Gundam SEED: Orphan

Your own tale of two mecha.

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Gundam SEED: Orphan

Post by Heretic » Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:19 pm

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam SEED or any of the other copyrighted material used in this Fan Fiction. (As if you didn’t already know that.)

Preface: There were a number of ideas in G SEED that I thought should have been expanded on, but were passed over in favor of flashy battles. Things that I don’t think were ever resolved, like the dropping birthrates among Coordinators, the arranged marriage thing the PLANTs had going and unforeseen genetic flaws in a small percentage of Coordinators.

Much of this was only mentioned in passing as being part of the background story or as part of the Explanation for why Kira is the “Ultimate Coordinator.” Personally I think these things are significant problems and should have been given more attention in the story.

But since the Writers, Director etc. of SEED neglected to do so, I’ve taken it upon myself to expand on these ideas in my own way.

Fair warning. There will probably be more drama between characters than fighting and action. It’s just the way I like to write things, but I will make every effort to make the battles as gripping as I can.

If you spot any typos or grammatical mistakes, by all means, point them out to me. I sometimes get in to a zone and type really fast, occasionally I miss things. I seriously need a beta reader but currently don’t have that option.

I hope you read, enjoy and comment.


Gundam SEED: Orphan

Prelude: Left behind

The scarred man in black supervised the small team of men, who were feverishly working to pry open the cockpit of the decimated M1 Astray. It lay flat on its back, arms severed, left leg a mangled hunk of metal and the hilt and blade of a heavy sword from a ZAFT CGUE protruding from its chest.

The man in black and his men had come to scavenge what they could. Not that there was much to get since the two main islands were still smoldering from the blaze that had consumed them the day before.

“Hurry up!” The man in black barked. “Do you know what the Alliance would do to the pilot if we don’t get him out of here? Or how much worse if he’s Coordinator!”

The pilot was still alive. They had picked up the emergency beacon when their salvage ship was passing the small island. The other Orb Forces must have retreated before any chance for a rescue.

There was the screech of metal giving way, the team of men heaved together and the armored cockpit hatch swung open. Using a cane to limp closer, the man in black peered inside.

What struck the man first was the broken glass. Every display had been smashed, he could see some of the shards imbedded in the gloved hands of the pilot. The man in black recognized the steady rise and fall of full breasts beneath the bulk of the pilot’s flight suit.

“A woman.” The statement was empty, no surprise or emotion in the man’s voice. Two of the men who had pried the hatch open climbed down inside to lift the unconscious pilot out. “Get her to the doc. Then hall this machine aboard the Venture, and be quick about it, we’re going back to Sydney.” His orders given, the man in black limped silently away from the fallen machine.

Out on the waves, unseen by any of the workers on the small island, a periscope watched the goings on.
Last edited by Heretic on Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Wingnut » Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:25 pm

Interesting. When in the CE does this take place?
And there was a typo.
What struck the man fist was the broken glass
I think you mean first.
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Post by Heretic » Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:38 pm

It says in the text that the burning of ORB’s main islands took place the day before. I don’t know what the exact date that was. And for the sake of the prelude, I didn’t feel it necessary to include the exact day. Besides, I prefer not to put the date and time at the top of a chapter in favor of including such information in the narrative itself.

The first part is nearly finished but I wanted to get the prelude up before I have dinner. If all goes well part one will be posted later this evening.
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Post by Wingnut » Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:42 pm

You didn't quite clearly mention that it was the main islands of ORB that were burning. That was the problem I was haveing. I guess I'll just have to look closer and pay more attnetion to those sort of details in the future.
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Post by Folken Fanel » Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:52 pm

Wow. Seed fiction that doesn't revolve around Kira/Athrun yaoi. I'm impressed.

Seriously though, this is very intresting. I would like to see more of this.
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Post by EZero8 » Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:32 pm

Interesting. A dark (or whatever you'd use to describe this) setting to the story. We obviously know why the pilot was there, and what was going on at the time. So far, it looks good. Keep the work coming.
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Post by Heretic » Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:54 pm

Thank you all for your comments.
Wingnut, I’ve made an effort to make the information clearer from this point on.

Here she is, part one. I finished it last night but decided to wait until after a good night’s sleep and second reading with fresh eyes, to post it up.


Part One: Actions speak louder than words.

Hailey Falk marched her M1 Astray onto the Zangetsu’s Mag Catapult. Below the Izumo Class warship, the darkening waves of the South Pacific Ocean rolled. The sun had already set, it was almost peaceful. At least it was for her in the Astray’s cockpit. On the ship’s bridge, officers were probably trying to figure out what was going on.

She had overridden the controls so she could control the catapult from inside her machine. Nobody could stop her from leaving now.

That damned Captain Cliff Durango wouldn’t listen to Hailey’s request to lead a search party for Cassidy Tiberius. There wasn’t going to be a search party at all, the Captain had spouted something about Cassidy being officially a Mercenary and not a true Citizen of ORB. As Such, the military had no obligation to rescue her.

