Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 17, 8 Sep 15)

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 8 1st Draft)

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:55 pm

Okay, here we go.

The thing that has mainly attracted me to your story are the characters. There's just something that I like about them, espcially your lead. I guess I just like characters on a journey to discover their humanity. And if you can find a way for to pull a Deadpool, that would be hilarious. I also like Athene's conflict with Pallas and am looking forward to seeing how they react to finding out that this conflict seems to have been engineered.
I wonder what will happen when Ares enters the mix and if these Forge people can reprogram Pallas and Athene and their fellows if they start doing something that they don't like?

I would like you to expand this world they're in though. What's the deal with the Commonwealth? Lunapact? What's their beef? What kind of colonies do they use? Little details like this can really help your story come alive.

Khadijah's relentless pacifism thouroughly annoys me and not just because pacifism was ruined for me by Gundam Wing. :) I mean, not even pressing charges against punks who almost raped her? Did she consider that by not doing that, she's setting them free to potentially do it to some other woman? anywho, this isn't necessarily a bad thing; your character provoked an emotional response! That's good, even if I'm hoping you'll kill her off soon. :twisted:

Please keep this up, it's a great story. :D
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 8 1st Draft)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:02 am

Arbiter GUNDAM wrote:Okay, here we go.

The thing that has mainly attracted me to your story are the characters. There's just something that I like about them, espcially your lead. I guess I just like characters on a journey to discover their humanity. And if you can find a way for to pull a Deadpool, that would be hilarious. I also like Athene's conflict with Pallas and am looking forward to seeing how they react to finding out that this conflict seems to have been engineered.
I wonder what will happen when Ares enters the mix and if these Forge people can reprogram Pallas and Athene and their fellows if they start doing something that they don't like?
Glad you like them. I'm not too familiar with Deadpool, personally. Ares will probably be coming into the mix before too long.
I would like you to expand this world they're in though. What's the deal with the Commonwealth? Lunapact? What's their beef? What kind of colonies do they use? Little details like this can really help your story come alive.
Yeah, the fact that I should fill in more details on that keeps nagging at me, and I haven't really found a good place in-story for it. Basic setup is that the Commonwealth is based on Earth and Lunapact is based on the moon - each have colonies in Earth orbit and on Mars suppourting them. Lunapact broke away from the Commonwealth about 25 years before the story begins, and there have been tensions and sporadic conflicts between them ever since, until things flared up again recently.
Khadijah's relentless pacifism thouroughly annoys me and not just because pacifism was ruined for me by Gundam Wing. :) I mean, not even pressing charges against punks who almost raped her? Did she consider that by not doing that, she's setting them free to potentially do it to some other woman? anywho, this isn't necessarily a bad thing; your character provoked an emotional response! That's good, even if I'm hoping you'll kill her off soon. :twisted:
Khadija is meant to be Athene's opposite, so it's natural that they would rub each other the wrong way. The incident you refer to wasn't intended to be an attempted rape, just a mugging (that having been said, it was my intention to have her err on the side of compassion). I do hope to showcase some of Khadija's more admirable qualities soon, hopefully you (and Athene) will see more positives in her after that.
Please keep this up, it's a great story. :D
Glad you're enjoying it!
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 8 1st Draft)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:11 am

Still working on the next chapter, but meanwhile, while I was at a convention over Easter, I got an artist there to draw Athene. Hope people like it.

(Actually, her hair's longer than I envisioned it being, but we'll say Shane and co encouraged her to grow it out a bit)
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 8 1st Draft)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:30 am

Here's Chapter 9. Sorry for taking so long with this one. Story inside the spoiler block.
SpoilerShow
“Ensign Gold, until you are able to work properly within a team, you are banned from engaging in combat operations.”

When I heard those words, I just stood there in shock, unable to believe that McDermott would do such a thing to me. He stood there, holding my gaze. “Do you understand?”

“No, sir, I don’t. There’s nobody else on the ship, in the entire Commonwealth Forces, with my abilities. Furthermore, the Lunapact forces have…”

“I’m well aware of who they have with them, Ensign. I was aware of the fact when I made my decision. Do I need to go over the reasons you are being disciplined again?

“No, sir.”

“Then you are aware that, until you have dealt with your… issues with command of your faculties when she is around, you are a liability on the battlefield. Until further notice, when the Gallipoli engages in combat, you will remain on standby.”

“Yes, sir.”

When I was at Sparta Base, the instructors had been liberal in giving beatings or worse to candidates who failed to properly obey orders, and we all knew we were expected to stoically accept any disciplinary action meted down to us. And so I stood there, accepting my punishment, as McDermott’s words seemed to sting me far worse than any corporal punishment from any instructor ever had. A “liability”. He saw me as someone who, by being on the battlefield, would make things more difficult for my side.

I was someone who, as a soldier, was worse than useless.

“Liability”. The word echoed in my brain, and it felt as if my muscles lost their solidity, turning into some kind of useless goo. It seemed to take all my willpower simply to remain standing as he turned and walked away. After the doorway closed, even that ran out, and I collapsed onto my rear end on the gantry, unable to make myself move.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM
A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon
Based on “Mobile Suit Gundam” created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate

Chapter 9: Under Pressure

*****

“That was indeed an outstanding display of combat skill, father.” Victoria said, as the footage replayed on the screen. “If Forge’s supersoldiers are able to reproduce that level of performance whenever required, they should have no difficulty in dominating the battlefield. Of course, the Mobile Suits your company helped develop were also a factor.”

“I’m glad you can appreciate them.” Albert Castella said.

Victoria smiled. “Father, I think I may be able to surmise the identity of one of the other senior partners within Forge.”

“Do go on.”

“To even consider making the kinds of alterations that would allow enhanced humans such as myself or the supersoldiers to exist, you would need a firm specialising in cutting-edge biotechnology, ideally one with significant space-based holdings. Stella Verde Bioprojects fulfils both of those qualifications. They have enjoyed considerable success in creating bioengineered livestock designed to live on the Moon and Mars, as well as creating and marketing the first human cellular rejuvenation technology. Therefore, that senior partner is Gabriella Wang.” There was no need for Victoria to remind her father of her position as SVB’s owner. Their anti-aging technology had proven workable, but was prohibitively expensive, and therefore restricted to the ultra-rich.

“Well deduced, Victoria, you are correct. Mrs. Wang is indeed one of the senior members of Forge, and provided much of the technology needed to make the kinds of alterations involved in this project.”

“And, while there are other high-ranking figures of government and business involved, the two of you would be considered the prime movers behind the project.”

“That’s essentially correct.” Albert said in a half-hearted attempt at humility. “You seem to understand most of what is involved.”

“Although there is one thing I do not understand, Father.” Victoria said. “Forge’s reasons cannot be to simply spur human evolution for its own sake. The very basics of capitalism would preclude such a massive investment of both money and time from being done simply for ideological purposes, but the potential financial returns on such a project do not seem high enough for the project to be done in the name of profit. So what I wish to know is, what do you hope to gain from this?”

Her father looked at her, perhaps a hint of wistfulness in his eyes. “You are correct. If my goal were simply profit, there would be no point in doing any of this. My own funds are more than enough to retire on, and I would want for nothing. But I believe we all desire something beyond our own wealth and comfort. My goal is to leave behind a legacy, a… gift, if you will, to humanity, that will help it surpass its current limitations. Not for the sake of fame, but simply for the sake of my own sense of accomplishment.”

“I understand, father. I hope that I will be able to provide the leadership required to help the new breed of humanity to reach the potential you dream of.”

*****

Pallas

“Geez, Lieutenant, how long are you gonna spend on that?”

I heard Paul Matthews’ voice behind me as I re-watched footage of the battles between Athene and myself, scrutinizing for any tiny slip or split-second hesitation that I may have been able to take advantage of. Against an opponent of Athene’s calibre, any such flaw would need to be seized upon in an instant if it were to prove decisive in battle.

“Lieutenant?”

“As long as I possibly can.” I replied, a little annoyed. “It wouldn’t hurt you and Perez to do a little more research on the Gundams, either, before we deploy.”

“Hey, you know what they say about all work and no play.”

“Yeah, you told me that before. But supersoldiers don’t “play”, Matthews. If you want to enjoy yourself, go and find Perez – if you haven’t just been doing that. And don’t come crying to me when you end up losing in battle.”

“Geez, I did explain the “squadmates with benefits” thing before. It wouldn’t hurt you to give it a shot.”

“And I explained that I have precisely zero desire to ever do so.”

*****

“Our intelligence indicates that the Lunapact Forces are currently massing for an attack on Moresby Base.” Captain Monash said. “If they are successful in taking it, they will have a staging point from which to send their forces to Earth. At the same time, the Commonwealth’s own capacity for sending Earth-based forces to space will be reduced by approximately forty per cent, and will become reliant on the other two major LEO bases, Nairobi and Amazon, both of which have lesser capacity than Moresby.

