Anyway, here's a little blurb before you start reading:
The year is 97 AS. Humanity has spread out to the planets of the solar system en masse, easing the burden on the overpopulated Earth. It has been 20 years since the Earth System Federation has united all of Earth under a single banner, and 7 years since it united all of the solar system. But peace is not to be had amongst humanity, for a revolution has arisen. Cybers - humans cybernetically enhanced to the point of near-perfection - have risen up against the ESF, believing themselves the future of humanity.
Simultaneously, away from the gravity of Earth, humans born with special powers are emerging. With enhanced empathy and sensory abilities, they are seen as aberrations by human and Cyber alike, but there are others who believe them to be humanity's next evolutionary step. In the face of persecution, the so-called "Newtypes" have banded together for protection.
Together, the three factions vie for dominance. The stakes - the future of humanity as a species.
Chapter 1 inside the spoiler tag:
“This close? Why didn’t they pick up sooner?”
“Unidentified vessels, identify yourselves and slow your descent!”
“They’re coming in fast!”
“Got visual... they look humanoid!”
“I repeat, you are entering restricted space, slow your descent and-“
“They’re opening fire!”
“Bring turrets online! Lock on and-“
“Sir, lock-on systems not functioning! There’s some sort of interference!”
“They’re closing in!”
“Switch the turrets to manual!”
“You heard me, go to manua-“
*Sound of explosion, then silence*
-Excerpt recovered from black box of the command center of the military spaceport Dustax
The Dustax Disaster. Five mobile suits attacked a Federation supply depot with 7 battleships docked, and succeeded in destroying the station and severely damaging the ships docked there. It was the first deployment of mobile suits and their revolutionary Minovsky reactors, completely changing the nature of battle.
For over a decade, warfare had been completely computerized. Earth’s technology had become so advanced that AI drones were able to completely take over the roles of soldier and pilot, with reflexes, precision, coordination, and determination outpacing that of any human. With their military and technological advantage, the Earth united and engaged in a conquest of the entire solar system, subjugating by force those colonies which would not submit to Earth’s dominion.
For seven years, their domination was uncontested. Then the attack on Dustax Station occurred.
A radical sect known as the League of Cybernetic Humans had arisen, composed of members of a new breed of humanity, known as Cybers. With cybernetic enhancements to their brains, these Cybers were smarter and more efficient than normal humans. Under the Federation, they had suffered strict regulation and persecution, but now they rose up, with the mobile suit as their new weapon and the Minovsky Particles as their new defense. The ultimate in electronic countermeasures, the Minovsky Particles spewed from their reactors could jam all lock-ons, rendering AI drones useless and once again forcing humanity back onto the field of battle.
The league’s very next strike was against a massive prison complex, whose inmates were all lobotomized humans, turned into subhuman Cyber slaves for their crimes. In a swift strike, the League reprogrammed and freed the inmates, turning them into proper Cybers and causing their ranks to swell. Soon, they were engaged in open rebellion against the Federation, with the rallying cry of overthrowing an Earth-centric regime and providing a bright future for humanity in the form of cybernetic augmentation.
Meanwhile, in the colonies away from Earth, another evolution of humanity was beginning. Certain humans found that they had new, enhanced abilities, such as enhanced senses and empathic abilities. Some called these new powers psychic abilities, and those with these abilities were called Newtypes. Feared and shunned by the Federation, they would nonetheless find support and unity in each other and those who supported them…
The war between Cybers and humans has been raging for two years, but the war for humanity’s future is just beginning.
Friday, September 13, 97 AS
A slight shockwave rippled through the cylindrical cargo ship as the force that had transported it across the solar system expired. From the inside, it felt like a wave hitting a seagoing ship. How many of the crew and passengers had been on seaships enough to make the connection was unknown, given their distance from Earth. The ship, the Calypso Star, had been launched by an Urenbeck Catapult around Mars, propelling it at near-light speeds to a location in the Asteroid Belt, towards a waystation and colony called Icarus Station.
However, this was not to be an ordinary journey, as the ship suddenly found itself assailed by enemies.
Outside the Calypso Star, four mobile suits surrounded the ship, all Cyber Legionnaire models. Their stout forms were painted jet black with silver insignias, and between them they had three rifles and a bazooka aimed at the ship. The Legionnaires were somewhat stouter in proportions than a normal human, broad in body and with a small sensor node where its head would be, resembling a boxy, robotic eye.
