"Well this just made thing more complicated for us." Said Revil as he read the report he was given. According to ECOAS team one, demands were being made from the people of Side 1 to increase the reparations of Side 3 for the failed Stardust operation conducted by the Delaz fleet. Despite the Delaz fleet being not affiliated with Side 3 anymore as well as the Republic of Zeon condemning them for their actions, the Side 1 people didn't care and were infuriated when it was made known to the public that the Delaz fleet intended to use colonies from Side 1 to conduct a colony drop on Earth like in the One Year war. Despite Side 3 unable to afford to pay even more reparations, the Side 1 council as well as the Federation high council passed a bill that decreed Side 3 to pay eight trillion more Earth Federation Gecks along with the twenty seven trillion they still had to pay for after the Federation won the One Year War. It also allowed additional forces to be sent to both determine if Side 3 had helped the Delaz fleet and to suppress riots that would undoubtedly occur because of this, both from Principality of Zeon loyalists and citizens that were enraged with this new bill. Protests were made by Side 3 representatives, but the Side 1 and the Federation high council were unmoved and so the Republic of Zeon had to pay even more money to the Federation. Sighing, Revil pondered on this information. He was currently debating this new situation with two other high ranking officers in the Federation military, admirals Kowen and Tianem, his closets friends.
"This is bad, Revil." Said Tianem with a frown. "Federation intelligence has reported in increased riots in Side 3. ECOAS has even reported in that growing terrorists cells in Side 3 are growing as well as forming. Soon, the troops stationed there will have their hands full in dealing with riots in Side 3, even more so if they all unite. It may even go to the point that we'll need to declare martial law on the entire Side." That caused some grumbling and looks of worry from the other officers in the room. While they were confident they can handle doing martial law on Side 3, none of them wanted a reemergence of another Principality of Zeon and another outbreak of a war when the last one ended merely three years ago.
"We need some way to make the other Sides and the people on Earth see that the Republic of Zeon is suffering and can't afford to pay even more reparations." Said Kowen. "We also need to appease the Republic's people that not all other citizens of the Federation are out to get them. Otherwise, we may get another second coming of the Principality of Zeon again as well as another civil war."
"I know." Said Revil as he pondered on what to do as well. Public statements from either of them won't help and only lower their popularity amongst the citizens of the Federation. Asking Paraya or any of their allies in the Federation government to do so will have the same results, perhaps even getting them expelled or blacklisted. What could they do? He pondered and pondered a way to prevent the situation from getting any worse and diffuse it, if only by a small margin, until he figured out a way. "The media. If we could get the media to see the whole situation, we might be able to lessen the damage already done."
"But the media is, quite frankly, full of sycophants and bullshitters that won't risk their careers with making something against the popular opinion. And the rest are too afraid to act in fear of losing their jobs." Said Tianem with a frown. "Who the hell are you going to get that'll risk their entire career to help us." Revil just raised a finger.
"There is one that will help us." Said Revil. "One that both has a hatred for Zeon, but also keeps an open mind on things he reports. He also researches his subjects well and always publishes the whole truth, even if it'll leave him hated by the populace." Upon hearing that description, Kowen and Tianem widened their eyes in surprise.
"Kai Shiden?" Asked Kowen, causing Revil to nod in agreement.
"Well, that's certainly someone we can trust." Said Tianem. "But in order for him to get the whole truth out, he needs to be in Side 3 in order to verify all the suffering going there, that includes going to heavy contested territories with Principality of Zeon loyalists and terrorists. We need someone native to Side 3 to be by his side in order to ensure his protection from all but the most extreme Principality loyalists. Perhaps multiple. Preferably with military training to protect them from said extreme loyalists."
"Agreed." Said Revil. "They also need to have an open mind to the Federation and see that this is something that is supposed to help Zeon, not destroy them further. Look through current Republic of Zeon defense personal. Rack through all their personal files and find ones' capable of doing this assignment for us. I'll get into contact with Mr. Shiden. Hopefully he'll help us with this assignment."
