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GBN 1.8 [GBN 1.8] Challengers of Diamond

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Back inside his crashed Mobile Suit at the factory, Beta’s acting commander prepared to abandon Airbatel for a little experiment. He opened his inventory, more importantly, his avatar’s wardrobe menu, and pushed a button to load Preset B. Only a blink of an eye passed between his uniform and cap vanishing into glowing particles, and the appearance from thin air of a Gryps-era normal suit, customized by Aida with the colors of his Man From Jupiter attire, and loaded with accessories taken from Quattro’s normal suit: the leg pistol holster and jetpack, which ironically, made their Zeta debut on the very episode this stage had been built upon. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the button that would make the hatch open. Weirdly, despite not really having anything to lose in a virtual videogame, he had his doubts. The experience was more realistic than ever, and he could only wonder what would be of the world when these games became fully immersive thanks to full-body sensor coverage. Somehow, people preferred fiction to reality, even if the worlds they were moving into weren’t really places one should want to live in.

Swooooshhhh...

Bingo. The hatch was now open, and he was out of the cockpit, but his avatar’s health meter was not decreasing in any way, fast or slow, which meant no significant oxygen loss. They had even implemented a practical use for normal suits… which meant people in public servers would finally have to stop breaking character and getting out of their machines into space wearing only swimsuits or casualwear if they didn’t want their Divers to die. He climbed down from the GM III, and continued his journey on foot. His avatar still having the meter at all meant he had not been ‘ghosted’ into Spectator Mode… and could still influence NPDs or other Divers, even though his MS was out of the fight for good. However, he thought as he fired up his jetpack’s thrusters and flied out of the factory, watching out not to get too close to the whirlwinds, only God knew what he could do now. To find such opportunities to wreck havoc as a mere person was rare. And since he was on the defending team, there weren’t even enemy facilities to infiltrate… only these factories, and the Titans building in the distance…

Suddenly, he needed to take cover. A GM’s BOWA rifle, briefly caught by the wind vortex before it became too weak to keep it spinning circles, was now approaching him with speed, just as he was getting used to seeing the colony from above. Rapidly, he accelerated towards another one of the factories, and crashed through one of the upper windows before the gigantic weapon could claim his avatar's life. Landing forcefully on top of a metallic scaffold, he took a moment to get up again, grabbing a hold of the metal bars. After getting himself on his feet again, he found yet another weird detail left in the map by the campaign’s creators, a sign of a different Universal Century. Did they really waste so much effort in detailing all of these factories and minor buildings, just in the remote case somebody did enter them?

“... Beta Team… calling Beta...” Now, a faintly familiar voice could be heard emanating from a device on his wrist. It was the pilot of the Galbaldy Beta. She was surprisingly alive, and still trying to contact the team. Quickly, he initiated a conversation with her. “Beta Four? This is Beta One, come in! What’s your status?”. An uncomfortably long pause followed, but B-Four would respond eventually. “Beta Four reporting… slightly wounded, Mobile Suit inoperative. On foot, armed with explosives. Hiding in a building… what are my orders?” Hearing her out, Aida recoiled for a moment, thinking of a response, before looking down from the scaffold upon what lied on the floor. Yet another idea that could get the team back on their feet. “Beta Four, i’m sending you my coordinates. Regroup with me, on the double.”

Elsewhere in the battlefield, Emma and Kacricon flied, looking for the sellsword that had shot Unit 03, when a woman in a blue normal suit appropriate to the era passed them, flying her jetpack towards the factory district. “What the hell… Kacricon, did you see that-” Emma was interrupted, however, as Kacooler’s news were more urgent. “Quick, I see stray shots!” Quickly, the dark blue Gundams spotted the enemy: one of the AEUG’s machines was in trouble, with a friendly trying to end it with a well placed slash, and an enemy keeping the energy blade from touching the Rick Dias' head with a beam saber. She recognized the friendly as the one that had shot 03, and the enemy as that weird Gundam that seemed to share more than a passing resemblance to her own Mark II. Why didn't the blue GM want her interacting with the white Gundam? She didn't know, but the other black Mobile Suit had caught wind of their arrival, and now fired its Clay Bazooka towards Kacricon and her. Kacricon acted quickly, dodging out of the way, and she followed suit, lifting her shield up in case the Gundam was not fast enough to dodge the round. "Emma, we'll waste that one! Poor bastard must feel pretty lonely, and with that kind of firepower, the maniac in the glitter dispenser can probably handle two tangos at once anyways." said Kacricon, referring to Apolly's Rick Dias as their new target and the Trinames Repair as the "glitter dispenser".

Emma had her doubts, their orders were to bring the glowing Mobile Suit's pilot to their superiors for interrogation, and the Mark II lookalike still poked at her curiosity. But in such a situation, they had to be pragmatic. Emma fired her beam saber up, not wanting to use her rifle inside the colony, and charged at Apolly Bay's unit.

Suddenly, the cockpits of all Divers cut to black, with the words “Mission Accomplished” for Alpha Team, and “Operation Completed” for Beta Team. Apparently, that had been the end of the stage. Now, a new cinematic showed, and control of the Mobile Suits was temporarily taken away.

---

<< GENERATION BREAK : CUTSCENE START >>

Over at the Titans base, from which the firefight and the wind had both shifted away, giving fire control and medic teams way to take action, base commander Samuel D. Rogen of the Federation idled nervously next to a window on the upper floors, assessing the situation with a pair of binoculars and talking to himself in a low tone. "Not good… Some mercenary crashed into one of the R&D hangars. Let's hope these lunatics don't notice Sisquiede… they've already flied away with 03's wreck, so they are not afraid of carrying dead weight." A beeping signal interrupted him, followed by the shout of the communications officer operating the receiver/transmitter array of the base. "Distress signal from LCAM-01XA! The structural supports of Heliopolis-” The young officer paused, knowing the Titans were insistent in using another name for the colony, and corrected himself. “The structural supports of Gryps 1 are very damaged, and-” The young officer was cut off by Rogen. “What do they want us to do about it?! Our hands are tied over here, and all we have are Mobile Suits anyways! We can’t repair a colony! Order them to retreat and get over here before ZAFT comes back and squashes us all! Bask will have a plan.”

Immediately afterwards, a new signal came in. The communications officer listened in, then gave everyone in the room the news: “Gryps 1 has experienced dissasembly. Archangel, X-105 and the Hawk of Endymion are falling back here. ZAFT has chosen to fall back for unknown reasons.” At the same time, the radar technician on Rogen’s other side spoke with an update on the fight taking place in Gryps 2. “The AEUG is on the run! They’ve put Unit 03 in a barge… the red one and his escorts are currently flying away.” Commander Rogen was not amused, but right as he was beginning his rant, the faces of Bask Om and Jamaican Daninghan appeared on screen. Samuel promptly filled his commanders in, and when he was done, Jamaican spoke. “So ZAFT partnered with the AEUG and used them as a distraction here, while they stole our X-Numbers… damned know-it-all spacenoids! We’ll give them a beating they won’t ever forget… once we’ve built System, no fleet, no weapon will be more powerful than us!” Bask lifted his hand, prompting Jamaican to shut up and let him speak. “Base Commander, Archangel is coming here. We’re boarding it, but without four of five X-Numbers, the ship is seriously understaffed. And we can’t really leave anything of value, given the condition of this colony. Lieutenants Kacricon Kacooler and Emma Sheen are to board Archangel with Unit 01 and Unit 02. Have the mercenary team join them. They’re insubordinate, but they're regular force material.”

In space, an orange Mobile Armor could be seen approaching the punctured hull of Green Noa 2, escorting a white legged ship...

<< GENERATION BREAK : CUTSCENE END >>

---

When the cutscene ended, control returned to all the Divers. The IFF, however, had been disabled, and the weapons had been deactivated. Combat was no longer possible, nor were the Rick Diases where they used to be moments ago. Now, Quattro, Apolly and Roberto all were far away from Beta Team and the two dark Gundams, flying towards the first hole, the one next to which the AEUG barge now safeguarded a Gundam Mk-II, before crossing the threshold and disappearing into the darkness of space. The two operational machines of Beta Team were left alone with Emma and Kacricon, while the voice of Jamaican pierced the silence. “... repeat, this is Lieutenant Commander Daninghan. Units 01 and 02, retreat towards the spaceport. Beta Team, escort Units 01 and 02. All non-mentioned personnel is to stay and help repair this base.” While Kacricon and Emma took off, the Divers of Beta Team saw a blue arrow appear in their cockpits, pointing in the direction of the hangars they had taken off from at the start of the operation. Apparently, that was the destination of the Mk-IIs, and by extension, theirs.

