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

Your own tale of two mecha.

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:23 am

New chapter in spoiler space.
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Athene

As a supersoldier, I felt a thrill in any kind of combat, but the one I found the most exhilarating was the most basic – and the most complex at the same time. As I sparred with Ares, we were not in mobile suits, or any other kind of vehicle. We used no guns, nor blades, nor blunt objects, and we wore nothing to protect ourselves. And both of us knew we needed none of those things. We knew hundreds of kinds of punches, kicks, grapples and throws, from dozens of fighting styles, and the ways to counter any of them should an opponent attempt them against us. Hand-to-hand combat was the ultimate proof of what we were.

“Being a supersoldier means that, in your entire life, you will only ever use one weapon.” I remembered the instructor telling us. “And that weapon is YOURSELF. Ordinary humans think of a combat knife, or a rifle, or a mobile suit, as a weapon. That is not true for you. For you, those things are simply tools.”

The exhilaration of bare-knuckle sparring with Ares made it easy for me to forget about my argument with him beforehand. I became absorbed in the moves, the counter-moves, and counters to those counters. I would throw a punch, he would block it and grab my arm, I would reverse the hold and throw him to the floor, he would roll through and sweep his leg out to try and take be to the ground, and so forth. The experience was immensely satisfying, especially considering I never got to have a decent hand-to-hand session during my time on the Gallipolli – I always wiped the floor with McDermott and Yamada, even when they double-teamed me, and our HTH sessions ended up mostly being me teaching them. Against Ares, I could freely throw strikes that would be potential killing blows against either of them. I even felt a thrill when he landed a solid blow on me – the excitement of having an opponent that could compete with me. In fact, overall he seemed to get the better of me, landing more blows than I did.

We must have sparred nonstop for close to sixty minutes before we decided to take a break. Ares looked at me, smiling.

“You enjoyed that as much as I remember, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, I’d say so.”

“Good… that means the Athene I know is still in you. And now, I have something to show you.”

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM

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

Chapter 13: Fleeting and Everlasting Sorrow

*****

After our sparring session, Ares headed to the simulation cockpits in the next room, and booted one of them up.

“Touch your palm to the control panel, and use your voice print to identify yourself.” He instructed, and I did so. “Athene, you can think of this as your reward for your service thus far. Open the file named ‘Storm Cell’.”

I opened the file, and saw a graphic of a machine, jet-black apart from a few jagged silver lones. It was the shape of an arrowhead, accented along the edges with vernier rockets. Wings could be deployed for use in an atmosphere, or folded flat against the surface to present a smaller profile in space. Heavy beam cannons sat on every surface, allowing a full arc of fire. According to the spec readout, the mobile armour was fifty metres long and thirty wide.

“It looks like a magnificent machine.” I said, and I meant it. The Storm Cell had too much firepower and armour for any mobile suit to handle, yet could easily outmanuver and bring down a capital ship.

“I remember back during training, you always told me how you dreamed of piloting a mobile armour.” Ares said. “And you also dreamed of fighting alongside me. Now, both of those dreams can come true.”

Such power in my hands. And with my skills as the pilot, it was difficult to conceive of anything other than another supersoldier with a similarly powerful machine defeating it. Together with Ares and the rest of my siblings, I would be unstoppable.

So, what if I needed to be stopped?

“There’s more.” Ares said. He touched the lower front section on the Storm Cell, and a panel opened up, revealing cylinder-shaped devices that danced around the MA in complex patterns, their surfaces glowing with green energy.

“MUBs, Multi-Use Bits.” Ares told me. “They can be commanded mentally, and used as shields, blades, or ranged weapons. And one more thing…” He tapped an icon on the screen, and the picture went to a wire-frame view, rendering the Mobile Armor’s internals visible, and I saw, within the Storm Cell’s protective shell, the outline of a mobile suit – one reminiscent of the Gundam I had piloted, but sleeker, more angular.

Of course, it seemed unlikely that I would receive all this while Ares’ abilities went unutilised.

“You’re getting a Mobile Armor, too, right?” I asked him “What’s yours like.”

“Mine is called the Draco. I’ll show you when the time comes.” He replied. “It and the Storm Cell should be delivered soon. While you’re waiting, the Storm Cell’s data’s loaded in the simulator, so you can familiarise yourself with it. That way, you’ll be able to bring out its full potential when you take it into combat.”

*****

Gallipolli

“Bridge, this is McDermott, we’re returning from our patrol and coming in for landing now.”

“Copy that, Lieutenant, you are cleared for landing.”

As the Wildfire and Thunder Gundams made their landing, Shane Yamada sighed and turned to his commander.

“So, this would be the ‘boredom’ part of ‘boredom punctuated by moments of terror’ that people say war is.” Shane Yamada commented.

