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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:41 pm 
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Dean_the_Young wrote:
00 Episode 2 Drabble

Fangirls

or

How Bad Can A Good Yaoi Joke Get?



That was awesome! :lol: :lol: 8) GunDAMN Fangirls!!!!

Seriously it was a funny entry in a morbidly fascinating kind of way. Keep up the goodness man!

(WOOT! 100 posts!) :twisted: 8) :lol:

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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:18 am 
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I've read your drabbles so far, and I love them! Especially the "Setsu steals Louise" and "Gundam Meister Graham"! I was wondering, after watching the RAW of Episode 17, could you write a SetsuXNena one? Please?


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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:54 pm 
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I feel I should make a note for the lack of update.

Shortly, college.

Longer version, multiple major tests in a schedule I frontloaded to get more classes out of the way. Have been busy with a programming assignment, a physics test, a math test, and preparing for other things.

Episode 16's drabble is half written: it was going to be a long one, though I may toss it and do a shorter one that popped in my head.

17 is actually 2/3rds done: I had a burst of inspiration during a break, and the idea itself was shorter than 16.


If you want me to try a specific kind of short, PM me and we can talk about it. No promises, though.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:04 pm 
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Episode 17's drabble. Yes, 17. 16 will be awhile longer, but I felt that this was better for the rewrite. Enjoy.


Gundam 00 Episode 17
---

As always, there was a knock on the door. It was the firm but respectful knock of someone who would enter, but rather not be rude about it. Graham looked up from the datasheet he was staring at.

“Come in.”

Admiral Abrahms of the USS Reagan entered. Graham rose to salute the highest ranking officer of the carrier force, but the Captain waved him back down.

“You look like ZOINKS. When did you last sleep?” The commander of the carrier was a notoriously honest but blunt man, which was a testament to his ability to have been able to rise to the ranks of Admiral despite his seeming lack of diplomacy. But here he was correct; Graham’s eyes were graced with hideous black bags, and his eyes were bloodshot.

Graham didn’t even try to evade the question. “I think I passed out for an hour since the mission. I didn’t want to sleep until I finished these.” He gestured to six datasheet screens on the table; three of them were filled with text describing the final heroism of their subjects, but two stood bleakly blank.

Abrahms looked at the sheets and understood their purpose, but the exact number…

“I was told you lost five pilots.”

Graham chuckled darkly. “I’m currently writing Mason’s, but the last one isn’t an Overflag, sir. He was our top engineer, killed in the attack.”

Abrahms took the seat that was silently offered. “You knew him?”

Graham didn’t say anything for a moment. “I felt he should have someone who knew him right for him. He had no family left, which isn’t too surprising at his age, but I owe it to him for not being there. A minute earlier…”

Abrahams saw the survivor’s guilt, as he had expected to. “You were there a minute earlier; several in fact. Don’t think I don’t know how you pushed your flag into dangerously low energy levels to get there when you did. It’s a miracle you were able to fight the new gundams, let alone land afterwards. “

Graham didn’t change his expression. “Some of us didn’t. And I take full responsibility for pushing the energy levels to the point they were for us to get there when we did. The hard landings were my fault, not those of my men.”

Abrahams shook his head. “Don’t you worry about that. No one is going to complain about a busted suspension after that fight, all things considered. Keeping a Flag in one piece will be considered praise-worthy, not a sin.

Graham sighed. “That one piece of good news I’ve heard today, at least. Thank you, sir. What else did you want to tell me?”

“I also came to let you know that you won’t have to write Lieutenant Mason’s letter.”

Graham looked at Abrahms as if he had grown a third eye. In cautious tones fighting back rage, Graham said, “Sir? If that was a joke, it was in bad taste. I saw what happened to him, right before I cut the bastard’s arm off.”

“That’s not what I meant. I apologize.” Abrahms rarely apologized unless he believed he had made a mistake. “What I meant was that, according to his testament, the one we are supposed to alert in the case of his death is you.”

Graham blinked his red eyes in bewilderment.

“Lieutenant Mason has no close family left, you see. Nothing closer than a few distant cousins he likely never met. His instructions dictate that in the case of his death, his friends are to be alerted and his savings will allocated into a trust fund for sponsoring the education for their children. Incidentally, most of the names on his list are either on this ship or have passed on. You are the only one left to officially inform.” Abrahms searched through his coat pocket. “Unofficially, he also left a note in case he didn’t come back that left you these, in case you ever needed them yourself.” He held out a black glasses case to Graham. Inside were Mason’s glasses that he never wore while flying.

Graham took the item and bowed his head. “Mason…”

Abrahms stood up. “I know you are taking this hard, Commander. It’s not easy to lose so many for so few results, and it losing most of your squadron in two missions against these machines is a terrible blow. But you have done something no one has done yet; you wounded a gundam, and one of the new ones at that. And more importantly, you interfered with their operation.”

Graham looked up. “Are you saying…”

Abrahams looked at him with no expression. “I am saying nothing. I can say nothing because there is nothing to know. But I will say that if you lost the entire squadron for the same results as today, it would have been considered equally a triumph. That is not only my opinion, but the opinion from the very top as well. This comes from the President himself.” A blue ribbon with white stars, a gold eagle holding a five-point star with “valor” written above it. The highest award possible for any service member.

Abrahms withdrew the Medal of Honor. “It will go in your service jacket once the formalities are through, though it will be classified for some time. Write your final letter, Commander, and get some sleep. The Union needs as many of us alive and well as it can get. Write your letter, and if you aren’t done within an hour I have ordered the ship doctor to sedate you.” Abrahms sketched a salute to Graham, and without waiting for a return of military courtesy he left the surprised pilot behind.

Graham sat there. The surprise faded, but a more important task remained to be done. He turned back to his last datasheet, and sought words that refused to come easily. When the doctor entered an hour later, he saw Graham collapsed in front of his station. Pulling a blanket over the young officer’s shoulders, he quietly exited the room and turned off the lights.

The door closed, and no one ever saw Graham shift and let out a soft “Thanks, Billy…” before falling back into a deep slumber.

---


Graham’s flag stood, no longer able to hover, over the burning remains of the jeep at the edge of the jungle. Even as the energy levels dimmed the screen to near black, the image of the tattered remains remained in his mind. The burning remains of the base and its defenders were in the background, as was the fiery tombs of over half the Overflags who had flown this horrific mission. Mason, who had died defending both his commander and the enemy target, was closest. His flag, ignobly strewn across the ground in an obscene arrangement of legs and arms, had stopped burning shortly after the last blow was finally delivered. The only meaning in the resolution was the severed mobile suit hand that lay hidden beneath its face in a grotesque caress, and the rest of the arm that lay in front of it.