As both his beam tomahawk and the modified Barzam's beam saber turned off automatically, Kyle was not disappointed or angry, he merely couldn't help but be bewildered in the team's voice channel. "Shouldn't we be back at Alfred's school already? We lost, didn't we?" Taking off towards the spaceport, the pilot of Trinames wondered to himself: How come I can never ever get a bit of casual fun without risking this kind of stuff…? Stupid maniacs.

Upon returning from the cutscene, Carter found his Mobile Suit in midair, lunging at a missing person. The Red Comet was long gone now, and he was left alone, circling around his own axis. "Agh, I'd have beat him to a pulp..." he said as he landed the Zaku Forerunner for a moment, and turned it around, flicking the Saturn Engine back on to cruise towards the other side of the colony. They did give my mech one hell of a beating, though... no respect for the classics, no respect for the classics.

1188990742_GP03Titans.thumb.png.c2bb3516ed59d3b147931dfcb9841d91.png

As for the team NPD, she unexpectedly burst through the roof of a factory, now at the helm of a restored GP03S, painted in Titans colors and wielding a Folding Bazooka. Her passenger, Aida, hanged on to the pilot seat as best as he could, lacking any jump seats where he could sit. He was not happy that their stellar find couldn't make it in time to save the day. "Crud… It was a perfect idea. But we are too late." The nameless NPD looked back at him, her black helmet visor betraying no faction, no feature of her. "We must go to the mission marker's position." Aida calmly replied, regaining his composure, "I know. But first, we must pick up my Mobile Suit. The Stamen can probably take it to the spaceport..."

Minutes later, the six Suits entered the spaceport, just as the venerable Moebius Zero could be seen entering Archangel, in anticipation of the ship aligning right in front of an open gate, allowing the Marks and Beta a clear landing onto their Mobile Suit bays. The Trinames and Forerunner took off into space first, clearing the way for the two dark Gundams, before joining the Stamen and Airbatel behind them and landing inside the ship, which closed its hangar bays and turned around to flee, before the enemy Nazca-class could catch up. Leaving Airbatel in one of the bays and the GP03 in another, Aida and the NPD materialized in front of the latter, floating in the middle of the hangar bay towards the floor. Oxygen had already been restored to the area, and a black haired woman was moving in for an introduction. Not wanting to be impolite, Aida traded his helmet back for Preset A's cap. The NPD, however, did not change attire.

With graceful movements, a woman dressed in a white Earth Alliance uniform stopped in front of the Mobile Suits, as a blonde man could be seen unboarding his Mobile Armor. Holding a clipboard, she would address the group. "You must be the reinforcements… I'm Executive Officer Badgiruel. Commanders Bask and Daninghan have boarded the ship some minutes ago and will be in the conference room for a debriefing. You can head there when you're ready. Dismissed." She would then head back, with the NPD following her in a manner reminiscent of an automaton. Aida was somewhat disconcerted at the two of them. "Yeah… nice to meet you two I guess." Then, he looked at the white Dynames and the blue Zaku, curious about the people inside.

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As the Trinames stood in the hangar of the Archangel, Kyle was still confused as to why they weren't back at the school. However, he couldn't help but be excited about this new campaign. "Zeta and Seed mixed together?" He said to his robotic companion. "Who knows what other series could be apart of this universe?!" The diver looked down to see two of this allies, along with Natalie Badgiruel. It was weird seeing so many named NPD characters for Kyle. Every once in a while, his old team would rent a Gundam alumni, but this battle and the way characters acted showed him how much effort was being put into the campaign.

"There's more to this than meets the eye..." He thought. It didn't look like a basic mesh of universes. Characters were going to interact with each other, similar to a Super Robot Wars game or the series this campaign seemed to be named after. "How important will my interactions be to these NPD's? How will they respond?" Currently though, it didn't matter as Kyle pulled up a screen to his right, surveying the damage done to him by a real player. "The psycho sure did some damage..." He said. "No Trans-Am! No Trans-Am!" responded Haro. The diver chuckled. "Yeah, I didn't get to use it, but the Trans-Am wasn't stable anyways." None of the mobile suit seemed stable to Kyle. If he were to keep up with the others on Alpha Team, the Trinames would have to be completed.

Picking the spherical droid up out of his slot, Kyle materialized in front of his Gunpla, glancing around the large hangar of the Archangel as he floated. His previous team could only afford a Supersonic Transporter, so being apart of such a massive ship was something he'd have to adjust to. Noticing Beta Three's Blue Zaku, he wondered who was piloting the Zeonic machine. The diver began to float down to his other teammate. "Aida, right?" Kyle exclaimed as his feet touched the ground. "My name is Kyle!" Haro jumped out of his arms and flapped his ears. "HARO! HARO!" It yelled out. Kyle sighed. "Yeah, that's my partner Haro, but I'm assuming you already knew that if you're playing this game."

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Carter would have been leaning against his arms on the main control panel of his Zaku, he let out a sigh and shook his head "Man.. Next time for sure, that'll be it" He said to himself before perking his head up and leaning back, looking around to see his environment and a particular NPD that caught his attention "Hm.. thats SEED isn't it?" he asked to himself before nodding along and then relaxing, he noticed the other two mobile suits in the hangar and decided that he would probably have to introduce himself one way or another, he let out another sigh at the that prospect before opening his cockpit and sliding down the rope that revealed itself for him to get in and out of it.

"Yo.. You guys were my teammates earlier right?" He asked just to make sure, but he would still continue.. placing his hands in the pockets of his jacket "I'm Carter, Nice to meet you two" He said, he took notice of the one holding a Haro, he liked that ones mobile suit and general appearance- Lockon was one of his favorite characters after all. He then turned to check his mobile suit, followed by everyone elses.

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With a gentle smile, the provisional team leader pressed a few buttons to unequip his jetpack, rather uncomfortable in a non-combat situation, before addressing them. "Welcome to Beta, Kyle, Carter. You can call me Aida, and that's my Mobile Suit over there… " he said making a signal at the wrecked GM III. "I admit I have been the least helpful of the bunch today, but it's what I get for getting into a new campaign with such confidence..." Flicking his wrist, schematics of the Airbatel appeared, with what appeared to be an alternate backpack bearing resemblance to a G-Defenser, the word MISSING laid over it in red capital text. Aida's Mobile Suit was clearly incomplete, while overconfidence had also gotten the best of him during battle. "However! We've now seen what the enemy team is capable of. And I promise you, next time, I won't be playing around. Believe me or not, I used to be kept around in a Top 50 team..." Closing the schematics, he motioned for them to follow him and leaped towards the transit rails, which fortunately were quite similar in nature to those of an Universal Century ship. "My current crew, however, we're all for fun. We roleplay canon battles of the Universal Century, and every once in a while, we make our own, with original machines and plot, but with extra care not to make either of them very outlandish. I made the Airbatel for one of those, actually. It's a modified GM III made by the AEUG to compliment the Earth Federation Air Force as a dedicated grunt to escort Ankshas and Asshimars, or ride on top of them. It battled modified Titans suits at Torrington Base in UC 0097, along with other prototypes, like the Jegan Sniper II and… I know, I'm getting chatty again. Sorry about that. It's hard not to." He apologized with a faint laugh, straightening his cap before entering the debriefing room.

The debriefing room was an ample space with lots of chairs, many of which were not occupied. He recognized Emma Sheen and Kacricon Kacooler amongst the ones that had been able to attend. The team NPD was sitting in the front row, and Aida promptly sat next to her. But it was no use. Her spacesuit and visor were still put, rather suspiciously to them, but strangely raising no questions among the other NPDs. She's not quite like any NPD I have ever seen, before or even inside this update. A long-haired woman promptly entered the room with Ensign Badgiruel and Lieutenant Mu La Flaga, wearing a similar uniform. "Sit down. I want to congratulate all of you on reaching this ship, whether you hail from either Gryps." She paused to let her companions take a seat beside her. "I am Lieutenant Commander Murrue Ramius of the Earth Alliance, and these are Lieutenant La Flaga and Ensign Badgiruel. Due to the chaos that ensued this morning, me and the Ensign here are the sole remainder of the Archangel's original crew. Most of you are seeing this ship or any its current cargo for the first time, but you must know that all of them are top-tier secrets of both the elite Titans branch, and the Alliance military as a whole." She allowed a pause, maybe expecting her public to react, but then cut it short. "Silence. I am not going to ask you to feel honored, but rather remind you: your knowledge puts you in a very tight spot. We will not take your petty squabbles with ease…" She interrupted herself once again, seeing a pair of rookie Titans chatting lively with each other. Flying towards them, she slammed her hand on their desk. "You are not in boot camp anymore! You're in a select group, where insubordination is immediately met with severe repercussions..."

