Talia looked at the report in her hand for the final time before putting on the table. She then shifted her attention toward Meyrin who was standing in front of her. "You have been cleared of all suspicion," the Minerva captain while gesturing for the cuff on the SCCS operator to be removed. "You will be given a day off before you're to report to your normal duty."
"Thank you," Meyrin said before saluting and left the room.
Lunamaria and Athrun were waiting for her outside the room.
"So, how is it?" Lunamaria asked while eyeing her sister's unbound hands. "You're proven innocent, right?" she asked as the three of them walked along the corridor.
"Yes, and I'm given a day off."
Lunamaria snorted derisively. "As suspected from her, the unfeeling bitch."
"She's just doing her job," Athrun said in a placating manner.
"Yeah, right. She didn't know her people that much that just a tiny little thing and it's off to the brigs you go."
"She just had me confined me to a room," Meyrin reasoned.
"That's still imprisonment in my book." The elder sibling said. "Look, we've been having this conversation again and again. You have to stand up for yourself or else other people would take advantage of your kindness."
Meyrin chucked nervously. She knew that it was not easy for Captain Talia to decide to 'frame' her and she could understand why the reasoning behind that decision. Even though Elaine was her friend, the former's involvement in the current conflict had disturbed her; how could someone involved with ZAFT's top secret project ended up working against it?
Yet, after all her snooping around, she was nowhere to unraveling the twisted maze of secrecy. However, she did manage to find out that Rey's real mission apart from subduing Prometheus was to retrieve the other two mobile suits, Epimetheus and Menoetius.
Even though Captain Talia didn't say anything upon finding out about it, Meyrin guessed that a plan had been made to deal with him when the situation arrived.
Sometimes, Meyrin was envious of her sister whose perception of the current war was rather simple: Alliance is the enemy, shoot the enemy, the enemy cries, the enemy waves the white flag and everyone lives happily ever after. Okay, perhaps she was being sarcastic in that regard but sometimes hearing her sister's idealistic viewpoints made Meyrin felt that that the only path to happiness is paved with ignorance.
Well, it's a good thing Lunamaria didn't know that Meyrin had a jaded and cynical side to her or else the elder sister would be very disappointed by the failure to maintain her 'innocence' and 'childlike' quality.
Still, Meyrin couldn't help but feel happy at her sister's attention on her even though it could be exasperating and stuffy at times.
"I did contact her," Athrun said, "But it seemed that she's changed somewhat,"
Meyrin quickly turned her attention towards the conversation between Athrun and her sister. It wouldn't do for her sister to notice her being in deep thought; Lunamaria would probably misinterpret her expression signifying that she has a big problem, and hence hound her for an explanation.
"What do you mean changed?" Lunamaria asked.
"Well, I think her dressing has changed a bit; she looked sexier and more daring in her getup, though I'm not really sure. Despite being my fiancée, I don't really know her that well. We rarely met in person despite maintaining constant communication via video call" He stroke his chin. "Hm… Now that I think of it, Kira and I may have met her when we're small. There were four of us playing in the park at that time…Huh?"
"What's wrong?" Meyrin asked, eager to show that she was paying attention to the conversation.
"Nothing, just that I only remember Kira and that girl but somehow I can't recall…"
Before he could finish, he was shoved to the wall to his left from someone behind him. Lunamaria got the same treatment and was about to yell indignantly when she saw the culprit.
Talia passed by hurriedly, not even apologizing as she did so. "Meyrin, your leave is cancelled. You're to report to the bridge in an hour."
"What the hell with her?" Lunamaria asked while rubbing her shoulder that hit the wall.
"She's really pissed, that's for sure," Dearka's voice came from behind the three of them.
Athrun turned around to see the man was accompanied by Nicol. "Do you know the cause?"
Nicol shared a confused look with Dearka. "Haven't you heard the latest news? Archangel had disappeared from our long range sensors."
Neumann considered that he's quite a good pilot, even secretly believing that he was better than most of ZAFT's ship pilots. So, he had no problem piloting Archangel through space junk fields or even asteroid belts. But what he was doing at that time was something bordering crazy that it challenged all of his piloting skill as well as his sanity.
