Mobile Suit Gundam/Kido Senshi Gundam: Peacekeepers
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, Tatsu Mizuki, Kenki Fujioka, Yoshinori Sayama, Bandai, Level 5 and Sunrise. All characters and machines of the various Super Robot Wars games belong to Banpresto and Winkysoft. All characters and machines of the SD Gundam G Generation series belong to Namco Bandai Games. The use of Appleseed concepts/organizations/etc. belong to Masamune Shirow. The use of Full Metal Panic! concepts/organizations/etc. belong to Shoji Gato. The use of Ghost in the Shell concepts/organizations/etc. belong to Masamume Shirow and Kenji Kamiyama. All weapons/equipment of NeoTokyo belong to Studio RADI-8. All other characters are under my jurisdiction.
Mithril examines their actions after they revealed their presence to the world that the organization has been revived years after the end of the Cold War. Meanwhile, Kowen has dispatched Freiceadan-based forces to the moon and space for several missions after their successful military intervention in the Middle Eastern Union. What are these missions? Can they make it out alive? Stay tune to this chapter to find out.
Chapter 19: Debriefing
Conference Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
Kowen had just entered the dark conference room of Freiceadan, which comprised only of a circular table with seats for up to fourteen people. He took one of the seats inside the room.
Now for the inevitable...
Six holographic figures showed up inside the conference room, having the appearance of being seated down in chairs. This was due to the two collapsible holographic projectors, which stores itself on the chair's metallic headrest when unused. These project a perfect likeness of the person by making a scan of his or her body with computers working out the process to allow a projected image to show up in any Mithril facility as long as there is reception between the group's main headquarters and its facilities scattered on earth and in space.
Out of the six figures present, three are Mithril officers. One was a civilian working with Mithril in R&D and two appear to be civilians.
"I'm glad that we're all here." One of the two civilians said, who appeared to be in his late 40s and spoke with a British accent. He had a suit and tie on with combed brown hair. "Due to the urgency of the situation we faced a few days ago, the General Council has agreed to convene this meeting, even though not all of us can make it."
"Thank you very much, Lord Mallory." Kowen thanked the man. Publicly, he's known as Lord Gregory Mallory, a British national who is known to manage several businesses in the United Kingdom and Ireland, ranging from vehicle dealerships, shopping malls and shipping. Some of the man's wealth, however, came from old money that was handed down to him from his wealthy ancestors.
"I think you know the others who are present with us today, General Kowen." Lord Mallory directed the African-American's attention to the other five figures present.
"I do, sir." Kowen nodded when he replied. Indeed, he did know them.
One of the officers present was Major General Michael Chua, formerly a commissioned officer from the Human Reform League Army of Singaporean Chinese origin. His stint included the Second Solar War as a decorated special forces officer who led operations against European Federation-backed rebel fighters trying to break away from the union. He currently serves Mithril as the head of intelligence from its main headquarters. He is in his early 40s.
The second officer was Brigadier General Stephen Clark, an ex-officer of the Atlantic Federation Navy of Canadian origin. He had served on and off with both OMNI and the Atlantic Federation forces, the former when he graduated from OMNI's military academy before he resigned his commissioned after the man personally witnessed atrocities committed by OMNI soldiers against civilians who are anti-United Nations. The blond man is currently in Mithril as the head of its PRT forces from its main headquarters. He is in his mid 30s.
The third officer was Colonel Anne Marchand, who had just recently joined up with Mithril after she publicly announced her resignation from the European Federation Space Force. Of Swiss French origin, the woman had made a career for herself when she was stationed at Artemis as the commanding officer of its mobile suit forces to help fend off pirate and rogue military forces that went AWOL from both sides after the end of the OYBW. For a short time, she was also involved in helping OMNI train colony-based space forces in defending their territory from potential attacks from rogue ZAFT/Zeon forces that still refuses to accept the ceasefire. She serves as the head of Mithril's SRT forces from its main headquarters. She is in her late 30s.
Kowen went to check out the one person who was flagged to be from Mithril's R&D. He noted that it was ex-Principality of Zeon officer Commander Elliot Rem, who had been posted for a short time at Zeonic. With degrees in space engineering, nuclear physics, and general astronautics, OMNI officials "requested" for his presence in Alaska. The man later learned that they wanted to use his experience in creating and developing mobile weapons for the Titans. After learning of this, Elliot requested for a teaching position in Canada. From there, the ex-officer took advantage of his position to subsequently flee from Titans surveillance when he adopted a new legend to evade them. His current position is unknown.
The other civilian aside from Lord Mallory is Robert Takeda, a Canadian businessman of Japanese origin responsible for running the Canadian branch of Future Japan Industrial Yield And Manufacturing or Fujiyama Company from the province of British Columbia in the city of Burnaby. He had also dabbled in real estate, restaurants, import/export and in the stock exchange. Robert is one of the many businesspeople covertly supporting Mithril by ensuring that links are present with sympathetic persons willing to assist the group with revenue in order to keep it functioning.
"We do need to ascertain the status of Master Sergeant Liu's downed mobile suit." Major General Chua was the first to speak up. "I have received reports that Captain Enfield was able to order the destruction of his personal mobile suit during Operation Touchdown."
"That is indeed correct." Kowen replied. "I sent out instructions for her to put boots on the ground to confirm if the mobile suit has anything salvegable to be on the safe side."
"Ah, that's right. I've seen photos of the charred mobile suit with the captain's report to confirm the destruction of any Mithril equipment installed in it. Thank you for the additional information, general."
"The next order of business..." Lord Mallory spoke to everyone after the head of intelligence had ended his query. "is with your subordinates currently deployed on the Moon. I didn't expect you to send them out so soon, General Kowen."
"I have reasonable intel that the VIP is due to be transported out of the city as we speak, by force against her will." Kowen explained his stance on the matter. "I can't afford to wait for another day or so since she's still in danger."
"I see." Lord Mallory nodded. "And how is this operation doing?"
