Disclaimers:

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is owned and copyrighted by Mitsuo Fukuda, the Sotsu Agency, Sunrise and BANDAI.

In The Quiet Night CE 73 is sung by Meer Campbell (Rie Tanaka)

Life Goes On is sung by Mica Arisika and composed by Yuki Kajiura


Phase Seven: The Calm Before The Storm


LHM-BB01 Minerva

Low Earth Orbit

Over The South Atlantic

December 30, CE 74

"We are over the South Atlantic, Kanchou. We are at a height of one hundred fifty kilometers from the surface at thirteen thousand two hundred and seventy meters east-southeast of the Falklands."

"Thank you, Mr. Heim," Taisa Jane Devereux acknowledged her sensors officer's report. The Minerva had just arrived at her computed reentry point. The ship had diverted back to Armory One upon orders of ZAFT Command. Devereux surrendered the remains of the captured raider mobile suit to ZAFT's R&D facility there for study. After dropping off their cargo, the ship returned to its initial mission of transit to the militia's primary base in the Eurasian and African sectors. The Minerva was now about to commence reentry, using a northerly glide reentry to arrive of the coast of Gibraltar. "Secure the battle bridge. Ms. Windsor, order the ship to condition red. Prepare for atmospheric reentry."

"Yes, ma'am," Abi Windsor responded. She began to speak into the ship's PA to broadcast the alert warning. "Condition red. Repeat, condition red. All hands prepare for atmospheric reentry." The bridge rumbled and vibrated as it was lowered to the reinforced bunker that served as the battle bridge a deck below from the main bridge deck. At first there was darkness, illuminated only by the console lights, but illumination grew as the main vidscreen that served as the battle bridge's view to the outside came alive, the verdant blue and white Earth framed on its monitors.

"Mr. Yardbirds," Devereux said to the direction of her helmsman, as she secured her safety belts. "Commence reentry."

"Hai," said Malik Yardbirds. "Commencing reentry. Entering reentry phase one. Initial speed set at Mach fifteen. Turning to course angle four-five." The Minerva shook as the pull of gravity increased with the massive ship penetrating the outer layer of Earth's atmosphere

"Trajectory is in the optimal range." Heim said from sensors.

"We are now at phase one," Yardbirds reported. "Entering the atmosphere at one hundred twenty kilometers. Speed decreasing to Mach ten."

"Heat shields activated." Cheng Zheng Yi filled in from the weapons chair. "Thermal protection system set on automatic, protection rated at seventy percent. All systems green."

"We are passing through the Karman line." The Karman line, located one hundred kilometers above the surface of the Earth, was the invisible boundary used by scientist between space and the atmosphere.

"Commence phase two!" Devereux commanded.

"Phase two is go. Variable wings folded." The two large wings of the Minerva closed into the main body of the ship. "Decreasing to Mach seven."

"Temperature rising to eight hundred degrees Celsius. Heat shields holding at eighty-two percent." The vibration along the ship was getting more violent, as gravity shocks rocked the vessel.

"Crossing the mesosphere, at height of eighty-three kilometers."

"Entering phase three."

"Communication black out begins," Abi declared, and the big vidscreen went blank as the sensors and communications became useless in this part of the atmosphere.

"Temperature decreasing to two hundred forty." Cheng added.

"Angle of entry adjusted by five degrees," Yardbirds reported, as he veered the Minerva a little higher. "Automatic position control system online. Speed down to Mach three-point-three." They were passing the stratosphere now, and emerging above the clouds at the uppermost part of the troposphere. "Atmospheric maneuvering is now possible, Kanchou. We are just approaching the coast of the Northwest Africa. Height at ten thousand meters."

"Commence phase four."

"Hai. Phase four go," Yardbirds confirmed. "Unfolding the wings. Flaps down. Switching to atmospheric thrust. We are decreasing height at fifty meters per second." The variable wings deployed once more, and added to the drag that slowed down the ship immensely.

"Communications?" Devereux asked.

"We have radio signals back, Kanchou." Abi reported.

"What is our distance from Gibraltar?"

"Down to one hundred kilometers, Kanchou. Height fifteen hundred." Heim responded.

"Initiate splashdown sequence."

"Angle of attack is good. Flaps deployed. Height is down to one thousand." Yardbirds had adjusted the heading of the Minerva, which was now pointed at the general directions of ZAFT's Gibraltar base. Wind velocity is forty knots. Splashdown checklist one to twenty-four is all green."

Two minutes later the ship was only five hundred meters above the water, as it prepared for the splashdown into the Atlantic. "Height is now five hundred. Ground effect is below projected calculations."

"Compensate, Mr. Yardbirds." Devereux picked up her PA handset and talked into the mouthpiece. "This is the Kanchou. All hands brace for splashdown impact."

The ocean grew larger as the Minerva lowered down into the water at the speed of over two hundred fifty knots. The ship rocked hard as the hull touched the water, and a tall geyser was formed from the impact. The ship vibrated as it accelerated a bit, and began to slow down as the water added to the drag forces. Soon the ship came to a halt on the calm ocean surface

"Splashdown complete, Kanchou. We are twenty-one kilometers southwest from Gibraltar." Yardbirds reported.

"Well down, Malik. Proceed to Gibraltar at fifteen knots. Ms. Windsor, contact the port control. Tell them we completed our landing. All sections are to check for water leaks on all compartments. Damage control teams to the lower decks."

"Gibraltar has sent escorts from the airfield, Kanchou," Abi reported.

"Do you see them, Mr. Heim?"

"Hai," Burt answered. "Two BABIs approaching from two-one-five, speed three hundred, distance twenty-six hundred."

"Message from port control," Abi began. "It reads 'Gibraltar Base welcomes Minerva and its crew. Chujo Radul wishes to meet with Taisa Devereux, Chusa Trine and Tai-I Hawke upon arrival at headquarters'. What is our reply, Kanchou?"

"Reply: 'Message received. Minerva sends its thanks.' Call Lunamaria and have her meet us at the main deck hatchway. Commence docking operations immediately. Inform all those who have shore leave that they may disembark at thirteen hundred hours. Good landing ladies and gentlemen. Let's make sure we have a decent enough time here at the Rock."


"Welcome to Gibraltar, Taisa Devereux," Chujo Joachim Radul said as he ushered Luna, Devereux-Kanchou and Arthur Trine into his briefing room. A former mobile suit pilot and ground division commander in the first war, he was the former commander of ZAFT's Persian Gulf Base in Mahamul in the second war, and led the assault on the OMNI Enforcer's fortified Lohengrin Base at Gulnahan. An excellent officer and tactician, Radul survived the war and was promoted to become overall commander of ZAFT forces in the Eurasian and African sectors.