When Murrue mentioned about his current task which was to fly into Sahara through Indian Ocean and Red Sea, it seemed simple enough, albeit a bit taxing. Doing it in a middle of a raging sand storm? If he was to borrow a gaming term from Asuka, performing the feat would be labeled as 'insanely difficult level'.
Neumann pulled the flight control toward him with a little too much force, even though the control was fully fly-by-wire, and the ship ascended for a moment before a gust of wind pushed it downward. For countless time already, he managed to prevent the ship from crashing into the ground. "Captain, I've been wondering… Did Mwu come up with this?"
"Wow," Mwu uttered. "How do you know about that?"
"Other people suggest tactics that are borderline zany but not you. You don't have to do it at the border since you already the country's ruler and the capital is named after you."
The blonde ace chuckled. "Thank you. I have to say the coup was bloodless, the first in the Zanyland."
"I guessed as much" Neumann remarked before chuckling as well.
"I don't get the joke," Romario complained at the rather strange behavior being displayed by the two.
Murrue glanced toward Abby only to see that the CIC operator was shaking her head. "You're not alone," she said. "Whatever they're talking about, it's beyond other people's comprehension. But for the record, I wouldn't simply agree with the tactic if it's not beneficial for us."
While getting Archangel to fly through night during sand storm was suicidal at best and plain stupid at worst, doing so would allow the ship to fly through vast stretches of land without being picked up easily by both Alliance and ZAFT's radar stations in the region as well as reducing the chance of being sighted visually. Also, the other reason for the movement was to put the distance between the ship and its pursuer. From what short time she has spent communicating with the captain of Minerva, the captain seemed to be a rational and calculated person. Thus, such an unorthodox move wouldn't be expected and would allow Archangel to escape.
Even when the ZAFT captain finally realize her strategy, by then it would already be too late. Once the sandstorm abated, it would be unthinkable for Minerva to give chase as doing so would require it to be airborne and once that happened, Alliance would scramble all of their aircrafts in the sector and fire all available long range interceptor missiles at the ship.
In a single risky move, multiple objectives could be achieved rather easily.
"Hey, aren't we're heading towards that ZAFT's commander's sector? You know, the famous Andrew Bartfeld?" Neumann suddenly asked.
"Come to think of it…" Mwu trailed.
"Let me guess, this tactic is also intended for us to walk into the lion's den?"
"Fly, not walk. Talking about that…." The blonde stood up and made an exaggerated bowing movement. "Well come to the den of 'Desert Tiger'.
"Tiger?" Neumann said incredulously.
Andrew Bartfeld looked at the wet brownish stain on his uniform. "Damn! That's a waste of Tarrazu," he said regretfully. The coffee grown in Tarrazu region of what used to be Costa Rica in United States of Southern America was quite difficult to get owing the instability in the region, so much so that when its price peaked, its price was almost as expensive as gold.
"In some cultures, coughing while eating or drinking means that someone is talking about you. In other cultures, you will sneeze instead," Da Costa remarked.
"And you both sneezed and coughed," Aisha observed mirthfully. "So someone must be talking about you."
Andrew set his cup on the table, not wanting to risk spilling it in case he sneezed or cough again. "Good thing, I hope."
"Maybe Lady Lacus?" Da Costa said while handing him a box of tissue. "You should get it clean soon or else it would be difficult to get the stain off."
"Like I can simply wash it off, with water supply being rationed as it is." Andrew took the tissue and was about to wipe the stain but decided not to, remembering that he could be pushing the stain into the fabric. "No news about her so far?"
Aisha shook her head.
Andrew let out a frustrated breath. He was supposed to accompany Lacus on her trip but was unable to do so due to being called to Africa. It seemed that Lacus had predicted almost correctly that one of those fake asteroids would land in the region. However, rather than crash into somewhere and then crater everything around it, the asteroid 'disappeared'. What boggled the mind was that no one really saw it. Of course, its landing happened during a sand storm but surely a 'shooting star' would have been seen.
And presently, she had gone missing, and Andrew was yet to inform Siegel about what happened, not knowing what to say to her father whom had entrusted her life to him.
When the doctor exited the sick bay, Murrue was already waiting for him. "So, what wrong with the patient?"
