Mobile Suit Gundam Fan Fiction / Gundam Wing Fan Fiction / Gundam SEED Fan Fiction ❯ Mobile Suit Gundam GGeneration: Dreams ❯ Chapter 9: Destination ( Chapter 9 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 9: Destination
The bridge of the York shook violently. The warning shots from the pursuing EUF Argama-Class ship and its two escorts became deadly volleys of mega particle beams and missiles. Rika was thankful that the York and two remaining Salamis-Class ships still had enough fight in them to speed through the debris field of destroyed battleships and mobile suits. With Siegfried Reinable at the helm of her ship, Rika's nails dug into her seat as she watched him dodge one piece of wreckage after another.
“Jesus!” Reinable yelled and spun the ship's wheel to the right to avoid another mega particle blast.
The York was the second Argama-Class to be built and the engineers felt that an old fashioned wheel would give the helmsman a greater feel for the ship. The design was limited to the York because of the amount of time that the engineers spent tinkering to make the ship respond instantly and to perfect precision. The York's original helmsman loved the wheel and had always handled the ship with care. But when a missile hit below the bridge, he was thrown from the helm and into the ceiling. The impact killed instantly. Rika had no choice except have Reinable replace him.
“Captain!” Hana Trinkov shouted over the rumbling and yells from several members of the crew putting out small fires, “The Southampton is reporting that their engines are losing.”
“Lieutenant Reinable, how long before we're out of this debris field?”
“Five minutes, max.” He replied, looking far into the distance gauging the distance between the debris and the stars, “You could always send out the MS, Captain.”
Rika bit her lip. She knew that sending out MS would be the best strategy but that would mean a direct confrontation with the EUF ships, an order that she thought she would never have to give. She also knew that the derelict ships often contained live ammunition. Even though a stray shot from mega particle cannons might not cause them to explode, but a mini-nuclear explosion from a MS could turn the whole region into a large fireball.
She looked out of the main viewer showing large pieces of rock and metal outside the ship, her eyes suddenly lit up.
“Ensign, send this message to the Southampton and the Shanghai: `Execute hook manoeuvre'.” Hana seemed confused at Rika's order but she carried it out without hesitation. Within seconds, an angry captain began shouting into Hana's ear. She patched it through to Rika's chair receiver.
“Are you out of your mind?!” Teg Nimri, the Captain of the Southampton, yelled, “We lost most of our rear guns and you expect me to go through that plan?”
“Giver her a chance,” the Captain of the Shanghai, Mike Hutter, joined in, “It's less than five minutes till we get out of the field.”
“What about the MS? Can't I at least send out some of my Jegans? My pilots have been complaining non-stop-”
“No.” Rika interrupted, “There's too much of a risk. If just one mobile suit is destroyed, the nuclear explosion would probably cause a chain reaction in those ships and blow us all to bits. That's probably why Captain Calais hasn't sent out his suits either. They want us alive.”
There was a flicker of anger in Teg's eyes. “Well, you better make it quick. I've lost about 10 of my crew already.” He said, cutting the transmission.
Rika put the receiver down and began barking out orders at a feverous pace.
“Paul, increase Minovsky particle broadcast to maximum and charge the forward mega particle cannon to maximum. Hana, keep a continuous laser communications line between us and the Southampton and the Shanghai; notify me of any changes in their status. Lieutenant Reinable, increase speed to maximum, put as much distance between us and the Southampton.”
Teg sank back into his chair and watched the two ships push on ahead through the debris. When the stray beam hit the Southampton's engines, his engineers said that it would only function at 50%.
“Helm, shunt all power to the engines. I want to get out of here as quickly as possible.”
He secured his normal suit's helmet and shut all of the connecting seals. Sitting back and watching the main view screen, he realised that there was nothing he could do but wait.
“Sir, the York and Shanghai are leaving the Southampton behind.”
Captain Calais raised an eyebrow. Something strange is going on. He had transmitted a request for Rika to surrender but the message he got back was strange. Though garbled, Rika mentioned something about the top brass wanting to execute them for a crime they did not commit.
For a long time, he already knew that there was something wrong with the higher ups of the EUF. Oz and the Titans had put a lot of pressure on them to stop the ZAFT threat on Earth after the destruction of the Acteria base. But the EUF was a peacekeeping organisation, not an organisation to commit aggressive action against another nation. Calais had received senseless orders before, but his latest one to capture the renegade Londo Bell Fleet stunned even him. But now wasn't the time to think of the meaning of his orders, there was a mission to complete.
