Mobile Suit Gundam Fan Fiction / Gundam Wing Fan Fiction / Gundam SEED Fan Fiction ❯ Mobile Suit Gundam GGeneration: Dreams ❯ Chapter 14: Curtain's Rise ( Chapter 14 )

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

Chapter 14: Curtain's Rise
Strass on the Karaba kitchen floor with the top half of his body covered in purple powder when Syuu walked in.
“What are you doing?”
Strass tried to answer but as soon as he opened his mouth, he sucked in a large amount of powder, which sent him into a coughing fit.
“Help me…!” He yelped in between throaty coughs.
Seeing his fellow pilot writhing on the floor, Syuu felt only one emotion: joy. It was about time the loud mouthed and bad mannered clown got what was coming to him. He knelt beside the choking teenager and rubbed his finger along his cheek.
“Powdered paint,” Syuu said, examining the purple substance, “Shame that it's not toxic, but it does dye everything except skin. You weren't trying to raid the pantry for food, were you?”
Strass ignored the question. He had stopped choking but now his eyes were watering uncontrollably. He managed to mouth the words `help me' again but Syuu kept his indifferent expression.
“I don't know. I think I'll pass on that.”
“What the hell…?!”
Syuu walked over to the jarred pantry door, took out two tins of canned peaches and walked back over to Strass, placing one tin by his side. He then moved his hand slowly along the wall and then yanking hard on a hidden wire. It exposed a pulley system hidden behind a system of strategically placed mirrors. Strass watched in awe as Syuu continued to dismantle the trap until all was left was the wire and pulleys.
Retrieving the small tools and gadgets from the trap, he knelt beside Strass again and said, “You're not the only one who's been raiding this pantry. So since we are partners in crime, there's an ancient proverb you should always remember: The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Several days later
Classical music provided a nice working environment for James Harris especially when the task was a simple patrol. He pressed a button on the right hand control panel and a live map of the entire area was displayed in front of him. The first thing he noticed was a three-truck convoy currently heading towards Gate 24, a gate that led directly into a dense forest.
Southampton city was completely obliterated during the Zeon War thanks to the carpet bombings by the Federation, which left the southern coast of England resembling Mars. The city itself was partially reconstructed before the outbreak of World War III and was utterly levelled again. A decision was made when the new Oz government was formed that only the Oz Headquarters for Strategic Naval Aviation Ports, or OHSNAP as its personnel affectionately calls it, would remain and the remaining area that was Southampton city would be bulldozed over and made into the Southern England Memorial Forest.
James had always loved being posted in Southampton back in his days as a Lieutenant, to be able to wonder out into the woods without a care in the world and return to work utterly refreshed. Mason Graves, however, held a different opinion about the forest area. He saw it as a perfect point of entry for militants to enter into the base. Plus the genetically engineered trees were tall enough to cover an entire mobile suit.
Putting the red Leo's arm on James' Tallgeese, Mason initiated skin talk.
“Do you think we should check out those MS transports?” He said.
Bringing up a video-feed from a security camera near Gate 24, James studied the drivers of the mobile suit transports, noticing that they were all rather young for pilots.
“Were the guys of the Peeler Team always that young? Hey, Marigbo,” He opened a comm. channel to Marigbo, “You were part of that team before you transferred to St. Helena, what do you think?”
“That team is basically a training team for newly graduated cadets,” Marigbo answered swiftly, “I wouldn't be surprised if our best and brightest are about their age, sir.”
“How old are you, Marigbo?” Mason asked, despite it having no importance on the conversation.
“Twenty-five in August, sir…I mean Mason.” He was still used to addressing Mason as `sir', despite their ranks now being the same after his promotion.
“Damn, seven years younger than me. You kids are taking over.” Mason chuckled to himself, oblivious to the fact that no one was laughing with him.
“Enough chatter. Those transports are the responsibility of the gate guards. Let's move onto the next waypoint. We got to cover the perimeter by noon.”
The three square panel-eyed mobile suits continued onwards, their heavy steps shook the ground without leaving a mark.
“Your ID please, sir.” An Oz corporal with a sub-machine gun slung over his shoulder ordered. Parith produced the document from the breast pocket of his Oz uniform and handed over to the man without uttering a word. He was hoping that this infiltration would go without much kafuffle, wishing silently that Josh and Strass would keep their mouths shut.
The three mobile suit transport convoy was now parked outside of Gate 24 with the Oz guards inspecting them closely. The Heavyarms, Deathscythe and G-Cannon was covered with green Leo armour to fool the casual observer but if any of the soldiers that were inspecting their transports were mobile suit enthusiasts, then they would have a problem.
“What happened to your hair, sir?” A private peered at Strass' newly acquired black and purple hair.
“A prank.” Strass grunted.
“I'm sorry to hear that, sir.” The private said and cleared him to enter the base, “Proceed to hangar 32A to prepare your MS there, sir.”
Strass saluted and followed the two transports in front of him inside the huge base.
“That was easy.” Joshed voice came through the hidden earpiece rather loudly, which made Strass jump and almost lose control of the transport.
“Don't speak so loud!” He replied loudly into the microphone hidden in the collar of his brown uniform, hoping to rupture Josh's eardrum.
“Sounds fine to me.” Josh and Parith both replied. Strass then remembered it was Syuu who issued them the earpieces.
I'm so gonna kick his ass when we get back.
As soon as the three transports reached the hangar, the three of them began frantically removing the fake Leo armour from their mobile suits, readying them for the upcoming battle.
Inside the arrivals lounge, Riken Holm, Silvia Tyme and an entourage of other high-ranking Oz officers and diplomats all eagerly watched as a large white passenger transport touchdown and taxi towards them.
“Don't forget to smile, your Excellency.” Silvia said, noting the rather noticeable frown upon Riken's face.
Turning around to his secretary, Riken forced a crooked smile that made Silvia let out a small laugh. Covering her mouth with her hand, she coughed and regained her composure. It was then Riken discretely put his arm around her waist. She gasped silently but made no attempts to push him away. He had never made any advances on her before, not even during their frequent dinners together. She wished he would though. Their relationship had always been rumoured within the ranks of Oz and Oz Prize, but no one dared speak about it openly. Silvia once caught someone gossiping about her, the woman found herself on a lone two-year mission to Antarctica.
For the occasion, Silvia had tied her usual waist length hair upwards into a bundle. Initially it made Riken uncomfortable but he seemed to have gone with the flow.
Riken leaned over to her and whispered, “Silvia, do you trust me?”
“Yes, I do.” She answered without hesitation.
“Will you follow me, even if it means betraying Oz?” He asked, removing his hand from her hips. The plane stopped in front of the terminal, the faces of the delegates inside can be clearly seen through the planes' numerous windows.
“Yes I will,” She said, “I am loyal to you, your Excellency, not to anyone else.”
“Thank you, Miss Tyme.” Riken said with a smile. He ran his gloved hand through his hair and stepped forwards to greet the men disembarking the plane.
One of the older gentlemen walked forwards and shook his hand, “I hope that the talks today will be productive, General Riken.”
“As do I, Council Member Humbert. These talks between Oz, the EUF and Titans are a must for the future of the human race.” Riken answered with the same crooked smile as before Humbert failed to notice. He led the group towards Miss Tyme whom then guided to the main conference hall.
The Oz officer in control over all sensor and communication functions in the control tower at the base was bored. There were Minovsky particles scattered around the entire area made his readings unreliable thus making his usual job utterly useless. Apart from hearing the odd laser transmission, there was nothing he could really do.
With the onset of Minovsky particles and mobile suits, previous generations of weapons were relegated to the back lines of combat. Fighter jets that used radar guided missiles were useless and their low calibre machineguns useless against the new breed of armour developed in outer space. However, because of Minovsky Particles, a whole new set of weaponry was developed parallel to Mobile Suits.
