Authors Note- I am terribly sorry I haven't updated in a while. For the past four months I've been buried in school work and my parents have been pressuring me to study during the fall. I've also had other priorities to attend to, such as finding a job, which, in this economy, is rather diffuclt. But now that I have finished my first college and received my Associates Degree, I now have plenty of spare time to write. I won't be going to grad school until the summer so I have the rest of winter and all of spring to update my story. Stay tuned.
Lyonesse Military Base
Britannia- Lyonesse (Texas)
Princess Cornelia sat alone and silent in her private quarters watching the news intently on the small television on her desk. There was a grim look on her face that represented a very recently revived fatigue from so much war and death in the past.
Over the past 18 months she had served her half-sister Nunnally as the recently reinstated Chief General of the Britannian Army, a position she cherished in the past but had gradually grown somewhat tired of. Losing Euphemia and the wound Schneizel had inflicted on her had taken their toll long ago. And now, just when she thought she could live in peace with the satisfying knowledge that her little sister had been avenged with Lelouch's death, a whole new war had begun in Japan.
For whatever reason the aliens had come to Earth, she knew it was her duty to protect Britannia. For everything the world had fought for, she would not allow this new enemy to destroy the peace and disrupt order.
But she remained curious of the true identity of the new Zero. Whoever it was, she saw him or her slay Lelouch with her own eyes. Knowing that the mysterious person behind the mask had ultimately saved the world from absolute tyranny, she expected him or her to play a role in fighting the invaders.
She jumped slightly in alarm as her desk phone rang, ending her deep thinking. She answered it immediately.
"Princess Cornelia. This is the Corbenic. The Empress wishes to speak with you," A voice said over the phone.
"Understood. Put her through," Cornelia replied with a nod.
"Cornelia," Nunnaly's soft voice said over the phone. "I'm sure you've seen the news."
"I have, your highness," Cornelia said. "I expected you to contact me. What are we going to do about these…aliens?"
"We will get to that soon enough," Nunnally said assuringly. "Commander Kouzuki of the Black Knights has brought the passengers of the first UFO that crashed in Japan. From what they told me, they were fleeing the invaders and intend to help us."
"What?" Cornelia said dubiously. "Your highness, are you sure it is wise to trust them?"
"I know it may sound foolish, but I believe they may be our best asset in fighting these invaders," Nunnally said in a steadfast tone. "In the meantime, I need you prepare our troops for war and report to me at the Morfran Palace as soon as possible."
Cornelia was dumbstruck at how serious the situation was quickly becoming. But she knew her duty was clear and she would not fail to protect her half-sister as she felt she had failed to protect Euphemia.
"Yes, your highness. Understood," Cornelia said as she hung up and sighed heavily.
Knowing she had no time to waste, she stood up from her chair and left her private quarters to summon her military council. If what Nunnally said was true, Britannia had to be ready for war, and soon. Of course, she was quite confident. The Britannian Army was still the largest and most powerful in the world. She would see to it personally they would not fall to the invaders so easily.
Britannia- Morfran (Arizona)
Kallen couldn't conceal her shock. In just one day, two people she had thought were long dead had suddenly reappeared. She never expected Suzaku Kururugi, her sworn rival, to survive the battle aboard the Damocles, nor did she have any idea he was the new Zero who "killed" Lelouch.
Likewise, Suzaku couldn't say he was particuarly pleased to see Kallen even after so long. Nonetheless, his grudging respect for her kept him from admitting it out loud.
Neither of them uttered a word to one another as the Corbenic began its return to the palace on Nunnally's orders.
"From what you tell me, this Darth Vader is the Emperors right hand man. And he is here, commanding the invasion?" Nunnally asked.
"Correct, your highness," Ahsoka replied. "If you are to win this war, Vader must be killed, or at the very least captured. Without him, the Imperial forces will be leaderless and will have little choice but to leave the planet."
"I assume you have a plan to do so, Ahsoka," Lelouch inquired.
Ahsoka was silent and sheepishly lowered her head.
"Actually," Ahsoka sighed. "Getting rid of Vader will not be easy. And I'm almost certain he will discover we are here."
"I see," Lelouch said holding his chin.
"Making matters worse, the Empire has numbers on their side," Ahsoka continued.
"Numbers do not win a war," Rex said. "But their ships do give them a lethal advantage. From orbit, they can bombard any part of the planet they want. However, they are vulnerable once they are grounded after landing to deploy troops."
"Then our first priority should be destroying their ships as they land," Lelouch said, already coming up with a strategy. "But I assume Vader will take measures to ensure no infiltrators enter their ships once they are grounded, especially after our successful escape from Japan."
"You are right, sir," Rex agreed. "Vader is no fool. Plus, he'll resort to any length to force the people of this planet to surrender."
"Or to capture us," Kole added.
"Which reminds me," Kallen interjected as she stepped forward. "The Galactic Empire wouldn't be here in the first place if you hadn't led them here."
Kole and Ahsoka gave Kallen a defensive look which she returned with a stubborn glare.
"You must understand, Kallen," Ahsoka said. "The Empire has been occupying worlds in the outer rim since their establishment. I believe it is safe to assume they would have discovered Earth eventually."
