Gundam SEED Destiny: A Wind Raging Through

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Dendrobium Stamen
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Gundam SEED Destiny: A Wind Raging Through

Post by Dendrobium Stamen » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:40 pm

So! A first foray into writing within existing universes, this is a Destiny sidestory, as the title implies, somewhat inspired by the short-chapter format of the Tales From The Cockpit series.

Anyways, on with the fic!

****************

Sortie-01 – The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

Lunar Orbit, Above OMNI Enforcer Lunar Base Arzachel.
A Few Weeks After “Operation Spear of Twilight”.


Combat is such a rush!

That was the current thought flying through the head of Lieutenant Stephan O’Riley as his brand-new Windam soared up from the Arzachel Base, ejecting the Moon-clearing boosters attached over its leg thrusters as the machine reached low Lunar orbit. With an Aile Striker attached to its back, the gleaming GAT-04 Windam was an impressive sight in the white, blue and green livery painted on all the new Atlantic Federation machines. O’Riley expected that after this battle, they’d let him paint his machine in a custom scheme. He already had “Lt. Stephan ‘Baba’ O’Riley” painted above the cockpit hatch, and his personal insignia, a snake coiled around a PLANT on the right shoulder.

The twenty-six year old pilot, one of few survivors of the Bloody Valentine War still in the Alliance’s mobile suit ranks, would be the first to admit he harboured some support for Blue Cosmos, the anti-Coordinator movement that permeated the fabric of the Atlantic Federation. However, he also knew that the organisation was rather… extreme. Still, Coordinators were a menace, and ZAFT even more so. By sending as many of them to the fiery afterlife where he was headed, Stephen O’Riley intended to avenge his sister.

A bleep from his instrument panel snapped the experienced pilot back to reality. Several mobile suits were approaching, ZAFT ones. With two comrades behind him, their Windams equipped with the Launcher Striker – the upper section of the right shoulder having been removed to attach the combo weapon pod – O’Riley prepared to enter the battle. The approaching Coordinators were piloting older models, confirmed as ZGMF-600 GuAIZ units; these pilots chosen not go with the new variant on that design, nor had they received the latest ZAFT machine, either.

Training his beam rifle’s sights on the leading GuAIZ, painted like its team-mates in the GuAIZ-R colour scheme, O’Riley opened fire. As he expected, the beam went nowhere close to striking home, but that was predictable. A second shot came closer, but still blazed harmlessly through space rather than striking home. More amused than frustrated, O’Riley advanced on the enemy machines, though he remained patient.

“Okay boys, now!” he called out over the squad comms channel. With that as their signal, the two Launcher Windams opened fire with their ‘Agni’ hyper-impulse cannons, strafing across space to scorch as much of the sky ahead of them as they could. The plan was about as effective as the lieutenant had expected, burning through three ZAFT machines with the ease only an energy weapon could. Far more effective than a linear cannon, he thought. The remaining three analysed their situation, and began a furious charge.

In his cockpit, Stephen smiled slightly, before raising his beam rifle again. Firing on the same GuAIZ as before, the beam missed again. The enemy pilot was getting close now, so a melee seemed inevitable. Storing his rifle on his suit’s right hip ‘Stiletto’ sheath, O’Riley had his suit grab a beam sabre from the Aile Striker in its free hand, igniting the blade a moment later. It was at that point the GuAIZ fired its extensional arrestors; the Alliance pilot had seen these before however, and had little trouble ducking below the wired claws, effortlessly slicing through the wires whilst firing a burst of CIWS fire to throw the enemy off-balance.

The move was so effective, the GuAIZ had only just raised its shield as O’Riley charged, though it made little difference as the blade plunged through and into the cockpit like a javelin. Satisfied the enemy was down, he stored the beam sabre and grabbed his rifle again. Knowing this enemy would be wise to his tactics, he switched the beam rifle to a firing solution that was apparently unique, and just as the new GuAIZ was lining up its arrestors, fired.

In an instant, a dozen beams erupted from the rifle in a shotgun-style blast, perforating the unprepared ZAFT machine like Swiss cheese. This unique shot wasn’t without its risks however, as O’Riley tossed the rifle, abandoning it to explode from overload moments later. It was worth the risk however, as that left him with one GuAIZ to fight, and two comrades already intercepting the enemy mothership, a Nazca class destroyer unfortunate enough to be sent on a solo mission to harass Earth’s military. With ZAFT invading the Earth again, defending it from the Coordinators would be a worthy crusade.

The last GuAIZ was good, very good in fact. Realising its enemy lacked any ranged weapons, it was keeping him at range with its beam rifle, an impressively large weapon which most Alliance pilots from the war had respect for; it was far more impressive than the Strike Dagger’s old M703 and infinitely better than the M703K water pistol the Dagger-L had been stupidly equipped with. The new M9409L was a match for it, but the Aile Windam didn’t have one any more…

Throwing the throttles wide open, the red-haired Windam pilot threw his machine upwards, to bring it above the GuAIZ challenging it. Free to take offensive actions again, O’Riley raised his machine’s shield, thanking God that a GAT Family engineer somewhere had the wisdom to mount a pair of missiles on the new A52 shield. Firing off the pair, he grabbed the ‘Stiletto’ anti-armour penetrator from the right hip sheath, waiting for his moment. As the GuAIZ picked off the missiles with the CIWS guns in its head, O’Riley’s mobile suit hurled the spear tip-like weapon with all the might its nineteen metre frame could muster.

As he’d hoped, the blade buried itself in the GuAIZ’s head, its explosion quite spectacularly decapitating a machine that was once the pride of ZAFT. Drawing one of the beam sabres from the Aile Striker, the Windam swept in at a speed that would put other massproduction machines to shame, ready to finish the job. Unfortunately he wasn’t fast enough; the backup cameras on the GuAIZ had already come online, and the pilot somehow managed to bring his shield up, the fearsome-looking beam claws on its tip blocking his own sabre.

Ejecting his shield, the young pilot grabbed the beam sabre on the Aile Striker’s left-side rack, slashing through his enemy’s impressive rifle in a flash. Backing off from the inevitable explosion, the Windam prepared to duel once again. Just as it did so, however, the GuAIZ fired out its extensional arrestors. With impressive accuracy, one arrestor’s beam blade cut right through the left shoulder joint of the Windam, the other penetrating the empty ‘Stiletto’ sheath on the right hip, cutting both the sheath and beam sabre rack from the Windam’s body.

O’Riley wasn’t so easily thrown, though. One-armed, his Windam chased the wired weapons with a beam sabre in his suit’s surviving right hand; he ignored the 76mm shells dancing across the mobile suit’s body, firing his own quartet of CIWS guns in return. The GuAIZ, just as unafraid of the 12.5mm bullets, brought up its beam claws again. The pilot didn’t anticipate what happened next, though. The Windam threw the sabre in its left hand, the blade slicing its way through the ZAFT machine’s upper left arm, killing the power to the arm – and the beam claws.