Kowen grinned after he heard his question. "Don't worry about it, Lord Mallory. I can assure you..."
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
"I have capable people on the ground handling the operation..."
Three old Zeonic MS-06FZ Zaku II Kais with Type-B head mounts were seen armed alongside three Maius Military Industries ZGMF-1017M GINN High Maneuver Types as they surrounded civilians with two squads that made up a total of ten armed men and women. They wore old Principality-made/issued clothes and gear, although they were armed with a mixture of Zeon and ZAFT-made small arms.
They declared themselves to be part of the Invisible Knights, one of the many elite Principality of Zeon military units that went underground and worked with other anti-treaty Zeon and ZAFT factions to undermine the UN after the end of the OYBW.
For starters, the group seized control of a factory complex located in Aires' industrial district. Due to the scuffle that took place between civilians demanding for better treatment of workers and security guards assigned to protect the place, the IK forces were quick to secure the complex and disarm all the guards.
"Stay put and don't move!" An armed IK soldier of Southeast Asian origin warned a couple of disarmed guards trying to make a move on him. "Unless you want to have a body full of holes."
The guards decided that their current action wouldn't benefit anyone's survival in the long run.
Among the mass of civilians herded in the complex's parking lot, Kuzzey was mixed in with them as a hostage. He wore a gray hoodie, jeans and white sneakers. The hoodie raised to cover his head, while looking plain as normal due to the city's artificial weather that simulates 10-15 degrees Celcius, was able to conceal the earpiece that was inserted on his right ear.
This doesn't look good, but it's good enough for us to be smack dab in the middle of this mission. At least by looking at their clothes, it seems to be modified with a velcro loop sewn on their jackets so that their IK velcro patches can be added.
Kuzzey checked his Casio Men's GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock watch strapped on his right wrist and noted that the time was 11:57 AM on January 29, UE 0071.
Been only less a few days after our Azadistan gig and now we're thrown into this? What's the top brass thinking?
Conference Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
"I hope that this mission can go through." Elliot sighed when he spoke up next. "The last thing Ms. Kauwin needs is to be forcibly recruited by Axis or by the Titans. The last time I spoke to her, she was really getting paranoid that she was being followed when she relocated to the Moon from Zeon after the end of the presidential elections."
"I did suggest to Commander Rem that Ms. Kauwin could be relocated to Fujiyama's branch in Von Braun." Robert had the opportunity to speak to everyone next. "But I decided against it since I heard rumors that she could be snatched from the downtown core by the Titans or some mercenaries paid off to do it."
"I've reminded my people to make her safety a top priority." Kowen reassured the people present in the meeting, even if they're physically not present. I seriously need a vacation to get away from this job.
Colonel Marchand decided to raise another issue for the meeting. "This may be a minor thing, but there is the issue with the presence of a civilian who worked under a Mithril observer in Azadistan in Operation Desert Rescue..."
"I can assure you that Colonel Enfield made a judgement call based on the situation." Kowen defended Lefina's actions in Azadistan. "It was due to the kidnappers making a quick retreat with the hostage was the reason why she allowed a civilian affiliated with one of our observers to help make the rescue mission a success."
"The General Council will take a vote on this matter, General Kowen." Lord Mallory then spoke up before the meeting would turn into a debate. "For now, let's put that aside since I believe there's the matter on the status of the Albion after its arrival in Orban territory."
Brigadier General Clark then spoke next. "I'll agree with Lord Mallory on this out. They almost didn't make it out alive if it wasn't for Colonel Synapse's judgement in using HRL territory as a smokescreen to help them get to Orb."
"Yes, about that..." Kowen sighed before he continued with replying to the officer's inquiry.
Dry Dock, Morgenroete Maintenance Facility, Mongenroete Compound, Onogoro, United Emirates of Orb
"I received an update that they should be departing soon as the last batch of essential supplies are loaded onto the Albion as we speak right now."
Colonel Synapse had received an update from one of the engineers sent by Morgenroete to oversee the last batch of preventive maintenance done on the Albion's life support systems to ensure that they were still working.
"Thank you." Synapse shook hands with one of the engineers, who was of Korean origin.
"No problems, Colonel." The engineer replied when he shook hands. "My superior should be coming in a few minutes to talk to you on when your ship can head out again."
Synapse said his goodbyes to the engineers as they left to head back to the Albion and finish off the repairs.
"I hope we're not too late to see you off, Colonel Synapse."
The OYBW veteran turned around to see a woman in her 30s, who wore a Morgenroete jacket, jeans and high heels. She had brown hair tied up in a bun. She was accompanied by an 18-year old woman with her brown hair in a ponytail. She wore a yellow shirt with an orange worker jumpsuit and boots.
"Yes, I'm about to leave once my crew is accounted for since they needed to go to the nearest toilet before we leave." Synapse greeted the jacket-wearing woman. "I don't think I was introduced to you yet."
"My apologies, Colonel." The woman smiled and extended her right hand out to shake hands with Synapse. "I'm Erica Simmons, one of the chief engineers here in Morgenroete."
"My thanks to you, Ms. Simmons." Synapse shook hands with Erica. "Without your help, we'd have trouble evacuating from Orban territory after we safely returned Ms. Attaha and her bodyguard to Olofat."
"Not at all." Erica shook her head. "But I'm not the only one."
"Hm?" Synapse wondered what Erica meant by her comment.
"You also need to thank her too. She was responsible for checking out the ship before we did preventive maintenance, despite its age." Erica explained before she introduced the woman who was next to her. "I'd like to introduce to you Yoon Sefan, one of our junior engineers."
"P-pleased to meet you." Yoon shook hands with Synapse, who reciprocated the gesture. "I'm really interested to know more about the Albion's propulsion system. It looked way different than from Anaheim Electronic's original specifications."
Synapse grinned at the young woman when he heard her praises towards his ship. "As much as I like to help satisfy your curiosity, I'm not at liberty to say it due to secrecy matters."
