Disclaimer: I do not Own Code Geass in any shape or form. But I do own the originally ideas and characters present in this story.
April 18, 2017 ATB
"Those damn things will kill you."
Zero cocked a glance to his left. "Seriously?"
Royce pulled away from the rifle scope to give his young companion a stony look.
Zero blinked once in surprise before it turned to disbelief. "Your actually damned serious." His expression only helped to convey his feelings of bewilderment. "With all the shit we've done, and will soon do, you honestly think a single cigarette is the biggest threat to my continued health and lively hood?"
"How in the hell did you get it anyway?" Royce pressed as he returned his gaze to the scope. "As tall as you are your face is still baby smooth. And I don't remember you saying anything about having gotten a fake ID."
Lelouch raised an eyebrow in response. "Did you forget who it was that you we're talking too?"
Royce opened his mouth to respond before he forced himself to snap it shut. The younger had a strong point there. Zero could convince a snake to bite it's own tail with nothing more than a smile and a few choice words about circles. The bastard was just that damn convincing.
The two members of Blackwatch had perched themselves high on a high rise rooftop in the middle of the Tokyo settlement. It was late, quickly approaching one in the morning, but the duo was still wide awake. As was the target of their observation on this balmy night.
"So." Royce began again after a moment of silence as he peered down the sight and in to a well lit hotel room. "Which contact gave you this little tip?"
Zero plucked the smoldering remains of his smoke from his lips before he answered. "A reporter from a local news station here in Tokyo." He rubbed the burning tip in to the rooftop to put out the fire. "Don't think he likes his job that much. Or Britannia for that matter. Didn't have to bribe him with much to get him to give me juicy morsels of information."
"What did he tell you exactly?" Royce extrapolated. "About how to find this guy?"
"He actually gave me a surprisingly decent amount of information." Lelouch shifted his legs under his body. "I thought for a moment that this might be a trap of some kind used to draw out Zero. Than I realized just who it was we we're dealing with and decided that it was extremely unlikely. The reporter was just told that there would be a press conference in the next few days and the new viceroy would be introduced. It also said that the sub viceroy was already in the city. That's all that he was able to tell me about it."
"Uh huh." Royce intoned as he watched one of the men in the building leave the hotel room. "And how do you know it would be this particular man?"
Zero shrugged his broad shoulders from where he sat on Royce's right. "I recognized the face. It made too much sense for it not be Edward."
"You recognized the face of one of Britannia's lesser known princes?" Royce asked skeptically from where he laid flat on his stomach, looking down the sniper rifle sight. "Just jogged your memory?"
"Little know to you and the world as a whole maybe. But all British nobility knows a little something about the others. It's an un-official rule. And in the mainland he's known as an up and coming political name. It makes too much sense for him not to be the sub viceroy."
"How do you know he isn't just here for vacation? Or some kind of business venture?" Royce inquired.
"Because that's not how the royal family works." Zero responded evenly. "One man's loss is another's gain. Although Clovis' dealing have become a black mark on the family and Britannia as a whole it also has opened new doors. The emperor likes to play a power game. He pits the royal family against one another in order to gain favor. It's a free for all for the throne. It helps him to maintain discipline and insures that none of the family bands together to plot against him. Effective if heartless. And with that in mind it's Edward Ri Britannia's time to shine.
He thinks he's here completely incognito. To get a feel on the movers and shakers in the area. I'd wager he'll find the big names and introduce himself by some kind of alias that's on the lower rungs of nobility. Get an idea of who could possibly be in line with his policies and who could be troublesome. Than when he reveals himself he can move on to making the proper introductions and consolidate his power base."
"That's pretty well thought out." Royce commented as he pulled away from the sight with raised brows. "How did you work all that out so quickly?"
"Because it's what I would have one." Zero answered casually. "And he's far from an idiot if he tried to sneak in to the area before hand."
"That's fair enough I suppose. But even still you show a fair amount of understanding when it comes to these Britannian power plays. Even after all of this time it's a little surprising to be honest."
"You forget I was a member of the nobility as a young child. I just watched and listened to what the adults had been saying while other children choose to talk about useless none sense. Lessons on manipulation and critical thinking interested me at that age."
"That's more than just a few things to pick up though."
Zero shrugged evasively.
