Gundam SEED Fan Fiction / Vandread Fan Fiction ❯ GunDread SEED (Redition) ❯ The Coming Storm ( Chapter 13 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

GunDread SEED
Disclaimer: I don't own VanDread or Gundam SEED…period.
< >: Thoughts
Chapter 12
The Coming Storm
“Here, you ladies left these floating out there." Rabat said as he gestured to Freedom and Liberty, as the two severely damaged units were being lowered to the hanger floor. His simian pet Utan immediately went in search of her favorite plaything, Pyoro.
The massive machines made a pair of thunderous sounds as they were laid down on the floor. All around the machines the Dread pilots and the Angel Squadron pilots all crowded in to see just what had happened to both the Gundam and the ATCISS unit intently. The female engineers along with Parfet leading quickly went to work, converging on it, and began to take assessments on structural damage, and taking energy readouts.
“Whoa, what the heck happened to them?" Parfet gasped as she looked at both the Freedom and her creation the ATCISS. She and the other couldn't believe that the Gundam and the support unit had taken so much abuse and still function. Aside from their individual injuries, Freedom and Liberty were relatively intact. The girls then jumped back when the hatch of the Freedom's cockpit hissed open, the servos grinded in protest as the panels opened to release the lone occupant. It was then that a fierce snarl was heard… saying only one phrase.
The trader turned to see Kyo who was badly injured standing on Freedom's chest and out of the command chair. He smirked as he took the pilot's appearance. He was barely able to stay upright and he looked like hell had taken him into it. Kyo clutched his right arm were there was a large cut, there were other gashes on his side and a gash on his head, along with bruises and other cuts in various places, and he was in serious pain despite the protection of his uniform's built-in body armor, and the protection of his helmet, which he had taken off. Seeing the Gundam pilot in such pain gave great satisfaction to Rabat as he smirked at him. He then began taunting Kyo.
“Well now. Is that any way to thank the man you just saved your life? I would think that…"
However his taunts were cut short as he spotted Kyo's eyes suddenly erupt in blue-violet light as if a fierce, lethal rage was kindled in the young pilot. When the light faded just as quickly as it had appeared. Kyo's eyes looked like those of a blood thirsty berserker.
Kyo then lashed out, catching everyone, including Rabat totally off-guard. The former Coordinator suddenly rushed straight for Rabat like a lightning bolt, and smashed a power blow right into Rabat's chest, breaking six of his ribs and leaving a very nasty tear on the fabric. Rabat found himself hurdling backwards and slammed into several boxes, causing a human sized depression on the crate he slammed into. He let out a strangled gurgle and his eyes were widened with shock at what had just happened. How did that punk do that?!
In the crowds, the females gasped in shock, awe, wonder, and most of all fear.
Jura gulped a bit after the deadly display. “He can do that?!"
“What was…that?" Meia asked as she gazed at Kyo.
Dita however, let out a delighted noise and clapped her hands as she recognized what Kyo had done. She remembered back before she was hit by Rabat's stun pistol, she spotted Kyo's eyes glow and his abilities hit the roof. “Wow! Mr. Alien used his secret alien powers!"
“You KNEW he could do THAT?!" Jura exclaimed.
“That's why it's called a 'secret' alien powers. I saw it when he fought with Rabat before." Dita answered in a matter-of-fact tone.
Rabat gasped as he tried to get up, however he couldn't get up easily as his broken ribs constricted his lungs. He then felt a kick smash itself on his temple, throwing him off his feet and smashing to the other wall in the hanger, he looked up and saw that Kyo somehow seemed to have gained super speed and was now in front of him. Apparently the rushes of adrenaline and anger gave Kyo more than enough strength to dish out some extra large pain…especially when in SEED mode.
Kyo slammed his fist right into Rabat's jaw, nearly dislocating it and knocking out a few teeth, then the former counter-terrorist agent then lifted Rabat up and slammed him back first into the wall, and then tossed him to the floor. Kyo then grabbed the still bleeding Rabat, hauled him to his feet and slammed a kick right into the sternum, causing the con man to cough out blood.
Since his endurance was still suffering from not being fully recovered, Kyo didn't have the power to keep slamming Rabat around the hanger like a Ping-Pong ball. So he decided to just hang him, he grabbed Rabat's throat and hefted the man into the air, while still in SEED mode. Rabat placed both his arms around Kyo's to try and loosen the young man's iron like grip, but the Gundam pilot just added the pressure, nearly making his wind-pipe be as wide as a straw.
“You filthy, cheating traitor." Kyo growled with thick venom in his voice. “You're nothing but a liar, betrayer, and a total waste of DNA!"
“SHUT UP!" Kyo shouted as he aimed his other fist at Rabat with the fist aimed at a certain vulnerable point in Rabat's chest. “I was still conscious when you showed up and aimed your ship's guns at Freedom. You weren't trying to save. You wanted to finish me off like the gutless coward that you are. As far as I'm concerned…" The brown-haired Mobile Suit pilot pointed to Sara and her group. “…They saved me, not you. I saw you pick through the wreckage of those vessels, like the vulture that you are. All those ships had people, good and noble people whose lives YOU sold out!"
“I…don't…know…argh…ack…what you are talking about!"
“DON'T EVEN TRY TO LIE YOUR WAY OUT OF THIS ONE!" Kyo threatened as he tightened his grip. “You're the bloody reason the Harvesters have been raiding all the human worlds in this sector!"
That line of conversation got the attention of the female pirates. Meia then strode forward and asked a question.
“What do you mean, Kyo?"
Kyo gave a deep growl before giving his answer. “Oh, didn't you know? Rabat has been working for the very same bastards we've been fighting, the Harvesters. He sold out the entire human race, by relaying all the information that he could gain from each human world that he traded with. That also includes all the information about this ship and everyone onboard, including Talark and Megele."
There was a collective gasp from the females as the Gundam pilot looked back at Rabat, Kyo then addressed the trader. “Don't even bother wasting what breath you have left to deny it. I brought back enough proof to expose you for the stinking reject that you are."
Rabat managed to find the energy in himself to sneer at Kyo and chuckle, though the symphony of agony going through his body made that effort very difficult, and then he spat at him. Droplets of saliva and blood hit Kyo as he continued to sneer. “Heh! So you finally found out my secret, what are you going to do about it now? Kill me? It doesn't matter that much anymore. Before I found you and your Gundam, I received a message from my employers, the Harvesters. They're on their way here to pay you and your little comrades a little visit." This announcement unleashed another collective gasp from the female pirates.
Kyo was tempted. Oh, he was VERY tempted to rip that arrogant smirk right of the bastard's face along with his head, and turn him into nothing but a bloody pulp. But he had other more urgent matters to discuss, so now wasn't the time.
With that, he added more pressure to his grip and sent Rabat into unconsciousness and tossed him straight to the floor. The Gundam pilot turned and limped towards the hanger exit. However, several dozen women, aiming their rifles at them then blocked his path, with Barnette at the helm with her handgun at his face.
Kyo gave a VERY hostile growl. So that girl was still on her 'all men were the enemy' kick, eh? Well, now the kid gloves were off! HE wasn't doing to play nice anymore since time was against them all. “Step out of the way, Barnette. I've got some important matters to talk about to the Captain. Now either you or your little posse get out of my way, or I'll show you just HOW angry I can be!" He shouted in fury.
However, just before he would unleash the full potential in him once more, several members of the Angel Squadron took positions behind Kyo, and aimed their own weapons at Barnette's group.
“Sara! What are you doing?" Barnette demanded.
The female corsair glared back at Barnette. “I should ask you the same question! You heard Rabat, didn't you? The enemy is on their way here! We have got to get ready to fight THEM! Not one another!”
“It's just another lie told by men! You can't trust any man!"
“You're wrong." Sara responded. “What we can't trust are these stupid ideals of yours! Kyo is on OUR side! Are you too blind to see that?"
Both sides were ready to fire on one another, but then a voice came in from the PA system.
The women hesitated when they heard Magno's commanding voice. However, none of them lowered their weapons, afraid that the other would shoot if they let their guard down even for a moment.
Slowly but surely each girl lowered her rifle, laser ring, and the rest. When everyone holstered their weapons (including Barnette, who did so reluctantly), there was a collective drop in the tension surrounding the hanger. Then Magno spoke once more, this time addressing Kyo. “Kyo… report to the bridge."
