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For the Homeland


Roromi
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Lowell let the hum of the fluorescent lights wash over him as he sat alone in the ready room of Carpentaria Base’s Hangar 3. The hum infiltrated his thoughts, an effect he appreciated as it helped to distract him from his fevered analysis of everything that had gone wrong on the mission. It didn’t stop the analysis…but it helped. Six Wolves had gone in, three Wolves had come out. A quarter of his squadron—three good men—had been wiped out in the span of minutes. How had things gone so sideways so quickly?

The Gundams…

It was his first and most intense theory, the one he wanted to cling to the most, but he knew it wasn’t the correct one. The Gundams, as much as he wanted them to be, were not responsible for what had happened in Orb. He was. Sending Wolf Squadron in to interfere had been a misjudgement on his part. Lowell thought he could capitalize on the chaotic state of the Union but the Astrays, it seemed, had been more powerful than he anticipated. And not just the Astrays—their pilots, too. From what Renato had told him about his encounter with the Green Frame, these pilots weren’t just your run of the mill grunts in colourful mobile suits. If Lowell had taken the time to really think about it, he would’ve realized it too. Obviously those pilots had been picked for a reason—it was a special unit after all. But Lowell had trapped himself in the idea that his own elite unit was better. Foolish.

His thoughts drifted to their leader—the Gold Frame’s pilot, Nathaniel Barondel. The two of them shared some kind of link, that was certain. He had suspected as much when they first met, but their battle had confirmed it. A heightened sense of awareness between the two of them—a knowing. If Nathaniel was near, Lowell could feel it, feel him, and he was sure that Nathaniel could feel it too.

But why? That was the question he kept coming back to. What reason could there possibly be for such a bond to exist between two enemies?

“Chief,” Renato’s voice broke the silence of his reverie and Lowell looked up at his number two with tired eyes. “Command is looking for us,”

“To give us a good dressing-down I suspect,” Lowell sighed and stood up, straightening his uniform. “Let’s not keep them waiting,”

The two of them made their way down the halls of Hangar 3 and into the larger administrative building that made up the brain of Carpentaria Base. As they approached the door of the council room, Renato and Lowell looked at each other and wordlessly conveyed a message to each other: this was not going to be fun. And it wasn’t.

Sitting around a vast table were eight angry looking men, joined by another angry looking man on a nearby TV screen. Lowell raised an eyebrow at that—he hadn’t expected Rau Le Creuset to be a part of this but it made sense. Three of the G-weapon pilots had not returned from the sortie, Athrun Zala—their leader—among them.

“I suppose you know why we called you in here, Baskerville,” said one of the men.

“Yes sir,” Lowell said, standing at attention.

“Your assault on ORB was an unmitigated disaster,” another man said, scowling.

Lowell was about to agree when Renato spoke up. “Sir, if I may. I believe that to be an inaccurate overstatement of the situation. The mission may have been a failure overall, but my understanding is that one of our units came away with the wreckage of one of the Astray prototypes and I know that Faulkner managed to secure a cargo container,”

Rau spoke then. “While it is true that we have secured half of the Blue Frame Astray, we did so at significant cost. Three GINNS and three Gundams, all for what? Half of a prototype? An unpilotable mess. No, Lieutenant Masters, I do believe this counts as a disaster. If your units had remained instead of pulling out, we might not have experienced the losses we did.”

“With all do respect, Commander,” Lowell said, his eyes lifting to the screen. “Zala team was deployed without my knowledge, presumably to secure our retreat. Their loss does not fall on Wolf Squadron’s shoulders. Furthermore, the destruction of the three G-Weapons only confirms that my men and I were sitting ducks out there. If the Astrays were capable of handling the Gundams, what chance did a squadron of GINNs have? I happened to notice, as well, sir, that you were not present on the battlefield alongside your squadron,”

Rau’s face fell at the words, a slight scowl resting on his lips. “I have my orders,”

“I’m sure you do, sir. As we all do. Every one of us in this room bears some kind of responsibility and mine, at that moment, was to see my men safely away from the battlefield and to get out of the way of the heavy-hitters. The next time you want Wolf Squadron to support your superweapons, I suggest you provide us with something a little more capable than your standard issue GINN,”