“Pretty much, Yamada.” McDermott told him. “But we still have to stay alert in case those moments of terror come.”

“Yeah, I almost miss those. We get these shiny upgraded Gundams, and now it’s all quiet on the Earth Orbit front.”

“By now, Shane, I would hope you’ve seen enough to appreciate the quiet when it does come.”

“The problem is, sir, that this holding pattern both sides seem to be in doesn’t make it seem like the war’s ending.” Shane said. “I can’t see this war just… fizzling out like that. It’s like things are building up for something really big to happen, some kind of game-changer.”

McDermott slapped him on the shoulder. “Well, I’ve seen that you’ve got good instincts, and since I don’t have anything better to go on for the moment, I’m going to trust you on that one.”

“In that case, sir, care for double-or-nothing?” Shane said as he reached the door to his quarters.

“What did you have in mind?”

The door slid open, and Shane’s gaze lingered on the bunk opposite his, which had been empty for over a week now, spick and span with no indication left that it had ever been occupied.

“Whatever’s about to happen, I bet I know who’s gonna be smack-bang in the middle of the thing.”

*****

Spearhead

Ares approached me as we stepped out of the simulator pods.

“Athene, what was up with the way you were fighting?”

“The point of simulator sessions is to familiarise ourselves with our machines, and use them to their full potential, is it not? Since I am now thoroughly familiar with how the Storm Cell operates, I was simply experimenting with a different way it could be used.”

“By which you mean you were deliberately avoiding killing blows on your opponents.” He accused.

“Yes. I was practicing landing shutdown hits.” Much as there were ways of knocking a person unconscious without killing them, hitting a mobile suit in the right location could render it inoperative without blowing it up or killing the pilot. It required great precision, and more than a little knowledge of mobile suit anatomy, and so even for a supersoldier like myself, it was something to be done lightly. But then, I had learned, neither was killing.

“You are giving such things far too much priority.” Ares said. “We are unlikely to be required to take the enemy alive or capture one of their MS intact often.”

“Think of it as me challenging myself.” I said. In the Gale Gundam, I had found it easy to kill most enemies. The Storm Cell would make it child’s play. The only thing capable of controlling the devastation it could unleash would be myself.

“Athene, what is wrong with you?” Ares snapped at me in frustration. “You’ve been letting the humans you served with mess around with your head! The Athene I remember wouldn’t have concerned herself with the enemy’s fate!”

“Have you ever thought that I might not be the Athene you remember any more?” I retorted.

“We’re supersoldiers! There’s no need for you to be anything else!” With that, he stormed out.

*****
Gallipolli

“Shane, shouldn’t you be eating that hamburger, rather than just mutilating it with your fork?” Khadija asked. Portions of even meat substitute like the patty in front of Shane were small on board, and given the dangers Shane faced as a test pilot, she saw no point in allowing him to add to the risk by being undernourished.

“Yes, mum.” Shane said, listlessly, and shovelled a forkful into his mouth.

“Well, if you’re not going to take care of yourself, then maybe I do need to act like your mother.” Khadija replied, then her expression softened, and she pulled her chair closer to his. “It’s awful, isn’t it? Not knowing what’s happening to someone you care about.”

“Yeah, but what I don’t get is… it’s been over a week since she left. Why am I suddenly feeling it now?”

“Sometimes, these things take a while to hit us. It’s not until after the fact that we realise we miss something, or some place, or someone. Even if you love that person, Shane.”

Shane almost spat out the hamburger he had been eating. “Love? Hang on, that’s not…”

Khadija gave him a look.

“Okay, maybe I sort of do like her. But it’s not like we were ever going to be in a relationship or anything! You know as well as I do that she’s completely asexual!”

“So? Regardless of what all the teen drama vids say, love doesn’t have to be about sex! I may not agree with everything the conservative Imams say, but I think there are good reasons not to have sex until marriage. You should get to know someone, and make sure you really do love them, before you get into that stuff! If you have love, you can enjoy that kind of intimacy, but it’s not something that’s necessary for there to be love between you.”

“Okay, okay, you don’t need to get on your soapbox about it.” Shane said. “But you have a point. If we ever get a chance to be together again.”

*****
Spearhead

I’d barely had time to compose myself after my argument with Ares when there was a flurry of activity around the base. I asked one of the technicians what was going on, and she told me that another transport vessel was docking, before rushing off elsewhere – I suspected as much to get away from me as to perform her duties. Out of curiosity, I headed to the hangar area, and saw the shuttle dock with an ease that would take a great amount of skill on the part of the pilot of such a large vessel. After a few minutes for the post-flight check, the cockpit door opened, and the pilot disembarked, pushing off from the doorframe to zero-g float straight in my direction.