Aida saw Lieutenant La Flaga stand up and continue his superior's point, calmly hovering towards the desk. "Such as capital punishment. A pair of young ones like you both should learn to make yourselves useful before you get into trouble. Love or hate your leaders, you should know that the less people know about all of these secret research initiatives, the better to them. People like you are not just disposable. They want you dead, and will put you down at the first sign of instability. So why don't you save everyone the trouble and be a pair of good soldiers?" The look on Murrue's face was of gratefulness towards Mu for helping her, even if she was a bit annoyed at his liberal manner of speech. While she had gotten a field promotion in the last hour, Mu was her senior, and as one of the only pilots in the ship, he had been skipped over for said promotion, so that he could be used as a pilot rather than command the ship. The next person to have the word was Kacricon: who stood up to talk in a controlled manner. "Speaking of our superiors… where are Bask and Jamaican? We shouldn't be ordered around by Federation officers..." La Flaga clenched his fist, but Murrue motioned for both of them to sit down. "A valid question. Why yes, you could say they should be here, but for now, they're in the bridge, assessing our current situation and thinking of ways to accomplish our objective… We must reach Jaburo, in South America. However, we are being pursued by a ZAFT ship carrying what could be said is the best the enemy has… the Creuset Company. Natarle?"

"Indeed. Lieutenant La Flaga here probably knows them better than anyone on this ship. He has faced them countless times, and can attest to them being an elite Coordinator team… which now, to make matters worse, have experimental Gundams on their hands." Mu, as to help her point, continued: "Not to mention a ship capable of keeping on par with ours. So, without a skilled helmsman, we can expect them to get to us sooner or later." Murrue came back to the front with Mu, and grabbed the spotlight once more. "For the time being, there is no plan. No ships have yet heed our distress signals, much less come to our rescue. All we can do for now is… be vigilant, and be prepared. I want everyone on level two battle stations, I want all pilots to keep their machines in as high working order as they can, and I want the watchtowers working turns. We keep pushing the pedal, and wait. When they appear, we defend ourselves nicely until we can get to Earth's Absolute Defense Perimeter. Any questions?"

With the silence that followed, came her dismissal of everybody in the room. "Very well. This meeting is now over. All can go..." Man, I can't wait to see what the next episode entails… "Except for Beta One and Two. Your trials begin now." Mu pointed his finger over his shoulder, towards the door. "The kid with the GINN knockoff and the visor lady, out. Go have some dinner or something." Carter was visibly confused by the Lieutenant calling his Zaku a GINN knockoff, but simply shrugged it off and called it a day, while the NPD Who Shall Not Be Seen followed him quietly out of the room. Aida and Kyle were left alone with the three of them, scratching their heads. "But… but… we couldn't fight. They had wrecked our stuff-" Murrue had the word once again. "Silence, Beta One. We shall begin with your trial once we've finished discussing Beta Two's stunt here. Now, mister… 'Kyle', it says here you shot a prototype Gundam's cockpit?". Aida sat down patiently and listened, amused by the situation, while Kyle was left standing. "But I did it to stop Kami-" Kyle began to explain himself, but seeing the expression in the faces of the officers, he stopped himself. So lifelike… it's like they're still pissed about that Gundam… anyways, it's probably better not to get on their bad side anymore. "Sorry. My actions were reckless. I felt that was the best way to handle that situation at the time." While Mu was perplexed, maybe looking for a different answer, Murrue continued, holding files on the Gundam MkII given to her by either Bask or Jamaican. “Well, while it would've been correct to destroy that Gundam if it was in the process of being hijacked, truth remains, no enemies had been reported in the area at the time, and there is no way you could've seen something from such a distance people near the unit didn't. Furthermore, the brilliant engineering behind the Gundam was most notably used on its structure, with the cockpit holding nothing of notice, which is why its self destruction protocol was complete rather than partial.”

She knows her stuff... I better watch myself, don't say anything meta. Kyle suddenly realized his avatar's similarities to the AEUG's fabled Lieutenant, and tried not to let out an alarmed gasp. Meanwhile, Natarle took over. “However… while you remain a suspicious person, and will be under our constant watch, we cannot deny the gravity of our current situation.” Mu followed her, adding something as to drive the point home: “We cannot simply jail a guy capable of hitting a Gundam from that far... and wrecking it. Not right now. You are dismissed.” Kyle finally sighed with relief, and got out of the room, leaving Aida alone with Murrue, Natarle and Mu, who continued speaking. Aida’s appearance disturbed him a little, however. When did he even change into that uniform? And why is it nicer than even Bask’s? “Ahem… for charges of feeding false information to elite forces and failing to keep your men under control, how do you explain yourself?” Aida got up from his chair and looked at them straight. Don’t want the campaign to take unfortunate spins because of my earlier incompetence. “Well, how should we put this… i might have wanted to impress the lady with my fighting skills over there, heh.” In response, Murrue restrained a chuckle. “How did that go? I suppose being shot in the back and crashing into a factory is the true mark of a professional...” Aida, too, felt relief. He appeared to have convinced them of having committed a mistake, without actually telling them that he didn’t want any of the Titans to mix up with the custom Barzam, or the red Woundwort, which could have provoked a traitorous response from Sheen and questions from Kacricon at the very least. Natarle finished the trial in an advisorial tone. Apparently, the day was wearing off on her. “We will let you out with a warning. But let this be said, we will not tolerate any more unprofessional behavior from you or your men, understand?. Dismissed.”

Getting out of the room, Aida finally got a chance to look at his wrist hologram without looking impolite, and noticed that it was late back in the real world. Furthermore, he had lost track of his team, but he could speak to them tomorrow. Pressing a button, he logged off, and the blue GM III disappeared from its stand on the ship. Right before the log-off was completed, though, he was met with a screen detailing the rewards given to the team for completing the stage.

---

<< Rewards >>

Aida

Unlocked for Printing: Back Camera (Marasai)

Badge: Memory Lane (+5000cr)

Stage Completed: 10000 Credits

Kyle

Badge: Hijack This! (+10000cr)

Stage Completed: 10000 Credits

Carter

Available at Avatar Shop: These Glasses Are A CHAR!

Badge: Outdated But Skilled (+30% Credits)

Stage Completed: 13000 Credits

---

As he pulled back from the game cabinet and returned to the darkness of his hobby shop, Aida could not help but laugh, his 1/144 Airbatel in hand. Back Camera… well aren’t you one hell of a comedian?

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"Glad that's over." Kyle thought as he walked out of the debriefing room. "That could've ruined the whole campaign experience for me." However, this did teach the Diver something. Not only would decisions like that impact this world, but the shooting of the MKII didn't even matter. "Alpha Team still got away with Kamille and a MKII." As he reached the hangar of the Archangel, Kyle saw his robot companion annoying one of the engineers. "Hey Haro!" He yelled out. "Stop messing with him." The spherical droid floated back to his owner. "Sorry! Sorry!" It chirped. "I cant believe I just told a computer program to stop messing with another program..."

He knew it was time to log off, so he pulled up his wrist hologram. As he made the world around him disappear, his mission rewards appeared.

Kyle

Badge: Hijack This! (+10000cr)

Stage Completed: 10000 Credits

Kyle had been hoarding credits for no real reason. After leaving his former team, nothing really enticed him to buy just for himself. "I'll use them eventually..." The Diver was brought back to the real world, staring down at his Gunpla. After he pulled off his visor, Kyle picked up the red machine. "We're gonna need to do some fine tuning." He said as the Gunpla was put next to his array of tools and unfinished model kits. "No way it'll be ready for the next mission though. I-" Suddenly, a voice made him jolt out of his seat. "Have you been playing this whole time?!" Kyle who had fallen on his back, looked up to see his angry wife by the door. "I thought you would've stopped to work on another project by now." 

The Comet Meister looked at the time. It was early in the morning. "Oh crap! Did I play all night?!" He exclaimed. "You sure did." His wife responded. "Can you please check the time every once in a while in the game? Work needs to be done, you know?" Kyle got up off the ground, putting his chair back in place. "I know, Amy. I'm sorry." Kyle said. "This new campaign was just super engaging though. It was like an SD G Gen game! One of the handheld ones though. It had Zeta and Seed mixed together with these realistic NPD's. Who knows what'll be next?" Amy sighed. "You can tell me all about it AFTER you get some rest." She exclaimed as she walked out of the room. By the way. The poster design for you-know-what is due this week." Kyle looked shocked. "Man... I thought it was due next week!" As he walked toward the bedroom, his eye caught a certain gray mobile suit on his shelf. "The Trinames may not be done, but that doesn't mean I can't use other mobile suits. This next mission will be in space, after all..."