“We expect, and our analysis of their forces’ movements indicates, that the Lunapact forces will attempt to attack from as many angles as possible. Given the difficulties of attacking from within Earth’s gravity well, that means a roughly hemispherical formation.

“Our task, following the initial wave of artillery barrages, will be to engage the Lunapact elite mobile suit forces, and keep them away from Moresby Base. We will be joined by the Carriers Beersheba and Khyber for this operation.”

“Ensign Yamada, you have a question?”

“Yes, ma’am. No disrespect, but shouldn’t Ensign Gold be here for this? I mean, even if she’s off combat duty, she ought to know…”

“I’ve excused her from this briefing” Captain Monash said. “Lieutenant McDermott recommended she be given some time to cool her head. Of course, all relevant operational data will be forwarded to Metis for her.”

“Well, if she’s not going to be here, what’s the plan for handling Lunapact’s supersoldier?”

“Concentrate on defense, and try and draw her away from her squadmates, or disable them if possible.” Monash answered. “Once you’ve managed that, you can try and double-team her – but remember, our main objective is to prevent Lunapact from taking the base. Don’t get carried away with fighting her if you can help it.”

“Because fighting a supersoldier who’s out for blood with our own one benched sounds like such a fun time.” Shane muttered under his breath. If his comment caught Monash’s ears, she chose to ignore it.

“We expect combat to begin in six hours. Be ready.”

*****
Six Hours Later

Athene


I kept my expression calm as I stood on the gantry watching McDermott and Yamada prepare to board their Gundams, and tried not to let the leaden sensation that grew in my stomach show on my face, even as I struggled to put a name to it. Was it shame, due to my suspension from active duty? Concern for their safety without me being in the fight? Jealousy, because they were getting to take part in battle while I was denied the opportunity? Some combination of the three? Ultimately, I couldn’t answer. All I could be certain about was the palpable sensation that this should not be.

“Hey.” I felt Yamada’s glove on my cheek.

“…..”

“Yamada… be, uh…” I struggled to keep my expression level. “What I’m trying to say is, well, uh… be careful out there.”

With those words, my struggle came to an end, and I hung my head, ashamed to look him in the eye. “That sounded so fucking pathetic. Like the hero’s girlfriend in some of those shows you watch.”

“It didn’t seem pathetic to me.” Yamada said. “I understand that it must hurt that you’re stuck on the sidelines…”

“You don’t understand! I’m seeing you two about to go out there, and I’m stuck here and supended from duty and I’m a liability and it’s all my fault, and…”

“Alright, I don’t understand!” Shane said, but just as I expected him to become argumentative, he instead calmed down. “But maybe part of that is you keeping everything bottled up. Even a supersoldier like you has emotions, and you need to release them every once in a while. Don’t get so hung up on how you should behave that you forget that.”

“Athene, being out of the fight hurts for you, I do understand that much. But I know you’re going to come through this, and me and Alan are going to be alive to see it. So, yeah, I’ll be careful out there.” He turned and headed for the Lightning Gundam’s cockpit.

“Oh, yeah, and if you do get stuck watching from the sidelines, I’ll buy you a cheerleader outfit! And pom-poms!”

“Arsehole!”

Shane laughed as the cockpit door closed.

*****
Pallas

As I launched from the cockpit, my eyes scanned over the enemy battlelines before me. Our objective was the capture of the octahedral base the Commonwealth fleet was guarding, but I had my own, personal goal in mind.

“Athene, I’ll prove to you that I’m number one.”

There was nothing remotely interesting in the first line of defending forces – just a bunch of GR series grunts sent to try and hold us up. Needless to say, they failed. I barely had to even slow down to shoot them as we tore through their formation.

I continued, looking for Athene, and eventually I laid eyes on two mobile suits, barely more than specks in the distance on my screen – I doubt anyone lacking my enhanced senses would have even noticed them. I adjusted my heading towards them, wondering somewhere in the back of my mind where the third one was, and as I approached, I saw that they were the red and blue Gundam units – not-Athene, and not-Athene.

Where was she? And what was she up to?

Oh, well, I could take care of these two while I was waiting for her.

*****
Athene

After McDermott and Yamada deployed, I spotted Khadija making her way to her mobile suit. I tried to ignore her, but she caught sight of me, and pushed off her gantry to make her way over to me.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, doing my best to glare unsettlingly at her.

“Well, from your body language, it’s obvious that you’re upset, and…”

“It’s got nothing to do with you! Why do you even care, anyway? Don’t you have LunaPact pilots to save?”

“No, I, and the rest of the IPMC, have got lives to save. Which side they’re on doesn’t enter into it. But before that… I heard what happened, and I understand that…”

“Not this again! If Yamada and McDermott can’t understand me, then you’re sure as hell not gonna be able to! You’re not even a soldier!”

She stared me right back in the face, with a look in her eyes I had never seen before, and couldn’t name. As if she were reaching out through them towards the scource of pain in my mind, trying to find words that would be a balm with which to soothe it.

“Maybe “understand” was the wrong word.” She said, her voice softening. “But even if I don’t understand you, I can still tell that you’re suffering, and I hate to see people suffering. So, even if we don’t get along, I’m going to be there for you if you need me. Even if it’s to take your anger out on.”

She turned, pushed back off the gantry, and floated back to her cockpit, back towards the Cadecus. “Well, I shouldn’t delay any more. I’ll see you when I get back.”

*****

“Uh, Sir, is that what I think it is?” Shane asked as he caught sight of the now-familiar black-and-white shape in the distance. He jinked to the right as a beam of energy from the MS in question shot through where his Gundam had been a split-second ago.

“Yeah, it is. Remember our plan, Yamada.”

“Roger that.” Another beam sizzled past Shane as he barely managed to dodge aside and avoid it. For now, the Sirius was out ahead of its squadmates, but Shane was aware the two Denebs were likely not far off, and when they arrived, the situation into a three-on-two.

“Where’s Athene?” Pallas’ voice came over the comms, short and to the point. Just like Athene. Shane recalled how he had managed to beat her in their first simulated battle, by taunting her into acting rashly. This wasn’t like in the sims – as realistic as they were, they couldn’t replicate the intensity and danger of real combat. And he knew that it had gotten harder and harder to trick her or taunt her into acting rashly when he had faced Athene in subsequent sim battles.

Still, it’s worth a shot. Stay on the defensive, wait for an opportunity to present itself.

“She decided she couldn’t be bothered with you. So we get to play instead.”

There was no reply on the radio, but yellow light flared as the Sirius drew its beam saber. Shane opened up the throttle, turned, and boosted in the opposite direction – supersoldier or not, he was sure his opponent couldn’t match the Lightning Gundam’s raw speed. He couldn’t leave her in the “dust” too easily, though – he needed to keep her close enough that he could take advantage if an opportunity presented itself.

*****

Athene

Sitting on standby in the Gale Gundam’s cockpit felt like solitary confinement to me as I watched the battle progress, wanting with my whole being to leap into the fray, yet unable to be anything more than a spectator. I still couldn’t shake the leaden feeling in my gut from McDermott’s criticism after the last sortie, and disobeying him would only prove his point. That I was a liability – which meant I was flawed. That, in turn, would mean that the whole supersoldier project was flawed, and thus non-viable. Therefore, there would be no use for my siblings. And therefore, they would be disposed of.

“I don’t want to be a liability.” I whispered into the darkness, to nobody.

Don’t worry, my pilot. I sat bolt upright in surprise at the voice, even though I had, subconsciously, always known she was there.

“Metis?”

You made a mistake, Athene. Metis said. But you can correct it. Think. Why was Lieutenant McDermott so angry at you?

“Because I disobeyed his orders?”

That is part of the explanation, but by itself not sufficient. Think more.

Metis was right, I realised. I recalled McDermott’s story of his old squadron, the botched operation they had taken part in, and his anger towards his superiors who had gotten many of them killed due to poor planning. Of the sense of duty he felt toward his companions and subordinates, and how, ultimately, he felt it was acceptable to disobey his superiors in order to protect them. And yet, what I had done was…

“I endangered my fellow pilots.”

Correct.

I looked at the monitors showing the battle, searching for McDermott and Yamada. McDermott was engaging the two Denebs at the moment, and looked to be holding his own, his experience counting for enough even in a two-on-one. Yamada’s Lightning Gundam, however, was being pursued by a familiar black-and-white MS, and as much as I respected his skills and, even more importantly, his ability to do the unexpected, I knew the odds are not in his favour.

But if I did sortie, I knew that combative urge that happened when I faced Pallas would rise within me. What if I lost control again?