Part of Graham’s mind grieved for his lost friend at the same time that it was honored that Mason would sacrifice himself for him and overjoyed that the Overflag had been the first to undeniably damage a Gundam. But the rest of Graham’s mind was focused on the former passengers of the jeep which had been fleeing the Gundams. Neither was visible at the moment, and even though a medical vehicle was being pushed in the direction by one of the remaining Overflags, he couldn’t bring himself to look closer for the bodies.

“Damn it, Billy.” His voice betrayed no anger, no sorrow, not even real frustration. “Why couldn’t you have gotten him out without being seen?”

The Overflags had arrived just in time to prevent the first strike against MSWAD, and immediately a fierce battle had resulted even as the base defenses scrambled. Already down three men from their last mission, Graham had been shocked to hear Billy’s voice over the tactical radio, telling Graham to prevent the Gundams from attacking him as he escorted their real target, Professor Eifman, to safety.

“Or at least have done so without letting me know?”

Granted, there was no proof that the Gundams had been listening to the secure channel, but their constant focus on the Professor’s ride had been unerring. While the Overflags had been capable of slowing the mobile suits themselves, their attacks had not been so easy. More than one Overflag had lost his rotor-shield to a beam blast, and all chaos had broken out when that one Gundam had let out its radical kinetic missiles. Three of the five dead Overflags and numerous local mobile suits had met their end at those missiles, though Mason’s heroism had been to literally catch and disable one of them by smashing the engine part against the ground. The mostly-intact shell was now embedded in the ground under Mason’s cockpit, where it remained after it had been unable to return to its master. It lay beside the hand of the Gundam that had fired it.

“Damn it Billy, why did you have to die? I need you to help me fight Celestial Being!”

The Union would reap a major technological windfall from this disaster; the left arm and hand of a Gundam, one of its beam weapons, and much more combat data would be worth a small country. But it would have to do so without its best mobile suit designer or its legendary scientist.

“Now the two of you are dead!”

The mobile suit was finally completely out of power, and had shut down. Rather than exiting and watching the medical team perform their surely hopeless task of saving the lost, Graham stayed in his seat where no one could see him.

“Damn it, Gundam!”





---

It was from a secret location among secret locations. Completely isolated from the rest of the world both electronically and otherwise, its existence was now known to a bare baker’s dozen. It had been made in case of a nuclear war decades ago, but had become the hideaway hole for people too important to risk dying, especially from causes of the unnatural origin.

The Secretary of State read the report from the location that did not exist. Then he burned it, as protocol dictated. Only then did he take his most secure phone and call his contemporary.

“How true is this?” All that needed to be said.

“We believe entirely. He’s still wavering in and out of consciousness, but the Professor made sure to give us his complete report. The President is currently waiting for an analysis report before making a decision of what to do, but it won’t be long.”

“To think, Celestial Being really intends to…”

“Yes.”

“Those bastards. What about the Gundam evidence?”

“Already hidden away with teams of scientists in different locations. After last week, we don’t intend to give them the chance to act up and stop us in one swoop. We lost our best mobile suit engineer, but we should be on our way. We are on our way. Some of the data is said to have immediate implications.”

“Good. And the Professor?”

“Eifmann is half-dead as it is, and lost one of his prized students. He won’t mind disappearing from the world for awhile. If Celestial Being can hide scientists, so can we.”

“And the other powers?”

“We’re thinking about it. Intelligence may be admissible, but at this point the scientific gains are ours.”

“That’s good, considering what we paid for it. The entire MSWAD...” He sighed, and fell deeper into his chair. “How is the President doing? Have they made a decision?”

The other man chuckled. “You know how the Secret Service works. If it was up to them, he’d be in a steel box and buried somewhere where no one could find him. No, the President will remain where he is, by his own orders. You, the Vice-President, and the rest of the Cabinet, however… Well, I hope you like to travel. They won’t be able to get all of you, at least. How does a trip to Azadistan sound?”

He winced. “Joy.”

“Get packing; someone has to look at how far our new friends have gone with their solar energy product, and if you bring the slightest bit of aid they’ll put an entire army to guard you. Safer than other places, at least.”

“Alright, alright. I hope this entire mess finishes soon, however.”

“It will be, count on it. Next election cycle, and the world will once again be a different place in regards to Celestial Being.”

---

Sumeragi lay sleepless in her berth on the Ptolemous. It wasn’t that the room was too bright, or too hot, or even that she hadn’t been working hard analyzing data from the Gundam Thrones. But sleep had been rare of late, and more attune to passing out than resting. Something insider her would not stop telling her that something was wrong.

Then her consol beeped. She approached it slowly. A few cautious keystroke brought up an unsolicited mail that had been re-routed from her Earth account. It was from a name she knew only in passing from Billy. A glance at the opening line elicited a cry, and Sumeragi dashed to her liquor cabinet even as tears came to her eyes.

Sumeragi Lee Noriega, as their last witness it is my sad duty to inform you of the death of Billy Katagiri and Professor Eifman during the course of a Celestial Being attack…

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:28 am 
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Yet another very good entry. Although I'm pretty sure that Aifmann is very, very dead. Don't know about Billy though, but I bet he is alive.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:04 am 
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I have to say the bit about Setsuna hearing the yaoi fangirl voices is the best installment by far.

MBF-06/ZGMF-X12A Arbiter wrote:
Yet another very good entry. Although I'm pretty sure that Aifmann is very, very dead. Don't know about Billy though, but I bet he is alive.


I thought it was fairly obvious that the entry was presenting a hypothetical scenario.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:22 am 
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Imperial wrote:
I have to say the bit about Setsuna hearing the yaoi fangirl voices is the best installment by far.
The problem with the Yaoi joke was that it really was situational. If you weren't watching the early Nayorn (spelling) subs that butchered the translation, you wouldn't have gotten most of the jokes. Now, with more reliable translators on line, you don't get much like that, especially since theres such a lack of yaoi indications.

I have, however, thought of doing pairings only a fangirl/boy can hope for, but those run below a new "Meister Graham/Union Sumeragi" and something dealing with Soma. Episode 16, while longer than normal, is going to see Soma take a scene (or three).

Quote:

MBF-06/ZGMF-X12A Arbiter wrote:
Yet another very good entry. Although I'm pretty sure that Aifmann is very, very dead. Don't know about Billy though, but I bet he is alive.


I thought it was fairly obvious that the entry was presenting a hypothetical scenario.
Indeed, most of these are. This one was based around the idea of Graham and Overflags getting there even slightly earlier, suffering major casualities (only five of the original 12 overflags remain), but get not only a sample of Gundam technology in the form of the Zwei's arm, but also learning the Professor's realization. My personal thoughts are that what will happen after this will be very violent, and very tragic. Sumeragi has seen Celestial Being kill the final links to her past, Graham has lost most of his command as well as his support base, and the Union will arrange an offensive based on the ominous revelation of Celestial Being. I didn't explore them, but I doubt it would be a happy conclusion for anyone involved.

