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Replicator

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  1. Aida waved his team off, but after they left, he noticed Beta Four, now sitting on the hand of her Gundam, contemplating the savannah. As usual, she had let everyone go in silence, without any sort of commentary. Once both his companions were out of the stage, however, he had nobody else to turn to, but her. Using his remote, he ordered Airbatel to pick him up with its left hand, then take him next to the GP03. While he waited for it to get there, he created a chatroom with Kyle and Carter inside, and sent them a message with his assessment of the situation. <8TMS> Aida > Impromptu Group #3976043 We’ve got a savannah with little to no probability of return to space. Make sure your MS can handle gravity and dust before coming back. Lots of extra fuel to walk aimlessly. And DEFINITELY bring a civ attire preset. In case we find a village. After sending them the message so they’d prepare for the next fight, he lowered his interface and looked at his artificial teammate, still wearing her normal suit. An aura of mystery surrounded her, but he was determined to know what lied underneath. - “I never did ask you.” Slowly, his feet changed hands. He did not dare to come next to the NPD, as he felt it was too soon, but he’d be forced to yell if he were to talk from the other hand. - “Hm?” - “What is your name? I mean, we’re all in the same team, but i don’t think you’ve told anyone yet.” - “Would it make you happy?” As was standard practice for her, Beta Four fired an armor-piercing question, but didn’t seem any less apathetic about it. Not being able to see her face definitely helped. - “Well, uh...” Aida struggled to find a reason not to make it about his uncertainties, but soon he found a good enough excuse. “... i noticed the guys aren’t quite as formal as my usual band of performers. So i’d like to get accustomed to the idea of calling everyone by their names, so we can build trust. This can be a long tour of duty. I don’t want to make people uncomfortable.” - “If that’s what you’d like to call it… here are my papers.” Surprisingly, a window sprung up in Aida’s interface, with the NPD’s name, speciality, and an icon that represented her current appearance, plus some numbers and status icons. - Isla (#0005) ReConfigurableNonPlayerDiver HP: 101/101 Unharmed MP: 275/400 Focused Customize < Stats - - “Nice to meet you, Isla...” Aida was obviously baffled. A customizable NPD? This is very new. I haven’t heard beta testers talk about anything like this in the private forums. Curious about the possibilities that had been implemented already, he opened the customization menu and found not only a myriad of options for Isla’s appearance, but also a very important function: changing her active Mobile Suit. Opening the menu, he discovered a timeline, which only had two entries: The green Galbaldy Beta, and the Titans GP03. Apparently, she could switch between any MS she had used up until this moment… but there was an option to add new Gunpla to her roster. Excited, he knew he had to try it all out, so he played with the options. He made her Mobile Suit into a Murasame provisionally, then went for her appearance. What do you even look like? Finding just two presets, A and B, he figured the one without the spacesuit was her canonical appearance. He applied it, and a masked, blonde woman wearing green showed up. Still can’t see her face. Well, don’t want to make her upset, if i haven’t already. Satisfied, he logged off, and upon returning to his shop in the real world, he took off the headset and cleared the sweat off his forehead. His cabinet being intended for the shop’s clients, it wasn’t as comfortable as one of those models people used from home, but being that he already lived literally next to the shop and spent most of his days there, it was somewhat pointless to buy one of those rigs with mood lighting integration, a motorized rumble seat or a Mobile Trace System, when the store cabinets already had the basics covered: decent seating, force feedback, working systems. He thought that was enough for him, and had no plans whatsoever of- WHAT THE HELL? Just look at the time! Wake up, get up, get out there!
  2. (Post-Operation II) Having regrouped near the Archangel, Beta Team tried to reach for the hatch of Archangel’s right catapult. Oddly, not a transmission had come from the ship ever since the announcement of victory: Aida himself was guiding the team to the ship with his Super Airbatel’s Mobile Armor mode, going at a pace the Buster Dagger and GP03 could keep up with. As for the Zeong’s head, it was still being carried by Beta Four. As nimble as it was, it was not fast enough, nor did it have a reactor anymore, so it would have to save its energies as much as it could. - “Alright, people. We’re here...” Aida switched to MS mode as soon as he reached the closed hatch, and put the GM’s hand on it to establish contact with the bridge. “Archangel, this is Beta! Open up! We’re here!” - “Lieutenant. I wouldn’t have thought you as the naive type...” As a video window opened up in his cockpit, Aida saw Cima Garahau in a room of the Archangel, along with Bask Om and Jamaican Daninghan, rather than the bridge. It was possible those in the bridge could not hear what was going on. - “Garahau! You… how did you get here so quick?” Aida was surprised to see Cima in the ship, but she refused to disclose any information. - “Does it matter? Now, you’re in the perfect position. The whole lot of you will burn up in the atmosphere, Mobile Suits and all. I would’ve preferred to interrogate you, as traitors deserve, but merely getting rid of you will do the job.” Mocking Beta Team, Cima put on her Titans peaked cap, and grinned as she dedicated the four of them a military salute. - “Hahaha! And while you’re at it, you’re taking that GP03 with you to Hell!” Bask laughed, while Jamaican served himself some gin. - “Truly, two birds with one stone. They're saving us a logistics problem on their own.” Daninghan only had but a slight smile for the team, before sipping from his glass and exiting the room. - “You snakes!” Aida, furious at the three of them, tried to aim his weapon at the ship, before realizing his weapons were locked, as usual for cutscenes, and interactive story sequences. “I’ll get the Titans back for this, i swear...” After this, the communication was cut and Aida took back the Airbatel’s hand. “This ain’t good… We need to find a way to descend safely, fast!” -“Bastards! Bastards!” Charo chirped as he bounced around the entire cockpit of the Zeong. -“Watch your language.” Exclaimed Kyle as he looked through various settings on his control screen. “You’re right though. I’m sick of these Titans and their nastiness!” If there was anyone in the group who could get them through this predicament, it definitely wasn’t Kyle. The diver stood inside of the Zeon machine’s head, trying to think of a plan. It seemed that there was truly no way in. Kyle was getting more and more concerned by the second, even though he knew that he wouldn’t actually burn up physically. Worse case scenario, they’d be locked out of the game, a far worse fate in Kyle’s eyes. “I don’t think any of us have atmospheric reentry capabilities either, except maybe Aida’s mobile armor.” He uttered. Turning on the teams comms, he hoped the others had an idea. “Can anyone here reach the actual bridge?” --- Thus, the Divers began to truly cooperate for the occasion. - "Tsk.. SERIOUSLY?! We fight tooth and nail to protect them and this is what we get? Dammit..." Carter, normally the aloof member of Beta Team, was clearly unsatisfied with how they were being treated, with good reason. This must be what Garma felt when Char betrayed him, he thought to himself, looking around and scoffing before speaking again. "Should I blow open the catapult?" Carter’s irritation was slowly getting the best of him, however, he was not the only one. - "Believe me Carter, if only our weapons were unlocked, I'd burst in there myself and take over the ship with this 9 mil of mine..." Aida begun, clearly angered, yet in a state of tranquil fury, "but it's no option." - "We now have four minutes before we ignite. Beta One, what are your re-entry measures?" Four coldly stated the facts, and inquired about Aida's machine, unwittingly (or perhaps not?) following up with Kyle's thoughts. - "I don't have that stuff! This is a GM, after all! Doesn't anybody see some thick debris we can get behind or something?" -“Beta Four! Try to get us in front of the bridge. We’ll try to alert the crew while the others look for debris!” Kyle pleaded. The angle of the head didn’t give him much visibility, so he couldn’t find any, but Aida and Carter were bound to find some around in the area if they went looking. - "Tch.. this is a rotten situation. Wait a moment. You fought in a debris zone, right Kyle? This is gonna be dangerous but..." Carter suddenly fired up his main burner. "If I use the Saturn engine, i might be able to pull myself out to grab some debris!" He was fully aware of the rangers, they were already burning up, and a Saturn engine on top of that only complicated matters. But maybe, just maybe, it could work out. - "To be seen by the crew, we would have to hack control of the comms away from the Titans. Even if the crew heard us out, i don't think they have any authority to let us in..." Aida, still pessimistic about trying to talk things over with NPDs which could very well be scripted to disregard them, put all his bets into Carter's attempt to bring something able to withstand re-entry. “That sounds like a plan, Carter. Can i be of help?” Aida turned the Airbatel into a Mobile Armor again, and followed him towards part of a colony cap that seemed to have drifted into orbit from the debris field. If they could briefly make their orbit steeper, they could reach for it. - "I can attempt to hack the comms.” Beta Four surprisingly revealed. Dedicated hackers were a rare commodity on the game, due to the sheer complexity of some of the puzzles. “It's worth a try. Carter, Aida, you have three minutes..." Still speaking in her signature monotone voice, the NPD put the GP03's hand over the bridge, which couldn't see any of them directly because of the covers put over the bridge windows to survive re-entry. "Authority fabrication sequence... begin." - “Hmm.” Shaking around in the Zeong’s head, Kyle hoped that the other two members could find a big enough piece to withstand the return to Earth. He felt worthless, for he had no way to help the others. However, someone else could. “Hey, Charo.” He reached for his red robotic companion. “You’re a smart little machine. Can you help Beta Four hack into the comms?” -“Roger! Roger!” The ball responded while