"Understood. I'll get on it right away." Said Kowen. "If memory serves, he's currently doing a scoop on the newly formed Titans and whether or not they're formation is justified or not when Special tasks groups like ECOAS and Londo Bell are already active."
"A good assignment, but unfortunately pales in importance in this one." Said Tianem. "Good luck Revil, I'll keep taps on the military as well as the politicians." Revil nodded at that before adjourning the meeting between the three military officers of the Federation.
The next day
"And I'm done." Said a man in his early twenties as he finished typing the final draft on a news article that he wrote about the Titans and if they were really necessary. He then handed it to a nearby GM worker platform, who scanned the papers before giving his verdict.
"Excellent work, boss!" Yelled a GM worker as he took the papers that the man wrote. "I'll get this to Tick and get these ready for the papers, Mr. Shiden."
"Do that. And just call me Kai, Crick." Said the man as the GM worker left his room to go get the draft ready for the newspapers. Sighing, Kai began to think on how he became a reporter.
Kai Shiden. A somewhat legend in the news community. This was because he was known as one of the mobile suit pilots of the legendary White Base, being one of the first few Federation citizens that piloted an illustrious mobile suit during the One Year War, back when the Federation didn't even have mobile suits. Piloting mostly the Guncannon line of mobile suits, Kai earned himself as mighty reputation because of his ace status given to him after the war. It had been a surprise to all when he retired from service to become a freelance reporter, using the money he gotten from his forced service to the military to start up his career as a freelance reporter, using it wisely, along with a few favors, to be the first reporter to get a crew of droids to help him with his reporting. And it was quite a good investment as all the money he earned became his and his alone, his AI crew didn't care about the money one bit, just servicing him and his duty to spread the truth to all corners of the Earth Sphere.
Like most of the White Base crew, he didn't stay in the military, unlike Bright, Amuro, and Chan. Like many others, he just felt the military wasn't where he belonged. He was forced into service by the Federation. And though he didn't hold any resentment against them, not anymore anyway, for it, he still felt the military wasn't for him. At least as a career choice.
He started out a bit rough, he had no idea how to gather info and write an appropriate article for the newspapers after all, but after three years, he finally got the hang of it and was a respected reporter that was known for telling the truth with no bias. Well, any bias that wasn't against Zeon that is. Much as the war was over, Kai still couldn't forgive the Zeons for all the atrocities they've committed during the One Year War, including Miharu and the forced amputation of it's citizenry. Of all ages, in order to better pilot their mobile suits. He remembered just how much anger and disgust he, along with everyone else in the White Base, when they learned about it after the war ended. It was partly why he decided to become a reporter.
Still though, he kind of missed it. The sounds of battle. The adrenaline that pumps through you as you tried to fight and stay alive in the battlefield where a single wrong move can cost you your life. And, most importantly, he missed his friends. They've kept in contact over the years, but never actually visited each other in a long while, mainly due to their busy schedules. Hayato, from what he gathered, started a relationship with Fraw Bow and adopted the little three orphans from the beginning of the White Base's journey. He didn't know much besides them about the five. Chan and Amuro took up instructor jobs in a prestigious military academy in the Cheyenne Mobile suit academy in North America, which was the main source of recruits for the Londo Bell special Task force. Ryu, Carmine and his men joined up with Bright in this special forces group. Burning and the 4th Immortal team separated, but he heard they were all alive and well. They were the ones to help stop Operation Stardust from being a successive along with someone named Kou Uraki. Everyone else either went to Anaheim electronics for work or have dropped off the grid, much to his disappointment.
Sighing to himself, Kai wondered if he should pay a visit to Amuro and Chan, maybe even tease them when they're going to marry each other and have kids, when he suddenly got a call. Thinking it was just someone demanding some restrictions or even additions to his work, Kai picked up the phone and was about to speak in a sarcastic voice when he heard the voice on the other end of the phone.
