Hey guys, this here is a mini-series scenario for Gundam Wing called "Fall of the Lightning Count." It's a certain AU scenario that follows the premise of legendary mobile suit pilot Zechs Merquise being killed, not in combat though, rather in an act of vengeance by one of his own subordinates. This mainly takes place during Episode 16 "The Sorrowful Battle", right before the duel between Zechs and Heero. It's a divergence that takes place mainly due to one of the soldiers of OZ actually having a brain, and taking revenge for the Gundam attacks. The purpose of this is to eventually build into another story called "Knights of Romefeller", which is an OZ-centric tale based on this as the POD. Now sit back and enjoy (apologies to all Zechs fans for what is about to take place).
July 22nd, AC 195. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On the outskirts of the Argentinian capital sat the Jose de San Martin Airbase, or San Martin for short. The previous year the base's name was El Paramor, having served as the prime stronghold of the Argentinian Air Force since the days of the Junta Era in the late 20th century. In After Colony it was also the home base for the Alliance 57th Air Brigade, enforcing the rule of the United Earth Sphere Alliance throughout the La Plata region in South America. This changed in the last month with the fall of the Alliance due to an internal Coup de'tat from the Organization of Zodiac (OZ) in Operation Daybreak, a global insurrection designed to cripple Alliance leadership and place OZ, and by extension their backers in the Romefeller Foundation, in charge. In the hours after Daybreak San Martin and the rest of Argentina's military installations were spared any conflict due to the Argentine government unilaterally seceding from the Alliance, declaring a re-establishment of direct sovereignty and a partnership with Romefeller. Now the ruling far-right regime, La Fiesta Patriotica, used San Martin as a forward base to wage war against Uruguay in their grand designs of conquering nearby states to form La Republica Unida de Rio de La Plata, the front-lines themselves only dozens of kilometers from the capitol.
Another noticeable change to the base was the active presence of near 100 OZ-06 MS Leo and OZ-07 AMS Aires mobile suits. The mobile suits were provided by the Romefeller Foundation as a sort of gift in thanks to Argentina's close partnership with the foundation, 36 of the Aires suits were maintained and crewed by a local OZ unit, sent to ensure the new world order and help eliminate the Alliance remnants active in Uruguay and Paraguay. But this story isn't about the men and women who served at San Martin, rather it is about a single man who shall shortly arrive. A man whose actions hours ago will change the very destiny of After Colony as they knew it.
In the control tower of the base sat a group of soldiers monitoring all flights coming to and from the base. The day had been rather slow with only a couple of manned missions to the North, all of which resulted in high success for the pilots of OZ and Argentina. Before Daybreak most of the Alliance's air units along the eastern coast of South America had resided in either Argentina or Brazil. Both states had since severed all ties to the dying Alliance in declaring their loyalty to Romefeller, Brazil reestablishing the Empire under popular General Pedro de Braganza, now known as Dom Pedro III. With little more than a few outdated jet fighters against the far superior Aires mobile suits, the Paraguayans and Uruguayans were fighting a losing battle.
Off in the far right corner of the control tower, a lone Argentine Corporal yawned in boredom of the current situation. "I'm Booooorrrreeedd!" said the young man, Corporal Luis Santiago.
"Quit your whining soldat, would you rather be off in the front lines and picked off by a Uruguayan sniper?" asked his superior sitting right next to him, a German Auxiliary Sub-Officer named Levi Strauss. Strauss came from the city of Dresden in Germany, and due to the globalist nature of the Alliance was deployed to Argentina when he enrolled in the Alliance Air Force. Strauss began to slowly fall in love with the country over the years on his tours in South America, him becoming especially attached after falling in love with a beautiful Latina from Buenos Aires named Elena, marrying her the last year. After Daybreak and Argentina's subsequent secession, Strauss decided to stay with his wife in her homeland and enlist in the Argentine Air Force, much to the dismay of his family in his native homeland.
"Yes, anything to get away from this lame desk job. And for your information I wouldn't be some cannon fodder, I'd become a pilot in an Aires, soaring the skies and laying waste to all below." Said Santiago, daydreaming of becoming a legendary MS Ace.
"Like you would ever have what it takes to become an MS pilot. If anything you'd most likely get shot down in your first flight." Countered Strauss, to which Santiago stuck his tongue out in rebuke. "Besides it's far more safer here on the ground. At least here you won't have a high chance of facing off against a Gundam."
