Divergence

By: cjtokage

Disclaimer: I own no part of the Gundam continuum. I am making ZERO dollars on this work of fiction.

Warnings: Yaoi/Slash; in other words two (or sometimes more heh, heh) guys romancing each other. Athrun/Kira pairing; AU story that takes off from the cannon version fairly early, perhaps a small hint of OOCness for those of you who worry about that type of thing. Proofread but not beta'd, so any mistakes are mine. Let me know and I will fix them during the final draft.

A/N: I had a reviewer ask a question about the red vs. green uniforms; the way I view this is whether or not a pilot has reached the elite, or ace, pilot level yet. In our modern military I think that a pilot has to have five confirmed kills before they become an ace pilot; in this story the number has been raised to fifteen because of the higher skill level of Coordinators. So to answer the question posed Nicol is a red suit because he is an excellent pilot even if he questions what he is fighting for while Kira is a green suit because he just joined ZAFT and has faced only one battle for their side. Don't worry though Kira will move up quickly and will earn his red uniform before you know it.

Our fathers plant arms in foreign soil.

Our brothers die and no one knows

Where it ends (it ends between the crosshairs)

All lies weave a thousand deaths around us.

Follow the path of straight and narrow,

Go hand in hand because our roads are

Paved with broken arrows but we will overcome.

Chapter Five: We Will Overcome

Many of his peers in the ZAFT organizations consider Ra La Creuset to be a chessmaster of the battlefield often times outthinking his opponents several moves in advance; and even when he does face an unexpected juncture he is capable of swiftly devising ways of turning the situation to his advantage. Such is the case with Kira Yamato; here was a young man, who without any formal training, piloted one of the most advanced mobile suits ever made into combat and operated it with the same efficiency as the elite pilots Creuset normally commanded. The commander was intrigued to say the least.

Creuset was still pondering this as his five pilots took seats around the conference table in the meeting room adjacent to his office. The postcombat debriefing began with Cmdr. Creuset going over the data that was retrieved from each of their flight records and battlefield video footage. They each gave their opinions and observations on their teammates' performance; or as Athrun had previously stated Yzak and Dearka's putdown session. The two pilots had nothing but often time's unfair criticism and unprofessional attitudes to give to the other three pilots. Even when Cmdr. Creuset praised the five of them for a nearly flawless performance the two could not keep their mouth shut and continued to pile their needless slander upon the other three but they especially targeted Nicol. It was all Kira could do to keep his mouth shut during their verbal assaults and in all honesty if Athrun and Nicol had not sat there calmly and allowed it all to pass them by he probably would not have managed it. As the meeting came to a close the Cmdr. asked for him and Athrun to remain behind.

"Mr. Yamato I would like to thank you for restraining yourself during the debriefing. Yzak is not an easy person to get along with and Dearka typically follows his lead. Yzak has been hurt in the past and he now uses his tongue and his anger as a defense mechanism to protect himself from others. But that is not the reason I asked you to remain behind, after reviewing the footage from you last battle it is my intention to request that you retain your piloting status over the mobile suit Strike and that you and it remain under my command along with the other four suits and their current pilots as a special forces unit to be used in strategic strikes against key Earth Forces locations both here in space and on the Earth below. I believe that the counsel will grant my request and I would also for both of you to be present during my briefing of the events surrounding the destruction of Heliopolis and if the counsel desires I would like for both of you to present your interpretation of the Earth Forces actions during the time you were around them. The counsel may ask you some questions Kira based on your report and experiences around the crew of the legged ship; Athrun I'm sure will be willing to help you prepare for your appearance before the counsel. Dismissed.

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Athrun and Kira spent the rest of the trip to the Aprilius One colony reviewing their experiences during the recent battles and Athrun briefed Kira on what to expect before during and after the counsel meeting. Athrun also told Kira not to react if his father appeared cold to Athrun when they meet out in public.

"After mother died he closed himself off and placed his entire focus on the war, after he did that I almost followed his example but luckily I was assigned to the same unit as Nicol, Yzak, and Dearka. Each of them in their own way forced me to express different emotions and that kept me from closing myself off from others and focusing solely on the war. That is why I don't get so upset when Yzak starts mouthing off because whether he knows it or not he has been helping me to remain grounding to the fact that I am a living being and not some emotionless intelligent component inside of my mobile suit."

