If you stumble, your brother will watch you fall. He will shake his head in wonder how it is that you loose your footing, but aside from a taunting shout of encouragement he will make no physical move to help you to your feet... This is the essence of spiritual poverty.
- Artesia Som Daikun
- January 3, UC 0079 -
- 0751 hours (CST) -
The Lieutenant's blood was a flame of anger, boiling with hatred in his veins with an intensity that threatened to melt the armor of his mobile suit. He was standing on the Falmel's forward hull, the remainder of his mobile suit team hovering nearby awaiting the return of Ensign Santana with their deadly cargo. The colony stretched out before him would be the first to drink from the cup of his wrath: Island Ifish, the first completed colony in the history of mankind, a place the inhabitance had come to call Nobel City. Soon it's six million inhabitants would learn the new definition of justice. At a younger age he might have been remorseful, he might even have been reduced to some childish emotional outburst. But this Lieutenant was a true Zeon, a chosen warrior of Gihren's dream. A son of Zeon with a destiny to fulfill.
The radio crackled in his ears again; someone from the 9th team was sending out an emergency beacon. All at once the direction of his hatred and rage became focused elsewhere. "7th Team, that Saberfish squadron has dispatched our patrol unit. You have fifteen minutes to neutralize enemy resistance."
There was a long pause before the response, then another officer responded from a different unit, "2nd Team here... Lieutenant Cunningham, we've lost contact with Lieutenant Garahau's unit. We still have a visual on them, they're pretty busy. I think there's another squadron trying to sneak under us."
Dieter ground his teeth in frustration. He had expected more from the Marines than to be drawn away from the defense line by such an obvious diversion. Then again, he couldn't help but wonder how a diversionary unit could have gotten so close to the transport team in the first place. "2nd team, leave your position and take care of it. You have fourteen minutes. 4th team, we are six minutes behind schedule. Victor, where the hell are those canisters?"
As if on cue, an older MS-05 Zaku-I came up alongside, a bundle of steel cables in one hand dragging a massive cylinder of compressed gas. "The Feddies nailed one of the Panzocks. This is the only one left."
"Fine. We'll have to cut through the side panels under the mirrors." Lieutenant Cunningham added some pressure to his verniers and started towards the colony. Victor moved in behind him with the gas cylinder in tow, with the other two MS-06's just behind him as escort. All of the other colonies of Side 1 had already been purged, but this one had been saved for Dieter's Special Forces unit. Nobel City was about to take it's place in history.
His computer registered a heat source in the distance, and he looked up at almost the same moment the Falmel's main guns opened fire. His sensors registered at least five of them, Saberfish fighters in a loose formation. Ever since they'd cleared the Federation fleet guarding the colony, more than a few pilots had resorted to suicide runs. "Ignore them!" He shouted on their channel, "Proceed to the colony and complete the mission. We can't drop this colony until it's been purified." The fighter squadron came into range for missiles, but another barrage from the Falmel's guns ripped into the midst of them; two of the space planes vanished into fireballs, the other three split up and started searching for an angle to attack the ship. Dieter and his Zaku team pressed on towards the colony-- two newer mobile suits, both MS-06Fs with Marine markings passed them in the opposite direction to engage the fighters. "Maybe the Marines are good for something after all..."
"Hows about there, sir?" Victor approached a section of the transparent sky-wall on the outside of the colony, dimmed now from the twilight of the early colonial sunrise. Nobody in the colony was sleeping now; he knew the air raid sirens had been screaming for at least an hour since the attack began.
Dieter examined the spot: it was about the midpoint of the colony, close to one of the urban areas but nearby an open plane where the wind would spread the gas more quickly. "Perfect. Cut through the skin and start injection. We're still four minutes behind schedule!"
"Roger." Victor and Faye moved the cylinder against the transparent outer layer, and immediately a built-in drill bit on the bottom of the cylinder began cutting its way through the reinforced outer layer. He knew it would take a few minutes for the bit to cut all the way through, but once they were in...
