Full nameNathaniel Barondel
Nathaniel almost didn’t hear the warning about additional bogeys as another volley slammed into his raised shield. He hissed a curse under his breath as he tried to assess the situation. Being able to fly so far had given him a tremendous advantage but it also made him more liable for these type of situations.
Chromatic team had hit into the enemy ranks pretty hard. What little experience and training advantage they had was proving to be a great asset. “I’ve got no choice then…” Nathaniel muttered as he dived Gold Frame in towards the scattering M1’s. At this point the enemy was confused whether to focus on him or the bulk of the forces from Chromatic team. His sudden dive caused greater confusion as he easily dodged the carefully aimed ranged shots that were meant for him.
Gold frame swept in close to the traitorous enemies, beam saber extending from the beam rifle to scythe into one M1 after another. The speed of his own attack startled Nathaniel who wasn’t expecting to be so aggressive, but didn’t object as he cut down three units to varying degrees of success. As he finished his strafe he veered back behind his team.
“Geneva! Lead the assault! I’m on the unknown forces! Keiran I need you to back me up if these bogeys get over land! ” He hardly waited for a response as he pushed his throttle to dive back towards the approaching Archangel. Maybe this will impress her this time around?
Hawthorne grimaced as she saw a brilliant explosion just ahead of the ship as some sort of airplane was shot down. It didn’t matter at that moment as it wasn’t her ship that fired on them. Lucky for any survivors they were still on sovereign ground so any search and rescue would be conducted domestically. She also happened to have bigger problems to worry about as she focused on the unknown pings on the radar behind them all.
“Helmsman veer around! Bring us about 180!” She looked around as her crew did as she ordered and began steering the ship sharply, the tilt making everyone shift in their seats to fight gravity. “Weapons!” She barked, to which another crewman responded. Hawthorne continued, “Ready all weapons to repel possible unknown enemy forces. We cannot let our mobile suits to get surrounded!”
She nodded grimly at the viewport and squinted, thinking she could make out the enemies in the dying light. By this point the orange haze in the sky had completely died away and night was beginning to take firm hold of the land.
Delphine nearly jumped out of her seat as Gold Frame flew past the bridge towards their new bearing. “Just what the hell does he think he’s doing?” Delphine asked out loud despite herself. As if reading her mind, Nathaniel’s voice boomed over the radio speakers. “I’m providing support Archangel! I’ll get out ahead and determine the nature of the potential threat! Barondel Out!”
The Captain looked around nervously as she considered Nathaniel’s safety. She almost felt like he was getting increasingly bold ever since the Heliopolis mission. Why was he trying to play the hero so badly? Did becoming a mobile suit pilot get to his head that much?
Growling she ordered, “Full speed ahead! Remember to keep all hatches sealed since we may be heading over water!”
Yuna kept looking around nervously as the countryside yielded to the well groom estate of the Sieran family. He couldn’t help himself as he glanced from bodyguard to bodyguard sitting next to himself and his father.
Sensing his son’s discomfort Lord Sieran stiffened up, “Yuna calm down. Do you honestly think I wasn’t prepared for something like this?”
Yuna blushed some as he felt foolish suddenly, “Of course father! You’re right.” He slumped down in his seat more and let out a sigh. As soon as he began to relax he of course shot straight back up in his seat. “Are those mobile suits?!”
The elder Sieran chuckled as he gazed out the car window to the two towering mobile suits in question. “Those aren’t just mobile suits my boy. Those are Earth Alliance suits. I think they’re called Daggers…”
Yuna was awestruck, “Wha-? How did you get the Alliance to deploy those here? They must be brand new?”
Lord Sieran maintained his look of superiority as he considered how to answer his progeny. After a moment he calmly replied, “I of course struck a deal with the Alliance. No matter what happened today I would be elected ruler of Orb. And in return I supplied the latest operating system to our dear friends in the Alliance. They wouldn’t-“ his words trailed away as he gawked out his window along with his son. “What in the blazes!”
“The fools! What shameless arrogance! To think that they could possibly dare to be me, or my brother’s superior!” Rondo Mina Sahaku mused as she gripped the controls of her new toy. She came in fast, quicker than the clumsy natural pilot of the Dagger could have predicted. A large sword drove into the spine and cockpit of the Alliance mobile suit, instantly paralyzing and deactivating the machine. The other Dagger caught on to the danger and fired its’ beam rifle at the strange enemy.
“Such a fool!” Mina laughed as she rushed the Dagger. Up came her sword and she cleanly cleaved the rifle in two, making the weapon explode and the Dagger stumble back. “Go ahead draw your sword!” she hissed with glee as she leveled the tip of her own sword to the Dagger’s neck.
The Alliance pilot could sense the impending doom and hesitated, but eventually reached back for the beam saber on it’s back. The right arm of the dagger went flying out free of the body. The left hand came to defend with its’ shield but Mina knocked the defense aside easily and thrust her weapon into the belly of the Dagger, killing that pilot as well.
Laughing she turned on her PA system, “Where are you Sieran? Afraid to meet you end?”
“Those have to be the bastards that murdered Miguel! I just know it!”
Everyone frowned at Yzak’s remark, even the video image of Rau seemed dour at the white haired pilot’s remarks. “I see…” The commander commented as he rubbed his chin. Rau was still in space, having matters to attend to, but he was still giving orders to the team. “And does everyone else feel the same way?”
Dearka, and even Athrun, and Nicol nodded their heads to various tempos of agreement. Jonathan sat in the corner with his arms cross, taking in the mood, and seeing what the redcoats decided.
“Very well, In that case I will give you all permission to sortie out and provide backup for Wolf Squadron. However…” he paused as if just remembering something important, “You will need a commander for the mission… I will appoint Athrun to be your leader while stationed on Earth.”
Again everyone nodded, with Athrun looking almost stunned by the impromptu promotion.
“Good Hunting Everyone! I expect you all to return safely from this operation! La Cruset out!” The video call terminated on the monitor they had set up in a briefing room. Everyone rumbled for a moment with Yzak cutting through the noise, “so we’re the Zala team now is that it?”
Athrun snapped back, “Cut it out Yzak! You heard our orders.” The black haired coordinator paused to studied everyone, including Jonathan then nodded. “We don’t have any time to loose. Everyone get to your machines and lets head out after Wolf Squadron!”
“Lieutenant Barondel! Gold Frame launching!” Nathaniel was pushed back into his seat violently as his mobile suit was shot down the catapult. It felt good knowing he had his team literally covering his back for this mission, he wasn’t thrilled about fighting the new mass production units. As Gold Frame was hurled in the air, Nathaniel reached down to activate the flight controls, jerking his seat once more as his mobile suit took flight.