essentially going limp. A bizzare noise, which almost sounded like a fan running, began to play. Kyle grabbed the toy to keep it from rolling around. Hacking wasn’t it’s speciality, but as a product of the game itself, he could give them a better chance of contacting the bridge. With the crew being unable to physically see them, it’d be worth a shot for the droid while Aida and Carter went for the colony cap. - "Ever watch some football?" Carter asked, diverting power to only what was necessary for his plan. "I'll be the running back…” Conscious that Aida might not be a sports fan, he corrected himself and used cleared terms. “I'm gonna flick the Saturn engine switch and grab onto your mobile armor. Our combined boost outputs should pull us out to reach for that thing." - "Haven’t got the foggiest about football, but that sounds like a plan. We're taking that piece of the cap as close as we can to Four and Kyle, in case Plan A fails..." Firing up his thrusters, Aida caught up to Carter's Comet Dagger, and positioned himself in front of him. "Four, can you take yourself and Kyle to the colony cap when that happens?" - "It will be done. Two minutes remaining." Four couldn't be bothered to lose her calm. Her job was hard enough as is. "Attempt 3, failure. The structures are predictable, but... I lack dedicated hardware." - "Hardware, huh?" The NPD's comment made Aida think about Beta Four's proficiencies. Slowly but surely, more information about her playstyle surfaced. If only he was in charge of her Mobile Suit of choice, he would not be afraid to specialize her, given that he was already a jack of all trades for the team, even if a Gundam was naturally better-performing than a GM. -“Charo!” Kyle, worried, yelled as smoke started to come out of the droid’s “mouth”. He put the unit down, as the toy shut down completely, it’s lights turning off. The diver realized that, for the first time ever, he felt something for an AI. “You’ve gone on plenty of adventures with me, little buddy. I’m not gonna lose you because of this.” With Beta Four also not being able to contact the bridge, their only hope was the colony cap retrieval operation… --- - "Alright!" said Carter, you could almost see him smirking from his MS. "This is gonna be a gamble, so let's see just how lucky we are..." He flipped the switch on his Saturn engine, and diverted all the power to thrusters, life support, and comms. "On three, Aida." Taking a deep breath, Carter’s foot hovered over the pedal. "One… two… THREE!" After the countdown, he put his foot down, and the Comet Dagger burst forward with his thrusters flaring beautifully. Having carried out his own countdown silently, Aida fired up all of his rear-facing thrusters, and both the Comet Dagger and the Super Airbatel sped towards the colony cap piece, eventually reaching it. Weirdly, the cap appeared to be from an O'Neill Cylinder rather than an Hourglass-Class: this meant the piece of debris destined to save them was not from Junius Seven, but rather another colony. - “Ok… now we oughta make sure we don't overshoot that piece, so turn off that engine for now! On the count of three, we'll use the verniers to pull off a 180°, then full throttle on the mains to take it with Kyle and Four! Ready?! One, two, THREE!" On his signal, the Airbatel fired up all of the thrusters mounted in the front of the GM. For the maneuver to be successful, it was paramount that Carter used the thrusters in the back of his MS to counter the maneuver, and so both of them would be able to achieve the desired spin. As for Beta Four, her GP03 finally gave up. It appeared as if the Titans had not only repelled her attempts to hack into the Archangel, but also attempted to counterattack with a hack of their own. Before it could engage the Stamen's self destruct protocol, Four simply took back the hand, and gripped the Zeong head, grabbing it from one of the big red antennas. "It ain't gonna work. Hold on tight and remember to prioritize life support... They only have a minute to come back." -“One more minute?!” Kyle yelled while grabbing the front console with one hand, while holding Charo in the other. It was going to be tight, but he believed in Beta Team. He knew the others would work together to win. “AIDA! CARTER! DO IT!” - "IKU DE~!" Carter cheered as he and Aida shot towards the colony cap, he smirked, knowing his plan was gonna work. "Come on!" He said, cutting off the engine and then firing his verniers at the perfect time! They spun and pulled off a perfect 180 together, before using the main thrusters again to get to the piece and push it towards Earth. "We made it! Now let's push this thing back to our friends!" He said over comms, the excitement was painted all over his voice and his face. He didn't know PVE could be this fun at all! - "Just a little longer..." Aida pushed his thrusters as much as he could: less than a minute was left until the temperature reached levels capable of damaging the Mobile Suits of his friends, and when that happened, it wouldn't be much longer until the heat sinks couldn't hold it any longer. I'd rather not lose any of my teammates the one day we're on the winning side. The payout is probably twice as good! - "Thirty-three seconds... Aida-san, Carter-san, you're not gonna make it at this rate." As she waited for Aida and Carter, Beta Four had eyed the timer, and her predictions were not pretty. - "Hold my war crimes! We'll be there in time, just you watch!" Aida, determined to leave no Diver (or NPD) behind, had one last trick up his sleeve, and was not afraid to use it for the home stretch. "EXAM! CHEESY ONE-LINER! HERE WE GO!" Pressing the right combination of keys on his controllers, all the sensors of the Airbatel turned blood red, marking the deactivation of all the machine's limiters, and the engines flared like never before, giving the colony cap that direly needed push that would allow it to get to Kyle and Four on time. - "Don't die just yet." Four gripped the other antenna of the Zeong, and taking it with both hands, the GP03 waited for the colony cap fragment to reach a certain point, before kicking the Archangel to propel itself towards it at maximum acceleration. The Gundam started to glow orange, then red. But just before bursting into flames, it activated all of its fire extinguishers at once, buying a little more time for Four and Kyle, and leaving behind it a beautiful white trail. After this, it arrived to the safety of the colony cap, where it started to lose glow, and Aida knew he could turn off the EXAM, lest he let the Airbatel blow up there. - "Woooohoooo! Turn off the engines, we did it fellas!" Aida celebrated, as all of his systems, save for the life support and communications shut down. "I think a celebration is in order! And a damage report, of course." - “Oh man! You guys are fast!” As the four of them went behind the colony cap, Kyle took in a huge breath of relief and congratulated the team. “Awesome job!” The diver looked down at the unmoving ball. “As for a damage report, uh, it’s a lot of damage for me. Plus, Charo...” Beeps and boops whistled from the toy as it rebooted. Lights on the machine lit up while Charo jumped out of Kyle’s hand. - “Idiot! Almost died! Idiot! Almost died!” It chirped while hopping on its owner’s head. - “Alright, alright.” Kyle exclaimed as he pulled up his menu. “You did great today, and don’t worry. I’ll be piloting a proper Gunpla for us next time. The diver pressed a button, putting Charo back into his inventory. After that, he felt Beta Four’s Gundam aiming the head to the side, so as to let Kyle contemplate the scenery, which left Kyle speechless. It never ceased to amaze him how much work went into the graphics of this world. - "WOOOOOOO! I’M A GENIUS!" Carter said jokingly, cheering in his cockpit. The Comet Dagger turned off its engines, as the pilot congratulated Aida. "That was awesome, man! Hell of a way to debut that EXAM of yours." He said, before going on to render his damage report. "I'm kinda crispy, but luckily I'm not too battered up." Carter relaxed slightly and then leaned back, looking at the beautiful view. He had always wondered what it looked like.. - “The view… it’s gorgeous. I need to take this one picture.” As Aida’s main camera turned back on, shining very dimly, the view came to his screens as well. Without a second of doubt, he kept three keys pressed, and screenshots were taken, being saved on his personal gallery. Smiling, he thought he’d be sure to send them to his new teammates. For a group of randoms, they're sure good fellows. I wish I could invite them to the force. Even the NPD. --- Minutes passed, admiring the view and chatting with one another as the colony cap fragment slowly burned away, pieces of it coming off at intervals. At times, they worried that the fragment would be completely destroyed, and tried to have the three Mobile Suits (and complementary head) occupy as little space as possible. However, just as their impromptu heat shield had shrunked down a few sizes, the trail of atmospheric heat disappeared, marking the point where they had survived re-entry successfully. Soon, the ground was visible. An extense, lush savannah. The question now was, how should they land? Hmmm. Non-transformable MS without ballutes meet a long, long fall… And we don’t even have a Dodai. Aida quickly put his knowledge of the aerial environment to the test, coming up with one plan. Later, the team put it into action by pushing the cap fragment together with their thrusters, making it go horizontal, in a maneuver that made their descent less of a downspiral and more of an actual curve. When the cap fragment was about to touch down with incredible force, the Beta MS bailed out, using all their available rocket fuel to slow down, while Aida's Mobile Armor took off for the clouds. When it came back into sight at a much lower speed, he saw the Comet Dagger and the GP03, boots on the ground. Touching down next to them, a prompt showed up for everyone, as the sun started to set. < Landing Successful! +2000 Cr.> The leader of Beta Team got out of his MS, for once relatively undamaged, only to remember there were no welcoming figures, no new motherships or politics. Only them, in the middle of a savannah, along with some animals that had been blown away by the force of their thrusters. Alone. On their own. Does that mean I have to do a debriefing? Putting on his usual dress uniform, he stepped down from the cockpit into the hands of Airbatel, which automatically lowered him down to ground level. Beta Four put the Zeong's head down next to Aida, then opened her own cockpit to come with her two teammates, while Carter did his own thing. If this is the end for now, then we truly don't know what comes next. I have to come up with something... a strategy of sorts.