The pilot could almost be described as a version of myself, only four years younger – shaven-headed, muscular despite her smaller frame, and serious. The only differences were my dark skin and her facial features, which were a more pronounced version of Shane’s. During my time on the Gallipolli, I had heard such features described as “Asian”, although I did not know precisely how they related to that Earth land mass – after all, Khadija also traced her ancestry back to that continent, and her facial features were quite different. That didn’t matter, though – her face had lit up as soon as she recognised me, and mine lit up in response. She caught the handrail, stood at attention and saluted.

“Ensign 2nd Class Hippolyta Silver reporting to Spearhead, Ath- uh, you’re an officer now, so I should call you Sir, right, Sir?”

“At ease, ensign.” I told her, and then smiled and embraced her. “It’s good to see you.”

“I missed you too, Sir. But I remembered all the things you taught me! That’s how I became the top-ranked silver generation supersoldier, and was given this assignment!”

“And what’s the assignment that you were honoured with?” I asked.

“Transporting your mobile armor to Spearhead. I was even told that I might get to fight by your side.”

“And who told you that?” No doubt Hippolyta was very skilled, but we Golds had four years of training on her. Surely if another supersoldier was needed, the logical choice would have been one of my generation.

“That would be me.” While I was speaking to Hippolyta, a passenger on the shuttle had disembarked. She bore an uncanny resemblance to the woman I had spoken to a while ago via the viewscreen, Gabriella Wang, save for the fact that she only appeared to be about my age. And the fact that her posture and expression were, if possible, even more self-confident. “Head to the briefing room. I’ll speak with you and Ares there.”

*****

The young woman strode to the head of the table, and gestured for Ares and myself to take the seats nearest to her, with Hippolyta sitting beside me. She waited for a while, letting the tension build, before she spoke.

“First things first, introductions. I know who you are, but you do not yet know who I am. I am Gabriella Wang, junior. I am authorised to act on behalf of my mother whenever she is not herself present. And I am living proof of her, and her organisations’, commitment to spurring humanity’s evolution. As for how I am to be addressed, I believe ‘elder sister’ would be appropriate.” I felt somewhat uncomfortable using the term for her, but she was technically my superior, thus I should obey.

Seeing our curiosity piqued, she continued. “Forge has developed more than one type of Upgraded Human to bring forth the future. There are the Soldier types, such as yourselves, whose enhancements are mostly physical, the fists that enforce Forge’s will. There are the Leader types, the ones with mental enhancements, who will govern, as well as overseeing the development of new technologies. Athene, I believe that you have met one of them, Miss Victoria Castella. And then, there is me.”

“I was created based on the genetic stock of Gabriella Wang, and as her daughter, I represent, to use an old expression, the best of both worlds. I am enhanced both physically and mentally, combining the strengths of the Soldier and Leader types. In summary, I am the pinnacle of our new humanity.” As she spoke, her expression became even smugger, convinced that she was superior even to other Upgraded Humans.

“It is inevitable that most humans shall not understand the benefits that Forge will bring.” She continued. “Rather, they will cling desperately to obsolete ideologies, and we will be forced to drag them into this new world. Even our allies among the Commonwealth and Lunapact take part hoping for power and position, rather than in the name of the evolution that we, the chosen few, understand.”

I wasn’t sure I did understand all these grandiose statements about human evolution and such, but I did feel that I understood something about Gabriella Wang, Jr, from her speech.

“Elder sister, you criticise our allies for acting out of a desire for power and position, but is that not what you and the other leaders of Forge will receive if this new world of yours comes to fruition?” Hearing this, Hippolyta whispered my name in a shocked tone of voice, while Ares looked at me disapprovingly. Gabriella, junior, also glared at me, although she kept her voice level.

“It is true that we shall receive such things. However, we act not out of the desire for power for its own sake, but because, in order to forge our future, we are the ones best qualified to take those positions. Ordinary humans will never understand that. Upgraded Humans were originally conceived as mere servants, intended to work and fight for them. If they remain in power, that is all you will ever be, Athene Gold – they will continue to fight each other in petty wars, and you and your siblings will be fated to be their tools. Only a few, like my mother, saw your potential to bring forth humanity’s future.”

I remained unconvinced, and I think she could tell, because she sighed in disappointment.

“Athene, please try and understand that this is what is best for you and all your siblings. Ares, may I speak with you in private?”

*****

“I’m sure you’ve noticed the… difficulties Athene has been having since she returned to you.” Gabriella said, pointedly.

“She’s not like I remember her.” Ares replied. “She changed, during the time she was away from me.”

“Yes. Unfortunately, her experiences serving in the Commonwealth forces have done that to her. They have caused her to develop in undesirable ways, and they also show signs of affecting her commitment – not only to Forge, but to her siblings, and to you.”

“Athene would never betray us!” Ares protested.

