Disclaimer: Ken DiFalco and the Grey Demons are from Solid Shark's Birds of a Feather/ Cry of the Falcon and are being used with permission. Richard Yamato Chung, his team, the Primus and Secundus Mobilesuits plus weapons/equipment and the Equatorial Union Civil War setting are of Ominae's Rebellion, also being used with permission. Gundam Seed is the property of Bandai Games/ Animation. Characters from the Mobile Suit Gundam UC series are property of Bandai Games/ Animation. Robert Egan and Danny Fisk is from nFUSION Games' Deadly Dozen. Kazimiera "Kazi/Kamikazi" Rakuzanka is a character from Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 series and Red Storm. Leon and Kari Gaiman, and Lindsei Satou are mine. All other characters mentioned belong to their respective owners and creators
A/N: Well here we are, the last chapter. I'd like to thank Solid and Ominae again for letting me use their material, it been an interesting ride and it was great break from my own stuff. I'd also like to thank WildGoose01 for inspiration I got reading his fic, Beware the left eye.
Point Three: A New Day
"The soldier above all others pray for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."
- General Douglas MacArthur
You had a lot of time to yourself while you piloting a mobilesuit, two to three hours in a relatively dark, small chamber called a cockpit all by yourself. Sure, you could always call up someone through the radio but when it comes to it, you're alone that mobilesuit.
So… What would you think about, man?
When one of your friends got blown away. When he died on you. You try to make some sense out of it, to come to terms with it at a new level. Not at the old level where you exist with him. Now you have to exist without him.
Why? Wherefores? What does it mean?
My analysis back then of what was going on was pretty unsophisticated. I was ignorant about life in general. At time, I was trying to put it in a mystical-theological perspective.
Although I was starting to reject god, I was still thinking, "Well, there is a God and he must want it to be this way."
It was simplistic and naïve, but it was still painful.
The hardest thing to accept is that it's for real and forever. It was permanent.
I'd been to funerals in my time. I'd been an altar boy and served at funerals. I had family friends and relatives that had died and I've been to funeral parlors and seen dead people. But the guys I saw dying were really young, half my age from what I can tell. When they die, it was shocking, so rude.
The concept of permanency just isn't for somebody eighteen years old. Ask someone that age and they'll say, "I'm never going to die. I won't get old."
I was once a healthy young man in the Equatorial Union Marine Corps, then the Atlantic Federation Rangers, then finally the Special Forces. You just don't think about death or anything like that. You felt you could kick the world's ass. Then you see it happen and it's hard to come to grips with.
Put it out of your mind. You can't dwell on it, yet you do think about it. It comes and goes. I'd say to myself, "I won't think about it tonight. I don't want to think about that. It's too fucking spooky."
But you're so tired, your mind is weak. When death comes into your head, you don't have the strength to push it aside.
You're just so damn tired. Nineteen year old bodies with thirty-five year old minds, that was twice their age.
And there I was, my body finally catching up with my mind and reflecting what a young motherfucker I really was. I felt so much older and tired than I had the right to be within my physical frame.
In a restaurant somewhere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Equatorial Union
Lindsei Satou's eyes were open wide as they could possibly be, the color of her skin was pale and inside she almost felt she had been hit in the gut.
In front of her, across the table, a woman with golden brown eyes and long, wavy, ash brown hair calmly sat. She wore a lavender dress suit, a black sweatshirt under the jacket and white silk shawl.
This was Lia Gaiman, Leon's younger sister.
"Are you sure about what you're saying here…?" Sei asks.
At first, Lia simply stared at her. A TV behind the counter was in a news channel, the weather forecaster was predicting sudden rainstorms that may occur in Singapore and the southern Indochina area.
Several moments later she spoke. "And what would have been the point of using my influence in the Equatorial Union military to get to come here?"
The younger woman looked down toward her half-finished cup of coffee, "I see… I'm sorry…"
Lia shook her head, "It's alright. By the way, have you left anything important in the Pershing? I'll arrange my agents to retrieve them…"
Sei shakes her head, patting a small backpack next to her. "All that matters to me is right here… I never go anywhere without them."
Lia nods approvingly, standing up and leaving some change for the waitress. "Then it's time for you and I to disappear."
The younger woman nods, slinging her back on one shoulder.
"Lia…" She says as the two of them head outside.
She looks at the corner of her eye, "Yes?"
"You're worried about your brother too, right?"
Lia smiles reassuringly, "Of course I am, but its Leon, odds are he'll be fine."
Sei nods, mentally wishing she was just as positive. But, the thought of Leon fighting the Butcher Bird of ZAFT frightened her.
Nee Soon, Singapore, Equatorial Union
What had been a clear night sky half an hour ago, was now largely covered in storm clouds. The rain was pouring hard, lightning flashed in the distance as the thunder and clouds rolled through, rivaling the beam flashes and explosions in North Singapore.
The street lights that used to illuminate the city were out. Visibility to those on foot was limited to less than several meters, mobilesuit pilots had to rely on their sensors to find their enemies and friends. Someone tried to improve things by shooting up illumination flares, but the storm was too strong, the flares hardly gave any light.
The Counter Weapons Digital Scrambler or CWDS electronic counter measure made that task for the EURM much harder as it hampered their sensors. The OMNI-Enforcer taskforce mobilesuits had the proper counter measures for it and are unaffected. The battle for Nee Soon was about to get much uglier.
Navy Ensign Danny Fisk was breathing fast, the rain sliding down its sides. He lets out a loud cry and charges at a pair of Duel Daggers. Both daggers had beam rifle out and fire, Danny fires the grappling anchors in his hands at nearby buildings and lifts his unit over their heads. As he was airborne, he fires a grappling wire and takes one of the beamrifles. He fires the rifle and his "Schildgewehr" offensive shield's gun through their backs, taking out the cockpits from behind.
As he lands, Fisk has his N Dagger N activate his Mirage Colloid and continues firing both weapons. The rain deflecting off his mobilesuit hinted his position, but at least he was still hard to see.
Navy ensign Robert Egan and army captain Kazimiera Rakuzanka continued to engage Leanne Eldridge and Tom Delaney.
Leanne blocks the incoming shots with her anti-beam coated shield, while Tom fires his beamrifle and shoulder canon. Kazi and Robert split up to dodge the counter.
Kazi uses her grappling wire to cling on to the side of a building as she fires a grappling wire. She snatches away one of Tom's beamsabers, activating it once it reaches her hand. "Hope you don't mind me borrowing this."
At the same time, Robert raises his Hakenfaust grapple lock as he activates Mirage Colloid.
"Leanne, heads up!" Tom yells as both demons rose up their shields, he catches Kazi's saber attack while Leanne blocks the beam shot.
After Tom blocks her initial attack, Kazi swings her right fist at Tom's shield, forcefully enough to make lose his balance.
"Game over," The N Dagger N then goes in for the kill with the beamsaber.
"Not yet!" Tom quickly recovers her footing, raising his shield and absorbs the brunt of Kazi's attack, pushing the weapon aside and swings his own saber and firing the CIWS at the same time.
Kazi dodges the double attack with a quick sidestep, countering with the beamsaber and long anti-armor sword.
Both of them jump backwards to give themselves time to a rest.
"You're pretty good, boy." Kazi huffed.
"You're none too shabby yourself," Tom replies, equally out of breath.
Leanne squint her eyes as she concentrates on the cloaked N Dagger N's silhouette formed by the rain. She sees it go over her. He's probably using the grappling wire…
"Oh no you don't!" She turns around, swinging a beamsaber. Sure enough, enough her beam saber meets Egan's long anti-armor sword. Egan tries to snake his short sword for a stab but is deflected by the Long Dagger's shield.
"Not bad…" Robert murmurs, as they lock together. "You're pretty good."
"I should be," Leanne answers back. "Ken never takes in weaklings into the Grey Demons!"
She pushes him back, lets go of her shield and pulls out the second saber, then goes after Egan.
The N Dagger N blocks the attack with his offensive shield, "Good for you, but don't think I'm easy pickings either!"
Just outside Nee Soon,
One M1 Astray and a GINN stood, their armor was painted with a jungle camouflage pattern.
"Sounds like there's trouble." Kurz Weber, inside his GINN murmurs, listening to the frequencies.
Karl Norman Hathcock II lowers a visor over his unit's main optical cameras, it had a special camera, one specifically made for his area of expertise. "Looks that way…"
The two were about to head back to Pasir Ris after spending the week harassing enemy ships offshore on the northern coast under the orders of their boss, Section Nine's "Major", when they heard calls coming from Nee Soon.
"It's a full-house," Hathcock says as he lifts the sniping aid back to its storage position. "I can't see much of it, but it's definitely a full-blown engagement."
Kurz nods, "Let's go then." He has his GINN pull out its beam sniper rifle and moved out.
Hathcock's MBF-M1 M1 Astray Sniper Custom pulls out its rifle and also moves out.
57CE, I graduated from high school.
Not wanting to be like everyone else, I didn't bother with college, I decided to go straight into enlisting into the country's Marine Corps. My dad had a fit the first time he found out.
We were a rich, well-off bunch, he could've easily pulled some strings to make look like I already did my mandatory two years in National Service. He wanted me to go to college to become a lawyer or doctor or something. I never really got along with him much then, I didn't give a damn what he thought.
He hardly knew what I did for a living before then, at least my mother had some inkling of it.
Mom on the other hand was proud of me, glad that I wasn't like the other rich kids in our neighborhood, high and mighty punks who had paid-underlings do their dirty work. Besides, she always wanted to see me in uniform. (Laughs)
She gave me her blessings and sent me off.
I was right at home in boot camp, 'took all the shit the Sarge could throw at me and surviving my thirteen weeks of hell called 'basic training.'
Life was so much easier back then.
Not too far away
The sound of impact the Schwert Gewehr and the Gerbera Straight made was a loud, grinding echo that traveled through the streets. The two weapons sparked as the blades grinded together, water ran down the length of both swords before dripping at the hilt.
Leon's GAT-SO2R N Dagger N and Ken's EUMS-01 Primus quickly pull away from each other.
The N Dagger N pilot at speed pulls out his short anti-armor sword and blocked the incoming ES01 beam saber from Ken's Primus fitted with a Tactical Arms Pack after it jumps forward to attack.
"Nice try!" Leon shouts as he lets go of his Schwert Gewehr and pull out the longer anti-armor sword. "Now it's my turn!"
The N Dagger N starts off with a scissors formation attack that locks the beam saber, Leon kicks the Primus in the cockpit, making stagger backwards. He then goes for a dual vertical slash, but Ken blocks the attack with Gerbera Straight before countering with the remaining beam saber.
Leon sidesteps the defensive thrust, he returns the favor with a diagonal slash but not before Ken boost sideway to avoid all together.
"Looks like I slightly underestimated you." Ken murmurs from his Primus cockpit. "You're able to read my moves. You're no run of the mill opponent."
"I wouldn't be alive if was, now won't I, Falcon?" Leon smirks, "True strength is in the mind, not the body."
"Lesson Thirty-seven," Ken lunges at Leon's N Dagger N but he sidesteps. "I see you've read it, not too surprising, though I thought the Alliance banned 'Lessons of war'."
"They did," Leon calls, clashing his G07D+ anti-armor swords against Ken's katana and beamsaber. "But there's still a lot of them around if you know where to look."
"I see," Ken draws out beamsabers launches toward him. "Now let's see how much you've learned, Gaiman!"
Gaiman was suddenly pushed into the defensive. Using his "Schildgewehr" offensive shield to defend him, Leon could only perform jabs and lunges. He did vertical and horizontal slashes were possible only when he was near enough, but Ken could simply jump a short distance away from him to avoid it.
Leon makes a vertical sword swing when Ken counters it by crossing his dual ES01 beam sabers to block his Primus's chest area.
"Because, I have every intention to go back home alive, Leon! Murrue wouldn't be happy if I died."
Leon arcs an eyebrow, "Murrue? As in Murrue Ramius? The Captain of the Archangel?"
"You know her?" Ken forces the sword away.
"Only from the info I get in my old briefings and what I learn in the news," The N Dagger N jumps backwards, sheathing both anti-armor swords. It then fires a grappling wire to grab the Schwert Gewehr in the ground as reel it back to him.
