Summary: Sequel to True Feelings. Three years after the Great War and the formation of the Republic Triad, a small group of individuals set out to seek the corruption inherent in them all. But what happens when they find the corruption strikes close to home?
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam.
CE 74, February 14th
"Miss Alster? We've arrived." The driver announced, looking in the rearview mirror to see his charge.
Flay Alster, one-time fiancé of Sai Argyle and one-time girlfriend to Kira Yamato, looked up, her face settling into an impassive smile. "Thank you Gerald."
The door to the backseat opened from the outside, and a young boy – no more than 16 – stepped into view, offering his hand to help her out of the car. Flay took the hand with practiced ease and swung her feet to touch the concrete below. She was wearing high-heeled black sandals, with the straps reaching far up her leg.
And Flay stepped out of the car completely and straightened, letting her ankle-length skin-tight black dress brush the tops of her feet. The dress glittered, the lines of silver threads reflecting the light. Tastefully applied makeup and a black shawl nearly rounded out her outfit, with small diamond earrings that also glimmered in the light completing it.
The earrings were a gift from Kira on their anniversary after the war. She felt a familiar pang of loss as she thought about him for a second, his deep violet eyes, dark brown hair that was usually an untamable scraggly mess. Quickly, she pushed the thoughts of him out of her mind, at least for now.
The Republic Triad was hosting a Valentine's ball this year, in-part to commemorate the war and those lost and in-part to celebrate the success of the Triad Peacekeepers. As a Vice Minister of the Alliance – formerly the Atlantic Federation - Flay was required to attend, but she wouldn't be alone. Cagalli Yula Athha, Princess and Ruler of Orb would be there along with her bodyguard and husband Athrun Zala.
Lacus Clyne, PLANT pop-star and Representative of the Council would also be attending, bringing along her entourage of former ZAFT soldiers, including Supreme Commander Yzak Jule, the current leader of the combined forces of the Triad. Miriallia Haw, freelance reporter, was asked to attend to provide an impartial article on the ball. Sai Argyle, founder of the Argyle Institution of Technological Developments and Breakthroughs, would be there, he was a large financial supporter of the Republic.
There were already a fair number of people present by the time Flay walked through the large doors, and Lacus must had arrived earlier, though Flay couldn't spot the pink-haired songstress, she did spot Yzak, back leaning against the bar by himself, drink in hand. It seemed that wherever Lacus was, Yzak was right there as well, somehow managing to time their arrivals to be near perfect. Spotting no one else immediately, Flay made her way to the bar, greeting those who greeted her.
"Buy a lady a drink?" she asked, standing next to Yzak, but facing the bar.
"Sure, what's your pleasure?" he replied, turning to face her.
"Champagne." She ordered.
She took the tall glass from the bartender and turned to face the crowd, sipping her drink. Yzak stared at her for a moment before resuming his former position and surveyed the people around him
"So how is business with the Alliance?" he asked.
"So far everything is proceeding as it should; the reconstruction is nearly complete, with only the outlying sectors remaining. Some of the other Vice Ministers are trying to push for more Mobile Suit development, which I believe is a mistake."
"PLANT is nearly the same with the Council is split in half over the continued development of weapons and suits. In this case I think it's a bad thing that PLANT wasn't hit during the war, so we now have less to concentrate on." Yzak told her.
"Somehow I don't think you're entirely against this issue. As the Supreme Commander of the Republic Armed Forces, I'd believe it if they told me you were behind the push." She laughed at her comment.
Yzak smiled and he stopped his reply when the doorman spoke in clear, precise tones, "Announcing the arrival of Her Highness Cagalli Yula Athha Zala and Athrun Zala of Orb."
Athrun was in a classic tuxedo that fit the man very well, but knowing the former ZAFT Elite, he had at least one surprise hidden somewhere. Cagalli was dressed in a regal-looking red gown that billowed out from the waist down, leaving a train behind her. And right behind the royal couple was Miriallia Haw, camera in hand.
Flay smiled as she spotted her friend, dressed in a simple knee-length pink skirt and white blouse. Her bag of extras was slung across her back as she took pictures of various people, Cagalli and Athrun included.
The silver-haired Commander didn't move from his spot, and made no effort to ask Flay where she was going. Flay and Miriallia had been friends from Heliopolis before its destruction, and they had met Cagalli in the deserts of Africa less than a month after.
While the relationship between Mir and Flay had once been tenuous, they quickly worked things out before the war ended. Their friendship with Cagalli was just as rocky, but for different reasons. Athrun was responsible for the death of Tolle, Mir's old boyfriend, and Flay never quite trusted or liked Cagalli, even after Kira's attempts to patch things up between all of them.
The hall became a little more crowded as the rest of the guests arrived soon after Cagalli and Athrun. Several important ministers from different nations began the opening speech. On her part, Flay was bored. She was grateful that she wasn't asked to deliver a speech, because to a seventeen year old girl, speeches still sucked.
