Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam SEED/Gundam Seed Destiny.
8/14/13 Update: Author is currently going through the process of reading through the entire fic and performing MASSIVE revisions to every phase, hopefully for the better.
5/27/14 Update: Author has now completed some of the revisions and will slowly be replacing the old chapters with the new ones. You'll know how far I've gotten when you see the writing go down the toilet between one phase and another.
'Content' indicates thought.
"Content" indicates speech.
Location: ORB Union, Ono'goro Island
Time: During the penultimate attack on ORB by the Earth Alliance
Date: June 15th, CE 71
A ferocious battle was raging across Ono'goro Island. The aggressive Earth Alliance, led by Blue Cosmos Extremist Muruta Azrael had openly expressed an ultimatum to the neutral nation and it's principled leaders: Give us the Kaguya Mass Driver or face military takeover. Chief Representative Uzumi, not one to easily give in to such displays of power like this, had chosen to fight. As defensive ORB Astrays met offensive Alliance Strike Daggers, not a second went by without an object brutally bursting into loud, dangerous flames. During all of this, a single, normal coordinator family, consisting of a father, mother, son and daughter raced past verdant trees, desperately trying to reach the shoreline, where they would board an evacuation vessel.
"My son, we must run!" The father figure yelled frantically as his beloved family ran for their lives towards to the refugee ship, charging down a grassy hill as fast as their human legs could carry them. Then, without warning, an object struck the ground somewhere close to their location and burst into a massive fiery explosion, forcing the father to shield his eyes, grunting from the pain to his ears.
The son, a native, young, thirteen year old child, with ruby red eyes and raven black hair that was shrouded by a toque, could not help but raise his chin to the air and the fight taking place above him, between several very unique mobile suits, or gundams, to be specific. Just from observation, he figured that one of the ORB pilots, who was helping to hold back the Alliance, was incredibly skilled in the art of mobile suit combat considering how he was holding off his foes. A hidden sense of appreciation flared in the boy, if only for a second, as he watched the machine, gilded in a primarily white color scheme and flying by two mechanical, yet majestic looking blue wings, easily block fire from an enemy with it's shield. Little did the civilian know though, that this very machine was the ZGMF-X10A Freedom, and that the pilot strapped deep inside the gundam's navy blue chest, Kira Yamato, was not much older than him.
"My boy! You cannot hold still and think at a time like this! Run, that's all that matters now!" The mother yelled with concern. She gasped with fright as the ground trembled again, her child coming close to slipping off the edge and violently rolling down the steep side of the green hill. However, using the enhanced precision and dexterity that was gifted to him as a coordinator, the boy managed, albeit barely, to regain his balance. His victory was then short lived when yet another blast hit the ground somewhere near his family's location with a loud thud, it's shock wave quiet literally lifting him off of his feet and tossing him away into the downward roll he sought to avoid.
"Ah... AHH... shiiiiitttt!" The boy cussed to himself as he used all the power his eyelid muscles had to keep his eyes shut tight while his rolling body was dirtied by the soil and grass.
On the field of battle, the fight was on, and getting more fierce by the second. The Freedom gundam swerved to it's left, dodging a powerful beam cannon blast from its current opponent, the heavily armed, smurf blue GAT-X131 Calamity. Kira then brandished the pink beam saber in his left side skirt, and dove down towards the Calamity's location on the nearby concrete ground. The Freedom then attempted to behead the Calamity with a quick horizontal slash of it's blade but Orga Sabnak, the Calamity's pilot, wasn't going to allow himself to be taken that easily. He backed off, threatened his shoulder cannon's forward but then jumped backwards, increasing the gap between the two suits.
"Yeah, you..." Orga growled with pride just as the Freedom made it's next move and flew towards the Calamity, trying to get into melee range where Orga's machine had little offensive power. "... asshole!" Orga raged as he raised his shield and used it to defend against the Freedom's beam saber strike, before trying to nail the white gundam with a point-blank shot from the large cannon mounted in the Calamity's chest. Seeing this before it happened, Kira broke off and moved to his right, evading a powerful white and red stream of energy which would have easily ripped through his suit's armor.
"Is this guy crazy? He'd be taken out too!" Kira complained with a loud, angry tone.
Beep Beep Beep
Then, before he could go at it again, he was forced away, dodging a shot from above. Kira, now in the air again, growled, quickly scanned to his left and then noticed that another one of the Earth Alliance's gundams, the dark colored GAT-X370 Raider, was coming right at him and with all due haste, claws primed and at the ready. With speed Kira raised the Freedom's shield and blocked the incoming shots from the transformable mobile suit and front flipped forward to avoid a direct charge from the Raider. After his enemies strong attack failed, Kira saw an opening in his opponent's moves and quickly readied the Freedom's Balaena Plasma Wing Cannons while his opponent was swooping around.
"This'll teach you..." Kira grunted, and then fired the two cannons with exceptional accuracy, enough to probably hit the Raider if they weren't intercepted. However, just before the two bolts of plasma got too close, the Alliance's third gundam, the green, turtle-like GAT-X252 Forbidden descended and deflected the plasma bolts away with the special Geschmeidig Panzer shields that were mounted on it's sides.
"It will take more than that, bub!" Orga shouted from below as the nearly forgotten Calamity shot upward with it's shield cannons, but once again, Kira dodged by moving back.
'Three on one again...' Kira thought, his brow starting to feel the heat as he scanned the area. 'Athrun's nearby though... Athrun...' He sighed before finally spotting the unexpected newcomer to the battle, the mostly red ZGMF-X09A Justice gundam as it fought gravity and stabilized itself in midair, a fair distance away from Kira still. The arrival of his lifelong friend, and short lived enemy, could not have come at a better time, but that didn't mean the battle was over yet. "Seems so sudden, but we can't let them split us like that again..." The brunette reasoned. While trying to buy some time, he unfolded the two rail cannons of the Freedom to full extension, aimed at the Forbidden. "What?" He questioned, mere milliseconds before pulling the trigger as the Raider came around from behind the Forbidden and fired some shots at him. Therefore, just as the Freedom fired it's bright yellow "Xiphas" Rail gun shots, it moved to evade, which destroyed any sense of accuracy the volley had. For a split second Kira kept an eye on the blasts as they darted towards the ground, into a group of trees...
The boy from earlier had just managed to get onto his knees again and was scratching his head in pain, only to cringe as an ear piercing shriek tore through the area.
"MY PHONE! MY MOBILE PHONE!" In the same voice a girl was expected to have when she was entering her teens, the boy's sister yelled at the top of her lung as a small, fist sized pink object went tumbling down the hill and she reached out to try and go for it.
