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GBN 1.8 [GBN 1.8] Alpha Override

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As Creed locked the MKII into place on the AEUG vessel his screen suddenly acknowledged “Mission Accomplished”. Marco release the controls clearly relieved at the end of the situation. He didn’t realize how on edge he was until the cutscene had started. As the cutscene went on Marco realized that the mission would become distinctively Seed based for the next round. He watched in intrigue as it depicted a slightly familiar scenario with Heliopolis. “Does this mean we’ll be working with Zaft this time around?” He murmured out loud. 

 

Finally the controls returned to his cockpit and Marco saw that a waypoint had been set for a familiar looking ship not that far away from his current position. Maneuvering the Saviour to the Nazca class Vesalius; Creed began to feel excited once more. His machine docked and he found himself inside the hangar of the fabled ship. As he looked around the hangar a deck officer approached him with a crisp salute. “Please proceed to the briefing room on the command deck sir! Commander Le Creuset will join you as soon as he’s able to.” Creed gave a half hearted nod in response. He floated his way to the command deck and was marveling at the detail of the ship. Part of him always enjoyed the idea of having a ship as a force nest. 

 

As he entered the debriefing room he brought up his game menu and swiped a few controls waiting for the rest of alpha team. Even as he did so he brought up the after action report and grimaced at the statistics. If they succeeded it was in spite of being a team not because of it. Creed wasn’t above acknowledging his own shortcomings. He got flustered, lost his temper, he was reckless. He let out a sigh and started stroking his beard in concentration. The memory of the Galbaldy caused him to furrow his brow in anger. He was letting something so simple bother him. That’s not the type of player he was, nor the type of person. “Things will change this time around.” He mused. 

 

One by one his teammates entered the room and he eyed each one curiously, having never seen their avatars before. The two boys seemed like normal average players  but the squirrel girl did caused him to slightly shake his head in confusion. As they filed in everyone eyed each other with their own motives hidden behind their faces. Marco cleared his throat, “I want to apologize to everyone here…” he looked at everyone in the eye as he said so, Marco was standing in front of the room. “I let my feelings cloud my judgment that mission and fought instinctively err- recklessly really... I don’t think I have to tell everyone that we got lucky.” He waited to see if anyone had a response to his admittedly lame apology. He dared to add, “I think if were going to succeed in his next round then we’re going to have to work together as a team…” he let the words hang in the air and waited to see what his teammates would say. He was genuinely curious how they would react. 

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The battle had ended and what had he done… nothing. The anger he felt for himself and the gunpla was more like a raging inferno, however he took a deep breath as him and his gunpla were transported to a hanger. The Win Screen was still on his monitor with a snarl on his face Shin rammed his fist through the monitor making the screen vanish. 

"You call that a victory… I call it a tasteless battle." He crossed his arms and sat in the cockpit of his gunpla. He could see the rest of his so called team coming and starting to head out of there machines. He didn't care, he pulled up the battle data and short recording of the fight from all his teammates. As he watched he got even angrier however he did see a level of skill and could see that each had their own plans, all except one. He could tell that she was a novice completely new to GBN how she got a beta key he will never understand. However something that stuck out to him was the gunpla, for being a newb it was very well crafted. After he was done with his analysis he opened the cockpit, Shin had opted for an actual opening rather than the teleport animation. As he floated down to the ground he continued to play out the battle over and over. Shin ignored everyone as they entered the room he was the last one in and that was fine by him. He leaned up against a far wall 

 

Shin closed his eyes as the man began to speak. As he spoke and apologized Shin grew more and more angry till finally it boiled over. His hand slammed against the wall making a loud bang 

"Stop apologizing! In fact that was a pointless way to start this meeting. We all acted according to our own will so accept it and move on. As for being lucky, your damn right. I only joined the beta to see what kind of fighters I could take out. " He paused for a moment then looked at the group. 

"So far I'm not really impressed." He let that sink in for a bit but then continued 

"I do agree that if this mission is a team battle we will have to work together. Because let me tell you… I won't lose again. " There was a certain fire to his words and the look in his eyes was that of someone determined to prove something, and what he wanted to prove had nothing to do with the fight. It was easy to tell there was hate behind almost every word he spoke. His disdain for gunpla and GBN was loud and clear in every action he took

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Hikaru couldn't help but be surprised at the victory.  He had no real knowledge of what was going on until the cutscene mentioned Unit 03's location.  Now things started to make sense.  One of the team had absconded with the damaged Mk-II without telling anyone, securing the victory, and it was the teammate that was AWOL from the battlefield.  After giving a sigh, he then looked to Fa and gave a small smile.  It was hardly a consolation for hurting her home, but...  "Miss Yuiry, Kamille Bidan was secured by one of my allies in time.  You should be able to see him soon.  Mind yourself of the others in the hangar, and you might be expected to sit tight to keep from being underfoot until some details are worked out."  Once they docked and he helped Fa out of his machine, he was informed by a crew member that there would be a team meeting and where to go.  Fa was left in the capable hands of the crew, though he really had no idea if she'd stay put or not.  He was able to at least see Kamille getting out of a machine with Risu and point him out to her before he left for the meeting.

The Beta Gundam's pilot went to the room in question and listened to Creed apologize to the group for his conduct.  The adolescent felt that Shin's response was absolutely cringe-worthy.  It wasn't something that could be left hanging in the air without comment.  "Acknowledging our failures and showing respect for the team is hardly a 'pointless' way to start a meeting dedicated to self-analysis and improvement.  You want to avoid losing in the future?  Exploring the 'why' behind the losses in the past is one of the ways to do that, right?"  Hikaru asked Shin before he looked back to Creed, pondering the matter carefully.  He scratched the back of his neck.

"In my case, I guess I flooded the radio too much in the beginning.  I was trying to clarify my plan for Argama Team in a way that the NPDs could process and act on.  If I went too meta with it, they'd have ignored it as ramblings.  This made it more...wordy than it otherwise might have been.  I might still need to do that in the future, but I can try to switch to our team channel and clarify my intentions in a more brief manner on the side.  I know the other team did it too.  That guy in the GM III was bragging about manipulating Emma Sheen when I tried to lure her Gundam into position for capture."  Manipulating the NPDs to act was a viable action and one he couldn't throw away because people were impatient.  Especially if the other team retained the tactic.  "I need to read up on this...merged history some if I want to keep that as an option though."

"I'm guessing you're Creed."  He recalled the voice from during the mission, and felt come confidence in his guess.  "Maybe you were reckless, but you were also the only one I who had my back in combat when I needed for support in the initial two-on-one.  I thank you for that, it's one of the reasons Kamille survived the fight at all.  That being said, I'm pretty upset that you ducked out on the fight later without telling any of us what you were doing.  Yeah, it won the battle for us, but our communication absolutely sucks.  I was the only one of the team left fighting when the battle ended, and had no idea why."  Hikaru said, hinting that going AWOL without cluing everyone else in on it had consequences for the team.

"Speaking of Kamille.  Risu, thanks for finally bringing Kamille into your cockpit."  Which one Risu was happened to be clarified by the fact that Kamille was with her.  "I have to ask though...what happened?  You took a hit and just...sat there for half the battle until the end.  You didn't even respond to me on the radio.  Did you bump your head on the console in the crash and get knocked out or something?  I hear the feedback for that sort of thing was upped in 1.78 for some reason..."  He was curious about the squirrel girl's effective non-participation.  Regarding Shin's actions specifically, he really had nothing more to say at the moment.  He fought solo, didn't like losing, and was a jerk to everyone about it.

Edited by MM007
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Risu took a brief pause as she was pulled out of the dark cockpit space of her gunpla and deposited into what appeared to be a large atrium, though the way that various other gunpla were placed in rows against the walls seemed to suggest that this was a hangar, not unlike one for aircraft.

She was perhaps too engaged with getting her bearings that she’d effectively tuned out the rather terse conversation happening between the other members of her team, though the way she appeared to actively avoid them would no doubt inform the other divers about what kind of person the little squirrel was, though as soon as her name was called, she’d turn towards the one who’d addressed her.

Hikaru, she recalled, though the fact that his name showed up just above his head helped quite a lot. Now that they weren’t engaged in distracting combat, she could dedicate her attention to what he was saying. Unlike previously, he was showing concern. Whether or not he was mad at her, she couldn’t tell, but regardless, Risu felt like she ought to apologize. With a small pout, a white speech bubble appeared overhead, filled with a single word.

[sorry :c]

[i’ll try harder next time]

It’s just a game, Risu thought to herself. There’s no reason you should be getting down like this! Even though she knew better, something nagged at her, or rather had been nagging at her for quite some time. Right now, though, it didn’t matter. She’d try to keep her word as best she could. She wanted to do good, if not for them, for herself, and then maybe Choco as well, whenever she decided to show up.

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Creed let the voices fire back and forth as Shin launched things slightly into the realm of uncomfortable dialogue. The kid seemed like a volcano ready to pop at the slightest irritation. There was an anger buried beneath him that Creed couldn’t quite seem to place. Marco kept his expression as neutral as possible as everyone else talked. Marco nodded in acknowledgment as Hikaru thanked him for the assistance earlier. Of the group, Hikaru seemed like the more level headed of the boys, Creed could sense some leadership potential from the kid. His eyes settled on the exchange between Hikaru and Risu. The squirrel girl intrigued him, she clearly had potential as a builder and with that in mind he had to wonder why she was in the beta. He studied her closely as she talked and finally cleared his throat. 

 

“Hikaru is right… we need to analyze the past to be victorious in the future. I would have preferred to bag all three machines if it was entirely up to me.” He eyed the fiery youth as he talk as if daring Shin to suggest a different outcome. He then returned his gaze to Risu, “let’s start this off properly… my name is Marco Creed, I’m the poster boy for Zapp inc. I’ve been building and driving pretty much since the beginning… I’d love to hear about each of you and what you built your machines to do? We need to understand the roles we all have in mind in order to figure out how to work together.” Marco nodded his head towards Shin once again motioning for the kid to speak up again. 

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Shin was ready to blow up at the kid, however his gaze quickly turned to the little squirrel girl. As the chat bubble appeared over head and her nervousness showed Shin stopped. All he could think as the girl typed was 'cute' he recomposed himself as Creed spoke and kept eyeing him. Shin let out a slight chuckle. He wanted to know if Shin could have seen a different or better outcome but he kept his thoughts on it to himself. This group already proved to him that moving past failures wasn't there strong suit. He remained quiet and once Creed was done speaking he could tell he was once again motioning for him to speak. With a deep breath the crimson haired man spoke up. 

"If you wanna know about me it's all public record. I'm Shin Hakuren, also known as The Raging Beast of GBN. I've worked my way up in singles ranked battles to be the best. As for why I build my gunpla it's for battle nothing more. That's a gunpla is good for. " As he spoke he flicked his wrist to show a detailed layout of his Astral Astray. On the screen several slots in the machine read out part missing. 

"This is my current Gunpla, and seeing that it didn't fully blowup in my first match I might use it again. It's main focus is close ranged combat with only mid range support tools. Don't expect me to help anyone at long range. I hate that kind of fighting and aim the farther I get it terrible." He let them study his specs a bit then closed the display. With that he was done he fully explained how his machine and him would be useful in combat. While he had a fair grasp on his teammates skills and there gunpla. It wouldn't hurt to see what they thought they could do. After he was done he walked back to his corner of the room and leaned back against the wall. Intending to silently listen to his "teams" discussion.

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Hikaru felt an urge to headpat the squirrel, but resisted due to politeness.  Not everyone appreciated such things and it could come off as creepy.  "Well, I wouldn't be surprised if Miss Yuiry was grateful to you.  I managed to bring her in as well.  To be perfectly honest, the realism of their expressions, their grief...it makes me wonder if the immersion is a bit too much.  But it might mean her relief will be just that much more real too."  He recalled Fa's realistic expressions and unknowingly commented on something Risu might be quite familiar with.  The impact was so great, in fact, that he couldn't bring himself to be overly familiar with the NPD and just call her 'Fa' as he would otherwise have.  Not without permission.

"In any case, I'm Hikaru Hiyashi.  My father is one of GBN's engineers and my step-sisters are playing on the GBN main servers as Purus Seven and Eleven.  That's why I have the 'Adopted Puru' handle.  I'm honestly surprised they weren't chosen for this Beta instead of me."  Those two were currently providing character and voice work for the Puru series in general in both game and media, often appearing at real-life events.  He wasn't sure how famous they were, but it was enough to contribute to the Gundam canon.  "As for me...let's just say Gundam and Gunpla got me through a time of mourning and leave it at that.  I got a 3D Printer, figured out how to make my own pieces, and never looked back."  He brought up information on his machine and provided it.

"The RX-179 Beta Gundam is a mix of the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II and the RMS-154 Refined Barzam made partly of custom-printed parts, plus the Zeta Gundam's beam rifle and a Clay Bazooka.  It's a 'jack-of-all-trades' machine meant to be upgraded depending on how my skills and the needs I encounter in GBN develop as well as an armament testbed, so I made it a modular unit with hip and arm hardpoints.  Let me know if there are hard-mounted weapons the team needs to test before full integration into a Gunpla and we can probably do that.  It also has the ability to employ a Back Weapon System-enabled G-Defenser that isn't completed yet.  There is also a quasi-psycommu, but it's meant more for connected armaments or turret control than INCOMs."  Indeed, the Gundam currently had two beam guns on its hips that each provided a dome of coverage to the machine's left or right.  The typical 'two INCOMs with two axes of movement each' limitation on a quasi-psycommu was the perfect amount of control to make it work.  It also employed a beam claw on one forearm and the top part of a damaged vulcan-equipped shield undergoing repair on the other.  A stolen GM II Shield was in the unit's left hand undergoing repair, a beam rifle was in its right hand, and a Clay Bazooka was in its rear skirt armor rack.  "I also have a stock FXA-00 'Flying Armor' intended for use by any non-flight-capable units on the team, but I have to remember to log in with it.  If someone needs me to provide that next time, please speak up.  It might have been useful moving the captured Gundam back faster at least.  Finally, I have two folding jump seats in the cockpit based on the one seen in Unicorn.  Miss Yuiry found them useful this mission.  Call me in to carry NPDs or for evacuation if prudent.  I just wasn't able to get to Kamille this time around."

It was then that he remembered something.  "Oh, I also think I managed to convince Emma Sheen that the Beta Gundam was another Gundam Mk-II or a derivative.  I might make appropriate bait for it, though Beta Team might have mitigated that to a degree."