Both men shuddered at the mere thought of the mechanical marauders that had come to plague the Earth in the last three months. The Gundams were five mobile suits made out of a special alloy created in Outer Space called Gundanium, a material that was near indestructible and priced so highly that a single Leo was said to be the equivalent of a twelve kilos. The Gundam units were speculated to have been created by the Colonial Liberation Alliance in the hopes of raining down hell onto the Earth for the purpose of granting them independence. In the months since their arrival the Gundams have laid waste to all they encountered and few lived to tell the tale. Strangely, instead of the Alliance the Gundams in their initial landings chose to instead target OZ as the victims of their wrath. This was rather odd due to the fact that while OZ used to be the elites of the Alliance in the former of the Speciali, they were rather lenient in their dealings with the colonies compared to Alliance High Command, OZ head Treize Khushrenada himself having previously advocated for greater autonomy for the Colonials.
"You don't think those bastardos will attack us do you? The Gundams only target OZ and we have an OZ contingent right here. Not to mention how the Patriotas are getting cozy with Romefeller?" asked Santiago in fear. A large reason why the man was hesitant to try for the new Argentinian 1st MS Division was due to the presence of the Gundams on Earth. He had seen footage of dozens of Aires firing at the Gundams with the latter coming out unscathed as if the rounds were nothing more than blanks. If he ever came face to face with one of the five terrors, it's likely that Santiago would run away, any claims of cowardice being far better than dying at the hands of one of those machines.
Strauss shook his head, "Ever since Lady Une and Zechs took down Unit 01 in Siberia the Gundams have been silent on Earth, though there are rumors of Unit 05 appearing in China. Besides all their targets like Corsica and Lake Victoria were in the Eastern Hemisphere, with a special emphasis on Europe. I highly doubt this backwater region, or the rest of the Americas are going to become their targets.
"But they did attack New Edwards Base, and that was all the way in California." Countered Santiago.
"That was because Noventa and the rest of Alliance HIGHCOMM were in attendance. Despite their hatred for OZ I don't think the Colonials would pass up a chance that big to take out the heads of the Alliance. Besides if they ever do show themselves near here then OZ will probably send Merquise and knock them out of the sky. If 01 can't bring down the Lightning Count then I highly doubt anyone can." Said Strauss, patting Santiago on the back for reassurance.
The two men were snapped out of their conversation from a blip that came on Santiago's console. The Corporal's posture straightened as he delved into his computer in trying to figure out what was going on.
"What is it, Uruguayans, Alliance?" Asked Strauss.
"No, it can't be either of them. The radar's picking up something from the South Atlantic. It's speed matches something along the lines of a Supersonic Jet than an Aires."
Strauss began typing on his own console in order to find a solution. "It says here that at 0600 an Aires squadron left from South Africa under the command of a Major Johann Actt of the Commissariat. Their destination on the flight logs appears to be Antarctica, but it doesn't say the purpose of. It could be a Tupolev Flight Carrier that the squadron used, might've been damaged in whatever operation it partook in." Suggested Strauss.
Santiago continued to focus on his work and connected to the Orbital Satellite Surveillance Network used by OZ to hone in on the unit. "Let's see IFF says OZ-00...Major I'm tracking over the South Atlantic, IFF says its the Tallgeese!"
"Que, El Conde de Ramplagos?!" Shouted in Spanish the Air Traffic Head, Major Luis Fernandez, rushing over to Santiago's station. The rest of the control tower grew apprehensive at the information. The last they had heard of the Lightning Count, Zechs was stationed in Lake Victoria and was butting heads with Romefeller over the destruction of Unit 01, a conflict which grew to become a scandal among the rest of OZ. Reportedly Zechs had finally complied with orders and blown up the Gundam, though his whereabouts afterwords were unknown.
"Are you sure that's the Tallgeese Corporal?"
"Yes, I'm positive sir. IFF confirms it's the exact same unit and the Tallgeese is the only mobile suit that can keep up with its current speeds. Since it's the only one in the world that means that Lieutenant Colonel Merquise is coming here. There's a direct ETA to San Martin of 50 minutes"
Fernandez stroke his beard in thought. While the Lightning Count was rather...colorful in terms of his personality, he was still an obedient soldier of OZ and thus would have notified San Martin of his appearence ahead of time. Besides there was nothing of major importance in Argentina to OZ, it's main focus being on the battlegrounds in Chile where Alliance Remnants continued to fight on under the command of Vice Admiral Akira Yamato. The appearance of the Tallgeese so soon after his falling out with Romefeller, raised numerous questions.
