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.
With Mithril now deep into a hostage crisis, the SRT/PRT teams must work together to save the hostages without their covers being compromised. Will they be able to do it or will they go down fighting? Stay tune to this chapter to find out.
Chapter 20: Back to Business
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
Tasuku saw the armed IK soldier preparing to fire his MP-71 at him. But instead of stopping, he continued on and radioed for assistance.
"This is Óglach 4 to control!" Tasuku spoke via earpiece when he pressed the PTT button clipped underneath his red and black vest jacket. "Requesting for immediate assistance! I'm under attack!" The bandanna-wearing SRT operator repeated his message. "I say again, I'm under attack!"
"Standby, Óglach 4." Sally's voice came through on Tasuku's earpiece. "Reinforcements from Tús is on the way."
"All other Óglach units near Óglach 4's position, rally up and chase after the package."
A few minutes after Sally made the transmission to SRT operators on the ground, any IK soldiers not engaging Titans commandos were being picked off by snipers with suppressed weapons.
The fleeing civilians didn't seem to care that they were being targeted and killed. What mattered to them was that they get out of there before someone gets killed in the crossfire.
Outskirts of Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
In the outskirts of the factory complex, Mercury and Akira were seeing using suppressed sniper rifles from the rooftop of a nearby building to take down IK soldiers in the area to get the civilians to get away. Pat and Edmund were conducting observations, acting as observers for the snipers. Dennis was stationed with them as well, acting as a stopgap in case trouble decides to follow them from the rear.
"This is Tús 2 to control." Mercury calmly reported into Sally when he radioed in. "Tangos are down. I repeat, tangos are down."
"Are the civilians clear of the area, Tús 2?" Sally asked the PRT leader about the situation in the streets.
Pat and Edmund lowered their binoculars and gave Mercury a thumbs up before they resumed surveillance.
"I'm reporting an all-clear, control. The other tangos are being engaged by Titans commandos and mobile suits alike."
"Understood, Tús 2. Fall back immediately to assigned rally point ASAP."
Mercury ended communication with Sally and began to issue orders to the PRT team.
"Everyone!" Mercury shouted as he and Akira began to take off the riflescope and suppressor with their gloved hands before they removed the box magazines. "Fall back to the rally point!"
"Sir!" Dennis was the first to check on the fire escape staircase and ladder to see if it was safe. He gave the thumbs when he was able to visually confirm that no obstacles or hostile personnel were in the way.
Pat and Edmund began to collect the used shell casings and placed them in a small bag before it was tied up for good measure.
The sniper rifles were eventually disassembled and kept in their respective gun boxes as the PRT team moved out in order to avoid getting caught by the Titans.
Alley a block away from Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
"Ow! Let me go!"
May was trying to fight off the grip of her captor, who had just forced her to sit down on an empty seat in an electric car.
"Sorry, no can do." The mysterious person said when he sat down on the driver's seat and started its engine after they left the alley, which led to another street at the back of the complex.
"No way..." May murmured when she realized who she was talking to. "Jake..."
"That's right." Jake Guuns smirked and pointed to himself with his right thumb. "Jake Gunns at your service."
"Jake... what the hell are you doing?" She couldn't believe that someone she knew from the war was the one responsible for dragging her away from the complex. "I thought you went to Side 3 with Ken and the others."
Jake glared at her and gritted his teeth when he heard May. "Side 3's not the same anymore. The so-called Republic of Zeon under UN and OMNI influence alike. Even the president has to answer to them." The ex-Principality soldier drove the electric car even faster when he stepped hard on its throttle. "We're still fighting for a free Zeon."
"The war's already over!" May shouted at Jake to get him back to his senses. "Even the PLANTs have conceded when the Principality surrendered from the OYBW!"
"Damn it." Jake got angry at May's insistence. "You're just like the others. Just willing to take whatever those goddamn Earthnoids throw at you and rolling with it."
From a distance, someone wearing a shirt, military-type cargo pants, boots and a brown trenchcoat observed the speeding electric car through his binoculars. He waited until he saw the car going for the direction of the space port.
When he saw the car travel further down the road, he hopped into another electric car and followed them.
Parking Lot, Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The Titans GM Quels were busy making short work of the Zaku II Kais and the GINNs used by IK forces, reducing their numbers one by one thanks to support from the Hizack Customs with their missile pods used to make short work of any stragglers.
The last Zaku II Kai and GINN were taken out by a sneak attack from the back when a GM Cannon II opened fire with its dual cannons when they tried to flee the facility. The IK pilots were caught by surprise when the lone mobile suit opened fire at close range.
"This is Team Alpha to control, we've secured the area! I say again, we secured the area!"
The transmission came from a lone GM Quel that had previously took one on the last GINNs blocking his way by using the shield to bash it, disorienting the pilot before the mobile suit used its beam shot to decapitate it in half from the waist.
"Understood, Alpha leader. Hostages are now secured."
The GM Quel's cameras examined what was happening on the ground. Armed Titans soldiers were busy guiding civilians to a safe zone away from the factory complex with Titans MPs securing the scene as they finished putting up vehicle barricades and blue and white caution tapes around the streets that led to and away from the area.
"Control..." The GM Quel pilot examined the hostages being escorted out before he checked on his panel. "I'm not seeing the said VIP we're looking for. Was she really here?"
"It's still an affirmative, Alpha leader." The Titans radio operator reported back, a bit confused that the VIP they were looking for was not present.
The mobile suit pilot examined his console to make sure he was looking at the actual photo of May in her Principality of Zeon scientist uniform.
"Dammit." The pilot retracted the visor of his helmet and chose to sit back and wait. "Of all the things I have to do..."
He stared outside and saw that the abandoned complex suffered some structural damage, mostly from gunfire that was from Titans-manned mobile suits.