He didn't see them moving behind them. All four of them knew not to move too quickly and risk setting off the Zaku's motion sensors. They hugged the skin of the colony wall and moved in the shadows as much as possible until they came to the edge of the sky-wall, then lined up side by side, held position with verniers, and all at once fired the tiny rockets bolted to their hulls. Dieter's computer warned him just a moment too late and the first rocket made contact, burying itself deep in his upper arm before deploying the six grappler spikes to lock it in place. Immediately the winch on the front of the machine kicked into action, pulling with such force the Zaku's feet lost contact with the colony wall and the force of rotation sent the mobile suit tumbling into space. The other tow cables made contact with the two guarding mobile suits, likewise yanking them off the colony and sending them hurtling.
Victor spun around at the motion, startled but somewhat collected, "Shit! Lieutenant, what the...?!"
"Stay with the canister and start the injection!" Dieter stabilized after a moment and traced the tow cable to its source; on seeing it he found himself at a loss for words. They were spherical machines, glass canopies over an open cockpit, with two powerful grappler arms attached to a metal frame beneath. Their verniers were oversized, almost like those of a mobile suit, but the emblem of the Colony Public Corporation on the front plating just above the tow cable gave them away. "Construction pods? Are they crazy?!"
He raised his rifle and started to fire, but the pod took the cable in one grappler and yanked it to the side, spinning his suit halfway around before the first shells could leave his gun. In the next instant he felt an impact behind him and realized suddenly that the pod hand latched itself to him with its claws. "Victor, hurry up with the cylinder!"
Victor had followed his orders; even when the others engaged, he still managed to stay with the gas cylinder until it had completed its work. "It's halfway through! One meter to go!"
Dieter fired his thrusters to full power to try and break away, but as soon as he pushed his throttles his computer beeped a warning that one of his fuel tanks had been ruptured. He's using a laser torch! "Yuri, Faye, I've got a hot one on me!"
"I got one too, boss! Gimme just a minute!" Faye's mobile suit struggled with a construction pod on its own back, and looking over on his monitors Dieter could see the blaze of a laser torch cutting through her armor as well. She spun the suit as quickly as she could trying to dislodge her opponent, but the grappler arms had too firm of a hold on her. "Yuri, can you help out Faye?"
The third team member started moving to support, but a tow cable fired across his face wrapped around one arm, and another from the opposite direction entangled the other both pulled tight at once and locked his arms against the Zaku's torso. "I can't get to her, the other two got me tangled up!"
"Shit!" The glow from the laser torch intensified against Faye's suit. Dieter realized in sudden panic that the torch was cutting into the coolant tank for the fusion reactor. The pilot either didn't realize what he was doing, or simply didn't care. "Faye, he's cutting into the reactor! Bail out!"
"Hold on a minute, it's just one stupid construc..." The pod released the mobile suit and pushed away just as a powerful jet of hot gas burst from within the armor. Ensign Manning had just enough time to curse under her breath before the fusion reactor breached and the mobile suit disappeared into a nuclear fireball. The construction pod that had dealt the lethal blow turned in space now, zeroing in on Dieter's mobile suit as he struggled with the pod on his own back.
The computer warned of a systems failure in his main sensors, and out of the corner of his eye the monitors reflected the red flashing as the torch burned through the metal on the side of his head. He felt a powerful swell of relief that this other civilian wasn't quite as clever as the other one. "Yuri, he's tryin to get my camera!"
"I'm gonna break free, hold on...!"
"You got thirty seconds!" Dieter spun the suit as hard as he could, trying in vain to shake off the construction pod before it could inflict too much damage. For a moment he felt the pod starting to loose its grip, but then the pod changed its grip and clamped on by both shoulders. Something else hissed in his radio on a different frequency. Dieter tuned his second channel to what he recognized as a civilian frequency and listened.
"Emma, quit screwin around! Either finish him or let him go!" It was the voice of a young boy, probably in his mid teens, but speaking with a kind of authority Dieter might have mistaken for a Zeon pilot.
A girl's voice answered back, even younger sounding, he guessed from the machine that had him in its clutches, "This is taking me too long! Move on to the injector!"
"Do it! I'll hold him here! Everyone's counting on you, Ryo!"
They're going after the cylinder... The construction pod that had destroyed Faye's suit moved away from them under full thrust, charging towards the G-3 cylinder attached to the colony wall just beyond them. On reflection he saw the brilliance of their strategy; a simple diversion while the one ace among them took care of the objective. He admired the craftiness of the civilians, but the machines they used were reminders of their place in the scheme of things. "Nice try, kids, but this is a grownup's war!" He steadied himself as much as possible and took aim, locking the Zaku machinegun onto one of the pods that had Yuri tangled in tow cables. At just the right moment he fired off a short burst, striking one of the pods dead center and blowing it to bits where it stood.
