Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part. 1

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Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part. 1

Post by zakuboy0079 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:24 pm

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles
Written by: “zakuboy”
Chapter One: Into the Void

Jaburo: Above Space Dock #12
January 28, 0080

There was a breeze, just enough to make the leaves on the surrounding trees rustle and keep the local insect population down to a minor annoyance. The screech of a bird, probably some sort of parrot, came clearly through the air. Above, the stars sparkled in a clear sky with a sickle shaped Moon hanging high in the sky like the blade of a reaper’s scythe.

The wind gusted slightly and blew a lock of her red hair out of its place behind her ear. Christina Mackenzie reached up with her left hand and brushed the offending lock back into its place with the motion that is instinctive to women. Hair in place, the hand went back to its position, supporting her upper body, as she leaned back where she sat to look at the night sky.

Behind her there was an open door with light pouring out of it. The door didn’t lead into a building, but into an earth covered, reinforced concrete bunker. This bunker, in turn, lead into one of the giant underground space docks that makes up a small part of the Earth Federal Forces Jaburo headquarters complex.

She had arrived at headquarters a week earlier, along with her heavily damaged RX-78NT-1 Gundam. The Armored Layers Experimental Gundam, “Alex” for short, was currently a couple hundred feet below her standing in a maintenance bay. There were technicians swarming around it taking note of all the damage that the Gundam had received at the hands of that single Zaku II Kai.

Christina, Chris to her friends, let out a small sigh, remembering the events of a few weeks earlier. It was still hard for her to believe that the Zaku had been able to damage her Gundam as badly as it had. Sure the pilot had set up a clever ambush, but still… She let out a small sigh with that thought. She had been able to stop the Zaku in the end, but not before it had chopped off one of the Alex’s arm mounted Gatling cannons, put a huge slash in the suit’s torso and cockpit hatch, decapitated the Gundam and damaged its backpack.

Sure, the Zaku’s pilot had sacrificed himself to cause that amount of damage, but in simple accounting terms it had been more than a fair trade. The Alex would take months to repair and Chris wasn’t even sure what would happen after it was. The One Year War was over and there wasn’t a need for her highly maneuverable suit. Oh sure it might be used as a test bed for new technologies, but she doubted that would ever be used in a combat situation again. With a sigh she stood up, brushed some foliage off of her and headed back into the underground complex.


Jaburo: Fleet Tracking Room #2
January 28, 0080

Captain Martin Kenyon was a career staff officer. Even with all the casualties caused by the OYW, just over by a few weeks, he had never seen combat, not even when the Zeonic forces lead by Char Aznable had assaulted the underground complex. This lack of experience didn’t keep him from thinking that he was the greatest military mind of all time.

“Those Zeek bastards gave up too easy,” he grumbled to himself as he leaned over a large planning table. How was he supposed to rocket up into the flag ranks without his plans being used to defeat the Principality? He totally ignored the fact that all the plans, or parts of plans, that he had contributed during the war had either been rejected or they had turned out to be massive failures. Luckily he had been able to blame the failed missions on the soldiers in the field not following his plan and none of the black marks of the failed missions had made it into his personnel file.

Windows were open all over the large tabletop screen showing the disposition and numbers of the defeated forces at the end of the war. Some of the lists were the ships and mobile suits that has been confirmed destroyed, others were lists of equipment captured during the yearlong war. The list that concerned the general staff the most was a long one that listed all the Zeonic material and forces that were missing.

Most of the ships and their mobile suit compliments had last been confirmed in one of four places. The first place was Solomon after the Federation’s victory there. The second place was the battle of A Baoa Qu. Many ships had fallen back from that battle after the news that both Commandant Gihren and Admiral Kycilia had been killed. The last two places that Zeonic forces had been confirmed was at Side 3 itself and at their large military and manufacturing facility at Grenada on the far side of the moon.

Many of the unit that had been stationed at the last two locations had simply vanished at the end of the war. Federation commanders couldn’t even be sure exactly what had been there to begin with because large amounts of data had been erased from the main computers of each of the colonies and from the ones at Grenada. The estimates ran from a few ships and mobile suits, to several dozen ships and hundreds of possible mobile suits.

The thought of a battle fleet sized formation roaming around the Earth Sphere sent a chill down Kenyon’s spine. Then another though had crossed his mind that relieved his tension a bit. There was no longer a facility that could support such a formation that wasn’t either Federation control or at the very least under extremely close Federation observation.

Many rumors had been heard from captured Zeon soldiers about Rear Admiral Delaz taking his fleet of about a dozen warships out into what was now being called the Shoal Zone. “Where did all those other ships go,” Kenyon continued to mutter as he put all the ships under Delaz’s command into the “known” category.

Then he remembered another thing that he had heard even before the One Year War had broken out. The Zeeks had built a way station in the Asteroid Belt. “What was its name,” he said to himself with a little more excitement in his voice now. He finally found the file, “Axis,” he breathed as if he were saying the name of a lover. He had found the mission that would make him a flag officer. He started to pull together possible resources for a mission that was starting together in his mind. He hoped to have something on the Fleet Operations Officer’s desk in a few days.


Jaburo: Office of the Chief of Fleet Operations
February 1, 0080

Admiral John Foley was an unsung hero of the One Year War. The two largest Federation successes of the war, Operation Odessa and Operation Star One, had been conceived under his command. He had also had a hand in the mission of the White Base and its distracting romp through space, keeping a ridiculously large number of the Principality’s forces busy while the Fleet headed towards Solomon. General Revil had taken all the glory for those operations, but then again glory wasn’t something that Foley had pursued to any huge degree.

He opened a desk drawer and pulled out a pipe and a pouch of good Cavendish tobacco. People had told him that the habit was bad for him and that he should quit for his health, but he always thought better with the pipe in his mouth and lit. “Besides,” he thought to himself as he reached for the IN box on the edge of his desk, “it’s not like I really inhale anyway.”

He pulled the first folder off the top of the pile, noticing that it had the red border of a proposed operation, flipped it open and looked at the cover sheet. “Oh god,” he said to the room, “not another plan from Kenyon.” However, being the good officer that he was, he took the time to read past the cover sheet. He was glad he did.

Kenyon had written about his concerns about the large number of former Principality warships that were missing, that a large number of these vessels had headed towards the Asteroid Belt and the way station, Axis, that the Principality had built there in the years leading up to the war. He supported these conclusions with telemetry taken by Federation warships at A Baoa Qu and also a few captures by deep space surveillance satellites. These two indications said to Foley that Kenyon was, for once in his life, right about something.

Foley turned to the mission proposal and was again surprised to see something sensible. Captain Kenyon proposed that a small fleet, built around a Pegasus class assault carrier, should be dispatched to the Asteroid Belt to obtain an accurate picture of the forces there. He also made a recommendation that the Federation might want to establish its own base out there to support long-term observation and possible action against the Axis Zeon forces there.

Foley reached out and pressed the intercom button on his phone. “Yes sir,” came the response a second later. “Alice, would you please get a hold of Captain Kenyon over in Intentions and Planning and have him come over to my office at 13:00 for a working lunch.” “Yes sir,” said the female ensign that served as his secretary, and the connection was broken. He went back to looking at the proposed mission profile that the planning captain had given him and started making notes of his own on a separate pad of paper.


Jaburo: Outside the Office of the Chief of Fleet Operations
February 1, 0080

He was nervous. It was like getting called to the principal’s office when you were in elementary school, you didn’t know how it was going to go. He checked his uniform, for what had to be the fifth time, making sure that his high collar and Sam Brown belt were in the proper place. “Captain Kenyon?” the question snapped him back into reality. “Yes ensign,” he replied turning to look at the young officer that worked for Admiral Foley. “The Admiral will see you now sir.” She moved to open one of the wooden double doors that lead into the inner office of Admiral John Foley. Kenyon cleared his throat and followed the ensign inside.

He had never been inside the Admiral’s office before. The layout was very simple. The Admiral’s large was at the back of the office facing the door, with the flags of the Earth Federation and Earth Federal Space Forces behind it, in their proper corners of the room. The back wall was floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the main chamber of Jaburo’s underground complex. Another wall was floor to ceiling bookshelves and the last had the standard computer equipment that was used for mission planning and simulations. The area in front of the desk was occupied by a long coffee table with a large leather couch on either side of it. The table had a simple lunch spread on it and the unused space was covered in papers. The Admiral was leaning back on one of the couches, a mug of coffee in one hand and a piece of yellow lined paper in the other.

“Captain Martin Kenyon, reporting as ordered sir,” he said, standing at stiff attention at the end of the coffee table closest to the door. “Ah yes” said Foley as he set his mug back on the table. “At ease Captain and have a seat. Help yourself to some coffee and a sandwich.” The Admiral waited until he had gotten a cup of coffee, doctored it to his liking and grabbed a sandwich off the platter in the center of the table. After he had finished Foley pulled a folder out from the papers piled on the table and Kenyon recognized it as the proposal folder that he had sent the night before. Crap, he thought to himself, the Admiral had already read it. But if the Admiral hadn’t liked it why had he called him to his office for such an informal meeting? Kenyon relaxed with this thought, maybe something good was happening for once.

“I looked over your mission proposal Captain,” Foley said holding up the folder, “and I think that there is a workable mission in here.” Kenyon let out a silent sigh of relief; finally one of his plans seemed to have the makings of a plan that would succeed and finally earn him that thick gold stripe on his sleeve.

The Admiral continued, “I have some changes that I think would prove beneficial to the mission. I think that it is good idea to build the fleet around a Pegasus class assault carrier, but I also think that there is a need to have more mobile suits available than a single Pegasus class can carry. I want to replace the Magellan class escorts with a new version of the Salamis class that we have just begun to produce. These Salamis ships have the same firepower as the earlier versions, but they have the added benefit of a four mobile suit hanger and a launch catapult.”

Kenyon had been looking at the proposed fleet make-up as the Admiral had talked and looked up as the older man finished speaking. “But sir if we do that the fleet won’t have enough firepower to deal with the threats that I think are out there. We simply need the firepower that the Magellan class ship can…”

The Admiral held up his hand. “Captain; I think the battle of Loum proved that ships without proper mobile suit support are extremely vulnerable to enemy MS. Therefore I think it is more important to have as many mobile suits as possible.”

Kenyon thought about that for a second and then an idea dawned on him. “Sir I’m still not comfortable with such little firepower being sent out there, so why don’t we upgrade the suits that we do send.” The Admiral motioned for him to continue and he did. “First I think that the RX-78NT-1 should be included in this mission. This is for two reasons, first it is a superb combat machine and second the original Gundam put so much fear into Zeek pilots during the war having the Alex out there might be a major psychological factor.”

The Admiral had lit his pipe while Kenyon spoke. The smoke irritated him, but he restrained his gag reflex because the man with the pipe was his superior. The pipe came out of the Admiral’s mouth and pointed the stem at the Captain.

“Wasn’t the Alex defeated by a Zaku that attacked it at its test facility in Side 6? Why would you want t include a suit that was so ineffective?” The pipe went back into the Admiral’s mouth and he took another puff.

Kenyon had a ready answer for this question. “Sir I’ve looked at the reports on that incident and have come to the conclusion that that event was a fluke. The report from the pilot, a Lieutenant Junior Grade Christina Mackenzie I believe, stated that the Zaku drew her into an elaborately planned ambush. While it’s embarrassing that one of our Gundam units could be so heavily damaged by a grunt suit, her efforts to keep the battle out of the city areas of the colony is one of the major factors that convinced Side 6 to sign its security treaty with us.”

He was on a role now and continued on his analysis of the incident at Side 6. “Lieutenant Mackenzie was also highly restricted in how she could combat the enemy unit. Her suit was never issued its beam rifle, or even its shield. I’m sure that she could have defeated it quickly but, again, in a very sensible effort, she fought to keep from breaching the Zaku’s reactor, which could have caused a catastrophic breach in the colony wall.”

“I remember a similar event happened at Side 7 when the RX-78 was deployed,” the Admiral said around his pipe, “a very bad time for everyone in that colony. The suit is one thing, but I’m not sure about Lieutenant Mackenzie as its pilot. Can the girl hold up under the stress of this kind of mission?”

