Mobile Suit Gundam/Kido Senshi Gundam: Peacekeepers

By: Ominae

Rating: T

NOTE:

All characters and machines of the various Gundam eras belong to Yoshiyuki Tomino, Hajime Yatate, Fumihiko Takayama, Takeyuki Kanda, Umanosuke Iida, Mitsuko Kase, Takashi Imanishi, Masashi Mukaeda, Mitsuo Fukuda, Seiji Mizushima, Susumu Yamaguchi, Satoshi Konno, Junichi Kamino, Bandai, Level 5 and Sunrise. The use of Full Metal Panic! concepts/organizations belong to Shoji Gato. The use of Ghost in the Shell concepts/organizations/etc. belong to Masamume Shirow and Kenji Kamiyama. I only own Mark Liu for now.

Summary:

Kira, Sai, Kuzzey and Mark have survived extraction from the Archangel, already back on Orban territory while their comrades covered them to prevent a ZAFT attack towards the shuttles carrying them and the Heliopolis-based refugees. They all have received new plans from Colonel Berserk after Mithril has unofficially revealed its presence to the entire world after years of rearming itself from the end of the Cold War, with most world leaders cautiously responding to their videotaped broadcast. What will happen to the four Mithril agents after they officially return back to active duty from their undercover assignment in Heliopolis? Stay tune to this chapter to find out.

Chapter 12: Travel


Akatsuki Tower, Kuniumi, United Emirates of Orb


Akatsuki Tower was among the best residential complexes ever built in Orb in Kuniumi City, taking design inspirations from art deco buildings in New York and Toronto. Consisting of two towers, namely North and South, the residential complex has many highlights ranging from its marble, granite and traverline-lined lobby construction to luxurious bathrooms with high-tech security in the form of having keycard access to elevators and apartments coupled with a 24/7 security team made up of the best in the private security industry. Air conditioning and heating are also placed in each apartment residence to ensure that residents are comfortable in their living space. A swimming pool was also located between the two towers with its own convenience store, a strip mall located underground with its own access to the Orb Metro Subway System.

It is known to the Orban upper class society (and to those who keep tabs on them) that the Wang family has invested in the real estate market since Orb has a growing Coordinator population fleeing from OMNI member state nations such as the Atlantic and the European Federations.

In the said complex, the four Mithril undercover agents were now making their preparations to leave the country.


Apartment Residence #1210, 12th Floor, South Tower, Akatsuki Tower, Kuniumi, United Emirates of Orb


The entire residence looks very much empty without anything except for the sofas, coffee tables, desks and chairs left behind in the carpeted floor apartment.

Kuzzey and Sai had just finished packing up most of the things that can be stored via plastic storage boxes while Kira and Mark were given some time to finish changing clothes after taking a bath since the former two got up a bit early to give them enough time to clean the place up. They would be the next to head to the toilet and change clothes.

"Looks like we got the stuff taken care of." Kuzzey murmured, stretching his arms after storing the last storage box away in an empty room being used as a storage room.

"That's true." Sai sighed while taking off his eyeglasses to rub his eyes.

"You gonna discard them?"

"Maybe when I get back to space. Need to keep my disguise up after all."

"Sorry for the wait!"

Kira greeted the two with Mark following behind him, yawning loud.

"Did he sleep well?" Sai asked Kira.

"I think so." Kira said, shrugging his shoulders.

"I guess we can get ready before we use the metro subway to the airport."


Sidewalk, outside JNN Building, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, Republic of East Asia


"Hi, Saji."

Kinue walked outside the JNN Building, greeting her younger brother Saji when she came across a glaring, angry blonde teenager holding onto Saji's arm like it was the most important thing on Earth.

"Oh..." The brown-haired girl sighed after she saw who it was. "Hi Louise."

"Hi, nee-san." Saji greeted Kinue. "Long day?"

"You can say that." Kinue tried to put up a smile in front of the two, even though she was a bit tired in getting JNN news broadcast and programs up regarding the emergence of Mithril as "M". At least this was how Mithril wanted to present itself to the public level.

"So what now?"

"Well... how about we go to eat..."

Louise just kept quiet, watching the two interact.

I wonder if she doesn't mind me being with Saji, even though I could tell that she's hesitating a bit.


Lobby Area, Olofat International Airport, Olofat, United Emirates of Orb


Sai was using a nearby payphone with Kira, Kuzzey and Mark went ahead to the nearest toilet to relieve themselves after entering the lobby of the airport with their luggage, which merely consisted of travel pack bags with two wheels to move them with collapsible handles should one decide to use them like rolling luggage. Currently, the four are carrying them around like backpacks.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be away, Flay." Sai told Flay on the other line. "Something personal has come up and I need to take care of it." The glasses-wearing teen saw the trio already waiting for Sai to finish up. "Yes, yes. Yes, I'll contact you when I can ASAP. Okay, okay. I need to go, Flay, so I'll call you again later when I get to the HRL."

"Everything okay?" Mark asked Sai after the latter placed the phone handle back on the payphone.

"Yeah." Sai replied. "I just hope I can think of a way to get away from this so that I can get back to active duty."

"Come on, Sai." Mark placed an arm around Sai as the four went to the immigration section of the lobby with their Orban passports ready. "I'm sure intelligence and some of the observers on the ground can think of something."

"Well, thanks for cheering me up." Sai sighed even more, wondering if Mark's suggestion would really pay off or not for the SRT operative after he presented his passport to an airport police officer guarding the entrance to immigration. "I wonder I had to use my old family connections for this undercover mission..."

"I know, right?"


Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Kowen was now working on paperwork when Berserk entered his office, rendering a salute.

"Anything I should know about, Colonel?" Kowen asked the colonel after he saluted him.

"Well aside from the fact that Intelligence has taken over the rest of the interrogation for the ZAFT Red captured back in Heliopolis..." Berserk trailed off when he answered his superior.

"I wonder what came to Sergeant Liu's mind when he was back in Heliopolis." Kowen sighed, remembering that he read a report from Sumeragi, detailing Rusty's detention in Mithril custody.

"Who knows?" Berserk tried to offer a logical explanation. "Perhaps it was something that came from his memories that he's yet to remember?"

