This Phase is the first that goes into the time and events of Gundam Seed Destiny. I will just state flat out, there will be some events from the series that I will have happen, normally not in the exact same way, and there will be events that I'm just tossing out and putting others in their place. As the author, I write the story so, that's how it goes, this will be the only time I stated that. With that out the way, my standard disclaimer still applies and let's get on with the Phase!
Phase 27: The Autumn of Tranquility
September 27th 73 C.E.
Armory One, Lagrange 4 colony cluster
The peaceful times continued for the most part, there were no public conflicts since the drafting and signing of the Treaty of Junius Seven. Nonetheless, that certainly didn't mean that everything was golden for all going forward since the peace conference. Nevertheless, outside of the public eye, events were occurring that weren't to maintain the peace that had come after the first PLANTs war. There were those that were disregarding the agreements made to try to cause another conflict for their own interests. Then, all three factions had been rebuilding their military forces that had been lost in the first war and went further.
At the ZAFT's PLANT-type colony named Armory One, located at the western edge of the L4 colony cluster that was the side facing the moon was seen as peaceful yet, caused an amount of tension. The reason that it wasn't among the cluster, was that had become Human Federation territory at the end of the First PLANT war, but the territory was quiet for the relationship with the Federation and the Alliance was very strained. Inside the colony, the inhabitance was going about their day to day lives thinking nothing about events going on. The colony was originally built for military development, but it quickly became a place for non-military personnel to call home. There were shops and other civilian facilities throughout the colony along with the military controlled areas.
Around the interior dock facility, the newest of ZAFT's ships was docked, soon to be deployed out into space. It was the first of a new ship class that was named the Minerva-class and so, like most ships that are the first of its class had the same name. Designated the LHM-BB01 Minerva, it had an overall length of three-hundred-fifty meters and was a transatmospheric battleship, meaning that it could be operate in space or on Earth equally well. The vessel had a laminated armor layer on the outside for defense as such a technology had proven very useful in the last war with the Alliance's Archangel-class being a good example. The ship had fourteen engine thrusters for propulsion and gave the vessel fair acceleration and speed.
For equipment, the Minerva had two mobile suit catapults, one on either side of the center of the ship, just behind the forward half. There was also a special catapult for one of the mobile suits that was assigned to the Minerva and was built into the back of the forward half of the ship in the center. The other system the Minerva had which was different than previous ZAFT vessels, was what was called the "Deuterion Beam Energy Transfer System". The system was meant to work with the new generation of mobile suits that ZAFT produced, which the Minerva would carry the prototypes. The idea was intended to recharge a mobile suit's battery without the machine returning to the ship. It was a way to have powerful mobile suits without using nuclear power as it was banned by the Treaty of Junius Seven.
When it came to Armaments, there were twelve 40mm CIWS defensive guns for intercepting incoming enemy fire. There were also anti-beam depth charge launchers to help against beams being fired at the ship. Then, the series of four missile launchers on either side of the Minerva's hull on the back half of the ship, could fire different types of missiles depending of the situation. Torpedo tubes were also built into the ship for the times that it would go down to Earth and have four of them. For the major weapons, there were three that were available. The first was the two XM47 "Tristan" dual beam cannons, which were mounted above both of the linear mobile suit catapults. Next, was the M10 "Isolde" 42cm triple cannon, which was mounted on the center of the ship. It would be stored under the special catapult when not in use. Finally, the last weapon was the QZX-1 "Tannhäuser" positron cannon. The Minerva was the first ship ZAFT built with a positron cannon, but the former Earth Alliance vessel, the Archangel had shown how effective the weapon could be and the harmful pollutant effects had been fixed for the most part. The cannon was mounted in the front side of the ship, behind a plate to hide it when not active.
For today, one of Minerva's mobile suits was to go out for its final test flight, the ZGMF-X56S Impulse. The mobile suit itself was unique as it was the only modular machine in the second-generation mobile suits ZAFT built. So, could not only take its opponent by surprise, but also change or replace equipment on the field and not have to go back to the ship to do the job at all. The pilot which had been selected for the Impulse, was a young woman by the name of Aila Lakeen. She had a height of 167 centimeters and was twenty years of age. Aila possessed long near-waist length silver hair that framed her pretty face. Her eyes were a light blue which gave off a warm feeling to others. She was one of the pilots the Minerva had, wearer of the ZAFT Elite red uniform, and was the team leader of the mobile suit pilots on board.
Aila had suited up in her pilot suit and had headed for the Minerva's hanger for the final test flight of her mobile suit. When Aila got to the hanger, she saw that her three junior pilots were there waiting for her, they even saluted when she entered the room. Aila considered them juniors mostly since they had little real battlefield experience, so they were fairly green plus, they were a few years younger than herself. The first in the line was a young man that stood slight taller than Aila herself. His name was Shinn Asuka and he was sixteen years old, so four years younger than herself. Shinn's hair was black, went to the bottom of his face everywhere but in the front and was messy. His eyes were a reddish chestnut shade, which complimented his hair color. Thus far, Shinn had been shadowing Aila, showing that he respected and admired her… perhaps as some kind of mentor.
Aila had to admit, Shinn had talent, even if he lacked experience, but his potential was something she hadn't seen in many other pilots. Shinn was also one of the two backup pilots for the Impulse mobile suit, if for some reason Aila was unable to do so. She had been teaching him and the other, also overseeing their practice session in piloting the Impulse through simulations.
The next in line, was a female that was slightly older than Shinn was, by the name of Lunamaria Hawke. She was a tiny bit shorter than Aila herself, but could still look Aila at the same eye level. Her hair was a red-violet and was short overall, but the style fit the girl's appearance and personality. Lunamaria's eyes were indigo and that was the feature that stood out to Aila for they didn't fit the rest. She came off as serious, except with her eyes, they gave off a more relaxed feel. Like Shinn, Lunamaria was still green and hadn't seen real combat yet as she enlisted after the First Alliance-PLANT war.
Then, there was the last in the pilot lineup, a second young man that was the same height as Shinn, whose name was Rey Za Burrel. His hair was of moderate length, not as long as Aila's, but longer than Shinn's or Lunamaria's and was blonde. Rey had blue eyes and was easily the serious one of this trio by a margin. He was also the other backup pilot for the Impulse mobile suit like Shinn was. However, Aila felt that Rey was sometimes a little too serious, but his attitude was also good for a team leader as well.
Aila smiled at the three, "You know, the three of you didn't need to be down here for the test flight," she said in her alto pitched voice.
"Ma'am, when the team leader is heading out, it is customary to see them off," Rey stated flatly.
"The sediment is nice Rey, but really, loosen up, we're not in combat right now," Aila returned.
The chief mechanic approached the group, "Miss Lakeen, the Core Splendor is good to go, just waiting for you to get in," the man said.
Aila nodded at the man, "Thanks chief, I was heading that way," she replied. Aila then turned back to the three pilots, "Have fun watching the test flight it is the last one for the Impulse, and remember, you do have other duties to fulfill as well, so don't goof off all day."
Aila then, turned towards the lift that would take her up to the central elevator for the Impulse, jogged up the stairs to the top platform. Once she got to the top, Aila raced onto the lift that had what looked like a support craft waiting. The blue and white craft was the YFX-M56S Core Splendor, which was the most critical module of the Impulse mobile suit, the cockpit and power supply. Aila leapt into the cockpit by grabbing the edge and then swinging herself over and into the pilot compartment, her legs going to either side of the center control stick. After adjusting her position to what she wanted, then buckling the restraints, keeping her firmly in the pilot seat. She activated the OS of the craft and closed the cockpit, facing forward and taking hold of the control stick with one hand, the throttle with the other. "Bridge, this is Aila, I'm ready to go for the Impulse's final test flight," Aila said over the com-line to the Minerva's bridge as the Core Splendor's closed and sealed the cockpit.
"All personnel, standby to launch the Impulse for final test flight," announced the voice of Meyrin Hawke, the younger sister of Lunamaria. The girl was assigned to the com-station on the bridge of the Minerva as well as the mobile suit operator. "Force module selected, opening silhouette hanger 1, silhouette flyer, standby for launch!"
At the bottom of the central elevator system, under the three platforms already in the lift shaft, a fourth platform was being added. A storage hanger that had the number "1" on the front, split horizontally open and the fourth platform moved to the central elevator. The platform had what was called the "Force module" silhouette flyer, and was a set of equipment for the Impulse mobile suit. Once the fourth platform was added, another announcement came, "Platform setup complete, central catapult on-line, opening airtight shutters," stated Meyrin over the speaker system. The airtight shutters were raised up after the order came, enclosing the central elevator shaft. After the shutters lock to the ceiling of the hanger, Meyrin continued, "Emergency crews, standby at launching positions. Raising central catapult to launch position."
The platforms started rising upward towards the catapult, Aila was toggling the last switches to have the OS active and ready. "Core Splendor, all systems on-line, the hatch is opening, the linear launch system is on-line, catapult power levels normal, you will be clear to initiate launch sequence momentarily." Meyrin said to the Aila in the cockpit.
The sight of light became visible to Aila as the Core Splendor reached the top of the central elevator. Thruster vents rose up behind the craft before Meyrin spoke once more, "Course cleared, Core Splendor go ahead and launch."
Aila saw the catapults top and bottom light up, activating to show the takeoff course for her to take out. She moved the throttle forward a little, letting the engines warmup for use, before she looked up to the display to signal timing for launching. The signal came up, "Aila Lakeen, Core Splendor, launching!" she said, before throwing the throttle all the way forward and the Core Splendor shot forward and took off from the catapult. She had the craft climb up higher, keeping an eye on the sensor screen, waiting for the other three module flyers to come out. Aile saw the three flyers come out from the ship one after another, then form up in a line. She maneuvered her craft to be the leader in the line of modules as they finished lining up in the order of the leg flyer, followed by the chest flyer and then the silhouette flyer bring up the rear.