Just thinking about it made Hailey furious. Hailey had spent most of the entire day arguing with fellow crewmen, officers and the captain himself. When that avenue failed, she set to work on plan B.

Cassidy had always distanced herself from others, even when she and Hailey were training to become Astray Pilots. The two of them gravitated together because they were both outcasts. Hailey didn’t like talking to people, so because she was quiet, she was never really part of a group or team.

Maybe that’s why she liked to be around Cassidy. Cassidy never tried forcing her to talk, Cassidy just wanted someone to listen to her. For all their differences, they fit together perfectly as friends.

That was why Hailey wasn’t going to leave her behind, no matter what the Captain ordered. Sure Hailey knew she was about to turn her back on her duty to ORB, but she believed friendship was a higher duty.

“Ensign Falk! What the hell are you doing!” The Captain’s voice had a frightening anger in it. Hailey didn’t have the courage to tell the man why she was doing this. But there was no going back now. Her actions would have to speak for themselves.

She double checked her position, the Zangetsu was still near enough to some of ORB’s smaller islands, Hailey could make it to the nearest one then hop from one to the next until she got to Cassidy’s last known location. Her M1 should have just enough power and fuel to make it there. After that, she’d have to work something out.

She started the launch cycle, the indicator lights flashed green and her M1 was rocketed forewords. Her flight pack’s thrusters powered up just before her machine left the catapult. Then she was away, leaving the ship, and her life before this time, behind. She had no regrets; Hailey would find her friend, no matter what.

Below, the ocean continued to darken until it was completely black.

***

Cassidy mumbled something about “Bloody GINNs” as she regained consciousness. She had been having a dream, but she couldn’t remember what it was about, but the feelings from the dream had carried over into her waking mind. Feelings of fear, of being cornered like a hunted animal.

Cassidy groggily took in her surroundings, dingy metal walls and she felt like she was rising and falling. Some kind of boat. Tilting her head up, she peeked under the blankets that were covering her to confirm what she could already feel. She was naked. But below her ample breasts, someone had tightly bandaged around her ribs. She realized why when she tried to sit up. A familiar pain stabbed her in the side, it felt like she had fractured a few ribs again.

Lying back down, she noticed the knuckles of both her hands had also been bandaged. She examined her hands quizzically. How had they been injured?

“I had one hell of a time patching you up.” Cassidy looked about the room to where the gruff male voice had come from. Sitting in a chair across the room from her was man whose blocky futures made him seem almost a statue. “You move around a lot in your sleep.” His gray hair added to the effect and his face was as rough as his voice. “Sorry I couldn’t dress you properly, but we only have one other girl aboard. Her cloths wouldn’t… err, ummm. Well she’s a small girl so…”

For some reason, Cassidy found the sight of such a gruff old man being uneasy about discussing a woman’s body, amusing. She couldn’t help but chuckle a little.

The man cleared his throat sternly, “Well then, my name is Sid Hardegin. Ship’s doctor. You’re on the Junk Guild Salvage vassal Venture. You’ve been unconscious since the salvage team picked you up yesterday morning-” Hardegin was interrupted by a yawn that he hid behind his hand. “It’s just past four thirty A.M., June eighteenth. Do you remember your name and what happened to you?”

Cassidy stopped smiling and scowled. “Chief Warrant Officer Cassidy Tiberius, Orb Union Defense Force.” She took in a long breath and exhaled. “My MS team was holding one of the small islands against an Alliance Task force. We were holding out well, until a ZAFT strike team dropped right on top of us. It got crazy after that, but I remember seeing the fire from the main islands. I remember the fire and smoke lighting up the night…” She trailed off.

The doctor looked puzzled, “Why was ZAFT involved? Orb was supposed to be neutral.”

“Tell that to the Alliance.” Cassidy said bitterly, sitting up slowly and making sure the blankets stayed covering her. It was HIM, it had to have been. The pilot of that CGUE.

“Any guess at what they were after?” Cassidy shook her head at the doctor’s question. She didn’t want to talk about it. Because she knew what ZAFT had been after. What she didn’t know was why, after more than a year, why was he trying to get her back?

The doctor must have picked up on her discomfort, because he let the matter drop. “Now that you’re up, I think the Captain might want to talk to you.”

“You’re not expecting me to go like this, are you?” Cassidy gestured to the blankets covering her.

“I’ve gathered some spare men’s clothes,” Hardegin pointed to a bundle sitting at Cassidy’s feet. “They may not fit perfectly, but they’ll keep you covered.” He stood up and walked to the door. “I’ll wait outside,” he said before ducking his head to step through and closing it behind him.

Getting dressed in men’s cloths with bandaged ribs was a challenge, so was finding a way to keep her ample bosom in place. With some strain and excessive cursing, she made do with what she had and stepped out of the room. The over sized pair of blue jeans and extra large black T-shirt did little to complement her slender figure, she had a pair of heavy brown work boots and a light blue vest served to keep her more bouncy attributes more or less in place. But she still had to be careful not to move too quickly, in order to avoid embarrassment.

