Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Fated Shift

Chapter Four: Death's Advance, a Hawk's Challenge, an Angel's Protection

"I'm going out there, Captain! Tell Luke and Gail to board their Mobius!"

The man left the bridge before ship's skipper could so much as speak. The door hissed open without command. He grabbed a lever he found at the start of the hall. It instantly responded by dragging him with it. In zero gravity, he felt as if he were flying. He let go when it reached the far end. The momentum catapulted him down the corridor. He flew past the threshold of another automatically opening door. He stopped himself by putting a hand between himself and a group of lockers lined up against the room's long walls. He smiled to himself. Swift and accurate like always, he found himself at his locker. He tore it open and changed his clothes. Within the space of 45 seconds, he changed into his flightsuit. It was colored in three distinct colors: black and grey ran from his collar bone down to his shoes in a race of colors. The royal purple dominating the shoulders dripped down his to rule his sleeves. His grey colored gloves cradled his helm under his left arm. It was almost completely black except for the purple dying the helmet's crown. At the helm's pointed forehead was a pair of white feathers adorning either side.

Mu La Flaga shifted his crested helm over his handsome blonde head. It clicked into place… The Earth's Ace of Aces was ready for battle.

Hundreds of meters away on the Vesalius' bridge, Rau Le Creuset felt a familiar pressure in the underside of his mind. The slight bit of pleasure from his team's huge victory grew tenfold. His impassive expression was shattered by a feral smile. His teeth shone like knives. If the Heliopolis mobile weapons were the prize then this was his lightning round.

"C-c-commander…?" He looked down on Ades. He seemed to be a bit unnerved by Le Creuset's hungry smile. The killing intent rolled off the masked man in waves. He regained his composure. The calm, quiet Le Creuset was back again.

He frowned at his ship's captain. "What is it, Ades?"

"Sir…" Ades coughed into his hand. He spoke quietly. "The Aurora is coming back…" He hesitated. He almost seemed embarrassed to say it. "Olar says he was damaged in the fight against Alliance mobile armors. He managed to kill two before being damaged by a third unit. Reports say it's a Mobius Zero. Painted orange… I thought that…"

"Thank you, Ades…" Le Creuset raised a hand. Ades stopped mid-sentence. He already knew what he was going to say. The Mobius Zero squadron was supposed to have been decimated at the Grimaldi Front. In a last ditch effort to send ZAFT packing from the moon's surface, they set off the Cyclops System. An array of microwave emitters buried under the Earth Forces Endymion crater base. Majority of ZAFT's forces on the moon were lost in the destruction. The Earth wasn't without its losses fortunately. Their elite Mobius Zero Corps. fell in the aftermath. All except one that is… Their single survivor was hoisted above all others who served for his exemplary bravery in the face of the enemy. He was awarded medal after medal. They named him Hawk of Endymion, Ace of Aces in all the Earth's Sphere. He took down five GINNs during the final battle of the Endymion all by himself. Such a feat for a Natural should been impossible. It took several normal type Mobius units to kill a single basic GINN. The TS-MA2mod.00 Mobius Zero was far from a typical mobile armor. The unit had a total of nine guns: two on each gunbarrel of the four mounted on the fighter's tail end and one linear gun on the bow. When the gunbarrels deployed, they guided by wires controlled by the pilot's direct commands and feedback from an advanced targeting computer.

Not just anybody could pilot these special machines. An equally unusual type of pilot was required to make it live up to its true potential. Exceptional spatial awareness was an incredibly rare talent among both sides of the war. The Earth was the leader in spatial awareness weapons. ZAFT, on the other hand, ignored developing them. There were fewer Coordinators who possessed the prerequisite special abilities to operate such complex systems. Besides, it wasn't like they needed them. ZAFT had the edge in the mobile suit. Naturals weren't capable of constructing them let alone using them. Many Coordinators would've scoffed at the thought of Natural use mobile suits. Until now…

Le Creuset and his outfit were here for this very reason. He kicked off the floor, floating towards the elevator. Ades looked over his shoulder curiously. "Sir? Where are you going?"

The vicious smile from before appeared on the masked commander's face. Looking back at Ades, he said casually. "I'm going to swat an annoying fly." Le Creuset vanished behind the hissing elevator door. A shudder passed through Captain Fredrick Ades. Times like this were when he regretted joining the Le Creuset Team.

