Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (COMPLETE 10/26/16)

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Vent Noir
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 78 3/27/16)

Post by Vent Noir » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:42 am

Good to see another chapter of this!
Vent Noir

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April 7, 1979: The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam premieres. Fanboys declare Gundam "Ruined FOREVER".

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 78 3/27/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:31 pm

I know I've been slow on updating this. The time's come for another update burst of backlogged chapters, hopefully one that will conclude the story.

I had to do something to motivate myself to finish that probably was not necessary story-wise, but I needed it to give me a push to end the story, and also answer some lingering questions (namely, this fic's connection to Gundam 00) because I am not sure if I'm going to continue into DESTINY.

This is a rather stupid reason to go about things, but this fic was not going to be finished unless I did it. I needed enough of a spark to get writing again. So it had to be done.

You guys will know what I'm talking about once the update burst is underway. Hopefully it's executed well enough that it doesn't drag down the conclusion, which is more or less the intended conclusion I've had in mind since 2011 (my God, that long ago). This is still my always-intended conclusion, just with something extra.
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?

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 78 3/27/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:30 pm

Chapter Seventy-Nine: Plans

It wasn’t until I was summoned to this particular briefing that I realized how much time had passed since we had arrived at L4. But it had been over a month already.

I still hadn’t been able to meet Siegel Clyne and discuss Lacus with him. He had largely secluded himself somewhere in the Mendel colony in grief, and Talias Gladys was left trying to run the ex-ZAFT side of things on her own. A doctor named Gilbert Durandal was rapidly gaining popularity among the Coordinators in our alliance, and I couldn’t help but notice he was attending the briefing too at Talia’s side. Perhaps his influence and support was growing to the point where he was becoming a leader too.

As for me, I was deathly afraid. This was the time I was supposed to be having my period and it hadn’t happened yet. It was the first time in my life that I wanted my period and all of the lovely side effects that came with it. Every moment that consciously went by was a moment where I felt I was ready to pass out from the stress.

It was a relief when they finally started talking. Naomi Misora, the former Earth Alliance admiral, was the one that broke the ice. “I am sure some of you know why this strategic meeting has been called. About five days ago, the Earth Alliance successfully took the Carpentaria base, effectively eliminating the ZAFT forces from Earth, and Oceania has also surrendered.”

That caused murmuring all around me. I heard Natarle Badgiruel say “It doesn’t surprise me. ZAFT was effectively isolated. It was only a matter of time.”

“It does not help that evidence of war crime activity was discovered by the Earth Alliance,” Misora said. I immediately had flashbacks to ZAFT personnel torturing, killing, and tormenting Naturals while I was at Carpentaria post-Spitbreak. Not even Naturals allied with them were spared. I wondered how many of the war criminals had wound up being killed as Carpentaria fell? How many more were going to face abuse just as great or even worse than they had administered at the hands of Blue Cosmos?

Karma has an odd way of getting revenge on people. However, it can take months or even years, decades, before karma finally bites back, when you least expect it. Karma, sure as hell, was coming to bite me, and there was a sinking feeling in my gut that told me that it was.

“With Carpentaria eliminated,” Misora said, “The Earth will begin marshalling its forces to head into space and defeat ZAFT once and for all. With the publicizing of ZAFT war crimes, I expect we won’t be seeing many more desertions to our side from Earth.”

Talia Gladys frowned. “The amount of refugees coming to L4 have been practically nonexistent for a week. We had two ships, neither of them combat-capable, arrive, and one of them was barely crewed at all. That was it. I believe we have everyone who would possibly want to join us openly at this point.”

Misora glared at Gladys. The two women clearly saw each other as rivals and both of them wanted to make sure their interests were represented. “What I am saying is that the propaganda will make the Earth Alliance fight harder and more desperately. We don’t see many desertions to our side under any circumstances, much less while we’re in our holding pattern here.”

Kira spoke up softly. He was the nominal leader, being the one who had rallied all of the military personnel here with his speech pleading for peace and unity, but I wasn’t sure if he was truly in command. “This is a pointless argument, Naomi Misora. Please continue with your statement.”

Misora wasn’t keen on being commanded by a seventeen-year-old kid, even if he was the Prince of Orb and basically the leader of his country in exile. “Right, of course, Prince Kira.”

She continued then, keeping her voice even, but I noticed she was still looking at Gladys suspiciously. “Blue Cosmos may be running the show unopposed, ruling through fear and propaganda, but they are not fools. ZAFT is a shadow of its former self after the failure of Spitbreak. ZAFT is retreating behind its fortresses at Jachin Due and Boaz, and the Earth Alliance will need to go through both of them to get a clear shot at PLANT. However, they also know that we are here and could potentially attack them from the rear. We need to increase our combat readiness in the event the Earth Alliance decides to come knocking on our door.”

“They’ll undoubtedly have the N-Jammer Canceller technology unlocked when they decide to move,” Mu La Flaga said.

“Exactly. We’ll likely be coming under nuclear assault, and if that fails there’s a good chance the Earth Alliance will simply try to run us over and then nuke us,” Misora said.

“That was inspiring,” Badgiruel muttered under her breath.

“Do you think they might simply ignore us and attack ZAFT?” asked a ZAFT captain whose name I did not know.

“Possibly, if they deem us too far out of the way or too insignificant of a threat,” Misora replied.

“I could see them deciding to finish off ZAFT first and then circle around to attack us,” Badgiruel suddenly said. “Also, we have the GUNDAM weapons that are significantly more powerful than anything they can throw against us. To try to fight us will mean fighting a long, drawn-out, bloody struggle that may only result in a Pyrrhic victory for them. They can’t afford those kinds of losses before engaging ZAFT.”

“You have too much faith in those weapons,” Misora sniffed.

“You have not seen them in action the way I have and how even one of them can be all that’s needed to keep you alive,” Badgiruel replied, her voice cool.

She was right. I was living proof of that. It still feels strange to think about, but I don’t think the Archangel would have made it to this point if I hadn’t decided to fly the Strike. All it takes a pilot with some degree of skill (or, in my case, the necessary reflexes) and all of a sudden there’s a chance to survive.

“You think ZAFT will ignore us and instead try to eliminate the PLANTs?” Kira asked.

Badgiruel nodded. “With ZAFT eliminated on Earth, there’s only going to be two areas left with Coordinators: us, and at the PLANTs. Blue Cosmos may get cocky and decide to save us for later, and then make a move to crush ZAFT. Remember, the Earth Alliance will have nuclear weapons when they make this move. They probably think they can nuke Boaz, Jachin Due, and all of the PLANTs and end it all in one swift stroke. Then they can concentrate on us and fight a Pyrrhic struggle against the GUNDAM machines, where nuking us may not work because the Freedom and Justice have the METEOR attachments that can fire more missiles and lasers than you and I can count.”

“So you’re saying the Freedom and the Justice are the nuclear deterrents,” Misora said, still not convinced.

“Yes. And fighting us first is a gamble. We’d still probably lose in the wake of an all-out Earth assault, but we’d cause them so many casualties the type of final offensive they’d like to make against the PLANTs would not be possible. So that’s why I think they’re initially going to pass us by and go right for the PLANTs, likely sortieing from their Moon base.”

Gladys bit her lip. “We can’t just let them wipe the PLANTs out.”

“I’m not suggesting it. Hell, if we let them do it, they’d still come for us, and we’d still probably lose but cause them severe casualties. The only way to stop them is to prevent them from destroying the PLANTs. We have to defeat Blue Cosmos and Patrick Zala’s radical government without allowing either side to be annihilated, or our future is also annihilation by either of their hands,” Badgiruel said.

“You’re full of good news, ain’t ya?” Mu said, an uneasy smile on his face. Badgiruel replied by elbowing him in the stomach, which knocked him a bit off-balance.

“All right, so the only way to stop either side from destroying each other, and to prevent ourselves from being destroyed, is to take Blue Cosmos and Patrick Zala out of the game,” Kira said. I noticed Athrun wincing out of the corner of his eye, I had a sad feeling he still wanted to sneak out of here and try to reason with his father, but there was no way in hell I was going to let him and he knew it.

“I think we’re going to need to depart from L4 with a rearguard standing by in case the Earth Alliance does try something,” Kira said. “We have to keep them from nuking Boaz. At the same time, our sympathizers in the PLANTs have to overthrow Patrick Zala and take him into custody. Do we have anyone capable of doing that?”

“Eileen Canaver is allied with us and is still in the PLANTs,” Gladys replied. “She’d be the one most likely to make a move.”

“Communicate to her and get her onboard with a coup d’etat,” Kira said. “As for Blue Cosmos, I think we’re going to have to try to form a bridge with the remaining moderates who can’t leave their fleets. That way, when we make our move, they can turn on the Blue Cosmos-aligned vessels and on the nuclear-equipped vessels and catch the enemy by surprise. With Zala and Blue Cosmos both eliminated, both sides can sue for peace.”

Misora raised an eyebrow. “You’re seventeen years old and you got it all thought out, don’t you?”

Kira smiled uneasily. “You can poke holes in my plan all you want, but it’s the best I got. It’s better than waiting around for Blue Cosmos to show up to finish us off.”

“You’re assuming that Blue Cosmos won’t try to eliminate us first,” Misora said.

“Badgiruel has given us a good reason why they won’t come for us first, and until you can give us a better counterpoint I’m going to trust her judgment,” Kira replied.

Misora gritted her teeth. She was clearly not used to having her authority and knowledge questioned like this. She was an admiral, of course, and had commanded a whole fleet, though not all of her fleet came with her. For someone to last as long as she did in space where the Earth Alliance had a perpetual disadvantage,

And being outmaneuvered by a Natural teenager likely wasn’t sitting well with her. She was likely used to running circles around Naturals due to her superior Coordinator abilities, but Kira wasn’t like most Naturals. He was well-educated, with the intention of him ruling Orb eventually. He wasn’t going to be a pushover for an overambitious admiral.

He had come a long way from when Murrue was able to out-argue him on Heliopolis. Though to be fair to him, he had just survived a battle and had taken a bad blow to the head.

“Even so, having our deterrents, these GUNDAM machines, take off to fight both sides at once leaves L4 vulnerable to a strike if Earth decides to splinter some of their forces,” Misora replied. “We are betting on all or nothing.”

“So are they,” Kira said. “Both sides have taken this to the point of no return. I saw that the hard way at Orb.”

The silence hung in the air, weighing down on a good portion of us.

“Well, if no one else has any questions, we should adjourn this meeting,” Gladys said calmly.

“This isn’t over. I still don’t like this strategy,” Misora growled.

“Until we can draw up something better, it’s our strategy,” Mu La Flaga replied. “Right now, it looks like neither side is thinking straight, so let’s take advantage of it.”

That was when a young officer burst into the room, breathless. “I-I’m sorry to interrupt, but, but…”

“What is it?” Badgiruel asked.

“A recon team went deeper into Mendel, and they found something… something strange!”

“Like what?” Mu asked. “What could be stranger than discovering a laboratory full of half-grown dead fetuses?”

I admit it, he had something of a point.

“We found people. They look like they’ve been locked up for decades! And one of them is still alive!”

The entire room froze. What the man had just said could have meant so many different things, and it didn’t quite make sense.

“Say that again, one more time, with clarity,” Badgiruel replied.

The man did.
***
“My God, how long could this woman have been under?” La Flaga asked.

There was no meaningful identification on the lifepod, which was essentially a glorified cyro chamber. That was a technology thought lost since the Reconstruction Wars. No one knew how to replicate it. And yet, here it was, existing, and there was somebody still alive in there.

“She dates from the Reconstruction War at least, if not longer,” Gladys replied. “This is technology thought lost.”

“We shouldn’t be letting so many junior officers ogle this lifepod,” Misora growled, looking at me, Athrun, the rest of the pilots and bridge crew members who were all here, like zoo visitors crowding around a new exotic animal exhibit.

“The cat’s out of the bag at this point,” Badgiruel replied. “No harm done in letting them see it, as long as we keep her secure. We’ll also need to decide whether to wake her up.”

“If we wake her up, there is no guarantee we’ll be able to put her back under, or even if she’ll survive,” Misora replied.

“Can we even see what she looks like?” Dearka asked, as he tried to lean over.

“Glass is so frosted over that I think it’ll shatter if we touch it,” said the Archangel’s doctor, Jacqueline Grumman. “Might crack on its own, and we’ll have no choice but to revive her then.”

“Dammit,” Dearka growled.

“Why’re you so interested? Think it’s gonna be a pretty girl?” Nicol asked, dismayed.

“Always is,” Dearka replied, in a weird sort of indignant pride.

“What’s the condition of the others?” Mu asked Dr. Grumman.

“They’re dead. Their bodies are still preserved, but they flatlined years, if not decades, ago. Stayed under far too long,” she replied. “As it is, I can’t guarantee the mental stability of this woman if we choose to revive her. Someone who has been put under as long as she has may not be cognizant, or even sane.”

There was silence. No one seemed to know what to do. It was a tough question, we were under enough stress as it was without worrying about waking up a woman put under for decades, if not over a century, and trying to deal with her issues. Especially with a final battle on the way.

However, she dated from the Reconstruction Wars, if not earlier. There was a giant gap in history from 2307 A.D. to the Reconstruction War, where it felt like many, many individual pieces of a puzzle were thrown away to be lost permanently. What exactly happened in the Reconstruction War wasn’t widely known either, other than it brought about a borderline-apocalypse for humankind that put an end to the Anno Domini era and started Cosmic Era.

And I remembered Waltfeld’s conspiracy theories in that moment, especially regarding that fossil that George Glenn, so many years ago, had brought home from Jupiter’s orbit.

“Wake her up,” I said.

Everyone stared and looked at me, surprised. It was almost enough to make me quiet.

“Wake her up. What happened in the Reconstruction War isn’t widely known. All that we know is that we fell apart to in-fighting, and right now this war looks like it’s going the same direction. Maybe if we know what happened, and why, in the Reconstruction War, we might know what will happen in this war, or what’s happening differently.”

There was a lot of chatter then, as people discussed the matter between themselves. Athrun walked over to me, clearly concerned. “Cagalli, you sure this is such a good idea?”

“No, but I don’t see any point in leaving her under just so she can die like her friends did,” I reply. “Might as well try to see if she can help, right?”

Athrun nodded, slowly, but the concern did not leave his eyes. “I understand.”

“All right,” Badgiruel said. “We’re going to wake her up. Grumman, take it slow and carefully. And everyone, out of the room. This is going to take a ZOINKS long time so we know we’re not going to accidentally kill her, so there’s no point in all of us hanging around. Go home.”

That wound up including me, so I wound up leaving right after she said that, the comatose, cryo-sleeping woman’s identity still a mystery.
***
Seeing Stellar Loussier, Sting Oakley, and Auel Neider together again was an odd sight.

Stellar was no longer bonded to me, as I had expected. Instead, she had attached herself to my adoptive mother, Caridad Yamato. Mom was nonchalant about the bonding, she was more disappointed that the ESP-esque abilities she received had been only temporary and gradually faded away. Honestly, considering my own experience with them, I was happy that they were no longer there.

Still, seeing Stellar clearly adore my mother, while basically ignoring me, hurt.

Elle, at least, wasn’t bound by her programming the way Stellar was. She at least said ‘Hi’ or ‘Good morning’ to me every day.

Kind of pathetic, isn’t it? That all it took was a ‘good morning’ to make me feel like I didn’t completely suck.

It was strange, interacting with everyone I had known again. Aisha had replaced Tolle as the Archangel’s co-pilot. Flay was apparently going to receive a replacement Mobile Suit based off of the Strike, an experimental design called the Rouge. Athrun was made leader of the “GUNDAM wing”, as Badgiruel called it, which has a nice ring to it I guess. Mu La Flaga was the only one piloting a GUNDAM that was not made part of Athrun’s unit, as he was in command of all Mobile Suits and Armors.

Everyone was gearing up and preparing for the end, and all I could do was watch the Freedom getting repaired. That’s being a pilot for you. I wasn’t in command and I wasn’t much use other than for piloting the Freedom. I just hoped it would get fixed in time so I wouldn’t go into battle completely rusty.

The next day, I took Elle to show her the rebuilding Freedom. She wasn’t impressed. “It has no head.”

“They’re making it a new head. They’re hoping to install it next week,” I replied. L4 had manufacturing capabilities and there were no shortage of engineers that had arrived with the flow of refugees. “It’ll look just the way it’s supposed to.”

“Will it fly the way it’s supposed to?” Elle asked.

“I’m pretty sure. No reason why it wouldn’t, it didn’t take super-heavy damage,” I replied.

Elle nodded slowly. “So that means you have to go back out and fight again.”

“I have to. Anyone who can fight has to. We’re all in this together, and the Freedom will be the best Mobile Suit I can fight in. It’s top of the line.”

And also exceptionally expensive to operate, which was why it wasn’t getting mass-produced, but that was besides the point.

“When do you think it’ll stop?” Elle asked me.

“There’s only one battle, maybe two, left before it stops,” I replied. I decided to leave out the possibility that the battle could stop the war simply by killing everyone in the solar system.

Elle nodded slightly. “Is that why you left? To try to make it stop?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I learned it wouldn’t stop no matter what side I was on. The only way it all ends is to stop both sides from fighting somehow.”

“By killing all of them?” Elle asked.

“Hopefully not. I think if we just eliminate their weapons of mass destruction, and stop their leaders, that’ll be enough. We wouldn’t be much better than they are if we resorted to killing everyone too.”

