Full nameAiden Keyes
Now, his enemy was preparing to fire another burst of energy. Aida knew that he had to destroy the cannon with his next movement, because he wouldn't be able to dodge the blast if it managed to fire this time. I can do this! Rather, I must! Cranking up the heat claws and flaring up all the thrusters, Aquatel went for an attack on the Sub Walo's, fully aware that it was a do-or-die moment. "For the love of God, HIT!"
Carter and his companion Elemechu were quick to spring into action to defend Fa, unlike Risu who had apparently frozen in place, probably due to the shock of the moment. While the Elemechu made Scirocco stumble, it wouldn’t take him long to recover by pushing himself away from the wall, kicking the Elemechu down the corridor and shooting Carter twice in the stomach, before making his exit down one of the doors in the corridor. He quickly closed it manually, and fired at the lock from his side, keeping the mechanism shut. “Paptimus” was angry as he took off the purple wig, but even if his intellect couldn’t hold a candle to that of his namesake, he saw that it was too risky facing who he thought were three Divers. I’ve been careless. They’ve got nothing to lose, but I do. I should know better than to do these things.
Outside, the rain had stopped, the clouds giving way to the bright afternoon sun. While the unknown figure made his escape, away from the sights of Carter, Fa and Risu, alarms started blaring. The PA System dutifully broadcasted the base commander’s voice to everyone inside the island. “This is Base Commander Dangar! All forces, Kronos is being launched! Switch to the offensive as soon as it deploys! It’s payback time!” For all players, the ‘Objectives’ screen briefly glitched out. ‘Recapture Risu’, ‘Destroy Mogadishu Base’ and ‘Retrieve Red Hard Drive’, along with the three secondary objectives, were soon replaced by an ominous message, as an insurmountable foe rose from the waters.
Mission Update: RUN AWAY
Aida and Otto both opened their eyes right after the former’s suicidal attack on the latter’s Mobile Armor. To their surprise, neither were dead. The mega particle cannon had failed to fire and the heat claws were now stuck inside it. They shared a moment of silence, which did not last long. Aida soon realized it wasn't in his best interest to kill Otto anymore, as Isla shared her view of the battlefield with him. From Mogadishu Base, a black Argama-Class ship could be seen surfacing from the sea, deploying Taurus Mobile Dolls in frightening numbers. Further Taurus MDs arrived from outside the battle space, previously hidden in Mogadishu, waiting for this moment. From the bridge of the unknown Argama, Chief Engineer Tubarov laughed uproariously. “Hahahaha! If those fools would know just how screwed they are!”. A blonde man in an expensive pastel blue suit smiled in response. “I take it your engineers have finished the firmware on time.” Tubarov was delighted with his guest’s interest on the Mobile Doll Project, and didn’t hesitate to keep running his mouth. “Indeed! The very first one not to start with a zero! Now, not only will the Taurus run perfectly, those Leos, Aries and Cancers will start performing like they were supposed to! The Gundams don’t stand a chance!”
Treize was having none of it. He was sitting on the captain’s chair, but he was not in charge. The Colonel despised those soulless weapons of Tubarov’s, however, it was at Duke Dermail’s insistence that this show was being put on, to appease the man in the light blue suit. In that moment, he thought of the few people who understood him, Une in particular. Lady… this is no place for people like us to die. Please, come back.
The wave of new models proved to be merciless, putting their Beam Rifles to good use in order to cover the retreating forces, while establishing a front line of their own. First and foremost, a dozen of them flew to Une's rescue, shooting down Oriole's GN Sword and keeping Apollo away from the Leo's Flight Pack. Soon, she was the first to land alive and well in Kronos' hangar. Next was Noin: with another squadron of Taurus MS focusing their fire on the fiery AGE Axcel, Lucrezia found the perfect moment to pull back, reuniting with her superior. Finally, a volley was directed at Beta Gundam by yet another dozen MDs, offering Zechs a chance to follow her.
"They played us like a damn fiddle!" Aida, enraged, lifted Aquatel’s other hand. In response, Otto tried to grab the Gunpla with one of the giant pincers. However, rather than try to kill Otto, Aida severed Aquatel’s lodged hand to free himself, and used the thrusters to evade the Cancers and Pisces until he could surface. Now hovering over the water, he could see the hordes of black Mobile Suits flying above them. “How the hell are we going to outrun these? We’re-!” However, his prayers were immediately answered when a gray Garuda, the namesake of the class, arrived with its back hatch open. A white, red and orange Gundam, which stood inside with two gatling guns on each hand, contacted Aida’s team. “Challengers of Diamond. This is T.B. We have a mutual friend. Can you reach this flight?”
Tubarov, never the wiser, bossed the engineers in charge of feeding the Mobile Dolls orders. “Don’t you see the big gray plane over us? Let’s make an example out of them, shall we?” However, moments later, a shockwave was felt by everyone in the bridge. By the time they could realize what was going on, the Nouventa Cannon was engulfed in a devastating explosion, struck by a powerful weapon. The chief engineer could feel his chin touching the floor, only managing to muster a “Sweet Lord...” Soon, another transmission would be intercepted, this time from a certain legged ship, which was now retracting its sole functioning Lohengrin cannon. “Alpha Team! I hope you got what you wanted, because we’re only going to do one pass!” Cagalli’s voice could be heard by the members of Alpha. “I suggest you hurry the hell up and get in while you can! We’ll cover you!” Furious, Tubarov regained his composure, and started yelling at the engineers. “Fire! Fire! Take those down too! No mercy for the enemies of the Foundation!”
Ever obedient, the Mobile Dolls flew towards both ships, firing their Beam Rifles at them. While Archangel put its myriad anti-air weapons to good use, along with a green Dom and a red Hi-Zack standing on one of the ship’s legs, the Garuda would resort to the covering fire of Trowa Barton’s Heavyarms Gundam, and four valiant Maganacs equipped with similar weaponry. The radars of both teams were updated to show yellow lines that they could cross to board their ships safely and escape the wrath of OZ. “That’s what i’m talking about! Challengers, we’re getting the hell outta dodge! All we gotta do is board that Garuda!” Now experiencing an optimistic second wind, Aida made Aquatel hover towards the little islands near their getaway flight. “Let’s all go home alive!”
A sudden spike of energy was detected by Aida’s enhanced underwater sensors. Kyle couldn’t see the enormous object coming at the Aquatel and the Pisces with a massive laser cannon preparing to fire, but Aida, who was submerged, could. He tried to use his thrusters to steer clear, but the Pisces was using all its thrust to keep him in place like its life depended on it, when it looked like the contrary to him. Desperate, he attempted to contact its pilot. “Oi! If you hold me down, he’s going to hit you too!” Receiving only static, his bewilderment grew stronger. “You’re going to die! Don’t you even care?!” More static came through the wire, and as the big Mobile Armor approached, leaving bubbling water on its wake, he wondered if he’d be killed. Of course, the worst thing that could happen to him would be to turn into a Newtype ghost, essentially the game’s spectator mode, and having to wait until after the battle to respawn in a hospital god knows where, then an hour before his Gunpla was repaired. But it wasn’t that which worried him. It was the fact that he was supposed to be the leader of the team, and he wasn’t leading the advance. What am I even doing? Opportunely, a torpedo came from above to help, severing the Pisces’ arms in time for Aquatel to use its thrust and narrowly escape the wrath of Sub Walo, while the Pisces was hit with full force by a gigantic beam. “Thanks, Kyle! You just saved my bacon there!” However, he was still within the firing cone, and smaller offshoot beams had hit Aquatel’s armor, piercing holes in his shoulders and taking off a chunk of his waist armor. Unaware that the Pisces and Cancers were, in fact, Mobile Dolls, he watched his enemy implode, having not gotten out of the way in time. They would give up their lives, just to bring us down with them? Why does my chest hurt? Dodging as many of the beams as he could, he tried to bring the Sub Walo into close range for an attack. “I won’t be laughed at! I’ll show everyone I’m worthy of commanding this unit!”
Meanwhile, the attack raged outside Mogadishu Base. While Isla kept the Marasai force at bay, away from the Comet Dagger, Paptimus Scirocco had pinned Carter behind some unmarked freezer boxes with his shiny new gun. The lights soon came back on in the hallway, lighting his visage once again. His expression changed to that of bewilderment upon hearing Carter’s attempt at initiating a conversation with him. Seeing right through his ruse, his tone switched to a more angry, if still calm one. “Enough of your impertinent nonsense. We already have one of your co-conspirators. You’ll want to surrender, lest you see the tears of time.” As the figure on the unique, dark blue uniform slowly approached the boxes, Carter heard a weird sound effect, followed by Scirocco quickly turning his head around and unexpectedly unholstering a second pistol, like he was warned exactly of what was going to happen in a second. Entering the hallway from the other end, Fa Yuiry and Risu quickly found themselves staring down the sights of the spare firearm. The Titans member quickly understood what was happening upon seeing Risu next to Fa: after all, he had been the one who had her locked away, and Toto Yuiran shot for attempting to sneak her across him as his daughter. The thought of a spy attempting to undo his progress made his blood boil. “Come to die, have you?!” Before anyone could say anything, Paptimus opened fire on Fa, ignoring both Carter and Risu for a second. Both could do something to stop him, but it wasn’t so simple as leaping on him just because they weren't the focus of his attack. Scirocco had a weapon pointed in the direction of each, and it was possible that his sixth sense would just tell him of the impending threat, to shoot them between the eyes, then finish Fa off once they were dealt with. It was possible that there were other solutions to their problem, but they needed to think quickly: there was a split second decision to make.