“Alright Chromatic Team…” he paused for a moment and wondered if they should change their designation, not that this was the time to do it. Nathaniel continued, “since everyone else is on foot I’ll circle around and flank the facility. I’ll draw their fire from the east while you guys come in from the north. For some of you this may be your first mobile suit battle….Don’t overthink it. Work together and we can overcome any enemy.”
It was as close to a pep talk as he was willing to get. Nathaniel was still in a sour mood and he was anxious to teach the group of over zealous naturals a thing or two.
A few tense moments passed as he flew out wide, really getting a feel for the increased maneuverability of his machine. As he flew Nathaniel kept thinking of Delphine and their relationship. Truth was, he was feeling insecure, ever since they got back from Echo outpost. He knew she had to spend time with her husband and he worried that would sour his relationship with the captain. Then the notion of adultery crept in his head and it spun him further down in despair. He shook his head as he spotted Morgenroete and the perimeter of M1’s huddled around the facility. He knew that if he could see them, then they could surely see him. Raising his rifle, Nathaniel took a moment to aim a shot and fired.
A pink blast lanced out to strike one of the Astrays just across the chest. It really was an impressive shot as he managed to get the blast past the shield from the side and hit just the cockpit instantly killing the pilot and knocking the suit on its’ back.
Nathaniel knew he would only get one free attack. Practically all the rest of the M1’s turned to fire their own shots at him. Streaks of green energy reached out to try and hit his flying Astray. Nathaniel grunted as he moved to back away some and dodge as many of the shots as he could. He dodged most and absorbed others with his shield. “C’mon guys nows your chance…” he muttered hopefully. Coordinator or not, he wouldn’t last long against the enemy’s concentrated fire.
Unknown to Nathaniel, Captain Hawthorne was harboring similar thoughts about their relationship, but with different tones. To her there was an indescribable thrill she experienced when she finally gave in to her long hidden attraction to the Lieutenant. For years she had been feeling bogged down in her relationship with Frank, like he had been forcing her to consider retiring from the military and starting a family. While that notion wasn’t upsetting, she still felt like she had too much fight to give to simply resign; especially when she had been so close to getting her own command like she had with the Archangel. Nathaniel by contrast had always been there supporting her professional development, pushing her to succeed. To her both men seemed to represent two sides of her life, both which she cherished for different reasons. Was having an affair wrong? Yes, but to her it didn’t fee out of place at that time in her life, it simply made her feel more alive, more in tune with the present.
Her thoughts were accented by the flash of beam shots being scattered across the sky in front of her. Their brilliance only growing as the sun began to set in the west. Don’t die you fool. She prayed silently. Her gaze was stolen by one of her officers speaking up, “ma’am! Some ground forces are requesting permission to board the ship with wound-“
“Denied!” Hawthorne barked as she gazed at the particular ensign, “We’re in the middle of a battle and the last thing I need is a group of Sieran commandos getting aboard and pulling our own stunt on ourselves.” She explained more calmly then added, “All hands will keep the ship sealed until after this situation is resolved. Do I make myself clear?” Her entire staff stiffened at her order and a chorus of “Yes ma’am!” Echoed back to her. She shifted in her seat as she tried to focus on the fighting ahead of them. Perhaps she would be viewed coldly for her order but she was no fool, and the last humiliation she wanted was to loose her ship to her own countrymen, doing the same thing she did to obtain the ship in the first place. These were indeed troubling times, she mused as she saw the battle get closer and closer.
“You can’t do it kid! Just because you piloted it once doesn’t mean the machine is yours!”
Kira grunted as he ran past Erica, the chief engineer reaching out futility for the gifted prodigy. Kira ran through the halls just as Orb soldiers burst into building. Some of the Sieran Loyalist took shots at the teen as he dived for the hangar with the only G weapon in their possession. Even as Kira burst into the hangar something immediately felt off. He skidded to a stop and gaped in awe as he looked around in shock. The Strike was gone.
(This happens during when the Archangel is back near Orb but before Sieran's Coup)
Nathaniel’s car whipped along the curves of the road with ease. He had just gotten back to the base for some shore leave. Really it was just enough time to check up on his house and do a few errands before returning to base. The wind combed through his hair as he drove his sports convertible, music blasting loudly to compete with the booming wind.
Of course, he was a little upset, any normal person would go home to a family, or have a night out with their significant other. No, his “other” had to go home to her husband. He pumped the gears to go even faster at the bitter thought, “just what the hell have I gotten myself into…”
His worries were belittled by the presence of a broken-down car just up the road. Grimacing, Nathaniel shifted gears down and slowly parked the car just behind the smoking vehicle. Leaning out the side of his car he called out to the guy standing by the wreck, “having car trouble? Want a ride back into town?” He could have offered to look at the engine, but he didn’t feel like getting dirty at that time. The guy standing by the car looked more like a tourist, but something about the way he carried himself seemed familiar, Nathaniel just couldn’t put his finger on it.
As the guy walked up Nathaniel offered once again, “Hop in I’ll take you back to town if you want?”
Yuna maintained a smug expression as she talked. She didn’t strike as a devious type, at least not openly. It was also obvious that he couldn’t get much more information out of her than he did already. Taking in a deep breath he forced a smile, “very well then, I’m sorry about this mix up. You are free to leave.” He walked towards the door but paused and raised his finger in the air, “there is one thing I’d like to ask first though.”
He turned on his heel, “does the guild still accept freelance jobs?” Perhaps there was a way Yuna could still gain from this interaction still.
The team building exercise went off without a hitch. Soon they were all watching some anime together and even Nathaniel had to admit it was a pleasant distraction. During one of the breaks between shows he got up and motioned to Kali to come into the hallway to talk to him.
“So… Kali… I didn’t want to put you on the spot but what did you mean by participating? What did you have in mind exactly?” It was an honest question and Nathaniel held no accusation in his tone.
-Kali took a moment to think, “I figured perhaps a support role similar to how I helped you and the team on the field.” She resided sheepishly, “Plus I don’t have a lot of military experience, I think training would help.” She added
Nathaniel gave the girl a side eye glance, unsure of how sincere she was being. “Well for what’s it’s worth your quick thinking proved to be invaluable. Good instincts really!” He stroked his chin as he considered his words carefully. “Let me ask you. How did you feel loosing your home to that ZAFT attack?” The question was seemingly off topic but he needed to get a better feel for the girls truest intentions.
