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[GBN 1.8] Real Grade


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(OOC: if anyone wants to jump in feel free! I just thought I’d be fun to write from this perspective!) 

Marco let out a sigh of relief as he put the visor down for GBN. He glanced over at his Gunpla poised on his station and rubbed his chin as he contemplated the toy right next to him. He gave a cursory glance behind his shoulder to the shelves of other Gunpla that he built. Each one had their own story, their own flavor that he appreciated. He found himself paused as he contemplated that very idea. He used to love slapping together kits. He loved the lore behind each mobile suit and in turn trying to personify that through his work. “Used to” being the key term, how did he find himself so disconnected from what was happening? 

It was at that moment an idea sparked in his mind. The realization that he hadn’t built a kit… in what? Months? Years? When was the last time he even went to a hobby shop. Standing up, he stretched his body and cracked his neck. Finally he popped his fingers in front of him before sighing again and walking out the room he had designated as his workspace. Marco called out as he entered the hallway. “Honey! I’m going to town, mind if I take the kids with me shopping?”


It was the crowing his kids did that made Marco realize that it had indeed been too long since he has gone out shopping for his job? Hobby? He had grown so used to having everything delivered to his countryside house that he had forgotten what it was like going to one of the infamous Gunpla shops in town.

The place was busy, fans of all sorts lined the lanes of model boxes. Even the colors of the boxes was exciting, as it formed a pallet of unique colors surrounding them that you just wouldn’t experience in normal stores. Marco gripped the small hands of his two children tightly so as not to loose them or have them damage a rare kit on accident. Yet still the boy and girl marveled at all the colors and toys in front of them. It dawned on the man that he hadn’t even built a Gunpla with them yet. So focus on his work that he hadn’t realized that his kids were nearing that ripe age where their dexterity and maturity would allow them to share in his passion. 

The father grinned to himself as he asked his kids outloud. “So… which kits do you two wanna buy and build for yourselves?” His children gleamed up at him with awe on their faces, “really?” “You mean it?” They both asked in unison. Marco chuckled, “sure I’ll even help you guys start building them here before we leave! Now be good and bring me back what you find so I can pay for them. Daddy’s got to do a little research while we’re here.” His kids let go of his hands and practically flew off into the store gawking at each kit, mesmerized that they would soon have one as their very own. Being a father, Marco couldn’t help but smile as he watched them romp away. As they rounded a corner, he lazily followed behind while scanning the shelves for one item in particular. 

Mumbling to himself he spied what it was he was curious to find. The black and blue coloration made the kit pop out in his mind. “There you are…” it was a real grade Titans MKII Gundam.  Something about the last mission rattled in his head, it felt like this particular unit was becoming a type of recurring theme in his mind that he just couldn’t shake. “Know thy enemy…” he mused as he gripped the rather dusty box. He blew away the film to marvel at the artwork before turning to find his kids, Titans box tucked under his arm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After his crash course on all the sorts of crazy things the upcoming update seemed to contain, Saturday seemed to go without a hitch for Aida, even though much work had to be done, starting with an order by a collector who wanted a rather obscure kit and somehow thought they were a good choice. He simply couldn't wait until the next episode of their astounding tale would be available: by Saturday night, he was only certain that whatever he had stumbled upon, it would take a better effort on his part to conquer, and so he told Meryl to cover for him, as he abandoned his post to collect the Airbatel from its box and take it to one of the tables where tools had been laid out, in anticipation for the arrival of Gunpla Club Night. While Meryl worked the counter, people of all ages and sizes browsed the available wares of their hobby shop, admired the craftsmanship of the models built by him and Dan, or logged in with their Gunpla. But most importantly, that night they mostly came to the store to improve on their existing Gunpla or build new ones altogether. For example, a father using a paint booth so his Wing Gundam's paintjob matched that of an SD his daughter had simply dropped three different flasks of paint on. Or an older woman whose specialty seemed to be dioramas of real military vehicles. She accounted for a big part of the Miscellaneous purchases: basically plastic models not related to Gundam, nor other mech franchises. Some said she had seen the horrors of war first-hand as a nurse during the Cold War, and fittingly, her work and attention to detail were incredibly good - sometimes horrifyingly so. But lately, Miss Cooper seemed to have given Gunpla a chance, maybe to try something new, and was putting the finishing touches on a wrecked Zaku I, over which little plastic children played and plants climbed, slowly covering the remains in moss.