“If her simulations are any indication, she’ll be fine,” Kenyon replied. “I do think that it would be prudent to put a more experienced pilot in overall command of the Mobile Suit Corps of this taskforce.” Kenyon paused for a second and then continued. “I think that several GM’s should be modified to work closely with the Alex. A good base suit would be the RGM-79GS, Space Command GM. They would then be modified so their performance characteristics more closely matched the NT-1’s performance.”

“Doing modifications of that complexity is very expensive and hard to justify,” Foley said taking another puff on his pipe. “You want to equip the entire taskforce with these customized GM’s?”

“No sir, not at all. Maybe three at the most, to operate alongside the Alex in a direct support role. Many of the suits we produced at the end of the war are high performance already and will need little to no modification.” Kenyon had been searching the papers while he spoke. Finding what he needed he pulled them out and sat back on his couch and continued. “Any suit, in a medium range support roll, should be modified to carry beam cannons instead of a standard shell firing cannon. These upgrades will help make up for, what I think, is the taskforce’s general lack of firepower.”

Kenyon paused again while the Admiral tapped out his pipe, but continued when waved to do so as the Admiral set about cleaning his pipe. “I also think that all the suits should have more powerful reactors mounted in them. This would allow the all the suits in the taskforce to utilize full powered beam rifles instead of just the beam spray pistols. Again this is to maximize the combat abilities of the taskforce, it also gives our mobile suit pilots a huge advantage over their Zeon counterparts, because most Zeon suits can’t be equipped with beam weaponry.”

Admiral Foley stood, walked behind his desk and opened a drawer to put his pipe away. Closing the drawer he tuned to face Kenyon who was still seated on one of the couches. “Captain I’m going to give this plan tentative approval, full approval will be needed to execute it, but I have enough authority to get the ball rolling.” Kenyon couldn’t believe his ears and wanted to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming. One of his plans was going to be used, as the basis of a major operation.

“Captain I want you to join my planning team. Bring them up to speed and come up with specific mission parameters. I’ll work in getting the General Staff to approve the mission and get the Manufacturing Division working on those suit modifications right away. Dismissed.”

Captain Kenyon stood at stiff attention, facing the Admiral, “dismissed, aye sir.” He took a sharp step to his rear and executed a parade ground perfect about face and marched from the room with a spring in his step.


Jaburo: Inside Space Dock #12
February 3, 0080

The upswing in activity in Dock #12 in the last 36 hours had surprised Christina and she still had no idea why it had happened. The maintenance crew that had been preparing to work on her damaged Gundam had suddenly been supplanted by a large team from one of the mobile suit manufacturing plants in Jaburo. In the last 24 hours they had removed every broken component and damaged armor plate. They had told her that a new head, backpack, forearm and cockpit were already being manufactured in one of the plants somewhere in the depths of the massive underground facility.

“Lieutenant Mackenzie?” a voice came from behind her. She turned away from looking up at her Gundam to face a worker in blue coveralls and a white hardhat. “That’s me,” she said flashing a smile at the worker, “what can I do for you?” The worker handed her a clipboard and a pen, “I need you to sign this authorization paperwork so that we can take your suit’s reactor completely offline and remove it for replacement.”

She had been looking down at the paperwork but looked back up at the worker. “The reactor’s working fine; it wasn’t damaged in the battle. Why’s it getting replaced?” The worker shrugged, “It’s being replaced with a more powerful 1500kW unit. Your old reactor is going to be used as a model and newly manufactured ones will be mounted in a large number of GMs and Guncannons.” This answer gave her pause and made her wonder why a GM would need such a powerful reactor. “Any idea why they need so many powerful reactors?” she asked as she signed the paperwork at the places indicated by little pink sticky notes.

The worker shook his head as he accepted the clipboard back. ”No ma’am. None of us have any idea what’s going on. We got orders on the afternoon of the first to crank up into high gear, start doing some major modifications to a trio of RGM-79GS’ and reactor replacements on a whole bunch more. My best guess is that there is some sort of major operation coming up, but past that…” the worker’s voice trailed off as he raised his shoulders in a shrug.

She was about to ask another question when the ground started to shake with the footsteps of several mobile suits. She looked to her left at the entrance connecting the space dock to the rest of the underground complex. Three GM-79GS Space Command GMs came around the corner, moving slowly, to protect their lighter frames that really hadn’t been designed to operate in a gravity environment. The three suits moved to standing maintenance bays just to the left of one that the Alex occupied. The hatches opened on all three machines and the workers that had been moving the mobile suits scrambled out onto the walkways that had extended in front of them once the machines had settled into their spots in the bays.

Christina was about to walk over to where the three GMs had parked themselves when a fourth mobile suit rounded the corner. This was a different type of GM and one even more rare than the three GS types that had already arrived. It was an RGM-79SP GM Sniper II, painted in its standard shades of dark blues. This suit was armed, unlike the other three, with its large, shell firing, sniper rifle attached to a hard point on the right side of the suit’s unique backpack unit.

Christina had to take a few steps back to stay safely out of the range of the feet of the GM Sniper II. The suit walked past the bay that the Alex was in and stepped into the one to the Gundam’s right, removed its rifle from its back and set the weapon in a weapons rack built into the bay’s frame. Its rifle secure, the GM turned to face out like the rest of the mobile suits and began to power down as an access walkway extended to allow the pilot an easy way to exit the cramped confines of the cockpit.

She started to move towards the new arrival when she noticed a personal crest on the machine’s left shoulder armor. It was a gray shield shape with a bright red border and a falcon’s head in profile, also painted in red, in the center. Whoever this suit belonged to was an ace pilot, Christina though to herself as she moved to the base of the bay that the GM Sniper II now occupied. As she got close she felt the residual heat bleeding of the suit and looked up to see the cockpit hatch open. A man came out wearing a pilot’s suit that mimicked the general paint scheme of his mobile suit. When he got out all the way and straightened up Chris was convinced that the new pilot was a man, because he was close to six feet tall and well… there just weren’t that many female pilots in the Federation Forces.

Her suspicions were confirmed when the pilot, who had just reached the small lift that would bring him down to ground level, removed his helmet to reveal a man’s head with some close cropped brown hair on top of it. He hit the control and the lift lowered him to where Christina was waiting for him.

----------

Lieutenant Commander Christopher “Scope” Elliott had been in the air for the last nine hours and really needed to find a bathroom. He had spent the entire flight from Africa, the continent where he had been hunting down Zeon holdouts, in his mobile suit in the back of the Medea transport aircraft. He had had his suit’s massive sniper rifle trained out the rear of the aircraft and his suit’s specialized search optics engaged for the entire flight, in a vain attempt to spot and engage one of the many Zeonic submarines that was thought to be prowling the oceans of the world.

As the lift lowered him back to the ground he attached his helmet to the back of his pilot’s suit and started looking for a head. His scan was interrupted when his eyes fell on the woman waiting for him on the ground. He checked her out. Doing very little to hide what he was doing, and found her attractive. “I wonder what she looks like when she isn’t wearing that uniform,” he thought to himself, not really thinking about her naked… but maybe… in something a little more feminine.

She was about 5 foot, 5 inches tall, had bright red hair that hung down to the middle of her back, fair skin that some might have called “ivory” in tone and finally, the most fetching dark blue eyes that he had ever seen. As the lift finally came to a stop she snapped off a crisp salute and the stretching of the material from that motion revealed that she had a slim build, with a respectable bust, but his gaze was drawn back to her eyes… there was a cool strength there.

He casually returned the salute. “Hey there Lieutenant,” he dropped his hand, “I need to take a leak. Where is the nearest head?” That statement caught the red haired Lieutenant, junior grade, by surprise. She dropped her salute and pointed over to a two story building 100 yards away on the far side of the mobile suit movement path, “in the building over on the other side of the MS path sir.” “Thanks Lieutenant,” he said as he brushed past her and moved towards the building, walking, using the fast short steps used by any person who REALLY needs to pee.

He made it into the head in time and relieved his bladder into the large stainless steel trough style urinals. Setting his pilot suit to rights, he proceeded to exit the building he had scampered into a few minutes earlier. She was still there, now sitting on the edge of the maintenance bay that he had parked his GM Sniper II in. The red leather, which made up part of the pilot’s jacket she was wearing, closely matched her hair for color. He sauntered back over to her and she started to rise to render another salute to her superior officer, he waved her back down. “Dispense with that parade ground ZOINKS Lieutenant. You already saluted me once today and in all honesty I’ve been holding the controls for my GM so long that I’m not sure that I have the energy to return your salute.”

He flopped down into a sitting position next to the girl, she really was a girl he thought, and held out his hand towards the officer next to him. “Hi, I’m Lieutenant Commander Christopher Elliott, most people just call me Elliott though.” To his surprise this made the Lieutenant laugh a little as she took his hand and shook it. “I’m Lieutenant Christina Mackenzie,” she continued to smile as she let go of his hand, “and it’s a good thing that people call you Elliott because my friends call me Chris and two Chris’ could get really confusing really fast.”

Elliott snorted out a quick laugh at that. “Yeah I bet that could get a little annoying,” he replied. He switched gears and asked, “Any idea what’s going on here? I just got pulled off the line in the Africa mopping up operation and sent here, no one told me why.” Chris shook her head, “No idea at all sir. I actually originally came over here to ask you if you had any idea what was going on. Day before yesterday the activity in this dock went from zero to a hundred miles an hour sometime after lunch. The only suit in the dock was mine and it was barely getting worked on. Now there are a large number of suits and they’re all getting updated, even though some of them are only a few months old.”

Elliott looked around the massive chamber and realized that there were over 20 mobile suits there, in one stage of major modification or another. Another thing that Christina had said was true, many of the suits were practically brand new and in no need of modification, but there they were, with parts of their armor torn off and technicians swarming all over them like army ants. He noticed another thing, a large number of the suits were the new RGM-79GS Command Space model that weren’t much inferior to his high-spec GM Sniper II.

Then he looked at the suit right next to his and didn’t recognize its model. It certainly looked beefier than the surrounding GM’s, but so many of its parts were removed he couldn’t figure out what it was. He turned to Christina, “is that a customized GM? I’ve never that suit before.” That drew another laugh from the red haired officer next to him. “That’s my suit,” she said, hopping up and walking towards her suit. Elliott summoned the energy, stood up and followed her over to stand in front of the mobile suit that was about to have its upper torso removed so that the reactor could be accessed. She continued to speak after he had caught up to her, “you’ve never seen this type of GM before because this isn’t a GM, it’s a Gundam.”

That took Elliot by surprise and he looked back at the suit and right above one of the yellow chest vents was the suit’s model number, “RX-78NT-1” said with a little awe in his voice. He looked back down at the short, red haired, pilot next to him, this girl was a Gundam pilot.

“How’d you pull that one off?” he asked, with only the slightest amount of jealously in his voice. She replied, “I had the highest score coming out of the academy and the highest score ever recorded at the pilot’s academy in Brussels.” This statement annoyed Elliott slightly, “I had the highest score coming out of that school,” a little indignation in his voice. “You graduated a few months ahead of me sir,” a slight smugness in her voice, “ and records are made to be broken sir.” That left Elliott at a loss for words, he thought for a second and then continued. “So you graduated and they put you in the test pilot program?” She nodded confirmation. “If you were just testing this suit how did it end up so messed up?”

He saw that that deflated her a bit. “We were assembling the Alex up at a base up in the Arctic when we got word that someone had sold our location to the Zeeks. We barely got everything on a shuttle before a Zeon spec-ops mobile suit team showed up and trashed the base. The shuttle only got off because one GM pilot stood guard until the end, his suit was incinerated by the exhaust from the shuttle.”

Elliott saw that the subject he had just brought up had changed the demeanor of the young pilot, from what he guessed was her normal, upbeat self, to a sour and slightly down cast mood. “Hey Lieutenant, you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” he said in an attempt to do something about the situation.