Wire-guided missiles were one of the many new inventions introduced to modern military warfare. With the guidance system linked directly to the main vehicle itself, all it required was for one of the vehicle operators to steer the missile through the wire. This meant that missiles became smarter with less wastage with the only limitation being fuel and the amount of wire that was available. There was a sizable contingent of wire-guided missile launchers, helicopters and two-man fighters on the base in addition to the large mobile suit contingent.
“This is-…-three-nine requesting-…-damaged by rebels-…-need emergency landing-…”
“What the?” He was jerked out of his semi-sleeping state. Switch on the main headset, he listened carefully to the crackling message coming through to his station.
“This is C-two-three-nine-…-emergency landing-…-wing damaged by-…-losing fuel-…”
Pulling off the headphones, he called over the duty officer for confirmation.
“C-two-three-nine?” The captain pondered, “Wasn't that the transport that left yesterday for Munich? They aren't due back for another two days. See if you can clear up the sensor resolution, I want to see where they are.”
The communications officer tapped several buttons on his keyboard and the interference on the electronic map cleared slightly.
“There it is. 100 miles out. It's coming in through the…Atlantic? I thought they were going to Munich?”
“They were, sir.” The communications officer replied, just as confused.
“Can we communicate with them?” The captain looked around him, thinking of a way to deal with the situation.
“I tried already, sir. But they are not responding.”
“How long before they reach the base?”
“One hour and three minutes, sir.”
Sighing heavily, the captain picked up the telephone receiver next near to him. The conversation took about 2 minutes before he put the telephone down again.
“We're to let them land.”
“What if this is a trap?” The communications officer questioned the captain.
“If it was, I won't be responsible. This order came directly from his Excellency himself,” He replied, “Clear runway 4 for them but keep runway 1, 2 and 3 blocked. Keep them as far away from the conference as possible.”
The bridge of the Raw buzzed with excited chatter and frequent status reports as Project Angel began its final checks.
“One hour and twenty minutes until maximum TPF!”
“Pods 1 to 600 set and ready!”
“Quarter speed on Angel confirmed!”
Sophia was in her reserved seat on the Raw that overlooked the entire bridge with High Admiral Hue, the highest-ranking officer of the entire Neo Zeon military, occupying the captain's chair. He was with several lower Generals and Admirals of the Neo Zeon Military who were dressed in traditional Zeon uniforms. Tai Yang stood beside Sophia and remained silent while everyone else on the bridge seemed unable to do the same.
“Power regulators and TPF capacitors are A-OK!” Adun Weich shouted over the hubbub so that Joseph Fin could hear him.
“Roger!” he shouted back in reply. At least we can hear each other, brother.
True. Nicholas was sat near the main controls of the Angel, scanning over each electronic report that came through to his console for any errors. If this goes according to plan, brother, we'll be one step closer.
Here's to the success of Neo Zeon.
Sophia stood up and stepped down from her high raised chair. Tai Yang instinctively raised his hands up and helped her down despite there being no gravity to worry about.
“Admiral Hue, how long before we enter effective range?” She asked, her voice held a tone of authority, unlike her normal voice.
“One hour and twenty-two minutes, m'lay.” He looked at his watch before answering.
“Very well, Major Long, please can you connect me to every ship in the Raw Fleet.”
Tai Yang returned thirty seconds later with a wireless microphone and handed it to her.
“This is Sophia Cognant to all ships in the Raw Fleet.” Her voice boomed powerfully out of the Raw's PA system, like the other 37 battleships and numerous support ships that followed the Angel, “Project Angel will become active in one hour and twenty- minutes. I pray for the success of the operation as well as for the safety of everyone in this fleet. We of Neo Zeon have worked hard during these past nine years for a chance to finally rebuild our proud nation and now, we shall see to it that our work will not go to waste. I have longed for the day to see our people return home, today, we will see that dream become a reality. Everyone, not only in the Raw Fleet, but those who are protecting our surrogate homeland, will be remembered, for this day shall be recorded as the day that Zeon returned HOME!”
Cheers can be heard from deep within the ship and soon, the bridge crew began cheering too. The cheer soon changed to a chant:
“Seig Zeon! Long Live Queen Cognant! Seig Zeon! Long Live Queen Cognant!”
Handing over the microphone to Tai Yang, Sophia returned to her seat.
“Admiral Hue, I hope you will enjoy this demonstration.” She said, in her normal sweet voice and a smile that would melt the hearts of all men.
Admiral Hue saluted, as did the entire bridge staff. “YES, YOUR HIGHNESS!”
Tai Yang returned beside her chair, resuming his silent guard duty. Sophia leaned over and whispered in his ear, “So, how do you think I did?”
Without moving, he whispered back, “A bit melodramatic, but it did the trick.”
She knew he was joking, but she pouted nonetheless to show her dissatisfaction at his reply; Tai Yang smiled at Sophia's reaction. Unknown to them, High Admiral Hue was watching them carefully in the corner of his eye.
The circular conference hall felt like a circus to Riken. Countless treaties and agreements have been signed in this hall since the rise of Oz yet every single one of them felt like a joke. Sat next to him was Silvia and the Oz foreign minister, Jaques de Vent. Despite the difference of opinion between the military and civilian government, the two of them are good friends and their policies are agreed on a professional basis.
The conference hall was divided into sections, where each delegation had its own section. The Oz members sat at the very top while the Titans were to their right. The EUF delegation occupied the rest of the sections below because of the sheer number of people from different countries that were not part of Oz or Titans.
“Riken,” Jaques elbowed his former Eton and Cambridge classmate in the arm, “You made any moves on you-know-who?” He kept his voice was low so that only Riken would hear him.
“No.” Riken grunted while jutting his head towards Silvia sitting next to him. Jaques leaned back and saw the usual long hair being bunched up made him realise that the person he thought was an interning secretary was actually Silvia. His eyes widened and sprang forward again, hoping that she didn't hear him.
On the podium down below the audience, a lone fifty-ish and greying man walked in from behind the stage. He eyed the audience before him; some were in a multitude of different coloured suits while most wore military uniforms. He quickly glanced at the black uniforms of the Titan delegation, the Oz representatives and the entire EUF council, who sat closest to the stage. Clearing his throat, he began to speak.
“As most of you know, my name is Otis Humbert, the newly Secretary General of the Earth United Federation. If you did not know be before, now you do.” He paused for laughter a laughter that never came, “We, ladies and gentlemen, are at a crossroads. ZAFT's military power and allies in Space and on Earth rivals that of Oz, Titans and EUF. At this point in the war, we have lost significant strategic positions in Africa and several countries in the Middle East. But as we speak, a Titans push in Australia has resulted in three footholds in the western coast area.”
The piece of information caused a bit of a stir amongst the Oz and EUF members of the audience. There were murmurings about how the attack would look on the wider international community while others were worried about implications with Orb and future relations with ZAFT. The Titan section remained silent.
“Listen to them,” Jaques leaned over to spoke in Riken's ear, “This is the reason why we are losing. They are all worrying about their own backsides rather than for the good of the people.”
Riken nodded in agreement and then looked at his watch, it read half-past ten in the morning.
Wouldn't be long now. He thought to himself.
He tapped Silvia's shoulder and whispered something in her ear that was out of earshot of everyone else. She quickly stood up and took her leave.
“Where's she going?” Jaques said to Riken over the noise, his eyes fixed on her firm buttocks.
“I told her to go to the main control tower to take care of some things. And I wouldn't do that, they say that she has eyes in the back of her head.” Riken replied, turning his head to watch Otis waiting for the auditorium to quiet down.
“I don't care,” He said, staring until she left through the door, “I want to get my fill before she ships me off to the Arctic.”
Otis stood patiently at the podium until the audience fall silent.