The tow cable fell way from the debris and Yuri spun around to face the other one, and with a strong yank of the cable around his arm he pulled the pod into range and sliced it in half with his heat hawk. "Nice shot boss..."
"Shut up you moron! Get that pod!"
Yuri swiveled the mono-eye just as the other construction pod came up next to him and swung the heat hawk on a defensive reflex. Somehow the pod managed to catch the arm in one of its grappler claws, and with one deft movement the little machine ripped the arm from the socket, turned it in its claws, and struck down on the Zaku before the heat hawk's battery could even cut out. The bladed hatchet cut through the armor like a knife through butter, slashing through the torso just above the cockpit, slicing open one of the fuel tanks as it followed through. Yuri sprung the cockpit and bailed out as the suit exploded behind him, and now the construction pod had a clear path straight to Victor and the G-3 cylinder. Dieter's main camera sputtered and died from the assault of the laser torch, but he felt the pilot locked onto him start to loosen her grip; obviously she was gaining a false sense of security by her partial victory over his machine. "Victor, watch your back! He's headed straight for you!"
There was a long pause on the radio before the Ensign replied on the same channel, a strange note of calm in his voice. "It's finished, Lieutenant." He chuckled for a moment, moving his mobile suit away from the colony to help break Dieter free of the pod that had him ensnared. "Injection was completed on schedule. In fifteen minutes, this colony will be dead." He started to move in to strip the construction pod off Dieter's back, but as soon as he came close the other pod moved passed him in an effort to assist in the dismemberment of the Lieutenant's mobile suit. "You want this one, Lieutenant?"
Dieter switched to his backup cameras and grimaced at the grainy image from outside. But it was more than enough to see the enemy pods maneuvering outside, and the one on his back trying clumsily to disable his mobile suit. "By all means." He swung his legs forward and fired his verniers, slamming against the front of the construction pod before reversing thrust and breaking free of its claws. The pilot seemed to hesitate for a moment too long, but Dieter's fist did not hesitate; it smashed through the glass canopy and crashed down on the pilot's head, effectively ripping the labor pod in half with the sheer force of the impact. He spun around again just as the other pod charged him in rage, tow cable trained and laser torch blazing in a micro-arm extending from the under-body. Who does he think he is? Dieter took his Zaku rifle in hand and took aim and opened fire, and the construction pod fired its tow cable at the same moment as it charged. Both avoided each other's attack, and in the next instant the two clashed head-on under full thrust. The metallic frame of the pod buckled from the impact and the canopy shattered, and at the same time Dieter's forward monitor shorted out as one of the grappler claws ripped open his chest plate.
The Zaku and the pod circled in space next to a dying colony, tearing and slashing at each other, pummeling with anything at their disposal as the fury of war boiled around them...
- January 10, UC 0079 -
- 0520 hours (LST) -
Hodge was in desperate need of a new job. He'd been running this route for two and a half years and every day it seemed to be getting steadily worse. No one else would trade with him, they all knew better. The sanitation department paid him almost 50 thousand dollars a year just to encourage him not to quit, but as of late he was beginning to doubt if it was really worth it. Lord only knew what he would find in the dumpsters of the alley behind the row of abandoned warehouses and scrap yards. This was where the Mafia dumped dead bodies after a hit, where dead-beat parents abandoned small children and left them at the mercy of whatever pimp noticed them first. This was where drug dealers made their living, where their customers came to waste their life. This was where lunatics went on rampages in the streets, leaving massive piles of shit in the trashcans or masturbating on the handles of the dumpsters for no apparent reason. This was the one place in lower Granada where the rats were the size of sheep. And today, as always, was just another lovely Monday in the basement of a Lunar city. "I'm quitting this job, Rick, I swear."
"Just ask for another raise, Hodge." His partner said, pulling his gloves on in the seat next to him.
Hodge turned left at the corner, less than a block away from the day's pickup route. As usual, the top-heavy garbage truck tipped over on two wheels during the turn, but Hodge knew it would handle differently once it was full. "You've been sick all month so you don't know how bad it's been. I came around the corner the other day and there were a couple hookers turning tricks in the alley. They wouldn't get out of the way, I had to sit there and wait for em to finish!"