Mu wasn't surprised ZAFT found out the secret Heliopolis factory. It was bound to be unveiled sooner or later. This time it was sooner rather than later. Mu cursed to himself softly. Escorting the G-Weapon test pilots was supposed to be a simple operation. Go from point A to point B. Easy, right? With Rau Le Creuset on his tail, nothing was…

Mu could feel him. He wasn't sure where… He never knew where Le Creuset would come from: Above, below, or behind. Anywhere at any time Le Creuset could appear almost from the ether. No matter what, Mu was at the ready.

"This is Miguel Aiman! Emergency! I've lost control of my machine!"

Ades patched Miguel's message to Le Creuset's cockpit speakers. He frowned. Le Creuset never expected this kind of difficulty. His elites were being downed left and right. There were major casualties in the green commandos he deployed. The reds were less. Rusty Mackenzie lost his life in the chaos. In its own way was disappointing, he invested a lot of time and resources into getting Mackenzie into top form this special operation. His loss was acceptable… The mission was an overall success. Five out of seven of the known G-Weapons were in his possession. They were undergoing adjustments and investigation as he sat here.

His operation was pretty much complete. He simply had a few loose ends to tie up now. He supposed the first was more fun than anything else. He wanted to mess with Mu again... Slowly break him until he is ready to shatter into a million pieces. The second was more personal… Miguel had smudged his immaculate reputation. Le Creuset was going to wipe it clean.

Le Creuset walked his machine to the catapult. Its bulky pearly white bulky body gleamed in the hangar's flood lights. The mobile weapon's whites became more sterile and its black firearms shined. Keying his radio, Creuset ordered Ades. "When I sortie, recall all remaining mobile suits. Give them a taste of Equipment Grade D."

"Grade D?" Ades questioned. Equipment-D was a heavy weapons load out used for full on battles against fortresses. He chuckled at the puzzled expression Ades made on the monitor. "It'll all make sense soon enough, Captain."

The pearly white CGUE took off. Its giant thrusters spat white hot fire, aiding Le Creuset in his pursuit. He pushed onward until he was near the colony's outer wall. He slowed himself to an idle drift. He knew La Flaga could pick him up easily on his heat signature if he used his main thrusters too much. He used his CGUE's main cold adjustment verniers to maneuver himself. Why go to such trouble when he had the technological advantage? It was the nature of their game: Predator and prey, cat and mouse. Le Creuset fancied himself the Hunter and La Flaga the Hunted.

His machine's alarms sounded off. Dozens of meters ahead, La Flaga patrolled. He knew he was looking for him. He kept his head on swivel just for him. This touched Le Creuset in an odd way. "I know you can feel me, Mu." Le Creuset hissed. His voice dripped with hatred. The hate wasn't the same petty fear driven brand the people in the PLANTs and on Earth carried for each other. Their scorn for each other was a cold, chilling blizzard reaching shared by the deepest and darkest depths of their souls. Their loathing connected them to fate itself. They couldn't exist without the other just as light couldn't exist without shadow. Without the other there was no meaning. No purpose for being, other than to take up space in an already shrinking cosmos.

Yet, with in the cruel depths of hate there existed a type of happiness. A twisted opium that only could be extracted in times of violence. It ran through his veins like fire; Giving him a sense of limitless power and eternal joy. It all fell into place right then. The universe seemed to make sense. For brief moment in time, perfection was achieved through their chaotic dance.

Le Creuset didn't know if Mu felt the same. He didn't want to know… If he knew, he might have stopped hating him. He couldn't share anything with him. Not as long as he was that man's son. "The call of vengeance links us…Mu La Flaga." Le Creuset sneered. His mobile suit raised its rifle and fired.

Le Creuset knew Mu wouldn't be caught dead so easily. His eyes were as sharp as the bird of prey he was named after. He skillfully evaded any damage. Somehow, La Flaga's Zero had slipped behind him. Its four massive gunbarrels separated, firing a volley on the CGUE's every side. He was outgunned and at a severe disadvantage. He wouldn't have had it any other way.

Le Creuset vanished from La Flaga's line of sight. From above he attempted to pelt the Zero with his own fire. La Flaga's gunbarrels returned to the fuselage, boosting him to the side and away from danger. Mu and Le Creuset dodged and weaved and traded for fire for minutes on end. Neither of them seemed to yield results.