Devereux accepted the hand. "Thank you, Chujo. It is an honor for the Minerva's crew to be serving under you."

Radul smiled. "On the contrary, Devereux-Kanchou, the honor is mine. I had good memories serving alongside the goddess of war. The Minerva was the catalyst of success at the battle of Gulnahan. Without her and her gallant mobile suit team, we couldn't have breached its defenses."

Devereux nodded. "I assure you, Chujo that my crew will continue to strive to meet your expectations."

"Very good then, Kanchou," Radul said. "Considering how the situation is right now, I expect a lot of things from your crew." The Chujo gestured for them to sit. "First off, everything we shall talk about in this meeting has been rated top-secret. Nothing may leave this room. Information can only be shared to anyone outside this room only on a need-to-know basis, with prior notice with me. I believe you have an idea how critical things are becoming, Devereux. Security will be our preeminent concern. Your encounter with the Archangel and the raiders would have showed you how capable the terrorists could be."

"Hai," Devereux nodded. "We've also begun the analysis of the captured raider suit. Initial information corroborates with your statement."

"We've received your preliminary reports. We have added to it information we received from our embassy at Orb routed from the office of Chairman Westenfluss. Our government and Orb have formally completed their quiet negotiations, and we have tacit approval to share information regarding the incidents, within certain limits of course." Radul glanced down at his screen. "You reported that you gave the same offer to the Archangel's officers, but they politely declined, citing diplomatic considerations."

"Shousho Kira Yamato of the Orb Defense Force thought to see it fit that those things go through proper channels."

"Well things have changed. Orb has graciously accepted our offer of support for their investigation. They have also accepted our request for a liaison officer to be allowed to join in. We have our man assigned and he is with their operations team - which according to reports left Orb already."

"They sent out an operations team?" Luna asked. "Doesn't that run counter to their neutral stance?"

Radul answered with a nod. "They may have considered that, but probably deemed it necessary for international security to initiate a covert mission to locate the terrorists. Reports are sketchy, but our intelligence indicates that they have sent out the only unit they have that can operate without direct open support from Orb."

Luna paused to ponder about that, before coming to a realization. "Archangel, you mean."

"Correct, Tai-I Hawke. That ship and its crew is the only force capable of doing a mission of this magnitude. They could operate independently and covertly, plus they have the force capability to project should things go wrong." Radul typed in some commands, and new documents appeared in front of Luna and officers' screens. "We have just received this classified document, released by the Orb government, courtesy of Chujo Ledonir Kisaka of the Orb Defense Force. It shows the orders for the Archangel crew. They are to reconnoiter and locate the terrorist's base and report back. Their mission is to avoid contact with the terrorists, and not to engage them except in self defense or extreme circumstances. Once the Orb government and ours have the information confirmed, we will execute a strike operation to eliminate the terrorist base."

"That's where the Minerva comes in," Devereux-Kanchou said.

"The Minerva will be the primary strike force that ZAFT will provide for that operation. Your ship is the only one for now that we could release for this sensitive task. We can't provide an entire task force to conduct this operation, due to current security considerations." Red dots appeared along the east coast of the South American continent. "As you can see, the entire east coat is littered with EA ships, blockading the only shoreline the USSA has access to. Any fleets we send near this area will be in proximity of the EA's squadrons, and things might get ugly. So it would be more prudent to send one ship, limiting the chances that it could be spotted."

"We're going to be on our own?" Chusa Trine spoke out. "We can't submerge underwater to stay covered, not like the Archangel."

"I understand your concern, Chusa. Should the Minerva be spotted, we will have to take the chance that the EA will consider one ship less than a threat than an entire task force."

"But our ship is a command battleship-"

"And would certainly command the attention of the EA," Radul finished. "I have taken that into consideration. In fact, I am expecting that. By drawing attention towards the Minerva, we draw attention from whatever the Archangel is up to. The Minerva will close in near the EA's fleets, show the flag and keep their eyes on you."

"And the Minerva is expendable? Being 'jinxed' -" Devereux baited.

Radul smiled. "The High Command warned me about your frankness, Devereux, and they are well foresighted for that. I want to tell you that I don't believe that the Minerva is a cursed ship. I fought with it during the last war at Gulnahan Ravine and I believe in its capability to succeed in this mission. Your ship is the most capable to handle this threat, so that's why for this mission I recommended you."

Luna caught the short intake of breath from the executive officer. Her own eyes widened at the Chujo's compliment for their crew. Only the Kanchou was impassive in her response.

"In short, the Minerva will be best to act as a decoy," Devereux-Kanchou concluded.

"Correct. We will help the Archangel complete their mission, and graciously receive their information. And then we will strike. And the Minerva will be in the best position to do so."


Archangel

Somewhere In The South Pacific

December 30, CE 74

"So, how did I do?" Kira asked Chief Murdoch, asked he wiped off the sweat on his head. He had just completed maintenance work on his mobile suit, spending almost the entire morning updating the G.U.N.D.A.M. Complex OS and helping the techs work on the actuators inside the bowel of the massive left foot. Tossing the wet towel on a nearby worktable, he wiped his grimy hands on the equally dirty orange tech jumpsuit he was wearing. Kira saw Athrun, who had just also completed working on the Justice, grimacing with displeasure at his shabby habit. His friend was looking over the data from the maintenance of the Archangel's mobile suits, as per his job as the team's executive officer. Dearka was striding over from the Buster's legs, stopping to stand beside Athrun.

Murdoch didn't look up from what he was reading off a handheld tablet PC. "You've got the actuator fixed; I see no more fluctuations with the magnetic flow on the myomer cables wrapped around it. The OS looks okay, but you'll still have to update it for Earth gravity combat. I checked it out and it's still set for zero-G. You'll also have to update the left balancing specs for the gyroscope; it's still a little off by point four-five percent. There's also the problem with the beam relay for DRAGOON unit five, the power flows still a bit diffused."

Murdoch reached out for something on his back pocket, and held out a folded plastic trash bag to Kira. "And use this. You know what for."

Sheepishly grinning, Kira took trash bag. "Do I have to do it now, Chief?"

"Yes, sir, Shousho sir." Murdoch nodded mechanically. "Rank doesn't mean you can leave your cockpit like a trash heap."