Edited by MM007
spelling and grammar
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Risu listened quietly, though she'd occasionally fidget with her hands. While the others were talking about their Gunpla, she found herself more occupied with looking at her own. She didn't get an opportunity to look at the machine before, and now that she stood at the foot of it, she couldn't help but admire how it was portrayed. Risu had built Higanbana for Choco, but her friend had refused, instead telling her that she could have it. For a moment, the squirrel reflected on why that was. Maybe Choco had her build it to trick her into playing GBN. While that was fine, she wondered why Choco didn't just ask her if she wanted to play from the start.

It was obvious that the Higanbana was an exceptional Gunpla, built using advanced modeling techniques. While ultimately, the machine was stock in its configuration, it was far from a scratch build: the original white-and-navy colour scheme had been replaced with a pearl white and two-tone red satin finish, merging pieces formed from plastic plate to modify the proportions of the already fairy-like mobile suit. The V-Fin had been replaced as well with an intricately detailed golden figurehead, owing to the ornate aesthetic. Just how it was made was something of a mystery.

Eventually, she'd turn back towards the group, giving them a small bow as greeting.

[my name is risu btw  ٩(◕‿◕。)۶]

[im new to gbn wwwww]

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Marco kept an impassive face as the boys described their machines. They were fairly easy to understand, if not straight forward. Shin was meant for close range combat while Hikaru was a jack of all trades. If Shin was the most vain of the group then Risu could be described as the opposite. The squirrel girl seemed to be mindful yet still absent minded as she completely ignored his question about the Higanbana. While Marco was versed as well as the next Gunpla fan he was the first to admit that his expertise on the peculiar suit wasn’t the most forthcoming. The girl seemed to enjoy looking at her handywork (something Marco could appreciate as a builder himself) but lacked any self confidence. The most reasonable conclusion that Creed could come to based on what he had seen was that the Higabana must be a long range type of mobile suit. He would have to learn more but suspected that getting Risu out of her shell would be a bigger priority. 

The man stroked his beard as he processed the information. Theoretically they had a balanced team excluding himself. Truth be told he wasn’t happy with the performance of the Saviour and the whole reason for him asking about his teammates was so he could figure out how to compliment everyone. The so called victory they experienced was anything but to his pallet and he wanted to thrive on the next challenge. Clearing his throat he brought himself out of his contemplation. “That’s fine” he responded to Risu, “everyone starts out somewhere! I’m sure we can bring you up to speed in no time!” He added cherrily before returning his gaze to the boys, “It’s a pleasure to meet you all…. and thank you for sharing about your machines. As fans I think we can all appreciate the work we put towards our hobby. As a builder myself I can say that I’ve noticed a particular quality evident in everyone’s work. Craftsmanship aside…” his voice grew more serious as he looked around the ZAFT board room once again absorbing the simple environment. “I want to share with you all an observation I experienced in the last mission. Something that I think Hikaru was hinting towards as well… the NPDs… To put it bluntly, I think they’re on a different level than previous GBN incarnations… Beta team had a unique NPD pilot on their team and the characters she exhibited were startling… truth be told it was one of the more difficult fights I’ve had on here.” 

He looked around the room to gauge how the other players were taking in his words. He continued, “with that said I have a few concerns immediately for this next phase that I want everyone to be mindful of… Kira Yamato… and Rau Le Creuset… not to mention the unnamed NPD with Beta…. I believe that we will be working closely with Rau on this mission and I hope everyone can remember just the type of person that he is, the more that fact sinks in for myself the more… unsettled I begin to feel… if I’m being honest.” The growing look of disgust on Creed’s face portrayed his concerns openly. He knew he was starting to sound slightly paranoid so he added, “I’m also very concerned that we will be fighting against Kira this next go around… he’s easily one of the strongest characters in the entire franchise. New pilot or not he will be very dangerous I suspect…” he looked back up realizing that he wasn’t even looking at everyone else. He sheepishly smiled then asked. “What do you guys think?” Even as he asked his eyes fell on the squirrel trying to get a feel for how she would react. He could guess how the boys would respond but he needed to understand this particular teammate more if he could help it. He needed to figure out a way to get her more invested in their situation, like it or not everyone was stuck with each other. 

Edited by Roromi
:P
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In response, Hikaru paused for a moment...before finally yielding to the impulse and head-patting the squirrel with as much stoicism as the act would allow.  He might be unknowingly head-patting some 50-year-old man in his basement, but eh.  It was the internet.  "Nice to meet you all, then.  And yes, it will take time.  If it were a game that was immediately easy to master, it wouldn't be much of a game, would it?"

Looking to the group, as well as to Marco, Hikaru pondered the matter for a moment.  "I'm not surprised that the NPDs are more capable.  I wonder just what sort of game this will become.  It's a rather big change.  Not just in difficulty, but in player resolve.  Looking into Fa's eyes when she asked why her home had to be attacked in such a way...replicating the pain of war so faithfully is hard-mode stuff that not every player can stomach.  Myself possibly included..."  Indeed, it raised ethical concerns that weren't necessarily to the benefit of the game if playing the 'bad guys' had such a weight.  Shaking himself from these thoughts, he continued to ponder.

"Regarding Kira, you're right that he shouldn't be underestimated...even if his early survival was due in part to literal plot armor.  It's his role that will be hard to determine."  Hikaru looked to the group, trying to analyze what he'd seen so far.  "If he pilots the Strike and we fight in space without much change, we may face the Aile.  If the NPDs emulate the thinking of the character at the time without sufficient constraint in the system, however, he may instead hang back and use the Launcher to protect the Archangel as a mobile beam cannon.  Remembering his initial reasons for fighting, he has no reason to risk himself further than that if he has allies to handle the close-up stuff, and Beta Team may consider his safety a priority.  If he has to be called out to fight, he could just swap packs at that point.  Mu La Flaga, as a threat, is limited due to the low power behind his gunbarrels against our collective armor unless the machine he's piloting is changed.  He's more dangerous as a battlefield coordination asset as long as we keep our wits about us and avoid his main gun or joint, thruster, and sensor shots."  Hikaru suspected that the pilot in the GM would use the NPDs' reasoning abilities to alter their combat plans, at least within the scope of what the system allowed.

"Of course, if we get an opportunity to grab Flay's escape pod, we get some of Kira's reason for fighting.  It all depends on the when and where we face him, the nature of the new NPDs, and just how the enemy tries to take advantage of it.  On our end, confronting Athrun about Kira while we're here might change how he conducts himself in battle, for example."  Hikaru shrugged before moving on to another point he was wondering about.

"So, what are we working with on our end as allies?  Are ZAFT's machines still no-beam, or does their coordination with the AEUG give them access to the technology?  I could see early development of the CGUE DEEP Arms or something like the GINN High Maneuver Type II's beam carbine...otherwise they'll be limited against Kira's machine save as bait or battery drain."  The pilot was still wondering about the technological issues this gestalt world had.  It made him wonder about all the technological and political complexities promised by such interactions in this complex system...

 

Edited by MM007
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Hikaru was the only one to respond to Marco’s remarks, accordingly the man nodded his head in agreement about the game being a challenge. The boy was sharp and Marco found himself largely agreeing with the kid’s assessment about a lot of the possibilities they could be facing as a team. Marco was about to respond to Hikaru’s question about the technology when the door opened up to their conference room. 

A tall blonde man gave a smirk and a salute as he floated into the room. The smile the officer wore was charming yet Marco knew better than to trust the expression being offered. Indeed, the smile was complemented by a white mask which hid the eyes of the man, giving him an almost doll like appearance. The man spoke up with an air of friendliness in his words. “You must be the mercenaries the council has hired for this operation.” The white clad ZAFT officer paused to stand beside Marco at the front of the room. “Allow me to introduce myself, I am Commander Rau Le Creuset. I couldn’t help but overhear your last question…” Rau offered a nod towards Hikaru. “The Vesalius is equipped with my own CGUE along with a couple of spare GINNS. Hence the reason why you are all here to compliment our forces.”

Marco stood up stiffly as the notorious officer barged in. He had heard of other people hiring NPDs from series before but he couldn’t rightly recall anyone ever dealing with Rau, likely for a good reason. Rau didn’t miss a beat, “unfortunately my team is tied up with the capture of the Earth Alliance units and will be unable to assist. We will be relying on all of you for this next leg of the mission. Briefing and deployment will happen in 24 hours. In the meantime feel free to utilize any of our facilities or equipment to prepare yourselves. I for one look forward to seeing the performance that your unique machines have to offer.” The man offered a cat like grin at the comment and gave another salute before gliding out of the room. 

Marco remained some what  stunned by the performance and found himself staring at the exit longer than intended. Gulping, he snapped out of his trance and looked once again at his teammates who seemed just as speechless. Shrugging he cleared his throat, “I’m going to log out for awhile to rest and prepare for this next mission…” as he spoke he brought up his interface and sent a friend request to the people in the room. “Feel free to message me privately if you want to talk.” He glanced around at everyone one last time before logging out and entering into the real world once more. 

Edited by Roromi
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Risu’s little ears flattened at the touch to her head, appearing to wince away at Hikaru’s touch. Still, she looked like she appreciated it, judging by the small, nervous smile she’d given him. As the proceedings continued, she remained quiet, trying her best to understand what was going on. By the looks of things, this Rau person seemed quite important. And while she didn’t quite get the finer details of his speech, she understood that the next part of this questline was gated for tomorrow.

Her attention quickly shifted to her interface as a red circle marked with a ‘1’ appeared above the back of her hand. She’d hold it in front of her to open it, finding a friend request from Marco. She’d leave it for now. As the other divers begun their goodbyes, she’d stand idly in place. She was typing something, and it was taking quite a while. Eventually, she’d bow again, offering her own farewell-for-now.

[good night!! see u tomorrow wwww (´`)*: ]

Despite this, she lingered, watching the rest of her new Force disappear with clouds of teal, cubic particles.

Now alone, she could finally relax. It felt like she’d been holding her breath the entire time. Slowly, she’d slump to her knees on the cool metal floor, letting out a shaky sigh. This wasn’t normal for her. Usually, she had no problem with people online, where they were static, distant avatars speaking in text, but in the space of virtual reality, it all felt too real. They looked real, quite possibly like their real selves, and they were speaking to her about things she had no understanding of. And now they were counting on her: strangers she barely knew hanging their hopes of success on her meager shoulders. While they’d managed to eke out a victory, Risu could feel it in her heart that she was dragging them down, that they felt that she was dragging them down, holding them back from performing perfectly.

Why was she even doing this? She didn’t know Choco in real life, either, but the obligation of meeting her in this game gnawed at her conscience. She wanted to impress her, especially since she’d been given the game, owing nothing in return. For all her hangups and anxiety about all of this, Risu wanted to do better, she wanted to be better for when they would inevitably see each other.

She was never good at games, and in virtual reality, where real dexterity was important, she had little chance of keeping up: she was clumsy and unskilled with anything requiring a modicum of finesse or expertise. How would she get better for Choco?

Risu paused for a moment, laying back and closing her eyes before she’d log out herself. “Sorry….”

Edited by Rabbidy
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Creed did his daily routine as normal. Wake up, eat breakfast, and do shores around the house, and post on his Zapp Inc blog. It wasn’t until midday that he started having any thoughts about GBN and the next part of the mission. Gundam Seed had always been one of his favorite series and he vividly recalled being thrilled by the exploits of Rau Le Cruset during the show. This caused Marco to decide two things for his planned session that evening: the first being to not pilot the savior, the latter being to have fun with the situation. 

His two conclusions caused the sponsored professional to literally dust off a mecha from his shelf and do some light touch up work on it. Before he could really ask himself what he was doing he had his paints out and his printer etching out a custom design on decal paper. He meticulously cleaned the surface of the regal white Gundam with cuetip and applied his custom decal where the old one had been. 

The Gundam Bael had intrigued Marco, especially for being in a series that wasn’t particularly his favorite. Still the fan in him enjoyed the simple design the machine boasted. The white and blue paints paid homage to Tallgeese II and the weapon choice reminded him vaguely of Epyon in their specialization. Twin gold swords (which Marco had made out of actual metal) hung ready on the hips of the model. Even motionless and poised the figure had a majesty about it which Marco had to concede made it appropriate to lead Gjallarhorn. 

The skilled builder smirked as he ran his fingers over the recently added logo. He replaced the IBO livery with something more appropriate. On the left shoulder of Bael now housed the symbol for ZAFT with the letters being innocently swapped out to spell ZAPP  instead. By the time Marco had finished his updates to the model he ate a light dinner then finally decided to log into GBN and get his bearings for the new mission.  

 

As Creed appeared in the beta lobby because it was a beta he hadn’t bothered to set up a force nest just yet, and he took in the scene of the public lobby. He took a moment to access his menu before heading for the default hangar. He toggled a few commands and as he exited his menu his avatar shimmered for a moment as his clothes changed. It was no secret that Marco wasn’t a young buck anymore and his frame was no longer the wiry build he had from college. Fatherhood added a few pounds to his waist and he sighed in resignation as he looked at himself in the clingy red spacesuit of a ZAFT ace pilot. Ultimately he had to smile because this was the first time in awhile that he had gotten excited enough to play along with a mission. He paused to look at the patch on his shoulder and grinned when he saw his custom ZAPP patch in place there as well. 

A few random players paused to look at him but nothing too obtrusive as the veteran went to the tower’s launching pad. Within a few moments he was within the cockpit of the Bael. He flexed his arms and fingers as he settled over the controls and launched the machine into the always perfect skies outside. Bael wasn’t a true flying machine but it had a knack for maneuverability and unlike the savior wasn’t so rigid when shifted directions. He eased the machine through some simple paces and soon brought the machine to the loading point for his mission. In an instant he went from soaring around the pleasant blue skies of the lobby to the motionless, frantic pace of the Versailles Hangar. 

Technicians floated to and fro, pushing crates around as they prepared for battle. Creed pressed a button and found himself soon alongside the foot traffic, as he pushed himself towards the briefing room. As he sailed past different crewmen he noticed that a lot more of them paused to salute him, apparently appreciating his effort at wearing one of their uniforms. Marco smiled as he saluted back and was wearing a cocky grin on his face as he opened the door to the briefing room. As he neared, he wondered if his teammates would be appearing soon as well. Marco had a tendency to show up early for missions so he could prepare as much as possible; he knew he was likely the first one onboard the ship. Even so, the foot traffic of the NPDs was alarming as they hustled around, legitimately worrying about their existence as they prepared for the upcoming battle. Their existence, Creed mused, his grin fading into an expression of thoughtfulness. That notion stuck in his head more and more as he took note of the diversity in the ship's crew, and the unformed expressions on their faces. It was that damn look, not the look of a mindless NPD, but one of genuine concern about living the day through, which was unmistakable. He found himself floating outside the boardroom, staring out the viewport towards the stars, wondering just how far this update had taken GBN. 

