Penned by: Amuro Ray
With the natural passing of time, we go about our daily lives as usual. Ignorant and unknowing, we fail to see, fail to comprehend the suffering of others as they struggle for survival. In this stark and unkind reality in which the world is in peril, you may wish to remain blind to the truth. It's the Year LC 0043, the Lost Century, the era in which the meaning of peace has been lost to the ravages of time and only exists as an ideal state in the dreams of children. But for those who have survived to adulthood amongst the strife, peace has no place in their lexicon. Forty-four years after the terrible incident known as the War of Pride during which the forces living in colonies, having wanted nothing more than freedom and independence from the oppressive Earth government, decided to retaliate after one of their colonies had been gassed. Abhorred by such an atrocious turn of events, the people of the colonies rallied together in great numbers against the Earth government. Decades of failed negotiations led the people to believe war was the only answer. And with that terrible realization came a grave message, “Win our independence, crush the Earth government and make their people suffer tenfold for what they have done to us.” The rallying cries sparked the greatest war mankind had ever seen. As time passed, the main factions of the colonial governmental powers, the Royal Zeon Empire as the representative of the thirteen colonies, together with the Ceres Contingent, a group of elite soldiers located near Ceres, gained the advantage, killing a significant number of enemy soldiers and seizing main territories on Earth and the Moon, like America, Russia, and China. The invasion was so sudden and devastating to the point where the people living on earth cried, "There is no future here for us!" Civilians, frightened of what would become of them should the Royal Zeon Empire take full control of the planet, became spies and informants for Zeon and Ceres. They migrated to the colonies just to survive their wrath. In response to this sudden occupation, the Earth government formed the Earth Militaire by pooling together all remaining militaries. However, as there was a significant deficit in military personnel following the initial Zeon attacks, there was inadequate time to train recruits and for the remaining current soldiers to get acquainted with one another and put aside their differences to stand against Zeon. Because of this the Earth Militaire is on the verge of defeat and for many, it became apparent to them that there was no hope for the Earth anymore.
"This pitiful planet…” grumbled Captain Magnus Alexandersson as he arrived at a small dusty town in Pakistan. “It’s a damn shame what’s become of it.” Despite being an ace pilot of Royal Zeon, he was fond of Earth as it was his birthplace. Magnus’ family lived and died here before he migrated to the colonies and joined the military. He had gained the title “The Crimson Striker”, like Char Aznable, the “Red Comet”, and Johnny Ridden, the “Crimson Lightning” before him, for single-handedly seizing San Francisco and destroying forty GM IVs and three Nazca Kai ships in a mere ten minutes. This opened the door for the Royal Zeon Empire forces and allowed them to move in and occupy the United States. However his task this time around lacked the luster of his previous exploits. His current assignment was to investigate a rumored base in Pakistan. The order was simple, clear, and to Magnus, unsettling; “Wipe out every Earth Militaire Personnel if a base containing weapons or even plans for a coup d’état were found.”
The Pakistani town once considered to be a ghost town until people from the country were relocated there by the Ceres Contingent. As a result of the sudden increase in population, its activity nearly doubled, prompting an investigation by Royal Zeon. “What’s with the silence in this place? With so many people you’d expect it to be a bit more…bustling. But it’s still like a ghost town. It’s like their souls and hearts are devoured by fear to the point where they’ve shut down, no longer conscious of the world around them. They could’ve just migrated to space colonies. Looking at them now though…talking to them would be useless.” Captain Magnus thought to himself as he took a sip from his glass. He was very well disguised, to the point it appeared as if he belonged to the town. “This silence is unsettling…nothing like the silence in space. This whole thing could be a trap for all I know. The Earth Militaire is still mobilizing in spite of all that’s happened.” After inspecting the bar, the Captain left, calling his subordinates via nanotransceiver as he started his way down the dusty street. Lost in his thoughts, the Captain failed to see where he was going and bumped into a person.