The exhilaration of the kill danced through Stephan’s blue eyes as he grabbed a his remaining beam sabre from the left hip rack and stabbed through the GuAIZ’s cockpit.

Elsewhere, the two Launcher Windams that had accompanied the war-hardened ace danced through the defensive fire of the enemy Nazca, swinging themselves behind it. As ZAFT first proved, space warships have little defence against mobile suits; for mobile suits with hyper-impulse cannons, it was no contest. The red-white beams cut through high-speed battleship engines with reassuring ease, finishing off yet another challenger to the superiority of the Earth Alliance.

After the embarrassment at the Battle of Aprilius One, OMNI Enforcer seemed to be back on top in the war for space.

****************


Sortie-02 – Starship Troopers

OMNI Churchill, Approaching Lagrange Point 2.
Shortly After The Gulnahan Ravine Battle.


James Macintosh hated ship deployments. Having spent most of his service career in the spacious lunar bases of the Alliance Forces, warships seemed extremely claustrophobic to him. It didn’t help that the refitted Nelson warships were somewhat claustrophobic, a result of the modifications made to give them capacity to carry mobile suits rather than comparatively tiny Moebius mobile armours. Having just departed Arzachel, the hangar felt packed, with four Windams aboard ship, plus their Striker Packs. It slightly frustrated Lieutenant (JG) Macintosh that he was now subordinate to a man who was quite comfortable aboard this warship, whilst he was distinctly uncomfortable.

“C’mon, Jamie! You flew Ess-Dees during Elvis, how can you be so uncomfortable on a ship? At least our suits ain’t lashed to the hull this time around, ya know.” exclaimed Lieutenant O’Riley, who was maddeningly cheery for a supposedly war-weary pilot.

“It’s because of Elvis I hate ship service… that damned Genesis thing still gives me nightmares.” Macintosh replied, shuddering slightly at the memory of the Second Battle of Jachin Due. “’sides, the Strike Dagger was far more fun to fly, more of a ‘seat of pants’ experience than these refined Windams.”

Stephen couldn’t help but laugh at the remark, even though he too remembered GENESIS all too well. “Hey, if you wanna be fodder for a GuAIZ, let alone them new models, be my guest! Might as well fly a Moebius!”

With a devilish grin, James floated towards his Windam, the standard OMNI colours almost shining in the well-lit hangar bay. Musing at how suicidal piloting a Moebius would be even when the GINN was ZAFT’s only mobile suit, his gaze drifted to the other pilot’s machine, newly minted in its custom scheme. The white was replaced with a dark gray, the green with red, and the blue was simply darkened to a navy shade. The shield and Aile Striker matched, too.

The custom-painted machine also carried a second, spare beam rifle; O’Riley had been destroying rifles since the War with his “shotgun blast” firing mode. He’d first used it in a last-ditch situation at Jachin Due, when his battered and broken Strike Dagger was on the verge of being destroyed by an ace in a modified black GuAIZ. Though it led to his killer special shot, the veteran pilot hated the Strike Dagger for this moment; having been told the GAT-01A1 105 Dagger he received for a few months before receiving a Dagger-L was the intended design of the Strike Dagger, O’Riley had been furious beyond words at the cheapness of OMNI Enforcer, sending troops to fight for the survival of Earth and Naturals in sub-par mobile suits while spending billions on a handful of prototypes.

In the meantime, the pilot with the customised Windam was chatting with his two wingmen, Andrew Bishop and Emmanuel Panther. What they were talking about was a mystery to Macintosh, but it couldn’t have been particularly funny, as none of them were smiling. Probably something to do with the upcoming mission.

After the war, a joint mission by the Alliance and PLANT had begun the process of moving destroyed space colonies at Lagrange Point 4 to L2 above the Daedalus Base, so that they could be repaired and reassembled, patching together ruined O’Neill cylinders to form new colonies. Nobody quite new why, the Coordinators were quite happy to build new PLANT types, and so many Naturals died on Earth during the War that Copernicus City would hardly be stretched to capacity. James suspected it was simply a way to demonstrate the peaceful uses of OMNI and ZAFT after the Junius Treaty was signed.

Either way, those colonies now served a practical purpose. The twenty-four year old pilot had no idea what that purpose was, but either way, massive sections of old cylinders were being dragooned into military service by the Alliance. James’ personal theory was to use them as staging bases to resupply ships and mobile suits from Arzachel or Daedalus on their way to PLANT.

The rumour mill says the cylinders are gonna be fitted with Geschmeidig Panzer, but that makes no sense, unless they’re going to use them as gigantic movable shields… mused O’Riley, based on what he had just been told by his wingmen. The rumour mill was always a good place to listen to, if one toned down its wild claims a few notches.

With that in mind, the pilot headed for his mobile suit, wanting to be ready for the fight.

****************

Lagrange Point 2.
The Following Day.


“Lieutenant, we’ve found a Laurasia in the debris field, looks to be scouting out Daedalus. Engage and destroy them!” ordered the ship’s captain, a cowardly man who had already gained a reputation for letting the Churchill’s mobile suits do all the work, then claiming credit for a successful mission.

O’Riley resisted the temptation to tell the man what he thought, simply replying with a by-the-book “Yessir!” and a move to prepare for launch.

With its Aile Striker attached, O’Riley’s machine was moved out to the portside catapult, with Macintosh’s own Sword Windam on the other side. As the catapult confirmed ready, the two mobile suits shot out from the ship, soaring gracefully through debris-strewn space as Bishop and Panther caught up in their Doppelhorn Windams. The enemy, it seemed, comprised six of the enemy’s new machines, Zakus or something similarly silly; five were green, but the sixth was a deep shade of crimson. Two had huge thruster-laden backpacks, two with huge cannons deployed under their right arms, one with a pair of Gatling guns over its shoulders and a second shoulder shield, and one with what appeared to be a big satellite on one shoulder and a big antenna in its hands…

“Dammit, that must be the recon machine! Hope it hasn’t seen us…” O’Riley muttered, as he felt the adrenaline building. “Okay, everyone! Hit antenna-boy first with everything you got, then let’s nail the escorts and mothership and head home!”

Three confirmations came in, but the hotshot pilot was barely paying attention, already training his sights on the ZAFT machine with the satellite shoulder. As he achieved a lock, hoping his comrades had too, he ordered, “Okay, now!”

Four beams struck out from each Windam’s beam rifle, as well as a quartet of heavy shells from Doppelhorn barrels. The recon MS didn’t stand a chance, its torso pierced in multiple places by green beams; the machine had already exploded by the time the cannon rounds arrived. Of course, this grabbed the attention of the other ZAFT pilots in a way few other things could – most of them unmentionable in polite conversation. Tracking the source of the beams, all the two Blaze ZAKU Warriors, two Gunner ZAKU Warriors, and a lone Slash ZAKU Phantom prepared to do battle.