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When Carter left the room, he stretched out and sighed.. "I guess it makes sense he would call it a GINN, but jeez.." He scratched the back of his head and then went to log out, when he did he saw his mission rewards and smiled a little.

Carter

Available at Avatar Shop: These Glasses Are A CHAR!

Badge: Outdated But Skilled (+30% Credits)

Stage Completed: 13000 Credits

"Guess that's something to write home about" He said, before standing up and stretching "Sheesh.. that was intense" He looked around his room and then focused on his Zaku, he smiled at it and then picked it up "We'll be better next time, I promise" he said, he went straight to his desk and got to work on tuning his machine.. a little after that, he turned to his shelf and saw another model standing tall. 

"Well.. I guess it wouldn't hurt" He said, he changed the model kit he was working on and continued late into the night.. with a big smile on his face 

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- “Take two…” That Sunday night, Aida deposited the Airbatel, now complete and entirely ready for battle, on top of the scanner. His gaze lingered on the completed unit, now at full combat capabilities. This time, he thought, I’ll be prepared for anything. Again, the rings of light met near the GM’s waist and a different name appeared on screen. Super Airbatel GM. The original completed state of the Airbatel GM. But Aida could only wonder, will we really leave it like this? There are probably adjustments to be done… He logged in, put his visor on, and then landed back again in the lobby. Not much had changed since last time: The guide NPDs had been implemented, and promotional banners for other community campaigns that had been featured by the administration, such as Leges Sine Moribus, Zeta Destiny and one with a name that Aida couldn't make out due to it being written entirely in Japanese symbols, but probably set in the Cosmic Era judging by the appearance of a Murasame in the poster. He knew his atmospheric Mobile Suits well, perhaps due to being in a team dedicated to them before, but the Murasame held a special place, since it was his first suit in said team, the one he managed to enter with. He remembered making a sleeper of it, by simply detailing a stock suit, and making some additions that would not be noticed. I aced that audition. Good times.

Hangar Bay 06B. Mostly empty, save by his machine and the administrator’s machine. This time, a Marasai with Gouf Custom parts, painted in the same light blue as Norris Packard’s unit. Another Marasai? Well, can’t blame the man’s taste. He inspected his Mobile Suit, this time with extra care since it was in a new configuration, and took note of every seam, every unpainted spot, every imperfection. Left binder. Missed a spot there, and it’s even in a hard area. God damn, i’m gonna have to dissasemble the thing to fix that. After the exterior checkup was done, he entered the cockpit, but noticed two bug-seekers inside the cabin: Elmeth mice. He patiently allowed them to leave before closing the door and seating himself in the pilot's throne. He had seen a lot more of them in his brief stay as a beta tester rather than in his whole GBN career: a justifiable increase in surveillance, seeing as bugs and exploits were all but expected in numbers… Aida navigated through the suit’s Settings interface, and started making adjustments accordingly, one of the reasons he had logged in early. The suit was able to move around gravitated environments, just like Friday in Gryps 2, but he had postponed the making of a space movement preset for the Super variant right until now. He loaded the Airbatel’s own zero-g preset to lay the groundwork, and then modified it to match the current state of the Suit, now taking into account the GM-Defenser.

By nine, he was finished, but there being no sign of the Archangel yet, he decided to take to the skies, albeit briefly. The Super Airbatel used the catapult, and started to fall towards the floor, but once the GM-Defenser activated, the machine took off and achieved flight on its own. Where to go now? So as to answer his question, the scanner warned him of new content ahead, yet again in the Riah district. A MacDaniels restaurant? That’s new. While they had been part of the many, many buildings in said district, up until now the MacDaniels were in an empty state, with locked doors and closed curtains, merely serving as part of the city backdrop. He set course for its parking lot, over which an EWAC Leo with a Flight Pack was already landing, crushing some city cars with its foot. This was not a grave matter, however, as while only accessible or important buildings were safe from accidental or incidental destruction by the machines of the users, whatever could be destroyed in Free Roam mode would go back in time and reform itself as long as no users or Mobile Suits were touching the object in question. This feature entertained users, which caused them to crush and destroy stuff, from signs and cars to empty buildings, only to see the pieces of concrete, metal and glass fly back to their spot and repair the destroyed buildings. It was much like marvelling at a smart pillow: the ones that always came back to their original shape, once one’s head was no longer resting on top.

However, before he could crush some cars of his own and greet the pilot of the Leo, a portal suddenly opened in his way. Before he could know it, his GM was in the Archangel’s hangar bay, standing upright with the engines off. This gave him a mild case of motion sickness, since the Super Airbatel was facing gravitated ground moments ago, flying towards the horizon, as opposed to standing still and up in a weightless environment. Ow! What the… Jesus, are they even allowed to do this? He opened the door, feeling woozy and annoyed, expecting an important reason to be brought there so urgently. This better be good. But there were no announcements being made through the PA system, nor were there any NPDs standing in front of the GM. Are they waiting for us all to be here to start the briefing? He did notice that, in addition to the pair of Gundam Mark IIs and the GP03, the Gunpla of his teammates were already there. Or were they? Getting off his Mobile Suit to approach the sniper’s Gundam and the speedster’s Zaku, he noticed both machines were not only half transparent and did not collide with him, they also had the exact same battle damage as Friday night. Snapshots of their states at the end of last mission… could the NPDs have been seeing this ever since we left? They might not even know we left at all. But if this was the case, Aida wondered, what about the changes on the Airbatel? Didn’t they notice the new backpack? Or the fact that it was whole again? What if somebody brought with them an entirely new machine, rather than the one they had a day before? This update was a whole world of questions.

But right now, not much could be done. Just as he saw Miriallia Haw pass him with a food cart, he also noticed a portal was opening right under the feet of one of the two machines. One of his teammates was coming online...

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"FINALLY!" Kyle looked at the finished poster, marveling at the detail of it. "They'll be so proud." He thought to himself. Something that wasn't finished though was his gunpla. He glanced at the Trinames' parts, with some still needing paint and other upgrades. "That one's taking a lot longer than I thought." He'd used custom mobile suits before, but nothing as intricate as the Trinames. Kyle grabbed the gray backup gunpla from his shelf, ignoring his previous kitbashes. "It'll be fun to try something a little different from the norm." Setting the machine down on his scanner, The diver made sure his visor would fit comfortably as he looked at the screen.

MSN-02 Zeong.

While the mobile suit technically couldn't be used outside of space without modifications during missions, settings could be messed with to allow movement during Free-Roam. After those were changed, Kyle flew into the skies, testing out many of the Zeong's armaments. He realized that would be the best thing to do right now because of how different the machine was from anything else that he used. The wired forearm guns for example, were nice training tools if he ever decided to use funnels in the future. "This is pretty cool, isn't it Har-" He looked to his right, expecting Haro to be there. "That's right." He said. "I didn't make this machine with Haro in mind." He COULD bring the little droid out of his inventory, but decided not to. He'd most likely annoy Kyle more than help during the next mission. 

Suddenly, a portal opened up, taking him out of this world and right into the hangar of the Archangel. It wasn't a comfortable move, as the machine came to a complete stop, startling the diver. "Geez. They could've given me a chance to react to the move..." Even with no legs, his machine was still around the same height as his team member's GM. "Looks like he upgraded. Wish mine was done too." He also noticed his other teammate's Zaku, which looked as if it wasn't even there. "The update sure is strange..." Seeing Aida in the hangar, Kyle floated to the GM's owner. "Yo!" The Comet Meister exclaimed.

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Carter placed his head directly to his desk, shutting his eyes and banging his head there over and over again "Come on.. ideas, lets go.. just need a little bit of ideas, you can do it brain!" he said.. he thought about everything, what type of MS would be nice, what series he should take from, what mood he wants it to evoke. He looked over at his shelf of different Gunpla and Gundam memorabilia, he narrowed his eyes and then suddenly shot straight up when it finally came to him.

"Of course!" He exclaimed "Thanks, brain!". Carter would run over right to his cabinets and grabbed paints, files, and sandpaper.. as well as a couple of other Gunpla, he smiled and then sat right at his little desk with everything he'd need.. he started taking them apart and putting them back together in different combinations, experimenting as much as he could before finding a combination he liked.. and he did, after about an hour or so of mulling over designs.. He grabbed his paints and got to work, sanding, priming, air brushing, and drying.. and when he was done, he pulled away and smiled at it proudly "What should i name it.." 

He tapped his foot and looked at its different aspects, the colors, the design.. and then it came to him "The Comet Dagger!" 

It was perfect in his mind, it was Based off the Buster Dagger and some Astray parts.. A high mobility artillery mobile suit. "Perfection" He said while holding it in his hands, he took it and its weapons and placed it on the scanner as he logged in.