  3. Alarms sprung up as the Archangel reached orbit, and immediately went “vertical”, at least, that was what seemed to be going on for all of the pilots, but in reality the ship was aligning itself with the Earth, then tilting a little upwards from there to prepare for re-entry. The cannons retracted into the hull, and a visor protected the ship’s bridge from the heat that would build up soon. It was now or never for everyone near the ship, and the Archangel's two catapults opened their hatches for anybody who wanted access to the hangar bay. “KIRAAAAAAAA! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” - Kuzzey Buzzkirk's loud shriek, played on all bands and frequencies, brought Mu to his senses, after Rau made his retreat and insulted him by taking his beam saber away. Quickly, he turned around to find the Strike Gundam trailing smoke and fire from its cockpit. “No, no, no! I told him he’d be alright… but i just got so caught up in the battle!” Unit 01 accelerated towards the Strike and quickly gripped it, before flying away with it for a moment. Then, he turned both machines around and sped towards his ship. "Archangel! This is Lieutenant La Flaga! We don't have much time, take fire control and paramedics to the hangar bay NOW! Deploy the net!" Shortly, Mu's Mark II entered the corridor at such a speed, his machine broke through the first MS-sized net. However, said net slowed it down enough for the one after it to bring him to a complete halt. As the Gundam entered the hangar bay and people in spacesuits approached it with pressurized foam guns, the door started closing. Just one transmission from the medical team escaped before it shut, sealing the left catapult for good. "Patient recovered in critical condition! This is bad, we have to take him to the E.R now before-" Nothing else was heard on that end, but Emma had bigger problems than a wounded supersoldier that would probably be back on the fray by noon: she quickly aborted her attack, as soon as she saw the enemy machine ready their gilded blade. She was fearful, fittingly for her first true battle in a long time. It's… it's not fair! How can something be so strong, yet so fast? As she changed course, new orders were delivered to her cockpit, through a video window that opened next to some meters. On it, a group of soldiers could be seen taking Kira's devastated friends away from the bridge. The person speaking to her was Ensign Badgiruel herself, who had to take Buzzkirk’s position and relay her orders directly to the Mobile Suits. "Unit 02, RTB immediately. Enter through Right Catapult." As she sped past the white machine and made a U-turn to enter the hangar bay, she was given further orders by her superiors. They weren’t pretty, but orders were orders. As her Mark II stood inside the bay and reloaded its beam rifle, she remembered that sensation the enemy Gundam gave her. I had forgotten… how terrifying is to approach Death. --- Kyle and Charo saw Shin leave their fight, for a chance to attack the Archangel. Charo amusingly voiced his opinion on the matter. - “Coward! Coward!” - “Looks like he’s heading for the Archangel. I better pursue…” Kyle did not want to let Shin go, not without getting him back for Green Noah, but Charo was still flipping out for some reason. - “Look! Look!” - “Oh, Haro… er CHARO. Looking out and surveying the battlefield is just one important part of being a successful sniper. Firing at long range targets, pointing out where people may be, these are things I HAVE to do. If I didn’t look around and pay attention, then I wouldn’t advance at all while playing this game, now would I?” - “No! Look!” - “Oh, I’m sorry Charo! You just wanted to show me AHHHHHH!” By the time Kyle looked at the screen Charo wanted him to pay attention to, it was too late. The ever-precise Beta Gundam and the new enemy sniper, Higanbana, had fired two powerful shots at his machine. As they landed and the Zeong turned into a fireball, sending both Psycommu hands flying away without aim or purpose, Beta Team briefly heard interference from Kyle’s end, before he was annihilated. Or was he? From the huge explosion caused by the destroyed Mobile Armor, came the Titans GP03, engulfed in flames and carrying the head of the Zeong. It appeared, Kyle was able to eject it, outrunning the reaper in true Char Aznable fashion, while Beta Four grabbed it and sped towards the Archangel. “Four? I… i had this under control, but… thank you.” Kyle was surprised by the NPD’s gesture, thinking they had done it out of kindness, but the electronic lifeform promptly shot that down: “We’re trailing behind and my machine’s faster. Hold on tight.” The dark Gundam put pedal to the metal, and soon reached the ship. --- As the little red Gundam was firing at the Zeong, Aida’s blue GM found an opening, and aimed his Shot Lancer at it, while its pilot was distracted. “Don’t forget who you’re fighting with!” Alarms sounded in the little rabbit girl’s cockpit, and a closeup of the GM appeared within a little window, designed to catch the pilot’s attention. A split second passed, where Aida had Risu down his sights, and where Risu knew the next attack would hit, and there was nothing to do about it. But before he could fire, the IFFs and weapons systems turned off. The Archangel had begun re-entry, effectively making the score even. Beta Team’s machines heard the voice of a woman announce ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’, while Alpha Team was told by the same voice ‘MISSION OVER’. Aida smirked, certain of what would’ve happened, had the mission not ended. “I would've gotcha...” As he lowered his weapon and made a run for the Archangel, he savored his team’s victory. But there was a bittersweet taste to it. Kira Yamato, judging from what he had heard, could be in any kind of shape by now, from a coma, to a flatline. And numbers were in their favor all the time, yet the same could not be said of their skill, or the capabilities of their machines. They had barely scraped through… --- Alpha’s story will continue in Alpha Override! Beta’s story will continue in Challengers of Diamond! Check out the latest side stories!
  4. After a while, Airbatel had been cleaned up and upgraded: it was a minor question, but the Vulcans on the GM III's head were no longer decorative. Aiden and Daniel had also gotten rid of the Hyaku Shiki Wing Binders: from now on, the Gunpla would use a Gundam MkII backpack when not meant to operate alone. This made docking with the new Mobile Armor easy. After this, they put the Super Airbatel on its box and moved to the counter, as Meryl had to go home for the night. Daniel drew upgrades for an atmospherical loadout that had been stored away long ago, while Aiden was thinking of a new naming convention. We should call that previous build the Airbatel Early Space Type… This is the Airbatel Space Type, it turns into the Super Airbatel. The atmospherical Airbatel is the Airbatel Air Type... His head was soon spinning with multiple mentions of the same name, and decided to speak a little with Daniel. He felt it was enough of his happenings for now, and wanted to know what his partner was spending his privilege on. - "What have you been up to in the game, anyways?" Aiden knew the business-focused Meryl had gotten automatic access to the closed beta, as the legal owner of one of the most beloved shops of the region, and since she rarely used GBN, the privilege immediately went to Daniel, in a strictly unofficial manner. His intrusion was never noticed, for Meryl had picked a male avatar the one time she tried the game, fearing she'd be bothered otherwise. - "Well, i learned some interesting stuff. There is only one, big server. Most of the testers are nationals, that is to be expected..." - "... but there is the occasional foreigner. I know. I suspect the two guys playing with me are living abroad. Their ping is ok, fortunately. Forget that, tell me you played Gundam Generation." Aiden was excited to hear Daniel's thoughts on the campaign he was playing, but Daniel had not gotten to play it. - "Uhh… no. Not enough people. I did find a whole group interested in some campaign with a Latin name. And it's very fun, let me tell you about that. First of all, you don't use your Gunpla. The game is far more narrative and you have to pick a character archetype. There are scavengers, hitmen, a 'cowboy cop' with a Mobile Suit." - "I don't think all those terms mix quite right for the Department of Cost to State." - "Heh. All-original story and mechs. Gundam meets 80's and 90's cyberpunk. You know how cyberpunk goes, just add cops and robbers in Mobile Suits. Terrorists steal a Gundam, mercenaries scramble to steal it back for the corporation that made it, policemen scramble to leave no robot standing. The first stage is kind of a three-way where the terrorists only have the NPD with the Gundam, but trust me, when your Mobile Suit is a kei minivan with legs and a potato launcher…" - "You got your ass kicked?" - "Hmph. Wouldn't have quite played out like that if I had my actual whip. The terrorist was still very careless with that thing." - "These campaigns are getting good. Let me tell you, the people who know best what the fans want are the fans themselves." In that moment, they were interrupted by a bearded man they had not seen up until an hour earlier, when he came in with two kids and bought a Real Grade Titans MkII, what appeared to be a High Grade Freedom Gundam and one of the "extra finish" kits, which had a monochrome cover that made it difficult to spot the model from a distance. Taking into account the Freedom was probably a starter kit for one of the kids, he supposed the second kit would also be a High Grade due to the low complexity of the line. However, he wouldn’t call the Freedom a good starter kit, when much less complex HGs were available… - “I didn’t realize your unit got that knackered up from Green Noah?” The strange man walked over calmly to Aiden and Daniel, speaking in a loud and taunting tone, yet friendly at the same time. Extending his hand, he declared: “I’m Marco Creed, I piloted the Zero Saviour that last mission.” - “Zero Saviour...” From his mention of Green Noah, Aiden realized the man had taken part on his last battle. He did not recognize the machine immediately, but knowing his teammates piloted a Dynames and a Zaku, he knew