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.