouldn’t sit too well with the crew.”

“Yes, I understand, and if I’m wrong, you have my permission to bring it up at review.”

“Very well, sir.” Monroe saluted and left.

Athrun had never been so frustrated or felt so isolated before. Sure, it’d be easy to explain how he’d recognized Kira. But if he did, he’d more than likely lose their trust after that had been friends with someone now fighting for the Earth Alliance.

“Athrun.”

He turned to find both Nicol and Cade walking up to him. “What brings you out here?”

“I thought you could use the company.” Nicol answered.

Cade shrugged. “I just had to get away from Yzak and Dearka’s complaining.”

They took a seat next to Athrun. Suddenly Nicol pointed out to the water. “Look, flying fish!” he said, “Aren’t they amazing?”

Athrun couldn’t help but grin at Nicol’s delight at every new sight he laid eyes on. Ever since they first landed Nicol took notice of everything from the color of the water to clouds in the sky. He almost forgot about his frustrations and worries.

“Something bothering you, Athrun?” Cade asked. “I know Yzak and Dearka have been giving you some grief lately.”

”I’m fine.”

“Well, no matter what, I trust your decisions, Athrun.” Nicol said, “Or rather, I trust your decisions, Commander.”

Athrun sensed his younger comrade’s respect. He thought that Nicol looked up to him as though he were an older brother. At the same time, he wondered how an artistic and compassionate person became a mobile suit pilot trained to kill. And he wondered how Cade ended up with their team in the first place. “You guys mind if I ask you why you joined the military.”

Nicol appeared to be startled by the question. “Well, for me it’s just because of what happened to Junius Seven. It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Athrun was surprised. If not for the war, Nicol would probably be performing proper concerts as he so desired, yet his patriotism and sense of duty led him to fight to protect other Coordinators. “I know, Nicol, that’s the same reason I joined.” He then turned to his other comrade. “So what about you, Cade?”

”Well, I had already volunteered and was in the military about three months by the time of Junius Seven.” He replied, “I had thought that a military career would be a fulfilling choice for me and I had somewhat been interested in doing so for the past several years.”

“So then what did you do early on before joining our team?” Nicol asked.



“I was with the Baird Team.” Cade then pulled a photo out and showed it to his comrades. In the photo was him and several others in humorous poses. “This was Commander Nathaniel Baird.” He said, pointing to a mustached man in the photo. “This was Kevin Throne, James Tyers, Marcus Dell, Yosef Kaminksy, and Gabriel Rodriguez.” His finger went to each face as he spoke the names.

“What happened?” Athrun asked.

“We were fighting at the Endymion Crater.” Cade explained.

Athrun and Nicol guessed where the story was going. During the early part of the war, the ZAFT forces had planned to storm the base and then capture it, thereby allowing them to use it as a point to launch attacks on the Alliance’s Ptolemaeus base. However, the battle ended in failure for ZAFT.

Cade continued his story. “As we were nearing the base, this mobile armor unlike we’d seen before came out of nowhere. It was the same kind that was with the legged ship for a time. It attacked and deployed these pod things and they opened fire, damaging my GINN. I was ordered back to the ship and by the time I got there, I tired to contact the others, but something was happening. All I heard were the screams of my teammates, and then I saw this strange light enveloping the crater. Then there was an explosion and when I tried to contact them again, there was no answer. That’s when I knew that they were all dead.”

By his tone, Athrun guessed that Cade went through survivor’s guilt. He had somehow survived, but the rest of his team was killed and there wasn’t anything he could’ve done for them.

“So then where did you go from there?” Nicol asked.

“I received transfer orders and was placed with the Hawkins Team.” Cade went on, “It wasn’t pleasant. The only guy there I actually got along with was a guy named Heine Westenfluss. He was a nice guy. Anyway, I was with them for the operation to capture Nova before we took it and renamed it Boaz. Afterwards, a few weeks later, that’s when I got word that I was to be transferred to the Le Creuset Team. And that’s pretty much it.”


Back in Orb, Cagalli rushed through her room and packed as quickly as she could. Her maid, Mahna, had offered to help her, but Cagalli knew she’d only slow her down. Cagalli now had to hurry if she was going to depart with the Archangel. With the completion of the repair work, the ship was scheduled to leave later that every morning, with or without her. After all, she wasn’t an official crewman on board. She grabbed an extra red shirt and then shuddered. It reminded her of Athrun’s red flightsuit. When she saw him across from Kira, she couldn’t understand how he was able to sneak into Onogoro. Even worse, she worried that Kira may have unintentional slipped something out about the Archangel and/or the Strike. After all, how could he have known that Athrun was a ZAFT pilot?

