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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:11 am 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
Posts: 1681
Location: Finland
A few comments, although they might come a little late; I had to do a bit of catching up with your fic. Both eps 36 and 37 could use a quick spellcheck; I noticed "Erath" for Earth and a few other points where the ending of the last word got tagged onto the next one ("seein gof" for "seeing of" or something similar). They do not lessen the effect of the story, but I would assume you want those cleared up all the same.

Now, on Cags. I suppose she is showing symptoms of a manic-depressive, the dreams certainly are indicative of that. Of course you can say she has good reason to. Shame on Athrun for saying all the wrong things, such as "that is ridiculous". It is not; that's what the person really feels and calling it ridiculous only compounds the damage, especially when it comes from an intimate companion. Then again, Athrun is a a typical guy who sees emotional anguish as a problem to be solved (rationally), as opposed to lending as much strength and moral support he can to allow Cags to work it out for herself.

Although, this
Quote:
Cagalli put her hands on his chest. Athrun's eyes widened as he realized what Cagalli meant. Holy crap.
made me laugh. :D

Flay's survival is an interesting bit of retcon, especially as I recall you base your story on GS, in which she does not have a spacesuit. :)

On Feizhi, you said
Quote:
Unsurprisingly, the Core Splendor was shooting back, though missiles and machine-guns were just nuisances to the Windam.

This is not entirely accurate; CIWS fire in GSD downed more than a few. And later
Quote:
Feizhi looked down, and instead of seeing her petite, wiry body, she saw a beam weapon sticking through her.

which means, if the beam weapon were active, it would've cooked her good, although the way you handled her death was dramatic enough. Maybe just drop the "beam weapon" and mention the Gouf had used it's Tempest sword? It was a beam edge, sure, but just talking about the sword makes the scene work better.

And the Savior actually runs on batteries, although Neo says it runs on a reactor. Of course, this might be your own in-universe -tweak I've forgotten...

On Coordinators; the term actually refers to a person who is "refined" pre-birth and post, if I am not hugely mistaken. Sure, two Coordinator parents have a child who is by their genes also a Coordinator, but Flay and Kira making a Coordinator without any outside help just sounds fishy to me. :P

That was an interesting turn though with the Extended getting a measure of the their autonomy back. I can only speculate Meryl's motives. When she said
Quote:
I was one of two adult-age Extended, along with the missing Michael
, I'm guessing you will have yet another new character in the wings, waiting. :)

Evil Sai sounds like a Sith Lord with this:
Quote:
I can give them both instant heart failure with a press of a button . . . unless you do as I say."

Consider revising it into a more direct threat of bodily harm? I can see you're thinking he's put some device in them etc. but that just sounds too complicated.

Good show, you're keeping to it at least. In the next bit I assume Kira will re-enact what Stellar did over Berlin, crying and screaming while everything around him blows up.

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


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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
Antares wrote:
A few comments, although they might come a little late; I had to do a bit of catching up with your fic. Both eps 36 and 37 could use a quick spellcheck; I noticed "Erath" for Earth and a few other points where the ending of the last word got tagged onto the next one ("seein gof" for "seeing of" or something similar). They do not lessen the effect of the story, but I would assume you want those cleared up all the same.


Yeah, I do plan on fixing them when I post them on FF.net. I was really disappointed with my lack of grammar skills in those chapters, I write these chapters on an ancient word processor that does not highlight spelling mistakes, so some always sneak through.

Quote:
Now, on Cags. I suppose she is showing symptoms of a manic-depressive, the dreams certainly are indicative of that. Of course you can say she has good reason to. Shame on Athrun for saying all the wrong things, such as "that is ridiculous". It is not; that's what the person really feels and calling it ridiculous only compounds the damage, especially when it comes from an intimate companion. Then again, Athrun is a a typical guy who sees emotional anguish as a problem to be solved (rationally), as opposed to lending as much strength and moral support he can to allow Cags to work it out for herself.


Well, Athrun didn't outright tell Cagalli she was being ridiculous (he did say that to Murrue though), but yeah, he was not very sensitive. I wanted to invoke a sense of desperation in Athrun, though, because he truly is afraid of Cagalli falling apart and he's basically demanding her to keep herself together. It's not the right way to do it but right now Cagalli is strong enough to keep going, but she is going to need serious emotional support.

Quote:
Although, this made me laugh. :D


Athrun is like most guys, not ready for his first sexual experience. XD

Quote:

Flay's survival is an interesting bit of retcon, especially as I recall you base your story on GS, in which she does not have a spacesuit. :)


If you wish to believe I have retconned Flay's death, that's your prerogative. But let me tell you this: Gundam SEED is 100% canon in this story.

Feizhi: I know Core Splendor actually did some damage to enemies in the GSD anime, but Feizhi's too good of a pilot to get hit by Core Splendor fire. That's kinda how that sentence was supposed to be interpreted. As for the beam weapon . . . I think I will change it to "Tempest Sword" for the FF.net version so it makes a bit more sense. I am aware, though, that I bent the laws of science for a more dramatic death (i.e. Nicol's demise).

Quote:
And the Savior actually runs on batteries, although Neo says it runs on a reactor. Of course, this might be your own in-universe -tweak I've forgotten...


Neo was not fighting Savior. He was fighting Justice which does run on a reactor. Savior does run on batteries just like Impulse, Gaia, and every other Gundam featured.

Quote:
On Coordinators; the term actually refers to a person who is "refined" pre-birth and post, if I am not hugely mistaken. Sure, two Coordinator parents have a child who is by their genes also a Coordinator, but Flay and Kira making a Coordinator without any outside help just sounds fishy to me. :P


It is fishy. Intentionally fishy. There's a reason why Flay's explanation does not make complete sense.

Quote:
That was an interesting turn though with the Extended getting a measure of the their autonomy back. I can only speculate Meryl's motives. When she said, I'm guessing you will have yet another new character in the wings, waiting. :)


Only Stellar is an Extended in this fic, Sting and Auel are Slants (aka the 50/50 Coordinator/Natural group I made up for this fic). And the Extended are much different in this version as well. As for Michael . . . you've met him already. You just don't know it. :twisted:

Quote:
Evil Sai sounds like a Sith Lord with this:
Consider revising it into a more direct threat of bodily harm? I can see you're thinking he's put some device in them etc. but that just sounds too complicated.

Good show, you're keeping to it at least. In the next bit I assume Kira will re-enact what Stellar did over Berlin, crying and screaming while everything around him blows up.


Again there is a reason why I had Sai threaten with heart failure and not a gunshot or a bomb. However, you're right, in a normal situation that doesn't make sense. This is part of the "jigsaw puzzle plot", as TVTropers calls it, developing.

As for the Destroy . . . yeah, it's gonna explode stuff.

I made a minor modification to the third scene in Chapter 41. It is being implemented shortly after I post this. Chapter 42 is halfway done, it should be completed by tomorrow.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:21 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
My birthday present to you all: Chapter 42. Enjoy it.
__________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Forty-Two: Approaching Menace

. . . the soldier, above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.
-Douglas MacArthur

It still felt strange to approach Andrew Waltfield, such a storied and controversial man, a traitor and yet someone largely considered to have helped save the world. It was also strange to think of him as a 'colonel', when he had been a general during the last war.

But there wasn't any choice. Shiho had gotten in touch with some woman named Murrue Ramius, and the information was incredibly important, on a personal level. To Shinn, it was a mere name, a name he did not know, but maybe Andrew Waltfield would figure something out just by the name.

What worried Shinn more wasn't the name but the machine. Shiho hadn't given him a lot of detail on the machine for whatever reason, maybe she didn't trust him and so had limited his information. But from what he had been able to glean, the machine sounded like the embodiment of destruction. And it was likely the ZAFT was going to have to face that machine very, very soon.

He saw Waltfield, and took a deep breath. He had never gotten to speak to Waltfield before. It had always been Shiho until now. Meyrin hadn't gotten a turn yet either in this miniature conspiracy.

"Colonel Waltfield, sir," Shinn said, as his heart began to pound.

"Yes, Ensign Asuka?" Waltfield asked calmly.

"Uh . . . tea sucks, sir!"

There was a pause, and then Waltfield just laughed. "So, you must be the new member Lieutenant Hassenfuss has told me about. All right, what do you have to tell me, Ensign?"

"Sir." Shinn Asuka tried his best to not seem so robotic, but he couldn't help himself. Waltfield, even with his casual appearance, still demanded respect. He was a war hero, after all. "The Earth Alliance has a new weapon of highly destructive caliber, code-named 'Destroy'. I do not have any further information other than it might be a GUNDAM-class. The pilot is said to be Kira Yamato, sir."

Waltfield's eyes briefly widened, and then he nodded. "I assume I am allowed to tell the captain about this?"

"Yes, sir, under the guise of having an Orb source, sir, just like always. Other than the pilot's name, anyway, sir."

"Relax, Ensign, that's too many 'sirs' in too few sentences," Waltfield said.

"Yes, uh, sir." Shinn felt his face heat up. "Oh, and I'm also supposed to give you this, sir."

Inside were documents, and Shiho had basically threatened to kill Shinn if he opened the folder. Paranoia had won out over curiosity and Shinn had left the folder sealed.

Waltfield nodded as he took the folder. "Thank you. Ensign, this 'Kira Yamato' is an old war buddy of mine. He's much younger than me but I still consider him a comrade. We have to assume he's doing this against his will, which means we're going to have to try to take him alive."

"Yes, sir."

"You're dismissed." Waltfield then turned and went towards the bridge, presumably to let Talia Gladys in on the information. Shinn just breathed a sigh of relief and leaned against the wall. He had been so nervous the entire time, but it seemed no one followed him. At least-

"Boo."

Shinn leapt into the air, and his heart skipped a beat.

He spun around, and saw Meyrin, a teasing smile crossing her face. Shinn grabbed his chest and struggled to breathe. "Meyrin . . . don't do that."

Meyrin's smile turned kind. "I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. I didn't know you were this nervous, Shinn."

"I was terrified! What if someone snuck on me?"

A long silence.

"Well, other than you, I mean."

Meyrin just laughed. "Shinn, I was watching your back. That's all. Oh, and I eavesdropped a little."

"Don't ask me any questions, I barely understood what Shiho told me. I know there's information inside the folder I gave Waltfield, but Shiho said there would be a friendly fire incident in the next battle if I opened it."

Meyrin sighed. "Shiho's so prickly. I don't understand why."

There's probably a reason, and I just don't know what yet.

Meyrin smiled and turned back towards Shinn. "Well, never mind. It's time to head to the cafeteria. Today's the return of mystery meat and grouchy Luna."

"Yay."

Meyrin giggled. "I know. C'mon, let's get it over with."

I can't wait. I'd almost rather face that monster GUNDAM than the mystery meat.
***
At the worst possible time, he saw her.

"What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you the same question, you idiot!"

"What are you saying?"

"Are you completely blind? Or just stupid? That woman is not who you think she is! The path you are taking is the destruction of everyone! That's not why I've been contacting you this entire time!"

"You're just a dream. An illusion. Delusion. Go away."

"You continue this path, and you will kill my brother. And when you kill my brother, you seal everyone's fate. My brother is the only person who can stop what's about to come."

"What's going to come? You have never told me what's going to happen!"

A long silence.

"I thought that you, as the Ultimate Coordinator, would be the best person to protect my brother. To keep him alive. I was wrong. I need to find someone else, someone else with your supersensory abilities . . . your flashes."

"Flashes?"

"Flashes . . . of the ability to sense the emotions and feelings of others, including those who have passed. It does not have a name, and only a few people have these abilities. I think it has to do with super-strong brain waves, or something." She laughed softly, bitterly. "When you're dead you get to chat with a lot of smart dead people. You learn a lot of things."

"Shut up. Go away. You don't know how I feel, and you're just a delusion. A fiction. Something I'm unconsciously making up or something."

"You do not stop this path, and someone else will have to bear your burden."

"What?"

"It will be someone who cares deeply about you, Kira. Do you want this someone else to bear what should be yours? Or will you stop this crazy
crap you're doing and protect the one person who will save this world?"

"Go away."

"Is that your final answer?"

"You're just a crazy delusion that's been driving me insane and never leaves me alone! You don't explain what crap you keep warning me about and all you do is tell me how the future will suck unless some person, who I don't know, and likely will never know, who just happens to be your
brother, lives! You're nothing! Go the hell away and let me fix my problems myself!"

Another long silence.

"I tried to help you. I warned you when you were no longer safe."

"Fat lot of good it did, didn't it? I got captured anyway! And now look what I'm doing."

"You don't have to do this. All you're going to do is make everything worse, not just for everyone else but yourself."

"
Go. Away."

"So you do pass your responsibility on to someone else."

"If that's what it takes for you to go away, and stop screwing with my head, so I'm finally free of these delusions, yes! Go drive someone else insane!"

"Fine. I hope you'll be pleased with yourself. The person I will contact will be in great emotional pain over what you are about to do."

"
Shut up, you stupid little bitch!"

She turned. "Goodbye, Kira Yamato."

She was gone.

The silence was merciful, gladdening.

He just laughed.

Laughed for what seemed of all of eternity.

Laughed and cried and raged and laughed some more, until he was nothing but a patchwork of emotion.

He honestly didn't care if she had been real, or was just delusion.

What was real and fake anymore?

***
"Super soldiers," Ian Lee growled. "We have super soldiers who are supposed to be dead onboard our ship. If one of those Blue Cosmos people find out about this we're as good as dead."

"It can't be helped at this point. And Colonel Wingate did say she is operating under the direct orders of Naomi Mitsuda herself."

"I don't trust her at all," Ian said. "I knew Naomi Mitsuda when she was my commanding officer in the last war. She played everyone against each other. A chessmaster, if you will. She tries to have it all ways and when something fails she discards it and sides with the opposing force."

The secretary-general of the EA was known for duplicity in political tactics. She was also known as a person who genuinely wanted the best for the Earth Alliance.

Which person was she? Or was she simply two-faced? Neo didn't know the woman enough to tell, and Ian Lee's frankly biased interpretation wasn't enough to go on.

"It doesn't matter," Neo said finally. "We just have to keep our mouths shut and hope for the best. These 'Extended' could be useful in finishing off the ZAFT."

"They better," Ian said. "I'm tired of this damn war, and the idiocy of everyone. Even though I despise genetic modifications, those Extended could have won the last war for us if they had survived. That is short-sightedness."

"Again, it doesn't matter. What's done is done," Neo said.

"It does matter," a new voice said. Neo turned and saw Stellar Loussier standing at the entrance to the bridge.

She looked resolute and serious, but not angry. Neo couldn't tell if there truly was no anger, or if she was merely disguising it.

"If more people realized that Extended, just like Coordinators, and just like Slants, are humans just like them . . . the last war would've been settled long ago. All the previous war was, and this one too, is a war run by genetic racists. The Naturals are subhuman, they must die or be enslaved. The Coordinators are freaks, and they need to be erased from existence. Those are the philosophies, if you can call them that, of the people who run this war on both sides."

Ian said in a low voice "Great, tell her she's superior to all of us and she thinks she's fit to lecture us."

"That's just confirming her point," Neo replied.

"Oh." Ian looked down. "Damn it."

Stellar walked over to them, and stared out through the visors showing the seemlessly endless ocean in front of them. "Colonel, sir . . . I know why you did what you did. You know I won't fight Shinn Asuka. But that doesn't mean I won't fight the ZAFT. But I want to try one more time to get Shinn Asuka on our side."

Neo shook his head. "You've been charging at him ruthlessly for the last couple of weeks. He won't do it. He'll think it's a ploy to make him let down his guard."

"I know I can convince him," Stellar said. "We're going to win the next battle. Shinn won't want to die. If I can't get him to defect, at least I can get him to surrender."

"Maybe you'd be able to accomplish that much," Neo said, not seeing any reason to crush the girl's hopes any further.

Ian sighed. "Do we have to discuss this right now?"

Stellar looked away. "I guess not."

Ian folded his arms, and leaned back on his captain's chair. "I'm still curious about why we haven't gotten an attack order. We're almost within range of the ZAFT convoy. Hell, if you told me to fire I could hit some of their stragglers right now."

Neo nodded. "It is curious. Not that I don't mind not fighting, but the ZAFT is going to break through the Suez in roughly an hour. What are they waiting for?"

Stellar looked back out through the bridge visors. "They have something planned. Bombs, a trap. Something that's top operational secret that they can't let anyone else now."

"Obviously," Ian said. "But what? Is this another Alaska going to happen?"

Suddenly, one of the bridge lieutenants, who was normally on break at this time, charged onto the bridge. "Captain Lee! Colonel Roanoke! The ZAFT is under attack!"

"What? By who?" Ian asked.

"I have video here. Lemme bring it up."

The screen came up, and suddenly Neo saw a monster.

"What in God's name is that thing?" Ian asked, speaking the question on everyone's mind.

"I don't know!" shouted the lieutenant. "It's a massacre! Look at it!"

Neon beams shot up at every conceivable angle, and Neo could see little pyres erupt from the ocean.

"How can that thing even fly?" Ian asked.

"I just want to know what that thing is. Is it a GUNDAM? Or what?"

Stellar had her own thoughts. "Shinn, no," she uttered aloud, and turned and began to run off the bridge.

Neo grabbed her arm. "Ensign! You're not going out there!"

"That thing is going to kill my boyfriend!"

"And it will kill you too, if you try to fight it!"

Ian spoke the honest truth again. "Fight it? More like being in front of a firing squad blindfolded. I say we stay out of this. I assume that's one of our machines."

