Code Geass: Knight of Revolution Second Advent
Charlotte Moreau is the contribution of Timeless as Cyrill Madron was submitted by Elemental Balance.
Let's see how many of you recognize this little tribute. Hint: it's a fighting game that you'll never find used copies of anywhere.
Chapter 14: Trust and Betrayal
The crackling line was the only thing that filled the room where Lelouch and the others occupied. In his mind, scenarios raced about like mad along with probabilities of which scenario this was and how to go about handling it. Toudoh and Kallen clenched their swords. Everyone knew Halbdunkel was an elite professional, but he was still human in the sense that he could become overwhelmed and that he did have a strict code of ethics. He wouldn't fight ignorant innocent soldiers just carrying out orders.
"Bridge, can you triangulate his last transmission?"
"We can try Zero."
Lelouch only nodded and sat back in his chair with a heavy sigh. Guistizia flexed his hands a few times. The original plan from a year ago no longer applied, but he'd never really counted on it staying together. Granted, he also didn't think it would grow this out of control either. He was prepared to go out and do his job if he got the go ahead. Part of him prayed he wouldn't have to though. He wasn't suited for this kind of battlefield, preferring stealth tactics to out right battle like Halbdunkel.
"Guistizia? Are you nervous?"
Euphemia's honest question shook him from his reverie. All around the room, eyes turned to him.
"Lately, these battles grow more and more unlike anything even veterans of previous conflicts could ever imagine. So yes, I am. If anyone in this room wasn't, I'd be worried."
Everyone in the room could understand his sentiment.
"Zero, the last transmission was from the Avalon."
"Your Highness, give me permission to sortie."
Morgen's voice surprised them. They weren't aware she was on the bridge.
"Are you sure you can help him?"
Silence was his answer, and he took it to be her waiting for him to declare the condition.
"If it becomes too risky, abandon him and return to the Ikaruga."
Shock shot through the room as faces turned to look at him like he'd lost his mind. When Morgen answered her voice was steady and calm.
"I understand the condition you Highness. Will you allow me to go?"
"I wish you well Morgen."
The line cut off and Cornelia stood from her seat. Slamming her hands on the table, she pitted her half sibling with a withering glare.
"Abandon Halbdunkel?! Do you realize what you just said to who?"
He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed deeply as he sat down. Crossing his fingers, he pitted her with an equally heated stare.
"I do Cornelia, and can you blame me? If Hal blows his cover, he's still a man of honor; he'd never give up our secrets or plans. He'll take them to his grave if he must. However, if Morgen were to also become a POW with him, the leverage they would have over him and vice-versa would be too much. That is what I fear. Their love for each other transcends the hierarchy of priorities and allegiances. I just cannot risk losing both of them to that Man."
Cornelia who Lelouch was speaking of, and didn't doubt Charles would do whatever it took to get either of the former Rounds to crack. The whining scream of machine parts speeding off told them that Morgen had set out in the Apollo.
The last thing Schneizel had expected was an explosion inside the ship. The sight of the three envoys on the top of the ship with weapons drawn was even more unexpected. It was all so curious to him. Why were they fighting each other? Weren't they his escort?
Up top, the Serpent of Akasha couldn't believe his blunder. He should have given them warning about answering their communication links. Now their eyes were rimmed with the red ring of death. (Sorry, X Box reference for everyone out there.)
'I can tell their trying to fight the Geass with everything they've got. Their attacks were restrained, still, two on one seems hardly fair in a Geass battle of elites.'
"I'll try to incapacitate you without causing major damage. Bear with me you two."
They responded by charging in with a tag team move they'd developed over the past year. He knew this sequence from before, but this time the strikes were coming in on him without restraint. Rena led the two of them in front, slashing and thrusting with the blade of her glaive. Pushing back with a boost from his Zypher, Hal leapt backward when the second part of the assault closed in. Bolts of glistening blaze, blue lightning arced around her as he bounded out of her reach. Hand springing back further, the projectiles dissipated against the surface of the airship.
As he recovered, Kyrios came crashing down from above with a splitting slash meant to bisect from head to navel. Blocking the blade, he shoved Kyrios to his left before bringing the weapon back across to parry and deflect the seeking halberd of Rena. Utilizing the energy from being parried, Rena spun full circle, adding centrifugal force to her strike as she slashed sideways. At the same instant, Hal swung down to intercept the weapon. Locking for a brief moment, they disengaged as a streak of lightning flew by.