“K, you look like Hell." Magno commented as she looked over the badly injured Mobile Suit pilot and his battered face. She could tell that only sheer willpower was the only thing keeping him standing as he faced her and Buzam.
Kyo said nothing at first; he then spoke, with a snort. “Well, I've been through Hell since this bloody morning. Considering what happened today, I'm not even sure I know why I'd bother coming back here, or why I'm bothering to tell you this… but I guess, that you deserve to know."
“What happened to you?" Buzam asked. “Did you, Freedom, and Liberty encounter the enemy?"
“Oh yes… and we got thrashed all the way to the next solar system." Kyo said with a smile that totally was devoid of any happy emotion.
Both women were alarmed at this announcement. The young Gundam pilot and his Mobile Suit were considered very formidable, even when alone and without combining with the Dreads. For something to have done this to them meant…
Kyo sighed a bit then relayed the story of what he, Freedom, and Liberty encountered. “I never mentioned anything about me and Freedom being invincible."
Flashback… a few hours ago, still with the Melanos Fleet.
Kyo looked on at the sight; his blood seemingly froze in his veins as he looked at what was on the ship's main monitor. It was BIG… definitely BIG.
“What the bloody Hell is that thing?!" Kyo shouted in shock as to what he was looking at.
“One of the enemy flagships." The Melanos Captain answered as the fleet under his command prepared for all out war.
“Hold it! ONE of the enemy flagships?" Kyo exclaimed as he gazed at the sight of the behemoth. And there were more of them?!
The commander of the vessel nodded solemnly. “Our long-range surveillance teams have been working over-time tracking the Harvesters' movements ever since they set foot in this part of the galaxy. They've spotted up to three flagships so far, and it's very likely that there are more of the things."
< One isn't enough for those bastards? > He thought as he took a look at the monster ship's appearance. The mothership measured a good distance of nine and a half miles and shaped like a giant cucumber. On it's sides were rows and rows more of the ships, which resembled the same ship that GunDread Dita had destroyed during that fateful first encounter. On the front of it was an inverted Y-pattern, which was no doubt in the pilot's mind was it's main beam cannon. Flying cover for that monster were hundreds of thousands of Cube Fighters, and Urchin ships. Kyo had his inherited skills and abilities as the son of the superior Coordinator, his training and experience as a pilot, and soldier. And lastly, his Paeksis enhanced Freedom Gundam which was far more powerful than anything in the arsenals of some of the planets he had gone to. But against all that innumerable firepower, even he knew that both he and Freedom couldn't handle the odds, when the odds were like that.
Kyo knew that the Melanos fleet had no chance against all that firepower and even if they were back on the Nirvana, he doubted that even the GunDreads could ever match up to all that might and numbers. For the first time, the powerful Gundam pilot felt that it was time to withdraw.
“Captain… I think that it would be better to pull back now." Kyo said solemnly.
“I'm afraid we cannot do that." The captain replied in a sober tone.
“Why not? From what I'm looking at now, there's no way you can match up against all that firepower, even with these many ships."
“It's not out of pride or stupidity. We know that we're severely outnumbered and out-gunned. It's just that there's nothing or no one left to defend our home-world. We are the first, last and only line of defense for our planet Melanos."
At that instant the enemy greeted their opponents with a massive hail of fire.
Almost instantly, the Anti-Earth Defense Fleet returned the gesture with their own barrage after barrage of lasers, missiles, and particle beams. The star-studded void of this sector of space became alive with explosions, vapor trails, and debris. Fighters from all sides clashed like waves, as the valiant Melanos pilots unleashed their entire supply of ordinance they had against the Harvesters' own hordes of Cube Fighters. However, despite all the destruction they were in, the alien hordes kept on advancing, never heeding the horrendous losses they were suffering. They were nothing more than pre-programmed machines, lacking any thought or emotion, but their own merciless programs, and they weren't going to let anything stand in their way.
Kyo scowled as he watched the valiant Melanos fighters unleash all their power against their enemies in an all out attempt to push the enemy back, but the battle was totally one-sided. The Cube Fighters had already succeeded in breaking through the lines of the human pilots and made their move towards the cruisers, several of which were already being invaded. He didn't need images to see what was happening down in the bowels of the other ships. He didn't want to see the horror and pain of those being harvested for their skin.
Finally, his fury and rage forced him to finally take action. No way would he just stand by and watch this senseless massacre happen! He ran from the bridge all the way to the hanger to where Freedom and Liberty were stationed. As he entered the area, he could see that there were debris everywhere, as a huge explosion rocked the ship. Walls were shattered and the floor trembled as fires made their way into the ship. The ship's fire suppression systems kicked in and began taking out the flames with foam. As the young Gundam pilot made his way to his Gundam, he cried in horror as he spotted a form lying on the floor. He rushed to the person and found a mortally wounded Seran.
“No! Don't die Seran! You're going to be okay! I'll get you to Medical!!"
However, the engineer knew that there was no chance for her to make it as she felt her life flow out of the wounds on her body. She had finished the repairs on both the Freedom and the Liberty when the explosion happened. Flying debris and shrapnel had punctured her chest and her sight was fading rapidly. She smiled briefly at the former eldest Yamato child.
“I…I…wonder how…everyone's…<cough>…doing?"
Those were her last words as she died.
Kyo felt as if a part of him had just died with her, he stood up and had a face totally devoid of feeling. His body trembled as brief lines of moisture streaked down his face as anger and rage controlled him utterly. After all he had been through. After all he had gained with his hands and lost, then gained again, and lost once more…
Blinded by his tears, Kyo roared his inner rage as he activated his SEED mode. Without halting he took his helmet and got into Freedom. He powered up his Gundam and placed all his weapons and the P.P.S Armor to the highest settings. He got into a launch deck and got ready show what he could really do when his inner fury was unleashed!
The Melanos Captain frowned as he looked at the readouts from the tactical display. His fleet was being torn to pieces. The Cube Fighters by themselves were butchering squadron after squadron of his planet's best pilots and more that one-half of his cruisers were invaded. To further add to the frenzy, the alien mothership unleashed an unending barrage of particle beams, lasers and cannons, decimating several cruisers in the flash of firepower. To the left of his command ship, a cruiser suddenly detonated, minutes after the aliens had invaded the interior. The captain knew that the ship's crew self-destructed their own vessel than be harvested and take as many enemies as they could with them to the other side. He shook his head at the valiant but futile gesture. At the rate the Anti Earth Defense Fleet would be wiped out, and Melanos would be totally open to the Harvesters' invasion and will be wiped out.
In minutes of intense battle the fleet was being pushed back and wiped down to at least a dozen and a half-capital spacecraft. The fleet commander shook his head in surrender. It looked like they had done nothing but delay the inevitable. They were doomed now.
Suddenly, one of the bridge officers cried out that a massive energy signature had just manifested in one of their launch decks. A defiant flash of blue-white light shot past the bridge and began to take the shape of a humanoid mecha as the crew looked in awe and wonder. The main view screen zoomed in on the figure as the Gundam went through the activation phase of it's systems.
“It's him! It's really him! The rumors were all true!" The Melanos captain exclaimed. The exploits of a strange man who battled the Harvesters with nearly peerless skills and ferocity and in a powerful battle mecha had reached even the far flung planet of Melanos. And now they were going to see the famous Freedom Gundam in action.
Out in space, Kyo nodded as Freedom's systems were in full power. In a moment he wasted no time in making the presence of himself and his Gundam felt.
Once more Freedom went into maximum speed unleashing a torrent of assault gunfire and beam bolts from it's combined arsenals, the Gundam shot deep into the clouds of Cube Fighters, decimating them by the dozens upon dozens, Freedom shot in different directions and wiped out even more. The human pilots found the pressure on them quickly lifted as their enemies were decimated in mere seconds.
A few seconds later, another foe of the Harvesters appeared out of the Melanos fleet commander's ship. Liberty rushed to it's master as the former Coordinator and his Gundam unit continued with their rampage in the Harvesters ranks. The enhanced Vanguard combat support platform immediately changed into full combat form as it flew in tandem with Freedom. Kyo wasted little time as he and his machines became harbingers of death and destruction to his sworn enemies. Many Seed Ships, countless Cube Fighters, and Space Urchins were turned into scrap as the Gundam and the ATCISS unit made their way deep into the enemy ranks.