Admiral Bell must have taught her some manoeuvres to use in these situations. He wondered to himself, trying to figure out Rika's strategy. Having only met her once at the EUF Captain's promotion ceremony, his first impression of her was that she was still very green. Following every order she was given to the letter should have made her very predictable but after her little stunt on Grenada, he wasn't too sure.
What is she trying to accomplish by leaving one of her ships behind?
“Helm, increase speed to maximum. Tell the Johannesburg and Cape Town to form up behind us. If they're leaving the Southampton behind, I want to capture it as soon as possible.”
“Aye, sir!” The helmsman replied. Instantly, Calais felt the ship surge forward.
“Sir, Minovsky density increasing past 0.7!” The sensor operator shouted.
Calais looked at the operator, surprised. Rika, what are you trying to do?
“Ignore it. Our target is the Southampton. Stop all weapons fire. Keep your eye on the proximity sensors. Tell the Johannesburg and Cape Town to cease fire too.” Calais ordered, hoping that this wasn't all a very big mistake.
She's got to have something special up her sleeve.
Several uneventful minutes passed by. The space in front of the Okalahoma suddenly cleared revealing a dazzling sea of stars. It was then that Calais realised what Rika was planning.
“Full stop! Bring the engines to full reverse!” He shouted but it was already too late. Several beams sliced through the three ship's engines, crippling them. Calais clung onto his chair's armrest desperately, trying not to be flung around the bridge like a rag doll.
Her plan had worked perfectly. By using the Southampton as bait in luring Calais' ships out at full speed, she managed to trap his fleet with one of the oldest manoeuvres in the book. Using the Minovsky particles to mask their presence, Rika hid the Shanghai and York just beyond the debris field. She predicted that Calais would think too much and did what would have seemed obvious. When Calais' ships exited the field, it only took five seconds for the York and Shanghai to acquire a visual target and took out their engines.
This was the first military strategy that Admiral Bell taught Rika. It was simple and very effective against enemies that want to capture ships.
“Hana, open a laser channel to the Okalahoma.” Rika said picking up the chair receiver again, “Captain Calais, do you need assistance?”
“We're fine, Captain Matsumoto.” Calais' voice said back. The line was filled with interference.
“Are you sure? We can provide you with help if you need it.”
“No, but thank you for offering. You guys just get going to wherever you were going. We won't be following you in this condition. I don't know why Admiral Pasture wanted you dead, but something just doesn't seem right. Go and do whatever you need to do and hopefully we'll meet each other again. Good luck.” The laser channel crackled and went dead.
Rika slumped into her chair in exhausted and surprise. If Captain Calais, one of the loyalist EUF officers, were willing to admit there was some sort of conspiracy in the EUF leadership it would have meant that Admiral Pasture was trying to eliminate them for something.
At least this is over. She thought, trying to stay awake.
“So what now, Mr Reinable?” Sieg Garland wondered out loud. He was standing with Tyan Long Wang and Wiz Ero after being relieved of combat duty on the bridge. There was not really much for him to do now apart from staring at the vast expanse of Lohar Shoal Zone. The large pieces of rock and slabs of metal, unlike the debris field that they had exited an hour ago, made it impossible for ships or mobile suits to enter without being smashed to little pieces.
Having sat through the entire battle in the cockpit of the Moebius Zero, Garland felt restless. Remaining on standby during combat often made pilots very irritable afterwards. With no place for the stored up adrenalin from the anxiety, it was common for fights to break out after missions being scrubbed. Garland cross his arms and leaned against one of the control consoles.
Reinable took out another diskette from his shirt pocket and inserted it into console next to the ship's wheel. He turned to Hana, “Please use laser transmission with the data on this disk to the Southampton and the Shanghai, Ensign. Also tell them to switch to autopilot when they received the data.”
Hana glanced over to Rika for approval. A nod told her to continue.
Switching over to the ship's autopilot, Reinable gave a sigh of relief only to be met a concerned look on Rika's face.
“No need to worry, Captain,” Reinable rubbed his aching shoulders, “The debris in the shoal zone are mostly stationary. Where we are now is the only area of the shoal zone that moves. There are small motors attached to the larger debris. They are linked to our central computer that moves them randomly but also making sure that there is always a path to the centre of the Shoal Zone.”
“So are we…” Rika's fears were still not assuaged.