“You’ll remember who you’re speaking to, Commander Baskerville,” said one of the older men in the room. Lowell winced and fell silent, casting his eyes back to the floor. “Right. We all know that the Orb mission went less than smoothly. However, I believe that Commander Baskerville speaks the truth. If the even the G-weapons were so easily disabled by the Astrays, then we’re lucky Wolf Squadron escaped at all and that we now have a sample of these units in our possession,”

All the eyes turned back to Lowell as the same man continued. “Commander Baskerville, you’ll understand that we called you here under punitive circumstances and that will stand. Wolf Squadron is grounded until further notice. Your remaining squad will hold their position aboard the Paracelsus while you, lieutenant Masters, and Private Faulkner will remain on standby here at Carpentaria until we see fit to mobilize you. Understood?”

“Yes sir,” Lowell said at once.

“Good, you’re both dismissed,”

Lowell and Renato both nodded and exited the room. They made it about ten feet down the hall, turned a corner, and then gave a sigh of relief in unison.

“That could have been bad,” Renato said, leaning against the wall. “But still—grounded? What a joke,”

“It could be worse, Ren,” Lowell said, giving his lieutenant a weak smile. “Consider this another little vacation,”

“You know I like my vacations, chief,”

Lowell nodded. A break might be nice for the three of them and yet…he had a feeling that this was far from over.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The explosion was a hallmark to her quick thinking. Kali beamed proudly and close her eyes in gratitude, "That was for you...Geneva." she whispered. 

A sigh escaped her as she and the purple frame moved in tandem to watch the enemy forces retreat much to her relief. It wasn't long before they were in the hangar. The medics had met them and had cleaned her head wound and bandaged it. Her black bangs fell over the white red-stained bandages. A dull ache remained but she was okay. She nodded politely to the medics assuring them they could go on to help where they were more needed. Her hands rested on her elbows as she absorbed the experience. The events replayed in her minds eye over and over, it all transpired so quickly and yet it seemed like they were trapped in eternity.

She glanced over to the red frame, "Roane..." she whispered. Images of her crying out to him, the explosions, them being separated flashed before her eyes. Kali stood up immediately, a wave of dizziness fell over her causing her to stumble slightly but she regained her bearings, "Where is Private MacMaster?" she asked a passing technician, "The infirmary ma'am." Kali nodded in thanks and hurried her way through the corridors, she had to make sure he was okay. A stray thought entered her mind, where was the lieutenant? Was he okay as well?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Kieran was still in that haze, even with the G-Weapon going down, he turned and then watched the enemy forces start to retreat, he gave chase! using all of his thrusters but.. he ran out of fuel, it ended with him falling onto the ground below.. he was fine, the buildings around him?.. not so much, the green frame lurched back to his teammates, and he sat back in the cockpit.. as soon as it opened though, he quickly unbuckled his seatbelts and then proceeded to stumble over to the side and began puking up his guts.. all of those maneuvers had caught up to him.. alongside the whole situation, he was.. not in the best mindset.

He had to be taken out to be examined almost right away, he wasn't hurt on the outside.. but his inside now had to be checked out it was.. well, bad though he would recover eventually, it was still.. difficult.

He sat on the edge of the bed and looked down, gripping his knees as his head hung low, he bit his tongue to refuse himself from shedding tears "That was no where near enough to avenge Geneva..." he said lowly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

((Thanks everyone for your help with the dialogue!))

Locke

> So many didn’t come back. It was surreal to Jonathan, one moment he was getting bullied by the other members of his team, the next most of them were gone. “Just gone…” he murmured to himself. His contemplation was interrupted as Baskerville and Renato excited the briefing room. It took the youngster a moment to realize who it was who even went past him before he shot up from the bench he was sitting on to give chase. He didn’t run but walked swiftly to try and catch up to the men. He paused when he nearly stumbled into the two talking comfortably with the other. He debated walking away and maybe approaching the Commander later but then decided against the notion. 

> Jonathan cleared his voice, “Excuse me, Commander Baskerville?” As he asked he snapped into a crisp salute, something that seemed almost out of place from his short stature and cherubic face, a contrast to his green uniform. “My name is Jonathan M. Locke, I was piloting the GINN that captured the Astray last mission.” He blurted out uncomfortably as he tried to get his nerves about him.

