Money, Power, and no MS Needed: The Kai Shiden Story
Confessions of a Secondary Character
The Universal Century, the marker of a new age for man, as Earth's burgeoning population was moved into floating colonies. Of course, not surprisingly, said new age didn't last very long, and shortly thereafter, the people of the colonies started a war with the people of Earth.
Thus followed the One Year War, one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. During this time, many lives were lost, and many heroes were made. Thanks to that time period, names like Amuro Ray and Bright Noah became household terms. The rest of us on White Base weren't so lucky (...not that I'm complaining...in my line of work, the less publicity, the better.)
Now then...I want you to take all that talk of civilization shaking warfare, newtype aces, and mobile suit battles...and forget it, you're not gonna be hearing about any of them in this story...you might hear about a few familiar faces, but that's because people like me always manage to get at least one famous customer (or in my case, several, however, my attorney, a Side 6 weenie who's asked I keep his name out of this lest he be incriminated on a future date, has informed me that some of them we won't be allowed to reveal the names of...if you're lucky, you'll be able to recognize them though.)
That said...sit back, relax, and get ready to hear a story of one OYW pilot who found a life of glory and prestige without even having to get near a single mobile suit or battleship.
...and oh yes, no newtype tricks either.
Section 1: How I Did It (...Hey, if you can think of a better way to explain it, I would love to hear it)
Well, I suppose the best place to get this started is to go with the story from where you guys more than likely last remember it. (I'd be willing to bet good money that at least half of you slept through the history classes discussing the aftermath.)
The year, 0080. The place, Konpei Island. We'd all just gotten back from that wonderful romp (read: slaughterfest) known on the books as the battle of A Baoa Qu. For most of us, this was the most welcome thing possible. The Zabis were dead, Zeon was on the run, and, as such, they wouldn't need draftees like us anymore. That was it, we could just take our pensions and go.
Well...some of us...Bright, as you can all tell, was obviously going to stay behind and continue work for the Federation (personally, I can't say I like the idea of having your ass completely owned by any military faction. But, that's his choice, and he seems to be OK with it, so more power to him.) Hayato was talking about getting back to Earth and finding a place there where he and Frau could settle down. As I understand it, he got work running the Kennedy Space center museum. The two of them also adopted Katsu, Retz, and Kikka as their wards (...may God have mercy on those two's souls.) Sayla headed back to France where she became a doctor (...kind of ironic really...Earthenoids getting medical care from the daughter of Zeon...not that they know it.) Mirai...I'm not really sure where she had plans to go...but given the way she and Bright were looking at each other, I can already make a guess on one spot. As for Amuro...well...let's just say the Federation's got a funny way of showing gratitude, last any of us saw, the newtype Gundam ace was being led off, against his will, into another room by a couple of EF strongarms. A lot of us found this suspicious, but given the strangely overarmed guards, and the fact we were all still worn by the battle, I don't think anyone was quite willing to play hero.
As for me...well...I'm not gonna try and come up with any nice way of saying it. I'd had it with the service...not even a high-priced, cushy desk job where I just got paid to sit and break wind could get me back there. As soon as I got my pension, I was on the next ship bound for Earth: good-bye, EF command, good-bye days of taking heat from Bright, and best of all, good-bye to that extra degree of caution that was needed to avoid getting killed by shots fired from your own side. Now it was hello to my new life...
...whatever that would be.
I'll be honest, all those months ago, back on Side 7, I still wasn't quite sure what I'd want to do for a living. Sure, my dad was an engineer, and I'll admit I did glean some skills from him, but that was more for the sake of basic necessity than any actual interest in a future in machinery. I mean, if anyone was going to get involved with machines back then, it was going to be Amuro, but I digress, like I said, this isn't really his story.
If there was one talent I'd managed to pick up in my time on the White Base, however (you know, apart from the killing and everything,) it was photography. Granted, there wasn't much in the way of film or cameras to work with, but I still managed to get my share of snapshots. Some of these I'm proud to show nowadays, others, well...let's just say I'd probably get in trouble if some of those crewmembers knew there was a camera in there, much less that I still have copies of the pictures in question.
So, with that in mind, once I got to Earth, I started looking around for jobs in the field of journalism. For a while, the pickings were pretty weak, it wasn't until I had almost completely exhausted my funds that I had managed to finally land a job. It was for a low-level paper and the stories I had to deal with were all cheap filler, but at least it paid the bills, so it would do for the time being. Then, for the next six-months, I was sent all over the place on any number of completely random stories ranging from a junior homoavis competition on the Green Noah colony (the winner was some kid, can't remember his name, but he had this feel about him, like Amuro, only more effeminate), to the grand opening of any number of One Year War memorials (for a while there, it seemed everyone and their white-haired mother was working on one.)
