Author's Note: This story takes place about a year after The Prince of Darkness.  To maintain the flavor of the series, I have decided to include English versions of Japanese words in this story.  Provided below is a list; it's not very long, but some of them you may not be familiar with. Besides, it is far more fun to say "Hasha!" than "Fire!," ne? I'm not sure how much I'll be updating, but I plan to finish this story, don't worry.  If you have any comments, feel free to review for me, but be nice okay?

Hai: Yes

Baka: Stupid, idiot or fool (this happens to be Ruri's favorite word ^_^)

Hasha: Fire (as in fire the gun)

Arigato (Gozaimashda): Thank you (very much)

Konichiwa: Good afternoon (loosely translated as Hello)

Nani: What (the "i" at the end is pronounced as a long "e", as in deed)

Kanchou: Captain

-san: A suffix that essentially means "Mr." or "Mrs."; it is a term of respect to an adult.

-chan: A suffix used with a friend, or for someone younger than you.

-kun: I'm not quite sure what this suffix means, but Ruri uses it when talking with Haley; I suppose it's used between brother/sister or maybe a polite term between friends who are of the same age?

With that, let's start the prologue!

The vastness of space stretched out before her; a blanket of velvet black with a liberal sprinkling of bright stars that speckled the canvas before her.  Other than the man-made sounds produced by Omoikane, there was utter silence.  A silence that would be more than welcome for a couple looking for some privacy, she sadly mused.

It had been four years since the end of the Great War between the Jovians and Earth.  A year since the Martian Successors' revolt had been thwarted by the Nadesico-C.  A year since Tenkawa-san and the Kanchou, Yurika-san, had disappeared from her life for the second, and perhaps final, time.

The silence made her so lonely.  Unbeknownst to the rest of the crew, her eyes subtly shifted from a look of neutral passivity to one of restrained sadness.

Where are you, Akito? And why won't you come back?

There was only silence, as the Nadesico-C traveled through space from the Earth to the Moon, alone, among the stars.

As a single fifteen year old girl sat on her captain's chair, immersed in melancholy thought, a much different and more trying set of circumstances was unfolding simultaneously, in a distant sector of the solar system.

There are nine planets in the solar system; the Great War was fought between two, Earth and Jupiter.  The Jovians were originally lunar rebels who were cast out by the UEC a little over a century ago; forced to flee to Jupiter, they found an ancient relic left behind by an unknown civilization: a factory that had the technology to produce Zeroes, Battas, and Chulips.  It was this factory that allowed the Jovians to construct an advanced robotic fleet to attack Mars, Earth, and the Moon.

But where did this factory come from? Who put it there, and what secrets might this factory, and that civilization, contain?

These questions were of great importance to one person, though perhaps not as important as his life.  And his life was in great danger right now.

Somewhere between Jupiter and Saturn, in the dead wasteland of space, a pitched, desperate battle was taking place.  A single, lone, pink Aestivalis danced and darted in the vacuum, desperately trying to evade a salvo of missiles that exploded into deadly beautiful flowers of fire in its wake.

The helmeted pilot grimaced as his mecha rocked from a near-miss.  Swarms of metallic starcraft were zipping around him, launching never-ending salvos of missiles.  Activating his IFS, the pilot corkscrewed his Aesti into a violent spiral downward, before abruptly turning left, avoiding the majority of the missiles.  A single finger depressed a trigger, and a string of white-hot tracers leapt from his assault rifle, boring straight into one of the enemy mecha.  It exploded spectacularly, taking about five others with it, he noted with some satisfaction. 

His targeting reticule landed squarely on another target, but just as he was about to press the trigger, a single missile exploded nearby, sending shrapnel straight through the rifle, rendering it useless. Swearing violently, the pilot put the Aestivalis on full throttle, barreling through the mass of enemy mecha with his distortion field at maximum; rewarded with one or two explosions, he inhaled slowly and closed his eyes.


Suddenly, the void of space filled spectacularly with an awesome number of explosions.  Silhouetted in the violent death-throes of the mechas, the pink Aestivalis raced onward, its fists dented and battered from breaking apart steel.  A never-ending swarm of metallic beasts raced after it.

Similarly, about fifty kilometers away, a Nergal-built corvette called the Eucharis was in a bind itself.  Swarmed with enemy mecha and badly damaged, the corvette's transposition engine was at about 30% nominal power, and its powerful gravity blast cannon was damaged beyond repair. The distortion field was barely holding on; a couple more hits would finish the Eucharis and its passengers off for sure.  This was noted grimly by the pink Aestivalis, and for what seemed like an eternity, he fought like a madman to defend his ship.

A searing white-hot explosion rent the fabric of space asunder.

Only silence remained.

Author's Notes: Well, that's the prologue for you!  Quite the cliffhanger, huh? I'll be writing the next couple of chapters soon, so it might be a couple days before I get the next chapter up.  Hope you like it; and no, I haven't killed off all the main characters. At least, not yet :-P.