These guys don't care if structural or collateral damage gets in the way, as long as they can just rein any rogue Zeon or ZAFT faction in, as well as the PLANTs from trying anything stupid.
"Alpha leader, we've got an update regarding the missing VIP."
The pilot lowered the visor when he got a new transmission. "I'm listening."
"An anonymous witnessed called up on the Aires Police Force hotline regarding some shady person taking someone who matches her description towards one of the city's spaceport."
"Understood. How long was this?"
"It's just recent. I'll provide the directions for you and your..."
"Don't get the others involved. I'll bring someone with me."
"You can't go on your own, Alpha leader..."
The pilot abruptly ended the connection and opened up another connection. "Lieutenant Agar, this is Lieutenant Ford Romfellow. Respond if you can hear me, over."
A yawn was heard on the other line before Agar replied. "I can hear ya loud and clear. What is it? Something come up?"
"Yeah. We got a good lead on where the VIP is taken." Ford looked at his console to check on the Aires map. He received an update when the map showed the location of the nearest spaceport.
"Who kidnapped her?"
"Unknown. But HQ's given us the location."
"I see... are we expecting any kind of mobile suit support?"
"Let's not get them involved. After all, it's something that he wanted to do."
Agar sighed, wondering what he's getting himself into. He then replied. "All right, all right. It's not like I don't wanna do this or anything."
"All right. Let's move. We'll need to intercept the kidnapper before he can make a clean getaway."
Command Center, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, somewhere in space
Kowen was in charge of overseeing the operation Sally was running, specifically on whether the SRT/PRT teams involved were following her orders to the letter.
"PRT teams have withdrawn from the outskirts of the Banaghr Corporation Factory Complex as instructed, General Kowen." One of the operator androids reported back to the general after the operators studied their consoles carefully.
"Tell the Major she has a go signal to get the PRT teams out of the area. I'm having Óglach 15 take command of ground forces." General Kowen stared at the operations map of Aires on the huge monitor. "Inform him to bring in Tús 23 at once. We'll need his expertise on how the Titans are going to operate."
Berserk had just entered the command center when Kowen spoke to the operator again, instructing her to relay his orders to Major Po at once.
"General." Berserk saluted Kowen after the former got his attention.
"At ease, Colonel." Kowen saluted back. "You're just in time."
"I wish I wasn't, to be honest."
This comment made Kowen confused. "What do you mean, Colonel?"
"I was in a meeting with Major General Chua regarding our progress after he gave intel on the kidnapper's location." Berserk sighed. "I told him to wait, but he seemed to be impatient."
"Lord Mallory surely is indirectly pressuring him to get some good results before the next meeting comes." Kowen scratched the back of his neck. "I won't worry about it that much if I were you."
Spaceport Facility, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The major should have relayed to the SRTs their new position.
"Let me go!" May shouted when she struggled to get Jake's hand off her right arm. "Why can't you accept that the One Year War's already over?!"
"Those goddamn Republic puppets are just drilling in UN propaganda to your head!" Jake shouted back when he dragged May away from the parked electric car.
The two heard some loud footsteps, as in someone running from the corner.
May and Jake saw a spaceport guard who has his hand on his duty holster.
"Goddamn it." The ex-Principality of Zeon mobile suit pilot murmured when he saw the armed guard. He quickly drew out a revolver from his shoulder holster and cocked its hammer.
"Drop it!" The guard placed his hand on his holstered sidearm after he saw Jake with a weapon aimed at him.
"Sorry! You're too slow!"
Jake fired two shots at the guard. One struck him in the chest. The other struck him at the stomach.
"Aggh!" The wounded guard was gunned down. He went down on his knees first before he collapsed onto the floor, face first.
Kira, Sai, Kuzzey and Mark formed up one SRT team sent in to infiltrate the spaceport facility from the northern side. They were told that other SRT teams would converge from the west and the east in order to block off Jake's attempt to try and get to an escape vehicle.
But when Kira requested for some support, Kowen denied it because they didn't want to escalate the situation any further since the Titans were already involved in the city.
"We won't be able to get support for this one, Kira." Sai tried to talk some sense to his comrade. "The general has a point though. We could get into collateral damage in the process of securing the VIP."
"I know, Sai." Kira stopped in his tracks after he motioned to them to take cover behind some parked cars near the opened north gate. "I just thought we can use a sniper-class mobile suit to block the kidnapper off before he takes her away from here."
They suddenly heard two gunshots coming from their direction.
"What the hell?!" Kuzzey was a bit startled when he heard the gunshots. "Did the kidnapper just...?!"
"We can't wait! Move in!"
Everyone in the team drew out their Seburo M-10 pistols from their IWB holsters. They took cover behind a parked truck when they caught sight of May trying to apply pressure onto the guard's bullet wounds.
"Shit. It's her." Sai murmured when he moved his head out from behind the truck.
"Is the hostile on her?" Kuzzey asked when he did a brass check on his sidearm.
"Yeah. He's trying to get her to move despite her attempts to save the guard's life."
"He's going to be gone." Mark whispered to Sai. "We need to move in ASAP before she's gone."
"Go..." Sai watched Jake drag May away towards the staircase that led to the main building's upper floor. It had catwalks that led to other parts of the facility, including a way out towards another spaceport facility.
Mark and Kira went to use another staircase that led to the same area in order to intercept Jake a bit ahead on the catwalk, which leads to the east. Sai and Kuzzey pursued Jake from the rear.
Command Center, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, somewhere in space
"General, Óglach 6 and his team were able to catch up with the VIP's kidnapper in a local spaceport facility." The operator android reported when she received a transmission from Major Po regarding the situation.
"Inform Óglach 15 of the progress and tell him to secure the area as soon as he can." Kowen gave out his next prders when the operation map showed the presence of all the SRT teams moving in to secure the spaceport facility Jake was in a while ago. The latest update showed him on one of the catwalks moving towards another spaceport facility.
