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For the Homeland


Roromi
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Roane awoke with a start, pulled from a sleep fraught with disturbing dreams an automatic reminder that he had a meeting in ten minutes. The Red Frame’s pilot looked around, unsure at first of where he was and frightened by the tight space he found himself in. When at last he calmed down, however, he realized he was still in the Astray’s cockpit. He must have fallen asleep here after the mission, unwilling as he was to leave and face his teammates in person. Roane remembered seeing Keiran waiting for him via the mobile suit’s interior cameras but at some point his white-haired comrade must have given up and left him alone. It left an uneasy feeling in the pilot’s stomach. Was Keiran hanging around to chew him out?

Roane checked his phone, pulling up the meeting information. The time of reckoning had come. There would be no avoiding the conversation now that it was official. He’d have to face his superior and his comrades and explain to them what the hell happened out there. Worse yet, he’d have to do it in his crash suit—there was no time to change at this point.

--

Roane arrived almost at the same time as Geneva, thanking the heavens that there wouldn’t be any time for a one-on-one before the meeting officially began. Squeezing into the room behind her, Roane felt awkward in his padded normal suit as he took a seat and eyed the way his superior officer was sitting.

What the hell is he doing? Roane quirked a brow, looking from Barondel to the hat tossed lazily onto the table. Still, the test pilot sat quietly, eyes downcast, as he awaited the arrival of his teammates.

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The alert on her datapad caught Kali by surprise!

To All Astray Pilots:

We will have a mandatory staff meeting at 1500 hours. The topic of the meeting is to debrief the recent mission. Please bring forth any ideas or issues noticed from the action for discussion. 

Respectfully,

Lt. Nathaniel Barondel

Chromatic Team Leader

She lowered the datapad next to her cup of steamy tea wondering if it was a mistake. Her anxiety climbed a notch as she debated on if it was an error. She reached for her cup stirring the liquid thoughtfully with her spoon.

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Should she go? Or should she assume it was sent to her in error and not go? Kali sighed softly and sipped her tea.

- - - - - 

After catching the captain mere minutes before 1500, Kali confirmed she was indeed invited to the meeting, but the captain wouldn’t tell her why or better she was hurrying off before Kali could ask her.

A released sigh helped her ease her anxiety and she took comfort that the invitation was not in error. Datapad in hand, Kali arrived at the briefing room. She heard Ensign Halston acknowledge the Lieutenant with a resounding, ‘Sir.’ Kali immediately started overthinking, was she supposed to do the same? Did she have to be as loud? As confident? In the flurry of anxious thoughts, she observed Private MacMaster who came in quietly. Kali decided to do the same and found a seat where she sat promptly and quietly. Her hands grasped to her datapad as she waited for the discussion to commence wondering what she could contribute that would be useful to the Lieutenant and his team.  

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Keiran sat there on the rails for a little bit, knocking on the cockpit and then huffing after he got no response from his teammate, he sighed and then stretched out, to be honest.. he wanted to take a nap too, but if he did then he might not wake up in time, he groaned.. now not knowing what to do, he covered his mouth and shut his eyes.. shaking his head and then returning his face to a neutral expression, he decided that the best course of action for now is to go back to his room. 

He went straight into the bathroom and washed his face, clearing it of the make up and face paint that he put on to help himself feel better, he cringed as soon as he saw himself in the mirror and then took his time to wash his hair, humming to himself as he did so, when he was done.. He began meticulously designing a new look for himself, well.. nothing too extreme, he just wanted to try different shades, instead of purple he'd try for a sort of powdered blue, only to wash it off again and then try green, then.. red, he'd continue to do so before his alarm sounded, it was time for the meeting and he had no cosmetics on.. he wheezed and drew in a breath, instead of being late though.. he showed up.

He arrived about a minute after the others "Ah.. Sorry for holding the meeting up" he said politely before taking a seat and waiting, it was definitely odd to see him without well- the make up and all that

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“How long have you had the pilot detained?” Yuna asked impatiently. The guard standing by the door tensed some as the council member’s son ask the loaded question. “Almost two hours sir!”

“And no one else has spoken to her right?”

Again, the guard nodded nervously, “that’s right sir! Just as Lord Sieran ordered!” 

A cat like smile grew on Yuna’s face as he looked in the peephole to the interrogation room. “good, let me in. I wish to speak to her.”

Mai’s plane was escorted in by Orb defenses forces which had been on high alert. Lord Sieran in particular had many officers loyal to him on duty at the time of the Archangel attack. This plane from the Junk Guild could either be a major inconvenience, “Or an opportunity….” He mused as the door was unlocked for him. 

Clearing his throat the aspiring youth walked into the room with the handcuffed Mai, who was seated at the table. “Allow me to apologize, our country is a bit on edge right now. Surely you can appreciate the precautions we’ve been taking…” Yuna’s voice trailed away as he initially moved to uncuff the girl but paused to nod to the guard by the door to do the task. “Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Yuna Sieran. I was told you flew in from the north? Can you tell me, did you see anything interesting on your way here?” He was almost convincing in his tone, friendly if not polite. 

The guard moved up to Mai to reach over and undo the cuffs before scurrying away, more in difference to Yuna than the fiery girl it seemed.  

-----

Nathaniel eyed everyone as they came in, he even offered a smile to Kali since she had been nothing less than helpful in the last mission. “Welcome everyone.” He paused to look around, his mouth hung open as he thoughtfully considered what he should say next. Finally, he settled on, “Things didn’t go according to plan, in fact everything went off the rails.” 

His gaze spared no one as he looked from Geneva on down the line. Perhaps the only one who didn’t mess up in some big way was Keiran, but Nathaniel wasn’t here to play favorites. “In many ways we were lucky, if not fortunate to have such a trial by fire…. Thank God no one was hurt.” Despite his words both Geneva and Roane looked sickly. 

Shaking his head he stopped himself from going down a spiteful tirade. He paused and sucked in a breathe, “we will act as a team. And as a team, we are only as strong as our weakest link.” In spite of the tone he was going for his gaze did fall in the general direction of Roane and Geneva who sat near each other. “Whether we like it or not we are all stuck together. We have no choice but to better ourselves….” Nathaniel’s gaze drifted from one person to the next, he surprised himself by looking at Kali, “we have to be strong, not just for our own sakes, but for the person sitting next to you.” This time his eyes landed on Roane. “I wanted to address everyone together for this very reason. Do I make myself clear?” 

Nathaniel hardly waited for a response as he clenched his teeth, “I want to hear ideas on how we can perform better? What can we do now to be ready for the next time? Most important I want to hear what you all have to say about that mission?” This time he did wait for a reply as he looked around the room. He needed to mold everyone into a team, one way or another. 

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Frantic, Mai held onto the controls white knuckled, "I need to get out of here," she kept repeating to herself as an alarm went off, and she looked and blinked, "..." Looking out the window she sighed, "Oh man, i have damage to one of the tiltrotors," and she turns it off and sets them in the forward position. Looking at the readings she taps the guage and shuts the other off.

About 20 minutes out from where she was to land, a few aircraft pulled up along side her craft. Looking she blinked, "Ut oh...." she says as she waves at one of them. Blinking, she turns on her radio, "Can I help you?"  she asks as she listens and follows them. She cannot out run them, and she has no weapons. "Oh I am dead," she adds in her Scottish accent.

One hour later....

Mai sat in a room, looking down as she sat handcuffed to the table. "At least I am safe from me brother in here," she commented to her self as she waits. She has never been in this before, and just stares at the table and waits. Mai is super scared, shaking a bit as she is not sure what will happen to her. The worst is being sent to the EA and her brother finding her. However being in jail would keep her safe, and she never feels safe, no matter were she goes.

An hour later.....

"Oh come on, I've been here two hours or there about. Just put me in jail will ye," she says. "I know someone is out there. Can I at least get some water or something to drink?" She asks and no response. Then there is the sound of a click and the door opens, allowing two people to enter, a guard and someone else.

The non-guard starts to talk, "Allow me to apologize, our country is a bit on edge right now. Surely you can appreciate the precautions we’ve been taking…” the man says to her as he approaches and she tries to pull away.   Pausing, he nods to the guard by the door and he comes over towards her. She cannot move far enough back, do to the handcuffs as she is released and the guard leaves. .“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Yuna Sieran. I was told you flew in from the north? Can you tell me, did you see anything interesting on your way here?” He was almost convincing in his tone, friendly if not polite.

"Th..Thank you Mr. Sieran," she says to him as she rubs her wrists. "Aye, I flew in from the north, and I saw a fight. Those Earth Alliance dolts and another ship with three mobile suits," she states. "I hope I am not in trouble...," she says to him. "I need to leave, I might bring ye more trouble," she adds as she looks. "Can we just forget I saw anything, fix me plane and I leave," she asks him?

Edited by JohnSeever
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"I...um..." Geneva began to fidget her feet as she sat near the other crewmembers. It sounded to her like Nathaniel wasn't only disappointed in her during the mission. In fact, seemed as if a lot more went wrong. "It's just... for me, I don't really know any of you. We were all kind of brought onto this squad because of our different..." Her mind drew a blank. "Different... uh... ATTRIBUTES. Sorry, couldn't think of the right word."

"I think its more important that we learn to work together outside of battle?" Her fists clinched as she said this. There was very little of her that wanted to interact with other crewmembers, but as she saw from the last battle, this is a life or death situation where her partners needed to depend on each other no matter what. "I'm not good with variation on missions, and I know I screwed up with my weapons overheating, but... I'm not sure. Does anyone have anything else to say?" By this point, Geneva wanted to do anything BUT talk.