Dearka poked Athrun on his shoulder. "What's going on?"

Athrun sighed. "Kira here has a bad habit of making a mobile suit cockpit into his living quarters. Murdoch once told me he used to sleep inside the Strike and the Freedom. And he's still doing it up to now. He's still eating inside the cockpit when he's working maintenance. He also forgets to take out the garbage, and sometimes just stuffs them underneath the pilot seat."

"Yeah," Murdoch agreed. "Yesterday I checked out the cockpit and found two plastic coffee cups, an empty six-pack of soda, and a lot of sandwich bags and candy wrappers - enough for six well-balanced meals and multiple snacks."

Kira raised an eyebrow. "So why didn't you take them out? You were there already."

Murdoch snickered. "And hamper your efforts in good character building? Clean uniforms and a tidy cockpit are essential for morale and performance of mobile pilots. Good officers should know that, Shousho. Didn't you learn that in officer's school?"

"I never really got to attend the officer's candidate course, remember."

"Not my problem, Shousho. You're the officer. I'm just a lowly chief on board a danger-attracting ship with a very low pay rate." Murdoch winked.

Athrun cleared his throat. "Getting back to business…"

"Right," Murdoch said. "Mr. Elsman, we'll still have to replace the recoil dampers for the three-fifty millimeter gun cannon. The feed system for the ammunition needs cleaning; I'll get a work team to handle it this afternoon. And when you check out the OS again, you may want to update the radar frequencies software. We have the program for you. You'll just have to install it"

"Okay," Dearka agreed. "Could you also check the lower myomer bundles on the left leg actuators? I could hear a weird whining sound when I tested it - creepy."

"The Justice is ready, Chief," Athrun reported. "But could you look over the beam rifle? There seems to be a higher heat spike than usual. It could be prone to early overheating."

Murdoch finished reading off the tablet. "I think that's all of it - except for the Phoenix." Murdoch scratched his head. "Nobody's started working on its OS yet. And the wings are still not optimized. That thing's not combat ready until someone starts to work on it."

Athrun sat down on the worktable. "I know. But still can't figure a way to talk to him. It's not that easy."

Kira glanced at him. "Save for Meyrin, you're the only person among us who really knows how to talk to him."

Athrun shook his head. "Let me correct that misconception, Kira. I don't know how to handle Shinn Asuka and never did. Even when we served together, he's made himself a very hard to communicate with."

Murdoch grunted. "He can't be a dead weight forever. We're gonna need him, Taisa."

Athrun closed his eyes and flexed his neck. "I know." Kira just kept silent, knowing he couldn't do anything to help in this situation.

Dearka had his arms akimbo, keeping quiet in obvious thought. Then his face lighting up with a wide grin and spoke up. "Let me handle him, Athrun."

"What are you going to do?" Athrun looked at him suspiciously.

Dearka turned away from the group and started walking to nearby hatch. "Don't worry boss. I know a thing or two about motivating troops." Kira watched as the hatch closed behind the blonde Coordinator, then turned to his friend.

"Well?"

Athrun sighed as he kept his gaze on the closed doors. "Why do I have this bad feeling I'm gonna regret this."


Shinn laid awake on his bed in his darkened quarters, thinking in silence about what he was doing. He was supposed to be working with the crew of this ship, to help in their investigation and hunt of the terrorist in return of allowing him to board and search for Stellar. But once he caught sight of Yamato and Neo, things changed in him. Mistrust and anger, both born from experience in the war, overwhelmed his earlier resolve to cooperate with the Terminal organization. He still couldn't get over his hate for the two, whom Shinn blamed for Stellar's untimely death - thus, his reluctance to help out in the search.

Seeing the Destiny, or whatever they called his erstwhile mobile suit, added to his reluctance. Or is it stubbornness? But the fact remained that the Destiny was here, tempting him to enter it once more, to fly in the air and use its power, for as was his own destiny. A destiny he never really wanted, a destiny he only accepted for the ideals of a man he knew as wise and the request of a friend who was dying without hope. But his choice may have helped Dullindal and Rey, but it never really did anything to help Stellar.

He had failed to protect her. First he let the doctors meddle with her recuperation, almost allowing them to have their way with her. He failed when he returned her to Neo, blindly believing him that he would take her away from all the madness. And last he failed to rescue her from the fires of the Destroy, plunged into the darkness of death by Yamato and the Freedom. He failed her, and yet she loved him in the end.

That hurt the most - the fact that even when he failed her, she accepted him. She was glad he was there, even though he couldn't do anything to save her. Shinn thus felt as if his heart was gone, banished to the nothingness as Stellar was. He thought he would find healing with Lunamaria, but that ended with Shinn destroying whatever they had between them, be it their friendship or their love.

And yet here he was, on the ship that carried his most hated enemies, tempted by the words of a man he once thought he destroyed as a traitor, yet Athrun's words was something he was not expecting, yet secretly wished - a chance to find Stellar, a chance to redeem himself.

If he only could put the hate away.

His reverie was broken by the chiming of the doorbell followed by loud knocking on the door.

"Who is it?"

"Open the door, Asuka." It was the voice of Dearka Elsman. "I need to talk to you."

Wondering what in the world did the ZAFT officer wanted from him, Shinn reluctantly got up from his bed and walked to the door. The blonde pilot was grinning when Shinn saw him after the door opened, and Shinn felt a bad feeling about it. "What?"

Without saying a word, the stupid grin still pasted on his face, Elsman grabbed Shinn by the sleeves of his shirt, and dragged him out of the room. He then twisted Shinn's arm by the wrist, holding Shinn in an arm lock, beginning to push him in the direction of the hanger bay. "Hey what the-"

"Sorry Asuka, but you can't spend the whole trip holding out in your room." Elsman shoved Shinn roughly, but the black haired Coordinator managed to maintain his balance. He spun on his heels and threw a punch at Elsman, who calmly blocked it with his left hand. The forward momentum opened Shinn to a counterattack, which came in the form of a quick backhand.

Pain exploded from his face, and Shinn dropped to the deck. Shinn tried to get up once more, but dizziness and Elsman's foot stepping on his chest made it near impossible. "Don't get up until you listened to what I have to say," Elsman demanded calmly.

Shinn tried to struggle, but was too much in pain to succeed. Reluctantly he relaxed himself and remained still. "What do you want, Elsman?"

"You're a quick learner. Good." Elsman removed his foot and walked a few feet away, keeping his back to Shinn. "I'm here to make sure you do your part of the bargain, Shinn-san."