“S-Sorry sir, it was my fault!” said the voice of a girl, clearly the person he had bumped into.
“No, no. You’re alright. I apologize for not paying attention to where I was going,” replied the Captain softly. “You look different. You're not from here are you?” said the girl.
“Yes, I’m just here for a look around. I’ve heard stories about this town," smiled the Captain. Quite frankly, he was taken aback by the girl’s ability to see through his disguise. Whether or not that was luck had yet to be seen. “Seems like I’m not the only one who apparently sticks out. I thought that all people here were dead on the inside, but it seems that I was wrong," the Captain chuckled at his own joke despite how terrible it was in the context of all that had transpired while the girl just stood there, unsure of how to react. Magnus quickly reached into his pocket as the transceiver beeped after having received a message. His smile disappeared as he read the message he was given. He leaned slightly forward just so that his face was level with the girl’s and placed a hand on her shoulder. He tried his best to smile again so as to not instill panic into her.
“Listen, you must leave this town immediately. This place will become a battlefield soon, and people will get caught in the crossfire." the Captain told the girl sternly.
“Why? Is something wrong? Is something bad going to happen?” the girl questioned.
"May I know your name?" asked the Captain as he conveniently avoided the question.
“O-oh? Zyann, it's Zyann Nigel , sir! Nice to meet you!” the girl replied cheerily in spite of the ominous warning she had been given.
"O-ok..." the Captain said. Magnus was quite surprised. He never thought that someone would be this cheerful and upbeat even in these dark times. "Listen Zyann, I want you to get out of this town as fast as you can. Head to the spaceport at the northern tip of Pakistan and show them this pass. They will take you to someplace safe.” Magnus whispered as he handed a card to Zyann. "That innocence and light in your eyes…you must live where you can be happy. Do whatever you can to enjoy that flame of youth you have away from this hell.” murmured the Captain.
“B-But, I don't understa-” started Zyann before her words were cut off by the sound of gunfire breaking silence. The Captain’s head jerked to the direction of the sound of the shots before quickly turning back to Zyann. “Go now, there’s no time left. Get as far away from here as you can,” pleaded the Captain as he tapped on her shoulder twice hard in the direction away from the town. Civilians began to panic and flee, pushing and shoving one another while others trampled over those slower than them. It was every man for himself now.
Magnus broke into a run towards the coordinates given to him in the message, expertly avoiding the approaching storm of fleeing people. Upon reaching the coordinates, he met up with his subordinates, who had discovered the presence of a hidden entrance. One of them handed the Captain a flashlight before they all crouched down and crawled into the tiny entrance. After traversing what felt like an infinite corridor, they ended up in what they realized was a massive underground compound. The entrance had led to a particular room that contained weapons and blueprints of unknown mobile weapons. One of the soldiers requested the execution of the order they were given, “to sweet entire city and all the rebels around it and burn the blueprints.” Before Magnus could reply, the rebels took the initiative and fired upon the soldier. Quickly, everyone else dove for cover while Magnus threw a table up on its side and drew a pistol, firing back at the rebels and shooting one through the kneecap. The rebel who had been shot fell onto his back in immense pain, screaming as his hands shook and reached for his leg. The other soldiers fired at the rebels, successfully defeating them.
“I knew it was a trap,” the Captain muttered in frustration.
“Captain Magnus, I’ve got the blueprints of the rumored mobile weapons, sir!” cried a female soldier.
“Good work, Ensign Aya. After the rest of the team has been prepped and has confirmed that all civilians have evacuated, we will commence a purge of this entire area. Stand by!” ordered the Captain.
“Yes, sir!!” replied Ensign Aya Creuset. She was one of the original members of the “Frontal Squadron”, one of Zeon's many elite soldier groups that carry out the most important and dangerous missions for the Empire. Aya is a specialized soldier trained in all areas, be it reconnaissance, information gathering and even shoot-to-kill orders. She is also an experienced combatant and mobile suit pilot as second-in-command of Magnus’ team.