"You 'assume'?" Neo asked.

"Who else could be annihilating the ZAFT? Orb isn't operating in our theater right now."

"You're right," Neo said. He let go of Stellar's arm, and Stellar made a growling noise.

"You don't understand, sir. That thing isn't a war machine. It's flying genocide."

"As long as we don't get in its way I don't really care," Ian said.

"That's a heartless thing to say!" Stellar cried.

"And that's our only option!" Ian roared. "You really want us to intervene? With all of those guns, we could easily become targeted along with the ZAFT!"

The lieutenant interrupted everyone again. "My sensors indicate a significant number of ZAFT vessels are scattering in random directions. Most of them are coming right towards us. Some are sending us digital images of a white flag."

"Then take them prisoner, and tell the prize crews to treat the ZAFT sailors and pilots humanely," Ian said firmly. "Those who don't surrender, we shoot at until they do."

"Yes, sir!"

Neo watched as the video continued to play. Even though it was broad daylight, the monstrous machine was so vast it took up the entire background of the video, almost as if the scene was playing out at night.

That better be the best-disciplined pilot in the world, Neo thought. All of that power, in the hands of someone irresponsible, or ill-equipped to handle it . . . and this victory is going to become the greatest disaster since Yakin Doe and Genesis.
***
It wasn't long until after she had fallen asleep that she saw the girl, standing alone in a sea of darkness.

"Who are you?"

"I am Mayu. I'm here to make a request of you."

She assumed this was just a dream. Also her curiosity was driving her insane and would wake her up unless she found out.

"What request?"

"Cagalli Yula Athha, will you protect my brother?"

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:02 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
Chapter Forty-Three: Destroy

There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.
-Thomas A. Edison

"What the hell is that thing?" Lunamaria Hawke yelled as she took to the air behind Heine and Shinn. Due to a mixup thanks to the general panic on the Minerva, Shiho had deployed with Dearka and Rey, leaving Luna to work with these two.

Heine was remarkably still calm. "I don't know. I'm trying to get a reading on it."

"It's called the Destroy", Andrew Waltfield said over the com. "According to my sources, it is an extremely powerful Mobile Suit, and larger than any Mobile Suit in existence. It's powered by a nuclear reactor, so it can fight forever if it has to."

"How do you know this?" Heine asked.

"I have contacts in the nation that built the thing: Orb."

"Hippies built it?" Luna asked.

"I think they're trying to make an ultimate weapon that would be so horrifying it would end war. Not that it matters. We need to take it out as soon as we can."

They were getting closer, as the Destroy let loose a barrage from several of its cannons from its back. Beam swaths cut throughout the ocean, and sliced many ships in half. The Minerva, so far, hadn't become a target. Shinn, and everyone else here, intended to keep it that way.

"Right. So how do we destroy the Destroy?" Luna asked.

A long silence. "What? I had to say it."

"Luna, no quips right now," Heine said. "Our soldiers are dying back there."

"I can't help it. I make cracks when I'm scared."

"Then don't be scared."

"Stop saying that like it's so easy! It's not like I have a 'fear button' I can switch off!"

A beam flashed inbetween Heine and Luna then, and there was silence on the com.

Luna finally spoke. "Geez. If I didn't know any better I'd say the pilot's throwing a tantrum."

"I'm going to go in for a strike at the cockpit. We need to take it out now, and fast! Luna, Shinn, draw the Destroy's fire!"

"Great, a suicide mission to support a suicide mission."

"Luna, shut up and follow your orders!"

"Yessir."

Personally, Shinn felt Lunamaria had a good point. He didn't have his Blast Silhouette due to it being damaged, which left him with the Force and the Sword. The Force was the only Silhouette that allowed him a rifle, so he was flying that into battle instead of the Sword. But now, Shinn wished he had chosen the Sword. He felt that Heine had a better chance of surviving than either Luna or Shinn.

Heine brandished his Tempest Sword and prepared for his charge. "This is Heine Westenfluss. I'm going in. Everyone, cover me. Keep the Destroy's guns off of me!"

"Wait, Heine!" Dearka shouted, but Heine turned up the thrusters and charged.

"You want to draw the Destroy's fire first or me?" Luna asked. "Please say you."

"C'mon, Luna, or Heine's gonna die," Shinn said, and he reluctantly ignited his thrusters and began shooting at the Destroy. Much to his chagrin, the rifle wasn't doing much damage at all.

A beam came flying his way and Shinn barely dodged it. Fast reflexes, gotta be more careful.

Every Mobile Suit was firing at the enormous metal monster known as the Destroy, but no one was doing any discernable damage. Energy shields were popping up, causing every shot to be absorbed. The Destroy suddenly fired multiple beams at the Mobile Suit group, and ten of them, all Zakus, were blown apart in an instant.

It's only a matter of time before one of those beams hit me, Shinn thought, a chill running down his spine.

More beams fired from everywhere. Even if Heine's charge took out one gun it wouldn't do much of anything to dent the Destroy's salvos. Shinn tried to aim for a specific gun on the Destroy, but then found himself locked on.

Damn it! Shinn did the only thing he could do: eject out of the Impulse. The Core Splendor pulled up, and barely dodged the beam salvo that annihilated the Force Silhouette.

"Meyrin, I need the Sword Silhouette! It's all I got left!" Shinn yelled.

"Negative, Shinn Asuka! You're out of this battle! We're not going to risk the last functioning part of the Impulse!" Talia Gladys yelled, before Meyrin had a chance to speak.

"I need to help-"

Before Shinn could finish, he heard a wild, horrified scream over the com. Heine's voice. Shinn turned, and suddenly he saw a turret erupt from the Destroy's mouth, right as Heine had been about to behead the Mobile Suit. The Destroy fired and a gigantic beam flashed out of the turret, vaporizing the middle section of the GOUF Ignited. Including the cockpit.

The GOUF Ignited, its engine vaporized as well, simply fell steadily towards the ocean, a hollowed, burned husk.

Heine.

Shinn just stared into the distance as Heine's smoking GOUF splashed into the ocean. The Destroy fired again, and beams flashed all around, tearing across the ocean, slicing Mobile Suits and cruisers alike in half.

How can anyone fight that thing?

Waltfield's voice came over the com. "All Zakus and GOUFs, I have radar signatures of incoming Daggers and Skygraspers from opposing land forces. You can't fight the Destroy, you're not fast enough. Let the Savior and I handle it."

Shinn made a growling noise. "Captain, I have to-"

"No, Shinn. You can't," Talia Gladys said. "We need you for later. I can't risk all three GUNDAMs to the Destroy."

"Shinn, please," Meyrin begged, and Shinn sighed.

"Fine."

He turned the Core Splendor, and made course for the Minerva, which seemed to be sneaking by the Destroy along with a small minority of the fleet. Shinn wondered if the captain was being cowardly, but he shook off those thoughts. Captain Gladys was just doing what she had to stay alive. As long as one ship, one ship stayed standing . . .

It would keep drawing Earth forces away from the final front, in South America. Keep Earth from concentrating in space.

Keep hopes of a rescue.

The Destroy never noticed the Core Splendor as it flew into the hangar bay, and Shinn wondered if he'd ever get another chance at fighting the Destroy.

He knew he would, if the Minerva did manage to sneak away.

He could easily be fighting it by himself . . .
***
Andrew Waltfield saw his orders were being heeded. The Zakus broke away, and that left Justice and Savior facing Destroy.

All right, you idiot. You shooed away all your backup. Now you have to keep Kira preoccupied . . .

He had been warned that the boy would likely be mentally unstable. He wondered if he'd be able to comprehend any word Andrew said. But he had to try to talk Kira down. If he couldn't, he'd have to . . .

He didn't want to consider the prospect of shooting Kira down, which would kill him. The Destroy was powered by a nuclear reactor. If it went down, it would cause a massive explosion that would annihilate the surrounding area, make the water boil, vaporize anything that was too close.

Of course, the same went for Andrew. He had a nuclear reactor strapped to his back too.

Dearka came on. "Colonel, I've got about twenty minutes before I have to fall back. You going to talk him down or shoot?"

"I'll try to hail him," Andrew said grimly. Adding an exclamination point to the urgency, the Destroy fired again, directing most of its shots at the Justice. Waltfield barely weaved his way around the fire, and he took a moment to catch his breath.

If I can get him to talk, at least he's not going to be shooting at me, he thought.

He turned on the open com, short frequency. Hopefully nobody around was thinking about listening in, as this was an unsecure line. Considering how desperate the situation was, Andrew doubted anyone would be on an insecure line, instead sticking to their military channels. He sent out the hailing code, and waited.

C'mon, kid, I know you're being forced into this. Pick up, damn it.

He finally heard a soft voice. "Who is it?"

That was definitely Kira's nasal, youthful voice.

Andrew sighed. "It's me, kid. Dearka's here too, in the Savior. What the hell are you doing in there?"

A long silence. Kira, however, did not shoot back. The Destroy just kept hovering just above the water. It was so massive, however, that Andrew felt like he was staring at a giant despite being fairly high up from sea level.

Kira finally spoke. "I have no choice, Waltfield, sir."

"You always have a choice, kid."

"I have people I need to protect."

"I'm trying to protect a whole damn navy."

"I have to protect my daughter."

Andrew's eyes widened. You've gotta be kidding me.

Dearka actually blurted out his surprise. "That's news. Since when did you have a daughter? You got together with Lacus or something, Kira?"

"It's my child with Flay," Kira said. "Flay's going to die . . . and so is my child, if I don't fight. Please, Waltfield, sir. Get away from here. I need to destroy the entire fleet, but that doesn't mean shooting down every Mobile Suit. Just the ships."

"I can't do that, kid," Andrew said. "I have an unborn child myself. I understand how you feel-"

"No, you don't!" Kira cried.

Dearka chimed in again. "Kira, if I have it right, Flay Allster died in Jachin Doe. I saw the shuttle explosion from Buster. No one could have survived that."

"She did! She's been at my side the last week! She showed me my daughter! She has my eyes!"

He's about to go off, Andrew thought.

"You know there is a fake Lacus, right?" Dearka said. "That's what that Flay is. She's a fake Flay, Kira. She's playing you."

"Stop it! You're lying to me!" Kira yelled.

Dearka continued to speak. "You're being tricked, Kira. Flay Allster is dead, and they're using a fake to manipulate you. I can't explain the child, but who says they don't have your genes or Flay's in storage somehow?"

"Shut up!" The Destroy fired, and the Savior barely dodged an all-out salvo directed at it. In fact, it looked like the Savior had gotten scratched multiple times, considering it had burn marks on both of its legs and one of its arms.

Kira was clearly crying as he shouted at both Andrew and Dearka. "Stop lying to me! There's no way! They can't do that! There's no way!"

"Geez," Dearka grumbled.

Andrew decided to take control of the conversation before Kira lost it again. "Kid, you need to calm down. This isn't going to help anyone."

"S-Stop talking to me," Kira said. "I can't take this anymore. Just go away. I don't want to kill either of you."

"Kira, we can't do that. There's thousands of lives at stake," Dearka replied. "You've already slaughtered half the fleet just by yourself. Isn't that enough?"

"Please stop. Stop, stop, stop it," Kira moaned.

Andrew readied himself. "Kid, you can stop right now, and be taken prisoner, and I'm sure we can work something out with Cagalli, okay? You'll be able to head back home again."

"You're lying to me. I get captured now, I'll be executed. I'm going to die and that'll leave my child with no father," Kira said. There was a quiet, emotional intensity in his voice that suggested he was about to strike.

"That won't happen," Andrew said. "Cagalli will make sure that won't happen."

Kira laughed tearfully, bitterly. "Cagalli doesn't care about me. She barely even knows I exist. She won't stick her neck out for me. I'm as good as dead to her."

Andrew tried another tack. He knew the more he kept Kira talking, the more ships and Mobile Suits would be able to escape. Even if it turned into a duel to the death, at least he and Dearka would take solace in that they had bought the fleet precious minutes to flee.

"What about Lacus Clyne?" Andrew asked. "I am sure Lacus will intervene for you."

"No one will believe that's her," Kira said. "They'll think she's an imposter. And why would she try to protect me? I can't be with her anymore, I have a child with someone else."

Dearka made a growling noise and before Andrew could stop him Dearka yelled at Kira. "Stop pitying yourself, Kira! Wake up and realize we're trying to save your ass!"

"I told you to shut up!" Kira fired again, and this time the beams focused on the Savior connected before Dearka could get completely out of the way. A leg got sheared off completely, and the Savior's left arm was sparking, with loose wires hanging out of the burnt sheet metal.

Now the Destroy was turning, bearing down on the Savior. "That's it! You're nothing but a liar! Stop messing with my head!"

"Dearka, get out of here!" Andrew shouted. He then did the only thing he could think of: fire on the Destroy.

The Destroy's energy shields activated and absorbed the shots, the colorful shields vibrating as the energy blasts became nothing. The Destroy veered back around and stared at the Justice.

This is going to be rough.

Dearka came on. "You can't fight that thing by yourself, Colonel."

"You just lost a leg and your left arm is unuseable. Get out of here while the Savior is still fixable," Andrew said. "I'll have to fight Kira by myself. I have no choice."

"Colonel, I-"

"Remember what we're doing."

A pause. "Yes, Colonel. It's been an honor, sir."

Damn it, do you have to say it like I'm going to die? I'm not planning on dying here today. Not to this kid.

The Savior transformed into its Mobile Armor incarnation and took off, leaving Andrew Waltfield alone against the titanic Destroy.

And the Destroy fired.

I really wish I had both my eyes. Andrew weaved throughout the heavy barrage, but he knew he couldn't do it forever. The Justice was powerful, and maneuverable, and could fight forever like the Destroy. But Andrew only had his right eye. He was completely blind to his left, and if Kira had any brains left in that messed-up mind of his, he would take advantage of that quickly.

The Justice let loose with the Lupus Beam Rifle, firing away at the Destroy, but the shields continued to hold.

Come to think of it, I wish I had the Meteor right about now too. He tried the beam cannon attached to the back of the Justice next, but it didn't do much better, the shots being absorbed and merely causing the colorful shields to tremble.

Kira spoke again on the com. "I have too much to lose, Waltfield, sir! I have to do this! I can't take it if . . . if I lose Flay again!"

"Damn it kid, you know you have Lacus waiting for you back at Orb," Andrew replied. "You realize you'll be killing her when she finds out you're doing this?"

The Destroy seemed to freeze in mid-air. That resonated with him.

"Lacus has cared for you all this time, kid. For the last three years, since the end of the last war, she has sacrificed everything, her career, her fame, her influence . . . just because she loves you and wants to live in peace with you. You're going to throw all of that away on a whim?"

Kira made some stammering noises on the com. Finally, he managed some coherency. "I-It's my child, Waltfield, sir."

"Stop this madness and we'll figure out a way," Andrew replied. "Now come on. You've killed enough today."

Kira made more noises, and Andrew realized Kira wasn't just stammering, he was crying. The young man was completely falling apart in there.

"I-I can't. If I do they'll die," Kira said.

"Kid, there's no guarantee they're real."

"They have to be! If they're not then I've done this for nothing!" Kira wailed.

The Destroy's cannons powered back on, and Andrew realized Kira was approaching the point of no return. Now the madness could be understood. Kira was so fervently believing that Flay Allster and this daughter, 'Fiona', were real, that even if they were nothing but a fantasy, an illusion, that he could not consider the chances of them being fake, elaborate props.

"Stop this, kid!" Andrew shouted, forcing as much of an authoritative voice as he could. "You keep fighting and you'll only hurt yourself!"

"I don't care! I have to do this, Waltfield, sir!"

The Destroy fired relentlessly.

Andrew tried to dodge the barrages, but by the third salvo his weakness by having only one eye became too much. Finally, he got clipped in the left side, and went spiraling in the air, the left side of the Justice thoroughly zinged.

Andrew reached and grabbed both of the Justice's LaCerta beam sabers. I'll rush the chest area and dislodge the cockpit the hard way. It's my only chance.

Andrew accelerated the Justice and charged, weaving throughout the beams. As long as none of them went into his larger-than-usual blind spot he could make it. Even if all he did was take out the shields he'd be buying the fleet precious time, and perhaps prevent the Destroy from being deployed again for a while.

But then, Andrew felt something horribly wrong.

He didn't see it coming, but something smashed into the left leg of Justice, right in the blind spot. Warning klaxions blared throughout the cabin as Andrew lost control of the Justice, and barely steadied himself before he was shot again by the Destroy, losing his machine's right arm.

In desperation, Andrew poured on the thrusters and kept charging anyway, even down an arm. There was no way he could pull back. The Destroy would chase him right towards the Minerva, and Andrew couldn't do that. Too many people important were on that ship.

He was going to have to kill Kira in order to end this.

Lacus, Cagalli, Athrun . . . heck, probably everybody wouldn't want to acknowledge him again. Maybe even Murrue.

But he had no choice, no options.

He carefully angled his smoking, damaged Justice so his right eye could see every move made by the Destroy. He charged, weaving around so much the G-forces nearly made him blind.

Almost there.

But then he was shot. One more time.

The Justice had been shot right below the cockpit, and the shot had hit the nuclear reactor. It was completely unstable now, and was losing power. Andrew lost control for good now, and found the Justice helplessly falling towards the ocean.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't even get close.

He looked up at the imposing behemoth, now seeming to peer at him in a almost-curious way. The machine blurred as Andrew hit the water, and shimmered into ungodly, nonsensical shapes.