Don’t worry, my pilot. You have something to hold on to. Just remember that.

“I understand, Metis.”

McDermott and Yamada were my squadmates. It was my duty to assist them in battle, whoever the enemy might be. Even if it was Pallas.

“Captain, this is Athene Gold. Requesting permission to sortie.”

“Ensign Gold, you are under orders to remain on standby.”

“I know, ma’am. But I want to help my squadron.”

“If you had stated any other reason, ensign, I would have activated your Gundam’s shutdown command.” Captain Monash said warmly. “But I was monitoring your conversation with Metis, and it seems you’ve realised your mistake. Permission granted.”

“Roger. Ensign Athene Gold, Gale Gundam, launching!”

*****

Sweat poured down Shane’s forehead as he once again barely managed to dodge a shot from the Sirius. His breathing was becoming heavier, he noticed, and the sweat threatened to drop into his eyes, obscuring his vision. Before long, he feared, his reflexes would begin to slow, and he had serious doubts about his ability to avoid more attacks once that happened.

Gotta take a gamble. He thought to himself. If I can duck out of her view for a second, there’s a chance. In his peripheral vision, he spied a Commonwealth cruiser, and turned toward it, pushing the boosters to full and once again just managing to avoid the Sirius’ fire. His rear camera showed the Sirius in pursuit as he passed under the cruiser and swung up, launching a volley of missiles as he did so.

As the Sirius dodged Shane’s missiles and the cruiser’s point defence system, Shane completed his loop, swinging around and drawing his beam saber, rushing at full thrust toward the Sirius’ back.

It almost worked.

At the last split-second, the Sirius swung around, knocking the Lightning Gundam’s beam saber aside with its shield, and ramming its knee into the Gundam’s torso. Shane felt as though his head were suddenly filled with sand, blurring his vision and preventing him from thinking straight, and when he recovered, he saw that the Sirius was about to thrust its beam saber straight at his cockpit, and knew he had no hope of avoiding it.

There was a flash of pink-white energy, and Shane took a moment before his mind registered the fact that he wasn’t dead. The Sirius had been forced to pull back from him to avoid the shot that had flashed between them, a shot fired from a familiar green-and-white mobile suit.

“Shane, you did well. Sorry I cut it so close.” Athene said, as the Gale Gundam and the Sirius turned to face each other.

END CHAPTER 9

NEXT CHAPTER: “The Winner”
Vent Noir

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 9 1st Draft)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu May 31, 2012 2:36 am

Chapter 10
SpoilerShow
As my Gale Gundam turnd to face the Sirius, I could almost see an image of Pallas, projected over the frame of the mobile suit I was about to fight. The face-off with my sibling seemed to last far longer than the couple of seconds I knew it actually took, but, right now, everything was more there – time slower, distances and angles more precise, actions and reactions more clear. And with it came the same battle-lust that I had felt the previous times I had faced Pallas, and the contradictory knowledge that she was my sibling, someone I was supposed to protect and fight alongside.

The difference now was that I knew how to anchor myself, to concentrate on my goal of protecting my allies, and thus not get washed away by the combat instinct that surged over me. I wondered, for a moment, if that anchor was the key to my safety, or a restriction that would prove fatal – but remembered that, in the combat exercises we’d had together, I’d performed best against Pallas in team battles. I decided to have faith that the same thing would happen now that we were fighting for real.

I switched to a private channel.

“Shane, is your Gundam still combat capable?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“Get over to McDermott, help him out. I’ll try and join you.”

“Gotcha.”

“Metis, you ready for this?”

Ready when you are, my pilot.

“So, Athene, shall we put ourselves to the test?” Pallas’ voice came over the open channel.

“If you want to find out who’s the top supersoldier so badly, I’ll oblige you.” I replied.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM

A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon
Based on Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate

Chapter 10: The Winner
*****

“And so, our main event is about to begin.” Alfred Castella said, settling into a comfortable leather chair in his mansion’s private theatre. “Will you have champagne, Victoria?”

His daughter, her hair now a deep red adorned with streaks of black, smiled sweetly. “Given the occasion, I believe it’s obligatory. Isn’t that right, father.” As she spoke, a machine on the antique mahogany table poured her champagne for her – servants were currently banned from the viewing theatre, with refreshments to be left at the entrance to be brought in by machines.

Victoria’s sweet smile was a mask she had perfected at a young age, and by now, any apparent slip of her emotions was deliberate, designed to show merely another layer of the mask she wore. She knew the time would come when her mask would be removed, but this was not it, and she had resolved that when it came, it would be on her own terms.

“The Commonwealth and Lunapact are not yet aware that their struggle is a mere sideshow.” She said. “It’s somewhat amusing to think that the struggle they think of as so vital is destined to end up being purely academic in the annals of history.

“Indeed. The only ones who have any inkling of its true significance are those Forge has in our pockets, held in reserve safely away from the fighting, until the time comes.”

“Until the time comes, father.” Victoria said, as she and Alfred charged their glasses.

*****

Pallas

The blue Gundam turned and boosted away from me, and, as much as I disliked letting an enemy leave intact, I was looking forward to the battle with my new opponent. Around the battlefield, the Commonwealth forces were moving to consolidate their positions after their initial sortie, to better defend against the assault on Moresby base, but my purpose was to deal with Athene. I’d deal with the other stuff after I beat her.

Athene, using a beam rifle and shield at the moment, rather than the beam rifle/beam saber combo that was her usual favoured style, moved in and fired a couple of shots – probing attacks, ones that I knew she didn’t really expect to hit me. I kicked in the Sirius’ thrusters as I evaded them with little effort, firing as I moved towards her, and she pulled away from me.

“Athene, you seem nervous.” I taunted. “Was that line about letting me find out who’s number one just you talking big?”

She didn’t reply, but swung down and inward to take another couple of shots, again pulling away when I counterattacked. When was she going to get serious?

*****

Alan McDermott ducked another burst of fire from one of the white Denebs. For a while now, he had been playing a defensive game, concentrating mainly on evading or deflecting the two Denebs’ attacks, and managing to squeeze in the occasional counterattack. The Flame Gundam hadn’t sustained any serious damage yet, but its shield had a fair number of abrasions and scorch marks that weren’t there at the start of the battle, and a large chunk near the base had been shorn off by a beam saber. He had also been forced to pull back towards Moresby Base over the course of the battle. But he had kept his ears on his radio, and was aware that the situation was about to change.

McDermott boosted out from behind a meteoroid, one of several that the Commonwealth forces had scattered around their area of the battlefield for their side to use as cover unleashing a volley of missiles and at the same time drawing the fire from the two Denebs. He saw another chunk of his shield go flying past his Gundam’s shoulder as he did so.

Then, a blue-white streak closed in on the two enemy MS from behind. Shane drew the Lightning Gundam’s beam saber as he charged in, hoping to bisect one of the Denebs, but it managed to swing around and bring its own beam saber up to block just in time. Shane did gain some consolation, though, from the fact that he’d managed to take the Deneb’s hand off in that pass.

“Surprised to see me, Lieutenant?” He asked, “I have a feeling they were.”

“Fighting for your life against an enemy supersoldier hasn’t changed your attitude, I see.”

“Why change what works? Although I think I might need to change out of my spacesuit as soon as we get back.”

*****

Athene

I continued my pattern of attack against Pallas – moving towards her for a few shots or a swipe with a beam saber, then pulling back, enticing her along the path I wanted her to go. The path was not straight, of course – it would have been too obvious that I was trying to lead her somewhere, as well as making it easy for her to predict where I would move next. Instead, it was full of curves and corners, rises and dips designed to obscure my plans for our destination. As we fought, both of us took a few targets of opportunity among those of the battling forces that were foolish or unlucky enough to be in our general path. Most of the mobile suits and fighters we shot down exploded immediately, but some among them managed to avoid a direct hit to the cockpit or reactor. The most unfortunate of those, instead, were sent spiralling out of control, and in low Earth orbit as we were, that was likely to mean being caught in Earth’s gravity well and plunging to a firey doom.

The duel between us had gone on for at least fifteen minutes by the time the Gale’s sensors indicated I was approaching my destination. I looked around, trying to keep one eye on Pallas while I sought out McDermott and Yamada – even knowing as I did that Pallas was a dangerous enough foe as to warrant two eyes on her at all times. It was nearly my undoing as Pallas slipped around to my right and fired a shot from close range – fortunately, the heightened awareness and reflexes that allowed her to pull that manuver off worked both ways. I twisted the Gale’s body around, managing to dodge the shot by mere inches, the residual energy leaving a scorched diagonal streak across the Gundam’s front, including the cockpit.

Not a bad dodge, Athene. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought I heard Pallas’ voice inside my head.

Thanks. It was a pretty good attack. I thought in reply.