Rick laughed at the image that popped into his mind, knowing Hodge as well as he did. "You're wife would be pissed if you told her that."
Hodge knew that was true, assuming his wife even bothered to listen to him gripe about work anymore. Then he remembered how engrossed she was in the news lately, which he could hardly blame her for. "I guess I should stop bitching, right? What with the colony drop and all..."
"Yeah, I was just listening to the radio. They say the damn thing landed on Australia."
Hodge sighed distantly. "I can't even imagine what that must have been like. You're sitting in the middle of a space colony falling out of orbit, you're watching the world around you rip itself apart and then... BANG!"
"That WOULD suck, except I heard the Zeeks gassed the colony before they dropped the damn thing."
"Heh. How courteous of them." Hodge put the subject on the back burner for now, the garbage truck finally coming up on the first stop. "Here we go, Rick. First stop of the day's always the moment of truth."
Rick braced himself and pulled his gloves on tighter. Whatever they saw at the first pickup would set the pace for the next five and a half miles of their route. Hodge pulled into the three- way intersection and stepped out on his side. "You wouldn't happen to know what happened to Rachel, would you?"
"Her mother lives in Side 1. When she heard about the battle she took off and tried to hitch a ride over there."
Hodge walked around the back of the truck and rubbed the back of his neck. "Poor Rachie. Even IF she makes it to the right colony, there's about once chance in fifty anyone will be alive." Hodge examined the first trash can next to the brick wall. Nothing strange in sight, no odd smells, no strange secretions lining the handles or the lid. "So far so good..."
He picked up one can and dragged it over to the back of the truck, but just around the time he noticed Rick wasn't back there with him he heard the younger man call out at the top of his lungs, "Oh my god! Hodge... Hodge, gimme a hand here!"
"Hodge!!" he shouted again.
His first instinct was that Rick was in some kind of trouble, but when he ran around the truck he found his partner kneeling down in the corner of the alley next to a mangled, nude form that vaguely resembled a human being, lying face down in a pool of blood. Hodge sprinted over to his side and knelt down next to him, and almost instantly he felt like vomiting. The body belonged to a child, a little girl barely into her teens. The skin of her back was tattered and shredded like an old T-shirt, sliced open so deeply in some places he could see through the bones of her shoulder blades. Just from the look of her he would have thought for sure she was mauled by a family of grizzly bears, until he noticed one other telling detail: her hands were tied together with a leather belt.
Hodge wasn't sure what impulse moved him, but he leaned down carefully and lifted the girl off the ground, pulled her gently across his knees and turned her up to face him. He noticed something around her neck, and tracing the outline he followed it to a double knot next to her chin with plastic tips at the edge. "Shoelaces... What'd they do, hang the kid?" He pulled at the knot a little to try and loosen it; as soon as he did he felt her entire body jerking in pain. "She's alive," He said, his mind suddenly going blank. He sat there for a few more moments, then held his ear up to he face. He could hear her breathing, but he could hear a gargling sound in her throat like a drowning victim on her last breath. "That's it for me. I quit." He said, taking off his jacket and wrapping it around her shoulders.
Rick surged up excitedly and sprinted into the truck, Hodge followed more slowly with the girl in his arms. "How close is the nearest hospital?" Rick said, shifting the truck into reverse.
Hodge climbed up into the passenger seat and closed the door. "From this neighborhood? You don't wanna know."
- January 20, UC 0079 -
- 0940 hours (LST) -
Dr. Pearson always hated having to deal with social workers on cases like this. He had nothing against them personally, but he found it disturbing that they always showed up to help with cases where a child was admitted with no parents or adult supervision of any kind. This one was far worse than the typical case, but he had learned the hard way that sometimes the most unusual cases were simply a preview for a new norm. With the start of the war between the Federation and the Zeon, he felt like he was in for a very long year.
The social worker was already in the room when he came by, dressed in the standard uniform of baggy, wrinkled slacks and the tacky jean-colored blazer. Pearson recognized his face, and the name that crept back from the depth of his memory was George Calloway, the guy who for some reason always got the sexual abuse cases. The girl was sitting in a wheelchair exactly as he had left her that morning, staring at the wall with the same empty, disconnected expression. Calloway was kneeling down in front of her, trying to appeal to anything inside her that might still have a grip on reality. Pearson knocked on the doorpost to get his attention and then stepped inside timidly, seeing Callaway's disappointment. "This is a pretty serious case, George. Thanks for stopping by."