“Does the swearing help?” Hardegin asked when she stepped though the door.

Cassidy gave him an angry stair. “It helps me feel better,” She grumbled.

***

The Venture was a relatively small ship. The bridge was at the stern, overlooking the flat deck with its numerous cranes and salvage equipment. Most of the flat space was taken up by the floodlight eliminated remains of Cassidy’s mangled M1 Astray. Crewmen climbed about the twisted and scorched metal, cutting and disassembling the broken machine. Separating the useful components from the scrap.

Which was she? Most people had treated Cassidy like scrap metal. Useless and unwanted.

The sea beyond the ship’s lighted deck was still black and the sky above had only just begun to turn a deep dark blue. Cassidy could see her reflection in a large glass window. Introspective as her thoughts were, she couldn’t help but study her own features, her face and eyes had slightly Asian features but her completion was light. Genetic engineering hade provided her with unnaturally purple eyes like polished amethyst. Her black hair was hard to see in the reflection, making it seem almost like her face was surrounded by shadows as dark as the sea. Cassidy used to like keeping her hair short, easer to deal with when piloting an MS. But Hailey Falk had suggested letting it grow out. Currently it hung strait down, just a few inches past her ears.

“Just a little morbid if you ask me,” Sid Hardegin said from beside her. They were both standing at the front of the Venture’s small bridge, watching the goings on below on the ship’s deck. His reflection in the glass beside her made Cassidy feel a bit small. Sid Hardegin had looked reasonably tall at first, but standing next to him, Cassidy was aware just how tall he was. Cassidy was just a hair under five feet and ten inches. Hardegin had to be pushing six-four, maybe even six-five. His height, combined with his rough square face and deep set eyes that were near imposable to see in his reflection, served to enhance his statuesque appearance.

“Its not the first time I’ve seen it.” Cassidy answered quietly. A door squeaked open behind them and both Cassidy and Sid turned to see if it was the Caption.

What they found was a short, and apparently surprised, teenage girl. She was short, wide eyed and had shoulder length brown hair. She stood at the door, frozen in place and mouth hanging open as if on the edge of a question.

Then in a flash, the girl dashed up in front of Cassidy and specking a mile a minute, “Hi! Glad to see your awake are you feeling better my name is Malory I’m the ship’s navigator but I also helped doc with your bandages boy that was hard work I didn’t get any sleep last night luckily I’m not tiered by the way because I helped doc I saw you naked I’m sorry and I promises that I kept my eyes closed for most of it but you are a very pretty lady and I did notice that yours are much bigger than mine I wish mine were that big maybe then I’d have a boyfriend do you have a boyfriend? What’s it like piloting one of those giant robots? Is it scary in battle? Were there-”

“Slow down!” Cassidy was still more than a little groggy and the sudden chipper assault by the girl was far too much for her to follow.

“Alright, quiet down Malory.” Sid said calmly, “She’s had a hard day and she’s still not fully recovered. We’re waiting for the Captain, what were you about to do?”

“Oh right I was going to check on the ETA for Sydney Harbor!” And with that, Malory dashed off to some nautical equipment of some kind and set quietly to whatever it was she was doing.

“You actually let that little hummingbird handle this ship?” the skepticism in Cassidy’s voice was thick and her right eyebrow arched when she looked Sid in the eyes.

“She doesn’t look it,” Sid answered with a smile that seemed out of place on his grim face, “But she’s seventeen years old and has spent most of them on ships like this. She’s good at her job and always manages to brighten things up, once you get used to how annoying she can be.”

“Did she even take a breath during that introduction?” Cassidy asked.

“I don’t think so,” Sid scratched at his chin, “And it still baffles me how she can do that. Just one of those strange medical mysteries.” He shrugged.

They didn’t have to wait much longer for the Captain; the steady sound of a cane hitting metal deck plating announced his eminent arrival. Soon enough, he emerged through the bridge door, black coat, black hair, black beard and black cane. His nose was crooked and his deeply tanned face was pitted with scars and marks. His eyes, Cassidy saw them clearly despite thick black frowning eyebrows, the Captains eyes were a deep ocean blue.

Sid Hardegin stepped forward and started the introductions, “Captain Samuel Keith,” Sid gestured to the darkly dressed man, then back towards Cassidy, “Chief Warrant Officer Cassidy Tiberius.”

“I trust doc did a good job,” Captain Keith started, “you’re a Coordinator aren’t you.”

It was a statement more than a question. But Cassidy took it as an accusation, “So what if I am?” She answered coldly.

“A Coordinator of your age serving as a pilot should at least be an officer.” Keith answered.

“What does my age have to do with anything?” Cassidy said getting slightly angrier. It’s not like she was an old woman, she was twenty-two!

“We picked up what I’m pretty sure was an ORB ship on radar moving away from the island we found you on. Why didn’t they come pick you up? Is it because you’re not an ORB citizen?”

How did he know that? “No I’m not.” Cassidy started to feel like she was on trial; she didn’t know what was going on here but she knew she didn’t like it. She started to grit her teeth.

