April 13th, 70 CE. ZSFS Troy. Char Aznable POV

Inside of his private quarters that he obtained as the squad leader of the Troy's MS compliment, Char Aznable woke up with a heavy and exhausted groan. The pilot was sprawled on the cold steel floor, his hair dishelved and uniform undone with the zipper open, stains marking the collar and upper chest.

Char attempted to stand, only to stumble and fall back down. His eyes traced themselves to a small pile of broken glass of what appeared to be a liquor bottle. The sight brought back memories of the previous night from Char.

'Oh right, that's how I got here.' He thought with understanding.

After the initial excitement of the Battle of Solomon had gone down with prisoners being taken of the seven remaining ships and ZAFT appearing in no position to launch an attack, the distraction had faded from Char's consciousness and a deep depression had settled on the young Newtype. With his life secure for the moment and Zeon safe, the circumstances he found himself in settled deep like a limitless anchor that had just touched the bottom of a deep ocean trench. Mainly that he was now and forever separated from Artesia.

Char embarked on his mission knowing that he would have to separate from his younger sister for potentially years. However, what allowed him to continue with his quest was the knowledge that Artesia would be safe due to her lack of hatred against the Zabis, and that once Char had killed them all he could reunite with her and they would return to their home together, as a family.

Char foolishly believed for absolute certainty that he would one day see Artesia again. Perhaps this should have been a fact, until an act of God had somehow ripped Zeon away from the Universal Century and into this new timeline, the Cosmic Era, a history without the Earth Federation, without Artesia.

'If this was God's doing then I'm going to be an Atheist for the rest of my days. Damn him.' Char thought with disgust, snarling at whoever was responsible.

With him being unable to ever see Artesia again, and his mission that he had damned himself on with no completion whatsoever as Dozle and Garma had survived their respective battles, Char started to disconnect from the world around him as his life lost any sense of lustor. It felt like color was fading from the world and that there was no purpose to his existence, with him only moving about with his daily duties like an adrift automaton, unsure of where to go but too rigid in his design to truly give up his purpose.

The previous night, Denim and the other pilots attempted to help Char out of his depression by inviting him to a poker game. Char didn't know how the hell gambling was supposed to cure depression, but he humored his subordinates. Char had very little experience in poker outside of a couple of games in the Academy where he happily stole Garma's stipend, but here he had wiped the floor with the entire squad, earning the jackpoint and increasing his pay by a couple thousand dollars.

Part of the winnings was the bottle of alcohol Char had broken but didn't remember how. It had been offered by Denim due to his lack of cash after he lost the first couple of rounds. It was a rather foolish idea since the lack of contact with the Universal Century would make all forms of liquor shoot through the roof in value, but they accepted his offering and Char won the bottle. Char didn't really care for alcohol too much, but he knew that it was a frequent tool to help people combat their ails, so Char decided to drink the entire bottle in the hopes of easing his pain.

'What a load of bullshit that was.' Char thought.

All the liquor did was make him more depressed, with what little memories Char had of his night being wails of sorrow, and now he felt like absolute crap and was on the verge of vomitting, though perhaps part of his situation was not only because of how much he drank, but the fact that he ate little the previous night and never established a firm tolerance for alcohol.

"Oh Artesia..." Char openly lamented to himself. He could still clearly remember each and every detail of their brief final encounter. Oh how it plagued him.

"Casval?" Sayla asked in a faint whisper. Char stood before his younger sister, having at one moment been at his ship, working on his Zaku-II to drone out Degwin's speech, and then the next he found himself back on the Texas colony, with three graves appearing in front of him. In the center was his dearly beloved mother, Astraia Tor Deikun. To the left side was "himself", "Edouard Mass". And to the right side was a far smaller grave, which read simply as "Lucifer."

'Oh Artesia, you've even lost your precious cat.' Char lamented. He was never overtly fond of the feline, but he appreciated Lucifer's role in helping to bring some measure of consistent happiness to Sayla during their many dark years after the death of their father and exile from Zeon.