"What bargain?"

"Keeping to yourself makes you forgetful, I see," Elsman said. "I'm talking about what you promised Waltfeld-sama back in Orb - about you following orders."

Shinn struggled to sit up. "I don't have to follow your-"

"But you do, baka," Elsman cut him off. "Remember that this is a military ship. And you're military. Don't give me any reason about you leaving ZAFT. When you joined Terminal, you got back in the uniform, my friend."

"Do you remember when you first wore the red suit? That made you one of the elite, Asuka, ZAFT's best. I know because I wore it once." Elsman faced him. "The red suit meant that you're ready to face anything thrown at you because you could face it. It means that we have to be obedient, disciplined and concentrated in our mission, whatever it is. And it doesn't mean that you won't follow those ideals once you're not in the red anymore."

Shinn spat blood on the floor. "I don't think this crew's worthy of my obedience, Elsman."

"Wrong again." Elsman's eyes lowered into a frown. "Right now this ship is the only one who's got the balls to take on this mission. Right now this ship is the only one standing in the way of those terrorists. Right now this ship is the only ticket in town for you - you and your quest to find that girl."

Shinn glared at Elsman. "That's none of your business-"

"It's my business, Shinn. It's my business to protect the peace. It's my business to stop those raiders. It's my business to succeed and stay alive," Elsman paused, breathing heavily. "I will not put my life in someone's hand when doesn't really care if he dies or not."

Shinn looked away. "I'd rather be dead."

"Then get off the ship and jump into the sea." Elsman turned away once more. "Look at you, Asuka. What a piece of crap you are. You were a former red suit, ZAFT ace, FAITH member, awardee of the Nebula medal, pilot of the Impulse and Destiny. Now you're just a useless bum."

"I'm not a useless-"

"Then get up and get your act together!" Elsman shouted. "Do it for yourself! Do it for those who care for you. Do it for those you care for! Be the man you that you are, Shinn Asuka."

Shinn hesitated.

Elsman pointed to the direction of the hanger bay. "In there is something only you have the power to use. Use it for the good of all. Take that power and use it."

"I don't want too -"

"Yes you do! Don't deny it. You'll need the power to succeed and fulfill your goal - to find what you are searching for."

Elsman offered Shinn his hand. "Let me help you out, Shinn-san. You have the power to do a lot of good for the world. And now you also have the freedom to do what you want. Destiny won't hold you back anymore. The Phoenix will let you fly free."

Shinn wanted to punch him, but found himself stopping. Elsman had a point. He was here now, on this ship, on the way to where he might be able to find answers to his questions. But he knew he had to pull his own weight. Maybe it was time to swallow some of pride and hatred and make things work. He didn't necessarily need to like it, but he had too.

"What do you want me to do," Shinn whispered.


Athrun watched in wonder as Shinn boarded the Destiny Phoenix and started to work maintenance inside the cockpit with the help of Murdoch. He and Kira were working on a computer near the foot of Kira's mobile suit, when they saw the black haired Coordinator being led inside the hanger by Dearka. Shinn glanced at their direction, the constant glare still framed and targeted at Kira, but it didn't show much anger as much as irritation at having to be in the same room with him. As soon as Shinn settled into his work, Dearka walked confidently towards the two friends, smiling broadly. "You look full of yourself, Dearka."

"The product of a successful mission, Athrun," Dearka just said. "Shinn over there agreed to work on the Phoenix for a while - better than just moping around."

"What did you do?"

"Nothing much - just used my brains and leadership skills. Didn't you know I was a psychology major?"

"Iie," Athrun said. "And I don't believe you."


Gibraltar City Gibraltar

December 30, CE 74

"Hitomi, snap out it!" Rena was screaming.

Hitomi blinked and stared unfocused at her friend. "You were saying something, Rena?"

Rena sighed and knocked her head on the sidewalk table. Hitomi, with Lunamaria-Taichou, Madison and Rena were enjoying the late afternoon sun, having some cold drinks at a sidewalk café in the commercial area near the ZAFT base. They had just finished from a blazing run through the malls, invading and attacking the clothes boutiques for the newest fashions. They all bought their share, with Rena buying four times as much as the others, earning her another negative shake of the head from the Taichou.

Hitomi was enjoying this quiet down time, not really one who likes to shop a lot, much like Madison, and unlike the casual shopper like the Taichou and the ravenous one like Rena was. She savored the chance to sit down in a cozy and shaded seat on this sunny day, just enjoying a cool glass of orange juice. She wasn't really interested in the general topics of the foursomes' discussion - which with Rena as the center of the talk swirled around shopping, boys, fashion, boys, relationships and boys. So she tuned out the talking, happy to daydream happy thoughts, and frolic in her own little world inside her mind. And she was still in the state of blissful imagination when Rena interrupted her.

Luna-Taichou stirred her glass of ice-cold lemonade. "She was asking you about your boyfriend, Hitomi-chan." She took a sip of her beverage. "I never knew you had one."

That's because I don't have one! "What are you yapping about?" Hitomi asked, giving Rena a cold stare.

Madison lifted her head from her slouch. "I think she means that pilot of the Strike."

"Hai! That's the one!" Rena nodded enthusiastically and grinned at Hitomi mischievously.

Luna-Taichou spat out her drink and gagged. "What? You mean Kira-san?" she said with total surprise when she was able to talk again.

Hitomi felt red all over her face. "What are you talking about? I never said anything-"

"Yeah but you always dream about him at night, isn't that true? You call out his name in your sleep." Rena put her face closer to Hitomi, who felt like she wanted to melt in the heat and ask for a transfer to some faraway backwater.

"That's not true. Maddy, help me out here!" Hitomi pleaded to her more quiet and sensible friend. But Madison just shrugged and replied in a way that didn't help Hitomi a lot. "But I also heard you the other night. Sorry, but that's the truth, Minamoto."

Hitomi felt deflated. She never felt so embarrassed in her entire life. Well not as embarrassed as my close encounter with Kira Yamato. But just as close. She glanced fearfully at Luna-Taichou, scared from anticipation of whatever she might say. But the Taichou just smiled and placed her hand on hers sympathetically.

"It's a normal thing, Hitomi, to have a crush with war heroes," Luna-Taichou said. "I went through the same thing, me and my sister. You guys heard the stories going around the crew, I guess, about the two of us having this crush with Athrun Zala?" The three girls nodded. "Well, it's hard to admit, but that's true. I did like him a lot, especially when he came back after re-enlisting. He was a FAITH member, he piloted the newest mobile suit in the inventory, and he became the commander of our team then. Not to mention he was a handsome and dashing war hero. He was a very nice guy, albeit in the shy and quiet way."

