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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:06 am 
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well its been a while since I posted at MAHQ and even longer since I posted in this thread, so here goes.

The Minervas a K.O.ed, and looks like a fat chance of it being repaired anytime soon.
Rey might be dead!
Kira's going with Neo, chance of a new M.S.?
Haven't seen many of those Jupiter units yet, nor much on them.

Once more great work and keep it up, I really enjoy your story and gets me moving on my Gundam fic a bit when I read it.

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:20 am 
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Episode 24: Phantom Pains

Hundreds of gulls speckle the bluish-gray sky, riding the rising currents of hot air floating upward from the narrow straits where the Mediterranean Sea empties into the vast Atlantic. Huddled inside a massive dry-dock facility at ZAFT's Gibraltar naval base like a great injured bird of prey, the Minerva sleeps silently. Dozens of mechanics swarm over the ship's outer hull, welding on new plates of armor and repairing damaged parts of the ship. Talia stares absently at the Minerva's prone form through window in one of the squat brown buildings near the coast. Sitting at a small desk in a cramped, dark room, Talia is busy filling out the various repair and requisition forms necessary for the Minerva's repair. Finished one stack of papers, Talia uncovers a smaller file paper-clipped together. At the top of the file is the stock photo of Rey za Burrel. Looking away, almost wistfully, Talia mentally apologizes to Durandel for failing to keep "him" safe.

Arthur Trine enters the room suddenly; Talia salutes him, and Arthur follows suit. Arthur hands Talia a bright-red folder, and tells her that as soon as the Minerva's repairs are complete, she will be reassigned to ZAFT's newly-formed First Terrestrial Fleet. Talia effects a small smile and says that it will be nice not to be fighting all alone for a change. Arthur shrugs, agreeing. Arthur then comments that it's about time ZAFT took the offensive in the war with Atlas--they need to concentrate on getting rid of their enemies first, and help the civilians of the planet second. Talia tells Arthur he has it backwards, and Arthur laughs happily. Either way, he says, their first duty is to peace, order and honor.

In an large, ornate meeting room a giant television screen flashes to life across an entire wall. On it, a half dozen new Maab-class carriers float high in the atmosphere, the bottoms of their hulls just barely scraping against the top layer of clouds. One by one the twin catapult decks on each of the carriers lifts open, and the magnetic rails extend forward, firing off dozens of enhanced CGUE mobile suits. The CGUEs spiral in a loose circle around the fleet as more and more are spewed forth from the aerial carriers. As the hangar decks close, a great host of more than two-hundred CGUEs spirals down. The image on the screen passes by the Maab carriers, following the CGUEs down to their terrestrial target.

The CGUEs spin down to the Atlas fortress--almost the size of a small city--spread out over the alps in the rudimentary shape of a pinwheel. As the CGUEs get lower, they begin firing off missiles at the base; Atlas mobile suits fire back, taking cover where they can. Windams explode and CGUEs trail down to earth spewing tails of flame. Explosions rock the fortress as more and more CGUEs land. The Atlas mobile suits fall back toward the center of the base, to gather all of their firepower in a single spot. At this point, the ZAFT forces halt their attack and the CGUEs move out to the periphery of the fortress. The Atlas soldiers feel relieved at the lull in the action and hurriedly begin making preparations of a long siege. In the clouds high above, the Maab carriers position themselves directly above the Atlas positions. The underside of each main hangar module slides open revealing massive banks of missiles. In a single moment thousands of small missiles fly down, shot from the carriers like bullets from a gun. Silently, the needle-like missiles pierce through the air and slam into the Atlas fortifications. Thousands of small explosions cover the fortress and in a flash the building are leveled; everything is annihilated.

In London, a small, nervous looking man with red hair and wide-rimmed glasses skitters through the hall of a large government building, throwing frustrated glances at his wristwatch with each odd step. He looks at the Atlantic Federation guards nervously, half expecting them to attack him. Until recently, they were in a de facto state of war, after all. Reaching a large set of double doors the man stops, pauses, and smooths his suit. Quietly opening the door he steps into a large, ostentations conference room centered around a massive oaken slab. Sitting at the head of the table was the most powerful man alive--Gilbert Durandel. The man nods twice--first to Durandel, and then to Ezalia Joule--acknowledging his slight tardiness before sitting down. No one comments on his arrival and the meeting resumes without a hitch.

With a meaningful glance toward an Atlantic guard stationed at the door, Durandel states that the recent acceptance of the Destiny Plan by the Atlantic Federation has solidified Eurasia's anti-ZAFT sentiments, and led them to firmly ally themselves with the Atlas organization. With the direct backing of a major power, Durandel observes that the nature of the conflict has already swung toward a more conventional war. Although Atlas now has access to the great pools of manpower and resources of the Eurasian Confederacy, they now also have to focus on defending that large body of territory. It is only a matter of time before ZAFT completely defeats Atlas and the war ends.

Ezalia then addresses the matter of the First Fleet, informing the gathered officials that the first operation was a resounding success; Atlas has been driven from lower Germany. The officials at the table are quite pleased with this, but the red-haired man who was late raises the question of the Fleet's effectiveness without having any true terrestrial warships. Ezalia stiffens and says that it's only temporary; PLANT is having some trouble with the production of the new Minerva-class vessels, so it will be some time more before they can be added to the Fleet. Durandel states that the fleet will refrain from any major action until the Excalibur is completed. Ezalia turns to face Durandel directly and asks him if the captain for the Excalibur has been decided yet. Some time later, the meeting adjourns. The red-haired representative steps up to Durandel and thanks him. Like everyone else in the room, save Ezalia, the man was a hastily-appointed representative to PLANT's supreme council. He thanks Durandel for treating the interim council with the same level of respect that a duly elected council would receive. He then leaves. Ezalia heads to the door, then, alone on int room with Durandel. Before she exits she twists her neck to the side--slightly--and her eyes narrow. In a dangerous tone she tells Durandel that he's certainly managed to find a lot of toads to populate the room. Durandel shrugs and smiles, telling Ezalia that at the very least they'll keep the seats warm.

That night Ezalia meets with Noah Jung inside her quarters, just as a thick layer of fog falls over the streets. The sky, as it was everywhere over the isles, was still dark in the aftermath of Junon. Ezalia looked up through the window discontented. Sighing, she wishes she were further south, where the dust in the air had mostly settled. Noah sits down at a table and tells Ezalia that he finally has proof. Setting an envelope down on the table Noah withdraws several documents. He tells Ezalia that Durandel exerted no small effort to have the records completely expunged, but some copies survived.

Noah twists his mouth into a wry grin and comments that they should be thankful Durandel isn't as good at burning books as Siegel Clyne. Ezalia is not amused and Noah clears his throat. He then reveals the tangled web of relation that tied Durandel to Junon disaster. The heart of the matter was a document from CE 74, wherein Durandel labeled the abandoned L1 colonies as forbidden, essentially creating a no-man's land. It was a few weeks later that Durandel quietly released many of the Zala-loyalists that had been present on Genesis in the last days of the war from prison, including many members of Zala's inner circle. The prisoners were to be transported elsewhere, but were placed on a transport from PLANT to L4 that arrived at the L4 colonies empty. The prisoners disappeared en route.

Noah then takes out the damning evidence. Over the next several months Durandel quietly funneled small amounts of weapons--mostly mobile suits--to the abandoned L1 colonies. Included in these shipments were a grand total of two-dozen large nuclear-powered position thrusters--identical to those used to propel Junon down to earth, as well as a large number of tactical nuclear bombs. Ezalia scowls and pushes the folder and documents away, telling Noah that it's already too late. After Atlas' decapitation strike on the PLANT supreme council, Durandel was able to fill up the council seats with his pawns. No matter what kind of proof they have, the council will never support it. Noah asks if it would be possible if they had support from a third party. Ezalia says it's possible, but no such entity exists. Thanks to the Destiny Plan, Durandel is seen as the savior of humanity. The only other major player is Atlas, and that would be treason. Ezalia's brow furrows and she says that she has no intention of making the same mistake as Lacus Clyne--she will not lead PLANT into another civil war.

Noah thinks for a moment, and then suggests Meere Campbell--First Citizen of the Independent Colonies--as a possible ally. Ezalia scoffs at the notion, dismissing Meere as yet another one of Durandel's pawns. She's a puppet, Ezalia says, and one too dense to notice her own strings. Noah doesn't look convinced, however. After a moment of silence Ezalia concludes that they will just have to keep waiting, and pray that Durandel doesn't catch on to what they know. Ezalia then tells Noah that they cannot move against Durandel--covertly or overtly--until the war with Atlas is cleared up. She orders Noah to go to Istanbul and see if he can't uncover anything. Noah says that the rumors from the Minerva's interrogation were already looked into. There is no indication of any Atlas presence in Istanbul, let alone a military headquarters. Talia sighs and says that as much as she hates to admit it, Talia Gladys is a good officer and her information ought to be looked into more. Talia wasn't given the Minerva solely because she shared the Supreme Chairman's bed, Ezalia states, although that probably had something to do with it. Noah is to go to Istanbul and keep his eyes open--just in case.

At an outdoor cafe in Istanbul, dressed in clothing appropriate for the region, Neo Roanoke sits at an outdoor cafe with Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne. Unlike the coordinators, Neo's large, highly conspicuous mask, is covered under a thick tan hood. Kira and Lacus talk to each other quietly. After the meal is finished, the three stand up. Kira asks Neo if he isn't hot, with both the hood and the mask. Neo shrugs, stating evenly that his body is, unfortunately, immune to temperature. Neo then tells them to hurry up, as the longer they stand in the middle of the street the more suspicious they look. Following behind Neo and Kira as the make their way through the crowd, Lacus communes under her breath that Neo is already suspicious all by himself. Kira bumps into a hunchbacked, wrinkled old lady and pauses for a moment to apologize, bowing his head down. As he raises his head a man sitting at another cafe at the side of the street takes notice--Noah Jung.

For a moment, Noah can't quite put his finger on what it is about Kira that made him take notice. There was something familiar about him. A woman walked up beside Kira and put her arm on his, and the two turned and disappeared into the crowd. Just as they turned, Noah caught sight of the womans face--and recognized her as Lacus Clyne. Almost immediately after he realized who the man must have been, and Noah leapt from his table and made to follow. Noah followed the pair for only a few moments before an irate waitress ran up to him and threw him to the ground, dragging the confounded ZAFT spy back to the cafe to pay for his meal.

Unaware that his followers were compromised, Neo led Kira and Lacus into a small run-down hovel off of a residential alley. The three went down several flights of stairs, eventually coming to a small door. Neo smiled, almost with childlike glee, and told Lacus and Kira that they were about to see something amazing. Opening the door Neo led the two into pure darkness. A single light sprung into existence--at the helm of a small boat. Several meters beneath the streets of Istanbul, Neo, Kira and Lacus sat down in a small boat and pushed off from the dock. Peering out through the darkness in awe, Kira and Lacus see nothing to water broken apart by columns for as far as the eye can see. The boat glides silently over the water; Kira, awed, asked Neo where they are.

Neo states that long before Istanbul was Istanbul, it was Constantinople. And before it was Constantinople, it was Byzantium--one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Gesturing at the water around them Neo tells them the Romans constructed a massive underground reservoir to provide the city with a near-limitless supply of drinking water in the event of a siege. Over the millennia building were built on top of building and the reservoir became buried deeper and deeper into the ground, and eventually it was forgotten. Lacus says that it is incredible that people so long ago were able to create something so incredible. Neo tells her that even today humanity has yet to reach the same height as Rome, so long ago. Kira, confused, asks Neo what Rome was. Neo frowns, and tells Kira that he though he was a college student. Embarrassed, Kira shrugs says that he was an engineering student, in an apologetic tone. Neo says that it's too bad--there is a great deal that can be learned from history. Then sits down to face Lacus and Kira as the boat unerringly guides itself toward their destination.

Rome, he says, was the greatest civilization in the history of the world. Rome was the center of science and learning, a shining beacon of what humanity is capable of for all of history. They were an empire that ruled by force of law and order, and were able to completely master human nature and bend it to its proper roles. Humans need a single, guiding voice to lead them. To tell them what to do. They need a leader--a strong authority. Someone greater than God. Rome served that purpose in the past, but no longer. Kira smiles and tells Neo that he had no idea he was so normal. Neo smiles and agrees that he looks rather menacing with the mask. Lacus asks him why he wears it, knowing it makes him look like a villain. Kira remembers Rau le Creuset's mask. I wanted to die, Neo says, but I can't. He smiles. Neo apologize for not showing his face and removes his mask. Lacus gasps at the sight, barely visible in the dim light. The top side of Neo's face is gone, replaced by metal and circuitry. But I had to live on, Neo says, for the sake of my family.