“That girl…Zyann. Has she left the city?” pondered the Captain. The squadron was now ready for action, and Captain Magnus gave the order. “Civilians confirmed evacuated. We will now commence the destruction of this town. You two, prep the Mobile Suits. Alpha team, come with me. Bravo team, join up with Charlie team handle the enemies above ground. Move out!”
“W-what's the matter? What’s going on? I don’t understand what’s happening!!” Zyann asked the people in panic that she met, but her cries fell upon deaf ears for the civilians were too concerned about their own safety to pay attention to the shouting of a little girl.
“OUT OF THE WAY!” shouted one fleeing civilian as he knocked Zyann aside. The poor girl was knocked under a table, where she decided to stay and hide. After a few minutes, the shooting started again.
The loudness of the gunshots was only matched by the screams of civilians. What Captain Magnus Alexandersson had been told about the full evacuation of civilians was a lie so that some of the soldiers could enjoy killing, an unfortunate fact he would discover later to his anger.
“Which is noisier, the yelling of these dogs or the noise of my machine gun?! Hahaha!” yelled one of the Zeon soldier.
“Hey, is killing these people really okay?” shouted another soldier who had refrained from shooting the fleeing civilians with his automatic shotgun.
“They’re already fucking dead in their minds! It doesn’t make a fucking difference if you kill them or let them live!” commented the first soldier, who was enjoying the sound of the firing guns and the moans of the injured people.
“Wh-Why? They are all innocent, why are they shooting them? Stoppit! This is wrong!" cried Zyann. Seizing the opportunity amidst the bloodbath, she ran off, but saw two Royal Zeon soldiers beating a suspected rebel.
“Who is in charge of these blueprints and plans for a manufacturing facility? Answer me!” shouted one of them. “A- As if...I would tell you. You scum!” defiantly declared the suspected rebel.
“Y-You...Son of a-” the soldier pressed a gun to the side of the man’s head and cocked the weapon.
“Stop it!” shouted Zyann, whose feelings had gotten the best of her. She gasped and covered her mouth as she had realized the mistake she had made.
“Huh? Stop? Why don’t you try and make me?” yelled the soldier, who had turned the gun on the girl. Zyann bit her lip and shut her eyes. Her legs shook right where they stood as she was too afraid to run. She whispered as tears streamed down her face, “Father...”
Then two gunshots rang out followed by two heavy thuds. Zyann opened her eyes to find the two Zeon soldiers dead on the ground. They had been shot in the head by another stranger behind her.
“These bastards…They don't have any mercy, even to women and children!” the stranger growled. “Keith...Tha-thank God you’re alive!” The beaten rebel gasped as he coughed up blood.
“You should be worrying about yourself. Let's go! We need to get you somewhere safe,” said Keith Newman.
“No, professor, take the girl. It’s too late for me. Please professor...j-just....take the girl...and run...my time is almost up…I’ll hold them off!” the rebel coughed, staggering to his feet.
“I understand. May God bless you on your journey…” Professor Keith said to the man.
The rebel saluted and picked up his gun, limping off to where the fight was in the hopes of holding the Zeon forces off long enough for Keith and Zyann to escape. “That man sacrificed his life for you, so don't let that sacrifice be in vain!” Keith told the confused and shaken girl. Even though she nodded, the past few minutes had not registered in her mind just yet. They kept to the backstreets and alleys, evading the Zeon soldiers until they came to a seemingly abandoned factory. The professor, along with Zyann, came up to a huge Gundam type mobile suit. As soon as Zyann saw it, she began to understand why Royal Zeon had started this bloodbath. “You’re one of the rebels, right?” Zyann asked the man wearily.
“Rebel? Ha! I would prefer the term “freedom fighter”, and to begin with, I’m against Royal Zeon’s ‘methods’, so we are just fighting for our own sake and justice, not rebelling against some silly government,” answered Keith, his voice saturated with sarcasm.