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Nathaniel’s gaze weighed heavy on Roane. The test pilot could tell his CO was trying his best to remain even-handed and impartial, but those eyes just kept making their way over to him and Geneva. It was reassuring to him, if only slightly, to recognize that his dark-haired comrade in the Blue Frame had made her own mistakes, but to be happy about it made him feel selfish. He didn’t want Geneva to fail any more than he wanted to fail himself. It was then that she decided to speak up—clearly eager to offer solutions rather than marinate in self-loathing like the red pilot was. She mentioned the squad getting to know each other better outside of combat to aid in cohesion on the battlefield. At this, Roane’s eyes flicked up and he glanced over at Keiran on the other side of the room.

“Ah…actually, Keiran and I had something planned with regards to team-building. I’m not so sure that it’s what you had in mind but it might be nice in helping us relax after today’s…” he wanted to say debacle, but held the word back. “…lesson. Keiran can tell you more about that, sir, but I wanted to take a quick moment to address what might be an elephant in the room,” Speaking of elephants, the lump growing in his throat felt about the size of one and growing. He hadn’t exactly planned on drawing attention to himself but then again, a lot of things happened today that he hadn’t really planned for.

Roane stood and cleared his throat. He looked around at his comrades, all of them dressed normally compared to him in his red and black crash-suit. “I’m going off of the assumption that all of you noticed and are either too polite to say anything or waiting for a quiet moment to really ream me out—which you’d be in the right to do—but in case some of you didn’t see it, I froze up out there today. For that, I apologize. I don’t come to this team from any kind of real military background—until recently I was little more than a Morgenroete test jockey taking these suits for a spin around the yard. I’m sincerely ashamed of what happened out there and infinitely glad that no one was wounded on my account,” Roane turned to face Nathaniel now. “Sir, with your permission, I would like to submit myself for additional training, perhaps in tandem with yourself or one of the other more experienced pilots,”

Internally, Roane’s stomach roiled. If he wanted to last out there, he needed to learn how to keep it together and fight back.

 

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A small smile was offered to Private Larris as if saying 'I'm not offended when he showed up for the meeting.

She noticed the Lieutenant give her a smile which made her feel at ease and her grasp on the datapad lessened and her tension melted like ice in warmth.


She nodded at his sentiments that they were lucky and that no one on the team got hurt. Kali noted hints of frustration in the lieutenant's voice but she wasn't sure if it was directed at anyone specific or himself for the matter.

Kali's ears perked up at the mention of them being a team and they would act as such. She couldn't help but notice his gaze fall on Ensign Halston and Private MacMaster when the lieutenant talked about being as strong as a weakest like that they were stuck together. Her intrusive thoughts couldn't help but shift her focus to being a part of the team. Was that what she wanted? To be a part of the team? To help beyond her terminal on the Archangel? It was at that moment she without really noticing or trying, located eyes with the Lieutenant. She felt herself nod in affirmation to an unasked question.

When he asked for feedback Kali raised her datapad from her lap, she felt sweat form upon her brow and she swallowed hoping her anxiety would disappear in the pit of her stomach as she listened. Ensign Halston suggested they do team building off the field which Kali agreed. She appreciated Private MacMaster's suggestion for relaxing but she wasn't certain if the lieutenant was keen on relaxing.

When Mac master stood and explained himself she felt she understood him, especially when neither one of them came from a military background. Her intrusive thoughts reared their ugly heads shaming her for comparing when he was a Private and a pilot, Kali didn't even have a rank even though she wore the standard uniform, she wanted to change that.


"Lieutenant." She said shakily before her voice gained confidence, "Given the initial training exercise and how quickly the team was assembled, Ensign Halston's suggestion on team building will help your dynamic on and off the field. Ensign Halston's weapons may have overheated but with the quick thinking of yourself and the other team members, you were able to compensate which I think shows how the team is adaptable given unexpected anomalies. And I too would, with your permission, would like to submit myself for training. I know I'm not a part of the team..." Her tone saddened at the statement but she continued, "But I would like to be as helpful as possible."

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Keiran was quiet throughout the whole thing, he was listening to everything that was being said and internally nodding along and agreeing with what he was hearing, he did feel like he had.. certain habits he had to get rid of as a pilot, but.. when Roane mentioned operation anime, Keiran couldn't help but let out a small smile "Ah, Right" He said, drawing in a small breath and then explaining what it was exactly 

"We thought it would be a good idea to gather all of our pilots and watch some.. err, Anime" He said "I already brought some onto the ship with my personal effects, and Roane was in charge of snacks" He said "We thought it would be good to increase the solidarity of the team sir, so what we all lack in experience, we can make up for in chemistry" 

"On the note of experience.." He said "I would like to have extra training in terms of piloting the mobile suit as well, My position as a fighter pilot has given me a bad habit of constantly being in motion, In no uncertain terms.. I run the risk of running out of thruster fuel every engagement sir" He said, while it was a nitpick, it was something that he wanted to remedy as well.. No one in the squad was perfect, not yet.

Keiran looked over to Kali as she made her comments "While it might not be my say in particular.. I would like to extend an invitation to Kali to join our team building thing.. Operation Anime is what Roane called it" Keiran's slightly excited tone betrayed the neutral expression on his face "The fact that she was able to assist us in the way she did makes her a member of the team in my eyes"

Keiran nodded as if to say "That was all", he then looked back at their commander for any other comments.

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Nathaniel remained neutral as his team talked. He couldn’t argue with anything they were brining up. While this wasn’t how he would have preferred to do business, he had a feeling that this more subtle method would work out well with his team. The best part was they were coming up with the solutions he was seeking too. This way they would be more invested in both training and team building because it would be their ideas not just his.

His contemplation was interrupted when Kali spoke up. He was startled by her request to train with them, it wasn’t something he was expecting to hear from the girl. But any reaction he had poised in his mouth evaporated with Keiran shared the brilliant “team building” idea.

“Ani- what?” Nathaniel’s face froze at the revelation. Of course the suggestion was somehow involved with Roane, such a plan didn’t surprise Nathaniel. Slowly the lieutenant looked around to study everyone’s face and he slumped his shoulders in resignation.

Scratching his head Nathaniel looked around the room and eyed the projector and the screen behind him. It undoubtedly could be an ideal movie theater though he doubted that was ever the intention the designers had for the briefing room.

Sighing the team leader announced, “ok… MacMaster, Larris… when we’re done here I expect you two to set up this viewing party.” He winced as he gave the order, it was probably one of the strangest things he ever had to do in his career but so be it. Standing up he cleared his throat to try and keep everything on point.

“As far as training goes we’ll start a regiment. 0600 every day we will meet in this room for daily briefings. Well then perform either virtual drills or sorties to understand what these machines can do! We won’t just be simulating solo missions but scenarios where we will cover one another. Most importantly we will work on everything we identify as our weakness together.”

His gaze landed on Geneva, seeing if there was anything she wanted to add. Part of him wished he could have picked a different XO for the interpersonal stuff that a team often had to deal with, the girl was bright if not shy. Still he had no one else who had the experience she had to offer. Nathaniel gave a look to Kali and nodded, a silent way of saying that he wanted to talk to her later.

——

Yuna played the part of diplomat perfectly as he attentively listened to the young lady talk. He was already raising his hand at the end of her request, “Now now, don’t be hasty. You still haven’t stated why you were even flying near our country to begin with?” He looked at her like expectantly, “besides I’d say you already found yourself in some trouble already… please help, me help you miss…” he drew out the last word, his indirect way of asking for her name.

He slowly walked around the table and girl with his chin up and a tone of superiority. Truly this one wasn’t probably worth the trouble they had gone through with detaining her. Still, Yuna had a hunch and at this point in the game he had to capitalize on anything that would give him an advantage over his father’s rivals. If she saw the battle the Archangel was in, then she likely knew who won. What if the cursed ship actually survived and repelled the attack from the Alliance forces?  

As Yuna paced around Mai he wore a look of genuine concern, though it was mostly for himself and hardly for her. He needed allies, even unconventional ones. Didn’t the Junk Guild occasionally work as soldiers of fortune? “I’d really like to know if you know who won that battle you witnessed? It is of the utmost importance to the Orb Union right now….” He trailed off as he paused to look at the one way mirror. He looked mostly at his own reflection, and even reached up to fix his hair as he waited for a response from the young lady.

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The responses she got from the other members of her team were mixed. Some bonding regiments seemed to sound as if they could actually work, while others she felt were strange. Geneva didn't even watch much TV in general and especially didn't feel anime would help the group in any way. "It's not like there are too many shows about pilotable robots in war that are a thing, right?" She thought about it for a bit, but then trailed off.

Thankfully, Nathaniel managed to come up with a plan she agreed with, but was still very uncomfortable with as well. Meetings were apart of being a soldier, but the drill where they'd work together to fix our weaknesses? "I hope he's just talking about my overheating issue." She didn't want to be changed in other aspects, as much as she felt it would benefit her in the long run. The ORB pilot had little control over this and didn't want to add any sort of contention, so she only nodded in agreeance. 

"Good plan sir."

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The man, Yuna was already raising his hand at the end of her request, “Now now, don’t be hasty. You still haven’t stated why you were even flying near our country to begin with?” He said as he looked at her.  “Besides I’d say you already found yourself in some trouble already… please help, me help you miss…” he said as he drew out the last word.

Mai looked as Yuna walked around, talking and asking her name. . o O (I do not know him, and he seems...) and she looks, "Ingram," she states. "Me name is Mai, Mai Ingram," she adds with her Scottish accent.  She looks at the table and than at Yuna as he asked about why she was nearby. "I was flying to meet up with the local Junk Guild here at Orb," she states. "I was with the Guild out of Northern Africa and Southern France area," she adds as she looks at him. Looking, at him, Mai thinks. "I am not a fan of ZAFT or EA, and asked to be moved to a new Guild. I was told Orb was looking for people. So I came here," she adds.