the man was his enemy, and he discreetly took a napkin from the holder on his table to cover the reassembled Airbatel, having it mimic the RX-78-2 before Amuro found it laying on a giant stretcher in Side 7. "Can… can I help you?" - "Aiden, I can't believe it. You've been playing with Marco Creed? He's the guy who appears in every Zapp advert! Mr. Creed, your conversion kits and Option Parts sets are killer. I've already pre-ordered the Nemo III and the Nagano Galbaldy Beta." Daniel on the other hand was far more receiving than his friend, and offered to shake hands with Marco. "And Aiden's force right here uses Zapp uniforms for their reenactments!" - "No we don't- OW!" Aiden's left foot got promptly stomped as soon as he tried to correct Daniel. - “Aw well, I barely have a hand in those kits, a lot of it is Corporate pushing them.” He cleared his throat to address the elephant in the room. Marco could sense Aiden’s discomfort and smirked as he tried to hide his Gunpla from him. The man’s eyes lingered on the napkin and he politely shook the other kid’s hand. “Look, I just wanted to come over and say that I was very impressed with the construction and creativity of your kit! From what you and the other members of your team have brought to the table, I can tell I can’t half ass my way through these missions!” Marco’s face was cheery if not warm in his demeanor. - "Well, I…” Slowly, Aiden started to warm up a little to the stranger. I don’t think a guy whose sole purpose is to appear in adverts would be involved with the old band, could him? “I appreciate the compliment. I only paint it, though. Until it enters the paint booth, it's usually in Daniel's hands here." - "It means a lot coming from you! And hey, I don't think Corporate has bad taste. I enjoyed Dozle’s Dom." Daniel received the compliment well, too, but had an opinion of his own regarding the conversion kits sold by Zapp Incorporation. Zapp was one of the largest aftermarket providers of conversion kits, option parts, and cosmetics for both real life and GBN - most of the real clothing offered by the corporation included a tag to unlock their virtual counterparts for free, but the virtual catalogue was much bigger than just those items. - “Well, it would seem you guys make a good team then!” Smiling, his eyes darted to Daniel, then shifted back to Aiden. “I wanted to ask...”, he started as he looked around and lowered his voice. “Did you notice anything odd about the NPDs in that mission?” Marco wasn’t certain how the kid would react but he was increasingly curious to know if it was just him finding the new AI to be something... different. - "Odd... I'd describe these new NPDs like that, yes." Aiden remembered Emma Sheen's attraction to the unit of the player who had struck him down in the last mission, then his very own NPD teammate, Beta Four, which among other things, occupied an empty Mobile Suit, and... "I've never seen an NPD misjudge the strength of a big cannon. That's what she had to say about it." - “Almost human...” he muttered more so to himself than the two kids in front of him, as he rubbed his beard and nodded his head to take in what the kid was saying. “The one I fought, that green Galbaldy, she was... exceptional in combat, errors and all. Really caught me off guard...” His eyes shifted from his memories of the fight to study the kid and see how he was taking Creed’s side of the story. - "I guess I'm not the only one, then..." Aiden had found somebody else who felt as if the NPDs had taken a quantum leap forward, and while he did not want to tell a member of Alpha Team of Emma's attraction to the faux Mk-II, or Beta Four's acquisition of a GP03, he still felt immensely curious. Finding somebody who could say he had seen the same things did not quench his thirst for knowledge... rather, it made the mystery bigger. Suddenly, however, Creed’s face grew dark, and he locked eyes with Aiden. - “Be careful out there, stay on your guard...” He let the words linger, before letting the smile return to his face. “Well, I’ll leave you two to it!” He added cheerily as he began to turn on his heel. Once the man was gone, Aiden turned back to Daniel, understandably freaked out by Creed’s last words. However, Daniel just thought it was nice of him to choose their shop to buy his children’s kits, and congratulate them on the quality of their build. Very conveniently for the creepy stranger, Daniel was taking care of somebody who wanted to buy a Suille Enact, and so only Aiden had seen that last unsettling display. Man… now he looks like a guy even the Gunpla Mafia would fear. Or maybe the kind of man to rule them? As he started making preparations to close the shop in a pair of minutes, he let his head run wild with dumb theories. But at the end of the night, when everyone had gone home and he had put on his comfy, warm overcoat, he had no other choice than to hear himself, and accepted it probably was just Marco trying to intimidate him into thinking the stakes were far higher than they seemed to be. Zapp Incorporation, rigging championships…? Pfft. What a load of bull. I need a sandwich. “Aiden Keyes… closing up shop."
  5. (2/2) << Archangel is approaching orbit!>> Aida read the notifications and understood that the Archangel had moved onto their map, along with their teammates. Supposing that Hikaru was likely to shoot him as soon as it wasn’t considered ‘bad etiquette’ anymore, he fired up his thrusters and docked with the GM-Defenser, which was flying towards the battlefield again and took the Mobile Suit with it. “Not too shabby!” were his parting words, as he put pedal to the metal, looking to gain a lead on him and get back in the fray. Quickly, he checked in with his minimap, which showed the Archangel moving fast towards a yellow line he supposed was the goal. If we can make the ship last just a little more, this one’s in the bag! Opening his team line, now that he was allowed to make contact again, he checked in with his team. "Alright, what seems to be the most urgent thing…?" He then saw the chaos unfolding next to the Archangel's bridge, and saw that was no good. My loadout is lighter, my top speed is higher. I should be able to do one thing before the pesky Mobile Armor gets here and goes back to trying to take me out… so I better make it count! Kira was still hesitating, but when the Bael started pushing him around, he figured something was very wrong, he was using him as a shield. A transmission from his friend Kuzzey on the Archangel’s bridge, pleading for him to steer clear, made matters even clearer. He needed to get rid of that white Mobile Suit, but how? He frantically checked on all of his weapons, and found one that could help him break free. He just needed to wait for the right moment… Mu was starting to lose his patience. The dreaded Creuset had evaded all of his attacks, and then some by Emma. How come… even with the Titans’ latest Mobile Suit, i still cannot strike him down? Mu’s Unit 01 barely evaded decapitation with a last-moment maneuver, however, Rau’s blade cut one of his saber mounts diagonally, damaging the saber’s emitter but leaving the systems relatively untouched. Lieutenant La Flaga quickly retaliated with a swing of the beam saber he already had, intent on severing one of the arms of his enemy as payback. “You will not win this one!” The situation near the bridge had gotten out of control, and when her superior officer Jamaican brought that to her attention, Emma’s Unit 02 quickly sped towards Strike and Bael. She did not know what could be done to stop the beam-repelling Mobile Suit, especially given she had chosen to sortie with a beam rifle. That did not stop her from trying to buy the ship some time. Finally, out of options she chose to rush the white MS, and hoped that her seat’s shock absorbers would tough most of the impact… “Gundam, please hang on!”, she said, quoting one of the most common childhood heroes of the Universal Century. Beta Four quickly found herself under attack by a berserker, who brutally rammed her GP03 and sent it into an asteroid. The dark blue Stamen crashed into the space rock, having taken a beating on its torso and head areas, cracking the torso front camera and the one in the back of the head. Swiftly and without time to waver, the Gundam recovered and accelerated towards the Astral AGE, unsurprisingly unimpressed by its display, seeing as it was piloted by an NPD, and a fairly stoic one at that. As it approached the AGE, it fired the last of its shot ammunition rounds, before discarding the bazooka and folding back its shield to deploy back if needed. Before reaching the enemy machine, it crossed its arms in an X, while the folding arms built into the forearms deployed to fetch beam sabers. Just as the GP03 got to melee range, the beam sabers reached their respective hands and turned on. Then, the Titans Gundam made one swift motion forward and to the sides with both sabers, looking to trap and destroy the AGE with them. “I’ll accomplish my mission, takes what it takes.” Aida, of course, saw the one in the most need of help was Carter, who was struggling with the Higanbana, a Mobile Suit that barely moved last mission, but was now slicing through the turrets of the Archangel and threatened to disintegrate the bridge, as soon as they could lock onto it. Damn, only an 80s training montage gets you this good in such a short time! More on my platter… Speeding towards the enemy MS, he quickly switched to the Airbatel’s Mobile Suit mode, ejected his Shot Lancer’s cartridge and loaded another, before firing carefully aimed barrages at the Higanbana, and trying to keep it between him and the Comet Dagger, so as to confine it between the two enemy machines. “This ship doesn't have Phase Shift, but physical ammo is the only chance we have! Carter, we don’t have much time, let’s mess this one up before the other one comes in!” Kira finally saw a chance to free himself when the small camera on his waist armor determined he could have a chance to hit Bael with a surprise attack. Running out of time, Strike fired its remaining Armor Schneider at Bael from its storage on the left, hoping it would hit the Gundam somewhere. The knife flied at its target, and deployed on the way to the enemy, who would have to let go of Kira, he supposed, lest he took an arrow to the knee… no, wait, a knife.