After crossing through the sand storm, Archangel had landed at a sand dunce and once the sand storm had abated, the crew quickly got to work to cover the ship to prevent it from being detected while it went about its mission of finding the second prototype. With the climate harsher than the one they're used to, Murrue had guessed that few of the ship's crew would be affected. To her surprise, only one was affected, and considering that one person had been a pest to her, Murrue had pegged the person would be quite resilient.
"She's suffering from Hyperpyrexia, though the cause is unknown."
"Her temperature is around 42.1 degrees Centigrade. Rather high and I would have called for a medical emergency but her condition seemed to stabilize. I hooked her up to the diagnostic machine so if there's any change we should know." The doctor turned toward the door. "Also, I've lowered the room temperature significantly so her body heat can be dissipated easier; I think her friends have to get warm clothes at some point of time to prevent themselves from freezing."
"I think they can take it."
The doctor gave her a long look before continuing. "Have you heard about the ZAFT pilot who survived reentry with only his mobile suit without the use of the reentry capsule?"
Murrue nodded. "Yes, amazing isn't it? Perhaps that's the potential of a Coordinator."
The doctor sighed. "The truth is the pilot died."
"A Coordinator's body is tougher than a Natural, but not that much. The difference is around one degree Centigrade or two, not enough to survive the heat that is hot enough to burn damage proteins that make up our body. I'm a doctor and maybe I have yet to treat thousands of Coordinators but I'm very sure that they're just similar to Naturals. Sure, the morphology is changed through genetic manipulation, but from how they looks like, it's very much obvious that the changes aren't that great; even dogs displays greater differences in regards to appearance and physical built. So unless they start to develop carapace or a pair of gills or start sprouting two or more heads, at most, Coordinators can only be considered as humans who had the best features and abilities in their genetic blueprint. Also, I'm not a member of Blue Cosmos but I'm really irked by this all these discussion about Coordinators being truly superior. They already have much on their plates dealing with their own problems."
"Problem. A very big fundamental problem." The doctor then proceeded to explain. When the first Coordinator revealed the secret of his birth to the world, he also identified the blueprint on how to create one, including the genes that contributed to expanded abilities such as high intelligence and naturally athletic body. The secret, however, didn't reveal one glaring flaw. If all Coordinators are created using those genes, in the end, they would share a lot of similar genetic materials that most of them could be considered related.
"Are you saying that it's like incest?" Murrue said.
"Yes. Something like that. It's like you sleeping with you twice removed uncle or something."
"You're kidding me."
"I don't kid with something like this. I heard that they have fertility problem there in PLANTs. I postulate that it's due to the lack of genetic input."
"Then they should encourage more Natural immigrants."
"If only it's that simple. Having genetic input from Naturals solve that problem but cause another one: the succeeding generation will be less 'Coordinator' than the preceding one."
While it would help with the fertility problem, having a mix of Coordinator and Natural parentage wouldn't guarantee the child becoming a full Coordinator because the desirable genes from the Coordinator parent may be suppressed by the less desirable but more dominant traits from the Natural parent. The only way to ensure that the child would be a Coordinator is by manipulating their genes so that they become first generation Coordinator. However, that approach wouldn't solve the problem, merely postponing the inevitable.
"And despite what other people says, I personally think being a 'super human' is just a matter of being one of very few among the many. If the situation is reversed, Naturals will be considered as Coordinators due to the 'superior' genes that would allow their offspring to be fertile."
Murrue thought about the statement. "Now you mention about it, it makes sense in a way." She was about to make another remark when something clicked in her mind as she recalled the conversation between Flay and Lacus regarding the probable cause for the war. She recalled about the so-called SEED holders being the next step in the evolution of humankind. So it wouldn't be a long stretch if that the holders would be the answer to the problem faced by Coordinators.
If that was the case, then she could understand why Flay hinted that the war was caused by Coordinator. It would be quite an easy conclusion to arrive to, especially since Siegel Clyne, the PLANT representative that was supposed to negotiate with the United Nation's representatives survived the terrorist attack that killed them. Even though he survived due to the malfunctioning of his shuttle, a simple reason, it really didn't hold up. No dignitaries would ever be late for an important summit like that and hence would arrive earlier than the scheduled time; probably a day or even earlier.
While it was possible that it was a plan to frame ZAFT by Alliance, it would be quite difficult to pull it off since they would have to have access to Siegel's shuttle. Even if they manage to damage the shuttle, it would be a simple matter to simply replace the shuttle with a reserve one. Besides, even if after efforts made and Siegel couldn't make it, the summit would be postponed; Siegel was representing ZAFT and without him, the summit would have been pointless.