As space built up between them, more streaks of energy flew from Kyrios's sword with each consecutive swing. Lashing out, Hal smashed several with the flat of the sword, dissipating the bolts. Feeling a presence behind him, he released a blast of air and felt a delay in Zypher's response time. Biting his lip, he snatched a vial from his breast pocket.
Crushing the vial with his teeth, he sucked the bitter fluid down before spitting the vial off the side of the ship.
'The Sakuradite Reflux is happening too frequently . . . am I at my limit?'
He could feel the heat coming from Rena's flames behind him. Glancing back, he could see her drawing power for her trump move. He'd seen someone get careless and take the full brunt of the blow. There were few remains to see from the aftermath. Setting his body, he readied for the attack. An orb of fire sprouted in front of her face as she brought her off hand up. Rearing back with her dominate hand, she laid into the orb with a fist reinforced by the haft of the pole arm. Her eyes blazed as the sphere ignited.
'Here it comes.'
The sphere turned into a vertical typhoon of blazing flames. Summoning his more powerful techniques, Hal forged the winds around his sword to keen the edge and slashed down, splitting the flames in two as they reached as far as they would go. The lack of power and resistance cutting through concerned him when he felt the air pressure behind him change.
Cancelling out his Zypher and activating Similitude, he turned and took the brunt of an oversized blade of flying lightning thrown by Kyrios. Before he could recover from the flashes and let his eyes refocus, a shadow fell over him. Leaping to the side and raising his sword in an overhead block by instinct, he was surprised to see Rena just in front of him staying extremely low to the ground. For a split second he panicked, he'd never seen this stance out of her so he didn't know what to expect.
The glaive was held nearly parallel to the surface of the ship with her hand choked up near the base of the blade. Her other hand snapped her fingers and wreathed the blade in flames before slashing upwards. Hal would have blocked low, but in the same instant, Kyrios pressed the assault with his own attack. The blade was sizzling in electric currents, giving it an aurora borealis appearance. As the two weapons made contact, the currents traveled the length of both blades and into Hal. The effect was numbing to the point of searing pain.
It was then that the flames came straight into his face. The flat of the halberd blade caught him in the chin, pushing him off the ground. As the euphoria of weightlessness took effect, he managed to push through the pain to see her trump move motions.
"Rena . . ."
He could barely move his body as he began to fall into her strike zone. He struggled to make sense of it all. Why weren't they suffering his wounds from Similitude? The realization came at the same moment as her strike and he cancelled the second Geass and reverted back to Zypher as the blast overcame him.
On the displays, Schneizel watched with a veiled measure of interest. Madron swallowed, his mouth felt like cotton. Out of the second inferno, he saw the masked man he now knew was Hal tumbled across the top of the ship in a heap before skidding to a stop face down. He began to realize just how this war wasn't like anything they'd experienced before. This was no longer war of men versus men, but mankind versus something they couldn't fathom.
"What has mankind wrought . . . ?" he muttered under his breath.
"N, no wonder . . . they . . . aren't affected by my Geass. They're immune to their own powers, so damage from that source wouldn't do anything against them."
Barely standing up, he was resorting to using his sword as a crutch. Looking at his two Geassed comrades, he so no emotion in Kyrios's facial expressions. Rena held the same stoic gaze rimmed in crimson, but despite that, tears flowed. She knew what was happening and couldn't stop herself. He knew deep inside, she was screaming for it to stop. Kyrios was trying to fight it as well, a trickle of blood seeped from his lip where he was biting into it. A small voice inside his mind told him this was a lose-lose situation.
'This is when discretion is the better part of valor.'
Drawing back his sword, he swung the blade with the flat. The winds amplified with his Geass, driving a massive wind their direction before leaping backward and off the edge of the ship. The inside of the bridge couldn't believe a man would just jump off knowing how high up they were. Kyrios dashed to the edge of the ship as the winds died out and leapt off in pursuit. Rena ran over and merely peered down before kneeling, out of breath and sweating profusely. Her body ached all over. The woman broke her own vial open and quaffed the fluid with a wince at the bitter flavor. Her eyes no longer held the red rim of Geass.
"Commander, I'm sorry. Ugh, I pushed myself too hard. Two trump card moves are too much in only a few minutes. Damn that Geass."
"You disappoint me woman."
Rena froze; her heart skipped a beat before a sharp, piercing pain drove through her. Looking down, she recognized the knife protruding from her.
'Rolo . . .'