"MAYU!" The women yelled over her daughter, keeping the girl at bay and on track towards their destination. "Leave it! You can get another one!" She ordered before looking to her son, the three of them stopped as both the mother and father were about to call out, if only they had the time. For within the blink of an eye, without any indication or warning, bright yellow weapon's fire shot down from above and impacted the ground with an incredibly massive force. It's power was so much that a couple tons of dirt were displaced high into the air like nobody's business. For a second the boy once again closed his eyes and shielded his painfully ringing ears, before willingly regaining his vision again and staring towards the middle of the isle, where the impact site was, and where his family had previously been. Where there had once been clear air and grass, there was now smoldering hot dirt, fire and smoke.
"Mother... father... Mayu...?" The boy questioned slowly, cautiously, and fearfully before walking forward, only to lean down at the ground in front of him, at the pink object, the mobile phone, which had landed before his feet. Picking it up, he looked back at the fresh, hot crater ahead. Then, just as he narrowed his eyes in search, they were forced to grow with realization. His red eyes failed to blink, fixed upon the lonely, detached, bloody arm that was revealed by the smoke. From the torn clothes this limb was wearing, this wasn't any arm, it was the arm of his sister, and from there, he somehow managed to figure out the rest, despite the adrenaline in his blood and state of shock his mind was in.
"Mother... Father...Ma..Ma...MAYU?... THIS... THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!" The red eyed boy yelled and cried, falling to his knees and sobbing the way a young, deeply upset child would. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" He looked to the sky, his sister's phone held tightly in his right hand as he screamed as loud as he could, as painfully as he could, before collapsing on the ground and curling up, his head facing the dirt as the footsteps of an ORB soldier neared his back.
"What do we have... oh... no..." The soldier, an older man with gray hair who wore the rank of a naval officer could only give off a deep sigh of melancholy. He looked down upon the child below him, the one who was making all the noise, all the sobbing, and realized what he had to do, despite how harsh it would be. "Kid...we've gotta get out of here. It's too dangerous to stick around!" The officer leaned down and put his right hand on the boy's shoulder, just as the ground roared again, as if an earthquake were on its way. The boy then looked up to the ORB officer, and the first thing he noticed was the sincere expression he had in his dull eyes. After that, he noticed a tag stating "Todaka" on the man's chest, before spotting the ORB Logo, the insignia of his homeland, on the man's hat.
"LEAVE ME TO DIE!" The boy called out with raging emotions. "They're all dead, and I would be too if I didn't trip!"
"NO!" Todaka yelled back, shaking his head in disagreement. "Don't do this! You may have tripped, but you lived! You have been given a choice that they were not! Ask yourself if your family would want you to die, by your own will or otherwise! I highly doubt they would have!" He lectured, grabbing onto the boy's arm and forcefully pulling him away from the area as the fire caused by the blast, the fire which was now burning the remains of the boy's family, continued to grow.
'They are all dead...' The boy continued to think to himself as tears coated his face and he gave up on resisting, or making any muscle contractions at all. 'They're... NEVER... COMING BACK!' He then thought of the ORB symbol he saw on Todaka's hat, as well as the long gray mane of Lord Uzumi Nara Attha himself. 'Dad... we lived here... for a reason. Weren't we supposed to be protected? Isn't this the place whose 'ideals' ensure that something like this... is not supposed to happen? THEN WHY DID IT?' His eyes narrowed a little, showing hatred instead of sorrow now. 'It doesn't matter... I don't care what excuses they make...!' Finally, the boy allowed feelings of revenge to engulf his mind and swallow his entire soul. The only question remaining then is whether or not that soul would emerge from the darkness it chose to hid inside, or if it would lock itself away forever in the pits of bitter hatred...
Cosmic Era 72: One and a half years of grim war between Earth and the PLANTs was finally brought to a bitter end following the space battle at Yachin Due, where the fate of the world hung in the balance. The two sides forged a peace treaty within the ruins of Junius Seven, the graveyard of a colony, whose destruction served as the war's initial trigger. This agreement, known as the Treaty of Junius, highlighted several restrictions that would placed upon the world:
1. All national boundaries on Earth were to be restored to status quo ante bellum.
2. The ORB Union was forbidden to transfer any military technology to any Earth Alliance nations or Zaft.
3. A strict ban was placed upon Neutron Jammers and Neutron Jammer Cancelers.
4. Limits, proportional to the national resources, population, and economic output of a nation were used to dictate the size of every nation's military.
5. The development and use of Mirage Colloid was banned.
As a result of the treaty, the promises of peace, prosperity, and justice for all, both naturals and coordinators have enjoyed two years of quiet stability...
Location: PLANT Military Colony Armory One, Lagrange Point 4
Time: Fifteen hundred hours
Data: October 2nd, CE 73
"No. No. No. No." A single voice repeated over and over again amongst all the business that was taking place in the military arsenal. "You're supposed to position the ceremonial suits over there!" The Zaft Commander continued barking orders to a subordinate, attempting to coordinate efforts. From the looks of things, the entire military sector of Armory One was as busy as a bee hive with activity, for the PLANTs were preparing a very large and special event.
"Yes sir." The green suited soldier saluted his superior with a flash of perspiration on his brow, before running off to a group of ceremonially decorated GINNs, which were dressed primarily in greys and whites with golden trim applied to several places.
Off in the distance, a helicopter set down on the hard ground nearby, and as it's rotor blades began to slow down, multiple Zaft soldiers from all ranks and colors began to gather around the vehicle. Then when the door opened, they all were quick to respectively salute the few men on board who then walked out. One of these men, in particular, seemed to be the center of attention. He was tall, and thin, if not for the very long, black trimmed, white coat he wore. Also, his eyes were both piercing small but bright yellow, contrasting the long black hair which reached down his shoulders.
"Chairman Gilbert Durandal of the PLANT Supreme Council! Here from Aprilius One!" One of the assisting military officers shouted around as the tall man stepped onto the ground with a quiet smirk on his lips.
"Easy, men!" Durandal calmed, raising his right hand upwards. "As you were, it's not time for the ceremonies just yet. There's some other business I must attend to today." He reported as most of the soldiers began to nod and disperse back to their previous duties. However, one of the last soldiers to leave caught Durandal's eye, and forced a smile of familiarity out of the Chairman. He was an averaged-sized teenager, roughly sixteen years old, but unlike most teen males these days he had long, shoulder length blonde hair complimenting sharp blue eyes, and clashing against the dark red and black color scheme which formed his Zaft military uniform. As this boy noticed the Chairman's smile he smiled back, once again, as if he knew the man, before turning around completely and walking away, clearly satisfied.
"About our previous conversation, sir…" One of the escorting soldiers hummed near Durandal as they walked forward, closing in on a tall building whose entrance was but a few decimeters away.