Char looked to Sayla, greatly surprised by how much she had grown, a true young woman instead of the young girl he left behind. Sayla looked greatly like their mother, and she curiously appeared to be wearing what looked like a nurse's garb, the lime-green going well with her blond hair and blue eyes.

"Ar-" Char was about to question her, only to be interrupted by Sayla charging at him with a great bear hug, knocking the two down onto the grass though neither felt any pain.

"Oh Casval, it really is you. You're back, you're back!" Sayla cried into her brother's chest, releasing a steady stream of joyful cheers as she held tightly onto Char, not wanting to let go.

Reuniting with his sister, the normally stoic mobile suit pilot dropped his masquerade for what was perhaps the first time in years. Char hugged Sayla tight and buried his face in her hair, mainly to hide his expressions of melancholy, regret, and happiness upon being reunited with his beloved little sister. There were a million and one questions running through Char's head on how this was possible, with him mainly believing it was a dream. But for now, he didn't care, he just wanted to enjoy the moment while it lasted.

"Hello Artesia, I'm s-, I'm glad to be back." Char stated, not finding it within himself to apologize, for he could not see his actions as wrong.

After a small amount of time, the two siblings released with Sayla letting go and pulling herself up to stand on the grass. She brushed away the streams of hot tears and snot on her face, bearing a wide smile at the impossible moment she was partaking in. "Casval, how are you here right now? And...why are you wearing a Principality uniform?" Sayla asked, her face transforming into confusion of her brother not only being far older than he was at the time of his "death", but apparently being an officer of the Zeon Space Force.

Char briefly fumed at the mention of the journey he had to take to seek his revenge, the sacrifices that were required to right the wrongs done to his father. He didn't want it to ruin this perfect moment. Char waved Sayla's questions off. "This doesn't matter Artesia, what matters is that we're together again, is that I'm able to see you once more before I continue on my mission. I have to say, you look just like mother." Char complimented, wanting desperately to change the subject. Lucid dreams were supposed to be easy to control, right?

Unfortunately for Char, Sayla wasn't satisfied. "But-this doesn't make any sense. If you're here, then did you never die? Whose body did we mourn? Where's Char?" Immediately after Sayla asked the whereabouts of the real Char Aznable, her face froze for several seconds. Technically she was looking at Char, but to Char her eyes appeared to be gazing kilometers into the horizon. Slowly over time, her face slid from confusion to slow and utter horror.

Char slowly walked towards Sayla in concern. "Artesia? What's the matter?" He grabbed both her arms in brotherly concern, and upon the point of contact, a flash of lightning went through the Deikuns, with Char briefly glimpsing the remaining seconds of a vision. This experience entailed living the death of the real Char through his painful final moments, before cutting to a satisfied Casval who had looked on at the explosion in victory as he had taken the first steps of his mission.

It was at the moment the vision ended that Char knew two facts. Firstly, that this was all real. Second, that his sister was a Newtype like him.

Before Char could question or explain, Sayla had ripped herself away from Char, and then brutally delivered a harsh slap to Char's left cheek, with Char unable to respond or defend himself. He stumbled back a few steps in shock, bringing his gloved left hand to his stinging and red left check. Throughout his childhood Char had never experienced corporal punishment, neither of his parents being believers in the practice, with this extending to Don Teabloo. Yet the first time he experienced physical pain from family was here, with Sayla.

Sayla stared Char down, her earlier showing of happiness being replaced with looks of disgust, hurt, confusion, and betrayal. Seeing Sayla, who Char had always kept an image of as his "Sweet sister Artesia" look at him with any negative feelings, made Char horrified.

"HOW COULD YOU?!" Sayla shouted, retreating to the gravestones as if to maintain a protective vigil against the monster she now saw her brother as. She looked to "Edouard's" gravestone, with Char looking on in curiosity, with him being shocked as it suddenly changed to Char Aznable, 0060-0074. Sayla shifted her gaze back to her brother, starting at him with sudden contempt. "YOU MURDERED HIM!"