She had asked Kira about it later, but all he said was that Athrun had caught Birdy for him. Afterwards he started to act a little strangely, however she thought it was because of the pressure he was under. He was carrying a heavy burden, working long hours as the only person capable of piloting the Gundam. And he had killed his own brethren, and that would haunt anyone. Now she understood why it was so upsetting for him to kill Andrew Waltfeld. It wasn’t easy taking the life of a person you’ve met face to face.

There then was a knock at the door and the person entered without waiting to be invited in. She turned to see that it was her father.

He looked at her luggage. “So you’re planning to leave with that ship?”

“Yes.” She answered, not looking at him.

Uzumi watched his daughter. While they didn’t resemble each other outwardly, both shared the same stubborn personality. “So you’ve chosen to be an Earth Alliance soldier and wage war against the PLANTs? Are you really that eager to fight?”

“I’m not going to be an Earth Alliance soldier!” she replied, “And it’s not that I want to fight!”

“Then what is it?”

“I just have to help them.” She told him, “I have to help them end this damned war as quickly as possible.”

”Fighting along won’t end things.” Her father said to her.

Cagalli suddenly recalled what Kira had said the other day, about how even Orb joined the fighting, people would still die. Then she thought what Andrew Waltfeld had said what seemed like such a long time ago. Unlike in sports, the game of war has no set time limit and no points are awarded, so how do you determine the winners and losers? Does it end when all your enemies are dead? “But that’s not the point.” She hated these sort of arguments with her father.

“If you were to kill someone’s husband, how would his wife feel?”

Cagalli’s felt her heart jump at the question.

“Or if you kill someone’s son, how would his mother feel?”

”Please stop.” Cagalli pleaded. She didn’t want to think about that.

“I only ask because I know if someone killed you that I would hate that person with all my heart.”

Cagalli shook her head. “But I have to go! I just can’t sit around here, watching and pretending like nothing’s wrong.”

Uzumi slammed his fist against the wall. “War isn’t simply about taking up arms!” he shouted, “Shooting and killing each other won’t end anything. You must study the roots of war, Cagalli. Find the causes of war and use that to find peace.”

His words went straight to her heart and she knew that he was right. She now wouldn’t be going with the Archangel.


Down in the hanger, Tolle had finally cornered Murdoch. Now he was trying to convince the older man to allow him to pilot the second Skygrasper. He certainly had been practicing on the simulations whenever he had the chance, now he had the confidence to try out the real thing. Kira and La Flaga watched on as he made his case.

“Please.” He pleaded. “It’ll be just for aerial surveillance and supporting the Strike.”

Murdoch wasn’t sure, seeing what had happened when Cagalli piloted the machine last time. “Well, it would be helpful if both machines were being used to defend the ship, and it’ll make things a bit easier for delivering the different packs to the Strike. I guess we can give it a go.”

Tolle jumped in the air in triumph. “You won’t regret this, sir.” He smiled.

“I certainly hope not.”

Tolle turned to Kira and saw his friend’s worried expression. “Hey, don’t worry.” He said, “After all, you and La Flaga can’t do everything by yourselves. Everybody’s got to do their part here. I bet you haven’t heard that even Sai has been brushing up on military strategies.”

”Wow, really?” Kira asked. That indeed was surprising to hear.

Tolle nodded. “We are soldiers, you know.”


A short time later, the Archangel was preparing for departure. Water flowed into the docking bay as alarms sounded. The crew had been notified that there wasn’t any sign of enemy vessels and everything was on schedule.

“Captain, there’s a message from Uzumi Attha.” Pal informed Murrue. “He wishes to have Ensign Yamato come to the upper deck.”

Murrue nodded and the message immeadatily reached Kira. He hurried to the deck and waited to see what was going on. He looked about, when he spotted someone running along the pier. He had to look closely before he recognized that it was Cagalli, who now was wearing her Orb uniform. He was glad he’d be able to see her once more before departing. Although he feared that she’d try to force her way on board. She rushed up the gangplank, running out of breath.

“Kira,” she panted and pointed over to observation booth, “your parents are over there!”

