NOTES: No pairings are intended here. Please remember that. Thanks. :)
SPOILER WARNINGS: This takes place during Phase-33 of Destiny. As such, if you have not seen all of Gundam SEED and all of Destiny up to that point, don't say I didn't warn you.
By Infinity Blade
As Shinn Asuka brought the Impulse to dock within the battleship Minerva's massive hangar, he tensed. Gathered around at the Mobile Suit's feet was nearly every mechanic stationed on duty. Given that, when he had last left the ship, they were on high alert, that thus meant that every worker possible was there. He knew the precise reasons, as well, as to why they were focusing on his return.
Grunting as he opened the cockpit and lowered himself to the hangar floor, Shinn took in their expressions. Their mixed looks of both awe and apprehension didn't tell him very much. It was very much like the last time he had launched, only that time was without permission. As he reached the floor, he was actually surprised to not see armed guards step out of the crowd to take him away again.
Instead, all he was met with was an uncomfortable, tense silence. It was as if many couldn't decide whether to congratulate him on his job against the Destroy, or question what he did afterwards. He wasn't dumb. He was certain every person aboard the vessel was aware of him taking off after the battle. What he had gone off with...
Shinn didn't really care, however. Not anymore. It wasn't worth his time to do so, not after what he had just been through. Hefting his helmet over the back of his shoulder, the pilot just started to walk. The look in his red eyes was obviously enough to tell everyone to move it, as a path quickly opened up in the crowd before him.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Vino open his mouth to say something, but was quickly silenced by Youlan. Shinn just averted his eyes and kept walking. He needed to keep focused on his goal, which was absolutely clear in his mind. He failed to keep one promise... but he sure as hell wasn't going to break the one he had now made to himself.
Stellar was dead, now lying in peace somewhere where she wouldn't be found. Where she wouldn't be dissected and studied like some sort of animal. He couldn't protect her from what she feared the most, but at the very least, he could keep her away from everything else.
Shinn knew that he was to blame. It was him that had handed her back over to that lying, masked, bastard. Yet, there wasn't any other choice at that point... she was going to die as she was, picked apart by ZAFT scientists. Despite all of his efforts, however, she was dead anyway. Dead because of that thing.
Wherever that machine went, all it left behind was confusion and death. Sided with that Attha woman, thinking that mere words would stop people who would create something like the Extended in the first place. And then at the same time, it created situations where the things that they were supposedly trying to prevent happened regardless.
His goal was very clear.
For Stellar, for that broken promise...
He would defeat the Freedom.
Meyrin Hawke sighed as she stared at the ceiling of the recreation room. She was mentally exhausted, her thoughts constantly cycling back to the battle against the Alliance's latest weapon, the Destroy. Though she didn't know the feeling of true combat like her sister, Shinn, Rey, or Athrun, being on the bridge and having to act as the navigator for all four pilots gave her a front row seat to everything they ever did. So it was easy to imagine what all of them had to do, on top of everything SHE had to do.
She wasn't really sure that any of them, even Lunamaria, really appreciated how stressful her job was. To keep track of the four of them, and the Minerva itself, as well as all communications required her to multitask like crazy. Her heightened Coordinator intelligence and mental reflexes certainly gave her a hand in that, but even that had its limitations. Given how reckless Shinn was, especially, that just made her job even harder than it already was.
Which just meant that the current situation was incredibly frustrating. Shinn just took off after the battle with, from reports by ground soldiers, the dead body of the Destroy's pilot. A blonde girl...
Meyrin shivered, aware of everything she heard in the battle's communications. That Stellar girl, the one that Shinn and Rey got into so much trouble for...
"Meyrin," a voice suddenly grunted from the room's doorway.
The redhead bolted upright, shocked at the sound of the voice and to see the missing black-haired pilot leaning up against the door's frame. "Shinn!" Meyrin exclaimed, jumping to her feet. She then immediately froze as she saw the look in his eyes.
Much of the most important members of the Minerva's crew- herself, Shinn, Lunamaria, Rey, Vino, and Youlan, among others -were, by and large, rookies. They all went through ZAFT's academy together, and over the course of the past two years, every one of them knew each other very well. They looked out for one another, and were, for all intents and purposes, a sort of family.
When Meyrin first saw Shinn, she saw a boy her age that had faced more hardships than she could have ever imagined. He was often angry, talked back to his superiors, and it was an outright miracle he made it through to the level that he did. More than anything though, all of that was always tinted with a particular kind of sadness that she just couldn't relate to.
This time, however... He was very obviously angry, but there was something distinctively different about it. Opposed to the outraged anger he had shown to that Orb representative, this was... quiet. He looked calm, focused, and altogether angrier than she could ever remember seeing him. Something about all of that put together just wound up outright scaring her.
"Can you do me a favor?" he asked, his voice steady.
"Wh-what?" she stammered.
"Every bit of combat data we've collected on the Freedom to date," he said. "Can you transfer all of that to my personal terminal?"
"Um, I suppose," she said. Without saying anything else, he then began to walk out. "Shinn! Wait!"
He stopped, but didn't look back at her. "What is it?" he asked, lacking the edge in his voice that she actually expected.
"What do you need that for, exactly...?"
