Gurren Lagann belongs to GAINAX. Ribo Soma Teppelin belongs to me.
Written by 1 over 0
The cradle of humanity, endlessly rocketing through the infinite void of space. The place where, long ago, the Creator touched down and decided, Here shall my work be done. And so was Humanity born.
From high above it was a patchwork of colours. The green of the forests and the deep blue of the ocean tops mingled with the pure white of snow-capped mountains and the dull brown of the copious deserts. Clouds floated freely in front of the view, obscuring large portions at once. It was a truly magnificent sight, baring all the splendours of the world for the viewer's delight.
From his perch high above the world, Ribo Soma Teppelin looked down at his future kingdom. So far from the world, isolated as he was, he thought with cold indifference of to the day he would return. Ten years he had stayed in the Satellite Fortress Ganmen Dai-Gantei, high in the sky, and soon he would return to the earth. To his father.
The Dai-Gantei was magnificent, a massive tower-like satellite with a royal villa perched at the top of a bio-dome. Below it, a long spire connected to the main fortress, which housed all the facilities a stellar warship might need. Everything from hangars and barracks to control rooms. Near the bottom of the satellite, a huge ring encircled the base and at the very bottom, a leering face could be seen.
Ribo placed a hand on the glass that protected him from the cold of space. Even so high above the ground he could feel the wind of change blowing through him. He did not yet know what he felt, but something within him screamed that great change had been wrought.
It was in this state that his aide found him. Ribo had sensed him long before he entered, yet he allowed the aide to approach and announce himself. He felt the shudder in the deck plates as the rhinoceros Beastman knelt in customary supplication.
"What news do you bring?" asked Ribo, without turning round. The soft words drifted out, echoing slightly in the vastness of the observation deck.
"Your Eminence, I bring word from the surface. The message has been classified as being of the utmost importance." The creature's gravelly voice scratched at Ribo's ears. In it he detected just a touch of fear, as was proper for a servant when addressing his liege, yet he also detected...uncertainty?
"I trust this is no routine report, then?"
"No, your Highness. It...it concerns your father."
For a moment Ribo allowed himself a flare of hope. Was it possible, perhaps, that his father was recalling him? Yet his logical mind soon took over and crushed it.
"Speak" he commanded the aide. The Beastman cleared its throat, a sound reminiscent of an earthquake's rumble.
"Prince Ribo Soma Teppelin, this message hails from your father's palace of Teppelin. It was a pre-recorded message, to be delivered upon your father's death."
Ribo was silent. The rough-hewn beastman shifted underneath his large shoulder pauldrons and ornamented breastplate.
"Is there any information on the cause of his death?"
"None, sir. Your father never told any of his subordinates about you. In fact, with his death, there is none outside of this fortress that retains the knowledge of your existence. Therefore we have received no further reports from Teppelin."
Ribo digested this information for a moment. His father had been an immortal, the last of the great Spiral Knights. It was impossible for him to die other than through defeat in battle, which was in itself a rather improbable feat.
So who killed him?
Surely, it could not have been one of the humans that he had read about. His father had spent eons at once protecting them and keeping them suppressed. And yet, it seemed a human had developed abilities surpassing his father's.
Ribo contemplated the Earth below him. He saw beneath him the oceans, the forests, the wastelands, and the mountains. And as he looked down, he realized that with his father's passing, it all belonged to him.
All of it.
"Tell communications to send a message out to all the fortresses we know of on the other side of the world from Teppelin. Announce to them the return of the Spiral Prince, Ribo Soma Teppelin, and that as of this moment their allegiance shifts to me. When they have sent the message, alert engineering. Prepare for descent to Earth."
"I hear and obey."
The aide rose, saluted, and exited to carry out his orders. Ribo smiled and looked own upon the Earth. His Earth.
He was going home.
A month had passed since Teppelin had been taken, and yet the area was still a mess. When the Dekabutsu had revealed its true form, the earth beneath it had suffered the impact of former Beastman buildings, falling to the ground from enormous heights. The ground beneath the Dekabutsu's hulking remains was littered with shattered glass and broken concrete. Here and there larger portions of buildings remained, leaning drunkenly to the side, driven halfway into the ground by the force of collision, and everywhere were the remains of Ganmen.
Even a month later, no significant progress had been made to turn the area surrounding Teppelin into a human settlement. In truth, it still looked much the same as it had on that day a month ago, when they had triumphed. Teppelin still looked like a battlefield, and seemed doomed to wear the scars of that long fight until every last piece of concrete had surrendered to the forces of wind and rain.
Through the sea of destruction marched a red mechanical giant, wearing twin flaming skulls upon its shoulders. Its name was Gurren Lagann.
