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Roromi last won the day on July 3

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  1. Hunter scrunched his face as the Astaroth seemingly burrowed into the earth. His confusion was short lived as the Diver told him to essentially “Lure the enemy in and be ready.” All without Trans Am, he mused as he debated on what to do. He fired his thrusters to land on a roof of a building which offered him a temporary view of the great Hashmal as it lumbered just outside of the city. “I’ll see what I can do Astaroth….” hunter calmly responded. He knew time was of the essence so he decided simply to act. He leveled his GN Pistol at the mobile armor and fired a shot off at the “bird’s” head. Sure enough the blast simply splattered off Hashmal’s nanofilament armor, but the result was favorable. Hashmal reared its’ head and sorta squawked as it turned it’s attention to Hunter. Unlike the Astaroth, Hunter didn’t have nanofilament. He fired his thrusters and took to the air, he took advantage of his GN drive to juke Exia in a pattern that would have been more difficult for traditional thrusters. Hashmal was entranced as it moved it’s beak towards him, following his movements, trying to lock on to him. It took a step his direction. “Come on your dumb bird!” Hunter growled and he took another pot shot, daring the “angel” to return fire with its’ more significant weapon. “What’s the matter can’t lock on to me?” He almost ate his words as the unholy screech ripped through the air along with the pink beam. He dived just in time but the blast seemed to trace after him for an uncomfortable length of time. He ducked down between buildings just as the blast shot out past him. He almost regretted the course. Plumas jumped up at the Exia like hungry dogs, bashing into his feet. He flipped out the GN blade and swiped down blindly at one that happened to cling onto his foot, armor shredding off along with the falling Pluma. At this rate I’ll be flying just a frame, he thought as he reversed course back into the newly created valley from Hashmal’s blast. He fired a shot at the beast as if saying, “hey over here!” The mobile armor took another step his way and he knew it was starting to work. “Now if only I can stay alive long enough for the Astaroth Diver to make his plan work!” He growled as he jerked to avoid more incoming fire. A little closer and I’ll have to worry about that nasty tail…
  2. The way the oddly color Gundam dealt with the Plumas was impressive. Seeing the manner in which the stranger dealt with the drones made Gabriel feel self conscious. If I could just get out of this rut… the diver’s voice cut through his thoughts, “Ignore them. Get to the Hashmal.” But even as Gabriel saw the IBO variant lift off higher he knew that was a bad idea. The Hashmal slowly stomped towards the city and by now was in the outskirts. Like bizarre mechanical dinosaur it turned to regard Dave along with another trio of flying Gundams. Its’ response was absolute, it opened its’ beak and shrilled our another angry screech. The pink beam reached out at some closer targets before sweeping its’ attack towards Dave. Gabriel knew that IBO units were resistant to beams but the sheer power of the attack would be sure enough to dazzle. He growled and pushed his throttle to rush underneath his strange ally and began attacking the Plumas in the streets. Just as he was about to slash down one of the drones landed on top of his Exia pushing his unit into the ground. “Damnit!” He yelled, he should have seen that coming. The pluma reach in to bit the left metallic shoulder of his Gundam. His screen flashed a warning about damage. Another Pluma tackled into him pushing the Ardent Exia into the side of a building, completely stopping his charge. Dust and debris flew around wildly from the impact. Another warning on his display, Gabriel was seeing red. Is this how this ends? One defeat? One utter humiliation and I’m reduced to a bumbling mess? Just then his thoughts flashed to Meer, to her breaking up with him in a GBN lobby with all their friends watching from the opposite end of lobby. A pluma bit into the chest armor, trying to tear the plating away. Just like how she ripped my heart out… “how she humiliated me…” he finished aloud. It was then his fingers relaxed, it wasn’t that the tension was gone exactly, he just felt… in control. “Trans Am…” Hunter commanded, and he flared his output to shoot back into the sky just above the building lines. The Plumas shedded off of him taking scraps of armor but ultimately sparing him major damage. He just as carefully deactivated the Trans Am suspecting it could be handy later. His eyes darted around for the friendly Gundam. “Astaroth are you there?” He called out as he looked around calmly. “We can’t fly directly there…” he cautioned, his tone more confident now. Hunter studied the streets and wondered how they might lead them to the lumbering mobile armor.
  3. ((This was done between myself and Hikaru.)) Kamille bumped through the hallways of the ZAFT warship, tears streaming out behind him. Fa called out to him but each time a little more softly as the angry teen mindlessly went down the hallway. She eventually forced herself to stop chasing him. As much as she cared about Kamille she knew she couldn’t do much for him in this state. Fa hated the idea of fighting, but she felt just as frustrated as he did at that moment. “We can’t even protect ourselves…” She muttered more to herself as she steadied herself to look out the viewport into space. Tears welling up in her own eyes as she gazed at the countless stars - It wouldn't be long after the conclusion of the meeting before Hikaru followed. He couldn't really tell where Kamille was, but he did notice Fa looking out amongst the stars. He told himself that she was an NPD, as was Kamille, but he couldn't really ignore this. He moved to be near Fa, respecting her personal space by staying at the next window over. "...Hard to save someone from themselves, isn't it?" Hikaru asked, not fully interpreting Fa's lament at the moment. - Fa fought back a sniffle and nearly jumped as the kind pilot from before surprised her. She looked around quizzically before catching on. “Oh… yeah, well Kamille has always been a stubborn one…” she looked away absently and an moment passed before she gasped. “You know I don’t think I properly thanked you or introduced myself… I’m Fa Yuiry… I appreciate you pulling me to safety back at Green Noa…” her voice trailed off as she was still very much worried and thinking about Kamille. - This briefly surprised Hikaru as he realized that he'd not introduced himself. The NPDs were just so iconic that he felt like he knew them already. It seemed to be time to rectify that. "Ah, I'm Hikaru Hiyashi. You're welcome for that, Miss Yuiry. I regret that you got dragged into that. In a perfect world, governments wouldn't use their civilian populations as shields. Of course, given that Kamille's parents both work for the Titans, he might not have been able to avoid that mess either way." - Fa’s eyes lit up momentarily at the mention of the Titans and she went back to staring longingly at the stars. “Fate is a funny thing isn’t it? Don’t you feel like sometimes life has a script that you have to follow? And no matter what you do you have to follow it?” She paused as the thoughtful words flowed out of her. “Still… I know I feel the same as Kamille… I feel like we need to take the fight to the Titans… we can’t sit idly by while they destroy colonies…” her gaze turned cold as she talked about the enemy. Hate could be seen etched on her face. “I think that’s why I can’t bare to bring myself to Kamille right now… I can’t tell him to stop, because deep down…” her voice trailed off again as she weighed the implications. - The mention of a script made Hikaru flinch slightly. At what point was her pain real? When did this transition into cruelty? He gave a sigh and rubbed the back of his head a bit. "There's a difference between feeling a need to do something and charging in blindly. That's what I was trying to warn him about. He has to be careful who he throws his lot in with. I feel stuck myself right now and want him to avoid that if he can. ZAFT may be the Titans' enemies, but it isn't necessarily a group that would always align with his intentions.” - She looked around in response, as if studying the ship itself. “Well you guys seem fine enough… though I understand you guys are somewhat freelance…” she looked at Hikaru now, “it’s not a matter of being blind for us right now as it is a matter of taking action. Green Noa is still fresh