Le Creuset cursed harshly under his breath. Pure hatred dripped from his gums when he spoke. "You're always standing in my way, Mu! Perhaps I should do you the same service?" Unleashing his shield mounted chain gun on Zero, he unexpectedly changed course. "Away we go…" Le Creuset murmured, a slight smile tugging on his lips. His CGUE entered Heliopolis through a side harbor. Le Creuset saw Mu following him inside on his monitor.

Le Creuset laughed to himself. He could hear Mu cursing his very existence. He knew for sure his rival would follow him. Le Creuset knew Mu had an inkling this was a trap. None the less, Mu would trail behind. Always… Because the invisible threads of fate connected them. Where ever either of them went the other would be tugged behind ever if they were dragged into Hell's freezing depths. Le Creuset felt a knife of cold go up his spine. He knew Mu felt it as well… That was how deep their hate was for each other.

"Goddammit…" Mu cursed out loud. He gave chase to the ZAFT mobile weapon, zipping and bounding through the constricted spaceport. Mu's Zero scraped the side of a cruiser. The sound of metal on metal grated against his ear drums like nails on a chalk board. He knew it was going to be a bitch to buff out. In the wink of an eye, Le Creuset led him into Heliopolis's Central Shaft. It was the colony's literal back bone and the source of all industry in the colony. If someone fought inside here, the result wouldn't be pleasant. Damaging the shaft would also severely degrade the colony's structural integrity. Meaning, if the shaft went down the entirety of Heliopolis would vanish along with it. Le Creuset weaved around buildings, using them as shields, and occasionally firing back at him.

It was a coward's tactics. He knew Le Creuset didn't care. His blood ran cool like a reptile's. He used any means necessary to win a battle; Even if it meant a colony or two full of millions collapsed into the empty vacuum. A small part of Mu respected that, an extremely miniscule part pounded into him from his brutal career. At his core he was still human, he couldn't bring himself to harm innocents for the sake of his petty grudge. He hesitated no matter how many times over he could've killed Le Creuset. If he fired…Mu couldn't bear to imagine the consequences.

Le Creuset, the ever cunning bastard, didn't have such qualms. He fired accurately in the light of Mu's indecision. His gunbarrels vanished into dust one by one. Mu grinded his teeth in frustration, he dodged narrowly around Le Creuset's fire. In the back of his mind, he felt Le Creuset taunting him. There was no room for kindness in the middle of a war. Not in a fight between bitter rivals.

"Admirable, Mu…" Le Creuset whispered. "But still foolish!" Lining up his sights, he switched up his rifle's clip for a different ammo type. The light rounds he had for hunting mobile armors simply would not do. He switched up to a heavier armor piercing clip, discarding the lighter ammo into zero gravity. Le Creuset fired and Mu juked to the side. What Mu didn't realize was he wasn't aiming for him. The shaft's wall was rendered into nothing. Le Creuset slipped through his newly created exit while the dust was still high.

.

Mu gasped in horror. The Central Shaft rumbled violently. Even in the center of chaos, he didn't falter. Mu went through the gaping hole… He hoped Heliopolis would hold up.

"I'm tellin' you people I'm not with ZAFT!"

Murrue messaged her temples. She never wanted to shoot anybody more now. The ZAFT soldier who K.O.-ed himself a couple of minutes ago woke up. He hadn't stopped talking ever since… He'd denied allegations of being a ZAFT soldier despite the overwhelmingly red evidence he wore on his person. You couldn't catch a criminal more red handed if he were dipped in evil intent and sent into town with a death ray. With that in mind… Why didn't she put a bullet in his head? She supposed she was much too nice for her own good.

"Yeah right…" Tolle sitting on the red's back to restrain him snorted derisively. "If that's so, why're you wearing that uniform? Nobody who's not in ZAFT would dream of wearing that."

"Duh, Asshole!" The ZAFT soldier said loudly. Murrue could imagine him rolling his eyes. He explained to him as if he were a tad simple. "That's 'cause I stole it! The guy wearing it didn't need it anymore! Bein' dead and all! I was lucky to find 'im… He was the only guy who didn't shit himself. Guy was smart enough to evacuate himself beforehand. He didn't wanna embarrass himself when he came home in a pine box, I guess." He shrugged under Tolle's weight. Tolle made a disgusted face. Murrue felt her own stomach turn. She hoped this brat was lying. His story was simply too screwed up for words.

