March 2nd, 0071. Earth Sphere. Third Person POV

Piracy. At the dawn of the Universal Century, when one would be asked what the first images would come to mind with the word, they would think of scenes from Hollywood films of swashbuckler and rugged outlaws wielding swords and flintlocks, sailing about the Caribbean in search of treasure and stealing from the colonies to live a life of freedom. While there were far more eras and cultures throughout human history that had been involved with piracy, the late 17th and early 18th century Caribbean was the ideal life of a pirate thanks to Hollywood and pop culture. Perhaps such an image isn't too wrong, for the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean would be the last truly great age for pirates anywhere, at least on Earth.

While piracy would still exist, with an infamous return in Indochina after World War III along with plaguing the horn of Africa and Arabian peninsula leading up to the Unification Wars, these pirates were more nuisances to the Great Powers and terrors to the local populace. They never truly had the potential to wreack devastation on global commerce, make the most powerful nations in the world tremble with fear, or create their own nations as they had centuries prior. All piracy had contributed in their legacy in the 21st century was providing another excuse for the Earth Federation to rise as a one-world nation-state and to create a large standing military to protect the coasts and oceans of Earth despite the lack of any hostile peers.

At the dawn of the Universal Century, it was once again assumed that pirates would only exist in the history books and various genres of fiction, never again to plague humanity in any shape or form, especially the utopia of space where no great violence would occur. Yet just as life would always find a way, so too would piracy.

Piracy in the Universal Century was an entirely different beast to the conjuring image of great warships sailing the open seas, able to force any merchant into submission while doing battle with each other and the Navy with the capacity to win. The monopolization of heavy arms by the Federal Forces made it impossible for any private individual to create a proper warship in space. After all, what excuse would someone have for high-grade machine guns, missiles, or torpedoes in the age of eternal peace? Piracy was also not a career which just any Spacenoid with low morality could accomplish. While your average spacenoid was likely to travel in space a couple dozen times per year, this was never done with private spaceships, but with public transportation or purchasing a ticket on a private liner. Small businesses in the line of intercolony transport were almost unheard of and those few that did exist were more cooperatives among the crew or entrepreneurs who had to start off with heavy debt to be able to proudly own their own starship. The only way one could become a pirate on their own would mean that said person was someone of high income, which entirely negated the most basic cause for piracy in survival by pillaging for others. While it was hard for a Spacenoid to enter into the lifestyle of a pirate, it was not impossible, it just made piracy more creative along with losing any vestige of freedom that the past eras had.

Space piracy would first arise in the late 0030's when the organized crime syndicate along with a few devious and daring individuals began a series of hijackings between the Lagrange points. With the Earth Federation Space Force in its infancy and largely focused on port security, satellite reconnaissance, and electronic warfare, there were few if any ships who were able to stop the hijacking of spaceships in the deep void of open space. Pirate attacks would usually involve the taking of hostages for ransom, assassinations, or the seizure of rare and valuable cargo belonging to the Federation or one of the rising Mega Corps with Anaheim Electronics frequently having fallen prey to attacks. The late 0030's and early 0040's became a volatile time for a Spacenoid to travel with thousands of pirate attacks making any interside Commerce and tourism to be a dangerous task. While liberal gun laws allowed for the passengers and crew to defend themselves in boarding, the pirates would resort to more extreme measures such as the disabling or destruction of the ship's engines or life support, thus making their targets entirely at the mercy of the pirates.

After severe outcry from the Spacenoids over their seeming abandonment from Earth to outlaws, the Federation would rise to the occasion with the historical development of the first ever space warships in cooperation with a vengeful Anaheim Electronics. The first warships were far from the Big Gun behemoths and mobile suit carriers that would be common in the Fourth World War and after, rather instead being more akin to patrol boats as rapid response ships equipped with gatling guns and missiles to disable or destroy the pirate ships who had little to no capacity to fight back. The Federation fell back to their old tried and true tactic of swarming the enemy with numbers, filling the Earth Sphere with tens of thousands of ships connected in a defensive web that could see both rapid response and support at any point in the Earth Sphere. Acting in tandem with the Space Force were the Marines who trained many of their divisions to specialize in zero gravity warfare and ship boarding maneuvers, allowing for quick and efficient rescue of hostages and seizure of pirate ships.