for us… too fresh…” she looked away as thoughts of home flooded her sense. “Do you think you could talk some reason into Kamille?” She asked meekly as he eyes absorbed the stars once more. - "Yes, we're freelance, though that doesn't come without questioning a few things here and there. I'm willing to try helping him, if he'll listen. That's the important part. He seems to think I'm trying to stop rather than advise. Do you know where he is, Miss Yuiry?" Hikaru asked Fa, wondering if she might have any ideas. - Fa pointed at the hallway that led to the hangars blankly. “He went off that way… and… thanks again Mr.Hiyashi” she offered a polite bow to Hikaru. “We really are indebted to you and your allies.” She offered a weak but genuine smile. - "Ah, you can call me Hikaru. I just felt like I shouldn't presume upon your given name." Hikaru bowed back to Fa. "And really...it might help if you were there. You're the only familiar person on this ship for him. Even if he is too upset and angry to show it right now, you might be an anchor for him as he is for you." - Fa nodded reluctantly and pushed off the railing to lead the way with Hikaru in tow. Meanwhile Kamille clawed at the cockpit of the the Beta Gundam. He snarled in frustration as the godlike mobile suit denied him entry. It looked almost identical to the MKII’s the titans were using, he was certain he could use this machine if he could just get inside. He whimper and groaned in frustration as the cockpit hatch didn’t budge open. “Please!” He begged softly. As it became evident that the machine wouldn’t yield he punched the metal hatch angrily yelling out in rage. “Let me fight!” Some of the Zaft personnel paused to regard the angry teen but most went about their business eager to avoid the awkward situation. It was during the height of his sorrow he could sense an approach, it was a difficult feeling to describe but in that moment he knew he wasn’t alone. “Kamille! What are you doing?” Fa called out as she floated toward him. He turned around to glare at her and the pilot equally. Fa caught herself next to the cockpit of the Beta Gundam, “Kamille you can’t take…” she bit her lip eager to not anger Kamille any further. “You can’t Mr. Hiyashi’s mobile suit! Did you forget that he saved me?” Kamille gave Hikaru an angry look and spat out. “Don’t think I’m ungrateful…” he muttered in response. “I just… I know…. I know I can make a difference… inside a Gundam…” he looked at the pilot of the machine before him. Silently challenging Hikaru with the glare. - Hikaru noted Kamille and, strangely, didn't seem angry. If anything, he was thankful that Kamille tried to take the Gundam. "First off, you're lucky you picked my machine to try and take. If you tried to steal one of the ZAFT suits, you'd probably be in the brig by now. If you'd done that to one of the Gundams they just took, you might even have gotten shot." It was important to clarify the danger Kamille had placed himself in, to shock him back to reality...such as it was within the game. "I'm not angry though, I get it. You want to do something about it. But we won't even be in a position to deploy to attack the Titans or the ship they're on for another day. It would also mean descending to the Earth. So since there's nothing any of us can do at the moment..." Hikaru leaned back against his machine and regarded both Fa and Kamille. "Mind listening to a story?" - Kamille wasn’t so eager to take the bait but Fa edged them on, quietly asking “ what’s it about?” As she asked she floated next to Kamille and took his clenched hand in her own, in an attempt to sooth the teen. Kamille reluctantly nodded to hear what the level headed pilot had to say, curiosity getting the better of him. - "There was a time, in Side 3, when people were angry about how they were treated by the Federation. They wanted freedom and independence from the distant foreign power that controlled them. They weren't alone in feeling this way, since Side 6 had achieved that peacefully in 0077. However...that feeling was easy to manipulate by those in power." Hikaru started, glancing to Kamille as he continued. He had to parse this carefully. He glanced to the parts of the GP04. "That machine over there was piloted by a woman named Cima Garahau. She was a Zaku I pilot in the One Year War who fought for independence and wanted justice and freedom for her people. As such, she listened to the Zabis and became one of their soldiers. She had no idea that she was using poison gas in January 0079 when she obeyed her orders...but she has to deal with the knowledge that she had been tricked into killing a whole colony full of her fellow Spacenoids for the rest of her life. After the war, her superior officer blamed her for the war crime and fled to Axis. By 0083, she no longer loved her homeland and was a pirate who only wanted revenge." He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "When she rebelled against a former Zeon admiral and advanced certain plans with her actions that year, actions which may still be classified and led to the formation of the Titans, she apparently became exactly what she hated. An instrument of Earth's oppression and hatred. She is now a Titan, and seems unable to be anything else." Hikaru glanced to Kamille and Fa, intent on getting his message through. "Her mistakes were in who she trusted and signed up with. In her haste to achieve her ends, she became the pawn of people who had their own agenda beyond that which she desired. My point is that, before you join some military or group to take revenge, consider that group's intentions and goals. Ask yourself what they might insist you do for them in exchange for the power to fight." - Kamille did blink as the story became prevalent to himself. He ever so slowly nodded his understanding that the pilot was trying to relay to him. Slowly his anger seeped away and he reluctantly let his fist unclench. He was still distraught, but he understood that perhaps he should bide his time. He glanced away unsure of how to react before finally looking back at Hikaru. “I…” he searched for the words before shaking his head, “thank you…” he said at last and Fa nodded alongside him as they floated in front of Beta Gundam. “I’ll take what you said to heart…” he grumbled before looking at Hikaru. “I still plan on fighting with you guys next time… but… I’ll be patient…” he pushed away from the Gundam and gave a little nod to Hikaru. Fa looked from Kamille to Hikaru and gave him a brief smile. “Thank you Hikaru…” she said softly as she looked back to see where Kamille was off to now. - Hikaru smiled, glad to assist. "You're both welcome, Mr. Bidan. Miss Yuiry." He could have said more, but he would have been repeating himself. He didn't want to hold Fa up any longer than necessary in going to Kamille. The Diver could only hope that the pair stayed away from racist tripe and thought through who they trusted. ZAFT wasn't exactly a nice army for Naturals. - Kamille winced at the use of his surname, it reminded him too much of his father. He paused as he hit the catwalk away from the Gundam and turned around. “It’s Kamille… my first name is Kamille… you better remember it.” The teen warned as he looked back at Fa and Hikaru. Fa pushed away from the Mecha to join Kamille. She waved politely at Hikaru as she joined the infamous “boy with a girl’s name”.
  4. Through the dust the a figure of absurd colors slowly took shape. Yellow and maroon slowly collated into an IBO variant, which Gabriel couldn’t recall at that moment. What he did see was the machine punching its’ way past plumas. Gabriel responded to the simple greeting with, “I’m glad I’m not alone!” As the two suits met up more plumas seemed to stream towards the duo. Gabriel slashed past unique machine to split the crown of one of the minion machines charging them. “Looks like we got a entire maze of these monsters between us and the mobile armor!” Gabriel noted as he fought the urge to pull out his beam pistol to fire ineffective shots. “Is your suit only effective at close ranges?” He asked blindly as the plumas slowed down in consistency, offering them a small reprieve. Gabriel was still feeling flustered between his recent defeat and the sudden intensity of this challenge. At the moment he was playing much like his old self, and he hated it. He felt like he couldn’t get the upper hand, he was barely prepared, and there was perhaps a literal army between him and the desired goal. As his insecurities grew, the wave of plumas all together stopped, offering an eerie pause to the action. Still he looked around cautiously as he waited to hear from his new companion.
