Eyes in Seed
I do not own the rights to Gundam Seed or Gundam Build Fighter/Try. All characters that are not mine are owned by their respective series creators. Please enjoy.
Murrue hated hospitals. Nothing ever good came from entering one. As a child growing up she related going to the hospital to nothing good and was always followed by shots and medicine that tasted terrible. As she got older it was for other things that were required for a young growing woman. But the one thing she hated the most was if or when she needed to go because someone else was sick. Or something much worse. Case in point her current reason for marching down the hospital to the ICU wing with Mu just at her side. Natarle was back at the ship, continuing to monitor the ship's final stages of repair. That had been when of all people Kisaka had contacted them with some very urgent news.
Adam had been shot.
Of course Natarle immediately elected to stay behind hence why she was with the ship but Mu volunteered to act as escort. The two were picked up outside the main facility and were taken directly to the hospital with a police escort. Of course light traffic did slow them down a bit but they managed to make it less than an hour. The whole ride she had been chewing on her thumb nail in thought trying to think of what had happened. The car phone would later ring and she would get her answer once more from Kisaka himself. Someone had outright attacked Adam. Even more worrisome was that they kids had been with him though he ensured that they were unharmed but very rattled. And while one got away another was dead, shot in the head at the scene by Adam before he passed out.
Mu had said nothing and continued to say nothing as they moved on through the doors of ICU. They made one more turn, their man in black escort pointing them to the end of the hall where a fully uniformed Kisaka stood waiting, talking to another man in black with the kids sitting in the waiting room across from them. They were her main focus and she made a direct line to them, Mu breaking off to speak with Kisaka and allow Murrue to have her minute with them.
The first to notice her was Kuzzey, the boy immediately standing up at her approach. It didn't go unnoticed and the wrest were getting to their feet except for Miriallia and Tolle. The boyfriend remained at her side with his arm around her shoulder, her head leaning into the crook of his neck. Murrue was surprised however when she noticed two faces she thought she would never see again; Sai Argyle and Flay Allster. There time together had been brief but she wouldn't forget either of them for their time aboard the Archangel. Sai looked relatively the same since she saw him but Flay on the other hand looked the most to have change since leaving. The short hair gave the girl a slightly more mature look.
Murrue stopped before the group, eyes roaming over the children to see for herself if there was any wounds. With Kuzzey up front and center she addressed him first. "How are you holding up? Anyone else hurt?"
Kuzzey shook his head. "No, we're all fine. But Adam…"
Murrue placed a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I heard. What exactly happened?"
"We're not sure. It just happened so fast. One moment we're getting to our rental and the next we hear shooting." He looked back to Sai, the boy seeing the captain look in his direction. He gave a weak wave but didn't say much. "Sai was the one who hit one of the shooters with the car. If he hadn't…"
"Captain Ramius," the deep voice of Kisaka tore her attention from the kids. Mu was standing just behind him, worried look on his face. "I'd like to speak in private."
Murrue nodded before turning back to the kids. "Just hang tight. We'll sort this out and get you back to the ship soon."
Murrue approached Kisaka who had moved some distance away and into a vacant hospital room. When the door closed Mu stood against it to help keep the privacy. Kisaka stood in the center of the room, back to the far wall. "What happened?" Murrue asked.
"We don't have all the details. At least till Adam awakes. But its not in the hands of the local law enforcement since our people have taken over the investigation. Already footage of the surrounding area is being gathered and we have a body of one of the shooters."
"How many were there?" Mu asked.
"Two from the children's own admittance. The one we recovered seemed very intent on putting Adam down personally before the young Argyle boy hit him with a car and Adam was the one to get the killing shot with the shooter's own weapon. But that's not the end of it."
"What else is there besides the other shooter getting away?" Murrue asked.
"The other shooter ran off with a female companion that had been with Adam and the children. A young woman named Claire. We think this may have been intended to be a kidnapping from the start."
"The name Claire doesn't ring a bell," Mu remarked. "Someone Adam met in the city? You think they saw Adam as a threat and went to remove him quickly then?"
"Possibly. We're running a match on the DNA collected from the body. See who we're dealing with. The children gave enough of a description to the sketch artist to have something to go on till we run through any surveillance footage. But I need to ask if either of you knew what Adam may have been doing with his time during shore leave."
Murrue looked to Mu, the commander looking to her. Neither had bothered to ask and neither had time with how Adam was quick to leave the ship at times. He never spoke of what he did or if he was meeting someone. Murrue just shook her head. "He never said anything."
"Not to me either," Mu added, crossing his arms as he dipped his head in thought. "And I doubt he would have said anything to Natarle. He doesn't strike me as the type to announce he met someone in the city unless you asked him."
"That'll make things difficult till he awakens then."
"Can the children be released?" Murrue asked. "I'm sure they don't want to be here any longer than they have to be."
Kisaka nodded. "Of course. We got as much as we could from them and they've been a big help in the matter."
Mu was the first to move from the room with Murrue following behind him. Kisaka was last to exit and turned to go speak with an approaching doctor. Murrue assumed he may have something to do with Adam's condition. Probably a surgeon? She shook her head as she approached the kids. They all turned to her and the commander.
Murrue was startled by the sudden cry and turned as a blur rushed over and took Sai Argyle into a hug. A woman about her height and simple attire of a knee length blue skirt and white blouse was crushing said boy in a hug that only a mother would do if she had any knowledge that her child may have been hurt. The color of her hair matched his own, though the eyes were different. She checked the boy over, looking for any sign of injury before she looked to Flay, doing exactly the same thing. Flay blushed at the attention but assured the woman she was fine.
Another figure approached, stopping in front of Sai. A man as tall as Mu with darker hair with a few strands of gray in gray slacks and a buttoned white shirt. She had to guess this was Sai's father from the noticeable color in their eyes and if Sai was just a bit older would look almost identical. Obviously his parents.