The sounds of gunfire got louder and the rain got heavier as the fight dragged on. The armor’s sonar showed the big silhouette getting closer by the second. Kyle’s Trinames would be essential support, so his priority was to keep it alive. One problem, however, was that three Cancers were getting awfully close to Kyle, and even though he was dispatching them fast, he couldn't help but worry. We couldn't get the Sonic Cannons or the Hand Missile Units ready on time… Kyle doesn't need me, rather, I'm dragging him down, but I sure as hell have got to keep him alive if I want to live long in this puddle of water. Deciding that he would be better safe than sorry, he used Aquatel's thrusters to ascend a little, and used an approaching Cancer as a springboard to gain more height. Here I come! In a timely manner, Aquatel jumped from the water just as the third Cancer, limping after being shot by Kyle but still operational, lunged from the water at the Trinames Torpedo. Aida brought the HyGogg claws down on the flying crab, wrecking it. “GET! DUNKED! ON!” The hulking brown and bronze machine came down shortly afterwards with its prey, the pilot contacting his teammate as the heated claws did short work of the straggler. “Kyle! Are you alright? Don’t die on me yet, we have one hell of a lobster to finish! Besides... holy flying sh-” As Isla's view of Apollo's massacre of the Leo force appeared on his screens, he was too amazed (and too distracted) by the sight to see three more red Mobile Armors fire torpedoes at him.
A pair of them hit him in the left shoulder and skirt armor, making him come back to reality and put pedal to the metal, using the thrusters to swerve from side to side, so some of the projectiles would miss while others were cut by the heat claws. By the time the stray projectiles turned around for another go at piercing his armor, Aquatel had faced them and wiped them out too, before cutting one of the red machines in half as it tried to dodge him. However, he missed the opportunity to strike down the two others, which were now speeding away. Whether they'd turn around to fire at him again or go for Kyle, he couldn't tell. Three Pisces, forerunners of the big whale, arrived in the scene and switched to Mobile Suit mode to engage him. They were more dangerous than the Cancers, in a way, since the claws they used to destroy other Mobile Suits doubled as their propellers. This allowed them to spin them, drilling into enemy armor. That's gonna hurt! Eager to evade them but without any ranged attacks whatsoever, Aida depended on the long reach of the Hygogg arms to try and dodge the attacks of three Pisces, cutting one’s head and right arm off, then impaling the next’s torso. But the third got through his attack, and closed the distance on him. “This is not good!” Aida managed to swerve left, but the PIsces still managed to lodge its claw on his right shoulder. As the blades started spinning, Aquatel struggled to get the Pisces off him with the right claws, as the left ones still had what remained of the previous enemy lodged on them.
All the while, Carter couldn’t help but take the chance to make a run for the base, while everyone was distracted firing at the black Gundam with huge Wings of Light sprouting from its back. He wouldn’t find any resistance on the way: even though he was careless to simply rush the base, Isla had his back, destroying two Marasai by shooting them with her rifles in a one-two kill, as they tried to line up a shot on Carter. The cold, empty gaze of her mask's eye slits betrayed no thought, no feeling, but the movement of her lips belied frustration. Maybe she wasn't too comfortable dealing with all the enemies so her teammate could speed ahead like nobody's business, or maybe it was the fact that Carter had suddenly started moving with a goal in mind, but as far as she was concerned, he hadn't talked to anybody about it. No matter the case, there was a job to be done, and so Variable Flight Gundam switched to MS mode to enter one of the hangars with Carter. As soon as they entered, they found resistance in the form of four Mobile Suits resembling modified Hi-Zacks. One was about to be boarded by a man in a black Titans uniform, while the others looked empty. Naturally, Carter shot the leader's cockpit, but the pilot was unusually quick to dodge the blast with the very rope he was climbing.
RMS-106MC High-Mobility Hi-Zack
Isla saw the lilac-haired man yell at the staff to get ready. He appeared to know what Carter was about to do, and soldiers quickly appeared on scene, rifles in hand, to fill Carter with bullets as soon as he surfaced from the cockpit. To avoid this, Isla used her head vulcans to provide cover fire. "Now, Carter!" This allowed Carter to exit his Mobile Suit safely and scurry into the base via a hallway. But this was a short lived victory. One of the seemingly empty Hi-Zacks promptly turned on its optics, and with surprisingly quick movements, the kind only magnetic coating could achieve, brought two beam sabers at Variable, its reactor apparently upgraded to handle more than one beam weapon at once. While Isla managed to dodge the attack and counterattacked, stabbing the blue Mobile Suit's back with her right beam shield, she managed to catch a glimpse of the mysterious Titan entering the same hallway as Carter, a jetpack on his back and a shiny silver pistol on his hand. "Carter, one of them got through. He's coming after you. I'm sorry." As the blue Hi-Zack went up in flames in the ground, Variable Gundam pointed its beam rifles at the other side of the blast door and prepared to defend the immobile Comet Dagger from Kacricon Kacooler's troops, firing a pair of shots at some Marasai that were already visible in the distance, but without much hopes of hitting them yet.
Concurrently, Carter navigated the maze of hallways that made up the base to find the main computer, but with each step forward, the quietness became unsettling. At the very least, his assailant should have been heard behind. He could have gotten lucky, losing him in one of the turns. But the possibility that he was waiting for him around the next turn, sidearm at the ready, was also very real. There was some comfort on the Elemechu’s assistance, but ultimately, it wouldn’t be of any help. Halfway through, he heard someone talk to him, right before the lights on the corridor turned off and gunshots filled the air. "Fall, you crane fly."
While Deep Aquatel was, as the name suggested, deep under the water, it was definitely not going to be out of the loop about what happened above. Establishing an infolink with Isla to have a better view of the skies, Aida studied the scene. "Isla, maintain altitude. Let’s see..." What he could make of it was Mogadishu Base’s island. Aside from the Asshimar and Marasai squadron coming to greet Kyle, Carter and Isla, he spotted the silhouettes of six Cancers and six Pisces, along with a big, big silhouette. A boss? Reeks of trouble. From behind the island, one could see two planes, identical to theirs but with red rudders and wingtips, deploying what appeared to be the four Mobile Suits of Beta Team. He was not too happy to see them, especially noting that Bael was still around and the Beta Gundam was carrying extra equipment. Those two… While he just considered Hikaru annoying, somewhat less so after he realized the boy didn’t seem to have anything to do with the Gunpla Mafia, Marco Creed was especially sinister to him. The time they had met in his store, he wasn’t one to roll out the red carpet for him, but still, that awkward moment… Yeah, i’ll watch myself alright. Chiefly, when you’re around. Before he could tell anyone where to go or what to do, however, a mysterious figure appeared, piloting what appeared to be an upgraded F91 Gundam. They called themselves…
“Apollo? The light of victory? Kyle, Carter, did you by any chance get any signs of a secret being unlocked?” Upon being replied negatively, he ordered Isla to scan the newcomer carefully, as their Mobile Suit flew in from the city of Mogadishu, propelled by beautiful beam wings. ”Identification, Apollo. Professional Diver. Pilot of the Gundam Oriole. Friendly.” Her response took Aida by surprise. “You mean that’s on our team now? How cool is that, lads?” Isla misunderstood him, and performed another scan on Oriole. “Average temperature, ninety-one Fahrenheit degrees and rising.” Aida did his best to contain a laugh, and went along with it. “Can't believe a giant robot can run at a cooler temperature than my PC.” A flurry of torpedoes, most of which narrowly missed him, took him back to reality: they were in a battle, and he needed to make his move. “Alright, game time, game time! Isla, whatever Carter is doing, cover him, and keep an eye out for new Alpha members! If autobalance gave us that guy, i’m sure they must be a team of five now too. Kyle, help me with these floaters before the Mobile Armor gets here. Once it does, it won’t be as easy to get rid of them!” He didn’t want to bark out orders to the new guy yet, even though he didn’t look like a pushover. It could be a bit too much, a bit too soon, so he stopped there and studied the damage caused by the one torpedo that had struck him. Fortunately, the chest, legs and shoulders were the place armor was at its thickest, and it was far from breached. Aida snarkily quoth Amuro, as he approached a Cancer and a Pisces. “Thick Gundam isn’t just for show!” Deep Aquatel's gigantic shoulders sprung up as he closed in for the kill, revealing the long arms. The heat injectors kicked in and the claws became red hot moments before he struck at the Cancer, which tried to avoid the behemoth that was speeding right at it, then the Pisces, which had switched to Mobile Suit mode to make a stand. Both were breached, and suffered catastrophic failures as Aida's thruster array took him to another unlucky Pisces, at which he lunged with an open, shining red hand…
Meanwhile, Isla readied her weapons and flew close to Carter. In anticipation for an attack on her teammate, she struck first, taking two Marasai out of the fight with her GN Beam Rifles, by destroying the legs of one and the torso of another. As the red Mobile Suits fell from their Base Jabbers towards the water, a ‘cheesewheel’ fired its beam cannon at her. However, Flight Variable just transformed to deploy its beam shields in Mobile Suit form, deflecting the beam successfully. “No. You.” As it reached the Asshimar, rather than dodge it, she micromanaged the energy coming out of the shield emitters, focusing it all on the bottom nozzles to create what were essentially makeshift beam sabers, sticking out of the forearms. Slicing parts of the Asshimar out and returning to Mobile Armor mode in one swift motion, she prepared for whatever retaliation the Titans could muster up. Aida watched it unfold from the infolink, perplexed by the sheer complexity of what Isla had done with the energy emitters. Not even he knew that could be done with what he gave her. "Nice one!", He told her as he unlodged the remains of another Pisces from the hand of Aquatel, the fragments of an Asshimar entering the sea behind him...