  5. Order of the Seven Stars Gjallarhorn is the savior that pulled the world out of the brink during the calamity wars. They fought and nearly exterminated the menace of mobile armors from known existence. Mobile armors were soulless death machines which brought humanity to its’ knees during the calamity wars. Hero’s who vanquished these mighty foes were rewarded the highest honor within Gjallarhorn, the Order of the Seven Stars. Do you have what takes to echo the achievements of these heroic titans? Gabriel looked at the description with a scowl on his face. Ever since his meeting with the mystery sniper he had been in a bad mood. He didn’t feel like playing into their hands, on the other hand he was missing the rush of combat. He needed to do something legit, to feel validated again, to feel worthy of Ardent Exia. While some missions could be described as hard or challenging, others were in a class of their own, downright suicidal even. Of course there was a rendition of this mission on the old GBN, but this new one, well he hadn’t heard good things about it. Supposedly no one had beaten the challenge yet. For Gabriel’s mood, It was right up his alley. The diver selected the join button and he as put in a que to see if anyone else would be up for the task. As he waited, he checked over his armaments. True Exia was largely armed with beam weaponry, so he took the precaution to load up two extra GN blades the normal Exia would carry in 7 swords mode. It would make him more bulky but the trade off should be worth the risk. He was so lost in his thoughts, that Gabriel almost didn’t realize the mission had started. “Crap.” He chided himself, “I didn’t even see who I’m teamed up with!” The scene before him was carnage incarnate. Ardent Exia stood in the abandoned streets of a huge city. Tall buildings cut up the terrain into grids, with gray skies threatening to rain at any moment. If it wasn’t for the radio chatter (which he was ignoring) the whole scene would have been eerily quiet. Unidentifiable mobile suit remains were scattered in the streets like body parts from a slasher film, with thick oil seeping from their limbs like blood. A flash of lightning made Gabriel jerk in surprise but as he turned to look at the source his eyes grew in alarm. In the distance an area of mountains bordered the city, and on the rim of one of the mountains was the great beast Hashmal. The bird like mecha tilted its’s head up to screech out a roar, and despite its great distance the pink lightning of a beam blast, blindly glanced into the city. Buildings erupted into gray dust and tumbled down, creating a thick fog like smoke, hiding the terrifying beast from sight. Gabriel gripped his controls tighter as uneasiness grew over him. “What did I sign up for…” he muttered to himself. Movement caused him to look to his side and see a friendly mobile suit. “Oh thank goodness!” He sighed as he turned his comm on to hail the friendly. Before he could even say hello a black dog like creature pounced into the mobile suit, followed by another, then another. The swarm of Plumas crashes into the mech drowning it with attacks. The friendly pilot screamed out in terror begging for help. Gabriel yelled out, though he didn’t know if it was from fear or rage, and charged in towards the pile. He slashed out with his GN sword to start bashing away the smaller drones. “Crap! We can’t be a man down already!” Even as he swiped his blade through the little mecha, he knew he was too late. He got a handful of them with his sword but more and more kept coming. “If I stay here they’ll over take me too…” he reluctantly fired his thrusters to take flight and hovered away from the plumas as they proceeded to tear their fresh kill apart, greedily “chewing” the limbs of the mech and draining its’ fluids. One thing became clear to Gabriel as he retreated, “this isn’t going to be easy…” he darted between buildings looking for more allies. “Anyone out there? We lost an ally already!” He called out frantically. Fear was settling over him and he didn’t like the feeling.
  6. ((This was a collaboration between all the members of Alpha team. Great work everyone!)) Hikaru's machine arrived at the Vesalius next, though it wasn't without at least something to show for its trouble. The machine carried the main weapon, the lower body, and the arms of a RX-78GP04G Gerbera Gundam in Titans livery. He disembarked from his machine, displeased. They'd lost. Oh, they managed to do some damage, but still. He moved through zero gravity and landed near Fa, Kamilla, and Marco. "Tch...at the very least we disabled a couple Gundams for a while. I brought back pieces of the machine that tied me up, but the torso got away. Maybe the AEUG can do something political with proof of the Gundam Development Project...or at least Anaheim can build us a machine faster out of the parts." Marco snapped out of his reverie to regard Hikaru. His expression was blank and he shook his head as if in a daze before clearing his throat. “That’s good kid…” he slowly began returning to the “here and now” his eyes studying the room more openly. Kamille trembled with visible rage “those bastards! How can they get away with all this! First our home…” his glare shot up at Hikaru. “I can’t let them….” He shook as he clenched his eyes tightly. “I wish I wasn’t so helpless… I need to be able to fight my own battles…” he muttered with tears trickling out from his closed eyes. It was obvious how distraught the teen was and Fa moved to comfort her friend. “Kamille…” she offered feebly. Hikaru hesitated for a moment. He could egg Kamille on and coax him to fight, but this...wasn't like manipulating Emma. No, this was a civilian transitioning into a soldier. He scratched the back of his head in thought. "Except it's not just your own battle. If you go out intending to fight alone, you'll just be killed. We were outnumbered, pulled away from the plan by it, and got lucky as it was. It was very nearly two-to-one out there. Besides...are you ready to kill? Even if people have their own reasons for joining the enemy side? Can you obey orders you might not like?" Hikaru inquired, wanting Kamille to have a more solid idea of what he was getting into. If he chose to help, it might aid his transition. Shin loaded in looking and listening to the two players and then the NPDs But then back to Marcos " So what happened to the teamwork talk! Because once the fight started you rushed in same as last time, and y'all thought I wasn't the team player here!" He then looked over to Hikaru and the young kamille but didn't say a word. He knew opening his mouth further would only make things worse. Risu entered a fair bit later than everyone else, scurrying in and giving the group a little wave. "Did I do good? Did I do good?" she called out, not at all aware of the room's current atmosphere. "We won, right?" Without a quick response, she'd stop speaking, giving her Force a small pout before sheepishly stepping to one corner of the room. Something told her that they were dealing with something, and her butting in would make things worse. Marco involuntarily gasped at Hikaru’s words and grimaced. He stood up and turned to regard the conversation fully. Then Shin chimed in about teamwork. Creed stood up straight at the remark and flared at the kid. His first impulse was to react violently but Risu cut him off before he could do anything rash. Kamille was fuming “What does all that mean? At least if I’m able to fight I don’t have to sit here helplessly! I should be able to protect myself! Having you guys kill for me is worse than if I’m the one pulling the trigger!” He flared angrily around at all the divers sweeping his hand out wide. “I’m being forced to trust everyone else’s judgement! I can’t bear such shame!” He clenched his fist in front of him practically growling. Marco took the moment to clear his angry thoughts and walked up to place his hands on Kamille’s shoulders before looking around at everyone. His touch on the boy made the teen jump but not run away. Creed took a moment looking at everyone grimly, “plans seldom make it through contact with the enemy… all things considered we did good…” his eyes settle in Risu as he said the last part. This was the most animated he’d seen her and he was surprised. Kamille hardly look pleased however as he began to brush Marco away. “I need to fight…” he stated defiantly, looking around for someone to help him. Hikaru rubbed the back of his head. He noted Shin, acknowledging the man's irritation. First, he responded to him so as to explain things. "So the Bael could attack the other Gundams with more impunity, and to keep the enemy's leader and probable main strategist from messing with Risu with his long range weapon, I led him away. I didn't expect the battlefield area to shift and for them to throw an extra Gundam at us. I sent a communication as soon as I could, and shot