They were both quiet for a long time and eventually fell asleep surrounded by the ever present hum of the ships engines driving them onward.

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Upon docking at Aprilius Cmdr. Creuset escorted Kira and Athrun to a waiting shuttle for the trip from the military station to the colony proper. Waiting onboard the shuttle for them was a tall man dressed in a tailored military uniform. Athrun fidgeted only slightly as he wondered whether his father would recognize Kira's name or face. He and Kira waited politely as the Defense Chairman and their Cmdr exchanged pleasantries before Patrick Zala turned his attention towards the two boys.

"Athrun" he acknowledged his son emotionlessly before turning his attention to Kira. "Mister Yamato it has been some time since we last saw each other. According to the reports I read you are quite the skilled mobile suit pilot considering your lack of formal training, very interesting. Well considering your skill I'm glad to have you on our side."

The Defense Chairman and Cmdr. Creuset spent the rest of the trip over to the colonies shuttle bays discussing the reports concerning the Heliopolis incident virtually ignoring the two younger passengers.

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Cmdr. Creuset was reading over some material on his data pad while Athrun and Kira were admiring the view as they made the thirty-seven mile trip from the docking bay down to the city of Aprilius One. They were riding in a glass elevator and the view was spectacular despite the developing cloud cover below. Athrun was educating Kira on the working of the PLANTs and Kira was absorbing everything that came out of the others mouth mainly because he had never visited a PLANT before but mostly because it was Athrun talking.

The two stopped talking though when the movie that had been playing on the elevators monitor ended and was replaced by a news report. "Yesterday afternoon Supreme Council Chairman Siegel Clyne officially announced that mourning ceremonies for Junius Seven will be held next week." On screen a man who appeared to be in his late forties was speaking with the sound off as the anchorman hit the high points of the chairman's speech. Behind the chairman stood other members of the council and beside him was a young lady with long pink hair wearing a white and lilac dress. Kira observed that she was very beautiful; seeming to exemplify the very essence of the feminine persona, if you were into that sort of thing that is.

Cmdr. Creuset who had also been watching the newscast broke his silence with a question that could potentially make or break any chance Athrun had with Kira.

"Isn't that the young women you're betrothed to?"

Athrun gave a vaguely positive grunt but then decided to explain the situation to Kira by speaking directly to their commanding officer thereby tactfully avoiding saying out loud the fact that he really felt nothing for the girl and hopefully Kira would later give him the chance to explain the circumstances of the engagement. "Yes, our fathers made the arrangements shortly before Councilman Clyne took the Chairman's position. There is no set date yet but supposedly after this war is over we are to be wed" Athrun explained in a neutral tone of voice.

Creuset continued to speak as if he did not notice how uncomfortable his two young subordinates suddenly were "I have heard that she is to be a representative at the service that is scheduled to be held at the site of the incident." The Cmdr. then turned his full attention to Athrun "Just imagine, your marriage will unite two of the most politically powerful families in the PLANTs'. Your union will be a beacon to future generations of Coordinators. I'm looking forward to seeing it."

"Thank you sir" Athrun answered tonelessly.

The rest of the trip was passed in silence.

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Cmdr. Creuset, Athrun and Kira stood at attention before the representatives of the twelve capitol cities that oversaw the governing of the various PLANTs. The Cmdr. was just finishing up his report "after hearing the chain of events that surrounded the collapse of the Heliopolis colony I believe you will realize that it was never our intent to catastrophically damage the colony itself; our pilots did their utmost to limit damage to the areas being utilized for the construction of the experimental mobile suits and their carrier. The mobile suit carrier used its main gun's while hiding inside the populated colony striking the central shaft several times thereby destroying its ability to maintain the outer walls cohesion. That concludes my report."

Various councilors began debating Orbs involvement with the Earth Alliance, whether they could trust the words of Orb's ambassador, and how this would shape the scope of the war.

Suddenly the voice of Councilor Zala cut through the debate "I wonder Cmdr. Creuset were the experimental mobile suits really worth the lives of the ZAFT troops it cost to capture them?"