"Hello, Mr. Shiden, I'm pleased to see that you answered my call quick." Said Revil as he spoke to Kai in his quarters in Jaburo. Upon hearing Revil's voice on the other end of the call, Kai straightened himself up and swallowed a bit.
"What's does the Federation want with me?" Asked Kai, wondering what this call was about. He didn't say anything bad about the Federation since the start of his career. Well maybe that'll change with what he said about the Titans and how they're a bad idea with all their perks and ability to do whatever they want in the name of hunting down Zeon remnants, but that article hasn't been published yet.
"Well, we need your help again, Mr. Shiden." Said Revil before cutting to the chase. "As you know, the recent attack on Konpei Island and the destruction of the Delaz Fleet has stirred the Federation council into creating the Titans special Task force, which is to deal with Principality of Zeon remnants and those that sympathize with them, despite the fact that Londo Bell and ECOAS was designed for that task as well. Despite that, this task force was approved and various soldiers of the various branches are joining them."
"Yeah, I know about the Titans and all their perks." Said Kai, disapproving some of them. A two rank promotion just for being a Titan? Ability to do whatever they pleased? The Federation was just asking for trouble with such a task force, especially with some of the unsavory people they're employing for that group. That Jamitov Hymen, the leader and founder of that group, was of particular concern to him. A known Earthnoid supremacists, Jamitov didn't hide the fact that he was disgusted with the growing freedoms given to Spacenoids and his want to change that. To change things back to what they were at the beginning of the Earth Federation's prime. And that was a big no no for Kai. "Did an article of how much of a bad idea it is to give an organization that much prestige and perks without some way to counter them or screen for potential bad apples. Gonna give me some more enemies, but I can deal with it. Not like I'm used to having some Earth Federation officers want my head for what I write." Revil could attest to that. He read what Kai writes whenever he has the time and he must admit, the man was brutally honest in his opinions and why he thinks some decisions the Federation has made were both good and bad. It caused some officers to want him to disappear for that, but Revil made sure such things were never followed up with real action. Kai was a proven supporter of the Federation, but he didn't approve of every decision that they made and made it known, which was part of the reason why he choose him to do this assignment.
"I figured you would do such a thing." Said Revil. "And it's precisely because of that, I'm requesting your help in a matter." Kai, raising an eyebrow at that, asked what it was. "You see, in addition to the creation of the Titans, the Earth Federation council has approved a new bill that forces the Republic of Zeon to pay an additional eight million Gecks for the actions of the Delaz fleet as well as the placement of more troops to Side 3 as punishment." Kai blinked in shock at that.
"But it's been proven that the Delaz fleet had no support from the Republic of Zeon." Said Kai, anger bubbling up within him.
"I know." Said Revil. "But the Earth Federation still feels that Side 3 is responsible because the Delaz fleet is comprised of Side 3 men and women. Those that have refused to see that the war ended long ago and have continued to fight us. If it weren't for the fact they tried to still continue the idea that the people of Side 3 will never stop fighting the Federation, regardless of how ineffective and pointless it is to do so, this new bill wouldn't have been made in the first place."
"But shouldn't people be pissed off at such a ludicrous bill, sir?" Asked Kai. "They'll see it as just proof of Federation corruption and bullying, right?"
"It would." Agreed Revil. "Normally this type of behavior would have been heavily frowned upon by the people if it was done to any other Side, but with the One Year War and the amount of deaths it caused as well as operation Stardust, opinions aren't the same with Side 3. That's where you come in." Kai blinked at that before asking what he meant. "Well, as you know, the media can be a powerful tool if used correctly. It can be used to rise public support against or side with a subject if given the right information. So, I made a plan with my colleagues to use the media to make the rest of the people of the Earth Sphere see that this new bill is a bad idea and that Side 3 had nothing to do with the Delaz fleet. Unfortunately, as you know, the media is full of people that would rather not do the hard work and simply do things the easy way. Especially if said hard work involves the potential risk of dying by a mob of disgruntled citizens or terrorists to get their facts." Kai, with all this information, now saw what Revil wanted him to do.
