The first gleam appeared under the only Gundam of the group - Kyle’s, a modified Dynames. Looking at the differences between it and a normal Dynames, Aida could only guess the model was incomplete during the skirmish in Gryps 2. Praying that it was complete now to help him battle the gleaming machines of the opposite team, he was shocked when the GN-Particle powered Gundam was replaced with… a massive Zeong, seemingly stock, which sat on its skirt rather than use any legs for support. Aida wanted to pull out his own virtual hair and eat it. Oh, no… If he wanted to play Newtype, he could've at the very least brought along a Qubeley! He better know how to use that thing. Two faces in the ship were alarmed, however. One of the bridge hands, a bespectacled, brown haired man sporting a Federation uniform, was talking with an aging Titans engineer.
- “Hey, i know that thing. That's a war relic.”
- “From the time you were manning White Base’s sensors, right? It’s going to be another weird tale of yours, isn’t it, Oscar.”
- “I mean it. It's a Zeon psycommu machine. One of the first and last. It guides those beam fingers with just the power of thought. One of these faced Amuro at A Baoa Qu and wrecked his Gundam. We saw it there.”
- “So what you’re saying is… at least we’ve got a Newtype to face all of those Coordinators.”
- “Two at least. I don’t buy all that crap about the Moebius Zero having an Oldtype-use, quasi-psycommu.”
- “It’s wire guided. That means it doesn't require space magic.”
- “So are the hands of that gray behemoth. And it was designed exclusively for Newtypes. Besides, if any schmuck could control a Psycommu, why aren't all Moebius like the Lieutenant's?”
- “Great. First one of the mercenaries is not only a Newtype, but now, so is La Flaga. You’re an... interesting fellow to speak to, Dublin.”
- “You never do listen, do you.”
Before he could look at the Zaku Forerunner’s cubicle, which was still empty, however, the Comet Meister himself came out of the enormous Mobile Suit, greeting him with an enthusiastic:
- "Hey there. Looking to haunt the ruins of Junius Seven, I see." Well, at least he seems confident.
- "Oh, this? Heh, I wasn't able to finish the Trinames in time for this stage, so I thought I'd try something different tonight." Kyle landed next to Aida and stood by his side, as he noticed the absence of his red Haro.
- "Well, i suppose it makes sense from a terrain perspective. We are in space." The one in the blue Federation uniform shrugged, then looked at the Dylandy lookalike. "Surely you’ll want to turn the pointy one into debris before he gets any chance to even look at you." Aida, of course, was talking about the Astral AGE.
- “Yeah, i should probably get rid of him first. The Zeong has no close combat weaponry to counter that thing. However you seem like you have the most leadership skills. Me and my wired finger guns will go wherever you need me.” Kyle signalled positively, lifting his thumb.
- “Best if we don’t leave that maniac to chance. I’ll have somebody cover you, shall he get past your beam attack. You’ll be OK in the debris field, i think.” Probably… possibly… right?
- “Hey, don’t get nervous. We’ll prove them you don’t need a full pack of Gundams to win… well, i don’t know what our speedy friend will be bringing. Could be Turn A or some other crazy stuff.” Kyle turned around to tilt his head at the speedster’s platform, but fittingly, it was lighting up. A new portal was opening.
- “Speak of the devil, there he is. Cross your fingers.”
Seconds passed, and a portal opened in the floor, out of which came a surprisingly different MS. A shiny new Gunpla, based in the Buster Dagger, with parts from an Astray, and what looked like Duel Gundam's rifle. If starkly contrasted with the Zaku Forerunner, in and out of itself a worn-out Gunpla that had seen its fair share of use, and looked like it hid many mysteries. Furthermore, it sort of felt like it belonged with the others… It might be the blue. All of our Mobile Suits are a shade or another of it… almost like a team motif.
- “Would you look at that. I love it. You don’t see lesser-known units in the battlefield often.” Kyle approved of the new design, while Carter floated towards him and Aida.
- “You know what, Kyle? I think you’re right. Tonight, we prove monoeyes and visors can save the day too!” Aida, marvelling at the design, was now optimistic enough to get Kyle riled up.
- “Yeah! Nothing will stop the Challengers of Diamond now!” There was a long silence after this, with both Aida and Carter, who had just landed right next to the two of them, looking at him with raised eyebrows. Finally, Carter snapped the silence in half.
- “The… what?”
- “Sorry, i was thinking of a name for the team...” Kyle let out a chuckle, and Aida was relieved to see he was not the only one thinking that they might make a fine team after all.
Minutes later, the three of them were joined by the still-unseen NPD in the briefing room, along with Kacricon, Emma, Mu and the others. It wouldn’t be long until Jamaican Daninghan appeared in the room, along with a blond, middle-aged man. Familiar looking… is he a Zeta extra?
