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

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rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 64 9/9/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:20 am

Chapter Sixty-Five: Self-Starter

The first response I got from my words was probably the last response I could have expected.

Jesus, princess, what the hell got into you? Did ZAFT inject pretentiousness into your skull?

That was Lieutenant-Commander Mu La Flaga. I’d know his voice anywhere at this point.

For the first time after seeing the seed shatter, I felt happiness. I still, somehow, felt human, just for that moment. The hyper-awareness I had was still there, but I felt human. I had finally discovered how the seed worked, and now I knew that the best way was to no longer fight it, but to accept it. By accepting it, by letting it be a good thing, I’d still be me.

“I guess I’m rather overconfident in this machine, Lieutenant-Commander,” I replied. “By the way, don’t call me ‘princess’.”

La Flaga chuckled. “Well, at least that confirms that you’re no imposter.

I didn’t see the Mobius Zero or a Skygrasper on my radar. That meant that La Flaga was piloting someone else, likely a Mobile Suit of his own. I did a search and realize that La Flaga was piloting the Strike. He was flying my previous GUNDAM.

I actually smiled at that. Obviously Kira worked done overtime on the Strike’s OS so La Flaga could pilot it. There was no one else who could.

Suddenly, I found Orb Mobile Suits surrounding me. The designations for them were coming up as ‘M1 Astray’. They looked pretty similar to the Strike, albeit with some of the features taken away. Obviously a mass-production variant of the Strike.

A young woman’s voice entered my radio. “ZAFT pilot, you are trespassing on Orb territory. State your business before we open fire!”

This didn’t surprise me. I had to be showing up as a ZAFT unit to them.

“My name is Lieutenant Cagalli Yamato of ZAFT,” I finally said. “I am defecting to the Orb forces. I am here to help protect Onogoro Island. Now, who are you, Orb pilot?”

My name is Asagi Caldwell. My wingmates, who are going to shoot you the moment you do something I don’t like, are Juri Wu Nien and Mayura Labatt.

Another girl’s voice entered the conversation. “Um, ma’am, did you have to give our names to this girl?

Shut it, Mayura.”

They seemed young. Not much older than me, if that. They seemed to be lacking cohesion as well, a sign that they were definitely lacking combat experience too.

The fact that I knew this, somehow, was sobering. To these girls, I was the grizzled war veteran. How long ago was I just like them, with the same amount of insubordination and confusion and unprofessional snarking? Heliopolis? Hell, my ways didn’t really change until after Tassil. That’s when I finally began changing. I spent the entire trip until Tassil trying to hold onto the person I was.

Now, I was someone else. And now I knew what Mu La Flaga had to feel whenever I was doing something stupid in the Strike.

“Is this really the best time to have this conversation?” I asked the girls surrounding me. “We’re in the middle of a war here, and I just cleared the enemy out.”

And also taunting them. They’re going to send even more of them here now.” That had to have been the third girl, Juri.

“So be it. I’ll blow them all away,” I replied.

Um . . . while it is interesting to see women doing the chest-thumping, I think we should all get behind cover to have this conversation. The princess’ little show definitely got the Earth Alliance’s attention, and they’ll definitely be taking another tack for the next assault.

That was Mu La Flaga, and his tone of voice suggested amusement with this conversation more than anything else. At the same time, as tempting as it was to shout ‘Stay out of this!’; I knew he was right. The middle of an invasion, and caught out in the open on a shattered beachhead, was the worst place to have this argument.

So I took the Freedom and blasted it into the air, and landed it close by to the Strike, behind some shattered buildings.

We’re not done talking yet!” That was Asagi Caldwell, and she clearly was not going to let this go.

“I’ll worry about the proper defecting process or whatever later,” I replied.

That’s not what I meant! If you are defecting, then we need to figure out how to best use you, Lieutenant!”

That sounded somewhat more reasonable than arguing over the nature of my defection back to Orb. At least it related to the matter at hand.

Let me handle that.” That was Mu La Flaga. “Right now, I’m down a wingman. I think Cagalli here will do nicely. She and I have some timing down, we fought together for a long time.

Caldwell sighed. “I can’t argue with that logic, especially not in this situation.

“What is the situation?” I asked. “It looked like the beach was going to be overrun before I got here.”

A lot of politics, a lot of threats, and the Earth Alliance is acting on all of them,” La Flaga said. “That’s all you gotta know right now.”

I was still pretty pissed off. That wasn’t a good enough answer. I mean, I could take educated guesses; like that the Earth Alliance was probably after the Mass Driver on Onogoro, but I didn’t want to work on educated guesses. I wanted answers. Right that second.

“If you won’t tell me the situation, tell me about the battle,” I said. “Bring me up to speed on the battle.”

Right,” La Flaga replied. “We had missile salvos, we were able to intercept them, mostly. The Archangel has joined the Orb fleet in trying to break the Earth Alliance’s left flank, but there hasn’t been much success so far. And you disrupted the attempt to overwhelm us with their Mobile Suits. So . . . I guess you could say we’ve done pretty well so far.

As La Flaga spoke, I scanned the area, and saw the coastal city had taken some damage, there was smoke from damaged and burning buildings beginning to waft into the sky.

Seeing a city of my country burning pissed me off. But I kept my temper in check. I knew that getting angry wouldn’t help anyone, and would just put me right back on the path I was the previous times the seed shattered in my vision.

“Not well enough,” I finally said, looking out at the city.

My sensors beeped then. “Look like they’re coming for another attack!”

Three of the targets on my radar were accelerating much quicker than the others. Something was up with them, and I didn’t like it. They were heading right for the damaged city.

What the hell are those three machines?” Juri asked. “They’re moving faster than any Mobile Suit I’ve ever seen! Well, besides yours anyway.”

“I don’t know, but I’ll take them out!” I replied.

I was not going to let them murder civilians. Something told me that their advance on the city might be a trap, so they could surround and attack me, but I knew I had to take the bait. My conscience wouldn’t let me do anything else.

So I blasted off and shot right towards the city, aiming to intercept the three mysterious bogies before they could get there.

They were not Strike Daggers like the others. That much I could already tell. They were not going to be as easy.

Suddenly, one of the bogies opened fire on me. It occurred to me that he had a long-range weapon like the Buster, and it was even stronger than what the Buster had.

I spun the Freedom to the right to dodge the shots as they came, and I flew right above the water, pouring on the acceleration to outrun the shots. I got a visual on the three of them, and my suspicions were confirmed . . .

They were not Strike Daggers. They looked more like GUNDAMs. And they all looked unique.

Hey, hey, hey!” That was a communication from one of the Mobile Suits. “I don’t know what the hell you are but I’m gonna turn you into a pile of scrap!

Taunting me already? On a public channel?

Orga, Shani, I’ll take her out!” Suddenly one of the Mobile Suits charged forward, and I saw that he had some sort of ball and chain as his melee weapon.

Say hello to the Raider!” the pilot yelled as he charged at me, hurling the spiked ball right at me, and I barely got out of the way in time.

Clotho, stay out of my way! I got her!” shouted another, significantly raspier, voice. It was another one of the GUNDAMs, and he seemed to be armed with both a gigantic scythe and a railgun, and he began firing his railgun at me. It was a colossal, layered blast, and it hit me that I was in over my head trying to fight these three on my own.

I shot the Freedom into the sky, barely dodging the shot, to find the third and final GUNDAM waiting for me.

Dammit, Shani! Learn how to aim!

He shot at me several times, and I put up my blast shield to deflect the blows, but my sensors let off an alarm. ‘Shani’ was already rushing me with the scythe, aiming to cut me down from behind.

I pivoted and blasted away, towards a forest by the city, as ‘Shani’ swung and missed.

You should take your own advice, Orga! That was pathetic!” Shani snapped.

As I flew over the forest, I did a scan. The machine matched to ‘Shani’ was the ‘Forbidden’. ‘Orga’ was matched to the ‘Calamity’. And the final machine, which belonged to ‘Clotho’, was the ‘Raider’.

Whoever had named these Mobile Suits clearly was bloodthirsty and had a taste for the macabre. For all I knew, it could have been the pilots themselves. Something was off about them, and they seemed even less disciplined than Asagi and her team. And Asagi’s team wasn’t that bad, they just didn’t have combat experience.

These guys . . . they were fighting each other as much as me, and they didn’t seem to care that was happening.

Orga was chasing me now, firing wildly at me. Many of the shots were blasting into the forest, and I realized there were groups of refugees below us, trying to flee the city. I had to get out of this area before I got them killed.

I spun around and blasted right towards Oruga, and I ignited my beam saber.

Orga let out a cry of surprise. “Oh ZOINKS!”

I scraped him. I wasn’t able to cause much damage but I scraped him and that forced Orga to back off significantly.

Stop it before you look even stupider, Orga! I’ll wear her out, you just wait your turn!” Shani yelled.

He was coming right for me with that scythe.

He fired his railgun first, and I had no choice but to dodge. The shots rocketed past me, hopefully not getting close to the convoys of fleeing refugees. At least, that was what I was hoping.

And then we collided with each other, and the Forbidden drove me into the ground, where we deadlocked.

As long as I had him like this, he wasn’t going to be able to get off another railgun shot. But this wasn’t going to last very long. It was three on one, and it wouldn’t be long before either Clotho or Orga would make an attempt to kill me while I was busy with Shani.

For a group of arguing boys, they actually had a pretty decent strategy to kill me.

Even if it seemed pretty much improvised.

Clotho came diving in with that damn ball and chain again. I saw a chance to get out of the way and have Shani get hit by the blow instead, and I stepped aside, but Shani knew Clotho was attacking and deflected Clotho’s assault easily with his scythe.

Clotho! For the last time, stop trying to help me or I’ll shoot you down too!”

We don’t got time to be waiting around for you to wear her out! Don’t be an idiot! She’s like a boss character! We gotta work together or she’ll take us out one by one!” Clotho replied.

Don’t bring your stupid video games into this!” Shani snapped back. “This ain’t a ZOINKS game!”

I don’t care! I’m not losing this battle to a girl boss and that’s final!”

It seemed these guys didn’t have the best grip on reality. Particularly the ‘Clotho’ guy, who seemed like a horrible video game troll . . . except he had actually been handed lethal weaponry. Not exactly a great combination.

I knew there was only one way to settle this, and I had a prime opportunity to do so since they were arguing yet again. I aimed my beam rifle right at Shani and opened fire, aiming for a direct hit and taking one of them out right away. However, much to my surprise, the shot dissipated. It had no effect at all, it was like my shot had vanished into nothingness, like it had been sucked down a black hole.

Shani let out a short laugh. “That ain’t gonna work!

He suddenly bent low to aim his railgun at me again. I was expecting the railgun to fire, but much to my shock, he was aiming something different at me judging by what was charging.

I immediately retreated as a wide-arcing shot tore a swath through the open air, nearly colliding with the Freedom head-on. It shot below me, just barely, and it crashed into a mountain behind me, leaving a massive indentation and a cloud of smoke in its wake.

Whatever he had just shot at me, it was some sort of plasma cannon, and being hit with it was instant death.

I was not going to die by being cleaved in half. Dying in this Mobile Suit was a horrible way to go in general, but dying in that particular way was rather low on my wish list.

I got her this time!”

That was Orga again, taking another potshot at me.

I dodged his salvo, and then rushed him. He wasn’t keen on getting slashed again and he accelerated backwards to avoid me.

Hey, hey, hey! You think I’m just gonna let you try that same trick again? Forget it!”

Orga, get out of the way! She’s mine for the last time!” Shani shouted.

He was aiming another shot at me, and it could very well hit Orga at the same time as us. Orga seemed to realize that too, as his reaction was an apt “Oh ZOINKS!”

I dove lower to the ground then, to the point where I physically landed on the ground, in order to avoid Shani’s attempt at a kill shot. Orga easily dodged it too, and I think that was Shani’s gambit there. He knew Orga was going to dodge with the very brief advance notice, but he wasn’t sure whether I could do the same. And even if he didn’t hit me, he had put me in a vulnerable state on the ground, one which Clotho and the Raider were going to try to take advantage of.

Game over!” Clotho shouted.

He had shapeshifted the Raider. Now it was in some sort of flight mode, resembling the Skygrasper Mobile Armor. And he was coming in for a dive-bomb assault against me!

The only thing I could do was raise the shield and weather the machine-gun assault as the Raider blasted past me, shooting at me like he had infinite ammunition to spare. Several of the shots went spiraling past me and smashed into the forest, causing fires to erupt where the shots had immolated trees.

This was better than fighting in the city, but not by much. And in the back of my mind, I knew there were civilians around. And they were going to get hit if I kept fighting here, if they hadn’t already.

“I’m still standing,” I replied. This time I was going to be ready for the Raider’s counterattack, and I wanted him to come back and make another pass. He wasn’t going to be so successful this time.

Well we’ll see what I can do about that!” The Raider, just as I expected, spun around and began another pass.

But this time I was ready for him. I turned on the HiMAT and locked onto the Raider just as he began making his pass.

But then a massive force hit me from behind, staggering the Freedom.

In desperation, I made a dodging maneuver and shot at the Raider with the HiMAT engaged even though the lock was not perfect.

The Raider saw my attacks coming and he somehow evaded all of my shots. I spun the Freedom around to find Orga and the Calamity GUNDAM he was piloting right there, his gun barrel still smoking from shooting me.

The Freedom had taken damage. It wasn’t crippling, however, if anything, all that Orga caused was cosmetic, only on the surface. I was not crippled at all and I had no plans on that happening to me.

But this was starting to get bad. I could not keep fighting three on one, not without wiping one of the three boys out to make this easier on me. I needed to do that. I had almost hit the Raider, but almost doesn’t cut it, especially in war. You have to just do it in order to find any success at all, and what I had managed to do was just continue prolonging the battle, without either side gaining much headway. I had scratched the Calamity, and now he had scratched me. That was pretty much it.

All this proved was that even with an advanced GUNDAM like what I had, not every battle was going to be easy. And fighting these three boys was anything but easy.

I now wished I hadn’t left La Flaga and the Astray girls behind. I could have really used their help in this moment.

And I still hadn’t made contact with the Archangel proper yet. There was a possibility they didn’t know I was alive. No one had made an attempt to contact me yet, anyway. There was a pretty good chance they didn’t know.

I wasn’t getting reinforcements for this battle. Yes, with the Freedom and its nuclear powered engine, it could keep fighting theoretically forever. But the Freedom had a human pilot, and said human pilot did not have the same endurance as the machine she controlled.

I couldn’t keep fighting forever. Eventually I was going to wear down. I had already made the mistake of concentrating too much on the Raider and not on the other two machines. How soon before I made a mistake that wound up being more lethal?

I needed help. But I didn’t know where I could get it from. This was a different front, with the defenses already worn down, compared to the beachhead that the Astrays and Mu La Flaga were defending. I had nothing left, not even ground forces, to try to help me by at least hassling the GUNDAMs. It looked like this area was very well cleared of friendly forces besides me.

I aimed the HiMAT at all three of the machines and opened fire, but that had no noticeable effect. The Raider and the Calamity simply got out of the way and the Forbidden stood there and deflected the blows like they were nothing. It was clear that what the Forbidden had didn’t dissipate the shots into nothingness like I had originally thought. No, the Forbidden was deflecting the shots, and it was being done so quickly it was like my beams were being vaporized.

There was no way I could destroy the Forbidden in a frontal assault. The Earth Alliance had designed the machine exceptionally well.

At the same time, I doubted the Forbidden would be able to tolerate a melee attack. A beam saber could penetrate in ways a plasma shot could not. But I just needed to get close to the Forbidden to pull that off, and with the Raider and Calamity harassing me, that was going to be a tall order.
Clotho and the Raider seemed to have the loosest grip on reality. That made him the most logical target to take out first. After he was removed from the equation, the Calamity didn’t have much in the way of melee options from what I had seen and the Forbidden looked indestructible except against melee attacks, barring, of course, a surprise attack from behind.

So after the Raider was shot down, the most logical move would be to concentrate on speed and try to cut both the Calamity and the Forbidden down while dodging their attacks.

Tall order. But it was the only plan I could come up with as the three boys regrouped.

But then I heard a voice I never thought I would hear again.

Boys. All of you, stop.

It wasn’t a voice I had heard for a long time. I only knew the person for about a day, actually, far less. And she had attempted to kill me during that day too, only for me to fight her off and leave her unconscious.

It was her voice.

I saw a GUNDAM emblazoned in black and gray, looking similar to the Strike, land directly in front of me, in front of the three GUNDAMs I had been fighting.

A visual of the pilot appeared on one of my monitors. The familiarity of her voice was no accident. Her face was the same too.

She smiled calmly. “Hello, Cagalli. Long time no see.

What the hell is going on here?” Clotho shouted. “You’ve got no right to interfere like you’re like . . . like our mom or something!

You guys weren’t getting anywhere on your own, were you? Now, if you want to win this battle before the drugs wear off, you’d best follow my instructions. She’s got a strong machine here.

The look in her eyes suggested that she still considered me a friend, odd, considering we were on opposing sides. “But first I would like to have some words with Cagalli before we begin. I’m sure she would like an explanation for why I’m here first.”

“Yeah,” I said softly. “I thought . . . I thought you were dead, Joan.”

Joan just chuckled softly at that remark. “Oh, I’m dead all right. It just hasn’t been made official yet. They know they own me hook, line, and sinker. I’m addicted to the drugs, just like the boys here.

Suddenly, the dark mirror of the Strike took on a fighting stance. “I’m sorry, Cagalli. Someone has to take care of these boys so they’ll fight at maximum potential. That’s me. That’s why they gave me a clone of the Strike, so they’d respect my machine, if not me personally. They call it the ‘Strike Alter’. I guess we’ll find out if they made it any better than the original, right?

There was a fatalistic tone to her words that suggested a young woman so tired and beaten down and cynical there was hardly anything left in her at all. She was almost an empty shell, even more shattered than she had been back on the Blue Cosmos island I had met her on.

It was like looking at a human being who had decided she was completely, entirely, disposable.

All right, boys . . .” Joan Memphis took a deep breath, and then issued her orders. “Orga, establish a perimeter around the battlefield! Make sure she can’t escape and that no one else can interfere! Shani, you blast her with your railgun if she tries to make a break for it, keep her pinned so Clotho and I can keep up attack! Clotho, you and I attack her directly and take her out!

Why the hell should we follow your orders?” Shani snapped.