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There was more activity in the lobby this time.  That was always a good sign, but Hikaru would only spare a smile and a nod to the receptionist due to time constraints as he headed to the hangar.  Blinking as he saw green bots moving about on his machine, he realized what was going on.

"More Elemechu?"  Hikaru noted when he stood in front of his machine again.  Of course, it was understandable.  He'd made a number of changes, particularly to the armament and equipment of the unit.  Such changes needed to be inspected for improper hacks or other measures before use.  He waited for the scan of his machine to complete, hoping he wouldn't be late for the operation, while reflecting on the changes to his unit.  The Beta Gundam was now equipped with its upgraded BWS-capable G-Defenser and had a simple but resilient 'Mobile Armor' form that consisted of the whole thing laying down on its face.  Its shield had a nice surprise if its main protection was breached and the Long Rifle had improved accuracy due to Smart Beam Gun technology being added and married to the quasi-psycommu in a similar way to the hip beam guns.  Wanting options other than just beam, however, Hikaru had settled on adding a Union Flag's Linear Rifle to the G-Defenser's centerline and a Dom's Heat Saber to the side opposite the new Long Smart Gun.  Both were low weight, but the Heat Saber sported a solid reach while the Linear Rifle served to improve the aerodynamic properties in detached or Mobile Armor mode with its electromagnetic field emitter.  Not the most powerful additions, but suitable until he thought of better.  Perhaps something based on the Gerbera Straight from Red Frame would be more appropriate than the Heat Saber?

Oh, and the whole thing was standing in a stock FXA-00 "Flying Armor", but that was meant to be loaned to one of his allies as needed.  Maybe it would improve the movement of one of the GINNs supporting the operation at worst.  Kira likely did have an Aile Striker, after all.

Once checks were complete, he got in his machine and the location shifted to the ZAFT hangar.  After guiding his machine off of the FXA-00 Flying Armor and setting it to be usable by any of their allies, he got out of his Mobile Suit and observed the tone of the people preparing for combat.  It was a good thing he brought the Flying Armor, too.  Someone had brought an IBO unit that was either bone stock or a sleeper.  Process of elimination implied it to be Creed.  He looked for the pilot and decided to check the boardroom they were in before.  He hadn't run into Fa and Kamille yet either, but wondered how they were doing.  They, and the NPDs here, were realistic enough for him not to remember that they weren't 'real' and feel actual concern for what was coming.  Memories flashed to Fa's grief and he wondered if it was more than 'skin deep'.  How far could one go emulating feelings before they became real?

"Hey there."  Hikaru said, taking note of his teammate.  "I see you brought along an IBO machine.  Good thinking against all the beam.  I brought an FXA-00 Flying Armor explicitly for a teammate to use if needed to keep up with the Aile Strike.  Think your Gundam needs the boost, or is it better without it?"
 

Edited by MM007
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((This was a collaboration between me and Hikaru. Enjoy!))

Creed was snapped out of his reverie by Hikaru’s question. The older man had a flustered look on his face as he returned to the here and now. He looked at the kid and took an extra moment to contemplate the question. “Hmm” he pondered out loud. Bael was somewhat specialized, if not specific in its design. By all rights he suspected that his machine would be fast enough to compete with the Strike, maybe even the Destiny is that became an issue down the road. The question wasn’t wether or not he needed a boost, it was if Bael would be better without the bonus? Marco finally shook his head, “let’s see what everyone else brings to the table. I’ll take you up on it if no one else has a use for it. Bael is plenty fast enough, my only fear would be off balancing the machine with too much speed. It could become unwieldy.” He looked at the kid directly, “thank you though!” He was genuine in his appreciation, at least the kid was trying to help his teammates. “Bael might get nakered up but it should outpace the Strike… last I checked sword beats knife.” He added the last part with a snicker as he referred to the armor Schneider knives the Strike was known for. 
 

Hikaru smiled back, getting the joke. "Heh, yeah.  Those and its vulcans may be the only things that can actually hurt your machine aside from the Sword Striker or maybe the Launcher Striker's overkill."  He chose to respond to the gratitude next, glad someone appreciated it. "You're welcome. Logging my machine in while standing on the Flying Armor was as easy as not, and my machine's new G Defenser should be just as fast so I don't need it unless there's call for atmospheric re-entry.  It's essentially a 'poor man's' Mobile Armor with a Beam Smart Rifle for longer range hits." That wasn't the full loadout, but it was a decent summary.

"I also added some emergency non-beam armaments in case I ran into a machine with anti-beam properties.  You and Risu are already fielding them, and it's only a matter of time until the enemy does too..." The Diver tried to keep combat trends in mind and predict them, though he wasn't going to pretend to be 100% successful.

 

Marco nodded his agreement as Hikaru spoke. “If they’re smart they’ll mix things up as well. Best we can do is hope to keep them off balance.” As he mused he began stroking his beard nervously as he gazed out the window. “Do you really think they’ll have us diving into the atmosphere?” The veteran asked cautiously of the younger man. His reference to the flying armor Hikaru brought along. “That’ll make things very interesting if it goes that route.”
 

"Well, I don't know if it'll happen this mission or not."  Hikaru admitted, having given a shrug. "Things are up in the air and the timing is likely off, but both scenarios this seems to be comprised of have an eventual orbital drop mission we can use it for.  In the meantime, the Flying Armor is something that might be able to keep an otherwise sluggish teammate more highly mobile. It seemed better to have it as an option than not to carry it along. The Aile Strike is fast.  Some of Beta Team's machines are also fast. It was that simple in the end."

Indeed, things were getting harder to predict.  The unit was something he could carry along with his machine into GBN without any form of penalty, and he didn't HAVE to use it...so why not?
 

Again Marco grinned at the man, a twinkle in his eye and looked back at Hikaru. “It’s very smart of you bringing that in. Any edge will help us! Once this is over I’d like to take -“ his voice trailed off as a man floated towards the pair. Non other than Rau Le Cruset appeared with an eerie smile on his lips. The NPD gave a salute towards the divers, “gentleman… the briefing will commence momentarily. I would suggest you attend the conference room soon”. With a curt nod the devilish man floated away and Marco gave Hikaru a helpless look. “If our teammates don’t show up won’t the simulation forfeit us out?” The question was partially directed at himself. In previous versions an impartial team would be disqualified from participating in the mission. Was this something 1.8 had changed?

Marco’s panic grew as more and more NPDs piled into the briefing room. It soon became obvious that the briefing would start one way or another. He looked at Hikaru, curious to see what the kid had to say about all this. 

 

Hikaru noted Rau, creeped out a bit by the man after knowing his true ambitions but giving him a nod.  Whether they remained in this altered era was hard to determine, however. In this merged universe, Rau may well take on Char Aznable's more ethically questionable aspects as well.

Entering and having a seat with Marco, Hikaru started noting various AEUG and ZAFT pilots.  There was even Shiho Hahnenfuss. Lots of background characters were present. "...Given that the other team was allowed to participate with an NPD filling their fourth slot,"  Hikaru started when speaking to Marco, "I suspect that we might not get the boot so easily. It's more likely that Kamille and Fa, who are here because of our actions, would be compelled to fight to balance out the roster.  That's just my guess though."


 

Marco found himself sitting with his teammate and nodding once more with Hikaru’s assessment. He was glad that he was stuck with a competent diver at the very least. It helped that they seemed to be of like mind as well. “That’s a valid point” Marco mumbled as the lights and din died down to let the attention settle on the infamous commander. 

Rau took a moment for the chatter to die down and a moment more before finally talking. “Thank you all for being here. As you are well aware we are still in a dogged pursuit of the legged ship. We have reason to believe that they will be making a run to enter the earth's atmosphere and proceed to Joshua.” He paused again to let his mask scan the crowded briefing room. “Because of the value of the G machines and our depleted fighting force we will be relying on the strength of our recently acquired mercenary force for this mission.” Rau lifted a glove hand to motion to Hikaru and Marco who shuffled nervously at the attention of so many NPDs. “Of course you will not be deploying alone, ZAFT does not take this task lightly so I will deploy as well to offer any assistance on this matter.” He let the gravity of the unusual deployment settle over the room. “At this point we can’t be certain of the exact strength of the enemy force but we can assume it will consist of five mobile suits and a single mobile armor.” The mention of the mobile armor hung in the air like a stale odor which caused the commander to grimace ever so slightly. “We must assess the enemy’s strength quickly and adapt accordingly. I would not ask for such a reckless course of action if it were not important.” As he finished there was that eerie smile along his lips once more. “Crew is dismissed, I want a word with our hired swords.” 

Marco tensed up as the man floated past the dispersed crowd of NPDs and paused an arms length from himself and Hikaru. “A word gentlemen…” he said politely, “it’s about that peculiar piece of equipment you brought along today…” Rau motioned to Hikaru and Marco felt his stomach sink as the NPD proceeded to formulate a plan, a decent plan, that used the resources of their small team. Marco’s emotions rolled from terror to fascination as the NPD got his reluctant approval. 

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***Immediately following mission 2*****

Before his blade could bite for more flesh the enemy MKII backed away. He had plenty of chance to pursue the enemy but Marco declined as the sinking feeling in his stomach grew. The text of “Mission Over” sprawled on his screen but he hardly cared and instead turned Bael around to fly for the Versailles. He checked his heads up to see the status of his allies. It seemed as if his team was still relatively intact. This did grant Creed some relief however the whole situation felt bittersweet. 

As he docked Bael he disembarked and was floating through the hangar of the Versailles. As he made his way through the ship he squinted as he nearly bumped into Kamille and Fa. The pair looked agitated, with Kamille clenching his fist and grinding his teeth. Clearing his throat Creed asked, “how are you two doing?” his face grew grave as he studied their reactions. The hesitation, the eye movement, it was all so lifelike that he could swear they were divers just like him.

“We’re fine, how did the mission go?” Fa responded.

Creed nodded, “The legged ship got away… but we dealt significant damage to the enemy…” he let the words linger as he chewed on their exact meaning. Shaking his head, he moved away from the pair before either could respond. He numbly floated his way towards the boardroom of the ship and sat waiting. The room was dimly lit with the monitor displaying the status of all the machines in the hangar as well as the projected course that the Archangel was taking to earth. He hardly reacted or noticed as his teammates floated in one after another. Despite himself, his thoughts dwelled on his son and the Freedom Gundam they had recently built together, and how “cool” Kira Yamato was supposed to be. With a simple sword stroke, it felt like had had just betrayed his son, and that thought was challenging to cope with.

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((This was a collaboration between all the members of Alpha team. Great work everyone!))

 

Hikaru's machine arrived at the Vesalius next, though it wasn't without at least something to show for its trouble.  The machine carried the main weapon, the lower body, and the arms of a RX-78GP04G Gerbera Gundam in Titans livery.

He disembarked from his machine, displeased.  They'd lost.  Oh, they managed to do some damage, but still.  He moved through zero gravity and landed near Fa, Kamilla, and Marco.  "Tch...at the very least we disabled a couple Gundams for a while.  I brought back pieces of the machine that tied me up, but the torso got away.  Maybe the AEUG can do something political with proof of the Gundam Development Project...or at least Anaheim can build us a machine faster out of the parts."

 

Marco snapped out of his reverie to regard Hikaru. His expression was blank and he shook his head as if in a daze before clearing his throat. “That’s good kid…” he slowly began returning to the “here and now” his eyes studying the room more openly. 

 

Kamille trembled with visible rage “those bastards! How can they get away with all this! First our home…” his glare shot up at Hikaru. “I can’t let them….” He shook as he clenched his eyes tightly. “I wish I wasn’t so helpless… I need to be able to fight my own battles…” he muttered with tears trickling out from his closed eyes. It was obvious how distraught the teen was and Fa moved to comfort her friend. “Kamille…” she offered feebly.

 

Hikaru hesitated for a moment.  He could egg Kamille on and coax him to fight, but this...wasn't like manipulating Emma.  No, this was a civilian transitioning into a soldier.  He scratched the back of his head in thought.

"Except it's not just your own battle.  If you go out intending to fight alone, you'll just be killed.  We were outnumbered, pulled away from the plan by it, and got lucky as it was.  It was very nearly two-to-one out there.  Besides...are you ready to kill?  Even if people have their own reasons for joining the enemy side?  Can you obey orders you might not like?"  Hikaru inquired, wanting Kamille to have a more solid idea of what he was getting into.  If he chose to help, it might aid his transition.

 

Shin loaded in looking and listening to the two players and then the NPDs But then back to Marcos 

" So what happened to the teamwork talk! Because once the fight started you rushed in same as last time, and y'all thought I wasn't the team player here!" He then looked over to Hikaru and the young kamille but didn't say a word. He knew opening his mouth further would only make things worse.

 

Risu entered a fair bit later than everyone else, scurrying in and giving the group a little wave. "Did I do good? Did I do good?" she called out, not at all aware of the room's current atmosphere. "We won, right?" Without a quick response, she'd stop speaking, giving her Force a small pout before sheepishly stepping to one corner of the room. Something told her that they were dealing with something, and her butting in would make things worse.

 

Marco involuntarily gasped at Hikaru’s words and grimaced. He stood up and turned to regard the conversation fully. Then Shin chimed in about teamwork. Creed stood up straight at the remark and flared at the kid. His first impulse was to react violently but Risu cut him off before he could do anything rash. 

 

Kamille was fuming “What does all that mean? At least if I’m able to fight I don’t have to sit here helplessly! I should be able to protect myself! Having you guys kill for me is worse than if I’m the one pulling the trigger!” He flared angrily around at all the divers sweeping his hand out wide. “I’m being forced to trust everyone else’s judgement! I can’t bear such shame!” He clenched his fist in front of him practically growling.

 

Marco took the moment to clear his angry thoughts and walked up to place his hands on Kamille’s shoulders before looking around at everyone. His touch on the boy made the teen jump but not run away. Creed took a moment looking at everyone grimly, “plans seldom make it through contact with the enemy… all things considered we did good…” his eyes settle in Risu as he said the last part. This was the most animated he’d seen her and he was surprised. Kamille hardly look pleased however as he began to brush Marco away. “I need to fight…” he stated defiantly, looking around for someone to help him.