"I understand your perspective on the matter, and although your point is strong, I can't help but disagree with it in some aspects. To note, Blue Cosmos is not an organization as much as it is the sick minded ideology of racism that has plagued humanity since its birth. As such, I doubt those terrorists will ever reason with us. The rest of the council is in complete agreement with me on this matter." Durandal answered with confidence, bringing the man's voice to a still as they continued onwards.
In the darkness of space, a small, lonely passenger shuttle was preparing to dock with one of the PLANT's star ports. However, inside the clear windows of the craft, several of it's passengers could easily be seen. One of them, a women to be specific, wore a burgundy business suit, had rich, short, golden blonde hair complimenting a pair of equally golden eyes. Someone who had seen this women in person before could readily identify her as Cagalli Yula Attha, current Chief Representative of the ORB Union. In the seat behind her, a casually clothed man with a head full of slightly longer blue hair sat with his arms crossed. The green eyes of Athrun Zala, which were hidden behind a pair of large, dark sunglasses scanned the craft as it prepared to dock with the station, looking as though he wished to remain unidentified.
Also, sitting two rows in front of Athrun and one row in front of Cagalli were a pair of young men, who were both visibly younger than the veterans by about two years. One of them, from the shape of his legs and torso, was quite tall, but had short hair pointed upwards, in the color of a lime. The other was identifiably shorter, and had very light blue hair that was even longer than Athrun's but curled at its tips below the ears, flowing over his head as if it was a liquid conforming to a container. Still, both of these unnamed teenagers were playing with video game devices in their hands and were also making the most noise to boot.
"Auel! That's cheating!" The green haired boy complained, clapping his hands together angrily.
"TAH HAH HA!" The other boy giggled psychotically, only to be soccer punched directly in his shoulder. "Sting!" He shouted, before cocking a dirty smile. "Did I sting a nerve? HAHAHAHAHA!"
"Oh you! You always use the same strategy over and over and over and I can never beat it! Try something original for once!" Sting grumbled and crossed his arms like a pissed off old man.
"You mad, bro?" Auel giggled with continuing comedic effect, while Cagalli, as well as the other person sitting next to her, who could not be seen from the window, chatted to themselves.
"Stella thinks you're lucky…" A girl sitting next to Cagalli said. She looked to be roughly the same age as Sting and Auel, but her hair was a slightly lighter shade of blonde than Cagalli's and her eyes were a dark violet. "Stella says they always act like this whenever they can. They know when they have a chance, they'll make each other mad, yet they do it anyway."
"Boys will be boys… there are many other things they could do than annoy each other… Other, worse things…" Cagalli yawned in an unamused manner, as if sitting here for this long had been taxing in and of itself, mostly due to anxiety. Still, it seemed as if the two of them had been talking here for a while.
"Oh… of course! Stella agrees, there are other, more terrible things…" The younger blonde said, lowering her head after the pause and speaking with slight regret that Cagalli did not catch. Then, only a few seconds later the body of the shuttle made a grumpy noise, everyone leaned forward a little, and then slowly, harmlessly bounced back as the docking procedure finished.
"We have arrived at our destination of Armory One. After you exit the shuttle, be sure to pick up your belongings from the lobby, and have a good stay in the colony!" The voice of a chirpy attendant echoed throughout the entire fuselage. Cagalli's eyes then widened slightly, for just as she was about to sit up, she watched as the girl next to her almost shot purposely out of her chair and floated in the air nearby.
"Stella is… yikes…!" She groaned while grabbing hold of her armrest and trying to pull herself to the ground.
'Well this must be her first time…' Cagalli thought as she got up, stuck her arm out to the girl and helped her get onto her two feet. 'Trust me, its easier when you've done it for the nth time." She nodded as the girl smiled.
"At least Stella got help from you and didn't need to call Sting and Auel!" Stella said as she raised her head towards the two boys off in the distance who were still playing games while cycling towards the exit. "So thank you!"
"You're welcome." Cagalli nodded, rolling her eyes at the two boys which she mentally decreed had reached the status of jackasses. Then when she turned around she saw Athrun and all thoughts of the younger boys disappeared. "Let's go then." She ordered, and Athrun just sighed as he followed.
Minutes later, Athrun and Cagalli had managed to snag one of the elevators just for themselves. Cagalli sat with her hands on her lap and Athrun stood across from her with his back to one of the chairs, leaning as the platform shot down the lengthy, thirty kilometer long shaft towards the bottom.
"You didn't tell that girl your name, did you?" Athrun questioned as he looked down at Cagalli. She then stared at him, and because of his tone, didn't look as if she took too kindly to those words.
"Not once… did she even ask me. Even if she did, I would have thought of something else to distract her anyway, Alex Dino." She rolled her eyes. "I'm not saying I didn't like talking to her, but regardless, I'm guessing you didn't take too kindly it." She said, catching the expressions of silent admission on his face. "Well, if you had been sitting next to me, I wouldn't have even had the opportunity."
"I'm your bodyguard, Cagalli, and although nothing happened on that shuttle, you should have been by my side." Athrun expressed with an aggressive concern in his voice.
"What?" Cagalli narrowed her eyes in confusion, and then raised her palms up to boot. "It was the same spot we sat in during the flight to Januarius Five! Even then, putting repetition aside, I was the first to be sit down, not you." She stated, challenging all of his claims and defeating them in one fell swoop which he felt strike his emotional core.
"Ugh…" Athrun muttered. "Fine, don't be reasoned with! I forgot, that's impossible at times, considering you already refused, as an important political figure, to wear something proper and formal to a meeting like this!"
"Formal?" Cagalli asked with an angered sense of rejection, grabbing onto the fronts of her uniform with her hands, and then standing up as she let go. "What's more formal than this? Those are big words coming from you and your jacket there!" She protested, pointing at the open, undone coat Athrun was wearing. They may have been expensive, but they were Cosmic Era street clothes nonetheless, something a normal civilian would wear.
"I'm not the one who's speaking to the PLANT Supreme Council Chairman, at least I hope I'm not!"
"I don't even want to know what that means!" She shook her head with a growing rage. "Now answer the first question, what would be more formal than what I'm already wearing?"
"A DRESS!" Athrun expressed, not shouting but coming close to it, and leaning slightly forward in the process. Still, Cagalli didn't even twitch. "Would be a nice change of pace! After all, you never wear them, and honestly, you would look more ladylike in one!" He explained, trying to match her tone but then meeting the palm of her hand as it suddenly swiped across his face. Then, as Athrun recovered, he turned back at Cagalli, and gazed, almost fearfully into her golden eyes. 'Wouldn't be the first time…' He thought to himself, but in the back of his mind something inside of him could tell that these incidents of hers, as he was eager to mentally claim, were becoming easier and easier to provoke.
"A dress… you've got to be kidding… joking." Cagalli placed her right palm upwards and onto her face. "We. Have. Had. This. Conversation. Before. Already." She expressed with emphasis, placing the words just far enough away from each other.
