The Black Knight of Zeon

Chap 4: Border Engagements, Rise and Fall of the Blue Star

Disclaimer: I do not own anything from mobile Suit Gundam, all Characters and stories belong to Kazuhisa Kondo-sama

Odessa, Ukraine, 1430 hours

As the Jeep drove down the streets of the bustling city, Karl looked around at the city it's self and took in the atmosphere. While some parts of the city where bustling and working as they were before the Zeon invasion other portions of the city where destroyed with wrecked buildings and burned remains. Looking over to Lt. Uragan who was handing Ens. Yuki a report he was about to talk when the sound of automatic gunfire was heard. It was in the distance and sporadic. It quickly died down as Lt Cmdr. Ritter looked back at Uragan while the driver kept on the road.

"Is that normal around here?" he asked.

Uragan nodded and said, "We are still seeing some guerilla resistance to the occupation, but over all Cap. M'Quve has managed to keep mining operations moving."

Ritter nodded and sat back down in his seat as the driver took a turn and soon came to a large and heavily fortified base. After the driver was waved in by the guards the Jeep was parked and Ritter and Yuki where escorted towards Regional headquarters.

Walking through the base the three officers soon came to an office and inside, was Captain M'Quve sitting at his desk. The Captain shut off a video Monitor and looked up as Karl and Yuki saluted him.

"Captain M'Quve I am Lieutenant Commander Karl Ritter of the Mobile Assault Force reporting for duty" he said.

M'Quve nodded and said, "I am pleased to have you here Commander, our situation can go either way now unfortunately."

Standing up he walked over to a battle map and using a stick pointed out the battle lines. Karl walked over and looked at the map as M'Quve demonstrated the current battlefield.

"Our defense makes up three key battle lines forming a right, center and left axis. Gen. Revil and his forces are currently hitting sporadic mining encampments, but I fear he will launch his main offensive in due time. If he over runs two of the three lines, we will have no choice but to withdraw and abandon the Ore and Iron mines" he explained.

Ritter nodded as he looked at the battle lines and made his own assumptions as to where the Federation would begin its strike. M'Quve then motioned to the very rear lines of the battlefront and showed a map of Asia.

"Commander this is why I requested you here. We have taken notice of a single Federation ship that had escaped the Pacific Ocean and has been advancing through the Gobi desert towards the region. It's a ship I believe you are familiar with" he said as he handed Karl a picture.

As he looked at it Karl stared in shock as he looked at the White Base. Griping the picture tightly and grinding his teeth, Karl's fury shown as he looked at the vessel responsible for the death of Garma Zabi.

"Thank you for showing me this Captain" he said.

M'Quve nodded and then pointed at the rear lines of the battlefield again.

"I will put you here to monitor our rear defenses as well as the Trojan Horse's advance, however when the battle begins I will have you deployed to command the forward battalions on the center lines" he said.

M'Quve then however looked annoyed and then shut off the monitor and sat down in his chair at his desk.

"Commander you should know that the Trojan Horse is currently being pursued by a special forces unit led by Lieutenant Ramba Ral" he said.

Karl looked confused and asked, "The Blue Star? But Captain I thought Rear Admiral Kycilia was in charge of all Earth sphere operations. Why would a member from the Space Attack force be sent down to the area?"

"Because Commander, Vice-Admiral Dozle wants revenge for his fallen brother, so he sent one of his best on a mission to destroy the Trojan horse and avenge Lord Garma. I don't need to tell you this is Lady Kycilia's operation and I intend to keep it that way. If you encounter Lt. Ral offer him only the necessary aid" M'Quve said.

"I understand sir, if you will excuse me I will leave you now and head for my destination" Karl said as he saluted M'Quve.

M'Quve made a motion with his hand for him to go and Karl and En. Yuki left the office together.

As they walked Yuki looked at Karl with concern and asked, "Sir may I speak freely?"

Karl pushed an elevator button and nodded.

The two entered the elevator as Yuki continued to say, "Commander I can see you hate the Trojan Horse and the White Mobile suit for the death of Captain, excuse me I mean Vice-Admiral Garma Zabi. I feel like such hatred can lead to irrational choices and clouded judgment sir."

As Karl pushed a button and the elevator took the two down he turned to Yuki and said, "Ensign please do not think I am a man who allows his emotions to control his actions. I am not so foolish to do such a thing" he said as the elevator stopped and the two walked out of the base and back to the jeep.

"I didn't mean to offend you sir, I am sorry if I spoke out of line" Yuki said looking a little ashamed.