"That may be true," Kallen said, narrowing her eyes. "But that could have been years or even decades from now. I'm sorry to say this but…"
"Enough of this," Nunnally declared as calmly as she could, not wanting an argument to begin. "Right now, it doesn't matter how the Empire came to us. Our only option now is to stand together and win this war."
Ahsoka and Kallen remained silent.
Ahsoka could easily sense Kallen was understandably angry over the loss of her teammates back in Japan and the fact her home country was under siege. Furthermore, a part of Ahsoka told her she probably should have never come to Earth in the first place. She may not have known the planet was inhabited beforehand but the fact she had lead the Empire to the planet that had worked so hard to achieve peace filled her heart with guilt and strain.
The Corbenic engines shuddered as it decelerated and landed gently onto the large concrete landing pad just outside the Imperial Palace.
"We're back at the palace," Suzaku said. "You better put those helmets back on."
Lelouch and CC nodded as they donned their disguises again as they prepared to leave the Corbenic and enter the palace.
3 Miles Northeast of Tokyo
General Tohdoh and his remaining forces had barely escaped desturction outside the city. An hour ago he had over fifty Knightmare Frames under his command. Now there were no more than six unless there were still stragglers fleeing the seemingly endless number of troops the colossal alien ships had disgorged into battle.
Before the retreat, he saw thousands of Stormtroopers march into Tokyo supported by walkers and starfighters and understood the city was lost.
He had also lost contact with Prime Minister Ohgi mere minutes ago and he feared that he and his family had been captured.
"General Tohdoh," A Black Knight said over the Zangetsu's communicator. "What are your orders?"
"We must keep moving. They'll be looking for us," Tohdoh replied. "We'd better move into the forest. We'll have a better chance of survival there."
The remaining Akatsuki swiveled on the landspinners and advanced into the forest outside Tokyo. Before entering the forest, Tohdoh took one last look at Tokyo and hoped that in time, the tide would turn and the city would be retaken.
Lyonesse Military Base
Britannia- Lyonesse (Texas)
Cornelia sat at the far end of a large table in her conference room. She had summoned her military council, who sat at both sides of the table with both anxious and nervous looks on their faces. They had all seen the news and understood the situation.
"Gentlemen," Cornelia began. "Without a doubt, you have all heard the news of is occuring in Japan even as we speak. The country has been invaded by an enemy that is not of this world. We do not know why they are here or what their true intentions are but it is our duty to protect our beloved Britannia if they dare to invade us. That is why we must be ready for war."
The officers seat around the table all exchanged looks of concern. One of them stood up. He was a tall, thin man in his late thirties with cropped brown hair and a stern face.
"Your highness," The officer said. "The bulk of our forces are stationed in the mid-west. We can mobilize them towards the west coast, but it will take time."
"I understand that, General Gordon," Cornelia replied. "But time is a luxury we may not have."
General Isaac Gordon, a veteran of the 2nd Black Rebellion, had an amicable relationship with Cornelia but she still occasionally had doubts on him. He was brave and fiercly loyal to Britannia but, unlike the late General Bartley Asprius or Andreas Darlton, he was pessimistic at times; a bad quality for a general.
"But your highness," Gordon continued. "We know very little of these extraterrestrials. We don't even know how great their numbers are."
"Well then," Cornelia muttered, starting to lose her patience. "What do you suggest we do, Gordon, surrender?"
Gordon looked baffled.
"N-no your highness, of course not," Gordon babbled. "I am merely saying we have no idea what these aliens are capable of."
"It doesn't matter what they can or cannot do," Cornelia stated. "Gentlemen, moments such as these are matters of courage and determination. To despair is to invite fear into everything we have fought for to establish peace. Fear will plunge the world back into chaos and we cannot let that happen."
The officers all looked at one another, realizing Cornelia was right. Her words of encouragement had done well.
"General Gordon," Cornelia said. "I want every unit in Britannia on alert and ready for war and I want these invaders to know just who they are dealing with."
"Yes, your highness," Gordon replied.
"Very good," Cornelia concluded as she stood up. "Now, if you'll all excuse me. I have to report to Empress Nunnally. Gentlemen, this meeting is adjourned."
With that, Cornelia turned and exited the room, striding towards the Knightmare hangar to board her modified Gloucester and head for the Imperial Palace.
Britannia- Morfran (Arizona)
The Knights of the Round kept their guard up as the passengers of the Corbenic descended down the ramp and entered the Imperial Palace.
As they entered the palace and strode down the corridor towards Nunnally's private chambers, Ahsoka received confused looks from the palace servants and guards who didn't quite know what to make of her. She overheard hushed but audible whispers.
"That's one of the aliens…?"
"It almost looks human…"
"Why is it here?"
Ahsoka ignored the silent chatter as she and the others followed Nunnally into her room. Once the doors closed behind them, Lelouch, CC and Suzaku removed their disguises.
"Lelouch," Suzaku said. "While you return to the role of Zero, how am I going to keep my identity hidden? Everyone outside this room believes I am dead."
"He's right," CC said. "There can't be two Zeros."