She came up with a strategy to beat the boss,” Clotho replied. “I ain’t complainin’. I’m sick of this battle! Let’s kill her so our own boss doesn’t punish us for this!

Yes,” Joan replied, her voice much quieter. “I guess we will.”

She aimed at me. “Like I said back on the island, Cagalli . . . my sense of self-preservation is just too strong. I fear dying too much to allow myself to get killed. I’m sorry . . . but you’ll have to die instead.

I prepared myself. Now it was four on one. There was no way I was going to win this one.

What could I possibly do against four GUNDAMs on my own?

It seemed I had wound up in a hopeless situation, one with no way to escape.

And it would just keep unraveling from there until I was dead.
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 65 9/24/14)

Post by The Green Flame » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:17 am

Snaaaaaaaaaap. I forgot about her.

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 65 9/24/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:42 am

Exactly as planned. :twisted:
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 65 9/24/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:00 pm

Chapter Sixty-Six: Unreconciled

I did the only thing I could do and engaged the HiMAT and opened fire with everything I had. I didn’t even take the time to lock on; I knew that any second’s hesitation would result in my death. The only thing I could do was to put them off balance right away and, oddly enough, go on the offensive. If I kept attacking, and kept them from preparing for a coordinated assault, I had a chance.

The moment the HiMAT barrage ended I targeted the ‘Strike Alter’ GUNDAM and accelerated right for it, aiming to destroy it using a melee attack. Much as I expected, Joan raised her own beam sword in time. She had been training for this opportunity her whole life, and I doubted all of her effort would be wasted in just five seconds of battle against me. After all, she had escaped certain death at the island . . .

“How are you still alive?” I shouted as we tried to outmuscle each other.

I did it the only way I could! Everyone in the base had to die so I could live!” Joan shouted. “You think it was something I wanted to do?

I found it an impossible story to believe. How could one girl manage to systematically kill every other person inside that Blue Cosmos base? They had trained soldiers, fledging assassins, doctors with evil agendas, you name it, all after us. How could Joan possibly kill them all? And even if she somehow did, why would Blue Cosmos put her in this position? What would make them trust her considering she had turned on them?

“Why would Blue Cosmos trust you then?” I asked her.

Joan just laughed bitterly. “Like I said, they own me with those drugs, Cagalli. They own the boys too. The fact I had killed everyone else in the base off left them little choice but to use me for this war. But it’s a double-edged sword. They have the only thing that keeps me alive.

I knew what she meant. She was addicted to the same drugs that Sting, Stellar, and Auel had been addicted to. And they had hellish withdrawal symptoms. I remembered, then, that Joan had said she had been on the drugs too long to live without them. All it would take was withholding her lifeline and Joan would be on her knees.

That had to have been why Blue Cosmos decided to let her live. She had proven herself to be a merciless, elite killer, and she was putty in their hands thanks to the drugs. Coupled with that Joan was the only survivor left on that base, Blue Cosmos wouldn’t have any other options other than to deploy Joan on a short leash. Not only that, but they clearly had copied the Strike’s design while I was stuck on that base. That was the only reason the Strike Dagger existed, and had to explain this specialist one I was fighting too.

As much as I wanted to feel sorry for Joan, though, I knew that I couldn’t. If this girl was capable of systematic mass murder to save her own skin, surely she would be deploying those skills on me if I got her back against the wall. I needed to end the Strike Alter and quickly before Joan decided she was going to die and did a Stellar-esque freakout or whatever it was that she did when she was in life-threatening situations.

“You realize if you don’t withdraw, I will have to kill you, right?” I asked. Just to make myself clear to her.

You can try.” Joan smiled. “But you won’t. We’re actually quite alike, Cagalli. We are at our best when we’re at death’s door.

The Strike Alter made a defiant push and knocked me off balance, and I realize that Shani was going to take a potshot at me from long distance. I staggered the Freedom around to dodge the shot, and then shot the Freedom up into the air, as both Joan and Clotho took shots at me. The shots missed but wound up entering the city, blowing holes in multiple skyscrapers.

I had spent way too much time in this area. If I kept fighting here, even if I stayed out of the city, I would wind up witnessing its destruction anyway.

And even if the three crazy boys with GUNDAM machines wouldn’t realize it, Joan would. She knew I would prioritize human life, and if she truly did want to live, she would take advantage of it.

I engaged the HiMAT and opened fire, just to keep Joan and Clotho out of formation. The shots blew past them and shot into the ocean, but that was okay. I had a clear shot at Clotho and the Raider due to his evasive maneuvers, and I aimed with the Lupus beam rifle and fired.

I connected with the Raider and I heard Clotho cry out. It was quickly clear, however, that despite the smoke, the blow I had given the Raider was not a kill shot.

All I had done was cause the Raider to crash into the forest below us, smoke trailing from the machine. It looked still flyable, it would need another shot to wipe him out.

I aimed for him when my sensors beeped. Shani was shooting at me again.

Would you just die already?” Shani screamed as he opened fire.

I had to back off from the Raider before I could finish him off. I blasted off towards the mountains so Shani would avoid blasting the city behind us, but I didn’t get very far before I saw Joan charging in, both of her beam swords activated.

I had walked into a trap.

This settled it. Joan did know that I would try to keep civilians alive, and she would take advantage of it. She apparently wasn’t going to tell her wingmates this, but that was of little consolation.

In desperation I shot at Joan with the Lupus and basically did a loop-de-loop with the Freedom to avoid Joan’s attack, which made me feel dizzy for several seconds, but there was no apparent damage done to the Freedom.

I could hear Clotho snarling on the radio too. “That’s it! I hate losing! How dare you try to beat me! I’m the best, you hear me? I’m the best!

I knew I wasn’t going to hit him, but I engaged the HiMAT and fired anyway in the Raider’s general direction. The explosions erupted all around the downed Raider, and Clotho screamed in terror.

I didn’t have enough time to aim and lock on, not with Shani continuing to shoot at me from afar and Joan readjusting her stance to take shots at me too. But it would keep the Raider pinned down for a few crucial moments, in which I could figure out how to dispatch Joan and Shani.

Plus the Orga guy had to be lurking around somewhere. Joan had shooed him away, but it would not shock me if she had sent him some secret instructions to try to catch me by surprise. Problem was, even if I suspected the attack was coming, there was no way for me to tell when the attack would occur, or what conditions would cause it to happen. It was a trap I knew was there, but didn’t know the circumstances that would activate it.

It’s hopeless, Cagalli. You won’t be able to finish any of us off,” Joan said calmly.

“Maybe I won’t have to. Your drugs are on a time limit, aren’t they?” I asked.

Joan stared at me in shock.

I realized then I had another way to win. Even if I couldn’t shoot them down, all I had to do was keep them busy until the drugs wore off. The moment they did, these pilots would all have to withdraw, which would spare Onogoro their rampages, and allow me to catch a break.

No matter how good Joan’s strategy was, even if she did manage to wear me down, if she didn’t accomplish the task in time, it meant nothing. I would still be alive, and Joan and her wingmates would have failed in their mission.

I heard Orga’s voice. “We have incoming!

I checked my radar. Looked like Astrays. Friendlies, at last. A few of them had splintered off to deal with the Calamity, but the rest were coming to keep me backup.

I looked at Joan, who looked alarmed. She knew the tables were turning on her. “Looks like you’re just about out of time one way or another. Good luck, Joan.

I killed the communications then and switched to the Orb military channel. I heard Asagi Caldwell’s voice right away. “Our mission is to assist the GUNDAM Freedom! Beat them out of the city! Allster, you go and help the Freedom, I’ll deal with the machine trying to snipe us!

Allster? Did she mean . . . Flay Allster?

Damn, Flay was moving up in the world.

Several Astrays shot past me and began engaging both the Strike Alter and the Raider then. The Raider flailed about, trying to keep the two Astrays that had chosen to engage it off of his back. Joan fared better against her two Astrays, keeping them at arm’s length.

Joan was shooting high into the sky to try to outfly the pursuing Astrays, and I decided that Joan took priority. I joined the chase in the sky, shooting high towards the clouds, as Joan tried to outfly the two Astrays.

One of the pursuing Astrays I checked out did identify Flay Allster as its pilot, and I got in touch with her. “Hi Flay! Leading your own wing now, huh?”

Flay just chuckled. “Hi, Cagalli. Looks like you picked up a new GUNDAM.

“Yeah, it’s called the Freedom. Top of the line, stole it from ZAFT. I don’t think they’re happy about it.” Even though this was Flay I was talking to, I felt better talking to her than I ever did talking to most ZAFT soldiers. Flay felt like a true companion, in spite of us having a antagonistic relationship for much of the time on the Archangel. Maybe we were finally beginning to understand each other since we had both become soldiers.

I wouldn’t expect they would be,” Flay said.

Joan was still evading us as she took us into the clouds. Losing visual wasn’t the same as losing radar, though, but it meant flying in an entirely different way. We needed to track Joan by radar now, not by sight.

“Watch it Flay,” I said. “I would expect her to unleash decoys to confuse us while we’re blind like this.”

As if on cue, that’s precisely what happened, all of a sudden my radar was clogged with possible Strike Alters.

Everyone, out of the clouds!” Flay shouted.

Flay and her wingmate suddenly switched gears and shot downwards, and I did the same thing. The G-forces felt like they were crushing me as we fell towards Onogoro for several seconds, and I struggled to twist the Freedom would to take aim at the sky, to wherever Joan might come popping out of.

There were several possible positions the Strike Alter could take, judging by how many decoys had been unleashed.

I engaged the HiMAT and prepared myself as I continued to fall towards the earth. I could not stay in this position, I was in free fall like this, but I knew Joan had to be aware she was running out of time. She wasn’t going to wait for me to hit the ground, she was going to do what she needed to do to kill all three of us before she had to withdraw.

Suddenly, she blasted out of the cloud, to my left. She had not take aim at me, but at Flay, and she had chosen the melee option with her beam sword. Flay barely got her own beam sword out in time to deflect Joan, but the momentum of Joan’s assault caused Flay to plummet towards the ground, almost out of control.

Joan was now in-between me and the other Astray pilot, and I could not open fire with the HiMAT without hitting the Astray pilot too, which had to have been what Joan was counting on. I had to waste the time to disengage the HiMAT and switch to standard weaponry, but at that point Joan had spun towards the other Astray and opened fire.

The Astray erupted in golden fire just as I got my Lupus ready to shoot.

I opened fire.

Joan saw it coming, but she was unable to keep part of her right leg from being blown off from my shot. The force of the explosion knocked her off balance, but she quickly regained control of the Strike Alter and made a move towards me.

It hit me, then, how they had improved the Strike for Joan.

This Strike was a hell of a lot faster. Faster than the Dagger, and faster than the original.

Both of us continued to plummet towards the ground, trading shots at each other, but neither of us able to hit the other. We were essentially going too fast and firing too wildly to have any chance of hitting the other with beam shots. Problem was, Joan’s maneuvers were driving me towards the ground, which was rushing to me quickly. This was a battle I was going to lose in a matter of seconds.

I stopped shooting at Joan and concentrated on dodging as we rocketed towards the ground. I instead pulled out my beam saber and then hit the thrusters full blast to keep from crashing into the ground. Joan realized what I was going at the last second and she made an evasive maneuver to the right as I aimed to cut her machine in half.

The result was that I grazed her as she moved to the right and shot past me, flying just above the trees of the forest we were over.

Flay had recovered from being knocked away and went right back into the pursuit, shooting at Joan with renewed vigor. I could tell, even without communicating with her, that Flay was furious. Her shots were too rapid and too wild to mean anything else.

I rejoined the pursuit too, following Flay as we chased Joan above the trees. We seemed to be in a slightly different sector than before, and we seemed to be heading right for a skirmish between Earth Alliance Daggers and another Astray squadron.

“We’re coming in hot, Flay!” I shouted as we were about to blow right through the battle.

You don’t think I don’t see that?” Flay replied.

We shot through, both of us blasting at the Strike Daggers in our way as we continued chasing Joan. It became clear to me that we weren’t just chasing her to any random location on Onogoro, but back to where the battle had begun. Joan was heading back to her teammates.

“I think she’s trying to get back to the rest of her squad, Flay!” I said.

Well, we’ll take her out before she gets there!” Flay punctuated her words with more shots at Joan but Joan was still able to dodge them.

Suddenly, Joan landed on the ground and pivoted, aiming right at us. “Dodge it, Flay!”

We veered to each side as Joan shot at us desperately, but she missed, and we wound up blowing past her. We were right back to where we started, and the three drug-addled boys were engaging Asagi Caldwell’s entire squadron of Astrays on their own.

I wondered where Mu La Flaga was. His help would have been appreciated.

I turned the Freedom around, to see that Joan had already taken off in the air. That was when a shot from afar blasted past her, and it didn’t look like a shot from either the Strike or the Astray.

My radar was screaming. “Flay, Asagi, I have a lot more bogeys incoming! Four of them!”

They weren’t Earth Alliance, otherwise they would have been identified as hostile. That meant . . .

ZAFT.

Finally, my seed went away. I had lost my focus, and I knew what was going to happen to me. ZAFT had reacted quicker to my betrayal that I had dreamed.

At least ZAFT was shooting at the Earth Alliance before shooting at me.

Joan and her squad were already flying off. Either the drugs were wearing off or Joan had decided that their chances of winning the battle had hit slim to none. And the four bogeys continued to come closer on the radar, flying past the friendlies, but still not shooting. I was shocked that the Astrays were not defending their position, and then it occurred to me there had to be a reason why.

I turned on the public Orb channel, and I was stunned to hear the voice I did.

I repeat, this is Athrun Zala of ZAFT special forces. I have no interest in harming the Orb Mobile Suits defending this position. I am here to speak to Cagalli Yamato, pilot of the Freedom. Can you hear me, Cagalli Yamato?

It was Athrun. I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t. It felt like the weirdest dream to hear him at that moment in time, and it made my heart skip a beat, just one.

Finally I spoke. “Yes, this is Cagalli Yamato. I’m here.”

The bogeys came in sight then, and I saw four of the ZAFT GUNDAMs. I saw the Justice, I saw the Blitz, I saw the Buster, and I saw the Aegis. From the looks of it, Athrun was speaking from the Justice, so he had taken my old machine and someone else was piloting the Aegis.

The Justice came to a stop, and the cockpit opened up, and I saw Athrun standing a moment later, exposing himself, just to show he meant no harm.

I need to speak to you, Cagalli, now that the battle’s ended for now. Can you?

The thought of talking to Athrun immediately after a cruel and vicious battle confounded me. I had just found out Joan was still alive. I had spoken to Mu. I had fought with Flay. My country was under assault. And Athrun wanted me to take time away from this just to speak to him? How important did he think he was?

But I knew why. He wanted to make sure I was all right, and . . . he was probably looking for Lacus. And it was not an answer I could give on the radio.

“Okay,” I finally said, after a moment. “Let’s talk.”
***
We wound up on a beachhead. Athrun was escorted by Nicol, Dearka, and stunningly, Hilda Harken. I guess that identified who had taken the Aegis.

Next to me was Flay. Only Flay. But she was ready to shoot. She was not the Flay I had known on Heliopolis, not anymore. Her eyes were that of a hardened soldier, her eyes reminded me of my own. How we had changed since Heliopolis, in similar yet different ways.

“You’ve moved up in the world,” I said to Flay as we walked towards Athrun’s group. “Commanding people now, huh?”

“I bring something that most Orb pilots don’t have,” Flay said softly. “That is combat experience. I’m quite valuable that way.”

That made a frightening amount of sense. Flay had indeed seen battle, seen plenty of it. She had flown at least four sorties that I could remember from the Archangel, and she had done countless live drills with Mu La Flaga too. Of course Orb would want to put a battle-hardened pilot in charge of rookies, even if said pilot was a teenager who ordinarily wouldn’t do battle.

“I guess that makes two of us,” I finally said as we got to within earshot of Athrun and his group.

There were other witnesses, but they were at the edge of the beach, watching us closely. I saw Natarle Badgiruel and other crewmembers of the Archangel among those witnesses. That meant a long reunion was in order after this conversation ended.

I stopped, and so did Flay. As if on cue, Athrun held up his hand and his group halted too.

Staring at Athrun now put the oddest feeling in my chest, like a lump grabbing my heart. It was hurting me just to take breathes, I couldn’t quite find the words I wanted to say. But I knew I had to say something, something that he would accept.

“Athrun,” I finally said, “What are you doing here?”

Athrun remained calm. “I am here to find you and Lacus, by orders of Siegel Clyne.”

Athrun had sided with Siegel Clyne against his own father? As noble as that sounded, and how badly I wanted to believe him, I couldn’t just take that as a straight answer. Even if Hilda Harken, who had worked for Siegel Clyne for so long, was standing right there too.

“You expect me to believe that?” I asked. “Why would you turn on your own father?”

Athrun remained resolute, as if he had expected that question. “Because he wanted to harm people I care about, that’s why. I’d be lying if I said I want to fight my father instead, I don’t know what he’s thinking, or what his intentions are. But I know that . . . that I don’t want to fight you or Lacus.”

He had no idea. He truly had no idea at all. I wasn’t sure what to say to him.

Hilda stepped forward, so she was directly beside Athrun. “I can vouch for Athrun, Cagalli. In fact, I was the one who made sure Athrun and everyone here could get away from ZAFT in the first place.”

Nicol added “And I wasn’t going to betray Athrun either. Where he goes, I was going to help him.”

Dearka, for his part, looked embarrassed. “Um . . . to be completely honest, the only reason I’m here is because I know you and Athrun would completely kick my ass. I’m more likely to live fighting with you guys than against you.”

Dearka’s testimony would have been lightly amusing, if what I was going to tell Athrun didn’t have to be told.

“Anyway,” Athrun said, “Where’s Lacus? I knew she came with you.”

How could I tell him? How I could say the words?

He would figure it out anyway, because I couldn’t say anything at all, but I didn’t want Athrun to realize things that way. Lacus deserved better. Athrun deserved better. My cowardice or sentimentality or whatever it was that was keeping me from talking about Lacus wasn’t acceptable.

“Lacus is dead,” I finally said.

My voice came out softer than I had wanted, and I wasn’t sure that my voice would carry the distance to Athrun. But, even from this distance, I saw his blue eyes widen, just a little, and I knew. I knew he had heard me, and the sight of seeing him in such shock brought me to tears.

“Lacus . . . Lacus is dead, Athrun. She . . . she took a bullet aimed at me, and . . . and s-she died in the . . . in the Freedom’s cockpit.”