Kowen stood back and opted to continue observing the operators communicating with Major Po and with the SRT operators done on the ground.
Let's hope they can secure her in time.
Spaceport Facility, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
Jake kept dragging her up the steps leading to the eastern catwalk despite her protests.
"Finally." Jake murmured when he got May up past the steps. "It should be a clean getaway from here."
The OYBW veteran suddenly the sounds of footsteps approaching fast.
What the? Jake had his revolver ready in case he encounters any hostiles blocking his way.
"Hold it right there!"
Mark and Kira took aim with their Seburo M10s right at Jake's chest after they stopped at the path ahead of him. From behind, Sai and Kuzzey came out to support the two when they used another staircase from another catwalk to get around the kidnapper and intercept him.
Are... are they here to save me?
"Drop your weapon and release the hostage!"
Mark and Kira took a few steps forward. Sai and Kuzzey did the same.
"Don't you fucking move!" Jake aimed the revolver at May's right temple. "I swear! I swear I'll fucking shoot her if you don't get back!"
"Dammit..." Mark murmured when he took aim. He saw Jake use May as a human shield by ensuring that her head is in front of his, making a shot very difficult.
"This is Sonraí 2." Sally's voice came on his earpiece. "I need a sitrep on the situation, over."
"This is Óglach 6." Mark whispered his reply when he pressed the PTT button clipped onto his jacket. "Óglach 7 and I have cornered a Principality mobile suit pilot. He has the package. I say again, he has the package."
"Understood, Óglach 6. Do you see anyone else?"
Mark spotted Sai and Kuzzey with their sidearms aimed at Jake from the rear. "Óglach 8 and 9 are also with me. They've cornered the target from the rear."
"This is Óglach 7." Kira made contact with Sally. "Do we take the shot? I repeat, do we take the shot?"
There was silence on the encrypted Mithril channel before Sally came through with the reply. "Take the shot when you can. Ceannaire has authorized the use of lethal force to secure the package. Do you copy?"
"I copy, Sonraí 2."
Kira gestured to Mark to cover the left side of the catwalk while he moved to the right. The latter gestured to Sai and Kuzzey to immediately move a few steps back.
"Give it up, pilot!" Kira shouted to Jake, keeping his sidearm trained on him. "The Principality's dead for ages now!"
"I refuse to accept that!" Jake altered his hand movements between aiming his weapon at May and aiming it at Kira. "That Republic out in Side 3 is just a damn puppet of the United Nations!"
"Let her go!" Mark shouted when he aimed his sidearm at where Jake's chest was. "She's no good to you dead! You know that!"
"Maybe...!" The revolver was pressed at May's right temple very hard. "But don't push me to do this!"
If he kills her, then the mission's over.
Kira looked at Mark, seeing if he's got a plan to resolve the current standoff.
Command Center, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, somewhere in space
Kowen was given video feed of the spaceport where the standoff is currently taking place. As of now, he was informed by Sally that she relayed the order given by him to use lethal force to end the situation before it can get worse.
"General, I've received word that the Titans and Aires Police are now moving in to the spaceport as we speak." An operator reported to Kowen when it studied a map on its console. "Estimated arrival to be 20 minutes."
"Inform Sonraí 2 and let her relay the information to our guys on the ground."
Berserk walked inside the command center, greeting the officer with a salute.
Kowen saluted back before he told him. "Looks like things are going to get a bit worse."
"Titans much, general?"
Kowen pointed to the tactical screen to Berserk.
"Unless the SRT can save Ms. Kauwin from being killed."
Spaceport Facility, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The SRT operators don't like where this was going.
A few minutes ago, they were informed by Sally via radio transmission that the Titans and the local police are already informed of the standoff in the local spaceport facility and were expected to arrive in 20 minutes.
"Let's end this now..." Kira muttered under his breath when he realized that Jake wasn't going to let go of his hostage.
"Get back!" Jake waved his revolver in front of Kira and Mark. "Get back I say!"
"Go in at three." Mark said to Kira loud enough for him to hear his voice. "Got it?"
Jake was getting very antsy at what's happening right now. He's not getting his way and it's most certain that the SRT operators confronting him weren't just going to step back and put their weapons down.
What happened next left May stunned.
Mark ran forward towards Jake. This move forced Jake to take aim at the incoming SRT agent.
Kira saw Jake's right arm extended out in order to properly aim the weapon. With his arm exposed and out of harm's way from May, Kira aimed the pistol at his arm with the intent of wounding him.
The brown-haired Coordinator fired his pistol, wounding the ex-Principality pilot.
"AARGH!" Jake winced in pain after he was shot in the arm. This forced him to release his grip on May.
"Move in! Move in!" Mark helped May get away from the area while Sai and Kuzzey approached the wounded pilot from the back, the former pushing him to the ground by forcing him to kneel down. Kuzzey got the plasticuffs out and restrained the man after he tossed the revolver away.
Kira trained his sidearm on Jake while Kuzzey place the plasticuffs on his wrists.
"Package is secured! Package is secured!" Mark radioed back after he ran with May down the nearest staircase.
Near outskirts of Spaceport Facility, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The GM Quel and a GM Cannon II, the latter having Titans colors, hanged back in the outskirts of the spaceport facility when they received a transmission that some other force was present in the area to rescue the VIP and take down whoever took her hostage.
"What do we do now?" Agar asked Romfellow. "Looks like someone else was able to save the hostage?"
"Indeed it is."
"The police are still at least 10 minutes out. It's impossible that they're this fast."
"So what then..."
Romfellow pondered on his thoughts. He was ordered after all to secure May, just like what he's been told in the Titans' Aires HQ a while ago before his deployment on the anti-terrorist operation.
"I'll go ahead and radio back to HQ." Agar could hear Romfellow sigh in frustration. "Tell them we lost the target."