- "Bang. You're dead." A pair of fingers touched his back, prompting him to look behind. Wearing a limited edition Banagher Links jacket was Daniel, the builder behind the Airbatel and other brilliant builds at the shop.

- "Dan? Thought you'd be in hypersleep by now, lazy ass..." Aida exaggerated the 'hy' in 'hypersleep', turning around in his chair to face his friend.

- "I was going to sleep. Then some Newtype bells ring in my head and tell me some wannabe Banksy with an airbrush wants to paint our baby in bright pink and give it a Lacus Clyne."

- "Give it a rest. It's been over a year, you know..."

- "Yeah, you wish." Daniel sat down and grabbed a pair of pliers, laughing at the memories of that incident in their past.

- "No, i mean… it's been a year since we finished this thing. I'm thinking that, with the addition of the GM-Defenser, we oughta give it some maintenance."

- "You seem really eager to give it that Mark II backpack and take to the skies again. What's the matter? You either want to run away from somebody, or destroy him altogether, and Airbatel alone was not enough." Daniel was curious. Aida looked different this time. Determined. Inspired.

- "Another virtual hitman. Some sort of Barzam mocked up as a Mark II. Cold, straight to business. Shot me in the back in a non-competitive match. JANET has finally stopped screwing around and hired a pro. I want another shot, take him down, show him it was just a fluke and to stop messing with me."

- "Hiring… I know your beef with JANET was big back then, but don't you think hiring harassers is a bit much? Especially after so long. Maybe they're just random good players. Send a GG and move on."

- "Please. He countered me too well to be a coincidence. They've briefed him. Besides, they've done it before."

- "Literally nobody would enough of an idiot not to shoot you before you could finish that spin." Dan countered, keeping it low enough for it to slip past his partner’s mediocre hearing. He could bet a hundred bucks right then and there Aida had been shot down because he got cocky and tried that stupid shield throw again. Maybe he even seeked the Barzam out, bringing it on himself. Man, i need to remove that stupid throw from the programmed moveset and put something useful instead. Sealant launchers? Or missile launchers at the tip.


Little by little, they took the Airbatel apart, revealing its innards and putting the Hyaku-Shiki backpack away. A year-old custom kit, it had been based in the Real Grade Gundam Mark II due to the lack of an RG kit for the GM III. It hadn’t aged badly at all, but a check-up was still in order. Slowly, they took away what was left of the panel lining and did it again. Golden metallic markers coursed the surface of the thrusters, vents and other details. A small sample of the main blues was used to give the decals some chipping, too. By the time they were done with the machine, Daniel could see what really had his friend in a frenzy. Aida himself looked revitalized by his latest experiences in the GBN 1.8 cabinet: he was inspired to try out new ideas, drawing sketches and making stupid theories about the mess of a story mash-up the campaign creators had done. He was not wrong: the gleam in the painter’s eyes had returned. His interest in the hobby was not only alive again, Gundam was exciting all over again.

Just like the very first day.

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Hikaru sat in his wheelchair at a table in one of the Gunpla stores, assembling pieces of the model kit before him.  A holder with grabber arms padded with felt and a magnifying glass was included, with which he painted thruster cones with metallic paint.  A set of plastic spudgers were also present, used to separate pieces of the kit safely for adjustment.  Generally, he had fine tools which were either intended for or adapted to Gunpla work.  He focused on getting the G-Defenser just right, including the upgrades to the shield docking system and the Long Smart Rifle.  Supplemental thrusters and verniers were also added to keep the G-Defenser from hindering the movement of the Beta Gundam in Mobile Suit mode.  Finally, a special CIWS shield housing a cavity within was present.  Structural supports existed to make shield bashes possible, though it was still ill-advised.  No, this shield employed pieces from later model kits to act as a hidden I-Field/Beam Shield with optional offensive aspects...a Composite Shield in various senses of the word.