So, at the very least, ZAFT or perhaps someone with the access to ZAFT was involved.
The war started because there was need to find SEED holders to solve the genetic input of Coordinators but at the same time ensuring that the wanted traits that make them Coordinators were preserved in their offspring; such a reason was so ridiculous that it wasn't funny.
Murrue snapped her attention toward the doctor. "I forgot to ask but what is the NCDNA-Heterochromatin marker test result on Lacus Clyne?"
"She is a second generation Coordinator, though I noticed that her genetic makeup is significantly different from her parents."
"How do you get their genetic pattern maps?"
"Since her parents are first generation Coordinators created by blueprints left by Glenn, their patterns are available on the info-net."
"Wait… you're saying that her genetic makeup is different from her parents, what do you mean?"
"It's rather a hypothesis, but I think that she is one of the few that could marry other Coordinator and have normal children."
"I see. That's why the unicorn comment," Murrue mused, remembering Flay referring to Lacus as a unicorn. Lacus had mentioned that SEED didn't exist and Flay then referred to her as a unicorn, a magical and mystical creature. At first Murrue thought that it was a simple insult but thinking back, it could mean that Lacus was one of the SEED holders.
"What do you mean by that 'unicorn' comment?" the man asked.
"Nothing that you should know of." Murrue said as she left.
The doctor watched her leave with a bit of irritation. She knew that he had a very curious nature but she still make that comment. Thanks to that he would probably having a rather sleepless night trying to find out about what the comment all about. But in the end, he would have his pyrrhic victory: she wouldn't find out about the information he had about the recuperating patient inside the sick bay until much much later and he would be there to annoy her back.
Seated next to the bed, Kira peeled away the blue gel patch on the slightly delirious redhead girl's forehead and placed a new one; the new gel would dissipate body heat for at least eight hours before needing replacement. Throwing the used on into the nearby dustbin, he wondered what happened to the redhead on the bed. It was strange, he thought. Even though not to the extent of Coordinators, a large number of Naturals had their genetics modified to boost their immune system. Because of that, what used to be common diseases such as common cold had largely disappeared and can only be found in historical texts and encyclopedias apart from research laboratories.
He turned back to see Flay struggling to open her eyes. "Kira?" she managed to croak out weakly.
"Yes, it's me," he said as he gently pushed the bangs of her hair away from her face, mentally wincing at her high fever as it merely increased his already high concern about her wellbeing.
"You shouldn't be here," she whispered.
"And you should rest," he said as he pulled up her blanket.
Despite her condition, she shifted her body to a sitting position. "You should leave now."
His eyes crinkled. "Oh, you want to rest. Well, then, if that's the case then I will take my leave. I'll visit you…"
"I SAID YOU SHOULDN'T BE HERE!"
"Flay," Kira said as he approached the bed but she raised her hand to stop him while looking downward.
"Why can't you get the message? You're a Coordinator, my enemy!"
"Flay…" He wanted to approach her but wasn't sure.
She hung her head and began to grip the bed sheet as it began to become wet from silent tears. "Living lives of lies after lies alone, day after day, all for the sake of others."
Although Flay forbade him from coming nearer and he didn't know what she was talking about, one thing that he was sure: she was suffering in her condition. He closed the distance between the two of them and wrapped his arms around her lithe body. He wasn't sure whether his action was effective of not but it was the only thing he knew how.
Kira lost track of time of how long he held Flay, but he kept holding her until he was sure that she had fallen asleep; even then he kept holding her. During the time, he kept thinking about her earlier words. Whatever past background she had, it was surely a terrible one.
"But you don't have to be alone," Kira whispered while smiling at the sleeping woman in his arm. "I like you and hope that you would allow me to be there for you"
"You say that without knowing me," Flay replied back, also in a whisper.
Even though her reply had caught him by surprise since she was supposed to be sleeping, he quickly composed himself. "You don't know me as well."
"I know you… more than you think… at the very least I know you more than you know me."
Kira pushed her slightly to have a look at her face, being careful not to push her too far away and caused her to interpret the action negatively. He noted that her eyes were closed despite her being awake. "Then tell me; let me know more about you."