Royce took the time to look back down the sight. A thought suddenly occurring to him.
"You would think he would be better guarded." The former EU assassin stated with a frown. "I mean one of his brothers did just die here."
"Half of it is arrogance. The other half purposely done." Zero stated as he moved to get more comfortable. "His plan is to fly under the radar but bringing too many guards would make that impossible. As it stands he can make something up with his royal guard unit like a 'boy's week' or something along those lines. But also I'm sure it never honestly occurred to him that someone could be watching him right at this moment."
"That's pitiful. And stupid."
"It's the royal family." Lelouch said in response. "The drivel the empire has been spreading for years has seeped in to them at a young age. They truly believe themselves to be a higher breed than most. No one would dare to challenge them in their own territory in such a manner. It was the same crap that gave Clovis such confidence. It's also besides the point."
"Besides the point?"
"Edward isn't overly important."
Royce raised up again. "A Britannian prince set to inherit a mantle of leadership in the area isn't important?"
"Not right now." Zero began to explain. "Edward is still new to this leadership business. It's going to take him some time to get used to things. But he also has few contacts in the military at this point in his career. Which means I can venture that he's here for the political aspect of Area 11. That means that the viceroy is the main contender here. I'm wagering it's a serious military figure."
Royce frowned. "Do you have an ideas of who it could be?"
"A few." Lelouch said slowly as he narrowed his gaze at the building opposite of them. "Whoever it is has to have some serious name recognition in order to shock the various terrorist groups in the area. I thought for a moment that it could be Cornelia Li Britannia but that went out the window with this little stunt by the EU. They could need her if things get serious and having her in Area 11 covering the government would make her unavailable.
There are others like Carine, another princess, but she's noted for her overly extreme measures when it come to putting down native resistance. Having her make a repeat massacre isn't something the empire could afford. Then there is Gabriel nel Britannia. He's not as well known as a whole as Cornelia but is a solid strategist that could easily overwhelm the resistance groups here."
"I'd wager a few generals as well." Royce picked up as he once again used his sight to scan the rooftops around them for counter-snipers. "Someone hard nosed and serious to counteract the last man's failure during the parade."
"Spot on." Zero complemented. "But the problem we face is not knowing who it is. We'll most likely be in the dark until the press conference or just shortly before. That makes planning for what comes next extremely difficult to say the least."
"That means there isn't much we can do at this point other than to wait." Royce commented as he pulled away from the scope for a last time. "At any rate it looks like our prince here is finally going to bed. That means we'll get nothing else from him for the time being."
"I suppose so. It's time for us to get back and get some rest as well. We need to think about what our next steps will be. And I have a term paper due. The history teacher is a complete asshole who seems to hates my face."
"What did you do?"
"I just corrected him on a few dates once. Nothing too serious."
April 19, 2017 ATB
Tokyo Settlement, Area 11
What are the damn odds?
"Please everyone! May I have your attention?" Janet Conley, a science teacher at Ashford Academy, called out to the class as a whole. "As you can see we have a new student joining us today."
A sudden and tense silence descended on to the classroom at the declaration. As one thirty pairs of eyes turned to the front of the classroom and focused in on the teenager boy standing nervously besides the teacher. Lelouch himself managed to keep his disbelief in check by remaining as stone faced as possible.
"This student was added by way of a special request from the military." The woman continued as she forced her smile to stay in place. "So please give a warm welcome to Suzaku Kururugi!" What she asked for and what she received was a large difference.
"An eleven? Here at school?" One student murmured loud enough for the entire class to hear.
"Not just any eleven either. The one from TV." Another added in what was supposed to be a whisper.
"He's the one who killed prince Clovis." Claimed a young high school girl.
"No, that was that Zero guy."
"Still he had to have done something to warrant suspicion."
"Zero claimed it was the man in charge who wanted to frame him."
"That's ridiculous. Why would a noble want to frame an eleven?"
Why am I even in class with these idiots? Lelouch questioned to himself as he listened to his 'schoolmates'. I should have just used Cypher's suggestion and made myself a fake diploma.
Amidst all of the talking stood the ever nervous Suzaku. Lelouch had to give the boy credit for his emotional control. Not many people could just stand still while others said horrible things about them. Still, it was obvious the boy was uncomfortable with the situation. Not that Lelouch could blame him.