The lead ZAKU pilot, a red-coat with a penchant for close combat named Kevin Stockdale, found himself thoroughly frustrated. The pilot of his team’s Command ZAKU CCI had been so focused on checking out the Alliance’s Daedalus Base she hadn’t paid attention to the bigger picture, and it cost her life; Christina Shackle had been his lover, and he fully intended to avenge her upon these new Natural toys.

“New mission, people: Kill the bastards!” he exclaimed over the squad channel in an unnaturally rich voice, knowing his people would know what to do. Sure enough, the Blaze units pushed above the Gunners with him, as the long-range units opened fire with their long ‘Orthos’ beam cannons, aiming for an early knockout blow. No such luck, but they did scatter the formation of new-model Daggers or whatever they were.

Knowing the Gunner ZAKUs would provide covering fire when needed, Stockdale readied himself for the upcoming fight. Signalling with his suit’s left hand, he brought his red ZAKU Phantom into formation with the green ZAKU Warriors mounting the Blaze Wizard, all three firing their rifles as they charged.

“Damn!” muttered O’Riley, opening his comms channel. “I’ll take the red guy, you three stay out of the Launcher-wannabes’ range and take down those backpack bastards!”

Wordlessly, all three of his subordinates went about their jobs. Bishop and Panther made full use of their dual cannons to bracket their targets, whilst Macintosh chose instead to head for the fire-support units. It made sense, his melee-oriented machine would have a distinct edge over them; the laser edge of an anti-ship sword, in fact. In the meantime, O’Riley himself had a task to be getting on with…

Firing successive blasts from his beam rifle, he threw the Aile Windam through a complex series of twists and turns, making sure to stay well away from the rapid barrage of beams spraying from the ZAFT machine’s over-the-shoulder cannons. Neither pilot could get anywhere with the criss-crossing green beams, but neither was particularly willing to engage in close combat; O’Riley because the Gatling beam guns terrified him, Stockdale to keep the unknowing Natural unaware of the huge beam axe his suit was carrying. The dance continued…

In the meantime, James Macintosh charged towards the mobile suits with the big guns, beam rifle firing away. Unfortunately, his opponents proved adept at putting their shoulder shields between his blasts and their cockpits, which the Windam pilot found rather annoying. Storing his rifle, Macintosh grabbed the beam boomerang from his suit’s left shoulder, where its mounting replaced the upper shoulder piece and its thruster. Hurling the unusual-but-deadly weapon, he succeeded in catching one ZAFT pilot completely off guard, the beam blade bisecting the mobile suit at its waist. In its explosion, retrieving the boomerang, he didn’t notice the fallen machine’s comrade, until its long-range beam cannon fired. Fortunately, the Windam’s shield intercepted the beam just in time, but was destroyed in the process. Fortunately, the shield missiles didn’t explode. Small mercies, Macintosh noted, glad he hadn’t equipped the Sword Striker’s usual rocket anchor.

Drawing the ‘Schwert Gewehr’ sword from its back mount, the Windam charged, ducking and diving away from red-white beams as it did so. The first slash missed the enemy machine’s main body, but at such close range, the mono-eyed robot was defenceless, unable to bring its cannon to bear, and seemingly lacking internal weapons. Raising the sword to a horizontal level, James thrust the sword’s tip through the torso just below the cockpit. Pulling the blade out, his Sword Windam was already diving back into the fight as the second hapless opponent exploded.

Bishop and Panther were having very little success in taking on the pair they were taking on. It seemed the backpacks they mounted gave them greater speed and agility than the Windam, particular with their machines encumbered by the Doppelhorn Striker. Panther’s machine had already lost its right leg to a lucky shot, and Bishop’s was scorched by several near-misses with the small missiles stored in the top of the backpack. It was at that moment, however, that the commander broke off, apparently fleeing the red machine. In truth he was, but the two pilots were convinced he was joining them. A beam rifle blast from the Aile Windam decapitated one of the round-headed enemies, and kept it off balance long enough for Andy Bishop to finally take it out with the missiles mounted in his suit’s shield, both scoring direct hits on the cockpit.

Emmanuel Panther, feeling confident, charged the second machine, hoping to catch it off guard. Unfortunately, his luck wasn’t that good, as the ZAKU, rifle abandoned, hurled its beam tomahawk with blinding speed, the pink blade spectacularly penetrating the Windam’s cockpit and frying its pilot instantly. Bishop, enraged, fired his rifle a half-dozen times in quick succession, penetrating the enemy’s torso in multiple places, its explosion outshining that of Panther’s machine.

Shocked, O’Riley froze. “Emmanuel!” he cried out, shocked at the loss of one of his long-serving wingmen. In his frozen state, he didn’t notice the leader’s red machine approaching behind him, until a pair of explosions shook the Aile Windam. One was the left wing of his Aile Striker being torn off, and the top of his Windam’s left shoulder melting. The other, mercifully, was the enemy’s beam rifle, sliced in half by a superbly-timed beam boomerang. Turning its attention to Macintosh, the blood-coloured machine spat beams from the shoulder Gatlings, simultaneously grabbing its impressively large beam axe. As it charged, James threw his Windam forward too, sword drawn for a fight.

Firing his CIWS guns, Macintosh tried to get the bulky red enemy off-guard. No such luck, as it continued unabated. Bringing his sword down, the enemy blocked with its axe, before breaking off. Another burst of CIWS fire was just as ineffective, and the melee continued in a series of swings, blocks, and retreats. Finally, a mistake was made. Over-estimating the size of swing he needed, James’ Windam swung its massive sword too far, leaving it vulnerable. Taking advantage, Stockdale swung his axe down, cutting through the exposed plain metal edge of the anti-ship sword, before a flowing upward swing cut the Windam in half.

O’Riley saw the explosion, but this time shock didn’t freeze him, instead enraging him. Abandoning his shield, he took the spare beam rifle in the Windam’s left hand, firing trademark shotgun blasts from both guns at the same time. In a dazzling green light show, the scarlet ZAFT weapon had its legs ripped off in a stunning fashion. As the Windam’s rifles exploded, the Coordinator pilot retreated, his mothership already turning to withdraw… towards two frigates, not one. Stephan cursed, “I’m screwed now…”

Moments later, a series of thruster flares sped up from the lunar surface, green and yellow-orange blasts streaming forward from them even as white exhaust trailed behind. Two teams of Dark Dagger-Ls had launched from Daedalus, to join the fight. The original Laurasia was retreating, having recovered its sole surviving mobile suit. One team fired Mk.39 cannons in staggered volleys, repeating a one, two, three, four pattern as they hammered at the ZAFT frigate, desperately firing its own weapons in defence. The other team, with M703K beam carbines, fended off a sextet of GuAIZ-Rs with aplomb, the older machines no match for special forces Daggers. In the face of this firepower, the new Laurasia too prepared for retreat, two of its mobile suits surviving to return to their mothership.