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:22 pm 
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Episode 18 is up, but don't hold your breath for 16 any time soon. This is only out now because I actually wrote it on Sunday, and revised it since. No more writing for the rest of the week, as midterms are here for some classes. This will likely be my last Graham-centric piece for awhile; I need to go for more variety.

Also, can you figure out the three triumphs of the title?



Three Triumphs
---
“Despite the tragedy of the events over the skies of Illinois, one man did not hesitate to step forward to oppose the slaughter of civilian workers. The first prepared, he alone confronted one of the new Gundams, the very ones who have attacked and annihilated the Union headquarters in South America, killing hundreds from every nation in the Union, all in hopes of saving the lives of his fellow Union citizens with no regard to his own safety.”

Former Major, now Lieutenant Colonel, Graham Aker inwardly smiled as the President of the Union spoke his praises. It was a media circus of media circuses, but it was easy to see why. The new wave of Gundams, whose acts of terrorism and massacres had nearly terrified the powers, was no longer as imposing as it once were. He was in his dress uniform, and looked felt only marginally more comfortable than Darryl Dutch did in his uniform standing beside his wife. It didn’t change the jaw dropping amount of interest in Graham, though he could see why the American president was portraying him as a symbol of Union unity.

The American administration wasn’t the only one interested in him; reporters had been trying to sneak onto the Overflag base for days now, and Graham had been the subject of any number of propositions. Billy Katagiri had laughed himself onto the ground when Master Sergeant Darryl Dutch had found one particularly daring reporter waiting inside the shower room of the men’s barracks. Dutch had been elusive as to what state of dress, let alone gender, the reporter had been before being thrown out.

“In feats not seen even in the Fifth Solar War from any side, Lieutenant Colonel Aker daringly closed in with the enemy gundam. Using the full capabilities of his Union Flag, he went beyond his own physical limits and forced the enemy suit onto the defensive. Colonel Aker, in an amazing display of skill, disarmed the Gundam’s beam saber, and pushing his Flag’s capabilities to the max, proceeded to seize the dropped weapon and used it to destroy the Gundam in a single blow. Despite his body’s reaction to the extreme maneuvers, Colonel Aker then went on to rally his reinforcements from his airbase and to fight off the remaining two gundams, despite major casualties and the Colonel himself having to land in a corn field.”

That didn’t do that night’s terrors justice. After destroying the Gundam, Graham had fully expected to die when the other two suits had turned towards him. Vomiting blood inside his own visor while attempting evasive maneuvers had been a poor experience of both, and even after most of the base’s compliment of mobile suits and three Over Flags had died by the time the Gundams had suddenly withdrawn Graham had still almost died when he had had to put down because he was unable to even sit up correctly. Thankfully, the local farmer had been an ex-military man himself, and had quickly driven to the fallen Flag to render assistance.

“The entire Union owes this man a debt of gratitude for his actions in protecting not only us, but the entire world. It is my proud privilege, not only as the President of the Union but also as the President of the nation to produce this hero, to bestow upon him the Star of Valor, the highest award possible in the Union. Please bow.”

Camera men and women crowded around as the President of the United States placed the ribbon around the blond man’s neck. The President smiled, not merely the smile of a politician engaging in formalities, but the smile of a man who has had a burden lifted off of his shoulders. As Graham Aker straightened, President Brian then stepped out of the pre-scripted formalities and saluted the Flag Fighter, one former military man to a current one. Media crews from around the world caught the expression of surprise that covered Graham’s face before he straightened even more and returned the salute.

This part of the ceremony over, Graham returned to his position in the background, where he proceeded to wait out the ceremony. In the post-ceremony mill, Graham quickly made his way to Dutch, who stood holding the hand of his young son. He looked at Graham sheepishly. “I’m sorry sir, but David here has been waiting for awhile, and wants to see around the capitol before we return.”

Graham smiled, and caught the unspoken request. “Go spend time with your family, Dutch. You earned it as much as anyone.” Dutch smiled, thanked him, and left with his family. Graham was only alone for a second before he was tapped on his shoulder. There was a young women in a modest black dress with short hair, a bit younger then himself by the looks of it.

“Colonel Aker, yes? I’m Kinue Crossroad, from JNN news. You should have been told to expect us?”

“Ah, so your one of the ones who have been tasked to make me look like a hero? Sorry you drew the short straw.” Graham nodded to himself. At least she was easier on the eyes then some of the reporters he’d been caught by. Suddenly, though, the name sounded familiar. “Wait, aren’t you…”

She nodded. “We’ve also been doing research into Celestial Being since they started. You may have seen our analysis on Celestial Being’s history.”

Graham eyed her again. Not just another pretty face, clearly. This one had a quick mind, and better yet one that had another view of the Gundams. Billy would never let him live down if he didn’t pursue for any outside information from a source like this. “I saw that. Very well done, with good research. My compliments to whoever dug that up.”

“Thank you, it wasn’t easy.”

It took Graham longer than it should have to catch the implication. “That was you?” His mind raced at the new information, and its implications. “Then this isn’t just about making me look good. You’re planning to pick my brains about this, aren’t you?”

“Guilty as charged.” This time, it wasn’t just Graham who was looking beneath the surface. “You really aren’t just a mobile suit jockey, are you? “

Graham chose to accept it as a compliment, and took an exaggerated bow. “I’m sorry if I disappoint. I don’t mind, so long as you don’t mind if I ask questions back.”

“Good. Now, when would you like to sit down?”

Graham held up his hand as a plan to escape the function earlier than tomorrow came to mind. “Now would work. If you want, you can help me escape here and we can discuss this somewhere more suitable. I know I new restaurant in the area that’s supposed to be good.”

Kinue eyed him, as if measuring him up. Then, as if agreeing with what she found, she nodded. “I’m paying for myself, of course.”

Graham pulled off a remarkable straight-face. “Did I ever offer otherwise?”

She started and looked at him, and then chuckled. “Funny. Shall we go?”

She took his offered arm as the formal rules of the occasion dictated, and the two of them made their way to the exit while more than one reporter and more than one woman looked enviously at Kinue. (More than one tabloid photographer also took a photo of the two, but Graham preferred not to think of where his face would appear tomorrow morning.)

“Just one question now, though,” she said as they maneuvered through the doors out of the Union President’s residence. “How did you defeat that Gundam in one strike? Is that even true?”

“It was rather simple,” Graham said, even glossing over the pain and terror of the night that he avenged Howard Mason. “I aimed for the cockpit.”

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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:47 pm 
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I'm giving notice that this will be suspended for a short while, at least until midterms are over. That will be about two weeks, and in three weeks I have spring break, but until then I intend to (try) and focus on schoolwork.

