Gundam SEED Fan Fiction ❯ Operation Strikeback ❯ Assimilation ( Chapter 18 )

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Chapter 18- Assimilation
Footnote: I think I should explain this part. The Distorted Shrine is the actual name of the place where you battle CB-99 Bradtos in the game. It's a creepy looking kind of shrine with runic symbols all over the place. As for Bradtos, 3 things- a large crystal core, and two humongous shells of impenetrable armor. In the game itself, you can deal absolutely NO damage to Bradtos while the armor protects the crystal. The annoying part is, Bradtos is totally symmetrical, meaning that its weapons appear on all four sides, allowing it to attack wherever you place yourself. Alright... that's enough spoilers for now. If you really wanna see this monster or any of the other VR's so far, I suggest you look up the website for clues. And yes... I don't own Cyber Troopers or Gundam Seed (And definitely not the website).
Flanking Bradtos from the two sides, the Justice and Freedom began pounding on the armor of Bradtos. But however much they tried, nothing could pierce the armor. Even slashing at the armor directly doesn't help.
“Kira!” Athrun called out to him.
“I know... we aren't doing any damage at all.”
But choosing to remain calm instead, Kira fired the cannons at the armor continuously, but the effort was useless. From all corners, Bradtos focused fire vulcan guns at them, keeping them constantly on the move. Occasionally deploying rail lasers to keep them in mid air for easy targets. Kira tried to shred the rail lasers away but had to move under constant assault from the vulcan. Athrun on the other hand, separated his backpack as a distraction to Bradtos while attacking the armor as well. Again for Kira, with no visible results of his efforts, decided to aim for the weapon launchers. Firing at full force, the weapons were hit, but seem undamaged.
“!!!” Kira was surprised again.
“We're in big trouble now.” Athrun concluded.
Suddenly, as if afraid of something, Bradtos moved itself quickly towards the center of the area and slowly, the two armor cores began to separate, revealing the crystal.
“Kira! There's our opportunity!” Athrun said.
They both started pounding on the crystal core as much as they could but a huge machine like Bradtos remained unflinched. When the armor shells completely opened, it launched multiple beam attacks from the crystal core, overwhelming the duo as they approached. No matter how good Athrun and Kira were, it was impossible to dodge an all-out in a small area. But at best, they shielded as much as they could. The core than began to close again, as Kira and Athrun fired a few more bursts to hit the core. Closed, Bradtos again began its cycle of attacks once more, allowing Kira to realise something. Before he could say anything, Bradtos discharged a strange array of disk-shaped lasers, Kira was confused for a second and tried dodging the strange attacks. But a second array had hit him in advance and Kira stumbled on the impact. The Justice with his shield came in defense and pulled the Freedom out.
“Athrun. It seems like Bradtos is merely a form of Virtuaroid that repeats its programmed attack mode over and over again. That means, if we wait after each cycle, the core should open up to attack again.” Kira concluded.
“Yeah, but each time that happens, we take a considerable number of hits. We have to act fast and hard or we're really finished here.” Athrun responded.
Again, the core began to open up on them, with Kira and Athrun wasting no time, and pounding like artillery on the crystal. Although damage was visibly dealt to the crystal, they had no idea how much more they had to keep the attacks up. The crystal core had enough and closed again, commencing a new wave of attacks.
“Athrun, my reactor is at 48% stability... I don't know if I can last much longer here.”
“Mine's at 63%, but I'm taking considerable hits everywhere.”
“... Any plans Athrun?”
“... No...”
Bradtos began to react different, now, it cringed its huge body together and floated in mid-air, slowly spinning and firing masses of vulcan rounds had them. Annoyed, Athrun tried to conduct a close combat slash at the vulcan gun, but his lance was repelled by the thick armor. The gun suddenly aimed directly at the Justice and fired at it. Athrun was pushed back with his shield in place and blasted off somewhere else.
“You ok Athrun?”
“Ya... I'm ok.” said Athrun breathing heavily.
