Jump to content

Far From Home


Recommended Posts

“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.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(This happens during when the Archangel is back near Orb but before Sieran's Coup)

Nathaniel’s car whipped along the curves of the road with ease. He had just gotten back to the base for some shore leave. Really it was just enough time to check up on his house and do a few errands before returning to base. The wind combed through his hair as he drove his sports convertible, music blasting loudly to compete with the booming wind.

Of course, he was a little upset, any normal person would go home to a family, or have a night out with their significant other. No, his “other” had to go home to her husband. He pumped the gears to go even faster at the bitter thought, “just what the hell have I gotten myself into…”  

His worries were belittled by the presence of a broken-down car just up the road. Grimacing, Nathaniel shifted gears down and slowly parked the car just behind the smoking vehicle. Leaning out the side of his car he called out to the guy standing by the wreck, “having car trouble? Want a ride back into town?” He could have offered to look at the engine, but he didn’t feel like getting dirty at that time. The guy standing by the car looked more like a tourist, but something about the way he carried himself seemed familiar, Nathaniel just couldn’t put his finger on it.

As the guy walked up Nathaniel offered once again, “Hop in I’ll take you back to town if you want?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

((Thanks to Roromi for the dialogue))

Lowell smiled as the driver pulled over. “That’d be great, thanks,” he said as he opened the door. He had always been told to not take rides from strangers, but he figured that this was a small enough place and it was a short enough drive that it wouldn’t really be a concern. Besides, he was a highly-trained member of ZAFT, he was sure he could take this guy if he proved to be a problem.

“I appreciate the help—Hell of a car you’ve got too,” he said loudly, trying to compensate for the music playing over the stereo.

Nathaniel smiled sheepishly as he reached down to turn the music off. “Sorry!” He offered as he waited for the guy to buckle up and close the door. “Thanks!” He said as he put the car into gear. “So what brings you all the way out here? I usually drive these roads outside of town because there’s no one here…” he left off the detail about clearing his mind since he didn’t see the point on burdening his guest with his own personal troubles. 

Lowell strapped in and closed the door behind him, feeling the rush of the car move through him as its engines really started to hum. It was a nice change of pace from the junker they were steadily leaving in their dust.

“I’m taking in the sights, I guess,” Lowell said, looking out at the ocean as they sped down the road. “Technically I’m here on business but it’s easy to forget about work when you’re somewhere as beautiful as this. Hell, I left my coworker at the bar just a little while ago. That might have been a mistake on my part,” Lowell chuckled to himself. “The man’s liable to float away with the amount he can drink,”

Lowell turned his head to face his saviour. “What about you? You’re a local I take it?” 

Nathaniel plastered a smile on his face as he listened to the guy talk. As they drove he slowly settled his aviator glasses down to peak over the rims and glance at the fellow. “Yeah I’ve lived here since I was a small child. Guess I’m a little used to the scenery by now!” He chuckled as he steered into a particular turn. He nodded to the man, “I uh… I work in the military actually. You’re lucky you caught me on some shore leave at the moment. The name’s Nathaniel by the way!” He offered though he barely dared to take his eyes off the road. He wasn’t driving all that sporadically, just that the road was particularly winding. 

“How could you ever get tired of this?” Lowell asked, making a sweeping gesture at the ocean with one hand. He remembered then his great distrust of the ocean and reconsidered his words, but by then the man had continued on, introducing himself. The ZAFT pilot smiled despite himself. Of course this guy was military—that’d be just his luck. Looking at him now, Lowell could see it. There was something about him, a je ne sais quoi about him that flagged Nathaniel as a soldier. Lowell wondered if he himself had it. For his sake, in this moment, he hoped not. “Nice to meet you,” he said. “I’m Lowell, Lowell Baskerville. Are you a boots on the ground guy or do you pilot one of those machines? I have to say—I don’t think I’d be cut out for that kind of work. My friends say I’m too much of a worry-wart,”

Nathaniel scoffed at the question, something about how it was raised made the special operator raise an eyebrow. Still he smirked as he replied, “you could say I work on a ship I guess.” He answered, trying to play his role off as something mundane. Something was definitely smelling spooky about this hitchhiker, but he had nothing to go off of other than instinct. “So Lowell did you visit Orb to get away from the fighting?”

Lowell tried not to study his saviour too much and instead focused on lowering his own profile. Nathaniel’s answers were cagey, defensive. The ZAFT pilot didn’t want to put him on edge or show his own hand too much. He was technically on the job, but if Ren was going to treat this like a vacation, why shouldn’t he?

“No, I didn’t,” Lowell said at last. “I’m actually a location scout for a movie studio. Since Orb is neutral, it makes it a whole lot easier to film here than a lot of places. So I guess, now that I think about it, I am here to get away from the fighting, aren’t I?”