“It’s far from being completed…but I'm sure it’ll work just as fine.” said the professor, who was tapping complicated algorithms and codes onto a touch screen device in his hand.
“Umm...w-will you also kill people?” asked the girl, afraid to see more death and destruction.
“I would never say “yes”, but in order to save you, and to somehow recreate the word “peace", then yes. I would kill!” Keith said with a burning passion, jamming his finger onto the screen as the holographic keys melded together to form one large green holographic button. The eyes on the Gundam flashed green. At once steam was released from all the vents located on its body. There was a deep rumbling and whirring sound as its reactor started up. Zyann merely watched in awe.
“It’s…coming alive!” she said, eyes widened with surprise. The whirring sound of a crane came over head as a backpack was slowly lowered behind its back. It was then moved slightly forward and clamped shut in place with a loud metallic “bang” that echoed throughout the factory. The Gundam stood up and then kneeled down in front of the two, lowering its hand to them so that they could hop on.
"Get inside; it won’t be long until they notice another heat signature popping up..." the professor told Zyann as he jumped onto the giant mechanical hand, followed by Zyann. With both of them on, the hand rose slowly to the torso. Pieces of the armor folded down, revealing the cockpit hatch which lowered for them. The two clambered inside, and the cockpit hatch closed with a hiss, followed by the armor closing over it.
"Initializing data link, all systems green, all connections established, all programs functioning at 100 percent. Reactor status nominal. RX-88NT-1 II Gundam Alex MK II, heading out!”
“Heh, Zeon technology’s improving every year! Killing people has never been so easy!” A Royal Zeon pilot sneered while piloting his MSN-04M Sazabi mass production type.
“Concentrate on wiping out evacuated areas! Recklessness will only get you killed!” yelled Ensign Aya in her own custom Ginn high-mobility type.
There were four mobile suits patrolling the area. With half the town already destroyed, the town’s very existence was hanging by a thread. Magnus had finished searching the underground facility and was contacting the High Command on Colony 5 to report his findings.
The sound of an especially loud explosion tore through the air, attracting everyone’s attention. One of the mass produced Sazabis had been taken down from a shot that left a hole in its chest. Metal and hydraulics groaned and strained as the mobile suit toppled backwards onto a few houses with sparks jumping all about its torso as the mobile suit remained lifeless. Lucky for everyone still within the area, its reactor had not been struck.
“Louis! Where did that shot come from?” the Ensign shouted as she looked around frantically while constantly moving her mobile suit, trying in vain to locate the source of gunfire. Any smart pilot would know not to stand still, as that would only invite another shot.
“It’s an enemy mobile suit! It must ha--*zzzt*” A rush of static overwhelmed Aya’s head piece before Louis could finish. He was another victim to an as of yet unseen enemy. The projectile had torn through the Sazabi's armor with little effort. A small explosion in the cockpit spat out pieces of shrapnel. With a defeated groan of metal, the Sazabi collapsed onto a nearby building, throwing glass and stone everywhere as it went down with the mobile suit.
“This mobile suit meant for combat at any range. With this sniper rifle, whose power is enough to pierce through MS Armor with little effort and its range of thirty kilometers, it’s really just…kickass! Perfect for wiping out mobile suits quickly and efficiently without the danger of nuclear explosions.” Keith said to himself proudly like a little child proud of his A+ test. He was a man who took pride in his inventions, which he boasts, “are a cut above the rest.” Meanwhile, Zyann simply nodded and pretended she knew what he was talking about despite not knowing any of what was just said. “Now…onto the third target..." the professor said to himself as he aimed for the next mobile suit. Once he had a clear line of fire, he pulled the trigger. The Alex MK II fired a single round that pierced through the mobile suit he had been aiming for. Another one down.