“Like I said, don't worry Captain. At any given time, there is always an passage that is one kilometre in diameter to allow ships to enter. The data in that disk calculates where that path is and how the path will change. It's perfectly safe so just enjoy the ride.” He smiled, rubbing off a thin film of sweat off his brow, “Now if you'll excuse me, I have to head to the showers. I'm soaking in sweat and you won't want to be near me when I sweat like this.”
Reinable pushed off the floor and floated off the bridge. As he swung past Garland, their shoulders briefly touched. A sudden chill ran down Garland's spine.
Since he was a child, Garland always had an ability to sense other people's `auras'. He guessed that it had something to do with his Newtype powers. He had once read something similar in Zeon Zum Deikun's famous book.
`The human aura is created with one's mind.' The text in the book said, `this aura is a thin veil that encompasses the entire body, a psychic barrier if you will. Ever since the start of recorded history, writers and historians have often talked of the human aura. Some have called it the `Light of the Human Soul' while others have named it `The Mist of the Devil'. Regardless of the name, this aura has never been fully utilised by humans. Medical records have claimed that humans have been born with extrasensory abilities such as the ability to feel danger, strong empathic abilities, predicting the weather etc. In the past, people have named these traits as anomalies. It is in my opinion that these “anomalies” are the result of evolution.'
`Evolution is caused by changes in the environment that an organism lives in. If a trait becomes favourable and allows the species to survive longer, then that trait will be passed onto the next generation. However, in the case of humans, these newly evolved extrasensory abilities were never passed on because our reliance on technology has eliminated the need for us to change with our environment. With the exploration of space and the creation of the colonies, humans discovered the only thing that can be changed in their environment: Gravity.'
`When humans moved out into space and left the gravity of the Earth, our auras were freed from it's influence. Without gravity it became unchained from us. The first generation colonists were the first to notice this change. They felt free and alive. Without gravity holding them down, this newfound freedom was invigorating.'
`When our calendars changed from AD to CY, the second generation of colonists were already born. These colonists would live their whole lives out in the frontiers of space, without ever being influenced by the gravity of our mother planet. It is with this generation, the Newtype phenomena began. A tiny proportion of the colonists began to evolve. Darwin once explained that evolution took thousand of years but he had never dreamed that with the lack of the Earth's gravity, mankind would change so fast. These colonists began to exhibit telepathic abilities. They were able to sense things that normal people could not. But the new abilities were limited and ignored.'
`But when the third generation of colonists were born, these abilities became more apparent and warranted investigation. But the scientists that worked on the new type of humans found nothing that differed them from those who did not have these abilities. Because nothing physical can be found, philosophers have like myself have theorised about the non-physical things. I for one believe that it is the human aura. Without gravity, the aura can extend further and further from the human body. The stronger a person's aura is, the larger area their aura can cover, interacting with another person's aura or even with nature itself. This ability could mean that Newtypes have a greater understanding about their environment and could even lead to possible communication between Newtypes.'
Garland had always thought most of Zeon Zum Deikun's book was ridiculous, but that section on human auras left a distinctive impression upon him. It wasn't until he joined the EUF and piloted a mobile suit did he realise that his senses tell him much more than just people's moods. Potential danger, other pilot's feelings, areas that were safe and those that were not, he felt them all during combat. It was with these abilities that got him into the 1st Tactical Mobile Armour Squadron. Until he met Dena Nadist during the Battle of Acteria he did not realise that he could communicate telepathically.
But what he felt when his shoulder touched Reinable's shoulder wasn't some kind of telepathic connection but some kind of emotion. The coldness was so strong it felt like walking in the Antarctic. Garland gasped in surprise. Thankfully, everyone's attention was on the view screen. He glanced around and was thankful that no one noticed him.
The trip through the Lohar Shoal Zone was uneventful apart from some small fragments of metal and rock bumping into the main bridge's main viewer. The wreckage from ships and colonies thickened as the ship travels deeper into the shoal zone's centre. Suddenly, the debris cleared and collective `wow' rang throughout the bridge.
Spinning magnificently before them were two intact colonies, sparkling in the rays of light that managed to penetrate the dense Shoal Zone.
“Ah, I see we're through.” Everyone spun around to see Reinable walk through the doorway. His hair looked damp and a faint smell of cologne wafted from his EUF uniform. Apparently 15 minutes went by. The bridge crew and the pilots were so focused on the view screen, they had completely lost track of time, “Captain Matsumoto, welcome to what's left of Side 5.”