The reactor started going critical as the Justice began to sink. I don't think I'll be escaping this one. Looks like you finally got me, kid.

Ten seconds until meltdown, and the explosion.

Someone else is going to have to save you. Save you from yourself.

Five seconds.

Murrue, I'll keep watch over our child, okay?

Four.

I'll make sure she'll never be unguarded.

Three.

Dearka, keep up the plan. Don't give up on it. We'll get our answers soon.

Two.

Aisha . . . looks like I'll be seeing you sooner than I thought.

One.

For the rest of you people . . . I'm a patient man.I don't need the company for now. Stay alive.

The explosion annihilated Andrew Waltfield in an instant, and a colossal spray of water erupted from the ocean, spraying everywhere.

It was so powerful ships rocked and fish died just from the disturbance.

So ended the GUNDAM Justice, permanently.
***
The angel applauded as the video of the GUNDAM Justice's demise was broadcast. The test run had been a unquestionable success. It was time to deploy the thing properly. The Destroy could annihilate a PLANT in a single shot. What better way to rid the world of Coordinators other than using one of their own to wipe them all out?

He immediately got into contact with his frontline base in Athens, where the Destroy had been launched from. "Magnificent test run, Sword Base. That had to be over 70% of that annoying fleet. Bring her home. It's time the Destroy was used for something less . . . recreational."

There was a long silence. "Yes, Lord Djibril. It was a brilliant idea, launching the Destroy a day early. It prevents Mitsuda's plan from going forward, preventing needless casualties."

"Wait, what? Repeat what you said, soldier."

Now the angel was confused. The operation wasn't meant for today. He glanced at his notes and reports. The angel's eyes became wide as he realized that the soldier had said the truth. The Destroy's first deployment had been set for tomorrow.

"Who changed the operation, soldier?"

"Uh, it was a man named General Sai Argyle. He said he came under your orders. Something seemed suspicious about him, but he presented proper papers and he checked out."

The angel froze. Now he was angry. He had been circumvented. "I know no man named Sai Argyle! Arrest him immediately! He is interfering with the plan!"

"Yes, Lord Djibril. That will be done immediately."

The angel bit his finger. He needed the taste of wine more than ever, now. His plan had been interfered with. The Destroy was being manipulated by some insipid punk from who-knows-where. But why? He knew he wasn't going to like the answer. There had been a leak in security, and the angel knew that the plan was being sabotaged. But why? That was what the angel couldn't figure out. Why was the plan being interfered with? And what motivated this man into doing this?

Suddenly, it occurred to the angel.

The pilot is not mentally stable.

Sai Argyle's mission was to break Kira Yamato, and either make the pilot shut down completely, or drive him into an unstoppable rage no one could stop.

Now it was imperative Argyle was found. Before it was too late . . . and everything the angel had worked so hard for was so fittingly, ironically . . .

Destroyed.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:25 am 
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Retconned MSV Ace

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And so it happened that the fragile glass finally shattered. Athrun may be forced to kill Kira, turning the Kira-killing-Stellar setting of GSD upside down. And if Athrun does have to kill him, Cags will blow a fuse and lose her only emotional support. Old man Waldfeld went out with a bang, at least. Either Kira is simply a good pilot or your Destroys are less sucky than those in GSD. :D

Didn't know Mayu was such an active spirit, though. So many characters die and come back or become wandering spirits that you could easily just build a revolving door to the afterlife. :D

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


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:53 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

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It would only be upside down if Stellar had to kill Kira. XD But yeah, you noticed what I'm trying to set up here. Athrun is facing a great moral quandary, because if Kira winds up losing it completely, Athrun won't have much choice other than to put a sword into a Scylla cannon and blow it all up, just like what happened in canon. And Cagalli will likely lose a marble or two as well, which makes it all the more imperative that Kira is brought back alive.

Waltfeld (I've been ironically misspelling his name as "Waltfield" this whole time, even though 'Waltfield" is actually a more realistic name, the realization of which has made me do an epic facepalm) died for a good reason later in the story. I'm not revealing why yet, but Waltfeld's death is a lot more significant than it may seem at first.

Mayu can only communicate with those who see Newtype flashes (which I've correlated with quantum brain waves from 00, you might have noticed some hints that I'm retconning Cosmic Era into a 00 sequel). This means Kira, who showed flashes in Destiny and I decided to run with it. However, I included Cagalli in this because, after all, she is Kira's twin, and she likely has the potential to do many of the things Kira can, even though she's a Natural.

New chapter . . . tomorrow morning. *crosses fingers*

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:14 am 
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rebel_cheese wrote:
(which I've correlated with quantum brain waves from 00, you might have noticed some hints that I'm retconning Cosmic Era into a 00 sequel).


Aye, I started getting suspicious when the Sergei Smirnov popped out. Poor Heine, his heroic death got overshadowed by Waltfield's. becuase unlike the Desert Tiger, HE did not go out with a bang.

On a more serious note, the Destroy has been presented brilliantly, like the giant beast of carnage that it should of been. No way is it going down in ONE battle like it did in Destiny, oh no, those pilots have to pay sweat and blood to have a hope of bringing it down.

Keep up the awesome work.

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Kallor said: 'I walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes,' said Caladan Brood, 'you never learn.'


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:39 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

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Blightstrider wrote:
Aye, I started getting suspicious when the Sergei Smirnov popped out. Poor Heine, his heroic death got overshadowed by Waltfield's. becuase unlike the Desert Tiger, HE did not go out with a bang.

On a more serious note, the Destroy has been presented brilliantly, like the giant beast of carnage that it should of been. No way is it going down in ONE battle like it did in Destiny, oh no, those pilots have to pay sweat and blood to have a hope of bringing it down.

Keep up the awesome work.


Yeah, Heine kinda just got vaporized. Not the way anybody wants to go. It is cool to see that you noticed my hints of 00 linkage. There's a reason why I did that, and hopefully I'll get to tell it soon.

The Destroy is not going down easy, no. I liked that it had been absolutely terrifying in episodes 31 and 32, before it became a cheap mook device like in episode 38-onward. I'm really trying to invoke those feelings people had when it was first introduced. The Destroy won't be going down easy at all . . . if it goes down at all.

New chapter in a matter of minutes.

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MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:50 am 
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Chapter Forty-Four: Descent Into Madness

We are born with the dead: See, they return and bring us with them.
T.S. Eliot, Little Giddling

The leased Crete base looked like it had seen better days, but it still looked serviceable to Athrun Zala. It was in a good strategic position, and most importantly, it could hold Mobile Suits, not just Skygraspers like all too many of the bases in the area.

Athrun got off the transport plane, and took a deep breath. He had never imagined going back to war yet again. Every time it seemed he would escape it he kept getting dragged back into conflict.

But now it was personal. Now he was fighting to save his best friend. From himself, no less.

Lacus Clyne left the transport behind him. The brown-haired wig was enough to cover all traces of her natural pink hair, and made her look almost pedestrian. She had also husked and deepened her voice a bit so fans of her music wouldn't recognize it, she had practiced the harsher voice the whole trip next to Athrun.

Her voice just sounded strange now. It sounded realistic enough, but it wasn't Lacus Clyne. Lacus' voice had always been soft, smooth, kind. The huskier voice sounded more like the voice of a soldier, a fighter, someone who just plain wasn't Lacus.

But then, she wasn't supposed to be Lacus. She was . . . what was her name again?

"Uh, pilot," Athrun said awkwardly to Lacus. "What's your name again?"

"Lieutenant Aurielle Strand, sir," Lacus said in that strange voice of hers.

"Oh, right. I need you to give me a status report on the, uh, unloading of the Mobile Suits. Double time."

"Yes, sir." Lacus had paid close enough attention to the way soldiers moved that she did a good impression of it. But that's what it was, an impression. Like she was an actress on the stage, or on a movie set, not like a real soldier.

If people looked at her too closely they would see that Lacus just was not quite like them. Then there would come the questions. And this whole thing could explode.

Athrun realized that Cagalli had probably realized that. It would explain why she had been so reluctant, and kept trying to talk Lacus out of it literally up until the moment Lacus boarded the transport plane.

Lacus, speaking of her, came running back. "The Mobile Suits are ready to deploy any time, sir. Including the Freedom."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. I need a meeting with you now, regarding the Strike Rouge."

"Yes, sir."

Athrun led Lacus to a private room in one of the hangars. Lieutenant Karen Walsh, the pilot from Junius Seven just a couple of weeks ago, had already prepared the room into a strategy center. Walsh was one of the pilots privy to the plan, though, like everyone else, she was not privy to Lacus' true identity.

After dismissing Walsh, Athrun sighed with relief as he and Lacus were left alone.

Lacus returned to her normal voice, it sounded ragged and tired. "Water. Now."

"Here you go." Athrun tossed Lacus a bottle, she briefly fumbled with it before she caught it.

Lacus swallowed half the bottle in one sip. She gasped for air, and shook her head. "Thank you. I can't keep talking like this. It'll destroy my voice if I do this for too long."

"Your idea."

Lacus frowned. "Thanks for reminding me. Now, why do you want me in here?"

"This is the battle plan for you. You stay the hell out of the way unless you're specifically ordered to engage, got it? I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but you're not a combat pilot. You're here to snap Kira out of it. Leave the real fighting to the professional soldiers."

"Athrun, I already know this. What's the real reason you want to talk to me privately?" Lacus swallowed the rest of her water then, as Athrun pondered his answer.

"Are you really sure you can save Kira?"

Lacus' eyes widened softly, and then she looked away. Her eyes shimmered a bit. "I . . . I hope so. There's never a guarantee, but I know Kira will listen to me. He's always listened to me . . ."

Her lips trembled, and she violently shook her head. "I just hope he's not too far gone. If he's killed, I . . . what would I have sacrificed so much for? I'm not me anymore. I'm a killer. I can't sing, I can't teach, I can't do anything right now. I'm just a killer."

"Don't say that, Lacus. You're just beating yourself up."

Lacus sighed. "You're probably right. I guess, if I tried hard enough, I could find my voice again. I wrote a song for those kids, but perhaps even more for Kira, called 'Fields of Hope' . . . I haven't been able to sing it yet to anyone, not even Kira."

"What's it sound like?" Athrun asked.

"I wrote it so it could sound good stripped down. You know how my producers would surround my songs with walls of sound? They wanted the maximum amount of appeal. There's synths and techno beats in for the dance floor. Guitars, live drums, and bass for those who like more of a rock sound. Strings and piano for those who like a more orchestral flavor. Sometimes all of this would be in the same song. And my lyrics, even if I originally wrote them, would always be ghostwritten by an army of songwriters to appeal to just about anyone. I just wanted to write something for me . . . and for Kira . . . and for those children. Something I could just perform by myself. Something I could do a cappella or with one instrument, probably a piano or an acoustic guitar. "

"You want to sing it to Kira, once we find him?" Athrun asked.

Lacus smiled, and tears formed in her eyes. "If I can find my voice again, yes. I'd like him to be the first to hear it."

She chuckled softly and wiped her eyes. "Why am I even talking about this? What a stupid thing to talk about."

"I think the reason you're talking about it is because you're still you. You're still Lacus. That unique thing that makes you Lacus hasn't gone away," Athrun replied.

Lacus nodded, and finally sighed. "All right, we should get together with the rest of the squadron. We need to locate Kira immediately so we can plan the offensive. Hopefully we can do this without Mobile Suits, a nice stealth mission."

"That's what I'd like," Athrun said. "Fighting the Destroy would be a nightmare. I-"

Then Karen Walsh busted in. "Colonel Zala!"

I forgot my name's public knowledge now, Athrun thought. Athrun stood up. "Yes, Lieutenant Walsh?"

"You should know this, sir! The Destroy's been deployed at the Suez! The ZAFT fleet has taken eighty percent casualties and is scattered across the Aegean and near Cyprus! The Destroy seems to be en route to Athens!"

"Athens?" Lacus blurted, barely changing her voice in time.

Karen nodded. "Athens. It seems to be based there. It flew by Crete right before we landed."

Lacus couldn't say a word, and she just sat back down, her eyes widened. Athrun knew why, he had felt a sudden chill with Karen's words too. They had already been so close to Kira, and they had never realized it.

But what was more worrisome was that Kira had wiped out nearly an entire ZAFT fleet. A big ZAFT fleet. Thousands upon thousands of soldiers were dead because of Kira. And the rest were not going to be able to survive for very long, which meant even more deaths would be Kira's responsibility.

Athrun bit his lip. "All right, gather the team. We're going to prepare to move tonight. We're getting into Athens and finding the base where the Destroy is based at. We're nabbing the pilot and sabotaging the Destroy ASAP."

"Yes, sir!" Karen barked, and she took off, before doing a double take and stopping. "Here, sir?"

"Yes, here," Athrun said.

"Thank you, sir!" Karen took off at a dead sprint then, and Athrun collapsed in his chair.

Kira . . . what would possess you to kill so many people?

He shook his head.

I just can't figure out why.
***
The Minerva was limping. It turned out the Destroy had struck the ship, though it had only been a graze. That graze, however, had nearly exploded an engine, and even now it was much too damaged and dangerous to run at full power. The surviving pilots of the previous battle were now on the bridge, where Talia Gladys, standing up in front of her captain's chair, was addressing them all.

"Chairman Durandal was not able to get Israel to publicly commit to an alliance. That defeat yesterday made the Israelis back off, not surprisingly. However, Israel is still willing to stealth-extract Mobile Suit pilots. Ships and large transport aircraft are out of the question. Every one of your pilots' mission now is to escape the Aegean and head to Tel Aviv. Your batteries, as long as you don't fire a shot, should have enough power to make it to the designated landing point at the Tel Aviv base."

"What do you mean, 'as long as you don't fire a shot'?" Dearka asked.

"From here, making it to Tel Aviv in a Mobile Suit is by the skin of your teeth," Talia replied. "Even one shot fired could earn you a trip to the bottom of the ocean instead of safe landing at Tel Aviv. "

Every one of the pilots looked at each other. Shinn felt extremely uncomfortable with this situation. This ship, and everyone on it, was being left to die or be taken prisoner, while those who had the most dangerous job, the job that could mean instant death, got to escape.

Then he realized what else that meant.

Meyrin was being left behind too.

But he couldn't outright name Meyrin. He'd let Luna do that. Lunamaria looked downright rebellious right now, like hell she was going to leave Meyrin here. Shinn would support Luna when the inevitable outburst happened, but he wasn't going to take the lead. Meyrin was still more Luna's battle than his.

"Isn't there any way we can extract more important crew members? I know it'll be a cramped fit, ma'am, but I think my cockpit could cram one or two people in besides me," Shinn said.

"Too dangerous," Talia said immediately. "If you are forced into a fight by a EA patrol, any occupants in the cockpit will make fighting much more difficult and cumbersome. It will just get you killed."

"I won't have it," Luna growled softly.

"What is it, Lieutenant Hawke?" Talia asked.

"I said I won't have it. I am not leaving my sister," Luna said.

"I can't leave her here either," Shinn added.

Talia sighed. "The Minerva can't fight for very long. We're low on ammunition and the damaged engine, for all intents and purposes, means we can't retreat. The smoke billowing from the engine means we can't even hide. Once everyone is away, I will be arranging for this ship's surrender to the Earth Alliance. There's an island nearby where there's a beach for the Minerva to land on. We will land there, and make our stand until we can arrange acceptable surrender terms."

"That doesn't answer my question!" Luna yelled.

Talia's eyes narrowed. "I assure you, Meyrin will be much safer as a P.O.W. than she is right now."

Meyrin, from her station, chimed in. Her voice was so defeated that Shinn couldn't even look at her. "Don't worry about me, Luna, Shinn. I'll be all right. I accepted this when I volunteered, after all."

It hadn't occurred to Shinn until now that the only soldiers below the age of seventeen that ZAFT would conscript would be volunteers. He had never thought of Meyrin as the type to volunteer for the military. He looked at Luna, and Shinn realized she was the same age he was: seventeen.

What if Luna had gotten conscripted and Meyrin had volunteered so she could be with his sister instead of being alone somewhere?

The more Shinn thought about it, the more it seemed likely.

Luna made a growling noise. "Don't be stupid, Meyrin! I told you I would protect you, and that's the way it's going to stay!"

Luna marched right up to Talia Gladys. "I'm staying, whether it's in my Mobile Suit, or in the brig. I don't care which."

Talia stared at Luna for what seemed like an eternity, before she finally spoke, without breaking eye contact. "Fine. If that is what you wish."

Before Shinn could speak to volunteer to stay as well, Rey of all people spoke up. "Captain, Lieutenant Hawke can't defend the Minerva by herself. I am volunteering to assist her. Ensign Asuka and Lieutenant-Colonel Elsman are flying the GUNDAMs, they can't stay. Everyone else is going to be needed to protect the GUNDAMs so they make it if no one else can."

Talia Gladys shook her head. "You're a fool."

Rey did not waver. "I'm not one to let someone fight alone."

Talia sighed, and she rubbed her forehead. "Fine. You're staying. But everyone else is going, and I will tie you all with duct tape into your cockpits and set the auto-pilots for Tel Aviv if I have to. That goes double for you, Elsman, and you, Asuka."

Dearka saluted. "Yes, ma'am. I will make preparations to leave immediately." Shinn looked at Luna, who was still standing resolutely, to Meyrin, who was looking at the ground. She knew he wanted to stay.

Talia looked at everyone. "Mobile Suit charging will be completed in 0400 hours. 0330 from now, we will make our crash-land on a beach I've surveyed. The moment the dust settles, I want all of you pilots in your Mobile Suits and ready to take off for Tel Aviv."