The X56S Impulse was meant to be one of the new variations that the second series of ZAFT mobile suits that were a test platform. The Impulse was a modular suit that had multiple modes, each with a different set of equipment, meant for various situations. With what had been seen from the First Alliance-PLANT War, the Integrated Design Bureau had kept themselves busy with design and development. The Impulse used an Ultracompact Energy Battery, since the Treaty of Junius Seven outlawed the use of N-Jammer Cancellers and so nuclear reactors were not feasible or wise to try and use. The second generation of Phase Shift Armor was equipped to the Impulse like the other prototypes of the second series. Variable phase shift armor being much more efficient than the first phase shift armor when it comes to energy consumption. The disadvantage of this kind of armor, was that it needed to be programed beforehand on when and where it strengthens the output.
One of the newer features that the Impulse had in common with the other second generation mobile suit, was a receiver for the Deuterion Beam Energy Transfer System which was onboard the ship it was assigned to, the Minerva. With the receiver, a beam could be shot from the Minerva and recharge the Impulse, thereby doing energy resupply on the field. The last feature was the mounting hardpoint for the silhouette packs, that were based on the Alliance's GAT-X105 Strike's striker packs.
For the armaments, the mobile suit possessed a pair of MMI-GAU25A 20mm CIWS guns mounted in the chest on either side just above the cockpit. At the hips were hidden compartments that held the two M71-AAK "Folding Razor" anti-armor knives that were similar to the Alliance's Strike's "Armor Schneider". For defense, the Impulse had its MMI-RG59V mobile shield, which had anti-beam coating and could either be used collapsed or expanded. The suit's main weapon, was the MA-BAR72 high-energy beam rifle, which was developed from the data from the same rifle that the X10A Freedom and X09A Justice used. And with the machine's current equipment, two MA-M941 "Vajra" Beam sabers were available and stored on the Force Silhouette.
Once Aila reached the height that was agreed upon for this test, she detached the missile launchers that were on the underside of either wing. She then shifted the Core Splendor into it docking mode, which had the wings folded inward and the cockpit fold downward to the underside of the craft. At the same time, the leg flyer came forward, activating its laser docking system and connected with the Core Splendor. The chest flyer moved past both as they docked and rolled into line in front of the Core Splendor. The legs came on-line and linked to the controls in the cockpit. Aila moved forward and lined up with the docking lasers of the chest flyer and docked into it. The arms moved back so that the shoulders aligned as they were supposed to be for use.
With both the leg and chest flyers docked, Aila had a working mobile suit, but there was still one more part, the equipment. And the force silhouette was still coming up behind, so Aila pushed the throttle forward and made the mobile suit rocket upward to be aligned with the docking lasers from the silhouette flyer. The remote steering module the flyer had, detached and the force silhouette connected to the Impulse mobile suit. Wings unfolded, two out to either side and two downward, which had high output thrusters built into their framework.
With the Impulse assembled, Aila started the test flight, which included targets to shoot and points that she had to flight to. All of it to give the mobile suit a rigorous test of its systems and the skills of the pilot and this was to be the final test before the Impulse was officially declared ready. Aila knew that this test was being viewed by more than just those on the Minerva, and she would give this her best. The flight started out simple, no targets just flying from point to point before the targets were added. Aila was calm and kept focused, missing no targets nor going off the course she was take for this test.
Meanwhile, upon the bridge of the Minerva, the crew was watching the Impulse flying with seemingly great ease and hitting each and every target. The man that was the Minerva's second in command and deputy captain, Arthur Trine, was viewing the Impulse's flight from down in the CIC. While he was a couple of years younger than the captain of the Minerva at the age of 26 and with a height 172cm. His hair was a grey-brown and short while his eyes were hazel. Arthur was wearing the normal ZAFT black uniform. Arthur whistled softly, "Aila Lakeen is certainly a skilled pilot captain, we are lucky to have her assigned to the Minerva," he said.
The woman to whom Arthur Trine was speaking was the captain of the Minerva, Talia Gladys.
She was 29 years old with a height of 170cm, her hair color was the same as dandelions, while her eyes were hazel. Talia was wearing the white ZAFT uniform that signified commander status even with her being the captain. Her service record with ZAFT showed she had good instinctive battle tactics and has the mentality of protecting one's ship first and foremost. "Indeed Arthur, Aila is skilled and experienced. It is clear to see that thought went into her being assigned to the Impulse and it appears to be a wise decision," replied Captain Gladys.
The Impulse successfully completed the test flight with flying colors and after seeing the mobile suit in action, the majority of the crew were in high spirits. The Minerva didn't have a mission given it just yet, but morale was good, and expectations were bright.
Through the Lagrange 4 colony cluster, an Earth Alliance vessel moved unseen and undetected by others. The ship was the first of a new class for the Alliance, the Girty Lue-class which was a stealth space battleship. It was three-hundred-eighty meters in length and was built to be able to carry many mobile suits and be used for special operations. The forward section was taken up mostly by the mobile suit hanger and the ship's four launching catapults.
There were three special systems the vessel had, its propulsion, stealth and rocket anchors. The propulsion system, were jets that used gas based fuel which nearly eliminated all heat emissions from engines, therefore couldn't be picked up by thermal sensors. The next system was one that was banned by the Junius Seven treaty, Mirage Colloid stealth system. When combined with the jets fueled by gas, made the Girty Lue-class pretty much undetected. The only ones that weren't fooled thus far were the Federation Military, they had systems that could somehow find those with Mirage Colloid. What those systems or sensors were, the Alliance had yet to find out and it wasn't due to a lack of trying. Then finally, the rocket anchors made it possible for the ship to attach itself to objects in space, to either hide or maneuver.
The Girty Lue wasn't light on armaments at all either, even if it lacked in variety. It had six "Gottfried Mk.71" 225cm high-energy beam cannons, one above and below each catapult and then the other two were on either side the forward section. Girty Lue also had a total of thirty-eight vertical missile launchers that were usually loaded with anti-ship missiles. Lastly, there were sixteen "Igelstellung" multi-barrel CIWS guns over the top and bottom of the ship.
On the bridge, a man stared out of the forward viewing port, observing the appearingly small object getting closer. It was one of the two targets that the ship and its crew were around Lagrange 4. The man was six feet in height when standing, yet much of his face was covered by a grey and red mask, which gave an ominous air to him. The man had blonde hair that went beyond his shoulders, though none of the hair on the top of his hair was visible due to the mask. His name was Neo Roanoke, held the rank of captain and was a member of the special forces unit known as Phantom Pain, which was a part of the Earth Alliance. The unit operated unofficially, funded by Blue Cosmos, but didn't necessarily follow the Earth Forces leadership. With the unit's autonomy, they had no problem ignoring treaties or rules established by any of the three factions.
Neo Roanoke was the mission commander, and he along with those on the ship, had two assignments he had from those he reported to. Those were to somehow acquire particular information that the Federation possessed, and the other was to capture three new mobile suits that ZAFT had developed. Of the two tasks, most would expect capturing the ZAFT machines would be the most daunting and difficult. Yet, Neo knew there was going to be far more variables and complexity with acquiring the information the higher ups wanted. The reason that was the case, was getting the files would require access to the Federation's coveted and cursed "Information Network". What was on the network was unknown overall, but as the Federation relied on it so much, it was assumed that any and all facts they acquired, both in the open and in secrecy were kept in the network. The issue, the Federation zealously guarded their network and allowed no real access to anyone else, not ZAFT or the Alliance. The idea of any from the Alliance going up to the Federation and "asking" to look at or borrow a file from the Information network, was as ludicrous as it was pointless. Those within the Federation would help ZAFT long before agreeing to help the Alliance with something they asked for assistance with, especially if it was to fight against ZAFT.
So, the best chance to obtain success with the theft of the information as well as the mobile suits, Neo chose to raid an outpost that belonged to the Federation that was located at the edge of the Lagrange 4 colony cluster. It wasn't a military facility and so, it should be slightly easier to get in and gain access to the Federation's network. Then, hopefully they could leave with the files before there was a response from the Federation military, since they tended to be rather prompt and timely. After the raid then all that was left, was to go to the other side of the colony cluster to ZAFT's Armory One and take the mobiles, getting out with them. It could be made to sound so simple however, it would be anything but.
The one good thing going for Phantom Pain, was that they had been given some new soldiers that would be able to accomplish tasks that others would have difficulty doing so. The trio had been given to Neo from Lodonia Lab, two males and a female. Apparently, there had been a major change at the place as there had been issues with them before. But now, the lab sent the trio to prove that the lab was still producing valuable work for the Alliance, even if some of their "Good Scientists" had vanished. The evidence that had been provided to show what the three "teens" were capable of, had shown Neo that the young teens had been trained well enough to do as they were required. Their "maintenance" was a tad unusual, as they had to sleep in pods regularly, but if that what was needed for them to perform, then so be it.
It was hours later when the Girty Lue came into communication range of the Federation's Milos Astrological Research Outpost. The small research station controlled by the Federation was out of the way and yet, still was as far as intelligence had been able to acquire, they had a connection to the Federation's Information Network. And as the target of Phantom Pain were a number of files on the network, this smaller facility fit the bill, and it being a non-military complex was a bonus. It would mean there would be little to no near-instant response from the Federation's military being shoved down their throats. Neo knew that there would be a response, but there would be a period of time that work could be done before Federation forces would be come around.