Self-conscious, he puts the mask back on his head, telling Kira and Lacus that it helps keep him human. Without it, he would be blind and seen as a monster, no matter where he went. After a moment's silence Lacus tries to change the subject, asking Neo about the family he mentioned earlier. Neo smiles, and tells Lacus that he has a beautiful wife, and a young daughter. Gesturing at his head he tells her that they both died the same day he earned his new face. Neo states that he often wishes he died with them, but then comments that perhaps part of him did. The entire left-portion of his brain, Neo calmly informs Kira and Lacus, was destroyed. The cavity in his skull now houses a state-of-the-art computer. Ironic, he says, that it's the only way he's able to hold onto his humanity. Kira smiles and tells Neo that he has a better understanding of who he is now, and even if he can't trust Atlas Kira thinks that he can trust Neo. Neo smiles at Kira and thanks him. He is, Neo says, doing his best to create the kind of world deserving of his daughter's memory.

A slim gray door opens up from the central pillar of the Junius Four PLANT. Gilbert Durandel steps out, carefully inhaling the colony's air. A young woman approaches him and asks Durandel if he would like to rest after his trip back from Earth, but Durandel declines. She then asks him if he would like to arrange a tour of the shipyards--to check on the production of the new Minerva-class vessels and the new Excalibur--but Durandel once again declines. Waving the young woman off, Durandel tells her that he needs to be alone for a while. Pulling his long hair together behind his head and tying it together in a loose ponytail, Durandel begins to walk down the slope of the pillar's mountain alone. Some time later, Durandel comes to an isolated hill in the middle of a forest. Walking to the summit of the hill, Durandel listens to the birdsong and looks down at the small stream below. The scenery is idyllic, if artificial. At the crest of the hill, isolated completely from the rest of the colony, is a small stone tablet, bereft of marking. Durandel knees down before the grave and rubs his fingers over the stone.

Tears well in his eyes and Durandel looks up. He speaks to the grave, questioning himself. Am I doing the right thing? He asks. But it's too late, no, to turn back. The path is begun and soon I will make true the world you always wanted, Durandel says softly, I will wipe the stain of war and murder from the future of humankind forever. Durandel looks at his hands, and sees blood. In his mind he sees a broken building. People are screaming, a bomb detonates hurdling acrid black smoke out across the vista. A woman's voice calls out, panicked. A young boy with short black hair claws furiously at the rubble, tears and blood streaming down his face. He pulls a chunk of plaster away and seems a small hand, like that of a child. Frantic, he tosses more and more rubble aside, oblivious to the chaos around him. The frantic woman that had been screeching earlier runs up the the boy in the building's ruins and hugs him, crying. She then helps the black-haired boy pull the smaller child out from within the rubble.

They lay the child out on his back. He is thin, and bruises cover his body. His face is pale and his hair--normally a vibrant gold--seems ashen. The woman bends over him while the black-haired boy clenches his fist. Her ear quivers slightly as the blonde child breathes, slightly. The woman lifts the young boy, barely alive, and grabs the black-haired boy's shoulder, and they run for cover. Bodies and blood litter the area. The black-haired boy trips over the body of a gold retriever, and stares shocked at the gore of a young girl. She had been walking her dog when the bombs went off. All that was left now were bits and pieces. A jigsaw puzzle of flesh and bone. The black haired boy stifles a scream. He follows the older woman into the basement of one of the residential homes that had already been hit. He looks to his friend--the blonde-haired child--and sees that more color has returned to his face. He's still alive! The woman hugs the two boys and pulls them down. The black haired boy looks up at her and smiles.

Gilbert Durandel smiles, looking up at the pale blue sky. It was an illusion of natural daylight, of course, but it was beautiful. He cannot afford to second-guess himself now, he says.

"What would you think of me now," Durandel says, fingering the unmarked tombstone gently. "Rau le Creuset?"

Next Episode: Crucible

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:42 am 
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A few comments; This seemed to be a bit of breather episode after the massive smackdown you dished out, which is good. Even the reader needs to get his/her bearings every once in a while.

I could appreciate Durandal's motives a bit better now, but it seems that every child in CE has gone through an exceedingly violent childhood that has turned them more prone to similarly excessive methods "diplomacy". :wink: Neo talking about Rome as a justification for his cause was good, especially since he twisted history just enough to make their cause a bit more righteous. However, I did find the cyborg-Neo a bit weirder to believe. CE tech hasn't quite shown that level of finesse before, though I can't see why it couldn't. It just made Neo suddenly even more villainly (is that even a word? it is now!). :)

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:43 am 
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Well, ya' need to realize that it's not necessarily an "artificial brain." Even today we have people living normally with only half a brain--and yeah, they're no worse off than us full-brainers. All it takes is a bit of rehabilitation (for example, you'll recognize an object but won't be able to know the word) so Neo's "computer" doesn't really need to be all that sophisticated. And it need not be purely mechanical, either. I dunno... anyhow, given some stuff that happens toward the end I really need to make it clear that Jupiter-tech exceeds earth sphere-tech.

But yeah, if you think it makes Neo more villainly now (and if more people start to use it, we can MAKE it a word >_< ) just wait. I don't think I'll be spoiling much by saying he is not a good guy.

And to be fair, the only people that have had crappy childhoods (in my take) are Durandel, and to an extent Shinn--although Shinn's childhood isn't really that bad. Once we get back into space we'll get to see more of his foster parents, who are pretty good people.

One thing that really bothered me about Seed was just how... shallow Rau was as a character. I'll probably get the next episode finished fairly quickly because I've been wanting to get it out for a while... it'll focus a lot on Durandel, of course, but Rau too. Sort of a retroactive characterization.

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:26 pm 
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Even today we have people living normally with only half a brain--and yeah, they're no worse off than us full-brainers. All it takes is a bit of rehabilitation (for example, you'll recognize an object but won't be able to know the word)

I did not know that. MAHQ forums are an endless fount of information. :) I suppose I was going for the cyborg-look straight away there which probably was a leap too far.

Regarding childhoods, I was thinking of the CE lot in general (Kira, Shinn, Sven, Rau, etc.) so it is kind of funny in a sad way that most of the protagonists are seriously damaged goods in the head. That doesn't mean they couldn't live normal(ish) lives, but the ghosts of the past might not be a mere figure of speech in their case. And it's good that you intend to put some flesh on Rau's gamma-radiation bleached bones, since the man had the potential in SEED, was made a funny ghostly cameo in GSD to show how twisted the Coordinators are (Chairman of a huge military and millions of people plays chess with a ghost-friend while keeping up an existential debate mostly with himself, yes, that is they guy I want in control of things). :D So anything you can do to that to make it less.. well, insane, is good.

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*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: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:40 pm 
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Ulgh... school is taking up waaaaaay too much of my time, lately. Well, only three weeks 'till finals!

*ahem*

I've had the next episode about half-done for a few weeks... I'll try to finish tomorrow, because I fear I'll not have any other time to do it this week. So I'm posting to say... soon.

And also to reveal one more reason why I'm an eccentric fool.
[url=
http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/138/72636639hz5.png]I was actually rather sad that I missed 11111, but I figure that this is the next-best thing.[/url]

~__~

Back to the story, I'm currently trying to figure out just how bad I want Neo to be. He's always meant to be a man with strong, but misguided, convictions stemming from a tragic past... but I'm torn between him falling into "darkness" and being a truly mean villain-type character, or keep him more as an "enemy" protagonist--very much a good person, but with bad ideas.

I mean, I've already established Durandel as a "big nasty" villain, so I wonder if I need one more... Hm... well, plus a few of the surprises toward the end, I think it may be too much.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:51 am 
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Episode 25: Crucible

A narrow film of gray envelops the afternoon sky, but the blue was still there--if a shade paler--and the sun shone magnificently across the Atlantic Ocean. With most of the repairs to the Minerva finished, Gibraltar base was quiet. Making her way through the halls of the Minerva with an irritated expression Lunamaria Hawke stops at the door to Shinn's quarters. She raises her hand to knock, and asks Shinn if she can come in--her voice just a bit louder than it ought to have been. There is now response. Lunamaria clenches her teeth and opens the door by herself. The quarters are dark. Both Shinn's and Rey's beds look as though they hadn't been used in months. Well, for one of those beds it hadn't. Lunamaria's right eye twitched with scarcely-contained fury. She stalked out of the room, muttering vague threats against Shinn under her breath.

Arthur Trine and Heine Westenfluss simultaneously snap off a salute to Talia Gladys as they enter her office off the Minerva's bridge. Still sitting, Talia returns the salute and motions for the two to relax. She hands each man a small folder, solid blue with the ZAFT insignia displayed prominently in the center. She informs them that the Minerva will depart for London in one week, and officially join the newly-formed First Terrestrial Fleet. Once they arrive, Talia says, the both of them will be re-assigned. Heine is to be transferred to the Special Operations Mobile Suit Division--the Panzer Squadron. Heine salutes Talia once more and she tells him that she was glad to have him under her command. She then motions for Heine to leave to room. Alone with Arthur, she twists her mouth into a slight grin and tells him he's getting a big promotion. Arthur waits a moment, but Talia doesn't say anything. Hesitantly, he opens up the folder and stifles a gasp. He asks Talia if there are more people better qualified for the job, Talia says she can't think of a one. Besides, she says, Arthur made a good impression on Durandel when they were in space--if he doesn't take advantage of the opportunity now, who knows when he'll have another chance.

Lunamaria walks out of a small, popular restaurant at the edge of the ZAFT base. She sighs, her anger having long since evolved into a profound exasperation. There's really only one place left for her to look. Honestly, it should have been her first stop but Luna kept hoping she would find Shinn somewhere else this time. Shinn is watching the gulls fly over the port through a small window placed at the center of the wall when Lunamaria walks when. Shinn is sitting at a small desk, near a potted plant, that had been placed in the room to give it a certain degree of warmth. The room, of course, was dominated by the plethora of medical equipment surrounding the large white bed at the center. Most of the bandages had been removed earlier that week, but Rey za Burrel was still attached to dozens of life-support systems and monitors. After the battle with Atlas and the destruction of the Gaia Gundam, Rey za Burrel was nearly killed. Virtually every bone in his body was broken, a rib had punctured his left kidney and his heart suffered extreme stress. Though he is currently alive, he is comatose and essentially brain-dead. It is death, in all but name.

Shinn tilts his head as Lunamaria enters the room, the door shutting behind her. neither one speaks for a long, uncomfortable period of time. Luna does not look directly at Shinn, curtly informing him that the two of them are to go to Seoul to pick up their new units. Shinn, too, looks away. He asks her why the transport corps. can't take care of it. Lunamaria explodes. She shouts at Shinn that it's a pilot's duty to take care of his mobile suit. Shinn turns to look at Rey, laying silent in the bed. Lunamaria calms instantly and follows his gaze. She frowns. Barely above a whisper, she says that Shinn is not the only one hurting. Shinn says nothing. Luna walks to the door and opens it, pausing for a moment she tells Shinn that their plane will leave at 2200 hours and leaves.

Once more alone, Shinn grabs his hair and looks to Rey. Though his eyes are moist, he does not cry. Shinn apologizes to Rey for not being there to help him out. He apologizes again and again for failing to help out his friend--after everything that Rey had done for him, ever since they first met at the academy. Shinn stands up and slams his fist against the glass. His eyes are pressed shut and now, now Shinn is crying. Images flash through his mind about the day of the battle. Of Stellar. Shinn apologizes one last time to Rey. I'm sorry, he says. He abandoned his duties to his friends to run after a girl--an enemy, a prisoner--and he knew, deep in his heart, that he ought to regret that. But Shinn felt no regret, even next to Rey's unmoving body. Shinn bit his lower lip, drawing blood. Hating himself, he stalked out of the room.

The door to his quarters shut behind Gilbert Durandel with a quiet hiss. Durandel sits down at a large ebony desk and rubs his eyes. He glances at the clock--four in the morning. He barely made it in time. Although much of the dust in the Earth's atmosphere had settled in the months since Junon's fall, the Planet's magnetic field wouldn't stabilize for several decades. Communication between PLANT and the ZAFT forces stationed on Earth still required the use of the Laser Communication grid that Durandel had established on the planet before the start of the Destiny Plan. It was expensive, but Durandel almost thought it was worth it. Before, communication over vast distances was hampered by sever time delays. Since laser-communication traveled at the speed of light, there was no discernible delay. A small monitor lifted up from the center of the desk a few minutes later. Durandel leaned back in his chair, exhausted, as the face of Talia Gladys flickered to life on the screen.

The two talk for a while. Durandel asks about Rey. Talia tells him that Rey's condition is stable for the time being, but he's at the edge of a cliff. All it would take is a slight change to kill him. Durandel tells Talia that he knows Rey--he's strong. Unbelievably so, even if he doesn't look it. I told you, Durandel tells her. Did I not? Talia sighs and tells Durandel that it's not wise to think so idealistically about Rey. He is a different person. He has different strengths and weaknesses. Durandel says that he's very well aware of all that, but he still sees it as a second chance. Durandel says he can never do enough to make up for breaking his promise, those many years ago. Rey is his once chance for redemption.

The two speak for a while longer before Durandel flicks off the screen. Leaning back in his chair, the scene fades to black.