Failing midterms = *****

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Dean_the_Young wrote:
I'm giving notice that this will be suspended for a short while, at least until midterms are over. That will be about two weeks, and in three weeks I have spring break, but until then I intend to (try) and focus on schoolwork.

Failing midterms = *****


*sigh* I suppose it can't be helped. We shall anxiously await your return.

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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:08 pm 
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MBF-06/ZGMF-X12A Arbiter wrote:
*sigh* I suppose it can't be helped. We shall anxiously await your return.


Come, all ye faithful...
Faith is rewarded! :D


Midterm’s are over, but classes haven’t stopped giving out work. I got this written up after seeing episode 22’s raw, but more will come only after I do my weekend homework. Midterms didn't go as well as I'd hoped, not because I didn't study enough (for the most part), but because I made a few test-taking errors in two of my hardest classes. Note for all future college goers: check back of exams for more questions, read ALL lines on all pages in case they give critical information, and radomly select a few problems to check on scantrons so that you don't accidentally miss half a dozen problems because you skipped question 20 and wrote down 21 in 20, 22 in 21, etc...



But, lo and behold, not only did I NOT write a Graham/Union-centered fic, not only did I NOT write a politicos fic, but I wrote a Neena-centered fic which has rather soft Neena/Setsuna, which one person asked for awhile back. Don’t think I could have written this even an episode ago, but 00’s habit of killing off unsympathetic characters in sympathetic ways has gotten to me.

Noted, setsuna has gotten a bit harder to write for, since these last couple episodes have *gasp* developed his character. And Neena is quite likely going to be a bit off character when compared to how she will be shown; I took a “death moderates youthful immaturity” approach, but I feel that I’m pretty far from Neena’s usually bubbly personality, but that didn’t feel called for in this fic. Maybe next episode will give a hint of her new role?

So, read, enjoy, and tell me how my first serious attempt at bonding/soft-romance worked.


Gundam 00 Episode 22

It was a reversal of a scene long ago. One stood in the sky approaching divinity, while the other lay on the ground, broken and dejected. Power and nobility radiated from the savior. Anguish engulfed the fallen.

Tears threatening to flood her eyes, the fallen woman struggled to speak past her recent loss and terror. “You… what are you?”

He looked at her with the eyes of a man who had realized his purpose and potential, and said three simple words. “I am Gundam.”

That was when she first truly believed.

---

Outside of her god of steel and electronics, Neena cried. Cried for her second brother, shot before he had a chance to fight for their family. Cried for her first brother, who fought and died so that she might live. Cried for herself, who was too weak to help either of them. She cried over the only body that was left, scattering sobs as she struggled for composure.

Footsteps approached, and her savior walked into the barren clearing, approaching her. She could not bring herself to look up, but soon saw him kneeling on the other side of her brother. Never seeing his face, she watched as his hand rose and gently closed her brother’s eyes, a courtesy she had never imagined.

“Do you…” she trailed off, not knowing what dynamic stood between the two of them. “Do you think they’re in heaven now?”

“There is no God.” Neena looked up sharply, scanning face for any hint of malice. No expression was on his face, and his eyes held no scorn, instead showing a peculiar mix of pity, regret, and a sense of understanding.

“Then where are they now!” She cried, grabbing his arm and pulling him near her. “They were good brothers to me! They wanted to end war!” His expression did not change. He did not reply.

Neena began to cry again. Crying over her brother’s corpse, crying into the arm of the man who had once spurned her.

This time, however, he didn’t push her away.

---

The camp was set, but far too empty. Setsuna’s companion had already gone to sleep, but Neena could not bring herself to sleep. She saw Setsuna sitting on a log, looking into the fire around which dinner had been silently eaten. She could see the graves for her brothers, two markers for one body. She had insisted, and Setsuna had obliged to help her.

She walked to the fire, and sat down beside him. Despite their proximity, they were clearly far apart. They sat, looking into the fire. But Neena did not merely see the flames; she saw flash that had occurred before her brother Michael had fallen. She saw the brilliant explosion that had signaled the end of Johan. And no matter how many times she averted her gaze, as soon as she looked back the images replayed themselves.

“Hey.” She said softly, as if afraid of being heard. “Do you ever stop remembering?” Whether the battle or the voices and faces of her brothers, she did not say. She did not need to.

He was quiet, and she had begun to think he had not heard when he spoke. “No. Never.”

“Does it ever hurt less?”

His silence was an answer as to the complexity of those five simple words.

The new silence was more comfortable than the last one. They sat for untold minutes, perhaps hours. Occasionally Setsuna would get up and wander into the woods, leaving a cold space beside her before returning with more wood for the fire. Sometimes she would poke the fire, stirring the embers. Complex thoughts ran through her mind, fighting for contention. One eventually came above the others.

“Why did you save me?”

He heard and answered. “Because that is what it means to be in Celestial Being, to be a Gundam.”

“But, the last time we met, you went straight at me, trying to kill me. Why?”

“Because that is what a Gundam does. You were a source of conflict, and I intervened.”

She looked at him with the first hint of anger all night. “We are Gundam Meisters too! We were working to end war, just like you!”

He looked at her straight in the eyes. Calling it hatred would be too strong. “Then why did you attack a group of civilians in Spain? What made you think that piloting a Gundam gave you the right to ignore the tenants of Celestial Being?”

She opened her mouth, ready to give words of “they don’t matter” or “they weren’t working for a new world,” but such phrases died at her lips when met with the unflinching gaze of Gundam. An ember of teenage rebellion burned in her eyes, but died in view of the impartial arbiter of Celestial Being. In a moment of maturity brought by the overthrow of her world, she looked away and could only say “that… wasn’t right, was it? You’re saying I was too caught up in my own beliefs?”

If she had been looking, she might have seen something approaching approval pass through his eyes at that. “Being a Meister means upholding the values of Celestial Being at all times and with all people, never for our own whims and desires.” It was a near-rote lesson that Neena could remember from her own days in training.

Neena looked in the fire, thinking over a lesson she had forgotten long ago, wondering in how many places she could have applied it. Setsuna looked at her much like a teacher seeing a pupil work through an especially difficult problem. Neena sat there, chewing on the inside of her cheek, and Setsuna watched as she absorbed his words.

Eventually, Neena relaxed, and suddenly looked much more tired than she had previously. She looked at Setsuna, a slightly more mature view brought by loss and exhaustion in her tired eyes. At the same time, though, she somehow looked lost, more vulnerable for just this moment. “Do you think that if I hadn’t done that, that my brothers would be here right now? If I had controlled myself, you had not intervened, would our groups have stuck together against these new enemy suits?”

Setsuna considered it. “I don’t know. No one can tell you that. But the past is the past, and no power in this world can change it. You can never take back your sins, no matter how grave. You can only work to atone for them.”

“Then I want to be like you.” The strength and certainty of her reply was surprising in face of her apparent exhaustion.