"Let's not dwell on that..." Kowen placed a folder aside before he picked up another, reading through its contents. "How soon can they be relocated to another ship once they get back?"

"I've been told by R&D that the newer ships should be ready soon, thanks to some assistance from the Madorna Workshop."

"Good. The first thing you and I need to do is to finalize the call signs for all of the SRT and PRT operatives located in the Freiceadan base."

"I've done that, sir."

Berserk showed Kowen a manila envelope that was sealed with the words TOP SECRET stamped on it.


Terminal, Departure Area, Olofat International Airport, Olofat, United Emirates of Orb


The four Mithril agents passed through immigration and initial security checks prior to entering the terminal without much of a hitch. Now they have all the time in the world.

"Ah, there you are."

If it weren't for a very familiar person they just met.

"What are you doing, Wang Liu Mei?" Kuzzey said, pointing at her. She was, as always, accompanied by her bodyguard Hong Long.

"I'm just on my way to Southeast Asia." The socialite replied.

"Sounds like a coincidence to me..." Mark muttered.

"And since you four are all here, allow me to assist you in your departure from Orb."

"Assist?" Kira was confused. "What do you mean?"

"You'll see..." Wang smirked at the young Coordinator.

"I don't know if this is good or bad." Sai whispered to his comrades.

"You're probably right, Sai." Kuzzey whispered back to Sai.

A few minutes later, the PA system had announced that an Orb Airlines flight bound for Vietnam was making preparations for boarding.

"Looks like our flight's already going." Wang smirked. "Let's not keep them waiting."


Interrogation Room #1, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"Let's try this again, shall we?"

A young blonde hair with a bob cut hairstyle entered the interrogation room with a folder in hand, wearing a red pantsuit with a lit cigarette in her mouth. Seated on the chair near the 4x4 table was Rusty Mackenzie, his right wrist cuffed to the table leg.

"What now, Ms. Miller?" Rusty groaned, using his left hand to block the light coming from the adjustable table lamp as it was aimed at his face.

Alice Miller, ex-intelligence agent with the OMNI Army's Military Intelligence Bureau and currently intelligence agent/interrogator sat down across from the ZAFT Red and simply glared at him.

"I need a clear answer from you." Alice said, extinguishing the lit cigarette in an ashtray before getting the light from the table lamp away from the Coordinator. "And I want it now..."

Rusty groaned again. He remembered telling her that he was deployed to Heliopolis on orders from Le Creuset to either take/destroy the prototype mobile suits made in the colony.

"But lady." Rusty began to insist. "I told you that my comrades just bombed the factory so that the OMNI soldiers are distracted while me and some of the others hijack the Orb-made mobile suits."

"Then what do you make of this?" Alice simply glared at him and showed pictures of the ruins of Heliopolis, as well as GINNs armed with D-Type Equipment. They were all blown up to have a better quality.

"W-what the?" Rusty couldn't believe that GINNs were attacking everyone and everything in the Heliopolis photos.

"Does your covert mission in Heliopolis include destroying the heck out of the colony when you're done?" The ex-MIB agent interrogated Rusty, who couldn't do anything except to stare at them. "You know the public in Olofat is already asking for the heads of those responsible for those killed since some of the casualties were due to the massive damage on it during your little intrusion..."

Alice sighed. This is not going anywhere.

The blonde woman simply stood up and walked out.

"I'll leave those photos with you. Try and reflect when you're looking at them, will you? Let's see if they'll make you sleep better at night."


First Class Cabin, Orb Airlines A380-900


"I hope the arrangements are alright, Ms. Wang." A female flight attendant of Southeast Asian descent in her late 20s spoke to Wang as she, Hong and the four Mithril SRT operatives got into the first class area. She had a bob cut hairstyle, with her uniform consisting of a pantsuit-style jacket, a pencil skirt and high heels.

"Thank you. It means a lot." Wang told her. "Just tell her that Ms. Wang has her thanks."

"I understand." The flight attendant left as the four SRT operatives went to their FISH-type seats, pretty amazed to see a First Class area in an airline.

Mark looked around before he placed his travel pack bag into the overhead luggage compartment, noting that he was able to reach up above the seat and open it. He then placed his bag inside and closed it. Kira, Sai and Kuzzey did the same thing likewise before they took their seats.

"Something the matter?" Wang noted that he was staring around the First Class area, seeing that no one else was around except for them.

"Nothing." Mark shook his head. "I'm just getting a feeling that I used to be in this area, but in another airline."

"Perhaps a lost memory of yours, then?" Hong offered a suggestion.

"Perhaps it is, Hong Long."

"Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats at once. We are now preparing for immediate takeoff..."

"You heard the lady..." Mark told his SRT comrades, getting into their suite-style seats and storing their baggage.

"Time to fly in style." Kuzzey grinned, putting the lap and shoulder seat belts on.

"I can't wait to brag about this to the others back in the base." Sai grinned before he removed his glasses.

"Me too, Sai." Kira told Sai, who was seated in an adjacent suite next to him. "Me too."

A few minutes later after the SRT operatives and Wang (plus Hong) got to their seats, the PA system informed the passengers that the plane was now going to taxi into the runway prior to takeoff.


Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"Welcome, Major Miller."

Alice Miller entered Kowen's office after knocking on the door. She was able to get inside after the general allowed the door to be opened from inside his office.

"Sir." Alice saluted Kowen, which was returned in kind before she walked towards his desk.

"I hope you were able to extinguish your cigarette, Major. I have a no smoking policy in my office."

"Yes, sir."

Kowen nodded, satisfied with the answer he heard.

"I have a report to make with the interrogation of the ZAFT Red soldier Rusty Mackenzie." Alice began, giving the folder to the African-American.

"And?" Kowen accepted the folder from Alice.

"It seems that he doesn't know about Le Creuset's orders to destroy Heliopolis with D-Type Equipment." Alice told Kowen about her interrogation. "Even when I showed him photos of the attacks before and after the colony was destroyed."

"I see." Kowen sighed while going over the report. "And I will assume that his orders are to either seize or destroy the mobile suits made in Heliopolis?"

"Yes, sir." Alice replied. "I'm either recommending putting him back in a cell for another interrogation or have him taken care of."