She shook her head, a slight, tight, frown crossing her face. “No, it’s OK Commander. I actually wanted to ask an experienced pilot if there was anything that I could do better?” Elliott held up his hand, ”I’ll tell you right now that there is no substitute for experience. You went out, got some, and lived to tell about it. There is nothing more you can do than that. You got a bunch of good training and there’s nothing that I can tell you that will help you anymore than more experience can.”


----------


Christina was about to open her mouth again to make a protest and to ask for the Commander’s opinion on how she could improve as a pilot, when a throat clearing behind them made them both turn to see who had snuck up on them. A female Petty Officer 3rd Class stood there at attention, with a clipboard held in her left hand. As soon as they both turned their heads she snapped off a salute and waited for both the officers to return it before he dropped her hand and raised the other hand and looked at the clipboard. “Lieutenant Commander Elliott and Lieutenant junior grade Mackenzie?” “That’s us,” said Elliot, “what can we do for you Petty Officer?”

The Petty Officer pulled two sheets off the top and handed one to each of the officers. “There is going to be an initial mission brief at 1400 today and both of you have been ordered to attend by Operations Command.” Christina scanned the sheet and looked over at Elliott who was still reading his, slightly longer sheet. She looked back at the sheet of paper in her hand and read it over again. She was being transferred from the mobile suit test pilot corps, to a unit called Task Force 73.

She turned to Elliott, who had just finished skimming over his orders sheet and was in the process of dismissing the Petty Officer. She waited until the NCO was on her way off and then she spoke. “Did you get transferred to Task Force 73 too sir.” “Yeah,” he said with a slight grimace on his face, “and I got made Commander of Mobile Suits too.” He handed her the orders and she read them over for herself. They were identical to hers except for the addendum that he was to be made the Commander of all mobile forces of this, Task Force 73.

“ZOINKS,” Elliott spoke through clenched teeth, “I’m no Commander. I’m a sniper. I work alone.” Christina saw a chance to turn his recent words against him. “Sir it’s just a matter of experience,” a mischievous smile, about to break out on her face. “It’s not the ZOINKS same,” the frown on his face becoming more severe. The sudden loss of all of the humor in his voice caused her to practically freeze. The humorous pilot that she had met, coming out of the cockpit if his mobile suit, was gone and replaced by a brooding, sullen man. “When you’re piloting yourself and you mess up then maybe you’ll die, but when you’re a Commander and you mess up it isn’t just your life that you’re putting on the line. ZOINKS, what ZOINKS retard put me in command of people.”

She was looking around now, for anything she might use to pull the Commander out of the mood that he was plummeting into. She even considered undoing the top button of her pilot’s jacket to give him a glimpse… no, no, no! She shook that though out of her head and looked at her watch instead. “Sir we’ve gotta move! The briefing starts in 30 minutes and we have to get to a briefing room in the headquarters building and that’s in the main chamber. I’ve got a jeep at the far end of the mobile suit line, but we have to leave now if we’re going to make it on time.”

That seemed to put him in a slightly better mood. “Maybe we’ll find the bastard who made me the Commander of the suits.” A slightly wicked smile started to creep across his mouth, “and maybe I’ll pound the ZOINKS face in. Let’s get to that jeep.” He spun on his heel and headed off. She took a few quick steps to catch up and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to look at her. “Sir the jeep is this way.” She pointed at the other end of the mobile suit line. “ZOINKS’ A,” he said with the smile returning to his face, “lead on Lieutenant.” “Sir,” she said getting his attention again, “the name’s Chris.” He flashed a roguish smirk, “right on Chris, let’s get going.”


Jaburo: Headquarters Building, Operations Briefing Room
February 3, 0080

Captain Martin Kenyon stood back from the lectern waiting for all the officers to make it into the amphitheatre style briefing room. He was about to conduct the initial brief to the main officers of the newly formed Task Force 73. In the back of the room two more people entered, just before he was about to step up and begin. One was a man, with short brown hair, wearing a dark blue pilot’s suit with the helmet hooked on to the backpack life support system. Walking next to him was a short young woman with dark red hair that reached down to the middle of her back. She was wearing the red and black leather jacket that was given to each top graduate of the Brussels mobile suit academy. “So that’s Lieutenant Mackenzie,” he said to himself as he arranged his papers one last time.

Stepping up to the podium he introduced himself. “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Captain Martin Kenyon and I am the one who called this meeting under the authority of Admiral Foley. All of you have received your orders and know that you have been transferred to Task Force 73. Now let me tell you what this Task Force’s mission is and its composition.” He picked up a remote from the top of the lectern, turned slightly and pressed the button that turned the screen on.

Turning back to the audience Kenyon continued his brief. “Upon the conclusion of hostilities last month we have soundly defeated the military forces of the Principality of Zeon. However there are a large number of individual warships and smaller fleet units that are unaccounted for. A few of these units are believed to be currently under the command of Rear Admiral Delaz, and they are rumored to be hiding in the shoal zone. This force however can be dealt with in due course by current fleet units and is of very little concern to us.”

He clicked the next button on the remote and a grainy image of a large asteroid appeared on the screen. “This is where we think that most of the missing fleet elements have headed for. It is the Zeon asteroid base known as Axis and it is way out there in the asteroid belt. As the ships of the Zeon Energy fleet don’t have the same range as our ships, they needed a way station and Axis was built to refuel and service the ships heading to and coming back from Jupiter. As per the Antarctic Treaty the Energy Fleets were left out of the conflict and so we could not attack Axis.”

He clicked again and another slide came up on the screen. This one showed a star field with a large fuzzy white blob in the middle. The blob had been circled in red just to make sure that it was clear for everyone in the room. “This large white blob in the middle of the screen is caused by the engine flares of dozens of warships. Their course and speed has been calculated and they are all heading towards Axis. We have no idea about their intentions about what they plan to do out there, but many people fear that the plan to rebuild their military strength and return to the Earth Sphere in some years and renew their war against the Earth Federation Government.”

Another click of the remote and the star field disappeared and was replaced by a list of ships, mobile suits and general equipment. “Therefore it has been decided by Earth Federal Forces headquarters that a small reconnaissance fleet should be sent to determine the disposition and intentions of the Zeon forces that will be arriving at Axis about a year from now.” He motioned to the list of ships on the screen, drawing attention to it. “This fleet will be built around the mobile suit and therefore the flagship will be the Pegasus class assault carrier Reprisal.” This got several people to start to mutter between each other. None of them knew that there was another Pegasus class vessel that hadn’t been committed to the war at very end. “This ship is the twin of the Gray Phantom and had engine issues while under construction and will be ready for combat operations inside of a month. Escorting this assault carrier will be four new Salamis class cruisers that have been outfitted for mobile suit combat, with a four suit hanger and a single launch catapult.”

Another slide appeared on the screen and it showed a Zeon Musai class light cruiser. It wasn’t quite the same as the ships that had been the main line force during the war. It had two more main turrets and there were a number of two barreled 120mm machine gun turrets. The ship also had three large plates of metal raised from the forward part of the ships main body. “This is the Zeon Musai class, light cruiser Guderian, which was captured at Granada at the end of the war. It has since been renamed Sparta and has been taken into our service. It will also be going out to the asteroid belt with you to help in the reconnaissance effort. It might be able to get in closer than our own ships and to assist in this effort it will be equipped with four captured Zeon mobile suits also captured at Granada.”

Another slide came up on the huge wall screen. It showed a medium-large asteroid that was pitted by the impacts of smaller bits of rock. “This is the asteroid MA2356-8342 and it is within 400,000 kilometers of Axis. It also orbits at the same speed so the relative distance between the two stays about the same. A secondary objective of this mission is to construct a forward observation post on this asteroid to have a more permanent station from which to keep an eye on the Axis-Zeon forces. We’ll be sending six Columbus class cargo ships along with the fleet to supply the forces but we’ll also be sending a Delhi class construction ship to facilitate the construction of the base.”


----------


This mission was huge, thought Lieutenant Commander Chris Elliott. It was going to take a long ass time just to get out to the area of operations, somewhere in the frame of a year and a half, maybe less. They would be out there, with no hope for backup, against an unknown enemy force. That force was certainly larger than the one the Federation was sending, but how well would it be trained? The Zeeks had lost huge numbers of their experienced solders in the final battles of the war and there were few that were captured. Some had surely escaped to Axis, but he bet the majority of the pilots had escaped the battlefield were rookies that had survived through Solomon and A Baoa Qu just by dumb luck. Sure some of them had some skill but they had neither the training nor the experience to make much use of that skill.

He looked over to his right, to where Chris sat with a small note pad out and an expression of wrapped attention on her face. She’s like those Zeon pilots in a way, he thought to himself. Sure she has had the benefit of a full training course but she still lacked experience and experience was the best but cruelest of all instructors. How would she fare in a do or die environment, such as this mission might become. Good thing she’s in a Gundam, he started to turn his attention back to the briefing, maybe this little dickweed of a Captain was the one that had roped him into this new gig as the commander of the suit forces for this, Task Force 73.

Captain Kenyon has moved on to talking about the suit forces that the task force would be carrying and this topic was very important to him. “As some might have noticed the activity in Dock #12 has kicked into high gear in the last two days. This is due to the large number of modifications that have to be done to all the suits that are going to be sent on this mission. Every suit that is going is getting a more powerful reactor to allow all to use full power beam rifles, also most are getting thruster upgrades to allow for better maneuvering and acceleration. Also there are three RGM-79GS’ that are going to be modified to NT-1 performance.”

Elliot heard something shift next to him and looked over to see Chris sitting up straighter in her seat. Kenyon continued to drone on, “These GM’s will be working directly with the RX-78NT-1 Gundam and need the upgrades simply to keep up with the superior performance of Lieutenant Mackenzie’s Gundam. The Alex itself will be receiving a few minor upgrades of its own and we’ll need to test all of these mobile suits out before TF 73 leaves for the asteroid belt. For now this concludes the brief. Ships officers need to come with me for another brief with Admiral Foley. The mobile suit pilots should meet up with Mobile Forces Commander Elliott, I think I see him there in the back, and see how he wants to set up training.”


----------


Chris stood and looked over at Elliott, who was just starting to stand himself. His face looked slightly grim. She could tell that he didn’t like the fact that he was going to be in charge of the mobile suits for this task force. She heard some shuffling sounds and looked back at the rest of the theater shaped briefing room. There were over two-dozen officers making there way to where she and Elliott were standing. They all had to be pilots, due to the fact that their uniforms were none too neat. As they got closer she noticed that not all of them were actually officers, some were high-ranking staff NCOs they formed a loose semi-circle around where she and Elliott stood. She decided to take a few steps and join the circle of pilots, where she turned and faced the man who had just been named as the commander of all the mobile suits that were now part of Task Force 73, also known as the Axis Reconnaissance Fleet.

“So… yeah…” Elliott started to address the group, “I’m Lieutenant Commander Christopher Elliott and I guess I’m in charge of you all for this little shindig. “ He turned his head scanning the faces of the men and women standing in front of him. “For right now I’m going back to my suits so I can grab my gear, get out of this pilot’s suit and take a shower.” This got a laugh out of the group of pilots, Elliott continued. “I just got off a long ass flight and just was to sleep,” he focused his eyes on Chris, “Lieutenant Mackenzie, can you arrange a briefing room for tomorrow morning. Preferably one near whatever barracks that we’re being billeted in.”

Chris nodded her head in reply, thinking of all the possible places that she could choose from. “We’re all billeted in officer’s quarters in Dock #12 and that building has a conference room that we should all fit into. What time tomorrow sir?” She saw him roll is eyes back slightly and let out a sigh. “I’m ZOINKS tired, so I wanna sleep in tomorrow. Let’s say around 1100 hours tomorrow, consider yourselves on liberty until then. Dismissed.” Chris, and all the pilots around her snapped off salutes, some neat, some sloppy. Elliott returned a salute, that somehow seemed sarcastic to Chris, turned on his heal and proceeded to leave the room. “Hey Lieutenant. You just going to stand there, or are you going to drive me back to where my suit is parked?”