The actions taken by the Federation were brutally effective with a major decrease in the number of pirate attacks, with one major example being the decrease from 10,287 attacks in 0040 to 209 in 0055, almost all instances of the latter seeing the pirates being swiftly dealt with through either death or imprisonment. Piracy would still continue to exist, but it was no longer an unpunishable crime. The number of and severity of pirates attacks continued to decrease by the year to the point where most Spacenoids thought that piracy was a dead practice with the remaining pirates either desperate criminals with nothing to lose or the foolish who choose suicide by Space Force. Unfortunately, in the 0060's piracy would start to make a comeback.

While space piracy would never outright explode to the intensity of the 0040's, and the Space Force was still nominally successful in dealing with the threat, for some reason pirate attacks continued to increase by the year. In 0059 there were 41 pirate attacks, in 0069 there were 412 of them. While such a rise could be explained away due to a multitude of socioeconomic factors, there was one unique factor that made the rise more than a normal increase in crime, it was the almost laserpoint focus of the attacks on Zeon, with 289 of the pirate attacks in 0069 taking place on shipping to or from Zeon.

There was nothing exactly wrong with pirates targeting Zeon, as it was the second wealthiest of the Sides and due to its position on the Far Side of the Moon, it was a prime Side for trading with the industrial cities of Luna. However, in previous years Zeon, or Munzo before its official renaming in the last days of the Republic, had always been just one target in the greater sea of commerce. Yet in the 0060's, Side 3 had been the majority of the focus of pirate attacks, with the rate of pirate attacks targeting Zeon never going below 60%. Such prejudice could be waved away as Zeon being a lucrative target due to the Miracle and its boom in shipping with the Outer solar system, but such arguments did not explain why anti-Zeon pirates seemed to be armed with homegrown military-grade weaponry or target Zeon ships with rudimentary starfighters, both of which were absent in most attacks outside of Side 3.

To combat the threat of piracy, the Zabi dynasty under the supervision of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Gihren Zabi would revamp the Zeon Space Force, officially with the purpose of protecting their sovereignty and trade from hostile enemies across the Earth sphere. Such a buildup went well beyond the requirements to protect their commerce with Zeon warships wielding titanic guns and carrying mobile suits in a manner more equipped for a total conventional war, but in the eyes of the people of Zeon who had been harassed so long by pirates, such measures were only satisfactory enough to wipe out the scourge. It was a buildup that the Principality was just about to put to the test.

About 100,000 kilometers from Side 3 there was a lone freighter making its way to the farthest colony of Side 3, the Kudelia colony. The ship, the SS John Carter, was a heavy freighter that was under contract by the Principality to deliver a batch of rare minerals from Mars to Zeon, where upon arrival it would be placed for auction by the Vespucci Trade Company to any private businesses that were interested in the Martian-mined materials, after the Principality had been given a generous cut for usage in government projects as a thanks for their funding of the Vespucci colony of course.

In a perfect world the two kilometer long freighter would have arrived at Zeon without harassment, unfortunately for the freighter, days before they would reach the safety of Lagrange 2 they would be preyed upon by the preyed upon by one of the most successful and deadliest pirate fleets in the Earth sphere, the Bloody Robins.

One moment the John Carter had been on a steady and silent journey to Zeon, the next they were surrounded by shuttles which circled around the freighter in a stalking manner akin to a school of hungry sharks. The shuttles while not reaching the speed of a Federation starfighter were far quicker and maneuverable than what they were intended to be when fresh off the assembly line, having undergone extensive modifications that made them practically alien to their original design. More menacingly was the armament of gatling guns and rockets from the Unification Wars. The shuttles would be no match for any Federation vessel, but against defenseless civilians they were as powerful as a Magellan-class Battleship.

The pack of shuttles, about 12 in total, had arrived from three approaching motherships, the ships themselves being modified Lagrange-class ferries, meant to transport plenatery shuttles and perform search and rescue operations in the early days of Lunar colonization. Instead of salvation, these particular vessels brought either misery or death, their presence being made known through their blood red paint and collection of menacing iconography meant to intimidate ships into surrendering without a fight.

