The situation in the Chairwoman's office is deteriorating by the minute. Lacus is warned by Esther who unveils a plan staged by a shady organization working behind the scenes to get rid of her, but is she too late?
Alternate Mobile Paradigm: Gundam SEED SeraphPhase 02- The Glass Kingdom Shatters
Lacus, visibly still thinking about the events that lead to this predicament, would recall that their only hope to escape the assassins scattered around the complex was to go to the safe-house located under the PLANT chairperson's office. The three of them were apparently 21 floors above the said place, which meant that it' s going to be a long way down and using the elevator would result in immediate capture. The pink-haired Heiress of Clyne had an idea, she told the other two:
"Considering that they have us practically cornered. The only course of action is to make them believe that they've already won. If I remember correctly, we can use somewhat of a diversion. I think this will do."
Lacus opens a secret compartment that is behind the office's bookshelf. Esther would not believe what she was about to see.
"Haros, it's an army of them! Is this your solution?"—she exclaims
Even Kira was disturbed by the ensemble of ball-like robots bouncing around Lacus.
"Lacus, I know that we're in a pinch. But we aren't going to seriously use these guys, are we?"—the relatively young general replies.
Lacus would reply at both Esther and Kira:
"Have faith on them, they've been my silent guardians all this time. They've saved me from a lot of problems. You could call them lifesavers if you can, Miss Albionne."
"Probably one of them helped you hack the Archangels' door locks."
"Yeah, we can ask those assassins from Orb on how a pink bouncing ball crippled Gilbert's plans."
As the pink princess plans her moves, she sends haro on the opposite direction where the trio was heading. This move would then enable them to dodge the insurgents who aim to take them down. They are only 6 floors short of Lacus safe house, which would give them enough time to successfully transmit an SOS to nearby Clynefaction members. All seemed well until a scout unit of the insurgents discovers them.
This is when Kira uses his talents to aid in Lacus' bid to escape from the enemy. Using his deadly accuracy…
"The Azure Knight of Jachin Due, is throwing a gun!" –Esther was in shock while Kira accurately throws the loaded gun. It hit one of the henchmen. It was a silly sight but still enough to buy time for the trio to escape.
After seeing the funny escape method used by the 26-year old General, Esther and Lacus can't help but ridicule the General's odd but effective way.
"Next time, use a shuriken instead." –Esther remarks.
"A rock would've been tons more effective, Kira."—not to be outdone, Lacus also replies.
Seemingly down after the 'humiliating' rescue attempt, Kira again whispers into Lacus 'ears:
"Are you doing this on purpose, Lacus? It's as if you're uneasy with what's happening."—Kira says
"No, Kira. It's not that. I just think that you're showing Esther the whole package, including the not-so-spectacular things about Kira Yamato."—the pink princess whispers back.
Approaching the last floor before the safe house, Kira felt pressure; the pressure of your wife and your idol's 'nagging. It's like He is between a rock and hard place. Kira could only get smiles from both ladies, as he tried his best to safely escort both to the fortified room. Even then, they'd still need help. Who knows when the thugs enlist the aid of Mobile Suits? If Esther's report is accurate, then it is safe to assume that Lacus and Kira are now considered as terrorists by a newer regime that has taken over PLANT.
As soon as they shut off the doors, Esther explains to them, after receiving a message from her PDA;
"The Seraph, Orb's successor to the Archangel has been tasked to pick us up. In other words, we're stuck here until we find a way to get out in space. Any Ideas you may want to suggest, pink-hime?"
The pink princess immediately came up with an answer;
"I was so generous to have put my faith into things I cannot control, but for these times. I often rely on someone to wield my sword."
As Lacus removes a book called 'Liberta' from her bookshelf, a secret door opens. They travel downward through the stairs that the bookshelf conceals and find a familiar 'face' to all three of them.
"It has been ten years since I last saw the machine that saved my life back then."
"It's been a while since I piloted you my friend, I'd wish it could still compete with the current crop though."
"So the Azure Knight reappears, all my prayers lie in this one sword. Neither will alone, nor strength alone. It's a combination of both, my prayers are."
Kira checks the Operating System for specifications; he stumbles upon a slight problem. He finds out the while the mobile suit in front of them is from the line of Freedom's, it isn't quite the same machine.
"So we're outgunned this time, Lacus. The only thing this suit can do is outrun the opposition. Ex-MAT is still at experimental mode, but this has to work. I've never seen a suit with this less firepower compared to the opposition since….Strike."
Esther now plots the Seraph's coordinates in a makeshift map Lacus gives her. Now Kira plans the escape.
"The most likely scenario is that they're expecting us to go out from this hangar's hatch. The only chance for this to work is that we need to burst out in Ex-MAT boost immediately as I open up the systems. The plan is to fool them that we are heading for ZAFT Headquarters to retrieve Strike-Freedom and Eternal."
They have the plan, but something becomes a real roadblock. The Freedom's cockpit, seemingly where Kira weaves his magic, would get…crowded. Kira forgot that Lacus and Esther were two more people. His track record on Freedom, and even his former MS, the Strike… only had space for two. If 'tight-fit' is the word, then okay it's granted. But when you're going to have a high speed chase, with two other people gasping for space within the cockpit, it's going to be a challenge. But Kira didn't have a choice. He's forced to let Esther sit on his Lap while, Lacus would sit beside him, Prompting the maidens to tease him a bit.
"General, shouldn't I be the one beside you, while Miss Clyne is in this position?"