Gaiman lock assumes a thrusting sword middle stance, the blade level of the mobilesuit's head. "So the rumors are true… when're you guys getting hitched?"
Ken frowns, "Not anytime too soon that's for sure."
"I see." Leon chuckles, "Well, take your time. You never know when you'll get second thoughts on the whole thing."
"… Second thoughts?" Ken's scowl gets deeper, bewildered. "Now wait a minute…"
"Trust me," The N Dagger N dashes forward, making several slashes before making an elbow strike that contact to the Primus' face. "Give it a nicelong and hard thought. You'll thank me later."
Leon blinks, surprise to how casual he was talking to him, remembering the reason why he had to fight him in the first place.
There's no later for one of us…
Reluctantly, he hardens his voice. "That is, if you survive this."
"Don't worry," DiFalco quickly recovered from Gaiman rather unbalancing remarks, replying just as coldly. "I will."
The EURM snipers had set up on high hill,
"Looks like they got some jamming system online somewhere," Hathcock murmurs as checks his scanners. "Activate your counter measures."
"Right," Kurz replies.
Hidden among a grove of trees, some miles northeast of the city, the Custom M1 Astray had one knee to better conceal it and the Type 71-44 beam sniper rifle aimed low toward the city. One would think he was too far to do anything, but anyone who has ever fought the "White Feather" and lived could testify, if he's confident of setting himself on a shooting position.
He can and will get you.
He opens the cockpit, stepping out to the edge of the platform. He closes his eyes, letting the wind blow in his face, getting a feel for the conditions that will affect his shots. Getting himself into the zone, 'the bubble' as he called it, to send his shots to their targets.
There were modern technologies that could do this for him, but he preferred to do this himself, like he always did, even as a six year old boy hunting in his grandmother's backwoods in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After a number of minutes, Hathcock gets back inside, when he was settle in he has the mobilesuit deploy a cloth-like fabric that then begins to change to a dark green camouflage style pattern. His mobilesuit was equipped with a Shooting Cloak camouflage system. When deployed, this system covers the mobilesuit with a cloth-like cloak that alters its color to match the surrounding terrain.
Karl then pulls down the sniping aid, despite the poor visibility, Karl could make out the mobilesuits in the distance thanks to his unit's special sensors and full-sensing targeting third optical camera.
His partner, Kurz Weber, was set up several dozen feet away, positioned just like the Astray with its Shooting Cloak on. Its own Type 71-44 rifle was pointing on another spot. He was no slouch when it came to accuracy either.
They sat in the dark, waiting for the illumination flares to share its light. Their units' special visual filters on their sensors would make the most of the little light they gave regardless of the storm.
It was going to be a very busy night very soon.
Neither spoke. Kurz scans the horizon for incoming aircraft. While Hathcock observe what was going on below.
He saw Dearka's Buster Dagger and several Secundus still fighting the Calamity which now had several OMNI and loyalist mobilesuits backing it up. The lines seem to be static, neither side was losing or gaining ground.
Both snipers were wary for the helicopters coming in from behind. That would signal the beginning of a relief attempt launched from Pasir Ris.
Hathcock and Weber had position themselves on a finger of the solitary hill so that they could cover much of the area. From the hill, the snipers provide a blocking force and some security for the battalion during their sweep of through the technically broad, flat area below.
This operation exercised very little of Hathcock's and Weber's abilities as snipers, requiring minimal stealth, just sharpshooting with big guns. It was sort of like a carnival shooting gallery where the Chua loyalist and Alliance forces were the targets.
Kurz stuffed a load of chewing gum into his mouth and said, "It won't be long 'til the choppers will be here. Hathcock, how're things through your scope?"
Hathcock shook his head, "Still too dark."
"Same here," Karl murmurs. "But when the slicks land, we should have plenty of light."
The snipers wait and listen to radio, waiting to hear that the operation had begun.
The distant sound of helicopters caught Hathcock's attention, almost simultaneously, the radio crackled, ""Evil Eyes, Evil Eyes. Red Man three-four. Over."
Kurz keys his radio, answering the call, "Red Man three-four, Evil Eye Two. Go ahead over."
The response came, "Roger, Evil Eye Two. Red Man three-four at point Sierra. Over."
Hathcock searches the horizon and easily picks up three helicopter silhouettes racing toward him just above a patch of treetops.
"I've got them," He said. "Tell them we're ready here."
"Red Man three-four, roger and tallyho. Evil Eyes are ready," Kurz responds.
The sweep began with eight EU/CH-10B helicopters letting go of their passengers in three 'hot' landing zones. The sound of mobilesuit arms fire filled the air as helicopters swept down the ridge lines, just above the buildings, and set down. In half a minute, this wave of choppers was up and away, leaving the EURM mobilesuit company to face the hostile fire that greeted them.
Far to the west, other choppers unloaded another company, blocking the enemy's hope for escape. The two companies would hopefully push the entrenched enemy out and into the crossfire or into the sniping unit that now waited.
Ian Lee's voice cracks in Roanoke's radio, "We have enemy reinforcements touching down on several points east and west of the city!"
"I see," If the news was bothering him at all, he didn't let it show. "Call the reserve forces they should be able to stave them off long enough."
Neo himself was engaging the enemy, a small group of EURM mobilesuits had managed to get within range of his own squad and the special ECM army unit, the one that handled the CWDS units, he same units that kept them on top this battle. If went, they could kiss their chances of winning this battle goodbye.
Elsewhere in Nee Soon
Melissa Mao had picked up Evil Eye Two's call as her GAT-01D1 Duel Dagger and a GAT/A-01E2 Buster Dagger jump off their EU/CH-10B transport.
"Weber's here." She murmurs, "Since he's Evil Eye Two, that means Hathcock's with 'im."
"Well, at least we got some working with us this battle," Sousuke Sagara, the pilot of the Buster Dagger, comments.
"That is if they can hit their target in this friggin' rainstorm," Melissa mutters. "As good as those two are, I just hope they won't kill someone on our side, namely us."
"I doubt their accuracy will turn that bad, even with this storm on top of us," her companion pulls out the rifle and gunlauncher out. "They're the best shooters we have in Section Nine after all."
"They better be," The older soldier grumbles. "C'mon, let's move."
October, 58CE, the start of the four year 58-62CE Equatorial Union civil war.
When the country was divided into several political and military factions and fought for supremacy.
It tore the whole nation apart, no was region was spared from the violence, no one was safe from the bloodshed.
The various cities and towns were like ghost towns, people were afraid to set foot outside for fear of being shot. Dead bodies left on the street unattended were testament to that fact. The only reason people would go out was to get basic necessities.
Livestock and fields were left unattended, water shortages were constant and basic medical services were almost non-existent, causing widespread famine and pestilence.
Law was in short supply and in high demand, usually existing merely as a three letter word. Order was even more so.
Chaos and anarchy were the orders of the day.
Armed conflict of every shape and sized occurred everywhere, at any time and place.
My first personal encounter with death during the war was an ambush.
I was the point man and had passed through the area. There two enemy guerillas, sitting in a hole about hundred yards away, just waiting until the main part of the column got there. Then they aim an old Chinese-made Type 69-I RPG launcher and eleven men were blown up.
We were walking along and suddenly, BAM! Instant death, just like that.
That first time wasn't horrible. It was shocking in there were these men, that I knew and really cared about, dead – blown up. Angered because they didn't have a chance to fight back, they just got blown up.
You had to get use it, because it will happen again … and again … and again. For the next four years.
I saw lot of guys crack under all that pressure.
Big, tough-looking guys, you'd think they could brush anything aside, and yet you see a lot of them ending up in psych wards, living like human vegetables.
That is if didn't kill themselves first.
Thank God, I didn't crack.
A little girl looks out the window, watching the storm brewing outside. She had his father's golden brown eyes and her mother's flowing black hair. Her face, full of innocence. Her little hand touched the glass, drawing on the moisture that formed in it.
"Still worried about your old man?" Jake Linas asks as he sat beside her. He wore an Earth Alliance uniform with the shirt undone, in his holster was a Glock 32C.
Kariza Mae 'Kari' Gaiman nods, still looking outside.
"Yeah," she replies, sounding somewhat homesick. "But I'm used to it. Dad used to be gone a lot like this all the time."
"Don't you get lonely?"
"Sometimes," The little girl shrugs. "But I know daddy loves me, that's why he works so hard. And he always find time for me no matter how tired he is or what problems he has to deal with."
Kari rests her head on the window sill supported by her arms, "Dad misses me too when he goes to do his job. Ever since mama died, he always writes, e-mails, calls me on the phone, just to know how I'm doing."
"I see…" Linas murmurs, he places hand over her head, "Feeling cold kid?"
"Yeah." She replies, turning around to nod.
"Would you want me to get you something warm?"
The young soldier places his uniform shirt over the girl's shoulders, "Just give me a few minutes."
Good kid, Jake thought sadly, as he heads to the cafeteria, really wishing he could tell her what was happening to her father.
But orders were orders, and his was not to tell her anything.
Now he understood why the guys wanted to draw straws for who was going to look after the kid, this was just too much stress on one's conscience.
He just had to be the one to draw the short stick…
Ken's Primus and Leon's N Dagger N continue exchanging blows
They were so far, well matched, each attempted attack was blocked then countered. Both pilots were just beginning to gouge on each other's suits.
Impressed was an understatement to describe what Ken was feeling, this pilot he facing had very excellent control of his machine, his judgment and reflexes were just uncanny for a natural, and added to the fact he shared the same sword style as he did and probably also mastered Tsubame Gaeshi – possibly even perfected it.
Coordinator or not, this man had more than just a chance at killing him.
As much as he didn't want to do it as a swordsman, he decided that survival came first, even if it meant taking unfair advantage.
"Lesson Thirty-four:" He unhappily reminds himself, "The one who fights fair is the one who dies."
"How's your daughter, Leon?" Ken asks suddenly, causing Leon to pause, stunned by remark.
The Primus executes a beam saber slash over his head. Leon, seeing that attack, raised his anti-ship sword and blocks Ken's blow.
"That's none of your business!" Leon snarls, doing a shoulder tackle after he blocked the attack.
"You're a smart man, Gaiman." Ken continues, "Do you honestly think they'll give her back to if you actually killed me?""
"Shut up!" The two mobile suit pilots clashed their swords after Ken executed a slash with Gerbera Straight while Leon did a vertical swipe with Schwert Gewehr, leading to another sword lock.
Ken's teeth subtly grit under his lips, trying to gain an advantage with his Primus custom over Leon's N Dagger N. He's hardly even budging…
He's definitely good… Leon muses, he couldn't help be amazed at his opponent's skill. His mastery of the Chujo-Ryu style is just amazing, even if he was a coordinator. This guy's definitely the Ace of Aces… But…
"Let's see what you do with this!" Leon presses hard on the throttle, N Dagger N's thrusters ignite, pushing the mobilesuit forward.
"Gotcha!" Leon won the clash by shoving the Primus with the N Dagger N's left elbow as he exerted a little more pressure on his sword toward Ken's.
Using the thrusters, the N Dagger N' jumps in the air, kicking the Primus in the cockpit area with its left foot. Ken curses as he staggers back.
"Say goodbye, Falcon!" Leon charges forward, intending to thrust the anti-ship sword right through the Primus.
Ken manages to recover his balance just in time, to block the attack. "It's not yet time for goodbyes, Leon."
The both instinctively swung their swords again, and again their blades met, canceling each other's attack, they both boost backwards to gain space.
To each other's amazement, they were back where they started.
Inside his cockpit, Leon was breathing hard, but found himself chuckling. "Crissakes, right back where we started… This is sure turning out to be long and drawn out…"
Inside the Primus, Ken's breathing was little more controlled, he too found himself smiling, if only slightly.
"I should've expected this… from a Wolf of Wind."
The Wolves of Wind…
A group led by a man that went by the name the Black Wolf.
To some, they were heroes who did their best to keep the order within a divided the nation, hunting criminals, renegade soldiers , even faction leaders who were known and proven to be corrupt.
To others, they were the assassins, a band of rogues who took advantage of the chaos for their personal gain, possibly even serving the government.
I won't deny or confirm either view, because we only did what we had to do.
We were mere men and women took burden of taking matters into their hands.