"So you want me to go to Side 3 and make a good story to the entire Earth Sphere why the new bill will cause suffering to innocent people to Side 3 and that they had nothing to do with those psychos that make up the Delaz fleet." Said Kai, causing Revil to give a sound of confirmation.
"I know that you have a distrust and even hatred of Side 3, Mr. Shiden, but I also know that you hate when innocents suffer, even more so when they get wrongly accused by people due to misinformation or because of the actions of their government. Your articles prove as such." Said Revil. "Your pieces of literature on the subject of Earthnoids and spacenoids as proof of that." Kai shrugged at that before politely asking Revil to get to the point. "Very well, I need you to go to Side 3, gather good information about the state of the people there under the treaty of Varik, make a convincing argument why further reparations will be harmful to them, and then publish it. If you can, get some information about the terrorists growing there and provide a good section on them and how this new bill will only create more of them and make them even more dangerous. I'm not asking you to humanize these terrorists' groups, however. Simply discover how they came to be and make a convincing argument why the new bill will create more of them and be harmful to the Earth Sphere in the long run. Should you accept, you'll receive proper compensation for your efforts with the Earth Federation and under government protection until further notice. You can refuse, however, and that is perfectly acceptable, but I believe you wouldn't do such a thing, correct?" Kai sighed at that.
Truth be told, he didn't like the idea of doing anything in the support of Side 3, no matter how much it was for a good cause. The sheer amount of deaths they caused in the One Year War, on their own people, the Federation, and those neutral, was something on Kai's mind a lot. The fact they said it was all for a good cause all the way to the end didn't help. And the fact that Gihren Zabi made his ridiculous bill near the end of the war, the one that included dismembering limbs of his people in order for them to fight better, really didn't help as well. Then there was Miharu, a Zeon spy that sacrificed herself to help out the White Base back on Earth. A woman that Kai respected and considered a good person that was forced into this war by people that exploited her desperation and siblings to do their bidding. And now she's dead and her siblings are left to fend for themselves because they blindly insist that Miharu was coming back. He knew this because of Sayla keeping an eye on them for him.
That's not to say that Kai didn't know there were good people that were affiliated with Side 3. That was completely untrue. He remembered Hepner, that Zeon pilot of the Midnight Fenrir. She was just a girl that fought because she truly believed in Zeon's cause and that she was just naïve enough to think that they were in the right, though he saw that she was a good person at heart. There was also that chick that Shiro Amada, the new pilot of the RX-78-7 Gundam, loved that also showed that there were good people in Side 3 that just got caught up in all the patriotism and the like from Gihren Zabi, who Kai begrudgingly admitted, was a charismatic, if slightly insane, leader.
And during his brief time as a freelance reporter, he learned that there were plenty of innocent people that get caught up in the bad decisions of leaders. He's seen people suffer from increased tax rates on both Earth and in colonies. Barely getting by with what they earn. Suffering from deteriorating living conditions as the Earth Federation tried to rebuild all that was destroyed in the One Year War as well as maintaining and advancing their military. He's done his best to defend the Federation as best as he could while maintaining his own moral code and speaking the truth, but he can't help but understand those that have genuine complaints against the Earth Federation and their seemingly slow response to their needs. All that time, however, he's never once supported Zeon and spoke of them in a positive light. Even in the articles that supported those that have complaints on the Earth Federation, he never once brought up Side 3 in a positive light, always negative. Not without reason, of course, that would just be stupid and unnecessary, but he could never bring himself to say anything good of Side 3, not when they did so much wrong in the past. So, he usually avoided topics around Side 3 and the treaty of Varik. And now Revil was assigning him a mission to do exactly that. And to make it worst, his moral obligations urged him to do so because, he knew that many of Side 3's populace were innocent and that they'll suffer from this new bill. And he hated when innocent people suffered, even if they were from Zeon.