Looking down, she sighs. "I am no trouble maker, although me si...family use to say I was," she adds as she looks. Listening, Mai blinks and sighs as he looks at the mirror, asking another question and lowers her head "I do not know who won," she says as she looks at the table. "I was flying here with some scrap for the Guild and saw a fight. I am new to the area and did not know if there were people around who could get hurt, beside those soldiers, so as I flew by, I banked and came back, dropping the stuff I had and pulled up and out." and she looks up at Yuna.

"I hope no one was hurt, who was not a soldier. I personally do not like this war, and think it is stupid. Everyone has the right to decide what they want to do, and God knows that there are other ways to solve a problem than the end of a gun," she comments. "I wish I never saw that fight," she says silently to herself.

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Roane tried his best to buck up, especially when Nathaniel okayed the already dubious suggestion of ‘Operation Anime’. Hearing about it now, after some time had passed, he cringed slightly. It didn’t seem like it was this group’s ‘thing’.

There’s a first time for everything though,

 Nathaniel continued, speaking about their future training and 6 AM meetings. Roane then felt genuine excitement, though perhaps that was too broad a word. It was determination, truly, that coursed through him in that moment—a determination to prove to his squad and, more importantly, to himself, that he was capable of holding his own out there. Roane’s thoughts drifted to the Red Frame. He would have to adjust the load-out for sure, much to Micha’s displeasure for sure. The rocket anchors were a novel idea and they had worked fine during the OP, but Roane had his doubts about how viable they might be in the long run. Micha and him would have to have it out about what direction to take the Astray in some other time though. It was anime time now.

---

Meanwhile, in space…

---

Lowell Baskerville sat on the ready-room bench, bent forward with his hands steepled together in front of his face. The low, constant hum of the Laurasia-class Hohenheim was a familiar comfort but it did little in that moment to assuage his concerns.

“So this is where you’ve sequestered yourself,” came a voice from the sliding door. Lowell hadn’t even heard it open and was jarred from his reverie by the sudden speech. With a start, he looked up to see the smirking face of Renato Masters. His swarthy second in command was leaning against the door frame, the ends of his longer black hair swaying in the anti-gravity. “Found a quiet place to stress yourself out, huh chief?”

Lowell smiled weakly, then shook his head. “You got me, Ren. I was just thinking about everything that went down at Heliopolis. I wish I could say that those 4 mobile suits we picked up are the key to ending this war but I can only see dark days ahead,”

“You ever consider a career in local news? Hearing you speak, you’d make a great weatherman,”

This time, Lowell smiled freely. “I’m not pretty enough for TV, Ren, you know that,”

“I didn’t want to say it, chief. Your words, not mine,” and with that he gave Lowell a coy wink and gestured behind him with a thumb. “The rest of the Wolves are ready. Bridge says we have 20 minutes until we hit drop-point,”

“Well, what are we waiting for then?” Lowell stood up and fastened the collar of his normal suit.

The two of them made their way to the hangar. Six GINNs stood at attention among the scaffolding, surrounded by teams of floating Engineers putting the finishing touches on Wolf Squadron. Only half of the team was here, with the other six on another Laurasia-class, Paracelsus, following close behind. The majority of Wolf Squadron were your standard green GINNs, but Lowell’s distinguished itself through its black and silver colour-scheme. He was a green coat just like the rest of his team and he loathed singling himself out as their superior, but they had insisted. Looking up at it, he still wished it was green.

“Silver is Le Creuset’s colours,” he said to Renato, who had heard this same worry before.

“I don’t think he’ll mind, chief. Besides, it’s a GINN. I hear he’s in a CGUE these days,”

“Must be nice. See you out there,”

Lowell floated over to his GINN and thanked the mechanics as he took his seat in the cockpit, placing his helmet on his head. With a few deft keystrokes, he booted up the mobile suit and hailed his squadron.

“Alright, Wolves, remember the game plan. Once we launch, the Hohenheim and the Paracelsus will deploy their re-entry pods. I know we’ve all made the journey up, but some of you likely won’t have made the drop down in a GINN. Just remember to keep a steady grip on the controls and your eyes open. The pod will do most of the work but there’s always a margin for error. Once we hit turf, we’ll link up and mobilize towards Carpentaria. Any questions?”

A chorus of ‘No sirs’ came in over the radio. Lowell nodded. “Right, then all systems are green. Let’s go Wolves,” Lowell steered the GINN Custom onto the catapult. “This is Lowell Baskerville, Wolf Actual. Operation Monochrome is a go,”

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Kali glanced to Private Larris from her peripheral and she gave a nod of satisfaction and soft smile at his comments. Her eyes went back to Lieutenant as he explained the training. Kali took her seat again and added his trainings to her datapad. She glanced back towards him to see him give her a look and a nod. She wasn't sure what he meant but she decided to stick around to clarify. Her anxiety quickened and she worried she overstepped her bounds.

Intrusive thoughts, Kali told herself as she brought her datapad up again. She hoped by focusing her anxiety into tasks she would be less overwhelmed and worrisome. She brought up her formation notes began adding notations for different scenarios for drills and sorties that could be helpful in the field. She'd run them by the Lieutenant to gather his thoughts.

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Keiran was.. excited, so much so that he lost the self awareness required to realized that this plan my not.. exactly be the best in terms of, well- planning, nevertheless the white haired male was adamant on having it happen, especially since he and Roane have had it planned for quite some time already, he kept this bubbling excitement hidden until the meeting ended, so many things were now going through his mind.. but the main thing was clear in his mind "Will we really be ready to face the future with just us?" It lingered in his mind but.. not for long, he had to believe in his teammates and he did, but did he believe in himself? Not.. exactly.

When the meeting ended, he went straight to his and Roane's room to get things ready, the laptop, the speakers, but almost more important than the anime itself.. the snacks. He looked around the halls outside, making sure it was clear before slipping back into the room and locking the door.. he slowly crouched down beneath the bed, and then pulled away the boxes covering the snacks.

There they were, their stash, nice and safe, he pulled it out and then set it aside, after making the final preparations.. he went around inviting the squad, remembering to include Kali. He couldn't even hide his smile at this point

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Yuna maintained a smug expression as she talked. She didn’t strike as a devious type, at least not openly. It was also obvious that he couldn’t get much more information out of her than he did already. Taking in a deep breath he forced a smile, “very well then, I’m sorry about this mix up. You are free to leave.” He walked towards the door but paused and raised his finger in the air, “there is one thing I’d like to ask first though.”

He turned on his heel, “does the guild still accept freelance jobs?” Perhaps there was a way Yuna could still gain from this interaction still.

——

The team building exercise went off without a hitch. Soon they were all watching some anime together and even Nathaniel had to admit it was a pleasant distraction. During one of the breaks between shows he got up and motioned to Kali to come into the hallway to talk to him.

“So… Kali… I didn’t want to put you on the spot but what did you mean by participating? What did you have in mind exactly?”  It was an honest question and Nathaniel held no accusation in his tone.

-Kali took a moment to think, “I figured perhaps a support role similar to how I helped you and the team on the field.” She resided sheepishly, “Plus I don’t have a lot of military experience, I think training would help.” She added

Nathaniel gave the girl a side eye glance, unsure of how sincere she was being. “Well for what’s it’s worth your quick thinking proved to be invaluable. Good instincts really!” He stroked his chin as he considered his words carefully. “Let me ask you. How did you feel loosing your home to that ZAFT attack?” The question was seemingly off topic but he needed to get a better feel for the girls truest intentions.

- She smiled with satisfaction and beamed with pride at the compliment. The emotions were short-lived when he ask how she felt losing her home. She rescued from the rubble of her apartment building luckily her parents were not in the same building, “I felt lost, scared.. in the rubble. I was rescued by field officers from the Archangel. I am grateful for my life. Mama and papa are safe as well. I feel indebted to you and the captain, I want to do what I can to help you as you did me.” She said earnestly.

He nodded patiently as he listened. “There’s a difference between owing a debt and being a soldier. I want to make sure you understand that.” He paused to weigh his own words, almost wondering if it was a talk he should be having with Roane instead. “There are no half measures on the battlefield… what I need to know from you is if I can rely on you with my life? And not just my life but everyone else’s in there?” He pointed a finger at the room they were standing outside of. He bit his lip to stop himself from getting worked up to much. He forced a smile, “if you can commit like that… then I’ll see about getting you transferred under my command.” His tone was edgy if not scary but that was war. He just didn’t want to drag whoever felt like it with him he had enough to deal with it as it was. On the same hand she held her weight without a mobile suit and that wasn’t anything to scoff at either. Nathaniel eyed Kali patiently.

- Kali thought for a moment and smiled softly, “I disagree Lieutenant. When I say indebted it is not as simple as paying a debt back. Perhaps I misspoke. I see what lengths you and your team have gone through, including the captain. It is that resolve that saved my life. That is what you instilled in me and it that same resolve I will use you save you and anyone else in the team. No matter the cost.” She said smiling her eyes teary, “Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.” She recited, “Publius Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian and politician.” She added, “Don’t you think the sentiment can go either way?”

A smile etched itself on Nathaniel’s face, Kali was certainly full of surprises. He wasn’t ready for a philosophical debate but he could appreciate her candor. “I suspect you’re willing to prove that very point?” He asked grinning. “I’ll talk to the captain shortly…. Private…” he offered a wink at the rank change and nodded to the door. “Enjoy the rest of the evening, I’m glad you’re on the team now!” His gratitude was sincere as he held the door for her.

- Kali couldn’t help but look at the Lieutenant in awe and joy, “I am.” She responded. Her smile broadened and pride lit up her face at the rank. She didn’t even have a rank when she started but now she felt like she found her place, “Yessir.” She said confidently, “Thank you.” She said softly.