“That answers why you’re not a commissioned officer, they classified you as a mercenary. Made it easier to discard you when it’s convenient for them.” Keith’s words struck a cord with Cassidy’s earlier thoughts. Her hands clenched into fists and she started glaring dangerously at the Captain. Still he continued on, “Since you’re not a citizen, there must have been some reason why they wouldn’t let you be one. You’re a defector from ZAFT isn’t that right? A ‘Political refugee’?”

“Yes,” Cassidy said through a sneer. Cassidy didn’t care how this man had deduced all that information about her. She just wanted him to shut up, or by god she would shut him up!

“Judging by the sword sticking out of that scrap heap on my deck, ZAFT doesn’t want to let you go that easily.” Captain Keith stepped forward, using his cane to support an apparently bad left leg. He got within two feat of her. His height was just about the same as Cassidy’s so they were able to look each other in the eyes. “That leaves just one question unanswered,” he said quietly. “Why? What did you do to make ZAFT so angry?”

He was right there, arms reach away and Cassidy was more than willing to try wringing Captain Keith’s neck. Then Sid Hardegin’s hand came down on her right shoulder. Firm and steadfast. Cassidy broke eye contact with Captain Keith and looked down at the deck. With her head down, she whispered something barely audible, “I was bourn.”

Sid’s hand on her shoulder gave a reassuring squeeze, “That’s enough Sam.” Hardegin’s voice was as firm as his hand. “She’s been through hell and she doesn’t need any more from you.”

“Doesn’t really matter.” The Captain turned and started limping away, “the Junk Guild is neutral, but that doesn’t mean I’ll risk having trouble on my ship. The last thing I need is some belligerent ZAFT Officer giving me a hard time because of you. We’ll reach Sydney later this morning. The Oceania Union is allied with ZAFT but Sydney is a major trading port for the Guild, maybe you can catch a ride with some other ship. Where you go from there, I don’t care to know.”

“If you put her off the ship, she gets to keep her machine.” Sid chimed in matter-of-factly. “You know the salvage laws, she has every right to it.”

Captain Keith turned around and gave Sid a cold stair, “where would she sell it? It’s hard enough for guild members to sell off salvaged military equipment.”

“I’m sure she’ll manage,” Sid answered dismissively. “Because I’m going with her.”

The captain’s look flashed from cold to burning anger. “Fine then,” is all the said though, then he limped away.
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Post by Wingnut » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:21 pm

Numerous spelling errors aside I like this very much. I suspect that Cassidy is a result of one of the experiments couducted at the Mendal colony. That would explain ZAFT going after her. Either ZAFT left her for dead or she and the last survivor of the team that came after her stuck her with his sword just as his own machine was incapacitated. The only question I have is a technical one. How the heck does an Izumo class fly in the atmosphere?
Anyway if you like I am willing to beta read further chapters of this to screen out any spelling and grammer errors that may pop up. Just use the e-mail address in my profile to send me the rough draft and I'll look over it and fic anything that may need it before you post it here.
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Post by Heretic » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:52 pm

I don’t know, how does the archangel fly? I figured the tech in G SEED was ambiguous enough to allow one or two small inconsistencies. Considering the ship won’t be making any more appearances in this story. The show hardly followed its own physics as it was.

For the offer to beta read, I graciously accept. Although when I write chapters is erratic at best. And often late at night.
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Post by Wingnut » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:03 pm

Good point about the physics, although the Archangel at least had a large wing to help it get some lift.
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Post by Heretic » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:05 pm

Thank you very much.
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Post by Folken Fanel » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:15 pm

Me like. It doesn't have the amount of action that I would prefer(big, four chapter long fights), but the development makes up for it. I know that when the battles start, they'll be good and bloody.
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Post by EZero8 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:47 pm

I've gotta say, this is extremely interesting. The development was pretty good by introducing us to the characters. The Captain's attitude is extremely familiar, but I forgot who had the steely nerves like he did (Bright maybe... or not :? ). Anyways, good job!
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Post by Heretic » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:17 pm

The mood struck me to keep writing this Fan Fiction and I’ve completed the second Chapter and I’ve already got a good start on the third. As always I hope you enjoy it.

I’d also like to thank Wingnut for checking over my mistakes.



Part Two:

Cassidy stared out at the rolling waves. The sun had yet to rise to the east behind them but the sky was already a light grayish blue. She was in one of her quiet brooding moods, sitting on the deck at the bow of the Venture with her knees up to her chest and her arms crossed on top of them. Head slouched down so that her nose touched her arm and her purple eyes looked out to the west. As closed off from the world around her as she could get.

Her self imposed solitude was hardly a result of recent events, she always felt like this after loosing her grip. If Sid hadn’t been able to rein her in… Cassidy always hated the part of herself that got angry, and she had dealt with the consequences on all too many occasions.

Sid walked up and stood beside her. Cassidy didn’t look but she knew it was him. Who else would want to talk to her after what happened on the Venture’s bridge? “N-Jammers are paying havoc with the radio still; I’ll have to make contact with a friend of mine once we reach port.”