“Come on, Andy. Let’s get back to our ship.” O’Riley was tired, drained by death and devastation. I hope top brass have a damned good reason for wanting these pieces of colony... the thought gained momentum as he remembered the rumour mill; combined with six Dark Dagger-Ls being sent from Daedalus, things did seem to be highly rotten in the region of space…

****************


Sortie 03 – Orphans of the Sky

OMNI Enforcer Lunar Base Wells, H.G. Wells Crater.
Shortly Before The Crete Naval Battle.


“…Wow.”

Those were the first words to emerge from Stephan’s mouth as he saw the machine in front of him, the dark of the hangar driven back by powerful lights. At first, its silhouette had made him think he was seeing a Windam with a new Striker Pack attached, but seeing it in the light destroyed that impression in a heartbeat. The mobile suit in front of him, more than anything, looked like someone had taken an ordinary GAT-04 and turned it into one of the legends of the Bloody Valentine War, the spectacularly powerful ZGMF-X10A, better known as Freedom.

“Like it?” asked the engineer at O’Riley’s right shoulder. “This is the GAT-Zero-Three-W-Zero, formally known as the Wing Dagger Prototype Specification Zero, more commonly called the Wing Dagger or Wing Zero.”

“It’s… incredible. What is this ‘Wing Dagger’, anyway? I’ve never heard of it.” the awe in the pilot’s voice was pretty apparent.

“After the War, we needed high-spec machines to maintain our superiority in space after most of the Strike Dagger force was wiped out in Operation Elvis.” So began the lecture. “Accordingly, a project was authorised to create a machine exceeding the Dagger-L which was beginning to roll out. The new design is based on ZAFT’s Freedom, but using all our best tech. N-Jammer Canceller and nuclear engine, Trans-Phase Armour and laminate cockpit armour, Freedom’s wing system with ‘Schlag’ beam cannons in the wing guns, a quartet of ‘Igelstellung Two’ guns where the Windam has the new standard See-Whiz, two of those twelve-five guns in the feet, missile launchers in the shoulders, the usual ‘Stiletto’ penetrators and beam sabres, and an upgraded and self-powered version of the Windam rifle.”

“Incredible… absolutely incredible. Wait, though. Surely a nuclear engine is illegal?”

The engineer just laughed. “In case you forgot, we tried to nuke Aprilius One just after ‘Break The World’. The treaty is a long-forgotten memory, that’s why we’re dusting off this thing. You should be proud, there’s only a handful around. You’ll get it in a few weeks, we’ve got to reinstall the nuclear bits, fuel it, tune it up, and do a full-systems test, after all…”

“Right, right… you’re planning to paint it up like my Windam, right?” the pilot enquired, clearly happy with his new machine.

“Sure, if you want. Don’t see what’s wrong with the standard Windam colours myself, mind…”

With a laugh ,O’Riley made his way out of the hangar, to receive his new orders. He hoped the new machine he’d been assigned – completely out of the blue, especially after losing half his team – would be ready by sortie time. Having been bounced over to Wells Base after losing two Windams from his team burned in the pilot’s mind; being sent to a backwater like this was salt in his wounded pride, almost as if the space forces’ commanders didn’t believe him capable any more. Him, for goodness’ sake, a war-decorated pilot, someone who survived flying those Godforsaken tin-can Strike Daggers when hundreds of others fell by the wayside!

At that moment, however, the base alarm sounded. ZAFT were launching another probing mission? Without thinking, Stephan ran towards the hangar his Windam was stored in, repaired from the last battle. With a new Aile Striker, yet more new rifles, and the latest wave of upgrades, including the latest operating system version and a more efficient energy converter in the battery, it was an even more fearsome machine. Soon, battery power wouldn’t be a concern, but for now it was essential.

****************

Ten Minutes Later

Standing on one of the many miniature mass drivers dotted around Wells – in actuality oversized linear cannons – O’Riley’s gray Windam prepared to launch, part of a team assigned to engage and destroy the ZAFT mobile suits remaining in lunar orbit, rather than descending to the surface. They just couldn’t stay away, it seemed. He hoped he could remember the name of the two new members of the team, both piloting vanilla Windams, rather than equipping one of the Striker Packs available. Andy Bishop had chosen the Launcher Striker again instead of the Doppelhorn, and O’Riley himself was of course piloting an Aile Windam.

Boosters strapped to the Windam’s legs, he prepared for launch. The launch controller counted down, ready to throw the team into space. “Five, four, three, two, one… abort track one, restart final checks.” O’Riley cursed in frustration. His machine had aborted the launch for the second time, its Aile Striker blowing the all-clear both times.

“Hurry up with those checks, swap the damn Striker if you have to!” he called out in frustration. Moments later an engineering team began analysing the machine via data wires in the APU cable, to see if they could fix the problem remotely. Two minutes later they gave the go-ahead, and the launch sequence restarted.

“Five, four, three, two, one… all tracks go, launch!” with that, the lights along the linear tracks switched from red to green, and all four Windams soared up from Wells, boosting speed with the high-powered supplemental thrusters on the suits’ legs. Though it was an unnecessary waste of power, the leader ignited the lower pair of thrusters on the Aile Striker, accelerating ahead of his team to get into the fight as fast as was possible.

Breaking into orbit, O’Riley immediately began a complete scan for the enemy. As he’d been told, this was no probe, but a serious recon-in-force mission. Six high-speed Nazca destroyers had arrived, each no doubt carrying half a dozen of the new ‘Zaku’ models. Longing for the days when most of ZAFT were piloting the GINN and CGUE to their deaths against his Strike Dagger, O’Riley soon came upon a lone mono-eye machine, one of the big-gun models. From its pose, it was totally oblivious to the Aile Windam approaching, its beam cannon trained on an Alliance team still launching from the moon.

Desperate not to lose any comrades in such a pathetic way, Stephan opened the gun battle with a pair of snapshots, hoping to catch the enemy machine, or at least throw it off-balance. One shot went wide, but the other burned right through the Gunner ZAKU Warrior’s foot, basic physics doing the rest as it was thrown slightly off-balance, its red-white beam going well high of the incoming Windam team. This quartet mounted a modified Jet Striker, the semi-experimental new Thunderbolt Striker model, which replaced the high-performance jet engines with rocket thrusters, but retained the wings for additional propellant and weapon storage. Its missile racks were fierce, he’d been told.

O’Riley left the damaged machine to its fate, the leading Thunderbolt Windam firing a dozen missiles from two under-wing pods. Not all hit home, but enough to transform a ZAFT mobile suit into an expanding cloud of debris. Swinging around, Stephen rejoined his team, and began the charge toward a trio of machines with the large thruster backpack. All three began the battle by firing the missiles in the top part of the backpack, hoping to do some damage before the real engagement began. None hit home, all either shot down by CIWS fire or simply evaded.