Nearby, the same man in the brown trenchcoat observed the situation from the rooftop of a nearby building with binoculars.
Ken'll be happy to see that May's alright. Guess all I need to do is to make contact with him and tell him that Mithril got her out safe and sound.
Command Center, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, somewhere in space
"Operation is a success, general." The operator reported to Kowen after visual footage has confirmed the safety of May. "Óglach has reported safety of package."
"Tell them to rendezvous back safely according to Sonraí's instruction."
"Looks like we did the world another favor, general." Berserk said when he saw the outcome of the operation. "She's safe now."
"The next of the plan's going to depend on how much covertness we can place to have her escorted back to the republic." Kowen massaged his temples. "It'll be up to PRT to ensure her safety."
"Shall I inform the president?"
"Intelligence will take care of that. In the meantime, the SRT'll put her up in a safehouse until her departure from Aires tomorrow morning."
Berserk saluted Kowen before he departed. Kowen reciprocated the gesture as he saw him off.
It was going to a stress-free day for him at least. The Council would be pleased of the latest breakthrough on this operation.
Aires High-Speed Lunar Train Station, Aires, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
It was now January 30 of UE 0071. Early morning at 10 AM.
Mark, Kira, San and Kuzzey were present at the main lobby of the Aires High-Speed Lunar Station with May. They were ordered to wait with her since someone will make contact with them.
"I'd like to thank you guys again for helping me out." May thanked the team when they saved her. Yesterday, they brought to a safehouse in the downtown core, which was located conveniently near the high-speed train station by five minutes walk.
The said safehouse turned to be a serviced apartment that was used by Mithril to house its VIPs in the city. She was very helpful to get out of the ordeal. Which meant she had a nice rest, even though it was for only a day.
"It's not a problem after all, Ms. Kauwin." Kuzzey replied when he slightly nodded a bit. "We're just trying to do our job."
"But you guys are so young to be my bodyguards until someone's due to arrive here." May was in disbelief that the ones who saved her were (mostly) young men who were in college.
Except for Mark though. She couldn't tell, but she assumed that he was a bit older than the trio.
"Looks are deceiving." Sai smirked when he heard May. "But we do what we can."
"Look sharp guys." Kira told the others when he caught sight of someone approaching them from the walkalator. "We got someone approaching here from 9 o'clock."
Mark took a good look at the man approaching them before he got a look at his smartphone. Based on the image provided by Intelligence, the man is supposed to be an ex-OMNI soldier who served in the OYBW, mainly as one of the first few mobile suit pilots not recruited from the air force. He had curtained hair and a clean-shaven face.
Just like the image showed.
"Mr. Matt Healy, I presume?"
"Yes, that's right." The curtained haired man replied when he heard the name. "Matt Healy. Former OMNI mobile suit pilot..."
"I know who you are, sir." Mark raised a hand just to make Matt stop. "You led one of the first experimental mobile suit mechanized forces during the OYBW. Also a veteran of Odessa and Alaska before you were recruited by Bask Om into the Titans."
Matt smiled, remembering the battles like it was yesterday. "Yes, I did. But that's a long time ago. I'm just a civilian now."
"Matt..." May approached him. "Thanks for helping out yesterday..."
"Not a problem at all." Matt nodded. "I was able to get in touch with him after he landed on Aires. He should be coming."
Kuzzey looked at Sai and Kira, wondering who the hell Matt's talking about.
"He should be here any minute now."
Kira turned around just to check if someone else was coming in. Sure enough, there was someone else coming in. He directed his fellow SRT comrades to take a look.
He was a brown-haired man wearing standard Republic of Zeon military uniform. Said uniform didn't look anything different from the ones formerly under by the Principality of Zeon's military.
May saw the brown-haired man come towards them. She ran up to him and gave him a hug.
"That's Ken Bederstadt." Matt told the SRT team when they saw Ken and May hug each other. "He's one of the aces of the Principality during the war, though he never came close to the likes of Char Aznable and Johnny Ridden."
"I heard he's called Pitiless War God for his tenacity in battle, especially with rumors that he intentionally killed OMNI and allied nation POWs during the war." Sai explained his significance to the others as they watched May talk with Ken for a few minutes.
The four-man team saw Ken walk towards him with his hand extended out.
"I personally would like to thank you guys for safeguarding her." Ken said when he shook hands with Sai, Kuzzey, Kira and Mark.
"We take our job very seriously." Kira reassured the ROZ officer.
"And I'm glad you guys did so."
"Thanks Ken." Matt greeted Ken. "May should be safe with you on your trip back to the republic."
"Will do, Matt." Ken replied.
May waved goodbye to Matt and the SRT team as she went with Ken towards the station's departure area.
"Our job's done." Sai said when he watched Matt depart. "Let's go get something to eat before we return to Freiceadan and get that vacation time."
Inside a semi-dark conference room, several persons were seated around a circular round table. While the room was partially lit, the only thing that was entirely dark was the faces of the persons present inside.
"Gentlemen." The man seated near the conference room entrance spoke up after everyone was seated. "Let us commence this meeting. Now I believe that we've... settled some things back in Dublin, if I'm not mistaken."
"Yes, Mr. Gold." The man seated next to the person known as Mr. Gold raised his hand up in order to be acknowledged. "Our assault teams have successfully killed the target and have destroyed evidence that shows his links to us. As of now, the Garda Síochána is investigating the attack towards the idea that it was due to the handiwork of a PMC unit or two gone rogue."
"Excellent work, Mr. Iron." Mr. Gold thanked him for a job well done. "Let's hope that the Garda will stay at that angle. It's hard enough that Amalgam needs to start slowly like its predecessor during the early days of the Cold War." He coughed a bit to clear his throat before he continued. "Another matter that I wish to raise is the resurgence of Mithril."