down the Zeong as soon as I saw you were in trouble. That's all I could really do." He wouldn't apologize for his actions, but he would explain them at least. The Diver then regarded Kamille and Fa. "...Kamille, I'm not telling you to fight or not to fight. I'm trying to prepare you. You may understand that the Titans were using you as human shields and might forgive us for fighting, but not everyone will. You might be ordered into a situation like that again if the Titans keep employing such strategies. You might have to fight among innocent civilians like we had to. We can't always choose our battlefields. If you insist on fighting, maybe we can contact Anaheim and have them finish this GP04 or something...but I think you need to talk to Fa about it before committing. You're her lifeline here, and she was scared out of her wits for you." Shin looked over to the young Risu and with a strange sort of smile spoke to her "As far as I could tell your the only one that kept the plan I knew of before the mission started." He turned to look at Creed and Hikaru and took a deep breath then looking at Kamille. "You wanna fight, do it your way. Stop feeling down about it and just move forward. Make a choice and stick to it. Trust me questioning your own choice will only hold you back." He walked closer and look closer at Creed and sighed as he looked away. Before he looked back at him " Guess what happened doesn't matter anymore." As Hikaru spoke Shin listened "Thats fine. Things happen, however Creed did exactly what he did in the first mission. He rushed forward without a full plan or if he had one he didn't explain it well. I've worked on teams before and it's a two way street. I was humiliated because I worried about what I was supposed to do to be a 'Team Player' in the end I realized I wasn't fully the problem on this team. " He scratched his head and then looked to all of the group. "If we wanna be a team we have to work together and play off each of our strengths. You all work off my all out combat style and I learn to work with the rest of you. I hate to admit but if we could actually work together we wouldn't be able to lose even if we got outnumbered." Risu paused for a moment, giving Shin a small nod of thanks. However, she'd continue to stay quiet, figuring it'd be best to listen intently. She had little knowledge of anything Gundam, and the best way to start would be to listen to everyone else. Marco looked away from Shin and muttered. “I’ll admit I got buck fever… but I didn’t intend to get lured away from everyone else for so long… I… I haven’t been the best teammate I know….” The man seemed more emotional than he should be as he still mulled over thoughts of Kira in his head. Kamille scoffed and headed for the doorway. “If you guys can’t help me then I’ll find a way to fight myself…” as he stormed out of the room Fa called out chasing him “Kamille!” The two NPDs exited the room and there was a tension that seemed to go away with them. Creed stroked his beard and eyed everyone. “All things considered we almost pulled that one out of the bag… one thing on my mind is how you did it?” he nodded to Risu. “I didn’t know your suit could perform like that…” he then looked at Hikaru. “Also why did the field change for just you?” Hikaru sighed, noting that Kamille seemed to reject the offer of trying to make the GP04G work for him. Maybe he should make a Zeta Gundam for him. Having him fall for Rau's logic would be a bad idea...though hopefully Char would be quick to accept Kamille as a protegé. He noted the question and responded after a moment of thought. "I suspect it was because of both distance and some flag the other team triggered. Cima Garahau mentioned that the other team's leader was to be executed along with me. I only managed to pinpoint her sniping position by contacting the Red Frame to warn it of the danger and being given the location of the Gerbera in exchange. Not everything seems to be going well between Beta Team and the NPDs." Shin after sharing his piece leaned against the wall just watching the room. Maybe something helpful would be discussed A brief, almost hesitant pause met Creed's question, though soon enough, she'd return with that peppy, youthful countenance. "I-I dunno!" she smiled. "I-Isn't it like... if you put a lot of effort into building it, it's really good?" As cheerful as she seemed to be, it was pretty obvious that she was hiding something. Marco simply nodded as his teammates responded, he took in all the information and processed it silently. He gave Risu a knowing look before answering, “I’m going to be re-watching the replay of that fight very closely…” his eyes shifted from the squirrel to both boys. “It’s clear there’s …” his voice trailed off as he looked at the screen behind his teammates. The smiling face of Rau seemingly taunted all of them through the wall display. Rau’s melodic voice cut in finally, “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting anything…” the soulless gaze of the NPD seemed to scan the room and all the divers before he contributed. “Time is of the essence though and I have a new mission for you all… assuming you’re all still available for employment?” The question hung in the air as Marco looked around uneasily at his teammates trying to gauge their reaction to their pseudo employer. Curiosity got the better of him though as he impulsively blurted, “We’re listening…..” Hikaru noted Rau and was on his guard. So much for their after-mission discussion. At least it was largely over anyway. Rau had his attention, but he hesitated to immediately agree to something reckless. After all, Rau was offering employment on ZAFT's terms. He wasn't sure if they were ever on ZAFT's payroll and he didn't want manipulated into changing sides in ignorance. "I'm listening as well, but would this mission be for the AEUG, for ZAFT, or both? I have to admit to a bit of confusion about our status since we seem to have been handed off from our original co-workers." Shin looked at the wall with the NPD but just kept quiet. He would just talk if he spoke anyway so what was the point. In fact he took the time to pull a design bored and started to work on a long range type for the Astral AGE Rau grinned ever so slightly as he garnered the full attention of the room. “I’m glad we still have your attention then… as for employment this would be for the motherland. That’s not to say our goals don’t align with all spacenoids however.” He let the word spacenoid hang in the air as if trying it out. “As it stands the ZAFT forces are spread thinly. But we cannot afford to have the legged ship escape to their base on earth. The last battle set them off course, a timely mistake. We would like to have your team follow them down to the surface to finish what was started here in space. Unfortunately you will have to wait one more day before you can effectively pursue them, due to the rotation of the earth. In reality that gives you little time to prepare. We will provide you with re-entry pods and you can continue the pursuit once you have landed. Will you accept this job?” Rau’s tone was deceptively sincere as was his polite smile. The question hung in the air like a bad stench. Creed tilted on his heel to see what his teammates would do. He was curious beyond belief and wanted to see just how deep these missions would go. Even if it was just him he’d take on the challenge, whatever it might be. "Would we have support, or be operating solo?" Hikaru inquired of the commander. On the surface, it was a reasonable question to determine combat strength. They'd just been overpowered by their target, after all. However, he was truly pondering just how much oversight ZAFT would have over their decisions. If they had too little support, that could be a blessing on its own...given the nature of the man in front of them. Still, it felt like making a deal with the devil. Maybe he could use this to fish for an angle to let the AEUG stay connected to the deal, if the support was too light. Rau’s demeanor didn’t skip a beat as he calmly replied to Hikaru, “reinforcements will be forthcoming but not immediately available. So it’s safe to assume you may be operating alone for this whole ordeal.” His masked face scanned around and he politely asked, “any other concerns? I’m not saying that this won’t be dangerous, to the contrary it should be a worthy challenge for a team such as yours. We have high hopes for you…” Creed let out a sigh and nodded. “I don’t know about you guys but I’m good to go. I just need some repairs and Bael will be ready for terrestrial combat.” He turned to nod at Rau. “I’ll report back a couple hours before we begin.” He hardly acknowledged the response from Rau before bidding everyone else goodbye. As he was about to log out he noticed a reward waiting for him from the mission “hmm this out to be handy...” he mused as he fully logged out of GBN.