'No…' Athrun thought to himself.
"One, I listened to you when you told me not to do anything that would reveal who I was. Would a dress not act as a red flag then? Two, we're going to be walking around a military base for crying out loud! I'm guessing you think I can stride around like a perfect lady and not get it completely dirty, right? Third, I hate wearing dresses! You've known this for two years!" Cagalli finished explaining in an utterly serious, angered tone, which to Athrun came off as worn out and tired. "I guess I can apologize for slapping you though, even if it does go against my better judgment."
"I was only suggesting…" He sighed and looked upwards.
"Athr…" Cagalli began, only to immediately cut herself off. "Alex...stop it. It's more than that! Stop with this whole idea that I am helpless and need you to guide me around, and that any advice from you is always valid." Cagalli paused, hoping her words would sink in. "You're my bodyguard, not my boss-and in fact it's actually the other way around in this situation! Even Kisaka never pestered me this much about my attire or who I talked to! It's been going on for months now… no… more than months!" She exclaimed as he tried to gently lift his right arm up and place it on her shoulder, only to have her pull back. "I'm not telling you to know your place, Alex, I'm telling you to stop trying to force the same idea onto me, alright?" She requested as he leaned back and looked down towards the area far below them, knowing that it wouldn't be long before they landed at their destination, and therefore he had to get this over with.
"Hmm…" Athrun grumbled, staring at the blonde. "Fine…" He reluctantly replied, seconds before the elevator arrived at its location.
As she gently walked down one of the many streets of Armory One, Stella passed by a small shop to her right, and paused to look inside. Inside the shop, specifically in the front window, was a beautiful, but also from the looks of it, very expensive bright blue dress with black frills on the sleeves. Upon seeing this, for some reason, the young blonde girl randomly burst into a dancing state, as she progressed forward, to meet up with her two partners.
"What's she doing that for?" Auel questioned with a perplexed but comedic tone as he observed Stella's actions.
"No idea why she's doing it, but I'm guessing it's just the usual airhead actions we were warned about by Neo." Sting rolled his eyes, while Auel started to giggle at the dancing, spinning girl who was nearing them.
"La la lalah. Na na nanah. Do do dodoh." Stella sung to herself, feeling completely removed from the world around her, instead, in her own, personal land of light, for a brief moment. She was happy and she was free from all restraints, until a voice called out to her and tore the world she crafted around herself apart.
"Stella! We need to have a talk, now!" Sting called out with his hands twisted around his mouth so as to act as a pseudo-microphone.
"Ya… Stella is coming!" She shook her head, and then ran at the two boys, going up a moderately steep hill in the process. When she reached them, she didn't break a single sweat. "What?" She looked at the two of them. "Stella is curious…"
"You remember why we're here, right?" Auel questioned with crossed arms, the laughing look he usually portrayed now fading into the background.
"The mission objective, you know it?" Sting asked.
"Um hum…" Stella nodded up and down. "How far till we reach our ride? I'm ready!"
"Not long…" Sting lowered his head with relief. "You didn't tell that other chick anything that wasn't her business, right?"
"Stella doesn't think so…" She stated while scanning Sting and Auel. "You two aren't the most subtle ones either! If you can make noise, so can Stella!" She stood her ground slightly, while Auel leaned closer to her.
"Yeah… well…" He stared her down. "Whatever… it's done and I think Sting should check the clock!" He motioned to his wrist.
"Auel…" Sting looked at his wrist watch. "Yeah, let's go, enough standing around!" He stated, taking a leadership role as the three of them continued their walk up the hill.
"Although, I must admit, that one Stella was talking to was quite hot… HAHAHA!" Auel giggled.
"Huh? Eh, she wouldn't be my type." String mumbled back.
Meanwhile, in the military section:
Looking high above the concrete ground below from a giant panoramic window, Chairman Gilbert Durandal patiently sat in one of two chairs in the room with his legs crossed and several guards nearby. Then, the door on the opposite side of the room opened and the Chairman shifted to address his new guests.
"Princess Attha… it's a pleasure to see you once again." His black hair shone in the light as he tried to look the women in the eyes. Before speaking, the Lioness stepped forward with a stride of confidence and shook Durandal's hand before sitting down in the other chair. Athrun was behind her the whole time, quiet as a mouse and acting like he didn't want to be recognized or gain any attention.
"It's good to see you as well, Chairman Durandal." Cagalli greeted, a tone of self-assurance in her voice as both leaders prepared to get down to business.
"I will admit, it's wonderful that the leaders of nations talk with each other, from time to time, especially considering the improvements to ORB that have been made under your guidance. However I must ask why you so eagerly requested an audience with me under such short notice? Neither ORB nor the PLANTs…" Durandal began, his voice sliding off as he finished the end of his sentence, for Cagalli was about to raise her hand, ready to quickly clarify. 'Quick... and to the point...' Any trace of emotion left the Chairman's expression.
"I believe that before I ask you any real questions, I must know why we're in Armory One… a military stronghold of all places… and not somewhere in Aprilius." Cagalli asked, tilting her head to one side, waiting for an answer and gazing at the Zaft mobile suits that were stockpiled outside.
"As you know, I have many responsibilities, and sometimes they have a tendency to clash with each other." Durandal began. "We are here because I am to take part in the launch ceremony for Zaft's newest warship class. As you can guess, such an event is incredibly special and I would be serving my nation a dishonor if I didn't participate in the process. It's just unfortunate that you had to call an urgent meeting at relatively the same time."
"Perfectly understandable…" Cagalli's eyes narrowed, as if she had something else to say, but wasn't going to say it right now. "Great feats of engineering are always one of the most praised achievements a nation can accomplish in this day and age. Still, the creation of a new type of ship concerns me, for the same reason why I am here." She continued, allowing Durandal to lean forward and listen. "Why is it that, after repeated requests from ORB, the PLANT military still incorporates technology that ORB created in the first war, into its mobile suits? Did the Treaty of Junius not specifically state that ORB was forbidden to transfer any military technology to the PLANTs or the Earth Alliance?" The blonde expressed her main concerns, locking eyes with the Chairman himself. Behind her, Athrun shifted uncomfortably.
'That's why you wished to come here? Cagalli, this isn't something that you can settle in person, and you should know this!' Athrun thought to himself, catching a quick look from Durandal that was aimed at him.
"The Treaty of Junius, Chief Representative, was a document signed by the Canaver Administration after the First War came to a ceasefire. If I remember correctly, it outlined a restriction on ORB's technology that was to be put in place after the war came to a close. As such, the actions taken by the Zaft Military in regards to what it uses to manufacturer its mobile weapons are justified. With that in mind, you must consider the costs of tearing up our entire mobile suit core. To strip our arms of all that technology would involve a complete, temporary disarmament of Zaft. Chief Representative that is not something I can accomplish in the face of the Council, and it is not something I am willing to try either. The vast majority of my peers, on principle, would fight tooth and nail against it." Durandal finished explaining his defense in a confident manner, raising an eyebrow to Cagalli.