"Mom, dad, please," Sai said as both parents continued to check him over, confirming Murrue's own thoughts correctly. "I'm fine. We're all fine."
Flay leaned over to Sai. "You called your parents?" She looked okay about it but her whispered tone said she was a little bothered by his action.
Of course he would. Why wouldn't he? They were suppose to be home hours ago so he had to call. "I didn't want them…"
Flay froze instantly as the voice seemed to boom down the hall and shake the walls around her. She looked in time to see her father storm around the corner, eyes locked instantly on her. She honestly didn't think he would come to Orb. So lost in his work that she half expected he wouldn't have noticed her gone till she returned.
Murrue noticed the approaching George Allster as he seemed intently locked on his daughter. That looked very familiar to Murrue, memories of getting her parents angry as a child rushing back to her. Though what the elder Allster did next was something Murrue's parents never did.
Flay was about to speak but was silenced instantly with a crack of George Allster's hand coming across her cheek. Flay nearly fell to the floor had Sai not caught her. That portion of the wing went dead silent except all for a desk phone ringing from down the hall. Flay's cheek burned red from blow with a visible red print that nearly covered the side of her face. She was so stunned she didn't move.
"You insolent little girl!" Allster shouted. "I risk my life to bring you back to Earth, to bring you back home where you belong and you just up and run away to ORB!?"
Sai looked between the two before looking to Flay. "You… I thought you called him? You said you would." Flay didn't respond.
George snatched his daughter by the arm, forcing her to finally look at him. "You even stole from me. I received constant calls for my credit cards being used, charges piling up!" Again Flay was silent and that didn't seem to help the mood any.
"George that's enough," Sai's father finally spoke. His hand rest on George's shoulder to force the man to face him. "You're in a hospital…"
"I don't care where I am Charles!" George snapped while pulling his arm from the elder Argyle. He looked back to Flay. "Do you have anything to say at all!?"
Mu stepped up having had enough and wanting to ask a question or two as to what was happening. "Excuse me, Vice Foreign Minister."
"What!?" George spun on Mu, the lieutenant never flinching when just inches from the angry father. But upon seeing Mu as well as noticing that the man was there to begin with seemed to falter. The anger displayed just seconds ago ebbed away to the surprise of seeing the famous Hawk standing in the same hospital as he was. "Commander La Flaga?" He then noticed Murrue as well just over to the side with a displeased look on her face. "Captain Ramius."
"Mr. Allster," Murrue said with a slight edge. "There seems to be a problem. Would you like to discuss this privately?"
Reminded of why he was there but calmer due to the surprise of seeing the commanding staff of the Archangel George adjusted his tie, feeling it had grown considerably tight all of a sudden. "I'm surprised to find you here. Last word of you was that you missed the landing coordinates when entering Earth."
"Again, sir," Mu interrupted. "We should talk in private."
George looked to sweat a little. "O-of course. Yes, of course. There is a lot to discuss." He huffed and looked to Charles Argyle. "I apologize but could you keep an eye on Flay." He sent her a small glare but she still refused to look him in the eye. "I can't seem to trust her to not do something foolish when I'm not around."
Charles watched the three leave to some place to discuss… whatever it was that needed to be spoken about. Obviously something that was over his head if it involved George as the Vice Foreign Minister. He looked back to Flay. Sai approached to put a hand on her shoulder but she shrunk away from him. However when his wife Fumiko approached her she relented. Sai's shoulders sagged with a dejected look upon him. It had been a while since Charles had been in that position and was no doubt going to have to talk to Sai on the situation. Hopefully his advice may help console his son. The girl, if he remembered was named Miriallia moved over to Flay as well, the girl whispering something to her while Fumiko rubbed the girls shoulder in a motherly half-embrace. He was going to have to talk with George before the end of the day. He had been surprised to find the man on his door as they were leaving for the hospital with a look of rage upon his face and demanding where his daughter was. They had no idea Flay had ran away. She had them convinced she was visiting with his wishes. The drive to the hospital was a heated one too with him going on with the charges she had rung up from his credit cards and how she was acting so out of character since they had returned from space. Charles didn't know what to say but for the man to lash out at his own daughter like that wasn't excusable. But as long as he had known George he should have been prepared. The man did have his anger issues.
Elsewhere in the hospital though George was pacing as Murrue gave him a quick summery of what had happened since they entered atmosphere. He looked to be listening but it was just barely simmering his constant rage of his daughter's actions. Mu remained quiet and allowed Murrue to do the talking. She of course left out some minor details like Adam's brush in and private meeting with the famous Andrew Waltfeld. But for some reason she doubted the man knew who he was. She kept it short considering the situation. Selfishly she wanted to leave the man to simmer and check with a doctor on Adam's condition.
The brief version of their tale finally came to an end with her explaining why they were currently in a hospital, causing the George to pause in his pacing. "Your pilot was shot?"
"Yes," Murrue answered along with a nod. "Not much is known as to why but for now its believed he may have been caught up in some form of kidnapping. A young woman who was present with him and the children was last seen taken by the second assailant."
George though didn't care about the girl. He was more focused on the idea of the pilot of the Eyes Gundam being out of commission. Needless to say that George was shocked upon his return home and having a meeting with the higher-ups within Blue Cosmos that the pilot and machine that saved his life was in fact NOT an Alliance soldier, let alone a spy or agent that he claimed to be. He had been grilled for hours to give as much needed detail as he could about the man for them to perform a thorough background check and to his surprise nothing came up. His machine was just as mysterious with no markings of any kind to identify a possible manufacturer. George had worried this would come back to bite him for just allowing a possible security risk run rampant onboard the Alliance's newest battleship but was relieved he wasn't going to be punished for it. He obviously had no idea and considering the compelling stories Adam had presented with an abundance of knowledge involving the ship and its capabilities along with that of the remaining prototype, the Strike, how could one not give him the benefit of the doubt. Not to mention his actions in orbit showcasing his fight against ZAFT. And George had been one of many to pay witness to the level of power his machine could produce when it took down one of ZAFT's own ships in a single shot. He wouldn't lie that he was left speechless at the display of power and could only imagine what the Alliance would be like with a number of machines like the Eyes.