So, when are you gonna stop playing around and get serious about beating me?

Right about now.
I smiled as I located the Lightning and Flame Gundams.

*****

“Heads up, Yamada. Looks like Gold and her friend are about to arrive.” McDermott warned.

“Aw, not yet! I was just about to do… this!” As he spoke, Shane fired a volley of missiles in an arc from behind his cover, causing Perez to pull forward in order to move out of the way. When she did so, Shane gunned the Lightning’s thrusters, swinging in underneath Perez’s Deneb, beam saber ablaze. Perez managed to avoid getting her mobile suit cut in half, but its left leg and a large chunk of its thruster pack flew off into the depths of space.

Alan ignored his impulse to tell Shane to stay serious - he figured it was a waste of breath. Besides, it seemed to be what worked for him. He did fire a burst from the Flame Gundam’s Gatling gun, forcing the other Deneb to dodge rather than attack Shane, as the one he had hit pulled away from the battle.

“Good to see you, Athene! But did you have to bring your buddy as well?” Shane asked.

“She kind of instisted on tagging along.” Athene replied.

“Huh? Athene, did you just make a joke?” Shane asked. “And during combat?”

“I think I just did.” Athene replied, seemingly only just realising the fact when it was pointed out to her.

“I’m clearly a bad influence on you.” Shane remarked.

“You’re terrible.” McDermott said. “Ensign Gold, you’re the one who’s most familiar with Pallas. I’m trusting you to guide us through this.”

“Yes, sir.”

*****

Athene

I didn’t know the reason why I’d made that joke any better than Yamada or McDermott. Did I feel that it would help him relax or respond better to me? And wasn’t being in close proximity to Pallas supposed to send me into an ultra-serious combat mindset that was hard to control? Or was there more to it than that?

I couldn’t worry about it now. McDermott was placing his trust in me for this battle, and it was my duty to fulfil that trust.

“I’ll handle the main fighting. You two try and get her to divide her attention, but don’t do anything rash. Take turns between doing that and taking care of that second Deneb.”

“Roger that.” The pair replied. McDermott circled around to flank Pallas, while Shane peeled off. I stowed the Gale Gundam’s shield, switching to the beam saber/beam rifle combo I favoured, and moved in to attack Pallas once again.

I fired a complex series of shots, designed to force Pallas to dodge in a pattern that would leave her exposed for a melee attack, and thrust at her flank with my beam saber. If I were fighting an ordinary opponent, that would have been the end of the battle, but not Pallas. She made a backhanded swing the Sirius’ double-bladed beam saber, parrying the shot, and used the momentum generated to kick at me, doing little damage but knocking me out of position.

McDermott had moved around to flank her with me, and fired another burst from the Flame Gundams gatling, but, as skilled as he was, he must have seemed as sluggish to Pallas’ magnified awareness as he did to mine, and she easily dodged aside. Pallas returned fire, and, although McDermott managed to bring his Gundam’s shield to bear and protect the cockpit and powerplant, shots tore through its left thigh and right elbow, crippling the leg and severing the gun arm.

“Lieutenant, pull out!” I urged.

“Will do, Gold, but first let me lighten my load!” He spun around and emptied the Flame Gundam’s remaining missiles in the direction of the remaining Deneb, currently involved in a running battle with Yamada. The Deneb’s pilot saw the barrage coming, and tried to get out of the way, but failed to react quickly enough, and when the debris cleared, what remained of the MS was floating motionless in space. As McDermott headed back to the Gallipolli, I didn’t bother to check for an emergency beacon that would indicate if the pilot was alive.

Now, it was down to Yamada and myself versus Pallas. Once again, we circled each other, re-entering our now familiar pattern. Our dance of death began anew, each shot fired and evaded, each beam saber thrust, parry and riposte the epitome of speed and precision, against which no normal opponent could have hoped to survive.

According to the readout in my cockpit, we engaged in this manner for eight and a half minutes without managing to land any significant hits on one another – the antenna on my Gundam’s head had been severed by the tip of Pallas’ beam saber, and one of my shots had knocked off one of the armor plates on the Sirius’ hip. During this time, Yamada had been hanging around on the periphery of the battle, occasionally taking a shot but not causing Pallas any real trouble. He was clearly cautious about getting into the mix, but I give him credit – he wasn’t overawed, but rather biding his time, waiting for an opportunity to present itself. Fighting within his limits wasn’t cowardice, it was smart.

Then everything happened at once.

As Pallas closed in with that double-bladed beam saber, I spotting what I thought was an opportunity to take a shot at the Sirius’ head and disable its main sensors. I feinted a low thrust with my beam saber, and brought the Gundam’s arm up to make the shot, but Pallas countered, managing to reverse the direction she was swinging her beam saber in and strike the Gale’s outstretched gun arm. As the severed arm fell towards Earth’s atmosphere, Pallas swung at the Gale’s midsection, attempting to turn her advantage into a victory. I managed to block her next swing, but knew the odds were now very much against me – except for my ace in the hole.

Shane must have known it was time to roll the dice. He opened up his thrusters and charged at Pallas, beam saber outstretched in front of him. Pallas parried the beam saber and swung up, taking out the Lightning Gundam’s left leg and a chunk of its thrusters, but his sheer momentum sent the Sirius spinning, disrupting her attack. Knowing I had mere moments before she regained control, I swung my beam saber at the Sirius’ torso, and struck home.

*****

Pallas

It only took a tiny fraction of a second for Athene’s beam saber to penetrate the cockpit and end my life, but in the combat state I was in, it seemed an inexorable, crawling pace.

As the blade approached, I realised she had beaten me. At first, I was happy for her, proving herself the better supersoldier once and for all – but then I realised that the one who most wanted to prove herself number one had been me. For Athene, as skilled as she was, the bond between us was far more important than proving who was the best. I had forced her to kill me, and she was going to hate herself for it.

Athene, this is my fault. I’m so sorry.

*****

Athene

As I watched the Sirius explode, and the wreckage begin to plunge towards Earth, I was overwhelmed by a strange feeling. I had killed dozens of enemy pilots before, and felt nothing except perhaps satisfaction at fulfilling my purpose. I had been molded that way for as long as I could remember, as a supersoldier who had no need for empathy. But the enemy whom I had killed was Pallas.

Pallas, whom I my life at Sparta Base had been spent alongside. We’d trained together, eaten together, been yelled at by the instructors together, and trained together some more. Pallas, who was happiest when she was trying to prove she was the best, whose devotion to perfecting her skills surpassed even my own. Pallas, whom I had killed with my own hands.

My body and mind mutinied on me as I realised what I had done. My limbs, trained for strength, suddenly became weak and heavy, and the contents of my stomach welled upward until they forced themselves out of my mouth, covering the inside of my visor with vomit.

As for my mind, in my state of shock, I barely even registered that I had cut power to the Gale’s thrusters. I felt so awful that I wanted nothing more than to plunge into oblivion with her. I felt the downward pull of Earth’s gravity, and hoped that my guilt and pain would burn up with me as I entered the atmosphere, or perhaps a stray shot from the battle would end me first.

I don’t know how long I was falling for, but abruptly, I felt a jerk as my momentum halted. Puzzled, I tried to look at the screens through my vomit-splattered visor, and eventually made out the form of one of the IPMC’s Cadecus rescue MS, and a cable with which it had grabbed the Gale Gundam.

“Khadija?” I said weakly.

“Yes, Athene, it’s me.” Khadija replied.

“What are you doing?”

“Saving your life is what it looks like to me.”

“I didn’t ask you to! Let me go! Let me join Pallas!” I yelled at her in outraged despair.

“Idiot!” She yelled at me. “You think dying is gonna make up for killing her? I might hate fighting, but even I think that anyone with that attitude needs to be smacked upside the head!”

I don’t want to die. And I don't want you to die either, Athene. Metis said. My brief spurt of emotion exhausted itself, and I slumped backward.

“All right, I’m sorry, Khadija. And to you too, Metis. Let’s get back.”

With that, Khadija towed us back to the Gallipolli.

*****

Far away, a young man watched the wreckage of the Sirius falling on a screen in a bare, darkened room.

“Farewell, Pallas.” He said to himself. “And Athene, I do not hold you responsible.”

When the two had first been set against each other, he had been too confused to object. His superiors had told him the purpose of the battle was to confirm the Resonance phenomenon, but as the pair had continued their clash, he had seen another purpose. It was to show that they were in control, that his siblings were nothing more than puppets that they could play with as they wished.

And he would show them that they were wrong, that people like Athene and Pallas and himself were the true future of humanity, and were destined to take control.

Not yet, though. He would need to bide his time.