Everyone at the table became quiet when they heard the name Mithril brought up.
"I believe that everyone's silence means that you all share the same concern that I have." Mr. Gold continued. "By now, news about their intervention in the Middle East has made news on Earth and space with the various space colonies, not to mention the Republic of Zeon and the PLANTs."
"What's our next step, sir?" An Amalgam delegate asked Mr. Gold.
Mr. Gold was silent, thinking about the delegate's question before he replied. "We should continue our covert alliance with Blue Cosmos and the Titans, especially ensuring a healthy relationship with Murata Azrael."
A piece of paper was handed to Mr. Gold.
The Amalgam leader picked it up and read the fine print. "It seems that Mithril has also successfully intervened in the hostage crisis on the moon."
Murmurs erupted from the delegates in the conference room.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen. Please." Mr. Gold raised his hands up to get everyone to keep quiet. "These two successful operations do not necessarily mean that our plans to revive Amalgam will be doomed to fail. In fact, these operations should allow us to proceed forward, albeit we would probably need to proceed carefully from now on."
The delegates nodded in agreement with Mr. Gold's assessment.
"In the meantime, we continue with our usual operations. Resume contact with our usual clients and tell them that Amalgam will not expect any delays with their arms shipments. Is that clear?"
"Gentlemen, it's about time we show Mithril that they're about to face a new Amalgam. More powerful and stronger than before. If our predecessor can defeat them before, then we can defeat them again in this new era."
Commander's Office, Mithril Freiceadan Base, Lagrange 4, Space
It's been a few weeks since Mithril rescued hostages held by remnants of the Invisible Knights in Aires. Without any missions ongoing from orders issued by Freiceadan, everyone on base has decided to take things lightly for a bit while remaining on 24/7 standby just in case.
For Kowen though, it was just another day for him. He had been informed that Rusty had just received basic training from both SRT and PRT trainers to assess his skills.
"Excuse me, sir." Kowen's intercom rang up. "Mr. Mackenzie has just arrived."
"Alright." The Mithril officer nodded when he answered the call. "Tell him that he can come in."
Kowen's secretary opened the door to his office. "You can come in now. The general's expecting you inside."
The blonde teen came inside the general's office. He was now dressed in olive green BDUs and boots instead of his ZAFT Red uniform.
"Reporting in for duty, general." Rusty stood at attention and saluted Kowen after he stepped inside.
"At ease." Kowen saluted Rusty back before he motioned to his secretary to leave them alone. She nodded and closed the door. "So I take it that you're adjusting well here in Freicedan?"
Kowen took a good look at Rusty carefully from his seat. From the way he was dressed, the ex-OMNI officer would have thought that he changed. Based on his experiences, however, looks are not the best means of judging someone's character. This means he needed to use other means to make sure ZAFT was not cultivating him to make him a double agent for both organizations.
"For the next few days, you'll be placed under observation so that I can evaluate your performance." Kowen explained to the blonde teen on what was going to happen to him. "You won't know where they are. You won't know who they are. Their job will be to evaluate you during the rest of your training here so that I can properly assess you and figure out your strengths and weaknesses."
"I understand, sir. I'll do my best."
"You can go."
Rusty saluted him once more before he left the office.
Kowen leaned back on his chair, musing on whether he would be able to stick around. The only thing he has to wait for assessment from Alice from the first day of his training in Freiceadan.
Serevis City High-Speed Lunar Train Station, Serevis City, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The 9:30 AM High-Speed Lunar Train had just arrived at the Serevis City station three hours after its departure from Von Braun with a brief stopover to Copernicus.
It was business as usual for the city, which had been built in the early days of the UE with recent expansions done to it thanks to the generosity and assistance of Mao Industries, one of the city's largest employers. Due to this, it's known to be the corporation's home, having a friendly rivalry to Von Braun as the home city of Anaheim Electronics.
"Thank you for using the High-Speed Lunar Train Express." The station's PA system rang out the service message for a few minutes before it was repeated for another time. "Today is February 24, 9:34 AM."
Among the people who disembarked from the parked train was Emma Sheen and Mark Liu. While the two were dressed in civilian clothes, Emma wore green clothes, from her jacket to her boots. For the day, she wore her white pants.
Mark wore a black windbreaker with a hood attached, jeans and black combat boots.
"Do you know if someone from Mao Industries is going to pick us up?" Emma asked Mark after the two walked towards the direction of the station's exit.
"Not from what I heard." Mark shrugged his shoulders. "If I recall correctly, MHI's main HQ isn't that far from the station. Although a taxi is preferable so that we don't have to walk all the way."
"Hopefully it's going to be a smooth trip today."
As the two left the station to get a taxi, a man of Southeast Asian descent caught the sight of them leaving the area. He immediately picked up his smartphone to make a call.
"You're not going to believe this, sir." The man spoke on the phone. "But I can confirm that Lieutenant Junior Grade Emma Sheen's been sighted arriving in Serevis City via High-Speed Lunar Train. You can check CCTV footage for yourself if you need to confirm it."
Titans Commander's Office, Gate of Zedan, Lagrange 3, Space
After Bask was informed that one of their men had positively identified Emma through his testimonial and from Lunar Train Station's CCTV cameras, the Titans commander decided that it was time to get rid of her.
He noted an incoming phone call through his personal smartphone, not the one issued to Titans personnel. The screen mentioned that it's an unlisted phone number.
Let's hope its him.
"I apologize if I'm calling you at a bad time, Commander Om." The caller said with politeness in his tone. Bask noted that the caller had used software to digitally alter his voice.
"No, no. Not at all. In fact, I'm glad that you called right now." Bask dismissed the apologies. "A mutual friend told me to get in touch with you a while ago..."
"Ah yes. About that, I had to take care of a loose end. That's probably why I didn't pick up the call."