The leader of this feared sortie of ships was a self-proclaimed Captain Jack Robinson, a man who used to perform supply runs for the Russian Mafia before becoming a privateer of sorts, and then going independent. Thanks to his intellect and ferocity, along with a heavy dose of seemingly brilliant fortune in escaping Federal capture, especially in recent years, Robinson had become one of the most notorious pirates in the Universal Century, using the wealth from his conquests to arm his fleet into military-grade ships which could give Federal patrols a run for their money.

"Ahoy you scallowags, come to a full stop and drop down your plank for boarding. Cooperate and we shall take your booty and leave ye alive, resist and ye shall be target practice for me canons." Robinson announced on the comms in a stereotypical pirate accent reminiscent of a 20th century Hollywood film. The accent and mannerisms weren't Robinson's true way of speech, but an act the man put on to indulge in fantasies of living in the Golden Age of Piracy, as well as to spread his reputation and notoriety among the competition, with Robinson even wearing a puffy pirate uniform as his working clothes. While certainly an odd choice of leadership, Robinson's heavy success rate made such eccentricities tolerated by his crew and feared instead of mocked by spacers.

"This is the John Carter, we are replying with your request so long as none of the crew is harmed the ores are yours." Responded a female voice from the John Carter's receiver, though such a voice lacked any semblance of fear or terror that were usually in victims of Robinson's attacks, something that should have sent off warning flags, but it went unnoticed by the Captain and crew.

"Ye be a smart wench. Lower your sails and ye shall be treated with mercy. The first sign of a fight and I shall be taking your sailors to walk the plank." Robinson taunted, unaware of the trap he had fallen into.

The John Carter came to a full stop, depowering down and letting itself become victim to the Bloody Robins. Ten minutes later a shuttle sortied out with about twenty armed men, being sent to the ship to oversee the transfer of cargo and gun down any sailors or passengers who had a hint of bravery.

Once the shuttle docked with the John Carter, the pirates rapidly deployed, gliding down the freighter with their vernier packs with some semblance of cohesion and tactics, but entirely lacking of the discipline and intelligence that was present within the militaries of the Federation and Zeon.

For several minutes the pirates searched the vessel, hoping to corral the crew and do a count of their targets. However, instead of a fearful flock of civilians, all the pirates found throughout the ship were empty halls and rooms, complete silence reigning save for the whir of their jetpacks and dim mood of the lights. Even when they had reached the bridge, the pirates found the center to be completely empty. It was as if the crew had vanished into thin air.

"Captain, we've searched the entirety of the Bridge, there's no one here." One of the lead pirates informed.

"What do you mean there are no peopl-I mean sea dogs there?! Are ye saying the ship is haunted?" The furious Captain asked, his facade momentarily slipping in panic.

"The ship's logs show that it's been operating on manual control so there's no autopilot active. I'm going to check the cameras and life support and see where they're hiding."

"Ye do that. Ensign Macintosh, how be the booty?"

The "Ensign" who was overseeing half of the squad and were searching through the cargo bay, rolled his eyes at Robinson's speak, but responded in a professional manner. "We've just arrived Captain, we're about open the Molybdenum crates."

"Good, keep yer eye out for any daring fools."

"Aye, aye sir." Macintosh replied with an audible groan after he cut the link, producing laughs among his men. The squad then stood at attention and waited for their mobile hacker to locate the crate's electronic code for it to open, not daring to use explosives or thermal charges to easily open the door for fear of damaging the goods. Once the device emitted an audible clear, the door opened and Macintosh stepped inside, expecting an array of ores, only to find himself staring into the barrel of an assault rifle, with his brain being blown out of his head a half a second later.

"Mac!" The Pirates cried out, they raised their guns to fire upon the enemy, but before they could realize who they were firing against, a flash bang dropped into the middle of the squad, detonating and releasing a bright flash which stunned the pirates eyes and distorted their hearing.

To the heavy misfortune of the pirates, they were facing no brave commercial sailors, and there had never truly been any ore present. Instead the bulky and heavily armored figures of the Zeon Marines, the future warriors equipped with their mocked "Science Fiction Power Armor", being very real and deadly in one of their first tests under live fire. The Marine from inside of the crate fired his assault rifle in quick motion, aided by the HUD present within his helmet. He was able to take down three pirates in rapid succession, with three more being killed by a Marine that was perching with a pistol on a distant crate, having thrown the flashbang which had only briefly disrupted the visual display of their comrades.