I could not see Athrun’s face anymore, but he was standing perfectly still. Clearly in shock. Such in shock that Hilda Harken, the oldest and most battle-hardened of us all, wound up speaking next.

“Where is her body?” Hilda asked gently.

“I . . . I couldn’t bring the body here to Earth,” I said. “I-I passed by Junius Seven, and . . . a-and I left her body in the interior. I . . . I, um, marked the location so . . . so we can find her.”

I felt an arm around my shoulder, and I realized it was Flay’s. She felt strong, stronger than she had been on the Archangel.

Damn it, had we really become friends? Or comrades? Had we really become that to each other?

I didn’t want Flay to speak for me. She only had a grasp of what had happened. There was no way she was taking over the conversation for me, especially if it was to comfort me or protect me. Even if Flay thought of herself as my comrade, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea.

“So . . .” I said. “What . . . what will you do now? Your mission is a failure . . . Athrun . . .”

Athrun’s voice was soft. “I . . . I . . .”

“Why don’t you listen to what’s in your heart?”

That voice. It was . . .

He was approaching us from the right.

Prince Kira.

My twin brother, who still probably didn’t have any idea of the truth.

He looked calm, gentle, as he walked between us. “If . . . if you think that you’re doing the right thing by staying here, then help us. Help Orb. If you feel that where you need to be is back at PLANT, Carpentaria still hasn’t fallen. I’m sure they would give you a lift back.”

Hilda chuckled lightly, sarcastically. “Carpentaria is held by supporters of Patrick Zala, and in any case it will probably fall within days. All ZAFT bases are being held by skeleton crews, we’ll likely have to abandon our Earth footholds over the next several weeks.”

“Then it sounds like both your heart and your mind is telling you people to stay here,” Kira said.

Hilda looked down, clearly affected by his words. Kira had made sense. He always did. He had that calm, methodical mind. He was the son of the Lion of Orb, in situations like these, panic wasn’t in his nature.

He finally turned towards me, and he gave me a gentle smile. “Hi, Cagalli.”

Seeing him again just brought the dumbest smile to my face, even though all I could think about was Lacus. Just seeing him standing there, in front of me, made me realize that there were still a lot of people alive. A lot of people I cared for and lot of friends, comrades . . . and Flay.

Athrun and I were going to need to sit down for a long while, discuss Lacus, discuss what was happening, and I was going to need to apologize. Nothing I could say would ever make it up to Athrun for allowing Lacus to die on me, but at the same time, I could at least give him Lacus’ last words. The message she had given me spoke more profoundly than any public speech she could have possibly made.

Even if we couldn’t reconcile, he deserved to know.

And so did Kira, about a secret that I knew but he didn’t.

I smiled at him, my twin brother. “Hi, Kira. I . . . I have a lot to tell you.”

Kira nodded. “I don’t doubt that you do.”

That was the beginning of the Three Ships Alliance, right there, I think.

But we didn’t know it yet. How could we?

We hadn’t seen the other two ships yet. But we would, eventually.

This was the moment that changed all of our destinies. Everyone here, and everyone who had yet to join us. This was it.

And we were behind the young man directly in-between me and Athrun, the young man who had single-handedly gotten everyone here to listen to him.

Kira Yeley Athha.
_________________________________________________________________________________
There is one chapter left in Part Three. It is already in progress, I hope it comes out quicker than this one did.
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 66 10/12/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:23 pm

Chapter Sixty-Seven: Futures

The GUNDAMs had been transported back to Orb, and I had followed. The Earth Alliance was continuing to remain passive. I wasn’t sure what they were waiting for, maybe they had taken more losses than anticipated. Maybe it was because the Strike Alter and the Raider had taken quite a bit of damage, and they needed repairs before being sortied. If that was the case, that said a lot about the Earth Alliance’s strategy. They weren’t willing to make an attack without the four new GUNDAMs under their command.

Orb was putting up a fight. That much was obvious. But judging by all of the empty space in the hangars, quite a few Astrays had been shot down. It was only a matter of time before Orb was worn down and defeated. Even if Athrun and his meager, if elite, reinforcements did opt to help Orb, superior numbers would win out. Sure, the Earth Alliance would take a staggering amount of casualties in the process, but considering how the enemy’s strategy seemed to involve frontal assaults, I wasn’t sure the Alliance cared anymore.

This was different than how the Alliance fought when I was on the Archangel. Something had changed. Someone else was in command. Someone who didn’t much care who died as long as he got victory.

He would get his victory, but there would be enough bloodshed to drown all of Orb and the Earth Alliance’s military in order to get it.

Athrun looked around. There weren’t just military personnel here, but civilians who hadn’t gotten out in time, and many of them were lying around, injured or dead, waiting to be flown out. It was clearly affecting him, and it was taking everything I had to keep my focus and not stare at all of the crying, hobbling civilians.

I wondered if any of them had been from that convoy that the Raider had blasted while trying to hit me. Was I at fault, or was it the Raider’s fault? Not to mention the Strike Alter and I had done some fighting near that convoy. Joan definitely wasn’t trying to hit the convoy, but who says some stray shot didn’t hit them? And the less said about Shani zapping the area trying to kill me, the better.

Athrun finally said “Why are they singling Orb out? Why indiscriminately attack this country? Orb was neutral.”

“They’re staying neutral too. Kira told me that ZAFT’s been making overtures and Orb’s been refusing their offers of assistance,” I replied.

Athrun looked at me in surprise. “If they don’t make an alliance with ZAFT Orb will be finished! Look at what’s happening to these people already!”

“I think they aren’t making the alliance because they don’t want anything to do with their father. They’d rather die with their principles intact than become beholden to PLANT,” I replied.

“I’m not sure the civilians agree,” Athrun said, looking at a group of them huddled in a corner, waiting for their turn to board an emergency shuttle that would take them out of Onogoro.

Athrun had a point. “I guess depending on your point of view all sides are being unreasonable here,” I said. “But Orb’s way involves staying true to themselves and trying to protect these civilians. Neither the Earth Alliance or PLANT are doing that anymore. All they care about is complete extermination.”

I knew Athrun didn’t want to agree with me. He wanted to believe his father still meant well. But he hadn’t seen what I had seen, and he had to have known what his father had ordered. His own father was responsible for the death of Lacus Clyne as he had ordered those guards to shoot Lacus and me.

I pivoted the conversation, before Athrun started navel-gazing again, which, not to insult him, he had a tendency to do. “Athrun, what do you plan on doing now?”

“What do you mean?” Athrun asked.

“What’s your reason for being here now? You’ve sided with Siegel Clyne, in order to protect your fiancé and me, but . . . but Lacus is dead, and . . .”

What I was trying to say wasn’t coming out right. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words just weren’t forming together the way they should have. It was like the idea sounded better in my head than it did out loud.

“You’re asking if there’s any reason for me to continue fighting and not go back to my father?” Athrun asked.

“Yes,” I said. “That’s . . . pretty much it.”

Athrun’s green eyes stared right into mine. “Cagalli, I’m not fighting against you again. If you’re throwing your lot in with Siegel Clyne, I will too. Anyway, this is what Lacus would want me to do.”

I could tell by the slight grimace on his face that Lacus being dead was only starting to hit him. It wasn’t hitting full force yet. How could it? It’s not like she died personally in front of him. Knowing it had happened was a big shock and sometimes for people it takes longer for it to sink in.

“Lacus’ death is my fault,” I said. “I don’t know if there was any recording or video made of her death, but . . . I tried to bluff my way out of the situation-”

“I saw,” Athrun said softly. “I knew what you were trying to do.”

Well, that settled how much Athrun knew and saw of the showdown against Patrick Zala’s guards.

“A-Athrun . . . I just . . . I don’t know what to say . . .”

“Cagalli, right now, if you’re trying to apologize for what happened to Lacus, just don’t. It’s something I need to wrap my mind around for a while,” Athrun replied.

There was a harshness underneath his tone that he probably didn’t intend to let out, but I heard it. “I get it, Athrun. I really do.”

Whether Athrun was mad or me or not didn’t really matter in that moment. I just knew I needed to give him some space. In any case, I was looking for certain people anyway.

“Athrun, I’m . . . I’m going to try to find the Archangel and its crew, and figure out what happened to my family. I need to know whether they managed to get out of Onogoro. I’ll leave you alone for a little while.”

Athrun grabbed my arm as I turned to walk away. “Cagalli, I’m not-”

“Athrun, right now, what you need is space,” I said as I looked into his eyes. “And the person who screwed up and got her killed is right in front of you. I don’t blame you if you’re angry at me. I’m angry at myself. I considered Lacus a friend too.”

“Just because Lacus died doesn’t mean you’re not my friend, Cagalli,” Athrun said. “And it doesn’t mean that right now I want to know why both sides in this war have taken an extremist stance that will only get everyone killed.”

Those words were small comfort to me. “Athrun, I know you blame me for Lacus’ death.”

Athrun’s eyes widened. “Cagalli, that’s not true, I-”

I could see it on his face. Maybe he himself didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to believe it, but it was there, lurking under the surface.

“And that’s okay. It was my fault. I keep rethinking what else I could’ve done over and over again, to figure out if there was anything I could have done to keep Lacus alive. And the worst part is, I can’t figure out a way.”

My eyes were hurting and I knew what that meant. I had only met Lacus a few times but she had already become a close friend to me. That spoke to her charisma and her empathy. Losing this girl was going to be a staggering blow to the world in some way, and we were going to find out what the consequences were later.

I was not going to cry in front of Athrun. All that would do was just make everything worse for the both of us.

“Cagalli . . .”

Athrun was doing his ‘Cagalli . . .’ thing again and that just pissed me off. “So how about the both of us just think about what we’re doing right now, and what we truly believe in! Athrun, I know you still care about your father in there!”
Athrun’s eyes widened. “W-What?”

“You’ve made it clear that the only reason why you’re here is because of Lacus and me! But Lacus is dead and I am the one who got her killed! So what reason do you have to be here anymore?”

I was on the verge of basically ripping Athrun’s head off and I didn’t care. “So right now, I’m going to leave you alone! Talk to your friends or something, figure out what you want to do! Do you really believe in the causes that I fight for? Are you going to forgive me for Lacus’ death? Make up your mind on these things and figure out what it is you want to do! If you can figure it out, then you’ll either be fighting with me or you’ll be on your way back to Carpentaria!”

I turned around and made sure to walk quickly enough so Athrun couldn’t just grab my arm again. “Tell me when you’ve made up your mind!”

I made sure to vanish in the crowd and made myself get lost by darting around several corners so I could lose Athrun. When I was sure I did, I took a deep breath, and forced myself to re-center.

Although, doing that meant a couple of tears spilled from my eyes.

And it wasn’t just for Lacus.

It was for Athrun, too.
***
I wandered around for a while, trying to find the Archangel, before discovering that it had never returned to port. It was still out on patrol out there. That meant that my reunion with Badgiruel, Sai, Miriallia, and everyone else wasn’t going to happen just yet.

I still hadn’t had a formal reintroduction to Flay and Mu La Flaga either. It seemed everyone was back out at the front lines besides me. I wanted to go back out there myself, but clearly Orb was wondering what to do with me, especially since I was in a bit of an odd position. I’ve fought for all three sides in this war now, but I was still officially a ZAFT officer unless Patrick Zala had me dishonorably discharged over the last few days.

Technically, I had defected. I was sure there was some sort of paperwork to be filled out. Honestly, I wasn’t sure why would anyone care about paperwork or formalities at this point, but who was I to ask why?

So what did I need to do? Head back towards Athrun and his group since they were in the same boat I was? Try to get back in contact with Kira? How would I even get close to Kira, though, since I was a ZAFT officer? It was a fluke that had allowed him to get close to me the first time. The moment they could, the Orb soldiers had shuffled Kira away from me and Athrun, and I hadn’t a moment to even say anything that I wanted to say to him.

This wasn’t fair!

Suddenly, the sound of a vehicle roaring caught my attention.

“Look out!”

“What the hell!”

I spun towards the vehicle entrance into this place and I saw a car come tearing through the door, spinning out of control until it crashed into a couple of boxes and came to a rest literally ten feet away from me.

Several of the soldiers raised their weapons but their superior raised his hand instead. “Hold your fire! Hold your fire! Weapons are not free!”

I ran up besides a couple of the soldiers, their rifles aimed on the car. The windows seemed to be tinted, and I saw there were dents all over the car, like it had hit about fifty things on its way here. Judging by how there had been a grinding sound as it spun out something told me an axle was dislocated and dragging on the ground too.

I was wearing a ZAFT uniform still. The soldiers had to be informed of my presence, but if I drew my own pistol, that would just get their attention focused on me.

I suddenly heard thumps emanate from the door, and then the door busted open, and I saw a very scared little girl with violet eyes and brown hair at the driver’s seat, looking bruised and scratched. Frightingly, she almost reminded me of Kira.

“P-Please . . . my brother . . . somebody help my brother!” she yelled, tears in her eyes.

Perhaps realizing every single soldier in this facility had their guns aimed at her, the girl held them up, trembling in fear. “P-Please . . . my brother . . . his arm’s gone . . . he’s going into shock . . . please help . . .”

The soldiers still weren’t moving. They still had their guns aimed at the car and at the girl, clearly thinking something was fishy.

I had that same feeling too, but if the girl was telling the truth, then her brother was going to die while we were all staring at her.

I don't know why I was the one who moved first, but maybe it was because her eyes and hair were identical to Kira's, and if I didn't move to help her, maybe it was like abandoning Kira too.

I ran forward, my hand close to my pistol in case I needed to draw it. I leaned in, looking past the girl, and I saw a dark-haired boy a couple of years older than her, leaning against a cracked window, his right forearm clearly blown off, and a strong smell of blood in the car.

The girl was telling the truth.

“Out of the car!” I ordered the girl. “I’ll get him out!”

“What do you think you’re doing?” shouted one of the soldiers.

“There’s no bomb threat!” I shouted. “Let me get the boy out of here! He needs emergency medical attention! Get some medics over here!”

I looked back at the girl, who still hadn’t moved, and her tearful eyes were staring at me in fright.

“Y-You’re ZAFT . . .”

“I am not ZAFT, not anymore,” I said. “I’m originally from Orb and I just defected back. Now please get out of the car. I’ll get your brother out!”

I didn’t wait for her to respond. I ran around to the other side of the car and forced the door open, and the boy nearly fell right into my arms.

He was in clearly bad shape. Looked like something had blown up right by him. He was lucky that he had only lost his right forearm.

I pulled him out of the car. “I need a medic over here! Somebody get me a medic, now!”

Finally, everyone began to move.

And I had finally helped to save a life instead of taking them.
***
“M-My name’s Mayu Asuka,” the girl said softly as we waited by the crowded emergency room. The evacuations were continuous and once her brother was stable they were going to evacuate too. Every civilian in Onogoro was being taken off the island.

“Nice to meet you, Mayu,” I said gently. My left arm was wrapped around her, making sure she felt comforted and protected while we were waiting. “My name’s Cagalli. Cagalli Yamato.”

“N-Nice to meet you, too.” Mayu was shaking, and I could tell she wanted to cry, but she was forcing herself to hold it all in. “M-My brother’s name is Shinn.”

“Thanks,” I said.

I wanted to ask Mayu what happened, but that was the wrong question to ask in this situation. So I asked her something else. “So . . . you managed to figure out how to drive well enough to make it here. That’s a good thing, right?”

“I-I think I hit half the city trying to make it here,” Mayu said. “I just . . . Shinn . . . protected me . . . I didn’t want him to die too . . .”

I let her cry then. I could piece the story together from there. Obviously something blew up by her family, Shinn protected her but got his arm blown off, and everyone else was dead. Mayu managed to summon the wherewithal to get Shinn into a car and Mayu learned how to drive on the fly in order to get Shinn to the base where he could have medical help.

It made sense. It also made her a brave girl.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

They should be sorry,” Mayu sobbed softly.

‘They’. I did not like the sound of that. “What do you mean by ‘they’?”

“Those machines . . . they . . . they took the fighting right where we were trying to run . . . everything blew up . . . everything . . .”

“What machines?” I asked.

“I . . . I remember . . . two of them . . . they looked kind of alike . . . one was all dark, and the other was white and blue, and . . .”

I immediately knew what Mayu was referring to. The Freedom and the Strike Alter. Me and Joan. It was our fighting that led to this.

I tried to keep from shaking. It could have me or it could have been Joan. It didn’t matter. It could have been either one of us who had done it, but it was my fault more than anyone else’s because I had put myself between the Strike Alter and, unknowingly, Mayu and her family. I had let the Strike Alter and the Raider take shots at me, with them passing me by and hitting the refugees.

Before Mayu had any chance to realize what my shaking meant, a nurse came out of the room. “Mayu Asuka?”

“Yes, that’s me!” Mayu tore herself away from me and ran up towards the nurse. “How’s Shinn? Please tell me he’s gonna be okay!”

“He’ll survive. We stopped the bleeding. He’s going to need a prosthetic arm for the rest of his life, however,” the nurse replied.

“That doesn’t matter! What matters is he’s alive!” Mayu tried to tear past the nurse, but the nurse grabbed her shoulder before she could head into the room. “Shinn! Shinn! Can you hear me? Shinn!”

“He’s still under anesthesia and morphine, he can’t hear you,” the nurse said.

“Oh.” Mayu froze then, and then she looked down. “Okay.”

The nurse put her hands on both of Mayu’s shoulders. “Shinn is stable now, but you both need to get out of here. This is a warzone. We’ll be evacuating Shinn out by helicopter, and you’ll join him. Please wait here until we can find people who can take Shinn out of here safely.”

“O-Okay,” Mayu said softly.

The nurse went back into the room then, leaving Mayu standing by the open door where her brother was lying down. I stared at her, I admit that I did. As Mayu turned and smiled at me, tears of joy streaming down her face, clearly over her brother’s survival, I wondered what Mayu would think of me if she knew I was one of the pilots who had fought right by where her family was fleeing.

“Thank you, Cagalli,” Mayu said again. “T-Thank you, for everything. I’m not sure what I could’ve done without you helping me. I've . . . I've lost everyone else, I can't lose Shinn too.”

“You’re welcome,” I said. I couldn’t meet her gaze then. What happened to Shinn was my fault, after all. Why was she thanking me? If she knew the truth, she wouldn’t be thanking me at all.

“Anyway, I gotta get back on duty,” I said to Mayu. “I’m hoping I’ve been cleared to go back into battle by now. I’m going to defend Orb.”

