Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

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Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

Post by NewtypeS3 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:29 pm

Just something I've been toying around with in my spare time: a complete re-write of Gundam Seed to try and make things more awesome. Indirectly inspired by some fanfics, directly inspired by others. I've posted this in other locations, but finally remembered I had an MAHQ account and should see what people think here.

I still think I'm completely rusty at this "fanfiction" thing, so feel free to toss in pointers or any comments that come to mind!

If you want more than just this, and don't want to wait for me to post more, it can be found here:
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8807171/1/ ... ed-FREEDOM

EDIT
Well, there was a warning about swearing. I'd forgotten MAHQ had the auto censor making swearing into "Zoinks." This actually makes some lines more amusing.

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Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.
The Abandoned Battlefield


Phase 1: The Suspicious Colony

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It is the distant future, and it once seemed bright. Mankind has finally expanded out into space, living in colonies scattered around the Earth like so many fans at a particularly poorly received concert. Colonies were also established on the Moon, but the general lack of proper gravity left it mainly to amusement parks and assembly plants for horrible weapons of mass destruction that would obviously never be used except if war was somehow declared between some of the many governments that had cropped up across the large sprawl of Humanity.
Most of the less-reputable political publications have been taking bets on which governments that are most likely to get into a fight. Even numbers tend to place it on the Earth Alliance and PLANT.

The Earth Alliance really isn’t a government per se. Instead, it’s a collection of different governments scattered around the Earth, while the central government sits around their headquarters in Alaska and generally pretend to be in charge while doing nothing of importance at all. Business as usual for a multi-nation leadership on Earth, really.
PLANT, meanwhile, is often called a fancy Member’s Only club filled with hipsters and douchebags. While this seems a bit rude, perhaps, one only needs look at what the acronym PLANT happens to mean. Productive Location Ally on Nexus Technology. Not a single ZOINKS person outside the central government happens to know what exactly that means, and the central government isn’t talking either. Indeed, the few times the question was raised in an interview, the leader of PLANT simply adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses and said that the reporters “just didn’t get it, man, and [he] shouldn’t have to explain it.”

And honestly, the fact that the leadership is the stereotype that so many people claim isn’t the only reason tensions have been rising so harshly between PLANT and the Earth Alliance. Another rather smallish factor is that of genetic manipulation.

--------------------------

In a scene that looked like it was ripped directly out of a really, really bad romance anime, two youths can be seen standing amidst a proverbial ton of cherry blossom trees. And true to bad romance anime formula, it’s spring of some unidentified year in the past, and those cherry blossoms are in bloom, casting the entire grove in a shade of bright pink as a light breeze drifts through the trees, bouncing the loose flower petals so they slowly drift to the ground.
And deep within this grove, a boy and a girl are meeting for the last time before life tears them ap-

….

Ok, I’ve just received a brief correction from my copy editor. A pair of boys, who are best friends, are meeting for what seems like the last time. One of them, a boy with brown hair and purple eyes, was dressed in your average pseudo-Japanese school uniform. The other, the one I could have sworn was a girl, was dressed in what looks for all the world like a Girl Scout. But with pants. He even has that kicky little beret that the Girl Scouts have, this one a shade of green to match his uniform that didn’t do much to cover the deep black hair on his head. Indeed, the green of his outfit actually matched his eyes, making him look a little creepy.

“Athrun,” the brown-haired lad spoke up first as the cherry blossoms swirled around them, “…you really do look like a damned Girl Scout. This is seriously what they’re making you wear?”
Athrun Zala sighed heavily, palming his forehead and closing his eyes in exasperation, “…yes. Apparently, my father’s decided that Heliopolis is too rough a neighborhood for his precious son. So he’s enrolled me in the ZAFT military academy.”

Athrun’s friend paused at that, “…soooo…”
“Yes, Kira,” Athrun finished his friend’s thought, realizing what he was about to ask, “I’m pretty sure my dad’s crazy, too.”
Kira Yamato stifled a laugh as he stepped back a little, “Ok, good. Now, you said you had something for me?”

It was then that Athrun’s beret hopped a few inches up off his head, letting out a chirp sound.

Kira jumped back, letting out a girlish shriek. For his part, Athrun sighed and grabbed at his hat, reaching inside and pulling out something that he’d hidden there.
“Birdy, I told you to be quiet,” he scolded in a tone that suggested he was talking to a young child, “You ruined the surprise.”
The appropriately, if generically, named green robot bird chirped back, tilting its head at Athrun like it could actually understand what he said. Birdy chirped again, then bounced from Athrun’s hand and onto Kira’s shoulder, pecking at Kira’s uniform jacket.

Athrun nodded as he saw Birdy taking to Kira already, “I made him for you in my spare time. Something to remember me by, yanno?”
Kira nodded and grinned at Athrun as the latter also handed over the robot bird’s recharge cable and reboot software in case things went wrong, “Like I could ever forget my best friend, Athrun.”

--------------------------

You see, there was a man named George Glenn who lived in the early days of the Cosmic Era. For a time, what he was best known for was for being a genetically-engineered human – made for being generally more awesome and better than your average man. Reasons for this are foggy, but most assume Mr. Glenn’s parents happened to be the sort with enough money to find those scientists and doctors to whom annoying things like morals and rules were but mere pittances compared to owning their own islands in the Caribbean. He had kept it secret, but revealed this key secret when George Glenn left as part of a space probe crew heading off to Jupiter for several months.
Mr. Glenn also chose to release the research used to create him onto the internet as well, because he figured that it was something everyone should have and in no way would totally backfire and result in wars that would wipe out massive swaths of mankind.

To put it gently, Mankind lost its ZOINKS.

The horrible debates and massive career suicides that happened in the months while George Glenn and his crewmates were gone went generally forgotten about when he came back.
Indeed, mankind had just recovered from the rather silly whack they’d received upside their collective head and were just settling down to working out peace accords for some of the larger conflicts on the planet, not to mention those who were now setting about taking a crack at whether or not it was actually morally right to manipulate the genome of unborn children… when George Glenn presented mankind with another surprise.

Alien life.

Well, ok. Not really living aliens. A massive fossil found in the asteroid belt of Jupiter, which looked for all the ZOINKS world like a blue whale on the scale of meters rather than feet, which proved without a doubt that mankind wasn’t alone in the universe. George Glenn followed this up with a moving speech in which he declared that Mankind should take this as a sign that greater things were afoot. That it was a sign from God (even though this fossilized space whale, now known as Evidence 01, tended to throw most Religions into a tailspin) that Mankind’s future was in the stars – and in genetic manipulation, which would make man stronger for their journey out into space.

It was like all of mankind rose up with one voice… and began jabbering about like idiots on valium.

In the following months of chaos, George Glenn had basically whipped up support from about half of the nations on the Earth to start building colonies in space. Proverbial ground was broken in year 38 of the Cosmic Era, and the resulting space colonies were quickly filled with people who began having children like rabbits on crack. These children were quickly “adapted” to space with the advanced genetic techniques made by George Glenn’s parents.
And, because Mankind is a fickle and shallow beast, made the occasional adjustment to make their children look better. Unnatural colors of eye and hair cropped up almost overnight, and the resultant designer children were all the rage amongst the new nation now known as PLANT.
The other half of the nations on Earth who had not been particularly keen on funding space colonies found this rather… unnatural. Indeed, many began to call themselves “Naturals,” as they were born as nature intended. Not to be outdone, those who had been genetically modified chose the name of “Coordinators,” because… it sounded cool.

While some nations on Earth itself wholeheartedly embraced the new face of mankind, as presented by George Glenn, the vast majority did not. Indeed, those nations quickly formed together, Voltron style, to become a multi-national government that could bully around the remaining nations without effort. And the first demand of this so-called “Earth Alliance” was that genetic modifications of the human genome were now completely illegal. And so, with two large populations of people holding completely opposite ideals that continually came to a head, whom were forced to get along due to the fact that they lived right next to one another… everyone got along perfectly well and were generally reasonable and happy.

No, wait, the other thing.

For reasons that have, in retrospect, become utterly stupid, the Earth Alliance declared war upon the collective of colonies known as PLANT in early February of year 70 of the Cosmic Era. PLANT took this actually rather well, and generally completely ignored the whole concept of war while the Earth Alliance’s leaders stewed with frustration in their Alaskan bunkers. After three days of completely boring non-war, though, the higher ups had come up with a way to make PLANT finally take notice of the fact that war had, indeed, been declared. By promptly fired off a nuclear missile or thirty at one of the outermost colonies of PLANT, shattering the “hourglass” shaped residence into millions of pieces and killing all 243,721 people inside.
Of particular note is that this was Valentine’s Day, which allowed historians to feel utterly full of themselves by calling this event that finally kick started the war “the Bloody Valentine.”

Luckily for everyone, PLANT made a perfectly reasonable response to that act of terrorism by giving the Earth Alliance some new technology. By shoving it down their throats.

You see, a few completely insane scientists with unlimited funding had discovered something utterly frightening. In a rare lucid moment, one of the team granted it a name: the Neutron Jammer. What this device does completely flips the finger at all four of the fundamental forces in the universe. It completely blocks all form of nuclear fission on a molecular level, turning things like nuclear power plants into particularly large monuments dedicated to how mankind can always find some way to ZOINKS itself over in a particularly harsh way.
That sound you heard was most of the practicing scientists on the Earth (particularly physicists) throwing in the collective towel.
And to make things worse, these were publically unveiled on April Fool’s day in year 70… minutes before being shoved miles into the Earth’s surface as a totally mature and reasonable countermeasure to a few Naturals being utter dicks. As you might guess, this sent most of the planet into utter chaos and eternal energy crisis which currently make modern-day California and its rolling brownouts look like a cakewalk.

The fact that the N-Jammers, as they are more colloquially known, also tend to render almost any traditional communications signal almost completely useless as a complete, and many swear coincidental, side-effect… has caused the rest of the scientists on Earth to give up and crawl into the bottle to whimper for a while.
Had there been any left actively trying to solve the secrets of the universe, those scientists would promptly give up as well once the forces of PLANT, known as ZAFT (another insufferable acronym, I assure you), began to invade the Earth using their giant robots made of impossible materials and powered by large batteries.

The Earth Alliance tried to counter with large (fission-powered) clunky mobile armors and superior numbers, as well as the occasional nuclear weapon… only for the military leaders to find themselves ripping out their own hair in frustration as their entire fleet proved worthless. Not only were those “Mobile Suits”… well, mobile enough to slaughter a good half of their fleet, but ZAFT had been crazy enough to shove N-Jammers inside every single PLANT colony and around them as a protective “shield” that prevented those nuclear weapons and mobile armors from having a snowball’s chance in hell of functioning. PLANT, who happened to prefer “green” methods of energy like the ever-abundant solar power, simply collectively shrugged and continued about their day of making nigh-perfect babies and generally being right ZOINKS about it.
Which only pissed off the Earth Alliance more.

It is now year 73 of the Cosmic Era.
The future no longer seems bright.
And things aren’t going so well for anyone these days.
…with one exception.

--------------------------

Kira Yamato (now in the present, age 17) rolled his neck around slightly as he tried to urge himself to relax. It was Saturday. It was a day off for him, for once. A light breeze wafted through the outside air, messing with his short-trimmed traditionally-styled brown hair. His clothes, though, looked like a reject from a really bad cosplay contest (although none of Kira’s friends could place the anime, frankly). The gazebo he sat in not only had comfy seats and a clean table, but a power jack for his laptop… which already sat open and powered on. By no coincidence at all, the roof also shaded him from the space colony provided daylight.
Which, truth be told, Kira always found to be a little too bright for his tastes.

Cracking his knuckles, Kira shifted in his seat as he dug into his left front pocket. With a sigh of success, the boy pulled out a small red flash drive. Thumbing off the cap, Kira’s innate nerd instincts took over and plugged the thumbdrive into his laptop’s USB drive.
The light from the laptop’s screen reflected in Kira’s deep purple eyes as he began to access the data stored within.

--------------------------

Off in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there lies a small island nation. Their small island chain is mostly remarkable for being generally unremarkable, but it’s what’s on the islands that matter. Despite having been outside most normal shipping lanes for decades, this small nation has gathered a rather large amount of pull with the other countries of the world. Part of this is due to the fact that the country’s main source of power is geothermal, which meant that most of the energy problems plaguing the planet… simply don’t matter to them.
This nation is Orb.
Orb is an odd amalgamation of democracy and monarchy, where the leader is invariably one of five “noble” families and the rest of the government tend to be elected officials. Ironically, more ZOINKS actually gets done with this ZOINKS of government styles in a day than over at the Earth Alliance in a year… but that’s Orb for you. For some reason, the entire nation leads a charmed life. And it also extends to their political inclination.