He took it straight to free roam so that he could test it, he primed its thrusters and then put pedal to the metal as he blasted off, it was nice and agile.. powerful weapons to match "Whooo!" He cheered, spinning in a circle while firing off the High energy rifle, and the Gun Launcher.. unfortunately it would be cut short- as the next he knew.. he would be in the hangar of the archangel, with his teammates. 

He sighed and disembarked, floating out of the cockpit and then landing on the catwalk.. He saw the Zeong, and the GM "Good taste.." He said to both, as he approached the other pilots 

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(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.

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Walking outside of the Zeong's head, Kyle looked around the savannah. The group of four seemed to be alone, with no Archangel or anything else in sight. The diver knew that whatever happens during their next mission, Beta Team will likely be on their own. "Wouldn't want to fight with those Titans anyways." He thought while walking toward Aida. Kyle put his hand on the back of his head. "Sorry I couldn't do much this time." He exclaimed. "I'll promise you that the Trinames will be complete by the time we do the mission, whatever that may be."  Kyle pulled up his menu, checking to see if he was past his allotted playtime he gave himself. It was close, but the diver decided that he needed to get to back to his real job. "I'm gonna have to log out now." He uttered while pressing a few buttons. "Great job on the win! I'll see you guys next time!" With that statement, the diver materialized away from GBN.

Pulling off the headset, the sides of them were covered in sweat. "Gross!" He yelled while grabbing wipes. "Wish I had one of those more comfortable, hi-tech ones..." He wiped the whole setup down and picked up his Zeong gunpla, placing it back where it belonged in his collection. "You were good, but you're no Trinames, that's for sure." He thought to himself as he glanced at the uncompleted custom. "Nothing will stand in the way of the Comet Meister's machine!"

 

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Carter was elated with himself, actually coming up with a winning plan that got them to safety "Hell yeah!" He said, sitting up from his cockpit and opening the hatch, he looked around the area and saw nothing "Hey.. we're on Earth right? Not mars?" He joked, wiping his forehead as if there was sweat. 

"Oh yeah! We did well out there guys" he chuckled and raised his fist "We'll get back at them for betraying us another time, I gotta go for now" he waved bye as he logged out. When he was back to reality, he shut his eyes and laid back, it wasn't too intense, but he was mentally strained.. his new MS felt amazing to pilot and use. He picked it up and admired it "You did well out there" he said, bringing it over to the shelf and putting it in action pose next to his Zaku. 

"Oh yeah, I should probably.." He nodded and looked at the time "I should make a visit" he said, grabbing his coat and heading out 

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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

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- “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.

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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!

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This post was made together by the Challengers of Diamond. Don't talk shit about grunts. Don't talk shit about the beta.

-

Days later, Aida logged in for the second time that day. He had finally checked out the beta tester forums, as set up by the administration, however he didn’t dare make any posts yet. Instead, he was logging in because of a post telling him of a function that had been there since the start of the closed beta, but which he apparently missed. So they went and did it? The madmen... Dressed in a brown coat and a dark blue turtleneck, his civilian preset, he made a beeline for the hangar where the new iteration of the Airbatel was materializing, and entered the cockpit before those pesky Elemechu could invade it and keep him from entering. In effect, it was like he left it. A standard panoramic cockpit with dark blue/yellow upholstery and a normal UI, as expected from the new torso, taken from a Titans Pale Rider DII. But it wouldn’t stay like that for long. Soon, he fell over his seat and explored the menus until he found what people were talking about… cockpit customization. Opening the menu, a hidden shop appeared before him, where he could spend some of his currency buying different Mobile Suit cockpits, color presets, UIs, or even props to clutter the place. Like a kid in a candy shop, he tweaked stuff to his liking for 30 minutes straight before feeling satisfied with his creation. He was now trying out a Re-GZ cockpit with brown upholstery, and perhaps most importantly, a small cassette player taped to the back of the moving screen, a prop from Gundam Thunderbolt’s Io Fleming. There we go… this newer cockpit shouldn’t be too different from the other one, and the radio can play music for some added kicks. I’m liking this already… He then switched on the screen, and the entire environment around him appeared on it. The new UI showed information on the mobile suit currently using the Hub’s Catapult 03, a white Marasai with weird addons, apparently called a “Marasai Transformable Type”. Again, it was piloted by the same administrator who kept bringing a different Marasai each day. This person appears to have lost their sanity and found the Marasai instead.

After the obscure contraption cleared the catapult, it was his turn to use it. However, while he attempted to place his Gunpla’s feet in the launcher, the machine instead stepped inside of a portal on the floor, taking him by surprise. The Airbatel Atmospherical Test Type lost its balance, and fell through the brilliant hole, spinning out of control. Aida swiftly remedied the situation by ordering all the thrusters and verniers to make the machine land on its feet, but by the time he landed, it was too late to say no. He was already in the African savannah again, and had blown away a confused flock of autochthonous birds, which now ascended and were trying to regroup. “What the hell… did i press something by mistake?” This campaign is almost like a bad hangover. Jeez, they gotta patch this. Soon, he looked around him, and found the transparent silhouettes of a Zeong head and the Comet Dagger, along with Beta Four’s Mobile Suit. The Murasame Sleeper Specification, an artifact of his time with JANET, soon accomplished its purpose of reminding Aida to change the NPD’s Gunpla with something he had logged on with some hours before, and so he opened Isla’s character menu. Right there, she used the radio to communicate with him.

- “We’re moving out soon, right?” Isla gave the conversation a cold start, focused entirely on the mission, even though there was none yet. Were she a person, she’d be the kind that would find living without war very hard.

- “Right… but first, a little something for you, from the shop. You’re showing promise, and we didn’t want to leave an ace out there without a custom of her own.” Aida found the Gunpla he had used that noon on the testing fields, and applied it to Isla, who soon saw the Murasame turn into luminous dust, which then took the form of another Mobile Suit.

- “I suppose thanks are in order...”

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Right then, Kyle arrived in the full Trinames, with all the bells and whistles. He brought a brown jacket with a scarf, and put on Quattro's famous sunglasses as he teleported onto the ground with the others. The diver realized that he wasn't the only one to change their Gunpla. The Airbatel almost looked like an entirely new mobile suit to him. The other machine confused him at first. He assumed that it was Carter's, but then the Comet Dagger, relatively unchanged, showed up. Back in his cockpit, Carter stretched a little. His mobile suit only went through some minor changes since the last skirmish, but he already got his upgrade anyway. He opened the cockpit and hopped down with a smile. His civilian attire consisted of a custom Tekkadan jacket, styled like Mikazuki’s, but with an original logo, a diamond with a burning aura.

- "Wow!" He exclaimed while walking toward the others. "Looks like I'm not the only one who upgraded!" He waltzed past the two, getting a better look at the machines. "Gotta be honest though. I won't let them outdo my Trinames!" Kyle said jokingly… or was he?

- “That'll make 'em think twice!” Carter studied the machines as he stretched his legs in game. The bright colours of the Trinames were eye catching, counter intuitive for a sniper, but too cool to turn down. The Airbatel and the unknown Gundam had more down to earth designs and colours, however the feature that stole the show was the sombrero of sorts on the new Gundam's head. “That... is awesome.”

- "Ah, well, thank you both! Me and my pal Daniel at the shop had to rush this new Airbatel, matter of fact it ain't as complete as I would wish it to be… but we had to leave some time to dust off and restore this guy to its former glory. I call it the EWAC Variable Gundam." Aida presented Isla's new machine to his mates, before returning the favor and congratulating Kyle with a joke. "Your machines are awesome, too. Kyle and his huge, shiny cloak can get spotted and shot to pieces by the enemy, while us three can sneak by and get things done behind their backs."

- "You've got the bark nailed down. But if you're finished, the radome is picking up multiple signatures, northwest of here." Isla interjected, having already found something interesting thanks to the advanced systems in her Gunpla. "They could be Mobile Suits."

- "I agree. Let us investigate, and find out how sharp these new fangs of ours are." Aida quickly jumped on top of Airbatel's hand, and commanded it to take him to the cockpit, before using Io's music player in auxiliary mode, to play the Zeta Gundam track titled "A.E.U.G" through the loudspeakers. The winds of the savannah made his coat fly behind him, as he struck a dramatic pose and ordered his team. "All hands! Level one battle stations!"

- "Alright!" Kyle was pumped up, and followed suit by entering his cockpit. He started up his Mobile Suit's systems, and woke his assistant up. "Time to hit the road, Charo!" The red ball with the silver helmet happily bounced into place, and greeted Kyle. "Charo genki! Charo genki!"