-Renato and Lowell stopped as they were approached by a blonde soldier Lowell did not recognize. "I'll catch up to you, Renato," he said, waving his lieutenant off. He turned back to the soldier and nodded. "So, you were the one in that mystery GINN," he sighed and rubbed the back of his head. "You guys really messed up my plans but..." was Locke's capturing of the Blue Frame enough to make up for the chaos that had ensued because of his arrival with the rest of the Zala team? It had gotten them out the jam in that conference room but at the same time, Lowell had lost three good men. That wasn't Locke's fault though, really. He was likely just following orders. "What can I do for you?"

> Locke gulped having not thought this plan entirely through evidently. With much of the Zala team MIA or destroyed there wasn’t many options for him or Dearka at the moment.  “I … umm… well…” He began as he eased his salute down, “I was wanting to ask you about getting a transfer… to your unit…” he looked around nervously making sure Dearka wasn’t around before returning his gaze to the older man.

- Lowell was genuinely surprised at Locke's request. After having lost so many good men, this guy was willing and eager to join what the Wolf commander was sure some soldiers were already calling a cursed squadron. “You want to be a wolf?” he said, incredulous. But the more he thought about it, the more he knew he couldn’t very well turn Locke down. First and foremost, there were holes in the unit that needed filling, like it or not. Second, Locke had already demonstrated he was a good pilot, if maybe a bit reckless. He had, after all, single-handedly disabled one of the Astrays and came away with half of it to boot. Lowell, who had been rubbing his chin thoughtfully, brought it away from his face and smiled. “I don't see why not. From what I've seen, you’re a solid pilot, Locke. I think you' be a good fit, but I should warn you, integrating might not be easy. The Wolves are a tight group and we lost a lot of good men and women today, members of our pack, so to speak. If you think you can tough out being the new guy, you've got a spot"

> Despite himself Locke scoffed at the commanders warning about fitting in. “With all do respect sir at least you guys are green coats. The La Cruset guys were just about blaming me for for the death of the person I replaced….” His voice trailed away as he tried to his the contempt in his tone. He shook his head and let a grin cross his fair features. His tone shifted to somewhat more formal once again, “I understand sir and I appreciate your willingness to take me in. I won’t let you down!” He promised eagerly. 

- Lowell looked at Locke seriously for a moment. The Le Creuset team…if they weren't already as good as disbanded, he'd reckon they might become a problem. The Wolf commander had no personal reason to distrust Rau Le Creuset, but something about the man didn’t sit well with him. Perhaps it was the mask. Lowell came back to the conversation at hand and nodded at Locke once more “Glad to hear it, Locke. I'll be in touch with Commander Le Creuset about your transfer. I’m sure he won't have any objections,”

And if he does, well…

Lowell has a few strings he could pull. Le Creuset and him were technically the same rank, but Lowell refused to wear the white garb of a commander. That had endeared him to some of the more rank and file men in ZAFT, but it had also rubbed some of his fellow officers the wrong way. He just had to make sure this request went to the right people. 

 “Alright, dismissed. Wolf Squadron is meeting at 0500 tomorrow, so go get some rest,”

And with that, Lowell saluted, turned, and made his way back to his quarters for some rest of his own.

>Jonathan saluted back and snapped to walk away. A grin was etched on his face as he felt this would be a good thing not just for him but for his career. He decided then that he should contact his superior to give them an update on this development.
Lowell struck him as one of the more capable ZAFT commanders and a force to be reckon with. While the raid may have been bloody it was still a powerful message to send to the tiny country of Orb. It was also obvious that Lowell was willing to take daring risks during this turbulent time. “Just the kind of man I wanna serve with.” He mused under his breath. As he exited the building to head back to the barracks he saw a few technicians milling about. One of the mechanics jabbed a finger his way, and Jonathan cocked his head but decided to keep walking not wanting to talk to a stranger. As he walked by it became evident what the gesture was about.

“Yeah that’s him.”

“Wow! You said he butchered that suit!”

“Shredded! All with a GINN sword too!”

“Ha! Bet he taught those naturals a thing or two!”