Aya was startled as the mass-produced Sazabi next to her suddenly keeled over. “Damn amateurs! Now I’ll have to take this on enemy myself!” Aya shouted in frustration as she readied herself for the next shot. Keith and his Gundam Alex Mark II fired the fourth shot, but Aya’s Ginn, which had kept moving all this time, avoided the shot by putting on an extra burst from her thrusters. She now knew the sniper’s position.
“Gotcha!” Aya shouted as she boosted towards the Alex, only to be stopped as a crimson Sazabi descended in front of her with its right arm out to its side, blocking Aya. It was apparent that Captain Magnus had made it to his mobile suit in the ensuing chaos.
“Mop up the rest of the town, Ensign. I’ll hold him off until then. Once the mission objective is complete, withdraw our forces," ordered Captain Magnus, who was in his very own MSN-04E Sazabi Mark II.
“B-but Captain, it took down three of our men! It’s too dangerous to go alone!" Aya replied.
“Then all the more reason you shouldn’t go. Trust my abilities Ensign. This sniper used the terrain to his advantage and took out three of our men. Whoever is piloting that mobile suit is either no novice or damn lucky. I am better able to deal with this imminent threat. Am I understood?” Magnus surmised.
“…Understood sir,” was all she said.
“I missed the fourth one. That one’s different from the others. Eh? It’s your first time in an MS cockpit isn’t it? Are you all right?” Keith asked the dazed young girl.
“U-uh...sort of...” Zyann answered groggily.
“Well in that case--!” Keith began as he was cut off in mid-sentence. He had been caught off guard from the sheer speed of the enemy he was now facing as Magnus pushed the Sazabi MK II at full throttle towards the Alex MK II, aiming a well-placed kick into the Alex’s abdomen and forcing it backwards from the impact.
“Dammit!” Keith shouted as the sudden impact threw him forward from his seat along with Zyann. The Alex came to a stop, and in its cockpit, Keith was panting from having the wind knocked out of him and the pain in his shoulders from the pilot restraints pressing hard against them. Zyann had unfortunately passed out.
“Such an outdated machine…I’m impressed by the fact that you could restore to such perfect working order. For you to pose a threat to us even with this type of mobile suit, I must say you’re either lucky…or skilled. Either way, kudos to you.” the Captain said with a stern face. It had been a long time since he had come across worthy opponents.
“And you must be the “Crimson Striker.” You live up to your name indeed...” said the professor, who had just realized one of his back vulcans had been taken out of commission from the strike and the subsequent impact. Seems like not everything was in working order.
“Don’t you dare look down on me, Crimson Striker!” Keith yelled as he raised the MK II’s arms, firing at the Captain with all four of its Gatling guns.
“Resistance is futile, soldier...” Captain Magnus said as he fired the Sazabi MK II’s right verniers easily maneuvering it out of the way of the barrage of rounds Keith had fired.
“I'm not a soldier! I'm not a soldier dammit!” Keith shouted. The Alex MK II stopped firing and bent forward. Several missiles ignited and launched its backpack towards the Sazabi. Magnus fired the reverse verniers and flew backwards, launching flares to counter the missiles. He kept a wary eye on the Alex MK II, which had now drawn a beam saber and used this opportunity to move in close. Magnus grunted, increasing booster output and reversing even faster. However, that was not enough, and the Alex lunged forward with an extra boost with the beam saber aiming for the cockpit. Thanks to a combination of Alexandersson’s unusually quick reflexes and piloting experience, he managed to move his mobile suit to the right, causing the beam saber to miss its chest. Instead, it grazed the Sazabi’s shoulder.
“Enough fooling around!” Magnus said upon realization that this pilot could very well be his equal.
The remark made Keith shudder. This was bad. Was he toying with him all this time?