April 1, CE 51. Paris, France.
A sullen boy of about nine years leans against the side of a large stage, peering through the tiny sliver between the curtain and the wall as hundreds of men and women make their way to their seats, filling out the large auditorium. A woman of incomparable beauty approaches the boy—his mother—and kneels down before him, smiling. She calls him Gil. Gil sulks, and his mother (Marie Durandel) asks him what's wrong. Gil says that he doesn't like going to her concerts, and doesn't think it's fair that his sister gets to stay at home. Marie Durandel smiles at him and tells Gil that Guiette is older than he is, so she can stay at home alone. If Gil were there, all by himself, she would be too worried about him to play.

Gil doesn't seem to follow his mother's words, preferring his own misery. The lights of the auditorium begin to dim and the audience begins to quiet down. The concert will be starting soon. Gil's face pulls down into an even deeper frown as he realizes his mother will be leaving him soon. Marie bends down and hugs him, telling him that the concert won't last too long, and that he ought to cheer up—she'll be taking him and his sister to the Zoo tomorrow. It is, she says, the last concert of the series, after all. Gil's eyes brighten and he smiles at his mother, before forcibly returning to a frown. “Will you play me a song tonight?” Gil asks. His mother sighs and looks to the large cello sitting in the center of the stage, obscured from the audience by the large red curtain. She tells him that she doesn't know, she can get pretty tired after her concerts. Gil's eyes water as his mother presses a finger against her lip and pretends to think it over real quick. Marie then smiles at her son and tells him that she'd love to play with him once they get home. Gil smiles. Marie asks him whether or not he's been keeping up with his violin practice, and Gil nods happily. The lights are now off and the crowd completely silent. Marie gives Gil one more hug and tells him they can play a duet. Winking, she walks out to the stage bowing to the audience as the curtains rise, basking in a wave of thunderous applause.

Marie Durandel begins to play. Softly at first, the music picks up, bold. The air vibrates with the intensity of her passion as each member of the audience is enthralled by the sound. Gil closes his eyes and presses his head against the wall, allowing his face to bask in the full-force of his mothers music. All of his concentration attuned to his ears, Gil's eyes open the moment he hears an alien sound. A man in one of the front rows is standing up. Gil sees it in almost slow-motion. “For a blue and pure world!” He hears someone shout the words. The man standing up draws a hand-held machine-gun from his coat, jumping on stage he lowers it at Marie Durandel and opens fire.

Marie scarcely has time to scream as her body is riddled with bullet holes. The strings of her cello snap as the instrument is obliterated by the gunfire. Drops of blood and chunks of gore splash across the stage, peppering the audience in a crimson dew. As she falls to the ground, barely aware of what's happening, Marie Durandel locks eyes with her son. Then, mercifully, she dies. The crowd panics, people everywhere are screaming and running. Marie's purple dress rapidly changes to crimson, and a massive pool of blood forms around her corpse, dripping off the edge of the stage. Durandel, a chunk of gore plastered on his brow, is shocked. He falls to his knees, his arms twitching. He asks himself, too stunned to cry, what happened. Then, Gilbert Durandel passed out.

Three Months Later.
A young brunette girl steps outside the door of a small apartment as two men in black trench coats walk up the cement stairs. The sky is overcast, and a fine mist falls through the air. It's enough to make everything damp, but not sufficient to warrant the use of an umbrella. The dull sound of thunder echoes in the distance. The men stand before the girl and speak to her in hushed tones. They both bow to the girl before leaving, apologetic. The girl retreats back into the apartment and closes the door behind her. The inside of the apartment is well-lit and the rooms, though meager, are well-cared for and clean. Nonetheless, the home seems hollow. Empty. The girl leans against the back of the door, her knees bending. She lowers her head, letting her shoulder-length hair fall over her face. She had inherited her mother's looks.

Gil walks into the room and faces his sister. He reaches for her hand and supports her as he leads her to a chair. Guiette sits. Gil asks her what was wrong. Guiette tells her brother that the investigation is over. Gil scowls. He asks Guiette if that means the police found the men who murdered their mother. Guiette bites her lower lip. She tells Gil no, the police are giving up. Gil's hand clench into fists and he grates his teeth together, locking his jaw. Guiette covers her face in her hands. For several minutes, neither sibling speaks. Gil walks to the door. Bending over, the puts on his shoes and opens the door. Guiette looks up. She asks Gil where he's going, choking on the words. Gil's face is expressionless. He walks outside and—without turning—says he's going to the zoo. Gil closes the door. Guiette wonders briefly why her little brother is going to the zoo, and briefly chastises herself for failing to go with him, or at least hand him an umbrella. But her grief has made her immobile. She looks to a desk in the corner of her room. Dozens of textbooks on advanced propulsion, engineering and economic theory lie still, a thin layer of dust clinging to the covers. Guiette sighs. On the top of a small bookcase against the far wall is a small, child-size violin. It, too, is covered under a thin gray veneer of dust.

Thunder claps loud in the sky, but no rain falls. Most of the animals sought shelter early on. As Gilbert Durandel slowly walked down the cement walkways between cages and habitats, he noticed that there were no workers present. It was as if they, too, had fled for fear of the storm. Peering at the sky, Gil watches a squadron of fighter-aircraft fly over the zoo in tight-formation. Frowning at the ineffectual display of power, Gil made his way to the Giraffe pen near the zoo's far gate. A tall specimen—a Kirin of old—stood in the middle of its enclosure, it's neck against a wiry tree, its head just barely able to peek over the zoo's outer wall. Gil leaned against the railing overlooking the Giraffe's habitat, watching the creature idly, his face expressionless. Once, twice. Again. The thunder blasted the skies above like cannon fire. The sky was dull gray, but clear enough in spots that blue sky could be seen above. Bang. Bang. Bang. More thunder. Gil stood, unmoving, eyes fixed to the Giraffe.

Yet another bang. This time louder, and closer. Much closer. Gil stiffened. Again, a bang. The sound of metal impacting—and it was close. Gil looked from side to side, searching out the gray uniformed workers, but saw nothing. Again, bang, followed by a queer scratching noise. Gil turned. Sandwiched in a narrow alley between the wall and a squat, official building, a tin trash can wobbled back and forth, as though a wild beast had escaped its cage and sought refuge with the refuse. Gil took a step forward, hesitantly. He had time to fear. The trashcan fell on it's side and a monkey crawled out, covered in filth. But it wasn't a monkey—it was a person! A child, little older than an infant. Grubby hands wrapped around a stale, half-eaten sausage, the child greedily stuffed his face, gulping down his catch without taking the time to chew. His clothing was ragged and his body covered in dirt and, perhaps, old blood.

Where was his mother? The thought gripped Gil. He approached the child, offering his hand. He expected the child to glare at him, attack him, or ignore him. He did not expect the grubby child to stand up, back erect, and turn to look at him with calm eyes. The child spoke—eloquently and politely, far beyond his years. He told Gil he was not a beggar and did not want any pity. Gil, abashed, said nothing. After a moment's silence, the two children began speaking. The dirty child (he couldn't be more than a year or two old, could he?) introduced himself as Rau le Creuset. Gil asked him what he was doing at the zoo, and Rau shrugged at the question, saying that he had nowhere else to go. They spoke some more, their conversation rapidly turning to childish matters. Animals, games, things of that sort.

“What do you think of coordinators?” Rau's question was simple. It caught Gil off guard. He looked at Rau, remembering the sight of his mother choking on her own blood as she fell to her knees. “I'm a coordinator,” Gil said. He half expected Rau, as small as he was, to pull a gun out from his rags and open fire. Coordinator. Just thinking the word aroused a fury in Gil that he could neither contain nor understand. But no, Rau nodded, smiling widely—me, too, he said. Gil and Rau spent the rest of the day talking, and quickly develop a rapport. The two are the best of friends inside of a day. Each child can sense a special maturity in the other—the kind of maturity that only great pain can bring about. When the sun set, Gil returned to the small apartment he shared with his sister. Rau came with him, and as the waif had nowhere else to go, Rau began to live with the Durandel siblings. For the first time in a long time he was happy, and Guiette picked up on it right away. Gil's reinvigorated attitude infected his sister, too, and she resumed her studies, devoting every night to her books and every day to her various jobs—anything to keep food on the table for her two brothers.

Four years later.
Wearing high school uniforms, Gilbert Durandel (13) and Rau le Creuset (9) walked along a familiar route to their shared apartment. Each boy grasped a test in his hand. Circled in red ink on Gil's test was a 94, Rau's score, however, was a full 100. Gil, jokingly, complained that Rau was just too damned smart—even for a coordinator. Rau laughed. He had scarcely grown in the past four years, and even now Rau was often mistaken for a child of five. Rau didn't let it get to him, though, he was a cheerful, happy child. Machine gun fire rattled off in the distance. Gil says that they ought to hurry home; Rau looks thoughtful, and comments that the rioting has been getting worse lately. Gil shrugs. Although it's illogical, he says, a lot of people are blaming the new Influenza strain on coordinators. At least, Gil continues, they won't have to put up with it much longer. Rau frowns and slows his pace. Noticing a moment later, Gil turns to his friend. Rau looks to Gil and tells him that there's something he needs to do before they leave, and asks of Gil will help him. Gil agrees, and asks Rau what he needs to do. “I want to see my father,” Rau says.

It had been hard work raising two young boys, and harder still to maintain her studies, but Guiette's genetically-enhanced intelligence was, even among coordinators, remarkable. The racial conflicts on Earth were getting worse with each passing day, and for all its bluster it seemed as though the French government would collapse at any time. At the end of the month, Guiette and Gil and Rau would finally leave the Earth for the new colonies—the PLANTs. She had been accepted into the prestigious Descartes University (the very first university in space) and they would pay for everything. To be honest, Guiette dreaded the trip. Ever since their father died in a freak orbital accident, she'd been terrified of space. But she had to put that fear aside; finally, for the first time since their mother died, they could live normally again. Gingerly, Guiette lifted Gil's old violin. He still hadn't touched it, and the inside was cached with dust, but she placed in a box nonetheless. One day, she knew, Gil would re-embrace the music that her mother had so loved.

Gil bought the train tickets in the afternoon, and the two left at night. Gil told his sister he had something to do that night, and she trusted him enough not to pry. In two hours they got off at a small, inconspicuous train station somewhere in Belgium. From there, the two children walked through several miles of farmland and forest, until they came to a moderately-large white mansion, straddling the tree line. The sun was setting when they arrived. Gil asked Rau if it was his father's house. Rau nodded. Rau asked Gil to stay where he was, near a tree by the road, while he went inside. Durandel agreed, and Rau left. Rather than approaching through the front door, Rau climbed up the edge of the house and swung his tiny body into an open window on the second floor.

Inside, Rau found a maid. He informed her that he was a relative of Al da Flaga, and asked where he could find him. Not suspecting that Rau had entered the mansion illicitly (after all, he looked so very young) the woman instructed Rau to his father's study. A short while later a tall, healthy young boy opened the door with a BB gun clutched in his hand. He looked to be a few years older than Rau and was about a head taller. Rau knew the boy to be his brother, Mwu, a full year younger than himself, but when Mwu asked Rau who he was, Rau simply replied that he was a distant relative of Mwu's father. Not really seeming to care, Mwu asked Rau if he wanted to play. Rau politely declined. Mwu stared at Rau for a bit longer, hoping the smaller visitor would eventually come around. He did not. Irritated, Mwu began to mock Rau, berating him for his small stature. The teasing intensified, but Rau remained calm. Just when Mwu seemed about to forget that he was in his father's study, the door opened. Al da Flaga entered, and placed a heavy hand on Mwu's shoulder.

Turning to see his visitor (a distant relative, perhaps) Al gasped audibly—he recognized his discarded clone immediately. His grip on his true-son's shoulder tightened, and Mwu cried out in pain. Al told his son to leave the room, and then approached Rau. Al told Rau he was surprised to see him alive. Rau commented that he was left for dead, but that didn't mean he absolutely had to die. Al's eyes narrowed. He asks Rau what he wants—or, rather, how much money he wants. Rau tries to say that he doesn't want any money, but Al doesn't listen. The man moves around the room to his desk, grumbling to himself that it's a horrid thing to see a failure retain its form, and worse still to be confronted with his failure again. Again, Al asks Rau how much money he wants. This time he doesn't allow his clone time to speak. “You'll get nothing from me!” Al da Flaga screamed, eyes full of rage.

Al da Flaga took a burning candle from his desk and slammed the heavy copper holder against Rau's head, knocking the small child back and slamming his weak body against the wall. Blood streaming down his head and vision blurring, Rau struggled to get to his feet. Now ready for the attack, Rau fought the man that gave him life. Al was much bigger than Rau, and far stronger. But Rau was agile, and hard to hit. The furniture in the room broke beneath their battle. Several candles fell off the older man's desk, igniting the thick green curtains. Gaining a moment's advantage, Al swung his closed fist at Rau's face. It impacted into Rau's tiny jaw, knocking loose several teeth and letting loose the sickening crunch of bone. Not since he was abandoned to the streets before his first year of life had Rau le Creuset's life been in so much danger.