“T-That’s good,” Mayu said. “Maybe with you out there . . . we’ll be okay.”

“I hope so,” I replied.

I knew I was going to risk everything by asking Mayu this, but I had to know what was underneath her exterior. What she was going to do. What she’d do if she ever found out that I was directly or indirectly responsible.

“Mayu . . . if you ever found out who did this to you, to your family, what would you do?”

Mayu’s eyes widened, for a second, and I almost felt relief, at seeing her vulnerability for just a moment.

But then her eyes hardened, and her innocence was no longer there. Her voice was strong in spite of her tears attempting to choke her voice. “I’ll kill them. I’ll kill them for what they did to my parents . . . and to Shinn. I’ll-I’ll kill both of them.”

I looked at her, sizing her up. Her hands were clenched into fists, her jaw had straightened and become firmer, and her entire body was trembling, not with fear, but anger. The little girl was full of a kind of hate that someone her age should never have. Revenge was clearly on her mind, and I wasn’t sure if she was the type who had her anger burn out over time or whether it festered in her like a disease before it completely took her over.

The anger quickly faded, and Mayu looked normal again, and she looked away from me. “Why are you asking?”

“Revenge doesn’t get you anywhere, Mayu,” I said. “Trust me, I know this from personal experience. It goes into part of the reason why I joined ZAFT and am wearing this uniform.”

It hurt to think about Tolle still, and how he was used to try to kill me too. But trying to get revenge on Blue Cosmos only got me to fight for a side I truly did not believe in, a side that had proved itself to me was no better than the Earth Alliance, possibly even worse.

The massacre in Panama played out in my mind again, a massacre caused by ZAFT soldiers wanting to take revenge for Alaska. It was cruel, callous, unethical, and all it did was make the Earth Alliance even more fanatical. Just like the Earth Alliance massacring ZAFT at Alaska. It was endless carnage, taken past the point of no return. It seemed all either side wanted to do was keep pushing things just to see what would happen next.

Mayu’s face scrunched in confusion, but before she could reply the doctors emerged from the room, pushing Shinn.

“Shinn!” Mayu cried and she ran to her brother’s side.

I knew I hadn’t gotten through to her, but I hoped I at least had given her something to think about. “Please be careful, Mayu.”

But my words fell on deaf ears. Mayu’s attention was solely on Shinn now, and I could have meant as much as a mosquito to her by the way I was being ignored.

I watched them go, vanish into the crowd, heading towards whatever would evacuate them. I was left to wonder what would happen in my future, in Mayu’s future. What would happen if she ever found out that I had played a role in what had happened to her family?

The war would never end. I would be watching my back for the rest of my life, waiting for Mayu to grow up and then make her move.

Perhaps it was for the best that the conversation hadn’t continued. If it had, Mayu could have realized who I was, and what I had done, or had allowed to happen, depending on who had killed her parents.

This way, she would eventually forget about me, and hopefully the anger in her would eventually go away and not become hatred.

At least she still had her brother. She hadn’t lost everyone.

I left then, and went back towards where Athrun and the others were stationed. That was enough wandering and enough soul-searching. It was time a plan was made, and for me to begin speaking to Athrun again. He was my friend, and I couldn’t keep pushing him away. Otherwise, the two of us would never get over ourselves or Lacus’ death.

So I began walking, towards another hour, another day, another battle.

Not knowing that I was about to begin a fight for the future.

Not just my future, or Athurn’s, or Orb’s.

A future period.

It was a battle I was not ready for, and I was going to find that out the hard way . . .

PART 3: BELIEVE FINIS
____________________________________________________________________________________

You just got a sneak peek at the main protagonist of the sequel to this fic . . . which will take on the title Gundam SEED: Kismet. Yeah, I'm repurposing the title for my earlier SEED deadfic for the sequel . . . though I have not 100% decided on whether I will write it.

What this means for Cagalli remains to be seen. But we will see. Only one part left in this fic, and it will be a doozy of epic proportions. :twisted:
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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Vent Noir
Okawara x Katoki Love Child
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 67 10/19/14)

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:26 am

Just caught up on this today. Keep up the good work!
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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The Green Flame
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 67 10/19/14)

Post by The Green Flame » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:58 pm

*Main character Mayu* Yes, this pleases me.

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 67 10/19/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:33 pm

Vent Noir wrote:Just caught up on this today. Keep up the good work!
Thank you! Glad you've liked the recent string of updates! Hope you enjoy the future chapters.
The Green Flame wrote:*Main character Mayu* Yes, this pleases me.
Glad you like the idea. =) Yeah, Mayu is going to be the main character of the sequel, and we already got a glimpse of her having a certain similarity to her big brother . . . :twisted: Of course, Shinn's role in the sequel is yet to be seen as well, but he isn't going to be a pilot, that's for sure.

EDIT: Also, expect a reference to this song early on in a sequel. This is basically going to be Mayu's theme.
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 67 10/19/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:02 am

PART FOUR: REALIZE

Chapter Sixty-Eight: Find the Way

I was growing massively impatient waiting to be cleared for launch, and what I had witnessed with Mayu and her brother Shinn Asuka had not eased myself at all. It just made me want to defend my country even more, and I worried even more about my family, who I had still not been able to contact. At this point, I could only hope that they had already left Onogoro, and weren’t anywhere in this staging area or any others.

There was talk all over the place of another attack brewing, and even in this enclosed building I could hear distant gunfire and explosions. The battle was miles away, sure, but hearing the sound of war just made me want to rush to the Freedom and get out there regardless of whether I had permission or not.

Something older and wiser inside me prevailed, though, and told me to go to Athrun and the others first. See what they were doing. If they were going to try to head out there too, or if there were other plans in store for them. Unlike me, Athrun’s group had not said that they were planning on defecting to Orb or not. Their circumstances had to be different. Still, Freedom was parked right next to their GUNDAM machines, so perhaps it was best to go to them first.

I was feeling bad for what I had said to Athrun anyway. He was my friend, and he had come out all this way for me. Like he always did. How come whenever he tried to do something nice for me I just bit his head off? He clearly thought I was worth putting his life, his career, his everything, on the line to help me. I was his friend, his childhood best friend, and . . .

I was feeling something more for him. It had been tiny, almost insignificant, at first, but it had begun the moment he had saved me while I was falling through Earth’s atmosphere. And it had been growing, despite my best efforts to resist it, especially after I had defected to ZAFT. I didn’t want to think it was some kind of epiphany about how my feelings for him were changing, but I knew, deep down, that it was. And I just didn’t want to admit it.

But I wanted to fight alongside him. Together, he and I were much stronger than we were apart. And I wanted to live up to Lacus’ memory, and I was sure Athrun wanted to do the same thing.

But as I wandered through the remaining refugees to get to my machine, I saw a familiar face in the crowd, one that destroyed all of my reconciliatory thoughts.

His face was plain, as was his dark hair. The invisible boy on the Archangel[/I, the guy who was on the fringe looking in the entire time we were onboard together.

Kuzzey Buskirk.

I spotted him before he spotted me. And I yelled his name. “Kuzzey! Kuzzey, is that you?”

He heard my voice and his tiny eyes shot wide open. He spun towards me, and his body completely froze.

That’s when I noticed he was in civilian clothing.

I ran up to him, and he backed away a step, shaking. “Kuzzey? What are you doing out here? I thought you were on the Archangel!”

Kuzzey backed away another step. His eyes were wide, and he was visibly trembling. It started to hit me why he was so afraid of me right before he began to talk, and why he was out here in civilian clothes instead of being on the Archangel.

The implications were already starting to piss me off even before he began talking.

“C-Cagalli . . . I-I didn’t know you were . . . you had come back! I . . .”

“Why are you here?” I asked again. “I thought you were on the Archangel, Kuzzey.”

I knew why he wasn’t there. I knew it, and I was getting angrier. My voice had already lowered, and the friendly pretense had vanished. Now I just wanted him to say it. If he didn’t, his ass was going down. He would be the worst kind of coward if he didn’t say it.

“L-Look, Cagalli . . . I . . . I couldn’t fight anymore, okay!” Kuzzey managed, his entire body shaking.

It had occurred to me that I had seen most of the Archangel’s crew while I had been on that beach. Even the ones who had been civilians before Heliopolis. Even if they had left the ship, they had chosen to return to the ship. Former Artemis personnel, the surviving special forces picked up in the African desert, virtually all of the Orb civilians other than Elle . . .

But I had not seen Kuzzey. Clearly, everyone on that ship, soldier or civilian, found a sense of loyalty and comradery that made them re-enlist and return to service. We had been through hell together, we were bound to that ship and to each other, like one large extended family.

But Kuzzey wasn’t there. Granted, I wasn’t there either, but I was trying my damndest to get to that ship! I had already fought in one of the battles to defend Orb, a battle the Archangel had gladly participated in! I had not abandoned my friends and my country! So why was Kuzzey?

“You really think I care about that right now?”

I stomped forward and grabbed him by the collar of his hoodie. “Damn it Kuzzey! Why the hell aren’t you there? Those are your friends onboard that ship! You were on the bridge, dammit! You played a pivotal role, and you’re asking them to do it without you!”

“A-Aisha’s doing my role. S-She’s actually military, s-she’ll d-do a better job than me,” Kuzzey whimpered softly.

Bringing up Aisha’s name only made me pause for a moment before I shook it off and stared right into his eyes. “You expect me to take that for an answer for why you abandoned our friends and all of the people we fought with?”

Kuzzey held up his hands. “P-Please, Cagalli . . . my nerves . . . they’re just shot, and . . .”

Hearing that excuse just made me want to punch him in the face and I could barely keep myself from doing just that. “Your nerves are shot? Don’t make me laugh! How many times have I piloted a Mobile Suit and exposed myself to the enemy to keep you and the ship safe, huh? My nerves were shot long ago, but I kept fighting because I was going to protect all of my friends and every single person on that ship! No matter how broken or tired I felt I kept fighting because someone had to!”

By that point, I had driven Kuzzey to his knees, while I was still standing up. I was towering over him as he shook violently, clearly expecting me to attack him.

“So don’t give me that crap about your nerves being shot! Don’t your friends mean enough to you that no matter how beaten up, no matter how sad you feel, no matter how scared you are, that you can push through it to try to help them? Isn’t that what everyone else is doing right now? I saw the entire crew of the Archangel earlier today! People who should have gone back to their civilian lives are all there! They came back, Kuzzey! They all came back except you!”

Kuzzey was crying at that point. “C-Cagalli . . . I’m j-just not you, okay?”

The softness in his voice somehow cut through all of my anger and made me stop, for just a moment.

“I-I’m not you. I . . . I don’t know how you can take it day after day . . . I just don’t have it in me, Cagalli. The t-thought of . . . of being on that ship again, wondering if s-someone’s going to blow me up, blow everyone else up . . . I can’t take it.”

The anger left me as I stared down at him, and realized that he was scared. Genuinely scared. It was a mental block afflicting him, one he just did not have what it took to knock it aside. And he wanted to be out there, I could see it, but he was too scared to return to the ship. He hated himself for it, hated that he was being a coward, hated that all of his friends were fighting except for him. But, faced with just me, he was already limp. He was emotionally, psychologically, done.

And all I was doing was driving him further into self-loathing, more into despair. I was tearing him apart piece by piece, bringing his worst fears to life, that his decision meant he had no friends anymore.

I knelt down and hugged him. “I’m sorry. I . . . I shouldn’t have said those things.”

“I suck,” Kuzzey moaned into my shoulder, but he returned the embrace anyway.

“It’s all right. We’re all different. This is what you need to do,” I said.

I held him for a little while then, listening to the encroaching, muffled sounds of war in the distance, and the increasing panic and chaos here in the staging area.

It was time I let Kuzzey go. It was time I figured out what the hell I was going to do. I still had fight left in me. Plenty of it.

If Kuzzey wanted to be behind me instead of beside me in defending everyone, that was his choice. But I had made my own.

That meant he and I would go our separate ways.

And possibly that would also mean we wouldn’t see each other ever again.
***
I finally found Athrun and the others after letting Kuzzey go so he could evacuate. The Earth forces sounded like they were getting even closer, but they weren’t right on top of us yet. Athrun and his team, other than the icy-calm Hilda, looked like they were getting as antsy as I felt.

“They haven’t allowed you guys to go out there?” I asked.

Dearka shook his head. “Technically we’re still ZAFT. Having us help them means there could be a violation of their neutrality.”

The Orb government still cared about the neutral pretense at this point? Really?

“Why don’t you guys just defect already and get it over with?”

Dearka pointed his finger right at me. “Haven’t you defected too, Cagalli? Why aren’t you out there?”

“Because they haven’t given me permission yet either! If those explosions get any closer I’m not gonna care, I’m going out there anyway!” I said.

Dearka just chuckled and looked at Athrun. “Sometimes I like her attitude, Athrun.”

Athrun looked down. “Yeah.”

He was still sore about me dressing him down a couple hours or so prior. I felt a sense of guilt wash over me, and I approached him. “Athrun . . . I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s all right,” Athrun said.

“No, it’s not. I criticized you when I shouldn’t have. We all have to make tough choices here, Athrun. I just saw an example of that myself,” I said.

Well, more than one example, really. Mayu and Kuzzey.

“Is this something we gotta know about?” Dearka asked.

“No,” Athrun and I both said at the same time. We looked at each other, and I felt something hot rush to my face which made me look away.

And he looked away too.

Great. We had left the impression of schoolchildren’s crushes on everyone.

“Uh huh.” Dearka didn’t sound convinced.

Hilda put up her hand. “Look, Athrun, we all know you don’t want to fight your father. But at the same time, you’ve made your choice.”

“I know,” Athrun said. “I made it the moment I agreed to help you, Hilda.”

I looked at Athrun then. Just like with Kuzzey, I hadn’t fully considered what was going through Athrun’s head. Just I could never fathom fighting my own parents, why would Athrun so quickly come around to the idea of fighting his father?

The only hateful words I’ve ever said to my parents were when I found out I was a living science experiment. And I so desperately wanted to take them back. They had hid the truth from me because they knew I would react the way I did, and because they loved me. It wasn’t their fault my birth father had made me the way he did. Why had I treated them like it had been their fault?

I guess that makes me a bit of a jerk, huh?

“Athrun, whatever answers you want to find, I’ll find them with you, okay?” I asked.

Athrun turned towards me, looking surprised.

“I know you want to know why we’re fighting, why you had to decide to turn on your father. I want to help you find your answers. I’ve already found mine by fighting with ZAFT as long as I did. I realized they weren’t any better than the Blue Cosmos organization I’ve vowed to destroy.”

Hilda bit her lip. “Blue Cosmos, huh? I didn’t know you had taken on such a vow.”

I didn’t want to explain all of the intricate details over why I had decided to destroy Blue Cosmos, especially considering Tolle. “They tried to kill me and my family, and they got my boyfriend killed. They tried to kill me on an island base even though I was fighting for the Earth Alliance at the time. All because of their hatred for Coordinators. Blue Cosmos made this fight with me personal and I’m going to destroy them.”

Hilda didn’t look convinced or moved. “Blue Cosmos is expanding its influence all over the Earth Alliance. Their machinations control what the Republic of East Asia and the Atlantic Federation do now. The tragedy at JOSH-A also wiped out the majority of the Eurasian forces, who weren’t under Blue Cosmos’ sway. You really think you can destroy an organization like this, an organization that is close to effectively ruling two whole international bodies?”

Hilda’s way of putting it made it sound impossible. But I wasn’t going to just surrender, even if Hilda’s words made what I wanted seem like a pipe dream.

“At the rate things are going, ZAFT and the Earth Alliance will kill each other off,” I said. “So yeah, if the radicals in Blue Cosmos can be stopped before we escalate to that point, that’d be preferable!”

Hilda sighed. “I might as well give you the name. Muruta Azrael.”

“Who’s he?” I asked.

“He’s the leader of Blue Cosmos,” Hilda said. “Very young for a man of his station and influence, from what I understand. Tends to get personally involved in his projects. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s out there in the Earth Alliance fleet attacking Orb right now, micro-managing the operation as he sees fit.”

Hearing that just made me want to go out there even more than I already did. But I heard a deep voice behind me then, one that made me freeze.

“And I assume you would want to go out there in a frontal assault to destroy him?”

I recognized the voice from my house months ago, right when this whole ZAFT debacle began with me. I turned and I saw Uzumi Nara Athha himself, looking right at me.

“P-Prime Minister Athha!” Even Hilda was fazed by his appearance.

Except Dearka. “Who?”

“Now’s not a good time, Dearka,” Nicol hissed.

Uzumi looked at all of us. “Instructions for all of you will be sent shortly. However, I wish to speak to young Yamato in private, if that is all right with you.”

The prime minister, asking permission to talk to me? I wasn’t sure whether this was real life anymore. Judging by the looks on everyone’s faces (sans Dearka, who still looked confused), they tended to agree with me.

“No . . . I’m sure it’s all right with everybody. Including me,” I said softly.

There was something about being in the presence of this man that made any effort to boast seem pointless. It truly did feel like we were in the presence of a lion. He was the Lion of Orb, after all.

So of course, I followed him, not knowing what he had in store for me.
***
“You did not make a good first impression on me when you screamed at your parents and ran away to join ZAFT.”

Somehow, it did not surprise me to hear that coming from Uzumi Nara Athha’s mouth. “I-I’m sorry. I panicked, and then . . . circumstances happened, and I felt it was the only way to protect my family and destroy Blue Cosmos.”

“And?” Athha asked.

I felt really embarrassed in front of the man now that I was left to think about my decisions. “It didn’t work out. ZAFT is just as bad as the Earth Alliance, if not even worse. And . . . trying to gain vengeance, fighting to kill an entire enemy, that didn’t work either. All I saw was a lot of innocent Earth Alliance soldiers, who had nothing to do with Blue Cosmos, die.”

I saw the Earth Alliance girl’s face flash in front of me again, along with her body and face being ripped apart by GINN armaments before her remains were obliterated in fire and underneath the GINN’s foot.

Athha nodded. There seemed to be a bit of warmth coming from him now. “Kira has told me much about you and the journey you and he shared on the Archangel. You are a rash, impulsive girl. However, you always try to do the right thing, even if it winds up being foolishly implemented. I haven’t met or heard of many other people in this day and age that share your sense of justice.”

“Thanks?” I think?