“That was Athene as you knew her. I’ve been monitoring her, and as you said, she’s changed now. Fortunately, she can be reprogrammed. The errors that have accumulated can be corrected.”

Ares looked sceptical.

“I don’t know if that’s…”

“Trust me, it’s what’s best for all concerned. I can be sure of her commitment to Forge, she can fight without being burdened, and you… you can have Athene back the way she was. The one you remember, and admire for her skill and loyalty. The one that’s the way a supersoldier should be.”

*****

I found it odd that I should receive instructions to report to for a medical examination at such a time, but I followed the order, reporting to the infirmary. I found Ares waiting inside, too, and one of the boxlike full-scan chambers opened in the wall, like a whitewashed plastic coffin. The door slid closed behind me, and the lock light turned red.

“Athene, you’re scheduled to go first.” Ares told me, and I took a step towards the chamber, before I remembered something. I had been in a chamber like this once before, just before I was transferred to the Gallipolli. That was where I was…

“No.” I told him.

“Athene, this is what’s best for you.” Ares told me, sounding so sure that he was right.

“Ares, I don’t want to be brainwashed.”

“You don’t really think that. Not the real you.” He assured me. “I’m sorry, but this is for your own good.” With that, he moved to grab my arm, trying to force me towards the open chamber.

Shamefully, I was not prepared for him to do such a thing. After grabbing my arm, he followed up with a knee to my stomach, knocking the wind out of me. I attempted to fight back, and managed to hold him off for several minutes, but against an opponent of Ares’ caliber being unprepared for his initial strike meant that I was at a disadvantage, and I never really managed to turn the tables. Eventually, bruised and dazed, he grabbed me in a half-nelson chickenwing and forced me into the chamber.

“I’m sorry I had to do this.” I heard him say, and then the door of the chamber closed, and I heard a hiss and felt an oddly-warm breeze. In a few seconds, the gas entered my lungs, and everything faded to black.

*****

I awoke to see Ares and Hippolyta standing over me, smiling warmly.

“Did you sleep well, Athene?” Ares asked.

“Yes, very well. What happened?”

“Elder Sister said you were sick, but you’re fixed now.” Hippolyta said.

Elder Sister… that would mean Gabriella Wang, junior. One of the leaders of Forge, and proof of her mother’s commitment to the future that upgraded humans like ourselves would bring.

“Well, you’re rested enough for now.” Ares said. “We’ve got work to do. It’s good to have you back.”

I agreed – I was back where I belonged, and I felt good. Forge was about to begin their operations in earnest, and I, supersoldier Athene Gold, would serve with pride.

END OF CHAPTER 14

Next Time: INSTRUMENTS OF DESTRUCTION
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 12, 8 Nov)

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:27 am

Just a quick author's note for this chapter:
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Well, given that Athene's essentially an artificial Newtype, getting brainwashed and stuck in a monster mobile armor pretty much comes with the territory, doesn't it?
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Whaaaat?
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Monster Mobile armor! Ack, deathflags abound! :shock:
I'm really looking forward to reading, after I finish editing some of my own for Savior's Destination.

I really wish I hadn't decided to draw original mecha art for my fanfic, but guess it's a necessity. Speaking of which, do you have any drawings of the mecha for Storm? I'd love to see some artwork. :)
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:49 pm

Well, I can't draw to save my life, but there's this one by 2NAFish I posted earlier.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:30 pm

I'm a bit iffy on the character designs, but the mecha design looks awesome.

Just finished reading the chapter, it was very good, and ended on an ominous note. I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I also really appreciated Khadija's talk with Shane. About time someone writing fanfiction sat the record straight.

The only question now is what exactly Forge is up to and how will Athene and Ares be utilized.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:53 am

Amion wrote:I'm a bit iffy on the character designs, but the mecha design looks awesome.

Just finished reading the chapter, it was very good, and ended on an ominous note. I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I also really appreciated Khadija's talk with Shane. About time someone writing fanfiction sat the record straight.

The only question now is what exactly Forge is up to and how will Athene and Ares be utilized.
Well, I try not to use characters as a mouthpiece for my own opinions, but it seemed character-appropriate for Khadija (and I do believe in her general point about sex not being a prerequisite for love).
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:45 pm

Vent Noir wrote:
Amion wrote:I'm a bit iffy on the character designs, but the mecha design looks awesome.

Just finished reading the chapter, it was very good, and ended on an ominous note. I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I also really appreciated Khadija's talk with Shane. About time someone writing fanfiction sat the record straight.

The only question now is what exactly Forge is up to and how will Athene and Ares be utilized.
Well, I try not to use characters as a mouthpiece for my own opinions, but it seemed character-appropriate for Khadija (and I do believe in her general point about sex not being a prerequisite for love).
I totally agree. I don't use them as mouthpieces either, at least most of the time. And I agree with Khadija's point too, which is good news for Shane I guess.