“Despite the different policies that our respective governments have had, we have always strived for peace within the Earth-Moon System.” He began again, “I believe that ZAFT and the other nations who are not represented by the EUF would agree too. The human race have been at war for far too long and it is in my opinion that it is up to us, the delegates sitting in this room, to end it.”
“How many people have died so far in wars during the past decade? Over five billion people wiped out during the Zeon War, twenty-two million died in World War Three and how many will die on the battlefield in this war? People's sons and daughters are dying out there, brothers fighting brothers, sisters fighting sisters. It is up to us in this room to end the endless cycle of the war. You have read the agenda for this meeting and I don't think you would be here if you did not believe what I propose will work. We need unilateral disarmaments of our militaries.”
The EUF and Oz sections gave out a resounding round of applause while the Titan section remained quiet. Riken cast a side glanced at Jaques, who was now leaning forwards, ready to listen to what Otis had to say. Riken remembered Jaques going on anti-war and armament protests in Vienna, then the capital of the Earth Federation, and how his thesis outlined a plan towards future peace, which was why the Oz lower parliament appointed him foreign minister.
“We need to outline what we all must do in order to bring about peace. I am sure you have already gave thought to this on your way here, so I will let the Titan delegation to address this problem first.”
A smartly dressed middle-aged man stood up from within the mass of black uniforms and dark coloured suits.
“Sir, if I may be so blunt as to say that this is insane.” His words echoed around the conference hall, causing a wave of nodding within the Titan section, “Peace may be our final goal but let us not forget that it is ZAFT who began their invasion of our territory.”
“Oh, please,” Jaques blurted out loudly, “We all know that it was the Jenius Seven incident that began this war. And we all know who is responsible for that.”
“We reacted to a very real threat against the Earth. Co-ordinators gaining access to nuclear, chemical and biochemical weaponry was a step too far. The EUF failed to act on our information. We did.” He retorted.
“And what did you do to find those weapons? Launch a nuke into the centre of an agricultural colony! We found no nuclear weapons on any Co-ordinator colony yet you acted on your misinformation! What is the point on being on the EUF council if you are just going to do things without consulting us?” One of the female EUF delegates of oriental decent shouted.
The Titan man's narrowed his eyes at the distant head below him, “If the EUF council had allowed us to conduct our own searches, rather than the joke that was the report compiled by your investigators, the Jenius Seven incident would not have occurred.”
The woman opened her mouth but Otis spoke before she had a chance to say anything, “Gentlemen, ladies, please! Let's not forget the reason why this conference was called. We are here to discuss how we should outline a roadmap for peace. If the Titan delegate does not have any contributions that is RELEVANT to the subject at hand, then please allow the Oz delegates to speak.”
The Titan officer sat down and Jaques sprang up, ready to shine.
“The problem of bringing about peace has always been one of Oz's main concerns. Our citizens do not wish to live in a climate of fear. After much discussion with the Oz lower commons and upper parliament, the only way that we can see how we can avoid future conflicts is to hand over more military power to the EUF.”
Riken sighed silently at those words. He was surprised that Oz's upper and lower parliament approved Jaques to express his thoughts on behalf of the Oz nation, until he read that Jaques was added to Operation Darling. The operation hinged on the media broadcasting that the meeting was for Oz officials, disguised as a security measure.
“I think that we are all aware how much influence the EUF has over every nation in the Earth-Moon System, which of course includes ZAFT,” He continued, “We are distributing our resources towards the EUF in a symbolic gesture to show our willingness to trust others, but how can we allow others to trust us when we are pointing our guns at them at the same time? Shunting more troops into the EUF have not helped in this war and was proven to not have worked during the Zeon War. What we need is unilateral demilitarisation.”
A round of applause could be heard from the EUF section, with the Titan section giving off a few slow claps. The Titan representative stood up again,
“If we are to demilitarise, what guarantee that others will follow the same path? We use our military for self-defence and to guarantee our nation's safety, but if that power disappears from all hands, then how are we to defend ourselves against other threats?”
“Yes, that is true,” Jaques responded, “We have no guarantee that ZAFT would follow us, but we must show them that we have changed and are not the same powers that took control to end World War Three. If we show no hostile intentions, they will not have to reciprocate. If no one has the power to use their military power to inflict damage on others, there will be no more wars..”
Another round of applause resonated around the conference hall. Otis held up his hand and the conference hall fell silent again.
“I believe that the majority of representatives in this room would agree with Mr de Vent's words. Does anyone have anything else to add?” He said. Looking around, the hall was still, “The reallocation of resources unilateral demilitarisation will be difficult but with the right convictions and our collective resolution, I believe that we can achieve this goal much sooner than we anticipate. Therefore, I propose that Resolution 332 will be to agree upon the steady decline of each nations' military might under the supervision of the EUF where-”
A huge rumble shook the dust on the ceiling down onto the delegates below. A soldier ran into the conference hall and made a beeline to Riken. He whispered something that Jaques couldn't make out into Riken's ear before dashing out again.
Riken stood up and addressed the conference hall, “Ladies and gentlemen, the base has come under attack. I would like everyone to remain calm as we evacuate each section to our specially prepped jets for this situation.”
Flying in low, Syuu's Wing Gundam in Bird Mode dropped Aislin's Blue Hyau Shiki in the middle of the base before ascending again. She was quickly joined by a team of Maganacs and began firing at nearby buildings and anything that moved. On the other side of the base, the Heavyarms and G-Cannon began their barrage while the Deathscythe provided close-range cover.
All hell was breaking out inside the base itself. The C239 transport that was seen earlier by the control tower was actually a transport filled with Maganac troops while the Wing Gundam and Zeta A1 shadowed close to it to mask themselves from the Oz sensors. As soon as they were over near the Oz base, visual lookouts saw the two flying mobile suits and reported it to the control tower. Syuu took both out with a shot from his buster rifle.
Looking down at the ensuing chaos, Syuu tried to find his target. His eyes passed over the rows of fighters and transports that were lined up near the base's hangars while letting his sensors determine what they were. Streams of numbers flashed before his eyes, each of them registering in his mind and were remembered. He opened a comm. channel to Aislin, knowing that thanks to the surprise attack, no one would be concentrating on enemy transmissions.
“Miss Blair, I can't tell which of the planes is the target. I need more time.”
“Roger that.” She answered and began skin-talk with the Maganacs, “Listen up! We'll need to hold out for a few more minutes. The targets have yet to be sighted. Tell Tim we'll need continuous air-support while Syuu do more sweeps. I'll…bastard!”
A red Leo suddenly leapt up in the distance and fired machinegun shots into Aislin's group. The Maganacs scattered quickly, but one of them was hit in the cockpit by a stray bullet and fell to the ground. Ducking behind a building, Aislin hoped that it would shield her from any bullets, but instead found herself dashing along the runway as a blue Leo began pelting her with machinegun fire. Firing her backpack's thrusters, the Hyaku Shiki jumped into the sky and arced across the runway. As the Leo continued firing, Aislin spun around in midair and fire her beam rifle in the Leo's general direction. The enemy Leo sidestepped to avoid the shot but she pushed her engines to the maximum, kicked off a nearby and rebounded towards the blue Leo, firing her beam rifle.
Her senses already hyperactive, Harriet stamped down on the Leo R's pedal and barely had time to avoid the beams and watched as the Hyaku Shiki plunged straight into a building. A plume of smoke erupted upwards as the building collapsed and disappeared into the dust. Without hesitating, Harriet kept pumping more and more bullets into the dust cloud until she emptied her clip.
Checking that the other Maganacs were busy with other Leos and Aires that managed to get out of the hangars, she drew the Leo's beam lance and waited for the Hyaku Shiki to jump out at her. When the dust blew away, there was nothing but rubble. Confused, she stepped forwards and peered at the gigantic pile of rubble before leaping upwards to avoid pillars of beam energy coming from beneath the rubble and from the distance.