Their leader hovered in front of the ship’s nose, leveling its bazooka at the bridge as its squadmates took a triangle formation around the ship. The pilot spoke in a deep voice through the radio: “Attention, cargo vessel. If you follow our instructions you will not be harmed. You are to open the doors to your cargo bays and jettison your storage containers, or otherwise allow us to inspect your cargo. Once we have departed with our salvage, you may proceed on course and recov- damn.”
He was interrupted by a communication from one of his squadmates, via the instantaneous transmissions which Cybers had at their disposal. Instantly, the message went out to the squad – “Incoming mobile suits!”
In less than a moment, a conversation had ensued between the squad:
“What!? Where!? “
“Likely from Icarus Station, sir!”
“How did they get here so fast?”
“They must have sent out an escort flight beforehand!”
“Doesn’t matter, everyone prepare for battle!”
“Two Longbows, two Commandos! 10 seconds to maximum firing range!”
“Ha, if they think they can take us on in equal numbers, they’re fools!”
As the leader issued silent thoughts to his squadmates, he opened up a channel to the incoming mobile suits. “Attention Icarus militia suits. You are outmatched. Withdraw immediately or be destroyed.”
As he spoke, his mobile suit maneuvered between the incoming Federation mobile suits and the Calypso Star – a position that would make firing at his mobile suit head-on a risky shot, as a near-miss would hit the civilian freighter. The other Legionaires aimed their rifles at the intruders.
They waited only three more seconds before opening fire.
The calculation skills and reflexes of the Cybers meant they could open fire at much greater ranges than mere humans could. Still, at that range, at hundreds of kilometers of distance in space, it was literally a shot in the dark, as the slightest change in trajectory of bullet or target could mean a miss.
The four Federation suits began firing thrusters, slowing their decent in preparation to match trajectory with the ship and the Legionnaires, in preparation for visual range – close-quarters battle as far as space was concerned. The Commando-model suits were mostly humanoid, resembling space suits painted in the grey and brown colors common to asteroid bases, rifle in hand and cannons mounted on their backpacks, resting on their shoulders. The Longbows were wider and stouter, with sensor node set into the headless torso, and twin Gatling guns in place of arms.
The squad tried their best to dodge the incoming fire. The Cybers knew that most of their bullets would be wasted, so they fired in short bursts. A bullet pierced the thigh of a Longbow. A Commando couldn’t dodge as well and received a burst in the chest.
The Legionnaire squad leader held his fire, wanting to save his rockets for when they most mattered. The moment came as the Longbows began to return fire, as the squad charged into near-visual range, and he fired a rocket, hitting one of the Longbows and destroying it in a soundless explosion.
But the return fire was just as brutal, for Gatling fire peppered the hull of one of the Legionnaires, hitting its rifle, shooting out its eye. “Main sensor node down! Ammo feed’s jammed!”
The battle was a blur. A Legionnaire dodged out of the way of a Commando’s fire only to run into another’s rockets, who in turn was shot from behind by another Legionnaire, cooking off ammo and disabling the reactor.
The half-blind Legionnaire charged the remaining Commando with heat axe drawn, chopping down and slicing the target’s rifle in two. The Legionnaire tried to follow through with another slash, but the Commando caught the axe’s hilt. They struggled for a moment before a burst of Gatling fire from the Longbow pierced the Legionnaire’s side and disabled it.
The Cyber commander noted this. “He’s good. Very good. Focus fire on the Longbow!”
Another Legionnaire placed itself between the Longbow and the Calypso, hoping the human pilot would hold its fire. The Longbow charged at an angle, trying to flank the Legionnaire, but the Cyber simply adjusted its position to keep itself between its foe and the civilian ship – a move the Longbow anticipated, firing a pair of rockets from its chest silo into the Legionnaire. The Cyber suit drifted to the side, rifle still firing, veering in an arc, two bullets piercing the aft section of the nearby Calypso.
The Legionnaire leader could hardly believe it – a squad of elite Cybers taken down so easily. “A pilot this good, assigned to the asteroid field?” He thought instantly. “Ha… the Earth bureaucrats don’t know what they’re missing.” Stowing its bazooka, his Legionnaire drew its axe at his command, and charged straight at the Longbow from behind. The Longbow turned ponderously, but its arm swung faster, gun firing to the side at the approaching suit. The Cyber suit jerked to the right, holding out its axe to graze the Longbow as they passed, slicing its active gun arm apart even as bullets grazed the Legionnaire’s armor. Now behind its foe once more, the Cyber darted back towards the Longbow, driving its axe into the Longbow’s back, nearly cleaving it in two.