Cassidy remained silent as the soft cool breeze blew black locks surrounding Cassidy’s face.

“My parents wanted me to grow up to be a dancer,” Cassidy muttered, not so much to Sid but to herself.

Sid sat down cross-legged beside her, “I doubt ZAFT is chancing you to because of dancing.”

Cassidy gave a sidelong glance at Sid, “Are you going to start pestering me about my past too?”

Sid gave a long exhale followed by a sharp intake of breath, “Keith can be direct most of the time. It gets things done when working with machines, not so great with people. Given more time he’d probably be nicer to you.”

“That didn’t answer my question,” Cassidy narrowed her eyes. In the short time since she had met him, Cassidy had pegged Sid as the kind of man who had trouble hiding the fact that he was hiding something.

“Humm, I suppose it didn’t.” Sid looked out at the waves as they disappeared under the edge of the ship’s deck and fell silent for a long moment. Cassidy looked out to do the same. Finally Sid spoke up but neither of them looked away from the water. “I don’t think I have to ask you about your past, I can probably guess. But if I am right, I’d like to hear it from you. Do you know of a ZAFT unit named ‘Fenrir’s Children’?”

Cassidy involuntarily flinched hearing the name and suddenly her quiet brooding mood got so much worse.

“I was right then, I wish I wasn’t now.”

Cassidy sunk her head lower in her arms, “In my third year of school I got into an argument with another girl in my class. I don’t even remember what it was about, but I can remember how I couldn’t stop myself. I almost killed her.” Cassidy could hear the bitterness in her own voice, “All of a sudden my parents didn’t want me anymore. I wasn’t the graceful dancing child they ordered, so they handed me over to the government like a defective toaster.” Her hands balled into fists, “I wasn’t the only one. Dozens of us were packed into an orphanage and told nobody would ever want us. A few months later a bunch of us, the ones with no serous mental or physical defects, were lauded into a truck and shipped off to a military camp. They pushed us, broke us, told us we would have to prove ourselves if there was ever going to be a place for us. They were the only family I’ve ever had.”

“Fenrir’s Children, one of the Coordinator’s attempts to hide their secrets.” Sid said equally as bitter as Cassidy. “Children that proved Genetic manipulation isn’t perfect and swept into the dark crevices that exist in any society. Used as cannon fodder in the opening battles of the war. But you survived somehow.”

Cassidy nodded, then something occurred to her, “How do you know about my past?”

“I think there’s something you need to know, but it’s going to take a lot of explaining before it has any relevance to you.” Sid stretched out his legs out and leaned back on his arms. “I’ve been a doctor for a long time, been working in medicine since I was fifteen. I wasn’t always a ship’s doctor though. At the high point of my career I was a leader in the filed of medical research. Twenty Five years ago a team of Coordinator doctors and geneticists from GARM R&D approached me with a problem. A number of Coordinator infants were being born with unexpected attributers, at first is was small things like having the wrong color hair or eyes, then more serous problems began to crop up. This was all being investigated in secret as to avoid causing a panic. I was among the team that finally figured out the flaws weren’t in the genetic manipulation itself but caused by the early development in the mother’s womb. When it came to finding a solution, the team was divided. Another natural like myself wanted to build a dedicated orphanage for the afflicted children; a man named Ulen Hibiki became obsessed with trying to eliminate the mother’s influence on the unborn child.

“Still others had more radical ideas for how to deal with defective children, everything from euphonizing to experimentation. In the end I don’t know what was finally decided, I quit the team and came back down to earth. I heard the other natural tried to start the orphanage on his own and takes in as many kids as he can. I still hear from some of the doctors I met in the PLANTs, they told me rumors about Fenrir’s Children, but I didn’t know anything for sure until finding you.”

Sit stood up at last after going though his long explanation, “Maybe I feel guilty for not doing enough back then, I don’t know. But I do know that there is something sinister at the heart of all this and you are one of the keys to finding out what it is.”

Cassidy wasn’t sure if hearing all that made her feel better or worse. Like so many times since she had woken up on this ship, she wished Hailey was around so she could talk out all her feelings and sort everything out. “Sid, what was your solution to the defect problem?”

“Mine?” Sid gave a single laugh, “I believe that the obsession with genetic perfection is the real problem. Trying to control everything about a child, even their destiny, the more they pushed the worse the problem would get. Nobody has the right, even if they have the ability. I suggested willingly letting go of that control, by intermarriage with naturals.”

Cassidy was finally snapped out of her brooding, the turned to look at Sid with her eyes wide.

“Nobody liked my idea. But if I was right, this war has got to be one of the biggest ironies in all human history.”

***

To Cassidy it looked at though Malory was saying goodbye to a lifelong friend. Which was odd since the girl had only met Cassidy hours before. Malory tried to hold back a sob while bruising teardrop from her rosy cheek with an oversized sleeve. The sight might have even tugged at Cassidy’s heart if Malory hadn’t been anything more than a passing acquaintance.