"If I could, Rusty Mckenzie…" The 'ZAFT' soldier continued sadly. "I'd salute ya right now… You were obviously not a total douche bag. Not like some dicks who call themselves friends. 'I'll pick you up when ZAFT attacks' my finely tanned ass." He did a mocking interpretation of some else's voice. It was high pitched and dumb sounding. "'We can't do this, Keijiro. That's wrong…'. You'd think he was my effin' conscience or somethin'." He said in a low growl. "I swear I'll kick his douche bag ass all the way to…"

"Wait…" Miriallia spoke up, cutting him off all together. "You're Keijiro aren't you? Daisuke's friend?"

"Huh?" The restrained soldier tilted his head slightly. "How d'ya know my name, hot stuff?"

Tolle scowled. He punched Keijiro in the arm. Keijiro would've stifled a few choice words of his if he were the type with a clean mouth. "Her name is Miriallia Haw, dufus. She's my girl so keep the smooth talk to a minimum."

"Fair enough." Keijiro allowed. He scowled under his helmet. "You've got a lot of balls hittin' Keijiro Mishima like that. I think I like you…" He added with a snuggery sweet voice. "Get off me and I'll be your best friend."

"Not a chance, Mister ZAFT…" Tolle said simply. "If I let you go… Well, I dunno what might happen. Just because you're Daisuke's friend doesn't mean you're gonna get off. To think you were with ZAFT this entire time… You ought to be ashamed of yourself using your friend to infiltrate our home."

"I told ja I'm not with ZAFT!" Keijiro snapped once again. Murrue wondered if this dumb kid knew how to do an inside voice. "I stole this smelly assed suit from a dead guy. Besides-"

"Where's the truck?" Murrue groaned out of pure irritation. She was starting to get a headache from Keijiro's incessant babbling. She got from the bench she sat on and walked forward a dozen paces. She furiously squinted at the distance… It didn't make the truck come any faster. "I sent them out to get it fifteen minutes ago… What's taking them so long?"

Suddenly, things got very quiet. Murrue grabbed her gun… Did the ZAFT Soldier escape? Instead of getting violent, Murrue raised an eyebrow at the strange interaction going on before her eyes.

"Thank you!" Keijiro exclaimed happily. Tolle slipped the red helmet off his head, revealing a black colored mane of red splotched hair. Not all of it was the dark red highlights going along jagged paths in his hair. He looked up at them with big yellow cat like eyes framed by a tan face. A messy goatee sprouted around his equally dirty mouth. The fingers of black flames from a tattoo unseen thanks to the space suit's collar licked at his neck. For his age, he was a very big boy. He was almost about the size of a full grown man. A lot of things about this boy seemed to scream punk. If this kid was a ZAFT soldier, she was the Chief Representative of Orb.

Tolle held the helmet up to his face and grimaced. "God… You were right this thing smells like ass."

"And death…" Keijiro said humorlessly. Frowning deeply, he shook himself at the very thought of the smell. "I didn't clean all the brains out of there. Can somebody pick this shit outta of my hair? I think it might be settling into my scalp." He whined, practically begging for their help. Murrue never thought she'd hear the "legendary" Keijiro Mishima groveling. She heard rumors of a gang of Mishima "Yakuza" led by the just and strong Keijiro. They righted wrongs and brought the unjust to justice. Within the space of six months of him appearing, all the local gangs and known crime syndicates vanished off the face of the map. He either forced them to join his gang or spaced them. That was the rumor, anyhow… She never read anything in the paper about space based deaths recently. More than enough arrests were prominent. Just the other week a major crime boss visiting from Earth was jailed for possessing illegal goods. The newspaper credited the police with big break on the major case. The word on the street was the exact opposite. The aptly named Akumetsu, named by local Japanese store owner whose shop was saved from robbery by the vigilantes, were the real heroes. The name Akumetsu quickly caught on for the people of Heliopolis. The "Destroyers of Evil" or Akumetsu became a name synonymous with Justice, Hope, Peace, Goodness, and Fear. Justice for the criminals who threatened the Peace of society, Hope for those trapped in a darkening world at war, a boon to let people know there was still Goodness thriving in the world, and finally Fear for those outlaws hiding in the shadows possibly thinking of sparking their recidivism.