As the two officers got into the jeep Karl sighed and said, "Don't feel bad Ensign I value your input and that of all the soldiers under my command."

Yuki smiled and got in as the driver started the engine and took the two back to the airbase. The driver left them off on a tarmac they walked over to see their supplies and Mobile suits being loaded onto a large Transport Plane.

Lt. Volkov walked over and said, "Commander we are loaded and ready to go to our destination."

Karl nodded and said, "Good job Lieutenant, let's depart."

With that the three walked up into the plane. Sometime later the plane was flying over the rear lines as Karl sat in a seat in the hanger bay.

As he read some reports he heard an alarm go off and saw Yuki run up to him.

"Commander a Federation armored battalion is making its way through the area and we have reports of enemy mobile suits in the area as well" she explained.

Karl nodded and ran over to his Gouf and got into the cockpit. "Ensign launch me immediately, I won't have that Federation unit hit the base we are going to" he said as he shut the cockpit.

Yuki seemed a little hesitant but relented and ordered the plane operators to launch the Gouf.

Karl felt weightlessness as his Gouf fell through the air and then landed with a soft thud. The Gouf suddenly activated and its eye swiveled around as it scanned the area. Picking up heat readings to the North Karl flew towards the source using the sand as cover. In the targeted area, an EF tank platoon was being escorted by four mobile suits. Three of the suits where Ground based GM's and a mass-produced Ground Gundam unit. The Gundam pilot, Lt. John Winter was scanning the area as his unit came back from hitting as Zeon mining base on the border.

"Lieutenant I heard that a larger base might be nearby, I suggest we go around it to avoid it" a tank leader said.

"But if we do that we will just lose time, how big is it?" he asked.

"It's about twice as large as the one that we just hit, but sir it's the report that is bothering me about the base's current leader" the man said.

"What report?" John asked.

"It says that Lt. Commander Karl Ritter, The Black Knight of Zeon. Has just been assigned to that base" the tank commander said.

"Black knight, psssh! I highly doubt such a man exists it's just enemy propaganda" John said.

Suddenly a warning alarm went off and signaled from behind the unit. As John and the Gm's turned Karl's Gouf suddenly emerged form the sand dunes right behind the rear GM. The man screamed as Karl brought his saber down and sliced the Gm right in half. The explosion that followed caused a massive smoke screen that allowed him to fire his shock cable at another Gm which struck its chest. The suit quivered and jerked as it shorted out and collapsed on the ground.

"Two down, two to go" Karl said as he turned and saw the GM and Gundam ground unit hiding behind a dune.

"Sir, a black mobile suit and that knight's head symbol, it's him Lieutenant! The Black Knight!" the Gm pilot called out.

"Damn it I wasn't expecting this" John said.

The Gouf suddenly flew towards the Sand dune and the GM fired its machine gun in vain as the Gouf dodge or blocked each shot as it got closer. Karl waited for the sound of the machine gun to stop firing and when he did he kicked up his thrusters. His Gouf sailed through the air and came down upon the GM and sliced it in half right down the center. A massive explosion erupted and John seeing his comrades beaten one after the other drew his beam saber and charged at Karl's Gouf. Karl seeing him coming suddenly pivoted to doge his slash and brought up his Gatling gun firing at the Ground Gundam's knee joints.

Heavy bullets tore into the knee joints and ripped them apart. The Gundam toppled over and lay still as John held his head sorely as the Gouf looked down at him.

"Damn you Karl Ritter" he said as he passed out.

Karl sneered at the man and brought his saber down and stabbed the Gundam's thrusters. The slash did not cause the unit to explode but did damage it, preventing it from moving. Karl then looked at his ammo counter as the tanks started to pull back.

"Just enough ammo left" Karl said.

The Gouf hoisted its Gatling gun and fired at the tanks. They were torn to shreds and reduced to smoldering wrecks within moments and the survivors began to retreat. Karl sighed and activated his tracking beacon, as he did he started to walk north heading for the supply base. Karl soon arrived at the base and he was greeted by cheers of the men as he left his Gouf in the hanger. Ens. Yuki and Lt. Volkov greeted him in the supply base command center.

"Commander you where amazing" Yuki said with a smile.

"Yes sir, fine piloting, your name is well earned" Lt. Volkov said with a grin.

"Oh it was nothing, just another day on the job" Lt Cmdr Ritter said as everyone had a chuckle.

"Hmmm? Commander Ritter sir I am picking up something approaching the base…a transport craft of some type" a comms officer said as he fiddled with some radio equipment.

