I'm planning on having more dialogue in this chapter than the last one. It's actually kind of hard to balance telling the story in an exciting way and still have the characters have deep personalities. That said though, I want to maintain a sort of "mission per chapter" pace. All too often I see fanfics that don't actually have their most basic elements. A Yu-Gi-Oh! fic that's all overdramatic shipping with no life or death games, an Avatar fic that's all slice-of-life comedy shipping with no magic kung-fu, a Pokémon fic that's all confusingly written shipping with no magical monster battles… I'm sensing a pattern… Point is, I want to portray the no-hope struggle of mobile suit combat in an eloquent way and still create something immersive. Kind of like a combination of The Great Gatsby and a less profane Catcher in the Rye. If you couldn't tell, I've been watching a lot of Crash Course lately.

At the beginning of the war there were many places that were left alone, even if they weren't what one would call "neutral". Places where soldiers could go for sanctuary from battle, and even get supplies. Many leaned toward one side or the other, but as time went on most were dragged into the quagmire. Only a few places in the entire Earth Sphere were left alone, like Side 6 and Nuuk, Greenland who supplied both sides equally.

The 1st stopped over at Nuuk to resupply after they left Belfast. The base was well stocked, but despite that they couldn't spare what they had. The Federation had been pooling what they had for an upcoming operation and doing so was already stretching other important fronts thin. It seemed amazing that there was nothing to spare even when surrounded by relative excess.

Nuuk had no such problems. The capital city of Greenland rose to prominence late in the AD era with the discovery of natural resources that would later fuel the Minovsky-type technology so prominent in UC 0079. Though it was overtaken by larger cities in North America and Eurasia and the promise of a Nuuk Mass Driver went unfulfilled, Nuuk did gather enough wealth to buy their way out of the Earth Federation and subsequent war.

The trip for the 1st was largely uneventful. Marauding mobile suits aside, the northeast Atlantic was largely dominated by the Federation. Zeon forces that headed to Nuuk were generally in no condition to fight and were rare anyway. The short, relaxing flight was a welcome change of pace for the pilots who seemed to so often to be run ragged. Once arrived, the pilots were given some leave time while the mechanics worked on the mobile suits. No one was surprised when Pat stayed to work on his own mobile suit, but Holdarin's decision to do the same was unexpected.

The rest of the pilots spent their day doing ordinary things. Ashley saw a movie, Ken found an electronics store, Nuuk had an art museum for Nicolas, and a small sports complex for Tommy. Still, the war was nipping at the heels of the city. It was disconcerting to see so many Zeon uniforms walking around, even if they seemed just as domestic as the other Fedies. It was a city made of glass. And the Zeons were about to throw a stone.

"ETA; twenty minutes. Begin mobilization of all onboard Zaku units," a Zeon command and control officer ordered over an intercom. There was a scramble of activity inside the cramped Gaw cockpit as the attack carrier trudged along through the sky. "We're ready for battle Lieutenant, but are we sure this is a good idea?"

"We were given orders directly from Captain Garma. We don't have a choice in the matter," the Lieutenant and commander of the Gaw crew returned.

"This is just a vanity project…" another member of the crew mumbled far too loudly.

"So what if it is!" the Lieutenant boomed. "Captain Garma feels he has a lot to prove to Lady Kycilia. And it's our responsibility to see that he can do that. And don't forget that he joins us lowly soldiers on the front lines. Far more than our sovereign would like."

"But sir, there are Zeon soldiers in Nuuk. What about them?"

"They're mostly deserters fleeing from battles in Eastern Europe. They have no place in our Zeon race."

"The city is trying to raise us," a communications officer reported.

"Increase Minovsky Particle Density and deploy the mobile suits."

Every Federation and Zeon ear perked up when air raid sirens started blearing. Ashley was the first to see the incoming Gaw. When she turned to head for the hanger that held her mobile suit she saw a Zeon grunt. The young man had his gun drawn, but instead of the standard Weaver Stance that he should have been using, he was staring slack-jawed at the incoming Gaw.

"B-but we wouldn't…" the Zeon stuttered. "We wouldn't do that! They wouldn't do that!"

Any hope that the Gaw was just there for a peaceful stopover was shattered as it started when it started bombing the city. The Zeon just kept staring at the craft raining death from the sky as everyone else took cover. Ashley noticed the man still in the open, bombs landing only a block away and shrapnel flying everywhere. "Get down, dummy!" she called out to him as she tackled him to the ground. The explosions from the Gaw's generous supply of bombs started to inch away, so Ashley addressed the Zeon she was sheltering. "Are you okay, Mr. Zeon?" she still had to shout over the racket. She didn't get an answer. "Mr. Zeo-?" He was already gone, eyes still staring at the sky. He looked younger than Ashley. She was nineteen.

