Disclaimer: I do not own Full Metal Panic! or anything related to the story/franchise. So as to fall into a lovely little loophole, I hereby declare this work a parody.
Chapter One: "Et Tu?"
Not long after the incident involving a terrorists boarding and taking control (if only briefly) of the Tuatha De Daanan, Mithril high command decided to "re-evaluate and analyze" the personnel aboard the submarine.
Their method of doing this was to send a fellow by the name of Chevello Adelino to the vessel and have him follow around the Captain. This did not sit well with the crew.
Adelino did indeed follow around the Captain. Apparently, the protocol for running a sub had changed without anyone informing Tessa (or, rather, she had known but her requests for a copy of the new protocol was ignored) and Adelino went out of his way to correct her.
As most of the crew soon learned, Adelino was a wretched, arrogant and highly critical man. Several times he reduced Tessa to tears with his criticism, routinely insulting her.
The rest of the crew didn't much like this. After one particularly vile tongue lashing that had Tessa retiring to her chambers because "she felt light headed", Adelino was jumped by several technicians on his way to his own quarters and beaten for a good minute before several officers decided to intervene. The truth of the matter was, they had been watching from a safe distance for several seconds while they placed bets on how many bruises the bastard would end up with.
One would think that Adelino would ease up and be a little nicer. But, then, one would be wrong. If anything, Adelino was worse. He privately held Tessa responsible for the incident and took out his anger on her. He wondered aloud whether or not Tessa had any real control over her crew and if such a person was really competent to be an officer, let alone captain of a submarine.
It was for these reasons that Melissa Mao and her squad sat in Andelino's officer, glaring at him as he briefed them on their upcoming mission.
"As you certainly know, North Korea is restarting their nuclear weapons program with the intention of having fully working weapons of mass destruction by this time next year. The South Korean military has received intelligence that a small coastal facility is one of the key development centers for the program. Since any reconnaissance attempted by South Korean or American forces could easily start a war, Seoul has asked us to scout the location for them.
"You will go ashore at 0300 hours and go West for three kilometers. Once you come upon the facility, you are to take photographs of the buildings outlined in this folder-" Adelino gestured to the vanilla folder laying on his desk- "as well as any unusual happenings. Any questions so far?"
Melissa stood up.
"Sir, Major Kalinin generally-"
"Ah, yes…" said Andelino, leaning back in his chair. "Major Kalinin made some remarks to me in private about my… actions and conduct concerning Captain Tesstarosa… which were quite inappropriate. He has been relieved from his duty for the time being. Moreover, High Command has asked that I brief you for this mission personally."
Melissa nodded. "Understood, sir."
"I hate that bastard!" yelled Melissa, smashing her fist into the wall and actually making a dent in the metal.
"Maybe he'll have a little accident on the stairs…" murmured Kurtz, cracking his knuckles. Only Sousuke remained silent. Picking up on this, Kutrz glanced sideways at his comrade.
"What say you and I beat the shit out of the dickhead and toss him overboard?"
Sousuke was still silent, as though focused on something at the end of the hall.
"Eh! Sousuke!" Kurtz finally elbowed the young man hard in the gut. Sousuke groaned and glared at Kurtz.
"What the hell's wrong with you?" demanded Kurtz. Before Sousuke could give any explanation, Melissa stepped in.
"Don't you get it? After this mission, we'll be on leave for awhile… And we're close enough to Japan…"
Understanding seemed to dawn on Kurtz. His face broke into a grin and he cheerily tossed his arm around Sousuke.
"Gonna' go see your one true love?"
Sousuke stared at the other man blanky. "My what?"
"Kaname, you idiot!"
Kurtz scowled, now annoyed. "You're going to see Kaname while you're on leave, aren't you?"
Sousuke shrugged, as though it were none of his concern. "Maybe."
"Maybe? If you don't, some other guy'll snatch her up. Take my advice: Grab onto Kaname and don't let go."
In actuality, Sousuke had been thinking about what to do with his leave. His first idea was fishing. Then, he considered buying some military technical manuals and then going fishing. Then, the idea of going to Japan, buying some military technical manuals and taking Kaname fishing came to him. To Sousuke, it was essentially making a good thing much, much better.
Of course, he would have to take Kaname out to dinner. It made no difference to Sousuke where he ate or what he ate but he assumed that Kaname wasn't the same and would want a nice meal at a nice restaurant. Which, the young soldier figured, would cost a nice sum. That wasn't a problem, he decided, however, because other than fishing, books and Kaname, Sousuke had nothing else to spend his salary on.
"You know," sayd Melissa thoughtfully, bringing Sousuke back to reality. "I'm a bit worried about Tessa. She's taking what Andelino says pretty seriously."