…Even if it meant staining them with blood.
Most of us weren't proud of the things done during the conflict, but it wasn't like we had much of a choice.
Either we did what we did or the whole country could've ended up worse than it already did.
"Aku Soku Zan"
"To kill evil immediately"
That was the code we lived by.
The one I once lived by…
Blade clashes against blade,
Leon grins, for a while, he once again forgets why he was doing this.
"Well done, Falcon," he whispers. "This quite a battle… It's been a while since I've met someone who can deal it like one of my old master? Tell me, who trained you?"
"Sasaki Kojiro," Ken whispers back, the Primus presses its blade forward. "He taught me the Art of the blade, a long time ago."
"Kojiro huh?" The older soldier murmurs, drawing back. "I don't know he is, but he must have known Chujo-Ryu rather well."
The ace nods, "He has more wisdom than one of Tolkien's elves, and a habit of testing his students by jumping out of the dark with a drawn sword."
"I see," Leon chuckles, liking the younger man's humor, "Y'know, we'd probably ended up as pretty good friends if it didn't come to this."
The N Dagger N dashes forward, making a backhand slash with the shorter -G07D+ anti-armor sword.
Ken smirks, raising the Gerbera Straight to block. "And that's a good thing?"
Leon laughs. "So there is some sense of humor in the great Falcon of Grimaldi."
"I just don't show it too often," the ace replies dryly, making a circular strafe, going in for an attack.
Leon smiled, but those words snapped him back to the reality of the situation.
His expression hardened, catching the thrust on his the short anti-armor sword and diverts it. He lets go the Schwert Gewehr and pulls out his single Mk315 "Stiletto" rocket-propelled anti-armor penetrator and plunges it into the right arm. This cuts through electrical lining of his suit, disabling it and causing the hand to lets go of the Gerbera Straight.
Ken forces his Primus backwards, as he attempted to adjust for his error. Damn!
Seeing the N Dagger N charging at him, Ken drew back his remaining beam saber, readying it for a backhand blow. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Leon. So be it."
Gaiman lets out a loud cry, and with a speed that surprised the ace, avoiding the slash with a simple duck, giving himself an opening.
"Game over, Falcon," He swings his Short Anti-armor sword toward the cockpit.
Ken grits as he moves his saber to block, and the N Dagger N's short sword meets it in a resounding impact. The sheer impact causes the physical blade to shatter.
"No!" Leon screams in frustration as he got as close to killing his foe thus far, he quickly follows up with an overhand jab with Schwert Gewehr's pommel to the cockpit for another opening, he then swings the blade as hard as he could. Ken raises his saber to block as he boosted away, the beam catches the long weapon, but the impact was enough to knock the weapon out of the Primus' hand.
Ken cursed, Wonderful… okay DiFalco, what now?
The N Dagger N points the blade of the Schwert Gewehr toward the Primus, "Time to end this…"
DiFalco quickly pulls out an armor penetrator knife, just managing to parry the long blade. As he did so he thought of his next move, "It's risky… But what do I have to lose?"
Ken dodges Leon next attack by boosting upwards.
The Primus cuts through the air as it thrusts up ward, Ken has his Primus' working hand reach for the Tactical Arms' heavy sword as it ejected out.
He catches it and he begins to descend, Ken then looks down toward Gaiman's N Dagger N, he pushes his throttles down hard. The thrusters of the Tactical Arms all go off, sending the mobilesuit straight down at a high speed.
Ken pushes a dial in the radio, transmitting to multiple frequencies.
As the Primus went down, an inhuman, ascending wail was heard through radios on all sides. Almost in cue, the large bolt of lightning ripped through the sky, it so close the thunder came almost immediately, it was a large, deafening sound.
"Sonova…!" Leon raises his anti-ship sword to block.
Ken dove on, with help of the thrusters and gravity, the Tactical Arms blade went right through the Schwert Gewehr and the N Dagger N's right shoulder, cleaving off the left arm, just missing the cockpit by a couple of feet. Gaiman yells as the cockpit shook violently, his unit staggers backwards. With uncanny speed, Falcon pulls out his last armor penetrator and plunges it into the N Dagger N's chest.
Jonas Pike noted the sudden disappearance of Gaiman's signal in the radar,
Not that he really cared. DiFalco managed to dispose of Gaiman… Heh, no skin off my back.
He continued to engage Jean in his custom M1 Astray, going at him with one of his Schwert Gewehrs while Jean engaged him with a saber.
"Why do you people even bother?" The unit commander comments. "What a pity, rebel, because it's actually quite a crime that you you're fighting for these people."
"A crime to you, maybe." Jean replies, undaunted. "But not for me."
"Ha!" Pike snorts. "Do you think these people will help you when you need them? They're just using you people! You mercenaries are disposable troops for all they care! "
"And what you've been doing to the Equatorial union before this war was different?" Jean counters, pulling out his second saber. "What this country can do for me doesn't matter, so long as they are free from your military's oppression, that's good enough for me!"
Pike snorts in derision. "This country's going to burn! No matter what you do!"
"Not when me and the others are around!" Jean charges forward and the duel between the two skilled pilots continue.
Nearby, Gai Murakumo and Yazan Gable continue to square off,
The Sword Calamity's Schwert Gewehr descends over the Blue frame, the latter mobilesuit blocks by crossing its two Type 70 beamsabers and catching the anti-ship sword blade.
"You're definitely good," Yazan says as he quickly has his left hand grab an Armor Schneider combat knife and goes for the cockpit with it.
Gai steps to one side to dodge, "You're not one to sneeze at either."
He then pushes himself backwards by shoving the anti-ship sword and kicking the Sword Calamity's cockpit, firing his CIWS as he does so.
Snarling with rage, Yazan opens his unit's chest for a blast with the Scylla. Gai boosts up in the air and fires his Type-71 beamrifle. "Try this for size!" The Sword Calamity dodges the blast, responding by launching one of its "Panzer Eisen" rocket anchor.
"My turn!" Gai weaves to one side and cuts the line with his beamsaber, he then boosts forward, straight to the enemy.
Yazan curses as Gai dodges the second Scylla he fired, hurriedly pulls out his beam boomerangs as the Blue Frame got closer.
The N Dagger N began to lose power,
Though the reactor was undamaged, vital systems of the mobilesuit had been destroyed, making it inoperable anyway. After several steps backwards, the N Dagger N falls on its back, crashing onto the ground.
Nearby, Ken sets his Primus to rest on one knee about a hundred meters from the wreckage. After the machine's hatch opened, Ken leaps to the street below.
He makes the brief jog toward the now mangled N Dagger N, his hand placed on Griever's hilt as he makes his approach. His grip tightened as he saw the N Dagger N's hatch open.
Nothing for several moments, until finally Leon climbs out, and set foot on the ground, facing Falcon, who stood several meters away.
"Hello, Falcon," he said quietly. "It's good to finally meeting you face to face."
Ken nods, "Feeling's mutual," he replies. "Y'know, that part you said of us being friends, it's not too late for us to start."
Leon looks down on the water logged group. "I know… But that thing is… I can't. We both know that. "
He draws two k-bar knives, "There's no choice, Ken," he said quietly. "You'll have to kill me. There's no other way... If you don't take me out now, I'll keep coming after you, again and again."
Griever comes out of its sheath, "Very well, you've made your choice."
"Please understand Falcon," Gaiman assumes a knife stance. "I'm sorry."
Ken suddenly felt a feeling of pain as he experienced Dejavu. Months ago, he and Victor Tempest also known Huckebein the Raven had a brief chat just like this, just before they fought.
It's just like that time… Ken thought, considering his own response. It's just like Victor…
"All right," Ken DiFalco said calmly. "Let's finish this, Leon."
In another part of the city
Dearka, Elijah and the Secundus team were still engaging the Calamity and Deep Forbidden who had just teamed up along with several Slaughter Daggers, while Gai and Jean were busy with the Sword Calamities.
Ramsus Hasa was pinning a good bunch of them, including Dearka, with his aggressive but thoughtful use of his firepower.
"Damn!" Elijah crashes the blade of his heavy sword against the Deep Forbidden's trident, further creating a clash that was either make or break both of them.
Without so much as a warning, two beam shots aimed at the Forbidden almost striking it, but Dunkel was able to back off in time.
"Who the hell did that?" Tim yells, his beamrifle at the ready.
"Damn... almost got him." A voice said on the young Guardsman's radio line.
"Dammit Sagara!" Elijah snarls, as he saw the S9 member's Buster Dagger approach. "You almost killed me with that!"
"Now's not the time to complain." Moving to Elijah and Tim's units' left, Melissa fired her beam rifle's grenade launcher at two Slaughter Daggers that were engaging Hamid and Davan's Secunduses. "C'mon we got push these guys back. Sagara, call Evil Eyes, get them zeroed here. We should be within range."
"Copy," The young Section Nine Sergeant responds, keying his radio. "Eye Eyes, Evil Eyes, Red Man three-four, requesting fire support at point Juliet. Repeat, requesting fire support at point Juliet, over."
"Evil Eyes Two," Kurz's voice cracks in the radio, "Copy Red 3-4, providing support."
At the same moment of the response, an OMNI Slaughter Dagger gets struck in the cockpit area by a beam shot that apparent came from the distance, the Slaughter Dagger explodes.
"Dang…" Tim murmurs, as he slices another Slaughter Dagger in half from the waist, see how far the shot came from, which was about nine miles, out of the effective range of most beam weapons. "He's good."
Back on the hill,
Hathcock aims his sights on the next target with the sniping aid, his unit's full sensing sniping camera scans the terrain. The OMNI-forces' jamming device was interfering with the accuracy, but not enough.
Kurz, acting as spotter, hears the sudden discharge from the muzzle of the M1 Astray's Type 71-44 sniper rifle. Another Slaughter Dagger, who firing at one of Secundus, gets destroyed as the cockpit explodes. Karl waited, staring through the sights, waiting anyone else who'd walk into his sights.
"Look to the left," Kurz radios.
A loyalist government Duel Dagger trots across the open. He was equipped with Fortresta mode armor, holding his beamrifle on his right, shield on his left. He was about to attack.
Karl drops him too, he again waits.
"Another one," Weber calls.
"Got him," Karl said, waiting for the Buster Dagger to make a pause, possibly to link up his weapons. The rifle snapped, and the third Dagger joins the other two.
"Somebody's peeking out where the first two came from."
Hathcock followed the Dagger L, armed with a Launcher Strike, cautiously moving through the street, but not cautiously enough. Before he even saw the enemy, Hathcock snuffed out his lights.
"Four, anymore?" Hathcock asks quietly.
"Yeah, three Primuses. They're just sitting a little up north of the last kill trying to see what's happening. With this storm blowing in our faces, I don't think they know where shots are coming from. They're trying to hide behind that big building."
"There must be an alley back there," Hathcock mumbles. "But these guys are making this easy."
He waits for two minutes, and then the three Primuses move cautiously towards the OMNI unit they were supposed to support.
"Three-round rapid fire," Hathcock chuckles as he looks through the sight. His first shot surprises the group, and the two still-living pilots move their suits back to flee. A second shot dropped one, leaving kicking on the remains, the last Primus pirouetted in confusion. He was still spinning when the beam shot pierces through his cockpit door, hitting him square in the chest as his Primus whirled in a death dance.
"Whoa," Kurz whispers in wonder. "Seven cockpit shots in a row, that must be record."
Karl shook his head, "Nah, Zaytsev made eleven in a row couple months back. You wanna switch?"
Weber grins, pulling down his own sniping aid. "Why not? The God of Sniping could use some exercise."
Hathcock rolled his eyes, but he knew the younger Section Nine member had the skills and the right to brag like that.
"Just keep those guys busy. I'm patching up to the satellite. When I get 'em lined up, we can really go to town by then."
"Rig– Gotcha!!" Kurz' sniper rifle discharges, in the distance, a Slaughter Dagger drop on its face.
Karl sighs, "Don't shout, dammit."
Nearby, Tom Delaney and Leanne Eldridge continue to fight the tandem N Dagger Ns.
Leanne grits her teeth as her shield take another beam shot for her, she lost count of how many hits she blocked with it, but she knew won't last any longer. The anti-beam coating should be wearing off by now. She also knew that her battery will follow soon enough. If she and Tom were fighting less experienced pilots, it wouldn't be much of a problem, even against nuclear-powered mobilesuits.
