Wade had fallen to the ground of his cockpit, still seeing a flurry of white on each of his screens. The Diver had done missions, but nothing like this. The blast of chilly wind engulfed his little SD as more snow began to pile on top of the Gunpla. “I’d rather not get buried…” Wade thought, getting up the grasp the controls. The brown machine pushed itself forward with its hands, struggling to stay balanced while taking a barrage of bad weather. “Aker, Icarus!” He yelled out through his comms, wiping ice off the large eye section of the mobile suit. He'd lost the white ReZEL, but the Diver could very faintly still see Astray. That is until the blizzard quickly gave him no sense of direction, losing the unit in the process.
At this level, he could see hills of snowbanks all around him. “There’s gotta be some sort of base or mobile suit around here.” The Diver stated to the others while pulling his LMG out of the snow. Thankfully, the Diver's communications still worked, no matter what climate it was. “Do either of you have any recon or like, tracking devices or something?” Pulling up his menu, Wade put a generic compass on his left screen, minimizing it. The small model kit started walking in a direction that felt the least troublesome, an incline that led south. “I'm walking south, but who knows if that'll lead me to the mission." The Gunpla started shivering, holding its tiny arms together. "I’m up for any ideas honestly…” Wade wondered if this was a huge mistake after all.
Gabriel was nervous, he wasn’t exactly wanting to return to the civilized part of GBN much less the public lobby. But his Zapp contact had insisted the boy return to the public areas to test out the digital identity mask they had created. It wasn’t a mask in the sense of the black mask he was wearing now, but rather a mask that hid his normal user ID which was under some heat by the administration at that moment. To anyone who looked up his digital ID he would (in theory) appear as “AkerHero13”. He scrunched his face as he looked at the name in his heads up display“is that supposed to be some sort of play on Graham Aker and Akihrio?” he mused aloud as he stood in the middle of the GBN lobby. That Zapp bastard had a sick sense of humor.
He looked at his display and soon found himself browsing the missions available. He couldn’t help himself. Of course the missions had a whole new meaning to him now but he just felt compelled to look. One mission caught his eye and he clicked to read the description “three musketeers…” he mumbled under his breath. His attention was cut short as a new Diver logged in right next to him. It occurred to him that he was still in the loading area and he moved out of the way reflexively. “Whoa sorry!” He said as the newcomer logged on. Because of his proximity his heads up display automatically scanned the Diver and he could see that they were a newbie.
The man standing next to him was pale skinned with blonde hair put into a ponytail, they seemed to be wearing a Seed Earth Alliance special forces space suit of some type, a fact that made Gabe cringe for a second for fear of being recognized himself. The outfit clashed with the black poncho and mask that he wore himself. Gabriel awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly, “hey there! Welcome to GBN! First time playing?” He asked cautiously. It just occurred to him that his new identity would likely display him as a new player as well.
(This takes place before Gundam Generation)
A Daughtress went out in a blaze as a blue beam pierced the belly of the machine. The GM Rush had shot down it's final opponent, ending the mission. Normally a Diver would be excited about whatever prize they'd get, but not Ryu Zero. This was his 27th attempt at the mission, hoping to improve his time on the leader board. The scrawny player sped through the menu, noticing a time of 73.4 seconds. Ryu, who was know in GBN's main lobby, slammed his fist on the front table, catching a couple glances from concerned divers. "HOW THE HELL DID HE FINISH IT FASTER THAN THAT?!" He screamed as he looked at the current record holder.
"Every. Single. Time." He uttered, opting to go down one of the nearby hallways away from others. "I don't even know the guy!" It was that moment when an idea popped into the diver's head. Once again pulling open his menu, he found the other player. "Hmm. Doesn't look that tough." He immediately got to work, creating a request for Carter. "We'll fight in space. No asteroids, no debris, nothing!" He pressed down the button for the fight offer. "Just my GM vs his Zaku!"
Order of the Seven Stars
Gjallarhorn is the savior that pulled the world out of the brink during the calamity wars. They fought and nearly exterminated the menace of mobile armors from known existence. Mobile armors were soulless death machines which brought humanity to its’ knees during the calamity wars. Hero’s who vanquished these mighty foes were rewarded the highest honor within Gjallarhorn, the Order of the Seven Stars. Do you have what takes to echo the achievements of these heroic titans?
Gabriel looked at the description with a scowl on his face. Ever since his meeting with the mystery sniper he had been in a bad mood. He didn’t feel like playing into their hands, on the other hand he was missing the rush of combat. He needed to do something legit, to feel validated again, to feel worthy of Ardent Exia.
While some missions could be described as hard or challenging, others were in a class of their own, downright suicidal even. Of course there was a rendition of this mission on the old GBN, but this new one, well he hadn’t heard good things about it. Supposedly no one had beaten the challenge yet. For Gabriel’s mood, It was right up his alley.
The diver selected the join button and he as put in a que to see if anyone else would be up for the task. As he waited, he checked over his armaments. True Exia was largely armed with beam weaponry, so he took the precaution to load up two extra GN blades the normal Exia would carry in 7 swords mode. It would make him more bulky but the trade off should be worth the risk.
He was so lost in his thoughts, that Gabriel almost didn’t realize the mission had started. “Crap.” He chided himself, “I didn’t even see who I’m teamed up with!” The scene before him was carnage incarnate. Ardent Exia stood in the abandoned streets of a huge city. Tall buildings cut up the terrain into grids, with gray skies threatening to rain at any moment. If it wasn’t for the radio chatter (which he was ignoring) the whole scene would have been eerily quiet. Unidentifiable mobile suit remains were scattered in the streets like body parts from a slasher film, with thick oil seeping from their limbs like blood.
A flash of lightning made Gabriel jerk in surprise but as he turned to look at the source his eyes grew in alarm. In the distance an area of mountains bordered the city, and on the rim of one of the mountains was the great beast Hashmal. The bird like mecha tilted its’s head up to screech out a roar, and despite its great distance the pink lightning of a beam blast, blindly glanced into the city. Buildings erupted into gray dust and tumbled down, creating a thick fog like smoke, hiding the terrifying beast from sight.
Gabriel gripped his controls tighter as uneasiness grew over him. “What did I sign up for…” he muttered to himself. Movement caused him to look to his side and see a friendly mobile suit. “Oh thank goodness!” He sighed as he turned his comm on to hail the friendly. Before he could even say hello a black dog like creature pounced into the mobile suit, followed by another, then another. The swarm of Plumas crashes into the mech drowning it with attacks. The friendly pilot screamed out in terror begging for help. Gabriel yelled out, though he didn’t know if it was from fear or rage, and charged in towards the pile. He slashed out with his GN sword to start bashing away the smaller drones. “Crap! We can’t be a man down already!” Even as he swiped his blade through the little mecha, he knew he was too late. He got a handful of them with his sword but more and more kept coming. “If I stay here they’ll over take me too…” he reluctantly fired his thrusters to take flight and hovered away from the plumas as they proceeded to tear their fresh kill apart, greedily “chewing” the limbs of the mech and draining its’ fluids.
One thing became clear to Gabriel as he retreated, “this isn’t going to be easy…” he darted between buildings looking for more allies. “Anyone out there? We lost an ally already!” He called out frantically. Fear was settling over him and he didn’t like the feeling.
“I’m breaking up with you.”
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!))