As the Leo R rocketed upwards, the Hyaku Shiki erupted out of the rubble and charged towards it with its beam sabre pointed directly at Harriet's cockpit door. Harriet brought Leo's arm around, only to realise that in the confusion, she had dropped her beam lance. Panicking, she decided to cut her boosters and dive straight at Aislin. Extending the Leo's arm in front of the cockpit, the Hyaku Shiki's beam sabre penetrated straight through the hand and into the shoulder. Before Aislin could do anything, the Leo grabbed the hilt of the Hyaku Shiki's beam sabre and yanked free from its hand. Mashing her hand on a nearby panel, Harriet ejected the Leo's right arm, which promptly exploded, sending pieces of metal everywhere.
Touching the ground with a thump, Harriet barely had time to breathe before having to dive out of the way from a splattering of Vulcan fire from above. Believing that the person she was fighting was a stamina monster, she desperately searched for her beam lance as she dodged fire from the Hyaku Shiki that landed 200 meters away. When she moved around another building that already had a hole made through it by a beam rifle shot, she saw a beam tomahawk lying beside a Maganac mobile suit missing its upper torso.
The Leo R pounced upon the tomahawk and threw it at the Hyaku Shiki. Aislin blew it apart easily with her Vulcans but as the weapon exploded it was followed by a gigantic flash. Harriet had attacked a mobile suit issue flash grenade to the tomahawk without her noticing.
Blinded, Aislin continued to fire both her Vulcans and beam rifle until she ran out of ammo. Backing up, she hoped to quickly move out of the immediate area, but a gigantic thump forced the Hyaku Shiki to the ground. Slightly dazed, she watched in horror as her front monitor began to cave in steadily as the Leo R began to pummel the Hyaku Shiki's chest with its remaining arm.
Thrusting the controls back and forth, Harriet watched as her Leo pound and dent the blue mobile suit's armour vigorously. This continued for about twenty seconds before a rapid beeping in the cockpit made her boost backwards. Two beam pillars sped right where her Leo's torso was.
In the distance, Josh cursed to himself and readjusted the sights on his G-Cannon Magna. Opening a comm. channel to Aislin, he spoke while continuing his barrage.
“What are you still lying there for?!” He yelled, “Get UP! Get out of there! Leave this one to me!”
Pulling the trigger again, the twin shoulder cannons rumbled to life and sprouted two more beams that sped towards the blue Leo. Harriet, by this time, had spotted where the G-Cannon was hiding and had transmitted a set of coordinates to Marigbo. When Josh pulled off two more shots, twin beams grazed the tip of the mobile suit's head and slammed into the ground behind him. Making a break for it, Josh ran straight towards the place that the Heavyarms was strafing the airborne Aires squadron that had managed to take off.
“Where the hell are the rest of the mobile suits?!” James shouted from the cockpit of his Tallgeese. Being chased by the winged Gundam that he fought in the atmosphere was not fun, especially since it was pelting round after round of machinegun fire from behind him. He wondered why it hasn't fired it's main gun and can only assume that he was not a priority target.
“They were destroyed when the battle started. We have more coming Aires being launched from the Portsmouth naval port but they will take around fifteen minutes to get to here.” An operator said back from a temporary command centre, “There's also an request from his Excellency to clear runway two for the transports.”
Dodging a few more rounds, James turned the Tallgeese 180 degrees to fire a round from the mounted Dobergun at the Gundam. It evaded the shell easily and continued to pursue it's prey. Growling angrily, James spun the Tallgeese forwards again and pushed his engines to full throttle. He looked down from 1000 meters at the OHSNAP and realised the full extent of the damage done by the terrorists. Explosions erupted from all around the base and tracer fire from the standard issue Oz MS machine guns crisscrossed between the enemy's bullets and beams.
“Alright. Tell him that it will be ready in five minutes for the first launch. Harris out.” He said begrudgingly knowing that it would mean the deaths of some pilots.
There was an air of calm in the groups of EUF, Titan and Oz delegates evacuating to their transports. Each and everyone of them was freaking out inside, but in the interest of international politics, no one openly showed their fear for it shows weakness, something that is not tolerated in their world.
The line of people trundled through the tight corridors, unable to see the outside world thanks to the conference building's external shutters blocking out the windows. They were murmuring amongst themselves as they followed directions of the smartly dressed female stewardesses. The line eventually reaching the terminal in which they arrived earlier and was greeted by the ongoing combat outside. Black fumes rose from the downed mobile suits and exploded planes. Several of the female delegates gasped in shock but the rest of them just kept their heads down and ignored it. The sight disgusted Riken.
He had always shown nothing but distain for the EUF, always finding a way to ignore the world while being just a pawn for Oz and Titans. Of course, he himself has manipulated them for Oz's gain, but most changes have benefited Oz Prize and the upper-parliament.
“Jaques,” He said, tapping the man on the shoulder from behind, “You take the transport with the EUF delegates. I need you to keep our reputation intact in the EUF, especially after this debacle.”
Jaques gave him a smile, “You're not trying to get rid of me, are you?”
Riken suddenly paused. He knew that sending Jaques onto the EUF plane was his duty but the man was still his lifelong friend. He stared at Jaques' face, recording every detail into his memory.
It is necessary for the plan.
“Don't worry. We'll meet up soon enough; now go before they close the terminal. You can take Admiral Pasture's seat, I have some things to discuss with him. And don't you give a thought about the members of your department here. They're being transferred to a shelter while we arrange another transport for them.”
Riken watched his friend disappear into the plane from the guest lounge. The room was now empty and the Titan, followed by the EUF, transport began to taxi onto the runway. He sighed again and turned towards the sound of footsteps coming from behind him.
Admiral Pasture hated these meetings since most had nothing to do with military matters, however today's topic was one that he could not dismiss or delegate to one of his underlings. The reduction of the Earth's total military power? He felt like a salary man being told that he had just lost his job because the company no longer needed his position. If the EUF council rectifies this, his life's accomplishments will have amounted to nothing. Becoming an Admiral only to have the EUF council say that they no longer needed him was like a kick in the nuts.
As he evacuated with the EUF delegates through the corridor, he was suddenly pulled aside by a strong hand. Thinking it was one of the security guards, he instinctively held up his pass before realising that it was Riken's secretary, Silvia Tyme.
“Oh, it's you,” He said without a single shred of respect for her, which Silvia shrugged off with a twitch of her mouth, “I've already told you that I will not accept your offer.”
“That's not what his Excellency wants to speak to you about, however after that session, I think you might want to reconsider.” She said, eyeing the straw thin man, “Nevertheless, the EUF plane is full and his Excellency would like you to evacuate on his personal jet.”
Pasture narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean the plane's full? I came on that plane so unless there's one extra person than there should be, my seat will be empty.”
“Exactly, Admiral. Our foreign secretary will accompany the EUF back to Iceland. His Excellency feels that his services in smoothing over this incident will be greatly needed.”
Even though what she said made sense, he still felt that there was something wrong. However, at that moment, he realised that the corridor behind him was empty. Spinning around, he ran out of the nook that Silvia had dragged him into only to see the EUF plane's doors close further down the corridor and move away from the terminal. The only person left was Riken with his back to him. Giving Silvia a look of utter distain, he realised that he had no choice but to follow her.
“Alright, where's this jet?” He said impatiently.
“This way, Admiral.”
Mason Graves and Mark Schneider stood side-by-side, firing round after round of machinegun fire up into the skies and at ground level in order to keep runway 2 clear for the two, now moving, transports. Their Leo's custom paint schemes were shining about ten minutes ago, but since the start of the battle, they are now covered in dirt and scorch marks.