The Cyber scarcely had time to rest, as at that moment he caught sight of the remaining Commando, charging at him and firing its shoulder cannons. The Legionnaire jerked to the side, but the rockets still hit its left arm and shredded it, just before it was tackled and grappled. The two suits struggled briefly before the Legionnaire’s remaining arm broke free and swung its axe down on the Commando, digging into its shoulder.
The Commando responded by firing its remaining shoulder cannon, point blank. The first shot went directly for the Legionnaire’s eye. The second clipped the bazooka.
In the next moment, the axe’s heat cooked off the Commando’s remaining ammo, starting a chain reaction that engulfed both mobile suits.
The light was visible from the bridge of the Calypso Star… moments before shrapnel and debris showered the ship. Particles the size of thimbles left fist-sized holes in the hull, to say nothing of the larger fragments. A piece of armor plating three meters long tore into the bridge, destroying it and all aboard, leaving the brow of the Calypso a mangled mess, as the ship drifted in space, surrounded by the debris of the battle.
Some distance away, another vessel waited. Thankfully for the survivors of the Calypso Star, an SOS was transmitting, and had just been received by a large transport ship named the Anubis. Its ominous name, ill-suited for a cargo ship, hinted at a past as a ship of war – a past which it seemed unable to escape.
In a modestly lit control room, the command staff of the Anubis were discussing the situation and their course of action. The rear section of the control room was slightly raised to give the captain’s chair a commanding view of the room, and in particular of the hologram in the center of the room in which the two ships were united.
The holographic display was projected from a circular table four meters wide in the middle of the room just in front of the raised section, with a matching platform on the ceiling above. Between the two, marking the edges of the display, a pair of perpendicular rings hung, with markings along their sides indicating degrees of angle. One ring was parallel with Earth’s orbital plane, and one of the two points where the rings crossed was angled towards the sun, giving onlookers a sense of direction, like a solar system compass. In the exact center, a green dot glowed, indicating their ship. Elsewhere in the display, slightly sunward, was a yellow dot, indicating the Calypso. A white dot somewhere edgeward indicated an asteroid. A yellow arrow at the edge of the display indicated the direction of off-screen Icarus Station.
Even the tiny dots, as small as a single grain of sand, floating in the void between the compass rings, couldn’t convey the emptiness and distance that outer space truly entailed.
Around the hologram display, sitting in chairs taken from nearby control panels or holding on to a handrail around the hologram projector, were a number of people attending the briefing. In front of the holograph, next to a chair normally reserved for the holograph operator, a tall, sturdily built man stood, putting leverage on the underside of the handrail with his arms to keep his feet pressed against the floor. One would not have guessed by his appearance that he was a spaceship captain, given his deeply tanned skin and obvious muscles. The tan was actually genetic, as he was of some sort of Latino descent, but the muscles were the result of long hours of exercise and a mind that was ever-wary of the toll zero gravity could take on the human body. What remained of his hair was white, and while his round face could hold quite a smile, right now his brow was furrowed in concern.
“Ten minutes ago, we picked up an SOS coming in from this ship, identifying it as the Calypso Star. The signal seems to be a standard automated message, and they haven’t answered our hails.”
The dark-haired woman sitting in the holograph operator’s seat pressed several buttons on her control panel, and the holograph changed to a cube, each face showing the same image – a live image of the Calypso, blending several spectrums so one could see all sides clearly, even the sides away from the sun. The ship was certainly not in good condition – it was spinning very slightly as it drifted, and it sported damage in several areas. Notable was a series of craters along its flank, as well as some rather horrific damage near its front, where its nose section was crushed and partially torn off.
The captain continued. “As you can see, the Calypso has suffered some damage, apparently in a skirmish between ESF and Cyber forces. We’re not sure whether the ship is even still functional, but since the damage is localized there should be survivors. Obviously, it’s our intention to help them. They seem to have been headed towards the same destination we are, so it won’t be much of a problem to alter our course to help them get to Icarus Station. We could come up alongside them and attach tow cables, but-” He turned his head to the woman in the chair. “Fusikita has another idea as to how to proceed.”
The young woman in the hologram operator’s chair stood up, hand on the railing. Fusikita was a lovely Japanese woman in her twenties, with piercing yet soft blue eyes and long black hair that was tied together to keep it from flowing too freely in zero gravity. When she spoke, it was in a reserved, quiet, yet resolute voice.
“Quite simply, we could use the Gundams to save the ship, whatever that entails. I know it’s not as large-scale as some of the other operations we’ve done, but any small act of kindness helps – anything that will improve the public’s perception of our organization and of Newtypes. However, Captain Rodriguez has raised several… issues with that plan.”
