(Story Title: Archangel's Accidental Adventure)

Note to SEED fans: I use a combination of the manga spelling and the anime spelling, so bear with me, please.

This has NOTHING to do with my other fanfic work, the Jokers Wild series. Well, I should throw in the qualifier "yet" b/c I might have to throw a plot device or two in, or even as an ending. The latter might be a little weird, rest assured.

This story will be a long one. I have a lot of ideas for where to inflict the cast of Gundam SEED. Be afraid. I have taken a hammering for elements in Jokers Wild before, and I am not afraid of criticism. (Note: the 'rules' do not change when crossing dimensions, but the status of the 'game' does. Think of it as two football matches held on adjacent fields. If you watched one to halftime then went to the next, you would expect the teams and scores to be different, but not the conduct of the game, ne?)

GENERAL DECLARATIONS (These apply to all sections, and other declarations may be added in the chapters)

Stravag does not own any part of the Gundam franchise. If I did, you could rest assured GSD would have been a lot bloodier than it was. Not quite as bad as Zeta, but close (har har har). And Stella probably would have survived (not Shin, though), and…

Also note that Stravag does not own any part of any other included works. I intend no offense or copyright challenge to any included works, I'm just tossing things together in a semi-logical fashion here…

Writing note: numbers in parentheses, like this: (0) mean check the footnote for something else I think goes along with the thought. Could be informative, could be humorous, or both.

BAAAAAD LANGUAGE WARNING: Much as in real life, there will be foul language in some sections. Even the best of us let fly a four-letter word when really pissed off, startled, or else. Not to mention that Yzak has a very foul temper and a rather excellent grasp of invective. You can expect Yzak to be the lead scorekeeper in shady language, with Dearka and Athrun a distant second and third respectively.

VIOLENCE WARNING: It is fairly safe to say, regardless of this being a magical mystery tour crossover, or as a direct cause thereto, there shall be an amazing amount of violence. Get used to the thought. Expect strange conclusions to some fights, and expectable conclusions to others.

RELATIONSHIP WARNING: I may normally be fairly light on this subject in my writing, since more of my focus is on the political and military dimensions of the conflict at hand, but in this case there is no political dimension and only some military dimension. Expect to see some canon pairings, some non-canon pairings, and some very, very strange pairings. Fate does weird things to those it favors.

ANTI-POLITICAL-CORRECTNESS WARNING: To strive to be politically correct serves no purpose, for real life makes no such distinction. I will not do so. Death before dishonor. End of story. Please don't ask me to explain this one.

FLAY WARNING: 'nuff said.

And NEG, THERE IS NO CHARACTER BASHING IN THIS STORY! PERIOD! Every character is entitled to some props even if their only purpose in the story is the classic image of deus ex machina. AND THERE WILL BE NO SLASH IN THIS STORY UNLESS IT IS CANON TO THE SERIES IN QUESTION!

And now, on with the story!

(Phase 01: Archangel of Cephiro?

In the lands of short, inconclusive, and very bloody battles, one nation stood mostly above it all. Their choice to help the Archangel was as much a double-sided coin, however, as they profited in help given by Kira Yamato to Morgenroete. Yet, as is their operational orders, it came time for the Archangel to depart, and they did so with escort from a full fleet of Aube.

The bulk of the crew believed the ruse was working, as they broke away from the Aube fleet they would be lost in the din as they headed northward for Alaska. Kira knew this was a joke, knew that Athrun knew they had been in Aube, and knew that they would be waiting with bared fangs about two minutes after they were clear from the Aube lines. Thus, he was down in the pilot's dressing room, getting suited up for the battle to come.

The pilot's suit was the perfect symbol of the dichotomy that had become his life, for it was with this suit on he was a pilot in a war he wanted nothing to do with. Worse, he was fighting with his so-declared genetic enemies against his best friend and his friends. Though he could trace a direct line of events that had led to this miserable fate, for not the first or the last Kira had to ask himself: why am I doing this?

The answer was simple enough. He had friends on this ship, friends that would assuredly not survive if he did not act.

That did not make the answer right, nor did it make the necessity of the answer right. Kira was hoping his backhanded plea to Athrun, made across a security fence at Morgenroete, would quell the upcoming battle and yet the stiff, almost cold response he had received told him otherwise. Athrun would attack, and with him the three other stolen machines.