Elle looked around, and I realized she had spotted Hilda Harken walking around the hangar, watching the maintenance going on Aegis. I put my hand on her shoulder, just to keep her calm. Elle clearly had not forgotten about what Hilda had tried to do to her, and it was hard to explain that Hilda and I were on the same side now and bygones had to be bygones for everyone’s sanity.

It also reminded me that I had to stop shying away from talking to Lacus’ father. He had basically become a recluse after we had docked at L4. He was leaving a serious power vacuum in the Coordinator contingent by doing so, and more and more of it was centering on Gladys and Durandal. Talia Gladys seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, but I couldn’t read Durandal at all, especially since he seemed to be silent most of the time and observe everything. I wasn’t looking forward to learning his opinions after he finished siphoning away all of Siegel Clyne’s influence.

If he wanted to shut down after this war was over, that was his decision. But I needed to see him eventually and see if I couldn’t kick him in the ass enough to be the leader we needed.

“She’s not going to hurt you,” I said to Elle. “She’s not your enemy anymore.”

“I don’t like you working with her,” Elle said as her tiny hand reached up to mine on her shoulder.

“She’s on my side now,” I said, to soothe her a little bit. “She’s not one of the bad guys anymore. She’s not going to do things like take you hostage anymore.”

“I don’t like her,” Elle said.

Getting a gun pointed at your head, no, having the gun’s hot barrel touch your head, is one of those traumatizing things that will never leave your memory. Elle’s saving grace was that she was young. She might be able to get over it as she got older. Maybe.

“You don’t have to,” I said. “And after this war, I won’t be working with her ever again, and you won’t have to see her ever again. But for now, she’s become one of the good guys.”

“She’s not,” Elle replied. “If she was, she wouldn’t have done that to me.”

That’s a child’s logic for you. And it made sense in a weird way.

I knew she couldn’t stay here, not long enough before Hilda left. So I took Elle’s hand and led her away, but we didn’t get very far before I saw a ghost.

I heard frantic footsteps behind me and my paranoia and military instincts asserted themselves before I could stop myself. Putting Elle directly behind me, I spun around and pulled out a pistol, before I saw her.

She looked almost like Lacus.

Her pink hair was shorter, and she was older, she had to be approaching thirty. Her green eyes shot wide open at the sight of my pistol, a look of pure terror in her eyes.

I froze up too, thinking that somehow Lacus had come back from the dead. The only thing that forced me back into reality was something I knew Lacus did not have. There was a blue-colored mark was on her right cheek, looking almost like a bruise, or frostbite.

“Please,” she said, in a soft whisper that sounded like her voice hadn’t been used in centuries. “Don’t shoot me.”

She even sounded like Lacus.

“Who are you?” I asked.

The pink-haired woman backed away, her legs and arms trembling like she was in the middle of a blizzard. “A-Answer me first! Who are you? What is this place?”

“You’re in L4, a space colony that’s broken away from Earth,” I replied.

“Why?” the woman asked. “Why would you do that?”

What was this woman doing here, and if she didn’t understand the situation, why would she be here at all?

Then it hit me. Especially after looking at the blue mark on her face one more time.

This was the woman they were talking about taking out of cyro-sleep. She must have woken up and snuck out of wherever they were keeping her.

Clearly no one had explained to her what’s going on.

Why did these types of crazy things always have to fall to me?

I lowered my gun to calm her down. “It’s a long story, and I’m not sure how much you want to hear.”

“There wasn’t… an L4… not from my time.” Tears were beginning to flow down her face. “What year is it?”

“71, Cosmic Era,” I replied.

“What happened to Anno Domini?” the pink-haired woman asked.

“There was a war. A bad one, which we don’t know very much about. The Reconstruction War. After it was over, it ended the Anno Domini calendar and we started anew.”

“No,” the woman said, in a tone that sounded almost like it was begging. “Why… why didn’t they wake me up? Why didn’t they wake any of us up?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly.

“Where is his flower? Where is Setsuna’s flower?” the woman begged me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied.

The woman fell to her hands and knees then, her head staring at the metal floor. “Setsuna… what have they done to your dream, Setsuna…”

“What’s wrong with her?” Elle asked from behind me.

“I don’t know.” I was getting really sick of answering questions with that response.

The woman looked to her right then, and she eyeballed the Freedom then. The sorrow in her eyes turned to horror then. “No… the GUNDAMs. You’re using them all wrong. They're not supposed to be used this way!”

I didn’t need to be a psychologist to know she was about to have a breakdown and do something stupid. I left Elle and grabbed her before she could try anything. She was weaker than I expected, and she didn’t struggle for very long.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m sure I’m confusing you too. Please stop,” I replied softly.

“Setsuna, I’m so sorry.” It took me a moment to realize she had left our world, and now she was back in hers, wherever it was, presumably Anno Domini. “P-Please forgive me, Setsuna. Please.”

“There she is!” I looked up and I saw two men rushing towards me.

“Any idea what the hell is going on?” I asked as they kneeled down right beside me.

“I don’t know. We don’t even have her name yet,” the ebony-skinned man replied.

The woman, for her part, had fallen completely limp, like her energy had given out. All she had left were tears, and her croaking voice whispering “Setsuna,” over and over again.

“She knows how to get out of restraints though,” the bald man said as he took the woman from my arms. “She’s gotta be military of some kind.”

“Where are you taking her?” I asked.

“Where she can relax and there can actually be a conversation where everyone’s questions can be answered,” the black man replied.

They didn’t look like they were going to hurt or torture her. Badgiruel would have their heads if they harmed her, and I was sure Gladys and Durandal would be the same way.

So I let them take her away, though I couldn’t help but notice the pink-haired woman looking up at me, her green eyes pleading, despairing.

She looked so much like an older Lacus.

When they vanished with her, I somehow felt like I had lost my friend all over again, just moments after regaining her.

This wasn’t over. I was going to find out who she was, who she truly was, before the final battle began.

For my sake, if not anyone else’s.
Last edited by rebel_cheese on Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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The Green Flame
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by The Green Flame » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:20 am

Oh hey it's Feldt, HI FELDT.

Glad to see you're back again and jumpin into the 00.

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:40 pm

The Green Flame wrote:Oh hey it's Feldt, HI FELDT.

Glad to see you're back again and jumpin into the 00.
You guessed it, not that I didn't make it exceptionally obvious. :P

I've been trying. I've actually had the final battle written since last year, but it's been a struggle for me to write up to that point (and this latest development will force changes to the battle, albeit minor ones).

Basically, this is me playing a card I hadn't planned to use until the Destiny-era sequel fic right now. I hope it's okay.
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?

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:57 pm

Chapter Eighty is a doozy. You guys want it tomorrow, or on Sunday (which is my planned update day for the foreseeable future)?
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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The Green Flame
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by The Green Flame » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:51 pm

Sunday is fine. Seeing we're at chapter 80, is 100 the final target?

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:14 pm

The Green Flame wrote:Sunday is fine. Seeing we're at chapter 80, is 100 the final target?
There is no way I can stretch this out to 100, nor do I want to. 90 is closer to the mark.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
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Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:28 am

Chapter Eighty: The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows

It was the next day that they contacted me.

Cagalli, we need you on the Archangel,” said Arnold Neumann that morning on the communique.

“You can’t be serious,” I said. “What do you guys need me for? Emergency meeting? Earth Alliance or ZAFT starting up something?”

It’s not an emergency. It more involves the person that they woke up from cyro. She’s demanding to see you before she talks.

If this wasn’t Arnold Neumann talking, I would have laughed. This was rich. Why would Semi-Crazy Cyro Woman want to speak to me? What had I done to deserve that? Plus…

“How do you know she wants me? She never got my name.”

She described you pretty well, and it was vouched by the men who brought her back into the cell. Like it or not you’re a bit of a celebrity among everyone here at L4, Cagalli.

He was right about that. It probably didn’t help that I had fought for both sides in the war; it had made me a propaganda symbol for both sides without me knowing. I had only just gotten to watch some of the sickening commercials, and see some of the posters, both sides had made about me, positive and negative. My reaction to them are largely unprintable in a standard news outlet, and I’m not going to waste time describing them in detail, beyond a furious bile forming in the back of my throat.

“All right, I’ll head on over,” I said. “This better not be a trap.”

She’s too weak for it to be a trap, Cagalli, and we’re not letting her have any sharp instruments, not even plastic utensils. She’s on suicide watch, so I suggest you get here as soon as possible.

Another bit of lovely information. I was already starting to regret agreeing to head to the Archangel. Didn’t they have anyone else who could play therapist? Why me? I had to be just as screwed up as everyone else, right?

“Gotcha. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I killed the communication, before Neumann could add anything more that would make me regret my decision even more.

Always had to be me. I had to talk Hilda down from shooting Elle. I had to talk Flay down more times than I can count. I’ve had to comfort Elle and Stellar on multiple occasions. I have had to be everyone’s confidant, their friend, their companion.

When was it going to finally be my turn?

It hit me as I prepared to leave, that I did have someone who I could have confided to, and she was dead.

Figured.
***
The room was cold, and sterile, and I saw the pink-haired woman sitting alone in a room with no amenities. Not even her bed had blankets. I felt disgusted at this atrocious treatment of her, but then I remembered Neumann’s warning about her being on a suicide watch. She had probably tried everything possible to kill herself, including strangling or smothering herself with the blankets.

They were not going to let her have her wish. And I wasn’t going to let her have it either. She was not going to wake up after centuries of sleep only to kill herself on us now. It would not only be a a colossal waste, but she deserved the chance to find better, and to help us.

Thinking this, I at least had the confidence to know how I wanted to play this.

I approached her and sat down in front of her without saying a word. She looked up at me, her green eyes peeking through her bangs. “Hello again.”

I was reminded of Flay suffering in that prison cell, on the verge of going insane. Except this was different. Flay was on the verge of losing her mind from her pain. This woman was suffering in an entirely different way. Her eyes were filled with this tremendous despair that pierced you in such a way that it felt contagious, that if you let your guard down you’d be pulled down with her into the abyss.

“Hi. I don’t think I got to introduce myself yesterday,” I said. “My name’s Cagalli Yamato.”

“You must be wondering why I asked for you,” the woman replied softly.

Her voice was stronger, cleaner, compared to yesterday. Like her vocal cords had warmed up and their strength had partially returned.

“That is part of it, yes,” I replied.

“I saw you protecting that child,” the woman replied. “When I saw you do that, I knew that you weren’t an ordinary soldier or killer. You have principles, you protect the innocent. You’re not just a killer out for the spoils of war.”

I remembered shielding Elle on sheer instinct from the woman. That was all it took for the woman to decide I was the right person to talk to?

“I have been taking care of that girl since her mother died,” I replied. “Her name’s Elle. I consider her a shared responsibility with my mother and myself.”

“I see.” Her face was red, puffy, outside of the blue mark on her right cheek. She had been crying a lot, especially recently. Her voice had a throaty weight to it that hinted further at how she felt.

“What is your name?” I asked.

The woman smiled for the first time. “What does it matter to you? No one here knows me. I might as well not exist, right?”

“It matters to me because I want to talk to you as an equal, not just as a ‘woman’,” I replied.

“Finally, someone gives me a good answer.” The smile trembled, and I thought she was going to cry again. “My name is Feldt Grace.”

My first thought was ‘Finally’. My second was ‘What kind of name is Feldt Grace?’.

Then I made myself refocus. I didn’t exactly have the most ‘normal’ name either. I remembered being mocked for my Asian last name when my Asian ancestry doesn’t really show itself. Mocking Feldt for having a silly name wouldn’t get us anywhere, and it wasn’t appropriate anyway.

“All right, Feldt,” I said, saying the name aloud so it’d feel more natural rolling off my tongue, “I guess I have some questions to ask you.”

“Answer mine first,” Feldt replied. “Where am I? What is L4? Where is Setsuna’s flower?”

I wanted to strangle her. “Answer my questions first, and then I’ll answer yours!” I begged.

“Where is it?” Feldt demanded, the tears beginning to leak from her eyes. “What happened to it?”

“I don’t even know what you mean,” I replied. “Who is ‘Setsuna’? And what flower? I highly doubt any flower could survive cyro.”

“It’s not that kind of flower… God, what am I saying?” Feldt reached up with one her hands and grabbed her forehead, as if she had suddenly developed a splitting headache. “How could none of you know? It was enormous, golden and beautiful, right in space, past the moon.”

I really thought at that moment Feldt Grace was as crazy as her name. “I really have no clue what you’re talking about.”

“How can you not know?” Feldt stared at me imploringly.

“Because I don’t?” I was about ready to give up. Space flowers, give me a break. “Look, Feldt, there is no record of any ‘space flower’ anywhere in human history. Or a ‘Setsuna’ having anything to do with it. All I know is where we are, we’re in L4, an abandoned colony that we’re trying to get functioning again, hiding in the debris belt because there’s-”

Her eyes widened then in absolute horror, and she interrupted me. “What did you say?”

“The debris belt?” I immediately realized I should have played dumb, because Feldt suddenly started shaking as if this invisible cold water had splashed all over her.

“There… there was no debris belt… never when I lived… even when they woke us up fifty, one hundred, two hundred years later… no debris belt…”

A shaky breath that sounded almost like a gasp. “Oh my God. You really did it. You blew it up.”

It was as if she had gained superhuman reflexes and strength in that moment. She reached out with her arms and seized me by the collar of my shirt, dragging me close to her so I had no choice but to stare into her green eyes, lit with fury as hot tears poured out of them.

“Damn you! God damn you all to hell! Why did you do it? Why?”

I knew that if I did not calm Feldt down this conversation would be over with and there’d be no way they’d let me talk to her again. And then Feldt really would find a way to kill herself.

“I don’t know!” I pleaded as I put my hands on her wrists. Her strength was already giving out, I could feel it. Her body still wasn’t functioning right, she was losing her strength at key moments.

Why not?” she screamed.

“Because none of us know about it!” I shouted back. “As far as we know, it never existed!”

“Oh my God…” The rage seemed to break in her eyes, and all I could see was her despair. It was like any will to fight, or even function, had vanished from her in an instant. Her strength gave out and she collapsed into a ball right in front of me, her eyes staring out into space.

“Ms. Sumeragi… Christina… Lockon… Allelujah… Meilina…”

Names that had no meaning to me passed through her lips and vanished into the air a second later, replaced by another name that as far as I knew belonged to a dog.

Her right hand reached out to me, as her eyes lit faintly with the sign of life again. “Please tell me I’m not alone. Please tell me there’s someone else. Please.”

Hearing those words finally brought tears to my own eyes, and an ache in my chest. Those words were from an emotion I understood all too well. It was an emotion I had felt in Tassil, in my own homeland, in space, watching this woman’s near-doppleganger die in my arms…

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “No one else made it. They were under too long.”

The way her mouth opened, a soft, wordless gasp that sounded like an attempt to scream that was cut short, made me regret saying those words.

There were no more words then. Just tears, and the sobs of the woman as she finally broke completely, her right hand clutching my left like it was for dear life, like she would drown in the sea if I let her go.

I realized then, in that moment, that I couldn’t let go. To let her go would symbolize her full abandonment, and grant her permission to leave the living behind forever.

What she had said was complete nonsense, but I knew there was something else going on here. She knew things. All of a sudden, the pieces that never added up about Cosmic Era were right here. Feldt Grace must have had some idea of what happened in the latter days of Anno Domini, the gaps in those years that had never been uncovered, like a lost history.

She needed to know she was not some relic from Anno Domini unearthed, but a woman whose now lived in Cosmic Era, and needed to feel she belonged.

So I brought her closer to me, and hugged her, and let her cry and wail and scream for her friends, for the loss of her time, the loss of her hope.

The least I could do was show her she was not alone.
***
“What’s the deal with her?” I asked Dr. Jacqueline Grumman afterwards, leaving Feldt in her cell.

“As far as I can tell, she was under cyro for much too long,” Dr. Grumman replied. “This is not a science I am proficient in, I’m amazed I was able to revive her at all. But I think being in cyro-sleep for so long has been a detriment to her both mentally and physically.”

“In other words, she could be crazy,” I replied.

“I wouldn’t say that, at least not completely, but there’s a good possibility her thoughts and memories are a jumble right now. So she’s seeing a giant space flower when she’s probably thinking of home, or perhaps a flower she gave her boyfriend or received from him. That’s my best guess.”

I looked back out into the video of Feldt’s cell, where she was sitting alone again. “I don’t know. When I mentioned the debris belt, she seemed to think that the space flower formed the debris belt. She accused us of blowing it up.”

“I heard the whole thing, as did Captain Badgiruel and the other leaders,” Dr. Grumman replied. “Maybe she’s mixing it up with a space station of some kind that existed in the Reconstruction War.”

The doctor eyed me curiously. “You don’t seriously believe a space flower would actually exist, do you?”

“I don’t know. After everything I’ve seen and experienced, I wouldn’t discount it. Especially after Stellar and her friends.”

Dr. Grumman bit her lip. Auel Neider was still bonded to her, and she knew it. “Right. Good point. I still think it’s a jumble of her memories mixing together, however.”

Logically, that would make the most sense, but she seemed to truly believe in those memories. But wouldn’t everyone, if that was all they knew?

I looked at her, still sitting alone in the barren room. Her resemblance to Lacus was still grating at me, it was like my friend was suffering in that room alone. “You’re really not letting her have anything.”

“She’s tried to kill herself multiple times. If she can get ahold of herself, we can try to let her have some amenities,” the doctor replied gravely.

“She’s not going to get better sitting in the closest thing we have to a padded room,” I replied.