- She smiled with satisfaction and beamed with pride at the compliment. The emotions were short-lived when he ask how she felt losing her home. She rescued from the rubble of her apartment building luckily her parents were not in the same building, “I felt lost, scared.. in the rubble. I was rescued by field officers from the Archangel. I am grateful for my life. Mama and papa are safe as well. I feel indebted to you and the captain, I want to do what I can to help you as you did me.” She said earnestly.
He nodded patiently as he listened. “There’s a difference between owing a debt and being a soldier. I want to make sure you understand that.” He paused to weigh his own words, almost wondering if it was a talk he should be having with Roane instead. “There are no half measures on the battlefield… what I need to know from you is if I can rely on you with my life? And not just my life but everyone else’s in there?” He pointed a finger at the room they were standing outside of. He bit his lip to stop himself from getting worked up to much. He forced a smile, “if you can commit like that… then I’ll see about getting you transferred under my command.” His tone was edgy if not scary but that was war. He just didn’t want to drag whoever felt like it with him he had enough to deal with it as it was. On the same hand she held her weight without a mobile suit and that wasn’t anything to scoff at either. Nathaniel eyed Kali patiently.
- Kali thought for a moment and smiled softly, “I disagree Lieutenant. When I say indebted it is not as simple as paying a debt back. Perhaps I misspoke. I see what lengths you and your team have gone through, including the captain. It is that resolve that saved my life. That is what you instilled in me and it that same resolve I will use you save you and anyone else in the team. No matter the cost.” She said smiling her eyes teary, “Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.” She recited, “Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian and politician.” She added, “Don’t you think the sentiment can go either way?”
A smile etched itself on Nathaniel’s face, Kali was certainly full of surprises. He wasn’t ready for a philosophical debate but he could appreciate her candor. “I suspect you’re willing to prove that very point?” He asked grinning. “I’ll talk to the captain shortly…. Private…” he offered a wink at the rank change and nodded to the door. “Enjoy the rest of the evening, I’m glad you’re on the team now!” His gratitude was sincere as he held the door for her.
- Kali couldn’t help but look at the Lieutenant in awe and joy, “I am.” She responded. Her smile broadened and pride lit up her face at the rank. She didn’t even have a rank when she started but now she felt like she found her place, “Yessir.” She said confidently, “Thank you.” She said softly.
Nathaniel paused outside the door but didn’t follow. Instead he smirked thinking it would be best if the team bonded without the “boss” for awhile and instead opted to going to Hawthorne's office to report and make his request.
A few moments later he was standing at attention inside the Captains Office which double as her quarters. “At ease” she commanded, and Nathaniel let his hands slide behind his back. He smirked as he vaguely recalled that they would call the pose “duck tails” or something equally absurd when he was in grade school.
“Ma’am?” He asked cautiously as Delphine rounded the desk, stomping towards Nathaniel and slapping him hard across the face. He nearly staggered to the floor but caught his footing and reached up to stroke his red cheek. “What the hell?” He hissed in confusion.
“Don’t ever pull that hero crap again do you hear me?” She stood close to him feeling her offending hand but keeping her arms lowered. There was a look in her eyes, rimmed with moistness.
“You know how it is Delphine…” Nathaniel scolded, “there’s no way in hell I’m letting my pilots bite the dust instead of me.” He glared at her for a long while but couldn’t bring himself to say anything else as he saw the emotions, she wasn’t willing to say. Slowly his hand dripped from his face to reach out and caress hers. They looked at each other for a long moment before he leaned in to kiss her.
He was tired of fighting, tired of giving his all for no recognition beyond a paycheck. Most of all he was tired of feeling lonely, and right now Delphine was eager enough to make him not feel so lowly. What matter at that moment, was the here and now. Nathaniel wasn’t going to concern himself with the details. He didn’t stop her when she began to paw at his uniform, pulling them both towards her bed.
The next few days the Archangel flew closer to the homeland, she was close enough for some shore leave which a few members took advantage of sporadically. She conveyed the results of the ambush and was directed to patrol the nation for any possible invasions. The assignment Chromatic team well; and they went to business, doing exactly as Nathaniel had promised. The team worked on drills and spent time addressing each person’s personal concern. Nothing was off the table as they went over everything from Mobile Suit maintenance, to firearm marksmanship. Nathaniel knew they had a long way until he would feel confident in their abilities, but maybe if they could function appropriately as a team everything else would fall into place.
Nathaniel didn’t want to train mindless drones, he wanted to mold a squad of elite soldiers. He paid particular interest to Purple Frame’s new pilot Kali. The notion right now was that she would function as a back up pilot, but with no alternative she was assigned the extra unit along with the newest operating system that Morgenroete had developed. News trickled in that manufacturing of mass produced Astrays was fully under way, and that the first batch would be rolling out within a matter of weeks if not days.
The politics back home didn’t settle down in the timeframe during the Archangel’s deployment. News soon spread of the attack on the Archangel and there was immense backlash against the Sieran family from their suspected ties. The crisis delayed the vote of the new chairman for a few more weeks, a move the other families saw as a desperate power grab from Lord Atha. Lord Sahaku on the other hand patiently played his hand, working the politics carefully. Everything changed on the morning of the election however.
“Gentlemen it is with a heavy heart that I conduct this order of business. All ballots will be cast anonymously in this box here…” Lord Atha announced as he patted the ballot box in the middle of the conference table. “since I am stepping down from office…” The words were carefully chosen although everyone in the room knew he was being outed, “I will officiate the voting and only cast a vote myself in the event of tie.”
The box was passed around with all the noble lords putting their votes into the box. Before long it was returned to Lord Atha who took several agonizing moments carefully making the tally. He closed his eyes and sighed out loud as he put the box away. “The new leader of our great country is Lord Sahaku.”
The young Lord offered a cat like smile at the announcement, and stood up holding his hands up in thanks. He moved to the head of the table much to the glare of Lord Sieran who seemed on the verge of yelling out in an outrage.
“My lords, thank you very much for your confidence. I promis-“
“This is an outrage! I demand a revote!”
Everyone gawked at Lord Sieran who now stood up from his seat, “There’s no way you all want to follow this fool to this country’s demise?” He looked around accusingly as he held a hand out towards the new chairman. No one spoke up and it was Lord Sieran who finally replied, “Lord Sieran…..we conducted our vote to the rule… pleas-“
“I will not!” Lord Sieran yelled out in anger. He looked one more time for support from anyone on the council, but he received none. Grunting out in rage he stormed out from the conference room. Almost immediately camera flashed dazzled the Lord who looked bewildered. It was at that moment he decided to act, calling out loudly to the media. “Please! I will address all your concerns as your newly appointed chairman in due time!” The media frenzy and confusion followed the Lord as he almost ran to his car where Yuna waited patiently for his father.