The Harvesters then did the unthinkable… They stopped and focused all their attention at the Gundam, it's support unit, and it's enraged pilot.
The Melanos fleet and their forces looked on in shock as the Harvester forces suddenly stopped. That young man had actually stopped an entire fleet of relentless machines and made them halt their advance?!
“If you bastards think that I'll let you harvest these people. Then you're all wrong!" Kyo shouted in defiance at the alien hordes as he activated the HiMAT system and unleashed a massive torrent of all the ranged weaponry in Freedom, and in conjunction with Liberty's own arsenals. The storm of weapons fire slammed into the Harvester forces and rendered even more of their forces into nothing but scrap.
The crew of the Melanos Fleet, namely their fleet commander felt his resolve return as they watched the battle unfold. He immediately sent orders to his fleet and their fighters to begin concentrating their fire on the main flagship and lend support to their saviors.
Kyo wasted little time as he used every tactic, every move, every maneuver that he learned in his travels, and those that he vaguely recalled against the incoming fighters. He used all of Freedom's weapons, from it's beam weapons, assault guns, and finally beam sabers. He then fused with Liberty and went on an even greater rampage as he used every weapon in the ATCISS unit. They all left countless wrecks of Cube Fighters, Seed Ships, and Space Urchins, and thanks to the support handed to them by the surviving Melanos Fleet, the body count kept on climbing. Kyo ignored the incoming impacts on the armor system of Freedom and Liberty as the Harvesters focused all their power against the three factors that were the greatest threat to their mission of harvesting the human race. The Freedom's Prominence Phase Shift Armor had been well crafted and designed by the Paeksis and it's original makers to withstand almost inhuman punishment with it's invulnerability to ballistic, kinetic, and explosive weapons, and it's ability to now to deflect and nullify beam attacks. But even it wasn't designed to handle so many attacks at once. The attacks made direct hits and they began to pile up even more, pushing the armor system's integrity to it's threshold and make it even more difficult in rebuilding itself. Cracks, lines, and dents began showing themselves, on both Freedom and Liberty's armor. Both the Freedom and the ATCISS were getting hammered left and right, but both continued to take Kyo as far as they can go.
A concentrated barrage from the Harvesters knocked away one of Freedom's beam sabers and one of the beam rifles, but then, that never stopped the Gundam nor it's pilot as Kyo resorted to the remaining built-in armaments, as he continued to pile up even more debris that had been once the escorts of a relentless Harvester flagship after he melded with Liberty and upped the ante.
However, that was when the enemy flagship decided to unleash all of it's weapons at the incoming threats. Particle beams and energy torpedoes were released in waves, and Kyo found himself and Freedom being pushed back. Several attacks each hit home, striking Freedom and Liberty hard like comets in various areas and he realized that he and Freedom had taken on more than they could handle. Freedom, though powerful beyond accounting had it's own limits, and Kyo knew that he was hitting the redlines. Fragments and shrapnel tore through areas of his uniform causing wounds, and the jostling around injured him in various areas of his upper body. But his fury and rage held him fast, so he stubbornly kept on fighting. Liberty's' thrusters went on full throttle, trying with all of it's energy reserves to keep them moving forward, but the relentless barrage continued to smash into them all after he recovered Freedom's other weapons.
Kyo then saw that the Y-pattern of the enemy flagship was glowing, he knew that there was no way the Melanos Fleet could handle the blast, he got in touch with the lead ship, as he readied his own reprisal, though he wondered whether Freedom's cannons in overcharge mode could stop that incoming attack.
Just then, the Harvester flagship unleashed a beam of power that could have sent a star right into super-nova mode. At that same time, Kyo unleashed his own attacks, absorbing every amount of energy into this final answer of defiance.
The massive energy blast from both Freedom and Liberty's beam weapons smashed into the larger and more powerful Harvester beam attack head on. However, the beam of the alien forces proved stronger by sheer force and was not stopped, not at least partly. A massive portion of the beam was deflected away from the Melanos Fleet, but the remainder smashed into the Freedom Gundam and Liberty. Kyo however was able to get Freedom to dodge, though barely. His body was jostled around the cockpit at the impact and he felt his body scream in agonized torment though his uniform and restraints saved his life.
The Freedom was able to escape, but wasn't completely spared as the P.P.S armor was strained to the utmost limits as the Mobile Suit and it's support unit were sent tumbling into space. Areas of the Gundam's alloyed skin were burned off and sections were blasted off by the sheer force and impact of the beam assault.
However, the reprisal sent by Freedom, Liberty and Kyo had not missed their target. The massive part of the beams had managed to bypass the Harvester's beam attack and lanced right into the mothership. Despite the thick armor implanted by it's creators, the energy beams tore deeply into the cucumber-like vessel. Several critical systems including the release of more of it's Seed Ships, and the deployment of its urchin support craft were totaled as the beams ripped into the insides. The entire behemoth shook in agony as it's insides were being consumed by the Gundam's reprisal attack. Though it was relatively intact, the ship had suffered very considerable damage. The main command computer of the ship began assessing the situation. Though it seemed that it's main enemies had been atomized, in it's current state of damage and the escort fleets totally demolished, the flagship knew that it's mission to harvest the people of Melanos had been thwarted… for now. Repairs would have to be made, replacements for all the damaged systems had to be made and that would take time, Fighters had to be manufactured and energy stores had to be recharged. After all, without the Freedom Gundam, and it's pilot, the Melanos people had nothing that could stand against it, right?
Onboard the Melanos Anti-Earth Defense Fleet, the captain, and the surviving crew and their pilots, all stared in awe and amazement. The enemy flagship was…retreating! For the first time since this bloody conflict had begun, the humans won the title of victor and it was all because of an extraordinary young man and his combat machine, a man who apparently gave his life willingly so that others would live to fight the good fight.
“Have you found him? Is our savior still out there?"
The officer who was manning the sensors shook his head sadly. “I'm sorry sir. I've made contact with the other ships and they too have made an entire sensor sweep of the area. There's so much energy interference, but… there's no sign of the young pilot, his Gundam unit, and it's support combat system. Most likely, they were all vaporized."
The captain's expression of hope turned to sadness. He had hoped to take Kyo and his Gundam back to Melanos and ask him to fight under their flag and beside their forces. But the young Gundam pilot, he instead had chosen to die as a martyr and a hero. So be it. At the least he had bought his people enough time to prepare for the Harvester's next attack. His example of unending courage and sacrifice would be a great source of inspiration for his own people to continue to fight.
“Kyo… We will keep fighting for your sake and for the sake of all human life. We will remember you and we will keep your memory in our hearts forever. May you find peace on the other side." The captain said as he sent a speech of tribute to the Gundam pilot as he and his crew swore to that promise.
“Let's move out!" The captain ordered, recalling the fighters, as he and his fleet of cruisers, numbering at least fifteen surviving ships and returned to their planet.
Floating among the debris and hulks of Cube Fighters, Seed Ships, Space Urchins, Melanos Fighters, and Melanos cruisers, was the broken and almost non-functional form of the Freedom. Inside the cockpit was the battered, bruised, bloodied… and beaten form of it's pilot.
The Gundam's OS had to shut down most systems except critical ones to help with it's repairs. The battles had injured Kyo badly but thankfully his uniform and his own tough constitution pulled him through, though barely. Freedom had also emitted a special cloaking field to hide Kyo's bio-signatures from being detected by the Harvesters, therefore making the monsters believed that it's pilot had died in the blast.
With the flagship no longer in the vicinity, the Paeksis-enhanced Gundam followed it's rescue protocols and dropped the cloaking field and activated the distress beacon built into it, hoping that the Melanos Fleet would detect the signal and retrieve it, Liberty and it's pilot, but with so much interference, the signal was not received. With nearly all of the normal systems down, including communications and propulsion, The Freedom and it's OS could only watch helplessly as the Anti-Earth Defense Fleet warped back to their home-planet. It would take several hours for the energy emissions were low enough for the distress signal to get through. Until then, Freedom's automated systems will do whatever is needed to keep Kyo alive and safe.