She turned to Luna and Rey. "Last chance to change your minds."

Neither spoke.

Talia nodded. "Fine." She cleared her throat. "You are all dismissed."

Shinn looked for Meyrin as everyone scattered about, but she was gone from her station within seconds. He tried to find her, but she had vanished. Clearly she was crying somewhere.

Meyrin . . .

Shinn knew what he had to do. He had to find her. At least say goodbye.

I have three and a half hours to find her. That should be enough to find her, right? It's not like this ship is the size of that Destroy."

And so Shinn left the bridge and began his final, self-assigned mission onboard the [i]Minerva
.
***
I'm a murderer.

Kira could barely maintain his focus as he flew through the air, manuevering his bulky, oversize Mobile Suit towards its destination: Athens. The great, classic city stood before him in all of its glory, and Kira wondered what would happen if it were set on fire.

If people were burning and crying and disintergrating.

If the classic architecture was transformed into rabble.

That the few survivors would look at the sky with such hatred they would spend their entire lives trying to exact revenge on the world for their dead city.

He was almost tempted to do it. The power at his control just did not seem real. It was completely unbelievable, to do what he had done.

He didn't want to believe he had done all of that. Had killed Waltfield. Had slaughtered all of those people.

It was easier to think all he had done was a training exercise. That it had just been a simulation. That's what he wanted to believe. That was how he could live with himself for what he had done. Just a training exercise.

But as much as he wanted to believe it, he knew it was not true. That had been no training simulation. He had really . . .

He buried his face in his hands. There was no going back. Killing Waltfield was the ultimate betrayal of all of his friends, all of those who had cared for him. They would never want to see him again. Especially Murrue, who had always supported him no matter what.

They all had to hate him.

But it was all right. He could just be with Flay. Flay and Fiona. That's why he had done this. He could live with them now. He had to be just strong enough to not cry every day and they'd accept him. He had no one else to go to, not after this.

But knowing that everyone had to despise him now made him feel chillingly alone. If Flay and Fiona were to be alienated too . . .

Kira landed the Destroy on the military base, and concentrated on breathing. The moment he saw Flay and Fiona again, and he would be okay. All he needed to see were their faces, all he needed to hear were their voices . . .

Then he heard a voice. "Naughty naughty, Kira."

Sai. Kira looked at the screen that emanated in front of him. There he was, still holding Flay hostage.

"Sai, I did what you said," Kira said softly.

"No, you didn't. You let some escape, Kira."

Kira's eyes widened. That means . . .

Sai's grin became wide. "That's right."

Then he pressed the button.

It was only a few seconds, but then Kira saw Flay's eyes widen, and then she slumped out of sight, her hands clutching her chest.

He froze completely.

Sai just sighed. "I can't believe you thought that was Flay, Kira."

Kira couldn't respond.

He just gave Kira a knowing look. "Seriously, how messed up are you to believe that was Flay and she had a baby girl? It was too good to be true. I can't believe you bought it."

"They . . . they were . . ."

"I made them myself. I hijacked a general's clearance to get access to, let's just say, nanomachines of a sensitive nature. I used them with file genetics from Flay to create a new Flay. And, because I knew Flay rather intimately because I was once due to marry her, I could give her all of the memories the real Flay would have. That poor woman sincerely believed she was Flay."

He chuckled. "I could make and remake Flay forever if I wanted to."

"Why?" Kira rasped.

"Why, Kira? Because I hate your guts. You ripped Flay away from me, then abandoned her, and then let her die in outer space! You're the reason she's no longer alive, Kira! It's all your fault!"

Shut up . . . you don't understand. Nobody understands.

"That's right, Kira! You killed all of those soldiers for absolutely nothing! How does it feel?"

Shut up . . . shut up . . . shut up . . .

"You're a monster, Kira! I just turned you into one! A genocidal monster!"

This isn't real . . . it can't be real . . . I must be already dead . . .

Sai took a deep breath and exhaled. "So, Kira, what are you going to do about it?"

Maybe I'm in hell. This is all hell.

"Come on, Kira. Stop spacing out on me. What're you gonna do?"

Maybe if I kill everything I'll find out.

"Gonna cry, Kira? Cry the way you always did, on your bed? Or are you going to snap, at long last?"

Everyone should just die. They'd be better off that way.

"Give me your answer, Kira. I haven't got all day."

I deserve to be alone. No one wants me. No one loves me. Everyone just hates me. I should die alone. Everyone would be better off without me.

Kira gritted his teeth and tears poured from his eyes.

Everyone should just die.
***
Sai Argyle smiled as the flames grew higher and higher. The power of the Destroy was in full force now, and it was glorious. The Aufprall Dreizehn cannons were blasting everywhere, the Super Scylla cannons were tearing the ground apart and levelling every building in sight.

That's right, Kira. You've walked into the final phase of my revenge against you.

The guards were coming to arrest him. His cover had finally been blown. It didn't matter. Everyone was going to die here.

You're going to go down as the ultimate monster, Kira. You'll destroy everything and everyone until some lucky pilot finally kills you. You'll die in pain, all alone, and hated by all, and the few who don't hate you will just pity you.

The heat was getting closer as the Destroy continued to make every building explode and crumble into flattened piles of rubble. It would not be long, maybe minutes, before the Destroy would wipe out all of Athens. And then . . . who knew what would happen next? Maybe he would rampage across all of Europe? Or fly out to the open sea and terrorize the military fleets still battling in the Aegean nearby?

You fell for it all. In the end, you're just a pathetic mess of a person. Serves you right, for all of the people you failed in the last war. Now you get to fail all of Earth.

The building next door exploded, and the force was enough to blow out all of the windows inside. Sai felt his body get cut repeatedly by the falling glass, but he just ignored it all. He had no further purpose in life now, and soon, it would all be over.

The ultimate irony? Sai had not yet killed the child who believed she was Kira's daughter. She was just some random kid picked up in South America, the daughter of some ZAFT military officer. Using a combination of Flay's file genetics and fresh ones from cyro-frozen Kira, he had transformed that girl into "Fiona".

That girl was going to believe that Daddy killed her.

The Destroy came upon the final building. The soldiers behind Sai all screamed in panic and tried to run away. There was no point. They were dead.

Everyone here was dead. They just didn't know it yet.

The Destroy fired, and Sai's final goal was about to be achieved.

And now, I get to see the real Flay.

The beam vaporized Sai, and he would eventually find out whether he would ever see the real Flay . . .

The building collapsed, and those who survived the beam were crushed by the flaming ruins.

And so Sai's funeral pyre was created.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:25 am 
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...

Well... that answers the question of "Is she the real Fllay?"

Well now, as for the Destroy it feels as if it comes down to, what happens first?

Some lucky pilot finally manages tear it down?
Someone like Lacus finally manages to calm him down?
Or until Kira runs out of emergency rations in the cockpit?

It is somewhat ironic that Kira has adoptd the views of Rau, albeit with a cartload of angst. Once again in this story, it has hit that thrilling moment of where I KNOW bad things are going to happen to people, but I don't know to who or how.

Damn, I love this feeling of terrified excitement.

_________________
Kallor said: 'I walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes,' said Caladan Brood, 'you never learn.'


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:33 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Blightstrider wrote:
...

Well... that answers the question of "Is she the real Fllay?"

Well now, as for the Destroy it feels as if it comes down to, what happens first?

Some lucky pilot finally manages tear it down?
Someone like Lacus finally manages to calm him down?
Or until Kira runs out of emergency rations in the cockpit?

It is somewhat ironic that Kira has adoptd the views of Rau, albeit with a cartload of angst. Once again in this story, it has hit that thrilling moment of where I KNOW bad things are going to happen to people, but I don't know to who or how.

Damn, I love this feeling of terrified excitement.


I'm stunned at how many people fell for the fake Flay. At FF.net I'm already getting screaming of "Don't put Kira and Flay together, she's a bitch!" Readers were originally supposed to realize that the Flay was fake from the beginning, and dread the inevitable reveal. When that did not happen, I just rolled with it.

This is not a fifty chapter story, there is one more arc to go after the Destroy's rampage. One chapter does not correspond to one episode. So it's not almost over.

You have good theories, especially "Kira runs out of rations". XD I'm not as nihilistic as I once was, though, so maybe there's a chance for a happier ending? I have plans of how this is supposed to end, but so many times my characters have rebelled against those plans. I cannot say what is going to occur next.

And you saw something that consciously I had not realized. Kira has indeed become an angst-filled Rau. I hadn't even realized it until now. However, Kira is not Rau, and you'll see that soon.

II hope you enjoy the way this fic develops from here.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:39 pm 
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I had a feeling Flay was fake but the Borg idea was way funner >.>

The creation of fake Flay and Fiona sounds reaaally familiar though. I can't remember why though ~_~


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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:56 am 
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The Green Flame wrote:
I had a feeling Flay was fake but the Borg idea was way funner >.>

The creation of fake Flay and Fiona sounds reaaally familiar though. I can't remember why though ~_~


Yeah, the Borg idea was amusing. The only way for Kira to be more screwed up right now was if he got Borged. XD

Meer Campbell in this fiction is much the same way as fake Flay and Fiona. That's why it's familiar to you. The nanomachines and shapeshifting will play a more prominent role in the final arc of the story.

Thanks for reading. Chapter Forty-Five is below.
______________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Forty-Five: Commence Destruction

Alone, alone, all all alone,
Alone on a wide open sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

-Samuel T. Colenridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

It had taken Shinn over two hours, but when he had finally given up and returned to his room, he finally found Meyrin. She was sitting on his bed, holding Mayu's slightly burned teddy bear in her hands.

Meyrin looked up at him as Shinn entered the room. "I think you want this. It belongs to your sister, right?"

"Uh, yeah, it does," Shinn replied.

Meyrin smiled. "You should take it with you. I know how much this means to you."

She placed the bear in his hands. Meyrin took a deep breath, and sighed. "I'm okay, Shinn. I'm done with the war. That's not a bad thing, is it?"

Shinn bit his lip. "I'm sure I can still sneak you out."

"I'm sure you could. And I don't think anyone would stop you," Meyrin said. "But Luna's staying now. I was afraid she was going to do that. I can't exactly leave now and force Luna to fight for nothing. She's only here to protect me."

"She really loves you," Shinn said.

Meyrin nodded. "Lunamaria and I aren't that different from you and Mayu in many ways. Except our familial drama was about absent parents, not bigotry and murder. Luna practically raised me."

"How? She's only two years older than you," Shinn replied.

Meyrin shook her head. "I didn't say she knew what she was doing."

Shinn smiled at that, but Meyrin, after a brief grin, just sat back down on the bed. Shinn sat beside her and wrapped his left arm around her.

"I'm scared," Meyrin whispered.

"I can stay too," Shinn said. "Captain Gladys can't force me to obey orders once I'm out there."

"Shinn, don't. There's no guarantee they'll take us prisoner. I want you to live, no matter what," Meyrin replied.

Shinn thought for a second. He knew what the right answer was, but it seemed so awkward to say it. Finally, he decided he would say it. Meyrin had been by his side for so long. She deserved to know how much he appreciated it.

"I don't know what I'm fighting for, Meyrin. These past few weeks, I've been trying to protect this ship. Trying to protect you. And that's not going to happen anymore."

"I know there's something you can fight for, Shinn," Meyrin said. "There's always something."

"I'm just sick of it. I'm tired. I have gotten too close to being killed too many times," Shinn replied. "I need a break. R&R."

"I think we all need a break," Meyrin said. "But it's okay, Shinn. Luna's always been there for me. She'll never let me be hurt."

"You joined the military to be with her, didn't you?"

Meyrin chuckled softly, sadly. "You figured it out. I did volunteer. I couldn't bear being alone without her. So I volunteered, and I got turned into an officer because apparently I have some kind of operational brilliance."

"Really?" Shinn asked.

Meyrin shook her head. "I don't have anything brilliant about me, Shinn. Luna's the brilliant one. She got near-perfect grades in flight school. She wears the red uniform to show she's an elite pilot. She probably pulled strings to get me in this position, because she knew how badly I wanted to be with her."

"Don't say you're stupid," Shinn said. "You're special, Meyrin."

"I'm not special, Shinn. I'm really not. Let's face it, if Stellar hadn't gone insane on you I wouldn't be with you right now. I wouldn't be in love . . ." Meyrin's voice began to choke up at the end, and Shinn held her closer.

Meyrin didn't wail, but she did whisper tearfully. "I love you, Shinn. I'm so scared. I don't want you to go but I know you have to."

"Meyrin, I told you I'll stay."

"ZAFT still needs you, Shinn. They don't need me."

Damn it, Meyrin, if you're trying to make me leave you're really messing it up.

"Meyrin," Shinn finally said, "I told you I'll stay. Just give me the Sword Silhouette once I launch, okay? That's all you have to do."

Meyrin couldn't even speak anymore. She just continued to cry softly, and Shinn just held her close. So often, it had been her comforting him, and now it was the other way around.

Once again, Shinn had forgotten how young Meyrin really was. She was truly too young to be in the military. It wasn't right for her to be here. She should still be at the PLANTs, being at school, helping the home front. Not here. Not where she could get killed.

But in the end, Shinn knew he was going to have to follow orders. He was going to have to leave. Meyrin was going to be at the Earth Alliance's mercy.

Maybe I should give up on having a girlfriend. Shinn hadn't been able to find anyone remotely close to being 'the one' until Stellar had entered his life. But then she went crazy. But then Meyrin stepped in and forced herself to grow up so he wouldn't feel like he was dating a kid. Now, he was leaving her behind, and he was going to be alone again.

Maybe I'm never going to be happy. Not with Stellar, not with Meyrin, not with anyone.

That seemed to be the only thing fate had in store for him, at any rate.
***
The angel stared.

His plan had been ruined.

His strategy had gone against him and had completely backfired. The pilot had broken far earlier than he was supposed to. The pilot, if he was to break, wasn't due for that until fighting the PLANTs. That way, if he did go crazy, at least he'd do it on the Coordinators.

But now, the angel was staring complete, utter failure in the face.

Athens was ruined.

And everything had been set back. Perhaps permanently.

No amount of damage control could fix this.

The Eurasians had always been friendlier towards the ZAFT than the Atlantic Federation or East Asia. This was not going to help those in Europe who were sympathetic to the EA. Not one bit. No one could justify such destruction to natural, pure human beings.

It was supposed to be the Coordinators who died. Not Naturals. Not normal people.

His phone lit up. The angel knew who it was. He picked it up anyway. "Yes?"

"Care to tell me what in God's name is happening to Athens, Lord Djibril?" asked a familiar female voice sharply.

The angel clenched his teeth. He knew the woman, in all of her duplicity, would try to pin this all on him. The woman played every side in the political game, always going to where the winds were shifting next. And she did a good job of it. Good enough to lead the Earth Alliance's fractured populace.

And the woman was likely preparing to go moderate and abandon Blue Cosmos. The angel could not have it.

"A Coordinator," the angel said. "A Coordinator is piloting the Mobile Suit. He's clearly massacring anyone who gets in his way."

"That Mobile Suit looks like a Adukav design, Lord Djibril," the woman responded.

"Oh, fine," the angel replied. He was going to lie through his teeth here, not like he had a choice. "A ZAFT pilot hijacked a machine called the Destroy. Clearly he's gone mad."

"Want to tell me why you didn't tell me about any of this?" the woman asked.

The woman was going to need to die soon. She could not be trusted. He needed someone who was more willing to be manipulated than the woman.

"Plausible deniability," the angel said, saying the answer the moment it occurred to him. It wasn't true, the real reason was that the angel wanted to marginalize the woman in a power play to begin taking on real power in the Earth Alliance. For obvious reasons, she could not know that. "I'll find someone to take the fall for this, Secretary-General Mitsuda. I promise."

"I am severely tempted to make it you," the woman growled.

The angel simply smiled. "Go ahead and try. You think you can stop me? I own the Earth Alliance."

That deflated the woman enough that she paused. Finally, she said "We'll see."

She killed the connection, leaving the angel just to stare at a hundred screens all depicting the obliteration of Athens.

Such glorious power. If only it were directed at the PLANTs.

It would soon enough. The Destroy may be lost, but he could always build a better Destroy. Adukav had been more than willing to give up the designs they had made in cooperation with Morgenroete in exchange for not being bought out by the angel.

And what would be borne out of this failure would be the angel's ultimate success.

The success he had always wanted . . .
***
It was right after the afternoon meal when Athrun had gotten the word. He had taken off as fast as he can to find a private area where he could view the scene that had suddenly dominated the conversations all over the base.

Athens was gone.

Athrun found a newsfeed, and stared. No building was completely intact. Most had crumbled. Thousands, possibly millions of people had to be dead or dying. And cameras were dying left and right as the cameramen were getting slaughtered just as readily as ordinary citizens.

He could only take it for thirty seconds, before he turned off the chaos. He folded his trembling hands and forced himself not to think the worst.

But it was obvious.

They broke Kira. And this is the result.

He had never thought Kira was capable of so much destruction, but put him in the right Mobile Suit, and drench him in despair . . .

If he didn't kill himself first, he could be an unstoppable, rampaging murderer.

He thought about that day when Kira, just on a whim, had been tempted to commit suicide. Despair had just overtaken so fast and so completely that without much of a trigger Kira had wanted to die.

This had to be just on a whim too. Instead of dying, though, this time Kira was out to slaughter everybody.

I have to stop him. No matter what. We have to launch immediately and take that thing down.