“Marigbo!” Mark shouted over his comm., “Coordinates three-five-delta-two. Two bursts.”
From the distance, over a kilometre away, a twin burst of beam energy flew into the battlefield towards a pair of hangars north of Mark and Mason's position. The hangars exploded with a flash. Contrasted against the bright flames, were two mobile suits that had jumped out of the way of the attack, the G-Cannon and Heavyarms. Sending another set of coordinates to Marigbo, the Leo Cannon that had hidden itself near the base's water tower fired two more beams towards the Karaba mobile suits.
This time before he could see whether his shots had hit, Marigbo heard a deafening crash from above and found himself suddenly forced downwards onto the ground. He heard a sizzling from his backpack engine and felt drips of water began to seep in from behind his seat and onto his back. Realising that most of his controls were not responding and the Leo's internal life-support had activated himself, he deduced that he was trapped inside the water tower.
Seeing that their artillery support had stopped, Mason and Mark knew something was wrong. Mark started to move in Marigbo's direction before Mason Leo stopped him.
“Our job is to defend this runway. Marigbo's fine. His radio signal's still active.”
Regretting ever agreeing to let his former subordinate fighting without backup, Mark turned his Leo around again and fired several shots at a pair of Maganacs who had began to flank them.
Above them, James was still circling around the sky with the Wing Gundam behind it. He had seen the two transports leave the terminal and was now trying to find a way to shake off the pesky fighter. He had tried loops, sudden stops, 90-degree turns, the works, however the pilot of the enemy machine seemed inhuman and matched his every move. About thirty seconds ago, James found that the enemy had stopped firing his Vulcans at him, which could mean one of two things: the pilot got tired of firing Vulcans and was switching to his main gun or he had ran out of Vulcan ammunition and was switching to his main gun. Either way, from the destructive power he saw the gun do in the atmosphere and in the initial attack, there was no way he would let the pilot fire that thing again.
Putting his Tallgeese in a 360 spin, he turned and sped at the Wing Gundam, firing a wide spread of Dobergun shells as he went. The enemy pilot dodged the shots in the way that James had predicted allowing him to dive with the fighter. Drawing the Tallgeese's beam sabre, James managed to get a glancing slash at the fighter's left wing. The particles that were constantly escaping any beam weapon made millions of tiny holes inside the wing, causing black plumes to bellow out of the exhaust housed inside.
Unable to maintain altitude in bird mode, Syuu pushed a lever above him and the entire fighter shuddered and transformed into the mobile suit mode. Miffed, he swung the buster rifle around and aimed in the general direction of the white centurion-like mobile suit. Before he had time to pull the trigger, a couple of explosions from behind him forced him to spin around and fire a shot in the direction of his other attacker. The golden beam that spewed forth from the barrel engulfed the unsuspecting Leo from Devon Squad and was instantly vaporised. The beam travelled far into the distance, disintegrating everything in its path and burning the forest that surrounded the base.
Syuu grunted angrily at his carelessness at wasting a shot from his rifle, but had no time to reflect on it; the Tallgeese had landed before him, brandishing its beam sabre. Smirking widely, Syuu latched the buster rifle onto the attachment on the Wing Gundam's back and drew the Wing's sabre from its shoulder hard-point.
The bright beams of the two mobile suits could be clearly seen through the cabin window on the EUF transport. Many of the EUF delegation had rushed over to one side of the plane to look at the duel between the two non-mass production mobile suits but Jaques had stayed in his seat.
To him, the battle outside was a military matter. He was a civilian and a peace advocate. If he had a grand power over the world, wars and battles like these would not occur. Every life form on the planet is precious, no matter what race, creed, gender or species; wars like these are a waste of that life and that is inexcusable.
However, it was not his place to question the decisions made by the upper parliament and Oz Prize. It was his job to liase with foreign ambassadors and diplomats; his convictions will have to take a backseat to his job. Before, his pleas to the lower parliament and upper parliament to end the war with ZAFT had been largely ignored, but a week ago, the entire upper parliament decided that his ideas about reconciliation and reconstruction were a viable solution to the war. This choice confounded him for days, unable to find a rational reason as to why they had changed their mind. He still can't find a reason now, but as long as the Oz parliament can see his vision of total demilitarisation and pacifism, it is good enough.
Above him the seatbelt sign suddenly lit itself and the transport captain's voice came over the PA system, “Can all passengers please take their seats. We will begin emergency takeoff shortly. We are unsure on how this loaned Oz jet will handle the emergency takeoff, so please fasten your seatbelts tightly.”
There was a large scramble as people quickly found their seats and tightened the belts. Sitting with an indifferent look beside a high-ranking EUF officer, Jaques dug his fingers into the cushioned armrests. He was pushed back into the seat as the jet rocketed along the runway and lurched upwards.
Jabbing left and right, the fencing training that Syuu received from Professor B kicked in. While maintaining a distinct fencing style, he improved upon those techniques by utilising the wing thrusters. However, his opponent was just as adept at melee combat as he is. Countering and counter-attacking constantly meant Syuu was unable to go on the offensive for more than two or three slashes. The Tallgeese slashed downwards as it parried yet another blow from Syuu, but he managed to sidestep and twist his Wing Gundam 90 degrees to allow the sabre to move harmlessly down. Jabbing feverously, Syuu wanted to put the James off balance, but the white suit just leapt backwards and charged with his shoulder first into Syuu. The impact knocked the Wing Gundam backwards into the ground. Syuu had to use the engines to boost himself along the ground to avoid the Tallgeese's beam sabre stabbing straight into the cockpit.
A wild beeping and two images of transports appeared in an inset window on his viewscreen. The captions read “TITAN” and “OZ”.
“Found you.” He said while grinning like a lunatic.
As he closed in on the Wing Gundam, James saw it transform back into its bird mode and boosted upwards. Shunting all the power to his engines and bracing himself for the coming G's, the Tallgeese moved from a forward motion to straight up. He was almost sick and wondered what kind of a an enemy he was fighting who is able to transform a mobile suit and suddenly change direction like that so fast.
When the excess blood had receded from his brain, his HUD displayed two little boxes that read “OZ-PLANE”. It was then he knew what the Gundam's true target was.
“Damn him!” He shouted to no one in particular while switching open a channel to the control centre, “Command! Who's jets are those?!”
“The one furthest away is the Titan jet and the other one is ours but are carrying the EUF delegates.” A voice replied.
What the hell are they doing in one of our jets? He pondered as he closed in on the Gundam.
Syuu doubled checked his readings on the Oz transport ahead of him. He was now 100% sure that this was his target. The entire mission was to target the Oz dignitaries attending the conference and to disrupt operations inside the OHSNAP. He wondered why there was a Titan plane here, but he put that aside and focused on his target.
Transforming back to mobile suit mode, the Wing Gundam drew its beam sabre as soon as it had managed to get its hand free from the transformation process. Syuu jetted towards the transport at maximum speed and was about to raise the beam sabre when a sudden scraping of metal and electrical sparks inside his cockpit stopped him.
Jaques looked on in horror out of his window as the fighter closed in from the ground and suddenly change itself into a mobile suit. When its eyes flashed as the internal cameras activated, it sent a chill of fear down his spine. The fear was not borne out of a fear of death but a fear for the escalation of the war. The EUF had worked so hard to get the Titans, Oz and other smaller countries to agree to a future that may end all wars but at that point, everything that he had hoped for was about to disappear.
But as quickly as the goateed mobile suit appeared, it disappeared. Unlatching his seatbelt, he strained his eyes to look back at where the mobile suit that almost ended his life had gone. Several other members of the EUF delegation had done the same. From what he could tell, a white mobile suit with a Mohawk had grabbed it in a bear hug.
“Don't you dare...” James panted, trying to catch his breath. He held tightly on to the controls, as the strain on the Gundam trying to break free from the hug was forcing him to use every inch of his strength.