Calloway stood up and clicked on the TV on the table in front of the girl, hoping to drown out the rest of their conversation with CNN news coverage. He pulled Pearson to a corner of the room and lowered his voice. "The nurse gave me the general idea. I know I'm gonna regret asking, but I just need some of the details."
Pearson hated to talk about it almost as much as the social worker would hate to listen to it, but business was business. "We don't know her name or her family history so we haven't been able to contact anyone about her. We think she' about twelve years old, but she won't tell us anything for sure. Her fingerprints aren't in the record and she doesn't match any missing persons files, so we think she's either a transient or a foreigner."
"And the injuries?"
"She's had eleven-thousand stitches on her back, ribs and genitalia, some skin grafts, one prosthetic kidney, and she's had two operations to repair internal bleeding from knife wounds and a collapsed lung."
Calloway braced himself for what he was sure would be the worse of it. "What about the attackers? We know anything about that yet?"
Pearson took a breath, giving off maybe the only news the girl would have found relevant. "She was assaulted by at least three different men, all unidentified so far. The DNA patterns aren't in the records, so we assume they were probably transients themselves, although we haven't ruled out a military officer since those records are off limits to us with the war and all."
Calloway took it all in, filed it away for later when he would probably have to arrange a foster home for this kid. "Have the head shrinkers been here yet?"
Pearson nodded. "She doesn't talk, doesn't move, doesn't even eat, just sits there in a daze all day. It's a different story at night though. The shrinks are seeing all the signs of severe post-traumatic stress syndrome."
"Wouldn't surprise me." Calloway walked over to the girl and knelt down beside her again. She didn't react to him in the slightest, but Calloway was a stubborn man. "What about the blood tests?"
Pearson knew he was saying this for her benefit, so he turned down the TV a notch and made sure she could hear. "She's clean. No sign of infection of any kind. Pregnancy came back negative too."
"That's good news." He placed himself in front of her face and looked into her eyes. She didn't meet his glance and all, not even when he lifted her face to look at him.
"She's been like that for eight days, now. Ever since she woke up."
Calloway stepped back for a moment and took Pearson aside to the corner of the room. He turned the TV back up and took Pearson aside again to speak to him.
He wouldn't have guessed it, but the girl's ears tracked every word of their conversation and she, like Calloway, filed it all away for future use. She knew her body would recover, at least as far as Pearson and the others kept insisting, but the fact that they still didn't know who attacked her was a strange relief. She had known those men even before the incident, and had learned to fear him many years in advance. Pressing charges at this point was a surefire way to get herself killed, so she began to consider her alternatives. She knew she needed –and fully intended– to get at him through the back door, but just what that method could be was a real mystery.
She listened in on Pearson and Callaway's conversation for a few minutes, catching a few potentially useful words to add to her vocabulary. Illegal minor... child abandonment... Mal nutrition... gang rape... colony drop... Colony Drop? That last word, in fact, came from talking heads on the CNN 24-hour live coverage. Her eyes drifted up to the TV screen and followed the headlines, taking more interest than anything her two caretakers could say next. One of the anchors, an Asian woman with a very small mouth was reading off a report, trying and failing to hide the despair in her eyes. "... initial reports from Federation disaster relief units operating on the continent have reported a slowing of their progress due to lingering radiation from the colony's impact, in addition to some lingering colony fragments still raining down on the continent from space. At this point, relief workers operating on the continent have made contact with survivors in communities in Alice Springs and Simpson's Gyap, though it is generally assumed that there are more survivors in isolated pockets as close as a hundred mile from the edge of the crater. Amnesty International estimates the casualties at between..." She faltered for a moment, not believing what she was reading herself, "At uhhh...anywhere between one hundred and three hundred million dead."