The Girty Lue deactivated its mirage colloid behind one of the last colonies and then moved forward and into view of the station. Mechanics onboard the Girty Lue made adjustments to the ship's systems to make it appear to be having trouble. Then, the vessel's com-officer opened a channel to the outpost and began the rehearsed story of the Girty Lue having system trouble and specifically engine and some life support issues and asking for assistance. Those at the controls of the outpost acknowledged the Girty Lue's troubles and agreed to do what they could. The docking process was routine, but during that time, the raiding party was going through final preparations for the operation about to start. Those from Lodonia were getting their maintenance done so that they would be ready for the capturing of the new ZAFT mobile suits. Neo would move in behind the raiding party, who would be sweeping up and eliminating witnesses, and gain access to the Federation's Information Network and retrieve what they were here for. After that, all would exit quickly and leave before any came around to find out what happened.
Neo headed down towards the airlock, he heard the airlock open and the soldiers rush forward and the sound of gunfire quickly begin to echo. Neo had been sure to tell the raiding party to not damage many of the consoles in the control room as the more of them that were intact, the better chance there was that the information they were here for could be acquired seamlessly. However, when Neo floated onto the station, he could see that issues had already arisen. The raiding team was doing the elimination sweep, but there had been some that had resisted and slowed progress down. For another thing, the control room had been locked down and that would take work to undo. Meanwhile, that would give those here time to make their mission more difficult by contacting Federation forces.
As Neo made his way toward the control room, he was somewhat surprised to see the bodies of children. He had been under the impression that this was a research outpost, meaning scientists and system operators, not children should be here. The murder of children might be deemed necessary by some, but it didn't sit well with Neo, even if they were Coordinators. He would still do the job if it was needed, it just didn't feel right. He came upon two that were working on getting the control room open and accessible and they were making progress.
It took five more minutes for the control room to be forced open and a few members of the raiding party went in with Neo, shot and killed all but one person in the room. The man that was left alive, was forced to provide the needed authorization to get into the Federation's Information Network. Once that was done, Neo got to work as he was the only one that knew what to look for. It was known to the Alliance that the Federation's network was more secure than most other systems, both inside and out, accessing is only the first half of the challenge, finding and then extracting the desired information. The two particular files were simple to find for Neo, but copying them and being able to view their contents would be another matter, but one step at a time. Neo took out a data storage device and hooked it up to the console he was working at and began copying and extracting the data.
When the desired files were copied, the man that was alive was shot and the raiding party began heading back towards the Girty Lue. Time wasn't on their side, it was only a matter of time before Federation Military forces came looking around to see what had happened. And it had been noted that a destress call had gotten out, so the Federation Military was on their way. It would be best if the Girty Lue wasn't around when they came, for Federation detection equipment was better than ZAFT's so mirage colloid wouldn't help. Plus, time was needed to crack the Federation's encryptions that were on the files they had taken.
Echowas, Lagrange 7
I reported to Echowas as I had been asked to, wondering what was up to have me come to central command for the Federation in space. I mean, lately, I've been cleaning up messes that the Earth Forces have been making. They had been trying to be "covert" in their operations, but normally failing at the idea, only making it clear that they had been ignoring more of the Treaty of Junius Seven. The type of job isn't what I want or really like doing, but to get the jobs you prefer, sometimes you get to do the dirty and mundane tasks. A truth that I've learned during my military service with the Federation, which is up to four years now. The other major reason I wasn't exactly happy about being at Echowas… was me meeting with my boss, Admiral Raine. I avoid having contact with the woman, for my own safety as much as anything else! It is because I was meeting my boss that I was in my more formal and horribly stiffer uniform, I was attempted to score brownie points with her, or at least not make things worse for my standing. I'll take either or both anytime with Admiral Raine!
So, I was tense when I knocked and was told to enter her office. I moved to stand in front of my boss' desk, snapped too and gave giving my best salute and formal greeting I could, "Admiral Raine, Commander Tyler McGregor, reporting as per orders ma'am."
Admiral Raine looked up at me, "Commander McGregor, it has been some time since you've stood in my office," she replied.
I swallowed hard, "I've been trying to give you the space and I have not wanted to come here ma'am," I muttered.
Oh, did I get a worrisome and frightening glare for that muttered remark, which I had hoped she hadn't heard! "You care to say your comment louder McGregor?" she posed menacingly.
I flinched and said the first thought that came to my mind, "I said, that I've been doing my best to keep out of trouble ma'am, as well as trying not to make extra paperwork for you to deal with," I replied quickly as well as keeping myself from shouting the reason.
The woman hummed, "Yes, that's what I thought you were saying commander." She paused, then continued, "You are here for a special assignment McGregor, but there is one other thing to get out of the way first." I paid attention, hoping this assignment is better than what I've been doing for a bit now, clean up jobs are the PITS in my humble personal opinion! "A rank change is in order for you McGregor," she continued.
A rank change? That's really odd, I think my performance has been pretty good, exemplary in fact. So, nothing really comes to mind that would get me a demotion or even a promotion, so then why the change? Little did I know how much a surprise I was in for, "Congratulation McGregor, you've been promoted to the rank of Captain. Even I have to admit, your performance has been outstanding for the last year," Admiral Raine stated.
I couldn't help but gaped at the woman that was my boss, for that was the highest compliment that I can remember getting from her! And then, for me to be promoted to captain?! I'm only twenty, pretty much any other captain I've encountered is five years or older than that! This change spells and reeks of problems and issues, "Uh, permission to speak freely ma'am," I asked. She nodded for me to go on, so I did, "I'm not saying that I don't appreciate going up in rank and what comes with it boss, but um, I think most would say that I'm kind of young to hold that rank and position. I mean, doubt you have forgotten the flak I got for being sixteen and a commander. It was harsh, that's until I proved I could hold my own. I would assume this would be even worse ma'am, for the complaints about me come to you, so… forgive me for asking ma'am, but why me?"
Admiral Raine sighed, "Yes, I do indeed recall the complaints that came to me about you being young. And I would be lying if I said I don't expect to receive such again when rumors fly around about this as well. However, this was not my decision and you're being assigned to a ship and to the position of command it, meaning the rank is necessary."
If my jaw could hit the floor, it would have at that last sentence! Not only was I being given the rank of captain, which was rare for someone like me, but I was going to be given a ship to be responsible for too?! Someone is giving me a lot of credit and confidence if they're willing to give me a job like this, or there is something else going on. I'm wondering what's going on for an idea like this to have been put on the table! I guess it would be best for me to see what this "job" I'm being handed is about and what I get to work with. "Okay, it's neat that I'm being trusted with a job like this boss. But uh, what would require someone with a working style like mine that comes from kicking rear down in the trenches, to be in command of a ship, if you don't mind me asking ma'am."
Admiral Raine slid a pile of papers towards me, a tad apprehensive, I walked forward and picked up the papers and scanned the first page.
Operation type: Seek and Scrub
Priority level: 1
Approximately twenty-four hours ago, an unknown Earth Alliance force assaulted the Milo Astrological Research Outpost. The intent has been confirmed as the Alliance force gaining access to the Information Network. After gaining access, several files were copied, two of those being very sensitive in nature. It is vital that the file do not remain in the hands of the Alliance nor reach their military headquarters on either Earth or the Moon. Whether the files are recovered or destroyed, does not make a foreseeable difference in the outcome. The Earth Alliance force has been code named Phantom Thief and will be referred to that name going forward.
The details I skimmed on the rest of the page and those that followed, weren't nice at all! Not only did this show that the Alliance had extreme interest in getting files from the information network, but that they had ill intent with regard to what they were after. Then, this group, this Phantom Thief had been the first to actual get unauthorized access to the network. Thankfully, protocols were such that any data copied from the network was encrypted for transfer, the strength depending on the sensitivity of the data. So, there was still time before the stolen files reached any who might have the skills needed to decrypt the data and have them readable. There was no information given on those who were maintaining the station or what had happened to them and that worried me. I looked back to Admiral Raine, "Fair enough for an answer ma'am. Last question, when can the ship I'm being given leave," I asked in complete seriousness.
"The new Normandy-class frigate will be able to depart within the next hour, final supplies are being loaded as we speak. The ship is in dock D23," she replied.
With that information, I saluted, then left the office and headed down to the hanger that had been given for the ship I would be commanding. Once I arrived in the lounge above the dock I came to a halt as I saw what would be "my ship" the Normandy as it was the first of its class. The pile of papers I had gotten from Admiral Raine were still in hand and when I flipped through them, I came to the page that gave information on the ship itself.
The Federation frigate Normandy, had an overall length of about two-hundred meters from bow to stern. The majority of the vessel's structure was in the oval shaped cylinder, which had wings coming off the back-quarter section of the ship. The propulsion was made up of six engines, two built into each wing, one on the outside, the other on the inside of the wing's center, while the last two were mounted into the back of the main ship structure. The crew compliment was a maximum of one-hundred-fifty members. The vessel had the standard stealth field system, though the system has been improved over the last year and a half. The Normandy could carry up to five mobile suits if one squeezed, so normally four suits comfortably and had a single catapult along the central underside. The linear catapult was retractable along the underside, and now used magnetic emitter rail to help with acceleration and deceleration instead of cables.
Other standard systems and equipment included defensive options and other ideas that I was kind of surprised the ship has. The first was launchers for anti-beam depth charges and signal flares which wasn't surprising. However, the Normandy was equipped with Ablative Gel, like the Archangel had, mostly for atmospheric reentry, which lent credence to the ship being transatmospheric like the Archangel was. The system that I was most impressed with and both wanted to see it work and also hoped wouldn't ever have to be put to use in serious situations, that being the Deflection field. Sci-fi type fiction has sparked the idea of "shielding" and the deflection field is definitely the closest to the principle of shielding created thus far. According to the specs and reports on it, the field should be able to deflect beams for any direction while its activate. The drawback of the field, it sucked down power like nobody's business, easily could outdo any other system in power consumption.