Nathaniel paused outside the door but didn’t follow. Instead he smirked thinking it would be best if the team bonded without the “boss” for awhile and instead opted to going to Hawthorne's office to report and make his request.

A few moments later he was standing at attention inside the Captains Office which double as her quarters. “At ease” she commanded, and Nathaniel let his hands slide behind his back. He smirked as he vaguely recalled that they would call the pose “duck tails” or something equally absurd when he was in grade school.

“Ma’am?” He asked cautiously as Delphine rounded the desk, stomping towards Nathaniel and slapping him hard across the face. He nearly staggered to the floor but caught his footing and reached up to stroke his red cheek. “What the hell?” He hissed in confusion.

“Don’t ever pull that hero crap again do you hear me?” She stood close to him feeling her offending hand but keeping her arms lowered. There was a look in her eyes, rimmed with moistness.

“You know how it is Delphine…” Nathaniel scolded, “there’s no way in hell I’m letting my pilots bite the dust instead of me.” He glared at her for a long while but couldn’t bring himself to say anything else as he saw the emotions, she wasn’t willing to say. Slowly his hand dripped from his face to reach out and caress hers. They looked at each other for a long moment before he leaned in to kiss her.

He was tired of fighting, tired of giving his all for no recognition beyond a paycheck. Most of all he was tired of feeling lonely, and right now Delphine was eager enough to make him not feel so lowly. What matter at that moment, was the here and now. Nathaniel wasn’t going to concern himself with the details. He didn’t stop her when she began to paw at his uniform, pulling them both towards her bed.

—-

The next few days the Archangel flew closer to the homeland, she was close enough for some shore leave which a few members took advantage of sporadically. She conveyed the results of the ambush and was directed to patrol the nation for any possible invasions. The assignment Chromatic team well; and they went to business, doing exactly as Nathaniel had promised. The team worked on drills and spent time addressing each person’s personal concern. Nothing was off the table as they went over everything from Mobile Suit maintenance, to firearm marksmanship. Nathaniel knew they had a long way until he would feel confident in their abilities, but maybe if they could function appropriately as a team everything else would fall into place.

Nathaniel didn’t want to train mindless drones, he wanted to mold a squad of elite soldiers. He paid particular interest to Purple Frame’s new pilot Kali. The notion right now was that she would function as a back up pilot, but with no alternative she was assigned the extra unit along with the newest operating system that Morgenroete had developed. News trickled in that manufacturing of mass produced Astrays was fully under way, and that the first batch would be rolling out within a matter of weeks if not days.

The politics back home didn’t settle down in the timeframe during the Archangel’s deployment. News soon spread of the attack on the Archangel and there was immense backlash against the Sieran family from their suspected ties. The crisis delayed the vote of the new chairman for a few more weeks, a move the other families saw as a desperate power grab from Lord Atha. Lord Sahaku on the other hand patiently played his hand, working the politics carefully. Everything changed on the morning of the election however.

—-

“Gentlemen it is with a heavy heart that I conduct this order of business. All ballots will be cast anonymously in this box here…” Lord Atha announced as he patted the ballot box in the middle of the conference table. “since I am stepping down from office…” The words were carefully chosen although everyone in the room knew he was being outed, “I will officiate the voting and only cast a vote myself in the event of tie.”

The box was passed around with all the noble lords putting their votes into the box. Before long it was returned to Lord Atha who took several agonizing moments carefully making the tally. He closed his eyes and sighed out loud as he put the box away. “The new leader of our great country is Lord Sahaku.”

The young Lord offered a cat like smile at the announcement, and stood up holding his hands up in thanks. He moved to the head of the table much to the glare of Lord Sieran who seemed on the verge of yelling out in an outrage.

“My lords, thank you very much for your confidence. I promis-“

“This is an outrage! I demand a revote!”

Everyone gawked at Lord Sieran who now stood up from his seat, “There’s no way you all want to follow this fool to this country’s demise?” He looked around accusingly as he held a hand out towards the new chairman. No one spoke up and it was Lord Sieran who finally replied, “Lord Sieran…..we conducted our vote to the rule… pleas-“

“I will not!” Lord Sieran yelled out in anger. He looked one more time for support from anyone on the council, but he received none. Grunting out in rage he stormed out from the conference room. Almost immediately camera flashed dazzled the Lord who looked bewildered. It was at that moment he decided to act, calling out loudly to the media. “Please! I will address all your concerns as your newly appointed chairman in due time!” The media frenzy and confusion followed the Lord as he almost ran to his car where Yuna waited patiently for his father.

Lord Sahaku didn’t lash out as he caught some of the absurdities that Lord Sieran was spewing out. Instead, he quietly retreated to his office to handle the growing situation.

“Well father what happened?” Yuna asked impatiently as his father slammed the door behind him. “Activate the auxiliary units! Driver! Take us to my bunker immediately!” Yuna wasted no time in doing his father’s bidding and pulled out his phone to make several calls.

——

“Scramble! Scramble!”

The commander of the first M1 Astray platoon cried out to his loyal men who ran into the Morgenroete factory on Onogoro island. Within minutes the entire facility was taken over by Lord Sieran loyalist who commandeered the newly constructed weapons. By the time the mobile suits began to march out of the factory there were at least a dozen suits ready to roll out with a dozen more nearly complete.

The simple act of Sieran commanding troops to take over key military assets cemented the reality of what was happening, Lord Sieran was attempting a Coup.

——

Hawthorne was sitting in the Captain’s chair when the call came in.  

“Ma’am it’s a call from command, they want to talk to you.”

“Very well I’ll take it in my office.”

The comm officer shook her head in response, “they’re insisting to address you in front of the crew.”

Delphine gulped, that didn’t sound like a good thing, but she nodded, “alright put it through.”

The display on the bridge and throughout the ship lit up and Lord Sahaku appeared, “My brave soldiers of the Orb Union. I am recalling the Archangel this instant. I have been elected as the rightful ruler of our nation and we must act swiftly to put down a rebellion by Lord Sieran. Our intelligence now believes that it was Lord Sieran who attempted to have the Archangel captured in the battle at the training site. To make matters worse, he’s acted quickly in securing Morgenroete, and we believe he is activating the M1 Astrays to fight for his outrageous claims as leader.”

Despite herself Delphine put her hand up to her lips to hide the shock etched on her face. Her trance was interrupted by Lord Sahaku talking directly to her, “Captain, do you have the resolve to do your duty and take down these traitors?”

Hawthorne sat up straight in her chair, “Of course sir! I speak for my crew when I say that we will do what needs to be done to protect the homeland.” She put on a brave front to show her resolve not just to the chairman but to her entire crew.

Lord Sahaku nodded approvingly, “Good! I want your ship to proceed to Onogoro and recapture our facilities. It will be a set back, for each M1 you have to destroy, but if we don’t act quickly we might have Alliance troops landing on our shores rallying to Sieran. The Archangel will be the spearhead in this counterattack. Do our country proud!”

The transmission ended and Hawthorne looked around to gauge the reaction of all her crew on the bridge. Nodding she announced, “All hands to your battle stations! Make our course the Morgenroete factory! All mobile suit pilots prepare for combat! This is not a drill!”

——

Nathaniel didn’t have time to let shock settle in for him. Indeed, he let anger fuel his response as he got ready. He hated to learn that he had been betrayed by one of the Lords of his nation, they almost died at the hands of such a greedy politician. Zipping up his flight suit, Nathaniel paused as he held the helmet. He looked around to see his teammates trickling into the locker room too, all in various stages of getting ready.

He grimaced as he considered that this next mission could get bloody and pulled the helmet over his face and sealed the visor. A few moments later he was in the cockpit of Gold Frame. He went through the sequence to fire up the operating system and activate all the sensors. He nervously checked the status of the latest gadget to be added onto his mobile suit, a prototype flight back. In theory it would let him cover a lot of ground quickly.

One by one he saw the status icon of his team coming online. He hesitated before opening a comm channel with everyone. “I want a straight answer from everyone. If you want to sit this mission out, then tell me right now. There’s a good chance we’ll be fighting other Orb soldiers and if you can’t live with it then I need to know.” His tone reflected his serious nature, he was still worked up from the revelation, so he sounded angry even. “Just know that what we do, we do for all of Orb. We can’t have our National resources being controlled by illegitimate sources.”

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For Geneva, the fact that the crew would do these anime watching nights didn't exactly help with her becoming a better team member. She'd go because of her orders, but the real involvement with others that helped her was the training exercises. The XO didn't do much to change her loadout, only putting more emphasis on the primary power of the Blue Frame going to her weaponry instead of other aspects of the machine. As for cosmetic changes, no longer was there a V-Shaped fin atop the head of the mobile suit, with Geneva feeling it wasn't nessescary.

Eventually, the ORBie had received her next assignment along with the others. However, it wasn't the type of mission Geneva thought she'd ever have to do. "What? Traitors?" She thought while jumping back inside of the Blue Frame's cockpit. It broke her hearing that citizens of her own country would even think about pulling a stunt like this. As she adjusted her controls, Nathaniel spoke up through each of their comms. An option was given, one which Geneva contemplated for much longer than she should have, but soon after gave a response.

"I'm ready to fight sir. This is for the future of ORB." She didn't want to fight these former allies, but she also knew it was a necessity. Staying out of this battle could lead to drastic consequences. Plus, there was still a part of her that needed to prove to the others that she'd be an effective member of the team in real combat. Geneva finally put on her helmet, awaiting further orders from the superior.

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Anime night came and went in the blink of an eye. It had been a surprisingly enjoyable time and even Roane was surprised that he and Keiran had managed to pull it off, and with minimal chewing out from the ship’s cook from whom Roane stole the required snacks. Their party was compounded by a much-needed shore leave that was only somewhat brought down by the fact that training loomed over them at the other end. Even though Roane himself had asked to join in on it, it was still work and hard work at that. There was no way it wasn’t going to be a drag in some way. In the end, however, it was beyond helpful and he could feel the Astray pilots, including Kali in the last of the five frames, coming together as a unit.