Realising that he was in actual physical contact with the enemy mobile suit, James shouted, “Why the hell are you attacking the EUF? Are you so without honour that you are attacking unarmed civilians rather than Oz?!”
“Total Psychokinetic Factor at above 100!” Adun Weich reported from his station onboard the Raw with a hint of pride in his voice. After all, it was his project that was about to bring about a long awaited resurrection of Zeon, “Angel's generators are now operating at 96% efficiency with all pods active. All ships report TPF cancellers are active and we have a clear shot at Earth.”
“Are we ready to go?” Nicholas Fin asked.
“Yes, sir!”
Nicholas floated past the high ranking officers over to Sophia and saluted, “Your highness, we await your orders.”
Nodding with a smile, Sophia stood up, “Everyone, we have waited for this moment for too long. Activate Angel Halo when ready.”
“Yes, your highness!” The bridge collectively shouted in reply.
The gigantic ring-like structure before the Raw sprang to life. The spiked circles inside the outer ring moved silently in the darkness of space to form what looked like a rose. Little by little, the spikes redirected themselves towards the blue jewel that hung in the sea of stars before Angel Halo.
“Charging complete! N Dash Unilinks A-OK! TPF capacitors are drained and ready! We can fire at any time.” Adun and several other members of the bridge gave their reports to Nicholas, who turned to Sophia again.
“Ma'am, the Angel is ready for its first firing. Please give the word.”
“Thank you, Nicholas. Angel Halo, FIRE!”
“Angel Halo, firing!” Adun repeated.
To Sophia and Tai Yang, it looked like nothing had happened, however Adun and his team were shrieking wildly, which reassured them that something beyond sight was occurring. Adun and his team's joyous celebrations was suddenly cut short and a blast was seen emanating from the interior of Angel Halo from the main viewscreen. The yells of happiness were suddenly replaced with people screaming reports of malfunctions.
“TPF levels dropping!”
“Generators two through eighteen are overloading and we already lost generator three!”
“TPF radiation is seeping into pods one hundred through four hundred!”
“Shut down all generators!” Adun ordered.
“But that's not going to stop the cascade! We're still going to lose 60% of the pods!” One of his men countered.
“It doesn't matter!” Adun shouted at the top of his voice, “We need to save the super-structure. The pods can be replaced. Just shut the generators down!”
Sophia watched in disappointment as the Angel Halo's rings retracted and returned to their original position as a single halo. The once joyous feel of the room had been replaced by fear and anxiety.
“Did the Angel work?!” Nicholas Fin yelled at Adun, who was concentrating on other things, “Did it work?!”
After a few seconds Adun looked back up at Nicholas, “It did,” He said solemnly, “The system was active for fifteen seconds before generator three, five, nine and seventeen overloaded. We lost around 54% of the pods and without extensive repairs, the Angel cannot be activated again.”
Nicholas wanted to reprimand the man, but from the look on his face, he decided against it. He walked over to Joseph Fin, who was monitoring communications on Earth, “I want you to tell me the second you feel that something has happened on Earth.”
“Yes, brother.” Joseph replied. Nicholas heaved a loud sigh as he had to report to Sophia and her lapdog, Tai Yang. He phrased and rephrased how he was going to tell her that the thing that the Zeon military had worked on for the past 5 years and spent 65% of their entire resources on only worked for 15 seconds.
“Your highness,” He said, trying not to look at Tai Yang or her, “The Angel is currently inactive. Serious repairs are required to get it active again. However, we did manage fifteen seconds of active time. We still require some more time before we receive the required information on the effectiveness of the Angel. Please, forgive us.” He bowed deeply before her.
“Your men have done well.” Nicholas looked up, surprised at her words, “Be it fifteen seconds or twenty minutes, we know that Project Angel has worked. It's results are not important, what is important is that it has worked. Well done, everyone!”
The bridge suddenly become quiet as they listened to her words. Everyone was moved by their Queen's graciousness and kindness despite their failure.
The EUF? There are no EUF delegates here. Syuu first reaction was that the enemy pilot was lying but then he realised that the other shuttle was a Titan shuttle. Why are there Titans at an Oz conference? If that is true, then the shuttle before him might have been carrying EUF members. But it could all be a trick to stall him. Then he remembered the words of Professor B:
Oz is an organisation that is built upon honour and courage. They do not use tricks to protect themselves. They will never do anything that would be seen as dishonourable.
At that point, Syuu weakened his struggle against the hug that the Tallgeese had him in.
Suddenly, a wave of pressure hit him. There was nothing physically pressing against him, but it was there, inside his mind. Suddenly, millions of thoughts burst into his head, causing him to scream loudly.
Does it matter if they are they EUF?
The EUF are the cause of the war.
Oz is no different to them.
They deserve to be killed for collaborating with the enemy.
Who do they think they are, giving orders to people who do not wish for them to rule.
They force countries to fall in line or be invaded.
They are just like everyone else.
The EUF create orphans with their campaign of hatred.
Orphans like you.
You cannot let the world have more orphans who are like you.
Only you can stop them.
Only you.
Only you.
James felt the wave of pressure hit him too. He felt it pass quickly and thought it was just fatigue. He heard a scream from the enemy pilot and saw the enemy Gundam swerve its beam sabre around in it's hand towards him. Immediately letting go, he boosted backwards to avoid the imminent slash but the Wing Gundam just chased after the transport.
Cursing his foolishness, he pushed his engines to full in order to catch up with the it, but he was already too late.
Jaques felt a pressure in his mind, as did all the members onboard the jet. Like James, the pressure passed without incident. However, the people around him began to act in a way that he had never seen before. Some were clutching their knees, mumbling incomprehensibly while others were literally at each other's throat. Thankfully, the person he sat next to did not seem to be any different.
The jet abruptly lurched downwards and threw Jaques forwards in his seat. Looking around, he saw that only he and his neighbour was the only ones' unaffected. Straining to remain in his seat, a glint outside of his window caught his eye; the winged mobile suit had returned, flying beside the descending transport jet. As if time had slowed, he watched it raise its beam sabre above it's head.
“Young man, think about what you are doing…” He pleaded, knowing that there was no way the pilot would be able to hear him. Before he had time to say anything else, the beam sabre carved through the metal fuselage of the jet. The two halves of the plane crumpled inwards as beam severed the aluminium shell like a knife through butter. The super heated air ignited the jet-fuel, blowing the plane into millions of pieces.
Sitting inside Riken's personal plane, Admiral Pasture watched in confusion as the Oz and Karaba mobile suits began firing indiscriminately in all directions, regardless of who was in their line of fire. He felt a wave of dizziness a few seconds ago, however it passed without any affect on him.
His eyes wondered out into the skies, trying to ignore the fighting on the ground and saw the plane that was carrying the entire EUF command structure and delegation soar higher and suddenly fall.
He had pondered on the offer that Oz had sent him a week ago. The letter had invited him to become a special advisor and commander to the Oz Space Fleet. The position was one with great pay and a promise of a senior post within the upper parliament. The offer was now becoming more lucrative by the minute since his position in the EUF was now being threatened.
As he followed the plane, he saw a mobile suit zoom into view and cut through it with its beam sabre.
“NOOOOOoooooo…!” He shouted.
Peering out of her side window, Silvia saw the flames and smoke of the EUF transport jet dissipating in the sky. She showed no reaction as she stood up and walk into Riken's personal compartment behind Pasture.
Pasture was now by himself, the sole member of the EUF council still alive. His emotions ran from a low of realising that most of his colleagues were dead to a high where he was now the highest-ranking leader in the EUF. However, he realised that this would not last as the EUF nations would be swearing in new council members who will continue where the recently deceased council had left off.