“Pallas, I wish I could have saved you.” Ares Gold said. “Athene, I know the pain I feel at her loss must be so much worse for you. But I swear, that pain will soon come to an end. Because, soon, we’re going to be standing at each other’s side once again.”

END CHAPTER 10

Next Time: “Vestige”
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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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Rob DS Zeta » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:39 pm

Guess who finally took a darn moment to read? I did! 8)

I absolutely love this fic. Athene is a protagonist that makes me smile as she slowly turns into a real grown up human being. Now that we've gotten Pallas out of the way and established the psychological effects the supersoldiers have between each other, I'm excited to have Ares come and do something awesome.

Oh... and some winkwinkwhistle between Athene and Shane maybe? Bowchikkabowwow!
*insert witty eyecatch here*

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Vent Noir » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:37 am

Well, Shane does like her, but Athene's asexuality may make that difficult.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Rob DS Zeta » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:05 pm

D'oh!
*insert witty eyecatch here*

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:26 am

Teaser image, drawn by 2NAFish.

Athene is on the left, the character on the right has only appeared briefly so far, but will have a larger role in upcoming chapters. The Gundam and fighter have not appeared in the fic yet...
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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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:49 am

New chapter inside spoiler space.
SpoilerShow
My body felt leaden as Khadija carried me back towards the Gallipolli. Perhaps it was because the pain I felt in my mind had numbed my nerves. Since I was having trouble seeing through my vomit-splattered visor, I was grateful to have someone to carry me.

“Khadija,” I managed to say, “Do you know of anyone else who’s felt like that? Just wanting to… fall into oblivion?”

“It’s been known to happen.” Khadija replied. “Soldiers sometimes just… snap on the battlefield, and do something suicidal on the spur of the moment.”

“So… I’m not the only one to feel this kind of pain?” I asked.

“I confess I’ve never heard of anyone fighting someone so close to them as you were to Pallas.” She answered. “But as for pain… for everyone that dies on the battlefield, there are people close to them, family members, friends, a lover – who feels the same kind of pain and loss you’re feeling now.”

“Which means I’m responsible for a lot of them. No wonder you don’t like me.”

“I wouldn’t say I dislike you.” Khadija said. “And it’s not quite that. I mean, Shane and Alan have killed people in battle as well, and I don’t hate them for it. But I had a hard time with you because… well, it seemed you didn’t understand what it meant to take a life. And that’s not really your fault, it’s because of all the training and stuff they drilled into your head, but I was trying to get you to understand, and sometimes I lost my cool… WHAT THE-?”

I was rocked by a sudden change of direction as Khadija’s MS rolled to port to – as far as I could see with the state of my visor – avoid a shot from a Regulus that was headed straight for us. Khadija continued to dodge the shots, and I realised that it was firing on my Gundam.

“Attention, Regulus serial number 412L-E21!” Khadija said over an open channel. “Cease and desist immediately! You are firing on an MS that is currently receiving assistance from an IPMC vehicle! As per the Treaty Regarding IPMC Operations, your act is considered a war crime! I repeat, cease and desist immediately!”

“You think I care if it’s a war crime?” came the enraged voice of the pilot. “That Gundam killed my-“ His voice was cut off as a shot from the Gallipolli’s anti-MS guns struck him, and he was consumed in a fireball.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM
A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon
Based on Mobile Suit Gundam created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate


Chapter 11: Vestige
*****

The three of us, all having sustained significant damage to our Gundams, reached the Gallipolli’s hangar. It appeared that the Commonwealth forces would repel Lunapact’s attack on Moresby base, but I didn’t think Yamada or McDermott felt any sense of triumph, or even satisfaction. McDermott’s voice was flat as he told us to shower and then report for the debriefing.

As I was about to leave the cockpit, though, I caught sight of the blinking lights of the computer terminal in my cockpit, and realised there was something I needed to do first.

“Metis, I’m sorry.” I said. “If I it weren’t for Khadija, it wouldn’t have just been me who burnt up in the atmosphere. I would have killed you, as well.”

Apology accepted, my pilot. Metis replied.

“Could you have stopped the Gundam from falling?”

Negative. I am designed to facilitate my pilot’s commands, not override them. She said. However, I do not wish to die. It is fortunate that Paramedic Akram was able to rescue us.

“I guess so.” Was all I could think to say in response.

*****

After showers, debriefing, and a meal of standard-issue liquid multinutrient, we were expected to remain on yellow alert until we had confirmed the enemy to no longer be in the area. As I waited in my standby position, I felt as though a heavy weight were settling into my body like powdered lead, leaving me feeling numb and dull. I vaguely heard my name being spoken, and slowly looked around.

“Ensign Gold!” McDermott said, louder. “You’re showing signs of exhaustion.”

“Negative, sir. It has been only twelve hours since we first entered combat alert. I am capable of operating for up to seven days without sleep before my capabilities decline.”

“I’m sure you are, ensign. Nevertheless, your posture is sagging and your attention is not fully here, so I’m ordering you to get some rest.” He then looked at me more compassionately. “Besides, in good conscience, I can’t order you to remain combat ready after what you’ve been through. Shane, you escort her to quarters. And talk to her.”

*****

Victoria

Alfred Castella smiled in satisfaction as the monitors that had been showing the battle switched to data analysis of Forge’s supersoldiers and their mobile suits.

“A truly extraordinary performance by those two, was it not, Victoria?”

Victoria maintained the mask that was her sweet smile. “Indeed, father. I daresay that such a duel has not taken place in all of history. I am sure that it will go down in history as the beginning of a new era in warfare – at least, for those who are aware of the true implications.”

“The first light before the new dawn. But we have gathered enough data. Now, we must prepare for the true sunrise. It is time for Athene to leave the petty squabble between governments, and prepare to take her place among our vanguard.”

“What of her psychological condition, though, father? Even with her training, what she was forced to do to someone she grew up alongside.”

“You needn’t worry about the ill effects of her trauma. We will take steps to ensure that she fights at her full potential.” Victoria knew what her father meant, and it chilled her that he could speak about it so unconcerned, but she did not permit her mask to show any cracks.

*****

Athene

When I had first been assigned combat duties, I had thought of my task as simple and straightforward: Fight well, destroy the enemy, and don’t concern myself with the politics of the whole thing. But it seemed that for every day I spent aboard the Gallipolli, that clarity drifted further away from me. Pallas was dead, yet I felt as though part of her was had gotten stuck in my head, making her appear in front of me whenever I closed my eyes, and now new questions ran through my head.

“Shane,” I asked, “What’s it like for you to fight alongside me?”

“To fight alongside you? Well, when I watch you, I’m always amazed at how you fight. I mean, reaction times, precision, accuracy – I don’t think I could ever be good enough to replicate what you do. But, to be honest, seeing you fight… it’s kinda scary as well.”

“Scary?”

“Well, you’re totally ruthless when you fight. I mean, there are kills, and then there are kills, if you know what I’m saying. Most of the MS you destroyed, the pilots didn’t make it out of there alive.” Shane said. And for every one of those, as Khadija had told me, more pain was spread among those who remained.

“So, do you think I’d be as effective if I wasn’t so ruthless?”

“I can’t answer that. I mean, if seeing you fighting beside me is scary, I was crapping my spacesuit going up against Pallas, and I had to dredge up every drop of courage I had to fight her. There’s a lot to be said for the psychological factor in warfare. But then again, I guess I’m still an idealist at heart. I understand that fighting for real pretty much boils down to kill or be killed, but I want to believe that the winning side doesn’t have to be the one that’s willing to be bigger arseholes.”

“And there’s another thing.” I said. “You talk about fear, and courage. Everyone talks about how soldiers need courage, so that they can overcome fear. But no matter how many times I’ve gone into battle, I’ve never felt fear. I’ve never been brave. I have the least courage of anyone on this ship. I’m supposedly a supersoldier, yet I’m completely lacking in one of the things every soldier is supposed to have.”

“That doesn’t mean you lack courage.” Shane told me. “It just means you’ve never been put in a situation where you needed it. If you’re not afraid of combat, then, well, there’s probably gonna be some other time when you’re afraid, but you know you have to do something. And when that time comes, well, that’s when you show courage.”

There was a buzz at the door comm, and Khadija’s face showed up on the screen.

“Athene, is it okay if I come in?” she asked. “I just want to check up on you.”

“Sure, come in.” I said, glancing at Shane to make sure he didn’t object, then opening the door.

“How are you?” she asked.

“I’m fine.” I told her.

“Don’t lie.”

I hesitated for a long time. “Awful.”

“Well, if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t force you to.” She said. “Damn, I knew I should have taken counselling as part of my training.” I heard her mutter under her breath.

“It’s okay. Just having you two here makes things better. But I’m wondering, Khadija… why did you join the IPMC?” I asked.

“Want someone else to do the talking, do you?” Shane teased.