It traipsed across the ground, every so often picking up salvageable parts and tossing them into the trailer attached to its back. When it came across a building that might be used, it stopped to plant a flag in the dirt in front of it. Other, more damaged buildings received a blow from its fist and crumbled in on themselves.
Kiyal sat back in the lower cockpit, looking around in boredom. She yawned once, twice, before rubbing her drooping eyes and trying to remain alert.
Simon's face appeared before her in a little window on the side of the cockpit. "Hey, Kiyal, you need a break? We've probably got plenty to take back."
Kiyal shook her head and yawned again. "Naw, I just ain't used to bein' up this early. Whatcha say we're looking for again?"
"Rossiu said to look for anything salvageable. After that battle we've hardly any equipment left that isn't broken or falling apart. Leeron's up all night trying to keep everything from exploding on us."
"Nyeh, I don't see why we can't go party like the others. It's been a month and they're still at it! Kittan makes a point of getting completely wasted at least once a week, in 'celebration' of our day of victory."
"Hey, you signed up for it. I could take you back now if you want."
"No way! What if you collapse or something, like that one time where you almost fainted because you overdid it? I'm here in case that happens!"
"Hey, what about that building over there? You think it looks like it'll stand, or should I demolish it?"
Kiyal looked out at the building in question. It looked all right to her eyes. Her gaze drifted upwards until she was looking at the sky above.
So cloudy and overcast. It'd been like that for near a week now. The older refugees were muttering that it was a bad omen, that the gods were angry at their rebellion. Kiyal never could understand superstitious types. Just because it rained didn't mean it wouldn't clear up afterwords, right? Still, for an instant, she truly believed in bad omens.
Off to the south the last act of the war played itself out on the stage of the vast wastelands. Gunfire and explosions reverberated across the desert, blossoms of fire blooming out on the sands.
Viral gave the order to fall back with gritted teeth. The pain of defeat gnawed at him as his remaining soldiers retreated. Every human Ganman he saw was, to him, a sign of his personal failure. With every passing second he resisted the urge to charge, to end it all in the frenzy of battle. Each second he had to remind himself of the men behind him, the Beastmen that would have long since surrendered if not for his presence. His men. He owed them a debt that would never be repaid.
"Come out, ya furry scum! I'll give you a lil' taste of what my family got!" roared one of the stolen Gunman over its loudspeaker.
"This is for my friends ya bastards!"
"Ya, how does it feel now, cannon fodder!"
The Enkidudu swung its four swords in complex patterns, dicing up the inferior human Ganmen. Despite the extensive modifications, grunt Ganmen were no match for Viral's custom four-armed mecha. The only Gunman which had ever posed a threat to him had been the Gurren Lagann. Shameful fury welled up inside Viral at the memory of his disgraceful defeat at the hands of the red Ganman. He roared in frustration and bloodlust, preparing to charge
"Commander Viral! You're going too deep!"
The tinny voice of his second-in-command jarred Viral back to reality. He nodded a quick thank you to the virtual image of the snakelike Beastman and began retreating, incoming fire ricocheting off his whirling blades.
"Continue retreat to point Zeta-A!" he roared. "We'll hole up in the ravine until we can make a break for it!" His men complied, filing through the choke point. Viral himself went last.
"All right! Prepare to detonate the charges on my signal!"
Viral made one last charge into the human forces, swords whistling and whirling. Shots whipped past, some pinging and spanging off the white armour. One struck sure, sending him flying back into the ravine. Two of his followers caught him, and the humans surged forward like a pack of wolves scenting blood.
Viral grinned. Just as he had planned.
"Now! Blow the charges!"
The ravine's entrance vanished in a bright conflagration, as the bombs set into the opposing walls detonated. Enormous boulders fell in clouds of dust, crushing the charging human Ganmen and blocking their path. One made it through alive, only to be dispatched by the Enkidudu. The surviving Beastmen cheered, whooping and roaring their approbation. Only Viral remained stoic.
"That'll stall them," he muttered, before opening a channel to his second-in-command. "How many of us made it?" The snake Beastman took a head count.
"A little more than half of us, sir!"
"Damn...that's not enough." Viral bared his teeth. "Those filthy humans...I'll destroy them, whatever it takes!"
"Sir, if I may ask...how are we getting out of this?"
The Enkidudu's hand gestured to the mountain of rubble. "I didn't see any flying-types among them, but it won't take them long to break through. When they do we'll hold them at the choke point and hope they either give up or run out of Gunmen."
Viral closed the channel as his second in command began relaying the orders to the other Gunmen. A mere month ago, he would never have been forced into such a hopeless predicament. Since then he had found himself with his back to the wall time and time again, each time narrowly escaping despite the humans' overwhelming numbers.
He was suddenly struck by the cruel irony of the situation. Only a short while ago he had been the one assaulting a similar position; now, he was on the defending side. It was almost funny, and he had to fight down a wave of laughter.