“The Butcher of Onogoro”

The last phrase did give the youthful coordinator pause. He looked behind him at the techies talking and exchanged a wave and thumbs up with the group. Shaking his head he walked on and repeated to himself. “Butcher or Onogoro huh? I suppose having a reputation like that isn’t a bad thing to have at all?”

——-

> Nathaniel caught sight of Kali a few corridors away from the med bay. He was bandaged up pretty good with a giant patch across his left eye. He had cleaned up already, though he still looked ragged. 

Catching sight of Kali had Nathaniel wincing at first. In many respects Kali was less qualified than Geneva was and yet here she stood. War was truly unforgiving. “Private…” he called out softly, finding his voice caught up in his throat. Gulping down some saliva he asked louder, “Kali! How are you doing?” His voice trailed away as he looked around uncomfortably. 

-Kali’s steps slowed and she turned to face the voice that called out to her. Her heart raced, she felt a lump in her throat, “Lieutenant.” She managed to to say.

She approached him clasping her hands in front of her. She felt the soft skin on the back of her hands and they held on to to each other. Her eyes brimmed with tears, “I’m glad you’re alright.” She said softly, “I wish I could have done more. Maybe then Geneva…” her words left her as she lowered her eyes. It was bittersweet to say the name out loud. She looked at him directly, “I am ok.” She answered realizing she hadn’t answered his question. She felt light headed as if she wasn’t there, she was in shock but surprisingly present.

>Nathaniel reached up to try and comfort to girl and paused, his hands trembling. His thoughts careened back to when he saw Geneva in the cockpit of blue frame, back when they were trying to get out of that hellhole that was Heliopolis. He hesitated back then to comfort his teammate then too. He opted to run away, almost suicidally. Clenching his fist he fully extended his hand and place it firmly on Kali’s shoulder now. 

His voice calmly called out, “You did good soldier. Tic for tat… we got some high value targets for sure. Your shot being a hell of an example.” He gulped and nodded more so for himself, “we gotta keep moving forward… do you understand?” 

- Her eyes raised to meet his as he rested his hand on her shoulder. She felt a wave of calmness and comfort wash over her. She offered a small smile of gratitude which faded into a determination she didn’t ever imagine herself having. His words moved her when he said they had to keep moving forward. She wasn’t sure what it meant for her, she nodded, “Of course, Lieutenant.” She affirmed, “Have you heard anything about Roane?” She asked turning to look towards the med bay.

Nathaniel winced at the mention of Roane. It was a topic he was hoping to avoid. Inhaling sharply he replied, “Roane’s alive… given the circumstances that’s… well that’s a good thing.” He let go of her shoulder as he looked around uncomfortably. “Look… it’s not your fault… none of it is… as your commanding officer it’s all my responsibility.” 

- She looked back to the Lieutenant. She was relieved to know he was alive, “We did what we could.” She said, “It couldn’t have been helped.” She felt as if she were saying it to affirm herself more than the Lieutenant, “We are in this together.” She said with resolve. A serene looked crossed her face, “That’s how we will survive.”

> “We’ll have to do more than that private!” He quipped as he flashed a smile. “If our country is going to live we have to be better…” he lamented and his tone shifted as he spoke. Shaking his head he added, “The roster is going to be slim this next bout. Me and Kieran are going to be relying on you big time! How comfortable do you feel in purple frame?”

-She beamed as he smiled and she nodded in agreement. She noted as his tone shift and she took a moment to think about his question, “There is still much to learn about the purple frame and being in the field Lieutenant. I know there isn’t a lot of time but I will do my best.”

> Nathaniel grinned back and nodded at her honest self assessment. “Keep up the simulations then. We’ll have a briefing soon with our next assignment. I need you focused on training. The captain will understand. Any questions?” 

- “Yes, Lieutenant.” She said with a nod. She wondered how the briefing would go. It seemed one moment to the next for them. She felt old parts of herself falling away as if she were becoming someone new, “No questions sir. I’m going to go to the med bag in the meantime.” She said remembering Roane.

> Nathaniel offered a salute and nodded. “Very good private.” As he walked away he silently wondered if Kali’s success had been a fluke or if she was the real deal. The next mission was going to decide real fast which was true. 