"I want Rojas Flight to go in the air immediately to intercept the Tallgeese. Alert the rest of the base to be on standby. Any Leo or Aires that isn't on the field when the Tallgeese lands is going to face the wrath of Brigadier Corazon, whether that be our boys or OZ." Ordered Fernandez
"Sir, is that necessary? It's just Lieutenant Colonel Merquise, not Treize Khusrenada himself. No need to roll out the carpet." Asked a nearby Auxiliary Sub-Officer.
"I never said for our MS to enter into parade formation. I want the entire base on standby for battle."
"Por Que?" Asked the same noncom.
"Just because it is the Tallgeese that doesn't mean that Merquise is flying it. We haven't had any contact with the Lieutenant Colonel in the past week and now he decides to show up in our Airspace? What if it isn't the same man but someone else. What if an Alliance terrorista, or worse the pilot from Unit 01 hijacked the mobile suit in the name of revenge? Do you want the deaths of everyone on the base to be in your hands just because you worship El Conde like Jesus Christo?" Explained Fernandez.
The thought of coming under attack from the legendary Tallgeese set the soldiers straight and the flight tower erupted in a flurry of activity to respond to the mobile suit. Minutes later Rojas Flight, consisting of four Aires mobiles, launched from San Martin on a direct course for the Tallgeese. They were able to meet the suit around seventy kilometers Southeast of Buenos Aires.
'God, please let this be Zechs, please let this be Zechs.' Silently prayed the head of Rojas Flight, Eduardo Rojas, a Spaniard Flight Lieutenant of OZ. At the age of 19 Rojas had graduated from Lake Victoria during the same year as Zechs, and while they were far from close that Rojas would call himself an friend of Zechs, he had spoken with the Lieutenant Colonel occasionally and had served with him on a couple of missions. Rojas knew that Zechs would never fall victim to either the Gundams or the Alliance, still there was a lingering thought at the back of his mind that it was possible and it had happened.
Rojas was at the front of his flight and maneuvered his Aires for a direct interception of the Tallgeese, the other Aires' following in close pursuit. "This is Epsilon 2-1 to the rest of Rojas Flight. Begin encirclement of the Tallgeese and standby for possible combat. If all goes well then this will all be for nothing and we'll have a nice chat with Zechs. If not..." Rojas lingered, not wanting to finish his sentence, "Epsilon 2-2 position yourself to the Tallgeese's rear. 2-3 go to the right and 2-4 take the left. I'll face Zechs head on."
"Roger!" Came the swift reply. The four units took their positions with Rojas slowly climbing towards the Tallgeese. So far the machine had neither raised its Dober Gun nor Beam saber. Encouraging Rojas to believe that it was indeed Zechs in the cockpit.
"OZ-OOMS Tallgeese, this is Epsilon 2-1 of the OZ 22nd Air Battalion. You are about to enter into Argentine air space and are ordered to follows us to San Martin without any resistance. OZ-00 please respond." Rojas had to bit his lip in order to maintain his professionalism and ask directly for Zechs' response.
After a few seconds the comms opened up to the sound of loud coughing, though the voice that would follow was not that of the Lightning Count. "Epsilon...2-1, this is Flight Lieutenant Marcus White, I'm a non-assegnati stationed at Antarctica." Exasperated wheezing followed the contact.
Rojas raised his eyebrows underneath his flight mask in confusion. If this Marcus White was piloting the Tallgeese then where was Zechs, and why the hell was the Flight Lieutenant in the Tallgeese in the first place? "Flight Lieutenant state your intentions! How exactly did you come hold of the Tallgeese?"
An awkward laugh came on the comms, "It's *cough*, it's a long story. One I'll gladly explain at San Martin. Just know that I am not hostile and I am fleeing from the Antarctic Base from a Gundam. Unit...unit 03 to be exact."
"A GUNDAM!" Shouted Epsilon 2-3, the comms erupting into nervous chatter at the revelation. 'God, Unit 03 was able to chase off the Tallgeese. That shouldn't happen, Zechs was able to kick 01's ass. But if White is the one piloting Tallgeese, does that mean that Zechs fell in battle?'