Rodriguez chuckled as Fusikita sat back in her chair. “It’s nothing that serious. It’s just… well, we do have to keep a low profile, as far as the Gundams and Newtypes are concerned. Each deployment’s a risk, even with the Minovsky Reactors. Fusikita and I already have the details worked out, but there’s still a risk of being exposed. And that’s why you all are here, as the tiebreakers in our little mission plan. Especially you-“ He glanced at the Gundam pilots in the room other than Fusikita “-The one’s who’ll be going out there.”
A young girl with messy black hair and clothing covering her entire body save for her face stared with wide black eyes at the image of the ruined Calpyso Star. “Well, if there’s people we can help, I’m all for it!”
Beside her, a young man with his blonde hair in a ponytail looked with stoic green eyes at the same image. His slightly muscular frame made him seem to tower over the scrawny pilot next to him. “Well, if Raven’s all for it, then I guess I am too. We’ll have to take care not to be detected by any other hostile forces, however.”
Across from them, a stocky but athletic brunette woman tossed her hair impatiently, glaring at the monitor through her glasses. “Whatever you say, Siegfried. I guess if it’s a rescue mission I won’t be needed, hmm?”
Fusikita looked over at the woman. “Quite right, Los. You’ll be staying with the Anubis. Your Gundam’s too heavily armed and I don’t want the survivors to think their under attack again. But you’ll be on standby in case something comes up.” She turned back to the center. “Raven, Siegfried, and I will launch immediately, set course for the Calypso Star, and attempt to establish contact. If nothing else, we can at least try to steer them back towards Icarus station. Otherwise, we’ll deal with the situation as it develops.”
Meanwhile, aboard the Calypso Star, most of the crew were either dead or locked into safety zones. It fell to a pair of individuals, caught outside the safe zones, to navigate the damaged ship and try to help however they could.
One was a member of the crew, a thin young man with brown hair that fell to his chin, and blue eyes that seemed to speak of loneliness. The other, a passenger in his late teens, had shorter dark brown hair, and a look of determination and severity upon him.
Together the two had been moving through the ship, jury-rigging bulkheads to open and making their way to engineering. Now, the two had to split up, but were connected by a pair of two-way radios they had found along their journey.
“Daniel? Try it now.” The crewmember spoke into the radio, as he floated near a bulkhead barring entrance to engineering. “Reset the pressure, and it should work.”
“It’s working, Alliston,” came the reply. “The gas is filtering out of engineering.”
“Excellent!” Alliston moved over to a nearby panel and pushed a button, and the bulkhead slowly slid upon, revealing a secure blast door. This too opened up, revealing a scene of utter disarray.
Bodies floated about in engineering, victims of the toxic gasses that had flooded the chamber. Chunks of debris and assorted objects followed, ricocheting off the walls and panels.
Alliston gulped at the sight and entered the room. “I’m in.”
“Should I come back to you?” Daniel’s reply came.
“Um… no, stay at the life-support systems, no telling if those gasses will come back in. Give me a second, and I can try and see what I can do from here.”
He set himself up at a panel near the reactor, one hand clutching a rung on the wall so he wouldn’t float away, and began tapping at the pad, checking the status of the ship’s systems.
“So, what are our options?” The two-way radio crackled as it floated beside the control panel where Alliston hovered. He reached his free hand to grab the radio before it could drift away, as he’d been done several times now in the lack of anything to fasten the radio to. He spoke with a grim look on his young face.
“Well, the good news is I think I can activate the engines, and set a course. The bad news is… once I do, Engineering is going to start filling up with gasses again, and I’m not sure how to fix it a second time.”
“Will it be enough to get to Icarus station safely?”
“The battle probably knocked us off course, and I don’t know enough about navigation to get us back on track… to say nothing of actually docking.”
“Well, we can’t keep drifting, can we? We have to do something…”
Alliston rested his head in his hands as he thought. “I know… let me think for a moment…”
A moment passed. “Alliston, do you have control over the bulkheads from where you are?”
Alliston stood at the ready. “Yeah, what do you have in mind?”
“I was wondering if you could get me access to the ventral cargo bay.”
Alliston’s face contorted in puzzlement. “What? …Uh, yeah, but why?”
“Just a hunch. There might be something in there that can help…”
“All right, but you’ll need that space suit we found earlier… that area’s been depressurized.”
Alliston pushed off from the wall towards a different control panel across the engine room. “In the meantime, I’ll check the communications equipment, make sure someone out there knows we need help.”