She jumped a little and chided herself for not remembering that she had to do that and hurried after the retreating back of the senior pilot. She reached the jeep right after him and hopped in, turning the starter knob and drove the vehicle onto the super highway that looped itself around the main parts of the complex. Elliott rode in complete silence. She looked over at him and saw that he had one foot propped on the dashboard, his body leaning back in the seat with his head down and chin resting on the thick collar of his pilot’s suit. She smiled and turned her head to look back at the road. “He’s kinda cute like that,” she thought to herself as she turned the wheel and moved the jeep onto the exit ramp for Space Dock #12.

She entered the dock and was amazed to see that in the short while they had been away from the dock a large new addition had been made to the mechanical residents of the dock. In the middle of the dock, resisting in its cradle, was a Pegasus class assault carrier that had to be the Reprisal. She looked at one of the ship’s leg like mobile suit decks and saw the ship’s name painted on its white hull in gray paint. She reached the dock where Elliott’s GM Sniper II was parked and had to shake him awake so that he could get his personal gear out of the mobile suit.

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Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part. 2

Post by zakuboy0079 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:26 pm

Task Force 73: Low Earth Orbit
April 7, 0080

The Rick-Dom II flashed past her, attempting to get behind her so it could attack her suit in its much more vulnerable backpack thruster area. It was a good move and would have worked except for the fact that the Alex was way to fast for a trick like that. Chris slammed the control sticks in opposite directions, turning the Gundam around, 180 degrees in eight tenths of a second. She hadn’t even gotten her Gundam turned all the way around when targeting data on the Rick-Dom started to pop up on the full panoramic monitor that her suit had pioneered.

Whoever was piloting the Zeon suit was really good, though, and had started his turn before he had even gone past the Gundam. This meant that he had got turned around at the same time as Chris got her faster Alex turned around. The Rick-Dom loosed two rockets from the 360mm bazooka it carried. Chris responded with a single beam from her suit’s beam rifle. The rifle was a new one, looking more like the 90mm GM rifle than anything else. The bullpup design made for a longer barrel in a weapon that was the same size, thus allowing for a tighter and therefore more accurate beam.

The beam missed as the Rick-Dom II sideslipped out of the way and Chris downed the two rockets with a single burst from the 60mm Vulcan guns in her Gundam’s head. The Gundam’s advanced optics kept track of the dodging suit that was heading up and slightly to the right in an attempt to get above the Gundam and into another favorable firing position. “This guy’s pretty good” she though as she shifted her suit’s direction and angle to keep better track of the Rick-Dom. “I guess I’ll use it against him.” She fired three quick beams in front of the enemy suit and got the desired effect. The pilot fired the suits massive thrusters, trying to change his direction to get away from the danger and this slowed his suit enough that Chris’ fourth beam made contact with the suit’s midsection.

The mega-particle beam should have burned a hole straight through the Rick-Dom’s titanium composite armor but it only made a light scorch mark on the paint. This was only an exercise. The computer that was keeping track of the exercise fired the Rick-Dom’s thrusters, bringing the suit to a stop in orbit above the blue green planet. It also started broadcasting the “I’m dead” signal on the exercises’ data frequency. Having administratively “killed” the Rick-Dom II she looped the Alex back towards where the task force was under simulated attack. The exercise had started with three squadrons of aggressors in captured Principality mobile suits attacking from another Federation fleet. The fleets stayed out of each other’s attack ranges and let the mobile suits mix it up.

She flicked a switch on the control panel that was built into the right side of her linier pilots seat. This brought up the tactical information feeds from the rest of the mobile suits in her team. The three NT-1 class GM’s, people were calling them the GM Flash because of their high speed, were doing well. Each had one kill and only one had taken any damage, which the computer running the exercise had determined to be cosmetic.

“Reprisal, this is Flash lead.” She waited for a response from the assault carrier that was her team’s home. “Flash lead, this is Reprisal.” It was the mobile suit controller Ensign Kara Thornton, “go ahead.” “You have any more business for me,” Chris was scanning her panoramic screen as she brought her Gundam back in close to the Reprisal. “Not currently Flash lead. All remaining enemy suits are in the fur ball 120km off our port bow. Scope’s orders for your team remain the same. Hold CSP* around the task force and engage any leakers.” “Roger that Reprisal.” She flicked here radio back to her team’s tactical frequency with a little annoyance. Her team had four of the most powerful mobile suits built to date. Why was Commander Elliott holding them in the rear? If he let them zoom forward into the fray ahead if the fleet they would have made short work of the Zakus and Rick-Dom IIs that made up the enemy force that made up the enemy’s assault force.

“Flash team check in,” she transmitted on here team’s tactical frequency. A GM Flash pulled up on her left and fell into formation slightly behind her cruising Gundam. The suit almost looked like her Gundam except for two major differences. The first was the head unit which looked almost the same as it had when the suit had been a stock RGM-79GS Command Space Type. The only outward difference on the head was the high gain radio antenna that had been added from the GM Sniper II design. The other things that the GM NT-1’s lacked were the Gatling cannons that the Alex had mounted on its forearms. They, like every other suit and ship in the task force, were painted in shades of gray, that helped them blend into the background of blackness and stars.

“This is Flash two,” reported Chris’ wingman, Ensign Heather Graham. “Ammo and fuel ok. No damage to report.” “This is Flash three, lead.” Flash three was the second element leader, Lieutenant junior grade Even Harper. “I’m currently cruising on the far right of the battle line. Ammo and fuel are ok, no damage to report.” “Last but not least there’s me,” came the voice of Flash four, Ensign Rebecca Nash. “Ammunition and fuel are ok. Got some scratch damage from 90mm rounds fired by the Zaku that I downed. This Lunar Titanium armor is pretty awesome. I’m returning to my patrol zone to rejoin Lieutenant Harper.”

Having checked on her teammates she changed the data feed she had on her monitor to the one that the Reprisal’s sensors were pulling in. This allowed her to keep an eye on a much larger area because the Reprisal’s sensors could detect a mobile suit at over 300km distance and warships at over 500km, provided that there wasn’t a whole lot of debris or Minovsky Particle jamming. Even with debris and jamming they had a much better range than the ones that her suit possessed.

The sensor feed showed that the upgraded GM Command Space Types, upgraded GM Cannons and upgraded MP Guncannons, which were engaged in the fur ball, were doing ok. Only three of those suits were out of the fight and none of them had been destroyed outright. The aggressor Zeon suits on the other hand were not doing all that well, with eight Zaku’s of different types lost and four Rick-Dom’s out of the fight.

She queried the Reprisal’s sensors to find where Elliott was hiding in he GM Sniper II. It turned out he was hiding among the task force’s Columbus class supply ships, using the sensor data from the Reprisal to direct the mobile suits under his command. He had yet to fire an administrative round from the 155mm sniper rifle his suit carried, not wanting to reveal his location unless absolutely necessary. She flipped another switch so that she could listen in on the channel he was using to command the mobile suits that were engaged in front of the task force’s position in orbit.

“Jutland GM team shift over and support the Midway’s team, the weight of the attack seems to be shifting into their AO**. All ranged suits stay back as best you can and take shots when you get them.” His orders had the sound of confidence in them, Chris thought to herself as she turned her Gundam around at the far edge of her patrol zone. There had been constant exercising for the last two months. The first month had been in simulators while the modifications were done to their mobile suits and the second had been done in space, in orbit and in the debris zone that used to be Side 2. This was their last major exercise before a maintenance stand-down and, finally, Task Force 73’s departure for the asteroid belt.

A cacophony of warning beeps brought her attention to the sensor feed to her suit from Reprisal. Three mobile suits were coming in right above the fleet and they were coming in fast. “Flash team, go intercept those three bogies. I just glassed them with my optics and they’re all Gelgoogs. One seems to be a Jäger type, that suit belongs to Flash lead and Flash two. Flashes three and four you have the other two suits. If I get a good shot I’ll call it out before I take it.”

“Ok girls and guy,” Chris said as she pushed her suit to its max acceleration and putting it on the course that the suit’s computer calculated to be the best one for an intercept, “let’s go get some.” Next to her, Heather had also pushed her suit to its maximum acceleration, but it wasn’t quite as fast as the Alex and started to fall behind. “Heather I’m going to try and get him to chase me. You try and get in behind him and blast his ass.” “Roger that lead,” Heather replied and she dropped back a little farther behind her team leader to get in a position to drop in behind the red painted Gelgoog.

When the range between her Gundam and the enemy Gelgoog had dropped to six kilometers, Chris snapped of a round from her beam rifle and watched as the Gelgoog evaded it with ease, rolling to its left out of the way of the low powered mega-particle beam. Then it opened up with its own heavy beam machine gun and Chris tensed her muscles getting ready to slam her own suit into an evasive maneuver. Then she realized the Gelgoog wasn’t shooting at her, it was shooting past her at Heather behind her.

“Heather go evasive,” Chris called out on the team frequency, but it was too late. The first several beams of the Jäger’s long burst went wide, but then the big Zeon suit walked the rest onto the GM, that had just managed to get its shield up. It didn’t matter; the beams from the heavy weapon administratively punched through the titanium ceramic composite shield and hit the hardened Lunar Titanium that armored the GM Flash, disabling the customized suit and taking it out of the fight, tho not destroying it outright.

“ZOINKS, ZOINKS, ZOINKS,” Chris said through clenched teeth as the Gelgoog flashed through the space that she had just moved her Gundam out of to avoid the beams that hadn’t even been aimed at her. She whipped her Gundam around in attempt to re-acquire a target lock on the Gelgoog. She succeeded but, the Gelgoog darted behind Heather’s disabled GM Flash and Chris lost the lock. She pressed hard on the thruster peddles to race after the Gelgoog which had to be driving towards the ships of the task force.

Apparently the Gelgoog’s pilot had a different idea. He had stopped his massive suit just behind Heather’s disabled GM Flash and let off a burst from his beam machine gun as Chris blazed past his impromptu hiding spot. The only thing that kept Chris from getting basted was the panoramic monitor that her suit possessed. Just out of the corner of her eye she saw the maroon red of the enemy suit and rolled her suit out of the way of the burst of beams that could have destroyed, or at least seriously damaged her Gundam.

That pissed her off. The rat bastard was using her wingman as a human shield. She couldn’t get a good shot at the bastard as he danced his suit around the GM, again putting it between himself and Chris in her Gundam. Chris brought out her precise targeting scope and looked for any bit of the large suit sticking out from behind the much smaller GM. There wasn’t any. The pilot of the suit somehow fit the bulky suit behind the relatively skinny GM. Then the beam machine gun stuck out from behind her friend’s GM and let off a quick burst.

Chris angled her shield and ricocheted the small beams up and away from her Gundam. She lowered the shield and saw that the enemy pilot had charged out from behind his shield, apparently having gotten the reaction that he had been hoping for. He raced towards Chris, thrusters blazing and she understood what he was going to do. He was going us his suit’s mass to throw her off balance and finish her off, well she had a plan that would finish this jackass off.

“Scope,” she called, using Commander Elliott’s nickname. I’m going to give you a good shot on the Jäger, be ready to take it.” “On target,” was the reply. Christina crouched her mobile suit so that as much of it as possible was hid behind the shield, acting like she was going to try and ward off the blow. She released the shield from its mounting point and simply let it hang in front of her suit. Hidden behind the shield she placed her beam rifle on its hard point on the Gundam’s rear skirt armor and waited, staring at the sensor feed.

The Jäger extended one of its large feet to plant a heavy kick on the top third of the shield. The large foot connected and sent the unattached shield spinning. At the same time Chris sent her suit into a roll right under the shield and the now off-balance Gelgoog. The move got her behind the Jäger and she brought both the forearms of her Gundam up. She pressed the trigger and the covers popped open on the Gatling cannons and they began to fire. These cannons however weren’t the shell firing kind, that the Alex had originally equipped with, but beam Gatling cannons, each of who’s bolts was supposed to be slightly less powerful than a shot from a GM’s beam spray pistol.

The low powered practice beams raked the back of the Gelgoog and the exercise computer registered the destruction of all the mobile suit’s main thrusters, sending the Gelgoog off on a fixed trajectory. “Shoot,” Chris shouted into her radio microphone.


