Ch 1: Funds
Timeframe: Season 1
Lelouch vii Britannia was a strategist, plain and simple. Whether he was leading the Black Knight rebellion or just playing some illegal high stake chess matches, the young man always had a set plan in mind and several backup ones should the first one fail. It was what made him so effective as Zero and being able to make his rebellion so successful. Well that and the whole mind control power thing.
Still, Lelouch had to admit to himself that not everything was good about planning a rebellion. Some aspects of the planning, he wished that he could avoid completely. The bi-monthly general meeting of the black knights occurring right now was one such example.
Underneath his mask Lelouch was quite able to show the frustration on his face for how long the current one was taking.
'Blah. Why did I set these things up, let alone come to them. I should have just had C.C do it for me'
Zero turned and glanced at C.C who currently seated to the right of him. The witch looked like she wasn't paying attention to anything being said because she wasn't. Too much attention was being focused on the cheese-kun being cuddled in one arm and the slice of pepperoni being eaten with the other.
'Then again, maybe not'
A few more minutes passed and Zero was pleased when the last issue was finally wrapped up.
"Very good." He called out loudly. "Now, if there are no more issues, we can adjourn…"
"Actually, I have one more thing I would like to bring up to the group."
Zero halted from getting up from his seat as he looked across the table. Diethart Lied. The man's skills and resources within the media made him a very valuable resource, one that the Black Knights could not do without. Therefore, Zero had made the reporter a member even if he could occasionally be a little too enthusiastic about Zero.
"Yes, go ahead"
Diethart smiled proudly. "I have come with an idea that will greatly assist our problem with a lack of funds and also further solidified your image within the people.
"What lack of funds?" Zero asked not even picking up on the second part. "I secured a great deal of funds from the Kyoto group not too long ago. Are you saying that we have used them up already?"
"Err no" Ohgi said taking over. "The funds have been a great boost for our military supplies and getting us more Knightmare frames. It is has given us a large advantage for future battles."
"Then what is the issue?"
"Well, the thing is…"
"We need money for ourselves." Tamaki blurted out.
"Excuse me?" Zero asked with a hint of surprise.
"We're spending all our time as rebels so we don't have time to have regular jobs. Some of us still need to have money for stuff like rent"
"Groceries" another member called out.
"Dates" Ohgi said in a low voice
"Some new clothes"
Kallen had been the person to say the last one and the girl immediately shut her mouth in embarrassment as she hadn't meant to blurt that out.
Zero sighed a bit. "So, how would you suggest we get this money Diethart? Do you want us to commit robberies?"
"No, I have a much better solution" the man replied back proudly. "Merchandise"
Silence followed as none of the black knights had a response to that and for the first time in several years, Lelouch's brain actually stopped working for a moment.
'Merchandise…' he thought to himself trying to grasp the meaning of the word.
"I can see that you are excited Zero," Diethart said looking at the emotionless reflective surface of Zero's mask. "Let me so some examples of the products I have in mind."
Reaching down, Diethart pulled up a small grey object and unrolled it revealing it to be a t-shirt with a large image of Zero's upper body and mask on the front.
"The Zero shirts would be a huge seller to the people of Japan. It comes in all sizes with a beautiful design on the front and with only natural fibers. Unfortunately it had to be made in China and not here, but I see the people as being able to overlook this small fact"
'What the hell is this man thinking?' Lelouch screamed inside his head.
"Diethart, I do not think this is a good idea. People will not want to wear an image of me on their clothes."
"Actually my research clearly shows that men and women in the 15 – 30 demographic would be very interested in Zero merchandise including shirts"
Her slice of pizza finished, C.C actually bothered to look up at what was going on and noticed the shirt.
"I want that" she stated with complete seriousness. "Give it to me"
Diethart shrugged and tossed the shirt over to the green haired girl. "I do actually have some more done up if anyone else would like one"
To Zero's dismay several hands shot up.
"Well if you do have extra ones…" Kallen said slowly raising her hand with a light blush on her face.
"Fine" Lelouch gritted out from behind his mask. "I suppose if these shirts are kept tasteful, they can be sold"
"Perfect" Diethart said his grin broadening even more. "Now then, moving along…"
"Wait, there's more stuff?"
Diethart pulled out another small object as he kept talking, "Of course there is. Behold!"
"I am Zero!"