"Aw..." Yoon looked very sad.
"But I can say that we got some slight outside assistance in getting the Albion modified to meet current standards. Feel free to guess on who helped us out."
Yoon stared at Synapse, trying to digest his comment. It didn't take much longer for her to figure things out. "You mean you got help from the Madornas?!"
The colonel was not surprised when he got the impression from his initial conversation that she was tech savvy. "I guess I'm not surprised you figured that out, given that you seem to be tech savvy."
"That's one of the main reasons why Morgenroete decided to recruit her. She was excited to help out again, especially when she heard rumors that Madorna was involved." Erica said while Yoon was blushing a bit, unable to hide it since she figured out why the Albion was modernized.
"Well, I'll personally say that she's going to have a great future with you, Ms. Simmons."
Synapse turned around and saw Lucien walking towards him alongside Van and a woman who was at the same age with Van. She was seen with short, brown hair. The trio were seen in SRT BDUs and boots.
"I hope that I'm not too late!"
The engineers and Mithril personnel saw Cagalli enter the dry dock area, wearing a green formal dress. She was accompanied by Kisaka, who was now wearing his Orban Army uniform with his shaved face and hair placed in a ponytail for the meantime until he could get time to have a buzzcut a few days after he had arrived back in Olofat. On her way to meet Synapse, she had to hold up her dress skirt so that she can see her high heels.
"Ms. Cagalli." Lucien greeted Cagalli. The others bowed a bit to give respects to her, given that she's the only daughter of the Orban Chief Representative. "We didn't expect you to be here."
"I was a bit surprised too." Cagalli replied. "My father's talking to a visiting diplomat right now, so he asked me to come here and see you guys off."
"I see." Synapse said before he told the blonde girl. "Anyway, I want to introduce you to some of my subordinates." The officer then began the introductions. "This is Captain Lucien Bendt and Corporal First Class Van Asiliaino."
"Pleased to meet you, guys." Cagalli shook hands with Lucien and Van.
"Same here, Ms. Cagalli." Van smiled when he shook hands with Cagalli after Lucien did so.
"The woman next to Van is Warrant Officer Danica McGuire. She was suppose to be a commissioned officer for OMNI, but dropped out after she found out that her friend Van was arrested by Titans Military Police."
"Hello, Ms. Cagalli. It's a pleasure to meet you." Danica shook hands with Cagalli.
"Do you mind if I ask what happened to the two of you prior to joining Mithril?" Cagalli asked Danica.
"Well long story short..." Danica sighed. "I found out that Van was arrested for knowing what happened regarding the 30 Bunch Incident in Side 1. I was in danger of nearly being arrested when I started to ask around to get him released. We decided to drop out a few semesters before we can graduate."
"Yeah." Van nodded in agreement. "The rest is history so far. Until the Titans are out of the pictures, setting foot anywhere in North America for us equals being arrested. So we're not willing to do that unless necessary."
"Sorry to hear that..." Cagalli sympathized with the two SRT agents. She knew that these two shouldn't have dropped out of the military academy because of learning about what the Titans did in Side 1. "And please, Cagalli is okay."
"Sir!" Chuck ran towards Synapse and saluted him in attention. "The Albion's ready to go. They're just waiting for you and the others to come back."
"I'm afraid we need to cut this meeting short." Synapse told Cagalli, Erica and Yoon. "It looks like we're ready to move out."
"Be careful and good luck, sir." Kisaka saluted Synapse.
"Don't worry. I'm always careful." Synapse returned the salute before he walked back towards the Albion.
Conference Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
"I'd like to turn to another matter regarding the detention of ZAFT Red soldier Rusty Mackenzie." Brigadier General Clark brought up Rusty in the meeting. "I understand that Agent Miller is trying to get through him."
"Yes." Kowen replied. "As of now, he fully understands the ramifications regarding the destruction of Heliopolis. He insisted that he was never told about using Pardus missiles to take out the colony once they stole the prototype mobile suits made by Morgenroete."
"We've checked with our moles in ZAFT and in the PLANT's National Defense Committee and there weren't any orders, written or oral, that Chairman Patrick Zala issued to have the Le Creuset team use them once they secured their objectives. We'll check if it's a decision he made at the last minute."
"And do we know if he's agreed to join up?"
"Agent Miller has informed me that she's getting some success in trying to convince Mr. Mackenzie that ZAFT could detain for an indefinite period of time if he comes back to the PLANT, especially when his father is a known supporter of Zala's plans to wipe out those who stand against all Spacenoids."
"So you're taking advantage of Rusty's hesitation to go back to his father?" Robert asked Kowen when he heard his reply.
Lord Mallory added more input to the topic once Robert was done speaking. "It's publicly known that Jeremy Maxwell has divorced from his wife due to the differences in how they treat non-Spacenoids. If this is the case, then Mr. Mackenzie most likely lived with her mother and took her surname until his father made arrangements for him to join the academy in order to be a ZAFT Red."
"If that's the case, then I'd like to know Agent Miller's progress in interrogating the prisoner." Major General Chua inquired about Rusty's current status in Freiceadan.
Interrogation Room #1, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
Rusty was seated once again in the interrogation room again in front of Alice. Two Mithril PRT operators are on standby with tasers, pepper sprays, retractable batons and handcuffs in case things would go wrong in their next rounds of talks.
"Okay, Ms. Miller." The orange-haired Coordinator spoke to Alice, moving his cuffed hands on the table. "I made my decision."
"Oh? You don't say." Alice raised an eyebrow, her arms crossed in front of her chest as if she was expecting no decision from the ZAFT Red.
"I decided to join up with Mithril." Rusty said before he leaned back on his chair. "After all, I don't really know why the Commander would use missiles on a neutral colony. Aside from it being way too overkill."
Alice didn't say anything, but she went to listen to the young man rant.
"All right." The ex-OMNI officer replied.