  7. The man’s voice was coarse, yet somehow melodic. The tone couldn’t help but rub Hunter the wrong way. His concerns grew exponentially as the man called him by his real name. He wanted to lash out, to curse and pout but the eerie calmness he was accustom to made him reply slowly, “Who are you?” The cackling on the other end of the line did little to ease his fears as the two suits pushed away from each other. Both aimed a weapon at the other, Hunter’s GN pistol to the weird Buster’s gun launcher. “Talk…” he beckoned simply. The other man laughed all the more before calming down, “you could say I represent your benefactor…” Hunter didn’t say anything as he tightened his grip on the controls. He gritted his teeth and stared hard at the black Buster. The wind from the storm buffeted them both with dust which soon turned into a stead sheet of rain. Drops of water dropped off their weapons and the sniper finally cleared his throat. “You see… it’s no coincidence that you’ve been dropping into people’s games. We’ve been using you to… practice some exploits we’ve uncovered in the code. Whether you want to or not, you are working for us, you have been since the moment you logged into the beta.” The news didn’t come as a surprise, in fact Gabriel wasn’t so oblivious as to assume what he was doing was officially part of the game. Hearing to spoken so clearly however was alarming. “What does that mean then? Why are you trying to shoot me down?” The sniper crackled as if the answer should be so obvious. “It’s simple!”the Buster fired a blue bolt at Exia’s GN pistol beating Hunter to the draw and destroying the GN sword in the process. “I need you to fall!” Hunter exploded into action ditching the broken weapon and charging with the beam saber in his off hand. He yelled out in defiance as he closed the distance. Before he could get close however the Trans am faded off. He talked to me to run my particles out! He realized just as he got within striking distance. The jolt of the machine was noticeable as he ran out of juice and his blade clashed with the blue beam saber. His power seemed to flicker in the cockpit as he brought his right hand to pressed against the enemy cockpit. He got as far as he could though and his beam saber cut off along with all his power. Luckily he didn’t feel it as the blue beam sliced through the Ardent Exia. He soon rematerialized on the wet rocky ground right in front of the Buster. He looked up quizzically at the machine wondering what would happen now. The enemy pilot could be hear cackling over their PA system before finally addressing him. “Not bad kid! You see you were gaining too much attention! We needed to bring you score down so you remain under the radar. That’s not to say you’re doing anything bad. So don’t take this personally…” Hunter glared up at the ebony colossus, “what now? Am I still your little pawn?” He spat the question out accusingly and looked around as the wind and rain buffeted him. “I happen to think you’re a little more valuable than that… I’ll contact you in a couple of days kid…” the Buster flared it’s engines and began to hover away. “Keep all this under your hat… Gabriel… You work for Zapp now kid…Just remember… We know how to find you…” the man bellowed out as the Buster floated down the mountain and away. Hunter stood up to watch, perplexed by the turn of events and curious what it all meant. “Zapp?” He muttered, “the Gunpla aesthetics company?”
  8. ***Immediately following mission 2***** Before his blade could bite for more flesh the enemy MKII backed away. He had plenty of chance to pursue the enemy but Marco declined as the sinking feeling in his stomach grew. The text of “Mission Over” sprawled on his screen but he hardly cared and instead turned Bael around to fly for the Versailles. He checked his heads up to see the status of his allies. It seemed as if his team was still relatively intact. This did grant Creed some relief however the whole situation felt bittersweet. As he docked Bael he disembarked and was floating through the hangar of the Versailles. As he made his way through the ship he squinted as he nearly bumped into Kamille and Fa. The pair looked agitated, with Kamille clenching his fist and grinding his teeth. Clearing his throat Creed asked, “how are you two doing?” his face grew grave as he studied their reactions. The hesitation, the eye movement, it was all so lifelike that he could swear they were divers just like him. “We’re fine, how did the mission go?” Fa responded. Creed nodded, “The legged ship got away… but we dealt significant damage to the enemy…” he let the words linger as he chewed on their exact meaning. Shaking his head, he moved away from the pair before either could respond. He numbly floated his way towards the boardroom of the ship and sat waiting. The room was dimly lit with the monitor displaying the status of all the machines in the hangar as well as the projected course that the Archangel was taking to earth. He hardly reacted or noticed as his teammates floated in one after another. Despite himself, his thoughts dwelled on his son and the Freedom Gundam they had recently built together, and how “cool” Kira Yamato was supposed to be. With a simple sword stroke, it felt like had had just betrayed his son, and that thought was challenging to cope with.
  9. “What do you fight for kid?” The eerie blue energy from the sniper rifle flared again along with its thunderous chorus. Grunting the man began to sprint away from the position. Caring little to see if his shot followed through, and more invested in repositioning to his final spot. “Things will get cozy if he gets any closer…” the shooter considered as he pressed his mobile suit’s back against a rock. He grimaced as he studied his sensors, sure enough the kid dodged the last shot. The man’s instincts were certainly proving to be true about this mark so far. “Alright no more games…” he muttered as he disengaged his rifle’s configuration and alternated it’s position to have the blunt end of the weapon as the main cannon now. Of course his version of the Buster was heavily modified. Instead of the typical colors the phase shift on his machine was simply black. The glow that radiated from the eyes was blue along with the energy of his shots, which was in itself quite rare and intriguing. The Edlen Buster was equipped with mirage calloid as well as an N-Jammer Canceller and a nuclear reactor. So unlike, the stock version he was able to rain continuous fire and even hide for his initial assault. The added boosters also increases his mobility while offering him twin beam sabers for close encounters. The reticle of his crosshairs changed to designate the difference in weapon being aimed. The gun launcher shotgun would be sufficient for the medium range the boy was beginning to enter into. The Exia variant slowed its pace to a cautious patrol as it entered a ravine on the side of the mountain that the sniper had been using. “Surely he knows it’s a trap…” the sniper muttered as he leveled the invisible shotgun to aim. He waited patiently as the range dwindled down to the desired distance, not too far that the target could slip away from effective range, and not too close as to easily find himself. That’s when the fool did something the sniper wasn’t expecting. “He’s turning away? What a disappointment kid…” the Exia presnted it’s back just as it began to flair its’ thrusters. —- Hunter readied his hands over the control. He had a feeling that he wouldn’t make it out of this encounter cleanly but he felt compelled to try. Whoever was shooting at him was darn clever and kept quietly repositioning. And the inconsistency of the shots proved to be almost maddening. As he approached the ravine it became clear to him that it was a trap of some sort. “We won’t play your game…” he huffed as he turned the machine around, as he did so a wicked grin grew on his masked face. “Take the bait…” he muttered. As if on cue a shot rang out and pelted the back of his suit, severely damaging his thruster pack. Hunter grunted but set his plan into motion, ejecting the GN Amplifier. The sacrificed piece fully exploded sending a cloud of GN particles everywhere. By now their hue was burning dark orange nearly burning red. The red intensified as Hunter immediately pushed the Ardent Exia into Trans Am. Everything blurred as made Exia drop nearly to the bottom of the ravine before turning and making the suit scramble up the steep edge of the cliffs. Between the GN drive and the feet of the Exia, he half flew, half hopped up the mountain towards the general direction where the last shot came from. —- “Jigs up!” The man snapped as he tried to fire a second shot into the exploding GN Amplifier. The resulting cloud of particles flared his sensors and he almost didn’t notice Exia dropping like a stone. “Clever little…” he trailed off as he lowered the shotgun to try and get an angle. “You bastard!” He hissed as his barrel hit the lip of the rim overshooting his follow up shot, missing harmlessly above the Exia. “And giving away my location!” The man grumbled as he jumped away from the edge to hide more on the ground he was already on. He maybe had one more chance to get a lucky hit before his Mirage Calloid would be useless at hiding him. “Hmm let’s entertain the kid… he made it this far after all…” he touched a control shutting off the dispersal of his cloak and flared his engines up as he disconnected the rifle to duel wield the rifle and launcher. The Exia erupted over the side of the ledge and immediately locked in on him to throw a beam boomerang at his black mobile suit. He hovered to the side, shooting down the attack with his left gun while raising his right to shoot a beam at the Exia. The shot missed as Exia tumbled back down straight at him, a beam saber swipping in horizontally for the Buster’s chest. The sniper obliged the attack by drawing his own beam saber from his back, a blue blade igniting to clash with the red one. “I can’t recall the last time I had to use this!” The shooter howled over the comm, “you are worth the bounty they placed on you!” The pilot of the Exia grunted and replied by pulling out its signature GN blade to swipe down with it, a move that the Buster blocked with the hammer head end of it’s gun launcher acting more like a club, parrying the attack. “Don’t be hasty! Don’t you wanna know what’s going on? Gabriel….” ((Again, thanks to Frosty for the amazing work on the Edlen Buster!))