A rainy afternoon. Raindrops poured from the sky upon the fuselage and wings of the cargo plane, and the sky was overcast. No chances of it stopping anytime soon, thought Aida as the TV in the cargo plane's lounge, tuned to receive the local air channels, showed the same for Mogadishu. In minutes, the team would probably see the same aerial shots for themselves through their window. He walked to the cargo bay, deserted save for the snapshots of a damaged Trinames, a wrecked Comet Dagger, and an armless, deactivated Airbatel. The latter was not being repaired, however. Rather, it was that way on purpose. There were surprises in store for friends and foes alike: not only because of his choice of Mobile Suit for this sortie, but also because of his new appearance. Having ditched the glasses, cap and long Titans uniform (though wishing to find some soon to complete the officer look), Aida had adopted the blue ZAFT uniform he had worn at the Second Bloody Valentine Massacre. It reminded him to never stop looking over his shoulder. Especially in unstable versions of the game like this, even the most peaceful of landscapes could become hellish battlefields. To think that this franchise is all about anti-war messages, but their fans can behave like this…
“Man... not again!” For the second time, Kyle hadn’t been able to finish his creation. The Trinames was obviously complete, save for the removal of its shields. However, Kyle was going to bring a new weapon with him, the Dynames’ Torpedo. The resin kit was all together, but the rifle and add on’s basic tan color stuck out. Wish I could’ve painted it. Stupid work. Kyle thought, sliding his visor on. It wasn’t long before the Diver was back inside one of the cargo planes, now looking like his favorite character. Charo excitedly bounced up and down as he saw his owner near the Trinames. “Game time! Game time!” The droid chirped while jumping. Kyle grabbed the machine, noticing a peculiar person in the cargo bay with him. “Yep. We’ll be fighting soon.” He said while staring at what looked to be a ZAFT Soldier, albeit with custom colors. “Excuse me, who are you?” He asked, now seeing ‘Challengers of Diamond’ on his patch. “Wait... Are you Aida or Carter?” For a moment, Aida thought of telling Kyle the truth. But where was the fun in that? He tried to do his best American impression, just to throw him off a little. "Well, howdy pardner! I see you been workin' hard. Mighty fine Mobile Suit you getcha. Looks faster than greased lightning." Carter racked his mind, thinking hard about what he could possibly do to improve his mobile suit. He was fast and hit hard, but he was practically made of glass. If he was taken out right away, he'd be of no help. What could he possibly do to help his chances of surviving a fight? He thought of this while looking at an old bodega store, one with some old kits. Then he saw what he needed. “I’m a genius!” He declared, despite the simplicity of what he did. He attached the Forbidden Gundams backpack on the Buster Dagger. and replaced the railguns with his 350mm Gun Launcher, and the 94mm High energy rifle. He didn’t really have time to properly paint it before logging on, it had just been primed, so it was just a black backpack with a few details. He stepped out, wearing the same outfit but with cool Quattro shades, then looked at the two guys standing and talking to each other, he waved “Yo~” he said, placing his hands in his tekkadan jacket as he approached, he was getting pretty comfy with them now.
Kyle watched as the altered Buster Dagger appeared, causing him to notice the Airbatel. “Nice try, cowboy!” He uttered to Aida. “You changed a lot. I like it!” What really caught his attention was his blue haired colleague’s sunglasses, with Carter now heading towards them. “Copycat! Copycat!” Charo yelled out in Kyle’s hands. The Diver bopped the toy on its head. “Sorry about that Carter. I think you have good taste.” Carter chuckled at the Haro’s reaction “Let’s say that I am a copycat, what then?” He joked, waving it off since he didn’t really mind “Don’t worry about it, man, he’s cool” he said “I wish this one could talk, but he’s got plenty of personality” he pointed at his Elemechu. Meanwhile, Aida apologized for the joke. "Sorry, you know I had to do it to you. I'm loving the mods, by the way. Trinames and Dagger look like kicking some ass today! I suppose you're ready for the fray." Carter turned to Aida after the question was posed, nodding with a smirk “Always!” He said confidently, both in himself, and his team. “I’m ready.” Kyle smirked, looking at the Trinames. He tossed his companion up to the cockpit area, watching the toy roll onto the seat. “Kinda gonna have to be a one trick pony today, but the Torpedo will definitely make up for that in the water.” Aida thought it was neat he would be accompanied. "So you're gonna go for a dip too, huh. I'm sure Carter and Isla can have the air covered..." Loud beeps and flashing red lights interrupted them, a signal that they needed to get in their Gunpla as soon as possible. "Time for the air drop, I guess. I'll see you all in the battlefield!" Aida hurriedly got in the armless GM's cockpit, which given the Mobile Suits were hugging the airplane's floor, was given to access. He then talked in the team channel, as black squares represented Carter and Kyle on a side of the screen. Isla, meanwhile, was already prepared to launch, and looked inexpressive as ever with her mask. Carter confidently replied, as he and his Elemechu scurried inside the Comet Dagger's cockpit: “Don’t worry about it, boys, we’ll watch your backs from the air! It’s time to play!” He said excitedly, running over to his machine and sitting in the cockpit, but some doubts arises. “Did i configure the transformation? Can I actually do it…?“
Aida suddenly asked something to his teammates. "Hey, did we establish a motivational motto? Because this'd be the time." Carter's internal thoughts were cut off as he heard the question. “Hmm... We’ll outshine all their skills!” He said, sort of as a suggestion. With Kyle getting in last, Charo jumped into his slot, powering up the Gunpla. Its eyes lit up under the tan googles as the cockpit closed, with the Lockon fanatic getting settled. “I think that’s perfect, just like a Diamond!” Kyle replied, looking at the sonar’s screen. Thankfully, it was a little more hi-tech than the classic radar submarines used. “If things go bad, we may have to get in the water Charo. Hope you packed a swimsuit!” Isla, always fixated on the mission, interrupted them. "Enough chit-chat." The cargo bays of both planes opened to let everyone out. "Mogadishu is on sight and officials are asking the pilot for credentials." Aida saw this as the moment to strike. "You're right. Any more delays and we'll be deploying out of a wreck. Aida, Aquatel GM... Challengers, step up! Let's outshine them!" With this cheesy quote, Aida's GM was the first to throw itself into a free fall. Isla deployed soon after in a new variant of the Variable Gundam, finished in lilac and with a flight mode. After her came a very big Mobile Suit made of The O and Hy-Gogg parts that barely came out of the same cargo bay as Isla. Aida steered the incomplete Aquatel in mid-air towards the big Mobile Suit, which opened to receive it. As both machines docked, Deep Aquatel was formed, seconds before hitting the water. The Trinames jumped out next, flying towards the second plane to grab the Torpedo “Woah.” Kyle stated as he followed suit, looking in awe at the Deep Aquatel and the Variable Flight Gundam. His weapon slid out of the cargo bay and fell at a rapid pace until the Diver grasped it. The resin kit connected to the Trinames, causing the rifle to become much lighter. “Connected! Connected!” Charo chirped while Kyle caught up with the others. Carter looked at his crewmates and their new toys. Looking at the new MS that came down from the skies and created a huge shockwave on impact with the water, the blue haired diver smiled and cheered internally. "We're gonna do great!" He said over the team comms, moving his thumb to a button on his control stick to press it. Then, he flipped a switch, as the backpack went and activated, and the arms holding the boosters to the side spread out, launching the blue MS forward "Woo! it works! Yes!" he cheered.
LMV-04F Variable Flight Gundam
RGM-86QT-DA Deep Aquatel GM
"Sir! Planes B1 and B2 have deployed their Mobile Suits! Four contacts coming from 0900: three airborne, one underwater!" Smugly, Mogadishu Base's commanding officer didn't even look at the men that had just informed him. He just ogled the number on his digital wristwatch, made with true Gundanium alloy. "Like clockwork. The ones from the Expo are making their move first. Aziba, Kacooler and Otto are closest to them. Tell their squads to intercept. Oh, and… save six of each underwater type. In case A1 and A2 have underwater types too." Immediately, his aide started contacting the mentioned pilots. In the array of screens in front of everyone inside the command center of the base, one could see the troops springing into action from openings on the island’s rock walls. Ajis Aziba's custom Asshimar, finished in dark green and yellow, led twelve Asshimars against the two air types. Kacricon Kacooler, whose machine sported silver accents, and his Marasai squadron of twelve all boarded Base Jabbers and went after the cheese wave, while Otto was nowhere to be seen at first. Then, the doors to the sub pen opened, and several Cancers and Pisces, all finished in gray, were seen departing its insides and submerging to intercept Aida. Then, something far bigger and sinister was seen departing the island…
MA-06S Sub Walo
- "Aziba Unit, Kacooler Unit, ready to engage airborne element B! Otto Unit ready to engage underwater element B! Sub Walo deployed! What do we do about the other two planes?"