The boy instantly appeared before her before shoving her off the edge. As she began to fall, she saw V.V. shaking his head. The sight was enough to fuel her adrenaline as she clenched her weapon and hefted it as hard as she could muster. The weapon flew and sank into his skull through the right eye. The gout of blood spewing upward was enough for her as she lost consciousness.
'Immortal be damned . . . at least he felt that.'
Rolo was shocked and surprised as the weapon flew past him and struck V.V. in the face. Then he remembered that he had cancelled it when he shoved her off the Avalon. A moment passed before V.V. reached up and pulled the weapon from his face and chuckled.
"Defiant isn't she? She has a strong vendetta against me don't you think? No matter, she'll die from the impact. Come Rolo, I have something very special for you."
With that, they disappeared.
As Rena fell, Morgen watched the battle from inside the Apollo. Why hadn't Halbdunkel fought back? Her mind raced as she closed in on his falling form. Things were not as they seemed if he wasn't returning their attacks. Trusting her instincts, she resisted shooting the pursuing Kyrios with her onboard weapons. She didn't wish to kill a possible ally in a misunderstanding.
"I have to time this right or Hal will crush himself landing in the hand."
Pulling within a few meters of Hal, she starting flashing optical messages at him. His head turned toward the cloaked machine with some measure of surprise. His face composed itself as he got the message. A small smile graced his battered features as he looked back up.
She hardly registered what happened next as a spiraling ball of light shot past her. It rammed into Hal and nearly impacted on the desert surface less than a second latter. Looking down, two figures skidded away from the blast of sand falling back down to earth. Hal crumbled to the ground. As she powered the Frame she was in to dive toward them, a Frame with a dark and sinister appearance materialized in front of her. Keying her controls, she jinked out of the way, only to curse as she was rocked with an impact from behind. Manipulating her hands, she gasped when it brought a broken and wounded woman into view. She recognized her as the other one who had been following Hal.
"Hal never attacked, who did this to her?"
The unit in front of her zeroed its rifle on her and she back dashed to get away. Bringing her main support rifle up, she felt a chill go up her spine when the barrel flew off and alarms sounded for an enemy behind her. The unit was no longer in front of her.
Spinning to face her opponent, the arm holding the remains of the rifle exploded, rocking and tossing her about in the cockpit. Hal's words came back to her and she cursed her orders.
"It must be that kid Rolo with the time controlling Geass. I didn't think it would be this bad. God . . ." she spared a glance down to see Hal being helped away by someone on a motor vehicle. Kyrios was in the back of the jeep, and by the looks of it, was unconscious.
'I don't know who you are, but thank you. Hal, I'm sorry . . . but I have my orders. We'll take care of this one for you.'
Triggering one of her supports, a blinding flash light lit the skies. Pouring all of her power supplies into the engines, she zoomed away. Thankfully, her assailant didn't pursue for some reason. As she flew away, she looked to the woman in the palm of the Apollo's hand.
"She looks horrible. Wait, what is . . . that?"
Conduits for some kind of circuitry protruded from a twisted leg. An ominous liquid seeped from the wounds. She had seen it before in the past during the first developments in the liquid mineral.
Clicking over her controls, she extended a small aperture grappler and attached itself to the injured appendage. Threading a small conduit wire into the wound, she toggled the power supply to reroute. The woman's eyes fluttered open and glowed before she winced in agony. Morgen was no lip reader, but she recognized the look she received.
"A thank you? Rakshata's not gonna like the looks of this."
Warning lights and alarms alerted her to enemies behind her. Looking back, she saw the Lancelot and Tristan closing in. The Mordred was going after the jeep on the desert floor. Pushing the throttle to the red zone, the Apollo shot away. Clicking controls, the back of the shoulders opened and left a misty cloud in its wake. Jetting away, she let the two units chase her as the cloud spread longer and wider with the winds.
"What's that? A smokescreen?"
"Hang back Knight of Three, we don't know what that unit's got planned."
"The smoke's not going to stop me. You help Anya, I've got this one."
Flying into the cloud, the Cardinal didn't like where this was going. It was an obvious trap and Gino was flying straight into it. Dashing into the screen behind Weinberg, the Knight of Eleven prepared for the worst. As they flew through, the sound of rain pounded the exterior of the Lancelot. His screens showed no signs of the precipitation though. Then his eyes caught the faintest glimpse of spheres the size of raquet balls.
"Gino! Punch through now!"
