Full nameHiro Kusanagi
Hiro fought the urge to hold Grimsdottir back to get an answer out of the AEUG captain. He knew better than to stop vital back up that Thrace needed then. The Minovsky particles had made them a blind sitting duck and they needed more eyes in the field.
As the white GM got ready to launch, he headed back to the cockpit. The crew eyed him as he stepped in. With Grimsdottir gone, Hiro was the commanding officer on his own ship once again.
“What’s the status, Athena?” He stood behind Valerii and leaned forward to peer at her screen over her shoulder. The fragrance of her air calmed him down a little. She shook her head and the scent intensified. “Still no contact from Starbuck.”
“Keep hailing her.”
“Roger that, Apollo,” Valerii said. She punched a button and said, “Firefly to Starbuck, do you read me? Firefly to Starbuck, do you read me.”
Hiro straightened up and started pacing around as his mind raced through the possibilities. The Zeon fleet had to be very near for the escaped mobile suit to bring reinforcement to their location so quickly.
The AEUG CIC officer broke through his thoughts. “Incoming mobile suit, Apollo sir!”
The officer pulled up a magnified visual on the screen and they saw its AEUG markings and the heavy damage it had sustained. The officer was already preparing the hangar for repairs.
The pilot’s voice came over the comms system as soon as the suit landed on Firefly. “It’s the Titans!”
Hiro was surprised to run into Grimsdottir in the corridor. They stepped into the hangar and he replied, “My suit isn’t ready Captain. I’ll be out as soon as I can.”
His heart sank at the sight of the mobile suits in the hangar bay. Under normal circumstances, a well-trained team would have already launched during the time it took for him to wake up and get to the hangar bay.
“I was under the impression that your pilots were on standby, Captain.” Hiro had more to say but he held his tongue and tried to suppress the nagging worry he had for Thrace. It was normal to lose contact with such a high level of Minovsky particles in the battlefield, but he did not like the idea of her being out there alone bearing the brunt of the ambush.
Given her experience, she would have returned as soon as she came into contact since she was on recon duty.
Hiro nodded. “Understood, Captain. I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. Our goals are aligned and my team will do our utmost to make them happen.”
He turned and left the room, heading straight to his team’s bunker. Thrace and Valerii were working out. “Where’s Augur?”
“Went to grab some food,” came Thrace’s curt reply followed by a grunt as she lifted the weights again. Valerii was lying on the ground after finishing a set of crunches. “Care to join us, Apollo?”
Hiro shook his head. “Not now. I’m going to head out. The Captain has agreed to sending a scout ahead. This is making me jittery. Since I can’t get anything done, I’ll take the first shift. You guys know what you need to do. The AEUG will send a pilot to relieve me after four hours. Then you’re up, Starbuck.”
“Make sure you’re rested and your MS is ready to go.”
“Scoot.” Valerii’s remark put a smile on his face. Leaving his mercenaries to their routines, Hiro made his way to the MS bay.
Hiro looked at the AEUG captain. “I believe we have enough pilots and mobile suits between the two teams to maintain four-hour shifts for the rest of our journey to the *Rose*.”
Hiro and Kamea Thrace were the main pilots for the Draconis Fury. As the backup pilot, Grace Valerii would rotate between the two mobile suits when either of them were off duty. This covered twelve hours. The AEUG had four mobile suits and a cycle would see them clear another sixteen hours.
If they maintained their current speed, they were less than 80 hours from the *Rose*. That would be less than three shifts per pilot with sufficient time for rest and mobile suit maintenance. Hiro caught himself before he started rattling the numbers that ran through his head. *Surely, this AEUG veteran knows the figures. What’s he playing at by pushing the assignment to the Fury?*
He refused to buy the common joke about how both the Federation and AEUG had suffered so many losses that the officers they had now were hardly capable. Hiro preferred to give the benefit of the doubt in normal circumstances. However, the lives of his crew and his ship were on the line this time.
Hiro sighed and finally stated, “The AEUG team has enough pilots to put in their recon shifts too, Captain.”
Standing to take the Captain’s proffered hand, Hiro knew from the conversation that Grimsdottir was indeed a soldier accustomed to the military ways. However, they were on a mercenary ship sneaking around in a smuggling run. His team had more experience in this type of operations.
He planned to have a longer discussion with the Captain but the brief exchange has told him that he had to step in and take a more proactive role in leading the mission.