Kira grabbed up the helmet, crammed it on, and locked it down. If Athrun would not back down, Kira had no choice but to continue the battle, until someone stopped or someone died.

A miserable fate it truly was.


Military-grade cat-shots (1) were always unsettling; right down to his bowels it rattled them, but discipline and training covered the feeling well. The feeling of getting a vertical cat-shot was worse, however, as it forced your body down at the same time it roiled one's guts. Such is the life of those who have to go out and do the really strange jobs, however. They don't normally send four ZAFT 'reds' (the really elite pilots) out to fight one ship and one Mobile Suit; that counted as overkill. Well, strictly speaking, this warship needed the overkill; they took down everything in their path, from the Morassim Team to the Waltfeld Team to even the Creuset team, and just kept going, all the way to the point that ZAFT command thought the only way to stop them was with the best.

And that is where Athrun came in. His Gundam now clear of the Vosgulov-class carrier sub, he landed on the Guul and set in a course for the Archangel, which was south and slightly east of the sub. It did not take more than ten seconds for the rest of his unit to form up, even though they all technically held the same rank (and only Nicol paid any real attention to his commands). They were four knights, basically, not really a team in the sense that they should be. That fact alone, Athrun figured, would cost them dearly since the Strike and the ship worked very well together.

"The Legged Ship goes down today."

"Yzak, Dearka, Nicol, target the ship. I'll draw off the Strike and take him down."

"Yeah, yeah."

"Got it."

"Roger that. Good luck, Athrun," Nicol says as he dives down to just above the surface of the ocean.

"Archangel, ahead at 12 kilometers. Here we go!" Just as Dearka was locking together his paired weapons to use them as a sniper rifle, the sight of the four barrels of the Archangel's main guns, the Gottfried beam cannons, locked on to them. "Great."

The transit of the four 225-cm beams roiled the air around them, causing a slight buffet as they spread out. The captain did not seem intent on relent today, as a second and a third burst of the cannons came their way, aimed at first pairs and then individual machines (Buster and Duel). The other weapons fire, mainly the Valiants and the Igelstellungs was a bit uneven, alternately wide by a hellish margin and close enough to slightly worry them.

Aegis, Blitz, and Buster moved right, Duel went left, and began firing at their best available ranges for their weapons. The greatest hazard came from the Blitz and the Buster, who focused solely on the Archangel; the Duel, despite their 'commander's' orders, was still after the Strike and its amazing pilot. The Aegis was hunting the Strike exclusively, to the point of ignoring the Archangel almost completely.

They found him the hard way. The Launcher Strike was hiding on the rear deck of the ship, unmoving, unflinching until the first of them crossed his sights, and then he fired. Agni spoke, and the Guul under the Blitz fragmented into two chunks after the fuel tank blew out. Belying his usual nature, Nicol was determined to make an issue of the battle, and instead of taking the fall he fired the rocket anchor toward the radar array on the Archangel; when latched on he reeled himself in with the assistance of his main jets.

"There you are, Strike! Your ass is mine!" Yzak shouts as he draws a beam saber and charges in.

Please help us! Please save Cephiro! O, Legendary Magic Knights!

"What…what the hell was that?" Dearka asks, as he drifts in closer to the Archangel inadvertently. He had heard it, but he could tell only his mind had heard it, not through his ears. In fact, the activity from the Strike and the Archangel had paused, which…meant they had heard it as well?

To the persons in and around the Archangel, the whole of the world went white, bright white, as if they were looking in the general direction of a nuclear weapon. Athrun's last thought was about his mother, and how she had died from the same weapon.


"Unhh…well, that was good. What the hell did I do wrong?" Yzak had the sense of mind to look around his cockpit before making any form of assumption, and came to a conclusion that maybe the Fates did not like him. The droning of his power gauge told him that he was down in reserves, not even enough to power his beam rifle or Phase Shift. The front monitor was obstructed by his Earth Alliance pilot's manual, which was so grossly obtuse that he wondered why he still had it. The systems in his cockpit did not seem to have taken any damage. Lastly, he checked himself for any injuries and came up zero.

It was not until he looked through the side monitors that he asked the inevitable question: "What the hell?"