"To illustrate the abilities of these machines I would like permission for Athrun Zala to present his report concerning the skirmish in which he and four other pilots engaged in during our passage back to port. In this skirmish these five pilots engaged the enemy using the experimental mobile suits to great success."

Chairman Clyne acknowledged the Commander's request "permission is granted to Athrun Zala to present his report."

Athrun stood and used the remote he had been given to begin displaying images taken during the battle from both the X-unit's and from the ZAFT ship perspectives. "There are five mobile suits each specializing in a different…"

Kira at this point tuned out Athrun's presentation and began think about the information that had learned on the trip down the elevator. 'Athrun is betrothed; I didn't think anyone did that sort of thing anymore. He also did not seem to enthusiastic about it, I remember his father has always been a control freak so it wouldn't surprise me if Athrun had no say in this marriage. But how does he feel about it now though is the question, and why am I so bothered by this sure I like him but that in no way mean he feels the same way about me.

"…and in conclusion, each of the X-numbers can be best utilized based on their specified strengths, thank you."

This time the council was in uproar over the fact that fact that naturals could develop weapons that could potentially out class even ZAFT's new CGUE mobile suit. Talk then turned to Orb's supposed neutrality and whether or not their allowing the Earth Alliance to develop such weapon in their territory was a breach of said neutrality. This time Kira was called to give the council some idea about the political stance of the Orb Union.

"First I would like to say that I was a student in a technical college on Heliopolis and therefore any knowledge I have concerning Orb's governments motivations is purely speculative. Orb's population is ninety percent Naturals and to the best of my knowledge there is not one single Coordinator in the entire government infrastructure; this being said it would seem logical that their sympathy's would align closer to the Earth Alliance than with the PLANTs who live far off in space. Also keep in mind that while Orb is neutral they are in no way pacifist, so by allowing the development of these mobile suits on their territory Orb may have been siphoning of research material in order to bolster their own defense down on earth. My final point of speculation is whether or not this could have been a deal between the colonial government and the Earth Alliance without the consent of Orb's terrestrial government. Thank for your time."

The three ZAFT soldiers observed the council debate for the next half hour as they hammered out plans for bringing the war to a close. "…and so plans for operation Spitbreak will continue to be developed, while at the same time we will consolidate our hold on space and therefore denied the Natural of the resources therein. Now that we hold the Gibraltar and the Kaohsiung catapults we can strangle the EA's ability to reinforce their space forces and thereby ensure the defense of the PLANTs. Operational orders will go out in forty-eight hours" Councilman Zala concluded.

"Very well, in the meantime let get our Intelligence department to see if they can infiltrate Orb's main Morgenroete plant and discover anything valuable. We will forward our finding to our ambassador in Orb and apply more pressure to them to capitulate to our side. If there are no more issues," pauses "meeting adjourned."

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Defense Chairman Zala approached the three mobile suit pilots as they were finishing a discussion with Chairman Clyne. "Mister Yamato," he was met by three identical salutes "after reviewing your battle footage and upon consulting with Cmdr. Creuset you will be allowed to continue piloting the X-105 mobile suit. Let's hope you continue to live up to the expectations placed upon you."

TBC…

A/N: remember, 243,721 Coordinators killed in the Bloody Valentine tragedy

Thursday: A City By The Light Divided

We Will Overcome

We walk alone until the end of night

Its suicide but we will overcome.

Another life is swinging in the breeze

These southern trees have the strangest fruit.

If you follow the path of straight and narrow,

Go hand in hand because our roads are

Paved with broken arrows but we will overcome.

Our fathers plant arms in foreign soil.

Our brothers die and know one knows

Where it ends (it ends between the crosshairs)

All lies weave a thousand deaths around us.

Follow the path of straight and narrow,

Go hand in hand because our roads are

Paved with broken arrows but we will overcome.

Follow the path of straight and narrow,

Go hand in hand because our roads are

Paved with broken arrows but we will overcome.

We will overcome, we will overcome

We will overcome in no one sleeps tonight.

We will overcome, we will overcome

We will overcome in no one sleeps tonight.

We've been waiting too long to receive the promised land.

We can wait no more; we must stand and make the promised land.