The anchorwoman paused for a moment and flipped to another paper on the desk, redoubling her efforts to keep the fear out of her voice. The girl almost felt sorry for her; she'd probably been there all morning reading news like this. "CNN war correspondents have confirmed reports of survivors from... correction, ONE survivor from Nobel Colony. He is identified as 17 year old Ryo Izumi, previously employed with by the Colony Corporation as a construction worker, pictured here with fiancé Emily Regan." The screen faded to a picture of a young boy, leaning against the wall with a dark-skinned girl, both with mischievous grins on their lips and some kind of trophies in their hands. "Izmui reportedly joined a group of several construction pods to in a counter attack against Zeon mechanized fighters, or mobile suits as they are called, and was later picked up by a Federation warship after the colony entered the atmosphere..." Izumi's picture was replaced by a photograph of a mobile suit, probably from the gun camera of a hapless Federation fighter. The girl froze that image in her mind for the rest of her life: that imposing metal war machine 50 feet tall, with feet the size of cars and hands that could crush a man like an insect. Those machines are more powerful than they look, she thought, rotating the image in her mind to examine it more closely, And they look DAMN powerful,. "Not only that, but young Izumi went on to distinguish himself in the recent Battle of Loum by shooting down an additional two Zeon mobile suits with a commandeered FFS-6 Saberfish fighter. He says he plans to officially enlist in the Federation Space Forces just as soon as the Merrimac returns to its home port."
Enlist?The screen cut to an interview of the boy, speaking before cameras from his hospital bed on the cruiser Merrimack. "We can't just let the Zeeks walk all over us, can we? Enough is enough, we have to fight back or they'll go on killing more people..." He enlisted to PREVENT killing?
"How do you manage to destroy so many of those giant robots? I heard they were invincible."
The boy grinned at the camera, even as he tried to downplay it. Deep down he felt a swell of pride with himself. "Every weapon has it's weakness. Even Zakus can be destroyed if you hit em in just the right spot."
"What do you hope to accomplish by joining the army?" Asked another reporter from a different network.
The girl reached over and plucked the I.V. needle from her hand as she waited for his response. "Some people can't be reached with diplomacy. The Zabi's have always been a suspicious bunch but we were willing to tolerate them for a while, but this time they crossed the line! All of us in the pods, we all knew we HAD to fight back!" But I TRIED to fight back! There were three of them and they were all bigger than me! How was I supposed to...!? "I tried to fight em off with my construction pod, you know, using a laser torch and the tow cables and whatnot, but we just couldn't get it done with those little construction pods."
"Are you discouraged at all about our chances in this war? I mean, against the new Zeon weapons?" The same reporter asked a little more excited.
"Well yeah, but the way I see it, I did pretty okay with a construction pod, and the Saberfish isn't bad either. But if we get some better equipment, some new weapons... just you wait! It'll all be different next time!"
It'll all be different next time...She envisioned her fantasy again, the imposing bulk of the Zaku mobile suit, clasping a human form in its mechanical hand. Age, size, strength, even rank made no difference in a mobile suit battle...
Her mind was made up, and at the same time she decided the time for recovery had comer and gone. Mr. Calloway happened to catch a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye, and when he looked over the wheelchair sat empty on the ground, the blanket that had covered her legs still floating back to the ground from the air. Pearson and Calloway ran to the door and looked down the hall just in time to see the girl running down the hall in a sprint, literally kicking orderlies and nurses out of her way, then turning and the corner and flying down the stairway. They heard a crashing sound of someone falling then another as hapless patients were sent tumbling at her feet on her mad dash to freedom.
Calloway ran over to the window of the hospital room and looked down over the balcony, seeing a tiny figure racing across the front lawn of the hospital to the main street. "Doc, I may be going out on a limb here, but do you get the feeling that kid's a lot stronger than she looks?" She ran strait into the main street, stopping in the middle of traffic and waving her arms to flag down a car. One drive stopped his jeep just short of hitting her, and in a blur of movement she ran around to the driver's side, smashed the drive's nose with her fist and tossed him out of the seat like a rag doll. She leapt into the driver's seat herself, visibly grimaced from the pain in her back before flooring the accelerator and speeding off, out of view.
He's right. If I don't stop them they'll go on hurting people...she thought to herself, speeding down the highway towards her familiar neighborhood. And I won't be alone the Federation makes more enemies for itself every day. An air raid siren whistled in the distance. She saw a flash of light high above her and looked up; a single mobile suit was rising into the air above her, firing down into the city and a row of Federation tanks with its 120mm machinegun. She saw a series of fireballs rising over the skyline close to where the shells had impacted, and the Zeon suit maneuvered in the distance searching for a new target. I just hope when this thing gets ugly, it won't involve anyone else...