“You want to be like Gundam,” he corrected.

Neena stood and turned to face him. “I want to be like you,” she agreed. She began to walk towards her tent, her hair a brilliant crimson in the firelight. At the other side of the fire, she paused and looked back at Setsuna.

“Just a warning, but I think I’ve fallen in love with you, Gundam.” There was a faint smile and an even fainter blush as she gave a soft V with her fingers, and then she turned back and went into her tent without a look back.

She never saw Setsuna’s gaze follow her every step of the way, and even further.

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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:59 pm 
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SCORE!!! :D

This was the best one you've written yet. The only problem with it, at least to me, was that I Am Gundam line. We've heard Setsuna say it so many times it's lost some of its dramatic effect.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:22 pm 
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MBF-06/ZGMF-X12A Arbiter wrote:
SCORE!!! :D

This was the best one you've written yet. The only problem with it, at least to me, was that I Am Gundam line. We've heard Setsuna say it so many times it's lost some of its dramatic effect.
True, but has Neena? :wink:

Actually, with Neena's character in such a state of flux and with no clue as to how she will be after the death of her brothers, I really had to pick my own path for her. Anime Neena could go vengeful, could go depressed like Louise, or anything else for that matter, but since I wanted to re-explore a Neena/Setsuna connection, I felt that the only way to really do that would be to give her a development that could give Setsuna a connection with her. Whereas Marina is Setsuna's "you don't have to fight" person, I thought Neena could become the antithesis to that, the "be Gundam" alternative. And in order for her to be on her way to Setsuna's vision of a Gundam she would have to have had the same kind of impression that Setsuna had. And for an uncharacteristic maturity kick her in the butt, but I used grief and exhaustion as my excuse for that. But, hopefully, Neena is on her way into maturing into a woman that Setsuna would, as the joke goes, "do." (Poor joke, I know.)

Looking at this after a day's separation, I like this idea more and more. I may just have to use this idea in a sequel over the inter-season break.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:27 pm 
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I couldn't decide exactly what I should do for this episode, and making a happy ending what if would have been far too obvious even if it did have a blushing felt, so I thought I'd make pointers at parts of this episode that most people likely didn't consider.



Gundam 00 23

Themes: Consequences

1: Responsibility (Sumeragi)

There is one person on the Ptolemious who does not shed a tear for Lockon Stratos, and that person is Sumeragi Noriega. It is not because she dislikes him: she has come to appreciate his levity, intelligence, and humanity. It is not because she is not sad either: few onboard regret the loss of any life more than her. It is not because she possessed perfect foresight into the possibility of his death: many things she has foreseen sadden her, even those that do not happen. Rather, it is because she possesses a perfect understanding of the human mind and its methods.

For you see, Sumeragi knows how the mind thinks. Sumeragi knew why only two of her pilots launched, even without being told. Sumeragi knew that Lockon Stratos would feel compelled to escape and take to his mobile suit, just as she knew he would intervene to save his allies. Sumeragi knew Lockon Stratos well enough to know how he would take the fight to the enemy, to attack their command center, just as she knew that the command center would have its own powerful guardian. And Sumeragi knew how Lockon would react, and what his decision would be, even if he failed.

But most importantly, Sumeragi knows that Lockon knew that as well. She knows he willingly and deliberately made each choice, each escalation in a battle that was already won. And she knows he was prepared for what might happen. And that is why, despite her sorrow, she will not cry. She will not dishonor a man who took sole responsibility for his fate, despite the multitude of happy endings available to him.


2: Means and Ends (Sergei)

“Commander.”

The first word of this line of thought was the easiest. The rest was much more difficult.

“After reviewing our latest fight against Celestial Being, I feel it is my duty to bring note of my analysis to you.”

Duty was safe. Duty was good. He had lived much of his life under the principle of Duty. Duty to his superiors, duty to his men, and most of all duty to nation. He worked for the good of his people, worked for their safety of flesh and spirit, and that was what drove him now.

“It is my analysis that Celestial Being’s shuttlecock pilot has developed a defense against the presence of Lieutenant Soma Peries.”

That was true, if impartial. The pilot of the Gundam had not shown the weakness he had consistently shown in previous encounters: while his evasiveness had dropped when the Human Reform League’s own supersoldier had attacked, he had not been incapacitated, and had soon unleashed a new damning ability of the Gundam.

“Upon recovering, the Gundam attacked U.N. forces with major effect. While commendable, Lieutenant Peries’s efforts to fight the gundam were no more successful than that of any of the other pilots of our special forces.”

He was on political ground now, and he knew it. Though far from the police states that terrorized citizens of the East in centuries past, political military figures rarely lived long and happy, especially in such controversial areas. While no tremor or bead of sweat betrayed his feelings to an observer, it took even him a moment to gather his resolve.

“Therefore, having lost the exclusive advantage that saw her assigned into the U.N. taskforce, I suggest that Lieutenant Peries be removed from duty and given a suitable replacement. I request this because it is my belief that, as a soldier, the Lieutenant is too young for this line of duty, and should grow in a healthy social environment before returning to combat duties. I believe this would be in the best interests of the reputation of the League, and in the best interests of the Lieutenant’s humanity.”

It was out on text, at last. His true thoughts, given form. But, to his shame, he found himself deleting the letter, and deleting the computer’s memory of his keystrokes. When he closed his eyes, he could hear Lieutenant Ming’s words, calling on him to ensure that they both survived to fight again. When he closed his eyes, he could see the skill and grace with which she had fought in multiple battles and countless simulations, the reactions and precision that impressed the most skilled of aces. When he closed his eyes, he could see the Lieutenant’s golden eyes, normally emotionless, judging him for trying to take away her one purpose in life.

But when he opened his eyes, he saw the child soldier bred (not born) for war, never given the chance for humanity. He saw the child he used as a tool against those who fought for ideals. And he saw himself using her for the slightest advantage he could, on the same level of some war-mongering terrorist. And one day, he knew, he would be held responsible.


3: Foresight and Hindsight (GN Flag)

President Brian took the note that his aid handed to him. Without even putting on his reading glasses to read what it said, he sighed. “Let me guess. The Human Reform League wants to launch another strike on Celestial Being now, and the Europeans agree if we do? Something about striking while the iron’s still hot?”

His aid wanely smiled at the weak joke. “I believe it was another Chinese proverb, but more or less.”

“They’ve got enough of the damn sayings,” President Brian muttered. His aid didn’t bother asking him to speak up; everyone in the West Wing had been in bad spirits since the last battle; the entire Union space contigent of GN-X mobile suits had been lost in that single battle leaving only the one GN drive on Earth to the Union’s name.

“The Human Reform League’s foreign minister is arguing at how now is the best time to attack, now that we’ve apparently killed one of their pilots and destroyed their new equipment. The Europeans are making noises of agreement, but want us to include our last GN drive in the assault.”