Alliston checked to make sure the seat connected to the console was intact, then slid himself into position and buckled the straps to keep him in place. After a couple moments of working at the controls, he breathed a sigh of relief. Taking the radio in hand he said, “Good news, Daniel, the signal array is intact and transmitting an SOS. Let’s see if anyone’s listening.” He took a nearby headset and fitted it over his head.
A woman’s voice came over the radio: “-repeat, Calypso Star, do you read?”
After a moment’s hesitation: “Yes! This is the Calypso Star! We, uh, we got caught in a battle and the crossfire’s crippled us!” Alliston didn’t care who he was speaking to at the moment, so long as help was on the way. “Can you provide assistance?”
“That’s what we’re here for, Calypso. What’s your status?”
“Most of the crew is dead, I’m the only one left in engineering.” Alliston glanced at one of the bodies in the room. “I have control over the engines, but I can’t get a proper reading to correct our course to Icarus Station.”
“We’ll handle that, Calypso. We should be able to... stand by, Calypso.”
“Wait, what? What’s going on?” Alliston pressed a few more buttons, and was able to get a sensor reading of the outside. His next statement was into the two-way radio – “Daniel, we’ve got a problem.”
Outside the Calypso Star, two mobile suits hovered – one piloted by Fusikita, the other by Raven and Siegfried. Fusikita’s mobile suit was lithe and feminine in shape, with violet trim along its white frame. Its shape was more humanoid than most mobile suits, with a distinctive head where other suits would have a simple sensor node, with a V-shaped gold fin upon its brow. The other was a quadruped, a rarity amongst mobile suits, its leonine body painted blue with black trim. The former mobile suit was visibly unarmed, save for a sword. The latter had long daggerlike claws on its paws and a gatling gun deployed between its shoulders.
The two of them faced a Cyber mobile suit carrier, its twin-barrel shape heralding a squad of mobile suits that would doubtless follow.
“Attention mobile suit carrier!” Fusikita’s voice had not quite lost its calm, gentle tone, but the concern was evident to those who knew her. “We are engaged in peaceful rescue operations. Please withdraw!”
The response was as prompt as it was gruff. “The ship you are protecting has been designated a threat to LCH interests. If you attempt to defend it, we will fire on you.”
Even then, Legionnaires were launching from the carrier and flying towards the stricken cargo ship.
Aboard the ship, Alliston reached for the two-way radio. “Daniel, there’s a bunch of mobile suits heading towards the ship!”
The ship’s radio crackled. “Attention cargo ship,” the gruff voice said. “Jettison all your cargo at once or we will open fire!” Outside, no less than 8 mobile suits surrounded the ship, their weapons trained on the two mobile suits who could only stand by and watch.
“Do it,” Daniel said.
Alliston didn’t care how Daniel knew what was going on. He simply did as was commanded, starting with the ventral cargo hatch.
“All right,” the voice said, “Mare, Sanders, check out the-“
At that moment, as one of the Legionnaires moved in front of the opening hatch, a pure-white mobile suit lunged out, swords drawn, stabbing the legionnaire through the center.
“What the-?!” The Cyber mobile suits turned to face the new threat. “Open fire!”
Maneuvering its swords so that the impaled Legionnaire provided a shield, the white mobile suit pointed an arm and fired an underhand machine gun at one of the enemy mobile suits. Simultaneously, the two Newtype mobile suits sprang into action – Siegfried and Raven’s suit pounced on a bazooka-equipped Legionnaire, while Fusikita’s suit’s chest opened up and fired a beam of energy at another.
Alliston was shocked at the scene unfolding on the display screens he had pulled up. “Daniel, is that you in there?”
“Yes!” The white mobile suit wrenched its blades free and charged towards another Legionnaire, deftly dodging a burst of rifle fire. Meanwhile, Fusikita’s mobile suit drew its own blade and zigzagged towards another foe as Raven and Siegfried finished mauling their target. The remaining Legionnaires began to pull back, retreating to the safety of their carrier’s firing arc.
“Okay… I think we’re safe now.” Fusikita said over the radio. “Calypso, we’ll adjust your heading to Icarus Station, then you can engage your engines and make it the rest of the way.”
Alliston took a moment to reply, still in awe of the battle he had just witnessed. “R-roger that.”
Meanwhile, Fusikita spoke over the radio again, “Attention, unknown white mobile suit, do you read?”
There was no reply.
“Daniel?” Alliston said nervously.
There was only silence, as the mysterious white mobile suit hung motionless in space.
Thus our story begins! I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far. Please comment if you have any questions or observations.
There was a gap of several months between starting this chapter and finishing it, so there may be a noticeable difference in writing styles. I’m not quite happy with my “new” writing style, but I’ll let you be the judge of its quality.