But unfortunately, they were obviously dealing with veteran pilots from the last war. They both had the skill and experience, and they had nuclear-powered those N Dagger Ns.
"Hey Tom," she calls to her partner. "How're you holding?"
"Just barely keeping myself alive," Tom grunts as he blocks Kazimiera's saber. "You?"
"Same thing," Leanne replies grimly. "I never knew OMNI has still pilots this good… almost Grey Demons good."
"I know what you– look out!" Tom yells as Robert Egan and Kazimiera Rakuzanka were about to do another double team attack.
Egan's N Dagger N fire a hand anchor at the wall, lifts up and makes a wall-run, Kazimiera does same on the opposite wall. Both detach their anchors the same time, Kazi fires her "Hakenfaust" piercer-lock while Robert fires his Schildgewehr.
Tom blocks the beam shot, while Leanne takes out the Hakenfaust with her beamrifle. Both quickly, move to defend themselves again, because they knew what was coming next. Their sabers and shields meet with the weapons of the N Dagger Ns in a furious clash, the force of impact was enough to forcibly move the Long Daggers by several feet.
"Dang," Robert murmurs to Rakuzanka. "For even coordinator kids, they sure are. Good."
"What did you expect Rob?" Kazi replies, "Kinder-gardeners? They're Grey Demons, dammit."
Danny Fisk was continuing his part to hold off a EURM force, firing his Schildgewehr at the enemy forces whilst hidden in mirage colloid
"Hey, Danny!" Kazi yells over the radio, "You still alive?"
"Yeah, Im still alive, don't worry." The former Californian lifeguard assures. "I heard reports that the EURM's sendin' in some support forces to assist."
"Copy," She replies. "Thanks for the heads up."
"Sure, over and out." Targeting a EURM linear tank, he fires a single 70mm. blast as it fires its linear gun which he sidesteps effortlessly.
"Miss me, bitch!" Danny taunts the totaled unit before again vanishing into the darkness.
Ken met Leon in a furious clash,
Just like that moment with Victor during the closing months of the war. Except this time, he wasn't fighting an old friend, though he felt he could have been if they met earlier.
As Griever met Gaiman's knives, Ken saw the in Leon's eyes the determination that was his driving force the moment their blades met. Tempered by the discipline of the blade and experience gained in countless fights, Ken no longer saw Leon Gaiman in front of him, but the side of the man that made him the "The Sandman" and the "Panamanian Cobra".
Hrunting, one of the four Alpha Wolves of the Wolves of Wind.
Two soldiers, A Falcon and a Wolf, two minds so alike yet so different.
The Falcon sidestepped a slash meant for his right arm, feeling the rush of air as one of The Wolf's fangs cut past a centimeter from his body. The Wolf quickly recovered, breaking the other fang up to stop Griever just in front of his face, and lunged out the other, striking the Falcon in the gut.
The Falcon fell back a pace, left hand briefly grasping his stomach in instinct, but he counters just as swift, his blade sweeps a horizontal arc for the Wolf's neck. The Wolf jumps back, letting one fang fly, striking the Falcon on his shoulder. The Falcon hisses, quickly but carefully out the blade before throwing it aside.
The leader of the Demons weaves to one side, his own hand coming up in a slap to the side of the Wolf's arm, deflecting the blow into empty air. His hand slipped back to Griever's hilt, he leapt, bioengineered muscles carrying him over the Wolf's head, twisting around to land facing the other warrior's back.
The Wolf follows him, spinning around in the same moment, his fang and the falcon's talon slice through the air at each other's throats. Edge grinded against edge, blade pressed hard against blade, muscles strained, but neither Griever nor the Wolf's fang budged.
They quickly push each other to distance themselves, however the pause was short as both again went back at each other.
The Falcon was prepared to parry the Wolf's knife, but to his surprise, the other warrior throws the knife. But deflects the weapon easily, but when his eyes focused back to the Wolf, the Falcon saw he had brought another pair of weapons. Ones he had only vaguely heard of before.
Bladed weapons consisting of two steel crescents crossing, these crossings produce four curved, claw-like points, one of which is extended as the "main" blade. The Wolf grips the wrapped middle of the lengthened crescent with the other acting as a hand guard.
These were Deer-horn knives, Chinese weapons specially made for fighting longer weapons like spears and swords.
The Wolf catches the Griever with one in his left, he then drives the right one at the Falcon's chest. The former ZAFT ace tries to pull away, but the Wolf twists his wrist slightly, making the deer-horn's blades lock onto the Griever. As the younger soldier tries to pull his weapon free, the right deer-horn knife finds its mark.
My sensei, who taught the Chujo-Ryu sword style to me, was a part of the group.
Before the 58CE Civil war, the Wolves were once an unofficial, secret intelligence organization that kept tabs on suspect foreigners who set foot on Equatorial soil and the borders.
Martial arts were taught to us a form of defense, as back then we weren't allowed to carry firearms.
I was always good with Eskrima, knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat was nothing new to me. But the art was more practical than spiritual.
When Shouka Kou-sensei first saw me, he saw that I was physically and mentally prepared, but was lacking spiritually and emotionally.
He took me under his wing, from what I understand, I was just the second person that had that honor.
The exercises he gave, were easy enough for, but that's just a small part of what he gave me.
He also gave me, philosophical riddles for me solve to sharpen my wits, advance meditation to harden my meta-physical endurance, along with reading miles worth of text.
I swear to you, honest to God, those were hard.
But they helped me prepare for the 58CE civil war, a coming storm that my sensei apparently foresaw.
The things sensei taught me probably saved my life.
Seeing that he couldn't make it
Falcon quickly sidesteps, but not before his chest caught some of the blade of the deer-horn. He hisses, only then does he manage to pull Griever away. He jumps back, left hand clutching his chest.
The Wolf stares coldly at the Falcon, as blood dripped from his the blades of his right hand weapon. The man breathing fast for a moment, but was now remain silent, assuming a sword stance being as calm as he could.
"You're good with that blade, Falcon," he said quietly, assuming a stance similar to a boxer's. "Just as I expected, in fact you're too good. If I fought you with my own sword, my chances would be too 50-50. So I decided to bring along these, in case we had to settle this way."
The Falcon does his best to ignore the pain. "You decided to use a weapon I'm to likely to never have seen let alone fought before. Sly, very sly, Hrunting."
The Wolf smiles only slightly, "So you knew…"
The younger man shrugged, "I was hoping to recruit at least some of you for a little group I'm starting."
The Wolf simply nods, he then launches himself, swinging both fists. DiFalco blocks with Griever, sparks were caused as the weapons met.
He exerts full force against the young man's blade. He was focused, focused to just kill this man, focused to get this over with and get his daughter back. He manages to direct his frustration, grief, rage to this young man. Convincing himself that it if it wasn't for him, his daughter wouldn't have been kidnapped; if it wasn't for him, the war wouldn't have lasted as long as it did; if it wasn't for him, he wouldn't have lost so many friends during the war; if it wasn't for him, he wouldn't be here. Giving him the nerve and drive to carry out his terrible task.
"Think fast!" The Wolf once again locks the Griever in place, this time with both knives, at the same time he launches his at DiFalco's stomach.
The Falcon reels back, Griever slips out of his hands, falling down to the street. He was defenseless against the roundhouse kick the Wolf then delivered, connect to the side of his face. Falcon spins around once as before he lands on the wet ground.
The older soldier stows the knives back to their custom holsters as he walked toward where the Falcon lay. The younger soldier struggled to get himself up. But as he manages to do so, The Wolf breaks into a run, sending his right fist into the side of his head.
The Falcon flings like a rag doll, splashing through the puddles in the street as battle continued to rage around them, this time Falcon lay still.
In another area of Nee Soon,
Entrenched among the ruined building with Sousuke, Elijah, Dearka and the Secundus pilots, Melissa get a radio link from the snipers.
"Red Man 3-1, yeah what is it, Evil Eyes?"
"I did a sat-com sweep of the area. The jamming's main source is within about two blocks from your current position, over."
"Copy, thanks for the heads up Evil Eyes." She switches channels to her companions. "Guys, Evil eyes say that the OMNI forces' jammer's in the area in this area!"
"Great." Tim mutters, "I guess we better split up and ditch those two psychos, find the damn jammer thing, wreck it and get this over with."
"That is if we survive them," Dearka yells when he detected something in his scanners. "Incoming!"
Seeing the combined Loyalist-OMNI mobile suit squad approaching with OMNI Linear Tanks and Loyalist ST Kinetic Bionix-2 Tanks, he blasted at the enemy Strike and Buster Daggers with his 320mm. anti-armor shotgun and 220mm. missiles.
"C'mon!" Hamid snarls, his PT Pindad 100 mm PM1 ground rocket launcher at the ready. "I'll make sure that you're all gone when I'm done, to free this country of you people!"
He began firing rockets as fast and accurately as he could, the others passing to him the spare rockets they were carrying.
"Why you little…!" Dodging beam saber swipes from two Primuses, Melissa raises her anti-beam shield to protect her mobile suit, she jumps back after lowering it and fires her beam rifle at them, eliminating the two mobile suits. Seeing the Linear and Bionix-2 tanks on the ground, she aims her rifle at them firing the grenade launcher first before firing the beam rifle itself.
More of them… Spotting a group of loyalist Buster and Long Daggers approaching, Dearka links up his weapons again to form the 94mm. hyper impulse sniper rifle.
"Eat this!" Firing the weapon, a couple of Buster Daggers, Long Daggers and an unfortunate Primus had its right arm destroyed from the beam fire.
Eyeing the surviving Primus, Sousuke rushes towards it and goes at it with his ES01 beamsaber, thrusting into its cockpit. Retracting the beam blade quickly, the Primus goes up in a fiery explosion.
At the controls of his GINN, Elijah fights with two Dagger Ls armed with M703K beam carbine rifles. Using the older mobilesuit's MA-M3 heavy sword, he sliced one of both units' arms as he charges past them. He quickly turns around unleashing a volley of 500mm. round from recoilless rifle.
"That oughta take care of them." Dearka grins under his helmet after watching the 500mm. rounds make scrap metal out of the two mobile suits.
"Everyone all right?" Melissa calls to everyone.
"I'm fine at least." Hamid mutters. "Let's get this over already and get back to base."
"Before anything else happens," Tim mutters in an uncharacteristically sour tone, surprising his teammates who knew him to be very cheerful.
"Must be the weather," Avir comments to himself as he follows him and the others.
The Wolf again walks toward his limp opponent,
As he was about to grab him, one of the Grimaldi Falcon's feet rises up, catching him in the face. As the Wolf clutches his face, the Falcon aims a roundhouse kick at his head. But evidently, the Wolf saw it coming and catches his ankle with one hand.
He was about to counter, when the Falcon's other foot left the ground and hits him in the side of the head. Combined with the one still in the Wolf's hold, he spins around like a rag doll before landing hand to the ground.
He snarls in pain loudly, apparently an internal injury had been aggravated.
The Falcon pushes himself to his feet. Just as he did so, he saw his sword, Griever, as it lay in a puddle several meters away.
Without even thinking, he throws caution to the wind and dashes toward it.
Seeing what he intended, Gaiman pulls out his USP45CT sidearm, took aim and began to shoot. His aim however would have been better if his right arm didn't hurt so much, something was broken and it was affecting his aim.
Why… Why now…?!
He ran after DiFalco, continuing to shoot as he did ignoring the pain as it got excruciating after each shot.
But it was all for naught, Ken made a commando roll as he snatched Griever off the ground. On one knee, he deflected several bullets that targeted him.
Leon's face pales when he saw that Ken had Griever in his hand again.
"Damn… so close…" He holsters his gun, knowing it was pointless to use it against him now.
"I'm sorry for what Blue Cosmos has done to you, Leon." Ken murmurs, looking at the man in the eye. "But I can't just let you kill me either. I too have people to protect."
"So… once more," Kenneth DiFalco's eyes narrow as he trains the blade of his katana toward his target, he then dashes forward, letting out his infamous hunting call.
Neo this time shows emotion when given more bad news, this time, it was much worse.