"Don't worry. We'll get to that in a moment," Lelouch replied in an assuring tone. "Afterwards, I must address the world as Zero and inform them of this new threat that is the Galactic Empire."
"There is a room used for broadcasting Britannia," Nunnally said. "You can use it if you must, big brother."
Lelouch was suddenly touched by those two words. He suddenly had the urge to speak with his little sister in private but he had to set his priorities carefully. The fate of the world was in his hands again and any mistake he made could dramatically alter the course of events.
"Suzaku," Lelouch said, withdrawing from deep thought. "To keep your identity a secret, I have the answer right over here."
Lelouch gestured to the wall. Suzaku looked confused. Lelouch simply smiled and walked over to a book case, slid out one of the books and a small section of the wall opened to reveal an hand-print access panel. Everyone stared in surprise as Lelouch placed his palm onto the scanner. A green light shined on the panel and the wall next to Lelouch slid aside, revealing a secret room. Lelouch entered the room with Suzaku following him.
What Suzaku saw next made his eyes grow wide in shock.
Positioned beneath a single light on a metal stand was an outfit similar to that of Zero but with a different helmet with two eyeholes instead of one large, oval shaped visor.
"Lelouch…" Suzaku whispered in bewilderment. "What is this?"
Lelouch managed a feint smile.
"Not long before we put the Zero Requiem into action," Lelouch explained. "I knew there was an unlikely but very much possible chance you're identity would be discovered. So I designed a suit especially for you to wear. You will not be Zero…but his aide. You shall be known as…Infinity."
"Infinity…" Suzaku repeated as he reached out and touched the mask hanging on the stand. "You planned this without my knowledge?"
"I apologize, Suzaku," Lelouch said. "But I thought it would be best that only I knew about it until the situation called for you to wear it. And now it does."
Suzaku lifted the helmet off the stand and examined it before turning his gaze to Lelouch.
"Together, my friend," Lelouch continued. "We will keep our idenities a secret. And with the help of Ahsoka and her companions, we will defeat the Galactic Empire and restore peace and order to the world."
Suzaku could tell Lelouch already had plans. He had saved the world once from oppression and inequality. And now he would save it again from war and enslavement at the hands of the Galactic Empire. Additonally, Suzaku didn't have any real choice.
"Then...," Suzaku replied slowly, knowing he could only comply. "I will wear this outfit. I will help you fight the Empire as Infinity. But first...I would like to speak to you in private."
Lelouch's confident smile vanished. He wore a puzzled look though he expected Suzaku wanted to confront him on his unexpected return.
"If you must," Lelouch said, exiting the small room. "Then it must be now. Come with me."
Suzaku nodded and followed Lelouch out of the room and walking towards the one leading to Nunnally's bedroom.
"Where are you two going?" Nunnally asked.
"We shall return shortly. Lelouch and I simply...need to discuss something."" Suzaku replied just before he shut the door behind him.
Imperial-class Star Destroyer: Decimator
Holo-cam Recording Center
Admiral Dannis stood behind a pair of survelience technicians as they searched for the holo-recording of Ahsoka and her companions. Dannis knew Lord Vader would not tolerate failure and after seeing Cadet Corban's grisly death happen before his very eyes, he was utterly determined not to dissapoint the Sith Lord.
"Admiral," One of the technicians said. "We've found it."
Dannis leaned forward and eyed the holo-recording as it appeared on the control console the technicians were stationed at. The shimmering, blue hologram had a wide range of view. Ahsoka Tano, her Jedi companions and a handful of Stormtroopers stood near an LAAT. Another Stormtrooper was speaking with an Imperial officer and his squad.
Then what happened next made Dannis' jaw drop. The Stormtrooper removed his helmet, revealing that he was not a clone of the notorious bounty hunter, Jango Fett, but a young, black haired man with purple eyes. A few moments later, the Imperial officer and his squad turned and left the hangar while the young man and his companions boarded the LAAT and flew away.
"What the kriff…" Dannis muttered in bewilderment.
With a soft hiss, a door opened and Admiral Dannis heard the unmistakable deep and labored breathing of Lord Vader. Dannis turned and spotted the Sith Lord enter the room and stride towards him. The other technicians took notice of Vader's entrance but quickly returned to their work.
"Admiral," Vader said. "You have had time, so you had better have results."
"I do, my lord," Dannis said quickly as he gestured to the holo-recording.
Vader leaned forward and studied the holo-recording carefully.
"Stop at the point that man removes his helmet and zoom in," Vader ordered.
The two technicians obeyed as the hologram enlarged until Lelouch's face filled the recording. Vader started for a few moments before turning to Dannis.
"Admiral, I want a retinal scan on that man's face based on the data we gathered at the Tokyo HQ," Vader demanded.
"We'll get to it right away, my lord. But it will take some time," Dannis said, though he knew what Vader's response would be.
"How long it takes does not concern me, Admiral," Vader said sternly. "I expect that man's identity known within the next ten minutes."
Dannis knew the price of disappointing Vader and said nothing but simply nodded. Without another word, Vader turned and left the room, leaving Dannis to his work.