*From the way the AEUG is handling the mission, they probably don’t even know what’s in the cargo themselves. Or are we just a diversion?* Hiro knew it was unlikely. *Given how stretched the AEUG is, they won’t put in so much effort just to create a diversion.*
“With all due respect sir, the *Firefly* is our breadwinner and my crew would want to take a more active part in making sure we survive this with our ship more or less intact.” Placing both hands on the table, Hiro leaned forward. “I propose that we send a recon suit ahead. We have more than enough manpower to rotate the shifts. Having an MS in the field would also buy time for our suit to launch in case we get jumped.”
“Thank you for your concern, Captain. However, your apologies are completely unwarranted as much as appreciate your gesture,” Hiro said. “We don’t have a habit of debriefs unless circumstances require us to do so. In this case, I believe there’s an outstanding point in the report I sent you.”
Grimsdottir was going to speak but Hiro raised a finger and went on. “My team has been treated well. Perhaps our reputation precedes us. In any case, the Draconis Fury gets the job done, no questions asked. I understand the gravity of this mission when I signed my team up for this. For the AEUG to use a mercenary ship rather than rig the IFF of a better armed and armoured ship, this is top priority cargo.”
“Yes, you might be thinking that something so important shouldn’t involve mercenaries that might cut and run with it. That’s why the Galleon Combine sent the Fury to do the job.”
Hiro paused to take a deep breath. He continued, “I’m here to discuss our plans. I don’t know what the reports from your men say, but the reports from my team indicated that Zeon forces might have fled with intel about this operation. So we better be prepared for more surprises along the way.
Hiro pressed the bell at the entrance of Grimsdottir’s office and the metal door slid open. As he walked into the office, he saw the captain’s head buried in a pile of papers on his desk.
He had been surprised when he saw the AEUG personnel accustomed to using physical reports. Perhaps it was due the nature of their line of work that the Draconis Fury and the rest of the Galleon Combine operated using data pads and preferred to view their reports digitally on screens. Leaving a paper trail was risky business for mercenaries, and the often had to destroy data in short notice.
Choosing not to interrupt the Captain, Hiro sat himself down in the chair opposite Grimsdottir and fished his data pad from the inner pocket of his jacket. He thumbed through the reports once more. Despite having read them several times over, something still gnawed at him.
While he respected the AEUG captain’s choice to share selected information with him, he hoped that their performance in the earlier skirmish had convinced the man to trust the Draconis Fury more and divulge intelligence that would benefit them both.
If word was brought back to Zeon about the *Firefly*, they might bring the fleet down on the lone mercenary ship. If they knew what cargo she carried, Hiro reminded himself. But it was a big if.
Captain Grimsdottir cleared his throat and Hiro snapped his head up to smile a greeting at the AEUG officer.
"We were lucky," Hiro said as he handed Grace her cup of coffee. She shook her head as she leaned against the bulkhead. "The bridge crew got away with minor injuries, but the damage to the bridge will still hinder our progress."
"Stay our course and rendezvous for repairs, that's all that we can do right now," Kamea said as she swung her makeshift wooden staff at Ronald. He dodged easily and replied with a flurry of attacks. "I still say word got back to Zeon."
They had been over this. Hiro saw the AEUG pilots take out the fleeing Gaza unit. However, both Kamea and Ronald claimed to have notice a blip flicker briefly on their radar. They did a sweep of the region but nothing came up. Years of experience taught the mercenaries that it was very likely that a hidden Zeon unit had escaped, bring with it the information of the Firefly back to its base. Whether Zeon would take the effort to capture a small AEUG force was another matter. Regardless, the probability gnawed at Hiro.
Kamea parried each blow before side stepping the last and retaliated. She said, "It doesn't matter. Whatever happens, we have our job to do. Those AEUG boys better be clocking enough hours of training in the mean time. They were lucky to survive combat, but their luck will run out at some point."
"We don't have the best of crew, but we gotta make the best out of the situation," Grace said. She paused and looked at Hiro, "I don't like how we were taken off guard by Zeon. You would think they would have better intelligence given that they planned this whole operation."
"Well, then you should do more work. You and Augur." Hiro said.
"Sir! Yes, sir!"
He emptied his cup of coffee and left the lounge to look for the captain.
His team was already in the bunker when he got there. The red normal suits trimmed with black were easy to spot among the white and orange suits of the AEUG. Grace Valerii and Ronald Boone were assisting the AEUG mechanics with the mobile suits in the cargo bay. The AEUG had retrofitted the cargo bay to serve as a hangar bay but it was far from being a one suitable for handling battle situations. How did the Zeons find us so fast?