- “The Al-Ajiza assailants get Noin and Une. They should be in range any moment now.” This should buy Kronos enough time to get their stuff together, the commander thought as Noin’s green Aries and Lady Une’s Leo Flight Type led twenty-four gray machines forward. Twelve Aries for Noin, and twelve Leo Flight Types for Une. “Keep those Cancer and Pisces ready!”
- “Tallgeese, on catapult and requesting instructions!”
- “Marquise stopped Gundam Zero One on his own, and understands Treize’s strategies best. I say unleash him. Give him permission to engage anyone at will, and command of the other squadrons too.” As his aide passed down the orders to Zechs Marquise, who promptly flew off, the base commander grinned, looking at a tactical map with all the present units, allied or not. "Messed with the wrong base", he said as Alpha and Beta bit the bait from opposite points of the same battlefield.
As Trinames grasped its new weapon, a secret message played on Kyle’s cockpit, left by Quatre in the system. “Lockon-san. I’m sorry i behaved that way today. Or yesterday. You’ll probably see this tomorrow. Right now, I don't really know if I can trust these people. I know you, but something's rubs me the wrong way about Strategist Aida, Meister Isla and this man you called Carter. So I've decided to withhold the real purpose of this mission from them. You can inform the ones you trust individually.” Quatre briefly paused before going to the point. "A prominent OZ scientist has been sighted in this base. Whatever he's doing, we don't know, but it's probably no good for the Earth Sphere. He's left already, but he must have left data behind from whatever he's doing. We need you to infiltrate that base and retrieve the data from the main computer… but watch yourself, yes?"
As Kyle was left to wonder whether to tell Beta about it, the banner and objectives finally appeared for both teams.
Humans need a higher system than God.
Alpha: Recapture Risu
Challengers: Destroy Mogadishu Base
Secret: Retrieve Red Hard Drive
Defeat Enemy MA
Find the Golden Weapon
Photograph an African Starling
Just in time, six beige and brown cargo planes started taking turns to land on the runway that hadn’t been blown to pieces in the chaos. Rashid Kurama spoke from his custom Maganac. “Not a second late. Master Quatre, our flight is here. The Maganac Corps will accompany you on your next mission.” Abdul followed by offering a helping hand, his Maganac moving the monoeye to look at the Trinames and the Comet Dagger. “You guys are not looking so good… Come on. We’ll take you to the planes.” As for Aida and Isla, they returned to their Gunpla rather cautiously, and used the loudspeakers to communicate. “I’ll be walking my way to the planes. And there, we can talk about where we’ll be going next!” Minutes later, two planes were filled: In the leading plane, Quatre, Rashid and Ahmad. Following them, Abdul, Auda and a Maganac. Two other planes were destined for Beta Team: In one, Aida, Kyle, and Carter. In the other, there was only Isla’s Mobile Suit, while the rest of the plane was filled by two stolen Base Jabbers, that could be deployed to aid any of the team on the next operation, and some supply boxes. Finally, the two extra planes were filled with stolen supplies, weapons and sub-flight systems. Soon, everyone was on the air. The two supply-filled jets departed for Maganac’s Village immediately, escorted by Maganacs on Base Jabbers, while the four jets containing mecha briefly flew together.
Sitting on their cockpits, the four Maganac squad leaders and Beta Team attended a meeting called by Quatre from his Sandrock. There, he detailed their next course of action.
- "With you four tagging along, I reckon we can do more in less time. Recently, we received four assignments, but having to take the defense of Maganac Village into account, we had to make due with only two teams. Abdul?" Quatre started typing on a keyboard to bring a map to everyone’s screens, while Abdul continued with the presentation.
- “Yes. We completed two assignments in one go: attacking the Enact demonstration, and restocking on supplies. Now, there were two more assignments, but one of them is big enough we can’t just go in alone while the other team is still escorting the supplies back to base. So we were gonna attack Point A72 while they came back from that, then gather in A80 and attack A81, all of us. Right now, we’re heading to A72.”
- “But you lot look quite capable of some heavy lifting.” Rashid interrupted, going straight to the point and talking to Aida. “If Celestial Being’s tactical forecaster over there really wants to be of help, my suggestion is that your jets make a beeline for A81. You could free Master Quatre and the four of us to raid A72 while we still have the edge of surprise.”
- “We don’t want to order you around. I only expect all of us to be respectful with each other. That’s why… it’s your choice.” Quatre also asked Aida for his cooperation, far more gently.
Aida was in a tight spot. As “Lockon’s” commander, he was mistaken for a Celestial Being field strategist, if they ever had such a thing. Unsure of how they saw Carter and Isla, he didn’t want to correct them. He knew this could end really badly, just like it did back in Gryps, but he didn’t have a choice at this point.
- “Well, even though i am authorized to, i don’t want to send my pilots into battles they don’t think we can handle. What do you say, people? Can we break it?”
- “I think you know the answer to that, ‘Mr. Aida’... ” Uttered 'Lockon', rather humorously, to his 'forecaster'. “We can easily go to A81 with our Gunp- I mean, with our Mobile Suits. Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it!”
- “Of course!” Carter smirked, and placed his hand on the instrument cluster. “No matter what the job is, the Chall-… Celestial Being won’t be beaten!” His Elemechu could be seen jumping behind him, excited.
- "Well, it'd be stupid if the Challenger Squadron was not up to the challenge…" Isla closed the circle, playing along with a surprising display of creativity.
- "Then, you can count on us! We’ll show them who is boss...” Aida confirmed, before being stopped in his tracks. “Uhhh… mind telling us what’s there, though?”
Hours later, back in the real world after having redirected his plane and Isla's to Point A81, Aida studied a picture of it, given to the team by Quatre. An island. Accessible only by air or sea. Heavy artillery... He knew he had seen the place before in Wing, as hinted at by the Aries flying around the massive island. But he couldn't remember what had transpired there, until Daniel brought him a Gundam Wiki article. The resemblance was crystal-clear.
The next attack would take place at Mogadishu Base... home to the Noventa Cannon.
The battle was over. With the provisional leader of the Featherheads falling in his green Mobile Suit to a certain death, going out in a small atomic blast, whoever was miraculously still alive got out of their wrecked Mobile Suits or, in Neil's case, turned his machine around to return to the base, knowing he was all alone against those who had decimated eleven other Leos, and twenty-four Aries on their own. The members of Beta Team let them all go, and so did Quatre, but it only fueled their newfound hatred of them further. The survivors, scarce as they were, would be back, and so would their commander: in the distance, the team could see Treize's personal shuttle flying away at peak speed, and while he was still in range of Kyle's GN Sniper Rifle, his weapons, along with everyone else's, were disabled as a sign appeared on their HUDs:
< MISSION ACCOMPLISHED >
With that, Wufei had already failed in his mission. Perhaps out of shame, he did not return to Quatre, which meant he was left alone with Beta Team until brown Mobile Suits approached, all custom and made to their pilots’ specifications: WMS-03 Maganacs. Quatre used Sandrock’s optics to signal them briefly, before opening his hatch and greeting the members of Beta Team. “My name is Quatre Raberba Winner! Pilot of the Sandrock Gundam! Who are you?” Aida felt the need to respond, and opened his hatch in kind to yell back. “I am Aida! Pilot of the Airbatel GM III!” Eventually, Kyle made it to the others. The Trinames knelt down as its hatch opened, revealing the diver and his companion. “I’m Kyle and this is-“ At that moment, the Gunpla’s other arm crashed to the ground. Kyle sighed while grabbing the red toy. “This is my buddy Charo...” Carter grabbed his panicked Elemechu and opened up the hatch, pulling himself out of his wrecked Gunpla. He waved “Yo! I’m Carter, this one is...” He scratched his cheek, then apologized. “I'll get back to you when i name it." Finally, Isla introduced herself, rather bluntly. “Isla. Variable EWAC Gundam.” Aida finished rather enthusiastically with a pose and a battle, hoping his teammates would also follow him. “We are the Challengers of Diamond!” However, only Carter replied with a distant “Woo!” before Kyle took an amused look at both, while Isla just gave a quick smirk that quickly disappeared, like an artifact in a hologram. You've gotta be kidding me.
Quatre smiled, as the Maganacs loomed closer, and took a step further by coming out of the Gundam, using the automatic rope to descend, then approach the Challengers’ Gunpla on foot. Aida did the same, and soon the whole team was in the ground, approaching Quatre, then stopping a pair of meters ahead of him. The group of Maganacs finally reached the five Mobile Suits, and took position around them. “I did not expect to see you here. You're here too early...” Out of the blue, however, that innocent smile vanished from Quatre’s face, as he raised a handgun to aim it at the group, and the Maganacs lit beam sabers to trap their Gunpla with them. One sudden move, and even if the pilots managed to evade Quatre's marksmanship, their machines would probably bite it. As the group took a deep breath and realized where they were standing, Quatre spoke to Kyle again. “... Lockon Stratos.” Things had gone from fifty to zero, then all the way to one hundred again really quick. Aida went over their possibilities and remembered something: his Fatum-00 was still in the air. A swift order to the flyer and some quick thinking could let them overcome this twist, but only wise words from the team could defuse this situation pacifically...