From behind a cloud of exploded warheads, the Windam team tore into the fight with beam rifles blazing, O’Riley’s rifle approaching its safety limit before he finally released the trigger. One ZAKU was torn to pieces in the onslaught, losing both its legs, then its rifle, right arm, and head in the furious barrage, a final shot piercing its cockpit.

Under constant attack, Stephen couldn’t help but think of Blue Cosmos; maybe all this would be easier without Coordinators at all…

Just then, an explosion rocked one of the Thunderbolt Windams’ backs. With no enemies behind it, Stephan was confused; the pilot’s report clarified things, however. “Engine failure in Striker Pack, abandoning the junk!”

Fantastic, Stephan thought, a new Striker that doesn’t even work. In this moment of distraction, another ZAKU with a big thruster backpack bore down on him, beam rifle firing. Raising the Windam’s shield kept the green streaks at bay, the pointed piece of dark blue metal on his suit’s left arm a lifesaver once again. Having started his career in MS from a background in piloting Spearhead fighters off the deck of a Tarawa carrier, movable limbs and zero-gravity were Godsends.

Without hesitation, O’Riley flicked his mobile suit to face the ZAKU, shield raised to block any further attempts to shoot him out of space. As he charged, the Windam pilot called out, “Stop thinking two-dimensionally, Coordinator!”, noting his opponent’s rather unimaginative fighting style. As the gap shrank between the two MS, the ZAFT machine ditched its rifle; blinking, Stephen noted its shoulder-mounted shield position itself in front of the body at a right-angle to its usual position. Moments later, the machine grabbed an odd-shaped hilt from inside the top of its shield, the hilt projecting what looked like a beam tomahawk.

“That toy doesn’t scare me!” he yelled, firing a few beam blasts from his rifle, caught by the ZAKU’s ready-positioned shield with ease. From his cockpit, the red-haired OMNI soldier noted that there was writing on the shield, and not a normal unit marking, either. “’God’s in His Heaven, all’s right with the world…’ trying to scare me with Browning, are you kidding?”

Storing the suit’s rifle, O’Riley grabbed a beam sabre from the Aile Striker, igniting the pink blade a few moments after bringing the hilt to the suit’s side. The ZAKU charged first, swinging its axe down to slice Windam head. Blocking with his sabre, the Natural immediately took advantage of the situation, ramming the pointed tips of his shield into the ZAKU’s abdomen. As the machine drifted back, wounded, O’Riley released the shield missiles into the enemy machine’s torso, abandoning the suit as it was consumed in flame.

Without a chance to congratulate himself, O’Riley went back on the defensive, throwing open his throttles to throw his machine above a blast from a Gunner ZAKU’s large beam cannon. Sabre still drawn, the Windam pilot charged the machine, whose lack of internal weapons prevented it doing anything to stop him. Weaving between streaks of hastily-aimed red-white beams, O’Riley swung past the suit’s spiked right shoulder, beam sabre neatly cutting the torso into an upper and a lower half.

At that point, he was confused. Several Windams seemed to be retreating! Looking through the text messages he’d been ignoring, several had suffered engine flameouts on the Thunderbolt Striker, and a few others had simply taken battle damage. That damned new Striker is useless! Fortunately, a dozen more Windams soared up from Wells Base, fresh and ready for battle.

It was at that moment O’Riley noticed the machine soaring towards him, a crimson, horned, two-shield Zaku with Gatling guns over its shoulders. The same bastard who’d killed James. Thinking purely murderous thoughts of vengeance, Stephen released the handgrip of his shield and drew his Windam’s second beam rifle, and began firing in a staccato pattern, left, right, left, right, attempting to force the pilot into one of the lines of fire.

Unfortunately, the Coordinator was pretty good, weaving out of the fire with surprising ease. The ZAKU’s rifle shots were no more effective, though, and it was holding back with its Gatlings for whatever reason, so that was a saving grace, at least. As its rifles began to reach their limit before overheating, the Windam hooked them to storage points and grabbed both the Aile Striker’s beam sabres.

At that point, the enemy machine opened up with its Gatlings, to cover itself as its rifle was abandoned in favour of that beam axe. Pink blade glowing furiously, the ZAKU charged, still spitting fire from its rapid-firing beam weapons. In response, the Windam ducked and dived through scattered beams, occasionally blocking a few too-close blasts with a beam sabre, a trick learned more by luck than anything back at Jachin Due.

Two Nazcas exploded at that point. With the ZAKU distracted – was his mothership destroyed? – O’Riley went for the kill, swinging past the ZAFT machine with beam sabre outstretched. Unfortunately, the Coordinator’s reactions were slightly too quick, the machine losing its left leg rather than being split in two.

Kevin Stockdale was understandably annoyed. “Bastard! What the hell just happened?!” Furious at the sudden loss of two ships, and the loss of his suit’s leg, he flipped over and charged towards the Windam that had taken the limb and charged, huge beam axe first. The Alliance pilot raised his machine’s shield, already on the defensive again. However, the shield’s anti-beam coating was no match for the massive Falx-G7, and was torn in two by the giant weapon, scorching but not cutting into the Windam’s arm.

O’Riley glanced at the message he’d received in the midst of battle. The ever-handy special forces ship Girty Lue had intervened, destroying two ZAFT ships without even dropping its treaty-banned Mirage Colloid system. This was the second battle she’d intervened in recently, having helped one of the Eurasian bases earlier in her journey to Daedalus Base from Azarchel. As the ship became visible, a wall of missiles erupted from Girty Lue’s launchers, taking apart a third Nazca with disturbing ease.

Retreat signals sprang from the remaining ZAFT ships, not surprising considering the condition of their forces; Stephan counted a mere sixteen mono-eye machines left on the battlefield, twenty cut down by the waves of Windams being sent out by Wells Base. As the one-legged red ZAKU tried to retreat, O’Riley saw a perfect opportunity to capture a new ZAFT machine.

“Oh, no you don’t!” he cried out, blasting away with his beam rifle toward the retreating mobile suit. Its right arm was taken clear off, axe along with it, and the right side beam Gatling fared no better. As the machine tried turning to face him, O’Riley shattered its mono-eye with fire from the Windam’s head CIWS guns, before physically grabbing it, Andy Bishop assisting him.

A prisoner…

****************


Sortie 04 – Have Suit, Will Travel

OMNI Enforcer Lunar Base Wells, H.G. Wells Crater.
Shortly After The Crete Naval Battle.


My whole body hurts…

That was the only thought Kevin Stockdale could manage. At the hands of his Alliance “interrogators”, he’d been pummelled and beaten for a few days, all the while having to listen to vitriolic rants about how subhuman Coordinators were, and the ‘blue and pure world’ that would exist once PLANT was destroyed for good. It was the Blue Cosmos rhetoric that stung most, more than the physical pain. The mentality that led to the Bloody Valentine was alive and well, even if millions upon millions of people were not in the wake of the furious war that had followed.