Lacus burst into the room then, and the alarm on her face told the obvious. "Athrun! Is it true? Tell me it's not true."

"It is," Athrun said softly.

Lacus' voice became eerily soft. "No. No. He can't. He isn't that kind of person, Athrun. I told him for so long he wouldn't be . . ."

Lacus hugged herself. "He's becoming a monster. Athrun, he's going to become his nightmare. He's letting his nightmares take him over."

Athrun embraced her. "Lacus, we'll stop him. I promise you we'll stop him."

"I don't think we can," Lacus whispered, as she started to cry. "We can't. He's so far gone he won't recognize us."

"Don't say that, Lacus. We can't give up hope."

"We're going to have to kill him, Athrun," Lacus sobbed. "I can't . . . I love him but he's not there anymore. The Kira I know would never do this."

Everyone's crying except me. Murrue had practically shut down after hearing of Justice's obliteration just an hour ago. Cagalli and Lacus both had symptoms of depression. Kira . . . Kira was something Athrun could no longer describe.

How could he keep going while everyone else was breaking down? What made him strong enough to soldier on despite everything?

"The Kira you know is still in him. I know that," Athrun said, and hoped his words weren't as hollow as he thought they sounded.

Lacus didn't answer, and Athrun didn't let go.
***
The Sword Silhouette was too heavy. That meant Shinn Asuka was not flying the Impulse GUNDAM. All he was flying was the Core Splendor.

Supposedly, it didn't matter. Silhouettes were cheaper than GUNDAMs. Shinn would have replacements given to him once he escaped. But Shinn still felt oddly vulnerable flying a glorified fighter jet, in an age dominated by gigantic masses of metal with more firepower than everything short of a nuclear weapon.

There was a reason why the Skygrasper had become obsolete. They were fast, they were manueverable, but they could not take a lick of punishment. Same with the Core Splendor. One hit and Shinn was done.
Dearka's voice came on. "Just keep a steady pace. Conserve battery however you can, all of you. The moment we land in Tel Aviv we're getting blasted out of here. We'll be back at the PLANTs before long. Just stay calm."

There were about one hundred Mobile Suits in all. That was all that was left of the convoy. A few of the MS units had stayed behind to protect the ships just like Luna and Rey had, but they were a tiny minority. But considering there had been thousands of Mobile Suits to start with . . .

How lucky had Shinn been to survive all of those battles against such overwhelming force?

But now, only the sea lay between him and rescue. A safe way out. He'd be back at the PLANTs again, where there was relative peace and stability. He'd get rest and relaxation. Likely would be recognized as a hero. A medal would likely be made for the survivors of the convoy and he'd be one of the few who would receive it.
But none of it seemed worth it.
It was clear he was fighting just to fight now. It surprised him how little loyalty to a country meant for him. He had been born in Orb, but had ran to the ZAFT to get revenge, only to find that revenge was hollow and pointless. Heck, he even fell in love with a girl from Earth. And now, a different girl who loved him was being left behind while he got to escape.

It just didn't seem right. Shinn almost wanted an excuse to turn around and fight to defend the Minerva, as pointless as that would be. All he could do was delay the inevitable.

And he'd wind up in captivity too.

But at least he would be with Meyrin, wouldn't he?

And he'd also have to deal with Luna and Captain Gladys calling him an idiot every day until the war was over. Likely beyond that, for that matter.

But there was no reason to go back, either. The Earth Alliance had some truly barbaric people in high places. Who's to say he wouldn't wind up dying in a camp?

Who's to say Stellar wouldn't kill him first chance she got?

Fear of the death sentence was probably his only motivation to keep flying on and not turn around. Shinn was sure of it. And that meant cowardice on his part.

Shiho came on the line. "I've got a report saying the Destory is advancing into the Aegean. It's tearing apart the Earth Alliance fleet there, as well as what's left of our ships."

"Doesn't matter, Shiho. I want to stay and fight too, but there's no choice," Dearka replied.

"Which direction is it heading to?" Shinn asked.

"Uh . . .looks southeast from Athens. Seems to be heading just northeast of Crete."

That's where the Minerva is.

As if reading Shinn's mind, Dearka spoke. "Shinn, there's nothing we can do. We have our orders."

Shinn placed his hand on the joystick and prepared to override the autopilot. Orders don't matter. Luna and Rey can't stop that monster. Not like I can do much better, but at least I have a chance.

"Don't bother, Dearka," Shiho said. "Our village idiot here's already made up his mind."

Shinn just laughed. "Yeah, I am an idiot. That's why I'm expendable."

"Shinn, don't say that," Dearka replied.

"I am expendable. I'm just a second-class citizen in something that was given to me for good politics. I'm not even a Coordinator. I'm fifty-fifty. A Slant. Someone not quite as good as the rest of you. But I'm piloting something that at least can stop that Destroy thing."
"I tried to stop the Destroy, Shinn," Dearka said. "It didn't work out too well. The pilot's lost it."

"Then maybe I can slow it down. It'll give the Minerva crew time to evacuate before it get blown up. You're not stopping me, Dearka."

Shinn immediately pulled the joystick to the left and banked in a U-turn. The G forces pressed Shinn against his seat, but in a few seconds they subsided and Shinn was able to breathe again.

"Dammit, Shinn," Dearka growled. He knew he couldn't stop Shinn, not without wasting valuable fuel.

No one else followed Shinn. No one had the guts, or the suicidal tendencies, to want to face the Destroy. They all wanted to live.

As did Shinn, but . ..

He pictured Meyrin. He wasn't sure if he loved her yet, but he did care for her. And she loved him so dearly. He could not hurt htat sweet, innocent face. He never wanted to see her cry.

And he was not going to let that girl die. Not without trying to protect her.

Shinn stared out ahead at the open sea. He was doing this alone. His heart pounded as he poured on the acceleration.

I have to try. That's all I can do.

He blasted down the sea, back towards the war.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:47 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

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Chapter Forty-Six: Broken Destiny

Life has no meaning except in terms of responsibility.
Reinhold Niebuhr, Faith and History

Gilbert Durandal was angry.

The Destroy was, well, destroying everything he had meticulously planned. It was a machine that just plain could not be stopped, not by any Mobile Suit the ZAFT had. The Earth Alliance had gotten hold of a nasty weapon indeed, the brainchild of Adukav and Morgenroete.

Get the two most intelligent and ruthless military corporations together and get them to work on something . . .

The result was the Destroy.

He had tried to save the Ultimate Coordinator, Kira Yamato, from such a fate, but intervention had prevented a successful extraction. What little information there was hinted that it was none other than the real Lacus Clyne who had attacked the extraction team. But how had a pop star been able to decimate special-ops soldiers?

One of the officers came on the line. "It's been confirmed. Athens has been . . . wiped out. The Destroy is now advancing across the Aegean, attacking any military unit crossing its path. It does not matter whether it is our forces or theirs, Chairman. It just kills everything."

"I see. Tell our forces to hunker down and remain out of sight if possible. Let the Earth Alliance stop their own mistake. Maybe we can use this as a distraction to sneak our remaining forces out of the Aegean and towards South America. The Alliance navy will likely be devastated even if they do shoot the Destroy down."

"Good thinking, Chairman. Is that a formal edict?"

"Yes."

"I will pass it on to any military unit that can obey. There are some who are just going down fighting."

"That's fine. Keep me updated."

"Yes, Chairman."

The line cut, and Gilbert tried to relax. He had taken a lot of abuse from that Destroy weapon, but the Earth Alliance stood to lose a lot more than he ever did. Not just militarily, but politically. Blue Cosmos could not be happy with this turn of events. Athens was a beautiful city that harkened back to the beginning of modern civilization. All of that was gone, though.

A stated goal of Blue Cosmos was to create a society like the ancient civilizations, only modernized of course. Athens' destruction was the antithesis of their goals. Athens was something be be treasured, just as much as Rome, or Warsaw, or New York City.

This was going to hurt Blue Cosmos and the hardliners in the Earth Alliance a lot.

Gilbert could use this to his advantage.

He was going to twist the knife in them.

He dialed a personal number. Meer Campbell, not in her Lacus Clyne guise, came into view in front of him. She rubbed her eyes, she was clearly in bed.

"Damn it, who's getting me up this . . ." Her eyes widened as she saw who it was. "Chairman!"

"I have something to show you," Gilbert said coolly.

Meer cocked an eyebrow. "Huh?"

He transfered the data instantaneously. Meer stared at it, and then a sly grin came across her face and shook her head. "You finally gave me something real to work with, Chairman. I applaud you."

"This is a tragic accident, but one we can use if you are careful, Meer. Just do what you've always done."

Meer nodded. "You got it. I'll be ready to make a statement in a half hour."

She vanished then, and Gilbert smiled thinly.

As much as he didn't want his forces to die, a lot more of the Earth Alliance was going to suffer than any ZAFT unit in the theater.

This was their retribution for their mistake. To make the ultimate war weapon. A weapon so cruel no one would want to use it, much less face it.

All the Destroy did was make killing much easier.

And humans were killers.

He would just wait this out. See what the Destroy did. The Destroy had no way of getting off world, so even if the Destroy's rampage proved unstoppable, it wasn't going to come up here and threaten the ZAFT.

Some form of humanity would survive this ultimate rampage.

And that was something Gilbert would tolerate, if not embrace.

It was a nice contingency plan.
***
The Minerva was still where it had crash-landed, beached on a small island with a solitary dormant volcano as the backdrop. Missiles and lasers were still erupting from the downed ship, attacking any Mobile Suit or ship that dared to go near. Lunamaria and Rey seemed to be hooked up to a generator by some sort of plug, as long as they didn't disconnect both of them could fight for a long time.

Do I hail them or do they hail me? Shinn thought.

He was going to get chewed out either way. In the end, getting chewed out was a lot less frightening than fighting the Destroy. With that in perspective, he hailed the Minerva.

Meyrin answered immediately. "Shinn?"

Captain Gladys instantly got on the line. "Ensign Asuka? What the hell are you doing here?"

"I heard the Destroy is on its way here. I came back to fight it," Shinn said.

Gladys made a growling sound before answering. "Dammit, Asuka! This isn't your concern! You were told that many times!"

"No one here can face the Destroy other than me. Now let Meyrin deploy the Sword Silhouette. It's all I got to face that thing, but I'll make it work. I have to. Or you're all going to die."

There was a long period of silence on the other end. Finally, Gladys spoke again. "I was praying you wouldn't be this stupid, Asuka."

Shinn tried to joke. "Hey, the moment someone tells you not to be stupid, it's the right time to do something stupid."

Gladys sighed. "Let's just hope your battle instincts are better than your common sense."

Meyrin, at least, sounded slightly happier. "The Sword is on its way, Shinn."

"Thank you, Meyrin." Shinn saw the pieces come flying his way, and he transformed the Core Splendor into the Impulse GUNDAM in a smooth motion.

Figures. I finally get the hang of it and this may be the final time I fly this thing.

His battery power got a small boost from the addition of the Silhouette pieces, but he knew it wouldn't last. Battery power, especially after he entered battle, would decrease much faster than the Core Splendor on its own.

Time was working against him, just like the Destroy's superior firepower.

"All right. I'm gonna get going. Luna, how's things holding up? Want me to make a quick pass?"

"Nah, I can do this all day as long as I stay hooked up," Luna said. "Well, until the Minerva runs out of power, anyway."

"All right," Shinn said. He adjusted his autopilot to lock onto the Destroy's location. It was a dynamic autopilot exclusive to GUNDAMs. He could lock onto a moving target, and so run straight to it.

"This is Shinn Asuka, GUNDAM Impulse, and I will eliminate the target."

Shinn hit the acceleration and blasted out of the battle zone.
***
"We're finally about to finish off these bastards," Ian Lee said as the Girty Lue moved in on the battle area. The flagship of the ZAFT fleet, the Minerva, had beached itself on a small island and was making a last stand. A few of the ZAFT escorts who had not been able to hide in the Aegean islands were fighting near it, keeping a thin, final defensive ring around the downed ship.

Clearly, this group of ZAFT was goin gto keep fighting until they ran out of ammunition. Or maybe beyond that. To the end.

Neo just sighed. 'Captain Lee, we don't need to deploy our full Mobile Suit contingent. One GUNDAM would slaughter the remaining fleet by itself. There's only a couple of Mobile Suits still fighting so all it has to dodge is flak."

Ian's eyes narrowed. "I think I know what you're planning."

"I say we test Stellar Loussier's supposed 'special abilities'," Neo said. "Let's see how an Extended fights."

Ian smiled. "I get it. Let's see if Stellar truly is that much better."

"And we won't find out for sure unless we deploy her by herself. We have a long war to fight after this one. Like I said, let's see what we got."

Ian nodded. "Go ahead, Roanoke. Get her out there."

Neo got on the com. "Ensign Loussier."

"Yes, sir?" Stellar asked.

"Captain Lee and I have devised a field test for you. Wipe out the ring defending the Minerva. Concentrate on disabling the ships, not destroying them. I'd like to show some finesse in this."

"Understood, sir," Stellar replied.

"Disable?" Ian asked as Neo shut it off.

"It is significantly more difficult to disable a ship than simply blowing it all to hell," Neo said. "It's a better test."

Stellar came on the open com. "Stellar Loussier, Gaia, launching."

She charged out of the launch bay and immediately accelerated to the closest ship. Immediately, she got behind the ship and struck downwards, cleaving off two of the engines, which exploded shortly thereafter, but a far enough distance to not harm either the ship or the Gaia. Finishing the strike, Stellar moved around the ship, blasting away at the guns. Most fell silent in about twenty seconds.

Both Ian and Neo were stunned. "That's what an Extended can do? Not even Coordinators can do that!" Ian said.

"They are the perfect soldiers," Neo replied. "Why would anyone want what's left of them to die? It just doesn't make any sense."

Meryl popped up besides them, a knowing smile on her face. "Just had to test her, didn't you?"

Ian shook his head. "She's better than a Coordinator. More precise than one, to be exact."

"That's the skill of an Extended," Meryl said. "Though I'm suppose I should be glad you've given her that test. It shows how sick the two of you are of killing people."

"That's-" Before Neo could finish, an officer ran over to the both of them, his eyes wide with alarm.

"Yes?" Ian asked.

"Captain Lee! Our radar shows the Destroy is coming right towards us!"

"Tell him to back off, then!" Ian growled.

"Haven't you heard, sir?"

"Heard what?"

"The Destroy wiped out Athens! There's nothing left of it! The Destroy is attacking anything that's moving indiscriminately!"

"What?" Ian yelled.

Suddenly, warning alarms blared throughout the bridge. The helmsman shouted "We're locked on! The Destroy has locked onto us!"

"Evasive manuevers! Deploy every kind of decoy we got!" Ian shouted. "I don't care what you do, just try to throw it off!"

"I'm trying, Captain!"

Neo knew there was no way he could escape, so he just strapped himself in and prayed. He was surprised, just like everyone else, to hear of what seemed to be an insane rampage. What kind of massive communications failure had happened so that they hadn't heard of it until now?

Maybe everything had been so annihilated that nobody could get a message to the Girty Lue until now.

The ship shifted to a hard right, heading towards the [i[Minerva[/i] and her determined, but rapidly shrinking, ring of defenders. The ship suddenly rocked violently, and new alarms blared in addition to the existing ones.

"We've been hit! We're going down!" the helmsman cried.

That was a lucky blow, Neo thought. The Destroy seems to just blow everything into kingdom come instantly.

The Girty Lue briefly skirted the water before sliding on the shoreline of the island, before it crashed into a large pile of rocks. The ship held together, and did not explode.

However, it was facing that fate anyway.

Neo saw the guns of the Minerva immediately turn on the Girty Lue.

Well, this is rather amusing.

Ian Lee was a practical captain. He immediately shouted "Send the message of truce to the Minerva. Now. Forget about wiping them out."

Smart move.

"Launch bay! I want the 08th Strike squadron deployed immediately! Wipe out the Destroy before it takes us out!"

It wasn't Meryl who answered next, but a random maintenance worker. "We can't! Launch bay's gone to hell! We've got dozens of pilots and crew injured, and the exit's partially caved in! We can't launch anything!"

Neo's eyes widened. That means all we can send to stop the Destroy is . . .

Ian realized it too. He got on the com with Stellar. "Ensign Loussier. You are to disengage from your mission. You have a new one: eliminate the Destroy at all costs. It's already attacking the rest of the fleet. Take it down."

"I'm already on my way, sir."

As if on cue, the Gaia blasted past the Girty Lue, heading straight in the Destroy's direction. AS it passed by, more beams from the Destroy, despite being so far away, sliced through many of the escort vessels, blowing them all int flaming scrap.

We really did get lucky.

Problem was, would Stellar?
***
Damn it, that thing's still big! Shinn thought as he approached the metal behemoth in front of him. The Destroy had blasted several rays past Shinn, but seemed to be ignoring Shinn so far. It had been concentrating on the Earth Alliance fleet behind Shinn, wiping out ship after ship.

Below the Destroy lay wreckage and fire. Corpses were floating face down and burned. No one was surviving an attack by the Destroy.

I'm so stupid to think I can fight this thing, Shinn thought. But I told everyone I would. I have to. I'll take it down no matter what!

The Impulse charged at full speed. Shinn's plan was simple: cleave the Destroy in two by sheer brute force. He'd overwhelm the delfector shields, and then slice apart the chest area. In one swift stroke, maybe two, he could end the Destroy before it had the chance to aim and fire.

It was his best chance. Perhaps his only one.