Buildings began to pop up around them, growing steadily taller and taller as they entered deeper into the city.

“Hey, what do you say I buy you lunch or something? Least I could do to pay you back for helping me out,”

Nathaniel smirked as they came to town. There was a pub he particularly liked and at that moment Lowell’s offer sounded nice. Both intrigue and hunger got the better of Nathaniel , “sure why not. There’s a place over here I rather like.” He pulled into the parking lot and parked the car, stretching as he looked around. He motioned for the other man to follow and soon they were inside the pub sitting in a booth waiting for their respective drinks. Nathaniel nodded, “truth be told I’m amazed they’re still making movies with all the bloodshed going on. Mind if I ask you-?” His question was cut off as their server delivered their drinks. The pilot nodded and smiled as he grabbed his pint of ale. He took a swig then nodded to continue. “I was curious… what is your take on the war? I don’t get the chance to talk to many people not in the military, much less those outside of the country.” He hovered over his glass as he looked over the frothy beverage to his new friend.

Lowell looked around as they entered the pub. Was there a term for when things were distinctly…earthling? He had noticed it a few times during his stints on Terra Firma that the bars were unlike the ones back on the PLANTs but not in any way that Lowell could put into words. There was just…an atmosphere around them. The two of them put their orders in and the drinks came in good time.

“You just can’t keep the film sector down,” he said, grabbing his drink. He had simply ordered the same thing that Renato had gotten him earlier because the name was easy enough to remember. “People need escapism,”

Nathaniel’s next question caught him off guard. He was expecting the man to ask about what kind of movie he was making and Lowell was a bit disappointed he didn’t get to tell him all about the completely fictitious romance drama he had made up on the spot: Love Coordination.

“What do I think about the war, huh?” he pretended to mull it over. “Would it be too simple of me to say it’s bad?” he laughed at sipped at the Blue Hawaiian, trying his best not to wince. “In all honesty, the idea of killing another person makes my skin crawl, so I can’t condone war in any way. But I understand that it’s an inevitability, though I wouldn’t call it a necessity. Fighting for what a person loves or believes in is as natural as breathing, but I think our efforts and passions are better directed elsewhere. I dream of peace—I think everyone does—but I won’t begin to pretend like I know how we get there. Who knows…maybe all it takes is the power of friendship?” and with that he let out a merry laugh. “How about yourself, Nate? What’s a soldier’s take on all of this?”

Nathaniel raised an eyebrow and was about to respond to his own poison when a familiar voice cut him off. “I thought that was you Lieutenant! Honey come here it’s Nathaniel!”

Closing his eyes he took in a deep breath to brace himself and look up at a man he did recognize, “hey Frank! Delphine! How’s it going!” He looked up at the married couple and he could read the discomfort on Delphine’s face which she quickly hid for her husband’s benefit. “Hey Nathaniel!” She announced cheerily. “We were just coming in to eat some lunch.” Frank announced while Delphine looked quizzically at Lowell then back at Nathaniel, “whose your friend?” A million things went through Nathaniel’s head at that moment ranging from him simply not wanting to be with his lover’s husband; to his “friend” being a stranger really. He stammered, “Oh this is Lowell, I was helping him get back into town.” Nodding to Lowell he then gestured to the couple. “This is Frank and Delphine. I uh-“ he was still flustered and Delphine picked up his slack. “Actually it’s Captain Hawthorne.” She smiled as she teased all the men. She politely offered her hand to Lowell, “it’s nice to meet you Lowell. We were just going out to celebrate my promotion, we’ve been so busy we haven’t had a chance to go out until now.” She gave Nathaniel a look as if silently asking how he would handle the awkward situation.

Lowell’s attention was drawn away by the sudden appearance of a man and a woman—a woman, he quickly learned, who was a captain in Orb’s military.

Hawthorne, huh? Good to know.

Lowell met them with a smile. “Pleasure to meet you! Nate really saved my bacon today, though of course I still have to explain to the car rental place what happened, don’t I?” he chuckled nervously, a cover for his assessing of the situation. Nathaniel seemed deeply uncomfortable by this turn of events. Normally, Lowell wouldn’t want to prey on a man’s insecurities, but this was as good an opportunity as any he would get to know learn about who he might be clashing with in coming days.