For an arsenal, there were four high-energy beam cannons, called "Spearnous" and I spotted two of their single barrels under the either wings, four of them in total. Then on the list of weapons was the missile launchers, which numbered thirty in total. By what was written, the missile tubes were mounted in top half of the wings and the rear of the ship above the engines themselves. The Normandy's heavy weapon, was a positron cannon, mounted in the front fourth of the central section of the ship. However, where the first-generation positron cannons had horrible side effects of radioactive pollution, that flaw has been fixed. Then in the defensive aspect, there fifteen "Falcogun" 75mm multi-barreled CIWS guns. There were four in the front, four on each wing and three in the back.
As I looked back to the ship, I got a view of my mobile suit, the Z201 Aurora being loaded on to the Normandy. After taking in the sight of the ship, I went to collect my things and head down towards dock D23. Yet, I came to a halt when I came into the docking bay and got a closer view of the ship I was being assigned to command. The feeling that had me wondering whose "bright idea" it was to put me in charge on one of the newest Federation ship, came to me once more strongly. Still, after I shook off the feeling, I floated through the boarding tunnel and came onto the Normandy in the center of the ship's central structure.
When I got onboard, I headed towards the bridge, and after going up on a lift. Coming out of the lift when it had stopped and opened, into a large room that had console areas on either side which were lower than the center of the room. I assumed that they room I was now in, was indeed the command bridge of the Normandy, as it had stations that I knew the look of enough of them to know they were for ship operation. The helm station was in the front, while the other stations lined the outside of the bridge, with the tactical stations, such as map display in the rear center area. Two chairs were in front of the tactical center, one in the middle the other on the left of the center one, seats clearly for the captain, which is me and the vice-captain who I have yet to meet.
I was finishing my glance around the bridge, when I felt a tap on my shoulder from behind. Upon turning, I found myself looking at someone that I didn't think I would see while on this ship and on duty, for I was looking at my friend Lisa Malto. "Lisa, what are you doing here," I managed to ask when I got my voice to work.
Lisa gave me a smile, "Well, I'm assigned to the Normandy, seems you and I will be resuming the same positions we've had with each other the last time we worked together," she answered.
I took a moment to consider what Lisa had just said, and after a minute, everything fell into place and I felt surprise at comprehending the idea. "Wait, you're saying that you are the vice-captain of the Normandy?"
Lisa nodded, which brought some relief as having Lisa as my second in command would work out well for this ship and its crew. I've been on ships that the captain and vice-captain don't work very well together, and it doesn't go well. The Archangel is a good example, Murrue Ramius and Natarle Badgiruel being one pair that didn't always get along, the good cop bad cop thing just doesn't work. So, to know that the one I would depend on to see that things get done, was someone that I can work with, is nice. But equally, it is also good to have someone that can talk sense into me when I'm getting close to doing something stupid, was comforting. Lisa can and does tell me no and will stop me from being an idiot, it is helpful, even if it doesn't feel nice when she does it.
"So, how did your meeting with Admiral Raine go," inquired Lisa.
My mood fell a bit, "Better than most I've had with her, definitely the best I've had in person. That woman scares me in ways others don't, I usually feel the need to cover sensitive areas for the fear of them getting nailed," I said. Then I kept going, "I mean yes, the promotion to captain is nice, even if it does come out of the blue, but I think she was more looking ahead towards the complaints she'll get about me being young and having the rank I do, nothing new for her I guess."
It was then I realized that I was still in the stiff formal Federation officer uniform that I wore to the meeting with Admiral Raine and didn't need to be. I faced Lisa, "Sorry Lisa, but I have GOT to get out of this stiff clothing, it's starting to feel more and more like a strait jacket. Plus, I probably should drop my things off in the quarters I'll get while on board the Normandy," I stated, before I floated towards the lift.
It took me some time to find "my quarters" but I did find them, they were on the deck below the bridge with the other officer quarters. I must say though, the room was somewhat larger than I had expected, best living quarters I've had other than my own house. There was the general living area with a bed and small sitting area, yet there was also a desk in a separate area along with a bathroom. It was nice to have a room like this, but it felt a tad too much to me, but then, being a captain was more than I'd thought I would be at this point in my life. However, mom will certainly be surprised to hear about the change, probably hoping that the rank would get me into less dangerous situations, I doubt it will though. Anyways, I changed into the less formal officer uniform and took a moment to regain my composure, before I made my way back to the bridge.
Upon entering the command bridge, I noted that Lisa was busy with checking with crew members and other things for the Normandy. I moved to the tactical center and was glancing over the data displayed, when I was interrupted. "Excuse me," said a female voice.
I turned to the source and saw a woman that appeared to be around my age as well as close to a head shorter than me. She had pink hair that wasn't neutral pink like Sakura has, but it was darker than Lacus' hair color. Her hair did compliment her turquoise eyes admittedly. The woman's figure was feminine but more average from what I was seeing… not that I'm looking into a relationship, though Sakura is still trying to rope me into one. "Yes, were you talking to me Miss?" I replied.
"Um, you are Tyler McGregor, the captain assigned to the Normandy, correct?" she asked.
I nodded slowly, "Yep, that's me. I'm still rather new to being a captain as the promotion came earlier today and I've never been a ship officer. So then, what can I do for you Miss," I left the question open to hopefully get her name.
The woman smiled slightly and bowed, "My name is Feldt Grace sir," she introduced herself.
…It is going to take time to get used to being called "sir" and other formal titles by others I work with, and even then, I doubt I will nor do I like it. I returned the bow by inclining my head, "Nice to meet you Miss Grace, but please drop the formalities, Tyler will be fine. However, if you see the need to be formal, then captain will do I guess."
"Well then Captain, I'm here to inform you that the Normandy is almost ready to leave port. The ship is fully supplied, all systems are functioning as they should and we're in the final preparations," she iterated.
Miss Grace gave me a report of the ship's status, which gave me the impression that she knew the Normandy's systems well and that would be helpful. I thanked her for the information when she was done giving her report. As Miss Grace went off, Lisa came up to me, "I take it you were just got a report of the ship's status from Ensign Grace," she inquired.
"Yep, the girl is certainly knowledgeable about the Normandy, that's for sure. So, how close to we on being good to fly out, we have a mission already and the sooner we start, the better," I remarked.
Lisa and I glanced over at Feldt Grace, who had taken one of the CIC consoles, "Well, she was with the Intelligence Agency before being put with the Normandy as I understand it," commented Lisa.
I was sort of impressed, I mean, it fit that Miss Grace could work for the Intelligence Agency, she has the skill set as far as I can see. Yet, that brings up the question, how critical is this mission we're being set with? The Intelligence Agency isn't normally inclined to give or lend any agents or those who work for them to other branches of the Federation Military and most don't blame them. In fact, they are the most notorious with holding onto their personnel. So, that implies that whatever information the Alliance stole is very bad for them to have.
Lisa moved on to telling me that we were pretty much ready to go, all the crew was on board and the Aurora was the last mobile suit to be loaded on the ship and that was done. She also mentioned that our previous teammate Luke Lascy was also assigned to the ship and was the mobile suit team lead. Lisa also gave me a basic rundown of some of the bridge crew. The communication officer, by the name of Millais Alloy, held the rank of Sargent, was a linguist specialist and had a good service record. Most of the bridge crew had good service records and nice skill sets.
Yet, our helmsman was someone that I actually had heard of, named Lars Paris. The reason I had heard of the guy wasn't because others spoke highly of him, more the opposite really. The guy is known for "flamboyant behavior" and not following orders, cut the flamboyant behavior and you have what I can be like, but still. I would have to deal a bit different with him, so we'll see how things goes. Then, when it came to pilots, I only knew Luke and that's because I've worked with him, the other two pilots assigned to the Normandy were women, neither of which I had heard of.
Ten minutes passed, and the Normandy was deemed ready and was released from its dock and… hard as it is to believe, even for me, "my ship" and crew headed out from Echowas and started the hunt from the group "Phantom Thief". The first step in finding the group, was to head to the Milos Astrological Research Outpost, for that's where the trail was traced to last. The trip would take over eight hours, and I already have bad vibes about this group and the trouble they would create, and I haven't even encountered them yet!
Around Lagrange 1
Cagalli Athha was traveling onboard the Kusanagi which was heading towards the Lagrange 4 colony cluster. Two frigates and an Enterprise-class cruiser were traveling with the Kusanagi as an escort. Cagalli had been selected to meet with the PLANT Supreme Council's current Chairman Gilbert Durandal to discuss ZAFT's buildup that had been observed. The war had ended around two years ago, the current atmosphere of tension wasn't helped by the factions building up their military forces.
Of course, Cagalli wasn't traveling by herself, even with Orb in good standing and good care with the representative council, her father still at its head. Athrun was with her, which Cagalli secretly was happy about. He had come to Orb after journeying around for a time after the War came to its close. He was using the name Alex Dino, and not his real name as "Zala" had both a good and bad reputation. What was said about Athrun's action during the First Alliance-PLANT War were mixed, though the majority within ZAFT see him as a sort of hero according to his friend Nicol Amalfi he still kept in contact with.