——-

> It was some time before Nathaniel visited Kieran in the Med bay. He wasn’t proud of his delayed visit, in truth he was scared to see what sort of damage his own shortcomings could have caused. As he approached the Green Frame pilot a wave of relief did wash over him however. Kieran appeared to have all his limbs and even seemed alert as he approached. “Private?” he asked gently as he walked up. 

For as long as he had served with Kieran he felt like he still knew so little about the man. Nathaniel bit his lip as he studied the solider before him and nodded his head absently. In light of Geneva’s demise he was determined to get to know Kieran better. “I heard you got one of the G weapons…” he offered as he stood next to the bed. 

 -"Ah" he went to stand up at attention but he seemed to wobble back down, holding his stomach a little "ah..." he looked away, almost in shame. He looked back at his commanding officer trying to look like he still was perfectly fine "Yes sir.. I did"

> “At ease.” Nathaniel offered as he put his hands out. He smiled at Keiran’s dedication, “you did a hell of a thing out there!” He praised, “you kept a level head despite the situation…” he went quiet as he thought about he himself didn’t keep his cool in the last battle. Instead he looked at Kieran. “How are you feeling?” 

- "Thank you sir, though.. it didnt really feel as though i was fully in control during those fights" He said, he seemed a little uncomfortable, like something was going through his mind.. though he snapped out of it to answer the next question "Im.. fine, i suppose.. im still thinking about everything"

> Nathaniel nodded his agreement and gave a helpless chuckle. “Yeah… yeah me too! Thinking that is…” He looked around to see some others in the med bay, most notably Roane. Returning his gaze to Kieran, Nathaniel asked point blank, “can you still fight?” The tone in which he asked made it clear that there would be plenty of that in the near future. 

- "Yes sir" He said, almost.. immediately, he seemed to have more of a fire in his eye when he said so as well "I have to, after everything that happened.. theres no way im backing down now"

> Despite himself, Nathaniel looked at the bed Kieran was confined to but nodded, “Good… good…” he looked around conspiratorially and leaned in, “There’s something big being cooked up… there’s some actionable intelligence we’ve accumulated…” He paused to point a finger up skyward to accent his point. “Look… We’re down in man power… I’m glad you’re up for a fight. But I need to know if you can be reliable though… what do you mean you didn’t feel like you’re fully in control in that last fight?” He gulped as he studied the pilot, “is it because of Geneva?”

-"It was.. scary" He said, closing his eyes "I suppose i was angrier than i was.. level headed? It was different from usual, ive lost people before but when i saw Geneva go down.. it was much more.., concentrated i guess"

> Nathaniel crinkled his face in confusion but didn’t say anything. He instead simply nodded, “Well… focus can be a good thing in battle.” It was the best he could offer. Back when he was fighting Lowell, Nathaniel was seeing more red and it didn’t sound anything like what Kieran was explaining. “You’re a first generation coordinator right Kieran?” Nathaniel asked out of the blue. 

-"Yes sir" He said, nodding and then looking up at him

> Nathaniel smiled, “Nice! Did you know I am too?” He raised an eyebrow as he asked then added. “What’s your take on the war? Do you buy into the whole ‘coordinators are the next human stage’ Rhetoric?” 

- "Hmm.." he shook his head "No, to be completely honest, I don't think there's any.. *next* stage for humans, just.. different people"

> “Can’t say I disagree with that notion Kieran.” Nathaniel nodded. Looking around one last time the lieutenant looked at the motionless Roane the returned his gaze to Kieran. “Get better soon Private… we’ll need to get back to it sooner than later. I’ll have a briefing tin a couple of days, I hope you’ll be there.” He offered a lazy salute the turned to leave.

- "Understood, sir" he said, sighing once he was back in "Private" he laid back and stared at the ceiling, Kieran was.. deep in thought, though.. after awhile, his body couldn't keep up and.. he fell asleep

——

A few days had passed since the battle of Moegenrate. Things had been chaotic if not relatively peaceful. Relative being the key word. 

Nathaniel stood at the foot of Delphine’s bed, half naked. Bandages adorned the top half of body and he moved wearily to put on his shirt and uniform top. He was already healing up pretty good. The aching would sure to stop in another day or two, it helped that he was already in great shape. One wound, a scar running across his left eye still seemed to hurt no matter what though. 