I remembered thinking that if we could ever get Siegel Clyne to come out of seclusion, he could never meet, see, or even hear of Feldt Grace. Her resemblance to Lacus was not something I could shake and I am sure it was influencing what I was saying.

And that was just me. I figured Athrun could handle it, at least about as well as I was, but there was no way Siegel Clyne would be able to accept Feldt being around. She wasn’t a perfect doppelganger but the resemblance was uncanny.

“If we could assimilate her into the crew, any crew, we’d be able to treat her like a normal person,” Dr. Grumman replied.

Her obstinacy was getting on my nerves. “Fine. Then I’m going back in there."

“You don’t have to,” Dr. Grumman said.

“And what are we going to do? Just have her sit alone? You’re going to send someone else in there?”

“We’ve tried sending others in there, she won’t speak to them,” Dr. Grumman replied.

“Then I guess it has to be me because I’m the only one she’ll talk to,” I said, and prepared to leave when Dr. Grumman spoke again.

“You’re the one who showed her this world isn’t hopeless,” Dr. Grumman replied. “I heard what she said, that when you thought there was danger you put yourself between her and the little girl.”

“I know that, but I also know…” Suddenly, it hit me.

The words Feldt had said when I aimed the gun at her. “Please. Don’t shoot me.

For a suicidal woman, she had a rather strong unwillingness to die when I pointed my gun at her.

I had it. I knew how to get through to her.

“I’m going back in there right now,” I said. “I have an idea of how to make her snap out of it.”

“Don’t do anything stupid,” the doctor replied as I made it to the door.

“You know me,” I said as the doors slid open.

The doors didn’t close fast enough for me to not hear the doctor’s response. “Yes. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

She had a point there.
***
They reopened the cell for me and I walked inside. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make my brilliant plan work, but I needed to get an opening to make the point to Feldt.

How I was going to get it was something I didn’t know yet. The nice approach, or be intentionally antagonistic?

I decided on the former. Less chances for things to go wrong.

“Hey, Feldt,” I said as they closed the door behind me.

“Hello.” Feldt looked up at me again. It was a mirror image of our first meeting, with her bangs partially obscuring her eyes. This was something that had to change.

“You feel any better?” I made a show of scanning the room. “They still haven’t given you anything, huh?”

“It’s all right. I haven’t given them any reason to think I can be trusted,” Feldt replied softly.

“Why?”

My opening was slowly appearing itself before me. I just had to keep pushing, and then I’d find it and then I could kick her ass back into shape.

“Because… I know he’s not out there. None of them are. Setsuna, my friends, everyone I know… and that not even the society I was supposed to guard is still here. It’s all gone. I might as well not even exist. No one knows who I am, or what I did.”

“So that’s why you kept trying to kill yourself? Even though when I aimed that gun at you, you didn’t want me to shoot?”

Feldt looked up at me then, so her bangs were no longer in the front of her eyes. She was nonplussed, like she hadn’t considered this. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t think you want to die. You just want to know you’re not alone, that someone will stop you before you do it.”

Feldt’s eyes shimmered a bit, but she said nothing.

“You’re in the type of despair where you think you want to die, you think you want to do it. But then, when you actually get your wish, you’ll realize, right when it’s too late, that you actually don’t want to die. You’ll regret it in your final moments, you’ll wish you hadn’t done this, and instead of wanting to die, you’ll want to be saved, but it’s too late.”

“How do you think you know how I feel?” Feldt asked softly, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

“Because I was there too,” I replied. “I found out something about myself I wish I had not known, and I cursed out my parents, ran away, and cried myself next to a river in some godforsaken forest. And I wanted to die, I truly did, until someone actually did show up to kill me. I thought I would just accept my fate until someone else showed up to save me at the last second. When I was saved, I realized, on some deeper level, that I didn’t actually want to get shot and killed. I only thought I did.”

I looked right at her, and pointed right at her eyes for emphasis. “That’s you right now. It’s the exact same thing. There’s enough fight in you that you’re not ready to die yet, and when I aimed that gun at you, that part of you, the part that is still refusing to break, that part you don’t think you have, showed itself.”

Feldt didn’t say anything, she just continued to stare at me, with the tears still trickling down her face, her mouth trembling like she wanted to say something, but the words just weren’t there.

“You are still alive, Feldt. Yeah, we may not be your society. From the best I can tell, your society killed itself. But now, we’re on the verge of making the exact same mistake. If you know anything at all about what could’ve ended the Anno Domini calendar, what mistakes could have possibly occurred, we need to know. Especially if this is a history repeats itself type of thing. And I think it might be because you recognized the Freedom as a GUNDAM.”

Feldt smiled shakily, and then she looked down. I wasn’t sure if she was still in my world, or if back in hers. “I don’t know how you’ve managed to re-create the GUNDAM machines, but they’re not being used correctly. They’re built to end wars, not win them.”

One thing I’ve learned about history is that trying to build weapons that will end war inevitably causes them to be used to win them. Eventually, all weapons become acceptable. The GUNDAMs, nuclear weapons, whatever, they all become just another part of your arsenal. The escalation already happened with Freedom and Justice being superior models to the Aegis, Strike, Blitz, Buster, and Duel. How long before Freedom and Justice were outclassed?

“I don’t think any of us got the memo on that one,” I replied.

“That’s what is going to end Cosmic Era, as much as anything else,” Feldt said. “None of you know when to stop, and there is no Celestial Being to make you stop.”

It took me a moment to process that. Then it hit me. Feldt had inadvertently given me information about the past. “Excuse me, ‘Celestial Being’?”

“Celestial Being is the organization that invented the GUNDAM machines,” Feldt replied. “They were dedicated to ending war. I was a part of that organization, and our efforts united the world, first against us, and next against the corrupt forces that would create more conflict. It was all the brainchild of a man named Aeolia Schenberg, but I assume he is a name erased from history as well, yes?”

I had no idea who the man was, and I wasn’t going to lie to her. “I don’t know him, but if he had anything to do with GUNDAMs I am sure I would have found out about it by now. Same with Celestial Being.”

Feldt nodded, a sardonic, lop-sided smile appearing on her face. It was almost bitter, resigned. “So I assume names like Sumeragi, Setsuna, Lockon, Tieria, Veda, they all don’t mean anything to you either.”

“I’ve never heard of them, I’m sorry.” I felt like I was losing control of the conversation, that I was going to allow Feldt to slip back into her despair and return to the point where she couldn’t be trusted even with plastic utensils or a blanket.

“Now you know how I feel. If they’re so thoroughly erased from history, did anything they do ever happen at all? What did Celestial Being fight for if their efforts are consciously erased? And it is a conscious erasure, otherwise things would not be if they never existed at all.”

The lopsided smile trembled. “What good have I done, Cagalli, if everything I’ve worked for has vanished and everything I say gets me looks like I’m a crazy person? Can you tell me that?”

That was a hard question to answer, and I knew I really couldn’t, not with the way she boxed me in. The only way out was to dodge it until I could. “Maybe I can, if we can link Cosmic Era and Anno Domini together. Maybe we can find out what happened.”

“And how would you do that?” Feldt asked.

“First,” I replied. “You tell me why you went into cryo-sleep and when. Also tell me if they ever woke you up for any reason before we woke you up.”

“All right.” She let out a short chuckle then. “Though we never called it ‘cyro-sleep’. We simply called it ‘stasis’.”

“Whatever. Just tell me,” I replied, resisting the urge to roll my eyes, and I’m still not sure if I succeeded to this day.

“In the year 2314, the world was unified. We succeeded in our mission, but soon afterward, the problem came up, how could we ensure that world peace could be maintained, so mankind could keep expanding throughout the solar system and the galaxy at large?”

“Wait, we were traveling out of the solar system?” I asked. We were struggling just to maintain a presence on Mars. Leaving the solar system entirely? That sounded insane.

“We were. It was important to Earth to maintain continuity, so if our old differences tore us apart again, that Celestial Being would rise once more and put a stop to it. So members of Celestial Being were offered the opportunity to go into stasis. We were to be given periodic wake-ups to be updated on technology, current events, and so on. That way, we wouldn’t stay under for too long and changes in Earth and in technology wouldn’t shock us. If anyone had enough of being put under, they were given the option of maintaining Celestial Being and someone else would take their place in stasis.”

Feldt looked down. “The last wakeup was in the year 2660. That was when we had a feeling things might be worsening. We knew when we were going to be put under again it may not last all that long.”

“What was the situation?” I asked.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. None of you would,” Feldt said softly.

I had a feeling my confusion over ‘Setsuna’s flower’ was playing a role in her reluctance to tell me anything.

“Try me,” I replied.

“In the year 2314, we had extraterrestrial contact with a race we called the ELS.”

“The ‘else’?” I asked.

“E. L. S.,” Feldt said, sounding out each letter like she was spitting it at me, almost like a drill sergeant. “They came from Jupiter, and we had a war, before… before one of our pilots, Setsuna F. Seiei, was able to achieve understanding with them and ended the war, at the cost of being able to be among humanity again.”

The pieces were forming in my head then. Jupiter. Setsuna and who he might have been. Waltfeld’s conspiracy theories. The fossil found by George Glenn in Jupiter’s orbit.

“We sent a pilot out to Jupiter early in Cosmic Era,” I said. “He brought home a fossil from Jupiter, but no one could make sense of it.”

“Memories are short if there is a conscious erasure,” Feldt replied softly. “What he found may have been a remnant of the ELS. I would need to see it.”

I could see where Feldt was leading up to with her story here. “You’re saying that Earth at some point had enough of the ELS and wiped them out, at heavy cost to ourselves.”

“Possibly. The ELS could have also struck, and Earth hit back with xenocidal force. I won’t discount that possibility,” Feldt replied. “But in 2660, it was looking more like humanity would be the aggressor against the ELS than the other way around. Earth had begun manufacturing a frightening mass-production GUNDAM whose capabilities were far greater than anything any of us had witnessed. They were going to start making a prototype for Celestial Being to counteract it, but…”

The melancholy, lopsided smile re-emerged on her face. “Well, now here we are.”

“I gotcha.” I tried to process everything, how the pieces could fit with Waltfeld’s conspiracy theories and the large gap in history that dated to 2307 A.D. Feldt’s narrative fit squarely into that gap, except the gap wasn’t quite clear when Anno Domini ended and Cosmic Era began.

“We are undoubtedly discussing something extremely dangerous, probably covered up by a conspiracy, or multiple conspiracies,” Feldt replied. “Whoever decided to erase Celestial Being, the ELS, they will undoubtedly try to erase you, I, and anyone who could have listened to us.”

“That ain’t nothing new. I’ve had Blue Cosmos try to erase me a hundred times by now, I swear. What’s one more group coming after me? Hell, Blue Cosmos could be behind this cover-up in the first place.”

“Who’s ‘Blue Cosmos’?” Feldt asked.

“Nasty secret organization, hates genetically modified people, they’ve taken control of the Earth Alliance and has turned the current war into a campaign of extermination,” I said, giving Feldt the most succinct explanation I could come up with.

“There was something similar to Blue Cosmos in 2660,” Feldt replied. “The organization Celestial Being was watching was called LOGOS.”

I had never heard of that organization before, but what Feldt was saying made sense. Perhaps LOGOS had transformed itself into Blue Cosmos following whatever happened that turned Anno Domini into Cosmic Era. But there was one final piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit into Feldt’s story, and it was a big one.

“I guess I have one final question to ask you,” I said. “How come we found you on Mendel colony? If you are who you say you are, why didn’t they just kill you? Why leave you in statis?”

“You think I can honestly answer that question?” Feldt asked in turn. “Perhaps they thought I dated from the Reconstruction Wars, not from earlier in Anno Domini, so maybe I wouldn’t know everything. I don’t know. They didn’t wake me up or any of my friends, so I guess they decided to just study stasis chambers and see how much longer we’d last until we expired.”

“All right,” I sighed. There wasn’t much point in continuation the conversation at this point, at least not in this current direction. We weren’t going to get anywhere going this route.

“Then I guess I should tell you about Cosmic Era, and how we got here. You’re ready to hear it all?”

“Yes,” Feldt said. “Please, tell me.”

So I did.
***
After I was finished reciting what I knew of Cosmic Era and the Bloody Valentine War, Feldt, for the first time, stood up. She walked over to the edge of her cell, and looked outside into the hallway, seemingly to stare into space.

“I see. I think I can piece everything together from here,” Feldt replied.

“You can?” I asked.

“The Type S influenza you spoke of that ravaged the Earth during the Reconstruction War. It must have been what killed off the Innovators, which were the advanced humans of my time, pre-dating the Coordinators. When Earth destroyed the ELS, that must have been the ELS’ revenge. But Earth always finds a way to continue to progress, and the Coordinator was created in place of the Innovator.”

“I was told an ‘innovative society’ did exist at one time,” I replied, again thinking of Waltfeld.

“Yes. And when Earth destroyed the ELS, reducing them to fossilized remains, the ELS punished the Earth in turn. Everything crumbled, Earth’s incredible empire dissolved to form the debris belt, and Earth had to pick up the pieces. Along the way, perhaps to prevent the terrible weapons from being used again, or just to control the populace, the entire period from Celestial Being’s first appearance was excised from the history books. Perhaps, in time, the goal was to make it seem like Cosmic Era started around 2307 A.D., so the three hundred plus years never happened at all.”

Feldt turned towards me then, with determination in her eyes for the first time. It looked like she was finally done crying, and that made her resemblance to Lacus even stronger. It was like watching Lacus drop her pop star airs to reveal the astute woman underneath. “But the past always finds a way to haunt the future. The GUNDAMs have been rebuilt. And your side has nearly all of them, correct?”

“Yes, we do, with a couple of exceptions,” I replied.

“Then I know what I can do to help.” Feldt walked up to me. “I have experience with coordinating significant numbers of GUNDAM Mobile Suits at once. Have me do this for your faction.”

I almost laughed. While it was nice to see Feldt show such a strong side of herself, it didn’t seem she understood where I was in the grand scheme of things. “I do not have that power. You would have to talk to one of my leaders.”

“Then bring one of them down here. I’m better now. I can either be a helmsman, co-helmsman, or a GUNDAM coordinator. If necessary, I can even pilot, though I would prefer not to do that,” Feldt replied.

“So you think you’re ready to help us,” I replied.

Feldt smiled. “I am. I may be all what’s left of the past, but the least I can do is help you secure your future.”

She certainly didn’t look like someone who had made repeated suicide attempts in the last couple of days. It seemed, in that moment, she had finally found her backbone and had returned to the person she had been before being in cyrosleep for who knows how long.

I wanted to believe her.

I stuck out my hand to her, then, just to see what she’d do. “I’ll do my best, but there’s no guarantee. And undoubtedly they’re going to test you.”

“I have passed every test that’s been given to me, even when I was a girl,” Feldt replied, taking my hand and holding it as hard as she could. “I will pass this too.”

Seeing her smile like that, like someone with a fresh leash on life, was infectious. I couldn’t help it, I smiled too. “All right then. I’ll let them know, and we’ll work things out from there.”

“Sounds good.” We separated then, and Feldt sighed. “But have them bring me my table and blanket back. I would like to eat like a normal human being, and it’s pretty cold in here.”

“I’ll let them know that too.” And then, in the next moment, we shared a laugh together.

She had come from hundreds of years ago, but in that moment, I realized I had managed to make a friend.

A friend who had showed up just in time, despite being out of time, to help us win the final battle.
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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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 80 7/31/16)

Post by Vent Noir » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:41 pm

As someone who's struggling with motivation for their own fic (the annoyance with 00 that was the initial spark for it has faded), I can sympathise. And now that I've finally gotten around to reading the chapters, it's good to see the connections being made.

EDIT: Part of that annoyance with 00 was that I never really liked Celestial Being. So I felt a bit of schadenfreude at the fact that their efforts ultimately came to nothing.
Vent Noir

@AJDynon on Twitter

April 7, 1979: The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam premieres. Fanboys declare Gundam "Ruined FOREVER".

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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 80 7/31/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:59 am

Thanks man. I'm trying my best here.

I did like Celestial Being, so writing that chapter was hard. XD
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Eighty-One: Fade Away

Feldt Grace walked along the lines of the stasis pods, opening them. This was the big test Natarle Badgiruel had in mind for Feldt, to see if she was as strong as she claimed to be. To Feldt’s credit, she had insisted on the task once it was brought up. As she was the only one who remained, she wanted to be the ones to give the burial to her friends.

“Lockon Stratos,” she said in a whisper after opening one pod, and then closing it back down. She moved onto the next one, and said the person’s name in a similar hushed whisper. “Lasse Aeon.”

The next pod. “Milena Vashti.”

Then the fourth. “Marie Parfacy.”

The fifth. “Allelujah Haptism.”

This continued on for another five pods, before the last one. That was when she froze.

She had managed to keep from crying at the previous bodies, but she couldn’t hold it together when she made it to the eleventh pod.

“Oh… Ms. Sumeragi.”

She fell on her knees on the cold floor, her hands gripping the edge of the stasis pod with a death grip, tears flowing from her eyes. The moment I saw this, I ran over to her, both to help her up and, if necessary, keep her from relapsing.

“Are you all right?” I asked, warily.

“I-I’m fine. J-Just this last one, it’s…”

She turned to Badgiruel, Gladys, Durandal, and the others then. “S-Sumeragi Lee… Noriega. My leader.”

Natarle Badgiruel finished writing down the last name. “Understood. How would you like to send them off?”

“I… I would like to bury them myself,” Feldt replied softly. “No one here knows them. It’s just me. It really should fall to me to wish them goodbye. But, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to bury them on L4 than launch them into space.”