I will nitpick that Athene should have been slightly more wary of her brother, she mentions she was ashamed for not being prepared, but I think you had it set up that she was expecting a brainwashing the moment she stepped onto Spearhead, so having her oblivious when she went for the 'medical exam' or somesuch, it felt a bit off after all she said in earlier chapters.

But, hey, gotta get that supersoldier in that mobile armor somehow. :twisted:
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:32 pm

Amion wrote: I totally agree. I don't use them as mouthpieces either, at least most of the time. And I agree with Khadija's point too, which is good news for Shane I guess.

I will nitpick that Athene should have been slightly more wary of her brother, she mentions she was ashamed for not being prepared, but I think you had it set up that she was expecting a brainwashing the moment she stepped onto Spearhead, so having her oblivious when she went for the 'medical exam' or somesuch, it felt a bit off after all she said in earlier chapters.

But, hey, gotta get that supersoldier in that mobile armor somehow. :twisted:
Yeah, I wasn't completely happy with that part myself, either. Despite their current disagreements, though, Athene trusted Ares, and didn't think he'd assault her in the way he did.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:48 am

Amion wrote:I'm a bit iffy on the character designs, but the mecha design looks awesome.
Well, if you don't like that version, I posted this one earlier too, but here's a different artist's take on Athene

As an aside, Saint Seiya Omega's new season will feature Pallas. (I don't know how many people reading this care about Saint Seiya)
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:08 am

Oh, I've been watching Omega up to a point, though it still doesn't compare to lost canvas for me....

And I think I like the first designs better for Athene, the colored pick makes her look somewhat shy, not the competent super soldier.

And new powers? My goodness, I'm surprised, considering most bronze saints only have one primary move.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:21 am

Going off on another tangent, but since it sort of relates to some of the themes in this story, take a look at SF Debris' review of Gattaca. He discusses the issues with genetic engineering far more intelligently than I ever could.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:07 am

Oh my, so much information, brain overload immanent!
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Arbiter GUNDAM » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:46 pm

You're doing a lot of good work here Vent Noir, keep it up!! :)
I can fly if I ride the wind! Gori gori!

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:43 pm

Arbiter GUNDAM wrote:You're doing a lot of good work here Vent Noir, keep it up!! :)
Thanks. I haven't managed to write much recently, mostly due to lack of time, but also having trouble with turning my plot outline into a story. I will endeavour to continue this, though.
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Amion » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:11 pm

Please do. :D
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:08 am

Finally managed to get a decent chunk of writing on the next chapter of Gundam Storm done today, and should hopefully have it out before too long (which is a relief).

In the meantime, here's the song I used for the chapter's title
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 13, 11 Feb)

Post by Vent Noir » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:03 am

New chapter in spoiler space. I'm not totally satisfied with it, but at least it's done.
SpoilerShow
Victoria Castella sat opposite her father, at the end of the boardroom’s antique mahogany table, trying to figure out whether the atmosphere she tasted in the filtered air was anticipation or foreboding. Gabriella Wang, or at least a virtual representation thereof, sat alongside her father, showing off her usual relaxed confidence, while beside her was a similar virtual representation of the Stella Verde owner’s “daughter”, currently overseeing things at Spearhead, seated like an empress on her throne, casting her gaze over the inferiors gathered before her. And along the table’s sides sat similar virtual representations of men and women in suits and military uniforms – both those of the Commonwealth and of Lunapact. She knew that, as a security precaution, the figures there would not be able to see each other’s faces or hear their real voices, knowing only the identities of the others within their own faction.

Her father stood to address the assembled conspirators.

“Ladies and gentlemen, our preparations are complete, and the pieces are in place. It is time to commence Operation Catalyst.”

“I was under the impression that the operation would not commence until the Supersoldier unit was fully assembled.” A woman in the charcoal grey uniform of the Lunapact navy said.

“That was the original plan.” Gabriella Wang, Jr, replied. “However, as you mentioned in your own reports, the current lull in hostilities provides us an opportunity to catch the Lunapact leadership unprepared for an attack. As for the supersoldiers, those we have, and the mobile armors they pilot, will prove sufficient for a blitzkrieg attack of this nature.”

“Once the major government and military facilities have been seized, the Forge members within Lunapact will release the evidence we have prepared showing the treasonous activities of the former leadership.”

Keeping her expression level, Victoria contemplated her options. She contemplated the possibility of alerting the Lunapact government to Forge’s plans, but at this stage, the identities of most of the conspirators were still a mystery to her, and even if her message did reach the right people, there was no guarantee that they would listen to her – after all, the idea of a conspiracy as far-reaching as Forge was going to be difficult to believe. And alerting them would risk, in turn, alerting Forge to the fact that there was a mole in their ranks, which would jeopardize her chances of accomplishing her main aim. No, she could not afford to tip her hand yet. And innocent people were going to die because of it.