Kamea Thrace was at the airlock. "Just in time, boss. I was about to head out without you."
The Galleon Combine mobile suits had the honour of being stowed away in containers attached to the hull of the Firefly. The transport ship could only carry four mobile suits and the AEUG had filled that up. This was a simple compromise when it was made, but a daunting one now that they had to waddle out into space and clamber to get into their mobile suits. Hiro wondered if whoever made the agreement had experienced going into combat in this manner.
"Let's get going, Starbuck," Hiro said as he put his helmet on. Kamea did likewise and initiated the depressurisation. The hatched opened and the air escaped almost instantly. Their magnetic boots held them to the deck. Kamea headed out without hesitation, and Hiro followed after her. They disengaged their boots and drifted to their respective containers. Hiro disliked leaving his fate to a single cable attached to the hull but it was a lot quicker than plodding step by step along the hull. He punched in his access code and gained entry to the container. The GM-II laid flat on its back. They had prepared the equipment beforehand in anticipation of a possible sortie. Hiro hopped into the cockpit and powered up the suit. The top of the container opened and he pushed the suit into space. Hiro waited for the suit to drift a distance away from the hull before igniting the thrusters to push him into the emptiness. It felt good to be back in space.
"Apollo, check your six," Kamea's voice came over the comms. Hiro glanced at the screen and saw her IFF indicator falling in on his wing. "Good hunting, Starbuck."
Ronald Boone had been relaying updates on the battlefield to them while they prepped. The AEUG CIC officer was doing her job well but Hiro preferred to get the reports from his own man. Ron knew both pilots so well that he could anticipate what they would do and analyse what they could do, so his updates often gave them an edge during combat. The AEUG sniper took out an enemy Gaza while the Zeons downed a GM unit. Even with the young boy Nicky withdrawing from battle, they outnumbered their enemies four to two. The chatter on the AEUG channel reminded Hiro of this early days as a mercenary. No wonder the AEUG had to hire us. The war has really taken a toll on their ranks. Either that or they chose to hand Grimsdottir with an inexperienced team.
"Sorry we're late to the party. It was a little inconvenient getting to our suits." Hiro spoke to the AEUG channel as he sped up to chase the remaining enemies. The two Gaza units kept formation as they turned back to make another pass at the AEUG forces. He frowned at a sudden thought that occurred to him. If the Zeons knew what we were transporting they would have attempted to take out our mobile suits instead of attacking the ship directly. Perhaps the Zeons did not know about this mission after all.
Then as if reading his thoughts, one of the Gaza units veered off formation while its counterpart continued its charge. "Ryder! Get that Gaza before it escapes! Starbuck, deal with this fella."
Leaving Kamea to deal with the attacking mobile suit, Hiro gave chase. However, the Gaza was the faster mobile suit. It would be hard pressed to even keep pace in his GM-II. He hoped Ryder could take out the Gaza before it went out of range. They could not afford for word of the Firefly to get back to the Zeons.
The aroma of the coffee made him feel more energised even before he started drinking it. Hiro made a mental note to give his regards to the cooks the next time. It was one of the better cups he had in a while. Too bad I have to cover that fragrance with the milk. Damned stomach.
He loved to drink his coffee black but some brews were a little too strong for his guts. Hiro used to down several cups of the black stuff at a time. Maybe that caused his stomach to be so touch at this age. Whatever his guts disliked, he stayed away from. Just like this ex-Titans guy who sat opposite him. Ryder Sarka. It surprised Hiro to see a Titans serving with the AEUG. All Titans members had been arrested, trailed, and imprisoned. He wondered how Ryder managed to wriggle his way out of jail time. Even his self-proclaimed sniping abilities would be far from a redeeming factor for the AEUG authority to add him to their ranks. They were desperately shorthanded, but not that desperate or shorthanded. Or were they? It did not matter to Hiro or his crew, but he never liked to be taken by surprise.
The brief bristling exchange between the AEUG pilots came as no surprise, however. Hiro expected Ryder to be detested by the AEUG soldiers. It would take him quite a while to earn their trust and acceptance, though his behaviour indicated he could not care less. He might even be enjoying the thinly-veiled contempt from his comrades. Nick's voice broke into this thoughts.