"Brooootheeeeer..."  The sister dressed in a white top and pink skirt and jacket whined, the boy looking over to her.  Were it not for the fact that this was real life, one could swear that Elpeo Puru was standing there pouting, with Puru Two right beside her in a white and blue soccer uniform with an 11 on the back.  "You said you'd make some ReGelg with us today."

"Almost done painting...and...there!"  Hikaru said, smiling gently.  He set aside the parts to finish drying, and got to work tending to the girls.  They all looked like their respective online counterparts, with Nana and Ellen playing as Puru Seven and Puru Eleven respectively.  They did, however, provide image and voice data for the rest of the Puru series.  Hikaru Hiyashi, meanwhile, looked like his online self save for the fact he was paler, weaker, and wheelchair ridden.  A blanket and the table concealed the largest difference between he and his online self, however.

"Why ReGelg, anyway?"  the soccer-loving Nana asked, puzzled.

"Well, I was thinking about what sort of machines you could use that look like Qubeley, but aren't.  You know, to broaden your horizons or for use as a trainer for young Puru.  By using a Gelgoog High Maneuverability type as a base and a Gelgoog Marine's propellant packs, and converting them into what I call a ReGelg R, the result has the same general profile as a Qubeley.  Similar flight characteristics, too.  The forearms are swappable modules, the knees will hold a Heat Anchor in cases where beam isn't a good idea, You fire missiles from the backpack...it's generally a less specialized machine that still has that Puru vibe."

The sisters were getting excited, and started to work on the three similar but separately colored machines with their brother, tuning out all else...




Edited by MM007
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  • 1 month later...

“Make sure you clip it right here…” the father pointed out patiently at the plastic joint. The boy nimbly cut with the nippers right where the man had been pointing to. A smile crept on Creed’s face as his son surprised him yet again with his ability to cut the piece properly. The atmosphere of the shop proved to be almost therapeutic as it was just busy enough to make things lively but vacant enough to not be smothering. Creed had his two kids working on their respective kits as he occasionally glanced at his box, eager to open it but not so in public.

Despite his attention to his kids he found himself glancing at the people around him, the competitive nature in him couldn’t resist. Some people seemed to be just starting out while others genuinely seemed to have some talent, maybe even some familiarity in style. As inconspicuous as possible he wondered around the workroom. He found himself paused above a kid in a wheelchair doing some impressive work with a trio of near identical units when a particular unit caught his eye across the tables. It was the Airbatel, disassembled but no mistaking it. Loudly Marco called out warmly, “I didn’t realize your unit got that knackered up from Green Noah?” He walked over calmly to Aida, his tone was taunting yet friendly at the same time. Again loudly he announced as he extended his hand, “I’m Marco Creed, I piloted the Zero Saviour that last mission.” He looked at the two guys working on the Gunpla seeing if it would register or if he himself had made a mistake assuming he knew them. For reasons he couldn’t fully explain he glanced back at the sickly looking kid with his sisters and took a second to study the kid’s face. He didn’t recognize him immediately but there was something familiar about his gunpla, something about the style he just couldn’t shake off.


 ((Aside from Comm traffic I don’t think Aida and Creed really spoke much during the previous mission. And yes I’m practicing  necromancy to get this thread back up!))

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  • 1 month later...