“You mean…” Rika stammered.
“The only surviving colonies of the One Week War.” Reinable smiled.
Swallowing back the tears, Rika sat up straight on her chair, “Lieutenant Reinable, you have the helm. Take the York, Southampton and Shanghai into dock.”
The council chamber of the AEUG leaders was a large circular room. The marble floor and the white walls gave it the sterile feel of a hospital. A metallic table, raised from the floor, ran the circumference of the room, leaving only a gap for anyone wishing to reach a single table in the centre of the room.
The captains of the Londo Bell ships, the ranking pilots and Garland were sat at a small table in the centre of the room. The AEUG council members were sat around the outer table surrounding them, this made most of the Londo Bell officers uneasy as it reminded them of the trial on Grenada.
“Captain Matsumoto, I'd like to extend our deepest sympathies to the loss of Admiral Londo Bell and the other members of your fleet.” A man in a black AEUG uniform said, “Admiral Bell mentioned you a lot, Captain. He had nothing but praise for you. He had one day hoped to tell you about his connections to the AEUG, being the commander of our modest fleet and all.” The man sighed, “It's just a shame that he is gone. But I must thank you for bringing several of our agents back from Grenada, especially Lieutenant Reinable.”
“Lieutenant Reinable was the one who saved us. I should be the one thanking him for bring us here. You are giving our injured crews medical treatment and repairing our ships. So on behalf of the entire Londo Bell Fleet, I thank you.” Rika stood up and bowed. She spoke with her usual confident voice but Garland, who sat net to her, sensed that she was tired and her mind was preoccupied with something else.
The man in the black uniform beamed broadly, “You're exactly like Londo described. Well, now remains the question of what you're going to do next. I believe Lieutenant Reinable have shown you Londo's message?”
“Well?” The man leaned forward.
Rika paused. She was indeed tired and was having trouble concentrating. But there was one burning thought at the back of her mind, keeping her alert.
“Sir, my crew and I are tired. I think it would be best that we make our decision when we have rested and I have had a chance to discuss it with them.”
The man leaned back with a look of disappointment on his face.
”That's fine, Captain.” Another man, wearing a deep red AEUG uniform said, “We'll reconvene after you have made your decision.”
“Axel…” The man in black moaned.
“Oh be quiet, Rodriguez. They're not going anywhere. Give them as much time as they need.” The rest of the council nodded in approval.
“Thank you.” Rika said, relieved that the meeting was over.
“OK, meeting adjourned. If you and your men would follow Lieutenant Reinable, Captain, he will show you and your crew to the quarters we provided.”
The Londo Bell officers waited until the AEUG council members to leave before being led out by the waiting Siegfried Reinable. Rika walked up to Reinable, who was dressed in the same black uniform as the council member.
“Lieutenant Reinable, I-” She hesitated, something very out of character for her.
“I know, Captain.” Reinable said before she could complete her sentence.
Garland missed the wind most during his time serving on battleships. The rush of air that would blow through your hair and the coolness on your skin couldn't be replicated on board ships. Driving along the colony floor in an open roof ele-car was something he relished. But the feeling of satisfaction was diminished somewhat with the fact that it was Reinable doing the driving and he was actually accompanying Captain Matsumoto somewhere
“I get the distinct impression that you don't trust me.” Reinable eyed Garland through the rear-view mirror, “I'm perfectly able to take the Captain Matsumoto anywhere on the colony and keep her safe at the same time, Captain Garland.”
“You're right, I don't trust you.” Garland grumbled loudly, “Never trusted an agent. Who knows what's going on in that devious mind of yours.”
“You don't want to know, sir”
Garland grunted deeply in reply. He still remembered the icy feeling he got from Reinable onboard the York. Trying not to think about that, he turned his attention to Rika who has been silent throughout the entire trip. Wonder what's going on in her mind?
Garland had no idea of where they were going or what they were going to do when they get there. He just didn't like the idea of Rika going out into an unfamiliar colony alone. Of course the other officers would have offered to take her too but he was the only one still awake when he saw Rika and Reinable walk past him when he decided to do a little exploring around the building that their quarters were situated in. He thought that Rika might have protested when he asked to go with them but she didn't say a word.
The ele-car entered a residential area of the colony. The large trees and green grass planted along the road gave him the feeling being on Earth. As the trees rushed by them, Garland noticed that the houses seemed to be getting larger the further they travel along the road. After a few minutes, the car stopped at a lone two-story house. The red bricks and roof glowed warmly in the sunlight that was reflected into the colony by its mirrors.