Ian Lee cringed at his tone, he also began to sweat. "I've received a report from forward unit that the enemy seems to have somehow traced our CWDS jammings. A EURM unit is slowly making headway toward it, they seem to have snipers supporting them, very good ones. Our men can't engage too unless they want to killed."
"Great." Roanoke muttered under his breath. "This is just really great. Contact the 8th battalion commander, have them send in reinforcements. Call Pike's men back and have them protect the CWDS unit, if we lose it, we'll lose our key advantage."
"Yes sir," After Ian gets off the radio, Roanoke began cursing vilely.
"What else can go wrong…?" He shook his head, he knew that taking down the Grimaldi Falcon was going to be difficult, but he never expected it to be this… draining. "I guess I better move out as well…
Ken was about to swing his blade in upward diagonal arc
It was so fast that Leon barely had enough time to pull out his deer-horn knives again to block it. He catches the blade with both knives, but the injury in his right arm was again stressed on and it gave way.
With this, Leon tries to jump back but not before Griever's tip manages to catches his flesh, making cut from below his right arm pit to his left shoulder.
He cries out in pain, clutching the new wound, it was shallow but he knew he could possible bleed death because of it.
"Leon," DiFalco murmurs. "You should stop and give up. There's not way you can defeat me in your current state."
Upon hearing this, Leon's eyes narrow. "Don't you ever look down on me!"
He lunges forward, ignoring the pain, he throws his right arm to catch the blade of Griever and locks it in place. This time, Ken manages to break away to evade the left jab he expect. But to his surprise, it never came, Leon instead tosses a green, slightly bent plate. Ken's eyes widen when he realizes what it was, an anti-personnel claymore, and it was rigged with remote detonator.
Leon squeezes the trigger as he jumped away.
The mine explodes, the blast focused at Ken's direction.
"And ya think you're going?"
Ramsus Hasa asks as he fires both Schlag cannons at the group Melissa, Sousuke, Elijah and the Secundus pilots. The Cooper and several Slaughter Daggers were with him overhead.
Davan curses, he almost got hit by a beam shot as he and several of his teammates hide behind a building. "Don't these guys ever give up?-!"
He and Hamid next to him get showered by dirt and debris from a nearby explosion.
"I guess that answers your question?" Hamid asks, as he goes to fire a rocket.
"Sorry I asked…" Davan mutters, covering him with beamfire.
"Stay sharp!" Elijah warns as he fires both his recoilless rifle and machinegun at the Slaughter Daggers in the air, "I'm picking up additional incoming.
"Dammit!" Tim curses as he blasts one Strike Dagger to oblivion. "More company?-!"
His radar detects three blips, indicating hostile mobile suits were approaching. Looking at the main monitor while clashing with A Slaughter Dagger's beam saber, he saw two Sword Calamities and a Windam flying straight for their position.
Oh great, those two and that new prototype, where the hell are Gai and Jean?
Melissa found herself fighting with Dunkel's Deep Forbidden.
Holstering her beam rifle, she drew out her beamsaber and crashed again with Cooper's trident.
"Dammit! These guys are here to finish us off! Unless help's coming, then we'll be finished in the battlefield..."
Managing to glance at his monitors again, he noted that reinforcement had arrived in the form of several GINNs, Gai's Astray blue Frame Second L and Jean's custom M1 Astray. Well it's about time...
"We better give a hand out here!"
Jean yells to his companion. "Murakumo! Isn't that purple one the mobilesuit Rick Chung fought in Pasir Ris couple months back?"
"Sure is!" Gai acknowledges. "Better keep him from doing too much damage I'll warn the others."
"All right!" Locking onto the Deep Forbidden, Jean fires his M1 Astray's beam rifle. Unfortunately, the Deep Forbidden saw it coming and the energy deflection armor had deflects it away.
"Damn!" Carrey cursed, flying overhead and trying to swing the mobilesuit around to try another go when his radar had detects hostile F-7D Spearhead and VTOL aircrafts.
"Better take care guys first," He murmurs, he flies towards the incoming Spearhead and VTOL fighter squadrons. Locking onto his targets, Jean fires the beam fires, downing some Spearheads and a couple of VTOL fighters, making sure he doesn't hit the cockpits.
On the ground,
Three regular GINNs, one red custom GINN and the Blue Frame were engaged with Neo's forces alongside the original combatants. Pike and the others had been ordered by Neo to engage the newcomers while he would stay back and engaged with the current hostiles.
"It's payback time!" Lunamaria in her newly repaired GINN unit aims then fire her Barrus, taking out two loyalist Primuses.
"Hey there," Gai once again fights with Yazan, clashing his beam saber against Gable's beam boomerang. "Thought you give me the slip did ya?"
"Real impressive, Murakumo!" Gable grins, attempting a beam slash. "Sorry 'bout that, had to follow orders. Now, let's finish what we started!"
"You thoughts exactly!" Gai thrusts his beam shield, but Gable dodges.
Gable does a vertical beam slash, Gai dodges by moving out of the way as he quickly holsters his beamsaber and draws out his Type-71 beamrifle. Yazan uses his shield to temporarily daze before attempting to finish him off.
Say goodb– Gable saw missiles flying straight for him from his left. Jumping a short distance back, the said projectiles landed a short foot away near his new position.
"Oh no you don't!" Elijah yells, using his machinegun and recoilless at the Jachin Due veteran. "I'm not gonna let you kill my partner and boss that easily!"
Yazan cringed, watching rounds fly overhead, he does so even more when he saw the Blue Frame had recovered. "Damn..."
"Now where were we?" Gai asks as he goes back at him with beamrifle and saber out.
"Hey Sagara! You out there?"
Dearka yells, his Buster Dagger engaging Hasa's Calamity in combat.
"I think I need some help here!" He fires his 320mm. gunlauncher at his approaching enemy. Hasa dodges with ease and uses his "Todesblock" 337mm plasma-sabot bazooka to retaliate. Dearka, being a veteran of the Bloody Veteran war, dodges his shots, which instead take out an enemy Strike Dagger.
"Shit!" Cooper curses himself for missing the shots. When he looks back at his monitor, he was alarmed to see a shot from Dearka's beamrifle disable the end of his bazooka, forcing him throw it before the weapon exploded.
Sagara replies. "You're doing just fine." Sagara chooses to face the incoming mobilesuits, alongside Tim, Avir and Jean who had just finished off all the fighters nearby.
"Hey you," Sousuke calls. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." Tim answers. "But watch out, these guys are good!"
"Right," Sousuke nods.
When Pike's Sword Calamity and Neo's Windam were in combat range, Pike opens fire with its Scylla to force them to scatter. Once that was done, the Windam drew out its beam saber and lunged at Tim's Secundus.
"Avir, Tim!" Jean yells from the cockpit of his M1 Astray. "I'll keep the Sword Calamity busy. You two, take care of that prototype. Sousuke, cover our backs!"
Jean then attacks first with his beamsaber, forcing Pike to pull out one of his anti-ship swords.
The weapon's blades clash, but Jean loses his footing and falls to the ground. He reacts by firing the "Igelstellung" 75mm. CIWS, along with Sousuke firing his gunlauncher and rifle in support, Pike was forced to move back long enough for the custom M1 Astray to get back up.
Tim and Avir, on the other hand, went head-to-head with Neo Roanoke and his Prototype Windam.
"Look what we have here." Giving a smirk, Neo drew out his ES04B beamsaber. "Do you think you young pups can stand up against me?"
"Be careful what you say pal!" Avir dodges the beam slashes, countering with his own
"You might just look stupid when we beat you!" Tim adds, firing his and Avir's beam assault rifles on both hands.
"Not likely!" Pike fires off another blast from his Scylla, Tim and Avir split up to dodge.
As Sousuke blasts the Slaughter Daggers that accompany Roanoke, Pike and Gable with the 94mm. hyper impulse sniper rifle and the remaining 220mm. missiles, he patches a link to the snipers.
"Evil eyes, this is Red man 3-4, requesting immediate support in point India, we're getting hammered here. You copy?"
"This is Evil eyes two, we copy, Red Man 3-4, stand by."
"Okay, the quantum links with the satellites are good,"
Karl Hathcock calls his partner, "Fire at will, kiddo."
Kurz Weber smirks, also linking up with the Preybird's power satellites which were converted for reconnaissance and Orb surveillance satellites, downloading targeting and positional data for his shots. This along with the full sensing scope, made both men's already uncanny sniping abilities godlike.
If the enemy thought things were bad just the way they were operating until then, they were about to get a very unpleasant wake up call.
Kurz couldn't stop grinning. "Good hunting, Feather."
Hathcock stows away the keyboard and pulls down the sniping aid, "You too."
"Oh God of Sniping," He adds with a smirk.
Weber laughs, "About time you appreciated my skill."
Hathcock grins, "Don't expect it to last long."
After he breaks his link with Kurz, Hathcock turns off his radio, there would be no calls for a while. He and his partner split up, moving to separate parts of the hill.
The quickest and easiest way for a sniper to die was to stay in one spot too long, this is especially true when you're using a beam weapon which any observant soldier can track the source of the projectiles.
After Karl had set himself up again, he trains his sights looking the EURM unit he had been supporting. As soon he finds them, he goes to find the nearest hostile to hit.
"One shot…" He slowly pulls the trigger, until finally the rifle reports, sending a green bolt of death flying almost eight miles into an OMNI Slaughter Dagger that was only several meters where captain Roanoke stood.
"… One kill."
Neo Roanoke was more than a little shook up from what had just happened, as he continued to fighting Tim and Avir.
"Where did that come from…?"
Almost as though it was a response to his question, several other OMNI and loyalist government forces mobilesuits were taken out beam shot from an unknown source.
More would soon follow.
Seeing that the sudden storm of beam shot was targeting their enemy, the EURM forces and their volunteer/mercenary comrades began to fight more confidently. They had a shield to protect them now, it was time to turn the battle and finally end it.
At the same time, as the rain began to weaken
Leon's eyes narrow and his hands tightened on his weapons as he toward his opponent.
He then smirks, "Looks like we're pretty much on the same shape. Eh, DiFalco?"
Ken, down on one knee, winces. His left eye was exposed as the eyepatch had been blown off, the rest of his body wasn't doing as well either. He had managed to evade most of the blast by diving to one side, but he still caught several pieces of shrapnel through out his body.
"Sneaky Gaiman," Ken murmurs weakly, "I've under estimated you horribly."
"Going to the extreme, just like what you're known for," Ken gingerly gets up his feet, this time there was genuine smirk in his face. "Truly not one to taken lightly."
"Thanks," Leon replies, also smiling. "You're no cake walk yourself. But this is actually getting us no where fast."
The younger ace nods. "If we keep this up, there maybe nothing much of either of us left to determine a victor."
"How about we settle this then," Gaiman twirls his deer-horn knives, "The good ol' old-fashioned way?"
"Agreed," Ken DiFalco assumes a stance.
Leon look at the weapons he held, he looked at the oriental engravings that decorated the blade which, despite being used for years, were shining like they were newly forged and polished. He knew he was physically much weaker than when he was the Red Alpha Wolf.
…But …I don't regret that. If there's one thing… I do regret…
He looks up toward his opponent, determined as ever.
Even If I die doing it… I'll…
Ken sensed the focus in his opponent,
Those eyes… looks like his will is as strong as ever. I'm actually enjoying this, Leon. But…
How on earth you plan to fight, Hrunting? Unless you do something about that bad arm of yours…
"Get ready, DiFalco," Leon spoke suddenly, twirling his blades. Ken frowns as he saw the confident look in his face. "It's about time we truly settle this…"
He assumes a stance, different to what he had been using earlier. "…And see which of us the better man is."
(Play Yuki Kajiura – A Song of Storm and Fire)
Ken's eyebrows rise, though Leon was using weapon completely unfamiliar to him and that the form was modified for the weapons, recognized the stance he was using, but what really surprised him was it was formed in left handed position. Until that moment, Leon fought with right hand positions.
"These days I'm ambidextrous," Leon spoke, seeing the confusion his eyes. "But I used to be left handed."
Ken frowns, knowing how much one's technique can change dramatically when one variable is changed.
"I see… There's never a dull moment when it comes to fighting you."