The remaining third attempted to flee back to their ship, but they were hunted down by a third Marine, who instead of fighting at a range, sought to engage in close quarters with a miniaturized heat hawk, copied in principal from the Zaku heat hawk. Moving with the speed of an Olympian thanks to the power of the exosuit, they closed the gap of several meters in seemingly the blink of an eye, decapitating a pirate and slicing the arms off their second target before having the heat hawk being driven through their heart.

The timing was quick, but it had not been fast enough to prevent the deliverance of a brief message, "Boss, we're under attack, there's no loot, these super soldiers are kill-"The pirate had been unable to deliver their report, the heat hawk being thrown quickly and lodged in their skull, instantly killing them. The pirate's brief last thought was that there had been some comfort in that they had been able to warn the ship and their comrades on the bridge, except the bridge pirates had all been slaughtered simultaneously with just as equal of an ease.

"Goddamned Zeons! All shuttles, fire on the ship and blow it into stardust! There are no goods so we shall turn the ship into their grave!" Robinson ordered with fury, abandoning his pirate persona due to the rage of how botched the operation was.

The armed shuttles would end their active encirclement and target lock the John Carter, some managing to release some firepower and damage the ship. Fortunately for the Marines aboard the freighter, their fellow comrades in the MS Corp would land them a helpful hand.

Seconds after the order was given, a shuttle was torn apart by a scattershell from a Zaku sniper rifle, the shell bursting through the shuttle and then upon penetration released its warhead to spread hundreds of projectiles at high speed, producing countless holes in the shuttle and causing it to collapse.

With the pirates not having detected any hostile presence nearby, the shuttles scattered in a panic, desperate to see just who or what was shooting at them, with some paranoid pirates holding the triggers on their allies for fear that OSS agents had infiltrated their crew and were targeting each other. Treachery was never present on the battlefield however, instead there were four Zaku-I's which raced across the battlefield, eager to unleash hell on the pirates which had dared to prey on Zeon civilians.

"SIEG ZEON!" Four voices roared on the open comm channel in a battlecry. The Zaku I's present consisted of two black Zakus with a bazooka and a sniper rifle, the sniper taking position in the rear. There was a green Zaku armed with a 105mm machine gun in the center, and at the head of the pack was a gold and purple Zaku with a commander's fin.

"Shoot those goddamn robots!" One of the pilots yelled with the shuttles desperately attempting to coordinate a counterattack. Unfortunately for the pilots, while their armed shuttles would have been more than a match for a patrol boat or corvette, and could face off against the Federation starfighters with the proper numbers and firepower, their size and design made them little more than bulky turbine fighters in comparison to the sleek jets of the Cold War that Zeon represented in innovation through the mobile suits. The Zakus either dodged all the incoming shots with grace or would shoot down the missiles and shells with their Vulcan rounds. With wave after wave of undisciplined firing failing, the shuttles were left bare and exposed for the Zakus to launch some critical attacks.

20th century American boxer Mohammad Ali had famously described his fighting style as "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", a philosophy which the Zaku pilots adopted in their combat. Having avoided the incoming fire of the enemy, the Zakus had freedom in movement to deal with their foes as they wished, going for a mixture of medium ranged attacks to punch holes at the enemy or slice them in half with their heat hawks and swords. The Zakus would be far too fast for the lumbering shuttles to use their antique defensive systems against, the few hits that the Zakus took being relatively minor stings that barely bruised or left minor cuts. While the shuttles had been reinforced with multiple centimeters of titanium, at near point blank range from the heavy weapons of the Zaku, they fell apart as if they were paper boats.

Recognizing that the infamous mobile suits that Zeon had paraded were true terrors on the battlefield and no mere science fiction delusion, Robins did his best to order his ships to retreat. "All shuttles deploy around the flotilla in defensive maneuver Charlie, swarm around the individual mobile suits to kill it with heavy firepower. Tortuga and Golden Roger, ready flares for anti-targeting and get a lock on the mobile suits, apply pressure for the shuttles. Retreat to Zeta point for reinforcements." Robins ordered.