Murrue didn't like how George had just stopped and looked to be thinking a bit too hard on the matter. She would like to think that her explanation of the situation had managed to divert his rage from his daughter and her actions. Though she was quite sure it would be short lived when they were done with their private meeting.
George turned to the two. "I need to make a phone call," he announced, leaving the two a little confused. Obviously they weren't expecting that. "I can reach some people higher in the chain of command, give them an update of the situation if you give me just a moment. Maybe they could perhaps send assistance in your travel to JOSH-A."
Mu couldn't help but smile at that bit of news. He was sure that once they left Orb territory ZAFT would be quick to jump at the chance to attack and so having an escort waiting to assist them would be a great weight of worry lifted from them. "That would be much appreciated. Orb has been nice to us but once we leave port, we're on our own. And with one pilot down there will only be three of us to deal with ZAFT who I have no doubt are just waiting for us to leave."
Mu stepped aside for George to go make his private call, his smile fading as he watched the back of the man move down the hall as he retrieved his phone. He looked down the hall to the kids, seeing the younger Allster still in the comfort of friends and her fiancé's mother. Her face was still red from the blow and had George been any other man Mu was sure he would have given him a mark of his own. But the last thing he wanted was a career ender for striking a foreign minister.
George glanced over his shoulder to look and make sure he was away from the two Alliance members to speak freely. Loyal soldiers as they were he couldn't guarantee they would side with him if things were to go as he thought they would. His phone rang only for a few times before Muruta Azrael answered with an annoyed huff.
"What is it Allster?" Oh he wasn't pleased at all and George forgetting the time difference he was now thinking that Lord Azrael may have been asleep when he called.
"My apologies Lord Azrael but I have some important news to discuss with you." He glanced back again to see them still far from being able to listen in.
"And what is so important that you would call me at this hour?"
"I'm currently in Orb and have learned that the Archangel and its crew are here."
The line was silent but George could hear some movement. No doubt Azrael sitting upright in his bed. "In Orb?"
"Yes, sir. No doubt docked at the Morgenroete facility, though I'm not sure where…"
"Doesn't matter," Azrael snapped. "What is the condition of the ship?"
"So far from what I've learned its been through some rough fights on its way to JOSH-A but had to make port in Orb for repairs and resupply."
"And the mobile suits?"
"Both the Eyes and Strike are still functional and onboard, though the pilot of the Eyes is incapacitated." He looked back. Both Mu and Murrue were over by the children along with Argyle family. Flay was still to the side with Fumiko. His anger long since simmered George now felt a little ping of hurt when looking at his daughter. Maybe he had gone too far, his anger controlling his judgment.
"Incapacitated how? Is he dead?"
George focused back on the call. "No. It seems he got caught up in something on shore and was shot. No one knows for what though and he's currently in surgery."
"We can't have him getting to his machine before JOSH-A, Allster. We need both of them to learn their secrets."
"I'm aware he isn't a proper soldier of the Alliance, Lord Azrael."
"And you will use that knowledge."
"Have him locked away as a possible spy?"
"With stolen Alliance property while posing as an Alliance soldier."
George nodded. "I see. But I believe we can't wait till we arrive at JOSH-A to bring him in. And captain Ramius believes ZAFT is somewhere outside of Orb waters. They're short on hand for combat…"
"I see what you are saying Allster and I'll look into sending the nearest ships available towards Orb but you'll have to get them to leave soon."
"We have plans in motion and if we can get our hands on that machine it would be a major boon in our favor."
"Of course. I'll come up with some details to try and get the Archangel into open waters and on to JOSH-A."
"See to it." The smugness could be felt through the phone and George could picture Azrael with that typical suave grin of his. "If you succeed there just may be something special waiting for you."
George didn't get time to question what Azrael meant before the line was ended. He pocketed his phone and looked to the group, just missing his daughter glance in his direction but look away. Now he just had to come up with a good enough story for them to believe but with him being the foreign minister he was sure he could up with something.
After getting as far away from the parking garage Mesa and Kirkwood stuck to the back streets till they were able to meet with Athrun and Sean. Sean immediately noticed Thomas' absence and questioned them and needless to say he was furious. He at first targeted his anger at Mesa for her negligence and reckless behavior and used that as an excuse to blame her. He had looked to be ready to lay her out on the spot but Kirkwood got in the way, saying it was Thomas' fault for jumping the gun and opening fire. He followed up that they could have easily snuck up on the two as they had looked to be alone and could have easily taken him down without too much of a struggle but Thomas obviously had other plans. Athrun chimed in with his own thoughts explaining that Thomas maybe wanted payback for being taken out twice by the same man but Sean wasn't having any of it. When it looked that Mesa wasn't going to be his outlet for his anger he opted to go and see that the job was finished but even from their position they could hear the sound of sirens near the garage. There was no way Sean as going to go and finish Adam off without being caught by the authorities.