He became completely serious, business-like again. I had a feeling this was the reason why he had wanted to speak to me in private. “I know you want to head out there to defend Orb and your friends and family. But this is the truth. We’re running out of forces. Onogoro will fall within hours. Thankfully, most of the civilians will have evacuated by then but the fall of Onogoro will also destroy most of our military and its resources. The Earth Alliance will be able to occupy the remainder of the country at will when that happens.”

If he was trying to dissuade me from getting out there and fighting, he was doing a poor job of it. I was just barely able to hold my tongue after what he said, as I sensed he wasn’t anywhere near finished yet, and he was going to explain why I wasn’t heading out there in the Freedom.

“The Archangel is being pulled off of the front lines to be rushed to the Mass Driver. An experimental new ship, the Kusanagi, will launch right after the Archangel. Orb’s spirit will have to live on in those two ships, and I need you to do two things for me, Cagalli, when this plan goes into action.”

“What?” I asked.

“First off, I want you and Athrun Zala to cover the Archangel and Kusanagi during their takeoffs, and when you have an opportunity link up with the Kusanagi mid-takeoff. Second . . .”

Uzumi sighed, and he surprised me by pulling out a picture of two newborns in their mother’s arms. He showed it to me, just for a moment, before flipping it around, where I saw two names.

Kira. Cagalli.

It was a picture of us with Via Hibiki, our birth mother.

Looking at her, she was a beautiful woman, and we were . . . we were babies, I guess. Our eyes were closed like we were sleeping, and we were warmly wrapped in blankets.

“I need you to take care of your brother.”

“D-Does he already know?” I asked.

“I will be telling him the truth before he departs on the Kusanagi. You both were there for each other during the Archangel’s first journey, now I need the two of you to do that for the remainder of your lives.”

He was going to know. Kira was finally going to find out he had a sister. But at what cost? By the way Uzumi Nara Athha was acting, it didn’t seem like he was going to be coming with us. In fact, he seemed like he was going to stay behind and fight to the end, which frightened me. Surely there had to be a better way for him than to die here.

He smiled at me then. “Kira thinks highly of you. He’s usually been a good judge of character his whole life, one or two bad judgments along the way.”

For some reason I remembered Kira’s story about putting a virus in government computers as a young child. For obvious reasons, I decided not to bring that up. “Thank you, L-Lord Uzumi.”

“He may not be my biological son, but I am proud to have been his father,” Athha said softly. “And I am proud of him.”

He turned around then. “You need to deploy as soon as you possibly can. As many Astrays as possible are being loaded into the Kusanagi and Archangel. There is only a rearguard left and it will be broken through. Orb’s last hope lies with you, Kira, and everyone else undertaking this journey, Cagalli. Don’t let our hope, our ideals, die in space.”

He left then along with his bodyguards, who had watched the whole conversation in solemn silence. It occurred to me after he vanished that I was never going to see him again. That I would never truly get to know the man who had been Kira’s father for virtually all of Kira’s life.

If this was the only plan left, I needed to make sure I got up into space. And make sure Kira made it too. We were both going to be separated from our adopted families now, our adopted families who were our real families. All we were going to have was each other, until the war was over and we could return home . . . wherever home was now.

Wherever home would be from now on.
____________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to Part Four. Anyone who's seen the original Gundam SEED knows this is when stuff is going to start hitting the fan. Brace yourselves.
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 68 10/27/14)

Post by rebel_cheese » Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:21 am

Happy New Year, everyone!

We are in this for the long haul until it is done.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Sixty-Nine: Ghost Riders in the Sky

When I went back to where Athrun and his fellow ZAFT defectors/refugees/whatever they were now, they were already getting into action. They must have gotten their orders at the same time I was.

Athrun looked over at me as I approached them. “I assume you got the same orders we did?”

“I did,” I replied. I wasn’t going to go over what else Uzumi Nara Athha had said to me. It wasn’t the right time, or place . . . or right anything, really. There was too much that needed to get done, and done quickly, to talk with Athrun over what had just happened.

It was a revelation I had managed to cope with anyway. I didn’t need to discuss it anymore. Kira was my brother, and he was going to be coming with me. Or, rather, I was coming with him considering what the Prime Minister of Orb had assigned me to do.

“What did the Prime Minister tell you?” Athrun asked.

“It’s private. You’ll find out once we get back into space,” I replied. “That’s how the Prime Minister would prefer it anyway.”

I had dealt with a lot in one day already. Confiding in Athrun wasn’t something I had time to do.

Still, looking at him, I knew I couldn’t just brush him off. Not again. I had hurt his feelings multiple times that day already. A few more times and Athrun would be completely alienated. It wasn’t fair to him to keep criticizing him and pushing him away. I was the one being the problem, not him.

Especially since Athrun was always there for me. I knew, in my heart, that he loved me, and while I wasn’t sure I felt the same for him, I knew that he was a close friend, someone I could trust, and I wanted him to be safe. I wanted him to stay my friend.

“Anyway, you and I are the ones with the tough job,” I said. “Your buddies get to ride it out in the Kusanagi.”

“Oh yeah?” Dearka yelled from near the Buster. “We’re the ones who have to sit and worry that you two don’t get killed!”

“We won’t get killed,” Athrun replied. “I can tell you that much.”

“The way I figure it,” Hilda said, “Is that the Freedom and the Justice are the only GUNDAMs capable of keeping up with the Kusanagi during the launch sequence. That’s why the rest of us aren’t launching with the two of you.”

“That’s what I inferred too,” Athrun said. “Of course, we can only keep up for so long. Eventually the Kusanagi will just be too fast.”

“I’m sure there’s some sort of algorithm that would tell us when it’s too late,” I replied. “I don’t know how to make one though. Programming isn’t my strong suit.”

“Then how were you always having better adjustments then the rest of us?” Athrun asked.

“I had help,” I replied. “Prince Kira himself. He always made sure the Strike was optimally primed for any condition.”

“Aw come on!” Dearka cried. “That’s cheating!”

Athrun smiled at that. “No, that’s just good strategy . . . and luck. Having a better technician than the rest of us can be the ultimate intangible in a fight, Dearka.”

“It shouldn’t be the one intangible that kept us from kicking her ass!” Dearka replied.

“Maybe I’m just a better pilot than you!” I shot back.

“Is that so?” Before Dearka could respond with a likely obscene gesture, Nicol grabbed him and pulled him aside.

Athrun just sighed. “Dearka isn’t exactly thrilled about being here. He was friends with Yzak. Fighting with you isn’t something he agrees with.”

“I heard him when he said he’s in this to save his own skin,” I replied.

“That’s not entirely true,” Athrun said. A small smile crept across his face. “Even though we don’t always agree, Dearka, Nicol, and I are comrades. Dearka’s here because we’re here.”

“What am I, chopped liver?” Hilda asked with a sigh.

An explosion that didn’t sound far away ended the snarky discussion right then and there. “That sounded pretty close,” Athrun said.

The only reason why there wasn’t a lot of screaming and panic was because most of the civilians had already been evacuated. I was sure whoever was left wasn’t taking it all that well, though. War was almost here, on top of them.

“We need to launch,” I said. “I am sure it’s the Archangel launching first. That’ll take the enemy by surprise.”

“Yeah, but when the Kusanagi launches, they’ll have caught on,” Athrun says.

“Then we have to get in the air right away and hitch a ride,” I said. “I’ll see you on the Kusanagi.”

I ran off towards the Freedom then.

For once, I was ready for war.
***
I blasted out of the hangar and shot off towards the Mass Driver, and immediately turned on my communications. “Athrun, any sign of the enemy yet?”

None. They probably don’t know what they’re up to yet,” Athrun replied.

The Prime Minister is attempting to stall the Earth Alliance with surrender talks,,” said a new, but familiar, voice.

“Lieutenant Badgiruel,” I said.

Captain Badgiruel, actually,” she said. My screen turned on and I saw her face. Surprisingly, she was still wearing her Earth Alliance uniform. I wondered what her reason was behind that.

We’ll be launching in a moment. However, once we launch, the Earth Alliance will know what we’re doing and they’ll likely try to intervene. The Archangel should be able to break atmosphere before enemy forces arrive but it’s likely the Kusanagi will be intercepted. Please defend the Kusanagi until you hit the point of no return. I’m having that point transferred to your navigation systems.

They thought about everything regarding this plan, didn’t they? “Thank you, Lieute-er, I mean Captain Badgiruel,” I said.

No problem. Pleasure to work with you again, Cagalli. I will meet with you once we’re in space.” Badgiruel killed the communications, leaving just Athrun and I here.

So, that was the captain of the Archangel, huh?” Athrun asked.

Him saying that just reminded me of Murrue. “Not for most of it. We had a different captain for most of it. Murrue Ramius.”

Oh.” Judging by his tone of voice Athrun had already guessed the reason behind that. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. You had nothing to do with her death.”

Suddenly, the Archangel blasted off, shooting past us at a speed I could barely count.

“Time for us to go, Athrun! Maximum speed!”

I hit the acceleration and shot off after the Archangel. As fast as the Freedom could go, however, the Archangel was quickly vanishing from sight, turning into a dot by the second. The Mass Driver definitely lived up to its reputation. The acceleration it put into shooting objects into space couldn’t be matched.

Orb won’t wait long before they launch the Kusanagi, Cagalli,” Athrun said. “The Earth Alliance probably already knows what we’re up to.

“If they figured it out that quickly, they’re more competent than I thought,” I replied.

Suddenly, my censors beeped. Four Mobile Suits, with Earth Alliance codes, were heading right for us from our right flank.

Or maybe they were anticipating this from the start,” Athrun said softly.

That scared me. Muruta Azrael was the man behind Blue Cosmos, according to Hilda. A genius like him would see right through Uzumi Nara Athha and prepare for something cute and sneaky like this.

He was going to make sure none of us were going to be able to get away. And I had a strong feeling about who he sent to get the job done.

“They’ll be on us in thirty seconds, Athrun!” I yelled as we continued shooting down the Mass Driver’s path.

You think they’re after us or the Kusanagi?” Athrun replied.

“If this is Muruta Azrael behind this, and if he’s as greedy as Hilda implied he was, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was after everything!”

Suddenly, my censors beeped. “Athrun, the Kusanagi is launching behind us!”

Looked like the Prime Minister had noticed the same thing and had launched the Kusanagi early. It did not look like Athrun and I were far enough along to provide effective cover before the Kusanagi would catch us.

“Athrun, I think we’re gonna need to hitch a ride and shoot from the Kusanagi itself!” I shouted.

I was thinking the same thing. You cover the left of the ship, I cover the right, when the Kusanagi catches us!

I didn’t like that plan. That meant Athrun would have to deal with the majority of the fighting. He was trying to protect me. At the same time, this wasn’t the right time to argue this out. He would have to realize that we’d have to take care of each other, not try to shelter me entirely from the fighting. Just because we didn’t have ZAFT’s resources or numbers anymore didn’t mean that I needed to be sheltered.

I reluctantly obeyed Athrun’s instructions and took up position. I aimed at the four incoming Mobile Suits and shot at them. I knew full well that my shots would miss, we were too great of a distance and they’d be able to react in time. However, they reacted the way I wanted to, which was to scatter.

Hopefully, by scattering, that would slow them down and buy us enough time to achieve escape velocity on the Kusanagi.

That you, Cagalli?” Joan's voice.

“It is, Joan. Do yourself a favor and turn around. We’re getting out of here and you’re not stopping us.”

I’m afraid I can’t do that. You leave me no choice but to come right for you.”

I sensed regret in Joan’s tone, and somehow that pissed me off more than if she had sounded hostile. “Bring it, then! I don’t have all day!”

I will.”

The Strike Alter suddenly poured on the speed like it was shot out of a cannon, but immediately Athrun opened fire with a volley from his own Lupus rifle. Joan attempted to dodge but got clipped during her evasive maneuvers, which knocked her off course. She wasn’t going to make it to us in time, not with her trying to regain control over her Mobile Suit.

But that left her goon squad heading our way.

Hey, hey, hey!”

I was beginning to despise that voice, and that saying.

“Eat this!” I locked onto all three of them and let loose a barrage, which forced them to scatter again. Athrun shot at them as well, which made them have to use evasive maneuvers.

Then it became clear that the Kusanagi was going to run us over.

“Enough fighting, Athrun! Hitch a ride, hurry!”

I poured on the acceleration and shot down the Mass Driver’s path again. The Kusanagi was going to overtake us in seconds and I could not afford to miss my docking attempt. “Athrun!”

I’m coming, Cagalli!”

A force rocked the Freedom then. My controls shook and I was forced to turn the GUNDAM around. The Raider had shot me.

I think it’s about time I had-

I wasn’t going to hear it. I opened fire.

Damn it!” The Raider barely got out of the way of my shots in time.

The Kusanagi was about five seconds away. I spun the Freedom back around and hit the acceleration to go as fast as possible. I didn’t know where Athrun was and right now I couldn’t be concerned about that. I saw where I needed to dock and I had to execute the maneuver now.

I reached out and grabbed onto the Kusanagi, and settled the Freedom down in the external pod they had for carrying Mobile Suits in a defensive strategy. I had made it.

The Raider was still on my tail. Clotho was laughing. “You just made yourself a sitting duck-

The Raider suddenly went aflame and spiraled out of control, Clotho screaming in shock.

Athrun.

He was tailing the Kusanagi now. Barely keeping up. Taking the time to blast Clotho out of the sky was going to cost him.

“Dammit, Athrun! I told you to get on!”

If I hadn’t done that you would’ve been shot!”

“I would’ve been fine! Now hit it! Hit it with everything you got! I’m not leaving you behind!”

Cagalli-

“You are not doing the ‘Cagalli’ crap with me! If you don’t make it, I’m staying behind too! I’m not losing you too, dammit!”

I couldn’t believe what I was saying in the heat of the moment. But it was coming out of my mouth. What I was beginning to feel for Athrun was finally coming out, and it was not merely words of friendship.

“Come on!” I screamed.

I reached out the Freedom’s hand, no longer caring about the pursuing Forbidden and Calamity. At the speed we were going those two GUNDAMs weren’t going to catch us anyway. But Athrun was barely hanging on in terms of speed. If he didn’t hook up in a few seconds, the Kusanagi was going to leave him behind.

“Athrun, I don’t know what you’re thinking in there, but you’re not staying behind! You’re finding your answers in space, with me right beside you! Now step on it!”

A shot from the Forbidden barely missed me. The Forbidden and the Calamity were taking potshots at us now.

“Athrun!” I yelled. “Get the hell onboard so I can shoot those bastards! Don’t make me say it again!”

Edging closer. Edging closer.

Suddenly the Justice extended its own free hand towards mine.

He was going to try. He was listening to me. He was not going to sacrifice himself.

“Come on, Athrun!” I held onto the Kusanagi for dear life as I reached for the Justice.

My heart was slamming against my chest. Athrun was pushing the Justice to its limit, its arm outreached, just trying to reach me.

I knew what I felt then, and it felt warm, and it felt like I was never going to sleep at night ever again if Athrun didn’t make it here.

Every part of me was consumed with worry for Athrun as the Justice’s fingers came closer to the Freedom’s.

We touched.

The hands interlocked.

“I gotcha, Athrun!”

Suddenly, an explosion erupted from the Justice.

Athrun screamed.

The scream pierced me to my heart.

Involuntary tears appeared in my eyes.

The Justice was smoking. It had taken significant damage.

“Athrun?”

I pulled the Justice into the bay, and, much to my relief, Athrun responded by bracing the Justice against the Kusanagi. “Athrun! Athrun! Are you all right?”

You talk way too much, Cagalli.”

He was alive. He sounded like he was in pain, but he was alive. That’s what counted. All of the pain I had felt when the Justice had been shot left my body as if it was never there at all, and I almost wanted to laugh. Athrun probably had no idea how happy hearing his voice had made me.

“I’m sorry,” I said. I took my attention to the Forbidden and the Calamity, still trying to chase us.

Now I was pissed.

“This is for shooting Athrun, ZOINKS!”

The Forbidden had to dodge my shots. I clipped the Calamity and sent it spiraling towards the ocean.

The Forbidden gave up then. It was the only one with any shot of keeping up the pursuit, and now it was outnumbered.

We were going to escape.

I knew Athrun was in pain. I could hear it. His breathing was audible and he was groaning. “Athrun?”

I-I’m fine. Just got knocked around a little. Nothing serious.

“Is the Justice leaking radiation?” I asked. That was the bigger concern. If the Justice had taken a shot to the engines, we were all in serious trouble.

I shut down the reactor the moment I got hit,” Athrun said. “Then turned it back on when you pulled me onboard. There’s no sign of radiation leaking.”

We were angling upwards now. We were about to blast off towards outer space. We had made it. We were going to be okay.

I felt relieved. Even though we were leaving my country behind, at least we were okay. We had our lives. That’s what mattered.

But when I turned back towards Onogoro Island, I was almost blinded by a huge light.

A fireball, erupting all over Onogoro.

The fire was chasing the Kusanagi along the Mass Driver. For a second, I dared to think it might somehow catch us, but it was clear that it wasn’t. It was already petering out when I had noticed it.

It took me a moment to realize what the explosion meant.

When it did, I lost the ability to breathe for a second. All I could do was turn my attention back to Onogoro, and look at the fireball continue to expand into the sky, gradually turning into dust, ash, and smoke.

This had to have been Uzumi Nara Athha’s plan. He knew there was no way the Earth Alliance wasn’t going to come after the Mass Driver or Onogoro. So he had done the only thing he could do to prevent the Earth Alliance from using Orb’s technology for mass destruction and genocide.

He had blown everything up, immolating himself in the process.

The Prime Minister of Orb was dead.

Along with anyone else who was defending that island to the last man.

Orb had made its final stand.

And everyone on the Archangel and the Kusanagi were the only ones left to fight for Orb and its ideals.

We were a remnant of a dead country.

And Kira . . . my poor brother Kira . . .

He had no family left at all. Other than me.

I gripped my controls harder as I thought about Kira. He was going to need me. And I was going to need him. We had been partners on the Archangel. We were going to need to be that way again, and more.

I can’t believe he just did that,” Athrun said softly as he gazed at the smoke.

We were airborne now, taking off into space. Onogoro, what was left of it, seemed so small.

“He did the only thing he could do,” I said. “What’s left of Orb will have to surrender. But there’ll be nothing to be gained anymore. Everything valuable Orb had for war was at Onogoro.”

Scorched earth,” Athrun said.

“Yes.”