"Of course." Bask read a folder that contained Emma's personal bio from her time in OMNI and in the Atlantic Federation military. "I have a job that needs to be done covertly. I have a team in Serevis, but I need someone of your caliber, Mr. C, to head there and terminate her on behalf of the Titans."
Silence lingered on the line before Mr. C answered. "I'll have that taken care of, Commander Om."
"Thank you. Your employer should send you the needed details."
Bask ended the phone call afterwards, content that business will be taken care of.
It's not official Titans policy, but Admiral Hymen has made it unofficial policy that the Titans should take care of any potential defectors by any means necessary, even if they have to resort to making them disappear from public forever. Bask Om and other high-ranking Titans officials have backed this policy.
And now, the man is prepared to uphold that policy.
Lobby, Mao Heavy Industries Headquarters, Serevis City, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
The two had arrived inside the lobby of MHI HQ after they were dropped off by taxi. They were greeted by an Indian woman with green hair.
She appears to be wearing a light blue kurti with an orange sari alongside blue court shoes that have wedge heels on them. A pink and orange headband was tied on top of her head. A bindi was seen on her forehead, placed between her eyebrows.
"Welcome to Mao Industries." The green-haired woman greeted Emma and Mark with a namaste. "It's good to see you again, Ms. Sheen."
"It's a pleasure, Radha." Emma smiled and shook hands with the Indian woman. Radha smiled and shook hands with her.
Emma began to introduce the Indian woman to Mark. "This is Radha Bairaban. She's with Mao Heavy Industries and one of Mithril's liaisons." She then faced Radha. "This is Mark Liu. He's assigned to be my bodyguard under instructions from the general."
"I see." Radha nodded and looked at Mark. "I've seen him many times, but I never had the chance to speak with him."
"It's alright." Mark extended his left hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Bairaban."
"So," Emma asked Radha. "Is Ms. Mao around?"
"Yes." Radha replied. "She's in the toilet right now, but she's expecting you in her office."
The three walked towards a metal detector gate. Mark allowed Emma and Radha to go inside first. When the metal detector rang off, female MI guards began to pat them down with their hands before they moved using their handheld metal detectors.
A few minutes later, a male MHI guard motioned Mark to go through the gate. When he stepped in and out, the metal detector rang off.
A guard used a handheld metal detector to see if anything metallic may have been detected. When the wand beeped after it hovered over his chest, Mark sighed and opened his jacket. The guard saw a shoulder holster with a pistol inside.
"Shit! He's got a gun...!" The guards began to draw out their sidearms when Radha motioned to them to put their guns down.
"He's with DOMS!" Radha shouted to get their attention. "Put the guns down!"
Mark sighed and slowly brought out his wallet in order to show his official Dana O'Shee Military Service ID card.
One of the guards carefully approached Mark, eyeing his ID card. He took it and read the name and compared the photo to his face.
"It's okay!" The guard shouted to his colleagues. "He's DOMS!"
"My apologies." Radha bowed a bit to Emma after the tensions cooled down. "I was sure that security was informed to expect someone from DOMS."
"It... it's okay." Mark raised his hands up when he saw Radha apologize. "It's not a big deal."
"Follow me, please." The guards returned back to work while Radha escorted the two towards the interior of the building. They could see MHI employees and staff going around, doing their business for the day.
Radha turned around to face Mark while she walked. "I was under the impression that Mr. Liu would be with three other people."
"I'm sorry, Ms. Bairaban..."
Somewhere in Von Braun, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
They have an appointment to care of in Von Braun...
Kira, Sai and Kuzzey were seen walking away from the downtown area of Von Braun after they were dropped off in Armstrong Park via taxi. They were seen walking towards the city's residential area. All of them wore jackets, pants and boots of different brands in order to blend it and make it look like they're ordinary civilians minding about their own business.
"9:50." Kira murmured when he checked his digital wristwatch. "We got a few minutes before we hit the place."
"Everyone got the plan memorized?" Sai asked Kira and Kuzzey while the trio waited to cross the street since the pedestrian light was blinking in red.
"Sure do." Kuzzey nodded. "We act as lost tourists, trying to figure a way out of the area. Then we go in, take out security. Destroy any evidence that could implicate our little intrusion as best we can and execute the target."
When the pedestrian light changed to green, the trio walked across the street. As they walked further away from the downtown area towards the outskirts, they could see a lot of parked cars on both sides of the street.
We should be close.
The three SRT operators saw their target destination.
It was a huge mansion that literally occupied multiple city blocks with three floors with the place surrounded by a brick wall and a single electronic gate. Whoever owned it had to be wealthy and influential.
"We got the place." Kira looked at his wristwatch. "It's 9:55 AM. We hit the place when our watches hit 10 AM. Got it?"
"Got it." Sai and Kuzzey replied in unison.
Chairwoman's Office, Mao Heavy Industries Headquarters, Serevis City, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
Radha showed Emma and Mark inside the chairwoman's office with the MI employee entering last.
"She should be here any minute now." Radha reassured the two.
"Thank you, Radha." Emma took her seat in front of Ring's desk. Mark simply stood next to her, being used to it thanks to his close protection work. "At least we came early."
Mark looked around the office. It looked... quite plain. Aside from a couple of bookshelves, a wooden desk with a desktop computer, black swivel chair and a black table picture frame of a pink-haired woman in a blue pantsuit shaking hands with the Mayor of Von Braun in a publicity event.
The office also have windows that have a good view of the city's downtown area.
The office's sliding door opened, revealing the same woman as depicted in the picture frame. Only this time, she was in her white cheongsam with a purple and light blue jacket and blue high heels.
"Sorry to keep you both waiting." The pink-haired woman said when she got inside. "I had a last minute phone call with the mayor regarding some festivities coming up in the next few days."
"Chairwoman Mao." Radha greeted her by doing a namaste.