  10. The world of GBN could easily be overlooked, though no easily discounted when one took the time to simple pause look around. Gabriel was having a moment of repose as he lay on a shallow hill overlooking a valley. In the greater distance there were clouds clashing with mountains in bouts of lighting. He was exhausted, he had just completed another “intervention” and was trying to gather himself before logging off. A screen floated in front of his lazy eyes as he held his hands behind his head. The vista below him rolled into his memories as it intimately reminded him of the past. Back before he dated Meer he rolled with a bunch of mission programmers who specializes in making fan missions for GBN. There was a particular situation that he could vividly recall in his head with Zeon and Titans fighting in the hills. The crescendo of the mission was a duel with an enemy Gouf. Gabriel’s mind lingered on the fond memory as it soured his expression. Back then he was having fun with friends on GBN, what he was doing now? The thought caused him to turn on his side in anguish as he felt the bitterness of his reality set in. Here he was doing the opposite of what he strived for in the past. Now he was invading other people’s missions, possibly ruining their experiences, and for what? Gabriel crinkled his nose and closed his eyes tightly. “If I can’t be happy why should they be?” He muttered to himself. He slowly relaxed his eyes open, “if they want to emulate combat so badly then they should be ready for anything.” He squinted ahead past the screen which seemed to float directly in front of his eyes. Gabriel has been having resounding success with the “intervention” missions and he didn’t question how he kept getting the prompt to do, them despite their shady origination. Although he had gotten his share of lickings, Gabriel’s proportion of damage was very much in his favor and even worth bragging. It even seemed that he was starting to get some renown as a talented player, a deed he never even got close to before. His fingers touched the mask gracing his digital persona and he smirked. He had to admit that he liked the feeling of being respected. A message popped up on the persistent display and Gabriel frowned as he saw it was a message from the same party that had been giving him the missions. The topic simply read as “Warning Bounty” and he didn’t hesitate as he opened up the text. “A word of caution, our agents have been contacted and paid to place a bounty on your mobile suit. We are forced to oblige the details of our contract. Players will be able to engage you at any time…. Be careful.” His display erroneously fizzled out of existence as he read the last words and he looked around in sudden alarm. A flicker from the storm on the horizon made him squint and on sheer instincts he yelled out loud, “Exia!” He crossed his arms in front of him in a reflexive nature just as Ardent Exia formed a barrier around him. The Armor of the Exia illuminated in brilliance just as one of the “lightning bolts” burnt into the hill he was just standing at. —— “Clever kid…” the man crowed as he licked his lips and moved the aiming apparatus once more. The digital cockpit was completely custom, woven to appear more like the cockpit of the Dynames than the simple glowing aura most regular players were used to. Still it had its moments when it would flicker as ethereal but the use of Dyname’s aiming rifle was par none, especially for a person was was used to firing real weapons. “1 degree…” he whispered as he squeezed the trigger again. His rifle barked out again, the mirage calloid engulfing his mobile suit pulsing out of a existence before attempting to conceal him again. Much to his dismay the Exia variant had a shield up for this round which shattered just as it absorbed the shot. “Crap he already has an idea where I am, better reposition…” the man released the fake rifle before grabbing the controls and pushing his suit back into its feet. The mirage calloid shimmered around him as he moved but persistently did its job. He didn’t fire his thrusters but rather made his black suit run along a ridge on the mountains edge. There was a path just wide enough that he could get a good kilometer or two from his previous position. Although he suspected Ardent Exia would make a much larger gain in that timeframe he was confident that his extreme distance would forgive his repositioning. Most marks didn’t last past the first shot, fewer still survived a second. Maybe his colleagues were right about this “Hunter” fellow. The man chuckled as he found his next position, he had it set up ready for him already and it was as simple as parking his mobile suit in the designated area. “No this one is already tons of fun! If he does as well as I suspect, he’ll be most useful…” The scruffy man was already pulling down the fake rifle to rest his cheek on the buttpad. Unlike a human a mobile suit didn’t have a pesky thing to deal with such as a human heartbeat. The long weapon was collaborated with the two weapons conjoined in sniper configuration still. Of course all of its features were still hidden under the veil of mirage calloid, nearly making him completely invisible, especially when not even moving. The crosshairs of the display placed the charging Exia at the very bottom of his scope still, signifying the extreme distance he was trying to shoot from. “That’s it, come to daddy!” The man mused as he leveled for another shot.
  11. “Wow that’s cool!” Creed’s son gawked as the man showed him the iconic scene of the Freedom appearing in Joshua to protect the Archangel. The boy pawed at the outstretched phone to replay the scene again. “Whose the pilot again?” The boy rested his head on Creed’s chest as they lounged on their chair watching the anime clip. Marco chuckled, “Kira Yamato! One of the strongest pilots to exist in the entire Gundam franchise!” The boy scrunched up his nose as he watched the Freedom blast away at the locked on enemies. “Does he pilot anything else?” Marco grinned at the question and answered, “later on he goes on to pilot the Strike Freedom which is named from both his previous mobile suits, the Freedom…” Marco shook the phone to emphasis his point, “and the Strike, which he piloted before this machine…” the boy shot a look at his father. “Was the Strike strong?” Smiling all the wider Marco replied, “for the era it was deployed, yes. It even had the ability to change striker packs to equip mission specific gear…. Do you want to see?” The boy lit up at the offer and nodded his head, “Oh yeah! Kira sounds pretty cool!” *** The tempo between sparks and flashes picked up violently as the Higabana relentlessly attacked the Archangel with a skill Creed didn’t think Risu possessed. With that one attack panic set in with the veteran for he knew his time with Kira he would be sorely pressed. Kira responded in kind by sending one of his knives into Basel’s knee. If they were on Earth it would have impaired his mobility but in space it was superficial damage at best. “Acts up” Creed muttered as he returned his attention to the enemy before him. “Sorry kid!” He yelled out as he went all out. Right-right left, his blades snapped out hit after hit against the cockpit of the strike. Each slash spewing out a rain of sparks from phase shift attempting to protect itself. Growling in frustration Creed locked his wings up over his shoulders and began firing his electromagnetic cannons into the Strike at point blank. Each shot and each swipe pummeled into the Strike with a dizzying display of intensity. Hikaru’s voice cracked over the comm, the boy mentioned something about a sniper and field displacement. The plea for help sent Creed into a fury as he picked up the pace of his assault, “I don’t have time for you my teammate is in danger!” Creed yelled. Black smoke billowed around the Strike from the repeated cannon fire and more and more debris seemingly bled off the Strike. Something inside of Creed’s head told him to stab now and so he did. Bael retracted it’s right sword to dive into cloud covering the belly, the cockpit of the Strike. He half expected the phase shift to push the attack away but he was stunned as the weapon cleanly cut forward. His initial thought was Kira had gone berserk and was now coming around for an attack but when an explosion erupted from his stroke and the head of the strike banged into his camera he realized he had taken down Kira. Bael along with pieces of mobile suit flew back from the explosion. He winced at the brilliance on his displays and was stunned again as he saw that his heads up display was confirming that the Strike was no more. His hands trembled, though Creed couldn’t tell if it was from excitement or… “disgust?” He whispered to himself. He caught his breath in his mouth and took a gulp. His reverie didn’t last long as a MKII Gundam charged directly into him. He was certain that if physics were a concern for him he would have gotten whiplash from the impact. The black Gundam was shoulder bashing him from his left side, both suits went out wildly from the impact. And while his sensors flared in warning and minor damage, he knew he could recover faster than the “flesh and blood” that was the enemy pilot. He fought the controls to bring his right blade aligned with his target for a stab. Unlike the Strike, this one didn’t have pesky phase shift. “My friends need me! Get out of my way!” He growled. —————- Rau hissed as his swipe missed the head of his most hated of foes. His strike wasn’t without merit as his blade cut through the saber pack on the black mobile suit. That all too familiar sensation reverberated in his head in a warning just as the MKII came around to swipe his Gatling arm clean off. He was going to loose, at best he was on even terms with the Hawk of Endymion, but out numbered as he was he knew he couldn’t cleanly defeat that cursed man. “I think I’ll take my prize Mu!” Rau yelled as he cocked his sword arm and snapped the weapon in a Hail Mary. The sword spun out at the MKII with impeccable aim, twirling for the cockpit of the machine. Rau hardly cared if the attack connected, as he reached out with his free hand to grab the beam saber floating in front of him. With his prize in hand he flared his thrusters and swerved the CGUE around in retreat. As he jetted away he studied his display, intrigued by the damage done to the legged ship. He activated his com unit to all friendly forces. “It looks like we accomplished enough today, all forces retreat back to the Vesalius.” The masked man could hardly contain a grin as he looked at the ebony hilt in his hand. Next time they met, he would at least have even footing with Mu again.