"Principle?" Cagalli questioned, leaning forward. Although the Princess was young, and would not be in this position if her father was still alive, she clearly understood Durandal's position, as well as the logic that backed it. Although she didn't agree with him, for obvious reasons, she felt there was little she could do to challenge him on this. Either way, a militaristic concern such as this wasn't hers in the first place. This entire issue had been brought up in parliament several weeks ago by another prominent government figure. 'Yanata Ema Seiran…' Cagalli spoke mentally.
'And so… what shall we do now?' Athrun asked himself as he leaned to the right, waiting for the two of them to continue, and not waiting long.
"I wish I did not have to say this, but strength… of all things, is vital to the longevity of any nation in this time period, where the concept of nation-states with physical and ideological dividing lines, although there are fewer of them in number as there were before, is incredibly healthy. I hope you'll understand, Chief Representative Attha." Durandal continued.
"I get it…" Cagalli nodded. "You speak wisely, Chairman Durandal. In our times, strength is a necessity, even for a neutral land such as ORB. If the citizen's are a nation's lifeblood then it's military strength is its skin and armor." Cagalli went on, gaining a nod from Durandal for that comparison. "Yet, on the other hand, it's also vital to keep your friends as friends, and not misuse their belongings. Regardless, I am not the leader of the PLANTs, so I cannot call for such a change myself. Still, I would ask that you show me how our older technology is still being put to good use then." She said in a stern, commanding tone.
"Well, from what I understand, your departing flight is still hours away, and our launch ceremony isn't till tomorrow anyway." He stood up. "It'll be a pleasure to show you around this afternoon, Chief Representative." He said as Athrun stuck his hand out to try and help Cagalli up, but Cagalli ignored this action and stood up by her own power. After observing this, and looking at the sunglasses of his guest's bodyguard, Durandal couldn't help but smirk slightly, knowing that the man in front of him wasn't just any random Orbnite, or even an Orbnite at all.
Meanwhile, Sting, Auel and Stella waited on the edge of a large field outside of the main city, standing before a paved road and looking patiently into the distance ahead. With his arms crossed, the green haired Sting turned around and laughed slightly at the billboard that stood a couple meters behind them. This sign expressed military recruitment, for it displayed a handful of Zaft soldiers ready for action in their uniforms and with joyous looks on their faces. "Won't be long till we wipe those smirks off their faces…" He mumbled to himself, unaware of what his partners were noticing.
"Yeah, no doubt! Hey Sting!" Auel called out, prompting the taller boy to quickly turn around and walk towards the car which had pulled up on the side of the road, with two men in Zaft uniforms sitting in the front seat. Stella was already hopping inside the back, and Auel was right behind her to boot.
"Right on time…" Sting mumbled, being the last to find his place in the car before the soldier in the passenger seat reached around and handed each of the teenagers a tablet with some loaded data. Then, with the three of them securely and snugly sitting down, the engine revved loudly once or twice before the car took off down the road.
Without caring for the movement of the car, each of the three then looked down on the devices they were given, and smiled as they analyzed what appeared to be mobile suit blueprints. However, these designs weren't just for any machines, for their head sculpts, unique v-fins, thinner armor, pair of eye optics and forehead cameras made them look an awfully lot like gundams…
In the middle of the base, both Chairman Durandal and Representative Attha, followed by Athrun and the Zaft escort, walked down a wide concrete path between several Ceremonial Decoration Type GINNs on the left, as well as a few hangers on the right.
"It appears that Zaft is preparing it's most prestigious and advanced armaments here…" Cagalli mentioned, analyzing the special golden piping on the GINN's left shoulder which served no real purpose besides looks.
"Proprietary? Yes. Advanced? No, you must be mistaken. Those models are equipped with re-scaled, replica rifles made to mimic those used during the AD Era." Durandal explained, pointing towards the GINNs.
'It's just for show… the interesting stuff is hidden over here… no doubt about it…' Athrun thought to himself, looking at the sealed military hangers to his right.
"Clearly Zaft must take great pride in this new vessel it's launching. I can see how much excess funds are being spent on it's launch alone." Cagalli commented, continuing her scan of the area.
"The Minerva…" Durandal began, catching himself as he spoke those words, but then taking a breath out and then in. "The vessel's name is Minerva, or LHM-BB01 Minerva to be completely accurate, and it is a ship deserving of this much praise. First of it's kind, and, I will admit, probably the only one that will be built for quite a while. Yet, all of Zaft's innovations over the past two years can be found somewhere along or inside it's hull." Durandal explained out loud to the shorter Princess, a sense of hidden pride in his voice. "Having close ties with Morganroate, you must understand how much a military manufacturer loves to express how great their constructs are, even if they won't be battle tested in the near future, correct?" He asked, trying to look at her golden eyes and noticing how she had locked herself in thought, if only for a moment.
'A new and advanced vessel in the time of peace... I remember when some members of parliament proposed a similar idea, only here they actually decided to build it! Haumae forbid the Earth Alliance catch wind of this and try to kick up a storm over it... that's exactly the reason why we didn't fully approve the project, among other, economic ones...' Cagalli mentally spat to herself. "Chairman Durandal I must ask you, out of curiosity: What is your vision in regards to foreign relationships?" Cagalli asked, turning to the older man and looking him directly in the eyes.
"That's a very difficult question, Princess..." He smiled. "One which I have spent hours debating among the other council members…"
"Please, call me Chief Representative or just Representative Attha, if you must. At the very least, Lady Cagalli..." She requested, growling lowly with some tomboyish fervor.
"Very well then, Representative Attha. Now, if I may ask, what is your own personal views on foreign relations? Is it completely in line with that of your late father? If that is the case, I can better explain my own stance." Durandal expressed as both of them halted the progress of their entire group.
"Yes, I have decided that it would be best to follow in my father's footsteps. ORB will not attack another nation, will not allow another nation to attack them, and will not intervene in the conflicts of other nations. Those are our ideals, certainly you have heard them repeated once before, by either my late father or his-also late brother." Cagalli stated clearly and with a strong, confident voice while she crossed her arms lightly and awaited her PLANT counterpart.