She couldn't even talk to Miriallia about anything as the barely older girl was moving between tables, taking photos of everyone at the podium. Sighing lightly, Flay looked around the hall, fixating on Yzak who was talking quietly to Lacus about something. There was something in his posture, in his face, that seemed to suggest peace. Lacus could do that to people.
Flay's gaze passed over a corner, and for a second she swore that the wall shimmered. Unfortunately, there was no time to analyze it again, because the doors violently burst open and armed men charged inside.
"This is Unit 2, I'm in place."
"Unit 3 here in position."
"Unit 4 ready to go."
The voices filtered through the earphone in the man's left ear. Part of him couldn't believe that he was here, looking through the skylight down at the Republic's Valentine's Ball. He knew several people down there, while they remained oblivious to his presence above.
But not without good reason. Like the other three men hidden inside, he too utilized a personal mirage colloid system. It worked in the same way that the GAT-X207 Blitz Gundam's system worked, releasing particles held in place by a magnetic system. The key differences between the Blitz and his team were few, but one of the main differences was they didn't need to mask electronic and heat emissions, only to diffuse the light to make them invisible.
And invisible they were. Kay wondered if they were doing the right thing, after all, they hadn't been officially sanctioned to be an autonomous unit yet. But he caught a glimpse of red hair and all of his doubts vanished. They did this to protect the peace and the people inside.
Maybe the information he received was wrong, maybe there would be no interruptions tonight. He'd much rather have that rather than the alternative…
"Unit 3 here, movement spotted, at least 15 of them."
"Roger that." He replied. "All Units give me a battery check."
The personal cloak ran on powerful miniaturized batteries, and in order to maintain the cloak, the batteries had to be replaced as they drained.
"Unit 2, second battery 75 percent."
"Unit 3, second battery 60 percent."
"Unit 4, second battery 82 percent."
And just as the comm chatter died down, the doors below blew open and armed men charged inside. There were twenty of them, and they spread out throughout the room, pointing weapons. The leader spoke in clear and precise tones, very cultured for someone leading a rag-tag looking group.
"We are the Fenrir Corps and we make the following demands. Plans to all of the latest mobile suit and weapon developments, the release of our comrades we specify, one-half the Republic Triad annual budget as of Cosmic Era 73 as ransom. If these demands are not met within 24 hours, we will kill everyone in this room."
"You wouldn't dare. The Republic would pursue you all to the ends of the system." Carden Tain said, standing up and approaching the leader confidently.
"Allow me to prove my point old man." The leader spoke and slung his assault rifle behind his back and grabbed his handgun from the hip holster. Wasting no time, he shot the Minister in the head.
Flay recoiled in horror and the leader spoke once more. "The Fenrir Corps is dead serious about this."
"All Units prepare for assault. Dee, start the dance." Kay ordered.
Dee acknowledged and silently unsheathed his katana. The cloak would do nothing for sounds he made, so he silently crept forward towards a clustered group of three men, their backs turned to him.
In one swift motion, Dee's blade cut through all three men, dropping them in an instant and creating a massive spray of blood. He hit the button on his wrist to deactivate the cloak and drew his pistol as Units 3 and 4 took down another two Fenrir members and uncloaked.
The skylight blew in, the glass surrounding a human form which landed heavily on a sixth Fenrir. Chaos reigned as all four members opened fire and Kay finally de-cloaked and started taking out more Fenrir. Athrun moved to shield Cagalli and even Yzak stepped in front of the ZAFT delegation, Lacus in particular.
Whatever resistance the Fenrir were expecting, this certainly wasn't it. The leader obviously figured that things were going badly for his crew, so he grabbed Flay in a chokehold and held his pistol tightly against her head.
"Stop now or the bitch gets it!" he yelled, his impeccable tones failing slightly.
Kay stepped forward, his pistol raised. "Let her go and you might live."
The leader snapped his gun towards Kay and in that instant the man's chest exploded into a mist of blood, some of which landed on Flay. For a second his grip on Flay tightened as bullets continued to pass through him, missing the other members present. A bullet nicked Flay's arm as the Fenrir leader finally released her, causing her to fall to the floor.
The firing ceased and the man dropped to the floor, riddled with holes. The few remaining Fenrir raised their hands in surrender. Dee and the others restrained them while Kay offered his hand to Flay to help her up.
She gratefully took it, slipping her slender fingers onto his gloved hand and he pulled her up a bit harder than he meant to, causing her to fly into his arms. They both stood there for a moment, Kay holding Flay as if it was familiar to him. Truth be told, Flay was a little disappointed when he murmured an apology and released her.
Paying more attention now, Kay noticed the injury on her arm. A foreign curse emanated from his mouth and he tore off the sleeve on his left arm, revealing a defined and muscular arm, along with an odd mark just above his wrist. Taking the sleeve, he wrapped it tight around the wound to stop the bleeding, its black color going quite well with her dress.
"Thank you." Flay said when he was done.
Kay stood straight and bowed formally. "It was my pleasure." The other three members stepped up behind him and they left the building and the still confused crowd inside.
Dee leaned in towards Kay and spoke. "That was kind of stupid man, now you can't cloak if we run into trouble."