He spun around. He indeed saw Uzumi, Erica, and some others in the booth, but he quickly saw his parents in the front row. He could see his mother calling his name, but he couldn’t hear her. He felt overwhelmed by emotion. He was afraid to see them, but now he deeply wished he had talked to them. There were so many things he wanted to tell them, but now there wasn’t any time. So many things had happened since the last time he saw them and he longed for the day when the fighting was over and he would make up for lost time. But that day seemed so far away. Fighting back tears, he waved to them finally.

“Cagalli, will you please tell them something for me?”

”Of course.”

”Please tell them that I’m sorry.”

“That’s it?”

Kira nodded, too chocked up to say anymore.

“Take care of yourself, Kira.” She said, suddenly throwing her arms around him. “Don’t get killed out there.”

Kira returned the hug. “I promise.”

After she let him go, he waved to his parents one last time and went back into the ship. Once Cagalli had returned to the booth, the Archangel’s engines roared to life and the ship left on the final leg of its long trek.


On the Cousteau, Athrun hurried to the commander center when he heard the news. “Are you absolutely sure?”

Monroe pointed to the screen. “Yes, it’s too large to be a normal cargo ship.” Now he felt foolish for doubting the youth. He was right all along.

“Prepare for battle.” Athrun told him and he hurried to the docking area where the others waited.

As they boarded their machines, Yzak and Dearka were stunned that Athrun had been correct.

“I told you Athrun was right!” Nicol told them.

Just then, Athrun arrived and quickly got inside the Aegis. He was felled with a deep resolve. Today was the day he’d take down the Archangel and Strike. Even if it meant killing a former friend…


In the Archangel’s hanger, Kira sat in the Strike, knowing what was going to happen. Murdoch had teased him, thinking it was just paranoia, however knew that Athrun and the other ZAFT pilots would attack once the ship was outside of Orb’s territory. After a few minutes of waiting, klaxons blared.

On the bridge, Pal looked at his console. “We have five contacts closing in rapidly!” he called out, “It’s the Aegis, Duel, Buster, Blitz, and Panzer!”

“We’ll try to shake them first!” Murrue shouted, “But prepare for anti-mobile suit and anti-submarine combat!”

Natarle knew what would be needed. “ECM at maximum! Ready the smokescreens!”

Kira meanwhile was fitted with the Aile Striker pack and moved onto the upper deck of the ship. He knelt the Strike down and hadn’t activated the Phase Shift yet. Off in the distance, he could see the shapes of the enemy mobile suits aboard Gulls, heading their way. Around him, a thick layer of smoke began to envelop the ship. Now all he had to do was wait for the enemies to move in closer.

“You ready, kid?” La Flaga asked as prepped for launch.

“Yeah.” Tolle replied, obviously nervous. It was to be expected, what if this being his first battle.

“Don’t be so tense. All you have to do is spot from the air and assist the Strike. Good luck out there!” La Flaga then took off.

Tolle held his breath. This was different then the simulation, now that he felt the gravitational forces of an actual launch. Before he knew it, he was up in the sky. As he cleared the smoke, the Duel suddenly appeared to his right. He yelled in fright and instinctively pulled back on the controls. His Skygrasper swerved and the Duel’s shot missed him.

“Not bad!” La Flaga’s voice complimented. “Okay, I’ll leave you to support the Strike.”

”Got it.” Tolle switched his attention towards his task. He could see the enemy Gundams and quickly entered their coordinates. With them, both the Strike and Archangel would be able to target them.

As the Zala Team got in close to the cloud of smoke, two green beams erupted from it. The Gull carrying the Panzer took a severe hit and Cade was already out of the battle. As his watched his comrade make an emergency landing, Athrun cursed under his breath. The loss of the Panzer’s firepower would mean the battle would be prolonged and they still didn’t know where the Strike was. Just then the Strike came out of hiding, ambushing the Buster and Duel. With the element of surprise, Kira quickly fired, destroying both Gulls and removing them from the battle as well. The Strike then disappeared into the smoke.

Athrun couldn’t believe that it was already down to him and Nicol. He swooped down, but as he did, another volley from the Gottfrieds nearly took off the Aegis’ head. Quickly following that attack was a barrage from the Wombats, and Athrun had no choice but to fall back. The battle plan was failing miserably.


Kira landed on the deck of the Archangel, ready to exchange equipment. With the nearby small islands, he wouldn’t need to fully engage in an aerial battle.