- "Unbelievable… oh, well, what're you gonna do?" Carter was annoyed nobody had congratulated him on the logo he wholeheartedly made for the team, but he didn't let it get to him just yet. He'd have plenty of time to show it off after the mission.

Two pairs of eyes, a visor and a monoeye lit up, and the team took off as one, flying in a formation towards their fate…

---

Elsewhere in the dry lands, a turquoise Mobile Suit nimbly dodged CIWS fire. Landing on a mock city, it used a spinning shield to brush off the bullets, then blew up some of the automated turrets and some balloons with incredible precision, using a linear rifle. A crowd sat far enough from the machine to be safe, composed of officials from the various power blocs of Earth. Most of them were impressed, but some less so than the rest.

- “Mobile Suit Enact… the next generation of AEU’s domestic defense fliers. As usual, their cost-cutting left their state-of-the-art prototype without a single beam weapon...” Union technical advisor Billy Katagiri observed the machine’s acrobatics, while his friend Graham appeared behind him with two bottles.

- “It’ll still end up on everyone’s hands, just like the Hellion. Sheikhs, corporations, and even terrorists. Some idea of ‘domestic’ they have...” Graham Aker stood by Katagiri, handing him a bottle of water and going for his seat.

- “Oy, is it all right for you, the ace of MSWAD, to be seen here?”

- “Course not...” Graham sat next to Billy and took a sip of his own bottle.

- “But talk about the AEU being stouthearted...” Billy continued, as the Enact spun in the air for the entertainment of the viewers. “This is most likely a product of OZ being unable to take a ‘no’ for an answer. They offered to buy our Flags, and when we said no, they just told the AEU to make a blind imitation of them.”

- “I’m guessing they were happy to provide. The exterior design is the only original part of it.”

The turquoise Enact demonstrator landed near the tribune, but just as the pilot was about to get out of the machine and dare the two Union guests to repeat themselves, one of the hangars nearby opened, and an identical unit powered up its Minovsky reactor. Test pilot Patrick Colasour was confused at the sight of the spare demonstration unit walking up to his.

- “Somebody’s piloting the spare? What the hell...” Flicking a pair of switches, he communicated with the chief mechanic, a close friend of Patrick’s. “Oi, Nick! What’s going on here?”

- “I’m sorry, Pat! I was gonna phone you, but the boss man told me to only let you know after you were done with the performance… some bigwig in a fancy uniform just waltzed in here and grabbed the bloody thing. He wants to...” The mechanic was promptly interrupted by Enact 02’s pilot. 

- “That was a stellar performance, young boy. Your unit seems most impressive...” A gentlemanly voice came from the machine’s loudspeakers and addressed Patrick.

- “I am Patrick Colasour… the ace of the AEU.”

- “Oh, right. Where are my manners? My name is Treize Khushrenada, Colonel for the Organization of the Zodiac. As i was saying, this unit looks impressive… but let’s say i want a more hands-on demonstration.”

- “Are you saying…?” Petrified, Patrick asked Treize for confirmation. “You should know, i’ve never lost a single mock battle.”

- “Would you still please me with a duel, knowing there’s always a first time?” Treize picked his words carefully, challenging Patrick’s undisputed status. “Don’t worry. You need not hold back, no matter what your commander says. That way, you’ll just lose trying.”

- “Heh. You’re gonna eat those words, Mr. Bigwig. I’m Mister Special… i’ve done two thousand of these mock battles!"

Both units reached slowly for their inactive sonic blades as their pilots exchanged words. However, before they could have an exciting duel, two cloaked silhouettes suddenly performed a violent, ground-shattering landing not too far down the fake avenue. The cloaks then flew off as two white Mobile Suits stood up, lighting up their sensors. Graham and Katagiri, unsurprisingly, were as shocked as the rest of the crowd to see those machines start walking towards the two Enacts, brandishing two sickles and a long pole.

- "Those flashy colors… pointy antennae… their faces! Don't tell me… the AEU has built Gundams?!" Billy observed the two Gundam-types through a pair of binoculars he had taken from another guest.

- "I don't think they're even theirs…" Graham, however, looked at a panicked AEU official, yelling orders at his phone.

- “What do you mean you couldn't detect a stupid cargo plane?! Get me Lord Treize and Patrick on the line! And issue a civilian evacuation order now!” His furious shouting caught the attention of Graham and Billy, who unlike the rest, disregarded an AEU soldier’s advice to evacuate and stayed to see how it all played out. Soon, the officer's voice was rerouted to the Enacts. “Patrick! Escort Lord Treize away from the assailants! The Specials are coming to help!”

- “This escalated quickly...” Patrick switched to the linear rifle, and spoke to Treize. "I suppose our duel will have to wait, Colonel..." Khushrenada's response, however, surprised Colasour.

- "We'll do no such thing, my friend. I have not forgotten the meaning of war. Come. We'll approach them. If they wish to intimidate, we'll scare them instead. If they wish to shoot, we'll fire back." Treize's Enact brought its linear rifle up too, and started walking towards the Gundams, as their pilots prepared for an imminent clash.

- "It's started… Gundam Sandrock, ready! Let's do our best!" Quatre Raberba Winner activated his Gundam's Heat Shotels, and had it adopt a fighting posture.

- "Nataku… Shenlong Gundam, ready!" Chang Wufei, meanwhile, pointed Shenlong's long pole at Treize's Enact, and fired it up, revealing its true purpose: a beam trident.

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As this happened, the second group of unknowns observed from the heights of a hill. It was no less than the Challengers of Diamond, making use of Variable Gundam's flying cameras and the feed sharing function to watch the whole thing from afar. However, the team had no intention to stay quiet. After all, being there was only half the fun.

- "They're all showing up as neutrals, so I guess we have three choices here. The way I see it, we can go up against the Enacts for an easy ride, or face the Gundams and have it rough, but for what will probably be twice the payout and experience." Aida was no tactical forecaster, but he could see how things were likely to go.

- "And the third option?" Isla inquired.

- "We shoot everything we see for a challenge, and score a six-figure payout."

- "I don't understand. Even if you manage to kill everyone and live to tell the tale, who will be left to pay you?" Being an NPD, Isla looked at it from an in-universe standpoint. Aida didn't want to waste time explaining that the system would pay them just for clearing the stage and its associated achievements, so he merely brushed it off.

- "Who knows? Challengers, I'll leave the voting to our guns. Point at your favorite candidate, and if roughly everyone's pointing in the same direction, we can let democracy do its thing!

Edited by Replicator
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Kyle watched as the four neutral units began their attack on each other. “I might as well get into position here.” He exclaimed while placing his machine prone on top of the hill. It was raised and far enough away for him to be able to strike adequately, also allowing him to easily move if needed. The Trinames laid in front of the others as the diver pulled down the Gunpla’s new shooting scope.

With the new update came new cockpits, with Kyle opting to use the standard Dynames’, albeit with a few minor changes. Panels were either removed or hidden under screens to create more of a dome shape for the diver to look out of, along with red highlights on the metal parts that were left. “This’ll make my job a little easier in GBN.” He gripped the scope tighter during the surveying of his possible prey, though the choice of who to shoot was harder than he had thought.

Originally, he was going to point at one of the Enacts. Knowing that the Gundam Wing units wouldn’t go down in one hit, taking out the easier foes while they were distracted would be obvious. However, Kyle’s brain began thinking about the political side of his actions. “The Gundam Team is powerful, but pissing off a world power could lead to significantly worse results if we’re caught." He agreed that the Trinames wasn’t a discreet unit and would rather take on five machines instead of five hundred if each factions mobile suits were counted. "BUT, having Gundam pilot as possible allies is a plus.”

He contemplated whether he was overthinking the scenario or not. Nothing in this world was exact to their source material and he knew first hand his actions had consequences. “Hey Charo.” He uttered while holding the scope. “What do you think?” The droid spun around in his compartment. “Kill them all! Kill them all!” Kyle pulled his head down to look that the toy. “A little bloodthirsty today, aren’t we?” Getting back into position to aim, the diver made his decision. All in all, he’d go with whatever the team wanted, but Kyle decided the point his gold rifle at his original target, the Enacts.

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Carter weighed the options out in his head, the way he saw it.. there was the easy way, the hard way, or the fun way. He wondered what his teammates thought, he didn’t want to be the one to make the decision on his own so he decided to open comms.

”I think we can take ‘em all” he said, getting his mobile suit in position for an artillery barrage.. the Comet Dagger had gotten a slight change, though it was mainly internal. The cockpit in particular “We’ll have to play it smart Though” he pointed out. 