The professor quickly tried to fall back, but in a flash the Sazabi MK II drew a beam saber and swung across as it fired its boosters in a single burst, quickly overtaking it and slicing off one of the Alex’s Arm Gatling guns. Keith winced as he started to type rapidly into a keyboard on his left while trying to keep his mobile suit balanced while still attempting to maintain distance. However, the Sazabi was still fast approaching.
“Time to show you that an old MS can still pack a punch!” he growled. Magnus had launched three funnels from racks out the back of the Sazabi. The individual funnels were each much more faster and agile than the Sazabi itself. They flew towards Alex while rapidly darting in different directions and fired beams in rapid succession. In a desperate move, Keith mashed the thruster pedal forward.
All at once Alex’s thrusters ignited, launching the mobile suit skyward. He fired all Gatling guns at the funnels. However, these rounds were different from the standard armor-piercing ammunition. These were high explosive rounds with a timed fused attached to the rear, essentially becoming air burst rounds that detonated in mid-air after a certain amount of time. The barrage took down the three funnels. With them out of the way, Keith aimed at Magnus, striking without hesitation.
In spite of all this, the Sazabi had not strayed from its initial path towards the Alex. It easily dodged the barrage Keith unleashed. With the ferocity of Keith’s attacks he had only managed to destroy his shield and deal minor damage to the Sazabi’s left side.
“Dammit! What the hell is this guy?” Keith growled in frustration.
“This has been truly entertaining, but this operation is complete. Let me leave you a parting gift by showing you the real Crimson Striker,” said Magnus. Throughout the entire battle, the wind had been gradually growing in strength to the point where it had suddenly created a sandstorm. The howling of the winds and the patterns the flying dust and sand formed in its wake made it seem as though the souls of the dead were flying about the place, freed from their fleshy containers.
Meanwhile, a private jet was flying over the barren desert where the fight between Alexandersson and Newman took place. Aboard the personnel transport, Knight was peering at a sandstorm brewing on their path.
The intercom sounded, "Sir, a sandstorm is ahead of us. Should we turn around?”
“No, no. Let’s go through it.”
“Please secure yourself, sir. It's going to be a bumpy ride," the pilot informs Knight, who returned to his sleep. Soon after, he was wide awake because of the turbulence caused by the sandstorm. Looking into the glass porthole, he viewed the scenery, which is nothing but sand dimming the sky with it. Bored, he went into the cockpit and he then told the pilot, "We should better increase altitude, we don't wanna be caught in that, Nadia."
The pilot was surprised and replied, "The landscape here is at most flat sir, there's no mountain any--"
She was cut mid-sentence as Knight tapped her shoulders and pointed at the view in the front.
"I'm talking about those... Mobile suits."
Not sure of whether her passenger said is true because of the hazy view, she just followed the request but when the transport went high enough, she saw mobile suits that were indeed present almost below them. Nadia then took her binoculars to take a better look and saw two mobile suits fighting. Knight took the binoculars for a moment and commented on what he is seeing.
"That is just sad. One of Anaheim's early designs being bullied by a Royal Zeon suit. No wait... oh... awwwh.. It got trashed! Oh well, there's no helping that. Or so I thought. Hmmmmmm…”
Knight clicked some buttons on the dashboard.
“Wh-What are you doing sir?” Nadia stammered.
He just smiled and said, “Oh, this is nothing. Just wanna give that poor old suit a chance in the least.” The jet released three flares into the battlefield.
He returned the borrowed binoculars and got back to the passenger seat and tells the pilot,"Wake me up when we arrive, okay?"
Nadia responded, "Yes, Sir".
After escaping from the sandstorm, the transport's flight was smooth-sailing.