End of Flashback…
“I don't know just how long I've been out there, drifting in space. If it hadn't been for my Gundam and the Crusader Squadron…" Kyo let his voice trail of and then let out a sigh. “In whatever case Captain, I think that you should know that the Nirvana is next on their hit list and so is Talark and Megele, according to what Rabat told me."
“I…see." Magno looked on with deep concern. Kyo and Freedom had been defeated… they had actually been defeated! If the enemy had that kind of firepower that the young man had described and more of the flagships, then it became even more important to reach and warn Megele and warn the planet of the men, Talark. Only a combined and totally united effort would be able to stand against these monsters. Magno also knew in her heart that Kyo and Freedom were the keys for the enemy's defeat. After all, they both had managed to stop, albeit temporarily, an enemy flagship. With the power of the Gundam, it's pilot's skills and experience, the GunDreads and the cooperation of the Nirvana's crew, they would be able to overcome any threat or obstacle.
However, there was still the matter of the ongoing mutiny, as well as the stark fact that the Nirvana was without it's navigator and it's physician. Still she had to ask.
“So, Kyo… do you think we can win?"
The young man frowned at her. “What do you mean WE? In case it has slipped out of your memory, Captain, I'm considered the enemy here, remember?" Kyo said with bitterness.
At that instant, several crewmembers appeared on the bridge and aimed their blaster rifles at the young Coordinator; they were supported by several others, taking no chances with this particular man. Magno winced at this latest fiasco, as she was about to order them to put their weapons away and stop this useless mutiny, the situation demanded that they work together, and now wasn't the time for such nonsense!
However, Kyo shook his head to her as he raised his hands in a non-threatening gesture. “I'm not holding you responsible for any of this, Grandmother." The blue-violet eyed warrior said with a sad smile reverting back to his name for Magno. He placed his hands out in front as he was bond by wrist manacles and stripped of his weapons as he was lead away.
As the young man was lead away from the bridge, Magno and Buzam looked even more worried.
“I've never seen Kyo act like that before. He didn't even try to resist being captured. It's as if that battle with the Harvester's flagship had broken him utterly." The First Officer remarked worriedly.
“I think there's more to that, BC." Magno said. “I think… Kyo have lost his faith."
“His faith?"
“Yes, I think that today's events caused him to lose his faith… in himself…in us… and in the human race."
Back on the Harvester's Home…
“What? One of our flagships have encountered the Freedom and it's pilot?" One of the leaders asked their underling who had given them the report.
“What happened?" Another leader asked.
The tech nodded in agreement. “Apparently, during the harvesting operation on the planet Melanos for it's people's skins, the forces we sent to eliminate their defenders, had unexpectedly encountered the Freedom Gundam and it's pilot. The fleet suffered massive losses and had to withdraw for repairs and recharging.
The Harvester council members spoke in hushed tones, no doubt unable to believe that one man and a lone combat robot were able to thwart one of their battleships, and decimate it's escort forces.
“And of the Gundam?" The first leader asked after bringing his comrades to order.
“Missing and presumed to have been obliterated. It seems that the Gundam and it's pilot couldn't handle the power of the flagship's arsenals. Apparently, we no longer have any need for the special countermeasure we developed for it and the GunDreads."
“DO NOT assume anything without confirmation." The Leader of the Harvesters said in his strong tone of command. “If the Freedom Gundam had the power to temporarily halt one of our flagships and severely damage it, then it means that we cannot afford to make more mistakes, both the demise of it's pilot along with the Mobile Suit itself has not yet been confirmed and verified. So we must still assume that they are still around." He then posed another question to the tech. “Is the Dominion Gundam and the special projects ready?"
“Yes, sir."
“Good, then have them intercept and engage the Nirvana, destroy it permanently. If the Freedom Gundam and it's pilot are still alive, then we shall wipe them out in one single strike."
Somewhere in the sector of space where the Nirvana is currently in, another battleship received it's orders to begin it's attack on the one ship standing in the way of the Harvest and the powerful Mobile Suit and the pilot onboard. Deep within the recesses of it's body, in specialized hangers, the countermeasures for the GunDreads were being set to do battle with the Nirvana. The other project was waiting stoically for it's own chance to encounter the Freedom Gundam and Kyo, with the express purpose of wiping them out. The name of the Earth's answer to the Freedom…was the Dominion.
The Nirvana…
“But Commander, we need you!" Sara pleaded as she stood in front of the cell in which Kyo was being held. The two guards nearby looked at the young man in disdain.
However, the young pilot made no response to her pleas as he rested on the floor in a cross-legged position and was busy binding up his wounds with several bandages along with some healing salves he stored in the uniform's built-in backpack. Behind him Bart, and Duero listened to their conversation. Lying nearby in a cot was Rabat, still unconscious.
“Commander!" The Vanguard pilot cried out in desperation, hoping to at least get a response from her commander.
After a long bout of silence, Kyo replied, but did not turn and face Sara. “Don't call me that, Sara. I passed my duties as Squadron Leader to you, the moment I left the ship remember? It's what you wanted before when you challenged me to that match when the squadron was first formed, or have you forgotten that?"
“Why are you saying such nonsense? YOU are the Leader of the Crusader Squadron! You are the one we follow in battle! Do you realize what we risked to find you and bring you back? A lot of our own friends resent us all now, because we believed in you, and no matter what happens we still do!"
“Then you've wasted your efforts."
The young man took a deep breath. “I believed in this ship. I believed in everyone, thinking things could work out. Now… I don't believe in any of it happening anymore. In fact… I don't even know whether I can still believe in myself any longer."
“Commander!" Sara said in increasing desperation to Kyo to think this over.
“The Crusader Squadron is now under your command, Sara.” Kyo said with finality in his voice. “Though I'm grateful that you risked a lot to save me, things have changed a great deal. I can't go into combat like before with you and the others. Think of what will happen if I did. Half of the crew now won't accept my help, Bart's or Duero's. In fact, a lot of them hate us. Me getting involved would only make things in the ship even more complicated and tense, and I'll endanger everyone. Every time I get involved, people get hurt… or worse." Kyo saw Seran's expression in his mind before she perished. “You're the leader of the Vanguards now, so COMMAND them. I…know you'll do a fine job."
Sara couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was as if she was facing a totally different person. What had happened to Kyo? Seeing that her efforts were unable to break the shell he erected around himself, at least for now, the young female pilot nodded and gave Kyo a salute before leaving the brig, she immediately hid her face so that he wouldn't see her tears that started to appear.
Kyo was left with his thoughts and ideas as he continued to bind his wounds.
In the cafeteria, Barnette held another rally against accepting the aid of men and asserting the independence of women.
“We can win without the men! We don't need the help of men! We didn't need them before they came onboard this ship and we don't need them now!"
As her supporters cheered her own, in the rear of the crowds was Gascogne, who shook her head.
<Fools. This is NOT going to work at all! They're all blinded by pride and not thinking with their heads. They've closed their hearts to everything. > The head supplier gazed at Barnette as she went on and on about how men had tainted their once proud, pure female society. She sadly shook her head in disgust and pity. The Dread pilot reminded her of those propaganda films from Talark and Megele.
Seeing that she would be wasting her time and energy trying to talk some sense into them, she decided to hold her peace.
Out in space…
Meia felt worry and concern flood her, and with good reason. Though Kyo and his Gundam were back on the Nirvana, the rift between the crew still existed and grew even more. The ones that refused to accept the help from the men were at odds with the ones who believed in the males. The ship was defenseless and like an open target board without Bart at the helm, and any injured crewmembers had no choice but to return to Paiway's not so tender care in the medical bay, with her skills not reaching the caliber of Duero.
With all the data the captain had handed to her, Meia decided that it would be prudent to go out and try to determine where and when the Harvesters were coming. That's why she and some of her comrades were out in their Dreads on recon patrol. She however prayed that the enemy didn't arrive at such a critical time, until all the chaos in the ship was dealt with and problems were worked out. However, fate, as fickle and sometimes cruel a mistress it was, decided to toss the Nirvana a real disaster situation. Meia's sensors detected the arrival of something VERY large and it was being escorted by multitudes with other signatures, all of the signatures were… Harvester signatures.
< Oh no! Not now! > Meia cried in mental desperation, she knew what it was as she signaled for her wing-mates to head back to the Nirvana. Mutiny or not, it looked like the pirates were about to step into the biggest battle of their whole carriers and their lives.