“That can be arranged, there’s more than enough space on L4,” Badgiruel replied with a sigh.

“Thank you.” Feldt said.

She slowly got back to her feet, swaying a bit, but ultimately managed to regain her strength. “I hope I can show you proof of what they did someday. Maybe some of the history can still be uncovered. Maybe there’s still people out there who remember the days before the Reconstruction War.”

“There’s not many, and those who do were young children when it happened,” Badgiruel replied.

Feldt nodded slowly, mournfully. “It doesn’t surprise me.”

She closed the final pod, and the click sound felt particularly final. “I am ready to go where you need me to go. I’ve given you a list of my qualifications and I will pass whatever tests you have for me.”

Badgiruel was fighting the urge to not laugh sarcastically. I could tell she didn’t have much faith in Feldt. “I will admit that I am looking for someone specifically to coordinate Zala’s Gundam wing. Currently, that falls to Miriallia Haw, but I would like to move Aisha to an Astray where she’d be of more use and move Miriallia to co-pilot of the Archangel. She’s been passing my tests as a co-helmsman.”

“I understand,” Feldt replied. “I will give you a demonstration of my abilities as soon as you desire.”

“You will need to pass extensive psychological exams,” Badgiruel replied, and I could tell she had no faith in Feldt to pass them.

“That will be no problem for me. I’ve gotten over the shock of waking up so many years later, and I am able to grasp the death of my friends,” Feldt replied. “I will pass whatever tests you give me.”

Badgiruel nodded, but she did not look convinced. “We will begin your tests tomorrow, and if you pass them, you will be put through a crash course in your desired job and that will lead up to a live-fire simulation with Zala’s GUNDAM unit. If you can do what you say you can do, this should prove pretty easy, right?”

“It’s a cakewalk,” Feldt said softly.

Everyone else in the room looked every bit as skeptical as Badgiruel. And I didn’t blame them. This was a woman who had gone through the ringer, and there was no guarantee she wasn’t simply telling us what we wanted to hear. Who could say that a couple days down the line, Feldt wouldn’t try to get herself thrown out an airlock?

Plus, I wasn’t the only one who had noticed her resemblance to Lacus Clyne. I had overheard Badgiruel, Gladys, Misora, Durandal, and other figureheads discussing with my brother over the fact she was a bit of a Lacus lookalike. The agreement definitely was that she was to stay far away from Siegel Clyne, that he couldn’t be allowed even a glimpse of Feldt Grace, at the risk of total disaster.

She looked towards the leaders then, and I got a good look on her face. The blue mark on her face had yet to go away, and at this point, it didn’t look like it ever would. Dr. Grumman had guessed it was a side effect of being put under for so long, and what Feldt had was nowhere near as severe as the rest of her friends.

Despite waking up to an alien world from where she once was, she seemed resolute. But there was no guarantee she would stay that way. Especially as it would be impossible to prevent her wounds from being ripped open again and again. Every new revelation about Cosmic Era could be the one to bring her to her knees all over again.

“I will bury them later today and tomorrow I will be ready for any testing you wish to start me off with,” Feldt said softly.

Badgiruel nodded, but I could tell from her eyes she was expecting a disaster. “Of course. You can go ahead and get started any time if you wish. Do you want assistance or company?”

“I’d rather bury them by myself,” Feldt replied. “The only assistance I wish for is transporting them to the burial site.”

“All right,” Badgiruel replied with a sigh. “All right, let’s break it up here. Let her mourn in peace.”

As we departed, I caught one last glimpse of Feldt as she turned back towards the pods.

Her hands had become fists.

There was determination there. Who knew what she would do once the war was over, but at least she was strong enough to fight one more time.

Maybe she would surprise us after all.
***
I knew, with Feldt Grace being around and her constant, unconscious reminders of Lacus Clyne, that I could no longer delay the inevitable.

I had to see Siegel Clyne and finally offer him a meaningful apology for what happened to his daughter.

It took the better part of the afternoon to figure out his location. There was no surefire location, as no one knew where exactly he went, he just went beyond where we had penetrated the colony. I set off on one of the motorbikes scavenged from Mendel, heading towards a building a scout had thought he had spotted him in.

Despite the influx of people entering L4, it was nowhere near enough to populate the entire colony, and there were vast areas of open space with no one to be found. Even with all of the ships we had taken in, it was not enough to fill L4 with people. We had too much space and not enough people, but it was considered a certainty that when the war was over, there would be even more refugees flooding us. We had to fix and maintain as much of L4 as possible, especially the central Mendel colony where we were headquartered, just in case of even more people coming to live here.

It’s eerie to ride completely alone, passing by decaying buildings gradually being reclaimed by wildlife that would have no future the moment the colony’s facilities failed. Even on the outskirts of our penetration of the colony, there were still some people, so the condition of the colony felt more sad than creepy. At least there was a semblance of hope that the colony could not only be saved, but maintained and populated, so it could remain for decades to come.

Riding alone, with nary a soul around? It just felt creepy. And it made me wonder what other secrets the colony was hiding other than the Ultimate Coordinator project and Feldt Grace.

Maybe the old, gallows joke of zombies would come true after all, for all I knew.

Giant robots versus zombies. Someone needs to write a book about that someday.

I found the building, which looked like an old hotel in the center of a town that had yet to be repopulated. I checked my scanner, and I was at least 20 miles away from the nearest soul. When Siegel Clyne wanted to get lost, he wanted to.

I pulled up in front of the hotel and switched off my bike and removed my helmet.

Still no sign of activity.

“Siegel Clyne?!” I yelled.

No response.

I decided he was giving me the silent treatment. I yelled anyway. “It’s me, Cagalli Yamato! I’m here to talk to you!”

Still nothing. Not even a ‘go away’.

Was this the right location? It was just a rumor he went out this way, after all.

I was worried. Maybe he was just hoping I’d go away, or it was something worse.

The hotel door was locked. After some deliberation, and struggling with the electronic opener, I ultimately decided to kick it in.

If he didn’t know I was there, he would know now.

Hurt my foot, though. The honest truth no one will tell you: kicking a door in is much more difficult, and much more painful, than any fictional character will make it seem on TV or in the movies.

I half-limped into the opening, and despite the silence that greeted me, I refused to be frightened enough to pull out my weapon. I was going to come as a friend to Siegel Clyne, not as his enemy.

“Siegel Clyne? It’s me, Cagalli!” I yelled again.

Still nothing.

Now the worry was becoming a panic.

Thoughts of the worst came over me. I frantically ran around the hotel, ignoring the protests of my right foot, which couldn’t be worse than a stubbed toe. I opened each door and checked each room, yelling his name.

I hoped he was just missing, or he was hiding. Maybe the scout was wrong. Maybe it was a different hotel somewhere else, or not even a hotel at all.

But on the fourth floor, room number 416… I saw him.

He had hung himself on the post of a bed using wire.

I stared for several long moments. It registered to me, in a way, it didn’t even surprise me. But I still couldn’t process it.

I had failed someone else yet again. And he had faded away long before I finally got off my ass to find him.

I was still crying when I got on the radio to report it in, and I didn’t care in the slightest.

The Clyne family was irrevocably gone.
***
“He was dead for at least a week judging by the autopsy,” Mu said to me afterwards, when I had returned to the outskirts of our fledging civilization. I hadn’t even the strength to ride the bike back, it and me had to be transported back on a truck.

“Are you trying to say it’s not my fault?” I asked.

“We all let him go,” Mu reminded. “We thought that giving him some space to grieve would be the right thing to do.”

“He just didn’t strike me as the kind of man who’d do such a thing,” I replied. “No matter how badly things became for him.”

“I know. That’s why they’re searching for signs of foul play, but nothing’s been found yet,” Mu replied.

Foul play made more sense to me than a suicide. He was off on his own, far away from our contact. Quite easy for someone to slip away, murder him, and return to the colony without becoming a suspect.

My mind immediately came up with a suspect. The man that had been rising in influence in our faction, that had been flanking Captain Talia Gladys often. Gilbert Durandal, the pale, tall man with the long dark hair, rarely saying a word, always watching us.

He is the one that benefited the most from Siegel Clyne’s death. He had been amassing a lot of influence despite being a doctor with little political experience. With Siegel Clyne out of the way, there went away perhaps his biggest political obstacle to leading the Coordinators in our faction, or even assuming ultimate control.

But had he really done it? If so, how could he have vanished and made it back without anyone noticing he was gone?

I saw him, standing by a lot of the other higher-up Coordinators as they were observing the body being transferred. He always had the same expression on his face regardless of the circumstances. Serious, but not dour. It was like nothing could faze him.

Maybe that was why people were gravitating to him, he projected a quiet strength, like a man who could never be broken no matter what happened. I couldn’t exactly blame people for that, and I had no way of proving my suspicions unless foul play was confirmed in Siegel Clyne’s death.

As I watched Durandal, however, I suddenly felt a wave of dizziness come over me that was unlike anything I ever felt. I felt an overwhelming urge to throw up that was different from the other times I had nausea.

“You all right, kid?” Mu asked, bringing me back to reality.

“I… I think… seeing Siegel Clyne…” I didn’t dare to say anything more, mostly because I didn’t think I could without throwing up for real.

“You’ve been through a lot. We should take you back,” Mu said.

“Yeah,” I replied.

The wave of nausea abated, but I feared what it could mean. This was not nausea over what happened to Lacus’ father. This had another source, especially since it had come out of nowhere.

No. No. Please, no.

A panic had come over me, and I knew I needed to find out what exactly this nausea meant. It had been nearly a month since the incident with Athrun and I, and...

Maybe the battle wasn’t about ending the war. Maybe the battle had now become trying to survive without everything becoming an even bigger mess.

At least for me.
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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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 81 8/7/16)

Post by The Green Flame » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:24 am

Shorter chapter than I'm used to but still swell. Unfortunate that Siegel came down with a case of the deads and possibly unfortunate that Cagalli may be bringin someone new into the world (unless it's newtype shenanigans).

Then again, Marvet did pretty well for herself in Victory so she'll be fine...probably.

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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 81 8/7/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:29 pm

The Green Flame wrote:Shorter chapter than I'm used to but still swell. Unfortunate that Siegel came down with a case of the deads and possibly unfortunate that Cagalli may be bringin someone new into the world (unless it's newtype shenanigans).

Then again, Marvet did pretty well for herself in Victory so she'll be fine...probably.
Part of chapter 80 was actually the start of chapter 81, but I decided it fit better in 80 so I moved it there. So 80 wound up longer than usual and 81 was shorter than usual.
______________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Eighty-Two: Youth Authority

I sat alone in the medical bay, waiting.

It had been a week since the nausea had started. It would go away, and then come back. It was becoming increasingly difficult to hide, and while no one had noticed the pattern yet, unless I knew what was going on, I wasn’t going to be able to keep hiding it.

I wanted to worry about other things, more important things. Like whether Durandal or anyone else had anything to do with the death of Siegel Clyne. Siegel Clyne’s death still wasn’t public, and it wasn’t going to be public for some time, perhaps not until after the war was over, so it was driving me insane that I couldn’t talk about it to most people. Not even Athrun was cleared to know, and I had a feeling I wouldn’t be cleared to know if I hadn’t found the body first.

This, ironically, was due to Durandal. I had heard him broach the subject a few days prior.

Siegel Clyne is a major inspiration for the Coordinators that have joined this alliance. If it comes out that he is dead, and not merely in seclusion, it will severely injure morale among the Coordinators in our ranks. I recommend we keep his death from becoming public until the war is resolved, that way we don’t lose any cohesion among our ranks.

His words made sense. They were spoken with a clinical, serious manner, and they had a logic to them. Of course they would, he was a doctor. And I could even see why he was amassing a following. He just sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

But I couldn’t trust him. Especially since it just seemed so convenient. He had a following, but he would never have a chance of usurping Siegel Clyne unless the man was dead. Even though there was nothing connecting Durandal to the death directly, even though Durandal was weakening his own chances at control by suggesting the death stay secret, I just didn’t buy it. But I didn’t have any proof, and I had no idea how to get it. The only thing I could think of, which was interrogating the scout that had spotted Clyne in that building, they were already doing. And that questioning was going nowhere, it was clear that the scout didn’t know anything.

So Siegel Clyne was dead, and until proven otherwise was a suicide. I just couldn’t believe that, even in grief, he would do such a thing.

That’s what I wanted to investigate. That’s what I wanted to worry about. But then I kept getting sick, especially in the morning. And then that gave me something else to worry about, along with the reality that the final battle was approaching. There were reports of the Earth Alliance mustering up a fleet to make their move, so the end wasn’t far away.

But how was I going to fight them if I was, well…

When Dr. Jacqueline Grumman re-emerged from the testing, I held my breath. The look on her face was not encouraging, and I could feel my stomach sink into my chest, and my heart beat several times faster.

“Oh God,” I managed to croak.

Grumman nodded humorlessly. “You can look at the positive result if you want.”

“I don’t need to.” I found my eyes sinking down towards the floor. A couple of hours where I lost control of my emotions, where I couldn’t restrain myself. Just a couple of hours, and… this had just happened to me.

This wasn’t just karma biting me in the ass, this was fate, or God, being cruel to me. Not only did I feel helpless, but I also felt directionless. I just felt lost, like I didn’t even know my own reality anymore.

I wasn’t ready for this. My family wasn’t ready for this. Athrun wasn’t ready for this.

How was I going to tell any of them? Or Badgiruel? How long could I hide it before the bump started to show?

How long could I be in zero gravity before it affected the baby? L4 had Earth-levels of gravity, as did any ship docked with it, but the moment we went out into space? Unless I went into specific areas of the ship I was going to be in zero-g. What would happen to the baby if I stayed out of L4 for too long?

Oh God, I was already thinking like a mother.

It hit me then that I had buried my face in my hands. “I don’t know what to do,” I finally said. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the test Grumman was still holding.

“Who’s the father?” she asked.

“Athrun,” I said.

Grumman sighed. “Somehow that does not surprise me. The two of you have been seen making out in half the colony, I swear.”

I don’t think it was that much, but a few of our kisses and hugs had been in public. But I guess it was enough for some people to notice.

“They can’t know. Not yet,” I said.

“They’ll have to. You’re already a month along. The time’s coming when-”

“I already know that,” I snapped. I quickly realized that my tone of voice wasn’t appropriate and I tried to calm myself down. “I’m sorry. I know that they’ll have to know eventually. And they’re not going to send out a pregnant girl out there in the Freedom once they do know.”

Grumman nodded impassively. “You’re right, they won’t.”

“I… I want to stall this out for another month if I can, until I know what to do,” I said. “It won’t show for another month, right?”

“It usually doesn’t start showing until the three month mark,” Grumman replied softly. “But by that point, you will need to be in Earth gravity over ninety percent of the time if not even more, in order to ensure that the child doesn’t have defects… or that you won’t miscarry.”

The thought of defects or a miscarriage put my head into a spin that seemed to last forever, and I forced myself to block out the horrible thoughts of such a thing happening to me or to the baby.

“So basically, I have a month, or even less, before they have to know and I’m pulled from the line,” I said.

“Yes, unless you miscarry or choose to abort the baby,” Grumman replied.

The thought of an abortion seemed almost a necessity considering military and biological reality, but as quickly as it came, the thought was dismissed in my head. I had to try to stall this out. If the rumors were true about the Earth Alliance about to make their move, it seemed likely we would be deploying before I would have to tell anyone about this.

Suddenly, the thought of participating in a final, possibly apocalyptic battle didn’t seem so bad.

But I also knew that I didn’t want anyone piloting the Freedom other than myself. So if it came down to it, flying the Freedom or keeping the baby, what could I do?

I was going to have a lot of sleepless nights contemplating this.

Hell, I did have sleepless nights contemplating this, I shouldn’t even use passive tense for this.

But seriously, choosing to sacrifice potentially everyone’s future for one baby’s future, or vice versa?

I wasn’t ready to make that choice. Not by a long shot.
***
The Freedom was finally fully repaired, and I nearly cried as I handled the control stick, and not for the reasons you might expect. I was wondering if it would be the last time I was flying the Freedom, because the moment they knew…

Grumman had promised to keep the positive result confidential. I had a month to figure things out. If I didn’t make up my mind, she would go to Badgiruel and my mind would be made up for me.

But still. There was an eerie sadness I felt when I held the control stick. The Freedom was rebuilt, and I was still being trusted to fly it, but the time was coming when it would end. If I screwed up again, I would never fly it again, not when it took over a month to fix it. If they found out about the pregnancy, they would pull me from the line and the Freedom would be flown by someone else.

I didn’t want to lose the Freedom. I had a comfort with it that I did not have with the Strike or the Justice. It symbolized something to me that neither the Strike or the Justice represented. More than either of the other GUNDAMs, the Freedom felt like an extension of myself.

I was going to end this campaign flying the Freedom, one way or another.

“This is Cagalli Yamato,” I said. “GUNDAM Freedom, launching!”

I accelerated and launched out of L4, and it brought back something I hadn’t felt in eons, the joy of flying.

Once something has been taken away from you, you realize how much you missed it.

If only I wasn’t going to be flying the Freedom into battle one more time.

You all right Cagalli? That was Athrun, who still didn’t have a clue about his impending fatherhood. Until I knew what was going to happen with myself, there was no way he would know. I was dead sure about that.

“Perfectly fine. It’s like riding a bike. Just getting a feel for it.” I spun the Freedom around a couple of times, and I felt a small smile creep across my face. It was just like before; they were able to replicate how the Freedom originally flew for me.