"Plus, my mom gets into arguments with my old man on why he agreed to join up with Chairman Zala's vision on killing all non-Spacenoids when she insisted that not all non-spacenoids are evil. I mean, I don't really subscribe to that notion. I believe that there are bad people on both sides who don't bother to think of the consequences."
"I see. So I take it that your dad made the arrangements for you to study and train to be a ZAFT Red."
Rusty simply nodded.
"I'll let my superiors know about your decision, so we're going to watch your every move in the base. You understand that one wrong move means we'll lock you up somewhere and throw away the key."
Conference Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
"The only thing I'm aware of is that Rusty is so far agreeing to join Mithril." Kowen stated his answer. "Per Mithril rules, we'll put him through the anti-infiltration protocols to ensure he's not being used a double agent for ZAFT."
"I agree, General." Lord Mallory shared Kowen's view on how to handle Rusty's recruitment to Mithril. "Before we conclude the meeting, I do want to voice my concern on the prototype G-Weapons that tried to sink the Albion when it approached Indonesian territorial waters."
"We got reports from our moles in ZAFT that they considered it to be their legged ship from Heliopolis." Major General Chua chimed in to share his thoughts. "Many of the analysts were baffled by this train of thoughts, but one must put into consideration that the Archangel-class ships were influenced partly by Pegasus-class ships during the early years of the OYBW."
I see. It seemed that in the Archangel's retreat back to Alaska, ZAFT badly needed a confirmation to see if the legged ship was the one they faced off near the ruins of Heliopolis. From the report intelligence brought up, it seems that they got things wrong.
"So does this mean that ZAFT is going to back off from further pursuing the Albion even as they're preparing to go back into space?" Lord Mallory asked Mithril's head of intelligence.
"Most likely, unless they can find a way to get back on track and locate the Archangel."
Conference Room #2, ZMB Carpenteria, Shire of Carpenteria, Far North Queensland, Queensland, Australia, United Oceanic States
Athrun, Dearka, Nicol and Yzak were seated in one of the conference rooms provided by ZMB Carpenteria after they were rescued by their naval forces from their previous standoff a few days with the Albion.
"I'd like to thank you four for bringing me the proof I needed to explain to Chairman Zala and the rest of the National Defense Committee." Le Creuset said as he sat down on his seat in his office from inside the Vesalius. "Without this, they'll make the team a laughing stock for our peers back at the PLANT. Even the Axis would also laugh as us."
Dammit! Yzak snarled in anger when he punched his clenched left hand onto the circular conference room table. Not only we weren't able to find the legged ship that fled from Heliopolis, but we got defeated by those mobile suits from Mithril.
A few hours ago, Le Creuset had just informed them that he was able to watch through the video feeds provided by their mobile suits. They showed, from their perspective, their fight against the Albion. It lasted for a few minutes since they were attacked by a combination of beam fire from the Waterproof Gundams underwater, the fast target acquisition from the ship's anti-air laser turrets and from skirmishes with HRL Navy MAJ-03 Shuichais alongside Tieren Long-Range Cannon Types positioned from HRL navy ships. These attacks disabled their Guuls, making them easy prey once they fell into the ocean.
"Now that you think about it, we were just lucky to be alive when Carpenteria-based forces bailed us out after being attacked from all sides." Nicol suggested his thoughts to his fellow teammates.
Indeed. Without them, we would have been in trouble. Athrun shared Nicol's sentiment also.
"So what's next for us, commander?" Nicol asked his commanding officer for advice.
Le Cruset pondered on the green-haired Coordinator's advice before he said. "Since intelligence is not getting any more information on the legged ship, they presume that the ship is in Alaska. And it'll most likely stay there for the time being. For now, why not consider a vacation for a while? I've convinced Chairman Zala that you four needed it, considering the non-stop operations we had in pursuing it. I'd suggest the lunar cities for starters."
The four ZAFT Reds wondered if they should follow what Le Creuset said.
The masked ZAFT White officer frowned at the team. "Don't make it say it again as an order."
"Yes, sir." The entire team gave the ZAFT salute to Le Creuset. The man did the same thing before he ended communication with the team.
"What next?" Dearka asked Athrun, being the most senior in the team. "Do we just take commander Le Creuset's advice?"
Athrun shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, why not? I'm positive that the commander already talked to my dad and convince him to get us some time off since we faced off against a ship used by Mithril." Though it's kinda of weird that dad would easily accommodate his request so fast.
"Never expected those guys to be darn good." Yzak sighed when he sat down. "Especially when they surprised us and took advantage of the HRL Navy's attempt to intercept us to escape."
"Agreed." Dearka agreed with Yzak's opinion. "Seems that ship was made a few years ago, though it seemed most of its weapons and equipment were upgraded with current technology. Where'd you think they got that those? Last I heard, Mithril disbanded due to a mole high up that gave up their bases."
"We can put that aside for now." Athrun gave a suggestion to Dearka. "Since the legged ship isn't heading anywhere, I guess it's a good time for us to get some R&R."
"Fine, fine. I can take a hint." Yzak huffed, feeling a bit tired from the debriefing with Le Creuset.
"Do we have a place to go to for a few days?" Nicol asked Athrun. "With the exception of our parents who went there for homeland business, none of us have ever been to a lunar city."
"I can suggest a place or two." Athrun decided to spell out his suggestions. "We can head to Von Braun for starters. It's one of the most well-known cities. Then, Copernicus is the other one. I lived there for a few years before I went to the academy..."
Conference Room #3, OMNI Joint Supreme Headquarters Alaska, somewhere in Alaska, United States of America, Atlantic Federation
Professor Ralph Eifman was invited for a few days to stay at OMNI JOSH-A to assess his thoughts on the Archangel and whether its forces can be augmented by personnel or mobile weapons from the militaries of other power blocs.
The ship has new things that I haven't seen yet. Like the combat data used by the Strike when it debuted on Heliopolis. The white-haired man browsed over a printed report on the Strike's arsenal and combat history based on testimony from Murrue, Mu, Natarle and the other personnel who served on the ship prior to returning to Earth.