The inside of his cockpit had changed quite a bit, a panoramic Monitor set up with a nice black and blue racing chair as his seat, the controls were standard. Part of him really wanted to spring for the G-Gundam type but.. it would be too exhausting, slightly above his head was.. a periscope, mainly cosmetic, but it could “help him aim” for his artillery barrages, scurrying on the ground was.. a pet Elemechu that was up for sale. 

“Comet Dagger in position for shelling, say the word and I’ll light them up!” He said, then he thought of something funny “Hey if we’re gonna hit them all, you better say the Line, Captain” He chuckled, they were up against 00 Series enemies after all. 

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Trieze calmly studied his monitor as the two white mobile suits began their assault on the base, his base, or at least in the de facto sense, such recklessness was inexcusable. “All forces, rally and secure the perimeter of the base. Myself and the esteemed ‘Ace of the AEU’ will deal with the Gundams.” He paused his approach to the two machines as he opened up his PA system on the Enact. “It would seem that you have disrupted my duel, I propose an exchange of partners…” the gravity in which Trieze offered was undeniable, “or perhaps the Gundams lack honor?” He kept his rifle leveled at the hip but didn’t make any moves beyond that. 

Patrick skeptically followed the second enact, despite the brashness this colonel was displaying, he wasn’t one to move against orders. He gritted his teeth and echoed Trieze’s taunt, “that’s right! I was about to display my amazing prowess when you jerks showed up! Let’s throw down!” 

The two enacts stoped right in front of the two Gundams, drawing the proverbial “line in the sand”.  

Gundam Shenlong squared up to Trieze’s Enact, it’s spear displayed out and resting comfortably in its’ grip. Alternatively Sandrock looked more hesitant but still gripped its’ twin weapons menacingly. A voice cut through the air with a Chinese accent, “my name is Wu Fei. I’ll gladly accept your challenge…”

“I’m Trieze Kushrenada.” The lead Enact dropped its’ linear rifle to present its’ sonic blade, the blue blade igniting just as the spear illuminated its’ emerald beam. The two instantly clashed with Trieze driving in with a fencing style thrust which Wufei deflected with his longer weapon. Still the Enact didn’t ease up and picked up a tempo of thrusts which gave the Gundam pilot little opportunity to retaliate. 

Patrick was about to protest the Colonel dropping the rifle when the fight began. He may have been cocky but he wasn’t foolish, Patrick raised his rifle and took flight as he began firing on his designated opponent. Sandrock lifted its arms in time to absorb the first initial shot from the linear cannon. The Gundam flew back from the impact and Patrick smirked. “Ha not so tough are you? Mr. Gundam!” He kept strafing the target and kept raining down fire which cause a smoke cloud to form around the odd Gundam. The cloud grew large enough to obscure any view of Sandrock which made Patrick settle down to land on his feet. He kept his rifle trained on the dust and was about to check on the Colonel when a shape erupted from the smoke cloud. “What the!” To Patrick’s credit, he brought his shield up just in time to block the lethal attack from the Gundam’s wicked looking blades. “You bastard! You just don’t get it!” He kicked away from his opponent, guessing correctly that Sandrock couldn’t fly in pursuit. He leveled his rifle back on the Gundam and resumed firing at the dodging Gundam. 
 

——-

“All hands this is BlueJay leader, the colonel has ordered that the perimeter is to be secured.”

“Roger that BlueJay, the Leo team will follow your lead Aires, just tell us where you want us!”

The Aires commander responded, “acknowledged!” Not even a minute went by before he had something to report. “Leo! I spot a group of unidentifiable mobile suits! Some of them look like Gundam types they must be support for the attack on the base!” 

“Roger that BlueJay! Leo team will respond to the coordinates!”

A flight of six Aires came up on the members of Beta Team. They leveled their weapons to try and get into firing range. Maybe they haven’t seen us yet… BlueJay leader mused. 

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Shenlong, being attacked relentlessly by the Colonel, had to increase the distance. Wufei reflected on his armaments and the Enact's: He couldn't incinerate the unit with his Dragon Fang, given the enemy's honorable action of discarding their rifle, nor could he use the Vulcan guns. No more option but to use his beam trident, while the nimble turquoise unit was stuck with a knife that didn't even glow orange. He had the longer weapon, he had beams and a reason to fight. "You're a good soldier… But!" It's all about taking control of this situation, Wufei thought, and flied a short distance backwards, where he used his Beam Trident to keep the enemy out of reach, but also thrusting it forward to attack the Colonel. "We accepted a mission!"

Quatre was less enthusiastic about discarding perfectly good weaponry just for the fabled "honor", a thing lost in contemporary times, but which Wufei and lots of OZ officials tried to force back into existence while war ignored them and did its thing. Dodging some of Patrick's shots and taking others with his shield, he was trying to analyze the fact that the Enact's spinning shield had blocked his heat weapon, when it should've cut through it. Is it some new material? Is it vibrating? Or maybe I didn't calculate the Shotel temperature adequately… With a few tweaks, Quatre got the huge sickles to glow brighter, and threw one at the Enact's head. Immediately, he followed up by using its newly freed hand to take out a beam submachine gun, firing it at Patrick without much care for the fake buildings below and behind. "It doesn't look too sturdy! This should do the trick!"

---

The team automatically received an update from the Variable Gundam's sensors, which had proved to be a formidable asset so far:

- "New contacts. Six instances of OZ-07AMS, bearing 020."

- "Huh? Aries?" Incredulous that the upgrades him and Daniel had made to the old build were so dramatic, Aida checked the directions, and indeed found six silhouettes that resembled the OZ flier coming towards them, pointing their rifles at the group. Their IFF squares flashed between yellow and red every second. "She's right, we've got company, coming at us fast and angry." Fitting, I guess. We've got two Gundams, and we've done nothing to convince them we're not with Wufei and Quatre…

- "Aida-san..." Isla added some pressure, and hurried Aida.

- "I know, I know… Just let me think for a moment." Aida was still growing accustomed to his commanding role, but soon had an idea when Carter's artillery reminded him of World War II anti-air guns. "Fine… Carter, give them some flak and see if you can't down some. Kyle, leave the Enacts to Wufei and Quatre. Try to pick some Aries off right before the blast makes them scramble. Isla, follow me. We'll try to keep them within our firing range and away from this hill.

- "We have to be fast. Ground Mobile Suits are probably coming."

- "Hey, I'll try, but I'm no speedrunner." Aida touched a few buttons, and the Airbatel's new backpack suddenly flied up and away. Moments later, it was approaching from the back, and the silver and green Gunpla jumped on top when it was about to crash into its legs. "Fatum! Onwards, me trusty steed! Into the battlezone we go!" Now using the Fatum-01 of the Justice Gundam in a fashion similar to a Base Jabber or Guul, Airbatel gripped its shield, which was that of the GP01, and a DODS Rifle they had found laying around the Lost & Found. However, Aida did not fire yet. He didn't have many chances to hit them at this distance, and he didn't want the Aries to disperse before Carter and Kyle could blow up a few. Behind trailed Isla, who without a Mobile Armor mode or support flier, could just jump and hover over the ground, but Aida tried to go slow enough not to arrive alone at the furball.

Edited by Replicator
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Maneuvering the rifle away from the battle between the Enacts and the Gundams, Kyle aimed the gold weapon at the quickly approaching Aries. "Take them out! Take them out!" Charo chirped. Kyle glanced at the droid, annoyed by the statements. "Now why would I do that?" He responded sarcastically. "I REALLY want them to come here and attack us. It wouldn't be a fair fight if they couldn't respond to my attacks."

The Trinames' V-fin slid down, revealing a new camera that had a much higher quality of translucent plastic than the base kit. The "W" fin on the Trinames also allowed Kyle much more precise shots, due to it's shape on the head. "Too bad I don't really care." The sniper pointed near the three on the right side of the group. Moving the rifle toward his first target, he started the assault.

"I didn't just come here to laugh at you!" Firing a direct blast, he pulled away and fired another shot at the Aries to the left, then a third shot at another one. The beams weren't actually pink on his rifle. Kyle had instead changed to white, matching the lights on the Trinames. Taking his three shots, he hoped his teammate could also do some damage. "Now Carter!"

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“Come on boys, you’re killing me here!” Carter chuckled as he prepared his weapon, linking the two separate guns together to gain access to the anti-armor shotgun “If you guys wont say it...” 

Carter smirked and pulled the “scope” down from the top his cockpit, the sudden movement startled the elemechu into hiding under the seat. “I will!” Carter loaded explosive shells, smirking. 

“Challengers of Diamond.. Begin Armed Intervention!” With that, he pulled the trigger and sent explosive buckshot hurtling towards the enemy, he kept pulling the trigger over and over to make sure they didn't have a chance to regroup.

”Lets do this, guys!”