“Are you alive?” the voice was soft, remorseful.

“…Just. Who are you?” replied Stockdale, curious even in agony.

A weak laugh. “Your guardian angel. Come on, let’s get you out.”

The cell door opened, revealing a man of average height, with bright red hair. The OMNI uniform fit him surprisingly well. He was carrying a bag, which he proceeded to toss towards the battered Coordinator.

“What’s this?”

“A few bits and pieces to clean you up. And a spare uniform of mine. I’m sure it’ll offend you to wear it, but it’s the only way you’re getting out alive.”

“…Fine.”

A few minutes later, Kevin Stockdale looked almost human, even if he didn’t feel it in an EAF uniform. Walking with the mysterious man, it nagged at the ZAFT pilot’s mind why this was happening; it was beyond surreal. Just as he turned to ask, the man replied, as if sensing his thoughts:

“It was me who captured you. What those guys did was inhuman, though. Call this my way of repenting.” though his voice betrayed little, his face conveyed everything. “Don’t thank me. Shooting a retreating soldier is a terrible thing to do.”

With those words, Stockdale’s own guilt rose. Memories of Panama rushed back. Revenge for Joshua, we thought it was just…

With a nod to his saviour, Kevin carried on.

****************

“This?” he remarked, looking at the machine he was supposed to escape in.

“Yes, that. This is the closest hangar to the cells, after all.”

“Okay. I’ll manage.”

“Hopefully so. It’s better than a Moebius, at least.”

Stockdale felt vaguely uneasy boarding the machine, but as he shifted into a more comfortable position, the cockpit of the GAT-01 Strike Dagger became more tolerable. The basic layout was close enough to a GINN or GuAIZ to be familiar, so that wasn’t too bad. He’d been told the launch system had been automatically programmed, and was set to bypass the security systems.

Sure enough, as the leg boosters were attached and the antique mobile suit moved onto the catapult from its museum hangar, leaving five of its brothers behind, no alarms sounded.

Of course, as the Strike Dagger blasted out of a giant linear cannon into cool, open space, all kinds of warnings started blaring. It was fortunate the EAF didn’t seem to invest in ground-based defences for their lunar facilities, so the only enemy threat was the Windam team approaching. Even though his machine was far less agile, and infinitely worse armed, Stockdale wasn’t too worried. Hitting a communications switch, his machine transmitted a signal to the trio of Windams.

Instantly, all three machines went dead, their thrusters and cameras all going dark in the blink of an eye. The best of OMNI, dead in an instant. Of course, the disk containing the virus destroyed itself completely once it had been used, and Stockdale doubted even the best Coordinator could extract the data. Still, it was a useful send-off.

Another warning beeped. That was unusual. A lone Windam soared up, painted in a non-standard colour scheme… the one who let him escape was coming?!

“Sorry, but I can’t let you go without a fight, of course.” came the voice of Stephan O’Riley.

“Of course.” he replied, knowing this one was for the cameras, not for blood.

Turning, the ancient Strike Dagger raised its rifle, letting off a trio of ill-aimed blasts to show ‘resistance’. In return, O’Riley fired wide a few times, his machine’s aim deliberately off. Just to make it convincing, though, another shot from the Windam’s rifle came pretty close, taking the left foot of its war-vintage older cousin. In return, the Strike Dagger blasted off the Windam’s left arm.

For sake of drama, O’Riley fired his trademark ‘shotgun’ blast. a killer blow only prevented by the older machine’s shield, which half-melted under the force of the beams. With superb speed the redheaded Natural abandoned his ruined rifle and grabbed a ‘Stiletto’, tossing it perfectly into the Strike Dagger’s own rifle. In response, it grabbed its beam sabre from the right shoulder mount, igniting a furious orange blade. Grabbing an ES04B of his own, O’Riley prepared to dance.

Parry followed slash, slash followed parry, and the dance went on, neither gaining an advantage. Neither took advantage of their CIWS guns; Stockdale because they weren’t loaded, O’Riley to keep things fair for his opponent. A moment later, the ‘opponent’ had rammed his blade through the Windam’s faceplate before delivering a punishing kick to the torso, sending the latest GAT Family machine falling towards the lunar surface.

Kevin Stockdale pointed his machine at L4, and blasted off to Armoury One.

****************


Sortie-05 – Stranger In A Strange Land

OMNI Enforcer Lunar Base Azarchel.
Shortly After The Recapture Of ZGMF-X88S Gaia.


A general court martial was never a good thing. Being cleared on all charges was, though. O’Riley had been tried for failing to do his duty by letting the Coordinator escape in a Strike Dagger. He’d covered his tracks so well that there was no other charge, fortunately, and the one charge he did face was scrubbed, since the whole of Wells Base had apparently failed in their duty. The Windam pilots whose machines died on them claimed that it was “like someone flicked a switch”, and it was put down to software failure in the latest OS revision.

The pilots disagreed, but that was all that Wells’ mechanics could think of, since no Coordinator could create a logistic virus that quickly. The software failure option was safer, too; since testing began on the GAT-X Series, a remote ‘kill-switch’ had been installed in the OS of every Atlantic Federation mobile suit to shut down the machines in case of capture, though the Heliopolis hijack and the breakaway Socius clones had been able to disable the systems with various counter-virus programs; it remained in the OS code however, and O’Riley had brought it to the escapee’s attention for exactly this situation. Of course, the Alliance pilot had also called in a few favours to install a self-destruct protocol for the program too, so Stockdale couldn’t just give this functional version of the ‘kill-switch’ to ZAFT.

At Azarchel, O’Riley was with his new mobile suit, preparing for the first activation of its nuclear engine. A risky business at the best of times, this one hadn’t been brought online since the Junius Treaty was signed. All the engineers were convinced it’d be fine, as were various senior officers, who’d been told by engineers that things would be fine. It wouldn’t matter if there were N-Jammers in place at Azarchel or not if the reactor went, though, the damned thing had an N-Jammer Canceller and wasn’t in the least bit afraid to use it.

A tall man casually walked up to O’Riley, red shoulders on his uniform and the stripes of a commander on his collar. “Lieutenant, ready to try out this… museum piece?” the man’s disdain for the Wing Dagger was pretty obvious, even if he was an engineer.

“That museum piece has more power than any Windam, Commander Wakefield. I’m looking forward to firing up the reactor.” replied the pilot, smoothly. “You don’t seem too pleased with it, though…”

The engineer scoffed. “With the new mobile armours they’re testing down on Earth, I don’t see why we need to pull this thing out.”

“Because those mobile armours keep getting destroyed by ZAFT’s new mobile suits, that’s why. I hear they’re about as effective as the old Moebius, kinda fitting really.”

“Why, you…” Wakefield exclaimed, his face slowly matching the colour of his uniform shoulders.