The best way to describe what Orb does would shock many governmental officials not found in a fictional universe. Indeed, Orb basically wanders into the gorilla cage at the Zoo and begins tossing rocks at the big apes without regard for what could potentially happen if one or both sides got tired of them. Currently, Orb claims to be completely neutral, but that has yet to stop them from aiding the ZAFT government when it comes to space operations and colony construction, or from making sure the Earth Alliance has some brand-new swanky mobile suits.

Oh, crap. You weren’t supposed to know that yet.
You can keep a secret, right?

Being a neutral nation also granted Orb one other reprieve. You see, ever since George Glenn returned with Evidence-01, many traditional religions fell to pieces, unable to deal with the concept of alien life. Not coincidentally, most of the refugees of these religions joined George Glenn’s glorious potential future at the colonies of PLANT… and quickly formed a new religion: The Church of Celestial Cetaceans, under Our Glorious Whale-Father.
However, those left on the Earth are generally “in the dark” about the Whale-Father’s teachings through his profit George Glenn. In short, the Earth Alliance doesn’t believe in the Whale-Father and thinks the whole thing is a bunch of religious poppycock. And the more extreme members of the Earth Alliance seem to believe the best way to make the Coordinators believe the best way to make them see exactly how silly their religion is… to purge them with the fires of creation. As granted by small thermonuclear warheads.
Someone high up in the government of ORB, luckily, was smart enough to realize how big a shitstorm this could be and had the nation wisely sidestep the entire issue by simply requesting that all parties who enter the nation kindly “keep their ZOINKS outside.” It’s not really worked, but at least religious jihads have been kept off the streets.

Which, honestly, is probably all for the best. ZAFT isn’t the only group with colonies; Orb has even gotten in on the act. Admittedly, it’s pretty much one colony. And it’s a hand-me-down from ZAFT’s earlier days, when they used cylindrical shaped colonies rather than the currently-popular design of incredibly inefficient hourglass shapes. This colony, which houses civilians and many independent contractors, is called Heliopolis.

--------------------------

“Adjust the optical interface variance to within 30 kilopascals,” Kira muttered to himself as his fingers flew across the keyboard. Data scrolled across his laptop’s screen, accompanied by a strange graph showing performance levels. For what, was any observer’s guess, “Reduce the quantum frequency disturbance and re-synch the linear energy couplings…”
Kira pulled himself back from the laptop and looked over his recent work, running his pointer finger under his chin in thought. Slowly, Kira moved the mouse cursor across his added code and clicked the button labeled “execute.”

A grin slowly spread on Kira’s face as he saw the indicators for the code test go all green.

--------------------------

Not too far off from the just mentioned colony of Heliopolis, upon the Nazca class ZAFT vessel Vesalius, a crack team of commandos had just been given a perfectly good valid to attack the perfectly innocent ORB colony. As a small pair of infiltration shuttles inched their way towards the neutral colony, the brains behind the plan simply reclined in the zero-gravity of the ship’s bridge and allowed himself a small smirk.

“Should we really be doing this without clearance from high command, sir?” Captain Ades of the Vesalius found himself looking over to the floating man, “If this plan goes wrong, five of our best pilots-“
“Try not to look so frustrated, Ades,” the brains behind the plan interrupted the captain’s objection, his true emotions hidden by a small white mask across his face, “There simply isn’t enough time to contact the high council, wait for them to delegate and bicker and still pull off this plan. Trust me.”
Commander Rau leCreuset flipped through the few pictures his agents deep within the Earth Alliance had been able to smuggle out. The images, though poor quality, showed that the Earth Alliance was working on new Mobile Suits, “If we let these new wonders slip through our hands, there’s no telling how much damage to our cause they could do. We might even pay for our reluctance to take action with our own lives.”
Such a shame the Earth Alliance has chosen such bland color schemes for their prototypes, though, the masked man mused to himself as Ades began to chant softly to the great Space Whale to watch over the teams entering Heliopolis.

--------------------------

On Heliopolis, deep within the Morgenroete Technical College and Research Facility, Kira Yamato was lost. Again. Quite frankly, it was getting ridiculous, and Kira knew it. Running a hand through his hair in frustration, Kira let out a sigh as he looked down another one of the same grayish white corridors that made up almost the entirety of the MTC campus.
“You’d think I’d remember which room I was supposed to be in by now,” he grumbled to no one in particular as he chose one of the corridors by eenie-miney-moe, only to find himself walking by the Particle Physics labs instead of the Mobile Appendage labs. His ever-constant companion, the robot bird Birdy, merely hopped about on Kira’s shoulder and chirped a few times. For some reason, that seemed to bring some small level of comfort to Kira – it wasn’t like Birdy was going to make fun of him just because he couldn’t find the right room.

If Birdy could actually speak, though, it might comment on how they were supposed to take a left at the last corridor.

A few more minutes of wandering and Kira let out a sigh of relief. Finally. He’d found the right door.
Popping open the door to the Mobile Appendage labs, Kira leaned in and expected someone to scold him for being a half hour late. But nothing came.
Instead, Kira found his friends gathered around one of the lab’s laptops. From the laptop itself, he could hear a news report.

“Here, only seven kilometers from Kaoshiung, the sounds of the fierce fighting between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT continue to echo in the distance,” was the only line Kira could make out, but it was enough.
“…how recent is the report this time?” Kira finally made his appearance known to his friends, dropping his backpack on one of the desks as he walked towards the cluster of people. With the way the war had been going, along with the spastic and bizarre way the N-Jammers had been wreaking havoc with communication lines, official news reports could be days or even months out of date once they reached the colonies. By that time, the fighting in the area could be long over, or the location could even have been re-taken several times over.

The tallest of Kira’s friends turned to face him, a look of worry on his face, “About a week old. Kaoshiung isn’t that far off from Orb, either.”
“I don’t think it’s going to hit Orb, though, Sai. We’re neutral.” Kira frowned, shaking his head and tempting fate as Birdy hopped off his shoulder to go perch on the laptop everyone was clustered around, trying to see what the commotion was.
Sai Argyle slid his glasses back up his nose with the push of a finger. His light brown hair was rather close-cropped for someone in college, and his somewhat fancier red jacket with black shirt and blue jeans made him look more like a ZAFT hipster than the professor’s assistant that he was, “I dunno, Kira. It just seems… wrong. Like the whole world’s gone crazy.”

Before Kira could say anything, the door Kira had just come through popped open. This newcomer was apparently a woman around Sai and Kira’s age… but was also a gal trying far, far too hard to hide whomever they were. She wore a dark brown overcoat, hiding any sort of femininity, and a comically large hat sat over her blonde hair, obscuring some of her face.
“I’m looking for Doctor Kato,” the girl said, pulling her hat lower over her eyes, “I need to speak with him.”

Kira looked to Sai and raised an eyebrow, as if to ask ‘who the hell is this?’ Sai simply shrugged. Turning to the girl, Sai coughed slightly and spoke up, “Sorry, but if Doctor Kato’s not here by ten minutes after 10am, he’s probably out running errands and performing deeds that we aren’t cleared to know about. He might not show up until Noon or worse.” And considering it was currently 11… well, Sai wouldn’t mention that.
The blonde considered his words for a few seconds. Her head tilted to one side as she crossed her arms over her chest and hummed softly. Her decision made, the blonde walked to one side and leaned against the wall, “Then I’m waiting here for him. And if you don’t want me here, then you can go take a flying leap.”

Sai might have decided to call this new girl a bitch. But as he was romantically pursuing the woman known as Fllay Allster, he probably wouldn’t know a bitch if it up and bit him on the ass.

“So, Kira!” one of Kira’s other friends spoke up, popping up from behind Sai like a jack in the box and mildly freaking Kira out at the same time, “Why’re you late this time? Forget which room we’re all in? Again?”
Kira sighed, because his pal had a scarily good point, “…Yeah kinda, Tolle.”
“Ha!” Tolle Koenig let out a cry of victory as he pumped his fist in the air. His clothing was much more traditional than Sai’s hipster bargain bin reject, but the t-shirt, unbuttoned dress shirt and blue jeans said one thing about him: he really liked the color blue. In fact, the one thing on him that wasn’t blue at the moment was his dark brown hair… although Kira remembered a time where Tolle had tried to dye his hair blue. It was not a pretty week.

“But I’ve got another reason this time!” Kira grinned, watching Tolle deflate ever so slightly. Kira reached into his pants pocket and yanked out his USB thumbdrive from earlier, the grin growing bigger as he shouted out, “I did it. I got the program code to work in the simulations.”

A brief gasp hit all of Kira’s friends at once. The Mystery Girl rolled her eyes, not knowing what they were talking about… but her thoughts could be summed up in one word: Nerds.

Sai grabbed the thumbdrive out of Kira’s hands, holding it like it was a holy relic from a bygone age, “You balanced the G-Diffuser? Figured out how to carry workloads from one arm to another without screwing with the balance? Got the legs to work?”
Kira nodded in reply, his grin growing bigger.
Sai let out a girlish scream of joy as he scrambled over to the far, dark corner of the lab. At first glance, it didn’t seem like anything special, just a pile of white sheets, but then Sai tore the cloth coverings off and flipped on the lights. Amidst a pile of computers and cabling, stood a simple, if complex-looking, humanoid form. It was also hollow, with the intent that someone could actually climb inside it, and the Mystery Girl could make out rudimentary controls here and there from where she was standing.

“…exactly what is that?” she asked, her interest piqued as Sai jammed the USB stick into his station and began typing away at his keyboard, “a robot?”

The sole female of the ‘nerd herd,’ as the mysterious gal was coming to think of them stepped forward, shaking her head, her short chestnut-brown hair bouncing slightly as she did so, “Not quite. We’ve been working on a powered exoskeleton,” seeing the blank look beneath the hat of the stranger, she continued, “For rescue workers, in areas of extreme emergencies. This suit will make it possible for a single worker to lift what could take twenty or thirty workers a few hours to move, once we get it working right. It could be a godsend in war-torn areas of the Earth.”
“Oh, god, there Miri goes again,” Tolle groaned as he tried to move in to prevent Miriallia Haw from going on a ramble about how awesome their new tech was. It didn’t work.

Miriallia continued on what must have been a pre-planned speech as Tolle tried to calm her down, or at least get her to stop the speech early. This gave the Mystery Girl time to wonder exactly what it was that Miriallia was wearing. Maybe it was fashion popular over in the PLANTs – no one on Earth could be caught dead wearing a bright orange and pastel yellow dress with a high collar and orange sleeves (yet no shoulders). Seriously. The hell.

A loud clap finally cut Miri off from her rambling. Sai stood up from his chair, rubbing his hands almost like he was planning something truly devious, “It’s ready. Now all we need is a test subject… Tolle?”
“Tolle.” Kira nodded, not missing a beat.
“Tolle.” Mirialia joined in, pushing the poor victim towards the exoskeleton prototype.

“M-Miri!” Tolle protested, or at least tried to, had Miri not decided to twist his right arm around behind his back the second she volunteered him for it, “Come on! I took you out on an expensive date last night! Have mercy!”
“Fancy food is one thing,” Mirialia shook her head solemnly before looking up, a devious glint in her eye, “But this is science.”

Tolle let out a pitiful whimper as he slowly moved closer to the machine, wishing that Kuzzy wasn’t on that bus trip of America right now.

--------------------------

Deep within the bowels of Heliopolis’ less-used docking bays, a cluster of ZAFT soldiers slid between detection lasers and motion detectors. Some of the soldiers chose the moment to show off their various skills or talents, others simply hugged the walls as best they could… after all, they were busy being not completely insane.
Most of the soldiers were clad in green normal suits and, as such, aren’t worth learning about beyond the fact that they’re cannon fodder and will likely die in the next few pages. There were five ZAFT soldiers wearing the more elite red pilot’s normal suit, though, and these were the five that Captain Ades had shown concern over earlier. Four of the pilots were of the many carefully sliding their way through the many traps and tricks that ORB had set out to make sure no one could do just what was happening. The fifth… less so.