Sighing as he put on the uniform top, he looked back down at the captain who remained buried under the sheets. There was something special about her, he couldn’t deny that. It was that same something that drove him to have sleepless nights in more ways than one. 

Tightening up his collar he cleared his throat, causing the beautiful woman to stir. She looked up at him groggily and cocked her head as Nathaniel simply glared down at her. “This is it.” He stated flatly, “No more… this is it… I can’t settle anymore, not for anything in life…” 

She sat up, an expression of confusion and bewilderment etched on her fair features. Before she could reply he continued, “You have to decide, which one gets to have you all to himself. I’ll give you that much. But I got to…” he paused as he looked around past her, “I got to value myself more than this…. More than this… impulsive passion.” Looking down Nathaniel locked stares with Delphine. “I care for you… but not enough to stop caring for myself…” 

He offered a curt nod before walking out the door. Delphine remained on her bed, stunned by Nathaniel’s sudden insistence of ending their affair. Ever since he got back from the mission, he seemed different. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but it was like some sort of weight had been taken off his shoulders, “or is it guilt that he’s feeling… for Geneva?” she pondered out loud as she hesitantly moved to go get ready. 

She had to wonder, would this new behavior effect Nathaniel’s ability to lead Chromatic team? To pilot? If that wasn’t enough, she now had to decide if she valued her stale marriage more than this passionate affair she had struck up with the pilot. “I need some coffee…” she muttered. 
——-

It was hard to frame Nathaniel’s emotions at that moment. Part of him was glad to be given such a daring assignment, it after all fed into his background as a spook. The other half of him was terrified at bringing his diminished team along for a potential suicide run. Then of course there was the matter of blood. Blood spilt by his comrades that needed to be paid for in kind. 

He snapped out of his stare as he blinked the thoughts out of his head. He stood now in front of what was left of chromatic team, himself, Kali, and Kieran; inside the briefing room of the Archangel. “I’m sorry to call everyone together again so soon…” He stated blankly and he gulped hard as he looked at both his subordinates. “However this mission comes from the top with the utmost importance.” Clearing his throat he pulled up his clicker and projected a slide with a picture of one of the many ZAFT plants. 

“This is Aprilius one, the head of the beast for the entire ZAFT government. Needless to say it is one of the most heavily defended locations in the colonies. We also have reason to believe that it houses a secret dock with new weapons that are being developed by ZAFT. A reliable intelligence source recently sent us these pictures.” 

Nathaniel clicked for another slide and the image of a familiar looking face appeared.
2372C34C-9B34-4D69-9CF3-1E77869EF03F.thumb.jpeg.30f1b5ae9a05c1a0fc0bae74542fb571.jpegHe paused for effect as he himself still couldn’t quite believe the imagery of a Gundam head. “It’s obvious that they are taking the technology that we’ve developed with the Alliance and are… expanding on it. The real question is how?” 

He clicked for another slide and the live feed of a shuttle on the mass driver came to view. “Here’s the rub… We are being deployed to find out what these weapons are exactly. We will be going into space on this customized shuttle. What we need to determine… is what to bring with us exactly? There’s limited space on this shuttle. I don’t know what good mobile suits will do for us on this mission but we have to weigh out the options. Gold frame was heavily damaged in our last battle so I decided not to bring it along on this mission.” Nathaniel opened up his hands and motioned for his subordinates to chime in. “This is a high risk mission. I’m not going to make any decisions lightly I welcome any and all feedback on how we want to address this mission. What are your thoughts?” 

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Mai had been busy since the battle. Getting a clear bill of health and all the necessary clearance, she was able to work and get paid. As she worked on the scrap, being a member of the Guild, she also grabbed parts of mobile suits for ORB that they asked for. As she worked, she spent many an hour, like 15 with the others clearing and re-purposing. Mai was even able to get to her down craft and pull parts off of it and was able ot get her family sword, and the lone photo she had, However, nothing else was savable. If she ever found out who shot her down, she would give them a piece of her mind.

After she had gotten her stuff, she worked on a project for herself that she felt might be good and with ORB, willing to help her, it was better that way. She was able to get pieces of mobile suits, mainly GINNs and a M! and had a suit built for her. The drawback, she had no idea how to pilot a mobile suit, and hopefully, she could learn, since the suit had to be reprogrammed so a Natural could pilot it. Luckily that was possibility, but she was still learning and had not fully started the process to learn to be a ms pilot. That was where she would need to speak to this guy in charge of the suits on the ship, Nathaniel Barondel.