“Mobile suits are the future, and if that means making a Dagger out of the legendary Freedom instead of our own legendary Strike, that’s exactly what we should be doing, not wasting money and resources on these toys the defence industry insists are the future.” O’Riley continued. “Now, if they made a gigantic mobile suit and called it an armour, maybe I’d pay attention…”

Wakefield laughed, sounding annoyingly arrogant. “Ha! What a ridiculous idea! Why would anyone even consider building something like that, when mobile suits are big enough? Hell, we couldn’t even afford to build one, if we want to operate these robots too!”

“Perhaps, perhaps… a pilot’s idle dreams, I guess.” replied O’Riley, still not convinced.

“Whatever. Board your suit, pilot. Activation test in ten minutes.” with that, Wakefield walked off. O’Riley gave the man’s retreating back the finger before heading off to change into his pilot suit.

****************

Ten Minutes Later

“System ready. Readying A-Ten neural network connection.”

This would be the make-or-break point in determining whether the Wing Dagger Zero could ever see combat. Of the twelve startup sequence sections, A1 to A7 were more basic systems checks to make sure the mobile suit and its components worked; A8 was the mini-battery responsible for activating the N-Jammer Canceller; A9 was the Canceller; A10 would be the nuclear engine itself.

“Roger that, Lieutenant.” Replied the control centre, nervously monitoring the test activation. “Go ahead with A-Ten connection.”

With a nod, O’Riley hit the Enter key on the cockpit keyboard, and closed his eyes, praying to every god he could think of.

Under his feet, a stirring began. With a powerful rumble, the mobile suit’s engine fired up, beginning the nuclear fission process that would power it. Nothing exploded. Nothing spiked. Nothing went haywire.

“Wing Dagger Zero, A-Ten connection successful. Proceed with connections A-Eleven and A-Twelve.” ordered Wakefield. The final two would bring the machine up to full operating and combat readiness, and were pretty mediocre as far as checks went. Everyone was still watching the readings from the reactor, though.

O’Riley was ecstatic. The power output of this new machine would be spectacular, compared to ZAFT’s new forces. Almost seven thousand kilowatts of energy coursed through the machine’s metallic veins, over three times the power of an ordinary Windam, which itself had power equal to the legendary Strike, if in the right hands. Unfortunately, too many pilots in the Alliance forces had been hastily trained after the last war to bring OMNI back up to strength, and most of the Windam’s potential was wasted. Maybe that was why these prototype mobile armours were being thrown into battle…

“Wing Dagger Zero, activation complete, full neural network confirms ready.” he reported to his superior, the red-shouldered engineer who grated on his nerves so much.

With more power than any other machine produced by the Gressorial Armaments Tactical series, even the second batch of GAT-X prototypes in the last war, nobody doubted the potential of the machine. O’Riley had to wonder why he was being assigned the damned thing, really. Maybe it was because he was one of the few Atlantic Federation pilots to last beyond their third mission. He neither knew, nor cared. Either way, piloting this machine would make him highly fearsome to ZAFT’s pilots.

His machine was still being tested, so he doubted it’d see combat any time soon. It had been painted in his custom scheme though, which O’Riley was highly pleased about. No boring impersonal scheme for him! That said, Strike’s colours weren’t too bad… but his ego demanded he show the Coordinators who they were fighting.

Even if they weren’t all Natural-hating scum…

Banishing those thoughts, O’Riley typed away, making sure his machine’s potential could be fully realised.

****************

Two Days Later

“Damn I look good!” exclaimed Stephan, modest as ever. His new pilot suit had arrived; no longer the blue and white OMNI pilot suit, this one bore the navy and gray colours of his mobile suit, with red highlights. Admiring himself in a mirror, the pilot decided that this would mark the beginning of a new era in his career; he almost wanted to believe that the Alliance’s counterattack would begin here and now, but that seemed too egotistical.

As always, an alarm sounded at the worst possible time.

Another ZAFT attack. A chance to prove the power of the Wing Dagger.

O’Riley ran for the hangar.

****************

In the Wing Dagger’s cockpit, everything was ready to go. Weapons had been armed, equipped, and loaded. The machine was set to go. It wouldn’t even need those accursed boosters to get it off the moon, its own engine power was far more than sufficient.

Alongside his comrades, he prepared to join the fight.

Windams with a whole range of Strikers were preparing to soar up into space; Aile Windams for the first-wave interceptors, Sword Windams for the melee fighters, Launcher Windams for the fire-support units, Doppelhorn Windams for artillery forces. He could swear there was even a Gunbarrel Windam in there, though the notoriously unreliable Thunderbolt was absent, and for obvious reasons nobody was launching with nukes. All of them had a common purpose; keep ZAFT off the moon.

Firing into space, O’Riley’s adrenaline levels soared.

****************

ZAFT’s mobile suits had no idea what to do.

They had expected to see the enemy’s first wave to enter firing range ninety seconds after they launched. That gave them time to take aim. One enemy machine had arrived in forty-five. With a glitter-like trail behind it, the machine soared through space, blazing forward like some kind of demon.

“Freedom?!” exclaimed one Blaze ZAKU Warrior pilot, right before a beam rifle blast far greater than any Dagger’s tore right through his cockpit.

Despite the impressive introduction, O’Riley was struggling to maintain control over his machine. He’d gone to full throttle leaving the moon, and the G-forces were absolutely immense, forcing him right back into his seat. He’d cut back considerably, blasting the Zaku as soon as he’d slowed enough to get a lock with the targeting computer. Pushing forward, the Alliance machine soared ‘above’ its enemies, firing a few more beam rifle blasts before leaving the new-style monoeyes to his allies.

O’Riley wanted a destroyer.

Very few Alliance pilots ever scored warship kills. Their ZAFT counterparts were infamous for it. The discrepancy came from the OMNI reliance on the big guns of space cruisers, and using MS simply to keep other MS away. Thus, the opportunity to bag a warship of some kind was highly appealing.

Pushing forwards, beyond the reach of the ZAFT mobile suit line, O’Riley deployed the beam cannons in the suit’s wings, the over-the-shoulder guns aiming at the closest Nazca. With a squeeze of the trigger the cannons and beam rifle erupted with green beams, each piercing through the bridge of ZAFT’s lead ship, killing the crew and destroying the ship’s ‘brain’. Its automatic CIWS remained active however, so the Wing Dagger twisted and turned through a hail of bullets before further beams pierced the ship’s engines.

From up close, O’Riley found the explosion was incredible.

An irritating exclamation noise alerted him to the fact that someone was approaching from behind. Bringing up a view from the rear cameras on his screen, O’Riley found that one of the two-shield Zakus had set its sights on him, a sky-blue unit with gold trim. Its pilot, as well as having an annoying colour scheme, looked to be carrying the big-gun weapons pack, something he’d never seen on one of these units.

