Prologue: Angel Fall

In the darkness, one can normally find silence. However within this night is not silence. There is noise, much much noise. The rumble of explosions, thunder of gunfire and the resonance of clashing blades. Wind itself screamed as metal bodies ripped through them. A hundred meters above the face of the sea were seven machines.

"Houki! Be careful! It's closing in on you!"

"I see it!"

SHHHRAAAK!

It almost sounded like slicing flesh. One silver machine fell, releasing the crimson one in its grasp. One of its wings of light dispersing into little patches after being cut off. It quickly lost altitude and recovered brilliantly, a new wing replacing the dispatched.

"Doesn't it get tired of doing that?", the high-pitch scream of a young girl screeched, "Eat this!". A volley of hyper-accelerated superheated air followed this declaration. It slammed into the silver machine, causing it to stagger for a moment.

A sweep of its great wings cleared away the residual gases. One flap was all it took for it to retaliate with a volley of its own.

"Ling-san!"

A blue machine streaked across the battlefield and smashed into the violet machine piloted by the screeching girl. Water splashed everywhere when the bullets impacted harmlessly into the water.

"Ah, thanks Cecilia."

"It's coming."

Both of them braced themselves as the silver machine descended like an avenging angel. Its wings were glowing with far more energy than moments ago and they were only saved by the intervention of their own angel.

"Get out of there!", a young man swooped in with his white machine and its sword lit aglow. The silver angel, still remembering that it was the same weapon that had hurt it before, reversed its boost to reach a halt. The beam blade missing it by inches.

"Ichika-san, get down!", Cecilia commanded. She brought her Starlight Mk. III beam rifle to bear. It only took a second to get a lock before she fired.

The silver machine dodged easily but it was kept off balance by the shots that followed. All the while the white machine that had damaged it was weaving around the energy bolts with ease, almost as if the beams were dodging the white machine while aiming for the silver one. The silver machine was so busy with the closing enemy and suppressive fire that it was too late to heed the warning that beeped in its HUD. The metal slugs smashed into its back, the impact minimized by the shields.

"Get in there Ichika!"

"Keep it up Laura-san!", Houki, in her crimson machine returned into battle. Her angle of attack from beneath the silver machine.

Stuck, that one word summed up the situation the silver machine was in. It quickly analyzed the risks and decided it would have to take a few hits to get out of greater danger quickly. The wings of light grew bright and it spun. Light within the wings shot out, as if pulled by centrifugal forces. They rained down on Rin, Cecilia and Houki.

"Everyone!", Laura, who was too far away to be affected by the barrage, continued to fire with renewed fervor. However that fervor was to work against her and her friends.

"Gospel!", roared Ichika as he rushed at the overwhelming foe in anger. He pushed his thrusters to the limit and engaged double ignition boost. The speed was too much for even the AI pilot of the Silver Gospel to react in time. Ichika swung down with his Yukihira.

All according to plan, Silver Gospel spun away from taking a disabling hit. Losing one wing and having the other close to being hacked off, it reached out and grabbed Ichika's machine, Byakushiki. They plummeted a few meters before new wings replaced the damaged ones on Gospel. It pushed Ichika in the path of Laura's fire and used him as a human shield.

The shells impacted and Laura could only scream, "ICHIKA!".

Gospel charged forward, keeping Ichika in front like a riot shield. Laura couldn't fire in fear of hitting him. The silver machine kicked the white captive towards the black rabbit looking one. Back-flipping with a flourish, it swept back its wings to release a wave of energy shots.

That plan was foiled when alarms blared in the Gospel's hood. A lock from above. It quickly discharged its weapons towards the aggressor. Energy met buck shots in an angry explosion. Some of the energy shots got through the debris and smashed into the shooter. Smoke cleared and revealed a heavily armored orange Rafael Revive II. "Laura-chan! Get Ichika and regroup!", the blonde pilot released the shields used to block and summoned a pair of .61 caliber Garm sub machine guns. She charged forward with both automatic weapons spitting lead.

"I got it!"

Gospel took a moment to analyze the orange unit. The rafael had previously been classified as a low priority threat along with the black unit due to their low mobility. Even the black unit had a appreciable offensive capability, the Revive seemed to only have conventional weaponry. But looks were deceiving, the Gospel quickly realized that the Revive may have been slow and relatively weak in firepower, but it made up for those shortcomings with skill, endurance and massive amounts of ammunition.

The realization came much too late as it was dancing to the orange Rafael's pace as round after round of gunfire herded it to a decisive shot. It never seemed to end as accuracy was not the only skill the Rafael pilot was gifted with. It seemed she was also well aware of how to manage her munitions, evident with how she alternated between her guns in keeping a stream of fire and reloading.

Damage was reaching critical and it was still nowhere near erasing the obstructions to its escape. The Gospel judged the dangers of being followed too great and risked to stay longer. It dove down, ignoring the stray rounds that embedded themselves in its armor. The silver machine pulled up just feet above the water and pelted it with energy bolts. Torrents of water gushed up and the blonde pilot of the Rafael lost sight of her target. She quickly stopped firing into the tower of water and tried to re-establish visual contact with it again. But by the time she saw, it was too late. The gospel was standing with its wings over its head and a large ball of light above it.