"I'm not sure I would trust an ex-Titan pointing sniping at my direction in the battlefield either... Nick, was it? Yes, Nick." Hiro had gone through their files. He had seen better pilots and more experienced soldiers in his time, but the pilots assigned to the Firefly would do fine in the mission. As long as nothing went wrong. The nagging feeling was starting to irritate him. He appreciated his gut feelings. They saved his hide more times than he would have preferred. They kept him alive nevertheless. It was hard to ignore it, yet there was naught he could do about it. He turned his attention back to the AEUG pilot before him. "Tell me about yourself, Nick."
Topics I Participated In
Hiro Kusanagi sat in the lounge of the Firefly as he watched the AEUG personnel scurry about their work in preparation for their departure from the lunar city. His crew of four was squeezed into the booth seat meant for three as they had their lunch. The seat opposite them remained empty for the person they were expecting. His wingman Kamea Thrace snuggled to his left, her right elbow carelessly jabbing at his ribs as she worked her food with a metal spoon. He suspected she was prodding his side partly on purpose.
Kamea had tucked her short blonde hair behind her ear to keep it out of her lunch, revealing a star-shaped ebony stud. Her dog tag hung over her cleavage that her black tank top struggled to hide beneath her black leather. Hiro still found her appearance more masculine than Grace Valerii, who sat on his right. Grace had more feminine curves and the larger buxom than her short-hair counterpart, but her jacket was zipped all the way up to her neck to keep herself fully covered. Her straight black hair fell beyond her shoulders. Grace made Hiro uncomfortable for some reasons, especially when they were alone. Perhaps it was her open admiration for her superior, who happened to be a famed pilot in the Galleon Combine.
Hiro Kusanagi was a renown mercenary in the Combine. Grace was the newest member in his team. Although she had been a part of the Draconis Fury for over a year, Hiro was still unable to be as comfortable as he was with Kamea. The latter was his wingman, so that explained for their familiarity. Grace was a backup pilot and still had a way to go before she was able to step up as a full-fledged pilot for the team. Her body was pressed against his as they sat awkwardly in the booth seat of the cargo ship. Hiro could feel the stiffness in Grace’s body despite her best efforts to appear comfortable with the physical contact.
It was not as if he could help it. He was stuck. Hiro turned to look at Ronald Boone. The mechanic took the outermost seat and was the only one among them who could escape the scrum if he wanted to. Ronald, however, was engrossed with the food in his metal food tray. Kamea slammed her spoon down in frustration, “Knock my elbow one more time and I’ll shove this spoon up where the sun don’t shine, Augur!”
“Hey, blame the small table! You’re knocking half of each spoonful I scrape before I can shove it into my mouth, not that this poor excuse for food is in any way appetising.” Ronald shot back. Kamea shook her head. “You can tuck your elbows in instead of airing your armpits, lad. We can do without the stench.”
“Wha—“ Before he could even protest, Grace chimed in, “Starbuck is right. Why don’t you stand up to give us more space. Be a man, Augur.”
“Just ‘cos Spike isn’t around, now I’m the whipping boy,” Ronald said. Kamea laughed. “Keep on dreaming, lad. Nobody’s gonna whip that ass.”
“Shut up and enjoy cozying up with Apollo, girl.” Ronald teased as he suddenly leaned to his right to shove Kamea against Hiro. She leaned on Hiro’s shoulder with feigned affection while Grace flushed red as Hiro was pushed against her. Kamea giggled. “He better be enjoying this more than we are.”
“C’mon now, we’re gonna look so professional like this when Captain Grimsdottir shows up.” Hiro said as he gave up trying to convince himself he was hungry. Ronald moved to the empty seat. “I’ll warm the seat for the captain before he arrives.”
“I hope you’ve got a hot bum cos you gotta give up your seat and it better be well warmed up.” Grace said and gestured at the door of the lounge.
AEUG used the same rank system as the Earth Federation. AEUG allies and mercenaries used the same rank structure .
AEUG Space Force
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Lieutenant Junior Grade Ensign Warrant Officer Master Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer First Class Petty Officer Second Class Petty Officer Third Class AEUG Ground Force
General Lieutenant General Major General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Warrant Officer Sergeant Major Sergeant Corporal Superior Private Private First Class Private Second Class
Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the AEUG. Though we may come from many different backgrounds, we all follow the same course of ridding the Earth Sphere of oppression and tyranny. Please take this moment to introduce yourselves to your fellow pilots and crewmates.
OOC: Please keep your posts in-character for this board using your AEUG character. Thanks!