The President snorted. “Of course they do. They still have more. If we lose our one, we’ll be dependent on the charity of the other two for anything.”

The consequences of the last battle had reset the balance between the powers once again. While the Union had suffered near total losses in the battle, and the European Union had suffered significant losses of the important GN-X’s, the Human Reform League had survived mostly intact. Until new mass produced GN drives rolled out, the Human Reform League would have an immense advantage should the war against Celestial Being end immediately. Also if Celestial Being was destroyed in a battle dominated by Human Reform League troops, the propaganda coup would be enormous.

The aid shook his head. “It’s not as bad as that, sir. We’re far enough along that we could produce our own GN drives in the near future, provided a war didn’t simply start immediately. Besides, the decision to upgrade our Union Flag’s with GN drives may prove to be an advantage, once we start production of our own GN drives.”

President Brian raised an eyebrow in question. He was getting of the age of forgetting things, after all. His aid helpfully took the hint.

“After all, we already have a number of Flags built, and the infrastructure to make more is well in place. Compare that to the Europeans who just recently built the factories for their Enacts, or the Asians who don’t have any old-generation model that can match the two. Any one of us can try and reinvent the GN-X model as a new mainstay unit, but until we can modified units we already have will be the main forces.”

Brian smiled at the reminder of good news after the storm. “Ah yes, I remember. And unlike the other powers, by deciding to set aside a GN drive and modify our existing suit while keeping the GN-X for research we’ve already gotten a head start in both those fields. Granting the anti-Gundam taskforce leader’s request may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”

His aid smiled at the boss’s change of mood. “Exactly, Mr. President.” He paused, failing to remember something. “Though I still don’t know why someone would be so insistent on piloting the Flag.”

His humor restored, Brian said “I don’t remember myself, but we’ve managed to grab an opportunity out of this latest crisis, so I can forgive peculiar motives.” He paused, going over his words in his mind. “I’m sorry, was there a Chinese proverb somewhere in that?”

His aid shrugged. “Probably,” he said.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:16 pm 
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First makeup of the missed episodes. Expect most of them to be of the shorter variety: too much time elapsed has dampened the immediate effect of each episode. This one is a more humerous take on three easy to make mistakes that could have happened in episode 19.


00 drabble 19

“Oops”

1: Aiming

Michael gritted his teeth as the Exia’s blades destroyed another of his Fangs, and then grinned at the moment of vulnerability he saw. “I have more! Go, fangs!”

Even as they flew to the momentarily defenseless Exia, Michael saw the huge beam approach. Bypassing the fangs and hitting the Exia full on, the massive GN bazooka blast tore through the Gundam like a bullet through wet tissue paper. Pilot and solar furnace both were wiped in the flash of an eye, likely before the Exia’s pilot even knew it was coming.

The Thrones turned towards the source of the blast, and saw the Gundam Virtue floating some distance aways. Stunned as they were, none of the Thrones were able to speak before the Virtue’s cool-down period had elapsed. The massive suit turned and left without a word, not even responding to Johan’s signal flares.

Michael was the first to be able to respond. “What… just happened?” he asked in uncommon bewilderment.


2. Signal Lag

“The battle is proceeding as expected, Sir Coroner,” Ribbons said, relaying the events of the battle to Alejandro Coroner. Alejandro sat in the sofa of his hotel suite, listening as his companion told of the battle through his link to Veda.

“And how are the Thrones faring?” Alejandro asked.

“They are surprised and still off guard, now that the Virtue has also appeared. I’m not sure as to how well they will fare as it is, but should the Trial System be activated, they will lose.”

“Well we mustn’t allow that to happen, can we?” Alejandro replied, an enigmatic smile on his face. “Do what you must.”

“Of course,” Ribbons answered, turning his attention to the link with Veda. Once the Trial System was activated…

And there it was! Ribbons activated his interface with Celestial Being’s supercomputer, plunging into the system data that the Throne’s pilot had accessed onboard the Ptolemious earlier. A few prepared overrides, and Veda quickly cut the link to the enforcer system of Celestial Being.

Qucikly, but now soon enough. Even as he finished the commands into Veda, he saw the data feed telling of the battle. Even as the termination signal was leaving Veda’s system and heading towards Earth, Ribbons ‘saw’ the Gundam Nadleeh plunge towards the fallen Thrones. Rather than spear them himself, the Gundam Meister had thrown both of the gundam’s beam sabers into the Thrones, spearing them in the cockpit before the Veda’s override signal broke the Nadleeh’s Trial. Niether gundam ever had a chance to evade.

“Success, Ribbons?” Alejandro asked, that same smile still on his face.

Ribbons broke into a cold sweat.


3: Misfire

Setsuna’s body crumpled to the ground, blood and mixed matter oozing out of what had once been his head. Tieria fell to his knees, shock covering his face, while Lockon stared wide-eyed at his smoking gun, eyes focusing on the hair-trigger that his fingers had gripped just oh so too tightly. He looked, and then he closed his eyes and screamed.

“#^%*!”

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 Post subject: Episode 20
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:25 am 
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A short HRL-centric fic. Really just Soma not knowing why to celebrate, and the sad fact that she most likely never will for quite some time. Is my desire to start writing “what if” fics starting to come through yet?



00 drabble 20


“Commander?”

Sergei looked at Lietenant Soma Peries, who stood beside him. “Yes Lieutenant?”

“Why do you allow such blatant lapses in protocol in your sight?”

It was hardly deniable; Sergei sat nearly in the middle of the celebration party that had spontaneously erupted after the Human Reform League special forces unit had returned from their last mission. Evidence of victory was everywhere: service men and women were dancing, women were hanging onto every word of the returning heroes, and the men who went were having a hard time paying for their own drinks. Even the aloof Soma had been offered more than one drink at someone else’s expense.

It was also entirely unprofessional, seeing the pride of east Eurasia act like a number of children who had just had their first date. Normally stoic men were shamelessly flirting, few bothered to pay any attention to rank, and only one especially drunken soldier had remembered to salute Sergei. And yet, the famous Russian commander merely sipped his own drink, watching.

“Lieutenant, do you remember the men from the base we saved?”

Soma nodded. “They were cheering us. They were glad to be alive.”

Sergei stirred his drink. Local rumor assumed it was vodka, but Sergei never let on that it was actually spring water.

“It was more than joy for being alive, Lieutenant. It was victory. Do you remember me telling you that?”

Trained to be honest, Soma could not lie. She did not want to lie. “Yes, though the connection between victory and a lack of discipline escapes me.”

Sergei took a long sip of his drink before replying. “These people too are celebrating, Lieutenant. This has been the first victory after a long and humiliating string of defeats. Since Celestial Being’s appearance, each and every encounter of them has been a failure, and once the new models appeared many have lost comrades stationed at bases around the world. The military has borne the brunt of casualties in the course of a losing conflict, and many of these men and women have lost friends and family in those battles. But now that there has been a victory, many are now rejoicing. To them, this struggle and its sacrifices haven’t been in vain. Do you understand?”