They had been out above the seas, with nary a speck of land in sight, when they assaulted the Archangel. Right now, Yzak's machine was hanging over the starboard tail binder of the Archangel, balanced rather precariously at its waist. His beam rifle / grenade launcher combo were on the ground, about five meters off the right foot of the Blitz, which was laid out flat just about directly below him. Solid ground converted into a barren crater with the impact of the Archangel.

There was no activity whatsoever around them. There were trees aplenty, some birds in the distance, but that was it. Nothing of real note moving anywhere. Yzak again asked himself what the hell, this time in the confines of his own mind, as he carefully moved his Gundam's right arm to grab a hold on one of the missile tubes. Just that much movement caused his suit to groan in reply, as it began sliding forward over the inside of the tail binder. The result was inevitable, and rather embarrassing for the elitist: his Gundam slid forward and hit the ground from twenty meters up, giving him a rather massive jarring as he hit the ground.

That much activity seemed to have roused Nicol, whose Gundam shot up and looked around immediately in a half-mad panic. It only took ten seconds, by Yzak's watch: "What the hell?" Followed quickly by: "Yzak, where's Dearka and Athrun?"

"Beats me," Yzak says simply. "Any other dumb questions to ask?"

"Lay off, Yzak." Athrun replies. "We've got bigger problems than dumb questions. And where exactly is Dearka?"

"Wait a second…" Nicol says, then walks back to the engine housing of the warship. "Well, here's the forearm of his Buster."

"Really?" Yzak says, now standing near the engine nacelles himself. It was obvious after a few moments that the forearm was indeed still attached to the Gundam in question. "Well, talk about getting sat on by the fat bitch at the party. Now what?"

"How the hell should I know?" Athrun says, suddenly looking over the back deck of the Archangel down at the remnant of his team. "I mean, we don't have the firepower now to take out the Archangel, and where the hell are we?"

"I still have my Lancer Darts and Gleipnir. I can cause some damage to it."

There was one element that they were forgetting, until Athrun looked down and left with his Gundam and saw it just beginning to move. "Where…where are we? Huh?" The Strike looks up to the back deck of the Archangel, standing about thirty meters off the outside of the starboard Tail Binder. "Athrun? What're you doing up there? How'd that—huh? What the hell's going on?"

"I'm beginning to believe that is the official question of the day," Athrun notes drolly. "And not far behind is: now what?"

"Well, it's obvious we are not where we were when we started trading shots." Nicol says. "Man, I feel sorry for Dearka, having a massive warship land on your Gundam just has to feel bad."

"Damn you Strike!" Yzak hadn't even gone for his beam rifle, since it was obvious it would be useless, but instead ran toward the Strike and was intending on punching its head clean off.

Yzak made one small miscalculation, even when confused Kira was still an incredibly dangerous foe. Before the Duel was within five paces of the Strike, Kira ejected the Launcher pack, pulled the Armor Schneider knives, and braced for it. The impact was loud and sparking, but in the end the Strike was the one standing, the Armor Schneider blades having been rammed into the sides of the Duel and upward, missing the cockpit but not the power relays that were already almost drained.

"Yzak, knock it off! This is not the time nor the conditions for a battle!" The Aegis shifts its viewpoint: "Kira, stop it! This battle is meaningless!"

"Athrun, you coward!"

"Shut up and think, Yzak! Not one of our machines has power. The amount of working weapons we have can be counted on one hand. We're nowhere near any support we might have had. Even if we win, we still lose."

The Duel finally stopped struggling against the lack of power and landed with a thud, the cockpit blowing open on emergency power. The pilot stormed out and threw his helmet down, bouncing it off the hip plates of his machine. "Damn you Strike! Come down here and fight me man to man!"

"That's…just plain wrong." Kira says, dumbfounded at the obtuseness of the enemy Duel pilot.

"Yzak, for the last time, shut the hell up!" Athrun shouts as he lands the Aegis next to the downed Duel. "Kira, enough." The warning hand toward the Strike was unnecessary, but pro forma.

"I am through, Athrun. It's your friend that's got the attitude problem, not me." The Strike was pointing right at Yzak, which gave a significant comedic element to it: their CO and their mortal enemy agreeing on the fact that one of ZAFT's best has an attitude problem.

"Kira?" Nicol asks. "You know him." Not a question, but a solid declaration, and not a pleasant one for all it was calm.