“Shane!” Khadija scolded, and glared at him for a few seconds to make her disapproval felt before relaxing to tell her story.

“Shane told you that, growing up on Mars, we were rivals in Mini MS Racing.” Khadija began. “We were thirteen, so this was three… almost four years ago now, in fact. Shane had won the championship two years prior, and then I beat him for it the next year. We were going into the final race of the year, and Shane was leading, but I knew that if I won the final race, I’d retain the championship.”

“It’s the final lap of the race,” she continued, “And Shane’s been leading the whole way, with me just behind. We’re coming into this section of twisty track going into Ines Chasm, with the ravine on the left and the cliff on the right. So far, he’s managed to head me off every time I’ve tried to pass him, and I’m getting frustrated, but I think I spot an opportunity here. Coming round a bend, I try to get past him on his right, and end up clipping him. He loses control, and his MS ends up going tumbling into the ravine.” Her shoulders slumped as she told that part of the story, ashamed at her recklessness.

“If you don’t want to talk about it any more, I won’t make you.” I said.

“No, it’s okay.” She replied, although it was obviously difficult for her, even years later. “Shane ended up breaking both arms and a bunch of ribs in that fall. The officials said I was guilty of a dangerous passing attempt, so I got disqualified and Shane ended up winning the championship. But the disqualification was nothing compared to having to face my parents afterward. My mother and father were furious, and were going to ban me from racing, but when we went to visit Shane in hospital, he convinced them to let me keep doing it – on the condition that I took a first aid course and did volunteer work at the hospital as well. And I ended up discovering that medical work was rewarding, and I wanted to make a career out of it. I was already training as a paramedic with the IPMC when the war broke out.”

“So you didn’t always want to be a medic?” I asked her.

“No. But looking back on it, I would never wish to change it.”

At that point, my console beeped, signalling that I had received a message. I reached over and touched the screen to open it.

To: Ensign Athene Gold
From: <Classified>
Subject: Notice of Redeployment

Ensign Gold,

You are hereby advised that you are to transfer from your current deployment to Spearhead Base, effective immediately. A transport will arrive shortly to collect you.

For a few moments, I was merely surprised that I was being reassigned, then came the realisation of where I was being reassigned. I knew Spearhead – many of the Earth Sphere combat simulations from back on Sparta base had revolved around it being used as a staging point.

“Well, it’s sudden, but I guess this is goodbye.” Shane said. “Athene, it’s been an honour to serve alongside you, and… hey, why are you looking at the screen like that?”

“My siblings are going to be there. I’m going back to them. And then…” My mouth went dry as it suddenly hit me. “Oh my god. Oh my god. They’re in the hands of the people who sent me and Pallas up against each other. I’m getting sent back to them.”

I turned to face him.

“Shane, there’s something I need to take care of before I go.” With that, I rushed out of my room.

*****

Once again, I sat in the Gale Gundam’s cockpit, and booted up Metis.

Welcome, my pilot. Her now-familiar, soothing voice resonated in my ears.

“I’m probably not going to be that for much longer, Metis.” I said.

I saw your transfer notice. I can link to the data console in your quarters. Metis told me. Is that why you’re stressed?

“Yes. I’m being transferred back into the hands of whoever it was that set up the supersoldier project in the first place. Either Pallas or me, or probably both of us, was brainwashed by them before we were sent out here, and if they’re willing to do it once to us, I’m damn sure they’ll be willing to do it again. And this time they’ve got a bunch of my siblings waiting there as well.”

Metis didn’t reply, likely sensing that I had more to say, so I continued.

“Metis, you and I… both of us have grown so much since we met each other. We were both originally intended as just weapons, but… since I’ve been assigned here, you’ve become a trusted confidant, and I’ve experienced anger and laughter and sorrow, and… all the things that make me a person, not just a supersoldier. And now, I’m at risk of having all of those things stripped away from me. So there’s something I want you to do.”

“If I ever see Yamada and McDermott and the others again, I might not recognise them. If we’re up against each other, and that’s the case… as things are now, I’m going to end up killing them. So I want you to analyse my combats, as thoroughly as you can. Go through all the combat patterns, tactics, response times, everything. Use all of it, and come up with countermeasures. Because I can’t bear the thought of murdering them, and if I end up brainwashed and fighting them, I want them to kill me. Can you arrange that, Metis?”

The words hung in the air as I waited for Metis to answer.

I understand, Athene, and I can do that. But if the events you describe do happen, I can suggest another option that I hope you consider…

*****

When I stepped back out of the cockpit, I saw Yamada waiting on the gantry. He tried to give his usual cheeky smile, but it didn’t come off seeming as light-hearted as usual.

“The Captain wants to see you.” He told me.

When we arrived in the captain’s office, I saw McDermott and Khadija there, and all eyes turned to me as I entered.

“At ease, Ensign.” Captain Monash told me, and I did so.

She looked directly at me, her dark eyes more serious than usual.

“What I am about to say is not to be told to anyone not currently in this room. Ensign Gold, I received a copy of your transfer orders.” She said. “Ensign Yamada informed Lieutenant McDermott of the situation you are likely to be placed in should you go through with the transfer, and he in turn informed me. The two of us agreed that knowingly sending anyone to suffer the... procedures that may be used on you, let alone someone under our command, is morally repugnant, and contrary to the ideals of the Commonwealth Armed Forces. Therefore, the order must be considered unethical, and as such, it is our duty NOT to obey it. We will arrange for you to be smuggled off the ship and out of Moresby Base, and are willing to suffer the punishment for such…”

“Ma’am, I can’t do that.” I interrupted. “I will transfer to Spearhead as ordered.”

“If you go back there, they’re just going to brainwash you!” Khadija said. “I know whoever they are, they’ve got it drilled into your head to obey them, but please-“

“It’s not that.” I said. “I’m not going there because I’m told to. My siblings are there. If I run and hide, even if I manage to escape, there’ll be no one to help them. If I go, I may be able to save them, to stop them from being made into playthings like me and Pallas.”

“Athene, you’re sure about this?” McDermott asked. I wanted to tell him no. I felt as though I could hear my heart pounding in my ears as I struggled to answer. I wanted to beg him and Monash and Yamada to take me away, hide me, let me not have to do this. Even if I did go, what if I couldn’t save them? What if I just ended up a tool of my creators, along with everyone else, with everything human about me stripped away to reveal the soulless killing machine underneath? My throat went dry, and I realised how I was feeling.

I was scared.

“Yes, sir.” I said hesitantly. “Yes, I’m sure about this.”

Shane put his arm around my shaking body, and helped me to sit down.

“Then, I guess… this is goodbye. But we’ll see each other again someday.”

“If we do, I might be your enemy.” I warned him.

“Well, better than nothing.” He said softly.

Two hours later, the transport ship arrived to take me to Spearhead. I was the only passenger on board, and sat in silence for the journey, lost in thoughts of my time on board the Gallipolli, and of my task ahead.

NEXT CHAPTER: “White Reflection”
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 11, 23 Aug)

Post by Vent Noir » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:33 am

I should have mentioned that the story's approximately halfway through now, which of course means it's time for a new OP:

Gundam Storm OP2: "Take it Back" by Miracle of Sound
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 11, 23 Aug)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:57 am

Chapter 12 finally up!

Once again, I had trouble with this, and I'm not 100% satisfied with it, but at least it's done. Story inside spoiler space.
SpoilerShow
To those who didn’t know its purpose, Spearhead appeared to be one just another asteroid that had been converted into an industrial space station, many of which were clustered in Earth’s fourth and fifth Lagrange Points – one of many lumps of rock with with artificial cuboid shapes jutting out of it. It was not named as such on any official maps, appearing to be simply one of a cluster of Castella Industries-owned “islands”, and officially marked as simply “Facility S16”. Growing up, I had known the name Spearhead as the place my siblings and I would launch our actions in the Earth Sphere from. Now, I knew it as the place where I would be reunited with them, and save them from being used as tools by whoever was pulling our strings – or fail, and end up being their tool as they no doubt intended.

The shuttle I rode in was just as sparse as its intended destination – I suspected it was a not-so-converted prison transport, which was probably appropriate. My quarters contained a bunk with a blanket and thin mattress, toilet and washing facilities, a cupboard with rations for the journey, exercise equipment bolted to the walls, and a VR machine with combat sims programmed in. For the duration of the journey, the pilot did not speak to me.

Finally, I felt the shuttle come to a halt, and the door to my quarters slid open. I walked down the corridor, towards the light coming from the main door on the port side of the shuttle. That swung open, revealing a young man much like myself: The same athletic, well-muscled build, same black hair – although mine had grown from the crew cut he still bore – and the same steely, disciplined expression that I had come to know from our years of training. Apart from our gender, the only significant difference was that his skin was lighter, bronze-colored compared to my deep brown. As soon as I stepped outside, he headed up the stairs towards me, and we embraced each other.