"Thank you for agreeing to see me at such a short notice." Emma said when she offered her right hand out. Mao nodded and shook hands with her.
"I take this that this young man here with you is from Mithril?" Mao looked at Mark, who stood by Emma's side at attention.
"Pleased to meet you, Chairwoman." Mark greeted her with politeness in his voice. "I'm only here to serve as Ms. Sheen's bodyguard."
"It's quite rare to see young men like you speak with politeness." Mao smiled before she took her seat. "I was under the impression that Ms. Sheen would be accompanied by a four people."
"A last minute arrangement on the part of my superiors."
Mao looked at Emma after she motioned to Radha that she can leave the office. "I take it that this is about the R-Schneides?"
"That's right." Emma replied, who placed her gloved hands on her lap. "My superior would like to let you know that he's getting good evaluation reports from our pilots on the ground lately."
Mao nodded. "That's good to hear. I haven't heard much word from the various neutral nations that purchased them ever since I got word that OPEVAL tests were still ongoing for special forces units."
"No need to worry. Our engineers should be able to send you tech reports if anything goes wrong."
"That's a relief."
Mark saw Mao sigh in relief. "Our R-Schneides are trying to break into the mobile suit market as of a few years ago, but it seems that either OMNI or the big countries like the Atlantic and European Federations are serving up the competition. At least I don't have to see General Kowen about it if I can help it."
This woman clearly knows the general. Did she serve with Mithril before breaking into this industry?
Outskirts of Mansion, Von Braun, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
Kira, Sai and Kuzzey were waving at the lone guard at the guardhouse to see if they can get his attention. A surveillance camera was present outside, getting a view of the guardhouse, the gate and the sidewalk.
The suit-wearing guard made a radio call on his earpiece before he stepped out.
"Can I help you guys with anything?" The guard asked them after he had opened the gate via controls from inside the guardhouse.
"Do you have a minute?" Kira showed the guard a map of the city's downtown area. Sai got his left hand inside the jacket's pocket in order to press the button of a device. The said device electronically jammed the camera for a few minutes.
"Tourists, huh?" The guard examined the map Kira held. "Well, if you're looking for a tourist area to go to, this area's not the..."
Sai shook his head. "Actually, we're not here to hit the tourist areas this time."
Kuzzey spoke to the guard after Sai said his piece. "We're just here to see if we can find the nearest bus stop from around the area."
"Oh, I see." The guard examined the map and traced the area around the mansion with his right index finger. "All right. This shouldn't be a problem at all, guys."
"You found something?" Kira asked him.
"Yep. It's your lucky day today. The nearest bus stop from this mansion should be around... give or take... eight minutes until there's something in the way."
But before the guard could go back inside, Kuzzey drew out a handheld taser and pressed it at the back of his neck.
The guard was shocked for a few seconds when Kuzzey used the taser. He waited until he was out cold.
"Quick. Get him inside now." Kira said when he folded the map and carried the stunned guard by his left leg. Kuzzey helped out by carrying him with his right leg after he kept the taser.
"Camera should be knocked out for a few more minutes." Sai carried him with his arms.
While the task was excruciating, it was certainly not hard for them to carry a body around since their enhanced muscles allowed them to do it without being strained a lot.
The trio quickly moved the downed body inside the guardhouse. Kira had the gate closed.
"All right. Next stop is to head to the mansion's security room, take out as many guards as we can and disable their surveillance equipment."
"Roger." Kira and Kuzzey replied in unison.
Security Room, Mansion, Von Braun, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
"What the hell happened?"
"I dunno. You tell me..."
Four guards inside the mansion's security room got word that their comms and the cameras were slowly being disabled by unknown intruders.
"Can we reboot the cameras?" A guard asked when he stepped towards the door.
"No, I can't!" The second guard shouted from his seat. "It's either an electrical failure or someone's trying to jam them from somewhere!"
"Dammit, dammit, dammit."
The guards checked their radios to see if they can use it. They could only hear lots of static over their earpieces.
The door to the room was kicked open. The guards saw armed intruders with Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine guns. They appear to be seized from the dead guards earlier.
The intruders opened fire on the guards by spraying the room with automatic gunfire. Taken by surprise, the guard didn't have time on their side to fight back. They were instantly cut down.
"Go, go, go!" Sai shouted when he gunned down the last guard. Kira and Kuzzey went inside and used the Mozambique Drill to ensure the guards stayed down permanently.
"I got this one." Kira took a small USB flash drive and inserted it into one of the functioning security room computers. "The virus should permanently knock down the mansion's security feeds and the cameras."
Kira kept an eye on the progress meter on the monitor, which showed a fast upload. A few seconds later, it showed various errors with a virus infection taking place. Another progress meter showed up on the monitor, the flash drive's files being permanently deleted.
"We got incoming company!" Kuzzey crouched near the door and leaned out to open fire with his seized MP5K.
"I'm already done!" Kira shouted in reply when he pocketed the used USB flash drive. "Let's go!"
More gunfire rang out from the rest of the first floor when more armed reinforcements came in to surround the security room.
Master Bedroom, Mansion, Von Braun, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
A man in his late 60s was seen seated down on a sofa near the king-size bed when three of his guards were told to head downstairs and see what was going on. Only two of his guards remained to protect the man just in case something happened.
"Report back if anything happens." One of the guards said on his earpiece. "Understood?"
"Got it. We're heading downstairs by the west wing."
Silence on the radio before sounds of automatic gunfire were heard.
"Shit..." The guard drew out his pistol, a JH Industries Tachi, from his shoulder holster. The other guard, who was positioned near the man's bed, also drew out the same pistol. "Looks like we're going to be on our own."
"Can't get on the radio. Seems to have a lot of static." The other guard said when he took a look outside the window.
A few minutes later, the lights went out in an instant.