Then came the assignment that would change my life. The assignment that would lead the one discovery that would alter everything I'd worked for thus far. Then came the biggest thing to alter my life since that trigger-happy Zeonic soldier decided to be a hero all those months ago by shooting up a colony that was technically still neutral.
Then came Yuri Torenov Minovsky.
Now, at the time when this all got started, I really had no clue about who this man was, other than the fact his name was in connection to that damned particle (how could I forget it? Those things saved my hide as well as nearly got my ass shot off more times than I can even recall at this point.) I mean, I'd heard the name mentioned a lot of times, but up until this assignment, as far as I knew, he only discovered the particle, he could have just as easily been a deranged crossdresser with a pyromania problem to boot and I wouldn't have been aware of it.
Granted, what I did find wasn't THAT bad, but I'm getting ahead of myself anyways.
After getting back from yet another OYW memorial commemoration (and swearing to myself for the 12th time that month that I would never go to another as long as I lived,) I found the usual assortment of assignments waiting for me: science fair, memorial, junior MS contest, memorial, memorial...well...you can get the idea...in fact, out of all the possible jobs listed, only a small handful didn't seem like projects I'd already covered last month. Still, it's like the old saying about beggars goes (the one about them not being choosers, I mean, not the one about how they only spend their change on cheap booze and crack.) So with much hesitation, I opted for a job covering a new exhibition at a Side 6 colony. At the time I'd figured it would be another mind-numbing job of getting a few token shots of the exhibit followed by asking just enough mundane questions to assure the people in charge that I really did give a damn (no matter how much of a bold-faced lie that could really be.)
Flash forward three days later, following successful arrival at Side 6 (I'll say this much for this line of work, it may get boring as sin at times, but the minimal travel turnaround time is a nice perk.)
I'd been scheduled so that I was there the day before the exhibit opened and could have a word with the three people in charge of things. What I found when I got there was one man who, between his appearance and his mannerisms, looked to be the world's last hippie.
This man, who introduced himself simply as Tim, proceeded to lead me, in his own eccentric way, throughout the exhibition. I tried to be nice and sound interested...but well...ever been caught in a class with a none-too-interesting lecture that never seems to end...that was this tour all over. Assorted photos and dates chronicling the life of, if this was any indication, possibly one of the most uninteresting men in the past 100 years, followed by a section explaining (yet again) the wonders of his scientific discovery and how it helped reshape warfare in this day and age...yeah...real fun stuff. The odd part was, I didn't seem to be the only one who thought this either. When I wasn't snapping photos or hastily scribbling notes, I noticed that Tim seemed to find the stuff pretty bland too. How a man who seems to have as little interest in this subject matter got placed in charge of the exhibit is a question even I can't answer, but on the plus side, it was nice to see I wasn't the only one being bored to tears by this.
Just as the tour finished up (O, Hosana!) Tim did something I honestly hadn't counted on, and, in retrospect, am rather glad he did, as it was definitely set to change my life.
(See kids, like me, now that you've endured the maddeningly boring part of things, it's time for them to get good. Patience is a virtue, your grandparents weren't just BSing you so you'd keep quiet...well...maybe that was their goal at the time, but I digress.)
Anyways...back on topic. I was mid-yawn when Tim turned back, and it took all my effort to suddenly force myself to appear as though I was paying attention.
"You don't have to try and bluff on it," he assured me "the exhibits boring as Hell, even I could tell you that. Frankly, the fact you're actually getting paid to try and make it even sound remotely interesting has me pitying you. So, I'd say it's time to show you something here to make the trip worth-while."
With that, he got this weird sort of grin...the kind of smile that suggests that either this guy's about to show you something he normally wouldn't show anyone except those he likes, or that he was about to slice my face off, harvest my organs, and then dump my remains out the nearest convenient airlock. Weighing the two options, I figured I was up for possibly cheating death one more time and asked just what it was he was suggesting.
"Well, for starters, I'm going to have to ask that you don't put this part in your article," he warned, "my colleagues really don't like the idea of this side of Minovsky getting out, and if they found out I showed you this, it would probably cost me my job. Is this a problem?"
"Well," I said, glancing down at my watch "I've got nowhere special to be, and given I was supposed to talk with the three of you, I suppose this would make a nice compensation...why? Just what was Yuri trying to hide anyways?"