The flames on the curtains spread to the walls, and soon the entire room was ablaze. In minutes, the fire would spread throughout the house. Ignoring his broken jaw and cracked ribs, Rau leaped at Al and wrapped his tiny hands around the older man's neck. But his grip was too narrow to be effective, and Al easily shrugged one of Rau's arms off. Desperate for his life, Rau took his free hand and thrust it into the weak flesh above Al's sternum, his hand piercing the neck and fingers latching around Al's esophagus. Rau tore. There was a horrid gurgling noise. Still full of rage, Al da Flaga's eyes rolled into the back of his skull. Then, he fell.

Rau ran out of the burning mansion in a terror. He was covered in blood. He hid behind a tree, watching as his brother Mwu and several of the maids watched Al da Flaga's mansion burn to the ground. Then, he left. Walking up the road he met with Gil. Gil, stunned at the sight of his broken and bloody friend asked Rau what happened, but Rau's shattered jaw would not permit him to speak. Rau could scarcely stand, so Gil helped him back to the train. The two made their way home. They hid Rau's injuries from Guiette, and by the end of the week—just as planned—the three left for PLANT. Staring out the window of the small shuttle, Rau caressed his jaw. It still hurt, but the pain would disappear soon enough. He smiled and looked to Gil. Gil, too, smiled. Finally, they were leaving the chaos and violence and death of the Earth for good.

February 17, CE 70. Janus IV, PLANT.
A young Gilbert Durandel sits at a table, clad in a white ZAFT uniform. On the table in front of him is a marble chessboard; his opponent is Rau le Creuset. Rau's white mask sits at the edge of the table, his face bare. Two metal clamps protrude from his temples where the mask is pinned on, shining in the dull light. Durandel raises his hand over his face, frowning. Rau's eyes well with tears, though no moisture falls to his cheek.
“If that were to happen, kill me,” Rau says. “Promise me.”
Durandel opens his mouth and then shuts it quickly. His eyes lower to examine the chessboard. Searching for the right thing to say, he opens his mouth.
“I promise.”

Next Episode: The Sword And The Stone

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Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:54 am 
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Certainly an interesting way to bring the previously mostly unexplored relationship between Gil and Rau to light. Plus you added the death of Al and the torching of the estate, which I also always felt that Rau had a hand in. Maybe not as brutally as here, but still. And considering the death of Gil's mother, it is surprising he didn't morph into some rabidly racist individual (but maybe he is clever enough not to show it so clearly). ;) The parts with Shinn and Luna were average; the flashback was much livelier for some reason. And also I had expected that Rey perished, but instead he is apparently a veggie.

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*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: Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:02 pm 
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Episode 26: The Sword And The Stone

Seoul is empty. The sky is dark with dust, having retained an above-average quantity of dust and debris from Junon's fall. Of the buildings still standing, all but one have been abandoned. The city is now the domain of beasts, and of feral men forced to become beasts themselves. The one remaining structure still warm with the life-breath of humans lies at the outskirts of the ruined city. It is a massive, squat structure—equal parts research laboratory, industrial factory and military testing-ground. Once the building was painted in glorious white, an homage to the purity of the place—the sanctity of science and of the men and women who labored in its pursuit.

The Rubicon corporation was a private corporation that worked as a weapons-contractor for PLANT. Established in ORB shortly after the Bloody Valentine War, Rubicon quickly became the leading manufacturer and developer of mobile suit technology, as well as advanced magnetic field technology and plasma technology. The large building outside of Seoul was their chief terrestrial research & development laboratory. Before the week's end, the staff would be completely evacuated and the building demolished. It was into this lonely building that Shinn Asuka and Lunamaria Hawke tread.

The hallways were empty and the lights were dim. The guard outside had told Shinn and Luna to go on in, and someone from the staff would escort them to the main hangar to take possession of their new units. But when they entered, they found no one. Luna turned to Shinn and told him that it didn't look like anyone was home. Shinn groans, lamenting the situation. Luna tells him that they'll just have to find their own way. Shinn says that the building is humongous—it'll take them forever to find anything. Luna shrugs her shoulders and walks off; Shinn follows. After wandering the empty halls without finding anything or anyone for nearly an hour, a small form slams into Shinn's side, knocking Shinn to the floor.

Shaking off his over-sized shirt, a young boy with silver hair stands up and shouts at Shinn, telling him to watch what he's doing. Lunamaria watches Shinn without saying anything. Shinn jumps to his feet and starts shouting back at the kid, saying that it was his “own damn fault.” The two continue to shout and Luna thinks that Shinn's finally found an equal. Shinn repeatedly demands that the kid apologizes. The silver-haired boy gets fed up with Shinn's antics, and swiftly punches him in the gut. Shinn doubles over in pain. The boy turns to Luna, smoothing his shirt once more, and introduces himself as “Genus Dunne,” and tells Lunamaria that he is here to escort the two pilots to the main lab. Lunamaria smiles and shakes his hand, and then follows Genus down the hall, leaving Shinn leaning against the wall rubbing his stomach.

When the great war between Eurasia and the Atlantic Federation began, shortly after the Junon disaster, PLANT realized that in order to support the people of Earth, they would need to fight on the Earth—and dedicate far more of their resources toward terrestrial combat than they had in the Bloody Valentine war. To that end, a vast fleet of advanced warships were created, based on the Minerva-prototype. These ships, the Minerva-class, were the backbone of the Terrestrial fleet. Based on the Minerva's design, the Maab-class warship was a heavy-carrier, designed for support. Like the Minerva-class, the Maab design utilized a pair of enormous wings equipped with the new Lift-system, enabling them to sail through the air nearly as well as they could fly through space. ZAFT's first terrestrial fleet was the most versatile armada ever conceived. The head of the fleet—the grand flagship—was a behemoth vessel: the Excalibur. Armed with nine heavy positron cannon, dozens of heavy artillery turrets and capable of launching thousands of missiles in a single barrage, the Excalibur was by far the most powerful warship yet constructed. And the man who commanded this vessel, this physical manifestation of the will and genius of coordinators, was Arthur Trine.

Arthur Trine stood in the center of the Excalibur's bridge, concentrating at the view of the Earth through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows. His bridge was nearly three times the size of the Minerva's old bridge, and required nearly twice the personnel. Behind him. Jarrod Crux stood at attention, flanked by his new subordinate, Heine Westenfluss. An aide approaches Arthur and informs him that the Supreme Chairman had just boarded the ship. Arthur turns to Crux and orders him to do a last-minute inspection of the mobile suits to make sure everything is ready for the operation. Jarrod snaps a salute, and then he, along with Heine, leave the Bridge.

Arthur moves to the center of the bridge and stands tall just in front of the command chair. Making an almost-lazy gesture with his arm, he orders the Excalibur to depart. The gargantuan warship groans slightly as it accelerates away from the hourglass-shaped colony. Slowly dozens of smaller warships, all as new and untested as the Excalibur herself, form together around the flagship. Leading a fleet of nearly one-hundred and thirty warships of the Maab and Minerva classes, the Excalibur sets sail for Earth.

Standing at the edge of a balcony located near the midpoint of the central column, Kira Yamato was speaking to Sai Argyle, while Lacus Clyne sat at a nearby table. A waiter walks up to Lacus with a tray of drinks, and sets down a brightly-colored beverage on the table. Lacus smiles and nods in thanks. Raising the glass to her lips and about ready to take a sip, Lacus' eyes turn to Kira at the end of the balcony. Pressing her eyelids shut for a moment, Lacus motions for the waiter and he approaches. Lacus returns the drink to him and tells the man that upon further thought, she would prefer tea instead.

Kira asks Sai if he ever kept in touch with any of their friends from the Archangel. Sai says that he often thought of calling someone up, but he never could never muster the courage to do so. Sai apologizes to Kira and tells him he would have liked to have spoken earlier, under better circumstances, but he just couldn't. Kira dismisses Sai's apology and tells him he understands; he feels the same way. They all went through so much back then, and now that times have changed it's hard to go back to how things used to be. Sai asks Kira if they're still friends. Kira says that of course they're still friends, and they both smile.

The city of Gaia exists as a massive subterranean complex, nearly three kilometers beneath the streets of Istanbul. Most of the hidden city was built up inside of a large dome, with a circular column in the center. The column served as the general headquarters of the Atlas organization. Although there are structures above the dome—and indeed, the upper wall of the dome has several open-air decks and windows overlooking the the circular city—the interior of the dome is mostly covered with an interlocking skin of hexagonal screens, which work together to project the illusion of a natural sky. The city of Gaia was just as ordered and structured as the colonial cities high in orbit—if not as dangerous.

The city itself was something of an anachronism. It was built inside a large network of caverns beneath several ancient layers of forgotten cities—of the Romans, and those who came before—in the decades of chaos before the Earth Alliance. Built in the years when the Type-S influenza ravaged the world's population, the name coordinator inspired fear and jealousy—when it seemed a war would erupt with the Atlantic Federation at any time. It was from this history that Gaia was birthed, a secret fortress known only to the upper echelons of the Eurasian military command. Following the decapitation of Eurasia's leaders in the Alaska Incident, the underground city faded from memory completely.

Sting Oakley saunters out onto the deck and calls out to Sai in an irritated voice. Sting says that Richard Henne has returned to the city, and that he is ready to meet with Kira and Lacus. Sai nods and Sting tells him to use an Atlas lackey the next time he needs an errand-boy before stalking out of the cafe. Kira raises an eyebrow at that comment, and asks Sai what Sting was doing there if he wasn't a part of Atlas. Sai tells Kira that Neo, the man who brought him to Gaia, wasn't actually a member but rather an agent of one of Atlas' chief financial backers. Sting, along with two others, were part of Neo's entourage. Kira thinks of Neo and shudders involuntarily at the memory of his disfigured face. He asks Sai who Neo's masters were, and Sai tells him that he doesn't know. Whoever it is, they contribute nearly 10% of Atlas' external funds—and they've been able to secure smuggled goods from PLANT and Orb.

Everything is pretty anonymous, Sai says, he doesn't know for certain where the money is coming from. Kira asks Sai if he didn't investigate, and Sai shrugs, smiling. He tells Kira that there's an endless stream of middlemen between Atlas and the anonymous backer—Henne might know who it is, but Sai isn't so sure. Sai says that given the resources, odds are the backer is from PLANT—and, furthermore, given the political situation the odds are pretty good that it's a private individual. Kira thinks for a moment and states that there can't be many people with access to that kind of money. Sai agrees, and says that Durandel has no shortage of enemies, be it at home or abroad.

Kira and Sai walk toward the door. Kira sidetracks a bit to Lacus, and as she stands up she locks her arm around his. Together they move inside the column and head for a meeting with the man responsible for Atlas—Richard Henne. As they walk through a narrow, curving hall Kira bends his head toward Lacus and asks her if she heard everything. Lacus nods, and Kira asks her what she thinks they should do. Lacus frowns and says that there's quite a lot to be wary of, no matter where they look. Should they choose to act, however, they should not do so here. No matter what course history takes, Lacus says, Atlas is doomed. Kira nods, telling Lacus that he agrees. Things are too chaotic on Earth to get a clear grasp of what is going on in the world. In order to decide how best to act, they will need to return to space. Lacus asks Kira if he'll be alright to go back into space, and in Kira's mind the image of Flay's death flashes, but only for a moment. Kira smiles and tells her that he's put his past behind him, and asks her not to worry.

Genus leads Luna and Shinn into a large room with lots of computer screens. The floor is empty and a strange circular apparatus dominates the screen. Shinn sulks while Luna asks Genus were everyone else his. Genus says that most of the staff has already evacuated. Genus tells Lunaraia that he'll show her something cool before unveiling their new mobile suits, and presses a button on one of the nearby computers. Shinn falls to the ground as the Freedom Gundam swoops in front of him and fires several beams directly at his chest. One of the Providence-Gundam's dragoons pierces out through Shinn's head and explodes. Shinn leaps back and tries to stammer out a question. Genus laughs and calls Shinn a moron. It's only a hologram, he said. Genus tells Shinn and Lunamaria that their new units have been customized with the recorded battle-data of the Freedom Gundam—they should have an even greater performance rating, even without fission reactors. Shinn quiets at the mention of the Freedom gundam, watching the glowing mobile suit fly up to the corner of the room before winking out of existence.

Genus opens a door in the side of the room and motions for Luna and Shinn to follow. There is a very long hallway, with walls that slant out widely. Hand-rails provide a sense of security: the walls are glass, overlooking a large interior construction bay. Luna exclaims as she looks down—the Saviour gundam. Genus tells Luna that they've completely revamped the Saviour gundam—they were able to increase it's anti-beam defense by 70%, while at the same time reducing the overall weight of the machine by 20%. Genus mentions that it uses a refined LIFT-system to fly, so the new Saviour has a larger silhouette than before, but the increased speed and maneuverability should more than make up for it.