Luna-Taichou paused in nostalgic bliss then blinked when she saw the three sets of eyes staring at her curiously. "Well I didn't push things. At the time I though he was still with 'Lacus Clyne', but it turned out to be wrong and the 'Lacus' I met hanging around him was a fake. Turns out he had this thing going with the Orb's Chief Representative. Being a female world leader has its perks, it seems - handsome bodyguards must be part of the package."

"So in the end nothing happened, and it was my sister that got involved with Athrun. Meyrin took the chance when she helped him escape, and now they're both on Orb." Hitomi saw a frown form on the Taichou's face. "I don't know if there's anything going on between them, not that it really matters." Luna-Taichou took another sip from her drink. "By the way, Hitomi-chan - you do know Athrun and Kira are best friends?"

"Eh? Err. Hai."

"Figures," Luna-Taichou said in response. "You'd probably know everything about Kira-san. Well almost everything."

Hitomi blinked. "What do you mean, Taichou?"

"Sorry, Hitomi-chan," Luna-Taichou said. "There are things I can't tell you. Need to know basis." She smiled at Hitomi. "You're really that interested with Kira-san, huh?

"Taichou-"

"I'm just kidding okay?" the Taichou quickly said. "Jeez, Minamoto. You should learn to lighten up a bit."

An uncomfortable quiet fell upon their table. Luna-Taichou kept watching Hitomi with concern. Rena looked full of sorry, having been the one who started this conversation.

Hitomi felt ashamed and wanting to go back to the ship and hide under her bed. Am I really this obvious when it comes to Kira Yamato? Hitomi thought of the all the times she thought about the brown haired war hero with the mysterious purple eyes, how many times she recollected their short meeting, and how many times she wished that it could happen again. It was foolish to think so much about an innocent crush she might have, but she couldn't help it.

But she knew she had to do something about it. It wouldn't be good for her image as a competent professional mobile suit pilot to have such silly things on her mind. But she was also a fifteen year old girl, just learning the ways of the world, never been in a real relationship with boys her age, what more a mature man like Kira-san.

Madison kept her peace, with her eyes shifting from Luna-Taichou and Hitomi. She was the first to break the silence, coming up with an idea to change the subject. "So what are we doing tonight, Taichou? Do you have any plans?"

"No. Not really," Luna answered. "I really didn't decide anything. I was thinking you girls would come up of something."

"I know!" Rena exclaimed, jumping out of her chair. "Let's go clubbing tonight!"

"Clubbing?" Madison asked with a groan.

"Yeah! I heard there's this new place downtown. The Spyglass, or something like that."

The Taichou nodded. "Yeah, Abi told me something about that place, so let's invite her to come along. We'll go if you girls like. I better go along to keep my eyes on you." Rena nodded happily, while Madison just mouthed her 'yes'. The Taichou turned to Hitomi. "What about you?"

"Well-"

"Come on girl! It'll be fun! Think of all the cute boys there! Please!" Rena begged.

"Okay," Hitomi submitted with reluctance. "I'll go."

"Good! We'll have a great time." Rena stood up from her chair and started to collect her numerous shopping bags. "Taichou, could we go back to the ship first? I need to change. I gotta look good for all those guys that's gonna be at the club tonight!"


Archangel

Somewhere In The South Pacific

December 30, CE 74

Murrue never looked up from her laptop as the door to her ready room hissed open. She knew it was him that came in, since nobody else had the gall to enter her room unheeded during the night when she was still awake. It became their usual habit in the evening, with Mu dropping by for a cup of coffee as Murrue finished her work, talking for a while before she turned in for the night. So she didn't have to watch as Mu poured himself a cup from the coffee maker, and sat in front of her desk.

They spent a few minutes of silence, with Murrue continuing her reading and Mu having sips from his hot cup. "Guess what happened this afternoon at the hanger bay." Mu said in opening, ending the quiet time between them.

"Don't tell me Kira and Shinn had another verbal go-around."

"No," Mu said. "Something even better."

"And what is that," Murrue asked absentmindedly.

"Well I saw the Shinn kid starting to work on the Phoenix, and the Chief said it was going along well." Mu proclaimed.

What Mu said made Murrue stop in her tracks. She looked at him over the laptop's monitor. "And how did that happen? I thought he was adamant not to touch that thing!" She asked quizzically.

Mu took another sip, a grin playing on his face. "It looks like Dearka got him motivated to work, to use his words. Don't ask me how he did it. I don't know and like what Athrun said, I don't want to know."

Murrue sat back and sighed. "I just hope Dearka didn't do anything out of regulations. We don't need any more trouble that we already have."

Mu looked at her strangely. "You're sounding a lot like Natarle was - talking about the regs."

Murrue glared at him. "Unlike you Mu La Flaga, I still follow regulations. You're breaking one now just by being in my room."

"What rule am I breaking?" Mu asked. "There's no regulation that I know of that prohibits fraternizing between officers."

Murrue smiled and held Mu's hand. "That's not it, my love -although sometimes I wish there was one like that."

Mu looked confused. "What then?"

Murrue smiled a lot more with sweetness. "Don't you have watch duty up on the bridge tonight, my love? And aren't you the duty officer in command? Your shift started fifteen minutes ago I believe."

Mu blinked. "Uh, yeah."

Murrue's smile changed into a glare. "So what are you doing here then?"

Mu swallowed. "Having a cup?" He gestured his mug.

"Its not your break time, Taisa. You're on duty. I think its better you should go up to bridge now."

Mu suddenly stood up. "And I think you're right. I'll leave you to finish and get your beauty sleep, my dear Kanchou!." He clumsily stumbled off his chair and dashed out of her quarters.

Mu sighed once more and turned off her PC. She slumped on her desk, head on its surface. Why did I fall in love with that fool? I guess I'm a fool myself, she said with a small smile.


Kira was surprised to see Lacus sitting before his work desk in his quarters this late in the evening. He had just completed his work on his mobile suit, finishing most of the maintenance work, but probably spent more time keeping an eye on Shinn. The black haired Coordinator had secluded himself inside the Phoenix, and was still there even when Kira left to rest. Kira was exhausted with all the work, but was pleasantly stimulated to see the love of his life waiting for him. "Hey."

"Hi," Lacus said smiling, closing down the laptop on his table. "I wanted to wait for you, since you weren't at the mess hall for dinner. I just stayed here and worked on some papers. I hope you don't mind me using your console."