She lowered her head and let it rest on his chest. "Kira,"
"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you about myself."
He rocked her body gently. "Why? Don't you trust me?"
She shook her head. "It's not that I don't trust you but rather I can't because there's nothing that I can tell you. Despite the bravado and pretense all this while, the truth is that the person that you know as Flay Allster doesn't exist."
"The identity is just as a cover as well as one of the methods to control my actions."
What he heard was so convoluted that no good reply came to mind. Thinking about it, he noticed that she had changed from the first time when they had met but had attributed to her meeting other people. Learning that there was another reason was shocking to say the very least. "You're… kidding about this, right?"
"Ask Lacus and she will confirm that. She will tell you that George Allster never had any child."
A few more moments passed in silence.
"Um…" Flay said with a strangely timid voice, "Aren't you supposed to push me away?"
"Hm? What for?"
"Um… you know, you're supposed to… um… go to Lacus to check about it or something."
"To check… that whether I'm telling the truth or not."
"But you're already telling the truth so why should I ask her?" he answered confusedly.
Even though he couldn't see her face as it was still downward, Kira could feel that her eyes widened. Then a stray thought crossed his mind about his answer not being a normal answer. Then another one came, berating him for being an idiot and not responding appropriately to the situation. Realizing his blunder, Kira felt compelled to explain what he did. "Since I believe your story," he scratched the side of his head in an embarrassed manner, "and I want to be here with you."
"I see…" the redhead mumbled.
"Plus, I don't know about your identity and so-called manufactured memory but I do know that you're here, right now as Flay that stole Spectrum and then ended up at Marshall Island, the Flay that always like to rile Captain Murrue but also have that cute side to her... I don't think that's manufactured, unless of course all of this is just a dream and I'm a figment of your imagination or the other way around but…"
Kira stopped in his rant at the sound of Flay's laughter. The laughter seemed genuine and heartfelt so he smiled, relieved that he was successful in bringing the girl out of her depressed state.
"For a Coordinator, you're definitely foolish, do you know that?" Flay said teasingly.
"My sister proclaimed my middle name as 'Anideut', as in Kira Anideut Yamato," he confessed.
"I was just pulling your leg. Besides, an idiot? Well, that's taking it too far. You're just naïve and kind hearted, but then again, that your best points."
"Thanks, I think."
"But Kira, if you're with me, you'll put your life at risk and you don't even know what you're getting into."
"Well, as long you'll tell me about it then it will be okay."
She smiled. "That's another foolish answer, but I like it. Perhaps you're really the one…" she then threw herself at him.
He neither registered the fact the two of them ended up in a passionate kissing nor how they got to that stage; all he knew that whatever he was feeling at that time was blowing his mind away.
"Ready for our foraging trip?" Mwu asked Kira.
"Sure," came the answer as Kira put on a beige poncho.
The blonde ace smiled. One of the good things regarding Kira he liked was the fact that the young man was always ready to lend a hand whenever needed. So, when he asked the young man to join him to go and search for supply. While there was enough food onboard to last them for at least two or three months and the atmospheric water generator was functioning perfectly, it wouldn't hurt to err on the cautious side.
Besides, they might be lucky if they could locate smugglers interested in foisting their wares. While batteries powering beam weapons could be charged through the ship's onboard nuclear fission plant, missiles and bullets were not and had to be replenished somehow. Unlike Minerva that could asked for a resupply via ZAFT's submarine fleet or if needed through risker but faster orbital drop, Archangel was on its own.
"Come," he continued he thumbed at the transport that will bring them to the nearest city. "Our transport awaits."
Kira starred at the broke down vehicle. "Not to question you," he began as he pointed toward a totally new vehicle next to it, "But couldn't we use that instead?"
"Nope, since that new car will glare everyone with its paintjob and we will stand out, not to mention the fact that everyone can recognize Orb's design from a mile away. Plus, we already paid a bundle for the beat-up old heap so we might as well get our money's worth," Mwu replied as he handed the young man a gun. At the latter's reluctance, he shoved it insistently. "I'm not telling you go into the town and start shooting at the people. My duty is to keep you safe but in case I couldn't, this will at least give me the peace of my mind that I've given you a tool to protect yourself. Take it."
Kira took the gun slowly.