Now I felt ready. “Joining the unit.”

Excellent.” It took me a moment to realize that was Feldt talking. I looked over at my screen, and there she was, with the headset on. Even through the monitor, however, the blue mark on her face was clearly visible. It truly would be a scar sticking with her for the rest of her life.

We’re going to do a simulated Mobile Suit battle, defending L4 from enemy attack. Power your weapons down to five percent of its strength so you can shoot the dummy targets we have flying around out there without doing harm to your friends. Athrun, we’re partnering you up with Nicol and Hilda, while Cagalli will be supported by Flay and Dearka.

I wondered what Feldt’s rationale was for this. Chemistry? Or was there a certain strategic hypothesis on her part?

Athrun, your squad will be Alpha Team. Cagalli, your squad will be Beta Team. Is that understood?

“Copy that,” I said, moment before Athrun did the same.

Flay’s Mobile Suit looked a little odd, before I pulled up a visual. It looked much like the Strike, only with more of a red aesthetic to it. “Is that the Strike Rouge I’ve heard about, Flay?”

Yes,” Flay replied.

“Looking forward to seeing what it can do,” I replied.

So am I.” She sounded happy, actually. Happy she was flying in a GUNDAM and not an Astray.

The old Flay would have balked at this. She never would have become a soldier. She never would have gone into battle. Especially not as part of a team otherwise made up of Coordinators. She wouldn’t have tolerated this at all. And yet here she was.

I still wasn’t sure how to interpret this, or the couple of times I caught her making out with Kira (I’ll spare you the details). When someone is the bane of your existence for so long, and gradually becomes your friend and comrade, it just leaves an odd feeling in your heart. You want to believe in her, but at the same time, you just keep watching for any signs of the person’s old self to re-emerge.

Alpha Team,” Feldt said. “They’re heading to Points Uniform and Victor. Beta Team, head to Point Sierra and hold up there. Dearka, I want you picking off the bogeys as they come in. Cagalli, I want the METEOR pack armed and ready to fire.

It took me until I actually arrived at position Sierra that I was realizing what Feldt was up to. She wanted Dearka by some of the debris by the colony to give him cover so he could shoot at the ‘Mobile Suits’ attacking Athrun’s position. Athrun’s own position was a piece of L4 that was too damaged to be usable, and so could be used as a defensive position for Mobile Suits without risking loss of life.

Meanwhile, I and Flay were exposed from the opposite, but then I saw why she wanted this METEOR system attached to the Freedom. I barely understood it, but when I saw the second wave moving in towards Point November, I had a clear shot with the METEOR.

“When do I fire?” I asked.

Five salvo in five, four, three, two, one..”

I armed the METEOR and fired it, and even at low power, I was awed by what I saw.

This was no mere salvo of missiles. This could massacre dozens of Mobile Suits… or nuclear missiles.

I was slack-jawed when I saw the end result. “Enemy unit… one-hundred-percent KIA.”

We’re going to have METEOR attached to the Justice as well,” I heard Badgiruel say. “It may be the only thing that could prevent nuclear missiles from striking the PLANTs or L4.

Let me concentrate, please,” Feldt said, before continuing. I nearly laughed. No one would dare cut Badgiruel off at this juncture except Feldt, because she hadn’t been around long enough to be intimidated by our captain. “Alpha Team is getting caught in close quarters. Do not fire into that scrum, Dearka. Aim and fire only at the bogeys circling around Alpha.

Gotcha.”

The rest of the mock battle happened in that manner. They threw new wrinkles at us, Feldt would position us, and then we’d act. It was like clockwork.

I had seen the real thing too many times to know it would never be this easy. There would always be surprises or variables that would screw us up. But Feldt was doing a surprisingly good job, especially for a woman who had to adjust for so much.

It looked like Badgiruel was going to get her wish of putting Aisha into an Astray and Miriallia in the co-helmsman’s seat after all.
***
When I got home later that day, I wasn’t sure what to do or say.

I watched my family eat while I surreptitiously pretended that I wasn’t watching them. Stellar was regaling my poor parents with more misunderstandings of economics, and Elle was just looking happy, completely at peace.

It was like everyone was okay except for me.

How could I disrupt their peace by dumping the fact that I was pregnant on them?
It’s stupid, I know, but when I looked at their faces, I really couldn’t bring myself to talk about it.

“How safe are we?” Stellar suddenly asked. “This is an old colony, right? How soon until it falls apart?”

Suddenly, her eyes looked towards me, which caught me off guard. While Stellar hadn’t been avoiding me or showing any signs of anger, the same bond we once had wasn’t there anymore. Now Stellar was leaning on my mother for everything instead of me. So this was a bit of a shocker.

“Do you know, Cagalli?”

I had just been outside flying around in a Mobile Suit, so maybe Stellar figured I would have an idea as I had seen the exterior of the colony. “Uh… I think we’re beginning to continuing to expand our reach into L4. The most dangerous sections we’ve found so far have been cordoned off. Mendel, which is where most of us are living anyway, is in pretty decent shape for being abandoned as long as it has; no serious decay has set in yet.”

“So you think we’re pretty safe then? We’re not all going to be sucked out into space someday?”

“Not for a long time. If we do enough maintenance, likely not for centuries,” I replied, thinking of the PLANTs. We certainly had workers who had helped maintain those colonies here, though they were stretched pretty thin. There was no way to cover all of L4 so things had to be prioritized.

Stellar smiled. It was a tiny one, but there seemed to be warmth behind it. Maybe she was finally starting to forgive me for what I did to her. “Thank you. So we can stay here a while if nobody tries to blow it up.”

I smiled back, though I knew it had to look uneasy. “Yeah.”

“Do you know anything about what’s going on?” Dad asked. “Everyone around us is getting nervous. There have been a lot of rumors about plans and movements.”

“I’m not really sure. They drilled us for a couple of hours today and there’s more drills planned for the next several. I do think we’ll be moving out pretty soon, otherwise they wouldn’t be pushing us like this,” I replied.

“So you’ll be fighting again?” Elle asked.

I couldn’t lie to her. Not when the truth surrounded us so much. “Yeah. Hopefully for the last time. It seems both Earth and ZAFT are gearing up for one final battle, and we’ll have to stop it before it kills everybody.”

It sounded so simple, but it was much more complicated than that. Earth Alliance had gotten their N-Jammer Cancellers from Rau Le Creuset, who in turn was part of ZAFT, until he betrayed them out of sheer nihilism. If the Earth Alliance had this technology, ZAFT had it too, and likely had it more refined than the Earth Alliance. There was a good possibility that ZAFT had an ace in the hole that nobody had a clue about, and if it came out during the battle, it would most likely be me who had to deal with it.

Who else could? The Astrays? The old Mobile Armors we had? GINNs?

“Do you think you can win?” Elle asked.

“I think we can, yeah. We’ve been drawing up a plan, but I don’t know the details yet,” I replied.

They were all looking at me like they wouldn’t see me ever again. Now I knew why the conversation was shifting this direction.

I had already vanished from their lives once and they spent months wondering what had happened to me, or if I died. Now the time was creeping closer that I would have to leave again, and maybe I wouldn’t come back this time.

There was a way out. All I had to do was bring up the positive test. That was all it would take. The moment I said it, there’d be no way that I would bring myself to pilot the Freedom. I’d have to volunteer the information to Badgiruel, and I would be sat down and I’d stay out of the remainder of the war.

It was so tempting. And yet…

I knew I really couldn’t.

It made me want to cry, but I knew I had to keep my mouth shut. I could not take a get out of war free card. Not at this moment. Not when I was needed the most.

So I couldn’t say anything at all about it. I could tell by the look in my mother’s eyes she knew something was wrong with me, but she didn’t say a word. Like she knew she’d regret asking the moment I gave her the answer.

“All I know is that we expect things to start heating up in the next few days,” I said, which was as close to the truth as I knew. “If something does happen, we’ll be deploying right away to try to stop this.”

“Will you come back?” Elle asked.

Dammit, Elle. “I will, somehow. They’ve assigned me one of the most powerful Mobile Suits in all of existence. GUNDAM Freedom belongs to me. I will come back.”

I smiled at her. “Nothing’s going to pull me away from everyone. When this battle’s over, I’m coming home.”

“And you’re going to grow your hair out, right?” Elle asked.

I couldn’t believe Elle had remembered that promise I had made her back in the North African desert. “Yeah, I will, I haven’t forgotten that promise!”

Great, so if I survived the war, not only was I going to be pregnant but also going to have my hair going down my back. Last thing I wanted was the maiden look. Hopefully I could talk Elle out of it somehow without breaking her heart.

Then again, considering I was going to go into a battle made out of all teenagers other than Hilda in the Aegis…

It really was going to come down to a bunch of kids flying giant war machines to save all of humanity.

And I had already made a big mistake with Athrun.

How were we going to make it through this?

At the time, I couldn’t see how.

I’m just surprised on how right I was on how difficult it wound up being.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 82 8/14/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:41 am

File this chapter title under the "could not resist" pile.
___________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Eighty-Three: The Final Countdown

I received the call a few days later, just as I heard, and my father predicted.

Arnold Neumann, who seemed to be Badgiruel’s personal facilitator at this point, was the one who gave me the call. “Morning, Cagalli. While this isn’t an emergency, they are issuing an order for all hands on deck. I think we’re going to be leaving soon.

I felt both fear and a bit of relief. Fear due to knowing that I would be charging into the final battle. But also relief, because that meant my secret wouldn’t be out until after the battle.

I wasn’t sure how to feel when I left my sleeping family behind, writing down a quick note promising I would be back when I could. It was another jerk maneuver from me, just like abandoning them and (in a sense) betraying Stellar, but I wasn’t sure if I could face them one more time before leaving. If I did, I would be tempted to reveal the truth to them, and I wouldn’t be able to make myself leave.

Of course, it was my fault in the first place. If I hadn’t lost control of my emotions or desires, I wouldn’t have been in this position.

When I got to the bridge of the Archangel, things were getting hectic, with people running everywhere. But when I saw all of the principal officials and top pilots clustered around the bridge, I knew what was happening, especially with Kira in the center.

They had drawn up the battle plan, and now the rest of us were going to learn it.

“We have received word that the Earth Alliance fleet has begun to make its move. We have been informed of this by our field officers within their ranks, and images taken by our satellites seem to confirm the movements,” Badgiruel said firmly. “It seems probable that the Earth Alliance movement is to achieve nothing less than the total obliteration of the PLANTs.”

Kisaka spoke next. He stood alone among these other officials with his Orb uniform. “The only way to get to the PLANTs is by going through the Boaz asteroid fortress strategically positioned directly in front of them. Every other path is clogged with debris and likely guarded by sniper squads that would make mincemeat out of the Earth Alliance before they could get within range of the PLANTs. And regardless, it would be difficult to get past the other fortress, Jachin Due, after sustaining heavy losses either by going through Boaz or going around it.”

Badgiruel nodded. “Correct. However, as we know, Rau Le Creuset transmitted the N-Jammer Canceller data directly to the Earth Alliance, and that will allow them to use nuclear weapons if they so choose.”

“It would have been so easy to just use the data to solve the energy crisis,” Kira said softly. “But there’s been no sign of it being used to allow nuclear energy to be used on Earth again.”

“That’s what leads us to believe that they’ve attached Cancellers to nuclear warheads, and that is why they are making a frontal assault on Boaz,” Badgiruel replied. Considering how much talking she was doing compared to Noami Misora, it seemed she had won the political war against the admiral. It probably helped she was a much closer associate of Kira’s than Naomi Misora could ever hope to be.

“Blow Boaz to kingdom come and the door to the PLANTs and Jachin Due is wide open,” Kisaka replied.

“Correct. Which is why our battle plan is not to let it come to that,” Kira replied. “We have drawn up a plan involving thirty of our ships with the remainder in reserve to protect L4 from any Earth Alliance traps.”

“Thirty ships can’t fight both fleets!” exclaimed an Earth captain.

“No, they can’t. That is why we’re bringing our entire GUNDAM force with us,” Kira replied. “And we have a plan that will execute itself in layers depending on accomplishing our main battle objectives, if you will let me explain.”

The Earth captain looked like he was biting back a retort, but he stayed silent and yielded the floor to Kira.

“Thank you. We’ve identified two shatterpoints. One is the Dominion. Fear of the Dominion and the Blue Cosmos chairman, Muruta Azrael, is cajoling many of the Earth forces who would otherwise not be inclined to follow these orders. If we destroy the Dominion, along with any nuclear weapons we have, we’ve received assurances of many Earth Alliance officers of defection, mutiny, or at least a withdrawal from the battle line. That will be of significant help to us, and will remove the Earth Alliance from the equation. That will only leave ZAFT, and I believe Captain Gladys or Mr. Durandal, depending on who wants to speak, would be better qualified than I am to explain this part of the plan.”

There was a moment of hesitation, but then Gladys took the floor. “Right. Well, the Dominion is meant to trigger a domino effect. We have a force ready to mutiny in Boaz, but they will not go through with it until the Dominion is destroyed. Once the mutiny begins, they will need help from us because they are outnumbered, so we will be deploying landing craft and marines to help take Boaz from the outside.”

She then pointed towards Jachin Due. “In the PLANTs, Eileen Canaver has positioned herself as the head of the resistance to Patrick Zala’s rule. If we manage to take Boaz and eliminate the Earth Alliance, we will be the ones approaching the PLANTs instead. Eileen Canaver will initiate her coup d’etat against Zala as we approach. Ideally, we won’t have to fire a shot after taking Boaz.”

She looked at Athrun and Mu La Flaga then. “La Flaga, you are in command of all Mobile Suit and Mobile Armors. Zala, your GUNDAM team will be crucial to the battle. If the nuclear weapons are fired, it will be up to you and Yamato to engage your METEOR systems to launch a series of tracking missiles to shoot them down before they strike Boaz. However, while you do this, you all will be engaging the Dominion with the objective being to destroy it, before circling back and assisting in the capture of Boaz.”

She had started looking at me when she was mentioning ‘destroying’ the Dominion. It was a clear warning to me to not to try to save Murrue.

I knew she was right, but to abandon my first captain, to just kill her…

I said nothing. I knew if I did I’d make matters worse for myself. Especially since I knew it was the only thing that could be done. This was war, after all.

It was getting to me, that the only way I was going to be able to participate in the battle was to stay silent. Not reveal any emotion at all. It was exactly being like a soldier, except I wasn’t a soldier. Fighting to enforce a peace is still participating in an act of war, after all.

“We can handle that,” Athrun replied firmly. He was always resolute like this; it made me understand why, time and time again, people would follow him into battle.

I and he being on the same side had erased his uncertainty, and now he was ready to do what was right. He was still haunted by having to face his father. But there was something strong about the way he had been since I had joined him after leaving Orb. His principal conflict was fighting me. Now that it was no longer the case, he was more at peace with himself.

“We will send out more specific instructions to every captain and Mobile Suit/Mobile Armor team,” Kira said. “But our final order of business is… we’re going to need to fight under a banner, and dole out military rankings so the chain of command is not disrupted. There’s a possibility that even if we win, we won’t be able to go home. We need a banner to fight under.”

That caused a silence to enter the room, but it wasn’t long before Badgiruel turned to Kira. “You are the one who brought most of these people here, Kira. I think it would make sense if we fought under Orb’s banner, and that you are our leader and Commander-in-Chief.”

“What?” Kira asked, clearly shocked by the suggestion. I barely could hide my smile. My brother, the leader of this whole thing. Who would have thought it?

“She’s right,” Talia Gladys replied. “For this battle, at the absolute least, we will fight under Orb’s flag.”

I watched as everyone else swore their allegiance to Orb, for this battle if nothing else, and that’s when it hit me.

Orb was an occupied country now on Earth. Even if we did win, there was no guarantee we’d be able to return to it. Who says the Earth Alliance would step aside and let us have our country back?

The chances were looking pretty good that, at least for some of us, there was no returning home. We’d only have one home now, and it would be L4.

Or, as it was going to be from now on, Orb.
***
Before we were going to sortie, Athrun and I were going to have to transfer to the Eternal because of the Freedom and Justice being there. We had already launched from Mendel, but there would be a brief bit of time before we would be in battle conditions. We also were prepared to turn around and head back if the Earth Alliance did have a secret plan for L4, but all of the intelligence reports indicated that Muruta Azrael was acting as predicted: throwing everything at the PLANTs, and then come back around to deal with us.

It was then that I got to see Feldt Grace one more time, along with my brother. Feldt turned around and looked at me, and smiled. “Hi, Cagalli.”

“Hey.” I floated up to the both of them. “That was an eventful meeting, wasn’t it?”

“I’m not ready for this,” Kira said, his face flushing red.

“We’ll worry about governing and that stuff later. It doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win the battle and put a stop to this war.” I looked over at Feldt. “You up for this?”

“I am. I know why I am here… I know half of the people who know about me think I’m crazy, if not more, but… I know I’m in this position because I’m needed. I’ll make this battle a lot easier by allowing a combat pilot do her job,” Feldt replied.

“You think Feldt’s crazy?” I asked Kira.

“No, but I do think we’ll need to do some digging to find out what’s truly going on, and why the exploits of ‘Celestial Being’ were erased,” Kira replied.

It was a diplomatic answer. Find evidence to prove it, or any of her contentions mean nothing.

“That’s what I’m going to do once this battle is over, try to find out what happened, and why there has been such a cover-up,” Feldt replied. She smiled in a fatalistic way, as if she was expecting a bad answer from me then. “I know that this is selfish of me, but… I was hoping to have assistance in researching the Reconstruction War and find out who is truly behind the creation of Cosmic Era. I think that is the true source of our issues, and why an avoidable conflict like the Bloody Valentine War wound up happening.”