- “Sit down. I am Lieutenant Commander Daninghan, of the elite Federation unit… Titans. I assume everyone is aware of our current situation. Yes… that’s how i like it. Then we can get straight to business: we’re currently nearing the Earth’s upper orbit, where the patrol fleet is stationed. We should be making our first contact with them any moment. They should be enough for Creuset for reconsider… or at least, they’ll buy us some time while we enter the atmosphere. Not even Creuset’s Versailles has the capacity to perform re-entry on its own.”
- “Wooo! I’m going to see Amelia again...”
- “However… Creuset is probably very much aware that he won’t be able to touch us if we do that, so it’s very likely that the latter is going to happen, and you, our defense team, will have to battle his forces right here, in orbit. Now, i’ll tell each one of you pilots what to do, so pay attention!” The Titans pilots stood up, and so did Mu La Flaga, which prompted Beta Team to follow suit. “Ahem… Yamato. Kira Yamato!”
Aida opened his eyes wide and scouted the room, only to find, indeed, Kira Yamato, standing up next to Flaga. I don’t understand… he’s not the kind of protagonist to answer to adventure’s call. And there’s other pilots around. Why is he piloting anyways? The blond man next to Jamaican was quick to explain something about the Strike.
- “I was not in the team that designed it, but these files are detailed enough. The Strike is one out of five Mobile Suits belonging to the G-Project… a series of Mobile Suits which count with a revolutionary technology that can render the five suits immune to physical damage when active: Phase-Shift Armor. However, the space occupied by the yet-to-be optimized system means a Minovsky Reactor big enough to power a Mobile Suit could not fit in there, forcing us to give it batteries. Fortunately, it can also use another Mobile Suit as an auxiliary power source to replenish its batteries, but if it needs to be stationary anyways, it might as well come back to the ship and…”
- “Mr. Bidan. Get back on topic.”
- “Ah, yes. Ahem… the X-Numbers count with a revolutionary technology that can render the five suits immune to physical damage when active: Phase-Shift Armor. However, the last rounds of testing ever performed on them resolved that effective management of the system was too much for Naturals. Only a very bulky computer, or a Coordinator, can get anything out of any of these five Mobile Suits.”
- “Mr. Yamato, for the sake of your friends, and the other civilians in this ship, you will be that Coordinator. You will pilot the Strike until we are nearing the point of no return, then return to the ship.” Jamaican sealed Kira’s orders with this, and also disclosed to all of the military staff in the ship that he was, indeed, a Coordinator. Chatter quickly sprung up in the room about the topic, while Emma was simply astonished.
- “So these are Coordinators… they don’t look any different from us.”
- “Don’t let your guard down around these slippery bastards. They’re even deadlier on hand to hand combat. Ironically, they’re at their weakest in a Mobile Suit… that’s where the terms are still somewhat even.”
- “Silence! Kacricon and Sheen will have similar orders to take off in Unit 01 and Unit 02. Strike and the Mark IIs will defend the ship. Meanwhile, Beta Team will sortie, and take a more... aggressive stance. Is that clear? I want the whole lot of you on standby NOW.”
Minutes later, everyone was at the hangar, which bustled with activity. Beam rifles were being taken to the dark blue Gundams. While it wasn’t the time for Beta to take flight, Aida had entered his Mobile Suit earlier, closing the hatch and reaching for his left wrist to open his contextual wardrobe. This is a space battle. I don’t plan on having my ass handed back to me twice in a row… but if I do, it'd be useful to be able to get out of this thing without having my Diver die of oxygen deprivation. Pressing a button, his black on blue normal suit appeared over him, replacing the fancy dress uniform, hat and glasses. Afterwards, he turned on the systems, seeing Sheen, Carter and Kira get on their Mobile Suits. The rest probably were already in their Mobile Suits. All that was left was wait for the signal…
- “Beta Team, do you copy? This is Ensign Badgiruel. We estimate that the enemy could arrive in minutes. I want you to take off first, scout our backs in advance without getting too far away from the ship.”
- “Roger that...” Aida, anxious to get out of the ship for his triumphant rematch, activated the Super Airbatel, lighting up its main camera in a flash of golden light. “This is Beta One! Kyle, Carter, Four, meet me outside.” Quickly, it hogged the catapult, lifting one foot after the other to put theme in the binders, before bending its knees for the takeoff sequence. “Aida, Super Airbatel GM! Flying towards victory!” The red row of lights on the side of the catapult turned on. Soon after, one row after another of the yellows… and finally, the much-expected green. The GM accelerated towards the open hatch, and was finally thrown into space, spinning once over its vertical axis before engaging the thrusters of the GM-Defenser, flying towards the bridge of the ship, narrowly missing it and deaccelerating once floating above the engines of the Archangel. Now, the title of the mission was showing up for him…
Victory Conditions: Archangel descends successfully.
- “Fine then. It seems to be game time. Listen up, element! I don’t see anybody showing up just yet, but we can do some preparations in advance. Kyle, you’re next in the catapult queue. Hide amongst the satellites and other debris. Carter, you’re with me. And Beta Four, cover Kyle. Anybody comes close to him, and you’ll make them see the tears of time. After that, the catapults belong to the Gundams. They have their orders.”