“Strike, get ready for the Sword Striker.” Miriallia hailed over the comlink.

“I’m on my way.” Tolle’s voice replied. “Ready to deliver the sword.”

“Got it!” Kira shouted, jumping into the air, ejecting his present pack.

Tolle launched the Sword Striker pack, hoping this maneuver would work. It always had in the simulations, but a midair exchange was still risky. Kira felt the equipment latch on and knew that it was a success. He fired his thrusters and engaged the nearby Blitz. The Blitz fired its Gleipnir, but Kira countered with the Panzer Eisen, and the two weapons collided with each other. Not wasting a second, the Blitz aimed its Trikeros and fired. Kira swung the Schwert Gewehr, cutting down the Lancer Darts with ease. Tolle’s Skygrasper suddenly swooped down and opened fire on the Blitz.

“Tolle!” Kira cried out, rushing the preoccupied enemy Gundam. He slashed down, taking off the Blitz’s right arm and followed with a hard kick, knocking the Blitz off. He then high jacked the Gull and went after the Aegis.


Athrun closed in, firing on the Strike. Kira hurled the Midas Messer beam boomerang, but it was easily dodged. The two clashed back and forth, each refusing to yield. Kira had to move in close, but Athrun would keep trying to stay a safe distance away. Kira thought of a quick plan. He fired the Panzer Eisen, grappling the Gull underneath Athrun and jerked back. The sudden jerk forward, disoriented Athrun for just a moment, but it was long enough for the Midas Messer to be thrown and cut into the Gull. The craft exploded, but the Aegis leapt into the air, transforming into its mobile armor form. Kira was caught by surprise as the Aegis’ Scylla fired. He dodged, but his captured Gull was caught in the path and was destroyed. Kira knew he had to dodge that weapon at all costs, for he knew that it could easily damage, if not destroy the Strike. He hurried and landed back on the deck of the Archangel, with the Aegis in pursuit. Both Gundams had used a heavy amount of energy and their power was nearly drained.

“Heads up, kid!” La Flaga’s voice suddenly broke in.

Kira looked up to see the other Skygrasper coming in from behind him. He ejected the Sword Striker pack, now ready to receive the Launcher Striker pack. He then checked the Aegis’ present location and the sensors found it was on a small island nearby. Kira took the Strike, moving away from the Archangel.

“Ensign Yamato, where are you going?” Natarle’s voice shouted through the comlink.

But Kira didn’t hear her. The only thing he could hear was his own heartbeat.


Athrun evaded the stream of fire coming from the Archangel until he reached a patch of deep foliage. He thought he found some suitable cover until his proximity alarm sounded. He moved to the side as a crimson and sapphire beam tore through the trees, burning them to the ground. He looked to see the Strike once more, this time aiming the large Agni weapon at him.

“Athrun, you’ve lost this battle.” Kira said to him over the channel, “Go ahead and retreat already.”

But Athrun wasn’t ready to give up yet. He aimed his beam rifle and began to fire wildly. “I’m not giving one reason, Kira!” he replied, “We both knew this day would come, and one of us is going down!” He fired more, but the Strike continued to dodge. He squeezed the trigger, but nothing happened, no beam came from the rifle. The Phase Shift abruptly fell and the Aegis turned to a dull grey. In his rage, Athrun failed to notice the alarms warning him of his critically low energy levels. He now stood petrified. Without his Phase Shift, any weapon Kira could use would tear the Aegis apart like it was nothing.

“Athrun, get back!” Nicol’s voice suddenly broke in.

Athrun looked to see a faint shadow suddenly appear as the Blitz seemed to just materialize between him and Kira. Nicol had used the Mirage Colloid to get within striking distance and now brandished a javelin-like weapon, moving in for the kill.

Kira, already in an adrenaline rush, instinctively aimed the Agni at the enemy mobile suit and fired at close range. The crimson and sapphire beam tore through the Blitz and the Gundam was knocked back.

Athrun watched as the Blitz fell, and as did, he heard something disturbing. Nicol’s voice screamed in agony, but then the channel abruptly went dead and mere seconds later, the Blitz exploded in flash of blinding white light. When the light from the explosion faded, the Blitz was no more.

Athrun couldn’t believe what just happened, for it was all over in an instant. One moment the Blitz had been in front of him, now all that remained were scattered and charred pieces. “Nicol!” he screamed loudly.

_________________
"Aaahh!"-The last words of many a mobile suit pilot.


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