She was known on the ship, working where she was needed due to work and with the suits, plus she had showed that she could be a pilot and as damn good one of both rotor an fixed wing. A friend she had made was the CMO of the ship and she hung out with him normally or the techs but that was it mostly. So, when she was told that he would be available, she was shocked and approached a room, "This looks more like a meeting room than an office," she said to herself in her Scottish accented voice. Shrugging, she knocked on the door, not aware there was a meeting going on and waiting for a response to enter.

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Where does this all end?

Lowell Baskerville leaned forward against a railing as he looked out towards the Pacific Ocean. It had been days since the operation in Orb territory and there had been much deliberation about what to do next, more than enough to distract him, but in these quiet moments, Lowell found his thoughts drifting back to that day without fail. There was a lot to think about; the soldiers they had lost, the soldiers they had killed, and, most bizarrely to him, the strange connection that he had forged with Nathaniel Barondel. In truth, the bond had been forged the day they’d met—the operation was simply a progression and not particularly a pleasant one. It was the bond between enemies, enemies that might have been friends were it not for the fact they found themselves on opposing sides in this war.

Would we be friends, really?

Lowell wasn’t so sure. Recalling the day they met, he seemed to remember they had some pretty fundamental ideological differences. But at the same time, he found that he didn’t dislike Barondel—not on any personal level. There was the obligatory animosity between soldiers, but beyond that…

Lowell shook his head. What good did this kind of thinking do, really? It would only make it harder for him to shoot Barondel down later, should he need to. He hoped that fateful day would be the last time they crossed paths, but something deep down told him that wouldn’t be the case.

Overhead, a pair of seagulls brayed and Lowell wiped the sweat off his brow with his forearm. When he first arrived on Earth, he had found the ocean unsettling but now…now, he thought he maybe kind of liked it. As long as he didn’t have to be in it. He could still do without the heat though.

His phone beeped, alerting him to a text message that caused the ZAFT commander to grimace. A business call, waiting for him inside.

The fun never stops, does it?

Lowell wondered for a moment what it could be about. A court martial maybe? Not likely—he was pretty certain he was out of the frying pan on that count. It certainly wasn’t a promotion—there wasn’t much further up he could go in the volunteer militia without being on council. Not that he wanted to go much higher anyway. What then? He considered ignoring the text until his curiosity and the heat of the sun got the better of him.

 

--

He hadn’t expected a call from the Chairman of the supreme council, but there he was, Siegal Clyne, looking at him sternly from his vid-screen. Lowell had asked Renato to join him in the conference room as well—the Wolf Commander liked having his number two around both for the image it projected and because, speaking truthfully, Renato had a better memory for this kind of stuff.

“Good afternoon Commander,” Siegel said. “Please, be at ease,”

Lowell lowered his salute and nodded, sitting down in one of the office chairs across from Renato. “How can I help you today, Mr. Chairman?”

Clyne’s stern face seemed to ease once he got some kind of measure of the man. “I’m sorry to hear about the losses your unit sustained in your recent operation. It is a shame that anyone should lose their life in this conflict but I’m sure it stings all the more for a man in your position,”

Lowell nodded and glanced at Renato, who wore a withdrawn expression himself. “Thank you, sir. It was unfortunate to say the least but all my Wolves know what they signed up for,”

It was Clyne’s turn to nod. “Allow me to move right along, commander, and assure you that what I’m about to ask of you is unlikely to end so tragically—at least, that is my most sincere hope as both a leader and a father,”

Lowell quirked a brow, but Clyne went on.

“As you know, my daughter Lacus has become something of a diplomat and an activist. As such, she tends to draw quite a bit of unwanted attention whilst touring and is in need of people she can trust to keep a watchful eye over her. So I think, at least. She tends to disagree, but has acquiesced to her father’s wishes on one condition,”

Lowell had a bad feeling about this. “And what is that, sir?”