Falling back to a construction site that was currently closed for reasons they didn't care to know they simply just waited for Winston to come and pick them up. Sean said nothing and paced around. He refused to talk to any of them or even look them in the eye. No one wanted to look him in the eye either. Mesa hung back and away, arms folded as she just stayed in her own thoughts. Kirkwood hung close but she wanted to be alone for a moment. He got the hint and remained silent but was still close. Athrun was to himself as well with a flash drive in his hand. She assumed that was what Adam had given to Athrun and he was no doubt anxious to see what secrets it contained. And after her conversation with Adam she was just as anxious. But thinking back on Adam her mind drifted to that point where he was lying on the ground with the gun in his hand. She didn't want to believe it and just say it was a trick of light but she was sure his eyes were glowing.
Another part though that bothered her was how she felt on the matter. It bothered her seeing Adam in that state. Just lying on the ground with blood running down his arm and on the ground in a growing puddle. She could see part of his clothes had been torn at the shoulder so the damage had been much worse than just a clean shot through. But the look on his face did it the most to her. The emotions ran quickly in such few seconds she could see but there was much fear and surprise on his face when she looked at him. She wondered if when he was firing the gun had he been trying to aim at her or not. The shots were wide and hit everything else but his shot on Thomas was clean.
Mesa sighed. She was just so exhausted. In her short time on earth so many fellow soldiers had died around her and yet again she came out alive. She wasn't much for miracles but she was sure her mother was going say it was a miracle and a blessing she had survived as long as she had. She wondered how her parents were doing while the war was going on. Her father being a Natural, she was sure he was probably having the hardest of it, more so than her mother. Neither wanted her involved but the need to prove herself to her homeland was too great. Didn't help she was teased constantly about her origin of being a mix of two sides that seemed to hate one another.
And again she thought of Adam who seemed to have no real animosity to Coordinators. Thinking on it if you didn't aim a gun at him he wouldn't give you a second thought.
"But we're enemies!"
She shook her head. Memory of their first face to face and those words had to come back to her. And now of all times? She suddenly wanted something to drink. Alcohol seemed like something she was going to need to get her mind off things but she knew it wouldn't be so easy.
"What is taking Winston so long?" Kirkwood piped up and breaking the silence.
Sean said nothing but did spare a glance in his direction.
"He'll get here when he can," Athrun spoke honestly. "We just need to sit tight and wait for him."
"We can't wait forever. Eventually the local police are going to be looking for us."
"I know, but there's nothing we can do. We just have to wait." Athrun looked down at the drive in his hand, flipping it between his fingers. He was nervous about the thing. It felt like he was holding some kind of bomb in his hand. He had wished Adam had just told him what was on it. His thoughts though were interrupted when a grey van rolled to an opening in the construction site. Winston was in the driver's seat and honked the horn once. The team wasted no time and rushed over and practically dove into the open panel door. Sean was in the passenger seat while the rest were in the back.
"May want to stay low," Winston said and looked back briefly to Mesa. "Especially you."
"Police have a description of you from some eyewitnesses saying you were kidnapped. Guess they didn't think you were part of the team." Winston looked to Sean. "What the hell happened and where's Thomas?"
Sean snarled. "We'll talk about it later."
"Kidnapped?" Kirkwood asked.
"The kids," Mesa whispered. "There was some kids Adam knew that were with us. The police must have questioned them and they gave a description of me."
Athrun briefly looked at her but then to Winston. "Did you bring the laptop?"
"Under the passenger seat," he answered.
Sean pulled it out and passed it back to Athrun who immediately booted it up. Took a few minutes to fully start but once it was ready he put the drive in. Mesa and Kirkwood huddled around him as they too were just as curious as he was to find out what this whole thing was about.
There was sizeable chunk of memory taken up but there was just one video file. Athrun turned the volume up so the others could hear as he pressed play. It opened with a view of what looked like a very Spartan sleeping quarters. Obviously this was recorded onboard the Archangel. A second later Adam sat down in front of the screen. Mesa froze for a second when seeing him and instantly thought of him lying in that parking garage.
"Athrun Zala," he spoke sounding a bit tired. "Sorry if I seem out of it. This is like the third time I've tried recording this and its kind of late. But enough of that." He cleared his throat. "So no doubt you have the drive and I'm either back at my ship or I'm dead. I really, really hope I'm not dead by the way."
Athrun looked to Sean but the man said nothing.
"Anyway, on to business. First I'll apologize for all the cloak and dagger bullshit. Being a spy sucks. But lucky for you I'm not a spy with the Alliance." No one said anything but they did look between themselves. "But I'm not with ZAFT either. But I'm sure you have guessed that as well considering what I've done thus far. Either way I've got something that I can't be silent with and I think you may just be the person that can prevent what I believe can lead to the complete destruction of the entire planet. I'm talking scorched Earth levels."
That wasn't ominous at all.
"He can't be serious," Kirkwood said.
The team could feel the van turn, everyone bracing themselves but continued on listening just as the image changed to something the viewers were not familiar with. By its dimensions the… thing was massive in scale. A space station or base of some sort that none of them had seen before. "I give you Genesis. Originally this lovely station was designed to help in propelling ships at faster speeds to lesson the time it took to travel between Earth space and Mars. However your father, Patrick Zala has converted this tool into a weapon." Again the image changed, showing power output and range of what looked to be a massive energy blast amplified by what looked to be a reflecting mirror. Athrun was quick to do the math and saw that the level was three times that of a single nuclear bomb, if not greater.
"I… don't get it," Mesa said and looked to Athrun. "What is this?"
Athrun paused the video. "This… this can't be right. My father wouldn't do this."
"Do what?" Sean asked as he looked over his shoulder. "What is it?"
Athrun pressed play. "Now I know what you're thinking Athrun. You don't think your father is capable of such a thing. That a weapon of this magnitude couldn't possibly exist and I'm just making it up but its real. Its DAMN real and for all I know it is still under construction. But I highly believe that its close to completion. Luckily the thing is worthless without a nuclear power source with neutron jammers all over the place. However there is only one person who can remedy that and I'm sure you know who I'm talking about."