Kowen nodded when he heard Alice's recommendations. He didn't like the second option since it meant that the intelligence division officers in the Freiceadan base would have a free hand in deciding what to do with their prisoner.

"I don't know, Major Miller. I've heard that this ZAFT Red's been considered KIA by his superiors after the destruction of Heliopolis."

"Sir, do you mean..."

"Put him back in the cell for now. Let's see where it goes next..."


First Class Cabin, Orb Airlines A380-900


It's been a few hours since OA 159 departed for the Manila-Hanoi flight, already in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The SRT operators with Wang and Hong had just concluded their lunches.

"The plan." Mark murmured, trying to relax back on his seat. The plan so far launched by intelligence called for the four to use the Human Reform League's orbital elevator to space, disguised as Orb nationals until they can be picked up by a Mithril agent who will be picking them via shuttle.

He took a glance up ahead and saw the ponytailed man seated in a roundtable-type suite across Wang. He didn't know what she was doing, but he wasn't surprised if she was indulging herself in being in the First Class cabin thanks to her status as a rich girl.

He looked around to see what the others were doing. Kuzzey was sleeping it off to get some rest. Sai was reading a military thriller-type novel he bought from an airport bookstore. And as for Kira...

Well, Mark saw Kira looking at the outside world from his seat, standing up in the cabin in order to get a good view.

"Heh. Can't wait to see the reaction from the others when we get back..." The amnesiac grinned before he went to recline back on his seat, choosing to watch a movie in his seat until they can reach Ninoy Aquino International Airport.


Detention Cell, Prison, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Rusty had been placed back in his detention cell, blindfolded so that the secrecy of the location and its facilities are kept secret in case he would be handed over back to ZAFT.

With the photos Alice had left him to see before he was ordered back to his cell, Rusty began to wonder about the attack on Heliopolis with D-Type Equipment. The last time he remembered, the ZAFT Reds and Greens were given explicit orders to raid the colony to gather evidence of prototype mobile suits and a warship before either destroying or capturing them for ZAFT.

The orange-haired ZAFT Red began to reflect on what had happened ever since he was captured and treated by Mithril. Sitting down on a bench that served as his bed, Rusty began to think about his future.

Especially if that future of his won't include him being returned back to ZAFT and/or with the option of being silenced by Mithril.

"Crap..." Rusty murmured as he looked at the ceiling of his cell. "What do I do next?"

With no other decision in mind, Rusty decided to lie down and get some rest. He had been doing well, recovering from the gunshot wound he sustained during the Heliopolis raid.

"I just hope I can take off those bandages later after I nap..."


First Class Cabin, Orb Airlines A380-900


Wang looked outside the window while seated at her suite. It was getting dark as the airplane was beginning to make a landing at the runway of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"Anything I need to take care of when I get to Vietnam?" Wang asked Hong, who had recently checked his communications device a while ago.

"Mistress..." Hong replied. "You're suppose to be meeting with Mr. Alejandro Corner after we land at the Da Nang International Airport."

"I can't remember which hotel was it..." The socialite frowned. "Was it the HAGL Plaza Hotel or was it the Danang Petro Hotel?"

"It's the Plaza Hotel, Mistress."

"I see." Wang nodded. "I just hope things will go well with him."

"I have the utmost confidence that things will go well."

"Er... wha?" Kuzzey closed his eyes for a few minutes when he felt the airplane touched down. "We landed?"

"Of course, Mr. Buskirk." Wang replied to the SRT after she saw him jolt out of his nap. Or his rest. She couldn't tell.

"Apologies." Kuzzey rubbed his eyes with his clenched left hand. "Damn this dirt in my eye..."

"You're getting off here?" Sai asked Wang, peeking his head out of the suite seat since the make of it allows the passenger to have privacy when they sat down on it.

"Not yet, Mr. Argyle." Wang told him, turning her shoulder to the left to look at him while her hands are at her lap. "I'll be landing in Vietnam like the rest of you. I have some business to take care of."

"I suppose it won't be hard."

Wang smiled at him. "Of course not."

"Yeah, of course not." Sai grinned, trying to tease her.

The plane was now starting to taxi towards the international terminal after it made its landing on the main runway.


Research & Development Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Nina had just entered the R&D office, getting to work after she and some of the other Mithril SRT personnel had to coax Kou into eating the carrots given to him in the cafeteria. She simply massaged her temples, not wanting to remember the incident.

"Hey, Nina." The blonde woman was greeted by a blonde woman, except that she was older than her. She also wore glasses that had a neck string worn around her neck so that her glasses won't be damaged in case they fall. "Having trouble with Kou?"

"That's not the start of it, Linda." Nina replied, heading to the long holographic table, which occupied a majority of the space in the R&D office aside from PC terminals and some desks for R&D personnel permanently assigned to the office.

"My, oh my." Linda Vashti smiled at Nina, knowing what her problem is. Known in the Mithril R&D ranks for being the only officer married to Ian Vashti, who held the rank of major. After Linda got married, she held the rank of Captain. "You ought to be easy on him, Nina."

The Second Lieutenant sighed. "I know, I know... I just can't help but wonder about Kou's hatred for carrots."

"Well, find some time to talk to the young man." Linda was studying the holographic image of the Archangel based on data acquired from Mithril agents who had access to the covert G Weapons project. "Things won't change in a day, you know."

"I'm at a loss, really." Nina manipulated her fingers to type at the digital keyboard on the holographic table. "I don't know what to do..."

"Maybe I can get Ian to talk to him." Linda offered a suggestion to Nina. "After all, he is older than Kou."

"Maybe..." Nina trailed off before she got the image of the Strike Gundam without any equipment mounted on its back.

"Hey ladies!" Mora had entered the office, wearing a Mithril blue BDU and black combat boots that served as the organization's mechanic uniform. That was unlike Linda and Nina, since they wore Mithril olive green dress shirts with pencil skirts since they were assigned in the base to R&D. The same goes with other female Mithril personnel who were assigned to intelligence and to other non-combat positions.

"Oh hello, Lieutenant." Linda greeted the First Lieutenant as she came in.

"Do any of you know when Kira or the others are heading back?"

"We know they're suppose to be coming later." Nina told Mora. "At least that's what their ETA is suppose to be."