Quatre finally got to the battle zone, and registered every machine on the fray. Every machine had problems of its own: There was a silver and green GM of sorts, which looked even more weird without the visor that usually covered the monoeye camera in Federation Mobile Suits: having disposed of every Leo equipped with a Dober Gun, two beam saber-equipped Leos followed it to the site where a white and green Gundam fought with more Leos: two of them commander-spec, with a shoulder cannon on the right, and a shield on the left. The other one was apparently normal. On the other side, a blue GM lookalike had been left alone: the two Leos left to shoot it were also the same Leos that had drawn beam sabers and now ran after the flying GM. In total, five Leos were left. Six if one counted the one that had been relieved of its legs, but not of its arms. It didn’t look like it could do much, though, and Quatre wondered whether the pilot was still inside, or was already making a run for the base, be it on foot, or with a thruster pack. Whatever the case, these three machines were registered by the IFF as UNKNOWN.
It wasn’t the case, however, for the remaining fighter. A white and red Gundam that had left just four black Aries and a green commander unit standing after an all-out attack, it hovered in the sky without any apparent propulsion system, just leaving a trail of green shine that came out from a white, cone-shaped device in the back. Unlike the other three machines, when scanned, this one prompted the IFF to regard it as CLASSIFIED, with a small pop-up warning him that he did not have the clearance to see its data. The only other time this had happened to him was back in the colony where Sandrock was built, as he studied in preparation for their turn… Could it be? But we just got here… and even we would’ve got some warning that the plan was being changed. What is going on? Confused, Quatre decided to help the team, if only to gain their trust, and coax them into telling him what was happening. So he pointed his Beam SMG at the nearest Leo, one of the commander-spec units, which still hadn’t made a move against the hat-wearing Gundam or the two GMs, and fired.
With Quatre unable to fire at the two Leos besieging it without hitting his potential ally, Isla had to fend them off somehow. Out of more brilliant options, she simply smashed the Jesta Beam Rifle into the head of the Leo on her front, and with the same momentum, tried to turn around quickly enough to avoid being impaled by the other Leo. While she was rapid enough to bring up the beam shield, the Leo’s beam saber went through the center, where the emitter was located, then perforated the left forearm. First, the forearm burst into flames from the inside, then, less than a second later, fire extinguishing foam came out of the same place and drowned them, but also reducing the visibility of both Isla and Neil’s Leo. With her Gundam’s left arm unable to power it anymore, Isla’s beam saber shut down, so she redirected the power to the right arm, and once more relied on the Jesta Beam Rifle, trying to fire it at her foe. It was really a big gamble, considering she had used its receiver as a blunt weapon seconds before. The rifle could still work and do its job, it could blow up and damage the right forearm, or it could simply fail to fire.
As for Aida, he was the only member of Beta whose machine was still in mint condition. Fearing that his beloved Fatum was next, he pressed the button in his dash that allowed him to relay orders to his flying steed’s AI, and spoke. “Fatum; undock, ascend, circle, standby.” Fatum recognized the key words and complied, taking control away from Aida for him to make Airbatel jump down to the ground, storing his right sword to access his DODS Rifle again, then firing at the two Leos that had been chasing him. “Come and get me if you dare!” Meanwhile, Fatum climbed and was soon lost behind clouds, where it spun in circles around the four members of Beta, waiting for orders to support somebody.
Back at the base, things had died down. Almost all of the guests had left, save for Billy Katagiri and Graham Aker. As his mechanic finished cutting a hole in the escape pod for Mr. Special to come out on his own and curse the Gundams, they laughed.
- “I see… AEU’s latest model is already done for, but the safety ratings are off the charts…” the MS engineer stated, while Graham was not so quick to put the blame on the Mobile Suit.
- “That Khushrenada sure put on a better show.”
- “He’s no Flag Fighter. Come on, we gotta go. I just noticed a dozen missed calls to my phone. We have to report.”
- “Those Gundams, though, giving the AEU a check and a warning. OZ will not take this laying down, that's for sure...”
Thanks to Roromi for letting me participate!
When Aida entered the SEED festival, he was not thinking of attending the party, singing along to that famous Diver's J-Pop covers or discussing the shows and their side stories. Rather, when Daniel sent him a virtual flyer of the event, he scoffed at the idea, since he wasn't a big fan of Cosmic Era, even though he had watched the main series. But Daniel, who was an avid fan of the timeline and wanted to share his love of it with his best friend, convinced him to give the festival a try with the excuse of entering his old JANET Murasame in the build contest, for the chance of winning a Quattro Vaharo - a golden, sun-shade wearing, child-loving version of the ubiquitous franchise mascot. And quite like one of the previous limited editions, the Char Aznaharo, it was a very talented fellow when it came to piloting a Mobile Suit autonomously. Perhaps taking it into his possession would prove useful: AI companions were perfect for the task of automating certain systems or tasks. And he was in the process of building a space-use GM III that would greatly benefit from an independent G-Defenser craft. With this in mind, he painted the Murasame candy red, bought Rau Le Creuset's white uniform at a Zapp vending machine (then the mask, out of fear of running into one of his old crew mates and being recognized), and got ready to pass his machine as an "Alex Dino" custom… whoever that guy was.
In retrospect, it wasn't such a brilliant idea. When he finally entered the festival as a contender, authorized by the organizers to bring his Gunpla and land it anywhere he felt like, he realized he had bit more than he could chew. The other contestants all had beautiful, well-crafted machines, some of which he recognized, some of which he didn't. And while he felt capable of taking on most of them, sadly, there seemed not to be a single time trial, race or battle in hand. Rather, it was going to be a beauty pageant, and Aida knew he didn't have a chance in the world to win based on looks alone: after all, the JANET Murasame was first and foremost a sleeper, given the guts of a different Zeta variant depending on the environment it was going to operate in, and a massive overhaul of all its systems, weaponry and avionics. When a Strike Gundam was suddenly given the Memento Mori treatment by an unknown force in orbit and a certain white Exia entered stage left, he was surprised, but knew he wouldn't have to walk away empty-handed and call it a day in the red, so while everyone else in the show was cussing out both tangos, he instead thanked them, wholeheartedly, for giving his humble flyer a chance to shine.
I know what this is… the orbital bombardier and the fast chaser. This is just like our evasive training at the JANET Force Nest! I knew there would be challenges! I gotta ace this! He turned on every system again, and quickly took off, leaving the festival behind and reaching a stable pace. Not yet. Soon, he could see a new flash in the sky, showing up above him in the Zeta panoramic cockpit. Unsure, but assuming it was meant for him, he floored it, and a pair of seconds later, surprisingly, a powerful beam that came from above missed him. “Hahaha! Get real!” Knowing that having missed him could’ve pissed off the orbital sniper, he prepared to evade again. Reaching a stable speed, he knew what he’d try next, so a second before the acceleration burn, he used his verniers to perform a surprise 180º roll, and accelerated away in the opposite direction. He soundly succeeded, as this time, the beam missed him for twice the margin. The sniper had attempted to fire at what he thought would be his future location, to make him fly into the beam, but had been outsmarted twice. Soon, he felt Creuset’s mask rubbing off on him, and laughed louder. “AHAHAHA! This is SO contagious!” For the next trick, he just made the switch to MS mode and waited in the air. Soon enough, four quick blasts appeared to his left, right, back and front at once, and before the fifth appeared, the Murasame was on the fly again, evading death once more. “Oh, god, he’s so pissed, I know it!”
The fun did not last long, however, with the white Exia coming to rain on his parade. Having annihilated the other contestants of the Mobile Suit pageant, it was coming for him. “They’re already dead, I won... Why does it still want to gut me?” At least i ain’t gotta worry about that damned orbital sniper for the moment. He can’t reliably take a shot at me without hitting the other guy. Seeing the Exia fly towards his Murasame, he stepped on the pedal and went sky high. One could imagine his surprise when, after having reached his operational ceiling, he switched to MS mode again, only to see the white Exia already on his face. “How did he?!” Panicking, he fired his head-mounted CIWS at the assailant. From the Exia’s back approached a new Gunpla, in support of the red Murasame: it was Daniel’s.
- “Hold on tight, Aiden! We’re gonna take this guy out! No Gundams...” Daniel spoke, from the cockpit of a silver Kampfer, sporting a GINN’s wings and backpack. He couldn’t enter it in the contest, but since the attack began, the barriers were lifted for anybody to bring their own Mobile Suit, in defense of Orb.
- “... no problems! Hiyaaaahh!” Aiden, regaining his confidence, drew two Type 70J Beam Sabers from their holsters and attacked the Exia from the front, while Daniel aimed two Giant Bazookas and two Sturm Fausts at the Gundam’s back, then fired.
Wufei felt scorned by fate. He had come all the way from the battle in Colony A0206, surviving his very own wife, the woman who gave Nataku its name, only to be bested by some soft-spoken, wealthy aristocrat in a Mobile Suit made of blue toothpicks. In his very first official sortie, no less.
- “Kill me.” Feeling worthless, incapable of fulfilling his duty as a Gundam Pilot, he asked Treize to take the final step. However, he just lowered his weapon, deactivating the vibrating blade.
- “It was a good fight.” He stated matter of factly, a trace of melancholy in his words. He shifted the Enact to start to look away, making a cheap attack more tempting, however, Wufei just demanded death once more.