"Cut the chatter Rojas Flight! You're Knights of Romefeller, not a bunch of schoolgirls that run away in terror from a mere mobile suit. Flight Lieutenant, please repeat what you said, is there a Gundam?" Asked Rojas.
"Yes, Unit 03. Don't bother chasing after it though, it's probably long gone with that Bitch Noin and the Sanc girl. Unit 03 also managed to take down an Aires squadron in the process, though I believe they were the 88th. It doesn't matter as 01 was the only airborne Gundam and I killed it." 'What's he talking about destroying 01, Zechs blew it up in Africa? Wait, did he just call Lucrezia Noin a bitch?' The former didn't make any sense and the latter was just confusing due to the fact that Lucrezia Noin was one of the most respected pilots within OZ. 'Also what does Sanc have to do with this?'
"Look I would love to talk about it, but I really *cough cough* need to land. Just lead me to San Martin." Asked White in a desperate tone, his ragged voice getting more tired with each word. Rojas realized that this must have been due to the strain of the Tallgeese since it was so dangerous that they had to cancel its production almost twenty years ago. If word was true than a Flight Officer even died from the strain of just piloting it in the operation to take the Sanc Kingdom. If this Marcus White managed to last this long then he must have been either a hell of a pilot or someone with incredible stamina.
"Alright, we'll lead you to San Martin. Rojas Flight stand down and enter into escort formation around the Tallgeese. We're taking her back to base." Rojas then switched his comms to long-range to communicate with San Martin, "San Martin this is Epsilon 2-1, did you get any of that?"
The rough voice of Brigadier Enrique Corazon responded, "Epsilon 2-1 we heard every word of it. Take the Tallgeese to LZ 3, we'll be waiting with a Leo squadron in case he tries to pull any funny business."
"Copy Brigadier, Epsilon 2-1 out."
Twenty minutes later at LZ -3, Brigadier Corazon stood waiting with 12 Leos surrounding the Landing Zone and the rest of Epsilon Squadron in the airspace above to provide additional support if needed. Standing next to Corazon stood Squadron Commander Henry Westfield, OZ's highest ranking commander on the base.
"Westfield, your one of those shiny knights of OZ. You've served with Merquise in the past, any reason he's not here and he would just lend his mobile suit to some no-name non-assegnati?" Demanded Corazon. Standing at 1.86 meters, Corazon towered the rather lanky and pale Canadian by his side, Westfield standing at only 1.74 meters. Whether the Squadron Commander was intimidated by the brutish presence of the Argentine Brigadier like the rest of his men, he didn't show.
"To correct you Brigadier, in my eight years within the Order of Zodiac, not once have I served with the Lightning Count if you'll believe it. I spent most of my career in Outer Space before being moved to Rio last year while Zechs traveled all over the Earth sphere. I have met him enough times to know of his character though."
"Any reason he'd let this Blanco fly his mobile suit?"
"Zechs Merquise is a man with many qualities, one of them is his high pride against others. I don't think there's any scenario where Zechs would willingly give his mobile suit to a subordinate. I've taken the pleasure of looking over Flight Lieutenant White's record, and his background states that while he is an MS engineer, he is a rather poor pilot. Not exactly a novice but not someone that His Excellency would ever assign into an active Speciali unit when we served under the Alliance. So this means that either White stole the Tallgeese, something which is highly unlikely though plausible, or Zechs is either incapacitated or dead and White took the Tallgeese, something which may be possible considering his claims of a Gundam."
"It could be the former. He did call in that Noin chica a bitch, I've heard that she was Merquise's lover so he may have stole the Tallgeese in revenge over a broken heart." Corazon's words actually managed to arise a large laugh from Westfield.
"HAHAHA, that's something I would never think of." Said Westfield, wiping a tear from his eye over imagining the scenario. "Zechs and Noin have a rather...complicated relationship to say the least. It's true that Noin does have it hard for the Count, though Zechs to me seems far more in love with his own ego over any woman that he comes across. Some of my men from their year at Lake Victoria said she was a heart breaker, but everybody knows she only has eyes for Zechs so I doubt anyone besides a naive lovestruck puppy would get upset over something so childish like that. White's profile suggests a maturity far greater than to be thrown into prison for 15-20 years on insubordination charges over such a stupid reason. Whatever the case I just want an answer about those Gundams he was talking about. Unit 05 was spotted in Xinjang a while ago, and if Unit 03 was really in Antarctica then that means that shit is about to hit the fan on Earth. We cannot have the Gundams begin their terror attacks again, especially when the war for space is just beginning."