On the other side of the sphere infected mists, Morgen triggered her main rifle. The shot whistled as it left the barrel and impacted the outer edge of her field. The first set of spheres detonated, sparking a chain reaction of explosions. It was a feather light Sakuradite based explosive that held twice the power of standard C4. The cloud turned into a fatal array of red and orange explosions as she turned and gunned it back to the Ikaruga.
The Lancelot and Tristan burst from the top of the explosive cloud relative unscathed via the speeds of the two frames and the Cardinal's swift reaction to the trap. Looking at the far away retreating Knightmare, Rai Vi Britannia found a new target for his plan.
Down below, Hal was half conscious of his surroundings as the jeep bumped and jerked around.
"Charlotte? What happened?"
The woman gave him a sad look.
"I knocked Kyrios out before he could finish you, but you've got to heal. You needed a direct Sakuradite Injection in order to stabilize your vitals. You're modifications are backfiring aren't they?"
Glancing down at his exposed arm, he saw a few of his veins glowing green. The pain would return soon, and he preferred to be unconscious for it. It was the fatal flaw in the SOLDIER members. Everyone including him was on borrowed time. It was V.V.'s little way of ensuring their loyalty to a point. Only the Collective's medical wards had the technology to keep everyone stable. It acted like the biological disorder where the body's own immune system attacked itself, but on a lethal level. Adding the Sakuradite infusions to the mix with the radioactive properties of the liquid mineral and the combination was garanteed to kill within months.
Sakuradite Reflux was the title they'd given to a resurgence of Sakuradite from their modifications into their blood stream, poisoning them with extreme pain as the symptom and cardiac arrest as the cuase of death. The liquid vials suppressed and killed the excess Sakuradite by diluting it. Clenching a fist, he knew there was no turning back. His mind raced. Who was the Cardinal . . . Rai Vi Britannia truly loyal to? V.V.? Marianne? No one? If he was loyal to V.V., then the immortal must know of Marianne's Geass and Anya, but why did he kill her then? Was Marianne and V.V. in a collaborated conspiracy against Charles? There were too many questions to be answered, and he felt that he didn't have much longer to find the answers.
"Forget me. What about you? Why are you here?" He had a hard time talking, his voice was nearly gone from the punishment he'd taken. Kyrios had unleashed his own trump card move, becoming one with the lightning and crashing into the ground with him. If he hadn't created the barrier of air beneath them, neither of them would have survived the impact. Charlotte teared and Hal regretting his asking.
"You couldn't save Rolo could you?"
"I tried. V.V. has him so brainwashed that he disavowed the biological evidence I gave him. I died by his own hand . . . my own son killed me."
"Isn't your Geass one that doesn't allow you to die?"
"Any normal person would have died from the knife wounds. So I might as well have."
Hal was overcome by a fit of coughing before looking at his hand. He was coughing blood. Part of him wasn't surprised from the beating he just took from Kyrios and Rena. He knew there were ruptured organs and broken bones, just lying in the jeep was torturous with every bump and jostle. He winced and cursed with each spasm of pain as he spoke.
"It's . . . okay to shed tears. Crying . . . is . . . a strength of its . . . own."
Charlotte wiped her eyes with a hand and grit her teeth.
Hal knew that she was broken inside and trying to hide or bury it. Yet he could not form the words to comfort or help her. The roar of something large behind them made Hal glance at the mirrors with his eyes. The Mordred made him traverse the gamit of emotions from anger and horror knowing who was piloting it.
"Don't worry, we aren't alone."
Hal wondered what she meant when a barrage of fire erupted from the horizon. All along the ridges and dunes were Knightmares of an origin he didn't recognize. They were equipped with rifles, machine guns, recoilless rifles, slash harkens, cannons, any ranged weapon imaginable were interdispersed among their number as they fired. The glow of the visible tracers alone was enough to make him swallow. The firepower in the air whistling toward them was enough to city blocks.
The Mordred brought up its shields to protect itself from the volley of incoming fire. Charlotte continued on course under the cover fire while their unknown allies drove back the Mordred. Inside her cockpit, Anya squinted at the flashes of gunfire and explosions against her shielding.
"Annoying . . ."
Bringing up the Stark Hadron Cannon, the girl was about to fire when a shot impacted the emmitters, shorting the weapon out. Huffing, she decided it was too much effort and backed away . . . a the while wondering why she felt strangely pleased that they had successfully avoided capture by her.
Who are the people Charlotte found? What will happen when the Black Knights receive Rena? Who is betraying who? Is there really anyone that anyone can trust?