The enemy was coming.
The bridge…
Parfet coughed a bit as another circuit relay was demolished in front of her face. She had been trying without success to access the control systems and mechanisms that Bart used to interface and navigate the ship. However, the navigation well didn't cooperate with the demands of the pirates and had already spitted out the different probing devices used by the young sassy and intelligent engineer tried to use on it. And it had destroyed and demolished any attempt of bypassing it's interface controls. It appeared that it would accept no other person but Bart.
The head engineer wanted to use the time handed to her with the modifications to the Paeksis enhanced ATCISS unit and to help patch up the Freedom, instead of this futile exercise. The navigation well had been fully attuned to Bart's bio-signature and bio-rhythms and several volunteers had already been rudely ejected when they tried to attempt to interface with the well. However, with Liberty out of commission, Freedom needing repairs, the enemy forces coming in for an unwelcome visit, and the women unwilling to allow Bart or the other men out of their cells, the brown-haired girl had no other choice but to find a way to move the ship.
At this point a certain someone came up to Parfet and asked her to fix a certain brown-haired male pilot's mechanical partner.
“Please? Pretty please?"
Parfet sighed while she worked and reached for a circuit clamp. “I'd love to help you, Dita, really I would, but I can't! As much as I want to get the Gundam repaired and ready for combat, everyone here's asking me to find a way to fly the ship without Bart at the helm. And if they seem me repairing Kyo Freedom Gundam, then they'll start calling ME a traitor."
“But Mr. Alien NEEDS his Gundam!!"
“I'm very aware of that, but I can't do anything about it right now! In any case, Freedom and Liberty are too badly damaged right now, and it would take me at least two to three full days of non-stop work to get even just their basic systems back online! I hardly know a lot about the Freedom since most of it's systems are boosted by the Paeksis!"
The news had disheartened Dita. However, Parfet then motioned to her toolbox without facing the Dread pilot and said. “Can you do me a favor? Can you bring my toolbox back to the hanger? I won't be NEEDING it until tomorrow."
Dita perked up and smiled at the underlying meaning in Parfet's words and swept up the toolbox. “Thank you so much Parfet!"
Much later…
“Oh my! This is a LOT different than my Dread!" Dita whined as she wiped out the sweat that was on her face and of course, some of the grease that was there on her face in small splotches, as she continued to work on one of Freedom's access terminals. Unlike her fighter, the Gundam was designed both for hand to hand combat and ranged warfare with it's configuration, and it's Paeksis enhanced systems, circuits and it's OS were a whole new challenge for the bubbly and happy-go-lucky redhead girl. She realized that she had taken a task far beyond her capabilities or knowledge. She knew how to diagnose problems and make basic repairs, but only on her Dread, but fixing Freedom was far beyond her.
Yet she never gave up.
“I can't believe that you're going through all this trouble for a man."
Dita looked up from her attempts to repair Freedom and moved out of Freedom's cockpit and smiled as she saw her old friend Paiway. “Paiway, what are you doing here?"
The little nurse became rather nervous as she bowed her head in shame, and twiddled her fingers and spoke in a very quiet voice. “I…came here to say… that I'm sorry."
“Sorry? Whatever for?"
“You know… for causing all this trouble. It was my fault. I didn't know that you were crying because of the onions and…I… was…jealous about how much time you spent with Kyo and I… didn't know that he helped you in…" The little girl halted as she tried to hold back her tears that were welling up. She expected Dita to be angry and shout at her.
Dita did feel herself get angry towards Paiway, then went back to smiling at her young friend. “I know that you never meant for all this to happen Pai. You don't to say sorry to me."
“I… don't?"
“Of course not! We're friends, silly! We'll always be friends!" Dita said as her cheerfulness went back at full blast. “But I think that you'll have to say sorry to Mr. Alien."
Paiway winced at that, eating crow wasn't one of her favorite things to do, but Dita was correct. Every now and then, Dita's air-headedness would vanish and she'd show signs of great wisdom. She however knew that asking for forgiveness from the young Gundam pilot and former soldier won't be that simple, as she recalled the terrifying death glare she received from him before. Still she decided to ask her long-time friend some questions.
“Why is it you chase after Kyo so much?"
Dita smiled as she went back to work on Freedom. “Because he's Mr. Alien."
“I know that it sounds real strange Pai, but even though he's a man, I want to do whatever I can to help him. It's how I feel about him. When you care for someone like that, then you should do whatever you can to make that person happy, because it makes you happy to see that person happy, right?"
Paiway smiled a bit at this and shook her head. She then held up her frog puppet. “I guess I can never win fighting it. Kero, kero!"
It was then that the general alarm came on and blared out… the enemy have just arrived.
“LEAVE ME ALONE! GO AWAY!" Pyoro shouted as he tried his best to get away from it's unwanted admirer
Utan however didn't quit in her chase and was still hot on the Navi-robot's heels as they ran through the ship's corridors, heading directly for the bridge.
Back at the brig…
There wasn't much for Duero to do for Rabat. Aside from determining that the trader was in no danger of dying from the thrashing he had received, though he was going to feel a real amount of pain once he was conscious, he turned to assess Kyo's injuries. Without any extra medical supplies from the medical bay, the physician couldn't do much for the Gundam pilot. However, he became very fascinated with the skill and experience Kyo showed as he dealt with is injuries. It was then that the men heard the general alarm sound. The guards in front of their cell moved out to respond to the alert, leaving the captives to fend for themselves.
“What's happening out there?" Bart asked though he and his other compatriots already knew what the alarm was telling them. The enemy has arrived.
Kyo halted his treatment of his injuries and moved to the porthole. Kyo saw streaks of light which he knew to be the vapor trails of the Dreads and the Vanguards as they were deployed out to fight. Though from what he and Freedom have encountered before, he felt that this was the pirate crew's last battle.
Duero stood up and joined him in viewing the battle as players on all sides got ready for the frenzied dance of battle.
“So… do you think they all stand a chance with just Dreads and Vanguards?" Duero asked.
Kyo sighed; he knew that the odds were heavy, so he didn't need to lie. “No they don't stand any chance at all… But they have made their decision."
“So you aren't going out to help them?"
“They don't want my help." Kyo answered sadly. “I don't even know if I could help them either, neither me or Freedom have fully recovered from the battle we were in before. And even if we were, I severely doubt the GunDreads can handle THAT." Kyo gestured to the incoming behemoth that was appearing in the distance. Swarming all over it were several small clouds, which were hundreds upon hundreds of Cube Fighters, Seed Ships and space Urchins. The enemy fleet stopped their advance at least some distance away from where the Nirvana was.
“Is that the same flagship you three fought with before?" Duero asked as he looked in shocked fear at the massive flagship.
Kyo took a good look and shook his head. “That's not the one. Freedom and I blasted one real big hole in the bow of the one we fought against with the people of Melanos. I don't believe that they could have repaired a ship that size in just a few hours. I think that this one is part of the other ships the commander of the Melanos fleet told us about."
Though he wasn't there personally, Kyo prayed silently that everything could look better, but his practical side told him otherwise.
Meia felt herself on the edge as she gazed at the opposition. < So many of them. > She thought at the seemingly endless number of Harvester ships. As the Dreads all lined up for their fight with the incoming forces, she spotted the Crusader Squadron line up for battle as well. She felt her heart ache a bit at not seeing the Freedom Gundam and it's support unit Liberty with them, and of course, that meant that Kyo wasn't leading them this time. She now saw Sara's own Vanguard move into command position of her squadron and realized that for this battle, the pirates now can't rely on Kyo's skills, experience, strategic thinking, and the sheer power and arsenals of Freedom to help them gain an edge. The GunDreads were not with them, they needed an edge, namely them, badly, considering the hordes of enemies in front of them and the flagship as well.
Inside her Vanguard, Sara readied herself and her command for the incoming battle. The Talark war-machines were now outfitted by the Register and the Engineering section with electron-pulse rifles to give them added range and firepower. They had also been given extra protective armor to withstand several direct hits. Though she accepted the added enhancements, these didn't help boost the morale and fighting spirit of the pilots under her command and Sara knew it. The proud Crusader Squadron worked their best with their leader in the driver seat. Several pilots protested fiercely when they learned that Kyo and Freedom wasn't going to fight alongside them like before when Sara told them all the bad news, but there was no turning back and they couldn't do anything now. They were committed.