"I think we're about to get our answers now Squadron Commander." The two men looked up to see the Tallgeese coming down to a rather turbulent landing on the LZ, Rojas Flight circling it above. The two officers ran towards the machien with a squad of MP's following them closely. The Leos around the field raised their dober guns up high, taking aim in case the Tallgeese attacked. The hatch to Tallgeese opened with the man who the two assumed to be Flight Lieutenant White, coming down on a cable. After landing on solid ground the Flight Lieutenant then collapsed. Argentine medics, which had been on standby meters to the back, rushed to attend to the OZ officer. 'So it is true, the Tallgeese can kill you.' Grimmly thought Corazon.
The two officers arrived to the Flight Lieutenant and took in his appearance. The man named Marcus White was someone who wouldn't stand out in a crowd if you happened to see him. Dressed in OZ hunter greens, the man looked to be around 1.8 meters and sported a buzzcutt of his brown hair. The man's entire uniform reeked of stench as it was covered in sweat and was very disheveled. If Westfield didn't know any better he'd say that White ran through an entire day of boot camp. White was struggling to breath with erratic breaths, only slowing down and returning to normal once he consumed oxygen from the medic's kit. The two commanding officers waited several minutes for White to return to normal, in the meantime the base's mechanics were scouring the Tallgeese while Corazon called off his armed guard, the soldiers not being needed with White's pitiful state.
Eventually White managed to retain a state of calm. He weakly rose his hand in salute when he noticed the presence of Westfield, "Squadron Commander, Flight Lieutenant Marcus White reporting for duty."
Westfield waved his hand away, "At ease Flight Lieutenant. No need to stand at attention in your current state. I gotta say White it's either extremely brave or stupid of you to fly the Tallgeese for such an extended period of time. You do know that a man died from piloting it right?"
"I..I know Commander. I had to do it though, I couldn't let the suit fall into the hands of the enemy, or get destroyed by the Gundams." The serious look in his eye was all the two commanding officers needed to know that White's claims of the Gundams being present in Antarctica were dead serious.
'Jesus Christo, to think this man actually fought a Gundam.' Thought Corazon. "Flight Lieutenant where is Lieutenant Colonel Zechs Merquise, how did you obtain the Tallgeese?" Demanded the Argetine Brigadier.
White turned to the Argentine with his face turning into a tight snarl at the mention of the Lighting Count. The Flight Lieutenant seemed to be pouring out hatred and rage at Zechs. "Zechs Merquise, you mean that fucking bastard who betrayed OZ, who consorted with the Gundams?! I killed him sir, I killed Zechs Merquise!"
A/N: Well that was the first chapter of Fall of the Lightning Count. There are going to be four more chapters of this as we delve into what led Marcus to kill Zechs, how he did it, and what happened to Heero, Trowa, Noin, and everyone else in the aftermath. This event will serve as the foundation for Knights of Romefeller, though I won't release that until a far later date. Hope you enjoyed the first part of the story, especially since it was nothing but OC's who appeared. Don't worry though as I promise to have a substantial payoff, and logically explain why Marcus did what he did towards Zechs, with him having very real and personal reasons. Just to be clear, this fic isn't meant to bash Zechs (well mostly), it's meant to serve as a strong AU which will throw the storyline of Wing in wack. It's also mainly going to be from the POV of OZ and their soldiers, so be prepared from some biased POV's as well as different viewpoints of the protagonists actions, especially Zechs (and for good reason).
This story is heavily based on and inspired by "Soldiers of OZ: Walker's Account." It's an OZ-centric story on Fanfiction which is one of the best Wing fics and does a great job of exploring the actions of OZ and After Colony as a whole. Several terminology within this chapter borrows form it such as the ranks, the term Non-assegnati (which is basically a non-assigned OZ personnel), the Commissariat, and the suits and equipment. While there will be several references and terminology borrowed from there, as well as some of Synthesis' OC's, I do plan for this story to stand on its own and have several of my own elements inserted into it.
Finally thanks guys so much for giving this a shot and stay tuned for more. Long live OZ!