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Captain Grimsdottir

Humble beginnings

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(OOC: I had been working on this before things kinda fell apart here. In any case it felt a shame not to finish it and to not put it up here. For the same reasons I’m not going to really proof read it all that much. Hopefully someone will enjoy it.)

Location: <redacted>

Date: <redacted>

Operation: Brook Fall (Identified from Zeon intelligence post One Year War)

It seemed unavoidable, the shivering. It was a necessary sacrifice to maintain any possible element of surprise they might have however. Lieutenant Benjamin Grimsdottir sat huddled in an oversized trench coat and rubbed his leather gloves together eagerly. He keyed his microphone, “status update?” His communication line was a buried hardwire and he wasn’t afraid of it being intercepted. 

“We have confirmed movement from the valley LT, looks like they’re taking scenario A.”

Grim grinned “Very good, make sure to keep surveillance sharp, don’t neglect anything, remain vigilant, keep your heads on a swivel.”

“Roger that LT!”

They had prepared for this, every conceivable precaution had been taken, all that was left was executing their plans. When Grim had been given this assignment he initially resented it. However, he soon embraced the mundane challenge and decided that he would be the best guard that this particular bunker had seen. He spent a week analyzing the terrain, figuring out possible breaches on their location. The approach by the valley seemed the most logical given that the rest of their position was surrounded by mountains; that’s not to say the zeeks wouldn’t try that too. 

At dusk the guardwatch reported seeing shooting stars leading to the direction of the valley entrance. Not one to take chances, Grim set some scouts ahead in light vehicles. Sure enough a team of zeeks we’re setting up to march down the valley to their location. “4 GMs and they expect me to hold a base on my own with only 4…” Grim muttered to himself. He rubbed his hands and repositioned his grip on his tiny lantern. The dull light cascaded into his compartment and drew long shadows from the dormant switches in front of him. The lieutenant tried wiggling his toes to make sure that he could still feel them. This would be the most stressful part, waiting in the cold and seeing if his crazy plan would actually work. Minutes turned into hours and sure enough the Zeeks soon arrived. 

The first notion of trouble was the slight vibration Ben could feel. Although the LT was shivering, the suddenly shuddering of his cockpit told him that it was more than just his body. He looked around cautiously at the dormant controls to make sure he wasn’t making phantoms in his head when a crackle on his headset confirmed his suspicions. “LT! Movement near your ridge, have a Zeek heading towards your line of sight, counting 10 repeat 10 tangos all in the valley.”

“Affirmative overwatch. Setting up position, ready to be my eyes?”

“Roger that LT! We are go!”

Grim reluctantly uncurled from his ball in the crooked seat of the GM and began strapping himself in. His fingers shook not from the cold but from excitement of pre-battle now. He paused after strapping in and carefully considered the start up sequence of the GM. They had spent some time rewiring parts of the arm to boot up independently and with a low draw on power. Of course they tested out the sequence and of course it worked but reality often made practice seem inadequate. Still Grim slowly and deliberately toggled the switches and poised his hands over the controls for the right arm. “I’m ready overwatch, how's the show?” 

There was a slight pause which unnerved him and he wondered if the line had been trampled on. Finally, “LT, we got half the tangos past the skirmish line. Four units are taking the trail.”

“Roger that overwatch, confirm when last two have taken the trail, countdown at 60.”

“Affirmative LT, countdown at 60.”

Grim closed his eyes trying to imagine the footage outside of his darkened cockpit. He could imagine the Zakus milling down the valley in scattered groups. “60” The voice from overwatch broke his concentration and he tensed both his arms over the controls. It was going to be tricky, if he didn’t complete the startup sequence quickly he would pay dearly for his gambit. 

“50. 40. 30.”

He could practically see his heartbeat in his vision as he tried to breathe calmly. Slowly he curled his finger over the controls for the trigger. 

“10. 9. 8.”

“This is it!” He yelled to himself. Snapping his body into the moment he tensed his fingers over the smooth plastic of the controls. 

“3. 2. 1. Mark!”

Grim squeezed the trigger, the GM’s cockpit muffled the loud rapport of the machine gun emptying its magazine. Outside, a white GM was buried in a shallow pile of snow in a dense outline of tall conifer trees. The right arm had been poised on a pile of boulders from the nearby ridge and meticulously aimed at a so call “game trail” their squad had carved from the valley towards the base. As the GM fired off the rounds the snow melted around the weapon and the recoil bumped the de powered arm up widley. Even as the magazine emptied its contents Grim moved quickly to boot up the GM. 

He had insisted on digging his unit in to ambush the predicted enemy advance. The gamble was keeping the unit powered off and buried just deep enough to hide but shallow enough to pop out easily. Of course he had to keep the GM powered off too to avoid giving away a heat signature, hence rigging the arm to fire the rifle with low power and having the weapon pre aimed. 