"Let's go," the older man quipped as the two of them got into the car.
Truth be told, Mwu wasn't very eager to bring Kira, a civilian, who already had a number of military operations under his belt, to the town but he had to since there's a remote chance he would require the young man's ability as a Coordinator. Of course, there was Lacus, but she was out of question since she was well known and added to that was Murrue wanting to preserve the young woman's 'neutrality' as best as she could.
As the jeep exited Archangel in the general direction of their destination, Mwu stroke out a conversation with his passenger. There was another reason why he was to bring Kira along, which was to try to get some information regarding Allster. From their conversation, he learnt that the girl had recovered from her fever, to Kira's relief. It wasn't much, but Mwu didn't really hope that something big would come out of their talk in the first place. Besides, it wasn't that he hoped that Kira would know something that Murrue and he hadn't found out yet.
In Kira's opinion, the small town was rather lively despite being at the fringe of the conflict between ZAFT and rag tag guerilla group by the name of Desert Dawn. Despite that, there was an indescribable tension in the air as everyone seemed to be trigger happy, waiting someone else to sneeze as a signal to bring out their own weapon and start blasting away.
They had earlier met someone who looked and acted like what the locals referred to as a 'merchant'. They also referred to the person as a 'snake', 'backstabber', 'future hell resident' and all other nasty names. When Kira asked Mwu why the man got such unsavory name, he got the answer that the person was a smuggler. Being a smuggler wasn't the reason for the name as there were trustworthy smugglers and there were smugglers. Logically, it was risky dealing with such people but normally such people would have access to certain items, such as ballistic missiles or two as well as the ammunition for CIWS rather than normal cache of handheld firearms.
The transaction went through smoothly, at least according to Mwu. Kira wasn't sure about whether everyone pointing semi-automatic rifle at the two of them while shouting in unknown language could be considered as smooth but at least the two of them got out of it just fine probably; he chalked it up to Mwu's negotiation and sweet talking skills. In the end, Mwu and the smuggler agreed on a transaction. With that out of the way, they two of them headed to the town for something that Mwu said that he needed to find.
"Let's grab a bite," the man said while gesturing toward a café.
Kira wasn't sure why the man would want to waste his time but he readily complied.
After their order was taken by a modestly clad proprietress, Mwu turned his attention toward him. "One thing that you need to know that in real world negotiation, just like in a battle, you must be calm at all time. There's another task we have to carry out but even if we're done here, it wouldn't do to just return to the ship. We may never know someone is following us or there's going to be a trap set up. By showing that we're willing to slow down and not play their game, they will know that we'll not to be trifled with."
"Wait a minute, is that how you've been fighting all this time?"
"Of course, take the ZAFT's strike force that we've been fighting, both of us were fighting against all this time. They're no doubt skilled, probably more than me, befitting their status to be given those prototypes but I noticed that some of them can be easily goaded into attacking prematurely and thus wasting their energy. And being patient isn't something you could achieve just like that. Rather than knowing to fire, you have to know when to retreat even though the enemy is just a second away from the trigger."
"But I don't," Kira stopped as the proprietress returned with their order only to continue after she was gone, "I don't really want to learn how to kill effectively,"
"Like I told you just now, giving a gun to you doesn't mean you will use it indiscriminately. It's more of a survival. For example," Mwu suddenly pushed him off the seat onto the ground and then tilt the table away from the two of them."
"Wha?" Kira uttered before gun shouts echoed in the air.
"Down! In prone!" Mwu ordered. "The table is so that they will not know where we are, not protect us." As if to prove him right, stray bullet pierced through the table.
"The smuggler?" Kira asked.
"FOR THE PURE AND BLUE WORLD!" someone shouted in the midst of the hail of bullets.
"Probably not?" the man next to him said as he brought out his gun and gestured toward another table where another man was exchanging fire with his opponents. "It's probably best we stick out of this."
"AND COLONEL RAMIUS SEND HER REGARDS TO YOU AND ASKED US TO TELL YOU TO GO TO HELL!" another attacker shouted at the besieged man.
Mwu shot the attacker who shouted the words.
"Mwu! You said that you wanted us not get involved!"
"Not my fault those bastards wanted what's coming to them so much." Mwu said as he traded fire with another man.