----------


Elliott squeezed the main trigger on the right hand control of his GM Sniper II, firing a single 155mm round from the massive sniper rifle. Two and a half seconds later the round impacted on the cockpit hatch of the Gelgoog, splattering it with a large quantity of green paint. “That’s a kill!” “I confirm the kill,” Chris’ voice came over the radio. There was a pause and then she came back on the circuit. “I also confirm that Harper and Nash downed the other two Gelgoogs. They were basic A types and didn’t give them too much trouble. They spent most of their time chasing them down. Apparently the only job they had been to draw the two of us off so that the Jäger could deal with us.”

“Roger that Flash lead. Get your disabled suit back to the Reprisal. Harper and Nash can keep CSP running for a while without you.” He turned his sensor feed back to that being sent out by the Reprisal, the enemy suits that had been engaging the suits under his command were starting to break off. That is the few that still could were breaking off. The pilots under his command were good to begin with, but after two months of simulations and exercises, they were practically unstoppable. “I guess this one’s over,” he said to himself as he reached for the radio knob and tuned his radio to the aggressor’s frequency.

“Better luck next time boys. Enjoy your trip back to Luna II.” Elliott was about to switch his radio back to the frequency that he used to talk to his mobile suits when a gruff voice replied. “You won’t be getting rid of all of us. Four of us are headed to that empty Musai that you’re got hanging out next to that fancy assault carrier of yours.”

That got Elliott’s attention. These must be the four Zeonic suits that were supposed to be assigned to him as a commando and close recon force. They had been training separately because they had to familiarize themselves with a whole new type of mobile suit design. Federation Intelligence had also trained them as infiltration agents who were to try and get inside Axis if possible.

He saw four suits break off from the retreating aggressor forces and head towards the task force. “Then let me be the first to welcome you to Task Force 73… uh… I didn’t catch your name.” The gruff voice laughed and replied, “so sorry about that. I’m Lieutenant Boris Yevgeni Popov, commander of Sneak Team a.k.a. the 231st Independent Mobile Suit Team.”

That name caught Elliott by surprise. He had heard it somewhere before but he wasn’t sure… it came back to him. “You were the first Federation soldier to get your hands on a mobile suit aren’t you? An old Zaku II C if I’m not mistaken.” “Yeah that was me,” Lieutenant Popov replied, “I was on a recon patrol in the Ukraine when I ran across a Zeek mobile suit team that had racked out for the night. They had one man on sentry and he was easy enough to deal with. I took the only suit that had its hatch open, figured out the basic workings and wrecked everything in the camp with the 120mm. Since then I’ve been in the Zeon suit department, most doing intelligence work figuring out suit capabilities, but with some covert operations later in the war.”

He was about ask another question of the experienced pilot, when he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. His GM Sniper II, along with all the other mobile suits in the task force, had been equipped with panoramic monitors just like the one that the Alex was equipped with. The new monitor allowed him to see Christina’s Gundam pull into formation next to his cruising GM Sniper II. “Hey Commander, where you going?” she asked over the radio. “The team of Zeek mobile suits for the Sparta is here. I guess they took part in the exercise and they’re headed in now. I was gonna head out there and greet them. Want to come along?” “Sure,” came the reply from the female pilot. He flipped a switch and the GM auto stowed the massive sniper rifle on its hard point. The weapon away, he pushed a little harder on the thruster peddles and next to his suit the Gundam matched his acceleration.

He checked his sensor screen and saw three, no, four fuzzy returns at the very edge of his 12km detection range. Flipping a switch on the control stick in his left hand he dropped the suit’s special optics package down in front of the suit’s main camera. With very precise commands he moved the GM’s head until the long-range camera was focused on the incoming group of Zeon built mobile suits. “Well, you aren’t going to like this Chris,” he said upon observing what the suits were.

“Why’s that?” she asked. Her Gundam’s optics, while good, were just not as good as the ones installed in the GM Sniper II. “Because one of the suits coming in is that Gelgoog Jäger you love so much.” He enjoyed hearing the string of profanity that came over his radio speaker. “No Lieutenant you can’t do that to the guy. He’s a full Lieutenant, just like you, but he is WAY senior to your month and a half in grade.” “Whatever,” she sounded like she was in a huff now, “he’s still a dick.”

They joined up with the incoming suits; Elliott had Chris fly on the far side of the formation from the red painted Gelgoog Jäger. They escorted them to the single Musai that the task force possessed and watched, their mobile suits hanging motionless in zero gravity over the light cruiser, as the ships crew went through the rather laborious process of putting the suits back in the hanger. The suits safely in their hanger, Elliott turned his GM for its home hanger in the port side leg of the Reprisal. Christina followed, heading to the starboard hanger where her mobile suit spent its down time.


Bridge: EFSFS Reprisal
April 7, 0080

Rear Admiral Otto Von Kress had been reading over the results of the latest exercise when his communications officer handed him a dispatch from EFF headquarters back in Jaburo. Commander Elliott was coming along very well as his mobile suit forces commander, he though as he looked down at piece of paper that he had just been handed. The orders had come. He was to take his Task Force 73, to the former Principality fortress of Solomon to top off supplies and fuel, and then he was to launch his fleet into its year and a half long voyage into the void of space.

He picked up the communications hand set that was part of the right armrest of his bridge chair. “Lieutenant Willis,” he was speaking to the same communications officer that had just given him the dispatch moments before. “Yes sir,” he replied. “Would you put me on every speaker in the fleet?” “Aye, aye sir,” came the response to his order, “you’re online sir.” Von Kress took a breath and began to speak to every man and woman under his command. “Ladies and gentlemen our orders have come and this fleet is headed to the former Zeon fortress of Solomon, where we will top off on supplies and fuel. Once that is done, we will begin the long journey to the asteroid belt and the mission that we have been asked to do. All I ask of you is that you give me your best, because that is all you will ever get from me. Godspeed to us all.”

He put the hand set back into its cradle and looked around at the other offices and enlisted people on the bridge. “Here we go people, here we go…”



Author’s Notes:
* CSP: Combat Space Patrol
** AO: Area of Operations

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part

Post by ShadowCell » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:59 pm

please don't make separate threads for the same story. thanks.

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part

Post by NightFall » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:40 pm

Really interesting. First time I've seen Christina used in a fanfic, and I really like what you've got here.

Will you be putting up more?

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Re: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 1 Part

Post by zakuboy0079 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:10 pm

Yes I will be writing more. As you can guess from the lengthof this chapter it'll take me a while though. I takes me close to a month to write and edit a chapter so a new one should be up end of August begining of September.

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Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles - Chapter 2

Post by zakuboy0079 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:54 pm

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Axis Chronicles
Written by: Dickon “zakuboy” Barry
Chapter Two: In the Middle and at the Far End


Task Force 73: Just Past Mars
January 1, 0081

It was not a good New Year’s Day for Christina Mackenzie. She was in her Gundam the only mobile suit on CSP at the moment. She was relieved to be alone. What she was doing now wouldn’t really be called patrolling, she wasn’t even moving in between the ships of the task force. She had been shot from the starboard catapult, burned just enough fuel to get into position above the bridge of the Reprisal and was cruising along on inertia.

All of her suit’s sensor feeds were up and set to alert her if anything of note came into range of the Reprisal’s passive sensors. She knew Admiral Von Kress didn’t want to alert any Zeon ELINT (1) stations with the unique radar frequencies that the Reprisal’s huge phased array radars produced. He had the entire fleet using directional communication lasers. The fleet would look like empty space.

“Elliott’s got a hole where his heart should be,” she sniffed as she curled up into a tight ball and pushed herself out of the pilot’s seat to float around the spherical cockpit. She thought that this must be like being back in the womb. She felt warm and safe. And it was the only place that she could cry; sure that no one would hear her.

Why was she crying? Was she mad? Was she sad? Was she something else altogether? She really didn’t know how to feel about what she saw and did the night before. She opened the facemask of her pilot’s helmet, wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes and remembered what one of her instructors back during her time at Earth Federal Forces Mobile Suit Academy had said.

“Don’t cry like a little bitch when you enter combat,” the instructor had sneered, “you might drown yourself inside your helmet.” Why had she thought of that? It didn’t fit with the rest of the thoughts that were bouncing around inside her head. Maybe just the fact that she was crying brought it to the surface of her thoughts.

Despite what some macho male pilots said about her, said about all female pilots, she didn’t cry often. According to her parents she hadn’t been much of a crier when she was a baby. But now, in her twenty-second year she was feeling something that she hadn’t felt …ever.

Her interest in the commander of the mobile suit forces, whom she had met for the first time as he climbed out the cockpit of his GM Sniper, had been growing since Task Force 73 had left the Earth Sphere. Until last night she felt his interest in her had been reciprocated.

A picture of the New Year Eve party of the night before rose in her mind. All the mobile suit pilots from the task force were in the Reprisal’s Pilot Wardroom to celebrate. She could see Elliot making the rounds among the pilot teams, checking in with people to gauge their morale. Christina was surrounded by her teammates. The party wound down after the champagne toast at midnight. She surveyed the room, looking for a head with a distinctive shade of short brown hair. Commander Elliot. He was no longer in the room. She snagged Lieutenant Popov who said he had seen the Commander leave the party right after the Champagne toast.

“The Commander turned left out the door, so I assume he headed back to the gravity block.”

Back to the suite he rated as the ranking mobile suit officer in the fleet, she guessed. She could see Lieutenant Harper going shot for shot with one of the GM pilots from the Midway. He was going to need help getting back to his bunk but she excused herself and headed for the ship’s gravity block.

She couldn’t imagine exactly what she hoped would happen. Maybe some stargazing from the sub-bridge, a nightcap, or maybe...? Her thoughts trailed off as she found herself staring at the spherical screen surrounding her. It sparkled with stars. Behind her, the red-orange glow of Mars growing ever fainter since the Task Force had flown a slingshot course around it a month before.

“Guess I was wrong,” she sniffed and wiped her eyes again.

Despite her best efforts, her mind drifted back to the events of the previous night. She was in the gravity block and making her way around the inside of that spinning cylinder. The lights were on night cycle dim so she didn’t see them right away. Elliott! Who was that with him? Shoulder length hair and close to her height, but she couldn’t see the face which was hidden by Elliott’s body as he leaned in… She froze, then, hands covering her face, she turned and ran to the room she shared with Heather, hot tears spilling through her fingers.

“Why?” she asked the cockpit. “What’d I do wrong?” She knew she hadn’t done anything to push the man away. “I wonder if he just doesn’t get it. I’ve been paying attention to him for months now!”

The Gundam’s sensors beeped and she pushed herself into her padded pilot’s chair, strapped in, and queried her sensors to see what set off the alert. On her screen, below and to her left, a highlighted green box was moving away from the Reprisal’s port catapult. She pressed a button and her suit sent out an IFF request to the suit that had just catapulted from the port side of the gray assault carrier. A beep from her suit indicated that the other suit’s IFF had responded and marked it as a friendly unit. Below the green box that highlighted the now maneuvering mobile suit, was its call sign.

Using the hat switch on one of her hand controls to enlarge the call sign, she checked to see who was coming out before the end of her patrol. “Scope MFC,” she muttered to herself upon reading call sign. It was Commander Elliott the last person she wanted to have anything to do with right now. With a hard stomp on the thruster peddles she rolled her suit and blasted away from the patrol station she held above the bridge of the Reprisal.

Ignoring the “Hey, where are you going?” radio call from the GM Sniper II she maintained her trajectory, rocketing away from the spot that she had held. She didn’t want to talk with him right now, even if it was only over comms.

“You want some practice, huh? Very well then.” She didn’t want to practice she just wanted to get away. She pressed the Alex to its full acceleration, 2.2G. Enhanced though it was, there was no way that Elliott’s GM had any hope of keeping up with the accelerating Gundam.


----------


Elliott watched as the Gundam rocketed away from the fleet. He lowered his thrust to zero and looped his GM Sniper II back towards the fleet.

“I don’t understand women,” he muttered to himself. His radio crackled and Admiral Von Kress’ voice came over the speaker mounted in the GM’s spherical cockpit.

“Where’s Lieutenant Mackenzie going Commander Elliott?”

Elliott pressed the transmit toggle on one of his control sticks, “I think she just needs to blow off some steam. These patrols have gotten very boring and I think she just needed to push her Gundam for a while. She’s got plenty of fuel now that we equipped the Alex with external tanks.”