Why is he even here? Since when does the military care about the schooling of their soldiers? Let alone honorary Britannians.
There was a number of plots that raced through his head. Was the boy there because of him? Did he somehow give himself away with a stray piece of hair or finger print? Was Suzaku looking for him specifically? And if so who did he tell? Or was he honestly here for damn schooling?
I'll have to get answers. Can't let a possible mistake on my part drag the rest down.
With that in mind Lelouch made his decision.
"Excuse me miss." He proclaimed as he stood up from his chair, at once every pair of eyes snapped to attention towards him. "There is an empty seat right in front of mine. He can sit here."
The tension in the room suddenly gave way to surprise as one of the school's most popular student (something he often lamented) made a daring moving. The teacher blinked in shock before she slowly nodded her head in acceptance of his proposal.
"Yes." Her fake smile firmly in place. "Thank you Lelouch. If you'll please take a seat Mr. Kururugi."
The Japanese teenager hesitated for a moment before their eyes met. Lelouch nodded his head and made a gesture to fix his collar. After that Suzaku squared his shoulders and marched his way over to his old friend. Lelouch sat down a moment later, aware that everyone was staring at him as if he was out of his mind.
I'll get my answers. He reasoned as the teacher regained control of the class. Even if I have to beat it out of him.
"Meet on the roof." Kururugi Suzaku stated with a grin as the thick metal door slammed shut behind him. "I completely forgot about that old code."
"I'm the one who developed it. So I didn't have that excuse."
"I guess not." Suzaku said. "It's been a while Lelouch."
Actually it's only been a few weeks...
"How's it going?" The hidden revolutionary inquired. "I thought you were dead for sure with that announcement."
"Oh... Um yeah." The topic suddenly making the boy uncomfortable again. "I hope you know I had nothing to do with all of that."
Lelouch frowned. "Of course not. Your not the type of person to pull off an assassination. Especially one so bold."
Relief suddenly flowed from the Japanese teen. "Thanks. That means I lot. I want to also say I had nothing to do with that 'Zero' guy. Whoever he was."
"Now that was strange." Lelouch commented as he pretend to not suspect anything. "What was up with all of that?"
Suzaku shrugged awkwardly. "No clue. He just came out of nowhere. I had never even heard of him before he showed up."
"Well whoever the guy is I'm glad he came clean. I knew that you had to be innocent. It would have been a tragedy to have you die for a crime you didn't commit just so that some purist nobles could gain more influence." Suzaku nodded slowly before the rest of the sentence registered. He frowned.
"You don't believe that do you?" The Japanese boy questioned. "About what the guy said on the bridge?"
You mean the truth?
"Which part?" Lelouch questioned."The part about the purist faction?"
"Um yeah... But mostly about your- Well prince Clovis." The boy looked uncomfortable again. "I wanted to say sorry about that too."
"I believe it." Lelouch said staunchly. "Because I saw it."
"What?" Suzaku looked honestly surprised. "Which part."
"The massacre part." Lelouch replied calmly. "After you got shot, still not sure how you survived that anyway, the terrorist in the truck must have set off a bomb. Somehow, by the will of all that is holy in the universe, the explosion missed me and that girl and instead caused the ceiling to cave in on those dirty guards. That's how we got out."
"Oh yeah! Whatever happened to her?" Suzaku suddenly cut in. "I couldn't find anything on her."
"No clue." Lelouch responded with a shrug. "She took off as soon as I cut her free. I wasn't the position to chase after her so I took off myself. It was complete hell sneaking out of the kill zone. And believe me, that's what it was. It certainly wasn't an exaggeration."
Suzaku suddenly went tense. "Then it's true? What Clovis ordered?" It seemed as if the idea hadn't been possible to the boy.
Lelouch pretended to nod somberly. "Every bit. I came out of the tunnels just in time to see a group of fleeing people get gunned down. If I hadn't gained experience avoiding patrols from the invasion I would have been caught too. By the time I made it out of the encirclement and in to safety the terrorist had started to fight back. Whatever it was that was up with that girl had Clovis really nervous. I'm glad she took off right away. I just hope she made it out okay."
"That's horrible." The boy looked to be about sick to his stomach. His expression caused a question to spring up in Lelouch's mind.
Why are you in the military if you can't handle blood?
