LOST WAR CHRONICLES Chapter ?????: Dogfight
|Penned by:||John Nigel|
|Suggested soundtrack for reading:|
LOST WAR CHRONICLES Chapter ?????: Dogfight
Penned by: John Nigel
LC 43, November 30. Aboard Royal Zeon’s Borzam class battle cruiser, Gilgamesh
Throwing her wineglass against the wall caused hundreds of splinters drifting inside her quarters. Ensign Aya Creuset cursed under her breath. Frustrated because of the report and reprimand from the High Command concerning the failure of OPERATION Davey Jones, she took the blame, covering for Captain Magnus Alexandersson. It was the captain who gave the operation order to Commander Richard “Rick” Diaz’s squadron, Phobos and Deimos. What angered her more was that the operation did not give substantial results as to further information concerning the seized blueprints for mobile suits development, which they took from captured Earth Militaire supporters in Pakistan. Only one thing is clear – that the earth rebels had at least one mobile suit in full operational status. She was most intrigued by the type of suit it was, since it singlehandedly took on a whole squadron unit (9 Zaku Nightmare and 1 Dreissen Threat Custom) and destroyed a battle transport ship.
“…just how many mobile suits do these infidels have under their sleeves? To think about this makes me even more…grrr…” Nevertheless, she was still somewhat grateful because she wasn’t demoted nor punished in any way.
“Damn you, Diaz! Damn you, Earth Militaire!”
From the recent events, Zyann Nigel was lost for words and thoughts. During the last encounter her Uncle Bill, who cared for her since her father’s death ten years ago, was killed when Commander Diaz fired his particle launcher against the colony where Bill was. Clueless as to what to do next from this time on, she tried to seek help from Freed Melendrez, Bill’s former apprentice and friend.
The red Gundam known as Astraeus Blaze was now approaching L2 Side 1 residential colony Eidon. During the War of Pride, hoards of refugees both from earth and Royal Zeon-controlled colonies sought shelter in colonies that were recipients of the Peacecraft Treaty protection. The treaty was formulated during the war and it explicitly recognized the neutrality of certain colonies in space. It was also agreed that no mobile suit battle would be engaged inside the colony. One of these colonies was Eidon, but being inhabited by refugees and expatriates, it was a poor colony. It also happened that this was the colony where a friend of her deceased Uncle Bill resided.
By now, Zyann thought of the possibility that Royal Zeon soldiers might be on full alert status and would be searching for the red Gundam. Seeing a cluster of space debris nearby, she hid Astraeus between two huge pieces of a destroyed battleship. After setting up force bombs which were set off by a sudden force or explosion, she also set up wires to hold some smaller debris so that her Gundam will be inconspicuous to visual detection and will seem a drifting asteroid in enemy radar. After securing the Gundam, she used her normal suit’s jet pack and made a beeline towards the underbelly of the colony. She didn’t go to the usual spaceport docks nor to the usual passageway of stowaways and illegal immigrants, which was the maintenance bay. Instead, she utilized the garbage bay as her entry point, a tip she got from her father, who mentioned before that security measures are rarely set in these areas. She pushed her luck and started the long maze of tunnels and narrow passageways en route for the heart of the colony.
On board Gilgamesh, a beep from her comlink transceiver awakened Aya from her slumber. It was the Captain.
“Ensign, I want you in the tactical room right away.”
“As you please, Captain.”
Aya slipped into her uniform immediately. She wondered about the urgency of the captain’s voice. Probably some other ship has found, captured, or was currently engaging the red Gundam. At the tactical room, two other Frontal Squadron members fresh from the academy were already there. They were the fraternal twins, Shiro Amadasuka and Shinn Amadasuka, whose performances in the academy had truly impressed the High Command, earning the title "Twin Scythes of Death". Their efforts paid off and now they were commissioned under the Crimson Striker’s command. They both pilot a Dom Mk. ll, equipped with dual bazookas and a modified hand-held railgun. Aya approached the group and gave the captain a Royal Zeon salute.