 

Hikaru rubbed the back of his head.  He noted Shin, acknowledging the man's irritation.  First, he responded to him so as to explain things.  "So the Bael could attack the other Gundams with more impunity, and to keep the enemy's leader and probable main strategist from messing with Risu with his long range weapon, I led him away.  I didn't expect the battlefield area to shift and for them to throw an extra Gundam at us.  I sent a communication as soon as I could, and shot down the Zeong as soon as I saw you were in trouble.  That's all I could really do."  He wouldn't apologize for his actions, but he would explain them at least.

The Diver then regarded Kamille and Fa.  "...Kamille, I'm not telling you to fight or not to fight.  I'm trying to prepare you.  You may understand that the Titans were using you as human shields and might forgive us for fighting, but not everyone will.  You might be ordered into a situation like that again if the Titans keep employing such strategies.  You might have to fight among innocent civilians like we had to.  We can't always choose our battlefields.  If you insist on fighting, maybe we can contact Anaheim and have them finish this GP04 or something...but I think you need to talk to Fa about it before committing.  You're her lifeline here, and she was scared out of her wits for you."

 

Shin looked over to the young Risu and with a strange sort of smile spoke to her 

"As far as I could tell your the only one that kept the plan I knew of before the mission started." He turned to look at Creed and Hikaru and took a deep breath then looking at Kamille. 

"You wanna fight, do it your way. Stop feeling down about it and just move forward. Make a choice and stick to it. Trust me questioning your own choice will only hold you back." He walked closer and look closer at Creed and sighed as he looked away. Before he looked back at him

" Guess what happened doesn't matter anymore." As Hikaru spoke Shin listened 

"Thats fine. Things happen, however Creed did exactly what he did in the first mission. He rushed forward without a full plan or if he had one he didn't explain it well. I've worked on teams before and it's a two way street. I was humiliated because I worried about what I was supposed to do to be a 'Team Player' in the end I realized I wasn't fully the problem on this team. " He scratched his head and then looked to all of the group. 

"If we wanna be a team we have to work together and play off each of our strengths. You all work off my all out combat style and I learn to work with the rest of you. I hate to admit but if we could actually work together we wouldn't be able to lose even if we got outnumbered."

 

Risu paused for a moment, giving Shin a small nod of thanks. However, she'd continue to stay quiet, figuring it'd be best to listen intently. She had little knowledge of anything Gundam, and the best way to start would be to listen to everyone else.

 

Marco looked away from Shin and muttered. “I’ll admit I got buck fever… but I didn’t intend to get lured away from everyone else for so long… I… I haven’t been the best teammate I know….” The man seemed more emotional than he should be as he still mulled over thoughts of Kira in his head. 

 

Kamille scoffed and headed for the doorway. “If you guys can’t help me then I’ll find a way to fight myself…” as he stormed out of the room Fa called out chasing him “Kamille!” The two NPDs  exited the room and there was a tension that seemed to go away with them. 

 

Creed stroked his beard and eyed everyone. “All things considered we almost pulled that one out of the bag… one thing on my mind is how you did it?”  he nodded to Risu. “I didn’t know your suit could perform like that…” he then looked at Hikaru. “Also why did the field change for just you?”

 

Hikaru sighed, noting that Kamille seemed to reject the offer of trying to make the GP04G work for him.  Maybe he should make a Zeta Gundam for him.  Having him fall for Rau's logic would be a bad idea...though hopefully Char would be quick to accept Kamille as a protegé.

He noted the question and responded after a moment of thought.  "I suspect it was because of both distance and some flag the other team triggered.  Cima Garahau mentioned that the other team's leader was to be executed along with me.  I only managed to pinpoint her sniping position by contacting the Red Frame to warn it of the danger and being given the location of the Gerbera in exchange.  Not everything seems to be going well between Beta Team and the NPDs."

 

Shin after sharing his piece leaned against the wall just watching the room. Maybe something helpful would be discussed

 

A brief, almost hesitant pause met Creed's question, though soon enough, she'd return with that peppy, youthful countenance. "I-I dunno!" she smiled. "I-Isn't it like... if you put a lot of effort into building it, it's really good?" As cheerful as she seemed to be, it was pretty obvious that she was hiding something.

 

Marco simply nodded as his teammates responded, he took in all the information and processed it silently. He gave Risu a knowing look before answering, “I’m going to be re-watching the replay of that fight very closely…” his eyes shifted from the squirrel to both boys. “It’s clear there’s …” his voice trailed off as he looked at the screen behind his teammates. The smiling face of Rau seemingly taunted all of them through the wall display. 

 

Rau’s melodic voice cut in finally, “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting anything…” the soulless gaze of the NPD seemed to scan the room and all the divers before he contributed. “Time is of the essence though and I have a new mission for you all… assuming you’re all still available for employment?” 

The question hung in the air as Marco looked around uneasily at his teammates trying to gauge their reaction to their pseudo employer. Curiosity got the better of him though as he impulsively blurted, “We’re listening…..”

 

Hikaru noted Rau and was on his guard.  So much for their after-mission discussion.  At least it was largely over anyway.  Rau had his attention, but he hesitated to immediately agree to something reckless.  After all, Rau was offering employment on ZAFT's terms.  He wasn't sure if they were ever on ZAFT's payroll and he didn't want manipulated into changing sides in ignorance.  "I'm listening as well, but would this mission be for the AEUG, for ZAFT, or both?  I have to admit to a bit of confusion about our status since we seem to have been handed off from our original co-workers."

 

Shin looked at the wall with the NPD but just kept quiet. He would just talk if he spoke anyway so what was the point. In fact he took the time to pull a design bored and started to work on a long range type for the Astral AGE

 

Rau grinned ever so slightly as he garnered the full attention of the room. “I’m glad we still have your attention then… as for employment this would be for the motherland. That’s not to say our goals don’t align with all spacenoids however.” He let the word spacenoid hang in the air as if trying it out. “As it stands the ZAFT forces are spread thinly. But we cannot afford to have the legged ship escape to their base on earth. The last battle set them off course, a timely mistake. We would like to have your team follow them down to the surface to finish what was started here in space. Unfortunately you will have to wait one more day before you can effectively pursue them, due to the rotation of the earth. In reality that  gives you little time to prepare. We will provide you with re-entry pods and you can continue the pursuit once you have landed. Will you accept this job?” Rau’s tone was deceptively sincere as was his polite smile. The question hung in the air like a bad stench. 

Creed tilted on his heel to see what his teammates would do. He was curious beyond belief and wanted to see just how deep these missions would go. Even if it was just him he’d take on the challenge, whatever it might be.

 

"Would we have support, or be operating solo?"  Hikaru inquired of the commander.  On the surface, it was a reasonable question to determine combat strength.  They'd just been overpowered by their target, after all.  However, he was truly pondering just how much oversight ZAFT would have over their decisions.  If they had too little support, that could be a blessing on its own...given the nature of the man in front of them.

Still, it felt like making a deal with the devil.  Maybe he could use this to fish for an angle to let the AEUG stay connected to the deal, if the support was too light.

 

Rau’s demeanor didn’t skip a beat as he calmly replied to Hikaru, “reinforcements will be forthcoming but not immediately available. So it’s safe to assume you may be operating alone for this whole ordeal.” His masked face scanned around and he politely asked, “any other concerns? I’m not saying that this won’t be dangerous, to the contrary it should be a worthy challenge for a team such as yours. We have high hopes for you…”

 

Creed let out a sigh and nodded. “I don’t know about you guys but I’m good to go. I just need some repairs and Bael will be ready for terrestrial combat.” He turned to nod at Rau. “I’ll report back a couple hours before we begin.” He hardly acknowledged the response from Rau before bidding everyone else goodbye. As he was about to log out he noticed a reward waiting for him from the mission “hmm this out to be handy...” he mused as he fully logged out of GBN.

Edited by Roromi
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((This was done between myself and Hikaru.))

Kamille  bumped through the hallways of the ZAFT warship, tears streaming out behind him. Fa called out to him but each time a little more softly as the angry teen mindlessly went down the hallway. She eventually forced herself to stop chasing him. As much as she cared about Kamille she knew she couldn’t do much for him in this state. Fa hated the idea of fighting, but she felt just as frustrated as he did at that moment. “We can’t even protect ourselves…”

She muttered more to herself as she steadied herself to look out the viewport into space. Tears welling up in her own eyes as she gazed at the countless stars

-

 It wouldn't be long after the conclusion of the meeting before Hikaru followed.  He couldn't really tell where Kamille was, but he did notice Fa looking out amongst the stars.  He told himself that she was an NPD, as was Kamille, but he couldn't really ignore this.  He moved to be near Fa, respecting her personal space by staying at the next window over.

"...Hard to save someone from themselves, isn't it?"  Hikaru asked, not fully interpreting Fa's lament at the moment.

-

Fa fought back a sniffle and nearly jumped as the kind pilot from before surprised her. She looked around quizzically before catching on. “Oh… yeah, well Kamille has always been a stubborn one…” she looked away absently and an moment passed before she gasped. “You know I don’t think I properly thanked you or introduced myself… I’m Fa Yuiry… I appreciate you pulling me to safety back at Green Noa…” her voice trailed off as she was still very much worried and thinking about Kamille. 

-

This briefly surprised Hikaru as he realized that he'd not introduced himself.  The NPDs were just so iconic that he felt like he knew them already.  It seemed to be time to rectify that.  "Ah, I'm Hikaru Hiyashi.  You're welcome for that, Miss Yuiry.  I regret that you got dragged into that.  In a perfect world, governments wouldn't use their civilian populations as shields.  Of course, given that Kamille's parents both work for the Titans, he might not have been able to avoid that mess either way."

-

Fa’s eyes lit up momentarily at the mention of the Titans and she went back to staring longingly at the stars. “Fate is a funny thing isn’t it? Don’t you feel like sometimes life has a script that you have to follow? And no matter what you do you have to follow it?”

She paused as the thoughtful words flowed out of her. “Still… I know I feel the same as Kamille… I feel like we need to take the fight to the Titans… we can’t sit idly by while they destroy colonies…” her gaze turned cold as she talked about the enemy. Hate could be seen etched on her face. “I think that’s why I can’t bare to bring myself to Kamille right now… I can’t tell him to stop, because deep down…” her voice trailed off again as she weighed the implications. 

-

The mention of a script made Hikaru flinch slightly.  At what point was her pain real?  When did this transition into cruelty?  He gave a sigh and rubbed the back of his head a bit.  "There's a difference between feeling a need to do something and charging in blindly.  That's what I was trying to warn him about.  He has to be careful who he throws his lot in with.  I feel stuck myself right now  and want him to avoid that if he can.  ZAFT may be the Titans' enemies, but it isn't necessarily a group that would always align with his intentions.”

-

She looked around in response, as if studying the ship itself. “Well you guys seem fine enough… though I understand you guys are somewhat freelance…” she looked at Hikaru now, “it’s not a matter of being blind for us right now as it is a matter of taking action. Green Noa is still fresh for us… too fresh…” she looked away as thoughts of home flooded her sense. “Do you think you could talk some reason into Kamille?” She asked meekly as he eyes absorbed the stars once more. 

-

"Yes, we're freelance, though that doesn't come without questioning a few things here and there.  I'm willing to try helping him, if he'll listen.  That's the important part.  He seems to think I'm trying to stop rather than advise.  Do you know where he is, Miss Yuiry?"  Hikaru asked Fa, wondering if she might have any ideas.

-

Fa pointed at the hallway that led to the hangars blankly. “He went off that way… and… thanks again Mr.Hiyashi” she offered a polite bow to Hikaru. “We really are indebted to you and your allies.” She offered a weak but genuine smile. 

-

"Ah, you can call me Hikaru.  I just felt like I shouldn't presume upon your given name."  Hikaru bowed back to Fa.  "And really...it might help if you were there.  You're the only familiar person on this ship for him.  Even if he is too upset and angry to show it right now, you might be an anchor for him as he is for you."

-

Fa nodded reluctantly and pushed off the railing to lead the way with Hikaru in tow. 

Meanwhile Kamille clawed at the cockpit of the the Beta Gundam. He snarled in frustration as the godlike mobile suit denied him entry. It looked almost identical to the MKII’s the titans were using, he was certain he could use this machine if he could just get inside. He whimper and groaned in frustration as the cockpit hatch didn’t budge open. “Please!” He begged softly. As it became evident that the machine wouldn’t yield he punched the metal hatch angrily yelling out in rage. “Let me fight!” Some of the Zaft personnel paused to regard the angry teen but most went about their business eager to avoid the awkward situation. It was during the height of his sorrow he could sense an approach, it was a difficult feeling to describe but in that moment he knew he wasn’t alone. 

“Kamille! What are you doing?” Fa called out as she floated toward him. He turned around to glare at her and the pilot equally. Fa caught herself next to the cockpit of the Beta Gundam, “Kamille you can’t take…” she bit her lip eager to not anger Kamille any further. “You can’t Mr. Hiyashi’s mobile suit! Did you forget that he saved me?” 

Kamille gave Hikaru an angry look and spat out. “Don’t think I’m ungrateful…” he muttered in response. “I just… I know…. I know I can make a difference… inside a Gundam…” he looked at the pilot of the machine before him. Silently challenging Hikaru with the glare. 

-

Hikaru noted Kamille and, strangely, didn't seem angry.  If anything, he was thankful that Kamille tried to take the Gundam.  "First off, you're lucky you picked my machine to try and take.  If you tried to steal one of the ZAFT suits, you'd probably be in the brig by now.  If you'd done that to one of the Gundams they just took, you might even have gotten shot."  It was important to clarify the danger Kamille had placed himself in, to shock him back to reality...such as it was within the game.

"I'm not angry though, I get it.  You want to do something about it.  But we won't even be in a position to deploy to attack the Titans or the ship they're on for another day.  It would also mean descending to the Earth.  So since there's nothing any of us can do at the moment..."  Hikaru leaned back against his machine and regarded both Fa and Kamille.  "Mind listening to a story?"

-

Kamille wasn’t so eager to take the bait but Fa edged them on, quietly asking “ what’s it about?” As she asked she floated next to Kamille and took his clenched hand in her own, in an attempt to sooth the teen. Kamille reluctantly nodded to hear what the level headed pilot had to say, curiosity getting the better of him. 

-

"There was a time, in Side 3, when people were angry about how they were treated by the Federation.  They wanted freedom and independence from the distant foreign power that controlled them.  They weren't alone in feeling this way, since Side 6 had achieved that peacefully in 0077.  However...that feeling was easy to manipulate by those in power."  Hikaru started, glancing to Kamille as he continued.  He had to parse this carefully.  He glanced to the parts of the GP04.

