Author's Notes: Another short piece written as part of a larger story that's not yet ready, the same story for which "Letting Go" was written. Post EW world. Not much else to tell. Enjoy/hate/meh at your discretion.

Thunder and Lightning

Sara was twelve, her best friend Nichole had just turned thirteen. They were normal girls living normal lives in a small town in the midwestern portion of North America. Quiet, uneventful lives. Nichole's birthday party had been the biggest event Sara had been to in a few months, what with school being out for the summer and all.

Until some people with Leos showed up and decided to level it for fun. Even a Leo, the cheapest, most unadvanced MS ever made, had more then enough firepower to level several city blocks. These Leo pilots, ex-OZ, were among some of the worst people to have been allowed near an MS, let alone in one. It would have been a fairly simple matter to just level the whole town. Instead they caused a panic without doing too much actual damage, then killed people who tried to flee.

Now Sara and Nicole ran through the rain, a Leo a few hundred meters back pursuing them at an easy walk for something its size. Sara had always thought of Leos as funny-looking. They managed to look boxy despite having rounded edges, and their olive-drab paint was only vaguely military. Even their 16.5 meter height wasn't that intimidating. It was different, she had discovered, when one of them came after you.

The Leo pilot found it all very amusing. It was a challenge to hit a person with a round from his suit's 105mm autocannon, because they were much smaller then the Leo's weapon had been designed to target. He thought of it as a game, the figures painted in red on his Heads-Up Display as mere objects. They weren't humans to him. They never would be.

Sara tripped and fell in the mud. Nicole ran back to her, trying to help her get up and run. It was no use, Sara had twisted her ankle badly when she fell and couldn't stand. The two girls looked up to see the Leo stopped about a hundred meters away. It brought the rifle-like autocannon up and pointed it directly at the girls.

Sara and Nichole knew they were going to die. They held each other and cried.

Then the Leo's torso rotated slightly, as though it were a human turning to better hear something. Break off, break off! Aerial contacts inbound. Form up for defense. The Leo turned and made off at a run for his compatriots.

Grey on white and white on grey, a pair of Taurus mobile suits in the colors of the Preventers dove out of the cloud cover. Nicole and Sara didn't recognize them as such at first. Their limbs folded in, their semi-gothic styling lost in the flat-triangle shape of Fighter mode, they didn't resemble mobile suits.

The sonic boom and shockwave nearly knocked the two girls flat, then they heard the distinctive hiss-CRACK of beam weaponry firing. The Leo had only made it about a hundred meters before it took a hit that pierced its ammunition bin and detonated the shells there. It went up like a giant firecracker. Flaming debris flew in all directions, but fell short of the girls.

From elsewhere nearby came the sound of more sonic booms from moredecelerating Taurus suits, the roar of Leo autocannons firing, and the hiss-CRACK of Taurus beam rifles firing in reply. Another Leo exploded off in the distance.

Sara and Nicole's voices were very small compared to all of that. They cheered anyways.