Some people considered them heroes to be praised for their goodhearted efforts. Others had only scorn for them… thinking Akumetsu wasn't any better than the criminals they persecuted. Murrue kept out of the discussion when it was brought up in her local drinking hole. She didn't want to get into it… It wasn't her home. No matter how much she wanted this peaceful haven to be just that.

Murrue closed her eyes for a moment. She took a moment to get her head back in the game. Once again, Murrue Ramius was composed for business. She left the weird sight of Tolle scratching Keijiro's multicolored head for the kneeling Strike. Maybe the X-105 was an eerie thing to witness itself. Murrue never thought she would see Natural use combat mobile suits come into being. Yet, here it was before her kowtowing to her like she was royalty. Weirder still… Her theoretical enemy was piloting her titanic knight. Murrue wished the irony had failed to reach her.

Letting out a long suffering sigh, she thought to herself. Just take it one step at a time, Murrue. Just take it one step at a time. It was a mantra she'd used over and over again until she finally settled her uneasy mind. "Alright…" She breathed in and out. "Time to let your officer training take control."

She hoped to Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit nobody heard her right then. Last thing she needed to show to these children was weakness. She was the final wall between them and complete destruction. She felt confidence flowing through her again. She hoped her reassurances instilled a permanent firmness inside her.

"Kira!" She called up to his perch in the Strike. All she could hear for a moment was furious typing. It was good to know someone else other than her was doing their job. "Can you try and make contact with allied forces again? There has to be somebody alive out there!"

A weary "Yes, ma'am" was all she got from him. Considering the way she coerced these young people into helping her, a weary answer was the best Murrue could continue to hope for.

A cold, dull emptiness gripped Natarle Badgiruel's world. She floated in stagnate space for what seemed like forever. Never moving, and never changing. All she did up to this point was a life wasted.

Or maybe not… Natarle stirred awake, she felt something bump against her. Her dark violet eyes fluttered open. Her head throbbed terribly. She hadn't had a migraine this bad since the morning after her Naval Academy graduation party. The body she woke up next to wasn't as warm or ugly as the one she woke up next to that very awkward morning. Natarle didn't realize where she was for several seconds. Regaining her bearings wasn't difficult. She'd always been quick on her feet. Maybe not in her feet in this case… She was ten feet off the ground and intimately close with an individual of the dead variety. Natarle gently shoved the man aside, as handsome as he was she knew her parents wouldn't approve. Necrophilia wasn't very popular with them or anybody for that matter.

She frowned deeply. She recognized the man's face. He was an officer, right hand man of Captain O'Neil. His name escaped her… Natarle had just met him minutes before in the command room viewing the Archangel's grandiose form. He was escorting her and the other new blood to the Archangel for their integration into her crew. They were chatting about the Archangel's specifications when it all happened. The ground shook and… She didn't know what happened next. She woke up here this man's arms wrapped around her. Natarle had a grim realization.

"You shielded me, didn't you?" She whispered. A mix of guilt and appreciation escaped her. "Thank you, Commander Rankin." She saluted the late Commander crisply. "Your sacrifice won't be in vain…" She used the ceiling as a spring board. Natarle bounced through the zero gravity hallways. She hit a door she knew lead to the Archangel. The usually automatic door didn't move at her presence. She hit the various buttons on the console by the door. No matter how many button combinations she hit, a beep repeated her denial. Out of pure frustration, she pounded her fist against the metal door. Natarle cursed harshly. Her dainty knuckles pulsed with pain.

At this rate she'd have to… A sound interrupted her thoughts. A metallic thud resounded down the hallway from her. "Ensign Badgiruel!" A familiar voice drew her over. She did 180 degree turn, Natarle was never so glad to see a familiar face. Arnold Neumann, a member of the Archangel Bridge crew, floated towards her. "There you are!" He practically shouted worriedly at the top of his lungs. "Are you okay?"

"I'm no worse for wear, Chief Neumann." She replied dismissively. Already, she kicked herself away from the door past Neumann. As always, Natarle Badgiruel was all business and no hesitation. "Hurry!" She barked. Natarle shot out down the hallway like a fresh round cracking from the barrel of a gun. "We need to get to the Archangel pronto!"