"Nicol's father, Yuri Amalfi," Athrun whispered.
"I still don't understand," Kirkwood said. "What is this thing?"
"According to the numbers this thing has three times or more the power of a nuclear warhead and its converted into a massive energy weapon," answered Athrun. Everyone within the van fell silent.
"Are you shitting me?" Winston asked, glancing into the rearview mirror. They were a short distance from the leaving the city so far were clear but he wasn't going to count them out of the woods just yet. They'd just been lucky so far. "That's enough firepower to wipe out a good portion of life on the planet. And I'm not just talking about Naturals."
"There's no way my father would make this," Athrun snapped in anger but he began to sweat at the idea. His hands even began to shake. "He wouldn't go that far to win this war."
"Then what is this!?" Mesa asked pointing at the screen.
"It has to be a bluff and like he said it can't work without a nuclear power source. Neutron jammers would shut it down easily."
"Now I'm betting you're thinking that there is no way Yuri Amalfi would build something that could possibly negate the effects of a neutron jammer, shielding the Genesis from their effects and making this space station to become fully operational." It was beginning to wear on them how much he could possibly guess as to what they were all thinking. Comical in a way but terrifying at the same time. "Which would be true considering my sources tell me he is very much against the idea. However there could possibly be a way to convince him to do so. Much like Patrick Zala is enraged for the loss of his wife, your mother, to build this weapon so too would Yuri Amalfi if something were to happen to say… his son Nicol?"
A cold dread washed down Athrun's spine.
"Now I can't see the future." Given what he had said thus far that was beginning to look like a lie. "This is all just pure speculation on my part but with Patrick having this doomsday weapon near complete I can't help but wonder. And being on the opposite side of this war I can't very well do much to intervene in some capacity now can I?" Adam adjust his seating slightly and reached up to rub at the corner of his eye. Mesa wondered how late he had stayed up to make the recording if he was looking that tired. "I know you have no right to believe me Athrun but I beg that you do. It's a hard thing to ask you to believe that your father is willing to go to these lengths to get his revenge but he is. I'm not asking you to do much but one thing and that is to make sure Nicol does not take part in any future battles."
"Seriously?" Kirkwood snorted. "That's his solution to this? I still say this is bullshit."
"And if its not?" Mesa asked as she looked to him with a stern look in her eye. "We can't just ignore this." She looked to Athrun who continued to stare at the screen lost in his own thoughts. He looked conflicted on the matter. There was no way she could understand what he was going through at that moment. "Maybe his information is wrong and its not Patrick Zala but someone else?"
"Something like that wouldn't get past him," Sean said from the front. "He's head of National Defense. Something that massive wouldn't even get approved of without his signature. And he would be the only one capable of keeping it secret. If the Plants knew of this thing it would split Coordinators in half."
"What, like a civil war or something?"
Sean shook his head. "Not to that extreme but people would liken it to the Julius Seven bombing, just us Coordinators attacking Earth. And it won't be just thousands of people." Sean looked back to Athrun and saw the young man still staring intently at the screen. "What's worse is that we know of this. If it's a guarded secret and we come out with it…"
"You're suggesting that its possible we may get silenced," Winston finished with a shake of his head. "No way."
"Are you serious?" Kirkwood looked to the two. "If this is real are you really saying that they'd kill us to keep it quiet?"
"Up until it's revealed and used." Sean looked at Athrun who was looking to him with a shocked expression that begged him to be lying. "Not all us of at least. I don't see Zala killing his own son over this."
"That won't happen!" Athrun shouted with a look of confliction and anger on his face. "My father would do no such thing. He would never allow this or use it and he would not kill anyone to keep it a secret." He closed the laptop and pushed it aside.
"I hate it as much as you do," Sean continued. "But we have to look at the big picture. The Alliance has the numbers and if those machines of theirs are anything to go by the technological gap will be closing. This weapon could easily put us in the winning of this war, maybe even the total surrender of the Alliance. But I can't see that happening without a demonstration."
"My father…" Athrun started but Sean fixed him with a look.
"Wake up and think like a soldier in a war and not a kid who doesn't wish to think his father is capable of mass genocide!" Sean snapped. No one responded. "Even I can see the outcome of this weapon being used. Maybe a single shot down on a heavily fortified Alliance base like JOSH-A would get the point around but if the numbers are correct it wouldn't just be JOSH-A that gets destroyed. Shot from orbit a large portion of the Northern hemisphere would be effected." He turned away and faced the front view, ignoring the look Winston was giving him from the corner of his eye. "And that is with one shot."
Mesa watched as Athrun didn't respond. She looked to everyone and no one wanted to respond. But that didn't stop her from asking, "So what do we do now?"
"We can't stick around anymore obviously. With you or with that drive on us. We need to get off the island and out of the country so that means we need to contact the sub and get transportation out of here before its too late."
"We'll do that once we get in contact," Winston added. "They've been silent for a good while now and are staying out of range of Orb's fleet."
"And you're sure this is the correct course to follow?" the captain asked as he looked to Nicol. The young man was staring intently at the map between them. Below was the entirety of Orb and what Nicol placed on the map were the number of obvious routes that the legged ship would take in order to escape into Alliance waters. Currently his ship was on a wide swing around Orb's waters and territory. Barely skimming the line and not in a good way. "We still have no proof that ship is still in Orb."
A gentle smile graced the young red's face as he said, "I'm not as good in strategic calculations as Athrun but if I were to hazard a guess as to where that ship would go if it were to leave it would be here." He pointed to a specific region north of Orb, amongst a grouping of islands that separated Orb from its borders from that of the Alliance. An uprising of land masses caused by shifting tectonics when the N-Jammers first burrowed into the ground. Along the path which was the quickest route to JOSH-A were a few others that went out and around the grouping of islands. "It's a good a place as any to set off a surprise attack and gives us an advantage even if they were to go to either side for their escape."