Shinn's first swing connected with the deflecotr shields. They vibrated but did not budge, or even show any sign of breaking, and the stress on Shinn's sword was only growing stronger. Eventually, Shinn had to back off before his sword snapped in two.

Damn it, and I launched at him at full speed! Shinn's eyes warily turned left as he saw the right hand of the Destroy suddenly reach towards him.

The fingers opened up to reveal holes. Aw, crap.

Shinn blasted upwards to dodge the rapid beams of laser fire launching from those fingers, only to find himself right in front of the Super Scylla energy cannons.

Even worse! Shinn poured on the thrusters and launched even higher, right in front of the Destroy's head.

The head opened up. In addition, the backpack cannons all li tup and seemed to take aim at him.

Not fair! Does everything have to be armed?

That was when Shinn felt the presence again. Mayu. He didn't see her this time, but he heard her voice.

"I'm here, Shinn. I'm here for you."

Shinn saw the seed and it shattered, just in time for the Destroy to open fire.

I'm not dying here! Shinn weaved around the beams of fire, and using his suddenly enhanced reflexes, managed to dance around the beams, despite carrying the masssive Excalibur sword.

Shinn, in desperation, flung the Flashedge boomerang at the Destory's head, but the Destroy's head fired and the boomerang promptly exploded. Shinn could only use the explosion as a diversion to try to reset himself. He tried to get behind the Destroy but the behemoth simply turned at him and kept firing, the beams making the water shoot up in mini-geysers.

How tough is this thing?

He could not get around this lumbering behemoth. It kept shooting at him no matter what he did, and it turned around just fast enough to continue firing. Adding to Shinn's disadvantage was that without the Flashedge boomerang, he had no long-distance weapon. All he had was Excalibur.

He couldn't even shoot back.

I have to try again. There has to be a way I can do some damage!

He knew Mayu wouldn't want him to die. She wasn't ready to see him yet. She wanted him to live on. That was the best revenge he could get on his father and everyone else who had tried to kill him. It was the best way to make this world better, by trying to end this war.

Even if he didn't survive, he was going to take this machine with him. The machine, and the pilot.

The pilot has to be a monster. He's trying to kill everyone and everything. How can that the pilot not be a monster, after all he's done and everything he's trying to do?

He transformed Excalibur into two separate, smaller swords, the Excalibur Razors.

Maybe that's my chance. I'll just kill the pilot.

Shinn was down to half of his original energy. He had to finish this quickly.

And he needed to do it for everyone else, Earth Alliance and ZAFT. No one deserved to be a random victim of this thing.

Shinn looked for a backup plan as he prepared his charge. There was a small island directly behind the Destroy. Lots of rocks. If this pass didn't work, he would loop behind the island, have the dormant volcano take some abuse, and then charge out for another pass.

He would use the islands as cover from the Destroy.

He hit the thrusters. I'm going to kill you.

He was going to use his right Razor to make the first blow, then spin around and strike with the left. Hopefully that would be enough to seal the Destroy's fate.

He didn't even get close.

The Destroy's left hand came in front of the cockpit area and backhanded the Impulse away. The Impulse spiraled around helplessly, and Shinn was barely able to keep control of the GUNDAM, and keep himself from becoming nauseous.

How is he so fast?

Shinn tried to ready himself for yet another attack, as useless as it would be, when he noticed something.

The Destroy was aiming every gun it had at him.

Shinn froze, and he lost the seed.

Oh my God.

The Destroy's many weapons were beginning to power up, and Shinn knew there was no escape.

He's not just trying to kill me. It's like he's trying to erase me from existence. There's not going to be even a hand left of me.

His hands trembled. All I could do was slow it down. That's what I'm destined for? Just slowing it down?

The cannons were all about to fire when suddenly, rifle shots blasted past Shinn and began hitting the Destroy. Two of the backpack cannons exploded, but they caused little noticeable damage to the Destroy. It barely even staggered. It fired its weapons in all directions, and Shinn sensed that he could dodge the assault.

Actually, he didn't even need to. The shots were so wild Shinn barely had to move to dodge them all.

One single Mobile Suit interfering had thrown the enemy pilot off his game. Clearly, something was not right in the enemy pilot's head. He wasn't thinking straight at all.

But before he could think about it any further, he was being hailed. Knowing he had to, Shinn opened his communications.

"Shinn," an all-too-familiar voice said.

"S-Stellar?" Shinn stuttered.

The Gaia GUNDAM took up formation next to Shinn, its rifle aimed right at the Destroy.

"I'm here, Shinn," Stellar said. "You're not fighting it alone."

The voice sounded so much like classic Stellar that Shinn couldn't even consider it being a trick. He could tell just by her voice that it was the Stellar he knew. The Stellar he had loved.

"You're here," was all Shinn managed to say.

"There's a lot I have to answer for," Stellar said, "But it'll have to wait for later. We need to stop the Destroy's rampage before it kills anyone else. And it falls on us. No one else is coming."

"You're it?"

"I'm it. The Girty Lue's launch bay was damaged when the Destroy attacked it."

The Destroy seemed to be sizing them up. Maybe it was waiting for them to make the first move? Or maybe the pilot was just stunned that the machine had taken any damage at all.

"But I think we're good enough. Don't you think so, Shinn?" Stellar asked.

Knowing that Stellar, the real Stellar, was fighting alongside him, made Shinn feel like he could fight five Destroys at once. "Yeah."

"All right, follow my lead. Let's take that monster down."

The Gaia moved, and the Impulse followed.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:02 am 
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Retconned MSV Ace

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:44 am
Posts: 1681
Location: Finland
Oh dear. You're going to have Athrun and Lacus fight tooth and nail to talk some sense into Kira, then he flips out because the Impulse is there, and Shinn will kill Kira in front of them, aren't you? :P

The Fllay thing made better sense now, but I would suggest you won't go overboard with the nanobots and shapeshifting. A bit of here and there, yeah, but massive changes to CE tech have to be give due gravity, background and context. Other than that you're story seems to be progressing well, so keep on at it!

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


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 Post Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
Ha ha XD That would be too predictable, so I don't think I'll be going that route. I do like to try to surprise people.

There's a reason why the nanomachines were worked into the story, and it will be revealed in the last arc (among a lot of other things). It is not spoilerific to say, however, that the Destroy incident will make the Earth Alliance lose their appetite for using the things on people so right now it's just Meer Campbell who uses them.

Working on the new chapter. If I'm lucky it'll be up tomorrow, if unlucky Wednesday.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:04 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
Chapter Forty-Seven: Counterattack

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you - Nobody - Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know!

How dreary - to be - Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one's name - the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog!

-Emily Dickenson, I'm Nobody! Who are you?


As happy at Stellar was that Shinn was trusting her without as much as a hint of an argument, she knew she couldn't let jubilation cloud her mindset. They were fighting a true behemoth alone, and the Destroy could kill either one of them at any time. However, Stellar noticed the pilot's movements and shots had become erratic.

He's just spewing shots everywhere. He's either panicking or he's completely lost it. There has to be a way to use that to our advantage.

"You got a plan, Stellar?" Shinn asked as he trailed her. "I'm less than halfway on energy."

"Working on it. Just keep flying. He doesn't have a lock on us."

Stellar examined the Destroy. Everything on this Mobile Suit is armed. At the front he has a deflector shield which isn't breaking. There's no way he can fire some shots without switching the deflector shield off first.

"Shinn, I have an idea."

"Yes?"

"Get the Destroy to shoot at you."

"That's your plan?"

"Yes!"

"And here I thought you had stopped being insane."

That stung, but Stellar understood why Shinn has said that. "Trust me, Shinn. He can't fire those chest cannons without turning off the deflector shield. I need you to get him to fire those cannons at you. Once he does I'll shoot at them and take them out."

"Oh." There was silence over the com. "That makes sense."

"We need to take it out and fast, Shinn. We're running on batteries, while the Destroy must have a nuclear reactor. It can fight forever while we can't."

Blasters shot across in front of her and Stellar sped up even more. She had about sixty-five percent left, so she had more energy to burn than Shinn did. She needed to be in the right position at the right time in order to take the shot.

Blowing up the Scylla cannons in the chest would hopefully kill or disable the pilot. That had to be the weakness of the Destroy. If the Scyllas exploded, the damage would have to reach the cockpit, and the pilot would be injured if not killed. Such a blow would drastically decrease the Destroy's chance of victory.

Nothing short of exploding the nuclear reactor would make the Destroy blow up completely. But Stellar was reluctant to shoot the reactor. The resulting explosion would be guaranteed to kill her and Shinn, and possibly even reach the remnants of the ZAFT and EA battle fleets. It was a desperation tactic, something to be done when she had nothing left to lose, or no power left to operate.

So the only option was to kill the pilot directly.

They circled back to the front, and Stellar took a deep breath. She had finally been reunited with Shinn after all this time, and he could die right here. She could be ordering him to his death.

But there was no choice. All they had were each other. The best Stellar could do was protect Shinn.

"Shinn, go! Attack the cockpit!"

"On it, Stellar!" The Impulse flashed by the Gaia, its dual Razor swords leading the way.

Shinn can't break through the shields. It's what happens after the shields give way that matters, Stellar thought.

The Destroy's attention focused upon the charging Impulse. Now, what she needed was Shinn to be a good enough pilot to dodge the Destroy's many, many attempts to shoot him down.

Then one of the Destroy's backpack cannons took a shot at Stellar. Stellar barely got out of the way in time.

That was close. I forgot, I'm still a target too. This is for nothing if I get shot down.

The Destroy's weakness was that it was a ship killer, a city killer, possibly even a colony killer. Mobile Suits could dodge it, given that they weren't fired upon with every weapon the Destroy had. The Destroy also seemed to have no melee weapon, so other than the deflector shield it had no defense once Shinn got too close.

And that was what Stellar was counting on.

Shinn dodge shot after shot, and Stellar smiled as she watched her boyfriend go. The shot were trailing Shinn, hitting the water and fizzling out. Shinn was a much better pilot than people gave him credit for. Even if he was a Natural he'd still figure out a way to fly the Impulse. Blood could not determine raw ability, and Shinn had it.

Shinn raised his Razor swords and prepared to plunge. Just as Stellar expected, the deflector shield absorbed the blow of the first sword. Shinn attempted to stab with the other sword in the Impulse's left hand, and that too was stopped in its tracks.

All right. Now here's Phase Two.

"Shinn! Back off!" Stellar shouted.

"Right!"

The Impulse gave up and accelerated away. Stellar saw the Scylla cannons power up, and a smile crossed her face.

Got you, you bastard.

That's when all of the backpack cannons fired right at her.

Damn it! Stellar tried to dodge, but it didn't matter what she was. Extended, Coordinator, Slant, Natural. It didn't matter whether she was using a GUNDAM, a Windam, or a Zaku. She was going to get hit.

And she did. She got clipped as she attempted to accelerate away, and found herself spiraling out of control.

Stellar lost sight of the seed that had been guiding her through this whole battle, and she found herself in bound for a beach . . . with rocks everywhere.

I have to make this stick. She transformed her damaged GUNDAM into its buCue-shaped form, but the damage prevented all of the parts from fitting into place. So, in a half-GUNDAM, half-BuCue, she crashed hard into the beach and found her machine flopping like a rag doll across the surface, with her still inside.

Finally, the Gaia hit a rock, and Stellar felt a sharp pain fill her right arm. Her machine powered down, and Stellar realized, to her dismay, that her batteries had been punctured. As it wasn't from a beam weapon her batteries weren't going to explode, but she would not be able to get the machine to move.

She tried to move her right arm. The pain was too much. Her left arm, her weak arm, was going to have to do all of the work.

She clicked off her restraints and hit the cockpit switch. It only opened halfway, and Stellar kicked at it frantically until it bust open enough for her to get out. She stumbled out and fell to the ground, which made her the nerves in her arm scream like they were being murdered.

I never thought a broken arm would hurt so much. Stellar was fighting tears in her eyes as she forced herself to her feet, using only her left hand and legs to get up. She grabbed her right arm, and forced it to be still. She was going to need it completely still until she could make a sling. It seemed her forearm was what had broken, probably when her arms had frailed about in the cockpit when she crashed.

She was lucky she hadn't broken both arms.

She ripped off her helmet and threw it to the ground. She was going to need full visibility in case someone attacked her, just in case. In the distance, the Destroy looked like a mechanical mountain, looming over her like a god.

She couldn't see the Impulse anywhere.

Don't tell me Shinn got shot down too. I hope he just ran away.

"Stellar!" she heard from the left. Stellar turned and saw Shinn run over to her.

Oh, that idiot. He's trying to rescue me.

Shinn had removed his helmet too, and stopped right in front of her. "Stellar," he gasped, almost out of breath. "I hid the Impulse behind some of the bigger rocks here. It's running out of power but I should be able to get you out of here."

He paused. "Stellar, your arm-"

"It's broken. Don't worry about it." She tried to smile through the pain. He was an idiot for coming after her but Stellar didn't just appreciate it, she found it endearing. "I'm glad you came for me."

"I'm not leaving you here with the-"

Loud mechanical noises came from behind them, and Stellar and Shinn both turned to see the Destroy looking right at them.

Stellar froze.

That guy can't be serious.

The Destroy aimed its right hand directly at Shinn and Stellar. The holes in its fingers opened, as if to machine-gun both them to bits.

He's going to vaporize us. He's really going to vaporize us.

Shinn took a deep breath. "I . . . I guess I should've kept fighting it, huh?"

"It's all right, Shinn. I don't blame you at all," Stellar said.

Stellar wanted to close her eyes and look away. But she couldn't. She had to stare this in the face. She wanted that pilot, that crazed monster of the pilot, who could have only tracked her through some camera on board, to be looking directly at her when he shot.

If she was going to die, she was determined to be that pilot's nightmare for the rest of his days.

There was silence for a brief moment. Finally, Shinn dared to speak. "Why isn't he shooting at us? Why isn't he getting it over with?"

"I don't know," Stellar said, and it was the truth. The Destroy could vaporize both of them in an instant. Why wouldn't it?

What had made the Destroy freeze? Somehow Stellar doubted it was her defiant act.

Suddenly, the Destroy was hit. Multiple laser shots struck the hand, and it exploded. The Destroy staggered, lurched to its left, and fired wildly in every direction.

By the sound of the engines, it sounded like Mobile Suits.

Reinforcements.

But all of her reinforcements were trapped in the hangar bay of the Girty Lue. And the ZAFT didn't have anybody left around here.

Then who could it be?
***
"Good shot, Karen! Everyone, keep Formation Echo. Stay loose and keep shooting!" Athrun Zala yelled.

Karen Walsh and Athrun Zala had managed to remove the Destroy's right hand in two shots, and now every Mobile Suit in Athrun's squadron had opened fire upon the Destroy. The Destroy staggered and turned towards the Orb squadron, and Athrun's eyes widened.

"Evasive manuevers!" Athrun shouted. He moved away, and his squadron attempted to scatter. But there was too much firepower. Athrun had been able to move out of the way, but half of his Murasame group had gotten hit, and five of the six were kill shots. The sixth merely lost all of its right leg and a small portion of the torso.

Even the Murasame isn't fast enough to get out of the way, Athrun thought. "Karen, you still with me?"

"Yes, sir."

"Clear out of the area. Create a perimeter around here. No one passes. Leave this to me and Aurielle," Athrun said.

"Understood, sir."

Karen and the remaining Murasames blasted away, leaving just the Freedom and the Strike Rouge against the hulking Destroy.

All right, we did it some damage. That'll hopefully wake Kira up. He has to know he's not invincible anymore.

"Lacus," Athrun said. "Get on the line, talk to Kira. We don't have a lot of time. Karen won't be able to keep people away for long."

"Yes," Lacus said. She immediately got on the open channel. "Kira? Can you hear me? Kira, this is Lacus. Please answer me."

Silence.

"Kira, I know you can hear me. It's Lacus. Athrun's here too. We're here to help you Kira."

A soft voice. "No one can help me."

That's Kira. Up until now, Athrun had allowed himself to have one tiny hope that it wasn't Kira inside the cockpit, that it was merely an illusion, that it had not happened . . . and it was gone.

Lacus replied "Don't say that, Kira. This isn't like you. You're not like this."

"I said no one can help me!" Kira roared.

The Destroy fired at the Freedom with its mouth cannon, not at the Strike Rouge. Athrun saw the shots coming and barely managed to get out of the way.

Okay, he's willing to shoot at me, but not Lacus. Am I supposed to think that's a good thing?

He thought about it for a moment.

Well, he could have shot at Lacus instead. That would've been much worse.

Lacus' voice was shaking. "Kira, please don't do that."

"Shut up, Lacus."

"Kira, please stop! I'm trying to help you! You don't have to do this!"

"All you do is lie to me!"

"I've never lied to you, Kira!"

"All you've ever told me are lies!"

"I know you can get better, Kira! I know it! Kira, please-"

"Stay away from me."

"Kira-"

"Stay away!"

Now Kira fired at Lacus.

Athrun did the only thing he could do to save Lacus.

He had been carrying the METEOR device. He ejected it and sent it straight in front of the Strike Rouge, where the METEOR absorbed all of the shots before exploding. The Strike Rouge backed away, and Athrun could tell Lacus was stunned just by the jerky way her Mobile Suit was moving.

"He shot at me."

"I know, Lacus," Athrun said.

"He shot at me."

"Lacus, calm-"

"He shot at me. He-he shot at me."

Damn it. I lost my best offensive weapon, got five pilots killed, and now Lacus is shutting down.

Athrun turned towards the Destroy.