'Neutrality is a sound idea on paper…' Athrun thought to himself, displaying a slightly disgruntled glare that Cagalli was not aware of, but which Durandal did catch in the corner of his eyes. 'There are times however when those who have the ability to work for the better have an obligation to do just that. ORB is not an exception to this… I learned that last war, hopefully you did too…'
'It seems he might be one to disagree… so things are not so peaceful in the land of peace maybe…?' Durandal thought to himself as he analyzed the bodyguard's body language. "Then our philosophies are in close, but not complete agreement, Princ-Lady Cagalli. However, the PLANTs have their own style when it comes to international relationships. While we do not wish to be involved in the conflicts of other nation-states, especially those on Earth, living in space colonies powered by artificial gravity has it's own restrictions that must be recognized and dealt with in the most appropriate fashion." Durandal finished as Cagalli continued to look at him, giving off a slight, restrained hum.
"Very well then…" The blonde 'accepted' before turning ahead, signaling that they were to continue their tour.
On the other side of the base, Sting, Auel and Stella gathered outside of a distinct, separated military hanger. Despite the fact that their ride was nowhere to be seen, the three of them looked to be well armed with weapons ranging from daggers to handguns and even rifles.
"Alright you two, it's time for the big bang! Ready?" Sting asked the other two as he switched the safety off of the assault rifle he held with both hands.
"Stella... is ready to... DO THIS!" The blonde growled with giant eyes and an animistic fervor as she gripped the knives in her hands.
"Hehe... yes... this'll be fun!" Auel addressed with a murderous chuckle as he loaded ammunition into two handguns.
"Fine then, let's show them who we are!" Sting readied. "One... two... THREE! GO!" Without further words the three of them suddenly rushed forward into the open area of the hanger. Several Zaft mechanics and soldiers slowly turned around to see who was there, only to be caught completely off guard and slaughtered on sight.
"What is this?" One of the mechanics questioned as he looked around, shocked as the bodies of his comrades started to hit the floor, only to fall seconds later as Stella rushed up to him, moved her left dagger under his arm and around his back before impaling him in the chest outright. "Oohff..." He could barely speak as his life started to fade and blood leaked from his body, staining his clothes.
"Intruders! Thieves!" Another mechanic shrieked as he picked up a handgun and tried to fire at Stella, only to have the blonde use the body of the man she just slew as a shield. "Abdul... I must warn the Chair..." He mourned for a second, and then started to turn towards one of the consoles on the right side of the hanger, only to have a few rifle shells fly through the air and tear his uniform and flesh to shreds.
"There will be none of that..." Sting shook his head with displeasure as he dodged several bullets from counterattacking Zaft soldiers and then took refuge in some cover. Then, from a distance he noticed how his blue haired friend doing.
"HAHAH! Get some!" Auel laughed madly as he rolled and ducked under enemy fire, only to shoot back at the coordinators, taking out nearly every single soldiers on the ground level.
"Stella wants to secure..." After the blonde knocked another dispatched foe to the ground, she looked to the left side of the hanger, noticing three massive pairs of feet which confirmed her mission objective. Tilting her eyes upwards towards the darkness of the roof, among three distinct mobile suit bodies, she saw as several more Zaft soldiers preparing to take shots.
"Ready...we got to take them out before they see us!" One of the soldiers whispered to his friend as they locked onto the blue haired male's back.
"AUEL! SIX O'CLOCK ON THE MOUNTAIN." Stella warned, screaming at the top of her lungs. Auel twitched slightly, and just as the Zaft gunmen were pulling the their triggers, he quickly raised his guns over his head, pointed them up behind his back and fired two shots, each of them making their mark and each of them killing a Zaft soldier.
"Thanks... Stella..." Auel responded as he turned around. With the hanger now clear and quiet, the three of them gathered together in front of the middle most of the machines. Upon inspection, these giants, nearly twenty meters in height and colored in shades of dull gray metal were indeed the same machines that the trio had studies earlier. Without delay, they went their separate ways, and started to climb towards the cockpits of the mobile suits.
Sting was the first to reach his machine, and upon activating it, the main scream displayed the O.S. anagram Generation Unrestricted Network Drive Assault Module, as well as the machine's serial number: ZGMF-X24S Chaos. This machine was equipped with two large blades on it's feet, much like the lower beam sabers of Athrun Zala's old GAT-X303 Aegis. However unlike the destroyed Aegis, this gundam also featured upper claws on each of the lower legs knees, as if they could work in tandem with the lower ones to take hold of something. Aside from that, there was a beam rifle stored on the suit's back skirt armor, and a pair of beam sabers stored in each side skirt, however it looked as if these sabers could not combine together. Above the head of the suit was a horn, like the nose of a plane, with small cannon emitter hidden on the backside of it. The real strong feature to this suit were the large, winged engine pods on either side of the mobile suit's backpack, stretching out behind it's square shaped shoulders. Lastly, the words 'X-24S QUATTRO' were inscribed on the forehead jewel.
Following that up, Auel's machine was the ZGMF-X31S Abyss, which looked to be completely different from the Chaos. Unlike any other gundam ever seen in the Cosmic Era, this one mounted engines fit for underwater propulsion on the back of it's uniquely shaped knees. The cockpit hatch was a bit lower then a usual mobile suit's because smack dab in the middle of it's chest was a large beam cannon, more simplified than that of the Calamity, mounted between each of it's chest vents. Stored on the back of this machine was a large lance-like weapon that was equipped with a small beam emitter on the end of it. Near this staff was a pair of cannons which looked like the Freedom's Plasma guns, only downsized. Much like the Chaos though, this machine had a strong feature on it's side, in the form of two shell like structures. While not strictly for defense, each of these sections outer surfaces looked as of they would be suitable real estate for the placement of anti-beam coating. Also on the outside of each shell was a pair of long artillery cannons pointing towards the ground alongside a pair of holes that resembled torpedo tubes greatly. Inside each shell were three beam emitters lining the inner hulls. Much like Chaos, this machine bore an inscription on it's head, except the Abyss' said 'X-31S ONE'.
Finally, Stella's machine was labeled the ZGMF-X88S Gaia, and it was as exclusive as it's siblings. It's legs bore no armaments, but like the Chaos, it had two individual beam sabers mounted on it's side skirts. A pair of large thrusters were mounted on this machine's shoulders, and two thin metal beam cannons were placed behind the head of the suit like the MA-4B "Fortis" Beam Cannon of the Justice gundam. However the similarities between the Gaia and the destroyed red machine would now cease, for on the back of the mobile suit were a pair of large wings equipped with many powerful thrusters but bent downwards, as if they were meant to fold upwards during a transformation. Directly behind the human-shaped head of the suit was an animal-like head greatly resembling a BuCUE's. Finally, keeping up with it's sibling machines, the Gaia had the words 'X-88S OTTO' inscribed on it's head jewel.
"Guys, how's it going?" Sting asked over the radio as he started to power up the Chaos. "This thing looks fine right now. Just as we were told." He informed.
"You got that right." Auel commented. "All good here, comfy too." He added, flicking the controls on.