“A sandstorm, this is great! It’ll be easier to escape…” Keith gasped as he looked about his surroundings before realizing the Sazabi had disappeared. The professor reasoned that the mobile suit had been buffeted by the storm. Keith tried with difficulty to maintain his MK II’s balance in the sandstorm, but the machine would not cooperate. The throttles shook and rattled while the cockpit itself seemed to be vibrating and falling apart. While he was preoccupied with just keeping his mobile suit still functional, a humanoid silhouette appeared through the thick cloud of sand and dust, catching him by surprise. “What? Take this!” Keith fired at the silhouette, but it had disappeared in the explosions as though it had never been there. They kept popping up at random places, constantly disappearing and reappearing with each attack. “Dammit!” Keith screamed, shooting at all the silhouettes without realizing that the surrounding sandstorm was clearing up around the Alex, concentrating itself into a vortex.
“Stop toying with me and show yourself!” And then Keith came to a realization. “Heh. I’ve seen through your tactics.” Magnus remained silent.
Without another word, Keith detached tanks connected to the Alex's backpack, shooting at them with the Gundam's head vulcans. Before the bullets struck, the tanks sprayed fuel into the vortex and ignited. After that the Alex launched all of its missiles. They flew into the sandstorm and detonated, turning the vortex into a massive tornado of fire. Magnus, who had in fact been circling the Alex in the vortex, quickly shifted Sazabi away from the flames. This allowed Keith to catch a glimpse of the mobile suits, which was more than enough. “Time’s up!” he sneered.
The Alex lunged forwards into the burning inferno and pulled the Sazabi out from the burning flames. It fired at the Sazabi with its head vulcans while reaching for its beam saber. Magnus had no time to be shocked that his enemy could figure out his strategy in such a short time. No, he had to react accordingly. The monitor had gone static as the mooneye had been temporarily blinded by the sudden flash of the explosion. “This is it Crimson Striker!” Keith cried as he brought the beam saber crashing towards Magnus’ Sazabi. Without warning three funnels emerged from the bottom of the vortex at lightning speed and flew up towards the two. “Checkmate,” Magnus smirked.
The Sazabi’s monitors flickered back to life as Magnus pushed the Alex’s hand away retreated into the safety of the sandstorm. The flaming vortex had been extinguished due to the fuel being completely burned away. The old mobile suit had overworked itself. Its thrusters were losing power and he had run out of ammunition. The professor merely closed his eyes and remained silent as the funnels closed in, striking the Gundam at different points on its body. They darted around the Alex with such speed and precision that their movements could not be followed by a person’s eyes alone. Each beam that had been fired sliced off the Alex’s arms, legs, and head and pierced through the upper torso. Completely dismembered and out of commission, the pieces of the Alex MK II began to plummet towards the ground, disappearing in the sandstorm as it did.
Minutes later the sandstorm had subsided. The burned and slightly bullet-riddled Sazabi returned to the Pakistani town and landed next to Aya’s Custom Ginn. The Ensign had never seen the Captain’s mobile suit so damaged. The Sazabi MK II’s torso was charred and there were bullet holes riddling its left side. A mobile suit’s handprint could be seen at the base of its neck.
“Captain Magnus, are you alright?” asked the female soldier through the a communications link.
“Yeah…I’m alright.” replied the Captain as the armor on the Sazabi’s torso groaned and rattle open, revealing a hatch that lowered, allowing the Captain to exit his mobile suit.
“What happened to the enemy?” she asked.
“I’m not reading any heat signatures. I suppose he went down in the storm and perished,” replied the Captain.
“Captain, is something wrong?” asked Aya.
“It’s nothing. I’ve never had the chance to ask for the pilot's name. It’s a damn shame.” He sighed as he looked north, “But…war is war, nothing will ever change that.” He stood there rigid, his arm angled in a salute for the past lives and souls of the desert, for the unnamed mobile suit pilot, and for the girl, Zyann, who he hoped had escaped safely.
“Assemble the rest of the team. We need to report to the High Command and explain the situation.” he said as he reentered the Sazabi’s cockpit.
"Yes, sir,” replied Aya as they left this forsaken place.
The destinies of Keith and Zyann remained unknown as the bloodbath and the events of this day came to a close. Thus marked the beginning of “The Lost War Chronicles.”