The other that was traveling with them, who was filling the position of bodyguard like Athrun, was a young man that was slightly younger than Tyler McGregor, by the name of Quatre Winter. Quatre's height was 165cm and he had medium length platinum gold colored hair, which frame and compliment his blue eyes. He was a member of the Federation's Military, but he hadn't gone into much detail as to what he did. However, Cagalli had found him to be a kind and humble person as well as easy to get along with. Quatre was using the alias of Marcus Lune to not arouse suspicion according to him.
Cagalli returned her thoughts back to the meeting that loomed ahead with Gilbert Durandal. The subject matter would be of course, the need of power and building up military strength after the Alliance-PLANT war had ended. Then, there was the point that ZAFT as well as the Earth Alliance had gone over the set limits imposed upon the factions. The Alliance denied any such actions, even when they blatantly ignored the limits and other rules. Cagalli hoped that Chairman Durandal would at least have reasons and would listen to logic and common sense. By what his reputation implied, Gilbert Durandal was a reasonable and worked for peace and Cagalli hoped that was true the closer she came to Armory One.
Far East Side of Lagrange 4
Once we came into visual range of the research outpost, what was seen on the displays wasn't comforting, it was a mess. It appeared that Phantom Thief decided to not only raid a science outpost, they also blasted all the detection sensors as well, likely to buy time to do their work too. As we approached the docking port to the outpost, I let the procedure to Lisa and headed towards the docking tunnel, stopping by my quarters and slipping into my pilot suit that was a darker blue that the one I used to have. I'd made sure to pack, just in case, or rather when I would need to use it. When I reached the corridor that the airlock that the docking tunnel would be on, I saw a group of fifteen space suited people. The suits were pretty much the same design as Federation pilot suits, though they were what soldiers had for being in space or to go over to Alliance or ZAFT ships. One in the group, had gold markings on their suit and I took that to mean that they were the leader of the group.
I approached the group, who quickly took notice of me, "Hope you have room for one more, I intend to go over to the outpost to have a look what happened," I stated.
Some within the group flinched at hearing me while others simply stared, yet the leader did speak after a minute. "No offense Captain, but we can handle things, there is no need for you to go over with us sir."
The voice was a baritone, definitely belonged to someone older than me and there had been a tone of… oh, what is the best way to say it? It wasn't arrogance, but it certainly gave the message to tell me to back off and mind my own business. Not that I can't understand the response, there have been officers that I've worked with had a habit of interfering with the job. Nevertheless, I wasn't trying to overstep the team leader's authority, I simply want to see what had happened on the station with my own eyes, for the preliminary reports hadn't be nice at all. "I wouldn't doubt that you and your team can handle yourselves and the needed tasks perfectly fine. In fact, I'll be counting on that when we find those we're chasing, since I doubt they'll interested in any way to cooperating. However, I still intend to go over to the station, so don't take it personally. I'm the type of person that likes to see and do things myself rather than sit around and wait, especially at times like this. Perhaps other captains aren't like that, but that's how I am, and I see no reason to change that. Its kept me alive thus far and I don't foresee that changing in the near future," I returned in a serious tone.
"And what would a ship officer need that mentality for," challenged one of the other members of the group.
"Jenkins, keep your opinions to yourself if they don't have any relevance to the mission at hand," snapped the leader.
"But, Commander Marks," replied Jenkins.
So, the leader of the boarding part has respect from his team as they follow his orders, but they trust one another enough that opinions are not unwelcome, but have their place. I shrugged, drawing attention to me again, "I don't know whom any of you served with before being assigned to the Normandy, but rest assured, I'm not like most ship captains or officers that you've likely met. Heck, until this post, I worked down in the trenches like you all do, most recently down on Earth, but I've done the same in space. That's what most of my military service has been, field work and a variety of different types of missions, this is the first assignment that I've had that I have been a ship officer, let alone a captain."
I got silence at my remark, so I made one more comment that I believe would tell them who has really had tough jobs. "Okay, let me put it to you this way, you bet all of you have heard of Admiral Angela Raine, the woman is still technically my boss when is all said and done. The stories that I would assume many of you have heard about her, aren't exactly exaggerations. The woman can scare veteran personnel with a look or a few words and any one that's worked for her like myself, will tell you that. Her reputation causes some of the particular reaction some of you might have seen when she's around or mentioned. I know I understand why a number of soldiers and officers cover what they do, no wish to get nailed in sensitive areas if you know what I mean."
There were some that flinched at what I said, but Commander Marks just looked at me, "So, you've work with Admiral Raine then?"
I sighed, then nodded, "Yep, the woman is still my boss, as much as I might wish she wasn't some days. But, she is the one that commands SOLAS and that's what I did before now and still am a part of," I replied, trailing off.
"I see, then you're the young teen that jumped ranks and that there were so many rumors about, Tyler McGregor as I recall the name being," stated Commander Marks.
The number of rumors I've heard about myself are numerous, some are ridiculous, most are stupid and the work of dispelling them is still ongoing even after four years of service. Yet, I'm frustrated and exhausted at being reminded of the work I've done and how much there always seems to remain undone. "Yes, my name is indeed Tyler McGregor and I am the one that the rumors refer to whether rightly or wrongly. No matter how many of the rumors I dispel, there's always many more still to either confirm or disprove," I iterated.
There was silence again, then Commander Marks spoke again, "Very well, I'm sorry for my suggestion that you shouldn't go captain."
I waved it off, "I rather have people around that question and discourage stupid decision making than those that simply agree and keep quiet about things they notice while letting others be oblivious idiots. So, continue to question actions that you see as unwise, and state your opinion out loud please," I returned.
There was a clunk, followed by a series of mechanical sounds of docking tunnel connected as the Normandy locked into the outpost docking area. The light above the airlock was red, but it flashed once and then turned green, signaling that the tunnel was safe to use. Still, ever one of us going over, made sure that our suits and helmets were sealed right just in case, it's the mark of fully understanding what can happen if that isn't the case, usual by seeing recordings of the ideas or know someone that nearly died because of not checking. The airlock opened and all sixteen of us proceeded down the tunnel towards the science outpost. The moment we entered the station itself, a few facts became completely clear. The first was that at least some of the outpost's systems were operating and they had power to do so. There was enough lighting to see by, but not what there had likely been normally. Second, the air filtration and regeneration systems were working, the read outs confirmed that there was a breathable atmosphere still. The third and most frustrating and horrifying fact, when the Alliance had taken their self-guided tour, they had been armed and had gone on a shooting spree. Bullet holes decorated the walls, damaged equipment littered the place and worst of all were the bodies of those who had worked here floating lifeless in small groups.
The sixteen of us spread out to collect evidence to piece together the chain of events that had occurred. I went looking for the control room as I figured that would be where the most crucial evidence would be found. That's where the Alliance would go to access the Information Network and that's what they had been here to do. Along the way to the control room, I saw many dead bodies, and the more I spotted, the angrier I became with "Phantom Thief". It became easy to see that chaos and panic had quickly taken hold on the scientist here, but none had survived. There had been a few that had tried to buy others time, by delaying and sacrificing themselves to do that. However, the Alliance personnel had pretty much been executing everyone here as well as steal information. Gender nor age had made any difference to the killers, the young and old had been gunned down.
When I finally did reach the control room, the scene was the same as everywhere else I had seen around the station; half dim light, damaged equipment and consoles and floating dead people. Nevertheless, by what I could see, the majority of the consoles in the room were working and the important ones were undamaged. I moved forward and typed in a couple of commands to see what I could find out from the records kept. Apparently, Phantom Thief had used the story of their ship having trouble and was asked for assistance. The second the airlock had opened, the death toll started counting up at a rapid rate. The scientist here had done what they could to slow them down and stop them, but in the end, they hadn't been able to do much.
I did confirm that the files that had been taken, were encrypted heavily as they were copied, and they couldn't be view, the head of this outpost had managed that. Yet, there was at least one in Phantom Thief that knew what files they came here to get, even if they probably didn't know the contents. The real question was where would they go from here? Granted, going out of the way to a place that has a connection to the network was smart in that the response time was longer, but I can't see that being the only reason they came out here. The data and evidence we needed was obtained over an hour, before we returned to the Normandy. I was still mulling over what else the Alliance could do around the L4 colony cluster, for they had expended an amount of resource already and more than they have a tendency to as of late.
As what was found was looked through and inspected, I was lost in my thoughts and it was Lisa who noticed and spoke up about it. "Tyler, what are you thinking about? You have a very serious expression on your face and have for longer than you are normally inclined to."
I sighed, "There is something about this that's bugging me. I understand the Alliance selecting a facility that is less watched and has a connection to the Information Network to gain access. However, why go out this far, putting forth this much effort and resources for stealing files that could have been done somewhere closer? I think that there's something else around that our query is interested in doing, at least that's the MO that I've been seeing with some of the better operatives of the Alliance."
"Okay, let's say you're right and they do have something else in mind to do around here, what could that be," asked Lisa.
I shrugged, "That's what I'm having trouble coming up with. There isn't all that much of interest within the L4 colony cluster anymore," I remarked.
There was only the hum of the ship's systems running for a few minutes, but then that changed. "Excuse me captain, I think that I might have a possible idea of what else the Alliance may have an interest in around the L4 colony cluster," spoke up Ensign Grace.
I turned to face her and gestured for her to continue, "Then by all means Miss Grace, we're all listening, what idea do you have," I inquired.
Miss Grace cleared her throat, "Well sir, there is the PLANT-Type colony "Armory One". It is no secret that the colony is used for military development, some of it being mobile suits. According to the intelligence report, ZAFT possibly finished their next generation mobile suit series, they have been working on them for a while," she iterated.