The external tanks, an idea taken from the design of the Gelgoog Jäger, was a wonderful concept, Elliot mused. The external tanks were a very recent addition to the Gundam backpack and hadn’t been tested before Task Force 73 left the Earth Sphere. The Alex had been out of the patrol rotation the previous week while mechanics modified the backpack and installed the custom tanks that had been manufactured on the Task Force Delhi class construction ship.

He looked back at his monitor, where the long-range sensors still had a lock on the Gundam, “she’ll be back.” He moved his mobile suit into the same patrol position that the Gundam had occupied a few minutes before. He spent most of the remaining patrol time wondering what he’d said or done that pissed her off so much.


----------


Fifteen minutes after she had rocketed away, Chris was back with the Reprisal. She landed on the starboard mobile suit deck and moved her Gundam back to its maintenance dock, stepped it backwards into the metal catwalk, powered down all primary systems, and popped the hatch. The walkway had already extended in front of her cockpit hatch and She pushed herself from the cockpit, and stopped her forward motion by grabbed the railing at the edge of the extended walkway as the low powered magnets in her boots anchored her feet to the metal decking. She wasn’t keen on free floating inside the mobile suit hanger.

“Lieutenant Mackenzie, report!” boomed a voice from below. A quick look over the edge of the walkway verified the voice belonged to Admiral Von Kress, commander of Task Force 73. She suspected she was in trouble. His orders, normally accompanied by his piercing gaze, gave the Admiral no need to raise his voice. At least he was a just and reasoned commander. She hopped over the railing and pushed herself down to where the flag officer stood waiting for her.

She landed, as described in the EFF drill manual, precisely five paces in front of the Admiral, , and snapped to attention with a parade perfect salute. “Lieutenant Christina Mackenzie, reporting as ordered sir!”

After a pause, the admiral returned her salute in a relaxed manner. Chris cut her salute sharply and stood dreading a torrential dressing down.
“So how did the Alex perform with its new equipment?”
Christina blinked. She fully expected to be interrogated for leaving her patrol station. This question caused her temporary speechlessness.

“Well sir,” she paused again and then continued, “the acceleration period has been greatly extended with the addition of the external tanks. If the Alex’s computer calculations are anywhere near accurate, the total time I can burn at full acceleration has been almost tripled.”

The admiral nodded nonchalantly in response to the report he received from his second ranking pilot.

“I need to check the thrust nozzles. The computer said that they weren’t focusing quite right near the end of some long burns.”

The maintenance chief, who had been listening nearby pushed off the deck and floated to the maintenance platform eight feet below the bottom of the Alex’s main thrust nozzles.

“She’s right sir,” came a muffled affirmation from behind the massive Gundam’s midsection, “the focusing ring has started to warp from the added heat of the longer burns.” The chief came out from behind the mobile suit, returned, landing softly next to Chris who was still standing in front of the admiral. “We’ll need to machine some new parts using metal with a higher temperature tolerance. The Delhi has a large supply of what we need. I’ll have a parts request sent off shortly and we should have the parts here in two days. One full day of work will have the Alex will up to its max.”

The admiral gave a slight nod, “carry on chief, lieutenant.” With that he turned and pushed off, heading for the hatch that led to the central section of the ship.

Surprised he had hadn’t even mentioned her little hissy fit, Chris stared after him, then turned, pushed off the deck, heading to watch a maintenance crew remove the main nozzle components under the chief’s watchful eye. She hadn’t been disciplined for leaving her patrol station. Still, she promised herself to work at keeping her emotions from affecting her work!

----------


Admiral’s State Room
EFSFS Reprisal
January 1, 0081

Otto Von Kress settled himself in one of the comfortable leather couches that furnished the common area of his stateroom. He leaned forward; picked up the steaming cup of coffee a mess steward had poured for him and leaned back into the leather with a contented sigh. Coffee, one of the few luxuries of his rank, he truly enjoyed. He had brought 10 barrels of the Jamaican Blue Mountain beans onboard before the Reprisal had left earth, two for his personal use and the other 8 barrels for sparing use by the crew.

Taking a second sip of the fragrant brew, he reviewed what he observed had just occurred between Commander Elliott and the younger Lieutenant Mackenzie. It was clear, to him that the Lieutenant was completely taken with the older officer. A small smile crossed his face. Commander Elliott’s view was clouded. “The man has no emotional radar. I was like that at his age too. I guess I should keep an eye out for things like this.”

He believed in a “families fight for each other” theory, which he felt was proven during his prior command in the One Year War. During the war he had encouraged open communications among officers and crews without losing a single one of his eight his Salamis class cruisers. Again, against the Federation military customs, he had relaxed the fraternization rules for his fleet to maintain moral during what was going to be, no, already WAS a long mission.

He continued to reminisce about the war that had ended a year ago. Many faces flooded his memory, faces of men and women he would never see again until he joined them on the other side. One, his wife, had been captain of the Port Royal. The ship’s bridge had been hit by a burst of 120mm machine gun fire during the Battle of Solomon, killing the entire crew, including Amilie. She had taken the same risks that every Earth Federation service member does during the course of their service. She had given her all…and he still ached when he thought of her. “Oh, thank you Eliza,” he started as his steward materialized in front of him and picked up the coffee tray from the table.

Petty Officer Eliza Lewis straightened, tray in hand. “It’s not a problem Sir. Is there anything else you would like at the moment?”

Von Kress shook his head, “No that will be all Petty Officer.”

Eliza turned and left the room. The Admiral resumed pondering. How well would his people hold up when they engaged the Zeon forces in the asteroid belt?

-----------


Mobile Suit Hanger #42
Principality of Zeon Asteroid Base - Axis
March 29, 0081


Her boots clacked on the hard metal hangar deck as she stalked toward the mobile suits. She was barely five and a half feet tall, with a body that men described as “shapely”. Two piercing eyes, a shade of green rarely seen in the human genome, gleamed from her long oval face. Her single thick dark brown braid, bound with a red elastic band, ended at her lower back. Her name was Michelle Starling and, as the rank badge on her form-fitting uniform stated, she was a Captain in the Zeonic Marine Corps.
Assigned to the 3rd Marine Battalion, she was the Commander of its Bravo “Blackfoot” company. She stopped walking and looked up and left, to where her mobile suit stood in its maintenance frame.

Her suit was the 4th and final MS-06R-2 Zaku II High Mobility Type that the Zeonic Company had produced during their MS-11 Act Zaku project. The Zeonic Company had proposed mass-producing the suit before the Gelgoog project was online, but had been underbid by the Zimmad Company’s space modified Rick-Dom. Her suit had been sent to Granada. From September until she acquired it in the middle of October 0079 the Zeonic Company used it to test modifications. First the developers installed a more powerful reactor so that the R-2 could test the design of a proposed beam saber. Thankfully they added more powerful thrusters and a better internal fuel supply to counter the added weight of the new reactor. As far as she knew her MS-06R-2 Zaku II was the first suit in the entire Zeonic military to be armed with a useful beam weapon unlike the useless scattering beam gun mounted on the Dom line. Her suit was the prototype design which led to the eventual production of the MS-18E Kämpfer.

Blackfoot was the only full strength company in the battalion after the Battle of A Baoa Qu. She was happy that all of her men had survived that hell of a day, but sorely they hadn’t really been in the fight. Her company had been the battalion’s QRF(2) and hadn’t seen much fighting. The rest of the battalion had prevented the Federation massed GM units from breaking though the line and into the section of the fortress that her unit had been tasked with defending.

The only real fighting she saw was during the retreat from the fallen fortress. She, along with her 2nd platoon, a single Rick Dom II, a Zaku II FZ, and two Zaku II F2’s, were acting as a rear guard for the rest of the battalion when they were attacked by a lone patrolling Salamis class cruiser and a dozen GM’s. She personally downed the Salamis and five GM’s. The four suits of the 2nd Platoon took out the other six hopelessly outclassed and inexperienced GM pilots.

The trip to the asteroid belt after the Battle of A Baoa Qu had been uneventful. There had been a shortage of spare parts throughout the fleet and the repair crews had had been focused on keeping the fleet in working order, leaving the mobile suits in the decrepit condition that they had been in since the end of the battle. She turned to look at the far side of the hanger where her 3rd and 4th platoon machines were undergoing maintenance. The various Zakus and Rick-Doms all had a multitude of minor damage, with a few having lost limbs in the last desperate fighting in the fortress. “Well there is no shortage of parts now,” she said to no one in particular.

She was more than right on that account. During the war, workers living on Axis had been stockpiling raw materials and constructing manufacturing facilities. Those facilities were coming online now and starting to produce replacement parts needed by the bedraggled fleet that had arrived after the long journey. Among the recently arrived forces rumors floated that there were a few full mobile suit-manufacturing lines nearing completion.

She looked around the large hanger. It wasn’t really outfitted to be a mobile suit hanger, but things were changing in that respect too. An Axis work crew was in the process of tearing up the deck plating in the middle if the hanger, so a catapult could be installed. Another crew worked to complete maintenance frames for the 17 mobile suits in her company.

“We’ll go back and curb stomp those damn Feddies,” she grumbled as she turned and strode toward her suit, the sound of her foot falls echoing off the rock walls of the hanger.

Maintenance personnel, attached to Blackfoot Company, swarmed over her Zaku, beginning repair of damage they had been unable to fix during the long voyage from the Earth Sphere to this… asteroid backwater. The Zaku’s light gray and black paint scheme, which had helped earned her the nickname “Gray Ghost”, was pitted in multiple places where 90mm rounds, fired by GM’s, had found their mark. There was also a long burn up the length of the knuckle shield attached to its left hand.




The shield burn reminded her again of how she barely dodged a shot from the Salamis cruiser’s number one turret but still launched a grenade from her MMP-80 machine gun into its bridge. The ship lost control after that and had been easy to finish off with several deep beam saber slashes around the engines and main reactor.

“How you doing today ma’am?” her crew chief asked as she stepped onto the lift in front of her Zaku. The kid was MAYBE seventeen and in charge of her suit’s maintenance. This wasn’t to say that he wasn’t good at his job; he was a virtual wizard with the machine, keeping it running with will power and duct tape. The lift brought her level with the hatch and the kid palmed the control to open it. She scrambled in, plopped down into the hard pilot’s seat and then leaning forward to flip on the master power. The MS-06R-2 Zaku hummed to life and diagnostic displays came up on the left and right screens.



“Uh ma’am?” came a questioning voice from outside the hatch. She looked up, saw her maintenance chief looking through the hatch and realized that she hadn’t responded to the man’s earlier greeting. “Oh sorry Sergeant didn’t mean to blow you off there. Any day off that damn Musai is a good day. I like having something other than metal and vacuum under my feet again.” The Sergeant grinned, “I hear that ma’am. I was going a little stir crazy, cramped into that tiny cruiser.”

At that point the suit’s OS finished booting up, the diagnostic program booted up with a few taps of a control panel and a read out came up on the right hand screen. A few areas in the suit’s screen image were highlighted in red; with lines leading to text boxes that gave details of the damage afflicting the High Mobility Zaku. Outside on the lift the young Sergeant was holding a tablet plugged into the suit that displayed information identical to that on the mobile suit’s diagnostic screen. “Well ma’am, nothing much has changed since the last one that we ran,” he tapped at the screen a few times, “mostly the left arm is out of whack from that mega particle beam that grazed your shield. The energy discharge from the beam fried most of the circuitry in the arm, leaving it frozen. Good you got it back to the ship.”

The Sergeant tapped a few more times on the screen of his tablet, “it seems like some circuits in the cockpit and torso were fried by the blast too.” This made Michelle look from the screen to her right and out the hatch, “why didn’t we catch this in all the diagnostics we ran during the trip?” The maintenance man flashed a grin and held up the tablet he had been tapping on, “the software engineers here on Axis are a clever bunch. This new diagnostic program they wrote is a thing of beauty.” He flipped the screen around so that his company commander could see it, “it covers all suits in service. Now I don’t need to switch programs. When I’m done checking over your suit I can just move on to the Rick-Dom down the line. On top of its user friendly design, it’s much more accurate than the old one I used during the trip here.”