So, just like Athene, and Ares, and Pallas, I will have taken lives, she thought to herself. There were two key differences, though. She was causing death passively, doing nothing and thus allowing evil to triumph – even if, as she hoped, that triumph was temporary. And even more importantly, unlike the supersoldiers, she had not been trained and conditioned to take lives without question, she knew what she was doing. She was consciously allowing the deaths to happen.

She could already see the blood on her hands. And she knew that, like Lady MacBeth, she would never be rid of the stains.

*****
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM STORM

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

Chapter 14: Instruments of Destruction
*****


Athene, Spearhead Base

I awoke feeling refreshed, as if I had been carrying heavy weights the previous day and been exhausted at lights out, but made a full recovery overnight, and was ready to face the challenges the day held with renewed enthusiasm – and I knew that there was a challenge I faced, and that I could overcome it, as a supersoldier of Forge should. I would fulfil my purpose, and make those who created me proud.

Sitting up and looking around, I saw Ares and Hippolyta seated on the bunk opposite me, both wearing form-fitting black bodysuits which covered them entirely except for the face, with the only marking being the Forge logo, a gold hammer and anvil, on the left shoulder. Ares smiled happily, and Hippolyta ran over to hug me.

“Athene, are you better now?” Hippolyta asked.

“I feel very good.” I told her, “Although I don’t recall being injured.”

“Forge needed to make some adjustments to you after the trial period.” Ares said. “But now, you should be better than ever.”

“Wil Pallas-“ I started, and then remembered: Pallas had died honourably in battle during her trials, proving herself a loyal soldier of Forge along the way. There was no reason to mourn, I could only hope that I carried out my own duties to Forge in a manner as exemplary as she had. Still, it wouldn’t be the same without her… but I brushed that thought aside – what was important now was the task I had been assigned.

“Also, Athene, while you were sleeping, our equipment was delivered.” Ares said. He tossed me a bodysuit identical to the ones he and Hippolyta wore. “Put this on, and I’ll show you.”

As I pulled it on, he opened the door of the cabin, and began to talk.

“This is the inner layer of our Armored Suits. They’re essentially the same as a Normal Suit, except that, as the name implies, they offer better protection. The inner layer is a nano-fibre weave that is proof against most handguns, while the outer layer,” he indicated three metal boxes placed just outside our cabin, “Is made of high-density polymers that require a close-range shot with a high-powered rifle to penetrate. Forge is aware that we supersoldiers may be required to fight on foot as well as in Mobile Vehicles, and the Armored Suits are designed for that purpose. For the same reason, our cockpits contain a weapons locker located underneath the control console, stocked with a variety of personal weapons and ammunition.”

“Sounds amazing. I’m almost hoping I do get to fight on foot.” I said, hoping I maintained enough discipline not to sound overly enthusiastic.

“We have time to do some virtual exercises together after this.” He answered, sharing my eagerness. “But first, let’s take a look at our mobile armors.”

What support staff there were – not many, as a combination of both the need for secrecy and Forge’s efficiency in automation – saluted us as we headed toward the hangar. As the door opened, Hippolyta could no longer contain her excitement, grabbing my arm and pulling me toward a sleek fighter sitting next to my Mobile Armor. The fighter, colored navy blue with white highlights, was much smaller than my Storm Cell, only around as long as an average Mobile Suit was tall, and the only unusual feature was the six small, dome-shaped structures, each about one metre in diameter, one on each wing and four on the fuselage.

“This is the SCC-01 Stormrider!” She said proudly. “I’m going to fight alongside you in it. It’s got two multi-launching rocket packs, quad-firing, independently targeting particle cannons, and best of all, it can act as a secondary control unit for the Storm Cell’s MUBs! That’ll give them greater operating range, and allow them to recharge from my unit.”

“So if there are two control units, how is who controls a particular MUB determined?”

“The Storm Cell always has priority. But, for instance, if you want to use some of the MUBs to deal with one target, and allow me to take care of others somewhere else, we can do that.”

“That’s something that will be good tactically, assuming the pilots cooperate well.” I observed.

“Which is why we were assigned as the units’ pilots.” Hippolyta said. That made sense – even if Ares or Pallas tended to score higher than me individually (only slightly, though), I held top ranking in teamwork situations. And Forge had no doubt made note of my mentoring the younger supersoldiers, and that Hippolyta in particular looked up to me. I only held one doubt – Hippolyta clearly felt she was ready for real combat, but was she truly? I knew Forge had made their decision, and neither required nor cared for my opinion, but the prospect of a younger sibling going into battle unsettled me – regardless of Hippolyta’s own enthusiasm.