Soma’s expression did not change at all. “No sir. They would have fought on regardless of whether today was a victory or not.”

And that was the tragedy of Some Peries, that she couldn’t understand. Regardless of how skilled she was in battle, her instructors hadn’t bothered to teach her the simplest lessons of humanity. These were times that tried Sergei’s conscious; the times when he confronted what exactly his country would do for its own advantage.

“One day, Lieutenant, you will. Until then, think of it as necessary morale. Tomorrow, they will fight even harder in the knowledge of their success. Tonight, let them do as they please, within reason. There are enough sober pilots to man the machines should Celestial Being for some reason attack again so soon, have no fear.”

Soma nodded, but said nothing else. For the rest of the night she sat and observed under the watchful gaze of Sergei, failing to understand.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:05 am 
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Episode 25 is up now, because I couldn't get it out of my head otherwise. I'm going to be busy for the next week, so don't expect more until much later.

(On the other hand, I actually have already started on 24, it's just a long one that requires going through a number of episodes. I've also updated a number of the missed episodes, which means that I really only need 15, 22, and 25 IIRC. If not by Summer break for some reason, shortly after.

And then my multitude of ideas!



Overall, I really like this one. I thought two and three were the best.


00 drabble 25



Faithfulness

“She likes you, you know” said Freeman as the two of them floated in line for chow during their break.

“Huh?” Was Saji’s reply as he snapped back to reality.

“Anjili, the Indian girl by the third table. No, don’t look now!” his British friend exclaimed as Saji started to look over.

“How can you tell?” asked Saji, who could vaguely remember the young graduate from various encounters in the station, which in itself may have been a clue in a station as large as this…

“Madre Dios, it’s obvious man. She hardly talks to anyone else, constantly tries to find a seat near you. Jesus, you’d have to be blind not to! As your friend, it’s my solemn duty to tell you to go get that.”

Saji floated forward in line. “Even if you were right, what makes you think that either she or I am interested like that?”

Freeman sighed melodramatically. “Saji. We are on a space station, the vast majority of us are guys. Women have pick of the litter here, and she hasn’t given me the time of day.”

“We aren’t exactly on Earth, you may have noticed,” Saji helpfully pointed out.

Freeman rolled his eyes. “Why thank you. Really though, trying to make engineer clothes look good takes work, and she only does that for you. Now, as to why you wouldn’t… I can only think of two reasons: you’re engaged, in which you’re a fool for not taking advantage of what no one would ever talk about, or you’re gay.” Freeman paused, and then looked hard at Saji. “Wait, are you? I got nothing against chums like that, believe me, but…”

Saji cut him off with some frantic waving. “No, no! I swear! I’m just not interested right now.”

Freeman took another look at Saji, shook his head, and lunged towards a table. “I don’t know who the girl is, but she must be pretty good if she’s got you whipped this far from earth.”

Saji floated alone in the cramped meal hall. “Louise…”




Proposal

“No.”

The AEU’s top ace would look nothing more like a wounded puppy, so much so that she would have to resist twangs of sympathy as she elaborated.

“Not now, and not like this Patrick.”

It was a sign of her mood that she actually called him by his first name. The fool would look confused as always, but he had been close enough to death that she relent this once.

“I am a dedicated soldier, and with the formation of the Earth Federation peace keepers I am soon going to be a very busy woman as well. I don’t have the time for this at the moment.”

“You knew I was like this after we met,” she would remind him. “I’m not some bimbo to throw myself into your arms, to ask you to take care of me.”

A sneer would begin to form on her lips as he would try and deny ever wishing that. “After all, half the time it seems like I have to look after you.”

True to character, he would begin to protest, before realizing the truth of it. She wouldn’t let him regain the initiative. “Not now, and not like this,” she would repeat. “When, if, I am ready, if you don’t screw up between now and then, I will tell you. After all,” and here she would give that smirk she had learned he would come back from death for, “I said I would make a man of you, didn’t I?”

Now, as he approached her with a square bulge in his coat pocket, ready to kneel, Cathy would just have to not forget what she was supposed to say.




Leaving

“You are transferring, Commander?”

She stood before him in the privacy of his room, where signs of his recent convalescence remained. She had little expression visible, but Sergei knew the cues that indicated her hurt and distress. She may have well said ‘you’re leaving me?’

“The orders don’t take effect for another month,” was all he could say. “Most of the special forces are being reassigned to the Federation Peace Keepers.”

“Are you really needed there? Someone is going to have to help rebuild the Special Forces here, after the losses during the final battle.”
‘Can’t you stay?’

“That will be the responsibility of those who remain behind, Lieutenant. Even with a unified army, internal security will be mostly handled by ourselves.”

“It would be efficient if the best instructor was retained for training new pilots. Might you convince your superiors of that wisdom?”
‘Can’t you use your influence to change their minds?’

Sergei shook his head. “I’m sorry, Lieutenant, but my orders are clear. I have to leave.”

“I am not proficient at training others.”
‘I can’t, don’t want to, do it without you!’

Sergei took a folded letter out of his pocket and handed it to Soma. “You won’t have to.” I knew that and reminded others of that, as well as some favors they owed me.

Soma broke the seal and opened it, her eyes franticly racing through the text. Had she been any other girl, she would have dropped the letter and thrown her arms around Sergei’s shoulders and cried tears of joy. As she was Soma Peires, the super soldier who had stood watch over his body for hours only her enhanced body could endure and treated him like fragile china during his recovery and well after it, she came to attention and put enough energy into a salute any drill instructor would have been pleased with.

“Second Lieutenant Soma Peires acknowledges her reassignment to the Earth Federation peace-keeping force, sir!”

Sergei always enjoyed having dry shoulders.


Rumors

The three of them were nobodies, really. Only one of them had even fought against Celestial Being (he had been shot down in some stretch of the god-damned Gobi Desert), and the other two were fresh out of pilot training from their countries. Still, they had qualified into the new units of GN-drive mobile suits, and that had been worth a spontaneous celebration in one of the many bars in Geneva, where they had been commissioned.

The three of them, despite well on their way to being “plastered,” as their Union member insisted on calling it, were still trading stories, hopes, and fears. Hurgan, who was from Poland, told of how his new commander was from the Human Reform League.

“He’s has this really large scar, you see,” he was saying, “and I have to struggle to not ask how he got it.” While everyone knew the Wild Bear of Russia, few knew even a fraction of his war stories. “But there’s always this young girl, can’t be more than nineteen now, who’s always with him. She’s a great pilot, I’ll admit, but isn’t he a bit old for her?”