"Why are you in the military?" Lelouch found himself questioning. "I would have never expected that from you."
"Oh, that?" The Japanese teen seemed to instantly brighten up. "It came because I saw how we had suffered. I wanted to try and change things."
This shit again.
"So you joined the military?" Lelouch feinted curiosity. "How does that help?"
"Well, I don't condone terrorism." Suzaku said while nervously rubbing his neck. "But I couldn't just sit around as people suffered. So I figured that I would try to change things from within the system."
It sounds even dumber the second time.
"How's that? Change from within?"
"Yeah!" The teen was suddenly upbeat as he began to explain the idea. "If I show the people that you can progress through non-violence I hope to show them a different path. If we just cooperate with the Britannians I'm sure they'll stop cracking down so rough on us! Than we can start to gain their trust and have a better understanding between the two races!"
Your really are stupid. Just the dumbest person I have ever met.
"That's an interesting theory." Lelouch said slowly. "But I still don't see how being a solider can help your cause. Why not try to be a politician?"
Suzaku frowned. "I'm not one for talking much. But I'm a pretty solid fighter. I hope to somehow move up through the ranks and show the Britannians that we can be trusted."
"I see... It's certainly a unique perspective."
He's an idiot.
Suzaku's frown deepened. "You don't think it will work?" The words were more of a statement than an actual question. Lelouch pretended to look chastised as he shrugged.
"It's just that... Area 1 through 3 have been apart of the empire for decades now and the people there are still treated like crap. And those lot weren't really even conquered like the other countries. A few of them willingly joined Britannia for the protection and resources it gave them. But the ideals of Brittannia it's self make your task difficult. After all your going against everything they have been taught for years. It's going to be hard to convince people different. Not to mention those who would come after you solely because they don't like your ideals."
Suzaku's frown stayed in place. "That Zero guy said something along those lines. Right after he called me an idiot."
Because you are an idiot.
"Really? That's a rude thing to say. You would think he would be nicer to you after going through all that trouble to free you."
Suzaku shrugged. "I thought he was going to recruit me or something but after I stated my plans he just let me go. I thought about trying to take him in but I owned him one for setting me free. It wouldn't have been honorable after he had gone through so much trouble trying to save me."
I wish you would have tried now.
"But enough about me. What about you? I haven't heard anything for so long... I thought you had been-"
"Killed?" Lelouch cut in. "Nearly. Things didn't go so well for me after we split up. I had to avoid Britannian soldiers and angry Japanese people everywhere. But I managed. I made it here in fact. The headmaster was an old friend of my mother. He helped me out with a place to stay and schooling." It was his prepared excuse. Ruben would back him up. Milly too probably.
"Really? Why did you never go back to Britannia?"
Lelouch stared at him as if he had just told him the sky was green. "Why would I?"
Suzaku frowned again. "Um... Your family?"
"My family." Lelouch began tersely. "Killed Nunally, and probably my mother, and tried to kill me too. And one of the few I did like before it all just ordered a massacre in Shinjuku. I think it's fair to say I'm better off as things are now as opposed to being in Britannia."
"Oh! Sorry about asking." Suzaku seemed to be honestly repentant. "I was just curious."
"It's not overly important so don't worry about it. I do have one more question though. How did you get here to Ashford Academy?"
"Oh that?" Suzaku suddenly perked up. "It was set up by... Well, your sister."
Lelouch raised an eyebrow. "My sister?"
"A princess. Euphemia."
The revolutionary blinked once in shock. "Euphemia?"
"Yeah! I met her about three days ago. She's here in Area 11."
"Euphemia is here? In Area 11?"
"I see..." How the hell did he not know about this? "Did she mention why?"
"Well she said something about being close by. Her sister, I guess another of yours, is supposedly working on the thing with the EU coming up. But she isn't supposed to close to the action so she asked to come here. She didn't mention why though. To be honest I didn't even know that she was a princess until she said something."
"That's surprising." Lelouch honestly admitted. "I know Cornelia doesn't like letting her go too far."
"That's the name!" Suzaku said with a snap of his fingers. "Cornelia. She's some kind of major military figure."
You should know if your in the damn army.
"She's a general." Lelouch said outwardly. "One of Britannia's best. If the EU does try to annex the rest of Russia and Britannia intervenes I wouldn't be surprised to see her take command there. One of the better knightmare pilots as well." It also meant she wasn't the choice to be viceroy.