During this time, Roane was working closely with Micha Redwood to develop a better loadout for the Red Frame. Together they had decided to cut the rocket anchors down to just one mounted on the Astray’s left forearm as having a pair of them felt unnecessary. But the question remained: what would replace it, and more importantly, what role did they want the Red Frame to play on the battlefield?

“Well, Geneva has the sub machine guns covered,” Micha said, looking over his datapad at the specs of all five units. “How do you feel about long range support?”

“Like a sniper?” Roane asked from the open cockpit. He had his feet up on the consoles and was doing his best to steal some relaxation time while on the clock. “I don’t know if I have steady enough hands for that,”

“Well the Astray would do most of the work, but you’re right,” Micha swiped. “Your aim is terrible,”

“Hey, you should’ve seen me nabbing those choppers out of the air, ya’ git,”

“What about a sword? We could probably cook something up using the beam tech we already have,”

“More beams? Micha, any more beams on this thing and I’ll be out of battery before I even launch,” Roane leaned forward to look out at his friend. “What about a sword? Something physical that can cut through the enemy armor without wasting my juice?”

“Well, ZAFT GINNs have something like that, but that’s outside our supply chain obviously. I heard rumours about some old swords in Junk Guild territory top-side, but we just got you back from space and we can’t exactly be sending you up again. Besides, do you really think you’re sword material? You’d have to get all up close and personal and after your big freeze-up, it might be best to keep you a safe distance away from the enemy,”

Roane scowled. “Har har, let’s keep the Roane-centric jokes to a minimum, aye? What else have you got?”

“Well, what about this?” Micha sent the image on his datapad to the cockpit screens. Roane looked at it and stroked his chin.

“That might be worth exploring, Mich. Tell me more,”

--

“Chief, we just got word from Cody and Faulkner. Seems like we have a coup on our hands?”

“Beg pardon?” Lowell looked up from his datapad to his second in command, Renato Masters, who had just surprised him with this news. “A coup?”

“Sure looks like it. They’ve got one guy saying he’s in charge and another guy saying he’s in charge and of course they both have mobile suits that, according to our boys on the ground, are being scattered as we speak,”

Lowell frowned. That was unexpected news. He had been on recon barely a week before and never got the sense that there was any kind of political discord going on. He had found it a rather pleasant experience, in fact.

“I see. I guess it just goes to show that they’re a little bit better at hiding their troubles behind closed doors than we are,” he thought of the council back home and how…divisive it was. “Right. This is as good a time as any to see what we’re up against,”

“Oh ho,” Renato smiled. “Sounds like we might be heading out into the field,”

Lowell nodded, a grave expression on his face. “A house divided, old friend. There’s a good chance the Rainbow will show up to this little engagement and unless they suddenly decide to set aside their differences and unite against us, this is our best chance to see what they’re capable of,”

“Devious, chief. I like it. Maybe we’ll even get to take home a souvenir,”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Ren. Consider this an expeditionary op. If things get too hot, we’re pulling out,” Lowell stroked his chin. “But, if you can get a piece of one, I wouldn’t object,”

“Say no more,” Ren clapped his hands together. “I’ll get the squad ready,”

--

“Are you serious? A coup?” Roane folded his arms as he sat back in the cockpit of the Red Frame, ready to launch at a moments notice. The Astray had been equipped with a prototype spear in its right hand, little more than a long pointed metal rod in its current state. In the end, they had decided to forgo the rocket anchor for a shield, just to be on the safe side. Nathaniel, his XO, laid it out for them plainly and Roane considered it only briefly.

“Frankly, sir, Seiran is a worm. I don’t love the idea of fighting our kinsmen, but if they’re not going to play by the rules and try and fracture the nation, then they’ve earned what’s coming to them. Where you lead, I will follow,”

And no freezing up this time,

Roane pulled his helmet on over his head and regripped the controls. “You can count on me this time, everyone,”

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Kali hadn't anticipated becoming a pilot so soon but she anxiously took it in stride as best she could. She spent her time during the drills recording the battle data of the team which she consumed at length for strategy and formation notes. When data wasn't reflected in the lenses of her glasses she was hands on with Mobile Suit maintenance. She struggled with firearm training only barely excelling in the use of the standard pistol. Outside of the trainings she spent her spare time pouring over the operating system of the Purple Frame, she recalled the data she first saw in the captain's office and even though she had the core functions of the frame down, she was frustrated by the data kernels that eluded her with encryption. She wanted to know more.

Not one to have consumed anime before, Kali watched with interest while drinking her tea. Her reactions were minimal as she tried to understand the concept of it. 

Kali was on standby as back up. She listened to the chatter while simultaneously going over data should the team need her assistance. She didn't have any drones to assist but with her terminal she was able to provide an extra set of eyes to the team and help them strategize to compensate where needed. She listened as Ensign Halston and Private MacMaster reacted to the Lieutenant's brief, her uncertainty echoed with theirs but her determination was equal with it.

"You know my sentiments, Lieutenant." Kali followed in support of Halston and MacMaster, "I am on standby. I will be monitoring the team's movements as well as frame and weapon status. Pilots, formation data has been uploaded to you based on the Astray trainings. I will be sure to apprise you of any battle data that will assist you."

Kali took a breath hoping that she conveyed more confidence than her anxiety. Her heart was racing the entire time!

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Mai looked as she let out a silent sigh of relief as she said something that surprised her, considering she was waiting to be told, 'Your going to be locked up for a bit.' However, when Yuna said "Very well then, I’m sorry about this mix up. You are free to leave." she stood, "Thank ye Mr. Yuna sir," she says to him as she curtsies. "I do apologize for any issues I have caused ye. It was not my intention to do that," she adds. Looking around, she waits by the table and is not going anywhere, without an escort, that way she is not breaking any rules. 

As she stands there, she blinked as Yuna comments, "There is one thing I’d like to ask first though.” Mai looks as he asks her a simple question, "I'll answer it to the best of me ability," she responds. As she said that, he turned on his heel and asked simply, “Does the guild still accept freelance jobs?” Thinking for a few moments, Mai looks, "Aye, they do," she states. "Although there is an overseeing body that governs the Guild as a whole, most of the work is done by small team of technicians who act independently," she adds. "I Am sure you are aware that most Junk Guild teams spend days going through battlefields salvaging equipment that is usable or working under contract." as she leans on the table. "The contracts that we can do vary, the contracts can vary," she says. "Everything from salvage operations to repair to recovery of equipment. That is handled by the local team. I am unsure if individual team members can do freelance contracts, that is a question for our team lead," she mentions. "Sorry I am not able to help ye more than that," she adds. 

She was released after about another thirty minutes and driven to her plane, the Flerken Heavy, and sighed as she went onboard . Her day sucked and she needed to relax somehow and as Mai sat in the seat, she was out cold. Mai woke up hours later, went to town and got some food than found the area to be beautiful. Later she returned to her plane and ate what food she got and then went to find the local Guild. After spending a few hours with the Guild and talking with them, she joined them and worked with them. She got to know the Junk Guild and even heard of Lowe Guele and the others, but never got a chance to meet them. Still, she was happy here and made a lot of friends.

------

A few days later, Mai was assisting on one of the contracts, which was working for ORB on getting some scrap from the battle she had flew over and she offered her plane.  Then remembered she had not fixed it and with another tech went to go work on the tiltrotors. Mai enters her plane and about ten minutes later, Mai walks down the ramp and is wearing her grey jumpsuit, relieving a grey short sleeve shirt, the top of it has been tied around her waist, her long red hair is braided in a ponytail and she moves to get a ladder. Placing it next to the tiltrotor she had issues with, she grabs her tools and climbs the ladder. stepping up onto the wing, she begins to open the panels and sighs as she closes off the valves and begins to fix the problem, "Stupid EA and this damn war," she says as she works on the damage rotor and is most likely heard cursing in both English and Scottish. After about an hour or two, she sits back and closes up the casings of the rotor and double checks everything.  As she does this, Mai begins to think on how she arrived at ORB and steps onto the ladder, beginning her decent as her are alarms and she almost falls off the ladder. 

"What in the ....." she gets out as she hears an explosion, followed by gunfire and jumps off the ladder, about eight feet off the ground. looking around, she drops as a bullet hits near her and the air of an explosion is felt. Doing the sign of the cross she looks, "Faith, what have I brought here?" she says to herself believing that she is the cause of this since she saw a fight that she has figured out was not to see. "I told him to let me go and that I brought trouble." she added as she saw soldier running and yelling at people. 

"Get to cover!" said one.

"Get those planes out of here," another said as vehicles started to arrive. 

Looking around, Mai is not a fighter, in any way, shape or form, in the best sort of terms, she is a coward and is not a fan of wars and fighting, unless it is a sport, like fencing or boxing or football (Soccer). However, fighting with guns, and the loss of life was a whole different game. More cursing in Scottish, Mai grabs her tools and runs for her plane as she is thrown to the ground and lands hard as a shell explodes near her, causing the ground to shake. Slowly she moves, getting help form another tech, "You, ok?" he says as she looks and did not hear him fully. "Huh," was her response. "What...." and she is pushed to the ground, "Get down...." the guy is shot and falls on top of her, causing her to go oof as she was pushed to the ground. "Oy, get off me you git," she says as she quickly comes too. As she moves, she feels something on her side, . o 0 (I've been shot) she thinks as she feels no pain and moves forward, "Come on lad, we need to get out of here," is her comment as she looks and sees the guy face down, blood coming out from under him. "Hey, you, ok?" she asks as she pushes him, and he does not move, and she realizes and moves back as her hand comes to her mouth. 