"I DID NOT KILL CHAR, IT WAS THE ZABIS!" Char defended himself, for the first time being forced to confront with the awful sin he had committed at Miranda four years ago. "The Zabis, Kycillia most likely, ordered for that ship to be prepped with a bomb well before I set foot in the spaceport. They wanted me dead, they had agents following my every move, even in Texas! They wanted me dead so badly, that they were willing to kill hundreds of civilians to accomplish their goal! This was going to happen no matter what, so if it was inevitable, then I decided to take matters into my own hands and use Char as a sacrifice. This way my mission could continue and there would be no further killings. Char, all the people on that ship, they were necessary sacrifices. I swear to you Artesia, their deaths will not be in vain!"

Unfortunately his explanation didn't seem to please Artesia, who looked angered at his words. "Sacrifice? Mission? Necessity? You don't care about their deaths at all do you, you're just justifying their deaths to make you feel good! If you truly cared then you wouldn't step a foot on that ship, you'd just go back to Texas and let Char go alone, then everyone could have lived!" Sayla retorted.

It was an answer that Char was greatly displeased by as while he did think before that maybe Sayla wouldn't be pleased with his actions, to hear her so utterly disgusted broke his heart and set ablaze a flame of fury. "At the end of the day it doesn't remove the fact that none of this would have happened if the Zabis didn't set the bomb on that ship, if they didn't want to murder me. I didn't pull the trigger, I simply choose not to become a victim!" Char justified.

"Yes, what they did was evil, I won't argue against it. However, it only happened in the first place because you choose to join the military academy because you choose to return to Zeon despite the fact that you knew that the Zabis would retaliate? Why did you have to do that Casval? What's the point of your mission? What's so necessary that you had to allow an event to occur that killed hundreds of people, including Char. He was a good person, a friend to both of us. He even told me he considered you a brother, yet look at what you did!"

Char spat in disgust at the claim. "Brother? Maybe at one point, early on in our stay here, that was true. However, by his death Char Aznable was no brother of mine. That naïve idiot was nothing more than a Fascist puppet. He was a Zabi slave, constantly spouting on how their "revolution" was righteous and that they were the path to Spacenoid salvation, not giving a damn about our father who was the damn who led the true mission of freedom. He would have most likely excused all of their actions, including their murder of our father!"

"You don't know that!" Artesia retorted, hands shacking and curling in fists. "Besides, you're hardly any better! You allowed the death of those people and all you did in return was join Zeon and become a good little soldier. You claim that Degwin and his children murdered father, yet you're happily marching to his orders." Sayla said with a pointed accusation at his uniform.

Char looked down at his uniform, feeling uncharacteristic disgust for it yet unwilling to part and prove Sayla's claims false. "You don't understand Artesia, this is only but a means to an end, to complete my mission!"

"Your mission? And what's that?"

"To kill the Zabis!" Char proclaimed, producing a reaction of bewilderment from Sayla.

"What?" Sayla asked in pure astonishment.

"I joined the military and took on Char's identity because it was the best method of infiltrating the Principality. The rest of the Earth sphere has been blind until now, but I was one of the few who foresaw that war would soon grip the solar system, a war started and led by the Principality of Zeon. I've risen high in their ranks, I'm one of their best mobile suit pilots, and when war breaks out I'll be on the front lines and lead Zeon to victory against the Federation. Not only will I free Zeon from the shackles of Earth's gravity, but if I'm lucky I'll be able to produce the death of a Zabi on the battlefield, most likely Garma or Dozle. No matter what, when the war ends, I'll return to Zeon a hero with great influence. When that occurs, I'll gather a ring of men and women loyal to father, to me, who know the truth and wish to take the Zabis down. I'll launch a revolution and topple them from power. I'll purge all of their influence from the government, and execute each and every last one of them. Then Zeon will be restored to what it was meant to be. It'll be under my rule, following father's legacy, it'll be our home!" Char proclaimed.

Char didn't think it was possible, but somehow Sayla grew even more disgusted after hearing his speech. She fell down onto her knees hands grasping tightly onto her hair as tears began to release once more. "Oh my God, what did Jimba Ral do to you?"

"He opened my eyes to the truth."