"Hydraulics, check. Power flow, check. OS stability, check. Transform function, functional. All systems clear. Gaia starting up." Stella said in a monotonous voice, indulging herself in the machine's systems.
"Oh... little Miss Grease monkey is doing her flight check." Auel laughed, his cheeks running red with amusement.
"Let's clear out the other hangers first, and get rid of the Zaft grunt suits before they can react!" Sting ordered as the Chaos stepped forth, off it's pedestal. However, little to the thieves knowledge, one last engineer had lived through their bloody assault, and was trying as hard as he could to make his way to the control panels on the other side of the building.
"Must...sound... alarm..." He said, his face all bloodied and bruised, with several bullet wounds in his front, covered by his left hand to prevent blood lose. As the man took one final breath, he punched the massive red button on the control panel, realizing that he had given himself away, and not giving a damn either. Following his move, the entire base was filled with the sound of a siren as the emergency alarm went off, breaking the peace that was Armory One.
"Must've missed one!" Stella stared down to the ground with anger. "Ah, there you are. Stella says goodbye." The Gaia walked over to the panel and crushed the man with it's right foot outright. "Stay dead for Stella, will you?" She requested while twisting her mobile suit's foot, grinding the man's bones to dust.
"What the hell?" Cagalli yelled out as her entire group came to a halt. The Lioness, as well as everyone else nearby then began to look up down, left and right in all directions to figure out what was causing this alarm. Then, on the other side of the area, a series of great, loud blasts shot across the area as the three gundams destroyed their hanger and started to wreak havoc.
"The meaning of this?" Durandal questioned, being approached by several members of his guard.
'Safety... Cagalli we must get moving...' Athrun thought, thinking of where exactly they could flee to find shelter.
In defense of their base, several Zaft mass production model's ranging from older GINNs to flying DINNs to newer GAZuOOTs rallied around the burning hanger.
"Take this!" Stella yelled as the Gaia leaped into the air and quickly transformed into a dog-like form, where the rear head of the suit came forward and covered up the humanoid one. Also, the wings on the back bent forth like a birds just as the now black and bright yellow gundam descended through the roof of a nearby building. In less than five seconds later, the mobile armor broke a new hole through the hanger's roof just as it exploded with a loud, fiery bang.
Despite being a fair distance away, Cagalli was forced to shield her head with both arms as the blast wave reached her. Athrun, quick to react, ran at the Chief Representative and blocked her body from the brunt of the next wave.
"What is the meaning of this?" Durnadal asked from a fair distance away, talking in a loud, angry and stressed voice. "Stop them, right NOW!" The Chairman ordered with firm rule, his men and the remaining military soldiers scrambling to mend the situation, which was getting worse by the second. As proof of this, another hanger exploded when the missiles from the Chaos' two pods hit it. An additional one was annihilated by the Abyss when it lifted it's two shells and fired six thin, green beams into the roof from above.
"How cute..." Stella giggled as she blocked a beam rifle shot with the matching shield on her left arm. "They intend to defeat us with... ZAKUs... Stella asks if you know that's not feasibly possible, right?" She laughed with a purely innocent tone, before running her gundam around on four legs, and cutting two ZAKUs at their waists with the long beam blades attached to her wings. "Stella likes this suit... such control... such style... such destruction... IT'S PERFECT!"
Just as Cagalli and Athrun rounded a corner, two green ZAKUs were carelessly tossed out of a nearby hanger bay, blocking their path forward. Directly following that, one of the stolen machines fell in front of them in the other direction, completely blocking them out. Luckily, even though Cagalli quickly huffed in fear, and Athrun gasped in horror at their supposed fate, the Chaos failed to realize what was in front of it, and as quickly as it had appeared, the green and orange gundam jumped away to avoid oncoming fire.
"Only the most powerful mobile suits have words on their foreheads..." Cagalli warned, holding steady as she watched the Chaos leave them.
"That means it's a..." Athrun tried to continue for her, only to find himself at a lose for words.
"A gundam..." Cagalli's fists clenched. "I can understand making a battleship... but continuing gundam production like this? With brand new designs in secret?" She growled with fury, watching as the base around her was starting to catch fire in all directions, only to be ripped from inaction as he bodyguard reached out for her.
"Cagalli!" Athrun shook her, and she turned around to face him, only to divert her eyes from the machines behind his back.
"Athrun..." She broke away and started to jog towards one of the ZAKUs "We'll be crushed if we don't get into these two suits!" She yelled, climbing into one of the cockpits. Athrun complied and made his way towards the second machine, only to immediately activate it's radio as soon as his straps were done up.
"Cagalli. I advise you to come with me in this one... I'm not going to let you die." The bluenette stated over the radio as he watched Cagalli get a grip on the ZAKU's controls and then turn towards the camera.
"Absolutely not! There's no time!" She responded in the decisive tone of a women who knew what she was talking about. At the same time, his eyes widened, and his lips grew in shock. "I know how to pilot a mobile suit; I can defend myself, even in a Zaft ZAKU! Now lets go before they kick us before we can get up!" With a creak of dented metal, Cagalli's ZAKU then rose to it's two feet, the pink mono-eye of it's head shifting from left to right as it analyzed the area.
"We still have time... and I'm sure you'll be safer with me!" Athrun contested as his machine, identical to Cagalli's stood up too.
"I said no!" She bit back, placing her machine's left hand on his shoulder. "These models are too crowded as is! I would only inhibit you by breathing on your shoulders!" She continued, stating her argument in a firm voice.
"Under... stood..." Athrun answered back in a defeated tone. He uncomfortably shifted his head down, showing the expressions of a man who truly believed that he was the one in the right. Then, an explosion went off in the distance and the ground beneath the two ZAKU's violently shook, forcing both of them to hold their ground and keep steady.
"You forget... one of us needs to live on and explain to the people of ORB what happened here today..." Cagalli muttered under her breath, just as the Gaia slid into view in front of them in it's mobile armor form, and prepared to charge ahead. 'Well on the bright side, at least I don't need to talk with the Chairman in that rigid and overly polite tone…' The Lioness thought.
"What does Stella see here? More idiots? Why don't you...just stay down?" Stella asked as she charged towards Cagalli's ZAKU, but the older blonde responded by raising the ZAKU's shield and blocking the attack, only to be thrown back by transferred momentum.
"Cagalli! NO!" Athrun yelled and his eyes shot open as he moved towards the other green mass production model, only to be halted by the appearance of the Chaos.
"I'm alright..." Cagalli grumbled from her ZAKU, bruised but not seriously injured.