"Is there a problem?" Linda asked Mora, feeling worried.

"Not really." Mora shook her head. "I just need to get those four to the hangars when they're ready. I need to make sure their mobile suits are okay for their first deployment after their undercover operation in Orb."

"I heard that they made it out safely of Heliopolis." Linda told the woman. "I was really quite worried."

"You're not the only one who was worried, Linda."


First Class Cabin, Orb Airlines A380-900


"Hacka...ph!"

Mark had just stopped himself from sneezing a minute after takeoff.

"You alright?" Kira asked the brown-haired teenager, hearing him almost sneeze.

"Oh yeah..." Mark waved off the concern. I wonder if someone's talking about me back at the base?

"Perhaps you need to take a look later..."

"No. No. I'm fine."

"Aren't you lucky huh, Kira?" Sai chuckled. "You don't need to worry about sneezing all the time."

"Yeah..." Kira tried to laugh it off.

"How long 'til we get to Vietnam?" Kuzzey asked.

"It should be at least an hour and 20 minutes, give or take depending if we're expecting rough weather or not." Hong advised Kuzzey.

"Dinner guys?" Kuzzey faced Sai, Kira and Mark when he asked the question.

"We probably can have it before we board the orbital elevator." Kira suggested to Kuzzey.

Kuzzey shrugged. "Sure, why not?"

The four SRT operators stayed silent, still in their seats while under seatbelts until the PA system allowed them to remove their seatbelts. Wang stayed quiet, allowing the peace and quiet of the cabin to overtake her for once. Hong stayed alert as usual.


Corridor, OMNI Joint Supreme Headquarters Alaska, somewhere in Alaska, United States of America, Atlantic Federation


Now decked in full OMNI uniform, with peaked cap included, Murrue walked down the many corridors of the Joint Supreme Headquarters Alaska or JOSH-A. She had just been debriefed by the OMNI Space Force's Intelligence Security Bureau on what had happened, including the fact that a civilian had piloted the Strike on behalf of OMNI.

Well it is a good thing I didn't tell them about the "other facts" on Kira.

Murrue had told them about the fact that she brought Orban refugees due to the nature of Heliopolis being attacked and destroyed in the process. An ISB officer told Murrue that he probably would have done the same thing if he was in her place. So far, Murrue was told that no charges will be brought against her. She found out that the same thing happened with Natarle and Mu, which also included the fact that no charges will be brought on them.

"Lieutenant Ramius!"

The brown-haired woman was greeted by a black-haired woman, who also wore a white OMNI uniform with peaked cap as well.

Murrue knew who the woman was when she saw the woman salute her.

"I didn't expect to see you here, Lieutenent Imelia."

Lieutenant Junior Grade Rena Imelia, a mobile suit pilot/veteran of the OYBW and current mobile suit instructor at the OMNI's own academy in Anchorage, Alaska, greeted Murrue while on her way to the cafeteria to get some food to eat.

"Me neither, Lieutenant Ramius." Rena said after she saluted Murrue. "I would assume that you're fine after being debriefed with Ensign Badgiruel and Lieutenant La Flaga."

"Of course I am." Murrue sighed. "Considering that ISB is not going to bring up charges against me or the other two due to the circumstances."

"So what happens next?" Rena asked her superior.

"I'm not so sure yet." Murrue shrugged. "Now that you've seen the Archangel along with everyone else, they most likely will put me in charge of the ship alongside some of the others who escaped with me."

"I need to ask, Lieutenant." Rena bit her lip before she asked Murrue. "Was it true that the five pilots who were suppose to use the prototype mobile suits made in Heliopolis were..."

Murrue was silent when Rena asked her the question.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant Imelia." Murrue said to Rena, looking at her without hiding any attempt to make the truth easy for her to bear. "From what I've been told by Lieutenant La Flaga and Ensign Badgiruel, they never had the chance to at least fight back when the explosions took place in Heliopolis."

"Thank you, Lieutenant Ramius." Rena said softly, almost about to cry. Murrue knew that it may happen to her since she personally trained the five prospective mobile suits from the armies of the OMNI member states in order to become the supposed permanent pilots of the prototype mobile suits. "It's so sad that I've trained them long and hard, only for the pilots to be killed in action while the enemy took the mobile suits."

Rena... Murrue couldn't help, but sympathize with her over her personal loss.

"One day, I'll get back to a mobile suit cockpit and avenge their loss."


First Class Cabin, Orb Airlines A380-900


The PA system had announced that the plane was going to touch down in Da Nang International Airport, already approaching the main runway. Even before the announcement was made, Mark and the others had already made their plans.

Get themselves to pass through immigration and customs with their Orb passports. Later on, the four would meet up together to head to the Da Nang Airport Express Transit and use it to travel to the Human Reform League's Orbital Elevator known as Tenchu. As for Wang Liu Mei and Hong Long, well they have other plans they need to attend to. They separate by the time they pass through immigration and customs.

"Everyone still remember the plan?" Mark asked his SRT comrades by the time the airplane touched down on the runway.

"Still got it." Kira gave the thumbs up.

"Oh you know me, Mark." Kuzzey said with confidence.

"You better." Sai said to Kuzzey, rolling his eyes. "Remember the last time you said that when we deployed?"

"Yeah, yeah." Kuzzey waved Sai's question of.

As the A380-900 began to taxi to DAIA's main international terminal, the passengers in the cabin made preparations to get their passports and whatever IDs they can use in case airport police/immigration officers would need to ask for their identification.


Immigration Section, Da Nang International Airport, Da Nang, Vietnam, Human Reform League


Wang and Hong then departed from Mark and the others, already telling them that she needs to attend to business after they got to the area thanks to moving sidewalks.

"I'll see you later then, gentlemen."

The four watched the two make their way to a special section of the DAIA's Immigration area where frequent visitors can use airport cards to get through.

"Lucky for her..." Kira murmured. "She gets to use that section but we don't."

"Come on you..." Mark told Kira as they got in line, which was non-existence to their luck. "We don't have time to complain. Get your passports ready."

"Right." Kira, Kuzzey and Sai said in unison.

Airport policemen were in the area, assisting the four to get to an available immigration officer to check their passports and validate their entry into Vietnamese territory.