"That machine over there was piloted by a woman named Cima Garahau.  She was a Zaku I pilot in the One Year War who fought for independence and wanted justice and freedom for her people.  As such, she listened to the Zabis and became one of their soldiers.  She had no idea that she was using poison gas in January 0079 when she obeyed her orders...but she has to deal with the knowledge that she had been tricked into killing a whole colony full of her fellow Spacenoids for the rest of her life.  After the war, her superior officer blamed her for the war crime and fled to Axis.  By 0083, she no longer loved her homeland and was a pirate who only wanted revenge."

He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment.  "When she rebelled against a former Zeon admiral and advanced certain plans with her actions that year, actions which may still be classified and led to the formation of the Titans, she apparently became exactly what she hated.  An instrument of Earth's oppression and hatred.  She is now a Titan, and seems unable to be anything else."

Hikaru glanced to Kamille and Fa, intent on getting his message through.  "Her mistakes were in who she trusted and signed up with.  In her haste to achieve her ends, she became the pawn of people who had their own agenda beyond that which she desired.  My point is that, before you join some military or group to take revenge, consider that group's intentions and goals.  Ask yourself what they might insist you do for them in exchange for the power to fight."

-

Kamille did blink as the story became prevalent to himself. He ever so slowly nodded his understanding that the pilot was trying to relay to him. Slowly his anger seeped away and he reluctantly let his fist unclench. He was still distraught, but he understood that perhaps he should bide his time. He glanced away unsure of how to react before finally looking back at Hikaru. “I…” he searched for the words before shaking his head, “thank you…” he said at last and Fa nodded alongside him as they floated in front of Beta Gundam. “I’ll take what you said to heart…” he grumbled before looking at Hikaru. “I still plan on fighting with you guys next time… but… I’ll be patient…” he pushed away from the Gundam and gave a little nod to Hikaru. Fa looked from Kamille to Hikaru and gave him a brief smile. “Thank you Hikaru…” she said softly as she looked back to see where Kamille was off to now. 

-

Hikaru smiled, glad to assist.  "You're both welcome, Mr. Bidan.  Miss Yuiry."  He could have said more, but he would have been repeating himself.  He didn't want to hold Fa up any longer than necessary in going to Kamille.  The Diver could only hope that the pair stayed away from racist tripe and thought through who they trusted.  ZAFT wasn't exactly a nice army for Naturals.

-

Kamille winced at the use of his surname, it reminded him too much of his father. He paused as he hit the catwalk away from the Gundam and turned around. “It’s Kamille… my first name is Kamille… you better remember it.” The teen warned as he looked back at Fa and Hikaru. Fa pushed away from the Mecha to join Kamille. She waved politely at Hikaru as she joined the infamous “boy with a girl’s name”. 

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(Collab with Roromi)

 

Hikaru walked down the hallway with a pad full information.  He looked for the room Kamille and Fa were staying in and wondered if the two were talking more openly because of the shared quarters.  That didn't happen on the Argama, after all.  Something Kamille had said before still worried him, and it was time to resolve it while still giving both NPDs something to do.

Standing in front of the door, he gave a knock and hoped he wasn't interrupting anything.

-

Talking could be heard on the opposite side of the metallic door and soon the door was opened by Fa who at first appeared annoyed but then brightened up as she recognized Hikaru. “Oh it’s Mr. Hiyashi!” She announced for Kamille’s benefit. The teen new type floated casually behind Fa with his hands knitted behind his head. He gave a look at the pilot and gave a slight nod. Fa smiled at Hikaru. “What can we do for you Hikaru?” She asked politely.

-

"Hello Kamille, Miss Yuiry."  He still lacked Fa's permission to call her by name, and remained aware of such.  "I thought that since we have a day before we can do much, I might be able to see about getting some discussion and maybe some training in.  Also, something Kamille said before worried me...I felt like I should discuss it.  Nothing about ideology or the like, I assure you."

He made sure not to enter unless told it was alright, observing proper decorum.

-

Fa blushed as Hikaru used her formal name and she grabbed his arm in a friendly manner, “please you can call me Fa. You did save my life after all!” She cast Kamille a look which seemed to speak volumes. Kamille scoffed at Fa and shrugged after a moment, still seemingly content floating around. Finally he spoke up, “So what do you want exactly? Hikaru?” He tried the name out as it trying a foreign food. He glanced over at the pilot, not exactly glaring but not quite friendly. He was still unsure if Hikaru’s overly friendly demeanor was genuine or not.

-

"Not a reason to be presumptuous on my part.  Still, thank you for the permission, Fa."  Hikaru looked to them both and noted Kamille's distrust.  Not that he could blame the boy.  "First, I'm worried.  Kamille said that 'he could make a difference inside a Gundam'.  I think he might be overestimating the value of that name and underestimating the value of a basic machine."

With a smile, Hikaru looked to Kamille.  "I don't want you to think you're invincible if you get in a machine that carries the name 'Gundam'.  The RX-78-2 may have been amazing enough to survive against Char Aznable, but that's just because there wasn't much that could pierce Luna Titanium at the time.  By the time of A Baoa Qu, the Gelgoog being fielded was superior to the Gundam in most respects save for armor...and the beam rifles in play made armor a moot point.  By then it was Amuro's accumulated skill which cemented the Gundam's legacy, not the name 'Gundam'.  It's actually more impressive to me that Char Aznable was able to use a machine as inferior as the Zaku to stand against the Gundam for as long as he did."

Hikaru looked to the pair.  "I think that's what you should be aiming for.  To develop solid basic skills so you can be effective in any machine you're assigned to, even a grunt unit, rather than to risk using the name 'Gundam' as a crutch should you find yourself in one.  Amuro Ray could easily have been killed if he fell into that trap."

-

Hikaru’s words hit a sore point with Kamille and even he had to admit the pilot had some good points. Slowly he nodded his acknowledgment. He cleared his throat, “that’s all well and good but I still haven’t even been in the controls of a normal mobile suit… and from what I’m hearing here these GINNs can’t be piloted by ‘normal people’ whatever that means…” he looked away slightly disgusted. “At least you’re are able to do something…” he muttered under his breath, silently not wanting to go down that road again.
Fa studied Kamille silently and looked back to Hikaru to see how he’d react.

-

"That's why I'm going to let you two run some simulations in my Beta Gundam's cockpit.  If I can't do anything for a day, I can at least make it available to you for that so you get some practice in.  We can even try to make the machine emulate the handling of other units like GMs.  Beta Gundam has two fold-out jump seats, so it's not like you would have to be by yourselves."  Of course, Hikaru's intentions for this were not only to help the pair improve.  He also wanted to see if Kamille's Newtype potential would be exercised a bit by the Quasi-Psycommu system.  The boy would need every edge.

"As for the GINNs, I think they refer to the fact that the Coordinators using them have the ability to process information differently than unmodified humans, and they've probably integrated that capability into their machines' OS.  It might be possible to rewrite the OS to be compatible with a normal pilot, but my guess is that it's counterproductive for them to do so."  He shrugged, making an educated guess as to the reasoning there when considering the nature of the mixed universe.

-

Kamille’s face did brighten up at the mention of doing training in the Beta Gundam. He couldn’t help but give Hikaru a sly look before nodding, “sure why not? It beats being treated like a second class citizen on board this place…”
Fa gave Kamille a venomous look before looking around for any ZAFT members and responded in a hushed tone, “Kamille! You better be nice to them or they’ll kick us off this ship!” The boy gave a half hearted shrug as he kicked off the bulkhead to head towards Hikaru and the exit. “Let’s get to it then?” He asked casually as he moved out the door. The trio made their way to the hangar and Kamille looked at Hikaru to see how this would work out exactly. “You got room in there for both of us? He asked skeptically, still not believing Hikaru’s earlier statement.

-

Hikaru followed and gave a nod to Kamille's response.  He agreed with Fa's comments, but at least Kamille was feeling a bit better now that he could do something.  "There is a jump seat to the rear left and another the rear right of the main pilot's seat.  They're meant for emergencies, like when I had to let Fa into the cockpit before.  It'll be slightly cramped for the taggers on, but the pilot will be fine.  All three of us will fit.  You and Fa can trade off time in the pilot seat.  In addition to the basics, I'd also like to have you both try some time with the quasi-psycommu.  Most machines with that system use a simplified all-range attack, but the Beta Gundam uses it for aiming optional beam weapons."

When they arrived, he would open the Beta Gundam's cockpit for them and allow them inside.  He idly wondered if this would impact the design of the Zeta Gundam.  Kamille had based the Zeta on his experiences with the Gundam Mk-II, if Hikaru remembered correctly.  Maybe it'd wind up with biosensor-guided hip beam guns or something.

-

Kamille’s mood brightened up considerably as they approached the Gundam. He was half paying attention to Hikaru’s explanation as the cockpit finally opened, revealing the interior that he as so desperate to get into earlier. He fought the urge to immediately jump in the pilot seat, knowing it was better to be nice than rude in this situation. “Are you sure this is ok?” He asked Hikaru as he traced his fingers over the controls. He looked from Hikaru to Fa for approval.

-

Hikaru smiled, pressing a few buttons to make sure the machine would be in a training mode and to deploy the jump seats.  "When you save someone, you generally want them to be able to stay alive.  The best I can do for you in that regard is help you both improve your knowledge and skills.  Go right ahead, Kamille."

-

A sense of relief washed over Kamille as he took the hot seat of the cockpit. Immediately it seemed as if the teenager knew almost more about the machine than Hikaru as he expertly ran his fingers over all the controls. Seemingly becoming acquainted with each relevant function. “My father…” Kamille mumbled before shaking his head and simply focusing on the controls. “I think I understand, this isn’t all that different from the smaller units I’m used to using.” He looked at the screen waiting for the training simulation to begin.

-

Hikaru had a seat in the left jumpseat and fastened himself in, letting Fa take the other position to Kamille's right.  The cockpit showed a message for them to restrain themselves in their seats, though it didn't prevent the operation of the machine.  The GBN tutorial started, allowing Kamille to select lessons from basic movement controls and weapons all the way to tactics and quasi-psycommu use.  They could also simulate various conventional gunpla.

The first simulation was in an empty colony, where Kamille's machine could walk, run, jump, and even fly to his heart's content.  There were various checkpoints to reach.  It was boring, but necessary depending on how much experience the pilots-to-be already had.

-

Kamille picked up the controls very quickly, he wasn’t known for being a gifted pilot for nothing, even if he hadn’t even scraped his potential yet at this stage. He worked through the boring tutorials before starting up a mock combat. Again if there was any disparity, Kamille didn’t show any signs of it. His proficiency was astounding and his ability to learn from mistakes was uncanny. As the simulation continued its difficulty slowly increased but it hardly seems to slow him down yet.

-

Combat started out with the basics rather than unlocking everything, though Kamille would note that the Beta Gundam's armament was diverse.  A 'jack-of-all-trades' machine far more than the Gundam Mk-II that could test modular equipment.  Some of that equipment included a backpack module allowing a Mobile Armor Mode, a Long Smart Rifle which the quasi-psycommu could help aim, and hip beam guns guided by the quasi-psycommu as a defense against multiple enemies or funnels -- an anti-Newtype point defense.  There was a hypothetical hip incom he eventually unlocked as well, though the device was labeled "unbuilt".

"You're doing far better than I expected for the first time, Kamille.  I'm pretty sure that even in a GM you'd be a force to be reckoned with.  I'd like you to try out the quasi-psycommu too.  Let's see if you can balance your focus between combat and managing such a system."  Hikaru advised, deciding to try something a bit more advanced.  Whether he used it for sniping, defense, or offense was left up to Kamille.

-

Kamille offered Hikaru a sly grin and nodded, “sure why not? I’m up for a challenge!” They activated the quasi-psycommu, In the simulation he was engaged by three different GMs. The trio split up to surround him making Kamille having to focus his attention simultaneously. At first the concentration made his head hurt as the sensation could be commonly compared to rubbing one’s belly and patting their head at the same time, only worse. But as each GM took shots at him he miraculously managed to dodge them instinctively. Kamille felt as if he was wearing a hood with the simulation, like the raw emotions were stripped bare from the experience, but the threat (albeit it fake) was still there. A few more moments of tense dodging and he began to focus, or direct? The hip cannons to try and aim at two separate GMs. He leveled the rifle of the Gundam at the third and at the same time he fired at them all, eliminating them in one go.
Kamille had to pause the simulation after the feat. He looked first at Fa who seemed thrilled at his ability to pilot then at Hikaru to silent ask of what he just did was normal. His expression speaking volumes.

-

"That was very impressive...and unusual."  Hikaru said, nodding at Kamille.  "That was a maneuver that usually takes far more practice to pull off.  I'd really recommend getting your compatibility with a psycommu system checked out, Kamille.  Your spatial awareness seems to be far higher than that of most people.  I don't throw the term 'Newtype' around lightly and I don't want to inflate your ego, but you've got a lot of promise that should be looked into further."

Hikaru still had some general advice, though.  "Even if you can use a machine like that though, make sure to practice those basics so you can fight in whatever is available.  The best aces could still make even a Zaku reasonably deadly and put up a good fight in just about any situation."

-

Normally such praise would have sent Kamille over the moon with happiness but he kept a somber expression of his face as he asked, “newtype? Do you mean like Amaro Ray?” He had an almost pleading expression on his face as he looked around numbly for a second and pushed himself away from the controls. In a rare gesture of kindness he offered to Fa, “how about you give it a try?” As he switched seats with the girl who still looked excited to just be in a mobile suit.

Fa took the dear and strapped in, she gave Kamille a funny look before turning her attention to their instructor. “Ok, so where do I start?” She asked innocently.

-

Hikaru smiled and helped show Fa how to use the menu, guiding her to the first simulation.  "Amuro Ray is a Newtype, yes.  He's not the only one though.  He's just the most famous one.  There are even different types of powers among Newtypes.  It's not just spatial awareness that's an indicator.  There's also...an empathic connection that can develop, as I understand.  An ability to sense others' feelings and intentions.  Some even manifest telepathic abilities.  That's a bit beyond my abilities to discern, and beyond the scope of this simulation to confirm.  If you are a Newtype though...it's one more reason to be wary of the Titans.  There are those who consider such powers as something to be controlled and employed solely as a weapon."

With that warning, he nods to Fa.  "Yes, this one.  It's the same movement exercise that Kamille started out with..."