Shinn asks about his new unit. Genus leads them further down the hall to a new bay. He points at a mobile suit and tells Shinn that it's his new unit. Shinn's eye twitches as he sees the rusty GINN-trainer. He notices it's missing a leg. Shinn throws a pucn at Genus, but the boy easily dodges. Genus laughs and tells Shinn not to worry. Shinn's new unit is a mobile suit that he designed himself—it's the very best one the corporation has ever built.

Both Shinn and Luna are stunned to hear that Genus designed the mobile suit. Genus says that he's a genius, after all. Genus the genius. He's not some pathetic lackwit pilot like Shinn. Shinn clenches his jaw and says that if it's something Genus built, it'll probably fall apart the moment he takes it out. Genus slaps Shinn's back (hard) and laughs, telling him not to worry. He tells Shinn that the new unit incorporates new movable-frame technology that makes it far more versatile than any other mobile suit in history. Genus says that it's stronger and faster than any ten mobile suits combined—virtually every aspect of the mobile suit is state of the art: it was designed as a multi-role testbed for Rubicon's most advanced mobile suit technologies.

Shinn shrugs and asks if he can see the thing, clearly not putting too much faith in Genus' words. Genus tells Shinn that he won't believe it when he sees it—the beauty of Genus' mobile suit is so great it could destroy the minds of lesser men, so Shinn had better be careful. Luna peels her eyes away from the new Saviour and asks if Genus' mobile suit would be too much for her. Genus smiles and grabs her arm and says that Luna would be perfectly fine. He sticks his tongue out at Shinn. Shinn asks Genus what the mobile suit is called.
“The Kestrel,” Genus says. “A bird in flight.”

“It's a Gundam.”
Kira's eyes lift toward the giant silhouette looming in the darkness behind Richard Henne. It was clearly a mobile suit, and clearly built in the likeness of a Gundam, but it was unlike anything that Kira had ever seen before. Though he could not make out the details of the mobile suit, he could tell that it was lean—strong. A machine designed just as much for finesse and style as for battle. At his side, Lacus' head turned to the impenetrable shadows at the end of the catwalk; Kira's gaze instinctively followed. From the darkness a man emerged. “Ares,” he said. Neo Roanoke stepped forward, the dim light of the hangar gleaming off his mask. “After the ancient god of war.”

The Excalibur burns red as it falls through the atmosphere. Sitting behind Arthur Trine on the bridge of the Excalibur, Gilbert Durandel views the sleeping city below. Dozens of other ships follow, burning brightly as shooting stars, descending over the night sky of Istanbul. The Minerva, along with several other ZAFT ships approach the city from the straits. In the streets of the city the people of an open-air market look to the sky worriedly as the shooting stars grow bigger and bigger, taking on the form of warships. Hundreds of beams of supercharged-energy strike the ground as ZAFT's fleet fires it's first barrage. Plants, animals, people and building are incinerated in the blast. The ground shakes. Alarm Saxons sound throughout the city and giant underground elevators rise up from the streets, spewing out uncountable numbers of Windams. The Maab-class carriers of the fleet spread out to the edges. The massive missile bays on the underside of each of the vessel's three hangers open up, and the first salvo of missiles is spewed forth.

For an instant every star in the sky is replaced by a missile. And after that, everywhere there is fire.

Next Episode: The Black Gundam

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A bit of background/new stuff before the next episode--mostly the new MS and Gaia:

Excalibur-class Dreadnaught
-ZAFT's ship-of-the-line. A brand-new class of warship armed to the teeth, with hangers greater than most dedicated carriers. Currently the only ship of it's class, the Excalibur serves as the flagship for ZAFT's First Terrestrial Fleet. Captained by Arthur Trine.

Minerva-Class Medium Cruiser
-A multi-role warship capable of fighting in any environment thanks to its Lift-system, it serves both as a battleship and light carrier. Nearly thirty of these vessels have been constructed. One such ship, the Cassandra, is commanded by Ezalia Joule, of PLANT's Supreme Council.

Maab-Class Heavy Carrier
-A heavy carrier designed to enter the atmosphere, it can launch a total of forty mobile suits in less than six minutes. The lower portion of each hanger houses an enormous missile bay, allowing the Maab-class carriers to bombard surface targets before sending out the MS squadrons.

Ares Gundam
-A Black Gundam in the possession of Neo Roanoke. He bequeathes the unit to Kira Yamato. The Ares utilises several advanced Jovian technologies, including a 360-degree cockpit, PICES-enabled Dragoons, and a gravitic propulsion system. Though the Ares is a very powerful mobile suit, it is actually too powerful to be usable--even brief stints of combat can be fatal for the pilot.

C2 Windam
-An enhanced high-mobility windam. In the latter stages of the Junon wars, particularly in the Battle of Istanbul, the thigh-thrusters would be removed and replaced with heavy explosives. These volatile Windams would then be used for kamikaze strikes against enemy warships and installations.

Refined Saviour Gundam
-An enhanced version of the Saviour Gundam. It is lighter, faster, stronger, and more resistant to beam-weaponry. It's larger backpack makes it far more mobile than it was before. Currently piloted by Lunamaria Hawke.

Kestrel Gundam
-A highly advanced Gundam designed by Genus Dunne, it utilises a movable frame and was designed as a highly versatile test-bed for Rubicon Industries' most advanced technologies. In addition to it's movable frame (which allows for unprecedented mobility as well as transformation into a mobile armor) the Kestrel also has a powerful mega-particle beam cannon, a prototype beam-shield, and Magnetic field-projection/manipulation technologies--allowing for a variety of beam-based defensive and offensive techniques.

Gaia
-An enormous subterranean city beneath Istanbul, it was built by the Eurasian Confederacy durring the Bloody Valentine war, and now serves as the military headquarters for the paramilitary organization, Atlas. There are several elevators between Istanbul and Gaia, and even a large undersea submarine dock that allows Atlas to move supplies in and out without attracting notice.

Gaia - The Battle of Istanbul
This map marks the positions/routes of the different military forces engaged in the Battle of Istanbul. It's pretty self-explanatory.

-The Kestrel's big gun, when not in mobile-armor mode, would either be mounted on the back (between the two "wings") or simply discarded to increase the units overall mobility. But since the beam shield is attached to the rifle, it would also mean less protection.

-To see how this saviour differs from the original saviour, it's not a whole lot different. Look to the shape and length of the wings, the shape of the lower legs, the head and the torso. I tried to make it look "bulkier" and less Strike-ish.

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Episode 27: The Black Gundam

Athrun Zala walks down a dark corridor. Large window lining the right wall open out to a spectacular starscape—dominated by the massive red-white ball of Jupiter. Athrun rubs his neck and comments to himself that everything is finally over. Approaching a large set of ornately-decorated doors, Athrun is momentarily surprised by the fact that there aren't any guards present. Placing his hand on the pistol at his hip, Athrun cautiously opens up one of the doors just wide enough for him so squeeze through. It takes a while for Athrun's eyes to adjust to the dark. A large circular window at the top of the platform looks out to naked space. One of those pinpricks of light, Athrun knows, is Earth. These stars provide the only light in the room. A single chair at the top of the platform is angled toward the window. Athrun calls out a name: Guiette Durandel. There is no response.

Athrun notices that there's something on the floor—something sticky. Kneeling down he sets his hand to the metal and draws his fingers to his face. There is blood everywhere. Shocked, Athrun spins around squinting his eyes, trying to find something. He sees a darkened figure on the floor. It is Guiette Durandel. Her hair, once a regal black streaked with the white of age is now matted black with dried blood. Athrun whips out his pistol, but before he can do anything a bullet pierces through his wrist and the weapon falls from his grasp. Two men clad in black robes walk out from the shadows, pointing assault rifles with gold bayonets at Athrun. Athrun cradles his bloody wrist, grimacing in pain. The large chair—a throne—at the top of the platform turns slowly to face Athrun. Sitting in the chair is a tall, lean man with dark brown hair and a pointed goatee. He tells Athrun that he was expecting him. He makes a small gesture with one finger, and one of the black-robed men silently strides in front of Athrun, slamming the but of his rifle into Athrun's stomach. As Athrun's eyes roll back in his head the man in the throne turns back to look out the window. Signaling the second black-robed man, he tells him to summon the others.

Istanbul burns. ZAFT's first terrestrial fleet descends slowly as the Maab-class carriers empty their missile bays into the city. Building burn and collapse. Hundreds of Windams dart in and out of the fire, leaping above the flames to shoot at the enormous fleet before returning to hide in the smoke and carnage below. On board the Excalibur, an officer informs Arthur Trine that there appears to be a massive subterranean defense network under the city. Arthur mentions how strange it was that an Atlas pilot (referring to Stellar Loussier) would divulge the location of the Atlas HQ so easily. Another officer announces that they're detecting anomalous energy signatures from a mountainside four kilometers outside Istanbul-proper. Arthur recognizes that this must be the central facility, and orders the Excalibur to direct all of its weapons at the mountain. All eight of the flagship's heavy positron-lasers blast into the mountain.

Richard Hennes and Sai Argyle grab onto the wall for support as the earth shudders and shakes under the Excalibur's bombardment. Sai tells Hennes that Gaia wasn't built to repel an offensive of this magnitude—the subterranean mobile suit hangers can only launch a few mobile suits at a time, so the land forces are unable to establish a strong offensive line. Hennes tells Sai to see if any nearby Atlas cells can move in to reinforce their position—Atlas will have to make its stand here and now. Hennes says that if they lose this fight, they lose the Earth. Sai says that there's nothing more important to fight for than one's home, and Earth is everyone's home. Before the separate, Hennes tells Sai that he's a good man and tells him to be sure to stay alive.

The Minerva crests the mountain over Gaia and quickly pulls back to avoid getting caught up in the Excalibur's bombardment. Talia Gladys orders all of the Minerva's mobile suits to join the attack: several ZAKUs painted in the dark-green colors of the Destiny Plan and the symbolic red cross leap from the Minerva's hanger. Armed with Gunner-packs, the ZAKUs lock onto the same point as the Excalibur's barrage and open fire. The rock on the mountain melts to slag and falls. The positron lasers and beam weaponry concentrated on the spot melt through the mountain and pierce a hole into Gaia's primary bio-dome. The molten rock falls down to the hidden city below, causing numerous fires. The smoke engulfs the dome and obscures the hole in the mountain in a acrid black fog. The streets of Istanbul are filled with hundreds of mobile suits—ZAKUs, GINNs, CGUEs—fighting the Atlas forces. The Atlas Windams (of all models) exchange fire with the ZAFT suits, using the chaotic urban battlefield to their advantage. Arthur orders the Excalibur to cease fire. An officer tells Arthur that the bulk of their mobile suit forces are being pinned down in the city. Arthur grits his teeth and orders the Excalibur to launch all of its mobile suits and attack the subterranean city.

The Excalibur's mobile suits fly in a tight formation above the burning city, and plummet into the smoking hole in the mountain. Once inside Gaia itself, they begin fighting with the few A1-C2 Windams inside the bio-dome. Due to the thick smoke in the dome, visibility is poor and the ZAFT mobile suits are quickly separated. Arthur Trine is frustrated, but eventually decides he'll have to deploy the new unit earlier than he'd wanted to. With a grandiose wave of his arm, Arthur orders the Panzer squadron to launch. Six black Gouf mobile suits launch from the Excalibur, flying into the mountainside like bullets. Jarrod Crux and Heine Westenfluss lead the formation. The six Panzers are careful to fly at a high altitude inside the city—Jarrod is able to spot the command pillar in the center of Gaia and orders the other four Panzers to support the ZAFT mobile suits on the ground while he and Heine assault the command-center head-on.

Jarrod Crux stabs his beam sword into the top of the pillar and drives it down several hundred meters, cutting a long vertical gash in the center. The metal sides creak open revealing several levels of the structure. Dozens of Atlas soldiers fall out of the pillar to their deaths. Inside the secret mobile suit hanger in the center of the pillar, Neo tells Kira that the city will not last much longer. Neo tells Kira to forget about helping Atlas—there's no way they'll be able to survive this battle. Neo tells Kira to take the Ares and run. Kira questions why Neo would help him like this, and to his surprise Neo turns to Lacus and says that if she were alive, his daughter would be about her age. Neo says that the last things his eyes saw were his wife and daughter burning. Though he no longer has true eyes, he tells Kira and Lacus that he does not want to see children die like that ever again. Kira asks Neo if he will be alright. Neo states that although a part of him would welcome death gladly, there are still things he needs to do. Kira nods and helps Lacus into the cockpit of the Ares. Lacus trembles in his arms and trips. Kira thinks it's strange for her to be scared like this, but doesn't have time to think about it.

Heine tells Jarrod to pull back. Jarrod's black Gouf retreats from the pillar, but he leaves the beam sword embedded in it. A final barrage of missiles from the Maab-class carriers widens the hole in the mountain, allowing all the smoke to escape and sunlight to enter the underground fortress. As the smoke clears Heine and Crux fire their beam rifles at the beam sword stuck in the pillar. Using the light of the beams as a beacon, several of the ZAKU-Gunners on the ground target the same point on the pillar and open fire. The pillar creaks and burns before slowly, painfully splitting up. Huge chunks of plastic and steel and fire fall to ground as the pillar collapses. Amid the explosions and the fire a single wicked, dark silhouette emerges—the Gundam Ares.