Kurtz nodded in agreement. "She's pretty sensitive sometimes… You know, I bet that bastard's figured that out and he's taking advantage of it. I bet the prick gets off on seeing her cry…"
"You know what'd cheer her up?" Melissa said suddenly. She spun around, grinning widely at Sousuke. "If her prince paid her a visit."
"You know what'd cheer her up even more?" said Kurtz enthusiastically.
"If her prince visited her and brought Andelino's head with him!"
The small craft sloshed around unsteadily in the raging water as it approached the shore.
"Why couldn't we launch in Arm Slaves, dammit…" hissed Kurtz. He was clinging to Melissa for dear life who in turn had linked her arm with Sousuke's who was gripping the side of the boat for all he was worth.
"'The introduction of Mithril Arm Slaves into North Korean waters might be seen as an act of war,'" quoted Melissa, her teeth grinding together. "I don't trust any of this. Why no Arm Slaves? They would never see a thing…"
Sousuke made a strange sound that made both of them turn their heads in his direction. He was turning green. He discreetly put his head over the edge of the boat, threw up, let the water wash his face and pulled his head back. His expression never changed. Kurtz stared at him with a mixture of disgust and respect.
"No matter how long I know you, I'll never understand you, Sousuke!" he yelled over the raging waves. If Sousuke heard, he gave no sign. Instead, he remained focused on the shore they were closing in on.
Things did not go as planned.
By the time the trio hit the shore, they were exhausted, soaked and freezing. Nonetheless, they persevered and continued on with the mission.
The beach ran into a large forested area and it was deep within this area that the facility was supposed to have been. The soldiers trooped for half an hour through the woods, careful not to make too much noise.
When they finally reached the spot where their target was supposed to have been, they found not a group of buildings… But rubble. Three or four acres of rubble. If there had been some sort of research facility there, the North Koreans had done a good job of tearing it down.
"Damn…" muttered Kurtz as he looked over the rubble.
Nobody said anything more for quite some time. Sousuke checked and re-checked the coordinates. They were in the right place. They were in the middle of the little icon on the map that said "Weapons Facility." Only, in real life, there was just an awfully big pile of rubble.
A sort of thwapping noise broke the silence. At first, it was so faint that no one paid it any mind, but as the noise got louder and closer, it became clear that a helicopter was rapidly approaching them.
It came out of the tops of the trees like a mythical dragon emerging from the ocean. The Mithril soldiers took but one look at the dragon and took off into the forest.
The helicopter hovered over the site, finally landing in the center. The side doors opened and out trooped six soldiers, assault rifles in hand. The realization dawned on Kurtz, Sousuke and Melissa that they had no doubt been spotted.
Slowly and cautiously, the Korean soldiers moved forward, scanning the area. Sousuke had, at the last moment, climbed a tree and was now crouched on a branch, shielding himself with a branch and keeping his submachine gun trained on the soldiers as they entered the woods.
Kurtz was lying prone, half in a bush, half behind a tree. The Koreans passed right by him and he remained still, like some sort of wax statue.
Melissa had hid herself behind a tree. In the confusion of the helicopters arrival, she had dropped her rifle. Like Kurtz, she kept very still as the Koreans passed by, not two feet away from the officer.
Then, a most inconvenient thing happened. A bird, possibly a crow, gave a loud, tortured cry. The last soldier to have come in the forest, now at the end of the little line he and his comrades had formed, stopped and looked behind him. He found himself looking directly at a woman in combat fatigues, holding a gun to her chest.
Before the soldier could raise his rifle, alert his friends or even fully process the information, Melissa raised her gun and fired once.
The Korean soldier's face burst apart. The others turned just in time to see Melissa holding the smoking gun and their comrade's body falling. As he hit the ground, all hell broke loose.
The soldier closest to the dead one let loose. The AK-47 sprayed bullets through the forest, tearing apart the tree that Melissa had been hiding behind but not the younger officer herself. She had dove out of the way and fired again, hitting the poor soldier in the arm twice. He dropped his rifle and grabbed his arm and, seemingly out of nowhere, Kurtz stood up, took aim and dropped the second Korean soldier.
By now, the four remaining North Koreans had a vague idea as to what was going on and had opened fire. Sousuke dropped down out of his tree and gracefully landed in a crouching position like a cat. He aimed and squeezed the trigger and his MP-5 spat bullets into the closest soldier. As flowers of blood bloomed on his chest and he fell, another turned, saw Sousuke and fired.