"Lady, what are you doing, get out of her," she hears as someone yells at her as she looks and stands, haphazardly and runs for her plane. "Not to the plane, they are targeting them" the guy yells. "I need me stuff," is her response. "It's all I have," she adds as she is grabbed and dragged/pulled away. "It can be replaced" comes the response. Mai looks, "... No it cannot," she adds as there is another explosion and she is pulled away. . o 0 (Maybe the guy is right,) she thinks this, she looks and follows other techs as she sees them running and covering up as she is hit by debris form bullets hitting the ground and form the various items falling through the sky. As she runs, she slides to a stop as she feels something.... big moving. 

Looking around, she feels it again and backs up as a giant foot moves past her and she sees a "...mobile suit..." and she steps backwards. "What the ......." is her response as she turns and runs and stops as she sees soldiers fight soldiers and wearing the same uniforms... Turning, she heads a different way, running and hiding as she moves and comes to an opening and looks around. A gunshot is heard as something whizzes past her "Halt!" is heard as Mai turns and looks in shock at the soldiers and their guns and she begins to step away from the, tripping over some debris and falling to the ground. As she lands, she oofs and then stands to craw backwards, "Ple...please don't hurt me," she says in her Scottish accented voice as she looks at them. She is no match for trained soldiers, as she has only her sgian dubh, which is in her sock. 

"Who are you?" one of them asks. "My... Me name is Mai Ingram, I am a tech with the Junk Guild.," she says to them. "Why are you out here?" looking, Mai blinks, "I have no idea where I am at. I was just running away from the fighting," she says as she covers up at the sound of an explosion. "You hurt?" the soldier asks her as she looks down and sees the blood on her side, "I.. I don't know," she responds. "I.. I don't think so," she adds as she looks at it a little while longer than looks up at the soldier. "What's going on?" she asks them. 

Another soldier comes forward, "Its a coup," is all that is said as she blinks and is helped up. "Radio in that we have a tech here, possibly injured," he adds as another soldier radios in the location and situation. "Let's gets you checked out and to cover," he says as she looks at a soldier who helps her up. "Get her to cover and have her side looked at," and the soldier salutes and another follows suit and takes her items as they usher her to cover, the closest, which is near the Archangel. "I should have just gone to the sea," she says as she is now fearful that she brought this coup. "Ma'am," the soldier asks her. "Nothing lad, just..." and there is an explosion, throwing the three of them to the ground. 

Mai looks, as she has ringing in her ears, which clears up and her hand is on her head, "You okay miss?" the soldier asks. "Yea...." she says as she is picked up, dragged and they start to run, "Stay with her," says one of the soldiers as he turns and starts to fire. . o 0 (I want to go home,) she thinks as she and the soldier runs and stops near a wall. "Do you know how to use a gun?" the soldier asks her. Looking at him, she blinks, "I've never fired one," she comments. The soldier nods and looks and grabs a few clips and looks around for cover for them... "Mai," she says. "Me name is Mai," she says to the soldier. He looks at her, "Xavier," she says to her as he smiles. "Wish we could have met under different circumstances," she comments. Mai smiles back at him. "Aye, this stupid war has come to this beautiful island," she adds as she slides down the wall and sits. 

"Looks like we are safe for now, so take a breath," and he pulls out a canteen, opening the lid and offers it to her, "Than ye," she says as she takes a drink and hands it back. Taking it, the soldier takes a drink and looks. "Where you from?" he asks her. "Scotland," comes her response. "Earth Alliance territory?" he asks. "Aye. Although I do not believe in this war. EA thinking that they are better by protecting us from ZAFT. While ZAFT is trying to stop the EA in destroying them. Personally, rather you are a Coordinator or not does not matter. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions," she states. "And now the war has come to ORB who is neutral," she says to him. "Yea, but this was coming. Politics is not my area, but things just went wrong on the politics here." he says to her as Mai looks up. Replacing the canteen on his belt he looks, "Let's get to better cover," he says. "Maybe closer to the ships or a hangar, with a plane," she says. "Also, if we get separated, head for those buildings and find a hiding place and stay there. I will come and look for you or send someone to find you," he says to her. 

Nodding, she follows the soldier and them do a leapfrog type of moment with Mai behind him. Stopping at a building, he looks.  He see's a building and pushes her forward, "To that building," he states. As they run, the soldier looks and stops as she grabs her hand and pulls her towards a building, the door opening as they approach and then closing as they enter. 

Looking as she breaths, she sees the guns pointed at her and she raises her hands, "um..." she states as the soldier does the same after handing his weapon over. "Who are you?" someone asks them. "Me name is Mai," she says as the soldier speaks, "Sergeant Xavier Gibbs, 5th Platoon," he says. "Was order to get this tech to cover and to be checked for possible injury. Been trying to find some cover to get into," he says as both Mai and Xavier lower their arms. "Have a seat ma'am, Corpsman, check her out," the soldier says as Mai is moved and sits as someone looks at her side and head. Mai just sits there, watching and listening as Xavier and the other guy talk. 

"They moved out in the M1s, the Archangel has been called for help," the leader of this group said. "That's good, but what's got this started. "It seems someone was not happy with the vote," the leader said. The corps man cleans up the scratch on Mai's forehead and arms. "You have some bruises and a few good scraps, nothing series. Where is this blood from?" he asks as she looks, "I..I don't know," she says as shock starts to sit in. "Maybe the first group that found me," Mai says as she looks on. in a state of shock at this and just sits and stays quiet as Xavier and the leader talk.

"I think getting her to the Archangel will be the best, but has not arrived yet," Xavier says. "She is a tech with the Junk Guild, so that should help us." he adds as the building shakes.. "Sergeant, get her to the Archangel when it arrives," the leader says. "Radio command," he says. Inform them of our location and let them know we have some techs for pickup. Requesting to meet up with the archangel when it arrives." the radio operators salutes and talks as Mai sits there, listening and thinking as she pulls her bag close to her. 

Edited by JohnSeever
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Keiran in particular extremely enjoyed their little team building exercise, in fact he enjoyed it so much that he had left the necessary self awareness to realize that this may not have been the sort of thing the team necessary wanted to do, much less what they needed to do in particular, never the less he went with it and was nice and happy to even give little fun facts about the production of the show and all that.. It was a jarring change really, one that he hoped would not stick on his teammates. 

After that? It was game time, all business from here on out, despite being trained already, Keiran still grinded it out as much as he could to be a teammate worthy of backing up the team no matter how bad the situation got, he kept it hidden but somewhere inside him.. his main goal was to protect his team, who he saw- personally at least, as his friends, comrades even. 

Keiran was watching the news, not his usual thing but he heard people talking about it, there was a commotion all over the ship about what was going on and- what he saw bewildered him, a coup? in these trying times? When the order came to get ready, he was one of the first to enter the locker rooms, getting geared up in silence as he tried to fathom what could possibly lead to this. 

He sat back in the green frame and drew in a deep breath, placing his hand over his heart "Phew.. You can do it" he said to himself before gripping his controls, his loadout didn't change, he didn't feel like he had to, a bazooka, the combination rifle, and a shield.. that's all he needed. 

when he felt ready, he tightened his grips on the sticks of his cockpit "Ready to launch when you give the order, boss" He said simply.

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“Lieutenant Barondel! Gold Frame launching!” Nathaniel was pushed back into his seat violently as his mobile suit was shot down the catapult. It felt good knowing he had his team literally covering his back for this mission, he wasn’t thrilled about fighting the new mass production units. As Gold Frame was hurled in the air, Nathaniel reached down to activate the flight controls, jerking his seat once more as his mobile suit took flight. 

“Alright Chromatic Team…” he paused for a moment and wondered if they should change their designation, not that this was the time to do it. Nathaniel continued, “since everyone else is on foot I’ll circle around and flank the facility. I’ll draw their fire from the east while you guys come in from the north. For some of you this may be your first mobile suit battle….Don’t overthink it. Work together and we can overcome any enemy.”

It was as close to a pep talk as he was willing to get. Nathaniel was still in a sour mood and he was anxious to teach the group of over zealous naturals a thing or two. 

A few tense moments passed as he flew out wide, really getting a feel for the increased maneuverability of his machine. As he flew Nathaniel kept thinking of Delphine and their relationship. Truth was, he was feeling insecure, ever since they got back from Echo outpost. He knew she had to spend time with her husband and he worried that would sour his relationship with the captain. Then the notion of adultery crept in his head and it spun him further down in despair. He shook his head as he spotted Morgenroete and the perimeter of M1’s huddled around the facility. He knew that if he could see them, then they could surely see him. Raising his rifle, Nathaniel took a moment to aim a shot and fired. 

A pink blast lanced out to strike one of the Astrays just across the chest. It really was an impressive shot as he managed to get the blast past the shield from the side and hit just the cockpit instantly killing the pilot and knocking the suit on its’ back. 

Nathaniel knew he would only get one free attack. Practically all the rest of the M1’s turned to fire their own shots at him. Streaks of green energy reached out to try and hit his flying Astray. Nathaniel grunted as he moved to back away some and dodge as many of the shots as he could. He dodged most and absorbed others with his shield. “C’mon guys nows your chance…” he muttered hopefully.  Coordinator or not, he wouldn’t last long against the enemy’s concentrated fire. 

—-

Unknown to Nathaniel, Captain Hawthorne was harboring similar thoughts about their relationship, but with different tones. To her there was an indescribable thrill she experienced when she finally gave in to her long hidden attraction to the Lieutenant. For years she had been feeling bogged down in her relationship with Frank, like he had been forcing her to consider retiring from the military and starting a family. While that notion wasn’t upsetting, she still felt like she had too much fight to give to simply resign; especially when she had been so close to getting her own command like she had with the Archangel. Nathaniel by contrast had always been there supporting her professional development, pushing her to succeed. To her both men seemed to represent two sides of her life, both which she cherished for different reasons. Was having an affair wrong? Yes, but to her it didn’t fee out of place at that time in her life, it simply made her feel more alive, more in tune with the present. 