What she said, certainly made sense as a prime target for the Alliance. New mobile suits would be quite the prize, but the would have to have personnel that can pilot ZAFT Suits which don't have natural use OSs. So, the ZAFT colony did fit, I merely forgot about it, but then I've been on Earth for the last ten months doing clean up and trouble management. I nodded, "That sounds like good if not perfect target for our query to go for." I faced forward, looking towards the helm, "Lars Paris, I've heard that you're a hell of a pilot, time for you to prove that right or wrong."
Lars twisted around in his seat and I got my first in person view of the man I'd heard not so nice things about. Of course, I'd seen his picture in his profile, but still is different to see someone in person. He had short brown hair and a more oval face, with his eyes being blue. He certainly did give off an air of cockiness and one who doesn't always follow the rules. He glanced back at me, "You have my attention sir," he said, saying "Sir" in a disrespectful manner.
A serious expression set itself on my face, "You know where ZAFT's Armory One is, right" I posed.
Paris nodded, "Yeah, sure I do, take it you want to set course there?"
"You catch on quick Mr. Paris. Yes, and put that foot of yours down hard, time is of the essence. As long as your driving keeps us from being noticed and not hitting objects that would damage the ship, the driving style is up to you," I stated. Normandy's pilot stared at me in almost a gape, which non-verbally asked if I was serious in what I'd just said. I kept my gaze focused on Lars Paris, "Is there a problem with what I said needs to be done Mr. Paris?"
Lars Paris came out of his 'daze' and shook his head, "Not in the slightest boss, just immensely surprised at the difference at having cleaned out ears makes with one's hearing." He turned back to face forward at the helm, "I'll have us in the vicinity of Armory One in under three hours. So, everyone hush up, buckle up and hang on," he announced.
After saying that Paris swung the Normandy away from the Milos Outpost and pointed us towards the other side of the L4 colony cluster. Then there was a fair jerk as the Normandy accelerated towards ZAFT's Armory One colony.
A few days passed since the Impulse's final test flight, and the final preparations were being made on board the Minerva. It was not stated specifically, but the expectation of receiving the ship's first assignment was approaching. The other job needing to be done was to load the other four second series mobile suits developed here at Armory One on to the Minerva. Their given pilots were to go to the hanger and bring their machines to the Minerva from there. Aila was given the task by Captain Gladys to go and meet with the other four pilots at the mobile suit hanger as she had met them already and recognized them.
The other three pilots; Shinn, Lunamaria and Rey remained on the ship in case an emergency came up, as unlikely as that was. The three had been in the pilot lounge and had watched Aila leave the ship to meet up with the other skilled pilots that were assigned to the Minerva. Shinn then looked to the Core Splendor and the bays that the modules of the Impulse were stored. Lunamaria noticed Shinn staring, "Thinking about the test flight of the Impulse? Aila certainly did make it look easy to do, that's for sure, she was amazing," she remarked.
Shinn sighed wistfully "Yeah she was, and I'm not saying that piloting a ZAKU is bad or anything, but using a custom mobile suit is a dream of mine since I saw a CGUE for the first time. I know that if for some reason, Miss Lakeen is unable to pilot the Impulse that either Rey or I then take it out. But, that doesn't feel the same as being 'the pilot' of a custom model. I'm just wondering if I'll ever get the chance to show that I can make a difference on a battlefield," he said to no one in particular.
Rey put a hand on Shinn's shoulder, "Be patient Shinn, your time will come, you can count on that. The opportunity will arrive and if you keep practicing your piloting skills, then you will be ready for it," Rey assured.
Lunamaria was nodding strongly, "Rey is right Shinn, you'll get a chance and when you do, you will show everyone that you are a great choice to pilot a custom mobile suit," she added.
Meanwhile, Aila drove one of the vehicle from the Minerva over to a hanger at the armory, where she would meet up with the other pilots that were assigned to the Minerva. They would fly the suit they would pilot to the Minerva and that would be the final supply that the Minerva needed, her mobile suits. Aila showed her ID to the security guards at the Armory and they let her in, yet as she kept making her way to the hanger, what she saw was somewhat worrying. Granted, there had been standing peace for close to two years now, ever since the signing of the Treaty of Junius Seven. But that shouldn't mean that one should be lax and that was what Aila was seeing, soldiers being lax and making potential mistakes.
The Earth Alliance had been quiet lately yes, but that was the problem, at least that's how Aila saw it. There had been a number of events that were unexplained, but evidence, as circumstantial as it was, pointed towards the Alliance being responsible. That meant that the Alliance wasn't doing nothing and could attack ZAFT, and Armory One wasn't an exception, even if it was out of the way. Aila put aside these thoughts as she came to the hanger that she had been told about by Captain Gladys. She got out of the vehicle and entered the hanger and found that she was early, and the other pilots weren't at the hanger yet.
To pass the time she had to wait, Aila glanced over the other mobile suits of ZAFT's second generation series that the Impulse was a part. Of this line, there was five so far including the Impulse and all but her mobile suit could transform into another form by what Aila understood. The speculation between some including herself, was that scientist for ZAFT were trying to mimic and match the Federation Military's abilities as their mobile suit all had the ability to shift and change plus, the Federation mobile suits had proven to be somewhat more advanced than ZAFT or Alliance machines. The few features that all the mobile suits in this series had in common, were first they all had a receiver for the Deuterion Beam that the Minerva had that could recharge a mobile suit. Second, they were all powered by a newer version of ultracompact energy battery, as the Treaty of Junius Seven banned nuclear power for mobile suits and everything else. Then third, was the phase shift armor system that they were equipped with. The idea of Phase Shift Armor that the five Earth Alliance prototypes from the last war, had been improved to be more energy efficient and effective overall. The system could also be customized to a pilot's preference now where before they could not.
The first here and closest to the door, was the X24S Chaos, and though it was gray at the moment, that would change when its phase shift armor activated, for then it would be two shades of green. By what Ryan Peters, the pilot assigned to the Chaos had said, the machine could transform into a mobile armor that had high speed and mobility in combat. It had a fair arsenal to work with, a number of CIWS guns, beam sabers, a beam rifle and a multi-phase beam cannon. The Chaos also had a remote operate and control system that the technicians call the DRAGOON, apparently the system had been tested during the Second Battle of Jachin Due in the last war and had been improved since then. The DRAGOON was used for the two weapon pods the suit had or that's what had been said.
Next to the Chaos, was the X28S Osiris which was also gray, but would become mostly gold and a dark blue for the torso when its phase shift came on. It would be the mobile suit that Matt Dems would pilot, Aile knew this as she had been going out with Matt for nearly a year and he had told her. The Osiris was supposedly the suit of this series that was the closest to having a transforming mobile suit like the Federation had, in the form of a fighter. What made the Osiris unique was that most of its weapons were not beams but rapid firing guns. Yet, as the Alliance appeared to use laminated armor and not phase shift, that kind of weaponry would work fine. The Osiris also had a combined weapon system for its main offensive weapon, which had three weapons in one frame.
On the opposite side of the first two suit, farthest from the entryway, was the X31S Abyss which would become two different shades of blue and white as well with its phase shift activated. The Abyss was specialized for underwater combat according to Mare Strode, who was the test pilot and would be the Abyss' pilot going forward. Aila didn't get along with the guy all that much, he had an issue with her, something along the lines of him should be the Impulse's pilot instead of her. The Abyss like the Chaos had an array of CIWS guns, but the suit had more a mix of projectiles cannons and beam weapons.
Last but not least, was the X88S Gaia, which was next to the Abyss and closest to the door on that side of the hanger. It would become black overall with some red and yellow when its phase shift came on. The mobile suit's pilot was to be Lyla Nome, an old classmate of Aila from their time in military training. The Gaia designed for land based combat according to Lyla as it could transform into what looked like a BuCUE. The Gaia's arsenal was made up of CIWS guns and beam weaponry. The four mobile suits here along with the Impulse and a few ZAKU Warriors, the Minerva would be set for whatever mission she would be assigned.
The shuttle that was carrying those that would participate in the theft of the ZAFT mobile suits at their colony here in the L4 Colony Cluster, cleared the Girty Lue. Onboard were three Alliance soldiers wearing ZAFT uniforms and a trio of teens. The single female, named Sella Loussier, was internally fretting at the moment. She was over five feet, but under five and a half, had golden blonde hair and violet colored eyes. Stella was going through the exercises she had been taught to keep calm and in control. The teen next to Stella was a pale blue haired teen that was around sixteen like she was, he was reining in his excitement of finally about to see action. The teen's name was Azul Neider, and he was seen as most unstable of the trio which he, Stella and the other teen were.
The last of the Trio and the unofficial leader of the trio, who was named Sting Oakley. The reason that he was the leader, he had shown that he tended to be the most calm and stable of the three. Sting had a height was slightly over five and a half feet, he possessed short green hair and light green eyes. Sting was studying Stella, clearly seeing that she was having trouble with something, "Stella, things are going to work out just fine in this, ZAFT isn't expecting us so we can get the jump on them. This will be very much like the practice scenarios that we did back at the lab," he said.
Stella glanced up at Sting, then looked away, "I… I'm not worried about this… I'm worried that Tanya is still missing even after months of her not getting back," she replied.
"Oh my, that sister of yours still gone, good riddance I say, she was annoying," commented Azul.
Stella glared at Azul with close to murderous intent, "Don't talk about Tanya like that! Or else I'll tell Vali what you said and that you're the one that got him punished a few months ago."
Azul drew back a bit, "You won't do that, besides if you do that, then you might just," he started saying, before Sting covered him mouth, stopping him from saying more.
"Enough, both of you," Sting stated. "Tanya is likely just fine, probably got a new assignment before she was able to return to the lab Stella." Sting then looked to Azul, "And you Azul, don't go using the 'word' that another has ingrained, unless you want your own used against you."