The captain sighed and rubbed at his chin. "Then it's a good thing we refueled and supplied. If things go wrong we can make our escape. What if the ship has launched before we arrived?"
Nicol shrugged. "Then there is nothing for us to do but fall back to safer waters." He smiled at the captain. "Of course once we picked up Athrun and the others of course."
"Are your machines ready?"
"As best as they can be, but with half our team gone we're going to be short handed."
"All the more reason we should have stayed back and waited," the captain huffed as he crossed his arms. "They've been quiet for too long. Has me worried something happened."
Nicol shook his head. "If they had been found I'm sure we would have seen some change in the fleets routes. Maybe even more ships launching into the waters. He'd want us to at least be ready in case the legged ship does leave."
The captain gave a huff and turned to move to his command post, slowly lowering himself down into the captain's chair. "I hope you're right."
Nicol took that as a sign that the conversation was over so left the bridge, his gentle smile fading as he exited and began the long winding path down into the hanger. It had been late last night when a refueling carrier pulled along side them and were not only replenished with fresh fuel but munitions as well to replace what was lost in the last battle. They had hoped for at least another ship to aid them but it seems orders were issued. Something big was going on and it wouldn't surprise Nicol if their ship was to be recalled as well. So it was do or don't now. If the legged ship didn't make its appearance before they were ordered to return they were pretty much sunk. Hopefully they would be able to snatch up Athrun along the way otherwise his teammates were going to have to take the long way back to the Planets.
It wasn't long before he entered into the hanger and pausing to look at the six machines that stood in their berths situated on either side of the hanger, leaving room for their Guuls to parked practically in the center. It was quiet. Everything that could be done with the machines was completed long ago and now they just stood and waited to be used. Nicol had plans he needed to finish fleshing out before they arrived at their destination and it be far was going to the hardest of what he had in mind; planning for the Eyes. Just thinking of that machine gave him a chill.
He departed for the pilot's briefing room just to stop short when seeing Dearka lounging away in a set of chairs, his legs propped up on the back of another one as he played away at some handheld game. His entrance didn't go unnoticed and the blonde turned to see him standing there. "Hey Dearka," Nicol said as he moved into the room, door hissing as it closed behind him. He approached the main monitor and brought it online, wasting no time in scrolling through collected combat files.
"Hey," Dearka replied as he focused back on the game in his hand.
Nicol looked back for a second. "Didn't peg you for the gaming type." He focused on the screen. His hand ran over several video files that he spaced out. All collected combat data and visuals of certain battles that involved the Eyes.
Dearka narrowed his eyes in concentration at the difficult boss fight he was currently in. "Was bored. One of the guys onboard lent it to me to kill time before our next engagement. If we go into battle that is." He looked up at Nicol as his character died in its third engagement with the boss. Tired of loosing he turned the game off and moved to stand next to Nicol. Each screen showed a different perspective of a real life 'boss' that they couldn't seem to defeat. "What's got you watching these?"
"I'm currently working out a battle strategy to deal with the legged ship. I've narrowed down a possible route the ship will take to travel to JOSH-A and am now working out the details of handling it."
"Well I've worked out some ideas that could feasibly work but the crutch of it is the Eyes."
Dearka gave a snort. Nicol gave him a dirty look for it and Dearka just smirked. "You honestly think you can come up with a plan to defeat that monster?"
"I'm at least willing to try."
"Commander Creuset had a plan too. Look how well that turned out."
"Never thought I'd hear you say something negative about Commander Creuset."
"And I know when to pick a fight I have a better chance of winning." Dearka leaned back against a nearby chair and crossed his arms, the images of the Eyes moving about on separate battlefields and thrashing their forces playing out before him like a high-light reel of their failures. "We've had superior numbers and planning against two machines, two fighters and one ship and yet we've been beaten back. Since the Eyes first showed up its demonstrated that our so-called 'advanced' machines aren't up to snuff. Even with additional help, new machines and experienced pilots we've gotten our teeth kicked in at each turn." One scene from the desert battle played out, his machine and Yzak's getting easily trounced and left in the dirt while the Eyes decimated their forces.
Nicol turned to face him fully. "So what do you suggest?"
"We gather our people and go to the nearest ZAFT port we can get to."
"So you are saying to run." It wasn't a question but a fact. Something Nicol was having a hard time understanding given who it was that suggested they do said thing. "That we abandon the mission. What would Yzak say to that?"
"He'd be pissed and probably punch me in the jaw but you can't ignore the fact the Eyes has us beat." He again looked to the screens, a static filled image barely showing the red glowing visage of the Eyes as it changed for the first time. "Yzak would run head first into a fight with that monster fully believing that as a Coordinator he stands a chance at winning against that thing when its proven time and time again that it doesn't matter." He glared at Nicol. "You can't tell me you haven't noticed as to why."
Nicol felt a bead of sweat run down his forehead and a lump in his throat. He looked to the Eyes and did indeed notice one glaring fact that each image shared. That machine rarely touched the ground and was always, ALWAYS, able to fly under its own power. Their machines no doubt could very well last longer in a fight if not for the Phase Shift armor being constantly on. Without it though their armor as weak as any other mobile suit. And with each hit they can deflect or bounce off their run time becomes shorter. But the Eyes however has shown it does not have that limitation. Whatever it is powered by gives it an outrageous amount of running time and so is able to outlast their machine by who knows how long.
Dearka continued. "We fight that thing it's a fight of attrition that we will not win. We're on our own with limited machines and weapons. The numbers are evened out but we're going to loose."