  6. (1/2) As a precaution, Aida accelerated again, using the Super Airbatel's more mobile mode to escape his hideout at high speeds, figuring it wouldn't be long until the woman's sensors found him anyways. Sneaky bastard… Not long after, a laser communication reached him and instructed him to tune into Channel 195. Once he did, he heard the Beta Gundam's pilot offer him a temporary truce to hunt down the Titans sniper. He just couldn't believe what he was hearing, and accordingly, he responded with quite the sarcastic tone: - "Sure, sure! We'll take her down together, and when we're done, you can shoot me in the back again! That's something I can trust a mafioso with!" Taking things down a notch, Aida had seemed to be growing wary of the others' intentions to make him lose his temper, but still couldn't quite keep his tone down. - "Mafioso?" Hikaru asked, working to keep up his evasion and his distance from Aida, not only to avoid being shot at, but also to try and coax his enemy to shoot at two different targets and get a decent bead on his enemy's location. "What are you talking about? I shot you in the back because you showed your back to an enemy in a team battle. There's a time and place for stuff like that, and it's when we both agree to such terms and don't have teammates to disappoint if we lose!" - "Come on, that doesn't explain what you're doing now! We both know why you're so eager to throw yourself into my works like a wrench! You harass people for a living, in a video game no less! And boy, did they hire the right person..." Aida kept evading the shots, which got more frequent as the sniper started to see the two Mobile Armors still weren't quite concentrating their efforts on finding her, but rather bickering and keeping each other in check. "I do admit I'm still quite amused at the Gunpla Mafia for going the extra mile… hiring a guy that adds insult to injury, and tries to hunt me down with a better version of MY machine. How much are you getting paid? Twenty grand?" - "What the heck is the 'Gunpla Mafia' and why would they pay that much just to mess with a guy? How would they even get someone in Beta for that? I interfered with you because you're the enemy leader and I wanted to lure you away so our IBO machine could wreck the others without you butting in!" He evaded another shot, showing that hitting an evasive Mobile Armor with a sniping weapon was pretty difficult. His keeping an eye on the target probably helped in his task of trying to lull her into making a mistake and exposing her exact position. The man was irritating, however. "Besides, my machine's not a GM-III. Its lore is that it's what happens when the Titans' Refined Barzam gets rebuilt into something more Federation-aligned after their fall for R&D. The G-Defenser is supposed to be a testbed for the Re-GZ's Back Weapons System. It's an obvious development path!" - "I… well, at least you put thought into it." Aida, hearing the boy casually talk about his machine's lore despite the impending danger, was reminded of himself and his crew, the 08th Thespian Mobile Suit Team, the fun they had doing reenactments of canon battles with custom, but plausible UC Mobile Suits, the lore behind them. Matter of fact, Gundam Generation would've been a blast for all the members that weren't there with him. I'm starting to think this kid actually has nothing to do with them… Starting to lose interest in the Super Beta Gundam, he used his improved sensors to take a snapshot of the last beams to fly near it and traced them back to one of the colony wall segments. Unknowingly, he left his microphone open for Hikaru to hear think aloud. "... don't think she's there anymore. Probably changing spots in between shots." - "You're right. Not shooting too many times from the same spot is basic sniper doctrine to avoid being easily pinpointed." Hikaru responded. He had his own sensor systems on and sweeping for anything of note, expanded for the purposes of employing the Long Smart Rifle. "Scanning...hey, is it just me or did her voice sound very familiar? If we can recognize her, we might get an idea of the machine we're facing...or at least its development tree or general type." - "Sadistic lady pilots… not many names come to mind, but hell, she might not even be from the UC, what if they shoehorned some alternate universe character into the Titans? Wouldn't be the craziest thing so far..." Aida's thoughts trailed off again for a moment until an alarm brought a strong glimmer in a portion of the battlefield to his attention. However, it was just a fleeing Gold Frame, disappearing from view after being defeated by Lowe Guele's Red Frame, probably to enter the atmosphere in a support ship or with a ballute. "Get off, Gina! Take that blinding chrome away!" - "Hmmm." Noting this, and recalling Red Frame's alliances, Hikaru decided to send a warning. Firing off a laser communication toward Lowe, he sent the following message. "Hey, Junk Guild. Hostile Federation sniper in immediate area. Be on your guard and keep moving. You're on a battlefield!" Monitoring for a response, he still shifted to his radio and spoke with Aida in response. Juggling comms was a bit dangerous in this situation. "You're right. I don't think Gold Frame there has the opportunity or the armament to shoot at us, either… and should have a male pilot anyway." Hikaru said, regarding the Sniper's general location. He sought landmarks where they could have moved to or the glimmer of an enemy scope. "Want to pull a move out of Amuro's playbook and circle around so the sun's behind our backs?" - "For sure… though, why do you even bother warning them? I don't think this woman's out for even more trouble firing at-" - "Thank you, AEUG! Is this it?" - Before Red Frame and the HOME disappeared into Earth's gravitational pull, their response got all the way back to both of them, with a picture of a dark blue Mobile Suit hiding in one of the nearby ruined agricultural blocks, a large rifle in hand. - "That looks like a GP04… you don't think the Cima Fleet has joined the Titans full time?" Aida felt dumb for not having tried such a thing before. "Well, we know where she's now, if we don't strike fast before she can change locations again, we'd be wasting a golden opportunity..." - "Yep, thanks and good luck!" Unsure if the communication made it out or not, Hikaru still tried to send a farewell message to the Red Frame. "Yeah, let's go. The back to the sun trick will only work if we're already relatively close to that approach vector, but we can still approach while using the local debris. If you want to approach from a different direction and try to pincer her, we can do that as well." Hikaru said, heading off. Once underway and watching for enemy fire, he commented. "You know, this reinforces my headcanon. My belief was that the GP02A had no reason to exist with how spread out or dug into the underground Zeon Remnants were, and being leaked to Zeon at just the right time was too convenient. I think the politicians and officers that made the Titans set up the Delaz Fleet to give themselves a reason to reorganize and consolidate power. And Cima would have been wonderful insurance that Delaz died if he ever got too close to victory. Seen in that light, her popping up as a Titan makes sense." - "You did your homework on your team. My crew could use somebody who even thinks of the politics in this place. And uh, we'll do the pincer thing. Pick a side and I'll get her back." Aida put his thrusters to use, and sped towards the agricultural block too. - "Yeah, I figured. A shame the Blossom probably isn't around. That one was interesting too and would be feasible with the current tech level." Hikaru said as he complied, moving to the right and a bit upward, choosing the best arc in 3D space that would hinder his opponent's visibility. Aida understood the hint, and the Super Airbatel moved to ambush from the left and descended a little, so as to approach from the exact opposite direction as Hikaru’s Beta Gundam. "If i can make her shoot at me, then she'll likely be focused on my machine through her scope. That'll be when she's not monitoring her surroundings as closely, right? If she shoots at you first, I'll do the same." - “Lead the charge, then.” The Airbatel reached a stable speed and predictable course, giving Hikaru a speed to beat. Aida hoped Hikaru would fly into Cima’s view first and that he’d be the one to get the kill. However, at the last moment, he matched his speed with Hikaru’s. Maybe there’s another angle to this. “Ready or not, here it comes!” Just before crossing the threshold, Airbatel undocked from the GM-Defenser, which continued on its way at full speed, and was picked up by Cima's sensors. The Titans Chief of Internal Affairs raised her weapon at the speeding Mobile Armor, and fired at a nearby asteroid, blowing it up into smaller pieces that the GM-Defenser collided with, giving her a stable shot for it. But when she was about to shoot, she noticed the Airbatel was missing. Then, her sensors picked up a much bigger threat: the Airbatel had cut the distance to her unit, and was approaching her with a beam saber drawn. As if this weren't enough, Hikaru's Super Beta Gundam approached and took aim with his Long Smart Rifle. While the Airbatel had her attention in that brief moment but had yet to fully close into a dangerous range, he fired his own rifle with the aim supported by his quasi-psycommu system. Airbatel surprisingly refused to use its beam saber upon getting to melee range, instead preferring to kick the GP04 with its feet. The Long Smart Rifle's beam soon arrived, and did away with the Mobile Suit's head cleanly. Had Aida not done that, the beam would have done away with the entire Mobile Suit in one fiery explosion. As a finishing touch, taking advantage of her confusion and blindness, Aida now used the saber to cut the Gerbera's right arm, which floated away, still clutching its sniper rifle, then the waist. Cima was left with only a torso, a left arm, and a ballute. - "That's what i'm talking about!" Next, Aida used the best of his acting skills to try and intimidate Cima. "Try something funny, i dare you!" - "Armament secured. So...what happens? You left her alive, but she'll just be freed if you bring her back to your vessel. If anything, she'll rat you out and do what she intended to your team. Is she my prisoner?" Hikaru transformed his machine back into Mobile Suit mode, and had claimed the weapon and the arm of the Gerbera to make sure no other enemies got a hold of it. It wasn't a bad find. - "I have a use for her ballute. And it’s on Ms. Garahau’s best interests to be useful right now..." In that moment, unexpectedly, the Gerbera's torso ejected its remaining arm and fired up its ballute's front and back thrusters, going “upwards”. "I can't believe she's escaping on a stupid torso! Come back!" The flying torso promptly gained an initial lead, but before any of the two doppleganger machines could go after it, a dark, indeterminate, Mobile-Suit sized silhouette took it away and disappeared from view in one swift motion. "What the... Argh, you have to be kidding me! GMs don’t have re-entry measures! I guess i’ll have to rely on being on that hangar before re-entry or i’ll fry up." - "... that’s why I took her big gun. In case she had allies nearby." Hikaru said, keeping his sensors open. He decided not to point out how boned Alpha Team might be by this. He kept his eyes on Aida, deciding not to just… shoot him right off the bat. It just seemed rude to him, after working together and while they weren’t marked as enemies. "What now, back to the battlefield?" He also scanned for energy signatures and the like, in case there were escape pods or other things of note out there. - "I don't think there's much of a choice..." Both of their signatures started flashing back and forth from green to red. A notification also reached them: << MAP MERGE >>
  7. Finally, the DINN’s optics had set sight on a weird Mobile Suit, quite unlike anything he had ever seen both as a Mobile Suit pilot and warship captain. It was, like many ZAFT Mobile Suits, a modernization of the classic Zaku concept, a generic green monoeye that had been loaded with an axe in the back waist section and two beam gatling cannons over its back. What the… where did such a design come from? This is most definitely not a generic mock made by the CPU… The enemy seemed to lay its eye on him too, and quickly responded by spinning the beam gatlings to fire at him. “Agh! No time for sightseeing!” Niemeyer had the DINN spin over its vertical axis to point the top of its head towards the floor, and moved the thrust lever to speed towards the ground, disappearing behind tall buildings. Damage was done to the wings, and while they were not totaled, the pilot decided to exercise a little more caution. It’s got anti-air? What kind of sorcery is this? I’ll have to save my wings as a last resort while i have them at all… with any luck, they’ll think i already lost them. The DINN thus started walking cautiously, holding its anti-air shotgun on one hand, and the assault rifle on the other. “Whatever the hell that thing is, the DINN is not equipped to properly fight it.” What would this hypothetical design be for? Are our boys back at the Integrated Design Bureau already thinking of the next generation of Mobile Suits? I shudder to think, in the face of this conflict, Mobile Suit technology is bound to rapidly advance, just like the war seven years ago… then again, if they already know what to do, why don’t they? I just can’t wrap my head around this. Captain Alasdair Niemeyer’s thoughts trailed off as his MS scanned block after block, looking for his foe, weapons at the ready.