"No problem." Kira unzipped his dirty jumpsuit and started to get out of it, but then stopped when he saw Lacus again. "Uh, Lacus -"

"Don't mind me, Kira - but please take a shower. I'm sorry to say this but you smell like the Strike Freedom," she said giggling, a red spot forming on her creamy cheeks.

Embarrassed, Kira entered his bathroom and took off his clothes, then got into the shower. He activated the shower, the warm water spray rejuvenating his body. He luxuriated in the refreshing delight, letting the water flow down his tired body.

"Shinn's started working on the Phoenix," Kira called out above the noise of the shower.

"That's good," was all of Lacus' reply.

The doorway opened and a hand appeared. It tossed a clean white shirt and blue shorts into the bathroom, which landed beside the sink. "Uh, Kira, please wear this," said Lacus, as her hand disappeared once more.

Smiling inwardly, Kira took a towel and dried himself off. Sometimes Lacus could be so domestic. I guess she's trying to get used to that, now that we're engaged. I better get used to that myself. We both have to prepare for our lives together, as long as no one notices too much. He and Lacus agreed to not to tell anyone of their engagement yet, satisfied to wait until things had quieted down enough for all to live in peace. I just hope we could work things out so that happens soon.

He got into the clean clothes and proceeded to brush his teeth. He looked himself at the mirror and like what he saw. His hair was longer than usual, and he looked to be growing in height and build. Although my tummy's growing from all that sweets I keep in the cockpit. Kira frowned at his own reflection. You need to get back into shape, Yamato.

"Had you had something to eat, Kira?" Lacus said from the main room.

Kira began to dry his hair. "Yeah, I had something to bite inside the cockpit." Again. He mentally reminded himself to take out the trash, but remembered that he left the trash bag under his cockpit seat. Again.

He got out of the bathroom and into the main room once more and saw that Lacus wasn't sitting in front of the work desk anymore. In fact, she was lying down on his bed, wearing one of his shirts and boxer shorts, her yukata-like dress neatly folded on the other bed. She was lying down with her eyes closed, her lithe body in a cradling position. "Lacus -"

"Yes, Kira?" she mumbled her reply.

"W-what are you doing? You can't sleep here. You better go back to your room or people might-"

"Come to bed, Kira," was her reply, cutting him off.

"But Lacus -"

Lacus opened her eyes. "I just want to be beside you, Kira."

Hesitantly, Kira approached the bed. Lacus lazily held out one hand, and Kira took it. Gently Lacus led him to lie beside her, and he slowly did. He slid himself onto the bed, and Lacus cradled closer to him. He held her with a light embrace, and Lacus laid her head on his arm. Lacus buried her face on his chest and rubbed it slowly with her cheeks. Kira feeling embarrassed and a little aroused, covered her with the blanket, and settled into his pillow.

"I just want to be with you, Kira," Lacus whispered.

"Lacus, I -"

Lacus looked at him straight in the eye. "Don't you want this?"

Kira gulped, stopped for a second, before he nodded. "I do Lacus, more than anything else. But it's just that -"

"Don't worry, Kira," giggled Lacus, tracing his chest with her finger. "I don't want to do anything else. I'm not ready for it."

It. Something they never really talked about - but now they knew they had to face it soon, now that they had promised to each other something more profound, more special. "I know. I'm not ready myself," Kira whispered.

Lacus kept her gaze at him, a hint of confusion forming in her eyes.

Kira smiled back. "It's not what you think." Kira gently poked Lacus' nose. "I want that to be perfect. I don't want to force anything on you if you don't want it to happen yet. I want that moment to be special for both of us, because you're special. I can wait for you, Lacus - truly I can."

"You'll wait till I'm ready?"

"I promise - I can do it. We have the rest of our lives in front of us. I want it to be happy for you."

Kira kissed Lacus sweetly on her lips. "I love you."

"I know," she whispered with a smile.


Cali, Columbia

Occupied South America

December 30, CE 74

"Hello." The colonel answered his cellular phone. The display did not show any information from the call, whether an identification of the caller nor a phone number. At first the colonel felt unsure if he would answer, but now he felt more tension as he heard the voice he dreaded to hear.

"Execute Case Green," the low voice from the other line said.

It was him. And he had given the colonel the command. "It will be done."

"Good" The line clicked dead.

The colonel looked at his phone, his minding racing over the magnitude of the call, and the magnitude of what the command meant. I've been given the order to change the world. He stood up from his chair, and went to his kitchen, mulling over his plans over a bottle of Scotch.


The Spyglass Club

Gibraltar City

Gibraltar

December 30, CE 74

Shizukana (hoy!) Kono yoru ni (hoy!) Anata wo (hoy!) Matteru no

"Taichou, I have a question."

Ano toki (hoy!) Wasureta (hoy!) Hohoemi wo (hoy!) Tori ni kite

"What is it, Rena?"

Are kara (hoy!) Sukoshi dake (hoy!) Jikan ga (hoy!) Sugite

"Why do you wear a pink mini skirt with your red uniform?"

Omoide ga yasashiku natta ne.

"Because I like to."

Hoshi no (hoy!) Furu basho de (hoy!)

"But isn't that against regulations, ma'am?"

Anata ga (hoy!) Waratte irukoto wo (hoy!)

"Not really. Well, I don't really know or care."

Itsumo (hoy!) negatteta (hoy!)

"Uhmm, okay. So does that mean we can wear minis with our uniforms?"

"Iie."

Ima tookutemo (hoy!)

"Why not, Taichou?"

"Because I said so."

Mata aeru yo ne (L-A-C-U-S Lacus-sama!)

"But Taichou-"

"You sure have a lot of questions. Maybe you want to go back to the ship early, Ms. Ellington? You could go on ahead." Luna-Taichou glared at Rena.

"No! I don't mind staying." Rena looked liked she would melt from fright. "I was just curious. No need to worry about what I said, Taichou."

Hitomi listened listlessly at Luna-Taichou and Rena's exchange. It was hard to listen, with the song 'In the Quiet Night CE 73' blaring loudly from the club's sound system. The club was packed with partygoers, mostly young kids, professionals and several ZAFT personnel enjoying a night of dancing, booze and socializing. Hitomi would have enjoyed the fun atmosphere, but she still felt awkward from the teasing she got from her companions that afternoon. Add to the fact that she wasn't comfortable with the blue dress and skirt she wore. She felt like people was watching her, and she felt ill at ease.