Her thoughts were accented by the flash of beam shots being scattered across the sky in front of her. Their brilliance only growing as the sun began to set in the west. Don’t die you fool. She prayed silently. Her gaze was stolen by one of her officers speaking up, “ma’am! Some ground forces are requesting permission to board the ship with wound-“

“Denied!” Hawthorne barked as she gazed at the particular ensign, “We’re in the middle of a battle and the last thing I need is a group of Sieran commandos getting aboard and pulling our own stunt on ourselves.” She explained more calmly then added, “All hands will keep the ship sealed until after this situation is resolved. Do I make myself clear?” Her entire staff stiffened at her order and a chorus of “Yes ma’am!” Echoed back to her. She shifted in her seat as she tried to focus on the fighting ahead of them. Perhaps she would be viewed coldly for her order but she was no fool, and the last humiliation she wanted was to loose her ship to her own countrymen, doing the same thing she did to obtain the ship in the first place. These were indeed troubling times, she mused as she saw the battle get closer and closer. 

—-

“You can’t do it kid! Just because you piloted it once doesn’t mean the machine is yours!”

Kira grunted as he ran past Erica, the chief engineer reaching out futility for the gifted prodigy. Kira ran through the halls just as Orb soldiers burst into building. Some of the Sieran Loyalist took shots at the teen as he dived for the hangar with the only G weapon in their possession. Even as Kira burst into the hangar something immediately felt off. He skidded to a stop and gaped in awe as he looked around in shock. The Strike was gone. 

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Second in line, Geneva had to be quick for the others to help with the attack. "Ensign Halston! Launching Blue Frame." The bare-headed mobile suit bent down slightly as it shot out of the battleship, sending it directly into the sky. As she adjusted the machine's controls, Nathaniel gave out his plan of attack, causing the pilot to change course immediately.

"Affirmative, Lieutenant. Everyone on me!" The XO was acting more professional than normal, realizing that it was likely due to her mishaps from the last mission. This mission would require much more skill and leadership than the ones before. "Landing!" The Blue Frame touched down onto the hard terrain of the area rougher than expected, making the mobile suit tumble forward. It was at this moment that Geneva did something she'd never done before.

Improvise.

Using the control sticks and petals in tandem, Geneva made her machine go into a somersault position, rolling forward on the concrete. As the heavy mobile weapon spun back onto its feet, the pilot watched as the new M1 Astrays respond to Nathaniel's attack. "Just in time..." She stated as they fired their rifles. With no time left, Geneva let loose on two of the mobile suits. The tiny beams plastered themselves all over the distracted machine's torso area, creating a chain reaction of flames and explosions.

Geneva assumed the two pilots were likely dead as the mobile corpses fell to the ground, cracking the pavement surrounding them. Not letting her weapons overheat, she had to wait as some of the mass production Astrays turned away from the Gold Frame, ready to fight her. "Roane! You should've been behind me, right? Gonna need your help!"

 

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Roane watched as both Nathaniel and Geneva launched before him, shooting out of the Archangel’s catapult one by one until it was his turn at last.

No freezing up this time. Eyes on the prize.

His expression hardened.

But these are your countrymen…

“They’re traitors,” he murmured to himself as he loaded the Red Frame onto the catapult.

“All systems are green, MacMaster. You’re clear to launch,”

Roane nodded. “Understood. This is Roane MacMaster, Astray Red Frame—launching!”

The mobile suit was thrown forward, the G-force pushing its pilot deep into the padding of his chair. Roane had a white-knuckle grip on his controls just like the Astray held its new weapon tightly in one hand. All of a sudden, he was airborne—soaring through the sky towards the battlefield. Nathaniel’s voice came on over the radios, describing their plan of attack to which Geneva, their XO, responded affirmative. As the Red Frame landed, its feet sunk into the concrete. The mobile suit slid for several meters, kicking up asphalt and concrete as it did so.

“Everyone remember,” Roane cried over the comms as he tried to slow his suit down. “This is a civilian zone. Let’s keep collateral damage to a minimum if we can,” he felt kind of silly giving orders—he wasn’t even truly military, but he didn’t want innocent people getting hurt.

Geneva’s voice came over the radio again as she dispatched a pair of Astrays. “I’m with you, ma’am, leave it to me.” He brought the shield in the Red Frame’s left hand up and surged forward with his thrusters, his spear pointed forward like a mighty lance. The first M1 turned just in time to get the sharpened piece of metal jammed into the side of its torso.  Another M1 some distance to the left realized what was happening and began firing on the Red Frame, its shots either missing or being absorbed by the shield.

“I won’t let you destroy this country!” Roane cried as he removed the spear from the enemy, letting the mobile suit fall, inert, to the ground. Keeping the shield up, the Red Frame sprinted towards the firing M1, which was in the process of drawing its beam saber when Roane slammed into it shield first, knocking it backwards. The enemy M1, however, lost its footing and toppled backwards into a nearby building, crushing it underneath its massive weight.

“No…!”

---

The city was fast coming up on the horizon.

“3 minutes to contact,” Lowell announced to his squad, his hands keeping a steady grip on the controls of his custom GINN. “Remember Wolves, these aren’t like the Alliance Daggers. These things aren’t like the Moebius armors you may have fought top-side. They’re a lot more advanced and a lot more deadly—they probably even out-perform the GINNS if you’re just looking at the stats. But we remember, we have experience and the element of surprise on our side.”

“Right!”

“Yes sir!”

“If things get too hairy in there, we retreat and rendezvous at the specified coordinates. From there we’ll wait an hour for any stragglers or pursuers and then head back to Carpentaria. No heroics today—this is nothing more that extended recon,”

“Seems like the fighting’s already started, chief,” Renato said. Lowell nodded, he could just make out the mobile suits engaging on the other side of the water now.

Please, let fortune be on our side today.

“Let’s show them what our pack is capable of, Wolf Squadron!”

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Kali monitored as the Gold Frame launched knowing the team would follow suit, she listened intently as the Lieutenant issued his orders. Swift digits brought up a view of the area. She watched as the M1s engaged, her eyes darting as she looked for openings and anything that would be helpful to the team. Part of her wished she was out there, she knew that she had more training to do before she was to be in the field.

She listened to the chatter, noting the adaption and teamwork that was more apparent than the ambushed training. Ensign Halston showed more confidence and ease.

Her terminal alerted her to movement opposite their position, "Chromatic team, we have inbound movement. Watch your six." she noted as she continued to monitor their movement, she couldn't tell if it was friend or foe.

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    • By Roromi
      For the Homeland
      This will be an Orb centric roleplay that takes an alternate look at the events of Heliopolis, and how that cascades into the politics of the Orb Union on earth. I’m hoping that this will be as much intrigue as it is battles. Although this is going to be Orb focused; by all means feel free to explore characters from other factions so long as it ties in. 
       
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    • By JohnSeever
      Biography
      Name: Mai Ingram
      True Name: Mairéad Sandilands
      Pronounced: my-redt, mawr + aid, mur + aid, or my + read
      Nickname(s): Mai the Red, Mai, Red
      Faction: Junk Guild
      Rank: 
      Age: 18
      Sex: Female
      Height: 5’6 inches
      Weight: 186 pounds
      Eyes: Green
      Hair: Red
      Skin: Caucasian
      Handiness: Ambidextrous
      Blood Type: AB-
      Family:
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      Theme Song(s):
      Angel With A Shotgun by The Cab Memories by Within Temptation Angels by Within Temptation Frozen by Delain April Rain by Delain
        Personality
      Mairéad is a person that has a very determined mind once it gets set. She is one that does not like to lose nor fail at anything and so works hard to do her best, no matter what it is. She has a somewhat laid back personality, but that tends to last little when something gets her upset. She is very outgoing and friendly, but can be cold at times due to what she says or how she acts towards people. A lot of times, due to her hotheaded and hardheadedness, she tends to either rub people the wrong way or push them away. However, she is very friendly and is willing to help those in need.
      Additionally, Mairéad is very observant and a thinker, she thinks before she reacts and is calm and cool headed. She will not do something stupidly and fool-hearted, although at times it appears that she is doing just that, sue the Mairéad being a hothead. She uses this all the time and is someone that makes decisions based upon the facts and what she knows or is known. As she learns more about something, her decisions change based on the new information. An intelligent person, but she is not a weakling in a fight. In addition, when she does get into a fight, she can be serious, but also determined to succeed at whatever it is she starts. Even though she does get upset at people, she still has a kind and gentle heart and will not do anything to harm people.
      She does not like to sit back and has opinions that are not like her fathers who is in the Atlantic Federation and of the opinion that some her brothers and sisters are against the Coordinators. To her, it does not matter who you are, you all deserve to have a life like everyone else. Additionally, she is protective of people, a caregiver, and will fight to the death to protect those who are unable to and will even break the rules to help people.
       