Crux watches stunned as the pillar falls and the smoke and flame clears. A black Gundam stands perfectly still, suspended in the center of the dome. It's arms are folded across each other in front of the cockpit to protect itself. Inside, Lacus crouches behind the pilot chair as Kira's eyes struggle to adjust to the spherical 360-degree cockpit. Heine examines the mobile suit and begins to question whether or not the unknown Gundam is a friend or foe, since it's not broadcasting any IFF signal. Jarrod Crux ignores him and rushes at the Ares in a reckless attack. Kira lightly touches the controls in an attempt to narrowly dodge the Gouf's attack and counterattack, but the Ares flies to the side at an incredible speed. Rapidly losing altitude, the Ares smashes into the side of a building. Kira slams his fist on the controls and asks why no one bother to calibrate the thing. Lacus tells him to keep focused.

Jarrod's Gouf dives after the Ares. Without his beam sword, Jarrod punches at the black Gundam. Heine spins around above in narrow circles, firing at the motionless Ares at each opportunity. Jarrod activates the Gouf's heat rod and wraps the superheated cord around the Ares' head, preparing to decapitate the Gundam. Kira tries to move the Ares' right arm to block Jarrod's attack, but the mechanical limb moves far two quickly, and the Ares shudders from the impact. Jarrod's black Gouf leaps away from the prone Ares as the other four Panzers enter the fray. Kira stuggles to get the Ares free from the collapsed building it crashed in as the Panzers attack. Finally righting the mobile suit, Kira aims for the open sky above and boosts upward.

Kira's eyes blur and Lacus spits blood as the Ares blasts upward at an uncontrollable speed. Kira is barely able to steady the Gundam before several bursts of flak explode behind him. On the bridge of the Minerva Meyrin exclaims in surprise as the black Ares Gundam suddenly appears directly in front of the warship. Talia orders all of the ship's main batteries to open fire before the Atlas mobile suit can attack them. Kira barely manages to dodge the fire; Lacus cries out in pain. The six Panzers rapidly rise up from the smoldering hole in Gaia's dome to continue their fight with the Ares.

Several Windams streak past the bridge of the Excalibur, followed in their flight by a trio of DINN-type mobile suits. An officer informs Arthur that Atlas has lost an estimated 80% of its defending units, and their main fortress—Gaia--is destroyed. The Atlas mobile suits have become extremely disorganized with the loss of the command structure. Several enemy units have routed, but others continue to fight. The Excalibur's heavy artillery cannons rake across the streets of Istanbul, tearing deep into the city and carving great gashes in the ground. Ezalia Joule's face appears on the main monitor of the Excalibur: she informs Arthur that Orb's fleet will arrive soon to reinforce the ZAFT troops. Arthur comments that they've missed all of the excitement—all that's left now is to mop up the remaining enemies. Ezalia scowls and tells Arthur not to get too overconfident just before her image on the screen is cut out by a burst of static.

A C1 Windam heavily-laden with explosives crashes into the port wing of the Minerva-class warship Cassandra. On the Bridge of the Cassandra Ezalia Joule asks for a status report. Several dozen similar kamikaze attacks take out ZAFT warships in the same instance. Two Maab-class carriers explode near the Excalibur. One of the fallen carriers slams into a Minerva-class vessel, and the both explode in a massive blast of orange fire. An officer tells Ezalia that the Cassandra's lift-system is malfunctioning—they're going to have to crash-land. Ezalia orders the Cassandra to crash into the mountain as near to the opening as possible, so that they can re-enforce the ground troops as closely as possible while grounded. Arthur curses as as second wave of kamikaze attacks cripples seven more warships. He orders the mobile suit squadrons back into the air to defend the fleet, but most are still pinned down in the heavy fighting in the city.

Meanwhile, Kira struggles to fend of the Panzers. The Ares is very fast, but so fast that it's virtually impossible to control. Lacus loses consciousness as Kira fights, but the Panzers are fighting too closely to him for Kira to escape. Inside the secondary dome of Gaia, Richard Hennes demands to know why the Atlas troops in Eurasia haven't arrived to help fight off the ZAFT attack. Julius Djibril tells Hennes that he delayed the order. Hennes starts to ask why, but Djibril stabs Hennes in the gut before the older man can finish his statement. Djibril watches Hennes collapse on the floor and steps back slightly so that the steadily-increasing pool of blood does not soil his shoes. As Hennes slowly dies, Djibril states that he will be the one to lead Earth into a new age.

Two mobile armors fly swiftly over the sea at a low-altitude. Sitting in the cockpit of the newly-refined Saviour Gundam, Lunamaria asks Shinn if he can hear any transmissions from the battlefield. A small visor at the front of the Shinn's Kestrel Gundam slides open revealing a bright-green mono-eye. It swivels back and forth. Inside the Kestrel's cockpit, Shinn watches a heavily-magnified image of the battle. A green-and-white Windam slams into the bridge of a Minerva-class vessel, and the warship falls into the burning city below, igniting a plume of flame that licks across the bottom-hulls of other ZAFT warships. Shinn tells Luna that it doesn't look like things are going too well. Luna tells Shinn that they had better hurry up, then.

Neo Roanoke takes Stellar and Auel Loussier with him into an Atlas submarine. As he boards, he turns to Sting Oakley and tells him that he will leave the rest of the operation in Sting's hands. Sting nods curtly and walks off. Stellar tugs on Neo's sleeve and asks him if they can finally go back into space. Neo nods and tells Stellar that they will. Auel grins and says that it's about time. As they speak, Sting launches in the Phantom-Pain A1-C2 Windam, rocketing high in the air and flying straight toward the ferocious battle between Kira and the Panzers. Heine tells Crux that they've all been ordered to re-group with the flagship—the fleet is taking heavy losses undefended. Crux tells Heine to shut-up and continues to fight the Ares Gundam at close-range. Several blasts of a beam rifle from Sting's Windam break up the Panzer's formation. Sting's attack distracts Jarrod Crux and Kira takes the opportunity to swing around and kick the Jarrod's black Gouf. The Ares spins and kicks the Gouf. Jarrod falls to the ground, and the Ares spins out of control from the force of the attack. Sting grabs onto the Ares to stead it, and tells Kira to fly close to the ground and make his escape over the mountain—he will provide covering fire.

The Kestrel Gundam flies over the city Lunamaria transforms the Savior to mobile-suit mode and begins shooting down the Windams in the air. Shinn stays low to the ground and swoops upward. He fires three blasts of the Kestrel's main gun at a formation of Windams. The first two shots miss, but the third hits the lead Windam. The Windam was loaded with explosives for a suicide-run, and the other two Windams get caught up in the explosion and are destroyed. The Saviour flies toward the Excalibur and Lunamaria tells Shinn that she will take care of the flagship. Since the Kestrel is faster than the Saviour, she tells Shinn to find the Minerva.

As Kira flies away, the Panzers break away from Sting's Windam and retreat to the Excalibur. Sting follows after Kira. When the Ares is near to a crashed Minerva-class vessel, Sting shoots Kira in the back. The Ares trips and falls. Kira quickly spins around in his seat to grab onto Lacus, protecting her unconscious body from injury. He grits his teeth and tells himself that no matter what, he can't afford to stay here any longer. Kira fires the Ares' vulcans at the crashed warship, hoping to distract the gunners. Sting tells Kira to keep going, he'll take care of the Minerva-class warship. A laser broadcast from the Excalibur informs Shinn and Lunamaria that Ezalia Joule's warship, the Cassandra has fallen out of formation, forced into a crash-landing, and is taking heavy enemy fire. Shinn and Luna immediately fly out to defend Ezalia's Minerva-class warship.

Two ZAKUs attack Kira and Sting. Sting uses a small handheld-rocket launcher to destroy the two, and in the process obscures the battlefield in a massive field of smoke. In the smoke, Sting ignites his beam saber and crashes it through the Cassandra's bridge, killing everyone on board. Ezalia Joule barely as time to scream before her body boils away into nothingness. The Kestrel Gundam arrives just as the smoke clears. Shinn sees the Ares Gundam slice through the torso of a ZAKU, standing near the smoldering bridge of the Cassandra. Shinn sees blood dripping off the burnt metal deck and screams at the Ares Gundam, transforming into a mobile suit and ramming into the black Gundam with incredible speed.

On the bridge of the Excalibur, Arthur struggles to ascertain the fleet's losses. An officer informs him that the Cassandra has been sunk; Ezalia Joule is dead. Arthur grimaces and orders the fleet to pull-back and re-group before resuming the offensive. A small face crackles to life on one of the bridge consoles—Meyrin Hawke reports that the Minerva has spotted a large fleet of warships sailing north across the straits. An officers reports this to Arthur, who unclenches his fist and smiles. The allied fleet from ORB has finally arrived.

Next Episode: The Last People Of Earth

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:32 am 
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I think I've seen most of your art before in the other section of this forum, but it is still cool. I don't think I've seen the Savior Mark II before though, and I have to say there is something about its head design that makes it look cool. Or evil, which is often the same thing. Although, I do find it funny that Kira would board a Gundam which paintjob is somewhat... different from what he is accustomed to (protagonist->antagonist). :P

About 27, then. I had completely forgotten Athrun had gone off that far away, and I found that "I have been expecting you" -setup amusing (I know I probably shouldn't have). :wink:

I consider the loss of Gaia a blow that Djibril has to be crazy to take in stride. I would imagine such a base was hard enough to come by, and his abandonment of it seems wasteful. Plus the destruction of Istanbul in a ZAFT offensive, Gaia or not, could well be used to their advantage. It's the symbolism of the thing that usually gets people riled up.

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Antares wrote:
I think I've seen most of your art before in the other section of this forum, but it is still cool. I don't think I've seen the Savior Mark II before though, and I have to say there is something about its head design that makes it look cool. Or evil, which is often the same thing. Although, I do find it funny that Kira would board a Gundam which paintjob is somewhat... different from what he is accustomed to (protagonist->antagonist). :P


The Ares-Gundam is actually a repaint of an older paint-scheme... it's a bit different. I was going for a black gundam with "bloody fangs." Initially, I was going to have Kira re-paint the Ares into more tradional SF colors, but I've since thought better of it. In the end of the series, there will be two red mobile suits, a blue one and a white one at the forefront, so I think it's better for Kira to stay black. Also--it makes for a great Zeta reference.

Antares wrote:
About 27, then. I had completely forgotten Athrun had gone off that far away, and I found that "I have been expecting you" -setup amusing (I know I probably shouldn't have). :wink:


...Young Skywalker. Yeah, that's a total Palpatine reference. So I guess that means Jupiter has its own Death Star......

Antares wrote:
I consider the loss of Gaia a blow that Djibril has to be crazy to take in stride. I would imagine such a base was hard enough to come by, and his abandonment of it seems wasteful. Plus the destruction of Istanbul in a ZAFT offensive, Gaia or not, could well be used to their advantage. It's the symbolism of the thing that usually gets people riled up.


Djibril is in a... difficult position. More on that--and the other points--soon enough. The basic theme I had for this battle is that it's a battle where EVERYONE loses. Atlas loses. ZAFT loses. ORB loses. The civilians living there lose, too, of course.

It's a bit shorter than some of the more recent episodes, but here's the next one:

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Episode 28: The Last People Of Earth

Kira reels from the impact of the Kestrel Gundam, trying desperately to cradle Lacus' limp body and retain control of his mobile suit simultaneously. Shinn lunges at the Ares with his beam saber, thrusting for the cockpit, but Kira is barely able to parry the blow. Igniting his own beam saber, Kira and Shinn begin to duel, though neither is able to land a clean hit on the other. After several blocked attacks, Shinn smirks and alters the magnetic field around his saber, attacking. Kira moves to parry this blow, but the Kestrel's blade bends around Kira's saber and flicks across the Ares' upper torso—a beam whip.

Kira flies backward as Shinn lashes the beam whip from side to side, giving him no room to flee or counterattack. Occasionally re-forming the weapon into a rigid saber, Shinn thrusts at the Ares before going back to a whip and making large horizontal slashes. Kira curses and reminds himself that he's running out of time. Kira throws his beam saber at the Kestrel Gundam, but Shinn uses his whip to easily knock the flying blade out of the way. Kira takes advantage of Shinn's distraction to lunge forward at the Kestrel, spinning upside-down along the ground to attack Shinn's Gundam from below. Before Kira can land an attack, Shinn notices and peppers the Ares with his head vulcans. Unable to attack, Kira grabs onto the Kestrel's leg as Shinn leaps back.