"Yes, I know him." The completely level tone of voice Athrun used was creepy to both Nicol and Yzak. "I have known him for years. Kira Yamato; he's a naïve crybaby coordinator, and I don't have a frigging clue why he's on this ship, but none of that means a damn thing right now."

"Why? He's still an enemy," Nicol says deadpan.

"Because I don't think anyone around here gives two shits about the Earth Alliance OR ZAFT. That is, if there is anyone around here." The Aegis was looking around still, though the nature of the forest they had cratered in had not changed.

"What?" From Dearka, who's exposed Mobile Suit hand had finally begun flinching.

"Listen. There are no carrier signals for anyone: ZAFT, Alliance, Aube, East Asia, everything is silent (2). No civilian band radio or television. No electronic noise of any kind. Even out in the middle of nowhere we should still be able to pick up something from the satellites."

"He's right." Kira says. "The Earth Alliance satellite relay and SOSUS relay are dead. Nothing." Kira gets an idea. "Archangel CIC, this is Strike, are you receiving anything?"

"Negative, Strike. All we are hearing is your machine and the four ZAFT Gundams," Captain Ramius replies after a few moments. "We can't see the Carpentaria or Alaska navigation beacons, either."

"Where the hell are we? And why can't I see anything out of my cameras?" Dearka asks.

"Uh, right now, Dearka, you're under the Archangel," Athrun says deadpan.

"Oh, no, I did not hear that right."

"He isn't lying, Dearka." Yzak says into a survival radio. No longer pissed off, Yzak was now sounding incredibly grave. "We've failed. For fair. And we're lost." He collapses to both knees. "Oh, this is so humiliating! Too humiliating for words!"

"Oh, the drama." Kira could have sworn it was Tolle that had said it; Miriallia had a good snicker over it, but the less expected of the reactions was from the other three ZAFT pilots, who were laughing riotously for reasons varying between them.

"This is not funny, guys!" Yzak fairly cries out.

"This, no. You, certainly." Athrun says.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean, Zala?" Yzak asks far too aggressively for someone whose Gundam was useless right now.

"You're worried about winning or losing in a land where winning or losing as we know it probably doesn't mean shit as far as we can prove. Now, are you through, Yzak?" Athrun says incredibly testily; Kira could tell his patience was wearing very thin.

"No, you coward! I'm not through! Not until that damn Strike pilot is dead!"

"Athrun, just turn him into a greasy spot on the ground. Even I'm starting to get annoyed." Dearka blurts out after a moment. How such would be done was obvious, of course.

"Damn it Athrun! How many of our friends, our comrades have we lost because of the Strike? That warship!"

"Don't remind me, damnit!" Athrun shouts back. "Until we know where we are and how badly we're screwed, we don't have a choice but to—"

"But to what, Athrun? Ask them for help? Are you fucking nuts? We're ZAFT SOLDIERS!" Yzak shouts.

"If it comes down to that, I would rather be an alive temporary defector than a dead ZAFT soldier." Athrun says quietly. "I'll never forgive the Naturals for Junius Seven, but I know for a fact this ship had nothing to do with that."

"Man, both of you shit up!" Dearka fairly shouts after listening to them arguing.

"Shit up?" Nicol asks.

"The mechanics of that might be rough…huh? What the hell is that?" Athrun asks, now pointing into the sky at distance. The magnifiers were switched on, though Yzak had to grab a pair of binoculars to check it.

"Oh…my…it's a…a Nightmare!" Yzak fairly shouts after about ten seconds.

"A what?" Someone on the bridge of the Archangel asks.

"A Nightmare. It's folklore, the exact opposite of a Unicorn. An incredibly evil horse."

"The lady on it doesn't look all that friendly either." Nicol notes.

"Yzak, are you sure you think that's…whatever the hell it is, right?"

"Well, this day's gone to hell." Kira says. "Flying evil horses, the Archangel in a crater, and we're all lost. Is anything else going to go wrong?"

"Don't say that, Strike, this is very serious business. We're all seeing it, so it has to be real, right?" Yzak says, more to convince himself than anything else. "This had better not be some damn Earth Alliance trick!"

"It's new to us," Captain Ramius notes coldly.

"Great," Nicol says; "is this thing going to be a threat?"

"I don't really want to find out," Yzak declares; "even being a prisoner to the Earth Alliance is preferable to that."

"Talk about a change of attitude," Miriallia declares on the open channel.