I knew that I was the top of her list of people to trust, and that is why she wanted me to help her. And I knew I would have to.

“I will, but I think after this battle, we’ll all need some time to rest before we could possibly even think of doing this,” I replied. “Considering you were found in Mendel, I think we could even make a lot of gains just by searching the various parts of the colony for information.”

Feldt nodded. “That makes sense. It seems L4 was a site for a lot of questionable experiments.”

I almost laughed out a ‘no ZOINKS’ response and bit it back. “You have no idea,” I said instead.

“I would like to have an idea, and ideally even more,” Feldt replied. “My future, my purpose, my reason for being, and everything I have done, it’s all been stolen from me. I am going to find those thieves, and I’m going to take from them far more than they could possibly fathom.”

Kira laughed awkwardly. “Wow, the mood got dark fast.”

He wasn’t wrong. Feldt seemed to be neck-deep in the five stages of grief, and she was entering her angry phase. Hopefully it would blow over before we started the battle, otherwise it was just going to be organized chaos like what happened in the battle around Mendel.

“I’m sorry,” Feldt said, calming down. “I shouldn’t be talking about this, it shouldn’t be my concern. It means nothing if we don’t win this battle.”

That seemed to lift the tension from the air, just a little bit. I wanted to sigh in relief. At least we weren’t going to continue down this road.

I admit that I had ulterior motives, though. I knew that Feldt’s path could potentially put her right in the teeth of a greater enemy, if one did exist. I could not face that enemy, not when I had a positive pregnancy test hanging over my head. And definitely not with my family potentially being in danger too.

But this was something we would need to uncover, together. We only had colonized a small part of L4; there was a lot of open space left inside that colony uncharted. Even with a pregnancy, I could help Feldt at least search the rest of Mendel for clues as to what happened, and decide if any information discovered could be acted upon.

I just hoped that when Feldt got her answers, or if she didn’t, it wouldn’t drive her to do anything crazy. The ZAFT personnel allied with us were intending to go back home when this was over, assuming that Eileen Canaver’s rule would protect them. Depending on what happened with Earth, a lot of the Alliance refugees and soldiers weren’t going to stick around either.

Our mighty fleet might shrink down to just a couple of ships and whatever GUNDAMs were left. If that happened, there’d be no way to defend ourselves in a war triggered by Feldt rummaging around.

And then we’d be the same position she was, wondering what it was we fought for and why when the outcome was the same, just on a delay.

Even with the battle, and this current war, over with, we could all just be puppets in an even larger war behind the scenes.

If it came down to that, we were going to have to win that one too.

I just wasn’t sure if any of us were ready for it.
***
We were going to sortie in the next few minutes, but for this final moment before the battle, it was just Athrun and me, looking at our GUNDAMs standing resolutely in front of us.

“Hard to believe this is it,” Athrun said softly.

There was still so much awkwardness between us. It was difficult for us to start a conversation with each other because we both knew what we did, although Athrun wasn’t aware of the consequences yet.

“I hope that they thought through this battle as they made it look,” I replied. “We’re getting the tough job.”

“We have the best equipment, we get the toughest job. That’s how it always works,” Athrun said with a humorless chuckle. “You saw how it happened when we fought together in ZAFT.”

“I did,” I replied, though I didn’t want to remember it because Panama kept trying to flash into my head.

“Cagalli,” Athrun said, and I quickly realized by his tone of voice and his body language that he was about to make a big mistake.

“No promises,” I said before he could even begin his spiel.

“But-” Yup, just as I thought, he was going to make a promise or make a proposal or something else idealistic and foolhardy like all men do in these situations.

“No promises, Athrun. We’re going to dive headlong into a battle where there will be two sides against us, and we’re going to have the toughest job of all,” I replied. “Don’t make someone a promise if you can’t guarantee you can keep it. Especially before a battle like this.”

Athrun smiled thinly, but also knowingly. “I kind of expected you to say that.”

“Well, it’s true. The last thing we need before going into a battle, especially a final one, is to make some sort of stupid promise that will get broken because somebody’s luck finally runs out,” I replied.

Athrun didn’t say anything, he turned his head and looked towards the Justice, as if the Mobile Suit could give him answers.

“The best laid plans always go awry,” Athrun finally said.

“The plan for us is to go right into the teeth of the Earth Alliance and attack any vessel carrying nuclear weapons, and to ultimately attack and destroy the Dominion,” I replied. “The only three GUNDAMs we know are left will be in the way.”

“We outnumber them now,” Athrun replied. “Six against three. Seven if we count La Flaga and the Strike.”

Commander La Flaga,” I corrected, noting his new rank.

“Right, Lieutenant,” Athrun replied to me almost playfully.

“Don’t lord your Lieutenant-Commander status over me,” I replied, giving him a soft push with one of my hands.

We laughed briefly. It was nice. It was natural. For a few seconds, I forgot there was a war we were rushing into.

I looked up at the Freedom. “Look, my point is that I don’t think the whole team is going to make it through this. That’s why we can’t make each other the kinds of promises that you want to make right now. And honestly, I have promises I want to make too.”

“Well, then, can I at least give you something before we go?”

“Athrun, I-” It turned into to be a kiss, a deep one that weakened my knees.

I didn’t want him to let go of me.

When we separated, I felt fearful that it would be my last kiss with him. I almost told him in that moment. Almost. I just barely bit it back, knowing that I would be breaking my own vow, contradicting my own principles, by telling him.

“Thank you,” I finally said.

“You’re welcome,” Athrun said with a smile, as he rifled his hand through my bangs just for a moment, before he turned around.

“Let’s kick some ass out there,” I said.

“That’s what we’re trained to do,” Athrun replied. “See you in space.”

“Yeah,” I replied. And I better see you when this is over with,, which was what I kept to myself.

I hoped that I wouldn’t regret not saying anything more to him.
***
The Justice had already taken off when it was my turn to launch. There was a lot of chatter over our allied airwaves, so I cut them down to just Feldt on the Archangel, my teammates, and the Eternal. Otherwise I just would have gone insane.

Our approach was definitely noticed, but we were approaching in such a way that sandwiched the Earth Alliance forces between us and Boaz. So we wouldn’t be encountering ZAFT forces right away, instead putting us face to face with Azrael and his group.

The Earth Alliance had only just begun to engage. It wouldn’t be long before they fired their nuclear weapons, however they had them assembled. The sooner we were all out there and fighting, the better.

It was DeCosta supervising my launch. I wondered if he noted the irony in that he was supporting someone he once opposed and even tried to capture or kill. He had never made those feelings known.

We’re going to launch you, and then turn over command to the Archangel,” DeCosta said.

“Copy that. I’m all set,” I replied.

Excellent. Good luck out there. Don’t let them get a single missile off at Boaz.

“I don’t plan to.” The launch engaged then, and a countdown went off in my head.

I hoped it would be the final countdown I would ever have to deal with as a pilot.

Five. Four. Three. Two. One.

The lights came on and I felt everything primed for launch.

“This is Cagalli Yamato, piloting Freedom! Let’s do this!”

I hit the acceleration and blasted out of the Eternal, just in time to see the distant flashes of a final showdown beginning to commence.

My hands tightened on the controls.

One more time.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 83 8/21/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:39 pm

New chapter tomorrow morning, will be a doozy. But I suspect nobody expects anything less if you are familiar with Gundam finales.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 83 8/21/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:03 am

And then morning turned into night. Sorry about that. ^^;

______________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Eighty-Four: Give Me A Sign

I heard Athrun’s voice not long after I shot off towards the beginning of the battle. “Everyone, form up on me. We’re going to get the green light to go in any second.

Hold still for a bit longer,” Feldt replied. “We’re sending the METEOR systems to you and Cagalli.

Hurry up then, ‘cause we gotta go!” Dearka yelled.

Around us, Mu La Flaga’s giant group of Mobile Suits and Mobile Armors shot ahead of us, vanishing from my sight. Before long, the flashes of light suddenly became a lot more numerous. The battle had begun in earnest.

The Earth Alliance is turning the rear of their fleet towards us to try to fight us off. They can’t send in the full weight of their forces against Boaz,” Feldt replied. “We’ll have a few minutes before we’ll have to worry about the nuclear missiles.

You make that sound like a walk in the park,” Dearka replied. Honestly, I agreed with him there.

It will be once the METEORs arrive. These METEOR systems are something else. We had something similar in my time, but they required a pilot to operate. These are fully automated.

Just get them here, I don’t think now’s the time for a history lesson,” Athrun said with a sigh.

Right, sorry.” I saw the METEOR systems on my radar screen then.

I’m marking points of interest on your radar screens, from Alpha to Zulu. From the data I’m receiving, the Dominion is at Point Sierra. I’m also getting data on who’s carrying the nuclear weapons from the initial confrontations. It looks like they’ve mounted them on a Mobile Armor called the ‘Moebius’.

“Sounds like Mu La Flaga’s Mobile Armor,” I muttered. We had brought the Moebius Zero into space with us, but it wasn’t being used in this battle. Mu wanted it as an emergency backup for him in case the Strike was shot up.

It’s less capable than the ‘Moebius Zero’, it seems to be the long-time standard issue Mobile Armor,” Feldt started, but was interrupted by Dearka again.

Enough with the technical ZOINKS and get those METEORs fixed so we can get out there!”

I heard an audible sigh from Feldt. “Dearka, you need to calm down. Once you’re in that mess you’re going to wish we were still having this conversation.

Dearka didn’t reply to that one. It wasn’t really necessary, as the METEORs had arrived and they were hooked to both Athrun and myself.

The METEORs will be integral to prevent both our fleet and Boaz from getting nuked. There are missile pods on board, use your multi-targeting systems to track any Mobile Suit or nuclear missile you want to destroy and let loose.

Copy that. You want us to head to Point Sierra then?” Athrun asked.

Yes. Athrun, you’re taking the long way around, head to Point Lima and directly block the Moebius squadron holding those missiles. Cagalli, you’re taking the direct route. Watch out for the enemy GUNDAMs, I’m receiving reports they are by the specially equipped Moebius Mobile Armors. Both of you take the direct route until I order you both to split off. Go!

Slave driver,” Dearka muttered, but when we hit the acceleration, so did he.

She’s not all bad, Nicol. At least she’s drawing up plans besides ‘shoot this and that’,” Nicol replied.

Well, that and her voice is cuter than Kisaka or Badgiruel’s or everyone else barking orders at us.

I can hear every word you’re saying, Dearka,” Feldt replied with another sigh.

Dammit.”

I wanted to smile, but then I saw what we were about to be flying into.

The direct route was going to be pretty arduous.

“I’ve spotted two squadrons of Mobile Suits and Armors directly in front of us!”

I think this is a good time to test these METEOR systems. We’ll wipe most of them out and blow through!” Athrun replied.

“Copy that.” I turned on the multi-targeting system and the way it picked up on enemy targets left and right nearly took my breath away.

With the METEOR, the Freedom was at its full potential.

“Firing!” I hit the trigger and watched as seemingly dozens of missiles, certainly enough for overkill, launched, along with Athrun’s own salvo.

I was stunned by the end result. The two squadrons were obliterated in front of my eyes, but then the surviving missiles did something I didn’t expect.

They sought out new targets from there and shot onwards, hitting Mobile Suits and Armors that I hadn’t originally aimed at.

I’ll be damned,” Hilda breathed.

I want one of those,” Dearka added.

I remembered Feldt saying that the GUNDAMs were built to end war, not win them. The METEOR systems were definitely indicative of this. They blew up at least three and a half enemy squadrons with two trigger pulls, mine and Athrun’s.

I almost missed Athrun’s order. “Now! Go! Blow through, blow through! Shoot any survivors down!

I hit the accelerator, following Flay through the remnants of the enemy force in front of us.

We had to have killed people who were going to switch sides,” Flay said.

It’s an unfortunate reality,” Feldt replied. “The sooner the Dominion and the nuclear missiles are gone, the sooner we can set them free.

I saw a bright flash in front of me. “Did we get the Dominion already?

Negative. That was one of the escorts, the Schwartzkopf. Looks like Mu La Flaga and Asagi Caldwell grouped up on it.

“Good for them.” It looked like La Flaga and Caldwell were going to be our main partners in this final battle.

We have GUNDAM sightings at Point Lima. Everyone, change course. Dearka, hang in the back, your job will be picking off the Forbidden. Flay, you’ll be compromising the Forbidden so Dearka can get a clear shot. Everyone else, move as you like, but I’d strongly suggest Cagalli make the Forbidden a greater priority over the others,” Feldt said.

“What about the nuclear missiles?” I asked.

We’re taking them out before the GUNDAMs can react. Switch on the multi-targeting system, you should primarily target the Moebius units.

Won’t the nuclear weapons go off?” Dearka asked.

Unless you guys have changed things, no. Nuclear weapons can only go off the way they’re intended to. They’ll just be a radioactive conventional explosive otherwise.

You’re assuming that they wouldn’t have changed things,” Athrun replied.

A pause. “Right. We’re dealing with a madman. He’ll have them go off anyway. Athrun, Cagalli, let loose, and everyone, keep your distance. I’ll send out a warning for everyone else in the area to clear.

I almost wanted to laugh, and I think I did hear Hilda laugh at that. Just the deadpan delivery of Feldt’s tone was something to behold. It just massively understated the situation we were in.

Warning sent. Fire.

I had four more salvos left with the missiles, but it was pretty clear that they would be all that I’d need. I shot them off, and backed off.

I guess we’ll find out who’s right here,” Dearka said as the missiles went towards their targets.

I saw scurrying about as the missiles headed towards their destinations. Some of the missiles were shot down by Mobile Suits who had picked up on what was going on. Curiously, none of the GUNDAMs reported in the area were shooting back. I was wondering what was happening.

And then…

Well, it wasn’t a BOOOOOM. There’s no sound in space, after all. But there was an extremely bright flash that made me darken my visors in response.

And then when I could look at what happened, it was like a big gaping hole had been placed in the middle of the Earth Alliance fleet.

Well. We just destroyed a third of the Earth Alliance fleet and all of their known nuclear arsenal,” Feldt said.

I was amazed at how calm Feldt was. It was like she didn’t grasp what had just happened, or was ignoring it.

We also just killed a lot of people,” Athrun replied softly, with close to no emotion in his voice. It gutted me to the core and made me want to rush to him to see if he was okay.

More would have died if they had been allowed to be used at Boaz, Jachin Due, and the PLANTs,” Feldt replied. “The massive gap in the fleet can be used to make a direct strike against the Dominion. Take it and end this battle.

Man, I thought you were just weird, but now you’re creeping me out, popsicle lady,” Dearka replied. He wasn’t wrong. This definitely seemed to fall into ‘the ends justify the means’ type of behavior that we were supposed to be against.

Blame Muruta Azrael for having his detonators primed so recklessly. Thank God Athrun spoke up so I didn’t send you all in there in closer range or you and a lot of people on our side would be dead too. Now go. Point Sierra is wide open.”

Athrun sighed. “Well, you heard the lady. Let’s go. Without their nukes, they’ll have nothing left to fight for when the Dominion is destroyed.

He was right, but even as we kicked it into the gear and flew through the dead zone directly for Point Sierra, I felt a pit in the stomach, and I don’t think it was what was going on in my womb.

It was that defining moment that showed that Feldt was not like the rest of us. I didn’t know how Celestial Being operated, but clearly Feldt did not question annihilating part of a fleet in nuclear fire if it meant ending the battle faster.

It was a moral gray area. Shortening the battle saved lives, yes, but at what cost? And how could you weigh one life against another?

At the same time, if we had gone in there, and any of those nukes had gone off, and I think we all knew one of them would have…

I couldn’t think about that moral dilemma for long, however. Just as we spotted the Dominion, the three enemy GUNDAMs emerged.

Hey, hey, hey! We ain’t dead yet, bitches!”

Did you seriously think we were stupid enough to be that close to the most epic nuclear explosion of all time? Think again!”

We’ll kill you before Azrael kills us for not protecting his bombs!

Lovely sentiments, all of them. Orga, Clotho, and Shani hadn’t changed very much since my last battle with them, if at all.

Once the Forbidden is gone, we can have a team begin engaging the Dominion! Follow the battle plan and we’ll do this. We have them outnumbered,” Feldt replied.

I’m gonna get the Forbidden’s attention,” Hilda said. I spotted the Aegis shifting into its Mobile Armor mode, and then it let loose a potshot right at the Forbidden.

As I think we all expected, the Forbidden’s shield blocked it, and I heard Shani curse on the radio. “Dammit! We haven’t even started fighting yet! You got no right to shoot at me!

It’s the final boss battle, and we’re outnumbered, and they got a cute girl voice bossing them around,” Clotho replied. “No matter what they got, we ain’t losing!

This isn’t a video game, you moron!” Orga replied, but that was when the engagement started, cutting him off before he could further insult his wingmate.

These guys are freaks,” Hilda replied.

Tell me something I don’t know,” Flay replied.

Oh come on! How many hot women do they have on their side?” Clotho yelled, in what seemed to be a half-wail of agony, a half-roar of rage.

Enough for me to kill, ha!” Shani replied.

Tell me how we got on their channel,” Hilda said as the battle began in earnest, and I found myself tracking both the Raider and Calamity as they flew around us, just a little too face for the multi-targeting system.

To be honest, I think they got on ours,” Nicol replied.

So the only way to make them shut up is to kill them. Got it,” Hilda replied.