This was due to complications they found on the Strike's OS when technicians tried to secure the hard drive, which resulted in a virus that forced a shutdown for four days until they could reboot their data and purge infected hard drives from their systems.
Hmmm... The professor typed up a report on his personal laptop after he was told that they could not lend him a desktop due to the final stages of clearing out the virus that contaminated their network. Whoever the pilot is, he surely didn't want anyone to acquire the wealth of combat data it accumulated over at least a week.
"Professor Eifman! You have a visitor here to see you!"
Ralph saw that Natarle was present with a man in his 40s with a blue dress shirt, black suit jacket, pants and Brogue shoes. He also had a red necktie on.
"Thank you, Lieutenant." Ralph thanked Natarle for showing the visitor in. "Do you know if Lieutenant Commander Ramius is around?"
"I'm sorry, Professor. JOSH-A command has given her and the other survivors of the Archangel some time off. At least two weeks before we're ordered to report for duty again when the Archangel is fully operational again."
"If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask someone for help. I have to be going now since I'm going to be officially off duty in an hour."
"Thank you very much for your help, lieutenant."
Natarle excused herself when she left the temporary office.
"Nice to see you again, Professor Eifman." The old man immediately shook hands with Ralph. "The last time we each other was back in Dublin for the robotics conference."
"Indeed, Ken Tsubarov." Ralph smiled at the engineer. "I'm surprised that you're here, given that OZ is using your expertise to help create a new mobile suit force for them."
"Ah, yes..." Ken nodded and smiled when he took a seat next to Ralph. "Well, my work has apparently interested JOSH-A that they wanted to see if I can provide some of my prototypes as samples when they finished conducting their tests for their own mobile suits that would succeed the GM."
"I have a feeling that it won't end well." Ralph pondered on Ken's answer. "I don't see the need for JOSH-A to create another mobile suit line. It'll be nothing but a logistics nightmare even if they don't replace the GM in frontline use."
"I myself don't know what is going through their minds." Ken shared the same sentiment with Ralph. "Though it would not surprise me if the military-industrial complex is going to take advantage of this by conducting private sales for militaries and militias on Earth, the moon and in the various space colonies."
"Mercenaries and terrorists could certainly can get a hold of them if they can talk to the right people as well." Ralph said as he finished typing up a report detailing the Strike before he saved it and encrypted it with passwords to make sure it's safe from OMNI's prying eyes.
"Hopefully our work won't be put to waste then." Ken chuckled.
"Speaking of work, what is it that got JOSH-A impressed?"
"It's a working idea I had in mind. A system that I call a Mobile Doll..."
Conference Room, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
"I've gotten a report from Staff Sergeant Hibiki that he was able to get some time in to add a virus on the Strike's OS after he secured combat data to intelligence." Major General Chua concluded his report. "In that case, it should hold back OMNI for some time."
"Which means that it would force them to use the GMs as their main mobile suits for a few more months until they can create an OS for their own forces." Elliot surmised, based on the man's report. "I have to say, I'm impressed with the sergeant's quick thinking. It's probably after Artemis that he decided to go for this route before he was evacuated."
"But it's not enough." Kowen chimed in. "At any time, I wish to suggest that we take out the Strike since intelligence and R&D already have copies of the combat data of the Strike."
"The Council will decide on the best course of action regarding the Strike, since it's in the hands of OMNI." Lord Mallory advised the general. "Otherwise, I'd like to end the meeting right now unless there are other matters that we need to raise."
"No, Lord Mallory. There's nothing else that I think we need to raise right now."
"All right. If there's anything else that may come up later, feel free to contact us at once."
"I understand, sir."
The holographic images disappeared from the conference room, leaving Kowen alone. Only the words IMAGE OFFLINE were seen in the place of the images a few seconds ago before they disappeared.
"I think I really need to take up on that vacation right now." Kowen murmured to himself as he took the silence of the conference room in, trying to relax with the two hour long conference. "Wonder where I can go at this time since I'm probably getting too old for this job..."
Interrogation Room #1, Titans Middle Eastern Headquarters, Sharjah City, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Middle Eastern Union
A Titans officer of Arab origin in his mid-30s walked inside the interrogation room inside the Titans HQ in the Middle East. He wore a black beret on top of his head, signifying his status as an officer.
"It seems that I've received word that you're not talking." The officer said when he stared at the assassin, cuffed on the chair she sat on with her arms behind it. Other than that, there was nothing else inside aside from two Titans MPs armed with batons, pepper sprays and metal handcuffs just in case a less than lethal is needed to persuade her.
"Say what you want, you pig." The assassin snarled at her captor. "I won't say anything."
"Is that so?"
The captive spat at his face when he was at arm's length to show her defiance.
"Defiant to the end, are we?" The officer sneered at her when he wiped the saliva from his face with his handkerchief.
"Bitch!" The MPs were about to draw out their pepper sprays when the officer raised his hand, making them stop.
"Since that's your answer," The officer chuckled at the assassin. "then I guess I need to persuade you more."
"Sir?" One of the MPs asked the officer.
"Do the usual methods of persuasion. I'm sure that it can help her... come to her senses."
"Yes, sir!" The MPs replied when the officer was about to leave.
"You know what to do." The first MP replied to his colleague when he went out of the interrogation room for a few seconds.
"Got it." The second MP nodded his head, holding the assassin down by placing a towel on his face.
The cuffed woman tried to struggle and get away from the cloth.
"No use, girlie. We got you now and you're about to suffer the consequences for not cooperating." The first MP smirked before he began to slowly pour the pitcher of cold, ice water down the towel placed on her face to simulate waterboarding.
"MMMMMMMMMMM!" The woman shouted at the top of her voice when she started to feel the cold, ice water splash on the towel. But with the towel firmly placed on top of her face, she wasn't able to speak.