Mobile Weapon Simulator Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Lockon and Tieria got inside the mobile weapon simulator room, which was a bit vacant at the moment. Only two simulator pods were fully operational at the moment, which was shown with closed doors on the left side of the pods. Any pod with its door left open and powered down indicates that they are not in use.

"So Lichty's here you say?" Lockon asked Tieria after getting inside the room.

"Yes." Tieria replied. "At least that's what I got from Christina when I asked her a while ago."

"Well..." Lockon stretched his arms. "it probably doesn't hurt if Lichty gets trained up to be a potential mobile suit pilot. We can use a hand in the Ptolemaios anyway."

"I wonder who's using the other simulator pod?" Tieria murmured, seeing the other pod door opening up.

"Could be someone new in Mithril." Lockon suggested. "It's always nice to get some new faces around here."

"Hey." A familiar blonde man greeted the two after emerging out of the pod.

"Nice to see you looking pretty well, Sergeant Wiseman."

Bernard Wiseman, who had permanently joined Mithril with the rank of Sergeant, looked pleasant as ever. Aside from having a few deployments in space with a Zaku II unit he acquired with help from Mithril, he was stationed at the Freiceadan base until he can be assigned to a ship.

"Still doing simulators based on combat data with your Zaku II, Bernie?" Lockon asked the ex-Zeon soldier and mobile suit pilot.

"Of course I do." Bernie said with a grin on his face. "I just can't bear to accept Mithril's replacement mobile suits though."

"So you're getting another Zaku-based mobile suit?" Tieria raised the question to the blonde Mithril agent.

"Yeah." Bernie nodded. "Probably should be ready in a while. Last I heard, one's been acquired and tests are conducted to make sure it's okay."

"By the way, is Lichty done?" Lockon asked Bernie.

Bernie shook his head.

"All right, just tell him that we'll see him when he's got the chance."

"I'll tell him that."

Lockon and Tieria then left the simulator room, leaving Bernie alone inside for the meantime.


First Gran Class car, Shinkansen E6, Da Nang Airport Express Transit


Mark, Kira, Kuzzey and Sai got in the train car of the Da Nang Airport Express Transit, using smartcards to get through the ticket gates blocking the path between the airport and the metro transit station. The four placed their luggage in a baggage compartment before they took their seats. They were also lucky that the car was also empty except for them, given the high price one usually has to pay for access to the Gran Class car.

"Can't believe that we're actually going to ride in a Japanese-made Shinkansen E6." Kuzzey commented as he took his seat.

"Yeah. The seats are almost the same, except they gave a blue and white paint job for this train." Mark said as he sat down. "Imagine that."

"I surely need to thank Ms. Wang for going all the way to make us comfy." Kira said, not believing that they are actually allowed to use the Gran Class car. Its interior did give off that luxurious feel.

"Well, what are waiting for?" Sai chuckled as he took the seat with the window. Kira and Kuzzey sat down in the 2 seats opposite Sai.

"I just hope the train lives up to its reputation." Mark took the seat in front of Sai. "Heard this baby can go up to 190 kilometers/hour, though I heard that you can push it to at least 300."

"Attention everyone. This train will now be departing from the Da Nang International Airport's Airport Express Transit..."

The PA system gave the announcement in English, French and Vietnamese when the SRT operators took their seat.

"Hey..." Kira asked his comrades. "Is this train non-stop to the Tenchu?"

"Yeah." Kuzzey replied. "Last I remember, this train heads out from DAIA all the way to Thanh Hoa province. The orbital elevator is located around Thanh Hoa City after all. The airport authorities did the same thing with another connection leading out of the airport with Da Nang being one of the other stops."

"I actually thought the Koreans would actually get their KTX-IIIs in this country." Mark commented, looking at the Vietnamese countryside after the airport express left the station.

"Do remember that the Vietnamese government had preferential treatment to the Japanese since they are familiar with high-speed trains in Asia." Sai reminded Mark, leaning over his seat.

"So the next we can know is sit back and relax." Kuzzey adjusted his seat so that he can stretch his muscles.

"Oh I can't wait to see how the others WILL really react to our travel plans..." Kira chuckled as he read an English printout of the Vietnam Economic Times, which he bought from a bookstore in the station.


Corridor, somewhere in Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Sumeragi almost sneezed as she traveled through one of the many moving sidewalks placed inside Freiceadan, browsing through her Mithril-issued PDA. She had been trying to look at news from all the power blocs regarding the announcement of Mithril before the rest of the world and the colonies, known only to public at large as "M".

"Nothing really special in the news right now, aside from no comments to little public presses from the power blocs." The Eurasian said while looking over an internet article from a press release from the Middle Eastern Union.

Sumeragi took a look at another press release publicly released by the MEU.

"The presence of OZ-led EF forces in the next day or so?" Sumeragi was a bit concerned by their presence. "And the Specials are going to take the lead."

I don't like this. The brown-haired woman traveled down the moving sidewalk. I'm sure Veda would plan this to be another mission, considering the Conservative party in Azadistan are against foreign intervention in any way. The joint EF-MEU military exercises are going to set off some trouble.

"Hi Ms. Sumeragi!"

Sumeragi turned around to see that it was Christina, who was dragging Feldt with her by the hand.

"What's going on?"

"Nothing really. I'm just going to get Feldt to try on some clothes I bought a few weeks ago..."

"O-okay. Have fun, girls."


First Gran Class car, Shinkansen E6, Da Nang Airport Express Transit


"I'm really enjoying this travel so far." Mark murmured, looking outside. "Sometimes, I forget that I'm actually fighting, killing, piloting and assassinating for Mithril."

"Really takes the stress away." Sai said, looking outside while leaning on his char. "I like the Vietnamese countryside. I can't believe it looks beautiful despite the Vietnam War many years ago." He then frowned. "Too bad it's night, otherwise I'd appreciate it more."

"Yeah. Especially with some mines out there. And the cleanup going on to get rid of the last traces of Agent Orange as part of the war's legacy."

Kira woke up after spending some time sleeping, seeing the LCD screen in front of them that said the location towards Tenchu is about approximately 19 more minutes to go.

"19 more minutes..." Kira said after he stretched his arms. "That seems quick to me."