As the ships were trying to comply with their Captain's orders, they would find out where the mothership of the Zakus had been when a barrage of shells and railgun slugs slammed into the carrier of flotilla, heavily damaging the ship's hull and crippling its engines.

"Where the fuck did that come from?!" Robins seethed in a panic, his officers on the bridge of his ship rapidly trying to find out where the unknown ship was.

"The rounds came from a 80 degree angle but I'm unable to find the enemy ship." Robinsn' sensor officer explained.

"What do you mean you can't find the ship?!"

"I can't physically find it, there's nothing but us and the mobile suits, it's like we're fighting a ghost ship." The sensor officer fearfully answered, sending Robins into a rage.

Unknown to Robinson, the enemy ship they were facing was not a mainstay class such as the Musai, instead it was one of the Defiant-class stealth frigates. While such ships had been tested with mixed results by the Earth Federation, the Defiant-class was a revolutionary ship which could not only obtain intelligence discreetly, but launch surprise attacks on the enemy as it was the case in the current moment. The Defiant was divided into two subclasses for mobile suit and troop transport, both of which had been deployed to the battlefield. What made the Defiant so successful in comparison to their Federation counterparts was not only their start of the art, next-generation electronic warfare systems, but their integration of Minovsky particles in combat. In addition to the dispersal of particles in the doctrine written by Dozle Zabi, the Defiant had the ability to deploy a "Minovsky Cloak", a term referring to a cloud of Minovsky particles which would hug the ship as it moved. Such a system could not be deployed on all ships due to its high cost, complexity, and heavy interference with long-range targeting which would cripple the Musai or Gwazine, but for the purposes of the Defiant it would allow it to maintain a mobile Minovsky blanket which cloaked the ship to all but visual systems, a task which would be made difficult due to the Defiant's total painting in midnight black and its windows prohibiting the viewing of interior light. Such conditions allowed the Defiant ships to deploy within an extremely short 30 kilometers, making the pirates easy prey.

With the Zakus obliterating the shuttles and the ships being hunted by frigates which they could not see, all the Bloody Robins could do was to flee desperately and hope they could shake the Zeon forces off and kill some. Such a task was impossible with the speed of the Zakus and the stalking strikes of the Defiants. After twenty minutes of attempting to flee and the other two ships of his flotilla being destroyed, Jack Robinson, terror of the Earth sphere, surrendered to the Principality of Zeon.

Cima Garanhau POV

In a graceful glide the gold and purple Zaku-I of Second Lieutenant Cima Garanahu crashed into the protective webbing of the ZSFS Seahawk's hangar, officially ending her combat sortie for the day.

After performing the necessary post-flight checks for her Zaku, Cima released the hatch of her cockpit and pushed herself out of the mobile suit, floating in the middle of the hangar with the low gravity present. As Cima exited she was greeted with thunderous cheers from the maintenance crews and the few Marines standing guard within the hangar, various shouts of praise and thanks being given to Cima for her part in the mission. The young woman counted herself rather fortunate that her face was hidden beneath her helmet, preventing the the others from witnessing the bright red blush on her face. Throughout all of her life, Cima Garanhau had merely been an average woman with average skills and talents with an average social sphere that made her feel like she never belonged anywhere or would ever be important. Now she not only had the honor of being one fo Zeon's first mobile suit pilots, but she would be one of its first active ones, already taking out the scourge of piracy and protecting the trade lanes which acted as the lifeblood of the Principality.

Waving humbly to the various sailors and giving her own thanks for their hard work, Cima climbed up the walls of the hangar and reached the pilot's ready room where she would unwind from her mission and change back into her regular uniform to debrief her squad on their performance. Outside of some minor errors in the field everyone had met her expectations with a similar level of performance from the 01st MS Wing that Cima had served with. If she continued to lead her squad well then hopefully there would be a promotion sometime in the future.

Cima entered through the chamber leading to the ready room, the clasp closing with her audio sensors picking up the fast hiss of oxygen filling the room. Once the lights had been turned green, Cima took off her helmet, releasing her long locks of dyed green hair which had been suffocating somewhat within the stiff and tight helmet.