The rest of the journey to Armory One was made in silence, getting into the colony was simple as there was little asked of the group. The story that was told, was one of the "soldiers" was showing their sister and her two friends around where he would be assigned soon. That got the group of six to the colony's interior and they got their first view of the grounds that their mission would take place. They quickly found their designated target, the hanger where in the mobile suit they would take.
A small shuttle left the Kusanagi once the ship was in range of the Armory One. Athrun and Quatre were with her along with two other Federation personnel on the shuttle. The craft took ten minutes to close the distance to be within communications range of the colony. The shuttle pilot contacted the control center of the PLANT colony, "Armory One Control, this is shuttle HFC-010, on approach, waiting for response."
"HFC-010, we see you, localizing and online," came the reply from Armory One's control center.
"This is HFC-010, confirming nav-com link established, on approach, requesting clearance to dock," the shuttle pilot responded.
"010, permission to dock granted, keep on current approach vector," returned the colony control.
The shuttle pilot informed the passengers that they would shortly be docking at Armory One. The craft moved forward and lined up between the docking line and floated into the docking area of Armory One. The sight of workers moving around the dock was visible by the shuttle passengers from their windows.
"Number three deck, standby for receiving status B with incoming shuttle," sounded around the dock, likely from the colony control center.
The shuttle came to a halt as the docking anchors attached to the craft, locking it in place. A tunnel stretched out and connected to the shuttle where the door to exit was and created a seal for a safe pressurized environment. The passenger left the shuttle, thanking the pilot as the exited, before traveling down the tunnel to come on the dock of Armory One itself. Cagalli instantly spotted a couple of men in the PLANT Supreme Council uniforms approaching their group. They greeted Cagalli and directed her towards the exit of the dock and escorted their group to where Chairman Gilbert Durandal was.
As they were being escorted, Athrun was looking over Cagalli, wondering why she had chosen to go with for this meeting with the PLANT's current Chairman. Yes, she was in Orb's representative maroon uniform and that was okay, but she could make a better impression, maybe wearing a dress. There quickly came a point where Athrun couldn't stay silent, "Do you think that's the appropriate attire? Please tell me that you at least brought one dress with you."
Cagalli glanced back at Athrun, "What should it matter how I'm dressed. Isn't my representative uniform good enough for something like this," questioned Cagalli.
"For something like meeting with the Chairman of the PLANTs, a bit of acting doesn't hurt you know," Athrun reasoned.
The sound of someone clearing their throat interrupted and drew attention back to the "second bodyguard" which had been assigned to Cagalli, Quatre Winters. "Alex, I doubt you're going to change Representative Athha's mind at this point. Besides, her attire is fine, sure it could be better, but complaining isn't going to help right now," he said.
Athrun knew that Quatre was right, but Cagalli is representing not just herself, but also the Orb Union and the Human Federation. She needed to keep that fact in mind with this meeting, "Granted, but portraying that one is a novice at what they do is not good either Marcus," Athrun iterated.
They entered an elevator, which took them down into the colony interior. Cagalli was still amazed at the beauty that these types of colonies had, for it was similar to Earth's. Yet, her gaze settled on the military part of the colony, which was easy to differentiate from the rest. A large number of mobile suits were visible as well as what looked to be a new warship in the port. "It's odd that they are holding a ceremony for launching a warship now, especially with what we're here to discuss," Cagalli said to herself and no one really in particular.
"Where that is true Representative Athha, a ship that's considered a vessel of war by some, may not necessarily be built for that purpose in mind. Like many tools, space going vessels can perform various functions, both good and bad, just like simple tools like a hammer or knife can," explained Quatre in a smooth matter of fact tone.
Quatre continued in his explanation about how ships were as any tool, not having purpose inherently. That a tool's purpose was chosen by its wielder and that they were the one responsible for what the tool does. Athrun then added his thoughts, "Indeed, Marcus does bring up a valid point. And this meeting was made rather last minute, so best to give the benefit of the doubt," he said.
The rest of the journey to where the Chairman was located, was made in silence and took around ten minutes. Cagalli's group was led to an office where she found Chairman Gilbert Durandal and other council personnel by their uniforms. The man she was here to see turned and smiled at her, "Hello Princess, it is good to see you," greeted Gilbert Durandal. "It is always a pleasure to be able to talk and discuss thing with representatives from the Human Federation. I'm sorry that I asked that this meeting be out this far, but as this is close to Federation Territory, I thought it mutually beneficial to both of us."
"No, I should be thanking you for making the time for a meeting Chairman," Cagalli replied. "You do keep yourself busy in these times of peace, so thank you for taking the time.
Both Cagalli and Durandal moved forward and shook hands to complete the greeting. Then Durandal glanced behind her at the others in her group, specifically Athrun and Quatre. Athrun took a step forward, "My name is Alex Dino, Chairman Durandal, a bodyguard for Representative Athha," he said.
Quatre then stepped forward and did the same, "Greetings Chairman Durandal, I'm Marcus Lune, also a bodyguard for Representative Athha."
Chairman Durandal nodded in acknowledgement to the introductions and turned back to Cagalli, "How fair things for the Human Federation member nations these days," asked Durandal. "It is my understanding that though the war took a toll on all of them, things are smoothing out and becoming prosperous again."
Cagalli nodded, "Yes, the damages from the war are being undone, thank you for asking."
Durandal inclined his head, "Not at all, I myself have visited some of the Federation member nations and found them quite pleasant to be around. Plus, I understand and admire the values and principles that the Federation upholds, they are very noble. I know for a fact, that within the PLANTs, Minister Blass's speech she gave towards the end of the war is still talked about and quoted, showing that it struck a chord with many. In fact, as a friend and ally of the Federation, I am happy for you all that things are settling down. If anything, I'm a tad envious at the peace and prosperity that the Federation has achieved and maintains, it can't be easy to do."
"As right as you may be Chairman, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done," reasoned Cagalli, putting the negotiation skills that she'd learned from her father to use. "The leaders of the Human Federation wish for the peace and prosperity that you've referred to, be experienced by all the human race, not just a part."
Durandal gained a thoughtful expression, "What a nice thought, for the leaders of the Federation to wish that. However, if you would pardon the idea, but I have to wonder what could be so urgent that the Federation would send out a representative like yourself out here at this time and unannounced. I was informed by members of the diplomat committee, that there was a matter that was said needed to be discussed, a complex matter in fact."
Cagalli was well-aware that the message that had been sent to the PLANT Supreme Council was something to the effect that there was an urgent matter to talk about. However, other than that, the content of the message wasn't known to her, the subject of discussion was though. And the subject was not a complex matter in her view at all, 'the need of power'. The war was over and had been unofficially for two years, officially for six months less than that. "I suppose that some could see the matter as complex Chairman Durandal, though I don't see it so. The question is do you and those you represent see the matter as complex, for neither you or others you work with have made such clear," Cagalli said.
"Oh? And what might you be referring to Princess," queried Durandal.
"I'm referring to the activities of the PLANTs and ZAFT and what they infer. Building up one's military is all well and good to protect and defend, but going beyond that is worrisome. The war is over, so then, why ignore the agreements and promises made in the Treaty of Junius Seven," posed Cagalli.
Durandal didn't respond immediately and tension built up in the room because of that. "A valid question Princess, perhaps it would be better if I would to show you the answer than to merely say it. Of course, that is if you're interested, for it requires a bit of a walk," returned Durandal, dispelling the tension.
Somewhat surprised at the offer, Cagalli accepted and the whole party in the room rose and headed down to the Armory section of the colony. Walking down a stretch with mobile suits on either side, Durandal continued where he had left off. "You're a woman of courage Princess, no reason to deny that with the proof that there is. You have gone out on a battlefield personally in a mobile suit no less and so, have seen how horrible battle really is. You take the stage of politics, in a way that I wouldn't doubt that your father, Lord Uzumi Athha is proud of. You like the other leaders of the Federation, stay true to your beliefs and values, even when it costs you greatly. Such qualities are to be admired I feel, so then, I would ask, how should we act given the current state of the world and the colonies? For you have no doubt felt the strain and tension that has built up."
Cagalli didn't have an answer to that question, since she couldn't deny that Chairman Durandal had a point about strain and tension. "I'm sure that you know and understand the answer to such a question perfectly," posed Durandal.
Cagalli let out a sigh, "We in the Federation will protect and maintain the ideals and principles that we hold, standing united together."
Durandal nodded, gaining a slight smile, "You will not attack another nation unless all other options have been tried and exhausted. You will not allow others to invade any of the member nations, nor intervene in the conflict of others. The famous ideal of neutrality that the Human Federation holds."
Cagalli nodded slowly, "Yes, that is correct," she said, wondering where this was going.
Durandal swept an arm in a gesture of agreement and respect, "Then we from the PLANTs and ZAFT are in harmony with the Federation, for that noble cause is what we strive for as well." Durandal smile faded, "If it were possible to obtain such without fighting and power, then it would be a perfect world. However, we both know that we live in an imperfect world, so such isn't possible, there is a need for power to defend. After all, is that not the reason the Federation's military maintains its forces and that they are active even today?"
The group kept walking through the armory as the discussion continued, "Still, if I may ask a question, what are you and other leaders of the Federation afraid of," inquired Durandal. He didn't give the opportunity to give and answer as he kept going, "Perhaps you're receive pressure from the Earth Alliance? Or maybe they're accusing the Federation of providing assistance to the PLANTs and ZAFT. It is my understanding that relations between the Alliance and the Federation are almost worse than they were during the war. But of course, there is no evidence whatsoever that any within the Federation have done that."