Lord Sahaku didn’t lash out as he caught some of the absurdities that Lord Sieran was spewing out. Instead, he quietly retreated to his office to handle the growing situation.
“Well father what happened?” Yuna asked impatiently as his father slammed the door behind him. “Activate the auxiliary units! Driver! Take us to my bunker immediately!” Yuna wasted no time in doing his father’s bidding and pulled out his phone to make several calls.
The commander of the first M1 Astray platoon cried out to his loyal men who ran into the Morgenroete factory on Onogoro island. Within minutes the entire facility was taken over by Lord Sieran loyalist who commandeered the newly constructed weapons. By the time the mobile suits began to march out of the factory there were at least a dozen suits ready to roll out with a dozen more nearly complete.
The simple act of Sieran commanding troops to take over key military assets cemented the reality of what was happening, Lord Sieran was attempting a Coup.
Hawthorne was sitting in the Captain’s chair when the call came in.
“Ma’am it’s a call from command, they want to talk to you.”
“Very well I’ll take it in my office.”
The comm officer shook her head in response, “they’re insisting to address you in front of the crew.”
Delphine gulped, that didn’t sound like a good thing, but she nodded, “alright put it through.”
The display on the bridge and throughout the ship lit up and Lord Sahaku appeared, “My brave soldiers of the Orb Union. I am recalling the Archangel this instant. I have been elected as the rightful ruler of our nation and we must act swiftly to put down a rebellion by Lord Sieran. Our intelligence now believes that it was Lord Sieran who attempted to have the Archangel captured in the battle at the training site. To make matters worse, he’s acted quickly in securing Morgenroete, and we believe he is activating the M1 Astrays to fight for his outrageous claims as leader.”
Despite herself Delphine put her hand up to her lips to hide the shock etched on her face. Her trance was interrupted by Lord Sahaku talking directly to her, “Captain, do you have the resolve to do your duty and take down these traitors?”
Hawthorne sat up straight in her chair, “Of course sir! I speak for my crew when I say that we will do what needs to be done to protect the homeland.” She put on a brave front to show her resolve not just to the chairman but to her entire crew.
Lord Sahaku nodded approvingly, “Good! I want your ship to proceed to Onogoro and recapture our facilities. It will be a set back, for each M1 you have to destroy, but if we don’t act quickly we might have Alliance troops landing on our shores rallying to Sieran. The Archangel will be the spearhead in this counterattack. Do our country proud!”
The transmission ended and Hawthorne looked around to gauge the reaction of all her crew on the bridge. Nodding she announced, “All hands to your battle stations! Make our course the Morgenroete factory! All mobile suit pilots prepare for combat! This is not a drill!”
Nathaniel didn’t have time to let shock settle in for him. Indeed, he let anger fuel his response as he got ready. He hated to learn that he had been betrayed by one of the Lords of his nation, they almost died at the hands of such a greedy politician. Zipping up his flight suit, Nathaniel paused as he held the helmet. He looked around to see his teammates trickling into the locker room too, all in various stages of getting ready.
He grimaced as he considered that this next mission could get bloody and pulled the helmet over his face and sealed the visor. A few moments later he was in the cockpit of Gold Frame. He went through the sequence to fire up the operating system and activate all the sensors. He nervously checked the status of the latest gadget to be added onto his mobile suit, a prototype flight back. In theory it would let him cover a lot of ground quickly.
One by one he saw the status icon of his team coming online. He hesitated before opening a comm channel with everyone. “I want a straight answer from everyone. If you want to sit this mission out, then tell me right now. There’s a good chance we’ll be fighting other Orb soldiers and if you can’t live with it then I need to know.” His tone reflected his serious nature, he was still worked up from the revelation, so he sounded angry even. “Just know that what we do, we do for all of Orb. We can’t have our National resources being controlled by illegitimate sources.”
Nathaniel remained neutral as his team talked. He couldn’t argue with anything they were brining up. While this wasn’t how he would have preferred to do business, he had a feeling that this more subtle method would work out well with his team. The best part was they were coming up with the solutions he was seeking too. This way they would be more invested in both training and team building because it would be their ideas not just his.
His contemplation was interrupted when Kali spoke up. He was startled by her request to train with them, it wasn’t something he was expecting to hear from the girl. But any reaction he had poised in his mouth evaporated with Keiran shared the brilliant “team building” idea.
“Ani- what?” Nathaniel’s face froze at the revelation. Of course the suggestion was somehow involved with Roane, such a plan didn’t surprise Nathaniel. Slowly the lieutenant looked around to study everyone’s face and he slumped his shoulders in resignation.
Scratching his head Nathaniel looked around the room and eyed the projector and the screen behind him. It undoubtedly could be an ideal movie theater though he doubted that was ever the intention the designers had for the briefing room.
Sighing the team leader announced, “ok… MacMaster, Larris… when we’re done here I expect you two to set up this viewing party.” He winced as he gave the order, it was probably one of the strangest things he ever had to do in his career but so be it. Standing up he cleared his throat to try and keep everything on point.
“As far as training goes we’ll start a regiment. 0600 every day we will meet in this room for daily briefings. Well then perform either virtual drills or sorties to understand what these machines can do! We won’t just be simulating solo missions but scenarios where we will cover one another. Most importantly we will work on everything we identify as our weakness together.”
His gaze landed on Geneva, seeing if there was anything she wanted to add. Part of him wished he could have picked a different XO for the interpersonal stuff that a team often had to deal with, the girl was bright if not shy. Still he had no one else who had the experience she had to offer. Nathaniel gave a look to Kali and nodded, a silent way of saying that he wanted to talk to her later.
Yuna played the part of diplomat perfectly as he attentively listened to the young lady talk. He was already raising his hand at the end of her request, “Now now, don’t be hasty. You still haven’t stated why you were even flying near our country to begin with?” He looked at her like expectantly, “besides I’d say you already found yourself in some trouble already… please help, me help you miss…” he drew out the last word, his indirect way of asking for her name.
He slowly walked around the table and girl with his chin up and a tone of superiority. Truly this one wasn’t probably worth the trouble they had gone through with detaining her. Still, Yuna had a hunch and at this point in the game he had to capitalize on anything that would give him an advantage over his father’s rivals. If she saw the battle the Archangel was in, then she likely knew who won. What if the cursed ship actually survived and repelled the attack from the Alliance forces?
As Yuna paced around Mai he wore a look of genuine concern, though it was mostly for himself and hardly for her. He needed allies, even unconventional ones. Didn’t the Junk Guild occasionally work as soldiers of fortune? “I’d really like to know if you know who won that battle you witnessed? It is of the utmost importance to the Orb Union right now….” He trailed off as he paused to look at the one way mirror. He looked mostly at his own reflection, and even reached up to fix his hair as he waited for a response from the young lady.