Now Ashley was frozen out in the open, unable to move. Without realizing it she found she was being pulled out of the street and into an alleyway. Mobile Suits had started moving through the streets, blasting the weak resistance Nuuk was putting up against the sudden attack. She looked over her shoulder to see that it was Ken dragging her out of harm's way. As the two mobile suits turned a corner onto another street, Ken went back out into the destruction to carry out the body of the Zeon soldier.

"Did you know him?" Ken asked between gasps. Ashley shook her head. "Are you going to be alright?"

She didn't respond at first. She picked herself up, her face draining to an emotionless scowl that made her look older. The tears she had been shedding stopped and Ken got a good look at the cut on her head that Ashley apparently didn't notice. "Yessir," she said with a practiced tone before running off. Ken closed the Zeon's eyes before following.

Meanwhile, Pat and Holdarin were holding off the invading Zakus, but they were pinned in their hanger two to one. The sudden addition of two more guns after Nicolas and Tommy's GM Gs were activated gave them the unexpected push they needed. One of the Zakus went down and the others fell back. Holdarin and Pat's GM Gs scarcely took a step out of the hanger when Ashley arrived and boarded her mobile suit.

"Ensign Hanss! Wait!" one of the mechanics called to her as she closed the hatch.

"Let her go," Ken said, "This is personal."

"But she's wounded! And her gun can't be deployed in its current condition!"

"We're both going!" Ken shot back as his hatch started to close, "That's an order!"

The crew barely had time to clear and move the walkway used to service the mobile suits before Ashley took her first step toward the hanger door. Outside, the 1st for once had the advantage of numbers and was chasing down the attacking Zaku IIs.

"How can you attack a neutral city like this?!" Nicolas asked more rhetorically than anything else. "They aren't even armed!"

"How can you say that from that so-called mobile suit of yours?" a Zeon voice shot back. "Nuuk has clearly leaned Federation since the war began!"

"There are Zeon soldiers in this city too! You're killing your own!"

"Anyone who hides here from you earthnoid trash doesn't have the right to call themselves a Zeon!" The Zaku that had been responding tried to round a corner and hit the GM Gs, but Pat was ready. The Zaku's machine gun was torn apart and it barely had enough time to draw its heat hawk to block Pat's beam saber.

"Save me your Zeon master race speeches," Pat warned, "It's fascist lunatics like you that drove me from space in the first place!"

Unfortunately for Pat, the Zaku pilot was skilled and was able to shove his GM G away. The Zaku than tossed the heat hawk at Pat, who barely got out of the way in time. Nicolas, Holdarin, and Tommy tried to blast the Zaku, but the other two joined in the fight. Before the unarmed Zaku could retreat, Ashley's GM G boosted through the hail of bullets and cleaved the Zaku in half. An explosion and cloud of smoke obscured the GM G from all sides. It reappeared beam saber first. She lanced threw another Zaku's cockpit, knocking it down and pinning it to the ground.

The final Zaku trained its gun on the GM G, but Ken shot the Zaku's arm off. The Zaku drew its heat hawk with the other hand and swung, but Ken ducked and cut off the Zaku's head and other arm in a single stroke. The Gaw began its retreat, weather because it was out of bombs or mobile suits. Ken moved instinctively. The buildings of Nuuk wildly varied in size. Ken used them as steppingstones to get up to the same altitude. He kicked off a skyscraper and landed on the Gaw's back. The turret there turned to fire, but Ken's shield was up even before the gun moved. The shot was absorbed by the shield and the gun was destroyed with a swift beam saber stroke. "It's been an honor serving with all of you," the Lieutenant said as Ken drove his beam saber through the Gaw's cockpit.

Ken jumped off the Gaw's back as it descended powerlessly. He stared out at the city in chaos. Whole sections of the city were left completely untouched by the surprise attack. Some (like the area that the Gaw crashed in) suffered only minor damage. Other places, however, were turned into a smoldering ruin. "What the hell is this war turning us into?" Ken wondered to himself as he looked out on the destruction.

Later that day, Greenland and all its natural resources joined the Earth Federation. For all the good it would do. The nation's capital was in ruins and would need years to recover. The 1st MS Unit also departed the same day. The war goes on.

I think this is a lot more like Gundam. Well, insofar as Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Gundam Wing and Gundam Seed were done in different styles. Even CCA was done differently, but I digress. I like this. It feels like a very Tomino-y way of telling the story. That probably sounds arrogant, but it's how I feel. It's also nice not having much of a time crunch. I'd love some non-ass kissing reviews on this one. I think this could be a new way for me to grow if I see in this what works and what doesn't.