"Wow! That's kinda impressive." Something else occurred to him suddenly. "That reminds me! The princess said something else important."
"You've got another relative here. A prince. She said she was here with her brother."
He means Edward.
"Did she say which one?" He pretended to question. "I really need to be careful with so many people around."
Suzaku shook his head. "No. But I think he's here on official business. He could be the next viceroy."
"I'll have to wait and see than."
"You'll probably be okay." Suzaku assured him. "As long as you don't draw attention to yourself."
Lelouch shot him a look. "I'm not going to look for trouble if that's what you mean."
"No! I was just talking in general."
"Good. Because-" Lelouch cut his sentence short with a frown. "One moment please."
Suzaku watched curiously as Lelouch's right hand dove in to his pocket and pulled free a phone. The raven haired teenagers stared at the screen with a frown before he pushed the accept button and put the phone to his ear, giving Suzaku another look as he prepared to speak.
"What do you need Milly?" He questioned loudly. After a pause he continued on. "I'm kinda busy right now... No. I know the rules I'm the one who actually does the enforcing around here. Yes. I realize it but unless you have something in mind... The student council? I suppose so." He trailed off for a moment before his gaze snapped up to Suzaku, holding the boy in judgement for a moment. "Actually that works out fine. I just found another. We'll have a full group now. Which means more for you to torture."
After a moment longer he snapped the phone shut before he turned his attention back to the other boy.
"Well, welcome to the academy. And as vice president of the student council I have something I need to say to you."
Suzaku listened in, doing his best to ignore the sudden chill down his spine.
April 19, 2017 ATB
He heard the small steps long before the other person had spoken.
"Charles." Came the child like voice just off to his left. "I've been looking for you."
Charles Zi Britannia turned in one motion to one of the two people in the world who would so freely address him. The large man's eyes instantly dropping down to the childish face of his elder twin. "V.V." He said in greeting. "What brings you here?"
The two of them were in his private quarters. Charles had been there attempting to use the silence to collect his thoughts. It was clear his brother had other plans.
"I wanted to talk about how we'll proceed." The relatively young immortal began. "With this mess developing in Europe."
The emperor hummed for a moment before he gave his brother his full attention. "What did you want to say?"
"My agents in the order have stated some troubling things." His twin brother began. "About why the E.U. is suddenly so bold."
"Are Schneizel's assumptions correct?" The emperor inquired curiously. "About the E.U.'s armaments?"
"And more." V.V. confirmed. "It seems that they've gotten a hold of a former weapons designer of our own making. He's apparently done marvelous things for them."
"How troublesome are we talking?" Charles pressed. "Will they be of any real threat?"
"It appears so." V.V. answered. "Reports say that these new frames are a significant upgrade compared to what Britannia has to field. It also appears that the council of forty are completely on board with this plot." The immortal frowned. "The E.U. wants this war."
The overbearing emperor frowned at the report. "That's rather unlike them. They've never been this bold before."
V.V. nodded in agreement. "Which means we've been missing a piece to the puzzle. And whatever it is we'll need to find it quickly."
"Unfortunately there is nothing we can do. Five of the thought elevators are in E.U. controlled territory. Another three belong in Federation lands. We'll need to pacify both of those areas sooner or later. The only option we have is to give the Europeans the fight they desperately want."
V.V. frowned. "This will be a long and drawn out process. It will delay our efforts even further."
"Still it is out of our control for the moment." Charles continued. "We need to use military might to push our way in to those crucial areas."
"What about the gap in technology? We'll need to arm the troops with better frames if we are to have any hope of driving the Europeans away."
Charles nodded. "That arrogant Schneizel has been toying with several new things. He thinks his dealing are beneath my notice. But at any rate I'll 'convince' him to share some of that technology with others. We should have something developed with in the next year or so. And in addition Maribelle, another one of my spawn who shows some potential, has been pushing for an opportunity for a fifth order of knights. I'll allow that if only to put more bodies in the field."
V.V. pondered his brother's words before he nodded his agreement. "Very well. I'll have my order agents continue to monitor things from the shadows."
"It's agreed than." Charles proclaimed. "This plan of action will benefit us greatly."