Sighing again, Kai wondered if it was better off if he just stayed in the military or just choose a different career path. Because he really didn't want to do this, but he also really wanted to as well. Talk about being split on what to do. Thinking on the matter for quite some time, Kai made his decision.
"Alright. I'll do it." Said Kai. "Don't like if innocent people suffer, Zeon or not. I'm currently in Side 1 at the capital colony. Just get a ship to come pick me up and take me and my crew to Side 3."
"Good." Said Revil, pleased to hear this. "We'll have everything ready in two days. Be at docking bay four around ten in the morning in the capital colony. And Mr. Shiden, thank you for this." With that Revil ended the call, leaving Kai alone. Sighing again, Kai wondered what he just brought upon himself.
"Days like this make me question why I decided to become a reporter." Thought Kai as he wondered if he should get some alcohol to help cope with all this.
Two days later
Military docking bay 4
"Alright, here we are." Said Kai as he and his crew were walking towards a docked military shuttle that would be taking them to Side 3.
His crew composed of three AIs in GM worker platforms, Crick, Tick, and Slick. Crick handled all manners of editing and note-taking, helping Kai with making his articles. Tick handled the publishing while Slick just handled the camera and fact-checking, making sure everything they wrote as one hundred percent accurate. All three were good in their job and Kai wouldn't throw them away for anything, but their presence made him miss his original teammate AI. Merc, his AI during the war. They only fought in a few battles, but they formed a strong bond regardless. When Kai left the military, he regretted that Merc couldn't come with him. He just hoped that Merc was doing alright without him and that he wasn't annoying his new pilot too much.
Plus, his quirk of being loud wasn't as annoying, at least to Kai, as the three he had with him.
Crick was fine, compared to the other two, he just tended to be an utterly, annoying, perfectionist when it came to organization and cleanliness. If even one thing went wrong in his eyes, the AI would go crazy in attempting to fix it. Kai, learned that, when Crick saw some of his stuff in a rabid mess in a box.
Tick was a rambling mess, always speaking and rambling on when he didn't mean to, constantly saying things that just get him in trouble with people, which was why he was stuck in publishing things. If that's not all, he constantly twitched as well. Sometimes it was fine, but others it was bad, almost impairing his ability to work. That would be the worst had Slick not been the womanizing droid he was.
The AI called Slick was probably the worst of the trio, always looking at the figures of human females and making rude comments and flirts at the most inappropriate of times. Kai recalled nearly losing a big career opportunity because Slick couldn't help but comment on the attractiveness of a potential employer's daughter. They nearly lost their career path because of his mouth, hence why Slick was stuck fact checking and not going out in the field. But that wasn't enough to stop the AI from trying to get a girl for himself.
"I never thought that we would get to travel in a military ship before." Said Tick as he carried some of Kai's reporter equipment along with Crick and Slick. "Hope that we don't get hit by pirates or Zeon remnant forces. Heard both are active as of late and that the military is hard pressed to contain them all before they could go and attack good people, kill them, and take their belongings. And then…"
"Tell me about it." Said Slick as he looked around their surroundings constantly. "Problem is, things are going to be hard for us for the next few weeks, right Mr. Shiden? Heard we're going to Side 3 and they don't take kindly to us synthetics."
"That's right." Said Kai as they walked towards a military PM, who was baring entry to the shuttle. Showing him their IDs, the PM allowed them entry and they soon walked to the portable elevator that allowed them entry to the shuttle and entered it. "The military said they'll protect us, but keep a close eye on anyone from Side 3. A lot of them are still sore about their lose in the One Year War. And some won't think twice to beat us up just because we're Federation supporters."
"That and the fact that you're a known war hero that fought with the White Devil, right?" Asked Slick, looking at his boss with his green visor. "Bet that going to cause some troubles for us as well. Especially the ladies."