Sayla shook her head. "No Casval, he turned you into a monster."

"The Zabis are the monsters!" Char responded.

"Yet you act just like them. You think that you're righteous, but you are doing literally the exact same steps, only with them as your victims. You'll allow anyone to die as soon as it furthers your goals. You'll happily be involved in starting a war against the Earth Federation, a war that could kill millions of good people, both Spacenoid and Earthnoid who have nothing to do with the Federation's crimes, all so Zeon can have its precious independence. Then you'll start a civil war, kill millions of more lives to get power, and then wipe out the Zabi family."

"They deserve it, they murdered father."

"I know that they had to have some involvement, and if they didn't they're responsible for purging father's legacy and kicking us out, but do you really believe Casval that every single one of them is responsible? Was Garma responsible, despite him being nine when father died? If any of the Zabis have children by then are you going to kill them? What hard proof do you have that the Zabis killed father when the best doctors in space said he died of natural causes? Who do you have to support your revolution? How are you going to kill any of the Zabis before hand? You think you're some great revolutionary, that you're getting justice for father, but you're not Casval. You're just someone whose lashing out at the world for all the wrong it's done to us, and you'll kill whoever you want until it makes you happy."

At this point Char had become greatly furious with Sayla's judgement. "You're wrong. Everything I'm doing, I'm doing for father, for mother, for the people of Zeon. It may not be right, but morality has no role in justice. My mission is right, it's good. What right do you have to lecture me Artesia? When all you do is live in exile and enable the Zabi's power, playing cowgirl while ignoring the suffering of all Spacenoids."

At Char's accusation, Sayla finally stood up, staring her brother down with some determination present in her eyes. "I haven't been simply living a carefree life. Unlike you, I haven't been consumed by hate, I've been trying to start a new path, away from all the violence and misery that this pointless feud has brought us. I've been studying to become a doctor, so I can dedicate my live to helping people, to making them feel healthy and give them a second chance at life that our parents were denied. I know that nothing I do will amount to some sort of "great change" that you preach about, that the Zabi's wont face any punishment from my actions, but I've accepted it. If I act like you, if I try to take revenge, then I'm going to do nothing but create an endless cycle of hate. Someone would strike me for what I did to their family, then someone who cares about me will strike them, and they will be strike down. It just goes on, and on, and on."

Sayla took a few moments to collect herself, steady her breaths and look directly at Char, eyes drying. "I don't know what you believe Char, but I do love father. The day he died was the worst day in my life. If I could change that, I happily would in a heartbeat. Maybe he wouldn't approve of what I'm doing, maybe he would fully support your cause. For now I just want to move on. We've suffered so much for doing nothing, I don't want to play any hand in bringing anything like that to someone else.

The Universal Century is not a great place to live, but it's not as awful as it can be. There's lots of good people across the Earth sphere, people who just want to live decent lives but are forced to suffer because of conflicts of ideology at the hands of the Federation and Zabis. I don't want to be a pawn of their hateful politics, I just want to live. You could do this too Casval. I don't...I don't think I'll ever forgot how you let Char die, but maybe I could forgive. Can you please stop this pointless crusade? Can you come back and stop letting the past control you? Please? I don't want to be alone anymore."

Char stood motionless for several seconds. While his passions hadn't died completely, they had greatly dropped from their climax. Deep down, there was some parts of Char who understood Sayla, even agreed with her. However, the majority of his soul was overwhelmed with hatred for the Zabis, grief for the death of his parents, and a strong desire for justice , or at least his version of it. Char couldn't quit, he couldn't end his mission when he had gone so far. But perhaps he could make his sister see his side.

"Artesia-" Char began, though he would be unable to continue his sentence as all around him a white void started filling the colony, overwhelming the senses of both Newtypes in an instant with the two collapsing onto the ground. Char attempted to reach for his sister, calling out her name, only to find himself in the medical ward of the Troy.

That was the last time that Char had spoken to his sister. What was supposed to be a heartwarming reunion was instead torn into a bitter argument that saw the last of the Deikuns leave each other on a tone of betrayal, anger, and disgust.