Athrun Zala (also now age 17) cursed under his breath as he finally skittered out from the net of detection lasers seemingly placed haphazardly along their chosen point of entrance. Whomever had made this plan had to be several degrees of insane… and then Athrun remembered who he was thinking about. His commanding officer was certainly many things, but he had never seemed all that gone mentally. To Athrun’s left, Dearka Elsman slipped through with far less cursing than one would expect for a person who had to bend in half three different ways to make it through the way he did. To the right, the remaining two sane red suits came through without problems as well. Those suits belonged to Yzak Joule and Nichol Amalfi respectively, and both of them were too busy staring in horror at the fifth red suited pilot to do much of anything.
You see, if anyone involved on the Vesalius was insane, that nomination had to go to the person currently flying like a jackass through the sensors – Rusty Mackenzie. Some believe it was to make up for the fact that he had a relatively normal name.

“Oh, Space Christ…” Athrun hissed over the comm channel, despite the fact that it was one of those secured and private channels that Orb was unlikely to be even remotely aware of, “What the ZOINKS are you doing, Rusty?”
Although the normal suit’s helmet obscured much of Rusty’s face, Athrun could still see the bright orange hair his friend had… as well as the giant ZOINKS-eating grin plastered across his jaw as he pulled a spin that would have made a ballerina jealous to slip through a deviously placed section of the laser net, “Oh, come on. I could dodge these alarms in my sleep, Athrun. You know that.”
Athrun gritted his teeth and shook his head, deciding to punch him after the mission was over instead of right now, “Fine. Whatever. Get your ass over here. Now.”

As soon as everyone made it through the sensor net, Athrun began to wave his hands about in a very official-looking manner. Orders delivered, half of the green ZAFT troopers zipped off in their own direction while the other half remained alongside the red ZAFT troopers as they moved further into the colony.

--------------------------

Back in the Mobile Appendage Labs, science was being worked upon. Or, if one was of the mad scientist breed, SCIENCE! was being performed. Trust me, there is a difference.

“Come on, guys…” Tolle whined pathetically as the exoskeleton jerked him back and forth atop its stationary platform, “I can’t even feel my legs anymore. Can we stop for now?”
“No.” was the immediate answer from Miriallia, “Only three more hours of flex testing and then we can move on to the weight lifting, Tolle. I’ll pay for dinner this time if you quit whining, all right?”
“…yes ma’am…”

For his part, Sai was quietly staying out of what could turn into a lover’s quarrel. He’d had enough of those with Fllay to last a lifetime, and they’d only been dating for a few weeks.

The Mystery Girl checked her watch again and let out a huff of frustration. Maybe those guys were right. Maybe Doctor Kato was gone for the day and wouldn’t be coming back. Damn it. She’d been really hoping to ask him some questions.
So fixated on her watch was she that this unknown girl completely missed Kira sliding up to her, trying to look nonchalant… but coming off about as casual as a fish finding out his water had been replaced by a hot frying pan. He leaned next to her for a few seconds, trying to find the exact words he should say.

“…so. Can I have your phone number?” Kira finally spoke without hesitation, or thinking if it was remotely a good idea to say these words, “I think I lost mine on the way here today.”

She simply stared at Kira, a look of combined surprise and pity etched onto her face. It was a rather odd combination, from what little Kira could see of her face. For some odd reason, this made Kira even more interested in the girl.
“…do I know you from somewhere?” Kira asked, now genuinely interested and not actually hitting on her, “You look incredibly familiar.”

The Mysterious Girl simply stared at Kira, although it’s hard to be sure if she was glaring at him because he was hitting on her, or if he was annoying her.
Good money could be found if one bet on both, though.

--------------------------

Across the maintenance tunnels of the Heliopolis colony, sinister dealings were afoot. Because soldiers of an enemy nation infiltrating the colony’s notoriously slack security wasn’t enough, each of the dozen soldiers of ZAFT were also carrying fairly large bags of explosives. And a solid desire to use them. Indeed, if one were to follow each of the green normal suited ZAFT troopers, they’d see them each following a map, with locations for their explosives to go marked in pen.

And if this wasn’t ominous enough, the locations weren’t just military in nature.

Ooooh.

…you’re getting the idea that ZAFT is evil, right? Because I’d hate to be too subtle about this.

--------------------------

On a ledge overlooking an abandoned highway deep within the Orb Colony, a quintet of red colored ZAFT normal suited soldiers lay in wait. Their helmets were off, and three of them were actually enjoying a solid, union-demanded break for the time being. This left Athrun Zala looking over the cliff, binoculars in hand, on his own
“No sign yet of the convoy. They’re late.” a gray haired surprisingly young-looking man scoffed as he lay down next to Athrun, map and orders in hand, “Why does that not surprise me.”
Athrun scowled. Again with the bitching. To his left lay someone whom Athrun was convinced didn’t earn the coveted ZAFT Red jacket through combat skill or promotion, but through parental influence and a career made out of bitching and moaning like a professional. Yzak Joule was his name, and Athrun had spent most the missions alongside this man wishing he’d never met his acquaintance in the first place.

From the impromptu break room, Athrun could hear Rusty Mackenzie laughing his ass off about a joke someone else had told. Without even looking, Athrun knew it was probably Dearka Elsman, the dark skinned blonde, who never passed up seeing the lighter side of things. The last of the cluster of elite ZAFT soldiers was the almost required by law quiet one, Nichol Amalfi. When Athrun first met the guy, he could have sworn he was a really thin and flat-chested woman. But no, that mop of green hair, those oddly attractive green eyes and pale skin belonged to a boy. Which kinda weirded Athrun out, if he was honest about it.
But of course, in a society where a third gender became the norm thanks to constant genetic manipulation to fulfill every parental fantasy, it’s not like this wasn’t something Athrun could learn to cope with.

After what felt like an eternity, a collection of the green-suited ZAFT soldiers finally made it up to the cliff as well. Some of them honestly seemed out of breath, while others were more awestruck at the view. Being used to colonies in an hourglass shape tended to look plain against the sort of view one could get from a seemingly-endless roll of land occasionally separated by oceans of space.
One of the soldiers saluted Athrun, “Sir! The charges are in place. We’re ready for the next phase if you are.”
Finally getting up off the ground, Athrun nodded in reply. Despite Yzak’s bitching and moaning, the convoy was finally in sight (and on time, Athrun had to note), with three of their five targets contained within. A smirk slid across Athrun’s face as he spoke up, “You heard the man. We’re up and ready for phase two. Rusty, you’re with me. Nichol, Yzak and Dearka? Take the convoy when they’re within range.”

As he began to take off for the rather large facility simply known as Morgenroete, Athrun gestured at five of the fifteen ZAFT troopers, “You’re with me, too. Now move out!”

--------------------------

Meanwhile, back in the lab that totally doesn’t contain our excuse for a main character…

Finally speaking up for the first time in a good hour, Sai looked up from his computer and the near-constant stream of data and hummed to himself in thought for a second.
“You know…” he spoke aloud, tapping a finger on his desk, “I heard a new ship docked earlier today, from the Earth Alliance.”

Tolle perked up from his being tossed about inside the exoskeleton, “What?” he asked Sai incredulously, “Really? An EA ship? Aren’t we… neutral in their galactic dick-waving match?”
Sai shrugged as he tapped away at his keyboard, deliberately deciding to ignore Kira’s attempts at hitting on the new girl, “I honestly lost track back when Heliopolis took in those ZAFT refugees that actually turned out to be soldiers trying to escape an Earth Alliance patrol.”

“…can you leave me alone?” the mystery girl glared at Kira, trying to somehow hide even further inside her hat as Kira simply kept leaning in closer like an annoying child told not to touch something, “You’re really creeping me out.”
“You just…” Kira frowned slightly, somehow not realizing he was actually putting Cagali off, what with his lack of general social skills, “You really remind me of someone.” He paused, his frown turning into a grin that could be defined as ‘slightly perverted,’ “…someone hot.”
The mystery girl’s eye twitched a few times, although she was hidden so much under her hat that no one could actually see it do so. She had suffered enough, especially considering she was still suffering from space jet lag. Taking a step towards Kira, she opened her mouth to tell him off-

Unfortunately, at that very moment, a deep roar from a few miles away interrupted everyone. The lights above flickered and dimmed while the ground shook for several seconds. Smoke actually seemed to trickle in from one of the air vents of the laboratory and faint noises could be heard from the hall – something about emergencies and horrible accidents.

“…what was that?” Tolle moaned from his prone position on the floor, the exoskeleton having broken around him in the fall, “Did Doctor Saotome blow his lab up again?”
“Oh, god,” Sai groaned as he picked himself up from under one of the computer desks, “We’ll all need to be checked for radiation again. I don’t want to be shoved into another chemical shower.”
“I’m not about to complain,” Kira spoke up from the back of the room, his voice sounding like the cat who’d eaten the canary, “Maybe we could take that shower together?”
As Sai and Tolle looked to Kira, their jaws slid open as they saw their friend holding the mystery gal in a close embrace, having rescued her from an unfortunate fall to the floor. And it didn’t miss either man’s notice that one of Kira’s hands was firmly on her ass.

A slap resounded through the room and Kira fell to the floor, a bright red mark on his right cheek. The mystery girl stomped away from Kira’s now prone form, throwing open the laboratory door and leaving with a grumble of swear words. The door left open, the four amateur scientists could hear the standard Heliopolis evacuation alarms going off rather clearly.

“That was worth it.” Was all Kira felt he needed to say.
--------------------------

Meanwhile, on that long lonely and abandoned highway deep in Heliopolis, ZOINKS was exploding everywhere. Despite a complete lack of holes in the Heliopolis security, much less holes in the colony that would allow for this sort of thing, ZAFT’s newest mobile weapons were standing large and in charge over a wreck of transport trucks and dead bodies.
Had the Earth Alliance’s caravan expected this sort of insane attack inside a neutral colony, they might have had something resembling security on the caravan. Instead, the only people on the caravan happened to be the Children’s Mechanic Corps and the Gift-Giving Committee.

Because ZAFT’s evil.

Indeed, the only real activity on the road now belonged to the red and green space-suited ZAFT soldiers that had infiltrated the colony. The three transport trucks were, also, unharmed – each one carrying a brand-new Mobile Suit and a new ZAFT pilot.

“Hey,” Yzak Joule grinned as he began powering up his new unit, the Duel, “The Earth Alliance figured out how to miniaturize beam weaponry – and it even has a pair of laser blades! This is actually amazing, you know, for a bunch of backwards monkeys banging rocks together.”
Slowly, the Duel lurched to its feet and slid off of the truck that had been carrying it. The plain gray color scheme actually looked decent for the unit, making it look like a special operations unit, stripped down for higher performance. The single beam rifle and shield also looked rather nasty, and Yzak made sure to have the Duel retrieve those.

“Oooh, nice…” Dearka Elsman couldn’t help but grin as he shuffled through his own stolen unit’s manual with his right hand, left hand running through the standard startup procedures, “Not only does this sweet unit have those big beam rifles, but those big guns can combine into an even bigger gun. I really like this thing’s style.”
Silently, the Buster arose, standing next to the Duel. With heavier armor and thicker limbs, the Buster made the Duel look rather plain by comparison. And once Yzak got a good, solid look at the mounted guns on the backpack of the Buster, he couldn’t help but feel a little ripped off.

“…what.” Yzak’s eye twitched as he glared at the now plain armament of his stolen unit his own copy of the virtual instruction manual.

Without warning, a third giant robot leapt to its feet and landed between the Duel and Buster. Dark black and already fully-activated, this one resembled some bizarre combination of ninja and samurai, complete with a massive shield built into the right arm that also looked to be carrying some nasty weaponry. This, Yzak’s console told him, was the Blitz.
“…dude, score,” Nichol Amalfi’s voice cropped up over the radio channel as he ignored Yzak’s complaint, “Mine turns invisible whenever I want, and I’ve got a literal armory shoved onto this thing’s right arm. These Naturals must have hired one hell of a mad scientist for this ZOINKS.”

“…WHAT.”

--------------------------

Within a few minutes of venturing outside the lab, Kira and his friends had found out exactly what had happened, and why Heliopolis had a spacequake…

“I don’t know!” was pretty much the most prevalent reply as people flowed from their own laboratories and research stations into the depths of the Morgenroete Technical College and Research Institute. Sure, there were rumors here and there: one about some old TV show’s fictional space Nazis unleashing their Roboton Invaders, another person kept screaming about how it was the End Times and how those who did not worship the Almighty Space Whale were doomed to death and to roast in the bowels of Space-Hell.
Finally, some poor bastard stumbling down the corridor in the direction of the emergency shelters stored at Moregenroete knew exactly what was going on:

“ZOINKS’s exploding everywhere and ZAFT’s murdering everyone!” was what he screamed, streaking past the laboratory.