"Nothing sick, if that's what you're thinking," he answered calmly, "Hell, Minovsky's social life was almost as bland then as it was now...rather, some of his later works call his image into question and, in the eyes of others, would be seen as undermining the exhibit."
"OK, OK...I get ya...but just what could he be researching that could so damage a seemingly spotless reputation?"
Judging by the fact the grin was back on his face, I had a feeling, I was about to find out firsthand.
Thus I was introduced to the full image of Yuri Minovsky. Renowned physicist, scientific pioneer, and, truthfully, perhaps the biggest crackpot to successfully luck out on a find since Sigmund Freud.
On the plus side, however, I could now see just what Tim was getting at. Shortly after our conversation, he led me to one of the back rooms that is generally used for storing items that either need restoring or just aren't deemed appealing enough to be displayed to the public. This room, however, contained neither. Rather, aside from 5 filing cabinets of various sizes in the back, and an old desk which seemed to be missing one drawer and containing enough initials and/or obscenities that it had long since lost its original varnish, it was flooded with papers. Papers which, after looking at a few, I came to realize were apparently some of Minovsky's less than successful works. OK, perhaps 'less than successful' is sugar-coating the issue. The man was a latter day Nichola Tesla, in short. He had one idea which was revered by the science world and thus elevated him to legend status. What the scientists didn't want everyone else to know was that he then followed up this concept with a seemingly endless number of ideas for things that were either too fanciful to be viewed as plausible, ideas that had no practical usage to them, and some which were just flat-out stupid.
"Behold," he said with an enthusiasm that was strangely absent during his earlier presentation, "the other side of Yuri Minovsky's legacy. A man who's ideas and theories were deemed as too eccentric to be taken seriously by the scientific world, so, in true human fashion, they made it a point to leave that part out of the regular history books."
"Charming," I found myself muttering, even though that phrase was hardly fitting, even in sarcasm, "so...were any of these other ideas of any sort of value to anyone...or is the sampling I'm looking at now a good representation and these ideas were all complete crap."
"You know," he said, looking at the layouts I was referring to "No one's really ever tried them...not all of them anyways...most of them were usually deemed just too ridiculous to be worth attempting, or called for a degree of technology that was just more money than any one person or group was willing to raise. There is, however, one which, I find, was quite effective."
At this point he was shuffling through a drawer in one of the taller filing cabinets. Given the noises I was hearing, I got the feeling he wasn't digging through papers so much as any number of either failed or half-completed prototypes for some of these gizmos (the smaller ones anyways...to give an idea on size range, the smallest concept I'd seen was a human-sized beam saber (...which would call for a back-pack charger that would allow a chiropracter to retire,) the largest of which was a giant cannon that, theoretically, could incinerate a colony in one shot (it's a shame they try to keep this side under wraps. It would have been fun to see Gihren Zabi faced with a copyright suit by the estate of Minovsky over that Solar Ray of his.) After a few more minutes of items being pushed around (and if I don't miss my guess, a few were broken in the process,) out emerged Tim, toting a jar containing some unusual looking capsules.
"No one knows about these," he said while shaking out a sample from the jar, "not outside of myself, and now you. I was looking through the assorted concepts a while back, and for some reason, this one stuck out. Given the idea seemed somewhat plausible, I decided to give it an attempt." At this point, he'd shaken out one of the capsules which he then handed to me, "suffice to say." He said while doing so, "it turned out far better than I'd anticipated."
"Just what is this thing supposed to do then?" I said, more thinking out loud than directly asking as I looked at the small pill in my hand.
"Well...actually, I don't think there's any verbal description that will really do it justice...just try it and see."
Now, as a rule, common sense dictates if a man comes up to you with a look that says 'the lights are on, somebody's home, but they never quite finished wiring the attic' and offers you an ominous item that he's made using blueprints from a man who you've just learned was a dyed-in-the-wool nutjob, your first impulse is going to be to drop the pill and run like Hell. In retrospect, I'm gonna have to say common sense kind of had this one coming.
For the first minute after swallowing the capsule, nothing seemed to be happening. Then, just as I was starting to think this thing didn't work and any side effects that poor guy felt were purely self-induced, it hit me. It was pretty subtle at first, just started randomly getting flashes of things I normally wouldn't. For lack of any more fitting example, it was kind of like that ping everyone got from Amuro at A Baoa Qu...except this ping never really stopped, it just kept increasing and taking up more of my attention. After a while, it had such a side effect that the room almost looked like it was about to melt as this next part might sound, I had a feeling if the trip continued, I would be able to see time.