He reached down, detached the cable that had been pulling data from the Zaku and coiled it up in his pocket. “We’ll ma’am I’ve got to get to the next suit in the line, the repair requirements for your suit have been sent to a work crew.” With a sketchy salute he jumped down from the lift platform and the asteroid’s low gravity allowed him to land softly on the metal plated deck of the hanger. Michelle sat back in her pilot’s chair and looked over the analysis of the new diagnostic. There were a large number of electrical components in her suit that had been damaged and were not functioning correctly so would slow down her suit’s response time and its targeting abilities. She powered the suit back down, crawled out the hatch, closed it and took the lift for sedate ride back to the floor of the hanger.


----------


Lt. Colonel Shaw Wise was a happy man; his battalion of Marines had performed well during the last battles of the One Year War and had emerged relatively un-damaged. That thought made him frown, relatively un-damaged didn’t really mean his unit had come away unscathed. He had just finished visiting Delta “Dragoon” company that had only nine remaining mobile suits of its original seventeen. The commander of that unit, a bright young Captain named Gareth Von Leeb, was still dealing with the loss of men and women under his command. Wise had found his experience tested trying to keep the man from falling apart during the long trip to Axis. Currently, Von Leeb was doing better but was still showing unmistakable signs of severe battle fatigue. Wise was going to have to keep a close eye on him.

He pushed those thoughts to the back of his head to focus on the last company visit of the day. He had just entered the hanger where his Bravo Company was stationed and was making his way to the location where the company commander’s MS-06R-2 stood in its maintenance frame against the rough rocky wall, when he saw the unit’s commander exit the hatch of her mobile suit and step onto the lift. “Captain Starling,” he called out raising his hand in a wave. The young officer looked away from the lift controls, toward the sound of the voice that had called to her, and locked her piercing green eyes on the approaching figure of her commanding officer.

“On my way down sir,” she called from the slow moving lift. When it reached the bottom of its course she hopped lightly to the deck, came to rigid attention, and snapped off a parade ground salute. “Captain Michelle Starling, reporting as ordered sir.” Wise himself came to attention and retuned the salute with one of his own. He cut his salute, “at ease Captain, just swinging by to see how your Company is settling in.” He looked at the mobile suits lining each wall of the hanger. “Sir the men are settling in fine,” she waved her hand to encompass the hanger, “and finally, the suits are getting the repairs they need. It’s so nice to be at a place that has all the spares we need.”

That made Wise grimace a bit, “well there is a reason your Company is getting such rapid treatment.” This made Starling’s head snap around, “what’s going down sir?” He answered with a shrug, “I still have to check the details with High Command, but it looks like our Battalion is going to be tasked to the outer defense posts along with a few garrison companies to man the weaponry at each of the bases and maintain the facilities. We’re going to be rotating our companies into these fortifications and yours is going to be the first one heading out to take over for the Axis garrison forces.”

This news made Starling frown. “Sir this is some serious bull. We just got here and a lot of my men and women were hoping they would get some extended leave in the civilian blocks. They need a rest sir, they don’t need to get cramped into some tiny asteroid base after spending over a year inside a bunch of broken down light cruisers.” Wise knew she was right and wanted to give his Marines some time off from their duties, but the orders had been quite clear. He was to make his Battalion combat ready as soon as possible and divide the four Companies among the four small asteroid outposts which together comprised an outer trip wire for the Axis defenses. “Once we get your Company established at its new base of operations you can rotate some of your people back to Axis for R&R.”

He could see fire seething in those deep green eyes. The defense assignment he ordered had angered Captain Starling. He decided he’d nip this resistance quickly although it would be painful. Like pulling off a Band-Aid…Do it quickly, his mother had always said. “Stand at attention Captain,” he snapped in a precise, military voice. She automatically snapped to attention and Wise continued, “I am well aware that you and your men have just been handed a ZOINKS deal, however, these orders were handed to me by Captain Enzo Bernini himself. Do you know who he is Captain?” “No sir!” she replied with parade ground thunder. “Well then I will educate you Captain. Captain Bernini is the personal defense coordinator for Admiral Karn. So think of any order coming from him as coming from the Admiral himself. Do you want to disobey an order from a FULL ADMIRAL?” he bellowed the last two words, their echo rebounding off the walls of the cavernous mobile suit hanger.

“No sir!” came the basic training reply from Captain Starling’s mouth. “Very good Captain, I will have your full orders to you as soon as I get them. Now prepare your command for deployment. Carry on Captain,” Wise turned on his heel, ignoring the salute that his subordinate offered to his retreating back. He hated to cut Starling off at the knees like that but he had orders and was compelled to follow them. Personally, he didn’t like Bernini very much. He thought the man was a pompous ass with an overly developed sense of importance. However, he had just arrived at Axis and wasn’t sure of the political atmosphere in this remaining Principality stronghold. He would follow orders until he had a better feel for things around this place. Once he understood the subtleties of the command structure he would dip his toe into the pond and command some real pull on this asteroid base.

Wise was so lost in thought, he failed to notice the corridor intersection until someone crashed into him filling his field of vision with a dark red- purple halo of hair. “Owwww,” came a girl’s voice from somewhere inside the mass of roiling locks, “that hurt.” Wise reached out toward the body under its mass of hair to steady, the girl who had collided with him. He had grabbed her shoulder and felt lucky for not grabbing some other less respectable part of her anatomy. “Are you all right?” he asked in his best fatherly voice. Small girlish hands parted the unruly locks revealing the face of a beautiful girl in her early teens. A nervous smile appeared on the girl’s face as Wise gently eased her to the deck. “I’m very sorry for crashing into you like that Colonel. I really need to start paying attention to where I’m going and not get lost in my thoughts as much.” “I do that myself from time to time,” he replied, “miss…?” “Oh my apologies Colonel,” the girl said with another fetching smile, “my name is Haman, Haman Karn.”


- - - - - - - - - -


Military Block, Section B-34
Principality of Zeon Asteroid Base - Axis
March 30, 0081

Captain Enzo Bernini was very pleased with himself. The arrival of the Marine unit had been an unpleasant surprise, but it appeared that Colonel in command of the unit was a fool and would be very easy to manipulate. Just now Bernini issued a command, saying it was from the Admiral. The Colonel had swallowed the order for his battalion to man the outer defensive asteroid bases hook, line, and sinker. Excellent! This would keep the marines far away from S-Field where Bernini predicted the Federation’s Asteroid Mobile Fleet would strike.

He really disliked Marines he thought as he stalked down a passageway. What he wouldn’t admit to himself was that he resented his assignment on Axis. Stuck on this outpost, he felt his strategic abilities were lost to the high command and that was why Zeon had lost the war. During the war, the Marines had been fighting on the front lines, while he languished on Axis reading reports. He didn’t like the Marines because their loyalty was to the commands of the highest ranking officers. Their loyalty might screw up his plans. Why if that Colonel in command of the Marine Battalion discovered that his orders had never crossed the desk of Admiral Karn? He might circumvent Bernini and get his orders straight from the Admiral. Bernini could not let that happen. If it came to an armed power struggle in Axis, he didn’t want Marines anywhere on the outpost. They were more powerful than all the soldiers in Axis that were loyal to him.

“Well, they’ll be out of my hair shortly,” he muttered as he turned into his office for a meeting. “What was that sir?” queried his assistant. “Nothing,” he said dismissively. He silently decided to focus on the pleasure he would get from seeing those Marines leaving. Then he would have more time to work on neutralizing the influence of that troublesome Char Aznable.


- - - - - - - - - -


Mobile Suit Hanger #42
Principality of Zeon Asteroid Base - Axis
April 6, 0081

Michelle was much happier than she had been a week earlier, when she had received her tongue lashing from Colonel Wise. Oh she was still pissed about her Company being sent out to a tiny asteroid base but the week that had proceeded this re-stationing had been very relaxing. Colonel Wise had commandeered personnel from the Axis garrison to make repairs and upgrades on all the Blackfoot mobile suits. Then he authorized a five-day leave for every man and woman in her Bravo Company, including her.

She stepped through the hatch leading into the hanger where her Company mobile suits were stationed and stopped cold. Her suit was standing in its maintenance frame, all the visible damage repaired, so the suit looking as new as the day she first got it. New were two long cylindrical fuel tanks attached to the backpack. Each of the fuel tanks had a cluster of maneuvering thrusters at their ends to enable balanced maneuvering, even with the added mass of the tanks. She observed that her suit had acquired a second beam saber and both of the weapons were peeking out from where they were mounted, horizontally, on a single hard point near the top of the rear waist armor.

An Axis technician suddenly appeared at her side. “You like what we’ve done with it?” he asked with hope in his voice. He continued before she could get a word in, “The fuel tank’s mass is balanced out by the addition of the maneuvering thrusters and the new nozzles we put on the backpack and legs increase thrust while decreasing fuel consumption, giving your Zaku longer endurance and a maximum acceleration of 1.47 G’s.” Michelle stopped gazing at the new silver colored nozzles sticking out of the leg skirts and turned to look at the technician who was standing, shoulder to shoulder with her, looking up at the gray mobile suit. “That’s a huge boost,” she said with excitement as she realized that she now had the fastest mobile suit in the Battalion.

“I hear your suit’s even faster than mine now,” came a voice with a Spanish accent. She turned her head and saw Major Robie Yanez, her Battalion’s XO(3), standing a few paces to her side opposite where the tech was standing. She automatically dropped her duffle and turned to salute but he waved a hand to dismiss the need for the formality. “No need for that Captain. Right now I’m just another pilot come down to look at all the pretty mobile suits.” They both turned back to look at the mobile suits that made up her Company. While hers was the only one appeared to have been modified, all the rest looked like they were fresh off the assembly line.

“I haven’t seen my Company looking like this since I took command back in April during the war,” she said with a slight hint of nostalgia. “I know what you mean Captain,” Major Yanez agreed remembering all the destruction sustained by the Battalion during the first month of the war. The fighting, that led up to Operation British and more fighting after, had almost decimated the unit. They had been forced into a two month long stand down to rebuild the unit back to its fighting strength.

Michelle thoughts traveled back to when she had been a new Lieutenant, commanding a four mobile suit platoon patrolling the area around Side 7 and Luna II from their station on a Musai class cruiser. She earned her moniker, “Gray Ghost”, while she was on a solo reconnaissance mission and encountered a Magellan class battleship escorted by a squadron of FF-S3 Saberfish attempting to reach the safety of the Federal Force’s fleet base on Luna II.

At the time she was piloting a standard MS-06F Zaku II armed with a 120mm machinegun plus two extra drums and a heat hawk. The confrontation was no contest from the start. She hid in a small debris cluster and when it came into range, immediately raked the Magellan from stem to stern, focusing extra fire on the bridge tower. Her attack caused the powerful ship to burn out of control and crash on the surface of the massive asteroid.

The unexpected attack and rapid loss of the battleship threw the Saberfish formation into disarray; however it quickly reformed to hunt her lone Zaku. As it happened, her suit was painted a gray infiltration color so each time she darted through the Saberfish formation and picked off one or two of the fighters, her radio picked up fragments of the Federation pilots panicked exchanges about the “Ghost” decimating their numbers.

When she returned, awareness of those recorded exchanges spread rapidly from members of her Platoon through the crew of the Musai. She began hearing whispers of “Gray Ghost” and realized her new nickname stuck when her suit was not repainted the standard Zaku Green. Then, in the beginning of April she was promoted to the rank of Captain and given command of Bravo Company, 3rd Marine Battalion, reformed after its disastrous losses at the beginning of the war.

“Captain?” a voice jerked her from reminiscing and she turned to the Axis tech still standing next to her. “Yeah what is it?” she responded, annoyance leaking through her voice. “I need your signature on this before I can turn the suit back to you.” He held up a tablet and a stylus, pointing where she had to sign with the tip of the writing utensil. “I want my mechanic to check it out before I sign anything,” she said as she started to walk toward a wall mounted communications panel. “I’m right here ma’am,” a voice from above responded. She turned back, looked up and saw her mechanic gripping the commander’s antenna on her mobile suit’s head, probably to keep himself from toppling from the force of the jump he must have used to get where he was.