Placing his face into his hands, he knew he must do something, exactly what he needs to do, he did not know. As he sank into his thoughts, the plane began taxiing along the runway.
What have I done?
Those were not my orders.
Why did I act on impulse?
I am trained to resist my impulses.
Then why have killed them?
My orders are to kill Oz leaders.
Was that really the EUF leaders?
There is no way of knowing.
But how can I be sure?
What have I done?
“YOU BASTARD!” James shouted as he charged shoulder first into the Wing Gundam. To his surprise, the Gundam did not dodge his attack; rather it took the full brunt of the attack and fell towards the ground. Momentarily stunned by the success of his attack, James took a second to survey his surroundings. What he saw made him cringe.
The once largely intact base was now bellowing more smoke than ever before. Mobile suits were lying on top of each other with rifles and beam sabres jammed into each other's cockpits; some of them were even from the same side. As he was floating in the sky, in awe of the carnage, he never noticed the Hyaku Shiki boost in to grab the Wing Gundam and head towards two large aerial mobile suit transports.
“What the hell's going on?” Strass shouted at the two remaining Maganac mobile suits. Neither pilots answered as they stepped inside the transports.
Strass had received the order to retreat as soon as the once much organised battlefield descend into chaos. Many of Oz mobile suits and trucks began firing wildly at the surrounding area, some even at each other. After he dealt with a pesky Leo Cannon by burying it beneath the water tower, he barely had time to stop Josh and Parith blowing each other to pieces.
“Strass, is everyone aboard the planes?” Aislin asked as her Hyaku Shiki landed with the Wing Gundam.
“All those still alive. What's wrong with him?” The Deathscythe Gundam pointed at Syuu's Gundam slumped over the Hyaku Shiki's shoulder.
“I don't know, but I think he's out cold. Get him on board. We need to get out of here.”
“What about their sensor grid?” Strass said, taking the Wing Gundam.
“I took it out on our way in. Stop asking questions and get on the transport!” She barked.
James broke free of his shock-induced trance and saw the two Karaba commandeered transports move out onto the tarmac. Ignoring the blaring alarms inside his cockpit, he dived at them at full speed. Soon, the alarms turned to a deep whining and the left thrusters exploded, forcing the Tallgeese into an unstoppable spin into the ground.
“I won't let you…” James reached out with the Tallgeese's arm at the planes as they took off. No one seemed to be shooting at them or even tried to stop them. His frustration could only bubble inside him as he tried everything to move his Tallgeese. It only let out a light moan and then shutdown. James banged his hands at the control levers again and again. He had lost to that winged mobile suit twice.
“I'll have my revenge.”
His already dark surroundings suddenly dimmed, he couldn't keep his eyes open. The adrenalin that was pent up in his system during the fight was disappearing and fatigue finally caught up with him. Letting go of his senses, James fell into a deep sleep, plagued by images of the winged angel of death.
“So what do you plan on doing with me?” Admiral Pasture nervously asked the ever-silent Silvia. She replied to his question through an almost gleeful smile.
Riken's private jet had taken off from runway 1 on the far side of the base and sped away before any of the base's personnel had realised it ways gone. The faces of the EUF council members on the destroyed plane had plagued pasture's thoughts. Strett, Killmenger, Numhin, Belgium, Equim and many more of his close friends had vanished in an instant. But why could he not shake the feeling of joy of the realisation that he was technically the leader of the EUF? His lust for power had never amounted to wishing that his competition would disappear. At that moment, Riken stepped out of his personal cabin and took a seat beside Silvia opposite him.
“Dear, oh dear,” To Pasture, Riken seemed calm for a man who was partially responsible for the deaths of the most important leaders of the world, “Admiral Pasture, you used to be the captain of the Federal Ship Hunt during the Zeon War and you maintained peace in space with the Fifth Federal Fleet during World War Three. You then followed your commanding officer and joined the EUF Spacy after the peace accords at Reykjavik. Promoted to Rear Admiral for your brilliant strategies during the Great Reformation and then to Admiral when you saved most of your fleet from destruction while countering ZAFT at Acteria.”
Pasture had no idea why Riken was reciting his most recent military career, or why he isn't focusing on the deaths of the EUF leaders. Either way, he could only nod without uttering a word.
Riken leaned forward, “Did you know that the EUF is nothing more than a dream for people without a single shred of knowledge of how the real world works?”
Pasture had continued nodding but Riken's words suddenly dragged him out of it.
“The EUF was conceived to help the world move out of its constant warring state. They did that by uniting the countries of the Earth. But if that is the case, then why are there still wars today? Why is ZAFT invading us? Why are there groups still willing to destabilise our governments?”
Something inside Pasture's mind suddenly clicked, “You planned this from the beginning, didn't you?”
Riken returned his question with a slight nod.
“I don't believe this! All this was an elaborate plan? Those terrorists were your troops weren't they?” Pasture said, casting an accusing look at both Riken and Silvia.
“Oh, they were real Karaba terrorists,” Riken replied in a matter-of-fact tone, “We just leaked some false information to the media and claimed it to be a security measure. They came to find Oz targets and we gave them one, just not the one that they were expecting.”
Pasture couldn't believe what he was hearing. Oz had set out to destroy the EUF by using someone else. He always knew that Oz had shown some discontent towards EUF policies but never in his wildest dreams did he believe that Oz was capable of doing this. He then realised an inconsistency in their plan.
“Why am I still alive?”
“Because we want you to dissolve the EUF.” Silvia answered.
“W-What?” Pasture's head was reeling from one moment to the next, “Why the hell would I want to do that?”
Riken leaned forwards and looked directly into Pasture's aged eyes, “You were in that meeting. They were proposing a universal demilitarisation, something that, I believe, you were most adamantly opposed to.”
“And how would disbanding the EUF have anything to do with that?”
“Because,” Riken lowered his voice so that only Pasture could hear him, “You can't teach an old dog new tricks, Admiral. The countries that make up the EUF have backup delegates who are sworn in case the current ones become unavailable. They will do exactly what the old council planned to do, and your current place within the world will dissolve into nothing. Of course, if you dissolve the EUF and it's military, your position as a military leader can be retained.”
Pasture's eyes suddenly brightened, “How would I do that?”
Riken held up the offer letter that was sent to Pasture a week ago. Pasture instantly saw the words `Commander' and `Status'. He looked at Riken, then at Silvia and then at Riken again. Never in his career had he been faced with such a decision. He tried to recall anyone from who was facing the same decision to guide him, but no one came to mind. He closed his eyes and focused on the sound of his own breathing. He and Riken knew that he only has this chance to dissolve the EUF. Opening his eyes, he gazed deep Riken's azure irises.
“What would I say to them?”
Riken smiled, “Oh, you'll think of something. Of that, I'm sure.”
“You guys!” A regular ZAFT pilot ran into the red-coats off-duty room. Inside, Vivian, Akito and Riou were lounging around doing nothing in particular. The regular pilot picked up the television remote control and switched on the dust-covered television mounted on the wall. The face of the glasses wearing Admiral Pasture appeared on the screen with the EUF banner behind him. He had lost his previous nervous disposition and was showing no emotion.
“…I repeat, every member of the EUF council has been killed by a terrorist organisation as they tried to escape. Currently, I am the only surviving member of the EUF Council and the highest-ranking officer of the EUF Military…”
From their mobile suits, Marcus, Tano and Orphen, with their two new team members, Paul Fabriga and Captain Klein, watched the broadcast in silence. Captain Klein, someone who hated politics, had turned off her monitor.
“…The EUF leaders had been attending a conference regarding the future of this planet before their plane was struck down. Why am I still alive? This is mostly due to luck. Regardless, the most important thing is that we remain unified in our condemnation of the actions by these terrorists…”
The big screens that lined the city inside the Lohar colony showed Admiral Pasture's wrinkles rather clearly. The AEUG personnel and civilians had stopped their daily activities to stare up at the old man. On board their ships, the EUF crews listened intently to the man that had nearly sentenced them all to death. Each and every one of them simmered with silent rage as he spoke, especially Rika, Tyan, Seig and Wiz.