“Ensign Creuset reporting in, Captain.”
“At ease, Ensign,” responded Magnus. “Probably you are all confounded by the sudden recall. I will go directly into details. A preset transmission from Commander Rick Diaz’s Dreissen before he DIA was intercepted by our spy satellites deployed in Lagrange 5. It was relayed at a much later time due to interferences from the randomly dispersed Minovsky particles during their engagement with the enemy mobile suit, which based on the report, was a Gundam type. Furthermore, the data recorded and confirmed relatively long-range beam weapon, possibly positron cannon as the information on beam description pertains to. It is also has remote weaponry capabilities. But what really is interesting is that Commander Diaz thought that there is a very high possibility that the pilot is a Newtype, based on his battle tactics, response, and the ability to proficiently control the remote weapons.”
At the mention of the word, Aya was surprised.
“The pilot’s a Newtype?” Aya echoed in astonishment. “Captain, is this even possible…that Newtype emergences can still happen these days?”
Shiro interjected, “Didn’t the empire’s bio-scientists confirm that Newtype abilities are genetic in nature, and so inherited from their parents? Does this mean that one of the pilot’s parents is a Newtype?”
Shinn sneered, “Newtype, schmootype! What’s all this fuss over some mutant weirdo? However these freaks are classified, whether innovated, coordinated, or artificially extended, it is my DESTINY to kill ‘em all!!”
PAK! As soon as Shinn spoke the last word, he got a resounding full swing slap from the ensign.
“Such impertinence and affront will not be tolerated among our ranks. Know your place, soldier, before you make a fool out of Newtypes. Recognize that the Crimson Striker before you is one!”
A bit flustered and nostrils flaring, Shinn gritted his teeth. “My apologies for my ignorance and unbecoming behavior, Captain!”
“Enough of this!” Captain Magnus barked. “I will let you slip through this but I will not be as forgiving as I am next time! Understood?!”
Captain Magnus flicked the tactical monitor screen on. A digital display of certain space coordinates was shown. He explained, “Our forces from the Endra fleet have detected an unknown object in route to Lagrange 2 moving towards the colony cluster there. Judging its velocity and flight angle, its destination is most likely Side 1 colony Eidon.”
A hazy and pixilated display was shown on the screen. “This is the maximum zoom from the telephoto camera. Thermal scanning reveals its heat signature which does not have any match in our MS entry database. I believe that this is the mobile suit that we’re looking for. Be advised that Eidon is a neutral colony and I strongly order you to avoid mobile suit battle inside it. But when they draw first blood, you must not hold back. Do whatever it takes for the seizure of the Gundam but do not damage the cockpit nor kill the pilot. Since my Keradjur is still in its final development, I want the three of you to investigate. This time the High Command does not want any room for error…and neither do I.”
The frontal squadron saluted and roared, “Sir, yes sir!”
Aya looked intently into the captain’s eyes. She sensed that Magnus had been bothered by something. It was also the first time for her to hear Magnus’ specific directive to keep the pilot alive, instead of the capture of the Gundam unit. This bothered her that after the twins exited the room, she laid a hand on the captain’s shoulder. “Is there something wrong, Captain?”
Magnus faced her with a straight-faced expression. “You are dismissed as well, Ensign. Prepare for immediate sortie.”
For the ensign, the hiss of the door sliding close behind her was a representation of the countless instances when Magnus ignored her concern as well as her feelings. Aya could not prevent her tears dripping down. But this gave her a zeal to do her best, to always return alive to her captain’s side until she will at last win his heart.
“Go away, you filthy and smelly brat! What’re you trying to do, scare my customers away?!”
“So-sorry, mister. I just want to meet someone who is supposed to be in thi—”
The restaurant manager picked up a nearby stool and threatened Zyann with it. He was about to throw it to her, when one of the diners, a gray-haired guy in his late teens extended his left foot in front of the manager. The manager tripped over, fell flat on his face, the stool crashed on his back.