"No...not like this." Athrun shook his head with disgust as he withdrew the ZAKU's beam axe from it's lone shoulder shield, showing the Chaos that he was willing to fight. The Chaos then brandished one of it's beam sabers and ran forward, slashing at the ZAKU. Despite Athrun's exceptional performance in the First Bloody Valentine War, as his mobile suit's right arm was sliced off, it became clear that he was both unfamiliar with ZAKU controls and extremely rusty when it came to combat.
"I like the attention, but don't raise your blade unless you're willing to actually put up a real fight!" Sting's voice stung the Red Knight as the Chaos blitzed around.
Way off in the distance, away from the conflict of Armory One but still inside the base, a large, dull colored battleship lay rested in her hanger. This vessel, the Minerva, named after the Roman Goddess of War and Wisdom, was Zaft's newest, and was supposed to be receiving all the attention today. From her shape, one could easily joke that a single leg of the Earth Alliance's older Archangel-class had broke off and performed asexual reproduction. The ship measured at around three hundred and fifty meters in length and was colored in a light gray and dull red scheme, with several accents of orange along her bow and bridge tower. She was equipped with a large pair of swept-back wings that would likely extend out and forward in times when the ship was actually traveling. A large shutter, possibly for some sort of heavy weapon, judging by it's position, was mounted on the front bow, it's door sealed closed and it's true contents hidden from view.
What was not hidden were the pair of two barreled beam cannons mounted on the 'shoulders' of the ship above her pair of opposite-sided, forward facing mobile suit catapults. In her mid section, in front of the central catapult, was another concealed weapon, lowered and collapsed at this point in time. Several sets of CIWS guns dotted her hull in various places, although they were inactive and covered with armor now. Even though it didn't seem that this ship would eclipse the older Archangel-class in firepower, the fact that it was far more compact and smaller, while still maintaining an armament of similar strength was not to be scoffed at.
Inside the Minerva's large, dome-like bridge, a single, attractive women of about twenty nine, dressed in a white Zaft coat with short blonde hair and piercing gray eyes stood up, expressing an air of authority. "What's the situation looking like?" She requested in a tone which did not play games.
"Captain Gladys, it's fairly grim. A large portion of the base has been annihilated." A young red headed girl in a green suit said, sitting at the station belonging to the CIC Officer.
"Thank you, Meyrin..." Gladys placed her right hand onto her chin, thinking for a split second. "Launch the Impulse!" She raised her right hand ahead. "We've got to do something about this! Also, where's the Chairman?"
"Ma'am, word has it he's on his way here right now as we speak." The ship's Executive Officer, a man with a black Zaft uniform and short, sickly green hair reported.
"Good." Gladys shook her head, pleased with what she had just heard. "As long as he's safe, Arthur."
"Standby to launch Impulse." Meyrin spoke into a mic, her voice transferring to the spacious hanger that was placed inside the heart of the Minerva, while a young, thin, tall man in a red Zaft pilot suit, helm and all, quickly ran forward and jumped inside a small craft that was positioned in the middle of a white platform. "Sword module selected, opening Silhouette Hanger Two." A door in the bay opened and a module that was to fit on a mobile suit's back, consisting really of a main body with two large anti-ship blades and devices resembling beam boomerangs, was slowly removed from the compartment.
"Silhouette Flyer, standby for launch. Platform setup complete. Central catapult online. Opening airtight shutters. Emergency crew standby at launch station. Raise central catapult to launch position." Meyrin continued as the platform which the pilot's module was on moved up and faced the sealed doorway of the ship. "Core Splendor: All systems online. Initiate launch sequence. Hatch opened. Linear launch system engaged. Catapult power level normal." Meyrin stated as the Minerva's central catapult opened up, and the main flyer which the pilot had got inside prepared to launch from the ship. "Course clear: Core Splendor, go ahead! Launch!" Meyrin informed the pilot of the Impulse. Then, the small, compact fighter took off out of the Minerva, it's platform moving back to make room for the next piece to launch. "Catapult engaged. Please deploy Silhouette Flyer."
Then the Sword Silhouette Flyer took off out of the ship, its platform moving back as well. "Now, deploy Chest Flyer." Again, the same procedure took place, but this time a piece of equipment which resembled the torso, head and arms of a gundam, armed with a small shield and beam rifle, took off. "Finally, deploy Leg Flyer." Meyrin finished as a pair of legs attached to a metallic waist literally flew out of the ship, joining with the other three pieces.
"Dammit... this one is too tough..." Cagalli growled as she attempted to hold off the Gaia at melee range with her shield, playing on the fact that the Gaia's pilot was getting pissed off.
'You can't beat Stella in that! Stella won't give up without a fight!' She thought with rage, baffled by the fact that a mass production model was standing up to her like this and not going down in the way she thought it would. "This ZAKU's time is over!" She swung down on Cagalli, who blocked with her beam axe. Nearby, Athrun, the veteran ACE was giving the Chaos the same treatment, despite having lost an arm outright.
"Need some help?" Auel's voice asked from a distance as the blue Abyss closed in. "You guys can't even kill some Zaks." Auel giggled, jumping overhead and trying to impale Cagalli's suit with his suit's spear. Luckily, before Cagalli even needed to dodge, the Abyss was knocked away by a few small missiles from the left side which had impacted his protective Phase Shift. The thief then looked to spot the one who dared to attack him like that, as did his comrades, and the two ORB members.
Now, the four modules which composed the so-called Impulse gundam appeared in the distance, in all their fresh, new glory, reflecting the inner light of the colony in all the right places as they spun around to evade hostile fire before beginning their link up sequence. On the side of the Core Splendor, the name Shinn Asuka was written in bold, black letters. A pair of skillful, dexterous gloved hands started to quickly input commands into a keyboard inside the fighter as it ascended, folded and turned inwards before the Leg Flyer docked from below, and the Chest Flyer did the same from above, both pieces guided by red lasers. Then, the final piece, the Sword Silhouette Pack detached it's nose cone and guided itself into the back of the gundam, it's two massive, white and blue anti-ship swords folding to face the ground as the gundam landed. A Phase Shift color scheme of pure white, bright red, and some dull gray and black took the gundam's armor as it stood proudly between the ZAKU's and the three stolen gundams.
"Another... one..." Cagalli said with awe as her grip on the ZAKU's controls loosened somewhat, for she felt significantly safer now that this machine was before her for some reason.
"What are you doing?" The voice of a young, angered teenaged male called out from within the cockpit of the ZGMF-X56S/β Sword Impulse as it reached for both swords, combined them together, end to end and then weaved them around in a skilled fashion, before standing with it's legs spread apart, ready for combat, and not showing any signs of fear whatsoever. "Are you guys... trying... TRYING TO START ANOTHER WAR?" The pilot yelled with a raging fury in his voice, while a deep fire burned in his bright red eyes which were below his messy, raven black hair. Yes, this pilot was not any ordinary kid, he was the same boy who had lost everything a few years ago during the First ORB Invasion...