Arnold blinked, watching Natarle vanish around a corner. "Ensign… The Archangel's the other way."

"I knew that!" Natarle snapped, reappearing in the intersection then disappearing into the metallic corridor beyond. Newman grinned to himself. He spotted a slight embarrassed blush on her face. A person in the military might consider that a moment of incompetence, but Arnold found it endearing. It was nice to see past the iron hard exterior for once. He hoped he'd get the chance-

"Are you coming or not, Neumann!" Neumann flinched slightly at the sound of her earsplitting command. The echo of it reverberating through the stark quiet halls made it all the worse. Neumann stammered a weak "yes ma'am". He followed like an obedient soldier. He ventured to guess digging up the real Natarle would be difficult.

Not to mention time consuming…

Kira took a deep breath… He let it out slowly. He had to fight the temptation to squish the woman threatening him with the gun. He sank into the Strike's seat. He might as well be glued to the seat. As long as that woman had the gun, she had the hand in this situation. He had the gun as well: A very big powered down gun. He bided his time until he could get the power pack the Earth Forces officer promised to him was delivered by Sai and Kuzzey. Kira didn't know what he was going to do then. He didn't want to kill her… That was for sure. The thought of him committing such an unspeakable act sickened him to the core. He dismissed the thought totally.

Kira heard a rumble of an engine coming to a complete halt outside. He hadn't the slightest clue of what he was going to do. Kira wished Athrun was here to tell him what to do. He was always the one who had the plan. He prepared while Kira just dawdled. Athrun was the soldier… He was the victim of circumstance. The difference between the two boys was too great.

Where's your conviction from before? Kira inwardly asked himself. He felt no conviction rise in his heart. An empty thud against the mind's walls was all he got. Reality was Kira Yamato was a scared kid trapped in a situation beyond his control. He would've traded a piece of his soul for a solution. No Devil popped on his shoulder to give him an offer he couldn't refuse. A divine hand didn't reach out from the Ether to rescue him. All he had was himself to rely on. Survival was a hell of a crash course on the real world.

Another lesson was on its way from the school of Life and Death. For what seemed like the hundredth time today, the ground quivered as if in throes of indescribable agony. It wasn't simply the ground that seizured, Heliopolis's entire cylindrical frame strained all the way down to its most simple nuts and bolts. If things went on this way for much longer, the colony's fate would indeed be terminal.

Kira didn't give the coming destruction much thought. His head snapped up, focusing on the Strike's view screens. The central shaft had suddenly exploded, creating a great cloud of debris in its wake. From the destruction emerged two battling blurs colored bright bird orange and the other colored pale rider white. The orange bird was a fighter and the pale manifestation of death was a mobile suit. The two cut through the air, carving a deadly dance of their own through the colony. The mobile armor pulled up to narrowly dodge a barrage of gattling cannon fire only to have the great titan appear right above it. Deftly it cut though its cannon mounted on its bow. Just as soon as it stuck the bird, it pealed off from their devilish dance. Almost as if it had forgotten something, the mobile suit's evil single evil red eye glanced back his former opponent. The mobile armor was weaponless and therefore powerless. He couldn't hope to do much more damage unless it wanted to risk one last suicidal charge. The mobile suit didn't seem to care. Lose ends left untied were still risks. It raised its arm, the cannon mounted on its shield spun furiously and unloaded a volley of fire. All of the shots it fired seemed to miss its proscribed target. Except for one… That last round pierced the mobile armor's thrusters. Its tail smoked something dangerous. Fire belched out at the wrong points until it regurgitated red hot one last red hot flame. The orange bird fell from the sky. No one could be sure about its precious cargo.

The deathly white giant continued onward towards Kira, promising nothing but destruction to him and everything he knew. Kira screamed at the top of his lungs. Out of fear or challenge? He truly couldn't tell. All he knew was his life was on the line. Weapons snapped together with his mobile knight's steel frame. The chassis lit up unlimited sky blue, challenging red, and shining knight white. Kira took a step forward, weapons powered to full capacity. This battle might be his…

Another boom shook the world to the core and lit a fire of hope up in dire times. A grand angel of protection would challenge death. Kira's heart skipped a beat. He'd never seen a more beautiful sight in his life. For a moment, he had the feeling everything would be alright.