Ming, from Fermosa, let out a tipsy giggle. “My friend, I advise you to never say that in his earshot. They are as close as blood, but no closer. I knew one man from academy, he told me that one man who tried to… how do you say it? Cope a feel? Well, he not beaten by her, because she is in special forces you remember, but then the Commander heard about it and then it got really bad…” He struggled to figure an ending, but couldn’t find it. “Papa Bear, we call him. And she is Baby Bear. But either one will kill you if you mess with the other, just like family, see?”

Burwine, from the USA, laughed. “I know I wouldn’t do that for my Papa. I’m not silly enough to try and hit on the commander of my squadron, hot as she is. She belongs to one of the other guys in our squadron. What was it again…? Coca-Cola-saur?”

Hurgan was whispering it to himself. “Colasaur? Oh no…” he moaned. “Not him! I feel for you man; that guy has a reputation so bad even I know it. He’s a good pilot in practice, no one can deny that, but he’s the worst team player I’ve ever heard of. Tell me how far I’m off: always boasting, new girl every week, shows up late to every meeting, always proclaiming about how great he is?”

Burwine crossed his eyes. “Actually… not much of that. He’s full of himself, sure, but it’s like he’s competing with himself at how to be the best in order to impress the Commander. He’s usually one of the earliest people there at meetings, and he’s not that bad at leading people into the trouble spots.”

Hurgan paused and blinked. “Huh. Definitely not what I heard. Think that he changed or something?”

Burwine shrugged. “I just know Commander Kathy belts him in line just like any other pilot, so no favoritism there.” He looked back at Ming, who had been sipping some Asian brew quietly. “Yo, Ming! Your turn! Who’s your commander?”

Ming looked up. “Ah, sorry, what did you say?”

“Your commander, who is it?”

“Ah, Commander Acre. I haven’t seen him yet, you see, because my paperwork has been late in getting finalized. I’m currently not assigned to his squadron.”

Burwine started. “Ming,” he said in a serious tone that brooked no disagreement, “do whatever you can to get out of that squadron. You do not want to be under that man.”

Ming blinked, and Hurgan checked to see if he was hearing correctly. “Wait, isn’t Acre the American ace who fought the gundams more than any other pilot? Wears a mask now because of wounds in the final battle?” asked the pole.

Burwine nodded darkly. “Iron Mask Acre? Yeah, that’s him. But did you know that his subordinates suffer a loss rate of one hundred percent?” The other two gasped. “Pilots under him have a average rate of something like five monthes before they die or request a transfer out.”

“You’re joking,” said Hurgan. Ming continued to stare.

“No joke,” said Burwine. “Trust me, I knew some guys who served under him. He flew them into the ground, literally. The both crashed in the same trial mission for our new MS, and the only excuse that was given was “mechanical failure, even though Iron Mask walked away without a scratch. And you know what’s worse?” Neither other man ventured a guess. Burwine paused, and said one word in a low voice loaded with meaning. “Fratricide of a superior officer.”

Ming looked near horrified. Hurgan steadied himself. Burwine went on. “He’s a good pilot, to be sure, but do you think that he got his position on his own? He initially got promoted to fill his superior’s shoes, after said officer conveniently died during an accident during trials for the Union Flag back when that was hot stuff. I had a friend named Joshua, got assigned to Acre’s squadron. If you were in the Union back then, you would have heard of Joshua: one of the best pilots in the world. Started talking about Acre, trying to warn some unsuspecting fools you see. But he got overheard by you know who, and in his first mission under Acre, Joshua bit the dust.

“They even say that back when the second wave of Gundams razed his base to the ground and killed one of his subordinates, Graham held off all the pilots from pursuing the Gundams, even though they were using the same GN drives we were. And that he abandoned his command during the final months of the Celestial Being hunt, coming in at the end of the battle to finish off what the rest of his squad had died in order to weaken. That’s how he got his scar. Ming, if you value your life, Do Not Stay. Get out as soon as you can. Or, if you do stay do us all a favor and…”

He would have said more, except a hand landed on his shoulder. As he turned to catch a glimpse of who it was, he turned right into a speeding fist. The stocky American tumbled off the chair onto the floor, while his two companions jumped to their feet. Two pilots faced them, both wearing jackets with specialized Union Flags on them.

“Don’t speak about things you don’t know anything about,” snarled the first one as Burwine stumbled back to his feet.

“The Commander pushes himself harder than any of us, in and out of the mobile suit. Don’t speak as if you have a right to judge him. We were the ones who couldn’t keep up with him. That’s why we left and transferred to other squads, even when he had to carried out of his machine on a stretcher.” said the other.

Murwine sneered as he gripped a bottle. “I’ve heard about you Acre groupies. Always defending him, instead of letting him face what he deserves. I’ve wanted to teach one of you for awhile now, and here are two of you while there are three of us…” Ming and Hurgan blinked at their inclusion, but were stopped when the voice of death spoke.

“Is there a problem here?”

Both parties turned and stopped. Ming and Hurgan stared, and even Murwine was stunned into submission. There was Graham Acre, mask and all. Eyes with bloodshot veins seemed to glare at all, and the mask put the image of a permanent scowl onto already formidable features. His voice was rough and raw, and brooked no disagreement.

The two men snapped to attention and saluted, despite being only in the most casual of uniforms. “Commander!” they barked.

“Attala, Mendev,” he acknowledged. “Care to explain why this man was on the floor?”

Neither spoke because Murwine did. “I fell.”

“I see,” said Acre, his voice telling exactly what he did see. “You have to be careful about falling in pubs; those black eyes can be rather suspicious.” He turned to the two men. “Flag Fighters like you should know better. Come with me.” He turned to leave, and they fell in behind him. Before leaving, though, he turned back to the trio.

“Lieutenant Ming” he said. Ming had the strength of mind to jump into attention and salute. “You will report to the squadron headquarters tomorrow for your assignments. The delay in your paperwork has been because of the strict concerns we have of physical fitness in this unit. People with weak hearts and joints are not needed. Come see how we fly, and decide for yourself.” He walked out without a glance, and the two other men followed him. Behind them, Hurgan was the first to regain his voice.

“Scary.”

“Yes” was all Ming could muster in response.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:51 pm 
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:) "Iron Mask Acre". I like that.

Very nice portrayal of how a scarred, more intense Graham would probably be.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:37 pm 
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I originally intended for Graham to come across them while gossiping, but couldn't quite figure out a way for him to give him a reason to intervene.

Enter the everpresent Graham-groupies, nevel letting the man's name be slandered (worse than it already is).

Personally, as much as I like Graham's piece (even if the groupies make it fall a bit short), I thought I did my best with Cathy and Soma/Sergei, since I have less experience with them.

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:54 pm 
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Mecha Flunky

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I find these one-shots awesome. You really did a good job on these.
(Can't really think of anything else to say. :D )

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