Pale at the sight of such danger, the Rafael pilot disengaged her weapons and pressed her shields to maximum, hoping they would hold.

The orb of light pulsed above the gospel. It fired right at the orange unit but its aim went off when something hacked off one of its wings, destabilizing the attack.

"Charlotte! Are you alright?", it was Rin and she'd just thrown her Souten Gagetsu in a bid to save the French representative candidate from being vaporized.

"I-I'm alright.", Charlotte replied after assessing the damages. Even though it just grazed her, it took away a good fifth of her shield energy and melted one of her shield add-ons. Such was the power of that weapon. "This is getting dangerous, we need to finish this now.".

"Karaware!"

A large red blade-shaped beam cut into the gospel while it was trying to regenerate its lost wing. The red unit belonging to Houki, Akatsubaki rushed the weakened enemy from the front, both blades slashing in an X-pattern. It was blocked but the force behind it sent the Gospel skidding over the water before it could regain its bearings.

Houki pulled back the other katana, Amatsuki. "We'll try it again. I'll hold it down Ichika."

"Understood.", Ichika took flight from the small islet where he was recuperating. "Byakushiki is recharged thanks to Akatsubaki's Kenran Buto. I can go any time. Everyone, we'll finish this and eat breakfast together.".

"Yeah!" "Yes!" "Definitely!" "Ofcourse!"

"Amatsuki!"

Bolts of red energy shot down like a localized meteor shower towards the Gospel. It was severely weakened now with its shield barely keeping together and even the ability to regenerate its wings of light seemingly lost. But it wasn't going down without a fight, it surged forward with only a wing and a half, performing a barrel roll. It kicked up water again which was vaporized but Amatsuki.

Gospel believed it got through the worst of it but that was not so, Houki was following behind Amatsuki's blast and was already in range to slash the silver machine. Preserving what little strength left, the Silver Gospel went limp and let itself drop backwards before jetting away from the diagonal kesagiri. Awaiting it after were the blonde duo of Cecilia and Charlotte.

"Let's go!", the two of them cried out along with their guns. Cecilia managing to fire as rapidly as Charlotte who was armed with a garm in one hand and a .62 Rain of Saturday shotgun.

The Gospel tried to weave through the shots but the vast number to dodge and the distraction of water underneath sent flying by missed shots was just too much. Bullets slammed against the scant armor, their effectiveness limited by the breaking energy shield. One of the Blue Tear's, Cecilia's machine's, energy shots managed to place itself right into the Gospel's back but absolute defense activated and prevented any serious damage. Silver Gospel hit the water surface again for a moment but righted itself to keep from submerging. Focusing whatever energies it had, it gunned its thrusters and pushed away from the ground and firing range of the two IS.

Awaiting the Gospel was Rin, who grabbed tightly onto the silver machine before it could fly away.

"Don't think you're going anywhere!", she screamed as her Ryuhou, heat diffusion cannons fired point blank. It landed, sending the Gospel flying.

Instead of trying to regain balance, the remaining left wing charged and fired a salvo to its four. The energy shots impacted with railgun shells.

"Go now!"

"I won't waste your effort Laura-san!"

Houki descended with only one of her two katanas out. Silver Gospel was stuck in an awkward position with no way to defend itself. The blow hit solidly, partially activating the absolute defense again to protect the pilot inside.

There seemed to be no hope left for the silver machine. It was spiraling out of the sky, desperately fixing its axis to keep from smashing into the ground.

Somebody... anybody... save this person!

Gospel reached out one hand as if it was expecting someone to take hold.

An arm reached out and grabbed the extended limb. "I got you!", Ichika shouted out to the silver machine.

No movement came from Silver Gospel. Ichika gingerly deactivated his yukihira and pulled the half-trashed machine closer. Right hand grabbing hold of the hand that was caught with the Setsura armed left. He pulled the silver body closer and reached out with his left to support the weight.

Houki suddenly screamed, "Ichika look out!"

At the touch of Setsura against its torso, Silver Gospel snapped awake again. Wings of light unfurling with an abnormal shine, as if drawing energy from something that was beyond it moments ago. Ignoring the damage it sustained moments ago, it gripped Ichika's face in its large hand.

Instinctively, Ichika pushed against the Gospel. He engaged Setsura's energy claw and stabbed it right into the Gospel's mid-section. It twitched and writhed as if it was in pain, but even so, the wings of light began to close in on Ichika.

"Just a little more!"

Just a little more!

Those words resonated in Ichika's mind and he roared a battle cry, "Go!"

"Ichika!", Houki screamed as she flew closer.

The wings devoured Byakushiki and two bodies converged upon the water as one mass of light. The girls were horrified at the scene, and soon more so as their vision was blinded white.

On that day, an explosion rocked western Japan. No one was made aware of why the explosion happened. Many assumed it to be IS but were ignored in favor of public confidence in the laws that protected them from IS abuse. Some believed it was a failed terrorist plot. Others believed it was testing for a new anti-IS weapon. Though a few who witnessed it believed themselves to have seen an angel fall.