Leon smirks for one moment, then frowns in concentration. Falcon does the same along with assuming his own stance.
The two stare down, the rain above was dissipating and the battles around them were drawing to their conclusions. Theirs too was about to follow.
"'I am the bone of my sword,'" Ken began, both eyes meet his opponent's. "'Steel is my body, and fire is my blood.'" He grips Griever's hilt in a carefully calculated hold.
Tom and Leanne continue to fight the N Dagger N despite their diminishing power supplies, Tom's Long Dagger fires both its shoulder mounted beam canon and rifle together, giving Leanne the cover she needs to make a saber attack on Robert's N Dagger N. But Kazi blocks the attempt with her captured saber, and she and Egan fire their 70mm. beam weapons together.
"'I am the bone of my blade,'" Trained in the same school of swordsmanship Leon recited the same creed, though some words were different. "'Steel is my body, fire is my blood.'"
Dunkel Cooper's Deep Forbidden fires his phonon maser canon, Melissa Mao's Duel Dagger blocks it with her block. With a loud cry, she lifts the shield as she thrusts her beamsaber at him. Dunkel sidesteps and counters with thrusting his trident, Melissa parries the weapon with her saber. Neither mobilesuit budge.
"'I have created over a thousand blades,'" Ken says, continuing the creed his master taught him. "'Unknown to death…Nor known to life….'"
Danny Fisk's was limited production mobilesuit was stood in front by a number of mass produced EURM mobilesuits. Fisk knew that all it took was one critical shot from one of them and he was dead, falling back was the smart thing to do but he doesn't. And despite knowing their chances of surviving this encounter, the EURM pilots stood their ground. With furious warcries, the two sides went at each other.
"'I have shattered over a thousand blades,'" Leon answers, reciting the creed taught to him. "'Unaware of loss… Nor aware of gain.'"
Dearka's Buster Dagger was in a stand off against Ramsus' Calamity, both were firing their weapons at each like heavily armed gunslingers. In contrast, Gai's Astray Blue Frame and Yazan's Sword Calamity locked blades like two bulls, occasionally shooting a beam blast.
"'Have withstood pain to create many weapons…'" Ken pulls out Griever,"'yet, these hands will never hold anything.'"
Elijah went to fight several Slaughter Daggers that joined in, despite using a fast becoming obsolete mobilesuit, Elijah was determined not to lose. For the memory his friend Goud Vair, he would not die so easily. Jean's custom M1 Astray and Jonas' Sword Calamity fought both skillfully and savagely, determined to prove who was right and who was wrong.
"'Have endured pain to defeat many a foe…'" Leon distances his legs from each other, placing both fists to his waist. "'Waiting for one's arrival.'"
"Why do you continue to be so stubborn?" Neo asks in an effort to work on their heads as he effortlessly evades Tim and Avir's attacks. "What do you boys think you can achieve by 'freeing' your nation from the alliance. All you're doing is causing is pain and suffering just like the Wolves of Wind did during the 58 Rebellion! For the sake of this nation I will eliminate those who threaten its existence!"
"No we're not!" Avir sneers, clashing his beam saber against Neo's. "You and the other OMNI asses are the real threat to our country and to the other nations who refuse to follow your alliance's demented ideals!"
"After what we've been through for the last few months," Tim grins while draw out a Kris beam saber. "I can understand why the Wolves chose their path, it's the turn the nation and the people they tried to protect to do the same!"
"And we say," Tim and Avir yell in unison. "Get out of our homeland!!!"
Ken swept his right foot behind his left, and drew back his blade in a two-handed grip, holding it vertically at eye level. "'So, as I pray…'"
Leon breaks into a sprint, his head was about two feet from the ground, and his arms spread out like wings as he went. "'My whole life was…'"
"'Unlimited Blade Works!!!'"
The Die was cast.
There was no turning back. I was either going to kill or be killed.
During that moment, I remembered every single person I cared for who was still alive.
I'd be lying if said I wasn't scared, because I was.
I was scared to die, and scared of the grief my death would cause to those who I'll leave behind to pick up the pieces.
From that fear, I found my resolve.
I needed to survive.
For my little Kariza, Sei, Master Shouka, Kazi, Robert, Danny, Lia, my mom who was going to be 56 soon. Even dad, even if we haven't talked for years now, he was still my dad, and for the memory of all those who had died in this war and the ones before it.
For all their sakes, I wasn't going let my life be snuffed out so easily.
Blades collide, the sound of metal meeting metal was constant, and then whirls apart again in a flash of mirrored light.
Kenneth DiFalco, former leader of the True ZAFT Faction, the Butcher Bird, The Grimaldi Falcon, wielding a mirror-polished katana, its hilt's red cloth braided over shark skin, the blades forged of a metal far stronger than steel.
Leon Gaiman, also known as the Red Alpha Wolf, Hrunting of the Wolves of Wind, carrying an equally glistening pair of Chinese weapons called deer-horn knives. The crescents that form the 'main' part of the blades were engraved with intricate engravings of a flower, lilies, and the head of a wolf on the ends. The smaller crescents that made the handles were wrapped similarly to the katana. By the way it easily absorbed impart from the Griever, Ken guessed it was made of a similar alloy as his own weapon.
The katana was named Griever, and her wielder was a young man with a scarred face and past, a man who moved with fluidity, speed, and understated power.
The knives, gripped by a man who was not its original owner, face calm… but his soul was in so much turmoil, the weapon's name was known to a very select few, it befitted the reputation of the Wind Wolf who once used them, one who fought with speed that rivals Griever's bearer, his followers or the man who wielded them now. Though the man who wields them was a bit slower, he still bore strength and variability in both mind and body in levels that slightly surpasses his opponent.
Both men moved with speed that was all but a blur to the human eye, only those with enhancements or those who're trained to sense them can track their movement.
Ken's Griever lashes off in a powerful backhand cut toward Leon's throat, only to be wedged an inch from him by blades of the unnamed knives. Gaiman counters with a leg sweep, DiFalco jumps back to avoid it, whirling away from the clash, ducking beneath the powerful blow Leon aims at him in return.
Ken returns to the offensive with a series of spiraling slashes, Leon in return parries and counters, their footsteps were like a choreographed dance. The attacks and counters were so swift that the blades actually made visible cuts through the rain.
Leon leans forward, and whips into a right-hand spiral, the right knife slamming its blade to Griever's descending edge. The blow would have knocked Griever out of Ken's hands… but he knew how to counter situations like this, letting his arm ride up along with it, he swiftly back flips, maintaining his grip and lifting him over Leon's left hand attack.
To his surprise, Leon continues to lunge forward, slamming his forehead against his chin. Ignoring the buzz in head, not mention the soreness he was feeling, the former ZAFT ace lowers himself in a crouch, avoid the follow-up attack that follow the head-butt.
Ken was about to counter when Leon aggressively strikes, forcing Griever down into the ground, and leaving Ken vulnerable for a one instant.
Gritting his teeth, Ken responds by dropping clear to the ground himself, then recovers his blade and roll to his right just in time to avoid being impaled.
Ken twists his body in a painful-looking bend, dodging another of Leon's strikes, then rolls onto his back, brought his legs over his hand, and dropped his feet onto Leon's right blade.
While Leon retrieves his weapon back with the loose cord attached to it, his torso left the floor in just as his feet touch down. And suddenly, he was back in guard position, blade held horizontal, with the hilt just to the left of his face. Leon assumes his own defensive stance.
It was almost as though their bodies were controlled by the same mind, for when Leon's left blade cuts through the air in a blow meant to slip beneath Ken's guard, opening his stomach, Ken took a single step forward, moving inside Leon's reach, and dropped his left elbow down onto Leon's left arm, forcing his knife to simply whir through air.
Leon again breaks into a sprint, his head close to the ground, and his arms followed behind him like wings, he swings both knives in a towards each other. Ken jumps back just before the blades touch his flesh, countering with a vicious backhand slash.
It was Ken's turn to be on the offensive, as Leon jumps away from his counter. Body turned sideways toward Leon, knees bent, sword held horizontally at face level and pointed at his opponent, he paces forward and thrusts.
Leon slides under the blade, then kicks Ken in the gut before rolling over his neck and goes back on his feet.
Both men distanced themselves, their eyes narrow at each other. Both men firmed their grips on their weapons.
The end was near…
The Falcon raises up his talon, Watch over me, Laura… Murrue…
While the Wolf, raises his fangs, Watch over me, Yoshino… Sei…
Both men launch themselves, with loud cries, they go for the kill.
…The end is here
Nine flashes occur in one second.
With that, their duel ended.
(End Yuki Kajiura – A Song of Storm and Fire)
Section Nine Sergeant Kurz Weber aims his rifle,
Setting his sights on his first target, he looks on the main monitor for any EURM troops who may in avertedly get in the line of fire, and then goes back to the sniping aid.
His heart pounded, sending the rifle scope's cross hairs rising and falling over his target – Slaughter Dagger who seemed to be leading a small unit of Loyalist mobilesuits. The sniper waited for his pulse to settle.
As his concentration narrowed more and more on the accuracy of his first shot, as the pitch of his sight's crosshairs grew less and less erratic until the steadiness of a veteran marksman held the sight's center point steadily on the enemy squad commander.
The surprise of the rifle's discharge caused Karl on the other side of the hill to blink, and as he saw Kurz's bolt going into the town, Karl fires at the suddenly frozen figure close to where the Slaughter Dagger was.
The OMNI squad leader lay dead at the feet of his unit, a seventeen year old soldier, who had been assigned to the unit just a week ago, not far away. A third shot cracked, and another Slaughter Dagger rears with hole in abdomen.
The joint OMNI-government forces started to catch on of this unseen killer, bewildered. Seasoned soldiers wisely ducked down immediately. Knowing full well that shot was from a sniper's weapon. Others scramble for better cover behind the building, Karl and Kurz's shots followed them, claiming pilots in each report.
The rain partially obscured the city, but it did not provide the cover the OMNI and loyalist soldiers had hoped. The two S9 pilots' mobilesuits remain crouched in their positions, looking over the positions the enemy were. Watching heads pop from behind cover.
Kurz notices the EURM troops were moving out and the enemy was starting to move at them.
"Our boys are making their move," He commented to himself.
Almost as though he heard him, Hathcock replies with a shot that dropped a loyalist Primus, and Weber replies back with a crack that downed a strike Dagger. The two worked the weapons so rapidly that an enemy mobilesuit gets downed every two seconds.
After they down sixteen men, the enemy attempt to stop the EURM forces evaporated, the last several mobilesuits that formed the blocking force retreated back to the relative safety of the buildings but most were shot before they reach it. All the enemy fire was wild.
At one moment, one of the Slaughter Daggers flew off to escape. Just as he was about to disappear in the weakening torrent of rain, a beamrifle cracked from the hills, the Slaughter Dagger fell on its face with a hole on its back.
"Weber," Hathcock switches his radio on, keeping his eye on the scope. "How much power you got left?"
Kurz eyes his meter, "I'm good for couple dozen more shots, then I'll have to bug out. You?"
"I'm still good," Karl replies. "Hope, somebody decides to pick us up soon." He continues, "I don't want to have to use up all my ammo here."
"Well," Kurz began. "I guess we better–"
"Evil eyes, Evil eyes, this Ren Man 3-1," Melissa's voice suddenly cracked on the radio. "We have visual on the enemy's jamming unit, we can't get to it. It's all up you guys, she's in point Romeo moving north."
Instinctively Hathcock look into his sights, he spot what looked light a linear tank, except instead of a turret, it had bulky looking transmitting equipment on it. "Copy Red man 3-1, I have a visual, engaging target."
"Kurz!" The older sniper calls, "We better shoot that thing together, I bet that thing's got laminated armor, reset your beam output to maximum. Make it count 'cause we don't have much power left."
"Copy," Kurz pulls his keyboard and begins making the necessary adjustments.
"Ready?" Hathcock calls, looking into his sights.
"Ready," The S9 Sergeant replies, looking into his own sights.
"We'll take turns hitting it, fire after I shoot, don't stop until that thing's dead on its tracks."
The rifle reports and Kurz Weber expected the vehicle to explode or at least stop, but after a broadside that slowed the vehicle for a moment, it began to speed up. The driver was probably flooring it. As Hathcock suspected it was coated in laminated armor.