I'm not sure just how long the trip really lasted for. When I finally came down, I saw Tim standing there, with a triumphant grin on his face that, for a moment there, had me thinking he had taken one too.
"What did I tell ya?" he said once he could tell I had come down, "amazing experience, huh?"
Damned if that wasn't the understatement of the year.
"What in the Hell was that anyways?" was all I could think to say. Well, outside of the first gut reaction to yell out "Holy shit!"
"Well," he said, moving to put the jar away, "It doesn't have any sort of official name, but, if the notes he'd scribbled on the margins were any indication, he'd made this during his later years, back when the Zeon Deikun phenomena was catching on. He claimed it was something that would, for a time, enhance anyone who took it with enhanced, Newtype-styled, reflexes." at this point, he stopped and snickered, "artificial newtypes...crazy idea, huh?"
"Maybe not...Hell, I would have thought the idea of mentally controlled remote weapons was crazy too, but I saw those successfully created and used firsthand."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Nevermind, just, nevermind..."
With that, I noticed, he was turning back towards the cabinets, probably to correct something he'd put out of place getting hold of those odd capsules. At this point, I'd been struck by an idea (...not that idea...not yet anyways.)
"So...for the sake of asking, just how much of the scientific and historical community knows about these?" At this point, I'll admit, I had grabbed a few of the plans. I figured that, if this was going where I thought it was going, there was probably some buff out there that would pay a veritable king's ransom for even just one of these.
"Quite a few, surprisingly, it's the kind of thing that one could find out with enough research...the catch, however, is that a lot of people would rather just pretend that it didn't happen. I mean, there's a few people who've tried to bring it more into public light, a few attempts to publish essays based on Minovsky's under-studied ideas, even a few campaigns to try and give some of these ideas more research, maybe try to actually make them work. Of course, for every one of these attempts there's a good ten or twenty other people waiting to bury the legacy all over again."
Market a bit smaller than I would have cared for, but, at least it meant there was still a demand for these things.
"So...are there any other of these plans out there?"
"One or two pop up here and there, but to date, this is still the largest single collection of them known to man."
"I see," I muttered, slipping a few of the plans under my shirt. If these things were really as rare, and had as much of a following as he was saying, I could probably use them to kick back for a much-needed vacation (hopefully one long enough that, when I got back, the OYW memorials would all be up and covered.)
Talk about a lucky grab, huh? But I'm getting ahead of things again.
Anyways, flash forward another few days, I've just returned, and I'm now severely worn out from the trip. On the plus-side, the photos and article have been sent in, so all I can do now is bide my time until the paychecks arrive. Well, that, and figure out the best way to sell off these new acquisitions.
First thing to do, it seemed, would be to get a look at what I grabbed, so I could get an idea of just what I'd be trying to get some of these people to buy.
A lot of the stuff was pretty low-grade. A superweapon here, a 'revolutionary colony design' there (his words, not mine,) even some cockamamie piloting system that would allow the mobile suit to perfectly emulate a pilot's movements (...keep dreaming, Yuri.) Then, between giant space cannon number who-knows-what and another one of those 'insert phallic compensation joke here' mobile armors, I found something I wasn't counting on.
At first I just thought it was another one of his many chemistry experiments that were supposed to do anything from make a marble with the force of a nuclear device to a wonder cure-all. Then I noticed the scribbles on the margin. With the badly scrawled 'Zeon Deikun' and repeated use of the phrase 'Newtypes' I realized I was looking at the same recipe Tim was working from earlier.
Now, this is the point where my mind set itself to debating. One could call it an ethical debate, but given it was over plans I'd already swiped with the intent of using them to make a fast buck, I think ethics was planning to just sit this one out. On one hand, this plan alone, like all the others I had, would probably fetch me a good price to just hock. On the other hand, if I chose to hock the others, used the money to pick up the appropriate equipment as lined up here, I could stand to make a new market. I suppose this option would probably be viewed as wrong by most people, but, as we've already gone over, I wasn't exactly in a position to be on the moral high road. So the options were pretty clear: Either take a pay hike for a brief time before getting knocked back to covering more crap (yip-pee!) or sell the rest of the plans and use this one to take up a job which, for lack of a better term, would make me into a glorified drug dealer.
Maybe it was all the One Year War memorials talking, but this choice took almost no active thought.
(Note: For what little it's worth, the choice name of Tim is referring to LSD pioneer, Dr. Timothy Leary.)