“…The EUF had served us well. It has strengthened us, given us hope during a time when there was none. The aftermath of World War Three needed the EUF to help reconstruction and security, but the situation today is different to those three years ago. The space colonies are invading Earth again, nations have grown more powerful and reconstruction has been replaced by…”
On board the Crossbone Vanguard, Thraw Nema had to order Vandez Jenius and Nimbus Noa to the bridge for them to listen to Admiral Pasture's speech. The two of them have never been interested in the news but Thraw knew this would be a moment in history that will not be repeated.
“…The EUF Military had been sufficient in defending the smaller countries against invasion in the past, but with the ZAFT's incursions, the EUF had been woefully prepared for combat. Coupled with the loss of the Londo Bell Fleet, it is in my opinion that the EUF Military has become essentially redundant in today's strategic scene…”
Inside her office, Dena sat with her arms folded. She had taken her protective mask off to watch Admiral Pasture. She was smiling broadly and her heart was pounding as if she had been in an intense battle. Her plans are now coming into fruition, coupled with her siblings inside critical areas around the Earth-Moon System, they will see their dream coming to life at last.
“…Our council, though effective, have become a moot point. Our decisions are being ignored, plans gathering dust and ideas being wasted. What is the point of the EUF existing if everything that it is supposed…
While being pulled from his Tallgeese, James caught a glimpse of a soaking wet Marigbo with Mason, Mark and Harriet all huddled over a tiny television screen. He did not see who was speaking but he did hear a deep but subtly nervous voice speaking,
“…I did not expect to become the leader of the EUF. However, now that I have the power and authority, I will use this opportunity to make an important announcement that will shape the world in ways that I hope will make the lives of our children…”
With the city's main display boards changed to broadcasting mode, the citizens of Orb had stopped to listen to Admiral Pasture's words, just like those on Lohar. Kuro and Terrance had been too busy carrying bags and bags of shopping for Kriss as she skipped down the main high street to notice the voice coming out of the speakers.
Saga Hayate sat with the board of Nord Industries inside the Nord Compound. Robert Nord, the CEO and owner of Nord Industries was looking unimpressed by Pasture's words but he had that glint in his eye that told Saga that he saw an opportunity.
“…So for me to create a better world for all of our children that I make the decision with a heavy heart…”
The Raw's bridge was still roaring with confusion. People were floating around, carrying large binders, trying to figure out what caused the overload inside Angel Halo. Joseph Fin suddenly shouted over the din and the room fell silent as Admiral Pasture's face appeared on the view screen.
“…I make this decision also with the blessings from many of the late members of the EUF Council. Before they died, we have been discussing the possibility of this decision. We felt that it would only be reserved for dire circumstances and now would constitute as one. I declare that the EUF Council and it's military be dissolved, effective immediately.”
“…I know that there will be an initial chaos, but I implore that the EUF countries to understand that it is for the best that the EUF be disbanded as it will be far easier to achieve a long-run victory against our enemies…”
Aislin switched off the reception monitor inside the cramp transport cockpit area. She was sure that the other members of the Karaba felt the same. Being labelled as the ones responsible for the downfall of the EUF was not something that she felt particularly proud of.
“…so, I order every member of the EUF Military to report to the nearest military base and submit yourself to the commands of the nearest national military and integrate yourself into them. This will be my last order as the EUF Command-in-Chief and I hope that you will carry it out. Thank you.”
“And we're off.” Silvia said as she peered around the large camera.
Pasture slumped back inside his chair, perspiration glistening on his forehead. As he leaned his head backwards and saw the EUF flag, he felt ashamed. The navy sphere that represented the Earth, the laurel leaf and the phoenix that meant eternal peace holding up the planet. He had betrayed that
“Thank you, Chief Consultant Pasture,” Riken congratulated him, “Miss Tyme, please make sure that the Chief Consultant is comfortable. I will be in my private room. There are some things that must be completed. If you will excuse me.”
Silvia saluted and went to a drinks cabinet at front of the compartment. Pasture wiped the sweat from his brow with his handkerchief and accepted the brandy that Silvia had presented him. Swallowing the entire glass in one go he felt the warmth spread inside his stomach and oddly down his arm as well. He held the glass within his hand tightly, still contemplating his future. The warmness seemed to have spread into his entire body, his mind was now becoming foggy and his eyes were becoming unfocused. He thought it was just because he was tired but when he saw Silvia draw a gun from inside her uniform, he knew that he had been tricked. He passed out before he felt the pain of bullets striking his chest.
Stepping out of his compartment, Riken saw Silvia dispose of Pasture through the open floor hatch that allowed vehicles to board the plane. They watched the limp body plunge into the dense trees below. Silvia's hair was blown loose thanks to the wind. To Riken she looked more beautiful than ever. When the hatched closed itself, Silvia turned to her superior, beaming.
“The TPF Canceller worked perfectly, sir. You succeeded.”
Riken took her by the arms and kissed her deeply. Silvia was shocked at first, but closed her eyes to enjoy the moment.
Admiral Hue and his men had left the bridge after the initial malfunction, claiming that he had to tend to the fleet. But in reality, their initial thoughts about the Angel Halo were confirmed. The Admiral had always opposed the Angel Project and therefore, as a means of sucking up, so did those beneath him. But since Sophia had approved the project, there was nothing he could do about it.
“What about reports from the other news channels?” Sophia asked Joseph.
Handing an electronic clipboard up to her, he pressed a button and numerous moving news reports appeared on the screen. Each of them was showed burning buildings, traffic accidents and other scenes of destruction. The reporters told of random acts of violence from members of the public and people who died from ruptured blood vessels in the brain in locations between New York and Paris. From her reaction, Joseph knew she was pleased with the report.
She handed the board back to him and looked at the large ring that is the Angel Halo. She knew that it was now not a viable means to achieve an independent nation using it; she now has to wait for word from the Jaw Fleet.
“There's a laser transmission from the Jaw,” The communications officer shouted from his console, “They say that they said the bird has come home to roost.”
“Commander Fin, do you have the link ready?” Joseph gave her a nod, “Please connect me through. I wish to address the Earth-Moon system.”
The intercom in the shop clicked as the ship patched into the shared communications around the entire Earth-Moon System. Sophia exhaled and began.
“Citizens of the Earth, Moon and colonies. I am Sophia Cognant, Queen and the leader of Neo Zeon. Ever since our forefathers were driven from the Earth-Moon System nine years ago, we have sought to return to home. We have built up a significant military force as well as upgraded our original military hardware. As of a few minutes ago, our fleet had secured Side Three. The resident contingent of EUF and Titan troops have been neutralised and our soldiers have seized control.”
“It is our wish that Zeon be allowed to reinstate itself as an independent nation inside the Earth-Moon System and be treated as such. If any government feels that our actions have been unjustified, please remember that Side Three is our home; you have been illegally occupying it and we have every right to take it back. Any military action taken against us will be reciprocated with overwhelming force. We have returned in peace but we will fight back if provoked. I thank you for your time.”
There was another click in the intercom as the communications channel was shut off. After a few seconds, a roar of cheers erupted from the bridge and the bowels of the ship. Sophia was sure that there was a similar situation on board the other ships.
“Well done, ma'am.” Tai Yang congratulated her.
“Thank you, Mr Long,” She said, “But this is just the beginning.”
When shall we contact our sisters?
They will most probably contact us.
What about our missing sibling?
He, my dear brother, will become aware of what he is very soon.
I understand. So, you going to that party?
Why not? They say it's going to have good food.