The two mobile suits careen into the ground, but Kira is able to let go just before the impact, allowing him to position the Ares above the Kestrel. Kira fires the compact mega-particle beam cannon in the Ares' torso at point-blank range. Shinn barely manages to avoid a direct-hit to the cockpit, but the powerful blast sears through most of the Kestrel's thin armor on the side of its torso. Rather than continue the fight, Kira flees the scene, leaving Shinn amazed that he was able to survive the attack. As the Ares flies off, two C1 Windams follow in pursuit, firing at the black Gundam. The Ares spins around and destroys both with it's rail-guns before continuing to fly away. Shinn sees this and recognizes that the Black Gundam must not be with Atlas. If it's not an Atlas mobile suit, Shinn wonders, and it's not ZAFT's, then who is the pilot?

On the Bridge of the Excalibur, Arthur Trine is informed that most of the Atlas mobile suits have fallen back into the city, or retreated to the underground complex; the fleet is safe. Lunamaria Hawke cuts down two Windams off the Minerva's port wing, and wonders why Atlas was so desperate that they would suicide-bomb the fleet. Meyrin removes her headset and throws it to the floor of the Minerva's bridge. Talia Gladys is about to snap at Meyrin, but then she sees the younger girl's face. Talia tells Meyrin to take a break, and she leaves the bridge. Another ZAFT officers replaces Meyrin in her station, and his eyes widen as he places her headset over his ears—cries for help are being shouted across nearly every radio channel. The charred city under the Minerva is littered with corpses or men, women and children. Talia orders the Minerva to join in formation with the Excalibur.

Several green-colored helicopters emblazoned with red crosses swarm across the wreckage of the Cassandra. The steel tower where the bridge once stood is completely gone. A medic helps Noah Junk out from the landed ship. Noah's face is bloody and his glasses are broken. As soon as the medic lets go of Noah, he dazedly turns around and tries to walk back inside the Cassandra before the medics are turned away. The medic grabs him again and pushes him into one of the helicopters.

On the bridge of the Takemikazuchi, Yuuna Roma Seiran orders the ORB fleet to join their comrades in battle, and to launch all of the mobile suits. The carriers launch hundreds of Astrays into the sky, with several Strike II Gundams interwoven in the formations. The giant turrets on the battleships rotate toward Istanbul's burning port and rise upward. All of the warships open fire at the same time, spewing a stream of gold-colored tracers into the air. The heavy shells rain down like hail on the unsuspecting ZAFT fleet. Dozens of warships burn and fall in the first salvo.

The Excalibur lists from the bombardment. Two Minerva-class vessels explode. Several Maab carriers burn and crash into the fiery city below. Arthur demands to know what happened; three Astrays swoop past the Excalibur's bridge, nearly scraping against the glass. The Astrays quickly target their beam rifles on the stunned ZAFT mobile suits and destroy several DINNs and ZAKU Gunners. Arthur is shocked at the realization that ORB's fleet has turned against them. As he issues the order for the fleet to turn-about to engage the ORB forces coming in from the sea, an officer informs Arthur that the Atlas forces have re-grouped and are mounting a counteroffensive.

On the Minerva, Talia orders the Kestrel and Saviour to link up and provide cover. Lunamaria tells the captain that they flew all the way from Seoul, and that neither the Kestrel nor the Saviour have much power left in their batteries. Talia is surprised that the mobile suits could make it so far without recharging, and Lunamaria smiles saying that the best pilots get the best equipment. The Kestrel lands on the Minerva's starboard wing and kneels; the Saviour does the same thing on the opposite wing. Thin robotic arms unfurl from the central hull, carrying large power cables. These cables attach to each of the Gundams and re-charges their batteries as the Minerva's ZAKU squadrons continue to cover the ship from the sparse Atlas attacks.

Lunamaria sees something below and cries out, leaping the Saviour Gundam up into the air. The robotic arm bends and breaks from the strain and the power cable flies loose, quickly retracting back into the Minerva's hull. Shinn asks Luna what's wrong, and Lunamaria quickly warns the Minerva to look out below. Immediately underneath the Minerva, hundreds of Windams fly out of the smoldering opening into Gaia's primary bio-dome and open fire. As the Minerva rocks from the fire, Talia announces that the enemy forces have re-grouped and counterattacked. She immediately requests that all nearby ZAFT forces try to hole-up as many Atlas units inside Gaia as possible. The con-officer that replaced Meyrin cries out in a panicked voice that the fleet is under attack. Talia demands to know what's going on and he informs her that the allied fleet from ORB has turned against them.

Luna swings the Saviour's two giant beam cannons around the Saviour's waist and fires a sustained burst that cuts through ten Windams as they fly up out of Gaia. Still connected to the Minerva's power cable, Shinn moves to the side of the wing and fires down into the chasm with the Kestrel's mega-particle beam cannon. Talia orders the Minerva to move into a defensive formation with the rest of the fleet. Four A1 Windams grab onto the Minerva's wing as the ship rises in altitude and fire at the Kestrel, but Shinn easily deflects the fire by activating the beam shield on the large rifle.

Shinn then mows down the Windams with his head vulcans, and the Windams lose their footing on the Minerva's wing. Falling toward the ground, they slow their descent with their main thruster, allowing Lunamaria to easily pick them off in the Saviour. Shinn detaches the power cable and falls from the Minerva's wing, spinning in several tight circles as the Kestrel transforms into its mobile-armor configuration. The Minerva finally puts enough distance between itself and Gaia that it's no longer in any direct danger, and Talia orders Shinn and Luna to support the rest of the fleet at the coast. She informs them that the allied ORB fleet has turned against them, and that the tide of battle has completely turned around as a result. Shinn doesn't believe what he hears, and demands to know why ORB would attack ZAFT. Lunamaria states that it sounds impossible—after all, ORB was the first nation to ally with PLANT after the Junon disaster. Talia shrugs and says that no one really knows what's going on or why, but the fact remains that ORB fired the first shot.

The Ares Gundam lands on the ORB carrier, Miyamoto, docked at the port city of Zonguldak, several miles East of Istanbul. Quickly opening the main hatch, Kira carries Lacus out of the mobile suit's cockpit and runs toward the ships infirmary, ignoring the officers that try to ask him what's going on. A few of the soldiers one the deck stare at the Ares with open mouths, wondering where the strange mobile suit came from.

In their mobile armor forms, the Saviour and Kestrel rocket over the battlefield toward the Mediterranean coast. Two Strike II Gundams fly above the clouds and target the Kestrel, both firing their enormous beam sniper-rifles at the same time. Shinn instinctively turns the Kestrel to its side, allowing both beams to narrowly miss to the top and bottom of the craft. Lunamaria is momentarily shocked that Shinn was able to dodge so closely, but quickly turns her attention to the two Strike II's circling above. Lunamaria boosts upward to attack, and tells Shinn to leave them to her. The Strike II's quickly try to out-fly the Saviour by gaining altitude and diving down at high-speed. Lunamaria manages to singe the armor on one of the ORB Gundams with a dual-shot from the twin beam cannon, and manages to neatly cut the other in two with her beam rifle. The surviving Strike II quickly disengages and retreats.

Staying in mobile-armor form, Shinn flies through the fleet's formation, shooting down the attacking Windams and Astrays, while weaving dangerously close to the floating ZAFT warships. One of the Maab-class carriers begins to spit fire and falls down, Shinn tries to avoid it but can't maneuver due to the congested airspace. Powering on the Kestrel's enhanced Lift-System, the mobile armor's wings extend and glow and the Gundam flies to safety at more than twice its previous speed. The sound and furor of combat vanishes and Shinn finds himself blasting across the ruined Istanbul in silence. He begins to hear a faint noise and gets a headache.

Examining the monitors in the cockpit, Shinn finally sees something that he identifies as the source of the pain. Zooming in on the image, Shinn sees a black-and-purple A1-C2 Enhanced High-Mobility Windam carefully making its way between the burning buildings of the city, trying to avoid notice. Shinn recognizes the Windam's type and unique color scheme as being the same as the unit that attacked the Minerva at Adana. In his mind, Shinn can see the pilot of the dark Windam getting out of his cockpit and pulling another pilot—no more than a dark figure—out of the smoldering wreckage of the Blue Breaker. Then, Shinn sees Rey's body crash to the ground. Shinn briefly wonders why he can remember something he didn't see, and his mind involuntarily wavers to his time with Stellar while his friend fought, and nearly died. Pushing the memories from his mind, Shinn swoops down to attack Sting Oakley's C2 Windam.

Shinn waits to fire the Kestrel's main gun until he his nearly upon the Windam. Firing at close range, the heavy blast cuts through part of burning building—causing it to collapse immediately—before cutting into the right arm of Sting's Windam and melting it off. Sting curses and tries to figure out how he was caught—when he sees that his attacker is fighting in a new type of mobile suit, however, he becomes curious.

Jarrod Crux leads the Panzer Squadron across the open sea, dodging flak and cannon-fire from the ORB fleet as they encroach on the Takemikazuchi's position. One of the ORB destroyers manages to hit and destroy one of the black Goufs with an artillery shell; Heine cuts off the ship's bridge with his beam sword while Jarrod and the other three Panzers fly over the water to the ORB flagship. On the bridge of the Takemikazuchi, Yuuna Roma Seiran asks the second wave is ready to launch, and receives an affirmative reply. Heine re-joins the Panzers, and the five Goufs fly up onto the Takemikazuchi's deck, but as they fire their first shots the carrier's elevators rise to the deck, each one bearing a Strike II Gundam poised and ready to shoot. Two of the Panzers are destroyed immediately, and Heine jumps away from the deck to avoid the fire.

Jarrod screams at Heine, calling him a coward, before the third Panzer catches beam and explodes, throwing Jarrod's Gouf from the deck and into the ocean. Heine dives after Jarrod's Gouf, and finds the mobile suit disabled and sinking. Heine grabs onto the broken Gouf and retreats from the battle. Meanwhile, on the bridge of the Excalibur, Arthur Trine receives a message from Gilbert Durandel telling him to pull the fleet out and regroup. Arthur says that he thinks they can still win the battle—the Atlas troops have already routed, all that's left is to take care of the ORB traitors. Durandel tells Arthur that it's a battle no one can win, and it would be best to limit their losses as best they can.

Lunamaria Hake flies out from an exploding ORB warship as Arthur broadcasts the signal to retreat. She goes back to the Minerva, but is sent out to look for Shinn, since he hadn't acknowledged the retreat order. In the burning streets of Istanbul, Shinn is dueling with Sting. Shinn lodges the Kestrel's main cannon on the mobile suit's back and fights against the Windam using only his beam saber, but the transition from saber to whip is less effective in the narrow streets. Sting exclaims that the enemy pilot is too overconfident—with that giant gun strapped to its back, it's sluggish. Sting knocks down the kestrel and stabs at the cockpit—Shinn blocks the blow, and the Kestrel's right arm explodes.

Jettisoning the rifle, the Kestrel becomes much more mobile: Shinn jumps and spins over Sting's Windam and slams both of the Gundam's feet into the Atlas mobile suit from behind. Sting grunts as the Windam flips over, but he manages to draw out his beam rifle while falling and shoots at Shinn. Caught off guard by the Windam pilot's skill, Shinn doesn't react when Sting tosses his beam rifle at the Kestrel and then cuts it in two Sting uses the exploding rifle as cover to jump into the air and flee. Shinn also leaps into the air and prepares to follow Sting, when a huge blast of energy shoots right in front of the Kestrel. Lunamaria looks down at Shinn past two massive beam cannons and tells him to stop fooling around and head back to the Minerva—ZAFT is pulling out of Istanbul.

After Shinn and Lunamaria disembark from their mobile suits in the Minerva's hanger, Shinn asks Lunamaria if PLANT is at war with ORB now. Lunamaria says she doesn't know, but it looks that way. Lunamaria says that she didn't think that ORB's princess was the kind of person to pull this kind of sneak attack, and Shinn says that he doesn't think so either. Lunamaria asks Shinn if he'll be alright fighting people from ORB, and Shinn says that he doesn't know. As they leave the hanger, Lunamaria's even expression falters into a look of concern as Meyrin runs up to her. Crying, Meyrin buries her head in her sisters chest.

Cagalli Yula Atha is sitting at her desk in ORB's capital on Onogoro island when the door is forcibly broken down. Twenty soldiers with rifles enter the room and surround Cagalli, pointing the barrels of their weapons directly at her. Cagalli's shock at the scene is quickly replaced with anger as she scowls at the men. A man with a suit enters through the throng of soldiers and informs Cagalli that she is hereby placed under arrest for acts treason and conspiracy.

Next Episode: Return To The City Of Sorrow

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Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
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Last edited by Mwulf on Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:07 pm 
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Let's see...

March.
April.
May.
June.
July.
August.
September.
October.
November.
December.

And tomorrow is January. That's a whopping 10 months. Well, the only reason I'll cite for my absence from the community will be illness. Make of that what you will.

One thing I will say is that a host of computer issues resulted in a new PC coupled with the loss of most of my material for this... thing. IIRC, I'd written all the way up to ep33 or so, but the material I was able to save only went to 22 or so.

Anyway, I hate leaving things undone, so I'm gonna try and finish this thing. I've got a nice two-week break, so I ought to be able to do a lot--though expect some brevity.

I'll be posting the re-write of the next episode sometime tonight... I look forward to hearing any responses to it, particularly after the long absence.