-

Kamille chewed on all the information that Hikaru was spilling out, boy did he know a lot about new types. As Fa went through the tutorial Kamille still seemed distracted, “how do you know so much about new types Hikaru?” Kamille asked the loaded question as he looked at the pilot sitting past Fa.

-

Hikaru pondered how best to parse this in a way they could understand.  He couldn't say it was because it was a game.   While monitoring Fa's progress, he continued the conversation.  "...Because the Earth won the war, a lot of the information on Newtypes has been controlled.  Zeon Zum Deikun, the original founder of Zeon before the Zabis took over, considered them an evolved form of humanity.  The Zabis use them as weapons, but employ the rhetoric of evolution at times for propagandizing Spacenoid superiority since most Newtypes are born in space.  The Federation likes to use Amuro Ray as the defining example, but took a long time to come to terms with the very existence of them until their combat effectiveness forced them to acknowledge their presence.  None of the accounts seem fully accurate or complete.  Sometimes, you have to do the research yourself to get a solid idea of how things really are.  Isn't it interesting, the possibilities they offer humanity if it weren't for them just being used as weapons?  It makes me wonder what they're really meant to be."

-

Again Kamille took his time processing the information, Hikaru didn’t appear to spewing off nonsense, but the alternative was certainly alarming. To him new types were somewhere between intangible fantasy, and political rhetoric. He blankly studied Fa as she moved on to the combat scenario. For no better reason than curiosity he found himself blankly asking, “and have you ever met one Hikaru? A new type I mean?” The man seemed so sure about his information, surely they must have first hand experience dealing with such beings?

-

"I believe I've met a few, but none of them have explicitly claimed the title."  Hikaru stated, and was able to do so honestly enough.  Rau, Char, Emma, Fa, and Kamille himself counted.  "There's also a chance that some were in the last battle.  Mu La Flaga is a Moebius Zero pilot with Enhanced Spatial Awareness, considered a prerequisite for a Newtype, but he was in an enemy Gundam Mk-II last battle.  I also shot down a Zeong which is exclusively meant for Newtypes."  Oh, the Zeong's pilot wasn't a Newtype, but he did know Rau was.  Hikaru thus wasn't lying about there being 'some' Newtypes on the battlefield.

"The Captain of this ship might be one, but I don't trust him.  He's a good speaker and manipulator with a political slant.  He tried to gain our favor as spacenoids, but seemed never to have even said the word before.  That's honestly one of the reasons I worried about you being too eager.  I worried you'd make a deal with the devil in your haste to fight...not that I dare to say so outside of an insulated area like this cockpit.  Ah, watch your altitude, Fa!"  Hikaru advised the rookie, still observing her piloting.

"If we're distracting you too much, feel free to say something."  The Diver knew it was little compared to the sounds of battle, but still...

-

Fa shook her head as she regained control of the machine pulling out of a risky looking dive. “I got it!” She half muttered to herself and likewise in response. She focused again on piloting and seemingly tuned the two boys out.
Kamille simply shook his head in disbelief, how could there be so many new types out there? What did it mean for humanity if so many people could manifest such powers and abilities? “I had no idea there were so many…” he muttered. He watched as Fa did respectively well in the simulation as well. “Good job Fa…” he offered halfheartedly as still processed all the information Hikaru was revealing to him. To try and get himself off the subject he asked curiously, “I watched videos from the last battle and you seemed to do pretty good…” it was as close to praise as Kamille seemed to get, “how did you get to be a good pilot?”

-

Hikaru's expression was a bit sad for a moment, but he gave as honest an answer as he could.  "An injury from a traffic accident left me years to research Mobile Suits and to practice in simulations.  That information's serving me well now, though.  It also helps that I maintain my own machine and designed its hip and forearm modules.  When a pilot helps maintain and customize their own machine, they can tailor it to suit their skills and style while also getting a better idea of what it can do.  Beta Gundam is designed with flexibility and versatility in mind, for example."

-

Kamille nodded his head in understanding, “guess that’s one way to kill time…” he shifted his tone trying to apologize for bringing up the awkward subject of injury, “but hey it looks like you made a good recovery.” He offered blindly. Fa almost crashed into a GM causing Kamille to offer, “ease up on the throttle Fa!” He looked back over to Hikaru, “I’ve often dreamed about designing a mobile suit… but without any kind of financial backing or formal background in the field it may never come true…”
He lamented as he kept an eye on Fa’s display. His tone shifted, “I’m not sure how these ZAFT guys are going to treat us when you guys leave…”

-

"It's alright, you didn't know.  Have you had to endure racism while you were here?"  Hikaru asked.  It was a viable concern...if these two were stuck on the Vesalius, people like Yzak could give them a hard time.  He let the comment about his 'recovery' pass.  "As for designing your own machine, everyone has to start somewhere.  Being an unknown matters a little less in times of war as long as you come up with a good design.  Everybody's desperate for the next big thing.  With the Movable Frame ushering in the Second Generation of Mobile Suits, there's a lot of possibilities to use it in unusual ways.  If nothing else, it would still give you a deeper understanding of Mobile Suit technology."

"Good job on that GM II, Fa.  Try to Spray and Pray a little less though.  The computer can help you compensate for distance and your enemy's vectors."  Hikaru said, advising the girl.

-

“Nothing overt…” Kamille responded to Hikaru about the racism, “it’s just not exactly friendly on here… I can just… tell…” he looked around conspiratorially before adding. “I am worried about what they are going to do with us that’s all. I get the impression they won’t want us on their plants and I haven’t heard them talk about making any pit stops to any of the sides. Is there… well…. I’m wondering if we should go to earth… if for no better reason than we can try and sort ourselves out down there…” he looked genuinely worried, his gaze fixed on the back of Fa’s head as she squirmed with the controls.

-

Hikaru pondered the matter for a moment before giving a nod.  "I can see that.  If you were a Newtype, you'd also be potentially sensitive to their feelings.  Newtypes aren't empaths, but there is some overlap."  He took one of Char's quotes from Char's Counterattack and appended to it a little.  "The racism has been getting worse and coming to the surface as the war's gone on.  I think they still need naturally born humans for breeding due to the Coordinator gene pool being shallow and low birth rates, but the nationalism and racism pushes that to the backs of their minds at times when they should be more accommodating."  The Diver spoke candidly while to explain the matter, but he soon realized that the topic was the sort that might be embarrassing to the pair.

"I'm willing to take you two with us, but I have no idea how much opportunity to 'sort yourselves out' you'd have.  We're going down to keep chasing that ship.  It won't exactly be safe for either of you, nor do I know what resources we'll scrounge up for you to pilot if you choose to fight."

-

Kamille was visibly relieved to hear Hikaru agreeing to take them down to earth. “I get the impression that no where is exactly safe… at least on the ground we won’t be on a battleship…” as he spoke his eyes peered into Fa’s head, concern could be seen etched on his eyes.
Fa seemingly finished her routine and the simulation soon ended. All things considered she did relatively well for a beginner. She looked around for approval which Kamille obliged with a simple, “not bad…” as he looked away. Fa looked at Hikaru, “what do you think?” She was so focused on the simulation she hardly noticed what the two boys were talking about.

-

"It was very good, Fa.  Kamille was just unusually skilled for his first time around.  You did decently with the quasi-psycommu as well, though you still need some simulator practice to brush up on your general evasion.  You're better than I expected you to be.  You might try enhanced spatial awareness testing as well..."  It made sense to see these results, especially given that Fa was known for wrecking the Methuss fairly often.  If she improved beyond her rut with that machine, she could easily pilot a ZII or a ReZEL...

"Orb should be safe right now, Kamille, but it might not stay that way.  That's why I want to provide them a cheap aquatic Mobile Armor design I have to defend their shores against aggressors.  There might be some other places you can go if you chose.  We'd have to keep an eye open."  Hikaru stated, giving Kamille a hint about how and where those designs he wants to make can do some good.  Maybe Orb would get the Murasame sooner?

So many possibilities...

-

Fa scrunched up her face up in confusion, “Orb? Never heard of it! Is that your country?” Kamille modded his head in agreement, “yeah can’t say I’ve heard of the place, is it nice?” The boy’s eye scanned the cockpit as if looking for clues.

-

Hikaru found that odd.  Perhaps he'd been mistaken?  Or did it fail to exist in this timeline?  Hard to say...but the Astrays existed for the purposes of Orb, and those had been confirmed.  "Maybe I'm pronouncing it wrong.  They had built Heliopolis?"

-

Kamille and Fa nodded their heads in recognition, “oh yeah! That’s right!” Kamille nodded. “We’re not exactly familiar with all the countries in earth.” Fa apologized, “You didn’t say is that where you’re from? Is that why you want to protect it?”

-

Hikaru shook his head.  "No, I'm not from there, but rather it's a peaceful country that doesn't want to play a role in the war.  Of course, what happened at Heliopolis may have dragged them into it.  It's a good place to live, as I understand, and doesn't have the racist thing going either.  One of the few places that has decent leaders...though there are whispers of subversion of some of its officials lately."

-

“Some off the colonies could have been described the same way…” Kamille responded bitterly before shaking the sourness the air, “anyways… are you hoping to make it that far on earth?”

-

"Yeah, that's where I hope to eventually go, at least so as to provide them with a way to better defend themselves.  Not sure I'll stay there though."  He smiled, regarding the pair.  "We'll just see how things go down there."

-

Kamille nodded his understanding, “thanks so much for showing us your Gundam…” Kamille offered rather shyly. There could have been a hint of jealousy in his voice but he remained grateful for the experience it seemed. “I look forward to the day when I can repay your kindness to us!” Fa nodded her agreement. Kamille continued, “We better get out of your hair and get ready for tomorrow, I’m sure you need to get ready too !” The duo headed for the hatch to leave.

-

The Diver opened the hatch and allowed them to depart.  "You're welcome!  The best thing you can do to pay me back is to stay alive!"  He smiled, waving as the pair departed.  Hikaru truly hoped that things would go well...thankfully, no one had noticed the Elemechu hiding in the cockpit.  That was not the time to find out how Fa responded to mice.

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The 3D printer finished printing out the exclusive reward, the sword mace for the Barbatos. Marco looked at the weapon curiously as he presented it to Bael. The model had its twin swords sheathed on its hips so it could easily grasp the new weapon. Perhaps the new weapon would help in the upcoming mission? Besides he could always ditch it for the traditional dual swords he was so proud of. True the massive sword would slow him down, but it would be a slight inconvenience. “Not to mention the gravity of earth will limit my mobility… could be a proper compensation….” Creed mused as he studied the model. Noise from the other room broke his reverie and he went out to investigate. 

His son was focused on a model kit laid out on the table. It wasn’t just one kit, but two? “What are you doing son?” Creed asked as he went to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. His eyes studying the kitten table riddled with plastic pieces. The boy shook his head out of his spell and grinned at his father. “Oh! Well…” he grinned almost mischievously. “I wanted to make my Freedom even stronger!” 

Marco went up the the table and picked up the lid for one of the boxes. His eyes lit up in recognition and he gave his son a smirk. “An interesting choice…” his eyes studied the mess of parts and the largely pieces together frame in front of his son. Though he could guess the answer he couldn’t resist asking. “Do you need any help?” 

The boy flashed him another smile and shook his head, “no thanks dad! These tools you let me borrow make everything so easy!” Marco smiled warmly as he spotted his old toolbox. “Just remember to take your time. Gunpla is freedom, not a race!” Again the boy beamed at him and dug his nose back into the kit before himself. “You’ll do fine…” Marco announced as he went back into his office to return a moment later with the sword mace. “Mind if I polish this off next to you?” He asked his son who nodded happily at the offer. Together father and son worked on their exciting hobby. 

——-

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The radio chatter was really busy, it legitimately reminded Creed of a real military operation as he sat in his virtual cockpit. Bael sat in the Zaft drop pod, ready for combat. The new sword grasped by both clawed hands. All the repairs were complete and the machine was good as new. As he waited, Marco contemplated his odd choice of mobile suit. In many regards he felt like McGillis trying to sway others to follow his lead based on ethos alone. The similarity to reality was almost laughable to the older man but he merely shook the thought out of his head. “No, Now’s not the time for doubts…” he gritted his teeth as he talked to himself, suddenly recalling the whole reason he even had the new sword, “no doubts…” he echoed. 

His attention was diverted back to the present as a countdown began over the radio. He crinkled his face in anticipation and the drop pod was shot out towards earth. His screen shook from the violent descent which reminded him of the opening scene from Gundam Seed. Except this time it’s us instead of GINNs, he mused. “Radio check! How are we doing alpha?” He called out. As he waited for responses the pod opened up sending the mobile suits free diving out. He flexed the joints in Bael and fired its thrusters to test it out. His machine couldn’t fly in the truest sense but he could get pretty close to mimicking it, especially from such a high free fall. 

Below he could see the dunes of a desert slowly become reality as the clouds parted for him. He didn’t immediately see the Archangel anywhere but knew better than to assume that they weren’t in trouble. He focused on bringing Bael in for a graceful landing, firing the thrusters to ease himself in the small valley between dunes. Sand blew around from the descent, creating a fog of dust as each suit landed. He turned his suit around to study each of his teammates and their machines for this particular mission. 

The sense of wonderment was short lived as a stream of missiles traced an exploding line towards, but not quite hitting,  their respective suits. The explosions throwing debris into the air, but also leaving a con trail showing where they came from. “Hell darts?” Creed mused, “looks like they were expecting us, is everyone ok? Let’s get a move on and get in a good position to counter attack before another volley hits!” Marco led the way not sure if his teammates would even listen to him. He was determined not to let them down again though. 

Sure enough as they rounded a dune the tell tale white of the Archangel’s hull could be seen and the ship appeared to be launching mobile suits. “Look alive people! Tangos approaching!” Marco thought he saw the shadow of the MKII launching but the outline of something else in the sky caused him to scrunch his face, it looked like a flying wheel, “could that be?” He allied himself with the dune for cover as the strange weapon banked towards his direction. “An Asshimar… the Titans are here!” It wasn’t just one, multiple flying cheese wheels could be seen in the sky. “This will be interesting…” Marco surmised as he gripped his controls to prepare his new weapon for use. 

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((thanks to Replicator for the graphics!))

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Posted (edited)

(Collab with Roromi)

"Hikaru here, doing fine.” Hikaru said in response to the radio check. His machine was a bit awkward in shape and size, requiring it to descend using the Flying Armor instead of in a second drop pod due to the G-Defenser's wingspan. It was a close thing with the G-Defenser not being intended for the Flying Armor's atmospheric re-entry coverage either. Still, he'd managed to make it work. Hikaru was glad that he included the Union Flag's rifle in the G-Defenser's armament, its aerodynamics-boosting electromagnetic field giving his machine just a little more protection.