*****

“Incoming bandit! All mobile suits, scramble, priority one!” As the alarm sounded, Shane Yamada pulled on his normal suit, rushed to the cockpit and launched, all the while having a terrible weight sitting leaden in the back of his mind: Something is very wrong.

As he launched into space, the first thing he noticed was the trail of explosions – the enemy was closing on the ship, swiftly taking out anything that got in its way. For some reason, its form was indistinct, just a shadowy blur in the blackness of space. But he knew who it was.

“Athene, it’s you in there, isn’t it? Can you hear me?”

The only response was the shadow moving closer, and another unfortunate friendly MS that happened to be in its path exploding from a beam rifle shot to its powerplant.

“Athene, it’s me, Shane! You’re stronger than this! Don’t let them control you!”

“Shane, it’s no good!” McDermott warned. “We’re going to have to take her d-AAARRRGHH!!!” Athene had moved in and skewered his cockpit with a beam saber faster than he cound react. As the transmission went dead, she turned her attention to the Gallipolli, strafing the ship with a missile barrage that quickly and mercilessly ended the lives of Captain Monash, Khadija, and everyone else he had known on board.

“Athene, I’m so sorry. But I’m going to have to take you down.”

Or so he said, but even as he spoke, he knew it was a hopeless task. Both Athene and the MS she piloted were superior in every aspect: More manuverable, better weapons, faster reflexes, and a killer instinct she had honed her entire life. In only a few seconds, Shane was forced into a desperate effort at defence. Another few seconds, and that desperate defence was broken through, Shane saw his Gundam exploding around him, Athene was ready to move on to her next target, and he knew that no-one could stop her.

He woke up drenched in sweat, and sat, staring at the empty bunk that had been Athene’s.

*****

Athene

“Convoy Juliet Four-One-Three, you are cleared for approach to Collins Base.” I heard the operator say over the radio. Collins Base served as Lunapact’s primary operations centre, and using our contacts inside Lunapact, we were to approach the base as a transport convoy bringing new prototypes to demonstrate to their leaders.

I exhaled as I waited in my cockpit, listening to the conversation between the captain and the base staff while I awaited the signal.

“Roger that, Collins Base. Proceeding toward testing area.” The captain said.

I glanced at my readout, and pressed the button for the private channel to Hippolyta.

“Hippolyta, your heart rate and brainwave activity are too high. Try to relax.”

“Roger that, sir.” Hippolyta replied, and I heard her breathing deeply, trying to calm her nerves, strike the right balance between too tense and too relaxed. With self-discipline worthy of the supersoldier she was, she only took a few moments to correct herself.

Soon afterward, a message flashed up on my HUD: All targets confirmed present. Operation to proceed as planned.

“Collins Base, I hope you enjoy the show we’re about to give you.” The captain said.

*****

Lieutenant Michelle Chandra watched from the control tower as the hangar bay doors opened and Lunapact’s new prototypes launched. At first glance, they certainly looked impressive to her eyes – the intimidating navy blue mobile armor and its smaller companion fighter – but deciding if and how they would ultimately be used was far above the pay grade of a bridge bunny like her. That would be the job of the top brass seated in the comfy chairs at the back of the room, not at the consoles in the front.

Still, with them present, anything less than a stellar performance was unacceptable, and with that and a little luck, she might attract their notice in a positive way, maybe even earn a promotion, and with it more pay to send home to her brother and elderly parents. So, she observed the positioning of the new prototypes and the Regulus MS Drones that were their targets as diligently as she could. Simulations were generally considered more efficient - physical drones could not be programmed to replicate the precision of a human pilot – but physical tests would often reveal issues with a vehicle that VR could not.

She was the first to notice when the Storm Cell and Stormrider deviated from their flight patterns.

“Prototype units have turned away from the testing ground, and are headed toward the control tower. Attention, Storm Cell and Stormrider, you are leaving designated exercise area. Please return.”

After a few seconds, her stomach sank. “Sir, they’re not responding.”

“Red alert.”

Immediately, the mobile suits patrolling around the base responded, moving to intercept the units headed toward the control tower. Only a few had any hope of making it in time. The Storm Cell didn’t change its heading to engage with them. Instead, it launched a mass of cylinder-shaped devices that flew towards the MS that were moving to cut it off, catching most of them with the beams they fired. A couple of pilots managed to evade the initial attack, but the devices closed in on them, projecting a solid blade of energy, like a beam saber wielded by an invisible assailant. They circled around their opponents faster than the pilots could hope to block or dodge, cutting their MS to pieces.

The last thing Lieutenant Michelle Chandra ever saw was the glow of the Storm Cell’s main cannons as they took aim at the control tower.