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Gundam Seed Fates
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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:56 pm 
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Likewise, I'll be interested to see what you put up. I might have to revisit a previous episode though. ;)

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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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Episode 29: Return to the City of Sorrow

A lone passenger shuttle glides toward the docking bay of the O'Neil-type colony Bordeaux, in the Independent Colonies. A woman wheels a cart down the aisle and a passenger—a thin man with narrow glasses and a sharp face—halts her. Noah Jung takes a drink from the attendant and she moves on. A light near the front of the cabin flashes, directing all of the passengers to remain seated. Inside the shuttle's cockpit, the pilot confirms his landing instructions with Bordeaux's port command: he is directed to land in docking bay three.

In the Bordeaux CIC, several ZAFT officers monitor the traffic to and from the colony. One officer alerts the commander to anomalous deceleration numbers for one of the cargo ships en route to bay three. The vessel's speed indicates a higher mass than what was listed on the ship's manifest. The commander questions to himself whether or not the cargo ship is a smuggler while Noah's shuttle matches rotation with the colony and sails into port.

Looking out of the window, Noah sees the cargo ship lower toward the landing pad, and notes that it seems to be moving rather quickly. A hatch along the rear of the vessel slides open and a trio of black and purple JINNs fly out. The cargo ship plunges downward and explodes. The force of the explosion sends Noah's shuttle backwards where it collides with the interior structure of the port and loses power. From inside the colony, a giant explosion ruptures the “mountain” at the end covering up the docking bays, sending dirt, rock and concrete into the interior of the colony. The three JINNs fly out of the opening and open fire.

Rubbing the blood from his eyes, Noah pushes some of the broken equipment floating around the dark shuttle out of his way and tries to move toward the cockpit. A female passenger screams and Noah cringes at the sound. Noah reaches the cockpit to find the pilot dead and the copilot in shock—the shuttle itself has entered the colony and is now drifting alongside a cloud of debris along the relatively weightless “core” of the colony cylinder. Looking down into the colony Noah watches the trio of JINNs spread out and begin attacking the urban area at the front of the colony. The JINNs fire their machine guns into buildings and at the vehicles in the streets, mercilessly slaughtering everyone they can find and destroying everything they come into contact with.

From the opposite end of the colony's interior—near the reactor—a single black object plummets through the thin atmosphere toward the attacking mobile suits. It blurs past the derelict shuttle and Noah recognizes the object to be a mobile suit. Inside the mobile suit, a faceless ZAFT pilot announces the initialization of the first combat trial for the ZGMF-X42S Destiny Gundam. The Destiny flies the three attacking JINNs and hovers in the air. The ZAFT mobile suit readies its long-range beam cannon and fires. Noah watches the bright red stream of energy pierce downward and engulf a black JINN. Without disengaging the beam, the ZAFT pilot sweeps across the cityscape to the second JINN, and easily destroys it. The beam cannon disengages and returns to it's original position behind the Destiny's wing. As the heat dissipates and the smoke clears, Noah sees a long black gash of destruction arching across the urban area, cutting through two buildings and dozens of vehicles. Hundreds of civilians run screaming from the onslaught.

Noah observes the wanton destruction with a scowl as four ZAFT Zakus move into the area. Using loudspeakers, the Zaku pilots tell the civilians to evacuate the area. The remaining JINN ducks behind a building to avoid the Zakus' attack. Biting his lower lip, the JINN pilot curses ZAFT. The insurgent pilot activates the JINN's self-destruct, setting the detonation time to thirty minutes, and jumps into the air, rushing toward the black gundam. The Destiny's pilot sees the JINN's suicide rush, and swiftly flings both beam-boomerangs from it's shoulders. Twin spiraling disks of light arc out and slice through the JINN, one decapitating the mobile suit, the other cutting through the cockpit. The disabled JINN falls back to the ground of the colony, falling on top of a truck filled with civilians trying to flee the area. As he watches the Jinn explode and the Zakus circle the battleground, Noah thinks to himself that the Destiny Mass-Migration Plan seems doomed to fail—it's only a matter of time before civil war and anarchy engulf the Independent Colonies.

Looming over the azure Mediterranean sea, drenched in sweat, Shinn Asuka rushes an Astray. Shinn thrusts the Kestrel Gundam's beam saber through the Astray's cockpit, only to find two more Astrays closing in on him from behind. Boosting backwards Shinn spins the Kestrel in three swift circles, altering the stability of the beam saber so that the constrained plasma loses it's shape and density and spins around the Kestrel in a widening arc, like a whip. The beam whip slashes across the two Astrays. The head of the first Astray is destroyed, and the ORB pilot retreats. The beam whip fails to incur any serious damage to the second Astray, but distracts the mobile suit's pilot long enough for Shinn to blast through its thin armor with the Kestrel's head vulcans. As the Gunsmoke clears, Shinn struggles to catch his breath. Over the crackles of static, Shinn informs Lunamaria that all of the enemies in the immediate vicinity have been destroyed.

Lunamaria shouts at Shinn not to let his guard down as she slashes an Astray in half vertically. Both halves explode and Lunamaria uses the Savior's small shield to protect herslef from the close proximity of the explosions. Blasting up out of the water in a plume of white a Strike II Gundam rams into the Savior and uses its massive thrusters to knock the Saviour out of the way. Luna loses control of her gundam and the Savior plummets into the sea. Startled, Shinn raises his beam rifle and fires several shots at the Strike II, but the ORB pilot deftly dodges. One last shot, however, nicks the Strike II's left foot, melting through the armor with ease. As the Savior resurfaces, the Strike II flies straight up into the air and boosts away, attempting to retreat.

Shinn leaps up after the Strike II and boosts toward it as fast as he can. The Kestrel is able to catch up with the Strike II, but the aerial gundams massive thrusters prevent Shinn from closing the gap. All of a sudden, the Strike II's thrusters gleam white, and the ORB mobile suit rockets ahead. Shinn is stunned—he cannot believe that the ORB mobile suit is able to fly faster than the Kestrel. Shinn removes the beam shield from the giant beam cannon, and drops the cannon into the sea. With the sharp decrease in weight, Shinn is able to catch up with the Strike II. The ORB gundam spins around, using its thruster pods to maintain its flight, and peppers Shinn with vulcan fire. A bright light flashes on the Strike II's wing, and a thin trail of black smoke trails out from behind the Strike II. Shinn realizes that the ORB pilot was pushing the Strike II far beyond its limits as the gundam's wings catch fire and one of the thruster pods explodes.

The Strike II momentarily spins out of control, but he ORB pilot manages to stabilize the Gundam's flight path, and purges the flaming aerial backpack. The armor around the Strike II's shoulders and back is burn black as the metal tears outward and the thruster are ejected. The burning mess of metal flies toward Shinn at high speed, but Shinn is able to cut through the Strike II's discarded backpack and save himself. Flying out from the smoke as the broken thrusters and wings splash in the water below, Shinn reels to see the Strike II rushing him with its high-output beam saber drawn. Shinn recalls that the high-output beam saber cannot be used for very long without recharging, and the recharging racks were purged from the Gundam along with the flight equipment. Shinn realizes that if he can avoid the first attack, there won't be another.

The Strike II charges Shinn with its high-output beam saber pointed forward, like a lance. Shinn, in turn, charges the Strike II, his own beam saber active, but held behind the Kestrel's back. In moments, the Strike's beam saber impacts against the Kestrel with a blinding flash of light. The high-output blade glimmers wildly as it presses against the Kestrel's beam shield. The beam shield wavers and flickers and Shinn wonders if it will hold. The shield's four binders move in closer to the blade, decreasing the shield's overall size, but increasing its resistance. The two mobile suits press against each other and carreen through the sky, with neither unit having an apparent advantage over the other. Shinn bites his lip. Finally, the Strike II's high-output beam saber weakens, flickers and dies. Shinn immediately thrusts his beam saber into the Strike II's belly before the ORB pilot can react, creating a molten hole through the cockpit. The gold light of the Strike II's electronic eyes fade as the Kestrel's beam saber slides out of the Strike II's chest. The ORB mobile suit, pilot boiled out of existence, crashes into the cold sea below.

Shinn watches the wreckage floating in the water as the ripples recede into the waves. Shinn wonders why the ORB pilot fought him so fiercely—so recklessly. Shinn wonders what the pilot was fighting for, and remember the day he lost his own family in ORB, durring the Bloody Valentine War. Shrugging the thoughts from his mind, Shinn retreats back toward the Savior Gundam—and sees that Lunamaria had already destroyed or routed the rest of the ORB strike force.

Lunamaria tells Shinn to hurry up. The Kestrel and the Savior both transform into their respective mobile-armor modes and return the Minerva. Shinn complains to Lunamaria that the whole thing is a mess. Luna shrugs as the Savior touches down in the Minerva's mobile suit bay. Two massive umbilical cords detach from the hangar wall, and nimble robotic arms attach the power cables to the backs of the Savior and Kestrel. Meyrin Hawke's face appears on the monitor in Shinn's cockpit. She tells Shinn that once the Kestrel's batteries are fully charged, he is to take point on the hangar deck and be on standby for an enemy attack. Shinn asks Meyrin why the Savior isn't still on-duty, and asks Meyrin where her sister is. Meyrin tells Shinn that Lunamaria is being debriefed, and laughs. She tells Shinn that if he doesn't want to get stuck with active-watch duty, he should try getting more kills than Luna. Shinn sighs and cuts off the communication link.

Shinn walks the Kestrel over to the end of the Hangar deck, umbilical still attached, and looks down at the blue sea below. The sky around the Minerva is crowded with ZAFT warships. Nearly all of them suffering significant damage, and unable to attain escape velocity. The ramshackle fleet is en route to the mass driver at Gibraltar. Once they arrive, Shinn realizes, they will all be evacuating to space. With ZAFT moving off the Earth, and with Atlas crippled, Shinn wonders whether or not the betrayal at Istanbul was nothing more than ORB making a bid for domination. Shinn curses ORB and wonders why anyone would cause so much death for the sake of a planet that was, itself, dead.

Captain Talia Glady's returns Lunamaria's salute quickly, and with a brief smile, as the Savior's pilot enters the captain's office. Talia directs Lunamaria to sit and hands her a folder with the ZAFT seal emblazoned across the front. Talia apologizes to Luna, telling her she's sorry the paperwork took so long—after the Battle of Istanbul, Lunamaria Hawke earned enough kills to be officially recognized as an Ace pilot. Talia congratulates Luna, but before Lunamaria can respond, Talia also informs Lunamaria that she has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and will be in command of the Minerva's mobile suit squadron from now on. Lunaria thanks Talia and salutes the captain once more. Talia tells Luna to open the folder: she does. Luna looks into the folder, and then back at Talia. Lunamaria asks Talia if she's serious.

Talia grimaces and tells Lunamaria that ORB was one of PLANT's greatest allies and one of the most active supporters of the Destiny Plan—there's no way PLANT would simply abandon the Earth after the Istanbul Betrayal. ZAFT forces would withdraw, yes, but not before punishing ORB. As soon as the fleet reaches Gibralter, the Minerva will lead a small contingent of high-speed warships in an invasion of ORB's homeland. Talia reminds Luna that Shinn was born in ORB, and asks her if she thinks Shinn will be able fight against his former homeland. Lunamaria tells Talia that Shinn hasn't been conflicted by his loyalties yet, so she doestn't forsee him being a problem in the future. Talia tells Lunamaria that she is in charge of the pilots now. Talia will leave the decision to Lunamaria and trust in it.

A narrow thread of light appears in the dark cell, swiftly widening into an open doorway. Cagalli Yula Atha, recently deposed sovereign of ORB sits alone in a cell. Cagalli's eyes are closed and she makes to reaction to the opening of the cell, nor does she react as Yuuna Roma Seiran strides into the cell, and kicks a tray of food across the concrete floor. Yuuna smiles at Cagalli says that he's been told she's refused to eat. Yuuna smiles faintly and comments that Cagalli must be suffering from the mistaken assumption that her captors would prefer her alive. Yuuna shrugs and grins. Offering a sloppy, sarcastic salute, he tells Cagalli that he's honored to be the one to inform her that her execution has been scheduled. Cagalli is to be publicly executed at dawn.

Frowning, Yuuna looks around the dark cell. He sighs sheepishly and apologizes for not having a clock installed in her cell. Eyes narrowing menacingly, Yuuna informs Cagalli that dawn is only four hours away—and asks that she make her peace.

Next Episode: Nemesis

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Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
ASA (comic)


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 Post subject: Re: Gundam Seed: Fates
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:09 am 
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Well, I'm back. Again. An even longer absence. It worth continuing this? I've got most of the material on my HDD somewhere, so it wouldn't take too much trouble to muddle through the rest of it and make it all presentable-like.

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Gundam Seed Fates
ASA (comic)


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 Post subject: Re: Gundam Seed: Fates
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:11 am 
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You've made it pretty far, don't give up now! I promise to read if you continue, at least. It is your call, of course, if your heart's still in it. :)

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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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