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 “A soldier who merely performs their mission is no better than a tool, what is it you fight for Wu Fei?.” Trieze retorted. The Enact nimbly adapted to the counter attacks from the Gundam. While his opponent had the advantage of reach, Trieze was beginning to suspect he might have the edge in mobility and speed. He batted the glaive away as it poked to drive him out, instead he plunged inside the reach of the weapon. His own blade slide down the length of the pole to slice in at the gundam’s arm. His attack was far from perfect but it was provocative if nothing else. 

Patrick grinned knowingly as he fired away at the pesky Gundam. “What’s the matter? Is that all you got?” He tainted as he fired recklessly. Sandrock lifted its’ weapons and got the blades glowing hot Patrick hardly cared though as he felt like he still had the upper hand. Glowing weapons what good will they do you?” the Gundam jerked and threw one of the sickle looking weapons right at him. He raised his shield again to try and block it and was horrified as it didn’t work like last time. The thrown weapon sliced through the E-carbon like butter. “Well that sucks…”

He murmured as the blade jerked into the enact’s head, it slowly began to slide down the body of the enact, flames spewing out from the wound. “Oh crap!” Patrick cried out as he ejected from the mobile suit.”I’ll get you next time Gundam!” He sneered as he made his escape from the crumpling mobile suit.

—-

“They spotted us!” Someone cried out, just before their Aires erupted into flame from a sniper shot. “Scatter!” Bluejay yelled out just before another shot skimmed the side of his mobile suit, causing him to spiral down towards the ground. He hit the ground roughly but was able to pop his hatch open to survey how the rest of his troops were doing. Dazed as he was, he noticed that two of the mobile suits were heading off towards he base. “Leo lead!” He moaned out as he grabbed the side of his cockpit to steady himself, “I got shot down, it’s your show now. I see two units heading your way.” He looked up and flinched as artillery rounds spat into the remainder of his flight. It seemed to him that all but two of his friends were hit and exploded. “Damnit!” He groaned as he watched helplessly. He was too stunned by the action to have the common sense to ditch his cockpit and huff it back to base. Maybe just maybe his comrades could deal with these monsters. 

The two remaining Aires opened fired, one with its’ missile pod, the other with it’s machine gun. They took aim at the strange looking mobile suit that shot the artillery fire at them both. Both somewhat oblivious to the sniper. They flew in close enough for close combat. 

A few miles back on the opposite side of the base, the XO of the BlueJay squadron checked his coms, “All remaining Aires force I’m taking command. Form up on me!! They just wiped out half a squadron! If we form a cohesive size we can overpower them with numbers. Pair up! One gunner to one rocket launcher! We’ll hit them hard with the missiles then finish them off with our machine guns! Got it?” A chorus of “Roger!” Echoed back at his question and he began to amass the remaining 18 Aires in the skies over the far end of the base. 

The leader of the Leo squad, Neil, barked out orders to his troops who religiously obeyed them. “Spread out, don’t give them an easy target! You saw what happened to those feather heads!” They had reached the outskirts of their base when the BlueJay call sign gave them a heads up about an opposition. “Take up a defensive position but don’t get cozy! Grab this artillery guns and take aim! Front line prepare to pepper them with rifle fire!” A couple pairs of Leo’s hefted their heavy weapons over their shoulders and took aim. As the two opposing mobile suits rounded the ridge they opened fire, hoping to suppress the enemies early on.

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Posted (edited)

"Tch!" Having actually been proved at a disadvantage, given the importance of maneuverability for a close-quarters combat machine, Wufei took a split-second decision to let the sonic blade try its luck against the Gundanium Alloy shoulder plate, and as it became lodged inside, Nataku let the Beam Glaive go, deploying its Dragon Fang and attacking Treize, but merely as a claw, so as to not make a dishonorable move. “I fight for a just world, devoid of tyrants!”

Sandrock quickly saw to getting back its Heat Shotel from the flaming wreckage of the first Enact, and stored it in its backpack. By the time Quatre could look around for its escape pod, the Aries had arrived, so he had to focus on them, oblivious to the presence of Beta Team in one of the extremes of the base, and the fact the Aries were attempting to attack them. Pulling off a move from Amuro Ray's playbook, Quatre made Sandrock jump, then fired up its thrusters to ascend. Then, just before reaching the height limit of his rudimentary thrusters, he used his verniers to spin a pair of times, before letting go of his left hand's Heat Shotel, sending it towards the squadron of Aries. Immediately after, he stopped his spin by using the opposite verniers, and fired his beam submachine gun at them, while his Gundam started falling down to the ground again. "I can't fly, but from this height, I might actually hit one of them..."

Meanwhile, and seeing a chance to move around the testing grounds without getting Sandrock's attention, a little jeep came out of the Enact hangar, driven by an AEU soldier and carrying three passengers towards the ejected cockpit pod, which appeared to be damaged by the crash landing. Once they arrived at its side, they quickly took out some tools and a stretcher.

- "I told you this was a bad idea!" Patrick's chief mechanic, a petite ginger boy, prepared a cutter to get Colasour out of the pod. "We're gonna get blown to fu-" A distant explosion made short work of Nick's favorite expletive and made the group shudder.

- "So you'd rather leave the poster boy here to die?! Stop being such a whiny b-" A short tempered woman with a medical green armband screamed back at the mechanic, before another fake building, hit with a stray explosive shell, underwent unplanned disassembly. "- and get this bloody door open!"

- "Shut up!" The mechanic finally got his cutter working, and started making a hole in the pod, big enough for one of the paramedics to get in. "Nicky's a man's name, and I'm a man!"

---

Aida and Isla, meanwhile, were under bombardment by four Leos with shell-firing Dober Guns. In order to not get hit, Aida hit the pedal to make his Fatum-01 accelerate, but things weren't going so smooth for Isla, who brought up her beam shield, and charged the enemy with propelled leaps, knowing whatever was not caught by the beam shield, would be stopped by her Phase-Shift armor. As she got closer and closer, she started firing her beam rifle at the first Dobergunner, while Aida turned his Fatum around to speed towards them, firing the twin beam cannons that pointed forward and the DODS Rifle at the Dober Gun Leo next to it. "Good job, don't let up! We must take out these four first!" Upon reaching a certain distance, Airbatel sheathed the DODS Rifle, dismounted from the sub-flight system, and took out two swords with a two-tone hilt, to attack the third Dobergun Leo from above, as Fatum gained altitude. "Kyle, Carter! I think you two know better than me where you'll be most useful. You're cleared to move wherever you think is best!"

Edited by Replicator
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Kyle had managed to take out a couple of the Aries midair, but two squeezed through their assault, beginning an attack on his blue-haired friend. "I don't think so." The Diver uttered while pulling his rifle toward the two. The closer range of the flying machines allowed Kyle to make two clean shots in each torso. "There we go. Now about those Leos..." At that moment, Charo spun around in its slot erratically, almost flying off it entirely.

"Second wave! Second wave!" It chirped as Kyle pointed the gold rifle back at the base. Close to 20 Aries began to blast through the air, starting another attack on Beta's group. "Oh...:" Kyle almost whispered. "That could be really bad." The Diver knew that now would be the best time to act. He was the only one who could take at least a couple out at this range. "Carter!" He exclaimed through the comms while pushing Charo back into place. "Join up with the others against those Leos. I'll take out as many of these other Aries as I can."

Turning on a nearby control panel, Charo's eye began glowing a bright white light. "Switching to sniper mode!" He yelled as the droid took the reins. The Trinames blasted upward, getting near the eye level of most of the Aries. "Gonna need you to work really hard today, buddy!" Kyle knew that even if he took out some, the other could end up decimating him. With his shields being more inclined for beam defense, he'd have to move around after almost every shot. "Good thing I have such a great copilot." He thought as he began to fire at the extremely distant Aries. 

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Carter slid his little periscope back up the cockpit as soon as he got the order to move freely, he smirked a little.. the view of Aries’ getting caught up in the buckshot or.. birdshot for now, and getting torn up by the beam rifle shots from his teammate was incredibly cool, he snapped out of it though when said teammate saved him from the stragglers that got through “Nice save!” He praised over comms. 
 

He decoupled the high energy beam rifle and the gun launcher, stowing the latter away on its designated holster. “Don’t get sunk out here!” He said, acknowledging the snipers suggestion as he flared his thrusters “Aida, Isla! Im rotating over to provide support!” He let his teammates know as he went full speed up and towards them, as he was moving.. he was already shooting, after speedrunning for as long as him, his accuracy while moving was better than the average player! 
 

The beams shot out from the rifle, revealing the other cosmetic change he chose for his MS... a bright blue beam fired out of the gun barrel as he made his way to his teammates!

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