“Here you are, Captain Matsumoto.” Reinable stepped out of the car and opened the door for her, “Welcome home.”
Garland felt a wave of happiness from Rika. Tears that she had been fighting back for so long began to flow down her face as she walked towards the house.
“What's going on?” Garland got out of the ele-car and leaned against it.
“You don't know?” Reinable gave him a surprised look.
Garland shook his head. “Well, how old do you think Captain Matsumoto is?” Reinable said, cross his arms.
“Twenty five?” He whispered, making sure Rika wouldn't hear him.
“Twenty four, but you were close.” Reinable's smile was replaced with a serious look, “It's been ten years since the Battle for Lohar. From what I heard from Admiral Bell, she was one of the lucky ones to escape from Side 5 before it was nearly wiped out. Her parents on the other hand, weren't as lucky. Their transport got caught up in the battle.”
“So this is her childhood home?” Garland finally realised why he saw her eyes shine when she saw the colony on the York.
Reinable nodded, “For fourteen years. Once Admiral Bell knew this used to be Rika's home and ordered it to be kept in pristine condition.” He looked up into the sky, his eyes followed an ele-car on the colony wall beyond the clouds, “These two colonies seemed to have God watching out for them. They were the only ones to have survived that battle. No one knows why the debris from the destroyed colonies became attracted to these colonies and formed a barrier, protecting them from the battle.”
“So are both colony used to house the people here?” Garland watched Rika wonder around the house, walking across the newly cut lawn.
Reinable ran his hands through his hair, “No. Only one is used. The other colony has been sealed and has been designated a no-go zone.”
“Is that so?”
“But the reason is classified.” Reinable cut in before Garland could ask something else.
Rika returned to the ele-car. There were silver trails down her cheek from the tears.
“Don't you want to go inside? It's yours. I have the keys right here.” Reinable asked, surprised that she was back so soon. Rika wiped the tears from her eyes with a handkerchief.
“No.” She took a deep breath, “I still have my duties to perform. I'll come back when I'm on shore leave.
“Very well, Captain.” Reinable shrugged and jumped into the driver's seat. Rika and Garland sat in the back. The car sped back towards the military section of the colony.
“Captain Garland,” Rika's voice sounded hoarse.
“Call me Sieg.”
“Alright, Sieg. I just want to thank you. Though you had nothing to do with the Londo Bell Fleet, you stood by us. Even when we escaped, you could have left us and went home, yet you came with us. I don't know why you did it, but I'm glad you're here.” She put her hand on his.
Garland sat there, completely rigid. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. His eyes shifted to the right and saw Rika fast asleep; her head leaned against the headrest. He wanted to move his hands but he was afraid that it would wake Rika. Then he saw Reinable looking at them in the rear-view mirror. Garland's eyes widened, as if telling Reinable that if he told anyone what he saw here, he would be murdered in the most horrific way and no one would ever find his body.
Reinable just grinned in reply and turned his attention back to the road.
Vionne Temps and Alden Campbell shuffled along the passageways of the giant Oz space fortress Barge. After being suspended from missions for a week, both of them were less than eager to return to duty. The encounter with the winged fighter, which later turned out to be a MS, had left them shaken. As if being reprimanded by their squadron CO wasn't enough, they had lost their bonus from being promoted. Luckily, they kept their promotion and were still Second Lieutenants.
Walking through their CO's door, the two of them saluted. Their CO was of Indian decent. He was bald and the light was reflecting off his head. The pilots had always joked about how his head would give him away during battle but Vionne and Alden were too nervous to find the shimmering dome humorous.
The CO looked up at the two pilots and stopped writing his report on his computer.
“Do the both of you feel that you are ready for another mission?”
Vionne and Alden gave him a small nod.
“I said are the two of you ready for another mission?!” He said again except this time shouting at the top of his voice.
“YES, SIR!” Was the reply.
“Good.” The CO's voice went back to normal, “I want you two to escort the transport carrying First Lieutenants de la Norrio and de la Bretonne to Earth. Their prototype Geminass mobile suits are to be tested in gravity conditions. It's a simple escort mission, so don't screw it up.” He threw a file at Vionne and returned to typing his report.
Guessing that they were dismissed, Vionne and Alden saluted and hurried out of the CO's room.