Gundam SEED Fan Fiction / Mobile Suit Gundam Fan Fiction / Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ Mobile Suit Gundam: Virtual Battlefield ❯ Chapter 3: The Guardians ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 3: The Guardians
Sam's victory against Jack was a sour one. Jack had taken every opportunity to hurt Sam physically since his loss. Sam was pushed, nudged, punched and kicked. Of course Sam would try to defend himself but after hearing that Jack's MOBILE Unit controller was wiped and his Proto-Chaos was gone, he began to feel sorry for Jack. It's been a week since his match and for the second time, Sam sat down on chewing gum left by one of Jack's goons. Anticipating this prank, Sam had brought a spare pair of trousers to and changed before sitting down again for his lunch.
“What's on your noggin'? You've been frowning all day.” Julie said, perched on the edge of his table. He had a sandwich in her hand and a drink in another.
Sam looked up at her and sighed, “It's Jack.”
“Jack? Again? Hey, I've already told you if he's giving you too much trouble, I know some seniors who will-”
“No, I don't want him to be beaten up.” Sam cut her off. Violence was never his style. “It's the Devil Army. Why would they show up at my re-match?”
“Maybe because that Proto-Chaos that Jack had looked tasty. You know the rumours, Vulture hackers find avatars that they like and they steal them. They've always done this. But this is the first time I've actually seen them use the Devil Army.”
Sam slumped down on his desk. Even though that incident was several days ago, he still haven't worked the shock out of his system.
“Y'know, if you're not going to eat that sandwich…” Julie grabbed the peanut butter and ham sandwich from his lunchbox.
“Y'know,” Sam said, mimicking her voice, “You'll get fat if you eat that much.”
“I don't get fat no matter how much I eat. I work it off and it all goes to these little babies.” She said, cupping her developing chest, causing Sam's face to turn magenta, “I'm kidding. I jog, a lot. Plus, I didn't have breakfast this morning because I was late coming back from my run. Anyway, you shouldn't worry about these things too much. Maybe those Guardians will give Jack a hand.”
Julie raise an eyebrow, “Really? You, the one person who spent more time researching this game than anyone else don't know who the Guardians are?”
Sam shook his head.
“Sigh, alright. I'll explain, but I want you to tell everyone who speaks to you today that you were school'd by a girl on MOBILE Avatar.” Julie grabbed a nearby chair and sat down.
“The Guardians are a small company that produce MOBILE Avatars. The only difference between them and the likes of ZAFT Incorporated and Alliance Games is that they are not a for-profit company. They are very selective about their clientele. I've heard that they only sell their avatars to those who have proven that they are anti-Vulture and hacking. What makes them special is that their suit cards are extremely powerful compared to those in the same phase.” Julie saw that Sam's RX-78 Gundam on the desk, she moved it to the centre of the desk, “If the Guardians sold this Gundam to me, I will be able to fight toe-to-toe with phase 2 units like a Gaza-D because they power up these cards with custom parts.”
“Wait,” Sam had sat up, listening intently, “Isn't placing custom parts and selling them on illegal?”
“Well, yes. But the rules set down by the International Gaming Institution states that selling customised parts that allow faster progression into higher phases is forbidden. All parts made by the Guardians are technically power-ups that are not part of the Phase-up list. Quite honestly, this is the only way that they can gain an upper-hand against the Vultures. I think that the IGI turns a blind eye to this little practice because the Guardians are the only organised group that exist purely to expose Vultures.”
“Wow, I didn't know you were an expert in MOBILE Avatar. All this time I thought you were just a girl following a trend.” Sam immediately regretted saying this as Julie's hand came karate-chopping down on his head. She stood up in a huff and took both his sandwiches with her own food and drink.
As she turned to leave, she paused and said, “The Guardians are good people, but don't seek them out Sam. You don't want to be dragged into their war.” With that, she walked out of his classroom.
Who are these Guardians?
Sam was intrigued. That weekend, Sam dedicated every waking moment to researching the Guardians. He had forgotten that MOBILE suit avatars also functioned as an AI to help with day-to-day chores on computers. The RX-78 avatar was jumping from webpage to webpage, helping him organise his searches and occasionally bringing back a forum or article that was related to the Guardian search.