Cima entered into the room, expecting some temporary solitude, only to find herself somewhat surprised to come face to face with the Seahawk's XO, Commander Monica Blanche.

"Sir!" Cima snapped into quick salute, the discipline of the Academy which she had only been fresh out of for two years ago still kicking in. The Afro-American woman chuckled and waved her off, letting Cima relax.

"At ease pilot, this isn't a debriefing, I just came to congratulate you for an excellent job well done, a battle worthy to stand alongside the Von Braun Blitz. I must admit that when I heard about Dozle Zabi's personal toys, I thought that we finally got ourselves a mad Zabi and Lord Gihren and Degwin were humoring our middle prince, who knew that all we needed to dominate space warfare were giant lumbering robots."

Cima laughed softly at the remark, having thought so at first when joining the 01st MS Wing until Dozle and Ramba Ral were able to convert her to the gospel of the Zaku. "They certainly don't have the speed for true space warfare as Jaburo envisions it, but with the future of Minovsky combat they're the best tools to have in the field. Plus as you saw today, while the Zaku can be matched in range, when you try to take it on in close combat, especially with the ugly chimera shuttles those pirates call starfighters, all the enemy is asking for is suicide by MS."

"So I see."

"Since you're here sir, I take it the operation is at an end?" Cima asked, to which Blanche nodded.

"There were some firefights initially but once the Bloody Idiots realized that their small arms could only tickle the Marines they mostly gave up without a fight. Captain Xu and his men are going to crew the Bloodboren and keep the Robins within their own cells. We'll wait a day to see the rest of their fleet are going to rescue them of if there's going to be a power play, and once OSS gives us the tip we'll either escort it to the homeland or meet a Musai halfway for drop-off and resupply." Blanche informed, with Cima nodding at the logic.

"While I'm glad that we defeated the pirates so easily with few casualties, I must admit that part of me is frustrated with how...anti-climatic everything feels. No offense sir, but for one of the most notorious pirates in the Universal Century, I was hoping for a glorious fleet battle, not a spanking against a bunch of thugs." Cima remarked, with Blanche sparking at the colorful description of the battle.

"Command had the same mindset but surprisingly Robinson seemed to jump the gun and acted more careless than usual. Probably thought that he could do the job with the bare minimum and nobody would be able to retaliate based off of distance, hijacking a freighter from Mars just isn't worth it based off of all the Helium-3 you have to spend, not to mention you piss off the Federation for striking at their precious sandbox."

"But the pirates know they'll receive a free pass with Zeon ships." Cima commented, both women knowing why the pirates had been so bold with targeting Zeon. Against any other Side the Federal Forces usually did its best, but for pirate attacks with Zeon the Federal Space Force was slow, inefficient, and they somehow never got into conflict with all of the pirate groups who were armed with the heaviest weaponry, highest numbers, or latest technology. While Cima wasn't prejudicial against the Earth too much that she thought everyone in a Feddie uniform was the spawn of satan, she fully believed that there was some conspiracy in Jaburo and Lhasa to keep the Principality down, shadow economic warfare with "privateers" being one of those methods.

Fortunately, Zeon was more than willing to meet such illicit actions with the newly modernized and expanded armed forces, in the process giving total legitimacy to their military buildup. For the Robinsons in particular, Zeon had been trying to tempt them and other groups into attacking Zeon civilian ships which were either under contract with the Principality itself or carrying valuable cargo in the multi-billions which would make or break private businesses. One of these dummy runs were the Ore shipments from Mars, the lifeblood of the Martian colony which if they were stolen or destroyed could sway public opinion within Zeon against the colonial venture, causing Zeon to cede the fourth planet entirely to the Federation and killing the dream of many Zeonites to live on a terrestial world.

As dangerous as it was to play with the Martian shipping as bait, it was realistically one of the best possible traps to spring since the distance between the voyage meant it was the one least likely for Zeon protection in comparison to the lanes between Side 3 and Luna or Lagrange 4 or 5. Since the first ships arrived from the colony towards Zeon, the Space Force had been setting up escort convoys to guide the ships back to port. Four Defiants would deploy with an empty freighter which would act as bait and about 200,000 kilometers from the Earth Sphere they would perform a switch. Half of the Defiants would go with the real freighter in a longer route with the Defiant cloaking both in periodic Minovsky bursts while the other half which Cima had been a part of would lurk behind the dummy in stealth mode and wait to spring any traps, with the Bloody Robins falling into their net hook, line, and sinker.