Nicol looked down completely in thought. He couldn't deny it either. The Eyes could take them on all on its own. It's done it before. It isn't limited by gravity and can fly through the air as fast as their machines could on the Guuls. And with the binders also doubling as directional weapons and some form of amplifier for both offensive and defensive capabilities they only way they could possibly win would be through overwhelming numbers and force.
"Athrun would no doubt think of something," Nicol said and looked to the screens. "We know its possible weaknesses. The binders being an obvious one if we can take them out. For all we know it may hinder its mobility. But its not our sole target either."
Dearka sighed. "Of course. We still have the Strike, the two fighters that are onboard and the ship itself."
"The Strike and the legged ship are the primary targets with the Eyes but our machines are equal in capabilities to the Strike. Destroying it when the Eyes is the better of the two seems almost pointless at the present so we no longer need to consider it a primary target." Nicol moved the images of the Eyes to the side and brought up an overlay of the islands he planned to stage his attack. "If anything the Archangel is still our main focus. We destroy it we can call it a win."
"You aren't serious are you? We would still have to deal with the Eyes."
"I'm aware. But if we can destroy the ship the battle may fall into our favor. And my plan won't just fall on our mobile suits." He then highlighted an area of the path he believed the Archangel would take within the islands. "This ship has remote missile pods we can place in strategic locations. Plus enough smoke bombs to help in a possible escape but I have a plan for them. Not to mention my machine's Mirage Colloid." He brought up points they could place the missile pods, hidden from view of the ship's trajectory. Another point to the far west of the islands he brought up an image of their ship. "Here our ship can launch surface to air missiles while our machines can hide on the east side. The ship will act as a distraction forcing the Archangel to focus on them, maybe even draw out the mobile suits and fighters onboard."
Dearka arched a brow. "That's pretty cold of you to use our ship to lure out the bees from their hive, Nicol. Yzak would probably be proud."
"I don't really like the idea but it's the best I can come up with. If we can get the mobile suits away maybe we can do enough damage to cripple the ship, leaving it stranded on the islands. Its hardly outside Orb's territories so help won't come from them in the time they would need. Plus it would look like Orb is aiding the Alliance right in the open and they can't afford that."
Dearka shrugged. "I mean at this point we just lack the physical evidence."
"Doesn't matter. This is our last chance to stop them before they are clear to Alliance territories and out of our grasp. The only issue is pilots." Nicol moved away from the screen and out to the window overlooking the hanger. "We've been forced into radio silence from the team we have inland so we have no idea of what their status is and with my plan putting us out of range for the moment…"
"Kinda thought ahead on that part for you," Dearka said with a smile. "Those new machines we have I've had some of the crew take a shot at the simulations. Some have promise but they aren't ace pilots. Some have prior training with one having some combat experience but it was up in space before being bounced around till he ended up here."
Nicol gave him a smile. "Thinking ahead?"
"I just want our chances of survival getting higher. Luckily the Commander left his machine as well so we still have the numbers in our favor but overall power belongs to the legged ship."
"I'm still working out all the details. There are still a lot of things to consider but the easy part is done. As soon as we get to the location we need to immediately start setting up. We don't know how much time is on our side so we need to work fast."
"Still sounds like a suicide mission to me," Dearka said with a shrug. "But if things really get bad we can always throw Skrull at them as a distraction."
"Where is he by the way? Haven't seen him for a minute."
"Don't know, don't care. Yzak can be a pain at times but Victor has shown to be way worse."
"Talking bad about your closest friend, Dearka? Behind his back no less."
"That's how we're friends. I tell him how it is and back him when its true."
At that time though Victor Skrull was at the bottom of the hanger, staring up at a particular mobile suit.
Murrue didn't really know what to say at the moment. Allster dropped a huge bombshell on them and she honestly couldn't fathom a single bit of it. Even Mu was silent and continued to process the information he had just brought to them in the silence of the empty hospital room. "A spy for ZAFT?" It was hard to believe considering everything Adam had done for them. The number of times he had risked his life, the missions he went under at her order. Everything. And yet when George Allster came back to them with what she hoped was good news he dropped that on them instead.
"It's a shock to me as well," he said, looking to the floor, arms crossed. He was sweating a little bit as well. She guessed it was from the news. Adam had saved his life back in space. Hard to believe the same man was really a ZAFT spy.
"Are you sure you heard them right?" Mu finally asked looking slightly desperate between Murrue and George. "I'm not one to question command to a degree but this seems like there has to be a mistake."
"I wish it was too but the second I mentioned your ship questions about the Eyes and its pilot came up. My superiors demanded I inform you of the situation and that Adam be detained till you arrive in JOSH-A. When I pressed for answers they said that he was not an Alliance soldier of any sort and had reason to believe he was a spy for Plants and ZAFT."
"It just doesn't make any since," Mu added as he paced the room. "Everything he's done for us till now…"
"He's too familiar with the ship and the mobile suits, not to mention the Eyes," added Murrue.
"I'm simply relaying the order," George spoke. "Adam is not to be released under any circumstance and is to be kept far away from that machine."
"Well so far that won't be hard with him behind out of it for the time being." Murrue looked over to Mu who still didn't look thrilled over the information. "Did they say anything about the Eyes. Why was he in possession of it if he's a spy?"
"The Eyes was part of another side project that is for certain. I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to say as to what but that all personnel that were tied to it were killed." He looked to both of them. "Executed was the more precise word I was given."
Murrue gave a small gasp. "Executed?"
George nodded, continuing with the act. "Though the location of the Eyes was destroyed what remains were found showed precision gunshot wounds. Even the test pilots were killed. All remaining data to the Eyes was lost except for what may still be stored within it."
Immediately Murrue thought to the handheld device that Adam tended to carry with him at times. The so called 'key' he used to activate the machine. No doubt it was more than that. "We still need to question him," she said though the thought of the device lingered in her mind.