The guy grabbed Zyann’s arm and pulled her into a back alley. Protesting, she resisted the manhandling, to which the guy, realizing that he was holding a girl’s hand became silent and immediately let go of her. Zyann tried to punch him in the face, but the guy was quick to dodge it. “Who do you think you are, to manhandle me like a prostitute?!?” Zyann screamed.
With urgency in his tone he said, “I know you… and I’ve heard about you over the empire’s classified communication frequency.”
Zyann was all the more confused and scared. This guy might hand her over to authorities. She protested, “It…it’s my first time here in this colony, so how could you possibly… unless you’re…”
“You pilot a red Gundam named Astraeus. Name, Zyann Nigel, presently wanted by the Royal Zeon.”
Zyann’s eyes gleamed in relief. “Are you by chance Mr. Melendrez? Mr. Freed Melendrez, whom I am supposed to meet here?” She extended her hand to greet him but Freed hesitated.
“That’s me, all right. When PROMISED LAND was attacked, Sir William sent me a message that whatever happens, I am supposed to meet a certain 18 year old girl and help her to get to earth together with her mobile suit. Now, I am neither from Earth Militaire nor from Royal Zeon but I can’t just let my mentor down. I do not know what reasons are there for Zeon to trail and hunt you down… I just wanted to help, but if you value your life, you need to cooperate…but first, you need to take a bath and get some fresh clothes. You’re wanted by the empire and you can’t keep a low profile with that…that…smell.”
The main catapult deck of Gilgamesh was cleared and as being first to launch, Aya positioned her GINN high mobility type MS on the catapult ramp. She was about to launch when her communicator went on.
“Aya….be careful. There’s a high chance that the enemy is a Newtype.”
“O-ok, I understand, Captain!” Aya felt her face turn red, being called by the Crimson Striker by her first name. A sneering voice disturbed her thought. “Are we gonna have a picnic here on the deck or what!?!?! Come on, we don’t have all day!” Shinn impatiently called through the commlink.
“S-sorry… Aya Creuset, GINN, heading out!”
In Eidon, a loud siren suddenly blasted which meant one thing: hostile invasion. Freed quickly checked his handheld holograph computer. Displayed on it was a radar image hacked from Eidon’s security bureau. Three unidentified MS-like objects were approaching Eidon’s external territory.
“What is that noise?” shouted Zyann inside the shower.
“You have to move quickly. Three mobile suits are coming as we speak. They will obviously break the treaty and their mobile suits will most definitely pop out anytime now. MS battle will be inevitable.”
Zyann emerged from the bathroom, her hair still dripping. “Where are we going now? Are we in trouble? Will there be a battle inside the colony?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Freed said grimly. “You have to leave as fast as you can. But everything is set up.”
Unsure of what she was told, Zyann hurriedly put her shoes on. The two went outside and boarded a levicar. They drove down the street towards an abandoned and dilapidated space hangar at the south end of the colony. Inside was a small-sized, box-shaped inter-colony cargo ship. Written on its side was “LAPLACE”. Two people were waiting for them.
“Are all the preparations ready now?” Freed asked.
“Yes, sir! Laplace is prepped up and good to go,” replied one.
The other one added, “There’s just one problem. Your mobile suit will not fit inside Laplace’s cargo bay, as this Astraeus would be using a bigger space.”
“In that case, I’ll leave Zyann into your hands. Bring her safely to earth and find a man named ‘Professor Keith’. Now, I don’t know who that person is, but Earth Militaire might be of help.”
Turning to Zyann, Freed said, “These guys are ready to protect you, girl. So be safe and live through this.”
Above them, a space port entrance exploded and three mobile suits flew inside, heading towards the colony’s populated area. The sudden appearance of the Zeon mobile suits caused terror and chaos to the people in the colony. It had been rumored that whenever mobile suits of the empire were at hand, pandemonium and imminent war would follow. Panic gripped the hearts of the people, running for their lives. For them it’s a will to survive, disregarding anyone who might be needing help. Some became pavement for others in stampede.