"Hey, uh, guys, not to sound too pathetic about this, but can someone come up with a way to get me out from under the Archangel without destroying what's left of my Gundam?" Dearka asks fairly calmly. "I mean, not that I have a frigging clue about the flying horse, but my Gun Launcher doesn't need power to shoot, so it might help here if it gets hostile…"

"Captain?" Kira asks.

"And why should we show any solicitude to a ZAFT unit?" Natarle asks.

"There are soldiers, and then there are soldiers," Nicol notes with a dose of dejection.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Yzak asks, though not in his usual 'pissed-off-and-enjoying-it' fashion.

"What? Is it that hard to figure out?" Nicol asks in retort. "You have soldiers like Athrun, the Strike, probably the Captain of the Archangel as well. THEY understand that on the other side of your sights is a human. Then there's you, and that last officer in the Archangel; those who only see targets, and often don't give a shit if the target is civilian or not."

"What was that you fucking coward?" Yzak shouts fairly loudly into his radio.

"Enough! All of you! Shut up!" Athrun shouts uncharacteristically; Kira could tell he was royally pissed off right now. "Archangel, can you at least allow the pilot of the Buster out? We'll leave the Buster and the Duel here, and Blitz and I shall leave. Call it a temporary cease-fire."

"Helm, activate the levitator, no engine power." Captain Ramius says.

The ship was still powering itself up, but there was enough power in the accumulator to activate the levitator. With it juiced and released, the ship raised up six meters from the ground and was gliding gracefully over the crater surface. After a few moments, the cockpit of the Buster blows open on explosive bolts designed for emergency release, and Dearka stumbles out of the cockpit with almost no grace.

"Yzak, Dearka, get your supplies and come on. Do not self-destruct your machines."

"What? Why?"

"Call it a gut feeling." Athrun says. "Well, come on already."

It only took two minutes for the two remaining ZAFT Gundams to disappear into the very heavy rain forest they had found themselves in. Without a parting word, Athrun had disappeared into the new, woolly world that the Archangel had found itself in by accident. The whole matter was beyond bizarre, since Athrun had ordered them not to destroy the Gundams, and they had left without trying anything seriously violent. It was as if Athrun wanted the Archangel to take upon themselves the two Gundams, both of which were in no condition to fight.


"Stranger'n hell, really." Murdoch told Mu and Murrue. "Other than the knives the kid put in the sides of the Duel, the damage is mostly armor. The thing's got me, though, why'd they leave 'em?"

"You know the Aegis pilot, right, Kira?" Murrue asks plaintively. The intent of the question was about as obvious as a coal pile on the launch deck, of course: she was testing him as well as asking a legit question.

"Yeah, but this only partially makes sense," Kira muses. "If he thought we'd use them against him, he'd've blown them up. I think he wanted us to pick them up."

"Why?" Mu asks. "Doesn't make much sense since they're now in Earth Alliance hands."

"And where exactly is the Earth Alliance, relative to us?" Kira asks. "I think Athrun had it right: we're no longer somewhere where we can get to the Earth Alliance or ZAFT. We may be on our own." He looks to the Duel Assault Shroud, a unit he had fought hard more than a few times. It had expended its rail gun and missiles fairly quickly, and even fired its grenade launcher at the Archangel. The nature of the battle was absurd but unavoidable, but now they had no cause to fight. "Even if they won, they lost."

"Huh?" Murdoch asks.

"If they had killed the ship, then what? They're still stranded in wherever we are, no source of power for their—that's it! That's what Athrun picked up from that blown out maintenance storage!"

"You saw it too?" Mu asks. "Looked like a wire coil."

"Yeah, he's going to power his two working Gundams with that."

"How?" Murrue was now confused.

"Athrun is the mechanical tinkerer from hell. He made Birdie for me, actually, years before the war broke out." The said bird had just perched on the shoulder of his flight suit. "He can use that wire to build his own electrical generator, using wind or a river. It'll be weak and unconditioned power, but it should work."

"Right, the batteries in these things don't give a shit what you feed them so long as it has amps behind it." Murdoch was grimacing. "Unless he builds a real good generator and has a raging river to power it, it'll take days to charge it."

"And that highlights our own situation." Mu says. "What applies to them applies to us as well. We're cut off from our supply lines until further notice, so we're going to run out of critical supplies and parts sooner rather than later."