"There is one more thing Charles." V.V. cut in. "It's about C.C."
The large man frowned again before he nodded. "Yes. I've already made several moves regarding that wench."
"Good. She's the only other contractor that routinely comes out in the open. We'll need her code for Ragnorok."
"I'm well aware of that brother." Charles chided lightly. "I've chosen a suitable commander for Area 11. She will be made to focus on this Zero character. Right now he's our best lead on capturing C.C. as quickly as possible. I've ordered him to be brought before me. I'll use my geass to find out what he knows."
"Good. Whoever this fool is he made a mess of our plans by killing Clovis. We'll need him dealt with quickly."
"Is there anything else brother?"
V.V. shook his head. "No. I'll leave you to your thoughts brother. I'm sure you have a lot on your mind."
"No more than usual."
April 20, 2017 ATB
Yokohama Settlement, Area 11
"What is this thing?!"
"An RV of some kind?"
"Is it from the nobility?"
"Certainly." Zero in all his armored glory began to explain as he suddenly stepped out of the shadows of the darkened warehouse. His sudden appearance causing the ten resistance members to jump in surprise. "It was a gift from an intrepid noble. From this point on it will serve as a mobile command center for your group."
"Z-Zero!" Kanami Ohgi stammered before he remembered the newly instated protocol and snapped off a salute to his superior. "We didn't know you would already be here."
Zero watched with approval as the rest of the group moved to match Ohgi's motion. That was good as it showed that his lessons were sticking to them. The first step to creating a newly formed army would be to instill discipline where there would otherwise be none. By teaching them now he would create a culture of respect that would transition to others once their numbers grew.
"At ease." The distorted voice proclaimed to the group as a whole. "I trust you all found this place well enough."
"U-Um yes sir! Although to be honest I didn't expect for us to be drawn this far away from Tokyo city."
Zero nodded his head once. "Yes. We choose this area because of the lack of terrorist in the area. And Tokyo is about to become a hot bed of activity in the near future. But that's a story for later. Come, it's time that I show you the real reason you've been brought here."
With that Zero turned and began to stalk off deeper in to the seemingly abandoned warehouse. With a shrug Ohgi and the rest began to follow after the man in the mask as he lured them deeper in to the shadows. They had come to this abandoned fishing warehouse on the man's orders so following behind him was probably for the best.
"Another advantage to this warehouse is it's close proximity to the ocean. Easy access to the sea means easier ways to smuggle goods underneath Britannia's noses. Which is of course beneficial to you. In addition you've all been so compliant recently, even Tamaki, I thought you deserved a treat for all your hard work. Plus I'm sure your tired of meeting in the sewers and subway tunnels. This will be more to your liking."
"Sure. Because a run down building far from home is so much better than what we had going for us." The ever distracted Tamaki cut in with a sarcastic drawl.
Zero stopped mid-step, bringing the whole group to a halt, before he turned on his left heel to face the group again. Tamaki grew still and began to pale at the feeling of the masked man's gaze upon him. After a few seconds, though it seemed to the lot of them to be an eternity, Zero once again turned on his heels before he began to stalk off again. Leaving Tamaki to cringe underneath the glares and hisses of his comrades.
"I assure you Tamaki." Zero continued once he was sure everyone was hurrying after him again. "You'll find this considerably more comfortable than what you had before."
It wasn't long before Zero had led them to the opposite end of the warehouse and in to what Ohgi assumed was once a break room of some kind. The ten Japanese soldiers in training crammed in to the medium sized room behind the man before Zero reached up with both hands to what was once a bulletin board and began to press. Ohgi and his crew jumped in surprise as the wall gave way until it revealed a small doorway.
"Please watch your heads." Zero ordered as he himself ducked and stepped further in to the darkened space. Ohgi and the others followed suit to find the man standing amongst flickering lights hanging low from the ceiling. "Everyone needs to be inside before he descend."
"Descend sir?" Minami questioned as he motioned for the rest of the group to come in.
"Yes. Descend." Zero answered before he waited for the rest of the group to filter inside. Then, once sure everyone was safely in the room, he turned around and took two steps towards the back wall before striking a button. Again, the group as a whole jumped as the doorway slid shut with a hiss. "Please try to be patient, this shouldn't take long."