  12. Here’s my surprise Gunpla project! Colors inspired by Replicator and Frosty. Kudos to anyone who knows whose unit it is 😉 I still need to weather, touch up, and top coat! I really tried my hand at pre shading and I gotta say it’s darker than I envisioned but I still like the whole look! I also tried etching a few parts to varyin success, gotta practice that more. I also kit bashed slightly and modified the thrusters, I’m very happy with how it ended up. The sword was my first try and making a unique weapon (yet another Easter egg from Titanfall this time)! I’d love to hear any feedback! More to come as I finish it up!
  13. Hunter’s Gunpla Collection (Special thanks for Frosty for his invaluable help with this unit!) Name of the unit: Ardent Exia Base original design: Gundam Exia Name of the operator: Gabriel Winter aka Hunter Defensive systems: E-Carbon – offers balanced protection but never excelling in any one category. Shields are equipped with anti beam coating. Weapon system: Trans-Am - offers exceptional mobility at the cost of high power consumption. Melee weapons: GN Sword x1 Beam boomerangs (Destiny)x2 – stored on shoulders Beam foot sabers (Aegis) x 2 – placed on edge of toes Hand beam cannons (Destiny) x2 Beam sabers x 2 – stored on GN Amplifier flight pack Projectile weapons: GN Pistol – folding into GN sword when not in use. GN Vulcan gun x2 – mounted in head Shield: Modified Exia Shield Power system: Modified solar reactor – particle colors vary as buildup increases ranging from typical greenish gold to pure red, most often it’s seen to be glowing an orange. Any other special abilities/features: GN Amplifier – the flight pack used on its’ back and the thruster skirts on it’s sides are used to amplify and direct the dispersal of GN particles. This greatly increases the efficiency of the GN drive while conserving particles for use with Ardent’s weapons and abilities. Additionally it provides incredible speed and maneuverability. If need be the system could be ejected to reduce weight if damaged.
  14. As Gabriel materialized he reflexively brought his hands up to study his virtual self. His hands had black fingerless gloves on and he look at his palms and wrists respectively before looking up at the lobby around him. It didn’t particularly look much different from the normal GBN but there was a lack of people around which was somewhat startling. The few people walking around did garner attention as he traded glances with several other divers before slowly walking along the lobby. A trio of Zeon looking soldiers walked by, one noticeable with a snake head, they all chatted away about their last mission and their teamwork. The boy grimaced at their camaraderie, if he was being honest with himself he would admit that he was jealous of their friendship. Ever since Meer left him, he just couldn’t find it in himself to socialize with other people. Friendship on GBN reminded him of Meer and all he wanted to do was get away from her shadow; then again, maybe this beta would have enough people who didn’t know about her? He tried to shake his worries out of his head as he brought up a menu. He did after all, have a very important thing to try out. He browsed the missions available, one in particular caught his attention, it was apparently a battle already in progress between two factions. Oddly enough it was giving him the option to join mid battle and he pressed the button to load up the additional options. Even more quizzically it didn’t ask him to join a particular side. “What is this game getting at?” He mused to himself as he hesitated. It was listed as being extremely difficult and it wouldn’t list an author behind the mission. The old him wouldn’t have look at such missions, he didn’t enjoy the risks. “Not anymore…” he echoed to himself as he clicked the button to join. His cockpit materialized around him as his machine prepped itself to launch. His objective popped up in his screen, its’ simplicity made him smile for the first time in weeks. STOP THE BATTLE AT ALL COSTS DISABLE OR DESTROY ALL COMBATANTS COMMENCE ARMED INTERVENTION? Y/N For the first time in a long while, excitement coursed through his body as he grasped the controls and hit the affirmative on his options. “This is Hunter! Ardent Exia! Commencing Armed Intervention.” His Custom Exia launched out from it’s digital catapult and flew into the busy battlefield between Zeon and Federation forces. It was a jungle city, and from what Hunter could tell it was actually the last battle from the 8th MS team series! Exia dropped down from a high altitude as the city became bigger and bigger. He could see lines of bullets and lasers being traded between – what ? Not just NPD’s Hunter realized, but actual players. “Is this supposed to be some sort of suicide mission?” he gasped aloud as his altitude continued to decrease. He was just one player, and he was supposed to attack everyone? Zeek and Feddie alike? He hardly had time to contemplate the full implications as a pink bolt shot up at him forcing him to flare his GN drive thrusters to dodge the shot. Despite the implications a bitter smile grew on his lips, maybe there was no better way to test the Ardent than to bring to its absolute limit? Instead of using his thrusters to slow his descent he did the opposite, pushing his controls to will his machine to top speed. He decided right there and then to focus on the players and then worry about the NPDs if necessary. Two teams of three riddled the battlefield, one side (the Zeon side) appeared to be Gundam Wing flavored while their Federation opponents were a hodgepodge of units. Heavy Arms was apparently engaging in a shootout with a Blast Impulse Gundam, while Deathscythe was having a brawling match with a GN-X through the streets. Of the six only two moved dynamically, proving very quickly to be flying units of some sort. His emotions rolled between anxiety of failure to bloodthirsty vengeance. He knew he didn’t have time to consider the options as the city began to fill his entire display. The old him gripped the controls in fear while Hunter tightened his grasp for better control. How was he going to act? What was he doing making a fool of himself like this on a battlefield not even his own? Everything evaporated, all his fears, all his anxiety, all his memories. And just like that, he shed his past, with the flare of a GN drive he no longer was Gabriel the meek, now he was Hunter the Gundam Miester. In a heartbeat he let himself go and Hunter took full control of the Ardent Exia at that critical moment. Exia leveled his GN pistol and shot down at the Heavy Arms, catching the diver off guard and making one of their Gatling guns explode and eject off its’ frame. Hunter didn’t skip a beat and fired a shot at the Deathscythe as it weaved through the streets with its’ opponent. Hunter’s shot scored a critical hit, making Deatyscythe’s arm fly off along with its’ signature weapon. By that point the Ardent Exia was low enough that Hunter leveled off his descent to weave between the few tall buildings in the city. He knew that surprise, shock, and confusion would be his only allies so he had to move quickly to capitalize on gains. The building in front of him suddenly exploded as Wing Gundam fell backwards through the rubble, its’ beam saber in hand, warding off an attack from the Destiny Gundam and its’ beam sword. “This is my intervention!” Hunter growled as he quickly came up on the side of Wing Gundam. He snapped his GN blade out in front of him and whipped it out to the side just as it’s sharp edge sliced through the unsuspecting Wing Gundam. As he zipped past Wing and Destiny, the latter erupted into flames, Hunter’s first player kill in his new machine. The radio was abuzz with confusion from both sides, the din making Hunter slowly grin in satisfaction. Keeping up his pace he flared his engines to halt his mad speed and threw his legs out to press into the side of a building and jump backwards to reverse his direction. He came back hard towards the startled Destiny and swiped again with his GN Sword, his blade hitting Destiny’s Sword hard. The diver of the Destiny didn’t quite know how to react from the violent change in the battle, one moment they were battling the Wing Gundam and the next an unknown Exia