Not if we kill you first!” Clotho yelled, almost predictably.

Athrun turned his METEOR on Shani then, firing multiple laser blasts right at him, forcing Shani to dodge. I realized the possibility of a trap for Shani then, and I knew what I had to do.

“Flay, cover me! I’m helping Athrun!” I knew I had no shot of shooting Shani down with him darting everywhere, but I could trap him into a pattern of movements, or, even better, just force him to hold still.

Copy that,” Flay yelled, and I saw her Mobile Suit move into a defensive spot by me to keep the other two GUNDAMs off my back. I felt a little bit more relaxed then. The surreal reality that it was Flay making me more comfortable didn’t really hit me either.

And then…

I aimed at Shani with the METEOR’s standard laser rifles and shot at him too. I heard Shani yell in frustration as he found himself having to dodge me as well.

Dammit! Clotho, Orga, they’re ganging up on me!

And then I saw the Forbidden sit still for just a split second.

If Dearka is watching…

And he was.

The Buster’s shot went between Athrun and myself and went right through the Forbidden’s chest. I heard a brief scream of either terror or pain from Shani, and then nothing.

And then the Forbidden exploded into a brief flash of flame, before nothing remained.

I finally got a GUNDAM! About damn time!” Dearka yelled in triumph.

Damn you!” I saw Orga suddenly shoot off for Dearka, but he didn’t make it very far before suddenly getting stopped in his tracks.

I saw Nicol’s Mirage Colloid turn off next to Orga, with the Blitz’s grappling claw pierced right through the Calamity.

Gotcha,” Nicol said.

Y-You bastard… how dare you use-

A shot from the Aegis ended his speech. “Shut. Up.

Nicol disconnected just in time before the Calamity blew up as well, leaving the Raider all alone against the six of us.

No way! No way! Not a total party kill! You bitches! You’re all bitches!” Clotho screamed, followed by a rather aggressive stream of curse words that I frankly don’t feel like transcribing. It honestly sounded more like rage-blubbering to me anyway.

Feldt got on the line then, her volume turned up to talk over Clotho’s yelling and screaming. “Cagalli, your group disconnect from this and head towards the Dominion and support La Flaga and Caldwell. We don’t need this to be six on one, you’ll get in each other’s way.

“Gotcha,” I reply.

Also switch to the backup channel so you don’t have to listen to him screaming,” Feldt added.

Now you tell me,” Hilda sighed.

I flipped the channel, and took a deep breath as I eyed the Dominion in the distance.

Murrue was there. So was Mu, fighting her.

I could not make the same mistake I made the last time. I had to do this the right way.

The merciful way.

“All right. We’re heading to Point Sierra. Flay, Dearka, follow me
,” I said, and I hit the accelerator.

Towards the battle that would almost certainly kill my beloved former captain.
***
There was shooting all around the Dominion as I approached the battle. Mu and Caldwell were occupied with both Mobile Suits and the missile batteries, making it difficult for them to get close, much less cause a decent amount of damage.

“Any allied ships near Point Sierra?” I asked Feldt.

Negative. We’re too far behind you.

It figured. Then again, I wasn’t surprised. We had shot ahead a ways, we were in what had been the center of the Earth Alliance formation, and our fleet were going to be occupied trying to cut through a swath of ships to get to us.

“All right, then we’ll take care of it ourselves. Follow me, guys.”

I made a beeline for the Dominion, engaging the METEOR’s rifles to blast two Earth Alliance Mobile Suits out of the way before I situated myself.

Another squadron of Mobile Suits approached me, however. “Flay, Dearka, fend them off for me while I line up a salvo on the Dominion.”

Got it,” Flay replied.

Flay and Dearka engaged along with a couple of random Astrays, leaving me to my lonesome in targeting the Dominion.

It felt like my heart was getting heavier, like it wanted to sink into my stomach. I knew who was on that ship. It didn’t matter that Azrael was on that ship, or a bunch of people I didn’t know.

All that mattered was that Murrue was there, and that I was going to have to kill her.

I saw an Astray try to make a gun run on the Dominion and get blown apart by a couple of missiles.

I knew that if I kept hesitating, more lives would be lost.

“Sorry, Murrue.” I turned on the multi-targeting system and put my finger on the trigger.

It was easier than I expected. Maybe it was because reality, for that one moment, had gripped me. Maybe it was because I knew I couldn’t disobey orders this time. Maybe it was because I had finally given up, in that split second.

But ultimately I pulled the trigger.

The missiles fired from the pods and homed right in on the Dominion, along with a couple of random Earth Alliance Mobile Suits caught in the crossfire. The Dominion realized what was going on right away, launching a counter-salvo aimed at shooting my missiles down. The Mobile Suits were so annihilated by the series of explosions that when the dust cleared there was nothing left, but I saw explosions and smoke from the Dominion as well.

I had caused damage. It wasn’t enough to destroy the ship, but it had been enough to injure it fairly seriously.

I was going to have to do it again.

I turned the system back on and aimed at the Dominion. I had two salvos left. This one, if it didn’t destroy the ship, would almost certainly be enough to cripple it. The last salvo would, without a doubt, annihilate the [i[Dominion
once and for all.

I was just far enough out of range, and that Dominion just busy enough with the other Mobile Suits, that I could line up the shot and be done with the battle instantly.

But as I aimed and put my finger on the trigger, it just felt… wrong.

This was too easy. This wasn’t a battle. This was murder.

I was going to murder Murrue without even trying to save her one more time.

I knew my orders. I knew that it wouldn’t work. I knew all of this, but I knew that if I didn’t try to help her, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

I left the multi-targeting system on but changed my channel away from my team’s feed, searching for the Dominion’s. Various other channels interrupted me as I searched, giving me snapshots of the battle raging.

The Earth Alliance fleet was not in good shape. Without nuclear weapons, they were going to have to invade Boaz, which would be borderline suicidal. Still, they were going to try. Fear of the Dominion, fear of Muruta Azrael, was motivating this idiocy.

Then I found her voice.

-we have to muster up one more nuke. There has to be one more Peacemaker out there somewhere! There’s no way we could have lost them all!

There she was. In a few more seconds, I pulled up a visual. There she was, with that deep scar still slashing its way across her face, and she didn’t even know I had gotten on her channel yet.

“Hi Murrue,” I finally said.

Who’s there?” Murrue finally turned towards the screen and her eyes widened when she saw me, in fear or rage I couldn’t tell. “It’s /i]you again!”

“You’re probably wondering whose missiles struck your ship when there’s no enemy ship in sight. That was me, Murrue.”

She laughed at me, mockingly. “This again? I don’t know where you keep getting this ‘Murrue’ from, but I’m not her! Now hold still so I can kill you!

“Do you really want to do that to me, Murrue?” I asked, as my vision threatened to mist over and I felt my cheeks heating up.

I knew what I should do. But I couldn’t. Looking at her, I… I just couldn’t do it. Not unless she gave me no choice.

Why not? You’re just sitting there like a lame duck!

“Even though I’m your friend?”

I don’t know you!

“Yes you do. And I can tell you know me, because of the way your eyes are right now. You can sense it, don’t you Murrue?”

She hesitated, her eyes wide in confusion in addition to fear. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

She remembered me. I could see it in her eyes. Maybe why the others couldn’t get through to her was because they stopped trying after the initial resistance. But I kept digging at it, and the cracks were forming in ‘Sariel Leighton’. She knew something was wrong.

“All of the nuclear missiles are gone, Murrue. I shot them all down. Your overlord, Muruta Azrael, recklessly armed them so they’d go off regardless of how the missiles were detonated. Do you really want to work for a man like that, who would place your troops, and you, recklessly in danger?”

It’s the only way to kill the Coordinators!

More of that pablum. If she kept repeating that crap, I was going to have to do it.

Please give me a sign, Murrue.

“Stop giving me that crap, Murrue. You don’t believe in that. You never did. All you wanted to do was what was right.”

Please show me you’re still in there.

She bit her lip. She had to be remembering. Enough of Murrue was still in there to interfere. She nervously looked to her left, then back at me again. “I am not having this conversation anymore. I’m going to blow you away and then you’ll never bother me again-

“Dammit, Murrue! Don’t make me do this! You’re my captain!”

Your captain?” She froze again, her face softening as her eyes met mine in a dead stare.

“You put your life at risk to save mine, Murrue. You went into a Blue Cosmos base and shot your way in just to save me. Because you cared about me, Murrue. You weren’t just my captain, you were my friend, and you were going to put it all on the line to help me because I was your friend too! So now I'm going to do the same thing to save you!”

She remembered. She had to be flashing back to the base. I could see it in her eyes as tears were forming at the tips. “I-I…

I almost had her. If I could free her, we wouldn’t have to destroy the Dominion at all, I was thinking. She could take control of the ship and turn it on Azrael, and we could even this war even faster.

A great sense of hope, genuine hope, filled me as I spoke to her again. “You and I had a special bond, Murrue. You even let me call you by your first name and eschew military ranks altogether. We trusted each other in a unique way that no one else had. And I’m going to trust that you, like you’ve always done, will do the right thing.”

She grabbed her head. I was winning. Murrue was winning. “Stop it! Stop! I… I don’t know you! I can’t! It’s impossible!

“Help us, Murrue. Help me,” I said.

I saw her, and heard her, cry and sob for a few seconds, her hands covering her eyes. Then, slowly shakily, they lowered from her face.

It was still the same face, with the same scar, but I saw the change in her eyes. It was the warm eyes of my captain.

“Murrue?” I dared to ask. This was a dream. This had to be a dream, the most beautiful dream. I had succeeded. I had gotten through to her. She was back. She was actually back!

Murrue smiled, just a little, as tears trickled down her cheeks. “Cagalli…. Cagalli, I’m-

And then I saw the pistol pressed against her head.

All I saw was Murrue’s eyes widen in fear before the trigger was pulled and blood spewed where her head had been.

BANG.

I wanted to scream, but my voice choked, and I could barely emit a sound, as I saw the blood spread into several large, red bubbles, as her body was pushed out of the captain’s chair.

God damn it.” It was Azrael’s voice, and all of a sudden I felt a rage bubble its way into my chest, even as hot tears floated from my eyes and directly in front of my face.

Kill him. Kill him. Kill him.

I spent all that money and time reconfiguring her to be perfect, and you just forced me to waste it all. Now I gotta do this myself.”

It wasn’t just shock and grief anymore over Murrue. It was a rising, burning hatred for this man that was rapidly taking control over me. It was primal, it was ruthless, and it was suicidal.

Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!

Did you really expect to save her, Cagalli Yamato? I don’t know why you thought you could. Did you think I would just let her remember her true self and take over my ship and fight against Blue Cosmos? Did you really think I would let that happen?

He was right, I had been a fool, and him telling me this just made me hate him more.

I saw the seed flashing in front of my eyes for the first time since this battle had begun. It was cracking, cracking faster than I had ever seen before.

KillhimkillhimkillhimkillhimKILLHIM-

My trembling hands put themselves back in the controls, shaking so much I don’t know how I didn’t rip the control stick out of its spot.

Don’t have anything to say to me? At a loss for words? Well, fine. I guess I’ll just have you blown up while-

DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

It was like I had transformed into a demonic monster, a creature from hell, and the scream was so intense, so all-encompassing, that I immediately tasted blood from the back of my throat.

The seed shattered, and I immediately fired the missile salvo at the Dominion, before switching to the beam sabers on either side of the METEOR.

I no longer cared if I lived or died. All I wanted was to destroy the Dominion. If doing that killed me too, it no longer mattered.

Oh ZOINKS!” Azrael yelled as I followed my missiles to the Dominion.

I hit the acceleration and prepared the Freedom and the METEOR to slice the bridge in two as explosions erupted all around me and in front, as they hit the Dominion with vicious force.

It was the only way. The only way I could make Azrael’s death even remotely cathartic. The only way I could make it painful enough, and terrifying enough, to truly avenge Murrue.

Without hesitating, I went full speed towards the bridge. Maybe I would go on the arc I intended to and slash the bridge. Maybe I would just ram it and immolate myself along with Azrael. Maybe I’d get shot down. Whatever. As long as I killed him nothing else mattered.

I screamed again, destroying what remained of my hoarse voice as I made my charge for the bridge.

Somebody shoot her! Shoot her down! I don’t care if it’s a popgun, fire everything!” Azrael squealed.

It wasn’t enough. His fear wasn’t enough. He needed to be more scared.

The sad thing was that this was as scary as I could make it.

I saw the bridge, and I slashed right through it with the left beam saber, cleaving it in half as I raced past the Dominion.

I flew on for a little bit longer, before it occurred to me that I should turn around.

I did just in time to watch the Dominion vanish into a ball of flame, with only faint dust and debris remaining from where the ship once stood.

It wasn’t enough. It still wasn’t enough. I had killed Azrael almost instantly upon slicing the bridge. And it didn’t change the fact that…

I removed my helmet and turned off my radio. The tears were relentless now.

Instead of anger, there was just emptiness, nothing. I truly had no purpose now.

I had nothing.

I had tried so hard, and I had seen her, for five seconds I had seen my friend, I had seen Murrue, just as she had always been…

And she was robbed from me.

I was long past not caring if I lived or died anymore. Now it was worse. Now I wanted to die. I wanted Clotho or somebody else to come flying my way and get rid of the easy mark.

So I could join Murrue.

“K-Kill me,” I whispered with the strangled remnants of my voice. “Please, someone kill me…”

I drifted in space alone, my face buried in my hands, waiting for someone to grant me the ultimate mercy and join my beloved captain in death.
____________________________________________________________________________________

I think this chapter is pretty indicative of what kind of ending we're heading towards.

Throughout this fic, with the exception of chapter 20, I decided to sneak in a theme for a canonical character dying in this fic. This theme would be naming each chapter after a song on the Breaking Benjamin album "Dear Agony", which, fittingly, is an album about despair, pain, suffering, and impending death. It does spoil that somebody is going to die in the chapter in question, but I wanted to see if I could run with the theme before anyone publicly picked up on it.

I am spoiling it right now because that theme is no longer in effect after this chapter. There's going to be a lot of death in upcoming chapters and this chapter is just the start. And I have my own theme for the final battle that I would like to do.

Anyway, thanks for reading so far. Chapter 85 is halfway done already, so it should go up on schedule.
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?

Golos
Mecha Flunky
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:09 pm

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by Golos » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:44 pm

rebel_cheese wrote:Basically, this is me playing a card I hadn't planned to use until the Destiny-era sequel fic right now. I hope it's okay.
Is the Destiny-era sequel in the cards?
Still with Durandal as main villain?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 79 7/24/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:37 pm

Golos wrote:
rebel_cheese wrote:Basically, this is me playing a card I hadn't planned to use until the Destiny-era sequel fic right now. I hope it's okay.
Is the Destiny-era sequel in the cards?
Still with Durandal as main villain?
I'm setting up the sequel in case I choose to write it, but I know for sure once I'm done writing this fic I'm going to take some time off before I revisit.

New chapter should be up this evening.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 84 8/28/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:19 pm

Sorry about the delay, I was not happy with the conclusion to the chapter and had to mess with it a little.

Next chapter should still go up on Sunday as planned.
______________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Eighty-Five: The Razor’s Edge

I cried for what seemed like an eternity. The tears wouldn’t stop. Cut off from everything and just drifting alone, I felt like I had been transported into my own private purgatory, waiting to be cleansed so I could head to heaven.

“Kill me,” I begged again. “Please kill me. Somebody kill me. Anybody.”

It’s all right, Cagalli.

I heard her voice then. My captain’s voice. My heart stopped and I pulled my hands away from my face in shock. “M-Murrue?”

Please calm down.

I felt her then. I felt her warm presence surrounding me, and when I looked down, I saw her arms wrapped around my torso.

“M-Murrue! Murrue, I…”

I gritted my teeth as the tears started floating away from my eyes. “Murrue, I’m so sorry!”

It’s all right. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or for me.

“Don’t say that!” It was a strange feeling. I wanted to hear Murrue, but I didn’t feel like I deserved to hear her. My friend’s forgiveness, wasn’t something I felt like I deserved or had earned. I thought I deserved rejection and hatred for my failure, not something that would heal or save me like forgiveness.

“I wanted to save you! You sacrificed yourself for me and then you come back from the dead, and… what was the point of all of this if I couldn’t save you?”

Calm down.

Her hands gripped me tighter, and the sensation pulled me from my stupor.

Thank you for everything you did. You allowed me to die as myself, Cagalli. That was still better than the fate Azrael had planned for me.

I knew, in my heart, that she was right, but I still didn’t want to believe it. “Dammit, Murrue! Stop saying that!”

I know how you feel right now. I know you want to die. But you can’t. You have too much to live for.

“Like what?” I yelled.

Her hands touched my abdomen. You have life inside you, Cagalli. You are responsible for more than just your own life now.

I stared into space then as she said that. Once again, she was right.

She was always right. My poor captain, always right, until she…

You have friends you need to protect, family you should go home to. Don’t die out here in the middle of space. Finish this battle and go home, and live your life in the peace you deserve after all you’ve been put through.

“But Murrue-”

I’m the one who started a child like you on this path in the first place, by making you pilot the Strike when you did not want to. If you are looking for someone to blame for how this turned out, blame me.

We were approaching the end. I could sense it, somewhere in my heart. “I could never blame you for anything, Murrue!”

Then go and find your peace. End this war. I will be with you until then.

She vanished then, and that’s when I realized I had my eyes closed the whole time, because when she was gone, I saw everything with renewed clarity.