"Is it transmitting friendly IFF?" Karl asked as he walked up to the officer.

"Yes sir, I'm picking it up…it's a Gallop sir….wait sir we have transmission coming in now" the officer said.

Soon an image appeared on screen with Lieutenant Ramba Ral and his lover Hamon on the screen.

"This Lt. Ramba Ral of the Space Attack force calling to whoever is in charge at Supply Base 44270" Ral said.

Karl looked around and saw everyone looking at him and he sighed as he pushed a button on the radio.

"This Lt Cmdr. Karl Ritter of the Mobile Assault Force and ranking officer on the base. What can I do for you Lieutenant?" he asked.

"Oh ho, we have a celebrity on our hands Hamon. The Black Knight himself, it's an honor Commander" Ral said with a smile.

"How amazing, the legendary Black Knight. It must be fate that you two meet" Hamon said with a flirtatious smile.

Karl blushed a little and looked towards Ral as he said, "Lt. Ral what can I do for you."

"Sir, my unit and I need some repairs and basic armaments, think you can help us out?" Ral asked.

Karl thought back about what M'Quve said about giving Ral the basic and necessary support. Thinking for a moment he motioned to Lt. Volkov who nodded and started issuing orders.

"Understood Lieutenant, you and your unit can resupply here. I'll have my aids give you docking instructions" he said.

"Understood Commander, I'll speak with you face to face soon sir" Ral said as he cut the comms.

"Sir how will we proceed with Lt. Ral?" Yuki asked.

Karl thought for a moment and then nodded and said, "We give him the basic support as ordered by the Captain."

His staff nodded and Karl then walked with Lt. Volkov to the hanger area where he saw Ral and Hamon disembarking.

Walking over Ral saluted Karl and said, "Sir I am Lt. Ramba Ral of the Space Attack force. This is my confidant Hamon."

Karl returned the salute and then shook Ral's hand and said, "Lt. Commander Karl Ritter of the Mobile Assault Force. We will have you up and running soon Lieutenant."

"Your reputation precedes you Commander, though it didn't say how handsome you where" Hamon said as she looked at Karl in a flirtatious manner.

Karl looked somewhat shocked as he released Ral's hand.

"Um thank you Lady Hamon" he said as he blushed a bit.

Lt. Ral started to laugh as Lt Volkov and Ens. Yuki both looked surprised.

"Well while they do the work how about I treat you to a bite to eat for your hospitality. There's a town called Sodon just over the nearby ridge" Ral said.

Placing a hand on his stomach Karl nodded and motioned to Lt. Volkov, "Your in charge until my return Lieutenant, I expect the Gallop to be battle ready by my return" he said.

"Yes sir" Volkov said with a salute.

Karl soon felt the wind blow through his hair as he rode in a jeep with Lt. Ral and Hamon. He sat in the front passenger seat as Ral drove with Hamon in the back seat. A group of Ral's soldiers drove with them and soon they arrived in the desert town. The Zeon flag they carried on Ral's Jeep seemed to dissuade any question from the populous as they made their way to a nearby restaurant. Entering the group saw only a teenage boy eating at the counter.

The boy seemed to glare at them as they entered but continued to eat his food.

"Lt. Ral, Commander Ritter everything seems quiet but we will have sentries stationed at various points to keep watch" a soldier said.

The boy seemed to instantly look at Ral and Karl and he appeared shocked to see the two men. Karl looked at him for a moment before sitting down next to Ral. Hamon looked at the menu while Karl sipped some water and Ral bit into some bread.

"You don't have much….but what can you make for 15 people?" Hamon asked.

"15? Your off by one Hamon" Ral said as Karl looked at her curiously.

Hamon pointed at the boy and said, "It's for him." The boy looked surprised and walked over to the group.

Karl noticed he seemed to be gripping his side a lot, but he didn't appear hurt. Looking over he saw Ral noticed the same thing.

"I do not mean to be rude, but I must decline your offer" the teen said.

Ral laughed out loud and said, "Ha, ha, ha! The boy's honest Hamon, got to admit that is rare."

Karl smirked a bit when the sound of a scuffle was heard outside. One of Ral's soldier's dragged a girl into the restaurant. She struggled in his grip but he held her tightly.

"Sir I found this girl snooping around. She was wearing a Federation uniform so I thought she was a spy" the soldier explained.

The boy reacted when seeing her and Hamon smiled and said, "She appears to be our young friend's girlfriend Ral."

The boy shifted and reached for something, however Karl stood up and walked over to him. As he did he held his hand out as if shaking the boy's hand, but actually used his hand to block the gun tucked into the boy's belt.