Aya thought, “…no mobile suits engaged us outside. What’s wrong with this colony?”
Shinn whined over the commlink, “So how are we exactly gonna find this freak among the trash? Why not gas this colony or something?”
“Shut up, Shinn! You’d be court-martialed if you act against orders,” Shiro replied.
Meanwhile, some of the residents brave enough had started retaliating against the Frontal Squadron. Armed with Molotov cocktails, they tried to scare them away but to no avail because the mobile suits were hovering high above ground. Suddenly, a guy came into view, clutching a shoulder-launched anti-mobile suit weapon.
“Anti-MS missile at 4 o’clock!!!” Shinn cautioned.
Shiro was taken aback by the unanticipated attack. “Where?”
The slug hit Shiro’s Dom on the right leg. Luckily the mobile suit was heavily armored that the blast succeeded only in inflicting a dent and some scratches. The Dom lost its balance and toppled over a building, causing a minor fire to start. “Shiro, status report!” Aya called.
“I-I’m all right. Hydraulic pressure for valves 5 and 6 are fluctuating, but leg actuators are still functional. I’m still good to go.”
Shinn fumed, “Such acts are considered hostile to Royal Zeon! We must deal with these bastards fatally!!” Before any of Aya or Shiro could protest, Shinn’s Dom raised its bazooka and took aim. One pull of the trigger sent everyone to their eternal sleep.
“Enough of this!! We are soldiers, not murderers! Where is your pride as a Royal Zeon?” Aya shouted. Suddenly her radar bleeped four signals.
“Four mobile suits scrambling at 12 o’clock! Eidon Daggers!!”
The gray and blue Daggers approached them cautiously, armed with beam rifles. Aya pondered, “…Just four units? Too reckless of them to use beam weapons inside the colony.”
A voice from the squadron leader’s MS boomed, “You have illegally entered a neutral colony territory. This is a direct violation of article 96 of the Peacecraft Treaty. We advise you to disengage your mobile suit units and surrender. Otherwise, I cannot guarantee your lives’ safety.”
Over the commlink, Shiro asked the ensign, “Now, what?”
The ensign rationalized their recent act. “…they asked for it. I can’t face the captain with failure in hand. I must redeem us both before the High Command. And we must do everything necessary for Zeon’s ideals to be adapted by humanity, even if it meant devastating this neutral colony..do everything…for the captain’s sake.” Aya thought. “Very well! We’ll fight!” The three mobile suits flew in opposite directions, engaging the enemy.
Two of the Daggers flanked Aya’s GINN, while each of the Doms engaged the remaining two. Aya tried to dodge the combined attack of the Daggers, focusing too much on the blitzkrieg that she failed to notice the other one thrusting forward using its shield. The collision knocked the GINN off in mid-flight and Aya lost control for a moment. When she managed to keep her MS upright, she angrily muttered, “Not bad for grunt pilots but still….not enough!!”
The GINN let go of its rifle and reached for the beam sabers beneath its binders. “Trying to outflank me huh? Let’s see what you’ve got!” Aya rose into high altitude, and there she noticed that the enemy armed themselves of beam sabers instead.
“Ah, just as I thought. You wouldn’t dare hit me at this angle, lest you destroy this colony from the inside. So shall I give you a combat fair and square!”
Aya maneuvered the GINN for a steep nosedive, meeting the charging Dagger halfway. Both MS parried each others attack but Aya took her chance for a follow-up and smashed its head unit by kicking it, sending the Dagger down to the ground.
Meanwhile the other MS flew above the GINN, which was open to attack and aimed the beam rifle against it. Aya, still engaging the enemy, was too late to respond. The beam shot hit the GINN’s left shoulder, dismembering it. The severed MS arm exploded and the force caused Aya out of control. The GINN ended up crashing on a hospital.