- "Kill me now, or I'll come back until I get you!" His Gundam got up, and took the lodged blade out of its shoulder, but it made no move against the Enact.
- “That would be interesting...” mused Treize. “Maybe then, we could resume our discussion.” He moved his Enact away
- "Shit!" Furious, Wufei clicked on some buttons and Shenlong moved its arm. It looked as if it was about to attack the Enact, however, all the Gundam did was launch the inactive sonic blade towards the floor and leave it buried there, transmitting rather graphically its pilot's frustration. It then walked away, leaving Quatre to fend off the Aries alone, and Beta Team in a clash with the Leo Team. Victorious, Treize walked his Enact back to the hangar, while Lady Une, who had taken command at the control tower, talked to him.
- “Sir. We’re assigning Hellions to the pursuit of that Gundam-type.”
- “Call it off.”
- “Why?” Une was surprised to hear him say that, as he powered down the systems of the Enact and opened the hatch.
- “Today we fought in Mobile Suits. Next time, we'll fight a proper duel. The thought that he could, perhaps, be deadlier in person makes it all worth the wait.” Treize Khushrenada stated, hanging out from the Enact's hatch, as wind blew on his face and made his cape float behind him.
Meanwhile, Quatre was left behind by the Aries, even though he had managed to cut down one of them with his Shotel. As a bonus, however, the Shotel fell to the floor along with the Mobile Suit it had downed, which let Quatre retrieve it yet again. Things had not gone like he had wanted to, though. Wufei was nowhere to be seen, neither was Colonel Khushrenada. The Aries had left him alone, like there was anybody there to take care of him, but the Leo garrison was occupied with what seemed to be another Gundam and two weird GMs. Could they be here to help us? The base is going nowhere… i guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Turning off the shotels to let them cool down and lay off the reactor for a while, Quatre made Sandrock run towards the fray, the beam submachine gun and Gundanium shield at the ready, in case anybody fired at him.
One of the two commander Leos, equipped with a beam saber, then attacked Isla's Variable Gundam. Knowing Phase-Shift would not save her from a beam, she instead tried to defend herself with the beam shield, then fired her Jesta beam rifle from the hip, in a very awkward manner. Aida, in exchange, had not Phase-Shift, nor any form of beam defense, so he had not a moment to spare: quickly, after missing the third Dobergunner, he fired up his thrusters to ascend and was picked up by Fatum-00. Soon, the integrated AI made over control of the sub-flight system to him, so he sped away and turned around for a second go at the two remaining 'Gunners, this time, making Fatum give them its all: in addition to the twin MA-4B "Fortis" beam cannons, he also fired two M9M9 "Cervus" turret machine guns and four GAU5 "Volucris" machine guns at the Leos, sweeping down in a flashy manner. "With all of these weapons firing, I HAVE to hit something!"
Topics I Participated In
“I’m breaking up with you.”
Gabe caught his breath at that sentence and did pause to turn and look at Meer. “Wha- what do you mean babe?” Even as he spoke the words he felt their strength waver at the truth that was beginning to form in front of him. She was cute, maybe too cute for the likes of him. She always took the effort to do her makeup and look phenomenal as soon as she stepped out the door. To top it off she looked like a casual version of her name sake with pink hair and gold hair pin. Was she out of his league? He never considered it before but as her statement hung in the air suddenly all the unsung insecurities began to crop up.
She rocked her hips, her left hand resting easily on her body as she looked up at the sky. Her blue eyes seemingly searching for an answer to his confusion. “Listen Gabe… I’ve been going out to parties the last few weeks without you…”
“So you’ve been cheating on me?” Gabe hacked the words out in disbelief. The girl grimaced and bit her lip while slowly shaking her head. “Gabe no… I just… I’ve been just going out without you… nothing more…” the tone she had did little to comfort Gabe and he wrinkled his face in growing anger. “So that’s it you just want to ditch me?” He shook with contained rage but still looked around helplessly as the beautiful girl gave him a sad look, “look I didn’t come to this decision easily… I just need to be able do chase my dreams Gabe and I can’t do that with you…” he voice faded away as Gabriel Winter spun on his heel to storm away.
A few days later
Gabe remained hunched over his desk in his dimly lit room. An orange hue attempted to breach his room from his window shades but was drowned out by the fluorescent light above his work station. He hadn’t left his room besides going to work since his break up with Meer. For the last few days he ran through all the scenarios in his head as to why she’d want to leave him. They had been together for over a year and not until recently did he feel any animosity from her. His mind wandered to them first logging into GBN and it dawned on him that maybe that was the beginning of it all.
Meer was a cosplayer and a good one at that, but she was fiercely self conscious and had a hard time making friends because of it. Meer wasn’t even her real name but the alias she chose to be called by to associate herself more with her hobby. Gabe was always the one pushing her to reach out of her comfort zone, to meet new people. GBN was the happy medium for them both; he could build Gunpla for them, while she could try different costumes and plan out outfits for the real world while actually making friends. It felt good at first, a win win situation.
As Gabriel mulled over his thoughts he trimmed and filed the gauntlet for his latest Gunpla. The blue plastic was becoming discolored from his attention but it would hardly matter once he painted the whole kit. In a fit of rage he took apart all the Gunpla on his shelves when he got home that night they broke up. He was ashamed that he actually broke a lot of the kits when he flung them off the shelf. At the moment he wasn’t sure that he wanted anything to do with GBN, all he did know was building something aloud him to not be so angry, it let him direct his focus from his sorrows. It was as if he took all the anger he had at the world and was condensing it into the single kit in front of him.
He was a mediocre builder at best. He never won any awards before and was always afraid to make the extra commitment of scribing, paint and panel lining; the sort of thing she would add to the kits he gave her after he built them. This time was different, he was possessed to make the best kit he possibly could. Even if she never saw it, he would have the satisfaction of having something so pristine that she would not.
When they dated he was always afraid to take risks, whether it was in building his Gunpla, or not doing particular missions. “No more…” he muttered to himself as Ash Liked Snow played in the background, “no, more hesitation… I have to reform myself… my Gundam…”
A few days later
The indicator for his email inbox showed the vast number of missed messages, something he had neglected to pay attention to the last couple of weeks, he simply wasn’t in the mood. Now he decided was the best time to finally drudge through the messages, most of it being spam. A few notes did catch his eye and give him pause. The first was from a mutual friend him and Meer had on GBN, a woman by the pseudo name Stella. She had apparently asked him to join a Force in the game. His initial reaction was one of hope, maybe Meer was trying to get him back in her life? To rekindle their relationship? But his face immediately soured the next message down where Stella retracted the earlier offer, saying that she didn’t want things to get awkward with Stella already on the team.
He sighed, but that eventually turned into a sob at his own predicament. He wasn’t just loosing her but all his friends it would seem. Through tear filled eyes he read through the next few GBN messages, all varying between apologies and other sad things he didn’t want to bother with. He was about to close his messages when a notice from GBN itself popped up just then. Curiosity caused him to open it immediately, he was surprised to see it was an invitation for a private beta of the new version of GBN. Apparently he was chosen by lottery to test in and partake in the new version. It offered exclusive rewards, but more importantly to Gabriel, it offered a blank slate, a fresh start. One of the features the invitation offered was the chance to replace you’re user tag and avatar for free. With tears still slipping down his face he responded that he would be taking the opportunity. As the message went into the digital nether he gazed around his room to the Gunpla standing defiantly in the middle of his desk, maybe 80% complete, ready for final details and paint. Wiping away the tears he stood up to resume his work.
A week later
PLEASE ENTER USERNAME:
Gabriel gawked at the display and the flicker of where his new title would show up. His fingers remained frozen over the keyboard as he swam through his thoughts. With a fresh start there would be virgin usernames out there with little chance of redundancy, but still it begged the question of what he should call himself. He wasn’t in a social mood still, and he wasn’t even sure what he was really doing on GBN all alone. Scratching the stubble on his chin he kept staring at the otherwise boring screen. “I suppose I’m looking for something…” he finally said out loud, his own voice startling him. Slowly his fingers chipped away a new identity. Next a wardrobe menu popped up and he scrolled through the options to pick out something to hide behind. He was never audacious enough to pick an avatar too unlike himself and he hated when Meer would as him to be a character to match hers. He stayed away from the generic Chars of the options and instead chose a black cloak like pancho and a matching mask. He did change his hair color from his typical black to brown and cleaned his face to be clean shaven. Finally he loaded up the new information and was satisfied to see it accepted. All that remained was...
“Please scan your Gunpla.”
He reached out hesitantly and grabbed the white and red mobile suit he had so diligently been working on over the last month or so. He traced the features with his fingers and was suddenly apprehensive about using the model. Once he placed it down it would become alive. Part of him would grow to be beyond just a hunk of plastic, and his declaration towards his ex would be made reality.
“Please scan your Gunpla.” The mechanical voice repeated. Gripping the Gunpla a little harder he grimaced and placed the model in the scanner. With a scowl watch on his face he logged into GBN, to hunt for something he didn’t quite understand just yet.
((Big shout out to Frosty for starting the side story trend, not to mention for his help with the yet to be revealed Gunpla! I thought it would be fun to do a new (if not slightly used) character. I’ll be adding more soon!))
(OOC: if anyone wants to jump in feel free! I just thought I’d be fun to write from this perspective!)