  8. "Don’t get cocky! I'm just warming up!” As expected, Mu La Flaga reacted swiftly, helped by the revolutionary response times of the Mark II, which ascended and struck from above, attempting to cut off the barrels of the gatling gun, and deploying his shield. Soon enough he was helped by Emma: Hikaru had stopped Aida from interfering with others in the battle, but there was no chance either would return soon, so Emma followed her orders not to disperse and went for the ZAFT commander. “If i finish you off, then…!” Unit 02, reloading its beam rifle, managed to get on the side of the CGUE. La Flaga was not amused by the idea: - “Ensign! I can handle him, go help Kira!” - Mu, understandably, was afraid that Kira was all alone with such a strange enemy, which could dispel beams like one of those big Mobile Armors, but moved and reacted with the speed of a Mobile Suit, a very fast one at that. But more than that, he was irritated at the idea of somebody butting into his and his nemesis’ fight. - “Don’t worry about Yamato! Keep that one steady! If we do away with him, the enemy will disarray!” - Ensign Sheen, however, was not convinced of the potential danger, so she kept trying to get the CGUE on her sights, and fired three times at the commander-use machine. - “Ensign Emma! This is my fight!” Now using an authoritarian tone and not doing much to hide his anger, Mu attempted to direct Emma away from the skirmish, onto something else, before aiming his own shield at the CGUE. Below its tip, now that the shield was in its deployed state, a three-port missile launcher was visible. Mu fired, knowing Rau would likely manage to dodge the shots of the rookie test pilot, and not wanting to cut him any slack. It was not his fault somebody interfered, with or against him. This was war. --- Yamato, meanwhile, was understandably shocked. Having brought a knife to a sword fight, the enemy predictably struck him first, with a physical blade. Any possible damage was sucked up by the Phase Shift System, but the battery went down by a percentage, and the impact knocked him back. Strangely, the ivory white Mobile Suit was not attacking him further. As he attempted to recover, from its fingers came standard communication lines, which anchored magnetically onto the Strike, and a calm, paternal voice pleaded with him. “Nobody has to die, Kira. This conflict is greater than either of us, I don’t want to hurt your friends, the hostages, on the Archangel. Please help me rescue the civilians aboard that ship! All we want to do is stop it from going to Earth and killing even more innocent people down there! Please! We could peacefully stop that ship, together!” Kira, while shocked that the enemy was trying to reason with him, did agree that the Titans were likely up to no good. He knew what they usually did. He had heard it from free press back in Heliopolis, neutral territory thanks to Orb. He had heard it from disgruntled personnel in the Archangel, and had even heard it from that enemy Mobile Armor which kept shouting about everyone’s hidden business as it fret around the battlefield, like some sort of armed political loudspeaker. As his Mobile Suit regained balance and he tried to get closer, taken by an impulse that not even he fully understood, it looked like the pilot of the Strike was open to a ceasefire and a conversation with the Bael’s pilot, even under such circumstances. But then, a 350mm projectile flew right over the head module of the Aile Strike, headed for the alabaster machine… --- In the asteroid field, an Armor Schneider came out of the smoke and sped towards Kyle’s Zeong. It looked for a moment as if he’d be hit, but out of the dark, deep blue of space appeared a navy blue Gundam, which deployed a folding shield to catch the knife. Beta Four, which had patiently hid nearby, arrived just in time to abide by the orders of the team’s leader, and defend Kyle. As the knife stuck in the shield, the Titans GP03 aimed a collapsed bazooka, automatically deploying its telescoping barrel to prepare for usage and firing up its sensor to acquire the target. Using an open line, the NPD did what it was already notorious for, and taunted Shin. “You never had a chance anyways.” After this, the GP03 fired its bazooka at the Astral AGE, while speeding to close the distance between it and the AGE, as the rounds flied towards Shin’s machine. However, rather ingeniously, the weapon had been prepared for a highly mobile target beforehand. The magazine’s rounds in question were filled with shot ammunition. --- In the opposite side of the field, Aida continued his pursuit. The young boy was capable, but Aida’s words confused him, prompting him to take him for someone who had just taken the campaign way too seriously. Aida on the other hand thought the boy was stalling, talking in-character stuff in an act of pure denial, to cover up what he thought were his intentions. Must think i’m an imbecile… “You don’t have the right to call the leadership of my Force anything, i am the leadership!” After piercing through an area full of debris in a violent dance, both G-Defensers got close to a big piece of Junius Seven, being pushed from behind by gray, blue and red GM Customs that were very reminiscent of Strike Daggers, to make it accelerate and push it away from Earth's orbit, or at the very least, stabilize it again within its bounds. Not too far from there, two Gundam-types duked it out: one had red accents and a big Japanese sword, the other had golden accents, and just one arm, which it put to good use firing a bazooka. A spectacular scenario, but neither of them was there for sightseeing. Soon, the white G-Defenser finally got on the offensive, and he noticed the dreaded waist INCOMs were starting to track him, but did not yet light up. Oh, this is gonna be good. You think you’re gonna catch me with my tie undone… to say something completely G-rated. Fine. I’ll play along… Aida, waiting for the moment, kept glued to Hikaru’s tail, and pondered whether to say something more… but then he saw the twin lights. NOW! Two beams of light came out of the Beta Gundam’s hips, one aimed at the machine's current path, the other at what Hikaru deemed to be the most likely point to evade to. However, Aida had a trick up his sleeve from his days in that team from the past, and the Super Airbatel evaded both rays by splitting up in two: quickly separated by little propellant verniers and a swift tip of their main thrusters, the Airbatel flew under the beam directed at their path, while the GM-Defenser flew over it. Soon came the other beam, which did predict Airbatel’s path correctly, however it could not connect with the Mobile Suit, which was forcefully rammed down by the Defenser's underside, knocking both out of the way and docking both machines together again. "Rearward firing… clever, but you did not think you'd catch a Mobile Armor player by surprise with the oldest trick in our book, did you? It'll take more than half-hearted shots!" --- - "Don't do it! Uh, hello?!" - In the Archangel's bridge, the communications officer Kuzzey Buzzkirk quickly pinged Executive Officer Badgiruel. "Miss Natarle! Kacooler is taking off in the Moebius Zero without authorization!" - "The Zero?! That guy has a death wish, only a Newtype wouldn't get themselves killed on a Mobile Armor! Can anybody stop him?" Badgiruel, not in the mood for a loss, tried to have Kacricon stopped. But Jamaican stopped her instead. - "Leave him be! Did you forget, Ensign Badgiruel? Newtypes are a myth. Our good old Kacricon should be able to handle it well. He is not a Titan for nothing." The right catapult hatch opened for Kacricon to take off. "Stupid Hawk of Endymion, thinks he can steal my thunder? I'll snatch his! Moebius Zero, Kacricon Kacooler! Taking off!", he exclaimed, pulling forward the thruster lever. The engines fired up, and the Mobile Armor accelerated at full speed out of the hangar bay… only to be hit, rather unluckily, by the beam of an enemy Mobile Suit that was firing at the ship in a very haphazard manner. Losing two of the Gunbarrel pods and a portion of its fuselage, the Moebius Zero quickly spun out of control, its engines still burning fuel at the maximum rate, but now taking the machine in an uncontrollable spiral Kacricon had no way of stopping. As the orange Mobile Armor kept speeding away and crashed one of its two last Gunbarrels into a glass panel, detaching it from the frame and leaving it behind, only the faint screams of Kacricon Kacooler remained for a moment in their communications panel, before something lit up, far away. - "AMELIAAAAAA-!" Static soon replaced the voice of the Titans test pilot, and Kuzzey cryptically made the announcement. - "Moebius Zero, contact lost..." - "Call back Beta Team and tell