As the GM woke from its frozen slumber it began to immediately fire its thrusters and gain its footing. As the snow flew from the visor of the GM Grim could see the carnage his trap had set. One zaku was on the ground bleeding smoke and fire and another behind it was tumbling into the trees beside it, explosions toppling it. Grim hardly had time to celebrate as he swapped magazines on the gun. Two more zakus further down the trail in front of him turned around in bewilderment. 

 

There was a slight pause as everyone acknowledged that things were out of place and then all hell broke loose. “All units commence counter attack!” Grim yelled into his microphone. Grim worked the controls to start charging at the two zeeks in front of him. A pink beam shot out from the base and made quick work of the zaku furthest from Grim’s GM. The shot was from one of his other mobile suits and was equipped with the only beam rifle. Ben had ordered that particular unit to remain behind to act as sniper and had given it special instructions should the battle get out of hand. 

 

The remaining Zeek in front of him paused as it drew its heathawk out and turned to consider its’ sniped comrade. The pause it stole was too much though as Grim unloaded half a clip into the belly of the monster.

 

Four units down with six left to go. Grim’s plan had just taken out the entire rear guard of the advancing enemy forces and the remaining zeeks were at the foot of the ridge mixed in the edge of the forest that approached the base. “Unit two! Unit three! Approach the forest and proceed with the counter attack. Unit four maintain your current position as overwatch!”

Three pilot voices acknowledged his order in unionship and the lieutenant dared to brave a smile on his face as he came to the base of the ridge. 

 

The next few minutes of relative calm unnerved Ben and stole the tempo of success from his stride. As he navigated the frosted forest he cautiously approached each tree, suspecting an enemy to be waiting in ambush. Step, step, pause was his rhythm now as he hunted for more enemies to engage. He contemplated changing magazines on the rifle but decided against dumping half the ammo knowing he didn’t have much reserve left. 

 

The minutes ached on and a voice on the radio nearly made him jump, “Lieutenant this is Garner! Be advised I’m not piloting my unit!” Ben couldn’t help but scowl at the announcement, “what do you mean ensign? Explain!”

“It’s the boy! He tricked me and took my unit I just came to in the barracks… but I know it was him.”

“Damn it! Go help Swanson in unit four Garner! Leave him to me!” Grim switched off his microphone and heaved a heavy breath before keying in the channel for unit two, “Private Winter is that you?”

There was an expected pause before the young voice responded, “acknowledge LT this is unit two…”

The Aussie twang was unmistakable now and Grim clenched his teeth, there was a million things he wanted to tell the private at that moment. “Damnit Gabe! Form up on whoever you’re closest to.  If you wanna play pilot that badly I’m not going to have you die alone. We’ll discuss this when this is over understand?”

In a calm voice the teen responded professionally, “understood L-T forming up now.” 

 

More minutes of unnerving silence commenced and Grim contemplated pulling his forces back to the base at that time, something was definitely amiss. He was about to key his mic when weapons fire rang out through the trees. He turned his GM around towards the noise and couldn’t see anything “all units report!”

Garbled voices responded with a definitive scream piercing his ears.  It took Ben a moment then he realized who it was. “Wagner are you ok? Respond!” Next he heard Gabe grunting something incoherent and could hear more weapons in the distance. Suddenly a blaze of pink light flashed throughout the forest and Grim got a lock on the position, “Winter respond!” 

“Wagner’s hurt L-T. He took a heathawk to the cockpit. I’m afraid I can’t get a good look without leaving my cockpit though.”

“Negative Winter, stay in your seat your my wingman now! Base send someone on foot to Wagner's position, me and Gabe will try and lure any remaining bogies away.”

Affirmatives echoed over the radio as he finally linked up with Gabriel. The wreckage of two more Zakus had the Lieutenant gauging the outcome of the battle. He desperately wanted to get out of his cockpit to check on the now silent Wagner but knew better with four enemies still around. 

“I took them both out L-T…” a voice softly announced. Grim turned to regard the other GM standing next to him. He motioned for them both to move off. After a minute Ben keyed his mic, “you mean that flash wasn’t unit four? You used your beam saber?”

“Affirmative sir…” there was a trace of satisfaction in the Aussies voice that Grim didn’t miss. “Good work private. Keep it up and we’ll make it out of this alive.” 

The duo marched along the trees zig zagging to make a path through the maze. More pink flashes Burned through the night air. “Swanson report!” Grim growled as he shifted his GM to face the base. Unit four had been perched on top of the hangar to give it a vantage point but he didn’t like the idea of them shooting. “Got trouble over here sir!” 