“Well.” Sai sighed as he looked to his friends, “Looks like we’re ZOINKS. Who’s up for moseying to the shelter?”
“I’m sold.” Miriallia popped up as she turned in the direction of the closest shelter.
Tolle was long ahead of her, already rounding the next corner and pushing everyone out of her way.
Kira was just about to speak when the Mystery Girl decided to break from the group and run into the flow of people – shoving everyone away as she bulldozed through people like a manic Black Friday shopper. But that wasn’t what Kira or Sai noticed.

Kira turned to Sai and shrugged. A look of understanding passed between the two teens and Sai placed one hand on Kira’s shoulder, “Her ass is glorious. Godspeed, Kira Yamato.”
With that, Kira and Sai parted ways, each hoping the other survived this insanity long enough to find their girl.

--------------------------

Meanwhile, out in space, some random clips of stock footage were passing for a battle, showing how superior the completely and totally awesome Mobile Suits of ZAFT were compared to space-fighter planes, a random EA troop carrier and worker pods.

Because it’s totally awesome and totally not just for saving money on the budget.

[To Be Continued]
Last edited by NewtypeS3 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M. (Warning: Sweari

Post by NewtypeS3 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:30 pm

It was a long and hard run, but Kira had finally chased down the Mystery Girl. However, he hadn’t the slightest clue exactly where they were at the moment. Sure, he’d seen some “Unauthorized Persons Will Be Shot On Sight” signs here and there, but it’s not like those were important.
Another explosion rocked the Morgenroete building, sending a blast of hot air and throwing dust everywhere. Kira covered his eyes, letting out a cry of shock as he felt small chunks of rubble and loose papers jet past him. The mystery girl he’d been following did the same, her coat billowing around her. As the dust cloud died down, Kira couldn’t help but notice the comically large hat this mystery girl had been wearing had flown off into the wind. And now that Kira had a good look at her face, he realized something.

She was damn hot.



Ok, two things.

“You…” Kira stumbled across his words as he tried to best verbalize his mental panic attack, his arms spasming around him like a broken children’s cartoon character watch as he gaped at the Mystery Girl, “You’re Princess Cagalli!”
Princess Cagalli Yula Athha of Orb looked blankly at Kira, like a deer caught in front of a stampeding mobile suit. Recovering, she slowly reached a hand up to the top of her head and groaned as her hand met freshly-tussled blonde hair. Her big disguise, blown!
“You tell anyone,” Cagali glared at Kira, having finally recovered some form of composure, jabbing a finger into his chest, “and I will end you.” She turned to run again, her voice carrying back down the corridor, “And stop following me!”
“With an ass like that?” Kira murmured beneath his breath as he quickly sprinted after the Princess Cagali, “I’d follow you to the ends of the Earth.”

After several more twists and turns in the labyrinth of passageways that passed for the Top-Secret section of Morgenroete, Kira and Cagali came out into the bright sunlight of the colony’s day cycle. Kira resisted the urge to hiss at the direct application of daylight, as there was a really hot girl standing right next to him. From what Kira could tell, he was standing on a rather nice scaffolding and walkway on the opposite side of the Morgenroete facility – the very side rumored to be rented out to the Earth Alliance for top secret tests.
And it looks like those rumors were rather true, seeing how Kira was looking right down upon two very expensive mobile suits. One looked ridiculously fancy, with curves and pointy bits sticking out of each limb. The other, comparatively, looked incredibly plain with only a nice head to show that it wasn’t a ZAFT model. And both were currently guarded by several orange jumpsuit wearing Morgenroete personnel and a few EA soldiers.

Kira was then stunned to hear a sting of loud and filthy expletives erupting from his left, the Princess (and poster-child of clean living and polite conversation in ORB) Cagali. And she didn’t stop, continuing to do nothing but scream, rage and beat her fists on the railing of the walkway. Kira could pick up a few words here and there that pertained to Cagali’s father and the development of Mobile Suits, so it was pretty easy to figure out what was going on.
“I’m sure your dad will get you one for your birthday,” Kira spoke as smoothly as humanly possible when your intended target is busy cursing with so many words that some had not yet been invented, “Come on, we’ve gotta find a shelter. Now.”

Cagali froze, mid-curse, to stare at Kira with a look of utter stupefaction on her face. Taking his chance, Kira dragged her away from the railing and the mysterious Mobile Suits, towards the giant sign proclaiming how there were some totally awesome and comfy shelters just ahead.

--------------------------

After several minutes of getting lost, turned around and generally wandering the endless hallways of Morgenroete, Kira and Cagali finally found the designated shelter. Three rows of small elevators lined the wall, each with a sign that noted the shelter was full up with no room left. Not one to let something like reality stop him, Kira dragged Cagali towards the first tube and jammed a finger into the intercom.
“Hey, anyone there?” Kira panted, exhausted from the mild jogging that it had taken to reach the shelter.

“Is there still someone out there?” came a rather whiny voice from the intercom that sounded for all the world like Don Knotts.
“…yes.” Kira replied, wondering exactly how the man on the other side was still breathing if he didn’t understand that someone talking meant ‘someone’ was actually out there, “Two of us. Out here with ZAFT trying to kill us. You know, like everyone else. Open the door!”

There was a long pause as the voice in the shelter stopped whining and actually seemed to think about things before continuing, “We’re full up…” came the pathetic excuse, “There’s another shelter back beyond the Top Secret Mobile Suit Construction Yard, just hang a right rather than run straight ahead. Can you make it there?”

Both Kira and Cagali turned to look back the way they’d came. Explosions were now dotting the skyline of the colony and pillars of smoke were more common than skyscrapers in Manhattan. It really didn’t help that, hey, the sound of gunfire being exchanged was inching closer and closer, accompanied by the lovely chorus of the dead and dying.
Yeah, ZOINKS that.

“Come on,” Kira pleaded, yanking Cagali around by her arm as he spoke emphatically, “ At least take my friend. I mean, she’s just a girl.”
Cagali’s eyes bulged as her blank face “JUST a girl?!” she yanked her hand away from Kira, drawing her arm back and making a fist – ready to pummel this strange nerd to death, “I’m the Princess Cagali Yula Athha of the 5th House of Orb! Heir to the Holy Rings of-“
“Princess Cagali?!” came the voice from the intercom, the rather bland attitude having flipped a complete 180 with that namedrop, “It’d be an honor to assist our nation’s princess!”

Not even waiting for Cagali’s reaction, Kira dragged Cagali in front of the elevator’s opening door. Cagali, slightly dizzy from all the spinning, wasn’t entirely sure what was going on… and that feeling of confusion deepened as she felt someone else’s lips brushing against her own.

“W… what?” Cagali stuttered, her eyes wider than dinner plates, “What did yo-“
Kira shrugged, trying his best to look nonchalant, but instead coming off as a bit of a creep, “Well, I’m probably gonna die if I can’t get to a shelter,” he paused, a grin spreading on his face, “and my friends would probably kill me if I didn’t even try to steal a kiss from the Princess of ORB.”

If Kira was a mind reader, he might have felt the overflow of intense hatred coming from Cagail’s mind. As such, he took her silence and red face as embarrassment, or perhaps mutual attraction. Taking no chances of Cagali doing something stupid again, he shoved her inside the elevator with a simple push. It was rather easy, considering her brain still slightly locked up from having her first kiss stolen by some complete stranger. It took a few seconds more for the elevator to start taking her down into the shelter deep below the surface of Heliopolis.
“Wish me luck!” Kira shouted after Cagali as the tube sucked her down into the shelter.

Satisfied that Princess Cagalli would be somewhat safe, Kira took off running in the direction he’d just come from. There were still people there, which meant there might be a shelter with some room – or at least someone who knew that they were doing. Kira was moving a little faster than he had in getting to the shelter, though.
After all, stealing a kiss from royalty tends to put a bit of a spring in one’s step.

--------------------------

As Kira came back across the top-secret Mobile Suit storage area, he saw the few remnants of Morgenroete and the Earth Alliance’s mechanics putting up a valiant fight against the invading ZAFT soldiers. It looked to be rather an uneven fight, though, as most of the Morgenroete mechanics had dropped dead, with a few orange-jumpsuited mechanics from the Earth Alliance still fighting and kicking.
Just ahead of him, though, was a green space-suited ZAFT soldier, taking careful aim at one of the mechanics.
And this woman had gigantic boobs, which were plainly visible from the 30+ yards away that Kira was.

“Behind you, look out!” Kira shouted to the racktastic (his words) mechanic protecting the plainer one of the two giant robots, hoping his words wouldn’t get either one of them killed.

Without a word, and moving faster than physics should normally allow, the mechanic ducked lower and spun in place, her gun spitting out bullets that killed the ZAFT soldier in seconds. Or would have if she had any ammo in her gun at the moment. Not that it stopped the ZAFT soldier from dying or anything.
This was the sort of physics-defying ZOINKS that’s been happening every day since the discovery of the N-Jammers, frankly, and many were used to it by now.

“Get to the shelter, ZOINKS!” the busty mechanic shouted at Kira, waving him away from the combat zone as she realized her rifle was finally out of ammo, “This is no place for a kid!”
“…I’m in love.” Kira mumbled, watching the older woman’s bust sway and move with the kind of motion that could only come from incredibly expensive animation budgets. A stray bullet ricocheting off the railing shocked Kira back to reality. Blinking repeatedly, Kira shook his head and pointed to the very doorway that he and Cagali had originally come from, “That one’s full up, I’m going back to the other shelter!”

A sudden explosion erupted from that very door, tossing rubble, bodies and more explosions everywhere. Both the mechanic and Kira stared at the smoking rubble in mild surprise, as if they’d expected it to happen.
“ZOINKS.”

The mechanic sighed in what had to be some form of disgust (although at the world or her luck, no one knew), “Damn it. Just get down here, then! At the very least, we can keep you sa-”
Kira landed beside the woman, having thrown himself over the railing and landed next to the very bountifully gifted mechanic as if he had floated down with a parachute made of angel wings, “Now what?”
“What.”

On the other side of the gunfire, Athrun Zala and Rusty Mackenzie were hunkered down behind one of the transport trucks that now lay abandoned. The two of them reloaded their guns, checked their spare ammo kits and nodded to one another in perfect sync.
“I just know the two of us are going to survive this, Athrun,” Rusty laughed, that demented grin showing up on his face again, “Not only do you have that hot piece of pop-star ass waiting for you at home, but I’m gonna be asking that cutie Meer out on a date when we get home!”
“What, really?” Athrun’s eyes widened in shock, wincing as a ricochet whizzed past his helmet’s faceplate, “Meer? God, I guess it’s good to know you’re still shooting for the stars, Rusty. You know she’s not a fan of soldiers.”
Rusty stood up and flashed his winning grin again, throwing Athrun a thumbs-up, “She will when she sees the awesome medals of valor that Commander leCreuset promised us.” Rusty took to a sprint, pulling around in front of the truck, “Now to go earn it!”

Indeed, Rusty was earning his pay that day. He’d taken out no less than four non-combatants and several brave EA soldiers earlier. Now, all he had to do was jump right up to one of the two giant robots and victory would be his!
Unfortunately, this brought him right in the sights of Murrue’s well-armed and well-aimed pistol – now pointed almost literally point-blank into his normal suit’s faceplace.

“Oh Space Whal-” came from Rusty’s mouth before he was cut off by the hail of bullets being thrown at him by Murrue’s pistol.

“RUSTYYYYYYY!” came Athrun’s angst-ridden cry as he vaulted over the truck bed, firing his gun wildly in the brunette’s mechanic’s direction. Much unlike her earlier bulletless assault, Athrun’s hail of gunfire somehow almost completely missed her – save a single bullet that nailed her in the shoulder.
Kira scrambled over to her, his hands reaching for the mechanic’s gun. Athrun, meanwhile, cursed loudly as he found that his gun had somehow run out of ammunition. Throwing it aside, he pulled out his ZAFT-issue combat knife and began what felt like an incredibly slow charge towards the wounded mechanic and innocent life.

Hearing Athrun’s inhuman wail of angst, Kira turned, his eyes wide and in shock. Athrun’s eyes met Kira’s an-

…and I’m being told we’ve sold some of our page space to a flashback sequence. Not sure I like this, but it’s apparently integral to the story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Again, we cut back to the incredibly cliché cherry blossom petal storm, where Kira and Athrun are saying their fond farewells. Since this is a flashback, of course, this is presented in an incredibly soft light, making Athrun again look like a woman.
And Kira wasn’t looking much better.

“We’ll be best friends, Athrun!” Kira couldn’t help but smile creepily at his best friend.
“Forever?”
“Of course!”
“Forever?”
“…cut that out.”
“Forever?”