Cagalli understood Durandal's reasoning, but it still didn't feel right, "Power to defend is good, but too much strength will only invite conflict that could lead to another war," she said.
Durandal shook his head slowly, "While I agree with that sentiment, I would still say that there will always be conflict and so strength is necessary."
Aila put away the com-unit she had been using to contact Ryan Peters, to see where they were and estimate how long it would be before they arrived. It wasn't that Aila was against waiting, there was just an odd feeling that had been growing in her that something was about to happen. She had tried to wave it off as nothing, but the feeling wouldn't go away.
The sound of voices outside the hanger caught Aila's attention and upon glancing in that direction, she saw a trio of teens accompanying two soldiers. Aila caught the officer in charge and gestured at the group outside, "Is it common for civilians to be in this area, for I had to show ID at the entrance to the Armory?"
The officer looked at the group, "There shouldn't be any around here, but there have some that slip friends and relatives around lately," he replied.
The officer went to the door and muttered instructions to the soldiers guarding the entrance to the hanger. Aila turned her attention back to waiting for the other pilots as the guards shew the teens and two soldiers away from this restricted area. However, the cracking of gun fire snapped Aila back to the entrance to see the three teens with semi-automatic weapons in hand and the two soldiers also with guns, shooting any in the hanger. Aila drew the pistol she had with her and was about to fire back when she suddenly felt a sharp sting around her left shoulder. She ducked behind metal equipment for cover, but she still would pop up and fire back at the attackers.
Other soldiers had taken the same action as Aila and ducked behind objects and were shooting back at the attackers. Aila managed to get her hands on an assault rifle and with it she took down one of the phony soldiers with a shot to his neck. Yet, as the attack kept going, three out of the four mobile suits activated and rose out of their docks, causing destruction as they moved. The three were the Chaos, Abyss and the Gaia, the Osiris was left alone, or at least there had been none that had tried to get into the cockpit. Aila got a lucky shot that killed the other phony soldier while the mobile suits moved towards the entrance of the hanger.
Once the three stolen mobile suits exited the hanger, Aila rose and glanced down at her left shoulder and saw a growing spot of crimson that stood out against her ZAFT Red uniform. Upon looking around, she spotted a length of Cloth, likely used by mechanics, it was the cleanest thing to work with right now, so Aila grabbed the rag. She tied it around where the bullet had hit her and made it the best tourniquet she could, hopefully to stop the bleeding or at least slow it down. When she finished, Aila climbed the docking scaffolding and lowered herself into the Osiris' cockpit. The setup was kind of different than what the Impulse had, but Aila could work with it, this certainly wasn't the time to be picky.
Aila activate the mobile suit's onboard system and the forward display came up with the same starting message as the Impulse did.
MOBILE SUIT NEO OPERATION SYSTEM
When the system bootup was finished, Aila got the Osiris to rise from its dock and turn towards the gaping hole that the other three made for their exit. Aila made sure to activate the phase shift, changing the Osiris over to being gold everywhere but the torso, which was dark blue. Then, once that was done, Aila piloted the Osiris out to see what could be done.
As Paris had said, he had gotten the Normandy in visual range of Armory One in less than three hours, and his driving wasn't half bad in my view. Not only that, we detected our target in the area, even if the vessel was using mirage colloid to hide itself. The outlined matched what was recorded in the system at the Milos Outpost that had trouble and had docked at the facility. It was definitely a new ship class for the Alliance and was some type of mobile suit carrier by what the readouts suggested. The ship also had what appeared to be exterior fuel tanks rotating around the ship and likely allowed the ship to operate even more undetected as it cuts down the heat output.
I told Paris to move us to be in line with them so that we could position the Normandy to disable the Alliance ship and he did so. Yet, before the Normandy could position itself over the Alliance vessel, something came out from the ship. The object was locked onto by sensors and an image was displayed, which showed the machine to be a mobile armor. It was a new model, for I hadn't seen it, but I could tell that his armor was based on the Alliance's Moebius Zero. But, by the image, it had both an updated arsenal and was more streamlined. This one was a purple color overall, with white tips on each gunbarrel and the nose of the main body. The unit also two linear guns, what looked to be missile tubes and who knows what the gunbarrels had for weapons.
With a mobile armor out, I'm inclined to believe that our query had people on the inside of the colony and none of them would be interested or happy with what the Normandy is here to do. The mobile armor was followed by a couple of mobile suits, four to be exact which were the new Alliance strike daggers call "Windams". So, that in mind, I ordered Luke and the other two pilots on the ship to their mobile suits and prepare to launch.
Now, Federation mobiles suits, like ZAFT and Alliance machines, have changed and improved over the last two years. The current mass production mobile suit model is based on the Delta Fighter but has been streamlined and the specs are better than the Delta Fighter by a good margin. For power, the model uses a new version of the Ultracompact Energy Battery, which utilizes two batteries synced together and even has a slow recharging function, derived from the custom suits from Teswa from the last war. The mobile suits also had reinforced Xionium armor plate along with a more simplified version of phase shift that worked much like the kind the Aurora has by what I understand. For stealth, the new system the Federation made and uses, called "Wraith" has already frustrated both the Alliance and ZAFT, as well as them showing jealousy at how effective it is from keeping something undetected. It works similar to how the Specter Optical Camouflage field as it also uses image projection.
When it came to the mobile suit's arsenal, it has a little less than the Delta Fighter, but better oomph. There were the vulcan guns in the head, which were 70mm caliber, meant for interception, but machines without phase shift can still get holes punched in them by these if they are too close. Next, there was the MKII X80 high-energy beam rifle, which was a long rifle with better fire power than the Alliance prototypes from the last war. And it would attach to the fighter's barrier shield in its flight mode. Then the barrier shield, was where the other weapons were as the shield was as much a weapon system as a defensive piece of equipment. Two beam sabers were stored in the shield, while on top of the shield, in hidden compartments, a double-barreled grenade launcher was built into it. Lastly, there was a beam cannon at the forward section of the shield that worked like a plasma cannon and was the heaviest weapon the Excel Fighter had.
The Normandy's linear catapult came out to active position and then the three Excel Fighters the Normandy had onboard began launching out. None of them were noticed as their stealth systems were running as they flew down the catapult. I did open a com-channel shortly after the fighters launched, "Luke, it is more than likely that our query is already causing chaos inside the colony. They will not like what we're here to do to them and if or when they find out we're here, I need you and the others to keep them busy enough, so they can't help their ship at all. Do you understand Luke," I asked.
"Mate, it will be a pleasure for us to do that. Congrates on the promotion Mate, sorry I haven't gotten to tell ya that before now, you certainly deserve the respect if you ask me," Luke returned.
I couldn't help the smile that came to my face, "Thanks Luke, nice to know I have some who are cheering me on."
With the task of the mobile suit pilots delegated and explained, I turned my attention back to the Alliance vessel. For honestly, with what they had done, are doing violate the Treaty of Junius Seven, which until now, there hadn't been solid evidence that could be used to prove that. There was plenty of material to condemn the Alliance, but all of it before now was classified for a variety of reasons. Accusing them could reveal who held the reins of the Earth Alliance these days and that was something that needed to be identified. The Normandy had moved to be above the ship by this point, and I was going to give the order to disable them, but Lisa was ahead of me, anticipating my thoughts like she had a knack of doing more than half the time. "Fire disruptor and anchor cables at the Alliance vessel, away team, standby to board enemy vessel!"
She can take the words out of my mouth, exactly what I would want and hope for from a second-in-command. Plus, the members of the bridge crew were showing that they clearly knew their stations and could work together well when it was needed and that was extremely good to me. The Alliance ship was disabled within a minute and the Normandy had its bottom center airlock attached to the other vessel so that Marks and his team could board in the next minute. The work was done close to seamlessly and I couldn't stop the smirk of pride that made its way to my face, knowing that this was my crew and they were impressing me, and I liked this feeling! I even heard Lisa snickering quietly, no doubt at seeing my smirk and I knew she was feeling similar to I was right now.
Marks radioed the bridge and said that he and his team was about to board the opposing ship. I replied to him that we acknowledged that, and his priority was to deal with the stolen data and I would leave it to his judgment to decide what that required. I also told him that there was no need for him or any on his team to feel inclined to be all that nice, since the Alliance hadn't been at the Milos Outpost. He told me he understood and agreed, before the com-channel was closed. Then started the wait, while the boarding party went to the Alliance ship and did their mission. As I had told Commander Marks and his team, I had confidence in them, and that confidence had been proven right to me during the inspection at the Milos Outpost. I'd seen enough of the non-verbal responses from a number of them, to tell me that they had all spent time working in the trenches. Having done such myself, that's all I needed to know, to know that they could do what they were asked to.
Okay, I know leaving off just as the battle is about to start is mean and I'm sorry that I'm pausing here, but it works well in the long run, or this Phase would end out being LONG. This Phase came in chunks and waves starting during my writing Phase 25, so I touched this off and on for a while. I would doubt that a number of you noticed the references to other things, such as me "borrowing" material from other universes, which is fun to apply to the Gundam Universe. As always, reviews are appreciated and encouraged, they do help improve the writing process. Until the next phase, peace out!
It's true that the previous Phase was mostly filler and meant for transition to Destiny, but stories do have chapters like that. With Siegel being in the Republic, simply put the reason that he is there instead of the PLANTs, two words, Gilbert Durandal. Like in cannon, he likes control and "taking care of variables". I'll explain further later on in this story, it is the first phase that goes into SEED Destiny.
I'm glad that you like this story, the things I write I put in time and effort. As for what to do about LOGOS, haven't decided how I want to do that whole idea yet, but it's in the works.