“How long have you had the pilot detained?” Yuna asked impatiently. The guard standing by the door tensed some as the council member’s son ask the loaded question. “Almost two hours sir!”
“And no one else has spoken to her right?”
Again, the guard nodded nervously, “that’s right sir! Just as Lord Sieran ordered!”
A cat like smile grew on Yuna’s face as he looked in the peephole to the interrogation room. “good, let me in. I wish to speak to her.”
Mai’s plane was escorted in by Orb defenses forces which had been on high alert. Lord Sieran in particular had many officers loyal to him on duty at the time of the Archangel attack. This plane from the Junk Guild could either be a major inconvenience, “Or an opportunity….” He mused as the door was unlocked for him.
Clearing his throat the aspiring youth walked into the room with the handcuffed Mai, who was seated at the table. “Allow me to apologize, our country is a bit on edge right now. Surely you can appreciate the precautions we’ve been taking…” Yuna’s voice trailed away as he initially moved to uncuff the girl but paused to nod to the guard by the door to do the task. “Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Yuna Sieran. I was told you flew in from the north? Can you tell me, did you see anything interesting on your way here?” He was almost convincing in his tone, friendly if not polite.
The guard moved up to Mai to reach over and undo the cuffs before scurrying away, more in difference to Yuna than the fiery girl it seemed.
Nathaniel eyed everyone as they came in, he even offered a smile to Kali since she had been nothing less than helpful in the last mission. “Welcome everyone.” He paused to look around, his mouth hung open as he thoughtfully considered what he should say next. Finally, he settled on, “Things didn’t go according to plan, in fact everything went off the rails.”
His gaze spared no one as he looked from Geneva on down the line. Perhaps the only one who didn’t mess up in some big way was Keiran, but Nathaniel wasn’t here to play favorites. “In many ways we were lucky, if not fortunate to have such a trial by fire…. Thank God no one was hurt.” Despite his words both Geneva and Roane looked sickly.
Shaking his head he stopped himself from going down a spiteful tirade. He paused and sucked in a breathe, “we will act as a team. And as a team, we are only as strong as our weakest link.” In spite of the tone he was going for his gaze did fall in the general direction of Roane and Geneva who sat near each other. “Whether we like it or not we are all stuck together. We have no choice but to better ourselves….” Nathaniel’s gaze drifted from one person to the next, he surprised himself by looking at Kali, “we have to be strong, not just for our own sakes, but for the person sitting next to you.” This time his eyes landed on Roane. “I wanted to address everyone together for this very reason. Do I make myself clear?”
Nathaniel hardly waited for a response as he clenched his teeth, “I want to hear ideas on how we can perform better? What can we do now to be ready for the next time? Most important I want to hear what you all have to say about that mission?” This time he did wait for a reply as he looked around the room. He needed to mold everyone into a team, one way or another.
Nathaniel eyed Geneva as she bolted off. He let out a sigh and took a moment to keep himself composed in front of the hangar crew. Nodding to himself he wiped his face with his gloved hand and grimaced before walking down towards Keria and the Red Frame. “We’ll have a staff meeting at 1500…” he said towards Keiran as he walked back towards his cabin to freshen up.
Of course he wanted to run after Geneva but he knew better than to push her too much. Like any social situation sometimes it was better to let emotions calm down first. He was soon at his cabin door tearing off the regular suit and entering his domain. “We got issues to iron out…” he mumbled to no one in particular.
He stood half naked in his bathroom and keyed a tablet before jumping in the shower. Satisfied with the message he put the device away to jump in the warm water.
To All Astray Pilots:
We will have a mandatory staff meeting at 1500 hours. The topic of the meeting is to debrief the recent mission. Please bring forth any ideas or issues noticed from the action for discussion.
Lt. Nathaniel Barondel
Chromatic Team Leader
Of course, he wanted to reem the short comings from his team, but he was in a unique position where his team was somewhat invaluable. He couldn’t eject a member of the team and recruit someone else to take their place, they were the best options he had available. No, he had to address any issues tactfully, Nathaniel realized. “Sink or swim… we’re stuck together…” he muttered as he scrubbed shampoo in his scalp.
A few hours later Nathaniel marched into the briefing room a few minutes early to his meeting. To accent the mood he was aiming for he tossed his officer’s hat onto the podium and loosened the collar of his uniform. He reached for a chair and brought it up near the front of the room. He sat down reverse in the chair, his arms hanging over the back rest, his legs straddling the seat. As he waited for his teammates he let out a long sigh.
He looked at his tablet, he had sent Hawthorne a message after his shower telling her about the meeting. In an odd move she requested two things from Nathaniel. The first was that Kali be allowed to sit on the meeting. Seeing as how she was instrumental in deploying the drones to protect the Astrays, they both agreed it was appropriate for his team to thank her for the move. The second thing she wanted was for him to personally debrief her after the meeting. He was fine with that too of course. His reverie was interrupted as the crew began to trickle into the room.
“Ma’am the enemy is retreating!”
The words rang out like sweet music to Delphine’s ears and she let out a sigh of relief. The captain leaned back a little bit before asking, “where is chromatic team?”
“They’re coming back to the ship, Gold unit is still engaging the enemy.”
Despite herself Delphine gasped, “just what is he doing?” She quickly corrected herself. “Weapons can we provide any support?”
“Not at this range ma’am!”
Hawthorne cursed under her breath as she looked around the bridge helplessly. To compound to her worries another officer added. “Gold unit’s energy is reaching critical levels!”
“Can we take off?” A trace of concern etched in Hawthorne’s voice.
Delphine grimaced at the response; it wasn’t good enough. If Nathaniel died out there now it would be her fault, she was certain of that. She slammed her fist down in frustration, biting her lip to avoid yelling out a profanity. They were too close to surviving this ordeal, he just needed to come back.
Nathaniel thought he heard some chatter about an unknown aircraft in the area, but he wasn’t so certain as he was ‘in the zone’. Shot after shot, he took careful, if not tense aim at the enemies. Despite being in a giant machine he constantly told himself between shots, “breath… inhale, exhale…” as if he was firing the rifle himself.
Several things happened, seemingly back-to-back that broke his spell of concentration. First was a wave of explosions from what drones remained, it set of a chain of debris flying around. Just as the debris should have been hitting the ground, Nathaniel felt a surreal moment as more junk fell than should have. As if to compound to his worries his last shot triggered an alarm in his mobile suit.