The guards, understandably, got very nervous. They took aim at the only door leading to the master bedroom. They waited and waited to see if anyone would barge in.
The door was kicked in hard with a smoke grenade hurled inside. Black and gray smoke was discharged from the device, covering the room. The man in the sofa was very calm while the armed guards opened fire with their sidearms.
"Very sloppy..." Sai taunted them before he started to open fire. Kira joined in and together, they gunned down the two guards inside the room.
"Clear!" Kuzzey was the first to go in, using the Mozambique Drill to ensure they're dead.
"Clear!" Sai followed behind Kuzzey, checking all the cabinets and the lone bathroom to make sure no one else was around.
Kira was the last to go in, checking underneath the bed for anyone hiding while Sai and Kuzzey swept the entire room twice as a security measure.
"So it seems that you boys are sent here to kill me." The man in the sofa replied calmly. He appeared to be wearing a gray suit with a red necktie and black Oxford shoes.
"Admiral Joseph Wilkins." Kira aimed his weapon at him. "Formerly of the Atlantic Federaton Army. At one time, you're the CO in charge of a black ops unit known as COSMOS prior to its integration into OMNI control."
Kuzzey dug out a photo of the admiral from his pocket. He studied the photo to see a well-dressed man in a suit and tie. Black hair with some gray hair mixed in with a clean-shaven face, he doesn't do the picture justice.
In fact, he looked to be very tired and weary. It's as if he kept running and running for days.
"You're correct, young man. Except for the fact that I'm retired now..." Th ex-admiral replied, knowing that Kira did his homework.
"But you're still active with some nice people." Sai said with some venom in his tone. "Among them include Blue Cosmos and Amalgam."
Wilkins frowned when he heard the two names.
"It appears that you know who I worked for in the past. Quite interesting."
The trio raised an eyebrow at the retired officer. He didn't seemed fazed that he was about to die. Considering his membership with the two groups...
"We're here to serve you up." Kuzzey conducted a brass check on his MP5K before he aimed it at the old man. "There anything else you need to tell us before your time is up, old timer?"
Wilkins only said one thing.
"For the preservation of a blue and pure..."
Kira, Sai and Kuzzey sighed and unloaded the MP5Ks onto him until the guns clicked empty. When the gunfire stopped, they saw the man down on the ground.
Sai knelt down next to the corpse and checked for a pulse on his neck.
"He's gone." Sai said when he adjusted his glasses by pushing its bridge up.
"Let's move." Kira ordered Sai and Kuzzey as he was the first to leave, wiping the prints from the weapons with a handkerchief Kira found on the ground. The two followed the way out, Kira stopped by to pick up another dropped MP5K and used it to kill the stunned guard inside the guardhouse.
Like the last time, he wiped his fingerprints off the gun before he placed it near the guard's corpse.
Sai secured whatever tapes they can get from the security room and carried it with a plastic bag he found inside.
They left the house using the front entrance's pedestrian door. From there, they walked back to the downtown area.
"We need to get to the dead drop zone and change out of our clothes." Kuzzey sighed as they began to walk down the street.
"Agreed." Sai shared his concerns. "It's only a good thing that we got these clothes from a thrift store."
Outskirts of Mao Heavy Industries Headquarters, Serevis City, Moon, Lagrange 2, Space
A mid-size 4x4 SUV was seen parked next to the sidewalk right across MHI HQ. Inside were two men dressed in gray jackets and jeans.
"Dammit, I'm told we got someone incoming who's joining us?" The SUV's driver sighed. "Where the hell is he?"
A faint knock was heard from the front passenger seat. The front passenger looked to his right to see a man with a bushy mustache wearing sunglasses to conceal his eyes. He wore a fedora, gray trenchcoat and brown gloves.
"Sorry, pal." The front passenger window was lowered via power switch. "We're not here to give any contributions to..."
The fedora-wearing man didn't say anything except to show his ID. He held it in such a way that only the word C was seen on it.
"Raven Sword? So we're getting a PMC to join with us now?"
"I can assure you that Commander Om has authorized me to join you merry men on this little op."
"Yo! Who's this guy?!"
The man known as C turned around to see another man wearing the same gray jacket and jeans.
"The commander authorized this PMC from Raven Sword to join us today!" The driver said to his companion outside. "He's Mr. C, based on what we've been debriefed on back at HQ."
"Mr. C huh? Does it stand for something?" The man standing near Mr. C got a little cocky when he heard his name.
Mr. C slightly nodded. "Well it stands for something..."
Before the man could ask what he was talking about, Mr. C grabbed the man by the right arm. He then twisted it and slammed him onto the SUV's door.
The Raven Sword contractor applied pressure by pressing the man's face onto the car window before he brandished a balisong and brought the blade against his throat.
"My full name is Cutting Your Throat for starters. How does that sound?"
Chapter 20 END
PS - Apologies for the late update. I got busy updating the other fics that I have, not to mention that I recently came back from a trip to Vietnam as a tag along despite me not having any business there, not to mention that it's kinda hard to shop for things you want there. Otherwise, I'm still trying to get this story updated for all the readers.
As a FYI, the One Year War is another way of saying the One Year Bloody War. Apologies if I have previously said this in a previous chapter or so. I just want to make sure people aren't scratching their heads in confusion.
To those who're reading and reviewing this constantly/have placed this story in your favorite files, I'm very grateful to all the readers for sticking with me. I'm not going to give up on this.
Right now, I've burned partially through half of SEED's episodes, which means half the plot is done. Same goes with Zeta. As mentioned before, I'll be following a new direction for a while. But this'll include some mixtures of SEED and Zeta.
For now, let me know how the chapter is after you read and review it. I appreciate anything that you may have, including some critique on wrong spelling and punctuation and stuff.
This'll probably be on the last few updates to be done for 2015 since I'm heading out to Hawaii in a few days for the Christmas holidays.