They had already spent a good deal of three hours at this place, with Rena already having danced with six different men. Some tried to ask Hitomi, Chu-I Windsor and Luna-Taichou to dance, but Hitomi refused and the Taichou and Windsor didn't go back to the dance floor after a round of hard dancing. Nobody wanted to approach Madison, who exuded a dangerous talk-to-me-and-die aura with her silent stares and military looking pants and tank-top combo.

Hitomi wanted to go home. She just didn't feel at ease around here and she wasn't sure why. Maybe it's the lights - they were too shiny and dizzying. Maybe it's because of the music - being too loud and wild. Maybe it's the drinks - maybe she had one too many. Maybe the closeness of the people dancing and partying, the smoke in the air, the sweat and body heat was too stifling and she was having a hard time breathing. Or maybe all those who strangers stealing glances at her, hoping that she make eye contact, or just leering at her.

Maybe because that guy up there is staring at me. And I can't help but like the feeling. Hitomi stole another brief glance at him, who was sitting on a table by the ledge of the split-level mezzanine of the club, just watching the dancing cloud, and from the way she noticed him, watching her. He looks like he was of her age - dark green eyes looked with sad wisdom out from an unruly mass of light green hair. He seemed to be quiet, not really talking to his companion, a blonde-haired young woman whose simple beauty seemed marred by the serious frown in her face. The man wasn't even drinking anything, and just looked to be content to watch his environment. But he kept looking at her direction, but would look away when Hitomi noticed him.

What was more irritating for Hitomi was his reaction when Hitomi looked at him. He didn't seem embarrassed, more like a little amused. Hitomi knew she should feel a little insulted, but she felt none of that. In fact she felt intrigued, and, in which it bothered her a little, more, felt enjoying this little game.

What is it with me and boys nowadays, Hitomi told herself. First it was Kira Yamato, who I think I could never reach, and now I'm flirting with a guy I've never even met, and - with my luck - probably never will. Hitomi sighed as he looking at her icy drink, and tried to feign interest at the conversation going around their table. Rena had disappeared once more, and was probably dancing up a storm in the club's dance floor. The other three were talking about something, but Hitomi didn't really here them. She sighed once more, but this time Chu-I Windsor, who was sitting at her right, heard her.

"Are you okay, Hitomi-chan?" Windsor asked. "You look pale."

Hitomi gave her a small smile. "I'm okay ma'am. I guess I'm just tired. I not used to all this clubbing thingy."

"You want to go back and rest? We could go now you know." Luna-Taichou offered.

"Iie. You guys are enjoying tonight. I guess I just can't take all the heat and smoke. I can go by myself." Hitomi slung her bag on her shoulder and started to stand up.

"Look Hitomi. We could end the night and go with you." Madison offered.

"It's no problem, Maddy, I'm fine." Hitomi bowed to the three. "Thank you for the evening. But I guess I'll just go back to the ship. I'll be okay. You should worry more about Rena. Enjoy the rest of the night." Before the three could say anything else, Hitomi dove for the crowd, navigating her way through the thick mass of bodies.

Hitomi pushed and slipped through the narrow gaps between revelers. It was getting harder for her to breathe, as she mixed the stale air with the exhausting process of getting out of the crowded bar. She stole one more glance to the direction of the green-haired young man, but he wasn't at his table anymore. Must have left with his girlfriend. Oh well.

She was just passing near the doorway when a man stopped her. He was a large brute, with spiky red hair topping his ugly mug of a face. He was flanked by two other guys, scrawny looking ones with the same level of ugliness as the red haired one. "Hey, gorgeous! You wanna have some fun with us tonight?" he said.

"No, sorry." Hitomi just slipped pass by, bumping shoulders with one of the brute's companions. She dashed through the door and ran for a corner, before she stopped to catch her breath. She took in the city's air, which had a touch of the sea's salty breeze, which was way better than the stale, foul air of the club. Hitomi started walking down the street, which was eerily bereft of people, on the general direction of the ZAFT base, some ten blocks away. He glanced around the street for a taxi, but seeing none, she continued to walk.

An uneasy feeling began to grow from here stomach. She felt like someone was following her. She increased her pace as fast as her stiletto shoes could, looking back peripherally for a tailer. She saw no one, but the eerie feeling she felt was still there. She also felt not just one, but two presences, and that added to her alarm. She tried to fool whoever was there by turning onto a corner, which ended on an L-shaped corridor leading out to another main road. She though she lost her pursuer, as she saw the empty road at the other end of her detour.

Too late, as trouble appeared in the form of the two scrawny men she saw at the bar, now standing in front of her. Hitomi stopped and tensed, raising her alertness against danger. They moved slowly towards her, forcing her back to the L-corner. She felt her pursuer slow down his pace, and stand a few meters to her back. "I told we'd have some fun tonight, whether you like it or not." It was the red-haired brute, talking evilly with the deep baritone.

Hitomi assessed the situation quickly, determining that she had to escape to avoid getting hurt. But the three had blocked her way. She decided to risk it, even though she knew that was a stupid thing to do. Her hand automatically went for the dog tag around her neck hidden between her breasts. She broke the tag in two, hoping that the built in emergency rescue beacon would be activated and help from the others or security forces could come for her in time. In the meantime took up a fighting stance, trying to project herself as a threat to her attackers. "It would be better if you'd just let me go," she said with false bravado, Hitomi trying her best to keep the trembling from her voice. "That would be the best for you, you know."

"Well, this missy is a fighter," the brute said with an crooked smile. "I like fighters. I like to make 'em scream in pain and delight. Don't I, boys?" The two companions laughed maniacally with their leader. "Very well. We'll do it your way. I'll break your pretty face before I enjoy the rest of you!" The brute launched himself at Hitomi, diving at her for a full body tackle. But Hitomi was ready, sidestepping to her right and grabbing the brute by his shoulder. Using his momentum against him, Hitomi pushed out, sending the brute sprawling into a heap on the ground.

The two others saw what happened to their boss, and started to move to get revenge. One attacked from Hitomi's left with a clumsy punch. Hitomi tried to hit first by slashing out with her shoulder bag. The bag caught the man on the face - while it didn't do much harm, it caught the man with surprise. Hitomi followed up with her knee to the man's groin, and with a cry of pain, he collapsed as well.