Anti-Air to give me a stronger barrage! We've got a hostile above that needs taking care of!" Captain Ramius, competently assessing the situation, told everyone what to do next, as one of the few cool heads that prevailed on the ship. It's going to be a long day... --- << CHANGE MAP >> Just when Aida finally had the Beta Gundam in his sights for the counterattack, the square in his sight turned yellow, and his minimap's readings changed to that of a different area. He took his hands off the controls briefly to grab his head. "Oh, you slippery bastard, you made me change fields... And why are you yellow, did you just surrender in my face? You got what you wanted, didn't you..." Hikaru's eyes widened as he analyzed this change, his own systems similarly affected. "That... was not me. I'm not sure what's going on, but I don't like the look of this either. Think it's another secondary objective?" The pilot maintained evasion, monitoring his sensors and not wanting his enemy to be able to get a lucky shot even if they were marked as neutral to each other at the moment. Things had changed in the blink of an eye, and it was unlikely to be anything good. Both of them couldn't help but notice how they were now in orbit of Earth, when another voice taunted them through the open line. "Heh. You make it so easy, i'm somewhat disappointed…" Out of nowhere, a potent and speedy beam illuminated the debris floating over Earth, in a trajectory towards the Mobile Armors. Both dodged, and were separated. Damn it! There's a sniper hidden around here. The voice kept speaking on the open line, which lately had been used a lot. "It was not much of a surprise. You two are so alike. It makes a little too much sense you're both double agents and work together. The question is… if you're not with ZAFT nor the Titans… who are your employers?" A new shot buzzed by, narrowly missing the Super Airbatel, which decided to turn into a Mobile Suit and hide inside an abandoned warship, brought there by the inertia of Junius Seven's wreckage. She's good. I don't see her anywhere. Maybe try to reason? I could learn a thing or two about the kid who keeps talking to digital characters. - "Listen- you're firing at the wrong guy. I'm on your side! Why don't you let me come back to the Archangel?" - "Tempting. But I can't. Federation Code 9-0-4, Title 10, Article 1-0-4 states ANYONE… who attempts to aid an enemy of the Earth Federation shall suffer death." - "I don't see how that concerns me." - "It concerns all of your team, because soon, i shall carry out all of your sentences, then take down the Versailles myself. Anyways, how nice of you to drop early. I'll put you two down first… As you don't really have anything new to offer!" Yet another ray coursed through the new field of operations, and this time, it ignited the wreckage of a Salamis that was next to the Beta Gundam… Whatever lurked in the shadows, it was out for the blood of both Aida and Hikaru...
  9. As a silver ZAFT machine appeared in its sights, approaching the Archangel at a high speed, Gundam MkII Unit 01 thrusted forward in anticipation too. “Damn Creuset…” I know he can feel me. I should take some distance from the Archangel and see how this goes. Now that i’m in the Federation’s latest Gundam-faced GM... “This is Unit 01! I’m taking Creuset down!” Mu, finally meeting Rau’s CGUE, fired his beam rifle three times, up, down and left, then thrusted to his right, folding his shield to grab a beam saber and swing it in the direction Mu knew Rau would take. We could finally settle this! Aida, catching a fragment of the transmission, grinned in discontent. "Slippery bastards… they got through me. This is Beta One, pulling back! I’m going to take on Creuset and that Bael… i just don’t know how yet!" Just as he was about to turn Airbatel's Back Weapon System around, however, a pair of asteroids away, his main camera caught a glimpse of a very similar Mobile Suit to his, rapidly going on the other direction. Outraged at what he considered a blatant rip-off of the machine he worked hard to build and paint, the Airbatel’s pilot turned off its thrusters, used its AMBAC system to point in the direction of the new threat, and fired up his engines again to perform a 90º turn, following the enemy machine back towards his mothership. “Yeah, like hell you will!” His dual beam cannons had the range to hit him, however, he was too far away to line a reliable shot, so he concentrated on maneuvering through the field and cutting the distance between the two of them, until he was out of it, and saw the enemy machine fire a beam towards Gundam 02… Emma Sheen’s unit. “Lieutenant La Flaga! Pull back, don’t go into that alone!” Ensign Sheen wanted to stop her subordinate, but then, the G-Defenser’s beam shined on her main camera. Emma could see her life flashing before her eyes, knowing that despite the fact she had raised her shield, that looked like too potent a beam. But a particularly thick piece of Junius Seven miraculously drifted by, and absorbed the majority of the impact, allowing for her composite shield to take on the rest. In the distance, unbeknownst to the Ensign, an obsolescent Mobile Armor carrier equipped with gigantic arms was flinging debris around to make its way through the debris. - “Still sporting that outdated version, huh? How does it feel to fall behind in your own Mk-II's R&D?” A radio transmission taunted Emma, coming from the enemy MA that had fired at her, now streaking through the explosion and heading towards her. - “What? Control, the enemy is speaking on an open line! What should i…” Emma swinged a beam saber, held on her shield hand, at the G-Defenser, but erred. Right after, Aida’s GM-Defenser passed her too, buzzing her in a show of extreme flying skill, or sheer luck, and started firing at Hikaru with his Shot Lancer’s integrated machine gun. Beta One… the White Gundam… and my Mark II. Come think of it, Emma thought, as she pointed her beam rifle at the White Gundam’s Back Weapon System and fired, our three machines do look alike… too much. - “Hey, rip-off! Do you think you’re smart because you know what i fly?” A furious Aida questioned Hikaru, as he stayed glued to his tail and took shots at him in a zero-g dogfight. “You’re nothing more than a copycat hired by a coward that won’t face me himself… but guess what?! Both of you lack the skill for that! I’ll show the whole lot of you!” Kira, in turn, was shocked. Everything was going so fast, just like in Heliopolis. The battle had just begun, and while the slower enemy machines hadn’t shown up yet, Lieutenant La Flaga was already fighting the bad silver guy from back then, when he punched a hole through his home colony, and the woman with the Titans was taking shots at an unspecified Mobile Armor. Naturally, he thought of helping Mu, given Ensign Sheen seemed to be faring better in the backup department and because he had no love lost for the Titans. However, his computer warned of an alabaster object on a collision course with his Strike. Why of course, it was yet another Gundam, moving fast towards his ship. It moved from side to side, but he was easy to track. Rapidly, the Strike stared down the figurative sights of its beam rifle, and fired a shot at the enemy. “T-this is Ensign Yamato! I'm engaging a Gundam and...!” Suddenly, both Kira and those in the Archangel’s mission control who were looking at a feed of his camera were in for the shock of their lives, when the beam Kira had fired at the bone-white Gundam hit it right in the head… only to bounce off like small-arms fire. “AND BEAMS DON’T WORK ON IT!” Meanwhile, in the Archangel’s bridge, lots of voices with headsets, some of which were Kira’s friends, had filled the bridge with noise. - "The Orbital Guard can’t spare any Mobile Suits! They’re working to push away the fragments of Junius Seven so they don’t fall into Earth!" - "Unidentified Marseille III-class on our vicinity! It’s heading for Junius…" - "Ignore them! They’re mere junk dealers, trying to profit from our fight! They're not even worth warning shots." - "Report incoming from Ensign Yamato in the Strike! Beams have no effect on an enemy unit!" - "Damned ZAFT! We make Mobile Suits impervious to ballistic damage, and what they do next is put I-Fields on theirs! Tell the Ensign to close in and use his Armor Schneiders! If that thing comes close…" Jamaican was furious to find out about what he thought was the source of Bael's beam resistance, but was quick to give out more orders. Following his orders, Kira put his beam rifle away and drew an Armor Schneider from its holster. He’d need to close in to be able to hit Bael, but it was the only option. Soon, he intercepted the white Mobile Suit, and tried to stop it in its tracks by having it fly into his shield.