"Well, we have enough parts and ammo for the Strike to sortie a couple dozen times, and I can probably jury-rig it after that, but it won't last forever," Murdoch notes after a moment.

"What about the Duel and the Buster? Can you rig one of them so I can pilot it with the M1 Operating System?" Mu asks after his latest attack of the 'clevers'. He did get them every now and again…

"I can, but it'd take some serious modification. The Astray units are more like the Strike than anything else." Kira scratches his head idly. "And they both need some serious repairs." The actual damage to the Buster was armor-level only, but the Duel would take some serious repairs before it could move on its own. "That is an interesting thought, though. If we could field all three, we'd have little problem with, well…come to think of it, I don't know if we have any actual enemies here and now."

"And the Aegis?"

"No." Kira's definitive answer had them all quite stunned. "We may spit and growl like pissed-off tomcats, but neither of us wants this war. We only fight because it seems logical, but in the end, is it?"

"I'm beginning to wonder the same thing." Murrue blurts out.

Flay had entered the bay, seeing now the two forms of the former ZAFT Gundams and just looked. They were three machines, the Strike, the Buster, and the Duel, the three 'heavy hitters' of the five Gundams. Fate would never really give them a straight look at the advance of the GAT-X Series Gundams, but what they held now had some serious firepower. She knew she was not capable of piloting the Strike; she wondered if one of the other two were less complicated…


The whole concern of finding somewhere to set up the generator was not a small one, and this whole plan was on the far side of hair-brained. In the end, however, even the most cynical of the four had come to believe that if anyone could set up a makeshift camp and power station, it was them.

"Damn, another light stream." Athrun says.

"Looking from here, the next one looks like it has some power to it." Nicol says over loudspeaker. They were using audible communication because it left no electronic trace that the Archangel could hear.

"Okay, Athrun, I can't take it any more. Why'd you order us not to destroy the Gundams?"

"They'll repair and rearm the machines for us. Then we take 'em back," Athrun says coldly, "and use 'em on them."

"So all that shit about winning not mattering was just that, right?" Dearka asks from the small storage space behind the command couch of the Blitz.

"No. Victory doesn't matter here, at least as far as ZAFT is concerned. The fact is, we're outside the influence of either ZAFT or the Alliance, so live or die doesn't matter because they are already neutralized. But that doesn't mean I am going to pass up the opportunity to sink the Archangel."

"And your friend?" Nicol asks as Athrun jumps over the small stream.

The answer took a few seconds. "To hell with him. I've given him a dozen chances to defect, and he threw them all back at me. He goes down with the Archangel."

"Easy enough."

"Not even close, Nicol." Athrun cautions as he begins the overland trudge toward the next river. "Kira is an exceptional Coordinator among us. He may be a space case, but if he sets his mind to something, it's over. Never underestimate him."

"Clear, Athrun."

They moved in silence until they got to the next river, which was an actual river instead of something attempting to pass for a slow creek.

"This should do." Athrun stops the Aegis and looks around. "All right, Dearka, Yzak, start in on the trees. Nicol, you can manage the existing supplies and begin unwrapping the wire. I'm going to look for something that passes for dinner."

"Should I use the Blitz to kick some trees over?" Nicol asks, looking around at the area where Athrun was planning the small camp for them.

"Yeah, then begin the rest. Might as well make the machines do the hard stuff. Yzak, use Aegis to help knock down and strip down some trees, but don't damage the hand plugs (3)."

"Got it. And if you bring back lettuce for dinner, I'll step on you with your own Gundam."

"All right, all right, you win." Athrun chuckles as he zip-lines down to the ground. He had his survival pack with him, including the folding knife he went everywhere with and a heavier survival knife. The most important of the tools he had, however, was the ZAFT BHP .357 (Basic Heavy Pistol, .357 Magnum), and that could be used to bring down a deer when used right. The thirty-caliber sub-machinegun he also had was a weapon he wanted to save for those situations that called for taking someone down in one shot.