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
As the IK soldiers continued to warn the hostages against trying to do anything that can get them killed, Kira was seen in the crowd wearing the same jeans and sneakers, except that he had a white hoodie on.
"WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?" The female IK soldier of African origin armed with a MMI-made assault rifle shouted at a couple of civilians staring at her. "KEEP YOUR EYES TO YOURSELF!"
The civilians sighed in frustration, having no choice but to comply with their captor's demands.
"Dammit. Why are these Zeon remnant forces here?" One of the civilians murmured, who stood next to Kira.
"I dunno." Another civilian murmured in reply. "I'm not surprised if they're trying to revive the principality, even though it doesn't exist anymore."
"Never expected to get into a situation as FUBARed at this." Kira checked the GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock watch on his left wrist. "Dammit, I wish that the situation was better for us to secure the VIP in the first place."
Kira sighed and wondered how he got into the current situation he was in right now.
I hope the others are near her and secure her away from the IK soldiers before someone else arrives instead of us. Preferably not the Titans.
The ex-COSMOS child soldier examined the velcro patches attached on their jackets. It was a shield with black and blue colors. Two rapiers were seen in the foreground, which formed a X shape. A small blue crown was seen behind the two rapiers with an eyemask placed in front of the rapier blades. A white K was present in the patch, placed below the eyemask.
Looks to be the real deal. If I recall correctly, their leader was someone from the upper class families in the Principality of Zeon.
He groaned when an IK soldier secured the Principality of Zeon flag on a flagpole while another one used a megaphone to call the crowd's attention.
"GLORY TO THE PRINCIPALITY OF ZEON!" The megaphone-equipped soldier spoke to the hostages. "NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE UN OPPRESSES US, WE'LL GET BACK ON OUR FEET AND FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM! LONG LIVE GIHREN ZABI! HE IS THE ONE WHO BROUGHT ZEON OUT OF OPPRESSION...!"
Goddamn glory hounds. And they got the principality flag up and about like they own the place.
Undisclosed Location, somewhere in Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
Kira, Kuzzey, Mark and Sai were seen standing in a deserted office floor somewhere in Aires. They all wore jeans and rubber shoes of various brands with hoodies after they arrived in the city.
They weren't the only ones deployed from the Hiryu Kai in the city for a covert operation. The four ex-child soldier commandos were present alongside fellow comrades from the SRT including Siegfried, Sheld, Doc and Crowe. The others who joined up with them (at least from the perspective of Kira and team comrades) in the mission consisted of Shin Matsunaga, who was taking command of the group with Yuri Ajissah, Sulu Suluzu and Billy Blaze. Strangely enough, it included the deployment of Tasuku, which baffled everyone in the group since he's known to be clumsy at times. But on the other hand, he's known to be willing to confront the enemy when needed as seen in several training exercises to the point that he had to be reprimanded by his trainers for going overboard a few times.
Colonel Enfield also assigned the PRT to assist their SRT counterparts in Aires. The team included Mercury, taking command of the group, with Dennis and Pat. It also included the deployment of Akira Hongo, who happened to be a hotblooded operator in the unit known for his tenacity, determination and fighting style, whether it's in unarmed combat or with handheld weapons and small arms. It also included Edmund Edgar Smith, an ex-Titans soldier who defected to Mithril due to the unit's "ways" of dealing with dissent in the various space colonies where he was once deployed after a brief stint with the OMNI Army. He's one of the few operators assigned to the PRT/SRT who is familiar with how the Titans operate.
All of them were either wearing jackets of various types, hunting vests and hoodies with jeans or tactical pants with different sneakers, combat and hiking boots. Only Billy and Mark wore baseball caps on top of their heads.
"Seems to be a lot of us today." Billy mused, his hands on his brown bomber jacket pockets. "Mind if we can get an explanation while we're at it? We were waiting for an hour."
"I feel the same way." Doc grinned as he patted his bald head before he stretched his arms. "Man, this doesn't get any more tense than the op back in the MEU. Though it's getting me pumped up."
"Someone's coming." Edmund told the others to keep quiet for a bit after he spotted someone opening the door that led to the floor.
A young woman with East Asian physical features and long brown hair done in dual pigtails, placed in front instead of the back. She made her appearance while she wore a brown windbreaker, linen pants and white and red sneakers. She was accompanied by two men in two bomber jackets, jeans and black combat boots with shades worn to conceal their identities. One was of South Asian origin while the other was on Pacific Islander origin. Their hands were on their side, but the SRT/PRT teams knew that they can see some sort of shoulder holster hidden from public view with their jackets.
"When did the Whispered first appear on Earth?" The woman posed a challenge question to the teams.
"Hey." Dennis whispered to his peers. "It's our challenge question from the debriefing from the Hiryu Kai."
"I'll handle this." Shin whispered to the others. He approached the woman and gave the challenge answer. "The reported case on the Whispered was on December 24 in the year 1981 CE."
The woman smiled at the answer. "It seems that everyone from the SRT and PRT have arrived safely from the Hiryu Kai, if I'm not mistaken."
"Good thing we didn't have to draw out our sidearms in case of a blue on blue situation." Kuzzey murmured to Kira.
Kira, on the other hand, just nodded because he didn't want to say anything.
"Captain Shin Matsunaga." The ex-Principality of Zeon ace pilot introduced himself. "I'm in charge of the SRT team." The bearded man pointed Mercury out to her. "He's Captain Mercury Promenade, in charge of the PRT team."
"An interesting surname, I presume?" The woman shook hands with both men when she couldn't help, but giggle for a minute when she looked at Mercury.
Mercury sighed and replied. "No offense. I get that most of the time."
"I'm Major Sally Po from Intelligence." Sally introduced herself to everyone present. "Sorry if I was late from the ship. But there was some brief traffic after I took a taxi from the spaceport."
"Major." Everyone in the SRT and PRT, except for Mercury and Shin as they greeted her first, acknowledged her with brief nods.