Char knew that his sister would not have been completely supportive of his plans. Despite all the pain they had suffered she was far too kind and forgiving, preferring to see the best in people instead of judging them for the evil that they practiced. He never thought that she would be this strongly opposed however.

'If only she hadn't somehow seen Char's death.' He lamented.

It wasn't an act he was inherently proud of, and he had to continue the lie by arranging Nino's tragic "field accident" during the Academy to tie up loose ends, but if Char went back to that day he would undergo the same actions in a heartbeat. He wasn't a murderer, he only did what was necessary to continue his mission. The ends justified the means and Char had very righteous ends.

Char was brought out of his hungover melancholy with the blaring noise of his computer terminal alerting him of an incoming video call. The alert was usually just a mildling annoying beep, but with his senses heavily muddled, it sounded at the moment like the heavy boom of an attack alarm.

Being in such a horrible state should have caused Char to either ignore or reject the call, but his mind was not in the right place and as such Char accepted the call, causing a plop of purple to appear on his screen.

"Hey Char, it's good to see you. How have you-woah! What happened to you? You look worse than the second platoon after the graduation party." Garma Zabi asked in heavy concern.

Garma sneered at the presence of the Zabi on his screen, and after realizing he had done so quickly did his best to calm himself and continue the false air of the loyal best friend.

'Great, just what I need, the brat seeing me like this.' Char mentally complained.

Conversing with Garma could be taxing at the best of times, but to do so while hungover and still in a depressed state over his separation from Sayla, while Garma was fortunate enough to have his entire family still whole, it made Char sick and want to end the call as soon as possible.

"Oh...sorry for th-is." Char said, slurring and prolonging his words. "M-my squa was having a poker las night. Got a bottle when I won, thought it wou- be nice to drink for the b-battle. Real overdid it."

Garma observed him with sympathy, but it appeared that the Zabi wasn't entirely convinced or satisfied with his answer. "Char, is this about your parents staying in the Universal Century? You don't have to act tough and hold it in. Lots of people across Zeon lost someone they cared about through the Event. I don't know how I would act if Father stayed behind."

"No." Char proclaimed fiercely, surprising Garma in the intensity of his proclamation. Char internally cursed, realizing his mask was starting to decay under his time of weakness. Realizing he had to act fast, for even someone as simple as Garma would start to catch on, Char attempted to dig out.

"I mean yes, I do miss them. But last night, I remembered someone else I lost?"

"Someone else? Who? I checked and everyone from our class made it through the Event." Garma inquired.

Char shook his head, getting a headache in his movement. "No, someone from Texas, this girl named Sayla." Char answered, feeling confident that Garma wasn't aware of their identities as the Mass family.

Garma sported a look that appeared to be one of sympathy and clarity at his answer. "Oh Char, she was someone you loved, wasn't she?"

A wave of nausea then engulfed Char with him nearly vomitting on the spot. It was a combination of both his current physical state, and utter disgust at Garma thinking that he was referring to a romantic relationship with his little sister.

On the positive side, Char realized that this could be used to his advantage, to further hide his past and act as an out.

"Yes, Sayla was someone who I deeply loved, with the feeling being what I suspect to be mutual. I didn't stay close to her upon entering the Academy. I wanted to get closer sometime soon, but now I'll never have that chance."

Char should have ended it there, but the need to vent his frustrations, to share with someone his current struggles and tribulations, even if it was coated in layers of deception, prompted him to further divulge information. He presented a fictionalized history of his and Sayla's time on Texas, reworked from the real Char's point of view while presenting the love of being in a romantic sense rather than the sibling bond that they shared.

Char's spiel didn't entirely set him free as he still kept the truth from Garma, but it felt good to share something, anything about his loss with someone, even if it was a Zabi.

At the end of his speech, Garma stood still for about a minute, appearing to be collecting his thoughts and coming up with an appropriate response.