The teenager wasn't fast enough to get out of the line of fire and two bullets struck him in the side, in between the plates of kevlar in his vest. Sousuke tumbled to the ground and gave a hoarse cry of pain. Kurtz quickly avenged his comrade by making sure that the offending Korean soldier would never be able to wear a hat properly ever again.
Melissa quickly dispatched two more soldiers who were distracted by Sousuke and the final one fell from a well-placed rifle shot, courtesy of one Kurtz Webber.
As the dust cleared, the three quietly regrouped.
"How bad, Sousuke?" hissed Kurtz quickly. Sousuke leaned against a tree and put a hand over the wound.
"Not bad. No arteries or vital organs were hit." He took his hand away as Melissa wrapped his midsection tightly with bandage tape.
"There," she said a bit grimly. "That should hold while we're dry but I doubt it'll fare very well in water…"
With Kurtz' arm around Sousuke and him leaning slightly on the other man, they began their way towards the shore. Melissa had holstered her pistol and held Kurtz's rifle. The forest was totally silent as they hobbled along.
Finally, they reached the beach. Kurtz dropped to his knees and brought Sousuke down with him. Melissa glared at both of them
"C'mon. This isn't the time to be sitting on your asses," she said, as though scolding little children.
"Sis, let up…" groaned Kurtz as he lay down on the sand. "I don't think those guys got a chance to radio back to headquarters or anything…"
As Melissa and Kurtz argued, Sousuke checked his submachine gun. He made sure it hadn't been clogged with sand or dirt or what have you. As he began taking apart the weapon, he looked up suddenly.
"The helicopter," was all Sousuke had to say. As if on cue, the terrible chopping noise returned.
"Aww… shit…" cursed Melissa. She drew his pistol, though it would do no good and looked back towards the forest. "If we can get in there again…"
The guns of the helicopter started rattling and bullets began raining down around them, kicking up great clouds of sand. The three made a panicked dash for the woods, stumbling and tripping over their own feet.
As he ran, Sousuke pointed his gun at helicopter, tilted it up to give it more range and fired. He didn't expect it to do anything but, it was better than doing nothing, he reasoned.
Only, it did do something. Several bullets peppered the rockets on the side of the chopper and they went up. The resulting explosion, though small, knocked the helicopter off course and it veered around widely.
Melissa stopped running and grabbed Kurtz. Thrusting his rifle into his hands, she looked at him seriously.
"Can you pull off a miracle?!" she demanded.
Without answering, Kurtz calmly cocked his gun, raised it and aimed. He zeroed in on the pilot of the helicopter and fired. The glass surrounding the cockpit shattered and the pilot slumped over, dead.
Without someone controlling it, the helicopter flew around sporadically before finally crashing into the shore.
The three soldiers stood silently as they watched the aircraft make a less than graceful landing, the rotors still spinning. Suddenly, Melissa gave a great, triumphant whoop. Tossing her arms around Kurtz, she kissed his cheek, something she would later deny having done.
"You did it, you dick head!" she yelled happily. Kurtz grinned stupidly and tried to kiss Melissa back. Sousuke smiled slightly and trotted over to the helicopter. He climbed into the cockpit, dumped the body out and shut the thing down. As he got out, he was joined by Kurtz and Melissa, both red faced.
"It doesn't appear to be badly damaged. As far as I can tell-" Sousuke leaned into the cockpit- "it has sufficient fuel to get into a friendly nation.
Kurtz glanced at the body of the pilot, sprawled lewdly on the ground. Without another thought, he joined Sousuke in the cockpit and started cleaning out the glass.
They were flying over the Sea of Japan. The helicopter turned out to be quite a hardy piece of equipment and managed to fly almost perfectly.
"Whaddya' mean, Sis?" Kurtz asked, with a questioning glance.
"I mean…" Melissa said carefully. "I've thought this all through. I think we were set up."
"Set up?" asked Sousuke, as though he didn't really understand the words, which he very well may not have.
"There's no way Mithril couldn't have known that the facility had been destroyed. With satellites and everything… And that bastard Andelino briefed us on it."
Neither Sousuke nor Kurtz said anything for several moments. Then, finally, Sousuke spoke.
"Although it seems unlikely that Mithril would betray us, the evidence is disturbing. It would also explain why we weren't allowed to bring Arm Slaves."
Melissa nodded with a kind of grim triumph. "Exactly."
"But, why would they want us dead?" wondered Kurtz. He leaned back in his chair and looked out through one of the broken windows.
"Perhaps they anticipated us getting in the way of something?" suggested Sousuke.
All three of them bowed their heads in deep thought. Finally, Melissa, easily the brightest of the group, looked up.