"I believe it's about time we start the debriefing for Operation Clear Path." Sally was given an electronic tablet by one of the men who came with her. As it was issued to Mithril personnel, it was specially encrypted so that in case anyone tried to gain unauthorized access to the data, the device would destroy it so that no one can get their hands on it.
Sally started the tablet's app by using her right index finger to press it while she held the device on her left hand. A few seconds later, the app booted up to show a 3D digital map of Aires.
"Isn't that the map of Aire's industrial sector near the downtown core?" Tasuku asked the intelligence officer when he looked at the digital map.
"You got a good eye there." Sally complimented Tasuku's analysis of the map. "But we're going into one particular complex."
The intelligence officer then used her fingers to tap the tablet screen in order to project the 3D digital map out of the device so that the SRT/PRT operators can see it better.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the bird's-eye view of the Banaghr Corporation's complex in Aires." Sally began to debrief the operators with the two men standing guard to provide perimeter protection and security for the Mithril Freiceadan agents. A minute later, the tablet also made a projection of a bio data profile with the image of a woman with short black hair and a sleeveless jacket.
"This is May Kauwin, an ex-engineer from Zeonic. She's from the Principality of Zeon." Sally introduced the person of interest after the teams got a good luck at the woman in the photo. "She's being sought by the Titans and various Principality of Zeon guerrilla groups acting as stay-behind units in their old territories on Earth due to her great knowledge in mobile weapon engineering."
"From what I've read from Zeon papers, she's living a quiet life on the moon. Doesn't say which city." Sulu said to Sally about May's presence.
"Well, we received word that one particular stay-behind unit known as the Invisible Knights are trying to make a move to get her after word came around that she may be taken by the Titans under their custody."
"How long do we have to put Ms. Kauwin in our custody before the Titans or the Invisible Knights show up?" Akira raised the question to the intelligence officer.
"We're putting you guy out there as soon as the debriefing is over. We don't have a definite ETA, but our observers in the city have indicated that the Titans are looking for her in Aires as we speak."
"Guess that's why we're going in naked." Siegfried suggested.
"Yeah. No weapons and no gear for us except for our radios and earpieces." Sheld added. "Which means we may need to procure on the spot if things go out of hand."
"Any questions regarding the mission before we go?" Sally asked the teams.
"Just one." Yuri asked her. "What about transport? How do we secure the VIP once we neutralize all threats against her?"
"That is a good question." Sally went to work on the 3D map of Aires. She eventually zoomed in on a particular area near the city's spaceport.
"First method is to use the city spaceport." She showed the teams the closeup of the Aires spaceport. "We made arrangements for a private shuttle for her to use."
"There a backup for this?" Doc raised his question.
Sally nodded before she replied. "We do have another one." She manipulated the map to show one of the many surface train stations. "The surface trains that travels to the other lunar cities are another alternative since the subways are limited to the cities only."
"On the high speed lines, I presume?" Shin inquired.
"That's right, captain. We also made arrangements for her to get a seat in case we need to use that option."
The intelligence officer then looked around and asked them. "Any more questions or clarifications?"
No one spoke up.
"Thank you, Major Po." Shin thanked Sally for the debriefing as he took the helm in his debrief to the assembled teams. "Remember that we need to make sure that the VIP is safe from harm. Failure is not an opinion, so be sure to adjust yourselves according to what happens in the field. Understood?"
"YES, SIR!" The SRT/PRT operators replied in unison.
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
"Óglach 7, this is Sonraí 2. How are things on your end there?"
The brown-haired SRT operator received a transmission from his earpiece, placed on his right ear.
The major's calling in. Good thing it's not making any noises or I'm dead. "Óglach 7 here. Looks like the IKs are bombarding us with propaganda." Kira replied with a whisper when he pressed the PTT button clipped on the interior pocket of his hoodie. "And I'm getting sick of it."
"Typical of all Principality stay-behind groups." Kira heard Sally's frustration on the encrypted frequency for the mission. "Can you see the VIP among the hostages?"
Kira tried to look around the parking lot to see if he can locate May. He frowned when he found her, but he couldn't get close due to the crowd. This makes it hard for him to approach her without making too much of a ruckus.
"I can see the VIP, but I don't know if I can get near her without pushing my way to the crowd. I might draw unwanted attention towards my position if I do that."
The frequency was silent for a few seconds, so Kira wondered if Sally was trying to think of something.
"Standby for now. I'll go and see if I can locate someone who's near the VIP." Sally issued a new order to Kira.
"Understood, Sonraí 2. I'll continue to monitor the situation."
Outskirts of Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
In the midst of the hostage situation that was being perpetrated by the last surviving Invisible Knights in Aires, a black-haired man with a white shirt, brown trenchcoat, tactical pants and black combat boots was observing the complex from a safe distance.
"Damn. Never knew that the Invisible Knights would pull of something like this." The man eyed the parking lot via military binoculars. "They needed help to get their mobile suits and gear inside. Otherwise, the Titans, OMNI Space Force Reserves or the Aires Police Force would have detected them."
The man murmured as he continued to survey the complex. "I wish Ken would've sent some help to make this job easier and pick up May."
He used his binoculars to scout the complex until he found May near the center of the parking lot.
"That her?" The man tried to confirm May's presence in the complex by zooming in the view on his binoculars. It is her.
All that's needed is to make contact with her and get her out of the area before...
It was either he was too tired from the stakeout or from the long trip he made to Aires from Australia, but he was absolutely sure that someone was starting to slowly May from the back.
"Who is that?" The man checked out the unknown person, who was now near May at arm's length. "Wait a minute, that brown cloak's concealing his green Principality pilot uniform. And he's not looking up."
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
"Sonraí 2 to any Óglach or Tús assets in the field, do you have a clear visual on the target, over?."
Sally sent out another transmission to SRT/PRT teams deployed in the complex to check their location near May. It was imperative that they secure her at all costs.
The Major noted the silence in the frequency before someone replied. "Sonraí 2, this is Óglach 4. I'm near the VIP enough to get a good look at her."