Kurz took the next shot, the truck slowed but sped up again.
Hathcock fires the third shot, this time striking the treads of the vehicle. He could the tread being left behind but surprisingly, the vehicle kept moving.
Kurz pumps another one and Karl follows, yet the vehicle still kept moving.
"We'll shoot the center where the sections meet," Karl radios to his partner. "Make it damn count."
"Copy," Kurz sounded serious, he knew this was their last chance.
Taking one long, slow breath, Hathcock took careful aim, laying the center of his sight's reticle on the on the center of the vehicle. The ECM vehicle was now a battered wreck on one side, still it continues to move like nothing was wrong to it.
Kurz stares through his sights, bewildered. Surprised on how resilient this tracked vehicle was.
"On three," Karl calls. "One… Two… Three!"
As soon Hathcock yelled three, both mobilesuits fire, the beam bolts leave their barrels traveling a distance of almost ten miles and striking in the same place. The impact of the two shots breaks the vehicle into two, after dead drifting a bit, it finally stops, never to move again.
Kurz stares at the remains of the vehicle that took so much effort to destroy, "That's some tough new armor." He murmurs.
Karl nods, "We better get some stronger new long-range beamrifle. Sooner or later, our trusty Type 71-44s won't cut it."
That issue would be discussed later, right now, what mattered was that had just destroyed their enemies' main advantage. The two of them had single-handedly won the battle for their side.
The rain had now completely stopped, and the sky was starting to clear. On the horizon, the sun was beginning to rise, bringing forth a new day.
Ken and Leon stood shoulder against shoulder, arms stretched out as they engaged their final blows.
For several seconds, it was uncertain who had won. The result of the duel was revealed when the deer-horn knives slip out of his hands and Leon's legs gave way. Ken catches him, despite his own wounds he holds him up with one arm, letting the older lean against him.
"Well done…" Leon whispers faintly to him, smiling, despite knowing he lost. "You're the better man DiFalco… congratulations."
"The one who gave everything he's got to protect someone, even his own life." Ken shook his head, "No, you're the better man."
Leon smiles, "Thanks… not that it matters…"
"Commander DiFalco," He whispers, addressing him in ZAFT rank, his strength and vision beginning to fade. "If you ever find my daughter, tell her that I…"
He closes his eyes in mid sentence, Ken grunts when he felt Leon's full weight leaning on him. He manages to set him down, gently.
Ken lies next to Leon's body, breathless, tired and sore and with wounds and broken bones all over. He pats Leon on chest.
"It's best you her yourself, Gaiman." DiFalco pulls out his comlink, "Leanne, Tom? It me, arrange an immediate MedEvac…"
Word of the CWDS unit's destruction quickly reaches Roanoke,
He sighs, knowing that attacking any further would most probably be pointless.
"Ivan," The Phantom Pain officer shook his head, "Order all units… to retreat."
Neo breaks off from engagement from Tim and Avir's Secundus, "Looks like you've won this battle, enjoy this victory of yours, while you still can."
With that, Neo disengages from battle completely.
Tim stares at the prototype as it flew away, bewildered. "We… won…?"
Nearby, signal flares were being launched, and soon OMNI and government force began to fall back.
"Tim," Avir calls to his temporary squad leader. "That guy was telling truth, enemy forces are pulling back! We won!"
"I see…" Tim sinks into his chair, breathless. "Damn, I never fought so hard before…"
"Me neither," Avir admits. "No wonder Rick had a hard time fighting him, and we were double teaming him."
On screen, Avir takes off his helmet, smiling. "But hey, we survived. That's what matters."
Tim smiles back, "Yeah…"
Yazan mumbles angrily, being force to retreat. His long time friends and partners, Dunkel and Ramsus were equally disgruntled. Their commander however, didn't seem to share his team's sentiments. He was just like he was before the battle began, calm and collective.
Kazi looks back, at the N Dagger N in the distance, despite the order and the EURM was fast encircling them, she didn't want to leave him. Leon was one of the few men who ever got so close to her.
"Kazi," Robert calls her, being as gentle as could. "We promised him to stay alive, remember?"
Kazi bit her lip, she forces herself to move out. "Right…"
In an effort to stem the EURM's momentum, the Equatorial Union government and the OMNI Enforcer contingent supporting them attempt an ambush in a city just north of Pasir Ris, the EURM's main base in Singapore. Despite taking a EURM force by surprise, the rebel force had managed to stave off the attack and push the Joint government-OMNI force out of city.
According to EURM troops on the ground, they won the battle because a two-man mobile sniper team had given them excellent support, together destroying an estimated fifty mobilesuits and destroying the ECM combat vehicle the Joint government-OMNI force used to disable the EURM's communications and mobile weapons.
Orb volunteer, Karl Norman Hathcock II and mercenary Kurz Weber were given a hero's welcome when they returned, to their base in Pasir Ris.
The EURM had suffered heavy losses, 93 KIA, 214 WIA and 12 MIA (presumed captured). 40 mobilesuits, 22 vehicles and 7 aircraft destroyed. The government and OMNI contingent have failed to show casualty figures but according to reports coming from the EURM, over 150 men were found dead, at least 63 men were captured during the withdrawal, 41 of which are wounded varying from moderate to critical. And according undisclosed sources, the Joint OMNI-government force involved in the battle has lost about 80 percent of their mobilesuit forces.
It has been rumored that Atlantic Federation ace, Leon 'The Sandman' Gaiman was killed during the battle, though has yet to be confirmed.
–Excerpt from article by freelance journalist Jess Rabble for the EU Inquirer
Leon slowly opens his eyes, he then blinks
I'm… I'm alive… how…?
He remained still, his eyes shift around to where he was, the room seemed empty.
Where am I?
Ignoring the pain all over, he pushes himself up to get a better idea of where was.
"So I'm in a hospital?" Leon murmurs. "I must be back in Malaysia…"
"I see you're already awake."
Leon turns to his right, he finds Lindsei Satou standing by the door wearing civilian clothes.
"Sei..." Leon whispers, words couldn't begin to describe how she was to see her. "So… How long I've been out?"
"How bad did the operation go?"
Sei looks to the side, seemingly hesitant. "It was a disaster."
Leon winces, though he was expecting that very answer.
He sighs, "I guess I better ready to find my girl's body soon…"
To his surprise, she shook her head, smiling. "No you're not."
He stares at her bewildered, "What are you–?"
She places finger on his lip, "Leon, she's here."
Those last two words hit him like train; he was in short, bowled over.
Sei turns her toward the door, "Kari, you can come in now."
Leon looks at to the door, his heart stopped when she saw her golden brown eyes, short black hair and a face full of innocence. Kari ran straight of the bed and jumps right in. Leon grabbed her, they hugged each tightly.
Leon could feel his body aching, but he didn't care. All that mattered to him right then and here was he had his little girl back, their daughter, one of the few things that mattered to him and Yoshino.
He cried. He was so happy that he cried.
The two starting talking the same time, asking each other how they've been, were doing okay, questions you'd normally associate with people trying to catch for lost years. But then, the last few months were probably an eternity to them.
Sei smiles, silently watching the two bond together.
At the door, a young man wearing a trench coat and an eyepatch leans in the door frame.
It didn't take long for Leon to catch sight of him, when he did, his mouth gaped wide open. "You…"
DiFalco smirks slightly, "Glad to see you're awake, Leon."
"Comm. DiFalco…? What're you doing in…?" Gaiman turns to Sei, "Where the hell are we?"
Sei smiles as she whispers, "Leon, we're in Pasir Ris."
EUA Pasir Ris Hospital, EUA Pasir Ris, Singapore, Equatorial Union
"We're in…?" Leon murmurs, bewildered, "Sei… why are you…?"
"I got here by helicopter couple of hours ago with Kari," She explains. "You're going to have to thank your sister about that and Kari."
Leon frowns, looking at Kari. "You were with your aunt Lia?"
Kari nods, "Yeah, aunt Lia got me from those Blue Cosmos goons just last night. She also said to you that she's taken care of the ones who kidnap me."
Her father blinks, "What do you mean she took…" his face froze, looking at Sei. "She didn't…"
Sei nods grimly, "The guys who kidnapped Kari should be in the crime news section or the obituary."
"Your sister handled the whole affair quite well." Ken DiFalco spoke, "The Blue Cosmos cell didn't know what hit them. Quick and very efficient, just what you expect from the leader of the Wolves of Wind."
Leon blinks, holding up his hand. "Wait a minute, the Wolves of Wind was disbanded soon after the 58 Rebellion ended. Black Wolf will never allow Lia to just–"
"Actually, Hrunting…" A woman with dark blonde hair and blue eyes walks into the room. "…Black Wolf chose her to lead the Wolves."
Leon looks at her with surprise, "Shusui…"
Shusui smiles as she sat on the side of the bed, stroking his hair. "It's been a while, Leon."
The confused father nods, "It has. What do you mean the Black Wolf 'chose her to lead'? Wasn't the group…?"
His old comrade shook head, "Simply a ploy, to throw off the enemies we've made during the war."
Leon couldn't believe what he was hearing, his eyes narrow. "Then wasn't I at least informed? Do you realize what I went through because I thought I had no one to go to for help?"
Shusui looks down on the floor, "Black Wolf wanted you two to live a peaceful life, that's the reason why he chose Lia to lead the Wolves over you and Yoshino… and why we never told the truth of the disbanding."
"I can understand why you're angry," Shusui's grips on the cloth of the bed sheet. "If you knew, none of this would probably have happened. And you didn't have to do any of the terrible things they made you do. I'm sorry for that."
She looks at her old comrade in the eyes, "But please understand, Lord Shouka did what he felt was best for you and Yoshino."
Hearing her out, Leon's anger softened, "Then why didn't you act immediately on this?"
Shusui looks away, mortified, "We're not as good as we used to be in detecting these matters. You hid your entry into the EU very well, we didn't knew you were in the country, until last month."
That answer pretty much killed all the anger in Leon's heart.
"I see…" He suddenly felt mortified, suddenly having the desire to kick himself.
You're Kari's father, dumb ass. The Wolves aren't responsible for her, YOU are. So don't go blaming them.
Shusui shook her head, managing herself to smile. "Forget it, there's plenty of blame to go around."
Leon then looks the man who until last night was the one he had to kill, "And where do you fit into this, Commander?"
Ken nods, "Your sister, Lia, contacted me. She told me in exchange for the names of all Blue Cosmos members in the EU and in the East Asian Republic that if you came to kill me, that I would take you in alive."
The older man stares at him, "I'm not sure what you do these days, DiFalco, but I'm pretty sure that you can do that on your own."
DiFalco nods admittedly, "True, but what she promised me would be enough to save my intelligence teams months of information gathering. I am sure you are familiar with the risks in those kinds of things."
Gaiman nods his head, "Speaking of killing me, how did you… That last move you pulled, should've killed me. I know you used full force in that Tsubame Gaeshi, and that should have been fatal."
Ken nod admittedly, "Yes, it would have definitely killed you."
"This is," He then gives Leon one of his rare smiles, "If I used my sword the right way."
Leon blinks, Ken motions him to look at chest. The older man does just that, and was surprised to what he found, three deep bruises, clearly where the Griever touched his skin.
Confused at first, Gaiman quickly realizes their meaning, and smiles. "You devious little… you used the reverse edge of your blade."
Leon laughs a bit, shaking his head. "So… I guess I'm now a prisoner of the EURM, huh?"
"You've been one for the last few months." DiFalco make a gesture of decline, "No, You can leave as soon as your injuries heal if you wish."
"Or if you want," Another person enters the room. "You can always volunteer."
Leon sees a young man he hasn't seen in weeks, "Well, well, isn't it the EURM poster boy."
Rick Chung frowns, "Stop calling me that already."
"I'll think about it…" The older Equatorial smiles, "I guess you know the full story now huh?"
The young EURM soldier nods.
"I see…" He then shook his head, "And about joining the EURM, I was planning to go join before this whole mess started but… I'm not real sure now. Especially now after the stuff I've done in last few months."
Rick grins, "Oh, that. Well you don't have to worry about that, especially when people find out how OMNI Enforcer maintained your 'loyalty'."