After a while, Airbatel had been cleaned up and upgraded: it was a minor question, but the Vulcans on the GM III's head were no longer decorative. Aiden and Daniel had also gotten rid of the Hyaku Shiki Wing Binders: from now on, the Gunpla would use a Gundam MkII backpack when not meant to operate alone. This made docking with the new Mobile Armor easy. After this, they put the Super Airbatel on its box and moved to the counter, as Meryl had to go home for the night. Daniel drew upgrades for an atmospherical loadout that had been stored away long ago, while Aiden was thinking of a new naming convention. We should call that previous build the Airbatel Early Space Type… This is the Airbatel Space Type, it turns into the Super Airbatel. The atmospherical Airbatel is the Airbatel Air Type... His head was soon spinning with multiple mentions of the same name, and decided to speak a little with Daniel. He felt it was enough of his happenings for now, and wanted to know what his partner was spending his privilege on.


- "What have you been up to in the game, anyways?" Aiden knew the business-focused Meryl had gotten automatic access to the closed beta, as the legal owner of one of the most beloved shops of the region, and since she rarely used GBN, the privilege immediately went to Daniel, in a strictly unofficial manner. His intrusion was never noticed, for Meryl had picked a male avatar the one time she tried the game, fearing she'd be bothered otherwise.

- "Well, i learned some interesting stuff. There is only one, big server. Most of the testers are nationals, that is to be expected..."

- "... but there is the occasional foreigner. I know. I suspect the two guys playing with me are living abroad. Their ping is ok, fortunately. Forget that, tell me you played Gundam Generation." Aiden was excited to hear Daniel's thoughts on the campaign he was playing, but Daniel had not gotten to play it.

- "Uhh… no. Not enough people. I did find a whole group interested in some campaign with a Latin name. And it's very fun, let me tell you about that. First of all, you don't use your Gunpla. The game is far more narrative and you have to pick a character archetype. There are scavengers, hitmen, a 'cowboy cop' with a Mobile Suit."

- "I don't think all those terms mix quite right for the Department of Cost to State."

- "Heh. All-original story and mechs. Gundam meets 80's and 90's cyberpunk. You know how cyberpunk goes, just add cops and robbers in Mobile Suits. Terrorists steal a Gundam, mercenaries scramble to steal it back for the corporation that made it, policemen scramble to leave no robot standing. The first stage is kind of a three-way where the terrorists only have the NPD with the Gundam, but trust me, when your Mobile Suit is a kei minivan with legs and a potato launcher…"

- "You got your ass kicked?"

- "Hmph. Wouldn't have quite played out like that if I had my actual whip. The terrorist was still very careless with that thing."

- "These campaigns are getting good. Let me tell you, the people who know best what the fans want are the fans themselves."


In that moment, they were interrupted by a bearded man they had not seen up until an hour earlier, when he came in with two kids and bought a Real Grade Titans MkII, what appeared to be a High Grade Freedom Gundam and one of the "extra finish" kits, which had a monochrome cover that made it difficult to spot the model from a distance. Taking into account the Freedom was probably a starter kit for one of the kids, he supposed the second kit would also be a High Grade due to the low complexity of the line. However, he wouldn’t call the Freedom a good starter kit, when much less complex HGs were available…


- “I didn’t realize your unit got that knackered up from Green Noah?” The strange man walked over calmly to Aiden and Daniel, speaking in a loud and taunting tone, yet friendly at the same time. Extending his hand, he declared: “I’m Marco Creed, I piloted the Zero Saviour that last mission.”

- “Zero Saviour...” From his mention of Green Noah, Aiden realized the man had taken part on his last battle. He did not recognize the machine immediately, but knowing his teammates piloted a Dynames and a Zaku, he knew the man was his enemy, and he discreetly took a napkin from the holder on his table to cover the reassembled Airbatel, having it mimic the RX-78-2 before Amuro found it laying on a giant stretcher in Side 7. "Can… can I help you?"

- "Aiden, I can't believe it. You've been playing with Marco Creed? He's the guy who appears in every Zapp advert! Mr. Creed, your conversion kits and Option Parts sets are killer. I've already pre-ordered the Nemo III and the Nagano Galbaldy Beta." Daniel on the other hand was far more receiving than his friend, and offered to shake hands with Marco. "And Aiden's force right here uses Zapp uniforms for their reenactments!"