"You know who I am boy?" he asked as Ral walked up behind him.

The boy nodded and said, "Your Karl Ritter, the Zeon soldier everyone calls the Black Knight, and he's Ramba Ral."

Ral nodded and said, "Your brave kid, trying to pull a weapon on the two of us….what's your name?"

"Amuro Ray" the boy said as he loosened his hand from Karl's grip.

"Amuro huh, well it would be a shame to see a kid your age die so early in life" Karl said as he looked back at Ral.

Ral nodded to Karl and motioned with his hand to the soldier.

"Let her go" he ordered.

"B-but sir?" the soldier asked.

"You heard me, let her go" Ral said again, this time more stern.

The soldier released the girl and Karl let Amuro pass him.

"Hopefully we won't run into each other again Amuro Ray" Karl said.

"Hopefully not Ritter" Amuro said as he and the girl left.

Together Karl and Ral sat down and Karl looked at Ral while a waiter served their food.

"Only one unit could be this far out here Lieutenant" he said as Ral ate.

"Agreed, they must be from the Trojan Horse….Zeygan!" Ral said as a soldier walked over to them.

"Yes sir?" he asked.

"The Commander's right about the Trojan horse, follow them and report back when you find the Trojan Horse" Ral ordered.

"Yes sir" Zeygan said as he left the restaurant.

"After eating you can return to your base and let me deal with the Trojan Horse and the Gundam" Ral said.

Karl nodded and said, "Just be cautious Ral the Trojan Horse is a unique unit. It has evaded all our pursuits and has destroyed countless units and taken the lives of many Zeon soldiers."

Ral nodded and said, "I will Commander, I wish you luck as well."

Ral then left the restaurant with his men and Karl.

Together they returned to the Supply base and Ral and his men soon deployed to engage the Trojan Horse as Karl met with Lt. Volkov and Ens. Yuki. They met in a briefing room and as Karl was about to speak, the sound of explosions was heard outside.

"What's happening" Lt. Volkov asked.

Karl pressed a button and spoke into a radio, "I want reports someone give me a SITREP!" he ordered.

"Sir we are being attacked by Federation aircraft, jets and helicopter units" a solider answered.

"Sir they are trying to bomb our base to cinders" Ens. Yuki said as another bomb rocked the base.

Karl nodded and then pressed another button, "Deploy the Zakus and try to ward off the helicopter units. I want any and all AA units deployed in a circular formation around the base perimeter!"

Lt. Volkov nodded and ran from the room as Karl pointed at Yuki.

"Ensign I want you to coordinate our air defense form the comms room" he said as he turned to leave.

"Yes sir" she said as she ran from the room.

Karl soon made it outside the base HQ and as he did he was greeted by the site of a stack of crates exploding causing a massive plum of fire and smoke. Karl shielded his eyes and was greeted by the roar of Anti-Air craft guns and the sound of Zaku machine guns. A Federation helicopter crashed into the desert and looking up he saw Federation bomber aircraft.

Looking around he saw the Zakus where doing their jobs and shooting down the helicopters. To his left he saw a group of Zeon soldiers working with something. As he approached a rocket from a helicopter struck the position. The men were sent flying and landed in heaps as Karl ran over to them. When he got over to the men he saw most of them where dead from the impact, and another was grasping a long cylinder as he coughed and convulsed. Karl walked over to the man and the solider pushed the cylinder into his hands as he breathed his last. Karl saw that the object was an anti-air missile launcher and Karl sighed as he reached down and shut the man's eyes. He then glared as he looked up at the Federation Bomber's over head and he picked up the launcher and went into a crouched position. He activated the missile's cooling unit and then turned on the tracking module. Locking onto a jet he waited for a clear lock before he pulled the launcher's trigger. A hissing noise was heard as the missile shot from the launcher and flew at the jet.

The pilot saw the missile at the last minute and seemed to try and evade but it was too late. The missile struck the cockpit of the jet and a massive explosion tore it a part. The other jets fled the area, out of fear of more SAMs and an eruption of cheers was heard as the Zeon soldiers celebrated. Karl threw the empty launcher to the ground as a Zaku walked up to him. The cockpit opened and Lt. Volkov stepped out.

"Commander! We have shot down all the helicopters and driven off the jets. But sir we have sustained heavy damage" he said.

Karl looked at the dead SAM crew and said, "Heavier then you think."

Karl walked back into the base HQ and saw Ens. Yuki at the comms. "Ensign get me Captain M'Quve in Odessa" he ordered.