“Don’t fall off Sergeant,” she called up. “I might need you in the future.” That got a laugh from the young mechanic. “No worries ma’am. If I fell I’m sure you’d catch me.” Michelle convulsed with laughter and after a few gulped breaths she asked, “Is my Zaku good to go?” “As far as I can tell, it’s good to go ma’am. All my diagnostics say your suit is fully functional and super tricked out. All that it needs is a test flight and that’s for you not me.” With this vote of confidence from her mechanic she took the tablet from the Axis tech and signed her name “What’s it called now?” she asked the tech as she handed him the tablet. “The MS-06R-2 Mod Ax, the Zaku II High Mobility Type 2, Axis Modification,” he replied.

Having signed for the machine she walked to the lift and rose to level of her suit’s cockpit hatch. She palmed the hatch control, it opened and she tossed her duffle in and followed right behind. With the large bag taking up space the cockpit was extremely cramped so she stowed the bag in the spare equipment locker behind her pilot’s seat before sitting down and strapping herself into the, “Oh, they even re-stuffed the seat!”

Settled in, she conducted standard start up procedures, noting the added displays showing readouts of the fuel load in each external tank and the status of the thruster nodes at the tips of each tank. As soon as she completed her checks she looked up at the large screens that allowed her see out of the hardened steel shell of her mobile suit cockpit. All down the length of the hanger pilots under her command pilots were crawling into the cockpits of the assorted Zaku II’s and Rick-Dom’s, preparing their suits as ground crewmen scrambled over them making last minute checks.

“All personnel in hanger number 42 seal normal suits, seal normal suits. The hanger’s main gate opens in two minutes.” The cool, modulated female voice that the Zeonic military always used to make shipboard announcements brought back memories. How many times had she heard it she wondered as she switched her radio to the “all hands” frequency? Having set the radio frequency she sat back in her seat, with the button on her left control stick keyed her microphone and sent her voice booming out the suit’s external speakers as well as to the cockpit speakers of the other mobile suits.

“Now hear this you lot. I know that most of you are unhappy being sent to a remote outpost so soon after our long voyage but understand that the mission we are being sent out to do is very important. “This asteroid of Axis is the only base left in our war for independence from the Earth Federation,” she continued manipulating the right control stick so her Zaku’s right hand gesture encompassed the entire hanger. “We must protect this base so that Zeon will regain its strength! Then we will return to the Earth Sphere, free our Side 3 and the other Colonies from the oppressive grip of those whose souls are dragged down by Earth’s gravity!” Her mobile suit’s right hand picked up the MMP-80 machine gun from its rack, and thrust the weapon straight up to punctuate her final words.

The suits in her company returned the gesture as cheers returned through her cockpit speakers. as the hanger started to decompress before the main hatch opened to space. As the commander she reserved the right to launch first and moved the suit out of its frame and moved it to the catapult. Carefully she stepped her suit’s feet into the clamps and crouched the suit down. “Are you ready Captain?” asked the catapult chief, from his control room high in the wall of the hanger. “That I am,” she answered. “Well then call the ball Captain.” “Rodger that. This is Michelle Starling, Blackfoot six, Launching!” With that the catapult pressed a button and the catapult shot her high mobility Zaku II down the length of the hanger. The millisecond that the catapult reached the end of its run the clips released the suit’s feet and her suit, sensing the micro deceleration from the end of the cat run, jumped out of its crouch and fired its main thrusters literally flinging the suit and Michelle inside of it, out into space.

It was almost like the first time she had piloted a mobile suit out in space. A pleasant tingle coursed through her as she felt the power and life of the metal around her. She started a series of complex maneuvers to test the specs of her upgraded Zaku and was amazed to find that what used to be a complex maneuver was easy now. She was about to try a more complex series of maneuver when her radio crackled with a transmission. “I like your suit Captain. I hope you are happy with the improvements that we built for you?” Michelle scanned her screens and noticed a Rick-Dom pulling up next to her Zaku. It wasn’t one from her unit it was painted white. Michelle had heard a rumor while she had been on leave.

“Is that you Miss Haman?” she asked over the same frequency. A video line opened up and the face of the Admiral’s teenage was displayed on a small sub-screen above the forward main screen. “Yes it’s me Captain,” a smile flashed across the young face. “So do you like it?” “It’s very responsive Miss Haman. The engineers that worked on it have done a wonderful job.” This elicited another smile from the teenager. “Well I would hope so Captain, as they are the same ones that did the upgrades on my Rick-Dom.” That came as a shock to Michelle, who hadn’t been thinking that her suit had received such top notch attention. Good yes but not that good. “Miss I wasn’t even aware that you even knew who I was. If you don’t mind me asking, why did you go to all this trouble for me?”

That caused the teen to laugh, “It is a pretty funny story Captain. I happened to be passing by your hanger about a week ago and literally crashed into your Colonel Wise. He was very polite and once he knew who I was he asked a favor. He wanted to know who the best mobile suit engineers on Axis were and who he would have to ask to get them to do some quick work. I asked who it was for and he told me about you. After that I simply mentioned it to my father and he borrowed a few of the techs that were working on upgrading Char’s Gelgoog.” This horrified Michelle slightly. “I hope this didn’t inconvenience Captain Char.” “No worries Captain. Char has been very busy with my father and his Gelgoog isn’t even flyable at the moment.”

“Well Captain, I have to get back to my test flight. I hope that your deployment is an uneventful one.” With that and a quick wave of the white painted Rick-Dom’s hand Haman was gone, using a maneuver that Michelle had a hard time believing, a Rick-Dom could do. She checked her sensors and was amazed to see that the entire Company was formed up around her. “All right guys, let’s go,” she said as she put her suit onto the planned course to their new home. A Papua class supply ship would follow a couple of hours later with a full load of supplies and the Company’s support personnel.


- - - - - - - - - -


Captain Michelle Starling’s Quarters
Asteroid Base – Siegfried Two
May 5, 0081

There was a loud banging noise but she couldn’t think where it was coming from. She was standing in a park in Side 4’s Colony 22. There was that banging again. Now she saw protesters running, followed closely by armed Federal Forces soldier. More banging and the soldiers stopped and raised their rifles to their shoulders. She opened her mouth to scream a warning but no words came out, the rifles flashed and Michelle Staring sat bolt upright, covered in a cold sweat.

She realized that the banging was someone at the door to her small stateroom, the door chime was broken and that repair work was very near the bottom of the list of things that still needed doing. Whoever was at the door banged on the metal again. “YEAH I’M COMING,” she yelled at the door and she swung he legs out of bed. She staggered across the room and remembered to grab her rob to cover up the panties and t-shirt that she liked to sleep in, before she went to the door and slapped the control to open it.

A Petty Officer stood at stiff attention in the passageway. “This had better be important,” she grumbled as she returned his nervous salute. He handed her a message form, saluted again and almost tripped in his haste to get away from her.

She unfolded the yellowish piece of paper and mumbled along with the text as she read.

From: Axis Fleet Command
To: Captain Starling, Commander Bravo Company, 3rd Marine Battalion
Subject: Developments on Axis

Early this morning Zena Zabi, wife of the late Admiral Dozel Zabi and mother of Zabi family heir, Meniva Lao Zabi has died in her sleep. No action is required by your unit at this time…

She stopped reading at that point, as there was no reason to finish. “Crap,” she grumbled to herself as she went back into her room and started to pull on a set of duty fatigues. She liked the baggy working cloths of the Zeonic Marine Corps, as they were far more comfortable to wear, than the more formal uniforms that seemed to permeate the other branches of Zeonic military. “All that gold lace and those little half capes are stupid.” she grumbled to herself as she pulled on her boot socks and a pair of well broken in combat boots. Fully dresses and presentable she again left her room and headed for the lift that would take her out of the base’s gravity block.

A few minutes later she arrived in the command and control room of the asteroid, located near what was considered the north pole of the asteroid. The room seemed too empty and she realized that she wasn’t even sure what time it was. She looked at the watch on her wrist and realized that it was still the middle of the night, 03:24 according to her watch and there was only a night watch in the command room.

She walked over to the duty watch officer and returned the salute he snapped off. She recognized him as a Platoon commander from the garrison unit, but couldn’t remember his name. “Report,” she said leaning over the main tactical display only to see that it was as clear as every time she looked at it. “Nothing new to report ma’am, other than the message that I had sent to your room,” he said as he leaned forward on the other side of the table like display. Michelle, satisfied with the tactical situation, stepped back from the display and sat down in the command chair that the younger officer had vacated when she had come it.

From the chair she looked around at men and women in the command room. She generally saw that people were depressed. Zena Zabi had been a popular figure in the Zabi family and the news of her death was already having a negative effect on those that knew about it. She, as the highest ranking officer, had overall command of the troops stationed on Siegfried Two and was responsible for their mental wellbeing as well as their physical safety. She knew the prescription for things like this, busy work. It would keep them distracted and turn their emotional attention towards their discontent with all the cleaning she was forcing them to do.

With a sigh she settled back in the chair and stared at one of the wall screens, which was flipping through feeds from observation camera’s all over the outside of the asteroid. She suddenly saw a flash on one of the feeds just before the screen switched to a new one. She leaned forward, “switch the feed on the main screen back to camera N-26.” The Petty Officer at the camera control panel punched in the proper commands and the feed came back up on the screen. The duty watch officer came up beside her chair, “you see something ma’am?” “Yeah,” she replied, “a flash upper right of the screen.” They both stared at the screen, but neither of them saw anything. “It might have been a star coming out from behind another asteroid ma’am. We see that all the time and it takes some getting used to.” She settled back in her chair, thinking that it was going to be a REALLY long deployment on this stupid little rock.


EFSF Asteroid Belt Base - Normandy
Asteroid MA2356-8342
May 5, 0081

Christina Mackenzie nervously scanned the panoramic monitor that made up the cockpit of her Gundam. The fuel pod, that one of the Zucks had lost control of, had crashed onto the asteroid where they had just started to establish a base. Upon impact the pod had detonated causing a bright flash and that had everyone on alert. Axis was currently hidden behind another large asteroid, but no one knew how many observation posts the Zeeks had scattered around their last bastion of power. After several hours of watching everything with all eyes, work continued.

They had only been on station for two days, but already a large amount of the basic excavation for the construction of a base had been done and one work crew was already starting to assemble the prefabricated gravity blocks, which one of the cargo ships had carried in one of its massive holds. The commander of the engineers was sure that his men could have the base up and running inside a month. Admiral Von Kress had asked if that was too fast a pace for the engineers and their commander assured him that it wasn’t. All the prefabricated sections made for quick assembly and all of these men had had experience in asteroid base construction from work on Luna II and the repairs on Solomon.

Other work crews were out, exploring neighboring asteroids and were finding huge amounts of useful materials that could be easily mined and brought to the manufacturing areas that were under construction back on Normandy. “How you doing Chris,” the question came over her radio as a Lieutenant Commander Elliott’s modified GM Sniper II pulled up to next to where Chris had her Gundam hovering on guard. “Fine,” she said in the coldest voice she could muster. She just wished he’d go away, at least while she was on the ship she could avoid the ass and she couldn’t wait for him to go away. At least in one month there would be operations to help her keep her mind off how much the man inside the high spec. GM had crushed her heart.






Author’s Notes
(1): ELINT also known as SIGINT, Signals intelligence, is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether between people ("communications intelligence"—COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication ("electronic intelligence"—ELINT), or a combination of the two. As sensitive information is often encrypted, signals intelligence often involves the use of cryptanalysis. Also, traffic analysis—the study of who is signaling whom and in what quantity—can often produce valuable information, even when the messages themselves cannot be decrypted.

As a means of collecting intelligence, signals intelligence is a subset of intelligence collection management, which, in turn, is a subset of intelligence cycle management.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signals_intelligence

(2): QRF an acronym for Quick Reaction Force. This is a military force that is kept ready to react to unforeseen circumstances or enemy action.

(3): XO: An abbreviation for Executive Officer. This is the second in command of a military unit.

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