Marco let out a sigh of relief as he put the visor down for GBN. He glanced over at his Gunpla poised on his station and rubbed his chin as he contemplated the toy right next to him. He gave a cursory glance behind his shoulder to the shelves of other Gunpla that he built. Each one had their own story, their own flavor that he appreciated. He found himself paused as he contemplated that very idea. He used to love slapping together kits. He loved the lore behind each mobile suit and in turn trying to personify that through his work. “Used to” being the key term, how did he find himself so disconnected from what was happening?
It was at that moment an idea sparked in his mind. The realization that he hadn’t built a kit… in what? Months? Years? When was the last time he even went to a hobby shop. Standing up, he stretched his body and cracked his neck. Finally he popped his fingers in front of him before sighing again and walking out the room he had designated as his workspace. Marco called out as he entered the hallway. “Honey! I’m going to town, mind if I take the kids with me shopping?”
It was the crowing his kids did that made Marco realize that it had indeed been too long since he has gone out shopping for his job? Hobby? He had grown so used to having everything delivered to his countryside house that he had forgotten what it was like going to one of the infamous Gunpla shops in town.
The place was busy, fans of all sorts lined the lanes of model boxes. Even the colors of the boxes was exciting, as it formed a pallet of unique colors surrounding them that you just wouldn’t experience in normal stores. Marco gripped the small hands of his two children tightly so as not to loose them or have them damage a rare kit on accident. Yet still the boy and girl marveled at all the colors and toys in front of them. It dawned on the man that he hadn’t even built a Gunpla with them yet. So focus on his work that he hadn’t realized that his kids were nearing that ripe age where their dexterity and maturity would allow them to share in his passion.
The father grinned to himself as he asked his kids outloud. “So… which kits do you two wanna buy and build for yourselves?” His children gleamed up at him with awe on their faces, “really?” “You mean it?” They both asked in unison. Marco chuckled, “sure I’ll even help you guys start building them here before we leave! Now be good and bring me back what you find so I can pay for them. Daddy’s got to do a little research while we’re here.” His kids let go of his hands and practically flew off into the store gawking at each kit, mesmerized that they would soon have one as their very own. Being a father, Marco couldn’t help but smile as he watched them romp away. As they rounded a corner, he lazily followed behind while scanning the shelves for one item in particular.
Mumbling to himself he spied what it was he was curious to find. The black and blue coloration made the kit pop out in his mind. “There you are…” it was a real grade Titans MKII Gundam. Something about the last mission rattled in his head, it felt like this particular unit was becoming a type of recurring theme in his mind that he just couldn’t shake. “Know thy enemy…” he mused as he gripped the rather dusty box. He blew away the film to marvel at the artwork before turning to find his kids, Titans box tucked under his arm.
Back inside his crashed Mobile Suit at the factory, Beta’s acting commander prepared to abandon Airbatel for a little experiment. He opened his inventory, more importantly, his avatar’s wardrobe menu, and pushed a button to load Preset B. Only a blink of an eye passed between his uniform and cap vanishing into glowing particles, and the appearance from thin air of a Gryps-era normal suit, customized by Aida with the colors of his Man From Jupiter attire, and loaded with accessories taken from Quattro’s normal suit: the leg pistol holster and jetpack, which ironically, made their Zeta debut on the very episode this stage had been built upon. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the button that would make the hatch open. Weirdly, despite not really having anything to lose in a virtual videogame, he had his doubts. The experience was more realistic than ever, and he could only wonder what would be of the world when these games became fully immersive thanks to full-body sensor coverage. Somehow, people preferred fiction to reality, even if the worlds they were moving into weren’t really places one should want to live in.
Bingo. The hatch was now open, and he was out of the cockpit, but his avatar’s health meter was not decreasing in any way, fast or slow, which meant no significant oxygen loss. They had even implemented a practical use for normal suits… which meant people in public servers would finally have to stop breaking character and getting out of their machines into space wearing only swimsuits or casualwear if they didn’t want their Divers to die. He climbed down from the GM III, and continued his journey on foot. His avatar still having the meter at all meant he had not been ‘ghosted’ into Spectator Mode… and could still influence NPDs or other Divers, even though his MS was out of the fight for good. However, he thought as he fired up his jetpack’s thrusters and flied out of the factory, watching out not to get too close to the whirlwinds, only God knew what he could do now. To find such opportunities to wreck havoc as a mere person was rare. And since he was on the defending team, there weren’t even enemy facilities to infiltrate… only these factories, and the Titans building in the distance…
Suddenly, he needed to take cover. A GM’s BOWA rifle, briefly caught by the wind vortex before it became too weak to keep it spinning circles, was now approaching him with speed, just as he was getting used to seeing the colony from above. Rapidly, he accelerated towards another one of the factories, and crashed through one of the upper windows before the gigantic weapon could claim his avatar's life. Landing forcefully on top of a metallic scaffold, he took a moment to get up again, grabbing a hold of the metal bars. After getting himself on his feet again, he found yet another weird detail left in the map by the campaign’s creators, a sign of a different Universal Century. Did they really waste so much effort in detailing all of these factories and minor buildings, just in the remote case somebody did enter them?
“... Beta Team… calling Beta...” Now, a faintly familiar voice could be heard emanating from a device on his wrist. It was the pilot of the Galbaldy Beta. She was surprisingly alive, and still trying to contact the team. Quickly, he initiated a conversation with her. “Beta Four? This is Beta One, come in! What’s your status?”. An uncomfortably long pause followed, but B-Four would respond eventually. “Beta Four reporting… slightly wounded, Mobile Suit inoperative. On foot, armed with explosives. Hiding in a building… what are my orders?” Hearing her out, Aida recoiled for a moment, thinking of a response, before looking down from the scaffold upon what lied on the floor. Yet another idea that could get the team back on their feet. “Beta Four, i’m sending you my coordinates. Regroup with me, on the double.”
Elsewhere in the battlefield, Emma and Kacricon flied, looking for the sellsword that had shot Unit 03, when a woman in a blue normal suit appropriate to the era passed them, flying her jetpack towards the factory district. “What the hell… Kacricon, did you see that-” Emma was interrupted, however, as Kacooler’s news were more urgent. “Quick, I see stray shots!” Quickly, the dark blue Gundams spotted the enemy: one of the AEUG’s machines was in trouble, with a friendly trying to end it with a well placed slash, and an enemy keeping the energy blade from touching the Rick Dias' head with a beam saber. She recognized the friendly as the one that had shot 03, and the enemy as that weird Gundam that seemed to share more than a passing resemblance to her own Mark II. Why didn't the blue GM want her interacting with the white Gundam? She didn't know, but the other black Mobile Suit had caught wind of their arrival, and now fired its Clay Bazooka towards Kacricon and her. Kacricon acted quickly, dodging out of the way, and she followed suit, lifting her shield up in case the Gundam was not fast enough to dodge the round. "Emma, we'll waste that one! Poor bastard must feel pretty lonely, and with that kind of firepower, the maniac in the glitter dispenser can probably handle two tangos at once anyways." said Kacricon, referring to Apolly's Rick Dias as their new target and the Trinames Repair as the "glitter dispenser".
Emma had her doubts, their orders were to bring the glowing Mobile Suit's pilot to their superiors for interrogation, and the Mark II lookalike still poked at her curiosity. But in such a situation, they had to be pragmatic. Emma fired her beam saber up, not wanting to use her rifle inside the colony, and charged at Apolly Bay's unit.
Suddenly, the cockpits of all Divers cut to black, with the words “Mission Accomplished” for Alpha Team, and “Operation Completed” for Beta Team. Apparently, that had been the end of the stage. Now, a new cinematic showed, and control of the Mobile Suits was temporarily taken away.
<< GENERATION BREAK : CUTSCENE START >>
Over at the Titans base, from which the firefight and the wind had both shifted away, giving fire control and medic teams way to take action, base commander Samuel D. Rogen of the Federation idled nervously next to a window on the upper floors, assessing the situation with a pair of binoculars and talking to himself in a low tone. "Not good… Some mercenary crashed into one of the R&D hangars. Let's hope these lunatics don't notice Sisquiede… they've already flied away with 03's wreck, so they are not afraid of carrying dead weight." A beeping signal interrupted him, followed by the shout of the communications officer operating the receiver/transmitter array of the base. "Distress signal from LCAM-01XA! The structural supports of Heliopolis-” The young officer paused, knowing the Titans were insistent in using another name for the colony, and corrected himself. “The structural supports of Gryps 1 are very damaged, and-” The young officer was cut off by Rogen. “What do they want us to do about it?! Our hands are tied over here, and all we have are Mobile Suits anyways! We can’t repair a colony! Order them to retreat and get over here before ZAFT comes back and squashes us all! Bask will have a plan.”