- "No we don't- OW!" Aiden's left foot got promptly stomped as soon as he tried to correct Daniel.

- “Aw well, I barely have a hand in those kits, a lot of it is Corporate pushing them.” He cleared his throat to address the elephant in the room. Marco could sense Aiden’s discomfort and smirked as he tried to hide his Gunpla from him. The man’s eyes lingered on the napkin and he politely shook the other kid’s hand. “Look, I just wanted to come over and say that I was very impressed with the construction and creativity of your kit! From what you and the other members of your team have brought to the table, I can tell I can’t half ass my way through these missions!” Marco’s face was cheery if not warm in his demeanor.

- "Well, I…” Slowly, Aiden started to warm up a little to the stranger. I don’t think a guy whose sole purpose is to appear in adverts would be involved with the old band, could him? “I appreciate the compliment. I only paint it, though. Until it enters the paint booth, it's usually in Daniel's hands here."

- "It means a lot coming from you! And hey, I don't think Corporate has bad taste. I enjoyed Dozle’s Dom." Daniel received the compliment well, too, but had an opinion of his own regarding the conversion kits sold by Zapp Incorporation. Zapp was one of the largest aftermarket providers of conversion kits, option parts, and cosmetics for both real life and GBN - most of the real clothing offered by the corporation included a tag to unlock their virtual counterparts for free, but the virtual catalogue was much bigger than just those items.

- “Well, it would seem you guys make a good team then!” Smiling, his eyes darted to Daniel, then shifted back to Aiden. “I wanted to ask...”, he started as he looked around and lowered his voice. “Did you notice anything odd about the NPDs in that mission?” Marco wasn’t certain how the kid would react but he was increasingly curious to know if it was just him finding the new AI to be something... different.

- "Odd... I'd describe these new NPDs like that, yes." Aiden remembered Emma Sheen's attraction to the unit of the player who had struck him down in the last mission, then his very own NPD teammate, Beta Four, which among other things, occupied an empty Mobile Suit, and... "I've never seen an NPD misjudge the strength of a big cannon. That's what she had to say about it."

- “Almost human...” he muttered more so to himself than the two kids in front of him, as he rubbed his beard and nodded his head to take in what the kid was saying. “The one I fought, that green Galbaldy, she was... exceptional in combat, errors and all. Really caught me off guard...” His eyes shifted from his memories of the fight to study the kid and see how he was taking Creed’s side of the story.

- "I guess I'm not the only one, then..." Aiden had found somebody else who felt as if the NPDs had taken a quantum leap forward, and while he did not want to tell a member of Alpha Team of Emma's attraction to the faux Mk-II, or Beta Four's acquisition of a GP03, he still felt immensely curious. Finding somebody who could say he had seen the same things did not quench his thirst for knowledge... rather, it made the mystery bigger. Suddenly, however, Creed’s face grew dark, and he locked eyes with Aiden.

- “Be careful out there, stay on your guard...” He let the words linger, before letting the smile return to his face. “Well, I’ll leave you two to it!” He added cheerily as he began to turn on his heel.


Once the man was gone, Aiden turned back to Daniel, understandably freaked out by Creed’s last words. However, Daniel just thought it was nice of him to choose their shop to buy his children’s kits, and congratulate them on the quality of their build. Very conveniently for the creepy stranger, Daniel was taking care of somebody who wanted to buy a Suille Enact, and so only Aiden had seen that last unsettling display. Man… now he looks like a guy even the Gunpla Mafia would fear. Or maybe the kind of man to rule them? As he started making preparations to close the shop in a pair of minutes, he let his head run wild with dumb theories. But at the end of the night, when everyone had gone home and he had put on his comfy, warm overcoat, he had no other choice than to hear himself, and accepted it probably was just Marco trying to intimidate him into thinking the stakes were far higher than they seemed to be.

Zapp Incorporation, rigging championships…? Pfft. What a load of bull. I need a sandwich. “Aiden Keyes… closing up shop."

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