“Welcome home, Athene.” Ares said, a rare warmth in his voice.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM

A Fanfic by Andrew Dynon
Based on “Mobile Suit Gundam” by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate

Chapter 12: White Reflection
*****

ESCS Gallipoli

“Let me see if I can summarize our situation, sir.” Shane Yamada said – he tried to keep his chin up and appear lighthearted, but uncertainty crept into his voice. “We barely managed to hold off LunaPact’s attack on Moresby base. In the course of that battle, all three of our Gundams ended up getting pretty trashed. Athene ended up killing her friend, who seemed convinced that they’d been part of LunaPact forces. We don’t know who it was that was really brainwashed - Athene, Pallas, or both of them. We have no idea who’s pulling the strings or why, except that they seemingly have contacts high up in the Commonwealth forces, and presumably Lunapact too. And, knowing that, Athene voluntarily went on that transfer shuttle, knowing full well that they’re probably going to try and brainwash her again.”

“That about sums it up.” Alan McDermott replied.

“Is it just me, or is this whole war becoming all kinds of ZOINKS up? More than wars usually are, I mean.” Shane asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t have any other wars to compare it to. And I hope that I make it out of this one in one piece, and then don’t get another to make that comparison.”

Shane made an exaggerated sigh. “So what do we do now, sir?”

“Well, from what I’ve heard, it seems that both sides are gonna be licking their wounds for a bit. Lunapact’s failure to take Moresby base means things have gotten more bogged down.” McDermott pointed out. “But even if there’s no major ops for a while, the brass doesn’t like soldiers sitting and cooling their heels for too long. We’re gonna get sent out eventually.”

“When our Gundams are fixed, presumably.”

“Yeah, about that.” McDermott grinned. “Well, I suppose now’s as good a time as any. Follow me.”

*****

Athene – Spearhead

As we embraced, Ares and I stared into each other’s faces for the first time since I had departed Sparta Base, and his golden eyes had the same hard-edged look that I remembered, the same one all of my siblings bore as a result of our years of training. But as he gazed back at me, he seemed to notice something, involuntarily tilting his head back away from me and loosening his grip. Both of those were only by tiny amounts, but still noticeable.

“What is it, Ares?” I asked.

“Athene… your eyes, your expression. They’re different than they were when you left.” Ares’ face darkened as he pointed it out.

“I’ve experienced things on board the Gallipolli…” I started.

“It’s because of what they made you and Pallas do to each other, isn’t it?” He asked. I started to reply, but he cut me off. “Don’t worry. I’m going to make sure those responsible pay for that. We’ll talk more soon. I just need to take care of something first.” With that, he glanced towards the shuttle pilot, a blonde woman who had alighted from the cockpit to stretch after the long flight. Instantly, I realised his intent.

“Ares, no!”

He hesitated, surprised at my objection. “That woman now knows the location of Spearhead. She is a security risk.”

“And we’re supposed to be soldiers. If you’re going to kill in battle, that’s fine. Cold blooded murder isn’t.” I said.

“I see no difference between this and shooting an unaware enemy in the back. You’re prioritising her over our siblings.”

I simply held his gaze, not dignifying Ares’ statement with a response. After several seconds, he sighed.

“This time.” He said. “Because I’m glad you’re back, and I want you to feel the same way. Now follow me.” He headed out of the shuttle bay through a pair of heavy metal sliding doors at the end, briefly looking back to glare at the pilot.

An ordinary person would have been shocked at what Ares had wanted to do, but I could feel no surprise or outrage. For supersoldiers like us, Ares’ actions were normal. My self from mere months ago would have been far more shocked that I had told Ares to stop – and if ordered, she would have killed the pilot herself without batting an eyelid. The fact that I wasn’t like that anymore was a surprise to him, and an unpleasant one.

“Are the rest of our siblings here yet?” I asked.

“They’re still in transit from Sparta base.” Ares replied. “We’re going to be the only supersoldiers here for a while. But we’ll be enough to handle the early stages of our operations. For now, though, there’s someone I’d like to introduce you to.”

“Who?”

“The owner of Stella Verde bioprojects, Ms. Gabriella Wang.” Ares told me. “The one who created the biotechnology used in the Forge’s Enhanced Humans. So, really, you can think of her as our mother.”

*****

Sea of Tranquility, Luna

Gabriella Wang watched as one of several private space tranports she owned took off from the Aldrin spacefield. She was a woman of Chinese and Latina descent, of average height, who appeared to be in her early thirties. A casual scan of her records would reveal her actual age to be over sixty, but her company was known, among other things, as the developer of a successful anti-aging procedure, so few people would be surprised at the fact, even if fewer still could afford such a procedure.

In fact, most of human-colonised space could be seen as a testament to her company, Stella Verde. Billions in the colonies, Luna and Mars depended on genetically-engineered crops and livestock to keep themselves fed, and copyrights on the gene-sequencing ensured that handsome profits would keep flowing back to the company. It would have been tempting, she supposed, to just leave it at that – to rest on her laurels, assured of massive wealth and a virtually unlimited number of years with which to enjoy it, but she had never found pleasure in being idle. Fulfilment, for her, came from being driven to achieve something.

Decades ago, she had come to the conclusion that humanity, in its current state, was reaching its limits. The human race was had been expanding into space for close to a century, now, and yet the only thing about it that grew was its numbers. Nations still engaged in their petty fights over resources or ideologies, and when the populace was not fighting, they were content to indulge themselves in pointless sporting contests and the latest music and movies. It was high time for humanity to get a kick in its collective pants to make it start moving, and she was the one to give it to them.

She thought of it as a gift – sure, their rear ends would be hurting for a while, but the time would come when they would look back and thank her for getting them motivated. Now, it was time for the kicking to begin in earnest.

*****

Athene - Spearhead

“Athene, how wonderful it is to see you.” The face of Gabriella Wang appeared on the screen – despite how little experience I had with non-military society, I recognised the plushness of the chair she was sitting on and the rich colours of the painting I could see in the background as signs of wealth, in contrast to the sparse communications room at Spearhead with its simple plastic chairs that Ares and I were seated on. The woman had a refined air similar to the one I had seen in Victoria Castella. I wasn’t sure whether it was simply the mood I was in or some subtle difference I had noticed but couldn’t find words for, though, but in contrast to my meeting with Victoria, Wang’s presence put me on edge. “You’ve never met me, but I know you intimately. I oversaw every step of your genetic development, your fertilisation, your training, and I’ve watched you in combat with the same interest. What I saw confirmed my assessment that, alongside Ares, you are the pinnacle of our program.”

When I departed, hearing something like that would have made me feel glad and fulfilled. Now, they just made the hollow feeling I had inside worse, and the question that had been weighing on my mind since I set off for here,

“What about Pallas? You sent her to fight too! You made us fight each other! If you’re so proud of us, how come you arranged it so that we’d fight each other the way we did?”

Gabriella hung her head, and her voice sounded strained. “I cannot apologise enough for what happened to Pallas. However, I explained the situation to Ares when the situation occurred. Since you were so close, it would be better if you heard it from him.”

“Ms. Wang is a member of an organisation called Forge.” Ares said. “Forge’s goals are to help humanity develop to its potential, and ensure its future. In order to do so, high level members of the government and military, from both the Commonwealth and Lunapact, needed to be brought into the fold. Unfortunately, some of those people think only about their own power and profit, and don’t care for Forge’s ultimate goals. In order to secure their support, Forge needed to show results, and that’s what you were assigned for. Mother said she was very distressed knowing the fate that awaited one of you, but says it just goes to show the lack of vision some of the partners have. She promised that when the time comes, people like them will be purged, and that you and me would be the ones to do it, as revenge for Pallas.”

“Really? That’s what this is all about?” I asked, unconvinced.

“I promise you, Athene, before long, it won’t be normal humans like me that are in charge of human space. It will be people like you, Ares, and Victoria Castella that are the future.” Gabriella Wang said. “And there’s another thing. I know you’re hurting over Pallas, but if you think about it, she wouldn’t have regretted what happened. Part of being a supersoldier like you or her is having a need to fight. I’m sure you’ve felt it, the fulfilment, the sense of purpose that comes when you’re in battle. I can assure you she died with no regrets.”

“That’s all for now. I promise to speak with you again soon.” She smiled, and the video feed closed.

Wang’s voice sounded convincing, but I didn’t feel the same certainty. In those last seconds before Pallas died, I thought I had felt a wave of sadness and regret wash over me.