“That ZOINKS’s not cool!” came a cry from offscreen, a ridiculously deep voice that obviously belonged to the one and only Lelouche Lamperouge from a universe where his series was known as CODE MENT.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Well! We’re obviously going to get sued. Might as well wrap this up in the meantime.

After experiencing such an incredibly important and relevant flashback, both Athrun and Kira looked visibly shaken. It was just the chance the mechanic needed to fire off a few warning shots at Athrun, forcing him away from her and Kira.
As Athrun retreated behind the cover of the second mobile suit, Miss Racktastic took her chances and threw Kira into the open cockpit hatch of the mobile suit she’d defended, dropping in after him.

Finally regaining consciousness from the mild concussion the landing had given him, Kira looked about the cockpit of the mobile suit he’d been thrown into. Sitting in the only chair, the engineer’s fingers flew over the seemingly out of place keyboard in front of her, activating the mobile suit’s systems one by one with a practiced skill. Words began to appear on the view screen in front of Kira and the rather… endowed woman who’d thrown him into the giant robot alongside her. Had this been any other time or place, Kira would have never minded being in a tight space with a rather attractive older woman and wouldn’t have been able to take his eyes off her. As this was rather extenuating circumstances, Kira’s eyes were more drawn to the activating systems of this mobile suit.

Earth
Alliance
General
League
Evolved

Mobile
Suit
Operation
System
Version NVS - N099


Kira blinked as he read what the acronym spelt out aloud, “E.A.G.L.E.?”
There was a pause, the boy trying to not interrupt the woman’s bootup procedure… but did anyway as patted the mechanic on the shoulder with a somewhat shaky hand, “My name’s Kira. Kira Yamato. Thank you fo-”

“Lieutenant Murrue Ramius,” the woman grunted as she finished the required keystrokes to cold boot the mobile suit, not bothering to wait for Kira to finish as she wiped her brown bangs away from her eyes, “And don’t bother asking me about the acronym. I work on getting these damned things to move, not writing the operating system.”

As the massive war machine lurched off the ground, Kira gripped his side of the pilot’s seat with white knuckles. Despite being busy concentrating on not hyperventilating over how simultaneously awesome and horrifying this day had been (mostly horrifying, for those keeping score), Kira Yamato looked around in confusion as what sounded like a piano began to play. More began to join the piano, a woman’s voice singing a slow, soft tune and a violin to accompany it.

We were so close together, but the twilight has a different color now.
The abundance of kindness onl-

Murrue let out a loud curse as she lashed out with her leg, kicking just right of the cockpit hatch. Abruptly, the song filling the Strike’s cockpit cut off, a faint static noise replacing it. Noticing Kira’s confusion, Murrue decided to explain the one thing she did understand happening that day.
“One of the techs decided it’d help pass the time by installing a music player in the Strike,” she explained, a soft smile on her lips, “They never got it to work quite right, though.”

However, the smirk quickly vanished as she watched the Aegis Gundam flee from the area, Athrun Zala having made the most of his situation, “The captain’s going to have my ass for this, I just know it,” a sigh escaped her lips as her hands gripped the control sticks of the Strike tighter.
Murrue Ramius’ mood was certainly in the dumps. Not only did ZAFT decide to attack this completely innocent colony and slaughter completely innocent soldiers of an enemy force who would gladly have returned the favor if the situations were reversed, but she’d been powerless to stop ZAFT from taking four of the five brand-new mobile weapons of de-

Murrue’s pity party was interrupted by a thematic explosion erupting behind the Strike Gundam as the flames engulfing the area finally reached some conveniently-placed fuel tanks. The explosion lit the Gundam from behind, leaving only the amber eyes lit up as the one detail that any possible onlookers could make out.
The force from the explosion also happened to send the Strike slowly tipping forward onto its face, making a rather pitiful “whunk” as it landed.

“Great,” Murrue sighed as she tried to pick herself up from the front view screen inside the Strike, not to mention trying to make sure she didn’t smother Kira, who had tumbled beneath her, “And I thought this day couldn’t get any worse.”
“I’m fine,” came the muffled reply of Kira Yamato, perfectly satisfied with where he was.

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

Post by NewtypeS3 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:51 pm

And now, Chapter 2...

--------------------------

Gundam Seed: F.R.E.E.D.O.M.
The Abandoned Battlefield

Phase 2: G.U.N.D.A.M. Rising
Because this is a thing now, it seems.

--------------------------

It is the distant future, and it once seemed bright. The Earth Alliance and ZAFT are currently at war with one another, determined to wipe one another off this plane of existence due to arguments of an ideological and religious nature. Due to sheer dumb luck and the fact that neither side has working weaponry on a scale larger than a bipedal non-nuclear walking battle tank, however, both sides have become locked in a zero-sum game for about 7 months. Of course, that didn't stop the sole neutral side from playing both sides for its own benefit, which has only made things far worse.

It is late in the year 73 of the Cosmic Era.

And things are starting to heat up once again.

--------------------------

"The Shelter's this way," Tolle Koenig shouted happily as he lead his friends through a seemingly endless labyrinth of twists and turns, "The map said we go to the right!"

"Tolle, are you sure we're not lost?" Miriallia panted as she tried her best to keep pace behind Tolle, and failing, "It feels like we've been running for a week..."
Tolle laughed, feeling giddy as the adrenaline shooting through his body began to push him into overdrive, "Come on! We're almost there! See? There's a light at the end of the corridor!"

Indeed, there was a light at the end of the proverbial (and literal) tunnel that Tolle, Miriallia and Sai were running through. However, something was off. Mainly due to the fact that, upon leaving the tunnel and running right into the light, the three of them wound up staring right at a gigantic mobile suit that had just been tipped on its face and was now struggling to stand back up. And another giant robot that was fleeing the scene at the moment. Not to mention dozens of corpses lying on the ground, either dressed in Morgenroete engineering jumpsuits, EA uniforms... and there were even a ZAFT soldier or two lying on the ground as well. Not a pretty sight.

Just to the left of Tolle, there was a small group of civilians who also emerged from another passage. The leader of that group stood in mild shock as he saw the giant robots, uttering, "There are more?"

"God damn it, Jim," another in that group shouted, at him, slapping the leader upside the head, "You knew about those two. You were project leader on assembling the materials, jackass!"

--------------------------

As Athrun Zala started to have his new unit leave the area, he couldn't help but sneaking a peek at the instruction manual of his new stolen mech. If those rumors were correct, the Earth Alliance had pumped enough money into each unit that it made the gross domestic product of Belize look like a pittance. A grin spread across Athrun's face as he noticed the armament listing, the question as to what Kira Yamato was doing with a top-secret Earth Forces project pushed aside for the time being. This baby had a rather mean-looking beam rifle that looked like it could punch a hole clean through a battleship. Four beam blades mounted onto each limb of the... Aegis? Huh. Nice name. Ooh, and a transformation mode. Complete with... Athrun froze.

That can't be right.

"Those Naturals mounted a battleship cannon on a Mobile Suit?!" Athrun nearly crashed the Aegis into the Morgenroete facility building as he tried not to crap his proverbial pants, "What kind of mad scientists do they HAVE on this project?"

--------------------------

Somewhere, deep within the collection of Alaskan bunkers that made up the bulk of the Earth Alliance headquarters, the main designer for the General Awesome Tech Xperimental project (or GAT-X project for short), a man named Tem Rey let out a maniacal laugh over his newest invention before sneezing. Searching for a kleenex, Tem cursed. His plans for a new, faster and bigger microwave would just have to wait.

--------------------------

Unluckily for Athrun, his luck and sense of direction was about as good as his best childhood friend. Intending to run off to the ZAFT rondesvous point, Athrun instead found himself and the Aegis mobile suit standing back in front of the same mobile weapon he'd retreated from in the first place. The one that Kira and the mechanic with the large rack (no WAY those were 'natural') had stolen away into. Information popped up onto his main monitors, identifying the weapon as the Strike and showing off key information of the unit. Things like pilot registration information, which hadn't yet happened for the Strike.

Athrun raised an eyebrow. Pilot registration? That was new. Looking around the cockpit, Athrun noticed a flashing light that indicated the Aegis was unregistered as well. Hrm. Athrun made a mental note to get that changed as soon as possible. Probably some key security features would be active that could have kept Athrun and his comrades from getting these Mobile Suits rather than stealing them as easily as taking candy from corpses.

Athrun's thought process was interrupted by the sound of an electric guitar playing a few chords of what sounded like a glorious entrance theme for someone. Turning the Aegis to the right, Athrun groaned slightly as he saw what was causing the sound... although it really could have only been one thing. It was Miguel Aiman, ZAFT ace pilot and international rock star making an entrance in his mobile suit. No, seriously. When Miguel wasn't helping further the glory of ZAFT supremacy, he was busy touring the colonies and promoting his music. Really, it made Athrun uncomfortable more than anything else to know that a rock star could get such a high rank in ZAFT just by being an awesome vocalist.

"The Revolution is here!" Miguel crowed as his GINN landed next to Athrun's Aegis, the mobile suit performing a pre-programmed air-guitar sequence as it landed, "Congratulations on the steal, Athrun. That'll look sweet in my custom colors."

Athrun shuddered, his hands moving as fast as humanly possible to register the Aegis to his own person specifications. Radioactive orange was not a color that looked good on any suit, especially Miguel's own custom GINN that was displayed at his concerts. The Aegis' main computer system flashed back at Athrun that the registration was active. A faked sympathetic look crossed his face as Athrun lied, "Oooh, sorry, Miguel. These Naturals have some sort of biometric lock on their suits. It hadn't been activated yet, but I accidentally triggered it when I started it up."

"...bummer," Miguel Aiman sighed as his shoulders droopped, "That would have been an awesome suit for the concert next week outside the Bloody Valentine memorial." Miguel's GINN gestured towards the Strike by hiking a thumb out like a hitchhiker, "...Rusty steal that one too? Why's it lurching around like that?"
Miguel Aiman might be a complete idiot, but he at least had the ability to see that the Strike was, admittedly, being piloted by someone who had very little idea as to what they were actually doing. Having finally stood up, the Strike was now lurching about like either a drunk who had claimed he knew his limits before downing an entire keg or a toddler. In fact, the more the Strike moved, the more it seemed like a demented combination of the two.

--------------------------

Inside the Strike, alarms of every sort were screaming and flashing as Murrue Ramius did her best to make the poor thing move. Kira, almost wedged behind the pilot's seat, tried to make sense of the main information screen. There were alarms about stabilizers not being installed, alarms over the fact that the thrusters were bone dry, alarms over the fact that the battery was only half-charged... oh, and to top it all off, the Operating System was currently in a very early Alpha stage.

"What kind of demented military project is this?" Kira muttered to himself as he saw more and more errors fill the screen as Murrue alternated between making the Strike head left or right and holding her bleeding shoulder, "I've seen less errors in a copy of Microsoft Bob!"

The reference went over Murrue's head, but she got the point pretty easily as she tried to make the Strike flee the area. Poorly. "Look, it's still a prototype and they're still working on it. I heard they might make an early Beta available next week."

Kira groaned, feeling more doomed than he did when he was surrounded by explosions and corpses.

--------------------------

"...actually, no," Athrun finally admitted, wincing as the Strike bounced off the Morgenroete building, causing only minor surface damage to the structure and no damage to the Strike itself, "Some Earth Forces mechanic and a civilian hopped into that one. Rusty's dead."

A civilian who hopefully isn't my best friend from childhood, Athrun added mentally, Please dear god, don't let life be that stupid.

Miguel digested that for a few seconds as the two watched the Strike try not to fall over again, "Dead, huh? Maybe I can swoop in and take Meer for myself. I mean, hell, she's a great gal and has an awesome singing voice. She'd be great for my tour-"

"Focus, Miguel," Athrun lightly scolded the rock star, resisting the urge to just abandon the guy to his fate, "Enemy unit. What do we do with enemy units?"
Without even needing to think, Miguel pulled out his GINN's machine gun and opened fire, "We shoot them down!"

Athrun stared in horror as Miguel's spray of bullets ripped through the air, heading towards the Strike. The 'in horror,' however, only really came into play when Athrun saw every single blasted shot miss. Palming his face, Athrun couldn't help but again wonder exactly who approved for Miguel Aiman to be mobile suit rated. With a grunt of frustration, Miguel put the machine gun back into the storage rack on the GINN's back and instead pulled out what the ZAFT R&D division decided was the best solution for hand-to-hand combat with giant 15-meter tall bipedal machines of death: a metal sword.

"Without weapons, taking out this suit's gonna be a piece of cake!" Miguel crowed as his GINN charged in for the attack, telegraphing his attacks by waving the giant sword over the head of his GINN like a madman.