I don’t know if Murrue visited me for real or not to this day. Maybe she did. Maybe it was some buried part of my subconscious, trying to convince the rest of me to suck it up and fight one more time. Murrue had no way of knowing I was pregnant, after all. Though the afterlife, if it does exist, probably does work in mysterious ways.

Whatever the case, I found the strength to wipe my eyes and grab my helmet. I put it back on and locked it into place, and I switched my radio back on.

I was going to end this war, no matter what it took.
***
Radio frequencies were chattering everywhere, so I focused on finding the one of my team. I heard them then, well, actually, I heard Mu. “Princess, are you all right?

“I’m fine,” I said softly, trying to hide the way my voice was still quivering. “And don’t call me princess.”

That was a hell of a maneuver you just pulled, kid. But don’t do that again. I’m amazed you pulled out of that alive!

That was because I had no intention of surviving that assault, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. From the sounds of it, they had no idea of what happened between me and Murrue and Azrael. Considering I had switched to their channel, they had no way of hearing that conversation unless they had also switched to the Earth Alliance’s frequencies.

If no one knew what had happened, I was going to leave it that way, at least until after the war was over. I had disobeyed orders again, I had gone against everyone’s advice again, and I had paid dearly for that mistake again. I would accept whatever punishment they had for me after this battle, but until the war was over, they would know nothing.

“I’m amazed too,” I replied. “Now find me something to shoot.”

It looks like your boyfriend’s having trouble with that last Earth Alliance Mobile Suit,” Mu said. “I’ll clean up here so you can help him out.”

“Got it.” So Clotho was still alive and harassing Athrun, huh?

I refocused. “Thank you, Mu. Changing frequencies.”

I switched over to my team’s channel and shot off towards the Justice’s location.

I was immediately greeted with wild laughter. “You can’t hide from me, pretty boy! I’m gonna shoot you and stab you and murder you until there’s nothing left to murder! HAHAHAHA!

Not only Clotho was still harassing Athrun and the others, but he had gone completely psychotic. Lovely.

“Athrun, what’s wrong?” I asked as I flew towards the battle.

This guy’s gone completely out of his mind! He damaged my METEOR and I had to send it back to base!” Athrun said.

He’s moving too fast for us to hit him,” Hilda added gravely.

Ohhh, who’s that?” Clotho half-rasped, half-gargled.

So he had noticed me. “Hi.”

So it’s you, final boss bitch! I’m going to enjoy slaughtering you! Kamikaze strike!

“You can’t be serious.” But he was, from the way he made such a jagged maneuver from fighting Athrun and the others to targeting me.

We’re all gonna die, we’re all gonna die, hi-ho the dairy-oh we’re all gonna die!” Clotho sang in the most screechy voice imaginable. If it wasn’t for my helmet, I’d have covered my ears.

He was firing every weapon imaginable too. Missiles, guns, and it turned out even his helmet had a giant beam.

“Shut up and die,” was all I could say to his rampage.

I focused. I saw the seed appear in front of my vision again and shatter, and I knew what to do.

I dodged his helmet beam, and then aimed one of my METEOR rifles right for the center of the Raider.

Perhaps if he had not gone completely out of his mind, he still would have had a chance.

I fired, and much to my surprise, it didn’t hit where I had aimed. Instead, I destroyed much of the left midsection, sending Clotho spiraling out of control, smoke trailing from the Raider. Now I knew why the others were having such trouble, he was in such a berserk state his movements could not be predicted.

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Clotho screamed as the Raider continued to spiral away from me and the others, before his cry was suddenly cut off as the Raider conclusively exploded, leaving nothing but ash and tiny bits and pieces behind.

Well, at least he died happy… I think,” Hilda said, her tone deadpan.

I guess whatever makes people happy, even impending death. Though in his case I’m not sure whether he was truly cognizant of what was going on, considering how much he kept throwing in gamer stuff like ‘final boss’ whenever he talked to us. I guess to him life was but a game, just something to campaign before you died and you started over again.

To me, life isn’t like that. As far as I’m concerned, especially now, you only have one go at it, barring some supernatural interference I can’t hope to know or understand. I have to make it all count.

I think that’s what Murrue was telling me.

“Anything else going on?” I asked.

Negative.” That was Feldt Grace. “The takeover of Boaz is proceeding according to plan. We’re actually ordering Zala Team to fall back. No need to risk any of you with Boaz being taken over and no threat of nuclear weapons. Hopefully once this is all settled we can just fly to the PLANTs and there won’t be any more shots fired.

It was really going to end that simply? It felt too easy. In my heart and head, I knew it was too easy.

I knew Asta Joule was still out there, for example. And after the way Rau Le Creuset had poisoned her mind, who knew if she had gone as crazy as he had been.

This wasn’t over. Not yet.
***
The Archangel had escaped the battle without taking heavy damage, which was the plan. Still, even with the immediate battle over, no one was letting down their guard. Least of all Natarle Badgiruel, and yes, she had noticed my blackout.

“What were you thinking out there? What happened?”

I knew I couldn’t tell her I disobeyed orders by contacting the Dominion. Otherwise I wouldn’t finish this war. “You know as well as I do that Murrue was on that ship. I had to stop for a little bit after what I did.”

She frowned at me. “I don’t think that’s true. Not one hundred percent. I have video of your movements and the way you destroyed the Dominion was a frontal assault with crazed movements that could have broken your neck from the G-forces. There’s something else going on here, Cagalli, and I want to know what it is.”

Feldt came up from behind me and came to my rescue. “Captain, or Rear-Admiral, as they’re calling you now, this isn’t a good time for this conversation. Even if Cagalli violated an order, the end result is the destruction of the Dominion which cleared the way for our side to take over Boaz. When we’re still on alert, the last thing we need to do is discipline one of our elite pilots when we don’t know if we need her yet.”

Natarle turned her stern gaze to Feldt. “You have a lot of nerve to question me in front of my crew.”

“I had a captain of a different mindset in charge of me and I am used to her approach,” Feldt replied. “I apologize if I am overstepping my boundaries.”

Badgiruel sighed. “No, you’re not. The way this crew functions better is if I run it at least somewhat similar to the way Murrue Ramius did, and that is providing questions and solutions to the captain in charge.”

“However,” she said to Feldt, her eyes seeming lit with renewed energy, “I don’t completely trust you. Your story, while it has some evidence, is still too bare to completely stand up to scrutiny. Be careful where you tread.”

“I understand,” Feldt said.

I saw Sai Argyle stand up from his station. “Ma’am, we have a communication from Naomi Misora.”

“I don’t see why. We’ve already agreed to our plan to approach the PLANTs,” Badgiruel grumbled. But she picked it up anyway.

The video screen displayed Naomi Misora’s prideful face as well as her still-meticulous Earth Alliance uniform. “Hello, Rear-Admiral Badgiruel..”

“What is it?” Badgiruel asked.

I have been hearing reports that there is something odd happening at the PLANTs. Take your detachment and split off from Boaz. Do it now.

“Uh, understood,” Badgiruel said, clearly reluctant. “What’s the matter?”

I’ve been hearing that Eileen Canaver may have jumped the gun. I want your forces to break off and keep an eye of the situation while the rest of us sort Boaz out. We’ll follow you once we’re done.

“Understood,” Badgiruel said with a sigh. She turned to Neumann and Miriallia. “Hard to port, let’s head to the PLANTs. Let’s hope all we’re doing is recon.”

“Should the Minerva and Kusanagi travel with us as well?” Miriallia asked.

“Sure, why not. Let’s make it a party,” Badgiruel said with another sigh. “Order all ships aligned under my command to depart Boaz and head towards the PLANTs.”

“Does that include the Earth Alliance ships recently transferred to us?” Miriallia asked.

“Why not, let’s bring everybody. As many as possible before Naomi Misora gets pissed at us,” Badgiruel replied.

Miriallia barely suppressed a smile. “Copy that, ma’am.”

Badgiruel wasn’t smiling. “This isn’t right. Eileen Canaver was reported to me as being cautious, possibly too cautious. Why would she jump the gun and why?”

“Maybe it’s bad intel?” I turned around and saw Mu La Flaga at the entrance to the bridge. “I mean, do we have anything other than Naomi Misora’s word to go on?”

Badgiruel made a growling motion. “I bet she wants to use us as the bait for the meat grinder and then she can waltz right in and take control.”

“All of the GUNDAMs are under your command though,” I replied. “Why would she send all of the GUNDAMs to die when she can keep us with her?”

“Maybe you’re right and I’m just paranoid.” Badgiruel sat down in the captain’s chair with a bit of an uncharacteristic slump. She looked exhausted all of a sudden, a look that didn’t seem right on her.

“Naomi Misora has political ambitions; she had them even when we were all Earth Alliance. Why would they stop just because of a change of circumstances?”

It didn’t take me very long to realize what Badgiruel was saying. “Durandal is the emerging leader in the ZAFT contingent we have, and Kira is the overall commander, and they’re both coming with us. So I guess if we all got blown up it would work out for her, right?”

“Yeah,” Badgiruel said. Her eyes looked beyond me then, to Miriallia. “Has the Kusanagi already begun following us?”

“Yes ma’am,” Miriallia replied. “They’re right behind us, actually, in the center of our detachment.”

“Have them slow down and fall back towards the rear of our forces. No need for them to get directly involved if we’re going to walk into the enemy’s teeth.”

I suddenly felt a sense of relief at that. This meant Kira wouldn’t be in the middle of the fighting. But he was still coming with us, so I couldn’t quite relax, not entirely.

“I don’t know,” Mu replied. “I think we should order the Kusanagi[/I to turn around and head back for Boaz. If Misora’s plan is to rub us out, having Kira linger back at Boaz would mean she still can’t assume control over everyone, assuming it’s her actual plan.”

“I am paranoid but not that paranoid,” Badgiruel replied. “We’ll just have Kusanagi in the rear in case we need her.”

Sai turned towards us again. “Got another call from Misora.”

Mu chuckled. “Something’s got her all riled up.”

“Well, let’s find out,” Badgiruel replied, and she switched on the monitor. “Yes?”

How many ships do you plan to take with you, Badgiruel?

Mu tried to stifle laughter. Honestly, even I was smiling at that. We certainly had Naomi Misora’s attention now.

“As many as I could get away with,” Badgiruel said. “If we’re flying into an uncertain situation, the more the merrier.”

Very funny,” Misora replied. “Send ten of those Earth Alliance ships back. I don’t want to leave Boaz this thin when we haven’t completely pacified the interior of the base.

“Right,” Badgiruel said with a sigh. “I’ll have them heading back in a minute.”

Thank you,” Misora said.

But that’s when the warning klaxons went off.

“What the hell?” Badgiruel asked.

“There’s a huge wave of thermal energy firing at us from the PLANTs!” Miriallia screamed.

“Can we evade?” Badgiruel yelled.

“No time!” Neumann replied.

So many thoughts flashed through my mind. How was this happening? Where was it coming from? What was going on?

“It’s going to miss us!” Miriallia yelled.

I saw it then, and it flashed right by us. The bright light was almost blinding, and I wondered if we were going to die anyway just by how much of a near miss it wound up being.

I heard a voice from the monitor then, which made me realize we were still connected to Naomi Misora. “It’s heading right for Boaz!

What?” she yelled, and it made me turn to look at her.

It made me wish I hadn’t.

All of a sudden, as the picture began to distort, I saw Naomi Misora’s body visibly inflate like she was some sort of disturbing, fleshy balloon, cutting off her scream just as she began it. But that wasn’t the worst part.

The worst part was when she popped.

Yes, that is the right word.

She popped. That was even the sound she made. Pop. And there were more. Much more. The audio feed from the monitor was filled with popping, like a bunch of water balloons exploding all at once, before the feed mercifully cut itself as Misora’s ship was presumably destroyed.

I think we all stared at the feed for about a minute or so before we finally began reacting.

“Jesus Christ, what the hell was that?” Mu finally asked, his eyes wide in disbelief.

“I can’t raise Boaz!” Sai yelled from his station.

“I think everyone we took with us is still alive,” Miriallia said softly. “But I think everyone who was at or by Boaz is gone.”

I wondered why Badgiruel hadn’t said a word. Then I saw she had her right hand over her mouth, and her left over her stomach.

After everything she had seen and been through, this was the moment where Badgiruel nearly broke. She was almost at the point of vomiting right in the captain’s chair out of the sheer horror and disgust that had transpired right in front of her.

I don’t know why I didn’t do the same. Maybe because I had seen something just as bad, if not worse, at Panama, so in a way I was inured to this type of gory death.

“Should we scramble the Mobile Suits and Armors?” Feldt asked. “Rear-Admiral?”

Badgiruel took a gasping breath, and finally she spoke. “Get everyone organized in phalanx formation! I want all pilots in their Mobile Suits and launched yesterday. And I want somebody, anybody, I don’t care who, finding out what the hell shot at us and how we keep it from shooting us again!”

She looked at me, her eyes wide in both fury and terror. I had never seen Badgiruel flustered like this. It froze me into place.

“Get to the Freedom, and do it now, Yamato.”

The tone in her voice put such a fear in me that I immediately spun around for the exit. Badgiruel was a lot of things, but she was not someone to be trifled with when she was nervous.

“Yes, ma’am!” I yelled, and I barely avoided crashing into Mu La Flaga, who didn’t even need orders to know where this was going.

I just hope I could launch before I got vaporized too.
***
Erica Simmons from the Kusanagi was stuck with the effort of explaining the super-weapon to us, after a lot of arguing and chaos for about fifteen minutes, during which they had launched the entire GUNDAM team including me.

I have enough information to tell us what this is. This laser that fired at us is called the GENESIS. It’s based off of a propulsion system called the GENESIS Alpha,” she said. “It’s a huge gamma ray cannon that uses nuclear explosions to produce a massive burst of gamma radiation, originally was designed to send ships to Mars. Either they modified it or built a new one whose purpose is to destroy enemy forces… and possibly Earth.

Oh great,” Dearka breathed.

It seems to work differently from the GENESIS Alpha. GENESIS’ laser is reflected back by an external alignment mirror and focused by a second mirror on the cannon to create a laser beam. The firing badly damages the external mirror and they have to change it with each shot. We have to get there and get in close enough range to prevent it from firing at us again.

They fired at Boaz, where they had to have known some of their forces are still fighting,” Badgiruel said.

This is why Canaver jumped the gun. She found out about GENESIS and launched the coup d’etat earlier than scheduled. Right now, we’re about to fly into a civil war, and we don’t know who’s friendly and who isn’t,” Simmons said.

This also means that Patrick Zala’s truly lost his mind,” Talia Gladys said. “To kill some of his own forces to kill us crosses the line.”

Not only that, but he could fire it at Earth the moment the mirror changes. It could easily exterminate half of the life on the planet, if not more,” Simmons said. “And L4 would be in the firing zone when they finish changing it. They could destroy L4 and Earth the next time they fire.

I thought about my family. L4 was supposed to be home now. To lose it, to lose Earth… what would happen to us? Where would we go?

This was such a sick, twisted endgame. It had to have been orchestrated by Rau Le Creuset. Even in death, he was still manipulating us, trying to set up the annihilation of humanity.

We need to help Canaver secure the PLANTs, and we also need to destroy GENESIS,” Kira said. “I say we use the existing phalanx formation to accomplish both tasks before GENESIS can fire again.”

We don’t have much of a choice, we can’t waste time while that thing charges up another shot,” Badgiruel replied. “The left wing of the phalanx goes to help Canaver’s fleet in the PLANTs. The center goes after the Jachin Doe fortress. The right wing destroys GENESIS. Everyone, go, go, go!

She was still rattled by the attack that vaporized Boaz and microwaved Naomi Misora in front of our eyes. I wasn’t sure if she was thinking entirely straight. The plan didn’t seem to be a bad one, though.

All right. How do you want my team to deploy?” Athrun asked Feldt.

Athrun, you take Hilda and Nicol and attack Jachin Doe. Cagalli, your responsibility is GENESIS.

So I was taking care of the superweapon? Lovely. I was left thinking Athrun had the easy job.

Judging by his tone of voice, that was exactly what Athrun was thinking. “You sure about this?”

Jachin Doe probably controls GENESIS in addition to guarding it. We seize Jachin Doe, we may not need to worry about it shooting again. So we need to make sure both possibilities of stopping GENESIS have GUNDAM support. That’s all,” Feldt replied.

All right,” Athrun said with clear reluctance. I saw the Justice turn towards me, slowly, embodying Athrun’s desire to stay with me and not let me go.

Be careful, Cagalli.”

“I will, Athrun. Just take care of yourself.”

They blasted off then, leaving just me, Flay, and Dearka here.

I promised Kira I would bring you home, Cagalli,” Flay said. “We can do this.

I knew that. I had seen the promise right before I boarded the Freedom again. She had her hand on the screen, as if trying to touch Kira’s face through it, promising with all of her heart that she would bring me back to her brother.

“Don’t do something stupid like dying for me,” I replied.

Look, can we go before Super Laser flash-fries us and makes these types of talks pointless?” Dearka asked.

“Right. Everyone, follow me. Let’s eliminate GENESIS.”

I hit the acceleration and went right for GENESIS, followed by what seemed to be a small army of Mobile Suits.

Somehow, I felt that all of this wouldn’t be enough. I found myself wishing for Murrue's presence again.

I didn’t know how right I was.

We were on a razor’s edge and never knew it.
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?

rebel_cheese
Newtype Emo Guy
Posts: 305
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Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 85 9/6/16)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:23 am

Ideally, your minds will be blown next chapter. It'll be up when it's supposed to this time, I guarantee it, since it's already finished.
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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