"Char, I'm so sorry for what happened to you. To not only lose your parents, but a close love, it's just so unfair how you have to suffer for something that was never in your control, something I'm sure millions of Spacenoids are experiencing at the moment. I can't possibly relate to or understand what you're going through, and I'm nowhere near the best person for this kind of stuff, but what I am is your best friend. You don't have to keep everything bottled up Char and just suffer in silence. I'm always hear if you need some help or someone to talk to. Even if you just want to vent or rage, I'll happily take the time to listen. If you need anything to help you move on, to regain some normalcy and find purpose, I'll gladly help in whatever way I can." Garma stated.

"Thank you Garma, you're too kind." Char responded. Once more Char cursed the fact that Garma was of Degwin's brood. Had he been born into any other family, perhaps Char could have formed a genuine friendship with Garma, to reciprocate the feelings of brotherhood that Garma felt in him for whatever reason. Unfortunately, not only was Garma a member of that cursed family, but he was a zealot for the Zabi cause and a blind excuser for his family's crimes. Therefore he was just as awful as the rest of his siblings.

'This doesn't change anything, he's still one of them.' Char reminded himself, though without as much strength or conviction as before the event.

"Char, I know this probably won't solve all of your problems, but my best advice for you right now would be to find a purpose, something to live for in the Cosmic Era. The Battle of Grenada could have been avoided with the Federal Remnant's surrender, but it went through anyways and tens of thousands of people died because the Feddies convinced themselves that they had nothing to live for besides kill as many of us as they could and go down fighting, making themselves enter a battle they could not win when they could have found a new cause and purpose among us. I know it won't be easy for you, and obviously this won't happen overnight, but if you find something to live for, a cause to be a part of besides just being a soldier of Zeon, then I think you can begin to start a new life and find some happiness in this timeline." Garma advised.

'Something to live for...a cause...the mission!'

Garma's words struck a chord within Char, but far from what he had probably hoped for or expected.

'I may never see Artesia again, she may hate me for the rest of her life, but I can make it worth it, if I make our separation necessary.' Char thought to himself, slowly gaining conviction.

Yes, what happened to the Red Comet was a heavy tragedy and partially of his own doing, but he did not have to make it pointless. The main reason Char was separated from Sayla was because he choose to return to Zeon in the pursuit of his vengeance against the Zabis. If his mission was the cause, then the only course of action through Char was to see it through to its completion soon. If Char did not do so, then he would only act as the cause of Sayla's suffering with no justifiable reason.

'No more stalling, no more content in the long game. I have to kill the Zabis before they lay their roots and get away with corrupting father's legacy. I must, for Father, for Mother, for Artesia.' Char mentally declared.

With his will stronger than ever, Char did his best to mask his newfound conviction and looked to Garma with appreciation, a true feeling this time as it was thanks to one of his future targets that he was now about to move past his depression and begin the true start of his mission. "Thank you Garma, those are strong and good words. I'll be sure to live by them."

In his ignorance, Garma appeared to be greatly happy at the apparent success of his words, feeling that he had just saved his friend from a mental downfall, oblivious to the fact that he was giving strength and cause to someone who wished to act as his assassin.

A/N: And here is the second of the two part update. Originally I had planned to include this in Chapter 28 as a conclusion, but the previous chapter was way too long and Char's tale didn't really fit with the Zabi-exclusive matters so I left it here.

As you can see, Char is dealing with the loss of Sayla badly and we can understand why as the last interaction between them went terribly and Char believes this is the last time he'll see Sayla. The two always had a rough time in MSG, and them meeting for the first time in years through a shared psychic experience with Sayla learning that Char murdered the real Char and stole his identity in his quest for revenge, which she always disapproved of, was never going to create a happy ending. Hopefully, I conveyed that through this encounter, there was no high moral ground or clear superiority for either character. Char's quest for revenge is very understandable as is Sayla's lack of hatred and her wish to live a quiet life. Both have good points and perhaps they could have come to an understanding, but then the Event happened, though perhaps this isn't the last time they'll meet. And from Garma, Char only becomes more devoted to his mission. Will Char succeed once more, or is he doomed to fail like his nihilistic counterpart?

Next chapter will finally show the beginning of the Heliopolis Conference. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!