  10. After having seen the rest of the mercenary team take off, then the black Gundams, the Aile Strike Gundam took to the catapult, piloted by a hesitating Kira Yamato. It all felt wrong, he didn’t want to be doing this, but he did not have a choice. The Titans had been very clear: he had to take the helm as the new test pilot for the Strike… or else, the people he cared about would be in danger. The Federation, so far, had not been kind to him… only Lieutenant La Flaga and half of the original crew of the Archangel (that is to say, Captain Murrue Ramius) had been understanding at all, if only a little. As the Strike was propelled forward, following the conclusion of the launch countdown, he could still hear Mu’s voice in his head, saying… - “Hey there, kid. Don’t worry about all of this. Stick by me and we both will make it to the end of the day.” Which was weird, since Kira did not remember the Lieutenant saying that at all before… it took him a while to notice, they were new words, coming out of the radio. And they were coming out of the Gundam Mark II with a big 01 inscribed onto its left shoulder! Ensign Sheen, which hadn’t communicated with Unit 01 yet, was shocked to find out Kacricon was not manning the Gundam. - “Lieutenant La Flaga! What are you doing in the Gundam?” - “Easy question. Lieutenant Commander Kacooler is feeling… indisposed. May i suggest the cooks put a bit less pepper on it next time?” Mu, as usual, was taking the fire with a stepford smile and a joke. It made Kira no less nervous, however, and irritated Emma. - “Show some professionalism, Lieutenant. Archangel, this is Ensign Sheen. I’m assuming command of the Gundam Group.” - “Roger that, Ensign. All units, we’re approaching a fragment of Junius Seven. Maneuver with caution.” - “Understood, Control.” Aida, in turn, was definitely about to have a blast. Turning into a Mobile Armor and firing up the engines, he ventured at full speed into the asteroid field. His teammates thought for a second the Super Airbatel would make contact with one of the pieces of debris and catch fire, but both man and machine turned out to have pretty good response times, and started weaving through the field with ease. - “Come on… your flashy Gundams are nothing special! I’ll turn anyone who comes near me into ashes!” --- Through the eyes of a camera-equipped probe, Beta Four was being watched by two dark figures, shrouded in the darkness of two different rooms. Her GP03 was prepared to ambush anyone who did not wish to play her teammate’s game and tried to come close, armed with beam sabers on its back, a beam rifle on the main hand, and a Hyper Bazooka on its off hand, which could be dropped in a whim to deploy the folding shield. - “I can’t believe the thing’s still active. I thought we had gotten rid of it. And it was in Gryps of all places, painted in our livery, like we want to be associated with the mess Anaheim and Delaz made five years ago. Jamitov is going to be pissed, like I don’t have enough troubles already. Someone’s been onto us for years.” The first voice, whose signal harked back to an unidentified ship's re-entry capsule, was feminine, elegant and powerful, but was having trouble keeping composure. - “Calm down. Sounds like you’ve got news regarding the investigation.” The second voice corresponded to that of Bask Om, hailing from the captain’s quarters in the Archangel. A silhouette was standing in the background, presumably Jamaican. - “My men have already made some progress already. That Mobile Suit could have been planted for a future false-flag operation against us or a surprise attack. But the idea of such a daring plan, disassembling and reassembling a hostile high-performance Mobile Suit inside Gryps... - “There is precedent for such kinds of event. The One Year War...” - “I know. The skirmish on Libot Colony. Still, i don’t think it’s more Remnants. For now, all we know is someone inside one of the two affected colonies was plotting against us all along and helped ZAFT and AEUG coordinate this double hit. We don’t have suspects yet but i have my suspicions. There’s this AEU politician... Darlian. He had visited Heliopolis recently with his daughter...” - “Please, i’ve seen him in television. Doing this would have nothing to do with the ideals of that clown, Peacecraft. The one he keeps on babbling about, over and over again. And there is no way he of all people could know the truth behind the Delaz Incident. Has to be someone else… never mind that, leave it to your men. I want that Mobile Suit confiscated as soon as we’re separated, or we have no need for them anymore. Actually… ground the whole team.” Bask arched forward, preparing to shut down communications with his collaborator. - “And the pilots?” The woman who had been speaking to Bask was now somewhat visible. She had long black hair, and was wearing what seemed to be a military uniform. - “Interrogate them. I don’t quite think they stumbled upon that specific warehouse by chance either, and even if they did, it’s a Titans secret they’ve just stumbled upon. Do what you have to.” Following this, Bask turned off one of the televisions, leaving the camera probe’s feed on. - “Yes, sir...” The woman smiled, putting a long, red cape over her Titans uniform, before shutting down her own TVs and making her way out of the quarters, into a lit corridor where a blond man was awaiting her very next words. “Right on time. I told you they’d be here today. Prepare my Mobile Suit and… give it a ballute. One never knows.”
  11. Hmm? Niemeyer’s attention was soon brought by his onboard computer to something happening outside his field of vision to the right, according to the way the alarm sounded. Turning into a Mobile Suit and tilting its head towards the stimuli, his DINN briefly stopped, but switched to its simple MA mode once again very soon and kept moving. The pilot had seen enough. Alright, picture taken. It’s not simply above in the air. No point to that when it can shoot me on the top, or ride me while turning me into roast with a saber… The green DINN gained altitude, and soon was lost among the clouds. It’s on the ground, but not anywhere near that flash. An explosion would obviously not trigger near it, no sense to that. A rifle or a grenade both mean he’s far from that building… “but my sensors haven’t picked anything up.” He opened the snapshot he had taken of the area, and noticed something. Bingo. I’ve got it… the projectile hit one of the buildings before exploding. And damage can be seen from this side of it. That means it’s somewhere in that area… The Captain drew an imaginary, C-shaped zone on his head, which seemed to engulf the area where the grenade exploded. He gripped his controls, and activated his first weapons system. "Multipurpose Launcher. HE Rounds. Twenty. Left... four rounds." From the clouds, missiles started to rain towards the city, bombing the streets inside the C-shaped zone. The DINN pilot descended immediately after, facing the zone, to observe the results. “You tried to trick me! Pretty impressive for an A.I, but if you have any sense of self-preservation, this will smoke you out.” You can fly up, or light on those thrusters and simply find more cover. But whichever you do, I'll know where you are. Thank heavens this city is not real. Such a situation would cripple me in real life… i couldn’t simply fire at a city like this. Not with all the treaties and bureaucracy going on.
  12. Nyaa only has Origin, Thunderbolt, IBO, Fighters, Fighters Try Island Wars (but not Try itself), and Divers. BakaBT has turned... weird. Still, i can check other sites and force myself to watch through it if i do find it in subs. Plus now i know where to watch IBO and see if i give it a try.
  13. It was a very quiet night aboard Captain Niemeyer's regal-looking vessel, the Florence. Nothing was showing up on the scanners, there wouldn't be an attack from the Federation (or other undesirable groups) either, not so soon after the last one, and they'd already been served dinner. Now there would be only two things to do: fall asleep on the Captain's chair out of boredom while making his rounds, dropping his cup of tea in the floor, or go to his quarters and stare at the ceiling for hours, having already exhausted his supply of sleep aid pills. Well it definitely won't be either. I'd rather die than do this again and again every night… or rather, it’ll kill me. God, i can’t think clearly anymore. Getting up from his chair, he left his Executive Officer, Pizzini, in charge of the chair, the tea and countless sensors that beeped as soon as they picked up some wildlife on the ground. He lied to him about having to check up with the mechanics one last time before going to sleep, even though Lieutenant Pizzini most likely knew already: they wouldn't find him on his bed anytime soon, but rather, in the cockpit of his personal DINN, running simulations. And soon enough, he was in the hangar, preparing to enter the machine, painted green with golden and red accents, a color scheme inspired by the Zaku IIs of the Zeon Royal Guard. A black uniform jacket and white peaked cap were tucked under the seat, as he closed the hatch behind him and fired up the electrical systems, leaving the engines, actuators and Minovsky Reactor inactive. He navigated the simulator's menu slowly, out of boredom. He'd tried it all out in ZAFT's catalog: the BuCUE, the GOOhN, the ZnO, among others. The chief engineer, a One Year War veteran, had even hooked him up with data cartridges to simulate Mobile Suits of previous eras, such as various Zaku I and II variants, the Flight Type Gouf, GM Sniper II and even a Gundam… of which there only seemed to remain a round head with manipulators attached to the sides and a cannon on top. A very weird contraption that looked more like a Ball than a Gundam, but a Gundam's a Gundam, and so the enigmatic B Gundam remained the jewel of the crown in his collection of Mobile Suit data. One day, I shall obtain the rest of its body and know what controlling a Gundam truly feels like. Then, he found a new option. “Duel”? What’s this one do? Must have come with the newest firmware… Eager to find something new to finally feel in need of a nap, he pressed the button, and braced himself as the screen turned dark, only showing a single word on screen: “SEARCHING”, and the Mobile Suit’s HUD. Thus, he knew the system had selected the default Mobile Suit… his own. I won’t be unacquainted with the controls, at the very least. Now, before his eyes appeared a city. A floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills, with buildings too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, partly because of their varying ages, and intrincate streets navigating the massive city, with unintuitive turns, dangerous looking roundabouts and most particularly, traffic lights on the left side of the roads, when present. The skies were gray and cloudy, but the weather looked stable and the wind was bearable. It reminds me of one of those cities smack dab in Federation territory, as shown in my high school geography books. The DINN, standing next to a hangar in an airport with a layout not unlike Carpentaria Base’s, took off to the skies and deployed its six golden wings, as Niemeyer’s objectives appeared in the HUD. Primary Directives: Find Enemy Mobile Suit (0/1) Restore Peace and Order No Secondary Objectives Only one enemy? So that’s what it meant by “Duel”. Well, if it’s just one of them, he ought to be skilled enough. Better be wary of my surroundings...
  14. Worried about this option. I didn't get to finish Destiny. Long gone in the rotation when i finally made time for it.
  15. Cool! Looks like it's come back from a walk through the Sahara. Sadly only the AEUG one did that...
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