"Oh god." Athrun facepalmed again as his Aegis just sat there, watching impassively, "...just... just don't get yourself killed, Miguel."

--------------------------

Inside the Strike, Kira couldn't help but stare in wonder at the GINN as it charged forth, blade twirling over its head.

"...what kind of idiot decided to give them swords?" Kira couldn't help but wonder aloud, although his train of thought was derailed by the enemy GINN using the sword like a baseball bat against the torso of the Strike. Kira was tossed about behind the main pilot's seat like a ragdoll, while Murrue bounced in the pilot's seat.

Murrue slapped her forehead with her left hand as she remembered something and cursed her own stupidity, "Of course! How could I have forgotten?" Without any more hesitation, Murrue threw a switch on the main panel, labeled "Engage Phase Shift Armor."

--------------------------

Outside, the Strike shimmered for a few seconds before the plain gray paint scheme of the Strike was slowly replaced by something much brighter. The limbs and head took on a white sheen, like that of freshly-laundered socks, while the main torso became a deep and rich blue with a lovely red taking up the waist area. Indeed, the Strike now looked like what could pass for a main character mecha in an anime series meant to sell toys. But this was reality, and such colors couldn't just be for show.

Miguel laughed at the paint scheme change, "Change your colors all you like, Natural! It's going to do nothing against my blade!" The laughter died as Miguel watched the sword bounce off of the Strike's torso, a clash of sparks erupting from where they connected with no actual damage whatsoever beyond, "...what."

Athrun snapped his fingers as he remembered a plot-important fact, "Right, that's Phase Shift Armor! I'd heard rumors it was in development. It makes the GINN's sword completely useless against that armo-"

"Then shooting it shouldn't be a problem!" Miguel laughed like a madman, pulling out the GINN's machine gun again and holding down the trigger. Again, the stream of bullets missed entirely... save one round. Which exploded harmlessly across the Strike's chest.

"...that covers the GINN's gun, too. Forgot to mention that." Athrun admitted, taking some minor glee as he saw Miguel fail miserably, "I should have been out of here minutes ago. Got this top-secret suit to drag back to the Vesalius." he made the excuse, but really just wanted to leave before he saw Miguel humiliate himself more. With that, Athrun triggered the Aegis' own Phase Shift system, turning the Aegis a bright eye-burning pink and flew off into the skies of Heliopolis.

"So..." Miguel tried to think things over, as two and two tried to come together in his head, "I can't damage the enemy with my sword. I can't damage him with my gun either." Two and two finally came together as his brain made the mental math, "So I just gotta hit it a whole lot until it breaks!" Unfortunately for Miguel, two and two came up to five, as the demented rock star charged at the Strike again, swinging the sword as best it could.

Standing a much less than recommended distance away from the one-sided duel between the ZAFT GINN and the Strike, Kira's friends bickered.

"The Shelter's this way," Sai spoke mockingly as he glared at Tolle, "See? The map says we're here, so we go to the right!" he paused to hit Tolle upside the head before switching to yelling at his friend, "Does it look like there are any shelters this way, Tolle?"

"Hey, I said I was sorry!" Tolle whimpered, backing away from Sai, "How was I supposed to know the map was upside-down?!"

Miriallia, meanwhile, was too entranced by the two giants of SCIENCE starting to slug it out to even comment on the ensuing argument, even if the Strike was looking decidedly underpowered and outgunned.

--------------------------

Deep within the bowels of Heliopolis, only one of the multitude of civilian emergency shelters was bustling with an activity that wasn't blind panic. ORB's own princess, Cagali Yula Athha was here, in person! Some people wanted to make sure the Princess was doing well, others leered at her despite the comically large overcoat. Still others snapped pictures using their cell phones to tweet immediately. Indeed, in Heliopolis' Twitter servers, #CagaliYuulaAatha quickly overtook the much more common #ZAFTisKillingEveryone. Go figure.

Cagali, meanwhile, was pretty much numb to the world, and she sat slumped in the last remaining seat in the shelter - wishing desperately she had her hat to disguise herself again rather than be gawked and fawned over like a child. Her face still carried a soft blush over the kiss that had been stolen from her. But one look in Cagali's eyes showed that she wasn't really embarrassed or fretting over her first kiss like some silly anime heroine.

Instead, Cagali was royally pissed off. How dare he do that? How does someone that... that... stupid have the gall to kiss her, to take that privilege? One anime cliche was still right, though: Cagali still wanted to meet that kid again.

So she could introduce his face to her fist.

--------------------------

"If this thing isn't even close to completed yet," Kira's words came out jilted as the Strike was pushed around again by Miguel's horrible sword fighting, "Then why don't we run away?"

Murrue let out another curse as Miguel batted at the Strike like Christopher Lambert trying to swing a katana, "The Strike hasn't been completed yet, but this thing is still combat worthy. This stuff can't he helped!" Murrue let out a scream of pain as a particularly nasty strike sent the machine rumbling off to the side, forcing her injured shoulder to dig into the side of her seat.

"Move, miss Murrue." Kira said, sounding serious for once, "If you're injured, at least let me try to pilot it."

Looking at Kira like he was insane, Murrue sat there for a good three seconds before reacting. Looking at Kira like he was insane, Murrue slowly unstrapped herself from the Strike's pilot seat and slid out of the way. Wasting no time, Kira jumped into the seat and pulled out the built-in keyboard attached to the main control panel. Tapping away at the keyboard, what Kira found shocked him.

"...this is all that the Earth Alliance has done with this thing? Seriously?" Kira reached into his pocket and began to fish for something.
Murrue looked at Kira, "...what are you doing?"

Kira grinned as he pulled out his thumbdrive and plugged it into one of the USB ports on the control panel's surface, "A little upgrading..." he muttered as he brought up the file he was looking for. Text scrolled across the main screen of the Strike:

Would you like to run PlotConvience.EXE?
Yes / No


A tap of the screen and the program activated... causing the Strike to instantly dim and go dark as the system shut down. Murrue was about to yell at Kira, when the lights suddenly came back up again. The main screen of the Strike's computer lit up as well, with text scrolling across it. Both Murrue and Kira couldn't help but stare at the screen as it read...

General
Unilateral
Neuro-link
Dispersive
Autonomic
Maneuver

Mobile
Suit
Operation
System
Strike Version KAY – K01


Murrue blinked as she read what the new acronom spelled out, giving us our required marketing designation, "Gundam…"

Kira shrugged as the Strike began to power back up again, the various systems popping back online and making various noises, "It sounded cool. I mean, most of it applies to the emergency worker exoskeleton we were making, but I figured that GUNDAM sounded better than GUNAM." Kira pushed the control sticks forward slowly, and the Strike began to lurch forward, "Now let's hope that all the motion capture we put into the OS carried over..."

Over in the GINN, Miguel was taken aback as the fancy color scheme that had just flowed over the Strike suddenly vanished. Even the yellow-tinted eye-cameras of the Strike that glowed when the unit had been on went dark and the entire unit seemed unnaturally still. Miguel charged forward, his GINN's blade ready to skewer the Strike like a kebab (or at least dent it heavily)... only for the Strike to come back alive mid-swing. Rather than let the sword plink uselessly off the armor, the Strike grabbed the sword with its left hand and, in one fluid motion, pulled the sword (and the GINN) closer to punch the sword user in the face with the right.

"...exactly what kind of motion capture did you kids use?" Murrue looked shocked as Kira had the Strike punch the GINN two more times in the face before finally letting go and allowing the GINN to recover, "You said it was an exoskeleton for emergencies...?"

"Well... we wanted to make sure the suit would be flexible and move like a human would." An embarrassed grin slid across Kira's face as he looked back up at Murrue('s rack), "I think our main source was old Martial Arts movies from the 20th century. Someone named Bruce... Lee, that was it. Bruce Lee."

True to Kira's words, the Strike was now posed a little less like a giant robot and a bit more like a large metal martial artist. Facing off against Miguel's GINN, the Strike's two hands were positioned close to its torso, ready to react to anything the GINN could do, the rear foot dragging back across the concrete slightly. The GINN paced around the Strike, moving its sword about, trying to either menace the pilot or intimidate. Neither one was working. Giving up, Miguel let out a battle cry worthy of a metal album as he charged in at the Strike, swinging the GINN's sword like a madman.

"Don't we have any weapons?" Kira yanked the Strike out of the way of Miguel's admittedly clumsy swordplay as he looked to Murrue for an answer.
Murrue grabbed the Strike's virtual instruction manual from a pocket on the side of the pilot's seat and began thumbing through it. An eternity passed as Murrue stumbled into the weaponry systems overview, "Weapons... weapons... weapons... ah!" she threw a few switches on the side of the main console, a weapons display showing up in front of the two of them, "The Armor Schneiders or the Igelstellung Vulcan Guns!"

But that wasn't quite what the text showed.

"Valcan Gun or Armr-Scneider?" Kira blinked several times at the spelling of the only viable weapons the Strike actually had, not quite sure how he'd pronounced the jumble of text on the screen, "What are the Armr..." Kira froze slightly, a slow grin spreading across his face. These were Mobile Suit-sized switchblade knives. Whomever designed the Strike had a demented sense of what practical weapons were, but Kira wasn't about to complain at all. Tapping at the touch screen in front of him, Kira brought up the activation command for the blades.

You are about to run StabbyStabStab.exe
Is this ok?
Yes / No

"Oh ZOINKS the hell yes," Kira grinned as he stabbed his finger on Yes.

"Die, Natural scum!" Miguel Aiman screamed as he tossed his GINN's blade aside to pull out the machine gun again. As Miguel pulled the trigger he paused, his eyes rolling up slightly as he lost himself in thought again, "Actually, that'd be a good song title. Wonder if I've not used that one yet." Miguel's thought process was interrupted by the Strike's arms slipping down to the side skirt armor. An odd movement, to be sure. Readying himself for anything, Miguel's GINN took a single step back. The Strike's arms moved back up, the hands both holding what looked for all the world like gun magazines or something equally small. Miguel smirked, "Come on, Natural, I bet I can still take whatever yo-"

A pair of blades ripped from what were now obviously hilts. Had the knives been scaled for a normal person, the blades would easily have been eight or nine inches in length. On a Mobile Suit's scale, the blades looked positively massive and even seemed to waver ever so slightly. Miguel wasn't sure if it was the colonylight playing tricks on his eyes or if the blades were moving slightly, but the Strike's hands were manipulating the blades in a way that made it hard to tell. Indeed, if Miguel didn't know any better, he could have sworn that the Strike was now moving like it had experience with knife fighting...

One thing was sure, though: Miguel Aiman was now having troubles controlling his bladder.

"Oh God what-" was the only thing that came from Miguel's mouth as the GINN took another three steps back, the gun-holding arm of the GINN shaking ever so slightly as the shaking of Miguel's own arm carried over to the Mobile Suit. Without waiting to see exactly what the Strike's pilot had in mind, Miguel pulled on the trigger and held down, trying to spray the Strike with as much bullets as his gun could shoot.

The Strike moved forward like a ninja, dashing low along the ground - well underneath the stream of bullets. With what Miguel would later swear to be no warning, the Strike reared up at point-blank range, knife blades pointing forward in its outstretched hands. Before Miguel could react or scream any of the thirty obscenities flooding his brain all at once, the point of the left hand's knife was already deep into the right arm of his GINN, with the other knife stabbing into the face of the GINN's face, "Mess up my day, will you?" came voice of the enemy pilot over the radio, almost sounding like a snarl, "Mess up my chances with a hot girl?! I might forgive the invasion of my home, but I'll never forgive that!" Miguel did the only thing he could think of doing in this situation.

Feeling much better after stabbing the GINN's arm and face, Kira was about to pull the knives out for more stabbing fun when the cockpit hatch of the GINN popped open. Inside, Kira could see the pilot, custom orange Normal Suit and all desperately climbing out of the cockpit. Kira was equally befuddled as the pilot threw himself out the cockpit and began flying away - the flight pack of his normal suit leaving an odd contrail as he flew off.

"I'll get you next time, Natural!" Miguel screamed over the comm channel as the rock star flew into the colony's skies, scrambling off to the ZAFT recovery point, "Just you wait!"

Kira turned to Murrue, a look of 'what the ZOINKS' etched onto his face, "...exactly what just happened? Did I just capture an enemy mobile suit?"
Murrue simply shrugged, as clueless as Kira was, "ZAFT pilots normall don't give up this easily. I mean mayb..." Murrue's words drifted off as she noticed the GINN's torso was beginning to shimmer slightly. The shimmer grew into a bright glow as the obvious hit Murrue like a brick wall, although her voice was completely devoid of emotion as she spoke a warning, "...oh. Self-destruct. Of course."