What was most confusing was how Malory had been offhand in saying goodbye to Sid, who had given a seemingly curt and rather cold goodbye handshake to Captain Keith before disappearing to the Port Authority office to contact whoever it was that would buy Cassidy’s scrapheap of a useless M1 Astray. The M1 was already being offloaded by a large dockside crane which Sid said would move it to a warehouse until the unknown buyer came for it.

The harbor was very bustling with activity for just after dawn. Ships of all kinds were loading and offloading crates and boxes and obscure parts of machinery. All around there were the sights and sounds of the Junk Guild doing business with the Oceania Union. Cassidy felt almost comfortable surrounded by the Junk Guild. It had been a Junk Guild ship that had first rescued her over a year ago and brought her to Heliopolis. This had begun her less then cheerful life with Orb’s militia.

After Malory had disappeared back onto the Venture, Cassidy sat herself down on a crate and watched the goings on as she waited for Sid to get back. After half an hour Sid walked up as Cassidy was trying to figure out what the large metal cylinder being loaded onto a rusty trolled was.

“The deal is mostly set, just a few formalities to take care of and the like.”

Cassidy looked over at Sid and saw that he was hiding something again, “What kind of formalities?”

Giving in, Sid said “They buyer wants to meet you in person so he can make you an offer. He didn’t say what kind.”

“When can we get it over with?” Cassidy said turning back to her musings over the metal cylinder.

“Sometime this afternoon I guess. I figured you’d want to go shopping for some clothes that fit you better.”

Metal cylinder completely forgotten Cassidy faced Sid with bright eyes, “Shopping?”
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Post by Anonymous » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:30 am

Very nice, i like your style. When do you plan to continue the story, or is it not popular enough.

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Post by Heretic » Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:09 pm

The third chapter has been sitting unfinished on my desktop since I posted Chapter two. I’m a little hung up on how to describe Cassidy’s new outfit. *head-keyboard* bnhyju

Thanks for commenting, more is on the way but I’m a notorious procrastinator so I update randomly.
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Post by Heretic » Sun May 06, 2007 1:48 am

Well this has been a long time in coming. You have to love writing to do it for any substantial amount of time, or else you’ll give up long before you finish anything. Getting this chapter done has been like putting myself though a meat grinder. Yet I still want to write the next one.

I’ll probably second read this and make edits after I get some sleep (and my internet stops being slower than dialup). Until then, forgive any typos or mistakes, I just want to get this thing posted at last.


Part Three:

Captain Charles Montgomery was the kind of man who liked to solve puzzles. And the most complicated of these puzzles were always people. His biggest challenge to date was the man he found himself working with. Commander Rick Elliot.

Montgomery was part of ZAFT’s Judge Advocate General Corps. Specifically, the investigations branch. He had been told his assignment was to assist an Internal Security Special Task Force operative in rooting out Cline Faction supporters. But Montgomery knew that with the ISSTF involved, official orders meant next to nothing. The truth about what Montgomery was doing resided somewhere within the ISSTF operative. Hence the enigma that was Commander Elliot.

Elliot didn’t seem to pay any attention to military dress-code, often dressed as he was now in a fine black tailored suit. Only when climbing into or out of a cockpit had Montgomery seen Elliot dressed in anything else. Few questioned Elliot’s attire though, as the white and silver ISSTF pin was prominently placed on the man’s left lapel.

Elliot had his good natured and honest smile on as he explained exactly why he was barrowing four GINNs from the forces stationed at Carpentaria in northern Australia. The base commander seemed to be following most of it but one part still seemed beyond his comprehension.

“Why do you need four GINNs to apprehend a single unarmed defector?” The Base commander said with an arched eyebrow, “One that I might add, is in a city already under our military jurisdiction?”

“I assure you this is no ordinary defector,” Elliot didn’t seem the least bit upset about having been questioned, “She single-handedly defeated five GINNs and disabled my CGUE before her own machine succumbed to the damage it sustained. Even without an MS to pilot, apprehending her would be no simple task. She’s more than capable of defeating the local authorities and even some of our best Special Ops teams.” Was that a hint of pride in Elliot’s voice?

Montgomery stepped in at that point, “Even if the support of Spec Ops teams were available, the force needed to apprehend this fugitive would result in her death or sever injury.” Not without a few deaths among those doing the apprehending. Montgomery had seen with his own eyes what had remained of Elliot’s CGUE, it was a wonder the man had made it back alive at all. “Our plan,” Montgomery continued, “Is to force her surrender with overwhelming firepower.”

“Assuming she doesn’t try something stupid?” The base commander interjected.

For the first time since Captain Montgomery had met the Commander, Elliot seemed annoyed, “She doesn’t do anything stupid. She’s been trained too well for that.”

***

“How does one person need all these clothes?” Sid said in frustration. He was following behind Cassidy carrying numerous bags from all manner of clothing stores.

“You’ve never been shopping with a woman before,” Cassidy said twirling around to look at Sid then twirling back to continue walking. Her first order of business was to buy some proper woman’s clothing and get changed.