The area was…serene. Not just calm, not even quiet, it was the total absence of everything except the wildlife. Athrun knew there was some area on Earth like this, but not as much as he had seen in the six hours since he blacked out and sure as hell not in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Then there was the consideration that if he really was on earth he'd definitely have run into some form of civilization by now. Or been shot at by the Earth Alliance (only in passing did he consider them 'civilization'). Except, there was nothing, no evidence anywhere of anything even remotely like where he wanted to be. He wanted to be home, with Lacus, devoid of the war and able to devote his all to his love. Sadly, he was beginning to think he would never see her again; he had no idea if he could ever get home, or how he got away from there to begin with, at least outside of the whole philosophical issue of the war.

He only had to move about 600 meters from the campsite to find a good candidate for dinner. The range was about sixty meters, so he lined up on the target by bracing against a very large tree. Given that there was a crosswind from his right and the range of the shot, he put the sights just partially above the center of its head and about two inches behind the center. The sound of the safety coming off was incredibly loud to Athrun but did not alert the target.

The echoes of the bird calls, startled to action and flight by the single gunshot, seemed louder and a whole lot longer than the shot. The pistol went back in holster and Athrun approached the deer, which was still breathing shallow. The slug had transited its head just behind the eye, and since he was bound by military convention he was using a full metal jacket slug that exited the far side of the target's head. It hit the ground immediately and moved not a whit again, even as he approached it and holstered his pistol.

Field dressing a deer or animal was something he had learned in survival school, and it was a complex task that he had done with his trusty folding curved-blade knife. That done, he moved to the stream and cleaned his gear off so he did not look like a serial murderer in a pilot suit, and on the way back he grabbed up some sticks he would need to transport 'dinner' to the campsite. With the two branches he had, and numerous smaller ones in the area, he created a flat-bed pallet that he could drag along the ground to transport the deer. Beat the hell out of trying to carry it back.

"Damn, Athrun, already?" Yzak asks as he strips down yet another tree; there were many logs lined up and awaiting the pilots cutting into them to build what they would need.

"No sweat." Athrun dumps the pallet and signals for Yzak to come over and help him finish preparing the deer.

"You know, Athrun, a generator requires a magnet. You have one?" Nicol asks as he kneels his Gundam down and opens the cockpit.

"Yeah. My Gundam has four Beam Sabers, and each one has a powerful magnet in it. I think I'll use the two feet sabers' magnets to do the job."

"Oh, wow," Nicol sounded like he was awed. "I totally forgot about that!"

"Easy enough, once you think about it." Athrun shrugs as his survival knife begins slicing into the deer, cutting off chunks suitable for proper cooking. "I can use strips of armor for the coil housing, and that spool of wire I picked up is going to be triple more than we need to build the generator and cables to the Gundams. And then, after we charge up, I put the magnets back in the legs and we go kick ass."

"And how fast is this supposed to work?" Dearka wasn't all that convinced about this plan…

Athrun stops to think, his knife in mid-slash. "No real clue. Could take hours, could take days. Haven't done the math yet."

"That's a lot better than the alternative." Nicol was now crowded around 'dinner' along with the other pilots. It looked pretty bad, but indeed it beat the hell out of the alternative. It did taste pretty good, though, after it was cooked.

Author's notes:

If you're not afraid yet, check your pulse. You may be dead.

In all seriousness, though, this is a significant departure from my norm. And so far I am seriously enjoying the experience. Writing in such a fashion that I don't use a certain common thread (read: my prior writing works, most of which'll probably never get finished) is refreshing and motivating. After writing in this one, I probably get about triple the home improvement stuff done :P

So far, I have a good idea on how I am going to do the continuing adventures in this world, and yes it will include both seasons, so the lament will be lengthy. Then, well, I dunno, and even if I did, I would not spoil the surprise. It may crossover with a crossover, I dunno yet.

As to the actual element of how they got there to begin with, well, let's just say Princess Emeraude was a bit more powerful than she thought she was…

Next: Mud monsters, meetings, and someone gets killed, so brace yourself!

(Reviews welcome. Flames are amusing, especially how badly someone can misinterpret or read too far into your writings.)


Catapult Shots, the present-day carrier term for the Linear Catapults used by ZAFT, Aube, and the Earth Alliance.

Carrier signals are typically used in establish-link communications instead of best-effort communications. Think of a carrier signal in terms of a telephone conversation: when you pick up and dial a number, you are establishing a carrier signal and logical path to the number you dialed.

Hand Plugs are the way a Mobile Suit interconnects with devices to trade power, data, and commands. They are not strictly speaking fragile devices, but they can be damaged.