I couldn’t look at Onogoro anymore. It was only beginning to hit me that I no longer had a country. Or a free country, anyway. It was occupied territory now. Without the Prime Minister, and without its weapons of war, Orb was ripe for the taking. There’d be nothing left.

The thought of my parents living in some sort of camp . . . and Stellar . . . and Elle . . .

Stellar they’d try to turn into that crazy soldier again. My parents would likely die for sheltering a girl like her. And Elle . . .

That poor girl . . .

I hoped they had found someplace safe and secluded to be. Otherwise . . .

“Athrun, we’re all that’s left, all right? We have to stick together. All of us.”

It’s like you said. We’re in this together, Cagalli. I’m not leaving you.

The thought of Athrun doing this with me, for a cause we both believed in, made me want to cry. Finally, we could just be together. It was almost worth having to fight for humanity’s survival.

“I’m not leaving you either. I . . .”

I couldn’t quite say it. It didn’t feel like the right time to say it.

“I’m with you,” I finally said. “I’m with you, for the rest of this.”

So am I.”

As he said that, we left the sky.

We had returned into space, the ghosts of a dead country and its ideals . . . and the Earth Alliance and ZAFT were going to receive a serious haunting indeed.

One they would never forget.
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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Vent Noir
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 68 1/1/15)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:50 am

Good to see this back!
Vent Noir

@AJDynon on Twitter

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 68 1/1/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:32 am

Vent Noir wrote:Good to see this back!
I didn't want this to turn into one of my zillion-month hiatuses. I want this fic to be finished ASAP. We're in the home stretch, time to act like 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
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 68 1/1/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:05 pm

Okay, I've some 'splaining to do.

Time constraints caught up to me in a hurry, and I realized the only thing I could do was write the chapters when I can and build up a buffer like I did in previous years. It was not something I wanted to do, but I didn't have much of a choice. So here we are again, time for yet another burst of activity for this story. It's still not finished, but I have made it to the final battle. I am hopeful that this burst will be the last one and Bloodlines will be finished by the end of this year or the beginning of the next one.
____________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter Seventy: Chariots of Dawn

“Where’s Kira?”

Those were the first words out of my mouth when we entered the Kusanagi. The first thing they wanted us to do was transfer over to the Archangel, but I wasn’t going to do that. Not until I saw Kira. Not until I saw my brother, and could acknowledge him as my brother.

As my family.

I was pointed the direction and I made it by the bridge, where I saw Kira, standing alone, staring at a picture in his hand.

I knew what picture it was before I could even get a close look at it. It was likely the same one Prime Minister Athha had shown me back at Onogoro, and now it was here, in Kira’s hands.

“Kira,” I said.

He looked over at me, tears streaming out of his violet eyes. “Oh, Cagalli.”

He floated over to me and I wrapped my arms around him.

“I-I’ve got . . . I’ve got no way to tell you this . . .”

I managed to smile. “I already know. Your father . . . showed me the picture . . .”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had known for a long time, far longer than he could have possibly guessed. But it was wonderful, embracing him like this, knowing we weren’t just friends anymore, but family. We had been a brother/sister team the whole time we were on the Archangel, and we never knew.

We were going to treat each other differently from now on. That wasn’t even a question at this point.

“He told you first, huh?” Kira asked softly.

“Yeah,” I said, which was the truth.

I held him tight for a few more seconds before I let go. “I’m sorry. I wish . . . I wish there was some way I could’ve told you earlier.”

“Don’t apologize,” Kira replied. “It’s not your fault.”

But it was. It always was. I was still wearing the ZAFT uniform, which embodied why it was my fault. If I had just stayed in Orb, I would have been able to tell Kira much, much earlier. And who knows what would have happened from there?

But those are questions that will never be answered, because I blew it. But now, I had an opportunity to redeem myself, and be Kira’s sister. I was different from the girl who had run away. I was determined to be different from her. It wasn’t like I had found peace, but I knew what I needed to do, and who I needed to be. That was better than wondering who I was and who I was becoming.

“Prince Kira.” I looked behind my brother and I saw a tall man of what seemed to be Arabic descent floating in the hallway behind us. “You are needed onboard the Archangel.”

He did not seem to like me very much. I was curious why. “That’s good! I need to head there too! I’ll take him with me!”

The man sighed. “Look, that is not necessary-”

“We’re brother and sister, dammit!”

Kira turned towards him and raised his hand. “I’m sorry, Colonel Kisaka. I know you have . . . personal things with Cagalli right now, but I would like to travel with her. She’s right, we are brother and sister, Father just confirmed that for the both of us.”

Kisaka slowly nodded, clearly reluctant. “I understand. Please be careful, Prince Kira.”

“I will, Colonel.”

Kira tugged on my arm, which made me float down the hallway with him. “Let’s give him some space. He still hasn’t forgiven you yet.”

I, of course, was confused. “Forgive me for what? I’ve never even met him before!”

“His hometown was Tassil,” Kira said softly.

It hit me right away. Now it did make sense. Though I still didn’t understand why he would blame me for it, unless that wasn’t the reason why he seemed to dislike me.

I only crashed there and spend an entire night basically running for my life. I had no control over those circumstances.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“You’re a reminder of what happened,” Kira replied. “He knows it was not your fault. He has a bigger grudge against the Duel. However, you teaming up with the Duel for a while left a sour taste in his mouth.”

That made a little more sense to me. “Well, I’m not teamed up with the Duel anymore, so he shouldn’t have a problem with me anymore. I’m sorry about what happened in Tassil but that wasn’t my fault.”

It occurred to me then that Asta Joule was the only pilot from Athrun’s unit that did not come along with us. Instead, Hilda Harken took the Aegis and joined up with Athrun. I needed to ask Athrun about that.

We stopped by a door. “Go get yourself into a spacesuit. You’re going to love the Freedom. So many new features I haven’t had the chance to explore yet.”

“Yeah,” Kira said softly. I hugged him around his shoulder in response to his soft reply.

“Kira, no matter what happens, I will protect you, okay? The reason why your father told us this was so we would be family. I’m here for you.”

Kira nodded. “I know you are, Cagalli. I know.”

He was acting weird, and I was wondering if he was going to cry. “Kira, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing . . . I know you’re here for me, but . . . of all of the people would be my sister . . . never mind.”

Kira suddenly went behind the door and closed it before I could even think of a response to that awkward mumbling.

That didn’t make any sense. He wasn’t mad at me, but why . . . why would he be disappointed that I was his sister, unless . . .

Then it hit me. Oh crap.

Kira must’ve been nursing a crush on me this whole time. Could you imagine how that would feel, having these romantic pangs for someone, and then find out they’re actually your twin?

I felt both disappointment and relief all at the same time. Disappointment because I couldn’t give me that type of love, but I was relieved that neither of us wound up doing anything on the Archangel. Because if we had . . .

Well, let’s just say things would be even more awkward now than if they were. I don’t think either of us would have looked at each other in the eye if we had actually kissed while we were on the Archangel.

And that’s the last I’m going to say on this subject, dammit.
***
“We have got to get you out of that ZAFT uniform, Cagalli,” Miriallia said to me. “It doesn’t look right on you at all.”

I laughed awkwardly. “I thought it looked pretty good at the time?”

I had already made my rather odd greetings to the crew of the Archangel. I was expecting an emotional reunion, but instead, I felt like I was a bit of a stranger now. At least it was better than feeling like I was a traitor for what I did. But judging by the looks I was getting, particularly from Badgiruel and La Flaga, I was definitely being thought of as a bit of a fool.

Which I don’t blame them for. Running off to ZAFT, how bad could that end? It turned out it ended pretty badly.

“It’s all right,” Miriallia said. “We still have your uniforms in storage, if you would like to wear them again.”

“I think I’ll take you up on that offer,” I replied. I turned to Athrun, who looked about as embarrassed as I felt. “No offense, Athrun.”

“None taken. At this point the uniforms don’t mean a whole lot.”

I looked at my old friends, and I realized that they were all wearing the old Earth Alliance uniforms. “Uh, I thought you guys would be wearing the Orb military uniforms and insignia right now.”

“Well,” Mu La Flaga said, “The problem is that we’re all deserters, and Orb was denying they were giving us harbor. If they put us on the payroll they would have to admit that they were harboring Earth Alliance deserters, and considering how angry the Alliance was, they would take the reveal as an act of war. Not that it mattered.”

“Regardless, that is enough discussing the uniforms,” Badgiruel said. “We need a plan. Two ships are not going to last very long in space, despite all of the firepower we have.”

“The Earth Alliance’s space forces are crippled or occupied,” La Flaga said. “And ZAFT lost nearly all of their military at Alaska. No offense, but I think space is going to be pretty empty for a while.”

Badgiruel glared at La Flaga. “We’re not letting our guards down, La Flaga. I’m not going to leave anything up to chance at this point.”

“Well,” Athrun said, “We could head to L4. Those colonies are abandoned but we could resupply and hide there for a while.”

Hearing Athrun suggest L4 reminded me of initially attempting to head to L4 to help Lacus . . . only to find out she was beyond help right afterwards. It was not Athrun’s intention, but that brought back the imagery of Lacus dying in my arms and I didn’t want to talk.

“L4,” La Flaga said. “I’ve heard strange things about that place.”

“Yes. Supposedly it was abandoned due to a pandemic,” Athrun said, “And it was never reoccupied. However, ZAFT’s suspected that there might still be people living at L4. For what it’s worth, I think its ghost stories.”

Badgiruel nodded. “I don’t have any better options in the vicinity. Let’s head to L4, but once we’re there, we’re treading lightly until we know the area’s secure.”

“Yeah, don’t want any zombies grabbing us,” Sai grumbled. Badgiruel shot Sai a death glare, which made him shrink away.

Badgiruel’s face softened then. “I understand the graveyard humor, but we must stay focused until we’re at L4 and the area is secure. I need someone to communicate our intentions to the Kusanagi[/i[ so we can depart once they’re ready. In the meantime, I need regular Mobile Suit patrols in the event that some enemy does manage to find us. It’s us against everyone at this moment, so nobody’s a friendly.”

The order was clear. Everyone would need to be shot down. There was no choice.

Badgiruel looked at me and Athrun. “I want Freedom and Justice to take the first patrol. One thing we do have that no one else does are the GUNDAMs. Let’s put them to use.”

“Yes, ma’am . . . Captain.” I wasn’t sure what to call her at this point.

Badgiruel smiled thinly. ‘Call me whatever you wish. Even ‘Natarle’ if you want. We are not soldiers anymore, Cagalli.”

“Um, all right.” It felt weird to think of Badgiruel as having a first name that wasn’t her rank.

“At the same time, I am still in charge, and anyone who wishes to challenge my authority will learn their place the hard way,” Badgiruel said towards everyone else in the room. Nobody looked like they were up to question her, much less challenge her.

“Before you two set off,” La Flaga says, “I have some questions for Athrun Zala here . . . and his squad, who I know are all eavesdropping behind the door to the bridge.”

I turned around, and sure enough, Hilda (who looked like she wanted to die from embarrassment), Nicol, and Dearka all came inside. “Um, sorry?” Dearka offered.

La Flaga just sighed, and he held up his hand before Badgiruel could lecture them. “What I want to know is why the four of you are here. Why did you desert ZAFT? What do you think of the idea of potentially fighting ZAFT, your own comrades?”

Hilda recovered enough to step in. “Would you allow me to speak?”

La Flaga smiled thinly. “Sure, this might be entertaining, traitor.”

I saw that Mu La Flaga certainly hadn't forgotten what Hilda had pulled on this ship in the desert. Considering the hard, steely look Badgiruel was giving Hilda, she hadn’t forgotten either.

Hilda didn’t lose all of her composure. “I understand that my presence makes things complicated . . .”

“Understatement,” Sai said from his station.

Hilda was undeterred. “But we all made this call, knowing that it was what had to be done. A lot of the moderates have had to go into hiding in ZAFT, or have had to exile themselves. Siegel Clyne is trying to set up a resistance network, and if necessary, get some of the higher-profile moderates out of the PLANTs entirely. This has become a civil war, and in a civil war, you will have brother against brother, sister against sister, parent against child. It’s something we all realized was going to happen, and we chose the side we believed to be right.”

“Interesting,” Badgiruel said. “Do you think we might encounter Clyne’s faction on the way to L4?”

“It’s a possibility,” Hilda said. “Right now, most of the moderates are going to be drawing to put themselves underground, and try to staff as many ships as they can. The hope is that when Clyne is in a position to pull a coup d’etat, they will rise up.”

“Do you think there’s any chance that can happen in the Earth forces?” Kira asked.

Badgiruel’s eyes widened. “I suppose I could try to get in contact with some people I know and trust, but I don’t know how many could get in a position to take their ships and Mobile Armors and fight the Alliance.”

“We’re not going to survive, much less stop this war, with just a group of two, three, four ships,” Kira said. “We need thirty, forty, a hundred. As many as we can possibly can. There is no way either ZAFT or the Earth Alliance can kill everyone opposed to the war. We need those people, whether they’re fighting with us, or just lying in wait for the right moment.”

Kira’s words hung over everyone for a moment. He had raised an extremely good point there. Even if Clyne and his band of open dissenters did make it to us, what would that do; double our forces from two ships to four? We needed a lot more than that if we were actually going to achieve our goals.

But what were the goals, exactly? Preserve Orb’s honor? Stop the war? Just try to survive? It seemed that Kira was thinking our goal was to ‘stop the war and defeat all of the extremists’. It was a noble goal, but the most difficult one by far.

“I suppose that is what we will have to do,” Badgiruel said, finally. “Not much we can do until we make it to L4 and turn some of their systems back on.”

Badgiruel was actually going to follow what Kira said? Completely unexpected.

Mu La Flaga just smiled cryptically. “So you want to make this a full-on rebellion, Natarle? Never expected you to go for something like that.”

“It’s worth looking into,” Badgiruel replied coolly. “But like I said, we can’t implement that until we’re at L4. I want our plans relayed to the Kusanagi. Until that moment, I want Mobile Suit patrols around the clock.”

Badgiruel looked at both Athrun and I in the eye, and it was clear our presence was no longer required. “We’ve wasted enough time. Get out there.”

“Yes, ma’am!” What was more amusing was that Athrun said the exact same thing I did at the exact same time. I guess Badgiruel provokes the same reactions from everyone.

I looked over at Kira. “I’ll be back soon, okay? I’m sure ‘Natarle’ won’t keep me out there forever.”

“Heavens no,” Badgiruel said. “But I’ll keep you out there until you think it is forever.”

I looked back at Badgiruel. “You need to work on your jokes.”

“Who says it was a joke?”

Natarle Badgiruel in a nutshell, folks.
***
Do you think Kira will be all right?” Athrun asked me while we were doing our next flyby. The Kusanagi was coming together, but it would still be another hour before it would be all set.

“He’ll be fine. Eventually. I hope.” I didn’t feel comfortable flying around like this, while Kira probably wanted friends and yes, his only surviving family member, with him at this moment. But not much I could do. I knew the moment I came back inside, though, I would spend as much time with Kira as possible.

Even if that meant neglecting Athrun to a degree. Maybe we were becoming boyfriend/girlfriend finally, but right now, I didn’t have time for romance. Not when there was so much else to ultimately do.

Then we got the call from Miriallia. “We’ve spotted something on the infrared, and we’ve identified ZAFT Mobile Suits. The captain wants Justice and Freedom to check it out..”

“Think it’s your Clyne faction?” I asked Athrun.

I don’t know. Maybe.

Athrun wasn’t being a big help. I turned my attention back to Miriallia. “We’ll get to work. Hang on, we’ll be right back.”

I turned the Freedom towards what Miriallia had pinpointed and blasted off, Athrun right behind me.

I wasn’t sure what we were going to face, but I hoped it wasn’t a ZAFT trap. We were not ready to deal with any warfare yet. Not when the Kusanagi wasn’t ready to go.

If Athrun and I couldn’t deal with what was up ahead, there was no way our puny forces had any chance.

Suddenly, I saw what was going on. “Athrun, I’m detecting the Mobile Suits, they’re firing on the vessel!”

I can see that! I’m trying to get an I.D. on the ship!

As we got closer, I saw that it was a ship I had never seen before. Must be a new prototype, much like the Justice and Freedom.

Athrun suddenly interjected. “Cagalli, Siegel Clyne is on the ship! We need to get those Mobile Suits off of him!

I had no idea how Athrun found that out, but I wasn’t going to question him. “All right! I’m opening fire!”

I engaged the auto-lock, and I realized that the Freedom basically took care of a lot of what the pilot had to do in the earlier GUNDAMs. Unless I fought the Justice or something of that level, there wasn’t much I ultimately had to do. The Freedom would just take care of it.

I began opening fire, shooting at all of the Mobile Suits. It was odd that the ship had no escort, but maybe they had all already been shot down, considering the overwhelming force being arrayed against the ship.

Athrun had also unleashed the FATUM-00, which also did its fair share of attacks. It was a clinical, measured counter-attack, using surprise and superior weaponry to beat the enemy back. It wasn’t long before half of the attacking Mobile Suits were defeated and the remainder opted to retreat than to deal with the rest of us.

The FATUM-00 returned to the Justice. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so easy.”

“They had to be either rookies or just completely taken off guard. They weren’t ready to deal with us, and keep in mind we didn’t kill all of them,” I replied. “They know we’re out here now. They’ll be back, and in greater numbers. We’re going to have to really hightail it to L4 now.”

Good point. That might actually have been the general idea once they realized they were outmatched.

Suddenly, my coms were buzzing. Someone was talking on the general channel, not a ZAFT one. “This is Captain Talia Gladys of the Eternal. Thank you for the rescue, but who am I speaking with?

Athrun Zala and Cagalli Yamato of my team,” Athrun replied. “I heard you broadcasting on the ZAFT channel and heard you have Siegel Clyne onboard.


Yes, I do,” Gladys replied. “Unfortunately, the ones they sent after us were true believers. None of them would halt their attacks and try to help us.

How many Mobile Suits had their been? Twenty? Not a good percentage if not even one could be persuaded to switch sides. Then again, if only one or two did, they’d just get shot down. The numbers probably had a role in what those pilots were thinking, if any of those words had gotten through to them at all.

Suddenly, Siegel Clyne’s voice appeared. “Cagalli Yamato? Do you have information about my daughter? Where is she?

It took me a moment to realize that Siegel was addressing me. It made sense why. He had to have seen footage of me having to take Lacus with me in the Freedom. Except . . .