In the Register…
Gascogne nodded as she walked, watching her staff begin it's normal operations and to fill out orders from the Dreads and the Vanguards and their pilots. However, she knew that the atmosphere wasn't the same. With Kyo and the other men in the brig, the Register was full of tension from the stage-hands.
She became a bit angered when she saw Barnette enter and thrust out her request for her Dread. She immediately hid the show of anger as she looked down at the green-haired girl's keycard.
“I need this order filled out now!" The Dread pilot said with some irritation in her voice. Jura had been ignoring her since Kyo was brought back onboard the Nirvana and naturally Barnette's temper began to boil at that.
Gascogne glared a bit at the younger girl before smirking at her. “Remember Barnette."
The Dread pilot gritted her teeth in a snarl, then forced herself to smile, before Gascogne took her keycard and authorized the order.
Once the Dreads were all in formation, Meia began making her final checks and raised all the pilots under her command on communications.
“We'll engage them using the Delta Formation. Jura, you will lead team two in defending the Nirvana."
The blonde pilot nodded, then asked her team leader. “Do you think we can win this, with just our Dreads and the Vanguards?"
Meia knew she had no answer to that question and she knew Jura knew it as well, so she simply replied. “Keep you guard up and good luck."
“Just so you know, Meia. I don't like losing battles."
“Neither do I."
On the Nirvana's bridge…
“This is totally impossible!" Parfet complained as she wiped the dust from her smudged face and her hair had become frazzled. After her thirtieth attempt of bypassing the navigation well's systems and controls, she was about to say to heck with it all.
“Should I have Bart brought up here?" Magno asked, knowing that they weren't getting anywhere at this rate.
As soon as that question was voiced out, the bridge crew immediately shot it down.
“NO! We have to win this fight without the men!"
“We don't need them or need their help!"
“Men are nothing but slime!"
Ezra retained her silence, knowing that if she showed her support of the men, namely with Duero, Bart and most of all Kyo, then things would become even worse.
The pirate captain shook her head sadly at this mess she was looking at. Why couldn't any of them see that Kyo and the other men were essential for their survival? Perhaps, it was about time that she put her foot down and…
At that moment, Pyoro came barging into the bridge, followed of course by Utan, screaming out cries for help as the female simian continued to pursue him.
Parfet felt inspired at the arrival of the Navi-robot. She quickly grabbed hold of him as soon as he passed by and placed him close to the navigation well.
“Perfect timing Pyoro! I could sure use you right now!"
“Huh?" The little machine asked as he found himself being hooked up.
“Pyoro should be able to interface with the navigational systems!" The female engineer then punched in a few buttons and some codes, and became ecstatic as Pyoro initiated his programs of interfacing with the navigation well's main system. However, she began to feel worried when the little robot began moving around erratically, and feared that his memory banks could not handle all the incoming data that they were supposed to store. Suddenly Pyoro stiffened like a board and his eyes then glowed bright yellow and he began to levitate high above the bridge. Then he spoke, but not in his own voice.
“Parfet, what's going on? What's happened to Pyoro?" Magno asked as she and the rest of her crew listened, from within the Nirvana, and also to the ones in space in their Dreads and the Vanguards. All the communications were picking up the voice, the men in the brig also listened in.
“I think… it's the enemy, captain." Parfet answered as she checked her instruments' readouts. “They…must be using Pyoro to get in contact with us." She then gazed at the image of the Harvester battleship in front of them in the main monitor.
The ancient woman nodded, this was the chance to find out who or what these monsters really are. “Who are you?"
The voice answered.
“Earth?! The very same world that all our ancestors had come from? That's impossible! If you are from Earth, then why have you been hunting us?"
With those parting words, Pyoro let out a small puff f smoke and clattered down on the floor.
Throughout the whole ship and in space, the pirates and the men who were still captives, absolute shock and horror reigned the world.
The Dread Forces…
“The same… We all came from the same planet…even… Mr. Alien.”
The Crusader Squadron…
“Our own ancestors…were harvesting us?!" Sara said in revulsion.
The Register…
“Our enemies are from Earth?" Gascogne gasped.
The brig…
“That can't be true." Bart said in disbelief. “We're being hunted and harvested… by the Earth?"
“That's all correct."
The men turned and faced Rabat, who apparently regained consciousness and was sitting up. It was apparent to them, namely to Kyo, that con-man was in great pain, though he still wore his annoying smug look as he began to explain.
“The so-called aliens that you all have been fighting all this time are actually from the same planet we all came from…Earth. About a century ago, Earth was hit by an inters-stellar disaster that decimated the area surrounding the planet tearing it's biosphere into shreds. The world of Earth was left to heal the wounds after that disaster, and it seems that it partially worked."
“Disaster?" Duero asked.
Rabat shrugged as he got to his feet, though the symphony of pain in his body was making that rather difficult. “All I know is that there was an accident that involved a massive power reactor. The accident unleashed massive waves of unstable energy that turned Earth and the surrounding space all the way to Mars into a severe radiation zone and it warped the surface of the Earth along with the Colonies that dotted it's orbit at that time. Those who in Earth and the Colonies survived rebuilt the reactor and try to restore Earth to its former glory as the cradle of the human race. The groups of survivors that remained now are after the organs of those who colonized other planets. We're all just spare parts to them."
“What's your part in all of this?" Bart demanded.
“Didn't you pay attention to Kyo? I happen to work for the Harvesters as an informant. In addition to the things I sell as a trader, I also gather information about each planet I visit and relay the data to the Harvesters back on Earth. That's how I make a living in this universe. You can think of each planet as a type of farm, and I'm the farmer. Everyone is killed and their organs are used to sustain the Harvesters back on Earth. As far as they all are concerned, none of you have any say in the matter."
“WHAT?! YOU SOLD US ALL OUT TO THEM?!" Bart shouted in fury.
Rabat shrugged his shoulders once more. “So what if I did? What are you going to do about it? Knock me off?"
The traitor should have learned to KEEP his trap shut especially with Kyo nearby, and he was going to regret mentioning that.
Kyo released an enraged snarl and smashed another power blow right into Rabat's chest, nearly causing his chest to cave in. The punch broke eight ribs on either side of the traitor's body. He smashed into the wall and ended in a mangled heap. That was when Kyo hauled the man to his feet with his hands adding even greater pressure on Rabat's neck, nearly popping off the man's head from his shoulders, and he glared hatefully at him.
“Listen up you stinking genetic reject. From this moment, I don't consider you as a human being, but an inhuman parasite. I should just rip you into shreds so you'll be out of our misery, but that's a small consolation to all the grief and problems you've caused to the whole human race! However, make no mistake of this. I promise you, that if you ever cross my path again… I'LL MAKE SURE YOU GO STRAIGHT TO HELL!" Kyo shouted in fury.
With that Kyo unleashed another explosive back-fist to Rabat's jaw, breaking another tooth loose and another power kick right into Rabat's gut, nearly snapping the man into two. Kyo then fired a fist right on the brig's control for the energy bars holding them all imprisoned. The bars frizzled and faded away, which allowed the men to escape… but where to go?
Duero then called out to the last of the Coordinator gene sect and the eldest son of Lacus and Kira Yamato. “Where are you going?"
Kyo turned to face Duero as he reached the brig's exit. “It should be obvious Duero."
“I thought they would never accept your help."
“That's true." The Mobile Suit pilot said. “But that scum bucket got me to think."
“Think about what?" Bart asked.
Kyo paused for a moment, before he spoke what was in his heart. “He said that we don't have a say or choice in this matter. Meaning our opinions, our decisions, our dreams and our hopes aren't worth anything, that they don't matter! Well he and his Harvester masters can go down a black-hole for all I care! Because I say that they are important! We all, man and woman alike have our right to exist in this universe! We all have the right of our own existence! The Earth can shout all the crap they want, saying that they can deny that right, but I know that they don't have any right to dictate our lives, just because they can't live theirs anymore! They're nothing but cowards and fools to think that they have the right to deny us our right to exist! I WILL NEVER GOING TO ACCEPT THAT LOAD OF SHIT! I may not know everything about my past, and what awaits me, BUT I KNOW THAT I EXIST! AND I AM NOT GOING TO LET SOME BUNCH OF ORGAN HUNRGY TYRANTS AND BUTCHERS SAY OTHER WISE! I'll show them the reason and the proof of my existence, and damn them to HELL if they try to stop me!"