“Blazes!” he cried out in frustration as he had to jump back to avoid a large chunk of metal. He ditched the shield just in time to see it get crushed. His main concern wasn’t almost getting hit by random debris however, it was his energy levels hitting critical. He had mere moments to retreat or risk his machine turning into a modern day colossus statue.
His panic was momentary as he realized everyone managed to retreat, including Keiran who was by far the furthest suit they had out. He pulled back into the ashy veil of smoke and was pleasantly surprised to see Green Frame not that far ahead of him. Gulping, Nathaniel slowly nodded his head, his buck fever fading, “I’m fine!” he responded to the private.
A few tense moments later he was back onboard the ship with mere single digit percentages left on his operating time. He had priority to dock his machine first because of his energy scenario and parked the unit back in its’ spot. As he began to power down he instantly asked the bridge, “what’s the scenario? Do we need to refit and go back out?”
There was a pause over the radio before the operator responded, “Negative Chromatic 1, we’ve repelled the attack and are already returning home. Exit your machine and debrief, we’re going to stand down to yellow alert soon as we leave the battle zone.”
Now Nathaniel did let out a sigh of relief. He popped open his hatch to look at the other Astrays similarly parking. “Guess that beats any normal training we could have done…” he muttered as he stood on the catwalk outside Gold Frame, his hands resting on his head as he looked at his teammates.
Hawthorne held her breath as the brilliant twin cannons of the battleship fully opened up and streaked out across the ocean. One, two; the blasts alternated, reaching and daring to touch enemy naval vessels. Each ship graced by the beam, erupted into flames or explosions. They had only completed about a quarter of a circuit when a crewman shouted out, “ma’am cannons are overheating!”
“hold your fire.” She belayed with a tone of awestruck in her own voice. Hawhtorne gawked at how quickly they had repealed the incoming enemy ships. Much to her hopes, a handful of ships began to veer away. Other’s maintained their course towards the Archangel but it was clear they weren’t expecting to be so out gunned.
“Plan your next shot for maximum effect, fire as soon as we’re able to. We have them on the ropes!”
The weapons control officer responded with an enthusiastic, “Aye, aye!” and a few heartbeats later another shot rang out from the Lohengrin, albeit not as long or sustained. Three more ships were hit in some fashion then the rest of the ships began to withdraw. Although her gaze never left the retreating vessels she asked cautiously, “how is Chromatic team doing?” Chromatic was the code term they had decided for the Astrays before the deployment.
“they’re taking heavy enemy fire, we’re still getting active friendly signals though!”
Sitting back in her chair, Delphine grimaced and looked around. She didn’t want to act irrationally, but the Astrays are a vital national interest…
“make sure these ships retreat then come about and nail the island with everything we have.” She ordered. Despite herself she found herself looking at Kali, as if expecting to see the girl concede her agreement with the notion. I can’t help you yet Nathan…
Another blast nailed Gold Frame squarely, the shield absorbed the hit. But he could still feel the violent vibrations within the cockpit. Nathaniel growled in frustration as he pivoted to return fire at one of the tanks. The pink blast from his rifle darting out to instantly explode the offender.
While the initial tide of the battle was a one-sided wave, the Astrays managed to weather the initial assault, usually the most devastating. The wall of flames had already died down dramatically, having spent most of the accelerant to dwindle into a smoky forest fire. Hot cinders and ash plumed up from the forest behind the Astrays.
Nathaniel heard Keiran’s words of caution and took into consideration Geneva’s and Roane’s situations. Gold frame darted in front of Geneva to protect her. “XO pull back, lead the retreat through the burnt trees. The flames now won’t harm our machines…” As if to accent his point the Archangel let out a blast of her Lohengrin cannons towards ships in the sea, the awe-inspiring act seemingly pausing their fighting for a heartbeat. Shaking his head, he added, “Everyone fall back to the Angel now. We repealed them back enough we can make it!”
He saw now that the enemy strategy relied on two factors: shock-and-awe; and overwhelming numbers. The Orb forces demonstrated a resilience to the shock and just contributed their own awe, and while they didn’t have numbers, they did have overwhelming firepower.
Nathaniel brought Gold Frame into a kneel. He put his shield on its’ side and placed his rifle on top as he established a firing position. He let loose a volley of pink blasts, one after another. “I’ll cover everyone...” Energy be damned, it won’t mean a thing if none of us get back. If the Archangel had just demonstrated one thing; it was that the enemy wasn’t too fond of this new beam weaponry.
The helicopters were soon swarming around the Astrays. It seemed like more and more of them were popping out of the forest and from behind the mountain centered on the island. There were more than enough targets for sure. They couldn’t retreat until they enemies were destroyed.
Nathaniel gritted his teeth as a tank shell slammed into the left arm of Gold Frame. He could hear Keiran’s resolve and nodded to himself. Now that he was certain that everyone knew this was live combat he could focus on trying to direct his troops. “Granted Larris! Move in there and take out those tanks!” he barked. He then turned to regard the Blue and Red Frames.
Geneva was doing an admirable job fending off missile barrages, “XO!” he called out, “provide air cover for Kerian’ keep those choppers off him!” Nathaniel narrowed his eyes at Red Frame which seemed to be putting a minimal effort into simply defending itself. “It doesn’t matter who they are right now MacMaster, what matters is that you kill them first!” he roared out as he stepped in to shoot one of the choppers with his beam rifle.
The pink bolt sounded slightly different from the normal beam rifle, but the effect was no less desirable as a helicopter exploded. It seemed just as one of them was taken out, two more flew in to replace it. The truth was he was running out of Vulcan ammunition, and that there were too many to keep shooting with a beam rifle. To panic fire would drain the power, damn they know what they are doing…
Several more helicopters exploded as a mass of training drones flew in towards the enemy helicopters. Nathaniel allowed himself a small smile as the unexpected assistance made a sizable dent in the growing enemy numbers.
“We have to secure this position first everyone, take out the enemy, mind you energy levels!” Even as he gave the order his thoughts flew toward the Archangel, to Delphine. I hope you can last without us… he wished.
“Good thinking!” Hawthorne called out to Kali as she eyed what the girl was doing. She was about to say something else when the smile on Delphine’s face vanished.
It felt like the entire ship rocked as an explosion hit the starboard side. There was a fluttering shared by everyone’s stomach as the Archangel plummeted back into the brine. Everyone rocked violently from the short but suddenly fall.
“Ma’am they hit our propulsion! We can’t maintain lift!”
Hawthorne rubbed her head as she recovered, her hat scattered on the floor, but she didn’t move to recover it. She hissed a curse under her breath, “It seems they know the ship’s weak points…”
“More destroyers, three o’clock!” a different voice called out.