Kay shrugged as he replied. "My battery has less than five minutes, it wouldn't do much for me."
The four men disappeared into the night. Flay stared at their retreating forms until she could no longer make them out in the nighttime sky, and then sat down heavily at a table. She was staring off into space when Mir sat down beside her and offered her a moist towelette to clean the blood off. "Are you okay Flay?"
"I'm fine thanks," Flay started, taking the wet napkin and wiping her face gently. "But there was something about that man … something familiar."
"Familiar? How so?" Mir asked, prodding Flay to continue.
"Well it was like being back in Kira's arms again." She said bluntly.
"Oh Flay," Mir replied sadly, noting the sadness in Flay's voice. "You miss him terribly, even after all this time."
Tears came to Flay's eyes and Mir hugged her lightly, comforting her friend as a pang of loneliness struck her as well. It just wasn't the same without Kira who had mysteriously disappeared several months ago, along with Dearka.
CE 75, June 6th
"The Argyle Institution of Technological Developments and Breakthroughs – founded by Sai Argyle – has unveiled their latest ground-breaking technological breakthrough: the Variable-Speed Beam Rifle, or VSBR. Details haven't been fully released, but a breakthrough of this caliber will allow the Triad Peacekeepers to better defend both space and the Earth from any attacks."
"And in other related news, the rumor of Flay Alster's decision to once again be engaged to Sai Argyle has not been confirmed. Our team here at Triple News 3 couldn't reach Miss Alster, and Sai declined to answer any questions."
The blond man watching the news screen set into one the buildings in an Orb city sighed and shook his head. "Geez, they just love their pairings, first Cagalli, then Lacus and now Flay. When it rains, it pours."
And as if on cue, thunder rumbled noisily after a few lightning strikes and it started to rain. Heavily. Dearka sighed again and looked up at the black clouds that seemed to amass from nowhere. "Damnit."
Despite the rain, he continued on his walk, wearing nothing more than black slacks, a red t-shirt and a blue jean jacket currently undone. It was a nightly ritual for him to go out on a walk around eleven at night, but he had unfortunately missed several of them in the past week.
Hands thrust in the pockets of his soaked jacket, he circled around a small park and stopped when he heard a woman's voice not too far away.
"Just leave me alone, I don't want to talk to him!"
"Please, just five minutes, I promise …" the man protested futilely.
"No! Go away!" she screamed back.
Well, maybe I can do something useful tonight Dearka thought bitterly. Lightning flashed again, and not three seconds after the thunder rumbled. He calmly walked over to the quarreling people and was about to interrupt when the man pulled a gun on the poor girl.
"I don't condone the use of violence, but in some cases …" he left the threat unfinished, aiming the weapon at her.
"Just leave me alone, please." Her voice dropped to just above a pleading whisper, she was close to tears.
"You heard the lady, leave her alone." Dearka interrupted, drawing the man's attention – and his weapon – away from the girl.
"Mind your own damn business." The man snapped at him.
Dearka drew his hands out of his pockets and continued to walk forward at a steady pace. He could see the man slowly squeeze the trigger, so he bolted forward, slamming his fist into the man's stomach before he fired.
The man doubled over in pain, dropping the gun and clutching his stomach as he struggled to breathe. Dearka shifted his gaze to the woman and spoke "Are you alright?"
She nodded in reply. "Come on; let's get you into some dry clothes." He noticed her rather skimpy clothes were completely soaked, so he slid his jacket over her shoulders. Then he noticed her hair color, even soaked in the rain it was still a brilliant red. Realization struck him.
She took a moment to study him, looking at his tanned skin, wavy blond hair slicked back and his amethyst eyes. "Dearka? Dearka Elsman?"
How they both had changed in the many months when they had last seen each other. Dearka had grown taller and gained a few scars, while Flay had grown just a bit, but had a more mature look on her face.
"Yeah, that's me. What are you doing out at night all alone?" he asked.
"Trying to clear my head and get away from the rest of the representatives at the hotel. They keep bugging my about Sai and it's really getting on my nerves." She said almost angrily.
"You can stay at my place for the night, and explain why you're out here in Orb instead of Washington D.C." He slid his arm over her shoulders protectively and they walked off in the rain.
He's cute, and nice, and strong, but he's not Kira, though, Flay mused, comparing Dearka and Kira. Little did she know that Dearka was doing something similar.
Definitely beautiful, but she's no Miriallia. I haven't seen either since …
Dearka opened the door to his apartment, letting the warm air rush out into the oddly cold hallway. He slipped his shoes off and quickly made way to allow Flay to enter. "Hey Dee, home so early? Bring anything good back with you?" a voice called out.
"Damnit man, you know I hate that nickname. Anyways, it's raining so I cut my walk short a little. Now get your recovering ass out here."
Hobbling sounds were heard and the other occupant shuffled into the small entryway of their apartment as Dearka went into the adjoining kitchen to boil some water.
"Flay?" he asked in amazement.
Well this is the beginning of V90, the second of three installments for this particular series. There is a lot planned for this particular story, so stay with me and please Read and Review.