"Heh. No kidding." Kuzzey chuckled. "Considering this is Japanese-made train technology at its best."

"Well, our ride's coming to an end so we need to hustle up soon." Mark told his comrades.

"At least the only we need to do is to get the tickets and wait for our ride." Said commented before the PA system announced that the train was now making its final approach towards the Tenchu station.

"Alright guys." Kira faced his comrades. "Time to look alive."


Colonel Den Berserk's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"Colonel Berserk."

Berserk stopped his computer work when he saw Yuki enter his office.

"What is it?"

"Our agents in Vietnam have sighted Kira and the others arriving at the Tenchu orbital elevator."

"Get someone to immediately be ready for pickup at the Tenchu spaceport."

"Understood, Colonel."

Now for the hard part. And that's to make contact with Kira.


Food Court, Tenchu Orbital Elevator, Thanh Hoa City, Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam, Human Reform League


Kira and the others had made it through Vietnamese immigration and initial security checks without any much of a hitch. They had decided to get some food from the waiting area before they would get the call to board the orbital elevators leading to space.

"This is it. The last leg of our travels." Kira said as the four dined with both Chinese and Japanese food on a medium-sized circular table. The only thing for them is that they need to eat by standing up.

"Man I don't like eating while we're standing up." Kuzzey frowned as he eat his food with wooden chopsticks. "But I guess beggars can't be choosers."

"Come on, Kuzzey." Mark grinned, patting Kuzzey on his right shoulder. "Let's make the best out of this before we board the orbital elevators."

"Anyone need to head to the toilet after this?" Sai asked the three.

"Sure."

"Why not?"

"I could use the trip."

"Least I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone." Sai said before he took a drink from his bottled water.

"Say, how's the top brass going to contact us once we get up there?" Kuzzey asked, pointing to the ceiling with his left index finger for emphasis.

"I know." Kira murmured for Kuzzey to hear. "It's not like we can walk to someone and ask them if they're the guy Mithril sent to pick us up."

"I'm sure they'll figure something out." Kuzzey reassured Kira.

"Let's finish this up food before we leave. And get some sleep in the orbital elevator while we're at it."

Mark then said after he eat his share of food. "I hope nothing goes wrong with this part of our journey."


Princess Marina Ismail's Office, Azadistan Royal Palace, Tehran, Azadistan, Middle Eastern Union


Marina and Shirin were inside the former's office, already talking about the planned military exercises between the EF and the MEU. It has been officially announced, but it has been met with some criticism from the conservatives even though a military treaty was signed with the two power blocs recently.

"I'm just worried about the conservatives in the National Assembly." Shirin gave her concerns, looking over the plans given to her by the National Defense Minister when the glasses-wearing woman came into her office a while ago. "And the fact is that there are some sympathizers in the military, but I just don't know who they are."

"Well the EF did say that they'll agree to assist us in getting access to solar energy as long as we can help them in the exercise." Marina told Shirin. "Even though I don't like this idea, I feel that it may give us a chance to show the world that we are ready to get solar energy throughout the MEU."

"Even though I fully support this, I am worried about the possibility of the EF having more demands from us." Shirin replied. "I'm even surprised that the UN Ambassador wants to head back here to conduct more negotiations and watch the exercises."

At this point, there's nothing the Princess can do to oppose anything since the Reformists and some of the Independent MPs are for the joint exercises with the EF. I hope she can still continue her fulfill as the unifying symbol of the Azadistani monarch after the king's passing.

"I'm more worried if Mithril would intervene at any time in the Middle East, given what you know about them."

"Don't worry Princess. Just worry on the planned meeting with the UN Ambassador. If anything, I'll covertly ask Mithril for assistance in making sure the meeting goes off without any further problems."


Business Class Cabin Room, Tenchu Orbital Elevator Linear Train


The four SRT operatives were fortunate to get a Business Class cabin room. Even with Wang Liu Mei's intervention, she could not get them a First Class cabin room. Still, it was better than nothing.

"Not a bad room." Mark commented as he took his seat after placing his backpack at a baggage compartment closet. The cabin room had some luxurious features, such as adjustable seats and a massager built into the seat. Otherwise, there wasn't any LCD to watch TV or movies. The least thing they have is a window that will allow them to look outside and look at space.

"Sure." Sai said as he helped Kira put their backpacks in the baggage compartment closet before they took their seats and wore their seatbelts.

"We've got another hour at least to get to Tenchu's space station." Kuzzey said after he got the seatbelt worn.

"Alright. Here we go." Kira murmured as he wore his seatbelt, just in time as the linear train began to move.

"Now we wait until we leave the train and get back to base."


Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"Excuse me, general."

Kowen's secretary entered his office, saluting him.

"Yes, what is it?" Kowen said, not looking at her because he had to take care of paperwork that came in a while ago.

"The person you called for is waiting outside."

The African-American stopped his work and stared at the entrance.

"Oh. All right. Please send her in at once."

"Understood, sir."

Kowen sighed as he arranged his papers and placed it on one side of his desk, deciding to continue work on them later.

"Hello, General Kowen."

The Mithril officer saw the orange-haired woman enter his office and stand in front of his desk. He took the time carefully to get a look at her. Kowen noted that she wore the standard olive green officer's uniform, with the exception of having a pencil skirt instead of pants with white high heels. The woman wore a white cloak over her shoulders, which mostly concealed her uniform jacket, and white gloves that covered most of her arms until the elbow. In addition, she wore what appeared to be a scabbard attached to her belt. A blue shoulder pad was on the white cloak, placed over her left shoulder.

The woman stood at attention and saluted Kowen.

"Hello, Lieutenant Colonel." Kowen saluted the woman in return, who physically appeared to be quite young. Possibly before her 20s. "Thank you for taking your time to get here."

"Not at all, general." The woman replied after she rendered a salute. "May I ask why I was summoned to your office?"


Business Class Cabin Room, Tenchu Orbital Elevator Linear Train


"Since we're approaching the Exosphere quite soon, you guys need a drink?" Kira asked the others after taking off his seatbelt since the entire linear train is under zero gravity, except for the cockpit for obvious reasons.

"Maybe water." Mark told Kira.