      Strengths and Weaknesses
      Mairéad has a number of strengths and weaknesses. She is a master swordswoman, trained by some of the best sword masters in Scotland and Ireland. She has specialized in both a Scottish Broadsword and a Scottish claymore, able to dual wield the claymore with ease, and she is not afraid to use when she is near it. Additionally, most bladed weapons are useful to her and she always has a few knifes hidden on herself. She was taught this as her father wanted her to be a fighter and possibly join the Atlantic Federation, plus it would show a strong daughter when the time came for marriage.
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      n/a
      Role plays:
      n/a
      Coliseum battles:
      n/a
    • By Judge
      “So, this is Orb,” Lowell looked out across the sandy, sunlit beach as azures waves as crisp as crystal crashed against the shore, ticking his sandaled feet. He shaded his eyes against the sun. Even with sunglasses and shorts it was too bright, too hot. It was same thing he disliked about the desert when he was stationed there. The ZAFT pilot much preferred the climate-controlled PLANTs to actual atmosphere and all that came with it.
      Behind him, some meters away, Renato Masters was sitting at an outdoor bar, shaded by the palm-frond thatching and sipping on a deep orange Mai Tai. He was watching Lowell as he trudged his way back up towards the bar and took a seat next to him. Renato had gone to the trouble of ordering him a similarly vibrant drink.
      “It’s very…blue,” Lowell said, picking up the sweaty glass and observing the miniature novelty umbrella wedged between the ice within.
      “It’s called a Blue Hawaiian,” Ren informed him, sipping his own drink. “Give it a try, you’ll like it. It’s fruity,”
      “Wolf Squad really is lucky to have its own former mixologist on board,” Lowell said, sipping at the drink. It was indeed very fruity and very alcoholic. Lowell set it back down and looked out towards the ocean. He wasn’t fully sure why such a natural thing unnerved him—perhaps it was because it was so like space but yet completely alien, ironically. Boundless and vast. “Do you ever miss your place?”
      “What, the bar?” Ren quirked a brow. “Sure, every day. But this is more important I think, don’t you? If we don’t fight here and now, there might not be a bar to miss, you know? Besides, it’s in good hand. My little sister is running the place until I get back and I swear she knows more about business than I do. She’ll probably have bought me out by the time this is all over and then I’ll have to find a new job or become a lifer or something,” Ren chuckled and took another drag of his Mai Tai. Lowell smiled softly and then turned his eyes back to his drink, contemplated it.
      “There’s that look again,” Ren said, lightly pushing his commander’s shoulder. “You’re stressing yourself out again,”
      “No, no,” Lowell smiled. “Just thinking about things back home that’s all,” a silent moment passed between the two as a warm, tropical wind blew through the cabana. Quietly, Lowell made a decision for himself. “Enjoy yourself, Ren. I’m going to head into town to do some looking around but I don’t think it’s a two person job,”
      “Hey, you’re the boss, Lowell,” Ren grinned. “You say drink, I say how much,”
      ---
      Lowell’s rent-a-car slowed to a crawl as he brought it to the side of the road, cursing his bad fortune. He knew he shouldn’t have cheaped out on the rental, but with the amount that Ren was likely to be drinking today, he didn’t want to run up too much of a charge on the unit funds. The smoke coming out from under the hood was dire, but after being in a mobile suit, no amount of minor vehicular disrepair could faze him. It did, however, greatly inconvenience him. His personal phone wasn’t exactly on an Earth plan. Lowell exhaled through pursed lips, his hands on his hips. Of course he broke down on a country road outside of the city. He could even see it in the distance, but he wasn’t exactly looking forward to walking several kilometers in sandals.
      Lowell leaned up against the side of the car and folded his arms across his chest as he tried to think of a plan, when a plume of dust on the horizon caught his eye.
      “Oh! Hey!” he cried out, waving his hands up over his head in hopes of flagging down this oncoming driver.
    • By Judge
      Biography
      Full name: Lowell Baskerville
      Faction: ZAFT
      Rank: Commander/Green Coat
      Age: 29
      Sex: Male
      Height: 6’0’’
      Weight: 197 lbs
      Eyes: Green
      Hair: Brown/White
      Skin: White
      Handiness: Left
       
      Personality
      A rational and tactically-minded man possessing a quiet confidence, Lowell is a good fit for his role as the leader of Wolf Squadron. However, despite his natural prowess for military command, Lowell is only a member of ZAFT by virtue of his inclination for helping others and his belief in his personal ideals. While he despises and eschews the idea of killing as a necessity, Lowell also recognizes the reality of war and all that comes with it, willing to go to whatever lengths are necessary in order to keep his people safe. As a result, Lowell is a worrier on and off the clock, with his mind frequently stuck on the future and the challenges it brings with it.
       
      Strengths and weaknesses
      Tactical—Lowell is able to think several steps ahead and is never without a plan B, allowing him to change course on the fly.
      Worrier—As a flip-side to his tactical mindset, Lowell is always inherently aware of the dangers the future brings with it and often spends too much time dwelling on it.
      Leader—While not your typical boisterous leader, Lowell’s quiet confidence is a rallying point for his squadron, who are always certain that their leader can keep a level head on the battlefield.
      Reluctant Soldier—Lowell joined ZAFT as a way to help his fellow coordinators, not as a means to do combat with Naturals. As a result, he begrudges having to lethally dispatch his opponents and doing so weighs heavily on his conscience.
      Appearance
      A slender man of average-to-tall stature, Lowell does not put as much emphasis on his physique as he does on his mental faculties. His constant worrying often leaves him with a tired look and as a result, those who aren’t familiar with him mistakenly believe him to be sickly. His hair has begun to grey prematurely, with a white patch forming at the front section of his hair.
      Depending on the situation, Lowell switches between the standard ZAFT space uniform and the green fatigues utilized by ZAFT forces on the ground, citing their comfort over the formal-feeling space variant. When not in uniform, he tends to stick with his favoured knee-length gray coat, skinny slacks, and boots.
       
      History
      The middle child in family of five, Lowell was born and raised in October 3 to parents Vanessa and Keter Baskerville, a pair of clinical psychologists. All three of the Baskerville children displayed an academic aptitude so often found in Coordinators but Lowell in particular seemed to share his parent’s knack for understanding and analyzing others. With these talents , Lowell was set to enter the workforce as an elementary school teacher after years of study when the Tragedy at Copernicus and the subsequent Bloody Valentine Incident marked an irreversible change on the PLANTS and on Lowell, whose two brothers were caught in the attack on Junius 7. By their loss, the course of Lowell’s life was forever changed.
      Enlisting with ZAFT, Lowell Baskerville was initially sent to Earth as infantry but was quickly shuffled into the Mobile Suit division after displaying a degree of talent in the simulators. He was reassigned to the Eurasian Front and took part in the Battle of Suez as a BuCUE pilot under the charge of Andrew Waltfeld. Lowell’s prowess during the battle saw him reassigned once more to the Atlantic Front, where a number of successful operations predicated on his leadership abilities led to him being placed in charge of his own squadron of GINNs, affectionately nicknamed Wolf Squadron for their tight-knit structure and synergy. Wolf Squadron soon returned to space where it remained on standby for the Le Creuset team at the battle of Heliopolis. Now, with word of ORB’s growing military might, Wolf Squadron is being tasked with a new mission…
       
      Possessions
       
      Kills
      Post the names of the player-controlled characters that your character has killed and link to the thread that the event happened.
       
      Role plays
      For the Homeland
       
      Coliseum battles
      List the Coliseum battles that your character participated in.
       
    • By Roromi
      With enough time, anyone should get used to adverse conditions. Or at least, that’s what she kept telling herself. Over, and over, her tiny capsule tumbled. She clenched her eyes and squeezed them shut tightly. “Please, oh please! Somebody please find my distress signal!” her prayer was much louder than it had the first few dozen times before.
      Normally she felt confident about herself, about a lot of things in her life. But in that exact moment she felt meek, helpless really. A round ball softly bounced into her and the girl reached out to grab the object. It twirled around in her grasp and fluttered some as the two red eye gazed at their master. “Cheer up! Cheer up!”
      “Oh Haro!” She gulped as she felt tears welling in her eyes. Clutching the machine closely she grimaced as she began to cry. Despair was now fully taking over. She was stuck in an escape pod with nothing to do besides wait and hope she didn’t breath too much before any help could arrive.
      A loud metallic clank echoed through the pod, and the girl felt herself hitting the walls of the capsule. “Oh Haro! Are we saved?” The little robot shifted in her hands and flapped open its’ wings, “Rescued! Rescued!”
      A few more agonizing moments later and the hatch popped open to her escape pod. She squinted as she tried to gaze out at her saviors. “Oh! Hello sir! Thank you so very much for rescuing me! My name is Lacus Clyne!” the stumbled out of the pod and tried to steady herself for a bow of sorts, which was hard to do in zero gravity.
      Before her stood a young boy, a teenager really, with his hands on his hips, tools in hand. The blonde haired kid scoffed at her remark, “Clyne you say? Hey wait are you the famous singer?!”
      “Oh my! You’ve heard of me then?”
      The boy grew a toothy smile, “I think everyone’s heard of you Lacus! But where are my manners?” He tucked the tools away on his belt and reached out with a gloved hand, “My name is Jonathan Locke!”
      Lacus smiled at the offer and shook his hand, she looked around the empty looking shuttle she was aboard. Reading her expression, he nodded, “Yup its just me and you! This is fortunate circumstances; I was on my way to the Plants. Maybe now they’ll accept me if I help take you home!”
      “Accept you?” she asked curiously. Jonathan smiled as he returned back to the controls. “Yeah! You see I was in the middle of…” he scratched his chin to think of the right word, “well… I was fleeing my father… to try and immigrate to the Plants.”
      She cautiously followed and took the seat next to him, “Oh my! Why are you fleeing your father Mr. Locke?”
      Jonathan smirked some at her politeness but continued instead of trying to correct her. “He’s an Admiral for the Earth Alliance. Let’s just say we don’t see eye to eye… on account of me being a coordinator, much like yourself!” He gave her a friendly smile at the end of his declaration, and she returned the gesture. “Just sit tight Ms. Clyne and I’ll get you back home as soon as I can!”
      The singer lit up at his promise, “We would very much appreciate that Mr. Locke! And I’ll do everything in my power to make sure you’re welcome in your new homeland!”
      Jonathan smiled back at her, “I can’t thank you enough!”
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