"Yeah." Said Kai. "That too. So get ready to fight and never go anywhere alone in Side 3. Got it?" The three AIs nodded before the elevator doors opened and allowed them entry to the shuttle's interior. Waiting for them were two soldiers, who motioned for them to follow them. Following them, the soldiers eventually led the reporter team to a large, luxury room with it's own T.V. and everything.
"Woah." Said Tick upon seeing it as the droids looked around their room while their escort left them alone. "Our job must be really important if the military is giving us this kind of room."
"Well, considering we're going to make an article that may or may not decide the eruption of another war with Side 3, I'd say it is." Said Kai as he sat on the bed, impressed with it's softness. As his motley crew looked for places to safely place their equipment away, Kai wondered how bad things are in Side 3 for Revil to go and ask him to do this.
Four weeks later
Federation 4th fleet
"Admiral Kowen, the Arcais is approaching Side 3 territory now." Said the comm officer of Kowen's flagship, the Redeemer.
Upon hearing that, Kowen nodded in satisfaction at that. Good, Kai was here. Now, he can get to work at making the rest of the Earth Sphere realize that Side 3 was full of innocent people and that the new bill was just going to create more troubles for the Federation.
"Tell the Arcais to land in docking bay eight in Side 3's capital. And inform Mr. Shidan's escort that they'll meet him outside the spaceport there." Once the comm officer relayed that information, Kowen received a report from another officer, informing him of a riot going on in sector four, causing him to sigh.
Few hours later
"Welcome to the Republic of Zeon, Mr. Shiden." Said the AI, encompassed in a GM trooper body as Kai showed it his pass, enabling him and his reporter crew entry to the Federation garrison in the capital of Side 3. It's there where he's going to see his bodyguards "I hope your trip has been uneventful and safe."
"Yes and considering the hell I'm about to go in soon, it'll be something I'll come to miss later on in my life. If I live that long." Said Kai with a smile. The AI didn't comment on that and simply allowed Kai entry out of the spaceport and to the interior of Side 3's capital.
"Man, this place is really beautiful." Said Tick as he looked around their surroundings, seeing nothing was wrong here. "Almost makes me forget that we're on important business." Kai just nodded at that as he looked at the vibrant green before him and the still intact buildings of the capital. It all almost made him forget about the assignment he was in and how important it was to do it correctly. Or else there is going to be hell to pay soon. He was about to look all over it all again when a cough nearby him caught his attention.
"Are you Mr. Shiden?" Asked a young woman's voice, getting louder as the sounds of footsteps approached him. Looking to where the source of it was coming from, Kai spotted a young woman, probably around fourteen or fifteen years of age approaching him.
He had to admit, she was quite beautiful for her age with her long, dark red hair tied in a top knot behind her head and her vibrant green eyes. She wore a Side 3 militia uniform that put Kai on guard, but upon seeing the non-hostile way she approached him, he slightly let his guard down. When she stopped a few feet before him, she spoke up.
"I'm Erika Yugo." Said the woman as she looked at Kai, not displaying any emotions. "And I'm part of your security team during your stay here on Side 3. I'm also here to escort you to the Federation garrison near the capital. So, if you would, follow me. I'll lead you to the vehicle that'll bring us there." With that introduction, Kai followed the young woman as she led him to a military troop carrier that was guarded by various AIs in GM trooper platforms, his crew not far behind.
"She's beautiful." Said Slick, noting the girl's look, as they walked. "She's going to be an attractive lady later on, I tell you. Maybe good enough for you, boss."
"Slick, you serious!?" Whispered Tick as he looked between Kai and the young girl, shaking uncontrollably, nearly dropping the boxes full of their equipment to the ground. "She's a handful of years younger than Kai. You want him to get arrested!? And our reputations ruined as well?"
"She ain't that younger than him." Said Slick as he eyed Erika and her growing curves. "I aint saying to smash her now, but when she's legal. Yeah. Course if the boss doesn't want to…"
"Slick, knock it off. Save it for later. Or not. Preferably not." Said Crick as they approached the troop carrier and entered themselves. Once they entered, the carrier started up and began moving away from the spaceport.