The air around the Strike erupted in explosions, smoke and death as the standard ZAFT denial procedure took effect, sending ZAFT-issue Mobile Suit limbs flying through the air. The heat of the explosion also warped several buildings around the area, causing them to bend in the direction that the GINN had been. After several excruciating seconds for anyone stupid enough to be watching (in other words: Sai, Tolle and Miri), the Strike emerged from the smoke and destruction... almost literally unharmed.

"...whelp." was all Kira could think to say as he looked at the wreckage surrounding the area now, "...that was a thing."

--------------------------

Meanwhile, in the space outside Heliopolis, the massive stock footage battle still raged. Many of the Earth Alliance's little space-airplanes, known as Moebius units, were seriously outnumbered and screwed over by the superior-in-every-way Mobile Suits fielded by ZAFT. Well, all except one.

Enter Lieutenant Commander Mu laFlaga, the fabled Hawk of Endymon. Pretty much the only ace pilot worth mentioning in the entire Earth Alliance, Mu's job was to escort the ship carrying the five pilots meant for the new E.A.G.L.E. units being developed in Heliopolis. And honestly, it was a pretty dull escort mission. Well, until about 30 minutes ago, when the ZAFT vessels that had been tailing them launched a massive assault on Heliopolis. The captain, a man who took more time out of his day to groom his mustache than to actually be a captain of anything, was taken aback and utterly shocked that ZAFT would dare attack any Earth Alliance ship, especially one on such a blatantly important mission that not a single damned person in the Earth Alliance hadn't heard of it at some point.

Currently, the ship was busy plowing into the side of Heliopolis and exploding. ZAFT's elite strike team of Mobile Suit pilots had taken out the engines of the craft almost immediately, with the next attack sending the vessel horribly off-course and into the colony. Why, precisely, it exploded in a fashion that would make Michael Bay wet rather than just crumple slightly or bounce away was a question for the scientists who now studied the effect of N-Jammers on dramatic collisions than anyone on the battlefield, so everyone just accepted it and moved on with killing one another.

Zooming by the admittedly pretty explosion in his extra-fancy custom unit, the Moebius Zero, Mu flashed the remains a salute of respect. Not that he hadn't expected some ZOINKS like this to happen in the first place. In retrospect, Mu had figured naming the vessel he was escorting the "Balatro" ('fool,' for those who don't know Latin) was probably a pretty large hint that it was doomed for failure.

Mu laFlaga juked and dodged incoming fire from several GINNs, making his Moebius Zero move like a butterfly on crack. And unlike the regular Moebius, which tended to have weapons on-par with most of nature's fiercest butterflies, Mu's Moebius Zero had an arsenal that seemed about as equally insane as the Mobile Suits he was facing. Bearing a railgun under the cockpit and four pods that could be popped off and remotely-controlled by the brainwaves of the pilot alone. And these 'gunpods' also happened to tote around railguns, albeit slightly smaller. Really, it's a wonder these little vehicles of death weren't mass-produced or given to pilots who weren't main or supporting characters. Popping off two of the Gunpods, Mu pulled the Zero off to the left while rounding the Gunpods off to the right. With ZAFT's mobile suit pilots distracted by the obvious target, it was easy to have the Gunpods pick them off one-by-one.

If you couldn't tell, Lt. Commander LaFlaga is a bit of a badass.

Indeed, his only problem could be argued that his father is a bit of a douchebag. Well. Was. But that's neither here nor there, nor will it somehow become a key plot point in the final fourth of the series.
Because that'd just be stupid.

--------------------------

Back on the Nazca class ZAFT vessel known as the Vesalius, the bridge was a hustle of activity. Reports were being taken from various locations, but from what Captain Ades could tell, all was going well. The Earth Alliance machines Duel, Blitz and Buster had already been taken in and were being looked over intensely by the Vesalius' mechanics. The Aegis, complete with Chairman Zala's own son, was on its way back as well and would soon be in their grasp. The final mobile weapon would either be stolen soon, or destroyed, leaving the Earth Alliance with nothing but rubble and broken dreams. And corpses. Can't forget those.

"My god! Olar's taken damage!" came the shouts from one of the battle communications specialists, "He's on his way back for repairs!"

"In a battle such as this..." Captain Ades drawled out slightly, stunned, "Even Olar's taken damage? By the Space Whale! Pray for his safe return, everyone!"

Commander Rau leCruiset tried his best not to let out a snort of laughter. Gods, he hated this religious crap. At least some of the Earther religions had made some sense by comparison, but Rau wasn't about to knock what kept people in line. And hey, that half-mask of his made it easier to keep a straight face.

"Receiving a laser signal from Miguel!," another shouted out, "His Mobile Suit was destroyed, it's an emergency!"

"Well, well..." Rau didn't bother to hide the smirk now, "It looks like our celebrity rock star needs help." He jumped from the command chair and began to head to the bridge's exit, "Ades, I'm going out. Have the men prepare my mobile suit."

--------------------------

This is where the eyecatch would go if this was a television show.

--------------------------
Just outside of Morgenroete's main campus, there was a somewhat unusual sight for anyone who wasn't somehow privy to today's events. It would still look a little odd, admittedly, but no more strange than ZAFT killing everyone or random unknown mobile suits flying overhead. Indeed, the Strike kneeling down near a park bench was actually quite normal by those standards, and the small group who had clustered nearby actually made it seem like more of a family outing occasion than a strange and unique event

The small group in question, for those of you who somehow never saw Gundam Seed's second episode, happened to be Kira, Murrue and the three friends of Kira's who somehow hadn't made it to the shelter in time before they were all ratcheted up to Crisis Level Seven. Which basically means they were all locked, primed, and ready to eject into space for rescue, should more crap happen to the Colony. As for the reason as to why Kira had chosen to put the Strike next to a park bench, one only had to look at the person currently unconscious on it.

Murrue Ramius moaned softly as she began to slowly awaken to the world again. Somehow, after the GINN had exploded, Murrue had been knocked unconscious. Kira really wasn't sure how that had actually happened, as the Strike had come out of that explosion almost entirely unscathed... but if anyone had pressed him for an answer, Kira Yamato would have put good money on her own breasts being the culprit. With their size, he figured they could easily have knocked her out with enough motion behind them. And he might not have been wrong. As Murrue opened her eyes, squinting slightly at the bright colonylight, she found both Kira and some random girl looking down on her.

"You feeling any better?" the girl asked, taking the cold rag she'd used on Murrue's forehead as Murrue tried to sit up, "I tried to bandage your shoulder, too. It's not bleeding that bad, but it's better safe than sorry."

Murrue glanced down at her shoulder and found her shoulder actually did look better, although she wasn't sure why the bandages were applied to her clothes rather than her bare skin. Ah well, the painkillers Murrue could feel she was under felt nice.

The one Murrue recognized as Kira leaned down as well, smiling a little creepily, "I think I owe you an apology." he paused, but didn't give enough time to let Murrue ask what for, "I might have gotten a little carried away with defending us from that GINN."

Murrue was about to laugh, but then she heard something actually coming from the Strike's open cockpit hatch. Her head turned towards the kneeling (and slightly battered, now that she could see much clearer) Strike as she heard some voices coming out of the cockpit. Two teens, it sounded like, were poking around in there. This worried Murrue instantly, as it WAS something of a military secret. You know, for now.

"This Gundam is awesome!" Tolle crowed as he sat in the pilot's seat, using the built-in keyboard to scroll through the programs installed on the Strike, "It looks like all of our programming carried through almost perfectly! Even the motion capture worked with this beast."

Sai nodded as he popped out from behind the chair, looking through the virtual manual, "I know, it's like a drea- Gundam?" he paused as the word caught him by surprise, "The name of our project? I dunno, it looks like the Earth forces chose the name 'Strike' for this one, though."

Tolle's face split into a grin as he slapped away at the keyboard like a Hollywood hacker, "Well, then," a few more seconds passed and Tolle let go of the keyboard and crossed his arms, "Strike Gundam it is."

Sai grinned and laughed, "Sweet."

Tolle and Sai were interrupted from their geek spasm by the sound of gunshots ripping through the air, three of them in a row. The two froze instantly, their eyes locked onto the person who had fired those shots: a very pissed-off Murrue Ramius, standing up and now pointing the gun right into the cockpit of the newly-christened 'Strike Gundam.'

"Step out of the Strike. Now." Murrue said plainly as the her pistol let off a touch of smoke from the barrel, her voice carrying a tone that screamed 'I've had it up to here with the ZOINKS today. Do not cross me.'

Kira Yamato, the (self-appointed) king of reading the Mood of any situation, stepped up beside Murrue and placed a hand on her shoulder. While his motions indicated he would rather be hitting on Murrue than actually bothering to try to reason with her, his words actually seemed to make some sense, "You really should relax. I needed some help carrying you out of the cockpit. I didn't think you'd appreciate being shoved out onto the pavement from a good 10 feet up..." Kira tried for a disarming grin as he continued, "Besides, I wanted to make sure that the operation system I installed didn't mess up the Mobile Suit. Something tells me we'd be in a lot more trouble if that happened, and since my friends here helped me write the program I used," Letting go of Murrue's shoulder, Kira laughed as he looked back at the Strike, "...well, to turn the Strike into an ass-kicking machine, maybe we could get a pass on this one? Please?"

The female mechanic groaned. As little as Murrue liked the little guy oogling her body under the jumpsuit she was wearing, he had a point. The Strike had been useless before that system replacement and reboot, and while it had been a miracle that it HAD worked... Kira had made short work of the enemy as well. "Damn it," she muttered under her breath before holstering her pistol back on her hip, "Well, I do suppose I owe the lot of you a debt of gratitude. But this is still a top-secret military project for the Earth Alliance military. I can't let you all go so easily."

Sai couldn't help but push his luck with a reply, "...you mean the top-secret military project that ZAFT blatantly knows about and stole four of the five weapons made by said project?"

"I have to agree with Sai on this," Tolle shook his head as he joined in, leaning out of the cockpit as he did so, "We knew about the Earth Alliance warship coming to visit, so someone in the Earth Alliance really sucks at keeping secrets.

--------------------------

Also somewhere deep within the collection of Alaskan bunkers that made up the bulk of the Earth Alliance headquarters, the head of the Earth Alliance splinter faction 'Blue Cosmos' named Murata Azrael let out a maniacal laugh over his totally spoileriffic plans.

Not that he's evil or anything.

--------------------------

Murrue sighed heavily, her shoulder dropping as she finally gave up arguing, "...ZOINKS." she muttered, at least what she thought was under her breath. Regaining something passing for composure, Murrue stood up straight and spoke again, sounding a little more confident, "Well, seeing how you have... tinkered with top-secret military technology and modified it well beyond the original intent, I'm going to have to keep all of you," she paused, looking at each one in turn, "with me. Names. Now."

Sai waved a hand out of the Strike's cockpit as he continued to leaf through the virtual manual, his mind racing at the possibilities over what this unit could do, "Sai Argyle. Mostly R&D work, I also code."

The other intruder of the Strike jumped down from the cockpit, trying to look cool but failing rather miserably, "Tolle Koenig, at your service. I'm the training dummy and I worked on the physical side of our project."

"Miriallia Haw," came from Murrue's left, as Miri walked over close to Murrue, although her eyes were still glued to the Strike Gundam, "Another coder. I'm also the one who provided the motion capture for some combat styles-"

"Like the knife fighting." interrupted Tolle, who didn't notice exactly how freaked out Murrue looked at that revelation.

"Kira Yamato," Kira spoke, a smile spreading across his face as he realized Murrue wasn't going to kill them all, "Jack of all trades in the project."

Murrue took a few steps back from Kira and Miriallia so she could watch them both along with Sai and Tolle as she spoke next, and totally not because the idea of that young woman wielding a knife like the Strike had earlier creeped her out, "I'm Lieutenant Murrue Ramius, Earth Alliance. And as of right now, until a superior officer and entire engineering team can take a look at exactly what the ZOINKS you've done to our Mobile Suit, you're all conscripted. Effective immediately."