With those words, the young man started running to the nearest airlock.
Duero contemplated the words, then nodded. “Sounds good to me." He said as he decided to show the proof of his existence by doing what he did best and immediately ran for the medical bay. Bart grinned wide and said his own words. “I'm going to show them just what I can do!" as he ran in the direction of the bridge.
As for Rabat, he regained consciousness a minute later and painfully began making his way to the place where his ship was docked. He also contacted his orangutan partner, and once she was onboard, he disconnected himself from the Nirvana. Like a bully who soundly got his ass whooped by the good guys, he fled the scene, not wanting to involve himself with the pirates' struggle for their lives.
Kyo ran in full overdrive as the headed towards the closest route to the Hanger to where Freedom was that was near the Paeksis Reactor Room. However, just as he was about to pass the room, the door suddenly swung open and a deep blue-white light engulfed him.
Out in space, the battle was now in full swing…
The Dreads and the Vanguards scattered as they all found themselves among multitudes of enemy fighters as they fought for their very survival. The Nirvana had managed to raise the shields in time, but without navigation it began drifting towards a gaseous giant. As it listed toward the planet, shots from the enemy forces and the earth flagship continuously bombarded it like waves hitting a beach.
In her Dread, Meia pushed herself to the roof, putting all the skills and maneuvers she had learned on the table as Cube Fighters swarmed everywhere around her. The squadrons under her command were being weeded out as wave after wave of enemy fighters kept up the pace. The squadrons under Jura's command fought desperately to keep the Nirvana safe and well defended, but they couldn't be in different places at once. Seed Ships and Space Urchins arrived to lend their own unending barrage of particle beams and projectiles at the pirate vessel. With the ship totally unable to move on it's own, the pirates found themselves being taken in by the nearby gas giant's gravity, and they were dangerously listing towards it.
In her Vanguard, Sara and the other Vanguard pilots fought heroically to stay in formation and send as much support as they could to the Dreads and the Nirvana. However, even with their new weapons and reinforced armor, the Vanguards were badly outnumbered and outgunned. Several pilots had no other choice but to abandon their mecha when the machines could no longer hold up to the assaults and were too badly damaged. Those who ejected safely had to hope and wait for Gascogne to come by and pick them up, before the Harvesters discovered them. So far, the head supplier had managed to retrieve every one of them.
The pirates became even more desperate as the flagship came closer to the Nirvana. More Seed Ships and Space Urchins came into play, released from the ship, further boosting the multitudes of Cube Fighters already engaging the defenders of the Nirvana. It seemed that the Nirvana and it's crew had finally run out of luck.
The Paeksis Reactor…
“What the…?"
The Gundam pilot exclaimed in shock as he found himself in the same vastness of blue-white-green light, as if he was in some sort of deep ocean of light, though he was not blinded at all. His body bathed in sensations, like hot water was flowing all over his skin and seeping into his blood as images flashed by him, the images consisted of the people, beings, and places he had been to since his sojourn in the universe had begun. While other images were vaguely familiar to him, and these were about his life with his parents, siblings, his battles, his life as a normal student and a young man. The last images were of a figure that looked like his Freedom Gundam, but was more impressive and powerful in appearance.
Finally he growled out his frustration and impatience, the clock was running and he didn't have the time to indulge in these things!
“I have no idea what you're trying to show us, or what you're trying to show me. But don't think that for a moment that you can stop me!" Kyo said as he looked about harder.
Then just as suddenly as the visions appeared, Kyo found himself once more outside of the reactor room. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he rushed into the Hanger where Freedom was.
The Engineering Section trembled like it was in the very center of a war-zone, Parfet cried out as one of her crew was pinned down under a large piece of bulkhead that had fallen on top of her, when the ship shook from another direct hit that the shields couldn't hold back. Immediately Parfet and some of her crew struggled to lift the debris from their friend's legs, but they had no luck since the piece was rather heavy and very large. They needed some muscle fast.
Then suddenly, the bulkhead seemed much lighter as one end began to rise, and the debris became even lighter as the other end was also lifted. The head engineer looked at both ends and was astonished to see Duero carrying one end near her side.. Once the bulkhead was high enough, the girls in Parfet's staff moved the girl out of the area and to a safer location.
“Duero… what are you…" Parfet began to say, but the physician interrupted her as he dropped the bulkhead, and immediately went to check on the injured female engineer who thankfully was unconscious and yet alive.
“Hmm, hairline fracture along the tibia and probably several torn ligaments. She's also got some cuts on her right calf, and she's got a concussion." Duero nodded as he pulled out from his medical kit, a swab and applied antibiotics and liquid painkillers to the cuts and bruises and rapidly began to bind them with bandages. Duero then turned to Parfet and began issuing orders. “I'll need some pieces of wood or metal nearby and any kind of fabric. We're going to have to stop the bleeding in her leg and make an improvised splint!"
“No backtalk to your doctor! Move! The quicker we can get her to the medical bay, the better things will be!"
Parfet didn't contain her smile as she called on several of her co-workers to assist Duero.
The bridge…
“Have no fear! The navigator is here and ready for anything!" Bart said as he made a grand running entrance into the bridge.
Magno gave an irritated, but smiling expression at the blonde cadet. “Hmpf! You're late!"
“Sorry, Captain, right now I've got a ship to pilot!" Bart said with a sheepish expression as he headed for the navigation well and jumped in without a second to lose.
All at once, the main drive controls became active as the Nirvana began to slow down it's descent into the gas giant.
The Hanger…
Kyo nodded as Freedom's OS showed that his Gundam was still operational, but only at a maximum of 45% combat effectiveness. He knew that he should have allowed Freedom to be fully repaired, and he too should have healed up. But time and many other things were against him. So he had no choice but to launch Freedom once more. Liberty was not completely operational so he wasn't going to have it as support.
Dita was having a hard time of fighting off all her attackers, as there seemed to be no end to all of them. For every Cube Fighter she would destroy, three more would arrive to replace it. There seemed to be no hope at all as the Dreads and the Vanguards found themselves totally overwhelmed. Then Dita caught a flash of metal and a halo of blue-white light shooting out of the Nirvana's underbelly. She knew immediately who was coming and felt new strength and will fill her to the brim. The Dread and Vanguard pilots also knew what that bolt meant.
“Kyo's back!"
“It's about time he got in here!"
“All right!"
“Go get them!"
“Kyo! You made it!"
“Kyo, thank goodness!"
Kyo immediately switched Freedom to all available power reserves and unleashed another concerted barrage of assault gun bullets and beam bolts, instantly becoming a harbinger of death as both he and Freedom rammed right into several clouds of Cube Fighters. Since the void of space was littered with the machines, every pass the Freedom made in a random attack pattern, wiped out dozens after dozens of Cube Fighters. Once Freedom wiped out at least three hundred fighters, Kyo halted his attacks and went back to using his beam sabers, shield and beam weapons. The Freedom's movements along with Kyo's were somewhat sluggish and ill timed due to their individual injuries, but they both had a loyal team of Vanguards ready to lend them support.
Sara took out three incoming fighters, trying to blind-side her commander and his Gundam. The she and several other members of the Crusader Squadron took up formation behind the Freedom Gundam. Gascogne's supply shuttle flew above them, allowing those of the Crusader Squadron who were taken out of the battle to see their commander back in the fight.
In the cockpit of the vessel, Gascogne smiled as she raised Kyo on her communicator.
“Welcome back K."
The Gundam pilot gave her a salute and immediately signaled the team behind him into three separate teams for a flanking attack pattern. The Crusader Squadron pilots understood the order and immediately went to work, shooting down even more Cube Fighters, allowing the Dreads more room to maneuver and fight back. As for Kyo, he immediately got Freedom to go straight for the three enhanced Dreads to help fight off the hordes of Harvester craft, namely Jura. Meia and Dita came in, side by side with Kyo.
The blonde Dread pilot was ecstatic as she caught sight of Freedom heading for her through her sensors. She immediately raced to him and was ready to combine. Though she didn't care for the crab form all that much, the crab's defensive barrier would really be welcome at this point.