Then just like their sudden and unexpected appearance, the attackers retreated. The reason for their retreat came a few moments later as a squad of ZAFT soldiers rushed into the area.
"Crud," Mwu said as he noticed a rifle aimed at him from his blind spot. Lowering down his pistol slowly, he then put his hands on his head. "Put your hands on your head," he told Kira.
The two of them remained in the position for what seemed to be an eternity until Kira heard heavy footsteps moved toward the two of them.
"Well, sorry for the treatment you got from my men. Some of them are quit green and a bit on the jittery side." A new voice called out before a hand appeared in front of Kira's face, inviting him to stand up. "By the way," the man said as he pulled Kira to his feet, "The name's Andy."
Mwu smiled at the raven haired woman who set the steaming cup of coffee in front of him. "You must be Jane," he said with an award winning smile.
The woman gave him an amused look. "The name's Aisha, hot boy and before you think about it, I'm taken," she said while signaling with her eyes at Andrew Bartfeldt before exiting the room.
"Have a drink," Andrew invited. "This is a full Arabica blend, and when enjoyed without milk or sugar, you'll notice that there's a note of chocolate in it."
Kira took a sip and raised his eyebrows. "You're right. It is delicious!"
"What did I tell you?" Andrew said while grinning.
The three of them engaged in small talk until Andrew changed the topic. "So, what are you doing here?"
"What do you mean?" Kira asked. "We told you just now that we're tourists," he turned toward Mwu, "Right?"
The said blonde man didn't say anything and instead was sipping his coffee leisurely.
There was a clicking sound coming from Andrew's direction and Kira turned toward the man only to see that the man was pointing a gun toward him and then at Mwu. "You think someone as legendary as Mwu La Fllaga will not stand out even though he wears a tunic?"
Kira didn't know what possessed him to whip his gun and then aimed at Andrew. "Drop that gun."
"Or what?" Andrew asked. "You're going to kill me? I kill Fllaga, you kill me, and then it will be you who will die. Even if you're a Coordinator," He observed Kira's reaction, "which I think you are, you wouldn't survive even getting out of the door."
Mwu set down his cup on the table and then turned toward Kira. "Calm down, kid. Just put away the gun before you hurt someone."
"If you want really want to threaten our host then at least adjust the safety lever so that you can shoot him when you press the trigger."
Kira looked at the gun and blush in embarrassment when he saw that the gun was indeed secured. He looked at Mwu who nodded and reluctantly put away the gun.
Andrew laughed. "Listen to your elder, brat. He knows realize that the two of you are in a hopeless situation." He put away his gun. "Now, should we discuss about the term of your terrorist group's surrender."
Mwu grinned. "If we're to surrender, it wouldn't be to you, Tarzan."
The other man frowned. "What do you mean by that?"
"It's just as I said it. Andrew Bartfeld, a famous general who's willing to go the length to accomplish his missions but at the same time merciful to his enemies. For example, before you pound the town of Tassil to dust, you gave its inhabitants time to leave the place. It's not generally known to everybody but he likes Tarzan of the jungle and aspires to become just like his hero that he named himself as 'The Tiger of the Desert' even though everyone knows that there's no tiger living in desert. Am I missing anything so far?"
Andrew was gaping. There was only one person he knew that would make such a comment.
"You see, being involved in the gunfight just now is something unexpected but meeting you is something we predicted," Mwu continued.
Kira turned toward him in amazement. "We did?"
"We did." Mwu's grin widened. "Besides committing terrorist attacks remotely from the other side of the world and trying to kill ZAFT commanders with members we don't even know we have, Archangel also conduct princess rescue missions." He gestured toward Kira. "So you imagine what this brat brought in one day."
Mwu wished he had a camera to capture the expression on the famed ZAFT commander's face.
Author's note (08 June 2011)
1. I apologize for being unable to respond to any emails and reviews lately. Even though my access to the internet is good (most of the time), I really lack the time to really 'be on the internet'. I have yet to access my gmail account set up for fanfiction for the past month.
2. With this chapter, the story have forked. Yes, this is officially a Kira x Flay story. I'm planning to update the Kira x Lacus branch next but it's challenging to write her without being stereotypical. I'll update the KxL branch and then gauge the response to both story to determine how I should continue with the story whether to continue writing two different story or just focus on one.