model, which was helping their side just a moment ago. A shaky male voice hailed Hunter over the comm, “hey dude! Aren’t you on our side?!” Hunter responded with a growl and another swipe from his GN blade. His attack knocked Destiny’s sword out wide, leaving hunter’s opponent seemingly open. Destiny responded by letting go of the sword with its right hand and reaching out with a glowing palm. Just as the destiny was about to grab Exia’s chest Hunter responded quickly, by kicking up hard with the tip of his right foot. For a moment it seemed as if the Destiny Gundam had put an end to the intruder, but the power faded from its eyes and its sword deactivated. Ardent’s foot had a beam blade which was protruding from the kick Hunter placed on the cockpit. His attack was well placed but his victory was short lived as everyone began to wisen up to his antics. “Shinn!” A woman’s voice screamed over the comm in disbelief. Hunter kicked away from the Destiny, the enemy suit simply falling out of the sky. He turned off the foot blade and charged back towards the Heavy Arms which aimed its good twin guns his way and began firing a volley after him. A few bullets plinked into his armor forcing him to weave back between buildings for cover. A flicker of green caught his attention as the Deathscythe charged at him, one handed with its’ weapon. Before the Deathscythe could close the distance of the building its’ charge was halted by the GN-X shoving its’ crimson beam sword into the gut of the Deathscythe. Hunter didn’t relent his assault as he whipped the sword away to pull his pistol out and shoot at the GN-X. “No you don’t!” Screamed the woman from before, as she suddenly appeared on Hunter’s left. The Blast Impulse burst from the cover of a building, leveling its beam cannons towards him. She would have had him had she not jumped in so close, she was only about a hundred yards away. “Not today…” Hunter easily retorted as he swung his arm and the sword back out. His lunge accompanied by his sword closed the distance in a heartbeat, the Impulse fizzling and exploding as he took yet another opponent out of the fight. “Two left…” he muttered stoically under his breath as he flew away from the renewed assault from Heavy Arms. The old suit didn’t give him much respite as it fired a volley of missiles his direction. Hunter flew backwards and up while pulling out his pistol once more, taking shots at the oncoming harm. Explosions led a trail closing in on his suit as he slowly got one after another of the incoming projectiles. There were too many however, and soon one after another connected with his suit forming a black cloud of debris where he was. The smoke hung in the air like a storm cloud but was suddenly sliced apart as a beam boomerang flew down hard towards HeavyArms. Surprised, but with distance to spare, the Wing era suit opened up a volley at the projectile easily shooting it down. That was all the victory Heavy Arms would taste however. Exia flew in hard from their right. A trembling voice yelled out, “how!?!” As Hunter sliced down with a beam saber in his left hand. “Trans-am…” Hunter chastised was he ended the second to last enemy. The explosion from the missiles had destroyed his shield and subsequently destroyed one of his beam boomerangs but the Ardent Exia was still very well armed, if not banged up a bit. His reverie was short lived as a crimson shot flew just past his head. The enemy GN-X was still up and willing to fight it seemed and Hunter was more than happy to oblige. Ardent Exia burst into motion its’ own speed startling Hunter ever so slightly, as if he couldn’t contain the machine. He closed the distance to the lone enemy and wiped his GN sword in front of him to dive into the enemy cockpit when at the last moment he batted hard to the side severing the GN-X’s weapon hand instead. “You!” He hissed out loud, more so to himself than his opponent. His voice was frantic, cracking even as he yelled out the single word. He was breathing hard as his mobile suit remained frozen in front of the suddenly familiar suit. The design on the GN-X’s left shoulder told Gabriel the story all too well. The nose art was of one Lacus Clyne done in a pin up sort of fashion. His opponent was in a mobile suit he himself had crafted, it was his ex girlfriend. She wasn’t showing any sign of acknowledgment as she reached for her beamsaber with her good hand. The crimson blade making Hunter yell out in complete rage. He was beyond any sensible words as the only thing he could yell out again was “you!!” He blocked the attack with the beam saber if his left hand, it was an awkward angle but effective for the way she was trying to slice him. He flared his thrusters to slam her unit against a building, the action forcing her to loose her grip on the weapon. Tears welled in his eyes as his saber slipped down across her torso. He was besides himself as the screen simply blacked out and slipped him away from her. The words of victory sprawled across the screen did little to comfort him at that moment as he lifted his hands to look at what he had just done. He wanted to see her again so badly, to show her how far he had come already. He got his wish it seemed, just not the way he would have liked. He should have recognized the voices, the reference to Shinn and Stella their mutual friends, heck even their combination of machines. What was it that came over him? It was at that moment he finally realized he had taken down five enemy players single handedly. “Five?” He repeated to himself in awe. He never would have been able to do that before. Was it him? Or was it the Gunpla? After a moment of contemplation he finally decided that it had to be him, not without due merit to a Ardent Exia of course, but it was definitely him. There was a calmness, a focus, he had never experienced before while piloting in GBN. He let out a deep breath as he looked at his menu to save the video from the encounter. He was still a jumble of conflicting emotions at that moment but he decided quickly that he wanted to find another battle. He wanted to be Hunter again… —- Stella let out an audible sigh of frustration as she saw her friend Meer get cut down by the Jerk with the Exia variant. “Dang it!” She scoffed out loud as Shinn came up beside her to watch the monitor from their force nest. “Damn just who is that guy?” He mused outloud as he stood next to his girlfriend. A moment later and Meer materialized in the nest with her two friends a look of frustration crossed over her face. “Damnit!” She groaned as she hugged herself in disbelief. “Hey it’s ok Meer!” Stella chirped at her as she went to hug her friend. Stella and Shinn predictably looked like their Seed counterparts but hardly acted like their characters. Their Force was one dedicated to cosplay both in and outside of GBN. As the two girls hugged, Shinn scratched his head as he looked at the highlights from the mission. If anything the entire ordeal taught him not to let his guard down, a lesson he had to appreciate. Still the question nagged at him, “just who was that guy?” “He was a Jerk!” Stella shot back, startling Shinn who didn’t realize he asked the same question again out loud. “There was something familiar about him…” Mused Meer who seemed in a thoughtful trance, Stella still wrapped around her body in a hug. “What do you mean?” The blonde asked innocently. Meer gazed at the video replay and shook her head more in disbelief, “It’s going to sound ridiculous…” she started, “but I… I just feel like that was Gabe…” both Stella and Shinn snapped their heads at their friend in disbelief. Stella chuckled, “no way! I don’t see that at all, he could never pilot like that before…” Shinn shook his head the entire time, “yeah sorry, I don’t buy that either…” Their disagreements did little to sway Meer’s impression as Shinn added, “what I do know for sure is when that jerk shows up again.” He cast Stella a wicked look, “he won’t know what hit him. I don’t care what the situation is I’m gonna get revenge on that punk.” Stella nodded her head in agreement and Meer snapped out of her revere to smile back and nod, “I can agree with you there!” She added cheerily.
  15. “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!))
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