I never expected having to tell him this. It was surprisingly hard, and every word I spoke brought back the visual of Lacus gradually fading away as she spoke her last words. “I’m sorry, sir. Lacus Clyne was shot when we were boarding the Freedom. By the time I got away from the PLANTs, it was too late to save her. She died in my arms.”

Silence.

Just silence, for what seemed to be like a small eternity.

“I’m sorry,” I finally said, just to try to fill the silence. “I’m sorry.”

I didn’t want to cry over Lacus again. I had gone through way too much to cry again. Over having to leave Lacus behind. If silence was going to greet me, how would Siegel take it that I left Lacus behind in Junius Seven?

I was dead. If not literally, I was dead to Siegel Clyne at least.

I had achieved nothing but the ultimate failure in his eyes.
____________________________________________________________________________________

During the lull, I took the time to commission a cover page for the fanfiction. http://advanceddefense.deviantart.com/a ... -512503472

If there is anyone capable of imposing a badass logo on the cover, that would be much, much appreciated.

Sorry about the wait. But you hopefully should know by now that it's the start of an update string. I won't be leaving you guys again for a while. XD
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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Vent Noir
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 70 7/19/15)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:22 am

Good to see this back! And I really felt for Cagalli at the end of the chapter there.
Vent Noir

@AJDynon on Twitter

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 70 7/19/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:10 am

Vent Noir wrote:Good to see this back! And I really felt for Cagalli at the end of the chapter there.
Glad to know I still have a reader here. XD

I am finishing a slight retool of the chapter. It will be posted tomorrow. I was reading through it and wasn't completely happy, so . . .

As this is close to the end of the story, I want everything to be perfect. I can't help 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
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Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 7:43 pm
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 70 7/19/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:16 am

Chapter Seventy-One: Apologize

I had the worst feeling of dread when I boarded the Eternal.

Siegel Clyne had put his trust in me. The former chairman of the PLANTs put his trust in me. He had given the newest Mobile Suit, and arguably its most powerful, for me. And what had I done with it? I couldn’t save Orb. I couldn’t even save Lacus.

What good had I done so far? Would Siegel Clyne take the Freedom away from me? He definitely had just cause to do it, considering I had done nothing but failed with it, other than shooting down a whole bunch of Earth Alliance Mobile Suits. But even that didn’t save Orb.

I wasn’t going to be alone on the Eternal, of course. It was essentially a pow-wow between the crews of all three ships, with Ledonir Kisaka and Kira’s fabled teacher, Erica Simmons, representing the Kusanagi. Badgiruel and La Flaga were representing the Archangel, and all of the Gundam pilots and Prince Kira were there too.

I couldn’t shake the sense of discomfort, however, as I boarded the bridge and saw Siegel Clyne.

We stared at each other for a short while as everyone filed in. I wasn’t sure what to say, or just look away in shame. I decided it was worse if I looked away.

“I’m sorry,” I finally said.

“Where is she?” he asked.

That was about the last thing I had expected to hear, and I didn’t understand what it meant. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Where is she? My daughter, where is she?” he asked.

After staring at his tormented eyes, I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t. I was so ashamed and afraid that I couldn’t say a word, all I could even see in that moment was Lacus fading away as she bled out.

Badgiruel stepped in front of me. “Perhaps it is not my place to speak, but we have more important matters than Lacus Clyne, Chairman Clyne.”

“I want to know where her body is,” Siegel Clyne replied. “Once I know, we can discuss those matters.”

Badgiruel nodded, and then I saw her violet eyes turn right towards me. “Well, Cagalli Yamato?”

Between the shame of facing Clyne and the fear of Natarle Badgiruel, I felt like I’d rather crawl under a rock and die. But, somehow, my mind and body came to the conclusion that the fear of Badgiruel was worse than the shame from Clyne. “I . . . I couldn’t take her body to Earth. I passed by Junius Seven and I-I left her body there with a marker so . . . so I could find the body later to give her a permanent resting place.”

I braced myself. I wasn’t sure how Siegel Clyne would take hearing that, and I was afraid of the answer.

I heard his voice then. “I understand.”

There was a pause, and his attention turned to Badgiruel. “I would like to retrieve her body then.”

Suddenly, I realized how all of this could fall apart. There was no way Badgiruel or Kisaka would allow this. Not when the plan was to head to L4. Plus, Junius Seven was close to the other side of the world at this point. It’d be too far out of the way, and both Badgiruel and Kisaka had to know this.

And they did. “I’m sorry, Chairman Clyne, but we can’t do that. Junius Seven is too far away, and, although you won’t like to hear this, the Archangel was forced to take supplies from Junius Seven earlier in the war. We took most of what was still usable, Chairman, so we can’t use that as a resupply zone even if Junius Seven was closer.”

That was Badgiruel, and honestly, I think she was lying about taking most of the usable supplies. Junius Seven was enormous, and they only explored a small amount of the station. Surely there had to be more in there, but perhaps Badgiruel wanted to make it clear to Clyne that the chances of us heading there were zero.

Clyne’s only response to that was to look away, staring into space. The woman in the captain’s chair, Talia Gladys, took over the conversation. “Where were you planning to go then?”

“We decided the best place to go on our current course is L4,” Badgiruel replied.

Gladys nodded. “I’ve heard some strange rumors about that place, rumors I’m sure Chairman Clyne can expand upon. However, L4 is largely still intact. As long as we are careful enough to not trigger whatever incident that forced the evacuation of L4, there should be plenty of water and non-perishable supplies to be found.”

She turned over to Clyne. “I highly recommend we join them, sir. We don’t have much time to decide. The Earth Alliance has conquered Victoria, I should emphasize. They’re already beginning to rush reinforcements into space and they will arrive in our location if we wait for too long.”

“The Earth Alliance retook Victoria?” Badgiruel asked, completely surprised.

“They must have retaken the Mass Driver there,” Kisaka added.

“Yes,” Talia Gladys replied. “ZAFT’s military forces are a fraction of what they once were thanks to JOSH-A. The Earth Alliance used overwhelming force and ZAFT couldn’t even get the explosives into place in time. The ease in which the Earth Alliance overran Victoria has caused demoralization to take hold in ZAFT and the PLANTs.”

“Doesn’t surprise me,” La Flaga replied. “I’ve heard rumors that ZAFT lost ninety percent of its military in Alaska.”

“It’s the truth,” I replied. “I heard about the casualty rate while I was still with ZAFT.”

Talia Gladys looked down, as if ashamed. “They are calling up twelve and thirteen-year-olds, as well as reservists and retired military. Chairman Zala is willing to send prepubescent children and grandparents to their deaths, just to continue the war.”

She bit her lip. “That’s what pushed me here. I . . . I can’t tolerate that.”

I wondered if Talia Gladys was a mother herself, judging by the way she was acting.

“I can’t imagine a lot of people do,” La Flaga replied gravely.

“A lot of people in the PLANTs have turned against this war, but they can’t do anything. Zala is using all surveillance technology available to make sure no one steps out of line. There’s been enough executions for fear to rule in the PLANTs,” Gladys replied.

I heard the door open behind me, and I turned to see Athrun leaving the bridge. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the discussion about his father had gotten to him.

“Please excuse me,” I said, and I floated past everyone and left the bridge as well.

I saw Athrun floating down the hall, his back turned to me. “Athrun.”

He turned towards me. “Oh, Cagalli.”

“You’re not going to sneak out that easily. The door makes a ‘whoosh’ noise,” I replied as I floated up to him.

He didn’t respond at all to my lame attempt at humor. “I’m sorry, I just . . . I just couldn’t listen anymore.”

I knew why. “I know. It’s because of your father.”

“What has gotten into him?” he asked. I wasn’t sure if he was asking me this, or asking himself, or asking some higher power.

“I don’t know,” I said, being the only person around who could possibly answer his question. “But it sounds like he’s losing his mind.”

I saw Athrun’s hands clenched into fists. “I want to go to PLANT. I want to go there and find out what his intentions are.”

I immediately had flashbacks of Tolle trying to become a Skygrasper pilot. I just had a notion that this would end badly. “You can’t go.”

“Why not?” Athrun asked.

I grabbed his hands. “Because I won’t let you!”

He stared at me in shock. It took me a moment to realize what exactly I had just done.

It had been automatic. Reflex. Something had seized my heart and I reacted the only way I knew how. And now I was holding both of his hands in mine.

Oh my God, I thought as I stared into his deep blue eyes. Oh my God. It’s really happening. It’s really happening.

“I won’t let you go,” I managed, despite how much my voice was shaking. I wanted to melt, but my determination to get those stupid thoughts out of his head was far more important, it held me together. “I won’t let you run off on a one-man crusade to talk your father out of this. I won’t. I won’t let you do it, Athrun.”

“Cagalli, I . . .” He looked at a complete loss for words.

“I . . . I . . .” I knew the words were inside me, but it was like some final, invisible barrier was erected around them.

I looked at his chest, and then back up at his eyes, and made a rash judgment to smash the barrier. “I won’t let you do it because I love you!”

It wasn’t like just the barrier had been smashed then. It was like everything has come apart inside me. The words revealing all of my feelings felt like they were burning me from the inside, and I felt hot tears spill from my eyes and float between Athrun and I as we stared at each other.

I grabbed his shirt. Just my fingers brushing against his chest muscles made my heart erupt some more. I wanted this. All of this. “So . . . so there!”

I pulled him towards me and I kissed him.

Chalk one up for the heat of the moment.
***
While Athrun and I were having our moment, the crews made up their minds. Siegel Clyne was incredibly reluctant, and it took the threat of Talia Gladys to declare him invalid for leadership to make him sign on. But we set off to L4.

It turned out the Eternal was designed to carry the Freedom and the Justice. So Athrun and I were going to have to stay on the Eternal, at least until we made it to L4. This made things incredibly awkward, as Athrun had basically become lost in a daze post-kiss, and that meant I would be sharing the same ship as Siegel Clyne. I was going to have to patch things up between him and I, and I wasn’t looking forward to the conversation.

Much to my surprise as I wandered the ship was that Kira was still onboard. I bumped into him at the mess hall.

“Oh, you’re still here? I thought you would’ve been gone back to the Kusanagi,” I said.

“Well . . . I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stay, at least until Mendel,” Kira replied. “I wanted to ask you a few things.”

“Oh?” I sat down by him then. The Eternal had one thing going for it: fresher food than the Archangel. Then again, the Eternal probably was able to grab the best of ZAFT’s supplies before blasting away, something that the Archangel and Kusanagi wouldn’t have access to.

“Does it look like to you that it’s going to come down to one final battle?” Kira asked.

I had no idea what he meant. “Could you explain that better?”

“What the captain, Gladys, said. That the Earth forces are sending ship after ship into space. Do you think they could be massing for a final attack on the PLANTs, especially since ZAFT’s numbers are low and they are drafting the young and the elderly?”

I wanted to scoff. That sounded like something out of a bad war movie. However . . . “I wouldn’t discount that. Blue Cosmos probably would want to launch an attack like that. It’d like something out of a war movie, one final battle to settle it all and just overwhelm the opponent. ZAFT may have technological superiority but if they have to draft kids and the elderly just to have enough bodies on the line, they will get run over. And that’ll be it.”

Kira nodded. “What I was thinking is that . . . if the Earth Alliance attempts this type of brazen attack, it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory. ZAFT has the Boaz fortress to get through just to get at the PLANTs, and that will be tough to crack on its own. And I am sure that ZAFT has a trump card of some kind to use as a last resort.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if they did. ZAFT wouldn’t let the Earth Alliance just walk all over them. They, at the very least, had another prototype Mobile Suit lying around. I remembered hearing the name ‘Providence’ thrown around while I was at ZAFT, but what ‘Providence’ was, I didn’t know.

Even though this ‘Providence’ wasn’t going to be strong enough to turn the tide of the war, it would cost a lot of Earth Alliance lives to destroy it, unless they sent Joan Memphis and those three drugged boys to smash it, maybe.

“Maybe. The way Berlin fell to the Russians in the Anno Domini era was a massive final assault that did not end until the entire city was occupied, and it ended in a lot of blood and tears.” Judging by my reading of the event, it’s a massive understatement, but I was trying to make things succinct to Kira. A history lesson wasn’t something I wanted to do.

“I think that both sides will be out to kill each other. ZAFT is going to try to take as many Naturals with them as they can. The Earth Alliance is going to shoot for extermination. How can three ships stop them?”

“Well, one thing we have that they don’t is nearly all of the GUNDAMs,” I replied. “The Freedom, Justice, Strike, Aegis, Blitz, and Buster all belong to us. That will give us something, unless those four GUNDAMs I fought at Onogoro bother us again.”

I had no doubt they would bother us again, if only to stop us from wiping out Blue Cosmos. It was inevitable.

I looked over at Kira. “Right now, what we need to do is worry about making it to L4. Let’s worry about everything else once we get there. We don’t have radio frequencies strong enough to reach anyone else anyway. It’d make more sense to try to do it once we have L4’s transmitters.”

Kira nodded, and looked away. “Yeah, you’re probably right. Not much good we can do yelling at both sides to stop when they’re already going at it.”

I threw my arm around his shoulders. It felt natural to do this for some reason, now that we knew who we were. “You have a good idea. We just need to turn L4 back on once we get there. And who knows? Maybe people, ships, Mobile Suits and Armors, they’ll come.”

“Yeah.” I saw that Kira was blushing then. “Um . . . perhaps this is something we can wait to do until we’re in private? We’re kinda still in public here, and this isn’t the Archangel.”

I looked around, and realized all of the ZAFT, or ex-ZAFT personnel really, were staring at us.

I immediately let go of Kira and folded my hands under the table. “R-Right.”

I hoped that was the biggest incident we would have until we docked at L4.
***
It took a few days to make it to L4, specifically we docked at the Mendel section as planned. It didn’t take long to find a ton of ammunition and battery packs to distribute to the ships, although some would require some engineering to actually be useful.

The advantage of the Freedom was that its power never ran out. It was nuclear-powered. I could patrol as long as it was necessary, there was never any concern for range. Well, other than my own stress and well-being. The great flaw of the Mobile Suit was that it was not automated; it still required a human pilot.

Then again, something as powerful as a Mobile Suit that could operate on its own probably would end the world right then and there.

I found Athrun in Mendel, sitting by himself. The area had been cleared of any biohazard possibility, so we were allowed to walk around exposed. “Hey, Athrun.”

Athrun looked up at me, surprised. “Oh, Cagalli. I didn’t know you were checking this area out too.”

“Well, they secured the area, and as far as we know, there’s no secret ZAFT cabal hiding around here, much less the rumors that there was some sort of zombie apocalypse.” I almost laughed. “Zombies. Could you imagine?”

“Considering some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen, I’d really rather not.”

I sat down by him. Mendel, and L4 in general, still had its artificial gravity in operation. It was in surprisingly good condition for a colony that had fallen into ruin. “Athrun, I have some advice: try to lighten up a little, okay?”

I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, and I felt Athrun stiffen as I did. “Well, at least you’re still shaving. That’s good.”

“Hm.” He seemed really lost, distant.

Trying to play the bright, cheery influence was clearly not going to work. “Still thinking about your father?”

“No. Actually, I’m not.” He looked down. “I . . . I just feel guilty, if that makes sense. When you kissed me, a few days ago, and just now, it’s like . . . it’s like I got everything I ever wanted. But . . .”

“But what?” I asked.

“I killed your boyfriend on Earth,” Athrun said. “In a way, I feel like I’ve done something terrible, unforgivable, to you. Why do I deserve you after doing that?”

I completely understood his line of thinking. After all . . . “Well, I screwed up and got Lacus killed. Siegel Clyne still won’t look at me in the eye, I don’t know if it’s anger, or just because I’m a reminder of what happened to his daughter. Lacus and you were engaged to be married, Athrun, and I know you had feelings for her, don’t lie and say you didn’t.”

“What are you trying to say?” Athrun asked, looking at me with a puzzled expression on his face.

I couldn’t help it, I smiled at him. “What I’m saying is that we’ve both screwed up, we both failed each other. Let’s not do that anymore.”

I brushed my hand against his cheek, and he looked at me, stunned. “C-Cagalli, I . . .”

“I’m not letting you down anymore, Athrun. Or anyone else. Lacus said something to me in her final moments: power alone isn’t enough, but neither is intelligence. You need both, and your soul. I have to stay true to myself in order to save everyone, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

I felt his chest with my other hand. My heart was pounding against my chest. I wanted this again. I wanted him. I wanted him to be safe and happy in my arms, lost in bliss. “Stay true to yourself, Athrun. We’ve been handed probably the hardest task anyone could be handed. We can do it. I know we can . . .”

I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore and kissed him, and my hands quickly wrapped around him. A moment later, for the first time, I felt Athrun’s arms wrap around my back and grip me tightly.

I felt odd, almost peaceful, as I kissed him repeatedly. Like I could be lost in him. That everything else, L4, the world, it was gone, that Athrun and I just had our own little bubble and nothing could penetrate it. It took me a moment to realize the oddity of the situation: after all of this time, with Athrun pursuing me, it was me who was being the aggressive one here, it was me who was pursuing him. I was the one making our relationship become more than just friendship.

Who saw that coming? I certainly hadn’t.

I think we would’ve crossed the line into making out if the alarms hadn’t started ringing shortly after we started.

I separated from him right away. “Athrun, I think we’ve got serious trouble.”

“Did someone find us already?” Athrun asked, confused.

“Someone must have. But I wasn’t aware Kira had his plan approved, much less started broadcasting,” I replied.

“Huh?” I had forgotten, Athrun knew nothing about Kira’s plan.

“I’ll explain later! Let’s go!”

I ran off then, heading towards the Eternal. I heard the echoing announcements: “Earth Alliance ship approaching L4. I repeat, we have an Earth Alliance ship approaching L4.”

A lone ship had to mean a scout, and that meant only one thing:

We were going to have to recruit it, or destroy it.

At least, that’s what I thought.
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 71 8/3/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:25 pm

This one may not go over very well with you guys. Just a warning.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Seventy-Two: Lost Friend

I was surprised that when I got inside the Eternal, there was no call for Athrun and I to scramble. I asked a technician why and he simply shrugged his shoulders, so in frustration I made it to the bridge as quickly as I could. Strangely, before I could see video of whatever it was they were viewing, they killed the visual.

I chose to play dumb. “What’s going on? Do you need me to launch? I haven’t heard a call to launch all Mobile Suits.”