However, just before Jura's Dread and Kyo's Freedom Gundam could combine, an incoming energy burst from the alien mothership struck Jura's Dread, and knocked her aside before she could merge with Freedom. The mothership also fired two more blasts that also struck Meia and Dita.
“What the…?!" Jura frantically tried to recover from the impact and just as soon as she did, she tried to meet up with Freedom, but was blocked by more Cube Fighters. The Cube Fighters also swarmed Dita and Meia's Dreads, cutting them away from Freedom. The Gundam were also attacked en masse by the Harvesters as the Harvester flagship made it's way to the Nirvana's position. Then the bow opened to reveal the Earth's answer to the GunDreads.
“Look at that!" Dita cried out as strange massive craft emerged from the ship's bow. It was then that the pirates got a real good look at the Earth's countermeasures to the GunDreads.
“Impossible! They had managed to copy the GunDreads?!" Buzam exclaimed at the sight that greeted her.
Magno knew now that things were about to become even more serious than before. (But she has no idea just how serious it was really going to be.)
Kyo looked on in shock at the sight in front of him. The machines were like the GunDreads, but radiated an evil corrupted aura around them. The copy of GunDread Dita looked more insidious and menacing than the original and had a massively powerful laser cannon mounted on one shoulder. It was also equipped with massive energy blade/claws on the forearms. The copy of GunDread Meia resembled a crimson beast and looked more avian than dragon. It flapped it's wings like it was a living thing and to the left of the Copy GunDread Dita. On the right, a twisted grotesque version of Jura's GunDread showed it's visage. It seemed to be a cross between Jura's Dread and it's crab form, but it had huge pincer limbs in front, which were filled with massive teeth, giving this latest horror the look of a giant beetle.
“How ugly they are!"
“They're all copies!"
“Ewww! I don't like the looks of this!"
In a moment the Copy GunDreads attacked their Nirvana counterparts who were not transformed, and the fight became even more intense. Meia found that despite her own non-transformed Dread's exceptional speed, the Copy GunDread Meia was running rings around her fighter, and took multiple potshots at her with every pass. Jura tried desperately, but had no success in busting through her own clone's shielding, even when she fired in point blank range. As for Dita, her Dread was totally no match for her Copy's overall firepower. The other Dreads and Vanguards were too embroiled in battle with the other Harvester forces to lend a hand to their besieged comrades, meaning that only Kyo and Freedom could help them.
However, as they raced to help their allies in fighting of the fakes, eight blood red beams were fired from the Earth battleship. The shots hit the Freedom on the shield, but the collapsible shield was rendered useless. Freedom also suffered even more damage, rendering one of the wings into a crumpled wing. Another wing was badly damaged and a plasma cannon was shattered. The left arm was badly damaged and sections of the armor was torn off despite the P. Phase Shift Armor System. Freedom's side was badly damaged and a section of the shoulder armor was broken off. Kyo was in shock as he gazed at the damage, and he winced as the wounds he had patched up were forced open by the impact, as new wounds appeared in areas of his damaged uniform. In all of the conflicts, even when he and Freedom encountered their first Harvester battleship, he had never received damage like this before. When he looked at Freedom's damage, the armor was charred and chipped and broken.
< No way! The only things that could do this kind of damage to P. Phase Shift Armor would be high grade energy beam weapons that have the same grade as Freedom's! >
The former Yamato immediately looked where the beams had come from, and he got his answer. His heart stopped for a mere moment, but it felt like an eternity to the Mobile Suit pilot as he gazed at…it.
The figure was equal to Freedom in height and was designed to look somewhat the same, but the armor was in midnight black, bloody crimson, and sickly green. There were sharper areas of the machine and had better-tapered edges on the extremities, making it look more deadly and merciless. The thing has the same number of wings as Freedom, but looked like that of a demon from hell. The machine stood on the Harvester Battle-ship and had hip armor that was the same as Freedom, but it looked even larger and there were pods on it's shoulders. Every inch of the new mecha looked like a machine built for one purpose…total destruction of it's creators' enemies…namely Freedom and…Kyo. (1)
The new machine then reached out behind it and took out a pair of cylinders and two blades of pure sickly green energy appeared on the cylinders, showing that the thing was armed with a pair of beam sabers. It then pointed it's beam sabers at Freedom in a gesture of challenge to the Nirvana's Gundam.
Dita, Meia, and Jura gasped in horror at the new arrival as they still tried to dodge their doppelgangers. All the females and the males onboard the Nirvana gasped in horror and shock at the sight… of the Earth's own Gundam!
“NO…!" Meia cried.
“IT'S IMPOSSIBLE…!" Jura said trying to find words to describe this latest sight.
Magno shook her head with her mouth gaping open. Today was day that she'll never, ever forget, though she wished deeply that she would.
“They…they can even make copies of Gundam Freedom?" Buzam gasped in shock.
The ancient woman shook her head once more. “No BC. THAT abomination is no mere clone."
The first officer became very alarmed at this. “Then WHAT is it?"
“That's Kyo's nightmare come true."
Pyoro then got up and gestured in fear. “Dominion…”
Everyone in the bridge looked at the Navi-robot. Parfet looked at Pyoro and asked the little machine. “What is it Pyoro?”
“That…that machine is an AI-controlled Gundam built on Earth by the Harvesters. It's designed to kill Freedom…and Kyo. The Harvesters called it the `HMSG-019, Project Gundam Destroyer. That machine's combat name is…The Dominion Gundam.”
Kyo had no time to waste when the Dominion suddenly launched itself straight at him and Freedom. He barely got his beam sabers out and blocked the attacks. But as he tried to force back the Earth's Gundam, the Dominion unleashed it's own assault guns at Freedom, namely at it's damaged side. The explosive rounds pierced the damaged area and caused an explosion on Freedom. The Gundam reeled backwards from the blow and Kyo had to dodge as the Dominion tried to swipe off Freedom's head with both it's beam sabers. Freedom jetted back and fired it's own assault guns which the Dominion blocked with it's own collapsible shield.
With that the two Gundams immediately unleashed attacks and reprisals in the span of time it took for an eye to blink. The Freedom was able to parry every attack thrown at it by it's merciless AI enemy, but not all of them. Since the damages were not yet given the time to be repaired and Kyo's own injuries had not been well treated from their last encounter with the Harvesters, both the pilot and the Gundam's reaction time and strength were in poor condition. Kyo dodged an incoming stab at Freedom's chest, namely where he was but was unable to dodge the next stab from the Dominion's weapon that ripped the other side of Freedom's shoulder. Dominion didn't let up as it pulled out from one of it's shoulders a beam boomerang, and using it like a knife, cut into right arm which was damaged as the P. Phase Shift Armor was severely weakened. The Gundam and it's pilot bit back the pain and moved away, gaining some distance from their enemy.
Kyo bit back his injuries, as he checked Freedom. The OS warned him that the damages would severely cripple or destroy Freedom if he didn't retreat now. But he didn't need to know what would happen to the others in the Nirvana if he backed down in front of this merciless Gundam from Earth.
With that, he and Freedom charged straight at the machine that could be very well their last opponent.
To be continued…
Author's notes:
I know, I know. I left everyone on the edge wondering when I'll make the chapter, but hey, I'm just a college student here, and I still have priorities! Enough babbling from me, now. The situation is about to heat up as Kyo and Freedom square off with their latest enemy Dominion, and the final chapter of GunDread SEED is about to come in to it's conclusion. The former Yamato is about to enter the most intense battle of his life, and the crew of the Nirvana is about to learn to set aside their differences and work side by side, if they all want to see their home-planets and live through this disaster.
The Dominion is a fusion of both the Freedom and the Gundam Epyon from Gundam Wing. It's only difference is that it's armed with a pair of beam boomerangs similar to the Sword Strike Gundam, which boost it's lethal arsenal. It's not piloted by a human or even by a biological CPU, instead it's piloted by a learning tactical computer similar to the Mobile Doll system. Unlike the Epyon, it's not above using it's ranged arsenals to gain victory. And most of it's weapons are in par with Freedom, thus making it an evil counterpart of Freedom. It's armed with Phase Shift Armor, that's been upgraded to have some protection from beam attacks, but it won't have the same deflecting and nullifying properties of the Freedom's Prominence Phase Shift Armor.