The other one more cautious - he forced Hitomi to circle around to avoid him, buying time for his bigger ally to get up. He lunged threateningly at Hitomi, but never continued the attack, but it forced Hitomi back to a wall. Hitomi looked to the corridor, on the way back to the bar for escape, but she saw the shadow of another man coming towards her. She thought that he must be another of her attackers' buddies, and she felt her helplessness grow.

Then as the big brute had just planted his feet back up from the ground, the last one struck out with a snap kick. Hitomi blocked it with both hands, but the force was too strong for her, and she momentarily lost her own balance. As tried to regain her position, the big one was already beside her. A backhand blow caught her by the chin. Pain exploded on her face, and she saw blood spray. She spun out of control momentarily, before she could steady herself. She inched away from her two attackers, looking for a way out.

The big brute brought out an evil looking butterfly knife, revealing its blade after a few twists of the handles. "I thought I'd just be beating you up, missy. But know I think I'll just cut you."

Hitomi saw movement from behind the brute. The shadow was moving forward fast, but rather than aiming for her, it was rushing for the brute. Gauging its strategy, and hoping that it was there to help her, Hitomi decided quickly. Gotta take the chance. She struck out with a short punch, which didn't come close to hitting the brute. The brute saw this as a mistake and began to lunge for her, knife in the fore.

Again Hitomi gauged his attack well and spun on her heels to avoid the attack, just as the same time as the shadow hit the brute with a full force tackle. The brute lost his balance once again, and lost all control as the shadow nailed him with a rib-cracking kick at his chest. The brute fell, dropping the knife in the process.

The other one standing made a grab at the knife, but Hitomi stepped on his hand with her stiletto heel. The stiletto broke, but pierced enough of the hands skin to force blood to spurt out. The man cried out in pain, but the cry was cut by a kick to the face from the shadow, sending the man unconscious.

"You idiots had enough?" Hitomi heard a new voice say. It was her unknown ally speaking. "Don't you know it's not nice to treat a lady in this way. Or maybe you guys never got to learn that after you flunked kindergarten."

The big brute growled in rage as he launched himself from the floor. He tried to grab the shadow with both hands, hoping to crush him. But the shadow struck out with an open palm strike, that hit the brute squarely in the face. And then, with an unnatural speed, the shadow grabbed the chin, circled to the back of the brute, grabbed an arm and put it behind the brute's head, and pinned him with a choke grip.

The brute tried to struggle free himself, but the shadow shifted direction to avoid the brute's free hand, and the shadow pinned the brute's back with his right knee. The two knelt to the ground, the shadow in complete control of the brute. The strangle hold continued for another minute, before the brute slumped, all his breath cut off from him. The shadow released his grip, and the unconscious brute dropped limply to the ground.

The shadow stood and walked over to her, and holding her by her hips, helped Hitomi to her feet "Are you all right?" Hitomi looked at him, and had her first clear view of who her champion was.

It was the young man she saw at the club. He stood there, looking kindly at her. He didn't look hurt, albeit the sweat glistened on his light-green hair. He watched her with concern, but his eyes darted back and forth between her and the fallen thugs.

Hitomi nodded, breathing heavily. "Hai, just a little winded." She didn't want to tell him, but her body ached all over. His gentle grip and lifting action belied his strength, but the man was careful in helping her stand. She felt safe around the young man and his strong warm touch.

"You've got a cut on your lips. Here, let me clean it." The man took out a handkerchief, and gently dabbed the blood off Hitomi's lips.

"Thanks for the help. I wouldn't know what might had happened if you didn't show up."

"You fought well yourself, miss. But the last one had a knife and I can't just let him have his way with you."

"Ah, well -"

The sound of powerful car engine drowned out Hitomi's words. Both of them watched as a black convertible sports care screeched to a stop. A beautiful young woman with blonde hair looked over at them from the driver's seat. She spared a small glance to Hitomi then turned to the young man. "What are you still doing here? We were supposed to be at the hotel fifteen minutes ago."

"Sorry, but I had to help this young lady here."

The blonde woman frowned at Hitomi, as if sizing her up. Hitomi matched her stare, but felt an aura of invincibility from the woman that she was intimidated, and looked away. "Whatever. Let's go."

"Hai." The young man smiled at Hitomi. "I guess I have to go. You'll be okay. Here come your friends right now."

Hitomi looked to her back, and saw her friends running towards her, some military and civilian police following them. "Hitomi!" Rena shouted at her.

Hitomi waved to them that she was fine. She turned back to the man, who she saw was already getting to the empty seat in the front of the car. "Hey! At least tell me your name!"

The man smiled at her once more. "It's Leva."

"Wait, Leva!" Hitomi cried out, but the car was already starting to move. Hitomi felt her Taichou's hand on her shoulder, and she saw the look of concern in her face.

"What happened to you? Are you all right, Hitomi-chan?" Luna-Taichou asked. Madison and Rena also crowded her, watching over her. The policemen were surrounding her unconscious attackers, restraining them. Chu-I Windsor was watching Leva and the woman.

"I'm okay, ma'am. Those thugs tried to mug me. But thanks to Leva they didn't get to do it." Hitomi pointed at the young man. Her four companions looked them over silently, until Luna-Taichou's eyes grew seemingly with shock.

Luna-Taichou started to chase after the two, shoving aside the three and stood at the edge of the road. But Leva and woman sped off furiously. "Wait!" She shouted at the speeding car, which almost sideswiped the Taichou. "Stop!" But the driver didn't heed her, and soon the car disappeared, as it turned hard around a corner into the night.

"Taichou, what's going on?" Madison asked, but the Taichou's attention kept on the road, her eyes wide with confusion.

"No! She can't be alive. I saw her die!" Luna-Taichou cried out. "She just can't be alive!"

Luna-Taichou fell on her knees by the side of the road. "Why must you come back to haunt me! You already took away Shinn from me! What else do you want from me!" she screamed sobbing, tears running down her face. Windsor rushed to her side to hug her comfortingly. Hitomi and the others just gathered around her, not understanding what happened and what brought this outburst of grief and anger from their normally strong-willed commander.


Life goes on…

Namida de nijinda

Kono sora wo miageru tabi

Hakanai aosa ga

Mune wo shimedzuketeku

Sadame nara

Kanashimi no hate made

Tatakaitsudzuketa

Hibi wo ato ni

Life Goes On, Moeagaru

Inochi ga, Aru kagiri

Shinjitsu no, Jibun sae

Miushinaisou soredemo

Life Goes On, Mamoritakute

Kokoro wa, Kudakarete

Hontou no, Kanashimi wo

Shitta hitomi wa

Ai ni afurete…