Cassidy sauntered through the busy marketplace in tight fitting black pants that accentuated her athletic legs. A black nylon belt with steal eyelets all the way around crookedly circled her slender middle. And she wore a white tank-top with a navy blue jacket over top. Her hair wasn’t quite long enough to tie it back, so a few plain metal hair clips held her bangs away from her face and around her ears as to show off a new pair of earrings she had also bought. They were silver, in the shape of daggers with a cross hilt and hanging from a small chain starting at the end of the handle.

Sid had shown her on a map where they were supposed to meet with the still nameless buyer for her M1 Astray and she was leading the way. Partly because she only carried one bag containing a few necessary but still slightly frivolous frilly little personal items.

“And the bathing suit?” Cassidy could hear the arched eyebrow in Sid’s voice, “I love a day at the beaches as much as the next guy, but the only reason the Oceana Union isn’t trying to arrest you is the fact that they don’t know you’re here yet.”

In all fairness, Cassidy knew she was something of an impulsive shopper. Having lost all her stuff and having someone else to pay for a replacement wardrobe provided her with the perfect opportunity to binge. “You never know what the situation might call for,” she said over her shoulder. Sid undoubtedly wasn’t enjoying this shopping spree, but Cassidy reveled in it. Allowing herself to be impulsive and flighty was her way of letting out stress and free her mind off more serous concerns.

After the past few days, she desperately needed to let out some stress.

***

Cassidy had remembered seeing the oddly shaped white building when the Venture made its way into Sidney harbor earlier that morning. At the time her curiosity was passing as she had more pressing things on her mind. Now, as she and Sid were making their way closer to the building, Cassidy’s curiosity was sparked again.

The building was made up of what looked like curved peaces of shells that intersected each other. As she drew closer the rust streaking down the curves of the roof were more apparent.

“Sid, what was that place?” Cassidy asked.

Sid glanced up to where she was pointing, still carrying the burden of Cassidy’s new wardrobe. “I’ve been told it was an Opera House. Built ages ago, before the reconstruction wars”

“So it’s really old,” Cassidy mussed. There were so few things that she knew of that were old. The PLANTs had all been built after the Reconstruction wars ended. There was no connection to the past. And yet this building still stood.

Cassidy smiled, “I like old things.”

Their destination was a building not too far from the old Opera House. It was a gray concrete rectangle with a single wall of glass facing the east. About as tall as an average Mobile Suit Hanger but not taking up quite as much area. The entrance was set into the glass side wall and the name Nelson Heavy Industries was engraved into a sign above the doors.

From this point Sid took the lead, he introduced Cassidy and himself to the receptionist. The receptionist cheerfully pointed to the name on her nametag, Sandy Manchester, and before Cassidy could discern the pattern made by the stone floor tiles, they were whisked into an elevator. The shopping bags full of Cassidy’s new clothes were left in behind the receptionist’s desk with the promise that they’d be looked after.

The building apparently only had eight floors since that was how many number buttons were on the elevator’s controls. Sandy Manchester pressed the button for the eighth floor and the elevator began to rise.

Nobody spoke but the sounds of heavy machinery reverberated through the elevator’s walls. Far too much noise for just the elevator’s motors but the receptionist, a bright eyed girl who, as it seemed to Cassidy, was without a care in the world, didn’t seem to pay the noise any mind. Cassidy figured the noise had to be a normal thing in this building.

Upon reaching the top floor, the elevator doors opened and the three occupants stepped out into a white hallway with soft blue carpeting that dulled the sound of their footsteps. It was quiet on this floor of the building, the kind of quiet that people dared not disturb despite not having a reason to keep quiet.

Sandy Manchester led Sid and Cassidy to a plain looking office door and knocked twice before opening it. As mundane as the door was, what struck Cassidy first was the sparseness of the office beyond.

Cheep carpet, cheep horizontal blinds covering the windows, a cheep desk covered in paperwork and cheep chairs with ripped upholstery. In the middle of it all, sitting like a king amidst their grandeur, was a short, pudgy man with a face that could be best compared with that of a piglet. Beady little eyes locked with Cassidy’s from under a mop of brown hair and a satisfied smile was under the man’s flat little nose.

Not bothering to get up from his desk the man waved to Cassidy and Sid, “Don’t just stand there. Come in, come in! No need for formalities, take a seat you two.” The man gestured at the receptionist, “Sandy dear, bring us some refreshments.” The man locked eyes once again with Cassidy and said, “I’m John Nelson”

Nelson wasn’t the only other person sitting at the desk. In a plush but obviously stained green chair was a tall blond woman with obvious distain for her cluttered surroundings painted across her face. Her crisp and pristine white lab coat and skirt were a stark contrast to John Nelson’s rumpled business suit. She was proper and prissy in her ponytail and pantyhose.

Cassidy narrowed her eyes glancing back to Nelson, there was something going on behind the man’s beady little eyes.

Without taking her eyes of the man, Cassidy walked through the office to the ratty but comfortable looking chair and sat down. She only glanced once to her right to see that Sid was doing the same.