"How close are you, Óglach 4?"
Tasuku made sure his green bandana was secured on his head before he spoke on his earpiece. "Very close. Estimate about 10 meters. I can try and get a bit close to her since I'm using the crowds for cover."
"See if you can make contact with her."
The SRT operator carefully made his way through the crowd, still keeping an eye on May.
Until he got an urgent transmission on the frequency.
"All assets!" Sally made an urgent tranmission. "We've got incoming!"
"Look out!" An IK soldier with a rocket launcher warned his fellow soldiers. "Incoming mobile suit from the Titans!"
"The Titans?" Tasuku was alarmed by the shouting. "Dammit."
But before he can get close to May, someone grabbed her from the crowd when they panicked.
"Dammit! We got Titans mobile suits coming in!" Kira voiced in Tasuku's earpiece.
A couple of Titans RGM-79Q GM Quel equipped with RGM·M-Sh-ABT/S-00195 Shields and HFW-GR·MR82 90mm GM Rifles stormed the complex in a blitzkrieg assault and moved in to engage one of the IK-manned Zaku II Kais.
The Zaku II Kai, which was equipped with a MMP-80 90mm Machine Gun, opened fire on the incoming Quels. But they used their shields to deflect the 90mm bullets meant for their cockpits. The other Zaku II Kais moved in to assist by conducting suppressive fire against the Quels. The GINN High Maneuver Types prepared their JDP2-MMX22 Experimental 27mm Armor Assault Rifles as they were deployed to the outskirts.
"I'M GETTING REPORTS THAT THE TITANS GOT THEIR HIZACKS DEPLOYED!" An IK soldier with a MMI-made bullpup assault rifle, slung on his back, used a radio manpack to make contact with IK pilots in the High Maneuvers. "BETTER GET INTO POSITION FAST!"
"ROGER!" One of the IK pilots replied on their frequency as he positioned his mobile suit in front of the Banaghr Corporation Factory building. "WE'RE MOVING OUT!"
"SCATTER!" Someone from the crowd shouted when they saw empty 90mm casings fall down from the 90mm machine gun. A few of them made impact on the concrete parking lot. Thankfully, most of the crowd had dispersed. Otherwise, there would be casualties if they struck a human on impact.
"Sonraí 2 to Óglach 4, someone just grabbed the VIP!" Tasuku shouted as he radioed Sally. "Can't get much of a good luck, but the suspect's wearing an old Principality of Zeon green pilot suit. Situation's getting bad and I don't know if the IKs are going to spot us."
"Roger that." Sally replied as Tasuku prepared to go after May. "All Óglach and Tús assets, start going after the target. You better get rid of the IK soldiers if they get in the way. Otherwise, let the Titans take care of them as a distraction."
"Understood!" came the reply as the SRT/PRT agents prepared to move out and secure the hostage.
One of the IK soldiers spotted Tasuku running after May, trying to stop his advance.
Don't have time for this. Tasuku tried to dash and knock out the soldier. But he suddenly tripped and was about to tumble towards his direction.
"Why you?!" The soldier tried to strike him with the butt of his Zeon Submachine Gun 1. Instead, the SRT operator took advantage of his tumble by using his right hand to push the armed soldier down. Afterwards, Tasuku tackled the armed man and used an elbow strike to knock him out cold before Tasuku continued on with his work in chasing after May and whoever took her.
"All Invisible Knight forces on ground," The IK soldier used the radio microphone attached on his jacket while another IK soldier shouldered his MP-71 submachine gun. "seems like I spotted someone taking down one of our own. Don't know if he's with the Titans, police or Space Force Reserves. I'm going to take him out."
The IK soldier instructed his comrade to open fire at Tasuku.
Chapter 19 END
PS - Apologies for that. This update's been due for a year and a few months since I attended Japanese classes in Manila, having personal angst over returning back from Vancouver and other stuff that I'm not willing to disclose. Otherwise, that's the only excuse that I have. So please don't hit me.
Like I said before, this is a major timeskip I had in mind before because I want to move on with the plot since I broke off from the mostly SEED-based story. With new Gundam stuff churning out lately, it's becoming a challenge to figure out which one to put in and which one to keep out. But I'm still up on my toes and trying to go over the new stuff that I'm seeing/reading/watching lately. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter, which is filled with covert operations like you can find from a technothriller novel.
Note that some of the stuff here is from the Gundam: Legacy manga, which is translated by someone from the internet in English. Never mind that the guy/s never gave out the name, but it's otherwise a good read. Can't give the link for possibility of its deletion, so it should be easy to find with your web search engine. I also found some new info regarding Rusty Mackenzie, especially since he's got a father in the PLANT Supreme Council, but he got a different surname. The wiki should have a good explanation for that.
Also, I'm doing a Macross Frontier story called "Conspiracy", done in the style of a technothriller novel. So far, I got one favorite with no reviews yet. I don't plan to focus much on the triangle as seen through most Macross series since I want to do something different. If any one of my reviewers likes reading Macross and technothriller writing, feel free to leave a review when you read the story. I also updated "The Stories" recently also as well.
For now, feel free to let me know and review on what you think of this latest chapter, especially if I made some mistakes. I hope that I can update as much as I can with my presence in the Philippines being in the long term. But there may be things that could still hinder this. Hopefully, it won't be a long term obstacle.
In terms of music selection, Scott Matthew's "Lithium Flower" is used during the debrieing sequences between Kowen and the other officials in Mithril as they discuss the recent events happening on Earth and in space. Yoko Kanno's "future terror" from the Terror in Resonance OST 2 "crystalized" is used during the debriefing intermission in Aires prior to the rescue mission.
Speaking of which, gotta do my research on who else I can "recruit" for the PRT contingent on the Hiryu Kai from the Gundam/Super Robot Taisen series.
I remember that I never mentioned Mark's official age. Haven't thought about that one yet. Hmmm... (Checks Feldt and Kira's wiki page for reference)