A few second later the group jumped for a third time as the ground at their feet suddenly lurched before it began to sink further in to the earth. All ten men and woman looked around in awe as the world around them seemed to rise as they fell. Zero watched their expressions with amusement from behind his mask as the low LED lighting placed in the elevator shaft began to flicker on around them.
"Now than." He began after a moment longer as they continued to descend. "As I stated before Blackwatch is made up of all sorts of individuals. One of them is a former Britannian noble who was well known for his technological skill. A short time before the invasion he was forced out of the homeland due to attacks and plots against his family. It was here in Japan that he settled. And one of the first things he did once the war was over was to buy various properties around the islands. This is one such property.
Obviously he's done some work on it since that time. All off the records as well. We've decided that your growing organization will need some more space to conduct business. And this facility is currently unused. So it's the perfect place for your group to utilize without drawing too much attention to themselves."
The elevator stopped not long after that before a set of double doors slid open on their tracks. Zero stepped forward and past the group. Ohgi and his company trailed soon after and were left to openly gape by what they saw. Off to the right they spied a cluster of arm chairs forming a semicircle around a television set. To their left was an enclosed space made up of what seemed to be made of drywall. And straight ahead, at the end of the room, were the rows of knightmares they had liberated from the Britannians in Shinjuku.
"The area to your left holds a full service kitchen and rest room." Zero began to explain. "There are cots for you to put out as well. This bunker was made with full plumbing and wiring. It also has a hardline for television and internet access. In addition there is a tunnel that leads to a dirt road just outside the settlement for moving equipment." He spread his arms in a grand gesture. "This is your reward for all the hard work you've put in during the refrain raids and training."
"This is incredible!" Minami exclaimed as he gazed around. "Simply awesome!"
Ohgi gave the man a slow nod. "Thank you Zero. This is better than we've ever thought we'd have."
"And better is still to come." Zero assured the man before turning his attention to the loud mouth of the group. "What about you Tamaki? Do you approve?"
The man, in a daze, jerked at the sudden question. He quickly colored when he noticed all the attention had been solely focused on him at that moment. "Um yeah. Thanks Zero!"
Zero said nothing more to him choosing to let the snickers and whispers from his comrades do the talking for him. The group spread out to look about the vast underground space. Zero watched them all and answered small questions for about ten minutes before he called everyone's attention back to him.
"Before I depart for other business there is some important things to make note of. So all of you gather around to better hear my words."
The group looked to one another before they each shuffled forward one by one to stand before the large figure that was their leader. Zero let the whispers die down before he gazed upon the group as a whole and prepared to make an important address.
"In the next few days the landscape of Area 11 will change very quickly." The masked phantom began. "But before we get to that I'll start with the most pressing matter. I'll be taking a short trip from these islands very soon and wanted to inform you all of some changes." A wave of protest began to sound from the group. Zero waited it out in silence before he began to speak again. "A pressing situation has developed in the world at large that requires monitoring. It was decided as a group that I would be one of the chosen to handle this operation. Also the events in Shinjuku with the prototype knightmare shows that my skills have began to apathy with lack of use. I'll be using the upcoming encounters to polish my own skills.
While I'm gone you'll be reporting to another member of Blackwatch, the first other than me you'll be in contact with. It is a Japanese man by the codename of Ronin. He will begin by making contact within the next couple of days. But with that being said you'll probably focus more on training than operations for the time being. Because, as I previously stated, things are about to quickly change here in Area 11."
One brave solider in training raised his left hand to interrupt. "What changes sir."
Once again, beneath his mask, Lelouch rolled his eyes. "I was getting to that."
The man had the decency to look sheepish under the glares through his way.
"My own personal contacts have given me a wealth of information in the past few days. We now know that there are not one but two new members of the Britannian royal family in the area. One of which is set to become the new sub-viceroy for this area."
He paused here to wait through another wave of whispers. Irritation began to rise up from deep within at all the sudden interruptions. He would have to make sure to instill to them the need to listen to the whole announcement before speaking.
Although come to think of it Hirigawa will probably beat it out of them by the time I get back.
"But!" He began again loudly to cut off the talking. "They aren't overly important at the moment. Minor annoyances in the long run. It's the person who's set to become viceroy that is of note here." He paused again anticipating talking and was pleasantly pleased to hear no words being exchanged. "I've learned within the past five hours that the person who is set to become viceroy is one of the key figures in the Britannian military."