Their reaction was, admittedly, quite better than Murrue expected. Sai Argyle didn't even look up from the virtual manual, instead choosing to think in silence. The other three, meanwhile, gathered in a small circle together in front of Murrue to talk for a few seconds. There were brief moments where Kira or Tolle looked up from the huddle to look back at Murrue, only to be dragged back into said huddle by Miriallia. Murrue thought this was rather understandable - after all, Orb was neutral. Mostly. And Heliopolis was nothing but a colony filled with children and civilians, these people obviously being both the former and the latter at the same time. And they had to be talking about how this just wasn't fair. Murrue was more than ready to give them a speech about how life isn't fair, about how she needs their help to even figure out how the Strike works now. About how they can do so much good just by pitching in an-

The huddle broke and all three kids stood in front of Murrue while Sai slipped into the pilot's seat of the Strike and began plinking away at the keyboard. Miriallia and Tolle looked at one another, as if deciding who should speak first. Then both elbowed Kira in their respective side. Wincing, Kira spoke up words that caused Murrue's brain to break: "Sure. We're in."

Sai, still engrossed deep in the new operating system of the Strike Gundam made his vote known as well with a shrug and a very deadpan voice, "Whatever. We're getting paid, right?"

"...what?" Murrue blinked in shock. Exactly what kind of demented children did she stumble across?

Tolle answered the unspoken question by throwing up his hands behind his head and leaning against Kira, "I mean, if the Earth Alliance and ZAFT are going to take their fight to Orb territory like this, we need to actually take a side. And I don't know about the other three, but I'm not siding with the guys who just invaded our colony and started killing everyone. I'm not a fan of the sneaky crap the EA just pulled, and the fact that Orb most likely knew about it troubles me, but it's a lot better than siding with mass murdering ZOINKS."

If this was a television show, I'd have cued the dramatic music sting. As it's a crappily-written fanfic, feel free to enjoy the feel of the not-so-subtle foreshadowing.

--------------------------

Back out in space, it was a clash of the ages. The ace pilot of the Earth Alliance, the Hawk of Endymon: Mu laFlaga, was in a showdown with Rau leCruiset, the White Ghost of ZAFT. For the moment, it looked like the fight was about even, with the Moebius Zero's Gunpods able to keep Rau's CGUE on the run. Or at least contained for the moment.

Rau forced his CGUE to retreat along the side of Heliopolis' colony wall, pulling away from the 5 railguns pointed at him. Not wasting a potential chance to taunt his foe, Rau spat over the comm line, "You're always in my way, Mu laFlaga!" he paused, a grin sliding across his partially-masked face as he added, "Though I imagine you'd say the same thing about me!"

There was a long pause, only accented by Mu laFlaga's Moebius Zero launching more railgun rounds at Rau as he processed this information. Rau as about to try taunting again, but was cut off by Mu's own snappy reply, "…actually, I think you're more of an attention whore, leCruiset." Rau could almost feel the grin on Mu's face as he heard the next lines: "What's with the mask? Daddy didn't love you enough?"

Rau was speechless. How did he know?! I mean, yes, there were more reasons for wearing this mask that are incredibly spoiler-riffic and won't be mentioned here, but how?!

Mu's voice sounded tired of waiting for a reply as Rau adjusted his course to head into Heliopolis, "What, you mad, bro?"

"Yes, I mad!" came the reply as Rau's CGUE vanished into one of Heliopolis' docking ports.

--------------------------

Back at the other part of the plot, things were looking a little dire. Tolle and Miriallia were still looking over the Strike's joints and armor for any major damage that couldn't be buffed out at some point. Murrue simply sat on the bench that she'd awoken on, regaining her strength and hoping the dull ache in her shoulder would stop eventually. She was currentyl having Kira radio for help from a nearly Earth Forces battleship, but so far was having no luck. As for Sai? He'd completely vanished about 10 minutes ago, not telling anyone where he went.

"Attention Archangel, calling Archangel!" Kira called into the Strike's comm system, broadcasting his cry on a general band in case they were listening, "Come in, Archangel. Situation dire, need assistance." Kira took his hand off the 'send' command and looked down at Murrue, "...what the hell's an Archangel?"

Murrue looked up at Kira, struggle showing on her face as she wondered if she should tell Kira or not about what the Archangel is, "Need to know basis for now. And right now, you don't need to know." she finally said.

"Well whatever they are..." Kira's words drifted off slightly as he gestured to the comm system's controls in the Strike, "They're not responding. Or maybe I'm not getting a signal. I'm not entirely sure."

Murrue sighed, shaking her head, "Damn. ZAFT must still be jamming the comm signals. We'll need more power to break through the interference. But without any of the extra equipment..."

Murrue's words were drowned out by the noise of an incredibly large hauler truck pulling up at speeds that could be thought of as unsafe... if the streets weren't utterly abandoned at the moment. Her expression brightened considerably as she saw a bright white '#5' stenciled on the side of the truck's trailer. Not to mention that the truck was intact and looked pretty much unscathed. Murrue's expression went from 'delighted' to 'mildly confused,' however, when she saw who the driver of the truck was as he pulled the truck neatly behind the kneeling Strike Gundam.

"Sai?" Miriallia looked up from her squatting position in front of the Strike's left ankle joint in surprise, "Is this why you vanished on us?"

Killing the engine, Sai stepped out of the truck and looked at the stares he was getting blankly, before shrugging, "I noticed the Strike had extra equipment packs in the manual. I did some more digging in Morgenroete's systems and found this sitting back in the R&D department. The plate numbers check out, so we should have everything for the Strike now."

"...but... how... what?" Murrue stuttered as she looked at the truck and then Sai like he was some sort of mind reader, or maybe made of magic.

Tolle threw an arm around Sai and laughed, "Sai here tends to really get into new projects. Especially those involving awesome tech like this."

Murrue took a few seconds to process the walking, talking plothole in front of her before continuing, "O...ok. Argyle, Koenig, open up the container. We're going to need one of the packs from the trailer." Turning up to Kira, who had given up on the radio the second Sai showed up and was currently flashing his not-quite best friend a thumbs up, "Yamato, we're going for the Launcher pack. It's the green one."

"The one with the incredibly large gun," Sai added, his nose now back in the virtual manual, "A 320mm Hyper Impulse Cannon."

Tolle raised an eyebrow at that, "That's too many words. How about we just call it the BFG?

Murrue groaned. They were all insane. That had to be it.

--------------------------

Streaking through the bowels of Heliopolis, Rau leCruiset was leading his foe on a merry chase down the maintenance passages. And despite the fact that he was playing the role of mouse for once in their game of back and forth, Rau couldn't help but notice that he had a distinct advantage. After all, Mu's Moebius Zero couldn't use its Gunpods in such a closed passageway - meaning that he couldn't swipe at Rau from the side or surprise him. And considering Rau was leading the way, well... it wasn't hard to spring a trap or two.

In fact, he was doing that now. Rau suppressed the urge to chuckle darkly, his CGUE was hiding in one of the dead-ends that were meant for storing various unimportant materials for rebuilding the colony walls should any holes appear. Which hadn't happened for so long that, quite frankly, the government of Heliopolis had stopped caring about potential repair jobs. Still, Rau thanked providence that they had gotten so lax as to allow crap like this to happen. Hiding in total darkness, about the only thing someone could make out (if they were paying attention and knew what to look for) might be a glint of metal off of the GCUE's assault machine gun.
Unluckily for Rau, Mu was looking for just that. Just as Rau was about to pull the trigger, Mu's Moebius Zero kicked into overdrive and zipped past. The resulting spray of bullets did do heavy damage, but only to the Gunpods mounted at the rear of the Zero. Mu and Rau each let out a spiteful curse as the other realized what had happened.

Slipping back into the main corridor, Rau cursed his luck, "I might have to stop by the patent office when I next have shore leave, Mu laFlaga," he paused. A grin across his face as he pondered what he should do, now that he was pursuing his enemy. Letting loose a hail of gunfire, he continued, "Because I'm about to invent a whole new pain for you!"

--------------------------

"Keep it going..." Kira spoke to Sai over the comm system, monitoring the slow equipping process for the Launcher Striker pack, "Laser-guidance online. 40 seconds to initial connection."

Standing below the Strike, watching over the process as best she could, Murrue couldn't help but be impressed. The first time that the tech teams had run this equipment test, it had taken almost 10 minutes to even get this far. At the very least, these kids were earning their keep. And both Tolle and Miriallia, while they weren't helping with the immediate setup, were still making themselves busy by going over the changes made to the operation system for the Strike Gundam (god, it felt odd thinking that). Things seemed to be going we- what was that rumbling noise?

Kira looked up in surprise as he saw one of the strut supports keeping the sides of Heliopolis tied together and holding firm explode. As the strut fell away like a snapped piece of string (an exploding piece of string, admittedly, but still), two obscured items flew out from the smoke and flames. Activating the Strike's sensors, Kira saw a pair of identification tags flowing for the two items. One was an Earth Alliance Mobile Armor, the TS-MA2mod.00 Moebius Zero. The other was certainly a Mobile Suit and looked for all the world like a GINN with extra shiny bits sticking out, but with smaller wings. And a shield, with a minigun mounted inside it. The Strike's early warning system erupted red, flashing lights and everything, as it identified the enemy unit.

ZGMF-515 CGUE detected.
Threat level: Recommend running away. Now.

"Um... can we speed this up any faster?" Kira hummer nervously to Murrue over the comm channel as he noticed the Launcher pack was nowhere near equipping anytime soon, "Something tells me our 15-meter-tall mobile weapon won't go unnoticed.

A curse that was too explicit to repeat was the only reply as Murrue also noticed the CGUE dancing up in the sky with the Moebius Zero, "...this is not going to end well. Equip that pack now. Bypass the safety procedures if you have to."

Kira only nodded in reply, already working in the Strike Gundam's operating system to deactivate the safety features for equipping Striker Packs to the unit.
Up in the sky of Heliopolis, the pair of Rau and Mu were engaged in a dance of death. However, the fight was no longer anything resembling even. With the gunpod units destroyed and Mu down to the main railgun mounted on the body of the Moebius Zero, he was limited to just straight attack runs on Rau's CGUE. Telegraphing one's moves was one thing, anything Mu was left with was essentially narrating like a cheesy fanfic while holding a gigantic neon sign over his head saying "I AM GOING TO SHOOT YOU" in 500-foot letters. And sadly, unlike his subordinates, Rau leCruiset was anything but stupid.

Indeed, as Mu tried to use the open space of Helipoplis to dodge and juke Rau's attacks, it took several seconds for Mu to realize that Rau was actually two or three steps ahead of him, placing Mu into a game of Cat-and-Mouse that didn't involve Tom and Jerry tactics or outcomes. Oh, look. Now Rau was within melee range.
"Poor Mu, all out of time!" Rau laughed as he dove in for the kill, swinging his CGUE's fancy-looking physical blade at the cockpit.

"Damn you, leCruiset!" Mu cursed as he yanked back on the Moebius Zero's stick, dragging the unit back just enough that Rau didn't hit the cockpit... instead, sacrificing the mounted railgun. Mu let out another curse as the railgun split in half along the slice, the separated half falling away.

"And now that you've been disarmed..." Rau spoke as if it has been his plan the entire time, a smirk slid across his face as he twisted his CGUE towards the Strike sitting down below, "Time to wrap up a loose end with that fifth unit..."

As Rau was about to charge in and deal a devastating blow to the Strike Gundam, twin beams of multicolored light ripped through the air of the colony between them. Red, white and blue blinded both Kira and Rau at the same time as it went, with touches of the other colors of the spectrum as well flickering at the edges of their vision. As one, both the Strike and Rau's CGUE turned towards the source of the twin lances of death.

Explosions erupted from the Heliopolis Hills area, a heavily forrested and hilly preserve found several miles outside the Morgenroete. Although it was once a secret to everyone, it was now rather blatant that the peaceful park area was actually a front for storing another secret project for the Earth Alliance. As the explosions began to fade into smoke and flying dust, dirt, trees and dead animals, a rather large white and red... thing slowly emerged from the wreckage. 420 meters long and 150 meters high, mostly pearl white with bright red highlights, the Earth Forces' newest battleship revealed itself. To the casual observer, the ship looked like a mechanical Pegasus from ancient myth and legend, by way of a car from the 1950s (what with the sweet-looking wings on the side and back), with raised front legs and engines for read legs. You know, if it didn't really have a head, as the bridge was rather small with a short neck extended from the center of the ship, and had massive guns sticking out of the sides and 'raised front legs.' As if this wasn't intimidating enough, the warship maneuvered itself so that it was on a heading that would take it right over the Strike, right near Rau's own CGUE.

And then it spoke.

"Attention dickweed," a voice erupted over the Archangel's PA system and the local comm network on all channels, coming from what was a stern-sounding woman who still sounded rather attractive, "This is the Earth Alliance warship Archangel. Get the ZOINKS away from our property."

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