"No, Esther. It's okay… I don't want myself to worry you. It's just that if we're ever going to die because of this, I know who to focus my wrath in the afterlife. "
Lacus whispered to Kira: "Just make sure you push the right buttons"
"Is that figuratively or literally?"—Kira replies.
As Kira puts weight into the thrust pedal, he immediately turns on the Ex-MAT boost in order to send the opposition, composed by mostly Series-2 ZAKU's that he is heading for ZAFT headquarters to get more firepower in form of the newly-refitted Eternal and Strike Freedom. The streaks lead the enemies to believe that he was heading there, but he was fainting to get to the spaceport where they could leak out to space, where the Seraph waits for them.
The PLANT sky was clear, up until the point where Kira spots 10 units, 7 ZAKU-Series2's and 3 GOUF-S's.
"ZGMF-X10α, you are not clear to exit PLANT airspace, land now or be shot down!"
Kira replies with a beam saber to two of the unit's sensors. While letting out beam-rifle shots, Kira was already being pressured. His skill, while still a whole level above the rest, the technology gap was really evident. The Freedom had to maximize its speed advantage as the Balaenas and even the beam rifles don't even work against the advanced beam shielding of the new units. The best he could do to offset this is to use the Railguns as something to be really threatened. The solid weapons, though not damaging the opposing suits, would give them a bit of recoil. He takes out 1 GOUF with a really accurate thrust to its limbs, but the formation stays intact, 2 GOUFS and 5 ZAKU's still remain in tight formation, and would not scramble. Kira had begun to be tired. But as Kira was tired, Esther would make something of it:
"At this rate, the enemy will just realize that you're just letting them off a free pass by not killing them. They'd just regroup until you tire down. We at least need to threaten them."
Lacus, who doesn't often see spilling blood as a pathway to open a door, would somehow agree with the novelist.
"Ideals don't matter right now if we'll be corpses today. It's imperative that we rendezvous with Seraph and plot a course to Orb immediately."
Knowing that he needs to go for the kill already, Lacus and Esther's statements would just force Kira to go into a gear that he hasn't gone in a long time. The Units notice as Kira uses Ex-MAT boost again, and then pull out the beam saber. The Freedom impales one of the GOUFs with the beam saber, and then commandeers its Beam Claymore. Kira adjusts the output of the hand plugs to accommodate the new makeshift weapon. The Freedom then throws its shield to the ZAKU's who had a hard time getting through Kira's barrage by Railguns. The ZAKU fires at the shield only to realize that the Freedom already has killing position and was ready to slice the MS in half.
The air security around the spaceport was thin. Kira's plan of faking an attempt to get the Strike Freedom and the Eternal worked like a charm. But once he ventures out into space, he sees an even bigger challenge. GuaiZ-E's are much weaker in armor, but they have the speed that can match the Freedom's and 7 of them are already a handful. The Freedom is outmatched this time, in Speed. Without Ex-MAT, Kira can't run circles around the opposition without the boost.
Kira was out of options, until a familiar red mobile suit would give him cover fire.
"Long time no see. Glad to see that my participation wasn't a waste after all." –a voice being radioed from an Aegis Gundam variant would emanate around Kira's cockpit.
"Athrun! Don't tell me Cagalli sent you for an errand again."—Lacus replies
"Yes, she wants a carton of milk from Sextilis 5 and I just happened to drop by just to say hello. I'd love to talk with you, but first you need to get the new unit. It's personally built for you, Kira."
As the Knight Aegis provides cover fire, Kira prepares to dock the Freedom into the Seraph. The ship is a beauty. She's a refitted Archangel Class ship, colored in crimson. Kira was certainly having nostalgic feelings over this. As he enters the hangar, Kira sees a familiar machine. To complete the nostalgia, he hears another voice while he was escorting Esther and Lacus out of the Freedom's cockpit.
"I see that you're trying to break your own record by fitting three people in a MS cockpit. And two ladies, I'm surprised Fllay isn't cursing you from heaven somewhere. " –a happy Sai Argyle greeted
"Whoever that was, I'm relieved that I have my lucky charms with me." –Esther tells Sai.
"Whatever the case, we should be helping Athrun take care of the enemy MS."—Lacus says.
"I think you should tell that to this ship's captain. She's right here if you're asking."
Kira and Lacus were surprised to know that the Seraph actually was built by Terminal during the end of the Destiny-Rebirth War to service its leader, much like the Eternal was. Esther brings Kira and Lacus to another hangar, where the machine that Kira saw is standing. She tells Kira something of real importance.
"I believe that this is a choice you must make before being entrusted this. As of now, I am not forcing you to fight. But please accept this gift from me; treat it as a reward for reading my novels. As Lacus gave you a sword earlier for us to escape from PLANT, I'll give you something in order to continue on fighting for the ideals you are fond of. Will you take it?"
"Of course, at the end of the day and I fail to protect those who I love. There'll be nothing of me. That is the worst feeling I could ever feel. "
"Still the protector, are you?"
Kira sees a new machine, as well as an old one. As he puts on his Orb Flight suit, and jumps on the Strike-R's cockpit. He realizes that nostalgia has set in and for him to treat this new machine like the Rouge wouldn't cut it. He feels indebted by what Esther and Lacus have accomplished in order to keep them alive. So he believes that this is his chance to pay that debt. And as the Hangar doors of the Seraph Open;
"X105S- Strike R, you are clear for launch"—Lacus in the CIC position of the bridge would signal Kira.
"Roger, copy that. "
Linear Catapults on the Seraph have been charged, and begins to accelerate the newly-minted Strike Gundam variant.
"Kira Yamato, Gundam. Heading out!"