He told himself very firmly not to let it happen again. He couldn't take care of his men if he was insane.
Shouts and explosions floated around the barricade. There was fighting on the other side of the rubble. Viral assumed the humans, being the animals that they were, had begun quarreling among themselves. So much the better for the Beastmen, who would have fewer opponents to fight.
The explosions and gunfire soon subsided, and then ceased completely. Viral prepared himself for the coming battle. Explosions shook his barrier of rock, and suddenly it was blown away completely.
Ignoring the flying debris obscuring his vision, Viral charged forward, ready to die in battle.
When his view cleared, he stopped cold.
The sixty or so Ganmen he had been fighting were littered in pieces on the ground. Arms and legs rolled about in the wind, coming to rest against the blasted shells. None had been spared by the new force that marched forward across the battlefield.
Every one of them was painted in shades of purple with red highlights. Unlike Viral's men, whose Ganmen were rounder and almost cartoonish, the newcomers were all points and angles. Behind them floated a Dai-Ganzan minitype, also purple, and wearing on its hull a logo that Viral did not recognize. It was a spiral superimposed upon two crossed scimitars. He saw the same logo on top of a flag that billowed above the warship's bridge.
Viral gave a shout of fury when he saw what looked like Lagann in the lead. He readied to charge, then paused as the Gunman came closer, the dust clearing to let him see it more clearly.
It was not Lagann at all. It was demonic in its aspect, black with purple, white eyes and sharp fangs.
The machine halted and the pilot disembarked, holding what looked like a white cloth as a flag of truce. The pilot marched forward, halting at a point equidistant between the two forces.
"Sir, they completely decimated that human army!" Viral's second bleated. "And now they seem to be calling for a parley!"
"Yes, I can see that," replied Viral sharply. "I'm going out to meet them. Tell the men to wait here."
"But sir! What if it's a trick!"
"Then fight to the very last. But I don't think it is. Humans aren't nearly smart enough for that."
Viral opened the cockpit and descended from his Ganman. He strolled out to the meeting point, where the newcomers' leader, his saviour, was waiting.
He gave the human a once-over. He was clad in what seemed to be a jumpsuit with small shoulder guards and a breastplate. His hair was brown and his eyes green, his delicate and feminine face a sharp and surprising contrast to his masculine figure. Emblazoned on his breastplate was the same symbol as on the minitype's side. A pair of finely-crafted spectacles, such a thing as Viral had never seen except in pictures, sat on the bridge of his nose. He was smoking a cigar.
"I'm Commander Viral, former vassal of the late Spiral King," Viral began, trying not to hiss in irritation at the cigar smoke, which was irritating his keen nose. "Who are you?"
The human remained silent, inspecting the sharkcat with his narrow green eyes.
"Are you here to talk or what?" demanded Viral, annoyed by his manner. "If not, I've got a whole troop of men to get back to." The leader shifted his head a bit let a ghost of a smile show.
"A pleasure to meet you, Commander Viral," he said, in a rich, melodious voice. "I'd like you and your men to come with us." Viral growled and spat at the man's feet.
"Like I'd go with some dirty humans. I'll die fighting you before I surrender to you." The human, for that was what Viral was sure he was, chuckled.
"But you would not be surrendering. You'd be fulfilling your duties to your liege."
"Lordgenome is dead! I saw it! You can't fool me with your lies and deceptions!"
"Ah, but I was not referring to Lordgenome."
Fifteen ideas popped into Viral's head at once. Few of them were even remotely plausible, and some were just downright ridiculous. Only one seemed at all possible.
In that moment, Viral realized that there were still very many secrets had had not yet learned.
"I'm not sure who your leader is," he said cautiously. "But I think I might know. The question is, is it worth my time to follow him?"
"Do you not wish to see the rats sent back to their holes?"
"Of course I do!"
"Do you not wish to redeem yourself for your failure in protecting your liege?"
Viral flinched at the memory of his King's abdomen being blown out by a child who couldn't even shave.
"Do you not seek the answers to the questions you ask yourself even now?"
"Yes! Yes, I do! Just tell me what I need to do to know what the hell is going on!"
The human, or possibly more if Viral's suspicions were correct, pointed up into the dark and bleak sky. In that very instant, the sun broke through the brooding clouds, shining down upon them. Viral was reminded of his dead rival, and the boy who had succeeded him.
"Then come, Viral. Bring your men and follow us. Follow us to the Dai-Gantei, the jewel that burns in the heavens, and all will be revealed."
The curtain had fallen on the battle with Lordgenome. Now, a new play was about to begin.
The long awaited rewrite, courtesy of 1 over 0 and myself. A shame that Largeham-sama has been gone for so long though.
Edited by Zaru and Juubi-K