"Same." Kuzzey told Kira the same thing.

"All right. I'll be back." Kira said, giving the two-finger salute before he left the cabin room.

Sai was in his seat, seatbelt in his place since he took the time to get some sleep before the linear train would approach the Low Orbit Station.

"Anything from base?" Kuzzey asked Mark when Kira left the cabin room.

"Nothing." Mark shrugged his shoulders. "Freiceadan's pretty quiet ever since we boarded the linear train."

"Oh well." Kuzzey nodded, understanding his answer. "It's good to be at the base again. I feel like it's been a long time even if we were deployed in Heliopolis for at more than a year now."

"I know." Mark sighed, stretching his legs in his seat. "I feel the same thing."

"So..." Kuzzey leaned in to talk to Mark. "I heard some stuff from the mechanics that we could be transferred from the Albion to another ship."

"Yeah?" Mark raised an eyebrow, not knowing what is he getting at.

"Is it true that we could get an all-female crew for once in our redeployment?"

Mark paused to think about Kuzzey's question. A few seconds, the black-haired young man replied. "I don't know. But I'd say that it would be interesting to hear in the ranks of Mithril at least."

"Hey guys."

Kira came back to the cabin room, bringing water for Mark, Kuzzey and himself.

"Thanks a bunch, Kira." Mark thanked Kira when he came back inside. "Means a lot. And you were quick too."

"Yeah, Kira. Thanks." Kuzzey gave his thanks to Kira. "I'm about to start getting thirsty."

"Well it's your lucky day then, Kuzzey." Kira grinned as he handed the bottled water to Kuzzey first before he gave another one to Mark.

"How long is the approach to the low orbit station?" Kuzzey asked after he got the bottled water.

"Should be after half and hour and a few minutes." Mark told Kuzzey before he blinked. "Well I hope it is."

Kira then got into his seat and wore the seatbelt again. "After I drink my water, I'm going to get some rest. Pretty tired."

"Yeah, same here." Kuzzey said as he began to yawn. Good thing that he didn't yawn out loud since he doesn't want to disturb Sai, who was currently sleeping.

"Better make you drink the stuff before gravity kicks in, Kira." Mark grinned at Kira. "After all, you don't want to see water floating around the room, right?"


Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"About why you were summoned here..." Kowen told the officer. "It's about your reassignment."

"I'm... being assigned to a ship, general?" The Lieutenant Colonel said, feeling a bit hesitant.

"Yes, you are." Kowen nodded. "I've seen your file. Daughter of brilliant Mithril officers. Among the top best officer candidates with flying colors..."

"I'm honored, general." The woman felt a bit embarrassed when the general was mentioning her achievements as a Mithril officer. "But..."

"No buts." Kowen insisted, shaking his head. "Your achievements with the officer cadet corp is a reason why I'm picking you to be in charge of a new ship Mithril is going to commission by tomorrow at least."

Wow. A ship? But it may be too much for me. The only thing I know with battleships is with theories for the most part...

"I understand the hesitation." Kowen spoke to the officer, trying to put her at ease. "Which is why I'm having a veteran officer placed under your command."

"But sir, how is this..."

"You don't have to worry. This man has promised that he'll help you in any way possible. Besides, he said that he can't wait to get back into action. I'll introduce him to you soon."

"I understand, general..."

Kowen studied the officer carefully, looking at her face and her body language.

I can see that she's hesitating in accepting a position to command a ship. Even though she came recommended, I feel that she may fail in her job unless she can put her hesitation behind.


Business Class Cabin Room, Tenchu Orbital Elevator Linear Train


The PA system announced that the linear train will be making the approach to the low orbit season after 15 minutes. Kira, Kuzzey, Mark and Sai were all fast asleep when the PA system made the announcement.

Already? Well it's better than nothing. Sai was the first to wake up, stretching his arms and yawning at the same time.

"Is it time for the arrival?" Kira said after he woke up, rubbing his eyes.

"The PA system said so." Sai replied to Kira.

"All right. First thing I need to do is to hit the toilet." Mark said out loud after waking up. He then yawned.

"How can we tell the guy who's going to pick us up is from Mithril?" Kuzzey inquired, worried about being captured by a terrorist group or worse... by the Titans themselves.

"The only thing we need to do is to keep our eyes open and hope for the best."

"Okay, folks." Sai pointed to the window. "Our train's about to slow down, which means we're almost back home."


Chairman's Office PLANT Supreme Council Building, Aprilius One, PLANT


Siegel had been going over reports provided by Patrick and Le Creuset regarding the attack on OMNI's 8th Orbital and the Titans' 2nd Orbital Fleet. According to Le Creuset's report, he had decided to attack the fleets as they were providing protection for the Archangel's descent towards Alaska. Patrick's report also seem to back the masked man up.

"I'm not liking this." Siegel sighed after he read the two reports. "It seems the two are already obsessed with expanding the frontlines of war when it's not necessary to do."

The mustached man stared at the photo of him and Lacus on his desk, being thankful to Mithril that they rescued her.

"Even the Supreme Council is divided on continuing the war against the United Nations until they can recognize our independence."

Siegel wondered what he should do next.

"If I don't do anything about this, Patrick may lead a coup with the Supreme Council against me."

He then eyed the reports placed on his desk.

"Whatever must happen next, I must prepare for any eventuality given that Le Creuset's attacks may lead to tensions between us and the Earth sphere."


Reception Area, Arrivals Area, Lower Orbital Station, Tenchu Orbital Elevator, Lagrange 1, Space


The four-man SRT team had arrived at the Tenchu Orbital Elevator's lower orbital station, already clearing through immigration. Thanks in part to their Orban passports, they were able to pass through without any further delays. Since they had nothing to pick up from the baggage carousels, the four passed through customs checks and moved on towards the reception area.

"Well here we are." Sai said after he was the first to arrive at the reception area. "I wonder how are we going to get out of this place?"

"Keep your eyes open, guys." Kuzzey reminded his comrades. "For starters, let's look at the signs that the folks are holding up."

Kira stared at the signs the people were holding up. Nothing was suspicious and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Until he saw someone holding a sign up, who was in his 30s wearing shades and a black suit and red tie.

What the? The sign's name...

