Clemont sat in his rotating chair, watching Lloyd and Cecile making the final adjustments. "I'm getting impatient, Lloyd."
"Oh, be quiet, Warrant Officer Harmen." Lloyd snapped. "This is a Ninth Generation Knightmare Frame, it needs some tuneup."
Why was I even assigned a Knightmare? Clemont thought. Britannia hasn't been at war since 2018. "Lloyd, what's the point of building a Ninth Generation Knightmare Frame just for me when we're not even at war?"
"Princess Cornelia ordered it," Cecile answered. "Some sort of mission in the E.U."
"The E.U.? Are we looking to start another conflict with them or something?"
"Of course not," Lloyd replied without looking up from his computer. "Empress Nunnally is doing everything in her power to keep us out of any wars. What a sweet girl she is."
"I guess you're right." Clemont sat back in his chair. He stared up at the ceiling, wondering why Cornelia could possibly want him to go to the E.U. "Wait, why am I getting a special Knightmare? Why aren't I just piloting a Sutherland like before?"
"The Princess says that you're being put in charge of the team being sent to the E.U." Lloyd said.
"How am I supposed to lead a team when I don't even know what my mission is?" Clemont asked.
"You'll be given your orders when you arrive. What I do know is that a team that was sent there to assist in stopping a resistance movement suddenly disappeared. I'm guessing your job is to find that team."
Disappeared? What does he mean they disappeared? They died? They were taken hostage? There's no way that some cheap resistance imitation Sutherlands could possibly take down a team of experienced Britannian Knightmare Pilots. Clemont was just trying to reassure himself. He had always been rather timid, which is why his parents were shocked that he made the decision to join the military. He was terrified of dying, and he wasn't fearless like Princess Cornelia and her Royal Guard. And now he had been put in charge of other peoples' lives? Despite all of this, Clemont knew that he couldn't back out. Maybe, if I do well on this mission, Princess Cornelia will notice me. Maybe she'll even be knighted. He shook his head, remembering what his father told him. Don't get your hopes up. In all likelihood, you'll just end up disappointed. Still, Clemont was determined to show his skills on the battlefield should the opportunity arise.
"The final adjustments are complete, Clemont," Lloyd said. "Come see for yourself."
Cecile unveiled the Knightmare to show Clemont the finished project.
It was a tall, metallic gold humanlike Knightmare, From what Clemont could see, it was equipped with dual Hadron Cannons and an advanced float system that Clemont didn't recognize.
"Those Hadron Cannons are twice as powerful as the ones on the Guwain, and the float system is equipped with jets that can give you a speed boost at the cost of a little extra energy," Lloyd explained. "But that's not all. The energy fillers are now fueled by solar energy. That means that as long as you regulate the energy you're using, you won't have to worry about running out."
"Does it have a name?" Clemont inquired.
"Of course of course, I almost forgot," Lloyd was blushing. "Warrant Officer Harmen, I give you the Goliath."
Upon arrival in Ireland, Clemont made contact with Princess Cornelia.
"My lady, we've arrived in the E.U. and area awaiting your orders."
"Excellent. Now that you've arrived, you and your squad are to search for any signs of the missing team. The last time we heard from them before their signal was lost, they were about 50 miles west of your location. Get moving, because if this is a terrorist plot like we suspect, they must be stopped. We don't want another Black Knight incident. The last thing we need is our greatest ally being usurped by terrorists."
"It will be done, my lady, "Clemont replied. He sighed and fell back in his cockpit seat. What a woman, he thought. He sat there for almost a minute before he heard a voice from one of the Sutherland units.
"Sir?" the voice said. "We need to be moving out, don't we?"
"Ah, shit, you're right," Clemont said, embarrassed. He examined his team. Nineteen Sutherlands and a Gawain. "Team, assume formation L-18."
The Sutherlands lined up in two rows of nine, with one at the back moving backwards to keep watch. Clemont and the Gloucester pilot were positioned at the front. Clemont looked at the Gawain pilot.
"You, in the Gloucester. What's your name?" Clemont asked.
"Corporal Samuel Herth, at your service," he replied. "Is there a problem, sir?"
"Why aren't you in a Sutherland like everyone else?"
"I've been assigned to be your second in command for this mission," Samuel replied. "I'll do my best to make this mission a success."
"Halt!" Clemont ordered the team. All the Knightmares stopped in their tracks. Clemont examined his surroundings.
This is where Cornelia said the team disappeared, he thought. A modest, very small town stood in front of him and his team. This can't be right.
Clemont and his team moved forward. As they were about to exit their Knightmares, however, Clemont's controls stopped responding.
"What the hell?" Clemont muttered. He looked back at his team and saw that they were having similar issues. "Is anyone's Knightmare still functioning properly?" Clemont asked his team. Before any of them could respond, a woman's voice, seeming to come from all directions, greeted them.
"Oh, the Britannian Knightmares. We've been expecting you. How do you like my Gefjun Disturber?"