Everyone suddenly stopped in place as they heard. Most of all Zero since it was his voice but he hadn't spoken anything. The rebellion leader now found that he was looking at an exact copy of himself across the table. Only the copy was 3 inches tall and looked to be made of some sort of plastic.
"A…toy?" Zero yelled out.
"Action figure" Diethart corrected calmly. "I think the likeness is very close"
"There is no way that I agree to have something like…that…given out to the public."
"But you haven't heard about all of its features. The cape is detachable. It has five different catch phrases all with your voice. And watch this."
Diethart pressed the side of the figure and its right arm suddenly moved up and down a bit.
"It even has a karate chop attack to show off your awesome physical strength"
While most people were in awe at the sight one person instead choose to start laughing.
"Hahahahahahaha" C.C laughed as she clutched cheese-kun trying not to fall out her chair.
"C.C, stop it" Zero hissed leaning in closer to her.
"Why? It's funny."
"Shut up or else"
C.C looked back with a smirk. "Or what? You're going to stop me with your awesome physical strength?"
Giving up on controlling C.C, Zero turned to the other person sitting beside him. "Kallen, you're still a voice of reason here and not insane. Please tell these people that this toy thing is complete and utter nonsense."
The ace pilot of the knights was silent for a few moments.
"Umm…do you think we could do a Guren action figure as well?" she asked hopefully.
"I don't see why not" Diethart replied back.
'It's official. My rebellion is screwed' Lelouch mused to himself as he let out a groan.
"Don't be like that Zero," Diethart said still keeping that idiotic smile on his face. "I still haven't told about my best idea yet."
"What's that? A lunch box?"
"No, even better. Your costume."
"People greatly admire and worship you Zero. They would jump for the opportunity to be able to dress up like their hero. At first, I thought this would be difficult to arrange but then I was able to find a supplier who had all the materials that were needed for your costume.
Sweat began to trickle down Lelouch's face as he heard that. 'Crap. How did he manage to find the supplier for my costumes? I had covered all the bases. If he keeps digging around there he might find something to trace the original purchases back to me. Damn it. For now, I will just have to remain calm so that none of them suspect anything'
"What a strange coincidence." Zero suddenly blurted out.
"Err yes, I guess it is" Diethart replied. "Now, as to selling, I thought…"
"Diethart," Zero said quickly cutting the man off, "Did it ever occur to you what would happen if a Britannia officer saw someone wearing one of these costumes?"
"…oh. I guess people dressing up as you could cause some disturbances."
"Exactly. So we will not be doing that"
"Forgive me Lord Zero. In all my excitement I overlooked that fact. In hindsight, I probably should not have ordered so many of them in advance now"
"Indeed," Zero said at first but then added on out of curiosity, "And how many costumes did you actually order?"
"Well I wanted to make sure we had enough for all sizes"
"Yes. But how many?"
"And there was also a wide variety of colors to choose from"
"Diethart" Zero screamed out causing the rest of the Black Knights to flinch and start nervously backing away from the table. "I will ask you one more time. Exactly, how many did you buy?"
A panicked look formed on the reporter's face as he finally gave a response his voice just above a whisper. "A million"
The Black Knights began to search around the room for hiding places.
"A million! You ordered a million of my costumes? What is wrong with you? Why the hell would you order that many costumes?"
"It's a lot cheaper to buy them in bulk, you see…"
"Enough!" Zero roared getting out of his chair slamming his fists on the table. "This meeting is over! And none of you are to ever bring or mention these damn costumes ever again! Got it?"
Zero didn't wait for a response as he turned and stormed out of the room. A few moments passed and C.C got up and calmly followed as if nothing was the matter. As soon as they were gone, Diethart let out a sigh of relief.
"Well, that could have gone better. At least he didn't object to the shirts and action figure." Reaching for the toy again, he pressed a button on its back.
"Victory is mine!"
Away from the rest of the knights, Lelouch ripped off his mask revealing the upper half of his head, eyes full of rage with his geass constantly going. C.C walked up beside him.
"Cheese-kun likes his new shirt" she said not helping as she held up the toy showing that it was now dressed in the Zero t-shirt.
Lelouch didn't say anything and continued glaring wishing the geass did actually work on her.
"Oh give it a rest. It's not that bad. Besides, maybe those costumes will come in handy some day."
Despite all of his anger, Lelouch managed a small chuckle at that.
"C.C, that is one the stupidest things you have ever said. A million Zero costumes. Please. I swear to you that there will never be a situation where I will have to use those"