He had found a blurry recording on Youtube of a white MOBILE suit charging into a game between a hacker and slashing down the hacker's heavily modified Gundam Crossbone X1. At the end of the video, there was a bright flash and the Crossbone returned to its unmodified version and disintegrated. The comments said that the hacker was reported to the World MOBILE Avatar Tournament (WMAT) organisers and was swiftly banned for life. One blog described the Guardians as dedicated mods in the gaming arena but this was debunked by an official EFF Corporation press release dismissed this idea because the company was dedicated to eradicating hacking and Vulture-type players through changing the base code rather than fighting them. They also mentioned that if the Guardians were modifying MOBILE suit cards and giving them to players, it is a major breach of the laws set down by the WMAT to prevent companies giving players custom parts or MSV parts. The EFF Corp. also states that anyone found interfering in matches, even against hackers, is in violation of the WMAT laws and will be banned without appeal. These were the words of Gerald Revil, the CEO of EFF Corp. Though in the accompanying picture, Sam saw a hint of sadness in his face when he was giving the speech.
Sam removed his holo-goggles and rubbed his eyes. He knew researching for something that technically doesn't exist was going to be difficult and the fact that it was 1AM did not help. He heard a bleep from his mailbox.
Who's awake at this hour? Placing the holo-goggles back onto his head he saw the RX-78 drag out the message from the inbox.
He remembered that he had left a message on the board asking for information about Guardians. He didn't expect a reply.
“This has got to be someone pulling my leg.” He mumbled. Tossing his holo-goggles on his desk, he threw himself onto his bed and stared at his ceiling. He wasn't sleepy and the moonlight that leaked through the curtains illuminated his room an eerie shade of grey.
An hour to go… He still doubted the legitimacy of the message. It had to be someone trying to mess with his head. The bastards.
Forty-five minutes later he gave into his curiosity. He plugged in his MOBILE carrier unit to his computer port and shoved his RX-78 suit with a couple of flashbangs, a dummy balloon, a repair-kit and the hyper jammer cards into the carrier and logged into the Japanese server.
Hey, what's the worst that could happen?
Lines of code were reflected in the glasses of a man in his late-teens. Small Devil Army units danced around his monitor, ripping apart a line of code and reinserting another in its place. The previously grey Proto-Chaos had changed to deep saffron colour. While the four gun-pods had been untouched, its claws had doubled in size and new boosters were installed on the Proto-Chaos' back.
“These little angels will get me revenge.” The teenager whispered with glee, “Those bastards from Japan won't know what hit them! I won't lose a third time. Not after that humiliation.”
His eyes darted around the monitor, checking up on the augmentation status of the Proto-Chaos, all while keeping an eye on the countdown clock that was counting down to 2AM. His breathing was shallow and beads of sweat was rolling down his forehead. There were butterflies in his stomach, but he knew that once the match starts those dirty Japanese players will suffer. He began fishing around on the table for his Lucozade bottle. His fingers brushed over a card. They hesitated briefly, remembering the feel of the suit card that held the S Gundam that had been his partner for the past three years. He regretted abandoning his loyal suit, but now was not the time for regrets.
The timer ticked down to 0. The monitor suddenly went black and his VR glasses brightened into a multitude of colour.
Sam found himself looking at the inside of a colony. The cylindrical construct was awe-inspiringly massive. Clouds floated above the RX-78 between the “land” and buildings littered the landscape. He moved his Gundam through the stacks of multi-storey buildings admiring the detail that Zeonic Electronics' original employees put into creating these maps. Even though the company had been outclassed by EFF Corp in MOBILE Suit sales, they still manage to compete on server map and custom part designs.
A crashing sound in the distance got Sam's attention. Zooming in, he saw the Quin Mantha. The lime-green paint scheme of the destructive MOBILE Suit sent a shiver up his spine. The unit was used by one of Japan's top players: Kouji Yamazaki. Its large size and lack of manoeuvrability was more than made-up by pure firepower, especially the remotely controlled bits.
After the buy-out of Zeonic Electronics by EFF Corporation, a few die-hard Zeonic corporate heads and engineers resigned before the takeover and started a new company: Axis Electronics. This company continued to use highly skilled labour to develop high-powered but difficult to control MOBILE Suits. Prices for their Phase 1 suits were steep, but as a player phased-up (an alternative method of saying levelling up) to the next phase, their suits would progress exponentially in power. The engineers departed from the EFF Corp style of producing stylish Gundam Suits that was an all-rounder and instead created suits that specialised in speed, attack, defence etc. Though Axis Electronics is relatively new, older and more experienced players tended to use Axis suits because of the ability to heavily skew a suit's stats but also for nostalgia. After all, Zeonic Electronics made the MOBILE Avatar game what it is today.
Panning out, Sam saw various Axis made units fade into the map. Two Kaepfers, two Dom IIIs and a Zssa appeared around the Quin Mantha, all piloted by Yamazaki's crew.
On the other side of the map, a Strike Noir flew into the map. Sam had no idea who was controlling it but it was joined by an Advanced Hazel, two Gaplant Kais and a Buster Gundam.
In awe, Sam realised he was about to witness a show down between two gaming clans, with him directly in the line of fire.