"We started leaking information to the media," Shusui adds, stroking young Kariza's hair. "It won't be long for people to be putting two and two together."
"Like DiFalco said," Sei said. "Lia handled this real well."
"Yeah…" Leon murmurs, nodding. He looks toward Shusui, "Tell her I said thank you and I owe her."
Shusui nods, she then stood up. "I have to be going now, I see you."
"Can I see you and master…" He looks around to the others.
Shusui smiles to her
fellow Wolf, "It's alright to address him by his real name now,
and yes, master Shouka and I still live in the same place, 'til
He shook his head, watching her leave. "The Wind Wolves are still around huh? The EURM is in better hands than I thought."
"They've been a huge help to the EURM, they're our eyes and ears in the government since the start." Rick comments. "Y'know Gaiman, you'd be a great boost to morale if you join our ranks."
Leon looks at him, "Thanks for giving me this chance, there's no way I can turn it down."
Rick grins, "I'll let Gen. Kowen and Maj. Bauer know that you've accept the offer."
The older man blinks, also grinning. "Kowen and Bauer are still in the army? Tell those two dinosaurs that I said hello, okay?"
"You know the general and the major?"
"Hell yeah I do, I could tell you some interesting stories…" Leon chuckles, "Though I think they won't be happy if they find out."
He then hears murmuring at the door, Leon looks to that direction. "Is there somebody else out there, or is that just regular hospital activity?"
"Nah," One voice replies as three people enter. "You just have quite a lot of visitors out here."
Leon again sat up in surprise, hissing in the pain. "Kazi, Rob… Dan…? What the hell are you guys doing here?"
"We found out your story in the news and in the net," Kazi replies.
Leon winces, "Sorry… that I didn't tell you guys earlier."
"Forget it, we understand." She replies, "How're you doing Major?"
"I'm fine," Gaiman tries to stomach all of the large portions information being shoved at him. "So, you guys all defected? What about your families?"
Rakuzanka smiles, "Its okay, sir. Actually, I have confession to make. I'm a member of the RPLA."
Leon bats an eye, "Republic of Poland Liberation Army…? …Since when?"
"Ever since the end of the Bloody Valentine War, and my family's actually been living in Orb."
"What about you, Danny?"
The Californian shook his head, "I don't mind."
Leon doesn't bother asking Rob because he already knew his answer, Egan was an abandoned child who grew up in an orphanage, he didn't have a past to go back to.
So instead, he addresses all of them, "Have all of you thought this through?"
The trio nod without hesitation or regret.
He gives then a dimpled look, "Hope you three know what you're doing."
"I thought of leaving the AF to start with," Robert replies.
"I haven't seen my husband two daughters for so long," Kazi murmurs
"It's not like I have much family left anyway," Danny then grins, adding, "Besides, I heard the surfing in Orb's like in Hawaii."
"Hey Egan," a young female voice announces the arrival of yet more people. "Is surfing the only thing that guy ever thinks about?"
Egan looks to the door to see Leanne Eldridge and Tom Delaney enter the crowding room. "Yeah, that's pretty much it, he's a beach bumpkin after all."
Tom looks to Leon, giving a bow respect. "Maj. Gaiman, I like to give these back to you."
Delaney hands him something wrapped in a black cloth, when Leon held the covered item, he instantly recognized the weight and the shape he felt.
"The Bakuya and Kansho?" He undoes the cloth, revealing the deer-horn knives he used during his battle with DiFalco. He saw the blades were redone.
"I did a little work on them while you were unconscious," Tom began. "I polished the blades and changed the handgrips. I hope don't mind sir."
"Tom couldn't help himself, sir." Leanne said with a grin. "He was like a little kid with something new, when he first saw them."
Delaney scowls at her, them looks back at the man on the bed, "I was amazed by their craftsmanship, their masterworks as far I'm concerned. I could always bring it back the way it was if you prefer that way."
Leon examined the blades, with blade polished, the subtle difference of the weapons showed. The blade of Kansho was glistening white, while Bakuya was of a bluish shade, "No… this should be fine, I was hoping to look for the smith who made these weapons to restore it." He looks toward Tom. "Thank you."
Delaney bows his head, "I'm glad you're pleased with them."
"So they're named Bakuya and Kansho," Ken murmurs, seeing the slight contrast of color, "Named after the twin blades of the Spring and Autumn legend in Chinese History. Each blade represents the contrasting forces of the theory of Yin Yang, an apt name."
Gaiman nods, "They're a fitting name to their old owner as well, she was just no matter unforgivable the crime."
Leanne blinks, "These aren't your own weapons?"
The man shook his head, still looking at the blades, "They belong to my wife. In the Wolves of Wind, she was known as Gáe Buidhe, the Golden Wolf of Mortality. She too was an Alpha Wolf."
"I used Bakuya and Kansho because I needed to keep DiFalco off balance," He continued. "I presumed that I had a chance DiFalco if I used a weapon he never fought against before."
"It almost worked," Ken commented. "And I almost died because of it."
"That reminds me," Leon smiles at him, "You're truly something, DiFalco, despite the fact I killed you five times last night, you're still alive."
That remark earned a perplexed look from everyone in the room, including DiFalco.
"The double Tsubame Gaeshi you blocked was just a diversion." Leon began, looking at Ken knowingly. "The real attack was Zabaniya – Technique of the Delusional Heartbeat."
Falcon stared at him, at a loss. "One of the hallmark assassination techniques of Chūjō-Ryū, Zabaniya uses the force of an attack to deliver an invisible and fatal blow to the heart. That means those six attacks… No wonder I felt so weak after that…"
Leon nods, "I think one missed, but still, you survive five stabs to the heart. Your mechanical heart should have been more susceptible. But apparently, you have a well-built heart along with good condition training. One Zabaniya is usually enough to kill a normal person."
Ken blinked, realizing fours nights ago, he had to die five times to beat one man, five for one man.
Just outside of Los Angeles, California, Atlantic Federation
The quiet of the Californian countryside night was shattered by the sound of gunfire. The source of the disturbance came from a large country house. Its owner, a rich businessman based in the city. The shooting continued, muzzle flashes of guns firing rapidly were visible in the distance.
Guards littered the house's grounds, they were either bleeding to death from grave wounds or simply dead. Despite being military-trained and armed with high powered guns and body armor, all it took was three people to take them all down.
Inside the house, Gerard Cardinal, a relatively small-time Blue Cosmos member, had his back against the wall in fear as the unknown intruder had finished off his last guard.
"W-what…" Cardinal stammers, struggling to even speak. "W-what do you want?-!"
The intruder was a woman with golden brown eyes and long, wavy, ash brown hair. She wore a black dress suit and a dark blue floral shirt.
Lia stares at Cardinal, the man's eyes widen and his fear grew as he saw the weapon she held.
It was a katana, the blade so well-polished that it was almost like a mirror, the hilt bound with white cloth braided over the shark skin which was there for grip.
She was about to say something, when the sound of approaching footsteps interrupted her.
Several men armed with submachineguns and handguns rush toward the top floor office for their boss, the doors rips open letting the men in.
"Bastard!" One yelled as they all fire, Cardinal dove for it. The room quickly filled with gunfire, smoke and dust.
Lia breaks to a sprint, using her speed to evade and her sword to deflect.
"Argh…!" The blade carves through one guard's shoulder in a downward cut.
"She's behind us!"
What followed was a macabre sword dance. Lia cuts through every single one of them as though they were just standing there waiting to die.
As she fought – or more appropriately, slaughtered – the door opposite to the one the guards bursts open, a tall man with black hair, several individual strands dangled on his face, his brown eyes seem cold, calculating. The tall man wore a dark blue suit, the buttons closest to the collar undone.
As Hajime Saito walks in, scans the room and snorts, "Hardly worth the trouble…"
"But…"He grips the hilt of his katana, he dashes to one hapless guards and rolls out his sword. The guard's head lops off the body as though it was a hat. "…can't let our boss die now call we?"
Together, the two made short work of the room full of guards. In a mere few seconds, it was almost over.
Lia drives her blade into the last guard's chest, she whispers, "Aku Soku Zan."
She then twists the blade and cuts the last guard halfway from the middle of the stomach, a tear ran down her left cheek
"Swift death to Evil."
She silently wipes her blade with a cloth, when she was done Lia walks toward Cardinal.
"Let this…" She looks down to Cardinal, murmuring with tone that could freeze blood, "Let this be your one and only warning, don't you dare touch Leon Gaiman, his daughter or anyone acquainted with them. Or else… you can run, you can hide but you can never escape the grasp of the Wolves of Wind."
With that, she walks away, Saito following her.
Back where they left Cardinal, the man still shivered fear and had just realized he wetted himself.
Outside, Jake Linas stood at the door, seeing his two companions go down the stairs. He wore an unbuttoned brown shirt, a white t-shirt underneath and jeans, his blonde hair was bound by a ponytail. The guards he had dealt with were all lying on the ground with crossbow bolts sticking out of their bodies, his unassuming light green eyes looked at them calmly.
"Is done?" He asks, as the two approach him.
Lia simply nods.
As they pass him, he follows behind.
The three head toward the front, where the mobilesuits they came in with were. Two GAT-02L2 Dagger Ls armed with Aile Strikers and metal-grey mobilesuit that obviously used Phase-Shift Armor, that interestingly resembled True ZAFT's GAT-X105 Strike…
"So what is it that you want to discuss with me?"
Leon Gaiman asks the young eye-patch Ken DiFalco who was in his bedside, He only person in the room besides him was Rick Chung, who sat next to Ken. Sei left with Kari, who fell asleep while she was with her father. Rob, Kazi and Danny seem to have found a place within the EURM mobile forces already and were busy in the mobilesuit bay with Tom and Leanne.
Ken didn't answer immediately, Leon noted he seemed to be carefully thinking of words he should say.
"To be honest," DiFalco decided to go direct and straight to the point. "We'd like you to join a group…"
After Ken said what had to be said, which took about six minutes, he asks Leon the critical question, "Leon Gaiman, would you be willing to join Section Nine?"
Leon stares at him, astonished. "So, you're 'the Major' huh? You've been pretty busy."
"Our current resources and funds are paltry at best, Gaiman," Rick speaks out. "We could use guys like you, Ms. Satou and your men."
Leon looks at them, "Have you asked them too?"
Ken nods, "They've made their decisions. Of course, I can't tell what choices they chose, this is a decision you should make on your own. I completely understand if you decline, your daughter is your main priority after all."
"So," Ken says finally. "What is it going to be, Hrunting?"
Leon stares at them, his eyes then shift towards the picture on the nightstand beside his bed. The picture was a photo of him, Yoshino and their daughter, he carried that same picture into every battle he fought during the Bloody Valentine War as well as the battles he fought in this war.
His eyes focused on it, Leon Gaiman seemed to be lost in thought.
Abruptly, he snaps back to reality, looking toward "The Major" and Rick Chung.
Without uncertainty, frustration or repentance, Leon Gaiman responds.
Several more characters made some cameos here:
Shusui and mention of Lord Shouka Kou from Saiunkoku Monotagari/ Cloud Color Palace by Kaira Yura, Sai Yukino and Geneon
Jake Linas (or better known by people in America as Janus) from Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth by SquareEnix
Hajime Saito from Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki and SPE Visual Works
Kurz Weber, Sousuke Sagara and Melissa Mao from Full Metal Panic by Shoji Gatoh
Note: as of the time I'm writing this, I have never watched the anime or read the manga for FMP, so if the SRT members are acting OOC, sorry, I was working with badly limited info. I chose to use them largely because they were featured in Ominae's Owaru Day by Day Cry of the Falcon Sidestory. I was only recently got interested in this series but have yet to actually see it, but I wanted to feature them here and get some practice with them in case I'll do some fanfic work on FMP in the future – judging from the synopsis I'm reading all over the net, I just might. (Grins)
Well anyhow, I'm planning of making a follow up pre-CotF Sidestory while I'm doing my own ongoing AU, Gundam Seed: Iron Brotherhood. Its title will be, Cry of the Falcon: Spirit Astray. It'll start off as a collection of one shots of different Section Nine operations and events before the 2nd BVW, then after several chapters I'll skip to the "Break the World" and the story really kick off. Cross your fingers that I'll have enough time to do this though.
The Watchman here, heading out!