Grim didn’t wait, “back to base on the double Private!” He flared his thrusters and did a reckless leap back to the facility. Grim and Gabe leap frogged back to the base and within a few minutes the saw unit four shooting frantically from the rubble of the hangar. There was a moment when Swanson’s GM turned to regard Ben and Gabriel. The moment was interrupted by a bazooka round pounding into the chest of the GM, the cloud of smoke pulling Grim’s attention to a trio of Doms rushing into the base. “Gabe get behind and get ready I’m going to try and lure them to us!” 

Without waiting for a response Grim fired the remainder of his clip at the lead unit. Sure enough the Dom turned to regard the duo and lead the other two mobile suits to charge at them. As Grim started swapping for his last magazine he tried to calmly explain. “Hold your fire until they rush us!” If Gabriel understood he didn’t respond. Oddly enough Ben felt at ease with the private guarding his back. His reverie was disrupted by the trio of Doms thundering into them. A bazooka round burst into his shield and his cockpit shook violently as a follow up shot hit the shield practically shattering the feeble defense. Grim barely had enough sense to sidestep a heatrod slashing for his cockpit, “Gabe now!”

The private seemed to have read Ben’s mind perfectly as unit two lashed out at the Dom with it’s beam saber. Slashing from the opposite side that the Dom was attacking Ben with. The Dom’s momentum helped the pink blade dig hungrily at the metal and it soon toppled past the pair like a car wreck. The victory was short lived as the other two Dom’s began to circle around them and began angrily shooting volleys at the two GMs. 

Instinct took over the two Federation pilots as they moved into reaction. 

Ben hardly had time to consider what Gabriel was doing but instead focused on the Dom flanking in front of him. Shieldless he bounced his GM around in a clumsy dance of thruster dodges. Trying to edge himself closer as he fired his machine gun at the faster enemy. The Dom wasn’t buying into it though. Every time Grim tried to lead his shots the Dom would juke and avoid the fire. Grim likewise did the same when the Dom lined up a bazooka shot. Grim knew they were both running out of ammo so he decided to entice the Dom for the inevitable. He tossed his machine gun to the ground and drew out his beam saber. Gripping the weapon with both hands he presented it in front of himself. Technically speaking, Grim knew he was in an inferior unit, but he hoped the pride of the Dom pilot would cloud any doubts the enemy might have. 

Sure enough the Dom accepted his challenge by tossing its own bazooka. And in a swift motion it produced its deadly rod and charged at the Lieutenant. Grim pointer the tip of his fusia blade at the enemy’s cockpit while the Dom predictable cocked its’ heat rod to its right side. Both units fired their thruster. The dom hovered at him in a frightening pace, too fast for him to match in speed. Grim did start in a rush with his metal feet pounding away; however as they got closer, he slowed his pace. He fired thrusters with each step making his unit seemingly bounce a bit more. At the last moment he fired his thrusters hard and dipped the blade beneath with. He whipped the sword up and focused on landing the GM from the awkward movement. It wasn’t until he turned his GM around that he saw that his maneuver had worked. Dom’a were fiercely horizontal units and it would have been crazy to fight on even ground. His blade as slashed perpendicular, cleaning through the cockpit and head of the Zeek, clouds of fire bleeding from the unit. 

Panic stole his satisfaction as he keyed his mic, “Winter! Do you copy!”

Static responded back greedily and Grim marched forward to go past the wreck of the second Dom. Just as he came past it an explosion boomed from the last known direction of Gabriel.

 “Winter!” Grim called out frantically as he willed his suit forward. He was pretty much out of thrust by this point and with just his saber he didn’t know how much use he could be. As he approached the last bundle of black smoke he readied his blade in front of him. He saw that the bundle was the remains of a Dom. He then spotted a GM sitting in a pile of rubble, the cockpit was open. 

Sitting on the open hatch was a boy still in his teens, looking out at the destruction before him. The look on the boys face was one of satisfaction, or was it relief. Grim pulled up close and opened his own cockpit. “You ok son?”

Gabriel looked up at Grim, the look of reverie leaving his face. Finally he nodded towards Grim, “never better lieutenant… never better.”

Grim studied the young man for a moment and wondered to himself how the private had managed to pilot the mobile suit so well. The lieutenant knew he would have some explaining to do to command about this skirmish, yet he suspected that everything would turn out ok. The fact was that they had just repelled a superior force with nothing but wit and skill. He studied his sensors one last time to affirm his suspicions and nodded in satisfaction himself. “Gabriel… that was reckless… from now on how about you stick with me? And maybe… just maybe we’ll live through this madness.”

The boy nodded his appreciation, “I think I can abide that Lieutenant.”

They shared a salute and then a smile with each other. They would live to see their vow through.

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