There was something going on in behind John Nelson’s eyes, Cassidy was already getting the impression that this office and the things inside it were just a show. That the way Nelson was presenting himself was an attempt to hide something.

Cassidy never could sit through wordplay and coyness, so she chose to cut through it all. Leaning back in the plushy chair, “Cut to the chase John, what are you after? If this was just about buying parts why meet with me in person like this with somebody from Morgenroete?”

Cassidy could see that her guess about the blond woman had been correct when she was taken aback by what Cassidy said. Nelson’s reaction was much more subdued.

His smile grew broader and he asked, “What tipped you off?”

Cassidy slouched lazily in her seat, “Well, since your name is on this building, I find it hard to believe this is the best you could do for an office, your clothes may be unkempt but you’re clean shaven and since your apparently the boss around here by the way you sent the receptionist away for drinks, you should have people to do all that paperwork for you too.” She finished pointing at the stacks of paper piled up on the old desk.

Nelson’s smile started to show his white teeth, “Observant, you’d make one hell of a poker player.”

“People don’t let me play once I start winning too much.” In the corner of her eye Cassidy spotted Sid giving her an inquisitive look. Probably trying to deduce if her apparent skill in reading people was a result of being a Coordinator, something that had been included in her training or just some inherent talent.

The blond woman spoke up, “But how did you know I worked for Morgenroete?”

Cassidy gave her a flat look, “You’re wearing too much makeup to be a Coordinator, which means you’re not from ZAFT, you look to smart to be from the Oceania Union, and you look to stuck-up to be from the Junk Guild. So you’re either from ORB or some place in the Earth Alliance. Since we’re in OU territory, I doubt you’re from the EA. Plus your skirt was on sale two weeks ago exclusively in a shop on Onogoro. Walking distance from the Morgenroete facilities.”

The Blond woman sat there in stunned silence and Cassidy turned to face Sid to say, “See, sometimes being an impulsive shopper can be an advantage.” Sid gave her a sullen look better suited for a child but didn’t say anything.

Before Cassidy could continue her little verbal battle with Nelson, Sandy returned with a push cart loaded with cups, mugs and an assortment of drinks, including what looked like a hot pot of coffee and a teapot.

No sooner had Cassidy started to appraise the selection on the cart, Sid taped her arm and said, “You should avoid anything caffeinated, you’re going to have a hard enough time getting back into a normal sleep rhythm as it is.”

“Still always a doctor, eh Sid?” Nelson commented.

“Better than a conman,” Sid replied with the hint of a smile on his stoic face, “Who’d you cheat to get your name on this building?”

“Sid, I’m hurt,” Nelson said with false injury, “I’m a legitimate business man these days.”

The Morgenroete woman gave a huff at that. Cassidy turned her attention away from Sid’s and Nelson’s bantering and to the woman. “Just who are you anyway?”

The woman sat up straighter “Madelyn Chamberlin. Chief engineer of the ‘S Project’ at Morgentoete.” Madelyn flipped through a handful of pages held together by a paperclip. “And you would be Cassidy Ellen Tiberius, rescued from your damaged GINN by the independent salvage ship Glasgow after the battle of Yggdrasi. They dropped you off at Heleopolis where Morgentoete approached you.”

Madelyn read the facts dispassionately off her papers, Cassidy was annoyed, but didn’t have the energy to flash into anger like she could have. Still, she could almost feel Sid’s concerned eyes watching her on the off chance he might have to intervene.

The cheerful receptionist handed Cassidy a glass of what appeared to be red fruit juice, her bright and bubbly smile helping to lessen Cassidy’s annoyance. Cassidy tested the juice and was surprised by the sudden sweet and tangy flavor of raspberries. Cassidy smiled back to the receptionist in silent thanks.

Madelyn continued, “You spent seven months working as a consultant for Morgentoete concerning practical combat application of mobile suits before being transferred to ORB to do much the same for the initial design phase of the M1. When the possibility of ORB coming under attack, you made an arrangement to act as a mercenary within the Defense Force because you are officially a defector from ZAFT.” Madeline looked up from her papers with a smile that seemed satisfied at the world as a whole. “Fate spins an interesting web, Ms Tiberius. Your name was on the list for test pilot candidates for the S Project, third from the top. If the project hadn’t been canceled in light of the impending attack, you could have avoided the unpleasantness of the past few days.”

“With some help from the Junk Guild,” interjected Nelson, “the parts were shipped from Orb to my facility here. My mechanics have been assembling it bit by bit, but the last shipment was cut off by the Alliance’s attack. That’s why we needed the parts from your Salvaged M1.”

“Mechanically, we’re all set,” Madelyn finished, “But I still need a test pilot.”
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Post by Wingnut » Sun May 06, 2007 2:25 am

This is getting interesting indeed.
I also noticed minimal spelling/grammer errors here and they did not detract from the story at all.
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Post by Folken Fanel » Sun May 06, 2007 2:26 am

cough*abouttime*cough
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