Aya was horrified by what she saw: dead bodies pinned down and crushed by the fallen roof. “KISAMA!! Innocent people are dying…!” As the enemy neared her, Aya used the Gatling guns to distract the pilot. Amidst the barrage of ricocheting bullet and smoke, Aya threw the remaining beam saber against the Dagger. Accidentally it pierced the Dagger’s lower torso.
“Oh, no! The power core has been—” Aya realized in dismay. The Dagger exploded in mid-air but to Aya’s relief it was not a huge explosion because Daggers were powered by batteries.
Seeing an explosion in the city’s center, Freed muttered angrily, “That does it!” Turning to Zyann, he said, “You better leave now and fetch your unit. I don’t think that these people can just allow these morons to have their way around here. They broke the Peacecraft Treaty without hesitation, but I believe that they can slither away from this violence.”
Zyann boarded the ship. Laplace was now powering up, prepared to launch. Looking back to Freed, she exclaimed, “I don’t know you but you helped me!!! Arigato gozaimasu!!!”
The box-shaped ship gained momentum as its three vast verniers burst into flames, leaving the colony. Freed silently whispered, “Be safe, Zyann.” He made his way in a passageway opposite of where the Laplace ship was hidden. It led into another abandoned hangar. He pulled down a few levers that hoisted upright a humanoid object covered in tarpaulin. Spray-painted over the covering was “Gundam Hero”. Freed smiled and murmured, “I won’t let these people down. Time to play the ‘hero’.”
After checking the GINN’s overall status, Aya noticed a ship launching from the colony. She wondered, “A ship leaving in the middle of disarray? Could it be--?”
Aya launched the GINN and trailed the cargo ship. It flew into the sea of space debris and stopped at a cluster of junk. Immediately Aya noticed a red mobile suit among the rubbish. “The Gundam!!!”
She aimed her beam rifle and blasted against the ship, but because of the dense debris, she can’t get a clear hit. Some debris exploded and set off the force bombs that surrounded the GINN. The shockwaves jarred Aya and caused her to lose her bearings. Zyann took this opening to immediately load the Gundam into Laplace’s cargo hold. As the ship prepared to leave, Aya started the GINN in pursuit but the ship achieved cruising velocity seconds later. Knowing that her GINN unit cannot possibly sustain the chase, she casted a miniature tracking device which stuck at Laplace’s stern hold.
Meanwhile, the Doms easily overpowered the two Daggers that took on them. Though heavier and less maneuverable compared to the Daggers, the Doms were heavily armored, able to withstand the attacks. On the other hand, the Dom’s firepower was too much for the Daggers, which were defeated in no time.
“Ha! They got what they deserve, trying to pick a fight against us!” Shinn laughed mockingly. Shiro scanned the perimeter but no sign of any MS was found, so they searched other locations.
“Where are you, Gundam?!?!” Shinn shouted in annoyance. “Very well, I’ll lure you out!!!” He shot against few buildings. Explosions caused debris to scatter over the place.
“What the hell are you thinking Shinn!?! Don’t you have any regard for innocent lives?”
“Harboring a rebel mobile suit hardly makes them innocent, my stupid brother! And we’re doing or job just fine. There’s no way that—”
Their radars bleeped all of the sudden. “Fly, dumbass!!!!” A huge blast from the colony’s port entrance was fired upon them. The twins acted swiftly and eluded the attack. The beam hit an artificial mountain, instead of damaging the structure of the colony. “…What a skill!! Using a beam weapon and still avoided any damage to the colony? This pilot’s something else!” Shiro thought.
“What?! Is the targeting system on manual?” Freed complained. He typed into a keyboard and made some adjustments and prepared for the second volley.
Shiro gasped, “That was close!! Where did the shot come from?”
“Incoming!” Shinn responded.