George looked to her. "I know this must be hard considering everything you've gone through but make no mistake. Adam Winslow is a threat. One we can't let wonder around freely."
Mu looked to speak again but Murrue cut him off. "We understand. If you don't mind can we have the room for a moment. I need to speak with Commander La Flaga."
George nodded. "I understand. Once I've received notification of where we need to be I'll give you the coordinates." George left the room, slowly closing it behind him. When the door was shut he let out a sigh. He doubted they fully believed his story but it was the best he could come up with at the moment. He'll need to get with Azrael to better flesh out the story, maybe even fabricate some evidence to make it more believable. He looked down the hall to see the Argyles and children were gone, along with his troublesome daughter. He frantically fished for his phone and began the speed dial. She better be with them or there would be hell to pay.
Back in the room Mu stared through the blinds at George who looked to be in some shouting contest with whoever it was on the phone. "I don't believe it."
Murrue blinked. "Which part? Being a spy for ZAFT or not being part of the Alliance?"
"I don't believe he's a ZAFT spy, but him not being with the Alliance I always knew was true. He carried himself to much like someone who acted like a soldier but wasn't one."
"You never acted on it?"
"You never noticed I had a sidearm on me every time he was in the room?" He watched her blink in confusion, then looked up in thought before it finally dawned on her. "I stayed armed at all times, keeping him within eyesight. But before we got here I firmly believed he was on our side. He's done too much in our name to be a part of ZAFT, even if he is a Natural who sympathizes with the enemy."
"So what do you think this is all about then?"
"The Eyes. I don't think it was made by the Alliance or Orb and that's got them wanting to go to great lengths to get their hands on it. Even fabricate evidence and lie to get him and that mobile suit."
"You do realize what you're saying, right? That the military we work for is lying to.."
"Get their hands on a machine with overwhelming power, powered by an unknown power source that obviously shows it has near unlimited power, and piloted easily by a supposed Natural?"
Murrue hated it when he made her feel like a child but the evidence was there. Loyalty to the Alliance nearly blinded her to it but Mu was right. If the Alliance built the Eyes there would be more, at most one other that could perform similarly and perhaps would have been assigned to the Archangel. Maybe. She shook her head. "Say you're right. He's not Alliance or ZAFT. Who would he work for? Why stay on the ship with us? Why help us out at all?"
"Maybe the story about being stranded in space was true, and needed us to survive."
"But why stay? And how did he know so much about the ship? The Strike? He knew about you and identified George Allster."
Mu couldn't fault that bit of logic. Mu was know for his feats so that was an easy answer and George Allster could easily be identified if you watched the news enough. The Hawk simply gave a sigh and shook his head. "For now all we can do is wait till he recovers. Or at least wake up. I'm not a betting man but I'd like to think the surgery will be over soon."
"And then what?"
"I hate to say it but we do as Allster said. Take him into custody onboard the ship. Have him cuffed and guarded at all times and when he's able we have a talk." Mu moved to the door to only pause as his hand rested on the knob. He looked over to Murrue. "We at least need to hear him out. He deserves that much."
Kira stood silently in his quarters with his Alliance uniform in his hands. Pressed and neatly folded he just stared at it as his thoughts swirled over the decision he was making. To the side was a small bag of what little belongings he had gathered during their travel. Really nothing but a single change of clothes and a few undergarments. Birdy sat on his shoulder looking at the clothes, then to Kira with its head swiveling. With a sigh he sat the uniform down on the bed, also neatly made. Almost like it was never used. He reached for the bag but stopped, his outstretched fingers curling back to make a fist. No. It needed to stay. If it was gone they would immediately know hew as gone. Better to look like he was still on board.
With a heavy sigh Kira turned and left the quarters. He hoped they would understand the decision he was making. At least he was sure Adam would. Adam had told him before it was his choice to make.
Birdy simply sat on his shoulder and said its name. Like normal.
Kira left his quarters and carefully made his way to the exit.
To Be Continued…
I'm not going to make any excuses for the delay. I procrastinated and got myself stuck on this. All I can do is apologize to the readers who had waited for this update and I'm sorry if it didn't meet your expectations. I had originally planned it to be a long one but at a certain point I felt I couldn't get it to go any further. Tried going through and fixing mistakes and hoped it would spur me along but it didn't. Still no excuse for getting this out sooner. I am thankful for everyone who was patient with me. And a thank you to Amir-015 who suggested I just go with what I had. As stupid as it sounds I never thought of doing that.
I hope the next chapter won't take as long. Maybe I'll try and keep it shorter though I'm sure short chapters will tend to drive some of you crazy much like myself. Especially when this would be considered the halfway point of the series. Things are heating up with so many changes beginning to occur. I have other fics I've also touched upon but really haven't made much progress with and the ones I have posted I haven't really updated. My other gundam fic will get an update in the future as this one progresses seeing as the two are connected. I have an idea for a big fight to happen in that one which many fans of Build Fighters might find enjoyable, though no cameos from the main cast so sorry.
Still touching on a Gundam / Monster Hunter based story that some fans might find interesting, though I've hardly gotten anywhere in the first chapter. Just got to stayed tuned and see if I post it.
Another is a Warframe / Mass Effect fic I was starting for shits and giggles. Some might get a kick out of that one if I decide to go through with it.
Rewrite of my Symbiote fic is no progressing very far so I don't know when I may be posting that, if at all.
On an entirely different and unrelated note I've recently taken up a hobby of Action Figure Photography. If you don't know its basically taken action or static images of action figures or models. Got an instagram if you're interested and that its zero_adimus. Aside action figures I will be posting some of my models as well. Right now I'm working on a custom painted Nobel Gundam. Will post images of my crappy paint job once its completed.
Well that's all for today. Catch on the next one.