"I bet they're going to try and take over the Tuatha De Daanan. That is, find Tessa 'unfit' to command it and try to take it away from her. Maybe they were afraid of a mutiny?"
Kurtz and Sousuke both looked grim.
"Well, we can't go back, then," Kurtz said slowly. "So, what now?"
"I've got family in the US I can stay with," said Melissa. Kurtz looked at her a bit strangely.
"Err… Would you mind if I crashed with you? I'm not on speaking terms with my dad…" said Kurtz uneasily. Melissa muttered something about him being useless but eventually gave in.
"What about you, Sousuke? Do you have a place to stay?" asked Melissa in an almost (keyword: almost) motherly way.
Sousuke still had his head bowed, deep in thought.
"There is someone…" he said quietly.
"Who?" prodded Melissa.
Kurtz laughed. "Who else?"
Somewhere in Tokyo, Kaname Chidori was arriving home from school. As she kicked off her shoes, she stretched and groaned loudly.
"Ugh… School goes so long these days."
Suddenly, without warning, she sneezed. Rubbing her nose, Kaname sniffled.
"Someone must be talking about me…"
Paying it no mind, she went to her room and worked on her homework for an hour. Then, she made herself dinner and watched TV. At 7 o'clock, as she was tidying up her little apartment, the doorbell rang.
"Well, I wonder who that is?" Kaname asked her self as she put a pile of books down and reached for the door.
"Yes… Yes… Tell Andelino it was a job well done… No, it's quite all right… Thank you…"
It was evening in Rome. The sun was quickly disappearing over the horizon and the fading light cast shadows through the small office, where, sitting at a desk, was a man, perhaps forty, pouring over some documents on his computer. And out of the shadows stepped a tall, scarred man of Asian descent.
"Good evening, Padre…" purred the man. "Padre" at the desk jumped and looked up suddenly.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?" He reached for the security buzzer.
"I've already cut the wires. Don't bother. I'm not here to hurt you."
Padre seemed to relax slightly, partly because his other hand had found the pistol in his pocket.
"Alright but who the hell are you?" he demanded.
"Gauron. I would expect the supreme commander of Mithril would have heard of me…"
Padre's eyes narrowed to slits. "Overlooking the fact that you should be dead many times over… What do you want?"
"I want," said Gauron coolly. "To talk about Kashim."
"I don't know anyone by the name of 'Kashim.'"
"You know by the name Sagara Sousuke."
Padre was very quiet. Finally, he said, "What of him?"
Gauron leaned on the desk till he was face to face with Padre.
"Killing your own is a bad business practice, isn't it?"
"What's it to you?" retorted Padre. He cocked the gun.
"I'm just commenting. You see, Kashim isn't dead. But, I wonder, why would you want him dead?"
"Not dead? What do you mean?" Padre was a bit anxious now. He opened a draw, dug around a bit, and found a small orange bottle of pills. He tossed two into his mouth, swallowed and calmed down. Gauron waited patiently while he did this.
"Kashim lives. You may not believe me now but he escaped your trap. And within the next few weeks, you will realize I speak the truth. But… Why would you want him dead?"
Padre smiled coolly. He pulled the pistol out of his pocket and twirled it around his finger like a cowboy absentmindedly.
"It was necessary. There were things he would've gotten in the way of…"
Gauron smiled. "I see." He didn't press the matter.
"Now, if you would be so kind as to leave…" continued Padre. "Or should I use a little persuasion?" He pointed the gun straight at Gauron who continued to smile.
"Try to understand… Padre… Holy Father…" Gauron stood to his full height and walked lazily over to a bookshelf. He pulled one of the volumes off and flipped it open.
"Shakespeare. Et tu, Brutus?"
When Padre didn't say anything, Gauron snapped the book closed.
"Kashim is mine. He's my prey. And if anyone else tries to hurt him… I become most agitated. Do you understand now?"
Padre shrugged. "Not really. But, frankly, I don't give a damn. So, if you'd please leave…"
Gauron gave an overly dramatic sigh.
"Ciao, then, Holy Father. But, please, realize this…"
Gauron give this wicked, twisted smile and his eyes flashed. Padre felt shivers go down his spine as he looked at the almost inhuman face grinning back at him, distorted by the shadows.
"You will regret this. No matter how much you think you planned this… If you hurt Kashim, not only will I take my revenge, but so shall the Whispered. And their wrath shall be ten thousand times greater than mine."
And with that, Gauron disappeared into the shadows.
Padre sighed. "What a nut."
End of Chapter One.
Notes: Other than characterization, which I've been trying hard to get right for this, I'm worried about the ranks. I have no understand of military ranks at all, US, Japanese or otherwise. So, until I figure it out, I'll use my best judgement.