KIRA HIBIKI AND GUESTS


Mobile Weapon Simulator Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"Hey, Bernie."

Lichty exited the simulator pod, finding himself to be alone.

"Dammit..." Lichty sighed. "Must've left too late when Bernie was done."

The Ptolemaios helmsman decided to leave the simulator room, tired from conducting helsman simulation programs in handling the Ptolemaios a bit better than his usual alongside Lasse.

"Better see what the cafeteria has in store for food." Licthy said to himself. "Otherwise, I can always check out that bar/restaurant for a change in case the cafeteria food is bad."


Reception Area, Arrivals Area, Lower Orbital Station, Tenchu Orbital Elevator, Lagrange 1, Space


"I'm Kira Hibiki."

Kira went to take the chance by approaching the shades-wearing man who held a sign that had his actual name on.

"Ah..." The man looked at Kira, then at Sai, Kuzzey and to Mark. All of them were waiting to see what happens next. "Follow me please. There's a shuttle waiting at the spaceport for us."

"I understand." Kira nodded as he began to follow him.

"Be cautious, Kira." Mark whispered to Kira. "He could be a bad guy."

"Right."

"Let's use the challenge thing like we did back in Artemis."

Kira gave the thumbs up.

Kuzzey and Sai followed behind Kira and Mark, ready to attack the shades-wearing man if pull comes to shove.


Corridor, somewhere in Paul-Henri Spaak Building, Espace Léopold, Brussels, Belgium, European Federation


A military mission to the Middle Eastern Union and I'm to join them as soon as possible?

A black-haired European Federation military officer wearing the standing EF military uniform, which was a light blue uniform with a beret of the same color that had the insignia of the EF. The woman read her orders given to her while walking down a corridor in the Paul-Henri Spaak Building of the Espace Léopold.

Quite interesting, considering that the MEU is not that significant anymore aside from being a regional ally even though aid's been given by the United Nations to ensure their survival in the Universal Era.

The officer continued walking down the corridor, reading the rest of her deployment orders.

I'll go and leave at once I leave the Espace Léopold as ordered. We'll see if Mithril will intervene like they've mentioned in their global broadcast.

She sighed as she was approaching the main entrance.

I only wish Kujo was by my side.


Spaceport, Lower Orbital Station, Tenchu Orbital Elevator, Lagrange 1, Space


The shades-wearing man led Kira, Kuzzey, Mark and Sai to another part of the spaceport, where a private shuttle was docked to the lower orbital station. It looked like the Enterprise-class passenger-type shuttles used by OMNI.

"Say buddy..." Kira spoke to the shades-wearing man when they arrived in the spaceport. "Things have changed in this era."

The shades-wearing man gave a grin to Kira. "But Mithril is still around."

Kuzzey, Mark and Sai looked at each other when the man answered Kira's challenge question correctly.

"I thought that you guys may try that, so I was informed by Freiceadan to prepare for that as a precaution since we didn't have time to tell you guys the extraction plan once you four got to Tenchu's lower orbital station."

"Hmm..." Kuzzey mused before he said, "Pretty smart of intelligence to lay that one in."

"Well, after you folks." The shades-wearing man allowed the four to get inside the shuttle by walking on the passenger walkway that connected the spaceport terminal to the waiting shuttle.


Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


Kowen got a message from his secretary that his presence is needed at the command center.

"I want you to think about this at least. It's a great position and I want you to be in it."

"Y-yes sir." The captain saluted Kowen before she excused herself from his office.

Kowen noted his phone was ringing. He picked up the handle from the cradle and answered it.

"How did she take it?" The caller questioned Kowen.

Kowen sighed. "Like a champ I suppose. She's quite hesitant. I can see it in her body language."

"Oh don't you worry. As long as I'm the ship's XO, I'll be sure to put her in fine shape to be an excellent captain."

"Yeah. As long as you don't harass her. If I recall, I'm getting reports from the female staff that you're harassing them based on their... measurements."

"My word. I absolutely don't know what you are talking about, general."

"I'll talk to you about this when I have time."

Kowen replaced his phone handle back on the cradle and made his way to the command center.


Command Center, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space


"General Kowen." Berserk greeted Kowen once he got in the command center with a salute. Kowen then saluted back, who was wearing his Mithril-issued peaked cap.

"How are things doing, Colonel?" Kowen asked Berserk once he stared at the large main screen in the command center, showing progress of the shuttle Kira and company are using from the Tenchu Lower Orbital Station to Freiceadan.

"Going smoothly as planned, sir." Berserk replied. "A slight delay happened 'cause Kira challenged the agent sent to pick them up."

"I won't blame the boy." Kowen said, staring at the screen. "If I were in his place and I'm not sure what to do next, I'd do the same thing."

"As of now, the shuttle already departed from Tenchu." Berserk began to debrief him. "They ought to get here in a few hours."

"I hope they can get back in one piece."

"Me too, sir. Me too."

Chapter 12 END


PS - Hope you guys liked this chapter. Rena's rank wasn't indicated in the side material for Gundam SEED, so I had to give her a rank on the fly. Until an official rank is released by Bandai and whatnot, the Lieutenant Junior Grade for Rena sticks throughout this story.

The part where I wrote the travels of Kira and company in Vietnam are based on my experience riding the MTR's Airport Express in Hong Kong. I enjoyed doing the slice of life thing that I probably will continue this until the next chapter since I didn't anticipate the chapter to be long to give Kira and the others to have some time before the get back to base at least. Then it's reality time for the four of them.

BTW, all Mithril personnel assigned as support crew like pilots and FCS officers wear dark blue BDU uniforms. Also, the existence of Mithril is secret to all except to senior politicians/military officers as a FYI. But I guess it's a matter of time before the juniors know about them.

As for the music involved while doing this chapter with Kira and company traveling from Orb to space to making the rendezvous back to Freiceadan, I highly recommend "Evening Haze" from Gran Turismo 5's In-Game Music BGM by Kemmei Adachi. Check it out while reading this chapter up.

And no, the officer talking to Kowen is not an OC. She's an existing character from a Super Robots War-related franchise. Same with the man talking to Kowen via phone. They'll be revealed in good time. More Gundam-based characters are coming next chapter, so hold onto your... seats or something.