Immediately afterwards, a new signal came in. The communications officer listened in, then gave everyone in the room the news: “Gryps 1 has experienced dissasembly. Archangel, X-105 and the Hawk of Endymion are falling back here. ZAFT has chosen to fall back for unknown reasons.” At the same time, the radar technician on Rogen’s other side spoke with an update on the fight taking place in Gryps 2. “The AEUG is on the run! They’ve put Unit 03 in a barge… the red one and his escorts are currently flying away.” Commander Rogen was not amused, but right as he was beginning his rant, the faces of Bask Om and Jamaican Daninghan appeared on screen. Samuel promptly filled his commanders in, and when he was done, Jamaican spoke. “So ZAFT partnered with the AEUG and used them as a distraction here, while they stole our X-Numbers… damned know-it-all spacenoids! We’ll give them a beating they won’t ever forget… once we’ve built System, no fleet, no weapon will be more powerful than us!” Bask lifted his hand, prompting Jamaican to shut up and let him speak. “Base Commander, Archangel is coming here. We’re boarding it, but without four of five X-Numbers, the ship is seriously understaffed. And we can’t really leave anything of value, given the condition of this colony. Lieutenants Kacricon Kacooler and Emma Sheen are to board Archangel with Unit 01 and Unit 02. Have the mercenary team join them. They’re insubordinate, but they're regular force material.”
In space, an orange Mobile Armor could be seen approaching the punctured hull of Green Noa 2, escorting a white legged ship...
<< GENERATION BREAK : CUTSCENE END >>
When the cutscene ended, control returned to all the Divers. The IFF, however, had been disabled, and the weapons had been deactivated. Combat was no longer possible, nor were the Rick Diases where they used to be moments ago. Now, Quattro, Apolly and Roberto all were far away from Beta Team and the two dark Gundams, flying towards the first hole, the one next to which the AEUG barge now safeguarded a Gundam Mk-II, before crossing the threshold and disappearing into the darkness of space. The two operational machines of Beta Team were left alone with Emma and Kacricon, while the voice of Jamaican pierced the silence. “... repeat, this is Lieutenant Commander Daninghan. Units 01 and 02, retreat towards the spaceport. Beta Team, escort Units 01 and 02. All non-mentioned personnel is to stay and help repair this base.” While Kacricon and Emma took off, the Divers of Beta Team saw a blue arrow appear in their cockpits, pointing in the direction of the hangars they had taken off from at the start of the operation. Apparently, that was the destination of the Mk-IIs, and by extension, theirs.
As both his beam tomahawk and the modified Barzam's beam saber turned off automatically, Kyle was not disappointed or angry, he merely couldn't help but be bewildered in the team's voice channel. "Shouldn't we be back at Alfred's school already? We lost, didn't we?" Taking off towards the spaceport, the pilot of Trinames wondered to himself: How come I can never ever get a bit of casual fun without risking this kind of stuff…? Stupid maniacs.
Upon returning from the cutscene, Carter found his Mobile Suit in midair, lunging at a missing person. The Red Comet was long gone now, and he was left alone, circling around his own axis. "Agh, I'd have beat him to a pulp..." he said as he landed the Zaku Forerunner for a moment, and turned it around, flicking the Saturn Engine back on to cruise towards the other side of the colony. They did give my mech one hell of a beating, though... no respect for the classics, no respect for the classics.
As for the team NPD, she unexpectedly burst through the roof of a factory, now at the helm of a restored GP03S, painted in Titans colors and wielding a Folding Bazooka. Her passenger, Aida, hanged on to the pilot seat as best as he could, lacking any jump seats where he could sit. He was not happy that their stellar find couldn't make it in time to save the day. "Crud… It was a perfect idea. But we are too late." The nameless NPD looked back at him, her black helmet visor betraying no faction, no feature of her. "We must go to the mission marker's position." Aida calmly replied, regaining his composure, "I know. But first, we must pick up my Mobile Suit. The Stamen can probably take it to the spaceport..."
Minutes later, the six Suits entered the spaceport, just as the venerable Moebius Zero could be seen entering Archangel, in anticipation of the ship aligning right in front of an open gate, allowing the Marks and Beta a clear landing onto their Mobile Suit bays. The Trinames and Forerunner took off into space first, clearing the way for the two dark Gundams, before joining the Stamen and Airbatel behind them and landing inside the ship, which closed its hangar bays and turned around to flee, before the enemy Nazca-class could catch up. Leaving Airbatel in one of the bays and the GP03 in another, Aida and the NPD materialized in front of the latter, floating in the middle of the hangar bay towards the floor. Oxygen had already been restored to the area, and a black haired woman was moving in for an introduction. Not wanting to be impolite, Aida traded his helmet back for Preset A's cap. The NPD, however, did not change attire.
With graceful movements, a woman dressed in a white Earth Alliance uniform stopped in front of the Mobile Suits, as a blonde man could be seen unboarding his Mobile Armor. Holding a clipboard, she would address the group. "You must be the reinforcements… I'm Executive Officer Badgiruel. Commanders Bask and Daninghan have boarded the ship some minutes ago and will be in the conference room for a debriefing. You can head there when you're ready. Dismissed." She would then head back, with the NPD following her in a manner reminiscent of an automaton. Aida was somewhat disconcerted at the two of them. "Yeah… nice to meet you two I guess." Then, he looked at the white Dynames and the blue Zaku, curious about the people inside.
Pitch black darkness. It had been that way for long, but out of the blue, one of the four Gunpla Battle Nexus cabinets sprung to action and bathed the room in light. Somebody had turned it on by flipping one of the switches in the service room, while forgoing the other three cabinets and the micro-injection machine used to "print" out parts and weapons that were given to the players as rewards for clearing certain missions. A figure entered the room, having just treated himself to a grilled cheddar sandwich and some juice, ready for the rumble. A voice reached out to him after he put on his headset and visor. "Please, scan your Gunpla" It sounded human, but it was probably a recording. He still remembered the good old times, when the voice was jarringly robotic and spoke in a very butchered English. He took a 1/144 figure out of a holster in his pants, and put it over the scanner. It was a black and blue kitbash based in the GM III, crafted, painted and even slightly weathered in fine detail. Two rings of light emerged under the GM's feet and at the top of its head. One ascended, the other descended, and when they met halfway through to read the information chip, the name of the machine suddenly appeared in screen. Airbatel GM. Like Dan, the builder, he was pretty proud of the thing. "Are you proud of us too?" The Airbatel simply activated its main camera, more in response to the laser rings than his question.
Logging in, which was a pretty straightforward process for such a secretive thing, he dismissed the coincidence and put on his visor, diving into a new world, the world of GBN's Community Update, full of new content to discover… and unsurprisingly devoid of people. The lobby inside the central skyscraper was empty save for an administrator, trying out new test NPDs meant to bolster the number of guides in areas too populated for volunteers to show all beginners around. Uninterested, the Diver by the nickname of Aida checked his context menu and used it to teleport to one of the hangar bays. Airbatel was there, standing tall and mighty above him. The administrator had also logged in with a personal Gunpla, which seemed to be that colorful Mobile Suit a few spaces away. Hobby Marasai. An interesting machine, but its owner was occupied.
After a routine check-up of his machine, which was way easier when one was smaller than it and not the other way around, he turned it on and headed for the catapult. Being that he wasn't on a mission, and nobody could hear him anyways, he skipped out on the part where he shouted his name and his machine's out loud, to silently catapult away from the building, and fly away to cruise the game world, which could now be done even outside missions since the 1.79 update. That day, the GM-Defenser had been re-painted silver for a new balance of colors, which meant he couldn't use it until Saturday, when the paint dried out and the detail could be done again. He was using a Hyaku-Shiki's and backpack tonight, which hardly kept him in a continuous flight like those Aida was accustomed to. But one of the good things of Free Roam mode was that no fuel or energy would be consumed at all, so he could fly around carelessly in autopilot with the fuel efficiency tool disabled, while using the context menu to try and see just how many people were free to play that night. Hopeful, he gasped when he took notice of the current player count. There were more people than usual, just dispersed through the game world. Maybe that could be the day he finally got to try out one of those new campaigns he had been eyeing.
Landing Airbatel smoothly on a yard located behind a replica of Alfred Izuruha's school, complete with a vendor of 0080 avatar paraphernalia, Aida coursed through the menu until he could find that one campaign he had been eyeing but couldn't play right until that moment, and when he found it, he picked the "Look for Public" option, even though his Gunpla was incomplete that day. After all, it wasn't like he was in any position to get picky, and probably all of the beta testers were decent enough people to get hold of a code from the administration. Then again, "it's not like the code was mine to begin with...", he sighed.
<< Gundam Generation >>
A randomized, dynamic and innovative campaign which reimagines events of every timeline and mixes them up with each other for a one-of-a-kind experience! Strike foes down on every known battlefield, oppose NPDs or ally with them, and gain exclusive rewards for passing the unmarked side assignments!
Warning: Beta Campaign. Stability and playability errors might arise at random. Report any problems with this campaign to the nearest administrator.
"Let's see, let's see… aha! You've been occupying a space in the carry inventory for long. It was about time you were of any use...", said Aida while equipping a one-time use flare gun on his Mobile Suit's free hand, and promptly having Airbatel fire it. The custom GM III did a full 180 degree turn in a second, lifted its right arm, and pointed the flare gun at the sky to strike that famous 'Last Shot' pose from Mobile Suit Gundam, before firing. A golden V promptly appeared in the sky above them. The V-Flare signal would last an entire hour before disappearing. But he planned to leave for the night if nobody joined him before the flare was gone. If that were to happen, he would give up trying to find a group of night owls he could fit into the daily schedule, and come back Saturday afternoon to get started once and for all with a regular force…
<< Gundam Generation >>
Looking for Divers… (Maximum 8 players)
1. [8TMS Lt.] Aida