“Can we turn the ship about?” Hawthorne asked wearily. There was a pause before an officer called out, “Yes, Ma’am!”
Narrowing her eyes, she commanded, “then pull us into a circuit and fire the main cannons, we’ll sweep out the enemy ships like clockwork!” a loud roar echoed through the bridge as a flight of jets flew straight overhead, echoed by blasts on the ship. “use the weapons take out those jets we can’t have them strafe us and take out the cannon!” she cried out. There was a trace of real concern in her voice, she knew her ship could best naval vessels, but the jets might be too fast for her weapons to effectively counter. Either way the Archangel had to make quick work of their enemies or they would be done for. Her thoughts drifted to the Purple Frame in the hangar. Despite herself, her thoughts then drifted to Nathaniel. You better make it…
“yes, that’s right!” Yuna squirmed in his seat as he looked up from the floor to look at the approving gaze of his father, Unato. The son held a phone to his head and cradled the device with both hands. “I gave you the position, along with their load out and personnel. Are you certain you can capture the ship?”
There was a pause that Unato Seiran found uncomfortable despite himself as he watched his son nod frantically. The older man nearly jumped as his sun cried out, “excellent! Thank you so much! I look forward to working with you again!” the boy hung up the phone and flashed his father a triumphant looking smile.
Normally Unato would handle such affairs himself but knew that he needed to maintain a buffer of deniability, and his son needed to learn such statesmanship at some point. “it is done then son?” the old man asked cautiously.
The young man nodded enthusiastically, “Yes father! The Earth Alliance sent a task force to capture the Archangel and the Astrays. I’ve been assured that if they can successfully do so then our transgressions will be forgiven in the Alliance’s eyes. There was even mention of possible membership!”
Even as Yuna cried out almost hysterically, Unato was waving a hand as if telling the boy to calm down. “good… very good. Let us hope that they can come through and take that blasted ship with the least amount of casualties on both sides. We can’t build a friendship on blood loss… Good job yuna. Keep me informed on what happens.”
Topics I Participated In
“So, this is Orb,” Lowell looked out across the sandy, sunlit beach as azures waves as crisp as crystal crashed against the shore, ticking his sandaled feet. He shaded his eyes against the sun. Even with sunglasses and shorts it was too bright, too hot. It was same thing he disliked about the desert when he was stationed there. The ZAFT pilot much preferred the climate-controlled PLANTs to actual atmosphere and all that came with it.
Behind him, some meters away, Renato Masters was sitting at an outdoor bar, shaded by the palm-frond thatching and sipping on a deep orange Mai Tai. He was watching Lowell as he trudged his way back up towards the bar and took a seat next to him. Renato had gone to the trouble of ordering him a similarly vibrant drink.
“It’s very…blue,” Lowell said, picking up the sweaty glass and observing the miniature novelty umbrella wedged between the ice within.
“It’s called a Blue Hawaiian,” Ren informed him, sipping his own drink. “Give it a try, you’ll like it. It’s fruity,”
“Wolf Squad really is lucky to have its own former mixologist on board,” Lowell said, sipping at the drink. It was indeed very fruity and very alcoholic. Lowell set it back down and looked out towards the ocean. He wasn’t fully sure why such a natural thing unnerved him—perhaps it was because it was so like space but yet completely alien, ironically. Boundless and vast. “Do you ever miss your place?”
“What, the bar?” Ren quirked a brow. “Sure, every day. But this is more important I think, don’t you? If we don’t fight here and now, there might not be a bar to miss, you know? Besides, it’s in good hand. My little sister is running the place until I get back and I swear she knows more about business than I do. She’ll probably have bought me out by the time this is all over and then I’ll have to find a new job or become a lifer or something,” Ren chuckled and took another drag of his Mai Tai. Lowell smiled softly and then turned his eyes back to his drink, contemplated it.
“There’s that look again,” Ren said, lightly pushing his commander’s shoulder. “You’re stressing yourself out again,”
“No, no,” Lowell smiled. “Just thinking about things back home that’s all,” a silent moment passed between the two as a warm, tropical wind blew through the cabana. Quietly, Lowell made a decision for himself. “Enjoy yourself, Ren. I’m going to head into town to do some looking around but I don’t think it’s a two person job,”
“Hey, you’re the boss, Lowell,” Ren grinned. “You say drink, I say how much,”
Lowell’s rent-a-car slowed to a crawl as he brought it to the side of the road, cursing his bad fortune. He knew he shouldn’t have cheaped out on the rental, but with the amount that Ren was likely to be drinking today, he didn’t want to run up too much of a charge on the unit funds. The smoke coming out from under the hood was dire, but after being in a mobile suit, no amount of minor vehicular disrepair could faze him. It did, however, greatly inconvenience him. His personal phone wasn’t exactly on an Earth plan. Lowell exhaled through pursed lips, his hands on his hips. Of course he broke down on a country road outside of the city. He could even see it in the distance, but he wasn’t exactly looking forward to walking several kilometers in sandals.
Lowell leaned up against the side of the car and folded his arms across his chest as he tried to think of a plan, when a plume of dust on the horizon caught his eye.
“Oh! Hey!” he cried out, waving his hands up over his head in hopes of flagging down this oncoming driver.
January 25th CE 71
Zaft forces have traced alliance activity to the seemingly neutral colony of Heliopolis. The coordinator task force takes it upon themselves to infiltrate and steal the new alliance mobile suits being rolled out for deployment. During the attack the Zaft team succeeds in procuring four of the five machines. One of the machines, the Strike by name, was commandeered by a young coordinator by the name of Kira Yamato.
As the strike fought off the attack from a lone GINN, other forces began to take advantage of the deteriorating situation…
Nathaniel hated being rushed, his fingers fumbled over the door code for the third time. “Settle down Hawthorne!” He chided before the woman behind him could quip about him forgetting the code. The Red haired woman bristled at the mind reading remark and shook her head in resignation. “this’ll do it…” Nathaniel cooed as he entered the correct code this time, confirmed by the click of the door unlocking.
The man dressed as an Alliance Lieutenant, snatched the handle of the door and twisted it, holding it fast so it wouldn’t lock again. Nathaniel studied his handgun before looking back at Delphine Hawthorne and the four other members of their commando team. The point man was less than thrilled about this next portion of this impromptu operation but it was for the betterment of their homeland so how could he disagree?
He made eye contact with Hawthorne as she scooted to the opposite edge of the sealed door. Nathaniel quietly mouthed a countdown to “three”, which the woman mimicked with her free hand for their teammates to see.