*****

Athene

“This is Storm Cell. Target destroyed, repeat, target destroyed.” I reported.

“Roger that, Storm Cell. Evade or destroy any pursuers, and return to base.”

“Wilco.” Whatever units Collins base could scramble were now heading in our direction. “Stormrider, move to Vortex Formation. Control of MUBs sixteen through twenty authorised.”

“Roger, sir. I have control.” Hippolyta replied. The Stormrider moved into position to the bow of the Storm Cell, our MUBs settling into a spiral pattern around us, sixty percent in shield mode to cover us, interspersed with MUBs in gun or saber mode to destroy anything that got in our way. A cyclone of blue-green energy surrounded us, preventing any enemy fire from getting through, and responding with deadly accurate bolts that blasted through the enemy formation as if they were the paper soldiers I’d shot when I could first hold a gun.

“That makes five!” Hippolyta exclaimed as one of her MUBs eliminated an enemy MS to the Stormrider’s port side. “I’m officially an ace now, Athene… uh, I mean, sir!”

“Stay focused.” I replied. “And congratulations.” I added, proud of the way she was handling her first battle. No doubt greater achievements would follow for her, and the fact that a supersoldier as talented as her looked up to me was, I felt, the greatest honor I myself had achieved.

With the bulk of our opposition eliminated, we ascended, boosting to lunar escape velocity. Aside from our primary targets, the control tower we had blasted also contained Collins Base’s main tracking facilities, so it would be difficult for them to follow us once we were out of visual range. The moon’s comparatively short horizon made things even easier for us. Soon, Spearhead confirmed that we were no longer being tracked, and were cleared to return to base.

*****

Two Days Later
LunaNews

Following Tuesday’s shocking and cowardly Commonwealth sneak attack on the Collins naval base come even more shocking revelations, as senior members of the Luna and Allied Cabinet have been arrested on charges of colluding with the enemy. According to the Lunar Military Forces, seized documents reveal that those arrested were complicit in allowing the convoy through without proper security checks, selling out the nation’s independence in exchange for positions of power under the Commonwealth regime.

Due to the leadership crisis, Admiral Judith Nguyen has assumed the position of Acting Chair of Lunapact. A few moments ago, she made the following statement:

“In a time of crisis, it falls upon the military to provide leadership for this nation’s people. The shocking events of the past two days represent such a crisis. While we fully intend to restore civilian government once the current state of emergency has passed, for now we must focus on defeating the enemy and protecting Lunapact’s independence. Therefore…”


“Shut that off.” Paul Matthews said, not bothering to conceal his disgust.

“You seem to be in a good mood.” Nicole Perez said sarcastically as she entered the rec room.

“Why wouldn’t I be? This whole thing stinks to high heaven. If they were behind the attacks, wouldn’t the Commonwealth be crowing about their success? Sure, they’ve claimed credit, but they’re not parading it for all to see!”

“You’re right.” Perez replied. “But what concerns me more is who’s gotten herself into charge. Do you remember who had signed Pallas’ papers, when she first transferred here?”

“You’re right. And I don’t think any ordinary soldier could have caused as much damage to Collins, and then gotten away. We know there’s one other supersoldier still out there – who knows how many more there are?”

“You two should be careful.” Major Symonds’ voice came from behind them. “That kind of talk could be branded as sedition… if I were to report it.”

“As it stands, though,” Symonds said, his brow furrowing. “I happen to agree that this is a little too much of a coincidence. So, the question becomes: Do we fall into line, or explore other options.”

“When I signed up, sir,” Matthews said, “It was to defend the people of Luna, not to support some puppet of the Commonwealth, or whoever it is backstage.”

“I agree with Matthews, sir.” Perez said. “Plus, it didn’t seem to me that Pallas really understood what she was getting into, the way we did. That feels wrong to me, and I don’t want to see Nguyen rewarded for it.”

“So we’re agreed, then.” Symonds said. “We take a stand, try to correct what’s gone wrong with our country.” He clutched the cross around his neck. “And with what I fear we’re up against, we’re going to need all the help heaven can give us.”

END CHAPTER 14
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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Amion
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 14, 6 Mar 14)

Post by Amion » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:04 pm

Huzza! It's out. I thought this was a good chapter, so no worries on not doing it right. Now hopefully the next chapter will come soon. :)
They don't know the power of a balanced vision.

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Vent Noir
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 14, 6 Mar 14)

Post by Vent Noir » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:51 pm

Amion wrote:Huzza! It's out. I thought this was a good chapter, so no worries on not doing it right. Now hopefully the next chapter will come soon. :)
Thanks, glad you liked it.
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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Vent Noir
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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Storm (Ch. 14, 6 Mar 14)

Post by Vent Noir » Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:12 pm

New years resolution: get this thing finished!
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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