Freed aimed the shot to Shinn’s Dom, but for some unknown reason, it was still off. He ended up only damaging the Dom’s left foot, causing it to lose control and plunge into a damaged building below. “What the heck? Missed from recoil? Well then, let’s try another approach!”
Freed adjusted the cannon’s pulse rate and gave a rapid shot against the Doms but still he couldn’t connect. “What’s with this? What am I missing here?”
By and by, the power level reserved for the cannon is promptly decreasing. The Gundam’s mega hyper cannon folded into place on its back. It reached for the sword hilt and soared towards the enemies. “If that won’t work… This is where I definitely excel…I’ll show them what I’m capable of.”
“Take this!!” Shiro sprayed bullets upon the Gundam using the railgun. Freed tried to dodge the assault but Shiro managed to hit portions of the Gundam’s left arm and head. Freed's panoramic screen went black. “Huh?!?!”
Shinn saw this momentary chance to hit the Gundam which was temporarily paralyzed. The Dom took off and prepared the dual bazooka. He used a special projectile which was of a double action type, able to penetrate the Gundam’s armor. “You’re skillful, I give you that…but you are out of our league, fool!!!”
A warning blared inside Freed cockpit. Unaware of what was happening, he tried using the backup visual cameras that restored his external vision, but what he first saw were two projectiles heading toward him. He held his breath, preparing for the worst, but luckily, the assault missed its mark. Freed noticed that the Doms couldn’t hit right on target as well.
“Hmmmm…just as I thought. We all fell for one basic truth in colony combat situations, but now I can use it…for my advantage!!”
The Gundam soared higher and higher as the Doms followed in pursuit. “Trying to escape huh? We won’t let you get away, rat!!!” Shinn screamed. Little did they know that they had taken Freed's bait.
“Just a little longer now…in the center of the colony, I’ll be weightless…then no matter what I do…it’ll work just as I want it to!” Freed hovered the Gundam and faced the incoming enemy MS.
Shiro was astonished by the sudden abnormal performance of his Dom. “…A DEAD STOP!?!?!” He was confused by lack of simulated gravity. Shinn was in the same situation as well. “What’s happening?! My verniers aren’t responding properly!”
Without warning, the Gundam approached Shinn and attacked using it huge Guardian Sword, chopping off both the Dom’s legs. Lacking thrusters, the damaged MS lost altitude control and plummeted below.
Freed was pleased. “Ha! I’m getting the hang of controlling it, for the least. Next!”
Shiro said in the commline, “I applaud you Gundam pilot for your quick thinking and using the circumstance for your benefit. But I’m not falling for that again!!!”
The Dom’s dual bazooka fired followed by a midair explosion. “Two hit combo!!” Shiro exclaimed. But when the smoke dispersed, he was shocked to see the Gundam, still in mid-flight. “How could..I used the double action ammo! This can’t possibly—”
Freed interrupted, “I’ve seen through your tactics why you’re not equipped with any beam weaponry. But know this, Zeon soldier, that my Guardian Sword is equipped with Phase Shift technology, as I just hacked and slashed your bullets away. Now, I believe it’s my turn!!”
The Gundam slid a beam saber at the blade slot in the middle of the Guardian Sword.
Without warning the Gundam let out four successive slash beams, sent off from the beam-powered Guardian Sword. The attacks hit the Dom’s four joint points in the legs and arms without damaging the power core. It dropped into the ground.
Below, crowds were cheering for the Gundam. Freed checked the fallen Dom suits and was relieved to see that the pilots were alive but captured.
He thought, “Though I am not with the Earth Militaire, I can’t just let these people come and destroy this colony…sigh… I’m actually doing something worthwhile… Fighting without killing… fighting to protect others… Be somebody’s hero.” He hovered over the people waving t him. “I’ll live up to that!”
And so, Eidon was spared from imminent destruction. But what will unfold in the future? What will wait on earth for the teenage girl who was dragged into an enormous mess? And what will become of Freed Melendrez? What are the Frontal Squadron’s next move?