"Sir, how long do you think we'll be able to launch these ambushes?" Cima asked, curious on how many more battles she'd like in the future.

"Probably a few more months at most. Pirates are scum but they're not stupid, once they figure out that we've got hundreds of dummy ships within the trade network and most of their attacks end up with their ships and men dead or captured, they'll back up and play the long game. We won't kill it entirely, but we'll hopefully kill all of the sharks who want to feast on our spacers and in the process make them so scarred that they'll piss thier pants when they see the Zabi Rose and will only attack Side 3 if they're desperate." Blanche responded.

"That's something I'd very much like to see." Cima commented, imagining a future where all pirates would shake in terror and whisper in panicked hushes the name Cima Garanhau, the Zeon Tiger who obliterated any pirates that lined within her sights.

"Any problems with your Zaku, Lieutenant?"

"Aside from a new coat of paint, everything's in the clear sir."

"Good, keep up the good work for future fights, for now just relax and tend to your squad."

"Sir!" Cima saluted sharply, with Blanche returning and leaving the room satisfied. Cima then lounged on a nearby bench, her pilots having all arrived and been cleared before her so she didn't have any duties to tend to immediately.

With her work day unofficially at an end, Cima decided to kill some time by checking up on her messages on her Zphone. Cima turned on the smartphone and was far from surprised to find a couple emails along with a couple of loving pictures from her favorite stern yet dopey German Spacenoid.

'Never change Gerbear, never change.'

Life was good for Cima Garanhau. Kicking pirate ass, serving Zeon, having a loving boyfriend, she couldn't imagine anything better than this.

A/N: To conclude this recent round of updates was my personal favorite and something nice to return to after a huge drought in MS chapters here and in Cosmic Crusade, a mobile suit pirate hunt. In previous chapters, I had established piracy was a major issue pertaining to Zeon that Kaiser Gihren was tackling, but I never depicted it outside of some lines here and there so I decided to rectify it by dedicating a full chapter and showing nominal anti-pirate operations by the Zeon Space Force as well as having some worldbuilding segments on just how piracy is conducted in the Universal Century, inspired greatly from Planetes and its awesome take on terrorism in space.

Not too much to say here outside of Zakus being badass and the Powersuits making a brief appearance after disappearing for so long since their prototype test chapter. Though I will not the presence of Cima, who I decided due to her being one of the most memorable and present pilots in the 01st MS Wing, as well as the dramatic irony of her being the face of anti-piracy when she was notoriously a pirate after the One Year War. With Cima not committing war crimes and being rewarded by her nation as a hero, it's safe to say that going forward she'll bear little if any resemblance to her canon counterpart, something definitely good for her personal life that will help her prevent a death by Gundam.

Also a huge thanks to to Jaenera Targareyan who beta'd this chapter, go check out her amazing stories featuring Gundam, Fate/Stay Night, Star Wars, ASOIAF and many more.

Now I learned my lesson in the past, and from now on there will be no definitive promise on update ETAs, though from here on I will at least work on the next chapter with the hope of getting substantial work done by the New Years. Since my reinvestment into the franchise, I have done a lot of planning on the upcoming updates and overall timeline and plan of Gihren's Glory. Now I promise I have an overall grand plan of how things will turn out with all of the major political and character events planned in high detail by the year 0100 and I have details of the infamous and hyped "Fourth World War" saved, but leading up to that point there are a lot of missing gaps aside from 5 or 6 really huge character and narrative arcs that will definitively move the Acts of the story and lead us up to the war. So basically what I'm saying is I'm asking for ideas and requests for any content that you readers would like to see in the story to flesh out the narrative between what I have planned so far while I go back to the drawing board and expand upon my ideas and start laying roots. Can't promise that everyone's requests will be written, but there have been a fair amount of chapters and story ideas fans have suggested in the past that I acted upon.

Thank you all so much for being so patient with such an undeserving author as I and for staying with the story. Hope you enjoyed and see you later!