"That's simple," he replied. "You've seen just how dangerous that thing is. You've seen everything that it can do. In the event it becomes our enemy - and the Archangel IS designated as an enemy vessel - I want to be prepared."
"I see," she said quietly, gulping as it quickly registered in her mind what his intentions may be. "...Shinn, where did you go?"
Her question was met by silence.
"What I mean to say is that the Captain and Athrun- uh, I mean, Commander Zala... They both wanted to know-"
"I had something that needed to be taken care of," Shinn interjected. "That's all."
He then just left, leaving the redhead staring after him. It didn't take much for Meyrin to realize there was something, somehow, very wrong about this whole ordeal...
Shinn continued stalking down the Minerva's halls. He hoped to avoid running into anyone as he approached his room. He knew he'd have to be confronted about running off at some point, but he really didn't want to deal with that right then. There were other things that needed to be done. Things that were MUCH more important...
As he rounded a corner, though, any chance of that flew right out the window as he nearly right into the ship's captain, Talia Gladys. Both stopped abruptly, and their eyes met, with the woman's narrowing for just a flicker of a moment. She obviously restrained herself from saying more than she wished, though her face still tensed up. "Shinn."
Shinn grit his teeth, holding himself back from whatever he wanted to say. He stood at attention, giving her a brief salute. "Captain."
The two just stared at one another for a few moments. There was no one around, and nothing beyond military protocol to stop either from saying what they wanted. However, Shinn knew instantly that he needed to watch his words. If he was locked away again, he didn't think he would be able to get off as easily as he did last time. If that happened, then he couldn't accomplish what he desired.
"Why?" she finally asked. "Why is it that you just left like that? What did you do with that girl?"
Involuntarily, Shinn's hands balled up into fists. For once, he knew that he had to restrain himself. Finding the proper way to answer that question, however, was... difficult.
Shinn quickly looked away from the captain. "I honestly don't know if you would understand, Captain." He paused, and then glanced back at her, trying to retain his confidence. "If I had brought her here, what would have happened to her? I know that she wouldn't have just been buried peacefully, what would have been done to her..."
"You realize, I hope," Talia said, "everything that machine did. The thousands of lives that were lost. Berlin took the least damage thanks to our intervention, and even it was nearly wiped off the map. And after every time you've breeched military law so far-"
Shinn felt himself scowling at her, but he couldn't quite stop himself this time. "Are there any military laws concerning the treatment of an enemy? Is there something there that says it's alright to just cut them up to simply see how they tick? Are those dead children from that lab not enough, Captain?"
As Talia's eyes widened more with everything he said, it became clear to Shinn that he was losing his calm. Taking a deep breath, he gave her another salute. "I apologize, Captain. I will take any punishment you see fit to hand down for leaving the battlefield without permission."
Talia could only stare at him, her mouth hanging open. Finally, she composed herself and walked around him. "For now, just go to your quarters," she said shortly, her pace speeding up as she went around a corner.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Shinn growled and slammed a fist against the wall. She didn't understand, even after seeing everything she had in that lab. She hadn't known Stellar. Not like he had...
Shaking his head, Shinn took a deep breath and continued on. He passed a couple other members of the ships crew, people he didn't really know well, along the way. They did their best to avoid him upon seeing his expression. Not that he really cared...
Upon reaching the door to his and Rey's quarters, he found his roommate leaning up against the wall next to the door. Shinn blinked in confusion, realizing the blond young man was waiting for him. Pushing off the wall, Rey looked at him.
"I was wondering when you'd get back," Rey said. "You took that girl away, didn't you?"
Shinn was already sick and tired of hearing variations of that question. "What about it?"
The black-haired pilot again blinked, this time in surprise, as Rey put a hand on his shoulder. "You're planning to destroy that confusing machine, aren't you?"
Shinn went back to his determined look, nodding. "Yes."
"If you're going to defeat that thing, given everything that we've seen up to this point," Rey said, smiling slightly. "Then we'd better get started on figuring it out..."
Shinn just nodded again. At the very least, he understood there was at least one person aboard this ship that understood where he was going. He promised himself that he would do this, and he would make sure this was a promise he wouldn't break...
Or he'd die trying.
NOTES: A couple of very, VERY important notes-
1) As the show has only aired up to this point, I have ONLY seen up to Phase-33 of Destiny. I DO NOT LOOK AT FUTURE SPOILERS. DO NOT POST ANY IN ANY REVIEWS. Please. :)
2) Remember that the majority of this is from Shinn's POV here- so I've got nothing against Kira or Talia or anyone else. I love ALL of the characters. One just has to look at it from SHINN'S perspective.
3) I also realize I write Shinn a bit more calm and collected than some people might sometimes. Watch Phase-33, and I'm basing the way he's acting here off of the scene with Rey, Shinn, and Athrun.
4) As noted at the top, no pairings were intended here outside of anything that is in canon, like the obvious Shinn/Stellar stuff.
5) The main point of this, really, was for me to have an excuse to write a little bit of Gundam SEED. Just put Shinn from Point A to Point B in the episode, and leave it at that. If anything winds up contradicting later parts of the series, somehow, oh well. This is, more than anything else, just a little writing exercise. :)