The captain, Talia Gladys, looked over at me. “Right now, the Eternal is not ready to deploy, and it’s unclear whether we want to put you and Athrun Zala at risk.”

She had a softer tone in her voice compared to Natarle Badgiruel. Didn’t quite remind me of Murrue Ramius, she seemed more by-the-book than her, but her words lacked Badgiruel’s sharpness.

Still, I was annoyed that they killed the conversation right when I got here. “What were you watching? Was it negotiations?”

Talia Gladys bit her lip and her eyes looked away for just a moment. That’s all I needed to see. I knew immediately something was incredibly off, and now I wanted to know why. “Tell me what’s going on, please!”

“We’re observing a . . . interesting conversation between the Archangel and this new ship. I would suggest you wait in the Freedom until we give you the go to deploy.”

“Tell me what the hell’s going on, Captain! Why don’t you want me to hear it?”

Suddenly, I heard Badgiruel’s voice blare over the coms.

-just listen to yourself! Don’t you have any idea what’s going on here? We’re not lying to you!

“DeCosta!” Gladys exclaimed.

It took me a moment to recognize DeCosta. He had survived the desert, huh? And wound up all the way out here? Small world.

“It’s either she knows or there’s a fight on the bridge,” DeCosta replied, not showing any sign he recognized me. “At this point I’d prefer the former.”

“Well I supercede you! Shut that damn thing off!”

But it was too late. The moment I heard the voice, it felt like my heart stopped.

Your obstinacy giving me no choice but to destroy you. Which is something I will gladly do. As far as I’m concerned, as far as Blue Cosmos is concerned, you’re nothing but a small band of traitors who hid in a neutral nation out of cowardice!

That voice. I knew it from the bottom of my heart, but I had never heard it so hateful, so vicious.

“T-Turn on the visual,” I managed, after hearing that familiar, maternal voice I had heard so much on the Archangel, now hissing through the speakers like some kind of demented ghost. I had heard the voice, and now I wanted to see the face. Just so I knew it was true.

“I’m not sure if it’s such a-”

“Dammit, ma’am, turn the visual on! Please!”

I needed to see it. See her face. See the face attached to the voice, just so I knew this was all real. That it wasn’t just my imagination. If I didn’t I wouldn’t stop until I got visual somehow.

Gladys sighed. “All right. Switch it all back on, Arthur. DeCosta, I’m going to reprimand you later for this.”

A moment later, they did, and I saw her.

It was her spitting image, other than a hideous scar running diagonally down her forehead, slashing its way across her face, stopping below her right eye. But it was her. My captain. My friend.

But those were not her eyes. The face, the eager, bloodthirsty facial expression, the gleam of borderline madness in her eyes, that was not my captain. That was not my friend. That was not the woman who kept me sane for so many weeks.

I knew the truth even before Badgiruel spoke.

Dammit, Captain Ramius! I don’t know what they did to you, but I know you don’t believe in any of what you just spewed right now! Come to your senses!

She smiled then, cruelly, stopping just short of insanity. I could hear a faint chuckle seep its way through the speakers, and I felt involuntary tears fill my eyes. It was Murrue Ramius, but it was not. They had done something to her. They had raised her from the dead, or something, and had changed her. My captain, she was . . .

How many times do I have to say this? I have no idea who ‘Murrue Ramius’ is! You play an interesting strategy, Lieutenant-Commander Badgiruel, but it’s not going to work! In fact, it just pisses me the hell off!

“Murrue, no.” I was told I said this at that moment. It doesn’t surprise me. I was so lost in shock I had no idea what I was saying or doing anymore.

My name is Sariel Leighton, Lieutenant-Commander Badgiruel. I’m well aware of who I am. Your unique, if inane, strategy was amusing at first.

But then she punched the side of her armrest audibly and I saw her face contort into a vicious, demonic expression that just made me want to cry even more. That was her, it was her voice, her face, but she wasn’t there. Murrue Ramius . . . she wasn’t there!

But it stopped being amusing ten minutes ago! I don’t know what kind of hippie ZOINKS they fed you at Orb, but it’s clear to me that it’s time to enact Darwin’s law here!

She laughed. “And I’m going to enjoy this. There can’t be a rebellion if it’s destroyed before it even has a chance to begin.

She reached for the button to kill the visual. “If you had chosen a more reasonable course of action, I might have accepted a surrender. Might.

She paused, biting her lip. I knew what she was going to say, but I couldn’t stop it. I knew that the Eternal was only listening and observing, it wasn’t communicating directly with her. But it still made me want to scream in the vain hope I could somehow reach her.

Nah. I probably would’ve just blown you to hell anyway. Good luck, Natarle Badgiruel!

The visual was killed then, and with it, the visage of Murrue Ramius, lost in madness, lost in . . . whatever they had done to her.

In that moment, I didn’t just cry. I felt a sense of helplessness, which in turn led to rage. Rage against Blue Cosmos, a rage greater than anything I had ever felt before.

It wasn’t good enough for them to want to wipe out all Coordinators. It wasn’t good enough for them to be experimenting on Naturals at that base. It wasn’t good enough for them to prepare to brainwash me. No. No. They had to take it another step further. They had to keep pushing.

They had to take Murrue Ramius and turn her against us. Make her into something she was not. Turn that kind, reasonable, empathetic person and make her into the most hateful . . .

I still can’t write the words, even now.

As my hands turned into fists, I knew that they had finally crossed a line. It was personal now. They had robbed me of my friend, my captain, and now had turned her into a monster to be unleashed against us.

They were going to pay. All of them.

Hot tears spilled from my eyes. “O-Open the hangar.”

Talia Gladys spoke reasonable words. She was making the right decision. I don’t fault her for that. “You are emotionally compromised; I am not letting you out there in one of our most powerful Mobile Suits, Cagalli Yamato!”

Did she think I was going to go out there and try to reason with her? Gladys had seen the same thing I had. Had seen the eyes of madness, the voice of rage, the demon who had occupied my captain’s body.

“You misunderstand,” I said. “I’m not going to try to reason with her. My captain is dead. That’s someone else inside her body.”

Gladys’ eyes widened, just a little bit, which confirmed my suspicions.

“I’m going out there to destroy that ship and her body. That way she can finally be at peace.”

Gladys sighed. “You sure you can do this?”

“I know I will,” I replied.

I wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer at this point anyway. The only way I was going to live with what I had seen was if the ship the Archangel was fighting was completely destroyed.

Murrue had not recognized Badgiruel or anyone else on the Archangel. Why would she recognize me?

The only way to save Murrue now was to kill her. Kill her in such a way that she could never be brought back again.

“All right,” Gladys said finally. “Get out there. Blow the ship to hell.”

“Yes, ma’am.” I left the bridge then, and I wiped the tears from my eyes as I floated down the hall.

The fact that I knew the only course of action to take did not make this easier. If anything it made it harder.

I had just promised to kill my captain, my friend, the woman who had gone out of her way to rescue me, and I was going to return the favor by killing her instead of trying my own rescue.

That realization put a pit in my stomach that did not abate, even after I launched.
***
I was going to approach this deed with a grim professionalism. I saw that the Archangel and most of Zala’s team were embroiled with the three Mobile Suits I had dealt with in the Orb battle. The Raider, Calamity, and Forbidden were squaring off with the Aegis, the Buster, and the Blitz. Most of the Orb Astrays were stuck trying to guard the Kusanagi, which had gotten itself caught on a wire and was a sitting duck if it was attacked directly.

However, it looked like the enemy ship’s entire Mobile Suit group was fighting the Archangel and Kusanagi. That meant I had a shot at flying around the battle and attacking the enemy ship directly.

I scanned the ship and I got a prompt identification. It was the Dominion.

Not only that, but it seemed to be of the same make as the Archangel. It had darker paint, but otherwise could be a clone of the Archangel. The contrast almost made me chuckle bitterly. It was like the Earth had gone out of its way to create a dark, evil counterpart to the Archangel.

I knew Athrun was going to take off any second and I did not want him involved in my self-imposed mission. So I shot off as fast as I could towards the Dominion. My goal was to fly around the ship and target the engines to the rear, causing crippling damage if not blow the whole thing up.

That was the best way to end this battle, and end Murrue’s torment.

I fought tears as I sped off through space towards the Dominion. I kept thinking, over and over, Why can’t you save Murrue? Why can’t you save Murrue? She saved you. Why don’t you do the same? Why don’t you save her?

I knew the answer. I knew it, because this was a different circumstance than when I was imprisoned at that Blue Cosmos base. I knew it because Murrue was brainwashed and I wasn’t. I knew it because this was all-out war and there was no way I could just park my Mobile Suit in space and try to shoot my way through an entire ship just to get to Murrue.

I was capable of a lot, but not that much. It was an impossible task.

I could not save her. It was suicidal to try. My friends needed me. Our small fleet needed me. Athrun needed me. Like hell I was going to die right after kissing him.

This was the only thing I could do.

That’s when a proximity alarm erupted while I was halfway there, and I realized I was being shot at by the Strike Alter.

Speak of being brought back from the dead. It was Joan Memphis, once again.

“Dammit!” I let my shield block some of Joan’s shots, and then shot at her again.

She was aggressive. Getting closer and closer. I realized right before she hit point black range that she was going to try to switch to a melee weapon and stab me.

I switched to my sword as well and we deadlocked in space, neither of us giving an inch.

I turned on my coms. “Damn you, Joan! Do you realize what you’re doing? Do you realize what you’re fighting for?”

I know full well what I’m fighting for,” Joan replied coolly.

The fact that she would sound so calm in this circumstance pissed me off. “How dare you! Do you know who your captain is? Do you know who she is, who she was, to all of us?”

Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot! I know she was Murrue Ramius!

She broke the deadlock then and we found ourselves at a draw. She made no aggressive moves, it was clear she aimed to talk to me.

You think I don’t feel anything at all? I know it’s wrong! They brought her back from a near-death coma and remade her in their image!

“Why her?” I screamed. “Why Murrue?”

I don’t know! I guess they were impressed with her ability! She held the Archangel for weeks behind enemy lines without any real supply line! And even after being shot two or three times and falling into the damn sea she still lived! She was comatose but she was still alive!

That sounded like Murrue. She was strong, strong in ways that you couldn’t see from a first glance.

Joan’s voice lowered. “Well, that and Muruta Azrael took a rather personal interest in her. I can’t elaborate, I’ve said too much as it is.

The name sounded familiar. I remembered Hilda Harken describing him. He was the leader of Blue Cosmos.

The horror of what Joan was implying hit me then, with the force of a semi-truck. “Oh my God.”

Now it was clear. Why Murrue was not only alive, but brainwashed to be one of them. It was none other than the leader of Blue Cosmos taking a personal interest in her, turning her into his toy!

“Is he on the ship?” I asked her.

She paused for just a moment. “Yes.”

“I know what I have to do then.” As long as he was there, making sure his puppet was doing as she was told, there was no hope for Murrue. How could she break the conditioning if someone was there reinforcing it?

I forced myself to see the seed in my eye and I saw it shatter. “I apologize, Joan, but I’m going to have to go through you if you won’t get out of my way.”

She wasn’t budging. “I can’t stand aside. They’re the only reason I’m still alive, and it’s like I told you. I have too much self-preservation to die.

“How about I test that theory?” At this point, while I sympathized with Joan and her own desperate situation, I didn’t have much of a choice. I was going to destroy the Dominion,

I came after Joan, slashing at her, and we began a melee battle with our swords. I quickly got an advantage of her and sliced her shield in half, which forced her to back off and switch to her rifle to shoot at me.

“You’ll run out of ammo, Joan! You only have so much power! The Freedom can run forever!” I yelled as I switched to my own rifle and started shooting at her.

She was too close and too fast to try to do an auto-lock. The Strike Alter was not a bad machine at all. It seemed like a more advanced Strike, engineered for speed and to be more stealthy. It was easy to lose among the stars, requiring all of my focus to keep her within my sights.

Well then I’ll have to defeat you before that happens!”

That was when she was shot from behind, though it was not a crippling blow. Joan screamed and immediately tried to get her smoking Mobile Suit away from me. I checked my radar and realized it was Flay Allster’s Astray.

Cagalli! What are you doing out here by yourself?”

“Flay,” I said softly.

I thought I was supposed to be the crazy one! You need a wingmate if you’re going to pull a stupid stunt like this!

Flay’s Astray continued to shoot at the Alter, who lost the remainder of its shield blocking Flay’s salvos.

“Why are you here and not with the Kusanagi?” I asked.

Someone had to try to fly through that battle and get to you! Even Athrun’s held up back there!

Another shot by Flay grazed the Strike Alter, damaging its left leg. I could hear Joan cry out from the force of the shot. She was on the ropes now, she couldn’t really fight me in a straight-up battle, much less fight both me and Flay.

Well, this isn’t going according to plan,” Joan murmured, either to me, or to herself, I couldn’t tell which.

You’re dead!” Flay yelled. At this point, I was going to allow Flay to finish Joan off. I didn’t have the heart to do it. Joan, however briefly, had been a comrade of mine as well. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here right now anyway.

I felt helpless. There was no way to save Joan, just like there was no way to save Murrue. I didn’t know which was worse, Murrue being brainwashed or Joan being completely aware of her hopeless circumstances. Both seemed cruelly evil in their own special ways.

Flay shot off the Strike Alter’s head then, and I knew what was going to happen to Joan in a matter of seconds. It was like it was being played out in slow motion. Joan was finished, this time for good. She was completely on the defensive, being gradually taken apart by Flay and her Astray.

The next shot blew off Joan’s right arm, destroying her last way of defending herself. She seemed to float in space, not even bothering to try to evade or fight back anymore.

I just heard her voice, addressing me directly, with the gravity of someone knowing she was saying her last words.

Cagalli, don’t tell Sting, Stellar, or Auel about this, okay? Don’t tell them I made it this far.

Flay was lining up her last shot. “I won’t,” I said, right before Flay fired.

The shot went right through the chest, and moments later, the Strike Alter vanished in a spherical, fuchsia explosion, the reactor having failed to the point where it completely obliterated the Mobile Suit.

There was no way Joan was going to miraculously survive that. I knew, from the bottom of my heart, she was gone for real.

The seed vanished, and I took a breath. The pit in my stomach seemed have gotten bigger. I found myself wishing that I could have saved Joan somehow, instead of simply trying to end her misery by killing her.

But how? If I couldn’t save Joan, how could I save Murrue? How could I even reach her?

Cagalli, look,” Flay said.

I saw the Dominion firing signal flares. I recognized the type of signal: it was to retreat. The destruction of the Strike Alter meant that I had a clear shot towards the Dominion, and that meant they had to pull back and regroup.

I couldn’t keep up my pursuit. Not with the other three GUNDAMs they had falling back to protect the Dominion. I had learned the hard way how difficult that had been the first time.

“Yeah,” I said. “There’s no way we’re going to catch that ship. We’re going to need to pull back too.”

Good. First time this battle you’ve made a lick of sense,” Flay said with a heavy sigh. “Just glad the battle with that dark Strike was a lot easier than the one we had before. I don’t know if we got better or if she got worse.”

Or, I was wondering, maybe Joan had just decided at that moment to let Flay kill her, now that she had told me about what had really happened to Murrue.

“I don’t know,” I said, and I turned the Freedom towards L4 and blasted off towards it, Flay following me.

I wasn’t going to be able to do anything about Murrue yet. At this point, I wasn’t sure if when I was going to get a chance to.

But, remembering what happened to Joan, and being reminded of Joan’s helplessness . . .

I had to try with Murrue. Even if it was futile, even if it was hopeless. But I couldn’t kill Murrue, not without trying to get her to snap out of it first. Otherwise, I’d just be failing Murrue like I failed Joan.

I couldn’t keep failing people. Not anymore.

I gripped my control stick harder. I can’t give up on you yet, Murrue. I can’t. Not until I know for sure you’re gone.

The pit in my stomach went away, just a little bit, as we went to L4.

My captain. My friend.

Lost, but now found, only to be lost again.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gundam SEED and its sequel series developed an unhealthy habit, almost to the point of self-parody, of bringing people back from death or apparent death.

With Joan, it's dark satire of Sting's two deaths in SEED Destiny. You can interpret it either straight or as black comedy if you wish.

With Murrue, it's going to be an outright deconstruction of this tendency of SEED and SEED Destiny. One that will have a lot of consequences for all of the characters who knew her. This is going to be a serious look at this type of event.

I have plans to deconstruct (and perhaps reconstruct) this trope of SEED and SEED Destiny even further in the future. Stay tuned to see what that is. Until next 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?

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Vent Noir
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 72 8/9/15)

Post by Vent Noir » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:37 am

Well written, as always - it'll be interesting to see what you do with Seed's "Back from the Dead" phenomenon.

As an aside, I think this has been mentioned before, but the Freedom is the normal blue and white, not the Strike Rouge colors, correct? I was chatting with some of my friends at the Australian leg of the Gunpla Builders World Cup on the weekend, and one of the ideas mentioned was doing a "Freedom Rouge" for next year (not that I expect to come anywhere near winning).
Vent Noir

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

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The Green Flame
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 72 8/9/15)

Post by The Green Flame » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:18 am

I always had a feeling Murrue would come back. Not quite as kooky but hey, that's brainwashing for ya!

rebel_cheese
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Re: Gundam SEED: Bloodlines (Chapter 72 8/9/15)

Post by rebel_cheese » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:39 pm

Vent Noir wrote:Well written, as always - it'll be interesting to see what you do with Seed's "Back from the Dead" phenomenon.

As an aside, I think this has been mentioned before, but the Freedom is the normal blue and white, not the Strike Rouge colors, correct? I was chatting with some of my friends at the Australian leg of the Gunpla Builders World Cup on the weekend, and one of the ideas mentioned was doing a "Freedom Rouge" for next year (not that I expect to come anywhere near winning).
Thank you. I look forward to exploring it more, but I have other things to get to first as you'll soon see. XD

The Freedom is colored a lot like the Strike, if not identical, much like how Justice has a resemblance to the Aegis. A "Freedom Rouge" would be extremely cool to see, I think! I'd love to see it happen!
The Green Flame wrote:I always had a feeling Murrue would come back. Not quite as kooky but hey, that's brainwashing for ya!
Brainwashing and kookiness seem to go hand in hand in a lot of anime. And yeah, I kind of am not surprised you thought Murrue was coming back. While I was trying to hide it, I wasn't exactly saying she was dead outright either, outside of Cagalli's POV, anyway.

New chapter up in a bit. I did some last-minute rewriting.
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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