With surprising speed, it deployed the heavy beam weapon, immediately firing in the Wing Dagger’s direction. Fortunately for him, O’Riley had already vacated the area the beam tore through, returning fire in a heartbeat with his own beam rifle. Though deadly accurate – targeting computers be praised – it had no effect on the anti-beam coating of his enemy’s shield. The opponent let rip again with his large cannon, but the red-white beam once again failed to find its mark.

Leaving the heavy gun to fold itself into the stored position, the ZAFT pilot grabbed a beam tomahawk from one shield, and threw it toward the Wing Dagger. Raising his shield, O’Riley deflected the weapon, intercepting the Zaku axe at such an angle to send it flying off in another direction rather than wedging itself in his shield. With that distraction removed, the OMNI pilot launched into his own offensive. Drawing a beam sabre, O’Riley faced down his opponent with a yellow blade, rifle stored for later use.

Taking full advantage of his machine’s far superior mobility, O’Riley weaved around fire from his opponent’s beam rifle, occasionally catching a shot or two on his shield. Backing away in such a way as to reflect its pilot’s fear, the Coordinator in his ZAKU backed off, not sure how to launch a counteroffensive.

A beam sabre blade through the cockpit removed his need to try.

Behind the Wing Dagger, now disengaged from the battle, a team of Dark Windams advanced from behind the main force, aiming to execute some anti-ship actions of their own. Painted almost completely black, only amber camera visors and magenta edges of their feet breaking the colour scheme, the space-black Windams advanced toward ZAFT’s remaining fleet, Mk.39 cannons levelled at their collective target, the second Nazca.

Watching the noir mobile suits sally forth, O’Riley had to wonder if ZAFT’s commanders even cared about their losses. They’d committed so many ships to breaking the Alliance’s lunar strongholds, and been pushed back each time, he had to wonder what their ultimate objective was. World domination, perhaps? Time would tell, but for now those questions were for the top brass. His job was just to keep the enemy at bay. Going on the offensive was out of the question, it seemed.

An unlucky GuAIZ-R – they were still in use, amazingly – chose that moment to attack O’Riley. Grabbing a spherical breaker stored on the inside of his shield, the red-haired Alliance pilot launched out the wired hammer, its ultra-dense ball smashing its obsolete target with ludicrous ease. One had to wonder why the spherical breaker existed, apart from for novelty value, but its effectiveness was unquestionable regardless. Stephan had to laugh at the glorified mace, it seemed so out of place on a battlefield dominated by long-range energy weapons; still, whatever fought back the enemy.

‘Mjolnir’ hammer still in hand, O’Riley found himself facing another Zaku, this one yet another of the oversized-backpack models. As it fired missiles from the backpack’s upper tips, O’Riley swung the breaker in front of his machine, the sheer speed of the chain cutting the missiles down before they could connect with the mobile suit and its near-impervious Trans-Phase armour. Reeling the hammer in on its line, O’Riley fired the CIWS guns in his machine’s head, all the while grabbing the beam rifle for a ranged engagement this time.

The first blast went wide, but threw the Zaku off-guard slightly. A snapshot from its rifle burned across the Wing Dagger’s right shoulder armour, coming perilously close to its wing. Its Alliance prey thrown off-balance, the Zaku pressed its attack, though the monoeye machine couldn’t keep up with the evasive actions of its enemy.

“Damn you!” exclaimed Stephan, whose temper had reached its limit. In fury, he hastily aimed at the Zaku and fired, not releasing the trigger until each limb had been ripped from its torso, the last blast punching right through cockpit.

O’Riley barely realised the battle had ended until the Dark Windam team grappled his mobile suit.

****************
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing." - Sledge Hammer.
A Wind Raging Through, a Destiny sidestory.

Antares
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Post by Antares » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:05 am

Quite the entry. Not bad at all, given my general preference for GS/D sidestories that fit well into the general plot (kudos for giving the general timeline too). And you also sneaked in a bit of healthy criticism at CE, like the part about how one-sided (or inconsequential, even) spaceship-battles have tended to be, or the expendable nature of grunts. :P Although I have three words of criticism; Wing Dagger Zero. :wink: Plausible, but slightly overpowered (although you don't make it too blatant).
-We will not be caught by surprise!
*Almost everyone I've killed uttered similar last words.
-Then I am glad once again that you are on my side.
*They've often said that too.

rebel_cheese
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Post by rebel_cheese » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:55 pm

Very promising beginning. I'm enjoying the characters and subtle digs at Destiny. It's kind of cool to read stories that can be considered canonical at times. At times, your prose gets a tad too robotic but other than that, I really don't have a problem with how you've writing this (and the prose does take on more personality towards the end).

I can't wait to read more from you.
MURRUE: Infallible accuracy?? I thought you just usually shot all your weapons at random and they just happened to hit stuff.

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

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Dendrobium Stamen
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Post by Dendrobium Stamen » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:54 pm

Antares wrote:Quite the entry. Not bad at all, given my general preference for GS/D sidestories that fit well into the general plot (kudos for giving the general timeline too). And you also sneaked in a bit of healthy criticism at CE, like the part about how one-sided (or inconsequential, even) spaceship-battles have tended to be, or the expendable nature of grunts. :P
Thanks! One of my specific aims with this fic was to make it entirely compatible with the animated Destiny material, and as much as possible the Destiny Astray sidestories and such. There's actually a fair bit more of it written, which is undergoing revision to make sure it's compatible with Stargazer and Delta Astray, hopefully coming soon! As for the healthy criticism, I mock because I love :)
Antares wrote:Although I have three words of criticism; Wing Dagger Zero. :wink: Plausible, but slightly overpowered (although you don't make it too blatant).
Wing Dagger Zero is an interesting one. It was a pet mecha project of mine a good while ago when GSD was still airing, to fill the GAT-03 gap in the Alliance's MS manifest. Its specs, and development history, can be found here (Warning: Minor spoilers at end of design history).
rebel_cheese wrote:Very promising beginning. I'm enjoying the characters and subtle digs at Destiny. It's kind of cool to read stories that can be considered canonical at times. At times, your prose gets a tad too robotic but other than that, I really don't have a problem with how you've writing this (and the prose does take on more personality towards the end).

I can't wait to read more from you.
Thanks again! As noted, I'm doing what I can to keep it within the animated timeline and such. As for the prose, my writing style never manages to stay consistent for more than a year or so. While that's annoying, it seems from your comments that it's changing for the better, so I'll strive to maintain that standard!
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing." - Sledge Hammer.
A Wind Raging Through, a Destiny sidestory.

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wing zero alpha
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Post by wing zero alpha » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:04 am

Ah, nice to see this on again, and despite what people say, I liked the Wing Dagger Zero design; I've always wanted to see a Daggerfied version of the Freedom, and although it'll probably never see the light of day (unlike a Daggerfied version of the Hyperion), I'll take what I can get.

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