“Hey, why don’t you two sit with us? We haven’t gotten our food yet and there’s plenty of space in the booth. Nate and I were just about to discuss the movie I’m scouting for here. It’s a romance, you see, and while I can’t give away too much, I can probably let you in on some juicy production stories and stuff,”

Delphine’s expression went from nervousness to intrigued as she took up the Hollywood man’s offer for movie details. After all she did enjoy a good romance. Nathaniel politely listened as the two bantered, he made uncomfortable small talk with Frank. At that moment he was feeling fairly small, like a child more than anything, as he endured the odd lunch party. Oh how he wanted to run out the door and drive off, far away from the situation. He grimaced as he entertained such a pleasant notion. Outside the mobile suit it was clear he was just a pitiful flesh and blood man with no hope of winning over Delphine. Yes, his mobile suit was the only thing that could validate him wasn’t it? The only thing that could make him more than his meager flesh and blood, the only way she could acknowledge him. It was then something snapped his attention back to the present as Delphine made an odd comment, “Oh if you ever wanna make an action movie you should sign Nathaniel on as an advisor, he could teach you a thing or two!” He flashed Delphine a hard gaze and ever so gently shook his head no before forcing a smile. “Oh I don’t think he wants to hear boring training stories…”

“Oh I’m not a writer, unfortunately,” Lowell said with a chuckle. “Just a guy with a good eye for setting. I’m sure Nathaniel would appreciate the break too,” he gave the Orb officer a knowing look and a warm, soft smile. The four of them continued to talk for a short time until at last, the drinks had been drunk and there was nothing left of their food but scraps. Lowell stretched his arms above his head. The liquor and the heat of this island nation had begun to make him sleepy—it was probably just about time to be getting back to Renato anyway. The four of them paid their bills and Frank and Delphine gave their goodbyes at the entrance, leaving Nathaniel and Lowell alone once more.

“Love sure is tough, huh?” Lowell said after a quiet moment, his hands in his shorts pockets. “But that’s what makes it worth fighting for, huh? You seem like an honest guy, Nathaniel. You didn’t get a chance to tell me what you thought about war but something tells me you get it,”

Nathaniel looked worn from the odd engagement. He soberly nodded as Lowell re asked the earlier question. “I uh… I think there needs to be a balance. That’s why I think the Alliance and ZAFT are wrong about the war… I think that together, Naturals and Coordinators can do more together. Take me and the Captain for example. She’s a Natural and I’m a Coordinator. We work well together and get a lot done. I dare say that it’s our differences that make us stronger together.” He shrugged as he realized his answer was getting a little too preachy. “I’m sorry…” he muttered as sipped what was left of his drink.

Lowell studied Nathaniel as he spoke and quirked an eyebrow at his mention of ZAFT and the Alliance being wrong. When the soldier was finished talking, Lowell put his hands in his pockets and let his affected smile fade. "I see. I don't disagree with the heart of your argument, Nate. Naturals and Coordinators are stronger together--but that's not really the issue here, don't you think? The real problem is the Earth Alliance trying to force their way of life onto others. They fired the first shot, after all. The PLANTs just want to be free to be who they are, but the naturals seems to have an issue with that." Lowell turned to face Nathaniel now, his face deadly serious. "I can respect the position you're in, as a soldier in the middle of a war your nation is neutral in. But just because Orb is neutral on the political battlefield doesn't mean it'll stay that way on the real one. You can try and stay away from the war...but the war will come to you eventually. Maybe it's already on the way. When it gets here, though, Orb's going to have a decision to make,"

The two men's eyes met and as they did, time seemed to stop. 

What is this...feeling?

Their surroundings seemed to fall away from them, a backdrop of colour, of outerspace, replacing it. All at once, it seemed the distance between them--both physical and idealogical--was simultaneously vast and miniscule. But just as quickly as it came upon them, the feeling dissipated. 

Lowell, stunned, tried to play it off with a smile. "Pretty dramatic sounding, huh?" he laughed and swatted Nathaniel's arm. "Did I sound like some big action hero or something?"


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nathaniel glared as Lowell replied back to his answer. Then it hit him, a moment of absolutely clarity, of sincerity perhaps. This was the first time this strange man had been telling him the truth. It was in that truth that Nathaniel felt like he was experiencing the vastness of the universe, the very sentiment sent a chill down his spine.

What is this feeling?

Whatever it was he had no doubt now that the man in front of him was his enemy. He couldn’t just attack him could he? Was he that kind of man?

For a long while he simply stared at the man, studying him as if this was some sort of elaborate trick. How was it that he knew in that moment that the man in front of him was a ZAFT soldier? Realizing that he was doing nothing Nathaniel finally forced a smile on his face and offered his hand. “You may very well be right Lowell… About Orb having to make decisions… We’ll just have to see what fate has in store for us huh?” He waited for the other man to take his hand in a shake then added, “Take care will ya?”

Walking away didn’t make Nathaniel feel any better. This whole evening left him feeling unsatisfied, incomplete really. He didn’t have the girl, he didn’t even have the answers about his future. As he got in his car, he looked at his hand that he shook Lowell’s with and flexed it. “I better get ready… for everything…”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...