"Fa, Kamille, try to hang in there. I know this might get scary. It'd be best if you soaked this in for experience, but focus on my armrest readouts or something if it gets to be too much.” This was intended more for Fa than Kamille, but he really hoped that both would have the strength to take this and grow from it.

Fa glanced around the cockpit nervously and gripped her chair tightly opting to close her eyes during the descent down. It was at that moment that she wished she was sitting right next to Kamille and could grab his hand or arm for support. She did open her eyes as Hikaru told her to focus on the displays. She had to assume the experienced pilot knew what he was talking about so she focused on the displays even if at that exact moment she didn’t entirely understand them.

Kamille gritted his teeth and tried to ignore the other two and silently pretended to toggle the different switches and controls needed for re-entry. True it wasn’t him piloting but he was taking the opportunity seriously. 'Some day it could me at the controls,' he reassured himself as he diligently observed everything that was happened.


Behind and a safe distance to the side of the drop pod, so as not to be hit by its planned breaking apart, Hikaru was still airborne when the others landed and were subjected to the missile barrage. Even as he noted the presence of the Archangel and its launching Mobile Armors, the pilot also noticed something else. Its launching catapults were open. He seriously doubted that the inside was treated with Laminated Armor. If he could hit one of those, he could at least halve its launching and rearming speed. If he was fortunate with his angle, he might even manage to do serious damage to one of the Archangel's legs and/or Mobile Suits waiting to be launched. Maybe he could even destroy a hangar and MS behind the launcher or the Lohengrin mounted in the leg! It was worth a try.

Taking his Long Smart Rifle and aiming before the Asshimar got in attack range of him, he opened fire on the Archangel's right leg with the powerful beam - specifically on the open door and the contents beyond...

 

Edited by MM007
capitalization and grammar
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Risu was late! When she logged in and arrived at the Mission Lobby, she found no trace of her team. Maybe they were already in the mission! Hurriedly, she approached a mission clerk, scrambling through the admittedly complicated menus to try and join the mission in progress. The clock was ticking, and often, the newbie found herself going back a step or two before finally pressing the 'Ready' button. Would her team judge her for being late?

In the blink of an eye, her vision was quickly dominated by a bright blue glow, which just as quickly gave way to a pale beige landscape that was growing… bigger? It was like she was falling. She was falling?! Wind buffeted her as she plummeted to earth at an alarming speed, making it difficult to speak, or even hear anything. It all felt so real. The air around her was cold, though as she descended from the upper sky, she could feel it grow warmer and warmer against her face. It was a desert below, marred with the scars of battles past.

For the most part, as she fell, her panic subsided. However, as she tumbled in midair, she’d witness a wide line of powerful explosions just above her, the collected shockwaves rippling through her virtual body. Like the air, it felt real, and that powerful boom made her just as anxious as before.

Help!” she cried, hoping at least someone would hear her. In her rush to join the operation, Risu had forgotten to assign herself a gunpla, and somehow, it had allowed her to enter without one. The rush of battle surrounded her, and since it was a long way down, she was afraid she would be an easy target given her lack of a mobile suit. Two disc-shaped machines flew past, and Risu could only watch as the pair of NPDs circled around, now pointing their underside-mounted beam cannons straight at her…

“Somebody help me..!”

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Captain Remy Arbuckle was a man of following routines, with the same reverence people went to church on Sundays with. So when he first heard the air raid alarms, he was in Hangar A07, climbing the steps to the cockpit of his sky blue and sand brown Asshimar for some routine inspections. Just like every morning. Never one to reflect too long on the circumstances of each sortie, he climbed inside his machine and made a cold, quick boot of the systems, which really went to show the trust he placed in it. All he needed to do was to put on his orange normal suit, and in record time, both were ready to take off. But... what was the point? He still needed to wait for the rest of his team, or else he couldn't call himself the leader of a squadron. With a sigh, knowing he could just take off there and then, he taxied outside of the hangar, aligned himself with one of the taxiways, and waited there, while he questioned the tower.

- "This is Blue Sky Leader. Fine day for some big game huntin', don't you think Stella?"

- "Hello, Captain. You're gonna climb high today. Our boys in space are reporting an orbital ZAFT drop. It ain't no coincidence…"

- "I know… they're here for that ship, no doubt about it." Remy spoke of the Archangel, a state-of-the-art ship that had landed in Al-Ajiza Base a day prior, carrying two of the Titans' highest ranking officers and three prototype Mobile Suits. Somebody was bound to try something before the ship left for Jaburo, but Remy assumed the base would simply be infiltrated by spies, rather than assaulted outright by a task force. "Daring today, aren't we Chairman Zala?"

- "Captain?" One of his wingmen talked, while his Asshimar exited Hangar A08.

- "Oh, don't mind me. I'm just talking to myself."

- "I mean… this is all of us, Captain."

- "Right then… attention, Blue Sky! Take off and form up on me!"

Using the taxiways to take off, twelve Asshimars soon gathered in a V-shaped formation and ascended towards the tri-dimensional coordinates provided to them by their controller. Surely enough, upon arriving, they encountered three silhouettes, descending from the heavens. Remy, as always, was impressed. Our forecaster's from another world. You just be wherever she tells you, whenever she tells you, and you'll be where it's at. It almost made up for the fact that they never knew what was the plan or why they were going somewhere until they were there. But it was like that ever since the olden days of the great Federation, when his company took back New Yark with some GMs and a timely goddess. Hardly something one could blame the Titans for...

- "Blue Sky here. Element within gun range."

- "You're cleared hot, Captain. Watch out for these ones. We don't want nobody getting a two-rank promotion."

- "Roger that. Element, let's go. We're gonna be right on time for their landing."

image0.thumb.jpg.7b163bdf0488bcdd1a0716a58138443c.jpg

As most of enemy trio touched down and tried to close in on the base, after a barrage of missiles courtesy of the Archangel, the squadron fired their large beam rifles upon the three Gundam-types. Soon, the one that hadn't landed seemed to respond in kind with a rifle that equalled or surpassed theirs on length, but not in barrel bore. The formation broke to avoid the attack, which made it all the way to the base, and into the Archangel, where a white and red Marasai was taking off from the right catapult. With no room to evade, and the catapult actively taking the mecha towards the beam, an explosion was soon heard and seen in the Archangel’s right “leg”. While the explosion did not reach the hangar, with the access to the catapult being closed off automatically, the catapult itself and the right Lohengrin cannon were ruined, even though the flames were quickly extinguished by foam dispensers. As for the Marasai, only its feet remained, and were launched by the catapult, which did its job one last time before becoming stuck at the edge. Not that it did a pair of feet any good… As this happened, Mu La Flaga took the Gundam MkII to the entrance of a hangar, from which a Base Jabber was dispensed for its convenience. Stepping on it, and joined by a blue Federation Hi-Zack, he took off, barely avoiding a cargo plane that was trying to flee the area. “Mu La Flaga, launching!” I can't let Kira...

As for the head of the Blue Sky Squadron, Remy and his second-in-command had nimbly avoided the Beam Smart Cannon’s shot by flying upwards. Just as they were about to return to the battle, however, their cameras picked up a very small object in free fall. They narrowly avoided it, and seconds later, the feed showed them a holographic reconstruction of it: the object seemed to be a child. Surprised, both Asshimars circled around and focused on it again. From up close, there was even less of a doubt. “I can’t believe ZAFT… just what kind of monster simply drops a little girl from the stratosphere? What’s even the point of that?! Dennis, cover me! I’m picking her up!” After an affirmative response by 1st Lieutenant Schrute, his machine transformed in the air, and matched the terrified kid’s speed, so as to pick her up as gently as possible and avoid hurting her. It was not easy. At times, it looked like she attempted to maneuver away from the Asshimar, as if she did not want his help. But he attributed it mostly to the shock of free-falling without a parachute, in the middle of a desert, and the midst of a Mobile Suit battle. Finally, he managed to place her in the Asshimar’s open right hand, and move it close to the left arm, which he used as a shield to protect the kid from harm, and to keep her from being blown away again. Then, he attempted to return to the base. “This is Blue Sky Leader! I’m taking a civilian to safety! Keep the attack up!”

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Creed’s attention was stolen away as Hikaru fired a brilliant shot down at the legged ship. He grinned widely as he saw the hit against their target ship. “Good shot!” He began to praise when his attention was stolen away from a friendly signal dropping quickly in his heads up display. At first he thought maybe Hikaru had disconnected from his gear some how but then realized it was Risu. He ran Bael up to the top of a sand dune and leapt up; his footing sliding down with the sand, robbing some momentum. Bael’s thrusters flared to life fighting with gravity and his stumble to attain lift. He began to rise, slowly but surely. As he got closer his heart sank as an Asshimar swooped in to grab the falling girl. He gripped his mace sword menacingly and contemplated what to do. If he attacked, it wouldn’t be pretty, and odds were he would force the Titan to drop or even throw her. He looked around helplessly as he contemplated what to do. There was no easy way he could save her by himself. 

His worries are multiplied as an Asshimar flew down to meet him. The enemy fired blasts at him, and for a moment he panicked trying to remember what kind of projectile it had. Knowing that dodging meant certainly giving up on Risu Creed chanced it to dive right into the enemy fire. He was relieved when his cockpit dimmed for an instant and nothing else, “beams!”  He grinned as he hoisted the sword mace for a swing. He flew right towards the Asshimar (Dennis) covering for the other one that had Risu. “Out of my way!” Creed roared as he threatened to end the mobile suit with the heavy weapon, he didn’t know how titanium would hold up to the sword mace but he was certain the Asshimar wouldn’t look like a wheel if his swing connected. 

——

Standing on a ridge a young woman stood surveying the battle. She realized that it wasn’t going to matter soon if they saw her silhouette since the battle was gearing up. Leveling the binoculars to her eyes she gasped in shock as she saw a girl falling from the sky. Growling she clenched her fist, “just what are those monsters doing!? The damn Titans are torturing people during the middle of a battle now?

She huffed and turned to slide back down the sandy hill. She saw her comrades gathering around their jeeps and vehicles with RPG missiles slung on their shoulders. One young man in particular gazed up at her and chuckled, recognizing the scowl for what it was, “Time to fly into battle oh goddess?” He offered teasingly. 

“Those bastards won’t get away with this!” She replied absently as she stormed through the staging grounds towards the feet of an off green colored mobile suit. “Saddle up!’ She beckoned to her comrades as they prepared to intervene. 

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(Collab with Roromi)

 

"Of all the squirrley--" Hikaru exclaimed at the shock of Risu entering the fight without an MS. There were 'rookie mistakes' and there was 'blind incompetence'. Since Risu knew full well how to sortie in an Mobile Suit for at least the previous two missions, she didn't have the excuse of the former. Now they were down a machine while he was too far away to really intercede quickly. The enemy had already grabbed Risu and pulled her close to protect her from the elements while withdrawing...perhaps to interrogate? It was at this point that Hikaru made a decision and typed into his console...adding the NPDs Kamille and Fa to those being able to control the G-Defenser. He'd already added his team in case they needed a Sub Flight System with actual weapons.

“Kamille...our combat readiness is down to dangerous levels with Risu being captured. We have the Archangel and her assets to attack, a Titans base nearby, various enemy transformable flying Mobile Suits, a fleeing enemy transport...” He noted Cagalli Yula Athha among them, the red shirt standing out among the desert and the brown of the trucks, but said little for now. “...and possible ground allies inbound who need support. You did well enough piloting in the simulation. Would you like to transfer to the G-Defenser and join combat operations? You'd be best suited for missile barrages and long range sniping...though catching Risu in your cockpit if she gets free would be ideal.”

 

Kamille blinked processing what was going on and after a moment he nodded letting a sly grin grow on his face. “Sure! I’m more than ready to help!” Him and Fa were already dressed in their regular suits and Kamille reached up to lock the visor of his helmet. He didn’t wait for any more prompting as he moved to transfer to the G-Defenser. Fa looked on with worry but didn’t move to stop Kamille.

 

Hikaru opened the cockpit of the Beta Gundam and made the machine stoop down before extending its hand to lift Kamille to the G-Defenser. The machine pulled back from the fight for the moment to do this safely, though it was the unit furthest back and above already. At the same time, the spare shield over the G-Defenser's cockpit capsule slid back so he could move Kamille to the fighter. They chatted over the radio during this process.

"Alright. You've experimented with all this from the simulator. Your machine's helpless in melee, so it's base to stay in a support role. Not asking for heroics here." Hikaru tried to clarify this, not wanting the boy to be reckless.

 

Kamille almost forgot to respond with “acknowledged.” As he made his way outside to the extra support unit. He made his way over and was soon enough strapping into the second cockpit. Despite the gravity of the situation he couldn’t help but wear a sly grin on his face. “Time for these damn Titans to pay!” He said to himself as he gripped the controls.

 

Kamille and Fa already knew the password to the G-Defenser to enter from the training simulation, in case something like this came up. It was a risk, but Kamille showed no interest in stealing Hikaru's stuff after he'd helped them in training at least. "Acknowledged. Keep that situational awareness up, and good hunting! Detaching!" With that, Kamille, was allowed to launch from the Beta Gundam's back. The Flying Armor carrying the Beta Gundam rolled slightly back and forth as the G-Defenser's thrusters launched it forward. the Beta Gundam's cockpit closing again.

 

Kamille echoed Hikaru as he felt the craft jerk free. “Kamille Bidan! G-Defenser launching!”


"Beta Team, this is Hikaru. Kamille has transferred to the G-Defenser and joined the fight." Hikaru sent over communications, before pulling out his regular Beam Rifle from the rear skirt mount.

With that done, Hikaru took note of the battlefield and tried to find targets worth attacking from range while he closed in. The Archangel was damaged but beam resistant unless hit in the right spots, the base itself wasn't going anywhere, he was unlikely to be able to hit the maneuverable transformed Asshimar at this range, and hitting the one that was in Mobile Suit form from this far out might hurt Risu. However, there was a target that wasn't as evasive while still moving away from the fight. A transport. Various possibilities as to its contents entered his mind. The Strike, the missing Mk-II, or the GP04 torso being flown out of the area, the spare parts that might be the Strike Rouge in the future, Striker Packs, Orb civilians being relocated that might be used as future hostages to force concessions from Orb...