“She has specifically requested one Johnathan Locke to be part of her security detail. My reports, of course, tell me that he has recently transferred into your unit. As such, I would like to formally request that the Wolf Squadron act as honor guards for my daughter during an upcoming tour to Aprilius,”

Both Lowell and Renato blinked stupidly. Honor guards? That wasn’t exactly what Wolf Squadron was formed for, but he couldn’t just say no to the Chairman, could he?

“With all due respect, sir, I’m not sure that’s Wolf Squadron’s specialty. May I ask why John Locke is so integral to this plan?”

“Well, Commander,” and Clyne seemed almost embarrassed now. “It seems that Mr. Locke and my daughter are something like friends,”

That’s why? Lowell thought.

“Allow me to clarify a bit more, commander, without putting too fine of a point on it. While I have absolute faith in my daughter’s choice of security detail, the circumstances surrounding the previous operation require me to strongly suggest you not turn this opportunity down,”

So, it’s not a choice after all. I didn’t think so.

“Absolutely not, sir. It would be our absolute honor to take this assignment. I’ll have the Wolves prepare for the trip immediately,”

“Good to hear, commander,” Clyne smiled. “When you arrive, be sure to touch base with Captain Rondfellow aboard the Descartes. He may have an update for you with regards to the operation and your loadout. Clyne out,”

Lowell saluted and as soon as the screen blinked out, turned to Renato, who was smiling wryly.

“What did he mean by ‘loadout’?” Lowell asked. But all Renato did was laugh.

In a matter of hours, the Wolves were space-bound once more.

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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. 
       
      The Story So Far...
      This takes place around the beginning of Gundam Seed. Things start out similarly except this time there is an Orb commando team there to take advantage of the deteriorating situation. ZAFT still steals the Aegis, Duel, Buster, and Blitz. However Orb obtains the Archangel, the Strike, and secures all the Astrays that were kept in storage there.
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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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      Moreover, she is combative and very competitive, she does not like to lose a fight. She will stand toe-to-toe with people who may be better than her, but she will go all out and do her best. Still, she is not someone who likes to be rescued and will have heated debates on the roles of strong women in the current world. She will fight to protect people and those who are weak and unable to and if she needs to be rescued, then so be it; just do not expect her being happy about it at first.
      Mairéad was raised within the doctrine of the Catholic Church with her family, and even though she does not do a lot of what a Catholic does now a days, she still follows the basic rules and does her best to not hurt people. Although, due to her hotheadedness and hardheadedness, she tends to speak things before she realizes it and then has to do her best to apologize to people and make up for any hurt feelings. Moreover she then feels the need to go to confession about the sins she has done.
      One weakness she has, that is more a fear than an annoyance, and she has Acarophobia, a fear of insects that cause itching. Whenever she sees one, she is always trying to run from it and always has anti-itching stuff with her. But this is something that scares her greatly, and if she is itching, then she could fail at whatever task she is doing. To make it even worst for her, with the various races within the Multiverse, she is always looking over her shoulder. With Acarophobia, it is something that she tries to face, and usually, it ends in comical situations of hiding behind people, rather they are taller or shorter than her as she runs for cover. This is even true when is piloting, she is protected, but still has a fear.
       
      Appearance
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      History
      Born in Torphichen (pronounced Tor-Fikken), Scotland, the daughter of the current chief of Clan Sandilands and a Lieutenant Commander in the Atlantic Federation. Mairéad Grace Sandilands was raised in both the Catholic Church and those of her clan. With her father being a somewhat influential person within the church, although not a deacon. Mairéad grew up learning the ways of the catholic order and doctrine and from her mother, she learned the politics of clan order and how the clan was to be ran. Due to this, she was raised in a very strict household and as she attended school, she did what she could to not to deal with the strictness. While at school, she would have fun in getting into fights, her father used this as a chance for her to learn how to fight with a sword and she enjoyed this. Her mother got her to fall in love with music and got her in both cello and piano lessons. With this, she took the time to learn how to fight using swords and bladed weapons and to play music.
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      Possessions:
      Junk Guild ID Junk Guild tool-kit: flashlight, wrenches, tape, wiring, screwdrivers, goggles and Wrenchy (an over-sized and weighted wrench) A Sgian Dubh (a small single-edge knife) A Scottish claymore A cello Some pictures A bag of cloths Kills:
      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
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      Strengths and weaknesses
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      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.
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      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.
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      History
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      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
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      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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