I don't have much of a choice, do I?

He never thought he would ever fight Kira again. He thought it had been over with in the last war. The last thing he wanted was to kill his best friend.

After fighting so hard with him in the last war . . .

After everything they had gone through . . .

This was the end result?

This?

Kira came on the line. "Athrun. I know you're listening. Go away. Stop trying to save me. I'm not worth it. I've never been worth it."

Do I answer? Athrun took a deep breath.

"Kira, you don't understand."

"I do understand. All you people ever do is tell me lies to make me feel better. But I've finally seen through all of the lies. Everyone just lies. No one is real anymore. It's all fake. False. Nothing exists because no one is real, just lies. I'm going to break it, Athrun. I'm going to obliterate the false existence."

Did they drug Kira up?[/i Athrun thought. He shook off the thought. [i]No, something must have happened. Something drove him over.

Lacus spoke again, clearly struggling to form words. Her sobs were garbling her voice. "Kira . . . please, I've always loved you . . . just let me help. Kira, I'll help you."

"Stop lying to me!" Kira shouted, and his weapons powered up. Athrun got ready to shoot, this time for real. He turned on the HiMAT targeting system, and locked on to as many weapons as he could.

He still couldn't lock onto them all.

Even the best targeting system on the planet can't fully stop this machine, Athrun thought in amazement.

But Kira did not fire, and his weapons powered back down.

"Everything is fake. It's not real. I'm not really killing anybody, am I? This is just a simulation. I'm running a test. They're testing me. I'm going to wake up someday and it'll be in an entirely different world," Kira ranted. "Nobody's real, so it doesn't matter if I kill everyone. Maybe if I kill everyone I'll finally wake up.'

"I'm real!" Lacus wailed. "Kira, do you think every night we spent together isn't real? You can't seriously believe that!"

"Then prove it to me! Kill me!"

"I won't kill you, Kira!" Lacus drew a shaky breath. "If I kill you, it means I've failed you. I can't . . . I can't accept that."

Kira just laughed. "That's what I expected! You want me to believe your love crap! You're just a masochist or something, aren't you? You just like to get hurt!"

"Kira, no-"

"Admit it! I've hurt you way too much for you to stay! But you stay anyway! You have to be a masochist!"

Athrun decided it was time to interject. "Or maybe she really loves you, Kira. And she stays by you because she loves you."

"Everyone tells me they love me. Everyone tells me they'll be there for me. Nobody's ever there. Nobody wants me. They just lie and pretend to love me when they just want to use me. Including the both of you! Lacus, you don't want me to get better, you just want me to keep hurting you! And I know you want me to fly the Freedom again, Athrun! You would have me right forever!"

Does he even believe what he's saying? Or is he just begging us to kill him in some subtle way? Athrun couldn't tell either way.

Kira laughed again. "Well, how about this, Lacus? I get to hurt you one more time!"

Damn it! Athrun thought. He raised his Balaena plasma beam cannon. If Kira dared to fire on Lacus . . .

Even without visual, Athrun could visualize the stunned, tearful expression on Lacus' face. "Kira, wait-"

Kira fired.

Athrun fired next.

Kira's shots blasted both of the Strike Rouge's legs aoff and a third slammed into the Mobile Suit's side, sending it spiraling away. Lacus screamed as she lost control and toppled towards a nearby island. She crashed into a group of trees, and other than some smoke there was no sign of her.

Athrun's shots slammed into the Destroy's deflector shields. He had activated them just in time to allow only one of the backpack cannons to be blasted out of existence. Everything else, frustratingly, stayed intact.

"Lacus? Lacus, can you hear me? Lacus!" Athrun shouted.

Kira made some odd noises, like he was laughing and crying at the same time. "How'd that feel, Lacus? That felt good, didn't it? C'mon, answer me!"

Lacus wasn't answering. Images shot through Athrun's head, of her being twisted or impaled or burned or far worse. Athrun violently shook his head and blocked them out. He had to believe she was okay. She had to be. That was not a kill shot.

That meant that even if she needed medical attention, if Athrun finished Kira off fast enough, he'd be able to help her in time.

Athrun was stunned at that realization.

He was really going to have to do it.

He was going to kill Kira.

In order to protect Lacus, and everyone else, he was going to have to kill his best friend.

He had never wanted to believe it could come to this. Murdering his best friend.

Did he want to believe that Kira was too far gone to save? He could not plead to Kira the way Lacus could.

What could have happened to do this to Kira? He's not making sense even by insanity standards.

"Kira, last chance. You can still stop."

"There's no stopping me now, Athrun. I shot Lacus down. Even if she did love me she has to hate me now. There's no one for me."

"You chose that."

"I want the loneliness. I want the pain. I want the suffering." Kira laughed then. "I want to die in the most painful way possible, Athrun. Give it to me."

"You accuse Lacus of being a masochist, but it seems that you are the real masochist," Athrun said.

Kira fired at Athrun wildly, and it was all Athrun could do to dodge it all. "About time you figured it out! I just wanted Lacus to feel what I feel! I want her to be in pain just like me! I want her to hate me!"

"Why?" Athrun asked. "Why do you want this?"

Kira just laughed through obvious tears. "I'm a war criminal, Athrun. No matter what I do or go, i'm going to be put in front of a tribunal and then in front of a firing squad. I'm dead no matter what I do. So I'm going to give this world a service. I want everyone to know how I feel. There's no going back for me, and I don't deserve the love of someone else. There's no way Lacus will love me now, and I want it that way."

He chuckled. "Unless, of course, she really has become a masochist."

Athrun readied the HiMAT system. He was going to fire everything he had, and while the Destroy was staggering he would kill Kira by skewering him in the cockpit with the Lacerta beam sabers. It would be an instant death. Cagalli would never forgive him for doing this, but Athrun knew there was no reason left in Kira.

I'm sorry.

Athrun saw the seed.

You've given me no choice.

But before the seed could shatter, Athrun heard a familiar voice that surprised him so much he lost sight of the seed.

"Stop your whining already, Kira."

His radar beeped. Athrun was surprised to see a new contact charge towards him and then by him, finally settling into a position in front of him.

It was a golden Mobile Suit.

Is that the . . .?

It had to be.

That has to be the Akatsuki!

And the Akatsuki's noteworthy pilot spoke again. "You want someone to feel your pain, Kira? Try me. Tell me how much you feel."

It can't be . . . how could she even get here so fast?

But the voice was unmistakenable. No one could impersonate the pilot's husky yet youthful voice.

The Akatsuki's pilot was none other than Cagalli Yula Athha.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:49 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
Chapter Forty-Eight: Brother vs. Sister

Courage is grace under pressure.
-Ernest Hemingway

"Cagalli, what are you doing here?" Athrun asked.

"A little girl told me," Cagalli replied.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Athrun asked in absolute confusion.

"Doesn't matter. Athrun, go check on Lacus. I can handle my brother. This is my fault anyway."

Kira interrupted then. "Cagalli?"

"Yes, Kira?" Cagalli asked.

There was no crazed laughter, or tears, or wild cries. Just raw, uninhibited anger. "You've finally come to kill me. I was wondering when you were going to try."

"If you don't give me any choice, Kira, I will. But I'd rather not make it," Cagalli replied.

"You were never there when I needed you! Now that you have to kill me you show up! Typical you! You don't stand a chance against me!"

The Destroy fired all of its backpack cannons, as well as the three Super Scylla cannons, directly at the Akatsuki. Much to Athrun's horror, Cagalli didn't even try to dodge, not like she could anyway.

"Cagalli!" Athrun cried as the multiple energy beams struck the Akatsuki dead-on. Bright lights flashed everywhere as the impacts made a light so bright Athrun had to put his hand in front of his eyes, even though his helmet's visor was darkened enough that he normally wouldn't need to.

The light faded, and much to Athrun's amazement, the Akatsuki wasn't just standing, it was unharmed.

A new voice entered the com. "Well, that was a rather exciting field test," the female voice said.

Who's that? Athrun thought.

Cagalli responded to the woman. "But it worked, didn't it, Hilda?"

"Obviously or we'd be dead."

Cagalli spoke to Kira then. "Surprised, little brother?"

Kira did not answer.

The Akatsuki raised a beam rifle Athrun recognized, the prototype "Hyakurai", rumored to become the main weapon of the Murasame design shortly. "Kira, you can't harm the Akatsuki with just beam weaponry. You'll need a melee weapon. Unless I'm mistaken, you don't have one."

Still silence on Kira's end.

"That means you will lose this battle, Kira, unless you miraculously overload my reflection system. And it'll take a lot more punishment than what you just gave to do that. Now sotp this insanity so I can take you home."

"I have no home!" Kira roared, and he fired again.

Athrun's heart still skipped a beat, but he wasn't quite as horrified as he was the last time the Destroy fired like that. And once again, the Akatsuki remained standing, without a scratch on it. Though it seemed this time that the Akatsuki had raised its Model 71 defense shield to take the majority of the punishment.

Hilda's voice came back on. "We can take two more assaults like that, Queen Cagalli. After that we'll risk overloading the reflection system. It needs some time to recover."

"Understood." Cagalli suddenly began firing at the Destroy, and the Akatsuki's sky pack motor went full blast as the Mobile Suit began its assault on the Destroy.

"Cagalli, wait!" Athrun shouted.

It wasn't Cagalli who answered this time, but this 'Hilda' person. "Athrun, listen to your girlfriend and get out of here. We know what we're doing."

"But-"

"I said we can handle it. Now leave the battle zone, pretty boy."

The Akatsuki took a shot from a backpack cannon then, but the Akatsuki reflected it and the shot splashed into the water.

The last thing Athrun wanted to do was to let his future wife, and the current Queen of Orb, fight this gigantic monster by herself, even if she had someone helping her. But the more Athrun watched the battle, he realized Cagalli had an agenda that he would simply interfere in.

And that agenda was not the same as when she had murdered her uncle and cousin.

Unlike killing Unato and Yuna Sieran, murdering Kira would ruin everything Cagalli had sacrificed for. She had committed a heinous crime by murdering her relatives, and she was ready to launch a black ops assault on her ally to get Kira back. Killing Kira out here would simply make all of that pointless.

It was out of her love for her brother that Cagalli had stuck her neck out so far.

So Athrun doubted that Kira would be dying out here. And as long as the Akatsuki could keep absorbing and reflecting the beams shot at it, Cagalli should win the battle.

Should.

She was not the pilot Kira was. She wasn't bad but she was no ace, and as a Natural facing a Coordinator she was already at a disadvantage. Even with her Akatsuki there was no guarantee she could fight Kira and win.

Unless . . .

It suddenly struck Athrun that the co-pilot or whoever it was who was in the Akatsuki with Cagalli had to be a Coordinator. It would be just like Cagalli to make up for a disadvantage by bringing in a Coordinator to fight a Coordinator.

The Akatsuki fired a pair of high-energy beam cannons at the Destroy. The Destroy's own shield reflected them, and Athrun knew that Cagalli was in for a difficult battle.

But what he could do besides get in the way? It was only a matter of time before Kira realized Athrun was still hanging around, and unlike Cagalli, Athrun didn't have anything that could take the Destroy's massive amounts of punishment.

So reluctantly, gradually, Athrun turned away, and accelerated the Freedom towards Lacus' crash site.

He'd let Cagalli conduct her plan without interference.
***
they had finally made it to the makeshift hiding place where Shinn had set down the Impulse. And, even though they were still in a battle zone, and could still hear the energy beams being fired from the Destroy and whatever its newest foes were, Shinn was caught in an embarrassing predicament.

"No. No. A thousand times no."

"Shinn, do it," Stellar said, rolling her eyes.

"I am not cutting your pants leg for the sling, Stellar."

"Yes, you are."

"I'll cut my own pants leg."

Stellar rolled her eyes again. "It's a lot less embarrassing for a woman to show leg instead of a man, Shinn. Are you sure?"

Shinn's face heated up. "Uh . . ."

"I didn't think so."

Shinn looked down. "Fine, you win."

After making Stellar's makeshift sling, and trying not to stare at her exposed right leg, Shinn tried to think about his next course of action. He was down to twenty percent in power. He did not want to fight the Destroy, especially with Stellar in such a compromised position. He had to run somewhere, but where?

As they entered the cockpit, Shinn realized osmething he should have a while ago.

"Stellar, I just realized I don't have a plan for what to do next."

"I expected that to be the case."

"Sorry."

A long silence before Stellar spoke again.

"Shinn, I'm not going back."

"Huh?"

"I'm not going back to the Earth Alliance. They brainwashed me. I don't want anything to do with them."

"It's not like I can take you to the ZAFT, Stellar. They're going to be POWs. And the Earth Alliance doesn't tolerate traitors," Shinn replied.

"Then we need to head elsewhere," Stellar said.

"What? Where?" Shinn asked.

"How far can we go on what's left?"

"Uh . . ." Shinn ran the calculations. "We'll splash into the sea about ten miles off the coast of Greece."

"What about just in the Core Splendor?"

"Looks like . . . we'd just make it into Macedonia."

"Then that's where we're going," Stellar said.

"Now?"

Stellar wrapped her left arm around his shoulders. "Yes. I've had enough fighting. And I'm sure you have too."

Her left hand squeezed his shoulder. "I think this is our only chance to have our lives to ourselves. To not have anyone or anything pull us apart. I'm not letting what happened to us over these last few weeks happen again."

She kissed him on the cheek. "Please, Shinn. Let's choose our fate, our destiny."

In every other situation possible, Shinn would have jumped at it. But one thing made him hesitate.

Meyrin.

He remembered that girl's face as he listened to Stellar.

He wanted to be with Stellar. But Meyrin was the only reason why he hadn't fallen into complete despair. She was the reason why he was here with Stellar right now. Leaving to crash-land somewhere would be the ultimate insult to everything Meyrin did for him.

And yet, Stellar was right. Going to the ZAFT would mean the death penalty. And she had every right to not fight for the Earth Alliance any longer.

He knew which choice to make. It was a painful one, but . . .

"Is something wrong?" Stellar asked.

"No," Shinn said softly. "It's nothing."

He powered up the Impulse and sent it hovering in the air, and ordered it to dismantle. The Sword Silhouette fell apart, and went accelerating back in the direction of the Minerva.

He thought of how Meyrin would feel, and it made him feel sick. He could already imagine the tears pouring from her eyes, curled up in a ball on her bed in depression and despair, and finally her screaming at the sky, cursing him and despising him for using her and abandoning her.

That girl loved him and had always been there whenever Shinn needed her. And he was betraying her for Stellar, who admittedly loved instead of merely liked.

But it still didn't make it right.

Meyrin did not deserve the pain she was about to go through.

It brought tears to his eyes as Shinn sent the Core Splendor towards the coast of Greece, and, if the power held out, Macedonia.

"Shinn, are you okay?" Stellar asked.

Shinn wanted to speak but could find no words.

Stellar's left arm wrapped around his shoulders again. "It's all right, Shinn. I'm right here. I love you."

You don't understand, Stellar.

I'm just a coward.

Just a stupid coward.

***
Hilda Harken was an experienced pilot, she had defected from the ZAFT after Patrick Zala's decision to wipe out the moderate faction wound up costing her an eye. Now she fought for Orb, and even with just one eye she was a great pilot, and the perfect partner for Cagalli. Hilda was in the Owashi sky pack that allowed the Akatsuki to take flight, and fly circles around the comparatively ungainly Destroy.

Kira was firing wildly. Having an infinite amount of ammunition gave him that privilege.

He's off. Normally I'd be shot down by now but he's really off. I might be able to pull this off after all, Cagalli thought.

Kira began screaming on the com. "Coming to kill me, Cagalli? Wat a wonderful, caring sister! You shunt me aside until I become a problem, huh? When I'm all nice and quiet you can just pretend I don't excist!"

A pause. "How does it feel, Cagalli?"

Hilda whistled. "Boy's got issues."

"Just keep shooting those cannons, Hilda. It's keeping him off balance," Cagalli replied.

I need to find a way to cripple the Destroy. If I destroy the reactor it'll kill all of us. And taking out the Super Scyllas are too much of a risk. I must cripple it so I can strike a nonlethal finishing blow.

The fighting had moved to shallow waters just off the coast of an island, the island where Lacus Clyne had been shot down. That made it even more imperative that Cagalli didn't get the area all irradiated.

Hilda spoke. "My queen, our reflection system is at seventy-five percent. We can't take much more."

Unlike the system's power, the reflection system counted upwards in terms of the abuse it had taken. Seventy-five percent was the level Cagalli had hoped to be at when Kira was taken down. Considering the Akatsuki had, so far, only removed one of the backpack cannons from the battle, this meant the mission was in trouble.

"Don't panic, Hilda. Just keep firing the cannons. We may not be doing much damage but we're keeping him from locking on us. That may be the difference."

"Just come up with something, my queen. I'm tired of feeling like a mosquito."

"I understand, Hilda." Cagalli piloted her machine above the Destroy when suddenly she got an idea.

"Next pass above the Destroy, Hilda, do exactly what I say. No questions. I can take it out."

"Oh, so you do have a plan! I'm all for it!"

Kira heard every word. "What is it, Cagalli? Going to put me out of my misery? Is that what you think you're doing?"

I'm the one who's in misery and you don't see me whining about it. Cagalli was going to save her crying for later.

"I hate you!" Kira shouted. "You don't deserve what you have! You put me in this thing! You ignored me and abandoned me!"

Like it's all about you.

"I'll kill you!" The Destroy let loose several volleys as Cagalli prepared her pass, and the Akatsuki took several hits as it flew overhead.