An intense wave of anxiety began to weigh heavily on the group as they waited for his words. Beneath the mask Lelouch couldn't help but grin at the way they hanged on his every word. It was a little satisfying to say the least.
"Olivia Zevon." He paused here again, just for effect. "The knight of five."
A sudden uproar began as his words began to register.
"The knight of five?" A shocked Inoue questioned. "As in one of the knights of the damn round?"
"What the hell man?!" Tamaki shouted in surprise. "Why is one of the empire's elites headed here?"
"BECAUSE THEY'VE HEARD OUR VOICE!" Zero suddenly boomed. Cutting off sentences mid speech as they turned to him with wide eyes. "You should be rejoicing as much as you've began to panic. This is a powerful statement sent my way. Our way."
"W-What do you mean?" A nervous Ohgi spoke for the group. "Why should we be happy about this? What message?"
Zero waited for a moment before he answered. "It means they've become aware of us. They recognize the danger that we represent. That the resistance in this area as a whole shows. It spits in their face and calls them out. And the emperor has answered our challenge by sending one of his best in attempt to pacify us and quiet our voices. But it will not work on me! No matter who he sends or how many battalions descend upon this area I will still continue to fight. Because ours is a cause for justice and justice cannot be, will not be, silenced by acts of aggression! Justice will always find a way to prevail over injustice!
But I can only speak for myself! So I ask on to each of you: What will you do? Will you cower in the face of this new enemy? Or will you be even more motivated? Will you hide in the shadows or are you prepared to step in to the light? I told you before that this isn't a fight to simply free Japan! But instead it is a war to free all of the oppressed. That means that sooner or later you'll gain the attention of the Britannian elites! Or did that not occur to any of you?"
A silence descended on them each as Zero's passionate words began to sink in. One by one members of the group began to stand up straighter and taller. Each clutching on to his speech and finding a point to drive their confidence further. Beneath his mask Lelouch narrowed his gaze.
"In the short time we have been working together you have all grown by leaps and bounds. Better than I could have ever hoped for. And although there is still a long way to go you can still be proud of your accomplishments. But if any of you are too afraid to fight because of one soldier then walk away now while you can."
No one did.
"I thought so." Zero's voice sounding pleased. "I chose this resistance group to start with for a reason. Because each of you were committed to doing the best you could. And everyday you train you show that conviction. All I ask is that you continue to show it. When the time comes I will personally fight amongst every single one of you. And lead you to all that is promised. Just be patient and continue to improve."
"Alright Zero." Ohgi said after a moment. "We understand."
"Good. Than with that said I bid you all farewell. I need to prepare for my trip." The masked man snapped off a salute to the group. "Remember to prepare for Ronin's call."
"Oh! Before you go Zero!" Inoue began as she stepped forward. "I was wondering if we could ask just where it was you happened to be going?"
Zero tilted his head to the right before he answered her. "Russia."
"Russia?" Her confusion evident on her face. "Why?"
"Because there's a war about to start. And I want to be there for the opening shot."
April 21, ATB
Is Everything in place?
The woman's grey eyes snapped down to look at the screen of her tablet. A frown split her face as she glanced around to make sure no one was watching her before she quickly typed a reply. Contacting her during a council meeting? He was becoming too bold.
Good. We can't any delays. It's time to move.
She rolled her eyes as she replied.
I'm aware of that. I've been ready for some time.
I just wanted to make sure everything was in order. The man on the other side shot back. This is an important part of the plan.
I'm aware of that as well.
Good. We're set to begin within the next few weeks.
She raised an eyebrow. So soon?
There isn't anymore reason to wait. Everything seems to be in order. The Britannian forces are starting to amass. This will give us the opportunity we've been waiting for.
Where will we hit first? She typed back in curiosity.
Area 12. Than probably Area 11. They haven't even began to tamper with those yet.
Alright than. My team will be ready to move.
Good. The thought elevators are crucial to our plan. We can't let Britannia horde them any longer.
Don't worry. We'll be taking them all soon enough. She responded one final time. And after that's done we'll move to take over the order.
That's the plan. We just need everything to go our way from here on out.
And it will. She mused as she pretended to listen to those who debated against the invasion of Russia. Because I've already seen it come to pass.