On the third count he swung open the door violently and followed Hawthorne as she ducked into the corridor, gun raised for any threats. One by one the six man team entered the ship and sealed the hatch behind themselves. As the team pushed themselves through the eerily vacant ship their hopes grew that they could actually pull off this crazy stunt. Their hopes soon met reality as they came to the entrance to the bridge. The team paused by the doo, Nathaniel took the moment to give everyone a stern glance. His team had worked together for many years and could practically read his mind when he gave that particular look, “follow my lead.”
The team of operators soon entered the bridge of the Archangel where they met the skeleton crew of Earth Alliance officers. A black haired woman looked at him with both surprise and relief, “Lieutenant! What’s goin on out there? Have we received orders?”
Nathaniel cleared his throat as his team moved around the bridge, taking up strategic positions but not putting away their weapons. “We have…” he paused to consider his words, “we’re taking the ship out, I need you to initiate the launch sequence.
The stern looking woman nodded grimly and barked out, “you heard the man lets launch the Archangel!” As she said this the other two crewmen began working their controls at their stations. The woman came closer and asked in a lower voice, “so does this mean ZAFT is attacking?”
Nathaniel nodded, “they are, we need to deploy the Archangel into the colony and protect the civilians before any more damage can be done! Can I count on you…” his voice trailed off as he hinted to wanting her name. “Badgirulel, Natarle!” She responded eagerly. She seemed on edge, that much was certain, so Nathaniel did his best to hide his growing smile as he looked her.
Soon the ship left the dry dock and began floating free. Subtle head nods from Nathaniel’s team soon told him that it was time. “I’m sorry to do this Natarle but I’m taking control of this ship. Everyone step away from their stations, and put their hands up. I promise you, that none of you will be hurt.” As he spoke he leveled his gun at the Earth Alliance Officer, she sputtered, “what?”
Nathaniel shrugged sheepishly, “I’m taking this ship in the name of the Orb Union Ensign. I don’t have time to discuss the details right now. All you have to do is surrender so that I can save as many Orb citizens as possible.”
Natarle along with all the other crewmen looked confused and angry, but no one put up a fight as the six man Orb team kept their weapons aimed at everyone. They made short work, cuffing and escorting the crew to a confined area as four people stayed behind on the bridge.
“See no bloodshed Hawthorne!” Nathaniel pipped as they went about double checking all the systems on the ship. The red haired woman scowled at him, “it would have been quicker to shoot them all…” she muttered and again Nathaniel gave a sheepish grin and nodded, “go ahead and take the Command chair, you studied more of this battleship stuff than I ever did.”
His remark did brighten the woman’s mood some, “you mean I’ll be captain?” She raised an eyebrow and Nathaniel shrugged as he looked out the viewport, “Semantics don’t matter right now Delphine, we just need to move quickly.”
The reminder replaced the woman’s stern look and she nodded, “very well, lets make course to the alternative manufacturing site. Assault cannons… fire!” In response the Archanel unleashed a volley from its’ two main cannons to destroy the gate keeping it contained. The massive ship erupted out of the flaming debris of the gate to fly into the synthetic skies of the ailing colony. The commando team remained dumbfounded as they studied the damage to their home territory. Nathaniel was about to say something when the fight between the Strike and a CGUE came to everyone’s attention. “What is that?” He asked aloud as the studied the peculiar mobile fighting the ZAFT unit. He was stunned as a brilliant beam lanced out from the mobile suit to try and hit the CGUE. It dawned in Nathaniel that the mobile suit was one of the GAT series, “that idiot!” He yelled out as the overpowered weapon not only glanced the CGUE but tore a hole into the ground of the colony. “The CGUE is retreating!” Someone called out, much to the relief of everyone on the bridge. Hawthorne spoke up then, “lets match speed and land?” Nathaniel nodded, “yeah, lets see if we can capture the Strike with the same trick. Maybe if we take control of all the Alliance assets ZAFT will cease hostilities…” it was as much a prayer as question as he moved for the door. “Ships in your hands Hawthorne!”
As Nathaniel approached the Strike with one of his other men he saw a woman, and a man with a group of teens. A mobile armor which had been fighting, asked for permission to land, which they gave to help keep up the charade. “Whose piloting the Strike?” Nathaniel called out as they got closer.
The woman turned to look at him and scrunched her face in confusion, “I don’t believe we’ve met? I’m Lieutenant Ramius…”
“Are you the pilot Lieutenant?” Nathaniel didn’t hide his contempt as he studied the out of uniform officer, “no” she responded cautiously, as she did a brown haired teen came down the pulley of the Strike’s cockpit. Suddenly it made sense how the machine could move when the OS was supposedly incomplete. “A coordinator?” Nathaniel mused, which caused the woman to stiffen some, along with the teens. A smile grew on Nathaniel’s face, “boy are you a Heliopolis citizen?” Kira tilted his head as he regarded the mysterious Earth Alliance officer. “I am…” he answered tentatively. “Ah then you’ve done your homeland a great service!”
Nathaniel leveled his weapon at Ramius as his teammate did the same to Mu. “Lieutenant, this ship is under Orb control, you will be confined with the rest of the Alliance officers we’ve arrested. The two alliance officers looked baffled at this turn of events. “We have precious little time to rectify your mistakes so please cooperate and we might all make it out of this alive.”
The jeep bumped precariously as it wound through the abandoned streets of Heliopolis. One battle and one hole in the colony left the place looking quite ragged. Nathaniel adjusted his regular suit as he eyed the road. Nathaniel’s team was stretched thin as it was so he only had two other people with him, both dressed in their own regular suits. He hated leaving the ship like this but knew that he had to. By all accounts ZAFT had secured four other GAT series suits, plus they still had an unknown supply of other mobile suits to boot. “This may be our only chance to level the playing field.” He mused as he entered. The correct code for this security gate the first time. They parked the jeep outside of a nondescript factory and made headway for the interior of the building.
They soon found themselves in a dimly lit hangar of sorts with three massive shadows standing next to catwalks. “Hit the emergency lights! We need to hurry!” Even as he made the order he was climbing a ladder to approach the first machine. The lights turned on just as he approached the chest of a black, white, and gold mobile suit. “Astray…” he solemnly addressed. Nathaniel looked to see his two comrades approached the red and blue machines as well. “If we hurry we can snag all the spare parts move it!” Nathaniel moved for the cockpit and popped the hatch. He went inside the brand new mobile suit and went about adjusting straps and booting up the OS. It wasn’t ideal but he had to adjust the operations system much the same as the ZAFT forces had done earlier. In a few moments the Coordinator had his suit moving. “It just might be an even fight now!” He announced. “This is Nathaniel Barondel, Astray launching!”