"Eighty-five percent," Hilda warned.

"We've won, Hilda. Just a few seconds," Cagalli said.

"Why won't you just die!" Kira screamed.

"Because I'm not going to give up on you," Cagalli said.

They were right aove the Destroy.

"Hilda, disconnect me! Now!"

"What? Uh, on it, my queen!"

The Owashi sky pack dropped the Akatsuki, and Cagalli aimed her sowrd in a downward slash right inbetween the main Destroy unit and the backpack unit attached to it.

I've won.

Kira screamed in panic and fired in futility. Cagalli's blade struck right where she wanted it to be, and she felt the beam weapon steadily slick through the middle connections, slowly but steadily removing the Destroy's main power source and the majority of its weapons in one blow.

Kira was screaming, and Cagalli could hear sparks shooting off in his cabin. I'm sorry, Kira. This is for your own good.

The backpack was finally severed and it splashed into the shallow water, and the Destroy could only manage a few staggering steps before turning around.

Figures he has some kind of secondary power.

"Damn you!" Kira roared, and both of the Destroy's hands opened up to reveal many miniature energy guns.

"Hilda, open fire!" Cagalli shouted.

"Yes, my queen!" Hilda's Owashi sky pack, now shaped like a fighter, blasted several times at the Destroy, making it stagger backwards and more and more shots chipped off the Destroy's arms until they were both shot off and the remnants were left sparking at the shoulders.

Cagalli prepared her energy sword again. I'll cut off both of the legs. He has no propulsion system anymore and without his legs the Destroy can't stand up..

Kira was breathing heavily. "Why? Why, why, why, why, why?"

"Because I care," Cagalli said softly. Then she charged.

Kira screamed again as he fired the Super Scyllas at Cagalli, but Cagalli just absorbed the blows as she charged forward.

A warning alarm went off, signifying that the reflection system was at ninety percent. But it didn't matter anymore. Nothing Kira could do now would stop the inevitable.

As Cagalli moved to strike, Kira's screams became this type of garbled gibberish, she couldn't understand a word. But she knew what it meant.

I hate you and I want you to die.

Cagalli struck, and her energy sword cleaved off the Destroy's right leg first. She kept the Akatsuki moving, knowing that if she stopped the Destroy would crash right on top of her. So she kept moving until she sliced off the left leg as well, and let the Destroy crash face up into the shallow water at the beachhead.

Kira's gibberish continued, screaming incessantly as the Super Scyllas and the cannon positioned in the Destroy's head fired in futility over and over. Cagalli just waited, and the gibberish steadily turned into sobs and wails.

Hilda came on. "You'd think we committed bloody murder."

"We did. We sold the thing to the Earth Alliance," Cagalli said softly. She turned the Akatsuki around, and let Hilda hook the Owashi back up to the Akatsuki.

After one final shot into the air from the mouth cannon, the Destroy fell silent, as did Kira. The radio had shut off.

Kira, I'll make sure you'll never have to fight again. I swear it.

The Akatsuki slowly walked over to the fallen Destroy. Kira was still silent. The behemoth looked little more than wreckage now, being taken apart piece by piece until there was nothing left.

Which was how Cagalli wanted it.

I committed a great sin by having this thing sold. It's cost so many people their lives. It ruined Kira's life. All it did was make this stupid war so much worse.

She shook her head. No weapon will ever be too terrible for humans to use. Sooner or later, someone who wants to use the weapon will show up . . . and use it he will.

But philosophical questions about warefare wasn't her primary objective.

I don't think I killed Kira, but he's not giving me a sign. He may have shut down mentally. Maybe he's traumatized. Mute.

Tears appeared in her eyes. My poor brother. I should be in his position. I'm the one who committed the wrong. He's nothing more than a pawn used by the Earth Alliance who went insane.

The Akatsuki stopped right by the Destroy, and Cagalli prepared to exit the cockpit.

You've been in the dark for so long, Kira. I think it's time you saw some light.

It occured to her how sunny the day was. A small smile crossed her face despite her tears.

It's a beautiful day, Kira. I want you to see it.

Cagalli opened the cockpit, and prepared for what she hoped was reconciliation, not confrontation, with her twin brother.
__________________________________________________________________________
I think there will be 2 chapters left to finish the arc, and then this fic is going on hiatus until 2011.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:35 am 
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Creepy Bishonen

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Illinois, USA
1 chapter to go until hiatus. I hope you guys enjoy this one, though. I never thought I'd get so far into this story.

If I were to estimate where we are on episode count, maybe episode 35? I dunno. I don't think this format really translates to "phases" really well.
____________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Forty-Nine: A Path

Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss is what dies in us while we are still alive.
-Norman Cousins

Darkness.

Endless, crushing darkness.

That was the world.

That was all of existence.

There was no escape from it. No light at the end of the tunnel, no sign to the end of the abyss.

Was he blind? Was he unconscious? Asleep? Dead?

Did it matter?

He had fallen in here, and he did not want to leave. He wanted to fall forever. He wanted to be alone. He wanted the pain and suffering and the worthlessness he felt so deeply.

But more than anything else, he wanted to be numb.

He wanted to fade away.

He wanted to become absolutely nothing.

After all, that's what he was. Nothing. Just simply, purely, nothing.

It's all he wanted to be.

What was the point of existing?

Everything was a lie. Everything hurt. Everything was hopeless.

Who wanted to live when life was like that? Pain, suffering, anger, hopelessness, frustration, rage, tears . . .

He hoped he would never be found down here.

But when he thought that, someone did find him.

Or something.

It was just a tiny light that slowly became a humanoid shape. It had no facial features, no lips, no eyes, barely even the outline of hair. It was just a bright white ghost, floating towards him in the dark sea.

"Talk to me, Kira," said the ghost.

He chose not to answer. Maybe if he didn't acknowledge the ghost it would leave him alone. Give up on him like everyone else. That's what he wanted.

The ghost moved closer. The voice was androgynous, garbled, echoing off of something unseen. "Kira, please talk to me. Come on."

He still chose not to respond. The ghost's hands seemed to move around him, and each movement seemed to release some kind of restraint or pressure off of him.

The numbness started to go away.

"Please leave me alone," he whispered.

"I can't do that," replied the ghost.

The ghost rubbed his cheek. The hand felt so warm, so inviting, but he knew better. It was just an inviation to more pain.

But he couldn't even muster the strength to resist. He couldn't move. It was like his entire body had shut down.

"Please talk to me," said the ghost.

He would not answer. Answering the ghost meant acknowledging his own existence. He could not do that. He just wanted to believe he was nothing. Maybe the ghost would believe he was just a figment of its imagination if he stayed silent. He should have stayed silent to begin with-

"Please, Kira," said the ghost.

Stop saying my name. I don't want to hear it. I don't want a name, he thought.

It felt like they were moving now, towards the tiny light in the distance. He wanted to fight but like before, he could not move. It was like he had no body, like he was just this formless spirit being tugged by the ghost's hand.

The light was blinding.

He closed his eyes. He was in the darkness again. The numb darkness. Where he wanted to be.

The ghost was still trying. He felt warmth surround his body. Was the ghost embracing him?

Please go away.

"Kira," the ghost said, "I know I messed up. Please don't shut down. I fought so hard to save you, Kira. Please talk to me."

He forced himself not to talk, but it was getting harder and harder.

The ghost's voice seemed to be choking up. "Kira, it doesn't matter what you say. You can hate me. Despise me. Scream at me. Whatever. Please just say something. Please."

He bit his tongue. He could feel himself being brought back, from out of the darkness, but he wanted to keep fighting. Why was the ghost trying so hard? Why was the ghost sounding so familiar? Why?

Kira, I love you. It doesn't matter if you feel the same. Please, I just want an answer! I love you so much!"

That sprung his eyes open.

Wait, I know this person.

With his eyes, he realized he was awake in the middle of a sunny day. His knees were wet, he was in the middle of shallows on a beach. He could smell the smoke of burnt metal filling the air.

He could see stray strands of golden blonde hair.

The voice was husky and feminine. "Kira, I'll do anything to help you. I promise. I won't ignore you ever again! I should've realized how badly you needed help. This is all my fault. It doesn't matter if you forgive me. Just tell me you're alive. That you're awake. Don't leave me like this."

"Cagalli," he whispered.

He saw her face then, as she faced him, her hands on her shoulders. Tears were brimming from her brown eyes.

"Kira, I'm here," Cagalli said. "Please stay. Stay here. I don't . . . I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you, you're all I have left."

It wasn't the words that brought him to tears.

It was the meaning.

She loves me.

All this time, he thought she had despised him because he was so pathetic. That he was just being shunted aside so he wouldn't become an embarrassment for her ambitions. If he didn't exist in her life, he wouldn't distract her from her duties.

Hearing Cagalli plead for him made him completely unable to speak.

No words could express this emotion he felt.

He just collapsed in her arms and cried.

"I'm here," she said. "I'm here, Kira. It's all right. Your big sister's here. I'll make sure you get better, Kira. I promise."

He found himself wanting to stay.

He wanted to heal.

Maybe becoming nothing wasn't the answer.

Maybe, it was just being.

Being Kira Yamato.

Kira so desperately wanted to believe that in the surf of a random island in the Aegean Sea.
***
The Freedom hadn't gotten a single dent from the Destroy, though the battle had cost the machine its entire METEOR device. But the biggest casuality of all was probably going to be Kira Yamato himself.

Athrun didn't have a lot of doubt that Cagalli had done what she thought had to be done. Was it done with the same ruthlessness she had dispatched her uncle and cousin with? Even Athrun doubted that. There was no way Cagalli could manage the sheer detachment and fury to kill Kira. Her brother meant much more to her than the Sierans ever did.

Lacus was trembling next to him. She hadn't stopped crying silently since he had found her inside what was left of the Strike Rouge. She had just been thoroughly torn apart by the Destroy and sent to suffer alone. The only thing she had said to Athrun, in a hoarse whisper, was "It hurts, Athrun. I can't take it."

Athrun hadn't imagined Kira capable of such a cruel act. But he had been. And Lacus was clearly more shocked than Athrun had been. She had loved him so dearly and Kira had to have known that. To reject Lacus so violently was . . .

It was beyond cruelty.

They flew closer to the battle site, where the Destroy lay smoking on its back. It looked like Cagalli had torn it apart limb from him with that Hilda person.

You did do what you thought had to be done, Athrun thought.

Lacus reached out with her hand and placed it on the screen. She hadn't said a word since Athrun had found her, but her meaning was obvious.

"It's all right, Lacus. I'm sure he's still alive. Let's just find a place to set down so we can look."

Lacus didn't reply.

Athrun saw figures on the beach below, and he brought up a small visual display. He got what he least expected to see.

Cagalli, you . . .

There was Kira, being held in Cagalli's arms, and she was comforting him.

You saved him.

At least, that's what it seemed like.

"Lacus, look," Athrun said, but he quickly saw he didn't need to say anything. She knew.

The smile crossing her tear-stricken face said more than words ever could.

Athrun set the Freedom down and both he and Lacus left the cockpit. Lacus led the way, running down the beach towards the surf, where Cagalli and Kira still were. Athrun took it slower, knowing that it would probably be better if Kira saw Lacus was okay.

It was miraculous, actually. She hadn't taken a single physical injury. That's why it puzzled Athrun why Lacus had said "it hurts". Obviously, there was the mental pain of such a betrayal, but . . .

Wait.

Suddenly, Lacus not saying a word made absolute, horrific, sense.

Oh no.

But before he could move, Lacus was standing right in front of Kira and Cagalli. The brother and sister stood up, and both of them, despite their tears, had such bright smiles on their faces.

But Athrun only felt a feeling of helplessness as they would soon realize what he had.

Kira gingerly approached Lacus. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to say any of that. I . . . I wasn't myself, Lacus."

Lacus didn't reply, but her arms stretched wide, and Kira and Lacus embraced each other.

Even at this distance, Athrun could hear Kira speaking. "Lacus, I promise this is over. I'm not going to do this anymore. I promise this is the last time. Cagalli said she'll help me. She'll surround me with people. We won't be alone or isolated, Lacus. I'll get better. I know Cagalli's plan will make me better, Lacus."

Lacus' right arm simply lifted up and rubbed his face. The gesture finally brought a tear to Athrun's right eye.

My God. She still loves him despite it all.

Which made what was coming even worse.

Cagalli was starting to realize it too, by the puzzled expression on her face. "Lacus, are you all right?"

Kira's eyes widened, and he separated himself from Lacus partially, still leaving his hands on her shoulders. "Lacus?"

No answer. But the way Lacus' body was shaking told the whole story.

Kira's face fell. "Oh no. Lacus, I . . . "

He embraced her tightly. "I'm so sorry. I . . . I didn't mean . . ."

She just hugged him back, rubbing his back with both of her hands.

Cagalli walked over to Athrun. "Lacus . . . she . . . "

"Yes," Athrun said softly.

"Lacus is mute."

It wasn't just Kira who so badly needed to heal anymore.

For better or for worse, Kira and Lacus were going to have to fight this battle together now.

Athrun thought of the song Lacus had told him about, this hopeful, beautiful song that had been written specifically for Kira. She wasn't going to sing it.

She might never sing it.

I should have forced her to stay back. I should have. She didn't belong out here, Athrun thought.

But it didn't matter anymore.

Like Cagalli, Athrun was going to have to live with his mistakes.

If he didn't find a way, he'd be no better than the two people in front of him, the two in pain most of all.

Now it was his responsibility, along with Cagalli's, to lead them down a restorative path. Where they could both be happy, and their problems forgotten, their mistakes forgiven.

There was no other option.
***
"C'mon Stellar."

"I'm trying, Shinn."

They had barely passed the border into Macedonia when the Core Splendor finally ran out of power. Shinn had managed to get the thing to glide towards the ground, but the landing hadn't been perfect, Stellar had hit her head and had been unconscious until just now, and she was still uncoordinated and dazed.

Stellar fell out of the cockpit then, and Shinn, unable to catch her, simply fell down and she landed on top of him face first.

"Ow," she murmured.

"I'm sorry," Shinn said.

"It's not your fault. We both knew this was going to happen."

Stellar grunted as she rolled off of Shinn, and they both rested on the cool grass for a brief moment. The sun was starting to set now It had to have been a few hours since they had escaped the battlefield, and now they were in the middle of Earth Alliance territory.

They needed to get out of here before someone arrived to check the wreckage.

Stellar looked at Shinn. "We need the emergency rations and any weapon you got in there. Do you have some kind of machine-gun?"

"I think so, and two 30-shot clips."

"That'll have to do. Hurry, get them both. You're going to need to fire the gun if we get caught, I can't handle it."

The reason why Stellar couldn't was obvious. A broken arm tended to hamper someone's ability to wield a two-handed weapon.

"All right, I'm going." Shinn forced himself to his feet and attempted to climb the Core Splendor back into his cockpit.

Weapon, rations . . . I forgot we're fugitives now. We're dead meat if we're caught.

He found his rations first and threw them out of the cockpit in Stellar's general direction. They weren't enough for the both of them, they wouldn't last more than a couple of days. They needed to find something else to eat or they were in serious trouble.

We really should have thought this through better.

He found the machine-gun and grabbed it. It wasn't loaded with ammunition in case of an accidental discharge, which meant Shinn had to dig for more ammunition.

Finally, he found both clips and slammed one of them into his gun. He cocked it and sighed. He didn't want to have to shoot anyone. He wished he had his arm broken instead of Stellar's because she could kill face to face, unlike him.

Though, in order to protect Stellar, he figured he was capable of anything.

Suddenly, he heard engines in the distance.

Oh crap.

Shinn jumped out of the cockpit and landed on his feet. "Stellar, we need to run!"

"Too late," Stellar said as she looked towards the sky.

"What do you mean?" Shinn asked.

His answer was a miniature earthquake as a Mobile Suit set down right behind him.

Shinn spun around and found himself staring at a Mobile Suit he didn't quite recognize. It didn't seem to be anything ofund in the Earth Alliance, the ZAFT or Orb. It just seemed to be its own separate entity, independent of every faction on Earth.

It was a Mobile Suit emblazoned in bright red.

Suddenly, the cockpit opened, and the unhelemted pilot zip-lined down. He had this unruly, spiky mane of red hair just slightly darker than the Mobile Suit he piloted.

"Well, well," he said. "You're the fifth pair of starcrossed lovers this month. And the third to get away alive."

Shinn felt his face heat up at being called Stellar's "lover". They hadn't even slept together yet.

Stellar spoke. "Who are you, and what brings you here?"

The red-haired pilot scratched the back of his neck. "I just collect junk to use for my own purposes. Same with the rest of my group. You guys, however, caught my attention."

"How?" Stellar asked.

"The Earth Alliance aren't far away. They won't care who I am if they see me talking with you guys. They'll just shoot me down, and then brain the two of you."

"We know this," Stellar said.

"Then you must also know I'm your only way out of here alive. The Junk Guild is more than willing to take in deserters from the opposing military forces," the young man said.

Shinn and Stellar both looked at each other. Shinn knew there wasn't any choice, and he knew that Stellar was thinking the same thing.

"Fine, get us out of here. But you haven't even told us your name," Stellar said. "Who are you?"

The pilot grinned. 'I am Lowe Guele. Welcome to the Junk Guild."

And so began the rest of Shinn Asuka's life.

_________________
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

KIRA: What do you think this is; a cartoon?


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 Post Posted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:31 am 
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Creepy Bishonen
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:39 am
Posts: 189
This story just went into overdrive >.>


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