Fatigue was beginning to run them down. And adjusting to the new attack modes was difficult. To add to distraction, every step Bradtos took with those massive legs sent ripples of shockwaves across the battlefield that even Kira and Athrun could feel. With legs so huge, nothing would survive being crushed by the monstrosity.
Opening once again, the core launched a new style of laser strikes. This time, the lasers streamed out like a machine gun making the assault blindingly fast and difficult to predict. Kira stayed in place beside Athrun preparing his cannons to fire. He was able to phase out a number of beams but a few placed direct hits on the Freedom and threw him off guard.
“Ugh!” Kira accidentally misfired lasers into the roof of the shrine.
“Kira you alright?” recovering the Freedom with the shield defending them.
“This is getting too tough Athrun...”
“You seem hurt Kira, but bear with it. I'm here with you.”
Kira gazed at the Freedom's reactor's power output and saw “19%” etched into the display screen, the panel was beginning to flash a red light.
“This may be our last chance Athrun, let's give it our best.”
Recalling his backpack, Athrun decided to switch to close combat mode and charged the twin lance to full power. Blasting off first to distract Bradtos, Kira readied the Igelsterns and Xiphias, making sure he had a clean lock on the core. Athrun still circling Bradtos dived as low as he could to avoid the attacks. But the rail lasers would counter back at his plan. Finally noticing the core beginning to open again, Athrun discharged as much power as possible into the twin lance, and tossed it like a boomerang into the narrow space, striking the core hard and fast. The impact sent huge bolts of energy flying and Kira himself was ready for his own move. This was his final chance to attack and he readied the charges on the cannons, focused the cannons at one point and sent a huge concentrated bolt flying at the core. The beams connected producing a huge flash that almost blinded Athrun, as he watched the laser strike the core with unbelievable force, a ring of energy discharging upon impact and rumbling the whole battlefield. The crystal core began to discharge beams of light as it became unstable. The legs of the armor shell began to collapse under its own weight, and the shrine as well. The shrine changed back into the warp zone and Bradtos, with its armor shell disintegrated and the crystal beginning to shatter. Then, a strange message they could not understand suddenly flashed across the HUD in their cockpits.
“Warning!... Warning!... Gate Field Intervention, Critical Mass Instability!”
Kira and Athrun knew it meant big trouble, but they had no solutions to this problem. Just then, a sudden warp hole appeared above them, and Ajim's robotic voice patched into their comm receivers.
“Take this warp out the shrine now! The Distorted Shrine is collapsing and you have to hurry out of there!”
Doing as he said, they entered the warp and it closed on them just in time, sealing them off from the danger zone. Halfway through the journey to where the warp would take them to, Ajim patched in again and they saw two glowing spheres infusing into their Mobile Suits. Kira and Athrun were surprised, as their reactor power began to restore itself to full operational strength, with their weapon systems cooling down rapidly to good condition.
“As you have witnessed, I am a Virtuaroid capable of being a support or attacker. Right now, I'm taking you back to where you fought Specineff in this world. It'll be a while so just... Gah... Argh!!!”
“Ajim!?” Kira and Athrun asked in unison.
Inside their cockpits, the alarm light was flashing rapidly and another cryptic message spanned across their HUD's. To a stranger effect, an “eye” image dominated all of their display panels
“Warning!!!... ... Warning!!!... ... Warning!!!... ... System Assimilation!...”
“What the?... My controls won't respond!” Kira said.
“Whatever this is, It's taking control of our Mobile Suits!” Athrun spoke in anxiety.
In a matter of seconds, the two Mobile Suits disappeared from within the warp zone...
Footnote: In this context, “assimilation” means to integrate into the systems and take control. Next, is the final chapter. What do you think would happen. Got the time? Then don't let yourself hold back too long. Read on! (And I do hope you readers could throw in a few reviews for me thereafter? Be it good or bad remarks, just let me know anyway. I'm a first-timer after all)