“...Right. That transport could contain the damaged enemy Gundams from the last battle. In case it has non-combatants though, I'll go for a non-lethal shot...” Explaining his thoughts to Fa so she'd understand why he aimed at something that was running away, he took aim at one of the wings rather than the body of the craft while he closed on the fight. The pink beam lanced outward, trying to deny the craft the lift it needed to maintain stable flight and force it to land. If Cagalli and her forces were attacking a Titans base to save her countrymen or equipment in a suicidal charge, perhaps he could lend them a hand.

Hopefully everyone could hang on until he and Kamille managed to shift the momentum back somehow...

Edited by MM007
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      Gabe caught his breath at that sentence and did pause to turn and look at Meer. “Wha- what do you mean babe?” Even as he spoke the words he felt their strength waver at the truth that was beginning to form in front of him. She was cute, maybe too cute for the likes of him. She always took the effort to do her makeup and look phenomenal as soon as she stepped out the door. To top it off she looked like a casual version of her name sake with pink hair and gold hair pin. Was she out of his league? He never considered it before but as her statement hung in the air suddenly all the unsung insecurities began to crop up. 
      She rocked her hips, her left hand resting easily on her body as she looked up at the sky. Her blue eyes seemingly searching for an answer to his confusion. “Listen Gabe… I’ve been going out to parties the last few weeks without you…”
      “So you’ve been cheating on me?” Gabe hacked the words out in disbelief. The girl grimaced and bit her lip while slowly shaking her head. “Gabe no… I just… I’ve been just going out without you… nothing more…” the tone she had did little to comfort Gabe and he wrinkled his face in growing anger. “So that’s it you just want to ditch me?” He shook with contained rage but still looked around helplessly as the beautiful girl gave him a sad look, “look I didn’t come to this decision easily… I just need to be able do chase my dreams Gabe and I can’t do that with you…” he voice faded away as Gabriel Winter spun on his heel to storm away. 
      ———
      A few days later
      Gabe remained hunched over his desk in his dimly lit room. An orange hue attempted to breach his room from his window shades but was drowned out by the fluorescent light above his work station. He hadn’t left his room besides going to work since his break up with Meer. For the last few days he ran through all the scenarios in his head as to why she’d want to leave him. They had been together for over a year and not until recently did he feel any animosity from her. His mind wandered to them first logging into GBN and it dawned on him that maybe that was the beginning of it all. 
      Meer was a cosplayer and a good one at that, but she was fiercely self conscious and had a hard time making friends because of it. Meer wasn’t even her real name but the alias she chose to be called by to associate herself more with her hobby.  Gabe was always the one pushing her to reach out of her comfort zone, to meet new people.  GBN was the happy medium for them both; he could build Gunpla for them, while she could try different costumes and plan out outfits for the real world while actually making friends. It felt good at first, a win win situation. 
      As Gabriel mulled over his thoughts he trimmed and filed the gauntlet for his latest Gunpla. The blue plastic was becoming discolored from his attention but it would hardly matter once he painted the whole kit. In a fit of rage he took apart all the Gunpla on his shelves when he got home that night they broke up. He was ashamed that he actually broke a lot of the kits when he flung them off the shelf. At the moment he wasn’t sure that he wanted anything to do with GBN, all he did know was building something aloud him to not be so angry, it let him direct his focus from his sorrows. It was as if he took all the anger he had at the world and was condensing it into the single kit in front of him. 
      He was a mediocre builder at best. He never won any awards before and was always afraid to make the extra commitment of scribing, paint and panel lining; the sort of thing she would add to the kits he gave her after he built them. This time was different, he was possessed to make the best kit he possibly could. Even if she never saw it, he would have the satisfaction of having something so pristine that she would not. 
      When they dated he was always afraid to take risks, whether it was in building his Gunpla, or not doing particular missions. “No more…” he muttered to himself as Ash Liked Snow played in the background, “no, more hesitation… I have to reform myself… my Gundam…”
      —-
      A few days later 
      The indicator for his email inbox showed the vast number of missed messages, something he had neglected to pay attention to the last couple of weeks, he simply wasn’t in the mood. Now he decided was the best time to finally drudge through the messages, most of it being spam. A few notes did catch his eye and give him pause. The first was from a mutual friend him and Meer had on GBN, a woman by the pseudo name Stella. She had apparently asked him to join a Force in the game. His initial reaction was one of hope, maybe Meer was trying to get him back in her life? To rekindle their relationship? But his face immediately soured the next message down where Stella retracted the earlier offer, saying that she didn’t want things to get awkward with Stella already on the team. 
      He sighed, but that eventually turned into a sob at his own predicament. He wasn’t just loosing her but all his friends it would seem. Through tear filled eyes he read through the next few GBN messages, all varying between apologies and other sad things he didn’t want to bother with. He was about to close his messages when a notice from GBN itself popped up just then. Curiosity caused him to open it immediately, he was surprised to see it was an invitation for a private beta of the new version of GBN. Apparently he was chosen by lottery to test in and partake in the new version. It offered exclusive rewards, but more importantly to Gabriel, it offered a blank slate, a fresh start. One of the features the invitation offered was the chance to replace you’re user tag and avatar for free. With tears still slipping down his face he responded that he would be taking the opportunity. As the message went into the digital nether he gazed around his room to the Gunpla standing defiantly in the middle of his desk, maybe 80% complete, ready for final details and paint. Wiping away the tears he stood up to resume his work. 
      —-
      A week later 
      PLEASE ENTER USERNAME:
      Gabriel gawked at the display and the flicker of where his new title would show up. His fingers remained frozen over the keyboard as he swam through his thoughts. With a fresh start there would be virgin usernames out there with little chance of redundancy, but still it begged the question of what he should call himself. He wasn’t in a social mood still, and he wasn’t even sure what he was really doing on GBN all alone. Scratching the stubble on his chin he kept staring at the otherwise boring screen. “I suppose I’m looking for something…” he finally said out loud, his own voice startling him. Slowly his fingers chipped away a new identity. Next a wardrobe menu popped up and he scrolled through the options to pick out something to hide behind. He was never audacious enough to pick an avatar too unlike himself and he hated when Meer would as him to be a character to match hers. He stayed away from the generic Chars of the options and instead chose a black cloak like pancho and a matching mask. He did change his hair color from his typical black to brown and cleaned his face to be clean shaven. Finally he loaded up the new information and was satisfied to see it accepted. All that remained was...
      “Please scan your Gunpla.”
      He reached out hesitantly and grabbed the white and red mobile suit he had so diligently been working on over the last month or so. He traced the features with his fingers and was suddenly apprehensive about using the model. Once he placed it down it would become alive. Part of him would grow to be beyond just a hunk of plastic, and his declaration towards his ex would be made reality. 
      “Please scan your Gunpla.” The mechanical voice repeated. Gripping the Gunpla a little harder he grimaced and placed the model in the scanner. With a scowl watch on his face he logged into GBN, to hunt for something he didn’t quite understand just yet. 
       
      ((Big shout out to Frosty for starting the side story trend, not to mention for his help with the yet to be revealed Gunpla! I thought it would be fun to do a new (if not slightly used) character. I’ll be adding more soon!))
    • By FrostyFoster
      “Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!” A skinny man in a lab coat was bolting through the hallway of what looked to be a high tech facility, almost smacking another worker in the leg with his briefcase. As he took a left turn, the door he was looking for finally appeared. “I didn’t expect Mr. Velo’s machine to take that long to fix!” He thought while he typed the entrance code in front of him. As the door opened, the room lit up, only containing a single large cabinet with a table next to it. “Oh man! That was a close one. If he had-” Suddenly, a figure emerged behind the cabinet.
      “You’re late, Ernie!” The man yelled. “One of the biggest events ever and you were late?” For someone who seemed important, the man looked fairly average with no outlying features or clothing. “MR. VELO!” The scientist said as he jumped back. “I was just-” “Did you fix the stability issue with the left leg?” Mr. Velo interrupted. Moving his glasses, the scientist put the briefcase of the table, undoing the latches. Mr. Velo pushed the man out of the way and stared at the blue plastic model, gently pull it out of the molded foam. “It’s perfect.” He exclaimed. “But there’s no issue for you to be late.” He walked inside the cabinet, putting the model over what looked to be a scanner. “One of the best racers in the goddamn league and I’m surrounded by morons.” Mr. Velo said as he sat down while putting on a headset. The cabinet door closed as the scientist walked out of the room.

      “WELCOME TO THE GREAT CANYON TRIATHLON!” An accounted uttered through a microphone. Surrounding him were many large stands with thousands of people cheering. Many battleship were also high in the sky, with some displaying various sponsors on the side of their hulls. This area was only a small chunk of the Great Canyon, one of the many expansive places to go in GBN. The massive ravine went many different directions as nine mobile suits stood at the edge of one side. The platform, which was also surrounded by fans, had a gigantic screen facing everyone, with a smug doppelganger of Stalker smirking at them. “My name is Chaser and I’ll be your announcer for what’s sure to be one of the best GBN’s events ever!”
      One by one, the names and mobile suits began to be shown to the crowd. Near one of the concession stands, a Zeon fan with a snake head picked up a large cone with pink cotton candy on top. “Exsscuse me. Sssorry!” He exclaimed while trying to get through a large crowd back to his friends. Meanwhile, a Titans cosplayer was stuck sitting behind one of the biggest ogres he’d ever seen. “Oh, come on!” He screamed. “Can I at least get a look at the screen?” Getting a quick peak, he saw two people standing in front of a Neo Zeon mobile suit. “Next up!” Chaser yelled. “You know their Hotrod from the Axis race and their butting rivalry. It’s the Bawoo Brothers!” At that moment, the whole crowd went silent. Everyone who cared about GBN races knew who was next.
      “And last, but DEFINITELY not least, it’s the Celestial Speedster, the GN Driver, the diver looking for his 100th win…”

      Dash Velo and the Kyrios Airspace!
      The crowd went wild, cheering and hollering as Dash waved at them. No longer boring and drab, the diver now had bright blue hair with white streaks, all while wearing a special tracksuit made just for him. Outside was a confident man who kept waving, but inside, Dash was deep in thought. “He won’t beat me again. Never again…” A buzzer blared, signaling the pilots to teleport into their machine. As Dash appeared in the cockpit, he pulled up the racer list.
       
      58-Kyrios Airspace
      143-Airblaster
      99-Mach Murasame
      25- Gassela
      392-Asshamar
      653-United Over Flag
      7-Rezelta
      100- Bawoo Hot Attacker
      001-Bawoo Rod Nutter
      402-Wing Flanker
      “Wing Flanker…” Dash muttered. A deep voice then appeared over his comms. “Hey Velo! You gonna end up having another Dakar moment?” The other racer said while snickering. Dash chuckled. “Not if you end up like you did during the Marshall Islands Marathon, Rex!” The deep voice diver howled with laughter as Chaser began speaking to them and the crowd. “The race will begin and go all the way though the ravine. The racers cannot fly over the canyon or use any weapons. Once they get through the ravine, the dogfight begins in the colony crater. When two divers are left, they’ll be transported to the final secret area. They’ll be able to transform and duel for the victory with no restrictions! Are our racers ready?” Each of the Divers signaled, allowing the triathlon to begin. Chaser smiled.
      “GUNPLA! TRANSFORM!!!”
    • By FrostyFoster
      Gundam Battle Nexus Online was home to many different locations, some of which are space colonies. Most were the typical sort. Cities with parks, bridges, and other objects to make civilians’ lives feel normal. A few though, were created just for certain quests because of their varied areas. One such quest managed to create a heap of trouble for a couple of divers with very unlike playstyles…
      “Mmmmm!” A man mumbled while eating a burger. “How can something fake like this taste sooooo good!” This is Josh Duncan, who had just managed to get some ketchup on his Titans uniform while finishing his meal. “McDaniel is still the best place to eat in GBN!” He yelled while walking out of the famous, fictional restaurant, catching a few annoyed glances from other players. Josh waltzed down the street of the space colony he currently resided in. His Force, Baka Brawlers, had their ship parked near the McDaniel. “Should’ve really thought that name through.” He pondered to himself. “Have the others even logged in yet?” As he opened up the Diver sheet, an alert blared at him, causing him to trip and fall. “Ah!” He exclaimed as he fell to the ground. “That… scared… me…” Suddenly, he began to smirk. “A timed mission, eh?” 
      DESCRIPTION: Find the special animal and bring it to the hangar!
      LOCATION: Savanna Space Colony
      REWARD: ?????? 
      “Hey, that place is near this colony.” He said while pushing ACCEPT. “I can do this while I wait for the boys to log in!” Josh managed to get even more glances from others. “Am I being to loud?” He thought, but soon realized that he was still laying on the ground. Not looking to be embarrassed even more, he teleported to the main hangar bay of the colony, directly inside of his mobile suit. “Time to get this reward…” He yelled as he moved the Gunpla to the catapult. “…that I actually know nothing about. I hope it’s good.” The Gaza E in front of him launched, allowing him to do so as well.
      “Josh Duncan! Gundam Age Titanus! Punching to Victory!”
      The dark blue Gunpla blasted into the depths of space, igniting its powerful MK-II backpack, which strangely had its beam sabers connected by a rope. The vastness of GBN’s space always amazed the Diver. He saw a couple others around, but once they were gone, he got to work. Not on the current mission though. What looked like two discs flew off of the Titanus’ shoulders, revealing cameras inside. “This place is perfect for a new video!” Josh proclaimed while turning on every single beam he had on the machine.
      He started to punch and kick through the zero gravity biome, thinking that he was the coolest Diver in the whole world. “This’ll probably be my most watched video.” He said as he threw a flurry of punches toward one of the cameras. In reality, or rather the GBN reality, his views were a far cry from G-Tubers like Captain Zeon’s, with most commenters finding it stupid. Josh was to prideful (and dense) to mind though, but eventually he give the cameras everything he could possibly do. “Not I just gotta pose for the thumbnail!”

      When he went to post his magnum opus, Josh noticed the entire reason he was out in space to begin with. “Oh crap!” He yelled. “I need to get to the colony before it’s too late!” The Titanus glided through space, making it to the colony’s opening with no time to spare. The other side of the airlock unlocked, showing Josh a gigantic plain of grass and countless animals. “Special animal?!” He yelled with concern. “I’m not in expert on these types of things. How am I supposed to know what’s special?” The custom Age jetted in the air while Josh attempted to make out any differences between any the animals. “I don’t get it. It’s just a bunch of zebras, giraffes, and what ever else belongs in a area like this.” No luck came from his search, so he landed the Titanus on the highest hill he could find. Josh teleported from the Gunpla, continuing his search on foot.
       
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