*****

Moresby Base – Hangar #3A

While Moresby Base’s hangar #3 was a typical large military hangar, easily fitting up to thirty mobile suits, the adjunct known as 3A was far smaller, with the security checks being much more thorough. It was here that prototype mobile suits were housed when they were stored at the base – which, presently, meant the Gallipolli’s three Gundams – or what remained of them after their most recent battle. Now, all the remaining weapons systems and armor had been stripped from them, leaving their bare frames visible.

“Not much to look at right now, are they, ensign?” McDermott asked.

“No, sir. But even with the damage we took, the parts could have been replaced. It wouldn’t have been necessary to strip them completely like this, unless…” Shane’s eyes widened. “They’re reconfiguring the whole MS!”

McDermott smiled, and gestured towards a console. “As pilot, you’re permitted to look over it. Tell me what you think.”

As he looked over the blueprints, Shane couldn’t help but gasp in excitement. “GD02-Beta Thunder Gundam… oh, man, this looks sweet. They’ve reconfigured the thruster pack to give even better boost, and added more verniers as well, so improve mobility. A pair of linked-fire beam cannons that can be handheld, or mounted on either the forearms or shoulders, and then take a look at these things – Beam Saber XL.”

He pointed and opened up his palm, and the schematics of the Beam Saber XL appeared in a holo-window. The hilt was actually structured more like a tonfa, with a small handle jutting out from a battery unit around the same length and thickness as the Gundam’s forearm. The schematics showed that the blade generated would be twice the output, and 2.5 to 3 times the length, of a regular saber.

“And that’s when they’re separate.” Shane added. “Connect them together, and you get a blade that looks like it could go toe-to-toe with most mobile armors, no problem.”

“So I take it you’re pleased with it, then, Yamada?” McDermott asked

“You could say that.” Shane replied. “What are you getting, sir?”

“GD02-Gamma Wildfire Gundam. This one’s pretty impressive, too.” McDermott said. “They’re replacing the Gatling from the Flame Gundam with paired rapid-fire railguns – they’re lighter, and pack one hell of a punch. There’s an expanded thruster suite that helps with the speed and balance, and they’ve managed to fit more missile packs on, too.”

“So, what are they gonna do with Athene’s Gundam?” Shane asked. “Well, what’s left of it, anyway.”

“We were just about to get to that.” The hangar’s head technician said. “Our orders are to remove the AI core and send it back to Castella Industries. The body is gonna be disassembled, and probably used as spare parts for you guys. We’d better get started on – huh?”

The tech had taken out his Communit as he was speaking, and for a few seconds stared quizzically at the screen. He then activated the Communit’s call function.

“Sir, I’ve just received some orders concerning the Gale, they’re not what I was originally told. Could you check and confirm… are you sure of that, sir? … Why would- uh, yes, roger that, sir!”

He turned back to them, confused.

“Change of orders. The AI core is to remain as part of the Gale Gundam, which will be repaired and included as part of the Gallipolli’s MS forces. At present, no pilot has been assigned. Well, why that’s happening is beyond me, but what the brass says goes, I guess.”

*****

Athene – Spearhead

After our conversation with Gabriella Wang, Ares had suggested we spar with each other, a proposal I enthusiastically accepted. We changed into training gear (black singlets, combat pants and boots) and headed to the exercise area, where we took guard, circling each other just out of range of a lunging strike. I enjoyed the tension I felt in my body, and it had been so long now since I’d had a decent sparring match against anyone – him, Pallas, any of my other siblings. I was sure Ares felt the same anticipation. Before we could let loose, though, I needed to ask him something.

“Ares, how long ago did Gabriella Wang introduce herself to you?”

“The day after you and Pallas left. Why?”

“What did she say to you?”

“She told me that they’d been monitoring my progress, and I was the best suited to be part of Forge’s vision of the future. Of course, you and Pallas were strong candidates as well.” A slight smile appeared on Ares’ face – he was evidently pleased to be told that.

“This whole future she told you about, with her new breed of humanity ruling over the old.” I said, sceptically. “Is that really something we should be trying for?”

“Athene, the way I remember you, you’d never ask such a thing.” Ares sounded genuinely shocked.

“That was before I left.” I replied. “My time on active duty… I’ve learned things, I’ve evolved as a person.”

“There was no need for you to do that.” Ares replied. “You were a perfect soldier before you left. That’s all you ever need to be. I’m happy with you being that way.”

“I value what I learned out there.” I said, my voice hardening.

“There’s nothing of value to be learned from ordinary humans.” Ares replied. “Gabriella taught me – throughout history, humans have always hated people who were different from them. They lack the capacity to recognise our value, and will always seek to possess us, to make us fight and die on their behalf, like they did to Pallas. Above all else, that is the reason why we must become their masters: Because if we do not, they will make us their slaves.”

With lightning speed, he stepped forward with his left foot, his left fist shooting toward the point of my chin.

*****

Moresby Base – Hangar 3A

Unnoticed by any of the technicians that swarmed over the Gale Gundam’s body, a stream of invisible electronic pulses formed a message within the AI core.

< Metis, are you there? >

Affirmative. Still at Moresby Base, Hangar 3A.

< I’ve used my contacts to help make sure you remain on board the Gallipoli. I promise I’ll do all in my power to help make sure you reunite with Athene. >

Thank you, Miss Victoria. I appreciate your efforts on our behalf.

< No need to thank me. This is for all our sakes, after all.>


With the tech team none the wiser, the transmission ended.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:23 am

Some rambling notes/editorialising:
SpoilerShow
I've said before that the single biggest thing that motivated me to write this story was how Soma Peiris was handled in 00. Well, if Athene is Soma, Ares is Allelujah. He's also one of the main reasons why this story is not a 00 fanfic.

If you've ever had a passion for a fictional universe, it's likely that there's at least one character you've had a burning hatred of. Common targets in Gundam are Kira Yamato, Lacus Clyne, and Nina Purpleton. For me, it's Allelujah. Despite that, writing a "character assassination" fic (either literally killing them, or making them into what TV Tropes calls "Ron the Death Eater") strikes me as immature and petty. Ares is based on Allelujah, with certain negative character traits (at least in my interpretation of his character) accentuated, which you've seen hints of in this chapter, but he is NOT the same person.

Unlike a lot of people, I personally still like Kira Yamato even after everything that happened in Destiny, dislike seeing authors bash him in fic, and have no desire to inflict that sort of thing on someone else simply because I personally dislike a character. I appreciate the approach used by SF Debris in his "Unity Saga" story: Despite his personal hatred for the cast of Star Trek Voyager, he made an effort to show them at their best.

Anyway, thank you for reading, and all comments are appreciated!
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:39 am

I kind of feel bad for asking, but would anyone else care to share their thoughts on the two most recent chapters (or any others, for that matter)? I feel kind of lonely here.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Amion » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:41 pm

Just read chapter 11. I really enjoyed it. It was a bit short, but the characters are quite catching to a reader. going to read chapter 12 soon. Keep up the good work.

I'm also eager to see what Medus had planned to help Athene. Backup her memories or something to assist in her regaining a personality? I can't really think of anything better than what Athene came up with.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Amion » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:39 pm

Another excellent chapter, the part at the end appears to be answering some of my earlier questions.

And feel proud of your work, Noir. I thought the writing was very well done. As a matter of fact, I think it is personally more enjoyable than my writing even at its best. I eagerly await chapter 13.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:25 pm

I will be starting on the next chapter soon. I've had some distractions recently, with the Christmas season, and my brother and his wife moving in temporarily before they move interstate.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:35 pm

Vent Noir wrote:Teaser image, drawn by 2NAFish.

Athene is on the left, the character on the right has only appeared briefly so far, but will have a larger role in upcoming chapters. The Gundam and fighter have not appeared in the fic yet...
Keep up the good work man. This Gundam is mighty unto awesomeness.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:25 am

Arbiter GUNDAM wrote:
Vent Noir wrote:Teaser image, drawn by 2NAFish.

Athene is on the left, the character on the right has only appeared briefly so far, but will have a larger role in upcoming chapters. The Gundam and fighter have not appeared in the fic yet...
Keep up the good work man. This Gundam is mighty unto awesomeness.
Thanks! I'm currently working on the next chapter. Sorry for being so slow.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 10, 31 May)

Post by Amion » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:52 pm

Vent Noir wrote:
Arbiter GUNDAM wrote:
Vent Noir wrote:Teaser image, drawn by 2NAFish.

Athene is on the left, the character on the right has only appeared briefly so far, but will have a larger role in upcoming chapters. The Gundam and fighter have not appeared in the fic yet...
Keep up the good work man. This Gundam is mighty unto awesomeness.
Thanks! I'm currently working on the next chapter. Sorry for being so slow.
Great, I was wondering when it will be ready. My book is coming slow too, so I understand now exactly how you feel when the creative energy doesn't flow... :mrgreen:
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