Yuki nodded and tuned the comms and soon Captain M'Quve's image appeared on screen.

"Ah Commander Ritter what can I do for you?" M'Quve asked.

Karl explained what happened and the effects of the base in detail to M'Quve. His features hardened and his brow furrowed as he scratched his chin.

"Damn Gen. Revil, he's stepping up his attacks and is hitting us on the sides to toy with us. Very well, Commander I want you back in Odessa immediately, evacuate all personal and materials. Then burn the base down, scorched earth Commander, I do not want the Federation to have any use for that base" he ordered.

Karl nodded and saluted M'Quve and said, "Yes sir."

M'Quve turned in his chair for a moment and then said, "Commander a new situation has arisen that requires your attention. It would seem that Lt. Ramba Ral and his team failed in their attack on the Trojan Horse. They lost most of their mobile suits and so Vice-Admiral Dozle has sent them new mobile suits."

Karl looked confused for a moment and said, "Sir, what does this have to do with me?"

"Commander his unit will be heading for your base to pick up the suits. The order has already been redirected. I want you to tell him that the suits were destroyed in the Federation bombing run" M'Quve said.

Karl looked shocked and looked at M'Quve in horror, "Sir you're asking me to send a unit of our comrades against the Trojan Horse under equipped? Sir with all due respect that's suicide?"

M'Quve smiled a bit and said, "Commander do not see me as so cruel, I would never ask you to send men to their deaths so willingly. I am ordering you to do it; the Lieutenant's time is up. I will not have Lord Dozle's personal handpicked forces snooping around Lady Kycilia's operations any further."

Karl looked around at his staff who all had uneasy looks on their faces.

Karl sighed and swallowed a lump in his throat and said, "Yes sir, I understand and acknowledge."

"Very good Commander, I look forward to seeing you back in Odessa ready to take command of the lines" M'Quve said as he cut the transmission.

Karl stood at the counsel for a moment as Lt. Volkov and Ens. Yuki looked at him with questioning or worried looks.

Karl then stood up and sighed for a moment as he held his head in frustration, but spoke to the two officers as he did so.

"Load up what supplies we can carry and all personal. Have all wounded loaded up first and make sure to load charges at the bases main points, we leave nothing standing. I want the transport craft ready to take off at 1600, I don't want any delays" he said in a sad tone.

"Yes sir" Volkov and Yuki said together and left to carry out Karl's orders.

Karl sighed and sat down in a command chair as he waited patiently, tapping his fingers on his chair as he did. It seemed like a life time when a soldier came up to him and said everything was prepared for them to leave. Nodding Karl followed the soldier and as they left they saw Ramba Ral and a few of his soldiers waiting outside the base. Approaching Ral as his own men prepped their transport craft, he waved him over so they could talk.

"Looks like your leaving the area Commander, are you heading back to Odessa?" Ral asked.

Karl nodded and said, "Yes we suffered a bad bombing run that damaged our base beyond repair, Cap. M'Quve has ordered us back and we will be leaving soon."

Ral nodded and watched Karl's men work and then looked back at him.

"I was told to expect a transport with some new mobile suits and supplies here Commander, did it arrive?" he asked.

Karl sighed deeply as he choose his next words carefully, M'Quve's orders echoing in his head and a deep pain in his chest as he spoke.

"Unfortunately the transport caring your supplies and new mobile suits was among those intercepted by Federation air patrols and destroyed in the bombing on our base. I regret to inform you that there was nothing to salvage from the wreckage" he said.

Ramba Ral nodded and thought for a moment.

"Okay, my unit and I will do what we must to accomplish our mission, I wish you well Commander Ritter" he said with a salute.

Karl returned it and then turned to leave the base with his unit. He looked back at Ral's retreating form and felt bad for the old warrior and the destiny fate had chosen for him. Soon Karl was riding in a Zeon transport plane flying back to Odessa, ready to face one of the most important battles of the war.

Early November 0079, Ramba Ral, the vaunted "Blue Star" of Zeon has fallen in battle. The loss of this legendary soldier has sent waves of doubt and fear throughout the Zeon ranks. The White Base is continuing on it's path through Central Asia, causing chaos in Cap. M'Quve's rear lines. General Revil is preparing his main attack to liberate Odessa and the mines under Zeon control. To bolster M'Quve's defense and stop the White Base, Rear Admiral Kycilia Zabi has dispatched a special forces Mobile Suit squad to Odessa under M'Quve's command. Lt. Commander Ritter, has returned to Odessa, to play his part in this pivotal battle.